Ideals for sale: shameful military agreement between Spain and Israel

30.10.2009 - Madrid - Pressenza IPA

“Our politicians are weak and cowardly when subjected to foreign pressures, they support laws that protect criminals and negate the inalienable rights of the victims. These accomplices to grave crimes against humanity should look at themselves in the mirror and think…”, the respected Gervasio Sánchez wrote yesterday concerning the Spanish Parliament’s decision to do away with universal jurisdiction.

As he makes clear in his article, the Spanish courts’ investigation of cases of human rights violations in Chile, Argentina, Ruanda and Tibet was tolerated, but when they attempted to approach the brutal reality of the Gaza Strip, their days were numbered.

“The bomb, whose expansive wave has managed to halt the quest for international justice, was dropped by Judge Fernando Andreu when on 20th January this year he decided to open an investigation against seven Israeli culprit politicians and military men for war crimes”.

Having the slightest notion of the workings of power suffices to imagine the battery of pressures that the Zapatero executive must have suffered since then, thanks to the Government of Israel as much as parties closer to home. These are pressures that, as already shown, have paid off with the end of so called universal jurisdiction and with the military cooperation agreement that Israel and Spain will sign this week.

Without doubt this agreement means another turn of the screw in the criticism expressed by Gervasio Sánchez. Now we are not only talking of “weakness and cowardice” – taking a step backwards, looking away while crimes against humanity are being committed – but something even more serious: active collaboration with an occupational army as is the Tsahal.

An army, whose dreadful record of human rights violations occur on such a continuous and daily basis at the checkpoints (like their military actions against Gaza, now called Summer rain or Molten lead), that they consistently have the extraordinary and cowardly achievement of more than half their victims being women and children (as we exhaustively document in this ground-level blog). An army, that sits on the Nahal Oz border crossing to block the Strip’s civilian population from access to gasoline, food and medicine as a collective punishment, violating the principals of Humanitarian Law and basic decency (the report published recently by Amnesty International concerning access to water was devastating).

Next week’s handshake between Zapatero and Ehud Barak – who according to the Goldstone report, and the common opinion of all of us who closely follow operation Molten lead, has sufficient evidence against him to be convicted for war crimes – resonates not only “weakness and cowardice” but also the bargain sale of the ideals that the president so often claims to defend. It resonates also with those whose mouths were bursting with moral indignation upon attacking the Government of Aznar and his delirious neoconservatives – well as in previous agreements of this kind it is the arms industry who will inevitably benefit from the interchange of technology and new business opportunities with Israel.

This handshake will demonstrate that in politics there are few spectacles more shameful than the left betraying the ideals that legitimize it.

From Hermán Zin’s blog in the daily journal 20minutos.

*(Translated by [Rupert James Spedding](rupert.spedding@gmail.com))*

Categories: Europe, International, International issues, Opinions

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