Friday, June 4, 2010

'Israeli hijacking of the Flotilla punishable by sanctions'

Interview with Diana Buttu (international lawyer and a former legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO))

Press TV

"....With Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu's threat to halt the Rachel Corrie boat on Thursday, saying, "We shall not allow the ships to reach Gaza. Not now and not later on," countries have been pressured to speak out.....

In Norway, following Norwegian Health Minister and leader of the country's Socialist party, Kristin Halvorsen's call for a ban on arms trade with Israel, a survey conducted by the InFact Institute shows that 40% of Norwegians want Israeli products to be boycotted....

Diana Buttu, international lawyer and a former legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) joined Press TV in an interview to discuss the consequences Israel should face for committing 'war crimes' and the legal aspects of the blockade.

Below is the transcript of the interview:

Press TV Over a dozen civilians killed in Israel's attack on the Freedom Flotilla, what do you think should be the consequences for Israel?

Diana Buttu Sanctions. It is very clear that what Israel has done has violated international law in a number of respects. First and foremost the blockade itself is illegal. If you read the Goldstone report, one of the conclusions that the Goldstone reports came to, was that the blockade itself was a form of collective punishment which under the Geneva conventions is a war crime.....

Press TV Among those killed was a US citizen of Turkish decent, and a lot of people are saying this could lead the US to at least try to adopt a tougher stance on this. I want to see if you agree on that and what is your reaction to the US' response up until now?

Diana Buttu It is really fascinating actually to listen to the US' response, because you have to juxtapose it to the US' response of the sinking of a South-Korean ship back in March. The time, or immediately afterwards in May, [US] Secretary [Hilary] Clinton came out and said very strongly that North Korea must be held accountable. Now, the ship that the North Koreans sunk was a military ship. Yet you juxtapose that with a response that has come in now from the United States which is tepid, at best.

They have not condemned Israel's actions; they have simply called for some impartial investigation, and we are not entirely sure what that is. We have heard Vice-President [Joe] Biden, in a way; justify what Israel is doing by the fact that there is a US citizen who was killed.

So I don't really place a lot of faith or a lot of hope in what the United States is going to say or do. Rather I think that the Obama Administration is going to continue behind the same shroud that every other administration has hidden behind for the past 15 years which is to say that we need to have a negotiated settlement and that is the only way to undermine or un-do all of these evil deeds.

That is not the correct answer, if you look at the peace process, the peace process is not working, it never has and it never will. Rather, the only thing that will work is to try to change Israel's direction in terms of international law. It must be held accountable, and this is the time to hold Israel accountable finally."

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