Oslo deception exposed – defend UNRWA – BDS can bring justice


A member of the Israeli anti-Zionist Breaking the Silence movement, who had served with Israeli Occupation forces in the Palestinian city of Hebron, described in a television documentary interview the Israeli Army policy of photographing Palestinian families inside their homes. Following home invasions, often without warning, in the middle of the night, the families would be told that the photos and video were being taken for ‘security’ purposes in the search for ‘terrorists’. But the real reason behind the image-taking soon became apparent. The soldier discovered that there was no one in authority interested in receiving his carefully-saved images. The reasons for ordering them were simply to enhance intimidation and population control.

The Western news media tends to emphasise what is described as Palestinian ‘terrorism’ because Israel wishes to draw attention away from the massive military force that it relies upon to govern every aspect of life and the economy in what are called the Occupied Palestinian territories. Compared with the intolerable provocation that is visited daily upon the Palestinian people in their homeland, violent resistance to Israeli Army oppression is actually much less than Israel would lead the world to believe. Palestinian Resistance to Occupation is based far more upon heroic forbearance and a stoic refusal to give up and leave.

The real terror rains down from Zionist forces. This year alone, by 13 August, Israel had already killed 37 Palestinian children. By that date, Defence for Children International (DCI) reported that Israel had also maimed a further 13 children. The intentional injuring of minors is designed to leave them with permanent disabilities. Unlike the massively-armed Israeli forces, these youngsters offer no threat whatsoever. One recent example of disproportionate Israeli military might was the killing of an 18-month-old baby, Bayan Abu-Khamash, and her pregnant mother, at their home in Gaza during an air strike. Palestinians have no means of defence against air strikes; neither have they against warships, tanks or artillery, for that matter. For Palestinians, to voice protest in front of the Israeli military is to invite instant death or injury.

Sabra and Shatila
This past week saw the 36th anniversary of a brutal massacre of Palestinian refugees carried out under the direction of the Israeli Army by Lebanese Phalange forces. From 16 to 18 September 1982, after Israeli troops had seized control of West Beirut, thousands of defenceless men, women and children in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps were variously massacred, wounded and left homeless. Israeli forces remained in full control of the area containing the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps during the whole period of the atrocity, preventing refugees from fleeing for their lives, while keeping the night sky alive with the constant firing of flares. The UN General Assembly, later, unanimously passed (with 12 abstentions) a Resolution condemning the Sabra and Shatila massacre as an act of genocide.

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And still there has been no just settlement in recognition of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194, affirming the right of return for ethnically-cleansed Palestinian refugees. The world community should join the survivors, who are still seeking justice, mourn with the victims and work to bring the perpetrators of the Sabra and Shatila war crime to account for their past and present inhumanities.

The malevolence of Zionism
On 17 September this year, at 6:50am, Israeli soldiers raided Beit Rima and invaded the home of Mohammad Zaghoul Qassim Al-Khatib Al-Rimawi, aged 24, and beat him to death in front of his family. On 18 September, in the al-Masrara neighbourhood of Jerusalem, the Israeli Army opened fire on, and killed, an unarmed Palestinian refugee, Muhammad Yousif Alayan, for trying to defend himself against a fanatical settler. Over the 24-hour period, Israel killed a total of six Palestinians. Also on 18 September, the Israeli Army destroyed a 1,500 metre section of Palestinian water reticulation in Tubas. The Zionist regime’s criminal and selfish abuse of Palestinian water sources has inspired an internationally supported plea to help the Palestinian people dig more wells.

In Gaza, this month alone, up to 19 September, the Israeli Army killed four people in Gaza, three of whom were aged from 12 to 16 years. As the former Palestinian ambassador to Australia, Ali Kazak, noted on 19 September: “The Australian media’s biased reporting in favour of Israel and more seriously its cover-up by not reporting its crimes and violations has become systemic.” He might just as well have been talking about the NZ news media in that regard. Ali Kazak also wrote: “The media did not find Israel’s killing of six Palestinian civilians in one day newsworthy”, going on to observe that, had six Israeli Jews been killed by Palestinians, the media would have reported it in the strongest language.

The West’s political collusion with Zionism
From Balfour to Oslo, Zionism has pursued its ambition with cunning and duplicity. Support by Western politicians for the Oslo Accords has proved to be nothing more than a cover for providing Israel with impunity for its constant violations of international humanitarian law. Ask them why they have never shown concern over the failure of the Accords, to mention either the belligerent Israeli military Occupation, a Palestinian state or even the Palestinian right to freedom. Instead of bringing the illegal Israeli settlement plan to a halt and reversing the process, Oslo has allowed the settler population to grow dramatically. This was the price of expecting the victim to ‘negotiate’ a deal with Israel in order to avoid the enforcing of international law. As Jonathan Cook explains, quoting a settler, Alan Baker, who became a legal adviser to Israel’s Foreign Ministry after 1996, “we are no longer an occupying power, but we are instead present in the territories with their [the Palestinians] consent and subject to the outcome of negotiations.”

Cook also quotes Neve Gordon, a politics professor at Ben Gurion University. Under cover of vague promises about Palestinian statehood, Israel was, in Gordon’s view, “able to bolster the settlement project” and “the statistics show that, when there are negotiations, the demographic growth of the settler population in the West Bank increases. The settlements get rapidly bigger.” Gordon said later that, in the end, “Israel didn’t need to recruit lots of new settlers, it just needed to buy time with the Oslo process and the settler population would grow of its own accord.” It should be obvious that Israel never intended to allow a Palestinian state. Even before Oslo, Israel determined to split Palestine apart ever more, introducing draconian restrictions of movement that finally resulted in the imposition of complete physical separation between Gaza and the West Bank.

The Palestinians are not even allowed their own currency, they are forced to use the Israeli shekel, making them an Occupied market for Israeli goods and empowering Israel to collect ‘import’ duties on behalf of the PA. This, in turn, gives Israel more economic power over the Palestinians, by reserving for itself the right to refuse to transfer the money whenever it feels the slightest hint of Resistance to its overall domination. Asad Ghanem, a politics professor at Haifa University, noted how Israel came to control Palestinian politics, observing that the PA “ . . . couldn’t move forward towards statehood, because Israel blocked their way but equally, they couldn’t back away from the peace process either.”

This is what happens when the international community, failing to require the perpetrator of violations of international law to desist, instead puts pressure upon the victim to ‘negotiate’ a solution with its immensely powerful tormentor. Diana Buttu, a Ramallah-based analyst and activist, and former adviser to Mahmoud Abbas and the negotiating team of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, has concluded that “this generation and the next have certainly learned its lessons: that negotiating is futile, and that our rights cannot be compromised. With this, it is only a matter of time before we begin struggling for equal rights in a single state, rather than press for statehood.” Buttu appeals to our humanity, describing how Palestinians are forced, daily, to figure out how best to negotiate “the maze of Israel’s more than 500 checkpoints, put in place to accommodate Israeli settlements, just to be able to get to work or to school.”

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) was established by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestinian refugees. The Agency began operating on 1 May 1950. In the absence of any action on the part of the world community to bring Israel to account, the General Assembly has been obliged to repeatedly renew UNRWA’s mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2020. While the Palestinian people continue to suffer, UNRWA does what it can to help provide a minimum of education, health care, relief and social services, etc. Because of the total lack of requirement for Israel to cease violating even the most fundamental of human rights, UNRWA has become unique in its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees. The Agency is responsible for the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestinian refugees whose “normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” In the absence of any resolution of the injustice, the descendants of Palestinian refugees, including legally-adopted children, continue to be eligible for registration. Today, some five million Palestinian refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.

Undermining UNRWA
US President Donald Trump’s decision to severely cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency is the next step towards realising Zionism’s desire for the world community to deny even the existence of Palestinian refugees. Miko Peled, the famed son of an Israeli Army General, notes that already a bill (HR 6451) in the US Congress is attempting to codify Trump’s attempt to limit the numbers of recognised refugees. A report by Al-Shabaka notes that: “In January 2018 the administration slashed the first $125 million installment of its annual payment to UNRWA by more than half.”

Miko Peled clearly reveals the destabilising irrationality of Zionist ideology in observing that:

“. . . the state of Israel claims its own legitimacy derives from the right of Jewish people to “return” to their biblical homeland after 2,000 years of exile. Zionists argue that, owing to connections to an ancient tribe that resided in Palestine some 2,000 years ago, they have a claim to Palestine. Now, the same state of Israel demands that Palestinian refugees drop their claim to return after 70 years and forget their homeland. The absurdity of the 2,000 year claim to “return” needs hardly be explained, but the fact is that not a single Jewish person can point out where his or her family lived 2,000 years ago. Palestinians however, in many if not most cases, still have the keys to their homes and the deeds to their land. Many of the first generation refugees are still alive and — when given a chance, as shown in this video, — will, even in places where a village or town was totalled by the Israelis, find the exact spot where their home stood, where the well used to be, and where the school, mosque or church stood.”

Author of the book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Professor Ilan Pappe, stated recently that UNRWA can only be dismantled when UN resolution 194, affirming the right of return for ethnically-cleansed Palestinian refugees, is respected and satisfied.

BDS speaks for the world community
Zionism is an affront to humanity, as is the subversive support for it offered by our political leaders. The ideology would never have survived, had the lessons of the Nazi era been truly learned. Following the Second World War, the adoption by the world community of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention opened the door for international co-operation in finally putting justice and human rights ahead of imperial, national and other vested interests. Tragically, the powers that be decided to continue putting greed and self-interest ahead of humanity. Conflict and instability are, for a few, not only profitable, they can also be exploited to provide a propaganda source for further injustice and even greater profit.

The demand for justice, equality and human rights has always been supported by the majority of humanity. We have the most to gain from peace and harmony. The world is at a crossroads. After a century of Zionist political propaganda and manipulation of news media, governments and democratic processes, the world community has decided firmly to oppose, and bring to an end, the power of this anachronistic ideology. Help Palestinians to remain on their land by supporting UNRWA and the United Palestinian Appeal (UPA). A peaceful future requires equal rights for Palestinians and the only promising path towards that is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). Israel must be liberated from Zionism, not only because of the ideology’s racist bias but also because it claims to represent all Jews, which is deeply offensive to so many Jews worldwide.

Three first-step requirements for Israel:

1. End the Occupation.

2. Grant equal rights to the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

3. Let the refugees return home or compensate them if they prefer.

With massive grass-roots support and understanding, the worldwide, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is already making deep inroads into Zionism’s profitability and credibility. As the example and influence of BDS widens ever further, so politicians will find it increasingly harder to remain at odds with public opinion. The Palestinian people’s struggle is our struggle, we have all been lied to and misled. Today, the demand for recognition and restitution is becoming irresistible, and the fight against racist Zionism is the single most essential struggle facing humanity. Now is the time to unite in a redoubling of our efforts to create a better, more honest and decent world for future generations. See ‘get involved’: https://bdsmovement.net/get-involved/what-to-boycott.

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Leslie Bravery
Leslie Bravery is a Londoner with vivid World War Two memories of the Nazi blitz on his home town. In 1947/1948 His father explained to him what was happening to the Palestinians thus: “Any ideology or political movement that creates refugees in the process of realising its ambitions must be inhuman and should be opposed and condemned as unacceptable.” What followed confirmed this assessment of the Zionist entity a hundredfold. Now a retired flamenco guitarist, with a lifelong interest in the tragedy of what happened to the Palestinian people, he tries to publicise their plight. Because the daily injustices they suffer barely get a mention in the mainstream news media, Leslie edits/compiles a daily newsletter, In Occupied Palestine, for the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. These days, to preserve his sanity, he enjoys taking part in a drama group whenever possible!