2010 and the Pales­tinian cause

The Pak Banker - - Editorial - Ah­mad Sabri

In the be­gin­ning of 2010 the world saw in­ter­na­tional ac­tivists protest in Cairo to pres­sure the Egyp­tian regime into open­ing its bor­ders for them to en­ter Gaza with their aid con­voys.

They even­tu­ally suc­ceeded and in the fol­low­ing months hun­dreds of in­ter­na­tional ac­tivists man­aged to break the siege of Gaza. The most fa­mous of them was the Free­dom Flotilla, which had 663 pas­sen­gers from ap­prox­i­mately 40 na­tion­al­i­ties.

The flotilla was at­tacked in in­ter­na­tional wa­ters (and this wasn't the first time for Is­rael). 9 ac­tivists were killed, and at least 42 were in­jured. The mas- sacre gen­er­ated global rage and was con­demned by many gov­ern­ments. Is­raeli am­bas­sadors were sum­moned from 7 coun­tries as well as the EU. And al­though the US tried to block it, an in­ter­na­tional in­quiry soon be­gan. In ad­di­tion, a fact-find­ing mis­sion was launched by the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil. They found that Is­rael broke in­ter­na­tional law, and found "clear ev­i­dence" for pros­e­cut­ing Is­rael for the war crime of "will­ful killing; tor­ture or in­hu­man treat­ment". The re­port ac­cused Is­raeli com­man­dos of sum­mar­ily ex­e­cut­ing 6 pas­sen­gers.

But why were in­ter­na­tional ac­tivists at­tempt­ing to reach Gaza in the first place? The rea­son is the Is­raeli block­ade held since 2007. The block­ade killed hun­dreds of Pales­tinian pa­tients, and de­stroyed Gaza's econ­omy. It was con­sid­ered a "war crime" by the UN Fact Find­ing mis­sion led by Judge Richard Gold­stone, and it was con­sid­ered a form of "col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment" by both a UN hu­man­i­tar­ian af­fairs chief and a UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil monitor in 2008. This year an­other in­ter­na­tional tes­ti­mony was added: the In­ter­na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross called the block­ade a vi­o­la­tion of the Geneva Con­ven­tions and de­scribed it as "col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment". An­other strong le­gal state­ment in 2010 came from Navi Pil­lay, the UN High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights who an­nounced Gaza's block­ade as "il­le­gal".

But Gaza wasn't the only suf­fer­ing part in Pales­tine. Un­der in­ter­na­tional law both Gaza and the West Bank are oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian territories. The West Bank is led by the Pales­tinian Author­ity, which un­like Ha­mas in Gaza, is com­pletely against armed re­sis­tance. Nev­er­the­less, the West Bank is oc­cu­pied and il­le­gal set­tle­ments cover more than 40 per­cent of it. Check­points and road­blocks choke the West Bank while the Is­raeli wall sur­rounds it. The wall, which en­joys Hil­lary Clin­ton's sup­port, is "il­le­gal" and "breaches in­ter­na­tional law" ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice. The UN Of­fice for the Co­or­di­na­tion of Hu­man­i­tar­ian Af­fairs said that the wall an­nexed 9.5 per­cent of the West Bank.

We must also men­tion that in 2010 at least 14 Pales­tini­ans were killed in the West Bank and hun­dreds were ar­rested.

Pales­tini­ans can't fully en­joy their nat­u­ral re­sources, es­pe­cially wa­ter. The World Bank re­ported Is­rael il­le­gally con­sum­ing wa­ter in quan­ti­ties that are four times greater than the in­dige­nous Pales­tini­ans in both Gaza and the West Bank.

Is­rael's with­drawal from the West Bank - along with Syr­ian and Le­banese oc­cu­pied territories - is manda­tory un­der in­ter­na­tional law. It has been manda­tory for 43 years, but Is­rael pub­licly re­fuses to with­draw. It re­fuses to dis­man­tle the il­le­gal set­tle­ments or the il­le­gal wall, and con­tin­ues to de­stroy Pales­tinian his­tor­i­cal sites or claim own­er­ship of them, which the UNESCO re­fused.

Be­ing Is­rael's PM in 1997, Ne­tanyahu or­dered a group of Mos­sad killers to breach the sovereignty of Jor­dan - which had signed a full peace treaty with Is­rael 3 years ear­lier - and carry out an as­sas­si­na­tion of a Pales­tinian leader. In 2010, three days af­ter an Is­raeli min­is­ter made the first of­fi­cial visit to the UAE, a group of Mos­sad killers us­ing coun­ter­feited pass­ports breached the sovereignty of the UAE and com­mit­ted a first-de­gree murder in Dubai.

The Is­raeli am­bas­sador in France was sum­moned. Poland ar­rested an Is­raeli sus­pect, while Ire­land, Aus­tralia, and the UK ex­pelled Is­raeli di­plo­mats. The UK had al­ready tol­er­ated Is­rael forg­ing Bri­tish pass­ports in a 1987 op­er­a­tion, but the Is­raeli mem­ber of the Knes­set Arieh El­dad didn't hes­i­tate when say­ing that the Bri­tish are "dogs" adding that he didn't want to "in­sult dogs here, since some dogs show true loy­alty". His fel­low party mem­ber Michael Ben-Ari agreed, "Dogs are usu­ally loyal, the Bri­tish may be dogs, but they are not loyal to us. They seem to be loyal to the anti-Semitic es­tab­lish­ment". Such out­ra­geous racist com­ments shocked some peo­ple in the West, who, un­like the Arabs, never ex­pe­ri­enced Zion­ism be­fore.

This as­sas­si­na­tion which was con­sid­ered a form of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings by a UN of­fi­cial re­minded the world of Is­rael's con­tin­u­ous dis­re­spect to in­ter­na­tional law and the sovereignty of states.

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