Tag Archive | "Palestine"

U.S., I$raHell, Palestine and the Santa Claus Effect (Part 1 of 2)


NOVANEWS

U.S., Israel, Palestine and the Santa Claus Effect (Part 1 of 2)

The Santa Claus Effect Deception series

I grew up in a Christian home. My father was a nuclear physicist and aerospace engineer and mother was a stay at home housewife. When I was little, much as I suspect is the case for most Christian children, I was told about Christmas and Santa Claus. We were told that Jesus was born in Bethlehem but never that this was located in Palestine.

From the moment I was old enough to grasp the story about a Christmas and Santa Claus, a jovial man, dressed in red with a white beard, who flew around the world on Christmas Eve (in 24 hours) in a magical sled pulled by flying reindeer, landing on the rooftop of every home on the planet to then slide down the chimney to leave presents for every child who had been nice, I was hooked. I never ever considered the impossibility of the story I was told this by my parents, and I guess, on some level, I didn’t want to question it. I was hooked on all of the excitement leading up to and to be revealed on Christmas Day. Each year I swore to myself that I would always ask for fun toys. Clothes and such were just a bummer and a waste of wrapping paper.

Year after year, when Christmas came around, my parents would ask me and my sisters what we wanted, and in large part, mostly these gift ideas would magically show up wrapped and under the Christmas tree. Oh, let me not forget that it was a tradition that Mom and Dad would always be sure to put out cookies and milk for Santa Claus and carrots as treats for the reindeer.

On Christmas Eve, if we were lucky, each of us would get to open one small present. Afterwards my sisters and I would attempt to go to sleep. Mostly, I would toss and turn all night in excitement of the morning of gift opening. Wake at the crack of dawn as I did, on Christmas morning, I had a tradition of waking my sisters and then our parents. Everyone took such joy in the whole process.

We would all go to the living room where the Christmas tree was situated, adorned with ornaments and beautifully glowing lights. Mom and Dad always made sure to make each of us aware, that the milk had been drunk and that the cookies and the carrots had been eaten. This was definitive proof that Santa Claus had surely come to our house and personally delivered the gifts.

One year, as it got closer to Christmas Day, I noticed that Mom and Dad were secretly bringing large bags into their bedroom. Curiously, I caught a glimpse of one of my parents wrapping a gift for me that ended up under the Christmas tree, a present that as I would later discover, was marked From: Santa Claus.

My radar was up and I was getting suspicious about this Santa Claus fellow. A year passed and at around 8 years old I was probing a friend, who was a couple of years older, about this Santa Claus guy and Christmas. In an oh-by-the-way manner he convincingly stated that there was in fact no Santa Claus and that they whole thing was … sort of a nice lie.

On hearing this and in the moment, my heart just sank. I wanted to cry. I felt so deeply betrayed by the mythology of this story I had been told by parents, my God/creator figures/truth tellers. How could they lie to me? I was instinctively trained to trust them. I felt violated and ashamed that I had not been smart enough to see through everything, connect the dots and know that I had been lied to.

So again, upon having what I now call, and have termed, my first “Santa Claus Moment,” I put on my game face and tried, as cool as I could, to shrug off the reality that I had been lied to by my parents and manned up my best response to this older friend by saying, “Ya, I knew that.”

I would not understand until I became an adult how profoundly this Santa Claus Moment would affect me. I would not have the capacity to comprehend, how this phenomena could be used towards me and the world population as a whole, to pervert the innocence of trust into a manufactured naiveté that could be exploited. I would not understand the intentionality of how this “Santa Claus Effect” could be harnessed by the elite, the powerful and the media to manipulate group thoughts and actions.

“We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of… If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.” — Dr. Edward L. Bernays, considered the founding Father of Public Relations. (1891-1995)

Flashing back to my early years and influences, my Father, a brilliant and good man, level-headed, I thought, was a bit of a Super-hawk as I now see it in retrospect. His first major job out of college was designing missile guidance systems for fighter jets. In his time off, and when we lived in California, he would work on Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign. We would later move from California to Texas where he would work on the space program and play a major role in putting our first man on the moon.

In his role as Creator/God figure/Truth Teller, I took what my father told me as gospel and truth. His worldview on life shaped my worldview. My love and respect for my father and his goodness as a human being made it easy for me to trust in what he told me. I never saw my Dad smoke a cigarette and only occasionally saw him drink a beer. As my authority figure he taught me right from wrong, how to be honest and a good person, and how to recognize and protect myself from bullies at school. There was an unspoken philosophy that “only the strong survived”, “work hard and prosper” and that in the world of global politics ‘the winner spoke softly and carried a big stick.”

I grew into adulthood and under certain Republican and hawkish narratives. As such, it was clear that my father’s worldview of America was one that painted us as the good guys wearing the white hats, global cops for justice, who faced a world of mostly irrational and crazy thinking people who hated our freedom and wanted to destroy it and us at any cost.

Admittedly, I found a certain comfort in this narrative that was coincidently drum-beat by almost every TV show, Film, News Program and print media article. Music prophets of the time fortunately sang a different tune. I found a comfort in knowing that our military was the best in the world and could, if necessary, defeat anyone. Admittedly, I was naïve at the time and only considered that our US media, in a Walter Cronkite manner, would only tell the truth, for bad or for good. I never considered that our white hat wearing media would ever bias the news or distort the facts for propaganda purposes. Our American narrative stated that only evil nations would do such things. Wow, was I in for a big surprise once I started to wake up and study this whole media phenomena.

“The conscious and intellectual manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” — Dr. Edward L. Bernays, considered the founding Father of Public Relations.

You see, growing up during the Cold War as I did, the media narrative and group talk about Russia and their people went something like this. The Russians are Communists, amoral people, don’t believe in God, don’t value human life the way we do, their military and nuclear weapons are poised to preemptively destroy America because they hate our freedom, capitalism and everything we stand for. This was the ever-present drumbeat of the American media machine. This propaganda narrative, as I now know, was designed to keep Americans in fear and never to question the billions upon billions of hard earned taxpayers dollars going into our Nation’s military buildup and ever growing arsenal of nuclear weapons. We had to be superior in order to win if a war was to ever occur with Russia. And, according to the media, this was just around the corner and was just a matter of time. Are you beginning to hear a familiar drum beat?

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” – James Madison (1751 -1836)

Then one day, a remarkable thing happened. President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to a peace accord and to bring down the Berlin Wall, the great symbol of separate ideologies and beliefs. The world watched on TV as people on both sides of the wall literally sledgehammered toward one another to meet, create an opening for freedom and unite in brotherly and sisterly love. The impossible had happened. People of the free and non-communistic world were now united with a people, whom we had been told through the US media, lived under the constant oppression and barbarism of Communism.

Our news media began to dialog with people and families in Russia and give American viewers, for the first time, a real look into life behind the iron curtain. Surprisingly and undeniably, the lives the Russian people was much like ours. They wanted to wake up, have their coffee and a good meal, make sure their children studied well, made good grades, expressed their creativity and succeeded in life. They wanted happiness, to find true love and to fulfill their dreams. They wanted peace and wanted a world of peace for their children and all other children of the world to grow up in. We painfully learned that they had never ever hated our freedom and the American way of life, as we had been told through our media. In fact, the exact opposite was true, they wanted and loved our freedom and everything it had to offer. It was a Santa Claus moment for millions upon millions of Americans, including myself.

My first direct touch point into politics came after graduating high school. I became a professional motocross racer of note in Northern Virginia, and as it turned out, Teddy Mondale, Vice President Fritz Mondale’s son also raced. We met and became friends at the races. Occasionally I would go to Teddy’s house at the Vice Presidential mansion in WDC. I went out on a couple of dates with his sister Eleanor and as a result got to meet and know VP Mondale. He was a remarkably nice and always gracious man. Living near the Washington beltway, as I did, the tension of our national and global politics was always in the air.

After my racing career, cut short by an injury, I went away to college. Political science and media communication classes started to shed light on how and for what purpose propaganda was used to lie to the masses. After graduating from college and taking my first job, I decided to explore politics a little further.

The first book I decided to read was Richard Nixon’s The Real War. Corrupt as he was determined to be, Nixon had a reputation of being a brilliant foreign strategist and I wanted to know the big picture about how global politics worked. As I read through the book his worldview became obvious. In the global scheme of things, the earth was like a chessboard where world leaders and powers vied for control and ownership over certain strategic resources such as oil, natural gas, water and important metals like titanium, platinum, chromium, etc.

Having strategic resources and/or having access to them was paramount in the manufacturing process of military/missile weaponry, planes and jet aircraft engines. These resources were also key to industrial growth, technological development and the American way of life. Therefore, it was critical to keep strategic resources out of the hands of political powers or groups that had anti-western sentiments. It was especially paramount, because U.S. soil had little to zero yield of strategic metals and without such, you could not manufacture jet aircraft engines, intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons and so on. As such, the US had to make sure the leadership of other countries, who had such resources on their soil, would give us access to them. Wow, now I was beginning to understand the reasoning behind the U.S. having and maintaining some 1000 plus military bases around the world.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZIComments (0)

Islamic Jihad, Hamas and PFLP reject PNC meeting in Ramallah


NOVANEWS

The Islamic Jihad Movement on Tuesday announced its rejection of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) meeting set to be held in Ramallah and considered it a prelude to the exclusion of Palestinian resistance factions from any future national project.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Movement said that the statements made about the current arrangements for holding a PNC meeting will entrench the internal division.

According to statements by a number of Fatah representatives lately, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Zionist puppet Ab-A$$, decided unilaterally to hold a PNC meeting in Ramallah in September.

Islamic Jihad called on Fatah Movement and the PA to abide by the understandings reached in Cairo and in the PNC preparatory committee meetings in Beirut.

Hamas Movement as well as the Popular and Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine expressed earlier their rejection of Fatah’s call for a PNC meeting in Ramallah.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, GazaComments Off on Islamic Jihad, Hamas and PFLP reject PNC meeting in Ramallah

Palestine: another desperate cry for help


NOVANEWS
Palestinian Christians holding a cross and a Palestinian flag
“Beyond urgent… on verge of a catastrophe… last chance to save Christian presence in Holy Land”
By Stuart Littlewood

The National Coalition of Christian Organisations in Palestine (NCCOP) has just issued a final plea for help in the form of an open letter to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement. It is signed by over 30 organisations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, and can be read in full here.

The problem is well known to everyone who’s paying attention. The letter recaps for us:

We are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unlawful Balfour Declaration, intensified through the Nakba [Arabic for “catastrophe” – the ethnic cleansing and dispossession of Palestinians in 1948] and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

A hundred years later and there is still no justice! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule… Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leaders’ callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality.

The letter harks back to the Amman Call of 2007. “We are concerned that 10 years later the situation is worse… the Amman Call did not achieve its goal of a just peace and we must ask ourselves today – why?”

Concern is also expressed at Israel’s “systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance” (by which they mean BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions), and on their partners worldwide who use BDS to persuade Israel to end the occupation.

While we are grateful for the “costly solidarity” articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last 10 years as a result of pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their religious dialogue partners.

So now they ask us to do the following:

1. Call things as they are: recognise Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report, which said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people.” They are concerned that states and churches continue dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination and daily deaths. Churches united to end apartheid in South Africa, the World Council of Churches (WCC) playing a pivotal role, and they are expected to do the same again in Palestine

2. Unequivocally condemn the Balfour Declaration as unjust, and demand the UK asks forgiveness and compensates the Palestinian people for their losses. Unfortunately, Zionist stooges in high places, like Theresa May, have said they will be celebrating the centenary of the Balfour Declaration “with pride” and inviting Mr Netanyahu along for the fun.

3. Take the strongest possible stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and favours one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant.

4. Take a stand against religious extremism and any attempt to create a religious state in Palestine or the region.

5. Challenge our religious dialogue partners, and withdraw from the partnership if they won’t condemn the occupation.

6. Encourage church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities using Palestinian travel agencies, not Israeli.

7. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, defend the Palestinians’ right to resist non-violently, and support economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation. Go further and include sport, cultural and academic measures until Israel complies with international law and UN resolutions.

8. Create lobby groups in defence of Palestinian Christians.

9. Urgently create a strategy within the WCC, like the programme “To Combat Racism”, to coordinate lobbying, advocacy and other activities aimed at achieving justice and peace and maintaining the presence of the Palestinian Christians.

“We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call,” says the NCCOP.

Their message ends with these ominous words:

Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land.

As I’m writing news has come in of a legal victory against the UK government for trying to stifle BDS. The government recently issued guidance to stop divestment campaigns against Israeli and international firms implicated in Israel’s violations of international law, and to protect the UK’s defence industry. Pension holders, for example, could have been forced into investing in companies complicit in human rights abuses, contrary to their conscience and beliefs.

Thanks to action by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign the court held that the government had acted improperly by seeking to use pension law to pursue its own foreign and defence policy. Parts of the guidance are now held to be unlawful and no longer applicable to local government in their pension decisions.

Other last-gasp appeals

The Amman Call mentioned earlier was issued exactly 10 years ago at the WCC’s International Peace Conference “Churches together for Peace and Justice in the Middle East” held in Amman, Jordan. It contained a number of imperatives.

  • Enough is enough. No more words without deeds. It is time for action.
  • The churches are part of the conflict, because they cannot remain silent while there is still suffering.
  • There is no military solution to the conflict, UN resolutions are the basis for peace and the Geneva conventions are applicable to the rights and responsibilities of the affected people.
  • Palestinians have the right of self-determination and the right of return.
  • Jerusalem must be an open, accessible, inclusive and shared city for the two peoples and three religions.
  • Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal, and constitute an obstacle to peace, and Israel’s “Separation Barrier” is a grave breach of international law and must be removed.

The Kairos Document of 2009 called itself a “cry of hope in the absence of all hope”. They said they had “reached a dead end” in the tragedy of the Palestinian people and the decision-makers “content themselves with managing the crisis rather than committing themselves to the serious task of finding a way to resolve it”. The faithful were asking: What is the international community doing? What are the political leaders in Palestine, in Israel and in the Arab world doing? What is the church doing? “The problem is not just a political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of concern to the church.”

Kairos told the international community to stop practising “double standards” and start implementing international resolutions. “Selective application of international law threatens to leave us vulnerable to a law of the jungle. It legitimises the claims by certain armed groups and states that the international community only understands the logic of force.” So, Kairos was calling for a system of economic sanctions and boycott to be applied against Israel – not as a revenge tactic but action to reach a just and definitive peace.

It also urged churches to revisit the fundamentalist positions that support the evil policies imposed on the Palestinian people, and to stop providing theological cover for the injustices they suffer.

Local action

These heart-rending pleas are all very well but churches are hard to mobilise. Some have flirted with BDS but only after much internal wrangling. Others have allowed themselves to be put off by interference from their interfaith partners.

What can we ordinary mortals do?

Well, I pop into churches randomly and ask what links they have with the Holy Land. They usually stare at me in blank amazement and an awkward silence follows. I therefore recommend a national campaign to visit all churches throughout the land and ask that same question. Shame them.

But you never quite know when you’re up against the “enemy within” – the Christian Zionist. Many readers will remember The “Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism” by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem in 2006.

It says, among other things:

  • We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message.
  • We reject the alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organisations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States [add the UK] that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.
  • We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that support these policies as they promote racial exclusivity and perpetual war.
  • We call upon all churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.
  • We call upon all people to reject Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.
  • We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation.
  • And, of course, Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. Don’t anyone forget that.

Memorise it.

Did you ever hear any of the 26 Church of England bishops sitting in the House of Lords roundly condemn the British government’s unshakable support for the rogue regime in Israel that’s causing all this misery? No, they’re scared to death of ruffling the feathers of their “interfaith dialogue” partners and being branded anti-Semitic. And yes, the church does have its fearless heroes but they are few and far between and not always tolerated. The Anglican Church by and large doesn’t give a damn about their brethren in the Holy Land or the military jackboot on their necks. And, by extension, they don’t give a four-x whether, in another 10 years, there will be any Christians left in the place where Christianity was born. No, maybe they will care, but by then it will be too late.

If I had my way every clergyman and every political leader calling him/herself a Christian would have the “Jerusalem Declaration” tattooed on their rump.

I’d like to invite some of them to spend a week with priests in the front line in Jenin, Nablus or Hebron for a real taste of life under the brutal Israeli occupation; then queue for hours at daybreak with Palestinian workers in the obscene human holding pens at the Bethlehem checkpoint as they struggle to get to work – and home again; then watch Israeli bulldozers evict Palestinian families and destroy their homes for no good reason; then join Gaza fishermen as they try to earn a living while getting shot at in their own waters by Israeli gunboats; then stay with a Gaza family in the rubble, experience living with only two hours’ electricity a day, with the kids going to school in shifts and studying by candlelight; then sit down with Hamas ministers to learn what it’s like running this tiny, overcrowded enclave after 10 years of cruel blockade; then visit Gaza’s hospitals to see first-hand the crisis in medical equipment and spares; then watch the groups of young, uniformed Israeli gunslingers swaggering through the Old City of Jerusalem making that beautiful place so ugly.

The opportunities to learn the nasty truth about today’s Holy Land are endless.

And when they return home – who knows, they might just feel pricked to do something about it. At least they could ensure every parish in England twins itself with a parish in the West Bank to offer solidarity and provide moral and material support.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestine: another desperate cry for help

Palestine: Another Desperate Cry for Help


NOVANEWS

Palestinian Christians 48eb2

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald tribune 

The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) has just issued a final plea for help in the form of an open letter to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement. It is signed by over 30 organisations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza and can be read in full here.

The problem is well known to everyone who’s paying attention. The letter recaps for us: “We are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba [Palestinian ‘catastrophe’] and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

“A hundred years later and there is still no justice! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule…. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality.”

The letter harks back to the Amman Call of 2007. “We are concerned that ten years later the situation is worse…. the Amman Call did not achieve its goal of a just peace and we must ask ourselves today – why?”

Concern is also expressed at Israel’s “systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance” (by which they mean BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions), and on their partners worldwide who use BDS to persuade Israel to end the occupation.

“While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last ten years as a result of pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their religious dialogue partners.”

So now they ask us to do the following:

1. Call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and the UN ESCWA report which said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people”. They are concerned that States and churches continue dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination and daily deaths. Churches united to end apartheid in South Africa, the WCC playing a pivotal role, and they are expected to do the same again in Palestine

2. Unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and demand the UK asks forgiveness and compensates the Palestinian people for their losses. Unfortunately Zionist stooges in high places, like Theresa May, have said they will be celebrating the centenary of the Balfour Declaration “with pride” and inviting Mr Netanyahu along for the fun.

3. Take the strongest possible stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and favours one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant.

4. Take a stand against religious extremism and any attempt to create a religious state in Palestine or the region.

5. Challenge our religious dialogue partners, and withdraw from the partnership if they won’t condemn the occupation.

6. Encourage church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities using Palestinian travel agencies, not Israeli.

7. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, defend the Palestinians’ right to resist non-violently, and support economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation.  Go further and include sport, cultural and academic measures until Israel complies with international law and UN resolutions.

8. Create lobby groups in defence of Palestinian Christians.

9. Urgently create a strategy within the WCC, like the programme “To Combat Racism”, to co-ordinate lobbying, advocacy and other activities aimed at achieving justice and peace and maintaining the presence of the Palestinian Christians.

“We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call,” says the NCCOP.

Their message ends with these ominous words: “Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land.”

As I’m writing news has come in of a legal victory against the UK Government for trying to stifle BDS. The Government recently issued guidance to stop divestment campaigns against Israeli and international firms implicated in Israel’s violations of international law, and to protect the UK’s defence industry. Pension holders, for example, could have been forced into investing in companies complicit in human rights abuses contrary to their conscience and beliefs.

Thanks to action by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign the court held that the Government had acted improperly by seeking to use pension law to pursue its own foreign and defence policy.  Parts of the guidance are now held to be unlawful and no longer applicable local government in their pension decisions.

Other last-gasp appeals

The Amman Call mentioned earlier was issued exactly ten years ago at the WCC’s International Peace Conference “Churches together for Peace and Justice in the Middle East” held in Amman, Jordan. It contained a number of imperatives.

  • Enough is enough. No more words without deeds. It is time for action.
  • The Churches are part of the conflict, because they cannot remain silent while there is still suffering.
  • There is no military solution to the conflict, UN resolutions are the basis for peace and the Geneva conventions are applicable to the rights and responsibilities of the affected people.
  • Palestinians have the right of self-determination and the right of return.
  • Jerusalem must be an open, accessible, inclusive and shared city for the two peoples and three religions.
  • Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal, and constitute an obstacle to peace, and Israel’s “Separation Barrier” is a grave breach of international law and must be removed.

The Kairos Document of 2009 called itself a “cry of hope in the absence of all hope”. They said they had “reached a dead end” in the tragedy of the Palestinian people and the decision-makers “content themselves with managing the crisis rather than committing themselves to the serious task of finding a way to resolve it”. The faithful were asking: What is the international community doing? What are the political leaders in Palestine, in Israel and in the Arab world doing? What is the Church doing? “The problem is not just a political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of concern to the Church.”

Kairos told the international community to stop practising “double standards” and start implementing international resolutions. “Selective application of international law threatens to leave us vulnerable to a law of the jungle. It legitimizes the claims by certain armed groups and states that the international community only understands the logic of force.” So Kairos was calling for a system of economic sanctions and boycott to be applied against Israel – not as a revenge tactic but action to reach a just and definitive peace.

It also urged churches to revisit the fundamentalist positions that support the evil policies imposed on the Palestinian people, and to stop providing theological cover for the injustices they suffer.

Local action

These heart-rending pleas are all very well but churches are hard to mobilise. Some have flirted with BDS but only after much internal wrangling. Others have allowed themselves to be put off by interference from their interfaith partners.

What can we ordinary mortals do?

Well, I pop into churches randomly and ask what links they have with the Holy Land. They usually stare at me in blank amazement and an awkward silence follows. I therefore recommend a national campaign to visit all churches throughout the land and ask that same question. Shame them.

But you never quite know when you’re up against the ‘enemy within’ – the Christian Zionist. Many readers will remember The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem in 2006.

It says among other things:

  • We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message.
  • We reject the alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States [add the UK] that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.
  • We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that support these policies as they promote racial exclusivity and perpetual war.
  • We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.
  • We call upon all people to reject Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.
  • We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation.
  • And, of course, Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. Don’t anyone forget that.

Memorise it.

Did you ever hear any of the 26 Church of England bishops sitting in the House of Lords roundly condemn the British government’s unshakable support for the rogue regime in Israel that’s causing all this misery? No, they’re scared to death of ruffling the feathers of their ‘inter-faith dialogue’ partners and being branded antisemitic. And yes, the Church does have its fearless heroes but they are few and far between and not always tolerated. The Anglican Church by and large doesn’t give a damn about their brethren in the Holy Land or the military jackboot on their necks. And, by extension, they don’t give a four-x whether, in another 10 years, there will be any Christians left in the place where Christianity was born. No, maybe they will care, but by then it will be too late.

If I had my way every clergyman and every political leader calling him/herself a Christian would have the Jerusalem Declaration tattooed on their rump.

I’d like to invite some of them to spend a week with priests in the front line in Jenin, Nablus or Hebron for a real taste of life under brutal Israeli occupation; then queue for hours at daybreak with Palestinian workers in the obscene human holding pens at the Bethlehem checkpoint as they struggle to get to work… and home again; then watch Israeli bulldozers evict Palestinian families and destroy their homes for no good reason; then join Gaza fishermen as they try to earn a living while getting shot at in their own waters by Israeli gunboats; then stay with a Gaza family in the rubble, experience living with only 2 hours’ electricity a day, with the kids going to school in shifts and studying by candlelight; then sit down with Hamas ministers to learn what it’s like running this tiny, overcrowded enclave after 10 years of cruel blockade; then visit Gaza’s hospitals to see first-hand the crisis in medical equipment and spares; then watch the groups of young, uniformed Israeli gunslingers swaggering through the Old City of Jerusalem making that beautiful place so ugly….

The opportunities to learn the nasty truth about today’s Holy Land are endless.

And when they return home…. who knows, they might just feel pricked to do something about it. At least they could ensure every parish in England twins itself with a parish in the West Bank to offer solidarity and provide moral and material support.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestine: Another Desperate Cry for Help

Palestine: “There’s No Conflict, There’s An Illegal Occupation”


NOVANEWS
Interview With Dr. Asem Khalil
 
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Professor Doctor Asem Khalil, Ph.D. in Constitutional and International Law, Associate Professor of Law of Birzeit University, West Bank, speaks of ways to consolidate the Palestine State, and definitely end Israeli crimes against humanity in the Palestinian territories.

Edu Montesanti: Dear Professor Doctor Asem Khalil, thank you so very much for granting this interview. How do you evaluate the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15? “I’m looking at two-State and one-state” formulations, President Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one”. Your view, please.

Dr. Asem Khalil: The Palestinians always called for a One State; as a compromise they accepted to enter a peace process where two state solution is envisaged as a way to get peace. If by one state, we mean equal rights for all citizens,

I don’t see why Palestinians would reject that – if they were first to ask for it and accepted only as a compromise the call for two state solution where most of historic Palestine will be part of the now state of Israel.

I think the answer given by Trump wasn’t thought through enough, and I don’t think Israel would go for a one State where one person one vote anyway.

Edu Montesanti: Why cannot Israel and the Palestinians decide alone the question? Why do Palestinians need a third party to get an agreement?

Dr. Asem Khalil: Palestinians are under occupation. It is not their own responsibility to negotiate with the occupier; for sure, it is not part of any negotiation whether to maintain or end occupation – negotiation may be on the modalities on how to do that only.

So far, Palestinians are in a weak position. They are requested to chose pacific means to reach liberation and end occupation, while at the same time, they are asked to negotiate directly with an occupier who continues to confiscate land day on day out.

It is the responsibility of the international community to put an end to one of the last occupations in the world. It is the responsibility of all community of states to make sure that rights of Palestinians – which are erga omnes – are respected.

Edu Montesanti: The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 voted on December 23 last year, condemning the Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and a major impediment to the achievement of a two-state solution, changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians. UN member States “agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council”, according to the UN Charter. Human rights and the international community also condemns the Israeli settlements and military attacks against Palestinians. Journalist Daoud Kuttab observed in Al-Jazeera in February, in the article US and Israel join forces to bury Palestinian statehood: “Ever since the 1967 occupation, the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly expressed the illegality of the occupation, as in the preamble of Resolution 242 ‘emphasizing inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’.” Why does nothing change year by year, massacre after massacre?

Dr. Asem Khalil: Change doesn’t come by UN resolutions. There are few cases like the one of Israel where the UN and the Security Council in particular showed how incompetent they are in dealing with Israel’s violations of Palestinians’ rights on their land and their right to self-determination.

Palestinian leadership, nonetheless, still think that such resolutions are important. They help maintain clear what is just and what is not.

What is acceptable and what is not. Changes in international relations and power relations between states may help in the future bring the change that is needed. Although it may be too late by then.

Edu Montesanti: What are the crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians?

Dr. Asem Khalil: There are various massacres that were committed by Israel against Palestinians surrounding the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 – causing and contributing to forced displacement and refugeehood of thousands of people.

Many other massacres were committed afterwards, either directly or indirectly. Bombings directed towards civilian areas and facilities continued in recent years when attacking Gaza.

Edu Montesanti: How is life in Gaza and in the West Bank?

Dr. Asem Khalil: Gaza is being qualified as a big prison – unqualified for human living because of lack of necessary civilian infrastructures and lack of jobs.

Most West Bank populated cities are living under Palestinian Authority rule – which coordinates with Israel in security and civil matters too.

Edu Montesanti: Professor Avi Shlaim observed days ago, in Al-Jazeera: “Sadly, the Palestinians are handicapped by weak leadership and by the internal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas.” Your view on the internal politics in Palestine, please, Professor Doctor Khalil.

Dr. Asem Khalil: He is right. This is part of the problem and why stagnation is in place. It is part of the story though.

The full picture is an Israeli occupation which separated Gaza from West Bank and maintained legal and political fragmentation since then; it is also in the way Oslo separated de facto the two areas and maintained a status quo where Palestinians are not dealt with by Israeli occupation – and contrary to the wordings of Oslo – as one political community and West Bank and Gaza Strip were not in reality considered or dealt with as one political entity.

Edu Montesanti: What could we expect from Arab leaders from now on?

Dr. Asem Khalil: We don’t have much expectations. We think the Arab region is now busy with their own problems.

They are now seeing the Palestinian issue as marginal and secondary. This is very problematic now.

Edu Montesanti: How do you see the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement?

Dr. Asem Khalil: The BDS movement can be the way ahead for peaceful resistance to occupation and apartheid in Palestine. Israel is aware of the historical precedence of South Africa and the boycott movement that ended up at the end in delegitimizing the apartheid regime in South Africa, and contributed to the entry of a new era there.

We hope similar thing happens now – not delegitimizing the state of Israel, but the apartheid regime in place.

Edu Montesanti: What is the solution to the conflict, Professor Doctor Asem Khalil?

Dr. Asem Khalil: There is no conflict. There is an occupation that needs to come to an end; a colonization project that needs to be aborted; an apartheid regime that needs to be dismantled; justice and equality to be restored.

If and when this is done, no need to think of mechanisms to end a conflict because it wouldn’t exist.

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Silwan: Qaraeen family self-demolish their house following an order by the occupation municipality


NOVANEWS

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Members of Qaraeen family self-demolished their house in Silwan following an order by the occupation municipality and to avoid paying expensive demolition costs.

Qaraeen family explained that they started demolishing a residential apartment on Saturday morning using hand-demolition tools following an order made by the occupation municipality which recently raided the property several times.

The family added that the municipality gave them until the end of February to execute the self-demolition or they will use their bulldozers to demolish it and charge the family for the expenses.

Qaraeen family explained that the property was established nearly 7 years ago and is 65 square meters and consists of one room and its facilities.

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Why the Fearmongering? Only One Democratic State is Possible in Palestine


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Why the Fearmongering? Only One Democratic State is Possible in Palestine and Israel
By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle 

Long before December 28, when Secretary of State, John Kerry took the podium at the Dean Acheson Auditorium in Washington DC to pontificate on the uncertain future of the two-state solution and the need to save Israel from itself, the subject of a Palestinian state has been paramount.

In fact, unlike common belief, the push to establish a Palestinian and a Jewish state side-by-side goes back years before the passing of United Nations Resolution 181 in November 1947. That infamous resolution had called for the partitioning of Palestine into three entities: a Jewish state, a Palestinian state and an international regime to govern Jerusalem.

A more thorough reading of history can pinpoint multiple references to the Palestinian (or Arab state) between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The idea of two states is western par excellence. No Palestinian party or leader had ever thought that partitioning the holy land was ever an option. Then, such an idea seemed preposterous, partly because, as Ilan Pappe’s Ethnic Cleaning of Palestine shows, “almost all of the cultivated land in Palestine was held by the indigenous population (while) only 5.8% percent was in Jewish ownership in 1947.”

An earlier, but equally important reference to a Palestinian state was made in the Peel Commission, a British commission of inquiry, led by Lord Peel that was sent to Palestine to investigate the reasons behind the popular strike, uprising and later armed rebellion that began in 1936 and lasted for nearly three years.

The “underlying causes of the disturbances” were two, resolved the commission: Palestinian desire for independence, and the “hatred and fear of the establishment of the Jewish national home.” The latter was promised by the British government to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland in 1917 which became known as the ‘Balfour Declaration.’

The Peel Commission recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, which would be incorporated into Transjordan, with enclaves reserved for the British Mandate government.

In the time between that recommendation eighty years ago, and Kerry’s warning that the two-state solution is “in serious jeopardy,” little has been done in terms of practical steps to establish a Palestinian state. Worse, the US has used its veto power in the UN repeatedly to impede the establishment of a Palestinian state, as well as utilizing its political and economic might to intimidate others from recognizing (although symbolically) a Palestinian state. It has further played a key role in funding illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem – all of which rendered the existence of a Palestinian state virtually impossible.

The issue now is: why does the West continue to use the two-state solution as their political parameter for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while, at the same time ensuring that their own prescription for conflict resolution is never to become a reality?

The answer, partly, lies in the fact the two-state solution was never devised for implementation to begin with. Like the ‘peace process’ and other pretenses, it aimed to promote among Palestinians and Arabs the idea that there is a goal worth striving for, despite being unattainable.

But even that goal was itself conditioned on a set of demands that were unrealistic to begin with. Historically, Palestinians had to renounce violence (their armed resistance to Israel’s military occupation), consent to various UN resolutions (even if Israel still reject those resolutions), accept Israel’s ‘right’ to exist as a Jewish state, and so on. That yet-to-be-established Palestinian state was also meant to be demilitarized, divided between the West Bank and Gaza, and excluding most of Occupied East Jerusalem.

Many new ‘creative’ solutions were also offered to alleviate any Israeli fears that the nonexistent Palestinian state, in case of its establishment, never pose a threat to Israel. At times, discussions were afoot about a confederation between Palestine and Jordan, and other times, as in the most recent proposal by the head of Jewish Home Party, Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett, making Gaza a state of its own and annexing to Israel 60 percent of the West Bank.

And when Israel’s allies, frustrated by the rise of the right wing in Israel and the obstinacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, insist that time is running out for a two-state solution, they express their worries in the form of tough love. Israel’s settlement activity is “increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality,” said Kerry in his major policy speech last month.

Such a reality would force Israel to either compromise on the Jewish identity of the state (as if having religious/ethnic identities of a modern democratic state is a common precondition) or having to contend with being an Apartheid state (as if such reality doesn’t exist anyway.)

Kerry warned Israel that it will eventually be left with the option of placing Palestinians “under a permanent military occupation that deprives them of the most basic freedoms,” thus paving the ground for a “separate and unequal” scenario.

Yet while warnings that a two-state solution possibility is disintegrating, few bothered to try to understand the reality from a Palestinian perspective.

For Palestinians, the debate on Israel having to choose between being democratic and Jewish is ludicrous. For them, Israel’s democracy applies fully to its Jewish citizens and no one else, while Palestinians have subsisted for decades behind walls, fences, prisons and besieged enclaves, like the Gaza Strip.

And with two separate laws, rules and realities applying to two separate groups in the same land, Kerry’s ‘separate but unequal’ Apartheid scenario had taken place the moment Israel was established in 1948.

Fed up by the illusions of their own failed leadership, according to a recent poll, two thirds of Palestinians now agree that a two-state solution is not possible. And that margin keeps on growing as fast as the massive illegal settlement enterprise dotting the Occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

This is not an argument against the two-state solution; for the latter merely existed as a ruse to pacify Palestinians, buy time and demarcate the conflict with a mirage-like political horizon. If the US was indeed keen on a two-state solution, it would have fought vehemently to make it a reality, decades ago.

To say that the two-state solution is now dead is to subscribe to the illusion that it was once alive and possible.

That said, it behooves everyone to understand that co-existence in a one democratic state is not a dark scenario that spells doom for the region.

It is time to abandon unattainable illusions and focus all energies to foster co-existence, based on equality and justice for all.

Indeed, there can be one state between the river and the sea, and that is a democratic state for all of its people, regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs.

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Palestine: the International Community Screws Up Again


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… and so does the Palestinian leader (again)

By Stuart Littlewood 

The Middle East peace conference in Paris was the usual farce with Israel and Palestine, the subjects under discussion, both staying away. Netanyahu called the talks “useless” and Abbas was off opening an embassy in Vatican City and meeting the Pope while 70 nations gathered to take part in another peace pantomime. It ended with a pathetic declaration urging both sides to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution”.

Is this what the much-trumpeted 2-state solution looks like?

Everyone knows Netanyahu and the Israeli regime have never wanted peace. Land-grabbing and ethnic cleansing is what they do, so the jackboot of Israeli occupation must remain firmly on the Palestinians’ neck. He was bound to treat any peace conference with utmost contempt. And Abbas’s crass absence was not only another slap in the face to all who sympathise with the Palestinians’ plight and to the millions of campaigners who fight for their cause but also another disservice to the Palestinian people.

I call the conference declaration “pathetic” because no-one in the international community, as far as I’m aware, has actually told us what the 2-state solution they keep banging on about will look like – or even what they think it should look like. No-one, that is, since Ehud Barak and his so-called “generous offer” to the Palestinians in the summer of 2000.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in 1967 and occupied ever since, comprise just 22% of pre-partition Palestine. When the Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreement in 1993 they agreed to accept the 22% and recognise Israel within ‘Green Line’ borders (i.e. the 1949 Armistice Line established after the Arab-Israeli War). Conceding 78% of the land that was originally theirs was an astonishingly big-hearted concession on their part.

But it wasn’t enough for greedy Israel. Barak’s “generous offer” demanded the inclusion of 69 Israeli settlements within the 22% Palestinian remnant. It was obvious on the map that those settlement blocs created impossible borders and already severely disrupted Palestinian life in the West Bank. Barak also demanded the Palestinian territories be placed under “Temporary Israeli Control”, meaning Israeli military and administrative control probably indefinitely. The generous offer also gave Israel control over all the border crossings of the new Palestinian State. What nation in the world would accept that? But the ludicrous reality of Barak’s 2-state solution was cleverly hidden by propaganda spin.

Later, at Taba, Barak produced a revised map but withdrew it after his election defeat. The ugly facts of the matter are well documented and explained by organisations such as Gush Shalom, yet the Israel lobby’s stooges continue to peddle the lie that Israel offered the Palestinians a generous peace on a plate. Is Barak’s crazed vision of the 2-state solution the one the 70 nations have in mind?

Britain’s stance on Palestinian independence has always been nonsensical. I remember former foreign secretary Alistair Burt announcing that we would not recognise a Palestinian state unless it emerged from a peace deal with Israel. London “could not recognise a state that does not have a capital, and doesn’t have borders.”

Where did he suppose Israel’s borders are? And is Israel within them? Where did he think Israel’s capital is? And where did Israel claim it to be? In other words, is Israel where Israel is supposed to be? If not, how could he possibly recognise it let alone align himself with it? “We are looking forward to recognising a Palestinian state at the end of the negotiations on settlements because our position is again very straightforward: We wish to see a two-state solution, a secure and recognized Israel side by side with a viable Palestine, Jerusalem as a joint capital and agreed borders,” Burt said.

Negotiations about illegal settlements? Since when did Her Majesty’s Government favour negotiating with the perpetrator of criminal acts and crimes against humanity? At around the same time Hillary Clinton had rejected in advance an anticipated Palestinian bill in the UN against unlawful Israeli settlement building. According to her, Israel’s illegal squats could be resolved through “negotiations” between Palestinians and Israelis and to hell with international law. Burt embraced this “solution” instead of enforcing international law and upholding justice, as he should have. He co-operated with the most dishonest peace brokers on the planet to revive discredited, lopsided direct talks. It’s been the same story with every other UK foreign secretary.

Resolution 242, a work of evil

So why, after decades, is the Palestinian homeland still under foreign military occupation and total blockade when international law and the United Nations have said it shouldn’t be?

And why are the Palestinians being pressured – yet again – to submit to “direct negotiations”, victim versus armed invader haggling and pleading for their freedom?

The answer appears to lie in the hash made of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. Here is what it said:

The UN Security Council…

Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,

  1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories [i..e. Gaza, West Bank including Jerusalem, and Golan Heights belonging to Syria] occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

  1. Affirms further the necessity

(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

  1. Requests the Secretary-General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;
  1. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.

It was adopted unanimously.

Article 2 of the UN Charter states, among other things, that all Members “shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered” and “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”.

Nothing too difficult there for men of integrity and goodwill, one would have thought. But after 49 years nothing has happened to give effect to the Charter’s fine words or to deliver the tiniest semblance of peace, or allow the Palestinians to live in security free from threats or acts of force. Israel still occupies the Holy Land and the Golan Heights with maximum brutality while law and justice, the cornerstones of civilisation, have evaporated.

This dereliction of duty began with careless use of language – or more exactly the deliberate non-use of a certain word, the “the” word which should have been inserted in front of “territories” but was purposely omitted by the schemers who drafted the resolution.

Behind the scenes there was no intention of making Israel withdraw

Arthur J. Goldberg, US Ambassador to the UN in 1967 and a key drafter of Resolution 242, stated:

There is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words ‘secure and recognized boundaries’ that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.

According to Lord Caradon, then the UK Ambassador to the UN and another key drafter:

The essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognised is that withdrawal should take place to secure and recognised boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognised…. It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary….

He later added:

It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967… That’s why we didn’t demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to.

Professor Eugene Rostow, then US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, had also helped to draft the resolution. He was on record in 1991 that Resolution 242:

… allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until ‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’ is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces ‘from territories’ it occupied during the Six-Day War – not from ‘the’ territories nor from ‘all’ the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable Armistice Demarcation Lines (the ‘Green Line’).

Israel could thus keep the territory it seized as long as the Zionist regime avoided making peace. Even if it did make peace, it could keep some unspecified territory, presumably what it had stolen in terror raids before the 1967 war.

In the meantime Arab leaders had picked up on the fact that the all-important “the” word in relation to territories had been included in other language versions of the draft resolution (e.g. the French document) and it was therefore widely understood to mean that Israel must withdraw from all territories captured in 1967. Unfortunately, under international law, English is the official language and the English version ruled.

For Israel, Abba Eban said:

As the representative of the United States has said, the boundaries between Israel and her neighbors must be mutually worked out and recognized by the parties themselves as part of the peace-making process. We continue to believe that the States of the region, in direct negotiation with each other, have the sovereign responsibility for shaping their common future. It is the duty of international agencies at the behest of the parties to act in the measure that agreement can be promoted and a mutually accepted settlement can be advanced. We do not believe that Member States have the right to refuse direct negotiation….

Eban seemed to forget that Israel was in breach of international law.

‘Acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible’, right?

So here was Israel, aided by the devious drafters, pressing for direct negotiations as far back as 1967 and sensing that the defenceless and impoverished Palestinians under their heel would be easy meat.

But the Russian, Vasily Kuznetsov, wasn’t fooled.

In the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the ‘withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict’ becomes the first necessary principle for the establishment of a just and lasting peace….  We understand the decision taken to mean the withdrawal of Israel forces from all, and we repeat, all territories belonging to Arab States and seized by Israel following its attack on those States on 5 June 1967.

Kuznetsov dismissed Goldberg’s border-adjustment argument, saying that the clause concerning the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition trumped any consideration for secure boundaries. He argued that the security needs of Israel “cannot serve as a pretext for the maintenance of Israel forces on any part of the Arab territories seized by them as a result of war.”

Your average native English speaker would not have been fooled by the missing word either. To the man on the Clapham omnibus “withdrawal from territories occupied in the recent conflict” plainly means “get the hell out of the territories you occupied in the recent conflict”.

US Secretary of State Dean Rusk writing in 1990 remarked:

We wanted [it] to be left a little vague and subject to future negotiation because we thought the Israeli border along the West Bank could be rationalized; certain anomalies could easily be straightened out with some exchanges of territory, making a more sensible border for all parties…. But we never contemplated any significant grant of territory to Israel as a result of the June 1967 war. On that point we and the Israelis to this day remain sharply divided…. I’m not aware of any commitment the United States has made to assist Israel in retaining territories seized in the Six-Day War.

And how had UN members so conveniently forgotten about the Palestinian lands seized and ethnically cleansed before 1967? You know, those important Arab towns and cities and hundreds of villages that had been allocated to a future Palestinian state in the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan but were seized by Jewish terrorist groups and Israel militia while the ink was still drying on the document? Had they also forgotten that the Palestinians were never consulted on the UN’s decision to hand over their lands to aliens mainly from Europe and with no ancestral links to the ancient Holy Land? The borders set down in the 1947 Partition and incorporated into UN Resolution are certainly “recognised” because they were duly voted on and accepted even by the Zionists and their allies, were they not?

As everyone knows, Israel has never declared its borders nor respected the UN-specified borders. It is still hell-bent on thieving lands and resources, so no border is ever secure enough or final. Of course, a Palestinian state, if or when it emerges, is equally entitled to secure borders but the Israeli regime is unlikely to agree. It wants total control. So going down the talks path again and again is fruitless. Borders should be imposed by the proper international bodies and enforced. That has to be the start-point. Adjustments can then be made with mutual consent once Israeli troops are no longer in occupation.

Incidentally, Article 33 of the UN Charter says that parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger international peace and security, shall first of all seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

Should the parties fail to settle it by those means Article 37 says they must “refer it to the Security Council. If the Security Council deems that the continuance of the dispute is in fact likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, it shall decide whether to take action under Article 36 or to recommend such terms of settlement as it may consider appropriate.”

Article 36 declares that “in making recommendations under this Article the Security Council should also take into consideration that legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the Court.”

Isn’t the Israeli occupation a legal dispute? How much longer must we wait to see the Charter complied with? Which brings us back to the question: why wasn’t Abbas at the conference batting for Palestine’s freedom and a just solution based on law? His presence would have put Netanyahu on the wrong foot.

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Nazi forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)


NOVANEWS
 (12 – 18 January 2016)

Israeli Forces Demolish Civilian Faculties in Qalendia Refugee Camp.
  • Nazi forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.

–          7 Palestinian Civilians were wounded, including a child and woman, in the West Bank.

  • Nazi forces continued to target the Gaza Strip border areas, but no casualties were reported.

–         A military checkpoint established by Palestinian armed groups was destroyed and another civilian was wounded.

  • Nazi forces conducted 60 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 3 limited ones into the Gaza Strip.

–         62 civilians, including 17 children; woman and PLC Member, were arrested in the West Bank.

–         23 of them, including 13 children and the woman, were arrested in illegally occupied Jerusalem.

  • Nazi forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.

–         A Civilian was forced to self-demolish his house in al-‘Issawiyah village.

–         5 brothers were forced to self-demolish 8 commercial and agricultural facilities and another civilian to remove 4 containers in al-Mukaber Mount.

–         A livestock and poultry barn was demolished in Ras al-Mukaber Mount neighbourhood.

  • Nazi Jewish Settlement activities continued in the West Bank.

–         An agricultural road, dwelling and 4 other facilities were demolished in Kherbet Tana, southeast of Nablus.

–         A 172-dunum land was levelled, and 1200 old olive trees were uprooted in ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqilya, for the interest of establishing a bypass road.

  • Nazi forces continued to target Palestinian Fishermen in the Gaza Sea.

–         Two fishermen were wounded, 5 others were arrested and two boats were confiscated.

  • Nazi forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 9th year.

–         Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.

–         7 Palestinian civilians, including a child and journalist, were arrested at military checkpoints.

–         Nazi forces arrested 3 Palestinian traders at Beit Haoun “Erez” Crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.

–         Nazi forces detained a number of Gaza prisoners’ families at Erez Crossing and prevented a woman from visiting.

Summary

Nazi violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (12 – 18 January 2017).

 

Shooting:

During the reporting period, Nazi forces killed two Palestinian civilians, including a child, in the West Bank.  Nazi forces also wounded ten other civilians, including a child and woman; 3 of whom were in the Gaza Strip and the rest were in the West Bank.  In the Gaza Strip, Nazi forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea and open fire at farmers in the border areas.

In the West Bank, on 16 January 2017, during clashes between young men and Nazi soldiers at the southern entrance to the village, Nazi forces killed Qosay ‘Amour (17) after directly shooting at him and wounded his brother.  Both live in Taqou’a village, southeast of Bethlehem.

In a new crime of excessive use of armed force, Nazi forces stationed at “Checkpoint 104”, west of Tulkarm, shot dead Nedal Mehdawi (44) from Shweikah Suburb and living in Western Baqah village in occupied Palestine 1948.  Nazi forces claimed that Mehdawi threw stones at the Nazi soldiers and then pulled out a knife trying to stab one of the.  As a result, the Nazi soldiers opened fire at him and he was immediately killed.  Investigations indicate that the Nazi forces could have used less lethal force and arrested him.

On 13 January 2017, 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded during their participation in Bal’in village, northwest of Ramallah.  On the same day, 3 other civilians during a protest against the Nazi soldiers who moved into Hezma village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem.

 

The full report is available online at:

http://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=8722

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Palestine: the international community screws up, again


NOVANEWS
US-Israel blood-soaked handshake

…and so does the Palestinian leader, again

By Stuart Littlewood

The Middle East peace conference which took place in Paris on 15 January was the usual farce, with Israel and Palestine, the subjects under discussion, both staying away. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the talks “useless” and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was off opening an embassy in Vatican City and meeting the Pope while 70 nations gathered to take part in another peace pantomime. It ended with a pathetic declaration urging both sides to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution”.

Is this what the much-trumpeted two-state solution looks like?

Everyone knows Netanyahu and the Israeli regime have never wanted peace. Land-grabbing and ethnic cleansing is what they do, so the jackboot of Israeli occupation must remain firmly on the Palestinians’ neck. He was bound to treat any peace conference with utmost contempt. And Abbas’s crass absence was not only another slap in the face to all who sympathise with the Palestinians’ plight and to the millions of campaigners who fight for their cause, but also another disservice to the Palestinian people.

I call the conference declaration “pathetic” because no-one in the international community, as far as I’m aware, has actually told us what the two-state solution they keep banging on about will look like – or even what they think it should look like. No-one, that is, since the former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, and his so-called “generous offer” to the Palestinians in the summer of 2000.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in 1967 and occupied ever since, comprise just 22 per cent of pre-partition Palestine. When the Palestinians signed the Oslo accords in 1993 they agreed to accept the 22 per cent and recognise Israel within “Green Line” borders (i.e. the 1949 armistice line established after the first Arab-Israeli war). Conceding 78 per cent of the land that was originally theirs was an astonishingly big-hearted concession on their part.

But it wasn’t enough for greedy Israel. Barak’s “generous offer” demanded the inclusion of 69 Israeli settlements within the 22 per cent Palestinian remnant. It was obvious on the map that those settlement blocs created impossible borders and already severely disrupted Palestinian life in the West Bank. Barak also demanded the Palestinian territories be placed under “temporary Israeli control”, meaning Israeli military and administrative control, probably indefinitely. The generous offer also gave Israel control over all the border crossings of the new Palestinian state. What nation in the world would accept that? But the ludicrous reality of Barak’s two-state solution was cleverly hidden by propaganda spin.

Since when did Her Majesty’s Government favour negotiating with the perpetrator of criminal acts and crimes against humanity?

Later, at Taba in Egypt, Barak produced a revised map but withdrew it after his election defeat. The ugly facts of the matter are well documented and explained by organisations such as Gush Shalom, yet the Israel lobby’s stooges continue to peddle the lie that Israel offered the Palestinians a generous peace on a plate. Is Barak’s crazed vision of the two-state solution the one the 70 nations have in mind?

Britain’s stance on Palestinian independence has always been nonsensical. I remember former Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt announcing that we would not recognise a Palestinian state unless it emerged from a peace deal with Israel. London “could not recognise a state that does not have a capital, and doesn’t have borders”.

Where did he suppose Israel’s borders are? And is Israel within them? Where did he think Israel’s capital is? And where did Israel claim it to be? In other words, is Israel where Israel is supposed to be? If not, how could he possibly recognise it, let alone align himself with it? “We are looking forward to recognising a Palestinian state at the end of the negotiations on settlements because our position is again very straightforward: We wish to see a two-state solution, a secure and recognized Israel side by side with a viable Palestine, Jerusalem as a joint capital and agreed borders,” Burt said.

Negotiations about illegal settlements? Since when did Her Majesty’s Government favour negotiating with the perpetrator of criminal acts and crimes against humanity? At around the same time Hillary Clinton had rejected in advance an anticipated Palestinian bill in the UN against unlawful Israeli settlement building. According to her, Israel’s illegal squats could be resolved through “negotiations” between Palestinians and Israelis and to hell with international law. Burt embraced this “solution” instead of enforcing international law and upholding justice, as he should have. He cooperated with the most dishonest peace brokers on the planet to revive discredited, lopsided direct talks. It’s been the same story with every other UK foreign secretary.

UN Resolution 242, a work of evil

So why, after decades, is the Palestinian homeland still under foreign military occupation and total blockade when international law and the United Nations have said it shouldn’t be?

And why are the Palestinians being pressured – yet again – to submit to “direct negotiations”, victim versus armed invader haggling and pleading for their freedom?

The answer appears to lie in the hash made of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. Here is what it said:

The UN Security Council…

Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

Emphasizing further that all member states in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the charter,

1. Affirms that the fulfilment of charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories [i.e. Gaza, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights belonging to Syria] occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

2. Affirms further the necessity

(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every state in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

3. Requests the secretary-general to designate a special representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the states concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;

4. Requests the secretary-general to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the special representative as soon as possible.

It was adopted unanimously.

Article 2 of the UN Charter states, among other things, that all members “shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered” and “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations”.

Nothing too difficult there for people of integrity and goodwill, one would have thought. But after 49 years nothing has happened to give effect to the charter’s fine words or to deliver the tiniest semblance of peace, or allow the Palestinians to live in security, free from threats or acts of force. Israel still occupies the Holy Land and the Golan Heights with maximum brutality while law and justice, the cornerstones of civilisation, have evaporated.

This dereliction of duty began with careless use of language – or more exactly the deliberate non-use of a certain word, the “the” word, which should have been inserted in front of “territories” but was purposely omitted by the schemers who drafted the resolution.

Behind the scenes there was no intention of making Israel withdraw

Arthur J. Goldberg, the US ambassador to the UN in 1967 and a key drafter of Resolution 242, stated:

There is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after 5 June 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words “secure and recognized boundaries” that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.

According to Lord Caradon, then the UK ambassador to the UN and another key drafter,

the essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognised is that withdrawal should take place to secure and recognised boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognised… It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary…

He later added:

It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967… That’s why we didn’t demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to.

Professor Eugene Rostow, then US undersecretary of state for political affairs, had also helped to draft the resolution. He was on record in 1991 that Resolution 242

allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East” is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces “from territories” it occupied during the Six-Day War – not from “the” territories nor from “all” the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable Armistice Demarcation Lines (the “Green Line”).

Israel could thus keep the territory it seized as long as the Zionist regime avoided making peace. Even if it did make peace it could keep some unspecified territory, presumably what it had stolen in terror raids before the 1967 war.

In the meantime, Arab leaders had picked up on the fact that the all-important “the” word in relation to territories had been included in other language versions of the draft resolution (e.g. the French document) and it was therefore widely understood to mean that Israel must withdraw from all territories captured in 1967. Unfortunately, under international law, English is the official language and the English version ruled.

For Israel, Foreign Minister Abba Eban said:

As the representative of the United States has said, the boundaries between Israel and her neighbours must be mutually worked out and recognised by the parties themselves as part of the peace-making process. We continue to believe that the states of the region, in direct negotiation with each other, have the sovereign responsibility for shaping their common future. It is the duty of international agencies at the behest of the parties to act in the measure that agreement can be promoted and a mutually accepted settlement can be advanced. We do not believe that member states have the right to refuse direct negotiation…

Eban seemed to forget that Israel was in breach of international law.

“Acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible,” right?

So, here was Israel, aided by the devious drafters, pressing for direct negotiations as far back as 1967 and sensing that the defenceless and impoverished Palestinians under their heel would be easy meat.

But the Soviet deputy foreign minister, Vasily Kuznetsov, wasn’t fooled.

In the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” becomes the first necessary principle for the establishment of a just and lasting peace… We understand the decision taken to mean the withdrawal of Israel forces from all, and we repeat, all territories belonging to Arab states and seized by Israel following its attack on those states on 5 June 1967.

Kuznetsov dismissed Goldberg’s border-adjustment argument, saying that the clause concerning the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition trumped any consideration for secure boundaries. He argued that the security needs of Israel “cannot serve as a pretext for the maintenance of Israel forces on any part of the Arab territories seized by them as a result of war”.

Your average native English speaker would not have been fooled by the missing word either. To the man on the Clapham omnibus “withdrawal from territories occupied in the recent conflict” plainly means “get the hell out of the territories you occupied in the recent conflict”.

US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, writing in 1990, remarked:

We wanted [it] to be left a little vague and subject to future negotiation because we thought the Israeli border along the West Bank could be rationalized; certain anomalies could easily be straightened out with some exchanges of territory, making a more sensible border for all parties… But we never contemplated any significant grant of territory to Israel as a result of the June 1967 war. On that point we and the Israelis to this day remain sharply divided… I’m not aware of any commitment the United States has made to assist Israel in retaining territories seized in the Six-Day War.

And how had UN members so conveniently forgotten about the Palestinian lands seized and ethnically cleansed before 1967? You know, those important Arab towns and cities and hundreds of villages that had been allocated to a future Palestinian state in the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan but were seized by Jewish terrorist groups and Israeli militia while the ink was still drying on the document? Had they also forgotten that the Palestinians were never consulted on the UN’s decision to hand over their lands to aliens, mainly from Europe, and with no ancestral links to the ancient Holy Land? The borders set down in the 1947 Partition Plan and incorporated into a UN resolution are certainly “recognised” because they were duly voted on and accepted even by the Zionists and their allies, were they not?

As everyone knows, Israel has never declared its borders nor respected the UN-specified borders. It is still hell-bent on thieving lands and resources, so no border is ever secure enough or final. Of course, a Palestinian state, if or when it emerges, is equally entitled to secure borders but the Israeli regime is unlikely to agree. It wants total control. So, going down the talks path again and again is fruitless. Borders should be imposed by the proper international bodies and enforced. That has to be the start-point. Adjustments can then be made with mutual consent once Israeli troops are no longer in occupation.

Incidentally, Article 33 of the UN Charter says that the parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger international peace and security, shall first of all seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

Should the parties fail to settle it by those means, Article 37 says they must “refer it to the Security Council. If the Security Council deems that the continuance of the dispute is in fact likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, it shall decide whether to take action under Article 36 or to recommend such terms of settlement as it may consider appropriate”.

Article 36 declares that “in making recommendations under this Article the Security Council should also take into consideration that legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the Court”.

Isn’t the Israeli occupation a legal dispute? How much longer must we wait to see the UN Charter complied with? Which brings us back to the question: why wasn’t Abbas at the conference batting for Palestine’s freedom and a just solution based on law? His presence would have put Netanyahu on the wrong foot.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestine: the international community screws up, again

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