While everyone has the right to believe in and express their beliefs, there is no justification for indulging a state-sponsored ideology that tramples upon fundamental human rights and international law. . .
The special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Makarim Wibisono, has announced his resignation. The former Indonesian diplomat took up the post in June 2014 and his resignation will come into effect on 31 March this year, following his final report to the Human Rights Council. While noting that the Palestinian Government had co-operated fully with the Council, he said that Israel had obstructed his efforts to fulfil his mandate “every step of the way”. Last year, Mr Wibisono called upon Israel to investigate and make its findings public with regard to the killing of more than 2,000 Palestinian civilians, one-third of them children, during the Zionist state’s blitz on Gaza in 2014. Israel’s utter inhumanity towards the people of Gaza has lately been demonstrated, once again, with the commencement of the annual cutting of gas supplies at the coldest time of the year.
In announcing his resignation, Makarim Wibisono expressed the hope that “whoever succeeds me will manage to resolve the current impasse, and so reassure the Palestinian people that after nearly half a century of Occupation the world has not forgotten their plight.” The special rapporteur also voiced his “deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims, of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law”.
For eighteen months Israel continued to ignore Wibisono’s repeated oral and written requests for access to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel’s refusal to honour its pledge to grant access is further evidence of Zionism’s contempt for Palestinian human rights and the international community. The sad truth is, that Israel has been pandered to for far too long and its intransigence has been strengthened by the international community’s failure to bring Israel to account.
Zionist websites never mention Palestine, neither do they ever acknowledge the UN-recognised Right of Return to their homeland of ethnically-cleansed Palestinians. The only so-called ‘right of return’ that Zionists recognise is that claimed by the Zionist movement for Jewish people worldwide, who have no roots or former connection to Palestine.
Exchange of views with a Zionist
A letter to the Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa New Zealand (PHRC) from a Zionist, criticising our daily newsletter In Occupied Palestine, raises many points commonly made in favour of Israel. Here they are, with the PHRC’s responses:
The Right of Return is a necessary part of preserving world Jewry. For centuries, non-Jewish officials of governmental organisations had persecuted Jews, and one had even tried to systematically exterminate all of them while a number of other countries were unconcerned with the issue. This demonstrated that non-Jewish governments were incapable or unwilling to protect Jews. Now there is a Jewish state, which exists to protect its citizens, many of whom are Jews. Part of this protection involves allowing them to return. It can do so at its discretion, since the government holds the prerogative to do so.
The colonisation of Palestine by Europeans is in no way ‘a return’ and most Jewish people do not choose to live in Israel. Many religious Jews find the idea of a ‘Jewish state’ to be deeply irreligious and racist. Israel’s conduct, far from protecting Jews, actually strengthens anti-semitism. Before Israel existed, in Eastern Europe, Russia, Britain and the US, Zionism’s adherents held themselves aloof from broad working-class efforts to defend Jewish communities, claiming that anti-semitism is inevitable and eternal.
Israel in fact granted citizenship to the Arabs that fell within its territory. Now that it has citizens, it needs to protect them. New Zealanders were not in fact “unified” regarding South Africa. Racism in Palestine can be better attributed to groups like Hamas, which has the stated aim of pushing all the Jews into the sea.
Palestinians were given no say over their future and simply found themselves Occupied, against their expressed wishes, by a foreign power. Israel was an ally of Apartheid South Africa and, to this day, still does not have such a thing as Israeli citizenship, pure and simple; that is defined by ethnicity. Israel initially nurtured and encouraged Hamas, in the hope of promoting internal conflict so as to reduce the effectiveness of secular Palestinian Resistance movements, such as Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organisation. But in 2006 Hamas won a majority in the election for the Palestinian Authority. The Hamas Charter does call for an Islamic religious state in all of historic Palestine but, over time, the movement’s platform has seen moderation. Hamas has, for years, actually accommodated Israel to the extent of agreeing to negotiate a peaceful two-state solution, dependent upon Israel ending the Occupation and withdrawing fully to its pre-1967 borders. Hamas, in fact, says it will recognise the right of Israel to exist when Israel recognises the right of a Palestinian state to exist. Regardless, the Government of Israel continues both to annex the Jordan Valley and drive its Annexation Wall along its intended course. Hamas represents a people that needs a homeland free from racial discrimination, the only possible hope for a peaceful future for all who live in Palestine/Israel.
The struggle for human rights is clouded by other things, such as suicide bombing by groups that want to remove all the Jews. The democratic Palestinian leadership does not seem to be able to control such groups and so protect Israeli civilians, so another group that is more able to do that job is in fact doing the job. That group is the IDF.
Suicide-bombing of civilians is one of the symptoms of despair caused by injustice and the perception that some Palestinians have of abandonment and betrayal by the world community. The so-called IDF violently oversees the daily existence of Palestinians in their own land and is complicit in the destruction of Palestinian olive trees and crops by illegal Israeli settlers. How would Israelis react to having their homes invaded at night, their children abducted and military posts set up on the roofs of their houses? Nothing can justify Israel’s brutal annexation of Palestinian territory, nor the wanton destruction and continuing blockade of Gaza.
The Nazis were an aggressive and brutal occupying force, whereas Israel is a democratic country, open to negotiation (it has in fact complied with many of the points on the road map) and only acts coercively in self-defence. Unfortunately, it is often forced to act in such a way by circumstances outside of its control.
*See below, our response to “Israel is open to co-operation whereas the Nazis were only responsive to war”.
After WW2, Britain got out of Palestine at about the same time that another state declared its independence. Since then, Israel has done a remarkable job of defending its citizens and keeping its enemies at bay. These enemies of course were not of its own choosing.
By Occupying Palestine, the Zionists certainly did, tragically, make a choice. Furthermore they did so without regard for the cost to humanity. On 3 January this year a Palestinian Israeli and another Palestinian passenger with Israeli residency were forced off an Aegean Airlines flight from Athens to Tel Aviv when Jewish Israelis objected to their presence on the aircraft. The first report of the racist outrage appeared in the American newspaper The Jewish Press. Israel Radio and other Western news media also covered the story. According to the airline, a growing number of Jewish passengers “very vocally and persistently” demanded that the pair be removed from the aircraft. The whole episode lasted 90 minutes. As is very often the case with Western diplomacy, so it was also with the Greek airline, the Zionists were accommodated and the rights of the Palestinians denied. The airline did, however, eventually thank the pair for their “understanding and collaboration”. Zionism, the last of the twentieth century’s state-sponsored racist ideologies, continues to threaten international peace and stability. The diaries of Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl, reveal a deeply racist and elitist mentality.
*Israel is open to co-operation whereas the Nazis were only responsive to war.
As Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion said:
“If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”
(Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp. 121-122)
Here, in a nutshell, is what the Palestinians are faced with. Israel refuses to admit to any defined limitation of its borders. Neither does the so-called Jewish state observe any international agreement, Geneva Convention or UN Resolution it does not like. Anything Israel may have agreed to has been for the sake of expediency, to be repudiated at any time convenient to Israel. The object of ‘negotiations’ with the Palestinians while they are under military Occupation is to extort an outcome, under duress, favourable to Israel. In civil law, any contract or agreement arrived at under such conditions would be considered unenforceable. The very first requirements for peace are an end to the Occupation by Israel and the removal of all Jewish settlements that are defined, under international law, as illegal.
Although Israel publicly claims legitimacy arising from the UNGA Partition Plan of 1947 (Non-binding Resolution 181), for the Zionists this was not nearly enough to meet their real agenda and territorial ambitions. The sixth prime minister of Israel, and erstwhile terrorist leader, Menachem Begin, said of the partition plan: “The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognised …. Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever.” Iron Wall, p. 25 & Simha Flapan, p. 32. Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion (another leader with a terrorism record) put it this way: “No Zionist can forgo the smallest portion of the Land Of Israel.” In a written letter he made it absolutely clear that, for Zionists, “A Jewish state must be established immediately, even if it is only in part of the country. The rest will follow in the course of time.”
Negotiation with Zionism is appeasement
Hope for successful negotiation presupposes trust, founded upon goodwill and honesty. No process of negotiation can be legitimate if its aim is to subvert the requirements of justice. Compromise is the very essence of negotiation but to be valid it must be justifiable. The irrational, racist and duplicitous ideology of Zionism is manifestly unjustifiable. Therefore, it follows that negotiation with its proponents can have no positive result for human rights, peace and stability. Zionism’s manic preoccupation with ethnicity is manifested daily with ever-expanding Jewish-only Occupation settlements. Palestinians living under belligerent military Occupation suffer constant economic and agricultural sabotage and many other intolerable inhumanities, including night and day invasions of their homes. The sole reason for all this cruelty is the Zionist drive towards the final goal of Eretz Israel in the whole of the land of Palestine. What could there possibly be to negotiate?
As Miko Peled, the ex-Israeli Army officer and son of a Zionist General, said in a recent article regarding:
Israel’s Occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank:
“Get the hell out of Palestinian towns, villages and neighbourhoods. And, dismantle the wall and all the checkpoints on your way out.”
and Rockets from Gaza:
“Lift the siege on Gaza, dismantle the wall and checkpoints there, and allow the people in Gaza the freedom they deserve.”
Brought up as a Zionist, he intelligently enquired further and discovered for himself the terrible consequences of the imposition of Zionist ideology. He also wrote that Israel should “free all Palestinian prisoners, repeal all the laws that give Jewish people exclusive rights in Palestine, repeal the law that prohibits Palestinians from returning to their land and allocate the billions of dollars that will be needed for paying reparations to the refugees and their descendants.” He went on to say that, “Israel is to call for free, one-person one-vote elections where all people who live in mandatory Palestine vote as equals.”
Israel’s Gaza blockade and periodic aerial devastation
Israel makes much of its so-called withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. An Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, once said the settlement of Netsarim in the south Gaza Strip was as dear to him as Tel Aviv. Israel’s unilateral withdrawal of the settlement is evidence that Israel’s claims to Palestinian land are, and always have been, a matter of territorial ambition and expedience. The evacuation was also a de facto admission that all the death, destruction and colonisation by settlement visited upon the Palestinian people in Gaza was never necessary or justifiable. It is astonishing that the world does not seem to have yet recognised that. What applies to the Israeli presence in Gaza applies equally to the rest of Occupied Palestine. The precedent that was set by the withdrawal from Gaza should encourage the world community to insist on Israel’s full compliance with all its obligations under international law.
Palestinian children under Israeli military rule
On 6 January this year, the UK Parliament held a non-legislative debate on ‘Child prisoners and detainees in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ (OPT) at Westminster Hall. The meeting heard a detailed summary of a damning UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth-funded independent lawyers’ report of 2012 on the abuse of children held in Israeli military custody. As far back as 2009 the UN Committee against Torture called for interrogations of children and adults by Israeli Occupation forces to be video-recorded. To date, Israel has refused to comply, no doubt for obvious reasons. The whole essence of the Occupation is discrimination, so for an Israeli child the maximum period of detention without access to a lawyer is 48 hours but for a Palestinian child it is 90 days.
Duty and responsibility
While everyone has the right to believe in and express their beliefs, there can be no justification for indulging the proponents of an ideology that tramples upon fundamental human rights and international law. Israel must be called to account; recent statements by Israel’s lawmakers, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, emphasise their collective intransigence. The New Zealand Government issued a Press Release on 6 January condemning a North Korean nuclear weapons test which, it quite rightly said, flouts UN Security Council resolutions. Noting that an emergency Security Council meeting on the matter was expected, the Press Release declared that “New Zealand will work with other Security Council members to make sure there is a strong response to this latest provocation.”
When will our Government work to ensure “a strong response” by Security Council members towards Israel’s war crimes and other inhumanities? State-sponsored Zionism must be both repudiated and restrained. The imposition of sanctions by the Security Council, reinforced by a wholehearted embrace by state agencies, of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) programme are going to be essential requirements if the world is ever to achieve peace with justice for all in the Holy Land.