Brief: The so-called ‘military-industrial complex’ ushered in by the passing of the 1947 National Security Act is a luxury America and the world can no longer afford. The unprecedented threat posed by the over-privileged belligerents infecting U.S. military doctrine with their unbridled hegemonic ambition is redolent of that of the British Empire in the years […]
Maandelijks archief: januari 2017
Berlin “extremely concerned” about Israel’s plans for legalising settlement homes built on private Palestinian land.
Germany has urged Israel in unusually strong language to scrap legislation that would legalise Israeli settlement homes built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, saying it would break international law.
A German foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday the government was “extremely concerned” about the development.
“Such a bill violates international law,” he said, adding Israel would undermine its commitment to finding a “two-state solution” – a Palestinian state in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war – if the bill were passed.
Asked whether Germany and the European Union should punish Israel with economic or diplomatic sanctions, the spokesman said: “We don’t think that sanctions would be the right path in this case to make headway in the Middle East peace process.”
Germany tends to be more reserved than other European nations in its criticism of Israel because of the legacy of the Nazi Holocaust.
But it has objected in the past few years to Israeli settlement expansion on land Palestinians want for a state.
Israeli officials are also concerned the bill could provide grounds for prosecution by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself cited possible court action when he initially opposed the legislation promoted by the far-right Jewish Home party and its leader Naftali Bennett.
Palestinians condemned the bill as a land grab in territory they seek for a state.
Israel’s parliament gave initial approval on Monday to a revised bill on the settlement homes. It must pass three more votes at unspecified future dates before becoming law.
The 15-member UNSC held an open dialogue on the Middle East Tuesday, the bulk of which focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and last month’s approval of UNSC resolution 2334.
Ambassador Danny Danon addressing the Security Council . (photo credit:Courtesy)
Isreal hopes US President-elect Donald Trump will reject biased UN resolutions and focus on resuming direct talks with the Palestinians, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Security Council on Tuesday.
“With this new administration comes the hope that the US will return to its policy of rejecting unfair and biased Security Council resolutions and promoting direct and genuine dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians,” Danon told the council.
The 15-member UNSC was holding a dialogue on the Middle East that was open to all UN member states. The bulk of the talk focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and last month’s approval of UNSC 2334, which called for a halt to Israeli settlement activity and all Jewish building over the pre-1967 lines, calling such activity illegal.
Danon told the council that the resolution encourages Palestinians to commit acts of terrorism against Israel, such as the truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem earlier this month in which four soldiers were killed.
“This resolution declared that our presence in Jerusalem is illegal. It encouraged the Palestinians to continue to avoid negotiations and inspired the terrorist in Jerusalem,” Danon said, holding up a photo of the four victims, all of whom were soldiers in their young 20s.
“This was the result [of Resolution] 2334: Shir Hajaj, Yael Yekutiel, Erez Orbach and Shira Tzur,” Danon said. “They were murdered by a Palestinian who was led to believe that he could use terrorism and violence to remove the Jewish people from Jerusalem. He will not succeed.”
He reminded the council that Jewish history in Jerusalem includes the Old City and the Western Wall, which are beyond the pre-June 1967 line, and dates back some 3,000 years to King Solomon. The Temple was built by King Solomon on the “same Temple Mount which this council refuses to call by its historic name.”
According to Danon, members thought they were telling Israel to stop settlement activity, but they were really telling the Palestinians they could “continue to spread the lies that the Western Wall is not sacred to the Jewish people.”
He noted that, after the council vote, Fatah posted a cartoon on its Facebook page that “showed a dagger in the shape of a map of Israel colored with the Palestinian flag. Not Judea and Samaria; what some call the West Bank. All of Israel.
Under the dagger was a pool of blood, and next to it, it said, “Thank you,” and listed each council member that voted for the shameful resolution,” Danon said, adding that such resolutions only encourage the Palestinians not to return to the negotiating table.
In response to the resolution, Danon said, Israel suspended $6 million from its annual contribution to the UN.
“This amount represents the portion of the UN budget allocated to anti-Israel bodies, which represents the UN’s double standard when it comes to Israel,” Danon said. Among those bodies is the Division for Palestinian Rights, which focuses on delegitimizing Israel.
Palestinian Ambassador the UN Riyad Mansour called on the council to force Israel to comply with the settlement resolution, which he described as “pro-peace, pro-international law, pro-two-states and thus pro-Palestine and pro-Israel.
“Rather than taking a step for peace, Israel has preferred to persist with its empty rhetoric and legal acrobatics to justify its continuing illegal colonization of the Palestinian land and oppression of the Palestinian people, in flagrant contempt of the law and international community,” Mansour said.
The Palestinians have refused to hold direct talks with Israel until it halts all construction in settlements and east Jerusalem.
Israel in turn has called for talks without preconditions.
Mansour told the council that “halting settlement activities should never be seen as a concession or pre-condition; it is about fundamental respect for the law. It is time for the full implementation of Resolution 2334 and all of its provisions.
Follow-up must begin immediately and all must uphold their obligations,” Mansour said.
He added that it was the Palestinians who have said “yes” to every peace effort. The time has come for Israel to accept a twostate solution based on the 1967 borders, Mansour said.
“The 1967 borders are the delineating line between conflict and peace. We are fast approaching a point of no return. Implementation of Resolution 2334 is the way back from the brink,” he said. “The international community must act now to revive the possibility of peace.”
The United Nations Security Council recently passed Resolution 2334, which condemns the construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, declares them again to be illegal, and demands a stop to any future such construction. Israel, as expected, has denounced this resolution.
This is only the latest in the dozens of U.N. resolutions that have condemned Israeli behavior over the decades.
A brief look at the history of Israel only serves to highlight the illegal, unjust and immoral actions that established that country, and that have been used ever since to expand it.
When the newly-minted United Nations, only two years old, decided to take upon it the issue of establishing a ‘home’ for Jews, it zeroed in on Palestine. The so-called Balfour declaration, a letter from Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, to Walter Rothschild, a leader in that country’s Jewish community, said, in part, this: “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object…”  This, of course, became reality. Another part of this declaration was not honored: “… it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine….”  This latter provision has been ignored to this day.
The determination on how Palestine would be sliced up to accommodate a small percentage of world Jewry was left to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). Unfortunately, the members of UNSCOP had little or no knowledge about conflict resolution, and even less about Palestine and its history. Zionist Jews at this time comprised about 33% of the population of Palestine, but owned only about 7% of the land. This population included European refugees from World War II. 
So in either their ignorance, a misguided desire to somehow make amends for German atrocities during World War II, or a twisted combination of both, UNSCOP partitioned Palestine, giving 55% of it for a Jewish state, and immediately displacing at least 750,000 Palestinians, most of whom were forced to leave their homes and possessions without any recompense, and move into refugee camps. This was General Assembly Resolution 181 in the U.N.
As one writer expressed it: “The conception of creating a Jewish national home in Palestine could not possibly be squared with the principle of self-determination, or, for that matter, of democracy, on the basis of any of the generally accepted criteria”. 
The removal of Palestinians from their homes was hardly any more peaceful than it was just.
“The notorious massacre at Deir Yassin was an integral part of this strategy. In addition to the Zionist objective of moving on Jerusalem, the savagery and brutality of the attack on the villagers played the important role of turning the original flight of the non-combatant Palestinian Arabs into a stampede from their homes. The cry of ‘Deir Yassin” became a warning of horror, spurring several hundred thousand refugees to flee in the weeks before the scheduled termination of the mandate and providing a great leap forward toward the Zionist goal of reducing the Arab population and the realization of ultimate demographic domination by Jews. As Menachem Begin boasted in The Revolt (pp. 164 -65), ‘Panic overwhelmed the Arabs of Eretz Israel…the Arabs began to flee in terror even before they clashed with Jewish forces’, such as in Haifa, where the Palestinians fled ‘in panic, shouting Deir Yassin!’”. 
Over one hundred men, women and children died in the bitter, house-to-house fighting in Deir Yassin, and most experts agree that, along with the 750,000 people displaced in 1947- 1948, thousands died. “Zionist forces committed 33 massacres and destroyed 531 Palestinian towns” in that one year period.
Since that time, over 90% of the land that was allotted by the U.N. to remain Palestinian has been stolen by Israel.
How can any of this be seen as consistent with international law?
Let us look now at some of the circumstances, just since 1967.
- Destruction of homes. Since 1967, nearly 50,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel. The reasons are varied:
- To make room for new settlement construction, long defined as illegal by the international community, and condemned around the world);
- To enable construction of new, Israeli-only roads. Note that Palestinians are not even permitted to cross these roads, let alone drive on them, and
- To punish Palestinians accused of crimes, or to punish the families of Palestinians accused of crimes.
Note here the destruction of the homes of family members of people accused of crimes. Conventions on torture explicitly prohibit punishing a person for an act a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed. Therefore, these actions constitute torture, as defined by the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
- Kidnapping of men, women and children. Often referred to as arrests, and including children as young as 10, most kidnapping occurs in the West Bank, as IDF soldiers ‘arrest’ anyone they choose. “On July 2, 2014, 17-year-old Palestinian Mohammed abu Khdeir’s body was found in a Jerusalem forest. In the early morning, three Israelis had kidnapped Mohammed as he was going to the mosque to pray. His assailants beat him and set him on fire. The only reason Mohammed was attacked was because he is Palestinian.”
A report from Al-Jazeera in April of this year states the following, discussing a 15-year-old boy. He “…is one of more than 100 Palestinian children who, in recent months, have found themselves dragged from bed at gunpoint in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers, according to children’s right groups.”
Ivan Karakashian, of Defense of Children in Palestine (DCIP), said that “The goal (of these kidnappings) is to terrify the population so that they will submit and not resist the occupation”. Note again that Conventions against torture specifically prohibit ‘intimidating’ a person for any reason.
- Group punishment. In July of this year, Telesur reported the following: “Israel will reduce monthly transfers of tax collected on behalf of Palestinians in what aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as a response to the killing of two Israelis in Palestinian attacks in the occupied West Bank this week”. Collective punishment such as this are strictly prohibited by Hague Regulations, Article 50; the Third Geneva Convention, Article 87, third paragraph, and the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 33, first paragraph.
Along with Israel, the United States Congress has harshly criticized this new resolution, noting that it only passed because the U.S. abstained from vetoing it. It must be remembered that in 2015, the last year for which complete numbers are available, pro-Israeli lobbies contributed over $4 million to U.S. members of Congress. In the U.S., money takes precedence over such mundane things as international law, human rights and basic human dignity.
With the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, the pretense of the U.S. as an honest broker in the Middle East will no longer be viable in any quarter; it has always been a myth, and now, at least, Mr. Trump has dispelled it. The rest of the world, the nearly 140 countries that officially recognize Palestine, must now act to protect it from Israel and the U.S. These other nations must take steps to isolate Israel, as the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement has so successfully done, by making adherence to international law a priority.
During this time, Israeli barbarity towards the Palestinians will probably increase. The world must shine a bright spotlight on all such occurrences, so they can be condemned and stopped.
The Palestinians have always deserved the basic human rights afforded to so many other people. With the passage of U.N. Resolution 2334, now is the time to act.
1. John Marlow, The Seat of Pilate; An Account of the Palestine Mandate. (Cresset Press, 1959), 26.
2. Marlow, 26.
3. Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. (Oxford, England: Oneworld Publications Limited, 2006), 31.
4. Rupert Emerson, From Empire to Nation: The Rise to Self-Assertion of Asian and African Peoples. (Cambridge, United States: Harvard University Press, 1967), 313.
5. Elmer Berger, Peace for Palestine: First Lost Opportunity, (Florida, United States: University Press of Florida, 1993), 27.
You Have Front Row Tickets to the Gog and Magog War!
The UN’s Land Grab in Israel:
After only two days of US President Donald Trump being in office, the Israelis have announced the expansion of 566 settlement units on occupied Palestinian land. The head of the Jerusalem municipality says he was told to wait until former US president Barack Obama leaves before announcing the new settlement construction plans. Settlements in the […]