By Saeed Shabazz-Staff Writer-
UNITED NATIONS (FinalCall.com) – The Palestinian Authority presented UN officials the necessary documents to join 15 international conventions including Geneva Conventions and other important human rights treaties. If granted, it provides ordinary Palestinians with essential legal protections against discrimination or abuses by their own government according to the UN.
In global terms, it will also increase their ability to enjoy in practice, the protection of their basic rights granted to them by international law.
Some analysts say this move is consistent with the UN non-member observer state status obtained by Palestine in November 2012. They contend it opens the door for taking the issue of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and settlement building before the International Criminal Court. Something that U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power told reporters was “a profound threat to Israel.”
“This move gives the Palestinians a strong base for their survival as an independent nation,” said Ramsey Clark, co-founder of the International Action Network and an attorney for the assassinated Palestinian Liberation Organization leader, Yasser Arafat. The UN has been a major platform for the PLO, he told The Final Call.
Mr. Clark also noted that Palestinians access to the international conventions gives those nations friendly to them “a stronger position towards supporting the existence of a Palestinian state”. Reportedly 130 of the 193-member states of the UN recognize Palestinian statehood through bilateral relations.
However, the move has been met with negativity from the Israeli government, which is threatening to walk away from the latest round of peace negotiations, arguing it is a backdoor way towards Palestinian statehood without an agreement with the occupying power. The White House calls it an unhelpful, unilateral action.
But, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said, “The decision by the Palestinians to exercise their right to join international organizations should not be seen as a blow to the peace talks.”
“More than ever both parties urgently need to make the necessary compromises to reach a lasting peace with two states Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security,” said Mr. Carter in a statement as a member of The Elders, an independent organization of leaders, founded in 2007 by late South Africa former president Nelson Mandela.
“It is indicative of just how extreme U.S. Middle East policy has become, even under the Obama administration, when Palestine’s efforts to join 15 international conventions addressing human rights and international law is labeled “a threat to Israel.” None of these impact Israel in any way,” Prof. Stephen Zunes, professor of Politics and Coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the Univ. of San Francisco responded in an email message to The Final Call.
Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies said this latest round of the peace talks is merely fiction. “This round should really be called the Einstein Edition of the peace talks — based on the famed scientist’s definition of crazy being to do the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result,” Ms. Bennis said in an email.
“Signing the various conventions certainly reminds the world of the UN’s recognition of Palestine as a state — and it should be noted that the conventions chosen are those (rights of women, children, the disabled, the Geneva Conventions, etc.) that require the Palestinian authorities themselves to abide by internationally recognized human rights, something that may be a useful tool for Palestinian civil rights activists,” continued Ms. Bennis, author of “Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer”.
She also agrees with other analysts who say the Palestinian accession to the treaties was “a political response” to the Israeli announcement it would not free the last group of (104) political prisoners Tel Aviv had promised to release.
“Whatever the Palestinians feel will help them get the occupation to end, we support,” said Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss of the anti-Zionist organization, Neturei Karta during an interview with The Final Call. “We understand that Israel has no right to negotiate over a land they occupy illegally,” Rabbi Weiss added.
He said that Neturei Karta “prayed to God” to end the occupation. In late March, anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews in the U.S. and England burned the flag of what they call the “so-called state of Israel”, on the holiday of Purim.
“Purim is a holiday remembering the victory of faith over heresy and good over evil, in ancient times. It is appropriate that we repudiate the contemporary heresy and violence of Zionism,” said Rabbi Weiss.
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