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Israel's unholy grip on Jerusalem

Israel's unholy grip on Jerusalem

By Leslie Bravery | 26 September 2015

. . . the Security Council resolution route has always been the best way to proceed, because it does give you the best chance of getting your hands on those who you want to hold to account.”– Murray McCully, 1 August 2015

On Sunday, 20 September, Israel's grip on East Jerusalem intensified as the city council approved the replacing of 30original Palestinian neighbourhood street names with newHebrew alternatives. In Silwan, for instance, one street name is replaced with that of an archaeological sitepromoted by Israeli tourism that emphasises Jewish/Biblical history in the area while ignoring indigenous Palestinian history and culture. The change in street names is another step towards changing the demography of East Jerusalem,which is an integral part of the wider Zionist plan forOccupied Palestine. The criminal nature of Israel'sideologically-driven acts of annexation and discrimination isrevealed in decades of Security Council Resolutions:

On 27 April 1968, UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 250 called upon Israel to refrain from holding a plannedmilitary parade in Jerusalem. The UNSC considered that the military display would inevitably “aggravate tensions in the area and have an adverse effect on a peaceful settlement . . .” which, in the event it did, because Israel chose to ignore the Security Council and proceeded with the triumphalistshow-piece. Accordingly, the UNSC duly passed another resolution (251) which “deeply deplored” the holding of thedisplay “in disregard of” Resolution 250.

And so was set in train a sequence of resolution upon resolution being passed by the Security Council over several decades, condemning the annexation of East Jerusalem and continual abuses of human rights.

Changing the status of Jerusalem is inadmissible
Security Council Resolution 252 (21 May 1968) deplored Israel's failure to comply with UN General Assembly Resolutions 2253 and 2254, considered Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem as “invalid” and called upon Israel “to rescind all such measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any further action which tends to change the status of Jerusalem.”

Israel took no notice of the UNSC's call.

Acquisition of territory by military conquest
While Israel continued to defy the UN, no action whatsoever was taken to oblige it to comply. On 3 July 1969, UN Security Council Resolution 267 recalled Resolution 252 and General Assembly Resolutions 2253 and 2254, notingthat, “since the adoption of the above-mentioned resolutions Israel has taken further measures tending to change the status of the City of Jerusalem”. The resolution reminded Israel yet again of “the established principle that acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible”. The UNSCdeplored “the failure of Israel to show any regard for the resolutions” and censured “in the strongest terms all measures taken to change the status of the City of Jerusalem”. The Security Council also confirmed that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel which purport to alter the status of Jerusalem, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, are invalid and cannot change that status”.

Finally, the UN Security Council called urgently upon Israel to rescind the measures taken to annex Jerusalem. Israelrescinded nothing.

Execrable act of desecration and profanation”
Israel's continuing ideologically-inspired acts of barbarism led eventually to the passing of Security Council Resolution 271, which condemned “the execrable act of desecration and profanation of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque” and expressed grief “at the extensive damage caused by arson to the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem” on 21 August 1969 “under the military occupation of Israel”. The Security Council again reaffirmed “the established principle that acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible”and determined that Israel was obliged “to observe the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and international law governing military occupation”.

Israel again ignored the Security Council and continued, with impunity, to please itself.

Israel's non-compliance – and failure to respect
The outrage of the international community later led the Security Council to pass Resolution 298 on 25 September 1971, recalling Resolutions 252 and 267 and General Assembly Resolutions 2253 and 2254 and reminding Israel again of “the principle that acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible”. Noting “the non-compliance” and deploring Israel’s failure to respect the re-called resolutions, the Security Council urgently called upon Israel to take “no further steps in the occupied section of Jerusalem” to change the status of the city.

Unashamed, Israel continued to defy the United Nations Security Council call.

The Fourth Geneva Convention
Security Council Resolution 446 (22 March 1979) affirmedonce more that the Fourth Geneva Convention was“applicable to Palestinian land, including Jerusalem,occupied by Israel since 1967”. The Resolution also determined that “the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories . . . have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East”. This Security Council Resolution strongly deplored the failure of Israel to abide by UNSC Resolutions 237, 252 and 298, as well as General AssemblyResolutions 2253 and 2254. The Resolution specifically condemned any attempt by Israel to materially affect the demographic composition of territory occupied in 1967,including Jerusalem in particular, and to desist from undertaking any transfer of parts of its own civilian population into occupied Palestinian territory.

Undeterred, Israel continued with its ideologically-drivenprogramme of change to the “demographic composition” of Jerusalem.

Settlements, and their consequences for Palestinians
On 20 July 1979, the Security Council passed Resolution 452, strongly deploring “the lack of co-operation of Israel” with the Security Council Commission “established underResolution 446” and again reminded Israel that the policy of “establishing settlements in the occupied Arab territories has no legal validity and constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention”. Resolution 446 also expressed deep concern over the consequences for the local Palestinianinhabitants caused by Israel’s continuing establishment ofsettlements on occupied Palestinian land.

By now, more than ten years had passed during which Israel continued to violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and ignore Security Council Resolutions. It should have been clear to everyone that, so long as UN resolutions condemning the occupying power's conduct were the only sanctions it would have to face, Israel would feel foreverfree to continue oppressing Palestinians.

Zionism and demography
So the misery was allowed to continue. Israel, having rejected Resolutions 446 and 452, was the subject of another Security Council Resolution, 465 (1 March 1980),strongly deploring the occupying power's refusal to co-operate with the Security Council Commission and regretting Israel’s “formal rejection of” the above resolutions. The Resolution also deplored Israel’s decision “to officially support Israeli settlement” on occupied Palestinian land and again expressed deep concern over the suffering of the indigenous people due to military occupation. Security Council Resolution 465 also determined “that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention”.

Zionism's obsession with demography lies at the very heart of Israeli expansionism and that ideological commitment is enshrined in Israel's founding Declaration of Independence: “. . . We members of the People's Council, representatives of the Jewish Community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement . . .”

Israel's crimes and armed settler violence
On 5 June 1980, Security Council Resolution 471 re-called “once again” the Fourth Geneva Convention “and in particular article 27, which reads, Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons… They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof…” Just to make it crystal clear, Resolution 471 reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention “to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem”, expressed deep concern “that the Jewish settlers in the occupied Arab territories are allowed to carry arms, thus enabling them to perpetrate crimes against the civilian Arab population”. The Resolution further expressed “deep concern that Israel, as the occupying Power, has failed to provide adequate protection to the civilian population in the occupied territories in conformity with the provisions of the Geneva Convention . . .” The Security Council Resolution also called upon Israel “to provide the victims with adequate compensation for the damage suffered as a result of these crimes”.

Israel continued to act as before, with violence and threats. Bearing in mind the present opposition from Israel's supporters concerning BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) it is pertinent to note that the Security Council Resolution, “Calls once again upon all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connexion with settlements in the occupied territories” and “Reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem”.

UN condemns Israel's violation of the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem
Once more, the Security Council was obliged, with the passing of Resolution 476 on 30 June 1980, to deplore yet again “the persistence of Israel, in changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem”.

Israel responded by enacting its 'Basic Law' and asserting even greater powers over Jerusalem. But in spite of clearly labelling Israel's inhumanities as “crimes” the Security Council took no practical steps towards imposing any penalty upon the Zionist state for its continued defiance.

Israel's Basic Law
Among many other things, Resolution 478 (20 August 1980) “Censures in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the 'basic law’ on Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions”, determining also that the Basic Law was “null and void and must be rescinded forthwith”.

Israel, unperturbed, rescinded nothing and continued to commit criminal violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Palestinian Human Rights
Security Council Resolution 605 (22 December 1987)strongly deplored “those policies and practices of Israel, the occupying Power, which violate the human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, and in particular the opening of fire by the Israeli army, resulting in the killing and wounding of defenceless Palestinian civilians”.

Notwithstanding, Israeli armed violence continued againstthe captive Palestinian population.

Ethnic cleansing
Security Council Resolution 607 (5 January 1988) noted Israel's violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the continued deportations of Palestinian civilians and called upon Israel “to refrain from deporting any Palestinian civilians from the occupied territories”.

Israel continues with the practice.

Israeli violence in holy places
Resolution 672 (12 October 1990) expressed alarm “at the violence which took place” on 8 October 1990 “at the Al-Haram Al-Sharif and other Holy Places of Jerusalem resulting in over twenty Palestinian deaths and to the injury of more than one hundred and fifty people, including Palestinian civilians and innocent worshippers”. The Resolution especially condemned the “acts of violence committed by the Israeli forces resulting in injuries and loss of human life”.

The Israeli military, however, carried on taking its toll on Palestinian life, limb and liberty.

Ethnic cleansing, again
Resolution 726 (6 January 1992) re-called Resolutions 607, 608, 636, 641 and 694 calling on Israel to respect the Fourth Geneva Convention and meekly 'requested' Israel to “ensure the safe and immediate return to the occupied territories of all those deported.”

Of course, Israel did no such thing.

Palestinian deaths and injuries
Resolution 799 (18 December 1992) reaffirmed, because Israel had defied them, Resolutions 607, 608, 636, 641, 681, 694 and 726. Security Council Resolution 1322 (7October 2000) expressed deep concern over “the tragic events that have taken place” since 28 September 2000 “that have led to numerous deaths and injuries, mostly among Palestinians” and deplored “the provocation carried out at Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem” on 28 September 2000 and “the subsequent violence there and at other Holy Places, as well as in other areas throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, resulting in over 80 Palestinian deaths and many other casualties”. The Security Council again called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide by its legal obligations and “responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention”.

Zionism does not care for the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and, accordingly, Israel continued to disregard them.

Condemnation alone cannot serve justice
While United Nations Security Council Resolutions unequivocally condemn Israel's past, present and continuing war crimes, the occupying power continues to defy the world community with impunity. The nuclear-armed Zionist state, whose military might is massively subsidised by tax-payers in the United States, is also supported diplomatically by Western governments. While the passing of resolution upon resolution, by the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly, do nothing towards bringing relief for defenceless Palestinians, Western political leaders bring comfort to Israel by continuing to press the Palestinian people to 'negotiate' with their invincible occupier hoping, no doubt, to gain time for Israel to eventually force them into total submission.

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister, speaking to Tova O'Brien on The Nation on 1 August 2015, observed that “. . . the Security Council resolution route has always been the best way to proceed, because it does give you the best chance of getting your hands on those who you want to hold to account.” The question that arises from this is, does McCully want Israel to be held to account for its determined and continual violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention? In a letter to the Palestine Human Rights Campaign dated 4 May 2011, McCully stated that while “New Zealand, and the international community, continue to urge both sides to re-engage in direct negotiations to reach an agreement . . . the imposition of UN sanctions against Israel would be counter-productive to this process.” But McCully certainly doesbelieve in accountability because he actually spelled it out in the interview with Tova O'Brien, “We’re in favour of accountability”, he said. Then why not where Israel is concerned? The strongest comment McCully could raise in the interview concerning Israel's behaviour was that “We actually need Israel to try and see its way through the impasse that it has with many of its Arab neighbours.” Is there any evidence that Israel is willing to end its inhumanities as an occupying power?

Zionism's destabilising racist agenda threatens not only the Palestinian people but also the wider world community. The longed-for peace with justice in the region will be achieved only after Israel is finally brought to realise that there will bea price to pay for committing war crimes and defying the United Nations. The imposition of sanctions is an obviousstart in that direction; but for that to happen, Security Council members have to accept that verbal condemnation,by itself, will never be enough to awaken the ideologically-mesmerised consciences of Israel's political leaders.

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