Israel refuses to cooperate with UN investigation of its Illegal Settlement theft of land in Palestinian West Bank

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    Apr 02, 2012 9:12 AM GMT
    UN probe must take West Bank out of Israeli hands

    No UN investigative committee is needed to understand that the West Bank belongs to another people and its lands are not available to a Jewish and democratic state.
    Haaretz Editorial

    Not for nothing is the government going out of its way to thwart the UN Human Rights Council's decision to investigate the settlements.

    The map of "available" land for settlements, revealed in Haaretz on Friday by Akiva Eldar, shows that while successive Israeli governments have trumpeted their desire to establish a sustainable Palestinian state alongside Israel, they have spared no economic effort or legal creativity to thwart this solution.

    The map shows that for decades the Civil Administration has been seeking and mapping West Bank land that outdated Ottoman law defined as "state land." Much of this land has been used to set up settlements and even illegal outposts.

    Some parcels of land have been named after settlements to be established in the future within certain local and regional councils in the West Bank - and beyond them. In some places, boundaries of "available" land spill beyond the separation fence, which Israel calls the security fence.

    Most of the reservoir of land, including 569 sites covering 620,000 dunams, or 155,000 acres (about 10 percent of the West Bank ), is east of the separation fence and the "settlement blocs" that Israel wants to annex in a final-status agreement with the Palestinians. Since the interim Oslo 2 agreement, which gave the Palestinian Authority control over civilian affairs in areas A and B, the Civil Administration has mapped land while "legitimizing" outposts and neighborhoods only in Area C, which is under Israel's complete control.

    The division into three areas was intended as a temporary arrangement. But successive Israeli governments have treated Area C - about 60 percent of the West Bank - as an inseparable part of Israel. The Civil Administration, the Israel Defense Forces and the State Prosecutor's Office are doing everything possible to restrict the Palestinians living in this area, and are too charitable toward infractions of the law by settlers, as in the case of Migron.

    In any case, no UN investigative committee is needed to understand that the West Bank belongs to another people and its lands are not available to a Jewish and democratic state.

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    Apr 02, 2012 4:31 PM GMT
    Usually the far right here in the US defend Patriot Act and Homeland Security intrusions on our privacy by saying "IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE, YOU SHOULDN'T BE WORRIED".

    In this instance of the UN investigating Israels Settlement theft of Palestine Land, the US Far Right AIPAC and Christian Fundi's should be advising the Israeli Officials that "IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE, YOU SHOULDN'T BE WORRIED".
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    Apr 04, 2012 12:35 AM GMT
    UN probe of settlement activity is a Palestinian warning sign to Israel
    While a vote in the UN General Assembly isn’t equivalent to a vote in the Security Council, it will make it a lot harder for Netanyahu to claim that the West Bank isn’t occupied.
    By Akiva Eldar
    The Palestinian leadership, as most experts say about the Iranian leadership, is calculating its steps rationally.

    Ramallah knew that the appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council would elicit a response from Israel, would annoy the Americans, and wouldn’t bring them any closer to ending the occupation.

    Why would a rational person think a UN probe into the settlements would lead to any other results than those the results of the Mitchell Report, which recommended that construction be completely stopped and that outposts be evicted, or of the Road Map that recommended the Mitchell Report findings be implemented?

    What more can we learn from an investigation into the settlement that we haven’t yet learned from Attorney Talia Sasson's report on illegal outposts? What will the UN probe into the settlements teach us about the settlers’ attacks on the rights of Palestinians that haven’t been made public in the periodic publications of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs or the websites of Peace Now, B'Tselem, Yesh Din, Bimkom, and Breaking the Silence?

    It’s enough to look through the archives of the Israeli High Court of Justice and the Israeli press to determine that the settlers - aided by the Israeli government after Israeli government - are depriving Palestinians of their land, restricting their freedom, and generally making their lives generally more difficult. It is a shame to waste money on the stipends of the investigation staff.

    So why did the Palestinians decide they need this investigation? They know no good came to them from the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead. It is hard to believe that they have forgotten the onslaught they suffered in the hands of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and the American Congress, as a result of their failed attempt to be admitted to the UN and their admission to UNSECO.

    It is unlikely that sober leader like Mahmoud Abbas hadn’t first considered the repercussions that Netanyahu’s friends in Congress would dish out in retaliation for their appeal to one the most loathed intuitions in American politics. Doesn’t he know that Republicans are looking for excuses to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority?

    In light of the fact that this move seems to play to the hands of Netanyahu, every rational Israeli should be worried by it. It is another testimony to the erosion in the faith the Palestinians hold in the prospect of reaching an agreement with Israel on a final settlement through negotiations, in the United States, and in the Quartet.

    What we are seeing is the behavior of a neighbor that is swinging his fists erratically at windmills in despair. This is a warning signal, maybe the last, before more than 120 recognize Palestine as a sovereign nation with the 1967 lines as its borders.

    It is true that a vote in the UN General Assembly isn’t equivalent to a vote in the Security Council, but it will make it a lot harder for Netanyahu to claim, as he has in the past, that the West Bank isn’t occupied rather it is “disputed territory.”

    Through the years the Palestinians have stubbornly refused to appeal to the UN or the International Court in The Hague to take action against the settlements. According to international law, the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory is forbidden. Israel claims that this is willful immigration and not government a sanctioned transferring of populations.

    The Palestinians believe that measures taken against Israeli settlements outside the West Bank would be misconstrued as recognition of Israeli sovereignty beyond the Green Line. Were Israel to have a more rational government, it would see the Palestinian actions as what they are a Palestinian recognition of Israel within the 1967 borders.

    More on this topic

    Israel mulls ways to penalize PA in wake of UN human rights probe
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    Apr 04, 2012 12:41 AM GMT
    Surprise, suprise, surprise, they think they are a law unto themselves; the trouble this attitude has gotten them into the past.

    Israel is like a petulant child that needs to be put in it's place.
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    Apr 05, 2012 2:24 PM GMT
    U.N. Pushes West Bank Settlement 'Probe'

    Headache for Obama as Israel Cuts Ties With Rights Council

    getty images

    Same Old Circus? Israel fears the U.N.’s planned fact-finding mission on the West Bank will turn into a propaganda operation.

    By Nathan Guttman

    Published April 05, 2012, issue of April 13, 2012.



    Single Page

    Washington — A United Nations group’s decision to probe settlement activity on the West Bank has raised the specter of a new feud between Israel and the world body — and created a fresh headache for the White House.

    Israel quickly denounced the Human Rights Council’s resolution, which calls for a fact-finding commission to investigate the “implications” of the settlements for Palestinians. The Jewish state also severed all ties with the council.

    Jewish groups blasted the March 19 vote — in which the United States cast the only “no” vote — as anti-Israel grandstanding. They believe it will likely lead to a seriously flawed report along the lines of the much criticized U.N. report on the Israeli offensive in Gaza, which was written by Judge Richard Goldstone.

    Related ■Did a Private Meeting Prompt Goldstone To Change His Mind?
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    “The report is already written,” said Daniel Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith International’s executive vice president.

    The Anti-Defamation League took a tougher stance, calling on the United States to quit the Human Rights Council altogether.

    Even harsh critics of Israel’s settlements took a dim view of the planned fact-finding mission.

    “The Israeli government’s refusal to cooperate with a body that has [disproportionately] and unfairly focused on Israel is understandable,” said Ori Nir, a spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, adding that the group wants to see an independent Israeli probe of the settlements.

    Besides creating a nasty new stand-off between Israel and the U.N., the resolution could mushroom into a big diplomatic headache for the Obama administration, which has sought to rebuild its ties with the international body after years of discord.

    The effort of the United States to work closer with the U.N. and its agencies has taken a hit each time the issue of Israel has come up, forcing the United States to choose between standing up for Israel or seeking to enhance its international image. Usually, supporting Israel has won out.

    “The basic instinct of the administration was, ‘The more U.N., the merrier,’” said Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. “And then you get the Israel issue and it forces itself on the U.S.”

    “The administration shifted its position largely… to defend the U.S. interests in Israel,” added Telhami, who is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy.

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    Apr 06, 2012 3:27 PM GMT
    Comments on the subject from the Jewish Daily Forward

    John Venes · 7 hours ago

    Israel's having the most resolutions approved in the UNHRC was the results of its decades of illegal occupation, stealing of lands, reckless bombing of Palestinian population, etc. Where in the world can you find these criminal acts inflicted on the native population? Compassion to the agony of Muslim and Christian Palestinians brought about these resolutions. If Israel is not guilty, why is she not cooperating with the body to bring out her evidences of innocence? Israel has a choice. If she is not capable of handling criticisms and cases before the international institutions, its better she leave Palestine and treat Israeli Arabs fairly. Gagging everybody from criticizing the illegal occupation will only backlash and produces results adverse to the whole Jewry. Israel can not cry that her existence is in peril, while in reality it is the one that imperils the existence of Muslim and Christian Palestinians.

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    SethMorrison 61p · 1 day ago

    Israel brought this on by continued settlement building and is fair game for scrutiny. As in the Goldstone Report Israel compounds the issue by refusing to participate and go on record with their justification.

    The Goldstone report was one-sided because Israel failed to cooperate. I believe that the settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace but recognize that there are those who believe that they are legal and appropriate. Israel would be better served by openly participating and justifying their actions. Hiding in the sand never solves anything.

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