Friday, February 26, 2016

Israel, the UN and Resisting International Law

Israel Defies UN Efforts to Bring It Into Compliance with Int'l Law: Professor William A. Cook

by TruthNGO

Nearly seven decades after the eruption of what turned out to be one of the longest-running, most violent confrontations of the modern history, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to be on the headlines, and despite the loss of so much political and financial capital, refuses to be resolved in a meaningful and sustainable way.

In a recent op-ed on The New York Times, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his emphasis on the indefensibility of occupation, pointing out that the frustration and grievances of the Palestinian people are growing as no one can deny that “the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair.”

The expansion of settlements, the failure of international community to help more than 5 million Palestinian refugees displaced as a result of the 1948 exodus and depopulation of Palestinian towns and villages, and breakdown of diplomatic efforts to bring the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table have left the situation in limbo and rendered the future hopeless.

Meanwhile, Tel Aviv finds its relations with some of its close EU allies at stake. Just recently, a spat broke out between Israel and Sweden after the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom called for an investigation into Israel’s “extrajudicial killing” of the Palestinian civilians since mid-September 2015.

An American university professor who has broadly studied the history of Israeli-Palestinian conflict says the European public at large reacts negatively to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians while “their leaders are obligated economically to overlook morality in favor of personal and state acquiescence” to Israel.

Prof. William A. Cook asserts that Israel has defied every effort made by the United Nations to bring it into compliance with the international law and the UN Charter.

William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. He served for 13 years as the university’s Vice President for Academic Affairs. Prof. Cook has obtained his Ph.D. from the Lehigh University. He contributes to the CounterPunch, Pacific Free Press, Dissident Voice and Information Clearing House and has worked with the Palestine Chronicle as a contributing editor. He has penned several essays, op-eds and books on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In an interview with Truth NGO, Prof. Cook shared with us his viewpoints on the state of Israel-EU relations, the recent controversy with Sweden and the BDS movement gaining momentum in a number of European states.

Q: After the United States, Israel finds its closest allies among the European Union states. A 2014 BBC World Service Poll showed that 64% of the French citizens, 72% of the Britons, 61% of the Spaniards and 67% of the Germans view Israel negatively. What’s the reason for this resentment against Israel in the eyes of the citizens of these major EU countries while their governments usually throw weight behind Israel and support it in different forms?

A: You cite the 2014 BBC World Service Poll results that declare unequivocally the attitude of the Europeans’ negativity toward Israel. That understanding has grown ever more negative since the 2006 invasion of Lebanon, the subsequent Christmas destruction of Gaza, and the recent merciless devastation of Gaza visible to the entire world as it was to the Israelis who witnessed it from hillsides in lounge chairs making graphic the mindset molded by the Zionist government. Yet the governments of their respective countries support Israel’s financial, military and diplomatic needs. That is your answer: Europeans react to the barbarity of the terrorist state of Zionism but their leaders are obligated economically to overlook morality in favor of personal and state acquiescence to the Zionists’ demands. The same is true in the United States although the percent of negativity would be slightly less because Americans are shielded by the Zionist-controlled press and the Zionist-controlled Congress.

Q: The European Union has long advocated the two-state solution as the most viable response to more than six decades of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The election of Benjamin Netanyahu for the fourth consecutive term as the Prime Minister of Israel coupled with the resurgence of far-right Likud Party in the Knesset has partially extinguished hopes that the two-state scheme would be realized in the foreseeable future. What’s your viewpoint on the EU’s efforts to promote the idea of an independent Palestinian state?

Historically since 1947, the two-state solution has existed via a UN General Assembly resolution to endorse it. The UN never formally acted on that proposal because it was never brought before the Security Council. The U.S. through [President Harry] Truman and the Soviet Union following suit endorsed the Israeli state and the UN accepted that nation as a member of the organization in 1949. From that date forward, the state of Israel has defied every effort by the UN to bring it into compliance with international law and the charters of the UN. Indeed two months ago, the UN General Assembly voted 164 to 5 for the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in document A/70/480, including in that action a detailed castigation of the Zionist state’s defiance with references to multiple resolutions passed in prior years. But the action recommended by the General Assembly in 1947, Resolution 181, remains the basis for the two-state solution. Israeli action in stealing Palestinian land since that date makes the two-state solution virtually impossible.

Consequently, in response to your question, my viewpoint on the EU’s efforts to promote an independent Palestinian state, I find it a futile exercise unless it recognizes that Israel must be forced to relinquish more than 25% of the land it now occupies, and demand of the UN that Resolution 181 be the basis for UN-controlled negotiations if two populations are to live in Palestine. If the United Nations remains locked down by the U.S. veto in favor of Israel, no justice can be brought to the people of Palestine. Therefore, the UN and all its member states must force a means by which that veto can be overridden, if it is to act for the purposes which brought the UN into existence in the first place. And in creating the Partition Plan in 1947, the UN General Assembly must bear responsibility for the injustice done to the Palestinian people. As currently structured, the UN is a helpless Lilliputian population attempting futilely to tie down the U.S. Gulliver. If it is to act as the voice of the world, it must have the means to do just that. Only a vociferous and constant aggressive campaign to makeover the UN can break this stalemate.

Perhaps if the world communities were to invest $25 million to counteract the Israeli PR machine justifying its occupation, the United Nations Human Rights Council could offer legislation that would correct the veto power and let the world speak against the injustice.

The people of the world have made it clear that Israel must comply with their demands and work to establish the Palestinian state since Israel occupies all but 22% of all Palestinian land. Israel under its present government has committed itself to never have a Palestinian state west of Jordan. Even now it is stealing more land in the West Bank and laughs at the American President and coddles the Congress of the United States by dangling green backs in front of them.

Q: That said, will the EU-Israel ties deteriorate if the two-state solution is not translated into reality and the occupation persists?

A: Will the Israeli-EU ties deteriorate? No, if the EU bows before the money and capitulates to international coercion, making theft and bribery valid strategies for international negotiations. The Zionist state needs only buy off a few in each major EU country, like Cameron in Britain and Hollande in France to control the vote. They have never demonstrated concern for the European or American people. Since the time of Moshe Dayan in the 40s, they do what they want when they want and mock those who object. “Our American friends offer us money, arms, and advice. We take the money, we take the arms, and we decline the advice” in The Iron Wall, p. 316.

Q: Let’s get to the recent spat between Israel and Sweden. The relationship between the two countries has seen frequent ups and downs in the recent years, and at several junctures, relapsed into bitter diplomatic standoffs. One of these critical junctures was the row that followed the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s statement in January this year when she demanded a probe into Israel’s “extrajudicial killing” of the Palestinians. How do you see the fluctuations of the Sweden-Israel relations, especially given that Sweden has conventionally maintained close and untroubled ties with Israel?

A: It’s clear that Sweden, through its Foreign Minister, has not lost sight of the substantive moral issues that envelop the occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine. Her insistence on probing the charges of extrajudicial executions goes directly to the legal source of the civilized state, since its use would be evidence that Israel is no longer a democratic state run by recognized laws of the United Nations, but by merciless terrorists that kill at will without regard for international justice. Does her advocacy for the imprisoned, those detained without charge for years at a time, some killed in prison, and those caught in the crosshairs of a sniper’s rifle disturb the Zionist politicians? No. But adding Margot Wallstrom’s moral outcry against such barbarity to the Swedish history on behalf of justice for the Jews and the Palestinians enhances the reputation of the Swedish people before the entire world. It was after all Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden who, in 1948, was killed by members of the Jewish underground organization LEHI, even though he had saved thousands of Jews from concentration camps as a UN negotiator. The reality that his assassination was an execution done by Zionists only testifies to the principle issue all your questions raise: is the Israeli state a legitimate state and a constructive member of the UN? The answer is no and only the member states of that organization can take action against it to enforce the moral actions called for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but consistently flouted by the State of Israel.

Q: Israel’s response to the Swedish FM’s criticism of Tel Aviv’s security apparatus has been extremely stern. The Israeli foreign ministry announced in a statement that Sweden will not have a role in the future diplomatic engagement with the Palestinians anymore. Is the exclusion of Sweden from efforts to find a negotiated solution to the conflict a pragmatic decision?

A: In answer to [this] question, it can only be stated that Israel took advantage of Wallstrom’s demands over its security apparatus by responding aggressively.They used her statement to condemn critics of Israel without disturbing their attempts to convince the EU leaders that it knows best how to deal with terrorists – because it has to defend its people. Those who believe that Israel and its Prime Minister, by excluding Sweden from future peace negotiations, have taken some serious steps that could jeopardize possible peace efforts kid themselves. Israel is not about to participate in peace negotiations; it has never seriously participated in the creation of two states, never.

Q: So, what’s your view on Israel’s settlement constructions in the territories beyond the 1967 borders? President Barack Obama had warned Israel against the consequences of the settlement activities several times and once told Ilana Dayan of the Israeli Channel 2 television that with the persistence of the strategies that Israel has put in place, it would be difficult for the United States to defend its staunch Mideast ally in the long run. On January 18, the European Union also adopted a resolution criticizing the settlement constructions on the Occupied Territories. With the clear opposition coming from Washington and the European capitals, will Israel continue enforcing its controversial settlement policy uninhibited?

A: Kourosh, you know I have researched this issue in depth. “The Plight of the Palestinians” published by Macmillan in 2010 and being reissued in paperback in two months describes in detail the Zionist intent to eradicate every Arab from the land of Palestine as stated in their own words from documents seized by the Mandate Police in the 1940s. The edited volume contains chapters by world-renowned writers who describe in vivid detail that the genocide continues into the first decade of the new century.

What do I think of the settlement construction in the territories beyond the 1967 borders? What about the Zionists’ intent to get rid of the Arabs before the Mandate Government could exit from the land and 418 towns and villages were destroyed, some before the “Declaration of Independence” was announced on May 14, 1948? The state of Israel proclaimed in full-page advertisements that it would abide by the Partition Plan as presented by the UN General Assembly. It never did. The Zionists had no borders in mind before the Partition Plan and declared in these documents that if they needed more land they would take it. In fact the Partition Plan became the vehicle for the expansion that we know today. Israel has no borders, so to talk of 1967 borders is to buy into the lies that have been perpetrated by this state to further their agenda that behind closed doors includes all of Greater Israel, from the Euphrates to the Nile. Your question, will Israel continue enforcing its controversial settlement policy? Yes, unless the U.S. decides to stop funding Israel altogether. That cannot be done because the U.S. Congress is owned by the Zionists and anyone who believes otherwise need only check the votes in the Congress, a deliberative body that votes 100% on virtually any issue brought to it by AIPAC.

Q: The European Union agreed in November last year to issue guidelines for the labeling of products being exported to the member states from the settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These products account for only about 1% of the entire Israeli trade to the EU, but the consensus to label them has a symbolic importance. Does the move signify that the grassroots BDS movement has paid off and been noticed by the EU leaders?

A: This question is the only hope left to the people of the world short of the dismantling of the UN’s present structure. There is no justification morally for the existence of the state of Israel. The British Mandate did not envision a Jewish State in Palestine – see The Plight of the Palestinians, section 3. The Zionist power is secular; it is not based on the Jewish faith except when it comes to claiming an “historical” right to the land given to it by Yahweh. Unfortunately, there is no historical evidence that such land ever was given to the Jews, nor is there evidence that the forces of Joshua conquered the Canaanites or Hittites or Perizzites et al. The archeological studies as unearthed are not in sync with the stories told in the Bible. Other people settled and lived on that land and they have as much historical right to it as the Jews. There is only one logical and civilized way to determine the owners of the land of Palestine and that is in the United Nations and its charters as agreed upon by 194 nations. Boycotts, divestments and sanctions may be the only route to compel Israel to understand that fact.
The Macmillan Company has decided to issue a paperback edition of Dr. Cook's book, The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction, five years after the initial hard bound publication, because the subject matter of that book warrants attention today as the UN has recognized Palestine through a 164 to 5 vote of the UNGA (A/70.480), the Pope has recognized Palestine and the EU has called for action on a two state solution as has the UN through its Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. In short the word "Genocide" is currently relative to Palestine. The cost of the new edition will be considerably less than the academic hard copy at $87 USD. The new edition has a new Foreword by Dr. Richard Falk, former United Nations Human Rights Rapporteur in the Occupied territories in Palestine.

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