22 December 2016 - 23:37
News ID: 425977
Wishful Thinking:
Rasa - If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.
Israel Illegal Settlements

RNA - And despair is what awaits those who are still under the illusion that the United Nations Security Council has what it takes to vote on a resolution demanding Israel put an end to its illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories. They need - we all need - to stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes.


If the ruins of the besieged city of Gaza are any indication, including its levelled schools, hospitals and residential neighborhoods, the usurper regime of Israel will never cease its illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, much less stop imperiling the viability of the two-state solution, end decades-long occupation of Palestinian lands, stop insidiously grabbing Palestinian land and forcing out Palestinians under various pretexts, or take affirmative steps to reverse the negative trends on the ground.


Into the argument, even if the Security Council votes on such resolution, Israel, which has resumed plans to construct 500 new settler units in Jerusalem al-Quds, always has the United States, its greatest ally, to veto the resolution. After all, Washington has always shielded Tel Aviv against such moves at the Security Council on several other occasions in the past. This one shouldn’t be that hard.


That’s not all. In this and from the outset, the usurper regime has never been alone. In addition to UN complicity and US vetoes, Western businesses have always been involved in Israel’s settlement policies, benefiting from and contributing to them. They have helped to build, finance, service and market settlement units in breach of international law and UN Charter. In many cases, Western businesses are settlers themselves, drawn to settlements in part by low rents, favorable tax rates, subsidies, and access to cheap labor.


As long as Western businesses are operating in, financing, servicing, or trading with the illegal settlements, and/or refuse to comply with their human rights responsibilities in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel’s discriminatory policies against Palestinians that govern virtually every aspect of life in the occupied territories will continue unabated - anti-settlement resolutions at the UN Security Council notwithstanding.


In the prevailing environment, those who encourage the growth of illegal settlements should take note: These settlements violate the laws of occupation. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring its citizens into the territory it occupies and from transferring or displacing the population of an occupied territory within or outside the territory.


The Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, likewise establishes the court’s jurisdiction over war crimes including the crimes of transfer of parts of the civilian population of an occupying power into an occupied territory, and the forcible transfer of the population of an occupied territory. The ICC has jurisdiction over Israeli crimes committed in or from the territory of the State of Palestine, now an ICC member, beginning in June 13, 2014 - the date designated by Palestine in a declaration accompanying its accession.


It is the view of ICC, UN Security Council, Human Rights Watch and many others that by virtue of doing business in or with settlements or settlement businesses, Western companies are complicit in Israeli crimes. They contribute to all of these violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses. Their businesses depend on and benefit from Israel’s unlawful confiscation of Palestinian land and other resources, and facilitate the functioning and growth of these illegal settlements.


Western settlement-related activities also directly benefit from Israel’s discriminatory policies in planning and zoning, the allocation of land, natural resources, financial incentives, and access to utilities and infrastructure. These policies result in the forced displacement of Palestinians and place Palestinians at an enormous disadvantage in comparison with illegal settlers.


It is past time for Western businesses to undertake human rights due diligence to identify and mitigate contributions to human rights violations of not only their own activities but also activities to which they are directly linked by their business relationships. They are expected to take effective steps to avoid or mitigate human rights harms and to consider ending business activity in illegal settlements where severe negative human rights consequences cannot be avoided or mitigated.


Last but not the least, Western businesses should stop financing, administering, trading with or otherwise supporting illegal settlements or settlement-related activities and infrastructure. By vetoing anti-Israel Security Council resolutions and operating in illegal settlements they are inextricably tied to one or more of these human rights abuses and state-sponsored crimes.


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