The Crime of Silence

In my previous blog posting, I introduced the Russell Tribunal on Palestine – Cape Town session.

“The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) is an international citizen-based Tribunal of conscience created in response to the demands of civil society (NGOs, charities, unions, faith-based organisations) to inform and mobilise public opinion and put pressure on decision makers. In view of the failure to implement the Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the failure to implement resolution ES-10/15 confirming the ICJ Opinion, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 July 2004, and the Gaza events of December 2008 – January 2009, committees were established in different countries to promote and sustain a citizen’s initiative in support of the rights of the Palestinian people.

The RToP is imbued with the same spirit and espouses the same rigorous rules as those inherited from the Tribunal on Vietnam (1966-1967), which was established by the eminent scholar and philosopher Bertrand Russell, and the second Russell Tribunal on Latin America (1974-1976), organized by the Lelio Basso International Foundation for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples. The tribunal has no legal status; it operates as a court of the people.

The Israeli Government was invited to present its case before the Tribunal but chose not to exercise this right and provided no answer to correspondence from the RToP.” ( taken from the middle east monitor article quoted below)

“May this tribunal prevent the crime of silence”
Bertrand Russell, London, 13 November 1966

The tribunal is now complete and the findings can be accessed at http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/resources/reports-and-publications/3042-the-russel-tribunal-on-palestine-cape-town-session.

Also on that website is an informative and indepth interview with  Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  This map below will help you to understand where the West Bank and Gaza are located in relation to Israel.

white is Israel, green on right is the 1967 West Bank, green on lower left is Gaza

 

I strongly encourage you to read both articles.

One of EAPPI’s roles is that of advocacy.  Speaking out for those who are oppressed.  Both of the above articles speak clearly about the issues that are heavily contributing towards the deep hardship and pain we see on a daily basis.  As politicians sit in high priced offices and 5 star hotels, discussing, debating, and delaying taking a firm stand against the human rights injustices that are so prevalent here -and in so doing fail to meaningfully address those injustices –  humanity suffers.  Yesterday we visited 3 villages.  As we sat in their tents, listening intently to their stories, it was clear that humanitarian needs are intensifying and are even greater then when we arrived 2 and 1/2 months ago.  It was heart wrenching to hear these stories. We cannot be silent  -we as EA’s, and anyone else who has an awareness of this reality.  As Christians, as followers of Jesus – the one who lived us his life standing with and for the poor and oppressed, we must speak out.  As people of conscience, regardless of our faith tradition, we must speak out.  It is imperative that we speak on behalf of those who are hurting. As Terry Fox once said “Somewhere the suffering must stop.”

Peace, Salaam, Shalom

Jan

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