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Belgium, accomplice to war crimes?


R.I.P. Léo
DP Veteran
Oct 2, 2006
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Here's an article written by Belgian university teachers from the Catholic University of Louvain, the Free University of Brussels, and the European School of Political Sciences.

La Belgique, complice de crimes de guerre ?

En 2009, le Conseil des droits de l'homme des Nations unies adopte une résolution condamnant l'absence de collaboration d'Israël à l'enquête de la commission conduite par le juge Goldstone. Son rapport concluait que des « actes assimilables à des crimes de guerre et peut-être, dans certaines circonstances, à des crimes contre l'humanité » avaient été commis par l’armée israélienne et des militants palestiniens lors de l’offensive militaire israélienne contre Gaza fin décembre 2008. Que fait la Belgique lors du vote de ladite résolution? Elle s'abstient !

1,5 millions de Gazaouis survivent dans une bande de terre équivalente à 1% de la superficie du territoire belge, en situation de catastrophe humanitaire depuis l’embargo illégal imposé par Israël en juin 2007. Un convoi civil maritime tente de forcer ce blocus en apportant une aide humanitaire aux assiégés. Il est assailli dans les eaux internationales par les militaires israéliens qui tuent, blessent ou enlèvent un nombre encore indéterminé de civils dont 5 Belges. Le Conseil des droits de l'Homme de l'ONU vote une résolution relative à la mise en place d'une "mission d'enquête internationale". Que fait la Belgique? Elle s'abstient !

Belgium, accomplice to war crimes?

In 2009, the Council of Human Rights of the United Nations passed a resolution condemning the lack of collaboration of Israel with the inquiry led by the judge Goldstone. His report concluded that "acts assimilables to war crimes and maybe even crimes against humanuty" had been commited by the Israeli army and Palestinian militants during the Israeli offensive against Gaza in December 2008. What did Belgium do during the vote of this resolution? An abstention!

1,5 millions of Gazan people survive in a strip of land whose superficy equals 1% of the Belgian territory, in a situation of humanitarian catastrophe since the begining of the illegal blockade imposed by Israel in June 2007. A civilian convoy has tried to bypass the blockade, bringing humanitarian help to the besieged people. The convoy was attacked in international water by Israeli soldiers who killed, wounded or kidnapped an unknown number of civilians, among whom 5 Belgians. The council of Human Rights of the UN votes a resolution about the implementation of an international inquiry. What did Belgium do? An abstention!

The blockade of Gaza is justified by the takeover of the Hamas in 2007. But why couldn't the Hamas be in power, since it has won the 2006 elections organized in the territories that are still more or less run by the Palestinians? Why would the Hamas be less legitimate than the extreme-right party of the Israeli minister of foreign affairs?

The Hamas is accused to want the destruction of Israel, and that is supposed to justify all the sanctions against the inhabitants of Gaza. But the fundamental claim of the Hamas, just like the palestinian national movement since the creation of Israel in 1948, is the right of return of refugees who fled or were deported at that time. How can we refuse the right of return of refugees after a conflict? Furthermore, this right is sanctioned in the article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the resolution 194 of the United Nations. Finally, how can we consider that a people has the right to "come back" to a land inhabited by its ancestors 2,000 years ago, while those who inhabited the very same land in 1948 and their children do not have this right?

In fact, the Palestinian National Movement, including the Hamas, accepts to renounce to this right and merely claims the creation of a Palestinian side on 22% of the historical Palestine conquered by Israel in 1967. Moreover, a peace proposal adopted by the Arab Summit in 2002 proposes the recognition of Israel by Arab states in exchange of the withdrawal from the territories conquered in 1967, the same territories whose evacuation is demanded by the resolution of the resolution 242 of the United Nations.

Since the "peace process" of Oslo, in 1993, the 2 states solution is jammed. By who? How can someone imagine that the weak one, the one who does not have a state, prevents the strong to grant him a state? When the Palestinian resistance is non-violent, the colonization process is extended. And when the resistance becomes violent, Israel uses it as a pretext to justify the end of the negociations.

The war in Lebanon, the blockade and the assaults against Gaza, the assassinations of Palestinian political leaders, the constant expansion of the colonies, and today an attack of civilians in high seas. Every time, Israel uses the same justification: its national interest prevails over the law and the international institutions. Such a contempt for the international community is possible only because of the indulgence of the governments of the United States and the European Union.

There is no doubt that the people of the Free Gaza Flotilla did not have a lot of confidence anymore towards the international organizations since they decided to express their non acceptance of the blockade of Gaza. They paid a high price for the cowardice of their political representants, who are often quick to verbally condemn Israel while they prevent any coercitive action that could punish the Hebrew state. The recent membership of Israel to the OECD, welcomed by everyone, including Belgium, is not going to contradict that.

Should we remember that in 2007 Belgium was the 5th EU weapons exporter to Israel? Should we remember that the Belgian airports are crossing points for Israeli importations? Should we remember that the EU is the first commercial partner of Israel? That international law recognizes the legitimacy of armed resistance in case of occupation? That against colonial repression, people often use violence, including terrorism?

Should we remember that the huge majority of the non-Western worlds and also, increasingly, our own public opinions, are indignant at the duplicity of our political representants and consider that they discredit our democratic principles and values?

Thus, we note the passive complicity of our authorities, and ask this question: what can we do to dissociate ourselves from the current ethnocide of the Palestinians?

We think the answer is to boycott Israel as long as this state violates international law.
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In part, the author of the opinion piece asks:

Since the "peace process" of Oslo, in 1993, the 2 states solution is jammed. By who? How can someone imagine that the weak one, the one who does not have a state, prevents the strong to grant him a state? When the Palestinian resistance is non-violent, the colonization process is extended. And when the resistance becomes violent, Israel uses it as a pretext to justify the end of the negociations.

The rhetorical question has little basis in the historic experience. Although it is tempting--and easier--to make the case that the stronger party determines the outcome of a negotiating process, that isn't always the case. While the stronger party has greater leverage, even the weakest party has a chance to undermine a negotiating process. Negotiating success depends on the parties finding common ground. Compromise is key to doing so. To reach agreement, each side's core needs have to be met.

When either party chooses not to compromise, negotiations can break down. A break down in talks is not always or even mainly/solely the fault of the stronger party. Either party can torpedo talks. For example, one has often witnessed labor negotiations where labor, even in a weaker position, has walked away from talks, gone on strike, etc. Of course, labor is not always at fault. In the U.S. Congress, the minority party can slow or even obstruct the legislative process through a series of parliamentary options.

With respect to the larger issue of war crimes, there is no credible evidence whatsoever that Belgium has been an accomplice in the commission of war crimes. Policy decisions with which one differs do not constitute grounds for alleging that a government has acted as an accomplice in the commission of such grave crimes. There are specific legal standards. Belgium has not breached those standards.
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1. Why do we need 2 languages?
2. What is your point?
Can you not excerpt, or even bold, the important parts rather than a whole Goofy article.. twice.. that's wrong in virtually every respect?
3. I count 102 links for this article. Couldn't we at least have one listing the 'Belgian' authors.
La Belgique, complice de crimes de guerre ?

Jamila Bouajaja (Economiste ULB)
Jean Bricmont (Professeur UCL)
Souhail Chichah (Economiste ULB)
Jean-Marie Dermagne (Avocat et ancien Bâtonnier)
Jamal Essamri (Sociologue)
Oscar Flores (CRER - Coordination de solidarité avec les réfugiés)
Bahar Kimyongür (Membre du Front populaire - Turquie)
Olivier Mukuna (Journaliste)
Monique Mbeka Phoba (Réalisatrice)
Anne Morelli (Professeure ULB)
Nouria Ouali (Sociologue ULB)
Pierre Piccinin (Professeur Sciences-Po Ecole Européenne)
Aurore Van Opstal & Abdellah Boudami (Co-auteurs de « Israël, parlons-en ! »)
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