UNSC passes resolution to end Israeli settlements

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has passed a resolution censuring Israel for its settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories after the US refused to veto it, reversing its longstanding policy of shielding the Israeli regime from condemnatory resolutions at the world body.

The Egyptian-drafted resolution was passed with 14 votes in favor and one abstention on Friday.

Egypt had withdrawn the measure after the Israeli regime asked US President-elect Donald Trump to pressure the North African country to delay voting on the draft resolution.

Israel, wary of indications that the US might veto the resolution, turned to Trump for support , who has defended Israel against condemnation for the settlement construction, and slammed the Obama administration for the “shameful move” against Tel Aviv.

It is the first resolution on Israel and the Palestinians that the 15-member body has passed in about eight years.

The Security Council was initially scheduled to vote on the resolution on Thursday.

However, on Friday, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela put forward the draft again, which called on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

It also said the construction of Israeli settlements has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

In this image released by the UN, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power (C) votes to abstain during the December 23, 2016 vote on Israeli settlements.

The vote possibly marks a short-lived turning point in US policy vis-à-vis the Israeli regime. Outgoing US President Barack Obama has said that the Israeli settlements pose an obstacle to the so-called Middle East peace process.

During the Friday session, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power told the council that the vote reflected the country’s complaints about Israel’s settlement construction.

“Our vote today is fully in line with the bipartisan history of how American presidents have approached both the issue and the role of this body,” she said, adding that settlement activity “harms the viability of a negotiated two-state outcome and erodes prospects for peace and stability in the region.”

‘Shameful resolution’

Infuriated at Washington’s abstention, Israel’s envoy lashed out at the Obama administration and expressed hope that both Trump and the incoming UN secretary general, António Guterres, would establish closer ties with Tel Aviv.

“It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution,” said Danny Danon.

“I have no doubt that the new US administration and the incoming UN secretary-general will usher in a new era in terms of the UN’s relationship with Israel,” Dannon added.

Meanwhile, the chief Palestinian negotiator and secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, hailed the UN vote as a “victory for the justice of the Palestinian cause,” while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced resentment.

Erekat said Trump now had to choose between “international legitimacy” or siding with “settlers and extremists.”

In a statement released on Friday, the Israel prime minister said it “rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms,” adding that Obama failed to “protect Israel”.

“Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in [US] Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution,” the statement said.

Netanyahu’s office also announced in the early hours of Saturday that Tel Aviv had recalled its envoys to Senegal and New Zealand for consultations, and had tasked the Foreign Ministry with cancelling a scheduled visit to Israel by Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye and scrapping an aid program for the West African country.

Trump vows change at the UN

Shortly after the resolution was approved, Trump promised that Washington’s policies at the world body would “be different” during his administration.

“As to the UN, things will be different after Jan 20th,” he said in a tweet, referring to the date of his inauguration.

White House defends abstention

Dismissing Trump’s remarks, the White House on Friday defended its decision to allow the motion to pass at the UN, and reminded Trump that Obama was the US president until January 20.

“We could not in good conscience veto a resolution that expressed concerns about the very trends that are eroding the foundation for a two-state solution,” said Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser.

In a statement released on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the UN resolution “rightly condemns violence and incitement and settlement activity and calls on both sides to take constructive steps to reverse current trends and advance the prospects for a two state solution.” He added, however, that Washington does not agree with every single aspect of the motion. 

The developments come more than a week after Trump announced his decision to nominate hardliner David Friedman as the US ambassador to Israel. Friedman is notorious for his fervent support of Israel’s illegal settlement expansion in the occupied territories, and has been characterized as an “obstacle to peace” by successive US administrations. He has said that he plans to work at “the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

A picture taken on November 17, 2016 shows a general view of the illegal Israeli settlement of Ofra in the occupied West Bank, established in the vicinity of the Palestinian village of Beitin (background).

Earlier this month, Israeli lawmakers approved a hugely-controversial bill legalizing some 4,000 settler units built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, in the first of three readings needed to turn it into law.

The United States, Israel’s strongest ally, Germany, the country least critical of Tel Aviv in Europe, UN officials, and the European Union have strongly criticized the bill.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Built on occupied land, the settlements are internationally condemned as illegal and equal to land grab.

The Palestinian Authority wants the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinians state, with East al-Quds as its capital.

thanks to: PressTV

L’Onu approva quattro risoluzioni sostenute dai palestinesi in una vittoria storica – Palestinians welcome UN call for settlement database

unnamed (1)Betlemme – Ma’an. In una vittoria storica per la leadership palestinese, giovedì il Consiglio delle Nazioni Unite per i diritti umani il ha approvato quattro risoluzioni riguardanti il ​​territorio palestinese occupato, una delle quali sarà redigere una “lista nera” delle compagnie che fanno affari negli insediamenti illegali israeliani.

Il Dipartimento degli Affari di negoziazione dell’Olp ha riferito che, in aggiunta alla risoluzione riguardante gli insediamenti – che è passata con 32 a 0 –, un’altra è stata adottata per il diritto inalienabile del popolo palestinese all’autodeterminazione.

Una risoluzione basata sui diritti umani dei palestinesi è stata approvata dal Consiglio e si rivolge alle demolizioni delle case, alle violazioni dei luoghi sacri e alle esecuzioni extragiudiziarie eseguite dalle forze israeliane.

È stata approvata un’altra risoluzione per la promulgazione di sistemi investigativi adeguati per garantire la responsabilità per le violazioni compiute da Israele nei terrori palestinesi occupati.

La risoluzione proposta dalla leadership palestinese che obbliga il Consiglio delle Nazioni Unite per i diritti umani a formare un database di tutte le parti che svolgono affari nelle aree sotto l’occupazione militare israeliana ha subito l’opposizione maggiore dagli USA e dall’Unione Europea prima del voto di giovedì, secondo i report del Guardian.

A quanto riferito, i leader occidentali hanno avvertito che sostenere la risoluzione potrebbe andare a scapito degli aiuti concessi all’Autorità palestinese.

La risoluzione riecheggia una recente decisione dell’Unione Europea di etichettare i prodotti realizzati negli insediamenti illegali israeliana, una vittoria per il movimento BDS che tenta di utilizzare il boicottaggio, il disinvestimento e le sanzioni contro Israele per porre fine alla decennale occupazione.

Traduzione di F.G.

Israeli security forces check the IDs of Palestinians at the entrance of the village of Nahalin (AFP)

Israeli security forces check the IDs of Palestinians at the entrance of the village of Nahalin (AFP)

The Palestinian government has hailed the decision by the United Nations to establish a database of companies working in Israeli settlements, a ruling that Israel called an “absurdity”.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday adopted four motions on the Palestinian territories, including one calling for the establishment of a list of companies operating from settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel has long accused the body of unfairly singling it out.

Ibrahim Khreisheh, Palestinian envoy to the UNHRC, called the vote a “message of hope for our people”.

“Israel continues to systematically violate the inalienable rights of the Palestinians while enjoying impunity from the international community,” he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labelled UNHRC an “anti-Israel circus” which “attacks the only democracy in the Middle East and ignores the gross violations of Iran, Syria and North Korea.”

UNHRC has also confirmed Canadian Stanley Michael Lynk as its new investigator on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories after his predecessor resigned, citing Israel’s continued refusal to grant him access.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War, in a move considered illegal under international law. Around 400,000 Israeli settlers now live alongside around 2.5 million Palestinians there.

Since the beginning of 2016, over 450 Palestinian homes and other structures in the West Bank have been destroyed by Israeli forces.

Friday 25 March 2016

thanks to: Infopal

Middle East Eye

Sul Sahara Occidentale spirano venti di guerra


La notte del 26 febbraio 1976 la Spagna abbandonò definitivamente il Sahara Occidentale. Il giorno dopo, il 27 febbraio, il Fronte Polisario proclamò la Repubblica araba democratica saharawi (Rasd). La reazione del Marocco fu subito violenta fino ad usare, a un certo punto, bombe al napalm, ma non riuscì a spegnere la resistenza, anche armata, del popolo saharawi. Il Fronte del Polisario nel 1979 firmò la pace con la Mauritania che riconobbe l’indipendenza del Sahara Occidentale. Il Marocco invase allora tutto il territorio del Sahara Occidentale, costringendo all’esodo numerosi combattenti e famiglie sahrawi. Nel 1991, dopo anni di scontri armati, vi fu un accordo per la pace con il cessate il fuoco e l’ONU inviò in missione una delegazione (MINURSO) col compito di vigilare sulla tregua e organizzare un previsto (e mai tenuto) referendum di autodeterminazione (indipendenza o autonomia). Ad oggi l’intesa non è ancora stata raggiunta. Il nodo rimane il referendum su cui ancora non esiste un punto di incontro tra Marocco e Fronte Polisario.

I profughi trovarono asilo nel sud-ovest dell’ Algeria, innanzitutto nell’oasi di Tindouf. Il popolo Saharawi esiliato è composto da oltre 160mila rifugiati che vivono in una striscia di deserto algerino. Combatte contro un terreno inospitale, dove d’estate la temperatura è proibitiva e d’inverno il forte vento irrita occhi e gola. Le malattie qui sono dovute soprattutto al clima. Il territorio è diviso in wilaya (regioni) organizzate a loro volta in daira (province). Spesso manca l’acqua corrente e l’elettricità nelle tende – le abitazioni tradizionali – o nelle più moderne e costose case costruite con mattoni di sabbia, che però rischiano di crollare letteralmente nel periodo delle piogge. Tra la striscia nel deserto algerino e la madre patria vi è un confine/barriera di circa 5 milioni di mine, di filo spinato e di un muro di oltre 2700 chilometri. È stato costruito dal Marocco durante gli anni degli scontri ed è ancora presidiato da migliaia di soldati marocchini. Il “muro della vergogna” lo chiamano i Saharawi, un muro di sicurezza dice il Marocco per proteggere quello che le risoluzioni Onu definiscono un territorio in conflitto. La posizione del Marocco è chiara: nessun territori è occupato. Interessi anche economici risponde la Rasd perché quella terra è ricca di fosfati e ha un mare molto pescoso. Oltre questa barriera, nel Sahara occidentale, vive l’altra parte del popolo saharawi, circa 400mila persone.

A Tindouf lo scorso 27 febbraio il Fronte Polisario ha celebrato il quarantesimo anniversario della propria Repubblica con una sfilata di carri armati, missili, armi e di 25.000 soldati che sbandierando la loro bandiera hanno promesso il ritorno nella loro Patria, il Sahara Occidentale.

Primo Ministro del Fronte Omar Taleb ha dichiato ai giornalisti: “Con la sfilata dei nostre forze militari vogliamo far vedere di avere un esercito bene armato e preparato. La lotta armata per l’indipendenza è una possibilità che non è esclusa e per la quale ci stiamo preparando”.

Una dichiarazione significativa di una situazione estremamente drammatica, la guerra da silenziosa rischia di parlare il linguaggio delle armi. Il processo di decolonizzazione/democratizzazione non solo è fermo, ma regredisce: abusi di diritti umani, arresti e incarcerazioni di attivisti Sahrawi e impossibilità di tornare nella propria terra. Inoltre vi sono seri problemi di sicurezza nella regione: infiltrazioni di gruppi terroristici provenienti dal nord del Mali, al-Qaeda in Maghreb e cellule terroristiche dormienti hanno destabilizzato l’area. Il Fronte Polisario è solo nell’affrontare questi attacchi su più fronti e ha schierato unità anti terrorismo che impiegano tattiche di guerriglia lungo i confini per combattere l’avanzata dei militanti del jihad. Dopo 23 anni di attesa per un referendum, il risentimento della popolazione Sahrawi è aumentato e da più forza al vento di guerra che inizia a spirare.

Prima del quarantesimo e della sfilata militare a Tindouf. Ban Ki-Moon, la settimana scorsa, è stato il primo segretario generale dell’Onu a visitare la regione. Dopo aver visitato i campi in Algeria, ora sede di alcuni più di 90.000 saharawi, ha detto che era commosso e anche addolorato invitando a riprendere i colloqui. La sua visita è venuta poche settimane dopo un importante dissenso tra Rabat e l’UE, in quanto la Corte di Giustizia Europea stabilito che un accordo commerciale su agricoltura e pesca era illegale perché includeva il Sahara occidentale. L’Unione Europea non riconosce la sovranità del Marocco sul Sahara Occidentale. In frontale contrapposizione con l’atteggiamento di re Mohamed VI che, tempo fa annunciò che il “Sahara rimarrà parte del Marocco, fino alla fine dei tempi”.
Rabat ha reagito violentemente sia alla visita che alle dichiarazioni di Ba Ki-Moon, puntando il dito anche contro l’Algeria. Le posizioni dell’ONU sono in forte contrasto con la volontà del Marocco di impadronirsi definitivamente di questo paese. Il Marocco, anche se ha l’appoggio degli Stati Uniti e dell’Arabia Saudita  e di pochi altri alleati tradizionali, è sostanzialmente isolata. Oltre all’ Onu e all’Europa, anche l’ Unione Africana sostiene l’applicazione del cessate il fuoco del 1991, che comporta il referendum.

L’ ultima presa di Ba Ki-Mon va appoggiata  per costringere il Marocco a sedersi al tavolo dei colloqui e permettere che finalmente che l’ONU organizzi il referendum di autodeterminazione (indipendenza o integrazione).

Anche i movimenti che nel mondo ed anche in Italia appoggiano il popolo saharawi devono mobilitarsi perché la posizione dell’ONU venga, finalmente, rispettata e realizzata. Altrimenti l’unica alternativa è la ripresa da parte del Fronte Polisario della lotta armata, come annunciato da Omar Taleb.

Francesco Cecchini

thanks to: Pressenza

I rifugiati saharawi reclamano la fine dell’occupazione

I rifugiati saharawi reclamano la fine dell’occupazione
(Foto di Massinissa Benlakehal)

testo e foto di Massinissa Benlakehal

Il popolo  del Sahara occidentale -l’ultima colonia del continente africano – hanno sollecitato l’ONU di raggiungere una conclusione politica dopo 40 anni di occupazione, da parte del Marocco, della loro terra.

Circa 100.000 saharawi hanno vissuto per quattro decadi in Tindouf, un angolo dell’Algeria sud-occidentale. Vivono in cinque campi, tutti in un deserto fra i più ostili e spogli del mondo; ogni campo ha il nome di una delle principali città della loro terra d’origine.

Un funzionario della Repubblica Araba Democratica Saharawi (SADR), il governo in esilio, internazionalmente riconosciuto del popolo sharawi ha dichiarato: “ Il referendum di autodeterminazione deve essere organizzato per evitare un’ulteriore instabilità delle regioni del Nord Africa. Ci aspettiamo che l’ONU prenda le sue responsabilità. Una missione speciale, MINURSO, fu quella dell’ ONU per il Referendum nel Sahara Occidentale fu dapprima impiegata per monitorare il cessate il fuoco del 1991 tra Fronte Polisario e Marocco.” Il funzionario, per ragioni di sicurezza ha chiesto che non venga fatto il suo nome.

La vita, nell’estremo clima del deserto, nel campo rifugiati di Tindouf è dura. Ed è diventata ultimamente anche più dura perché durante la crisi economica gli aiuti umanitari sono crollati. Secondo il World Food Programme, gli aiuti alimentari sono spesso irregolari e, in genere, insufficienti. Coprono solamente un terzo del fabbisogno nutrizionale.

Celebrando il quarantesimo anniversario della proclama della Repubblica Araba Democratica Saharawi (SADR), il Presidente ha dichiarato ai giornalisti: “ L’ONU e la comunità internazionale devono prendersi le loro responsabilità e riconoscere la questione saharawi.”

Per molti anni le decisioni dell’ONU hanno trovato poca applicazione nel campo. Dopo quasi tre decadi dal cessate il fuoco, i rifugiati saharawi stanno ancora aspettando la conclusione del conflitto.

Il Segretario Generale dell’ONU nel suo rapporto del 2014 ha sottolineato l’urgenza di trarre conclusione e trovare nuove opzioni se progressi non venissero fatti nel 2015. Il problema è stato anche sottolineato dal Primo Ministro del Sahara Occidentale, Omar Taleb: “Marocco è isolato, considerando i suoi problemi sia con l’ONU che Unione Africana, incluso il confronto con molti altri paesi a causa dell’occupazione illegale del Sahara Occidentale. Questo dovrebbe incoraggiare la comunità internazionale a riconoscere la Repubblica Araba Democratica Saharawi (SADR) come membro dell’ONU in risposta all’intransigenza del regime marocchino.”

Più di 80 paesi riconoscono Repubblica Araba Democratica Saharawi. Le istituzioni ufficiali si trovano all’interno dei campi, con 19 ministri di cui tre sono donne. Le donne elette sono il 23% dei parlamentari eletti. La parata miitare nel campo Dakhala ha voluto mostrare al mondo la risolutezza del popolo Sarawi.

Omar Tale ha, inoltre, dichiarato: “Con l’esibizione, celebrando l’anniversario della proclamazione della Repubblica, delle nostre forze armate isaharawi vogliono far vedere che hanno un esercito ben preparato. La lotta armata per l’indipendenza non è scartata e ci stiamo preparando.” La posizione arttuale favorisce l’uso di mezzi diplomatici per trovare una risoluzione. Omar Taleb ha inoltre affermato: “ Il popolo saharawi stanno allo stesso tempo mantenendo il cessate il fuoco, favorendo mezzi pacifici e aspettando la visita del segretario generale dell’ONU che mira trovare una soluzione.” Il Primo Ministro ha concluso che non esclude il fatto “che ci stiamo preparando per altre opzioni.” Ultimamente il governo marocchino ha sospeso contatti con varie istituzioni europee dopo che EU ha deciso lo scorso dicembre ha deciso di cancellare accordi commerciali di agricoltura e pesca con Rabat. La Corte europea ha affermato che accordi commerciali dovrebbero escludere i territori occupati del Sahara Occidentale. In 2015 il volume commerciale del Marocco è stato di 4.39 bilioni di dollari. La maggior parte degli affari fu conclusa con paesi europei. Il Sahara Occidentale è ricco di fosfati e di pesca e si pensa che al largo nell’oceano Atlantico vi sino depositi petroliferi.

25 anni dopo il cessate il fuoco

Dopo essere stata conquistata dagli spagnoli nel 1884, il Sahara Occidentale divenne una provincia spagnola nel 1934. Più di metà del suo territorio dal 1976 è stato sotto il controllodel Marocco. Nel Novembre 1975 ordinò la “ Marcia Verde” di oltre 300.000 marocchini nei territori del Sahara Occidentale. Un mese prima, la Corte Internazionale di Giustizia aveva rigettato i reclami territoriali sia del Marocco che della Mauritania. L’occupazione marocchina provocò una ribellione guidata dal Fronte Polisario. Dopo 15 anni di guerra di guerriglia, l’ONU sponsorizzò un cessate il fuoco nel 1991, con lo scopo di organizzare un referendum di autodeterminazione. Dopo 25 anni non c’è stato nessun referendum. Uno degli ostacoli è stata la definizione di chi doveva votare o no.

Il Fronte Polisario annunciò la fondazione della Repubblica Araba Democratica Saharawi il 27 febbraio 1976.  Molte NGO denunciano continue violazioni da parte del Marocco dei diritti umani torture e assassinii. Secondo il Fronte Polisario ad oggi ci sono 71 saharwi prigionieri politici nelle prigioni marocchine.

Brahim Gali, presidente della commissione politica del Fronte Polisario ed ex ambasciatore in Algeria ha dichiarato: “non c’è dubbio che i Saharawi hanno raggiunto molte cose positive. Lo stato del Sahara Occidentale ha raggiunto maturità ed è in grado di avere il proprio destino nelle proprie mani.”

Sopravvivere nel deserto

Al contrario di molti campi di rifugiati, i campi saharawi sono molto ben orgnizzati, con scuole primarie, ospedali e strutture amministrative. Uomini e donne all’interno dei campi sono coloro che gestiscono i propri affari della vita del campo.

Nella società saharawi le donne hanno un ruolo fondamentale nel gestire la vita del campo.

La scuola è obbligatoria per tutti i bambini. Ci sono più di 6000 bambini che frequentano le scuole primarie dei campi. La maggior parte di loro vengono inviati all’estero per continuare gli studi.

Basa, un sodato di 33 anni ha dichiarato: “Ogni saharawi ha qualcosa da fare. Le autorità organizzano la vita e distribuiscono i compiti nel campo. Sono nato nel campo, ma non ho voluto andare in un altro paese, ma arruolarmi nell’esercito e combattere per la nostra indipendenza.”

L’esercito di liberazione del Sahara Occidentale è composto sia di uomini che di donne.

Massinissa Benlakehal è un fotogiornalista algerino che segue per vari media ed agenzie di informazioni la questione del Sahara Occidentale. Indico una sua breve intervista sul tema rilasciata a Al Jazeera (N.d.T.)

Western Sahara: Interview of Massinissa Benlakehal for AJE Interview of Massinissa Benlakehal, freelance journalist, specialized in the Western Sahara issue for Al Jazeera Channel, on March 5 2016.

traduzione di Francesco Cecchini

thanks to: Pressenza

Yemen: Embargo Arms to Saudi Arabia

(Sanaa) – The United States, United Kingdom, France, and others should suspend all weapon sales to Saudi Arabia until it not only curtails its unlawful airstrikes in Yemen but also credibly investigates alleged violations.

Since March 26, 2015, a coalition of nine Arab countries has conducted military operations against the Houthi armed group and carried out numerous indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes. The airstrikes have continued despite a March 20 announcement of a new ceasefire. The coalition has consistently failed to investigate alleged unlawful attacks as the laws of war require. Saudi Arabia has been the leader of the coalition, with targeting decisions made in the Saudi Defense Ministry in Riyadh.

“For the past year, governments that arm Saudi Arabia have rejected or downplayed compelling evidence that the coalition’s airstrikes have killed hundreds of civilians in Yemen,” said Philippe Bolopion, deputy global advocacy director. “By continuing to sell weapons to a known violator that has done little to curtail its abuses, the US, UK, and France risk being complicit in unlawful civilian deaths.”
Nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations have investigated and reported on numerous unlawful coalition airstrikes. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other international and Yemeni groups have issued a joint statement calling for the cessation of sales and transfers of all weapons and military-related equipment to parties to the conflict in Yemen where “there is a substantial risk of these arms being used… to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law.” Human Rights Watch has documented 36 unlawful airstrikes – some of which may amount to war crimes – that have killed at least 550 civilians, as well as 15 attacks involving internationally banned cluster munitions. The UN Panel of Experts on Yemen, established under UN Security Council Resolution 2140 (2013), in a report made public on January 26, 2016, “documented 119 coalition sorties relating to violations” of the laws of war.
Saudi Arabia has not responded to Human Rights Watch letters detailing apparent violations by the coalition and seeking clarification on the intended target of attack. Saudi Arabia has successfully lobbied the UN Human Rights Council to prevent it from creating an independent, international investigative mechanism.
In September 2014, the Houthis, a Zaidi Shia group from northern Yemen also known as Ansar Allah, took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. In January 2015, they effectively ousted President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and his cabinet. The Houthis, along with forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, then swept south, threatening to take the port city of Aden. On March 26, the Saudi-led coalition, consisting of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan, began an aerial bombing campaign against Houthi and allied forces.
At least 3,200 civilians have been killed and 5,700 wounded since coalition military operations began, 60 percent of them in coalition airstrikes, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The naval blockade the coalition imposed on Yemen has contributed to an immense humanitarian crisis that has left 80 percent of the population of the impoverished country in need of humanitarian protection and assistance.

The UN Panel of Experts found that, “the coalition’s targeting of civilians through air strikes, either by bombing residential neighborhoods or by treating the entire cities of Sa‘dah and Maran in northern Yemen as military targets, is a grave violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. In certain cases, the Panel found such violations to have been conducted in a widespread and systematic manner.” Deliberate, indiscriminate, and disproportionate attacks against civilians are serious violations of the laws of war, to which all warring parties are bound.

The UN panel said that the attacks it documented included attacks on “camps for internally displaced persons and refugees; civilian gatherings, including weddings; civilian vehicles, including buses; civilian residential areas; medical facilities; schools; mosques; markets, factories and food storage warehouses; and other essential civilian infrastructure, such as the airport in Sana’a, the port in Hudaydah and domestic transit routes.”

Residents sifting through the rubble of homes destroyed in an airstrike three days prior in Yareem town. The strike killed at least 16 civilians.

The 36 unlawful airstrikes Human Rights Watch documented include attacks on schools, hospitals, and homes, with no evidence they were being used for military purposes. Human Rights Watch has collected the names of over 550 civilians killed in these 36 attacks. Amnesty International has documented an additional 26 strikes that appear to have violated the laws of war. Mwatana, one of Yemen’s leading human rights organizations, issued a report in December that documented an additional 29 unlawful airstrikes across Yemen, from March to October 2015.

In addition, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented civilian casualties from internationally banned cluster munitions used in or near cities and villages. Cluster munitions have been used in multiple locations in at least five of Yemen’s 21 governorates: Amran, Hajja, Hodaida, Saada, and Sanaa. The coalition has used at least six types of cluster munitions, three delivered by air-dropped bombs and three by ground-launched rockets. Human Rights Watch has said there should be an immediate halt to all use of cluster munitions and that coalition members should join the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Despite the numerous credible reports of serious laws-of-war violations, the Saudi-led coalition has taken no evident actions either to minimize harm to civilians in its air operations or to investigate past incidents and hold those responsible to account. So long as no such steps are taken, governments should not supply weapons to the leading coalition member.

The UK foreign affairs minister, Phillip Hammond, and other senior UK officials have repeatedly said that coalition forces have not committed any violations of the laws of war. On February 2, 2016, an important cross-party committee of UK members of parliament sent a letter to the international development secretary, Justine Greening, calling for immediate suspension of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia and an international independent inquiry into the coalition’s military campaign in Yemen.

On February 25, the European parliament passed a resolution calling on the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini “to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia.” On February 17, the Dutch parliament voted to impose the embargo and ban all arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

On January 31, the coalition announced the creation of a committee to promote the coalition’s compliance with the laws of war. However, the military spokesman for the coalition specified that the objective of the committee was not to carry out investigations into alleged violations.

Human Rights Watch has also documented serious laws of war violations by Houthi and allied forces, including indiscriminate shelling of cities, enforced disappearances, and the use of internationally banned antipersonnel landmines. Human Rights Watch supports a ban on the sale or provision of weapons to the Houthis that are likely to be used unlawfully, notably unguided “Grad-type” rockets and anti-personnel landmines.

“How many more airstrikes need to wreak havoc on civilians before countries supplying aircraft and bombs to the coalition pull the plug?” Bolopion said.

UK, US Arms Support for Saudi-led Coalition
Under international law, the US is a party to the armed conflict in Yemen. Lt. Gen. Charles Brown, commander of the US Air Force Central Command, said that the US military has deployed dedicated personnel to the Saudi joint planning and operations cell to help “coordinate activities.” US participation in specific military operations, such as providing advice on targeting decisions and aerial refueling during bombing raids, may make US forces jointly responsible for laws-of-war violations by coalition forces. As a party to the conflict, the US is itself obligated to investigate allegedly unlawful attacks in which it took part.

The UK government has said that though it has personnel in Saudi Arabia, they are not involved in carrying out strikes, or directing or conducting operations in Yemen, or selecting targets. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that UK personnel are deployed to “provide advice, help and training” to the Saudi military on the laws of war.

Largest Foreign Military Sales to Saudi Arabia
In July 2015, the US Defense Department approved a number of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, including a US$5.4 billion deal for 600 Patriot Missiles and a $500 million deal for more than a million rounds of ammunition, hand grenades, and other items, for the Saudi army. According to the US Congressional review, between May and September, the US sold $7.8 billion worth of weapons to the Saudis.

In October, the US government approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of up to four Lockheed Littoral Combat Ships for $11.25 billion. In November, the US signed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $1.29 billion for more than 10,000 advanced air-to-surface munitions including laser-guided bombs, “bunker buster” bombs, and MK84 general purpose bombs; the Saudis have used all three in Yemen.

According to the London-based Campaign Against Arms Trade, the UK government approved GB£2.8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia between January and September 2015. The weapons include 500-pound Paveway IV bombs. The UK is negotiating a £1 billion weapons deal with the UAE.

A June 2015 Spanish government report stated that Spain had authorized eight licenses for arms exports to Saudi Arabia worth $28.9 million in the first half of the year. In February 2016, Spanish media reported that the government-owned shipbuilding company Navantia was about to sign a contract worth $3.3 billion with Saudi Arabia for the construction of five Avante 2200 type frigates for the Saudi navy.

In July 2015, Saudi Arabia reportedly signed agreements worth $12 billion with France, which included $500 million for 23 Airbus H145 helicopters. The kingdom is also expected to order 30 military patrol boats by 2016 under the agreement. Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia has also recently entered into exclusive negotiations with the French company Thales Group to buy spy satellite and telecommunications equipment worth “billions of euros.”

Coalition Violations
Human Rights Watch has documented 36 airstrikes between March 2015 and January 2016, that appear to have been unlawfully indiscriminate or disproportionate, which include a March 30, 2015 airstrike on a camp for internally displaced people that killed at least 29 civilians and a March 31, 2015 airstrike on a dairy factory outside the port city of Hodaida that killed at least 31 civilians. In Saada, a Houthi stronghold in the north, Human Rights Watch examined more than a dozen airstrikes that occurred between April and May that destroyed or damaged civilian homes, five markets, a school, and a gas station, though there was no evidence these sites were being used for military purposes. These strikes killed 59 people, mostly civilians, including at least 35 children.

On May 12, the coalition struck a civilian prison in the western town of Abs, killing 25 people. On July 24, the coalition dropped nine bombs on and around two residential compounds of the Mokha Steam Power Plant, which housed plant workers and their family members, killing at least 65 civilians. On August 30, an airstrike hit Al-Sham Water Bottling Factory in the outskirts of Abs, killing 14 workers, including three boys, who were nearing the end of their night shift.

The coalition has carried out strikes on marketplaces, leading to high civilian death tolls. On May 12, a strike on the marketplace of the eastern village of Zabid killed at least 60 civilians. On July 4, an airstrike on the marketplace of the northern village of Muthalith Ahim killed at least 65. On July 6, bombs hit two markets in the governorate of Amran, north of Sanaa, killing at least 29 civilians.

On October 26, the coalition bombed a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in the northern town of Haydan in Saada governorate six times, wounding two patients. Since then, coalition airstrikes have hit MSF facilities twice. An airstrike hit a mobile clinic on December 2, in Taizz, wounding eight, including two staff members, and killing another civilian nearby. On January 21, an airstrike hit an MSF ambulance, killing its driver and six others, and wounded dozens in Saada.

On January 10, a projectile hit an MSF-supported hospital in Saada, killing six people and wounding at least seven, most of them medical staff and patients. MSF said it could not confirm the origin of the attack, but its staff had seen planes flying over the facility at the time of the attack. MSF said on January 25, that it had yet to receive any official explanation for any of these incidents.

On May 8, 2015, Brig. Gen. Ahmad al-Assiri, the military spokesman for the coalition, declared the entire cities of Saada and Marran, another Houthi stronghold, to be military targets. In an interview with Reuters on February 1, al-Assiri spoke about Saudi civilian casualties from Houthi and pro-Saleh forces’ firing across the border. He said, “Now our rules of engagement are: you are close to the border, you are killed.” Treating an entire area as the object of military attack violates the laws-of-war prohibition on attacks that treat distinct military objectives in a city, town or area as a single military objective. Doing so unlawfully denies civilians protection from attack.

Human Rights Watch also documented the coalition’s use of at least six types of cluster munitions in at least 15 attacks in five of Yemen’s 21 governorates between March 2015 and January 2016. Cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons and pose long-term dangers to civilians. They are prohibited by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted by 118 countries, though not Saudi Arabia or Yemen.

Failure to Investigate Alleged Violations
Countries that are party to a conflict have an obligation under international law to investigate credible allegations of war crimes and hold those responsible to account. Human Rights Watch has seen no indication that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has conducted any meaningful investigations into alleged laws-of-war violations.

On August 19, 2015, Human Rights Watch and 22 other human rights and humanitarian organizations called on the UN Human Rights Council to create an independent international commission of inquiry at its September session to investigate alleged laws-of-war violations by all parties to the conflict. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights similarly called on UN member states to encourage the establishment of an “international independent and impartial” investigative mechanism.

Instead, on September 7, President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi of Yemen established a national commission to investigate violations of human rights and the laws of war. During the ensuing UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries effectively blocked an effort led by the Netherlands to create an international investigative mechanism. The national commission has taken no tangible steps to conduct investigations, nor has it revealed any working methods or plans, three people close to the commission told Human Rights Watch.

Five days after the release of UN Panel of Experts report on Yemen, on January 31, 2016, the coalition announced a new committee to assess the coalition’s rules of engagement in the war and produce recommendations for the coalition to better respect the laws of war. “The goal of the committee is not to investigate allegations,” Al-Assiri said. “Its primary goal is to confirm the precision of the procedures followed on the level of the coalition command.” As such, this proposed body does not meet the requirements for an impartial investigative mechanism that can address accountability for unlawful attacks or compensate victims of coalition violations, Human Rights Watch said.

Al-Assiri said that the Saudi military has been conducting internal investigations into attacks in which a violation might have ensued, and pointed to a single airstrike that had led to a violation: the October 26, 2015 bombing of an MSF hospital in northern Yemen. He said the strike had been the result of “human error,” but did not outline any steps taken to hold the responsible military personnel to account, or compensate the two civilians wounded in the strike.

thanks to: Human Rights Watch

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”.


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.


[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

L’ONU dichiara che il 2014 sarà l’Anno Internazionale di Solidarietà con la Palestina

L’Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite ha approvato a grande maggioranza una risoluzione che dichiara il 2014 Anno Internazionale di Solidarietà con il popolo di Palestina. Il testo incarica il Comitato per l’esercizio dei diritti inalienabili della Palestina di realizzare per il prossimo anno una serie di attività al fine di garantire la solidarietà con il popolo arabo in coordinamento con i governi e le organizzazioni sociali.

A seguito delle discussioni sulla questione palestinese, la plenaria del principale organo delle Nazioni Unite ha approvato l’iniziativa con 110 voti a favore, 56 astensioni e il voto contrario di Israele, Stati Uniti d’America, Canada, Australia, Micronesia, Palau e Isole Marshall.

ONU Declara
2014 como Año Internacional
de Solidaridad con Palestina

La Asamblea General de la ONU aprobó el 27 de Noviembre por amplia mayoría una resolución que declara al 2014 Año Internacional de Solidaridad con el Pueblo de Palestina. El texto encarga al Comité para el ejercicio de los derechos inalienables de Palestina la realización de actividades a lo largo del año próximo, que garanticen la solidaridad con ese pueblo árabe
en coordinación con gobiernos y organizaciones sociales.
Tras los debates sobre la cuestión palestina, la plenaria del principal órgano de las
Naciones Unidas respaldó la iniciativa con 110 votos a favor, 56 abstenciones
y el rechazo de Israel, EE.UU., Canadá, Australia, Micronesia, Palau e Islas Marshall.

Fonte: granma.cubaweb.cu

Verona, 30 novembre 2013: Giornata ONU per i diritti del popolo palestinese video introduttivo


Gli altri video del convegno di Verona del 30 novembre 2013:
Wasim Dahmash e Simone Sibilio parlano della Nakba nella cultura palestinese, il poeta Nasrallah delle sue poesie, Ugo Tramballi polemizza con Michele Giorgio e Michele risponde sul diritto/dovere di dire la verità, anche se si “tiene” famiglia. Carla Benelli parla appassionatamente della conservazione dei villaggi e della storia palestinese, Vittorio Urbani bacchetta il filosofo che nega la mostra sulla Palestina a Venezia.

Tanti video da guardare con attenzione; li potete trovare sul canale YOUTUBE di Invictapalestina:


UN Resolution Against US Spying

Projet de résolution de l’Onu contre l’espionnage US

À l’initiative du Brésil, une vingtaine d’États préparent une proposition de résolution de l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies pour garantir la confidentialité des communications par Internet (voir brouillon ci-dessous).

Bien que la NSA n’y soit pas citée, cette initiative est dirigée contre les États-Unis dont l’espionnage de masse viole le Pacte des droits civils et politiques et la Déclaration universelle des Droits de l’homme. Elle fait obligation aux États-membres de prendre les mesures nécessaires à la protection de la vie privée de leurs ressortissants et demande au Secrétaire général de présenter des rapports sur l’application de ces mesures.

Le document insiste sur l’incompatibilité de ce type d’espionnage avec la notion même de démocratie.

Depuis 1948, les États-Unis, le Royaume-Uni, l’Australie et la Nouvelle-Zélande se sont lancés dans un vaste programme d’espionnage de leurs alliés afin de les maintenir dans une situation de dépendance. Si ce dispositif est connu de très longue date, il n’a cessé de se développer avec les moyens de télécommunication numériques. Les révélations d’Edgard Snowden ont contribué à attirer l’attention du grand public sur cette surveillance de masse.


UN Draft on Privacy

The General Assembly,

Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming the human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic,Social and Cultural rights,

Reaffirming also the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,

Noting that the exercise of human rights, in particular the right to privacy on the Internet, is an issue of increasing interest and importance as the rapid pace of technological developmentenables individuals in all regions to use new information and communications technologies [A/HRC/RES/20/8], and at the same time enhances the capacity of Governments, companies and individuals for surveillance, decryption and mass data collection, which may severely intrudewith a person’s right to privacy,

Welcoming the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression submitted to the Human Rights Council at its twenty third session, on the implications of the surveillance of private communications and the indiscriminate interception of the personal data of citizens on the exercise of the human right to privacy,

Reaffirming the human right of individuals to privacy and not to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with their privacy, family, home or correspondence, and the right to enjoy protection of the law against such interferences and attacks [new, based on article 17 of theICCPR] , and recognizing that the exercise of the right to privacy is an essential requirement for the realization of the right to freedom of expression and to hold opinions without interference, and one of the foundations of a democratic society [new, based on the report A/HRC/23/40 (para24) of the Special Rapporteur],

Noting that while concerns about national security and criminal activity may justify the gathering and protection of certain sensitive information, States must ensure full compliance with international human rights [statement of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, NaviPillay, on September 20th, 2013],

Emphasizing that illegal surveillance of private communications and the indiscriminate interception of personal data of citizens constitutes a highly intrusive act that violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy and threatens the foundations of a democratic society [new,based on the report A/HRC/23/40 (para 81) of the Special Rapporteur],

Deeply concerned at human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of extra-territorial surveillance or interception of communications in foreign jurisdictions [new,based on the report A/HRC/23/40 (para 87) of the Special Rapporteur],

Recalling that States must ensure that measures taken to counter terrorism comply with international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law [A/HRC/RES/19/19, OP1],

Stressing also the importance of the full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information, including the fundamental importance of access to information and democratic participation [PP6 of A/HRC/RES/12/16, Freedom of opinion and expression],

1. Reaffirms the rights contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, inparticular the right to privacy and not to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence, and the right to enjoy protection of the law against such interference or attacks, in accordance with article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [new] ;

2. Recognizes the global and open nature of the Internet as a driving force in acceleratingprogress towards development in its various forms [OP2 of A/HRC/RES/20/8] ;

3. Affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular the right to privacy, including in the context of the surveillance of communications [based onOP1 of A/HRC/RES/20/8] ;

4. Calls upon all States :

(a) To respect and ensure the respect for the rights referred to in paragraph 1 above [new, based on OP4a) of A/HRC/RES/12/16] ;

(b) To take measures to put an end to violations of these rights and to create the conditions to prevent such violations, including by ensuring that relevant national legislation complies with their international human rights obligations and is effectively implemented [new, based onOP4b) of A/HRC/RES/12/16] ;

(c) To review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the extra-territorial surveillance of private communications and interception of personal data of citizens in foreign jurisdictions with a view towards upholding the right to privacy and ensuring the full and effective implementation of all their obligations under international human rights law [based on the reportA/HRC/23/40 (paras 64 and 83) of the Special Rapporteur] ;

(d) To establish independent oversight mechanisms capable to ensure transparency and accountability of State surveillance of communications [based on the report A/HRC/23/40 (para93) of the Special Rapporteur] ;

5. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to present an interim report on the issue of human rights and indiscriminate surveillance, including on extra-territorial surveillance, to the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session, and a final report at its seventieth session, with views and recommendations, to be considered by Member States, with the purpose of identifying and clarifying principles, standards and best practices on the implications for human rights of indiscriminate surveillance [new] ;

6. Decides to examine the question on a priority basis at its sixty-ninth session, under the sub-item entitled “Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms” of the item entitled “Promotion and protection of human rights” [new] .”

thanks to: voltairenet

China rejects UN states’ recommendations on human rights in Tibet

DHARAMSHALA, October 25: China has rejected concerns raised by UN member states on its human rights record saying, “Some countries in their comments equated security actions to protect civilians as ethnic cleaning, and called certain criminals in China as human rights defenders. Normal judicial procedures were called political persecution. This is a typical case of politicizing human right. The best persons to know human rights in China are Chinese.”

China further claimed that Beijing has made many improvements in promoting and protecting the rights of its citizens.

Several United Nations member states have expressed need for China to improve the human rights situation in Tibet during the Universal Periodic Review of China’s human rights record in Geneva.

Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Iceland questioned China on human rights situation inside Tibet. These nations also highlighted issues such as lack of religious freedom, minority rights, access for UN officials to Tibet, and called on China to resume dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama.

New Zealand urged China to resume dialogue with Tibet to address the interests of all communities in Tibet while Iceland recommended facilitating access for Special Rapporteurs to various human rights issues in Tibetan areas.

Poland noted the joint communications of eight Special Procedures with regards to alleged systematic attempts to undermine the rights to freedom of religion, culture and expression of the Tibetan Buddhist community. It further recommended that China take necessary measures to ensure that the right to religion, culture and expression are fully observed and protected in every administrative entity of China.

In 2009 report of China’s UPR, China accepted some recommendations on the promotion of human rights in general but played down recommendations including measures to provide freedom of information and expression; ensure the independence of the judiciary and lawyers; safeguard detainees’ access to counsel; protect lawyers from attacks and harassment; and grant freedom of religion and movement to ethnic minorities such as Tibetans and Uyghurs.

Since 2009, 122 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet protesting against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

A well-known Chinese dissident and democracy activist Yang Jianli said, “Today I was struck by China’s ability to tell such blatant lies with a straight face. This is another example of why China does not deserve to be re-elected to the Human Rights Council. China’s re-election defies logic reason and common sense. We need look no further than the Tibetans, who have received unspeakable suffering at the hands of this regime.”

thanks to: Phayul


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.


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 “


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.


“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)


Israel Must End Gaza Blockade, says UN Official

NEW YORK, June 15, 2013 (WAFA) – A United Nations independent expert Friday called on Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip, six years after it was tightened following the Hamas takeover in June 2007.

“The people of Gaza have endured the unendurable and suffered what is insufferable for six years,” said the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Richard Falk. “Israel’s collective punishment of the civilian population in Gaza must end today,” he said.

“Six years of Israel’s calculated strangulation of the Gaza Strip has stunted the economy and has kept most Gazans in a state of perpetual poverty and aid dependency,” the UN expert added.

Citing statistics released by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Falk said that in 2012, the total number of truckloads of exports leaving Gaza was 254, compared to 9,787 in 2005 before the tightening of the blockade.

In addition, the UN expert said the productive capacity of Gaza has dwindled since 2007, with 80 per cent of factories in Gaza now closed or operating at half capacity or less due to the loss of export markets and prohibitively high operating costs as a result of the blockade.

“Thirty-four percent of Gaza’s workforce is unemployed including up to half the youth population, 44% of Gazans are food insecure and 80% are aid recipients,” he said, highlighting also the lack of access to potable water, fuel and electricity.

He added that while a small proportion of Gazans can afford to obtain supplies through the tunnel economy, “tunnels alone cannot meet the daily needs of the population in Gaza.”

“It’s clear that the Israeli authorities set out six years ago to devitalize the Gazan population and economy,” the Special Rapporteur said, referring to a study undertaken by the Israeli Ministry of Defense in early 2008 detailing the minimum number of calories Palestinians in Gaza need to consume on a daily basis to avoid malnutrition.


thanks to:


New report by European groups highlights growing consensus for ban on Israeli settlement goods

A coalition of 22 European NGOs along with Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories have in the last week released significant reports on financial links with illegal Israeli settlements.

Running into 35 pages, the report from European NGOs, titled Trading Away Peace, is the most wide-ranging report yet into the various forms of economic support for illegal Israeli settlements provided by European states and corporations.

Opening with an overview of the reality for Palestinians in the West Bank, the report highlights the inconsistency between the EU’s stated opposition to settlements and its failure to take action to halt economic activity that encourages their continued existence and expansion.

The report uses Israeli government estimates of the volume of settlement trade to estimate that the EU imports fifteen times more from the illegal settlements than from the Palestinians living in the occupied territories.

Complicit companies

Profiling Israeli companies exporting consumer goods from settlements such as Ahava, SodaStream and Mehadrin, the report recommends that European governments “ensure correct consumer labeling of all settlement products as a minimum measure” and “as a more comprehensive option, ban imports of settlement products, as called for by Ireland.”

The report also calls for action to prevent European corporations like Veolia and G4S from providing infrastructure to illegal Israeli settlements, the inclusion of illegal Israeli settlements in EU agreements and the purchase of property in settlements by European citizens. In all, its 12 recommendations cover many of the main forms of financial support for illegal Israeli settlements.

What’s especially significant and heartening about the report is how widely it has been endorsed. The 22 signatories from 11 European countries include the APRODEV network of Christian development organizations, the International Federation for Human rights (FIdH) and national churches in Sweden and the UK.

Call for boycott

In a report presented to the UN General Assembly on 25 October, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, went even further, calling for a “boycott [of] businesses that profit from Israeli settlements.”

Advocates of the position that governments should tackle companies complicit in settlements and not just produce made in illegal settlements, including the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), point out that any business with companies exporting from or operating in settlements supports their continued growth and expansion.

“In short, businesses should not breach international humanitarian law provisions. Nor should they be complicit in any breaches. If they do, they may be subject to criminal or civil liability. And this liability can be extended to individual employees of such businesses,” Falk explained when presenting his report (download the report in full here) (extract).

The report examines 13 companies, many of which are already targeted by the BDS movement over their complicity with Israeli violations, including G4S, Mehadrin, Veolia and Caterpillar, and details their infringements of the new UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Falk recommends BDS

The implementation of the guidelines by states and businesses is one of Falk’s main recommendations. The report also states that the special rapporteur is committed to following up with the corporations listed in the report and “may continue to gather information and report on the involvement of corporations in Israel’s settlement activities.”

Making specific mention of the Palestinian-initiated boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, Falk urges civil society to “vigorously pursue initiatives to boycott, divest and sanction” the businesses highlighted in his report and calls on governments to “investigate the business activities of companies registered in their own respective countries… that profit from Israel’s settlements, and take appropriate action to end such practices and ensure appropriate reparation for affected Palestinians.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has faced demands from the Anti-Defamation League to distance himself from the report, while the US, Canada and Israel have all called for Falk’s resignation.

Popular pressure needed

The Irish foreign minister has declared himself supportive of an EU-wide ban on settlement trade and the Norwegian foreign minister has also spoken of the need to take concrete action.

However, in a recent meeting with campaigners, a senior EU official denied reports that the EU was considering a EU-wide settlement trade ban and said that countries like France and the UK instead supported a proposal that the EU should issue new guidance ensuring the correct labeling of settlement products.

Alistair Burt, the UK government minister responsible for Middle East policy echoed that view when he said the following in response to to a question in parliament about this new Trading Away Peace report and whether the UK government would implement a ban on settlement trade:

I have seen the report and I note that one of its main recommendations is to commend the United Kingdom on its policy of voluntary labelling and to encourage other European Union countries to do the same. There is active consideration in the EU about doing just that, and we are taking part in that. So far, however, I have not seen anything that would lead us to change our policy in relation to boycotts…

Official guidance requiring the correct labeling of products from illegal settlements, as implemented by the UK, Danish and South African governments, should be seen as a welcome step towards more restrictive measures. But as Palestinian human rights organization al-Haq has argued, states are legally obliged not to provide recognition or assistance to Israeli settlements, including by ending settlement trade. Labelling alone is not sufficient – turning economic support for the colonization of Palestine into an issue of consumer choice is not an acceptable long-term proposition.

While an EU-wide ban on settlement trade may not be a realistic short term goal, it does seem possible that an individual state or group of states – Ireland, Norway or South Africa, for example – could be successfully pressured to implement such a ban.

There is also potential for more retailers to be pressured into adopting the position of the UK Co-operative supermarket, which this year announced that it would no longer deal with companies operating in illegal settlements.

Years of determined grassroots campaigning and Israel’s continued violations of international law mean that demands to end financial support for settlements are now winning unprecedented levels of support, as these two new reports demonstrate.

The challenge now for all campaigners, including supporters of a full boycott of Israel, is to build campaigns capable of pressuring governments and more retailers to take effective action against companies operating in settlements, or at least products from illegal settlements. Further victories in this area would be hugely damaging not only to Israel’s settlement regime but the entirety of its apartheid system.

thanks to: Michael Deas

The Electronic Intifada

US warns European governments against supporting Palestinians at UN

Private memo threatens ‘significant negative consequences’ if Palestinian Authority succeeds in obtaining enhanced status

Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN

The United States has warned European governments against supporting a Palestinian bid for enhanced status at the United Nations, saying such a move “would be extremely counterproductive” and threatening “significant negative consequences” for the Palestinian Authority, including financial sanctions.

A US memorandum, seen by the Guardian, said Palestinian statehood “can only be achieved via direct negotiations with the Israelis” and urged European governments “to support [American] efforts” to block the bid. The message was communicated by officials to representatives of European governments at the UN general assembly (UNGA) in New York last week.

Palestinian officials accused the US of exerting “tremendous pressure” on European governments to oppose their bid for upgraded “non-member state” status at the UNGA. Announced by president Mahmoud Abbas last week (video), the move is a significant diminution of Palestinian ambitions after its application for full statehood failed last year when it was blocked by the US in the security council.

The Palestinians will wait until after the US presidential election in early November before proceeding with their bid for upgraded status. However, they insist they will press for a vote by the end of the year and are confident of winning a comfortable majority among the UN’s 193 countries. The US has no veto at the general assembly.

The memorandum – described by one diplomatic source as “private correspondence” – said the US was continuing to work for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and urged both parties “to avoid provocative one-sided actions that could undermine trust or otherwise distract from the pursuit of peace”.

A Palestinian resolution on non-member state status “would have significant negative consequences, for the peace process itself, for the UN system, as well as our ability to maintain our significant financial support for the Palestinian Authority”.

It added that a successful resolution could lead to Palestinian participation as a state in international bodies such as the international criminal court. Israel is concerned that Palestinian recourse to the ICC could have repercussions for its policies on settlements, the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza.

“We believe your government understands what is at stake here, and – like us – wants to avoid a collision at the coming UNGA session,” said the text. “We hope you are willing to support our efforts … We would appreciate knowing where your government stands on this issue. We would also be interested in knowing whether you have been approached on this matter by Palestinian representatives.”

Hanan Ashwari, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation executive committee, described the memorandum as “typical American behaviour but also overkill”.

“It is ridiculous and unconscionable the way they put themselves at the service of Israel in such a blatant way. This is tremendous American pressure and bias.”

She said most European countries had already decided their position on the issue: “I don’t think [the US] will make countries change their minds.”

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, said the memorandum reflected the US position but he hoped that “the Europeans will follow their interests and choose peace over settlements”.

One European diplomat said that, until recently, US officials believed a “diplomatic ceasefire” was in force and that the Palestinians would not pursue the statehood issue at the general assembly. But pressure from street protests in the West Bank in recent weeks had stiffened Abbas’s resolve, and the current consensus among diplomats was that the Palestinians were determined to press ahead.

There were differing views among European countries on the wisdom of the Palestinians’ move, the diplomat added. “The closer we get to the prospect of a vote in the UN general assembly, the more concerned the US administration is likely to be. This letter is an expression of their well-known position against such a vote. But if we are to persuade Abbas not to pull the trigger, a serious alternative needs to be put on the table, and fast.”

A second European diplomat said the US had “made it very clear to all of us that they’re opposed to any [Palestinian] move at the UN”. He also criticised the Palestinians for not engaging in “serious, high-level diplomacy” on the issue.

Some European countries are alarmed at the prospect of the US withdrawing financial support for the Palestinian Authority in the wake of a bid for upgraded status, fearing that the EU would have to fill the furdianding gap.

Following the Palestinians’ acceptance as a state by the United Nations cultural and heritage body, Unesco, the US cut off funding as a punitive measure. The US had contributed 22% of Unesco’s annual budget.

Discussions among European governments on whether to support the Palestinians’ bid are due to be held this week. However the 27 member states are unlikely to forge a common line.

The US state department declined to comment on the memorandum.

thanks to: Harriet Sherwood
the guardian

Does It Matter What Israelis Do?

Weekend Edition July 20-22, 2012
Where’s the Netanyahu Scandal in the New York Times?

Does It Matter What Israelis Do?


Western leaders met in Paris last week to discuss possible intervention in Syria where almost 10,000 people have died over the last year of internal conflict. The West has never even considered holding such a meeting on Israel’s murderous behavior, however, despite a July 5 UN report that claimed that over the last five years Israeli forces have killed nearly 2,300 Palestinians and injured 7,700 in Gaza (statement from UNOCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.)

The UN agency said that 27 percent of the fatalities in Gaza were women and children in a report highlighting the effects of Israel’s blockade.

Six years ago Israel imposed its sea and air blockade of Gaza. Under the blockade, Gaza exports have dropped to less than 3 percent of 2006 levels.

UNOCHA said, “The continued ban on the transfer of goods from Gaza to its traditional markets in the West Bank and Israel, along with the severe restrictions on access to agricultural land and fishing waters, prevents sustainable growth and perpetuates the high levels of unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependency.”

Israel’s naval blockade has also undermined the livelihood of 35,000 fishermen, and Gaza farmers have lost around 75,000 tons of produce each year due to Israeli restrictions along Gaza’s land border, the UNOCHA report said.

Half of Gaza’s youth is unemployed and 44 percent of its people are food insecure.

Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Thursday that because Gaza’s ruling party Hamas is a “terrorist organization, the blockade was necessary.”

“All cargo going into Gaza must be checked because Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization,” Regev told Reuters in response to a petition by 50 aid groups, including six UN agencies, calling on Israel to lift the blockade.

The West abhors the Syrian – disobedient – government, allied to Iran, and adores Israel, no matter what it does to the Palestinians. The media does little to dramatize the obvious double standard criteria used to measure the worthiness of the two neighboring governments. Iran, the West’s post Cold War bad guy, found a friend in Syria and that alone has condemned the Syrian government. The fact that Saudi Arabia has armed and financed rebels entering Syria in the name of “democracy” should cause at least some news absorbers to feel a bit skeptical over the anti-Syria campaign.

It doesn’t seem to matter what Israelis do. For example, Arutz Sheva, the nationalist Israeli press, reported that “declassified FBI documents from a 1985-2002 investigation implicate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in an initiative to illegally purchase United States nuclear technology for Israel’s nuclear program.

“Netanyahu was allegedly helped by Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer with ties to Israeli prime ministers and U.S. presidents.”

Grant Smith at antiwar.com had reported that “Netanyahu worked inside a nuclear smuggling ring.” Here’s an example of what is found in the report:

“On June 27, 2012, the FBI partially declassified and released seven additional pages from a 1985–2002 investigation into how a network of front companies connected to the Israeli Ministry of Defense illegally smuggled nuclear triggers out of the U.S. The newly released FBI files detail how Richard Kelly Smyth – who was convicted of running a U.S. front company – met with Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel during the smuggling operation. At that time, Netanyahu worked at the Israeli node of the smuggling network, Heli Trading Company. Netanyahu, who currently serves as Israel’s prime minister, recently issued a gag order that the smuggling network’s unindicted ringleader refrain from discussing ‘Project Pinto’.”

The Hebrew paper Ma’ariv continued the report on this incident.

“According to FBI documents released by the United States, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was involved in smuggling in the 70s from the U.S. components of Israeli nuclear program, and assisted by the businessman Arnon Milchan, who according to previous publications was a former Mossad agent.

“The documents describe the findings of the investigation… performed between the years 1985 to 2002 on about how a network of front companies a U.S. security firm illegally smuggled equipment used for weapons seeds out of the U.S.”

We live in the Golden Age of Empire Judaism, said Prof. Marc Ellis. “Greater Israel” means Jewish settler expansion in a denial of Palestinians and their rights. It also means perpetual conflict, maybe war, in the region. Is this why our Congress pledges eternal love to Israel? Is this why the Israeli lobby pays and threatens our Congress?

When will Western powers meet to decide what to do about Israel so as to lessen the damage she causes to Palestinians, her neighbors and the region? Israel has baffled the U.S. political apparatus. It gets away with imposing apartheid against Palestinians, stealing their land and stirring up war against its neighbors. One negative word from a U.S. pol on Israel brings heavy pressure, intimidation and money for opposing candidates – along with charges of anti-semitism.

How pathetic that a small group of right-wing Jews allied to right-wing Israeli parties, has buffaloed U.S. politicians and media. One former Congressman described the Israeli lobby as the equivalent of a pit bull that bites the Congressman’s leg in the morning and holds on during lunch and the afternoon. The Congressman sleeps with the bull’s teeth in his leg and wakes with it the next morning. No wonder Members don’t want to antagonize this angry dog!

I don’t suggest Palestinians form an equivalent lobby, but rather that the media develop a little courage and report accurately on events in Israel and Palestine. Just spread reviews of the new film “5 Broken Camera,” in which a Palestinian West Bank farmer documents the encroachment by army-backed settlers that bulldozed his village’s olive trees to  make room for Israeli apartment houses. Israel’s treatment of West Bank Palestinians is no better than its behavior toward residents of Gaza.

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP screens at Washington DC’s Avalon Theater, 5612 Connecticut Ave 8 pm, august 14 and at the San Jose Peace an Justice Center on Aug 3, 7 PM 48 South 7th St., San Jose CA.

thanks to:

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Recognize Palestine – Sign the petition

In the last part of this month the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council will have to recognize the State of Palestine. The 2/3 of States in the world will vote favorably as they have already announced, but the big states like those that have a permanent seat in the Security Council still haven’t decide, only the Russia decided for its support to the new state.

We people can join this cause and spread this campaign to our relatives, our friends, our politics.
Sign the petition and popularize this initiative.

To the leaders of all UN member states:
We urge you to endorse the legitimate bid for recognition of the state of Palestine and the reaffirmation of the rights of the Palestinian people. It is time to turn the tide on decades of failed peace talks, end the occupation and move towards peace based on two states…