There are new developments in Middle East politics, and suddenly it may be a whole new ball game, as some Americans like to say.
Even the Washington Post belatedly reported this week that “the spotlight has been cast anew on Sharon and the massacre [at Sabra and Shatila] by ‘The Accused,’ a lengthy documentary broadcast last week by the BBC. A number of prominent figures, including a former U.S. envoy to the Middle East, suggest in the film that [Ariel] Sharon should or could be convicted for war crimes.”
On Monday June 18, the day after the documentary aired, three lawyers filed a complaint on behalf of 28 plaintiffs and witnesses, all survivors of the Sabra and Shatila massacres, before an investigating judge in Brussels, Belgium. Thus the first case was formally opened against Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister of Israel, on counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
On Friday June 22, New York-based Human Rights Watch called for a criminal investigation of Sharon.
Then, on Wednesday June 27, a Lebanese lawyer, May Khansa, filed a lawsuit against the Israeli prime minister in Lebanon charging that he committed the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps in 1982.
The consequences of the legal actions against Sharon, who was reprimanded by Israel’s Kahane Commission for his role in the massacre, and the negative publicity they are almost certain to generate are potentially devastating for extremist Zionists’ expansionist goals.
If additional courts in Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere accept cases and issue indictments on charges of war crimes against Sharon,U.S. support for Israeli excesses will certainly begin to evaporate. Theremarkably successful and decades-long Zionist mass media campaign designed to hyper-sensitize audiences to the Holocaust and Nazi war crimes has had at least one unintended consequence–it has also sensitized vast audiences to war crimes generally and to atrocities committed against non-Jews. U.S. politicians, even those perfectly willing to do business as usual with the most blood-thirsty of Zionist warlords as long as public awareness of his crimes could be kept to a minimum, will flee Sharon like rats leaving a sinking ship– if and when cases against Sharon are successful and Zionist operatives within mainstream media are no longer able obscure and minimize his monstrous criminality.
U.S. support for Israel will begin deteriorate significantly even before a guilty finding if a sufficient number of cases are brought against Sharon and there is reason to believe that some of them are likely to succeed–ifmainstream media reportage represents that eventuality realistically to U.S. audiences.
No U.S. politician will long stand still at the prospect of being linked to a widely- recognized and legally-certified war criminal–not even a Jewish war criminal–for doing so would necessarily put even the most successful political career in grave danger. If the recently-filed Belgian and Lebanese suits go forward and others join them, the result could very well be the most substantial blow ever against both the heretofore impregnable “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel, which has always been astonishingly disadvantageous to the USA, and what Prof. Edward Said has called “the iron wall” in U.S. mainstream media that admits no substantive and effective criticism of Israel and Zionism.
This observer’s examination of recent legal and political developments in Europe suggests that America’s European allies are increasingly restless with what they regard as American high-handedness in any number of areas. Though it has not made headlines internationally, the U.N. high court decided on Wednesday June 27 against the U.S. in a case brought by Germany in behalf of two German nationals executed in the U.S. more than a year ago. U.S. authorities did not notify German consular authorities of the arrest of the German nationals, and the two,later convicted of a murder committed during a bank robbery, were denied access to German consular assistance. The U.S. has apologized, but the German government is saying, in effect, “That’s not enough.” In the wake of the Bush administration’s surprisingly inept handing of the Kyoto Accords, the announcement of plans to scrap the existing nuclear arms control agreements in favor of a missile defense shield, and in a long-delayed response to perhaps the most glaring, galling, destabilizing, and long-running of all U.S. hypocrisies, consistent U.S. blocking of all U.N. efforts to bring Israeli criminality under control, U.S. allies in Europe and elsewhere are now actively seeking safe ways to signal their growing displeasure and alarm. The role America’s European allies played, or didn’t play, in U.S. exclusion last month from the seat it had held from the day of the creation of the U.N. humanrights commission, was no accident. Nor was U.S. exclusion from a U.N. group that oversees drug policy matters.
If European and other governments can withstand the pressures thatthe U.S. and Israel are sure to apply, and the cases against Sharon go forward, it could well be that the world will witness a truly rare event in the annals of legal history, the sitting prime minister of a supposed democracy convicted of war crimes. While, sadly, it is not terribly unusual for national leaders to succumb to the temptation to abuse theirpower and commit war crimes, it is most unusual for a supposed democracy to elect as its national leader a man previously, in effect, convicted of war crimes by his own country’s government.
Where such hubris rules, can nemesis be far behind?
Israelis, and their all-powerful American supporters, would be welladvised to take a look over their shoulders.
Freelance Investigative Journalist and Commentator Michael Gillespie writes about Politics and Media for Media Monitors Network (MMN). His work also appears frequently in the popular Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.