We cannot afford to disregard international law
If one state ignores UN resolutions, it puts global norms and standards at risk of collapse
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)