Last week, as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a provisional ruling in South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel, it sent an authoritative message to the world: Allegations of genocide against Israel are not meritless. Notwithstanding Hamas’s unlawful conduct that started the war last October, the court clearly indicated an overwhelming disapproval of the way that Israel has been fighting the war—stating, notably, that Palestinians face a “real and imminent risk” to their right to be protected from acts of genocide.
The ruling issued by the ICJ ordered six provisional measures including for Israel to refrain from acts under the Genocide convention, prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to genocide, and take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.
“The solution to me is axiomatic. The only way to avoid war is to avoid it. Arguing about technicalities is nothing more than the comical discussion of how to eat a hardboiled egg; namely, utter superfluity.”
February 4th, 2024
Hilton Head Island, SC
I may be misconstruing your latest email to me but I appear to have hurt your feelings by having dismissed the debate about war as superfluous. Without recalling my exact words (not because I wish to be evasive but because anything I said is irrelevant), I confess that your perception is not entirely without merit. From my perspective, watching the debate unfold was reminiscent of the first bullfight I saw in Barcelona in about 1964 when I was 16 years of age. Upsetting in a word despite the glamour, alleged technical skill and associated bravado. In short I have no truck with violence or the community and assembly of interest it often attracts. It is to me a summary manifestation of man’s animal instinct which however tolerable as natural and thus imperative does nothing to relieve me of my discredit. The debate in my mind entirely misses the point. And I flatter myself to believe I am correct because nothing has changed over the centuries, including the right or wrong of either side, religion, economy, race or whatever other characterization is employed to fuel the so-called war machine.
My late father was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) by King George VI. My father was the commanding officer of a Hudson aircraft bomber devoted to German submarine reconnaissance. If I understand the narrative correctly (one by the way which I NEVER discussed with my father; rather which I read about in books or overheard from other veterans) my father’s aircraft located and bombed a German submarine in the North Atlantic Ocean. I suspect – though I obviously do not know – that the submarine was loaded with young German men probably of an age with father (who was born in 1918). Assuming this bombing took place in 1944, my father was then 26 years of age. After my father’s plane successfully bombed the German submarine (and the submarine appeared to be bobbing or whatever submarines do when bombed) someone on board the Hudson suggested they fly down for a closer look. When they did so, the submarine retaliated and shot the Hudson out of the air. It of course plummeted into the North Atlantic Ocean. The men on the plane took turns getting in and out of the dinghy because it was too small for them all. Three of them died as a result. From what I can tell the submarine sank with all on board. Never was there any suggestion of German survivors. My father and his crew were rescued nine hours later by the British.
In the result it all paints an immediate and unpleasant picture. I have throughout my 75 years always speculated that my father never fully recovered from that particular incident notwithstanding appearances and medal of honour. It shames me to think murder is somehow congratulated and tolerated for whatever possible particle of reason one might speciously suggest, contrive or harbour either directly or indirectly. And I most certainly needn’t have the added ammunition of a law degree to convince me so. By contrast I have by marriage in my family association with those (Polish) who suffered grievously and heinously at the hands of the Germans. I realize any suggestion of sympathy for the Germans is wanting in that respect. But I have never been able to estrange myself from the deceit imposed upon those young minions to encourage them to murder; the same application which seemingly contaminated my own father and his colleagues. I still find it hard to think of my father as a murderer. It too might constitute a similar debate about whether Israel men are murderers or their Gaza counterparts or any of us for that matter.
So I hope you can see that my apparent knee-jerk reaction to the debate arose not from any one of those involved, rather from a deep-seated misgiving I and perhaps my father too have never recovered from. I feel it would be entirely loathsome of me to refrain from argument myself, though I prefer to think my argument is not, “What is the question?” but “What is the answer?”
TO: Daniel Arthur Laprès
Cabinet d’avocats – Law Firm
Avocat à la Cour d’Appel de Paris, Membre du
Barreau de Paris
Barrister and Solicitor, Member of the
Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
222 boulevard Saint-Germain 75007 Paris France
Telephone: (331)-53325077, Fax: (331)-45480858
Web site: www.lapres.net
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