- Launched on March 4, 2009, "The Russell Tribunal
on Palestine (RToP) seeks to reaffirm the primacy of international law
(to settle) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (by focusing on) the enunciation
of law by authoritative bodies (and) address(ing) the failure of application
of law even though it has been so clearly identified."
- It begins where the International Court of Justice "stopped:
highlighting the responsibilities arising from the enunciation of law,
including those of the international community, which cannot continue to
shirk its obligations."
- RToP follows in the BRussell Tribunal's tradition, named
after famed philosopher, mathematician, and anti-war/anti-imperialism activist
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970). Over 50 years ago he warned:
- "Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall
mankind renounce war" and live in peace, because no other option is
- Established in 1967, the BRussell Tribunal investigated
Vietnam war crimes. More recently, it addressed Iraq war ones and imperial
America under Bush and Obama.
- RToP exposes Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians.
It wants decades of colonialism, occupation and apartheid replaced by justice,
equality, and peace.
- RToP's Cape Town South Africa Session
- On RToP's second day, its web site (russelltribunalonpalestine.com)
was hacked and disabled. An Internet consultant called it "no amateur
- Doing an important right thing has a price. Dark Israeli-connected
forces attacked it in vain. RToP won't be silenced. Neither will others
exposing decades of Israeli crimes.
- On Facebook last week, RToP's coordinator Frank Barat
- "Zionists in South Africa are going mad. Every newsroom
in the country has received (a) gift box of anti-Russell material."
- They also created "Russell the kangaroo" Facebook
and Twitter accounts to attack RToP. So far, they've attracted scant attention.
- On November 6, Maan News headlined, "Israeli army,
intel sites down after 'Anonymous' threat," saying Palestine Internet
service was disabled by "a serious act of sabotage."
- Held on November 5 and 6, RToP proceeded successfully
as planned. Its findings are discussed below. Distribute them for maximum
exposure. Everyone should understand Israeli lawlessness against nonviolent
- RToP accused Israel of "subject(ing) the Palestinian
people to an institutionised regime amounting to apartheid as defined under
- Militarized colonial rule is especially repugnant. Ongoing
for over 44 years, Israel's version is monstrous. Occupied Palestinians
face daily oppression and indignities. Israeli Arabs have virtually no
rights in a Jewish state, affording them solely to Jews.
- Racist discrimination defines official Israeli policy.
So does systematic state terror, committing gross civil and human rights
- The 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence
to Colonial Countries and Peoples (the Declaration on Colonialism), condemned
"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.
Though flagrantly guilty, Israel is yet to be held accountable.
- Inhuman Acts of Apartheid
- Clear evidence exposed Israel's apartheid rule, including
ongoing "inhuman acts" committed against Palestinians and Israeli
Arabs. They include:
- targeted killings;
- torture and ill-treatment;
- arbitrary detentions and other deprivations of liberty;
- excluding Palestinians "from participating in political,
economic, social and cultural life;"
- preventing diaspora Palestinians from returning as international
- denying or restricting Palestinian free movement, speech,
assembly, residence, right of association, education, healthcare, housing,
and other rights equal to Jews; and
- stealing their land, bulldozing their homes, and forcefully
- As a result, Arabs and Jews are largely segregated lawlessly,
a policy called "hafrada," meaning separation in Hebrew.
- Abuses aren't random or isolated. They're willful systematic
policies, rooted in law and practice. In all respects, Jews receive preferential
treatment over Arabs deemed inferior, not wanted, and inside Israel called
fifth column threats.
- Occupied Palestinians face institutionalized separation
and discrimination under militarized rule. They're "subject to military
law enforced by military courts that fall far short of international fair
- In contrast, settlers are "subject to civil law
and a civil court system" under Israeli law. As a result, two vastly
different systems exist side by side. One affords justice, at least to
some degree. The other affords none. The entire process is rigged to convict
or force plea bargains for lesser sentences and fines. Rarely are accused
Palestinians acquitted, no matter their innocence.
- Persecution as a Crime against Humanity
- It "involves the intentional and severe deprivation
of fundamental rights of the members of an identifiable group in the context
of a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population."
Clear evidence is as follows:
- besieging Gaza; committing slow-motion genocide;
- collectively punishing Palestinians;
- willfully targeting civilians during large-scale conflicts,
on and off attacks, and regular neighborhood incursions;
- lawlessly destroying civilian homes;
- lawlessly building a Separation Wall to steal Palestinian
- forcible dispossessions to seize all valued West Bank
areas and East Jerusalem to entirely Judaize it.
- Legal Consequences
- Militarized occupation, colonialism and apartheid violate
international law and norms. So do loss of life, property and equal opportunity.
Holding Israel accountable is essential, including ending lawless practices,
prosecuting culpable officials, and mandating restitution insofar as possible.
- In fact, states and organizations are required "to
cooperate (in ending) Israel's apartheid and policies of persecution...."
They must also "end Israel's infringements of international criminal
law...." No longer can they be allowed to continue.
- "immediately dismantle" Israel's apartheid
- rescind its discriminatory laws and practices and prohibit
- impose sanctions and sever diplomatic ties until all
illegal Israeli practices end;
- mandate International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations
and prosecutions of culpable Israeli officials;
- enlist support from all groups and individuals comprising
global civil society;
- support boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) worldwide;
- reconstitute a General Assembly anti-apartheid Special
Committee to address "individuals, organizations, banks, companies,
corporations, charities, and any other private or public bodies which assist
Israel's apartheid regime with a view to taking appropriate measures;
- request an International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory
opinion with respect to Israel's longstanding occupation and apartheid;
- have the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
address "apartheid in its forthcoming review of Israel in February
- assure no Israeli reprisals against South Africa for
hosting RToP's third session.
- RToP is committed to ending Israel's occupation, colonialism,
apartheid, persecution, injustice, and conflict over diplomatic resolutions,
as well as enlisting world support toward those ends.
- Nothing less is acceptable or tolerable, nor will it
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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