New Era of “Israel’s” War Crimes Accountability

November 29, 2022 

Source: Al Mayadeen English

By Ruqiya Anwar 

Notably, ongoing violence and crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including limited access to health care, education, and livelihood activities, affect socioeconomic conditions.

Notably, ongoing violence and crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including limited access to health care, education, and livelihood activities, affect socioeconomic conditions. Plans to change the demographic mix, character, and status of the holy city of Jerusalem “were also mentioned. The resolution queries the court on how these Israeli policies and activities” impact the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal ramifications that arise for all states and the United Nations from this position. The Palestinian UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, recommended mobilizing “all elements of the international law-based order, including international justice”.

Significantly, the first report to the General Assembly from the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including “East Jerusalem and Israel”, was published earlier. It affirms that there are compelling reasons to believe that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is now illegal under international law due to its permanence and the Israeli Government’s de facto annexation policies. Furthermore, the Commission has concluded that “Israel’s” continued use of force to occupy Palestinian territory creates international obligations and keeps “Israel” responsible for past atrocities on Palestinian civil and political rights.

The ICJ addresses international conflicts between nations or offers legal advice on problems that the UN Security Council or General Assembly refers to it. An ICJ legal opinion typically takes at least a year to obtain. “Israel’s” separation wall and settlements in the occupied West Bank were found illegal by the International Court of Justice in a 2004 legal ruling. Israelis fear that the ICJ would support the Palestinian position that the occupation equates to annexation, which would undermine efforts by governments, businesses, and civil society organizations to boycott, divest and sanction “Israel”. To prevent the Palestinians from enacting the resolution, the Israeli Government has recently begun an all-out offensive.

In this scenario, International support for the special committee’s mandate is required to spread the message that the Israeli occupation is the root cause of all Middle Eastern problems and to inspire global action to end the suffering. It should call attention to the violent eviction and transfer of Palestinian families, the trespassing and intimidation of Palestinians by Israeli settlers, and the efforts to hasten al-Quds’s Judaization at the expense of the city’s Christian and Muslim Palestinian inhabitants.

The Israeli Government’s policies have severely and in many ways affected many facets of Palestinian life, including women’s access to clean, inexpensive water, negatively influencing the whole Palestinian agriculture industry. Moreover, the erosion of economic, social, and cultural rights causes a great deal of “silent harm” and psychological distress, some of which may not be immediately obvious. Nevertheless, the effects of these incapacitating processes, both now and in the future, are devastating.

Furthermore, “Israel” cannot continue to promote its narrative that it has done nothing wrong while also pursuing annexationist policies and denying the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination; it is now abundantly evident. Essentially, international law stands on the side of the Palestinians, and all they needed was the ultimate political environment for the world to applaud such a courageous act.

The situation on the ground has gotten worse in the occupied territories. Palestinian human rights have consistently been violated by “Israel”, which has continued its policy of repression. Human rights organizations worldwide agree that the ongoing Israeli occupation has established apartheid-like conditions.

The Palestinian diplomats’ ultimate goal was for the United Nations Security Council to vote to recognize Palestine as a full member state without any veto interference from the United States. Recognizing Palestine as a full UN member state, even while it is occupied, would signify that the international community is committed to the two-state solution.

Additionally, the rules of conduct for nations under temporary occupation are specified in international humanitarian law. However, because this is a 55-year-old occupation, it is not a temporary one. Therefore, the highest court in the world must rule that it is an occupation that leads to illegal annexation — a decision that will have global ramifications. In demanding such a legal requirement, the Palestinians astounded the Israelis and their allies.

Most importantly, the repeated statements before the United Nations have not stopped severe breaches of Palestinian rights. While nations continue to express outrage and resolutions are passed, nothing appears to change. No amount of occupation by the occupying power of Palestinian territory will ever lead to peace.

The Palestinian people’s intrinsic rights, such as the right to self-determination and the right of return, have been violated blatantly by “Israel” in violation of its commitments under international law. Bringing an end to this miserable situation was the international community’s responsibility. Although the international community has repeatedly stated that Palestinians have a right to freedom, security, and prosperity, Israel has persisted in denying it.

This appears unlikely given the inherent bias towards Israel and vested interests of the international community, the United States and Europe, in particular. Until there is a fundamental shift in the balance of power, the status quo of a constant conflict punctuated by periodic escalation and carnage will stay, as there is no indication that international political will is present or will emerge.

Now, the UN has adopted a Palestinian resolution calling for the ICJ to weigh in on “Israel’s” protracted occupation quickly. Nevertheless, there is hope because the UN has called “International Justice” for a legal advisory opinion on the nature of the Israeli occupation. But will the UN follow through and actually hold “Israel” accountable? 

References:

Fourth Committee Hears Support for Referring Question of Palestine to International Court of Justice for Advisory Opinion | UN Press

Report-COI-OPT-14Sept2022-EN.pdf (ohchr.org)

OHCHR | The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/03/special-rapporteur-situation-human-rights-occupied-palestinian-territories

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

Related Articles

UN Votes to Take “Israeli” Occupation of Palestine to Hague Int’l Court

November 12, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The United Nations General Assembly voted 98-17 to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the illegality of the “Israeli” entity’s occupation of Palestinian territories on the grounds that it can be considered de facto annexation.

This resolution specifically asked the ICJ for an opinion on the status of al-Quds [Jerusalem]. The city is one of the most volatile and contentious points of discord between “Israelis” and Palestinians.

The “Israeli” entity, the United States, Canada and Australia were among those who opposed the ICJ referral when the UNGA Fourth Committee held its preliminary vote on Friday in New York.

The issue now moves to the UNGA plenum for final approval.

“There is no authority that can declare that the Jewish nation is an occupier in its homeland,” the “Israeli” entity’s ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan tweeted defiantly after the vote.

Erdan wrote that he had warned the UN nations that an appeal to the ICJ at The Hague was the “last nail in the burial coffin” of “Israeli”-Palestinian reconciliation. “Unilateral measures” such as an ICJ appeal “will be met with unilateral measures.”

At issue is the question of whether after 56 years, the “Israeli” entity’s hold on territories it captured from Jordan Egypt and Syria in the defensive 1967 Six-Day War, can be considered tantamount to de facto annexation and thus illegal under international law.

The international community does not recognize “Israeli” “sovereignty” in al-Quds [Jerusalem] and only the US accepts the entity’s annexation of the Golan.

The “Israeli” entity withdrew from Gaza, but the international community still holds that its under “Israeli” occupation due to the “Israeli” Occupation Forces’ [IOF’s] control of much of its borders.

An ICJ opinion on the matter is non-binding, but it would help codify into international law the Palestinian insistence that all that pre-1967 territory, should be within the final boundaries of its future state.

At Friday’s meeting, the US and the “Israeli” entity charged that the resolution was an attempt to bypass a negotiated resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians and as such ran counter to past UN resolutions including at the Security Council which called for such talks.

“The Palestinian’s have rejected every single peace initiative, and now they embroil an external body with the excuse that the conflict has not been resolved but the only reason why it has not been resolved is because of their rejectionism,” Erdan said. “They claim that they are ready to negotiate, but what they fail to mention is that they are only ready to do so if they are guaranteed 100 percent of their demands before they even sit down at the negotiating table,” Erdan explained.

“Exploiting a UN organ by enlisting the UN’s politicized anti-‘Israel’ majority for the purpose of forcing your demands instead of negotiating, is clearly a unilateral step,” he added.

The United States Representative Andrew Weinstein said that the “failure” in such resolutions “to acknowledge the shared history of the Haram al-Sharif [Temple Mount], a site sacred to both Jews and Muslims, is perhaps the clearest demonstration that they are intended only to denigrate ‘Israel’, not to help achieve peace.”

After the vote, the Palestinian Authority Ambassador Riyad Mansour thanked all the nations that endorsed and supported the resolutions.

“Nothing justifies standing with ‘Israeli’ annexation and occupation,” Mansour said, noting that these actions went against the UN Charter.

“This occupation needs to end,” Mansour said.

The request for an ICJ advisory opinion, submitted for the first time this year, was tacked onto a pre-existing annual resolution called “‘Israeli’ practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people.”

The text of the resolution was read out by Namibia and Cuba.

A number of nations objected to the inclusion of the ICJ resolution in an already existing text rather than as a stand-alone item, noting that the matter had been pushed through quickly with little time for review.

The resolution asks the ICJ to advise on “the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violations by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”

This includes, the resolution stated, “measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

In addition, the resolution asked the ICJ to explain how Israel’s policies and practices “affect the legal status of the occupation” and what are the “legal consequences that arise for all states the UN from this status.”

Among the nations that opposed the text were Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Liberia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, and Palau.

Many European countries abstained including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Ukraine, Ireland and Poland were among those countries that supported the ICJ referral.

This is the second such ICJ referral. In 2004 the ICJ issued an advisory opinion against the “Israeli” entity’s security barrier, explaining that its construction in east al-Quds [Jerusalem] and the West Bank was illegal.

Palestinian resistance makes 2022 deadliest year for Israelis since 2015

Since the beginning of the year, Israeli raids in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have been responsible for killing 125 Palestinians

October 30 2022

(Photo Credit: Anadolu Agency)

ByNews Desk- 

On 30 October, the Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that 25 Israelis had been killed since the start of the year, the highest toll since 2015, due to the increase in Palestinian resistance operations.

According to the special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, 2022 could also be the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2005. In the past month alone, 32 Palestinians, including six children, were killed by Israeli forces during their frequent raids in the occupied territories in the West Bank.

Since the beginning of the year, Israeli raids in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have been responsible for killing 125 Palestinians.

By comparison, only two Israeli military personnel were killed during Palestinian resistance operations, with 25 Israeli civilians injured over the past month.

Wennesland stated that “mounting hopelessness, anger, and tension have once again erupted into a deadly cycle of violence that is increasingly difficult to contain,” and that “too many people, overwhelmingly Palestinian have been killed and injured.”

He added that it is a priority to ease tensions between the Palestinians and Israeli authorities, further emphasizing that the goal must be “to empower and strengthen the Palestinian Authority (PA) and build towards a return to a political process.”

On 18 October, a report released by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories recommended that UN member states develop “a plan to end the Israeli settler-colonial occupation and apartheid regime.”

“The realization of the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination requires the definitive dismantling of Israel’s colonial occupation and apartheid practices”, wrote Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur.

According to the report, nearly 4,500 Palestinians are currently detained, 730 of whom are held without charge and largely on the basis of secret evidence, while children as young as 12 are subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention measures – between 500 and 700 minors are detained by the Israeli government each year.

Over 600 Palestinian political prisoners suffer acute illness inside the Israeli occupations and are at risk of dying, according to a statement released by human rights lawyer Abdel Nasser Farwana on 10 September.

One such case is that of Nasser Abu Hamid, who is dying in prison from cancer and is not receiving the care he needs.

Israeli forces are largely overstretched to take on a united Palestinian resistance front within the occupied territories, according to a report released by Israel’s State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman.

The report published on 2 October highlights growing concerns about the IDF conducting operations inside the West Bank, citing missing equipment and the poor living conditions of conscripts.

Last night, four Israelis and a Palestinian were injured in a shooting operation on the evening of 29 October in the Kiryat Arba settlement of the West Bank city of Hebron, with the attack resulting in the death of one settler.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian driver rammed into the positions of Israeli soldiers in two locations in Jericho on 30 October, leaving five soldiers injured and resulting in the death of the driver who was killed on sight.

Israeli official suggests fining Palestinians for having more than four kids

Sahar’s remarks have sent shockwaves through the Palestinian medical community inside Israel

October 28 2022

Photo Credit: UINCEF SOP/ Ahed Izhiman

ByNews Desk 

The head of Cardio-Thoracic surgery at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, Prof. Gideon Sahar, was heavily criticized on 24 October, after raising concerns about the high birth rate among the Bedouin population during a factional meeting in the southern Omer with Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, according to Middle East Eye.

“On the one hand, we understand that the birthrate is decisive – the Arab womb; and on the other hand, we encourage it with all the child allowances. That’s why I think we should consider a child allowance that is regressive: the first child receives one, the second child receives one, perhaps the third child; the fourth child does not, and the fifth child perhaps triggers a fine. We have to figure out something,” said Prof. Gideon Sahar.

Sahar suggested imposing a fine on Bedouin families upon the birth of a fifth child. Shaked replied that such a policy “won’t work,” citing her program for fighting polygamy among the Bedouin community, wherein “westernization” encourages women to have fewer children.

“The best solution would be to simply westernize them, to emancipate Bedouin women,” she said. “The more they study and the more they work, the more they will live a Western life – and in that life, there will be less room for children.”

On the other hand, a group representing Arab physicians in the Naqab has filed a formal complaint with the administration of Soroka hospital, expressing outrage at Sahar’s description of Palestinians and the “Arab womb” as “problematic,” according to Middle East Eye.

The Association of Arab Doctors of the Negev demanded that Sahar be “dismissed immediately.” In a letter, the group stated that “anyone who views ‘Arab women’s wombs’ as a threat has no place in the healthcare system and they should not be able to take care of Arab heart problems under any circumstances.”

Meanwhile, a report released on 18 October by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, has recommended that UN member states develop “a plan to end the Israeli settler-colonial occupation and apartheid regime.”

“The realization of the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination requires the definitive dismantling of Israel’s colonial occupation and apartheid practices,” wrote Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur.

According to the report, nearly 4,500 Palestinians are currently detained, 730 of whom are held without charge and largely on the basis of secret evidence, while children as young as 12 are subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention measures – between 500 and 700 minors are detained by the Israeli government each year.

All Quiet on the Eastern Front? Not At All, Atlantis

October 09, 2022

Source

by Batiushka

Speaking at a rally and concert on Red Square, held in support of the results of the referenda, President Putin recalled how the USSR was formed when Russia created the modern Ukraine. The President stressed that ‘it was Russia that had created the modern Ukraine, transferring significant territories, the historical territories of Russia itself, along with the population, whom no one had asked about where and how they wanted to live, how they wanted to arrange the future of their children and in which State. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the same thing happened: everything was decided by the elites, millions of ordinary citizens were not asked about anything’.

News Report, 30 September 2022

https://news.mail.ru/politics/53299120

Introduction: The Speech

We are still having our minds blown by President Putin’s Speech over a week ago. How many times we have listened to it and watched it. If I may say something personal, I can say that I have not even dared dream for over 40 years that a Russian leader would make such a speech. I thought I would die long before it would happen, even if it did happen. I was waiting for the end of the world and now hope has been given us. The President said it all, summing up an evil millennium of Western history, starting with its worldwide plunder and ending in its shameful Woke ideologies, the denial and destruction of Spiritual Reality, National Sovereignty and Family Life. Yes, this is Satanism against any sort of Spiritual Tradition. And only Russia has dared to oppose this Satanism. Needless to say, we stand behind the Russian Federation 100%. As the President, our President, said: ‘Nothing will be as before’.

The Referenda

The results from the referenda on returning to Russia in four Russian-speaking Ukrainian provinces came in nearly two weeks ago: Donetsk: 99% Lugansk: 98% Zaporozhie: 93% Kherson: 87%. Thus, on 30 September these four provinces, the size of four Belgiums, duly joined the Russian Federation, following the example of the Crimea over eight years ago. The results were interesting, as they showed how popularity for the move ‘declines’ as you move westwards, with Kherson at ‘only’ 87%. However, nobody should be surprised that Russian-speaking areas overwhelmingly, even if ‘only’ 87%, wanted to return to Russia, which is where they belonged until 1922. The voting, ethnicity, linguistic and religious patterns are clear from, for example, the maps and analysis of the Eurasian Research Institute:

https://www.eurasian-research.org/publication/geography-of-the presidential-elections-in-ukraine/

Nobody should be surprised, unless of course they have no common sense, or else their common sense has been blinded by their ‘West is Best’ ideology, which is in fact the essence of Nazism. Nearly 10,000,000 people, nearly one quarter of the population of the Crimea-less Ukraine (pre-War population) (more people than those in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Georgia combined), some 20% of the landmass of the Crimea-less Ukraine, an area nearly the size of England, joined the Russian Federation. Out of 25 provinces in the Ukraine before the violent, US-organised overthrow of the democratically-elected Ukrainian government (cost to the US taxpayer: $5 billion) in February 2014, 20 are now left. Who leaves next? As the head of the Republic of the Crimea, Sergei Aksjonov, said on 1 October: ‘The entry of the four provinces into Russia is not the last’. https://news.mail.ru/politics/ 53304440/

Perhaps the next phase of the SMO, once the territory of the four provinces has been completely liberated (unlike Lugansk and Kherson, the northern thirds of both Donetsk and Zaporozhie are still to be liberated), will be to return to Russia the next four eastern and southern provinces, those of Kharkov, Dnipropetrovsk, Nikolaev and Odessa (small parts of Nikolaev and Kharkov have already been liberated). This will bring the Ukraine down to 16 provinces. And that may be it. The next slice of three provinces, which would be Sumy, Poltava and Kirovograd, may not wish to return, but who knows? All can still change. As for the far west of the post-1939 Ukraine, we would suggest that 3-5 provinces will return to Poland, 1 to Romania and 1 to Hungary. This will bring the Kiev Protectorate/Malorossija down to between 9 and 11 provinces, two-fifths of the previous Ukraine, in other words, it will bring it back to its natural borders.

In any case, territory for the Russian Federation, by far the largest country in the world at over 17 million square kilometres, is hardly important. That it has increased in size by 0.7% with the return of four nearly-freed provinces from the Ukraine is not the point. What is important is the will of local people. If they wish to return to Russia, let them. If they do not, let them go elsewhere. The rest is all about making sure that the Ukrainian State is no longer a threat to us and to the Russian people who live there. And the same goes for the situation in other Russian neighbours, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland, and for that matter, Moldova, Romania and Poland, the latter two with strong US bases.

All Quiet on the Eastern Front?

Only a couple of weeks ago the State-controlled Western media were going crazy about how the NATO-supplied lemmings of the Kiev regime had taken back 7% of previously lightly Russian-occupied and largely deserted Ukrainian countryside around Kharkov and that Putin was ‘doomed’ (sic). Now they have fallen strangely silent, apart from one or two staged photo opportunities in deserted and destroyed Liman and villages on the border of Lugansk. Of course, this means that the Kiev forces are now in a state of disarray after being trapped and massacred through their ill-considered token ‘advances’ through baited open country, where they have also lost most of their NATO equipment.

Here is why Zelensky is pleading for ever more weapons from the European Political Community, an organisation founded by the besieged European ruling class that met on 6 October. Russia is glad, after all what better way of demilitarising the Ukraine than making them bring themselves and their weapons into the open so that they can be destroyed? Thus, the strategic moves at Liman, ceding 20 square km to the Kiev forces, and allowing Kiev to take a few villages on the edge of Lugansk on 5 October, at enormous cost to them. And here is why on 6 October Zelensky demanded ‘preventive strikes’ against Russia. Clearly, this nuclear-obsessed comedian is desperate and also off his head. This why on 7 October his terrorists created an explosion in an attack on the Kerch Bridge. Does Kiev really think that the vengeance will not be terrible? This the greatest mistake they have made since 2014. This is a turning-point in Kiev’s dirty war.

In Donetsk province the Russian liberation continues here and there, as in Zaitsevo and Otradovka, reported on 6 October, defence continues around Kulyansk, Liman and elsewhere, Russia also destroyed with missiles military barracks (‘residential apartments’ in the Western media!) south of Kiev, but it is relatively quiet. Now anyone who knows anything about military matters will know that in a war ‘quiet’ means that forces are regrouping. ‘Quiet’ means the lull before the Russian storm. Already tens of thousands of troops from the partial mobilisation in Russia announced three weeks ago are arriving near the front.

Quite possibly, in a month from now, in November, when the leaves have fallen and the ground is frozen, there is going to be a huge Russian winter campaign, with rested and increased coalition forces against the now much weakened Kiev forces and their much depleted NATO arms and ammunition. Any lost ground will be taken back tenfold, if not a hundredfold. I would rather not be with the Kiev forces then. There will literally be no hiding place for them. After Kiev’s recent provocations, set up by the CIA/MI6, this may well be the end for Kiev, well before next autumn, when it was predicted that the war would end.

And on the Western Front?

On the USA’s Western Front, i.e. in Western Europe, all is not quiet. Not only is there an economic crisis, with European currencies gradually falling against the dollar. (The rouble has been stable at about 60 to the dollar for the last three months). Also Western Europe was cut off from Russian gas by the US Navy’s sabotage of the Nordstream pipelines and, in part, cut off from the sanctioned Turkstream pipeline. And winter is arriving. Gone the heady days of a very hot summer. This is a tectonic shift. Many have written that Western Europe is committing suicide. That is untrue. The peoples of Western Europe are being murdered – by the US elite and their own treacherous European elites. This is the end of the EU and the UK. As for the murderers, the elites, known as Atlantis, are sinking. Let me explain.

The sources for the myth of Atlantis are found in two of Plato’s dialogues, written in 360 BC. They relate that:

‘It is recorded how your State stopped the campaign of a mighty army, which, setting out from a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe and Asia as well….For in front of….’The Pillars of Heracles,’ (The Straits of Gibraltar) there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together….For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a port with a narrow entrance, but beyond it is a real Ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a Continent’.

He further related that: ‘The Atlanteans had conquered parts of Libya as far as Egypt and the European continent as far as (what is now) the west coast of Italy and enslaved its people. The Athenians led resistance to the Atlantean Empire and prevailed alone against it, freeing the occupied lands. But then there were violent earthquakes and floods and in a single day and night of misfortune all the warlike men in a body sank into the earth and the island of Atlantis likewise disappeared into the depths of the sea….’.

Conclusion

Note the words: ‘a mighty army, which, setting out from a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe and Asia as well’. The identification with the American reality with the Atlantis myth is obvious.

If I may quote from the New Testament:

Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things which thou hast provided be? (Lk 12,20).

Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish (Luke 13, 5).

10 October 2022

Fighting Injustice: A Common Cause for Ireland, Scotland and Palestine

October 13, 2021

Fighting Injustice: A Common Cause for Ireland, Scotland and Palestine

By Mohammad Sleem

Beirut – In Glasgow, during the football matches between the Rangers and Celtic, the famous derby of the Scottish football league, Celtic fans do not hesitate to show every act of solidarity possible with Palestine. Images of fans waving the Palestinian flag and wearing the kufiyah over their shoulders circulate social media platforms, in an act which has been a tradition in Scotland for decades.

On October 9, the ‘Israeli’ football team represnting the Zionist entity played against the Scottish national team for the World Cup qualifications. The match took place in Scotland. The Palestinian flag and kufiyah dominated the seats in the stadium. The event was a great chance to display activities in and outside the stadium to express empathy with the Palestinian Cause. Fans shouted slogans and held banners calling for the boycott of the “Israeli” entity, with “don’t play ball with the ‘Israeli’ apartheid” written on banners.

As the game started, jeering and booing were heard out loud whenever any of the “Israeli” players touched the ball. A winning goal at the last minutes made the scenario even better for the Scottish fans, who celebrate loudly in the face of the “Israeli” fans.

Fighting injustice and calling for independence, are the main common factors bringing the Scots and Palestinians together, as Scotland has been previously colonialized. In addition to the aforementioned, the Palestinian Cause has a popular and political support led by the Scottish National Party, which sees Palestine as a repetition of its experience of independence, following numerous demands for secession from the United Kingdom.

“We want Palestinians to know that we are thinking about them”, that’s how Scots comment on their pro-Palestine activities.

The Scottish people and the Palestinians share a common cause: injustice; both nations have faced suppression and oppression and they share the same values and retell the stories of their sufferings and the experiences they went through.

In a related notion, the Irish also support Palestine since they consider the Palestinian Cause a reflection of their own experience as they have resisted the British occupation for the right to self-determination.

With this being said, we understand the reason behind the empathy of the Scots and the Celtic with Palestine. The Celtic football club founder was an immigrant from Ireland who settled in Glasgow and came up with the idea of founding a football club.

The spokesperson of Celtic expresses the Scottish club’s solidarity with the Palestinian immigrants saying, “They are always welcome in their home”, since we are immigrants and we feel the situation they are in.

Besides, Ireland’s parliament has issued a law to consider all the “Israeli” annexation of Palestinian lands “illegal”. Later on, Irish deputies passed the law and it became official.

The Irish and Scottish are highly knowledgeable when it comes to the Palestinian Case. Not only this, but several activities had also been held in solidarity with oppressed people in different countries such as Africa, to condemn suppression, oppression and ethnic cleansing.

The Right of the Palestinian People to Self-Determination under “Israel’s” Colonial Occupation

Visual search query image

July 29, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Afreen Rizvi

From Palestine and South Africa to the Americas and Australia, settler-colonists [have] violently fought to prevent the indigenous people, that were colonised, from fighting for liberation.

Visual search query image

This article explores Palestine’s right to self-determination under “Israel’s” illegal occupation. This paper seeks to demonstrate that since the Balfour Declaration that was issued by the British Government in 1917, there have been politically driven strategies deployed to gradually liquidate the Palestinian people. The indigenous people of Palestine have been faced with systematic persecution, apartheid policies and brutal occupation; as such, it is submitted that the Palestinian people must be able to exercise their right to self-determination. I will begin with a discussion on self-determination as a right before outlining the historical background of the “Israel”-Palestine issue, and the political allyship of each entity apart. 

Self-Determination in International Law

The principle of self-determination, as it is understood today, evolved from a principle to a right, triggering much debate over the years. It denotes the legal right to peoples to decide their own destiny in the context of international order.[1]There are two aspects to self-determination: internal and external. Internal self-determination is the right of the people to govern themselves without any other interference, this includes the independence to freely choose their own political, economic and social system.[2] External self-determination on the other hand is the right for peoples to determine their own status politically – this allows the establishment of an independent state. After the First World War, and specifically after his famous “Fourteen Points” speech, US President Woodrow Wilson declared that, “Peoples may not be dominated and governed only by their own consent. ‘Self-determination’ is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.”[3] The right of self-determination was introduced to the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in 1960, and subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 in the same year. Additionally, the UN Charter stated that one of the purposes of the United Nations was “respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”[4] Upon adopting the Declaration of Decolonisation, the UN underlined the necessity of ending colonialism and through this declared, inter alia, that the right to self-determination was not limited. 

It is important to note that the right of self-determination has been cited extensively by the UN assembly, Security Council, and is enshrined in various treaties as well as in decisions made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The following excerpt from the aforementioned declaration was subsequently introduced in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) providing a detailed legal definition of self-determination, and this definition is used in various international and national treaties and documents.[5]

“All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.” 

It is widely accepted that the right of self-determination is applicable to “peoples” in colonial territories, as well as others who do not fall in the category of being colonised or oppressed, the only difference is they have to exercise their rights internally. The right of self-determination is no longer limited to the conventional colonial independence scenarios, such that various ethnic and cultural groups of people within different states effectively rely on the right of self-determination in order to declare their independence.[6] A common argument often presented against the right of self-determination is that the principle of territorial integrity in relation to states is challenged by the principle of self-determination – as it is the will of the people that fundamentally leads to the legitimacy of a state. This indicates that people are not only free to choose their state but also their territorial boundaries. However, in accordance with the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, the United Nations and International Court of Justice demonstrated that there is no contradiction between territorial integrity and the right of self-determination.[7] In that context, it is necessary to add that Koskenneimi argued that “It is doubtful whether the statement of principle was intended to be taken literally… its revolutionary potential was tempered by the Final Acts strong emphasis on territorial integrity.”[8]

In the context of Palestinian self-determination, I submit that “Israel” is a colonial entity that has occupied Palestinian territory; thus, the Palestinian people must be able to exercise this right. It is imperative to note that under international law, only groups categorized as “peoples” have the right to self-determination. The interpretation of “peoples”, however, continues to cause confusion. For example, one may question do all “peoples” need to share one ethnicity or location? If so, where would be the place that gathers people who are a part of multi-ethnic states? With regard to Palestinians, “Israel” has already officially accepted the existence of the “Palestinian peoples” in the Camp David Accords signed with Egypt in the year 1978.[9]

Moreover, it is argued that the right of self-determination can heavily disrupt the essence of peace, such that political communities may resort to force if their demands are not met.[10] Violence was also exhibited in the case of Nigeria after the British authorities recognized three main groups, Igbos, Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba. These groups were legally recognized after seeking independence. These minority groups were effectively excluded from the political sphere and the impact of this devolution caused further ethnic divide and political strife[11]. It is claimed that the violence that erupted between 1965-1967 with Nigerians and Biafrans signified that exercising the right of self-determination leads to political and ethnic turmoil.[12] 

In response to this argument, it is contended that despite self-determination struggles usually portrayed as violent and brutal measures, people should still have the freedom to exercise this fundamental right. It is important to understand that colonial settlers aggressively battled to preserve their right of conquest as their own right to self-determination. Till present day, “Israel” has committed war crimes, most notably in Gaza. From Palestine and South Africa to the Americas and Australia, settler-colonists [have] violently fought to prevent the indigenous people, that were colonised, from fighting for liberation, thus the argument that self-determination leads to violence and brutality does not hold much weight in this context considering it is no different to the measures taken by colonising entities.[13] Further to this, in the past, the UN has failed to sustain peace even with states that exercised their right to self-determination, as noticed with the case of Cyprus.[14] Conflicts among states exist irrespective of self-determination, therefore the premise of this argument is incorrect. It may be more suitable to look beyond the UN paradigm if we ought to find lasting solutions to such conflicts.

The Palestine-Israel Conflict

In order to better understand the Israel-Palestine conflict, it is necessary to present the issue within the historical framework of decolonisation struggles. Historically, the world has witnessed decolonisation struggles beginning with violence as a result of a people being denied independence and liberation by the colonising entity. The Palestinian struggle against the Zionist ethnonationalist entity has lasted since the 20th century; the story of Palestine is on political independence, liberation, and putting an end to the apartheid Israeli regime. Whilst Zionists argue that “Israel” has a historic right to Palestinian land, it is imperative to note that had it not been for the involvement of European imperial powers, most notably Britain, there would have not been any creation of “Israel”. In November 1917, Britain the de facto ruler of Palestine, issued the Balfour Declaration. The eighty-word statement by Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour announced support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. 

In 1922, five years after the Balfour Declaration, the “League of Nations” approved the British Mandate for Palestine and the establishment of a “Jewish homeland.” The decision of the mandate did not consider the will of the Palestinian people or their fundamental rights. Between 1939 and 1949, there were a series of mass protests that took place against Jewish immigration to Palestine as well as armed Zionist groups launching attacks against the indigenous people of Palestine[15]. It is necessary to note that in 1947, the UN adopted Resolution 181, a partition plan for Palestine which was subsequently rejected by the Palestinians. The UN General Assemblies plan was to partition Palestine between the native Palestinians and the Jewish colonial settlers. Throughout 1948-1949, the Palestinians were attacked by Zionist forces. Villages and hotels were bombed near Haifa demonstrating early signs of ethnic cleansing. In April 1948, one month before the State of “Israel” was created, Zionist forces massacred over 100 250 Palestinians in the city of Deir Yassin[16] which is in close proximity to Jerusalem. In December of 1948[17], the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194 which allowed the right of return of Palestinian refugees. This is a brief explanation of how the state of “Israel” came into existence. In 1974, Yasser Arafat, a Palestinian Political leader stated:

“The [UN] General Assembly partitioned what it had no right to divide – an indivisible homeland.”

“Israel” consistently and tactically made use of Occupation Law to further acquire Palestinian land whilst simultaneously arbitrarily arresting and targeting Palestinian people through the use of apartheid policies. It is argued that “Israel” has used UNSC Resolution 242 to justify and legitimate these actions through “political framework shaped by U.S intervention”[18] as mentioned by Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney and Palestinian activist. Erakat claims that the Occupation Law failing to regulate Palestinian territories effectively, is a result of a political, not a legal contest. It is asserted that “Israel’s” argument that the Palestinian territories are simply under their administration, would hold no weight were it not for the political powers involved in the region. 

Furthermore, it is also argued that the United States has favoured “Israel” to such an extent that the US dismisses “Israel’s” violation of international law and allows the state to carry out war crimes without facing any repercussions besides blanket statements. As a result of the Occupation Law that “Israel” takes advantage of, Palestinian territories remain occupied, Palestinian people are systematically being ethnically cleansed[19], and their fundamental rights such as the freedom of movement are infringed.

The Human Rights Watch published a report in April 2021, in which it was made very clear that for the past 54 years, Israeli authorities have transferred Jewish Israeli’s to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OTP) and “granted them a superior status under the law as compared to Palestinians living in the same territory when it comes to civil rights, access to land, and freedom to move, build, and confer residency rights to close relatives.”[20] In 1970, the General Assembly Resolution 2625 added that “Every state has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provision of the charter.” Therefore, “Israel” and the international community as a whole should not be denying the Palestinians their right to self-determination. Palestine should be able to manage its own affairs without the interference of external and colonial entities. It is important to understand that the Palestinian people have witnessed the occupation of their lands, forced expulsions to neighbouring lands, military bombardment, and erasure of their identity. As such, the struggle for independence and self-determination should be welcomed by all. 

Ali Abunimah, a policy adviser, argues that self-determination “must return to the center of the Palestinian struggle”[21]. To add, Abunimah asserts that the Palestinian right to self-determination can indeed be compatible with the coexistence of Jews. It is claimed that the United States has a long history of deciding the fate of the Palestinian people. For instance, as per the Clinton Parameters, “Israel” would get “Jewish neighbourhoods” and the Palestinians would get “Arab neighbourhoods”. In hindsight, this meant that “Israel” would be allowed to keep the land it has colonised and annexed since 1967, and the people of Palestine would be able to have what is left – which Israeli occupation forces and settlers continue to annex and occupy till today. America’s “peace process” has allowed “Israel” to aggressively maintain their illegal occupation of the Palestinian people.[22] 

Professor Noam Chomsky in his book ‘On Palestine’[23] highlights that “Israel’s” policies are directly connected to the Zionist ideology that “both aim to establish a Jewish state by taking over as much of historical Palestine as possible and leaving in it as few Palestinians as possible.” Chomsky, a Jewish historian and activist, further claims that the international community has “never condemned” the Israeli entity which led to the enormous expulsion of 750,000 people and the destruction of hundreds of villages and towns. In addition to this, Chomsky states that “ethnic cleansing has become the DNA of Israeli Jewish society.” Erasing the Palestinian land and people should be enough of a reason for the remaining people of Palestine to exercise their right to self-determination. There are distinct similarities between Palestine and the apartheid in South Africa. The Israeli Knesset authorises legislation that separates, segregates, and discriminates against the Palestinians. A recent report by Human Rights Watch also backs up this claim:

“Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power, and land has long guided government policy.”[24]

The United States of America remains a close ally of “Israel”. The U.S provides financial and military support to “Israel” which has been used criticised by several human rights agencies as this funding is used to perpetrate human rights abuses against the Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip. In the Ten-Year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and “Israel”, $38 billion has been promised to “Israel” from the U.S beginning in 2016.[25] This includes $3.3 billion in Foreign Military financing and $500 million for missile defence programs. Several U.S politicians declare their support for “Israel” and do not shy away from mentioning “Israel has every right to defend itself” despite the fact that it is “Israel” that is committing heinous crimes against the Palestinian people. As mentioned by Chomsky, as a result of political power and close relationship with the U.S, “Israel” has been able to act with impunity since 1948. The U.S also has a history of blocking UN resolutions[26] against “Israel”. According to UN data, since 1972, the US has vetoed at least 53 United Nations Security Council resolutions that are critical of “Israel”[27]. 

Contrastingly, Palestine does not have such strong allies. Palestinian resistance leaders have announced receiving military and financial support from the Islamic Republic of Iran; however, I submit that as Iran is a sanctioned country, the support offered to Palestine may not be as much as the support offered by the U.S and the UK to “Israel”. The UK has consistently and repeatedly sold arms to “Israel” despite its illegal occupation of Palestine.[28]

In conclusion, the people of Palestine have every right to self-determination, and this can be understood just by investigating the crimes perpetrated by “Israel” against the Palestinians, and the systematic oppression they have faced as a people. Since 1969, the General Assembly has recognised the “inalienable rights of the people of Palestine”[29] In 1974, member states of the UN worked to restore the “Question of Palestine” on the General Assembly agenda, and as such Arab heads of states upheld the “right of the Arab Palestinian people to the return to its homeland and its right to self-determination.”[30] Some weeks later the General Assembly passed resolution 3236 which mentioned “Recognizing that the Palestinian people are entitled to self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,” and (a) The right to self-determination without external interference”. It should be noted that the General Assembly condemned governments which failed to recognise the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under “colonial and foreign domination”. For the Palestinians to exercise this right, the Israeli entity must vacate from the occupied areas in order to establish an independent Palestinian state. The United Nations has again affirmed its commitment to the Palestinian right to self-determination. In November 2020, the UN General Assembly endorsed a draft resolution once again recognising “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to an independent State of Palestine.”[31] 163 states voted in favour of this resolution, whilst 5 states voted against this, namely: “Israel”, The United States of America, Micronesia, Nauru, and the Marshal Islands. Tomis Kapitan eloquently argues that legitimate residents of Palestine include all Palestinians irrespective of where they are located in Palestine, including Palestinian refugees outside of the country. He states that “expulsion does not remove ones right of residency… Palestinians also retain residency rights in those territories from which they were expelled.”[32] Kapitan asserts that the Palestinian people, as a collective, have the “entitlement to being self-determining in that region [historic Palestine]… not qua Palestinians, but qua legitimate residents. The force used against them has not erased the fact that they are, and are recognized as being; a legitimate unit entitled to participate in their own self-determination.”[33]

Whilst some may argue that the Palestinian right to self-determination is an anti-Semitic stance, it should be duly noted that a Palestinian state would include Jews, Muslims and Christians. It is in fact the Zionist entity that remains anti-Semitic by expulsing and rejecting Jewish natives from enjoying their rights in Occupied Palestine. It should be remembered that the Palestinian right to self-determination is legal and in accordance with international law. For the state of Palestine to be completely independent, colonial settlers will have to return to the European countries they entered from and respect international law. To end, a group of academics including Palestinians and Israelis issued a One State Declaration in 2007, inspired by the South African Freedom Charter and declared: “The historic land of Palestine belongs to all who live in it and to those who were expelled or exiled from it since 1948, regardless of religion, ethnicity, national origin or current citizenship status; Any system of government must be founded on the principle of equality in civil, political, social and cultural rights for all citizens. Power must be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all people in the diversity of their identities.[34]

sources

[1]https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/self_determination_(international_law)#:~:text=Self%2Ddetermination%20denotes%20the%20legal,destiny%20in%20the%20international%20order.&text=For%20instance%2C%20self%2Ddetermination%20is,right%20of%20%E2%80%9Call%20peoples.%E2%80%9D

[2] Salvatore Senese, ‘External and Internal Self-Determination’ [1989] 16(1) Social Justice <https://www.jstor.org/stable/29766439?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents&gt; accessed 9 May 2021.
[3] Wilson, War Aims of Germany and Austria (1918).
[4] UN Charter, Art 1 (2).
[5] https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/UNDRIP_E_web.pdf

[6] Quane, Helen. 1998. “The United Nations and the Evolving Right to Self-Determination.” The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 47(3): 537–572.

[7] Johan D. Van der Vyer, ‘Self-Determination of the Peoples of Quebec under International Law’ [2012] 10(1) Journal of Transnational Law & Policy 38
[8] Martti Koskenniemi, ‘National Self-Determination Today: Problems of Legal Theory and Practice’ [1994] 43(2) The International and Comparative Law Quarterly <https://www.jstor.org/stable/761238&gt; accessed 10 May 2021.
[9] J Massad, ‘Against Self-Determination’ [2018] 9(2) Humanity 161-191
[10] M Evangelista, ‘Paradoxes of Violence and Self-determination’ [2015] 14(5) Formerly Global Review of Ethnopolitics <https://doi.org/10.1080/17449057.2015.1051811&gt; accessed 3 May 2021.
[11] B Ibhawoh, ‘Testing the Atlantic Charter: linking anticolonialism, self-determination and Universal Human Rights’ [2014] 18(7) International Journal of Human Rights 1-19

[12] Beardsley, Kevin, David E. Cunningham, and Peter B. White. 2015. “Resolving Civil Wars before They Start: The UN Security Council and Conflict Prevention in Self-Determination Disputes.” British Journal of Political Science 47(3): 675–697.
[13] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-gaza-latest-palestinian-happening-b1852170.html
[14] Tobias Nowak and Charis Van den berg, ‘Alternative Approaches to Self-Determination Applied to the Cyprus Conflict’ [2020] 15(5) Transboundary Legal Studies <https://research.rug.nl/nl/publications/alternative-approaches-to-self-determination-applied-to-the-cypru&gt; accessed 7 May 2021.
[15] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-role-of-jewish-defense-organizations-in-palestine-1903-1948
[16] M Hogan, ‘The 1948 Massacre at Deir Yassin Revisited’ [2001] 63(2) The Historian <https://www.jstor.org/stable/24450239&gt; accessed 10 May 2021.

[17] https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/palestineremix/timeline_main.html
[18] Noura Erakat, ‘Taking the Land without the People: The 1967 Story as Told by the Law’ [2017] 47(1) Journal of Palestine Studies 18-38 
[19] Lucy Garbett, ‘I live in Sheikh Jarrah for Palestinians, this is not a ‘real estate dispute’’ (The Guardian, 17 May 2021) <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/17/palestinians-sheikh-jarrah-jerusalem-city-identity&gt; accessed 17 May 2021.
[20] https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution
[21]Ali Abunimah, ‘Reclaiming Self-Determination’ ( Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, 21 May) <https://al-shabaka.org/briefs/reclaiming-self-determination/&gt; accessed 10 May 2021.[22]https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/us-role-peace-process-perspective
[23]Noam Chomsky, On Palestine (Penguin Books 2015)

[24] https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution
[25] https://il.usembassy.gov/ten-year-memorandum-of-understanding-between-the-united-states-and-israel/
[26] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/19/a-history-of-the-us-blocking-un-resolutions-against-israel
[27] https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/resguide/scact_veto_table_en.htm
[28] https://caat.org.uk/resources/countries/israel/
[29] https://www.un.org/unispal/document/auto-insert-196558/
[30] United Nations
[31] https://prc.org.uk/en/news/3213/un-votes-overwhelmingly-in-support-of-palestinian-self-determination
[32] Tomis Kapitan, “Self-Determination,” in Tomis Kapitan and Raja Halwani, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Philosophical Essays on Self-Determination, Terrorism and the One-State Solution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 13-71.
[33] Ibid.
[34] “The One State Declaration,” The Electronic Intifada, 29 November 2007

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