Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, February 2020
Kissing international law goodbye to satisfy Israeli greed
“Passionate Zionist” Boris Johnson and his lieutenants speak with forked tongue on Palestinian rights and sovereignty. And the small matter of justice simply isn’t in their playbook.
Palestinian chiefs say that Donald Trump’s so-called peace plan contains 300 violations of international law and they will take it up with the Security Council. That’s nearly two violations per page. Given the document was put together by America and Israel, both lawless and criminal to the core, no one is surprised. It is a brazen expression of criminal intent from start to finish.
In the UK our new foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has shot to prominence. We’re told he spent the summer of 1998 at Birzeit University (in Palestine’s West Bank) working for one of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s chief negotiators on the Oslo peace accords. That doomed-to-fail initiative began in 1993 and created a form of interim governance and the framework for a final treaty by the end of 1998. So, Raab was there at a time when the two sides had been faffing about for five years achieving nothing.
In October 1998 the US, desperate to keep the charade going, convened a summit at Maryland’s Wye River Plantation at which Bill Clinton with Yasser Arafat, Binyamin Netanyahu and senior negotiators produced the Wye River Memorandum. Not that this did much good either. But Raab must have learned a lot about Israeli perversity and intransigence, not to mention America’s shortcomings as an honest broker.
Before entering Parliament Raab joined the Foreign Office and worked at the The Hague bringing war criminals to justice, then became an adviser on the Arab-Israeli conflict. But you wouldn’t think so when looking at his latest performances.
As reported in Jewish News, Raab welcomed Trump’s so-called peace plan, calling it
a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort. A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that leads to peaceful coexistence could unlock the potential of the entire region, and provide both sides with the opportunity for a brighter future. Only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent.
We encourage them to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations.
His boss, Boris Johnson, said of it: “No peace plan is perfect, but this has the merit of a two-state solution. It is a two-state solution. It would ensure that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people.” A fatuous remark if ever there was one because (a) he clearly hadn’t read it carefully, (b) the Palestinians weren’t consulted, and (c) as Jewish News stated, a Palestinian capital would be established on the outskirts of East Jerusalem while most of Jerusalem, including the sublime and ancient walled city (which is officially Palestinian), would remain under Israeli control. That is perhaps the cruellest part of the Zionist swindle.
UK government a “force for good”?
In the Global Britain debate on 3 February Raab pompously declared that “the third pillar of our global Britain will be the UK as an even stronger force for good in the world. Our guiding lights will remain the values of democracy, human rights and the international rule of law”.
But Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrat) pricked Raab’s pretty balloon, asking:
If the concept of a global Britain is to have any meaning and value, surely it must have respect for human rights and an international rules-based order at its heart. With that in mind, will the foreign secretary reconsider the unqualified support he gave to President Trump last week in respect of the so-called peace plan for Palestine? Will the right hon. Gentleman repudiate the proposed annexation of the West Bank and at long last support the recognition of a Palestinian state?
I gently say to the right hon. Gentleman that I do not think he has read the detail of this. Whatever else he may disagree with, the one thing that the plan put forward by the US included was a recognition of and commitment to a two-state solution. We have been absolutely clear that that is the only way in which the conflict can be resolved… Rather than just rejecting the plan, it is important that we try to bring the parties together around the negotiating table. That is the only path to peace and to a two-state solution.
It must be obvious to everyone – except government ministers – that you cannot achieve peace without justice.
I’d have expected Raab, by now, to be extremely sceptical of any two-state solution given the many irreversible facts on the ground that Israel has been allowed to create with impunity. And he would know better than most how many times the sides have come to the table for grotesquely lopsided negotiations and how the Israelis never honour the agreements they make.
Raab won the Clive Parry Prize for International Law while at Cambridge. So, if he’s so wedded to the values of democracy, human rights and the international rule of law, why are these vital ingredients missing from his recipe for peace? It must be obvious to everyone – except government ministers – that you cannot achieve peace without justice. And justice in the form of UN resolutions and international and humanitarian law has already spoken several times. It waits… and waits… and waits… to be implemented.
Then we had Dr Andrew Murrison, Minister of State for International Development and the Middle East, in answer to a written question:
We have made clear our deep concern about the suggestion that any parts of the occupied Palestinian territories should be annexed… Any declaration of a unilateral border change undermines the rules-based international order and the UN Charter. The UK calls on all parties to refrain from actions in contravention of international law that would imperil the viability of a two-state solution, based on the 1967 lines, and make it harder to achieve a just and lasting peace.
Murrison can’t have been paying attention. Illegal border changes departing from 1947 Partition lines and 1967 lines, annexations and other actions in contempt of international law and the UN Charter have been going on for 70 years simply because none of those pillars of modern civilisation have been enforced where Israel’s concerned. Rules-based international order has been constantly undermined and is now non-existent in the Holy Land.
The question is, what does the UK Government, which is largely responsible for this sorry state of affairs, going to do about it besides mouthing the usual limp-wristed idiocy? Is the Johnson administration happy, in George Orwell’s words, for the US-UK-Israeli boot to stamp on the human face of the Palestinians for ever?
And as if the Holy Land fiasco wasn’t enough we must put up with crass ministerial utterances on the home front. Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, complains that only 136 of the 343 local authorities in England have agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and insists that all universities and local councils “must adopt” it. If they don’t, and they fail to tackle anti-Semitism, they can expect to lose public funding.
According to the Jewish Chronicle he vowed to take action against universities and “parts of local government” who have become “corrupted” by anti-Semitism. Writing in the Sunday Express, he added: “I will use my position as secretary of state to write to all universities and local authorities to insist that they adopt the IHRA definition at the earliest opportunity. I expect them to confirm to me when they do so.”
Jenrick qualified as a lawyer, so should respect warnings by top legal opinion (for example, Hugh Tomlinson QC, Sir Stephen Sedley and Geoffrey Robertson QC) that the IHRA definition is “most unsatisfactory”, has no legal force, and using it to punish could be unlawful. It also undermines Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the UK’s own Human Rights Act 1998.
But Jenrick seems to have aligned himself with sinister moves by Johnson aimed at protecting Israel from the consequences of its countless breaches of international law and crimes against the Palestinians by banning public bodies from imposing their own boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions (BDS). What could any decent administration possibly fear from BDS? It is simply a peaceful response to Israel’s thuggery. It urges non-violent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law by meeting three perfectly reasonable demands:
Ending its unlawful occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall (international law recognises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel). Recognising the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
So how is Boris Johnson proposing to block BDS? Briefing notes accompanying the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, which set out his government’s programme, said:
We will stop public institutions from imposing their own approach or views about international relations, through preventing boycotts, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries and those who trade with them. This will create a coherent approach to foreign relations from all public institutions, by ensuring that they do not go beyond the UK government’s settled policy towards a foreign country. The UK government is responsible for foreign relations and determining the best way to interact with its international neighbours.
The ban will apply to institutions across the public sector, not just councils, and will cover purchasing, procurement and investment decisions.
Put simply, as long as the occupation is business as usual for Israel, there should be no business with Israel.
Johnson and his underlings just don’t get it. BDS is a legitimate, peaceful way of opposing Israel’s illegal occupation. Put simply, as long as the occupation is business as usual for Israel, there should be no business with Israel. Furthermore the foreign policies of successive UK governments have not met with the approval of the British people, and never will, with US-Israel pimps dictating at Westminster.
If the government’s “settled policy” towards Israel was consistent with international law and human rights conventions – as it should be – there’d be no need for BDS campaigns because the UK would already be applying sanctions. Furthermore, the Conservatives’ election manifesto pledged to “ensure that no one is put off from engaging in politics… by threats, harassment or abuse, whether in person or online”. They also promised to champion the rule of law, human rights, free trade, anti-corruption efforts and a rules-based international system – all of which Israel refuses to comply with.
Yet, only last month Jenrick announced to a Conservative Friends of Israel parliamentary reception that he would “look forward to the day” when Britain’s embassy in Israel will be “moved to Jerusalem”. And he told the Board of Deputies of British Jews he would not tolerate local authority approved BDS campaigns in the UK. “Local authorities should not be wasting time and taxpayer’s money by dabbling in foreign policy or pursuing anti-Israel political obsessions.”
By the same token one might ask why the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government is wasting time and taxpayers’ money dabbling in foreign policy and advocating on behalf of a foreign military power? It’s not in his job spec.
Jenrick has an Israeli-born wife and is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel. Before he tries ordering local authorities what to think and do he should have the courtesy to declare these interests. According to the Guardian, he’s an MP who is “on the up”. Heaven help us.
Johnson is expected to hold a Cabinet reshuffle this week. His administration is already top-heavy with Zionists and, as 80 per cent of Conservative MPs are reportedly signed-up Friends of Israel, there’s no shortage of compliant stooge material to fill even more top posts.
***Share the link of this article with your facebook friends
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.
email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org