Middle East

Lawyer Seeks Iran's Help to Sue Israel Over Gaza Siege

Israeli soldiers stand in front of the Kerem Shalom Terminal on the southern border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on April 17, 2008. (Photo: Jack Guez / AFP-Getty Images)

In a dramatic plea made during a live broadcast of regional affairs debate program "Middle East Today" on international broadcaster PressTV, an American lawyer called on Tehran to support his bid to sue Israel for genocide against the Palestinians.

"I would like to propose here today on this program that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei give me the authority to sue Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague for inflicting genocide against the Palestinian people," said panelist Francis A. Boyle, professor of International Law.

Speaking Thursday evening on the phone from Champaign, Illinois, Boyle said, "I think that would be one way that the deadlock at the United Nations Security Council could be very easily broken and could shake up the American people and the European Union to the developing genocide being inflicted on the Palestinians in Gaza today."

Boyle was referring to the repeated use of the United States' veto at the Security Council to block any resolutions critical of its key ally in the Middle East.

The International Court of Justice was established in 1922 to provide a venue for one state to sue another, and Boyle is no stranger to The Hague.

"I was the person who filed the first lawsuit ever on genocide with the World Court on behalf of Bosnia against the rump Yugoslavia back in 1993. I won two court orders for Yugoslavia to cease and desist from committing genocide against the Bosnians," Boyle told "Middle East Today."

He said based on his knowledge, judgment, and experience he could do the same for Iran against Israel.

Boyle had previously petitioned Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat. "Despite my best efforts he did not give me the authority to file the lawsuit. I doubt very seriously that President [Mahmoud] Abbas will either. Therefore, I am turning to the Islamic Republic of Iran in my quest to save the Palestinians from extermination by Israel."

Boyle declined to comment on why Arafat didn't authorize the lawsuit, but informed sources suggested he may have been concerned over the tenuous legality of his young state, and that a lawsuit accusing Israel of genocide might have had negative implications for the peace process by alienating the United States.

Boyle responded by saying that for obvious reasons neither of these issues should be of any particular concern to Tehran.

Article II of the 1948 Genocide Convention, of which Iran is a signatory, defines genocide as acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. Clauses include: (A) Killing members of the group; (B) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; and (C) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction.

In his original petition to Arafat, Boyle wrote:

I am sure we can agree that Israel has indeed perpetrated the international crime of genocide against the Palestinian people. The purpose of this lawsuit would be to demonstrate that undeniable fact to the entire World. These World Court legal proceedings will prove to the entire World and to all of history that what the Nazis did to the Jews a generation ago is legally similar to what the Israelis are currently doing to the Palestinian people today: genocide.

The Israeli government has ruthlessly implemented a systematic and comprehensive military, political and economic campaign with the intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnic and racial group known as the Palestinian People.

In the event Boyle receives an appointment from Tehran and repeats his Bosnia success at the World Court, then the issue will be referred to the Security Council for endorsement.

However, with the United States' record of vetoing any resolutions critical of Israel, Boyle expects no different reaction this time. He told "Middle East Today" that it would be a mistake to underestimate the influence of the Jewish and Zionist lobby in the United States, but said they are not invincible.

"We did get President [Ronald] Reagan to open a diplomatic dialogue with the Palestine Liberation Organization back in 1988 that still continues as of today, despite the massive opposition of the Zionist lobby here in the United States," he said.

"If the U.S. uses its power of veto then under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution the case will go to the [United Nations] General Assembly. And Israel will then be legally forced to cease and desist its destructive actions against the Palestinian people."

Boyle told "Middle East Today" that the real purpose of his appearance on the program was to extend a respectful request to President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei to issue him the authority to sue Israel at the World Court to stop genocide in Gaza where the United Nations said on Thursday it was terminating all humanitarian services to the people of Gaza.

"The Israelis know what they are doing, and they know it's illegal," Boyle said, "And that is really what we have to focus on."

View the Worldpress Desk’s profile for Chris Gelken.

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