L’ONU intraprende un primo passo concreto affinché Israele sia ritenuto responsabile per le violazioni dei diritti umani dei palestinesi

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Alto Commissario dell’ONU per i Diritti Umani, stringe la mano ai delegati prima dell’apertura della trentaseiesima sessione del Consiglio dei Diritti Umani, nella sede europea delle Nazioni Unite. Grazie a: Laurent Gillieron/AP

 

L’ONU intraprende un primo passo concreto affinché Israele sia ritenuta responsabile per le violazioni dei diritti umani dei palestinesi

 

27 settembre 2017 — Informazioni pubblicate oggi dai media hanno rivelato che l’Alto Commissario dell’ONU per i Diritti Umani due settimane fa ha iniziato a inviare lettere a 150 aziende in Israele e nel mondo, avvertendole che potrebbero essere aggiunte a una banca dati delle aziende complici che fanno affari nelle colonie illegali israeliane basate nella Cisgiordania palestinese occupata, compresa Gerusalemme Est.

Le lettere hanno ricordato a queste aziende che le loro attività nelle e con le colonie illegali israeliane sono in violazione di “diritto internazionale e contrarie alle risoluzioni dell’ONU”. Inoltre hanno chiesto che queste aziende rispondano con chiarimenti riguardo a tali attività.

Secondo funzionari israeliani di alto livello, alcune delle aziende hanno già risposto all’Alto Commissario dell’ONU per i Diritti Umani dicendo che non rinnoveranno i loro contratti o non ne firmeranno di nuovi in Israele. “Questo potrebbe trasformarsi in una valanga”, ha detto con preoccupazione un funzionario israeliano.

Delle 150 aziende, circa 30 sono ditte americane e un certo numero sono di nazioni che includono la Germania, la Corea del sud e la Norvegia. La metà restante sono aziende israeliane, compreso il gigante farmaceutico Teva, l’azienda telefonica nazionale Bezeq, l’azienda di autobus Egged, l’azienda idrica nazionale Mekorot, le due maggiori banche del paese Hapoalim e Leumi, la grande azienda militare e tecnologica Elbit Systems, Coca-Cola, Africa-Israel, IDB e Netafim.

Le aziende americane che hanno ricevuto le lettere includono Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor e Airbnb.

A quanto riferito, l’amministrazione Trump sta cercando di impedire la pubblicazione della lista.

 

Omar Barghouti, co-fondatore del movimento BDS, ha commentato:

Dopo decenni di deprivazione dei palestinesi e di occupazione militare e apartheid da parte di Israele, le Nazioni Unite hanno intrapreso un primo passo concreto e pratico per assicurare che Israele sia ritenuta responsabile per le sue continue violazioni dei diritti umani dei palestinesi. I palestinesi accolgono calorosamente questo passo.

Speriamo che il Consiglio per i Diritti Umani dell’ONU sia inflessibile e pubblichi la sua lista completa delle aziende che operano illegalmente nelle, o con, le colonie israeliane sulla terra palestinese rubata, e che elaborerà questa lista come richiesto dal Consiglio per i Diritti Umani dell’ONU nel marzo 2016.

Può essere troppo ambizioso aspettarsi che questa misura coraggiosa dell’ONU concernente la responsabilità possa “fare scendere dal piedistallo” Israele, come il leader anti-apartheid sudafricano, arcivescovo Desmond Tutu ha richiesto una volta. Ma se attuata correttamente, questa banca dati dell’ONU sulle aziende che sono complici in alcune delle violazioni di diritti umani da parte di Israele può presagire l’inizio della fine dell’impunità criminale di Israele.

 

Il Comitato Nazionale BDS palestinese (BNC) è la più grande coalizione della società civile palestinese. Guida e sostiene il movimento globale di Boicottaggio, Divestimento e Sanzioni. Visitate il nostro sito Internet e seguiteci su Facebook e Twitter @BDSmovement.

 

thanks to:  Comitato Nazionale BDS palestinese (BNC)  

Traduzione di BDS Italia

 

 

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UN takes first concrete step to hold Israel accountable for violating Palestinian human rights

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, shakes hand with delegates before the opening of the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations. Credit: Laurent Gillieron/AP

September 27, 2017  — Today’s media reports revealed that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights began sending letters two weeks ago to 150 companies in Israel and around the globe, warning them that they could be added to a database of complicit companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements based in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The letters reminded these companies that their operations in and with illegal Israeli settlements are in violation of “international law and in opposition of UN resolutions.” They also requested that these companies respond with clarifications about such operations.

According to senior Israeli officials, some of the companies have already responded to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights by saying they won’t renew their contracts or sign new ones in Israel. “This could turn into a snowball,” worried an Israeli official.

Of the 150 companies, some 30 are American firms, and a number are from nations including Germany, South Korea and Norway. The remaining half are Israeli companies, including pharmaceutical giant Teva, the national phone company Bezeq, bus company Egged, the national water company Mekorot, the county’s two biggest banks Hapoalim and Leumi, the large military and technology company Elbit Systems, Coca-Cola, Africa-Israel, IDB and Netafim.

American companies that received letters include Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor and Airbnb.

The Trump administration is reportedly trying to prevent the list’s publication.

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, commented:

After decades of Palestinian dispossession and Israeli military occupation and apartheid, the United Nations has taken its first concrete, practical step to secure accountability for ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. Palestinians warmly welcome this step.

We hope the UN Human Rights Council will stand firm and publish its full list of companies illegally operating in or with Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land, and will develop this list as called for by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2016.

It may be too ambitious to expect this courageous UN accountability measure to effectively take Israel “off the pedestal,” as South African anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu once called for. But if implemented properly, this UN database of companies that are complicit in some of Israel’s human rights violations may augur the beginning of the end of Israel’s criminal impunity.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Visit our website and follow us on  Facebook and Twitter @BDSmovement.

thanks to: BDSmovement

UN envoy: Syria opposition should accept defeat

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has called on the Syrian opposition to accept that they have failed to win their war against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“For the opposition, the message is very clear: if they were planning to win the war, facts are proving that is not the case. So now it is time to win the peace,” de Mistura told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday.

The UN special envoy noted that the war was almost over, as many countries have concerted efforts to defeat Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Syria and a national ceasefire should follow soon after.

“Victory can only be if there is a sustainable political long-term solution. Otherwise instead of war, God forbid, we may see plenty of low intensity guerrilla (conflicts) going on for the next 10 years, and you will see no reconstruction, which is a very sad outcome of winning a war,” he added.

De Mistura plans to join the next round of negotiations between representatives from the Syrian government and foreign-sponsored armed opposition besides delegates from Iran, Russia, and Turkey as mediators in the Kazakh capital city of Astana between September 14 and 15.

He has sought to unify the opposition after hosting seven rounds of largely unsuccessful talks in Geneva.

The UN envoy underlined the need for resolving the fate of Idlib at the Astana talks, saying, “I am confident…there will be a non-conflictual solution – let us say not a new Aleppo, that is what we want to avoid at any cost, if we have learned from the past.”

He called for the formation of a political framework amid liberation of more areas from the control of terrorists groups, saying, “The issue is: is the government, after the liberation of Dayr al-Zawr and Raqqah, ready and prepared to genuinely negotiate and not simply announce victory, which we all know, and they know too, cannot be announced because it will not be sustainable without a political process?”

“Will the opposition be able to be unified and realistic enough to realize they did not win the war?” he further asked.

Progress on Idlib

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that experts from Russia, Turkey and Iran have made considerable progress in efforts to agree methods of ensuring security in the de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib province.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Photo by Reuters)

“As for the Idlib province, contacts are underway between the guarantor countries and initiators of the Astana process – Russia, Iran and Turkey,” he said.

“In the course of [these consultations], we have made considerable progress to agree on the parameters, configuration and methods of ensuring security in the de-escalation zone in the Idlib province. I hope we will hear more specific news in the near future,” Lavrov noted.

Since January, Astana has hosted five rounds of peace talks which have so far resulted in an agreement on four de-escalation zones across Syria.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, three of the enclaves had been created to date, in the country’s sprawling central province of Homs, in the Eastern Ghouta area of the southern Rif Dimashq Province, and a southwestern militant-controlled stretch along the border with Jordan.

The photo shows a general view of the fifth round of Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, on July 5, 2017. (By AFP)

The upcoming talks aim to facilitate the creation of the fourth zone, in the western Syrian Idlib Province, where significant concentrations of Takfiri terrorists, most notably from al-Nusra Front, are operating. The successful materialization of that prospect is expected to give civilians an opportunity to return to peaceful life in Idlib.

The talks in Astana have been going on in tandem with UN-brokered Geneva talks.

When the first round of the Astana talks was organized, the Geneva talks had been stalled for months. The talks in the Kazakh capital then provided momentum for the UN-brokered talks, helping revive them.

Sorgente: PressTV-UN envoy: Syria opposition should accept defeat

Parole contro prove satellitari: Smentite le menzogne di Obama e Ban Ki-moon

Aleppo. Il ministero della Difesa russo ha diffuso un video ripreso da un drone che mostra il convoglio di aiuti umanitari dell’ONU affiancato da un veicolo dei “ribelli moderati” dotato di un grosso lanciagranate.

I militanti alla guida di un pick-up con una copertura di mortaio hanno utilizzato il convoglio di aiuti  delle Nazioni Unite diretto nei pressi di Aleppo.

L’esercito russo ha mostrato ieri le immagini satellitari di un drone che monitorava il convoglio.  “L’analisi dei filmati attraverso il nostro drone monitora i movimenti del convoglio di aiuti attraverso le aree in attesa militanti ha contribuito a rivelare nuovi dettagli sulla vicenda”, ha dichiarato Konashenkov. “Il video mostra chiaramente come i terroristi si trasferiscono con un camioncino con un mortaio di grosso calibro. ”

Lunedi un convoglio umanitario composto da 31 camion è stato attaccato mentre si dirigeva verso Aleppo. Secondo la Croce Rossa, 20 civili e un operatore umanitario sono morti in seguito.

I primi rapporti dall’organizzazione hanno sostenuto che il convoglio era stato preso di mira da un attacco aereo. La Russia ha negato le accuse, e mostrato come la distruzione dei veicoli interessati non si . “Non ci sono crateri, mentre i veicoli hanno il loro telaio intatto e non sono stati gravemente danneggiati, come sarebbe accaduto in caso di un attacco aereo”, ha dichiarato Konashenkov. Le Nazioni Unite – al contrario della Casa Bianca che non mostra una prova satellitare al contrario del ministero russo – ha poi dovuto ritrattare martedì le sue affermazioni sul fatto che il convoglio sia stato colpito da aerei militari. “Non siamo in grado di determinare se erano in realtà attacchi aerei. Siamo in grado di dire che il convoglio è stato attaccato”, ha dichiarato il portavoce ‘umanitario’ delle Nazioni Unite Jens Laerke.

 

Fonte: RT

 

Notizia del: 21/09/2016

 

 

Sorgente: Parole contro prove satellitari: Smentite le menzogne di Obama e Ban Ki-moon – World Affairs – L’Antidiplomatico

La bufala per far dimenticare l’eccidio di 62 soldati siriani da parte dell’aviazione Usa

Ma perché mai Assad dovrebbe far bombardare un convoglio di aiuti umanitari, organizzato dalla Croce Rossa e diretto verso i -finalmente liberi dell’assedio jihadista – abitanti della periferia di Aleppo?  Si direbbe non se lo chieda nessuna TV o  giornale padronale, che con questa bufala, cercano di far dimenticare l’eccidio intenzionale di 62 soldati siriani da parte dell’aviazione USA.

Ma cosa è successo veramente al convoglio umanitario? I Russi, da parte loro, annunciando la pubblicazione di foto satellitari, negano non solo un coinvolgimento dell’aviazione siriana o russo ma anche l’ipotesi del bombardamento, considerando che non vi è traccia dei tipici crateri ad imbuto conseguenti ai bombardamenti aerei. E le ancora poche foto in circolazione si direbbero attestare che a colpire il convoglio siano stati RPG o missili a spalla, verosimilmente sparati da qualche tagliagole o “ribelle” che dir si voglia.
Ma che importa?!  La “Verità” l’hanno già gridata i media mainstream: é stato Assad! É stato Assad! Probabilmente, tra qualche giorno, una dettaglia inchiesta dimostrerà tutt’altro. Ma a chi volete che allora importi?

Francesco Santoianni

Notizia del: 20/09/2016

Sorgente: La bufala per far dimenticare l’eccidio di 62 soldati siriani da parte dell’aviazione Usa – I media alla guerra – L’Antidiplomatico

L’ONU mette in guardia sui rischi dovuti ai trasferimenti forzati di Beduini in Cisgiordania

Betlemme-Ma’an. In un rapporto, il coordinatore umanitario dell’ONU per la Palestina ha lanciato l’allarme, martedì 23 agosto, su un probabile incremento dei rischi dovuti al trasferimento forzato di beduini in Cisgiordania.
Robert Piper ha avvertito a proposito di tali rischi dopo aver visitato la comunità beduina di Abu Nuwwar, nel governatorato di Gerusalemme, che si trova a sud-ovest della colonia illegale israeliana di Maale Adumim.
Abu Nuwwar è uno dei tanti villaggi beduini che hanno subito il trasferimento forzato previsto dai progetti delle autorità israeliane per la costruzione di migliaia di abitazioni per le colonie destinate unicamente agli ebrei, nella zona del corridoio E1.

Il rapporto ha sottolineato che, la scorsa settimana, le autorità israeliane avevano dislocato 64 Palestinesi, compresi 24 bambini, dopo la demolizione di 29 strutture in otto zone, aggiungendo che le forze israeliane hanno anche distrutto o confiscato 85 costruzioni civili in 28 comunità della Cisgiordania dall’inizio di questo mese, lasciando senza casa 129 Palestinesi ed impattando negativamente sulla vita quotidiana di almeno 2.100 Palestinesi.

“Tra le 85 strutture distrutte recentemente o confiscate, 24 erano state fornite da donatori come aiuti, compresi rifugi di emergenza a seguito delle demolizioni di abitazioni avvenute in precedenza, ricoveri per animali, bagni, un centro sociale ed una nuova rete idrica di acqua potabile, quest’ultima supportata dall’UNICEF”, si legge nel rapporto.

Le demolizioni hanno inoltre colpito quasi 1000 comunità di Beduini palestinesi nella Valle del Giordano che, come evidenzia la relazione, soffrono già a causa dell’estrema scarsità di acqua. La relazione esprime preoccupazione anche per la situazione di Susiya, nella parte meridionale della Cisgiordania, dove le autorità israeliane hanno compiuto azioni volte alla distruzione dell’intero villaggio.

“Serie ripetute di demolizioni, restrizioni sull’accesso ai servizi basilari e visite regolari da parte del personale di sicurezza israeliano che promuovono ‘progetti di delocalizzazione’ fanno tutti parte di una situazione coercitiva che coinvolge attualmente queste famiglie palestinesi particolarmente vulnerabili”, ha affermato Piper secondo quanto riportato nel rapporto.
“La crescente pressione per spostarsi in altre zone della Cisgiordania continua ormai inarrestabile; in questa situazione non possiamo aspettarci che la gente prenda decisioni sulla base di un reale consenso cosicché il rischio di trasferimenti forzati resta alto”.

La relazione ha richiamato l’attenzione sui doveri legali di Israele come forza occupante in base al diritto internazionale, tra i quali, il provvedere ai bisogni primari dei Palestinesi garantendo un “sistema di progettazione e suddivisione in zone” equo.
Nel 2016 vi è stata un’ondata di demolizioni e confische lungo tutta la Cisgiordania con 786 strutture di proprietà palestinese distrutte fino ad oggi. Queste demolizioni hanno provocato complessivamente la dislocazione di 1.197 persone, compresi 558 bambini. Oltre 200 delle strutture abbattute erano state fornite come soccorso umanitario.

“Dkaika, Khan al Ahmar, Umm al-Kheir, Abu Nuwwar, Susiya… queste sono soltanto alcune delle comunità estremamente vulnerabili nelle quali famiglie, molte delle quali costituite da rifugiati Palestinesi, vivono nel timore continuo di rimanere senza casa ed i bambini si chiedono se avranno ancora una scuola da frequentare domani”, ha aggiunto Piper.

La costruzione della colonia nella zona E1 dividerebbe effettivamente la Cisgiordania e renderebbe la creazione di uno stato palestinese contiguo – come previsto dalla soluzione dei due stati per il conflitto israelo-palestinese appoggiata a livello internazionale – pressoché impossibile.
L’attività israeliana nella zona E1 ha attirato molte critiche a livello internazionale ed il presidente palestinese Mahmoud Abbas aveva già dichiarato in passato che “E1 è una linea rossa che non può essere oltrepassata”.
Anche il primo ministro palestinese Rami Hamdallah ha denunciato mercoledì scorso il trasferimento forzato dei Beduini, dicendo che “le sistematiche violazioni israeliane del diritto internazionale non sono più accettabili da parte della comunità internazionale”.

Traduzione di Aisha T. Bravi

Sorgente: L’ONU mette in guardia sui rischi dovuti ai trasferimenti forzati di Beduini in Cisgiordania | Infopal

La risposta ONU a Israele per la chiusura del caso sull’attacco aereo alla scuola dell’UNRWA nel 2014

Betlemme-Ma’an. Venerdì, le Nazioni Unite hanno risposto con un comunicato all’annuncio di mercoledì di Israele,  secondo il quale l’esercito è esonerato da ogni accusa per l’attacco missilistico a una scuola dell’UNRWA, a Rafah, durante la guerra di Gaza nel 2014, che uccise 15 persone. L’agenzia Onu ha evidenziato che il caso solleva “seri dubbi” sulla condotta militare israeliana in relazione al diritto internazionale.

Secondo la dichiarazione rilasciata dal portavoce dell’Unrwa, Chris Gunness, nel corso di una devastante offensiva militare di 51 giorni contro la Striscia di Gaza assediata, il 3 agosto 2014 le forze israeliane lanciarono un missile sulla strada in cui si trovava una scuola dell’UNRWA, che era stata designata come ricovero di emergenza per i profughi palestinesi il 18 luglio e all’epoca dava riparo ad almeno 2.900 Palestinesi.

L’attacco uccise 15 civili, mentre almeno altri 30 rimasero feriti.

Secondo la dichiarazione, i funzionari dell’ONU avevano avvertito l’esercito israeliano con 33 comunicazioni separate che la scuola era usata per dar rifugio ai Palestinesi sfollati a causa degli attacchi aerei israeliani, aggiungendo di aver avvertito le autorità israeliane di nuovo un’ora prima del devastante attacco.

“Ciò solleva seri dubbi sulla condotta delle operazioni militari in relazione agli obblighi di diritto internazionale umanitario e al rispetto per l’inviolabilità e la sacralità degli edifici delle Nazioni Unite ai sensi del diritto internazionale”, ha affermato Gunness nel rapporto.

Gunness ha sottolineato che l’ONU ha continuamente richiesto l’assunzione di responsabilità dei crimini commessi dai militari israeliani durante l’offensiva israeliana del 2014, aggiungendo che “l’indicazione che la responsabilità è stata elusa sarebbe una questione di grave preoccupazione”.

“Prendiamo atto che non è stata accettata alcuna responsabilità penale per i casi riguardanti gli edifici dell’UNRWA – ha aggiunto Gunness -. Le famiglie colpite non hanno ricevuto alcun risarcimento effettivo e, dal loro punto di vista, questo è certamente visto come un’ulteriore negazione dei loro diritti”.

Secondo la dichiarazione, l’Agenzia Onu non ha ancora ricevuto alcun aggiornamento da parte dell’esercito israeliano riguardo le indagini penali in corso per gli attacchi aerei sui rifugi d’emergenza dell’UNRWA a Beit Hanoun e Jabalia che causarono 29 morti tra i civili.

Mercoledì scorso, l’esercito israeliano ha annunciato in un comunicato che sono stati chiusi 13 indagini penali sui casi di soldati israeliani che commisero violazioni contro i civili palestinesi durante l’attacco israeliano del 2014 nella Striscia di Gaza assediata. Altri 80 sono stati archiviati.

L’attacco aereo nei pressi della struttura dell’UNRWA a Rafah è stato chiuso senza richiedere un’indagine penale, perché “l’esercito israeliano aveva osservato tre presunti militari palestinesi su una motocicletta vicino alla scuola”. Secondo la dichiarazione ONU, l’esercito israeliano aveva deciso di effettuare l’attacco aereo dopo aver svolto “sorveglianza aerea sul percorso della moto” e rilevato “un ampio raggio del percorso stimato della moto, per minimizzare il rischio di danni ai civili sulla strada o nelle sue  prossimità”.

L’esercito israeliano ha ritenuto questo attacco accettabile in base al diritto nazionale e internazionale di Israele.

Secondo un rapporto pubblicato a maggio dal gruppo israeliano per i diritti umani, B’Tselem, dopo l’inizio della seconda Intifada, alla fine del 2000, delle 739 denunce presentate dall’organizzazione, i Palestinesi uccisi, feriti, usati come scudi umani, o le cui proprietà sono state danneggiate dalle forze israeliane, circa il 70 per cento ha portato a un’indagine in cui non è stata intrapresa alcuna azione, o a un’indagine mai aperta.

Solo il 3 per cento dei casi ha portato ad accuse dirette contro i soldati.

L’offensiva israeliana di 51 giorni, “Operazione margine di protezione”, provocò l’uccisione di 1.462 civili palestinesi, un terzo dei quali erano bambini, secondo le Nazioni Unite.

La Striscia di Gaza ha sofferto a causa del blocco militare israeliano dal 2007, quando Hamas ha assunto il governo del territorio. I residenti di Gaza soffrono di alti tassi di disoccupazione e di povertà, e delle conseguenze di tre guerre devastanti di Israele dal 2008.

L’ONU ha avvertito che il territorio palestinese assediato potrebbe diventare “inabitabile” entro il 2020, con i suoi 1,8 milioni di abitanti che vivono in estrema povertà a causa del quasi decennale blocco israeliano che ha paralizzato l’economia.

Gli abitanti hanno continuato a sperimentare traumi nella loro vita quotidiana dopo l’offensiva israeliana del 2014, e gli sforzi per la ricostruzione hanno ritmi drammaticamente lenti. Circa 75.000 Palestinesi sono ancora sfollati dopo aver perso la casa nel 2014.

(Nella foto: ragazzine palestinesi camminano fra le macerie di edifici nel quartiere orientale di Shejaiya nella città di Gaza distrutta durante la guerra di 50 giorni tra Israele e militanti  di Hamas  nel 2014).

Traduzione di Edy Meroli

Sorgente: La risposta ONU a Israele per la chiusura del caso sull’attacco aereo alla scuola dell’UNRWA nel 2014 | Infopal

Analisi: La “doppia morale” israeliana sull’uso di scudi umani

336712CMa’an. Di Ben White. Nonostante gli ufficiali israeliani avessero sostenuto più volte che le fazioni palestinesi abbiano utilizzato scudi umani come mezzo di dissuasione, non ci sono prove che indicano che Hamas o altri gruppi si siano macchiati di tale crimine, così come inteso dalle leggi internazionali.
Anche se fossero stati utilizzati scudi umani, ciò non avrebbe autorizzato Israele a non attenersi alla legge. Ci sono innumerevoli prove che da parte di Israele non siano state adottate precauzioni sufficienti nel lanciare attacchi in prossimità di aree presiedute da non combattenti, e lo stesso esercito israeliano afferma che solo il 18% dei missili siano stati sparati da “mezzi civili”. Poiché la propaganda israeliana si basa unicamente su tale retorica, occorre sottolineare la scarsità di prove a supporto della tesi in merito all’utilizzo di scudi umani da parte dei palestinesi.

Al contrario, esiste un’ampia documentazione sull’utilizzo di scudi umani da parte delle forze armate israeliane nel corso di molti anni. Come riportato dall’ONG israeliana B’Tselem, durante la seconda Intifada, cominciata nel settembre del 2000, “i militari israeliani utilizzarono civili palestinesi come scudi umani” mettendo in pratica una “strategia delineata dalle autorità militari”. Secondo alcuni ufficiali l’esercito aveva fatto ricorso a scudi umani in 1200 occasioni nei cinque anni precedenti il 2005, anno in cui la Corte Suprema aveva dichiarato tale pratica assolutamente illecita. Ciononostante molti sono gli esempi documentati sull’uso di questa strategia anche dopo il 2005.

Nel novembre del 2006, alcuni soldati israeliani utilizzarono un uomo palestinese come scudo umano durante un’operazione militare a Betlemme. B’Tselem ha documentato almeno 14 casi in cui i militari hanno usato scudi umani, inclusi due bambini a Nablus.

Nell’ottobre del 2007, l’attuale vice capo delle forze armate, Yair Golan, dopo avere ordinato ai soldati di usare scudi umani, fu punito con un semplice rimprovero.
In un’altra occasione, quando due soldati israeliani furono condannati per l’utilizzo di scudi umani palestinesi durante un’ operazione chiamata “Cast Lead”, la pena fu di tre mesi di sospensione e una retrocessione di grado.

Talesorta di impunità fu fermamente condannata dal Comitato dell’ONU per i Diritti dei Bambini nel giugno del 2013, che in un rapporto citava 14 casi di bambini palestinesi usati come “scudi e informatori” dal gennaio 2010 alla fine di marzo 2013. Nonostante lo sdegno della comunità internazionale i militari israeliani non hanno abbandonato tale pratica: nell’aprile del 2013, alcuni soldati usarono un ragazzo ammanettato come scudo umano mentre sparavano su dei manifestanti nella Cisgiordania occupata, mentre nel giugno del 2014 alcuni militari costrinsero un membro di una famiglia a “scortarli” durante un raid presso una abitazione a Hebron.

Di sicuro tutte le accuse mosse dai portavoce israeliani contro le fazioni palestinesi- con prove inesistenti o parziali- hanno un loro parallelo nei crimini commessi dall’esercito israeliano, ampiamente documentati.

Utilizzo di case per operazioni militari? – L’esercito israeliano ha occupato numerose case palestinesi convertendole in avamposti militari, mentre i residenti venivano confinati in una stanza.

Camuffarsi da civili per commettere atti violenti? – Nel novembre del 2015, le forze di occupazione israeliane, camuffate da civili- uno addirittura nelle sembianze di una donna incinta su sedia a rotelle- durante un raid nell’ospedale di Hebron, uccisero un uomo a sangue freddo.

Le truppe israeliane usarono scudi umani anche durante l’invasione di Gaza. Nel giugno del 2006, per esempio, alcuni soldati a Beit Hanon trattennero sei civili, inclusi due bambini “all’ingresso di una stanza in cui si erano posizionati, per circa 12 ore” durante “un violento scontro a fuoco con i militanti palestinesi”.

Il rapporto Goldstone ha documentato altre casistiche del genere verificatesi durante l’operazione “Piombo Fuso” nella quale alcuni civili “furono bendati, ammanettati e costretti ad entrare nelle abitazioni precedendo i militari”. La commissione di inchiesta dell’ONU nel suo rapporto conclusivo ha riportato che “la pratica di utilizzare scudi umani palestinesi è stata adottata più volte” e che “non sarebbe difficile concludere che si tratti di una pratica adottata ripetutamente… durante le operazioni militari a Gaza”.
Non ha fatto eccezione l’operazione “Protective Edge” in merito all’utilizzo di tale pratica. In un documento emesso dall’organizzazione Defense for Children International Palestina, i soldati israeliani “hanno usato un diciassettenne palestinese come scudo umano per cinque giorni, tenendolo costantemente sotto tiro per costringerlo a cercare dei tunnel” e sottoponendolo ripetutamente a violenze fisiche. Il direttore dell’ONG, Rifat Kassis, ha fatto notare che “gli ufficiali israeliani hanno mosso accuse generiche contro Hamas ed il loro utilizzo di scudi umani, mentre i loro stessi soldati si macchiano di questo ed altri crimini di guerra”.

La Commissione di inchiesta dell’Onu sul conflitto del 2014 a Gaza, ha posto l’accento sull’utilizzo da parte dei soldati israeliani di scudi umani nelle operazioni di ricerca. La commissione ha citato il caso in cui i militari “sparavano da dietro uomini nudi, usandoli come scudo umano per ore”. Agli uomini fu ordinato di restare alla finestra per impedire che i miliziani di Hamas rispondessero al fuoco. La commissione ha concluso che “il modo in cui i soldati israeliani costringono i palestinesi a stare alle finestre, entrare nelle case o in aree sottoterra e forzarli a compiere azioni di natura militare, costituiscono una violazione dell’articolo 28 della Convenzione di Ginevra che impedisce l’utilizzo di scudi umani, e che queste azioni si configurano come crimini di guerra”

Traduzione di Mafalda Insigne

 

thanks to: Agenzia stampa Infopal

Natural resources and intifada: oil, phosphates and resistance to colonialism in Western Sahara

On 28 October 2013, US company Kosmos, Scottish Cairn Energy and the

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in the Journal of North African Studies on 22 April 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13629387.2016.1174586

Moroccan Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) announced their joint plans to drill for oil in ‘one of the last undrilled petroleum systems along the Atlantic Margin’  (Maxted 2013 ). Simon Thomson, CEO of Cairn Energy commented that his company’s share in the farm-in Agreement would build on its existing ‘strategic presence’  in ‘Morocco’  (Thomson 2013). His key mistake was that the block to be explored –  Cap Boujdour Offshore –  is not in Morocco at all, but off the shores of Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa.

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Rich in resources and small in population, Western Sahara, victim since 1975 of a brutal and illegal Moroccan occupation, has a history shaped to a large extent by its immense resources. Indeed, natural resources have always been at the centre of the Western Sahara conflict, and were a key demand of the anti-Spanish protestors in the early 1970s. Spain exploited Western Sahara’s rich phosphate reserves and Morocco continues to profit from the country’s natural wealth. The latter is illegal since Morocco is not recognised internationally as holding sovereignty over Western Sahara, and indeed an occupying power cannot legally exploit the natural resources of the occupied country without the consent of the indigenous people of that country. I argue in this paper that it is only recently that sovereignty over these resources has started to become a prominent demand of the Saharawi activists resisting the Moroccan occupation. As I chart below, the Occupied Territories have a long history of mostly non-violent resistance, but the focus of the latter was, since the Moroccan invasion, traditionally on human rights and independence. What, then, has prompted the recent turn towards natural resources in the demands of the protestors and what are the wider implications of this turn?

This article relies on 20 individual (recorded) interviews, several personal conversations and communications and two discussion groups (one with seven participants in Agadir on 22 April 2014, the other with six in Marrakesh on 23 April 2014) with Saharawis conducted in occupied El Aaiún, Western Sahara, in August 2014, Rabat, Marrakesh and Agadir, Morocco, in April to May 2014, Zaragoza, Spain, in November 2014, and the Saharawi refugee camps/state-in-exile in December 2015, as well as one telephone interview with a Solidarity Activist (a founding member and ex-Chair of the Europe-based solidarity group Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW)) and observation of a four-hour workshop on natural resources for 22 Saharawi activists led by the Saharawi group Saharawi Campaign against the Plunder (SCAP), in Boujdour camp, Algeria, December 2015. Since June 2015 I have been Chair of WSRW and have volunteered with the organisation since 2009. Thus, the article also draws, to some extent, on my personal experiences.

Interviewees were selected for the most part for their roles leading campaigns against natural resource exploitation. However, the discussion groups in Moroccan cities were with nationalist activists that did not necessarily have links to natural resource campaigns. Similarly, five interviews (with Nguia Haouasi, Soukaina Yaya, Hassana Aalia, Fatan Abaali and Hayat Rguibi) and one personal conversation (with Ali Salem Tamek) were conducted in order to gain the views and experiences of activists working within the wider Saharawi resistance in the Occupied Territories but not necessarily with a primary focus on resources, and one, with the Deputy Representative of the Saharawi state-in-exile to the UK, to ascertain the official perspective of the POLISARIO. The study forms part of a wider Ph.D. project on gender and resistance in Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea funded by the University of Leeds.

In the first section of the article, I chart the emergence of the Saharawi pro-independence movements in the face of Spanish colonial rule and how the issue of natural resources exploitation was framed within the nationalist struggle. Following this, I look briefly at the Saharawi non-violent resistance movement in the occupied part of Western Sahara post the Moroccan colonisation, and why its demands went ‘underground’  at first, then re-emerged to focus on human rights, socio-economic grievances and independence. Thirdly, I focus on the Gdeim Izik protest, when natural resource-related demands came explicitly back on the scene. I then explore in more depth why natural resource exploitation has only resurfaced as a demand amongst civilian activists in recent years, before finally analysing the implications of this turn.

The Spanish colonial period and the discovery of petroleum deposits

Today Western Sahara’s natural wealth is under Moroccan control, with King Mohammed VI and members of the makhzan (Morocco’s pro-monarchy elite class and state apparatus), in many cases, profiting personally from its extraction. Nevertheless, its economic exploitation can be traced back to Spanish colonial times. The colonisation of Western Sahara was carried out by a few Spanish imperialists and merchants, followed by a handful of small companies and indeed, at first, the Spanish colonial project was an exclusively commercial one (Munene 2008, 91). The objective was to create a series of small, fortified settlements along the Sahara’s coast. The first was built in what was to be the colonial capital, Villa Cisneros, modern-day Dakhla, in 1884–1885 (San Martín 2010, 26), and later buildings were erected in Tarfaya and Lagwirah in 1916 and 1920, respectively (Zunes and Mundy 2010, 100). The Spanish could benefit from Western Sahara’s rich fisheries and trade with Saharawi tribes and others travelling along the traditional caravan route from Senegal.1

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Stamp from 1924

Private geological expeditions concluded in 1947 followed by government-commissioned surveys conducted between 1952 and 1962 found petroleum deposits in several locations both on land and offshore. However, due to low prices, low quality and lack of infrastructure, no companies invested (San Martín 2010, 51). The discovery of the largest phosphate reserves on earth (integral to producing agricultural fertilisers) was seen to be far more potentially lucrative and thus the colonial project expanded inland. Spain’s state mining company EMINSA (later FOSBUCRAA) built the Fos Bucraa mine in 1968, including a 60-mile-long conveyor belt (the longest of its kind in the world) to transport the riches to the Atlantic ocean for export. Forty-six years on, Morocco makes use of this mine to dominate the global phosphate market with an 85% share. In 2014 alone, Fos Bucraa yielded an estimated 2.1 million tonnes of phosphate with an estimated value of $230 million per annum (Western Sahara Resource Watch 2015).

Although by the 1960s, the UN was pressuring Spain to decolonise,2  the expansion of the colonial project brought more and more Spanish settlers to Western Sahara, which was by then recognised as a Spanish province. Much of the Saharawi population became sedentary. Many men worked at the phosphate mine and men and women in the fisheries industry, providing a cheap labour force for resource exploitation, and others had jobs with the colonial administration. However, this is not to say that the population was not segregated. Indeed it was, and, unsurprisingly, the wealth of the territory was unequally divided in favour of the Spanish. This dissatisfaction, combined with the collapse of traditional forms of social organisation based on kinship, allowed the emergence a new sense of collective identity. As a 1973 Spanish population survey found, the Saharawis no longer identified themselves along tribal lines. Instead, they joked that all Saharawis belonged to the low-caste Znaga  (tributary) tribe and paid tribute to the Spanish (San Martín 2010, 55).

Meanwhile, revolutionary fervour was spreading throughout the African continent, and Western Sahara would not escape the trend. Mohammed Bassiri, a Saharawi intellectual and moderate nationalist well versed in pan-Arabism and the socialist, anti-colonial currents flowing through Africa at that time, fostered the spreading of such political discourses amongst the Saharawi population. As the sense of a collective Saharawi identity and Bassiri’s brand of nationalism diffused throughout Western Sahara, the origins of a pro-independence movement were sown. Nevertheless, following a 5000-strong Saharawi protest at Zemla Square, El Aaiún, 17 June 1970, several movement leaders were imprisoned or shot, and Bassiri was disappeared. This violent repression of a peaceful movement pushed the Saharawi nationalists towards armed struggle. Regarding these events, the Spanish leaders of Franco’s Women’s Section in the Sahara were told by Saharawi women, ‘[t]he historic moment was 17 June 1970. We can’t trust you anymore …’  (Mateo 1974, 8). Shortly after the massacre and inspired by Zemla and Bassiri’s group Harakat Tahrir, a group of young Saharawi university students who had been studying in Morocco formed the Frente Por la Liberación de Saguia el Hamra y Río de Oro  (POLISARIO), led by the charismatic El Wali Mustafa Said (commonly known as ‘El Wali’).

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Thus, the armed struggle began. At first, El Wali and his comrades travelled under cover around the territory to recruit supporters whilst activists such as Fatima Ghalia Leili began to train women in direct action methods (Interview with Soukaina Yaya, Activist born in the Spanish period, El Aaiún, 22 August 2014). POLISARIO and its women’s wing the National Union of Saharawi Women (UNMS) carried on the ideological work that Bassiri had begun. POLISARIO nationalist ideology drew on revolutionary, socialist discourses that emphasised the centrality of the role of the popular masses for revolutionary change and the principle that collective interests should always precede those of the individual. POLISARIO envisaged an egalitarian, communal society, in which slavery was abolished and the emancipation of women was an aim (Allan 2010, 190). Saharawi nationalist discourses launched a reading of the social that, following what Laclau and Mouffe have named ‘logic of equivalence’, attempted to divide the field of discursivity into two opposing ideological blocks able to deny each other while ‘decontesting’  and making equivalent a whole series of more particular discourses, conflicts and grievances (1987). The discrimination against Saharawi employees in the Fosbucraa mine, the lack of access to educational and job opportunities for Saharawi women, the barriers to political participation for the younger generations of Saharawis, the racial discrimination suffered by black slaves and harratin  (former slaves) were all made equivalent and acquired their meaning as different expressions of a single oppression: that of the colonialist foe – first Spain then Morocco and Mauritania later (Allan 2010, 190).

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Sahrawi fighter, by Christine Spengler, 1976

Under Spain, freedom from the colonial foe was expressed through POLISARIO discourse as independence for the Saharawi people and sovereignty over their natural resources. Spanish archives from the period indicate how, by 1974, such discourses were becoming hegemonic amongst the Saharawi population. A Spanish report on Saharawi women’ s political views, for example, found that women were almost without exception pro-independence and pro-self-determination, opposed to integration with any other country and supportive of the POLISARIO. Saharawi women were conscious of being ‘rich people but the Spanish [were] taking what was theirs’  (Mateo 1974 , 20) and the phrase ‘we are rich and we have phosphates’  (Mateo 1974, 3) was reportedly ‘repeatedly’  heard by the Spanish researchers. Two events help to further illustrate how sovereignty over natural resources was welded, in the emerging nationalist discourses, with the dream of independence.

In October 1974, a 15-year-old Saharawi schoolgirl gathered together all her female classmates to plan a break-time protest against the Spanish presence in the territory. The girls complained that the Spanish had done nothing in the territory apart from ‘discovering phosphates’  and ‘ taking them away’ (Mateo 1974 , 9). On the 19th night of the same month, POLISARIO guerrillas sabotaged two stations of the Fosbucraa conveyor belt, costing Spain ‘very serious’  economic losses (Mateo 1974). Through the nationalist ideologies they sowed and made hegemonic, the POLISARIO made the natural wealth of the Western Sahara a key demand for Saharawi resistance against the Spanish. We shall see later how this demand was to resurface amongst civilian-led non-violent resistance during the Moroccan occupation.

Towards the end of 1974, under increasing pressure from the UN externally and from the Saharawi movement internally, Spain announced its decision to hold a self-determination referendum for the Saharawi people and conducted a census for that purpose. Nevertheless, Morocco and Mauritania had other ideas, claiming Western Sahara as their own. The two countries took their claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1975 with the support of all Arab states, requesting an Advisory Opinion that would help consolidate their planned takeover legally. However, the ICJ did not issue the opinion that Morocco hoped for. Historical evidence did not ‘establish any tie of territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco and the Mauritanian entity’  but did show that, in pre-colonial times, the Moroccan Sultan had no control over Western Sahara and nor did the sultanate claim that the territory was under its control (International Court of Justice 1975 ). Thus, the ICJ urged the application of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) for ‘the decolonization of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory’  (International Court of Justice 1975).

The day after the ICJ ruling King Hassan II announced on Moroccan television that the Court had ruled in his favour and that he would therefore lead a ‘peaceful’  Green March of over 300,000 Moroccan civilians into Western Sahara. Spain, unwilling to face an unpopular and expensive war with Morocco and Mauritania, and cowed by pressure from the US, conceded through a tripartite agreement signed on 14 November 1975 to divide Western Sahara between its two African neighbours. In exchange for selling out its colony, Spain would have the right to a 35% share of any future mineral exploitation as well as certain rights over fisheries (Zunes and Mundy 2010 , Chapter 1).

In November 1975, 350,000 Moroccan civilians marched on foot towards the cities of Western Sahara. Meanwhile, the Moroccan army entered with tanks and aeroplanes. They bombed groups of fleeing Saharawis (roughly half the population remained in the region of Western Sahara that was to become occupied) with napalm and white phosphorus (San Martín 2010 , 2). These civilians were heading on foot to Algeria, which had offered asylum in its Hamada: the driest and most inhospitable part of its desert, where the Saharawi refugees remain to this day. It was here that the POLISARIO set up its state-in-exile, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) originally proclaimed in Bir Lehlou, in the liberated part of Western Sahara, on 27 February 1976.

The Mauritanian forces were little match for the guerrilla tactics of the POLISARIO.

Mauritania retreated in 1979, signing a peace deal with the Saharawis, by which time Morocco had been all but entirely driven out of the territory (Mauritania has since recognised the SADR). However, unfortunately for the POLISARIO, over the next decade the tide was turned by Morocco’ s long term allies Saudi Arabia, France and the US, who offered financial and military backing and sponsorship for the world’ s largest active military wall (Zunes and Mundy 2010 , Chapter 1). Approximately 2700 km in length, the ‘ Wall of Shame’, as it is known by Saharawis, splits the POLISARIO-controlled and Moroccan-occupied territories into two and is heavily fortified by minefields (San Martín and Allan 2007 ). This put Morocco in a strong position for negotiating once the UN moved back on the scene in an attempt to establish a ceasefire in 1991. The latter was predicated on the promise of a self-determination referendum for the Saharawis. Yet the vote has been repeatedly blocked by Morocco, leaving the UN-sponsored solution to the conflict in a quagmire. The POLISARIO, left without a realistic military option in the face of Moroccan military superiority and its powerful western allies (this, nevertheless, has not prevented growing calls for a return to war), has since continued on the seemingly stagnant political path. Meanwhile, in the Occupied Territories, a non-violent movement of Saharawi civilians has emerged, whose resistance will be the focus of the next section of this article.

Non-violent resistance in occupied Western Sahara: human rights, socio-economic grievances and independence

During the early 1980s, acts of resistance were largely clandestine. The open calls for independence and sovereignty over natural resources that overwhelmed the Spanish during their last 18 months in the territory were simply not thinkable amidst the terror of the Moroccan occupation. Nevertheless, what James C. Scott might call a ‘ hidden transcript’, conspicuous acts of defiance against the occupation played out behind closed doors, thrived. POLISARIO radio announcements were listened to beneath blankets to muffle the sound (Interview with Sultana Khaya, Activist and President of the Saharawi League for Natural Resources and Human Rights (Saharawi League) 26 November 2014), pro-POLISARIO leaflets were distributed in secret and wanted activists were hidden in safe houses. The most daring Saharawis organised what they called ‘operations’, which involved writing Saharawi slogans and painting the SADR flag on the walls of Moroccan administrative buildings and swapping Moroccan flags for SADR ones (personal communications with ex-disappeared Malainin Lakhal, October 2013).

James C. Scott’ s argues that public, declared resistance (petitions, strikes, demonstrations and so on) are mainly the preserve of western liberal democracies, whilst communities that are unable to publically protest safely use what Scott calls infrapolitics (hidden transcripts, everyday acts of resistance and dissident subcultures, as was the case of the Saharawis in the early1980s) (1990). Declared and open rebellion will only break out amongst such an oppressed community, argues Scott, when ‘the pressure [of indignation] rises or when there are weaknesses in the “retaining wall”  holding it back’ (1990, 197). Yet this explanation does not fully account for the case of Western Sahara. In 1987, when Moroccan repression was at its height and  disappearances of Saharawis were menacingly common, Saharawi activists organised a major human rights protest in El Aaiún, when the UN was visiting to begin preparing the referendum on the fate of territory. Such declared resistance despite the inevitable violent repression that protesters must have expected to face illustrates that the strategic need to perform resistance to an external audience (and thereby further disseminate a counter-hegemonic discourse that challenged Moroccan hegemony) is also important in explaining why resistance becomes open and public. Whilst, between the Moroccan invasion and 1987, Saharawi civilians in the Occupied Territories relied on the covert, hidden resistance tactics that Scott would call the weapons of the weak, the UN visit presented a political opportunity that activists tried to capitalise on, launching, for the first time under Moroccan colonisation, an open and mass protest.

Dozens of organisers and participants in this 1987 protest were forcibly disappeared, including Aminatou Haidar, one of the unofficial leaders of the resistance, who was imprisoned and tortured for four years. She and 299 other formerly disappeared Saharawis, including whole families in a few cases –  some of whom were detained post the 1987 protest and others during the 1970s and earlier in the 80s, but all of whom had been kept incommunicado and without trial –  were released in 1991 coinciding with the ceasefire (US Department of State 2003). The release of these political prisoners helped to inspire greater resistance amongst a younger generation of Saharawis (Barca and Zunes 2009, 159). The new presence of the UN in the territory also gave many activists renewed confidence to ‘go public’  in their acts of resistance, since they felt they now had international eyes on them, in itself a form of protection (personal communication with Malainin Lakhal, 13 May 2014).

Saharawi activists have since been proved wrong. MINURSO, the UN mission to the territory is highly unusual in that it is a peacekeeping mission with no mandate to monitor human rights. Every April, the UN Security Council votes on the inclusion of human rights monitoring in the MINURSO’ s mandate, and every year France, Morocco’s most loyal ally, uses the threat of veto to block this. As such, even when Saharawis are publically beaten in the square in front of the UN building (which, incidentally sports a Moroccan but not a Saharawi flag outside), UN staff look the other way. Some Saharawi protestors even report attempting to seek refuge in the UN building only to be handed over to Moroccan police by MINURSO staff (conversations with political activist Hamza Lakhal, El Aaiún, August 2014).

The intifadas of the early 1990s (much smaller in terms of participation and shorter in time than the better researched and documented intifadas of 1999 and 2005 but known as intifadas by Saharawis nonetheless), such as the Intifada of Three Cities in Smara, Assa and El Aaiún in 1991, called for freedom for political prisons, protested against the holding of Moroccan elections in  Western Sahara and even demanded independence.3  Especially for this latter demand, the uprisings were harshly oppressed, resulting in several forced disappearances and decades-long prison sentences for participants. For this reason, when the 1999 intifada burst onto thescene inspired by the releaseof several Saharawi political prisoners viewed as heroes and the perceived political opportunities following the death of Hassan II (Shelley 2004, 115), demands were to focus on human, students’  and workers’  rights, leaving the more dangerous demand of independence for the later 2005 intifada (M. Lakhal, pers. comm., 13 May 2014) The latter saw explicitly nationalist protests across Western Sahara and the Saharawi-dominated areas of southern Morocco, and incorporated all sectors of the population, from school children to old women and men (Stephan and Mundy 2006).

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A dark cloud over the Saharawi struggle: commercial quantities of oil?

As illustrated throughout this article, Western Sahara’s natural resources have been exploited by its colonisers since the end of the nineteenth century. The expense of maintaining its occupation of Western Sahara has been made worthwhile by Morocco’s ability to sell the fish, agricultural produce, phosphates, salt, sand, wind and solar energy of its colony. For example, all offshore fishing is by Moroccan-owned trawlers, and of the traditional inshore fishing, very few licenses are granted to Saharawis (All-Party Parliamentary Group onWestern Sahara 2014). In Dakhla, where fishing is the major industry, only 5% of workers are Saharawi. The phosphate industry currently employs around 3000 workers, amongst which only 21% are Saharawi (All-Party Parliamentary Group on Western Sahara 2014). The latter tend to be employed in the lowest paid jobs such as cleaning (Personal interview with Sidi Breika, POLISARIO Deputy Representative to the UK, London, 31 March 2014) and indeed fewer than 4% of technicians are Saharawi. All tomato farms are owned by the Moroccan Royal Family, powerful Moroccan conglomerates or by French multinational firms. None are owned by Saharawis, or indeed by small-scale Moroccan settlers (All-Party Parliamentary Group on Western Sahara 2014). Looking East, the 165,000 Saharawi refugees living on humanitarian aid in the camps in Algeria receive no compensation from the exploitation of their natural resources (UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) 2015).

The potential exploitation of the petroleum deposits first discovered by the Spanish in the 1940s and 1950s is now looming over the desert territory. It is the economic profit on Morocco’s part that darkens the horizon for Saharawi aspirations of independence. The beginning of oil exploration contracts could be about to dramatically swell that profit. Morocco’s illegal oil and gas programmes currently consist of six blocks in the waters of Western Sahara, each issued to companies by ONHYM (Western Sahara Resource Watch 2013, 4). Two British companies, Teredo Oil Limited and Cairn Energy, hold shares in the Boujdour Offshore Shallow Block and the Cap Boujdour Offshore Block, respectively (Western Sahara Resource Watch 2013 , 4), whilst Irish/British San Leon began drilling onshore, near El Aaiún city, in March 2015. Cairn Energy, with its partner Kosmos, moved their rig to begin drilling the one billion barrel potential Gargaa Prospect in their block in December 2014. Nevertheless, the signing of the oil and gas agreements coincides with a new phase in Saharawi resistance. The demand that was so prominent under the Spanish, sovereignty over natural resources, is emerging once again, as is discussed in the next section.

The Gdeim Izik Intifada: ‘The Saharawi people suffer whilst its wealth is looted’4

The Gdeim Izik protest of 2010 has been described by Noam Chomsky as the beginning of the Arab Spring. ‘[T]he greatest demonstration carried out by Saharawis’  (Breika, pers. int., 31 March 2014) saw 15,000– 20,000 create a tent city in the desert of the outskirts of El Aaiún. As Wilson highlights (2013 , 91), if we take as a guide the latest available UN estimates for the total Saharawi adult population in the Occupied Territories in 2000, which was 41,150, the huge scale of the protest in proportional terms is better appreciated (although the UN figure is a conservative estimate). Also as Wilson points out, the Gdeim Izik protest took place in the temporal, geographical and conceptual margins of the Arab Spring (2013, 82). Its highly organised nature (the camp acted as a fully functioning society, complete with regular rubbish collections, medical surgeries, committees for negotiation with the Moroccan authorities and the distribution of food, water and other essentials) illustrates that the Saharawis are ‘able to survive and organise themselves without any need for the Moroccan colonial administration’ (Lakhal 2014, pers. comm.) As Mundy argues, its desert camp format was also meant to show solidarity with the Saharawi refugees of Algeria (2011).

Says one of the administrators of the camp, ‘the main objective was, amongst other things, to stop the massive exploitation of Western Sahara’s resources’  (Activist interviewed in Sahara Thawra 2012 ). Hassana Aalia, who has been sentenced, in absentia, to life imprisonment for allegedly organizing the camp,5  sees natural resource exploitation as a principal reason for the emergence of the latter: ‘the multinationals and the European Union are still robbing our natural resources, whilst the Saharawi population is poorer and poorer, and suffering increasing unemployment’  (Personal interview with Aalia, Zaragoza, 26 November 2014). Aalia’s colleague Nguia Elhaouasi, currently serving a suspended sentence for her alleged role in the camp, agrees:

The Gdeim Izik camp came about following so much pressure against the Saharawi population. We have no right to work. There are many graduates, some even have a doctorate, but none of them can get a job. And we don’t benefit from our natural resources: the fisheries, the phosphates…So under so much pressure, and without a right to our resources, the camp exploded. (Personal interview with Nguia Elhaouasi, Zaragoza, 26 November 2014)

Indeed, common slogans chanted at the encampment included, as quoted above, ‘the Saharawi people suffer whilst its wealth is looted’ , and ‘our resources, we don’t see them, they don’t see us’  (Breika, pers. int., 31 March 2014). Said another activist who lived at the camp, ‘Gdeim Izik was concerned with social and political issues, and the natural resources of the Sahara, because Saharawi people are not for profit’  (Personal interview with Fatan Abaali, Agadir, 22 April 2014).6  Indeed, when Saharawis comment on the activities of oil companies and others in their territory, they most often link their complaints to the socio-economic situation of their people. Explains one activist, we focus on natural resources more than anything because there are a lot of jobless Saharawis. They see their fish, their sand, going to other countries and they get nothing from it. Their territory is not poor. It is rich. But Saharawis cannot even afford a few coins for coffee or cigarettes. (Personal interview with Ahmed Baba, Rabat, 28 April 2014)

When they heard, on 8 November 2010, that Moroccan security forces had surrounded Gdeim Izik and were proceeding to raze it to the ground, Saharawi activists in El Aaiún set fire to the premises of the Moroccan Ministry of Mines and Energy, which houses ONHYM (Western Sahara Resource Watch 2013, 9). Subsequently, and to this day, Saharawi activists living across occupied Western Sahara, and Saharawi students living in Morocco proper, organise regular demonstrations against the oil companies that have signed agreements with OHNYM.

It is worth pointing out that much of these protests are dominated by women. Practising politics, in the wide sense of the word, is constructed as a feminine as much as a masculine role in Saharawi culture, whilst Saharawi women’s constructed role as mothers and homemakers allows them some flexibility with regard to the time and space to take part in demonstrations. On the other hand, men, due to their constructed masculine role as breadwinners, sometimes opt to avoid public forms of protest for fear of losing their jobs.

Returning to forms of protest against natural resource exploitation, hunger strikes against the oil industry have also been reported (Western Sahara Resource Watch 2013, 9), and YouTube video testimonies in which Saharawi women and men denounce individual oil companies in Arabic, English and Spanish are common.7

Saharawi activists have, in recent years, begun to set up organisations focused primarily on fighting the exploitation of natural resources such as oil by foreign players. The first of these was the Committee for the Protection of Natural Resources in Western Sahara (CSPRON) founded in 2006 in El Aaiún (Personal Communication with Lahcen Dalil, Vice President of CSPRON, 18 December 2014), followed by the Saharawi League for Human Rights and Natural Resources (Saharawi League) in 2011, Boujdour (S. Khaya, pers. int., 26 November 2014) and the Association for the Monitoring of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Western Sahara, El Aaiún, 2015 (personal communication with the founders, 25 April 2015). Other Saharawi organisations such as the Saharawi Centre for Media and Communications, the Collective of Saharawi Defenders of Human Rights (CODESA) and Equipe Media that have, in the past, had a wider and more general focus have recently begun to attune their attention on natural resources as the exploitation of the same heightens (Personal interview with Mohammed Brahim (pseudonym), El Aaiún, August 25, 2014; Personal interview with Mohammed Mayara, El Aaiún, August 27, 2014; Personal conversation with Ali Salem Tamek, Auserd camp, December 12, 2015). Significantly, the leaders of both CSPRON and Saharawi League have suffered serious harassment from the Moroccan authorities. Sidahmed Lemjayed, President of CSPRON, was sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the Gdeim Izik camp in a Moroccan show trial in 2013 (Human Rights Watch 2013 ). Sultana Khaya, Founder and President of Saharawi League, is, at the time of writing, visiting a specialist hospital in Spain following serious stomach injuries sustained during torture. She has previously lost an eye during police torture (S. Khaya, pers. int., 26 November 2014). Other members of Saharawi League were injured by police in March 2014 during their peaceful protest against the Kosmos-Cairn oil exploration partnership (Western Sahara Resource Watch 2014).

Outside of the Occupied Territories, Saharawi Natural Resource Watch (OSRN), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) set up in the state-in-exile in April 2013, and another NGO known as SCAP also initiated in the camps in March 2015, are able to work without the barrier of police repression. Since OSRN and SCAP have begun operating, there has been a large increase in protests, in the camps, against specific multinationals and governments involved in natural resource exploitation. Most notable was the October 2015 protest against British/Irish energy company San Leon in Auserd camp, attended by some 8000 Saharawis.8  Similarly, the POLISARIO has launched a diplomatic war against would-be oil exploiters. As well as speaking out in the media against the activities and engaging both the companies themselves and the UN Security Council (Western Sahara Resource Watch 2013 , 9), the government of the Saharawi state-in-exile has begun its own programme of issuing Assurance Agreements for oil companies to explore offshore blocks, which can be  taken up when POLISARIO gains access to the territories currently occupied by Morocco9  as well as onshore blocks in the liberated territories of Western Sahara, already controlled by POLISARIO.10  Indeed, POLISARIO is well aware that oil revenue could be an important source of income for a future Saharawi state and has, in May 2014, adopted a Mining Code. Furthermore, as Stephan and Mundy (2006, 31) have pointed out, by offering the same blocks that Morocco has promised to other companies, the POLISARIO hopes to encourage an international legal battle.

Current agreements between oil multinationals and the Moroccan state-owned oil company the National Office for Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) stand to offer minimum economic benefits for Saharawis. Rather, energy companies risk adding political legitimacy and significant funding to Morocco’s occupation whilst simultaneously creating further barriers to the UN’s peace process, showing complicity in the human rights abuses against the Saharawi people and, should oil be found, depleting the natural resources of the Saharawis, meaning that the latter would not benefit upon achieving independence. The Saharawis are increasingly aware of these implications. Social movement scholars argue that the political power of resistance movements is related to the latter’s ability to take advantage of political opportunities and respond to political threats (Tilly and Tarrow 2007). Saharawis have identified the growing exploitation of natural resources as a political (and ever growing) threat to their struggle for independence, and, thus, sovereignty over natural resources has become a strategic target of their resistance. Through their protesting and campaigning, Saharawis have illustrated that any oil exploration and extraction activities will be undertaken without their consent, against their express wishes. Again, in the Occupied Territories, where, as we have seen, activists are serving life sentences and have faced torture for their open resistance to resource exploitation, Saharawis nevertheless bear the risks of declared, public resistance, since they are aware of the need for their resistance to be observed by foreign companies.

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Why are natural resources coming to the fore only now?

As I have illustrated above, natural resources have been at the heart of Western Sahara’ s sufferings under both Spanish and Moroccan colonialism. Nevertheless, it is only relatively recently that natural resources have started to re-surface and once again feature as a key demand in the protests of Saharawi activists as they had in the Spanish period. As we have seen, the Saharawi resistance movement in the Moroccan-occupied Territories has evolved over time, focusing first on human rights and socio-economic complaints (although the nationalist question was always raised in clandestine actions) and, as fear eroded in the second intifada, latterly on independence. Now, the demands of activists are widening even further, and natural resources are coming to the fore. In the words of Malainin Lakhal,

The peaceful resistance has always progressed little by little in accordance with the possibilities offered, and with careful progress building on the past experience. Before, it was very dangerous to show one’s political views, so the activists used social, economic and cultural claims to create an atmosphere of resistance in the society. Now, I think that we are in a phase in which the struggle is on at all levels, and intentionally (M. Lakhal, pers. comm., 13 May 2014).

It has been argued by social movement scholars that international actors can serve as useful allies for resistance activists (McAdam 1998, 257; Ghalea 2013, 259). In the Saharawi case, a greater interest amongst international solidarity groups in natural resources has also sparked parallel raised awareness amongst Saharawi activists (M.Mayara, pers. int., 27 August 2014). As one Saharawi woman explained, ‘we just didn’t know about the plunder until very recently, so we have only just started to focus on it’  (Zahra Taleb (pseudonym), personal conversations, Boujdour camp, 9 December 2015).

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When it comes to investigating the natural resource exploitation activities of foreign companies, activists based in the global North are often in a privileged position vis-à-vis Saharawis living in the Occupied Territories for several reasons. First, when companies and foreign governments publish information about their planned activities in Western Sahara they tend to do so in English, a language spoken by few Saharawi residents of the Occupied Territories. Second, reliable access to the internet is also enjoyed by Northern solidarity groups to a much greater extent than for the Saharawis. Third, lobbying against a national company or government is facilitated if one is a resident and/or citizen of the nation in question: the company and its shareholders can be visited, and one’s representative in parliament can be harnessed. Finally, international groups do not face the violent repression of the Moroccan authorities, and are more likely to have the material resources necessary for lobbying. For all these reasons, the international solidarity movement was able to play a key role in the first fight against oil company activity in Western Sahara.

In 2003, the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara launched a campaign against the involvement of Norwegian company TGS-Topec in conducting seismic surveys in the Occupied Territories. Simultaneously, a solidarity organisation in Holland began to pressure Dutch Fugro Group to halt its own surveying activities in the region. Thanks to the campaign, TGS-Topec suffered massive divestment and deserted its activities in Western Sahara. Threatened with the same, Fugro too pulled out. The Dutch and Norwegian groups then joined forces with Saharawi solidarity groups in 12 other countries, which together launched a fight against American Kerr-McGee. The US company pulled out of Western Sahara, but not before responsible investors (including the world’ s largest public investment fund the Norwegian  Petroleum fund) divested some $80 million over the affair (Western Sahara Resource Watch 2013, 3).

As well as lobbying against companies and governments involved in the plunder of Western Sahara, international solidarity groups such as WSRW have held workshops with Saharawi activists from the Occupied Territories and camps focusing on advocacy and campaigning. It is also significant that Saharawis and international groups such as WSRW enjoy a symbiotic relationship. WSRW, whose International Coordinator is based in Belgium, supported by volunteer coordinators and members across Europe but also in the Americas, Australasia and Africa, can keep Saharawis in the Occupied Territories and camps up-to-date about the activities of companies and governments of the home countries of its members whilst WSRW needs the Saharawis’ videos, information and photographs, and the latter’ s expertise in non-violent direct action, to support its lobbying. Indeed, international activists are often monitored, detained and expelled when they attempt to visit the Occupied Territories, heightening the extent to which they rely on partnerships with local Saharawi civil society groups and activists.

Educational (in)opportunity is another important factor in explaining why natural resources have become foregrounded in the demands of Saharawi activists relatively recently. Saharawi students lament the lack of opportunity to study English (a language, as mentioned, important for following the activities of foreign companies via the internet) since the Moroccan education system focuses on French. Discrimination against Saharawi students is common, and, since there are no universities in Western Sahara, access to higher education is not open to the less well off. Nevertheless, those Saharawis that do manage to club together the funds to travel and live in Morocco proper often do so with the national struggle in mind. Cheikh Khaya, Activist with Saharawi League, states, ‘ I chose Law and English in order to help my people. Most students study law because it will help the cause’  (Khaya cited in Allan 2015 ). Similarly, Ahmed Baba, a Ph.D. student in International Law at the University of Marrakesh, explains,

The majority of Saharawi higher education students choose to focus on law. But there is no background of scholarship in international law amongst our people. We are the first generation to do this. The previous generations were too busy defending their land. The generation of the seventies and eighties was either involved in the war or exiled to the camps. The nineties, after the war stopped, was a time of assassinations and arrests, especially of those studying. That’s why we have a gap in the education of those in the Occupied Territories. (Baba cited in Allan 2015)

When activists such as Khaya and Baba return home, the university students engage with their compatriots, showing how key parts of international law could be used to support the arguments made in lobbying and advocacy work. Students that have studied foreign languages help activists to create banners and slogans against foreign corporations in the latter’s own tongue (Discussion groups… 2014).

The issue of hope is one more reason Saharawi activists have turned their attention back to natural resources in recent years. At the time of writing, it has been 24 years since the ceasefire. UN-brokered talks between POLISARIO and Morocco have offered no fruit. One Saharawi woman’s reason for attending a workshop focused on the natural resources dimension of the Western Sahara conflict in the refugee camps is illuminating in this regard: ‘I can see that the diplomatic path is going nowhere, and so some young people want to go back to war. I don’t want war, and I see natural resources as another possible path towards our independence’  (Taleb (pseud.), pers. conv., 2 December 2015). A development in the diplomatic route, recent at the time of writing, arguably underlines the logic and urgency of this woman’ s simultaneous rejection of war and exasperation at the UN process. In March 2016, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon visited the Saharawi camps, and in a press conference there described the Moroccan presence in Western Sahara as an ‘occupation’. This outraged Morocco, which, in protest, ordered the expulsion of 84 MINURSO civilian staff members and the closure of a military liaison office. The UN complied, raising questions as to whether or not MINURSO is now logistically capable of organising a referendum and resulting in new threats by the POLISARIO of a return to war. After all, it only agreed to the 1991 ceasefire due to the UN-promised referendum on self-determination with the option of independence.

Finally, the role of the internet is also an important one to raise when discussing the recent re-emergence of natural resources amongst Saharawi civilian non-violent activists. It was only in 2001 and 2002 that Saharawis began to have access to mobile phones and the internet in the Occupied Territories (Breika, pers. int., 31 March 2014), access in the camps is intermittent, and activists still face issues such as surveillance, blocking and hacking by Moroccan authorities (Brahim (pseud.), pers. int., August 25, 2014; Discussion groups… 2014). On the other hand, despite these barriers, from the time of Gdeim Izik onwards the sharing of information regarding natural resource exploitation by Saharawis via social media has become far more visible (Telephone interview with Erik Hagen, former Chair and founding member of WSRW, 28 February 2014). Mohammed Saleh, one of the founders of SCAP, based in the Saharawi state-in-exile, puts it well when he refers to how social media can help Saharawis overcome the Moroccan-imposed media blockade (foreign journalists have a hard time entering occupied Western Sahara): ‘Social media is an open space. Its success as a strategy depends on the Saharawis themselves. You can no longer say that we don’t have media coverage’  (pers. conv. with Mohammed Saleh, 9 December 2015).

On the one hand, social media facilitates awareness-raising amongst Saharawis themselves regarding which companies are exploiting Western Sahara’s resources and the implications of this exploitation. On the other hand, it is also a platform, as Saleh indicates, for sharing Saharawis’  indignation at the exploitation internationally. Films and photographs of Saharawis demonstrating against resource exploitation are shared publicly with the concerned companies on Twitter and open letters penned in English by Saharawis to said companies are shared on blogs and webpages. Most recently, Saharawi Activist Senia Bachir Abderahman has highlighted the issue of natural resource exploitation in a Western Sahara edition of Al Jazeera’ s social media-focused programme The Stream.11

What are the implications of the resource-turn in Saharawi resistance?

In the light of French oil giant Total’s plans to begin searching for oil off Western Sahara’ s coast in 2001, the UN issued a legal opinion on the matter. Hans Corell, who was then the UN’ s Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, concluded that

if further exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the international law principles applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories (Corell 2002). The international law principles to which he refers include Article 73 of the United Nations Charter and several General Assembly resolutions relating to the questions of the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (Corell 2010, 276– 277). These resolutions are designed ‘to protect the “inalienable rights”  of the peoples of [non-self-governing] territories to their natural resources, and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources’  and recognise ‘the need to protect the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories from exploitation and plundering by foreign economic interests’ (Corell 2010 , 277).

In early 2015, Corell declared that Kosmos’  activities were in no way in line with his legal opinion (Corell 2015 ). Later that year, in October 2015, the African Union (AU) published its own legal opinion, stating in no uncertain terms that any company, state or group of states exploring or exploiting natural resources do so in violation of international law, and calling for an Africa-wide boycott of such companies, states and groups of states (The Office of the Legal Counsel and Directorate for Legal Affairs of the African Union Commission 2015).

At the time of writing, none of the energy companies that have made agreements with ONHYM to access the six blocks offshore Western Sahara have published any evidence of how they have obtained the consent of the Saharawi people to carry out exploration activities. Yet Saharawis continue to take to the streets to passionately protest against such activities. In other  words, since oil companies have decided not to consult them,12  Saharawis have taken the initiative and illustrated, in no uncertain terms, that foreign corporations purchasing licenses for oil exploration from the Moroccan government do so against their wishes.

Saharawis are also combining their demonstrations and lobbying with legal action. POLISARIO won a case against the European Union (EU) in December 2015 in which the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) annulled an EU-Morocco Trade Agreement insofar as it applies to the territory of Western Sahara (the EU has appealed). A week later, oil company Total gave up its block in Western Sahara. The case is a pioneering legal success for the wider Saharawi struggle, and established that the POLISARIO has legal standing in the CJEU (the EU attempted to argue that it should not). The case will be followed by two further cases in the same court, one involving POLISARIO against the EU regarding a fisheries agreement that allows European vessels to fish in Western Sahara’s waters) (Allan 2013, Sahara Press Service 2014), and another from Western Sahara Campaign (WSC), a group of British solidarity activists, against the British government regarding the misleading labelling of products from Western Sahara as Moroccan. It would be unsurprising if members of the oil industry are targeted next. Until now, foreign companies and the likes of the EU have managed to side-step international law on exploiting the resources of an occupied country. The recent Court decision, should the appeal fail, implies this could be about to change.

The second implication of the pending oil exploration activities is potentially more deadly. At the start of a documentary on Gdeim Izik by the Spanish solidarity group Sahara Thawra, a Saharawi activist can be seen spraying graffiti ‘the loss of all hope will make us free’  on to a wall (Sahara Thawra 2012). Almost 40 years after the Moroccan invasion, Saharawis have long lost hope in Spain, in the UN and in the global powers, and gradually their hope in international civil society and international law is fading too. For some, war is the only option for freedom now that the hope of all other avenues has faded. A return to armed war is gaining popularity amongst the youth of the refugee camps. ‘The pressure to return to war is becoming almost unbearable’  said Mohammed Abdelaziz, President of the SADR, in an interview (McTighe 2013).

In the Occupied Territories too, the pressure is mounting. The violent clashes between Saharawis and Moroccan authorities following the dismantling of Gdeim Izik camp, which resulted in several deaths, are indicative of this change in mentality, especially since the Saharawi resistance movement up to this point had been non-violent. The young, jobless Saharawis, without realistic aspirations and under the weight of constant repression often describe themselves as ‘ buried alive’, or, as Hamza Lakhal tells it, ‘lots of people have big dreams here. But they can’t achieve them because they are Saharawi’  (Personal conversations with Hamza Lakhal, El Aaiún, August 2014). More and more are in favour of war. Says Khawla Khaya, soon to complete her studies in Rabat and with no prospects of a job back home, ‘I’ll be the first in line to sign up to fight’  (Khaya quoted in Allan 2015).

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Conclusions

Under Spanish rule, the emerging discourses of the POLISARIO gave rise to a Saharawi national identity, and within these discourses, natural resources, above all phosphates, become a symbol of colonised nationhood, a claim to be staked by the new and fast-growing Saharawi independence movement. Nevertheless, the Moroccan invasion in 1975 and subsequent repressive occupation of the resource-rich portion of Western Sahara pushed the resistance of the remaining Saharawi civilians underground. The activists relied on what Scott has called ‘ the weapons of the weak’, that is, covert and everyday acts of resistance, for over a decade. It was not until an important external actor, the UN, visited the territory in 1987 that activists took the strategic decision to storm the public stage with an open and mass protest. Although this demonstration was harshly repressed, over the following decades open resistance continued, and with each intifada, new claims were pursued in line with the political opportunities that activists perceived. Thus in 1999, whilst pro-independence slogans were still seen as too risky and were largely tucked away until 2005, human rights and socio-economic demands were raised. By 2010, 35 years after the POLISARIO had first made sovereignty over phosphates a key demand for the pro-independence movement, international allies had begun to work with Saharawis on the issue of natural resource exploitation with some significant successes encouraging the divestment of Big Oil. Natural resources became the key claim of the Gdeim Izik, the largest protest ever seen in Western Sahara. This outright contradicts the empty claims of oil companies that they have sought the consent of the Saharawi population to go ahead with their exploration and exploitation. The ramifications of this are not just legal (international law prohibits the exploitation of the resources of a territory under occupation unless its people consent) but deadly: whilst natural resource exploitation widens and deepens, calls amongst the Saharawi population to return to war grow. If the likes of Cairn, Kosmos and San Leon strike commercial quantities of oil in the coming months, it will have catastrophic consequences for the Saharawi independence activists. Time will tell if this will push the angry youth over the edge.

Notes

1. The first fortified settlement at Villa Cisneros intended to sell clothes, food, arms, mirrors, steel bars, donkeys and horses to the local nomads, whilst buying from them camels, gazelle furs, gold, Arabic gum and ostrich feathers, but trade never took off due to repeated Saharawi raids against the Spanish.

2. The first UN General Assembly Resolution on the matter was number 2229 (XXI) in December 1966, which called for Spain to grant self-determination to the peoples relating to the territories of Sidi Ifni and Spanish Sahara’.

3. For an analysis of the 1992 Intifada of three cities, see Barona Castañeda (2015)

4. Originally quoted as ‘Ahel essahra daau daau welkhaira ¯t illa yenba ¯‘u’ (The

Sahrawi people suffers while its wealth is looted) by Alice Wilson from a video of protests filmed by Sahara Thawra. (Wilson 2013, 88).

5. Saharawis charged with organising the camp argue that the camp arose in a largely organic and non-hierarchical fashion, although youth activists took a leading role in administering all aspects of the camp, and organised committees for this purpose, once it emerged.

6. Ali Salem Tamek, one of the unofficial leaders of the resistance in the Occupied Territories, also asserts that natural resources were at the heart of the Gdeim Izik protests, as did participants of the discussion groups in Agadir (22 April 2014) and Marrakech (23 April 2014). Personal conversation with Ali Salem Tamek, Auserd camp, Algeria, 12 December 2015.

7. See http://www.wsrw.org for a few examples.

8. Footage of the protest can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mChmF9tzHag. Last accessed 4 January 2016.

9. See the SADR’s oil and gas webpage for more information: http://www.sadroilandgas.com.

10. For more on this programme of agreements, see Kamal (2015)

11. Watch the programme here: http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201511250121-0025099. Last accessed 13 January 2015.

12. Kosmos has published a Position Paper in which it claims to have consulted with ‘the people of the territory’ through a Moroccan partner. However, according to all Saharawi grassroots organisations mentioned in this paper, only Moroccan settlers have been consulted despite the Saharawis’ restless if unsuccessful attempts to contact Kosmos and be included in the consultation process. Cairn has made no attempt to consult with Saharawis and has failed to respond to letters and requests for meetings from Saharawi civil society organisations and British Members of Parliament.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Hamza Lakhal, Mohammed Saleh, Jalihenna Mohammed and Limam Mohammed Ali for facilitating much of the fieldwork for this article and to Wilf Wilde for inspiring it. Thanks also to all the Saharawi activists that took part in interviews, and to Wilf, Hamza, Erik Hagen, Manuel Barcía Paz, Richard Cleminson; the journal’s two anonymous peer reviewers; and the attendees of Durham University’s Carbon Democracy and Revolution workshop for their constructive comments on drafts of this article.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.

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Courtesy of The Journal of North African Studies Volume 21, Issue 3, 2016
Source: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13629387.2016.1174586.
Publication date of original article: 22/04/2016
URL of this page : http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=17945

A Ginevra va in scena la ribellione dei paesi non nucleari

I lavori del gruppo aperto sul disarmo (2^ sessione) si concluderanno il 13 maggio.

Grazie al voto dell’ultima Assemblea generale del’ONU, su proposta del Messico, nella scia del “percorso umanitario” iniziato dal 2012 contro la “gabbia” del Trattato di Non proliferazione (TNP), è stato istituito a Ginevra il Gruppo illimitatamente aperto sul disarmo nucleare (OEWG). Stati e società civile internazionale in esso lavorano fianco a fianco.

Lo scopo ufficiale dell’organismo è “definire le misure e norme legali per arrivare a un mondo senza armi nucleari”, oltre che “misure ad interim per incrementare la trasparenza e ridurre quindi il rischio di deflagrazioni nucleari, siano esse accidentali, per errore o intenzionali”.

La seconda sessione, dopo la prima di febbraio, si svolge, in due turni, dal 2 al 4 e dal 9 al 13 maggio. Ci sarà una terza sessione, a fine agosto, che dovrà riportare le sue risultanze all’Assemblea delle Nazioni Unite del 2016.

Sul nucleare si discute e si vota all’ONU in novembre-dicembre.

E’ importante che i cittadini italiani sappiano che già la maggioranza dei paesi membri dell’ONU ha sottoscritto un “Impegno Umanitario”: va colmato il gap giuridico tra le armi nucleari – incompatibili con i Protocolli di Ginevra (cioè il diritto umanitario internazionale) – e le armi biologiche e chimiche già proibite.

E’ importante che sappiano che gli Stati non nucleari non intendono più accettare la legittimazione del possesso delle armi atomiche da parte di poche potenze inizialmente autorizzate dal TNP (a condizione però che negoziassero “in buona fede” -articolo VI- un disarmo rapido e questo quasi mezzo secolo fa !) e che stanno esplicitamente mettendo sul tappeto delle decisioni internazionali urgenti un Trattato per l’interdizione delle armi nucleari. Sono disposti a firmarlo senza aspettare le potenze nucleari!

E’ importante che i cittadini sappiano che lo stesso fronte NATO della “condivisione nucleare”, includente l’Italia, è stato rotto dall’Olanda, dove il Parlamento ha appena dato mandato al governo di schierarsi a Ginevra con gli Stati non nucleari per iniziare a lavorare a livello internazionale sul divieto delle armi nucleari.

E’ importante che i cittadini comprendano che a livello mondiale ci sono 115 paesi che hanno vietato l’arma di distruzione di massa, con i trattati per le zone libere dalle armi nucleari e che 139 paesi vogliono negoziare un divieto. Se il governo italiano non prende una decisione “dalla parte dell’Umanità”, sarà minoritario nel mondo!

E’ quanto hanno segnalato ai parlamentari i “disarmisti esigenti”, insieme ad Alex Zanotelli, con una lettera aperta del 29 aprile 2016: se il mondo va verso la proibizione delle armi nucleari è bene assecondarlo ed è bene che da subito l’Italia si dia da fare per rimuovere unilateralmente dal nostro territorio, quale primo passo nella direzione giusta della denuclearizzazione generale e globale, qualsiasi arma nucleare e a non consentirne su di esso il trasporto o qualsiasi altra attività connessa.

Da Ginevra faremo la nostra parte, insieme all’ICAN, la Campagna internazionale per l’abolizione delle armi nucleari, perché si dia il via ad una nuova stagione di serenità per tutta l’Umanità. Si tratta di distruggere ogni ordigno nucleare: è un “diritto” che la “deterrenza” sia messa fuori legge e questo “diritto” deve essere contemplato in una Dichiarazione dei diritti dell’Umanità.

Per info da parte dei “DISARMISTI ESIGENTI”:

ALEX ZANOTELLI

Alfonso Navarra cell. 340-0878893 Email alfiononuke@gmail.com

Antonia Sani- WILPF-Italia- cell. 349-7865685 Email antonia.sani@alice.it

Luigi Mosca – Armes Nucléaires Stop Email luigimosca39@gmail.com

Sorgente: Pressenza – A Ginevra va in scena la ribellione dei paesi non nucleari

UN chief ‘ashamed’ over Israeli violence

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo by AFP)The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo by AFP)UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he feels embarrassed by the lack of progress in the so-called peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.“I feel guilty, ashamed of the lack of progress,” he said in London on Friday.Violence is at a new high amid deadly confrontations between Israeli forces and the Palestinians almost on a daily basis. More than 170 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli troops since the beginning of last October.Ban said, “Basically it’s up to the leadership of Israel and the Palestinians to put an end to the conflict.”The UN chief drew the ire of Israeli leaders late last month for saying Palestinian knife attacks on Israeli troops are “human nature to react to occupation.”Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the angry attack, accusing Ban of “stoking terrorism” through those comments.But Ban doubled down on his statement in a New York Times op-ed titled, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel.” “No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution,” he wrote. Palestinian protesters hurl stones toward Israeli forces during clashes outside the compound of the Israeli Ofer prison, near the occupied West Bank town of Betunia, February 5, 2016. (Photo by AFP)Netanyahu formally suspended the so-called peace talks on April 24, 2014, after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas forged a unity pact with Hamas, which is based in the besieged Gaza Strip.Israel responded to the unity pact by announcing tenders for the building of 4,800 settler units on the occupied Palestinian territories.Tel Aviv’s settlement activities and its refusal to release senior Palestinian prisoners have been cited as the main reasons behind the failure of the talks.More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.The Palestinian Authority wants the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinians state, with East al-Quds as its capital.

Sorgente: PressTV-UN chief ‘ashamed’ over Israeli violence

220 organizzazioni all’ONU: Interrompa i contratti con G4S

Nel mese di aprile 2015, varie organizzazioni palestinesi per i diritti umani hanno scritto una lettera al Segretario Generale delle Nazioni Unite Ban Ki-moon per esortare le Nazioni Unite a interrompere i contratti con la società di sicurezza internazionale G4S a causa della sua complicità nel sistema carcerario e nelle violazioni dei diritti umani da […]

Sorgente: Pressenza – 220 organizzazioni all’ONU: Interrompa i contratti con G4S

Nepal: stop aiuti ONU per assenza di elicotteri

 

Nepal: stop aiuti ONU per assenza di elicotteri
(Foto di Flickr.com)

Citando la mancanza di fondi, le Nazioni Unite hanno detto che saranno costrette a terminare prima del previsto i servizi di emergenza tramite elicotteri per le operazioni di soccorso umanitario in molte parti delle aree terremotate se non otterranno altri finanziamenti. In un comunicato diffuso oggi, l’agenzia delle Nazioni Unite ha detto che qualsiasi potenziale interruzione del Servizio aereo umanitario delle Nazioni Unite (Unhas) lascerà circa 150..000 persone in comunità remote, colpite dal devastante terremoto del 25 aprile e del 12 maggio, senza il sostegno di cui hanno bisogno per sopravvivere nel periodo dei monsoni.

Pressenza – Nepal: stop aiuti ONU per assenza di elicotteri.

NUOVE ACCUSE A ‘CASCHI BLU’, MILIZIE ANCORA ATTIVE

“Sgomento e amareggiato” per le gravi accuse rivolte da Amnesty International ad alcuni ‘caschi blu’: così Ban Ki-moon, segretario generale dell’Onu, si è definito dopo che un rapporto dell’organizzazione per i diritti umani ha attribuito a uomini della missione delle Nazioni Unite in Centrafrica (e in particolare dei contingenti ruandese e camerunense) l’uccisione di due civili disarmati e la violenza commessa su una bambina di 12 anni.

NUOVE ACCUSE A ‘CASCHI BLU’, MILIZIE ANCORA ATTIVE – Misna – Missionary International Service News Agency.

The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel

The U.N. General Assembly, November 29, 1947

There is a widely accepted belief that United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 “created” Israel, based upon an understanding that this resolution partitioned Palestine or otherwise conferred legal authority or legitimacy to the declaration of the existence of the state of Israel. However, despite its popularity, this belief has no basis in fact, as a review of the resolution’s history and examination of legal principles demonstrates incontrovertibly.

Great Britain had occupied Palestine during the First World War, and in July 1922, the League of Nations issued its mandate for Palestine, which recognized the British government as the occupying power and effectively conferred to it the color of legal authority to temporarily administrate the territory.[1] On April 2, 1947, seeking to extract itself from the conflict that had arisen in Palestine between Jews and Arabs as a result of the Zionist movement to establish in Palestine a “national home for the Jewish people”,[2] the United Kingdom submitted a letter to the U.N. requesting the Secretary General “to place the question of Palestine on the Agenda of the General Assembly at its next regular Annual Session”, and requesting the Assembly “to make recommendations, under Article 10 of the Charter, concerning the future government of Palestine.”[3] To that end, on May 15, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 106, which established the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) to investigate “the question of Palestine”, to “prepare a report to the General Assembly” based upon its findings, and to “submit such proposals as it may consider appropriate for the solution of the problem of Palestine”.[4]

On September 3, UNSCOP issued its report to the General Assembly declaring its majority recommendation that Palestine be partitioned into separate Jewish and Arab states. It noted that the population of Palestine at the end of 1946 was estimated to be almost 1,846,000, with 1,203,000 Arabs (65 percent) and 608,000 Jews (33 percent). Growth of the Jewish population had been mainly the result of immigration, while growth of the Arab population had been “almost entirely” due to natural increase. It observed that there was “no clear territorial separation of Jews and Arabs by large contiguous areas”, and even in the Jaffa district, which included Tel Aviv, Arabs constituted a majority.[5] Land ownership statistics from 1945 showed that Arabs owned more land than Jews in every single district in Palestine. The district with the highest percentage of Jewish ownership was Jaffa, where 39 percent of the land was owned by Jews, compared to 47 percent owned by Arabs.[6] In the whole of Palestine at the time UNSCOP issued its report, Arabs owned 85 percent of the land,[7] while Jews owned less than 7 percent.[8]

Despite these facts, the UNSCOP proposal was that the Arab state be constituted from only 45.5 percent of the whole of Palestine, while the Jews would be awarded 55.5 percent of the total area for their state.[9] The UNSCOP report acknowledged that

With regard to the principle of self-determination, although international recognition was extended to this principle at the end of the First World War and it was adhered to with regard to the other Arab territories, at the time of the creation of the ‘A’ Mandates, it was not applied to Palestine, obviously because of the intention to make possible the creation of the Jewish National Home there. Actually, it may well be said that the Jewish National Home and the sui generis Mandate for Palestine run counter to that principle.[10]

In other words, the report explicitly recognized that the denial of Palestinian independence in order to pursue the goal of establishing a Jewish state constituted a rejection of the right of the Arab majority to self-determination. And yet, despite this recognition, UNSCOP had accepted this rejection of Arab rights as being within the bounds of a legitimate and reasonable framework for a solution.

Following the issuance of the UNSCOP report, the U.K. issued a statement declaring its agreement with the report’s recommendations, but adding that “if the Assembly should recommend a policy which is not acceptable to both Jews and Arabs, the United Kingdom Government would not feel able to implement it.”[11] The position of the Arabs had been clear from the beginning, but the Arab Higher Committee issued a statement on September 29 reiterating that “the Arabs of Palestine were determined to oppose with all the means at their disposal, any scheme that provided for segregation or partition, or that would give to a minority special and preferential status”. It instead

advocated freedom and independence for an Arab State in the whole of Palestine which would respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and equality of all persons before the law, and would protect the legitimate rights and interests of all minorities whilst guaranteeing freedom of worship and access to the Holy Places.[12]

The U.K. followed with a statement reiterating “that His Majesty’s Government could not play a major part in the implementation of a scheme that was not acceptable to both Arabs and Jews”, but adding “that they would, however, not wish to impede the implementation of a recommendation approved by the General Assembly.”[13]

The Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question was established by the General Assembly shortly after the issuance of the UNSCOP report in order to continue to study the problem and make recommendations. A sub-committee was established in turn that was tasked with examining the legal issues pertaining to the situation in Palestine, and it released the report of its findings on November 11. It observed that the UNSCOP report had accepted a basic premise “that the claims to Palestine of the Arabs and Jews both possess validity”, which was “not supported by any cogent reasons and is demonstrably against the weight of all available evidence.” With an end to the Mandate and with British withdrawal, “there is no further obstacle to the conversion of Palestine into an independent state”, which “would be the logical culmination of the objectives of the Mandate” and the Covenant of the League of Nations. It found that “the General Assembly is not competent to recommend, still less to enforce, any solution other than the recognition of the independence of Palestine, and that the settlement of the future government of Palestine is a matter solely for the people of Palestine.” It concluded that “no further discussion of the Palestine problem seems to be necessary or appropriate, and this item should be struck off the agenda of the General Assembly”, but that if there was a dispute on that point, “it would be essential to obtain the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on this issue”, as had already been requested by several of the Arab states. It concluded further that the partition plan was “contrary to the principles of the Charter, and the United Nations have no power to give effect to it.” The U.N. could not

deprive the majority of the people of Palestine of their territory and transfer it to the exclusive use of a minority in the country…. The United Nations Organization has no power to create a new State. Such a decision can only be taken by the free will of the people of the territories in question. That condition is not fulfilled in the case of the majority proposal, as it involves the establishment of a Jewish State in complete disregard of the wishes and interests of the Arabs of Palestine.[14]

Nevertheless, the General Assembly passed Resolution 181 on November 29, with 33 votes in favor to 13 votes against, and 10 abstentions.[15] The relevant text of the resolution stated:

The General Assembly….

Recommends to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation, with regard to the future government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union set out below;

Requests that

(a) The Security Council take the necessary measure as provided for in the plan for its implementation;

(b) The Security Council consider, if circumstances during the transitional period require such consideration, whether the situation in Palestine constitutes a threat to the peace. If it decides that such a threat exists, and in order to maintain international peace and security, the Security Council should supplement the authorization of the General Assembly by taking measure, under Articles 39 and 41 of the Charter, to empower the United Nations Commission, as provided in this resolution, to exercise in Palestine the functions which are assigned to it by this resolution;

(c) The Security Council determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution;

(d) The Trusteeship Council be informed of the responsibilities envisaged for it in this plan;

Calls upon the inhabitants of Palestine to take such steps as may be necessary on their part to put this plan into effect;

Appeals to all Governments and all peoples to refrain from taking action which might hamper or delay the carrying out of these recommendations….[16]

A simple reading of the text is enough to show that the resolution did not partition Palestine or offer any legal basis for doing so. It merely recommended that the partition plan be implemented and requested the Security Council to take up the matter from there. It called upon the inhabitants of Palestine to accept the plan, but they were certainly under no obligation to do so.

A Plan Never Implemented

The matter was thus taken up by the Security Council, where, on December 9, the Syrian representative to the U.N., Faris El-Khouri, observed that “the General Assembly is not a world government which can dictate orders, partition countries or impose constitutions, rules, regulations and treaties on people without their consent.” When the Soviet representative Andrei Gromyko stated his government’s opposing view that “The resolution of the General Assembly should be implemented” by the Security Council, El-Khouri replied by noting further that

Certain paragraphs of the resolution of the General Assembly which concern the Security Council are referred to the Council, namely, paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), outlining the functions of the Security Council in respect of the Palestinian question. All of the members of the Security Council are familiar with the Council’s functions, which are well defined and clearly stated in the Charter of the United Nations. I do not believe that the resolution of the General Assembly can add to or delete from these functions. The recommendations of the General Assembly are well known to be recommendations, and Member States are not required by force to accept them. Member States may or may not accept them, and the same applies to the Security Council. [17]

On February 6, 1948, the Arab Higher Committee again communicated to the U.N. Secretary General its position that the partition plan was “contrary to the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter”. The U.N. “has no jurisdiction to order or recommend the partition of Palestine. There is nothing in the Charter to warrant such authority, consequently the recommendation of partition is ultra vires and therefore null and void.” Additionally, the Arab Higher Committee noted that

The Arab Delegations submitted proposals in the Ad Hoc Committee in order to refer the whole legal issue raised for a ruling by the International Court of Justice. The said proposals were never put to vote by the president in the Assembly. The United Nations is an International body entrusted with the task of enforcing peace and justice in international affairs. How would there be any confidence in such a body if it bluntly and unreasonably refuses to refer such a dispute to the International Court of Justice?

“The Arabs of Palestine will never recognize the validity of the extorted partition recommendations or the authority of the United Nations to make them”, the Arab Higher Committee declared, and they would “consider that any attempt by the Jews or any power or group of powers to establish a Jewish State in Arab territory is an act of aggression which will be resisted in self-defense by force.”[18]

On February 16, the U.N. Palestine Commission, tasked by the General Assembly to prepare for the transfer of authority from the Mandatory Power to the successor governments under the partition plan, issued its first report to the Security Council. It concluded on the basis of the Arab rejection that it “finds itself confronted with an attempt to defect its purposes, and to nullify the resolution of the General Assembly”, and calling upon the Security Council to provide an armed force “which alone would enable the Commission to discharge its responsibilities on the termination of the Mandate”. In effect, the Palestine Commission had determined that the partition plan should be implemented against the will of the majority population of Palestine by force.[19]

In response to that suggestion, Colombia submitted a draft Security Council resolution noting that the U.N. Charter did “not authorize the Security Council to create special forces for the purposes indicated by the United Nations Palestine Commission”.[20] The U.S. delegate, Warren Austin, similarly stated at the 253rd meeting of the Security Council on February 24 that

The Security Council is authorized to take forceful measures with respect to Palestine to remove a threat to international peace. The Charter of the United Nations does not empower the Security Council to enforce a political settlement whether it is pursuant to a recommendation of the General Assembly or of the Security Council itself. What this means is this: The Security Council, under the Charter, can take action to prevent aggression against Palestine from outside. The Security Council, by these same powers, can take action to prevent a threat to international peace and security from inside Palestine. But this action must be directed solely to the maintenance of international peace. The Security Council’s action, in other words, is directed to keeping the peace and not to enforcing partition.[21]

The United States nevertheless submitted its own draft text more ambiguously accepting the requests of the Palestine Commission “subject to the authority of the Security Council under the Charter”.[22] Faris El-Khouri objected to the U.S. draft on the grounds that “before accepting these three requests, it is our duty to ascertain whether they are or are not within the framework of the Security Council as limited by the Charter. If it is found that they are not, we should decline to accept them.” He recalled Austin’s own statement on the lack of authority of the Security Council, saying, “It would follow from this undeniable fact that any recommendation on a political settlement can be implemented only if the parties concerned willingly accept and complement it.” Furthermore, “the partition plan itself constitutes a threat to the peace, being openly rejected by all those at whose expense it was to be executed.”[23] Austin in turn explained the intent of the U.S. draft that its acceptance of Resolution 181 is

subject to the limitation that armed force cannot be used for implementation of the plan, because the Charter limits the use of United Nations force expressly to threats to and breaches of the peace and aggression affecting international peace. Therefore, we must interpret the General Assembly resolution as meaning that the United Nations measures to implement this resolution are peaceful measures.

Moreover, explained Austin, the U.S. draft

does not authorize use of enforcement under Articles 39 and 41 of the Charter to empower the United Nations Commission to exercise in Palestine the functions which are assigned to it by the resolution, because the Charter does not authorize either the General Assembly or the Security Council to do any such thing.[24]

When the Security Council did finally adopt a resolution on March 5, it merely made a note of “Having received General Assembly resolution 181″ and the first monthly Palestine Commission report, and resolved

to call on the permanent members of the Council to consult and to inform the Security Council regarding the situation with respect to Palestine and to make, as the result of such consultations, recommendations to it regarding the guidance and instructions which the Council might usefully give to the Palestine Commission with a view to implementing the resolution of the General Assembly.[25]

During further debates at the Security Council over how to proceed, Austin observed that it had become “clear that the Security Council is not prepared to go ahead with efforts to implement this plan in the existing situation.” At the same time, it was clear that the U.K.’s announced termination of the Mandate on May 15 “would result, in the light of information now available, in chaos, heavy fighting and much loss of life in Palestine.” The U.N. could not permit this, he said, and the Security Council had the responsibility and authority under the Charter to act to prevent such a threat to the peace. The U.S. also proposed establishing a Trusteeship over Palestine to give further opportunity to the Jews and Arabs to reach a mutual agreement. Pending the convening of a special session of the General Assembly to that end, “we believe that the Security Council should instruct the Palestine Commission to suspend its efforts to implement the proposed partition plan.”[26]

The Security Council President, speaking as the representative from China, responded: “The United Nations was created mainly for the maintenance of international peace. It would be tragic indeed if the United Nations, by attempting a political settlement, should be the cause of war. For these reasons, my delegation supports the general principles of the proposal of the United States delegation.”[27] At a further meeting of the Security Council, the Canadian delegate stated that the partition plan “is based on a number of important assumptions”, the first of which was that “it was assumed that the two communities in Palestine would co-operate in putting into effect the solution to the Palestine problem which was recommended by the General Assembly.”[28] The French delegate, while declining to extend either approval for or disapproval of the U.S. proposal, observed that it would allow for any number of alternative solutions from the partition plan, including “a single State with sufficient guarantees for minorities”.[29] The representative from the Jewish Agency for Palestine read a statement categorically rejecting “any plan to set up a trusteeship regime for Palestine”, which “would necessarily entail a denial of the Jewish right to national independence.”[30]

Mindful of the worsening situation in Palestine, and wishing to avoid further debate, the U.S. proposed another draft resolution calling for a truce between Jewish and Arab armed groups that Austin noted “would not prejudice the claims of either group” and which “does not mention trusteeship.”[31] It was adopted as Resolution 43 on April 1.[32] Resolution 44 was also passed the same day requesting “the Secretary-General, in accordance with Article 20 of the United Nations Charter, to convoke a special session of the General Assembly to consider further the question of the future government of Palestine.”[33] Resolution 46 reiterated the Security Council’s call for the cessation of hostilities in Palestine,[34] and Resolution 48 established a “Truce Commission” to further the goal of implementing its resolutions calling for an end to the violence.[35]

On May 14, the Zionist leadership unilaterally declared the existence of the State of Israel, citing Resolution 181 as constituting “recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State”.[36] As anticipated, war ensued.

The Authority of the U.N. with Regard to Partition

Chapter 1, Article 1 of the U.N. Charter defines its purposes and principles, which are to “maintain international peace and security”, to “develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”, and to “achieve international co-operation” on various issues and “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all”.

The functions and powers of the General Assembly are listed under Chapter IV, Articles 10 through 17. It is tasked to initiate studies and make recommendations to promote international cooperation and the development of international law, to receive reports from the Security Council and other organs of the U.N., and to consider and approve the organization’s budget. It is also tasked with performing functions under the international trusteeship system. Its authority is otherwise limited to considering and discussing matters within the scope of the Charter, making recommendations to Member States or the Security Council, or calling attention of matters to the Security Council.

Chapter V, Articles 24 through 26, states the functions and powers of the Security Council.  It is tasked with maintaining peace and security in accordance with the purposes and principles of the U.N. The specific powers granted to the Security Council are stated in Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII. Under Chapter VI, the Security Council may call upon parties to settle disputes by peaceful means, investigate, and make a determination as to whether a dispute or situation constitutes a threat to peace and security. It may recommend appropriate procedures to resolve disputes, taking into consideration that “legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice”. Under Chapter VII, the Security Council may determine the existence of a threat to peace and make recommendations or decide what measures are to be taken to maintain or restore peace and security. It may call upon concerned parties to take provisional measures “without prejudice to the rights, claims, or position of the parties concerned.” It may call upon member states to employ “measures not involving the use of armed force” to apply such measures. Should such measures be inadequate, it may authorize the use of armed forces “to maintain or restore international peace and security”. Chapter VIII states that the Security Council “shall encourage the development of pacific settlements of local disputes” through regional arrangements or agencies, and utilize such to enforce actions under its authority.

The functions and powers of the International Trusteeship System are listed under Chapter XII, Articles 75 through 85. The purpose of the system is to administer and supervise territories placed therein by agreement with the goal of “development towards self-government or independence as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned”. The system is to operate in accordance with the purposes of the U.N. stated in Article 1, including respect for the right of self-determination. The General Assembly is tasked with all functions “not designated as strategic”, which are designated to the Security Council. A Trusteeship Council is established to assist the General Assembly and the Security Council to perform their functions under the system.

Chapter XIII, Article 87 states the functions and powers of the Trusteeship Council, which are shared by the General Assembly. Authority is granted to consider reports, accept and examine petitions, provide for visits to trust territories, and “take these and other actions in conformity with the terms of the trusteeship agreements.”

Another relevant section is Chapter XI, entitled the “Declaration Regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories”, which states that

Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories…

To that end, Member states are “to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions”.

Conclusion

The partition plan put forth by UNSCOP sought to create within Palestine a Jewish state contrary to the express will of the majority of its inhabitants. Despite constituting only a third of the population and owning less than 7 percent of the land, it sought to grant to the Jews more than half of Palestine for purpose of creating that Jewish state. It would, in other words, take land from the Arabs and give it to the Jews. The inherent injustice of the partition plan stands in stark contrast to alternative plan proposed by the Arabs, of an independent state of Palestine in which the rights of the Jewish minority would be recognized and respected, and which would afford the Jewish population representation in a democratic government. The partition plan was blatantly prejudicial to the rights of the majority Arab population, and was premised on the rejection of their right to self-determination. This is all the more uncontroversial inasmuch as the UNSCOP report itself explicitly acknowledged that the proposal to create a Jewish state in Palestine was contrary to the principle of self-determination. The plan was also premised upon the erroneous assumption that the Arabs would simply acquiesce to having their land taken from them and voluntarily surrender their majority rights, including their right to self-determination.

U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 neither legally partitioned Palestine nor conferred upon the Zionist leadership any legal authority to unilaterally declare the existence of the Jewish state of Israel. It merely recommended that the UNSCOP partition plan be accepted and implemented by the concerned parties. Naturally, to have any weight of law, the plan, like any contract, would have to have been formally agreed upon by both parties, which it was not. Nor could the General Assembly have legally partitioned Palestine or otherwise conferred legal authority for the creation of Israel to the Zionist leadership, as it simply had no such authority to confer. When the Security Council took up the matter referred to it by the General Assembly, it could come to no consensus on how to proceed with implementing the partition plan. It being apparent that the plan could not be implemented by peaceful means, the suggestion that it be implemented by force was rejected by members of the Security Council. The simple fact of the matter is that the plan was never implemented. Numerous delegates from member states, including the U.S., arrived at the conclusion that the plan was impracticable, and, furthermore, that the Security Council had no authority to implement such a plan except by mutual consent by concerned parties, which was absent in this case.

The U.S., Syria, and other member nations were correct in their observations that, while the Security Council did have authority to declare a threat to the peace and authorize the use of force to deal with that and maintain or restore peace and security, it did not have any authority to implement by force a plan to partition Palestine contrary to the will of most of its inhabitants. Any attempt to usurp such authority by either the General Assembly or the Security Council would have been a prima facie violation of the Charter’s founding principle of respect for the right to self-determination of all peoples, and thus null and void under international law.

In sum, the popular claim that the U.N. “created” Israel is a myth, and Israel’s own claim in its founding document that U.N. Resolution 181 constituted legal authority for Israel’s creation, or otherwise constituted “recognition” by the U.N. of the “right” of the Zionist Jews to expropriate for themselves Arab land and deny to the majority Arab population of that land their own right to self-determination, is a patent fraud.

Further corollaries may be drawn. The disaster inflicted upon Palestine was not inevitable. The U.N. was created for the purpose of preventing such catastrophes. Yet it failed miserably to do so, on numerous counts. It failed in its duty to refer the legal questions of the claims to Palestine to the International Court of Justice, despite requests from member states to do so. It failed to use all means within its authority, including the use of armed forces, to maintain peace and prevent the war that was predicted would occur upon the termination of the Mandate. And most importantly, far from upholding its founding principles, the U.N. effectively acted to preventthe establishment of an independent and democratic state of Palestine, in direct violation of the principles of its own Charter. The consequences of these and other failures are still witnessed by the world today on a daily basis. Recognition of the grave injustice perpetrated against the Palestinian people in this regard and dispelling such historical myths is essential if a way forward towards peace and reconciliation is to be found.

References

[1] The Palestine Mandate of the Council of the League of Nations, July 24, 1922, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp.

[2] Great Britain had contributed to the conflict by making contradictory promises to both Jews and Arabs, including a declaration approved by the British Cabinet that read, “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” This declaration was delivered by Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to representative of the Zionist movement Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild in a letter on November 2, 1917, and thus came to be known as “The Balfour Declaration”, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/balfour.asp.

[3] Letter from the United Kingdom Delegation to the United Nations to the U.N. Secretary-General, April 2, 1947, http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/87aaa6be8a3a7015802564ad0037ef57?OpenDocument.

[4] U.N. General Assembly Resolution 106, May 15, 1947, http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/f5a49e57095c35b685256bcf0075d9c2?OpenDocument.

[5] United Nations Special Committee on Palestine Report to the General Assembly, September 3, 1947, http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/07175de9fa2de563852568d3006e10f3?OpenDocument.

[6] “Palestine Land Ownership by Sub-Districts (1945)”, United Nations, August 1950, http://domino.un.org/maps/m0094.jpg. The map was prepared on the instructions of Sub-Committee 2 of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian question and presented as Map No. 94(b). Statistics were as follows (Arab/Jewish land ownership in percentages): Safad: 68/18; Acre: 87/3; Tiberias: 51/38; Haifa: 42/35; Nazareth: 52/28; Beisan: 44/34; Jenin: 84/1, Tulkarm: 78/17; Nablus: 87/1; Jaffa: 47/39; Ramle: 77/14; Ramallah: 99/less than 1; Jerusalem: 84/2; Gaza: 75/4; Hebron: 96/less than 1; Beersheeba: 15/less than 1.

[7] UNSCOP Report.

[8] Walid Khalidi, “Revisiting the UNGA Partition Resolution”, Journal of Palestine Studies XXVII, no. 1 (Autumn 1997), p. 11, http://www.palestine-studies.org/enakba/diplomacy/Khalidi,%20Revisiting%20the%201947%20UN%20Partition%20Resolution.pdf. Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage Books Edition, 1992), pp. 23, 98.

[9] Khalidi, p. 11.

[10] UNSCOP Report.

[11] “U.K. Accepts UNSCOP General Recommendations; Will Not Implement Policy Unacceptable by Both Arabs and Jews”, Press Release, Ad Hoc Committee on Palestinian Question 2nd Meeting, September 26, 1947, http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/ecb5eae2e1d29ed08525686d00529256?OpenDocument.

[12] “The Arab Case Stated by Mr. Jamal Husseini”, Press Release, Ad Hoc Committee on Palestinian Question 3rd Meeting, United Nations, September 29, 1947, http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/a8c17fca1b8cf5338525691b0063f769?OpenDocument.

[13] “Palestine Committee Hears U.K. Stand and Adjourns; Sub-Committees Meet”, Press Release, Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine 24th Meeting, United Nations, November 20, 1947, http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/12966c9f443583e085256a7200661aab?OpenDocument.

[14] “Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question Report of Sub-Committee 2″, United Nations, November 11 1947, http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/AAC1432.pdf.

[15] United Nations General Assembly 128th Plenary Meeting, United Nations, November 29, 1947, http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/46815f76b9d9270085256ce600522c9e?OpenDocument.

[16] United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, November 29, 1947, http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/7f0af2bd897689b785256c330061d253?OpenDocument.

[17] United Nations Security Council 222nd Meeting, December 9, 1947, http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/ce37bc968122a33985256e6900649bf6?OpenDocument.

[18] “First Special Report to the Security Council: The Problem of Security in Palestine”, United Nations Palestine Commission, February 16, 1948, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/5ba47a5c6cef541b802563e000493b8c/fdf734eb76c39d6385256c4c004cdba7?OpenDocument.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Draft Resolution on the Palestinian Question Submitted by the Representative of Colombia at the 254th Meeting of the Security Council, February 24, 1948, http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/S684.pdf.

[21] U.N. Security Council 253rd Meeting (S/PV.253), February 24, 1948, http://documents.un.org.

[22] Draft Resolution on the Palestinian Question Submitted by the Representative of the United States at the Two Hundred and Fifty Fifth Meeting of the Security Council, February 25, 1948, http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/S685.pdf.

[23] United Nations Security Council 260th Meeting, March 2, 1948, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/fcbe849f43cbb7158525764f00537dcb?OpenDocument.

[24] Ibid.

[25] United Nations Security Council Resolution 42, March 5, 1948, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/d0f3291a30a2bc30852560ba006cfb88?OpenDocument.

[26] U.N. Security Council 271st Meeting, March 19, 1948, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/5072db486adf13d0802564ad00394160?OpenDocument.

[27] Ibid.

[28] United Nations Security Council 274th Meeting, March 24, 1948, http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/NL4/812/32/PDF/NL481232.pdf?OpenElement.

[29] Ibid. [30] Ibid.

[31] United Nations Security Council 275th Meeting, March 30, 1948, http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/NL4/812/32/PDF/NL481232.pdf?OpenElement.

[32] United Nations Security Council Resolution 43, April 1, 1948, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/676bb71de92db89b852560ba006748d4?OpenDocument.

[33] United Nations Security Council Resolution 44, April 1, 1948, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/1b13eb4af9118629852560ba0067c5ad?OpenDocument.

[34] United Nations Security Council Resolution 46, April 17, 1948, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/9612b691fc54f280852560ba006da8c8?OpenDocument.

[35] United Nations Security Council Resolution 48, April 23, 1948, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/d9c60b4a589766af852560ba006ddd95?OpenDocument.

[36] The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, May 14, 1948, http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/peace%20process/guide%20to%20the%20peace%20process/declaration%20of%20establishment%20of%20state%20of%20israel.

thanks to: Jeremy R. Hammond

MAI COMPLICI DEL SIONISMO!

Un nuovo fervore in Italia sta dando vita ad un movimento che ha scelto di costruire la solidarietà con la Palestina sostenendone la Resistenza. Questo viene testimoniato sia dalla partecipazione ai tre convegni “Dalla solidarietà alla lotta internazionalista – al fianco della Resistenza palestinese” organizzati quest’anno [1], sia dalle mille persone provenienti da tutta Italia presenti al corteo di Torino, determinate a portare in piazza le nuove parole d’ordine che creano la piattaforma di lotta elaborata dall’Assemblea Nazionale basata sul rispetto dei diritti inalienabili dei palestinesi, tra cui il ritorno dei profughi e la liberazione dei prigionieri, la fine dell’occupazione ma anche la decolonizzazione della Palestina, l’applicazione del Diritto Internazionale e la fine degli accordi di Oslo.

Su quest’ultimo, che non ha l’apparenza di un diritto in quanto tale, è necessario soffermarsi: alcuni palestinesi percorrono la strada delle trattative “convinti” che possa rappresentare per loro “una possibilità”, mentre per molti altri risulta una chiara scelta fallimentare che farà capitolare definitivamente i diritti dei palestinesi. Ciò rappresenta indubbiamente qualcosa che “divide” i palestinesi, almeno da un punto di vista di strategia di liberazione o compimento della pace. Oggi, fuori e dentro la Palestina, sono molte le testimonianze di coloro che non credono più (o non hanno mai creduto) al percorso delle cosiddette “trattative di pace”. La leadership palestinese dovrebbe leggere e capire le aspirazioni della propria gente, seguirle ed esserne ambasciatrice. A prescindere dal sempre più evidente disastro rappresentano da tali accordi – almeno in termini di Lotta di Liberazione – questi non interpretano più neanche una scelta popolare… Persistere su quella strada, quindi, significa anche dover reprimere il volere dei palestinesi.

Gli accordi di Oslo rappresentano le trattative portate avanti tra il potere occupante e una piccola parte degli occupati, selettivamente scelti tra le élite delle borghesie palestinesi, dalla stessa macchina imperiale che determina l’occupazione. L’ANP nasce come conseguenza di quegli accordi, delegittimando, di fatto, l’OLP (unico vero rappresentante di tutti i palestinesi nel mondo). Se gli Stati Uniti puniscono i palestinesi per aver richiesto all’ONU di essere riconosciuti come Stato membro [2], negando loro i fondi stanziati in termini di aiuti economici [3], allo stesso tempo sostengono a pieno regime un governo che, con la farsa della sicurezza, continua a compiere e a minacciare attacchi presenti nell’intera regione, continua a costruire insediamenti di colonizzazione [4], etc. Come possono allora gli USA essere lo sponsor di “trattative di pace”, che invece prevederebbero quanto meno una tregua della macchina da guerra ed espansionistica israeliana? La visione dello Stato è il miraggio dato ad alcuni palestinesi dallo stesso potere che ne occupa le terre e ne uccide i fratelli, uno Stato che lo stesso potere ha già deciso che mai ci sarà prima ancora di iniziare qualunque trattativa [5].

La trappola del ricatto è dietro l’angolo: anche nel caso dell’ultima tregua tra Hamas e Israele i palestinesi hanno dovuto “essere rappresentati” da qualcuno che si facesse da garante, in quel caso il “nuovo” Egitto [6], sempre alleato strategico dell’imperialismo nonostante le sue evoluzioni (da Mubarak, ai Fratelli Musulmani, alla borghesia militare). La macchina culturale sionista lavora anche per cercare di declassare e screditare i palestinesi a “popolo non in grado di rappresentarsi autonomamente”.

Oggi la Palestina attraversa un momento molto difficile, la sua economia dipende dagli aiuti stranieri che arrivano con il subdolo e non sempre evidente scopo di appoggiare la colonizzazione. La tendenza alla normalizzazione sia da parte dell’Autorità Palestinese sia da parte del governo di Gaza mina il campo della resistenza perché si riflette pericolosamente sulla popolazione, che invece dimostra ancora di voler percorrere la strada della lotta e non della resa.

Per gli stessi motivi si è scelto di manifestare in occasione dell’incontro bilaterale Italia-Israele inizialmente (e fino alle ultime due settimane a ridosso del vertice) annunciato a Torino [7]. Solo pochi giorni prima, invece, si è appresa la notizia che sarebbe stato spostato a Roma, dove il papa “finalmente” avrebbe accolto Netanyahu [8]. Per noi era un’occasione per dire che consolidare accordi con uno stato che viola impunemente il Diritto Internazionale significa macchiarsi degli stessi crimini. Il governo italiano quindi si rende complice, questo anche grazie alla scarsa opposizione e resistenza che i cittadini italiani riescono a porre nei confronti delle sue scelte, dell’occupazione e della pulizia etnica della Palestina, compiuta per mano di Israele, ma manovrata e sostenuta dalla struttura internazionale che il sionismo ha messo in piedi, di cui l’Italia è parte.

Chi ha partecipato alla manifestazione di Torino ha scelto di inserirsi in un contesto antagonista alle scelte del governo italiano sempre più fantoccio e privo di sovranità. E’ ormai evidente la direzione che sta prendendo il nostro paese, sempre più abile e coeso nel rafforzare la militarizzazione ed il controllo sulla popolazione e che trova un valido partner in Israele, paese sempre più spinto a destra verso un fascismo etnocratico e coloniale. Gli accordi tra questi due stati hanno principalmente due obiettivi: favorire le borghesie attraverso il libero scambio commerciale (proviamo ad immaginare a beneficio di chi, non certo della popolazione italiana) e usare l’Italia come ponte per l’Europa di cui Israele non è membro, ma in cui riesce a trovare modi e forme per essere sempre presente ed estendere la sua influenza anche nell’ottica di mistificare la sua immagine di paese tutt’altro che democratico.

Allo stesso modo riteniamo che anche per i palestinesi non sia il tempo di accordi o trattative, utili solo ad indebolire la resistenza palestinese e a corrodere ogni possibilità di unità del popolo nella lotta contro l’occupazione, che invece rimane l’unica via d’uscita che può e deve essere sostenuta anche a livello internazionale, da quei soggetti, governi ed interlocutori che credono nella Lotta di Liberazione della Palestina, perché battersi per i diritti, l’autodeterminazione e libertà di un popolo, non può che giovare alla libertà di tutti.

Proprio per approfondire anche questi aspetti, il primo dicembre, il giorno dopo la manifestazione, è stato tenuto sempre a Torino un Convegno/Seminario sul Sionismo [9] in cui grazie all’altissimo profilo delle relazioni e ai contributi apportati da esperti in materia di accordi tra Italia e Israele (anche attraverso minuziose ricerche che hanno rivelato le complicità e le implicazioni di intellettuali, ricercatori, politici, etc) è stato possibile sviscerare molte delle problematiche innescate da tali accordi e approfondire come questi si riflettano negativamente sulla popolazione italiana.

L’obiettivo prefissato è quello di costruire un sostegno alla Resistenza palestinese in tutte le sue forme, di contrastare e denunciare ogni fenomeno di complicità con il nemico ovunque e comunque si presenti. Su questo stiamo lavorando, nel costruire la nostra solidarietà. Il nostro lavoro passa dai convegni ma si concretizza in varie tappe: la Manifestazione che voleva portare in pizza questi contenuti c’è stata, anche se qualcuno ha provato a depistare la partecipazione dopo lo (o approfittando dello) spostamento del vertice, puntando più su un dato politico di basso profilo “essere dov’è Netanyahu” piuttosto che essere in tanti dove da mesi si stava costruendo, con il contributo di tante città italiane [10], una manifestazione nazionale che avesse dei nuovi contenuti nella scena politica italiana, ma che riscontrano ancora reazioni conservatrici da parte di coloro che non condividono questo percorso e provano a boicottarlo con ogni mezzo.

Come dicevo però, si tratta di tappe che demarcano un percorso chiaro, definito e già avviato, in sostegno alla Resistenza palestinese, che oggi ci vede impegnati anche nel sostenere la costruzione di un asilo a Gaza a cura dell’associazione Khanafani [11], perché crediamo che la resistenza passi anche attraverso la possibilità per i bambini di conoscere sin da subito un’alternativa al sistema settario di Hamas.

Altre tappe arriveranno, certi che un giorno i palestinesi scriveranno la loro storia di lotta di liberazione. A noi il dovere di sostenerli, ben sapendo che una Palestina libera farà bene a chiunque aspiri e si adoperi per un mondo più giusto.

Redazione PalestinaRossa

[1] Convegni Nazionali
.invito primo convegno:http://www.palestinarossa.it/?q=it/content/story/dalla-solidarieta-alla-lotta-internazionalista
.report primo convegno:http://www.palestinarossa.it/?q=it/content/story/report-convegno-dalla-solidariet%C3%A0-alla-lotta-internazionalista-fianco-della-resistenza
.invito secondo convegno:http://www.palestinarossa.it/?q=it/content/event/secondo-convegno-nazionale-firenze
.report secondo convegno:http://www.palestinarossa.it/?q=it/content/story/report-del-secondo-convegno-dalla-solidariet%C3%A0-alla-lotta-internazionalista-fianco-dell
.invito terzo convegno:http://www.palestinarossa.it/?q=it/content/event/terzo-incontro-dellassemblea-nazionale-verso-la-manifestazione-del-30-novembre
.report terzo convegno:http://www.palestinarossa.it/?q=it/content/story/report-del-terzo-convegno-dalla-solidariet%C3%A0-alla-lotta-internazionalista-fianco-della-
[2]http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=42628&typeb=0&Palestina-Stato-osservatore-LA-DIRETTA
[3]http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=21923&typeb=0&AIUTI-ESTERI-TRAPPOLA-PER-POLITICA-PALESTINESE
[4]http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=44695&typeb=0&Da-USA-no-a-condanna-Israele-per-nuove-colonie
[5]http://www.palestinarossa.it/?q=it/content/story/non-ci-sar%C3%A0-alcuno-stato-palestinese-qa-con-linformatore-dei-palestine-papers-ziyad-cl
[6]http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2012/11/21/gaza-accordo-per-cessate-fuoco-tra-palestinesi-e-israele/421822/
[7]http://www.internazionale.it/news/italia-israele/2013/07/01/letta-il-2-dicembre-il-bilaterale-a-torino/
[8]http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/world-news/detail/articolo/israele-israel-israel-29903/
[9]http://www.palestinarossa.it/?q=it/content/event/sionismo-antisionismo-teoria-e-prassi
[10]http://www.palestinarossa.it/?q=it/manifestazione-torino
[11]http://www.freedomflotilla.it/2013/10/22/asilo-vittorio-arrigoni-come-aiutare-a-realizzarlo/

thanks to: PALESTINAROSSA

ONU: BAMBINI PALESTINESI TORTURATI E USATI COME SCUDI UMANI DA ISRAELE

La Commissione delle Nazioni Unite per i diritti umani del bambino ha denunciato che i minori palestinesi vengono torturati e usati come scudi umani da Israele. Inoltre ai bambini rapiti dalle forze israeliane nella Striscia di Gaza e in Cisgiordania nella guerra del 1967 viene negata la registrazione dell’atto di nascita e l’accesso al sistema sanitario o a scuole decenti, denunciano i 18 esperti indipendenti che fanno parte della Commissione Onu il cui incarico è quello di monitorare il rispetto della Convenzione dei diritti del fanciullo da parte di quei governi che l’hanno ratificata. In un periodo analizzato di 10 anni, è stato stimato che settemila bambini tra i 12 e i 17 anni, ma alcuni anche di nove, sono stati arrestati, interrogati e detenuti. Alcuni in isolamento per mesi.

Profonda preoccupazione è stata espressa per il ”continuo uso dei bambini palestinesi come scudi umani o informatori”, sottolineando che 14 casi sono stati riportati solo tra gennaio 2010 e marzo 2013. I soldati israeliani usano poi i bambini palestinesi per entrare in edifici potenzialmente pericolosi e li mettono davanti ai carri armati per evitare il lancio di pietre, afferma la Commissione Onu. ”Quasi tutti quelli che hanno usato i bambini come scudi umani e informatori sono rimasti impuniti e i soldati accusati di aver costretto un bambino di nove anni a ispezionare borse sospettate di contenere materiale esplosivo a un posto di blocco hanno ricevuto solo una sentenza di sospensione dall’incarico di tre mesi e poi sono stati reintegrati”, afferma il testo.

”I bambini palestinesi arrestati dalla polizia e dall’esercito (israeliani, ndr) sono soggetti in modo sistematico a trattamenti umilianti e spesso a torture, vengono interrogati in ebraico, lingua che non comprendono, e firmano confessioni in ebraico per essere rilasciati”, si legge nel rapporto rilasciato dalla Commissione. Il testo denuncia quindi come i bambini palestinesi vengano spesso arrestati per il lancio di pietre, reato che puo’ costare anche 20 anni di carcere. E spesso i soldati israeliani arrestano in modo arbitrario. ”Centinaia di bambini palestinesi sono stati uccisi e migliaia sono stati torturati nelle operazioni militari condotti dallo Stato (ebraico, ndr) soprattitto a Gaza dove sono stati condotti raid aerei e navali su zone densamente popolate e con una notevole presenza di bambini, il che va contro i principi di proporzionalita’ e distinzione”, si legge nel documento. Inoltre ”l’occupazione illegale” da parte di Israele del territorio palestinese e delle Alture del Golan in Siria, la continua espansione ”fuorilegge” degli insediamenti ebraici in Cisgiordania , la confisca di terre e la distruzione di casa ”rappresenta una grave e continua violazione dei diritti dei bambini palestinesi e delle loro famiglie”.

(Fonte: Brt/AKI)

Israele tortura bambini palestinesi

‘Usati anche come scudi umani’.

(ANSAmed) – ROMA – Rapporto shock del Comitato dell’Onu per la difesa dei diritti dei bambini, che accusa la polizia e l’esercito di Israele di violenze sistematiche contro i bambini palestinesi, in taluni casi “torturati e usati come scudi umani”.

Un dossier Unicef del marzo scorso parlava di “maltrattamenti, diffusi, sistematici e istituzionalizzati” ai danni dei minori palestinesi (tra i 12 e i 17 anni) detenuti nel sistema militare israeliano. In dieci anni, aveva denunciato l’Unicef, sono stati arrestati circa 7.000 minori, una “media di due ogni giorno”. Il rapporto del Comitato Onu, che dettaglia gli stessi numeri, torna a denunciare “arresti nel corso della notte, detenzioni in isolamento che durano mesi”. Ai minori, fermati con l’accusa di aver lanciato pietre contro i soldati, “vengono legate le mani, bendati gli occhi e vengono trasferiti in luoghi sconosciuti a genitori e parenti”. Le accuse “vengono lette in ebraico, una lingua che evidentemente non conoscono, e vengono loro fatte firmare confessioni scritte anchéesse in ebraico”, recita il rapporto degli esperti del Comitato Onu. In generale, i minori che vivono “nei territori occupati da Israele subiscono sistematiche violenze fisiche, verbali e anche sessuali. Sono sottoposti a umiliazioni, minacce. Una volta arrestati si nega loro l’acqua, il cibo, l’igiene”.

Crimini “che vengono commessi al momento dell’arresto, del trasferimento, dell’interrogatorio, e anche nel corso dei processi a loro carico”, stima ancora il rapporto citando “le testimonianze dei soldati israeliani”. I militari “usano i ragazzini come scudi per entrare in edifici potenzialmente pericolosi” e la “quasi totalità dei casi in cui i bambini sono stati utilizzati come scudi umani e informatori sono rimasti impuniti. E i soldati accusati di aver fatto aprire a un bimbo di nove anni una valigia che sospettavano contenesse esplosivo hanno solo ricevuto una sospensione di tre mesi e il degrado”, denuncia ancora il rapporto.

Secondo la stima Unicef, fino all’aprile scorso, 236 minori palestinesi, 44 dei quali con meno di 16 anni, si trovavano nei centri di detenzione militare. Il Comitato Onu denuncia poi la discriminazione non solo ai danni dei bambini palestinesi, ma in generale di quelli beduini, arabi ed etiopi, e “l’assenza di cooperazione delle autorità israeliane” per quello che concerne i diritti dei minori palestinesi.

(ANSAmed).

Onu: bambini palestinesi torturati, usati come scudi da parte di Israele

Il Comitato dei diritti umani delle Nazioni Unite ha accusato le forze israeliane  di maltrattare i bambini palestinesi torturando quelli in custodia e utilizzandoli alcuni come scudi umani.
Ai bambini  palestinesi  a  Gaza e in Cisgiordania  viene  costantemente negata la registrazione della loro nascita e l’accesso alle cure sanitarie, a  scuole decenti e all’ acqua pulita.
I bambini palestinesi arrestati dai  militari e dalla polizia israeliana sono sistematicamente soggetti a trattamenti degradanti  e spesso torturati, vengono interrogati in ebraico, una lingua che non capiscono  e firmano confessioni in ebraico al fine di essere rilasciati.

La relazione del Comitato delle Nazioni Unite sui diritti del fanciullo ha riconosciuto le preoccupazioni per la sicurezza nazionale di Israele e ha evidenziato   che i bambini di  entrambi i lati del conflitto continuano ad essere uccisi e feriti, ma che più vittime sono tra i  palestinesi.
Ha deplorato il  “persistente rifiuto” di Israele di rispondere alle richieste di informazioni sui bambini nei territori palestinesi e le alture del Golan dopo l’ultima revisione nel 2002.

“Centinaia di bambini palestinesi sono stati uccisi e migliaia feriti  a seguito delle operazioni militari , israeliane in particolare a Gaza, dove sono state attuati attacchi navali  e arei in zone densamente popolate con una significativa presenza di bambini, trascurando in tal modo i principi di proporzionalità “.
Durante questi 10 anni si stima che 7.000 bambini palestinesi di età compresa tra i 12 ei 17, ma alcuni di appena nove anni  siano  stati arrestati, interrogati e detenuti.

Molti sono stati condotti con catene alle gambe davanti a tribunali militari, mentre i giovani sono tenuti in isolamento  a volte per mesi. Il Comitato ha espresso profonda preoccupazione per “l’uso continuo di  bambini palestinesi come scudi umani e informatori : 14 casi sono  stati segnalati tra gennaio 2010 e marzo 2013 .
I soldati israeliani hanno costretto  i bambini palestinesi ad entrare in  edifici potenzialmente pericolosi  prima di loro o  di stare di fronte a veicoli militari per scoraggiare sassaiole.
«Quasi tutti coloro che utilizzano i bambini come scudi umani e informatori sono rimasti impuniti.  I soldati condannati per aver costretto con le armi un bambino di nove anni a  cercare borse sospettate  di contenere esplosivi,hanno  ricevuto soltanto la sospensione della pena di tre mesi e sono stati retrocessi”.L’occupazione abusiva di lunga data di Israele nei territori palestinesi e nella Siria Golan,  l’espansione degli insediamenti ebraici “illeciti “, la costruzione del Muro in Cisgiordania, la confisca delle terre e la distruzione di case e mezzi di sostentamento “costituiscono gravi e continue violazioni dei i diritti dei bambini palestinesi e delle loro famiglie “.

Nel mese di marzo Palmor, il portavoce del ministero degli Esteri israeliano, aveva dichiarato  che  i funzionari del ministero e l’esercito avrebbero   collaborato con l’UNICEF con l’obiettivo di migliorare il trattamento dei minori palestinesi in custodia. ”Israele studierà le conclusioni e si adopererà per la loro attuazione attraverso la cooperazione con  l’UNICEF,  di cui riconosciamo il valore e rispettiamo come organizzazione “

BoccheScucite

Palestinian children tortured, used as shields by Israel: U.N

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA | Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:35pm EDT

(Reuters) – A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces on Thursday of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.

Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, are routinely denied registration of their birth and access to health care, decent schools and clean water, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said.

“Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” it said in a report.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it had responded to a report by the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF in March on ill-treatment of Palestinian minors and questioned whether the U.N. committee’s investigation covered new ground.

“If someone simply wants to magnify their political bias and political bashing of Israel not based on a new report, on work on the ground, but simply recycling old stuff, there is no importance in that,” spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

Kirsten Sandberg, a Norwegian expert who chairs the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, said the report was based on facts, not on the political opinions of its members.

“We look at what violations of children’s rights are going on within Israeli jurisdiction,” she told Reuters.

She said Israel did not acknowledge that it had jurisdiction in the occupied territories, but the committee believed it does, meaning it has a responsibility to comply with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The report by its 18 independent experts acknowledged Israel’s national security concerns and noted that children on both sides of the conflict continue to be killed and wounded, but that more casualties are Palestinian.

Most Palestinian children arrested are accused of throwing stones, which can carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, the committee said.

The watchdog examined Israel’s record of compliance with the children’s rights convention as part of its regular review of the pact from 1990 signed by 193 countries, including Israel. An Israeli delegation attended the session.

The U.N. committee regretted what it called Israel’s persistent refusal to respond to requests for information on children in the Palestinian territories and occupied Syrian Golan Heights since the last review in 2002.

“DISPROPORTIONATE”

“Hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed and thousands injured over the reporting period as a result of (Israeli) military operations, especially in Gaza,” the report said.

Israel battled a Palestinian uprising during part of the 10-year period examined by the committee.

It withdrew its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, but still blockades it.

During the 10-year period, an estimated 7,000 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17, but some as young as nine, had been arrested, interrogated and detained, the U.N. report said.

Many are brought in leg chains and shackles before military courts, while youths are held in solitary confinement, sometimes for months, the report said.

It voiced deep concern at the “continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields and informants”, saying 14 such cases had been reported between January 2010 and March 2013 alone.

Israeli soldiers had used Palestinian children to enter potentially dangerous buildings before them and to stand in front of military vehicles to deter stone-throwing, it said.

Almost all had remained unpunished or had received lenient sentences, according to the report.

Sandberg, asked about Israeli use of human shields, said: “It has been done more than they would recognize during the dialogue. They say if it happens it is sanctioned. We say it is not harsh enough.”

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Allyn Fisher-Ilan in Jerusalem; editing by Alistair Lyon and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Reuters