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22 Sep

Events of Interest and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News

News

US stocks
tumble after Fed warning

Warning about the US economy from the Federal
Reserve sends world stocks plummeting by more than four per cent.

Last Modified: 22 Sep 2011 12:44 GMT

US state executes convict despite appeal

After a contentious clemency campaign for Troy Davis in
Georgia, US supreme court denies last-ditch stay of execution.

Last Modified: 22 Sep 2011 03:22 GMT

Pope in Germany on first official visit

Benedict due to address parliament while thousands
are expected to demonstrate outside over church sex scandals.
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2011 09:04 GMT

iProtest

Activist Debby Chan takes on one of the world’s
favourite brands in her fight for workers’ rights.

Apple is one of the coolest brands on the planet but it is currently under
the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

A spate of suicides at one of its main suppliers, Foxconn, has led to allegations of labour rights abuses in
its Chinese factories.

Palestine & UN: History of a double standard 

The struggle for Palestinian nationhood is entering yet
another new phase in its decades long history.

By Marwan Bishara

Failure
to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Israel’s 40-year occupation, in
the words of UN former Secretary General Kofi Annan, would “continue to hurt the
reputation of the United Nations and raise questions about its
impartiality”.

No
cause has consumed as much UN paper work as the plight of the displaced and
occupied Palestinians. But hundreds of its resolutions on Palestine have not
been respected let alone applied for over half a century.

Nowhere
has the UN ideals and mechanisms been more mired in power politics than in
Palestine. The efforts to neutralise UN intervention have been championed mainly
by the United States. This week’s efforts by the Obama administration working on
behalf of Israel took advocacy into a whole new level.

Washington has vetoed more than 40 UN Security Council resolutions critical of its policies some of which were drafted by its European allies. A quick look at today’s Middle East makes it clear that such obstructions worked for the interest of neither party, nor for peace and security in the region.

Cold-War
rivalries have also contributed to UN paralysis in the Israeli Palestinian-Arab
conflict, which explains why more than half of the 690 resolutions adopted by
the General Assembly from 1947-1990 have been ignored.

But
what justifies sidelining the UN ever since, while keeping it at an arm’s length
from a two decades of Peace Process?

The
short answer is a double standard.

All
major post-Cold War conflicts have seen direct UN involvement including, Bosnia,
Kosovo, Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and of late, Lebanon,
South Sudan. Not the Palestine problem. It was deferred to the US sponsored
diplomatic process even though Washington’s close relations with Israel rendered
it anything but an impartial broker.

Not
only was Palestinian Israeli conflict snatched out of the world body, most
relevant US resolutions critical of Israel were ignored by the US
sponsors.

Only
after the peace process failed to yield a solution a decade later, did the Bush
administration allow the United Nations to join, and even then, only as a junior
partner in a newly formed International Quartet that includes the European Union
and Russia, all of whom are members of the UN!

Meanwhile,
Israel has disregarded tens of resolutions, “censuring”, “calling”, “urging”,
“recommending”, or “condemning” its attacks, settlement, deportations,
occupation, etc.

Likewise,
all pleas and demands for humanitarian and political interventions fell on deaf
ears. The only time the UN was allowed to act, was in 1997 when it sent few
international unarmed observers to the occupied city of Hebron. Alas, they
weren’t mandated to speak publicly about the ongoing
violations.

For
the past four decades, Israel has violated all relevant UNSC council resolutions
such as the resolution 465 of 1980 that strongly deplored all measures taken by
Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional
structure of status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since
1967, including Jerusalem.

It
also rejected Resolution 476, which reaffirmed the necessity to end the Israeli
occupation of Arab territories ongoing since the 1967 war. The only UN Security
Council Resolution that was accepted by the US and Israel as the basis of the
diplomatic process, i.e. 242 of 1967, was also systematically violated. Israel
has been expanding its settlement activity when the resolution notes the
“inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force”.

Paradoxically,
Israel was created by a UN recommendation for Partitioning Palestine in 1947,
and was accepted as a new UN member on the basis of its commitment to respect
its resolution, and specifically UNGA 194 regarding the return of the
Palestinian refugees.

Now
that all other venues have been tried and failed, including 18 years of
bilateral negotiations, the UN Security Council must carry its responsibilities
by demanding that Israel carry its obligations under UN charter and by
recognising the Palestinian right for self-determination in a state of their
own. Period.

Marwan
Bishara is Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst.

He was
previously a professor of International Relations at the American University of
Paris. An author who writes extensively on global politics, he is widely
regarded as a leading authority on the Middle East and international
affairs.

 

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