Palestine and the Arab World

Arab democracy and resistance

Damned if you do and damned if you do not …

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Benjamin Netanyahu (May 2011)

On the one hand the international community expects Palestine to behave like a state, to develop its own personality by signing up to different international treaties – such as the Rome Statute – and on the other we see Israel punishing the Palestinian people for doing just as the world demands …  Palestine is held in a bind, just as it has been held for over 60 years.

Israel’s actions – as in withholding taxes right now – do not make peace more possible. It does not put off action in the Hague but makes that action all the more necessary.  Israel does not focus on security.  Israel repeatedly violates all sense of justice expecting the international community to endorse each and every one of its “crazy making” moves.  Madness.

What has been absent in the past 60 years is respect for international law and a clear sense of common purpose justice.  Now for the first time, a real move in that direction has been made and we are seeing the standard response from Netanyahu.  It is this man that is the threat for Israel.  At some point the Israeli people are going to have to see through policies that hold them in the grip of the past.  The pain of that past has to be put aside …  To keep carrying it is too much.

Withholding tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinians will not make Israel more secure.  Security will only come with justice.  But these present moves will build up more resentment and encourage more violence, which of course Israeli leaders like the above welcome.  The madness must end.  All revenue being held back in the form of collected taxes must be returned to the Palestinians …

Build the boycott; demand sanctions.


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January 4, 2015 at 8:10 am

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Netanyahu … see you in Court !

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The way things are being hyped up, you might think that the Palestinian move had destroyed peace negotiations. But there are no negotiations. Gaza is still not open and so it is having great difficulties in get over Protective Edge.

It is very typical that that Israel would move in the way that they are moving. But no sensible person believes a word that comes out of the Israel PR machine.

What really is important for everyone is that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is stepped up. Build the boycott ….

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January 2, 2015 at 6:12 pm

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Bensouda on Palestine and the ICC

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Abbas: Palestine not to recognize Israel as Jewish stateGiven the situation stands as Fatou Bensouda outlines below, and the decision to sign up to the Rome statute is with the PA leadership then what are we to expect?


Fatou Bensouda: the truth about the ICC and Gaza

Under the laws of the Hague court, my office can only investigate alleged war crimes in Palestine if it grants us jurisdiction in its territory. It has not done so.

Has the international criminal court avoided opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in Gaza due to political pressure, as suggested in an article published in the Guardian earlier this week? The answer is an unequivocal “no”. As prosecutor of the ICC, I reject any suggestion of this in the strongest terms.

When an objective observer navigates clear of the hype surrounding this issue, the simple truth is that my office has never been in a position to open such an investigation due to lack of jurisdiction. We have always, clearly and publicly, stated the reasons why this is so.

The Rome statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, is open to participation by states. The prosecutor can only investigate and prosecute crimes committed on the territory or by the nationals of states that have joined the ICC statute or which have otherwise accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC through an ad hoc declaration to that effect pursuant to article 12-3 of the statute.

This means that the alleged crimes committed in Palestine are beyond the legal reach of the ICC, despite the arguments of some legal scholars that fundamental jurisdictional rules can be made subject to a liberal and selective interpretation of the Rome statute. They appear to advocate that as the object and purpose of the ICC is to end impunity for mass crimes, the court ought to intervene, even where clear jurisdictional parameters have not been met. This is neither good law nor does it make for responsible judicial action.

The Palestinian Authority sought to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC in 2009. My office carefully considered all of the legal arguments put forth and concluded in April 2012, after three years of thorough analysis and public consultations, that Palestine’s status at the UN as “observer entity” was crucial – since entry into the Rome statute system is through the UN secretary general, who acts as treaty depositary. Palestine’s status at the UN at that time meant it could not sign up to the Rome statute. The former ICC prosecutor concluded that as Palestine could not join the statute, it could also not lodge an article 12-3 declaration bringing itself under the ambit of the treaty, as it had sought to do.

In November 2012, Palestine’s status was upgraded by the UN general assembly to “non-member observer state” through the adoption of resolution 67/19. My office examined the legal implications of this development and concluded that while this change did not retroactively validate the previously invalid 2009 declaration, Palestine could now join the Rome statute.

That Palestine has signed various other international treaties since obtaining this “observer state” status confirms the correctness of this position. Nonetheless, to date, the statute is not one of the treaties that Palestine has decided to accede to, nor has it lodged a new declaration following the November 2012 general assembly resolution. It is a matter of public record that Palestinian leaders are in the process of consulting internally on whether to do so; the decision is theirs alone and as ICC prosecutor, I cannot make it for them.

By virtue of the nature of the court’s mandate, every situation in which the ICC prosecutor acts will be politically fraught. My mandate as prosecutor is nonetheless clear: to investigate and prosecute crimes based on the facts and exact application of the law in full independence and impartiality.

Whether states or the UN security council choose to confer jurisdiction on the ICC is a decision that is wholly independent of the court. Once made, however, the legal rules that apply are clear and decidedly not political under any circumstances. In both practice and words, I have made it clear in no uncertain terms that the office of the prosecutor will execute its mandate, without fear or favour, where jurisdiction is established and will vigorously pursue those – irrespective of status or affiliation – who commit mass crimes that shock the conscience of humanity. My office’s approach to Palestine will be no different if the court’s jurisdiction is ever triggered over the situation.

It is my firm belief that recourse to justice should never be compromised by political expediency. The failure to uphold this sacrosanct requirement will not only pervert the cause of justice and weaken public confidence in it, but also exacerbate the immense suffering of the victims of mass atrocities. This, we will never allow.

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August 30, 2014 at 4:04 pm

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Does this short film look familiar?

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August 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm

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How come we count the ‘rockets’ fired by Palestinians but not bombs, shells and Drone strikes by Israel?

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I listen to and read the news every day.  Inevitably the reports read like football results.  “Four more rockets fired by Hamas” and “seven locations hit through the night by Israel”. Does this way of reporting only confuse me?  Some extremely heavy-duty bombs are being dropped on Gaza.  The shelling at times is constant and there are always drones in the air.  Hamas’s military wing have home made ‘rockets’ which are met with Iron Dome.  


We all need to know exactly what weapons Israel are using in civilian built up areas.  There are restrictions of what can and cannot be used. Israel must be made to answer for its attacks, its choice of weaponry.  All international efforts must be focused around lifting the closure, opening Rafah and getting Israel’s leaders in front of the International Criminal Court.




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August 25, 2014 at 8:20 am

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All Palestinian leaders line up to refer to the ICC ….

Without delay, all Palestinian leaders must do what is necessary for to refer Protective Edge to the ICC.  What is at issue is the ultimate test of the ICC.

If the current siege involved less powerful countries – for instance some of those in Africa – the Prosecutor would have moved with haste.  So why is there a delay?

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

All the documents must be drawn up, completed and signed.  Everything should be checked and double checked by International Lawyers and academics around the world in sympathy with the aims of the ICC and the process must be moved forward.

The Palestinian government of national unity are behaving in accordance with international law.  They have the right to draw upon the international apparatus of the ICC and Bensouda must move.  The question of jurisdiction must be sorted out immediately so that there can be no come-back.  Israel will challenge everything.  We all know this.  Justice is not acceptable to Israel but it must be the standard for every other state.  So international teams – experts from around the world – must step up to the mark along with the Red Cross, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and the process moved forward.

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August 23, 2014 at 9:19 am

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Blair the compassionate …

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‘He should be in the Middle East, not the UK’: Peace envoy Tony Blair blasted for throwing surprise birthday party for wife Cherie’s 60th at their £6 million mansion – as Gaza death toll passes 1,050

Tony Blair

The above headline might be stretching the truth but at least Tony is harmless when he is throwing trifle around at his wife’s birthday party.  Just keep the lunatic away from the matches!

Organising a bun fight that cost disgusting amounts of money is the measure of Blair. The man is a disgrace. He is no different to Assad and Mubarak. The difference between Blair and dictators like Ben Ali is that Blair could not get away with it. He sees nothing morally questionable about those leaders that have been overthrown. Most certainly he sees nothing questionable about Zionism. This is the same man remember who took Britain to war in Iraq and murdered thousands and thousands. This is the same man who will do interview after interview telling the world that he acted in good faith on the Iraq issue.

The crisis of the West is expressed in the problem of Blair. He was “our” Prime Minister. He was our man in Number 10 and he was a liar and completely without any compassion for the Palestinian people.

Read more:

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August 21, 2014 at 5:00 pm

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