- After two years of "underground" work, it was
launched with a "successful press conference" and announcement
- "The Russell Tribunal on Palestine seeks to reaffirm
the primacy of international law as the (way to settle) the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict." Its work will focus on "the enunciation of law by
authoritative bodies. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its
opinion on the (Separation Wall in Occupied Palestine, addressed relevant)
"International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law,
as well as dozens of international resolutions concerning Palestine."
- This Tribunal will "address the failure of application
of law even though it has been so clearly identified." It begins where
the ICJ "stopped: highlighting the responsibilities arising from the
enunciation of law, including those of the international community, which
cannot continue to shirk its obligations."
- The Russell Tribunal is part of the larger BRussell Tribunal,
named after noted philosopher, mathematician, and anti-war/anti-imperialism
activist Bertrand Russell (1972 - 1970). Established in 1967 to investigate
Vietnam war crimes, it's a hearing committee, most recently on the Iraq
war and Bush administration imperialism. Its work continues as "the
only game in town for the anti-war movement in America, Britain and Europe"
- to unite non-violently for peace on various world's hot spots, now for
Occupied Palestine to expose decades of injustice against a defenseless
- National committees will be formed globally, including
expert ones composed of jurists, lawyers, human rights and international
law experts, weapons experts, and others "to work on the evidence
against Israel and third parties" to be presented in Tribunal sessions.
Two are planned, "the earliest....by the end of this year."
- Frank Barat of the Organizing Committee urges activists
to spread the news and offer support for this vital project. After Israel's
unconscionable Gaza attack, it's never been more vulnerable given mass
world public outrage. It's long past time to hold Israel accountable for
its decades of crimes of war and against humanity,
- flaunting international humanitarian law, waging aggressive
wars, continuing an illegal occupation, expropriating Palestinian land,
and committing slow-motion genocide, so far with impunity. No longer can
this be tolerated. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is dedicated toward
- The Tribunal's Declaration on Iraq applies to Palestine.
Substituting Israel for America and Palestine for Iraq, it reads as follows:
- "The (Israeli) occupation of (Palestine) is illegal
and cannot be made legal. All that has derived from (it) is illegal and
illegitimate and cannot gain legitimacy. The facts are incontrovertible.
What are the consequences?"
- "Peace, stability and democracy in (Palestine) are
impossible under occupation. Foreign occupation is opposed by nature to
the interests of the occupied people, as proven" by:
- -- the forced diaspora;
- -- many others internally displaced or in refugee camps
- -- harsh military subjugation;
- -- a regimented matrix of control;
- -- the genocidal Gaza siege;
- -- state-sponsored mass incarceration, violence, and
- -- the flaunting of international law and dozens of UN
- -- targeted assassinations;
- -- the many tens of thousands of Palestinians killed,
injured, or otherwise grievously harmed;
- -- massive land theft and home demolitions;
- -- the lack of judicial redress;
- -- denying all rights to non-Jews; and
- -- a decades-long reign of terror against defenseless
- Western propaganda tries to justify the unjustifiable,
vilify ordinary people, call the legitimate government "terrorist,"
rationalize savage attacks as self-defense, reject the rights of the occupied,
and deny their self-determination.
- "In (Palestine, people) resist the occupation by
all means (including armed struggle), in accordance with international
law. "The Commission on Human Rights has routinely reaffirmed"
it. So have numerous General Assembly resolutions. The March 1987 Geneva
Declaration on Terrorism states:
- "Terrorism originates from the statist system of
structural violence and domination that denies the right of self-determination
to peoples....that inflicts a gross and consistent pattern of violations
of fundamental human rights....or that perpetuates military aggression
and overt or covert intervention directed against the territorial integrity
or political independence of other states," such as Palestine.
- The UN General Assembly has "repeatedly recognized"
the rights of "peoples who are fighting against colonial domination
and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their
right of self-determination (to) have the right to use force to accomplish
their objectives within the framework of international humanitarian law."
- It also recognizes the legitimacy of self-determination
seeking national liberation movements and their right to strive for and
receive appropriate support for their struggle. Further, under the UN Charter's
Article 51, "individual or collective self-defense (shall not be "impair(ed)
to respond against) an armed attack."
- In other words, armed force is a legitimate form of self-defense
as distinguished from "acts of international terrorism," especially
by one state against another or any group, organization, or individual.
Israel refuses to accept this. It continues an illegal occupation, calls
armed resistance "terrorism," and imposes its will oppressively
- World leaders "continue to justify the negation
of popular sovereignty under the rubric of (fighting terrorism), criminalizing
not only resistance but also humanitarian assistance to a besieged (and
beleaguered) people. Under international law, (Palestinian freedom-fighters)
constitute a national liberation movement. Recognition of (them) is consequently
a right, (an obligation, and) not an option." World leaders have a
duty to hold Israel accountable under the law and no longer support its
- Palestine "cannot recover lasting stability, unity
and territorial integrity until its sovereignty is (recognized, affirmed,)
guaranteed," and enforced by the world international community.
- "If (world leaders) and (Israel want) peace, stability
and democracy in (Palestine), they should accept that only the (Palestinian)
resistance - armed, civil and political - can achieve these by securing
the interests of (their) people. (Their) first demand....is the unconditional
withdrawal of (Israeli forces) illegally occupying" their land.
- Palestinians are the only legitimate force to secure
their own security and rights under international law. "All laws,
contracts (and other occupation-related) agreements....are unequivocally
null and void. According to international law and the will of the (Palestinian)
people, total sovereignty" over Palestine, its resources, culture,
and all else (past, present, and future) rests in (their own) hands.
- Further, international law demands that full "compensation....be
paid" to compensate for what Israel plundered and destroyed. Palestinians
want self-determination and "long-term peace" and security. They
have every right to expect it. "We appeal to all peace loving people
in the world to work to support" their struggle. Regional "peace,
democracy, progress" and justice depend on it. The Russell Tribunal
on Palestine is committed to work toward this end. Nothing short of it
- Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre
for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday
- Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished
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