The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, which held its fourth session over the weekend in New York accused the US of “complicity” in Israel's violent repression of Palestinians since the end of World War II.
“The Tribunal finds that Israel’s ongoing colonial settlement expansion, its racial separatist policies, as well as its violent militarism would not be possible without the United States’ economic, military, and diplomatic support,” a draft report of findings reads.
“There is now a situation in which Israel has achieved a status of immunity and impunity by their complete disregard for the norms and standards of international law facilitated by the US,” the commission finds.
The report says that the United States offers its commitment to Israel to remain an exclusionary Jewish state “at the expense of Palestinian human rights,” and that it has provided “unequivocal economic, military and diplomatic support to Israel…in violation of its own domestic law.”
The US is “enabling and financing Israel's violations of international humanitarian and human rights norms,” and is therefore complicit in those crimes under Article 16 of the International Law Commission's Draft Articles on Responsibility of States, the report says.
Israel's principal backer is also “obstructing accountability” for Geneva Convention violations, and continues “to provide economic support for settlement expansion” in violation of the International Court of Justice's jurisprudence.
The tribunal was launched shortly after the 2008-2009 Israeli assault on Gaza. It held its first session in London in November 2010, followed by sessions in Barcelona and Cape Town. A final closing session is scheduled for February 2013.
It is modeled after a tribunal that was launched in 1966-67 by Bertrand Russell, an eminent British philosopher, to investigate US policy in Vietnam.
The tribunal's jurors included activist and former Black Panther icon Angela Davis, former US congresswoman and 2008 Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, Native American leader Dennis Banks, former South African Intelligence Minister and Liberation movement leader Ronnie Kasrils, and 95-year-old peace activist Stephanie Hessel.
They listened to testimony on day one of the two-day gathering by Israeli historian Ilan Pappé on the Zionist commitment to cleanse Palestine of Palestinians well before Israel's establishment in 1948.
Many legal experts also provided testimony on the role of the UN, frequently criticizing the world body for its failure to defend Palestinian rights in the face of US and Israeli pressure.
Renowned scholar and political critic Noam Chomsky provided testimony on Sunday via video-link.
The tribunal said that both the United Stated and Israel ignored invitations to participate in the session.
The report reaffirmed its findings from previous sessions over Israel's international law violations, which include:
– Violation of the right of Palestinian people to self-determination.
– Violation of customary law, human rights norms by prohibiting the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes.
– Violation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions requiring Israel to withdraw from the Occupied Territory.
– Violation of the Palestinian people’s right to their natural resources and wealth through the Israeli use of Palestinian agricultural land.
The report lists dozens more, including violations of international humanitarian law through the establishment of Israeli settlements, the expulsions of Palestinians from their territory, the demolitions and expropriations of Arab houses and land inside occupied territories.
The report adds to that the mistreatment, torture and prolonged administrative detention of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, military attacks against civilians.
The Apartheid Wall
Regarding the Israeli wall constructed in the West Bank that goes through occupied Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem, the report reverts to a July 2004 decision by the International Criminal Court that found it to be “contrary to international law.”
The tribunal concluded that the wall constituted a “violation of fundamental rights and freedoms such as freedom of movement, freedom of religion, right to work, health, and education because of the Israeli Wall and check-points in the Occupied Territory which prevent Palestinian free access to their work place, school, health services and religious places.”
Some of the violations of international law, the report says, include war crimes, and crimes of apartheid and persecution.
The tribunal concluded by offering a number of recommendations to enable an “effective system of international justice” which is currently absent.
Among the recommendations, the report urges the use of social media networks towards the “mobilization of international public opinions…towards a just society based on equality before the law.
It also recommends reforming the UN to make it “more democratic” by abolishing the veto for the five permanent security council members, and by expanding security council membership.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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