23 February 2007

Three out of four Israelis would like to be part of EU

Today's Independent informs us that:

"Three-quarters of Israelis want to be in the European Union and more than a tenth would actually leave Israel for Europe if they were granted EU citizenship, according to an opinion poll published yesterday. "

The report by Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem tells us that contrary to "the country's political class" Israelis "have a startlingly positive view of the EU".

Perhaps it would be a decent bargaining chip: we'll consider letting you into the EU, but obviously on the conditions of complete withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian land, withdrawal of all colonies and settlers, release of all political prisoners and bringing to justice all the war criminals. Because the country is littered with them.

Meanwhile the Guardian today neatly sidestepped the most serious charges of the latest UN report "on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967".

The thrust of Rory McCarthy's article on the UN report is on the issue of apartheid:

"A UN human rights investigator has likened Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories to apartheid South Africa and says there should be "serious consideration" over bringing the occupation to the international court of justice."

McCarthy finally gets round to mentioning Israeli war crimes in the last sentence of his article, but only after first managing to introduce the fact that Palestinians are guilty of war crimes themselves:

"Prof Dugard...described as a violation of international humanitarian law the firing of rockets by Palestinians from Gaza into Israel. "Such actions cannot be condoned and clearly constitute a war crime," he said. "Nevertheless, Israel's response has been grossly disproportionate and indiscriminate and resulted in the commission of multiple war crimes."

The very first paragraph of the report's summary says:

"The siege of Gaza is a form of collective punishment in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949. The indiscriminate use of military power against civilians and civilian targets has resulted in serious war crimes."

Further quotes from the report:

"In effect Israel and sections of the international community have imposed collective punishment on the Palestinian people."

This refers to "the economic isolation of the territory by the United States, the European Union (EU) and other States in response to the election of the Hamas Government."

In effect, we in Europe are complicit in war crimes.

"The international community has identified three regimes as inimical to human rights -colonialism, apartheid and foreign occupation. Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT. At the same time elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the occupying Power and third States? It is suggested that this question might appropriately be put to the International Court of Justice for a further advisory opinion.

The Occupied Palestinian Territory is the only instance of a developing country that is denied the right of self-determination and oppressed by a Western-affiliated State. The apparent failure of Western States to take steps to bring such a situation to an end places the future of the international protection of human rights in jeopardy as developing nations begin to question the commitment of Western States to human rights."

Further evidence of Western barbarity comes with Naomi Klein's excellent comment piece, also in today's Guardian: "The US psychological torture system is finally on trial". Klein sums up thus:

"the US government has been deliberately driving hundreds, possibly thousands, of prisoners insane around the world. What is on trial in Florida is not one man's mental state. It is the whole system of US psychological torture."

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