Welcome to Palestine 2017: A legal Imperative

By Clive Hambidge

The ship carrying the precious cargo of a Palestinian Statehood bid, intended for late 2017, navigates through the choppy waters of Israel’s polluted sea of propaganda, US obduracy and a forever abstaining UK, complicit to a universally recognized, unlawful and brutal Israeli occupation.

This must not deter we the people, in our duty to support this putative bid or allow its legal and political implications to drift, be devolved or becalmed in the parameters of our consciousness indeed offshore in the shallows of a collective conscience.  The Palestinian Statehood Bid is the freedom flotilla bound this time for the UN Security Council.

France threatens a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State as it condemns on-going settlements activity. This should be supported by vociferous multilateral campaigns issuing from the 8 Nation States who at 10.26pm on 30th December 2014 voted in favor of the original bid; and who probably agreed (as I do) with Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin who incompliantly stated that Moscow “cannot share the objections of those who believe that the draft resolution was undermining the prospects of the negotiating process.” Good for him, shame on the UK.

The peremptory norms are clear, as I remind the Nation States who used the power of veto 2014 (and others that abstained) that according to the Human Sciences Research Council Palestinian Statehood Bid (HSRC): “If a State aids or assists another State in maintaining that unlawful situation, knowing it to be unlawful, then it becomes complicit in its commission and itself commits an internationally wrongful act.”

A submission to the UN Security Council must go ahead for as stated and reiterated by Mahmoud Abbas: “Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only as a political one.”  The charges of colonialism, apartheid, (and now genocide) against Israel as an “belligerent Occupying Power in OPT“ since 1967 have been demonstrated to a conscionable world community and more than satisfactorily by legal scholars.

Reparation, self determination, right of return and putative criminal charges brought against Israel for crimes against humanity and genocide  by Palestine are necessarily limited because the weight or bias of international law stands firmly with States and State self interest.  Palestine therefore and thereof has historically sought refuge in and through human rights standard bodies. With little effect.

Generations of Palestinians have known only to well of their plight and the laws that should have protected them from Israel’s violent narrative of expropriation. Generations of Palestinians have resisted this unilateral annexation rightfully and lawfully.

Prohibited under international law, the systematic unilateral annexation of Palestine by Israel as an occupying force and the geographical permanent status Israel has created asfacts on the ground is legally untenable.

In 2007 Professor John Dugard, in his capacity as UN Special Rapporteur in the OPT posed the question: “What are the legal consequences of a [Israeli] regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people?” The answer is tragically clear: collective punishment of a besieged and violated population. This constitutes a contiguous and damning litany of planned “inhuman acts” committed by Israel against innocent Palestinians since 1948 (stepped up in sophistication and barbarity since 1967) have remained unpunished.

Self determination crucial to the Palestinian cause is violated by colonialism. Self determination as determined by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is “one of the essential principles of contemporary international law.” All states should promote self determination. As they do not at the governmental level, we as the sovereign subjects of Nation States (in my case the UK) have a duty to unequivocally promote Palestinian self determination.

The 1973 “Apartheid Convention” is defined in part by: “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict  teaches a particular hagiography, the shaping of a pervasive, systemic architecture of asymmetry. We must understand and teach others by our pro-active stance that the 1948 Nakba saw a violent land grab in the course of which 678 Palestinian localities were destroyed, 400 villages disemboweled, 85% of the Palestinian population (an estimated 750,000) became refugees. And of historical Palestine 78% was stolen. Thus the establishment of Israel in historical Palestine was a Zionist coup d’état as Britain turned her anti-Semitic face the other way.

The overwhelmingly disadvantaged Palestinians, are/have been “fighting a war of national liberation” (Philo and Berry), for the remaining 22%  ever since with one arm tied behind by their backs by the cabal of US, EU,UK support of Israel’s  deadly expropriation project. The subjugated and oppressed Palestinians have been standing in an American (AIPAC controlled) wind tunnel where their anguished “cry freedom” has been roared down. Never the less the taken 85% remains alive in the topography of the collective psyche of a wounded but stoic Palestinian people.

– Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global – www.facilitateglobal.org. Contact him at: [email protected] (This article was contributed to Palestine Chronicle and was first published in Days of Palestine)

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