Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Palestinian Crisis - Forgotten with the ceasefire? Fundamental HR violations in Palestine and the UN? Free and Fair Elections? Democracy?

The recent Palestinian Crisis highlights the 'ethnic cleansing' initiatives of the Zionist Israeli Government, who is trying to evict Palestinians from their homes, and build 'illegal settlements' of Israeli Jewish communities. This move of Israel is also an attempt to expand their boundaries illegally and make territory now internationally recognized as OCCUPIED Palestinian territory, which now includes East Jerusalem.

Remember, the whole region was Palestine until the British Empire decided to support the formation of an independent Jewish State and an independent Palestinian State, and this supported what the Zionist movement was calling for. Israel was recognized fast - but the Palestinian State is still to come into being. Israel encroached what is today internationally recognized as 'Occupied Palestinian Territory' - now known as WEST BANK and Gaza.

Israel continued to impose institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians living under its rule in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). It displaced hundreds of Palestinians in Israel and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as a result of home demolitions and imposition of other coercive measures. Israeli forces continued to use excessive force during law enforcement activities in Israel and the OPT. - Amnesty International
Is PALESTINE independent? 

Presently, most of the West Bank is administered by Israel though about 40% of it is under varying degrees of autonomous rule by the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority. 61% of the West Bank remains under direct Israeli military and civilian control. 

The Palestinian Authority exerts partial civil control in 167 islands in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip

Since 2007 Gaza has been governed by the Hamas Government in Gaza - but, in fact it is "the world's largest open-air prison" as Israel alone had the authority to determine “who and what enters and leaves the (Gaza) Strip.

Describing Gaza as “the world’s largest open-air prison”, Mr. Lynk added that the enclave was nothing more than a “tiny sliver of land, holding more than two million people under occupation, cut off from the outside world by a comprehensive and illegal air, sea and land blockade”.

Israel alone had the authority to determine “who and what enters and leaves the (Gaza) Strip”, insisted the Special Rapporteur, who is independent of the UN and answers to the 47 Member States of the Human Rights Council.

“When intensive violence revisits the Palestinians in Gaza, as it regularly does, there is no escape. That this medieval restriction on basic freedoms has gone on for 14 years, and counting, is a harrowing stain on our humanity.”

As of 30 January 2020, there are about 130 government-approved settlements, and 100 unofficial ones, which are home to around 400,000 Israelis in the West Bank, with an additional 200,000 Israelis residing in 12 neighborhoods in East Jerusalem

Adopting resolution 2334 (2016) by 14 votes, with the United States abstaining, the Council reiterated its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.  It underlined that it would not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the two sides through negotiations.United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 of 2016 states that Israel's settlement activity constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law and has "no legal validity". It demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In short, Palestine still is an Israeli Occupied Territory - and they have been breaching the UN Security Council Resolutions - so, why is the UN not doing anything about it? 

Why is the UN still not demanding total withdrawal of Israel from the Occupied Palestinian Territory? 

Why is the UN not putting UN Peace Keeping Forces to keep Palestinians in the Occupied Territory safe from Israel and vice versa? 

Why are there no sanctions by the UN against Israel - who continue to breach even UN Resolutions..

The problem lies with the United States, and the undemocratic UN Security Council. US, China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom and the United States are 5 permanent members with VETO power, when they can use to veto any "substantive" resolution. In this recent case, US blocked a speedy UN Security Council Resolution - so, only after the 'ceasefire', did the UN Security Council come out with a statement that failed to condemn the eviction of Palestinians, that failed to blast the 'illegal settlements', that failed to call for Isreali withdrawal from the Palestinian Occupied Territory - the focus seems to be '  call for the international community to work with the UN “on developing an integrated, robust package of support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery.”“The members of the Security Council stressed the urgency of the restoration of calm in full and reiterated the importance of achieving a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders.”

Well, did the UN Security Council speak for the majority of the UN member states? I doubt it..It is time for democracy to be practiced at the UN, and at all levels - even the UN Security Council, which means the abolition of the VETO powers. Let the 15 members of the UN Security Council decide on majority vote - if not at least a two-third majority vote.


The United States has vetoed dozens of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions critical of Israel, including at least 53 since 1972, according to UN data. Biden defeated Trump to become the US President, but alas he may be no different from Trump when it comes to the Israel-Palestinian issue. And, this become apparent when US used its 'VETO power' in preventing a speedy statement - or even a strong statement addressing issues of settlements, etc..

The United States does not recognize the State of Palestine, but accepts the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), now Fatah as the representative of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian National Authority as the authority legitimately governing the Palestinian territories.


At the 1996 general election, Fatah won 55 of the 88 seats from multi-member constituencies, with the number of representatives from each constituency determined by population. Some seats were set aside for the Christian and Samaritan communities. 51 seats were allocated to the West Bank, 37 to the Gaza Strip. Five out of 25 female candidates won a seat. At the 2006 legislative election, six parties and 4 independents won seats. Change and Reform (ie., Hamas) won 44.45% of the vote and 74 seats, while Fatah won 41.43% of the vote and 45 seats. But, alas the election results was not respected by Abbas and Fatah ... and, of course, countries like US who talks about 'free and fair elections' only wanted to continue deal with Fatah ...


Presidential Elections - The 1996 president election was won by Yassir Arafat with 88.2% of the vote. In 2005, Mahmoud Abbas gained 62.52% of the vote at the 2005 presidential election. The term of office was 4 years - but since then, there has been no Presidential or Legislative assembly elections.

The 2021 Palestinian legislative election for the Palestinian Legislative Council, originally scheduled for 22 May 2021, according to a decree by President Mahmoud Abbas on 15 January 2021, was indefinitely postponed on 29 April 2021.The 2021 Palestinian presidential election for the President of the State of Palestine had been called to be held on 31 July, according to a decree by President Mahmoud Abbas on 15 January 2021. but has now been postponed indefinitely.

So, is this recent conflict anything to do with the elections. The chances of the Fatah candidate was high.

After 2006, the LEGITIMACY of the Palestinian National Authority shattered. The peoples' choice of government was ignored...

COVID-19 was used as a reason to declare Emergency and suspend Parliament/Legislative Assemblies enabling an unchecked temporary 'dictatorship' of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet ...

In Palestine, was the recent 'war' a reason that can be used to further delay FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS....DEMOCRACY in Palestine?

Did Israel benefit? Did Abbas and Fatah also benefit? 

Besides asking for INDEPENDENCE for Palestine - that Israel immediately move out of the Occupied Territory, maybe we should also be calling for Free and Fair Elections - and call on the UN and its member States to respect the outcome of the elections.

Does Malaysia have diplomatic relationship with Palestine? Do we have an embassy or consulate in Palestine? Looks like we do not - WHY NOT? Other countries do...

See earlier posts:-

Palestinian Issue - Independence? 2-State Solution? British created problem? UN membership?



UN rights chief calls for inclusive peace process to end Palestine occupation

©UNICEF/Eyad El Baba
A Palestinian child in front of the Gaza port, which was damaged during the recent escalation.
27 May 2021

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on Thursday for a “genuine and inclusive peace process” to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and a repeat of recent deadly clashes that have been marked by possible war crimes by Israeli security forces.

In comments to the Human Rights Council in Geneva - which stopped short of supporting a call for an international probe into the escalation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel - Ms. Bachelet condemned indiscriminate rocket attacks by Gaza’s de facto authority Hamas, which claimed 10 lives in Israel, and strikes inside the enclave by Israeli Security Forces that left 242 dead.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights also welcomed the 21 May ceasefire but warned that it was only “a matter of time” until the next flare-up, unless the root causes of this latest escalation were addressed.

War crimes question

Addressing the issue of possible war crimes, Ms. Bachelet reminded the Council’s 47 Member States that Israeli airstrikes in densely populated areas had “resulted in a high level of civilian fatalities and injuries as well as the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure”.

Such attacks may constitute war crimes ‘if found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians and civilian objects”, the High Commissioner explained via video link to the Geneva-based forum, meeting in special session at the request of Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The “heavy rocket barrage towards Israel” by Hamas and other armed groups also constituted “a clear violation of international humanitarian law”, Ms. Bachelet said.

Also addressing the Council, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, repeated his call for the latest escalation – the most serious since 2014 - to be investigated by the International Criminal Court.

‘Open-air prison’

Describing Gaza as “the world’s largest open-air prison”, Mr. Lynk added that the enclave was nothing more than a “tiny sliver of land, holding more than two million people under occupation, cut off from the outside world by a comprehensive and illegal air, sea and land blockade”.

Israel alone had the authority to determine “who and what enters and leaves the (Gaza) Strip”, insisted the Special Rapporteur, who is independent of the UN and answers to the 47 Member States of the Human Rights Council.

“When intensive violence revisits the Palestinians in Gaza, as it regularly does, there is no escape. That this medieval restriction on basic freedoms has gone on for 14 years, and counting, is a harrowing stain on our humanity.”

Israel would not end its occupation “without decisive international action” that is grounded in the framework of rights, the independent rights expert continued.

He insisted that Israel’s “occupation has become as entrenched and as sustainable as it has because the international community has never imposed a meaningful cost on Israel for acting as an acquisitive and defiant occupying power”.

Human cost

Highlighting the human cost of the recent escalation, the Special Rapporteur pointed to the killing of Dr Ayman Abu Alouf, head of internal medicine at Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical centre.

“He was killed last week by an Israeli missile strike on his apartment building along with 12 members of his extended family, including his parents, his wife, and his 17-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter”, said Mr. Lynk.

“Dr. Abu Alouf was also in charge of the hospital’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has ravaged Gaza during the past several months. The valiant but badly under-equipped health care staff that he has left behind have vowed to redouble their efforts to fight the pandemic in his memory.”

Outside Gaza, the rights expert also noted how occupied East Jerusalem had also witnessed intense confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis over access to Al Aqsa Mosque to pray, during the last days of the holy month of Ramadan.

There had also been “a sustained campaign” by Israeli settler organizations to continue to evict Palestinian families from their homes in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, which Mr. Lynk described as the “ember” that started the latest violence.

West Bank fragmentation

Echoing the High Commissioner’s concerns over violence in the occupied West Bank, the Special Rapporteur also noted that demonstrations since 10 May at events in Gaza and in East Jerusalem had led to 27 Palestinians being killed by Israeli security forces and 6,800 injured.

“The 2.7 million Palestinians on the West Bank live in 167 fragmented islands of land, separated from the world and each other by Israeli checkpoints, walls, settlements and settler-only roads,” said Mr. Lynk. “Their collective future is being devoured before their eyes by the 240 Israeli settlements expanding on their lands.”

Justified defence

Defending its actions, Israel’s delegation justified attacks on Gaza, claiming that more than 4,400 rockets had been fired “at Israeli civilians” by Hamas over a 10-day period beginning 10 May.

The Israeli ambassador insisted that Hamas had fired rockets “indiscriminately, targeting civilians, to kill as many innocent people as possible. Israel takes all steps to adhere to the principles of distinction, proportionality, and necessity. We do so not only because of our obligations under the Law of Armed Conflict but also because it is our moral duty to protect innocent lives.”  - UN Website

A history of the US blocking UN resolutions against Israel

Over the past five decades, the United States has vetoed at least 53 UN Security Council resolutions critical of Israel.

The United States has a long history of blocking UN resolutions against Israel [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]
The United States has a long history of blocking UN resolutions against Israel [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

With the latest escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians now in its tenth day, the US has stuck to that playbook. On Monday, Washington blocked a joint statement calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas – the US’s third such veto reportedly within a week.

The US’s unequivocal support of Israel has seen it thwart resolutions condemning violence against protesters, illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank built since 1967 and even calls for an investigation into the 1990 killing of seven Palestinian workers by a former Israeli soldier.

Critics say Washington’s blanket support of Israel encourages a disproportionate use of force against Palestinians, including Israel’s current bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip, which has killed at least 219 Palestinians, including 63 children.

Here is a list of some of the major vetoes cast by the US over the years:

Great March of Return

Palestinians in Gaza began protesting at the Israeli border fence in March 2018, calling for the “right of return” to ancestral homes from which their families were expelled in 1948 during what Palestinians call the “Nakbah”, or the creation of the state of Israel. The UN estimates 750,000 Palestinians were expelled that year.

Palestinians faced sniper fire from Israeli forces during the year-long protests, which killed at least 266 people and injured roughly 30,000 more, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel during weekly Palestinian demonstrations along the Gaza Strip’s frontier with Israel on September 28, 2018 [File: Khalil Hamra/AP Photo]
On June 1, 2018, the UNSC drafted a resolution (PDF) expressing “grave concern at the escalation of violence and tensions” since the protests began and “deep alarm at the loss of civilian lives and the high number of casualties among Palestinian civilians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, including casualties among children, caused by the Israeli forces”.

The US vetoed the resolution (PDF), with then-US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley saying it presented “a grossly one-sided view of what has taken place in Gaza in recent weeks”.

Haley blamed Hamas for the violence.

US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

East Jerusalem is meant to be the capital of a future Palestinian state, as outlined in international agreements. But the area has been occupied by Israel since 1967, when Israeli forces defeated forces from Jordan – which controlled East Jerusalem and the West Bank at the time – Egypt, Syria and allied Palestinians, to occupy all of historic Palestine.

The status of occupied East Jerusalem was meant to be determined through peace negotiations. International law, including UNSC resolutions, state that East Jerusalem is not to be considered Israeli territory.

Palestinians evacuate a wounded man during clashes with Israeli security forces in front of the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on May 10, 2021 [File: Mahmoud Illean/AP Photo]
But former President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.

A draft resolution (PDF) from December 18, 2017, wrote “that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council”.

In vetoing the resolution, Haley said (PDF) the US “had the courage and honesty to recognize a fundamental reality. Jerusalem has been the political, cultural and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people for thousands of years.”

Demanding end to Israeli-Palestinian violence during the Second Intifada

The Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, ignited on September 28, 2000, when then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon, accompanied by heavily armed forces, entered the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

The provocative act sparked long-simmering frustrations over the failed promises of the Oslo Accords to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.

The Oslo Accords were signed by then-Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1993.

But the occupation continued into 2000, with Israeli settlements increasing and Palestinian sovereignty nowhere in sight.

In December 2001, a slew of suicide bombings led Israel to retaliate by destroying much of Arafat’s Ramallah headquarters, essentially forcing him into house arrest. The Second Intifada, a period of intensified Israeli-Palestinian tension, began in late September 2000 [File: Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images]
In contrast to the First Intifada in the late 1980s and early 1990s that was largely peaceful, the Second Intifada was very violent, with Palestinian armed groups attacking Israeli forces and a sharp increase in suicide attacks against Israeli civilian centres.

The death toll stood at over 3,000 Palestinians and close to 1,000 Israelis, along with 45 foreigners, according to a BBC tally.

A draft UNSC resolution (PDF) from December 2001 expressed “grave concern at the continuation of the tragic and violent events that have taken place since September 2000”, condemned attacks against civilians and called for peace talks to resume.

When vetoing the resolution, then-US Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte said “the draft resolution before us fails to address the dynamic at work in the region. Instead, its purpose is to isolate politically one of the parties”.

Settlement expansion

The US has vetoed at least four UNSC resolutions condemning Israel’s settlements on Palestinian land, which are considered illegal under international law.

There are between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers in at least 250 settlements (130 official, 120 unofficial) in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

These settlements have exploded under the rule of hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who began his current term in 2005. They have long been considered a major roadblock to achieving a Palestinian state.

US vetoes of resolutions condemning Israel’s settlements date back to at least 1983. The most recent was in 2011 (PDF), when a draft resolution aimed to reaffirm “all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of peace on the basis of the two-State solution”.

Then-US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said Washington agreed that settlement activity is illegal, but “we think it unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. Therefore, regrettably, we have opposed this draft resolution.”

Rice served under former President Barack Obama, who caused diplomatic controversy in 2016, months before he left office to be succeeded by Trump, when he instructed the US to abstain from vetoing a similar UNSC resolution against settlement activity.

US President Joe Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, is known for his support of Israel. But he is facing pressure from progressive Democrats and others to take a greater role in supporting Palestinian rights.

Biden publicly voiced support for a ceasefire on Monday, a demand posed in a letter signed by 25 Democratic lawmakers. But he has also stuck with Washington’s long-established policy of failing to acknowledge the deeply asymmetric nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by expressing his unwavering support for Israel and its “right to defend itself”. - Al Jazeera, 19/5/2021


No comments: