Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Israel won't be included in new genocide probes

Israel won't be included in new genocide probes | Jerusalem Post
The newly formed Genocide Prevention Task Force indicated Tuesday night that it will not be examining whether Israel has committed genocide in the West Bank and Gaza despite earlier statements that it would be addressing the subject.

The task force of prominent former US officials was announced at a press conference earlier Tuesday and will be working over the next year to help the American government best respond to and prevent genocide.

Though one of the co-chairs, former US Defense Secretary William Cohen, originally said that the situation in the West Bank and Gaza would be considered, the task force later clarified that such an inquiry would be beyond the scope of the panel.

"Its task is not to determine which situations, past or present, including the West Bank and Gaza, constitute genocide, but to develop policy recommendations that enable the United States to prevent future genocides from occurring," Cohen, along with co-chair Madeleine Albright, said in a statement issued Tuesday night.
The task force will look at specific areas of action, including early warnings, preventative diplomacy, work with international institutions, and military intervention, and make recommendations in December 2008.

"The world has said that genocide is unacceptable, and yet genocide continues and mass killings continue," Albright said. "We have to find an answer before the vow of 'Never again!' is once again betrayed."
Arthur Berger, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum's senior adviser for external affairs, said that he did not expect Israel to be singled out or dwelled on by the task force; instead, he thought the panel would focus on places like Rwanda and Darfur, where there was a large consensus that genocide had taken place.

"They're really going to look in the broadest possible way at genocide and mass atrocities, and how the US can lead in a moral way to actually save lives in the future," Berger said.

In her presentation, Albright said that the "frustration" of situations like that of Darfur had contributed to the creation of the task force.
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