International law under threat

0
36

The author is a Dutch-Palestinian political scientist, human rights activist and is affiliated to the the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (Al-Awda), ElectronicIntifada.net and LAW -The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, in Jerusalem.

Perspective

by

Arjan El Fassed

 

International law has come under extreme pressure after Middle East diplomacy failed to take into account various universal norms and values. The principal challenge to the notion of universality of human rights in the last decade was cultural relativism. However, today, the biggest threat to this universality is the politicisation of human rights and explicit double standards.

International law has come under extreme pressure after Middle East diplomacy failed to take into account various universal norms and values. The principal challenge to the notion of universality of human rights in the last decade was cultural relativism. However, today, the biggest threat to this universality is the politicisation of human rights and explicit double standards.

 

 

Recently, international news has been dominated by – the last-minute agreement by the Palestinians to the American blueprint for a ceasefire, brokered by the director of the CIA, George Tenet. Both the Mitchell Report and the Tenet plan are circumventing the reality of Israel’s continued military occupation. In terms of international human rights, the United States and the European have chosen a hands-off approach.

Recently, international news has been dominated by – the last-minute agreement by the Palestinians to the American blueprint for a ceasefire, brokered by the director of the CIA, George Tenet. Both the Mitchell Report and the Tenet plan are circumventing the reality of Israel’s continued military occupation. In terms of international human rights, the United States and the European have chosen a hands-off approach.

 

 

For example, the European Union refrained from the immediate suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement pending Israel’s compliance with article 2, the human rights clause of the Agreement and to monitor compliance. Israel’s gross human rights violations amount to a material breach of the EU-Israel Association Agreement as a result of the violation of article 2 requiring that the relations between the EU and Israel and their internal and international policy be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles.

For example, the European Union refrained from the immediate suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement pending Israel’s compliance with article 2, the human rights clause of the Agreement and to monitor compliance. Israel’s gross human rights violations amount to a material breach of the EU-Israel Association Agreement as a result of the violation of article 2 requiring that the relations between the EU and Israel and their internal and international policy be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles.

 

 

The EU foreign ministers decided on May 14, 2001, only to deal with the issue of Israeli exports of settlement produce to the European market and even termed this as a “technical matter.” The issue of rules of origin will be discussed again at the EU-Israeli Customs Cooperation Committee meeting towards the end of July.

The EU foreign ministers decided on May 14, 2001, only to deal with the issue of Israeli exports of settlement produce to the European market and even termed this as a “technical matter.” The issue of rules of origin will be discussed again at the EU-Israeli Customs Cooperation Committee meeting towards the end of July.

 

 

Article 79 (2) of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement (EU-Israel) enables the EU state signatories to take appropriate measures where Israel fails to fulfil any of its obligations under the agreement. These measures can be taken immediately and unilaterally “in cases of special urgency”, and arguably without recourse to further deliberations of the Association Council. There is a situation of special urgency that warrants effective action being taken immediately and unilaterally, in terms of the scale and nature of the deteriorating humanitarian crisis and escalation of violence resulting from Israeli gross human rights violations.

Article 79 (2) of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement (EU-Israel) enables the EU state signatories to take appropriate measures where Israel fails to fulfil any of its obligations under the agreement. These measures can be taken immediately and unilaterally “in cases of special urgency”, and arguably without recourse to further deliberations of the Association Council. There is a situation of special urgency that warrants effective action being taken immediately and unilaterally, in terms of the scale and nature of the deteriorating humanitarian crisis and escalation of violence resulting from Israeli gross human rights violations.

 

 

In his speech in Strasbourg on 16 May 2001, Chis Patten (EU External Relations) stated that “talks have to resume and the parties must honour their international obligations. In the case of Israel these obligations range from complying with international humanitarian law – that covers respect for human rights (as stated by the EU at the Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva)”.

In his speech in Strasbourg on 16 May 2001, Chis Patten (EU External Relations) stated that “talks have to resume and the parties must honour their international obligations. In the case of Israel these obligations range from complying with international humanitarian law – that covers respect for human rights (as stated by the EU at the Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva)”.

 

 

Israel has sought to justify its violations under article 76 of the EU-Israel Association on the basis of its alleged “security needs”. However, as the EU itself has acknowledged and international humanitarian law provides that any security needs do not and cannot justify the nature of gross human rights violations, including the use of collective punishments and heavy weaponry on the civilian Palestinian population.

Israel has sought to justify its violations under article 76 of the EU-Israel Association on the basis of its alleged “security needs”. However, as the EU itself has acknowledged and international humanitarian law provides that any security needs do not and cannot justify the nature of gross human rights violations, including the use of collective punishments and heavy weaponry on the civilian Palestinian population.

 

 

However, on 21 May 2001, at the meeting of the Association Council on 21 May 2001 in Brussels, the EU stated: “The EU has always recognized Israel’s legitimate security concerns, but these must be addressed with full respect for human rights and within the framework of the rule of law” and that “in this context, disproportionate use of force is inadmissible”.

However, on 21 May 2001, at the meeting of the Association Council on 21 May 2001 in Brussels, the EU stated: “The EU has always recognized Israel’s legitimate security concerns, but these must be addressed with full respect for human rights and within the framework of the rule of law” and that “in this context, disproportionate use of force is inadmissible”.

 

 

With the introduction of terminology such as “ceasefire” and “Israeli restraint”, the term “violation” receives a whole new meaning. Instead of accounting violations of universal norms and values, violations of political documents such as the Mitchell Report and the Tenet plan, are now the talk of the day.

With the introduction of terminology such as “ceasefire” and “Israeli restraint”, the term “violation” receives a whole new meaning. Instead of accounting violations of universal norms and values, violations of political documents such as the Mitchell Report and the Tenet plan, are now the talk of the day.

 

 

However, UN Security Council Resolution 1322 of 7 October 2000, as passed by all members of the Security Council, called for “Israel, the Occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention.” All member states, other than Israel, recognise that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and that it constitutes binding international humanitarian law upon Israel. Israel, alone in the international community in its unique assessment of its own violations and obligations, continues to refuse to accept the binding nature of these obligations.

However, UN Security Council Resolution 1322 of 7 October 2000, as passed by all members of the Security Council, called for “Israel, the Occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention.” All member states, other than Israel, recognise that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and that it constitutes binding international humanitarian law upon Israel. Israel, alone in the international community in its unique assessment of its own violations and obligations, continues to refuse to accept the binding nature of these obligations.

 

 

The international community is fully aware of the gross violations that continue to be perpetrated by Israel on a daily basis. Any attempt to end the cycle of ongoing and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by a country, including Israel, cannot be effective until the key “root causes” of such violations are recognised and combated. In the case of apartheid-era South Africa, there was no effective action or change until the international community recognised that at the heart of the ongoing and systematic human rights violations in South Africa was an abhorrent, racially discriminatory system of apartheid.

The international community is fully aware of the gross violations that continue to be perpetrated by Israel on a daily basis. Any attempt to end the cycle of ongoing and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by a country, including Israel, cannot be effective until the key “root causes” of such violations are recognised and combated. In the case of apartheid-era South Africa, there was no effective action or change until the international community recognised that at the heart of the ongoing and systematic human rights violations in South Africa was an abhorrent, racially discriminatory system of apartheid.

 

 

Israel’s military occupation is a complete system of control that permeates every aspect of Palestinian life. To refrain from addressing the root causes of the current violence, is to abfuscate the reality of the occupation in its totality. Ending this occupation and Israel’s inherent gross human rights violations will help to end the current humanitarian crisis, defuse the situation and thereby defuse the escalation of violence: finally leading to a lasting and just peace and security.

Israel’s military occupation is a complete system of control that permeates every aspect of Palestinian life. To refrain from addressing the root causes of the current violence, is to abfuscate the reality of the occupation in its totality. Ending this occupation and Israel’s inherent gross human rights violations will help to end the current humanitarian crisis, defuse the situation and thereby defuse the escalation of violence: finally leading to a lasting and just peace and security.

The author is a Dutch-Palestinian political scientist, human rights activist and is affiliated to the the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (Al-Awda), ElectronicIntifada.net and LAW -The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, in Jerusalem.

The author is a Dutch-Palestinian political scientist, human rights activist and is affiliated to the the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (Al-Awda), ElectronicIntifada.net and LAW -The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, in Jerusalem.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.