Sunday, December 8, 2013

Obama: "Palestinians crossed all American red lines"

Ereikat revealed that Obama considers Palestine’s application for non-Member Observer State” status at the UN as “crossing all American red lines”.

Well, Obama can keep his red lines to himself. It’s exactly the United States and Israel which need bold red lines. Palestine’s application was legal, while Israel - supported by the US - systematically violates international law, without any accountability.

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Rare openness: ICRC President warns about Israeli policies"

Israel’s policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have come under unusually hard-hitting attack by the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, for their challenge to international law.

In an article in the latest edition of the International Review of the Red Cross, Maurer explains this move away from the ICRC’s normal behind-the-scenes diplomacy by the fact that “the ICRC has been unable to engage in any meaningful dialogue with the Israeli government” on such key issues as the annexation of East Jerusalem, the routing of the barrier separating the West Bank and Israel, and the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The organisation believes all of these are violations of  international humanitarian law, IHL.”

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela Dead: South Africa's Former President Dies In Hospital

“The former South African president had been ill for some time and was admitted to hospital earlier this year with a recurring lung infection.

President Jacob Zuma made the announcement, saying: "He is now at peace".”

Monday, December 2, 2013

Richard Falk: Gaza: The Unfolding Humanitarian Catastrophe

“This material below was distributed by John Whitbeck, distinguished American lawyer and author, living in Paris,and doing his best to keep a group concerned with world affairs informed about latest developments, especially inthe Middle East. I also add a slightly edited text of a message sent by Robert Stiver from Hawaii, who has exhibited consistent empathy for the suffering of the Palestinian. My press release below, although far less emotional than the cri de coeur that Robert Stiver wrote, issues from the same place of urgent concern for the brave and resolute people of Gaza. I hope that Robert is wrong however when he ends with self-tormenting words of despair: “What to do, in the name of common justice?  I know not; it seems useless, all useless.” Such feelings of futility are quite understandable, but let us do all within our power to make sure that this unfolding catastrophe ENDS before its full tragic character is totally realized.

It hardly needs to be observed that the silence of the United Nations and the global media is a continuing disgrace, particularly given the pomp and circumstance of those mighty statesmen who self-righteously proclaim a new doctrine: ‘the responsibility to protect’ (R2P) those whose survival and dignity is at stake due to crimes of state or as a result of natural catastrophe.”

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

UN declares 2014 the ‘Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People’

“The UN has named 2014 as the ‘Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.’ The resolution was adopted by the majority of member-states with 110 voting in favor, 7 opposed and 54 abstaining.
The year-long observance will entail organizing special events in cooperation with “governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and civil society.”

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

US aid for Americans vs US aid for Israelis

“In the past few weeks the House Republicans introduced legislation to increase aid to Israel by half a billion dollars. Israel is the top foreign recipient of U.S. aid.  This increase is on top of the $3.1 billion already provided to a country smaller than Rhode Island.  Economists estimate that if the U.S. cut off aid to Israel, their economy would crash.  Israel is a welfare nation.  I ask, where is the personal responsibility of the Israelis, and how does their addiction to welfare fit into the Republican plan of "self reliance?" 
This past month the House Republicans cut food stamps by $400 million, and this during a time when our economy is very weak.  Over $100 million in food stamps was spent on U.S. military installations last year alone, because our military are paid starvation wages and qualify for food stamps.  So, the Republican House cut funding for food stamps, but increased funding for Israel.  At the same time, Israel uses our aid to commit crimes against humanity against their Palestinian neighbors.  Does that make you happy?  Does that make your blood run red, white, and blue?”

Friday, November 22, 2013

UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967): Some reflections

Today marks the 46th anniversary of the adoption by the UN Security Council of Resolution 242 (1967).

Security Council Resolution 242 contains some points worth review. Therefore, the main objective of the following is to shed light on these points, as a reminder.

Monday, 5 June 1967, was another turning point in the history of Palestine, in the wake of the Six Day War between, on the one hand, Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and Israel on the other.

On June 6th, the Security Council, discharging its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security[1], unanimously adopted Resolution 233 (1967)[2] calling for an immediate cease-fire and a cessation of all military activities. Nevertheless, the hostilities continued.

In these circumstances, the Security Council called for the same in Resolution 234 (1967)[3], Resolution 235 (1967)[4] and Resolution 236 (1967)[5]. These three Resolutions were unanimously passed, but the belligerent parties did not comply with them.

Three Arab States were defeated. The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Egyptian Sinai Desert and the Syrian Golan Heights all fell under Israeli military occupation.

Almost six months later, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 242 (1967)[6], on 22 November 1967. This Resolution is worthy of an in-depth review, as it was the first one to call for Israeli withdrawal and termination of all claims or states of belligerency.

First and foremost, Security Council Resolution 242 does not make reference to Palestine or Palestinians in any of its paragraphs.

Furthermore, it is worth citing here the first operative clause of the English text of Resolution 242:

“1. Affirms (the Security Council) that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishing of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
 (i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
 (ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;”

It is understood from the aforementioned that, according to the Security Council, the application of the principles of the UN Charter requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on, inter alia:

-  Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied,
- Bringing all claims or fighting to an end, and ensuring respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of each State in the Middle East.

However, Resolution 242 calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. The Resolution does not explicitly require that Israel withdraw to the lines that it occupied on June 4th, 1967, i.e. before the outbreak of the War. In other words, the Resolution does not demand Israel to return to the positions where it had stood before the 1967 War - the Armistice Demarcation Line established in 1949[7] - because it does not mention retreat from “the territories” or “all the territories” it occupied as a result of the War (the Demarcation Line is referred to as the “Green Line”). But instead, it only calls for “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict”.

When asked about the reason for not specifying the extent of the Israeli withdrawal, Lord Caradon, who was then the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, and chief drafter of Resolution 242, explained[8]

“Much play has been made of the fact that we didn’t say “the” territories or “all the” territories. But that was deliberate. I myself knew very well the 1967 boundaries and if we had put in the “the” or “all the” that could only have meant that we wished to see the 1967 boundaries perpetuated in the form of a permanent frontier. This I was certainly not prepared to recommend”.

On another occasion, Lord Caradon noted[9]:

“We didn’t say there should be a withdrawal to the ‘67 line; we did not put the “the” in, we did not say all the territories, deliberately. We all knew – that the boundaries of ‘67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers, they were a cease-fire line of a couple of decades earlier. We did not say that the ’67 boundaries must be forever”.

Before proceeding, it is interesting to point out that the definite article (the or all the) appears in the French text of the same Resolution[10], while bearing in mind that both English and French versions, as well as other official and working languages of the Security Council, are just as well authoritative and of the same legal status.

The first subparagraph of the first operative clause of the French version states: “Retrait des forces armées israéliennes des territoires occupés lors du recent conflit”.

Consequently, Israel, because of the omission of a definite article in the English version, is not required to withdraw from all the territories it occupied in 1967, as stated in the French version.

Nonetheless, one must not be misled, since Israel’s use of force on 5 June 1967 was at the outset in violation of international law, for the fact that the use of armed force is prohibited in international relations, according to the UN Charter. Article 2(4) of the Charter places a wide prohibition on the use of force by States, by stating: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”.

Therefore, it is concluded from the above-mentioned that UN Member States, of which Israel is one, are under an obligation not to threaten to use, or use, force in international relations. The foregoing is complemented by Article 2(3) of the Charter, which provides: “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered”.

However, the use of force becomes legal only in two cases: Self-defence, individually or collectively, as set forth in Article 51 of the UN Charter, and the other case is Chapter VII of the Charter which empowers the Security Council to authorize - inter alia - the use of force in order to maintain or restore international peace and security, as a collective measure.

Israel obviously was not in a state of self-defence. But rather, it commenced the war by directing air raids against Egyptian air-fields, at 0745 on the morning of Monday, June 5th, 1967[11]. On this basis, strictly talking, Israel cannot invoke the right to self-defence, guaranteed by Article 51 of the Charter. This being said, one should not forget the arms embargo imposed by France Israel during the presidency of Charles de Gaulle, to protest against the Israeli attack.

The fact that the threat or use of force is prohibited by international law necessarily means that acquiring territory through the threat, or use, of force is also forbidden. Therefore, a State cannot justify holding onto territory merely because it conquered it or occupied it by force. This is reflected in the principle of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”. Resolution 242 emphasized the aforementioned principle in its Preamble. Also, Security Council Resolution 478 (1980)[12] affirmed this principle by stating in its Preamble: “Reaffirming again that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible”.

Furthermore, mention needs to be made of the extremely significant UN General Assembly Resolution 2625 (XXV)[13] entitled “Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations”, in which the General Assembly declared: “The territory of a State shall not be the object of military occupation resulting from the use of force in contravention of the provisions of the Charter”. It further emphasized that: “No territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal”. It was also affirmed by General Assembly Resolution ES-10/15[14], by which the Assembly acknowledged the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004 on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.

As a consequence, Israel’s occupation, in 1967, of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Egyptian Sinai Desert[15] and the Syrian Golan Heights was - and still is - in contravention of international law, for the facts presented before.

In addition to the illegality of the threat or use force according to international law, and the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, the implementation by Israel of Resolution 242 is to be examined on a different level.

While Israel is obliged to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967, it is, as a UN Member State, bound to fulfill its international obligations in good faith (bona fide) according to Article 2(2) of the UN Charter, which states: “All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter”.

Therefore, Israel must not be allowed to invoke or hide behind ambiguity or imprecision, though deliberate, that is the omission of a definite article (the or all the) before territories occupied, in the English text of Resolution 242, in order not to carry out, or derogate from, its obligation to withdraw from all the territories it occupied, since the threat or use of force is illegal, and the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible as well.

Consequently, Israel must withdraw from all the territories it occupied in 1967, regardless of the legal status of the Demarcation Line of 1949 as a temporary measure. Otherwise, and according to the English text of the Resolution, Israel would be given the opportunity to decide to withdraw partially, not completely, from the territories that fell under its military occupation, thus legitimizing its preservation of territories it chooses to keep, in conflict with the international obligations incumbent on all United Nations Member States not to threaten to use, or use, force, nor hold territory by force, and to execute their obligations in good faith.

On the other hand, is Security Council Resolution 242 itself legally binding?   

The situation in June 1967 was “ideal” for a “Chapter VII resolution”: an international armed conflict, involving occupation and later annexation of territory; East Jerusalem. The Six Day War not only threatened international peace and security, but also breached them and further constituted a clear aggression – by Israel – inviting the adoption of a resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, something the Security Council did not do, although it should have.

Security Council Resolution 242, which is still in force, was not adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, which puts in question the binding force or nature of the Resolution. This is apparent from the absence of three elements:

- The Resolution does not contain, neither in its Preamble nor in its operative paragraphs, a determination or a finding that there was a “threat to international peace and security”;
The Resolution does not include an explicit “present tense” reference to Chapter VII of the UN Charter providing that the Security Council isActing under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations”. Such a statement is usually, when acting under Chapter VII, inserted in the last paragraph of the preamble;
- The wording or phrasing of the Resolution clearly shows that it was not in fact intended to be legally binding. This is deduced from the use of the verb “affirms”, rather than “decides”, in the operative clauses.

The above-mentioned elements are not set forth in the UN Charter, but have actually been developed through the practice of the Security Council. This, however, does not mean that it is necessary that the three elements be simultaneously met in order to make a resolution legally binding. One of them is sufficient.

As a matter of fact, the presence or absence of one or more of the three elements depends on the political will, and even political compromises, at the Security Council. But this is not discussed here.

Since none of the said elements is included in Security Council Resolution 242, it was clearly not adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, but rather under Chapter VI (that deals with “pacific settlement of disputes”), nor was it intended to be legally binding. Resolutions adopted under Chapter VI are mere “recommendations”, not “decisions” in the true sense of the word.

However, one could probably argue that, under Article 25 of the UN Charter, UN Members are bound by “all” resolutions of the Security Council. Article 25 stipulates: “The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter” (emphasis added). Notice the use of the word “decisions”, which excludes non-binding resolutions, or better “recommendations”. As such, UN Members are obligated to accept and implement binding resolutions, only.

One could probably also argue that Resolution 242 has become “binding” as a result of its acceptance by the concerned parties, and of the constant reference to it by the international community, including through subsequent UN resolutions - namely UN Security Council Resolution 338 (1973)[16]. The acceptance and constant reference might have enhanced the “weight” of Resolution 242, not to say “legal weight”. However, such an argument needs further examination.

Last but not least, Resolution 242 “affirms the necessity for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem”, without defining or determining “which” refugees. In other words, it does not specifically mention Palestine refugees - an omission that has been taken advantage of by Israel in the interpretation of the Resolution. But what about the Palestinians who were displaced in 1967? The Resolution is mute on this issue. 

In conclusion, even if UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) is not legally binding, and regardless of the deliberate “contradiction” between the English and French texts, Israel, the occupying Power, is certainly under an obligation to withdraw from all the territories it occupied in 1967. Its obligation derives directly from the rules and principles of international law: the prohibition of the use of force as well as the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force.

[1] Article 24(1) of the UN Charter: “In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf”.
[2] S/RES/233 (1967), 6 June 1967.
[3] S/RES/234 (1967), 7 June 1967.
[4] S/RES/235 (1967), 9 June 1967.
[5] S/RES/236 (1967), 11 June 1967.
[6] S/RES/242 (1967), 22 November 1967.
[7] Jordanian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement signed in Rhodes, Island of Rhodes, Greece, on 3 April 1949.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Up till 21 December 1982, only Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish were both the official and the working languages of the Security Council, until the latter adopted Resolution 528 (1982) on 21 December 1982, deciding to include Arabic among its official and working languages.
[11] Churchill, Randolph S., Churchill, Winston S., “The Six Day War”, (London: Heinemann Ltd, 1967), p. 78.
[12] S/RES/478 (1980), 20 August 1980.
[13] A/RES/2625 (XXV), 24 October 1970.
[14] A/RES/ES-10/15, 2 August 2004.
[15] Following the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979, Israel withdrew from Sinai Desert.
[16] S/RES/338 (1973), 22 October 1973.

Monday, November 18, 2013

International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

The Palestinian Rights Committee calls on the UN General Assembly to proclaim 2014 “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”.

Palestine votes for the first time at the UN General Assembly

“The Palestinians voted for the first time at the UN General Assembly Monday and claimed the moment as a new step in its quest for full recognition by the global body.
Most of the 193 members of the General Assembly stood in applause when Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour cast a vote for a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
The Palestinians became observer members of the United Nations on November 29 last year. It cannot vote on UN resolutions, but under UN rules, it and other observers such as the Vatican can vote in elections for judges on international courts.
“This is an important step in our march for freedom and independence and full membership of the United Nations,” Mansour told the assembly.”

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Concept of 'international community' in international law: inter-State or common interest?

The concept of ‘international community’ and the International Court of Justice

Despite its constant invocation in doctrine, rhetoric and countless international documents, international lawyers still struggle with arriving at a well-defined understanding of the concept of an ‘international community’, whether in identifying the members that compose it, the values and norms that it represents, or the processes which underlie its functioning. The term could be reduced merely to ‘constructive abstraction’, or rhetorical flourish; yet a concept of international community that would be legally operative (create enforceable legal rights and obligations) would require reflection as to the nature of international law and whether it serves the interests of a constituted community.”

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Status of Palestinian General Delegation in Brussels upgraded

The status of the Palestinian General Delegation in Brussels - accredited to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union - was upgraded today to the level of “Mission of Palestine”. The Head of Mission now carries the title of “Ambassador”. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Falk rebukes Dexia and Belgian Government for financing illegal Israeli settlements

Special Rapporteur Richard Falk rebukes Dexia Bank and Belgian Government for financing illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories

Richard Falk describes in his report to the UN General Assembly that the Belgian government can be held responsible for the funding by Dexia Bank of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Richard Falk also welcomed Dutch firm’s decision to pull out of an illegal Israeli project in East Jerusalem.”

UN report suggests UNGA seek ICJ advisory opinion on prolonged occupation of Palestine

“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday transmitted a recommendation to the General Assembly during its 68th session seeking advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over legal consequences of prolonged occupation of Palestine if diplomacy fails.
This was one of recommendations contained in a report by Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, in accordance with a Human Rights Council resolution.
Falk recommended that "if current diplomacy fails to produce a solution to the underlying conflict," the Assembly should "request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice as to the legal consequences of the prolonged occupation of Palestine." The ICJ already ruled in 2004 that the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank was illegal and "tantamount to annexation." The ruling did not deter Israel from continuing with its construction.
Falk also recommended that Israel "cease expanding and creating settlements in occupied Palestine, start dismantling existing settlements and returning its citizens to the Israeli side of the Green Line and provide appropriate reparations for the damage due to settlement and related activity since 1967." He recommended, in this regard, that Belgium and France, owners of Dexia Group, a financial firm active in retail and commercial banking, asset management and investor services, compensate Palestinians who have been directly affected by the settlements to which subsidiary Dexia Israel has provided mortgages or grants to Israeli settlers. He urged the firm to act based on the "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
"Belgium and France have an explicit duty to take appropriate action in the face of human rights abuses, including activities of its subsidiary, Dexia Israel, that support the growth of settlements. By failing to do so, these States are not fulfilling their duties under human rights treaties," Falk stressed.
He also recommended that Israel immediately end its discriminatory policies and practices that serve to deny Palestinians their rightful share of water resources in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
"In particular," he urged, "Israel must cease the demolition of water collection facilities, including wells and water tanks, on the pretext that they operate without valid 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Jerusalem bill"

Here is an interesting article on "Jerusalem bill". However, the author should have added that Israel must rescind "Jerusalem Basic Law" enacted in 1980.

The article: “By a 5-4 majority, a ministerial committee on Sunday approved a bill that proposes to require 80 Knesset members to approve any negotiations about the future of Jerusalem before the issue can even be discussed in peace talks…”

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

UNICEF publishes report on detained Palestinian children

“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported that Israeli violations against detained Palestinian children are still ongoing, despite an alleged Israeli decision to improve their conditions, and the methods of interrogation.

Monday, October 14, 2013

5200 Palestinian Detainees Currently Held By Israel

“The Palestinian Ministry Of Detainees issued a press release revealing that Israel is currently holding captive 5200 Palestinians in 17 prisons, detention camps, and interrogation facilities.

It said that this year witnessed a sharp escalation in arrests as the soldiers kidnapped 2450 Palestinians, including 476 children and 49 women since the beginning of the year.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

International Court of Justice and Palestinian-Israeli "peace negotiations"

Whenever you hear about Palestinian-Israeli “peace talks/peace negotiations”, remember the following lines.

In the North Sea Continental Shelf Case[i], the International Court of Justice ruled that there is an obligation on States to enter “... into negotiations with a view to arriving at an agreement… they are under an obligation so to conduct themselves that the negotiations are meaningful, which will not be the case when either of them insists upon its own position without contemplating any modification of it…”

Therefore, the ICJ in this Case set out the scope and extent of the obligation to negotiate.

Now: are the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations truly engaged into “with a view to arriving at an agreement”? Are they “meaningful”?

How many pre-conditions to reaching “peace” has Israel imposed? And has Israel stopped creating irreversible facts on the ground?

[i] North Sea Continental Shelf (Federal Republic of Germany/Netherlands), Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1969, p. 3.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Richard Falk: Israel's Politics of Fragmentation

“If the politics of deflection exhibit the outward reach of Israel’s grand strategy of territorial expansionism and regional hegemony, the politics of fragmentation serves Israel’s inward moves designed to weaken Palestinian resistance, induce despair, and de facto surrender. In fundamental respects deflection is an unwitting enabler of fragmentation, but it is also its twin or complement.”

Yesh Din Report Urges Legislative Amendment to Enable Prosecution for War Crimes

Yesh Din: “A defective legal culture and the absence of legislation prevent the prosecution of soldiers for offenses considered war crimes”

The human rights organization Yesh Din today published a report entitled “Lacuna: War Crimes in Israeli Law and in the Rulings of the Military Courts.” War crimes form part of the category of international crimes – crimes that violate the common values of the entire international community, and which are therefore particularly grave. Many countries around the world have already enacted laws intended to define such offenses and punish their perpetrators, as required by international law. Israel has not yet enacted a law defining war crimes, and the military courts judge soldiers who violate the rules of law according to “regular” offenses. The Yesh Din report published today presents the need for Israeli legislation on this subject.”

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Since 1967 Israel has razed over 800,000 Palestinian olive trees

Since 1967 Israel has razed over 800,000 Palestinian olive trees, the equivalent to destroying Central Park 33 times over

This week marked the start of the annual Palestinian olive harvest, an ancient tradition on which 80,000 families still rely for their livelihoods. Yet these families face growing economic hardship due to Israeli land confiscations, access restrictions, settler attacks, and not least the widespread uprooting, destruction and theft of the trees themselves.

The infographic ‘Uprooted’ focuses on the staggering fact that Israeli authorities have uprooted over 800,000 Palestinian olive trees since 1967, the equivalent to razing all of the 24,000 trees in New York’s central park 33 times.”

Monday, October 7, 2013

"A journey into the dark heart of Israel's permit regime"

Trapped between the separation barrier and the Green Line, Palestinians living in the ‘Seam Zone’ are forced to reckon with a Kafkaesque permit regime that appears designed to do one thing and one thing only: make them give up and leave.

Israeli NGO Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual published “The Permit Regime” earlier this year, a report amazing in its discoveries and the level it details the parallel universe Israel has created in the “Seam Zone,” the area between the separation barrier and the Green Line. The bulk of the information in the report was collected from UN reports (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA) and the State of Israel’s responses to 76 Supreme Court petitions filed by Hamoked over the years. As expected, the report gained zero media coverage.

The following 25 stations, on the journey to the land of permits, were drawn from the report. Refreshment stations, scattered along the way, were taken from sources that will be named.”

"Like thieves in the night: Stealing Palestinian land"

The Israeli government wants to prolong its long-term thievery, based on a particularly dirty trick. A few words on the uneven ground upon which the settlement of Beit El rests.

The first is a seizure order signed by Brig. Gen. Binyamin Eliezer on July 18, 1979; the second is a map of the seized land, taken from the lands of the village Dura Al Qara; the third is a document issued by Major Amnon Shasha a day later. Please pay attention to paragraphs 6a and 8 in Shasha’s document: in the first, Shasha stipulates that the “seizure order is not to be published to the locals,” and in the second, that “no publicity is to be given to the order.”

Why am I boring with paperwork from 1979, a time so unenlightened its favorite music was disco? Ah: because it shows us how the system of theft works in the West Bank…”

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Richard Falk: Israel's Politics of Deflection

“During my period as the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Palestine on behalf of the Human Rights Council I have been struck by the persistent efforts of Israel and its strong civil society adjuncts to divert attention from the substance of Palestinian grievances or the consideration of the respective rights of Israel and Palestine under international law. I have also observed that many, but by not means all of those who represent the Palestinians seem strangely reluctant to focus on substance or to take full advantage of opportunities to use UN mechanisms to challenge Israel on the terrain of international law and morality… The recently exhumed direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel exemplify this approach: proceeding despite the absence of preconditions as to compliance with international law even during the negotiations, reliance on the United States as the convening intermediary, and the appointment by President Obama of an AIPAC anointed Special Envoy (Martin Indyk), the latter underscoring the absurd one-sidedness of the diplomatic framework.” 

"The time has come to acknowledge the Nakba"

“Therefore, instead of inventing more new solutions, forms, procedures, steps, tools, terms, maps and documents to bypass the root of the problem, the time has come to address it. The root of the problem is the Palestinians’ uprooting from their land in 1948. The root of the problem is the fact that they were not allowed to return to their homes. The root of the problem was imposing the outcome of this violence as a fait accompli, as a new board game where Israeli-Jews incarnate sovereignty, and can therefore set the rules. A board game where Palestinians can – and should – be continuously dispossessed and beg for their rights, as if Israelis could have their rights while Palestinians are dispossessed of them… Instead of more “solutions,” the time has come to acknowledge the monumentality of the Nakba: without fully addressing it, all visions for Israel-Palestine are doomed to fail. The time has come to acknowledge the Nakba as a catastrophe not only for Palestinians but also for the Jewish people – the catastrophe of becoming perpetrators, of becoming responsible for expelling the majority of the population living in Palestine in 1948 and for the systematic destruction of one of the nicest places on earth.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Ethnic Cleansing by Bureaucracy: Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian homes"

Last week, as negotiations continued between Israeli and Palestinian officials, both Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued statements condemning Israel’s ongoing destruction of Palestinian homes and other structures, particularly in the occupied West Bank and the Negev desert in southern Israel. Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian homes, usually under the pretext of demolishing structures built without permission from Israeli authorities, is a highly sensitive subject for Palestinians, as home demolitions have played a central role in Israel’s attempts to dispossess the native, non-Jewish Palestinian population of Israel and the occupied territories since the creation of the state in 1948.”

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

“Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (26 Sep.- 02 Oct. 2013)”