- John Dugard is The UN Human Rights Council's Special
Rapporteur on Palestine and a rare public official. In January 2008, he
assessed the situation in Occupied Palestine (OPT). It was detailed, inclusive
and honest. This article discusses his findings in-depth. Most of them
have been widely reported, but they bear repeating nonetheless. It's because,
in this instance, they're from an agency of the 192 member states world
body. It's hoped that source highlights their importance and adds to their
- From September 25 to October 1, 2007, Dugard visited
Gaza, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho, Nablus, Qalqiliya and the
Jordan valley and held extensive meetings with: Palestinian and Israeli
NGOs, UN agencies, Palestinian and Jordanian officials, academics, businessmen,
and independent interlocutors. He also went to Gazan factories and West
Bank checkpoints and settlements and saw firsthand the situation on the
- For his efforts, Dugard is both praised and criticized.
Extremists even condemn him. It's the price he and others pay for assessing
conditions honestly. He addressed his critics and what they cite:
- -- that his reports are repetitious; he agrees because
Israel repeats the same human rights and humanitarian law violations and
has done it for over 40 years of occupation. They feature: "(Illegal)
settlements, checkpoints, demolition of houses, torture, closure of crossings
and military incursions...." More recently, add the separation wall
(since 2003), "sonic booms, (stepped up) targeted killings, (using)
Palestinians as human shields, and the humanitarian crisis" in Gaza
since Hamas was democratically elected in January 2006.
- -- that he fails to address "terrorism;" he
calls it a "scourge" with violations by both sides but with a
huge disproportionate difference; for their part, Palestinians are conducting
a national liberation struggle "against colonialism, apartheid (and)
military occupation." He doesn't condone rocket attacks or suicide
bombings but compares them historically to earlier "acts of terror"
under military occupation - against the Nazis, South Africa in Namibia
and in pre-1948 Mandate Palestine by Jewish terrorist groups in which two
future Israeli prime ministers were leaders. Violence will continue as
long as the Territories are occupied and Israel treats the population repressively;
Israel understands this, yet continues its harshness, and does so for strategic
- -- that he fails to address Palestinian human rights
violations; he cites the occupation that causes them on both sides and
stopping them requires it "be brought to a speedy end;" further,
his Special Rapporteur mandate is to report on the occupier's violations,
not the people occupied, and he's doing his job.
- Forty Years of Occupation
- For Palestinians, occupation is their core issue and
the reason violence continues. In its 2004 Advisory Opinion on the Legal
Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, the International Court of Justice (ICJ or World Court) held
the following: that Palestine (including East Jerusalem) "remain occupied
territories and Israel has continued to have the status of occupying Power."
This requires its government to adhere to the Fourth Geneva Convention
protection of civilians in time of war, and to the International Covenants
on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
It's further argued that 40 years in charge increased Israel's obligations.
Its occupation now is more unlawful because it's continued to violate
international laws all this time.
- The Occupation of Gaza
- Dugard assessed conditions in Gaza in its earliest days
under siege, excluding the intensified harshness in recent months.
- He discounted the notion that Ariel Sharon's 2005 "evacuation"
changed anything. On September 19, 2007, however, it changed plenty when
Israel declared Gaza a "hostile territory," Secretary of State
Rice concurred, and fuel, electricity and other essential supplies and
services were severely cut.
- Under international law, Dugard asserts that "effective
control" determines whether a territory is occupied, not a physical
presence on the ground. International law also requires an occupier to
guarantee the civilian population's welfare. By this standard, Israel violates
its obligation, Gaza's occupation never ended, and pretending otherwise
is a charade. The following factors reflect conditions on the ground:
- -- Israel maintains control of Gaza's six land crossings
- Erez into Israel; Rafah into Egypt in violation of the November 2005
negotiated Agreement on Movement and Access between the Palestinian Authority
(PA) and Israel - brokered by the US, EU and the international community's
envoy for Gaza's disengagement; Karmi that's the main access for goods
into the Territory; Karem Shalom and Sufa for goods as well and one other;
the effects on Gazans have been "disastrous;"
- -- Israeli control through military incursions, "rocket
attacks and sonic booms," and declaring sections of Gaza "no-go"
zones where residents entering will be shot;
- -- control of Gaza's airspace and territorial waters;
- -- control of the Palestinian Population Registry; it
allows Israel to decide through a system of identity cards - who's a Palestinian,
who resides in Gaza and the West Bank, and who may or may not enter or
leave either Territory.
- Israeli Actions Against Gaza and Their Consequences
- Since dismantling Gaza's settlements in 2005, Israel
undertook a number of actions that are repressive and violate international
- A. Military action
- -- even before the latest invasion and mass-killings,
Dugard reported through late last year - 290 Gaza killings of which at
least one-third were civilians; on September 26 when he was in Gaza, IDF
missiles killed 12 Palestinians; after the November 27 Annapolis meeting,
over 70 Palestinians were killed (up to an unmentioned date), including
eight in a "major military operation in southern Gaza" the day
before the Annapolis session began.
- -- Dugard noted the frequency of targeted killings and
other IDF international law violations; he further stated that Israeli
security forces killed 668 Palestinians in Gaza in the "past two years
(2006 and 2007)" and over half of them (359) were uninvolved in hostilities;
126 were minors; 361 were by missile attacks; and 29 were targeted killings;
during the same period, Palestinian rockets killed four Israeli civilians
and injured "hundreds;" four Israeli security forces were also
- B. Closure of crossings
- An additional effect was to strand 6000 Palestinians
on the Egyptian side with inadequate accommodations and facilities; they
were denied their right to return home, and, as a result, 30 people died
from neglect or inability to treat illness.
- C. Reducing fuel and electricity
- This action followed the September 19 declaration of
Gaza as a "hostile territory;" ten Israeli and Palestinian NGOs
petitioned Israel's High Court to halt the action on humanitarian grounds
and because it constitutes collective punishment against innocent civilians;
nonetheless, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld the action, and by last October,
supplies were cut by more than half; since then, they continue being drastically
- D. Terminating banking facilities
- After September 19, the two Israeli commercial banks
in Gaza (Bank Hapoalim and Discount Bank) suspended operations in the Territory;
henceforth, they refused to clear checks, handle cash transfers or supply
Israeli shekels that's the official Occupied Territory (OPT) currency;
it effectively halted Gaza's monetary system.
- E. Gaza's humanitarian crisis
- All the above actions produced a devastating humanitarian
crisis, Dugard covered it through late last year, and conditions continue
- 1. Food
- As of last year, over 80% of Gazans needed food aid -
from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near
East (UNRWA) and the World Food Program (WFP); what's available is very
basic and excludes fruits, vegetables, meat and fish; the aid is vital
but extremely inadequate.
- 2. Unemployment and poverty
- Border closures prevent exports and imports; the result
is Gazan factories closed, construction halted and farm output was also
affected; farmers have no income, 65,000 factory jobs were lost as well
as 121,000 in construction-related projects; the Palestinian Federation
of Industries reported 95% of Gaza's industry was shuttered; Israel also
banned coastal fishing throwing Palestinian fishermen out of work and cutting
off a vital food source; in addition, without resources, Gaza City's municipal
employees haven't been paid since March 2007; over 80% of Gazans live below
the official poverty line, and conditions are dire and worsening.
- 3. Health care
- Here, too, the situation is dire; everything is in short
supply or unavailable, including 91 "key" drugs; seriously ill
patients are prohibited from leaving the Territory (with few exceptions)
for care unavailable inside; the World Health Organization said that restrictions
caused an increasing number of patients to die; the Israeli NGO, Physicians
for Human Rights, reported 44 deaths since June 2007, and in November alone,
13 Palestinians died; also in November, Gazan hospitals couldn't perform
surgery because Israel prevented the importation of anesthetics.
- 4. Education
- Gazan children in UNRWA schools "lag behind refugee
children elsewhere;" in addition, students are prevented from studying
abroad, and in November 670 of them were denied permission for foreign
study, including six Fulbright scholars.
- 5. Fuel, energy and water
- Gaza depends largely on Israel for supply; with restrictions,
power outages are frequent, and basic facilities like hospitals are severely
hampered; insufficient power for pumping also affects the water supply;
as a result, 210,000 people only have access to it one or two hours a day;
sewage is also a major problem; facilities are in disrepair and overflows
are frequent and cause severe potential health problems; Dugard called
the situation "catastrophic" under Israel-imposed restrictions.
- F. Legal consequences of Israel's actions
- Israel calls its attacks defensive, but it's not how
Dugard sees them; he questions their proportionality, the IDF's failure
to distinguish between military and civilian targets, and their directly
attacking civilians to inflict collective punishment; he further states:
"It is highly arguable that Israel has violated the most fundamental
rules of international humanitarian law, which constitutes war crimes in
terms of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Article 85 of
the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949....relating
to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts."
- Further, the siege "violates a whole range of obligations
under both human rights and humanitarian law," including the right
of everyone to "an adequate standard of living for himself and his
family (that includes) adequate food, clothing and housing;" above
all, "Israel has violated the prohibition on collective punishment
of an occupied people" as covered in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva
Convention; its government is guilty of using "indiscriminate and
excessive....force against civilians and civilian objects" as well
as denying all sorts of freedoms and essential needs.
- Gaza is "no ordinary state;" It's "occupied
territory in whose well-being all States have an interest....are required
to promote (and are obliged) to ensure compliance by Israel (in accordance
with) international humanitarian law....;" failure to do so makes
other states complicit in the siege; they and Israel also violate international
- Human Rights in the West Bank and Jerusalem
- In the Fatah-controlled West Bank, Israel made "some
(modest) gestures of rapprochement," but did nothing to dismantle
the occupation's infrastructure. On the contrary, it continues to expand
"the instruments that most seriously violate human rights - military
incursions, settlements, the separation wall, (free movement) restrictions,
the Judaization of Jerusalem, and the demolition of houses."
- A. Military incursions
- Since June 2007, they've intensified in the West Bank;
in November alone, the IDF conducted 786 raids, killed one person (plus
at least two others he didn't report), injured 67 others and made 398 arrests;
in addition, public and private properties were damaged; curfews were imposed,
and "countless innocent civilians" were terrorized by security
forces and dogs; in all cases, these actions violate international laws
that prohibit them.
- B. Settlements and settlers
- By Dugard's count, there are 149 settlements in the West
Bank and East Jerusalem, and despite promises to freeze their growth, the
settler population increased by 63% since 1993 to its present (year end)
size of 460,000. In addition, by late last year, new construction was under
way in 88 settlements, and their average growth is 4.5% compared to 1.5%
inside Israel. An additional 105 "outposts" are also in place
- informal structures that precede new settlement activity that are unauthorized
but still funded by government ministries. In the so-called "road
map," Israel indicated it would dismantle all outposts but never did,
and at year end more than 38% of the West Bank consisted of settlements,
outposts, military areas, nature reserves off limits to Palestinians, and
connecting roads for Jews only.
- In addition, under Article 49, paragraph 6 of the Fourth
Geneva Convention, settlements are illegal. The International Court of
Justice's (ICJ) Advisory Opinion on the construction of the separation
wall affirmed it. Dugard refers to "Israel's contempt for international
law," and its actions confirm it. In December, shortly after the Annapolis
meeting, Tel Aviv announced plans for 307 new apartments in the Har Homa
settlement, but there's more as well - an extensive new "E1"
project with 3500 apartments, 10 hotels and an industrial park for 14,500
settlers near Maale Adumin. To complete it, Israel expropriated Palestinian
land in Abu Dis, Sawareh, Nabi Moussa and al-Khan al-Ahmar for an alternate
Palestinian road to Jericho that frees the area for "E1."
- The road is devious. It's part of a larger scheme to
replace territorial contiguity with "transportational contiguity"
that will work like this - two alternate road and tunnel networks will
be constructed, one connecting Palestinian cantons, the other for Jews
only, and expropriated Palestinian land will be used for the project.
- C. Checkpoints, roadblocks and permits that obstruct
- Dugard calls their existence "disastrous....for
both personal life and the (Palestinian) economy." In the West Bank,
he cites 561 "obstacles to (free) movement." They comprise over
80 manned checkpoints and much more:
- -- 476 unmanned locked gates;
- -- earth mounds;
- -- concrete blocks;
- -- ditches; and
- -- thousands of temporary checkpoints, called flying
checkpoints, for limited periods that are sometimes only hours. In November
2007, there were 429 of them in the West Bank.
- Palestinian travel is also restricted or prohibited with
permits (like South Africa's "pass laws") required for transit
between the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These restrictions violate Article
12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the
ICJ held that Israel is bound by this law in the OPT. Israel, however,
cites "security" for having them, but Dugard states this "is
difficult to accept." A more likely reason is they "serve the
convenience of settlers, to facilitate (their) travel and to impress upon
the Palestinian people the power and presence of the occupier."
- Checkpoints humiliate Palestinians on their own land.
They deepen hostility, and "do more to create insecurity than to achieve
security." Further, Yedioth Ahronoth (Israel's largest circulation
newspaper) reports that one-fourth or more of all IDF soldiers say they
witnessed abuse against Palestinian civilians at checkpoints.
- D. The wall
- Dugard bluntly states that: "The wall that Israel
is....building....is clearly illegal." The ICJ affirmed it and ruled
that Israel is obligated to discontinue construction and dismantle sections
already built. Israel ignores the ruling but "abandoned its claim
that the wall is (for) security." It now concedes that one of its
main purposes is to "include settlements within Israel."
- Its planned length is 721 kilometers. Ten percent or
more of it is on confiscated Palestinian land. Through late last year,
59% was completed, 200 kilometers were built after the ICJ ruling, and
when construction is finished around "60,000 West Bank Palestinians
(in) 42 villages and towns will reside in the closed zone between the wall
and the Green Line" separating Israel from Palestine. Moreover, its
route may be altered to include up to 13% of Palestinian land, including
"many of the West Bank's valuable water resources and its richest
- The consequences for Palestinians are devastating. They're
cut off from work, schools, universities, medical facilities, and their
overall "community life is seriously fragmented." Most often,
farmers on the wrong side of the wall can't get permits to reach their
land, harvest their crops or graze their animals.
- In addition, the opening and closing of gates (in the
wall) is "highly restrictive." The UN's Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) surveyed 67 communities near its location.
It showed only 19 gates were open to Palestinians for daily or year round
use, but it's worse than that. Thousands of Palestinians have been displaced,
and the IDF abuses and humiliates Palestinians able to enter or leave the
- Dugard cites the village of Jayyus. He was there on September
30 and saw what their people endure:
- -- the wall separates its 3200 residents from their farmland;
- -- 68% of the village's agricultural land and its six
wells are in the closed zone between the wall and the Green Line and are
off limits without a visitor's permit;
- -- scores of greenhouses are in the closed zone; they
produce tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet peppers that need daily irrigation;
- -- only 40% of Jayyus' residents have permits to access
their farms, and gate opening times are limited and arbitrary; as a result,
by August 2004 (one year after the wall's construction) local fruit and
vegetable production fell from seven to four million kilograms. Since then,
things have deteriorated further.
- Within the Jerusalem Governorate (one of 16 Palestinian
Governorates in the West Bank), the wall covers 168 kilometers. In the
Jerusalem municipality, many Palestinian villages are outside the wall
and separated from the city. In places like Abu Dis and elsewhere, the
wall runs through Palestinian communities, separating neighbors and families.
Overall, it cuts off about 25% of the 253,000 East Jerusalem Palestinians.
They can only enter the city through checkpoints and are thus impeded from
accessing hospitals, schools, universities, work and holy sites, including
the Al Aqsa Mosque.
- E. House demolitions
- Home demolitions are a "regular feature" of
Israel's occupation for the following claimed reasons - military necessity,
punishment, and failure to obtain a building permit. Dugard condemns them
as "discriminatory" actions "to demonstrate the power of
the occupier over the occupied," and here's what Palestinians are
- In East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank (comprising
60% of the Territory), permits must be obtained for construction. But they're
hard to get, bureaucratic procedures for them are cumbersome, and in practice
few are granted. Palestinians need homes, so they build them anyway, and
it gets them in trouble. Throughout the Territory, Arab structures are
demolished but not Jewish ones, and what's affected are homes, schools,
clinics and mosques on the grounds that permits weren't obtained.
- The numbers are revealing. For the two year period up
to May 2007, 354 Palestinian structures were destroyed as well as those
of Bedouin communities. One was the Jordan Valley Al Hadidiya village that's
regularly targeted for removal with a committed aim - to cleanse the area
for expanded Roi, Bega'ot and Hamda Jewish settlements at the expense of
its Arab residents. In September 2007, the IDF hit it hard. It destroyed
the structures of about 200 families in violation of Article 53 of the
Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits the destruction of personal property
"except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by
military operations." That wasn't the case in this instance. Nor was
it when homes were destroyed in the Qalqiliya Naqar neighborhood the previous
month, or in nearly every other case of indiscriminate demolition.
- F. Humanitarian situation
- Dugard cites the dire effects on "the economy, health,
education, family life and (overall) standard of living (from) the wall
(construction), expansion of settlements, restrictions on (free) movement,
house demolitions and (repeated) military incursions." And since Hamas'
2006 election, the situation seriously deteriorated. Through year end 2007,
West Bank humanitarian conditions showed no material improvement even under
Fatah control. Palestinian resources are inadequate; the occupation continues;
human rights violations are commonplace; poverty and unemployment "are
at their highest levels ever;" military incursions undermine health,
education and general welfare; the wall and checkpoints are repressive;
and the overall "social fabric of society is threatened."
- G. Conclusion
- The situation in the West Bank isn't as dire as in Gaza,
but it's just "a matter of degree" under conditions of collective
punishment. Throughout the OPT, Israel violates international law, and
it must be held accountable for its actions.
- Israel's Treatment of Arrested Persons and Convicted
- Dugard estimates since 1967 over 700,000 Palestinians
have been imprisoned. Through year end 2007, Israelis held 11,000 or more
prisoners, including "376 children, 118 women, (and) 44 Palestinian
Legislative Council (PLC) members." In addition, there are "some
800 (or more) 'administrative detainees' " (other estimates place
the figure much higher) against whom no charges were made and who are held
for renewable six month periods. Israel calls them "terrorists."
Palestinians say they're "political prisoners who have committed crimes
against" an illegal occupation.
- A. Arrested and detained persons
- Prisoners are subjected to "humiliating and degrading
treatment." They're stripped, interrogated, beaten, tortured and deprived
of their basic needs. The treatment of children is equally disturbing,
according to the Palestine Section of Defence for Children International.
It states that children are detained for between eight to 21 days before
being brought to court. They're denied the presence of a parent or lawyer
during interrogation, cursed, threatened, beaten and kept in solitary confinement
throughout their ordeal. This type treatment terrifies adults. Imagine
what it does to young children.
- B. Convicted prisoners and administrative detainees
- Prison conditions are harsh. Many prisoners are housed
in tents that are extremely hot in summer and cold in winter. Overcrowding
is serious, food is poor and anaemia among prisoners is common. This violates
the letter and spirit of various Fourth Geneva Convention provisions that
govern how an Occupying Power must treat prisoners.
- The role of prison medical doctors must also be questioned.
They witness inhumane treatment - wounds, swollen limbs, signs of violence
- but remain silent and ignore the torture taking place. This raises serious
ethical questions about their behavior.
- This is a legal and humanitarian right that's recognized
by the Security Council, General Assembly, ICJ and even Israel. It applies
to everyone, but for nearly 60 years, it's been denied in Occupied Palestine.
It's even worse since the West Bank and Gaza were separated and are under
- Dugard stated that it's "a matter of deep concern
(to him that he sees) no immediate prospect of reconciliation between Hamas
and Fatah." He said it should also concern the Quartet (the US, Russia,
EU and UN) and other international institutions, but what matters most
is how they show support. It should not be for one faction over another.
It should reconcile differences between both sides and unite them for self-determination
within the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. So far, however, no efforts
are being made, and divisive policies are being pursued that support one
side while isolating the other.
- International Law, the International Court of Justice,
the Quartet and the UN
- On December 8, 2003, the General Assembly asked the ICJ
for an advisory opinion on Israel's separation wall. The Court's ruling
"answered many legal questions that have been raised over the past
40 years." Principally, they were as follows:
- -- Palestinians are entitled to self-determination; the
wall's construction violates it;
- -- Israel is legally required to comply with Fourth Geneva
- -- under Geneva's Article 49 (6), settlements are illegal;
- -- Israel is required to abide by international human
rights law in the OPT;
- -- Israel's closed zone (between the wall and Green Line)
violates Palestinians' free movement rights and their right to work, health,
education and an adequate standard of living;
- -- destroying property for the wall's construction (including
in and around East Jerusalem) violates international law; Israel must halt
construction, dismantle portions built and make reparations for the damage
- -- all UN member states are legally obliged to recognize
Israel's non-compliance with Fourth Geneva Convention provisions;
- -- the UN (especially General Assembly and Security Council)
should address actions required to end the illegal situation resulting
from the wall's construction;
- -- on July 20, 2004, the General Assembly overwhelmingly
adopted Resolution ES-10/15; it called for Israel to comply with the ICJ's
- -- since 2004, the Security Council ignored the Advisory
Opinion while the General Assembly and Human Rights Council affirmed it;
inaction by the Security Council is because the US continues to block it
in support of Israel and also prevents the Quartet from implementing the
Opinion; as a result, the Quartet never acknowledged it ;
- -- the ICJ's Advisory Opinion is "an authoritative
statement of the applicable law," but it's not legally binding on
States; however, the ICJ is the UN's judicial organ, and the General Assembly
overwhelmingly approved the Opinion; it's thus now UN law and the Secretary-General
or his representative is obliged to enforce it - to ensure that member
States are in compliance; and
- -- for over 40 years, UN member States, its political
organs and individuals have accused Israel of "consistent, systematic
and gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the OPT;"
in 2004, the ICJ agreed; it stated these violations can't be justified
on grounds of self-defense or necessity; the UN is obligated to act; failure
to do so "brings the very commitment of the United Nations to human
rights into question."
- Peace Talks
- Dugard noted that it's not within his mandate to address
what's "essentially a political process," except as it relates
to human rights. On that basis, he stated that Oslo failed the Palestinian
people by paying inadequate attention to international law and human rights
issues. He hoped the Annapolis process would correct this, but early indications
- A joint November 27 statement highlighted the problem.
It said participants would negotiate on the 2003 "road map,"
not on the ICJ's Advisory Opinion that detailed Israel's human rights violations.
Any hope for peace, however, requires they be addressed and resolved, but
so far they're being ignored.
- Dugard calls the "road map" inappropriate and
unhelpful for the following reasons:
- -- it's outdated: it ignores ICJ's Advisory Opinion;
doesn't recognize Hamas' democratic election; doesn't address Israel's
Gaza withdrawal; or the June 2007 Gaza and West Bank separation;
- -- Israel attached 14 reservations to the "road
map" that call into question its commitment; and
- -- Israel's language shows a further lack of commitment
by stating the initiative is "a performance-based and goal driven
- International law under Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva
Convention is one of many serious matters at issue. It affirms that persons
under occupation retain their legal rights under any agreement "between
the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power (and)
any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory."
This means that any recognition of Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine
is illegal under international law. It also highlights the dangers of negotiations
between unequals with Israelis controlling everything and Palestinians
at their mercy.
- An equitable agreement is impossible under these conditions,
and Dugard states the only way negotiations should proceed. They must take
place "within a normative framework, with the guiding norms to be
found in international law, particularly international humanitarian and
human rights law, the (ICJ) Advisory Opinion, and Security Council resolutions."
The effort cannot proceed as an exercise in "political horse-trading."
Doing so guarantees failure, but more is at stake as well.
- Creating a Palestinian state won't heal 60 years of conflict
that's gone all Israel's way and inflicted great harm and suffering on
the Palestinian people. At some point, real peace is only possible if a
supreme effort is made toward true reconciliation between the two sides.
That entails addressing events, actions and past sufferings fully and honestly.
Dugard suggests a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission
for an open airing by both sides. Unless it happens in good faith, tensions
will remain and peace won't be possible. Up to now, it appears Israel wants
it that way.
- A Final Comment
- Ahead of Israel's 60th anniversary and worldwide commemoration
events, the Canada - Palestine Support Network (CanPalNet) will run one
or more full-page ads in protest. It's headlined: "We Cannot Celebrate,"
and below is the text.
- "Around the world, plans are being made to mount
major celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state
of Israel. But this year also marks 60 years since 750,000 Palestinians
were brutally expelled from their homeland in what they refer to as the
Nakba or "catastrophe." Given this history, and the deepening
conflict in the region today, we believe there are no grounds for celebration.
- We cannot celebrate while Israel starves and bombs the
people of Gaza.
- We cannot celebrate while Israel extends its apartheid
- We cannot celebrate while Israel builds Jewish only settlements
on roads on stolen Palestinian lands.
- We cannot celebrate while Israel continues to violate
United Nations Resolution 194, refusing to let Palestinians return to their
- We cannot celebrate while Israel continues to promote
wars and expand its nuclear arsenal.