An analyst says the United Nations ‘fine words’ demanding that Israel halts all its illegal settlement activities and withdraw settlers from Palestinian land is worthless unless the UN acts upon them.
The comment comes as a report by a UN human rights inquiry on Thursday said that “Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities [in the occupied West Bank] without preconditions,” adding that Israel “must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories).”
The report said that the Israeli settlements violate the 1949 Geneva Conventions, forbidding the transfer of people into the occupied territory, which could be equal to war crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Joe Carton with the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza to further discuss the issue. What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Joe Carton, I’m not too sure whether to applaud the UN on this or not when there is weekly systematic attacks on Palestinian properties including kidnappings, including deaths that do occur.
And of course not to mention the UN has said of the Gaza Strip that it’s not going to be livable by 2020 but what do you make of UN’s statements on this regard, regarding Israel’s use of live ammo against Palestinians on the rise?
Carton: Well, I think it all depends on whether we see any actions as a result of these fine words. The UN now has a golden opportunity to take some actions as a result of Israel’s boycott of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
It is in fact the first country to boycott that body in its history and it has refused a periodic review which every country is obligated to undergo so now we will see what the UN does, whether their words are worth anything.
Israel’s escalating attacks on Palestinians come in the context of a number of new challenges it faces in the region. Of course the Israelis went into the eight-day war in November expecting to win a resounding victory. They did not. They quickly found themselves clamoring for a ceasefire after the resistance was able to strike at targets including Tel Aviv.
Additionally Israel faces new military threats or military challenges throughout the region including Hezbollah’s enhanced capabilities which it demonstrated recently by flying unmanned aerial vehicle, a drone over the occupied territories as well as new political challenges stemming from the Arab Spring and the rise of new considerably less conciliatory governments throughout the region.
Israel is responding to these challenges with various kinds of aggression both against Palestinian civilians and in attacks like we’ve seen today apparently within Syria.
What the UN will do, I don’t know. It remains to be seen and it will probably depend in great deal on the kinds of pressure they face from organized civil society to take action.
Press TV: Well, you know security challenges of Israel to play out in form of aggression against civilians in the occupied territories doesn’t quite justify but that’s interesting Joe Carton; quickly if you can respond?
The UN has also called for independent investigations in to such incidents and justice for victims. I think people like you perhaps come into this picture when the UN is calling for it, not too sure why, but what do you make of that statement?
Carton: Honestly I’m a little cynical about it. We hear lots of calls for investigations and for what? Do we need more information? Is the problem a lack of information? Are there not enough reports in existence?
No there are plenty of reports. If someone wants reports I’ll send them all the reports they can possibly use full of data and documentation. A lack of information is not the problem.
The UN is proposing new information gathering mechanisms perhaps to stall a little bit and to distract public attention from the real problem which is simply a lack of accountability base on the information we already have which is readily available to anyone who cares to look for it.