Palestine Updates 62
Stifling history, residency rights, justice, and defying democracy
There is an audacity with which Israel camouflages its credentials as a member nation of the international community. It violates international norms and laws with impunity on an almost day to day basis and dares the international community to intervene if it can. It has unnerved European and North American governments by falsifying and obfuscating history in ways that disallow Europe to go beyond limits of protest. The rest of the world may protest but Israel deems their objections as mere irritants that, in the end, will make no difference to what they do.
In other words, Israel has wrested control of what the world can or cannot do against its illegalities at almost every crucial power centre. And when any centre of international influence challenges Israel’s illegal constructs, Israel resorts to unilateral measures of massive slashing of resources with intent to cripple. UNESCO is a recent example of being at Israel’s receiving end after the resolution on UNESCO and similar actions in the last few years. It is a queer coincidence that, while Israel protests objects to the BDS movement as a bid to delegitimize it, it thinks little of its own actions that use economic measures to cripple legitimate internationally accepted democratic actions.
The Human Rights Watch is asking how Israel can enforce Residency revocations often of Palestinians from [occupied] east Jerusalem when they retain their right even under the provisions of Israel’s occupation under the Fourth Geneva Convention to live as they did prior to the occupation. It is not too different in the case of the 2014 Gaza War where Israel’s own military apparatus are the sole spaces to seek legal recourse. It is no secret that that the Israeli courts set up to investigate and try the guilty woefully fall far short of international standards. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel notes how “these courts are “not independent or impartial, they fail to provide a prompt response to complaints, and they lack any form of transparency”. The PA is now demanding that the international community rejects any proposal for Israel’s candidacy to any international position, including a seat on the Security Council until it abandons its policies of colonialist criminality, and noncompliance of international law.
Israel has now seemingly turned even US democracy topsy-turvy. Ramzy Baroud, writer and columnist, offers a powerful analysis of a new US law which would make it a “felony” for U.S. citizens to support the boycott of Israel. This new legislation, the “Anti-Israel Boycott Act,” was drafted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC. If approved, as Baroud points out, it would have “consequences (that) can be dire for many people, particularly for the health of U.S. democracy.
Falsifying history the Israeli way
Palestinians are anxious at the escalation of “settlement” activity and are disappointed by the failure of the international community to put an end to it. Palestinians expect international protection for the Palestinian people and its holy sites and serious action by the Arab and Islamic nation.
“Israel was established on the ruins of the Palestinian people and has refused since day one to implement UN resolutions 181 and 194, which deal with the refugees’ right to return to their homes from which they were expelled,” a statement from the PA said. They are demanding that the international community rejects any proposal for Israel’s candidacy to any international position, including a seat on the Security Council. Such action would only rationalize Israel’s “colonialism”, “crimes” and “disobedience of international law.”
Stripping Palestinians of residency is a war crime
Human Rights Watch has warned that stripping some 15,000 Palestinians of their right to live in Jerusalem al-Quds since 1967 could amount to a “war crime.”
“Israel claims to treat [occupied] Jerusalem as a unified city, but the reality is effectively one set of rules for Jews and another for Palestinians,” said Human Rights Watch. At the end of the Six-Day War between Israeli against` and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria on the other, Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds, the Gaza Strip, and parts of the Golan Heights. Israel later withdrew from Gaza but laid a siege on it. The war and Israel’s ensuing land seizure displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians. Since then, 14,595 Palestinians have had their residence status revoked, a move which effectively stops them from remaining in the city of their birth. “Residency revocations often effectively force Palestinians from [occupied] east Jerusalem, who are protected by virtue of Israel’s occupation under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to leave the territory they live in” said a HRW spokesperson.
The Israeli guide to obscuring justice
In July 2014, Israel began a military assault on the Gaza Strip, including an indiscriminate bombing campaign and a brutal ground invasion. In total, the assault killed 1,545 Palestinian civilians, including 556 children, and made 11,166 families homeless. For victims and survivors of the attack on Gaza, Israel’s own military courts are the only places to seek legal recourse. Yet these courts fall far short of international standards: they are not independent or impartial, they fail to provide a prompt response to complaints, and they lack any form of transparency.
500 Palestinian complaints were filed with Israeli military courts in relation to the 2014 Gaza war. Of these cases, 196 were dismissed immediately, 133 were lost in the system, and only 31 were brought forward for criminal investigation. Three soldiers were eventually indicted for looting and aiding and abetting looting, which illuminates the deliberate focus of proceedings on low-level or marginal perpetrators. Military commanders and politicians—those most responsible for massive destruction and loss of life – have never been held accountable for their role in violations of human rights and the international law of armed conflict. Some might say that Israel’s military court system is broken. In reality, it is designed to promote impunity. The Israeli Guide to Obstructing Justice was produced as part of a series on the 2014 Gaza war, as a collaboration between Visualizing Palestine, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
War on BDS is now a war on US democracy
A new law supported by 43 senators would make it a “felony” for U.S. citizens to support the boycott of Israel
There is something immoral in Washington D.C., and its consequences can be dire for many people, particularly for the health of U.S. democracy. The U.S. government is declaring war on the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, BDS, movement. The fight to defeat BDS has been ongoing for several years, but most notably since 2014. Since then, 11 U.S. states have passed and enacted legislation to criminalize the movement, backed by civil society, which aims to put pressure on Israel to end its occupation of Palestine.
Washington is now leading the fight, thus legitimizing the anti-democratic behavior of individual states. If the efforts of the U.S. government are successful, an already struggling U.S. democracy will take yet another step back, and many good people could potentially be punished for behaving in accordance with their political and moral values. Senate Bill 720 (S.720), also known as the “Anti-Israel Boycott Act,” was largely drafted by the notorious and powerful Israel lobby in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC.
The “Israel Anti-Boycott Act,” however, is the most egregious of such interventions, for it strikes down the First Amendment, the very foundation of American democracy, by using America’s own lawmakers to carry out the terrible deed.
The writer of this article is Dr. Ramzy Baroud who has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com.