Gaza: New video message from leading artists on war crimes accountability
Posted: 16 February 2009
'There's almost a conspiracy of silence over war crimes in Gaza' - Kate Allen
Acclaimed actors, directors and other artists are spearheading a new drive for accountability over war crimes committed during the Israel-Gaza conflict.
In a new video featuring the former Monty Python star and author Terry Jones, as well as Annie Lennox, Thandie Newton, Alexei Sayle, Mike Figgis, Katharine Hamnett and Jason Flemyng, the artists voice their support for Amnesty International's ongoing efforts to secure justice for both Palestinians and Israelis who suffered gross human rights abuses during the conflict.
The artists in the video also make an impassioned call for Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza, an action that Amnesty has denounced as 'collective punishment of Gaza's civilian population'.
Speaking in the video the film director Mike Figgis says:
'The targeting in particular of civilians, for whatever reason, let's be clear about this, this is a war crime.'
Meanwhile, Terry Jones says:
"Those within Hamas and the Israeli government must be held responsible, even if it means arresting senior people.'
Amnesty International and other human rights and humanitarian organisations have amassed significant evidence of war crimes committed by the Israeli Defence Forces and by armed Palestinian groups during the 22-day conflict. Amnesty researchers found undeniable evidence of war crimes, including the use of civilians as 'human shields', the indiscriminate firing of rockets into civilians areas, and the IDF's use of 'white phosphorous' shells in residential areas of Gaza.
Amnesty is now pressing for an independent international investigation into these violations of international law, with the perpetrators being brought to justice in fair trials.
Another supporter of the effort to tackle war crimes in Gaza is the former international Development Secretary, Clare Short MP, who said this week:
'It's depressing but predictable that, as things stand, with little word from the UN Security Council, no-one looks likely to be held responsible for the wiping out of hundreds of civilian lives in the three-week Gaza war.'
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
'The more people that speak out about war crimes committed during the Gaza conflict the better and it's vitally important that the UK government breaks its own silence on this. There's almost a conspiracy of silence over war crimes in Gaza that's totally unacceptable. Speaking out is one way of trying to stop this horrible cycle of violence beginning all over again.'