- Colonialism and apartheid are especially serious international
law breaches because they fundamentally violate core legal principles and
- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) affirmed self-determination
as an essential principle of international law. All states must respect
and promote it. Colonial occupation is in clear violation.
- The 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence
to Colonial Countries and Peoples (the Declaration on Colonialism), condems
"colonialism in all its forms and manifestations," including
- According to the 1973 International Convention for the
Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (the Apartheid Convention),
this practice is state-sanctioned discriminatory "inhuman" racism
"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."
- Apartheid is an international crime. The above definition
builds on the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
- In addition, the 1998 Rome Statute of the International
Criminal Court calls apartheid a crime under the Court's jurisdiction.
Israel is flagrantly guilty but yet to be held accountable.
- International laws prohibiting colonialism and apartheid
are "peremptory." As a result, they're recognized by the world
community as standards permitting no derogation. Every country is legally
bound to respect and observe them. They must also:
- work cooperatively to end individual state violations;
- not extend recognition to lawless ones; nor
- provide them aid in any form.
- Moreover, international law recognizes:
- Palestinians' right to self-determination;
- that Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegally
- that Israel has no sovereignty over these Territories,
only an earlier temporary administrative right no longer applicable;
- that land seizures are illegal;
- so is the Separation Wall as the ICJ affirmed in 2004;
- that the 2005 Gaza "disengagement" left Israel
in control; that over four years of siege is illegal; and
- that, as an Occupying Power, international law obligates
Israel to "abide by the....rules of armed conflict (and relevant human
rights laws) in its administration of the territories."
- For over 44 years, Israel willfully violated the law
under a dual discriminatory regime. Its occupation and land seizures are
illegal. Its settlers are protected under civil laws assuring them free
movement and essential services.
- In contrast, Palestinians are governed by military law.
Its tribunals violate international judiciary standards. Israel's High
Court affirmed a bifurcated system that discriminates lawlessly between
these two groups, affording them different rights, protections, and life
chances in the same territory.
- As a result, this system violates armed conflict laws,
as well as international legal colonialism and apartheid prohibitions.
- Under the Declaration on Colonialism, this practice exists
when states annex or otherwise lawlessly retain territorial control and
deny indigenous peoples their self-determination rights. Israel does it
six ways by:
- violating the integrity of the Occupied Territories;
- prohibiting meaningful self-government;
- integrating the area's economy into its own;
- controlling its resources;
- denying Palestinians economic enfranchisement, free movement,
expression, their historical heritage as well as right to develop and practice
it, and equal justice under the law; and
- maintaining a 44-year state of war, including killings,
targeted assassinations, mass arrests, incarcerations, torture and abuse,
as well as other degrading and humiliating treatment.
- Under ICERD's Article 3, apartheid is prohibited as a
particularly egregious form of discrimination, without precisely defining
- The Apartheid Convention and Rome Statute went further
by criminalizing certain apartheid-related acts. They specifically involve
inhuman ones, letting one racial (or ethnic) group dominate and oppress
- Israel takes full advantage by affording Palestinians
virtually no rights as occupied people subjected to harsh discriminatory
- Third International Russell Tribunal on Palestine Session
- On November 5 and 6 in Cape Town, South Africa, distinguished
speakers will address the following topic:
- "Is the Crime of Apartheid Applicable to Israel?
- The agenda includes:
- An introduction by Pierre Galand and Stephane Hessel
- Opening remarks by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
- Speakers yet to be announced discussing: "Setting
the Legal Context - The Palestinian Right to Self-Determination;"
- Max du Plessis addressing "Apartheid in South Africa,
and the Prohibition of Apartheid in International Law;"
- John Dugard discussing "The Law and Practice of
Apartheid in South Africa and Palestine;"
- David Keane addressing "Elements of the Definition
of Apartheid - Racial Groups under International Law;"
- Ingrid Jaradat discussing "Palestinian Identity
and Palestinians as a Distinct Racial Group for the Purposes of the Definition
- Steven Friedman addressing "Jewish Identity and
Jews as a Distinct Racial Group for the Purposes of the Definition of Apartheid;"
- Joseph Schechla and Emily Schaeffer discussing "Elements
of the Definition of Apartheid: An Institutionalized Regime of Systematic
- speakers to be announced addressing "Acts of Apartheid
(Based on Article 2 of the Apartheid Convention as well as Article 5 of
the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
- Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Mahmod Hassan presenting
testimonies about extrajudicial killing, torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment and punishment, as well as arbitrary arrests and illegal imprisonment
in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel;
- Rafeef Ziadah and Zwelinzima Vavi addressing "Exploitation
of Labour of Members of a Racial Group or Groups in Israel;"
- Luciana Coconi, Shawan Jabarin and Lea Lea Tsemel discussing
"Preventing a Racial Group from Participating in the Country's Political,
Social, Economic and Cultural Life and from Developing Fully, by Denying
Basic Human Rights and Freedoms to it;"
- Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Jeff Halper and Jamal Juma'a
addressing "Measures Designed to Divide the Population Along Racial
- Haneen Zoabi and Shawqi Ensan discussing "Persecution
of Organizations and Persons, by Depriving Them of Fundamental Rights and
Freedoms Because They Oppose Apartheid;"
- Rafaelle Maison addressing "Persecution as a Crime
- Raji Surani, Mohammed Khatib and Jazi Abu Kaf discussing
the above issue with regard to Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and
- A speaker to be announced presenting Israel's position
(if one shows up); and
- Francois Dubuisson addressing "Third Party Responsibility
and Remedies;" followed by closing remarks, Russell Tribunal jury
deliberations on issues pertaining to Israel and Palestine, and a press
- A follow-up article will discuss Russell Tribunal findings
- Moreover, on October 27, the Progressive Radio News Hour
will feature Frank Barat, a member of the Russell Tribunal's Organizing
Committee. He's also a member of the UK-based Palestinian Solidarity Campaign,
supporting peace and justice for Palestinians.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive
Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central
time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy