Polish activists force Israeli General onto the Defensive

Polish activists force Israeli General onto the Defensive

December 1 2010

Warsaw, Poland

Today the Polish Solidarity Campaign with Palestine (Kampania Palestyna)
and the Polish Stop the War Initiative protested the invitation of
General Eitan Dangot, Israel’s Military Co-ordinator of Government
Activities in the (occupied) Territories to present at the Polish
Institute of International Affairs.

The Institute is a government think-tank providing platforms for experts
to inform government policy on international relations. The meeting was
jointly organised and sponsored by the Israeli government through the
Israeli Embassy in Warsaw.

Major General Dangot’s lecture was shut down to the public by the
Institute in response to Kampania Palestyna and Stop the War’s protest.

A few hours beforehand, another group of human rights activists had
graffitied the exterior of the building with slogans of solidarity with
the occupied Palestinian people.

The words: Eitan Dangot Criminal, a billboard poster of „Apartheid
Isreal”, a graphic accompanying the words „Israeli Apartheid” and Black
Power style raised fists in the colours of the Palestinian flag greeted
the General, Israeli Embassy entourage and Institute organisers on the
morning of the talk.

The spokesman of the Israeli embassy in Warsaw, quoted by a right-wing daily newspaper „Rzeczpospolita”, expressed outrage at this treatment of ‚a soldier who defends his country’.

The protest had shown General Dangot that he was not welcome in Poland,
and forced the Israeli embassy and Institute to justify their decision
to invite him.

Dangot was Head of the Strategic Planning Division in the IDF Planning
Directorate (1991-2001), Home Front Command Execute Officer (2001-
2004), and Military Secretary of the Minister of Defence (2004-2009)
before being appointed Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the
(occupied) Territories. Dangot clearly has a history of forming and
carrying out policies and practices that violate international
humanitarian and human rights law in the context of Israel’s illegal

These include violation of: the Convention on the Suppression and
Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1976); The Fourth Geneva
Convention (1949) Art 49 regarding transfer of an occupying powers’
civilian population into the territory it occupies;  The Right to Life,
article 6 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966; Fourth
Geneva Convention (1949), Art 33, Prohibiting collective punishment of a
civilian population; and Articles 53 and 147 on deliberate and wanton
destruction of personal and state property not justified by military

These as well as numerous European Union laws have been violated by
Israel’s policy of founding illegal colonies on Palestinian territories
as well as the land, sea and aerial blockade on Gaza, plus numerous
military operations which have targeted civilians and civilian
infrastructure and property, Israel’s policy of extra-judicial execution
and the continued building of the illegal separation barrier (wall)
inside occupied Palestinian territory.

Kampania Palestyna issued a statement explaining, ‚Major General Dangot
should be standing in the dock answering charges of war crimes, not
standing in a Polish government-sponsored institution answering
questions on foreign policy’.

Statement of the Polish Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Lecture by Israeli
General Eitan Dangot, Hosted by the Polish Institute of International Affairs

This week, the Polish Institute of International Affairs, an official advisory
body to the Polish government, is hosting a lecture by the Israeli general
Eitan Dangot, IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories.

The decision to invite general Dangot undermines the PIIA’s credibility as
a state-level organization, charged with providing a dependable, unbiased
analysis of international issues to Polish policy-makers. The very title of
the speech, “Political and Economic Security in the Territories (West Bank
and Gaza Strip): Current Situation and Assessment” is misleading and
manipulative, as it supplants the name “Occupied Palestinian Territories”
with the generic noun “Territories”, missing the key descriptor: “occupied”.
General Dangot is also known for his statements regarding the humanitarian
crisis in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli assault on the Freedom Flotilla in May
2010, which flagrantly contradict reports published by the UN and numerous
human rights organizations1. To cast as an expert a high-ranking officer
of the Israeli Army, one responsible for implementing his government’s
military agenda, i.e. the occupation and attendant activities in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories, which multiple reports of UN investigative committees
and independent human rights organizations unreservedly consider war
crimes, discredits the PIIA and dishonors its personnel.

The PIIA’s outrageous choice of a speaker brings ill repute to Polish
diplomacy and compromises the credibility of Polish foreign policy. Extending
an invitation to an official directly responsible for the military component of
the occupational regime in East Jerusalem, in the West Bank and in the
Gaza Strip contradicts Poland’s multiple declarations of support for the
resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United
Nations (in particular, the UN Security Council’s resolution no. 242), which
unequivocally condemn and demand an unconditional and immediate end to
the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land. Moreover, it weakens Poland’s
standing in the international arena. The Republic of Poland is a signatory
to the Geneva Conventions, The Hague Conventions, the Helsinki Accords
and other international human rights treaties, as well as the Rome Statute,
which established the International Criminal Court. A co-founder of these
major cornerstones of international law, Poland is obliged to observe and
execute them without hesitation. These obligations are not optional. They
are not subject to the political will of an incumbent government. They are
not determined by political or economic expediencies. Poland has made an
unconditional commitment to these values. Upholding the law is not a matter
of preference, nor does it merit an award; it is merely a duty.

Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land violates multiple laws at the core
of the international system of justice. In particular, it contravenes laws
against collective punishment (article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention),
against the colonization of occupied territories with displacement of the
local population and expropriation of its natural resources (article 49 of the
Fourth Geneva Convention), against restricting the freedom of movement
and access to education, medical services, culture and gainful employment
in the occupied territories (articles 55, 56 and multiple other articles of the
Fourth Geneva Convention), against torture (United Nations Convention
Against Torture and article 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention), against
the assassination of Palestinian political leaders (article 3 of the Fourth
Geneva Convention). In contravention of international law, Israel has
incarcerated outside of the Occupied Territories, without charge and without
due process, ten thousand Palestinian political prisoners, including juveniles,
democratically elected members of parliament and hundreds of others (in
violation of section IV of the Fourth Geneva Convention). Similarly, Israel’s
West Bank Barrier (known also as the apartheid wall) is being built in violation
of international statutes, according to the advisory opinion of the International
Court of Justice.

In his report submitted recently to the UN General Assembly, Special
Rapporteur on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories
Richard Falk states: “This view is furthered by the apartheid features of the
occupation based on dual and discriminatory legal structure for the occupied
Palestinians and the unlawfully present settler population, the restrictions
on Palestinian mobility, permit and residence manipulations, and roads on
which Palestinians are disallowed. To indicate these apartheid features is
not intended to set up a comparison with apartheid South Africa, but to call
attention to the anti-apartheid norm embodied in the Convention Against
the Crime of Apartheid, and then incorporated into the Rome Statute of the
International Criminal Court (1998) that in Article 7 made apartheid a distinct
crime against humanity”

Given this context, hosting a lecture by general Dangot appears to be an
attempt at officially legitimizing the systematic violations of the international
law, humanitarian law, the law of armed conflict and collective human rights,
which have become part and parcel of Israeli policy. In the eyes of the world
Poland once again positions itself in the “grey zone” of international law, as
a country which is not only a willing host to illegal, secret detention camps
serving the needs of a foreign intelligence, but whose official, state-sponsored
institutions extend a warm welcome to foreign executives suspected of having
committed war crimes.

We demand that Polish authorities put an immediate end to these disgraceful
practices. We demand that, rather than honoring those who administer a
system of repression, colonization, ethnic cleansing and apartheid, they fulfill
their international obligations by pressuring the Israeli government to abide
by the rules of international law and by the UN resolutions. Equally, Polish
authorities must make every effort to bring to justice those responsible for
human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.


Polish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
29 November 2010