Trump calls for veto of U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements
UNSC to vote on anti-Israel resolution
Analysis: UNSC vote on Israeli settlements postponed
Why UN resolution on settlements would be bad for Palestinians
The vote on the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, has reportedly been postponed. This came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put pressure on Egypt, the resolution’s sponsor.
The Obama administration had reportedly planned to abstain, meaning the resolution would likely have passed if it had come to a vote.
It is unclear when, or if, it will be voted on.
The UN Security Council is set to vote Thursday afternoon on a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem.
I hope the resolution fails, but let me explain why.
It ostensibly reaffirms previous Security Council decisions, such as resolution 465 which invalidates Israel’s claims to have annexed Jerusalem. It also confirms “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force.”
It recalls “the obligation of Israel, the occupying power,” to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians under occupation, and the 2004 International Court of Justice decision against Israel’s wall in the West Bank.
The draft clearly condemns “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.”
It demands a halt to “the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.”
These elements are positive but not new.
Since there are already plenty of resolutions on the books which use almost identical – and often stronger – language why is a new resolution needed?
All that is needed is for action to enforce existing resolutions – such as sanctions on Israel.
But this resolution, like its predecessors, takes no action. In a masterful example of empty diplomatic phrasing, the draft only commits the Security Council “to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions.”
This leisurely “examination” has been going on for half a century now while Israel continues to violently steal and colonize Palestinian land.
Undermining Palestinian rights
What is even more worrying is the rest of the resolution – read in whole it is a clear attempt to legislate into international law the so-called two-state solution.
In September, I warned that a resolution of this kind would undermine, not support, Palestinian rights.
This draft does not contain a single reference to Palestinian rights, especially the right of return for refugees. It makes no mention of Gaza, which has been under a devastating and illegal Israeli siege for over a decade – a blockade enforced jointly with Egypt, the resolution’s sponsor.
Rather, it expresses “grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines,” as if two states, not restoring Palestinian rights, is an end in itself.
I have explained previously how the tricky phrase “based on the 1967 lines” is designed to allow Israel to annex its vast settlement blocs.
Take the older resolution I mentioned, 465 from 1980. It demands that Israel “dismantle the existing settlements” – all settlements built since the West Bank was occupied in 1967.
The draft now under consideration only calls on Israel to dismantle “all settlement outposts erected since March 2001” – the implication is that most of the existing settlements, particularly the large blocs, will remain forever.
So while being marketed as a move against settlements, this resolution lays the ground to legitimize them, albeit under the framework of a “negotiated” peace agreement.
No right to resist
There are many other negative elements to this draft, including its affirmation that Palestinians have a duty effectively to police themselves on behalf of their occupiers by confiscating so-called “illegal weapons” and “dismantling terrorist capabilities” – Israeli-style language that demonizes an occupied people.
It supports “existing security coordination” – the collaboration between Israeli occupation forces and the Palestinian Authority that is broadly opposed by Palestinians.
All this is a clear attack on the internationally recognized right of all occupied peoples, including Palestinians, to engage in legitimate resistance.
Which other occupied people has been required to ensure that its occupiers can colonize and subjugate them in tranquility?
Two pro-Israel positions
Notably, the draft warns against “a one-state reality” – language designed to stigmatize and forestall discussion of alternatives to the failed “two-state” vision of ethno-racial territorial partition – namely a single, democratic, non-racial, non-sectarian state with equality for all citizens.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that the US veto the resolution, claiming it is anti-Israel.
The French ambassador in Tel Aviv reassured Israel that its concerns are misplaced. “The tendency in Israel to say ‘the whole world is against us’ is wrong,” Helene Le Gal told media. “We say all those things against the settlements because we are with Israel, not against it.”
The clash between Netanyahu and the French over this draft is a confrontation between two pro-Israel positions.
Netanyahu represents an unabashedly racist Israel which is no longer interested in claiming that it wants peace nor that it is willing to give the Palestinians their rights under any conditions.
France represents a pro-Israel bloc of Western countries which are equally committed to Israel’s right to continue to be racist, but which believe this can only be guaranteed if some bantustan option remains open to the Palestinians.
This resolution is about rescuing Israel as a racist state that ensures its Jewish demographic majority through a battery of racist laws. Meanwhile Palestinians, shorn of their fundamental rights, will be consigned at best to a bantustan given the title and trappings of a state.
President-elect Donald Trump has weighed in on Netanyahu’s side, urging a US veto.
All attention now is on whether the outgoing US administration of President Barack Obama will veto this resolution, as it did a similar one in 2011, or abstain, allowing it to pass.
Palestinians slam remarks by Trump’s associates in transition team
Wishful Thinking: UN Goes After Israel’s Illegal Settlements
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.
And despair is what awaits those who are still under the illusion that the United Nations Security Council has what it takes to vote on a resolution demanding Israel put an end to its illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories. They need – we all need – to stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes.
If the ruins of the besieged city of Gaza are any indication, including its levelled schools, hospitals and residential neighborhoods, the usurper regime of Israel will never cease its illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, much less stop imperiling the viability of the two-state solution, end decades-long occupation of Palestinian lands, stop insidiously grabbing Palestinian land and forcing out Palestinians under various pretexts, or take affirmative steps to reverse the negative trends on the ground.
Into the argument, even if the Security Council votes on such resolution, Israel, which has resumed plans to construct 500 new settler units in Jerusalem al-Quds, always has the United States, its greatest ally, to veto the resolution. After all, Washington has always shielded Tel Aviv against such moves at the Security Council on several other occasions in the past. This one shouldn’t be that hard.
That’s not all. In this and from the outset, the usurper regime has never been alone. In addition to UN complicity and US vetoes, Western businesses have always been involved in Israel’s settlement policies, benefiting from and contributing to them. They have helped to build, finance, service and market settlement units in breach of international law and UN Charter. In many cases, Western businesses are settlers themselves, drawn to settlements in part by low rents, favorable tax rates, subsidies, and access to cheap labor.
As long as Western businesses are operating in, financing, servicing, or trading with the illegal settlements, and/or refuse to comply with their human rights responsibilities in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel’s discriminatory policies against Palestinians that govern virtually every aspect of life in the occupied territories will continue unabated – anti-settlement resolutions at the UN Security Council notwithstanding.
In the prevailing environment, those who encourage the growth of illegal settlements should take note: These settlements violate the laws of occupation. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring its citizens into the territory it occupies and from transferring or displacing the population of an occupied territory within or outside the territory.
The Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, likewise establishes the court’s jurisdiction over war crimes including the crimes of transfer of parts of the civilian population of an occupying power into an occupied territory, and the forcible transfer of the population of an occupied territory. The ICC has jurisdiction over Israeli crimes committed in or from the territory of the State of Palestine, now an ICC member, beginning in June 13, 2014 – the date designated by Palestine in a declaration accompanying its accession.
It is the view of ICC, UN Security Council, Human Rights Watch and many others that by virtue of doing business in or with settlements or settlement businesses, Western companies are complicit in Israeli crimes. They contribute to all of these violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses. Their businesses depend on and benefit from Israel’s unlawful confiscation of Palestinian land and other resources, and facilitate the functioning and growth of these illegal settlements.
Western settlement-related activities also directly benefit from Israel’s discriminatory policies in planning and zoning, the allocation of land, natural resources, financial incentives, and access to utilities and infrastructure. These policies result in the forced displacement of Palestinians and place Palestinians at an enormous disadvantage in comparison with illegal settlers.
It is past time for Western businesses to undertake human rights due diligence to identify and mitigate contributions to human rights violations of not only their own activities but also activities to which they are directly linked by their business relationships. They are expected to take effective steps to avoid or mitigate human rights harms and to consider ending business activity in illegal settlements where severe negative human rights consequences cannot be avoided or mitigated.
Last but not the least, Western businesses should stop financing, administering, trading with or otherwise supporting illegal settlements or settlement-related activities and infrastructure. By vetoing anti-Israel Security Council resolutions and operating in illegal settlements they are inextricably tied to one or more of these human rights abuses and state-sponsored crimes.
Fighting for Palestinian rights in the Trump era
A move of the US embassy to Jerusalem would confer the Trump administration’s recognition on Israeli claims to the city that are rejected by world governments.
Mahfouz Abu Turk APA imagesDonald Trump last week chose bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman, a homeowner in the ethnically cleansed Talbiyeh neighborhood of West Jerusalem, to be US ambassador to Israel.
The pick has serious implications for US domestic and international politics and the Palestinian liberation movement.
Trump has consistently named extremists to key administration positions and Friedman is no different.
Friedman predicted in August that as president Trump would move quickly to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In its announcement of his nomination, the Trump transition team made clear that Friedman looked forward to working “from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”
World governments, including the US, have always rejected Israel’s claims regarding Jerusalem and asserted that the final status of the city is to be determined by negotiations.
Friedman has accused President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry of “blatant anti-Semitism,” insinuated that Palestinian citizens of Israel who criticize the state should be stripped of their citizenship and insisted that the liberal Zionist group J Street is comprised of “kapos” who, as he put it, “turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.”
“Friedman’s appointment is a distressing signal that the new administration will give the Israeli government a free hand to deepen its fundamentally undemocratic and abusive control over Palestinian land, resources and rights,” asserted Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Friedman himself is president of a US tax-exempt organization that has raised millions of dollars to directly support illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Trump and the family foundation of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are notable contributors.
From one perspective, Friedman’s appointment – and the shift it presages – amounts to a more accurate labeling of existing US policy.
After all, the Obama administration claimed to oppose settlements, but blocked every effort to stop Israel from building them, including using the US veto at the UN.
The Obama administration rewarded Israel with the biggest military aid package in history – at least $38 billion over 10 years.
Obama’s policies, both what he did and did not do, set the stage for whatever comes next and things are likely only to get worse, much worse.
Shifting US politics
In the current context, it is easy to forget that there remains significant public support for measures to hold Israel accountable.
Recent polling found that 60 percent of Democrats support serious action against Israel, including economic sanctions, because of settlement construction.
That’s up from fewer than half just one year ago. More than two in five independents and nearly a third of Republicans – a surprisingly high number – also support similar measures. Overall, 46 percent of Americans – almost half – are ready for such action……………..more…https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/michael-f-brown/fighting-palestinian-rights-trump-era
Israel’s law of annexation
Israel kills Palestinian north of Jerusalem al-Quds
Your Morning News From Israel – December 22, 2016
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