Friday, 1 February 2013

UN Human Rights Commission Report

Just read this article in Ha'aretz about the new UN report on the settlements:

It is undoubtedly true that the UN Human Rights Commission is a joke. That it is full of countries with atrocious human rights records, and that it is more than a little bizarre the way that it focusses on Israel, rather than far more serious violations elsewhere.

However, there is still the possibility that they occasionally will speak the truth.

The settlements are unfortunately a breach of international law, because you are not allowed to transfer your population into "occupied territory". Israel has no choice but to consider the territory to be "occupied" because we don't can't extend the vote to the hostile palestinian population, but to call it Israel and not give them the vote would be true apartheid.

Worse than that: settlements seem to be the only weak spot Israel has with regards to the International Criminal Court (this was pointed out to me by an Israel lawyer friend). The ICC only intervenes if the local country's legal system is unwilling or unable to investigate a case. We have shown that we can prosecute our politicians (normally for fraud or rape), that we can prosecute soldiers in the cases of them violating human rights, but the courts have never looked at the legality of *all* settlements, and are unlikely to be able to do so. So the ICC is in a strong position to step in.

In the end, I am confident we will solve the problem in the West Bank, and withdraw from most of it:
We may do it through a negotiated settlement, having found a "partner" who can deliver.
We may do it because our conscience as a people compels it.
We may do it under pressure from foreign governments and international bodies, friendly and less friendly.
We may do it due to some economic and social boycott, similar to that seen against South Africa.
We may do it in the face of a serious uprising, unwilling to pay the cost in lives, as we did in Lebanon.

I hope for my country sake that we pick our time well, and leave under the best possible circumstances.

Shabbat Shalom

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