All of WILPF along with most of the world have been appalled at what has been occurring in Gaza. I have been following it and working closely with lawyers from a variety of backgrounds and geographic locations to try to see if there is a way forward that is not so blinded by politics and economic interests so that it fails to address the real issues of the violation of international law which has lead to death, injury and destruction.
There has to be a more civilised way for the world to organise itself and there is, it is called law and states must uphold it. At present they do not.
It has been brought to my attention by some WILPF members that we should promote the legal perspectives on the conflict. I have read the following two articles with great interest and would like to share their perspectives.
Firstly, the Human Rights Watch Q and A explains the various elements of law, which are implicated in armed conflict. Secondly, the Legal Opinion, is the analysis of how that applies to the situation in Gaza and you will note is endorsed by some of the most eminent lawyers in the world.
I agree with what the articles say and we are now ready to move to addressing the issue of how to assert that there is a legal obligation on States to take legal action when another State is engaged in attacks on a civilian population. We then have to engage on what must be done to ameliorate the situation inside Gaza and ensure that the international community act on their responsibilities.
In the interim, I would like to encourage everyone and especially the WILPF Sections to lobby their governments to encourage the Palestinians to use the International Criminal Court as part of an accountability strategy, which resorts to law rather than violence. At present the international community are coercing them not to, in the spurious notion that it would impede peace negotiations.
The multilateral system has been abused too long, we need to reclaim it and assert its original purpose: to maintain international peace and security. International law can help us to do that.