In den vergangenen Monaten hat Gush Schalom
Briefe an IDF Offiziere verschickt, die ihren Dienst in den
Gebieten absolvieren. Sie wurden darauf aufmerksam gemacht, daß Gush
Shalom beabsichtige, Informationen gegen sie zusammenzustellen und
an den Internationalen Strafgerichtshof zu übergeben, da sie
Kriegsverbrechen begehen. Premierminister Scharon hatte daraufhin
die Staatsanwaltschaft eingeschaltet. Die folgende Stellungnahme
wurde in der Tageszeitung Haaretz vom 9. August 2002 veröffentlicht.
"The whole truth about Gush Shalom activities against war
crimes: Warning against war crimes is an act of patriotism
1) Gush Shalom's purpose is to warn officers and soldiers alike that certain
actions could lead, at some future dare, to their indictment before an Israeli -
and even an international - court of law.
2) This is clearly a patriotic act intended to defend the honor and protect
the reputation of Israel.
3) The Fourth Geneva Convention requires its signatories, among them Israel,
to bring violators to trial in a court of law or to extradite them to other
countries for this purpose.
4) Gush Shalom has succeeded in generating a public discussion on war crimes
in Israel and warning officers and soldiers in time of the possible consequence
of certain actions, according to the biblical command: "Thou shalt in any wise
rebuke thy neighbor".
5) The claim that this was done in secrecy is completely false.
6) In January of this year Gush Shalom organized a large convention in Tel
Aviv to prompt public debate on this topic. Although professors and senior
(retired) army officers attended and addressed the convention, it was ignored by
all the important media.
7) The main purpose of our campaign is not to prosecute, but rather to
prevent illegal actions from occurring, by warning those who might commit them
that the laws on war crimes are not subject to the statute of limitations and
perpetrators can be brought to trial anywhere, anytime.
8) Gush Shalom cautions soldiers that if they commit war crimes they might
not be able to travel outside the borders of the country for fear of being
indicted and arrested.
9) In its attempt to raise the awareness of officers and soldiers of the IDF,
Gush Shalom produced a pocket guide for the soldiers, which details the actions
that constitute war crimes. The guide includes a warning against participating
in war crimes.
10) Moreover, Gush Shalom produced a radio broadcast on the subject. The
Broadcasting Authority refused to release it even as a paid ad. The High Court
of Justice refused to compel the Israel Broadcasting Authority to do so.
11) The unrestrained attack on Gush Shalom, initiated by Prime Minister
Sharon, unwittingly contributed towards an enhanced awareness of the problem of
war crimes by all ranks of the IDF.
12) The defamation of Gush Shalom and the incitement against it, which
portrayed Gush Shalom activists as informers, Kapo (Jewish camp police in Nazi
concentration camps), Judenrat (Jewish ghetto committees appointed by the
Nazis), etc. was intended to draw attention away from the failure of Sharon and
Ben Eliezer to bring security to the country and its citizens, by creating a new
legend of "stabbing the army in the back". This legend is reminiscent of dark
days and sinister regimes.
13) The political and military leadership of Israel implicitly admits that it
is impossible to be an occupier of another nation without committing war crimes
and violating international laws.
14) The inescapable conclusion is that the occupation must end.
15) The claim that the state-of-war and the need to defend the citizens of
Israel necessitate committing war crimes is inadmissible and false. The very
concept of "war crimes" means that such crimes are specifically prohibited in
times of war, when each side believes that it is defending the lives of its
16) Gush Shalom calls upon soldiers to refuse to obey orders that are
manifestly illegal. This is also demanded by Israeli law.
17) Under Israeli law, a "manifestly illegal order" is one over which the
"black flag of illegality" waves - An order that every normal person clearly
recognizes as illegal.
18) Execution without trial (called "liquidation"), the killing of
defenseless wounded (called "verification of death"), preventing medical help
from reaching the injured, shooting at ambulances and medical teams, allowing
populations to starve, dropping bombs on residential areas, wholesale
destruction of houses, penalizing families for the deeds of one of their members
by expulsion and home demolition - these are all examples of illegal orders.
19) Sadly, there is no truth to the assertion that the IDF authorities
themselves are investigating war crimes and violations of Israeli and
international laws and punishing the offenders. During the present conflict, the
media have reported on hundreds of actions carried out in contravention of
Israeli and international laws - but very rarely was anyone brought to trial,
and no one has been fittingly punished.
20) In addition to the dangers that lie ahead for officers and soldiers who
commit illegal actions and violate human rights, these actions also damage peace
and security, since they increase hatred and provoke cruel retaliations. Such
was the killing of Salah Schada, which resulted in a wave of horrible acts of
21) Over the past few months, Gush Shalom has sent letters to several senior
officers who were mentioned in the media in connection with manifestly illegal
actions. They were told that Gush Shalom is gathering information about such
22) This was done publicly, with copies of the letters sent to all the media
(which chose not to publish them) and to the Chief Army Advocate (who has taken
no action regarding these officers).
23) The primary purpose of the letters was to make clear to the commanders
the severity of such actions, in terms of Israeli and international laws, and to
persuade them to desist from these actions.
24) The officers were told that if they commit war crimes and violate Israeli
and international laws, we shall present the information to the Israeli legal
authorities, when and if these authorities take their responsibilities seriously
and enforce the law to prevent such actions.
25) Amir Oren, a military commentator, reported this week that the General
Staff has made preparations for a "third operation", more extensive than the
previous two, which will lead to "the injury of thousands of Palestinians". This
report raises the suspicion that the operation will involve serious war crimes
that could lead to the indictment of the planners and executors before the
International Criminal Court at The Hague.
26) There has been no Gush Shalom decision to submit material to the
international court, and the Gush maintains no contact with this institution.
However, if the Israeli courts do not enforce the law, we might consider this
option as a last resort.
27) Gush Shalom supports the International Criminal Court established
recently in The Hague and regards it a realization of Jewish and world-wide
aspirations. The Government of Israel's refusal to join this institution
manifestly demonstrates its moral outlook and does a great deal of damage to our
28) As the international court, which is globally endorsed, gains prominence,
our military and political leaders may find themselves indicted in The Hague on
the basis of reports in the international media and without any assistance from
29) Laws allowing trials of such people are now being formulated in other
countries, such as Belgium. This means that international arrest warrants will
be issued and will be effective in all of Europe and in other countries.
30) The IDF has already recognized that its soldiers might be brought to
trial in The Hague and, therefore, is now preventing the publication of the
names of officers and soldiers involved in certain operations. At the request of
the IDF, Israeli TV has begun, on occasion, to blur the faces of soldiers, as if
they were juvenile criminals.
31) If some organization in Serbia had publicly warned Milosevic and his
generals against committing war crimes, all Israeli newspapers and politicians
(except Sharon) would have applauded it.
32) In order to prevent public debate on the real conditions for peace and to
maintain the Israeli public's belief that we are fighting an "unavoidable war",
Sharon is inciting against those who are striving for peace and reconciliation
between the two nations."