Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
The whole world witness injustice, particularly in two places i.e. Palestine and Indian Occupied Kashmir. Both the places are known to be open air prisons. The local people are living in hell as the occupied forces have adopted harsh approaches to suppress the local aspirations. In this article, the issue of Palestine will be reviewed, the US stance on solution of the conflict will be discuses, giving the hint let’s start from the recent statement of Mike Pompeo. When United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week proclaimed that the US government now no longer considered Israel’s colonies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to be “inconsistent with international law”, a wave of dismay swept through the region. It was seen as another setback to peace.
On the issue of legality, perhaps Pompeo needs to be reminded that Israel’s colonies in the Palestinian West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which both the US and Israel are signatories, clearly states that “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. In addition to that, the charter of the International Criminal Court makes this illegal colonisation of Occupied Territory a “war crime”.
Now, these had been agreed to in principle by all parties. However, the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world have witnessed a continuous disregard and flouting of international law under the present Israeli government. The US is now invalidating its own legal opinions, and backtracking on the thorny issue of illegal colonies that will not bode well for a final peace settlement.
Since 1967, when Israel occupied the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, the US had officially opposed Israel’s construction and expansion of colonies there in deference to international law. A legal opinion by the US State Department issued in 1978, determined that “while Israel may undertake, in the Occupied Territories, actions necessary to meet its military needs and to provide for orderly government during the occupation, for reasons indicated above, the establishment of the civilian settlements [colonies] in those territories is inconsistent with international law”.
The then US president Ronald Reagan’s administration had ruled that the US viewed colonies on Palestinian lands as illegal. However, the stance of the government rarely translated into action against Israel’s illegal land usurpation policies, as the US continued to increase unconditional military and diplomatic support for Israel.
In justifying the overturning of the legal opinion issued by the State Department in 1978, Pompeo made reference to statements by Reagan on the Middle East. Thus, the US is now invalidating its own legal opinions, and backtracking on the thorny issue of illegal colonies that will not bode well for a final peace settlement.
Pompeo also threw the final disposition of colonies to the Israeli courts perhaps not realising that Israel’s judicial system has often worked hand-in-glove with the Israeli government to promote Israel’s illegal colonisation of Palestinian land. To perhaps appease the rest of the Arab world, Pompeo hoped that “this move by the United States would not prejudge final status issues between Israel and Palestinians”. Unfortunately, the Arabs have heard similar claims before the administration’s moving of the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem. It does not bode well to Palestinian claims with the US firmly siding with Israeli positions.
Saudi Arabia reacted swiftly to Pompeo’s statement saying that “it completely rejected Washington’s statement on Israeli colonies in the West Bank”. An official communique declared that “the ongoing construction of colonies in the West Bank contravenes international resolutions that guarantee the historical and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to East Jerusalem and the West Bank”. Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz has been keen on ensuring that the rights of the Palestinian people are not usurped by Israelis. The UAE, too, affirmed its strong opposition to the US move. Similar statements of protests were lodged in other parts of the Arab world.
–The author is a staff member of The Daily Mail.
Ajmal Khan Yousafzai