Your Man in the Hague (In a Good Way) Part 2 358

There was a very good feel at the end of the South African presentation on day one. Everyone felt it had gone extremely well, and left very little room for the court to wriggle away from provisional measures. We left the public gallery, and I went with Corbyn and Mélenchon to meet the South African delegation. This caused some concern to the security officials, who told us that members of the public had to leave immediately and not meet delegates or speak to the media, who were grouped outside the court but still within the precincts.

This was fairly impractical as the media very much wanted to speak with Corbyn and Mélenchon. There was a lot of flapping of arms and waving. All my friends of the queue had left, while I stayed sticking close to Jeremy, partly because I didn’t like to leave him unsupported, but mostly because his wife Laura was somewhere looking after my phone. The ICJ staff seemed scared to tell off Corbyn and Mélenchon, so kept getting pretty shirty with me as a proxy, saying we must leave.

It was quite strange. The situation was very friendly; there was no tension. There were about sixty delegates and about the same number of journalists, who were all supposed to be there. Then there were Corbyn, Mélenchon and me, who were apparently supposed to have left, but whose presence made no actual difference to events. People being in slightly the wrong place entirely peacefully after proceedings had finished, seemed to me an unnecessary source of anger. But a succession of female officials arrived, getting increasingly cross.

At this stage the South African delegation returned to their allocated office inside the building to finalise the formal press statement. We went with them. I was chatting to Amaar Hijazi, Palestine’s Deputy Foreign Minister, who I know a bit. One of the ICJ ladies came in with a clipboard, asked for silence, and then asked the assembled group in the manner of a public proclamation: “is this a legal meeting or a political meeting?”

Nobody seemed inclined to answer. So I replied “That’s rather a philosophical question. I am not sure if you can make that simple binary distinction”. Rather more usefully, Varsha [Gandikota-Nellutla of Progressive International] assured her it was a legal meeting, and the official said “good, political meetings off the premises”, waving her clipboard for no apparent reason. After a bit of a conflab we went out again.

I was enjoying Mélenchon enormously; he seemed to have unlimited stores of bonhomie and was unstoppably voluble with everyone. Whether the security guards wanted a lecture on workers’ cooperatives I am not sure, but they certainly got one.

We wandered back out the front door again and back into interviews. Two ladies came up to me looking very stern and said I must leave. Jeremy was giving an interview to Israeli TV and Mélenchon had bustled back into the building. One of the ladies said to me, “I am asking you to leave and you are refusing to do what I say”. I replied, “Oh no, certainly not. Of course I am doing what you say. Just very slowly”.

By now I had three enormous security officers with me, as I tried to keep an eye on Jeremy as he drifted through the milling journalists, while I kept running in to people I knew. I have to say the security people were very friendly, and seemed unsure why they were shadowing me too. Shortly a fourth turned up, a mountain of a man with a bald head and beard, who said, “Here you are; we’ve been looking for you everywhere”, which seemed strange. Possibly they couldn’t see me surrounded by their massive bouncers.

Laura had somehow got in, and gave me back my phone. Jeremy was slowly heading for the gates, but he is incapable of being impolite and not having a friendly word with anybody who addresses him, whoever they are. Once we were outside the gates he showed no sign of stopping with the much larger crowd outside, so I said my farewells and headed back to the hotel. My toes had gone very painful again and I was keen for another warm bath.

After the bath I went down to look for some food. I felt exhausted and drained. It was not just the cold night standing in the queue with no sleep, it was the immediately preceding 40 hour, four economy-flight journey from Bali, with virtually no sleep either, to get here. I hadn’t been in a bed, I calculated, for 85 hours.

I was also feeling a bit unappreciated. I had in fact played a role in this happening at all. Copies of my initial articles on invoking the Genocide Convention had been physically in front of South African cabinet ministers when they took the initial decision on 8 December to ask their excellent legal services to prepare a case. It was not me that arranged that and I cannot break confidence by telling you how it came about. I didn’t expect any acknowledgement, but it seemed an unfair twist of fate that had me standing all night in the cold trying to get in.

I was, dear reader, simply wallowing in exhaustion and self-pity, and in a kind of ridiculous teenage sulk. My tired brain was fogged and I was seriously worried about finding the energy to write up day one, which I had to do immediately. I wasn’t sure that my body was physically capable of another night of no sleep and standing in the freezing cold. I was fed up with being in exile over this laughable terrorism investigation, and I was missing my children.

I made up my mind – I could not do another night. I would have to explain to readers that I had done what I could. A great feeling of relief came over me, and I decided to go to bed.

That very second, out of the lift walked the eminent British lawyer Tayab Ali, with a short, unassuming bearded Arab gentleman.
“Hello Craig, how’s it going”, he asked, but they were evidently in a hurry, going somewhere: “This is Ghassan”.
We shook hands briefly and then the realisation struck me.
“Are you the surgeon?”
Ghassan looked diffident, slightly abashed.
“The surgeon from Gaza?”.
“Yes, I am Ghassan Abu SItta.”
“I am honoured, sir. Greatly honoured”.
He looked slightly embarrassed, and they dashed off to their meeting.

I felt even more embarrassed. I had just met the man who had stayed operating in Shifa hospital while Israel bombs and missiles struck it and Israeli snipers fired through the windows. He had continued to operate with no electricity, with no bandages, with no antiseptic, with no anaesthetic. He had worked 20 hours a day, amputating the limbs of children or trying to piece them back together. He stayed and stayed and stayed through weeks under fire. He did this for love: he is a top British plastic surgeon and could have been in the UK making millions.

I felt deeply ashamed. This man had endured so much, and done so much, and seen so much suffering. Here was I giving up over sore toes and lack of sleep, and over wanting to be important. I had an epiphany; I realised I can be a dreadful egoist, and I hated myself for it. Nothing stopped hurting, but I had a new surge of adrenaline and decided to get on with it. Perhaps nothing I did would help prevent genocide, but we all have to do that which is within our power to try.

I accept you may wish to scoff, but for me that encounter with Mr Abu Sitta revealed an important element of greatness – the ability to inspire others to do more that they believed they could, to transmit will. Even without actually saying anything.

I did, however, retain the sense to know that I had to prepare, so I got a taxi to a camping shop. There I bought the warmest sleeping bag I could afford, a reflective groundsheet, thermal socks and a flask.

I then took a taxi back, went straight to my room and started to write. The first three paragraphs flowed very easily. Then suddenly I was opening my very groggy eyes with my head on the keyboard, not sideways but leaning on my forehead. I had been asleep like that for three hours.

After that it was like wading through treacle. The phrases still rushed into my head as always, but there was a strange disconnect to my fingers and what they typed, which often was a phrase that sounded a bit like the one I was trying to get down. I recall typing “to assist them” as “his big cyst hen”. It was slow going.

At 11pm I went to see if there was a queue yet for the public gallery the next day. Nobody was there. I was worried that after the arguments at the gate the previous morning, with many people disappointed, the queue would start to form much earlier for Day 2. I decided to just publish what I had written so far, with an explanatory first paragraph, and check the queue regularly. The cold walk woke me up. It was notably warmer than the previous night – plus 2 rather than minus 5 – but the ground was all wet with a heavy dew and there was a lot more wind chill.

I checked again at 1.30am, still nobody had come. But at 3am there were eight people in the queue. I rushed back to the hotel, picked up my sleeping bag and groundsheet and published the now almost finished Day 1 article. I joined the queue as number 9 of the 14 who would be let in. I met a wonderful Dutch lady who had joined the queue with the intention of giving me her place if I arrived too late. I am ashamed to say I forget her name.

I was disappointed that not one of my new friends from the previous night’s queue was there again. I felt we had bonded through a pretty tough experience and a mutual cause. Almost all had said they intended to do both nights, and I presume the cold and exhaustion just got to people. This second night was much more jolly, I think because it was not quite so cold.

The reflective groundsheet was a big success, dry and surprisingly effective at stopping the cold seeping up. The mummy sleeping bag proved more of a problem. I am not as slender as I used to be, and with several layers of clothing and my ski jacket all on, it was a very tight fit. I got the zip up pretty well, but I couldn’t do the last bit that would bring the cowl over my head, not least because by that stage the bag had immobilised my arms.

Thankfully several wonderful young ladies came to help and zipped me up tight. This involved a lot of laughing. We could have invented a whole new genre of internet porn, in which fully clothed old men get zipped into bags. Although it probably already exists. I am not going to google for it, given the frequency with which the security services seize or steal my electronic devices. It might be misunderstood.

So at 3.30am I lay down my head, and did in fact sleep until about 5.30am. It was not comfortable, but it was not cold. I then wandered off to find a bush for a pee. When I returned, three women had taken over my groundsheet and were using my sleeping bag as a blanket. They joked that they had occupied my sleeping bag. I said I perfectly understood – surely their ancestors had a sleeping bag there 3,000 years ago. It was not brilliant repartee, but this kind of thing kept us going. The 14 of us who made the public gallery took group pictures.

There were some changes from the day before. We are to be allowed pens. But in view of “people wandering around” the day before, they said huffily, we were to be escorted in via a back door and leave the same way, and strictly forbidden from talking or interacting with anybody not in our group. So we entered the tiny public gallery. It has only two rows, and I now discovered that if you sit in the second row you cannot see anything. From the hall you can’t even tell there is a second row to the gallery. Once again, I marveled at the lack of attention to the dreadful design of the courtroom.

Luckily for me, a young man who apparently should not have been there was ejected from a front row seat, and finally I got to watch the Israeli presentation.

As with the South African case, according to court procedure the Israeli case was introduced by their “agent”, permanently accredited to the court, Tal Becker of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He opened with the standard formula “it is an honour to appear before you again on behalf of the state of Israel”, managing to imply purely through phrasing and tone of voice that the honour lay in representing Israel, not in appearing before the judges.

Becker opened by going straight to the Holocaust, saying that nobody knew more than Israel why the Genocide Convention existed. 6 million Jewish people had been killed. The Convention was not to be used to cover the normal brutality of war.

The South African case aimed at the delegitimisation of the state of Israel. On 7 October Hamas had committed massacre, mutilation, rape and abduction. 1,200 had been killed and 5,500 maimed. He related several hideous individual atrocity stories and played a recording he stated to be a Hamas fighter boasting on WhatsApp to his parents about committing mass murder, rape and mutilation.

The only genocide in this case was being committed against Israel. Hamas continued to attack Israel, and for the court to take provisional measures would be to deny Israel the right to self-defence. Provisional measures should rather be taken against South Africa and its attempt by legal means to further genocide by its relationship with Hamas. Gaza was not under occupation: Israel had left it with great potential to be a political and economic success. Instead Hamas had chosen to make it a terrorist base.

Hamas was embedded in the civilian population and therefore responsible for the civilian deaths. Hamas had tunnels under schools, hospitals, mosques and UN facilities and tunnel entrances within them. It commandeered medical vehicles for military use.

South Africa had talked of civilian buildings destroyed, but did not tell you they had been destroyed by Hamas booby traps and Hamas missile misfires.

The casualty figures South Africa gave were from Hamas sources and not reliable. They did not say how many were fighters? How many of the children were child soldiers? The application by South Africa was ill-founded and ill-motivated. It was a libel.

This certainly was a hardline and uncompromising start. The judges appeared to be paying very close attention when he opened with the 7 October self-defence argument, but very definitely some of them started to fidget and become uncomfortable when he talked of Hamas operating from ambulances and UN facilities. In short, he went too far and I believe he lost his audience at that point.

Next up was Professor Malcolm Shaw KC. Shaw is regarded as an authority on the procedure of international law and is editor of the standard tome on the subject. This is an interesting facet of the legal profession, where standard reference books on particular topics are regularly updated to include key extracts from recent judges, and passages added or amended to explain the impact of these judgments. Being an editor in this field provides a route to prominence for the plodding and pedantic.

I had come across Shaw in his capacity as a co-founder of the Centre for Human Rights at Essex University. I had given a couple of talks there some twenty years ago on the attacks on human rights of the “War on Terror” and my own whistleblower experience over torture and extraordinary rendition. For an alleged human rights expert, Shaw seemed extraordinarily prone to support the national security interests of the state over individual liberty.

I do not pretend I gave it a great deal of thought. I did not know at that time of Shaw’s commitment as an extreme Zionist and in particular his long term interest in suppressing the rights of the Palestinian people. After 139 states have recognised Palestine as a state, Shaw led for Israel the legal opposition to Palestine’s membership of international institutions, including the International Criminal Court. Shaw’s rather uninspired reliance on the Montevideo Convention of 1933 is hardly a legal tour de force, and it didn’t work.

Every criminal deserves a defence, and nobody should hold it against a barrister that they defend a murderer or rapist, as it is important that guilt or innocence is tested by a court. But I think it is fair to state that defence lawyers do not in general defend those accused of murder because they agree with murder and want a murderer to go on murdering. That however is the case here: Malcolm Shaw speaks for Israel because he actually wants Israel to be able to continue killing Palestinian women and children to improve the security of Israel, in his view.

That is the difference between this and other cases, including at the ICJ. Generally the lead lawyers would happily swap sides, if the other side had hired them first. But this is entirely different. Here the lawyers (with the possible exception of Staker) believe profoundly in the case they are supporting and would never appear for the other side. That is just one more way that this is such an extraordinary case, with so much drama and such vital consequences, not least for the future of international law.

For the reason I have just explained, Shaw’s role here is not that of a simple barrister plying his trade. His attempt to extend the killing should see him viewed as a pariah by decent people everywhere, for the rest of his doubtless highly-paid existence.

Shaw opened up by saying that the South African case continually spoke of context. They talked of the 75 years of the existence of the state of Israel. Why stop there? Why not go back to the Balfour Declaration or the British Mandate over Palestine? No, the context of these events was the massacre of 7 October, and Israel’s subsequent right of self-defence. He produced and read a long quote from mid-October by European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen, stating that Israel had suffered a terrorist atrocity and had the right of self-defence.

The truth is that this is not genocide but armed conflict, which state has existed since 7 October. That was brutal, and urban warfare always involved terrible civilian casualties, but it was not genocide.

He then turned to the question of genocide. He argued that South Africa could not bring this case and the ICJ had no jurisdiction, because there was no dispute between Israel and South Africa on which the ICJ could rule, at the time the case was filed. South Africa had communicated its views to Israel, but Israel had given no substantial reply. Therefore a dispute did not yet exist at time of filing. A dispute must involve interaction between parties and the argument had been on one side only.

This very much interested the judges. As I noted on day one, this got them more active than anything else when Professor John Dugard addressed the same point for South Africa. As I reported:

The judges particularly enjoyed Dugard’s points, enthusiastically rustling through documents and underlining things. Dealing with thousands of dead children was a bit difficult for them, but give them a nice jurisdictional point and they were in their element.

They were even more excited when Shaw tackled the same point. This gave them a way out! The case could be technically invalid, and then they would neither have to upset the major Western powers nor make fools of themselves by pretending that a genocide the whole world had seen was not happening. For a while, they looked visibly relieved.

Shaw should have given up while he was ahead, but he ploughed on for an hour, with some relief when he continually muddled his notes. A senior KC with zero ability to extemporise and recover was an interesting sight, as he kept stopping and shuffling paper.

Shaw argued that the bar for judging whether South Africa had a prima facie case must be significantly higher because of the high military and political cost to Israel if the court adopted provisional measures. It was also necessary to show genocidal intent even at this stage. Otherwise the genocide was a “car without an engine”. If any illegal actions had taken place within Israel’s carefully targeted military action, Israel’s own military courts would investigate and act on them.

Random Israeli ministers and officials making emotional statements was not important. Official policy to protect civilians would be found in the minutes of the Israeli war cabinet and national security council. Israel’s strenuous attempts to move civilians out of harm’s way was an accepted measure in international human law and should not be viewed as mass displacement.

It was South Africa which was guilty of complicity in genocide in cooperation with Hamas. South Africa’s allegations against Israel “verge on the outrageous”.

Israel’s next lawyer was a lady called Galit Raguan from the Israeli Ministry of Justice. She said the reality on the ground was that Israel had done everything possible to minimise civilian deaths and to aid humanitarian relief. Urban warfare always resulted in civilian deaths. It was Hamas who were responsible for destruction of buildings and infrastructure.

There was overwhelming evidence of Hamas’ military use of hospitals. In every single hospital in Gaza that IDF had evidence of military use by Hamas. Mass evacuation of civilians was a humanitarian and legal measure. Israel had supplied food, water and medicine into Gaza but supplies had come under Hamas fire. Hamas steals the aid for its fighters.

Next up was lawyer Omri Sender. He stated that more food trucks per day now entered Gaza than before October 7. The number had increased from 70 food trucks to 109 food trucks per day. Fuel, gas and electricity were all being supplied and Israel had repaired the sewage systems.

At this stage Israel had again lost the judges. One or two were looking at this man in a highly quizzical manner. A couple had definitely fallen asleep – there are only so many lies you can absorb, I suppose. Nobody was making notes about this guff. The judges may find a way not to condemn Israel, but could not be expected to go along with this extraordinary nonsense. Sender continued that the scope and intensity of the fighting was now decreasing as the operation entered a new phase.

Perhaps noting that nobody believed him, Sender stated that the court could not institute provisional measures but rather was obliged to accept the word of Israel on its good intentions because of the Law of the Unilateral Declarations of States.

Now I have to confess that was a bit of international law I did not know existed. But it does, specifically in relation to ICJ proceedings. On first reading, it makes a unilateral declaration of intent to the ICJ binding on the state that makes it. I cannot see that it forces the ICJ to accept it as sufficient or to believe in its sincerity. It seems rather a reach, and I wondered if Israel was running out of things to say.

That appeared to be true, because the next speaker, Christopher Staker KC, now took the floor and just ran through all the same Hamas stuff yet again, only with added theatrical indignation. Staker is the lawyer I suspect would happily have appeared for either side, because he was plainly just acting anyway. And not very well.

Staker said that it was astounding this case could be brought. It was intended to stop Israel from defending itself while Israel would still be subject to Hamas attacks. Hamas has said it will continue attacks.

If you look at the operation as a whole including relief efforts, it was plain there was no genocidal intent. Israel was in incredible danger. The proposed provisional measures were out of proportion to their effect. Can you imagine if in the Second World War, a court had ordered the Allies to stop fighting because of civilian deaths, and allowed the Axis powers to keep on killing?

The final speaker was Gilad Noam, Israel’s deputy attorney-general. He said that the bulk of the proposed provisional measures should be refused because they exposed Israel to further Hamas attack. Three more should be refused because they referred to Palestine outside Gaza. There was no genocidal intent in Israel. Ministerial and official statements made in the heat of the moment were rather examples of the tradition of democracy and freedom of speech. Prosecutions for incitement to genocide were under consideration.

The court must not conflate genocide and self-defence. The South African case devalues genocide and encourages terrorism. The Holocaust illustrated why Israel was always under existential threat. It was Hamas who were committing genocide.

And that was it. Israel had in the end not been allowed to show its contentious atrocity video, and it felt like their presentation had become repetitive and was padded to fill the time.

It is important to realise this. Israel is hoping to win on their procedural points about existence of dispute, unilateral assurances and jurisdiction. The obvious nonsense they spoke about the damage to homes and infrastructure being caused by Hamas, trucks entering Gaza and casualty figures, was not serious. They did not expect the judges to believe any of this. The procedural points were for the court. The rest was mass propaganda for the media.

In the UK, the BBC and Sky both ran almost all the Israeli case live, having not run any of the South African case live. I believe something similar was true in the USA, Australia and Germany too.

While the court was in session, Germany has announced it will intervene in the substantial case to support Israel. They argue explicitly that, as the world’s greatest perpetrator of genocide, they are uniquely placed to judge. It is in effect a copyright claim. They are protecting Germany’s intellectual property in the art of genocide. Perhaps they might in future license genocide, or allow Israel to continue genocide on a franchise basis.

I am sure the judges want to get out of this and they may go for the procedural points. But there is a real problem with Israel’s “no dispute” argument. If accepted, it would mean that a country committing genocide can simply not reply to a challenge, and then legal action will not be possible because no reply means “no dispute”. I hope that absurdity is obvious to the judges. But they may of course wish not to notice it…

What do I think will happen? Some sort of “compromise”. The judges will issue provisional measures different to South Africa’s request, asking Israel to continue to take measures to protect the civilian population, or some such guff. Doubtless the State Department have drafted something like this for President of the court Donoghoe already.

I hope I am wrong. I would hate to give up on international law. One thing I do know for certain. These two days in the Hague were absolutely crucial for deciding if there is any meaning left in notions of international law and human rights. I still believe action by the court could cause the US and UK to back off and provide some measure of relief. For now, let us all pray or wish, each in our way, for the children of Gaza.



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358 thoughts on “Your Man in the Hague (In a Good Way) Part 2

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  • zoot

    if these judges give a green light to the Zionists and their enablers I fear where it will end. the Israelis, Americans, British and Germans know they have removed the mask with what they are doing to Gaza, revealed their true selves to the world, but will be told by the International Court of Justice “it’s okay you’re still the good guys no matter what you do. you have total impunity to behave like Nazis towards infants, babies in incubators, pregnant women”. the judges will effectively be telling merciless psychopathic criminals that they are righteous and have international law on their side. a green light.

    • SA

      Exactly my thoughts. And the rather gung ho and almost amateurish presentations by Israel show how little they care about the court even stating that it is the UN that should be on trial. The cockiness suggests that they are assured of a verdict that protects them by the US, UK, Germany and Australia.

      • pretzelattack

        i think their cockiness stems from a belief that it doesn’t matter how the court rules, that as long as the US and various US puppets support them they can continue their genocide of the Palestinians without fear of consequences.

      • Tom Welsh

        Overweening Zionist chutzpah knows no bounds, apparently. Unwilling to remain passive as the accused party at the ICJ, Israel has leapt to the counterattack – accusing the UN itself and saying that the international body should be the one on trial; and warning that “No one will stop us”, regardless of the ICJ verdict – or anything else on this earth.

        “Israel PM vows ‘no one will stop us’ on Gaza war’s 100th day”

        “Israeli ambassador says UN should be on trial as accomplice to ‘hatred and murder'”

        We have known since 1967 and before that Israel has utter contempt for the UN, all other international institutions, all laws and treaties whatsoever, and even its own closest and most loyal allies. But they have never come out and said it so clearly and unambiguously.

        The truth is that Zionists have utter contempt for all other human beings, because – not being Jews – they see them as inferior forms of life. Untermenschen. It’s an interesting question how long the rest of the human race is going to put up with this. It already has for 75 years, so we had better not hold our breath.

        • Squeeth

          You’re right about “Zionists have utter contempt for all other human beings, because – not being Jews…”…’zionists can desecrate the Jewish religion and the memory of the 60 million dead of the Second World War (by ignoring 54 million).’

          • Bayard

            I find it very strange that, until relatively recently, the number of Jews killed by the Germans and their allies was stated as being three million. Now it appears to have doubled to six million. That’s a lot of deaths to go undiscovered for so long.

          • Tom Welsh

            Bayard, my impression was that it started at 6 million and has since been revised down to 3 or 4 million.

            Nobody cares about the 27 million Soviet citizens. Or 20 million (give or take 10 million or so) in China.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            The original 3 million figure applied to the death camps only, Bayard. Later it was expanded to include Jews killed in mass shootings by Einsatzgruppen etc (around 2 million in the Soviet Union alone).

          • Bayard

            “Nobody cares about the 27 million Soviet citizens. Or 20 million (give or take 10 million or so) in China.”

            Or the Romani, of whom a total of three quarters of the pre-war population were exterminated.

          • Alyson

            An easy way to cause offence is by observing that Jews, Gypsies, other racial minorities, political dissidents, and the mentally ill, added up to the six million people who were exterminated by the Nazis. They have no wish to be included in the group with the other victims. Indeed you might think there were no other victims, but they were the majority. The decimation of the entire gypsy culture across Eastern Europe has been forgotten, and indeed a Romany is taking the government to Court even now for the ongoing eradication of a culture with a language that goes back to the earliest inhabitants of our country

        • Sammy

          Did you see Lewis Goodall’s interview of Eylon Levy? For the first time I’m seeing someone calling his bull***t. I don’t think Lewis would last in his job for too long though.

          • Nota Tory Fanboy

            Yes and it really put, in particular, his colleague O’Brien to shame because the latter yesterday described as definitely not being a genocide and then read out the “dictionary definition” thereof and still failed to have the “oh.” moment. It really beggars belief that someone who has spent so long digging through the Brexit and Tory lies and gaslighting fails to see the lies and gaslighting behind the idea that what has been done to Gaza doesn’t meet the “dictionary definition” to the letter…

            And his usual comment is that “it’s pretty clear it’s at least ethnic cleansing but whilst there are some international experts in genocide who believe it is a genocide, there are others who don’t” but he then fails to name them, or whether they’re batting for the Israeli State at the ICJ. It’s funny how he can’t see that his critiques of opaquely-funded think tanks, or “there are but they go to another school” analogy don’t apply to that statement he makes.

            And he definitely doesn’t make enough of an issue of the use of *unguided* heavy munitions.

  • Lieve

    Thanks for doing this Craig. Really highly appreciated. I may disagree with you in many issues, but I could have fully understood and accepted if you had just let go of the second day. But Ghassan inspired you, and instead of scoffing, I humbly commend you for being open, humble and deeply human.

  • Urban Fox

    Hmm, anyone else find the German attitude particularly creepy?

    The Jews weren’t the only people they murdered by the millions in the 20th century, but they’re the only ones Germany *ever* seems to care about. Even to the point of using their past crimes to exculpate Israel.

    I think now, that the modern German polity has a “nice-chap-with-bodies-in-the-basement-vibe” to it.

    I’m glad their military is a joke and their industrial/economic base will shrink without Russian energy imports, even as they take on more & more EU debt/baggage.

    Because a strong Germany is clearly a profoundly bad thing.

    • Bramble

      They murdered millions of Russians. Now they want to murder more. It isn’t only in Gaza that the West’s moral mask has been torn off.

        • Urban Fox

          Proportionally I believe they did even worse in Namibia, without a hint of real contrition to this day. Something the president of that country raised recently.

          Vis-a-vis German loud public frautlance over Ukraine’s democratic purity and Israel’s sacrosanct right, to inflict the occasional massacre, ethnic cleansing & territorial grab.

          Of course that pre-dated “funni moustache man” on whom alone, ever…no sorry ONE bad thing Germany as whole did enthusiastically must be blamed.

          There’s really low-key dark s**t that lurks in that country’s history & present. Take the metastasizing horror of the 30 Years War for example.

          That’s a why a lot of German derived fairy tales, like Hansel & Gretel have grim undertones like cannibalism.

          • Alyson

            Kind of puts Trump’s comment in perspective. He has stated that he cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed while president because if he could be then Truman would be prosecuted for dropping atomic bombs on Japan

        • Roger Baker

          One of the worst for certain, but many would argue that the genocide of indigenous Americans is the worst genocide.
          a minimum of 130 million indigenous Americans are estimated to have died in deadly massacres, mass rapes, forced starvations, wars, and chattel slavery imposed by European settlers and various epidemics. The genocide 99.5% complete.

          • Tom Welsh

            Yes, Roger. However many Native Americans there were to begin with, no one can deny that practically all of them died in one way or another. (Mostly through the European colonists’ microscopic allies, but nevertheless because of their arrival and inroads).

            Now that IS genocide, however you cut it.

          • Hans Adler

            Yes, that was a far worse genocide. Although we don’t know if it would have been as extreme without the diseases the Europeans brought with them. (Some diseases such as Syphilis traveled in the opposite direction, but did far less damage.)

            If we go much further back, practically all of Europe was subjected to a similar (though slower) genocide when the Indo-European pastoralists spread over the continent. About 50% of the genes of modern Europeans are from the Indo-Europeans, and 50% from the earlier populations of hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists. This doesn’t sound so bad, but the fact 0% of modern European Y haplotypes descends from the earlier Europeans shows that the Indo-Europeans killed ALL the men of the earlier society; the DNA of the earlier population that survives must be due to girls and women being integrated into the conquerors’ societies — likely by force.

    • Squeeth

      If the German state did any breast-beating about the murder of people for having a Down’s Syndrome chromosome pattern, the might get asked awkward questions about killing them before they are born….

      • Nota Tory Fanboy

        Is that (still?) a thing in Germany? France and Iceland acquired a pretty bad reputation in that regard in recent times.

  • MFB

    I suppose I was expecting the Israeli delegation to live down to my expectations (I was startled by the high calibre of our South African presentation, given the incompetence and probable corruption of so much of our local prosecutions and courts). But I only listened to a few fragments of it before I turned off my radio, it was genuinely disgusting. The parts which I listened to seemed more or less intended to confirm the South African case by declaring that the Israeli government had a right to do as it pleased to anyone it had the power to do it to if it so desired. Arguments heavily based on bigotry, made-up evidence and a total refusal to address context, let alone discuss the facts on the ground, are not workable.

    I do think that if I were a German or British or American judge on that court I would have developed a diplomatic toothache which lasted until the final decision was taken.

    I listened to Finkelstein, and he may be right, but I suspect that the Chinese and Russian judges are as likely to be motivated by a desire to pay America back for what it is trying to do to them, as by a desire to avoid rocking the boat over genocide. Realistically, neither China nor Russia have committed genocide in the last fifty years and claims to the contrary are sheer wind, so it is in their interfest to get tough on this issue. Or so I hope, perhaps vainly.

    Anyway, good on you, Craig.

      • Brian c

        Ah yes, the old Joe Biden–Samantha Power definition of genocide.

        For context, the BBC reported on Dec 29 that a Russian bombardment had killed THIRTY people in Ukraine and that this was the largest number of casualties from one attack in TWO YEARS of heavy-duty conventional war.

        Meantime the Chinese genocide of the Uighurs has killed precisely ZERO people. That is, none at all.

        But yeah, the Russkis and Chinese have done the same thing as what loveable liberal Joe is doing to the Palestinians (without a peep from Sam Power and the other genocide deplorers in western politics and media).

        • Nota Tory Fanboy

          Mass sterilisation definitely falls under genocide since it’s an attempt at preventing that ethnic group from being able to exist with future generations. If you read the Encyclopaedia Britannica article on eugenics, you will realise that the US was already guilty of this against black people.

          Why do you disagree with the ICJ that Russia was at risk of perpetrating genocide against the Ukrainians? Do you think Putin hasn’t expressed intent physically manifested in orders to the Russian Military?

          • Bayard

            “Mass sterilisation definitely falls under genocide since it’s an attempt at preventing that ethnic group from being able to exist with future generations.”

            That presupposes that there was mass sterilisation. Were you there? Did you see it? Or did you just read about it in the Western media?

            “Why do you disagree with the ICJ that Russia was at risk of perpetrating genocide against the Ukrainians?”

            Just because the vast majority of the people killed by the Russian military are Ukranians doesn’t mean that they were killed because they were Ukranians. They haven’t exactly given a free pass to other nationalities and ethnicities fighting against them. If the Ukranian deaths are a genocide, how come the Russians haven’t sent the 5 million Ukranian refugees in Russia to the gas chambers? Surely that would be a much easier way of killing Ukranians than picking on the ones who are carrying weapons and can fight back.

          • Alyson

            The Chinese had a one child policy because they stayed within their borders. Now they are coming out. Religious groups don’t always agree with a one child policy

  • Jack

    Genocide ought to be the most severe of a crime a state could commit – and perhaps the most tricky to prove in a court? I wonder if it would have been easier, smarter to trigger a lawsuit against Israel in the ICJ regarding “Crimes against humanity” which I assume is much easier to prove in court?

    Not to sound negative but I fear Israel will somehow win this genocide ICJ case and the perception of such an outcome would be colossally bad for the palestinian cause. Because that would mean that what Israel is doing is OK and they could keep on doing it in an even greater pace.

    • Bob (not OG)

      Win or lose, they’ll just keep doing it anyway, with the full support of the wonderful Western democracies.
      Good luck to Craig and all the rest, but the whole thing is a sideshow really.
      As I said previously (before being accused of being a ‘conspiracy theorist’), all courts exist to serve the powerful.

      The Houthis etc. are the ones who are actually making a material difference, and look who’s lined up against them: the UK military, among others. Truly, it makes me sick.

    • Brian c

      Not just the Palestinians but whoever the West wants to attack, invade and massacre. The figleaf of international rules will be binned for good and all.

    • SleepingDog

      @Jack, I think the key point is that these states contracted to the convention are obliged to “undertake to prevent and to punish” genocide. It’s an absolute duty, and no tactical considerations about choosing a lesser charge apply.

    • Bayard

      “Because that would mean that what Israel is doing is OK and they could keep on doing it in an even greater pace.”

      It takes a perverted mind to think that killing 24,000 mean, women and children is OK so long as it isn’t genocide.

      • Tom Welsh

        That is exactly the point, Bayard; it’s astonishing how many people simply refuse to understand it.

        Killing thousands of people is wrong. It doesn’t make any difference what abstract nouns you apply to it. It’s still wrong.

        But governments have been in the habit of killing thousands of people for so long, and they are so reluctant to kick the habit, that they have to put up all these quibbles.

        • Nota Tory Fanboy

          Hear, hear.

          When will we learn that violence – from all parties – doesn’t actually solve anything, really; it just kicks the cycle up the hill for it to hit us again later on.

          After all, if you’d told the World’s governments in 1948 that 60 years hence neo-Nazi fascists would be calling the shots in governments in the UK, Israel, France, Italy…you’d have been committed to an asylum.

  • Nota Tory Fanboy

    Mr. Murray, could you answer as to the mechanics of whether the judges have to make a unanimous, qualified majority, or simple majority verdict?

  • Bob (original)

    To state the obvious:

    IF the ICJ rules materially in favour of South Africa, and israel materially ignores the judgement, and continues the genocide in Gaza…
    THEN where, exactly does that leave the USA (and its puppy, us the UK)?

    The USA justifies – to herself – that its global interventions of meddling, supporting coups, wars, unsanctioned military strikes, etc. are in defence of ‘a rules-based international order’.

    IF the USA doesn’t comply with the ICJ judgement, and continues its support of israel, then the USA is exposed for the warmongering, duplicitous, failing hegemony that it has become.

    In the extended death throes of its empire, the USA will become ever more reliant on extremely hard diplomacy, and will spread even more chaos across the world?


    None of this makes sense. Until the truth comes out. Both Israel and Hamas are the brainchild of Britain. On October 7, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, created by Britain, attacked. Barack Obama appointed a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mehdi K. Al Hassani is a member of the National Security Council to establish a permanent connection with the Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood planned coups in several Arab countries under the leadership and with the approval of the collective West. All these are links in the same chain and interrelated events. Until this is said, these courts are useless. What is happening in Gaza is just a thick screen hiding the intentions of one side.

  • pretzelattack

    I think he is implying the name.

    [ Mod: No, the name is “Straker”. It was omitted from an early draft, inserted, then briefly overwritten, and duly restored. ]

  • Allan Howard

    It’s interesting reading the wikipedia entry for the October 7th attack by Hamas. I’ve only just started reading it, and haven’t read it all as such, but here’s a section I just this minute read:

    Over the course of 2023, before the attack, Israeli forces had killed 247 Palestinians, and Palestinians had killed 39 Israelis.[60] Increases in settler attacks had displaced hundreds of Palestinians, and there were clashes around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a contested holy site in Jerusalem.[61]

    Tensions between Israel and Hamas rose in September 2023, and The Washington Post wrote that the two were “on the brink of war”.[62] On 13 September, five Palestinians were killed at the border.[j] Israel said it found explosives hidden in a shipment and halted all exports from Gaza;[62] Hamas denied this.[64] Reuters quoted Palestinians who said that the several-day ban affected thousands of families.[64] In response to the ban, Hamas put its forces on high alert and conducted military exercises with other groups, including openly practicing storming Israeli settlements.[62] Hamas also allowed Palestinians to resume protests at the Israel-Gaza barrier.[62] On 29 September, Qatar, the UN, and Egypt mediated an agreement between Israel and Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip to reopen closed crossing points and deescalate tensions;[65] the total number of Gazans with work permits in Israel stood at 17,000.[66]

    Egypt said it warned Israel days before the attack that “an explosion of the situation [was] coming, and very soon, and it would be big.”[67] Israel denied receiving such a warning,[68] although Michael McCaul, Chairman of the US House Foreign Relations Committee, said that warnings were given three days before the attack.[69]

    I’m not gonna start searching just now, but I’m absolutely certain that when the Egyptian warning thing first became public knowledge, it was actually ‘warnings’, in the plural, and although I’ve never come across anything in respect of when Egypt FIRST warned Israel, I can only assume that it was weeks before the attack actually happened, and quite possibly two or three months. And I can only assume that Egypt – after warning Israel the first time – realised that Israel was doing nothing to counter or prepare for such an attack and, as such, contacted whoever and warned them yet again, and then ditto a third time, direct to BNs office this time, three days before the attack.

    Anyway, in the previous thread, and in a reply to a comment I posted, Ebenezer Scroggie said the following:

    I doubt very much that Netanyahu “ignored” the highly detailed Shin Beth intelligence reports that the event was going to occur and when it going to occur (50th anniversary of Yom Kippur War).

    I replied to him a little while later asking him if this information was in the public domaine – ie asked him, in effect, how he knows this, and came to know it – but I got no reply from him. So if you see this post Eb, could you let me know. Or anyone else for that matter if you’ve heard of such. Thanks.

    PS I assume it was just speculation on Eb’s part, albeit phrased as if it were a known fact.

  • stuart mctavish

    To be fair to the lawyers (and the Germans) the argument that It can only be genocide if its a breach of contract must raise $trillions in dormant claims from WW2 to sink their invoices into – especially if they can overcome* any time bars on limitation of statute

    *eg if the 6/7 year year limit (12 if under seal) to make a claim on the contract restarts every time a condition (such as the one relating to genocide) is clarified

  • George Peel

    Excellent, as always, Mr Murray. Thank you.

    Do you have any plans to publish your blogs in book form? Subject by subject, perhaps?

    I think you could get three, maybe four, volumes, all with a ready readership.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    When Article II of the Genocide Convention provides the definition of ‘genocide’ as “killing members of a protected group” and “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” – is it not plain and self-evident relative to what Israel has done and continues to do in Gaza?

    • Tom Welsh

      The whole concept of “genocide” is highly suspect, as it begins to look very much like a legal labyrinth in which any complaint about hideous behaviour can be buried.

      Why is it worse to “kill members of a protected group” than to kill anyone else? Is a “protected group” something like an endangered species? How many of an “unprotected group” must be killed before anyone pays any attention?

      Governments like those of the USA and the other NATO states have arrogated to themselves the right to kill as many people as they want – with utter impunity. It seems to me that the concept of “genocide” is a tricky way for them to condemn others for doing far less than they have always done.

      The other day I saw some dreadful idiot of a journalist actually go into print with the notion that killing people face to face with knives or guns is much, much worse than dropping bombs on them from a nice remote air-conditioned cocckpit, or launching missiles with 1-ton warheads at them from over the horizon. That’s what Starmer seems to have meant when he said that the attacks on Yemen are “not a real war”. Presumably because British people don’t have to see the dismembered body parts and dying people.

      • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

        Tom Welsh,

        ” Why is it worse to “kill members of a protected group” than to kill anyone else? Is a “protected group” something like an endangered species? ”

        Aren’t the Palestinians under Israeli military occupation – and thus a “protected group”.?

  • harry law

    The rules based order is the US way of ignoring the real International laws, enabling the US and its vassals to destroy any of its enemies without having those pesky vetoes in the way. It is rather like a boxing match where Russia and China agree to use the Marquess of Queensberry Rules and the US comes out kicking, biting and with a concealed gun in its shorts.
    Obviously the US are losing the geopolitical wars with the Chinese Belt and Road initiative and Russian natural resources clocking up millions in profits from Europe’s foolish sanctions on Russia and Iran. The BRICS nations are now coming into play in the Middle East, hence the US/Israel wielding the big stick; it’s desperation – wield it now or lose it all. They think they can take on all comers, or, as Genocide Joe might say, “we are the United States of America for God’s sake”. However I am certainly in favour of the Houthi ‘Rules based order’ i.e. you stop the Genocide, we will not block ships going to Israel.

    • Nota Tory Fanboy

      Is that the real point of all this? Israel demonstrating to BRICS members and their partners in the region that “we really are fucking insane so don’t even think about messing with us because we won’t stop at anything”?

      • Urban Fox

        Trouble is when that “crazy act” also involves mutilating yourself.

        It won’t really deter, it could even encourage a would be opponent deal with you in a non-peaceful manner. *Because* you really are f**king crazy.

        Israel is taking major hits to its economy, (which is not self-sufficient) mounting casualties and a large exodus & displacement of population.

        It was also something of a polical basket-case, before this mess started.

        To say nothing of the reputational damage, which it’s spreading infectiously to its supporters both internationally and domestically.

        What!? Tough s**t peasants. We can’t afford to fix the potholes or anything else, but MOAR for Israel etc, send *all* the money.

        And so many people are getting really *ahem* bored of creatures like Grant Shapps trying ineffectualy to wave their micro-penises in public or on the world stage.

        As if they were anything other than cheap, low-grade, low-skill local sub-contractors.

        Ruling Airstrip One on behalf of their corrupt, senile overlord in DC and his heirs & successors.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Shapps is a funny little conman who clearly is Sunak‘s acolyte. When you are a DEI nonentity like Sunak you take adulation where you can find it

          Outside U.K. everyone is laughing at the Mouse that Roared and wondering why anyone would join Fred Karno‘s Army

          Britain has been destroyed by Conservative Governments since 1979 – back in Callaghan days didn’t Britain have 350,000 soldiers ?

          These pipsqueaks shriek loudly to cover up total flaccidity and impotence

          • Urban Fox

            I don’t know the Cold War troop & sailor number, only that it was multiple times bigger and much better value for money.

            I do have some first hand knowledge of the situation from the aughts. Even back then people said the situation in the armed forces was looking grim on every level.

            It’s abysmal now, the army is a shell, the airforce a husk and the navy probably has more admirals than (seaworthy) ships.

            I think Britain has been slowly destroyed since WW2, by it’s vassal status. A formally powerful & noteworthy state, that exists without sovereignty, withers; and then without subsidy from the hegemon, it dies.

            The intense hollowing and decline, really does seem to track with that the USA and to a lesser extent its EU subcontractor.

  • Johnny Oh45

    Moon over Gaza

    Moon over Gaza, Oh Moon, over Gaza
    please Light our way in the darkness,
    this evening.

    What clouds are these that obscure
    your Vision ? Accompany such thunder ?
    These strange illuminations, flare and kindle,
    the acrid taste of sulphur ? Blown by the Wind,
    under the canopy of heaven, begging for mercy,
    a haven, shelter

    On this Eve, the nocturn calls,
    the Nightwatchman, sleepless, wanders, hears the scrapes
    beneath the rubble, reckons and observes,
    the huddled, blinking, shivering….. stars.
    The soughing murmurs.

    The darkness before the dawn, is coldest.
    What will awaken, below the blanket of fear,
    from the chill breath of morning, hands reach out
    to grasp for meaning. Feet swollen, stamp the cold
    for circulation. Prayers begin, ..then lamentation.

    The inky Night recedes, before the Sun has risen,
    an outline of the broken shells, grows sharper
    with each moment: Un-recognised, the fractured,
    torn, horizon. Unsteady under foot, the bloody yokes
    that coat the ruins.

    Break fast. Lord have mercy on the them,
    Sweet tea and bread for those who have them.
    Envision, sunken eyes and swollen bellies,
    diarrhoea and dysentery, for children
    without sustenance.
    While crows and scavengers are feasting.

    Red skies in the East, a warning
    rain clouds gather, Shadows falling, uttering
    a deluge ? The Firebirds are also massing
    now flying in formation, hear the shrieking,
    whining, screaming. Emptying their bellies,
    which explode.

    The Invaders with their Bulldestroyers
    monstrous rubble creepers, wear the mask
    of Empire/Occupiers, to crush the buildings of our hope,
    make graves of people’s homes.

    Clear Springs, clean water, their faces wet,
    have heavens opened ? Cheeks are streaming,
    heard imploring, for the ceaseless killing

    Rain and tears, tears and rain
    fall into the dust.
    I’ll mix these tears, l’ll mix this rain
    I’ll mix this dust, to make a paste,
    form it into clay. I’ll build a home,
    we’ll build a future, in Palestine,
    for Palestinians.

  • Goose

    Your perseverance and dedication are admirable.

    I don’t get why smaller political parties in the UK aren’t challenging complicit Sunak and Starmer, along the rest UK govt, when they assert Israel has a right to self-defence (article 51) in trying to justify the hideously disproportionate levelling of Gaza. They’re wilfully ignoring the points Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on Palestine, has been making.

    Israel doesn’t have a right to self-defence under the relevant UN Article 51, because they’re the de facto occupier of Gaza (Israel enforce a land, sea and air blockade). Article 51 permits the right of self-defence in relation to state on state threats and activities. Palestine’s certainly not a state Israel recognises, is it. The ICJ, in 2004, in a different case, rejected Israel’s arguments for this very reason; saying it could not invoke the right to self-defence in an occupied territory.

      • Tom Welsh

        Exactly so. And that brings us up against the Melian Dialogue, where the Athenian said that, “[R]ight, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”.

        The US government, and the Israelis, deem no one their equals in power – and therefore have always done whatever they wanted, while weaker nations have had to reconcile themselves to making the most of it.

        Only if someone could convince the US and Israeli governments that they are their equals in (military) power, would the Americans and Israelis (most reluctantly) agree to negotiate and consider what is right and wrong.

        Unfortunately, one big thing has changed since 415 BC: thermonuclear weapons have appeared. Thus it seems that no one can, even theoretically, convince the Americans and Israelis that they are their superiors in power, as there is always the Samson option of a draw where everyone dies.

        The civilised alternative is what the Chinese and Russians appear to be doing: ever so slowly and quietly undermining the dollar system and the dominance of the IMF and World Bank. With luck, the American power will imperceptibly melt away before they even notice. Then the Israelis will be in the position of Wile E. Coyote after he runs off the cliff.

      • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett


        ” Disputes around legality and rights are meaningless until we have a mechanism of enforcement and a mechanism of punishment.”

        Before we get there we have to proceed along the path leading there – surely?

      • Paul Greenwood

        Any nation is empowered through UN to wage war against Israel to enforce any ICJ Judgment.

        Ultimately it is through waging war that facts are made on the ground

        The ultimate sanction in any legal system is Application of Force

          • Paul Greenwood

            Supposedly Security Council but as you know, Tatyana, the SMO was predicated on UNSC 2202 of 2015 – breach of Minsk Agreements.

            War is a step few wish to dare with US as guardian for genocide.

          • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett


            If your husband beats and abuses you, the court issues an order that he ceases and desists.

            So, You tell me whether the court order carries weight and force – or – you just keep being beaten?

            Sorry – not seeking to be personal.

            Do you now understand?


            P.S. Trust you accept the argument without thinking that I am in any way implying and/or disrespecting you.

  • SleepingDog

    The Israelis are clearly disputing the characterisation of genocide now, and have been before and since their recent military assault on Gaza began, so I don’t see that specific diplomatic interchanges are required to demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt that a dispute pre-existed the South African filing, and the obligation is clearly on contracting parties to the convention to get moving and not dawdle on diplomatic protocol.

  • Yeah, Right

    Your point about Israel’s “no reply” procedural point immediately sprang to my mind when I heard it, so it is indeed an obvious problem for Shaw.

    In effect, all Israel (or anyone else) needs to do when they embark on a genocidal rampage is to send their foreign affairs officials off on holiday and hang a sign on the front door: “Closed until further notice”. Do that and the ICJ is no longer an avenue to seek relief from their genocidal intentions.

    Maybe the Court will grasp those straws, but it would be odd indeed for Judges to vote to put themselves out of business.

    • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

      Yeah, Right

      “Maybe the Court will grasp those straws, but it would be odd indeed for Judges to vote to put themselves out of business.”

      Some of the members of the court are out in early February.

      My Point?

      Yeah – right – the politics of the judiciary indeed keeps being played.

      • Coldish

        Courtenay: yes, there will be 4 new members of the court from sometime in February, so it will need to produce its initial decision and provisional measures before then. The current US president of the court, Joan Donoghue, is standing down and will be replaced by another American, who will presumably not be the president. South Africa will from February have a directly elected member of the court, a much younger man than the present additional member which South Africa as a complainant is entitled to appoint, and who will now, I think, have to stand down. As I understand it, that will reduce the size of the court for S.Africa’s current case from 17 to 16, but should strengthen South Africa’s influence within the court for the next decade – a welcome development.

  • Allan Howard

    Having caught something on the news about it, I just did a search re >government proscribes group as terrorist group (I’d never heard of them before and didn’t register the name of the group on the news)<, and checked out a Guardian article that came up in the results. Here are some passages from it:

    « Hizb ut-Tahrir will be banned from organising in the UK after claims that the group is antisemitic, the home secretary has said.

    The Islamist group, which is already banned in countries including Germany and Indonesia, will no longer be allowed to recruit or hold protests and meetings across the UK.

    Ministers have criticised the group after demonstrations held against Israeli strikes on Gaza.

    If agreed by parliament, a draft order that was laid on Monday will come into force on 19 January. This means that belonging to, inviting support for and displaying articles in a public place in a way that arouses suspicion of membership or support for the group will be a criminal offence.

    James Cleverly, the home secretary, said: “Hizb ut-Tahrir is an antisemitic organisation that actively promotes and encourages terrorism, including praising and celebrating the appalling 7 October attacks.

    “Proscribing this terrorist group will ensure that anyone who belongs to and invites support for them will face consequences. It will curb Hizb ut-Tahrir’s ability to operate as it currently does.”

    Since the 7 October attacks by Hamas and the subsequent military response by Israel, Hizb ut-Tahrir has not condemned Hamas, a group already proscribed in the UK, rather hailing the attacks on Israeli citizens by saying “if this can be done by a resistance group, imagine what a unified response from the Muslim world could achieve”. It has called on Muslim countries to “get your armies and go and remove the Zionist occupiers”.

    Previously Hizb ut-Tahrir, which Tony Blair and David Cameron tried to ban when they were in Downing Street, has made calls to “wipe out that Zionist entity” and referred to “the monstrous Jews”. »

    So despite what they've said since October 7th, nothing has happened in terms of anyone being arrested and charged with whatever, and all the Government have now done is proscribe them. And my point in mentioning it is of course in respect of Craig's situation, and his tweet regarding Hamas, which I think must have been what led to him being stopped and 'interviewed' by the counter terrorism cops, and if no action was taken against anyone in this organisation, then it seems to me they can't have any grounds to charge Craig with anything.

    It was just scare tactics, which after what happened previously and led to Craig going to prison, they probably calculated that Craig would 'abscond', and the fact that they're taking an absurd amount of time to say what it's about is surely just further evidence that they are playing mindfuck games with Craig, and no doubt enjoying the fact that they have put him in limbo, and the mental and emotional state that goes with being in such a situation – i.e. the uncertainty, and having to leave his home, and be separated from his family etc.

    • Tom Welsh

      Isn’t it lovely to live in a free country, where you can say anything you like without fear of official reprisals or actual punishment?

        • Tom Welsh

          Well, Israelis enjoy many privileges which they would deny to us. For instance, they insist that Israel must be a racially pure nation of which only Jews may be citizens.

          But if I were to say that Britain should be a nation reserved for British people, I would be abused from all sides and possibly imprisoned. Needless to say, I would never utter such a dangerous remark.

      • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

        Tom Welsh,

        ” Isn’t it lovely to live in a free country, where you can say anything you like without fear of official reprisals or actual punishment?”

        Guess that was directed at Julian Assange – and – not me.


    • Reza

      James Cleverly abets genocide, calls *other people* terrorists while he is doing it and is not called out for it by a single journalist in his country. Britain 2024.

        • Tom Welsh

          Don’t forget “Brave New World”, which although published 16 years before “1984” describes, to my way of thinking, a much more modern and realistic picture of how tyranny is imposed in the 21st century. Of course Orwell was essentially writing satire, while Huxley was in deadly earnest.

          Juvenal, writing about 1900 years ago, was also spot on with his crack about “panem et circenses” (“bread and circuses”). If you expand that to pizza, McDonalds and all types of fast food, beer, and drugs, plus football, TV, etc., you have a recipe that performs right up to spec today. Mutatis mutandis, as Juvenal would say.

          • Bayard

            I think the “bread” in “bread and circuses” was the dole, i.e. bread given out free by the state, so the modern equivalent is really “the dole and football”.

  • Allan Howard

    Looks like the IDF are about to start filling the tunnels with sea water. And they’ve been destroying olive groves across Gaza, and will no doubt be destroying a lot more, and quite possibly ALL of them:

    On a picturesque beach in central Gaza, a mile north of the now-flattened Al-Shati refugee camp, long black pipes snake through hills of white sand before disappearing underground. An image released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) shows dozens of soldiers laying pipelines and what appear to be mobile pumping stations that are to take water from the Mediterranean Sea and hose it into underground tunnels. The plan, according to various reports, is to flood the vast network of underground shafts and tunnels Hamas has reportedly built and used to carry out its operations.

    During an average year, Gaza once produced more than 5,000 tons of olive oil from more than 40,000 trees. The fall harvest in October and November was long a celebratory season for thousands of Palestinians. Families and friends sang, shared meals, and gathered in the groves to celebrate under ancient trees, which symbolized “peace, hope, and sustenance.” It was an important tradition, a deep connection both to the land and to a vital economic resource. Last year, olive crops accounted for more than 10% of the Gazan economy, a total of $30 million.

    Of course, since October 7th, harvesting has ceased. Israel’s scorched earth tactics have instead ensured the destruction of countless olive groves. Satellite images released in early December affirm that 22% of Gaza’s agricultural land, including countless olive orchards, has been completely destroyed.

    • Coldish

      Allan Howard: thank you. I’ve read that farmers in the West Bank this autumn were also prevented – mostly by violent settlers, backed by the army – from harvesting their olive crops. Sorry I don’t have a link for that report, but it sounds war criminal to me.

      • Tom Welsh

        Those settlers – armed to the teeth, and willing to kill any number of Palestinian civilians on sight – are technically civilians themselves, and hence off-limits.

        The rules of war do not apply, IMHO, where a horde of violent colonists have set out to exterminate the indigenous people.

        • Johnny Conspiranoid

          “Those settlers – armed to the teeth, and willing to kill any number of Palestinian civilians on sight – are technically civilians themselves, and hence off-limits.”
          Are they not terrorists then? The PA would have the duty to wage war on them.

  • Suzanne Burrall

    “You hit it out of the park” (for us astute intellectuals) with this quote,

    “While the court was in session, Germany has announced it will intervene in the substantial case to support Israel. They argue explicitly that, as the world’s greatest perpetrator of genocide, they are uniquely placed to judge. It is in effect a copyright claim. They are protecting Germany’s intellectual property in the art of genocide. Perhaps they might in future license genocide, or allow Israel to continue genocide on a franchise basis.”

    Thank you, Craig, for your redeeming observational wit, incisiveness and humor, under irredeemable circumstances.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Ah do you mean the WW2 genocide or the Herero Genocide under Goering Sr? Or perhaps the Armenian Genocide with 800 German officers in the Ottoman military directing Krupp artillery and Mauser rifles to kill civilians?

      They have letters from the officers zealously eradicating „the threat“ and „Russian agents“.

      I suppose there are German legal minds that can see career enhancement in standing before the ICJ reviving German history whilst explaining Israeli failure to meet DIN standards on mass-murder!

      I mean, backing Azov in a Baerbock war against Russia and suspending the same clauses of the Verfassung as Hitler did in his Enabling Act, and dining on a regular basis between Cabinet and judges of the Constitutional Court, and funding Israel, and lifting the arms embargo on Saudi – capping it off by floating the idea of naturalisation ceremonies in Germany to include a pledge of loyalty to Israel !

      • Urban Fox

        Oh, bloody hell!

        Well in that case. Morgenthau planned nothing wrong, the Berlin wall really was an “anti-fascist barrier” and East Germany should exist in present tense.

        Furthermore Western “Greens” shouldn’t be allowed even in the general proximity of office. Not to say that the alternatives are anything worthy.

        There still has to be *some* standards.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Morgenthau’s father was US Ambassador in Turkey who made public the Armenian genocide and took photographs to show the world in July 1915.

        • Nota Tory Fanboy

          To be fair, The Green Party of England and Wales is the only UK party, it seems (at least with representation at Westminster), calling for an immediate ceasefire and stopping Israel from continuing to prosecute a genocide in Gaza.

          • Nota Tory Fanboy

            Obviously the SNP put forward a ceasefire motion (which IIUC Scottish Labour supported?) but I haven’t seen them say in as many words as the Greens that the UK must end complicity in the genocide Israel is prosecuting in Gaza

  • Paul Greenwood

    Raguan was truly awful.
    You failed to mention she was asked to slow down for translation. She was aggressive and alienating as if she were inviting personal assault. She was a disaster. Shaw failed to impress but at 76 he is beyond judicial retirement age, and clearly even barristers should think about dotage.

    He seemed to trade on past reputation rather than performance.

    I was exhilarated by S African lawyers especially Adila Hassim and T M who were intelligently forensic and modest – rather like that excellent female delegate at UN for Palestine – the one with PPE from Oxon – clear and precise linguistic Frank g of intellectual points sharpened and focused.

    The fact that S African lawyers have acted against the government, and Israel had lawyers obedient to Zion, displayed the failure to have any defence other than seek to discredit the prosecution. As lame as it comes.

  • harry law

    Many comments on this blog are angry that the Arab states have not done more for Gaza; I would agree. However, the ‘arc of resistance’ is not rushing headlong into action. Hezbollah in particular has confined its response to border skirmishes. These non-state actors are piling pressure on the Zionist regime and can in effect do more over time than the Arab states.
    In my opinion the Arab states are being threatened by US/Israel: for instance Saudi Arabia and the other Gulfies have huge investments, bonds, real estate and such [could be trillions] which can be frozen/stolen by the US – hell, they stole 300 billion dollars from Russian foreign reserves [and they have 6,000 nuclear weapons]. What can the Gulfies do?
    Then we have the Iraqis who had to put all their oil receipts [some 100 billion] into the US federal reserve. This was a condition forced upon them by a committee made up of coalition members and Iraqi appointees. When Trump was in power the Iraq parliament voted to remove US troops and to conclude deals with China over some oil fields; Trump said no way, and warned them the money the government needed on a monthly basis to keep the administration going would be withheld.
    These are some of the reasons the Arab states, whose citizens are so angry at the carnage going on in Gaza, are kept on a leash. The US are worse than the Mafia and would think nothing of killing anyone who interferes with its geopolitical machinations, especially when Israel is concerned.

    • Stevie Boy

      No-one wants WW3, which would be the inevitable outcome of a hasty, unthinking all out rush to war against the axis of evil. Every day, as the genocide continues, the USA, UK and Israel are shooting themselves in the feet. They are now seen by the rest of the world as the lepers they really are, hobbling around on their bloody stumps like Monty Python’s Black Knight. Their actions are hastening their demise – good riddance to them all.

  • Tatyana

    Mr Murray, you used the words ‘self-pity’ and said something about ‘self-importance’, so I thought maybe you need a friendly support.
    I’ll be most sincere in my words; I know anything less than the most sincere won’t convince you.
    Well, we do appreciate you. It’s not for the effort you make, it’s for who you are.
    There’s a thing about you, that makes you precious – you allow people to express many opinions not only those pleasing you, but all.
    The precious thing about you, Mr Murray, is that people may approve or disapprove of your views, and you still treat them all equally valuable.
    You’re Freedom of Speech live here on air.

  • Mark

    Whatever the outcome, I feel genuinely privileged to have this direct reporting from the epicentre of proceedings. Thanks so much for what you do Craig and please keep fighting for the causes that you (and I) believe in.

  • Sammy

    I really hope someone in the main stream media has the nerve to ask Regev/Levy the following questions, as they keep repeating in their interviews that Israel has no option other than to fight Hamas in order to (a) release the hostages, and (b) to protect Israelis from future attacks from Hamas who have promised more Oct 7 style attacks and from Hamas rockets:

    a) Its been over 100 days since Oct 7, but how many hostages have been rescued by IDF so far through bombing and annihilation of Gaza? Answer, at least 3 hostages killed by IDF (who were mistaken as Palestinians) and god knows how many dead in Israeli bombing. All hostages so far released were through negotiations and hostage exchange with Palestinians, including children, being held in Israeli prisons, many without charge! Doesn’t it show that negotiations/hostage exchange is the way to about securing release of Israeli hostages?

    b) Can’t future Oct 7 attacks be stopped by better security around the Gazan border rather than IDF being kept busy protecting illegal Israeli settlements in West Bank and Jerusalem? Is carpet bombing a generation, 1 million of whom are children, going to garner more support or less for Hamas or another entity who takes its place?

    In terms of the excuse that destroying Hamas infrastructure for launching rocket attacks on Israel, how many Israelis have been killed by those rocket attacks? The answer is a total of 24 people in past 20 years, including some Israeli soldiers. Is the current genocide a proportionate action for stopping the rocket attacks? Shouldn’t Israel pursue a two state solution instead to stop the rocket attacks?

    Its so easy to see through their lies/excuses for ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, yet nobody in the main stream media risks asking these straightforward questions, probably as they risk getting fired.

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