From The Australian Jewish News of 21/8/09: "Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said her recent trip to Israel (see my 29/5/09 post Her Brilliant Career) vindicated the position she took earlier this year on the war in Gaza. Speaking to The AJN... Gillard, who was acting prime minister at the time, said she correctly emphasised Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Gaza. '[My trip to Israel] reinforced in me that the judgements we made at the time were the right judgements', Gillard said. 'We, as a nation, have always been very strong on supporting Israel's right to defend itself and to seek security in the region. When you've got a circumstance where rockets continue to be fired at Israeli communities, then the Israeli government is going to react'." (Gillard: trip to Israel vindicated Government stance on Gaza)
Gillard's continued parroting of the Israeli mantra of self-defence is either totally cynical or betrays an abysmal ignorance of international law. The following data is culled from the paper, Gaza: Not a War of Self-Defence, by international law expert (School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London) Victor Cattan (humanrights-geneva.info, 19/1/09):-
1) An occupying power cannot, under international law (Chatham House Principles of International Law on the Use of Force in Self-Defence), invoke self-defence against an attack from those it occupies. (I say occupying power because, despite its September 2005 withdrawal, by controlling Gaza's entry and exit points, its airspace and territorial waters, Israel merits this description under international law.) Rather, Israel's 27/12/08 attack on Gaza was merely an act of aggression of the kind outlawed by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (1945).
2) Nor can Israel rely on Article 51 of the United Nations Charter to argue that it had the right to defend itself against an "armed attack." The International Court of Justice (ICJ) distinguishes between a "frontier incident" and a military action having sufficient "scale and effect" as to constitute an "armed attack." Moreover, Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza cannot be viewed separately from Israeli attacks on Gaza. 11 Israeli deaths from September 2005 to December 2008 have to be seen in the context of 1,250 Palestinian deaths for the same period.
3) Nor should it be forgotten that Israel violated a ceasefire which had been in effect since June 2008, by killing 6 Gaza Palestinians on 4/11/08. This led to retaliatory rocket and mortar fire, resulting in 1 Israeli death in the week prior to Israel's "act of aggression" against Gaza on 27/12/08.
4) Nor can that "act of aggression" (27/12/08-18/1/09) qualify as self-defence because, according to an ICJ ruling on the use of force in self-defence to repel an "armed attack," said force must be necessary, proportionate and in conformity with international humanitarian law.
5) It goes without saying, but can never be said often enough these days, that all colonised peoples, including the Palestinians, have been accorded, by UNGA resolution 2649, the right to restore their right of self-determination "by any means at their disposal."
Ex-Labor leader and Gillard mate, Mark Latham, who used to think she should head up the party, now has this to say about her: "Over the years I have received tender messages from Gillard saying how much she misses me in Canberra... One of them concerned her study tour of the US, sponsored by the American government in 2006 - or to use her moniker - 'a CIA re-education course'... She promised 'to catch up when I'm back from the US and I'll show you my CIA-issued ankle holster'. 'I never got to see her ankles or her holster, but I will say this: you have to hand it to those guys in Washington... Within the space of 2 years they converted her from a highly cynical critic of all matters American into yet another foreign policy sycophant'." (Latham turns on 'brainwashed' Gillard, Christian Kerr, The Australian, 20/8/09)
Ditto for the guys in Jerusalem.