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.”


Abadi faces US wrath at U-turn on Iran sanctions

An intended visit to Tehran was canceled and Abadi’s office denied that the visit had even been planned. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Abadi faces US wrath at U-turn on Iran sanctions

  • Iran has maintained close ties to Iraq's government since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, Tehran's archenemy
  • The administration says the renewed sanctions are meant to pressure Tehran to halt its alleged support for international terrorism

BAGHDAD: Failure by Iraq to comply fully with tough new US economic sanctions against Iran would be insane, analysts told Arab News on Tuesday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi risked incurring US wrath after contradicting himself in the space of a few hours over whether his country would comply.
Amid diplomatic maneuvers, as he negotiates for a second term in office after divisive and contested elections, Abadi offended both Tehran and Washington with conflicting statements on the US sanctions, which were reimposed last week.
First, the prime minister said that while Iraq disapproved of the new sanctions, it would reluctantly comply. “We don’t support the sanctions because they are a strategic error, but we will comply with them,” he said.
“Our economic situation is also difficult and we sympathize with Iran. But. at the same time, I will not make grand slogans that destroy my people and my country just to make certain people happy.”
His position provoked anger in Iran. An intended visit to Tehran on Tuesday to discuss the issue was canceled, and Abadi’s office denied that the visit had even been planned.
There was also criticism inside Iraq, especially from groups close to Tehran, such as the Asaib Ahl Al-Haq and Badr paramilitary movements.
Within hours, however, Abadi had reversed his position. “I did not say we abide by the sanctions, I said we abide by not using dollars in transactions. We have no other choice,” Abadi told a news conference in Baghdad.
Asked if Baghdad would stop imports of commodities, appliances and equipment by government companies from Iran, he said the matter was still being reviewed. “We honestly have not made any decision regarding this issue until now,” he said.
Michael Knights, the Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Arab News: “Iraq can’t afford to be cut off from the dollar-based global financial system, so it makes sense to avoid sanctioned Iranian financial entities. Iraq should also protect its dollar reserves.
“These are the only sane options for a country that desperately needs international investment.”
Iraq is the second-largest purchaser of Iranian non-oil exports, and bought about $6 billion worth of goods in 2017. It also buys Iranian-generated electricity to deal with chronic power cuts that have been a key factor sparking mass protests in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, the British renewable energy investor Quercus became the latest major company to pull out of Iran as a result of the new sanctions.
It halted construction of $570 million solar power plant in Iran, which would have been the sixth-largest in the world.