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Canada’s record on Palestinian rights should disqualify it from Security Council race

By Yves Engler · May 21, 2020

Canada’s anti-Palestinian voting record should disqualify it from a seat on the UN Security Council. Hopefully when member states pick amongst Ireland, Norway and Canada for the two Western Europe and Others positions on the Security Council they consider the international body’s responsibility to Palestinians. If they do it will be a rebuke to Canada’s embarrassing history of institutional racism against the Palestinian people.

Compared to Canada, Ireland and Norway have far better records on upholding Palestinian rights at the UN. According to research compiled by Karen Rodman of Just Peace Advocates, since 2000 Canada has voted against 166 General Assembly resolutions critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Ireland and Norway haven’t voted against any of these resolutions. Additionally, Ireland and Norway have voted yes 251 and 249 times respectively on resolutions related to Palestinian rights during this period. Canada has managed 87 yes votes, but only two since 2010.

In maybe the most egregious example of Ottawa being offside with world opinion, Canada sided with the US, Israel and some tiny Pacific island states in opposing a UN resolution supporting Palestinian statehood that was backed by 176 nations in December 2017.

The only time since the end of the colonial period Canada has somewhat aligned with international opinion regarding Palestinian rights was in the 1990s and early 2000s under Jean Chretien. In the early 1990s Norman Finkelstein labeled Canada “probably Israel’s staunchest ally after the United States at the United Nations” while a 1983 Globe and Mail article referred to “Canada’s position as Israel’s No. 2 friend at the UN.” In the early 1980s Ottawa sided with Israel on a spate of UN resolutions despite near unanimity of international opposition. In July 1980 Canada voted with the US and Israel (nine European countries abstained) against a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw completely and unconditionally from all Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967. On December 11, 1982 the Globe and Mail reported that the “United Nations General Assembly called yesterday for the creation of an independent Palestinian state and for Israel’s unconditional withdrawal from territories it occupied in 1967. Israel, Canada, the United States and Costa Rica cast the only negative votes as the assembly passed the appeal by 113 votes to 4, with 23 abstentions.”

Canada’s voting record on Palestinian rights at the UN is an abomination. It’s made worse by the fact that Canada contributed significantly to the international body’s role in dispossessing Palestinians. Canadian officials were important players in the UN negotiations to create a Jewish state on Palestinian land. Lester Pearson promoted the Zionist cause in two different committees dealing with the British Mandate of Palestine. After moving assiduously for a US and Soviet accord on the anti-Palestinian partition plan he was dubbed “Lord Balfour of Canada” by Zionist groups. Canada’s representative on the UN Special Committee on Palestine, Supreme Court justice Ivan C. Rand, is considered the lead architect of the partition plan.

Despite owning less than seven percent of the land and making up a third of the population, the UN partition plan gave the Zionist movement 55% of Palestine. A huge boost to the Zionists’ desire for an ethnically based state, it contributed to the displacement of at least 700,000 Palestinians. Scholar Walid Khalidi complained that UN (partition) Resolution 181 was “a hasty act of granting half of Palestine to an ideological movement that declared openly already in the 1930s its wish to de-Arabise Palestine.” Palestinians statelessness seven decades later remains a stain on the UN.

Over the past year the Canadian government has devoted significant energy and resources to winning a seat on the Security Council. In recent days, Canada’s foreign affairs minister has taken to calling individual UN ambassadors in the hopes of convincing them to vote for Canada.

To combat this pressure, a small group of Palestine solidarity activists have organized an open letter drawing attention to Canada’s anti-Palestinian voting record. Signed by dozens of organizations, the letter will be delivered to all UN ambassadors in the hope that some of them will cast their ballots with an eye to the UN’s responsibility to Palestinians.

Please sign and share this petition against Canada’s Security Council bid: https://www.foreignpolicy.ca/petition

May 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

The world must halt Israel’s annexation and reverse its colonisation of Palestine

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | May 5, 2020

UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk’s criticism of the forthcoming US-Israeli annexation of more Palestinian land offers a good start to collective political action against Israel, if only the international community would show that it is willing. “The plan would crystallise a 21st century apartheid, leaving in its wake the demise of the Palestinian’s right to self-determination. Legally, morally, politically, this is entirely unacceptable,” declared Lynk.

The UN official described the repercussions of annexation as creating “a cascade of bad human rights consequences” and insisted that the international community can no longer play its acquiescent role to Israeli violations. “The looming annexation is a political litmus test for the international community. This annexation will not be reversed through rebukes, nor will the 53-year-old occupation die of old age,” he warned.

This is not the first time that Lynk has offered a harsher criticism of Israel than the appeasing commentary which is typical of UN officials and institutions. In the past, he recommended international sanctions against Israel and supported the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its investigation of Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people.

Lynk’s words draw attention to the UN’s political flaws and the endorsement of human rights violations committed by its member states. As Israel moves towards annexation, the international community is unlikely to assess its own complicity. The US-Israeli annexation plans are built upon decades of international endorsement of Zionist colonisation. To oppose annexation – one of the last steps that Israel is embarking upon to complete its colonial project – is not enough. Diluting settler-colonisation to “53 years of occupation” is also inconsistent and a misrepresentation of the causes of Palestinian displacement.

The US may currently be playing a more prominent role, but the international community has magnified the US-Israeli relationship to deflect attention from the historical process leading to the current dynamic. The international community’s endorsement of the Israeli colonisation project is a major violation that remains overlooked. What the US and Israel have achieved under the Trump administration is a reflection of an ongoing cycle of intentional political oblivion at a global level.

Having shone the spotlight on the US-Israeli collusion, the international community has availed itself of a temporary lull in scrutiny of its action, particularly its inaction when it comes to the Palestinian people’s political rights. In truth, the international community’s action can be summed up in the 1947 Partition Plan, after which reliance on statements and condemnations became the diplomatically-accepted means of purportedly championing Palestinian rights. Lynk’s statements, albeit devoid of direct references to Israeli colonisation, point towards international culpability.

In recent years, the two-state compromise remains the most blatant evidence of international culpability in preventing Palestinian reclamation of their land and rights. Just as annexation has been declared in violation of international law, the two-state diplomacy must also be held accountable for paving the way to annexation. This necessitates a complete reversal of the politics that have sustained the UN so far. There cannot be a unified political front against Israel if two-state politics is not abandoned. Stopping annexation requires a reversal of Israeli colonisation; anything less is an affirmation of treason against the Palestinian people.

May 5, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment

US return to JCPOA can end impasse over Iran

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | April 28, 2020

In business transactions and international diplomacy alike, there could be constant variables and dependent variables. Constant variable is where the value cannot be changed once it has been assigned a value. But it becomes a dependent variable if it is susceptible or open to the effect of an associated factor or phenomenon. Then, there is also a third independent variable, which is a factor or phenomenon whose value is given or set already that can cause or influence a dependent variable.

A big question for international security has arisen: What type of variable is at work as the US prepares a legal argument that it still remains a “participant” in the 2015 Iran nuclear accord known as JCPOA?

Both New York Times and Fox News, which reported on this development on Sunday maintained that the Trump administration’s ploy to reenter the JCPOA is riveted on a strategy to invoke the “snapback” clause, which would restore the comprehensive pre-2015 UN sanctions on Iran.

Much depends on the UN Security Council members. What if they come up with a dependent / independent variable that accedes to the US status as “participant”, provided Washington agrees to ‘X’, ‘Y’, ‘C’  factor or phenomenon? Trade-offs are more the rule than the exception in the UN SC; constant variable is a rare occurrence at the horseshoe table.

A Reuters report today, in fact, highlights that the Trump administration can expect “a tough, messy battle if it uses a threat to trigger a return of all United Nations sanctions on Iran as leverage to get the 15-member Security Council to extend and strengthen an arms embargo on Tehran.”     

The report quoted a European diplomat: “It’s very difficult to present yourself as a compliance watcher of a resolution you decided to pull out of. Either you’re in or either you’re out.” This is the crux of the matter.

Tehran has already notified the European Union that any move to re-impose UN sanctions through the back door will trigger a vehement reaction — including, possibly, Iran exiting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The EU and the three European signatories of the JCPOA (UK, France and Germany) are extremely wary of the JCPOA being abandoned. Their sincerity of purpose is self-evident in the IMPEX mechanism (which enables limited trade between European companies and Iran despite US sanctions.)

The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell recently expressed regret about the US’ opposition to the IMF lending money to Iran against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas publicly shared Borrell’s view.

Having said that, it is an entirely different ball game if the US were to walk back as “participant” in the JCPOA as original signatory. If that happens, everything else becomes negotiable — including fresh talks to renegotiate the terms of JCPOA. Tehran has laid down Washington’s return to the JCPOA as the sole precondition for talks.

Today, Radio Farda, the Persian service of the US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty beamed to Iran, has carried a report US May Be Prepared To Rethink Stance On Sanctions, Nuclear Accord with Tehran which speculates precisely that on the “pretext” of extending the arms embargo against Iran, Washington could be principally “thinking of returning to the nuclear accord” and engaging with Iran in talks.

Radio Farda quoted a “usually well-informed Iran analyst in Scotland” to this effect. The report hinted that back channels are at work. Possibly, some kite-flying is going on here.

Indeed, Iranian media had reported recently that President Hassan Rouhani told a cabinet meeting in Tehran on March 25 that the “leader of a non-permanent member of the Security Council” had told him about the UN Security Council currently weighing plans for the removal of all sanctions against Iran.

Rouhani was quoted as saying at the cabinet meeting, “We are also trying to have our blocked money unfrozen.” (Rouhani was probably referring to a conversation with Kais Saied, President of Tunisia, which is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.)

Iran hasn’t reacted to the New York Times and Fox News reports. Meanwhile, in what could well be a related development, Rouhani had a phone conversation on April 21 with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani where the sanctions issue figured.

Interestingly, an Iranian Foreign Ministry statement later verbatim quoted from the conversation. Rouhani told Sheikh Tamim:

“The US pressure and sanctions against Iran are not only a violation of international law, but also they are violating human principles by intensifying their behaviour in these difficult circumstances, including preventing the International Monetary Fund from lending to Iran”.

“We believe that in this special situation, all countries in the world must stand together to fight coronavirus and clearly state their positions against the hostile actions of the United States”.

“Unfortunately, they are still reluctant to end their inhumane acts, but we have no doubt that sooner or later they will have to change course.”

The Emir responded,

“Today, the world is in a special situation and we believe that in this situation, the United States must lift its sanctions and all countries must move in line with the new conditions.”

Subsequently, there has also been a conversation between the two foreign ministers. Now, Qatar, which hosts the US Central Command Hqs, is a close ally of the US. Sheikh Tamim and Trump have a warm relationship.

During the emir’s visit to the White House last July, Trump remarked, “Tamim, you’ve been a friend of mine for a long time, before I did this presidential thing, and we feel very comfortable with each other.” No doubt, if ever Trump needed a back channel with the Iranian leadership, he wouldn’t need to look beyond Sheikh Tamim. (Significantly, Sheikh Tamim made a rare visit to Tehran in January this year.)  

Curiously, the day after Sheikh Tamim spoke to Rouhani, he also held a phone conversation with Trump. The White House readout said, “The president and the (emir) discussed the coronavirus response… The president encouraged the emir to take steps toward resolving the Gulf rift in order to work together to defeat the virus, minimise its economic impact and focus on critical regional issues.”

The bottom line is that the UN arms embargo is not really a big ticket item but the sanctions is. Even if the ban gets lifted in October, it is only for small arms, whereas transfer of advanced technology such as missiles will have to wait another 3 years. Iran is largely self-reliant in defence. And its asymmetric capability to generate deterrence against US aggression is legion.

The Trump administration realises that its sanctions policy has failed. The murder of the charismatic Iranian general Qassem Soleimani only hardened Tehran’s resolve to press ahead with the “axis of resistance”. And the world opinion militates against continued US sanctions against Iran.

In this backdrop, the forthcoming summit of the founding members of the UN may address the issue of sanctions. From such a perspective, the Trump administration’s seemingly belligerent move to return as “participant” in the JCPOA may turn out to be a dependent variable open to influence from one or more independent variables.

April 28, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

US to face tough battle in pushing plan to extend UN Iran arms embargo: Diplomats

Press TV – April 28, 2020

Diplomatic sources at the United Nations say Washington has a tough challenge ahead at the Security Council (UNSC) if it pushes for an extension of the world body’s arms embargo against Iran through recourse to a process set out in a multilateral nuclear deal that the US controversially abandoned in 2018.

The agreement — officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — was signed in 2015 between Iran and six major world states and endorsed by UNSC Resolution 2231.

However, the US unilaterally withdrew from what President Donald Trump called “the worst deal ever” in May 2018 and re-imposed anti-Iran sanctions. It has also been coercing the remaining signatories to the JCPOA to follow suit.

Under UNSC Resolution 2231, the UN arms embargo on Iran — in place since 2006/2007 — will be lifted in October 2020. The US has repeatedly expressed its anger at the possible termination of restrictions on Iran’s import and export of arms.

On Tuesday, diplomats told Reuters that Washington is planning to use a threat to trigger a return of all UN sanctions against Iran as leverage to get the Security Council to prolong the arms embargo on Tehran.

A US official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington has shared its strategy with Britain, France and Germany, who are permanent Security Council member states and parties to the Iran deal.

The diplomats said the scheme has not been shared with the remaining 11 council members, including veto-wielders Russia and China, the two other signatories to the JCPOA that are deemed certain to oppose the arms embargo on Iran.

Reports say if the Security Council refuses to revive the embargo, the US will try to trigger a so-called snapback of all UN sanctions on Iran by claiming that it is still a party to the JCPOA and that Iran is in significant violation of the nuclear pact.

The New York Times said on Sunday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was laying the groundwork to present a legal argument to the UN that Washington remains a “participant state” in the JCPOA.

It is “part of an intricate strategy to pressure the United Nations Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Tehran,” the report said.

Reuters, however, cited the UN diplomats as saying that Washington’s plan will likely be challenged since the US is no longer a party to the deal.

“It will be dead on arrival,” a Security Council diplomat predicted. “It’s very difficult to present yourself as a compliance watcher of a resolution you decided to pull out of,” a European diplomat said. “Either you’re in or either you’re out.”

Another European official said, “It’s going to be messy from a Security Council standpoint because, regardless of what (Britain, Germany and France) think, Russia and China are not going to sign up to that legal interpretation.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed Pompeo’s reported scheme, saying the plan to return to the JCPOA is rooted in the failure of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against the Iranian nation.

‘US cannot cherry-pick UN resolutions’

Meanwhile, a Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP, “You cannot cherry-pick a resolution saying you implement only parts of it but you won’t do it for the rest.”

Similarly, Kelsey Davenport, director for non-proliferation policy at the US-based Arms Control Association, said “if Pompeo goes through with this plan, snapping back sanctions on Iran collapses the JCPOA.”

Even more significant, she added, the US measure could lead Iran to make good on threats to exit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“This is just another step that would undermine US credibility, make future negotiations with Iran more difficult and increase the risk of a nuclear crisis in the region,” she said.

‘US placing world in Catch-22 situation’

Russia also slammed the US plan, with Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov tweeting, “The country which officially ceased its participation in the #IranDeal cannot remain its participant by definition.”

The Russian Mission Vienna also said in a post on Twitter, “May 8, 2018 the #US says it “ends” and “terminates” its participation in the #JCPOA. Now there are claims that it still considers itself a participant. Is this a “Catch-22” sort of situation for Iran, UNSC and the whole world?”

April 28, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Sanctions on Iran, Others Facing Coronavirus Must Be Urgently Re-evaluated: UN

Al-Manar | March 25, 2020

The United Nations rights chief says any sanctions imposed on Iran, among other countries grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, should be “urgently re-evaluated” to support lives of millions of people worldwide.

“At this crucial time, both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral sanctions should be eased or suspended,” Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on Tuesday.

She warned, “In a context of global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us.”

She stressed the importance of giving broad and practical effect to humanitarian exemptions from sanctions measures “with prompt, flexible authorization for essential medical equipment and supplies.”

Bachelet pointed in particular to the case of Iran, one of the hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, and said the COVID-19 outbreak was also spreading to neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan.

She said even before the pandemic, human rights reports had repeatedly emphasized the impact of sectorial sanctions on Iran’s access to essential medicines and medical equipment, including respirators and protective gear for healthcare workers.

Nearly 500,000 people worldwide have been infected and over 17,000 have died of the viral disease, according to the latest tallies.

Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Tuesday that the number of coronavirus deaths had risen to 1,934 and the total infections to 24,811 during the past 24 hours.

“There have been 122 new deaths and 1,762 new infections since Sunday,” he said. Jahanpour further put the number of patients who have recovered from the viral disease at 8,913.

US President Donald Trump reinstated Washington’s sanctions on Iran in May 2018 after he unilaterally left the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and major world powers.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) — known as the World Court — has ordered the White House to lift the sanctions it has illegally re-imposed on humanitarian supplies to Iran.

The US claims the bans do not get in the way of food and medicine exports to Iran, but the Islamic Republic says Washington has been working to make problems for a Swiss humanitarian channel launched to enable the transfer of commodities to Iran.

In a phone conversation with Tunisian President Kais Saied on Monday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the United States’ move to prevent the dispatch of medical and humanitarian aid and the facilitation of banking interactions to meet the Iranian people’s needs suffering from the deadly new coronavirus contravenes human and the United Nations regulations.

Rouhani said the US administration has intensified its cruel measures and sanctions against the Iranian people even under the current difficult conditions caused by the virus outbreak.

March 25, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

The UN’s Planet Saving Delusion

The UN couldn’t help Haiti recover from an earthquake. But it’s gonna rescue the planet.

This graphic accompanies the UNESCO editorial. Read it online here; download it here
By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | February 19, 2020

UNESCO is supposed to be about cultural preservation. Toward the end of last year, its in-house magazine nevertheless published a special issue on climate change. The official editorial employs the usual cliches. Catastrophic consequences. The “greatest global challenge of our times.” Blah, blah.

Hilariously, this editorial implies that, without a UN plan, the planet simply won’t survive. Earth to UNESCO: could we spend five minutes talking about how the UN has failed – tragically and comprehensively – to save Haiti?

That nation has less than 12 million people. It’s slightly smaller than the US state of Maryland. Because it comprises half of an island, its borders are well-defined. The UN has been a significant presence there since 2004, yet Haiti remains a basket case.

After a devastating earthquake struck in 2010, rebuilding was a huge job at which the UN was spectacularly inept. But that isn’t the half of it. UN peacekeepers then infected the already traumatized local population with cholera.

The peacekeepers were from Nepal, which had just experienced a cholera outbreak. The UN took no steps to ensure its personnel weren’t carrying the disease. Nor did it establish proper sanitation at their encampment. Untreated sewage got dumped into the country’s most important river, contaminating water that was used for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

A news report from Haiti, October 2010:

This triggered the worst cholera epidemic of modern times, an epidemic Haitian doctors were ill-equipped to combat since the disease had never been recorded there before.

The 10,000 deaths and decade of sickness that followed is a UN-caused calamity. But when Ban Ki-moon finally got around to apologizing for how the situation had been handled, six years after the epidemic began, he failed to take full responsibility. The UN, you see, is protected by diplomatic immunity. There’s a permanent get-of-jail-free-card in its back pocket. It can never be held truly accountable for the harm it inflicts.

Anyone who imagines the UN is capable of saving the entire planet needs to take a few days out of their life to read two books. The first is written by Jonathan Katz, the Associated Press journalist stationed in Haiti when the earthquake occurred. It’s titled: The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster.

The other is called Deadly River: Cholera and Cover-up in Post-Earthquake Haiti. It tells the story of Renaud Piarroux, a French physician who was called in to investigate. Written by his medical colleague, Ralph Frerichs, it shows the UN failing one moral test after another.

Rather than receiving cooperation and assistance, Piarroux, who had led efforts to stamp out cholera elsewhere, had to battle the UN itself.

It is standard procedure in such situations to identify the source of an outbreak as quickly as possible. In this instance, officials at several UN bodies – including the World Health Organization (WHO) – insisted there were more important considerations than assigning blame. Frerichs writes:

there was an active effort to suppress any search for the origin. [p. 34]

all international officials, with no exceptions, adopted the same position, exonerating [UN] soldiers. [p.66]

The [UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] maps continued to falsify where cholera began… [p. 70]

For years the UN, aided and abetted by certain prominent experts, tried to link the outbreak to climate change:

it became apparent that there was an active effort to obfuscate the role of the Nepalese UN peacekeepers, aided by those who believed that cholera originates from climatic or environmental changes… [p 108]

There was not a single piece of evidence to support the environmental hypothesis that [cholera] had been lying dormant and then…had been upset by the January 2010 earthquake. The outbreak had occurred nine months after the earthquake! [p. 137]

On January 6, the members of the ‘independent’ UN panel were announced… The panel members were… firmly tied to the environmental theory. [pp. 160-161]

At the end of its investigation, even the UN panel had to dismiss the environmental hypothesis… [p. 182]

Overall, the UN report was a whitewash that chose not to talk about the peacekeepers, yet criticized the victims. Here are a few more quotes from the book:

How could the supposedly independent UN panel have failed to identify the humans responsible for the… outbreak? [p. 189]

the panel did not hesitate to assign some blame to Haitians and to their local public health environment. [p. 190]

Details on the source [of the cholera] were also omitted from [a WHO publication] when the scientific facts were clearly known…WHO regulations have long stipulated that ‘all information available on the origin of infection’ must be reported. [p. 194]

The UN is a massive bureaucracy. Bureaucracies are never held accountable. They’re staffed by careerists who hop from assignment to assignment, avoiding the consequences of the decisions they make about other people’s lives.

When something goes wrong, the buck gets passed here, there, and everywhere. There’s little incentive for UN personnel to acknowledge their mistakes, never mind learn from them.

The world is comprised of doers and talkers. Haiti shows us that UN personnel are good at talking and writing reports. But they’re pathetic at getting anything done in the real world.

At ground zero of a terrible natural disaster, UN personnel made things worse rather than better. They then wasted precious time denying, stonewalling, and covering up the harm they’d inflicted.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Deception | , | 1 Comment

Profiting from Loss: How Business in Illegal Israeli Settlements Continues Unchecked

UN efforts to protect Palestinian land from economic exploitation are failing, and exposing the hypocrisy of western states 

By Jonathan Cook – The National – February 18, 2020

After lengthy delays, the United Nations finally published a database last week of businesses that have been profiting from Israel’s illegal annexation and settlement activity in the West Bank.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, announced that 112 major companies had been identified as operating in Israeli settlements in ways that violate human rights.

Aside from major Israeli banks, transport services, cafes, supermarkets, and energy, building and telecoms firms, prominent international businesses include Airbnb, booking.com, Motorola, Trip Advisor, JCB, Expedia and General Mills.

Human Rights Watch, a global watchdog, noted in response to the list’s publication that the settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. It argued that the firms’ activities mean they have aided “in the commission of war crimes”.

The companies’ presence in the settlements has helped to blur the distinction between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. That in turn has normalised the erosion of international law and subverted a long-held international consensus on establishing a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Work on compiling the database began four years ago. But both Israel and the United States put strong pressure on the UN in the hope of preventing the list from ever seeing the light of day.

The UN body’s belated assertiveness looks suspiciously like a rebuke to the Trump administration for releasing this month its Middle East “peace” plan. It green-lights Israel’s annexation of the settlements and the most fertile and water-rich areas of the West Bank.

In response to the database, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to intensify his country’s interference in US politics. He noted that his officials had already “promoted laws in most US states, which determine that strong action is to be taken against whoever tries to boycott Israel.”

He was backed by all Israel’s main Jewish parties. Amir Peretz, leader of the centre-left Labour party, vowed to “work in every forum to repeal this decision”. And Yair Lapid, a leader of Blue and White, the main rival to Netanyahu, called Bachelet the “commissioner for terrorists’ rights”.

Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, accused the UN of “unrelenting anti-Israel bias” and of aiding the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

In fact, the UN is not taking any meaningful action against the 112 companies, nor is it encouraging others to do so. The list is intended as a shaming tool – highlighting that these firms have condoned, through their commercial activities, Israel’s land and resource theft from Palestinians.

The UN has even taken an extremely narrow view of what constitutes involvement with the settlements. For example, it excluded organisations like FIFA, the international football association, whose Israeli subsidiary includes six settlement teams.

One of the identified companies, Airbnb, announced in late 2018 that it would remove from its accommodation bookings website all settlement properties – presumably to avoid being publicly embarrassed.

But a short time later Airbnb backed down. It is hard to imagine the decision was taken on strictly commercial grounds: the firm has only 200 settlement properties on its site.

A more realistic conclusion is that Airbnb feared the backlash from Washington and was intimidated by a barrage of accusations from pro-Israel groups that its new policy was anti-semitic.

In fact, the UN’s timing could not be more tragic. The list looks more like the last gasp of those who – through their negligence over nearly three decades – have enabled the two-state solution to wither to nothing.

Trump’s so-called peace plan could afford to be so one-sided only because western powers had already allowed Israel to void any hope of Palestinian statehood through decades of unremitting settlement expansion. Today, nearly 700,000 Israeli Jews are housed on occupied Palestinian territory.

On Monday European Union foreign ministers were due to meet to discuss their response to the plan. Tepid criticism was the most that could be expected.

The actions of several European states continue to speak much louder than any words.

On Friday, Germany followed the Czech Republic in filing a petition to the International Criminal Court at The Hague siding with Israel as the court deliberates whether to prosecute Israeli officials for war crimes, including over the establishment of settlements.

Germany does not appear to deny that the settlements are war crimes. Instead, it hopes to block the case on dubious technical grounds: that despite Palestine signing up to the Rome Statute, which established the Hague court, it is not yet a fully fledged state.

So far Austria, Hungary, Australia and Brazil appear to be following suit.

But if Palestine lacks the proper attributes of statehood, it is because the US and Europe, including Germany, have consistently broken promises to the Palestinians.

They not only refused to intervene to save the two-state solution, but rewarded Israel with trade deals and diplomatic and financial incentives, even as Israel eroded the institutional and territorial integrity necessary for Palestinian self-rule.

Germany’s stance, like that of the rest of Europe, is hypocritical. They have claimed opposition to Israel’s endless settlement expansion, and now to Trump’s plan, but their actions have paved the way to the annexation of the West Bank the plan condones.

Back in November the European Court of Justice finally ruled that products made in West Bank settlements – using illegally seized Palestinian resources on illegally seized Palestinian land – should not be labelled deceptively as “Made in Israel”.

And yet European countries are still postponing implementation of the decision. Instead, some of them are legislating against their citizens’ right to express support for a settlement boycott.

Similarly, Europe and North America continue to afford the Jewish National Fund, an entity that finances settlement-building, “charitable status”, giving it tax breaks as it raises funds inside their jurisdictions.

The Israeli media is full of stories of how the JNF actively assists extremist settler groups in evicting Palestinians from homes in East Jerusalem. But Britain and other states are blocking legal efforts to challenge the JNF’s special status.

Soon, it seems, Europe will no longer have to worry about its hypocrisy being so visible. Once the settlements have been annexed, as the Trump administration intends, the EU can set aside its ineffectual agonising and treat the settlements as irrevocably Israeli – just as it has done in practice with the Israeli “neighbourhoods” of occupied East Jerusalem.

Then, the UN’s list of shame can join decades’ worth of condemnatory resolutions that have been quietly gathering dust.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In ‘victory for international law’, UN releases list of firms linked to Israeli settlements

Press TV – February 12, 2020

The United Nations human rights office has released a report identifying companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move hailed by Palestinians as a victory for international law.

The office said in a statement on Wednesday that it had named 112 business entities, including 94 based in Israel and 18 others in six different countries. It said it had reasonable grounds to conclude that the firms have ties with Israeli settlements.

“I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday.

The office said, “While the settlements as such are regarded as illegal under international law, this report does not provide a legal characterization of the activities in question, or of business enterprises’ involvement in them.”

The move was hailed by the Palestinian foreign minister, who described it as a victory.

“The publication of the list of companies and parties operating in settlements is a victory for international law,” Riyad al-Maliki’s office said in a statement.

The minister also called on UN member states and the UN Human Rights council to “issue recommendations and instructions to these companies to end their work immediately with the settlements.”

The newly released report drew condemnation from Tel Aviv, with Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz saying in a statement, “The announcement by the UN Human Rights Office of the publication of a ‘blacklist’ of businesses is shameful capitulation to pressure from countries and organizations that are interested in hurting Israel.”

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.


Below is the full list of companies that do business in illegal Jewish settlements, as indicated in the OHCHR report

Afikim Public Transportation Ltd.

Airbnb Inc.

American Israeli Gas Corporation Ltd.

Amir Marketing and Investments in Agriculture Ltd.

Amos Hadar Properties and Investments Ltd.

Angel Bakeries

Archivists Ltd.

Ariel Properties Group

Ashtrom Industries Ltd.

Ashtrom Properties Ltd.

Avgol Industries 1953 Ltd.

Bank Hapoalim B.M.

Bank Leumi Le-Israel B.M.

Bank of Jerusalem Ltd.

Beit Haarchiv Ltd.

Bezeq, the Israel Telecommunication

Corp Ltd.

Booking.com B.V.

C Mer Industries Ltd.

Café Café Israel Ltd.

Caliber 3

Cellcom Israel Ltd.

Cherriessa Ltd.

Chish Nofei Israel Ltd.

Citadis Israel Ltd.

Comasco Ltd.

Darban Investments Ltd.

Delek Group Ltd.

Delta Israel

Dor Alon Energy in Israel 1988 Ltd.

Egis Rail

Egged, Israel Transportation Cooperative Society Ltd.

Energix Renewable Energies Ltd.

EPR Systems Ltd.

Extal Ltd.

Expedia Group Inc.

Field Produce Ltd.

Field Produce Marketing Ltd.

First International Bank of Israel Ltd.

Galshan Shvakim Ltd.

General Mills Israel Ltd.

Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers Cooperative Ltd.

Hot Mobile Ltd.

Hot Telecommunications Systems Ltd.

Industrial Buildings Corporation Ltd.

Israel Discount Bank Ltd.

Israel Railways Corporation Ltd.

Italek Ltd.

JC Bamford Excavators Ltd.

Jerusalem Economy Ltd.

Kavim Public Transportation Ltd.

Lipski Installation and Sanitation Ltd.

Matrix IT Ltd.

Mayer Davidov Garages Ltd.

Mekorot Water Company Ltd.

Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd.

Merkavim Transportation Technologies Ltd.

Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd.

Modi’in Ezrachi Group Ltd.

Mordechai Aviv Taasiot Beniyah 1973 Ltd.

Motorola Solutions Israel Ltd.

Municipal Bank Ltd.

Naaman Group Ltd.

Nof Yam Security Ltd.

Ofertex Industries 1997 Ltd.

Opodo Ltd.

Bank Otsar Ha-Hayal Ltd.  

Partner Communications Company Ltd.

Paz Oil Company Ltd.

Pelegas Ltd.

Pelephone Communications Ltd.

Proffimat S.R. Ltd.

Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd.

Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing Communication Ltd.

Re/Max Israel

Shalgal Food Ltd.

Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd.

Shufersal Ltd.

Sonol Israel Ltd.

Superbus Ltd.

Tahal Group International B.V.

TripAdvisor Inc.

Twitoplast Ltd.

Unikowsky Maoz Ltd.

YES

Zakai Agricultural Know-how and inputs Ltd.

ZF Development and Construction

ZMH Hammermand Ltd.

Zorganika Ltd.

Zriha Hlavin Industries Ltd.

Alon Blue Square Israel Ltd.

Alstom S.A.

Altice Europe N.V.

Amnon Mesilot Ltd.

Ashtrom Group Ltd.

Booking Holdings Inc.

Brand Industries Ltd.

Delta Galil Industries Ltd.

eDreams ODIGEO S.A.

Egis S.A.

Electra Ltd.

Export Investment Company Ltd.

General Mills Inc.

Hadar Group

Hamat Group Ltd.

Indorama Ventures P.C.L.

Kardan N.V.

Mayer’s Cars and Trucks Co. Ltd.

Motorola Solutions Inc.

Natoon Group

Villar International Ltd.

Greenkote P.L.C.

February 12, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abbas is a mouthpiece for international impositions on Palestine

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | February 6, 2020

The Palestinian Authority has learned nothing from decades of futile UN Security Council Resolutions. Do the people of Palestine really need international consensus regarding the already very clear illegality of US President Donald Trump’s so-called deal of the century?

Pushing on regardless, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is pursuing repetitive, useless and time-wasting options to give an impression of being engaged diplomatically with the international community and its impositions. While Abbas pleads at the UN to obtain another symbolic show of alleged international support, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon is lobbying the Security Council “to enlist their support for the joint US-Israeli action and to prevent support for any Palestinian declarations of protest.”

The draft resolution calls for a rejection of Trump’s deal and seeks yet another endorsement of the two-state compromise, despite the impossibility of its implementation. Abbas’s refusal to consider a unified Palestinian approach that encompasses all legitimate forms of resistance against Israeli colonisation makes UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s job of presiding over the constant Israeli violations of international law and human rights easier. As long as the PA scrambles after the international community for a solution, the UN only has to regurgitate the same rhetoric about its two-state vision. Accountability in this regard is not applicable, as the PA and the UN know full well.

In what would now be perceived as a weak condemnation of Trump’s deal, Guterres cautioned against “actions that would erode the possibility of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state,” with reference to Israeli settlement expansion. However, the US-Israeli scheming goes beyond expansion to formal, rather than merely fact-on-the-ground annexation. The UN is, as usual, several strategic steps behind, so as not to run out of the plethora of violations to speak out against during opportune moments in which the Palestinian cause is exploited yet again.

If the US vetoes the resolution, which is certain, the PA is likely to get another round of passive support from the UN General Assembly. For Abbas, a show of votes might be enough to claim validity, yet again, for the two-state compromise, as opposed to Palestinians’ political rights. The truth, however, is that the international community has only supported rhetoric about Palestinian rights. Altering its trajectory now would spell disaster for the UN in terms of its own complicity in endorsing Israel’s colonisation of Palestine. Hence, the cautious warnings against settlement expansion while refusing to advocate in favour of decolonisation. Likewise, the UN will entertain Abbas and his overtures because the PA has proved that it squanders any potential for change.

Trump’s deal is the least of the international community’s concerns. Abbas is only accentuating his irrelevance with resolution gimmicks at the UN. Palestinians are voiceless at the UN primarily because of the UN’s protection of Israel, but also due to Abbas consolidating his role as spokesman for international demands and counter-narratives about what Palestinians want. A resolution confirming what is already known makes no difference to the political violence that Israel continues to inflict upon Palestinians. The PA should be turning towards its own people, as it should have done on previous occasions and refused, instead of wasting time at the UN for yet another opportunity to lament about delays.

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia’s UN Envoy Blasts ‘Deal of the Century’ Map Which Shows Golan Heights as Part of Israel

Sputnik – 30.01.2020

Israel took over part of Syria’s Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War, annexing the area in 1981. The UN denounced Tel Aviv’s decision as “null and void and without international legal effect.” Last March, Washington formally recognised the occupied area as Israeli territory. Damascus blasted the move and vowed to regain its lands someday.

The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vaily Nebenzya has called on the architects of the so-called ‘deal of the century’ Israeli-Palestinian peace plan to remember that the Golan Heights belong to Syria.

“Yesterday, Washington published its vision for a settlement in the Middle East. We could not help but notice that the maps included in the plan defined the Golan Heights as Israeli territory,” Nebenzya said, referring to a pair of maps tweeted out by President Trump showing the proposed Israeli and Palestinian states which clearly show the Golan Heights northeast of the Sea of Galilee as part of Israel.

“In this connection, we would like to remind the ‘geographer’ who created this map that we and Security Council Resolution 497 do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan,” Nebenzya added.

“The Golan Heights are illegally occupied Syrian territory,” the ambassador stressed.

In 1981, after Tel Aviv moved to annex the occupied areas of the Golan Heights, the United Nations unanimously adopted a resolution saying that Israeli claims to the Golan Heights were “null and void and without international legal effect.” In 1982, 86 other countries in the General Assembly adopted a second resolution calling for a general boycott of Israel over its occupation of Syrian territory, but the US and its European allies rejected the initiative. Israel gained control of the Golan Heights in the aftermath of the Six-Day War, a brief conflict which took place in June 1967 which began when Israel launched preemptive airstrikes against an Arab coalition led by Egypt.

US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in March 2019 after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Dozens of countries including the US’s European allies rejected Washington’s change in position, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov characterised the decision as a “conscious, deliberate demonstration of lawlessness.”

Syria warned that it would never give up its claims to the Golan Heights territories, and indicated that it has the legal right to regain the Golan Heights by any means possible, alleging that force was “the only language which Israel understands.” Skirmishes have been reported in the area in the months since, with Israel occasionally reporting the destruction of projectiles launched from the Syrian side of the border, while Syrian air defences have reported the shootdown of Israeli missiles.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited ‘Deal of the Century’ Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The proposal envisions a two-state solution, recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and grants the Palestinian Authority several neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. It also offers the Palestinian side $50 billion in investments. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the proposal outright, telling Trump Jerusalem was “not for sale,” and vowing that the deal would “not go through” under his watch.

January 30, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 2 Comments

UN rejects US deal of the century

MEMO | January 29, 2020

The United Nations has rejected US President Donald Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ and reiterated that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be solved based on UN resolutions and international law.

In a statement, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, said: “The position of the United Nations on the two-State solution has been defined, throughout the years, by relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions by which the Secretariat is bound.”

He added: “The United Nations remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis in resolving the conflict on the basis of United Nations resolutions, international law, and bilateral agreements and realizing the vision of two States – Israel and Palestine – living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.”

It is worth noting that Trump has ignored the two-state solution adopted by the UN and the international community and proposed his own view of the two-state solution, which ignores the 1967 borders and has all of Jerusalem under full Israeli sovereignty.

January 29, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 3 Comments

US didn’t discuss ‘deal of century’ with Moscow, Russia’s UN envoy says

RT | January 28, 2020

The US did not hold consultations with Moscow on a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia has said.

“We were not consulted, we don’t know what this plan consists of,” he said in response to a question from a reporter.

Israeli envoy to the UN Danny Danon, meanwhile, said that his country was looking forward to the unveiling of the plan, TASS reported on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump previously announced that the White House would unveil a plan for peace in the Middle East on Tuesday.

January 28, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment