The council’s biased treatment of Israel is only one manifestation of the return of one of the world’s largest prejudices’

The human rights — that’s an oxymoron, the human — UN Human Rights Council, but I’ll use it just the same. The council’s biased treatment of Israel is only one manifestation of the return of one of the world’s largest prejudices. We hear mobs today in Europe call for the gassing of Jews. We hear some national leaders compare Israel to the Nazis. This is not a function of Israel’s policies. It’s a function of diseased minds. and that disease has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism. It is now spreading in polite society where it masquerades as legitimate criticism of Israel.

For centuries the Jewish people have been demonized with blood libels and charges of deicide. Today the Jewish state is demonized with the apartheid libel and charges of genocide — genocide. In what moral universe does genocide include warning the enemy civilian population to get out of harm’s way, or ensuring that they receive tons — tons of humanitarian aid each day even as thousands of rockets are being fired at us, or setting up a field hospital to aid their wounded?

Well, I suppose it’s the same moral universe where a man who wrote a dissertation of lies about the Holocaust and who insists on a Palestine free of Jews — Judenrein — can stand at this podium and shamelessly accuse Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing. In the past, outrageous lies against the Jews were the precursors to the wholesale slaughter of our people, but no more. Today, we, the Jewish people, have the power to defend ourselves. We will defend ourselves against our enemies on the battlefield — (applause) — we will expose their lies against us in the court of public opinion. Israel will continue to stand proud and unbowed. (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, despite the enormous challenges facing Israel, I believe we have a historic opportunity. After decades of seeing Israel as their enemy, leading states in the Arab world increasingly recognize that together, we and they face many of the same dangers, and principally, this means a nuclear-armed Iran and militant Islamist movements gaining ground in the Sunni world. Our challenge is to transform these common interests to create a productive partnership, one that would build a more secure, peaceful and prosperous Middle East. Together, we can strengthen regional security, we can advance projects in water and agricultural, in transportation and health and energy in so many fields.

I believe the partnership between us can also help facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Now, many have long assumed that an Israeli-Palestinian peace can help facilitate a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world. But these days, I think it may work the other way around, namely that a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace. And therefore, to achieve that peace, we must look not only to Jerusalem and Ramallah but also to Cairo, to Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere.

I believe peace can be realized with the active involvement of Arab countries — those that are willing to provide political, material and other indispensable support. I’m ready to make a historic compromise, not because Israel occupies a foreign land. The people of Israel are not occupiers in the land of Israel. (Applause.) History, archaeology and common sense all make clear that we have had a singular attachment to this land for over 3,000 years.

I want peace because I want to create a better future for my people, but it must be a genuine peace — one that is anchored in mutual recognition and enduring security arrangements — rock solid security arrangements on the ground, because you see, Israeli withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza created two militant Islamic enclaves on our borders for which tens of thousands of rockets have been fired at Israel, and these sobering experiences heightens Israel’s security concerns (regarding ?) potential territorial concessions in the future.

Now, those security concerns are even greater today. Just look around you. The Middle East is in chaos, states are disintegrating, and militant Islamists are filling the void. Israel cannot have territories from which it withdraws taken over by Islamic militants yet again, as happened in Gaza and Lebanon. That would place the likes of ISIS within mortar range, a few miles, of 80 percent of our population.

Now think about that. The distance between the 1967 lines and the suburbs of Tel Aviv is like the distance between the UN building here and Times Square. Israel is a tiny country. That’s why in any peace agreement, which will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise, I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself by itself against any threat. [1]

‘Human rights law should not apply to the battlefield’ – UK think tank
Published time: 30 Mar, 2015

Britain must scrap the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in times of warfare because British soldiers cannot fight under the restraints of “judicial imperialism,” a right-wing think tank has claimed.
Arms, UK, Middle East, Human rights, Iraq, War, Security, Army, Violence
Offering enemy combatants the right to sue the British government and expecting soldiers on the battlefield to operate with the same level of caution as police patrolling London streets will render future foreign combat operations unworkable, a report by Policy Exchange said.

READ MORE: ‘US-UK torture’ victim wins right to sue British government

The study, “Clearing the Fog of Law,” has placed human rights back on Britain’s general election agenda. It was authored by two academic lawyers and a Tory general election candidate.

The report conceded that UK soldiers fighting abroad should not act with impunity. But it argued international oversight of conflict should fall under the Geneva Conventions rather than the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Conservative Party has long made clear its intentions to withdraw from Strasbourg’s European Court of Human Rights should it be reelected in May 2015. It has also proposed plans to repeal Britain’s Human Rights Act, and create a self-styled “British Bill of Rights.”

Under such reforms, the European Court of Justice would hold no power in Britain and final judicial authority would rest with the Supreme Court.

‘Judicialization of war’
Policy Exchange’s report says the “judicialization of war” has increased markedly since Tony Blair’s New Labour introduced the Human Rights Act in 1998.

At present, an estimated 1,230 lawsuits have been filed against the Ministry of Defense by grieving families of Iraqis gunned down by British soldiers.

READ MORE: ‘Human rights breaches’: Families of Iraqis shot by UK troops could sue MoD

Iraqi claimants seeking justice for their deceased loved ones argue Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) should also apply to those shot by UK armed forces during Britain’s 8-year occupation of Iraq.

The legislation compels states to respect basic human rights in the jurisdictions they govern, including the right to life, the right to freedom from torture, and the right to a fair trial.

While the MoD rejected the argument that Iraqis killed during UK security operations fall under Britain’s jurisdiction, the High Court ruled against the British government.

Commenting on the ruling, the MoD told RT earlier this month it is “concerned” that the High Court has adopted such an “expansive view of ECHR jurisdiction.”

The MoD warned the landmark ruling would open up a tidal wave of “opportunistic” lawsuits against the government that would have to be “investigated and litigated at heavy cost to taxpayers.”

In addition to the lawsuits filed by families of grieving Iraqis, a further 1,000 private law claims are also making their way through British courts, Policy Exchange says.

The think tank’s report warns of the rise of “judicial imperialism” in Britain. It claims this trend is particularly in evident in the application of the ECHR to UK forces on the battlefield.

The report’s authors claim this development is not supported by reliable legal evidence. They argue it undermines Commanders’ capacity to make rapid and possibly “life or death decisions.”

“British armed forces remain the most accomplished in Europe; but they suffer courtroom defeat after courtroom defeat in London and Strasbourg,” Policy Exchange’s report said.

READ MORE: Above the law? UK govt attempts to block torture, rendition lawsuit

The tipping point, it suggested, was the landmark case of Smith v Ministry of Defense in 2013.

The court’s ruling, given at Britain’s Supreme Court, said that soldiers injured in battle or the families of those who died on the battlefield were entitled to sue the British government on two counts: for negligence and for violations of “the right to life” under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Policy Exchange called for the primacy of the Geneva Conventions in armed combat to be reinstated. Comprised of four treaties and three protocols, the Conventions set the international law standards for a humanitarian approach to war. Under the legislation, soldiers may use lethal force against enemy soldiers “as a matter of first resort.”

By contrast, the ECHR permits combatants to use lethal force only in exceptional circumstances or where there is no other option. It also says the UK has a duty to investigate claims of wrongdoing committed on its behalf.

Policy Exchange’s report called upon the government to reintroduce immunity for soldiers on the battlefield to stave off “claims of negligence being brought against the government.”

“Negligence as a concept has no place on the battlefield as it leads to a ‘safety first’ approach by commanders on the ground,” the report said.

“All injured personnel should be paid compensation in full on a no-fault basis. The money would go to injured soldiers and their families rather than to personal injury lawyers and the public costs of trial,” it added.

Policy Exchange’s call for an end to “judicial imperialism” and wide scale human rights reforms in Britain will be welcomed by certain pockets of the Conservative Party. But human rights NGOs and those committed to preserving Britain’s human rights framework will likely dismiss the proposals as hawkish and misguided murmurings from the right. [2]

‘Legal creep’ threatens to paralyse military, says think tank

18 October 2013By John Hyde

The Ministry of Defence will be ‘paralysed’ by a sustained legal assault that could have ‘catastrophic consequences’ for the safety of the nation, a thinktank claims today.

Policy Exchange, which claims credit for originating the idea of elected police and crime commissioners and free schools, says the costs of litigation against the British armed forces have now risen ‘out of all proportion’.

The report, ‘Fog of War’, says that 5,827 claims were brought against the MoD in 2012/13 with an average £70,000 paid to the 205 people who made successful claims.

According to the report, the main weapon used in legal challenges to UK military operations is the European Convention on Human Rights and the 1998 Human Rights Act.

Authors Tom Tugendhat and Laura Croft cite claims such as Ali Al Jedda v the UK in 2011, when the claimant tried to sue the government after being arrested on suspicion of being a member of a terrorist group. His claim was dismissed by the UK Supreme Court but overturned by the ECtHR.

The report also references Smith and Others v Ministry of Defence [2012], known as the Snatch Land Rover case, when the Supreme Court ruled that British troops remain within the UK jurisdiction and so fall under the Human Rights Act.

Policy Exchange said: ‘Recent legislation and judicial findings have extended the domestic common law claims of negligence and civil claims of duty of care to the combat zone. These constraints have led to confusion among commanders undermining their interaction with allies and affecting the combat capability of the services. ‘

In the long-run, the report said the rise of ‘legal creep’ could pose a ‘mortal threat to the culture and ethos of the military which cannot be easily reversed’.

The report recommends the government introduces legislation to define combat immunity to allow military personnel to take decisions without having to worry about the risk of prosecution.

It also wants parliament to legislate to exempt the MoD from the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

Philippa Tuckman, who leads the military team at London firm Bolt Burden Kemp, said in an online response the report was ‘wholly misconceived’ and designed to strike ‘unnecessary fear’ into commanders in the field.

‘It is irresponsible to make them afraid in this way,’ she said. ‘The report’s authors must know that the ECHR does not allow individuals to be sued: it is aimed at the state – at the body which would benefit from Policy Exchange’s proposals, the MoD.

‘This report is an attack on the rights of our armed forces, and changes in the law should be resisted.’ [3]



[1] Human Right an Oxymoron: https://grabien.com/story.php?id=15063
[2] Human Rights not for Battlefield: https://www.rt.com/uk/245297-human-rights-exclude-battlefield/
[3] Military Paralysed with fear by Human rights: http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/legal-creep-threatens-to-paralyse-military-says-thinktank/5038264.fullarticle

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