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The Gaza blockade is illegal– and so is the use of force to maintain it

Middle East

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is among the leading guardians of human rights in the world. Sari Bashi is HRW’s Israel/Palestine Advocacy Director. She can lay claim to an impressive academic pedigree (BA, Yale; JD, Yale), and she co-founded the important Israeli human rights group Gisha. It thus cannot but depress that Bashi is so wanting in elementary moral and legal judgment when it comes to the people of Gaza.

Shortly after the Israeli massacre in Gaza on 14 May 2018, Bashi posted a commentary under the title, “Don’t Blame Hamas for the Gaza Bloodshed.”

Its essence is captured in the opening sentence: “Israel has a right to defend its borders, but shooting unarmed protesters who haven’t breached its frontier is disproportionate and illegal.” Insofar as the demonstrators didn’t pose an “imminent threat to life,” Bashi concludes, Israel had no right to use lethal force against them and, in any event, did not “exhaust” nonlethal means “such as tear gas, skunk water, and rubber-coated steel pellets” to throw back the assembled crowd.

The UN has pronounced Gaza unlivable, while Sara Roy of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies has written, “Innocent people, most of them young, are slowly being poisoned by the water they drink.” Is it not a tad unseemly, not to say unsettling, for the representative of a respected human rights organization to coach Israel how to stay within the letter of the law—before resorting to bullets, you must first try “tear gas, skunk water, and rubber-coated steel pellets”—while it’s herding two million people, half of them children, in an unlivable space in which they are slowly being poisoned?

To be sure, Bashi is not oblivious to the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza caused by Israel’s blockade. But she makes out no legal nexus between the effects of the siege and Israel’s right to use force. Instead, she dwells on the apparently paradoxical outcome that whereas Israel imposed the blockade to weaken Hamas, it has in fact “helped Hamas grow in strength.”

But the siege is not irrelevant to a legal determination of Israel’s right to use force—be it proportionate or disproportionate, moderate or excessive, lethal or nonlethal—to prevent demonstrators from breaching Gaza’s perimeter fence. For brevity’s sake, I would want to touch here on one basic, uncontroversial point. (A forthcoming article by Jamie Stern-Weiner and this writer parses the more nuanced legal issues.)

It is a tenet of international law that no state can resort to forceful measures unless “peaceful means” have been exhausted (UN Charter, Article 2). This principle is as sacred to the rule of law as the analogous Hippocratic Oath, primum non nocere (first, do no harm), is to medicine. Now consider the situation in Gaza. Nearly all competent observers agree:

·      Israel has imposed an illegal blockade on Gaza;

·      The illegal blockade has created a humanitarian catastrophe;

·      The impetus behind the protests at the perimeter fence is the illegal blockade, and their objective is to end it.

It is to be noted that even Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu concedes the last bullet point. “They’re suffocating economically,” he observed, “and therefore they decided to crash into the fence.”

If Israel wants to protect its border, then it need not resort to either lethal or nonlethal coercion. It merely has to lift the siege. Israel’s refusal to take this preliminary peaceful step puts it in double breach of international law: the imposition of an illegal blockade and the unlawful resort to armed force when peaceful means have not been exhausted.

It is cause for wonder why Bashi doesn’t see that Israel’s resort to any force against Gaza demonstrators cannot be legally justified. It is cause for dismay that she counsels Israel to use nonlethal repression in order to corral Gaza’s inhabitants in a hellhole, instead of counseling it, not just as a matter of political expedience but also as a matter of law, to end the siege. If, by way of comparison, police repeatedly enter a man’s premises in flagrant violation of the law, the homeowner finally resists, and the police try to subdue him, would a human rights representative be advising the officers to use graduated force?

​Indeed, prior to Israel’s slated violent eviction/demolition of the Bedouin village Khan al-Amar in the West Bank, HRW itself did not recommend that the army first use “tear gas, skunk water, and rubber-coated steel pellets” but, on the contrary, bluntly warned Israel that such an act would constitute a “war crime.

Were the siege of Gaza lifted, it would put Israel on the right side of the law as it yielded the double dividend of enabling the people of Gaza to breathe and terminating the purported threat to Israel’s border. In other words, it would render all talk of force superfluous.

About Norman G. Finkelstein

Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict for many years and currently writes and lectures. Finkelstein's books have been translated into 50 foreign editions. His latest is "Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom" (University of California Press, January 2018).

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88 Responses

  1. echinococcus
    July 7, 2018, 11:21 am

    It would be interesting to have a review of HRW activity worldwide, which up to now has always been as the “White Helmets” of US imperialism.

    • JWalters
      July 8, 2018, 7:23 pm

      It would. Along with a LOT of things in our current situation that warrant a thorough review. From this article, I’d suggest Sari Bashi conduct a public panel disussion reviewing the parallel cases of Razan Al Najar and Ahed Tamimi. Let’s stop the incessant omission of Palestinian human beings from the discussions. Let’s have intellectual honesty, with ALL the facts put on the table, and ALL points of view heard. Or are we living in a trope? Over to you, Sari.

  2. Stephen Shenfield
    July 7, 2018, 12:03 pm

    The ‘fence’ dividing the Gaza Strip from Israel proper is not an international border because Israel dominates both sides. It is an internal separation barrier, like the wall running through the West Bank. Does a country have the legal right to defend an internal separation barrier?

    • mondonut
      July 7, 2018, 9:18 pm

      Yes.

      • Talkback
        July 8, 2018, 2:15 am

        Today we can learn from mondonut that Nazi Germany had the right to defend the borders of the Warsaw ghetto.

        You are a moral beacon, Mondonut.

    • Paranam Kid
      July 8, 2018, 6:24 am

      It is NOT an internal separation barrier, the other side of it is part of Gaza, so “Israel’s” control of that other side is as much part of it illegal activity vis-a-vis the Palestinians as all its other criminal activities in that regard.

      So no, “Israel” does not have the legal right.

  3. bpm
    July 7, 2018, 12:09 pm

    This is the perfect antidote to all that liberal Zionist apologist bullshit.
    How was the uprising in Warsaw any different?
    Why is the “right of return” (after centuries) more valid than the right of return (after a few decades) more valid? Even when the violently displaced are still alive?
    International law gives the Palestinians the right to resist by any means necessary.

    • mondonut
      July 7, 2018, 9:29 pm

      @bpm Why is the “right of return” (after centuries) more valid than the right of return…

      I am going to take a wild guess that you meant why is the Law of Return more valid. And that is all too easy to understand. The Law of Return is part of the sovereign state of Israel’s immigration policy. Immigration policies are an unchallenged right of all sovereign states.

      The Palestinian Right of Return is an extralegal demand made by the enemies of Israel, against the wishes of and in defiance of Israel.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 7, 2018, 10:19 pm

        The Palestinian Right of Return is an extralegal demand made by the enemies of Israel, against the wishes of and in defiance of Israel.

        The Palestinian Right of Return preceded israel’s Law of Return, no doubt named in competition of the palestinian original. however, the meaning of the term “return” for palestinians, in its origin, was literal. it meant a literal return, the way the word is generally understood (come or go back to a place or person), not some hypothetical idea 1000’s of years in the future people immigrating to a place the forefathers of their religion at one time departed.

        just thought i’d point that out. none of the jewish colonists who immigrated to israel in the 20th century were, in actuality and in contrast to palestinians, returning to a place they had ever set foot in, nor had their parents or grandparents 100 times over, and if ever, for anyone jewish by means of conversion which applied to 1000’s of them. just sayin’. you can’t really return to a place you’ve never set foot in nor your parents. that’s brainwashing, but very clever pr/hasbara legislation by israel.

      • Talkback
        July 8, 2018, 2:12 am

        mondonut: “The Palestinian Right of Return is an extralegal demand made by the enemies of Israel, against the wishes of and in defiance of Israel.”

        Is that your shtick? Repeating the same old lies over and over again?

        I proved that it was no extralegal demand but that is is based not only on custumary international law but also on the declaration of human rights.

        I proved that the mere fact that the right of return was reaffirmed so many times in the General Assembly made it customary law, too.

        You dropped out of the discussion, because there was nothing else to say for you, but now you are spammingthe same lie here.

        Shame on you, mondonut!

      • Talkback
        July 8, 2018, 6:16 am

        Just to demonstrate again what a racist and inhumane shmock you are, mondonut:

        The right of return had achieved customary status in international law by 1948:
        “Historically speaking, the right of return had achieved customary status in international law by 1948.[3] Customary norms are legally binding upon all states, and states are, therefore, legally obligated to follow the rules codified by these norms.”
        http://www.badil.org/phocadownload/Badil_docs/Working_Papers/Brief-No-08.htm

        The constant reaffirmation of the Palestinian’s right to return has also become customary law:
        “Customary international law consists of rules of law derived from the consistent conduct of States. The elements of customary law are as follows:

        – Customary international law can be discerned by a widespread repetition of similar international acts over time by States (states practice);
        – Acts must occur out of sense of obligation (opinio juris);
        – Acts must be taken by a significant number of States and not be rejected by a significant number of States.

        A marker of customary international law is consensus among states exhibited both by widespread conduct and a discernible sense of obligation.”
        https://internationallaw.uslegal.com/sources-of-international-law/customary-international-law/

        The right to return in general:
        “The right is formulated in several modern treaties and conventions, most notably in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1948 Fourth Geneva Convention. … Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, article 5d(ii):”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_of_return

      • Paranam Kid
        July 8, 2018, 6:28 am

        The RoR of the Palestinians is defined by international law – see para 2 in George Smith’s comment below.

        Israel also signed the Lausanne Protocol at the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference and thereby reaffirmed its commitment to Resolution 194.

        Israel’s pledge to abide by the terms of Resolution 194 as a basis for negotiations and the UN Charter was made legally binding by including it in General Assembly Resolution 273 (11 May 1949) granting Israel UN membership. Israel is the only state admitted to the UN on the condition that specific resolutions would be obeyed.

        The right of refugees to return to their home was recognized in the Hague Regulations annexed to the 1907 Hague Convention Respecting the Laws of War on Land and again in the 1949 Geneva Convention IV Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. The Hague Regulations and Geneva Conventions also prohibited forced expulsions. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted on December 10, 1948, recognized that “Everyone has a right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights later also affirmed that “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.”

        Imagine what the reaction would be if Germany blocked the right of Jewish refugees to return to their homes in Germany following World War II on the grounds that it could threaten Germany’s existence as an “Aryan nation”.

        The fact that “Israel” does not recognise international laws that go against its own illegitimate narrative does not give an legitimacy to its own “laws” that are in flagrant breach of international law.

      • eljay
        July 8, 2018, 9:06 am

        || mon donut: … The Law of Return is part of the sovereign state of Israel’s immigration policy. … ||

        The so-called “Law of Return” is a supremacist immigration policy, part of the immigration policy of the religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

        A just and moral Israeli immigration policy would prioritize the immigration of non-Jewish and Jewish Israelis up to n-generations removed from the geographic region comprising Israel.

        But you already knew this.

      • mondonut
        July 8, 2018, 1:45 pm

        @Annie Robbins

        You either have no understanding “return” or “literal” – as the vast, vast majority of Palestinians have never been to where the demand to “return”. As for the Jewish emigrants you cite, they did so legally, whether or not they had been there before is irrelevant.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 8, 2018, 3:34 pm

        whether or not they had been there before is irrelevant.

        exactly, whether or not they weren’t returning is irrelevant to the israeli government, they just called it a return for propaganda purposes.

        the vast, vast majority of Palestinians

        ouch, the double vast. considering over 50% of palestinians are children and their parents and grandparents ethnically cleansed from their land, so.what.

      • mondonut
        July 8, 2018, 1:53 pm

        @Talkback, I proved that it was no extralegal demand…

        You proved nothing. You invent the idea the 194 was based on existing customary law despite no mention of this supposed fact anywhere in the resolution. And you further cite that a Right of Return was customary law in 1948, which is both unsupported and unprovable.

        And it is beyond ridiculous to think that a UNGA resolution becomes a Chapter VII Resolution if it is repeated often enough. Again, there is nothing in the UN Charter or bylaws that supports such nonsense.

      • mondonut
        July 8, 2018, 2:01 pm

        @Paranam Kid

        You and George are both wrong.

        Israel did NOT pledge to abide by UNGA 194 as condition of its UN membership, there is nothing in UN 273 to support that. “Recalling” of a previous resolution in the preamble does not constitute an obligation.

      • mondonut
        July 8, 2018, 2:08 pm

        @Talkback Just to demonstrate again what a racist and inhumane shmock you are…

        You think that referencing a claim that Badil makes up out of whole cloth actually supports your ridiculous claim. That is too funny.

        And sadly no, repeating the same non-binding words over and over does not make International Law. But just to humor you, lets presume that was true – exactly how many times does it need to be repeated and in exactly which year did UN194 magically turn into binding law?

      • Nathan
        July 8, 2018, 9:27 pm

        Annie Robbins – Both sides to the conflict have agreed in Oslo that the refugee issue will be negotiated and agreed upon in the framework of the end of conflict (“final status”). Moreover, the Arab League Peace Initiative (which the Palestinians accept) states very clearly that there must be a “just and agreed solution to the Palestine refugee problem in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 194”. Obviously, “just and agreed solution” means that there must be an agreement (a negotiated settlement). Moreover, an agreement includes an end of conflict. An unresolved conflict means that there is no right of return. Strangely, the phrase “end of conflict” never gets mentioned in this website.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 8, 2018, 10:17 pm

        An unresolved conflict means that there is no right of return.

        yeah, we figured out israel’s MO a long time ago.

      • Misterioso
        July 9, 2018, 11:15 am

        @mondonut

        “The Palestinian Right of Return is an extralegal demand made by the enemies of Israel, against the wishes of and in defiance of Israel.”

        Reality:
        Israel agreed to comply with Res. 194 in 1949 as a condition for gaining UN membership.

        Briefly:
        Israel’s first and second attempts to join the United Nations following the signing of the 1949 armistice agreements were unsuccessful because the General Assembly considered it to be in contravention of the UN Charter. This was due to the fact that in violation of the Partition Plan (General Assembly Resolution 181, 29 November 1947), Israel was occupying the international zone of West Jerusalem and more than half of the territory assigned to the proposed Palestinian state. Consequently, with another vote on its application for admittance about to take place, Israel’s negotiators at Lausanne were instructed to go along with the Arab block and sign a protocol proposed by the commission “which would constitute the basis of work.”

        On May 12, 1949, what is known as the Lausanne Protocol (consisting of two separate, but identical documents) was signed by Arab and Israeli negotiators. It stated that the Palestine Conciliation Commission, “anxious to achieve as quickly as possible the objectives of General Assembly Resolution 194 of December 11, 1948, regarding refugees, the respect for their rights and the preservation of their property, as well as territorial and other questions, has proposed to the delegations of the Arab states and to the delegation of Israel that the working document attached hereto (map of partition) be taken as a basis for discussions with the Commission.”

        By signing the Lausanne Protocol, Israel and the Arab states formally accepted its provision that the Partition Plan was the “starting point and framework for the discussion of territorial questions.” (Fred J. Khouri, The Arab Israeli Dilemma, pp. 293-94) To repeat, Israel also agreed to comply with the terms of U.N. Resolution 194 regarding refugees.

        During the Lausanne Conference Israel was admitted to the United Nations. However, “[a]s a price for obtaining full membership in the United Nations in 1949, Israel’s ambassador, Abba Eban, had given assurances that Israel would faithfully adhere to the UN Charter and to the resolutions of the relevant UN bodies.” (George and Douglas Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 33)

        Abba Eban assured the members of the U.N. Ad Hoc Political Committee reviewing Israel’s request for admission that his government “[would pursue] no policies on any question which were inconsistent with…the resolutions of the Assembly and the Security Council.” (Quoted by Khouri, TAID, p. 105) Eban thus further committed Israel to abide by Resolutions 181 and 194.

        BTW, despite Eban’s assurances, the delegate from Columbia (a strong Roman Catholic country) still had doubts as to Israel’s intentions regarding Jerusalem. However, after expressing his concerns to the Israeli delegation he received “formal assurance in writing that Israel would not oppose the internationalization of Jerusalem. In view of that guarantee, Columbia… supported Israel’s request for [UN] admission.” (Quoted by Khouri, TAID, p. 105)

        On May 11,1949 the General Assembly passed Resolution 273 granting Israel membership in the United Nations. Israel’s commitment to obey Resolutions 181 and 194 was incorporated into the text of Resolution 273: “Recalling its resolutions of November 29, 1947 [181] and December 11, 1948 [194], and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the government of Israel before the Ad Hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions, the General Assembly…decides to admit Israel into membership in the United Nations.” (Fred J. Khouri, TAID, pp. 533 34)

      • Misterioso
        July 9, 2018, 11:38 am

        @Nathan

        “Strangely, the phrase ‘end of conflict” never gets mentioned in this website.

        To state the obvious, it is due to the entity known as “Israel” that there is no “end of conflict.”

        To wit:

        By signing the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PLO accepted UNSC Res. 242 and thereby agreed to recognize a sovereign Israel within the 1949 armistice lines, i.e., as of 4 June 1967 – 78% of mandated Palestine.

        The PLO also agreed to the US/EU/UN supported 2002 Arab League Beirut Summit Peace Initiative, which offers Israel full recognition as a sovereign state (per UNSC Res. 242, i.e., within its June 4/67 boundaries with possible minor, equal and mutually agreed land swaps), exchange of ambassadors, trade, tourism, etc., if Israel complies with international law (e.g., the UN Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute.)

        Fully aware of Israel’s demographic concerns, the Beirut initiative does not demand the return of all Palestinian refugees. In accordance with Israel’s pledge given to the UNGA in 1949 and by signing the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference Protocol to abide by UNGA Res. 194 regarding the then 800,000 Palestinian refugees (determined by Walter Walter Eytan, then Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry) as a precondition for admittance to the UN (after being rejected twice), the Arab League’s Initiative “calls upon Israel to affirm” that it agrees to help pursue the “achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem…”

        Re: Hamas:
        On 16 June 2009, after meeting with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Ismail Haniya, prime minister of Hamas’s Gaza Strip government, announced that “If there is a real plan to resolve the Palestinian question on the basis of the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967 [i.e. 22% of historic Palestine as per 1949 armistice agreements] and with full sovereignty, we are in favour of it.”

        http://www.haaretz.com/isra…
        “‘We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,’ Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. ” (Haaretz, December 1, 2010)

        In its revised Charter, April, 2017, Hamas again agreed to a Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Israel promptly rejected the Hamas overture instead of using it to open a dialogue.

        https://www.haaretz.com/isr
        “Senior Hamas Official: ‘I Think We Can All Live Here in This Land – Muslims, Christians and Jews.’” By Nir Gontarz. March 28, 2018, Haaretz.

        For the record, other peace initiatives that Israeli governments have rebuffed include: U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers’ The Rogers Plan (1969); The Scranton Mission on behalf of President Nixon (1970); Egyptian President Sadat’s land for peace and mutual recognition proposal (1971); U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s call for a Geneva international conference (1977); Saudi Arabian King Fahd’s peace offer (1981); U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s Reagan Plan (1982); U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz’s Schultz Plan (1988); U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s Baker Plan (1989); and the previously noted 1993 Oslo accords signed by Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that unravelled following the latter’s assassination and subsequent return to power of the Likud party from 1996-1999 under Benjamin Netanyahu; continuation of the Taba II negotiations (2001); the unofficial Geneva Peace Initiative of November/December 2003; and the 2014 Kerry Initiative.

        As for the much touted 2000 Camp David Summit, working in tandem, Barak and Clinton tried to shove a very bad deal down Arafat’s throat. It could only be rejected. Suffice to quote Shlomo Ben-Ami, then Israel’s foreign minister and lead negotiator at Camp David: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.” (National Public Radio, 14 February 2006.)

        The “offer” made in 2008 by then Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was never seen as serious because it lacked cabinet approval, he was under indictment with only a few weeks left in office, had a 6% favorable rating, and, therefore, couldn’t have closed the deal, even if the Palestinians had accepted it. (Olmert was imprisoned.)

        Unfortunately, Israel’s response to every peace overture from the Palestinians and Arab states, has been an escalation of illegal settlement construction, dispossession and oppression in occupied Palestinian Arab lands.

        As for Netanyahu and the Likud party, here’s a brief summation of their positions that are contrary to international law and explain why the conflict continues:
        The Likud Party Platform:
        a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.”
        b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”
        c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”
        d. “…. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

      • Talkback
        July 9, 2018, 5:17 pm

        Mondonut: You think that referencing a claim that Badil makes up out of whole cloth actually supports your ridiculous claim. That is too funny.

        I think that is is too funny that you fail to comprehend that Badil even referenced to an UN source, when it made this claim.

        Mondonut: “And sadly no, repeating the same non-binding words over and over does not make International Law.”

        And sadly for you yes. If the vast majority of states has the same legal opinion (that means it has become opinio juris) over decades than this is exactly what creates and is defined as “customary” law. And again, it is funny that you fail to comprehend this.

        butr what about the Universal Declaration of Human rights, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1948 Fourth Geneva Convention, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, article 5d(ii). Are these conventions which reafirm a right to return not part of international law, because it’s not good for your beloved Apartheid junta?

        Mondonut: “But just to humor you, lets presume that was true – exactly how many times does it need to be repeated and in exactly which year did UN194 magically turn into binding law?”

        Not 194, we were talking about the Palestinian’s right to return. Their “inalienable right” was reaffirmed nearly every year since the establishment of your beloved Apartheid junta. Do you think that this is not enough, because it’s not good for the Apartheid Junta which is exactly the reason why this fake democracy keeps them expelled and therefore without the right to citizenship and the right to vote?

        Let me ask you more important questions. Do you think that no refugees have a right to return, or do you claim that only Palestinian refugees don’t have this right? We could decide if you are just a shmock or a racist shmock.

      • Talkback
        July 9, 2018, 5:23 pm

        Nathan: “An unresolved conflict means that there is no right of return.”

        LOL. What does a right to anything have to do with the fact that a conflict is unresolved? Nothing. You just made this up. Like the many other stupid claims you just make up on the fly.

        People with refugees status have a right to return. Period. How this right is exercised is their individual choice. No party to an unresolved conflict has right to nullify this individual right. Not even Apartheid juntas like Israel.

      • RoHa
        July 9, 2018, 7:06 pm

        ‘Israel’s negotiators at Lausanne were instructed to go along with the Arab block and sign a protocol proposed by the commission “which would constitute the basis of work.” ‘

        In short, to lie.

      • mondonut
        July 9, 2018, 7:16 pm

        @Talkback, Badil even referenced to an UN source

        Yes, BADIL referenced a UN source but in typical BADIL fashion – they lied. Here is the study:

        Title A Study of Statelessness, United Nations, August 1949, Lake Success – New York
        Publisher UN Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees and Stateless Persons
        Author UN Economic and Social Council
        Publication Date 1 August 1949
        Citation / Document Symbol E/1112; E/1112/Add.1

        First of all, it is only a study. And more importantly it says nothing at all about the Right of Return as customary law. But you already knew that didn’t you?

        And no once again, UN194 provides no rights at all. GA Resolutions are nothing more than recommendations, they are not (your words) legal opinions. And they cannot advance to either simply by wishing it so. Knowing of course that your hatred of Israel blinds you to facts and reason, I refer you to the UN Charter itself, where Chapter 4 specifically and repeatedly details that the GA makes recommendations only.
        http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/un-charter-full-text/index.html

        As to your idiotic final question, yes many people have a right to return. But the Right to Return the Palestinians claim does not exist.

      • RoHa
        July 9, 2018, 8:08 pm

        ‘it is due to the entity known as “Israel” that there is no “end of conflict.”’

        Thank you for that detailed accounting, Misterioso.

        It will probably be at least twenty minutes before Nathan pops up on another thread to say that the Palestinians should end the conflict and there is no Right of Return because of the Oslo accords.

      • Talkback
        July 10, 2018, 8:31 am

        mondonut: “First of all, it is only a study. And more importantly it says nothing at all about the Right of Return as customary law. But you already knew that didn’t you?”

        First of all it’s UN study which therefore has legal effect. Secondly you obviosly fail to comprehend how this right was derived from a person’s right to protection and how this right developed over time and became customary law. You are obviously not willing to understand this and I highly doubt that you even read this lengthsome study.

        Nvertheless. The United Nations Mediator on Palestine allready wrote in September 1948 (months before the Declaration of Human rights) in his report:

        “I have affirmed elsewhere in this report that the right of the refugees to return to their homes if they so desire must be safeguarded.”

        “… it was my firm view that the right of the refugees to return to their homes at the earliest practicable date should be affirmed.”

        Now why should he write that a right should be “safeguarded” or “affirmed” (which it was in UNGAR 194), if it doesn’t allready exist (allready as part of customary law at that time)?

        mondonut: “And no once again, UN194 provides no rights at all. GA Resolutions are nothing more than recommendations, they are not (your words) legal opinions. And they cannot advance to either simply by wishing it so.”

        And once again. Resolution 194 only affirmed this right to return. This resolution came one day after the Declaration of Human Rights. I can understand why you have to ignore an international treaty which has “Human Rights” in its title.

        mondonut: “Knowing of course that your hatred of Israel blinds you to facts and reason, I refer you to the UN Charter itself, where Chapter 4 specifically and repeatedly details that the GA makes recommendations only.”

        Knowing of course that your hatred of Palestinians blinds you to facts and reason, I refer you to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), article 13, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) article 12(4), the Fourth Geneva Convention, article 49 or the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, article 5d(ii) when it comes to the right of return.

        mondonut: “As to your idiotic final question, yes many people have a right to return. But the Right to Return the Palestinians claim does not exist.”

        So you are not only a shmock, but a racist shmock. What a surprise. But the Declaration of Human rights simply states in article 13: “(2) EVERYONE has the right to … return to his country.”

        I assume that the Zionist Declaration of Jewish rights reads: “(2) Only a Jew has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”? Or does it read: “Noone except Jews have the right to expell Nonjews or keep them expelled.”?

        Sooner or later Zionist inherently whitewash Nazi crimes against Jews, don’t they? Did Germans have a right to expell Jews or do they have a right to keep them expelled?

    • Naftush
      July 10, 2018, 2:19 am

      Let’s stop lots of incessant omissions. Like the terror organizations that run things in the Strip. Like the planting of their members in the crowd of unarmed civilians in order to draw fire. Like the violent incursions that were in fact made. Like the involvement of the scapegoating and scapegoated Palestinian Authority. Like the bizarre phenomenon of torching landscapes to which the torchers claim ownership and propose to “return.” Then let’s move onto the very non-parallel cases of Razan al-Najar and Ahed Tamimi. Or are we living in a trope?

      • Talkback
        July 10, 2018, 1:35 pm

        Say Naftush. Does anything that Palestinians haven been doing to Jews even comes close to what Jews have been doing to Palestinians in the last 100 years? I just what to know how deep your denial is.

    • Naftush
      July 10, 2018, 2:22 am

      International law in the form of a UN resolution gives no one anything it is incorporated into national law. This is aside from the toxic background and contents of the resolution in question.

      • Talkback
        July 10, 2018, 8:08 am

        UN resolutions cannot contradict international law and the UN charter. They are confirmation of codified or customary law.

  4. George Smith
    July 7, 2018, 1:32 pm

    Norman Finkelstein’s logic

    The name of the action in Gaza is The Great March of RETURN. The demonstrators are not just protesting the blockade, which Finkelstein rightly condemns as a flagrant violation of international law. They are also asserting their right to return to the land in Israel from which they or their forebears were expelled in 1947-1949 or subsequently. The right of return is a key provision of UNGA resolution 194, which was incorporated into UNGA resolution 273 admitting Israel to the UN. Denying Palestinians’ (including most Gazans’) right of return is thus also a violation of international law.

    Finkelstein demurs, and that’s probably why he doesn’t mention the right of return in his post. In his condemnation of the BDS “cult,” whose principles include the right of return, he contends that there’s an “overwhelming international consensus” that Israel has a right to exist (as a specifically Jewish state), effectively nullifying the right of return. According to this logic, couldn’t Israel be said to be legitimately protecting its borders from Palestinian infiltrators, as Israeli hasbara indefatigably asserts? If so, while Israel would still be guilty of using grossly excessive force (as Sari Bashi’s HRW report charges), it would at least be using that force for a legitimate purpose.

    Of course both Finkelstein and the overwhelming international consensus of MW readers are outraged at Israel’s massive ongoing crime against humanity in Gaza–a crime that Finkelstein has so thoroughly documented in his latest book and elsewhere. Israel’s assault on the Great March of Return must surely be seen as of a piece with this seven-decade criminal enterprise, and that would remain true even if Israel had limited itself to tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, and skunk water. I’m arguing simply that by denying the Palestinian right of return, Finkelstein is not entitled to the same level of outrage as most of the rest of us.

    I fervently hope that Finkelstein will change his mind about Israel’s “right” to exist as a Jewish ethnocracy. That’s a long shot, of course. He’s a stubborn guy. The sumud we so admire in him can be an impediment to recognizing and rectifying errors in judgment.

    • Keith
      July 7, 2018, 6:31 pm

      GEORGE SMITH- “…he contends that there’s an “overwhelming international consensus” that Israel has a right to exist (as a specifically Jewish state), effectively nullifying the right of return.”

      You are putting words in Norman’s mouth. The UN recognizes Israel as a legitimate state, but does not make that recognition contingent upon Israel being “Jewish.” Neither does Norman. And nothing that the UN or Norman has said or done nullifies the right of return in principle. Practicality is another issue. The Great March of Return has a nice sound to it, however, the immediate concern was the blockade which has turned into a life and death issue. The situation isn’t as dire on the West Bank which protested moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, but not any “right of return” protests. Unlike American liberals in their armchairs, Gazans don’t have the luxury of endlessly debating one state versus two states or the sanctity of their legal right of return which they are powerless to enforce. The near term emphasis needs to be on lifting the Gaza blockade. Period.

      • catalan
        July 7, 2018, 9:49 pm

        “The near term emphasis needs to be on lifting the Gaza blockade. “
        You are seriously underestimating the power of BDS. Israel is in a state of panic that they will end up like South Africa. They are spending 30 million dollars to fight BDS which proves its effectiveness. Israel simply cannot resist BDS.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 7, 2018, 10:03 pm

        oh i think it’s a lot more than 30m.

      • Keith
        July 8, 2018, 12:05 am

        CATALAN- “You are seriously underestimating the power of BDS.”

        Another smartass comment from Catalan. I think we all get that you are into ridicule, the question is why? Nothing better to occupy your time?

      • hai_bar
        July 8, 2018, 2:58 am

        The protests/marches in Mai are symbolic and usually do take place all over. In the West Bank (esp. around Qalandya) attempts were “contained” by the Israeli army, that unlike in Gaza Strip, is really is everywhere in the West Bank. But it cannot be compared to the protests of the desperate Palestinians trapped in Gaza.

        Thanks to the ‘security cooperation’ with PA and the “Area C+Settlements” scam, most of the west bank is a military zone and a playground for Israeli soldiers and gun-fancying Settlers.

        The West Bank is exposed slowly and constantly to the Zionist apartheid machine, from what I see when I go back to Ramallah (my home village is in it’s outskirts) is that people are getting more and more weary, they do not see any “way out” in anything. You’re going to be repressed, if not by the PA Security then by the Israelis.

      • Marnie
        July 9, 2018, 12:56 am

        “You are seriously underestimating the power of BDS. Israel is in a state of panic that they will end up like South Africa. They are spending 30 million dollars to fight BDS which proves its effectiveness. Israel simply cannot resist BDS.”

        That 30 million you’re talking about is sara netanyahooo’s household budget, doofus.

      • umm al-hamam
        July 9, 2018, 5:28 am

        You are seriously underestimating the power of BDS. Israel is in a state of panic that they will end up like South Africa. They are spending 30 million dollars to fight BDS

        The fact that Zionist authorities are spending a great deal of money (much more than 30 million at this point) to combat BDS is not necessarily proof that BDS poses a genuine threat to the Zionist entity. Zionist leaders have always needed an existential threat to their fledgling state to distract their citizens and the rest of the world from the continued colonisation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

        First it was Egypt and Syria who were constantly supposedly plotting to destroy Israel and throw the Jews into the sea, until Nasser was replaced with Sadat and peace agreements were signed. Then it was the PLO, supposedly a terrorist organisation necessitating the invasion of Lebanon and massive internal repression, until Oslo. Then it was Iran and Hizbullah, which were supposedly seeking to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons, until the JCPOA was signed (over Netanyahu’s objections). BDS then became the newest faux-threat to be incited against. That should not obscure the fact that the Zionist entity enjoys widespread legitimacy and the repression it carries out against the Palestinians is more severe than ever, and that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine is succeeding on the ground.

        Ali Abunimah goes into more detail here:

        https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-bds-replacing-iran-israels-biggest-existential-threat

      • umm al-hamam
        July 9, 2018, 5:37 am

        Even Zionists recognise this—see also this article by Uri Avnery of the Zionist anti-“occupation” organisation גוש שלום.

        https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/12/bibi-the-great-and-the-new-enemy-bds/

  5. Parity
    July 7, 2018, 1:58 pm

    Norman,

    What incident(s) precipitated the siege? How should they have been responded to?

    The Great March of Return wasn’t just to end the siege; it was to assert the Palestinians’ right to return to their homes in what is now Israel.

  6. inbound39
    July 7, 2018, 4:42 pm

    The Blockade of Caza and other crimes committed by Israel have gone unaddressed and unprosecuted due to decades of faulty logic and selective eyesight by Israeli undermined governments such as America,UK and EU. Israel for decades has been accorded impunity by these governments simply because Israel has manipulated these governments by financially rewarding members of said Governments. Now it has totally gotten out of hand and Israel is drunk with power. From here it can only get worse and sadly, if Israel is not stopped immediately by sanctions or military force it will complete the job and murder every Palestinian living in Palestine so Israel can rule entirely supreme over the land, It is a repeat of how WW2 started. The World ignored what Germany was doing until it was too late. We are experiencing Deja vu because we learnt nothing from our experience of 1939-45. At this point the only way to right the wrongs of Israel is by crippling sanctions backed up by military hardware sitting close to Israel in close proximity to its shores and threatening invasion if it does not return to within its declared borders and ceases to act outside of International Law. I cannot see that occurring as America is too tightly controlled by Israel as is UK and EU and none have the stomach for it. If they did Israel would either comply or face imminent annihalation. Israel has learnt the wrong lessons of WW2 and is playing similar ploys as National Socialist Germany of WW2, Israel views itself as the master race and untouchable.

  7. Keith
    July 7, 2018, 6:09 pm

    NORMAN FINKELSTEIN- “Human Rights Watch (HRW) is among the leading guardians of human rights in the world.”

    Utter nonsense. At this stage of the game, HRW is practically an appendage of the US government, high level executives former members of the Clinton administration. Currently, HRW is little more than a propaganda organization with strong links to the Democratic Party. HRW once performed some useful work primarily to establish credibility which they now exploit. And Sari Bashi is an Israeli Zionist Jew, hardly an unbiased source. HRW exists to control the limits of acceptable discussion and doesn’t deserve to be promoted. Having relied upon them in the past, this puts you in a somewhat difficult position. That is life. And the notion that WESTERN NGOs should control the human rights narrative is yet another example of orientalism.

    To understand Gaza, one must appreciate that Israel wants to fob Gaza off onto Egypt to avoid the responsibility and expense. Instant ethnic cleansing. Make it unlivable then make Egypt responsible. Recent confirmation:

    “It is important to understand that the Sinai plan is not simply evidence of wishful thinking by an inexperienced or deluded Trump administration. All the signs are that it has enjoyed vigorous support from the Washington policy establishment for more than a decade.

    In fact, four years ago, when Barack Obama was firmly ensconced in the White House, Middle East Eye charted the course of attempts by Israel and the US to arm-twist a succession of Egyptian leaders into opening Sinai to Gaza’s Palestinians.

    This has been a key Israeli ambition since it pulled several thousand settlers out of Gaza in the so-called disengagement of 2005 and claimed afterwards – falsely – that the enclave’s occupation was over.

    Washington has reportedly been on board since 2007, when the Islamist faction Hamas took control of Gaza, ousting the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. It was then that Israel, backed by the US, intensified a blockade that has destroyed Gaza’s economy and prevented key goods from entering.
    ….
    The advantages of the Sinai plan are self-evident to Israel and the US. It would:

    make permanent the territorial division between Gaza and the West Bank, and the ideological split between the rival factions of Fatah and Hamas;

    downgrade Gaza from a diplomatic issue to a humanitarian one;

    gradually lead to the establishment of a de facto Palestinian statelet in Sinai and Gaza, mostly outside the borders of historic Palestine;

    encourage the eventual settlement of potentially millions of Palestinian refugees in Egyptian territory, stripping them of their right in international law to return to their homes, now in Israel;

    weaken the claims of Abbas and his Palestinian Authority, located in the West Bank, to represent the Palestinian cause and undermine their moves to win recognition of statehood at the United Nations;

    and lift opprobrium from Israel by shifting responsibility for repressing Gaza’s Palestinians to Egypt and the wider Arab world.” (Jonathan Cook) https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/07/sisi-holds-key-to-trumps-sinai-plan-for-palestinians/#more-81764

  8. Jackdaw
    July 8, 2018, 1:45 am

    The independant, Palmer Commission, found that the blockade is legal.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/03/06/the-world-discovers-the-legality-of-the-gaza-blockade/?utm_term=.b635946e9eca
    BTW. Israel doesn’t control Gaza’s border with Egypt, a sovereign nation.
    BTW. Hamas, not Israel, is responsible for the lack of cooperation between Hamas and Fatah.

    • Donald Johnson
      July 8, 2018, 9:24 am

      The Palmer Commission was four people. I recognized one of the names—

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Álvaro_Uribe

      Alvaro Uribe is not someone I would pick to evaluate a human rights issue.

      More generally, it is hard not to be a bit cynical about international law. Even when it is clearly on the side of the victims, which is not the case with this commission, it doesn’t seem to make any difference. The powerful invoke it when it gives a supposed justification for something they want to do and they ignore it otherwise.

      • Donald Johnson
        July 8, 2018, 2:28 pm

        Yes, I know Finkelstein emphasizes international law and writes about it all the time, including here, and I am not opposed to people arguing that international law favors the Palestinians. But we non lawyers commonly have the impression that the bad guys can also hire lawyers and argue that international law permits them to impose a draconian blockade and ignore the shooting of fishermen and farmers and the refusal to allow most people to enter or leave which makes the blockade an act of collective punishment. The lawyers for the oppressing side can ignore all the violence committed by the oppressors and justify their actions as self defense.

        I think it is better for us common folk to argue that the blockade is cruel and unjust and that the Israelis are the aggressors. Present all the facts and all the history ( which will include terrorist acts by Palestinians) and I think most non bigoted people will see the blockade is morally wrong.

        Hand it over to the lawyers and diplomats and bureaucrats and depending on where their interests lie, anything can happen.

    • edwardm
      July 8, 2018, 11:51 am

      page 8 paragraph 6.
      …” the Panel cannot make
      definitive findings either of fact or law”

      also they did not interview a single witness.

      http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/middle_east/Gaza_Flotilla_Panel_Report.pdf

      • Jackdaw
        July 8, 2018, 12:52 pm

        @Donald
        @Edward

        What do witnesses have to do with anything?
        Appellate Courts, are deciders of law, not finders of fact.

        I’m equally cynical of international law. If you’re cynical as well, tell Professor Finkelstein why you feel the way you do.

      • Talkback
        July 9, 2018, 4:52 pm

        Jackdaw: “What do witnesses have to do with anything?
        Appellate Courts, are deciders of law, not finders of fact.”

        From the Palmer Report:
        “5. It needs to be understood from the outset that this Panel is unique. Its methods of inquiry are similarly unique. The Panel is not a court. It was not asked to make determinations of the legal issues or to adjudicate on liability.

        6. In particular, the Panel’s means of obtaining information were through diplomatic channels. The Panel enjoyed no coercive powers to compel witnesses to provide evidence. It could not conduct criminal investigations. The Panel was required to obtain its information from the two nations primarily involved in its inquiry, Turkey and Israel, and other affected States. The position is thoroughly understandable in the context of the Panel’s inquiry but the limitation is important. It means that the Panel cannot make definitive findings either of fact or law. But it can give its view.

    • edwardm
      July 8, 2018, 10:11 pm

      Since the inquest was into the Mavi Marmara incident, witnesses should have been interviewed.
      What does an appellate, or any other kind of court have to do with a panel of inquiry? They stated themselves in the report that they “cannot make definitive findings either of fact or law”. Doesn’t much support the statement that they “concluded that the blockade was legal” does it?

  9. Peter in SF
    July 8, 2018, 3:01 am

    HRW used to issue strong statements supporting the Palestinian right of return.
    This page is still on their website, though it appears to be from the year 2000:
    https://www.hrw.org/legacy/campaigns/israel/return/index.htm

    Human Rights Watch has long defended the right of refugees and exiles to return to their homes. … In the case of the Middle East peace agreement currently being negotiated, the agreement should recognize this right for Palestinian refugees and exiles from territory located in what is now Israel or in what is likely to be a future state of Palestine. Recognition should accord with the following principles:
    The right is held not only by those who fled a territory initially but also by their descendants, so long as they have maintained appropriate links with the relevant territory. The right persists even when sovereignty over the territory is contested or has changed hands. If a former home no longer exists or is occupied by an innocent third party, return should be permitted to the vicinity of the former home.

    Like all rights, the right to return binds governments. No government can violate this right. Only individuals may elect not to exercise it. The parties currently involved in negotiating a Middle East peace agreement should focus on implementing the right to return and facilitating the options of local integration and third-country resettlement. They should not waive individuals’ right to return.

    Since it’s been a while since HRW made such a clear statement of support, I was wondering if they’ve quietly dropped that position. But I noticed that this page from April 3, 2018
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/04/03/israel-gaza-killings-unlawful-calculated
    has a reference to “Palestinians’ internationally recognized right of return” and an embedded link to a letter by Director Kenneth Roth, dated 2000, saying much the same as the quote above:

    HRW urges Israel to recognize the right to return for those Palestinians, and their descendants, who fled from territory that is now within the State of Israel, and who have maintained appropriate links with that territory. This is a right that persists even when sovereignty over the territory is contested or has changed hands.

    • MHughes976
      July 8, 2018, 3:31 pm

      There seem to be two main types of refugee, those in danger at home but much attracted to another place, like many of the Central Americans drawing Trunp’s ire. To them return, immediate or even medium term, is a denial of their hopes. Then there are refugees who have been excluded and are angry. To them return is, at least at first, a central objective. Their exclusion was justified or not. It is very hard to think of any action or status which would in fact justify exclusion from wherever one was a legitimate permanent resident with no citizenship elsewhere.
      If refugees were excluded without justification then it seems impossible to think of them without a right of return, otherwise there is no thought of negating a wrong done, which can be nothing but a further wrong, surely. You may say that most rights can be renounced in some circumstances, perhaps for compensation. But to say that is to accept that the right exists. The idea of ‘unjustly excluded’ and ‘having a right of return’ seem morally inseparable to me.

  10. hai_bar
    July 8, 2018, 3:01 am

    It’s interesting and depressing how Israel is repeating history again and again, and somehow succeeding every time (back-to-back with the U.S empire).

    First they create a reality (managed blockade on Gaza), they keep this reality going on (putting them on what they called ‘diet’), and then create another reality, this time a more surprising reality on the political level, that is the embassy in Jerusalem. Now the PA is outraged, they finally decide that the U.S empire and the Zionist outpost really ‘crossed the lines’ and they should boycott the ‘peace’-talks’. An agreement between the Arab ‘leaders’ and the American/Israeli mouthpieces is in the horizon, that the situation in Gaza (the first reality) is so dire and has to be solved, with or without the PA, and by this the whole situation in Jerusalem is normalized and has to be put on a shelf (like most of the violations of International Laws).

  11. Peter in SF
    July 8, 2018, 3:03 am

    On a separate matter, I was surprised to see Sari Bashi explicitly suggesting “the nonlethal means, such as tear gas, skunk water, and rubber-coated steel pellets, that Israel can and should exhaust to protect its border.”
    She’s saying that Israel “should” violate the international Chemical Weapons Convention!
    https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/CWC/CWC_en.pdf
    Right in Article I, General Obligations, the CWC says:

    5. Each State Party undertakes not to use riot control agents as a method of warfare.

    “Riot control agent” is defined in the CWC as “Any chemical not listed in a Schedule, which can produce rapidly in humans sensory irritation or disabling physical effects which disappear within a short time following termination of exposure.”
    The CWC makes an explicit exception for “Law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes.” But Israel’s government insists that its actions against the Gaza protesters are a part of warfare, and absolutely not a domestic matter. Sari Bashi refers to “international standards” for “law enforcement”, but neglects to say anything about Israel’s own position that this is not law enforcement, but warfare.

    Of course, this would also be a good time for her to mention that Israel hasn’t ratified the CWC, something that Israel has in common only with North Korea, South Sudan, and Egypt, among UN members.

  12. Ossinev
    July 8, 2018, 7:49 am

    @Donut
    “The Law of Return is part of the sovereign state of Israel’s immigration policy. Immigration policies are an unchallenged right of all sovereign states”

    Yup and Nazi Germany`s anti – Jewish policies and legislation were 100 % right legal and unchallengeable as it too was a sovereign state.

    • MHughes976
      July 8, 2018, 11:18 am

      It isn’t an international border but an internal perimeter used to inflict a punitive blockade, contrary to the duty to exercise sovereign power for the general good of those subject to it and contrary to the duty to act with moral discrimination, not to inflict persistently any form of harm on all of a group regardless of what individuals have done. How else can sovereign power be conceived? Even international borders are supposed to offer a reasonable freedom to cross and to provide for orderly means of doing so. They are not supposed to be means of imprisonment, which results legitimately only from other legal processes. They are not supposed to be expressions of hostility to all on the other side, something which erodes the distinction between peace and war.

    • inbound39
      July 12, 2018, 12:10 am

      What most of these Hasbara kids fail to grasp is the true definition of difference between Resolutions and the requirement to comply. Security Council Resolutions are binding. General Assembly Resolutions are not. However where points are made in General Assembly Resolutions that point to International Law those points ARE binding. When Israel declared Sovereignty it stated its obligation and agreement to comply with and abide by International Law….end of. Right of Return is a Palestinian Human right enshrined in International Law.

  13. Ossinev
    July 8, 2018, 7:59 am

    @Keith
    “Another smartass comment from Catalan. I think we all get that you are into ridicule, the question is why?”

    Agreed. As for the “why ?” – he/she strikes me having been one of those inherently jealous/nasty / unpopular kids at school who are forever ridiculing the other popular kids and who has ” matured ” into an inherently jealous/nasty/unpopular adult.

    I think the scientific term is SLS syndrome (snide little shit)

    • catalan
      July 8, 2018, 11:10 am

      ” he/she strikes me having been one of those inherently jealous/nasty / unpopular kids at school”
      I like that – inherently nasty, jealous and unpopular. I don’t think I have ever seen such an accurate description of myself. I sure wasn’t popular. I guess I didn’t really have much choice, since my nastiness was “inherent”. But guess what – the popular kids are winning now – with BDS! In a sense, BDS represents the win of the popular kids, and a better world, in which everyone will be popular. Ossinev, you are making friends for the Palestinian cause at an alarming rate.

      • Mooser
        July 8, 2018, 2:01 pm

        ” a better world, in which everyone will be popular.”

        Or even famous, for 15 minutes. So stop hogging the spotlight, “catalan”

      • lonely rico
        July 8, 2018, 5:33 pm

        > catalan

        In a sense, BDS represents … a better world

        Y’ur right catalan. But the better world is going to cost the “nasty unpopular” Zionist state.

        Hewlett Packard (HP) Faces $120 Million in Potential Losses Due to its Complicity in Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Human Rights

        The Students Federation of India (SFI) is more than 4 million members strong, and on June 9, they joined the global campaign to boycott HP. This means that Hewlett Packard companies now risk losing over 4 million potential clients in India because of their complicity in Israel’s gross violations of Palestinian human rights.
        Given that the cheapest HP laptop in India costs about $300, this means that HP may be losing a potential student market of over $120 million.
        What Palestinians and Indian students are showing is that companies seeking to profit from Israel’s military occupation and discriminatory regime face growing popular opposition and risk a serious hit to both their reputations and pocket-books.

        https://bdsmovement.net/news/hewlett-packard-hp-faces-120-million-potential-losses-due-its-complicity-israels-violations

        The cost of cruel Zionist racism will continue to swell, like an untreated cancer.

  14. Ossinev
    July 9, 2018, 5:50 am

    @catalan.
    Yup definitely SLS Syndrome.Incurable so just wallows in it.

    • Mooser
      July 9, 2018, 1:10 pm

      “Yup definitely SLS Syndrome…”

      Can’t we assume, at least until proven wrong, that “catalan’s” brusque and insouciant pose is a defensive pose to hide a sweet and sensitive soul from the brutality of a world he is too good for?

      • catalan
        July 9, 2018, 2:47 pm

        “defensive pose to hide a sweet and sensitive soul”
        You can but you would be wrong. Sweetness and sensitivity disappeared at the age of 4. Socialism – of the undemocratic variety of course – had that effect on lots of people. That’s why we Eastern Europeans have done on the whole pretty well in the American capitalist jungle. Better than the natives really.

  15. Mayhem
    July 9, 2018, 8:16 am

    How disingenuous is the author to pin this on Israel when Egypt is also blockading Gaza. And BTW the United Nations’ Palmer Commission Report concluded the blockade is legal.

    • Annie Robbins
      July 9, 2018, 9:48 am

      the United Nations’ Palmer Commission Report concluded

      the 4 person inquiry w/Uribe on it? color me unimpressed.

      https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/01/colombias-guerrillas-come-out-of-the-jungle

      he [Uribe] helped organize a series of armed self-defense groups. Many grew into right-wing paramilitaries, allied with drug cartels and landowners. The paracos, as they were called, operated across the country, massacring civilians suspected of guerrilla ties, sometimes in close coördination with the Army: one favored method of instilling terror was to chainsaw people to death in public.

    • Talkback
      July 9, 2018, 4:47 pm

      Mayhem: “And BTW the United Nations’ Palmer Commission Report concluded the blockade is legal.”

      Really? LOL. From the Palmer Report:

      “The Panel was to operate by consensus and the findings of the report and any recommendations it may contain were to be agreed by consensus.”

      “The Panel is not a court. It was not asked to make determinations of the legal issues or to adjudicate on liability.”

      “It means that the Panel cannot make definitive findings either of fact or law. But it can give its view.”

      And this is its view:

      “Israel should continue with its efforts to ease its restrictions on movement of goods and persons to and from Gaza with a view to lifting its closure and to alleviate the unsustainable humanitarian and economic situation of the civilian population.”

      “The imposition of a naval blockade as an action in self-defence should be reported to the Security Council under the procedures set out under Article 51 of the Charter”

      “States maintaining a naval blockade must abide by their obligations with respect to the provision of humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian missions must act in accordance with the principles of neutrality, impartiality and humanity and respect any security measures in place. Humanitarian vessels should allow inspection and stop or change course when requested”

      “Forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel.”

      But when it comes to legal issues the UN is very clear:

      “U.N. experts say Israel’s blockade of Gaza illegal.

      Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip violates international law, a panel of human rights experts reporting to a U.N. body said on Tuesday, disputing a conclusion reached by a separate U.N. probe into Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship.

      The so-called Palmer Report on the Israeli raid of May 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists said earlier this month that Israel had used unreasonable force in last year’s raid, but its naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled strip was legal.

      A panel of five independent U.N. rights experts reporting to the U.N. Human Rights Council rejected that conclusion, saying the blockade had subjected Gazans to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law….

      An earlier fact-finding mission named by the same U.N. forum to investigate the flotilla incident also found in a report last September that the blockade violated international law. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says the blockade violates the Geneva Conventions.”
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-gaza-rights-idUSTRE78C59R20110913

  16. James Michie
    July 9, 2018, 9:17 am

    The latest Palestinian Centre for Human Rights fact sheet concisely adds historical reality and current perspective to this piece by Finkelstein:

    Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

    PCHR Fact Sheet June 2018

    Gaza Strip: Attacks in the border areas and their consequences

    The term “buffer zone” in land and at sea is used for land and sea areas, which were unilaterally and illegally declared by Israeli forces as areas with no access along the eastern and northern borders and in the sea of the Gaza Strip following the Israeli Disengagement Plan in 2005. In violation of the provisions of the international humanitarian law, the Gaza Strip’s population are denied access to their property in the “buffer zone” in land while the fishermen are prevented from sailing and fishing in the “buffer zone” at sea. The area of the buffer zone vary from time to time according to the Israeli forces declarations, without taking in consideration the international law that bans any changes to the occupied territories. According to Israeli forces instructions, the “buffer zone” extends to an area ranging between 100 to 1,500 meters in some eastern land borders, while ranges between 3 to 9 nautical miles in the Gaza Strip sea.

    Israeli forces expanded the fishing area in the Gaza Strip from 3 to 6 nautical miles following the ceasefire agreement post November 2012 Israeli offensive. However, there is conflict over the Access Restricted Area (ARA) in land, which increases the risks endured by the Palestinian civilians. In a statement on his official website, the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) declared that fishermen could now access the sea up to 6 nautical miles offshore, and that farmers could now access lands in the border area up to 100 meters from the border fence. However, both references have since been removed from the statement, which obviously indicates the Israeli forces retreat of the abovementioned ceasefire. On 21 March 2013, the Israeli forces’ spokesperson announced re-reducing the fishing area allowed for Palestinian fishermen from 6 nautical miles to 3 nautical miles. The same announcement also included the re-expansion of the “buffer zone” in land up to 300 meters. However, on 21 May 2013, the Israeli authorities decided to allow fishermen to sail up to 6 nautical miles.

    Following the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in 2014, a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian armed groups was brokered by the Egyptian government, which allowed fishermen to sail up to 6 nautical miles. However, the Israeli naval forces have not allowed fishermen to sail up to this limit. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) observed that all the Israeli attacks have taken place within less than 6 nautical miles. On 07 March 2015, the Israeli naval forces declared via loud speakers that the allowed fishing area reduced to 4 nautical miles and warned Palestinian fishermen from approaching this area along the Gaza Sea. On 01 April 2016, the Israeli authorities expanded the fishing area from 6 to 9 nautical miles between the area from Gaza valley to the southern Gaza Strip, while denied access to more than 6 miles in the other areas. On 03 May 2017, the Israeli authorities allowed fishermen to fish up to 9 nautical miles, instead of 6 nautical miles in the Sea in Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip.

    According to field updates followed up by PCHR, the Israeli occupation forces have escalated their attacks against the Palestinian civilians, including farmers and fishermen, and prevented them from safe and free access to their lands and fishing areas. This constitutes a violation of their rights according to the international human rights standards, including their right to security, personal safety and protection of their property, their right to work, the right to adequate standard of living, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Enforcing the “buffer zone” through the use of live fire which has often led to direct targeting of civilians, is a war crime, where killings under these circumstances constitute a wilful killing in grave violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
    Attacks
    June 2018
    Attacks Total “Buffer zone” on land “Buffer zone” at sea
    Shelling 70 70 0
    Shooting 590 568 22
    Incursions 2 2 0
    Land levelling 0 0 0
    Detention incidents 1 1 0
    Total incidents 663 641 22

    Consequences of attacks

    a. Deaths and injuries
    June 2018
    Consequences Total “Buffer zone” on land “Buffer zone” at sea
    Death of persons 13 13 0
    Minors 3 3 0
    Women 1 1 0
    Injury of persons 555 555 0
    Minors 86 86 0
    Women 18 18 0

    b. Property related violations
    June 2018
    Consequences Total “Buffer zone” on land “Buffer zone” at sea
    Property damaged 9 8 1
    Property confiscated 0 0 0
    Dunums razed 0 0 0

    c. Detention

    June 2018
    Consequences Total “Buffer zone” on land “Buffer zone” at sea
    Total persons detained 1 1
    0
    Minors detained 0 0 0
    Women detained 0 0 0

    • Rob Roy
      July 9, 2018, 10:44 am

      Contrary to mondonut, et. al., Israel is not a sovereign country and never has been and has no right to decide where and how far out Gaza fishermen can go. A stolen land cannot become sovereign just because the thieves say so.
      The blockade is morally illegal, the poisoning of water to kill children is morally illegal, as is cutting electricity, destroying villages and housing of Palestinians, denying passports, controlling movement, destroying orchards and farmland, murdering people at will with impunity, skunk-bombing children’s schools, withholding wages and money, limiting calories, spewing hate (which is anti-Semitic, BTW, since all Arabs are Semites), denying equality on all fronts, coercion to spy, and so on forever.
      Contrary to the leadership of Israel, Jews do not constitute a race. Judaism is a religion. Babies born to Jewish parents are not automatically Jews; they have to be brainwashed from birth to grow up thinking they are superior, being “chosen.” It’s necessary to point out that using the bible/torah as a reference to base immorality on is not the framework that an intelligent person adheres to., since those books are written by men (who were so afraid of women they made them subjective to men) and are myths, not laws.

      • James Michie
        July 9, 2018, 5:51 pm

        HEAR! HEAR!

      • mondonut
        July 9, 2018, 6:31 pm

        @Rob Roy, Israel is not a sovereign country and never has been…

        There is so much crazy made-up nonsense on this site it is sometimes hard to sift through, but this has got to be in first place. Israel is not a country. Despite all evidence to the contrary. But let’s go ahead and check on a dictionary meaning:

        Sovereignty is the power of a state to do everything necessary to govern itself, such as making, executing, and applying laws; imposing and collecting taxes; making war and peace; and forming treaties or engaging in commerce with foreign nations.

        I understand there is a fair amount of rabid hatred of Israel around here, but if this is what passes as intelligent thought you are not doing the Palestinians any favors with your support.

        Have fun tilting at windmills Rob Roy.

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2018, 8:37 pm

        “Sovereignty is the power of a state to do everything necessary to govern itself, such as making, executing, and applying laws; imposing and collecting taxes; making war and peace; and forming treaties or engaging in commerce with foreign nations.”

        That’s what I’ve been trying to say; “the Jewish people” may be a people, but it’s no nation.

      • eljay
        July 9, 2018, 9:13 pm

        || mon donut: … There is so much crazy made-up nonsense on this site it is sometimes hard to sift through, but this has got to be in first place. Israel is not a country. Despite all evidence to the contrary. … ||

        Israel is a country. Its defenders are adamant that it’s not quite as bad as Saudi Arabia, Mali, African “hellholes”, etc.

        “Jewish State” is not a country – it’s a religion-supremacist construct. And like all supremacist constructs, it has no right to exist.

      • Talkback
        July 10, 2018, 8:41 am

        mondonut: “Israel is not a country. Despite all evidence to the contrary.”

        Do Israelis constitute the nation of any state and if so what are its borders, mondonut?

      • DaBakr
        July 10, 2018, 2:53 pm

        @ej

        Jewish state is simply a descriptor of the nation of Israel. Maybe you also have a problem with the Islamic Republic of Iran but probably not?

        @tkb

        I always wondered how much fantasy play is involved with maintaining the obsession with hating israel. a lot apparently.

      • Talkback
        July 10, 2018, 6:50 pm

        DaBakr: “Jewish state is simply a descriptor of the nation of Israel. Maybe you also have a problem with the Islamic Republic of Iran but probably not?”

        It’s not the same. You can become Iranian by acquiring the citizenship of Iran, because Iranians are the nation of Iran. Whether they are Muslim or not.

        DaBajr: “I always wondered how much fantasy play is involved with maintaining the obsession with hating israel. a lot apparently.”

        I always wondered how much brain you need to accuse others of hatred, because you fail to defend Israel. apperently not a lot.

        Unfortunately for you it takes more brain to answer my question:
        Do Israelis constitute the nation of any state and if so what are its borders?

      • eljay
        July 10, 2018, 8:05 pm

        || @aa: @ej

        Jewish state is simply a descriptor of the nation of Israel. … ||

        Correct. It describes Israel:
        – not as the secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally; but, rather,
        – as a religion-supremacist state primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews.

        || … Maybe you also have a problem with the Islamic Republic of Iran but probably not? ||

        It’s so cute when you pretend(?) to be stupid. You’ve been around MW long enough to know that I do have a problem with Islamic states and any other form of supremacist state.

      • MHughes976
        July 11, 2018, 11:34 am

        The proposition that ‘Israel is a Jewish state’ can enter the conversation with many different intended impacts, not always – and perhaps quite rarely – simply descriptive. The most important difference, though by no means the only one, is between drawing attention to certain facts about the relationship of the Israeli state to people who are Jewish and conveying a value judgement about that relationship. As one might say that ‘London is an English city’ without thought of EU immigrants or with much thought about them and what happens to Englishness in their presence. This difference can be manifested by surrounding words or by the speaker’s tone and manner of utterance.

  17. Mayhem
    July 9, 2018, 9:30 pm

    After Hamasniks went on one of their rampages and caused millions of dollars of damage to the Kerem Shalom border crossing Israel has justifiably closed it. Apparently the demagogues who rule Gaza want to exacerbate their situation and make life even more miserable for their own people.

    • Talkback
      July 10, 2018, 1:52 pm

      That’s not the reason why it was “closed” and the fishing zone was limited. Israel uses collective punishment which is a crime against humanity to “crack down immediately on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.” – Netanyahu

      So much for the war criminals of your beloved Apartheid junta.

      • Mayhem
        July 11, 2018, 8:18 am

        So Talkback what’s the reason they “closed” it? Is it because they just wanted to be nasty and they love committing “crimes against humanity”? Is it because Israel relishes being the brunt of anti-semitic shit?
        In fact Israel loses revenue by closing the crossing to commercial traffic. And furthermore Israel is not curtailing the passage of humanitarian goods like medical supplies and food.

      • Talkback
        July 11, 2018, 11:37 am

        So you don’t understand Netanyahu’s quote, Mayhem?

      • DaBakr
        July 11, 2018, 12:49 pm

        @tb

        The one that says; “quiet will be met with quiet”?

      • Talkback
        July 11, 2018, 1:35 pm

        Zionists. One seems to be even more stupid than the other.

        “We will crack down immediately on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. In a significant move, we will today shut down the Kerem Shalom (border) crossing. There will be additional steps. I am not detailing them,” he told his parliamentary faction in broadcast remarks.
        https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5307045,00.html

  18. inbound39
    July 15, 2018, 7:06 pm

    To my mind ,the Arab Peace Initiative 2002 gave Israel everything and more that it ever wanted and made it extremely difficult to argue against. Israel,therfore ignored it totally for years thus showing its intent was clear. It publically said it wanted the Two State Solution when in reality it wanted all of Palestine. The Initiative should be put forward by all governments as the Solution and pushed hard in conjunction with BDS.

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