Saturday, April 19, 2008

Justice for Qana victims

Twelve years ago, on April 18, 1996, I was at work listening to the radio when I heard that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had attacked the compound in Qana. I rushed home and frantically called Lebanon. My brother told me the unbearable news: my boys were dead.

A U.N. investigation concluded that it was unlikely the strike on the U.N. compound was a mistake, as the IDF had claimed. The U.N. General Assembly condemned the attack as a violation of international humanitarian law, found that Israel should compensate Lebanon for the destruction, and has repeatedly adopted resolutions calling on Israel to bear the cost to the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon. These resolutions have gone unheeded.

Since that day 12 years ago, I -- along with survivors of the Qana attack -- have sought justice for the many lives lost -- lives of the young and old, of children and grandmothers. We have pled for those responsible to account for their actions. We went to the United Nations, to no avail. We sought justice in the U.S. courts -- unsuccessfully. Three years ago, Qana survivors brought a case with the help of a U.S. human rights organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights, on behalf of the injured survivors and all of us whose children, parents, and spouses were killed in the attack. The suit against retired IDF Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon brought while he was a fellow in Washington, D.C., was dismissed because the court found that Ya'alon was shielded by Israel's immunity. Where do we turn next?

Full article here

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