On Saturday, 24 December 2016, the New Zealand Government issued a Press Release, NZ welcomes UN resolution on Middle East Peace Process, in which Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced that, “New Zealand voted for and co-sponsored the resolution because it is consistent with long-held New Zealand policy positions on the Palestinian question”. McCully also commented, “It is a sad fact that rather than making progress with talks between the parties, the most the Security Council is able to achieve is to attempt to stop the further undermining of the two state solution”. UN Security Council Resolution 2334 passed with 14 votes in favour and, while the US abstained from voting, it did not veto the resolution. The US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power’s comment that, “continued settlement building undermines Israel’s security” might have prompted some people to wonder what she thought the imposition of those settlements is doing to Palestinian security! Established on belligerently-Occupied Palestinian land, they are, indisputably, violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention. More important, Samantha Power also drew attention to Israel’s ideological purpose when she told the Council, “Steps aimed at advancing the Israeli settlement programme . . . raise legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions.”
Netanyahu’s response and ‘declaration of war’
Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the passing of the resolution by threatening to exact a “diplomatic and economic price” from countries who acted against Israel. He also announced that he would halt his country’s contributions to several United Nations institutions, saying that he was stopping 30 million shekels — about US$7.8 million — in funding to five United Nations institutions that are “particularly hostile to Israel”. Never mind that United States taxpayers will give gift Israel $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade! That is the largest such aid package in US history and officials on both sides tried to give the impression that it did at least entail “concessions” on the part of the Israeli Prime Minister. His comments since the passing of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 demonstrate the opposite of course — that he never had any intention of making concessions.
As far as relations with New Zealand were concerned, Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly warned New Zealand’s Foreign Minister that support for a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement-building in the Occupied territories would be viewed as a “declaration of war”. According to reports in the Israeli media, Netanyahu called Murray McCully before Friday’s resolution and told him: “This is a scandalous decision. I’m asking that you not support it and not promote it. If you continue to promote this resolution, from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences. We’ll recall our ambassador [from New Zealand] to Jerusalem.”
Unconditional support for Israel endangers international law
In a New York Times article on 28 November 2016, entitled America must recognise Palestine, Jimmy Carter, founder of the Carter Center and former United States president, drew attention to what he called the key words in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which stated “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every state in the area can live in security”. Carter also observed that “Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands.” While he states further that “security guarantees for both Israel and Palestine are imperative, and the resolution must acknowledge the right of both the states of Israel and Palestine to live in peace and security”, he also goes on to say that further measures should include the “demilitarisation” of the Palestinian state!
Carter makes no mention of any demilitarisation of the Zionist state that uses its military might to exploit the people’s natural resources, steal their land and severely restrict their freedom of movement. Jewish settlers enjoy full Israeli citizenship rights in Occupied Palestine. Palestinians are already denied any sovereignty over their land, sea and sky; Carter’s proposal appears to condone that denial as a permanent condition, whether under foreign military rule or otherwise.
Security Council and the right of return
Jimmy Carter writes: “A strong Security Council resolution would underscore that the Geneva Conventions and other human rights protections apply to all parties at all times.” How many more UN Security Council Resolution will be needed, to shore up the plethora already passed, before the Security Council recognises its duty to restrain Israel and call it to account? He says this proposed Security Council resolution would also “support any agreement reached by the parties regarding Palestinian refugees.” The Palestinian right of return is non-negotiable and to imply otherwise is to pander to Israel. Along with requiring Palestine to remain unprotected, Carter writes of the establishment of a “possible peacekeeping force under the auspices of the United Nations.” If the purpose of such a peacekeeping force were for the defence of the Palestinian people and the overseeing of an Israeli withdrawal, there would be reason for real hope. Unfortunately, the tenor of Carter’s proposal makes that seem unlikely.
UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, supports the Palestinian refugees’ right both to return and to receive financial compensation for lost property: “. . . refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property . . .” The state of Israel claims legitimacy, derived under UNGA Resolution 273 admitting Israel as a member state to the UN on 11 May 1949, dependent upon Israel implementing other UN resolutions including Resolutions 194 and 181.
Nowadays, the enormity of the tragedy suffered by the Palestinian people in 1948 is seldom acknowledged, either being played down or represented as somewhat irrelevant to the present. Many Palestinian refugees, driven from their homeland, found themselves yet again victims of murderous conflict as they struggled to survive the war in Syria. There are more than three-quarters of a million Palestinians, descendants of the ethnically-cleansed families who were forced into Syria and Lebanon during the Zionist onslaughts of 1947/1948 and 1967. Between 29 November 1947 and 1 January 1949, Zionist terrorists destroyed 531 Palestinian villages and towns, killing more than 13,000 Palestinians and forcing out more than half the population. UN General Assembly Resolution 181, adopted on 29 November 1947, ignoring Palestinian objections, divided Palestine between the indigenous inhabitants and the European colonists who sought to occupy and exploit Palestine in order to create an exclusively Jewish homeland. The UN plan granted the colonists more than 56% of historical Palestine, while the native Palestinians, who owned 93% of the territory, were offered less than 44% of their own country.
Unreasoning loyalty to Israel’s Zionist ambitions
In a recent speech to the Conservative Party’s Friends of Israel, Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, said she believed that Britain and Israel have a great deal in common. Really? How many UN Security Council Resolutions condemn Britain’s behaviour? How myopic is it to assert the obvious untruth that people of all religions are “free and equal in the eyes of the law” under Zionist rule? Within Israel itself, the regime repeatedly destroys Bedouin villages while Sephardic Jews and Palestinians suffer discrimination. In Occupied Palestine, Israel exercises a cruel military oppression that is recognised and condemned by myriad UN resolutions. And so Theresa May’s opposition to BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) must be seen as a declaration of intent to frustrate the only practical defence that exists for the victims of Israel’s continuing violations of international law.
UK Envoy’s speech to UNSC
On 16 December 2016, Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations, addressed the Security Council with more of the fashionable, but selective, views that attempt, unsuccessfully, to give the appearance of even-handedness. On the one hand, he acknowledged something of Israel’s contemptuous behaviour towards the Palestinian people but, on the other, seemed to be implying that Israel and the Palestinians were both somehow equally to blame. For instance, he acknowledged that Israel’s settlement policy caused the Palestinians grief, a feeling of hopelessness and anger but then implied that both sides were as guilty as each other by noting that “there is much for both parties to do to de-escalate tensions and prevent incitement”. Ambassador Rycroft also recognised the “violence by extremist settlers against Palestinians” yet, instead of calling upon the Security Council to take measures to bring Israel to account, he lamely spoke of a need to “work with partners in the region and internationally to drive improvements on the ground and build trust between the parties”. It must be remembered that the state-subsidised presence of Israeli settlers on internationally-recognised Palestinian land is imposed by a brutal, illegal, foreign military Occupation. How can there be trust so long as Israel is permitted, with impunity, to continue the Occupation? The only acceptable improvement on the ground that could possibly demonstrate cause for trust would be an end to the Occupation and due observance by Israel of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
On Sunday, 20 September 2015, Israel’s grip on East Jerusalem intensified as the City Council approved the replacing of 30 original Palestinian neighbourhood street names with new Hebrew alternatives. In Silwan, for instance, one street name was replaced with that of an archaeological site promoted by Israeli tourism that emphasises Jewish/Biblical history in the area while ignoring indigenous Palestinian history and culture. The change in street names is another step towards changing the demography of East Jerusalem, which is an integral part of the wider Zionist plan for Occupied Palestine.
The Kairos Palestine Document
In Palestine, the birthplace of Christianity, Israel’s persecution of Occupied Christians has led to the publication of what is known as The Kairos Palestine Document. The authors call it “the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine”. They quite rightly call on “the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades”. The document details how Israel makes “family life impossible for thousands of Palestinians, especially where one of the spouses does not have an Israeli identity card”; with restricting religious liberty for Christians and Muslims; with lack of consideration for refugees and prisoners; with turning “Jerusalem, city of reconciliation”, into “a city of discrimination and exclusion, a source of struggle rather than peace”; and with holding “international law and international resolutions” in “contempt”. The document declares that: “Love is the commandment of Christ our Lord to us” and that it means “seeing the face of God in every human being”. Yet this “does not mean accepting evil or aggression on their part”. Love, rather, “seeks to correct the evil and stop the aggression”. Therefore, Christian love compels that the Israeli Occupation of Palestine be resisted. The document calls for “civil disobedience” and “respect of life”, endorses the BDS movement and rejects the idea of “a religious state” in the Holy Land. [A moment of Truth]
The record of fruitless UN Security Council Resolutions
Israel’s relentless acts of annexation and discrimination, along with the obduracy with which it has persisted in defying the world community, can be seen in the following Security Council Resolutions:
On 27 April 1968, UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 250 called upon Israel to refrain from holding a planned military parade in Jerusalem. The UNSC considered that the military display would inevitably “aggravate tensions in the area and have an adverse effect on a peaceful settlement . . .” which, in the event, it did because Israel chose to ignore the Security Council and proceeded with the triumphalist show-piece. Accordingly, the UNSC duly passed another resolution (251), which “deeply deplored” the holding of the display “in disregard of” Resolution 250.
And so was set in train a sequence of resolution after resolution being passed by the Security Council over several decades, including condemnation of the annexation of East Jerusalem and continual abuses of human rights.
Changing the status of Jerusalem is inadmissible
US President-elect, Donald Trump has indicated that he will transfer the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Such a move would support Israel’s determined efforts to defy international law over the status of Jerusalem. UN Security Council Resolution 252 (21 May 1968) deplored Israel’s failure to comply with UN General Assembly Resolutions 2253 and 2254, considered Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem as “invalid” and called upon Israel “to rescind all such measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any further action which tends to change the status of Jerusalem.”
Israel took no notice of the UNSC’s call.
Acquisition of territory by military conquest
While Israel continued to defy the UN, no action whatsoever was taken to oblige it to comply. On 3 July 1969, UN Security Council Resolution 267 recalled Resolution 252 and General Assembly Resolutions 2253 and 2254, noting that, “since the adoption of the above-mentioned resolutions Israel has taken further measures tending to change the status of the City of Jerusalem”. The resolution reminded Israel yet again of “the established principle that acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible”. The UNSC deplored “the failure of Israel to show any regard for the resolutions” and censured “in the strongest terms all measures taken to change the status of the City of Jerusalem”. The Security Council also confirmed that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel which purport to alter the status of Jerusalem, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, are invalid and cannot change that status”.
Finally, the UN Security Council called urgently upon Israel to rescind the measures taken to annex Jerusalem. Israel, of course, rescinded nothing.
“Execrable act of desecration and profanation”
Israel’s continuing ideologically-inspired acts of barbarism eventually led to the passing of Security Council Resolution 271, which condemned “the execrable act of desecration and profanation of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque” and expressed grief “at the extensive damage caused by arson to the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem” on 21 August 1969 “under the military occupation of Israel”. The Security Council again reaffirmed “the established principle that acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible” and determined that Israel was obliged “to observe the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and international law governing military occupation”.
Israel again ignored the Security Council and continued, with impunity, to please itself.
Israel’s non-compliance – and failure to respect
The outrage of the international community later led the Security Council to pass Resolution 298 on 25 September 1971, recalling Resolutions 252 and 267 and General Assembly Resolutions 2253 and 2254 and reminding Israel again of “the principle that acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible”. Noting “the non-compliance” and deploring Israel’s failure to respect the re-called resolutions, the Security Council urgently called upon Israel to take “no further steps in the occupied section of Jerusalem” to change the status of the city.
Unashamed, Israel continued to defy the United Nations Security Council call.
The Fourth Geneva Convention
Security Council Resolution 446 (22 March 1979) affirmed once more that the Fourth Geneva Convention was “applicable to Palestinian land, including Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967”. The Resolution also determined that “the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories . . . have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East”. This Security Council Resolution strongly deplored the failure of Israel to abide by UNSC Resolutions 237, 252 and 298, as well as General Assembly Resolutions 2253 and 2254. The Resolution specifically condemned any attempt by Israel to materially affect the demographic composition of territory Occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem in particular, and to desist from undertaking any transfer of parts of its own civilian population into Occupied Palestinian territory.
Undeterred, Israel continued with its programme of change to the “demographic composition” of Jerusalem.
Settlements, and their consequences for Palestinians
On 20 July 1979, the Security Council passed Resolution 452, strongly deploring “the lack of co-operation of Israel” with the Security Council Commission “established under Resolution 446” and again reminded Israel that the policy of “establishing settlements in the occupied Arab territories has no legal validity and constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention”. Resolution 446 also expressed deep concern over the consequences for the local Palestinian inhabitants caused by Israel’s continuing establishment of settlements on Occupied Palestinian land.
Unconcerned over the consequences for the Palestinian people, Israel continued with its violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Zionism and demography
So the misery was allowed to continue. Israel, having rejected Resolutions 446 and 452, was the subject of another Security Council Resolution, 465 (1 March 1980), strongly deploring the Occupying power’s refusal to co-operate with the Security Council Commission and regretting Israel’s “formal rejection of” the above Resolutions. The Resolution also deplored Israel’s decision “to officially support Israeli settlement” on Occupied Palestinian land and again expressed deep concern over the suffering of the indigenous people due to military Occupation. Security Council Resolution 465 also determined “that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention”.
Zionism’s obsession with demography lies at the very heart of Israeli expansionism and that ideological commitment is enshrined in Israel’s founding Declaration of Independence: “. . . We members of the People’s Council, representatives of the Jewish Community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement . . .”
Israel’s crimes and armed settler violence
On 5 June 1980, Security Council Resolution 471 re-called “once again” the Fourth Geneva Convention “and in particular article 27”, which reads, “Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons . . . They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof . . .”
Just to make it crystal clear, Resolution 471 reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention “to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem”, expressed deep concern that “the Jewish settlers in the occupied Arab territories are allowed to carry arms, thus enabling them to perpetrate crimes against the civilian Arab population”. The Resolution further expressed “deep concern that Israel, as the occupying Power, has failed to provide adequate protection to the civilian population in the occupied territories in conformity with the provisions of the Geneva Convention . . .” The Security Council Resolution also called upon Israel “to provide the victims with adequate compensation for the damage suffered as a result of these crimes”.
Israel continued to act as before, with violence and threats. Bearing in mind the present opposition from Israel’s supporters towards BDS, it is pertinent to note that the Security Council Resolution, “Calls once again upon all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories” and “Reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem”.
UN condemns Israel’s violation of the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem
Once more, the Security Council was obliged, with the passing of Resolution 476 on 30 June 1980, to deplore yet again “the persistence of Israel, in changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem”.
Israel responded by enacting its ‘Basic Law’ and asserting even greater powers over Jerusalem. Yet, in spite of clearly labelling Israel’s inhumanities as “crimes”, the Security Council took no practical steps towards imposing any penalty upon the Zionist state for its continued defiance.
Israel’s Basic Law
Among many other things, Resolution 478 (20 August 1980) “Censures in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions”, determining also that the Basic Law was “null and void and must be rescinded forthwith”.
Israel, unperturbed, continued to commit criminal violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Palestinian Human Rights
Security Council Resolution 605 (22 December 1987) strongly deplored “those policies and practices of Israel, the occupying Power, which violate the human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, and in particular the opening of fire by the Israeli army, resulting in the killing and wounding of defenceless Palestinian civilians”.
Notwithstanding, Israel carried on with its armed violence against the captive Palestinian population.
Security Council Resolution 607 (5 January 1988) noted Israel’s violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the continued deportations of Palestinian civilians and called upon Israel “to refrain from deporting any Palestinian civilians from the occupied territories”.
Israel continues with the practice.
Israeli violence in Holy Places
Resolution 672 (12 October 1990) expressed alarm “at the violence which took place” on 8 October 1990 “at the Al-Haram Al-Sharif and other Holy Places of Jerusalem resulting in over 20 Palestinian deaths and injury to more than 150 people, including Palestinian civilians and innocent worshippers”. The Resolution especially condemned the “acts of violence committed by the Israeli forces resulting in injuries and loss of human life”.
The Israeli military, however, carried on taking its toll on Palestinian life, limb and liberty.
Ethnic cleansing, again
Resolution 726 (6 January 1992) re-called Resolutions 607, 608, 636, 641 and 694 calling on Israel to respect the Fourth Geneva Convention and meekly ‘requested’ Israel to “ensure the safe and immediate return to the occupied territories of all those deported.”
Of course, Israel did no such thing.
Palestinian deaths and injuries
Resolution 799 (18 December 1992) reaffirmed, because Israel had defied them, Resolutions 607, 608, 636, 641, 681, 694 and 726. Security Council Resolution 1322 (7 October 2000) expressed deep concern over “the tragic events that have taken place” since 28 September 2000 “that have led to numerous deaths and injuries, mostly among Palestinians” and deplored “the provocation carried out at Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem” on 28 September 2000 and “the subsequent violence there and at other Holy Places, as well as in other areas throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, resulting in over 80 Palestinian deaths and many other casualties”. The Security Council again called upon Israel, the Occupying Power, to abide by its legal obligations and “responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention”.
Zionism does not care for the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and, accordingly, Israel continued to disregard them.
Condemnation alone cannot serve justice
While United Nations Security Council Resolutions unequivocally condemn Israel’s past and continuing war crimes, the Occupying power continues to defy the world community. This is because the effectiveness of these clearly-worded resolutions is undermined by Western political leaders’ insistence that the Palestinian people negotiate away the very rights recognised in those resolutions. This policy has, over the past half a century, bought time for Israel to grab more Palestinian land and build more illegal settlements. New Zealand has just completed two years seated at the Security Council and not once has it called for sanctions, or indeed any other measure, to require Israel to cease defying the Security Council over violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Zionists claim that Israel is unjustly singled out — but its isolation is self-imposed. The 14 members of the Security Council who passed UN Security Council resolution 2334 are far more representative of world opinion than are the supporters of Zionism but it will take more than the mere passing of UN resolutions to bring to an end the Zionist state’s dismal record of disregard for international humanitarian law. Marking UN Human Rights Day on 10 December, a statement by European jurists reaffirmed the legitimacy of the right of world citizens to support BDS against Israel. The statement came as a reminder of the failure of States to abide by their commitment, made in 2005, to “strictly respect the aims and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”
The UN should take heed of the world-wide example set by BDS and its policy of non-violent persuasion. For there to be peace with justice, Israel must be made to face responsibility for its conduct.
Back to Jimmy Carter: he recognises that the Israeli Occupation “is hastening a one-state reality.” The key word here is reality and that reality is racist. The only way to achieve equal rights for all in the Holy Land, regardless of ethnicity or religion, is to repudiate Zionism. Respect the Palestinian right of return and allow the evolution of a true democracy.