Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Fourth Geneva Convention

Israel occupation: THEFT of water and NATURAL RESOURCES and DESTRUCTION of homes and properties

From IMUE report of 2012:

HOME DEMOLITIONS

‘Israel usually carries out demolitions on the grounds that the structures were built without permits, but in practice such permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Israeli-controlled areas, whereas a separate planning process available only to settlers grants new construction permits much more readily.’

  • Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
  • Israel has demolished approximately 27,000 Palestinian homes in the occupied territories since 1967.
  • Demolitions are carried out for three stated reasons: military purposes; “administrative” reasons (i.e. a home or structure is built without difficult to obtain permission from Israel); and to deter or punish militants and their families, a violation of provisions of international law that prohibit collective punishment.
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:
  • Since 1967, some 2,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in occupied East Jerusalem. According to official Israeli statistics, from 2000 to 2008 Israel demolished more than 670 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. The number of outstanding demolition orders is estimated at up to 20,000.
  • Palestinians in East Jerusalem are often forced to choose between demolishing their own homes and paying for Israeli authorities to do it.

THEFT & DESTRUCTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES

After taking control of the occupied territories in 1967, Israel began to exploit their natural resources. Most critically in the semi-arid region, Israel began to exploit aquifers and other water sources.

According to international law, including Article 55 of the Hague Regulations, an occupying power is prohibited from using an occupied territory’s natural resources for its own benefit. An occupying power may only use resources in an occupied territory for military necessity or for the benefit of the occupied population.

Thus, Israel’s exploitation of Palestinian resources such as water for use in Jewish settlements and inside Israel proper is a clear breach of international law, a position supported by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.

Despite this clear prohibition, in December 2011, in response to a petition filed by Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Israeli companies could continue exploiting Palestinian resources in the occupied territories.

WATER –

‘In the Gaza Strip, 90 to 95% of the water from its only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank to Gaza.‘Stringent restrictions imposed in recent years by Israel on the entry into Gaza of material and equipment necessary for the development and repair of infrastructure have caused further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation in Gaza, which has reached [a] crisis point.’

‘According to Amnesty International, Palestinians received on average of 18.5 gallons of water per person per day, falling short of the World Health Organization’s standard of 26.5 gallons per person per day, the minimum daily amount required to maintain basic hygiene standards and food security.’

‘Between January and July, according to the UN, the Israeli military destroyed 20 water cisterns, some of which were funded by donor countries for humanitarian purposes.’

‘Palestinian residents reported that water supplies were intermittent, and settlers and their security guards denied Palestinians, including shepherds and farmers, access to the springs.’

  • While Israeli settlers water their lawns and fill swimming pools, Palestinians living nearby often cannot access an adequate amount of water for drinking, cooking, or proper hygiene.
  • In the West Bank, Israeli settlers consume on average 4.3 times the amount of water as Palestinians. In the Jordan Valley alone, some 9,000 settlers in Israeli agricultural settlements use one-quarter the total amount of water consumed by the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank, some 2.5 million people.
  • A 2012 UN report documented the rising use of threats, violence and intimidation by settlers to deny Palestinians access to their water resources in the West Bank. It found that Israeli settlers have been acting systematically to gain control of some 56 springs, most of which are located on private Palestinian land.
  • The report also criticized Israeli authorities for having “systematically failed to enforce the law on those responsible for these acts and to provide Palestinians with any effective remedy.”
  • According to a 2010 Human Rights Watch report, 60,000 Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank (which is under full

 

Investing in Israeli settlements continues “cycle of violence” — Desmond Tutu

tutu.jpg

Fierce apartheid critic Desmond Tutu has denounced businesses that aid repression. (Joshua Wanyama)

Other victories have received less publicity.

The Swedish fund KPA Pension, for example, has published an exclusion list on its website featuring a number of Israeli banks and telecommunications firms, the weapons manufacturer Elbit and Alstom, a French corporation that has been involved in building a light rail system linking up Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

KPA manages the pensions of more than a million people working in local government.

Sweden’s state pension fund AP7, meanwhile, has excluded the technology giant Hewlett-Packard because of its provision of surveillance technology to Israel, as well as Cemex, a Mexican company which has been quarrying in the West Bank in violation of international law.

Enabling war crimes

AP7 is not as clean as it would have us believe, however.

In August, the Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet complained that AP7 is continuing to invest in3 Israeli banks.

According to the paper, this was not compatible with the views of most Swedes, who wanted pension funds to respect ethical principles.

Similarly, the third largest Dutch pension fund ABP has a €51 million ($64 million) stake in 3 Israel banks: Leumi, Hapoalim and Mizrahi-Tefahot. All three of these banks finance settlements in the West Bank.

The construction of Israeli settlements breaches the Fourth Geneva Convention and amounts to war crimes.

ABP is under pressure to ditch these enablers of war crimes. Around 1.8 million people have signed a petition calling on it to do so.

Desmond Tutu, the South African archbishop, has written to ABP’s board contending that investing in Israeli institutions that lend to repressive and illegal projects “helps perpetuate the cycle of violence.”

“Respect the UN”

ABP could follow the example set by another Dutch pension fund, BPL.

A list published by BPL for 2013 states that it has excluded the three aforementioned Israeli banks, along with Alstom and Veolia (the major player in the East Jerusalem tramway).

Gerard Roest, BPL’s chairman, told me that the decisions to exclude these firms were taken because the fund is guided by international standards on human rights. “The UN is a kind of world government and we should respect its decisions,” he said.

A UN fact finding mission on the Israeli occupation stated last year:

“A number of banks provide mortgage loans for home buyers and special loans for building projects in settlements. They also provide financial services to businesses in settlements and, in some cases, are physically present there.”

Richard Falk, a former UN special rapporteur for the West Bank and Gaza, has warned that “financial institutions and real estate companies may be held criminally accountable for their involvement with illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.”

Pension funds that keep on investing in Israel can be sure that they will come under pressure from people of conscience throughout the world. Support for war crimes will result in damage to their reputations.

Status of Gaza and the expelled Palestinians living in Gaza

GAZA RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENT (Click here for December 2011 Gaza access and closure map) –

SIEGE and BLOCKADE

‘The prolonged blockade of Gaza, which had already been in place for some 18 months (report published in 2012 by IMU) before the current fighting began, amounts to collective punishment of its entire population.‘

The Fourth Geneva Convention specifically prohibits collective punishment. Its Article 33 provides: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”’

‘Israel’s punitive closure of the Gaza Strip, tightened after Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in June 2007, continued to have severe humanitarian and economic consequences for the civilian population.‘Gaza’s economy grew rapidly, but the World Bank said the growth depended on international assistance.

The economy had not returned to pre-closure levels; daily wages, for instance, had declined 23% since 2007. Israel’s near-total restrictions on exports from Gaza hindered economic recovery.

Due to low per capita income, 51% of the population was unable to buy sufficient food, according to UN aid agencies. ‘Israel allowed imports to Gaza that amounted to around 40 percent of pre-closure levels, the UN reported.

Israel continued to bar construction materials, like cement, which it said had “dual use” civilian and military applications. Israel allowed shipments of construction materials for projects operated by international organizations, but as of September Gaza still had an estimated shortage of some 250 schools and 100,000 homes.’

  • Since the early 1990s, Israel has restricted passage to and from Gaza, but in 2006, following Hamas’ victory in Palestinian elections, Israel tightened its restrictions severely and imposed a total naval blockade on the tiny coastal enclave.
  • Israel’s siege and naval blockade of Gaza are acts of collective punishment, which is illegal under international law, and is considered as such by the United Nations and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.
  • A 2009 Amnesty International report following Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, stated:
  • In 2011, the UN released the so-called Palmer Report on Israel’s attack against the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists (one of them a US citizen).
  • The report deemed Israel’s blockade legal, however it was widely considered a politicized whitewash, containing the important caveat that “its conclusions can not be considered definitive in either fact or law.”
  • Shortly after the Palmer Report was released, an independent UN panel of experts released a report concluding that Israel’s blockade of Gaza does violate international law, stating that it amounts to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” The International Committee of the Red Cross and a UN fact-finding mission into Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla reached the same conclusion in 2010.
  • Israeli officials have admitted that the siege is not motivated primarily by security concerns, but is part of a strategy of “economic warfare” against the people of Gaza. In 2006, senior advisor to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Dov Weisglass, said the goal of the Gaza siege was to put the 1.6 million people of Gaza “on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
  • Despite the fact that Israel loosened restrictions under international pressure following the assault on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010, the siege and blockade continue to strangle Gaza economically.
Palestinian children in Gaza dying under the bombs
  • According to a 2012 Human Rights Watch report:

– ‘NO-GO’ ZONES – (Click here for UN map showing no-go zones)

  • In May 2010, Israel declared “no-go” zones within 300 meters (328 yards) from the wall that surrounds Gaza. In practice, however, the UN has concluded that the no-go zone is actually 500 meters (546 yards). Palestinians who venture into this area risk being shot by Israeli soldiers without warning. Numerous Palestinian civilians, including children and the elderly, have been wounded and killed in these areas.
  • Human rights organizations such as B’Tselem have documented dozens of cases of cases in which Israeli soldiers opened fire at people who posed no threat and were much farther than 300 meters (328 yards) from the wall – up to 1,500 meters (1640 yards) away.
  • According to UN statistics, the area of the official no-go zones, together with the area in which entry is effectively restricted due to a real risk of gunfire, covers about 39 square miles, or 17% of the total area of Gaza.
  • The no-go zones affect some 113,000 Palestinians (7.5% of Gaza’s population), causing harm to their homes, land, workplaces, and schools. Seven schools are located in these areas.

– RESTRICTIONS ON FISHING – (Click here for UN map showing nautical fishing limit)

‘In addition to the harsh restrictions on fishing, B’Tselem has documented cases in which naval forces have attacked and harassed fishermen. The documented cases include, for example, gunfire, detention, delay, and confiscation of boats and fishing equipment.

The prohibition on entering deep waters and the danger now inherent to every excursion to sea deny fishermen access to areas abundant with fish, limiting their catches [to] small fish of poor quality. As a result, it is extremely hard to earn a living from fishing, or even cover fishing expenses.

Given the lack of other sources of income in the Gaza Strip, some fishermen are left no option but to violate the prohibition and endanger their lives. ‘The fishing sector in Gaza has suffered a sharp blow. According to various estimates, the livelihood of some 3,000 families in Gaza, comprising some 19,500 people, depends directly on the fishing industry, and another 2,000 families make a living from affiliated industries, such as building and maintenance of boats and sale and maintenance of equipment. The imports also raise the cost of fish, preventing many families from obtaining an important source of protein. Because of the short supply, the price of fish has risen.’

  • In the Interim Agreement signed by Israel and the PLO as part of the Oslo Accords during the 1990s, Israel agreed to allow fishing boats from Gaza to travel some 20 nautical miles from shore, except for several buffer zones near the borders with Israel and Egypt to which they were denied entry altogether.
  • But according to a 2011 report from B’Tselem: “In practice, however, Israel did not issue permits to all the fishermen who requested them, and allowed fishing up to a distance of 12 nautical miles.”
  • Since Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, the Israeli navy has reduced that limit to three nautical miles.

Israel’s Tragedy Foretold

With Israel’s national election approaching, each day’s news emphasizes a clear political shift: the settlement enterprise has lost the support of the country’s mainstream voters.

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the front-runner in the March 28 vote, plans to evacuate more West Bank settlements unilaterally, a top figure in his party said this week.  (Mind you that Olmert decided to launch the preemptive war on Lebanon in June 12, 2006. Why?)

Mr. Olmert himself announced he would stop decades of investment in infrastructure for settlements. Those promises reflect a change not only in Mr. Olmert, a lifelong rightist, but in the electorate. Polls show that a strong majority supports parties ready to part with settlements.

The pattern is a familiar one from other countries.

An endeavor once considered the epitome of patriotism leads to a quagmire. Sobriety and sadness replace euphoria. Arguments that once turned dissidents into pariahs now seem obvious: in this case, that to keep the West Bank will require Israel either to cease being democratic or to cease being a Jewish state. Not only settlers but national leaders have eroded the rule of law in pursuit of what they considered a patriotic goal.

As an Israeli who has pored over the documentary record of the settlement project, I know there is one more painful, familiar element to this story: the warnings were there from the start and were ignored, kept secret or explained away.

Leaders deceived not only the country’s citizens, but themselves. So begin national tragedies.

Here is one critical example.

In early September 1967, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol was considering granting the first approval for settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights, conquered three months earlier in the Six-Day War. An Arab summit meeting in Khartoum had rejected peacemaking.

The prime minister believed that the Golan and the strip of land along the Jordan River would make Israel more defensible. He also wanted to re-establish the kibbutz of Kfar Etzion near Bethlehem, which had been lost in Israel’s 1948 war of independence.

The legal counsel of the Foreign Ministry, Theodor Meron, was asked whether international law allowed settlement in the newly conquered land. In a memo marked “Top Secret,” Mr. Meron wrote unequivocally, “My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

In the detailed opinion that accompanied that note, Mr. Meron explained that the Convention — to which Israel was a signatory — forbade an occupying power from moving part of its population to occupied territory. The Golan, taken from Syria, was “undoubtedly ‘occupied territory,’ ” he wrote.

Mr. Meron took note of Israel’s diplomatic argument that the West Bank was not “normal” occupied territory, because the land’s status was uncertain. The prewar border with Jordan had been a mere armistice line, and Jordan had annexed the West Bank unilaterally.

But Meron rejected that argument for two reasons.

The first was diplomatic: the international community would not accept it and would regard settlement as showing “intent to annex the West Bank to Israel.”

The second was legal, he wrote: “In truth, certain Israeli actions are inconsistent with the claim that the West Bank is not occupied territory.”

For instance, he noted, a military decree issued on the third day of the war in June said that military courts must apply the Geneva Conventions in the West Bank.

There is a subtext here. In treating the West Bank as occupied, Israel may simply have been recognizing legal reality. But doing so had practical import: if the land was occupied, the Arabs who lived there did not have to be integrated into the Israeli polity — in contrast to Arabs within Israel, who were citizens.

Eshkol and other Israeli leaders knew that granting citizenship to the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip would quickly turn Israel into a binational state.

In effect, the Meron memo told Eshkol: you cannot have it both ways. If the West Bank was “occupied” for the Arab population, then neither international law nor Israel’s democratic norms permitted settling Jews there.

Gershom Gorenberg is the author of “The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements.”

Part 2. Pink Floyd Roger Waters on: Divesting in Israel

 

Roger Waters of the British band Pink Floyd wrote on July 2 under “Divest in Israel: Presbyterians should support Palestinian aspirations”:

“I applaud the Presbyterian initiative assembled in Pittsburgh . In fact, I support the more wide-ranging BDS campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and have called on my fellow musicians to follow suit, just as we did in opposition to apartheid South Africa.

In 2005, 26 years after I wrote “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2,” Palestinian children protesting Israel’s apartheid wall sang, “We don’t need no occupation! We don’t need no racist wall!”

My original song was banned in apartheid South Africa because black South African children sang it to advocate for their right to equal education. In the West Bank, the children who protest the wall and sing my song face tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and even live ammunition.

I made my first trip to Israel and the West Bank in 2006. What I witnessed there shocked me to the core. The Israeli wall (the Wall of Shame) in the occupied West Bank is an appalling edifice, cutting farmers from farmland, family from family and children from schools and hospitals.

The standard Israeli response to criticism of the wall is that it is solely for defense. If that is the case, why was it not built on the Green Line (the internationally agreed demarcation after the Six-Day War of 1967)?

Why does this Wall snake through Palestinian land, as Israel grabs more and more land each year for illegal, segregated, Jews-only settlements?

No, this is not solely a defensive measure, this is a systematic colonization of conquered territory that contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention and was declared illegal in an advisory but unequivocal judgment by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in 2004.

In light of the above and despite attempts to intimidate and vilify me by Israel lobby groups in the United States and elsewhere, I stand in solidarity not only with the Palestinian people but also with the many thousands of Israelis who, believing their government’s racist policies to be wrong, are increasingly making their voices heard.

What courageous and beautiful voices they are.

The waters of this debate will inevitably be muddied, as they always are, by erroneous accusations of anti-Semitism leveled at those who favor selective divestment from companies complicit in Israel’s long record of human rights violations.

I urge the Presbyterians assembled in Pittsburgh not to be intimidated, but to stand confident with the support of people of conscience everywhere, including tens of thousands of Jewish Americans who support divestment as an ethical obligation to end complicity in the occupation.

I urge Presbyterians to adopt their selective divestment motion to make the price of collusion in human rights violations higher, and to send a message of hope to the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Good faith attempts to peacefully bring pressure on Israel to change its policies are no more anti-Semitic than similar actions against the South African apartheid regime were anti-Christian or anti-white.

In solidarity with Palestinian civil society and the nonviolent resistance movement in Israel itself, those of us involved in the struggle for Palestinian self-determination and freedom, including supporters of the BDS campaign against Israel until it fulfills its obligations under international law, will ignore the increasingly strident slanders of the Israel lobby and continue our nonviolent campaign.

This is what solidarity and compassion look like. This is how we will win against injustice.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/divest-in-israel-presbyterians-should-support-palestinian-aspirations-642882/#ixzz1zdZJ30qX

Note: Israel has erected high walls all around its supposed borders in order to prevent the Israeli citizens from seeing their “enemies”, the Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Egyptians… A typical Ashkenazi ghetto mentality inherited from the European colonial period…


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2020
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