‘israel (apartheid state) must abide by international humanitarian law,’ insists Red Cross

‘Israel must abide by international humanitarian law,’ insists Red Cross

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The International Committee of the Red Cross has insisted that, as the occupying power in the West Bank, Israel is bound by international humanitarian law.

“It has a duty to ensure the protection, security and welfare of the people living under occupation and to guarantee that they can live as normal a life as possible, in accordance with their own laws, culture and traditions,” explained David Quesne, the head of the ICRC mission in Jerusalem.

The ICRC official also expressed concern that Israel is to demolish the Palestinian West Bank village of Khan Al-Ahmar and called for the state to respect the law. “The International Committee of the Red Cross is deeply concerned by Israel’s decision to demolish private houses and other structures in Khan Al-Ahmar village in Area C of the West Bank,” he said. “The planned demolitions will dramatically affect the lives and dignity of this community.”

In his statement, Quesne pointed out that, “As long as zoning and planning policies in the West Bank fail to serve the population living under occupation, they cannot be used as justification for destruction of property.”

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Good riddance: Russia welcomes US pullout from UNHRC, says council can work better now

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Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative at the UN office and other international organizations in Geneva (file photo)Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative at the UN office and other international organizations in Geneva (file photo)

Russia has welcomed the United States’ pullout from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), saying the body has lost nothing and can operate more freely now.

“I cannot say that the council lost anything,” Russia’s permanent representative at the UN office and other international organizations in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, said Wednesday.

“Moreover, I hope that in the wake of the United States’ walkout there will be less politicization, double standards and confrontation,” he added.

The comments came a day after US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington’s withdrawal over what they called the body’s entrenched bias against Israel.

Speaking at the US State Department in Washington, Haley called the UNHRC a “cesspool of political bias” and accused it of protecting “human rights abusers.”

Pompeo was also scathing in his remarks, blasting the UNHRC for its “shameless hypocrisy” in allowing “some of the world’s most serious offenders sitting on the council itself.”

Shortly after the UNHRC’s formation in 2006, the administration of then-US President George Bush announced that it would not seek a seat on the council. The boycott continued until 2009, when under President Barack Obama the White House announced willingness to join the council.

Referring to the first US boycott, Gatilov said Wednesday that the UNHRC pushed ahead with no problem back then.

“And I believe it will lose nothing this time,” he argued.

The US administration has long pressured the UNHRC to end its scrutiny of Israel’s widespread human rights abuses against Palestinians.

In May, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said Israel has systematically deprived Palestinians of their human rights, with 1.9 million in Gaza “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death.”

Scores of Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli forces in Gaza since March 30, when they began protests for their right to return to their homelands in the occupied territories.

‘Boorish cynicism’

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also reacted to the US pullout on Wednesday and said it only confirmed Washington’s long-running double standards.

“Our US counterparts have shown boorish cynicism – they are reluctant to admit that they have human rights issues themselves but at the same time, they continue attempts to reshape the council to make it serve their needs, stressing that there was no place for persistent violators of human rights in the council,” Zakharova pointed out.

Calling it a “mistake,” she said the decision only “dealt a powerful blow” to Washington’s own claims of human rights protection reputation.

Good riddance, immigrant children in cages says it all. US Withdraws From UN Human Rights Council

US Withdraws From UN Human Rights Council

US Withdraws From UN Human Rights Council, Citing Approach to Israel

Top UN official says ‘US should be stepping up, not stepping back’

After months of threats, the Trump Administration announced Tuesday that they are withdrawing the United States from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Officials said the move was because the body is too often critical of Israel’s human rights record.

Israel has long agitated for the US to withdraw from the body, and ratchets that up every time the UN starts investigating a new round of killings in the occupied territories. The US has been talking up this move for awhile.

The outgoing UNHRC leader, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said it was “disappointing, if not really surprising.” He also said the “US should be stepping up, not stepping back.” Zeid’s last address to the forum as leader came Monday, during which he criticized the US over its treatment of undocumented migrants at the border.

That’s probably not the direct reason for the US withdrawal, given how long they’ve threatened to do so. Distancing the US from UN bodies over Israel is a long-standing policy across several administrations, and was likely just a matter of timing.

Bernie Sanders Talks Out of Both Sides of His Mouth, Tries to Justify Signing onto UN Letter


Last week all 100 members of the US Senate signed onto a letter criticizing the UN, and particularly the UN Human Rights Council, for seeking to “advance an anti-Israel agenda.” In the above video, Bernie Sanders, probably beloved by more liberals than any other member of the Senate, attempts to justify his decision to add his signature to the letter.

“The thrust of that letter is not to say that Israel does not have have human rights issues. It does,” he says in his defense.

One of course would not know this from reading the letter (the full text of which can be found here ). If Sanders and the other senators truly feel that Israel indeed has “human rights issues,” they evidently don’t regard these as serious enough to merit mentioning.  Israel in the letter is portrayed as nothing more than a victim of persecution.

The first paragraph accuses UN agencies and member states of seeking to exploit the UN as “a vehicle for targeting Israel,” and goes on to assert that such actions have “at times reinforced the broader scourge of anti-Semitism.”

So let’s see…if you criticize Israel at the UN you are helping to advance “the broader scourge of anti-Semitism,” this despite the fact that Israel maintains an illegal occupation “that has no end in sight,” as the interviewer in the above video puts it.

The letter is addressed to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who actually gets cudos from the senators for axing a recent report on Israeli apartheid that had been compiled by the Economic and  Social Commission for Western Asia. Guterres’ deletion of the report from the UN’s website was an act of censorship that prompted the resignation of Rima Khalaf, the ESCWA’s director, as I discussed in a previous post.

But adulation for Guterres notwithstanding, the senators, as mentioned above, particularly have it in for the UNHRC. They grouse that the body “even maintains a permanent item on its agenda–‘Agenda Item VII’–to assess Israel…” Heaven forbid!

Israel is an apartheid state (as the ESCWA report makes abundantly clear) whose policies toward the Palestinians probably even meet the legal definition of genocide, as I have pointed out a number of times previously. The UNHRC would be derelict if it did not have a separate agenda item to discuss such matters. Yet Sanders and the other 99 senators accuse the UNHRC of an “imbalanced focus on Israel.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a big fan of the UN, which more often than not has been used as a tool to advance US foreign policy goals, and Guterres seems well on his way to following in his predecessor Ban Ki-moon’s footsteps in that regard. Occasionally, however, one or another member of the UN will work up the nerve to criticize Israel or oppose a US war. This is one of the UN’s redeeming qualities.

As for Sanders, he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth to such an extent in the above video that I almost feel embarrassed for him. Welllll…I–I–didn’t write the letter, I only signed onto it! Yes, yes I’m a lifetime proponent of nonviolent protests…uh…but no, I don’t support the BDS movement. Well then what is left for the Palestinians to do, Senator Sanders?—change the subject.

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If there were a country somewhere in the world where Jews were forced into an apartheid ghetto surrounded by walls and checkpoints would Sanders, who is Jewish, be opposed to a boycott of that nation? The answer probably is yes–because instead of a boycott, the senator from Vermont would be too busy advocating a military invasion.

This is Jewish hypocrisy from the liberal end of the Zionist spectrum. Hardly any wonder, then, that Sanders, in the video’s closing segment, expresses opposition to a one-state solution–in which Palestinians and Israelis would enjoy equal rights and equal citizenship–because, as he puts it, “that would be the end of the state of Israel.”

In saying this, is Sanders not in effect admitting that Israel is an ethno-theocratic state rather than a democracy? It would seem so, but apparently Sanders has a fondness for ethno-theocratic states provided they are Jewish.

“And I support Israel’s right to exist,” he reminds us.

Given that the left in America so often tends to elevate such “luminaries” as Sanders as its leaders and role models, it is no wonder that the American left has been such a colossal failure.

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