A World Without Law

By William A. Cook

Consider the consequences of the Israeli PR blitz that is now blanketing the world as its defiant answer to the United Nations’ authorized investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity by the state of Israel, known as the Goldstone Report. Ironically, the existence of the United Nations as an internationally accepted body charged with protection of all world citizens through its Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the continued acceptance by its members of the Geneva Conventions, resulted in part from the actions of the Nazi state against the Jews.

Now the Jewish state of Israel, in a manner analogous to their situation in occupied Europe, have been charged with crimes against a people who have no state and no defense except international law as incorporated by the UN through the International Court of Justice. Should the Israeli blitz effectively neutralize the actions of the 192 nations that constitute the UN by forcing the United States to veto any action that would result from the Goldstone Report, it will have removed the rule of law from the international arena. Israel will have made it clear that it is subject to no law but its own.

Consider the consequences of this act. The UN could not with any logic bring any nation into compliance with its Resolutions as George W. Bush did with Saddam’s Iraq. This fact makes graphic the hypocrisy of the US and Israel as they condemn North Korea, Syria, and Iran for defying the UN, while both of these nations defy the UN as a matter of course. The UN would lose all power and influence as an international congregation of equal states the purpose of which is rule by law where all member states are expected to abide by the same laws. Should the US cave to Israel’s demands, the nations of the world will understand that the UN, as currently constituted, with a General Assembly where all members have a vote and a Security Council where six nations have veto power to cancel action that the rest of the assemblage agrees upon, has one significant flaw—a nation that is one of the six or a nation that can control the votes of one of the six can corrupt the equitable action of the UN.

Consider the consequences to the rule of law if a drug cartel should command such overwhelming military force and command such wealth that it could defy the courts of a state and operate with impunity regardless of the death and destruction it inflicted. The consequences to the average citizen are incalculable: personal security vanishes, protection of property vanishes, individual rights vanish, hope, expectations, dreams vanish replaced by dejection, depression, and despair. If all citizens cannot depend on the rule of law, the value of human life ceases to exist. What is true for the citizen of a state applies equally to a nation in a world of nations where some are mighty and powerful and some are small and defenseless.

Consider the first action of the righteous person who is alleged to have committed a crime; demand justice before the courts to clear their name. If no guilt exists, present the truth to the world. If Israel has a right to the land of Palestine, prove it in the international courts. If Israel has a right to defend itself, provide the true legal borders of Israel so the international community can understand what it is defending. If the UN fact finding committee was not established in accordance with UN policies and procedures, if it did not demand equitable treatment of both parties, if any committee member had questionable motives or provable biases, appeal the committee’s report at the United Nations.

If the parallel findings of B’Tselem, Amnesty International, the Red Cross and the Council of Human Rights are equally flawed and biased against Israel, take them to court and prove that fact. If Hamas is a terrorist organization acting in defiance of international law, prove it by bringing Hamas before the courts, not declare it a terrorist organization because Israel and the United States say it is.

If Hamas has hurled thousands of “rockets” at Israel, defend the right to hurl thousands of state of the art missiles in return and invade a people locked behind walls with tanks and armored ordinance while the sky above is filled with F-16s, armed helicopters and drones, and the sea churns with destroyers that shell Gaza and its people unable to escape the devastation and chaos, and present the logic of that action before the international courts. If Hamas is guilty of causing the atrocities of the Christmas invasion of Gaza, present that argument to the courts and show how an imprisoned people can provide the necessary food, water, electricity, medicines, infrastructure and employment for the prisoners when they are surrounded by the Israeli IDF. If Israel is innocent, it has nothing to fear, after all, it is a member of an organization of its peers that accepted Israel as a member in 1949.

How horrible a thought that the Jews, who suffered so grievously at the hands of a ruthless and indifferent power, should have had no recourse to justice as determined by the Nuremberg Courts, the creation of a homeland in Palestine, and equal membership in the organization designed to maintain that justice for all, if that state, ruled by a ruthless and indifferent power, should through its insidious means make null and void that justice for all. The power of the United Nations rests on a simple premise, the rights of every nation and all people to equal treatment under the law. No military force answers to the UN; it can field no army, it can imprison no nation, it can destroy no member state. It exists by virtue of moral persuasion, by mutual trust, and acknowledged and defined respect and dignity of all life.   

-William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California and author of Tracking Deception: Bush’s Mideast Policy. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: cookb@ulv.edu

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