We can­not af­ford to dis­re­gard in­ter­na­tional law

If one state ig­nores UN res­o­lu­tions, it puts global norms and stan­dards at risk of col­lapse

Pretoria News - - OPINION - THABILE MANGE | Kag­iso Botes is the deputy min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion

African and Pales­tinian strug­gles are ob­vi­ous to any­one who has set foot in the oc­cu­pied territory. This week, Hu­man Rights Watch was up in arms as the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment ex­pelled their Is­rael and Pales­tine di­rec­tor, Omar Shakir, in an in­ten­si­fy­ing as­sault on those de­fend­ing hu­man rights.

Hu­man Rights Watch di­rec­tor Ken­neth Roth came out guns blaz­ing say­ing: “This de­ci­sion shows why the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity must re­boot its ap­proach to Is­rael’s de­te­ri­o­rat­ing hu­man rights record.

“A gov­ern­ment that ex­pels a lead­ing hu­man rights investigat­or is not likely to stop its sys­tem­atic op­pres­sion of Pales­tini­ans un­der oc­cu­pa­tion with­out much greater in­ter­na­tional pressure.”

Hu­man Rights Watch main­tains that nei­ther Shakir nor the or­gan­i­sa­tion has ever called for a boy­cott of Is­rael, but has urged busi­nesses to stop op­er­at­ing in il­le­gal set­tle­ments as part of their global duty to avoid com­plic­ity in hu­man rights abuses.

“To­day, Is­rael de­ports Shakir be­cause Hu­man Rights Watch urges busi­nesses to shun il­le­gal set­tle­ments,” said Roth. “Who’s next – some­one who calls for the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court to ex­am­ine pos­si­ble crimes in Is­rael and Pales­tine, or cor­rectly calls the West Bank ‘oc­cu­pied’ rather than ‘dis­puted’?”

There is no longer any pre­tence on the part of the Is­raeli author­i­ties that they re­spect in­ter­na­tional law or hu­man rights in­stru­ments. They will con­tinue their build­ing projects on oc­cu­pied land in de­fi­ance of all in­ter­na­tional res­o­lu­tions and con­ven­tions.

The ques­tion is: what will the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity do about it given that UN res­o­lu­tions have had no im­pact in chang­ing the be­hav­iour of the state?

Ebrahim is the group foreign ed­i­tor at In­de­pen­dent Me­dia

Our free­dom is in­com­plete with­out the free­dom of the Pales­tini­ans

The ball is in their court. |

The right of the Pales­tinian peo­ple to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion and free­dom is cou­pled with the de­mand that East Jerusalem be recog­nised as their cap­i­tal on the ba­sis of the pre-1967 borders. We are for a just so­lu­tion for Pales­tinian refugees, based on the UN General As­sem­bly res­o­lu­tion 194 (III), which calls for the achieve­ment of gen­uine peace, se­cu­rity and peace­ful co­ex­is­tence.

South Africa wel­comes the State of Pales­tine’s chair­man­ship of the G77 and China for the year 2019 and reaf­firms its sup­port for this im­por­tant un­der­tak­ing.

Our mes­sage on this day, the In­ter­na­tional Day of Sol­i­dar­ity with the peo­ple of Pales­tine, is firmly premised on the re­jec­tion of uni­lat­er­al­ism and af­fir­ma­tion of mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism, in­clud­ing the cen­tral­ity of the UN as the pri­mary and fi­nal ar­biter on any and all mat­ters of in­ter­na­tional jus­tice.

The gov­ern­ment re­it­er­ates the ur­gency of pro­vid­ing sup­port to the UN Re­lief and Works Agency for Pales­tine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). We sup­ported the man­date of UNRWA and its re­newal by the UN General As­sem­bly a week ago, and a sub­stan­tive man­date by 170 UN mem­ber states.

We recog­nise that UNRWA’s as­sis­tance is cru­cial for the pro­tec­tion, well­be­ing and so­cial re­silience of the refugees and for the sta­bil­ity of these com­mu­ni­ties and their host coun­tries.

South Africa sup­ports the peace pro­posal pre­sented by the Pres­i­dent of the state of Pales­tine, Mah­moud Ab­bas, to the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Fe­bru­ary20 last year.

In par­tic­u­lar, we sup­ports his call for an in­ter­na­tional peace con­fer­ence based on the long-stand­ing pa­ram­e­ters and terms of ref­er­ence of the peace process, within a de­fined time frame and in ac­cor­dance with the rel­e­vant UN res­o­lu­tions.

We fur­ther stress that a peace­ful so­lu­tion to the ques­tion of Pales­tine is cen­tral to the es­tab­lish­ment of peace and sta­bil­ity in the Mid­dle East, and glob­ally.

As we com­mem­o­rate the sixth an­niver­sary of Nel­son Mandela’s death, we must re­main true to his con­vic­tions, which were in­struc­tive that “we know too well that our free­dom is in­com­plete with­out the free­dom of the Pales­tini­ans”.

US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo de­fended the con­tin­ued set­tle­ment build­ing in the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries. | African News Agency ar­chives (ANA)

Panyaza Le­sufi

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