If the media can probe Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, why not the murder of other Palestinians?

23 June 2022

Jonathan Cook is an award-winning independent journalist and author [ MORE ]

An Israeli sniper shot the Al-Jazeera journalist, according to four US news organisations. But the only investigation the Biden administration will heed is an Israeli one

Middle East Eye – 22 Jun 2022

The New York Times published this week the conclusion of its investigation into the killing of the Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

It was the fourth major US news organisation to look in detail at what happened to Abu Akleh during an Israeli army raid into the Palestinian city of Jenin last month. 

The New York Times found a high probability she had been killed by an Israeli sniper, confirming the findings of earlier investigations by the Associated Press, CNN and the Washington Post. Like the other publications, the Times based its findings on video footage, witness testimonies and acoustic analysis. 

“The bullet that killed Ms Abu Akleh was fired from the approximate location of the Israeli military convoy [in Jenin], most likely by a soldier from an elite unit,” the Times concluded. A total of 16 shots were fired at the group of journalists that included Abu Akleh.

Last month, CNN said the evidence it unearthed suggested the veteran Al Jazeera journalist had been killed in a “targeted attack by Israeli forces”. Similar conclusions have been reached by human rights groups that have studied the evidence, including Israel’s respected occupation watchdog, B’Tselem. 

A major blow

These probes are a major blow to Israel, coming from reputed media organisations that are usually seen as highly sympathetic to Israel rather than the Palestinians. 

They have kept the killing of the journalist in the headlines when Israel had hoped interest would quickly wane – as is the case with the overwhelming majority of Palestinian deaths.

The investigations have made it much harder for Israel to obscure both its responsibility for Abu Akleh’s killing and the intention behind it. The bullet that killed her was fired with the apparent goal of executing her, hitting a narrow, exposed area of flesh between her helmet and a flak jacket marked “Press”. 

And the various probes have highlighted once again how unwilling Israel is to hold its soldiers to account for committing crimes if the victim is Palestinian. 

Instead, Israel has had to twist and turn in defending its failure to identify the culprit. It initially refused to investigate, claiming a Palestinian gunman, not one of its soldiers, shot Abu Akleh during the military raid.  

All the media investigations show that to be untrue. 

Then Israel suggested that she might have been hit by the crossfire from an Israeli soldier being fired on by Palestinian gunmen. But all the investigations have shown that Palestinian fighters were nowhere near Abu Akleh when she was shot. She was, however, clearly visible to a unit of Israeli soldiers. 

More recently, Israel has tried to shift the blame onto the Palestinian Authority, saying it has not cooperated by handing over the bullet that killed Abu Akleh or by agreeing to hold a joint investigation. As ever, Israel behaves as if the party accused of the crime should be the one to oversee the investigation.

The Palestinian Authority rightly refuses requests for cooperation, arguing that they are being made in bad faith. Israel would exploit any joint investigation to concoct “a new lie, a new narrative”, the PA observes. 

A meaningful question

In reality, Israel already knows exactly which of its snipers pulled the trigger. The only meaningful question at this stage is, why? Was the shooting committed by a hot-headed soldier, or was it an execution carried out on orders from above? Was the intention to target Abu Akleh specifically, or did it not matter which of the group of journalists she was among was hit? 

Israel, however, isn’t the only party discomfited by the media’s repeated investigations.

They have also served to embarrass Joe Biden’s administration. Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has called for an “independent, credible investigation”, while his department has underscored the need for a “thorough and independent investigation”. 

The New York Times and the other major media outlets have all proved that just such an investigation can be carried out. And yet the silence from the US administration at their shared findings is deafening. 

There are two further, possibly less obvious conclusions the rest of us should draw from these efforts to identify who was responsible for killing Abu Akleh. 

The first relates to the exceptional nature of the investigations conducted by the US media. Concern at the killing of a Palestinian is far from the norm. In this case, it appears to have been prompted by an unusual coincidence of facts: that Abu Akleh was a high-profile, internationally respected journalist and that she had US citizenship. 

In other words, she was seen not just as any ordinary Palestinian, or even as a Palestinian journalist, but as one of the western media’s own. 

Total impunity

In murdering Abu Akleh, Israel reminded journalists at the New York Times, AP, CNN and the Washington Post that the lives of their correspondents covering Israel and Palestine are in more danger than they possibly appreciate. In killing her, Israel crossed a red line for the western media – one premised on self-interest and self-preservation. 

There are parallels with the media’s special treatment of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi – and for similar reasons. Khashoggi, who was working for the Washington Post, was murdered and his body dismembered during a visit to the Saudi embassy in Turkey

As with Israel, Saudi Arabia‘s leadership has an appalling human rights record and is not hesitant to jail and kill its opponents. But Khashoggi’s murder provoked unprecedented outrage from the media – outrage that Saudi Arabia’s many other victims have never warranted.

The fact is the US media could have conducted similar investigations into any number of Palestinian deaths at the hands of the Israeli security services, not just Abu Akleh’s, and they would have reached similar conclusions. But they have consistently avoided doing so.

There is a danger inherent in focusing exclusively on Abu Akleh’s killing, just as there was with focusing exclusively on Khashoggi’s. Each has the effect of making it look as though their deaths are exceptional events requiring exceptional investigation – when they are each an example of a longstanding pattern of regime lawlessness and human rights abuses.

The special focus subtly reinforces too the impression that Palestinian accounts of Israeli abuses, even when the supporting evidence is overwhelming, cannot be trusted. 

The veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has run a weekly column, the Twilight Zone, in the Haaretz newspaper for years in which he investigates the killing or serious wounding of Palestinians – often people whose names have never appeared in the western media. 

Invariably he finds that Israel’s military lies – sometimes flagrantly – about the circumstances in which Palestinians have been killed, or it initiates an inconclusive, stone-walling investigation. 

The lies are needed because the truth would show something consistently ugly about Israel’s decades of military occupation: that Israeli soldiers often kill unarmed Palestinians in cold blood; or that they recklessly shoot Palestinian bystanders; or that they execute armed Palestinian fighters when no one’s life is in danger.

The common thread in Levy’s reports is the complete impunity of Israeli soldiers, whatever their actions.

Pilloried in public

But there is a further conclusion to be drawn. Blinken and the Biden administration keep insisting on a thorough, independent, credible and transparent investigation, and say it is important to “follow the facts, wherever they lead”.

But who do they expect to carry out such an investigation? 

The White House, of course, reflexively discounts the findings of the Palestinian Authority’s investigation that Abu Akleh was deliberately shot by Israeli soldiers. It acts as if the investigations conducted by these four large media organisations do not qualify. Meanwhile, the administration itself shows precisely zero interest in conducting an investigation, despite pressure from Congress to involve the FBI. 

Would Blinken prefer that the United Nations take on the task? Presumably not, given how the US and Israel responded to the last major independent investigation by the UN, one into Israel’s month-long attack on Gaza at the end of 2008. Israel refused to cooperate. 

Richard Goldstone, a distinguished South African jurist, led a panel of experts who concluded that Israel had committed a series of war crimes during its attack, known as Cast Lead, as had Palestinian militias. 

The UN panel’s report found that Israel had adopted a policy that intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians, the vast majority of the 1,400 Palestinians killed in Cast Lead. 

Both the US and Israel worked strenuously to bury the report. Goldstone, who is Jewish, found himself publicly shamed and isolated by Jewish communities in the US and South Africa. He was even barred from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah. Eventually, he appeared to succumb to the pressure campaign, expressing regret over the report. 

No one in Washington came to Goldstone’s defence over the UN’s thorough, independent, credible and transparent investigation. Quite the reverse: he was publicly pilloried. The US administration thereby sent a message to other experts that investigating “independently” and “credibly” is certain only to bring ignominy on their heads if it exposes Israel’s war crimes. 

Israel’s hands ‘tied’

Or maybe Blinken would prefer that the International Criminal Court at the Hague investigate. 

And yet the US demonstrated the degree to which it appreciates full, independent, credible and transparent investigations by that body two years ago, when the ICC tried to turn the spotlight on to US war crimes in Afghanistan and Israel’s in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

In response, Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, imposed sanctions on the court, denying staff entry to the US and threatening to seize its assets. The threat extended to anyone offering “material support” to the court – language more normally used in the context of terrorism.  

The reality, as all parties understand, is that only an investigation overseen by Israel could ever count as “thorough, independent, credible and transparent” to the US. 

The subtext is that an investigation cannot hope to reach the bar of “credible, independent and transparent”, as far as Washington is concerned, until the Palestinian Authority agrees to hold a joint inquiry with Israel.

But both Israel and the US know full well that the Palestinian leadership will never agree to such “cooperation” – because Israel’s role would not be to arrive at the truth but to engineer a cover-up. 

The demand for a “credible, independent and transparent” investigation is the US administration’s code for an investigation that will never take place. It is the diplomatic equivalent of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But more importantly, it is the kind of impossible investigation that, conveniently for the US and Israel, they can blame the PA for obstructing. As long as the Palestinians refuse to “cooperate”, Israel’s hands are supposedly tied. 

Abu Akleh’s murder has not just revealed the fact that Israeli soldiers kill Palestinians, any Palestinian, with impunity. 

It has revealed too that the Biden administration is not troubled by the killing, or by the impunity of the soldier who executed her. All that bothers the White House is the irritant of having to create the impression it cares about the truth and the impression that Israel is doing its best to investigate. 

Until the matter can be swept aside, it will be a little harder for each to get on with business as usual: for the US to give Israel full-throated financial, diplomatic and military support; and for Israel to continue its incremental, decades-long work of seizing control of the Palestinians’ entire, historic homeland.

But at least for each of them, with Abu Akleh gone, there is one less fearless witness to expose quite how hollow their moral posturing is.

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Palestinians mourn slain Al Jazeera journalist as calls grow for independent investigation

May 12 2022

Palestinians refused calls for a joint investigation of Shireen Abu Aqla’s murder, citing Tel Aviv’s track record of inaccurate investigations of their soldiers’ crimes

(Photo credit: The Times UK)

ByNews Desk 

Thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank joined the funeral procession of murdered Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla Nasri on 12 May, one day after she was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers.

Her funeral procession started from the Istishari Hospital in Ramallah, before arriving at the presidential compound of the Palestinian Authority (PA), where President Mahmoud Abbas bid her farewell.

During the ceremony, Abbas said Israel was “fully responsible” for Abu Aqla’s death.

Her body will make its way to Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, where her family lives, before being laid to rest on 13 May.

The colleagues of Abu Aqla, who also came under fire on 11 May while covering Israeli raids on Jenin, said the occupation troops deliberately targeted the senior Al Jazeera correspondent, despite wearing a bulletproof vest clearly labeled PRESS.

“The [bullet] that killed Shireen was intended to kill her because the sniper fired the bullet at an area of her body that was not protected,” fellow journalist Shatha Hanaysha said.

Hanaysha also highlighted that the Israeli snipers who opened fire could clearly see that they were journalists.

In response to the accusations, Israeli officials initially tried to dodge the blame for the murder, blaming Palestinian factions instead.

“There is a good chance that armed Palestinians, who fired widely, are the ones who led to the unfortunate death of the journalist,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters hours after the murder.

However, later in the day, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi said it was “unclear” who fired the shot that killed the journalist.

“At this stage, we cannot determine by whose fire she was harmed and we regret her death,” the Israeli officer told Hebrew media.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also struck a more cautious note, saying: “We are trying to figure out exactly what happened … I don’t have final conclusions.”

For their part, the PA has rejected a US-backed call for a joint investigation into the murder with Tel Aviv.

“Israel has requested a joint investigation and to be handed over the bullet that assassinated the journalist Shireen. We refused that, and we affirmed that our investigation would be completed independently,” Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh said on 12 May.

The official also added that all evidence and witness statements confirm that the Palestinian-American journalist was assassinated by Israeli special units.

As international condemnation grows, the EU and UN have joined calls by right groups for an independent investigation into the murder of Abu Aqla.

The office of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a statement saying he was “appalled by the killing of Shireen Abu Aqla, a Palestinian-American reporter for Al Jazeera TV.”

The lead spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU, Peter Stano, said that it is vital for a “thorough, independent investigation to clarify all the circumstances of this incident as soon as possible and for those responsible to be brought to justice.”

Rights groups, lawyers and Palestinian authorities, however, say they do not expect a credible investigation into the killing by Israel, which has a track record of not thoroughly investigating crimes committed by the Israeli army.

Last month, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) submitted a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing Israel of systematically targeting journalists working in Palestine.

The IFJ has repeatedly condemned Israel’s deliberate targeting of journalists and media facilities in occupied Palestine.

According to WAFA, least 55 Palestinian journalists have been killed since 2000, with no one ever being held responsible.

229 Rights Groups: “Israel” must Be Held Accountable for Premeditated Assassination of Palestinian Journalist

May 13, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies 

Some 230 international rights organizations and networks have strongly condemned the assassination of veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by ‘Israeli’ occupation forces in the occupied West Bank, calling for the Zionist entity to be held accountable for the brutal crime.

The Palestinian Ma’an news agency said the 229 signatories affirmed in a statement that the “Israeli” occupation forces’ targeting of the Palestinian journalist was a “deliberate and premeditated act and a full-fledged assassination operation.”

“Martyr Shireen Abu Akleh is a direct victim of organized terrorism [by ‘Israel’], which behaves with the mentality of criminal gangs,” the signatories stressed.

The statement said the killing was a result of systematic incitement against Palestinian journalists by the occupying regime for their professional role in revealing the truth and exposing the “Israeli” entity’s crimes.

It further criticized the international community’s silence over atrocities committed by “Israeli” troops against Palestinians, saying it exposes their double standards.

“The ‘Israeli’ occupation forces, with their heinous act, want to obscure the truth and cover up their horrendous crimes against the sons and daughters of the Palestinian people. Moreover, the regime, with its heinous act, wants to scare and intimidate journalists to prevent the conveyance of the truth to the world,” the signatories underlined.

The statement also called for the opening of a “neutral, independent and transparent” international investigation into the “Israeli” targeting the Palestinian journalist under the supervision of the International Criminal Court [ICC].

The signatories stressed the need to launch an international campaign by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the International Federation of Journalists, international nongovernmental organizations, and Palestinian human rights institutions to hold “Israeli” war criminals accountable, prevent impunity for the perpetrators, and bring a legal human rights case at the ICC to prosecute “Israeli” leaders and politicians, who publicly incite the killing of Palestinian civilians, including journalists.

Shireen Abu Akleh, a longtime TV correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic, was martyred on Wednesday after being shot in the head while covering the “Israeli” army’s raids in the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank.

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Will Azovstal Plant Azov fighters withhold Mariupol civilians from the UN and RedCross?

Nationalists are now demanding evacuation

April 30, 2022

By  Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor

Another attempt to evacuate civilians from Azovstal via UN and Red Cross negotiations

…from SouthFront

Update: 3:57 EST – From the New York Times: About 20 women and children have been evacuated from Mariupol’s embattled Azovstal steel plant, according to a Ukrainian commander in the factory and Russian state media.

The news came amid United Nations-backed efforts to broker a ceasefire to allow hundreds of trapped civilians and Ukrainian fighters escape the factory, the last bastion of resistance in the besieged city of Mariupol.

JD comment to the above: For perspective, a hundred civilians had been estimated yesterday, but the Azov people would never give a count, because Kiev had pulled a 1000 figure out of its butt, to get bigger press coverage and the Azov people did not want to piss off Kiev.

Don’t expect Western media to print a retraction, or even an ongoing score sheet in its lies being exposed. It thinks it has cover simply by saying the lies came from ‘official sources’.

[ Editor’s Note: God only knows if this attempt will succeed. The US and NATO could have sprung these civilians simply by telling the Azov people that if they did not release them, their asses would be grass even if Azov got out alive.

That said, the Azov war crimes in Mariupol could be the trial of the century, which should include all the Azov fighters. But their defense would be that they were trained and working for the US and NATO from before the 2014 Maidan coup, and the US approved every atrocity they had engaged in.

One of the reasons the US pulled out of the International Criminal Court was that its own list of war crimes was growing longer and longer. I suspect the US legal people strongly pushed for the pull out, as they saw no real defense they could put up at the ICC.

NATO and the US have put the world economies in a hostage situation, via the inflation that they are captive to, and the sanctions on Russian fertilizer may spur greater food insecurity. The Ukraine war might create the largest flood of refugees that we have seen in modern times.

Gosh, who could possibly want something like that to happen, where they could later come in and buy assets for pennies on the dollar.

We need to rethink who the real enemy is, and where the grifters are, and why their political and military establishments protect them when they are attacking so many innocent people economically only because they want to put NATO forces on the Russian border in Ukraine.

So far, I see almost zero opposition to this senseless war which could be negotiated without all of this devastation.

Any people that would prevent a peaceful resolution would be purely evil, and all will be known if that path is pursued, but at what cost? Hapless war commander Biden wants to shovel $33 billion to Ukraine, where about $5 billion will be stolen right off the top, as that is the national sport for politicians there… Jim W. Dean ]

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An Azov cmdr’s doodling notebook captured, strongly suggests the rumors are true that they are neo-Nazs, but the West, including Germany, still supports them. What’s up wid dat?

First published April 30, 2022

On April 30, another attempt was made to evacuate civilians from the facilities of the Azovstal plant in the city of Mariupol. According to various estimations, about a hundred civilians are taken hostage in the basements.

They mainly include families of the Ukrainian Azov nationalist regiment, workers of the Azovstal plant and civilians from the neighboring districts who were lured and blocked in the facilities. There are a lot of children and women.

The Russian military regularly declared a ceasefire so that Ukrainian nationalists could surrender and allow civilians to leave. The Azov commanders have not used their chances yet.

This time, the UN and the Red Cross are involved in evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant. Representatives of the organisations have reportedly arrived in the village of Bezymennoye for negotiations. The village is located on the eastern outskirts of the city of Mariupol.

According to the footage from the area, dozens of buses are ready for evacuation of civilians. The area is secured by Russian servicemen.

At the same time, the city of Mariupol is slowly returning to the peaceful life. People are trying to restore some of the buildings. Russian authorities have already begun the reconstruction of some civilians facilities in the city.

For example, the Metallurgov Avenue was restored. This was one of the main hotspots of fierce clashes in Mariupol.

According to the head of the DPR, a large reconstruction project will begin with Russian support as soon as the issue of the militants blockaded in Azovstal is resolved. At the moment, it is necessary to withdraw civilians from the factory.

“Nationalists are now demanding evacuation, humanitarian corridors. But listen, humanitarian corridors for civilians are working on an ongoing basis. And if there is a desire to really save the lives of civilians, they should be released,” – said the head of the DPR Denis Pushilin.

Ian Williams: Deterioration of Intl. Human Rights Mechanisms Blamed on “US Defense of Israel” (VIDEO)

April 1, 2022

Mark Seddon and renowned journalist and President of the Foreign Press Association – New York City, Ian Williams, shine a light on the ongoing crises in Palestine and Ukraine. (Photo: Video Grab, Supplied)

By Palestine Deep Dive

In a lively and illuminating discussion with Palestine Deep Dive (PDD), Mark Seddon and renowned journalist and President of the Foreign Press Association – New York City, Ian Williams, shine a light on the ongoing crises in Palestine and Ukraine.

The show titled “Occupation of Ukraine – Occupation of Palestine: International Law & the Cry for Consistency” pays special attention to exposing the hypocrisy of the global community when it comes to upholding the so-called “international rules-based” order.

Highlighting the creeping-prolonged injustice Palestinians have been exposed to, and how it has become normalized to those removed from it, Williams says:

“It’s like the frog in the pan as the water warms up and they don’t notice. It’s too late when its skin starts searing off. If you plunge the frog into the hot water, it tends to notice right away and jump… Of course, the Palestinians have noticed that their skin is falling off with the heat, but the rest of the world hasn’t because the rest of the world has gone along with it incrementally.”

Praising Ukrainian resistance, Williams ponders whether Palestinians would be in a better position had they received similar levels of Western support:

“I have to say that the Ukrainians surprised everyone with their resistance. Maybe if the Palestinians had been armed in 1967 and their governments had trusted them, then there might well have been a different ending… The real fact is that the Israelis have lied through their teeth for years and the West has chosen to believe them because the alternative, doing something about it, was too much. We’ve discussed the reason for that in this. There’s domestic lobbies, there’s geopolitical things.”

Expanding on the double standards in the Western response to Ukraine compared to Palestine, Seddon remarks:

“Of course, the Russian invasion was an absolute shock, not least to the Ukrainians, many of whom didn’t believe that it would happen, and part of their country is now being occupied… Of course, people in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Golan, which is an outright annexation, will say, well, hold on a minute, we’ve been occupied for 50 years, and if we start calling for sanctions, people say, oh no, you can’t call for sanctions and boycotts and divestments…”

Williams responds by arguing that Palestine advocates should be drawing parallels between Ukraine and Palestine wherever possible:

“Well, the worst thing we could do, or the Palestinians and their supporters could do, is to say, well, we are not interested because there’s no case there because we’re suffering. They should immediately try to associate at every level… These comparisons are invidious and must be made often over and over. The legalities are there. You hit upon it there. It’s indisputable for everyone concerned that the Golan was the acquisition of foreign territory by force”

Seddon was also keen to emphasize the duplicity of the corporate media:

“By the way, we don’t mind showing video footage of brave Ukrainians making Molotov cocktails, they’re freedom fighters, but if it comes to Palestinians making Molotov cocktails or Western Saharans, well, they’re terrorists. This grotesque double standards, isn’t it, really that sticks in a lot of people.”

Williams also expressed disappointment in Western media for its lack of meaningful reporting on Palestine:

“Most people have an infinite tolerance for the sufferings of others over a long period, and that’s what’s been happening with the Palestinians. The stuff doesn’t get into the media.”

Looking more closely at recent events at the United Nations, Seddon reported on Thursday’s United Nations Human Rights Committee vote supporting accountability for Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights in the occupied territories. The U.S. voted against it.

With UK and Ukraine abstaining, Seddon said it is, “disappointing given the fact that most Ukrainians, if they knew what was happening in Israel-Palestine, would immediately identify with the Palestinians.”

This week at the UN’s Human Rights Council, Zainab Al-Qolaq, a survivor of an Israeli airstrike on Gaza in May which killed 22 members of her family, delivered a speech asking the international community whether “real actions” will be taken to prevent similar atrocities from taking place.

Questioned whether he thinks the UNHRC will indeed take much notice of her powerful contribution, Williams responded: “It depends on the rest of us whether we keep it going.”

Seddon goes on to probe Williams on the reasons for today’s apparent lack of authority in institutions such as the International Criminal Court (ICC). Williams responds arguing the United States, by shielding Israel from legitimate accountability, has eroded the potential of such institutions in being a genuine force of authority:

“…there is no doubt whatsoever that the US defense of Israel at all costs over the years has led to a profound deterioration of international human rights mechanisms. The fact that anytime action is taken, the US springs up regardless of the facts to defend Israel, means that everybody else in the world say, “If not Israel, then why them.” If you don’t get Netanyahu, why you’re getting Milošević. It has allowed every crook genocidal maniac and kleptomaniac in the world to get out of jail free card or get out of jail cheap card because, if Israel can do it, so can we.”

He also emphasized Biden’s continuation of many of Trump’s policies over Palestine and beyond:

“There’s the US, as you say, it denounced Putin, said he’s a war criminal, but they still– Joe Biden still maintains Trump’s sanctions against the International Criminal Court justices. They’re not allowed in America, and why is that? Israel.”

Ending the show with a rousing call for meaningful action by state actors against Israeli apartheid and ongoing human rights violations against Palestinians, Williams declares:

“We should be calling for government sanctions against Israel until it abides by international law… Sanctions is the way to go. That’s how it worked with South Africa.”

(Palestine Deep Dive)

“Israel” or the wolf disguised as a sheep

29 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Mikhael Marzuqa 

“Israel” tried to disguise itself as an honest mediator between Russia and Ukraine, but honesty is a trait that is hard to come by once the occupation’s history is full of atrocities and war crimes.

Chile and other Latin-American countries that subscribe to the UN Charter and its resolutions, as well as international law organizations, including the ICJ, must commit themselves to their own actions

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict comes to revalue the need for the rule of International Law and a renewal of the commitment of the entire international community to subscribe to it.

The defense of the sovereignty of Ukraine revives the neglected relevance of promoting the sovereignty of Palestine based mainly on:

– The withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Palestinian territories declared in resolution 181 of the UN General Assembly of November 29, 1947, that “recommended” the partition of Palestine into two States, but without “Israel” allowing the consolidation of the Palestinian State.

– Allow the return of Palestinian refugees expelled from their homes by “Israel”, according to resolutions 194 of December 11, 1948, and 3236 of November 22, 1974, recognizing the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people.

– Israeli withdrawal from Occupied Palestine, including the Eastern part of occupied al-Quds, is based on Resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016, of the UN Security Council, which emanates from this body and is binding.

– End of colonialism and Israeli apartheid considered a form of racial discrimination according to Resolution 3379 of the UN General Assembly in 1975.

– End of the colonial expansion based on settlements of settlers brought from other nations to Palestine, based on Resolutions 446 of March 22, 1979 and 2334 of December 23, 2016 of the UN Security Council (both binding resolutions).

– Demolition of the Separation Wall or “Shame” that penetrates into Palestinian territory expropriating more territories, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice on July 9, 2004

Since 1948, and even before, with the action of the Zionist terrorist organizations, which later became the Israeli army, “Israel” has systematically invaded Palestine, expelling its original population, periodically bombing and committing crimes against the civilian population, selectively assassinating the political leaders of the Palestinian people including their former president Yasser Arafat, demolished their homes and farm fields, seized water sources, turned the West Bank into a huge concentration camp, violently expelled the residents of al-Quds and other Palestinian cities, changed the names and in general the legal status of the territory, prohibited free expression and the operation of NGOs for the defense of Human Rights, converted Gaza into the largest extermination camp and, ultimately, undermined the possibilities of installing a Free and democratic Palestinian state as declared by the national charter of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine.

It is ironic to see how “Israel” first offered itself as the venue for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine and currently offers itself as a mediator since it is the state most condemned by the UN and international human rights organizations and one of the key suppliers of weapons to Ukraine. Therefore, ending this international hypocrisy is imperative today, since we run the risk of widening the lock gates of more flagrant inconsistencies and violations of the norms that regulate coexistence among peoples.

Chile and other Latin-American countries that subscribe to the UN Charter and its resolutions, as well as international law organizations, including the ICJ, must commit themselves to their own actions, as well as promote in the regional economic and political organizations of Latin America and The Caribbean, initiatives that lead to oblige “Israel” to cease its violations, respect international laws and adopt UN resolutions without conditions.

It is appropriate that those who have an international tradition to respect and promote international human rights. Along these lines, they are compelled to adhere to the reports of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and promote the existence of all the facilities for the investigation of the International Criminal Court on war crimes committed by “Israel”.
 
It is important that the Latin American countries deploy a diplomatic crusade at the international level so that the United States, Great Britain and the European Union, mainly, are consistent between their speech and their international action so that, just as they have deployed innumerable and forceful sanctions against Russia, similarly condemn and promote condemnation and similar sanctions against the Israeli regime so that it respects international law. It is pertinent that governments that set themselves up as defenders of democracy, do not jeopardize their declared values ​​of respect for peace, justice, sovereignty, and self-determination, that they assume the moral obligation of consequence between their words and actions and honor the reputation of the states those they represent so as not to be condemned by history as only defenders of interests of power and hegemony.

Promoting the peaceful and respectful coexistence of the legality that the international community has imposed on itself is today transcendent for the world that we are bequeathing to future generations.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Sanctions Seppuku: The Big Reveal: “Let them fly to space on their broomsticks”

March 03, 2022

Source

by Chris Faure

Russia is beginning to respond to the insane sanctions, and the sanctions are insane.

“Russia will stop deliveries of rocket engines to US – Russian Space Agency chief. The Roscosmos chief added, “Let them fly into space on their broomsticks.”

And we all say OORAH!

OneWeb Pulls Workers from Russian-run Baikonur Satellite Launch Project

The London-based tech company OneWeb has removed its employees from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrone, where they had planned to send 36 Internet satellites into orbit using a Russian Soyuz rocket.

The move comes after Russian space agency Roscosmos demanded guarantees that their satellites wouldn’t be used for military purposes, and that the UK government – which owns shares in OneWeb – divest itself from the company.

The Russian (ROC) Paralympics athletes have just been banned by the Olympics Committee from taking part in the Olympics in Beijing.

But Coca-Cola will continue to operate in Russia

The ICC (International Criminal Court) is in the process of accepting the Ukraine’s complaint of war crimes or crimes against humanity against Russia and Belarus in the Ukraine. (Israel and Palestine comes to mind and also the Yemen). The complainer has to have membership of course, but the ICC has awarded a quasi membership to Ukraine from nowhere.

Russian individuals are facing hate-filled attacks, diplomatic buildings and athletes are being targeted for exclusion. Reports of Russians being discriminated against are spreading far and wide. This is similar to what happened the previous two years with Chinese citizens as a result of the propaganda against China.

There is a very dark underbelly to sanctions which are of course war by any other name. Trump called it! by calling it a Trade War, when it was against China. What the west wants, is to loot Russia from the ground up and just make them go away in some form or fashion, because they cannot take Russia by Dollar and/or Bomb.

Western governments, media, think tanks etc., are so desperate to believe their version of the outcome of the Ukraine war that they are seeing things which have no basis in reality. And their fear that things will not turn out the way they want them to, is visible. They are having Terrible Two Tantrums.

It is however filtering through to European leaders. They are figuring out that Russian sanctions are already having an impact and on them directly.

And the countries are not all in some special cahoots here. They are being threatened. We have news from India that they are being threatened with sanctions because they stood neutral in the last security council vote and did not condemn Russia in one or another fashion. Of course, they do not call it by name but rather: US weighing up sanctions against India over Russian military stockpiles (The Hill).   Please be aware, this is not some game, but the stakes are high, as the sanctions war and the cyber war are all, and I mean all, western attempts at regaining its lost power and luster.

We see how Russian-owned businesses, private jets, money, and real estate are being looted. The west is just stealing it, like oil and grain from Syria. This time they want to do to Russia what they did in the early 1990’s yet again. The idea is to rape Russia again, because how dare Russia charge for their oil and for their business. How dare Russia act like a country or even people that have the right to make a business, do trade, be concerned about their security and function in the wider world. What is being tried here, is to do to Russia exactly the same as what was done to Japan, after Japan surrendered in WWII, but this time they want to do as much as they can, without waging real war (so far).

You can see an example of the looting here: Poland started seizing (or looting) Russian Property in Warsaw, including even a school building.

And then of course there was Josep Borrell saying in a fit of pique:  Oh Dear, we cannot find Russia’s Central Bank Assets. They must have planned for sanctions. (This from memory as I cannot find his tweet. But then again, this is what they do! They make a big statement and then quietly delete what they said.).

This is what sanctions look like. Everything has a ‘carve out’. Sanctions do not work, excepting to pressurize and gain the upper hand in western media. This is how they think, trying to find a concerted calculated effort to loot Russia again, but the mistakes being made are not only comical but also very very serious, and perhaps not for Russia.

Here is one story:

1. On Tuesday a law was passed prohibiting Russian owned, operated, controlled, registered or flagged ships from accessing British ports – but theoretically foreign vessels could carry Russia’s oil and gas to Britain.

OOPS! BUT …

2. The UK Department of Transport confirmed that Russian oil and gas can still arrive in the country despite sanctions barring Russian ships from entering their ports, as bans only apply to the vessels not the cargo itself.

OOPS! Did we go bananas again? How does oil and gas get there without the vessel?  Let’s try and fix it.

3. Well, we don’t know.  We are So Confused, so how about British MPs calling for the Expulsion of ALL Russians from UK.

Japan’s JAL, canceled ALL flights to Europe – the airlines would normally use Russian airspace to make the journey.

OOPS! (This country is killing its own industry).

Bank bailouts by taxpayers due to Russian sanctions? But of course.  Some shareholders of Société Générale in France are speaking about a €2.7 billion loss linked to sanctions on its Russian subsidiary Rosbank.

OOPS! How about sanctioning your own company? Please bail out the bank! They’re apparently asking for indemnities from French and European authorities.

It has become known that the US nuclear industry is lobbying to continue importing enriched uranium from Russia at low prices despite the situation in Ukraine, as it is seen as a key element in keeping US electricity prices low.

OOPS! Is it time for flying off on a broom again?

Btw, the flagship Apple Store has just opened again in Russia, with iPhones and other tech now returning with a 20-30% markup.

Is it really that simple? Are these western influences really committing economic harakiri just so they can hide their own economic fall and of course: Blame Russia?

The true colors of the west are now shown in full daylight. Their claims on a monopoly on virtue is a clear and convincing demonstration of their own hypocrisy. There is no need to listen to the West.

Russia is taking it. They are taking what they must and protecting what they must. The big reveal is how many organizations and companies are totally controlled by western financial sources. This is the biggest surprise to many of us. We truly live in a world of neo-nazis and fascists. Look, I knew they were in the Ukraine, and in spots in the world, but I never knew it was this widespread. Personally, I cannot wait for Zone B to fulfill its purpose.

And then the question. What about China? And now we see some sunshine, although it is a muted and a nuanced response but there is no failure to respond, every time!

A quote from our own Larchmonter445:

“The Chinese are learning a lesson that reality is what is shot at you by your enemies. They see how Russia was set up for destruction using Ukraine with NATO. It brings them back to Belgrade ’99 and the bombing of their embassy.

Russia just got the emotional support of a billion four hundred million souls.

I bet if Russia needed volunteers and they put out a call, 10 million Chinese would be there in a day.

The Double Helix has history. Korean War. WWII. Harbin. Unit 731. Chinese and Russians were both used for Jap medical experiments and tortured together.

It’s not all just recent alignment and coordination and cooperation.

This human cohesion against the Hegemon is deep. Visceral. Existential.”

China’s action works like this:

A tranche of sanctions are announced. Vehicles, phones and whatever.

China publishes: Chinese firms see opportunity in cars, smartphones in Russia after Western exit

Insane and stupid sanctions are announced

China publishes: New ‘sanctions’ against Russian cats shocks Chinese netizens, trending top on social media

Sanctions Phase 4 is announced by the EU

China publishes: Western sanctions only create more problems for the global economy

Russia gets nailed by a cyber war

China publishes: Exclusive: US NSA launches cyberattacks against China for a decade, making citizens’ privacy ‘run naked’

Biden or some western EU stooge makes a speech

China publishes: The US tries hard to hijack world’s view on Russia, but more countries are not buying it

Certain Russian banks are cut from SWIFT

China publishes Russian comments: For citizens, this will be a problem only for those whose purchases and whose lives are most connected with currency, like in dollars and euros, in their consumption. The main part of the population that purchases Russian goods from the Russian markets, using Russian currency or Russian cards (ie., normal people), will not experience any significant threats to their standard of living and quality over the next few months.

China publishes: Unilateral actions violate China-U.S. trade deal and WTO principles

In addition and it is not very visible, there is a soft process happening around China. It is the same process as what we’ve seen with Russia. The west is trying the same thing but with lesser noise.

Biden sends former officials to Taiwan

China publishes: It is to ‘offset Pompeo’ and pacify DPP

Japan talks about hosting US nuclear arms

China publishes: Beijing urges Tokyo to ‘deeply reflect on its history’

And so we can see the response of China to each move that the Seppuku Sanctions crowd makes. Take a look at this image.  Please do so, I cannot load this on the blog.  The title is Aggressive Expansion.   Please take a good look and you will know for sure that China understands the issues exactly correctly.

Aggressive Expansion

Do you still feel conflicted? Do you still not know that this is another attempted Russia Rape?

Russian MFA: “The EU’s (…) unilateral restrictions, (…) incompatible with international law, are not directed against the Russian people. Brussels officials (…) are saying openly they intend to inflict the maximum possible damage (…) “suppress Russia’s economic growth.”

A few more images from China.

And the Canadian Embassy in Beijing put up “We support Ukraine” sign in Chinese. Few hrs later…

The humor in China is noticeable and there is not one Chinese source that I follow, that is not clearly with Russia.

But it is different, as this time Russia will not be raped. The Ukrainian actions may be the first move and action may not stay there. In fact, I believe action will not stay there, as it was very well described by Putin and Xi Jinping, in their political manifesto. The world simply cannot continue with a small part of it Raping the Rest, because this small part is unable to support themselves without aggression and looting. Western countries have begun the process of destroying their own economies’ – Russian FM spox

Russia may be planning to confiscate western assets inside Russia and convert them to Russian assets to balance the theft. Intellectual property has major value.

Many of us are despairing as Russian news and Russian information is being sanctioned and suppressed in the free west. So, where do we get Russian news? The answer is: From the Chinese Russian News Store. Every major Chinese publication has Russia / Ukraine round-the-clock coverage.

Expectations

My expectation is that we may see the UN in its current form, just collapse. If this august body can simply ban diplomats against all norms of agreement and international law, why should it exist in its current form in its current location?

My further expectation is that Russia will be just fine economically. They’ve prepared for this. Many banks issued credit cards are inter-operable with the Chinese system. Russia says clearly that they will use the other mechanisms that were developed exactly for this. The sanctions are a massive pretense and an overreach of major proportions. They will all lead to a further de-dollarization.

Russia (along with the other BRICS nations) has an incentive to introduce a global digital currency that can be used anywhere (to export energy for example). The West has an incentive to introduce CBDCs at the national level that can only be used within a given economic zone. This will form part of the multipolar war.

A further expectation is that these sanctions (from hell) will speed up both de-dollarization and a complete economic collapse of the west. They can do their reset. Nobody else is interested. The sanctions don’t work. They have massive carve outs with Big Headlines but in the fine print, they say: We don’t really mean that because they exclude the important things from the sanctions like gas, like oil, metals and Coca Cola.

Russian MFA: “The EU’s (…) unilateral restrictions, (…) incompatible with international law, are not directed against the Russian people. Brussels officials (…) are saying openly they intend to inflict the maximum possible damage (…) “suppress Russia’s economic growth.”

And then one can only chuckle and say, Russia singlehandedly shut down the green agenda. https://www.rt.com/business/550968-baltic-pipe-construction-resumed/

Welcome to the first skirmish in the move to human multi-polarity.

Rules for the World

February 07, 2022

Source

BACKGROUND

On February 4, 2022, on the occasion of the opening of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, the presidents of China and Russia issued a document entitled:

Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development

This document sets a new level in the cooperation between the two countries in foreign policy and is their exposition of a common viewpoint for setting out the rules that the world should follow in politics among nations. A key section up front contains the following: “The sides call on all States…to protect the United Nations-driven international architecture and the international law-based world order, seek genuine multipolarity with the United Nations and its Security Council playing a central and coordinating role….”

The reliance on the United Nations (UN) as the major guiding rulemaker is an important point. A major question concerning this reliance is the extent to which the design of the UN matches the current reality of the world distribution of wealth and power. The UN was set up in 1945 according to a design that reflected the post-WWII distribution of economic output and advanced weapon systems. Overall, it was based on the outcome of that war, with the winners getting the spoils and the losers getting the left-overs. After some seventy-seven years, the situation has radically changed. According to the CIA Fact Book, China now has a larger economy than the US, India is independent and has the third largest economy, and India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea have become nuclear powers. Japan and Germany each have larger populations and economies than either Britain or France. And yet, the permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto rights are the same nations that were made members in 1945. This is not a recipe for sustainable development of UN-based rules for a peaceable world.

Of course, there have been many calls for reform of the UN ever since it was founded. A quick search for “reform of the united nations” turns up a cornucopia of websites dealing with the topic. Everything from Wikipedia, various think-tanks, to the United Nations University has articles on the subject. They point out in great detail the many reforms proposed and the far fewer reforms completed over the seventy-seven years. All of them, however, tend to point out the immense difficulty in getting any agreement on any changes to the Security Council.

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL ACTIONS

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) regularly concerns itself with various controversies around the world and adopts measures intended to ameliorate difficult situations. However, there appears to be a lack of foresight in considering how the measures might be lifted when no longer needed or appropriate. For example, the UNSC placed sanctions on North Korea over the nuclear proliferation issue, but now Russia and China would like to have the sanctions lifted, but this is blocked by the United States (US). The UNSC also placed sanctions on Iran, some of which have now expired, but which seemed mostly to support the US interests. With the benefit of hindsight, it would appear that Russia and China may have done better simply to have informal agreements with the other permanent members of the UNSC to institute sanctions and other measures when useful, thus leaving the two countries free to change tactics when the measures were no longer useful from their viewpoint. This is especially true since both Russia and China are claiming to uphold the UN as the proper international body for making rules and would suffer great loss of face if they broke one of the UN rules. The same is not true for the US since it is quite adept at following the “international rules-based order” that it conveniently makes up as it goes along. The US claims to follow a higher order that is based on democracy and humanitarian issues. Perhaps Russia and China knew what they were doing at the time, but it would be helpful to have an expert analysis of how they plan to avoid being trapped like this in the future.

UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION

Permanent membership in the Security Council is a bone of contention that will likely get worse as the years go by since some major countries are excluded, while some less prominent countries are included. If China can be a member, then it will be more and more difficult to explain why India is not a member. If Russia is a member, it still will be a question as to why Japan is not. Having permanent members confined to the countries on the winning side in WWII will not be an adequate answer three-quarters of a century later and in light of all the changes that have transpired since the war. If Britain and France are members, why not Germany and Brazil? Is the criteria the possession of nuclear weapons, or the size of the economy, or the land area, or the population? Now that India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea have nuclear weapons, should they become permanent members? Russia and China are again in an awkward position claiming the UN as the organizing force in the world, when the UN is obviously not structured to match the actual makeup of the world. In addition, the UN headquarters was located in the US, reportedly because that was an inducement for the US to join the organization. The fact that New York was undamaged by WWII and transportation was by steamship made it a logical choice at the time. Now, however, travel is by air and there are many locations with good facilities and transport options. In addition, the US places travel restrictions on diplomats trying to attend UN meetings in New York, and the UN employees also are subject to US rules. Consequently, it would appear that a proper world management organization should be located in a small neutral country that possesses modern facilities and means of communication, and excellent air travel options to all other countries. Another example of stress is the continuing issue of the Palestinians and the votes in the UN General Assembly on this topic. The votes overwhelmingly go against the US position and yet next to nothing seems to ever be done. There is no doubt that “safety in numbers” is a factor here—the US cannot sanction nearly 200 countries because they vote the “wrong way” at the same time. In any event, the current UN setup is likely to experience continuing severe stress and instability in the coming years, unless these issues and likely others are addressed. Some solutions could be helpful here also, since it bears directly on the Russian and Chinese positions concerning who makes the rules for the world.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Another factor that China and Russia need to address is the question of independence, neutrality, and impartiality of the various international organizations that promote and enforce international rules. Several news reports and allegations have arisen concerning the activities of three such organizations: Interpol, OPCW, and IAEA. Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) is the subject of controversy because a general from the UAE was just selected as President despite vigorous opposition due to his qualifications and background. The OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) is in the news with complaints over its investigations of chemical weapons in Syria. Whistleblowers have come forth with damaging accusations about the organization’s activities and its alleged bias. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) is in a difficult position in checking up on Iran’s nuclear activities while not being able to check up on other West Asian countries’ nuclear activities. The Director just called for a change in the rules so that the IAEA could check up on Israel’s nuclear activities. Many analysts suggest that there exists an undue influence on these organizations by the US, which prevents them from impartial operation. Consequently, if the world is to move forward in a rules-based order using rules made by the UN and the affiliated international organizations, then China and Russia will need to exert more effort to ensure impartiality and more universal coverage of said rules. This issue also applies to “international law” as it appears in court cases such as at the International Criminal Court (ICC), and in the various treaties such as the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This is especially pertinent now that the US has announced that it will move from containment of China to competition with China. The competition appears to be focused on the US and its allies in the West attempting to have more influence over the system of international rules than China. The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy essentially admitted that basis for competition when he stated in essence: He who sets the standards, rules the world.

REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

The Joint Statement places a lot of emphasis on the various regional organizations that China and/or Russia belong to. There is a favorable reference to the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China, & South Africa (BRICS), although political changes in the constituent countries have made it less coherent. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is Asian-based, as are several others, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The document contains many proposals for widening the involvement of these organizations in the many pressing issues confronting Asia. A reading between the lines suggests that China and Russia plan to go ahead with getting a more robust set of rules for Asia, even if there is less prospect currently for agreements on world-wide rules.

CONCLUSION

China and Russia have issued a very long and very detailed statement of their goals for the future. They specifically mention many international organizations and agreements, and provide concrete details about what they support and what they would like changed. It is much more than a listing of political pious platitudes. Nevertheless, it reads in large part like a political campaign statement for their domestic audiences and marching orders for their officials and bureaucrats. It is, therefore, likely to be disappointing to those analysts who had perhaps expected something more concerning rules for the world. The statements about relying on the UN and international law are fine as aspirations, but lack any specific proposals as to how to turn sentiment into reality. For the past seventy-seven years, the UN has been under the major influence of the US and international law has been under the influence of the rules-based order designed by the US. The Joint Statement does not directly provide clues about how China and Russia propose to deal with this situation during the next seventy-seven years.

Ten Things You Should Know about Amnesty International Report on Apartheid Israel

February 2, 2022

Amnesty slammed Israel for committing ‘the crime of apartheid’ in new report. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Romana Rubeo

On Tuesday, February 1, London-based international human rights group Amnesty International (AI) released an extraordinary report, which labels Israel an ‘apartheid state’. The report calls for Israel to be held accountable for its practices against Palestinians.

The 280-page document, entitled ‘Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity’, outlines how the Israeli state segregates and controls Palestinians in order to maintain Jewish hegemony.

Though to be fully appreciated, the AI document must be read in its entirety, below are the top ten points raised by the international human rights group.

1. What is Apartheid?

After defining “apartheid” as “a violation of public international law, a grave violation of internationally protected human rights and a crime against humanity under international criminal law”, Amnesty, in its report, describes Israel’s “intent to oppress and dominate Palestinians:

“Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued an explicit policy of establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic hegemony and maximizing its control over land to benefit Jewish Israelis while minimizing the number of Palestinians and restricting their rights and obstructing their ability to challenge this dispossession.”

2. Geographic Scope

According to Amnesty, the system of segregation “extended beyond the (so-called) Green Line to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which (Israel) has occupied” in 1967. 

“Today, all territories controlled by Israel continue to be administered with the purpose of benefiting Jewish Israelis to the detriment of Palestinians, while Palestinian refugees continue to be excluded.”

“Although Israel’s system of apartheid manifests itself in different ways in the various areas under its effective control,” the report reads, “it consistently has the same purpose of oppressing and dominating Palestinians for the benefit of Jewish Israelis, who are privileged under Israeli civil law regardless of where they reside.” 

3. Treatment of Palestinians

Israel should be labeled an apartheid state because “Palestinians are treated by the Israeli state differently based on its consideration of them as having a racialized non-Jewish, Arab status”.

4. Territorial Fragmentation, Segregation, Jewish Settlements

Starting in 1948, Israel pursued a policy of territorial fragmentation and legal segregation, Amnesty said in its report. 

“(Israel) chose to coerce Palestinians into enclaves within the State of Israel and, following their military occupation in 1967, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They have appropriated the vast majority of Palestinians’ land and natural resources. They have introduced laws, policies and practices that systematically and cruelly discriminate against Palestinians, leaving them fragmented geographically and politically, in a constant state of fear and insecurity, and often impoverished.”

“Meanwhile, Israel’s leaders have opted to systemically privilege Jewish citizens in law and in practice through the distribution of land and resources, resulting in their relative wealth and well-being at the expense of Palestinians. They have steadily expanded Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law,” the report adds.

5. Legal Segregation

Amnesty describes the way “Israel has used military rule as a key tool to establish its system of oppression and domination over Palestinians across both sides of the Green Line, applying it over different groups of Palestinians in Israel and the OPT almost continuously since 1948”.

“Israel maintains its system of fragmentation and segregation through different legal regimes that ensure the denial of nationality and status to Palestinians, violate their right to family unification and return to their country and their homes, and severely restrict freedom of movement based on legal status.”

6. Restrictions of Movement and Apartheid Wall

Amnesty denounces the closure system imposed on Palestinians within the Occupied Territories and between the OPT and Israel, “gradually subjecting millions of Palestinians who live in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip to ever more stringent restrictions on movement based on their legal status. These restrictions are another tool through which Israel segregates Palestinians into separate enclaves, isolates them from each other and the world, and ultimately enforces its domination.”

Moreover, the report highlights how “the 700km fence/wall, which Israel continues building mostly illegally on Palestinian land inside the occupied West Bank, has isolated 38 Palestinian localities in the West Bank (…) and has trapped them in enclaves known as ‘seam zones’”.

7. Political Rights

According to Amnesty, “Israel’s version of democracy overwhelmingly privileges political participation by Jewish Israelis.”

“Limitations on the right of Palestinian citizens of Israel to participate in elections are accompanied by other infringements of their civil and political rights that limit the extent to which they can participate in the political and social life of Israel. This has included racialized policing of protests, mass arbitrary arrests and the use of unlawful force against protesters during demonstrations against Israeli repression in both Israel and the OPT.” 

8. Dispossession of Palestinian Land

Amnesty illustrates how, since its creation on the ruins of Palestinian towns and villages, “the Israeli state has enforced massive and cruel land seizures to dispossess and exclude Palestinians from their land and homes.”

Suffice it to say, “in 1948, Jewish individuals and institutions owned around 6.5% of Mandate Palestine, while Palestinians owned about 90% of the privately owned land there. Within just over 70 years the situation has been reversed.”

Amnesty also mentions Israeli laws and regulations currently implemented by Israeli authorities to carry out demolitions of Palestinian property in East Jerusalem, including the Absentees’ Property Law of 1950 and the Administrative Matters Law.

“In Israel and East Jerusalem, (the Israeli government) transferred from the state to Jewish national organizations and institutions, many of which serve Jews only, while the legal title of the land remained in the state’s name.”

9. Crimes against Humanity

Amnesty’s report analyzes three major categories of crimes against humanity, that’s to say, the “inhuman and inhumane acts as proscribed, respectively, by the Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute”.

First, it condemns the forcible transfer of Palestinians, explaining that, “since 1948, Israel has demolished tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and other properties across all areas under its jurisdiction and effective control.”

Second, the report addresses the issues of administrative detention, torture and other ill-treatment.

“Israel’s systematic use (of the administrative detention) against Palestinians indicates that it is used to persecute Palestinians, rather than as an extraordinary and selective security measure.” 

The report also illustrates how “Israeli courts have admitted evidence obtained through torture of Palestinians, accepting the justification of ‘necessity’. Prompt, thorough and impartial investigations by Israeli authorities into allegations by Palestinians that they have been tortured are extremely rare, effectively giving state endorsement to the crime of torture.”

Third, Amnesty strongly condemns Israel’s unlawful killings and injuries, which were “perpetrated outside the context of armed conflict during Israeli law enforcement activities in the OPT, including during the suppression of protests, arrest raids, when enforcing travel and movement restrictions, and conducting house and search operations.”

10. Recommendations

Amnesty states in its report that “dismantling this cruel system of apartheid is essential for the millions of Palestinians who continue to live in Israel and the OPT, as well as for the return of Palestinian refugees who remain displaced in neighbouring countries”.

Also, it urges the need for “the international community to urgently and drastically change its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and recognize the full extent of the crimes that Israel perpetrates against the Palestinian people.”

Amnesty directly calls on “the USA, the European Union and its member states and the UK” to “recognize that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid and other international crimes, and use all political and diplomatic tools to ensure Israeli authorities implement the recommendations outlined in this report and review any cooperation and activities with Israel to ensure that these do not contribute to maintaining the system of apartheid”.

Finally, Amnesty calls on the International Criminal Court (ICC) “to consider the applicability of the crime against humanity of apartheid within its current formal investigation,” and on the United Nations Security Council to “impose targeted sanctions, such as asset freezes, against Israeli officials most implicated in the crime of apartheid, and a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel.”

(Read the full report here: Amnesty International – Apartheid Israel)

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.

Why is Israel Amending Its Open-Fire Policy: Three Possible Answers

December 29, 2021

Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. (Photo: UNRWA)

By Ramzy Baroud

At the outset, the Israeli military decision to revise its open-fire policies in the occupied West Bank seems puzzling. What would be the logic of giving Israeli soldiers the space to shoot more Palestinians when existing army manuals had already granted them near-total immunity and little legal accountability?

The military’s new rules now allow Isreali soldiers to shoot, even kill, fleeing Palestinian youngsters with live ammunition for allegedly throwing rocks at Israeli ‘civilian’ cars. This also applies to situations where the alleged Palestinian ‘attackers’ are not holding rocks at the time of the shooting.

The reference to ‘civilians’ in the revised army manual applies to armed Israeli Jewish settlers who have colonized the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in defiance of international law and Palestinian sovereignty. These settlers, who often operate as paramilitary forces in direct coordination with the Israeli army, endanger the lives of their own families by residing on occupied Palestinian land. Per Israel’s twisted standards, these violent Israelis, who have killed and wounded numerous Palestinians throughout the years, are ‘civilians’ in need of protection from rock-throwing Palestinian ‘assailants’.

In Israel, throwing rocks is a “serious crime” and Palestinians who throw rocks are “criminals”, according to Liron Libman, Israel’s former chief military prosecutor, commenting on the new rules. For Israelis, there is little disagreement on these assertions, even by those who are questioning the legality of the new rules. The point of contention, according to Libman and others, is that “a person who is fleeing does not present a threat,” though, according to Libman himself, “the new policy could potentially be justified,” The Times of Israel reported.

The ‘debate’ on the new open-fire policy in Israeli media, gives one the false impression that something fundamental has changed in the Israeli army’s relationship with occupied Palestinians. This is not the case at all. There are numerous, daily examples in which Palestinians, including children, are shot and killed with impunity, whether throwing rocks or not, going to school or merely protesting the illegal confiscation of their land by the Israeli military or armed settlers.

In the Palestinian village of Beita, in the northern occupied West Bank, eight unarmed Palestinians have been killed since May. This small village has been the scene of regular demonstrations against Jewish settlement expansion and against the illegal settlement outpost of Eviatar, in the Palestinian rural area of Mount Sabih. The victims include Muhammad Ali Khabisa, the 28-year-old father of an eight-month-old child, who was shot dead last September.

Though the new rules have placed much emphasis on the status of the supposed Israeli victims, labeling them ‘civilians’, in practice, the Israeli military has used the exact same standard to shoot, maim and kill Palestinian alleged rock-throwers, even when armed settlers are not present.

A famous case, in 2015, involved the killing of a 17-year-old Palestinian teenager, Mohammad Kosba, at the hands of an Israeli army colonel, Yisrael Shomer. The latter alleged that Kosba had thrown a rock at his car. Subsequently, Shomer chased down the Palestinian teenager and shot him in the back, killing him.

The Israeli officer was “censored” for his conduct, not for killing the boy, but for not stopping “in order to aim properly,” according to The Times of Israel. The Israeli military chief prosecutor at the time concluded that “Shomer’s use of deadly force under the framework of the arrest protocol was justified from the circumstances of the incident.”

Israel’s disregard of international law in its targeting of Palestinians is not a secret. Israeli and international human rights groups have repeatedly condemned the Israeli army’s inhumane and barbaric behavior in the occupied territories.

In an extensive report as early as 2014, Amnesty International condemned Israel’s “callous disregard for human life by killing dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, in the occupied West Bank” over the years. AI said that such killings had taken place “with near total impunity.”

“The frequency and persistence of arbitrary and abusive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers and police officers – and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators – suggests that it is carried out as a matter of policy,” the Amnesty report read.

Even Israel’s own rights group, B’tselem, concurs. The organization decried the Israeli army’s “shoot-to-kill policy”, which is also applied to “people who have already been ‘neutralized’”. Indeed, in the case of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, a Palestinian man who was shot point-blank in Al-Khalil (Hebron), by an Israeli military medic, Elor Azaria, in 2016, was not only ‘neutralized’ but also unconscious.

According to B’tselem, Israeli “soldiers and police officers have become judge, jury and executioner”. With this tragic and sinister trajectory in mind, one is left to wonder why the Israeli army would amend its open-fire policy at this particular moment. There are three possible answers:

One, the Israeli government and army are anticipating a surge in Palestinian popular resistance in the coming months, possibly as a result of the massive expansion of illegal settlements and forced evictions in occupied East Jerusalem.

Two, by perfectly aligning the existing open-fire policy with the aggressive shoot-to-kill military practice already in place, Israeli courts would no longer have to contend with any legal repercussions for killing Palestinians, including children, regardless of the circumstances of their murders.

Finally, the revised rules would allow Israel to make a case for itself in response to the open investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC), concerning human rights violations and war crimes in occupied Palestine. Israel’s Attorney General will now argue that no war crimes are taking place in Palestine since the killing of Palestinians is consistent with Israel’s own military conduct and judicial system. Since the ICC is investigating alleged war criminals, not the government itself, Israel hopes that it can spare its own murderers from having to contend with the legal expectations of the Court.

Though the timing of the Israeli military decision to amend its open-fire policy may appear sudden and without much context, the decision is still ominous, nonetheless. When a country’s military decides that shooting a child in the back without any proof that the alleged ‘criminal’ posed any danger whatsoever is a legal act, the international community must take notice.

It is true that Israel operates outside the minimum standards of international and humanitarian laws, but it is the responsibility of the international community to protect Palestinians, whose lives remain precious even if Israel disagrees.

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). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website iswww.ramzybaroud.net

Related

Crimes without Punishment – Ever

November 25, 2021

A protest against US military aid to Israel. (Photo: File)
– Jeremy Salt taught at the University of Melbourne, at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara for many years, specializing in the modern history of the Middle East. Among his recent publications is his 2008 book, The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (University of California Press). He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. 

What a chamber of horrors the third millennium has been so far in the Middle East, without even a quarter of it having passed.  Iraq, Syria and Yemen on a scale unimaginable even at the high point of imperialism in the 19th century. An estimated 300 children under five dying every day in Yemen from malnutrition, Palestinians shot dead in their occupied country every day, Lebanon and Syria slowly strangled by US sanctions, Iran threatened with military destruction and the revelation of yet another massacre by the US, in Syria, where “about” 70 women and children were killed at Baghuz by bombs dropped one after the other to make sure that no-one escaped.

There is no suggestion that anyone should be punished for yet another ‘mistake.’  This is where thousands of years of drawing up covenants to make the world a safer place have ended up:  back where we started,  the law of the jungle.

This is what the guardians of ‘western civilization’ have given to the world just in the past three decades:

Two wars on Iraq, the ‘cradle of civilization’ shattered by the cradle of a violent hamburger junk culture, millions killed or displaced. Libya, the most developed country in Africa, pulled up by its roots, uncounted thousands killed, the leader of its 1969 revolution slaughtered as Hillary Clinton cackled with glee like one of the witches around the cauldron in  Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. Syria torn to pieces, ancient cities and markets destroyed, and half a million killed. In Yemen, more than 230,000 dead, with 43 percent of prematurely born babies dying because of the lack of medical equipment and a genocidal famine – 75 percent of children are suffering from acute malnutrition –  continuing even as fresh supplies of weaponry are dropped off in the Saudi kingdom by the US and Britain. Iran,  Syria and Lebanon targeted with economic sanctions: in occupied Palestine, in Syria and in Iran the Zionist state continues its murderous march through history.

Not one of the global criminals responsible for these massive crimes against humanity has been punished.  They play golf or roam the world picking up millions for their speaking engagements and their ‘philanthropic’ foundations. Not one word of contrition or remorse has been spoken by any of them for the lives they have ended or ruined. Not even the death of children has forced admission of guilt out of them.  Others have been punished for lesser crimes but not this gang. They are completely remorseless.

Imagine the reaction if these crimes were committed in Europe and white people were being slaughtered or driven out of their homes, out of their countries and drowning in their thousands as they tried to escape across the seas.

Well, between 1939-45 it did happen and those responsible were hanged at Nuremberg. We have no Nuremberg now but we do have an International Criminal Court (ICC) which does punish the architects of war crimes and crimes against humanity – as long as their skin is the right color. With the exception of pale-skinned Balkan Serbs charged after the breakup of Yugoslavia, all those hauled before the ICC have been brown or black.

The tsunami of death and destruction which began rolling across the region when Napoleon landed in Egypt in 1798 shows no sign of receding.  Almost no country from the Atlantic coast of West Africa down to the Arab Gulf has avoided being swamped by it and many have been swamped several times.

The prime beneficiary of all of the above in the past century has been the settler state implanted in Palestine after 1918. Israel is the heart and soul of US foreign policy. Indeed, US foreign policy is no more than the Stars and Stripes draped over the interests of the Zionist state.

Take Iran as an example. After the death of Ayatullah Khumayni, Presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami sought to repair relations with the US. They offered investment concessions, diplomatic rapprochement and a political pathway into a region of critical interest, central Asia. Iranian society is conservative and God-fearing, rather like the US itself, but as long as Rafsanjani and Khatami refused to drop Iran’s righteous defense of the Palestinians, nothing else counted. Even in the ‘moderate’ Khatami’s time, economic sanctions were tightened, paving the way for the election of the ‘hardliner,’ Mahmud Ahmedinejad.

The attempted strangulation of Iran and Syria through war, assassination and sanctions necessarily involves Lebanon, Hezbollah’s home base.  Since the 1980s Hezbollah has successfully fought off all attempts by Israel – backed to the hilt by the US of course –  to destroy it.  Far from being weakened, Hezbollah has gone from strength to strength, militarily and as a Lebanese political party. The lesson learned by the US and Israel is just that they have to try harder,  to tear Lebanon apart if that is what it takes to destroy Hezbollah.

The latest provocation through Israel’s agents took place in Beirut on October 14, in the predominantly Shia neighborhood of Chiyah, bordering predominantly Maronite Christian Ain Rummaneh, where the ‘bus massacre’ of 27 Palestinians on April 13, 1975, was the trigger pulled to start the civil war.

This time snipers positioned on rooftops shot at Amal and Hezbollah supporters as they moved towards the Palace of Justice in Al Tayouneh to hold a vigil calling for the removal of Tariq al Bitar as the judge appointed to investigate the Beirut port explosion on August 5, 2020, on the grounds that he is running a heavily politicized inquiry heading towards a preordained conclusion, that this was a crime committed by Hezbollah.

Holding Hezbollah or Syria responsible for the crimes they have not committed was first tried after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005. Initially, four ‘pro-Syrian’ generals were imprisoned for four years before an international tribunal took over the prosecution and released them for lack of evidence. It immediately pointed the finger at Hezbollah, eventually finding one person, Salim Ayyash, guilty of “involvement” on the sole basis of tapped phone calls made through communications networks known to have been completely penetrated and manipulated by the Zionist state.

The tribunal cleared Hezbollah’s leadership. What this actually means is that if the leadership did not order the assassination, no senior figure in the movement would have carried it out.   Nasrallah and Hariri had differences but a good working relationship and it is virtually unthinkable that Nasrallah would ever have sanctioned such a heinous act.

The only beneficiaries of this monstrous act were the US, Israel and their agents in Lebanon.  Syria was embarrassed internationally and had to withdraw its remaining forces from the Bika’a valley. Lebanon was thrown into the chaos that gave birth to the rise of the anti-Syrian/pro-Saudi, US and Israel March 14 alliance.

Hezbollah produced intercepted reconnaissance footage showing that Israel had been tracking Hariri with drones wherever he went for years and was flying an AWACS plane and another reconnaissance aircraft over Beirut at the precise time of the assassination.  One of its agents had been located at the scene of the killing only the day before.   None of this circumstantial evidence was ever followed up by the tribunal.    Israel and the US have shed buckets of blood in Lebanon over many decades, have between them committed the most atrocious crimes, but the tribunal never even considered them as suspects.

The snipers waiting on the top of apartment buildings in Tayouneh on October 14 killed seven people, one a woman shot dead in her own home. Not just on rooftops, however, but on the ground, the demonstrators were surrounded by militiamen waiting to ambush them with guns, knives and even rocks.   Despite denials by Samir Geagea (Ja’ja), the head of the fascist/sectarian Maronite Christian Lebanese Forces (LF), the armed men were clearly LF and acting on his orders.   Of the 19 arrested, several quickly implicated him.

Geagea is one of the most murderous individuals in Lebanese history, which says a lot given the bloody track record of many others. During the civil war (1976-1989) he killed rivals within his own Maronite Christian ranks as well as Palestinians and other enemies outside them.  In 1994 he was sentenced to four life sentences for the assassinations of former Prime Minister Rashid Karameh (1987), National Liberal Party leader Dany Chamoun (1990), Falangist (Kata’ib) head Elias al Zayek (1990) and the attempted assassination of Defence Minister Michel Murr (1991).  In 1978 he and Elie Hobeika, at the behest of Bashir Gemayel, then head of the Falangists, led 1200 men in an attack on the north Lebanon family home of Tony Frangieh, leader of the Maronite Marada (Giants) faction.  Geagea was wounded and had to be taken away before Frangieh, his wife and three-year-old daughter were killed.

In the 1990 attack, Dany Chamoun’s wife and two of his sons were also killed.   If there is any poetic justice in any of this shedding of blood – including entirely innocent blood – it lies in the 1982 assassination of Bashir Gemayel and the car bombing murder in 2002 of Elie Hobeika, Israel’s leading henchman in the Sabra and Shatila massacres of 1982.

Geagea himself served eleven years of four life sentences before being released under amnesty after the assassination of Hariri and allowed to take up the leadership of the LF. His brutality is a powerful weapon in the hands of Israel and the US, whose ambassador, Dorothy Shea, has been open in her interference in Lebanese politics.

US economic sanctions against Lebanon have one primary target, Hezbollah; one secondary target, Syria; and one-third target, Iran. How many Christians die defending ‘Christian Lebanon’ is not an issue for the US and Israel any more than the number of Muslims who die fighting them.  All they want is the chaos that will further their ambitions.  They tore Lebanon apart before and they will do it again, mercilessly, ruthlessly, callously, without a care for the innocent blood of thousands that will be shed.

Whatever cause Samir Geagea thinks he is serving, the piecemeal destruction of Lebanon, indeed of the entire Middle East, is primarily about the protection of Israel.  However, Israel is not as safe as it used to be or it might think it still is. It is confronted by enemies who have not backed off one meter from the struggle to liberate Palestine.  Israel has tried hard to destroy them. Up to now, it has failed, so it is getting ready to try again. While planning/contingency planning is a constant, Israel now appears to be actively preparing for a massive military strike that would target  Iran’s nuclear plants and missile capacity.

In September the Zionist chief of staff, Avi Kohavi, said plans for such a strike had been “greatly accelerated.” The military has been given an additional $1.5 billion to buy aircraft, drones and ‘bunker buster’ bombs that would probably include the USAF’s new 5000 lb. (2,267 kg.) GRU-72 Advanced 5k Penetrator, which would be aimed at Iran’s underground nuclear installations. Anticipating a simultaneous war with Hezbollah, Israel has also been carrying out extensive military exercises in northern occupied Palestine, coordinated with all emergency civil services to deal with an expected crisis on the domestic front once the missiles start falling. Israel is clearly planning for a big war, and can be expected to throw everything into this attempt to crush its principal enemies once and for all.

Unlike the white settlers in South Africa, the Zionist leadership sees no writing on the wall, no indications that history is not on their side even as it builds up against them.  No more than Netanyahu does Naftali Bennett have any intention of giving anything back to the Palestinians except the smallest fragments of municipal responsibility. Like Netanyahu, he sees no need to negotiate, no need to give anything away.  Why would he, when in the last resort Israel even has nuclear weapons to destroy its enemies? This is the question to which there can be no answer until the day comes when Israel faces the reality that even its conventional weapons are not sufficient to destroy its enemies.

All appearances to the contrary, unlimited US economic and military support has been a curse for Israel. It has created the illusion of power. Israel is like a plant with shallow roots. Only as long as the US keeps watering it, can the plant thrive. There is no permanent, unbreakable bond between states and all appearances to the contrary, there never will be between Israel and the US. Slowly, Americans are waking up and Israel’s incessant pleading is already beginning to fall on deaf ears, as the public becomes more aware of Israel’s criminality and as congressmen and women (mainly women) are emboldened to speak out. The time may come when the US can no longer afford Israel. The time may come when public opinion has changed to allow a US government to treat Israel as it treats other states.

US economic and military aid has had the same effect on Israel as steroids have on a bodybuilder. The 97-lb weakling is now the neighborhood bully swaggering down the street with pumped-up muscles. He smacks people around or they run in fright but Hezbollah and Iran are not running. They are standing firm and preparing to defend themselves. In any case, in the next war, Israel will take damage it has never experienced before, to the point where so many Jewish Israelis will just want to get out that Israel as a Zionist state is likely to crumble from within and die of its own contradictions.  Is this what it is going to take for peace to become possible?

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

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version). 

Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch.

***

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

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.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM out of the University of Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

Other stations airing the show:

CIXX 106.9 FM, broadcasting from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. It airs Sundays at 6am.

WZBC 90.3 FM in Newton Massachusetts is Boston College Radio and broadcasts to the greater Boston area. The Global Research News Hour airs during Truth and Justice Radio which starts Sunday at 6am.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 7pm.

CJMP 90.1 FM, Powell River Community Radio, airs the Global Research News Hour every Saturday at 8am. 

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday afternoon from 3-4pm.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 9am pacific time.

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.
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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.
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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?
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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)

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