The implications of Palestine’s new UN status are examined by two Q&A articles, 1) from the BBC and 2) from ACRI. Apart from enhancing its status in relation to Israel, the main consequence is seen to be the PA’s possible entry into international bodies and agreements, giving the PA new powers as well as responsibilities.
The final international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, considering “US Complicity and UN Failings in Dealing with Israel’s Violations of International Law Toward the Palestinian People”, was held in New York city, October 6-7. Its conclusions include the use of social media to arouse public knowledge. UPDATE Frank Barat responds to criticisms.
We have posted many judgments on the Levy report, which was delivered to Netanyahu by his hand-picked committee last July. Here Iain Scobbie takes apart the Levy Commission’s legal ‘reasoning’ finding nothing substantial or forensic in their thinking. An expert on international law, Professor Scobbie wrote this opinion for the European Journal of International Law blog.
Five leading activist for human rights, committed through belief and experience to the work of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, here issue an appeal to others who share their shock at Israel’s violations of international law, to attend and promote the tribunal’s final hearings in New York in October. The five are Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Dennis Banks, Russell Means and Stephane Hessel.
David Steel, former MP, leader of the Liberal Party and Presiding Officer of the Scottish parliament, reviews a new book on creating public opinion on the Palestine/Israel conflict. He says: ‘What is the most appalling thread running through these essays is … the complicity of EU governments and that of the USA in letting the Israeli government get away with breach after breach of international law.’
It is one thing for individuals to boycott goods from illegal Israeli settlements, quite another for states to ban their import – especially in military gear. The TUC has taken a lead by commissioning an opinion from James Crawford, Whewell Professor of International Law, Cambridge University. Contrary to the fears of governments and the EU Commission, he gives his argument that they are entitled to take such action.
A panel headed by retired Supreme Court judge Edmond Levy, appointed by PM Netanyahu to provide a legal opinion on settlements, has obliged him by affirming the West Bank is not occupied territory and thus settlements break no laws. This contradicts both international legal judgments and Israel’s own Sasson report of 2005. Right-wing bodies have welcomed the Levy report and urged its rapid implementation.
Veolia is a multinational company providing services to local authorities and others in the UK. It also provides services linking Israel to its illegal settlements. JfJfP got legal advice on why Veolia could and should be excluded from contracts given by local authorities. The briefing is here.
The shameless flouting of the law by Israel beggars belief. Theft, threats, intimidation and blockages by illegal settlers are effectively denying access to water by Palestinians in Areas B and C. No action is taken. While the Palestinians depend on water for farming as well as drinking and sanitation, the settlers want it to encourage tourism to ‘their’ attractive venues. One of the most direct reports from the UN’s OCHA.
The furore caused by Norman Finkelstein when he derided the BDS movement as a ‘cult’ and vested his authority in a 2-state solution and the primacy of international law, has not faded. This is a pitfall of solidarity work – confusing the value to a cause of the work you do for the authority to lead that cause in a particular direction. The IOA tries to get the discussion back on track.
The next session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will take place on the Southern tip of Africa, in Cape Town. The Tribunal will gather 5-7th November 2011 in the historic District 6 Museum. Frank Barat reports from the Tribunal.
Outside Israel and its circle of defenders, the Palmer report into the killing of nine Turks on the Mavi Marmara has been greeted by universal disbelief and criticism. Jeremy Salt of Bilkent University, Ankara, gives a particularly lucid account of the report’s blind spots and asssumptions
Al Haq, the West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists with special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council provides an authoritative guide to the PA’s bid for UN recognition of its statehood
Propagandists for Israel invented the lie that all critics of its oppressive policies want to ‘delegitimise’ its very existence. But it is the Israeli state that, by transgressing international law at every turn, has ‘delegitimised’ the civilising regime of international law argues Ewa Jasiewicz
An article in Ha’aretz discusss the contradictory position of the Israeli state towards its soldiers accused of crimes, followed by an excerpt from the Lords and Commons Human Rights Joint Committee dealing with international crimes and private prosecutions
The Russell Tribunal’s hearings on “Corporate Complicity in Israel’s Violations in International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law” will take place in London on 20-22 November. They are open to the public.
Denis Herbstein writes: “Professor John Dugard, the South African international lawyer who was United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Palestine for seven years, has been awarded the Peter and Patricia Gruber prize for Justice for 2010. At a ceremony at George Washington University, Washington on October 11 Dugard’s record during the apartheid era was lauded. His human rights involvement with Israel and the occupied territories also featured in the tribute…”
A Panel of Independent Experts established by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council to monitor and assess domestic investigation by both parties during Operation Cast Lead has concluded that these investigations “remain incomplete in some cases or fall significantly short of meeting international standards in others.” These events cry out for further investigation. According to the International Commission of Jurists: “The Human Rights Council must therefore assess these domestic proceedings and report accordingly to the UN General Assembly and Security Council.” Plus a statement by Amnesty International…
JfJfP writes to the OECD: “It is with amazement and alarm that we note the decision of the OECD to hold their conference on “Industry and Policy Approaches to Foster Green Growth in Tourism” in Jerusalem in October…”
This letter to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk from the Polish Palestine Solidarity Campaign raises fundamental questions which apply to ALL governments, in Europe and elsewhere: “Yes, we believe in the statement ‘Never Again’ to the crimes against humanity committed throughout Europe during the second world war, and with most inhumanity here in Poland. But we will not be held hostage to a history whose lessons have not been learned. The internationally agreed means to ensure ‘never again’ are the Geneva Conventions and Universal Declaration on Human Rights. These are the principles built by survivors of crimes against humanity, following the massacre, resistance and sacrifice of millions. These are principles that protect people from state violence. These are principles that are deliberately universal and not beholden to political party or ideological doctrine. These are the principles that the current Polish government seems to regard as not applicable to the Palestinian people…