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)”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

When a former Israeli Ambassador says the UN is "The Citadel of Hypocrisy"

“Dan Gillerman, a former Israel ambassador to the United Nations refers to that institution as "The Citadel of Hypocrisy."… Gillerman, who was only the second Israeli after Abba Eban to serve as vice president of the UN General Assembly, said the UN has three standards – one for democracy, one for totalitarian states and another for Israel.”

I will tell you why the United Nations is in fact “The Citadel of Hypocrisy”:

- A State – like Israel – established in violation of international law, namely the right to self-determination of another people, the Palestinian people in this case, is not entitled to international recognition. Yet, Israel was recognized.

- Israel was admitted to membership in the United Nations after almost one year of its establishment in 1948. While Palestine was accorded a mere “non-Member Observer State status” in the United Nations after 64 years of Nakba – and the Nakba is still ongoing.

- The former Israeli Ambassador complained about the UN, while the latter has never held Israel accountable for its persistent violation of international law, including the UN Charter.

- It is very well known how many times the United States used its veto for Israel’s eyes, in violation of the UN Charter. 

- The UN, through its continuous failure to act, contributes to preventing the Palestinian people from exercising its right to self-determination. 

So who should complain about the UN and label it as
 “The Citadel of Hypocrisy”?

P.S: The list is, of course, not exhaustive.