Bosnia (Policy Conference 1994)

by Jared Feldman

For almost two years, the NJCRAC has actively opposed the systematic violence being committed by Serbian forces against the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina. There have been several resolutions of the United Nations Security Council calling for an end to the strangulation of Sarajevo and other Moslem cities and enclaves. While a recent NATO ultimatum has produced a limited pullback of the forces besieging Sarajevo, ending the bombardment of that city, the siege of Sarajevo as well as of other cities in Bosnia-Herzegovina continues. Serbia has continued to mount violence against civilians. Serbian forces have targeted children, schools, hospitals and ancient Mosques in an attempt to expel Moslems from the homes in which they have lived peacefully for centuries, often among Bosnian Serbs, Croats, Jews and other minorities.

 

The systematic killing of innocent civilians, including over 15,000 children, as well as mass rapings and the destruction of centers of Moslem culture, appear to be a Serbian national policy. The pattern of systematic shelling and sniping, designed to obliterate, fits the definition of genocide as delineated in the United Nations Genocide Accord. There have been more than 250,000 casualties, and two million Bosnians, including Jews, displaced in the “ethnic cleansing” campaigns. Over 800 mosques have been razed and more than 200 Catholic churches have been destroyed.

 

The NJCRAC calls upon the United States government to energetically apply its influence to implement the following measures to stop the bloodshed:

 

  • The United States should more energetically support the initiation of war crimes tribunals against those who ordered and implemented atrocities such as mass rapes and summary executions, and who promoted conditions of starvation in concentration camps as well as other cruelties as parts of the Serbian “ethnic cleansing” campaigns.

 

  • The U.S. should prohibit any such persons from entering the United States.

 

  • The Clinton Administration should work with the UN Security Council and with NATO to maintain the sanctions against Serbia until peace is secured. Similar sanctions should be instituted against Croatia, which recently invaded Bosnia, if Croatia does not withdraw its forces.

 

  • The U.S. should actively back the sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a fellow member of the United Nations.

 

  • The discriminatory arms embargo on Bosnia-Herzegovina should be lifted so that Bosnia may properly defend itself, a right of every independent nation and people.

 

  • The United States should ensure that humanitarian aid to Bosnia is continued as needed. The UNPROFOR forces that protect the delivery of such aid should not be withdrawn.

 

  • The Clinton Administration should continue to support both the UN Security Council’s resolutions and the NATO commitment of January 10, 1994, calling for all other necessary measures, including air strikes, to break the sieges of Sarajevo, Tuzla, and other surrounded Moslem cities.

 

  • Mindful of the Jewish community’s obligation to memory and its historic commitment to protect those threatened by extinction, the NJCRAC member agencies assembled at its annual policy conference in New Orleans express their solidarity with the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina in their struggle to remain an independent country.

 

Dissent: The Jewish War Veterans of the USA dissents from the language “a// other necessary measures, including, ” which in the JVWs judgment would, by implication, authorize the inclusion and deployment of U.S. ground forces in the former Yugoslavia.

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About the Author


Jared Feldman