To: UN Secretary General
Mr Ban Ki-Moon
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
Tel. 212-963-7162, Fax. 212-963-7055 Thursday, January 8, 2009 /EMYM
The Honorable Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon!
Subject: Hamas leadership to be brought to trial for War Crimes
Your Excellency! We, the Take-A-Pen international public advocacy organization, request decisive action regarding a severe case of war crimes.
In the recent years and in the present ongoing military conflict the Hamas terrorist organization ruling in Gaza has committed a large number of diverse war crimes, as defined by International Law.
The form of warfare the Hamas movement inflicted both on the Gaza population and on Israel has caused much suffering and heavy losses and damage both to Israel's civilian population and to the entire Gaza Strip. The Hamas regime has fired 6,300 rockets targeting Israeli civilians. In Gaza the Hamas stored rockets and other weaponry and ammunition primarily in residential areas; in houses, mosques, and schools. Thousands of rocket and mortar grenade attacks were launched from within these areas, obliging Israeli military response which inevitably led to great suffering of the population and damage to property.
According to International Law any source of fire on civilian targets is a legitimate target itself. If that source of fire was located among civilians it still remains a legitimate target; and if that vicinity invites fire in return, causing casualties among the local population, these casualties are the full and sole responsibility of the party placing them deliberately in harm's way. In this case Hamas is fully responsible both for the deliberately targeted Israeli civilian casualties and for the civilian casualties of its own population used by Hamas as a human shield.
Your Excellency, Mister Secretary General! We demand that the Hamas leadership be brought to international justice without delay, and tried for the following war crimes:
- Shooting rockets and grenades purposely on civilian targets in Israel.
- Shooting these rockets from within Palestinian civilian compounds such as schools or in close proximity of hospitals or residential buildings.
- Storing weapons and ammunition in schools, mosques, public offices and buildings and the sort.
- Regularly using their own civilians as human shield; particularly children, often forced to be in the most dangerous spots.
- During fighting with the Israeli forces the Hamas fighters, who wore uniforms at the beginning, changed to civilian clothing or IDF uniforms and continued to fight.
- Hamas fighters have routinely hid among civilians in hospitals
- To the kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, Hamas did not provide the most elementary rights of war prisoners, such as information given to the other side and Red Cross visits, rights Israel grants even to convicted Hamas terrorists.
- Children and minors were routinely used by Hamas for military tasks, both battle and auxiliary. The Hamas regime has also educated, indoctrinated and trained children and minors to murderous hatred, to will and techniques to kill.
- The Hamas leadership embezzled aid money received for the peaceful needs of Gaza's population and used these extensive funds for war efforts; weaponry, military equipment and constructions, and an enormous military build-up.
A failure to prosecute the Hamas leadership in International Court would, no doubt, lead to their war crimes growingly become normative behavior, and to more of the same humanitarian catastrophes, to millions of victims of oppression and killings undefended by the UN.
Mr Secretary General, we would appreciate your considered reply, which, with your permission, we would publish, along with this letter. We shall follow your relevant activities with great honor, high expectations, and deep moral support.