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LETTER: Netanyahu 'acting more like a bully than a leader'

'I guess the Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations do not apply to Israel,' says letter writer
2022-05-17 typing pexels-donatello-trisolino-1375261
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BradfordToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following is in response to a letter about the cancellation of a film screening at the Bradford library, published March 25.

A couple of weeks ago, I read Mr. deGeus’s response to my letter regarding the showing of the film, 200 Meters, at the Bradford library.

I was thinking about his response, and how to respond to him. I didn’t have all the historical facts at hand, but then I read the letter from Walaa Katoue in Calgary, and felt he had covered the history of Palestine/Israel occupation and blockades better than I could. Instead, I went to the Amnesty International website to see what it could tell me of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. There I read the following:

Chapter 3: Israeli Settlements and International Law

Status of settlements under international law

Israel’s policy of settling its civilians in occupied Palestinian territory and displacing the local population contravenes fundamental rules of international humanitarian law.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory.”

The extensive appropriation of land and the appropriation and destruction of property required to build and expand settlements also breach other rules of international humanitarian law. Under the Hague Regulations of 1907, the public property of the occupied population (such as lands, forests and agricultural estates) is subject to the laws of usufruct. This means that an occupying state is only allowed a very limited use of this property. This limitation is derived from the notion that occupation is temporary, the core idea of the law of occupation. In the words of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the occupying power “has a duty to ensure the protection, security, and welfare of the people living under occupation and to guarantee that they can live as normal a life as possible, in accordance with their own laws, culture, and traditions.”

The underlined portions express what I have wondered about, as Israel places settlements on occupied territory. I do not understand it all, but the horror of so many people being killed leaves me wondering how Israel has the right to practically obliterate Palestine.

But I guess the Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations do not apply to Israel. Of course, Israel may protect their people from a terrorist attack, but perhaps, by their occupation and acquisition of lands not belonging to them, they have opened themselves to attacks. Bullies do, you know, and right now, Netanyahu is acting more like a bully than a leader. And looking at the devastation of Palestine, I think we can use the word ‘genocide’ better than ‘war,’ especially since today Israel has completely decimated the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

Like many, I do not understand everything, but the killing of so many people touches us all. And we all suffer when others suffer.

Leni Vander Kooij