By Vacy Vlazna
On May 15, 1948 the unilateral proclamation of the State of Israel which erupted into the brutal Palestinian Nakba or Catastrophe was also catastrophic for United Nations (UN) ringing the death knell for its stature and authority.
Like medieval kings, the US and Israel employed the UN to be its fool running around with a cap o’ bells and sceptre (rendered useless by US veto) beginning with the 1947 Resolution 181, passed on 29 February by members (under coercion) recommending the partition of the British Mandate of Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian states which was understandably rejected by Palestine but accepted by Israel as a step toward its Zionist expansionist goal for the full realisation of a Jewish Eretz Israel.
Ironically, on 30th February Menachem Begin, head of the terrorist gang, Irgun, brazenly announced the Zionist immutable dogma, "The partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognised… Jerusalem was and forever will be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever."
Disregarding Begin’s rant, apart from having no mandate to approve or enforce the partition, ‘the United Nations had no business offering the nation of one people to the people of many nations. Its General Assembly had neither the legal nor the legislative powers to impose such a resolution or to convey title of a territory; Articles 10, 11 and 14 of the UN Charter bestows the right on the General Assembly merely to recommend resolutions.’
The Nakba marks the onset of Israel’s systematic ethnic cleansing strategy with the destruction of over 500 Palestinian villages and the forced expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinian civilians fleeing Haganah, Irgun and Lehi units that carried out the savage and systematic military offensives codenamed Plan Dalet:
These operations can be divided into the following categories:
Destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.
Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.
Forced to leave their cherished lands, the Palestinian exodus dispersed to 58 squalid refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank as well as in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. All 4.9 million Palestinian refugees come under the authority of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA). Its provision of health, education and humanitarian aid is vastly inadequate to the needs of the camps’ three generations of desperate people.
UNRWA is funded mainly by the USA, the EU Commission, UK and Germany. This cabal of collaborators which has ignored Palestinian human and political rights since 1948, are in fact, the camps’ prison guards perpetuating the normalisation of the Israeli occupation thus relieving Israel of its obligation to honour the Palestinian right of return set down in Resolution 194 (December 1948 ) of which Article 11 reads;
(The General Assembly) Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.
Israel dismissed Resolution 194, then flagrantly legislated in 1950 The Law of Return that gives all Jews the right to emigrate to and settle in Israel (aliyah) and obtain citizenship. Billions of dollars are spent promoting aliyah, the zenith of Zionism, and spent establishing 200 illegal colonies for over 500,000 illegal, mainly thuggish, colonists on occupied Palestinian land protected by the nuclear might of the Israeli military.
Within days after Palestine’s failed bid to have its right to membership of the UN passed in September 2011, Israel insolently announced a further 1100 units to be built in the Gilo colony, and weeks later announced the future expansion of 50,000 illegal Israeli houses in Palestinian East Jerusalem. In April 2012, another three colony outposts, Bruchin, Rechelim and Sansana were approved flying in the face of Palestine’s prime condition for resuming the ‘peace process’ – that Israel stops colony expansion.
The end of November 2011, saw Israel’s houseboy, the Leader of the Free World and Honest Peace Broker, spit out his dummy summarily withdrawing the US and funding from UNESCO because it approved Palestinian membership to its organisation thereby jeopardising thousands of UNESCO’s humanitarian projects.
Since 1948, there have been over 105 General Assembly UN resolutions and over 224 Security Council resolutions passed against Israel in relation to Palestine, Lebanon and Syria condemning or deploring Israel for deportations of Palestinians, for refusal to cooperate with the UN, for assassinations, for killing Palestinian students, for denying human rights of Palestinians, for raids on Gaza, for Israel’s use of resources from occupied territories, for failure to abide by the Geneva Conventions, for repeated military interventions in Lebanon and Syria, reiterating Israel’s claim to Jerusalem is null and void, calling on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories, to comply with UN decisions, reaffirming the "inalienable rights of the Palestinian people", including the right to national sovereignty and the right of return…to name a few.
Most have have been ignored and /or vetoed by the USA…..
8 years ago, the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on the matter of the Israeli Annexation/Apartheid Wall that ‘Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, in accordance with paragraph 151 of this Opinion".
To this day, brave Palestinians demonstrate and struggle against the relentless encroachment of the Annexation Wall on their lands.
In 2009, Resolution 1860 calling for the full cessation of war between Israel and Hamas was passed on the 9th January – TWO WEEKS after the war began with 200 Palestinians slaughtered on the first day. Ignoring the resolution Israel leisurely prolonged its Operation Cast Lead against unarmed and trapped Gazan families with another 9 days of hellish attacks. It ended the war a discreet two days before Obama’s inauguration.
In March 2012, Michael Mandel, law professor at Canada’s York University stridently criticised the UN’s International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to refuse jurisdiction over Gaza war crimes:
"It’s disgraceful but not surprising that the ICC has dismissed Palestine’s complaint against Israel. It sat on the complaint for over three years, always proudly announcing that it was investigating it to give the appearance of impartiality. Meanwhile the ICC jumped to attention in less than three weeks when the US government, which is not a signatory to the treaty, wanted to go to war against Libya, justifying Western aggression with bogus charges against the Libyan regime…Ocampo [ICC prosecutor]and company have been busy putting Africa on trial for crimes aided, abetted and exploited by the rich countries, while the US government killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and tens of thousands of Afghans, and Israel has been committing Nuremberg’s ‘supreme international crime’ of aggression against the Palestinians for 45 years."
Also on May 10, the Electronic Intifada reported that UNRWA’s Commissioner General, Filippo Grandi’s appeal "to the Israeli government to find an acceptable solution, noting that the [2000 Palestinian political prisoners] hunger strikers’ demands are generally related to the basic rights of prisoners, as stipulated in the Geneva Conventions." was hastily removed from UNRWA’s website.
Israel’s impunity to commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, its 64 year defiance of UN resolutions amplify the UN’s lethal incompetence. 187 member nations, (not including Israel’s quislings and human rights hypocrites; USA, UK, Australia, Germany, France), are too gutless or subservient or self-serving to protect and enforce the international laws for which they are legally obligated;
International human rights law lays down obligations which States are bound to respect. By becoming parties to international treaties, States assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfil means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights.
The 64 years of the uninterrupted Palestinian Nakba with its sweeping scale of tragic suffering challenges the UN’s moral and political credibility and its very existence as Israel’s buffoon.
– Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.