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Gaza Update: Israel Vows to Commit More War Crimes

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert – in a meeting of the Israeli cabinet – was not shy about his government’s embrace of war crimes:

"The cabinet’s position from the outset was that if there is rocket fire at residents of the South, there will be a response that will essentially be disproportionate," he said.

Not to be left behind, Foreign Affairs Minister Livni went even further – calling for immediate attacks:

"We need to use strength and a lot of it," continued the Kadima leader. "In my opinion, there is no reason to wait. We need a response and an immediate one."

For all the bluster, you really have to question whether Israel has any desire to see the rocket launchings actually stopped. First they begin their assault on Gaza with a calculated strike on all Gaza police facilities — an attack on the very force that is used by the Gazan government to stop rocket launches – now, in response to 3 rockets last night, they sent jets to bomb a Gazan Police station

On top of this apparently counterproductive strategy, note that even the Jerusalem Post reports that at least some rockets being launched at Israel are coming from their pals Fatah, not Hamas, yet Israel is hitting back at the Hamas led security infrastructure: 

Fatah’s military wing, the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, took responsibility for one of the rocket attacks. The other attacks were not claimed.

Following the attack, Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer called for an immediate IDF response. "We need to respond severely and immediately… Hamas must pay for this," he told Army Radio, adding that no one should give the excuse that a smaller faction was responsible for the attack.

This after even Israeli "Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said Sunday in the weekly cabinet meeting:"

"Two weeks after the cease-fire began, terrorists not belonging to Hamas are challenging the organization and carrying out attacks in order to bring on another escalation. Hamas is deterred and respecting the cease-fire, but not doing enough to discourage the others," he continued.

Not surprisingly, calls for war crimes prosecutions are getting louder and:

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor, has told The Times that he is examining the case for Palestinian jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed in Gaza.

Even the New York Times is now discussing this possibility – and a judge in Spain has initiated a charge based on Israeli actions in 2002.  (h/t markfromireland)

All of which has led at least one Israeli pundit to suggest following the American model to avoid war crimes trials – adoption of legislation similar to the 2002 American Service-Members Protection Act (ASMPA):

ASMPA gave the president far-reaching powers to take action against those who might try to prosecute soldiers, especially the ICC. Most strikingly, ASMPA provides the president with "all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the ICC." Simply stated, the law permits the president to employ military force, if necessary, to free any American soldier arrested on charges of war crimes from the custody of the ICC. It was for this reason that ASMPA has earned the nickname "The Hague Invasion Act."

Imagine that.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com