Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Posts tagged “International Law

Israelis do NOT have any right to self defence from an occupied people

Gaza

It may seem such a basic tenet of international law that it does not need repeating, but clearly the Israelis are slow learners.

So here we go again with yet another lesson in fundamental international law:

First, Gaza is OCCUPIED. The very fact that the Israeli occupation authorities control the land and sea borders and the airspace, and are in a position to determine who can enter the occupied territory, fatally undermines their position that there is no occupation.

Further, both the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court have upheld Gaza’s status as an occupied territory.

Second, a state cannot simultaneously exercise control over territory it occupies, and militarily attack that territory on the claim that it is ‘foreign’ and poses a national security threat. To do so, the Israeli occupation authorities are effectively asserting rights of colonial domination that simply do not exist under international law.

However, military or belligerent occupation IS a status recognised by international law – and has accompanying obligations.

An occupying power is responsible for the welfare of the population under its control. The Fourth Geneva Convention imposes obligations on an occupying power in relation to the inhabitants of the occupied territory, who are entitled to special protection and humane treatment. Among other things, the rules prohibit the occupying power from “wilfully killing” or “ill-treating” protected persons.

War Crimes are defined as:

a) Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949…
b) Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within the established framework of international law….

The actions of the Israeli occupation authorities in conducting military offensive actions against the protected persons of the occupied territory of Gaza therefore are not, and cannot possibly be construed as, self-defence.

But they certainly meet the criteria for grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, thus constitute WAR CRIMES.

So please, Israeli apologists – enough of the ‘self-defence’ excuses – they just do not hold any legal water.


Har Nof Synagogue attack: Israel’s chickens come home to roost

by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Gaza SCOOP

A body being removed from the Har Nof synagogue (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

A body being removed from the Har Nof synagogue (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Israel’s chickens are coming home to roost, along with those of the UN and the international community. How can anyone be surprised?

You cannot subject a people to 50 years of illegal occupation and expect no response. To illegal demolition of their houses, arbitrary detention, torture and inhumane prison conditions and expect no response. You cannot subject a people to ongoing theft of their land for the construction of illegal settlements, to living behind an illegal apartheid wall and expect no response. You cannot subject a people to an illegal siege and expect no response.

The international community has sat on its hands while the Israeli rogue state rode roughshod over the few rights left to Palestinians, with total impunity.

The UN has not enforced international law even ONCE in response to at least 80 breaches of UN Security Council Resolutions. The US has vetoed many more.

Endless negotiations with dishonest brokers have yielded less than nothing for Palestinians – less land, less water, less natural resources, less houses, less jobs, less opportunities, less travel. It is nothing less than scandalous that this has all taken place under the watch of the Useless Nations. (more…)


Any ceasefire agreement must be based on international law, respect for human rights

Press Release
Ministry of Health Gaza
August 06, 2014

The Ministry of Health Gaza insists that any ceasefire agreement must guarantee the human rights of our people, most importantly, the right to health.

We therefore stress that any agreement arising out of the talks in Cairo must be based on international law, not self-interest.

We emphasise that international law is something that is applied without fear or favour, not negotiated.

Loss of Palestinian land up until 2012

Loss of Palestinian land up until 2012

(more…)


Ten children killed, 40 injured in Israeli strike on a park

At least ten ambulances and several carloads of dead and injured children poured into Shifa Hospital thisafternoon after an Israeli strike on a park in Shaati Refugee Camp in Gaza City. There are ten confirmed dead at this time, and 40 injured. The death toll is expected to rise.

This barbaric and deliberate attack on children in a public park on one of the two main Muslim religious holidays seals the Israeli reputation as the most perverse war criminal of all time.

One bomb struck a children’s ferris wheel, and the other a TukTuk taking children on rides.

Many considered the calculated murder of the four children playing football on the beach to be an atrocity and a clear war crime – but the international community remained passive.

Another ten innocent children have now lost their lives, playing in the park.

How many more will it take before the world says “Enough!”

How many more before the UN enforces international law without fear or favour, and demands the rogue state of Israel comply with international law?

When will the UN impose sanctions, and an arms embargo, to prevent the Israeli enabler the United States from furnishing it with the tools of destruction? From financing the pathological Zionist expansionist project?

When will the UN expel this rogue state from amongst its ranks – this rogue state that claims all the benefits of UN membership but scorns each and every resposibility incumbent upon it to behave with even the barest modicum of civilised bahaviour or humanity?

To remain silent now is to be complicit in these war crimes.


Why the Egyptian-Israel truce proposal falls on deaf ears

by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Middle East Monitor

No guarantee to open Rafah Crossing or lift the crippling siege

No guarantee to open Rafah Crossing or lift the crippling siege

The cynical ‘ceasefire’ chorus being sung by Israel and Egypt is merely yet another movement in the well-orchestrated Israeli-Egyptian three-penny opera.

The way in which the ‘negotiations’ were carried out was more farce than finale – Egypt wrote the libretto for the Israeli impresario, leaving the Palestinians in the wings.

The terms themselves are a three-act charade. The Israeli-Egyptian duet omits a core Hamas demand – any mention of the release of more than 50 Palestinian prisoners released in the 2011 Shalit swap who were re-detained during the recent West Bank ‘search’ for three missing Israeli settlers.

Nor does it commit to either re-open the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt, or to lift the crippling – and illegal – Israeli siege of Gaza, merely saying that “crossings shall be opened and the movement of persons and goods through (them) shall be facilitated once the security situation becomes stable on the ground.” Both of these are core demands of the entire Palestinian resistance – Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP and everyone in between.

Any ceasefire that does not change the fundamental paradigm, a hermetically-sealed Gaza and a ‘normal Israel,’ will garner only encore after encore, as every previous performance has done. Read more HERE


Gaza: The heart of darkness

by Julie Webb-Pullman

child

The horror, the horror.

Inescapable, enveloping infinite horror.

Arriving at Shifa hospital on Saturday I had to stand aside as a car drove through and stopped. A man approached it with the bright white body of a freshly-swaddled child, ready for burial.

I walked behind the car, straight into a group of men carrying a stretcher with what appeared to be a covered body. As they hurried past a bloodied limb fell onto the ground in front of me.

Young men sat against the building, their heads on their knees, sobbing.

This is Gaza.

On Sunday morning it was not just one car, but seven or eight lined up, waiting for their grisly cargo of crushed or blasted bodies and grief.

So many children, so many women, so many grandmothers and grandfathers chopped, minced, sliced, diced by the Israeli butchers and their US enablers.

So many homes reduced to rubble, not by some natural disaster but by the very unnatural, incredibly perverse and completely depraved man-made disaster called the state of Israel. (more…)


Renewed Administrative Detention of MP El Natsha denounced

PLC member Muhammad Jamal El Natsha

PLC member Muhammad Jamal El Natsha

PRESS RELEASE

The International Campaign for Releasing the Abducted MPs denounces the third renewal of the administrative detention of Palestinian Legislative Council member Muhammad Jamal El Natsha.

El Natsha, a 55 year old from Hebron city, had already spent over 17 years in Israeli prisons before his re-abduction on 27 March 2013, and suffers from ill-health, including chronic chest and kidney problems.

The Campaign considers that the policy of renewing administrative detention against MPs breaches both humanitarian and legal norms.

The Campaign points out that nine MPs belonging to the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc are currently subjected to this policy. Three of them, Jaber El Foqahaa, Muhammad El Ramahi, and Yaser Mansour have also had their administrative detention renewed.

Renewal of the administrative detention of MPs is a flagrant violation of the basic rules of democracy and international law.

The International Campaign holds the Israeli authorities accountable for the life of El Natsha, given his deteriorating health, and calls for urgent steps to be taken by all international legal, parliamentary and political institutions to immediately end this policy, and ensure his immediate release.


The International Campaign For Freeing PLC Members
Email:- FreePLC2009@gmail.com


Is Israel an Apartheid State? Rhetoric or Reality

by Frances H. Remillard

Do Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, amount to the crimes of colonialism and apartheid under international law? A summary of a legal study by HSRC of South Africa.

Old, but worth reading again – or even just once, Netanyahu.

Republished from If Americans Knew

mandela

The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, in its efforts to eliminate and prevent the kind of suffering the South African and Namibian people suffered under apartheid, commissioned a legal study of the Israel-Palestine situation. “The aim of this project was to scrutinize the situation from the nonpartisan perspective of international law, rather than engage in political discourse and rhetoric.”

This fifteen-month collaborative study set out to examine legally the question:

Do Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, amount to the crimes of colonialism and apartheid under international law?

The study was comprehensive including discussion of pertinent international law and legal rulings, the legal status and laws governing historic Palestine from Ottoman times to present, Israeli law, discussion and rebuttal of Israel’s various legal arguments as to why international law does not apply, and a very detailed review of Israel’s practices weighed against this legal context and compared to similar practices carried out by the government of South Africa during apartheid.

To fully explore this issue, the evidence offered in the study was very broad including Israel’s practices within the state of Israel proper, Israel’s practices regarding Palestinian refugees, and Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory; however, the legal question asked and conclusions drawn about apartheid were limited to Israel’s practices after 1967 when Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Apartheid defined under international law
Apartheid is defined as an institutionalized form of racism in which states enact laws which function as the apparatus to commit inhuman acts for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.

Apartheid regimes rely on three “Pillars of Apartheid” to maintain their domination

Pillar 1: The state codifies into law a preferred identity, and then establishes adjunct laws that grant preferential legal status and material privileges to the preferred group on the basis of their identity while discriminating against the non-preferred group on the basis of the inferior status afforded them.

Pillar 2: The state segregates the population into geographic areas based on their identity. The favored identity receives preferential access to land, water, other resources, and to government benefits and services while the non-preferred group is confined to ever shrinking non-contiguous besieged territorial enclaves.

Pillar 3: The state establishes security laws and policies designed to suppress any opposition to the regime. The system of domination is reinforced through assassinations; administrative detention; torture; cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment; and arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of the non-preferred group.an advisory opinion on the question of Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory.

Using these criteria, the May 2009 South African study found that “Israel, since 1967, is the belligerent Occupying Power in occupied Palestinian territory, and that its occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.”

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA has summarized the findings of this study to make the results accessible to the public, to help people understand that talk of apartheid is more than just rhetoric, and to provide a tool which concerned citizens can use to help bring an end to Israel’s apartheid regime. Our summary briefly describes only the ‘components of apartheid’ and the Israeli practices used by the study group to reach its conclusions.

Israel’s practices, Apartheid Pillar 1: A preferred identity; separate system privileging Jews

Israel’s domestic law codifies the Jewish identity as the preferred identity and establishes that collective rights extend to Jews only. All other people lack the right to a national life anywhere in Israel proper or occupied Palestinian territory.

Israel’s state resources (including land in occupied Palestinian territory which Israel has declared ‘state land’) are specified as being for the exclusive benefit of Jews, administered under the World Zionist Organization, Jewish Agency, and Jewish National Fund. These para-state organizations are authorized agents of the state of Israel; receive funding from the state of Israel; are empowered to manage Israeli state affairs; yet their charters and Israeli Law mandate that they operate in perpetuity for the exclusive benefit of world Jewry.

Since 1967, Israel supplanted existing laws governing Palestinian territory with two separate sets of law: Israeli domestic law to apply to Jewish settlers and Israeli military law to apply to Palestinians (See Table A for examples of Israel’s military orders governing Palestinians).

Right to Housing and Natural Growth
– After occupying Palestinian territory in 1967, Israel froze the municipal boundaries of Palestinian towns and villages. Because Israel, in general, denies Palestinians the right to build outside municipal boundaries, this law has served as the basis for stemming Palestinian growth, denying Palestinians 90% of needed housing permits, and for destroying thousands of Palestinian homes.

– Since 1967 not one new Palestinian community has been established in East Jerusalem.

Settler Benefits
– Israel encourages Jews from anywhere in the world to move into occupied Palestinian territory by providing automatic citizenship, settlement housing, and financial benefits including permanent exemption from real estate and employers’ taxes; grants to cover costs of moving to settlements; loans for rent, utilities and purchasing apartments (these loans convert to grants after three years residence in the settlement); free education from kindergarten through university; and free technical education. Palestinians are not afforded such benefits.

Freedom of Residence
– Palestinians who procure residency or citizenship in another country immediately lose their right of residency in occupied East Jerusalem. Jews, however, can obtain both residency and citizenship in another country and still retain their right to reside in occupied East Jerusalem.

Freedom to Leave and Return to One’s Country
– Palestinians who either fled or were not in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or the Gaza Strip at the time of the1948 or 1967 wars have never been allowed to return to their homes or reclaim their property. By contrast, Jews from anywhere in the world may ‘return’ to either Israel proper or occupied Palestinian territory even if neither they nor any of their ancestors were born or had previously lived there.

Family Unification
– Jews have no restrictions preventing their living with or being unified with spouses and children who are from a foreign country, not citizens of Israel. By contrast, Palestinians of all categories are not afforded the same right to family unification.

Citizenship
– Israel has refused to allow a Palestinian state to emerge and at the same time has refused Palestinians in occupied Palestinian territory to gain citizenship in Israel. By contrast, Jews from anywhere in the world are rewarded with automatic citizenship and substantial monetary benefits for transferring into and living in occupied Palestinian territory.

Permit System
– Israel has imposed a burdensome permit system which requires Palestinians to get a permit for everything from repairing their home, making a deposit in their bank account, and planting onions, to which fields Palestinians may use their tractors. Often permits are issued or the permit system is enforced depending on the Palestinians’ willingness to collaborate with their Israeli occupier.

Economic Rights
– Israel prevents imports, exports, and Palestinian people from moving freely throughout Palestinian territory. This ‘closure’ policy has halted Palestinian economic development by fragmenting Palestinian economic space, raising the cost of doing business, and eliminating the predictability needed to carry out successful business.

– Palestinians must obtain permits from Israel to grow crops. Permits are granted based on whether Palestinian crops compete with Israeli agricultural production.

– A Palestinian may not establish a factory or business employing more than ten individuals.

Trade Unions
– Palestinians laborers must pay 11% of their wages to Israel’s national trade union, Histadrut, for insurance tax. Yet Palestinians do not receive Histadrut insurance benefits such as unemployment compensation, disability benefits, or old age pensions. In addition Palestinian laborers pay 1% of their wages to Histadrut for membership dues. Yet Histadrut represents only Jewish laborers in disputes, and cooperates with the Israeli military in tightening control over Palestinians.

Right to an Education
– Israel denies Palestinians the right to an education through indirect measures such as creating obstacles to movement so Palestinian students cannot get to their schools; repeated closure of Palestinian schools; military attacks on schools and students; destroying educational infrastructure; and denying Palestinian students exit permits preventing them from studying abroad.

Freedom of the Press
– Israel restricts media reporting information from Palestinian territory by direct censorship; by refusing to issue or renew press cards, restricting the movement of the press, damaging or destroying radio and TV installations; through arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists; and by beating, torturing, and killing journalists.

– The Israeli press practices a codified system of self censorship (Nakdi Report) including prohibition of the use of terms such as “Palestinian,” “Palestine,” “East Jerusalem,” or references to areas in the West Bank by their Palestinian name, instead referring to areas of the West Bank as Judea and Samaria.

– Reporters without Borders, a journalism organization advocating freedom of the press internationally, ranks Israel 146th out of 169 in their annual press freedom index.

– Palestinian newspapers must have an Israeli military permit and publications must be pre-approved by the military censor.
Israel’s practices, Apartheid Pillar 2: Segregation; exploitation of resources

After occupying Palestinian territory in 1967, Israel issued Administration Order #1 annexing Palestinian East Jerusalem to the State of Israel.

In 1967 Israel issued military orders declaring all Palestinian surface and ground water “public property” and the “sovereign property of Israel.”

In 1978, the Jewish Agency/World Zionist Organization/Jewish National Fund declared the West Bank a permanent part of the “Land of Israel.”

These para-state organizations laid out a master plan (the Drobles Plan) placing Jewish settlements and Jews-only highways around and between Palestinian populations with the stated purpose of carving up the territory to promote Jewish domination and prevent the creation of a Palestinian state.

By the 1990s, the corridors of Jewish settlements and Jews-only highways enforced complete segregation of Jews and non-Jews. Palestinians have been pushed into disjointed, ever-shrinking enclaves.

Segregation
– Israel has appropriated over 50% of the West Bank for the exclusive benefit of Jews including settlements and outposts; nature preserves; special security zones; the wall; agricultural development for Jewish settlers; closed military zones; and a Jews-only highway system. Palestinians are prohibited from using, or even crossing, the extensive Jews-only highway system that allows Jews to travel freely between settlements and between the West Bank and the state of Israel.

– Israel’s security wall alone appropriates 10% of the West Bank by fencing that land into Israel proper.

– Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been trapped in the ‘seam zone,’ their homes and villages are walled out of the West Bank. They are not allowed to pass into Israel for services and likewise cannot freely pass through the ‘wall’ into Palestinian territory for services and community. In contrast, a Jew from anywhere in the world, Israeli citizen or not, is free to travel in and out of the seam zones.

– By September 2008, Israel had established 699 restrictions to Palestinian movement within the West Bank including checkpoints, roadblocks, trenches, earth mounds, road gates, 89 ‘flying’ checkpoints (weekly average), and the ‘security wall.’

– As a result of this system of security walls, settlements, and highways, Israel has deliberately severed East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. The West Bank is divided into reserves in which residence and entry is determined by each group’s identity. Israel has also sealed and isolated the Gaza Strip from the rest of Palestinian territory.

Exploitation of resources
– Israel integrated the Palestinian electricity infrastructure and water supplies into that of Israel, thus denying Palestinians control over their own municipal services and water resources.

– Israel diverts all of Palestinian Jordan River water and 87% of Palestinian ground water to the state of Israel proper and the illegal Jewish settlers. The remaining 13% of Palestinian ground water is distributed back to 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank.

– Israel cuts off Palestinian access to water by destroying wells; destroying all Palestinian pumps and ditches accessing the Jordan River; destroying cisterns and irrigation systems; preventing the construction of new water infrastructure; preventing the repair of out-dated infrastructure; preventing Palestinians from drilling new wells; and hindering access through ‘security measures’ such as roadblocks, closures, checkpoints, and the wall.

– The route of Israel’s security wall delineates the eastern boundary of high groundwater production from the Western Aquifer. The wall fences those areas of high water production into Israel, closing off Palestinian access to more than 95% of their groundwater resources, over 630 million cubic meters of water per year.

– Since 1967, not one permit has been granted for the drilling of new Palestinian controlled wells in the largest and most productive of all the aquifer basins, the Western Aquifer.

– Palestinians pay from four to twenty times more for water than Jewish settlers pay, but are restricted to 10 to 60 liters of water per day, less than the 100 liters-per-day minimum standard set by the World Health Organization. Jewish settlers enjoy from 274 to 450 liters of water per day.

– Five thousand Jewish settlers living in the Jordan Valley consume the equivalent of 75% of the water used by the entire West Bank population of over 2.5 million Palestinians.

– All 149 Israeli-approved Jewish settlements in the West Bank are connected to a running water network, while over 200 Palestinian communities in the West Bank have no running water.

Gaza Aquifer, the only source of freshwater in the Gaza Strip
– Israel, through years of over-pumping deep bore wells along the Gaza Strip, has drawn sewage and salt water contamination into the Gaza aquifer.

– Israel reduced natural recharge of the Gaza aquifer by constructing a physical barrier or “verge” to prevent fresh water from the Hebron Hills from reaching the Gaza aquifer.

– Today 90 to 95% of the Gaza aquifer is unfit for human consumption, much of it unfit even for irrigation or showering.

– Between 2000 and mid-2006, Israel destroyed 244 of Gaza’s wells and destroyed 6.2 miles of culinary water lines.

– By January 2008, 40% of the homes in Gaza had no running water.
Israel’s practices, Apartheid Pillar 3: Matrix of security laws to suppress opposition

Security for the state of Israel has been equated with protection for Israel’s institutions—the same institutions that enforce domination of Palestinians.

All Palestinian resistance to Israeli domination is treated as a “security threat.” Palestinians resisting are labeled “terrorists.”

Israel invokes ‘security’ to justify sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of expression, assembly, association, and movement.

Assassinations, torture, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, and no due process are sanctioned by the state of Israel and often approved by the Israeli judicial system.

Israel’s military court system is the “institutional centerpiece of Israel’s apparatus of control over Palestinians.”

Military courts
– From 2002 to 2006, Israel’s military courts filed more than 43,000 indictments against Palestinians of which only one third were security related and only 1 per cent involved defendants charged with causing intentional deaths.

– Israel’s military courts do not comply with international standards of due process.

– There is no ‘presumption of innocence,’ placing burden of proof on the defense.

– A Palestinian defendant and attorney are not informed of charges against him or her until the first hearing (after the indictment has already been filed). The defendant is expected to respond immediately with no time to study the indictment.

– Indictments are written and presented in Hebrew—a language the defendant does not understand.

– Court decisions can be based on “secret evidence” not provided to a detainee or his or her lawyer.

– Decisions of the court are not published.

– All judges are Israeli military officers, many without legal background or education.

– If a defendant refuses to plea-bargain, the result is a far more severe penalty.

– 95% to 97% of convictions are the result of plea-bargains.

– The average hearing lasts just 3 minutes and 4 seconds.

– In 2006, acquittals were obtained in only 0.29% of cases.

Mass incarceration

– Over 40% of the Palestinian male population has been imprisoned at some time, many without charges in repeating 6-month administrative detention terms that can go on for years.

– By April 2009, 45 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, over one third of the democratically elected parliament, were imprisoned, most convicted of belonging to a political party Israel deems a “threat,” and eight administratively detained without any charges or trial.

Prosecuting children
– Palestinian children are prosecuted as adults at age 12. Jewish settler children are not prosecuted as adults until age 18.

– Over 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted by Israeli military courts each year, mostly for throwing stones including throwing stones at the wall. Throwing stones carries a prison term of six months to twenty years.

Freedom of assembly and association
– Palestinian public gatherings of more than ten people are forbidden unless Israel is given advance notice and the names of all attendees.

– Israel uses live ammunition, tear gas, sound bombs, rubber-coated steel bullets, and physical violence against public gatherings and demonstrations.

Persecution of organizations or persons because they oppose apartheid
– Israel has declared most Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations.” All charitable, educational, or cultural organizations deemed to be connected directly or indirectly to a political party are subject to closure, destruction, and military attacks.

– In 2008, Israel carried out a military attack targeting a residential area, a school, two medical clinics, and two orphanages because Israel suspected some donors to the charity that built them to be members of Hamas.

Cruel and inhumane treatment: Gaza
– From 2000 to 2004, Israel demolished over 2500 homes in the Gaza Strip leaving 16,000 Palestinians homeless.

– In 2006, Israel bombed the Gaza power plant destroying all six transformers and halting electricity production, leaving Gaza almost completely dependent on Israel as the sole provider of electricity, power, desalination, pumping sewage, and pumping water.

– After years of systematic bombing and destruction, which transformed Gaza into a dependent population, Israel isolated Gaza with an encircling ‘security wall.’ Then in October 2007, Israel initiated a blockade on Gaza limiting fuel, water, and electricity and cutting basic supplies to less than 1/5 their former levels. 95% of Gaza’s industries shut down; poverty levels reached 80%; hospitals experienced power cuts of 8 to 12 hours a day; thirty to forty million liters of raw sewage poured into the Mediterranean sea every day; 1.1 million Gazans were living below the poverty line.

– Gaza’s fishing grounds extend 20 miles off shore, yet Israel enforced a three-mile limit by opening fire on Palestinian fishing vessels beyond three miles, severely damaging Palestinian fishermen’s livelihood and denying a viable food source to Gaza.

– On December 27, 2008, Israel launched “Operation Cast Lead,” a three-week military attack on Gaza, killing 1380 Palestinians and injuring 5380. During this attack Israel prevented Palestinian civilians from leaving Gaza, “subjecting the entire population to the extreme physical and psychological hazards of modern warfare.”

–Since “Operation Cast Lead,” Israel has continued the blockade, preventing Palestinians from rebuilding, thus deepening the humanitarian disaster in Gaza.
Selected Examples of the 2500 Military Orders Governing Palestinians

Military Order #818: establishes how Palestinians can plant decorative flowers.
Military Order #998: requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to make a withdrawal from their bank account.
Military Order #93 and amendment: gives all Palestinian insurance businesses to the Israeli Insurance Syndicate.
Military Order #96: forbids transport or purchase of goods on a donkey.
Military Order #537: removes democratically elected Mayors of West Bank cities from their position.
Military Order #811 and #847: allows Jews to purchase land from unwilling Palestinian sellers by using a “power of attorney.”
Military Order #25: forbids public inspection of land transactions.
Military Order #58: makes land transactions immune to review so long as the transaction was carried out by an Israeli “acting in good faith.”
Military Order #58, Article 5: says any land transaction will not be voided even if it is proved the transaction was invalid.
Military Order #101: forbids a gathering of more than 10 people unless the Israeli military receives advance notice with names of all participants.
Military Order #107: bans publications including works on Arabic grammar, histories of the Crusades, and works on Arab nationalism.
Military Order #92 and #158: gives the Israeli military control of all West Bank and Gaza Strip water.
Military Order #128: gives the Israeli military the right to take over any Palestinian business which does not open during regular business hours.
Military Order #1015: requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to plant and grow fruit trees. Permits expire in one year or each June 15th.
Military Order #847: declares only Israeli notaries can authenticate signatures.
Military Order #134: prohibits Palestinians from operating tractors or other farm machinery made in Israel or imported from any other country.
Military Order #363: requires Palestinian mechanics to report to the Israeli military the particulars of any and all cars they repair.
Military Order #1147 (amendment): requires Palestinians to get permission from the Israeli military to grow onions.
Military Order #1229: authorizes Israel to hold Palestinians in administrative detention for up to six months without charge or trial. Six-month detentions can be renewed indefinitely.

Discussion: Future Direction

The conclusions of the study by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa were limited to Israel’s practices in occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The study found Israel’s practices in these territories constitute both colonialism and apartheid.

The study did contain much evidence of similar practices within the state of Israel suggesting the need for studies in other areas where Israel’s laws dominate. That would include Israel’s practices within the state of Israel proper where 1.7 million Palestinian Israelis, nearly 24% of the population, are considered “citizen non-members of Israel and afforded a status inferior to that of Jewish citizens;” Israel’s practices regarding Palestinian refugees where Israel’s citizenship laws place inhumane limits on refugees’ right to return to their homes and reclaim their property confiscated by Israel in 1948 and 1967; and Israel’s practices in the occupied Golan Heights.

Under International Law, practices of colonialism and apartheid are judged damaging to international legal order and seriously threaten world peace and security. Findings of colonialism and apartheid legally obligate third party nations to oppose the colonialism-apartheid system. Findings of apartheid, a crime against humanity, also give rise to individual criminal responsibility.

The State of Israel has the duty to:

Cease its unlawful activity
Dismantle the structures of colonialism and apartheid
Promote full rights and expression of the Palestinian people
Pay reparations and damages to the Palestinians people

Third party States are obligated to:

Not recognize the illegal situation as lawful
Not render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation
Cooperate to bring the illegal situation to an end
Not become complicit in the crimes by failing to fulfill the first three obligations

As a next step, the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa strongly recommends that states take action to meet their legal obligations under international law and urgently request the International Court of Justice render an advisory opinion on the question of Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory.

Concerned citizens play a critical role in bringing their governments forward on this issue, from awareness of breaches of international law and human rights to responsibility. The report of the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa recognizes Israeli apartheid and colonization as a matter of global significance. They have named and delineated this egregious policy. The study warns that states providing aid to Israel can be found complicit in this international crime and implies that individuals aiding Israel may bear criminal responsibility. The study further suggests that international methods that helped end apartheid in South Africa are applicable to ending Israeli apartheid.

Specifically, individuals can meet with their representatives; petition their representatives to request an advisory opinion from International Court of Justice on the question of Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory; hold non-violent protests; and join in international boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts—all strategies similar to those used to end South Africa’s apartheid.


Israel: immune or impugnable?

From Alray Media

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READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Whilst Israel has ratified the main human rights conventions, it is not a party to any of the Optional Protocols other than Children in Armed Conflicts, nor has it accepted the jurisdiction of any of the treaty body committees, which means that relevant committees cannot receive or act on complaints or claims against Israel.

Even where Israel has ratified conventions, it has made important reservations, rendering itself virtually immune from almost any action against it.

The most we can hope for is that the circumstances of Arafat Jaradat’s death will be exposed to the international community, and will serve as a catalyst, as did the death in South African custody of Steve Biko in alerting the world to the atrocities being committed by the apartheid state of South Africa and ultimately leading to its downfall.

The rogue and apartheid state of Israel is equally in need of the disapprobation and condemnation of the international community for its chronic and extreme abuses of Palestinians and Palestinian detainees, for its daily practices of torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Palestinian detainees and their families, and for its blatant disregard of international laws, norms and minimal standards of civilised behaviour.


Gaza’s lawyers take to the streets for Jaradat

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Gazan judges and lawyers marched through the city to Al Jundy, demanding justice – read about it here in Alray Online

and watch the video below


Video

Dr Attallah Abu Elsebah on Palestinian detainees

Minister for Detainees’ Affairs in Gaza describes some of Israel’s abuses of detainees’ rights, and international law.


Irish ex-prisoner tells Gaza “I determined that day to work for Palestinian prisoners”

03 December 2012

Gerry McLochlainn promises to breach the walls of Israeli prisons, as Gaza prisoners’ mothers breached his.

Gerry McLochlainn (left) and Minister of Detainees' Affairs Dr Attallah Abu AlSebah

Gerry McLochlainn (left) and Minister of Detainees’ Affairs Dr Attallah Abu AlSebah

Gerry McLochlainn, head of an 11-person delegation ‘Irish Friends of Palestine’ visiting Gaza for a week, told the families of prisoners today that he was a prisoner of the British occupation in his country during the 1981 Irish hunger strike in which 10 of his co-prisoners died.

“We felt very alone,” he said. “But one day I saw a photograph in a newspaper of mothers from Gaza holding up photos of our hunger-strikers. These mothers reached into the dark of my prison cell and lighted it up. They weren’t able to actually break down the walls, but seeing that photo, I knew we were not alone. I determined that day to work for Palestinian prisoners on my release.”

At the event hosted by Dr Attallah Abu AlSebah at the Ministry of Detainees’ Affairs in Gaza City, several such mothers, as well as ex-prisoners, exchanged their experiences with the Irish delegation, highlighting the similarities in their oppression by their occupying powers.

Political commonalities were noted by Mr McLochlainn. “My country was occupied by the British imperialists – it is the same story as that of the Palestinians. We know it was the British who took your land and gave it to the Zionists, so we know we are one,” he commented.

Medical negligence is also a common factor. Palestinian prisoners’ family members and an ex-detainee described to the Irish delegation the dire health situation in Israeli jails faced by the 1200 Palestinian prisoners suffering illness and disease, including eleven with cancer but who receive no treatment, only analgesics for pain relief – the same situation faced by one of the Irish prisoners, who developed stomach cancer but was given only painkillers.

Preventing contact with families is another ‘trick of the trade’ in denial of prisoners’ rights. Veronica Abu Sisi, wife of Mossad kidnap-victim Dirar Abu Sisi, described how she and their children have not been permitted any kind of contact with him since his imprisonment in Israel following his abduction in the Ukraine. “He has been in solitary confinement since May,” she said. “I am not allowed any contact with him, not even to speak to him. I tried to send him some warm clothes but he was not permitted to receive them. I tried to send him pictures of our children, but they were not allowed.”

Similar, but not identical to, the experience of the Irish political prisoners. “We were separated from the other prisoners,” Mr McLochlainn told the Palestinians. “When our families came to visit us, the prison authorities would move us to another prison so they could not see us.”

Ex-detainee Ahmed told the delegation that family visits were resumed today, but Gazan prisoners are only permitted one family visit every six months. On top of this, they are still being subjected to administrative detention, strip searches, and night-raids of their cells, all of which are violations of international conventions.

Om Nidal, wife of released prisoner Mohammad Hassan, said two of her sons have been martyred, one only two hours before the recent ceasefire began, and her son-in-law was killed the day before that. She described how her husband was imprisoned for most of their children’s childhoods, and how joyous it was when Abu Nidal was released in the Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

Om Nidal - proud of her martyred sons

Om Nidal – proud of her martyred sons

“They got to spend one year together, then Nidal was killed by three Israeli rockets, along with four of his friends. What wrong did he do? He defended his country, that is all,” she said. “We are not terrorists – they are. They [Israel] destroyed our houses and killed our children.”

Dr Attallah Abu AlSebah reiterated her view, pointing out that Israel depicts Palestinians as terrorists, yet it is Israel who has stolen their homeland.

“The international community has given Israel the green light to attack us. They stood by and watched as our children were slaughtered, our streets ran with their blood and the ground was littered with their body parts,” he protested.”They need to tell Israel enough is enough.”

Gerry McLochlainn agreed, saying, “Your sons and daughters, mothers and fathers are called terrorists – if they are terrorists then I am a terrorist too, and there are another five here with me. When you country is stolen, your land is taken, your children are killed then resistance is the right thing to do.”

Mothers and children of political prisoners, not terrorists

Mothers and children of political prisoners, not terrorists

An old woman called out, “We will avenge our sons, we will defend our country, and Israel will never defeat us.”

Mr McLochlainn replied, “We will walk with you, and stand with you until you can walk through every part of Palestine, and I promise you I will walk through the streets of Al Quds with you. Your day will come.”


Gaza: Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville

20 November 2012

Press Release

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville

Location: Geneva

Subject: 1) Gaza

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is acutely concerned about Palestinian and Israeli civilians caught up in the ongoing crisis in Gaza and southern Israel.

She is dismayed by the marked surge in the number of Palestinian civilians, including women and children, killed and injured over the past 48 hours as a result of Israeli military action. According to information gathered by OHCHR monitors on the ground, the civilian death toll has more than doubled during this period. As of this morning, at least 57 civilians, including 18 children, have been killed and hundreds have been injured since 14 November.

The High Commissioner deplores attacks such as the bombing of a house in Gaza which killed at least eight members of the Al-Dalou family, including 4 young children on 18 November.

The High Commissioner appreciates statements made by Israeli officials about the precautions taken to avoid harm to civilians. However, attacks affecting schools and religious sites, as well as the reported targeting of homes and media outlets during the past 48 hours raise serious concerns about Israel’s commitment to its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. The High Commissioner therefore calls on Israel to scrupulously meet its legal obligations to distinguish at all times between civilians and combatants, and to take precautions and all possible measures to avoid the loss of civilian life and damage to civilian property.

The High Commissioner reiterates her condemnation of the continuing indiscriminate attacks and targeting of civilians in Israel by militants in Gaza which have killed three civilians as well as causing civilian injuries and damage to civilian property.

High Commissioner Pillay strongly supports the Secretary-General’s efforts toward a cease fire agreement, and hopes that any such agreement contains commitments by both sides to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The High Commissioner recalls the need to ensure accountability for any violations of international law, including through prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations into credible allegations of violations.

In response to a follow-up question on attacks on homes, schools and religious site,the spokesperson said that UN human rights staff had received reports that 31 residences had been hit directly as well as two buildings housing media. They had also received reports of damage to some 30 schools, but no direct hits that they were aware of, and reports of damage to ten religious sites, but again with no direct hits.

In response to a question as to whether any of these attacks constituted war crimes, the spokesperson said that would depend on the specific circumstances in each incident, and that the information to make that type of assessment was not yet available. He noted that in this type of situation, under international humanitarian law, three key principles apply: these are ‘distinction’ (making every effort to distinguish between combatants and civilians); ‘precaution’ (taking all possible precautions to avoid civilian casualties); and ‘proportionality’ (refraining from launching an attack when it is expected to cause excessive loss of civilian life in relation to the anticipated military advantage).


Gaza: The solution is simple

20 November 2012

The simple solution to the current carnage in Gaza is in Israel’s hands – OBEY INTERNATIONAL LAW.

Israel is currently breaching at least 30 United Nations Security Council Resolutions dating back to 1968, resolutions that require action by it and it alone, according to David Morrison in a 2010 Briefing Paper.

The consequence of Israel’s illegal occupation, their illegal settlements, their illegal wall, their illegal murderous attacks right now on civilians in both Gaza and the West Bank are Palestinian exercise of the RIGHT TO RESISTANCE imbued by the right to self-determination guaranteed in Article 1 of the United Nations Charter, and in Article 1 of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

All the hasbara in the world, all the PR in the world, all the spin in the world will not change these fundamental facts – Israel has, and continues to breach Palestinian rights, and Palestinians are resisting this illegal behaviour and legitimately defending their rights.

All Israel has to do to ensure its ‘security’ is comply with United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and with International law in all respects – humanitarian, human rights, civil, political, economic, social, cultural – by withdrawing to behind its INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED BORDERS and peacefully staying there.

Posturing on the world stage with its coterie of fellow-imperialists cannot and will not change these fundamental requirements.

The lesson that Palestinians are paying for with their blood, their homes, their land and their future is that the United Nations is as weak as Israel is weak-minded, through failure to enforce its own resolutions.

Like a playground bully that no-one dares stand up to, Israel has become arrogant with its own sense of entitlement and impunity. And like the undisciplined child who grows first into delinquency then into outright criminality and a danger to the society in which it lives, Israel has grown into a criminal rogue state that threatens the stability and order of the world of which it is a member state.

Israel has shown no sign that it is prepared to moderate its behaviour, and the last six days have shown the extremes of depravity to which is prepared to go – openly killing women, children, journalists and targeting family homes, vegetable sellers in the street, in fact anyone at all, without compunction.

Four children killed by Israel when their house was destroyed by Israel

It is way past time for the international community to assert its authority, both moral and legal, and call Israel to account – immediately.

Sanctions are too good for it – eviction from the United Nations itself is the least that should be reasonably expected, along with its appearance before the International Criminal Court for the atrocities it has already committed, and continues to commit, in Gaza today.

(For UN Resolutions regarding Palestine, go here


Tunisian Foreign Minister arrives in Gaza, slams Israel

Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdesslem spoke at a Press Conference a Al Shifa Hospital today after his arrival in Gaza amidst ferocious aerial attacks, and slammed Israel’s breaches of international norms.

Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdesslem in Gaza

“We who have come from Tunisia carry a strong and clear message from our Prime Minister and members of the government to express our strong solidarity with Gaza against Israeli aggression,” he said.

“What is happening to the citizens of Gaza is not justified, and is contrary to all international law and regulations. We have just seen the injured, the wounded and the martyrs and all of these manifestations are unacceptable.

This unjustified targeting of civilians and the targeting of schools and civic institutions, public and private property is unacceptable and illegal. We come charged with a message to express our solidarity and support of our brothers, the people of Gaza.”

He went on to say that Israel must recognise international norms and laws, and it should be aware that there are different variables now occurring in the Arab world.

He called on the Council of Arab States and the international community to take a united stance to address the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, stressing the need to take positions similar to that of the Egyptian President, in order to strengthen and enhance it.


Egyptian Prime Minister Leads High-Level Solidarity Delegation to Gaza

The Palestinian government today welcomed to Gaza an Egyptian delegation headed by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, which included the Minister of Health, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, as well as a Presidential Adviser, and other leading government figures.

Dr. Youssef Rizqa, Political Adviser to the Palestinian Prime Minister, said the Palestinian government greatly appreciates the decision taken by the Egyptian government to withdraw its ambassador from Israel, and that this visit, undertaken on the initiative of the Egyptian presidency, is a very important expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Rizqa stressed that Gaza needs the entire Arab and Islamic nation to support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, and such visits are essential to their morale.

Rizqa termed the decision to visit “brave,” and said that it represent s a breaking of the Arab silence.

Special Adviser to the Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Da’ales described the Egyptian delegation’s visit as an official political and humanitarian one that aims to complete solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza.

He strongly denied any suggestion that the visit is linked with negotiations for re a truce with the Israeli occupation, noting that the visit will take only 3 hours, and include discussion of the general political situation and that of the Gaza Strip, as well as a quick visit to Shifa Hospital.

Visit to Shifa Hospital

On being shown the charred body of a child, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil was horrified, and said, “The Gaza tragedy cannot be tolerated.”

He added that Egypt would not hesitate in its efforts to stop the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, to achieve calm and continuity.

Saying that Palestine is in the heart of the Arab nation, he called on the world to shoulder its responsibilities to curb Israel’s aggression, and demanded that Israel respect international conventions and law.

He noted that the Israeli aggression highlights the need for all parties to achieve Palestinian unity for the sake of the Palestinian people.

Prime Minister Qandil advised that he was accompanied by the Egyptian Minister of Health in order to discuss the needs of Gaza hospitals, and what supplies are required.

“This visit will be followed by visits of both formal and informal delegations,” he concluded.

ends


Gaza Update: 13 killed and 120 injured in 90 raids on Gaza

The Supreme Committee for Ambulance and Emergency Services have confirmed that the Israeli Occupation Forces have launched more that 90 raids on the citizens of the Gaza Strip since yesterday afternoon.

Does this child look like she launched a rocket, Obama?

Commission spokesperson Adham Abu Salmiya said in a press statement to the Government Media Office a short while ago that the number of air strikes has climbed to 90, the number of dead has reached 13, and more than 120 have been injured.

Adham Abu Salmiya said that among the martyrs are two children, a pregnant woman and an old man. 20 women and 20 childlren have been injured, including a young girl who had to have her hand amputated.

Meanwhile, the US State Department, in stark contradiction of the facts, released a Press Statement in which it claimed “There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel.”

International Law is quite clear on this point – Palestinians have the right to resist Israeli occupation, and that all the means of this resistance – political as well as military – are valid. Further, as Hans Lebrecht has written more than once, at the Nuremberg Tribunal it was unequivocally set down that resistance fighters in occupied territories acting in accordance with international law are NOT deemed to be terrorists.

Israel broke the truce, extra-judicially assassinated a resistance leader, and has targeted, killed and injured scores of Palestinian civilians. These are CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.

Israel is the aggressor in this military offensive, and Palestinians have as much a right to security and self-defence as does Israel.

Obama would do better to concern himself with the numerous breaches of international law committed by Israel, and the endless refusals of the Israeli rogue state to abide by United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

He would do better to open his other eye, and insist on Israel’s observance of international law.

Then, and only then, might he not only deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he was erroneously awarded, but he might even contribute to a genuinely peaceful solution to the ongoing Israeli-instigated conflict in the Middle East.


Israeli Extra-Judicial Assassination Provokes to Justify All-Out Offensive

The premeditated murder of Al Qassam Commander Ahmad Al Jaabari and his bodyguard Mohammad Al-Hams should be abhorred by anyone with any pretension to the Rule of Law, self-determination, and human rights.

This criminal act against individuals who have done nothing but exercise their and their country’s legitimate right to resist its illegal occupation by a rogue state should be condemned by every nation and organisation with any interest in upholding human rights and international law.

Today’s extra-judicial assassinations are not only a travesty of justice, but also a blatant attempt to provoke Gaza into a response to justify a full-out Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip, and Hamas in particular.

Israel has gone too far. They have exceeded even their own lowest depths of depravity, and will undoubtedly pay a heavy price.

History will be the judge, and the evidence is there for all to see – Israel, and Israel alone, is the intellectual and material author of whatever carnage follows this latest butchery, and bears total responsibility.

Every country that stands by and enables it to continue, will stand equally condemned.


Israeli tanks inside Gaza, silence outside.

At least four Israeli tanks and four bulldozers are currently illegally in Gaza territory north-east of Al Bureij razing the land, while their henchmen shoot indiscriminately.

In yet another of their thousands of illegal incursions into Gaza, Israeli defence forces continue to level what was once productive farmland, and terrorise the local population.

Palestinian farmers under constant threat from Israeli fire

In yet another of their millions of examples of abject hypocrisy and pandering to Israel, the international community does nothing.

When Hitler did it in Poland, it was called lebensraum and the international community launched an all-out war to stop him.

When Israel does it in Palestine, it is called the two-state solution, and slimy politicians get Nobel Peace Prizes as thousands of Palestinians are condemned to die, or suffer torture, misery, torment and hardship, or all of the above.

The US Security Council has passed over 100 Resolutions condemning Israel, all of which Israel has ignored.

UN Security Council sanctions to enforce co-operation with international law or to contain a threat to peace have been imposed against more than 33 countries, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya.

Yet it has never imposed sanctions against Israel, the biggest violator of international law on the planet.

La lucha sigue.


Gaza Ministry of Justice: the Right of Return is Inalienable.

Al Ahrar Online – Ahmed Madhoun

The Palestinian Ministry of Justice today stressed the sacredness of Palestinians’ Right of Return to their stolen territories, saying that no-one has the ability to waive it, regardless of who they are.

The Ministry indicated during a press conference held at the Government Media Office on Sunday 04 November that the Right of Return is an individual and collective right held by more than six million Palestinian refugees displaced by the Israeli Occupation.

The Ministry spokesperson said, “On the 95th anniversary of the Belfour Declaration, the Palestinian people were shocked by the statements of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, when he gave up his Right of Return.”

They added, “The Right of Return is a national, sacred, inalienable right guaranteed by International Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948. However long they have been deprived of their land, Palestinian refugees still have the right to return, and that right is non-negotiable, unchangeable, and has not been abdicated.”

The Ministry also highlighted that the Palestinian people have withstood the pain of the Nakbah, the ravages of Israeli aggression, and the bitterness of displacement in order to realise their rights in general, and the right to return in particular.

They said anyone who gives up the Right of Return is out of touch with reality, denying fundamental national principles, and violating the Palestinian National Accord.

The Ministry called upon the Palestinian people to continue their struggle for their legitimate rights, and called upon international, Arab, and local media and human rights organizations to expose the obnoxious racist Israeli occupation and its denial of Palestinians’ rights.

Translation: Fatma Al Hasham
Revision: JWP

ends


IHH’s Mehmet Kaya on Mavi Marmara Court Case

Gaza City
04 November 2012

Mehmet Kaya, IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation Gaza Representative, today addressed a Press Conference at the Mavi Marmara Martyrs’ Monument at Gaza sea port about the Mavi Marmara trial against Israel which will begin at Çağlayan Courthouse in İstanbul on 06 November, and is expected to last three days.

Mehmet Kaya, IHH Gaza (2nd from right), and Ghazi Hamad , Gaza Deputy Foreign Minister (right) at Mavi Marmara Martyrs’ Memorial, Gaza Sea Port

IHH was one of the organisers of the Freedom Flotilla, and has played a significant role in getting the case to trial.

In an exclusive interview, Mehmet Kaya said that the significance of the trial is that Israel will be held accountable for killing “our brothers and friends in international waters”

He said the case is against Israel, the Israeli army, and the President, and that they hope to prevent them travelling freely around the world because they are guilty of crimes against humanity and crimes against Turkey.

He is not concerned that Israel may ignore the court case and its decision, as he believes Turkey will get justice in the end, although it will take some time.

Mehmet Kaya called on the international community to do the same as Turkey, and hold Israel accountable for its actions.

Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, and Law Professor, endorses Turkey’s action in this matter, saying that Turkey’s initiative shows how national courts can play a role in setting international law in motion.

Speaking to Zümrüt Sönmez from IHH Media Department recently in Istanbul,Falk said that international law, particularly the United Nations, failed in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara attack, and that the staging of such a trial in Turkey is a significant effort in terms of guarding the values of international law, and making it effective.

IHH reports that the defendants in the trial are former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of General Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi, Naval Forces commander Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom, Israel’s military intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin and Air Forces Intelligence head Brigadier General Avishai Levi. They will be tried as “fugitive suspects.”

There are 490 complainants and victims in the case including flotilla passengers from 37 countries, and relatives of the martyrs.

Flotilla passengers from Turkey and other parts of the world, relatives of the Mavi Marmara martyrs and their lawyers will be present at the trial. The trial will be closely followed by human rights observers from Turkey and abroad, media members, jurists and representatives of non-governmental organizations.


“Boycott businesses that profit from Israeli settlements” – UN Special Rapporteur

UN News Release – Office of the High Commission, Human Rights

NEW YORK (25 October 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, today called on the UN General Assembly and civil society to take action against Israeli and international businesses that are profiting from Israeli settlements.

Highlighting the activities of Caterpillar Incorporated (USA); Veolia Environment (France); G4S (United Kingdom); The Dexia Group (Belgium); Ahava (Israel); the Volvo Group (Sweden); the Riwal Holding Group (the Netherlands); Elbit Systems (Israel); Hewlett Packard (USA); Mehadrin (Israel); Motorola (USA); Assa Abloy (Sweden); and Cemex (Mexico), Mr. Falk noted that a wide range of Israeli and international businesses are involved in the establishment and maintenance of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

“All Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been established in clear violation of international law,” recalled the Special Rapporteur. “Yet today Israeli settlements control over 40 percent of the West Bank and between 500,000 and 600,000 Israeli citizens are living in Palestinian territory. In the last 12 months alone, the settler population has increased by over 15,000 persons.”

The Special Rapporteur drew the General Assembly’s attention to developing international law and standards concerning businesses and human rights, including the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights.

“The principles outlined in the Global Compact are clear,” stated Mr. Falk. “Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and ensure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.”

Mr. Falk also noted guidance developed by the International Committee of the Red Cross that points to the prospect of corporate and individual criminal responsibility for violations committed during a situation of armed conflict.

“In short, businesses should not breach international humanitarian law provisions. Nor should they be complicit in any breaches. If they do, they may be subject to criminal or civil liability. And this liability can be extended to individual employees of such businesses,” asserted the Special Rapporteur while presenting his report.*

“My main recommendation is that the businesses highlighted in the report – as well as the many other businesses that are profiting from the Israeli settlement enterprise – should be boycotted, until they bring their operations into line with international human rights and humanitarian law and standards,” Mr. Falk informed the General Assembly.

The Special Rapporteur further noted that he had written to all the businesses mentioned in his report, and that positive responses were received from Assa Abloy, The Dexia Group, G4S, and Cemex.

“It is encouraging to be informed that Assa Abloy has moved its Mul-T-Locks factory from the West Bank to Israel, and that The Dexia Group, G4S, and Cemex are looking for ways to bring their operations into line with their commitments under the UN Global Compact.”

(*) Check the full report to the UN General Assembly: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N12/515/86/PDF/N1251586.pdf?OpenElement

ENDS

In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council designated Richard Falk (United States of America) as the fifth Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The mandate was originally established in 1993 by the UN Commission on Human Rights. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/countries/ps/mandate/index.htm