Palestinians lament resolution that time forgot

A view shows the Israeli barrier as buildings are seen in Kfar Aqab on the outskirts of Jerusalem, near the West Bank City of Ramallah, in this November 7, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 November 2017
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Palestinians lament resolution that time forgot

LONDON: On the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 242, which called for the “withdrawal” of Israel from Palestinian territories, critics have hit out at the impotency of the mandate.
Resolution 242 was formed as a response to the Six Day War in June 1967, which culminated in Israel’s capture of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Apart from the Sinai Peninsula, the territories remain occupied.
Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, told Arab News: “These resolutions float around for years and people don’t pay heed to them. Since this resolution, we have seen more Israeli acquisitions and more settlements. Israel has continued with its expansionist policy.”
Hassassian hit out at the toothless nature of the resolution and said that the “only way” to stop Israel from building more settlements would be to issue international sanctions for each new illegal Israeli settlement in Palestine.
Pietro Stefanini, a researcher and advocacy coordinator at The Palestinian Return Center (PRC) agreed that the half-century-old resolution has been ineffective and called for international sanctions over Israel’s “illegal” behavior.
He said: “The takeover will only stop with political force. Israel’s aggression and continued occupation is a continuation of the ethnic cleansing that began in 1947. When countries flout international law as Israel has done with its illegal annexation of Palestine, then it is a justified and reasonable response to issue sanctions as was the case when Putin tried to annex Crimea.”
Stefanini said that he deemed the resolution to be “deliberately vague” which promoted inaction and obfuscation.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign Director, Ben Jamal, said in a statement to Arab News: “In a year of milestones for the Palestinian struggle for justice, the fiftieth year since the passing of UN Resolution 242 is a sobering reminder of the failure of the international community to exert the influence required to secure a just peace.”
Jamal added: “The simple reason for Israel being able to deny the will of the international community and defy international law is the unwillingness of international bodies to hold it to account through meaningful sanctions. Only pressure exerted on governments by civil society through the growing movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is likely to change this dynamic.”
Tareq Shrourou, a lawyer and director for Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, told Arab News that Israel had “actively disregarded” the resolution through “its ongoing and accelerating construction and expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the transfer of Israeli settlers into occupied territory, the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the forcible displacement of Palestinian civilians.”
Shrourou said: “Israel’s relentless pursuit of its settlements policy is not only glaringly incompatible with UN Resolution 242 and international humanitarian law, but significantly violates a range of basic human rights of Palestinians, including severely impeding their fundamental right to self-determination.”


Netanyahu faces snap election calls after defense minister quits

Updated 15 November 2018
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Netanyahu faces snap election calls after defense minister quits

  • Avigdor Lieberman quit on Wednesday over what he described as the government’s too-soft policy on cross-border violence with Palestinian militants
  • The loss of the five seats of Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu faction leaves Netanyahu with control of just 61 of the 120 seats in parliament

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced calls on Thursday from his coalition partners to hold an early election, a day after the defense minister’s resignation left the government with a razor-thin majority.
Avigdor Lieberman quit on Wednesday over what he described as the government’s too-soft policy on cross-border violence with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
The loss of the five seats of Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu faction leaves Netanyahu with control of just 61 of the 120 seats in parliament, raising the prospect that a scheduled November 2019 election would be brought forward.
Lieberman’s resignation takes effect 48 hours after being handed in, which he did early on Thursday. Each coalition partner will then have the power to bring down the government.
To avert a crisis, Netanyahu has been holding talks with ministers in an effort to stabilize the government.
Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who heads the centrist Kulanu party, said he told Netanyahu in their meeting that the responsible step to take would be to establish a new and stable government.
“The best thing for Israel’s citizens and economy is to hold an election as soon as possible,” Kahlon said in a statement. His call was echoed by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri who heads the ultra-Orthodox Shas faction.
Adding to the pressure, Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the far-right Jewish Home party, has demanded the defense brief by given to him.
Both Lieberman and Bennett, who compete with Netanyahu’s Likud for right-wing voters, have spoken in favor of harsh Israeli military action against Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists.
Israel has fought three wars in Gaza since Hamas took over the enclave in 2007.
“I asked the prime minister yesterday to appoint me defense minister to fulfil one goal only — that Israel start winning again,” Bennett said at a conference near Tel Aviv.
Jewish Home said on Wednesday that without the defense brief, there would be no point in keeping the government together.
However Bennett did not repeat this in his remarks on Thursday nor did he render an explicit ultimatum to Netanyahu, with whom he is due to meet on Friday.
It was unclear whether Netanyahu would opt for an early election.
Netanyahu is under investigation for corruption, and speculation has been rife that he may bring the ballot forward in order to win a renewed mandate before Israel’s attorney-general decides whether to indict him.
A poll published on Wednesday by Israel’s Hadashot television news showed Likud falling by one seat from 30 to 29 after months of surveys that have shown it gaining power. Only 17 percent of respondents were happy with Netanyahu’s Gaza policy.