6 Aug 2012

Israel bars five foreign ministers from entering West Bank in ‘flagrant violation’ of international law

By Madison Ruppert: Five foreign ministers of nations belonging to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) harshly criticized Israel for refusing to allow them to enter the city of Ramallah in the West Bank for a meeting, with one calling the move “a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and of Israel’s obligations as the occupying power.”
Mohammed Kamel Amr, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, stated during a press conference on August 5, 2012 in Amman, Jordan that the NAM Ministerial Committee on Palestine condemned the “blatant action by Israel.”
This type of unabashed flouting of international law on the part of Israel is nothing new by any means, but this comes at especially tense times, as the New York Times notes in reporting, “The cancellation of the Ramallah conference came as an Israeli airstrike killed a Palestinian militant and seriously wounded another in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.”
The attack killed 22-year-old Eid Oukal and wounded Ahmed Sai’d Isma’i, both allegedly members of the Popular Resistance Committees in Palestine.
However, the timing is not only noteworthy because of the recent violence. Indeed, there is perhaps a much more significant reason for Israel to refuse entry to the NAM ministers.
The ministers were scheduled to sign a declaration explicitly supporting a renewed push for Palestine to be officially upgraded to non-member state, a move which Israel obviously does not endorse.

The foreign ministers of Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Indonesia and Malaysia were all denied entry but it does not appear to have weakened the resolve of the NAM ministers on the Palestine Committee in any way.
In fact, Amr stated that the Israeli action “only strengthens NAM’s resolve to assist the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for dignity and their inalienable right to statehood.”
The document which was going to be signed by the foreign ministers of the 13 nations on the NAM Palestine Committee, dubbed the “Ramallah Declaration,” also condemns settlements and supports a Palestinian state.
According to the Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, the statement is “a political declaration that endorses and supports the Palestinian people’s right to have a state, condemns settlements, and supports the Palestinian bid to obtain non-member status at the UN,” as reported by Press TV.
Maliki even went as far as to call the Israeli move a “war crime,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
It appears that the efforts of Palestine within the United Nations have been scaled back slightly, evidenced by the fact that they are no longer attempting to gain full member status in the international body.
The new request, according to Press TV, will be submitted to the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2012, precisely one year after Mahmoud Abbas, President Palestinian Authority, originally attempted to obtain the status of a full member state.
However, this account is contradicted by the New York Times which is reporting that Abbas stated that he would not seek a General Assembly vote on the issue until some point in late November.
The previous request died in committee, but unlike the Security Council which has the strongly pro-Israel United States holding veto power, the General Assembly is likely to support the Palestinian effort.
The status they are now seeking is, in my opinion, much more realistic since they are only seeking the same status enjoyed by the Vatican, thus giving them access to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Yet this might be a bit more controversial than one would think since, as the New York Times rightly noted, the Palestinians could “pursue legal cases against Israeli settlers and officials for actions in the West Bank.”
It will be interesting to see if the rabidly anti-Palestinian states in the United Nations will be willing to even allow the Palestinian people to have the lowly status they are seeking or if they will continue to refuse to give them any and all recognition across the board.


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