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Purported neutrality at the UN is harmful to Palestinians

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 6, 2018

On Monday, Israeli lawyer Yuval Shany was appointed to chair the UN Human Rights Committee – a body of experts that monitors the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 1(1) of the covenant states: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

Commenting on his appointment as quoted in Haaretz, Shany stated: “Currently the UN’s Human Rights Committee faces several challenges, chiefly that we live in an international climate that no longer supports human rights.” His aim as committee chair, he said, is “to harness its positive and apolitical influence to secure human rights for all citizens of the world.”

There are always discrepancies between the UN and human rights. Shany’s appointment, which is not the first occasion in which an Israeli has held influential positions at the UN, is another example of how the international institution exists to serve human rights violations. By allowing Israel this platform, the committee is also calling attention to the fact that the UN is in favour of normalising Israel’s colonial violence against Palestinians.

According to the Times of Israel, Shany described the committee as being less dictated by global politics. This specification seems to be making the case against other UN organisations which have been deemed as having an “anti-Israel bias”, notably by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. However, the play upon what constitutes political, particularly in terms of power, is always subject to manipulation at the UN.

Self-determination – the subject of Article 1 in the mentioned Covenant – is a political right. The presence, or absence, of such a right, cannot be divested from political acts. If, by commenting upon “apolitical influence”, Shany is indicating neutrality, there is also no escaping the fact that taking such a stance is also a clear political act.

The overseeing of implementation of the Covenant, which is the committee’s role, takes the form of reviewing individual state reports and offering “concluding observations” accordingly. It is a strategy that is employed across several UN institutions and that leaves severe political implications for Palestinians.

One of these implications is the constant pleading by Palestinian officials to the UN for international protection; the latest by PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi. Wafa news agency carried Ashrawi’s comments, in which she emphasised the need for “serious intervention from the international community”.

Shany, however, does shine a light on international complicity in rendering the Palestinian cause apolitical. The underlying purported neutrality across UN institutions with regard to Palestine, particularly its persistence regarding the two-state compromise, makes the organisation a very dangerous platform. It is easy to forget that behind the international banner, individual countries are exerting their power and building allegiances to the detriment of the oppressed.

In Palestine’s case, there is no doubt it is in dire need of political action. However, expecting such a stance from institutions that wield their political power behind screens of alleged neutrality is to cede what remains of Palestine’s political rights. Looking within and returning to the roots of anti-colonial struggle is important. Yet it is precisely the foundations that are being neglected, with the result that Palestinians are constantly exploited at an international level, to pave the way for the international community’s manipulation of politics that marginalises Palestine and puts another Israeli representative at the helm.

July 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Venezuela Criticizes ‘Politicized’ UN Human Rights Report

teleSUR | June 22, 2018

The Venezuelan government has criticized a United Nations human rights report on the Latin American nation as “lacking technical rigour and objectivity.”

“Venezuela categorically rejects the report regarding the alleged human rights situation in the country, published by the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as a result of a highly questionable methodology that buries the credibility and technical rigor demanded of an office of this nature, and violates the principles of objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity,” a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Relations said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Jordanian prince, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said Friday that “rule of law is virtually absent in Venezuela,” after a report was published citing “shocking” accounts of alleged extrajudicial killings by state forces.

The Venezuelan government responded that “Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein confirms his complicity with the multiform aggression that is underway against Venezuela, keeping silent in the face of the negative impact on the enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights created by coercive, unilateral measures imposed by the United States of America and its servile allies in the region.”

The statement also pointed out that all official information provided by the Venezuelan government has been excluded from the report, “in order to build a grotesque media farce on this matter.”

The Foreign Ministry “reiterates its inescapable commitment to human rights” and its “willingness to continue cooperating with the organs of the United Nations system on issues of human rights, provided that the sovereignty of the country is respected and that it acts in accordance with rigour and truth.”

UN independent expert and Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, who himself was in Venezuela compiling data on human rights last year, described the report as lacking objectivity and neutrality.

“My worry is the credibility of the office when it shows no neutrality nor objectivity,” he stated following the release of the report.

Much of the report referred to the State’s reaction to the 2014 and 2017 right wing violent street protests, and the Operation of People’s Liberation (OLP) crime operatives which were temporarily held during 2017.

Venezuela’s Jose Vicente Rangel, who served as vice president under Hugo Chavez and now has a popular weekly TV show, warned of police abuses back in April, highlighting “operations that police groups are carrying out, operations that involve outrages against citizens and numerous cases of murder in the barrios.”

He alleged that the suspended OLP ops were being continued extra-officially by the FAES special police forces.

June 26, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

UN Climate Demand Opens the way for More Abuse of Poor Farmers

By Eric Worrall | Watts Up With That? | June 22, 2018

If there is one climate program which should have died in a welter of shame, that programme is third world conservation programmes, programmes which have reportedly already caused mayhem in places where government backed forces have committed atrocities to drive farmers and tribes out of nature reserves.

Forests provide a critical short-term solution to climate change

22 JUN 2018

To prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we need to act now.

There is a “catastrophic climate gap” between the commitments that countries have made under the Paris Climate Agreement and the emissions reductions required to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, according to UN Environment’s Emissions Gap Report 2017.

The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2˚ Celsius, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5˚ Celsius.

Current pledges from governments represent only about half of what would be required to avoid a 2˚C temperature rise, and just one third of what’s required to limit warming to 1.5˚C.

While this “emissions gap” is significant, UN Environment suggests it can still be closed in a cost-effective manner.

One of the major contributors to closing the gap is forests.

The good news here is that 6.3 gigatons (billion tons) of carbon dioxide emission reductions have already been reported over the past six years from forests in Brazil, Ecuador, Malaysia and Colombia alone under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), according to the UNFCCC Lima Hub. This is equivalent to more than the annual emissions of the United States.

“This is a significant step forward, showing that forests can be a central part of the solution to climate change,” says the head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat, Mario Boccucci. “We have an unprecedented opportunity: political will, know-how, finance. Now we need to build on progress and scale up rapidly in the coming years.”

Protecting forests, including mangroves, makes climate action cheaper and faster. We need to build the political case for this across all countries.

“The Emissions Gap Report once again underscores the urgency of redoubling our efforts to reduce emissions,” says UN Environment climate change expert Niklas Hagelberg.

“It shows that solutions exist, and if they are adopted quickly we can turn our current situation around. But with each year we wait, we make our ability to limit dangerous climate change more difficult, risky and costly.”

Full article: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/forests-provide-critical-short-term-solution-climate-change

Even the Guardian has noted the connection between offering large cash grants to tyrants in return for declaring regions off limits to humans, and vicious attacks against people living in the affected regions;

The tribes paying the brutal price of conservation

John Vidal
Sun 28 Aug 2016 17.00 AEST

Across the world, governments are protecting habitats. But indigenous peoples are being evicted

The Botswana police helicopter spotted Tshodanyestso Sesana and his friends in the afternoon. The nine young Bushmen, or San, had been hunting antelope to feed their families, when the chopper flew towards them.

There was a burst of gunfire from the air and the young men dropped their meat and skins and fled. Largely through luck, no one was hit, but within minutes armed troops arrived in a jeep and the nine were arrested, stripped naked, beaten and then detained for several days for poaching in a nature reserve.

Welcome to 21st-century life in the vast Central Kalahari game park, an ancient hunting ground for the San, but now off-limits to the people who forged their history there. The brutal incident took place last week, just days after Botswana’s wildlife minister Tshekedi Khama, the brother of President Ian Khama, announced a shoot-on-sight policy on poachers.

Khama claims the policy, which is supported by conservation groups, will deter poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, which is widely seen by Europe and the US as disastrous for biodiversity. But there are no rare or endangered species such as elephants or rhinos in the areas where the bushmen hunt. Sending a helicopter gunship and armed guards to arraign the hunters looks rather like an escalation of the low-grade war that Botswana has waged for years on one of the most vulnerable indigenous groups in the world.

Full article: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/aug/28/exiles-human-cost-of-conservation-indigenous-peoples-eco-tourism

The damage is not limited to shooting down tribespeople from helicopter gunships. In Ivory Coast, poor farmers who are trying to produce cocoa are being pressured to pay large bribes to be allowed to work their farms in “conservation areas”.

… The government of Ivory Coast took action recently against cocoa-driven deforestation by expelling cocoa farmers from Mount Péko National Park (which means “mountain of hyenas” in the local Gueré language). According to a report by Human Rights Watch and the Ivorian Coalition of Human Rights (RAIDH), the evictions were poorly planned and carried out in violation of human rights standards. When we visited Mount Péko after the eviction, we found the park once again filled with cocoa smallholders who had returned. Some smallholders explained to us that when they finally returned to Mount Péko, they simply paid the authorities higher bribes to go back to cultivating their lands in the park. …

Read more: http://www.mightyearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/chocolates_dark_secret_english_web.pdf

Lets see – large numbers of skilled but very poor farmers in Africa trying to make an honest living being backed into a corner, forced to pay large bribes, their families brutalised by armed thugs. Its pretty obvious what will happen next, and when it does, Western green policies will bear the ultimate blame.

June 24, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

Analyst Suggests US Can No Longer Use UNHRC to Justify Global Military Ops

Sputnik – 22.06.2018

The United States can no longer use the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to justify its military interventions around the globe, now that it has withdrawn from the world body, US Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Executive Director Daniel McAdams told Sputnik on Thursday.

“Human rights as an issue is often a cover for foreign interventionism. The US used ‘human rights’ as an excuse to destroy Libya and to launch a seven year proxy war in Syria,” McAdams said. “In fact, it was the UN Human Rights Council that first put the wheels of the US-led attack in Libya in motion.”

McAdams recounted how in the days leading up to NATO’s intervention in Libya, non-governmental organizations petitioned the UN Human Rights Council to demand action in response to alleged atrocities being committed by then-Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. As a result, the issue was then taken up by the Security Council, which adopted Resolution 1973, a measure that paved the way for NATO’s airstrikes in Libya. Several of the NGOs’ allegations — which formed the basis for NATO’s intervention — later turned out to be false.

“The human rights abuses that Libyans have suffered since their ‘liberation’ far outweigh any they suffered under the rule of Gaddafi,” McAdams said.

On Tuesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the United States decided to suspend its membership in the UNHRC. Haley denounced the organization as hypocritical, saying it was biased against Israel and protected countries that abused human rights, such as Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, China and Venezuela.

“The UN Human Rights Council, like most of the UN, has long ago strayed away from its original purpose,” McAdams said. “When you have notorious human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia — and the US among others — playing a prominent role in determining human rights abuses in other countries, the whole exercise becomes a farce.”

McAdams went on to say that the US withdrawal from the UNHRC would “hopefully reduce” its importance and restrain its ability to be used as a forum to promote conflict.

“The UN’s adopting the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) doctrine in 2006 has been an unmitigated disaster. The UN was founded as a body of sovereign states seeking to work together as such to eliminate war,” he said. “The destruction of national sovereignty caused by the R2P doctrine means that countries with aggressive foreign policies can use the UN as a fig leaf as a cover. The result is more war, not less. And that is what we are already seeing.”

The US decision to quit the council comes a month after the UNHRC decided to form an independent mechanism to investigate the Israeli Defense Forces’ killings of more than 100 Palestinian protesters along the border with the Gaza Strip since March. Palestinians in Gaza have been staging protests along the border to demand the right to return to their homes now inside Israel. The UNHRC has said that the killings could be considered war crimes and need to be investigated.

According to UNHRC President Vojislav Suc, the UN General Assembly will now decide on a candidate to replace the United States on the Council, which consists of 47 members elected directly by the General Assembly.

Prior to its withdrawal, the United States’ mandate in the UNHRC was expected to last till the end of 2019. It was the country’s second three-year term, after which the US did not have the right to be re-elected.

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | 5 Comments

Trump withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council is business as usual for US

By John Laughland | RT | June 20, 2018

Unlike other decisions taken by Donald Trump the announcement that the US is leaving the UN Human Rights Council has a lot of background in the policies adopted by previous administrations, many of which also despised the body.

Trump has gone a little further than his predecessors but his attitude is not fundamentally different from theirs.

Not only has the US had a long-running dispute with the UN in general, over its budget contribution and the body’s alleged hostility towards Israel, it has also sought to undermine the role of the Human Rights Council in particular, long before Trump was elected.  A former US representative to the UN founded the NGO UN Watch in 1993 to campaign against the UN’s perceived anti-Israeli bias.

In 2004, even before the Human Rights Council was created in 2006, the USA sponsored the creation of a “democracy caucus” within the UN whose goal was to increase the influence of the US and its allies in the organization, on the basis that countries deemed democratic should have greater rights.

The potential for abuse of this principle was both enormous and obvious. Yet it reflected the decision taken by the Clinton administration in 1999 to arrogate to the US and its allies, especially NATO, the right to adjudicate and enforce human rights around the world. As the British Prime Minister Tony Blair explained at the time, the 78-day NATO attack against Yugoslavia was designed to establish this as a new principle of international relations. In its new strategic concept promulgated at the height of the bombing of a small Balkan country by the most powerful military alliance in the history of the world, NATO announced that “the abuse of human rights” was a security threat to which it had the right to react.

This in turn was a continuation of the assumptions underlying the creation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in November 1990, which provided a structure for covert operatives from Western states to manipulate elections across post-Communist Europe in the name of human rights and democracy promotion. The OSCE itself was initially created as the CSCE (Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe) at Helsinki in 1975 when the goal was also to undermine the USSR on the same pretext.

So, when Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, says that the US will continue to “lead” on human rights from outside the Human Rights Council, she is not saying much that is new. The novelty lies only in that the US feels that it can no longer control that body. In 2011, things were the other way around: the US encouraged a gross abuse of the Human Rights Council’s own procedures when it helped secure the expulsion of Libya from it on 25 February 2011, without the Universal Periodic Review, which the HRC had published for Libya the previous month, being even considered.

The expulsion occurred on the basis of allegations made by bogus NGOs (front organizations for the then Libyan opposition) which, not surprisingly, turned out later to have been utterly baseless. But the momentum was such that a Security Council resolution was obtained on 17 March 2011 and NATO launched its attack two days later.

A war launched ostensibly to protect civilians was then used to effect regime change (as the then-Foreign Minister of France confirmed at the time), and no attempt was made to protect civilians deemed loyal to Gaddafi. NATO’s allies justified their massacre at Sirte in September 2011 by saying that the town’s residents had “chosen to die”. The fact that these decisions were taken “multilaterally”, as Emmanuel Macron likes to say, is irrelevant when it comes to judging their fundamental injustice.

The allegation of US double standards on human rights is probably familiar to many readers. But what the continuity of US policy shows (a continuity only slightly masked by this latest institutional change of tack) is the inevitable damage caused when political conflict is translated into the language of rights. Such a translation only aggravates the all too human tendency to identify one’s own cause with the highest moral principles.

Because this danger is so obvious, the UN was created to evacuate such issues from international discourse. Its charter and practices until the 1980s were based on the principles of state sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of states, not on human rights. Resolutions by the General Assembly, in 1965 and in 1981 on the inadmissibility of intervention in the internal affairs of states, and in 1970 on friendly relations between states, when non-interference was reiterated, were all totally unambiguous. In 1981, for instance, the General Assembly recalled “the duty of a State to refrain from the exploitation and the distortion of human rights issues as a means of interference in the internal affairs of States”.

These resolutions were bolstered by rulings by the International Court of Justice, the supreme judicial body of the UN system, for instance in a famous 1986 case opposing the USA and Nicaragua where the former was supporting the Contra rebels. The ICJ ruled that “the Court cannot contemplate the creation of a new rule opening up a right of intervention by one State against another on the ground that the latter has opted for some particular ideology or political system” and that “in any event, while the United States might form its own appraisal of the situation as to respect for human rights in Nicaragua, the use of force could not be the appropriate method to monitor or ensure such respect.”

These principles came under sustained assault in the post-Cold War period and they are now considered to have been buried under the Western doctrines of humanitarian intervention and “the right to protect”. Their burial reflects a far deeper problem, which constitutes the biggest threat to the international order today: the almost psychotic inability of the US leadership to engage with other international actors on the basis of that complexity which is inherent in states having a different point of view, a different culture and a different value system.

Instead, the US remains in hock to what was originally known as the “Open Door” school of US diplomacy of William Appleman Williams (1921-1990), which holds that America will be safe in the world only when the world becomes like America and is dominated by it.

Stated forcefully by George W. Bush and by Donald Trump’s administration in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, this doctrine was also endorsed by Clinton and Obama.

Many years after Clinton’s Kosovo war, Obama’s Vice-President, Joe Biden, proudly told his Albanian taxi driver outside the US military base in Kosovo, where the soldiers were of different ethnic backgrounds: “There’s America. Until you figure out how to live together like we do, you will never, never, never make it.”

Between Trump and his nemesis Biden, therefore, there is no essential difference – and that is a major problem for the rest of us.

John Laughland is a historian and specialist in international affairs.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

US to Leave ‘Foolish, Unworthy’ UN Human Rights Council Over Anti-Israel Bias

Sputnik – June 15, 2018

The United States’ demands regarding reforming the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have failed to be met, and as such Washington is reportedly ready to pull out over what it calls anti-Israel bias and the inclusion of alleged rights abusers.

Diplomats told Reuters that it’s merely a matter of time before the US exits the council, which will convene Monday for a three week convention that will last until July 6. One US source who spoke anonymously said that an announcement looks “imminent.”

Another US official in Geneva, where the UNHRC will meet June 18, said, “we are still moving ahead with our engagement for the coming session.”

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has cast shade on the council since taking the job, while both the US State Department and US President Donald Trump himself found issue with it in 2017.

On June 6, 2017, Haley went to Geneva to give the council a series of ultimatums. At the meeting, she said, “It’s hard to accept that this council has never considered a resolution on Venezuela, and yet it adopted five biased resolutions in March against a single country: Israel. It is essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility.”

Later in the day, she expanded on her grievances against the council at a speech she gave to the Graduate Institute of Geneva, noting that the UNHRC had, by then, passed “more than 70 resolutions targeting Israel” since its inception in 2006, but “just seven on Iran.” The UNHRC has passed more resolutions against Israel than the rest of the world’s countries combined, according to the Geneva-based UN Watch.

“This relentless, pathological campaign against a country that actually has a strong human rights record makes a mockery not of Israel, but of the council itself.”

She also called on the body to do two things: “Act to keep the worst human rights abusers from obtaining seats on the council,” and remove permanent Agenda Item 7, which requires that the council address the “human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,” regularly when it meets.

Trump later echoed those demands in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 19, 2017, calling the inclusion of governments with “egregious human rights records” in the UNHRC a “massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations.” He also singled out North Korea and Iran for their hostility to Israel.

After the UNHRC, a body of 47 nations, adopted five resolutions condemning Israel on March 23, 2018, Haley warned “our patience is not limited,” reminding the body that “The United States continues to evaluate our membership in the Human Rights Council.”

Those resolutions called on governments to stop selling weapons to Israel; for Palestinian self-rule according to Israel and the Palestinian territories’ pre-1967 borders; for Israel to remove itself from the Golan Heights, which it has illegally occupied since the 1967 Six Day War; and for an end to Israeli settlements and human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Haley called the council “foolish and unworthy of its name” for treating Israel “worse than North Korea, Iran and Syria.”

The US ambassador hasn’t only struggled with the Human Rights Council, but also with the UN General Assembly and Security Council. On Wednesday, she failed to prevent the assembly from condemning Israel’s use of deadly force against Palestinians demonstrating in the Great Return March after having vetoed a similar resolution in June. She fired back against the vote, saying that for some, “attacking Israel is their favorite political sport.”

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed and more than 13,000 injured, many by live ammunition, since the start of the protest on March 30, Sputnik News reported. Haley previously told the UN Security Council that Israel acted with “restraint” in the protests. One Israeli soldier was “slightly wounded” in the protests, according to an IDF spokesperson.

The US has boycotted the UNHRC before, as former President George W Bush and his Ambassador to the UN John Bolton — now Trump’s national security adviser — opposed it from its outset in 2006. The Bush administration refused to run in its first election and also declined to participate the following year.

The main points of opposition then were the “focus on Israeli human rights violations while failing to address human rights abuses in other parts of the world,” according to the US Congressional Research Service’s 2009 “Issues for Congress” report on the UNHRC.

However, former President Barack Obama began to work with the council after his election in 2008, believing it was better to work on human rights issues within the council than from the outside, according to a similar report from 2017.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

UN General Assembly condemns Israel for ‘excessive use of force’ on Gaza border

RT | June 13, 2018

The UN General Assembly has adopted a nonbinding resolution condemning Israel’s use of ‘excessive force’ against Palestinian protesters in Gaza. A US amendment to condemn Hamas did not get enough support.

The resolution condemns Israel for “excessive use of force” against Palestinian demonstrators on the Israeli-Gaza border and calls for the “protection of the Palestinian civilian population” in Gaza. It was adopted with 120 votes in favor and eight votes against, with 45 abstentions.

The amendment offered by US envoy Nikki Haley sought to condemn Hamas, which runs the elected government in Gaza, for firing rockets at Israel. The amendment received 62 votes in favor, with 58 nations opposed and 42 abstaining. It needed a two-thirds majority to pass, however, so it was not included in the final resolution.

The nearly identical resolution proposed by Kuwait was vetoed by the US in the Security Council on Tuesday. Unlike the Security Council resolutions, those adopted in the General Assembly are non-binding.

Haley condemned the adopted resolution as “morally bankrupt.”

“The resolution is one-sided, makes not one mention of Hamas which routinely initiates violence,” the US envoy said during the debate preceding the vote, adding that “What makes Gaza different is that attacking Israel is their favorite political sport.”

Israeli ambassador Danny Danon slammed the resolution as “empowering Hamas” and the countries that support it as “colluding with a terrorist organization.”

“I have a simple message for those who support this resolution. You are the ammunition for Hamas’s guns, you are the warheads for its missiles,” he said.

Over 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during the protests along the border with Gaza that began on March 30. The deadliest day so far has been May 14, when the US embassy officially moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“We cannot remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetrated against our people,” said Riyad Mansour, Palestinian envoy to the UN.

June 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 4 Comments

US vetoes Kuwait-drafted UN resolution on protecting Palestinians

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley with Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon. (Photo: Mintpress)
Press TV – June 1, 2018

The United States has vetoed a Kuwait-drafted UN resolution calling for protection of Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Out of the 15 UN Security Council members, Russia, France and China along with seven others voted in favor of the resolution on Friday, while four including Britain abstained.

The draft called for “the consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in the Gaza Strip.”

Kuwait’s Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi said the US veto “will increase the sentiment of despair among the Palestinians.”

US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley called the resolution a “grossly one-sided” view of the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

She also described Hamas as a major impediment to peace, proposing an alternative draft resolution which only gained Washington’s positive vote.

During a second vote, when the US put forward its own rival measure, eleven countries abstained, while Russia and two others opposed it.

At least 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the “Great March of Return” began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Fourteen children are among the fallen Palestinians.

About 13,300 Palestinians also sustained injuries, of whom 300 are in a critical condition.

The occupied territories have witnessed new tensions ever since US President Donald Trump on December 6, 2017 announced Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and said the US would move its embassy to the city.

The dramatic decision triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the world.

The status of Jerusalem al-Quds is the thorniest issue in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians see East Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of their future state.

June 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Exposing the dynamics of UNSC draft resolutions on Palestine

MEMO | May 29, 2018

Last week, the UN Security Council discussed a draft resolution on providing international protection for Palestinians, upon request by Kuwait’s permanent representative to the UN, Mansour Al-Otaibi. By the end of this week, the UNSC will be voting on the resolution, with Wafa news agency reporting that if the US uses its veto, Palestinians will call upon the UN General Assembly for “an extraordinary meeting under the title ‘Uniting for Peace’”.

It is safe to say that Palestinians are ensnared politically, and every gesture that is ostensibly for their protection is but another manacle that consolidates their isolation. Lest anyone jump on the bandwagon of “protection”, it is best that one takes into account that the international community has repeatedly confirmed its loyalties lie with Israel. Its credibility as regards protection, therefore, should be immediately denounced. Asking two fundamental questions juxtaposed against each other would clarify international intentions once and for all.

What does Palestine mean for Palestinians? What does Palestine mean to the international community?

For the first question, it is imperative that one draws upon Palestinian narratives of their land and follow the trajectory of how the entire territory that is their right was colonised by Israel’s existence. From that departure point, it is also important to include two rights that the international community wilfully ignores: the right of return and the right of struggle, by all means, against colonialism.

The second question deals more with disregard rather than concern. Even before Israel’s inception, Palestine was treated as a commodity and its people fodder for collateral damage. The Partition Plan of 29 Novermber 1947 is now hypocritically marked as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Let us be clear upon what this alleged solidarity has entailed: supporting colonial Israel and its so-called “right to defend itself” against the population that it has colonised and ostracised. UN solidarity has condoned massacres of Palestinians and forced displacement. In return, it has dedicated one specific day for remembrance which has yet to cause revulsion internationally, rather than acquiescence to commemoration.

The juxtaposition between both questions occurs now, in terms of the Palestinian right of return and their right to struggle for liberation from colonialism. On paper, the UN has not denied these rights. However, it has forced Palestinians into a vacuum where knowledge of rights is not tantamount to accessibility. The UN has created slogans for Palestinians while aiding Israel diplomatically, to the point that is has become a duty to separate the authentic, internationalist, solidarity with Palestinians from the exploitative, symbolic, corrupted remembrance which the UN has bequeathed to Palestinians.

As the UN derives impunity from its own existence, with what conscience can we declare approval for protection emanating from the institution? We must remember that “international protection” is concocted from the exterior, with Palestinians having little to no say in how such protection would be provided, what form would it take and what parameters would be imposed by the UN. Is it too late to remember that during other massacres, UN rhetoric was primarily concerned with Israel’s “right to defend itself”? Does memory fade with the passing of years to the point that the Nakba and subsequent massacres are forgotten? I believe not. A memory that emanates from within has the power to transcend time.

Palestinians do not deserve repetitive attempts at manipulating their rights and having the UN establish its collaborative dominion at their expense. This is not to say that Palestinians do not need protection. However, they are not in need of protection from Israel’s accomplices to degrade their options further by increasing their risks of being politically targeted. Two rights and the means to achieve them are what Palestinians need – the right of return and the right to struggle by all means for liberation. A unifying, internationalist force that is ready to stand by Palestinians to help them achieve their rights. Anything less than that is calling Palestinians to play a part in their betrayal.

May 29, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

US considers further financial cuts to international bodies to silence Palestinians

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | May 24, 2018

Under US President Donald Trump, international organisations have become targets for repression and vehicles by which Israeli oppression is maintained. Following the financial restrictions it imposed upon the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) last year, Washington has now set its sights on cuts in funding to another three organisations. The move follows the statement by UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov that Palestine has submitted applications to join the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Reports by various media, including Press TV and the Times of Israel, quote an unnamed US official saying that, “It has been the consistent position of the United States that efforts by the Palestinians to join international organisations are premature and counterproductive.” Since Trump’s election, the US-Israeli alliance has shed its veneer of restraint in terms of how much visible support should be flaunted internationally.

Financial dependence aside, it is clear that the US aims to leave Palestine with mere spectator status across the international community. It goes without saying that access to international organisations does not translate automatically into prominence for the Palestinians.

America’s move, therefore, is not only a punitive measure targeting and thus threatening the international organisations but also a means of increasing ways to deter Palestinians from pursuing their options in the international community. Nevertheless, whether or not Palestinians will utilise the international platform is still a contentious issue. Speaking about Palestinian accession to international organisations is still presented mainly from an angle that legitimises Israel’s purported anger, as in the case of the International Criminal Court (ICC). To eclipse Palestinian rights by Israel’s anger is a recipe for oblivion.

The same tactic was used when UNRWA faced an existential threat due to the US decision to slash funding. While UNRWA attempted to illustrate how such a decision would exacerbate the existing limitations on its work in support of Palestinian refugees, it was done from an organisational perspective, shifting the Palestinians in the process to a secondary and less visible position.

If international organisations worked independently of a political agenda, Palestine might have a chance to further its cause and development. UNCTAD has a special unit – the Assistance to the Palestinian People Unit (APPU) — which has the mandate to monitor the socio-economic impact of Israel’s military occupation. However, like other organisations, the Palestine issue is restricted to reports that state the obvious. UNCTAD’s April 2018 report, for example, said that Palestinians have been denied the human right to development; its conclusions and recommendations, like those of other organisations, are based upon legislation that Israel routinely and blatantly ignores.

The past seven decades have provided enough proof of the futility of the international community’s safeguarding of Palestinian rights; it is now ridiculed as the subject of mere rhetoric. It is more likely, therefore, that Trump, in coordination with Israel, is sending a message to Palestinians that their presence on international platforms will be hindered and obscured at all costs. One way to do this is to shift attention from Palestinians onto the organisations that might be affected.

This exposes the static structure of such international organisations which, due to their dependence upon financial aid from oppressive powers, prioritise their existence rather than use their position to safeguard Palestinian rights. If one thing is to be taken from the manipulation of financial aid and international institutions for political purposes, it is how the debate generated will also contribute towards marginalising and silencing Palestinians.

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 4 Comments

UNICEF: 1,000 children injured by Israeli gunfire in Gaza protests

Palestine Information Center | May 17, 2018

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Over 1,000 children have been injured by Israeli forces in the besieged Gaza Strip during demonstrations since March 30, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The UN body pointed out that some injuries had been severe and potentially life-altering, including amputations.

“Recent violence has exacerbated the already weak health system in the Gaza Strip, which is crumbling because of the severe power cuts and shortages of fuel, medicine and equipment,” UNICEF said in a statement.

“Medical facilities are buckling under the strain of additional casualties,” it further warned.

On Wednesday, UNICEF and its partners delivered two truck-loads of urgent medical supplies to the Gaza Strip for an estimated 70,000 people.

May 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lieberman urges Israel to pull out of UN rights body, demands US to follow suit

Press TV – May 17, 2018

The Israeli minister of military affairs has lashed out at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for its condemnation of the recent Gaza carnage, saying Tel Aviv and the US should immediately withdraw from the Geneva-based body.

In a post on his Twitter account, Avigdor Lieberman claimed that “Israel is under a double attack,” one from Gaza and another campaign of “hypocrisy headed by the United Nations Human Rights Council.”

“We must stop permitting this celebration of hypocrisy and immediately withdraw from the Human Rights Council, and work diligently so that the United States joins us in this step,” he added.

Lieberman’s comments came two days after the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Right condemned “the appalling, deadly violence in Gaza.”

“The rules on the use of force under international law have been repeated many times but appear to have been ignored again and again. It seems anyone is liable to be shot dead or injured: women, children, press personnel, first responders, bystanders, and at almost any point up to 700m from the fence,” it noted.

The 47-member UNHRC is also scheduled to hold a special session on Friday to discuss “the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem [al-Quds].”

Israeli forces killed at least 62 Palestinians during protests near the Gaza fence on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with Washington’s embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

More than 2,700 Palestinians were also wounded as the Israeli forces used snipers, airstrikes, tank fire and tear gas to target the demonstrators.

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Tuesday over the Gaza bloodshed.

The US, however, blocked the adoption of a Kuwait-drafted statement that expressed “outrage and sorrow” at the Gaza killings and called for an “independent and transparent investigation” into the massacre.

Hamas won ‘PR war’

In a relevant development, a senior Israeli army spokesman said that the Gaza killings had handed a PR victory to the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, which governs the besieged territory and organized the anti-occupation protests there.

During a briefing to the Jewish Federations of North America, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus acknowledged that the Israeli military had failed to minimize the number of the casualties in Gaza and that some victims had been hit by mistake.

“We haven’t been able to get that message out of how it is from our side… – and the ‘winning picture’ overwhelmingly, by a knockout, unfortunately, have been the graphics from the Palestinian side. The amount of casualties has done us a tremendous disservice, unfortunately, and it has been very difficult to tell our story,” he said.

See also:

UN rights body urges probe into Gaza carnage

The UN rights body calls for an investigation into recent Israel’s massacre of Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

UNSC holds emergency meeting on Israeli violence

Washington has already blocked the adoption of a UN statement calling for an investigation into the killing of Palestinians.

May 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 2 Comments