Video: Innumerable Ways Canada Supports Israeli Apartheid

A Canadian Foreign Policy Institute panel

By Michael WelchBianca Mugyenyi, and Yves Engler

Global Research, August 08, 2021

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The violence between Israelis and Palestinians went up substantially in May of this year.

A dust-up which began with protests over the threat of the Supreme Court of Israel authorizing the eviction of six families from Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem led to Israeli forces storming the compound of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Before long, the conflict arose between Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad firing rockets, and Israel launching 1500 land, sea, and airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. When the dust settled after an 11 day rampage, 256 Palestinians, 66 of whom were children, perished. Israel by contrast lost 13 people including 2 children.

This episode of terror is most likely not going to end given the failures of past attempts to settle the dispute. As many episodes of Global Research have made clear, the United States have used so-called peace deals to harness more power to them, with Israel as their junior partner.

However, there is another player on the stage that similarly steered the course on the side of Israel against the Palestinians. As outspoken author Yves Engler has pointed out in his book Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid, both of the governing parties in our home and native land and even the Left are promoting Israel.

On this week’s program, we present a panel discussion produced by the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute entitled Innumerable Ways Canada Supports Israeli Apartheid – And What We Can Do About it.

The Canadian Foreign Policy Institute is a non-partisan organization which seeks to inform people living in Canada about the country’s diplomatic, aid, intelligence, trade and military policies abroad which are at odds with their self-portrait as a benevolent force around the world. Its director is Bianca Mugyenyi who will function as the moderator for the discussion.

Yves Engler is one of Canada’s foremost Canadian foreign policy critics and dissidents. He is the author of ten books on Canadian foreign policy including House of Cards: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy (2020), and Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid (2010). His articles have appeared at rabble.ca, canadiandimension.com, and on his own site yvesengler.com.

Jonathan Kuttab is an international human rights lawyer and a co-founder of Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and of Nonviolence International.

Karen Rodman is a reverend and a founder of Just Peace Advocates.

Bianca Mugyenyi is an activist, a journalist and the director of the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute.

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Russia’s position at the seventy-sixth session of the UN General Assembly

August 05, 2021

Russia’s position at the seventy-sixth session of the UN General Assembly

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4834791

1.      The goal of the 76-th session of the UN General Assembly (GA) is to reaffirm the central and coordinating role of the Organization in international affairs. Owing to its representativeness and universality, the UN is rightfully viewed as a unique platform for an equitable dialogue aimed at reaching compromise solutions with due regard to different opinions. Attempts to undermine the authority and legitimacy of the UN are, in our view, extremely dangerous, as they can lead to the dismantlement of the multipolar system of international relations.

2.      We have consistently advocated the strengthening of the genuine multilateral framework of international relations and world economy based on the norms of international law, including the UN Charter, with an emphasis on the unconditional respect for the sovereignty of States and non-interference in their internal affairs. We deem unacceptable the attempts of Western States to replace the universally recognized international legal principles with the so-called “rules-based world order” elaborated behind the scenes.

3.      We support the coordinated efforts of the international community to curb the spread of the new coronavirus infection as well as to mitigate its consequences in the political, health care, social and economic sectors. In this regard, we consider it unacceptable to politicize the issue of COVID-19 dissemination. We also stress the importance of showing unity and solidarity among all Member States and organizations of the United Nations system in the face of a common challenge. Russia stands for a gradual return to the face-to-face format of events at the UN as the epidemiological situation in the world improves.

4.      Preventing conflicts and addressing their consequences is our first priority. However, effective international assistance in this sphere, including from the UN, is only possible with the consent of the States concerned and in line with the UN Charter. This applies equally to good offices, preventive diplomacy and mediation, which should be conducted impartially and with respect for the sovereignty of States. It is crucial that there should be no universal “conflict indicators”: each situation calls for a delicate and unbiased approach as well as a thorough search for a tailored solution that would take into account the roots and history of the conflict.

5.        We believe that the goal of the UN Security Council reform is to increase the representation of developing States from Africa, Asia and Latin America in the Council without prejudice to its effectiveness and operational efficiency. Efforts to identify the best reform model, which would enjoy consensus or at least the support of the overwhelming majority of Member States, should continue in the current format of Intergovernmental Negotiations. The prerogatives of the UNSC permanent members shall not be subject to revision. The veto power is a unique tool that encourages the necessary compromises and allows the Council to reach well-considered and balanced decisions.

6.        We support realistic initiatives to revitalize the work of the UN General Assembly within the relevant Ad Hoc Working Group. We attach particular importance to fine-tuning the UNGA working methods, streamlining its overloaded agenda and strengthening multilingualism. Any innovation should be reasonable and correspond to the current needs. Any redistribution of the powers of other statutory bodies, especially the Security Council, in favour of the General Assembly is unacceptable.

7.      We support increased cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations in line with the UN Charter, first and foremost, its Chapter VIII. The activities of regional associations, according to the UN Charter, should be in conformity with their objectives and principles. It is essential to further enhance partnership between the UN and such organizations as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the BRICS and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The biennial resolutions on cooperation between the UN and the CIS, the CSTO and the SCO, uunanimously adopted at the previous 75th UNGA Session, prove the relevance of this task.

8.      The distortion of history and revision of the outcomes of World War II are unacceptable. We attach particular importance to the annual UNGA draft resolution on Combating Glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and Other Practices that Contribute to Fuelling Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. This document has traditionally enjoyed the support of the majority of UN Member States. We call on the delegations that abstained or voted against this initiative last year to reconsider their position.

9.      The destructive policies of certain extra-regional players in the Middle East and North Africa are clearly part of a global strategy to destroy the UN‑centric architecture established after World War II and replace it with a completely illegitimate “rules-based world order”.

We support the international legal parameters for resolving conflicts in this region agreed upon at the UN and implemented solely through political and diplomatic means. Our proposal to create a regional security architecture in the Persian Gulf and, in the longer term, throughout the whole Middle East remains on the table.

10.      One of the top priorities in the Middle East is the Syrian settlement. Achieving lasting and long-term stabilisation and security in the country is only possible through the full restoration of the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over its national territory. The continuation of the fight against international terrorist groups recognized as such by the UN Security Council remains critical.

On the political track, we support the promotion of a Syrian-led settlement process implemented by the Syrian people themselves with the UN assistance, as provided for in UNSC resolution 2254. We have consistently supported the relevant work of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, Geir Pedersen, but also stressed that his efforts should not go beyond the mandate defined by the Security Council.

There is growing concern about the significant deterioration of the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in the Syrian Arab Republic against the backdrop of tougher unilateral sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic. We call on responsible members of the international community to refrain from politicising purely humanitarian issues and render assistance to all Syrians in coordination with Damascus, provide for sanctions exemptions for reconstruction projects and facilitate the return of refugees and IDPs.

11.       We are convinced that one of the foundations for establishing peace and security in the Middle East is the revival of the Middle East settlement process with the resolution of the Palestinian problem at its core.

We attach key importance to preventing an escalation of violence between Palestinians and Israelis and to providing extensive humanitarian assistance to those affected and in need in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At the same time, we advocate for the restart of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on all issues concerning the final status on the universally recognized international legal basis, including a two-State solution. We call on the parties to show restraint, to refrain from unilateral steps and provocative actions (forced evictions, expropriation of houses and land, settlement construction, arbitrary arrests and any forms of violence) as well as to respect the special status and integrity of the Holy Sites of Jerusalem.

We consider it imperative to step up efforts within the framework of the Middle East Quartet, including its interaction with regional actors. We support the arrangement of a Quartet meeting at the ministerial level.

12.    We believe that there is no alternative to a political settlement in Libya. We highlight the need to take into account the views of all Libyan sides, including while planning for international assistance aimed at putting an end to the conflict. We engage with all parties and call for an early cessation of hostilities and the restoration of sustainable and integrated state institutions, including security agencies.

We support the observance of the ceasefire and a political and diplomatic settlement in Libya. All influential political forces should be heard and involved in the political life of the country. We welcome the formation of the Government of National Unity aimed at making arrangements for the national elections scheduled for December 2021. We encourage Libyan actors to seek compromise and to establish strong and effective unified authorities. We support the activities of Special Envoy Ján Kubiš.

13.    We advocate for the cessation of hostilities in Yemen, which exacerbate the dire humanitarian situation in the country. We urge the States involved to engage in the dialogue with a view to reaching a comprehensive settlement which would be accepted by all stakeholders in Yemen.

14.    We support the Iraqi leadership’s efforts to stabilize security situation and implement long-term social and economic reforms. We emphasize the significance of the forthcoming parliamentary elections. It is important that they contribute to bridging the divide between various ethnic and religious groups and political forces. We welcome the dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil. We believe that Iraq should not be subject to external interference and become an arena for regional rivalries.

15.    We consistently pursue the policy aimed at facilitating the process of national reconciliation in Afghanistan. We provide assistance in building a country free from terrorism and drug-related crime. We are seriously concerned about the continuing influence of ISIS in the north and north east of the country as well as the threat of the spillover of terrorist activities into Central Asia and the use of a deteriorating domestic political environment to undermine the peace process. Together with our partners within the “Troika Plus” and with the participation of both Afghan negotiating teams we are working to advance national reconciliation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We attach particular importance to regional co-operation, primarily through the SCO and the CSTO. We note the continuing relevance of the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan. We support the work of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

16.    There is no alternative to the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, enshrined in UNSC resolution 2202, as a framework for the internal settlement in Ukraine. Effective international assistance, including through the UN, should be aimed at implementing this decision and supporting the current settlement format, which includes the Contact Group in Minsk and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.

Sustainable political and diplomatic settlement of the internal crisis in Ukraine can only be achieved through a direct dialogue between Kiev and Donbass, while taking into account the legitimate demands of all the regions of Ukraine and its linguistic, ethnic and sectarian groups at the constitutional level. We will continue to actively assist in addressing the acute humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, which has persisted for many years and was brought about by the actions of the authorities in Kiev.

We insist on a full, thorough and independent international investigation of the MH17 plane crash over the Ukrainian territory based on irrefutable facts and in line with UNSC resolution 2166. Neither the technical investigation into the causes of the Malaysian Boeing crash conducted by the Dutch Safety Board nor the criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team meet these criteria.

We expect that all cases of violence against civilians and journalists that have occurred since the beginning of the internal crisis in Ukraine will be investigated fairly and impartially, and that all those responsible will be brought to justice.

17.       The territorial status of Crimea was definitively determined by the Crimean population itself during a referendum in March 2014. Any discussions on the situation in this Russian region that do not involve its residents bear no relation to reality. This issue as well as the situation around the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, which lies within the scope of the Russian-Ukrainian bilateral relations, cannot be part of the UN-led discussion on the developments in Ukraine.

We condemn the efforts of the Ukrainian delegation to introduce the Crimean issue in the UNGA through a politicized resolution on the “militarization” of the peninsula as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.           The resolution is built on groundless, unacceptable accusations against Russia and is intended to put the blame for all of Ukraine’s internal problems on the mythical “Russian aggression”. The document contains Kiev’s twisted interpretation of the provocation it carried out on 25 November 2018, when three Ukrainian vessels attempted to enter the Kerch Strait without first notifying the Russian side. The allegations on the alleged militarization of Crimea and parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov contained in the aforementioned resolution also contradict the truth.

In case this odious draft resolution is again introduced in the UNGA, we call on all States to vote firmly against its adoption.

18.    The implementation of the trilateral statements of 9 November 2020 and 11 January 2021 is a priority for normalizing the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area. We consider it useful to involve UN agencies and in particular the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in humanitarian activities in the Russian peacekeeping operation area. The parameters for their possible work should be agreed upon in direct coordination with Baku and Yerevan.

19.    The problem of the Korean Peninsula should be resolved by political and diplomatic means. Building up sanctions pressure is counterproductive. The creation of a new security architecture in North-East Asia that would take into account the legitimate interests of all States in the region, including the DPRK itself, is key to achieving the settlement of this issue. Various Russian-Chinese initiatives, including the relevant “Roadmap’, the “Action Plan” and a UNSC political resolution are all important tools in this regard.

20.    The early restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at settling the situation with the Iranian nuclear program is a priority task. We call on the US to return as soon as possible to full compliance with UNSC resolution 2231 and to implement the JCPOA, including through lifting the unilateral anti-Iranian sanctions imposed after the withdrawal of Washington from the “nuclear deal”.

21.    The solution to the Cyprus issue should be elaborated by the Cypriot communities themselves without any external pressure. Russia is guided by relevant UNSC resolutions which call for the formation of a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single international legal personality, sovereignty and citizenship. The existing security guarantee system has become obsolete, is no longer able to alleviate the concerns of the parties involved and should be replaced with the guarantees from the UN Security Council.

22.    Russia fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the principle of equality of the three state-constituting peoples and the two entities with broad constitutional powers in full compliance with the 1995 Dayton Accords. In this context, we strongly disagree with the so-called appointment of a new High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council. Without the UNSC approval this decision has no executive force. Moreover, the abolition of the Office of the High Representative is long overdue.

23.    The settlement of the Kosovo issue should be based on international law, first and foremost on UNSC resolution 1244. Belgrade and Pristina should come to an agreement themselves, while the task of the international community is to help the parties find mutually acceptable solutions without external pressure. The EU, as a mediator in the dialogue in accordance with UNGA resolution 64/298 of 9 September 2010, should seek to ensure that the parties implement the agreed decisions, primarily, the establishment of the Community of Serb municipalities in Kosovo (the CSMK; the agreement reached in 2013 has still not been implemented). We support the work of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

24.    Internal disputes in Venezuela can only be resolved by the Venezuelans themselves, through a broad and direct dialogue and with full respect for the country’s Constitution. Effective international cooperation is possible only if it is aimed at supporting such a dialogue.

The illegal unilateral coercive measures imposed against Venezuela undermine the efforts of the Venezuelan authorities to effectively combat the pandemic, as well as impede the normalization of the humanitarian situation in the country and the improvement of the migration situation in the region. Humanitarian assistance should be provided without politicisation and in accordance with the UN guiding principles enshrined in UNGA resolution 46/182.

We will continue to oppose any attempts to question the mandates of Venezuela’s official delegations at various international organizations.

25.    We learned with deep sorrow the news of the assassination of the President of Haiti Jovenel Moïse. We have been closely following the investigation into this crime. We are seriously concerned about information regarding the involvement of foreign nationals, including from the US and Colombia, in this brutal murder. This indicates that once again external forces are trying to exploit the purely internal conflict to promote their destructive interests.

We are convinced that the only way to normalize the situation in the country is to reach broad internal political consensus in strict conformity with the universally recognized norms and principles of international law. It is important that all decisions should be taken through peaceful political means by the Haitians themselves, with international support but without destructive external interference in order to elaborate solutions acceptable to the opposing parties.

26.    The Final Peace Agreement is the international legal basis for the settlement in Colombia. This document made it possible for the UNSC and the UN Secretary-General to support the peace process. Unilateral attempts to alter the substance of its provisions are unacceptable. Comprehensive sustainable settlement in Colombia is impossible without involving the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the peace process.

27.    We call on all parties to the conflict in Myanmar to put an end to violence and launch a constructive dialogue in order to move towards national reconciliation. International community should avoid politicising the issue, refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign State and abandon sanctions threats. We emphasize the ASEAN special role in the peace process. The current situation in Myanmar does not pose any threat to international peace and security, thus the only issue on the UNSC agenda in this context should be the situation in the Rakhine State.

28.    We support the aspiration of India and Pakistan to normalize relations in the context of the situation in the Kashmir region. We hope that a new escalation along the line of control will be prevented. Only direct negotiations between New Delhi and Islamabad can form the basis for a long-term settlement of this sensitive issue.

29.    We believe that conflict settlement in Africa should be based on a leading role of the countries of the African continent and supported by the international community. We call for the strengthening of cooperation between the UN and the African Union as well as the continent’s sub-regional organizations. As a permanent member of the UNSC, we will continue to facilitate a political resolution of the crises in the CAR, the DRC, South Sudan, Somalia, Mali and the Sahara-Sahel region as a whole.

We are firmly committed to actively supporting the efforts of the CAR authorities to improve governance and provide security on the basis of the 2019 peace agreement. At the same time, we will keep engaging constructively with all responsible stakeholders that support stabilisation in the country.

In cooperation with like-minded partners, it is important to assist Sudan in implementing the tasks of the transition period. We insist that the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) should always take into account the views of the authorities in Khartoum.

We stand for in an early normalization of the situation in the Ethiopian region of Tigray. Restoring stability in Ethiopia is certain to have a positive effect on the entire Horn of Africa. We consider the decision of the Federal Government of Ethiopia to establish a ceasefire in the region a step in the right direction. We call on all those involved to support this initiative of the authorities in order to stop the bloodshed and improve the humanitarian and social and economic situation.

30.    The UNGA Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24) will remain relevant until a definitive solution to the issue of all 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories is reached. We will continue to actively participate in the work of this body.

31.    UN peacekeeping should fully comply with the basic principles of the UN work in this area (consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force, except for self-defence and defence of the mandate) as well as with the UN Charter. The primary task is to promote political settlement of conflicts and national reconciliation. The adaptation of UN peacekeeping operations to contemporary realities should be implemented in strict accordance with the decisions agreed upon in the intergovernmental format. This includes, inter alia, the issues of “peacekeeping intelligence” and the use of new technologies, which should serve the sole purpose of ensuring peacekeepers’ safety and protection of civilians. Vesting peacekeeping operations with additional powers, including with respect to the use of force, is only possible upon a UNSC decision that takes into account the specific situation in each country.

The UNGA Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) should be responsible for defining the further development of UN peacekeeping activities.         Peacebuilding and peacekeeping are inextricably linked and based on the principle of national ownership in prioritising post-conflict reconstruction and development. International support should only be provided upon request of the host government and be aimed at enhancing the States’ own capacity.

32.    The UNSC sanctions, as one of the strongest instruments of ‘targeted action’ to tackle threats to international peace and security, should not be abused. As a measure of last resort in the area of conflict resolution, they cannot be applied without first taking into account the full range of their possible humanitarian, social and economic and human rights consequences. It is unacceptable to use them as a means of unfair competition and pressure on “undesirable regimes”. The functions of the existing institution of the Ombudsperson should be expanded to protect the interests of all the entities on the Security Council sanctions list. It is unacceptable to supplement Security Council sanctions with unilateral restrictions, especially those of an extraterritorial nature.

33.    We believe that all Member States should join efforts in the fight against terrorism, with the UN playing a central coordinating role. We firmly reject any double standards or hidden agendas in this area. We are convinced that the issue of terrorism should be addressed through the implementation of the relevant universal conventions and protocols, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant UNSC and UNGA resolutions.

Support for the counter-terrorism bodies of the United Nations system, first and foremost the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), remains a priority. We advocate for the expansion of the UNOCT financing from the UN regular budget. We also intend to increase our voluntary contributions to the Office and call on other Member States to do the same. We believe that law enforcement and prevention-oriented initiatives should remain at the core of the UNOCT programme and project activities.

We consider it critical to make greater use of the tools of the specialized subsidiary UNSC bodies, primarily its Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), the sanctions committees on ISIL, Al-Qaida and the Taliban Movement. We are committed to a constructive dialogue with regard to the review of the mandate of the CTC Executive Directorate.

We call for ensuring full compliance with UNSC resolutions against the financing of terrorism, as well as with the standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

We intend to step up efforts to cut off weapons, financial and material support for terrorists, to stop the spread of terrorist propaganda, including through the use of modern information and communication technologies, and to eliminate links between terrorist groups and drug trafficking and other organized crime groups. It is necessary to strengthen cooperation between countries in countering foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and bringing them to justice more quickly.

We oppose the dilution of the international legal framework by non-consensual concepts, such as “countering violent extremism“, which allow for the interference in the internal affairs of States and the reorientation of international cooperation on counter-terrorism towards secondary gender and human rights issues. We believe it necessary to enhance efforts to combat various manifestations of extremism, including right-wing radicalism, while countering attempts to use this issue for political purposes and as an excuse to increase anti-Russian sanctions pressure.

34.    We strongly oppose the revision and weakening of the current international drug control system, including by legalising all recreational (non-medical) drug use, as well as imposing questionable drug treatment practices as a “universal standard” and promoting drug use as a socially acceptable norm.

We advocate the strengthening of the policy-making role of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in the area of drug control. We intend to further continue to actively oppose efforts aimed at creating and institutionalising mechanisms that duplicate the CND work, and at imposing an alternative strategy for addressing the world drug problem bypassing the CND. We emphasize the need for States to strictly comply with the international anti-drug conventions. In view of the re-election to the CND for the period of 2022-2025, the Russian Federation will continue to promote a consistent line on the Commission’s platform as well as in negotiating the resolutions and decisions of the 76th UNGA Session.

We are concerned about the drastic deterioration of the drug situation in Afghanistan and its possible projection into increased smuggling of opiates into Russia and Central Asian countries. In the context of the withdrawal of NATO troops from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, international and regional anti-drug efforts, such as the Paris Pact, the SCO, the CIS, and the CARICC, are of particular importance. We believe that consistent, effective anti-drug efforts by the Afghan leadership based on the principle of common and shared responsibility of States, are essential for achieving security in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

35.    We support the key role of the United Nations in consolidating international efforts to combat transnational organised crime. We note the importance of an impartial Mechanism for the Review of the Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. We advocate strengthening the legal framework of international cooperation, including the development of new international legal instruments in a number of areas, including cybercrime, asset recovery, extradition and mutual legal assistance.

36.    We facilitate the development of the international anti-corruption cooperation, with the UN playing the central and coordinating role, based on the unique universal agreement, the UN Convention against Corruption (CAC). We support the effective functioning of the Mechanism for the Review of the Convention Implementation. We welcome the results of the first UNGA Special Session against Corruption which took place in June 2021. We consider it important that the political declaration of the UNGA Special Session confirmed the existence of gaps in international law governing the return from abroad of assets obtained as a result of corruption offences. We emphasise the need to develop an international legal instrument on asset recovery under the auspices of the UN to complement the UN Convention against Corruption.

37.    We support the key role of the UN in consolidating joint efforts to ensure international information security (IIS). They should result in the elaboration and adoption under the UN auspices of universal and comprehensive rules of responsible behaviour of States in information space aimed at preventing conflicts therein and promoting the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for peaceful purposes.

We welcome the adoption of the consensus reports of the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) and the UN Group of Governmental Experts on IIS. We note the unique spirit of the constructive dialogue at these platforms.

During the 76th UNGA Session, we intend to introduce in its First Committee an updated draft resolution on “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security” welcoming the successful conclusion of the work of both groups as well as the launch of a new Russia-initiated OEWG on Security in the Use of ICTs and ICTs themselves 2021-2025 (in accordance with UNGA resolution 75/240).

We assume that the new Group will ensure the continuity and consistency of an inclusive and truly democratic negotiation process on IIS under the UN auspices within a single mechanism. We call on all States to take an active part in the work of the OEWG 2021-2025 and contribute to building a fair and equitable IIS system.

In line with the relevant UNGA resolutions adopted at the initiative of the Russian Federation, we advocate for an early drafting, under the auspices of the UN, of an international convention countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes. The consensus modalities set out while preparing for the negotiation process in the relevant UNGA Ad Hoc Committee enable us to count on constructive and comprehensive participation of the entire international community in developing a universal and effective instrument to counter digital crime.

We call on our partners to support our First Committee draft resolution as well as to unequivocally endorse full implementation of the mandates of the new OEWG and the Ad Hoc Committee.

38. We have consistently advocated strengthening the existing treaty regimes and developing, through consensus, new arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation (ACDNP) regimes. The UN and its multilateral disarmament mechanism should play a central role in this process. We are committed to ensuring the coherence and improving the performance of its three key elements – the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament and the UN Disarmament Commission – while unconditionally respecting the mandates of these forums.

We deem it necessary to counter any attempts to revise the existing disarmament architecture by means of unilateral coercive measures that bypass the UN Security Council.

The main focus of multilateral efforts and fundamentally new approaches to address the whole range of problems in the field of the ACDNP may be considered at a summit of the permanent members of the UN Security Council which Russia has proposed to hold.

39. We strictly comply with our obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and advocate for its early entry into force. We call on the eight states on which the launch of the Treaty depends to sign and/or ratify it without delay. We believe that the key destructive factor here is the position of the United States which is the only state to have officially refused to ratify the Treaty. We expect Washington to reconsider its approach to the CTBT.

40. We support the noble cause of shaping a world free of nuclear weapons. We make a substantial practical contribution to achieving this goal. However, we are convinced there is a need for a balanced approach that takes into account all factors affecting strategic stability, including disruptive US steps aimed at undermining the existing ACDNP architecture. We do not support radical initiatives on introducing an early nuclear weapons ban (namely, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, TPNW).

41. We consider the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to be the most important international legal instrument for ensuring international security and one of the pillars of the modern world order. Our common task is to prevent the final collapse of the system of international disarmament and arms control agreements that has been developed over decades and the regimes based upon them.

In this regard, we attach primary importance to the viability of the NPT. We call on all States Parties to make every effort at the 10th Review Conference postponed until 2022 because of the new coronavirus pandemic to strengthen the Treaty and to help achieve its goals rather than cause more controversy around it. The ultimate goal is to draft a document that would reaffirm the viability of the Treaty and the willingness of the States Parties to strictly abide by their commitments.

We fully support the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as an international organisation that possesses the necessary authority and competence to monitor the observance of the non-proliferation obligations under the NPT through the application of Agency safeguards, which, in its turn, is an important condition for the States to exercise their right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

We believe that further development of the IAEA safeguards system serves to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, provided that it keeps intact the basic principles of verification – impartiality, technical feasibility, and transparency.

We are concerned about the recent tendency to politicise the IAEA safeguards system. As a result, claims are being made against States based on the ‘very likely/highly likely’ approach while deployment of nuclear weapons belonging to some countries in the territory of other formally non-nuclear States is being ignored.

The IAEA should not be turned into a nuclear disarmament verification tool, as this is neither a statutory purpose nor a function of the Agency. We believe that the participation of the IAEA Secretariat staff in the January 2022 Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in Vienna is inappropriate.

42. We regard the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction held in New York on 18-22 November 2019 as a landmark event both in terms of ensuring stability and sustainability in the region and in the context of global efforts towards WMD non-proliferation. We intend to further support the idea of such conferences. We believe that efforts to elaborate a legally binding agreement on creating a WMD-free zone in the Middle East serve the interests of all states in the region.

We hope that the second Conference on the establishment of a WMD-free zone due to be held in New York in November 2020 but postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic will take place this year, which would allow to kick start a somewhat stagnant process.

43. We are confident that there is still potential for political and diplomatic settlement of the situation arising from the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) based on Russia’s initiative to ensure predictability and restraint in the missile sphere.

We intend to maintain a unilateral moratorium on the deployment of land-based intermediate-range or shorter-range missiles in regions where no similar US-made weapons would appear. Despite the absence of a constructive response to this initiative on the part of NATO, we still consider a moratorium to be a promising idea that would make it possible to avoid new ‘missile crises’. We propose that the US and their NATO allies take on a similar commitment.

We reaffirm our commitment to the strict compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (the New START) and welcome its extension for five years without any preconditions – something that the Russian Federation has long and consistently called for. The extension of this Treaty set the stage for resuming a comprehensive dialogue with the United States on future arms control and the maintenance of strategic stability. At the Russian-US summit in Geneva on June 16, 2021 it was agreed to launch such a dialogue in the near future, as reflected in the Joint Statement by the Presidents at the meeting.

We believe that the goal of this engagement is to develop a new ‘security formula’ that takes into account all major factors of strategic stability, covers offensive and defensive nuclear and non-nuclear weapons capable of meeting strategic challenges, as well as the emergence of new technologies and new weapons.

44. We highly commend efforts of the UN Security Council and its ad-hoc 1540 Committee on the WMD non-proliferation. We are determined to engage in a substantive and constructive dialogue in the framework of the comprehensive review of the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1540. We expect that the procedure will result in the confirmation of the 1540 Committee’s current mandate.

45. Russia has initiated the development of important multilateral agreements in the ACDNP area, such as the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space Treaty (PAROS) and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Chemical and Biological Terrorism. We believe that a constructive dialogue on these issues will provide an opportunity to engage in substantive work (including negotiations) at the UN platform.

The imperative of preserving space for peaceful purposes and taking cooperative practical measures to this end is shared by the vast majority of States. We consider the globalisation of the no-first placement of weapons in outer space initiative to be an important but only interim step on the way towards the conclusion of an international treaty on the prevention of placement of weapons in outer space on the basis of a relevant Chinese-Russian draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force against outer space objects.

At the 76th session of the General Assembly, we will traditionally submit to the First Committee draft resolutions on no first placement of weapons in outer space, transparency and confidence-building measures in space activities and further practical measures to prevent an arms race in outer space.

46. We consider it necessary to continue strengthening the central and coordinating role of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). We are against the practice of addressing issues that fall within the competence of the Committee at other non-specialised international fora. We are concerned about the trend towards the consolidation of unilateral approaches in the policies of certain States aimed at establishing of a regime for the research, development and use of space resources, which carries serious risks for international cooperation, including with respect to outer space.

We continue to actively engage in the work of COPUOS to improve the security regime for space operations. We have succeeded in establishing the Working Group on the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities. The Group’s mandate is to implement the existing and develop new guidelines on long-term sustainability of outer space activities, which is of particular importance against the background of the rapidly changing environment in which space activities take place.

We are against moving the issues traditionally on the COPUOS agenda to parallel platforms, including the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, as part of the concept of the so-called ‘responsible behaviours in outer space’. Neglecting the Committee’s key role with regard to space debris and space traffic management may negatively affect the adoption of balanced consensus decisions in these areas.

We are in favour of the successful completion of efforts to develop the Space-2030 agenda and its implementation plan, with a view to presenting this document at the current session of the General Assembly.

47. We are in favour of strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention, the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, as well as the Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons.

In order to ensure the effective operation of this UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism, at the 76th session of the General Assembly we will submit a relevant draft resolution to the First Committee.

We come out against attempts by Western states to politicise the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in violation of the norms set in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). We regard as illegitimate their actions aimed at vesting the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW with the function of ‘identifying those responsible’ for the use of chemical weapons (attribution), including the creation of an illegitimate Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). We strongly disagree with its biased conclusions. We also have a whole range of complaints about the work of other OPCW inspection missions in the Syrian Arab Republic which violate the methods of investigation set out in the CWC. We urge the OPCW leadership to take action as soon as possible to rectify this deplorable situation.

We support impartial and highly professional investigations into chemical provocations by anti-government forces in Syria and all manifestations of ‘chemical terrorism’ in the Middle East in strict accordance with the high standards of the CWC.

48. We note the negative impact on international security of yet another destructive step by the United States – the decision to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies (OST) under the pretext of alleged violations of the Treaty by Russia. Alongside the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, as a consequence of which the Treaty ceased to have effect, this step is fully in line with Washington’s policy of destroying the whole range of arms control agreements and causes real damage to the European security system. The United States have upset the balance of rights and obligations of the States Parties to the OST, that is why Russia was forced to take measures to protect its national security interests and begin the procedure of withdrawal from the Treaty (to be completed by 18 December this year).

49. We continue to underline the unique role of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as a universal instrument creating a comprehensive legal regime for international cooperation of States in the World Ocean. We highly appreciate the work of such conventional mechanisms as the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Seabed Authority. We believe it is vital that they work strictly within their mandates under the Convention avoiding any broad interpretation of the competence granted to them or politicising their decisions.

50. The Russian Federation supports the work of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as the main judicial body of the United Nations and is ready to assist the creation of conditions enabling its effective and unbiased functioning.

We closely follow the situation around the implementation of the provisions of the UNGA resolution of May 22, 2019 concerning the Chagos Archipelago, adopted in accordance with the relevant advisory opinion of the ICJ. We view the above-mentioned General Assembly decision in the context of the completion of the decolonisation processes.

Elections to the ICJ are planned for the autumn of 2023 at the Security Council and the 78th session of the UNGA. The Russian group in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) decided to nominate sitting judge K.Gevorgyan for re-election to the ICJ for the period 2024-2033. We are counting on the support of our candidate by the Member States of the Organisation in the forthcoming elections.

51. The Russian Federation facilitates the work of the International Law Commission (ILC) which contributes significantly to the codification and progressive development of international law. We believe that the UN should further build on its most valuable outputs.

In the autumn of 2021, during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, elections to the ILC are scheduled to take place. The Russian Federation nominated the current member of the Commission, Director of the Legal Department of the MFA of Russia E.Zagaynov, for re-election to the Commission for the period 2023–2027. We hope that the UN Member States will support our candidate in the upcoming elections.

52. The credibility of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is steadily declining. It is becoming more politically biased and one-sided. We note the low quality of its work and the lack of any tangible contribution to conflict settlement.

53. We underline that the mandate of the Residual Mechanism is strictly limited, and it is necessary to complete its activity as soon as possible. We have to acknowledge yet again that the Mechanism inherited the worst practices from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which is demonstrated by its consistent anti-Serbian attitudes. We monitor respect for the rights of persons accused and convicted by the Residual Mechanism. We do not consider it expedient at this point to establish new judicial bodies of this kind.

54. We continue to assume the legal nullity of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011 established by the UN General Assembly acting beyond its authority. We object to the funding of the Mechanism from the UN regular budget and to the Mechanism gaining access to the archives of the OPCW-UN Joint Mechanism.

55. We continue to regard the issue of “the rule of law” with an emphasis on its international dimension, i.e. the primacy of international law, particularly the UN Charter. We continue to oppose attempts to use it to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign States under the pretext of strengthening the “rule of law” at the national level.

Given the confrontational incorporation of the permanent item “responsibility to protect” (R2P) in the UNGA agenda, we underline the loss of the consensual nature of this concept. We will continue to block attempts to legitimise it.

56. It is States that bear the primary responsibility for promoting and protecting human rights, while the UN executive structures are to play a supporting role. We believe that equal cooperation between States based on the rule of international law, respect for sovereignty and equality of States should be the main principle in the work of the United Nations to promote and protect human rights. It is inadmissible to duplicate the work of the main bodies of the United Nations through unjustified integration of the human rights agenda into all areas of the UN activities. We are against strengthening the link between the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and the UN Security Council. We oppose attempts to reform the HRC in order to turn it into a quasi-judicial monitoring mechanism.

We consider it unacceptable to include politicised country-specific resolutions and topics outside the scope of their mandate in the agenda of United Nations human rights mechanisms. We condemn the use of human rights issues as a pretext for interfering in the internal affairs of States and undermining the principles of international law. It is in this light that we regard the resolution on the situation of human rights in Crimea, which, since 2016, has been regularly submitted to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly by the Ukrainian delegation. This document has nothing to do with the actual situation in this region of the Russian Federation. We will vote against this resolution during the 76th session of the UNGA, and we call on our partners to do the same.

The work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) should become more transparent and accountable to the UN Member States in order to avoid politically motivated approaches to assessing human rights situations in different countries.

We will continue to promote intercivilisational, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and due respect for the diversity of cultures, civilisations, traditions and historical developments in the promotion and protection of human rights.

57. We strongly condemn all forms and manifestations of discrimination. The ban on discrimination enshrined in international human rights instruments is universal and applies to all persons without exception. We see no value added in defining new vulnerable groups (such as members of the LGBT community, human rights activists, bloggers) that allegedly require a special legal protection regime or new categories of rights. Such steps by a number of countries only lead to de-universalization of legal protection regimes and increased politicisation and confrontation within the UN human rights mechanisms.

58. Active practical work in the area of social development aimed at eradicating poverty, promoting social integration, ensuring full employment and decent work for all will facilitate effective implementation of the decisions adopted at the World Summit for Social Development and the 24th special session of the UN General Assembly.

We consider the UN Commission for Social Development to be the main UN coordinating body that develops framework for harmonised actions on general issues of social protection, ensuring equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, problems of ageing population, improving the situation of young people and strengthening the role of the traditional family. We resolutely oppose any initiatives that undermine its role, as well as the calls for its dissolution.

59. The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) remains the main intergovernmental platform for discussion of a broad range of issues relating to improvement of the status of women and achieving gender equality in particular. We believe it is important to avoid politicization of these issues or their automatic inclusion into the UN documents focusing on other topics. Special attention in documents on improving the status of women should be devoted to social and economic rights, as well as social protection and support for women and their families.

We believe that gender equality issues should be taken into account in the work of the UN system in a balanced manner, without absolute prioritisation or selective use.

We commend the work of UN Women which should render assistance only within the framework of its mandate, upon request and with the consent of the States concerned. We will continue to interact actively with it within the framework of the Executive Board.

60. We reaffirm the need for strengthening international cooperation in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child on the basis of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the outcome document of the 27th special session of the United Nations General Assembly entitled “A World Fit for Children”. We consider unacceptable attempts by a number of countries to deprive parents and legal guardians of their role in the upbringing of children and the development of their potential, including by granting young children autonomy in their decision-making. Programmes to support the family in its traditional sense, to ensure access to education and healthcare are important for the successful upbringing of children.

We devote close attention to the problem of children in armed conflict. We support the mandate of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and develop cooperation with her, including as part of the programme for repatriation of Russian children from Syria and Iraq.

61. We support discussion at the United Nations General Assembly of the problems of interreligious and intercultural interaction and the development of intercivilisational dialogue, especially within the framework of the Alliance of Civilisations (AoC). We regard the establishment of a culture of peace as an essential prerequisite for peaceful co-existence and global cooperation for the sake of peace and development.

We are actively preparing for holding the World Conference on Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue (St Petersburg, May 2022).

62. We are ready for the cooperation on the UN agenda issues with all interested relevant non-governmental organizations. Their involvement in the work of the United Nations should take place within the framework of the established practice, which requires the obligatory consent of Member States. We encourage the adequate representation of the Russian non-governmental corps in the activities of the relevant segments, bodies and structures of the United Nations.

63. To overcome the consequences of migration crises affecting individual countries and regions of the world, global efforts are required under the central coordinating role of the United Nations.

We commend the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on ensuring more effective international protection for refugees and other categories of persons under its responsibility. We consider the work of the UNHCR particularly important in situations of major humanitarian crises.

Russia makes a significant contribution to international efforts to improve the situation of refugees, including by accepting forcibly displaced persons from Ukraine and also through programmes for the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. Each year our country voluntarily contributes some $2 million to the UNHCR budget.

We reaffirm our commitment to the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which should form the basis of comprehensive long-term cooperation aimed at creating legal channels for migration and countering irregular flows.

Russia took an active part in the first meeting of the Global Refugee Forum. We expect that this platform will help to attract the attention of the international community to the problems of refugees and to consolidate efforts to implement the GCR.

We welcome the strengthening of the UN migration pillar under the coordinating role of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). We support a comprehensive approach of the UNHCR and IOM to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 among persons of concern. We are convinced that one of the effective measures to combat the pandemic should be large-scale vaccination of the population, including forcibly displaced persons.

We note the effectiveness of the UNHCR’s work with Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). We look forward to the world community pursuing a non-politicized approach in dealing with this issue and providing greater assistance in rebuilding infrastructure and ensuring conditions for their early return.

We appreciate and contribute, including financially, to the UNHCR’s efforts to address the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the internal Ukrainian crisis. We support the UNHCR programmes aimed at eliminating statelessness, in particular in European countries.

We are interested in the UNHCR facilitating the return of IDPs and refugees to Nagorny Karabakh and the surrounding areas.

64. We consider the Georgian UNGA resolution on the status of internally displaced persons and refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be counter-productive and to entail the risk of aggravating the situation “on the ground” and further stalling the Geneva discussions, which remain the only negotiation platform enabling direct dialogue between the representatives of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Georgia. We also note that at a time when the Abkhaz and South Ossetian representatives are deprived of the opportunity to convey their position to the General Assembly because of the systematic refusal of the United States authorities to grant them entry visas, discussions in New York on the topic of “refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia” without their direct participation are meaningless.

65. We consistently advocate for the strengthening of UNESCO‘s international standing. We believe that the adaptation of UNESCO’s working methods to the emerging challenges, including in the context of the new coronavirus pandemic, should be in line with the intergovernmental nature of the Organisation and be based on unconditional compliance with the provisions of the UNESCO Constitution, rules of procedure and directives of the decision-making bodies.

We oppose to the artificial integration of human rights issues in UNESCO’s activities in order to avoid duplication of functions of other UN specialised agencies. We aim to increase the effectiveness of the Organisation by depoliticising it and removing from its agenda issues of territorial integrity and sovereignty that do not belong to it.

Russia contributes significantly to UNESCO activities. In 2022, Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, will host one of the largest and most significant UNESCO events – the 45th Anniversary Session of the World Heritage Committee, which will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

66. We view cooperation in sports and the promotion of sport ideals worldwide as effective ways to foster respect and mutual understanding among nations.

We believe that politicisation of sports and discrimination of athletes, including Paralympians, in the form of collective punishment are unacceptable. We advocate the development of a universal system of international sports cooperation based on the principles of independence and autonomy of sports.

67.    In the context of international cooperation to address social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, we support intensified efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda) as a holistic and balanced strategy to guide the work of the UN in the social, economic, environmental and related fields. We underline the integrated, non-politicised and indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with poverty eradication being the key objective.

We support stronger coordination between the UNGA and ECOSOC, including through the dialogue platform of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The HLPF is designed to serve as a forum that brings together all stakeholders, including members of the business community (not only NGOs), to review the progress made in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the global level. Russia’s first Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the SDGs presented in 2020 has been a significant contribution to these efforts.

We promote a balanced approach in the energy sector with a focus on ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources in line with SDG 7. We recognise the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while believing that it should be fulfilled not only through the transition to renewable energy sources but also through the introduction of advanced low-carbon technologies in the use of all types of energy sources, including fossil fuels. In this context, we advocate increased use of natural gas as the most environmentally acceptable fossil fuel, as well as the recognition of nuclear power and hydropower as clean energy sources due to the absence of a carbon footprint. In this spirit, we intend to ensure Russia’s participation in the High-Level Dialogue on Energy in September 2021.

68.    We will continue to uphold the basic parameters for international humanitarian assistance outlined in UNGA resolution 46/182 and other decisions of the General Assembly and ECOSOC. We will oppose revision of fundamental principles, in particular the respect for the sovereignty of an affected state and the need to obtain its consent for assistance. We will continue to urge UN humanitarian agencies to act as “honest brokers” and base their work on carefully verified data about the humanitarian situation “on the ground”.

We are concerned about the worsening of humanitarian crises triggered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As humanitarian needs grow considerably, we believe it crucial to avoid politicising humanitarian assistance.

69.    We condemn individual countries’ practice of imposing unilateral coercive measures contrary to the United Nations Charter and international law. We therefore support the idea of joining efforts of sanctioned countries in line with the Russian President’s initiative to create sanctions-free “green corridors” to provide countries with access to medicines and essential goods.

70.    We call for accelerated implementation of the Addis-Ababa Action Agenda decisions on financing for development in order to mobilise and make effective use of resources to achieve the SDGs.

We support the principle of prioritising the interests of international development assistance recipients. We offer assistance to interested countries based on a de-politicised approach, promoting domestic innovation and expertise.

We recognise the importance of reaching international consensus on global taxation, in particular in the fight against tax evasion. We support the increased intergovernmental cooperation in curbing illicit financial flows and repatriation of income generated from illegal activities.

71.    We oppose attempts by individual countries to reduce socio-economic development solely to the achievement of environmental protection goals, namely climate change. We see such a one-sided position as an indication of unfair competition and trade protectionism, which are inconsistent with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) principles of a universal, open, non-discriminatory multilateral trading system.

72.    We welcome the further strengthening of the work of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to achieve sustainable development of the United Nations.

We support the consolidation of UNEP’s role as the key universal intergovernmental platform establishing the integrated global environmental agenda.

We advocate greater efficiency and stronger financial discipline within UN-Habitat as part of the Programme’s structural reform implemented in accordance with resolution 73/239 of the General Assembly.

We stress the need for strict adherence to the principle of equitable geographical representation in the staffing of UNEP and UN-Habitat and the inadmissibility of politicisation of these programmes’ mandates.

73.    We stand for the continued leadership of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in coordinating international efforts to eliminate hunger, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. We will encourage these Rome-based organisations to engage in a closer inter-agency cooperation within the UN system in addressing these issues.

In practical terms, we are actively involved in preparations for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. We expect it to deliver a comprehensive analysis of optimal agri-food chain models to help eradicate hunger and improve food security, including the provision of healthy food for the population. We believe that commonly agreed and universally supported sectoral approaches and proposals should be reflected in the Summit outcome documents in a balanced way. We hope that the upcoming event will set the course for the transformation of global food systems, particularly in the context of overcoming the consequences of the new coronavirus pandemic, and give further impetus to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

We pay careful attention to preventing the risk of a food crisis, namely in view of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to provide humanitarian food aid to countries most in need, first of all to those of the former Soviet Union, as well as in Africa and Latin America.

74.    We attach great importance to the work carried out by the UNGA to support the multilateral efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and overcoming its impact. We advocate a universal, equitable, fair and unhindered access to medical technologies as well as safe, high-quality, effective and affordable vaccines and medicines for the new coronavirus infection.

We consider increasing global preparedness and response capacity for health emergencies to be a priority task. We are ready for a constructive dialogue with all partners in the framework of the relevant formats. Yet we believe that the World Health Organisation (WHO) should continue to be the main forum for discussing global health issues.

We consistently support WHO as the focal point for the international human health cooperation. We call for enhancing the efficiency of its work through increased transparency and accountability to Member States.

75.    We will further strengthen the multi-stakeholder partnership for disaster risk reduction under the Sendai Framework 2015–2030. Amid the ongoing pandemic, we believe that special attention should be paid to building States’ capacity to respond to emergencies, including in health care.

76.    We seek to keep down the growth of the UN regular programme budget for 2022, as well as estimates for peacekeeping operations and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. We propose targeted and justified reductions in requested resources. Any requests for additional funding should first undergo careful internal scrutiny. At the same time, the Secretariat should step up its efforts to improve the efficiency of its working methods in order to minimise the associated costs of achieving UN’s objectives. We insist on stronger accountability, strict budgetary discipline and improved transparency in the Secretariat’s work.

77.    Ensuring parity among the six official UN languages in conference services and information and communication activities remains one of the priorities in our interaction with the Organisation’s Secretariat. The principle of multilingualism should be given primary consideration when implementing all media projects and information campaigns as well as allocating financial and human resources to the language services of the UN Secretariat.

How Palestinian Resistance Altered the Equation

JUNE 1, 2021

Photograph Source: Neil Ward – CC BY 2.0

BY RAMZY BAROUD

The ceasefire on May 21 has, for now, brought the Israeli war on Gaza to an end. However, this ceasefire is not permanent and constant Israeli provocations anywhere in Palestine could reignite the bloody cycle all over again. Moreover, the Israeli siege on Gaza remains in place, as well as the Israeli military occupation and the rooted system of apartheid that exists all over Palestine.

This, however, does not preclude the fact that the 11-day Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip has fundamentally altered some elements about Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, especially the Palestinian Resistance, in all of its manifestations.

Let us examine the main actors in the latest confrontation and briefly discuss the impact of the Israeli war and the determined Palestinian resistance on their respective positions.

‘Mowing the Grass’ No More

‘Mowing the grass’ is an Israeli term used with reference to the habitual Israeli attacks and war on besieged Gaza, aimed at delineating the need for Israel to routinely eradicate or degrade the capabilities of the various Palestinian resistance groups on the street.

‘Mowing the grass’ also has political benefits, as it often neatly fit into Israel’s political agendas – for example, the need to distract from one political crisis or another in Israel or to solidify Israeli society around its leadership.

May 2021 will be remembered as the time that ‘mowing the grass’ can no longer be easily invoked as a military and political strategy by the Israeli government, as the Gaza resistance and the popular rebellion that was ignited throughout all of Palestine has raised the price by several-fold that Israel paid for its violent provocations.

While Israeli military and political strategists want to convince us, and themselves, that their relationship with Gaza and the Palestinian Resistance has not changed, it actually has and, arguably, irreversibly so.

The Altered Equation

The Palestinian fight for freedom has also been fundamentally altered, not only because of the unprecedented resilience of Palestinian resistance, but the unity of the Palestinian people, and the rise of a post-Oslo/peace process Palestinian nation that is united around a new popular discourse, one which does not differentiate between Palestinians in Jerusalem, Gaza, or anywhere else.

Palestinian unity around resistance, not peace process, is placing Israel in a new kind of quandary. For the first time in its history, Israel cannot win the war on the Palestinians. Neither can it lose the war, because conceding essentially means that Israel is ready to offer compromises – end its occupation, dismantle apartheid, and so on. This is why Israel opted for a one-sided ceasefire. Though humiliating, it preferred over-reaching a negotiated agreement, thus sending a message that the Palestinian Resistance works.

Still, the May war demonstrated that Israel is no longer the only party that sets the rules of the game. Palestinians are finally able to make an impact and force Israel to abandon its illusions that Palestinians are passive victims and that resistance is futile.

Equally important, we can no longer discuss popular resistance and armed resistance as if they are two separate notions or strategies. It would have been impossible for the armed resistance to be sustained, especially under the shocking amount of Israeli firepower, without the support of Palestinians at every level of society and regardless of their political and ideological differences.

Facing a single enemy that did not differentiate between civilians and fighters, between a Hamas or a Fatah supporter, the Palestinian people throughout Palestine moved past all of their political divisions and factional squabbles. Palestinian youth coined new terminologies, ones that were centered around resistance, liberation, solidarity and so on. This shift in the popular discourse will have important consequences that have the potential of cementing Palestinian unity for many years to come.

Israel’s Allies Not Ready to Change

The popular revolt in Palestine has taken many by surprise, including Israel’s allies. Historically, Israel’s Western supporters have proven to be morally bankrupt, but the latest war has proved them to be politically bankrupt as well.

Throughout the war, Washington and other Western capitals parroted the same old line about Israel’s right to defend itself, Israel’s security and the need to return to the negotiation table. This is an archaic and useless position because it did not add anything new to the old, empty discourse. If anything, it merely demonstrates their inability to evolve politically and to match the dramatic changes underway in occupied Palestine.

Needless to say, the new US Administration of Joe Biden, in particular, has missed a crucial opportunity to prove that it was different from that of the previous Donald Trump Administration. Despite, at times, guarded language and a few nuances, Biden behaved precisely as Trump would have if he was still  President.

What ‘Palestinian leadership’?

The head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and his circle of supporters represent a bygone era. While they are happy to claim a large share of whatever international financial support that could pour in to rebuild Gaza, they do not represent any political trend in Palestine at the moment.

Abbas’s decision to cancel Palestine’s elections scheduled for May and July left him more isolated. Palestinians are ready to look past him; in fact, they already have. This so-called leadership will not be able to galvanize upon this historic moment built on Palestinian unity and resistance.

The Palestinian Authority is corrupt and dispensable. Worse, it is an obstacle in the way of Palestinian freedom. Palestine needs a leadership that represents all Palestinian people everywhere, one that is truly capable of leading the people as they attempt to chart a clear path to their coveted freedom.

Expanding the Circle of Solidarity

The incredible amount of global solidarity which made headline news all over the world was a clear indication that the many years of preparedness at a grassroots level have paid off. Aside from the numerous expressions of solidarity, one particular aspect deserves further analysis: the geographic diversity of this solidarity which is no longer confined to a few cities in a few countries.

Pro-Palestine solidarity protests, vigils, conferences, webinars, art, music, poetry and many more such expressions were manifest from Kenya to South Africa, to Pakistan to the UK and dozens of countries around the world. The demographics, too, have changed, with minorities and people of color either leading or taking center stage of many of these protests, a phenomenon indicative of the rising intersectionality between Palestinians and numerous oppressed groups around the globe.

A critical fight ahead for Palestinians is the fight of delegitimizing and exposing Israeli colonialism, racism and apartheid. This fight can be won at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), UNESCO and numerous international and regional organizations, in addition to the countless civil society groups and community centers the world over.

For this to happen, every voice matters, every vote counts, from India to Brazil, from Portugal to South Africa, from China to New Zealand, and so on. Israel understands this perfectly, thus the global charm offensive that right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been leading for years. It is essential that we, too, understand this, and reach out to each UN member as part of a larger strategy to deservingly isolate Israel for ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

“المونيتور”: هل عاد “حل الدولتين” إلى الأجندة الإسرائيلية؟ Is two-state solution back on Israel’s agenda?

الكاتب: مزال معلم

المصدر: المونيتور

يتعين على القيادة الإسرائيلية أن تفهم أن حل الدولتين، الذي أبعده ترامب، قد عاد إلى جدول أعمال إدارة بايدن.

نتنياهو وبلينكن خلال محادثاتهما الأخيرة في القدس المحتلة.
نتنياهو وبلينكن خلال محادثاتهما الأخيرة في القدس المحتلة.

كتبت الصحافية الإسرائيلية مزال معلم مقالة في موقع “المونيتور” الأميركي تناولت فيه عودة “حل الدولتين” إلى أجندة الإدارة الأميركية مع الرئيس جو بايدن. وقالت إن الاجتماع  الذي عقد بين رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو ووزير الخارجية الأميركي أنتوني بلينكين في القدس المحتلة في 25 أيار / مايو الجاري قد كشف عن التغييرات الكبيرة التي تحدث في المنطقة، منذ ترك الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب منصبه.

وأضافت أن الاجتماع كان جيداً جداً إذ بذل بلينكين أقصى جهده “لإظهار الصداقة الوثيقة بين الدولتين، مع التركيز على التزام الرئيس جو بايدن الطويل الأمد بحق “إسرائيل” في الدفاع عن نفسها ضد منظمة (حماس) تطلق الصواريخ على مواطنيها.. فخلال الأسبوعين الماضيين، خلال عملية “حارس الأسوار”، أثبتت تصرفات بايدن أنه يقف مع “إسرائيل”. لقد حافظ على اتصالات منتظمة وودية مع نتنياهو، في حين أن دعواته لوقف إطلاق النار كانت تتم بهدوء، وبلباقة دبلوماسية محسوبة. كما أبدى بايدن احتراماً لنتنياهو إذ لم يوجه البيت الأبيض أي تهديدات له كما حدث في أكثر من مناسبة خلال إدارة أوباما.

وقالت الكاتبة إنه برغم كل هذه الدبلوماسية الأميركية اللبقة، فإن الأسبوعين الماضيين أظهرا أن ثمة تغيرات كبيرة في المواقف الأميركية تجاه “إسرائيل”، وخاصة بشأن علاقة “إسرائيل” بالفلسطينيين. فما فعله بايدن هو إعادة المفاوضات مع الفلسطينيين، بهدف تحقيق حل الدولتين، إلى الصدارة، بعد أن تم تجميد الحل إلى أجل غير مسمى في عام 2014، بعدما شعر بايدن بأنه مضطر للتدخل نتيجة للصراع الأخير في غزة. 

وأوضحت الكاتبة أن المثال الأكثر وضوحاً على هذا التغيير هو قرار إدارة بايدن إعادة فتح القنصلية الأميركية في القدس الشرقية، والتي أغلقتها إدارة ترامب. وأبلغ بلينكين نتنياهو بهذا القرار خلال لقائهما، وجدد السياسة الجديدة خلال لقائه بالرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس في رام الله. ورأت الكاتبة أن هذا الأمر هو أكثر من عمل رمزي. فعلى مدى العقود الثلاثة الماضية، كانت القنصلية بمثابة التمثيل الدبلوماسي للولايات المتحدة لدى السلطة الفلسطينية. تم إغلاقها في تشرين الأول / أكتوبر 2018، عندما نقل ترامب السفارة الأميركية في الكيان الإسرائيلي من تل أبيب إلى القدس. وتقرر أنذاك دمج المكتبين الدبلوماسيين في القدس. ما يعنيه ذلك عملياً هو أن القنصلية، التي كانت في يوم من الأيام مسؤولة عن جميع الاتصالات مع السلطة الفلسطينية، كانت تابعة للسفير الأميركي لدى “إسرائيل”، أي فقدت القنصلية وضعها المستقل.

وأضافت أن قرار إغلاق القنصلية كان إظهار للعلاقة الدافئة بين ترامب ونتنياهو والتي أدت إلى شطب أي مساعٍ لتحقيق حل الدولتين من جدول أعمال الإدارة الأميركية. اعتبر الفلسطينيون ذلك عملاً عدوانياً وجزءاً من سياسة أوسع أظهرت تفضيلاً للمصالح الإسرائيلية على أي تطلعات قومية لديهم. لذلك، فإن إعادة إدارة بايدن فتح القنصلية في القدس الشرقية تعتبر خطوة مهمة في الجهود المبذولة لتجديد العلاقة بين الولايات المتحدة والفلسطينيين. كانت لفتة تصالحية من إدارة بايدن تجاه الرئيس عباس، الذي تعرض لموقف عدائي من ترامب.

وقالت الكاتبة إنه كان لدى بلينكن المزيد من المفاجآت للفلسطينيين. فقد أبلغ نتنياهو وعباس أن الولايات المتحدة تخطط لإرسال 75 مليون دولار إلى غزة في عام 2021 للمساعدة في إعادة بناء القطاع بعد جولة العنف الأخيرة. وخلصت إلى أن بلينكن قدم في زيارته الرسمية الأولى لـ”إسرائيل” والشرق الأوسط سياسة أميركية جديدة تجاه المنطقة تختلف بشكل ملحوظ عن سياسة الإدارة السابقة. فالتأمل في صيف  2020، عندما بدأ توقيع اتفاقات أبراهام، يظهر مدى جدية هذا التغيير حيث أن ترامب قد ألغى عاملين رئيسيين حاول الرئيس السابق باراك أوباما دفعهما إلى الأمام: الاتفاق النووي مع إيران الذي انسحبت منه الولايات المتحدة، والمحادثات بين “إسرائيل” والفلسطينيين ، والتي أزيلت عن الطاولة. وقد عاد كلاهما كمسألة بارزة على الأجندة الأميركية، حتى لو كان الأسلوب المستخدم للنهوض بهما مختلفاً.

وأضافت: كأن بلينكين أراد مخاطبة الجمهور الإسرائيلي مباشرة. كان يعلم أنهم معجبون بترامب، وكانت هذه فرصته لتعريفهم بأجندة بايدن الجديدة. فقد أراد أن يؤكد الالتزام المطلق للولايات المتحدة بالمصالح الإسرائيلية، وفي الوقت نفسه، أراد أن يبث حياة جديدة في حل الدولتين للصراع الإسرائيلي الفلسطيني.

وخلال مقابلة له مع القناة 12 الأخبارية الإسرائيلية، عندما سئل عما إذا كانت هناك محاولة لإحياء عملية السلام الإسرائيلية الفلسطينية، أجاب بلينكن قائلاً: “لا نزال نؤمن بأن حل الدولتين ليس فقط أفضل طريقة، ولكنه ربما الطريقة الوحيدة للتأكد من أن إسرائيل لديها مستقبل كدولة يهودية وديمقراطية آمنة، وأن الفلسطينيين لديهم دولة يستحقونها. لذلك أعتقد أننا نريد الوصول إلى ذلك. لكن ينصب التركيز حالياً على التعامل مع العنف الأخير، ومحاولة البناء على وقف إطلاق النار، ..، ثم معرفة ما إذا كانت الظروف لاحقاً توفر بيئة أفضل للسعي لمتابعة حل الدولتين”.

وتابعت الكاتبة: لقد اعتاد الإسرائيليون على أن يكونوا مستفيدين من هدايا ترامب السخية. فقد نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس، واعترف بالضم الإسرائيلي للجولان السوري وعزز معاهدات السلام مع الدول العربية “المعتدلة”. الآن، بدأ الإسرائيليون يدركون أن شيئاً جديداً ومختلفاً يجري.. لكنهم يدركون كذلك أن بايدن يختلف عن أوباما، الذي كان يعتبره العديد من الإسرائيليين مؤيداً للفلسطينيين. ينجح بايدن في تقديم نفسه كشخص يتفهم حقاً المزاج السائد في إسرائيل، ويحب إسرائيل كثيراً”.

حتى الآن، تمكن نتنياهو ، وهو سياسي متمرس، من اجتياز هذه المعضلة سالماً. على عكس تعاملاته الحادة مع أوباما، ليس لنتنياهو خلافات عامة مع بايدن حالياً. لكن كل هذه التغييرات القادمة من واشنطن تضع “إسرائيل” في حالة من عدم الاستقرار السياسي. ومن المحتمل جداً أن تنتهي فترة حكم نتنياهو الطويلة قريباً. الآن وبعد أن أصبح هناك ائتلاف إسرائيلي جديد لتأليف الحكومة، مؤلف من أحزاب من اليسار واليمين، فإن السؤال المطروح هو ما هي السياسات التي سيتبناها هذا الائتلاف في التعامل مع الفلسطينيين؟

وقالت الكاتبة إنه من المحتمل أن يكون رئيس وزراء هذه الحكومة الجديدة هو السياسي اليميني نفتالي بينيت، الذي يدعو إلى ضم المستوطنات الإسرائيلية في الضفة الغربية، بينما يدعم رئيس الوزراء البديل، يائير لابيد، حل الدولتين. فيما تعتبر أحزاب اليسار، وعلى رأسها حركة ميرتس، المستوطنات رمزاً للاحتلال الإسرائيلي. تعرض رئيس حزب ميرتس، نيتسان هورويتز، لهجوم من اليمين في آذار / مارس الماضي، عندما أعرب عن دعمه للمحكمة الجنائية الدولية في لاهاي، التي أعلنت أنها تحقق مع “إسرائيل” في جرائم حرب. في 27 أيار / مايو، قال هورويتز في مقابلة إذاعية إنه يؤيد استئناف المفاوضات بين “إسرائيل” والفلسطينيين. تكمن أهمية ذلك في أنه إذا تم تشكيل حكومة تغيير جديدة، فلن يكون هناك إجماع داخلها حول كيفية تعاملها مع الصراع الفلسطيني الإسرائيلي. كان الوضع في قطاع غزة هادئاً نسبياً عندما اتفق الطرفان على تشكيل مثل هذه الحكومة بهدف واضح هو عزل نتنياهو من منصبه. لذلك كان لديها مجال للزعم بأنها ستتجنب القضية الفلسطينية وتركز على قضايا مدنية وعسكرية أخرى. لكن الأسبوعين الماضيين أعادا الوضع الأمني ​​إلى صدارة الأجندة الإسرائيلية وأعادا إمكانية حل الدولتين إلى مركز الصدارة.

نقله إلى العربية بتصرف: الميادين: الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي الصحيفة حصراً

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Is two-state solution back on Israel’s agenda?

Israel’s leadership must understand that as far as the Biden administration is concerned the two-state solution is back on the agenda.

May 27, 2021

The meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Jerusalem May 25 offered insight into the enormous changes taking place in the region, ever since President Donald Trump left office. 

On the one hand, it was a very good meeting. Blinken made every effort to showcase the close friendship between the two countries, with an emphasis on President Joe Biden’s longstanding commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself against a terrorist organization firing rockets on its citizens. This was more than just rhetoric, too. Over the last two weeks, during Operation Guardian of the Walls, Biden’s actions proved that he stood with Israel. He maintained regular and cordial contacts with Netanyahu, while his calls for a cease-fire were made quietly, with calculated diplomatic tact. Biden made a point of respecting Netanyahu. The White House made no threats, nor did it bully him, as happened on more than one occasion during the Obama administration.

On the other hand, despite all the elegant diplomacy, the last two weeks show that there have been enormous changes to American attitudes toward Israel, particularly when it comes to Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians.

What Biden effectively did was return negotiations with the Palestinians — with the goal of achieving a two-state solution — back to center stage, after they were frozen indefinitely in 2014. This happened when Biden felt forced to intervene as a result of the recent conflict in Gaza. What made his new policy notable was that it consisted of more than just rhetorical flourishes. It had a number of operative components, too.

The most obvious and immediate example of this is the Biden administration’s decision to reopen the US Consulate in East Jerusalem, which was shut down by the Trump administration. Blinken informed Netanyahu of this decision during their meeting, and reiterated the new policy during his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

This is, of course, much more than some symbolic act. Over the last three decades, the consulate served as the United States’ diplomatic representation to the Palestinian Authority (PA). It was shut down in October 2018, when Trump moved the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It was decided at the time to merge the two diplomatic offices in Jerusalem. What this meant in practical terms was that the consulate, which was once responsible for all contact with the PA, was subordinated to the ambassador to Israel. In other words, it lost its independent status.

The decision to shut down the consulate was a highlight of the unusually warm relationship between Trump and Netanyahu. Inevitably, it led to any efforts to achieve a two-state solution being removed from the agenda. The Palestinians considered this an act of belligerence and part of a larger policy that showed preference to Israeli interests over any national aspirations they had.

That is why the reopening of the consulate is considered to be an important step forward in the effort to renew the relationship between the United States and the Palestinians. It was a conciliatory gesture to Abbas, who had been subjected to a chilly and sometimes hostile attitude from Trump.

And Blinken had even more surprises for the Palestinians. He informed both Netanyahu and Abbas that the United States plans to send $75 million to Gaza in 2021 to help rebuild the enclave after the current round of violence.

There is no doubt that in his first official visit to Israel and the Middle East, Blinken presented a new American policy toward the region, which differed markedly from that of the previous administration. Reflecting back on the summer of 2020, when the Abraham Accords began to emerge, shows how serious this change is. Trump eliminated two key factors that President Barack Obama tried to advance: a nuclear deal with Iran, from which the United States withdrew, and talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which were taken off the table. Both of these are, once again, prominent points on the American agenda, even if the style used to advance them is different.

It looked like Blinken wanted to address the Israeli people directly. He knew that they were enamored with Trump, and this was his chance to introduce them to the new Biden agenda. On the one hand, he wanted to highlight the absolute nature of the US commitment to Israeli interests, while at the same time, he wanted to breathe new life into the two-state solution to the conflict.

Before leaving Israel for Egypt and Jordan, Blinken gave an exclusive primetime interview to Israel’s main news broadcast on Channel 12. When asked if there would be an attempt to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, he responded, “We continue to believe very strongly that a two-state solution is not just the best way, but probably the only way to really assure that going forward Israel has a future as a secure Jewish and democratic state, and the Palestinians have a state to which they’re entitled. So I think we want to get to that. But right now, the focus is on dealing with the aftermath, the recent violence, trying to build on the cease-fire, address the immediate needs and concerns, and then see if over time the conditions are such that there’s a better environment for trying to pursue a two-state solution.”

Israelis had gotten used to being the beneficiaries of Trump’s generous gifts. He moved the embassy to Jerusalem, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and fostered peace treaties with moderate Arab states. Now, Israelis are beginning to realize that something new and different was happening.

At the same time, however, they also recognize that Biden is unlike Obama, who was considered by many Israelis to be decidedly pro-Palestinian. Biden succeeds in presenting himself as someone who really understands the mood in Israel, and who loves Israel dearly.

So far, Netanyahu, an experienced politician, managed to get through this baptism by fire unscathed. In contrast to his heated dealings with Obama, Netanyahu had no public disputes for the moment with Biden.

All these changes coming from Washington catch Israel in a state of political instability. It is very possible that Netanyahu’s long term in office will soon end. Now that a new coalition made up of parties from the left and the right is on the table yet again, the question being raised is what policies it will adopt in dealing with the Palestinians.

The prime minister of this new government would probably be Yamina party Chairman Naftali Bennett, who advocates the annexation of Israeli West Bank settlements, while the alternative prime minister, Yair Lapid, supports a two-state solution. Furthermore, the left-wing parties, headed by Meretz, consider the settlements to be a symbol of the Israeli occupation, with all the corruption this engenders. Meretz party Chairman Nitzan Horowitz came under attack from the right last March, when he expressed support for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which announced that it was investigating Israel for war crimes. On May 27, Horowitz said in a radio interview that he supports renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The significance of this is that if a new government of change is, in fact, formed, there would be no consensus on how it will handle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The situation in the Gaza Strip was relatively quiet when the parties agreed to form such a government with the express purpose of removing Netanyahu from office. It therefore had the leeway to claim that it would avoid the Palestinian question and focus on other civil and military issues. The last two weeks have restored the security situation to the top of the national agenda and returned the possibility of a two-state solution to center stage.

 



UN Human Rights Council to Investigate Israeli War Crimes in Palestine (VIDEO)

Source

May 27, 2021

Israeli warplanes attacked hundreds of ‘targets’ in the Gaza Strip. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) decided on Thursday, May 27, to “urgently establish an ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry,” to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to,

“Investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021”.

The resolution was passed with 24 votes in favor, 9 against, and 14 abstentions. The US delegation of the Council in Geneva expressed its disappointment following the vote, alleging that the resolution represents an obstacle to the ‘progress’ that has been made.

LIVE: UNHRC holds special session on human rights situation in occupied West Bank https://t.co/nVw6GyPzpy

— PresserWatch (@PresserWatch) May 27, 2021

For its part, an Israeli Foreign Ministry’s statement dubbed the resolution a ‘moral failure’, aimed at covering the ‘crimes’ of the Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas. The Israeli statement also officially rejected the decision and declared that it will not participate in the investigation. 

Below, are the full events that preceded the UNHRC’s vote, as reported on the Council’s website:

Human Rights Council Opens Special Session on “the Grave Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, Speakers Urge it to Establish an International Commission of Inquiry

“The Human Right Council this morning opened its special session on “the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”.  It heard calls from speakers for the Council to establish an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021.

“In her opening remarks, Nazhat Shameem Khan, President of the Human Rights Council, outlining the proposed extraordinary modalities for the session, said these modalities had been defined due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which prohibited public meetings of more than 15 participants, and should not serve as a precedent. 

“Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said both sides had the right to defend their citizens, and Palestinians had the right to live safely and freely in their homes, something that they were unable to experience due to the Israeli blockade.  The risk of evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem remained high, while the situation in the West Bank was alarming, with Israeli Security Forces killing 10 Palestinians on 14 May – the highest number in one day since the collection of these figures by the United Nations began in 2008.  The situation inside Israel was concerning: mob attacks took place on individuals in mixed cities of Bat-Yam, Jaffa and Acra, as well as attacks on places of worship instigated by both sides, with Israeli police failing to protect Palestinian citizens.  Despite the welcome news of the ceasefire, Ms. Bachelet emphasised that the root causes of violence must be addressed. 

“Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, speaking on behalf of his mandate and on behalf of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, said the events over the past month in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and also across Israel, were a calamitous repetition of what all had previously witnessed in 2018, 2014, 2012, 2008-09, 2000, 1987 and further and deeper into the tragic history of the Palestinians.  The United Nations had demanded repeatedly over the years that Israel comply with its international legal obligations and remove its settlements, stop its evictions, end the unlawful annexation, and halt the demolitions and forced removal of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.  Defiance by the occupying power had been the answer.  The international community must insist upon a brand-new diplomatic playbook to end the Israeli occupation, one that was centred on rights, rather than Realpolitik.

Israel rejects UNHRC decision to launch probe into Gaza war crimes while Hamas welcomes resolution, saying its action against Israel is “legitimate resistance”https://t.co/8j1G9grXT7

— TRT World (@trtworld) May 27, 2021

“Issam Younis, Director of Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza and Head of the Independent Commission for Human Rights of Palestine, said that all over Gaza, for 11 days, entire families were huddled and living on kitchen floors as this seemed the safest place.  But nowhere was safe in Gaza.  Israel’s unlawful closure of Gaza, 14 years of collective punishment, had been tightened.  The bringing down of the Associated Press building had made it more difficult to get information out.  Recent events were a mere symptom: for 73 years, there had been systematic, institutionalised efforts to impose a settler-colonial regime of racial domination and oppression on both sides of the Green Line. 

“Mohammad Barakeh, former Member of the Knesset and Chairman of the Arab Higher Committee in Israel, speaking on behalf of the committee that represented all Palestinians inside Israel, noted that they had been spared displacement in 1948.  Over the past decades, they had faced different forms of discrimination – confiscation of land, imposition of emergency laws, restriction of job opportunities and more.  In July 2018, the Knesset had approved the Jewish nation-state law stipulating that the land of Palestine was the historical home of the Jews, who had the exclusive right to self-determination.  With this, democratic principles were dismissed by Netanyahu and the Israeli State. 

“Muna El Kurd, journalist and resident of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, said the Israeli occupation forces refused to properly examine the property rights of Palestinians while the Israeli Government and colonial businesses were separating Palestinians from the land.  There was an apartheid regime: settlers could move around freely unlike Palestinians.  Sheikh Jarrah was illegally sealed off; residents could go out with their papers but nobody – nor their friends nor their loved ones- could come into this area.  The colonial violence suffered by residents and people who took part in peaceful protest was barbaric.  Palestinians were fired upon using rubber bullets, including in their homes.

Muna al-Kurd, a renowned journalist and citizen of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied #Jerusalem, was forced out of a UN Human Rights Council session today after she criticized lies by Israel’s UN ambassador. #savesheikhjarrah pic.twitter.com/gkNFTne4ra

— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) May 27, 2021

“In the discussion that followed, speakers, while welcoming the decision of the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes within its material scope that might have been committed on the territory of Palestine, urged the Court to include the crime against humanity of apartheid in its investigations.  History showed the ceasefire would not end the everyday sufferings of the people in the occupied Palestinian territory that had been going on for more than seven decades.  The Council should take decisive actions towards ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including through dispatching a commission of inquiry, speakers said.  Some speakers said the establishment of a commission of inquiry would not serve the purpose of peace.  Regrettably, the self-professed global champions of human rights continued to shield the occupier from global accountability, and literally provided arm and ammunitions for its widely reported war crimes and crimes of apartheid against the Palestinian people.  Member States should support the draft resolution; the credibility of the Council was at stake.

“Speaking in the urgent debate were Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of Namibia; Abdul Momen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh; Shah Mahmood Qureshi,  Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan; and Najla Elmangoush, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Government of National Unity of Libya.

“Also taking the floor were Egypt on behalf of the Group of Arab States, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Portugal on behalf of the European Union, Sweden on behalf of Nordic countries, Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, South Africa on behalf of the Group of African States, Mauritania, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil, Russian Federation, Bolivia, Bahrain, India, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, China, Republic of Korea, Czech Republic, Venezuela, Sudan, Somalia, Denmark, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Kuwait and Turkey.

“The Council will next meet this afternoon at 3 p.m. to continue the discussion and take action on the draft resolution before closing the special session.”

To read in full, please click here..

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Peace in the Middle East is a prerequisite for Global Peace.

Peace in the Middle East is a prerequisite for Global Peace.

May 28, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

Without going into history, how the Jewish State of Israel was created in the middle of the Arab World (Muslim World), let’s focus on the current issues and find a solution. As long as it was recognized by the United Nations in 1948, we have to accept this reality; either one likes it or not. The irony is that, since 1948, Israel kept on expanding and pushing Arabs out of their homes and lands and forcing them to leave their land and property, either to immigrate to other countries or live a miserable life in refugee camps.

After Eleven days of recent aggression, it is encouraging that the ceasefire has been implemented. There were multiple reasons for the truce, but the most important was public opinion, which was condemning Israel worldwide. Almost all big cities all over the World have witnessed mass protests, demonstrations, and agitations. It seems the whole World was standing in solidarity with Palestinians. Although few Governments, like the UK, US, and France, were supporting Israeli acts of brutalities, but the public in their own countries was against Israeli aggressions. Some of the biased Western Media was supporting Israel and fabricating lame excuses and irrational justification for Israeli aggressions. But Social Media has played a positive role and rectified public opinion globally. Of Course Russian, and Chinese pressure was also irresistible on the State of Israel to stop air raids. On the ground, within Israel, a civil war erupted among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Moreover, the Israeli defense system was not so much practical and could not save its territories from rocket attacks. There are reports that the Israeli defense system has shot down its own drones and fighter jets too. Also, there are reports that Israeli security forces killed one suspect within Israel, which was identified as American Jew later on.

Since 1848, Isreal was building its defense and spending lavishly. American economic assistance and Military aid were generous. Even during the recent 11 days conflict, the US was supplying the latest and advanced weapons to Israel, which is an open breach of the UN charter and all norms of the civilized World. Even the US was behind to postpone three times the UNSC statement to stop killings of innocent Palestinians.

Israeli defense capabilities are unmatched in the whole region. With Nuclear weapons, hi-tech, advanced systems, missiles, and the latest war techniques, Israel maintains hegemony. There is no comparison between the whole Arab World’s defense capabilities with Israel alone. Nothing to talk about Palestine or Gazza only, which is a fraction of Israel and that is too dependent on Israel for day-to-day life even.

Looking at the Israeli atrocities and brutalities against the Arab World since 1948, one can reach the conclusion that The Jewish State of Israel is Zionist, aggressive, and illegitimate. Based on its military might, it keeps on expanding and becoming bigger and stronger day by day.

This phenomenon is not new; history tells us there were Germany and Japan, two aggressive countries, and were held responsible for World Wars. But soon, they were brought to justice and held responsible for war crimes. They were made to pay war compensation, and their Military might was scattered and capped to revive in the future. Under the treaty, both Germany and Japan were prevented from rebuilding their Military power again. Both countries are still paying for war crimes, compensation as well as could not reconstruct their military might again.

Once it is established that Israel is an aggressive state and held responsible for killings of Muslims in millions, making them homeless in millions, and refused to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors. It is time for International Community to take action.

The international community must do more to safeguard the lives and fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, who continue to suffer under illegitimate foreign occupation. It should also not condone the violations of international law that underpin global and regional security.

For long-lasting and durable Peace in the region, it is imperative that the Palestinian people are granted their inalienable right to self-determination according to respective UN consensus. It is believed that a viable, independent, and contiguous original Palestinian State, with the pre-1948 borders, and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is the only just, comprehensive and ever-lasting solution to the Palestine issue in accordance with the relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions. All Arab lands occupied in 1967 and 1973 should be returned back to Arabs.

International Community should mobilize all possible humanitarian assistance for the devastated Palestinian population in Gaza and other parts of the occupied territories. In addition to the UNRWA emergency appeal, the UN Secretary-General should launch a comprehensive humanitarian aid plan to deliver succor and sustenance to the Palestinians. There is a dire need to provide medical teams, medicines, and other supplies, food, and other necessities to Gaza and other parts of the occupied Palestinian territories immediately. Egypt’s immediate supply of humanitarian assistance to Gazza is highly appreciated. Israel must open all the access and entry points to Gaza to ensure the timely and urgent delivery of international aid and end the siege of Palestine immediately.

The UN General Assembly should call for concrete steps to protect the Palestinians and should deploy an international peace force, as was called for in General Assembly Resolution ES-10/20 and as demanded by the Islamic Summit Conference held on 18 May 2018.

If the Security Council cannot approve immediately to send the safeguarding force, a “coalition of the willing” can be shaped to provide at least civilian observers to monitor a cessation of the hostilities and supervise the delivery of humanitarian help to the Palestinians.

The UN Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to offer safety to Israel’s Arab (Muslims and Christians both) citizens living within Israel who are being lynched and murdered by fascist Israeli gangs at the present time.

The UN General Assembly should condemn: Israel’s forcible and illegal eviction of Palestinians, including in Al-Jarrah district of Jerusalem and constantly construction of Jewish new settlements; the onslaught against Palestinian worshipers in Haram Al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa mosque, the first Qibla of Islam, during the month of Ramadan; and Israel’s brutal and indiscriminate aerial and land wild-bombardment of Gaza.

Israel’s crimes against humanity should not spurt accountability. There should be no exemption for violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and other human rights Conventions. The Human Rights Council, the ICC, the ICJ, and other avenues should be actuated to ensure Israeli accountability for its war crimes.

International Community should enhance concrete efforts to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and to dismantle the illegal settlements and the apartheid-like regime Israel has enforced in the occupied territories. The General Assembly should secure unconditional implementation of resolution 242 of November 1967 in which the Security Council declared the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and demanded that Israel withdraw its armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 war. It is, therefore, commanding to initiate bold steps to secure the implementation of the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions calling for the establishment of a viable, independent, and contiguous original Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. President of Palestine (Fateh Group) Mehmood Abbas’s call for an International Conference to secure a peaceful settlement must be appreciated.

The Palestine catastrophe is at the heart of the chaos and conflicts in the Middle East. It is also the principal root cause of the humiliation and irritation in the Muslim and Arab world – anger which breeds extremism and often spawns acts of violence. A just solution for Palestine is imperative for the preservation of regional and global peace and security. It is to be understood well that Peace and stability in the Arab-Isreal are vital for international Peace, stability, and prosperity. Our next generations deserve a peaceful and happy life; we must understand that the Peace in Middle-east is an energy-rich region and can play a vital role in the global economy and prosperity. Peace in the Middle-east is a prerequisite for international Peace

It is only through determined and significant action that this Assembly can reinstate the credibility of the United Nations and demonstrate its effective role in stabilizing world peace and global order based on equity and justice.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Gaza – US and the West Supports Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity – Understanding the Never-Ending Conflict

May 18, 2021

Gaza – US and the West Supports Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity – Understanding the Never-Ending Conflict

By Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

“I said we would exact a very heavy price from Hamas and other terror groups, and we are doing so and will continue to do so with great force,” Netanyahu said in a fiery video address.

Israel’s PM Netanyahu is a war criminal and should be held accountable for war crimes throughout his PM-ship of Israel, according to the 1945 / 1946 Nuremberg trials criteria. His crimes against humanity, against a defenseless Palestine are comparable to the Holocaust.

In 2016 Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu had been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The trial is ongoing but has temporarily been “suspended”. Netanyahu has dismissed the charges as hypocritical and acts as if they didn’t exist. Even though he lacks the majority to form a government, he acts with impunity, because he can – he can because he has the backing of the United States.

More importantly, Israel has been accused before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for crimes against humanity and war crimes against Palestine. The prosecutor of the ICC, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, said on 3 March 2021 that she has launched an investigation into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories. She added the probe will look into “crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed” since June 13, 2014, and that the investigation will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.”

In a quick response, PM Netanyahu accused the Court of hypocrisy and anti-Semitism. Of course, the quickest and often most effective defense and counter-attack is calling any accusation, no matter how rightful it is, as anti-Semitism. Calling someone an anti-Semite shuts most people up, no matter whether the accusation is true or false. That explains in part why nobody dares to even come forward with the truth about crimes committed by Israel.

Imagine, Jews were the chief victims of the German Third Reich – a Nazi Regime, and today the descendants of these very Jews, persecuted and slaughtered in Nazi-concentration camps, allowed the transformation of Israel into a Zionist Fourth Reich, executing Palestinians Holocaust-style. They have done this with impunity for the last 73 years, with the current massacres reaching unheard-of proportions.

Pro-Palestine protests take place around the world – and especially now, finally, throughout Europe. Workers and young people joined protests across Europe on Saturday, 15 May, including in London, Paris, Berlin and Madrid, to oppose Israel’s bombardment of the Palestinian population in Gaza. The demonstrations coincided with the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe Day, 14 May 1948)—marking the founding of the state of Israel, through the forced expulsion of 760,000 Palestinians from their villages.

Here is what one protester, Khalid, in Manchester, UK, had to say. Khalid held a placard reading “Lift the siege of Palestine-Stop bombing Palestine”. He said, “Israel should know better. They know how it feels to be exterminated. They had no homeland and came to Palestine as guests and now they have taken the Palestinians’ homes and are trying to throw them out. The Palestinians have no water, they have no food. You have got people like [UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson and presidents colluding with Israel and giving them money to destroy human life” – http://www.defenddemocracy.press/protests-across-europe-against-israeli-war-on-gaza/

Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, always take place with the unwavering support of the United States. No US presidential candidate has a chance of being “elected” to the empire’s highest chair, the Presidency, without having proven his or her unquestioned support for Zionist-Israel. Without that western support, Israel’s war against and oppression of Palestine would soon be over.

Palestine could start breathing again and become a free country, an autonomous, sovereign, self-sustained country, what they were before the forced UN Partition Plan for Palestine, and as was foreseen by UN Resolution 181 II of 1947. This genocidal conflict situation has lasted almost three quarters of a century – and has little chance to abate under the current geopolitical constellation of the Middle East and the world, where obedient submission to US-Israeli command and atrocities is the name of the game.

Background
The conflict started basically with the creation of Israel. The UK, since the end of WWI and the Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, occupier of the Palestine Peninsula (Palestine and Transjordan, see map), proposed to the UN as a condition for UK withdrawal, the creation of Israel in the western part of what was then known as Palestine and Transjordan. The so-called UN Partitian Plan for Palestine, was voted on 29 November 1947 by the UN General Assembly, as Resolution 181 (II). The then 57 UN members voted 33 (72%) for, 13 against the resolution, with 10 abstentions, and one absent. The Palestinian Authority was never consulted on this proposal. Therefore, for many scholars the UN Partition Plan’s legality remains questionable.

The Plan sought to resolve the conflicting objectives and claims of two competing movements, Palestinian nationalism and Jewish nationalism, or Zionism. The Plan also called for an Economic Union between the proposed two states, and for the protection of religious and minority rights.

However, immediately after adoption of the Resolution by the General Assembly, a civil war broke out and the plan was not implemented. The remnants of this civil war, the non-acceptance by Palestine of this UN Resolution 181, for which the historic owners of the land were not consulted, are lingering on as of this day.

British Mandate Palestine map

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the British administration was formalized by the League of Nations under the Palestine Mandate in 1923, as part of the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire following World War I. The Mandate reaffirmed the 1917 British commitment to the Balfour Declaration, for the establishment in Palestine of a “National Home” for the Jewish people, with the prerogative to carry it out.

The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during the First World War, announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population. The declaration was contained in a letter dated 2 November 1917 from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The question is still asked today: How legitimate was that declaration in terms of international law? Many academics see this declaration still today as a unilateral move and a breach of international law, as no consultation of the Palestine Authority ever took place.
——

In the November 1947 UN General Assembly vote, the US was among the 33 countries voting FOR the Partition Plan. Interestingly, though, President Truman later noted, “The facts were that not only were there pressure movements around the United Nations unlike anything that had been seen there before, but that the White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leaders—actuated by political motives and engaging in political threats—disturbed and annoyed me.” – This Zionist pressure was to set the bar for what was to follow – up to this day.

David Ben-Gurion, Zionist statesman and political leader, was the first Prime Minister (1948–53, 1955–63) and defense minister (1948–53; 1955–63) of Israel. In a letter to his son in October 1937, Ben-Gurion explained that partition would be a first step to “possession of the land as a whole” (emphasis added by author).

As of today, seventy-three years later and counting, the conflict is not resolved. To the contrary. It has become the longest lasting war, or aggression rather, in recent human history. A war it isn’t really, because a sheer oppression and literal slaughter against a perceived enemy, like Palestine that has no weapons to speak of, being bombarded and shot with the most sophisticated US-sponsored weapons systems, cannot be called a war. It is sheer genocide. The Palestinian weapons of choice are mostly rocks; rocks thrown by Palestinians at the Israeli IDF invaders, who then mow them down with machine guns, mostly civilians, women and children.

The Israel armed-to-the-teeth Defense Forces (IDF), invade Gaza and Palestinian West Bank areas with the most sophisticated machine guns, bombs, white phosphorus, practicing indiscriminate killing. The IDF destroys Palestinian living quarters, administration buildings, schools, shops, the little manufacturing industries that makes up their economy – destroying a people already teetering at the edge of extreme poverty and despair. No mercy. What does one call people who are committing such unspeakable crimes?

What does one call this style of aggression? – Literally killing hundreds, thousands of people without defense, in the world’s largest open prison – Gaza – home to more than 2 million people, living in misery, housing and infrastructure constantly destroyed, painfully partially rebuilt – just to be destroyed and bombed to pieces again. Those who don’t die from Israeli direct aggressions, may die from the indirect effects – famine, misery, disease and suicide – of this constant, abject hostility perpetuated upon what was supposed to be, according to the UN Partition Plan, an autonomous Palestine home of the Palestine people.

It is an ongoing – seemingly never-ending conflict, ever since the first Intifada beginning in December 1987 (Intifada in the context of the Israeli-Palestine conflict is a concerted Palestinian attempt to shake off Israeli power and gain independence).

The Oslo Accords I and II are a pair of agreements between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), of 1993 and 1995, respectively, sponsored by Norway in an attempt to achieve peace between the two parties. The Oslo Accords failed bitterly, over the issue of Jerusalem that was to become the religious capital for both countries, but Israel refused, claiming Jerusalem as her own, making the holy city to Israel’s capital. The first foreign leader recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, was US President Donald Trump on 6 December 2017.
—-

There was, however, another, less talked-about but equally important issue – an issue of survival – within the Oslo Accords: The fair sharing of the water resources. Israel never agreed, as about 85% of all water resources of what used to be the Palestinian Land, falls currently within the borders of what was defined by the Partitian Plan as Palestine. This is based on a World Bank study, in which I participated. On the insistence of Israel, the US vetoed publication of the study. Hence, the report was never officially published and publicly available.

Subsequent, so-called Peace processes, mostly US-sponsored, failed as of this day, because both Israel and the US have no interest in finding a peaceful solution. Neither one of the two nations have an interest in a Peace Accord, as the US needs the conflict to keep control over the Middle East, while Israel has no intentions to give up (slave)-control over Palestine, as her wellbeing depends on the overall control of what used to be Arab-Palestinian territory, and especially Palestine’s water resourcesWithout them, Israel would be a dry and unproductive desert.

There is a purpose behind these illegal, but ever-growing number of Israeli settlements on Palestine territories: Control over water. The settlements are usually over or near underground water resources. This is one way of controlling Palestine’s water. This happens not only in the so-called West Bank, but also in Gaza, where water resources are really scarce. Gaza is the world’s per capita water-scarcest area. The few Gaza water tables are super-posed by Israeli settlements.

This totally illegal and often UN-condemned Israeli Settlements strategy – also totally ignored by Israel – gradually reduces Palestine land and increases Israel’s control over crucial Palestinian water resources. See map

The impediment of being able to manage their own water resources, therefore increasing their food self-sufficiency through their own agriculture, makes out of Palestine an Israeli slave-state.

In addition, Israel has a handle on opening or closing the Gaza border, letting at will minimal food, medication and other life-essentials into Gaza, as well as allowing exactly the number needed of low-paid Palestinians (literally slave-labor) cross the border in the morning to work in Israel, and having to return at night to their Palestine homes. It is sheer Apartheid exploitation. Furthermore, Israel does not recognize Gaza’s territorial Mediterranean waters which would be a means towards Palestinians self-sustention and economic industrial activity.

According to an OECD report of 2016, Israel ranks as the nation with the highest poverty rate among OECD countries, i.e. 21% of Israelis are living under the poverty line. This is more than Mexico, Turkey and Chile. The OECD average is about 11%. This figure (21%) may be slightly exaggerated, given the relatively large informal sector and transfer payments to Israel from Jews abroad, as well as from international Jewish organizations.

Nevertheless, it is clear that Israel is economically not autonomous and needs Palestine to survive, both in terms of confiscated Palestinian water resources, as well as Palestinian slave labor. Therefore, there is hardly any hope for the UN-planned two-state solution to eventually materialize. There is little hope that this situation will change under the current geopolitical conditions. The US wants to dominate the Middle East and needs Israel as a garrison state that will be armed to the teeth for the US – to eventually grow and become Washington’s proxy ruler of the Middle East.

A question that is rarely asked, if ever: What is Hamas’ role in this never-ending Israeli-Palestine conflict? Since 2007 Hamas is officially governing the 2-million-plus population of the 363 square kilometer Gaza Strip. Hamas is also the Palestine paramilitary or defense organization. Hamas is said to be funded largely by Iran. Is it true? And if so, is Iran the only funder of Hamas?

It is odd, however, that ever so often, Hamas attacks Israel by launching unsophisticated rockets at Israeli cities, rockets that most often are intercepted by the IDF defense system, or cause minimal damage. But they cause, predictably minimal damage against an IDF which is US-equipped with the latest technology weapons- and defense systems.

Yet, a Hamas attack on Israel prompts regularly a ferocious retaliation; bombardments, not so much aiming at Hamas, as Netanyahu intimidates, “We would exact a very heavy price from Hamas and other terror groups…” , but at the civilian populations. The heaviest casualties are civilian Gaza citizens, many women and children among them, after an Israeli “self-defense” retaliation. This is of course no self-defense. The Hamas attacks usually follows an Israeli provocation.

Why would Hamas hit back, knowing that they won’t wreak any damage on Israel, yet they will trigger each time a deadly massacre on the Gaza population? – At the outset, Israeli provocations look like “false flags”. Could they be false flags with the willing participation of Hamas? If so, with whom does Hamas collaborate?

These are questions which certainly do not have an immediate answer. But the 14-year pattern of repeatedly similar events begs the question – is there another (Hamas) agenda behind what meets the eye?
——-

What is nearly as criminal as the IDF’s aggressions, is the almost complete silence of the west, and the world at large, vis-à-vis Israel’s atrocities committed on the Palestinian population. It is an unspoken tolerance for the carnages Israel inflicts on Palestine, especially in the Gaza Strip, the world’s largest open-air prison.

For example, the political UN body, despite hundreds of Resolutions, condemning and flagging Israel’s illegal actions against Palestine, including the ever-increasing number of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestine territories, seems to be hapless against Israel. Weak condemnations of Israel, calling both parties to reason – leaves Israel totally cold and undisturbed. There is no punishment whatsoever, not from the UN system, not from the western allies, most of whom are Washington and NATO vassals.

The Biden Administration has taken the usual imperialist position of cynical neutrality, like it was an uninvolved disinterested player, while painting up Israel as being some kind of victim instead of the brutal Zionist apartheid state that it is. It is important to remember that the creation of Israel was so that the US had a garrison state to protect her interests in the Middle East.

Take the UN Secretary General. Instead of condemning Israeli ruthlessness and demanding accountability, the spokesman for UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, merely called on the Netanyahu regime to “exercise maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.”

The Secretary General himself reiterates his commitment, including through the Middle East Quartet, “to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements.” The Quartet, set up in 2002, consists of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia. Its mandate is to help mediate Middle East peace. As of this day they have not achieved any tangible results.

Because they do NOT WANT to achieve any peace. For the reasons mentioned before, Peace is not in the interest of Israel, nor in the interest of the West, led by the United States. To keep the conflict burning, sacrificing hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of Palestinian lives is not important. It’s just a collateral damage of a larger agenda – control over the Middle East and her riches, a step towards controlling the entire world.

Time and again, Guterres disgraced himself and the office he holds by failing to denounce US/NATO/Israeli aggression and demand accountability for high crimes too serious to ignore.

If the UN is incapable or unwilling of assuming the responsibility of reigning in Israel, perhaps the Group of 77 (by now more than 120 UN member countries) should take a joint stand, exerting pressure on Israel, asking as an intermediary for outright negotiating with Israel and Palestine to reach a sustainable peace settlement, including the original two-state solution, back to the pre-1967 Israeli-Palestine borders. Let us, the UN, become pro-active in seeking and finding a permanent solution for the stressed-to-death, starving and tortured Palestinians, especially those from the Gaza Strip.


Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

UN: “Israeli” Aggression Leaves 52,000 Displaced in Gaza

19/5/2021

UN: “Israeli” Aggression Leaves 52,000 Displaced in Gaza 

By Staff, Agencies 

The United Nations [UN]’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA] confirmed that the “Israeli” entity’s ongoing aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip has left more than 52,000 Palestinians displaced and nearly 450 buildings destroyed or badly damaged in the coastal enclave.

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN humanitarian agency in Geneva, told reporters on Tuesday that “Israeli” strikes had forced more than 52,000 Palestinians to abandon their homes in Gaza, with 47,000 of the displaced people seeking shelter in 58 UN-run schools in the besieged area.

He further stated that “132 buildings had been destroyed and 316 had been severely damaged, including six hospitals and nine primary healthcare centers as well as a desalination plant, affecting access to drinking water for about 250,000 people.”

The OCHA spokesman underlined that the UN agency and its humanitarian partners were trying to provide food and other assistance to displaced families in Gaza, while calling on the “Israeli” entity to open a border crossing for humanitarian supplies to the besieged coastal enclave.

The World Health Organization has already raised the alarm about a severe shortage of medical supplies, a risk of water-borne diseases, and the spread of COVID-19 among the displaced people in the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, Amnesty International said in a statement on Tuesday that “Israeli” forces had displayed a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians by targeting residential buildings in air raids, which it said might amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity.

The London-based organization also called on the International Criminal Court [ICC] to urgently investigate the “Israeli” attacks in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, a human rights group pointed to the worsening humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip as the ongoing ‘Israeli’ aggression reached its eighth day, warning that basic service sectors might collapse if the attacks continued.

“The intense bombings carried out by ‘Israeli’ forces have caused the destruction of hundreds of homes and service facilities and greatly affected electricity, water and sanitation services in many areas of Gaza,” the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement. “This threatens the city and its citizens with serious health and environmental repercussions.”

The rights group warned that stopping power plants and disrupting supply lines would exacerbate the current crisis, and would have a serious impact on the basic services in the Gaza Strip.

The statement went on to say that, “Many of Gaza’s neighborhoods have been suffering interruptions to their water supply for days, especially since the bombings destroyed many water and sewage lines.”

The monitor stressed that “Israel’s” unabated bombing had caused almost “complete disruption of life and production” in the coastal enclave and seriously affected vulnerable groups who depend on daily paid jobs.

“The ‘Israeli’ military attack on Gaza must immediately end since it violates international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

Over the past week, the Tel Aviv regime has been launching large-scale airstrikes across Gaza, razing homes and civilian infrastructure to the ground. “Israeli” artillery and tanks have also been targeting the blockaded coastal enclave.

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ICC Prosecutor: Escalation of Violence Could Constitute a Crime under Rome Statute

May 12, 2021

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said today that the escalation of violence in the Palestinian territories could constitute crimes under the Rome Statute.

“I note with great concern the escalation of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in and around Gaza, and the possible commission of crimes under the Rome Statute,” said Bensouda in a tweet.

The ICC has decided earlier this year to open an investigation into war crimes against the Palestinians with specific attention to the 2014 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Historic HRW Report: Israel Committing ‘Crime of Apartheid’ against Palestinians (FULL REPORT)

April 27, 2021

Palestinians cross Israeli apartheid wall. (Photo: via Activestills.org)

Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that Israel is committing the crime of “apartheid” by seeking to maintain Jewish “domination” over Palestinians and its own Arab population, an explosive allegation fiercely denounced by Israel.

Currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, Israel blasted HRW’s accusations as “preposterous and false”, accusing the New York-based group of having “a long-standing anti-Israeli agenda”.

HRW said its finding that Israel is “committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution” against Palestinians was based on robust sourcing including government planning materials and statements by public officials.

The 213-page report finds that the Israeli government is the “single authority” with primary control “over the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea”.

Within that territory, there is “an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians,” HRW said.

HRW-Read-the-Full-Report

The group said its findings apply to Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, the blockaded Gaza Strip, annexed east Jerusalem as well as Arab Israelis — a term referring to Palestinians who stayed on their land following Israel’s creation in 1948.

HRW said that while apartheid was initially coined with respect to the institutional persecution of black people in South Africa, it was now a universally recognized legal term.

An apartheid system is defined by “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them,” according to the Apartheid Convention.

Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, told AFP there have been warnings for years that “apartheid is around the corner”.

“I think it’s quite clear that that threshold has been crossed,” Shakir said from Jordan.

A US citizen, Shakir was the first foreign national deported by Israel for allegedly supporting an international boycott movement that seeks to isolate Israel, an allegation he denies.

The rights group listed sweeping movement restrictions, land confiscation, forcible population transfer, denial of residency rights and suspension of civil rights as examples of abuses “Israeli authorities have carried out… against Palestinians”.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

Will Israeli Supremacism continue to get a free pass?

Germany, France slam US over sanctions against ICC chief prosecutor |  Africa | DW | 04.09.2020

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.”

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -April 9, 2021

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: Israel does not really mind being a rogue nation, but would prefer the fact not get too much widespread attention. But this is exactly what the good people at the ICC had finally decided to do.

The Zionist regime, as expected, has responded that the ICC can stuff its investigation of Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians where the sun does not shine. Everyone knows this is true, but most pretend that Israel is a ‘special’ situation.

In effect Israel is allowed to ‘do onto others that you would not want them to do onto you’ because they are…you know…special. Different rules apply for Israelis and their supporters that don’t apply to you and I, because, you know, we are not one of them.

Historical and contemporary media have swallowed this free pass for Israeli supremacism as some form of dispensation it must pay for the ‘Big H’, guilt for not preventing it. I am not even going to use the word, because the Israelis have inflicted the ‘Big H’ on the Palestinians and write it off as a just security matter.

The last time looked we had 75 to 80 million dead from WWII related causes, a number heavily biased because it left out a chunk of the 50 million Chinese dead estimates. One special group has reserved for themselves to be annointed the most horrible thing that happened during WWII, and everyone else can not only go to the back of the bus, but jump off or be thrown off.

That has always stuck me as rather impolite, and hence I have never had warm and fuzzy spot for Israeli, Zionist, Jewish supremacism, for those who practice it.

They may consider me a bad person for this, but I would consider it just a rational observation. I would even be open to hearing their raionale for one group being allowed to hold the number one supremacism spot as an unquestionable right, and dish out to the Palestinans whatever horrors it many want and that be no one else’s business

Jim W. Dean ]

First published … April 09, 2021

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will tell the International Criminal Court that it will not cooperate with its investigation into possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel will respond to a notification letter from the ICC, telling it that Tel Aviv does not recognize the tribunal’s authority.

Last month, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced in a statement the launch of a war crimes investigation into the Palestinian territories, which have been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

She said her inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.” The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed the prosecutor’s announcement.

It is “a long-awaited step that serves Palestine’s tireless pursuit of justice and accountability, which are indispensable pillars of the peace the Palestinian people seek and deserve”, the PA foreign ministry said in a statement.

Hamas resistance movement also praised the ICC’s move.

“We welcome the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people. It is a step forward on the path of achieving justice for the victims of our people,” Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman said.

“Our resistance is legitimate and it comes to defend our people. All international laws approve legitimate resistance,” Qassem noted.

Palestine was accepted as an ICC member in 2015, three years after signing the court’s founding Rome Statute, based on its “observer state” status at the United Nations.

Both Israel and the United States have refused to sign up to the ICC, which was set up in 2002 to be the only global tribunal trying the world’s worst crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

BIOGRAPHY

Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor

Managing Editor

Jim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

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Faced with ICC Investigation, Apartheid Israel Asserts Moral Superiority Over The Victims of Its Terror

March 29th, 2021

By Miko Peled

Source

Israel ICC Feature photo
Having created enemies by its own criminal behavior, Israel then claims the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through these criminal acts.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israel’s army chief of staff, General Aviv Kochavi, recently commented on the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to investigate Israel for war crimes. In his speech, General Kochavi said:

There is a moral abyss that exists between us and our enemies. They do everything in order to target civilians; we do everything to prevent hurting their civilians. They rejoice when our civilians are killed; we investigate when theirs are killed.”

Sounds like a pretty good opening statement for his defense once the trial at The Hague commences. The only problem is, none of what he said is true.

As these words are being written, Israel is in the process of figuring out the results of its fourth elections in two years. These elections mark what could be the final step in a political strategy that would make Machiavelli proud. This strategy is one that was planned and executed brilliantly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that brought about the total disintegration of his opposition. 

All that is left of those who ran against him are tiny fragments. The hungry politicians who lead these fragments cannot possibly compete with Netanyahu’s domestic political acumen. 

Similarly, no Israeli politician is able to compete with Netanyahu’s gravitas in the international arena. This is something that was clearly demonstrated by the recent visit to Tel-Aviv by the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, and the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, to discuss cooperation among the three countries.

“A moral abyss”

The speech given by the Israeli army chief represents a righteous indignation that is typical of Israeli officials. He says that “a moral abyss” exists between Israel and its enemies, and that is a very interesting choice of words. One might think it is self-defeating for the Israeli military and political officials to bring up morality. And yet, here is yet another general who made a career of killing civilians and maintaining a brutal military regime claiming moral superiority.

In truth, a moral abyss does exist between Israel and the Palestinian people. A quick comparison shows the following: From its very founding, Israel had invested billions of dollars in developing and maintaining its military; Palestinians have never had as much as a tank, much less a military force.

For decades Palestinians have been searching for ways to make Palestine peaceful again. Palestinians had suggested establishing a secular democracy with equal rights. When that was rejected, they had agreed to end their resistance and recognized the State of Israel. Then the Palestinian Liberation Organization entered negotiations with Israel and accepted that all it would receive was a small Palestinian State on less than one-quarter of historic Palestine.

When this proved to be impossible, the Palestinians initiated a peaceful, dedicated, and morally just campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanction against the State of Israel. The demands set out by this call are all remedial and are all rooted in international law.

During these same decades, Israel had been engaged in dispossession, land theft, and violence. Palestinians are targeted by Israel regardless of their status or geographic location. Be they citizens of Israel, residents of the West Bank or Gaza, internally displaced, or refugees in camps outside of Palestine, Palestinians are living without rights — pushed off of their lands, prevented from access to basic resources like water, roads, and health care — and are killed on a daily basis.

Israel will not even provide Palestinians with a Covid vaccine. So yes, General Kochavi is right about the moral chasm. However, he and his army have nothing to be proud of.

“Our enemies”

One constantly hears that Israel is surrounded by enemies and that therefore it has no choice but to maintain a strong military force and strike whenever and wherever it sees a threat.

This is not unlike criminals who steal and are then afraid of retribution from their victims or the authorities. The criminals are constantly in need of more weapons, more recruits, and they must always hit first in order to strike fear into their potential enemies.

The State of Israel was established by acts that constitute crimes. Killing, mass displacement of a civilian population, theft of property and money, and the creation of an apartheid regime. Israel then built a military force that to this day continues to terrorize Palestinians and occasionally its neighboring countries, referring to them all as “enemies.”

One could argue, and indeed should argue, that Israel created enemies by its own criminal behavior. Then Israel feels it has the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through criminal acts.

They rejoice

Driving south from Jerusalem towards Gaza, one reaches an intersection just north of the first entry point into Gaza, called Erez. Then you drive down a road that goes along the Gaza Strip just east. At one intersection there is a gas station and a dirt road that winds from behind the gas station and up a sandy hill.

At the top of the hill, there are a few trees — one can see the Mediterranean from there, and also Gaza City. When Israel drops bombs on Gaza one can see the smoke and hear the explosions from that spot. Someone dragged up a couch and a few chairs, turning this spot into a favorite for Israelis who enjoy the spectacle.

In fact, a piece in the British paper The Guardian describes the place and the scene during the 2014 assault on Gaza: “People drink, snack and pose for selfies against a background of explosions as Palestinian death toll mounts in ongoing offensive.”

It goes on, describing what I too personally witnessed:

A group of men huddle around a shisha pipe. Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke…Some bring their children.”

“We investigate”

Kochavi claimed the army investigates, though clearly Israel’s investigations of its own crimes are few, far between, and rarely end up with the violators being held accountable.

“We do everything to prevent killing their civilians,” he says, which should make us wonder in what world General Kochavi lives. Israel not only does not do anything to prevent the death of civilians but for decades has been targeting civilians in both Palestine and Lebanon. This is obvious because, as stated earlier, Palestinians have never had an army.

As the world wonders what the next Netanyahu government will look like, it is clear that Palestinians will continue to live in fear of Israeli terrorism. One has to wonder at what point the world is likely to end the destruction of Palestine and its people by Israel.

Faced with ICC Investigation, Apartheid Israel Asserts Moral Superiority Over The Victims of Its Terror

Having created enemies by its own criminal behavior, Israel then claims the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through these criminal acts.

Source

March 29th, 2021

By Miko Peled

Israel ICC Feature photo

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israel’s army chief of staff, General Aviv Kochavi, recently commented on the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to investigate Israel for war crimes. In his speech, General Kochavi said:

There is a moral abyss that exists between us and our enemies. They do everything in order to target civilians; we do everything to prevent hurting their civilians. They rejoice when our civilians are killed; we investigate when theirs are killed.”

Sounds like a pretty good opening statement for his defense once the trial at The Hague commences. The only problem is, none of what he said is true.

As these words are being written, Israel is in the process of figuring out the results of its fourth elections in two years. These elections mark what could be the final step in a political strategy that would make Machiavelli proud. This strategy is one that was planned and executed brilliantly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that brought about the total disintegration of his opposition. 

All that is left of those who ran against him are tiny fragments. The hungry politicians who lead these fragments cannot possibly compete with Netanyahu’s domestic political acumen. 

Similarly, no Israeli politician is able to compete with Netanyahu’s gravitas in the international arena. This is something that was clearly demonstrated by the recent visit to Tel-Aviv by the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, and the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, to discuss cooperation among the three countries.

“A moral abyss”

The speech given by the Israeli army chief represents a righteous indignation that is typical of Israeli officials. He says that “a moral abyss” exists between Israel and its enemies, and that is a very interesting choice of words. One might think it is self-defeating for the Israeli military and political officials to bring up morality. And yet, here is yet another general who made a career of killing civilians and maintaining a brutal military regime claiming moral superiority.

In truth, a moral abyss does exist between Israel and the Palestinian people. A quick comparison shows the following: From its very founding, Israel had invested billions of dollars in developing and maintaining its military; Palestinians have never had as much as a tank, much less a military force.

For decades Palestinians have been searching for ways to make Palestine peaceful again. Palestinians had suggested establishing a secular democracy with equal rights. When that was rejected, they had agreed to end their resistance and recognized the State of Israel. Then the Palestinian Liberation Organization entered negotiations with Israel and accepted that all it would receive was a small Palestinian State on less than one-quarter of historic Palestine.

When this proved to be impossible, the Palestinians initiated a peaceful, dedicated, and morally just campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanction against the State of Israel. The demands set out by this call are all remedial and are all rooted in international law.

During these same decades, Israel had been engaged in dispossession, land theft, and violence. Palestinians are targeted by Israel regardless of their status or geographic location. Be they citizens of Israel, residents of the West Bank or Gaza, internally displaced, or refugees in camps outside of Palestine, Palestinians are living without rights — pushed off of their lands, prevented from access to basic resources like water, roads, and health care — and are killed on a daily basis.

Israel will not even provide Palestinians with a Covid vaccine. So yes, General Kochavi is right about the moral chasm. However, he and his army have nothing to be proud of.

“Our enemies”

One constantly hears that Israel is surrounded by enemies and that therefore it has no choice but to maintain a strong military force and strike whenever and wherever it sees a threat.

This is not unlike criminals who steal and are then afraid of retribution from their victims or the authorities. The criminals are constantly in need of more weapons, more recruits, and they must always hit first in order to strike fear into their potential enemies.The Anti-Semitic Birth of the Zionist State: A History of Israel’s Self-Hating FoundersSelf-Hating Jews: Miko Peled dives into the history of Zionism and its founder’s prosperity for racism and their disdain for non-secular JewsMintPress News Miko Peled | Mar 24

The Anti-Semitic Birth of the Zionist State: A History of Israel’s Self-Hating FoundersSelf-Hating Jews: Miko Peled dives into the history of Zionism and its founder’s prosperity for racism and their disdain for non-secular JewsMintPress News Miko Peled | Mar 24

The State of Israel was established by acts that constitute crimes. Killing, mass displacement of a civilian population, theft of property and money, and the creation of an apartheid regime. Israel then built a military force that to this day continues to terrorize Palestinians and occasionally its neighboring countries, referring to them all as “enemies.”

One could argue, and indeed should argue, that Israel created enemies by its own criminal behavior. Then Israel feels it has the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through criminal acts.

The State of Israel was established by acts that constitute crimes. Killing, mass displacement of a civilian population, theft of property and money, and the creation of an apartheid regime. Israel then built a military force that to this day continues to terrorize Palestinians and occasionally its neighboring countries, referring to them all as “enemies.”

One could argue, and indeed should argue, that Israel created enemies by its own criminal behavior. Then Israel feels it has the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through criminal acts.

They rejoice

Driving south from Jerusalem towards Gaza, one reaches an intersection just north of the first entry point into Gaza, called Erez. Then you drive down a road that goes along the Gaza Strip just east. At one intersection there is a gas station and a dirt road that winds from behind the gas station and up a sandy hill.

At the top of the hill, there are a few trees — one can see the Mediterranean from there, and also Gaza City. When Israel drops bombs on Gaza one can see the smoke and hear the explosions from that spot. Someone dragged up a couch and a few chairs, turning this spot into a favorite for Israelis who enjoy the spectacle.

A Danish news report shows Israelis watching the 2009 bombing of Gaza. TV2 Denmark | YouTube

In fact, a piece in the British paper The Guardian describes the place and the scene during the 2014 assault on Gaza: “People drink, snack and pose for selfies against a background of explosions as Palestinian death toll mounts in ongoing offensive.”

It goes on, describing what I too personally witnessed:

A group of men huddle around a shisha pipe. Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke…Some bring their children.”

“We investigate”

Kochavi claimed the army investigates, though clearly Israel’s investigations of its own crimes are few, far between, and rarely end up with the violators being held accountable.

“We do everything to prevent killing their civilians,” he says, which should make us wonder in what world General Kochavi lives. Israel not only does not do anything to prevent the death of civilians but for decades has been targeting civilians in both Palestine and Lebanon. This is obvious because, as stated earlier, Palestinians have never had an army.

As the world wonders what the next Netanyahu government will look like, it is clear that Palestinians will continue to live in fear of Israeli terrorism. One has to wonder at what point the world is likely to end the destruction of Palestine and its people by Israel.

Feature photo | Palestinians block Israeli soldiers targeting peaceful protesters near a Jewish settlement Beqa’ot in Jordan Valley in the West Bank, Feb. 29, 2020. Majdi Mohammed | AP

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

US Backs ’Israel’ Amid ICC Probe into War Crimes against Palestinians

US Backs ’Israel’ Amid ICC Probe into War Crimes against Palestinians

By Staff, Agencies

If you don’t feel shy, do whatever you want!

In brazen contempt for the international law, the US administration announced that it backs the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity’s war crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territories amid the International Criminal Court [ICC] probe into those crimes.

In a phone call with Zionist premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, US Vice President Kamala Harris underscored Washington’s support for the Tel Aviv regime, opposing what she referred to as the ICC’s “attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over ‘Israeli’ personnel”, the White House said in a statement.

Harris, the statement noted, “emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to ‘Israel’s’ security”, while resisting any move to expose the regime’s genocidal project in the occupied territories.

The first call between the two officials came a day after the ICC prosecutor said her office will formally launch a probe into Zionist war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The announcement follows a February 5 ruling by the international court claiming jurisdiction in the case.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who is set to be replaced by British prosecutor Karim Khan in June, said in December 2019 that war crimes had been or were being committed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

She named the Zionist military, which has for years unleashed a reign of terror on Palestinians, as perpetrators of war crimes.

Bensouda further noted that there was a “reasonable basis” to launch a probe into ‘Israeli’ military actions in the besieged Gaza Strip, as well as illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

She then asked judges to rule on the extent of the court’s jurisdiction in the case, and the court last month established that it had jurisdiction.

Judges at ICC said the decision was based on jurisdictional rules in court’s founding documents, and it does not imply any attempt to determine statehood or legal borders.

The international court, which has often sought to expose war crimes committed by the ‘Israeli’ regime and the US around the world, has faced bullying and intimidation from both Tel Aviv and Washington.

The ‘Israeli’ regime occupied East al-Quds, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip in 1967. It later had to withdraw from Gaza.

About 700,000 Zionists currently occupy in over 230 illegal settlements built in the West Bank and East al-Quds, which have been deemed illegal under international law.

Palestine is a party to the ICC’s founding Rome Statute and has long carried out diplomatic efforts for the investigation of the war crimes by the ‘Israeli’ regime in the occupied territories.

Both the Tel Aviv regime and the United States have refused to be a party to the ICC, which was set up in 2002 to be the only international tribunal to investigate war crimes.

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Israel: How a Trifecta of Court Cases Could Cement King Bibi’s 12-Year Reign

Image result for Israel: How a Trifecta of Court Cases Could Cement King Bibi’s 12-Year Reign

By Miko Peled

Source

Three separate court cases have converged in Israel to provide Netanyahu the cover he needs to maintain power amid an endless stream of controversies.

Three judicial matters have been in Israeli headlines recently, all of them very serious in nature and all likely to serve Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections.

The first is the indicted prime minister’s court hearing in early February regarding his ongoing corruption case. The second is that the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that the territories Israel occupied in 1967 are within its jurisdiction, meaning that many Israelis may well be the subject of war-crimes investigations. The third is an Israeli court ruling from January 2021 banning the 2003 film “Jenin, Jenin,” made by Palestinian actor and director Mohammad Bakri. The film documents the atrocities committed by IDF forces in the Jenin refugee camp in the spring of 2002. All three are likely to raise serious concerns among the highest echelons of the Israeli government.

Yet even as these court cases loom over him, his government, and the Israeli military, and with national elections rapidly approaching, for Netanyahu these crises present opportunity. Taking the familiar pages from the Trump playbook, Netanyahu can turn every accusation of corruption into an attack by liberals, any claims of war crimes, or even misconduct by Israeli forces, into an attack on all Jews by antisemitic forces. Only in Netanyahu’s Israel could so many problems be a blessing.

Indeed, Netanyahu and his supporters claim that the corruption charges against him represent persecution of the prime minister by the liberal press and a biased judicial system. He is leading the charge to attack the ICC and has already stated that its decision is antisemitism raising its ugly head again. As for “Jenin, Jenin,” it is being universally condemned in Israel and is characterized as libelous and totally false.

When you are Benjamin Netanyahu, the best card player in the casino of Israeli politics — when you are the one who knows how to play everyone else in the room, possessing decades of experience — there’s nothing better than a good crisis. It helps to rally people around you. As a matter of fact, dealing with crises is what Netanyahu does best.

Indictment? No problem!

According to the Times of Israel, because Netanyahu’s corruption case has been in the news cycle for close to five years already, “[a]ny political fallout is already baked into the views, poll responses, and voting calculations on all sides.” In other words, nobody cares, and the election results will not be affected in any significant way.

Furthermore, the Times states that many of Netanyahu’s supporters “agree with Netanyahu that he is being unfairly targeted by a politicized prosecution.” Those who feel that the accusations of corruption against him have merit argue that “the advantages he brings as a leader far outstrip any possible malfeasance claimed in the indictment.” In fact, polls quoted in the Times show that “up to 54 percent of Israelis think he’s the best prime ministerial candidate.”

a politicized prosecution.” Those who feel that the accusations of corruption against him have merit argue that “the advantages he brings as a leader far outstrip any possible malfeasance claimed in the indictment.” In fact, polls quoted in the Times show that “up to 54 percent of Israelis think he’s the best prime ministerial candidate.”

Making a deal with the devil

When no crisis is available, Netanyahu creates his own. Tensions along the border with Syria, a threat from Iran, or an impending War on Gaza are the usual favorites and work very well.

In recent days Netanyahu and his Likud Party signed an agreement with the most right-wing elements in the Zionist political spectrum. The worst neo-fascist religious fanatics within Israel have always been his natural allies and he has now come to an official agreement with them on a vote-sharing deal called “surplus votes.” Under the agreement, “Likud promised that Netanyahu would include Religious Zionism MKs ‘in any government he forms.’” That means that after Knesset votes are counted and applied towards seats in the Israeli Parliament, any leftover votes must be shared with Israel’s militant, right-wing religious fanatics.

Surplus vote-sharing agreements are widely used in Israeli elections and allow parties to ensure that extra votes do not go to waste. Instead, the parties utilize them through special agreements with other parties.

While the vote-sharing agreement has irked many in the center and what is sometimes referred to as the center-left of Israeli politics, it shows once again that Netanyahu calls the shots as he sees fit. If other members of the Knesset and even of his own party are unhappy, well then, they are welcome to go elsewhere. However, with nowhere else to go, year after year and election after election, not only do members of his party come running to him, members of the other parties do too.

The parties with which Netanyahu’s Likud signed the vote-sharing agreement include the far-right Religious Zionism Party and the openly racist “Otzma Yehudit,” or Jewish Might. Members of these parties support an ideology that includes expelling Palestinians who refuse to declare loyalty to Israel and accept diminished status in an expanded Jewish state. Some party members also support LGBT conversion therapy. These fanatic religious-Zionist parties represent armed gangs that openly terrorize Palestinians across the country.

The International Criminal Court ruling

After lengthy deliberations that led to a landmark decision, the International Criminal Court ruled that it has jurisdiction over war crimes committed by Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. This ruling opens the door to possible criminal charges against Israeli military personnel and potentially even against government officials.

Netanyahu called the international tribunal’s decision “pure antisemitism,” a meritless claim he failed to explain. The ruling addresses specific incidents in which the Israeli military was involved and has absolutely nothing to do with Jewish people.

After nearly 20 years, court ruling bans Jenin Jenin

Israel’s Central District Court has banned the screening of the 2003 documentary film “Jenin Jenin” and ordered the confiscation of all copies of the film in the country. In addition, the court ordered the film’s director, Mohammed Bakri, to pay Lt. Col. Nissim Magnagi, one of the reservist officers who was allegedly present during the assault on the Jenin refugee camp and was shown for a brief moment in the film, 175,000 shekels in damages on top of 50,000 shekels in legal expenses.

One has to question the merits of banning a film in 2021 when it was made in 2003. There are no public screenings of the film and the only viewers that watch it do so online — and that of course cannot be banned. The fine, however, is a blow and it has yet to be seen what will happen when the decision reaches a higher court for appeal.

Of the three judicial issues stated here, only one pertains to Netanyahu and is likely to have little or no effect on his chances to win the elections. The other two only confirm what the Israeli electorate already believes, that the International Criminal Court is antisemitic and that a film made by a Palestinian showing Israeli military crimes must be a vicious, libelous lie, and the common wisdom is that Netanyahu knows better than anyone how to deal with the anti-Semites.

The Israeli electorate is used to both crises and to the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The results of the next election, just like the results of the three previous ones, are almost guaranteed to go in his favor.

The criminal court decision is an achievement that must be maintained قرار محكمة الجنايات إنجاز تجب صيانته

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

The criminal court decision is an achievement that must be maintained

Saadah Mustafa Arshid

Palestinian politician residing in Jenin, occupied Palestine.

On the fifth of February, the Palestinian achieved a remarkable achievement, according to what the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mrs. Judge Fatuben Souda announced: This court found that the Protocol of Rome, signed in 2002, which governs its work, allows the imposition of its legal jurisdiction on the Palestinian territories occupied in the 1967 war, i.e. Gaza and the West Bank including East Jerusalem.

This resolution marked an important point in favour of Palestine in its conflict with the occupying Power, and represented a happy event in a political atmosphere that did not look good. Although Palestinian diplomacy and some local associations have an undeniable role in this achievement, the role and thanks largely to Mrs. Fatuben Souda, who has always stood against (Israel) in her defense of the Palestinians who are subjected to Anglo Zionist aggression. Mrs. Fatuben Souda was attacked and criticized, especially by the previous American administration, and was subject her to sanctions, including the freezing of her financial assets in American banks and preventing from entering the United States. State Department of the new administration issued a statement expressing concern about the court exercising its powers over the (Israeli) military, while Netanyahu added, saying that the court has proven that it is a political rather than a judicial body, and that such decisions would undermine the right of democracies to defend themselves against terrorism.

The ICC, based in The Hague, was established in 2002 under the Rome Protocol to try individuals accused of war crimes, genocide, killing of civilians and crimes against humanity. The message of the Ethics and Human Rights Tribunal is that it will not allow these criminals to be above legal accountability, to escape punishment for crimes committed by some States. Some countries headed by the United States and Israel, with a black and bloody record opposed the establishment of the court, and later refused to sign the Rome Protocol, and submit to its jurisdiction. The extension of the court’s sovereignty over the Palestinian territories would place hundreds of (Israeli) military and senior officers in the (Israeli) army, facing accountability and the possibility of arrest, and with them, of course, a number of politicians, businessmen and senior corporate managers who are retired officers, in the event that they travel to the signatory countries of the convention. Perhaps this decision will have legal and political dimensions that go far beyond that. On the one hand, this decision will place (the Israeli state) since its establishment under accountability for the massacres against Palestinians and forced mass deportation, which are issues that are not subject to the statute of limitations. On the other hand, the decision recognizes the legal personality of the Palestinian state over the entire land occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and therefore the court refuses to recognize the annexation measures that have been or will be undertaken by (Israel) in Jerusalem and other territories.

However, the sad Palestinian, has become accustomed to a narrow and short space of joy, as experience and history have told him that heroic sacrifices paid on the scale of the nation, homeland, did not have results commensurate with their size and inputs, and that victories, if not preserved, nurtured, developed and invested in the field of politics Perceived, knowledgeable, and driven patriotism, they will be blown off by the wind and sold or given up cheaply. Here lies the concern, and it is worth paying attention to the maintenance of this profit. Life is a struggle that accumulates, not negotiations, as the late negotiator Saeb Erekat put it.

The concern about this achievement lies in two issues, the first is international and the second is internal Palestinian: Internationally, Judge Fatuben Souda’s mandate ended after fierce battles between her and the supporters of official crime and heroes of genocide and war crimes. In the past days hostile actors, led by England, this time, and with the support of (Israel) and the United States, were able to install a new public prosecutor to inherit Mrs. Bin Souda, who is the Anglo-Pakistani lawyer Karim Ahmed Khan, and the Hebrew channels rushed to welcome this news, saying that Karim Khan is the best for (Israel), as well as the United States, and since the decision to include the Palestinian territories under the custody of the Court has become a fait accompli, and it is not possible to reverse it, what Karim Khan can do is to is to delay the procedures, or to put obstacles in the way of hearing cases against the (Israeli) and American soldiers, and possibly tampering with evidence, which makes the decision greatly lose its judicial effectiveness.

Palestinians, circles in Ramallah are optimistic about the return of democrats to power in Washington, and the authority talk about optimism about returning to negotiations, as they see that the atmosphere of the new American president is supportive for that. This is an early optimism that is misplaced, and shall have an impact on the activation of the authority, for the cases filed against the (Israeli) military.

In the last days of 2008, (Israel) launched a massive aggression against Gaza, using the dirtiest and deadliest weapons it possessed, and spared the worst of its hatred, bloody and brutality, to the point that it struck the world at the time with astonishment. The aggression caused unprecedented devastation in Gaza in in all its areas, with 1,285 martyrs, 900 civilians, while 14 (Israelis) were killed, 11 of them soldiers. As a result, the United Nations Human Rights Commission formed an investigation committee, headed by Judge Goldstone from South Africa, and the commission was known by his name later. The Commission, was tasked with investigating whether war crimes had been committed in that aggression. Nearly 600 pages, in which the Commission stressed that (Israel) did not hesitate to commit war crimes, before the aggression by besieging Gaza and imposing collective sanctions on its citizens, and during the war in using civilians as human shields, and throwing phosphorous bombs and shells stuffed with nails, with suspicions of using depleted and undepleted uranium, At the time, local and international human rights organizations celebrated the fair report, as well as the friendly circles of Palestine, but the unpleasant surprise was that the PA, through its ambassador in Geneva, requested to withdraw the report and not discuss it. With the appointment of a new US envoy to the Middle East – George Mitchell, PA has decided that the conditions are ripe for a return to the policy of negotiation, and that the presentation of the Goldstone report would strain the atmosphere of that negotiation, which ultimately yielded nothing.

Today, we wonder: Is the Biden administration about to enter us into a new negotiating pattern, and does the new negotiating system need to calm down the atmosphere that has only been soured by the ICC decision? This is what needs vigilance and attention

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*Palestinian politician residing in Jenin, occupied Palestine.

قرار محكمة الجنايات إنجاز تجب صيانته

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سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد*

حقق الفلسطيني في الخامس من شباط إنجازاً لافتاً، بما أعلنته المدعية العامة في محكمة الجنايات الدولية السيدة القاضية فاتوبن سودا، فقد وجدت هذه المحكمة انّ بروتوكول روما الذي تمّ التوقيع عليه عام 2002، الناظم لعملها، يسمح بفرض ولايتها القانونية على الأراضي الفلسطينية التي احتلت في حرب 1967، أيّ غزة والضفة الغربية شاملة القدس الشرقية.

سجل هذا القرار نقطة مهمة لصالح فلسطين في صراعها مع دولة الاحتلال، ومثل حدثاً سعيداً وسط أجواء سياسية لا تبدو طيّبة. هذا وإنْ كان للدبلوماسية الفلسطينية وبعض الجمعيات المحلية دور لا ينكر في تحقيق هذا الإنجاز، إلا أنّ الدور والفضل الأكبر يعودان إلى المدعية العامة، السيدة فاتوبن سودا، التي لطالما وقفت في مواجهة (إسرائيل) في دفاعها عن الفلسطينيين الذين يتعرّضون لعدوانها والولايات المتحدة واتهمتها بارتكاب جرائم حرب في أفغانستان، والغرب عامة، وتعرّضت للهجوم والانتقاد، خاصة من الإدارة الأميركية السابقة التي عرضتها للعقوبات ومنها تجميد الأصول المالية الخاصة بها في المصارف الأميركية ومنعها من دخول الولايات المتحدة، فيما هاجمتها الإدارة الجديدة عبر وزارة الخارجية التي أصدرت بياناً يعبّر عن قلق أميركا من ممارسة المحكمة صلاحياتها على العسكريين (الإسرائيليين)، فيما أضاف نتنياهو قائلاً إنّ المحكمة قد أثبتت أنها هيئة سياسية لا قضائية، وإنّ قرارات كهذه من شأنها أن تقوّض حق الديمقراطيات في الدفاع عن نفسها في مواجهة الإرهاب.

أنشئت محكمة الجنايات الدولية عام 2002 بموجب بروتوكول روما، واتخذت من لاهاي في هولندا مقراً لها، وجعلت من مهماتها محاكمة الأفراد المتهمين بارتكاب جرائم حرب، وجرائم الإبادة الجماعية وقتل المدنيين، والجرائم ضدّ الإنسانية، فرسالة المحكمة الأخلاقية والحقوقية أنها لن تسمح لأولئك المجرمين من أن يكونوا فوق المساءلة القانونيّة، وأن يفلتوا من العقوبة على ما اقترفت أيديهم من جرائم، عارضت بعض الدول ذات السجل الدمويّ والأسود إنشاء المحكمة، ولاحقاً رفضت التوقيع على بروتوكول روما والانضمام لها والخضوع لولايتها، وعلى رأس تلك الدول الولايات المتحدة و(إسرائيل). من شأن بسط سيادة المحكمة على الأراضي الفلسطينية، أن يضع المئات من العسكريين (الإسرائيليين) وكبار الضباط في الجيش (الإسرائيلي)، أمام المساءلة وإمكانيّة الاعتقال، ومعهم بالطبع عدد من السياسيين ورجال الأعمال وكبار مدراء الشركات من الضباط المتقاعدين، وذلك في حال سفرهم للدول الموقعة على الاتفاقية، ولعلّ هذا القرار أن يكون له أبعاده الحقوقية والسياسية التي تتجاوز ذلك بكثير فمن جانب، سيضع هذا القرار (الدولة الإسرائيلية) منذ قيامها تحت المساءلة لما ارتكبت من مجازر بحق الفلسطينيين وترحيل جماعي قسري، وهي مسائل لا تسقط بالتقادم، ومن جانب آخر، فإنّ القرار يعترف بالشخصية القانونية للدولة الفلسطينية على كامل الأرض التي احتلت عام 1967، بما فيها القدس وبالتالي فإنّ المحكمة ترفض الاعتراف بإجراءات الضمّ التي قامت أو ستقوم بها (إسرائيل) في القدس وغيرها من الأراضي. لكن الفلسطيني الحزين، قد اعتاد على أن تكون فسحة فرحه ضيقة وقصيرة، فالتجربة والتاريخ قد أخبراه أنّ البطولات والتضحيات على جسامتها، التي سفحت على مذبح الوطن، لم تأت نتائجها متناسبة مع حجمها ومدخلاتها، وأن الانتصارات إنْ لم يتمّ صونها ورعايتها وتطويرها واستثمارها في حقل السياسة الوطنية المدركة والعارفة والسائرة نحو الهدف، فإنها ستذروها الريح وتباع أو يتمّ التنازل عنها بثمن بخس، وهنا يكمن القلق، ويجدر الانتباه لصيانة هذا الربح. فالحياة هي نضال يتراكم لا مفاوضات، حسب تعبير المفاوض الراحل صائب عريقات. يكمن القلق على هذا الإنجاز في مسألتين الأولى دولية والثانية فلسطينية داخلية: دولياً انتهت ولاية السيدة القاضية فاتوبن سودا، بعد معارك ضارية بينها وبين أنصار الجريمة الرسمية وأبطال الإبادة وجرائم الحرب، استطاعت في الأيام الماضية الجهات المعادية وعلى رأسها إنجلترا هذه المرة، وبدعم من (إسرائيل) والولايات المتحدة، من تنصيب مدّعٍ عام جديد يرث السيدة بن سودا في المنصب وهو المحامي الانجلو – باكستاني كريم أحمد خان، وسارعت القنوات العبرية إلى الاهتمام والترحيب بهذا الخبر قائلة إنّ كريم خان هو الأفضل لـ (إسرائيل)، وكذلك الولايات المتحدة، وبما أنّ قرار شمول الأراضي الفلسطينية تحت وصاية المحكمة قد أصبح أمراً واقعاً، ومن غير الوارد الرجوع عنه، فإنّ الذي يستطيع أن يفعله كريم خان هو المماطلة في الإجراءات، أو وضع العراقيل أمام النظر في القضايا المرفوعة ضدّ العساكر (الإسرائيليين) والأميركان، وربما التلاعب بالأدلة، مما يفقد القرار كثيراً من فاعليته القضائية.

فلسطينياً، تتفاءل أوساط رام الله بعودة الديمقراطيين للحكم في واشنطن، ويتحدث أهل السلطة عن تفاؤلهم بالعودة للتفاوض حيث يرون أنّ أجواء الرئيس الأميركي الجديد داعمة لذلك، وفي ذلك تفاؤل مبكر في غير محله، الخشية أن يكون لذلك أثر على تفعيل السلطة، للدعاوى المرفوعة ضدّ العسكريين (الإسرائيليين)، وللتذكير، ففي الأيام الأخيرة من عام 2008، شنّت (إسرائيل) عدواناً واسعاً على غزة، استعملت فيه أقذر وأفتك ما لديها من سلاح، ونفّست عن أبشع ما تضمره من حقد ودموية ووحشية، لدرجة أصابت العالم في حينها بالذهول، سبّب العدوان دماراً غير مسبوق أصاب غزة في جميع مناحيها، مع 1285 شهيداً، 900 من المدنيين، فيما قتل 14 (إسرائيلياً)، 11 منهم عسكريون، اثر ذلك شكلت لجنة حقوق الإنسان التابعة للأمم المتحدة لجنة تحقيق، برئاسة القاضي غولدستون من جنوب أفريقيا، وقد عرفت اللجنة باسمه في ما بعد، كانت المهمة الموكلة إليها التحقيق في ما إذا ارتكبت جرائم حرب في ذلك العدوان، عملت اللجنة باجتهاد وتابعت أدق التفاصيل، استمعت للشهود، فأحصت الأدلة والبيّنات، ثم أصدرت تقريرها من قرابة 600 صفحة، أكدت فيه أنّ (إسرائيل) لم تتورّع عن ارتكاب جرائم حرب، قبل العدوان بحصارها لغزة وفرضها عقوبات جماعية على مواطنيها، وأثناء الحرب في استخدامها المدنيين كدروع بشرية، وإلقائها القنابل الفوسفورية والقذائف المحشوة بالمسامير، مع شكوك باستخدامها اليورانيوم المنضّب وغير المنضّب، احتفلت في حينه منظمات حقوق الإنسان المحلية والدولية بالتقرير المنصف، كذلك الأوساط الصديقة لفلسطين، ولكن المفاجأة غير السارة كانت بأن طلبت السلطة الفلسطينية عبر سفيرها في جنيف بسحب التقرير وعدم مناقشته، وقيل في ذرائع السلطة ما قيل مما لا أودّ ذكره باستثناء ما قيل بعد فترة من الزمن، بأنّ السلطة قد ارتأت في تعيين مبعوث أميركي جديد للشرق الأوسط – جورج ميتشل، أنّ الظروف مواتية للعودة للسياسة الراسخة، سياسة التفاوض، وأنّ طرح تقرير غولدستون من شأنه توتير أجواء ذلك التفاوض، الذي لم يسفر عن شيء في نهاية الأمر. نتساءل اليوم: هل إدارة بايدن في صدد إدخالنا في نسق تفاوضيّ جديد، وهل يحتاج النسق التفاوضيّ الجديد إلى تهدئة الأجواء التي لم يوترها إلا قرار محكمة الجنايات الدولية؟ هذا ما يحتاج إلى اليقظة والانتباه…

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*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة.

Zionists’ Efforts to Coopt the BLM Movement: Can Racists Be Anti-Racist?

February 14, 2021

Palestinian artists painting George Floyed on the walls on UNRWA office, in Gaza. (Photo: via UNRWA Website)

By Benay Blend

On February 6, 2021, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza announced that she was pulling out of a World Values Network online gala with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a prominent American Zionist.

“They approached me about having a conversation about the importance of solidarity between black communities and Jewish communities,” she explained, then thanked Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour for amplifying the larger picture.

According to journalist Michael Brown, Garza has a history of denouncing other public figures who joined propaganda trips to Israel. Boteach’s gala, Brown continued, appears just as egregious, for it “follow[s] Boteach’s years of backing the racist Donald Trump, thereby making a mockery of the efforts promoted by Black leaders and the wider Black community to advance racial justice and decolonization.”

Placed within a larger context, Boteach’s move comes at a time when Zionists are increasingly fearful of the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions Movement (BDS)’s success. Coupled with the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to investigate Israel for War Crimes, any support for Palestinian rights will undoubtedly come under attack.

There is a long history of Pan-African support for Palestine which has resulted in Zionists denouncing that alignment. In a lecture series “Palestine and Us: Black and Palestinian Solidarity,” Ahmad Abuznaid traced the history of Black support for Palestine as well as the fall-out from it. Referring to Malcolm X’s Zionist Logic (1964), Abuznaid explained that this statement drew from Malcolm X’s shift from Black Nationalist to a more Pan-Africanist position, particularly after he saw connections between Pan-Arabists, represented by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Pan-Africanists that he was beginning to support.

After the 1967 war, Black Radicals began to move away from seeing Zionism as a liberation movement to viewing it as a colonialist venture, much like the colonialism that was oppressing Africans around the world. Following in this direction, Ethel Minor, a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), wrote a piece in their newsletter entitled “Third World Round-up: The Palestine Problem: Test Your Knowledge,” leading to a split between those, like Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) who would continue to support Palestine on principle, and others who feared that without taking a more “balanced position,” one that included mention of the Holocaust, there would be loss of funding.

Indeed, as Ture made clear“immediately after the statement, phone calls rang in and the checks stopped coming.” Today, organizations, politicians and others who depend on funding are leery of taking a principled stance on Palestine, because, much like what happened with SNCC, Zionist supporters will use whatever means necessary to launch a targeted smear campaign of anyone who is critical of the Israeli state.

For example, in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement’s 2014 platform that denounced the US government’s military aid to Israel, there were claims of “one-sided” and “unfair” from pro-Israel commentators who rejected the coalition’s critique. Several years before B’tselem’s quite similar statement, which was either ignored completely or applauded for its courage, BLM charged the following:

“The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people. Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people.”

The BLM platform also drew ire for its support of BDS. Fear of its success continues to motivate Zionists into the present time. In a piece for Haaretz, Rabbi Dan Dorsch of Atlanta declared that the mainstream Jewish community, and also Palestinian Government officials, have rejected BDS.

He continued that connecting the Black struggle in American to that of Palestinians is “unquestionably shortsighted and will only undermine the credibility of the movement and the important cause of civil rights in America”.

Like several years before, when pro-Israel donors withdrew their funds from SNCC, Rabbi Dorsch was warning that the pattern would continue as long as BLM lent its support to Palestine. Returning to the question of whether Zionists can be anti-racist, the short answer is an emphatic “no.” Quoting a message from Jewish Voice for Peace: “If you oppose racism, you should oppose Zionism too.”

As BDS successes grow and the ICC moves closer to investigate Israel for war crimes, pro-Israel groups will increasingly try to sever anti-racist movements in the US from their ties to Palestinians. Nevertheless, given several factors—the historic connections between Palestine and anti-colonial movements around the world, coupled with the waning acceptance of Progressive Except Palestine–Israel will not succeed.

For example, in a recent article Ramzy Baroud noted that

“Israeli efforts at co-opting Africa countries received a major setback on Saturday, February, 6 when the African Union issued a strong statement of solidarity with Palestine, condemning Israel’s illegal settlement activities and the US’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.”

In return, Palestinians have supported movements against injustice around the globe. Documenting a new round of Palestinian uprisings within the Zionist entity, Gaza-based journalist Wafaa Al-Udaini chose to use a photo from another protest against the Israeli regime.

Dating back a year to the shooting of Iyad al-Halak, an unarmed autistic Palestinian man, Palestinians in the picture also hold signs calling attention to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis the previous week, an extralegal murder that they link with al-Halak.

While Palestinians understand the connections between their struggles and anti-colonial movements in other countries, many liberals in the U.S. do not. Nevertheless, as Marc Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick outline in their new book, Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics, the days are over when so-called progressive public figures can join the anti-racist struggle at home while accepting gifts from Zionist organizations who fully support the Israeli apartheid state.

As Sarah Doyel notes in her review of Hill and Plitnick’s book, the authors observe that

“Democrats will take to the global stage to champion victims of other humanitarian crises, but Palestinians in Gaza living in what is commonly described as ‘the world’s largest open-air prison’ somehow merit little succor in the liberal worldview.”

Their work, Doyel concludes, is “a crucial and ultimately hopeful tool that better equips progressives to combat injustices within their own political circles.” Combined with the work of members of anti-colonial coalitions, some of whom convinced Alicia Garza to withdraw from Shmuley’s gala, perhaps anti-Zionists in the future will be strong enough to resist what will surely be increasing attacks on their political alignment with Palestinians.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Israel will pull out all the stops to avoid facing war crimes charges

An ICC ruling has panicked Israeli officials who can now be investigated, but they will likely respond with intensified threats 

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A Palestinian girl walks on the rubble around her family’s home in Gaza in 2014 (AFP)
Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

11 February 2021 11:04 UTC 

Israel has been sent into a tailspin by a ruling last week from the war crimes court in The Hague. Senior Israeli officials, including possibly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, can now be held accountable for violations of the laws of war in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The decision by judges at the International Criminal Court  (ICC) does not ensure Israelis will be put on trial for war crimes – not yet, at least. But after years of delay, it does settle the question of whether the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza fall under the court’s jurisdiction. They do, say the judges. 

While Israel is only too aware of what its top war crimes suspects have been up to, Netanyahu is right to observe that last week’s ruling by the ICC is a political one

Perhaps the most preposterous – if entirely predictable – of the reactions to the ICC’s decision came from Netanyahu himself. 

That the door is now open for Israelis to be investigated for war crimes is the reason Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum responded so angrily to the ruling. The court’s chief prosecutor has already completed a preliminary inquiry, in which she concluded there was a legal basis for a full investigation.

At the weekend, he falsely declared in a video in English, intended for foreign audiences, that the ICC was investigating Israel for what he called “fake war crimes” – and then attributed its imagined actions to “pure antisemitism”. He also threw in a reference to the Nazi Holocaust for good measure.

There was no little irony to his claims. On Friday, Netanyahu denounced the judges’ ruling as proving that the ICC was “a political body and not a judicial institution”. In fact, it is Netanyahu who is playing politics, by character-assassinating the court in what should be a purely legal and judicial matter. He hopes to use antisemitism smears, Israel’s favoured tactic, to keep the ICC’s investigators at bay. 

Court officials have already shown an interest in pursuing three separate lines of inquiry: Israel’s attacks on Gaza that have left large numbers of Palestinian civilians dead; the repeated lethal shooting of Palestinian protesters at Gaza’s perimeter fence; and decades of illegal Israeli settlement-building on occupied land, which has often entailed the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Attack on aid boat

Whatever Netanyahu’s current protestations, the truth is that Israel’s own legal teams have long advised that its military commanders, government ministers and senior administrators are vulnerable to prosecution. That is why they have travelled for many years with a special “panic button” on their phones to alert local diplomatic staff of the threat of arrest at a foreign airport. 

Just such an incident occurred in 2013, when former navy commander Eli Marom hit the button after he wrongly suspected border officials at London’s Heathrow airport were preparing to arrest him under so-called “universal jurisdiction” laws.

Three years earlier, Marom had approved a lethal attack in international waters by navy commandos on an aid convoy of ships trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Demonstrators chant slogans during a 2016 rally in Istanbul, Turkey, marking the sixth anniversary of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident (AFP)
Demonstrators chant slogans during a 2016 rally in Istanbul, Turkey, marking the sixth anniversary of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident (AFP)

Marom had reason to be nervous. Earlier, in 2005, a retired general, Doron Almog, hid on an El Al plane for two hours after landing at Heathrow before quickly taking off again, to avoid a UK arrest warrant over the demolition of 59 Palestinian homes. Scotland Yard reportedly allowed Almog to escape rather than engage in a gun battle trying to arrest him.

In fact, Israel knows enough about which of its senior officials have broken international law – and how – that last summer it compiled a secret list of hundreds who were most likely to be investigated for war crimes.  

Bid to terrorise court

But while Israel is only too aware of what its top war crimes suspects have been up to, Netanyahu is right to observe that last week’s ruling by the ICC is a political one. 

In fact, the court’s treatment of Israel has been deeply mired in politics ever since the Palestinian Authority acceded to the ICC in 2015. Western allies have sought repeatedly to intimidate and strong-arm the court to ensure Israeli officials are not tried for war crimes.The PA, the ICC and Israel

It is no coincidence that ICC judges found the backbone to assert jurisdiction over the occupied territories immediately after Donald Trump stepped down as US president. His administration had waged a campaign to intimidate the court, which included a ban on ICC staff entering the US and threats to freeze their assets.

The timing of the ICC’s ruling may also be related to the fact that its chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is due to quit her post in a few months. She is unlikely to launch any investigations of Israelis before then, leaving the task to her successor.

Such a delay will buy Israel more time. And under an onslaught of pressure, the new chief prosecutor may be persuaded that Israel – despite decades of law-breaking – is not a high enough priority to justify the court’s limited resources. 

Campaigning begins 

Just such a campaign has already begun. On Sunday, the Israeli foreign ministry sent an urgent, classified cable to dozens of its ambassadors, urging them to recruit their respective capitals to a campaign to put pressure on the ICC.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi – a former military chief of staff who is almost certainly on Israel’s secret list of war crimes suspects – rang his counterparts in foreign capitals, urging them to help. That will likely include lobbying for a more sympathetic chief prosecutor to replace Bensouda.

There will continue to be many large obstacles – few of them related to law – that need to be dealt with before any Israelis end up in the dock at The Hague

Israeli media reported security sources as saying that several ICC member states had already agreed to tip Israel off should they learn that any arrest warrants have been issued against Israelis.

Already, the Biden administration in the US, Germany and the Australian government, stalwart defenders of Israel, have issued denunciations of the ICC decision – and implicitly the international norms of war the court is supposed to uphold. 

Responding to Germany’s attack on the court, Hanan Ashrawi, a former senior Palestinian official, tweeted on Tuesday: “So your ‘legal view’ supersedes the ruling of the ICC judges and the resolutions of the UN [General Assembly]? No self-respecting state should accept instructions from (or intimidation by) Israel.”

Other states, with their own self-interested calculations, may soon follow suit. Those that have allied themselves most closely with the US-led “war on terror”, including the UK, have every reason to ensure that Israel – a state very much in the “western diplomatic club” – is not held to account for war crimes of the kind they too have committed. They prefer that the ICC continues to limit its indictments to African leaders. 

Behind-the-scenes lobbying and intimidation may explain the seemingly perverse reasoning of the ICC in December to close its investigation of UK officials without issuing any indictments. It did so even while accepting that British forces had likely committed war crimes in Iraq. Israel may hope for a similar, fudged reprieve.

Shielding Israel

The reality is that the case against Israel was always going to depend on political factors far more than legal ones once it became vulnerable to investigation. But the shielding of Israel over war crimes was evident long before Palestine’s ratification of the Rome Statute in 2015.

Six years earlier, for example, Israel orchestrated a campaign of intimidation against a celebrated South African jurist, Richard Goldstone, over the report of his UN committee into Israel’s 2009 attack on Gaza. The report found Israel and Hamas responsible for committing war crimes, and possibly even graver crimes against humanity.

Richard Goldstone, the UN investigator who probed the 2009 Gaza conflict, attends a media conference in Geneva in July 2009 (AFP)
Richard Goldstone, the UN investigator who probed the 2009 Gaza conflict, attends a media conference in Geneva in July 2009 (AFP)

Goldstone repudiated his strongest findings months later after the personal campaign against him culminated in the South African Zionist Federation barring him from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah.

Similarly, “universal jurisdiction” rules, which allow foreign citizens to seek the arrest of an official suspected of violating international law if his or her state refuses to adjudicate, have never been enforced in practice against Israelis. 

Foot-dragging by ICC

The ICC had an opportunity to investigate Israeli officials over the attack in international waters on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to Gaza in 2010. Ten Turkish civilians, one of whom was also an American citizen, were killed by Israeli commandos who boarded the ships. Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character

Instead, Bensouda chose in 2014 not to proceed with the case initiated by the Comoros, the flag under which the boat was sailing. In an appeal last year, ICC judges criticised her for a series of “errors” in reaching that decision, in refusing to reconsider after they mandated she do so, and in failing to investigate the incident again in 2019.

But the judges concluded it was “unclear” what power they themselves had to rectify these failings and so did not ask for a further review.

Delays and buck-passing have also plagued the ICC’s latest ruling. The court has been foot-dragging on jurisdiction issues ever since 2015. There will continue to be many large obstacles – few of them related to law – that need to be dealt with before any Israelis end up in the dock at The Hague.

Slivers of hope

Nonetheless, last week’s ruling offers Palestinians a few slivers of hope. It confirms that Israel’s battle to deny the Palestinian fight for statehood is not entirely going its way. And it suggests that the post-Trump political climate may turn out to be more stormy for Israel than expected. Its leaders may have to be slightly more cautious about the scale and visibility of the war crimes they approve. 

The real test is whether it can rise above the name-calling and gaslighting to apply international law in a way that truly protects Palestinians

The court may settle to leave the sword of a possible investigation hanging over Israel, hoping that alone will be enough to curb Israel’s worst excesses, such as plans to annex swaths of the West Bank. 

Or the ICC may trust that its jurisdiction ruling will serve as a wake-up call to the Israeli Supreme Court, whose failures to enforce international law in the occupied territories paved the way to The Hague. But settling for any of these outcomes will be more evasion by the court, more playing politics. 

The test of whether the ICC is a judicial body rather than a political one is not, as Netanyahu demands, that it refuse to investigate Israel. The real test is whether it can rise above the name-calling and gaslighting to apply international law in a way that truly protects Palestinians. 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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Investigation to Move Forward: Everything You Need to Know about ICC Latest Ruling on Israeli War Crimes (SPECIAL REPORT)

February 6, 2021

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. (Photo: UN Website)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

On Friday, February 5, the last hurdle in the way of an international investigation into war crimes committed in occupied Palestine has been removed, as the International Criminal Court in the Hague has finally approved the Prosecutor’s request to open legal proceedings regarding war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza.

“Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court .. decided, by majority, that the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” the ICC said in a press release that was made available to international media, including The Palestine Chronicle.

The Investigation

After years of haggling, the ICC had resolved in December 2019 that, “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to Article 53(1) of the Statute.”

Article 53(1) merely describes the procedural steps that often lead, or do not lead, to an investigation by the Court.

That Article is satisfied when the amount of evidence provided to the Court is so convincing that it leaves the ICC with no other option but to move forward with an investigation.

Indeed, Bensouda had already declared late last year that she was,

“satisfied that (i) war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip… (ii) potential cases arising from the situation would be admissible; and (iii) there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.”

The Reactions

The decision, then, has angered Israel and its Western allies, who insisted that the ICC has no jurisdiction, since Palestine, they alleged, is not an independent state. 

As soon as Bensouda made her decision, although, after much delay, the US administration swiftly moved to block the Court’s attempt at holding Israeli officials accountable. On June 11, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order slapping sanctions on members of the global judicial body, citing the ICC’s investigations of US war crimes in Afghanistan and Israeli war crimes in Palestine.

In an historic irony, Germany, which had to answer to numerous war crimes committed by the Nazi regime during World War II, stepped in to serve as the main defender of Israel at the ICC and to shield accused Israeli war criminals from legal and moral accountability.

Germany, among others, then argued that the ICC had no legal authority to discuss Israeli war crimes in the occupied territories. These efforts, however, eventually amounted to nil.

Dr. Triestino Mariniello, member of the legal team for Gaza victims at the ICC,  told Palestine Chronicle TV: 

“There are at least eight countries that are openly against an investigation of the Palestinian situation. Germany is one. Some of the others came as a surprise, to be honest, for at least four other countries, Uganda, Brazil, Czech Republic, and Hungary had explicitly recognized that Palestine is a State under international law, yet are now submitting statements before the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber saying that this is not true anymore.”

The Pre-Trial Chamber

Consequently, Bensouda referred the matter to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber, requesting a “ruling on the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in the State of Palestine”.

The pre-trial chamber consists of judges that authorize the opening of investigations. Customarily once the Prosecutor decides to consider an investigation, she has to inform the Pre-Trial Chamber of her decision.

According to the Rome Statute, Article 56(b), 

“… the Pre-Trial Chamber may, upon request of the Prosecutor, take such measures as may be necessary to ensure the efficiency and integrity of the proceedings and, in particular, to protect the rights of the defence.”

According to Dr. Mariniello:

 “This request to the Pre-Trial Chamber was not necessary, for a simple reason: because the situation is being referred by the State of Palestine. So, when a State party refers a situation to the Prosecutor, the Prosecutor does not need authorization by the Pre-Trial Chamber.”

The Court’s Jurisdiction

The State of Palestine became a signatory of the Rome Statute in January 2015. By accepting the jurisdiction of the Court, Palestine became a State Party. 

The Pre-Trial Chamber 1 reiterated that Palestine is a State Party, therefore the Court has jurisdiction over its territory. Dr. Mariniello told The Palestine Chronicle: “The Pre-trial Chamber did not only recognize that Palestine is a State, they also stated that the Court’s jurisdiction extends to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. What we feared was a further fragmentation of the Palestinian territory” but, according to the ruling, this was not the case.

A Victory

“It is a landmark decision since all the comments expressed by the legal team representing the Gaza victims have been approved. Therefore, they rejected all the arguments by civil society organizations or even states who were trying to persuade the Court that Palestine is not a State,” Dr. Mariniello added.

Professor Richard Falk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, told Palestine Chronicle TV that the ICC investigation is a “breakthrough”.

“It’s a breakthrough even to consider the investigation, let alone the indictment and the prosecution of either Israelis or Americans that was put on the agenda of the ICC, which led to a pushback by these governments … Israel has denounced the Court as if it is improper to examine any State that claims the matter of geopolitical impunity. So you have a core denial of the rule of law.”

The Narrow Scope

Professor Falk elaborated, 

 “The scope of the investigation is something that is ill-defined, so it is a matter of political discretion,” Professor. Falk said, adding that “the Court takes a position that needs to be cautious about delimiting its jurisdiction and, therefore, it tries to narrow the scope of what it is prepared to investigate. I don’t agree with this view … but it does represent the fact that the ICC, like the UN itself, is subject to immense geopolitical pressure”.

The legal representatives of the ‘Palestinian Victims Residents of the Gaza Strip’ had expressed their concern on behalf of the victims regarding “the ostensibly narrow scope of the investigation into the crimes suffered by the Palestinian victims of this situation.”

The ‘narrow scope of the investigation’ has thus far excluded such serious crimes as Crimes Against Humanity. According to the Gaza legal team, the killing of hundreds and wounding of thousands of unarmed protesters participating in the ‘Great March of Return’ is a crime against humanity that must also be investigated.

The ICC’s jurisdiction, of course, goes beyond Bensouda’s decision to investigate ‘war crimes’ only.

Article 5 of the Rome Statute – the founding document of the ICC – extends the Court’s jurisdiction to investigate the following “serious crimes”:

(a) The Crime of Genocide

(b) Crimes Against Humanity

(c) War Crimes

(d) The Crime of Aggression

It should come as no surprise that Israel is qualified to be investigated on all four points and that the nature of Israeli crimes against Palestinians often tends to constitute a mixture of two or more of these points simultaneously.

That in mind, according to Mariniello,

“The scope of the investigation is not binding for the future. The Prosecutor can decide, at any moment, to include other crimes. We hope it will happen because, otherwise, many victims will never get justice.”

What Now

Mariniello told The Palestine Chronicle,

 “Now, the hard work starts for the legal representatives of the ‘Palestinian Victims Residents of the Gaza Strip’, we cannot lower the guard. We need to work so that the ICC Prosecutor can identify the people responsible for international crimes and their criminal behavior as soon as possible.”

The Prosecutor

The decision that there were sufficient elements to investigate war crimes committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was taken by ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, who is currently nearing the end of her term. 

A new prosecutor should be elected soon.

(Managing Editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Romana Rubeo, composed this report) 

“Israel” to Ask Allies to Pass “Discreet Message” to ICC Not to Open War Crimes Probe in Occupied Palestine

“Israel” to Ask Allies to Pass “Discreet Message” to ICC Not to Open War Crimes Probe in Occupied Palestine

By Staff, Agencies

Tel Aviv intends to lure “dozens of” its allies to convey a “discreet message” to the International Criminal Court [ICC] prosecutor, Fatou Bensoud, pressuring her not to proceed with the probe into war crimes committed by the “Israeli” entity in the occupied territories, an Axios report said Sunday.

The ICC ruled on Friday that it had jurisdiction to open an investigation into war crimes committed by “Israel” in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East al-Quds [Jerusalem].

The report cited two Israeli officials who said that the country’s foreign ministry sent a classified table [designated as “Urgent”] to its ambassadors around the globe on Sunday. According to the lobbying instructions in the cable, the “Israeli” diplomats should reach out to foreign ministers and heads of government and ask them to issue official statements objecting to the ICC ruling.

“We ask that [governments] send a discreet message to the prosecutor asking her not to move forward with the investigation against Israeli and not give this case a high priority”, the cable reportedly read.

“You are instructed to tell the highest levels of government that if an investigation against ‘Israel’ starts it will create a continuous crisis between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will not allow any diplomatic progress to take place between the parties”, it reportedly added.

The “Israeli” entity’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted the ICC move on Saturday, calling it “pure anti-Semitism” and called instead to “investigate brutal dictatorships like Iran and Syria.”

Earlier on Saturday, the “Israel” Occupation Forces [IOF] called the ICC’s decision biased and said it would continue to protect the security of the country and its citizens, respecting national and international law.

The US Department of State has expressed concerns over the ICC decision to exercise its jurisdiction over the “Israeli” entity.

In a statement on Friday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “‘Israel’ is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. We will continue to uphold President Biden’s strong commitment to ‘Israel’ and its security, including opposing actions that seek to target ‘Israel’ unfairly.”

The ICC announcement said that the court’s “territorial jurisdiction in the situation in Palestine [….] extends to the territories occupied by ‘Israel’ since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem [al-Quds]”. Bensoud also added that there is “a reasonable basis” to believe that war crimes “have been or are being committed in the West Bank” by the “Israeli” entity, requesting an investigation.

The move was welcomed by the Palestinian Authority, with Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh calling it as “a victory for justice and humanity, for the values of truth, fairness and freedom, and for the blood of the victims and their families”.

Hamas also welcomed the ICC ruling, stressing that “any decision that contributes to supporting the rights of the Palestinian people and defends their freedom is an appropriate decision, consistent with human values, human rights charters, protection of civilians under occupation and the prosecution of war criminals”.

In December 2019, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that there was sufficient evidence to open a full investigation into possible war crimes committed in Palestine.

The announcement was made after the conclusions of a nearly five year preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine, which primarily focused on the 2014 Gaza War and the “Israeli” entity’s possible “intentionally launching disproportionate attacks” but also looked into the incidents at the Gaza border with the entity in March 2018 which resulted in the killing of over 200 individuals, including 40 children.

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