News Release

Turkey, Israel and International Law


Director of the American Kurdish Information Network, Xulam said today: “Basically, the Kurds have been handed over to the Turkish government. It is being reported that the U.S. has approved some 80,000 Turkish troops in northern Iraq. The gains of autonomy that the Kurds have made in northern Iraq could well be lost. The Turkish military has depopulated thousands of Kurdish villages and killed tens of thousands of Kurds over the last 15 years. Northern Iraq could end up much like northern Cyprus, which Turkey has illegally occupied for decades…. Also, crucially, the government of Iraq should come from the people who live in Iraq, not someone appointed from Washington.”
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Author of the recently released book Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion April 2002, Baroud said today: “In the last two months, there has been an alarming escalation of violence by the Israeli government. There’s been a far greater systematic campaign to demolish Palestinian homes…. There are people in the Israeli cabinet, including Benjamin Netanyahu, who have advocated the ‘transfer’ — the ethnic cleansing — of Palestinians to take advantage of global instability, so many are concerned that the Israeli government is going to use an invasion of Iraq as a pretext to carry out ethnic cleansing again. In the past when Israel has done this … Israel has not been held to account by the international community. It has violated nearly 70 Security Council resolutions [in total], so there’s the expectation that it could certainly get away with another mass expulsion of Palestinians.”
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North American coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice for the Victims of Sabra and Shatila and a lecturer at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, King-Irani said today: “The recent decision by Belgium’s highest court to proceed with the indictment of Israeli military officers and Lebanese militia leaders for the 1982 massacre of up to 2,500 civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon is a ground-breaking legal ruling for the global campaign against impunity for war crimes. The ruling will of course have a serious impact on Israeli-Belgian relations, but more profoundly, it begins to ‘give teeth’ to international law and advances the use of the principle of universal jurisdiction against war crimes and crimes against humanity, which is encoded in the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture. As long as Ariel Sharon is Israel’s prime minister, he enjoys procedural immunity from prosecution, but the Belgian ruling gives a needed boost to cases against war criminals like Chad’s Hissein Habre and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.” Lawyers from Belgium will speak about the Sharon case at Princeton University on Friday; King-Irani can arrange interviews with them.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167