French Jews Call For Prosecuting ?Criminal? Sharon

Hadi Yahmed

In an unprecedented event, a thousand French Jews have urged to have Israeli Premiere Ariel Sharon prosecuted for his “criminal policies” against Palestinians, and supported the notion of a Palestinian state with occupied east Jerusalem as its capital.

Jewish demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians

Jewish demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians

In a strongly-worded statement entitled “Another Jewish Voice”, the signatories said they are against the oppressive practices by the Israeli army in Palestinian-ruled areas. “Israelis will never enjoy peace or even a future for their country unless they set on the negotiating table and settle a compromise with the Palestinians,” read the statement, signed by politicians, doctors and legalists.

It warned that Israeli actions against the Palestinians “could end up with their perpetrators standing before the International Criminal Court”. Belgium’s highest court ruled on February 12 that Sharon and a former army commander, could face war crimes charges once he leaves office. Palestinian survivors of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres also attempted last year to indict Sharon, who was then a minister of defence, for “war crimes” committed against them almost 20 years ago.

The statement carried the French Jews? denial that the Israeli government should act on their behalf and their backing to efforts for “realizing peace, justice and equality in the face of the criminal policy of Sharon?s government”. They also took aims at control of the French political scene by the pro-Israel extreme rightist groups. “These groups point a finger of anti-Semitism at their rivals when it comes to criticizing the Israeli government or demanding it to comply with U.N. resolutions,” read the fiery statement.

The Jewish figures called for the holocaust not to “be exploited in any way, or be used for justifying any similar persecution”. It also slammed the Palestinian attacks against Israelis and the Palestinian powers? opposition to the existence of Israel.

Four Basic Principles

The Jewish figures underpinned in their statement four basic principles for peace to prevail between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Palestinians should have the right to restore their land occupied by the most powerful army in the Middle East,” read the first principle. “They also have the right to enjoy all of their rights entitled under the U.N. resolutions, including the establishment of their own state”. The third principle calls for Jerusalem - now occupied by Israel - to be a capital shared by both Israel and this coming Palestinian state. “Fourth, the Palestinians have the right to seek the return of their refugees at a time of negotiations on their return to homeland or fair compensations to be offered in return for those who wish so”.

The Jewish figures affirmed that they adopt such principles, as they themselves had suffered persecution. Many of them said that they belong to families, whose members were victims of the Nazi holocaust. The appeal came a few days after nine Palestinians were killed, including two children and two teenagers, and about 80 injured during the latest Israeli incursion in Rafah. Some 1,500 people were left homeless as a result of this several days aggression.

Published Friday, October 17th, 2003 - 08:26am GMT

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Hadi Yahmed

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