Palestine Reconciliation Part 3

In April 2016, President Abbas issued a decree establishing a supreme constitutional court that stood above all other Palestinian courts. The court was to consist of 9 judges. It was widely regarded as the government’s attempt to decide on the country’s judiciary. In October, the President of the High Court was removed from his post by the government. In December, the president removed the diplomatic immunity of 5 opposition politicians in the Palestinian parliament. It happened the day after the Constitutional Court “allowed him” to do so.

Prime Minister Hamdallah announced in June 2016 that parliamentary elections should be held in October. But in September, the Palestinian national court issued a ruling that the election was postponed indefinitely. Partly because Israel did not allow the elections to be conducted in occupied East Jerusalem, and partly because the West Bank court did not recognize the courts in Gaza.

Israel continued its destruction of Palestinian villages. In August 2016, Israeli military Palestinians in the Bedouin village of Susiay south of Hebron threw out their houses and ordered them to leave the area. It was the 4th time the rogue state had deployed its military against the villagers. In 1986, 2001 and 2011, they were also thrown out of their houses. The number of attacks on Palestinian villages had increased dramatically in 2016. By August alone, the military had destroyed 793 Palestinian houses and left 1218 Palestinians homeless. Of these, 568 children. The rogue state’s conduct is contrary to the 4th Geneva Convention. (According to directoryaah, Palestine’s latest evictions are a human rights crisis – world leaders must act, Guardian 29/8 2016).

In October, the ICC conducted an initial investigation into Israeli crimes in the West Bank in order to determine whether a proper legal process should be initiated. The ICC delegation was not allowed to visit Gaza.

Israel continued its violent behavior towards the Palestinian population. While Palestinians killed 11 Israelis in the first 10 months of 2016, Israelis killed more than 150 Palestinians. While Palestinian killers were immediately executed, no-one Israelis were prosecuted for murder.

In September 2017, UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein sent letters to 150 international companies to inform them that they could be included in a database of companies operating illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. The list of companies will be published by the UN at the end of the year. The initiative was in continuation of Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 2016, which designates Israeli settlements as gross violations of international law. Foreign companies dealing with the illegal settlements are becoming increasingly nervous about the prospect of future sanctions on the part of the world community and are therefore slowly settling down. The US and Israel reacted angrily to the UN initiative, as the US ‘ s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley termed shameful and Israel’s UN ambassador termed a “modern form of anti-Semitism”. (UN sends warning letters to firms dealing in occupied Palestinian territories, Guardian 28/9 2017)

Despite an intense diplomatic campaign by Israel, Palestine was admitted as a full member of Interpol in September with 75 votes against 24 (and 34 blank). Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki subsequently stated: “This victory was made possible by the principled position of a majority of Interpol’s member states.” Israel declined to comment on the defeat. ( Interpol votes to admit Palestine as full member, Guardian 27/9 2017)

In a sharp breach of US policy so far, the superpower of Israel’s Ambassador David Friedman then declared that Israel “in reality holds only 2% of the West Bank”. Friedman argued that the Jewish settlements and the military areas of the Occupied West Bank are an integral part of Israel and therefore cannot be occupied territory. Friedman is without diplomatic experience and only got the post because he was before President Trump’s personal lawyer. UN Resolution 242 is very clear: Israel must escape all the areas it occupied during the June 1967 war. ( Israel only occupies 2% of West Bank, says US Ambassador, Guardian 28/9 2017)

Hamas was under severe pressure in Gaza because of the devastation following Israel’s wars against the area, which had left it in permanent deep humanitarian crisis, which was ignored by the rest of the world. The support Hamas had previously received from Qatar was almost gone. The consequence was that the support for Hamas in Gaza in 2016-17 was rapidly diminishing. Therefore, in October 2017, Fatah and Hamas entered into an agreement that de facto meant a transfer of power in Gaza to Fatah. As part of the deal, Fatah was to send 3,000 policemen who would be stationed in Gaza. The deal had come to an end with Qatar, the UAE and Egypt as brokers. In early November, Egypt therefore agreed to open the Rafah transition, which had been completely closed for 4 years. The agreement marked the end of an 11-year attempt at democracy (Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary elections), which was initially opposed by the West, Israel and Fatah.

Palestine Reconciliation 3