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Reason for Hope and Despair in Palestine

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The Turkish newspaper Sabah said the accused Israelis will be arrested if they ever enter Turkish territory. Ankara's Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, expressed his "government's determination to defend the rights of Turkish citizens."

Whether an Istanbul court will, in fact, indict remains to be seen. It has until about June 8 to decide. Reports suggest Washington is applying heavy pressure to protect Israel.

Haaretz said sources "speculated that Ankara might be planning to use the indictment (to) pressur(e) Congress to approve the sale of armed American drones to Turkey."

Obama approved the sale. Congress balked. At issue is Turkey's hostility to Israel.

Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekinci seeks 10 "consecutive life sentences." It's for nine deaths plus another victim still in coma.

Charges included voluntary manslaughter, attempted voluntary manslaughter, intentional injury, incitement to assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, abduction or confiscation of maritime vessels, property damage, false arrest, and mistreatment of prisoners.

The indictment covers 144 pages. Its based on 600 testimonies, including from 490 passengers. Relatives of those killed were interviewed. Eye witnesses are most credible. It's hard refuting what they said. In fact, they corroborated each others' accounts.

Israel repeatedly commits atrocities like the Mavi Marmara massacre. Cast Lead was the most egregious since the 1967 Six Day War. Both constituted premeditated lawlessness. Crimes of war and against humanity were committed.

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Nuremberg chief prosecutor Robert Jackson called them the "supreme international crime against peace." Convicted Nazis were hanged. No Israeli ever was ever held to account. 

Senior officials especially are culpable and left free to kill again with impunity. It's long past time that ended. Whether Turkey follows through remains to be seen.

Prosecuting and imprisoning high Israeli officials is crucial. Henceforth others will feel vulnerable. So will their US counterparts. 

Ending their impunity is vital. Expect it eventually. Israeli officials know it. So far their behavior hasn't changed. Universal jurisdiction (UJ) leaves them vulnerable.

UJ is a well established principle. It holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore. They include genocide, crimes of war and against humanity. Like America and key NATO partners, Israel is guilty multiples times over.

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UJ permits nations to investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when countries of residence don't, won't, or can't for any reason. Israel used it to convict and execute Adolph Eichmann. 

A US court sentenced Chuckie Taylor to 97 years in prison for torture. He's former Liberian President Charles Taylor's son. The Hague convicted and sentenced his father to 50 years imprisonment for war crimes and other offenses.

Though never held accountable for murdering Chileans and other human rights abuses, Britain used a Spanish court provisional warrant to apprehend Augusto Pinochet.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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