France Accuses Israel of Blocking Needed Water Purification Equipment for Gaza as Spain Launches War Crimes Investigation

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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Eric Chevallier has publicly criticized Israel for allegedly blocking the shipment of a water purification station into Gaza, forcing France to return the equipment to Europe despite the serious health emergency growing in Gaza over contaminated water. Spain for its part has now opened an investigation to look into the allegations of crimes against humanity in how Israel conducted the operation.

The French ministry insists that Israel blocked the equipment but has yet to give it a satisfactory explanation: “An important amount of aid was let in (to Gaza), but for reasons which we have difficulty to explain, the water purification could not enter,” he told a news conference.

Spain has now opened a war crimes investigation into the Gaza allegations. Soon after Israel withdrew from Gaza, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that it would defend any soldiers accused of war crimes and that special legal team were created within days of the withdrawal in anticipation of such charges.

For the full story, click here.

18 thoughts on “France Accuses Israel of Blocking Needed Water Purification Equipment for Gaza as Spain Launches War Crimes Investigation

  1. I just heard the most extraordinary interview on the BBC. A Palestinian doctor who had lost his wife to cancer, a peace activist, had his home shelled. He lost three daughters and other family members. He is not absolving anyone of blame but his answer remains his commitment to love, justice and peace. This is a person well worth hearing.

    Listen

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/

  2. “https://jonathanturley.org/2009/02/01/saudi-arabia-arrests-christian-blogger-who-discussed-his-conversion-to-christianity-from-islam”

    Commoner,
    Or perhaps this might cause you to reflect on the Saudi’s?

  3. “https://jonathanturley.org/2009/02/02/un-lucky-strikes-saudi-arabia-sentences-man-to-30-lashes-for-smoking-on-a-flight”

    Commoner,
    Per your comments on Saudi Arabia this is only one of many, many articles here detailing Saudi brutality. doing lashes does not a good Country make.

  4. The salient issue is that Israel was formed by annexing an existing country. Honestly, did you expect the natives to cooperate? Did you expect that later when Israel acts as aggressor that it would be any more productive than when the militant Arabs act as an aggressor or did you expect more violence to beget more violence?

    Israel needs to exist (in some form) and the Jews needed the mechanisms of State to prevent past persecution. This is not in contention. That does NOT, however, give them carte blanc to – quite frankly – often act a lot like the people they are supposedly protecting themselves against. Being a sovereign state comes with responsibilities and consequences for bad actions. Lasting peace has never come from the barrel of a gun. Occupation and repression comes from the barrel of a gun. History proves occupiers cannot withstand persistent local resistance absent disproportionate technological advantage and even that does not ensure an occupier victory. If Israel’s own actions, especially since 1967, had been less aggressive, less expansive and less disproportionate, it might be easier to be sympathetic now but it’s a reflection of what you sow, you reap.

    The point being, yes, the Arabs have acted poorly. But then again, so has Israel.

  5. “Bush Jr. however and Ms. Rice has created a beautiful situation in Israel, with “centrist” Abu Mazen holding strong in the West Bank and terrorist Hamas strung up by their balls in hellhole Gaza.”

    A beautiful situation? Surely you jest Commoner. What about Gaza specifically is so wonderful? The continuing unrest, the ongoing rocket attacks and/or the miserable citizenry living such a poverty stricken life that militancy and a “martyr’s” death appeal to them. Your “moderate” on the West Bank will make no deal unless it includes the removal of the settlements.

    “I would say at least 90% or higher of terrorist activity is caught daily by excellent internal Israeli intelligence. The Mossad is much more superior to the CIA in the Mid-East. Palestinian informants, driven by the realization that teh terrorist factions are destroying any hopes for peace, give daily info to Israeli intel.”

    Uh, what point of mine were you refuting with this? I didn’t refer to terrorism in my post, nor even use the word. Non sequitur does not a dialogue make. Mostly it is used to cover a paucity of ideas.

    “I said nothing of the Republican party; I am independent and vote as I feel.”

    “Will Obama defend Israel as staunchly and honestly as Bush and Condoleeza Rice,(I am very greatful to Mr. Bush for this. Despite his more obvious flaws, which of course were magnified by indignant liberals everywhere,Bush was from the start the biggest friend Israel has ever had in an American persident.)”

    Please Commoner don’t disabuse people’s intelligence. Given the second quote (from your first comment) you undoubtedly voted for Bush twice. Your party registration is irrelevant. Also if you had read my comment clearly you would see that I, at no point referred to you as a Republican, as you see from my excerpt below:

    Mike: “but understand that AIPAC and other lobbying groups ignore the fact of the Bush/Republican/Saudi connection and are oblivious to what will really maintain Israel as an independent Jewish state.”

    I was making a point, not identifying your political persuasion. Another non-sequitur then on your part, or disingenuousness perhaps?

    “I said nothing of Saudi Arabia; I do not believe they are anything like Saddams’s Iraq, modern day Syria and Iran.”

    Are you kidding? The Saudi’s are the chief funders of terrorism and Wahabist Radical Islam in the world. Their country is a state under the strictest version of Sharia Law (Wahabist). It provides no rights for women and stones people to death for violations of that law. It allows no religious freedom or diversity. Finally, it is ruled by a family of outsiders to the country, brought in by British Imperialists, who control it like 12th Century potentates. Iraq under Saddam, as bad as he was, was a secular state where women had more rights and where the the different Islamic sects were forced to play nice with each other. Brutal yes, but in many ways a lot less brutal than Saudi Arabia. Our unjustified invasion, created by the lies of Bush/Cheney/Rice destabilized the ME and actually made Israel much less safe.

    The Iranian “bogeyman” was of US creation when the CIA toppled an elected leader to install the Shah as puppet. I hold no brief for the Iranian government, but their hatred of the US is based on our own actions and justified. If Bush/Rice/Cheney had any diplomatic competence they could have begun to deal with Iran diplomatically since the signals were there, but have chosen not to, while they have at the same time accepted N.Korea’s (a proto-typically fascist state) nuclear capability.

    Now why is that do you suppose? How about it representing the moves of three people, owned by the Saudi’s/Big Oil, who are on record (see PNAC 1998) as wanting to establish US hegemony in the ME to control the oil.

    “I visited family while in Israel many times in the Judean Hills.”

    This implies that amongst your family there are West Bank settlers so I grant you have a somewhat biased, but understandable perspective. The fact that some of the settlers are not Haredim in no way refutes my points. The settlement movement was driven by the ultra-Orthodox based on their biblical interpretations and it is still controlled by them.

    However, the point you do not address is how can we keep the settlements w/o one of the conditions I state below occurring?:

    Mike: “As a Jewish State Israel cannot give full citizenship to West Bank/Gaza Arabs or they become the majority. It is far too late to expel them. We are Jews so morally we cannot exterminate them. Living with them in an apartheid situation is an affront to our religion and our morality as Jews. Thus the only answer is a two state solution and removal of the Haredim settlements.”

    I admit I was being too broad when referring to all the settlements as Haredim, but that doesn’t diminish my point that they are the driving force behind this movement. However, how you arrive at a two state settlement is the issue and your comment below gives no solution to it:

    “I have nothing against a two state solution or arabs living happily in Israel. I have arab friends here in the U.S. Don’t think your’re so special because you have a narrow minded political theory that god knows you didn’t make up yourself.”

    I didn’t refer to any “specialness” on my part in the comment, nor did I claim that my thoughts were original. You choose to respond to me via attack (mild admittedly) and non-sequitur, rather than refutation. In fact your whole tone in the comment is sarcastic.
    Discussion and even debate are about making points, disagreeing and refuting points made and then response, and so on. It is based on logic and rhetoric, rather than on name calling. The last refuge of those with a paucity of ideas is to use imprecations and non-sequitur and I believe you have taken that refuge. I mentioned that I was Jewish and supported Israel as a shorthand way to let you know where I’m coming from, since for all anyone knows I might be an Islamic Arab making my points moderately as a stealth poster.
    You, however, choose to cast aspersions on my commitment, deal with me sarcastically and avoid answering my basic points. It’s nice that you absolve Bush/Cheney/Rice from being intertwined with the Saudi’s/Big Oil, but you offer only opinion, where I offer facts. Those facts incidentally are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the chain of their intimate ties, which can be easily found. If you want a dialogue/debate fine, but if you’re just doing this for the sake of diatribe and argument, count me out. I prefer interaction to invective, especially on this issue which means so much to me, my family and my religion/ethnicity.

  6. Uhhh…

    @Base: Ehud was viewed as an downright filthy traitor by right wing Israelis, until they realized that lying Arafat would never accept ANY deal and this was a brilliant political move by Mr. Barak. Many never forgave him either way.

    @Spindell: I remember you. Get YOUR facts straight:

    Bush Sr. I concede as part Nazi. Bush Jr. however and Ms. Rice has created a beautiful situation in Israel, with “centrist” Abu Mazen holding strong in the West Bank and terrorist Hamas strung up by their balls in hellhole Gaza. I lived in Israel for a year, and there was very little in the way of terrorist attacks. When something was about to go down, the Israelis would go on high alert, which was obvious by teh increase in soldiers and very powerful security checks. I would say at least 90% or higher of terrorist activity is caught daily by excellent internal Israeli intelligence. The Mossad is much more superior to the CIA in the Mid-East. Palestinian informants, driven by the realization that teh terrorist factions are destroying any hopes for peace, give daily info to Israeli intel. I said nothing of the Republican party; I am independent and vote as I feel. I do not trust any one political group, especially a fractured and unstable group as these latter-day Republicans. I said nothing of Saudi Arabia; I do not believe they are anything like Saddams’s Iraq, modern day Syria and Iran. Everyone attacks Bush on his foreign policy and the botched Iraqi war, but Bush and Condi have effectively created a much more stable Israel, made peace with Qaddafi’s Libya, neutered Hamas, backed Israel’s brilliant succes with the Syrian nuclear plant, and destroyed terrorist infrastructures throughout teh Mid-East. The fact that you are Jewish does not reassure me that you have Israel’s best interests at mind, as you congratulate yourself. You also refer to the “settlers” as “Haredim” when in fact they include many factions of jewish and non jewish Israelis who love their land and are dtermined to settle it. Ley me give you an example of your simpltic pacifistic theory in action: I visited family while in Israel many times in the Judean Hills. There are several suburbs of Jerusalem that are a good distance away, as real estate in teh actual city can be prohibitive. The suburb I visited most was a city of scholarly types (like 30k plus people). Picture a bunch of rolling, beautiful, rocky hills that are mostly bare for miles around. Then you have this one really big hill with a thriving city that keeps getting bigger and bigger. The people living there are mostly poor, but tehy live very simply in nice apartments built in circles around the hill. It all looks very stately. Now, across from this thriving new community is an arab village of say 3k people. It has not grown in 50 odd years. It is drab and undeveloped. Now we shall look between the hills. Wow! There is a new “settlement” (in reality a very nice real estate project with nice apartment buildings, a paved road etc) between the two hills! Uh oh, although there is noone around for miles and there is plenty of room, teh Supreme Court of Israel halted construction on teh project, because someone in teh crappy little town complained that in was encroaching on arab “property”. Hmmm. Or the case of Gush Katif and the Shomron, where the forced eviction of 10000 Israelis nearly caused a civil war. Gush Katif was a beautiful collection of glasshouses that largely used hydroponics to deliver high quality produce to Israel and overseas. Many ARABS were gainfully employed at this idyllic site. I read an article recently that stated that these arabs are now out of a job, despite all teh equipment and things being left behind. I have nothing against a two state solution or arabs living happily in Israel. I have arab friends here in the U.S. Don’t think your’re so special because you have a narrow minded political theory that god knows you didn’t make up yourself.

  7. This pains me greatly to say this as I am an Arab. Are people so blind? They want to bring war crimes againt Israel but somehow they are blinded to the fact that the Palestinians (of which I am) specifically target civilians, women & children. And to really put the icing on the cake, they use their own people as human shields. The lastest which I found revolting was they posed as doctors and entered maternity wards using new born babies as human shields. War Crimes???

    Can you imagine the outcry if Israel went into the Palestinian area and did used the tacticts that Hamas uses — that is targeting women & children, civilians.

    I think I’m going to go throw up.

  8. “Will Obama defend Israel as staunchly and honestly as Bush and Condoleeza Rice,(I am very greatful to Mr. Bush for this. Despite his more obvious flaws, which of course were magnified by indignant liberals everywhere,Bush was from the start the biggest friend Israel has ever had in an American persident.)”

    Commoner,
    I am Jewish and every bit as pro-Israel as you are. Unfortunately, you have fallen for the propaganda and forgotten the history. Starting with Presott Bush, who helped fund the Nazi’s, the Bush family has been in the pocket of the Saud’s and the oil companies. This was true of George H.W. Bush and is true of his son W.(Condi Rice has an oil tanker named after her) G.W. is still in business with the Saudi’s, as is son Neal. W. was in business with them and remained close. Have you ever heard of “Bandar Bush” the Saudi Prince called such because of his closeness to the family and who has been video’d walking hand-in-hand with his pal W?

    Do you really believe that the Saudi’s, who have provided the major funding of Hamas, Fatah, PLO and Wahabist schools, are not intent upon destroying Israel? It is a reverse somewhat of the old Arab concept: The friend of my enemy IS my enemy. Support Israel all you want, I’m right there with you, but understand that AIPAC and other lobbying groups ignore the fact of the Bush/Republican/Saudi connection and are oblivious to what will really maintain Israel as an independent Jewish state. The Saudi’s need the conflict with Israel to continue forever, or destroy Israel, so that their own people and Imams won’t throw the family out.

    The only answer to this that keeps Israel safe is return of the territories, except for East Jerusalem and the Golan, via the removal of the Haredim settlements. As a Jewish State Israel cannot give full citizenship to West Bank/Gaza Arabs or they become the majority. It is far too late to expel them. We are Jews so morally we cannot exterminate them. Living with them in an apartheid situation is an affront to our religion and our morality as Jews. Thus the only answer is a two state solution and removal of the Haredim settlements. Peace and the maintenance of Israel as a Jewish State are now possible under Obama and the Democrats.

    If you want to argue otherwise real history defeats you chapter and verse. Especially when it comes to the myth of Republican support of Israel. Remove the blinders and see who the real enemies of Israel are. Curiously, they are also the real enemies of any hope of Arab freedom/democracy/decent living standards in the ME. Peace is possible, but first you’ve got to understand the real game being played.

  9. Commoner,

    I loved your posting. It was so funny! I love satire. I particularly liked the line ‘…pacifist Ehud Barak…’ line. That is a good one.

  10. Spain and France are testing the Great And Holy One, Blessed Be He, Barack Obama. They also are pandering to teh Muslims in their midst. Will Obama defend Israel as staunchly and honestly as Bush and Condoleeza Rice,(I am very greatful to Mr. Bush for this. Despite his more obvious flaws, which of course were magnified by indignant liberals everywhere,Bush was from the start the biggest friend Israel has ever had in an American persident.) or will Obama smile at Hamas and their European backers? To doglover, I also love dogs, but your argument is old and stupid. Israel has a right to defend itself. Are there U.N. tribunals for American pilots who accidently or purposefully fired bombs on Iraqi civilians as collateral damage? I never heard of one. Iraq is halfway across the world, and did not participate directly in teh lone though devastating attacks of 9-11. Israel has these animals as their neighbors and gets attacked every day. Israel of course must be better than everyone else. Radical Muslims are infesting Spain and France like locusts, making many places very dangerous to visit. The rabid dogs teh world over are frothing at the mouth, hoping that at last their actions and words will destroy Israel from without and within. Just wait and see. If the Obama cartel gives this any credence, it will just lead to more and more, eventually leading to the deaths and maiming of hundreds of Israeli citizens, as it did under Clinton and the brilliant Dennis Ross. Any idiot could tell Arafat was lying. He was offered almost everything he wanted by pacifist Ehud Barak in 2000 and declined. Arafat embezzled over a billion dollars of aid money. His greatest student, Abu Mazen, AKA Mahmoud Abbas, would probably take the deal Ehud Barak offered. He would take less. Hamas will not make peace though. They must be crushed.

  11. Spain should investigate Israel 2002 killing of civillians.

    Binyamin Ben-Eliezer who was defence minister in 2002 when Israel dropped a one tonne bomb on an apartment complex in Gaza has a bloody trail.He has been accused of heading the IDF unit involved in executing hundreds of Egyptian POW’s in 1967 MID EAST WAR.
    Ben-Eliezer commanded IDF Shaked recon. occupying coastal town of El Arish.Israeli witnesses have come forward to recount the killings of Egyptian soldiers that had surrendered,but no prosecution ever took place.

  12. The Dutch have established a method for jurisdiction over war crimes. Other countries have established claimed Universal Jurisdiction. (I think Germany, France, Spain are among them.) My (limited) understanding is this jurisdiction kicks in when the individual country-states refuse to prosecute.

    There’s also the International Court of Justice via the U.N. and there is the International Criminal Court. The ICC, in this instance I believe, would have to take jurisdiction via the UN Security Council. The U.S. French, Chinese, Russians and British have veto power in the Security Council, so a referral from there ain’t gonna happen.

    Naomi Klein is right:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/10/naomi-klein-boycott-israel

  13. Buddha,
    I am with you. I hope this kind of investigation gives our leaders an example of what should be done to government officials when war crimes are committed. I think we should take up a collection to buy George W. and Dick Cheney tickets for a trip to Spain. I think the change of scenery will be good for them.

  14. Hmmm,

    I am still having to go with pressure on Israel over war crimes potentially boosts efforts to take our domestic war criminals to justice. My question is how does this translate into a broader EU based action? I know a little about their formation and basic structures, but I don’t know about how they address the issue of international treaty enforcement across the various member states. I would think this is an issue as before the signing of the Charter (and I’m assuming afterward) as not all member states are necessarily signatories to the same treaties. Anyone with more cross pond experience have a grip on this question?

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