Monday, April 26, 2010

The Palestinian Case in Brief

The Palestinians, who have lived in Palestine for 2000 years, are no closer to having their own state than they ever were. Israel’s desire to push forward with the peace process is not clear. It refuses to countenance either withdrawal from the occupied territories or the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under US pressure, did join his predecessors in endorsing Palestinian statehood, albeit grudgingly and with caveats. The idea is not popular with the right wing members of his coalition, and efforts to coax Israel into halting all settlement construction in the West Bank have not succeeded.

The illegal apartheid wall snakes through the West Bank. Illegal Israeli settlement colonies, still being expanded, on the West Bank are for Jews only, as are the specially constructed roads. Gaza is still being illegally blockaded. Palestinians in their homeland are confronted by a plethora of checkpoints and barriers that divide families and keep people from their homes, farms and workplaces. What red blooded Yankee would stand for it? Moreover, the international community’s failure to hold Israel to account for war crimes gives it virtual carte blanche to launch attacks with the best modern weaponry, supplied by Uncle Sam, on the virtually defenseless Arabs.

To cover up their criminal complicity, Israeli's and their western sponsor, the US, blame the victims, claiming that Hamas’s resistance to recognizing the current gains of their oppressors stands in the way of a just settlement. Avigdor Lieberman demands the execution as traitors of Arab members of the Knesset who have met Hamas, and the expulsion of Arab citizens who do not sign a loyalty oath to Israel “as a Jewish state”. Such ideas are plainly racist—a form of apartheid. Anti-Arab racism is woven into the fabric of Israeli society. Lieberman is an example.

Palestinians who were born on land inhabited by their forebears for centuries, were driven out by the Jewish terrorist groups that became the core of the Israeli Defense Force after Israel’s foundation, and have no right of return. But Lieberman was born in Chisinau in Moldova, a place totally foreign to Palestine and its Arab people. Yet his status as a Jew qualified him to emigrate to Israel with full civic rights and the ability to travel and to settle anywhere in Israel and the occupied West Bank.

At the root of this mess is the protective umbrella with which America unconditionally shields its Middle East ally. As long as the US has the power of veto within the UN Security Council, Israel can do what it pleases. At the same time, Britain cannot hold Israelis to account without risking its special relationship with Washington.

Britain, which has always prided itself on its legal system and respect for human rights, actually colludes with Israel to ensure its officials escape prosecution. The British Foreign Office engaged in diplomatic shenanigans so that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak could receive immunity from prosecution while on a private visit to London with his wife. British justice does not extend to Israeli war criminals being held to account for their atrocities.

Those who believed that President Obama would make a difference are disappointed. He now seems a man of fine words and little action, certainly in foreign affairs. Like his predecessors, he is perpetuating US double standards. He calls for a nuclear free Middle East and wags his finger at Iran for enriching uranium, then blesses Israel’s policy of “nuclear ambiguity”.

Britain, kow-towing to the US and Israel and in common with the rest of the European Union, refuses to talk to Hamas, even though it was properly elected in the Palestinian election, but it is ready and willing to engage with war criminals and racists. So much for the sanctity of democracy.

Meanwhile, the United Nations ignores Israel’s flouting of Security Council Resolutions, and chooses to bin its own investigations into Israel’s crimes. The carefully compiled report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict was shelved. Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, lobbied diplomatic support to back Israel’s objection to the report accusing Israel of war crimes. The report wanted its conclusions referred to the International Criminal Court prosecutor in The Hague, if the warring parties failed to conduct credible investigations within six months. The court at the Hague is not popular with the US either. Too many US leaders would be up for trial as war criminals, they fear.

Where does this sorry state of affairs leave the Palestinian people? Absolutely nowhere. They are constantly failed by international bodies and the international legal system. Is it any wonder that they have resorted to desperate methods? Who would not take them in the unjust situation Palestinians are in? Promises made that their own state is on the horizon are always broken.

When, in frustration, they turn to violence, they are branded as terrorists. The Islamist movement Hamas is regarded by Israel and the West as a terrorist organization after carrying out dozens of suicide attacks, but the invasion by Israel of Gaza on 27 December 2008, left 1,400 Palestinians, nearly all civilians, and 13 Israelis, nearly all soldiers, dead.

Surely something is seriously wrong with our world when a people who have been wronged for over a half century are treated as the criminals. Wherever the Palestinians turn, they find every door shut. Whatever they do to obtain a fraction of their rights, they face insurmountable obstacles. Time and again, they pursue international justice only to discover that it does not exist… for them! Recognized legal channels lead them nowhere.

Compiled from various sources.


Dinah Bee Menil said...

Nice site, very informative. I like to read this.,it is very helpful in my part for my criminal law studies.

William Smith said...

My heart goes out to the poor innocent people who suffer because of this every day.