“This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel. This council ought to be ashamed of itself. This council has passed 91 resolutions, 39 of which deal with Israel.”
These angry words belong to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uttered in reaction to the latest decision by the UN Human Rights Council. For the first time, the council has reached an agreement on the formation of an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the consequences of the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and particularly in the eastern part of al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The US representative in this council made a hopeless effort to prevent this resolution from passing. His vote was the only one against the resolution, but 36 members of the council voted for it and 10 members abstained including Italy and Spain.
This resolution has demanded an investigation into the impact of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian nation.
Israel is extremely concerned that the formation of this committee, whose members have not been decided yet, might lead to the re-condemnation of Tel Aviv’s move to build colonial settlements in the West Bank and particularly eastern al-Quds (Jerusalem). According to international law, as an occupying force, Israel has no right to make any alterations in the occupied lands and to disrupt its demographic, geographic and social fabric there.
Ever since its launch of the occupation of east al-Quds, West bank and the Gaza Strip (which is still seen as an occupied region by the UN), Israel has built settlements and undertaken to Judaize them, so much so that there would no longer be any possibility for the formation of an independent Palestinian state even in the 22% of the historical Palestinian soil. The beltways connecting these settlements and the Israeli military checkpoints have made life difficult for the true inhabitants of this land. To travel from one city or village to another, the people will have to carry permits similar to those required when moving from one country to another.
Israel justifies these measures under the pretext of maintaining its own security, but refrains from accepting the international laws and conventions regarding the necessity of observing the rights of the people under occupation.
It is only Washington who has endorsed these double standards. The recent voting in the UN Human Rights Council proved that the European states have distanced themselves from a blanket approval of this Israeli policy.
Official sources in Israel say under no circumstances will Tel Aviv cooperate with the international fact-finding mission over the settlements. This lack of cooperation will probably include preventing the mission’s members from the entering the occupied lands.
Furthermore, the US administration is trying to both prevent the formation of the fact finding mission and pressure its potential members so that there will not be any more ground for the condemnation of Israel within the global community.
Last summer, Washington used all its political and diplomatic might to botch Palestine’s membership in the United Nations, but it failed to prevent approval of that proposal at the General Assembly.
Israel is concerned about a repetition of Judge Goldeston’s report who headed the international fact-finding committee probing Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2009. He charged Israel with committing war crimes in that attack and emphasized that building new settlements were illegal.
The Israeli government is willing to impose economic penalties on the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for approval of an anti-Israeli resolution at the UN Human Rights Council. Israel has frequently used this as a means of forcing Palestinians to withdraw from their political positions. This is an instance of “general punishment” which is on the list of crimes against humanity.
The Israeli regime is fighting the Palestinian people and considers itself entitled to exert all kinds of political and military pressures on them. Israel’s attack on Gaza, during which 17 Palestinians lost their lives in Israel’s airstrikes, had no justification. It was a test of the “Iron Dome” anti-missile system which Israel has built in cooperation with the US government. President Obama allocated USD 250 million, in addition to the annual USD 3-billion grant-in-aid, to building the system and pointed it out as one of his honors during the recent meeting of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The US administration has tied its interests in the Middle East to those of Israel and puts Israel’s interests before any decision it makes. The Pursuit of this policy in the past decades has enraged Middle Eastern nations.
Despite profound changes in the Middle East and Arab countries during the last year, there has been no change in the US and Israeli policies. Some analysts believe that the reason is the forthcoming US presidential elections, in which Obama is bent on winning a reelection. The US, however, has always been committed to guaranteeing Israel’s strategic supremacy in the Middle East.
Despite his previous pledge to support Palestine’s UN membership, Obama baulked at it during the Security Council’s session last September. The US woes, however, are not over and the Palestinian Authority is intent on bringing up the issue of Palestine’s membership in the UN during the world bodies’ next September session.
Although the US government is trying to show that it takes sides with popular revolutions in the Arab world, its all-out support for Israel will certainly culminate in confrontation with the same people.