A Joint Israeli-Palestinian Call to Stop Syrian Atrocities and Diplomatic Shadowboxing

In Syria, there are now more than 100,000 reported dead resulting from the conflict between the rebels and the Assad regime. Hundreds of thousands have been injured, and hundreds of thousands have been detained and disappeared. Four point five million are internally displaced, and 1.7 million have fled the country as refugees. Even more tragically, UNICEF and Save the Children reported recently that over 2 million children have been brutalized and victimized while women have been the targets of sexual violence and related honor killings.

The report stated:

“Crimes against humanity are being perpetrated by government forces and affiliated militias as they carry out widespread attacks against civilian populations through indiscriminate shelling, unlawful killing, torture, enforced disappearance, and sexual violence. They are systematically inflicting sieges against towns perceived as hostile, while populations have been forcibly displace. Anti-government armed groups have also besieged towns, especially in Aleppo governate. They are committing war crimes on an increasing scale, including extra-judicial executions, torture, hostage-taking, and pillage. The violations and abuses committed by anti-Government armed groups did not reach the intensity and scale of those committed by Government forces and affiliated militias.”

Here is a timeline of Responses to Butchery In Syria prepared by the Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention:

March 16th 2011, as incoming Secretary of State John Kerry said Assad was a man of his word who had been “very generous with me.” Kerry had met with Assad 5 times between 2009-2011. He added that under Assad; Syria will change as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States.”   There were no reported deaths at the time.

March 27th 2011, Hilary Clinton states that the US will not enter into conflict with Syria because member of the US congress from both parties view Assad as a ‘reformer’ .At that time there were first reports of deaths.

May 12th 2011, Hilary Clinton condemns Assad.  By then the reported death toll was approaching a thousand.

August 18th 2011, Obama, 6 other world leaders call on Assad to resign. US freezes  all Syrian assets..By then the death toll had exceeded 2000.

November 27th 2011, the Arab League approves sanctions against Syria.  By then the death toll had surpassed 4500

January 14th 2012, Russia and China veto UN resolution calling for Assad’s resignation. By then the death toll had exceed 6000.

February 23rd 2012, Kofi Annan is appointed UN-Arab League envoy to Syria. By then the death toll had reached 8000.

April 14th 2012, UN observer mission to Syria is approved. By then the death toll had reached 10,000.

May 29th 2012, US and eight other countries expel their ambassadors from Syria. By then the death toll had exceeded 12.000.

July 20th 2012, UN extends the UN Supervision Mission in Syria for another 30 days. By then the death toll had reached 16.000

August 17th 2012, Lakhdar Brahimi named Special Envoy to Syria after Kofi Annan stepsdown on August 2nd  By then the death toll had reached an esitimated 25,000   

December 23rd 2012, Syrian rebels claim that Syrian soldiers are using chemical weapons. By then the death toll had climbed to 50,000,

February 28t 2013, US sends roughly $60 million in aid (food, medicine, water) to Syrian rebels. By then the death toll had reached 65,000

Aprils 30th 2013, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel claims chemical weapons were used in Syria. He also states that it is believed that Assad’s forces are behind the use of these weapons. By then the death toll had reached 80,000.

May 22nd 2013, The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 15-3 for legislation that would send arms to “vetted” moderate members of the Syrian opposition. By then the death toll had reached 90,000.

June 4th 2013, U.N. Panel Reports Increasing Brutality by Both Sides in Syria. By the the death toll had reached 100,000

This timeline, prepared by the Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention, shows the dismal results to all the diplomatic shadovboxing.  The timeline of the climbing death tolls provides damaging evidence that the responses, first to Assad’s butchery In Syria, and then to both Assad’s forces and the rebels, have been exercises in futility, A butcher and his enablers, suppliers and protectors  has outsmarted the world.   


Prepared by Noah Osher for Jerusalem Center of Genocide Prevention
Prepared by Noah Osher for Jerusalem Center of Genocide Prevention

Here is our response:

We condemn: the mass atrocities, including summary executions, the indiscriminate use of force, the use of chemical weapons, the rapes, kidnappings beheadings and torture and forced expulsions directed against the Syrian people – all crimes against humanity.

We condemn:  the Assad regime that bears the overwhelming responsibility for the death and suffering of so many Syrians and the suppression of their human rights.

We condemn:  the continuing persecution, demonization, hostility, expulsions and brutality directed against religious and ethnic minorities – Christians, Druze, Kurds, Assyrians, Circassians, Hazaras, Yezidis, Palestinians, Armenians, Alawites and the now extnct Jewish communty perpetrated especially by jihadists among the rebels.

We condemn:  the support that China, Russia, Iran and its proxy, Hezbulloh are providing for the murderous activities of the Assad regime. They bear a special responsibility for enabling these crimes against humanity.

We condemn:  the passivity of the Western powers, the United   States in particular, who are once again acting as bystanders and allowing unspeakable atrocities to continue without a challenge. Their failure to stop the bloodbath in Syria undermines their credibility and authority as the world’s powers and risks the danger of wider regional conflicts.

We call upon the international community: to stop the mass atrocities and crimes against humanity, in Syria against civilians, and the assault on human rights, the most basic of which is life itself.

We call upon the major powers:  to take whatever actions are necessary to enforce an immediate and permanent cease-fire, (including the use and spread of chemical weapons) to protect vulnerable minorities in keeping with their international responsibilities to “prevent and protect” and the norms of morality and law.  A political solution can wait, but the killing, butchery and atrocities must be stopped. So far, declarations and resolutions have accomplished nothing.

The major powers must take responsibility for providing safe havens for threatened minorities.

We call on the international community:  to bring all those who have committed war crimes to justice, both from the regime and rebel groups.

We call upon all countries, especially those in the Middle East to actively assist the Syrian people with humanitarian aid, and to protect vulnerable minorities from persecution and expulsion

Evil results from human choice and bystander indifference. It is time to stop the drift towards ever more suffering and loss of life.

How many more Syrians will be sacrificed because of western indecisiveness, or for the interests of realpolitik? Hundreds? Thousands?  A million?

We call upon all to join this call to action.  The nations of the world have a responsibility to “prevent and protect”.  The peoples of the world have to hold their governments accountable, now more than ever.

Signed by:

Bassem Eid
Palestine Human Rights Monitoring Group

Professor Mohammed S. Dajani-Daoudi
Al Quds University and Founder of Wasatia

Uriel Levy
Combat Genocide Association Tel Aviv

David Pileggi, Rector
Christ Church Jerusalem

Professor Elihu D. Richter MD MPH
Hebrew University-Hadassah and
Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention

About the Author
Dr. Elihu D Richter is a founder of the Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention