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Reader comment on item: [UNRWA:] The Refugee Curse

Submitted by Jack Gardner (United States), Sep 1, 2003 at 05:31

One factor for the continuation of Palestinian status as stateless refugees is that, according to the UN, Palestinians are not protected by international war crimes laws. If the Palestinians were made citizens of states which have signed onto the international war crimes laws and the Geneva Convention , then heinous actions committed against the stateless Palestinians, such as the Phalangast slaughter is Sabra and Chatilla, could be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court (provided that their home countries neglect to prosecute them).

As it now stands, the Palestinians are not defined as protected persons and therefore any actions carried out against them, regardless of its heinous nature, would not be prosecutable as war crimes or crimes against humanity without the express consent of the country from which the actors originate. For example, the actions carried out by the Phalangists are not prosecutable in an international setting without the consent of the Lebanese government for the Lebanese (who allegedly carried out the attacks) and the Israeli government for the Israelis (who allegedly prevented some of the Palestinian victims from escaping).

(The Israelis did, voluntarily, have a commission to investigate which found Sharon indirectly responsible, but did not address the actions of Commanders in the field who alegedly did not permit Palestinians to flee the massacre. It should be further noted that some Israeli Commanders, though not all, did in fact permit Palestinians to flee the camps during the massacre.)
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