| #ICC: PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi: ‘Deliberate Massacre’ in Gaza!

PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi: ‘Deliberate Massacre’ in Gaza ~ Sandra Petrykowski, ABC NEWS.


PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi lashed out at Israel today over what she described as “war crimes” and the “deliberate massacre” of Palestinian civilians during Israel’s current ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi: ‘Deliberate Massacre’ in Gaza

“This morning, it’s nothing short of a massacre, a deliberate massacre. War crimes committed daily. But now there is a deliberate shelling and bombing and destruction of whole areas, of residential areas,” Ashrawi said on “This Week.”

“These are war crimes being committed before the world, before the eyes of the whole world and I just can’t understand how people sit back and say [it’s] self-defense. I just can’t take the language, I can’t take the propaganda, I can’t take the mantra that Israel has a right to defend itself. Against whom? Against innocent civilians? More than 80 children have been torn to bits. Is this self-defense?” Ashrawi added in her extended interview with ABC’s Hamish Macdonald reporting today from Ramallah.

As of Sunday morning, more than 400 Palestinians have been killed – including at least 60 on Sunday alone – and more than 35,000 Gaza residents have been displaced since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8, in response to Hamas rocket fire into Israel. Eighteen Israeli Defense Forces troops have been killed in the latest ground offensive into Gaza, now in its fourth day.

“Look there, there is no human being who cannot be affected by this. Unless you lose the last vestiges of humanity, you cannot allow this to go on. It has to stop,” Ashrawi said of the latest violence in Gaza. “And Mr. Obama, and the Congress, and everybody has to know that these are human beings. Think of your children. I’m a mother, I’m a grandmother. I cannot tolerate to see torn limbs. I cannot see grown men break down and sob. I cannot see people – a whole nation in a state of trauma.”

READ: Benjamin Netanyahu: Hamas Committing ‘Double War Crime’; Rails Against ‘Mad Islamists’

Israel maintains that the goal of this latest incursion is to destroy Hamas’ infrastructure and terrorist tunnels leading into Israel, and says they give neighborhoods ample warning to evacuate. Ashrawi said the numbers of innocent victims are disproportionate because they are trapped.

“These are all human beings and they’re being abstracted and they’re being anonymously shelled by the strongest army in the region and they are defenseless,” Ashrawi said. “They are hemmed in by land, by air, by sea and then if they try to dig tunnels as a way out – what do you expect?”

As Israel intensified its ground operation in Gaza today, Ashrawi said the blame is being misplaced on the civilian population.

“If they respond in any way, they are not only labeled as terror targets, they are dehumanized, they are terrorized, and they’re being killed. It’s not just adding insult to injury, it’s just double and multiple murder. You’re maligning a whole nation, and you are giving Israel the time and the means to continue with these massacres and these war crimes. One day they will be held accountable.”

When Macdonald asked Ashrawi if Palestinians plan to apply to join the International Criminal Court to bring war crime charges against Israel, she said they plan to take that step, but she’d like to see the situation addressed by the international community before a legal case is prepared.

“I don’t believe the world has to wait until we do these things and until we prepare these cases,” Ashrawi said. “There has to be immediate intervention to provide the Palestinians with protecting, to curb the Israeli violations and to hold Israel accountable.”


| truthaholics EDITORIAL

It must be conceded that the two-state solution is no longer viable due to relentless settlement expansionism (unless one pretends that two isolated apartheid-era bantustans can remotely resemble a sovereign nation.) Which, on scrutiny, simply provokes outrage.
Zionist settler/squatter hotshots stomping around the Holy Land, vandalising and killing at will are an insult to humanity and their cost to the rest of us is too high. 
Enough is enough.
Bring on one-state for all, from the river to the sea.
Repeal everything RACIST and simply espouse universal, democratic values.Those who don’t like it can quit.
But, let the refugees back.
They’re innocent, the genuinely aggrieved VICTIMS here, rendered voiceless and invisible, like those living under ILLEGAL OCCUPATION.
Which requires issuing equal passports to all – including the stateless hitherto unjustifiably excluded – but barring War Criminals, who get tried and face criminal prosecution. And, along the lines of post-apartheid South Africa, setting up a post-zionism Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be no bad thing either.





| EU supports full UN member status for Palestine!

EU supports full UN member status for Palestine ~ MEMO.

The EU foreign policy chief, Catharine Ashton, has said that the EU desires to see Palestine granted the status of a full-member state at the UN. “Achieving this is a part of the conflict resolution,” she said.

In a letter sent to the executive member of the PLO, Hanan Ashrawi, Ashton said, “The EU is working tirelessly in order to push efforts toward building the institutions of the Palestinian Authority forward, and I affirm that we are going to continue these efforts.”

Ashton replied to a letter from Ashrawi in which the latter asked her for an EU response to Israel’s evasive policy in dealing with international law regarding Palestinian issues, especially the expansion of settlements in the occupied territories.

According to Ashton’s letter, she has sent letters to all EU foreign ministers stressing her “firm” obligation to all terms of the treaties signed with Israel, where the EU “hopes to achieve peace and security in the region soon.”

The EU senior official also wrote, “The EU Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) convened last December and agreed on important conclusions regarding the expansion of Israeli settlements, especially in E1 areas.”

The conclusion also included a “strong and clear position for the Council regarding this issue and there should be a close follow up for it.”

Regarding Israel’s announcement of continued settlement expansion in the wake of the UN General Assembly vote which granted Palestine non-member state status, Ashton said, “The ECFR stressed the necessity that Israel respects the international treaties that it has signed, especially the Paris Agreement, based on which Israel transfers Palestinian tax revenues.”

Ashton added, “Based on recent and previous findings that the ECFR has adopted, the EU is involved in an operation that ensures Israel’s obligation to all treaties signed with the EU regarding Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, including the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”




| Supporting Palestine at the UN today is a vote for peace in the Middle East!

Supporting Palestine at the UN today is a vote for peace in the Middle East ~ guardian.co.uk.

Countries that do not vote with Palestine will be on the wrong side of history, morality and international law.

Gilo new construction

New construction in the settlement of Gilo, where Israel has recently approved 100 new homes. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

It might seem stating the obvious that Palestinians and Israelis find solutions only through negotiation, until you look at the record. It is a story in which one side makes proposals for nothing in return; one side makes agreements that the other side breaks; and one side keeps commitments that the other side ignores.

Take a recent decision by Israel to approve 100 new homes for its Jewish citizens in the illegal settlement of Gilo, when the Israeli army was bombarding and shelling Gaza. This (along with numerous other settlement decisions by Israel) constitutes a clear breach of signed agreements and of international humanitarian law.

Today we return to the UN general assembly, the world’s largest multinational arena, where each of 193 states has a vote of equal value and none has a veto. Supporting our bid for enhanced status at the UN is a vote for the universal values of human rights embodied in the UN charter. Opposing it would make the Palestinian people the glaring exception to universal human rights, denying us the right to self-determination. Ironically, it would constitute a collective punitive measure against us for pursuing our freedom peacefully on the basis of international law and in adherence to what should be a global rule of law.

The question the international community should ask is not who wants negotiations, but who wants solutions. The answer is clear – one side wants to negotiate a permanent solution and the other wants permanent negotiations.

We are as far from having a serious peace partner than at any time since we began this “process”. The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, at best views negotiations in the context of photo opportunities and handshakes to improve his international image and keep public opinion quiet. At worst he exploits the “process” to continue settlement expansion, the annexation of Jerusalem, and the “enjoyment” of an American-led legal cover to enable him to act with impunity. This, in fact, represents a severe provocation to our people who have been on the receiving end of such an enormous injustice without responding violently or illegally. While we have met our commitments, Israel continues to renege on its obligations and to build on the 22% of the remaining Palestinian land designated for the free sovereign state of Palestine.

Think for a moment of the absurdity of telling an occupied people to achieve their independence only by politely asking the occupier to kindly allow them to be free. While the world tunes out, Israel will continue its oppressive occupation with its continued settlement building and confiscation of land and resources, its control of everyday life with checkpoints and incursions, and its manipulation of the global political agenda by resorting to violence as the only solution, however futile it has proven itself to be.

Keeping this in mind, is it really any surprise that we Palestinians have decided to adopt the non-violent, diplomatic and multilateral legal approach of pursuing this status at the UN, to be accorded our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in our own country?

Rather than being perceived as a substitute for negotiations, our efforts are consistent with the international community’s objective of achieving a peaceful solution whereby Palestine and Israel can live side by side in peace and security. This aim will never be achieved by giving one of these states a veto on the other’s existence. We are trying to create momentum for progress and credibility for legal and political solutions. Negotiations can work only if Israel is given a clear signal that it must abide by the laws of nations and the values of humanity at large.

We are resolute in our decision to apply for observer-state status. Now is the time for the international community to act on its words and help us bring an end to the occupation. For those countries, like the UK, that are still wavering, it must be stressed that if they choose not to vote with Palestine they will find themselves on the wrong side of history, let alone morality, justice and international law. Israel is deliberately destroying the two-state solution, as well as the chances for peace and security in the region and beyond. It is high time that all those countries that recognise the urgency of the moment become fully engaged in ending the cruel and illegal occupation and enabling the Palestinians to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty and to live in freedom and dignity on their own land.



| Mid-east bantustans: Why the one-state solution is gathering steam!


Why the one-state solution is gathering steam ~ Antony Loewenstein.

Dur­ing my re­cent After Zion­ism tour in Is­rael/Pales­tine, one of the events was in Ra­mal­lah. Pre­sent in the au­di­ence was Philippe Agret, Agence France-Presse bu­reau chief of Is­rael and the Pales­tin­ian ter­ri­to­ries. Here’s his piece (in­spired by that event?) pub­lished in Lebanon’s Daily Star:

OC­CU­PIED JERUSALEM: A re­newed Pales­tin­ian bid to seek up­graded U.N. sta­tus may be aimed at sav­ing the “two-state so­lu­tion” but many be­lieve the idea of an in­de­pen­dent Pales­tine along­side Is­rael is look­ing in­creas­ingly un­re­al­is­tic.

“The two-state so­lu­tion is the only sus­tain­able op­tion. Yet the door may be clos­ing for good,” UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon warned last month just days be­fore Pales­tin­ian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Abbas launched a fresh bid for up­graded sta­tus at the United Na­tions.

“We have reached a crit­i­cal point,” se­nior Pales­tin­ian of­fi­cial Hanan Ashrawi re­cently said in Ra­mal­lah.
“Is­rael has been al­lowed to un­der­mine the two-state so­lu­tion to the point where this is a last-ditch ef­fort to try to res­cue the chances of peace and the two-state so­lu­tion by the Pales­tini­ans,” she said.

With the peace process dead­locked for more than two years, the con­cept of the one-state so­lu­tion – a bi­na­tional en­tity on land en­com­pass­ing Is­rael and the Pales­tin­ian ter­ri­to­ries – is gain­ing ground.

In re­cent months, the idea has be­come a hot topic of dis­cus­sion across the Pales­tin­ian ter­ri­to­ries, its mer­its and short­com­ings tak­ing up an in­creas­ing num­ber of col­umn inches in the local and in­ter­na­tional press.

A sur­vey pub­lished in May by JMCC, a Jerusalem-based Pales­tin­ian re­search cen­ter, showed that one in four Pales­tini­ans – or 25.9 per­cent – were in favor of a bi­na­tional state, com­pared with 22.3 per­cent six months ear­lier.

And a more re­cent joint Is­raeli-Pales­tin­ian sur­vey con­ducted last month found that 30 per­cent of Pales­tini­ans and 31 per­cent of Is­raelis would sup­port a one-state so­lu­tion in which Jews and Arabs enjoy equal­ity.

“Cre­at­ing two neigh­bor­ing states for two peo­ples that re­spect one an­other would be the best so­lu­tion,” wrote Is­rael’s for­mer par­lia­ment Speaker Avra­ham Burg in the New York Times.

“How­ever, if our short­sighted lead­ers miss this op­por­tu­nity, the same fair and equal prin­ci­ples should be ap­plied to one state for both peo­ples,” said Burg, a long­time pro­po­nent of the idea.

The con­cept of a bi­na­tional state is not new.

Until the 1980s, the Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion cam­paigned for a de­mo­c­ra­tic Pales­tin­ian state on the ter­ri­tory that com­prised manda­tory Pales­tine prior to the es­tab­lish­ment of the Jew­ish state in 1948.

The strat­egy was later aban­doned, with the Pales­tini­ans call­ing in­stead for an in­de­pen­dent state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem – ter­ri­to­ries oc­cu­pied by Is­rael in the 1967 Mid­dle East War which to­gether make up 22 per­cent of what was manda­tory Pales­tine.

Al­though the idea of a uni­tary state has al­ways been fa­vored by a mi­nor­ity of Pales­tini­ans, among them the late in­tel­lec­tual Ed­ward Said and promi­nent aca­d­e­mic Sari Nus­seibeh, most peo­ple con­tinue to favor an in­de­pen­dent sov­er­eign Pales­tine.

In Is­rael, the idea is also sup­ported by a small num­ber of peo­ple, such as Burg and left-wing in­tel­lec­tual Meron Ben­venisti, who argue that the two peo­ples al­ready live in a de-facto shared state.

The bi­na­tional con­cept is also backed, for very dif­fer­ent rea­sons, by vet­er­ans of Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s right-wing Likud party such as par­lia­ment Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and also by set­tlers who cham­pion a “Greater Is­rael” en­com­pass­ing the ter­ri­to­ries.

“As the two-state out­come has faded from the minds of peo­ple who know the re­gion, many are be­gin­ning to re­visit the idea,” wrote Antony Loewen­stein and Ahmed Moor in the in­tro­duc­tion to an essay col­lec­tion en­ti­tled: “After Zion­ism, one state for Is­rael and Pales­tine.”

Writ­ing in Britain’s Guardian news­pa­per, Loewen­stein said the growth of Jew­ish set­tle­ment meant “a just di­vi­sion of the land” was no longer pos­si­ble.

“It is for this rea­son, among oth­ers, that a one-state so­lu­tion is gain­ing trac­tion, even within con­ser­v­a­tive cir­cles,” he wrote.

Pro­po­nents of a uni­tary state argue that set­tle­ment build­ing breaks up the ter­ri­tory into “ban­tus­tans” which makes a vi­able Pales­tin­ian state un­at­tain­able.

Ban­tus­tans were tribal states set up by South Africa’s white mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment dur­ing the 1970s as pseudo-na­tional home­lands for the coun­try’s black ma­jor­ity in the hope of staving off the com­plete col­lapse of the apartheid sys­tem.

When Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans signed the 1993 Oslo Ac­cords, there were al­ready 193,000 set­tlers liv­ing in the ter­ri­to­ries. That num­ber now stands at more than 310,000 and the num­ber is grow­ing.

An­other 200,000 or so live in a dozen set­tle­ment neigh­bor­hoods in East Jerusalem, which was cap­tured by Is­rael in 1967 and an­nexed in a move never recog­nised by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

PLO sta­tis­tics show that since Abbas’s his­toric bid to seek full U.N. state mem­ber­ship in Sep­tem­ber 2011, the num­ber of set­tlers has risen by more than 20,000.

“The only eth­i­cal so­lu­tion is a [sin­gle] de­mo­c­ra­tic, sec­u­lar and civic state in his­toric Pales­tine,” says Omar Bargh­outi, found­ing mem­ber of the Boy­cott, Di­vest­ment and Sanc­tions cam­paign, which is mod­elled on the South Africa’s fight against apartheid.

“There is no such thing as a one-state so­lu­tion,” ne­go­tia­tor Saeb Er­akat said last month.

“There is a one-state re­al­ity being cre­ated by the Is­raeli ac­tions of set­tle­ments, dic­ta­tions, facts on the ground, and with that comes apartheid,” Er­akat added.