The EU and USA must stand for global democracy in its truest sense

Palestine Update  161

The EU and USA must stand for global democracy in its truest sense

Only recently, the EU called on Israel to avoid use of  “excessive force” against the Palestinians. The EU is being as naïve as it is being hypocritical. What does the EU really want in a final settlement; justice or political fine-tuning that amounts to window dressing? What does avoiding excessive force actually imply? Is the EU saying kill in proportions, or only hurt in proportions? It is absurdity and is not just the language of the EU but also big media houses across the world that leans towards Israel.

The call to avoiding ‘excesses’ tantamount to justify the Israeli occupation through its colonialist practices.  The language of justice must always be unambiguous. The kind of neutrality which the EU is indulging in does not go far enough in the direction of a just solution. It does not call its member countries to sanction Israel until it returns to 1967 boundaries and makes evenhanded adjustments which meet the highest standards of justice. Mere aid to humanitarian issues is like offering opium to a people in the hope that the comfort provided by charity and welfare will heal the wounds completely . Palestinians do not need soothing palliatives to draw back their violated dignity. As the British charity War on Want puts it,: “The catastrophe facing the Palestinian people is a defining global justice issue of our time. It is not an intractable conflict between two equal sides. It is an occupation by a powerful military state, armed and supported by the West, against an impoverished, stateless and displaced people… We believe that a long-term solution to the human rights crisis facing the Palestinian people is only possible through a proper understanding of the situation that has developed over the past century, and through the proper use of words to describe that situation correctly”. This is the voice of an authentic Peoples Movement. ‘War on Want’represents an authentic peoples rallying point and focuses on working  towards a just world by opposing injustice and human rights violations. Tens of thousands of members support this work. It is in this direction that the EU must move and with urgency. 

Western abuse of power against the Palestinians is frequently replicated in the US too where a top US Jewish group has expressed “deep concern” over the recent news that the Palestinian Authority will take over leadership of the Group of 77 – the largest bloc of developing countries at the UN in January. It’s a historical first, both for Palestine and the G77. Palestine will be politically empowered to collectively represent 134 UN member states, including China. Traditionally, the G77 speaks with a single voice before the 193-member General Assembly, the highest policy making body at the UN, and also at all UN committee meetings and at international conferences. But what the Jewish lobbies in the US say counts for nothing! Palestine will still be the head of a 134-country forum.

Of course, what government bodies and lobbies say does not take away from the sizeable growth of civil society groups in Europe and the USA and Canada and the rest of the world  who are expressing solidarity with the Palestinians in their struggle for justice in very tangible ways. Indeed the global resistance is on!

Ranjan Solomon


Palestine to Lead G77, UN’s Largest Group of Developing Nations
The Group of 77 (G77) – the largest single coalition of developing countries at the UN – is to be chaired by Palestine, come January. “It’s a historical first, both for Palestine and the G77,” an Asian diplomat told IPS, pointing out that Palestine will be politically empowered to collectively represent 134 UN member states, including China. Created in June 1964, the 54-year-old group comprises over 80% of the world’s population and approximately two-thirds of UN membership.

Traditionally, the G77 speaks with a single voice before the 193-member General Assembly, the highest policy making body at the UN, and also at all UN committee meetings and at international conferences. Under a system of geographical rotation, it was Asia’s turn to name a chairman for 2019. The Asian Group has unanimously endorsed Palestine, which will be formally elected chair at the annual G77 ministerial meeting, scheduled to take place in mid-September. Palestine will take over from the current chair, Egypt, which is representing the African Group of countries.

The chairmanship is a tremendous political boost for Palestine at a time when it is being increasingly blacklisted by the Trump administration, which is kowtowing to the Israelis.

Israel shivers as ICC reaches out to Israel’s victims of war
Judges in The Hague have ordered the International Criminal Court to reach out to victims of war crimes in Palestine. It is a sign the court may be inching towards ending Israeli impunity. ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber 1 ordered court administrators to establish “a system of public information and outreach activities for the benefit of the victims and affected communities in the situation in Palestine.” The Pre-Trial Chamber is a panel of judges that supervises how the ICC prosecutor’s office carries out its investigative and prosecutorial activities. It has the responsibility to guarantee the rights of suspects, victims and witnesses during investigations by the prosecutor. The court will also create a page on its website “especially directed to the victims in the situation in Palestine.” The decision facilitates the gathering of evidence that could be used in indictments or trials of suspected war criminals. The order instructs the court’s public information and victim’s participation sections to “take a central role in the initial phase of approaching victims, nongovernmental organizations and intermediaries.” Anticipating the dangers victims may face coming forward, the judges say that court officials “may consult with the Victims and Witnesses Unit regarding protection issues.”

Nongovernmental organizations, particularly the Palestinian human rights groups Al-Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, have played a key role in collecting evidence of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity that they have handed over to the ICC prosecutor. In September, the groups turned over dossiers detailing crimes of persecution, apartheid, the extensive theft, destruction and pillage of Palestinian property and evidence of the “willful killing and murder” of hundreds of Palestinians since 2014 in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Previously, they gave the prosecutor evidence related to crimes committed by senior Israeli civilian and military officials during Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza that left over 2000 dead. Human Rights defenders have faced deaths and harassment. These threats have been investigated by authorities in the Netherlands, where the ICC is based. The decision to reach out to victims is causing worry in Israel, as this discussion on Israeli public television indicates.
Read also:

PA may ask UN General Assembly to oust Israel
The Palestinian Authority is weighing a UN General Assembly Resolution to rescind Israeli membership in the international body, which first recognized it as a state in 1948. “Israel is a country that is in total violation of the charter of the UN. Does it deserve to be a member of the UN and any of its agencies or not?” PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said.  He spoke during a solidarity visit to the Bedouin Palestinian herding village of Khan al-Ahmar that is in imminent danger of demolition because it was illegally built. Erekat first met with journalists and then with diplomats about Palestinian plans to combat a number of particular egregious actions. Top on his list was the Knesset passage this month of the nation-state law, which cements Israel’s Jewish ethnic character. He told the diplomats who sat in front of him that they could have “a test very soon in the UN General Assembly about this.” According to the UN website, the Security Council would also have to vote on the matter. Such a move would most certainly be torpedoed by the United States, one of five permanent members that have veto power in the council. The PA has already submitted a question to the UN’s legal department to see if the nation-state law was in keeping with the organization’s charter.

Ireland Takes another Anti-Israel Turn
The recent Occupied Territories Bill passed in the Irish Seanad with a standing ovation — another historical moment in Ireland’s support of the Palestinian people. In response, Israeli Defense Minister Lieberman stated what Israel’s recrimination should be: “Israel should immediately close the embassy in Dublin.” This is not a sudden volte-face; rather this call represents an act of resignation following the systematic assault of Israel by the Irish people.

Jordan censures Israeli changes of Arab nature of Jerusalem
Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Sima Bahous said on Tuesday that Jordan “faces constant Israeli attempts to change the historical and legal situation existing in Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif “, condemning Israel’s repeated attacks against the Palestinian people.

Bahous added during a Security Council meeting that Jordan would continue to defend Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites by way of its historic Hashemite Custodianship over the holy sites in East Jerusalem, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

She condemned the repeated Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people, particularly in Khan Al Ahmar and Abu Nuwar, as well as the recent attacks against innocent civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip, describing the blockade of the sea coast as an “inhuman siege” by Israel.

Don’t befriend me for a day, and leave me a month. Don’t get close to me if you’re going to leave. Don’t say what you don’t do. Be close or get away.

 لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.

Mahmoud Darwish.