‘genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they (that is to say signatory parties) undertake to prevent and to punish.
Under article II says that this
‘means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as; a) killing members of the group; b) causing serious bodily or mental harm; c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; plus d) & e) which are not relevant to this discussion.
Articles III & IV tell us that genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide are punishable acts, and that persons committing these acts must be punished whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.
Article 5 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome ( http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=a/res/60/1 ) affirms the resolution of disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, the right to self-determination of peoples which remain under colonial domination and foreign occupation, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the equal rights of all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character and the fulfilment in good faith of the obligations assumed in accordance with the Charter.
So I ask, what is the international community doing with regard to Israel and the Palestinians? Palestinians are, by virtue of the international community’s collusion, their own leaders inadequacy and US application of economic pressure and use of Security Council veto, stateless. Why, despite several UN resolutions should this be? – see previous sentence. How come Zionism has such a grip on US ****s ?
Having no recognition as an independent people the Palestinians are under ‘foreign occupation’, as in Article 5 above. Or are they? Let’s pause a moment.
Are they, in fact ‘under occupation’. Israel says not. It claims that the West Bank is disputed territory, therefore not occupied. That seems to leave two possibilities under international law. The ‘disputed territory’ is either under ‘colonial domination’, article 5 above, or it is part of Israel. In either case Israel has specific responsibilities towards those it has colonised or to its citizens.
Whenever commentators speak of the ‘occupied territories’ they are required by law (Hasbara law!) to qualify the statement with ‘but Israel disputes this’. Israel disagrees so what status do they attribute to the West Bank? If it’s not occupied the people there must be either citizens or under colonial rule. Well, of course, it is Samaria and Judea, remember them from yesteryear? Or should that be yesterMillennium*2? Am I missing something? let’s move on.
For practical purposes the Palestinians exist in a vacuum, if they are regarded as existing at all. How does this come across on the public stage from the political classes and media,? It doesn’t. BBC, ITV, NBC CNN, all the usual suspects, Prime Ministers and Presidents, report as if Palestinians in general and Gazans in particular exist in the same political, national, economic and cultural domains as every other country including Israel. Why do they persist in this chimera?
Because, were they to explain the context, they would be in danger of upsetting the zionist apologists. I for one am getting a little tired of pointing out that, for the first forty years of occupation Hamas did not exist, and that Israel has been offered peace on a number of occasions. If I know this why don’t Blair, Bush, Obama, Cameron, Miliband, Harper, Merkel etc.?
Culturally, Palestinians in general and Gazans in particular are surrounded by the ‘Israeli bubble’. They protect and maintain their cultures and cultural identities as best they can but cultural exchange, which should be the currency of our global society, is restricted by Israel. You can’t take a dance troupe from Aida refugee camp out through Ben Gurion airport. You have to go via Amman taking four times as long and costing twice as much. It is in effect a cultural boycott on Palestinians.
Economically, Palestinians in general and Gazans in particular are limited by what Israel and their proxy, Egypt, will allow in and out. The situation is most restrictive in Gaza but the economy of the West Bank is also dependent on Israel. It may also be dependent on the whim of whichever soldier is on duty at the checkpoint at the time you want to get your grapes/olives/salad stuff to market.
Let’s take ‘national’ and ‘political’ together. Palestinians have no recognisable political or national existence. The Palestinian Authority is not genuinely independent, it couldn’t, for instance, purchase an iron dome missile defence system. It doesn’t even collect its own taxes. Israel does this and then withholds payment when the PA ‘misbehaves’. The PA police force has to take second place to the Israeli organisations. Critics will point out, they have, that Palestinians never had a national identity, so to speak of one is incorrect. Well, let’s examine this argument, albeit briefly.
Were you to have spoken of ‘national identity’ prior to, say, the French revolution only a handful of people in Europe would have had a clue what you were talking about and amongst that handful there would have been at least 5 opinions. Nationalism as we know it is fairly recent, blossoming, if that’s the right word, in the middle of the 19th century. See where that got us. The denial of Palestinian identity follows the argument ‘they are Arab and there are plenty of Arab countries they can go to‘. To which the proper, and marginally less ridiculous, response should be, ‘the Zionists are European (or American) so why don’t they go back to there’.
Taken at face value these statements seem to make sense but both are superficial, having only the appearance of truth. Half the truth is a complete falsehood. Jewish persecution in Europe was real and it drove the notion of a safe homeland. Palestinian identity is not ‘Arab’, a definition that becomes increasingly problematic when, lazily, media and politicians lump together Arabs, Iranians, Egyptian, Kurds, and dozens of other tribal/ethnic groupings.
By this ‘identity test’ few countries would pass. American identity is a completely modern concept. But the issue goes deeper. For the zionist argument to carry any weight at all they would have to show that there is such a thing as ‘Jewish national identity’. This is widely assumed, especially in America and Europe but on the basis of a complete absence of evidence. Even the notion of a Jewish cultural identity has been questioned – by Jews.
We and the peoples of the Middle East are let down by leaders who fail to recognise this illogicality for what it is. Whether occupied, colonised or ‘citizenised’, Israel has responsibilities under international law to the ethnic grouping of Palestinian Arabs as well as the religious groupings of Palestinian Jews, Palestinian (and Jewish) Christians, and to Israeli and Palestinian Muslims.
Statements by various Israeli politicians and actions by Israel’s military are clearly in contravention of the above conventions. It is likely that, through its education system, there is incitement to hate and thus to kill. There is at least a case for Israel to answer under Articles II, III, and IV above. Failure to bring charges must amount to complicity. It’s time for the UN to get its act together and for the International Court of Justice to earn its bread.