It’s almost enough to restore your faith in the political process! Independent Senator Nick Xenophon slams the Australian government over its semantic shenanigans – re-categorising the ‘Occupied Territories’ in Palestine as ‘Disputed Territories’.
Certainly Australia’s record of support for Palestine has never been much better than dismal, but under the Abbott government it has reached new lows!
It is a shame that it takes an independent senator to tell the truth in Parliament. The major parties wouldn’t dare speak the truth if it meant offending the Zionist lobby.
I guess that’s no basis for a restoration of faith in our system but it does remind me that an inspired individual can still rise above the system and that gives me hope. 🙂
Xenophon Smashes Brandis-Abbott Spin On Occupied Palestine
Brandis digs himself a hole on Israel, so Abbott hands him a shovel. Chris Graham reports on the ensuing stunning rebuke by Nick Xenophon.
Independent federal Senator Nick Xenophon has delivered a comprehensive – and at times stunning – dismantling of the Abbott Government’s apparent decision to no longer refer to areas of Palestine as “occupied” by Israel, describing the Commonwealth’s actions as “factually untrue, legally ignorant and most unhelpful”.
Senator Xenophon, an independent from South Australia, delivered the speech to the federal Senate yesterday evening. It followed Attorney General George Brandis ‘freestyling’ during a Senate Estimates hearing on June 5 over disputed territories in the Middle East.
Brandis’ latest brain snap was sparked by a late night question from Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, to the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Varghese: “Why did the Australian ambassador to Israel attend a meeting in occupied East Jerusalem with the Israeli minister for housing and construction, the same minister who is forecasting a 50 per cent increase in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories in the next five years?”
Varghese never got to answer. Brandis interrupted him and decided, on the fly, to single-handedly rewrite Australian Government policy on Israel-Palestine.
“The Australian government does not refer to East Jerusalem by the descriptor ‘occupied East Jerusalem’. We speak of East Jerusalem,” Brandis replied.
The following morning, Brandis poured fuel on a growing fire by reading from a written statement: “The description of East Jerusalem as ‘occupied …’ is freighted with pejorative implications, which is neither appropriate nor useful.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott tried to dig his party out of the hole, referring Brandis’ comments as a “terminological clarification”, but in the process introducing the phrase “disputed territories”.
The ‘policy on the fly’ approach to Middle East relations, not surprisingly, sparked widespread outrage, with Arab threats of sanctions worth $2 billion against Australia’s live cattle trade, and more internal party rumblings at yet another stuff up from senior Liberals.
Yesterday evening, Xenophon set the record straight with a point-by-point decimation of Abbott’s and Brandis’ and claims, which he described as “false and actually most unhelpful to the process of achieving a lasting peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict”.
“According to the 1949 Geneva conventions and the 1907 Hague regulations, territory is considered occupied when it comes under the actual authority of the invading military.
“There are certain objective tests.
“One – has the occupying power substituted its own authority for that of the occupied authorities? Yes. It is a matter of fact that Israel’s authority prevails in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
“Two – Have the enemy forces been defeated, regardless of whether sporadic local resistance continues? Yes. It is a matter of fact that Israel defeated its military adversaries in the June 1967 war.
“Three – Does the occupying power have a sufficient force present to make its authority felt? Yes. It is a fact that Israel has sufficient force to make its authority felt.
“Four – Has an administration been established over the territory? Yes. It is a fact — a poignant fact — that even the Palestinian leaders who wish to enter or leave the occupied Palestinian territories cannot do so without permission from Israel. Even the Palestinian president cannot go to the United Nations in New York, or indeed to anywhere else in the world, without permission from Israel.
“Five – Has the occupying power issued and enforced directions to the civilian population? Yes. It is a fact that Israel has issued and enforced such directions.
“Indeed, Israel’s highest court — the High Court of Justice — stated in paragraph 23 of its verdict in the case of Beit Sourik Village Council v The Government of Israel on 30 June 2004 that ‘Israel holds the area in belligerent occupation’.
“I concede that here the word ‘occupied’ is ‘freighted with implications’, but to say they are pejorative is factually untrue and legally ignorant.”
Senator Xenophon also pointed to a landmark opinion handed down by the International Court of Justice in 2004 around the illegal establishment of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, and the construction of a wall by Israel to separate it from parts of Palestine, and to regulate the movements of Palestinians.
That judgment repeatedly refers to ‘occupied’ territory in East Jerusalem.
“Australia is quite happy to accept the wisdom of the International Court of Justice when it comes to whales,” Xenophon said, “but not, it seems, the Palestinians.”
“We already know, thanks to the so-called Palestine Papers — which are the biggest leak of secret documents in the history of the Middle East conflict — that a solution is already available.
“The Palestinian negotiating team in 2008 offered a formula where Israel would annex 1.9 per cent of the West Bank in the context of a land swap, allowing Israel to retain within its borders 63 per cent of the illegal settler population.
“We also know, according to the same leaks, that Israel’s negotiating team turned down this offer.
“Australia, by adopting these rejectionist statements, has given comfort to the extremists and has weakened the position of the moderate and reasonable Israelis and Palestinians.
“We should instead encourage our great friend Israel to accept the generous offer made in 2008 so that we can have a real, lasting and durable peace in the Middle East.
“The statement made by the Australian government on 5 June this year is not only wrong; it is factually untrue, legally ignorant and most unhelpful.”
For his part, Brandis reportedly blamed the ‘misunderstanding’ on “journalist-led confusion of an innocuous statement”.
PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION NEGOTIATIONS AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
RUNNING RINGS AROUND THE WORLD: ISRAEL’S COLONIAL EXPANSION IN OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM
Since the Israeli occupation of 1967, the Israeli government, in cooperation with Israeli settler organizations, has actively intensified a process of colonization all over the Occupied West Bank, particularly in and around Occupied East Jerusalem. This process serves the overarching Israeli goal of annexing vast parts of the State of Palestine to the State of Israel. Although the international community considers Israel’s actions to be illegal and has strongly condemned them through several UN resolutions, Israel has been allowed to aggressively pursue its illegal colonization enterprise without any legal, diplomatic or political consequences.
Israeli settlement activity in and around Jerusalem has increased under recent Israeli governments, particularly under PM Netanyahu’s mandate. Israel has been creating three main rings of settlements:
1) Ring of settlements set to fragment the Old City of Occupied East Jerusalem and its adjacent Palestinian neighborhoods. This is in order to expand the Jewish Quarter and includes several Palestinian houses taken by Israeli settlers in the Christian, Armenian and Muslim quarters as well as the demolition of the Magharbeh Quarter. Meanwhile, adjacent to the Old City, Israel’s colonial activity spreads throughout Sheikh Jarrah, Wadi Joz, Ras Amoud, Silwan and the Mount of Olives.
2) Ring of settlements set to isolate the surrounding neighborhoods of Occupied East Jerusalem from the Old City. These settlements include: Ramot Eshkol, French Hill, Kidmat Zion and East Talpiyot.
3) Ring of settlements set to seal the whole of Occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied State of Palestine. These settlements include: Pisgat Ze’ev, Neve Yaaqov, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ramot, Ma’ale Adumim, Har Homa, Giv’at Hamatos, Gilo and Har Gilo.
This fact sheet describes the first ring of colonial settlements. It focuses on the settlements built throughout the Palestinian neighborhoods surrounding the old city of Jerusalem and also highlights the new facts on the ground that settler organizations, along with Israeli Occupation Forces, are trying to establish in the occupied Palestinian capital. A newly planned Israeli military academy will also be considered in more detail, as a recent example of Israeli colonization policies in Occupied East Jerusalem.
To continue reading the fact sheet, please go to RUNNING RINGS AROUND THE WORLD
Father Roy writes: France has joined Britain in spearheading this proposal. According to the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Baroness Ashton, the proposal could soon become a pan-European initiative. Please note the next-to-last paragraph in particular (highlighted). Preparing the way for Obama?
Britain spearheading new talks between Palestinians, Israel
The Zionist regime’s aggressive approach towards the Palestinians following the recognition of Palestine by the international community has prompted the UK and its allies to plan a new proposal to re-launch the so-called Middle East peace process.
The new peace proposal for the Middle East being spearheaded by Britain and France requires Zionist regime’s authorities to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians within a year, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The initiative is expected to be tabled by March following the formation of a new Israeli cabinet after next week’s general election [in the occupied Palestinian territories], according to the report.
The proposal, which will include a provision for a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem (al-Quds), could eventually be adopted as a pan-European initiative by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, the newspaper reported.
“We do know that the EU is planning to come up with something after the elections, when the new government has been formed,” one Israeli source told the Daily Telegraph.
It (the proposal) will reportedly suggest negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians based on pre-1967 borders with appropriate land swaps, including the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem (al-Quds) as its capital and will also involve an Israeli settlement freeze, the report said.
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, has told the House of Commons that he was consulting with his French and German counterparts about how to lend European weight to a US-led peace initiative.
This comes as all past initiatives, proposed by the UK, US or other European states led to nowhere because of the Zionist regime’s expansionist policies and its continuation of building settlements inside the already occupied Palestinian territories.
Father Roy writes: The New Year begins with encouraging news. The following report was published in today’s Ha’aretz. The US blocked a UNSC resolution and a presidential statement condemning Israel’s construction plans, but the US did not prevent our European allies from blasting Israel. Peace, Roy
UN Security Council members blast Israel over settlement construction plans
U.S. blocks attempts to push joint presidential statement and resolution condemning construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; In addition to thousands of new housing units, a new highway is being built that will cut the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa in two.
Fourteen members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned Israel for advancing construction plans in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The council’s European Union members issued a statement saying these plans undermine their faith in Israel’s willingness to negotiate.
For the full article: www.haaretz.com……