Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Posts tagged “United Nations

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…)


Al Najar Hospital in Rafah evacuated as Israeli genocidal rampage continues

Press Release
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 01, 2014

rafah (400 x 266)

The Ministry of Health Gaza announces the closure of Al Najjar Hospital in Rafah, due to Israeli bombardments in the vicinity compromising its ability to guarantee the safety of patients and staff.

The hospital has now been evacuated, bringing to four the number of government hospitals closed by Israeli attacks in the past three and a half weeks. (more…)


Urgent call from MOH Gaza for international assistance to evacuate civilians

Press Release
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 01, 2014

The Ministry of Health Gaza calls for immediate international assistance to evacuate thousands of civilians trapped under heavy Israeli bombardment in Rafah, in which at least 40 have already been killed and over 150 injured.

Some five kilometres between Salah Al-Eddin street and Al Najjar Hospital is under intense and indiscriminate artillery fire, ambulances are unable to reach the wounded, and thousands of civilians are trapped in their homes. (more…)


MOH Gaza Press Release: Al-Shati Park massacre

Press Release
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
July 29, 2014

Victims of the Al-Shati Park massacre (AFP/Mahmoud Hams)

Victims of the Al-Shati Park massacre (AFP/Mahmoud Hams)

Eid al fitr. The end of Ramadan, the end of the fast. New clothes, lots of sweets, family visits. Celebrations of life and love.

Not in Gaza.

Instead, Israelis delivered a hefty dose of death and destruction in al-Shati Camp, splitting families and bodies alike.

Two adults and eight children killed as they rode the Ferris wheel or in a TukTuk in the park, over 40 injured, one of whom has since died.

This barbaric and deliberate attack on children in a public place on one of the two most significant Muslim holy days seals the Israeli reputation as one of the most perverse war criminals imaginable.

Many considered the calculated murder of the four children playing football on the beach on July 16, 2014 to be an atrocity and a clear war crime – nine more dead children in al-Shati’s park is an even more gross excess. (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.


Just Gaza

(First published here)

22 November marked the first anniversary of the 2012 Israeli Operation Pillar of Cloud offensive against Gaza. It would be good to be able to say that it marked the END of that offensive, but as events over past days have clearly shown, it did not. Why not?

Maybe if we look to the body charged with ensuring international peace – The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) – it might hold some clues.

Assassinations
The Operation Pillar of Cloud offensive began on 14 November 2012 with the assassination of Ahmed Al-Jabari, head of Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. What did the UNSC have to say about this extra-judicial killing?

Nothing. The assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari by the state of Israel did not attract a single statement, let alone a UNSC Resolution condemning it – unlike the assassination by Zionist terrorists on 17 September 1948 of the UN Mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, which was denounced in UNSC Resolution 57 the very next day, or even the assassination in Tunisia on 16 April 1988 of the founder of Fatah, Khalil Al-Wazir, denounced over a week later in UNSC Res. 611.

Both of these gentlemen’s murders were roundly condemned by the international community, yet the UNSC remained as silent on the political assassination of Al-Jabiri as it did on the assassinations of at least another 24 Palestinian political leaders killed by Israel between 1972 and 2012. (See appendix)

However, in 2011 the UNSC managed to condemn the assassination of Chairman of the Afghanistan High Peace Council and former president Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani in Afghanistan, in the 2000’s it condemned all targeted assassinations of Lebanese leaders, and in the 1990’s it condemned the assassination of officials of the legitimate Government in Haiti and the attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubrak in Ethiopia.

The only straw Palestinians have to clutch at is that in the 1980’s the UNSC did manage to condemn the attempted assassinations of the mayors of Nablus, Ramallah and Al Bireh.

That was when Jimmy Carter was president of the United States. No US president since has had the courage or moral fibre to not only apprise themselves of the ‘facts on the ground’, but also to publicly disseminate them, as Carter has belatedly done.

On the contrary, every US president since has used their power of veto in the UNSC to block almost every resolution condemning Israeli actions against Palestinian interests.

Civilian Targets and Excessive Force
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reported that during Operation Pillar of Cloud, over 100 of the 171 Palestinians killed were civilians, including 20 elderly people, and 35 children. 625 of the 648 wounded were civilians, including 214 children, 93 women, and 16 people with disabilities.

Entire families were wiped out by direct targeting of residential properties by missiles with warheads weighing hundreds of kilograms – the al-Dalu and Hijazi family homes, and Bassel al-Shawa’s apartment between them accounting for 19 deaths including seven children, and 32 injured.

196 residential units housing 1,229 people were destroyed, and another 243 were severely damaged. 233 public facilities, including religious, educational, health, sports, industrial, commercial and agricultural facilities, four media institutions and four banks were also struck.

Deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian targets and use of excessive force constitute war crimes, and breach a number of UN instruments, particularly the Geneva Convention. What did the UNSC do? Held an emergency meeting on 14-15 November 2012, and came to no decision.

In the 1970’s the UNSC strongly condemned Portugal for the invasion of Guinea territory, and grieved at the loss of life and extensive damage caused by Portugal’s invasion, and in the years since has managed to make similar statements defending the self-determination and territorial integrity of Namibia, East Timor, and several other countries under threat – but seemingly cannot muster the same moral fibre when it comes to Gaza.

Would another UNSC Resolution have made any difference? After all, since 1955 the UNSC has made 43 Resolutions condemning, deploring, noting concern, calling on or making demands of Israel in relation to Palestinian rights – sometimes merely just to comply with prior UN decisions – but all to no avail.

Israel apparently enjoys total impunity, routinely thumbing its nose at the international community – and at the UN itself.

Add the US power of veto in the UNSC and the situation is even more daunting. As Stephen Lendman noted in 2006, over the last 50 years the US has used its Security Council veto dozens of times to prevent resolutions condemning Israel for its abusive or hostile actions.

“By its actions and with 6% of the world’s population, the US has thus arrogantly ignored the will of nearly all the other 94% to support its client state even when Israel had committed war crimes or crimes against humanity the rest of the world demanded it be held to account for,” he wrote.

Ceasefire
In the first three months after the so-called Pillar of Cloud ceasefire agreement, there were over 800 violations of the truce by Israel and just two by Palestinians, according to data collected by the United Nations, the Israeli Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement (GISHA), the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, and Israeli and Palestinian media outlets.

Who has investigated these breaches? Enforced this agreement? The answer is obvious – no-one, least of all the UNSC.

When has Israel ever kept its word, which ceasefire agreement has it ever observed? What agreement has it ever honoured? Oslo? Camp David?

Without minimising the situation in the rest of Palestine, where territorial integrity and rights are trampled by occupation, settlements, excessive use of force, deportations, house demolitions, arbitrary detention, extra-judicial killings and particularly gross abuses of the rights of children, the current situation in Gaza a year after the so-called truce is dire.

Even such Geneva Convention basics as ensuring the living conditions of the civilian population following hostilities by the maintenance of essential public utility services, for example water and sanitation, electricity supply, are patently absent in Gaza one year after Operation Pillar of Cloud.

Not content with destroying housing and infrastructure, Israel in collusion with post-coup Egypt, now prevents all building materials from entering the Gaza Strip, meaning that essential reconstruction of buildings and services destroyed or damaged in the offensive cannot proceed.

Israeli Blockade
The UN reports the humanitarian situation in Gaza today is at crisis point, with sewage flowing in the streets and power cuts of 16 hours a day, while other humanitarian organisations report lack of essential medicines, water, employment and other necessities of life.

Even the UN’s own agencies are not immune from the Israeli/Egyptian stranglehold. UNRWA chief Filippo Grandi told donor representatives last week that 19 of its 20 construction projects in Gaza had ground to a halt because since March the agency had not had any construction projects cleared by the Israeli government, and for the past month, has been unable to import building materials.

“First and foremost, the Israeli blockade – which is illegal – must be lifted,” he said.

Based on the failed notion of trying to subdue an entire people by famine in all its forms, the Israeli blockade of Gaza is clearly an act which violates international law, contradicts the aims and principles of the United Nations Charter, and is a transgression of the right to peace, development, self-determination and safety.

Not only UNRWA’s Grandi, but also the UN Goldstone Report, the UN Human Rights Council’s Independent Experts, and other UN agencies all hold that the Israeli blockade of Gaza is illegal.

So who will force Israel to lift it?

Is the international community, particularly its peace-making and peace-keeping instrument the veto-encumbered UNSC, up to the task?

UNSC
We have seen that when it wants to, the UNSC IS capable of condemning the type of political assassinations that launched Operation Pillar of Cloud, we have seen it IS capable of condemning war crimes and crimes against humanity similar to those perpetrated against Gaza during that Israeli offensive, and we have seen it IS capable of demanding and achieving access to the types of public utilities and humanitarian aid currently denied Gaza.

So why is it ignoring Gaza’s plight? Because they are ‘just Palestinians’?

Yes, they are just Palestinians – they are JUST Palestinians. And like every world citizen, they deserve justice.

Is it not time that the UNSC acted not only in accord with its own agencies, but also with the principles of the UN Charter, and delivered justice to Gaza?

Is it not possible that maybe, just maybe, the US will have another principled Carter-moment, and support a UNSC resolution in the interests of justice, not Israel, that resolves to lift the illegal blockade of Gaza, as a first step towards Palestinian peace?

Wouldn’t that be a change Obama could be remembered by!

The alternative is certain death for thousands more Palestinians.

APPENDIX

This is not an exhaustive list of all assassinations of Palestinians by Israel, merely of many Palestinian political leaders. Nor does it include the assassination of Yasser Arafat, as this has yet to be investigated to determine who was responsible.

In addition to actual killings, there have been several unsuccessful assassination attempts, most notably those of September 1997 on Khaled Meshaal, chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, in Amman, Jordan, and of August 2001 on senior Fatah member Marwan Bargouthi in the West Bank.

In the former, Israeli agents attempted to kill Meshaal by injecting poison into his ear. The latter saw Israeli forces launch at least two missiles at a convoy of cars carrying Bargouthi, which missed his vehicle.
Although Israel denies responsibility for some of the above killings, it does, however, admit to more than 200 targeted assassinations since 1956.

Assassinations of Palestinian political leaders by Israel 1972 – 2012

1970’s

8 July 8 1972 – Ghassan Kanafani, member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Palestinian author, major international literary figure and intellectual, killed in Beirut by a Mossad car bomb.

16 October 1972 – Wael Zwaiter, Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) representative to Italy, renowned Palestinian intellectual and pacifist, shot and killed by Israeli agents in Rome.

28 March 1978 – Wadie Haddad, senior member of the PFLP, dies in East Germany from slow-acting poison ingested several months earlier. It is later revealed that Israeli agents were behind his murder.

1980’s

21 August 1983 – Mamoun Meraish, senior PLO official and top aid to Yasser Arafat, is shot and killed by Israeli agents in Athens, Greece. According to later Israeli press reports, future Foreign Minister (currently Minister of Justice) Tzipi Livni is involved in Meraish’s killing.

9 June 1986 – Khalid Nazzal, Secretary of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), is shot dead by Israeli agents in Athens, Greece.

October 1986 – Munzer Abu Ghazala, member of the PLO’s Supreme Military Council, killed by an Israeli car bomb in Athens, Greece

16 April 1988 – Khalil al-Wazir, military chief of the PLO, and founder of Fatah, shot dead in Tunisia. The US State Department condemns the murder as an “act of political assassination.”

1990’s

26 October 1995 – Fathi Shiqaqi, a founder of Islamic Jihad, shot by Mossad agents in Malta, as he leaves his hotel.

5 January 1996 – Yahya Ayash, Hamas military commander, killed in Gaza by an Israeli explosive device planted in his cell phone.

2000’s

25 July 2001 – Salah Darwazeh, senior Hamas activist, killed by Israeli ground-to-ground anti-tank missiles fired at his car in the West Bank.

29 July 2001 – Jamal Mansour, a senior member of Hamas’ political wing, killed in an Israeli helicopter strike on his workplace.

5 August 2001 – Amer Mansour Habiri, member of Hamas, killed by Israeli helicopter strike on his car in Tulkarem.

15 August 2001 – Emad Abu Sneineh, a member of the Fatah Tanzim militia, killed in Hebron by undercover Israeli agents.

27 August 2001 – Abu Ali Mustafa, secretary general of the PFLP, killed by Israel using US-made Apache helicopter gunships to attack his office in Ramallah.

23 November 2001 – Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, senior Hamas military leader, killed by Israeli helicopter strike on his car near Nablus.

14 January 2002 – Raed Karmi, a leader in Fatah’s Al Aqsa Brigades, killed by an Israeli bomb planted outside his Tulkaram home following a ceasefire agreement

23 July 2002 – Salah Shehada, Hamas leader, killed when Israel bombed his Gaza apartment building, also killing 14 others including 9 children, and scuttling a ceasefire agreement.

8 March 2003 – Ibrahim Maqadma, one of the founders and top military commanders of Hamas, killed by four missiles from two Israeli helicopters fired at his car in Gaza.

22 March 2004 – Sheik Ahmed Yassin, 67-year-old wheelchair-bound spiritual leader and co-founder of Hamas, killed by Israeli rockets as he left morning prayers at a Gaza City mosque. Nine bystanders were also killed.

17 April 2004 – Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a co-founder of Hamas and its leader since the assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, killed by an Israeli helicopter strike on his car

8 June 2006 – Jamal Abu Samhadana, founder of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and Interior Minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government, killed by Israeli rocket attack in Rafah.

1 January 2009 – Nizar Rayan, senior Hamas leader, killed in Israeli rocket attack on his home, which also killed 15 of his family members, including 11 children

15 January 2009 – Said Seyam, prominent Hamas leader and Interior Minister of the elected government of Ismail Haneyya, killed in an Israeli airstrike on his brother’s central Gaza City house. Seven others were also killed.

2010’s

19 January 2010 – Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, senior Hamas leader, killed by Israeli agents in Dubai

9 March 2012 – Zuhair al-Qaisi, head of the Gaza-based PRC, killed in an Israeli rocket attack on his car in Gaza City. His aide, Mohammed Hannani, was also killed.

14 November 2012 – Ahmed al-Jabari, head of Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, killed in an Israeli rocket attack on his car in Gaza City.


As Gaza drowns in sewage, UN rapporteur announces first UN World Toilet Day

Gaza streets awash with sewage. Photo: Majed Abusalama

Gaza streets awash with sewage. Photo: Majed Abusalama

As streets in Gaza flow with excrement, as families stay awake until 2am to take advantage of the two hours that water will flow through the taps – if they are lucky – the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, celebrated the UN General Assembly’s decision declaring 19th of November as UN World Toilet Day with a Press Release on November 15.

The irony will not escape Palestinians in Gaza – they must be asking themselves “Is she for real?” Or is it just a very cynical preliminary to announcing Gaza’s latest distinction – from being the largest open air prison in the world, to being the largest open air toilet?

“I hope this declaration galvanises national and international action to reach the billions of people who still do not benefit from this basic human right,” the Special Rapporteur said in the statement released the day after the al-Sabra neighbourhood in al-Zaytoun, Gaza City, was flooded with sewage.

Perhaps she could make a special effort to contact Israel and Egypt directly, being the UN member states that are preventing the entry of fuel supplies into Gaza necessary to run the power plant that provides the electricity to run the sanitation and water pumps that would enable Gazans to enjoy this ‘basic human right.’

Perhaps she could make a special effort to remind the Palestinian Authority (PA) to take off their blinkers and ‘observe’ the conditions of their fellow statesmen and women in Gaza, and maybe even suggest the PA cease colluding with Israel in extorting exorbitant prices for fuel from the besieged Gazan authorities – fuel which the European Community has funded, but which both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are seeking to profiteer from by imposing on Gaza excessive price hikes (Israel), and additional taxes (the PA).

And perhaps the United Nations and its member states could ‘put their money where their mouth is’ – they still have three days in which to clean up their act, and ensure that World Toilet Day is not the day that Gaza is officially accorded that questionable distinction.


UN Special Rapporteur: Israel must deliver on cease-fire agreement in the Gaza Strip

PRESS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER OF HUMAN RIGHTS

CAIRO (5 December 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, Richard Falk, called today on Israel to abide by and fully implement the cease fire agreement that ended the recent crisis with Gaza.

The human rights expert has just concluded a week-long mission to the region, with the initial purpose assessing the overall impact of Israel’s prolonged occupation and blockade against the Gaza Strip, which is an integral part of Palestine. “However,” he explained, “there arose an urgent need to investigate Israel’s seemingly deliberate attacks against civilian targets during recent hostilities.”

“We visited the sites of attacks and spoke with surviving family members. It is clear that some attacks killed and harmed civilians in a grossly disproportionate manner and thus appear to violate international law,” Mr. Falk said. “There is a widespread feeling among Palestinians that Israel is above the law, and that it is likely to continue to have the benefits of impunity even when it flagrantly and repeatedly violates international human rights and humanitarian laws.”

“Experience has shown that Israel fails to meet its international obligation to promptly and impartially investigate its own actions,” he noted. “Experience has also shown that Israel is not likely to carry out its obligations under the cease fire agreement; indeed during our visit we heard Israeli warplanes flying directly overhead and received reports of Israeli military incursions into the Gaza Strip.”

The Special Rapporteur called for sustained pressure from the international community, including both Governments and civil society, to secure Israel’s full implementation of the cease fire agreement, noting that without such pressure it is extremely unlikely to hold. “Worldwide support for the recent General Assembly resolution that made Palestine a non-Member observer State should serve as a starting point for more concerted international protection of Palestinian rights,” he said.

Mr. Falk stressed that talks to clarify how certain aspects of the cease fire agreement will be implemented, in particular with regard to access to maritime and agricultural resources, must be swiftly concluded.

“Every day Palestinian fishermen and farmers risk being shot at or detained by Israeli forces. Already since the agreement was reached, Israel has detained 13 fishermen, confiscated 4 fishing boats and sank another fishing boat,” he said. “Such actions signal an Israeli intention to maintain its coercive style of occupation rather to explore whether implementing the ceasefire agreement might lead toward a more hopeful future.”

“Palestinians and the international community are confronted with huge challenges to address underlying problems that have been severely aggravated by Israel’s occupation and blockade,” the independent expert said, underscoring the urgent need for access to clean water and sanitation, productive agricultural land, and new infrastructure.

“We received extensive briefs on what could be done if sufficient resources and political will are made available,” he said. “One example is the construction of a desalinization plant to meet urgent water and agricultural needs, but in many such cases funding is not forthcoming as donors are reluctant to invest in infrastructure projects that Israel is likely to bomb in one of its periodic large-scale attacks against Gaza.”

According to the Special Rapporteur, “unless these underlying problems are addressed soon, it appears that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020, as predicted by a recent UN report. Some of the experts with whom we spoke actually believe that 2016 is a more reasonable assessment. This indicates the gravity of the human rights crisis in the Gaza Strip.”

During his visit to Cairo and the Gaza Strip, Mr. Falk met with governmental, inter-governmental and civil society representatives, as well as victims and witnesses. He received briefings from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and other UN agencies, which provided an in-depth picture of the magnitude of the challenges in Gaza and the difficulties of addressing such challenges in a situation of occupation and blockade. He expressed his special appreciation to the people of Gaza and the international civil servants with whom he spoke for their support and engagement.

Mr. Falk’s next report to the Human Rights Council, which he intends to present in June 2013, will fully address the many concerns that were raised during the mission.

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

UN Human Rights – Occupied Palestinian Territories: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/MENARegion/Pages/PSIndex.aspx
UN Human Rights – Israel: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/ILIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Kevin Turner (+41 79 201 0122 / kturner@ohchr.org) or write to sropt@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)


Israeli tanks and bulldozers invading Gaza territory

03 December 2012
09:11 am

In a clear breach of the ceasefire agreement, Israeli military forces are currently conducting a ‘leveling operation’ 300 meters inside Gaza territory south-east of Al Maghazi.

Four tanks and five bulldozers are preparing the ground for what many here expect to be a land invasion in the near future.

Meanwhile, the United Nations observes.


UN and Palestine: Justice in the eye of the ‘observer’

Notice the absence from the map of several of the nay-sayers...

Note the complete absence from the map of several of the nay-sayers…prescience, or because they are indistinguishable from their puppeteer?

Maybe someone can one day explain satisfactorily how and why the exisitng state that was ‘partitioned’ by the United Nations to create two states, has then to seek statehood from the same body?

While they are at it, perhaps they could also explain why only ONE of the states created by this UN partition, the original state, has been forced to go through this farcical process…and why the other is not required to abide by UN conventions and resolutions, despite its membership, breaches of its conventions, and failures to uphold any of the UN values….

It seems justice is only in the eye of the observer….


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.


The Bald-Faced Lie of Democracy, and the Patent Irrelevance of the UN

The latest UN vote on Cuba could not be a better and more flagrant example of just how well democracy works in the world, and an even better example of just what value the UN has in upholding not only democracy but also the principles of international law on which the organisation is supposedly founded.

For the 21st year in a row, the overwhelming majority of the countries in the United Nations voted to lift the United States blockade on Cuba – this year the vote was 188 for, with three against (the US, Israel, and Palau).

For the 21st year in a row, we can probably rest assured that the US, Israel and quisling Palau will prevail DESPITE this international democratic decision, and the blockade on Cuba will remain in place, as it has done in face of the last 21 votes in Cuba’s favour.

The implications for the Middle East are considerable.

If the 50-year+ blockade on Cuba can remain in place despite 21 years of UN votes against it, what hope is there for Gaza, and the illegal and criminal siege to which they are currently subjected by Israel? For Iran, and its blockade under the guise of sanctions, merely for having the potential to do what the US and Israel have already done without censure or sanction?

If this is the outcome for much-touted ‘democratic processes’ and ‘international law’ elsewhere, why should the Middle East and its ‘Arab Spring’ think that its revolutions, its move from ‘tyrannical rule’ to ‘democracies’ will be subject to any less tyranny than that wielded over the entire world by the US, Israel and the Palau poodle?

Unless and until an international system is developed that is capable of breaking the hypocritical stranglehold over international mechanisms by the US, Israel and their pathetic puppy, and of ENFORCING the outcomes of their democratic processes as well as the principles of international law, nothing will change – except the names.

TEXT OF CUBAN EMBASSY PRESS RELEASE RE UN VOTE

Press Release
13 November 2012

International community unequivocally rejects the blockade impose by the United States of America against Cuba.

For the twenty first consecutive time Tuesday November 13th, 2012, Cuba obtained a significant victory in the United Nations General Assembly, when once again the resolution entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” was adopted with the almost unanimous support of UN Member States.

The resolution passed with a vote in favour of 188 countries. Only the USA, Israel and Palau voted in isolation against the text.

This result reaffirms once more the unequivocal rejection of the international community to the US blockade against Cuba and also shows its support for the just demand of the Cuban people to put an end to this illegal policy.

The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government against Cuba has been maintained and further tightened despite the growing and categorical demand by the international community —in particular the United Nations General Assembly— for its elimination.

The blockade violates International Law, runs contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and constitutes a contravention of a sovereign state’s right to peace, development and security. In its essence and objectives, the blockade represents an act of unilateral aggression and a permanent threat against the stability of a nation. The blockade constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights of the entire Cuban population. It also violates the constitutional rights of US citizens by denying them the freedom to travel to Cuba, and encroaches on the sovereign rights of many other states because of its extraterritorial nature.

The extra-territorial application of the blockade has been extraordinarily reinforced, as proven by the strengthening of the sanctions and persecution against third countries’ citizens, institutions and companies that establish or intend to establish economic, commercial, and financial relations with Cuba.

At the same time, the persecution of Cuba’s international financial transactions included those coming from multilateral organizations for the cooperation with the island, has been increased under the current US administration.

The blockade continues to be an absurd, illegal and morally unjustifiable policy which has not succeeded and never will succeed in undermining the Cuban people’s patriotic decision to defend its sovereignty, independence and right to self-determination. It has only succeeded in subjecting the Cuban population to shortages and needless suffering, in restricting and hindering the development of the country and in seriously damaging the Cuban economy. It is the main hindrance to Cuba’s economic and social development.

The direct economic damage to the Cuban people by the implementation of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba until December 2011 based on the current prices and calculated in a very conservative way, amount to over 108 billion dollars.

The blockade policy is not only rejected by the overwhelming majority of the international community, but also is increasingly rejected within the United States. The United States must lift it immediately and unconditionally.


Israel’s sour-grape-fuelled drunken rampage

As the criminal Israeli attacks continue in Gaza, its targets reveal not only Israel’s cowardice and petty vindictiveness, but also their abject depravity.

Shelling grieving friends and family at a civilian wake must surely go down as one of the most evil acts in recent memory – if such was possible after the Samouni family massacre during Operation Cast Lead. Killing unarmed civilians at a funeral – really tough, guys.

Add schools – another civilian target. Perhaps they are afraid that the pen actually IS mightier than the sword…or are they just teaching those UNRWA upstarts a lesson for daring to criticise the unholy occupation last week?

Farms – business as usual. Gazans grow crops and livestock to feed their population, and favour buying local produce rather than eating Israeli dirt – gotta put a stop to that, and guarantee the Israeli captive market.

Factories – ditto. Can’t have a local economy developing.

And what sort of factories are coming under attack? Why, cement factories of course. Now let’s see them build those Qatari-funded buildings…build those Qatari-funded roads.

And that is what the sour grapes have been fermenting away in their craven craw over, intoxicating their already-feebled brains until their “liver swells with bile difficult to repress” and erupts into another all-out debauched assault on Gaza. How DARE Qatar break the Israeli siege! Just who do the big Q think they are?!

The big Q for the rest of the world is whether it will stand by yet again, and watch another few hundred, several thousand war crimes and crimes against humanity be committed by the biggest rogue state in the hemisphere.

Will Barack “Nobel Peace Prize” Obama finally do something to earn it, and rein in Bibi and his punch-drunk cowboys riding rough-shod on their election trail?

Will Britain have the moral backbone to acknowledge that Palestine, like Australia, was not terra nullius as the Balfour Declaration would have us believe, apologise, and ensure its return to its rightful owners?

Will the United Nations have the strength of purpose to enforce its myriad Security Council Resolutions against Israel – as it does by applying economic, diplomatic, military and financial sanctions against other countries to force their co-operation with international law, or to contain a threat to peace?

Will the international community have the guts to stand up to the Zionist pretenders, and end its abject hypocrisy by turning its attention to the only country in the Middle east that DOES have a nuclear arsenal, and place at least the same, if not even more stringent, sanctions against Israel than it already has against Iran, for merely having the potential to do what Israel has already done without the slightest international censure?

Will the Arab countries stand by Gaza this time?

Unless the answer to all of the above is yes, the Arab Spring will be followed by a very bitter Palestinian winter – and they will all pay the price.


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.