Welcome to Palestine 2017 — A legal Imperative by Clive Hambidge

Support Palestine, Protest AIPAC 2016

Image by Susan Melkisethian via Flickr

by Clive Hambidge
Writer, Dandelion Salad
London, England
April 26, 2016

“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.” — Albert Einstein

The ship carrying the precious cargo of a Palestinian Statehood bid, intended for late 2017, navigates through the choppy waters of Israel’s polluted sea of propaganda, US obduracy and a forever abstaining UK, complicit to a universally recognized, unlawful and brutal Israeli occupation.

This must not deter we the people, in our duty to support this putative bid or allow its legal and political implications to drift, be devolved or becalmed in the parameters of our consciousness indeed offshore in the shallows of a collective conscience.  The Palestinian Statehood Bid is the freedom flotilla bound this time for the UN Security Council.

France threatens a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State as it condemns on-going settlements activity. This should be supported by vociferous multilateral campaigns issuing from the 8 Nation States who at 10.26pm on 30th December 2014 voted in favour of the original bid; and who probably agreed (as I do) with Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin who incompliantly stated that Moscow “cannot share the objections of those who believe that the draft resolution was undermining the prospects of the negotiating process.” Good for him, shame on the UK.

The peremptory norms are clear, as I remind the Nation States who used the power of veto 2014 (and others that abstained) that according to the Human Sciences Research Council Palestinian Statehood Bid (HSRC)[1]: “If a State aids or assists another State in maintaining that unlawful situation, knowing it to be unlawful, then it becomes complicit in its commission and itself commits an internationally wrongful act.”

A submission to the UN Security Council must go ahead for as stated and reiterated by Mahmoud Abbas: “Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only as a political one.”  The charges of colonialism, apartheid, (and now genocide) against Israel as an “belligerent Occupying Power in OPT“ since 1967 have been demonstrated to a conscionable world community and more than satisfactorily by legal scholars.

Reparation, self determination, right of return and putative criminal charges brought against Israel for crimes against humanity and genocide  by Palestine are necessarily limited because the weight or bias of international law stands firmly with States and State self interest.  Palestine therefore and thereof has historically sought refuge in and through human rights standard bodies. With little effect.

Generations of Palestinians have known only too well of their plight and the laws that should have protected them from Israel’s violent narrative of expropriation. Generations of Palestinians have resisted this unilateral annexation rightfully and lawfully.

Prohibited under international law, the systematic unilateral annexation of Palestine by Israel as an occupying force and the geographical permanent status Israel has created as facts on the ground is legally untenable.

In 2007 Professor John Dugard, in his capacity as UN Special Rapporteur in the OPT posed the question[2]: “What are the legal consequences of a [Israeli] regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people?” The answer is tragically clear: collective punishment of a besieged and violated population. This constitutes a contiguous and damning litany of planned “inhuman acts” committed by Israel against innocent Palestinians since 1948 (stepped up in sophistication and barbarity since 1967) have remained unpunished.

Self determination crucial to the Palestinian cause is violated by colonialism. Self determination as determined by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is “one of the essential principles of contemporary international law.” All states should promote self determination. As they do not at the governmental level, we as the sovereign subjects of Nation States (in my case the UK) have a duty to unequivocally promote Palestinian self determination.

The 1973[3] “Apartheid Convention” is defined in part by: “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict teaches a particular hagiography, the shaping of a pervasive, systemic architecture of asymmetry. We must understand and teach others by our pro-active stance that the 1948 Nakba saw a violent land grab in the course of which 678 Palestinian localities were destroyed, 400 villages disembowelled, 85% of the Palestinian population (an estimated 750,000) became refugees. And of historical Palestine 78% was stolen. Thus the establishment of Israel in historical Palestine was a Zionist coup d’état as Britain turned her anti-Semitic face the other way.

The overwhelmingly disadvantaged Palestinians, are/have been “fighting a war of national liberation” (Philo and Berry), for the remaining 22%  ever since with one arm tied behind by their backs by the cabal of US, EU,UK support of Israel’s  deadly expropriation project. The subjugated and oppressed Palestinians have been standing in an American (AIPAC controlled) wind tunnel where their anguished “cry freedom” has been roared down. Never the less the taken 85% remains alive in the topography of the collective psyche of a wounded but stoic Palestinian people.


[1] Human Sciences Research Council, Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? Executive Summary A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law, May 2009, Cape Town, South Africa. P15.

[2] Human Sciences Research Council, Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? Executive Summary A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law, May 2009, Cape Town, South Africa. P5.

[3] https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%201015/volume-1015-I-14861-English.pdf

NB: Commissioned by Days of Palestine, this article was first published on Sunday 24 April 2016 by Days of Palestine

Also published at Facilitate Global

Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global. He can be contacted at: clive.hambidge@facilitateglobal.org.

from the archives:

“We Need Dissent From the Dubious Thesis That Military Power Alone Can Change the Map of the World” by Gaither Stewart

Demystifying US and Israeli Power by Susan Cain and Mark Mason (must-read)

Abby Martin and Max Blumenthal: Palestine’s Rebellion, Israel’s Fascism

Abby Martin: The Distortion and Death Behind the Israel-Palestine Coverage

“Brigands of the World, They Create Desolation and Call it Peace” by Clive Hambidge

12 thoughts on “Welcome to Palestine 2017 — A legal Imperative by Clive Hambidge

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  9. What a fundamental recognition of value David has written. This sort of vision is rare and arises only from a person in whom love has sought and found sanctuary. Clive

    • Such authentic generosity of spirit and the total commitment you exemplify, are also too often ignored and unrecognized, Clive!

      In the light of politically motivated events in the UK today, I need not remark at length about the contentious and abhorrent issue of anti-semitism that Lo has alluded to below; as those of us who pay careful attention, are only too aware of the distinction between bigoted racism and healthy, informed & necessary criticism of (in this instance) Israeli institutionalized genocide.

      It is not enough just to value truth, we also need the courage to know what to do about it, once we have fully understood what it actually means and what the inevitable implications & consequences may be.

  10. Clive Hambidge provides us an exquisite summary of the supreme injustice of this situation when he writes “…a pervasive, systemic architecture of asymmetry.”

    The roots of the problem are to be sought in a species of lethal, reactionary, scriptural dogmatism and its applied interpretation; that is to say, in conflict narratives that derive from a hermeneutic praxis of profane ownership, buttressed by exclusive prophetic beliefs and literal exegeses.

    Christian zionist ‘covenanters’ believe one thing, fundamentalist (observant) Jews quite another; both or rather, all, then discount Islam ~ at best it is dismissed as a heresy, at worst, as sheer diabolism. The latter becomes a self-fulfilling “prophecy” when exuded through the blood-stained lens of tunnel-visioned reactionary extremism.

    So we face this empirical problem of an “excluded middle” that is choked out by competitive fanatical faiths focused on the sanctity of Ezekiel’s so-called Third Temple, beloved of many, while misunderstood by most. There are some parallels with indigenous American land claims and invader litanies of divine dispossession, but these are neither entirely compatible nor exact.

    In the first place, there is a definite historical record of the presence of Jews in the “holy land.” However we read the nuances or discontinuities of that history, it is wrought from evidence. What might be even more convincing would be a coherent analysis of Palestinian DNA and ancient Hebrew corporeal remains.

    Has this been attempted yet? It might be demonstrably provable that the persecuted indigenous people of Palestine are genetically related to historic Hebrews, and may even constitute a substantial remnant of the original tribes who were first exiled, then absorbed into the greater oikumene or systematically and cruelly exterminated at the beginning of the current era by the Romans during their brutal conquest ~ shades of which were revisited in the horrific 1940’s of Nazi persecution.

    Regrettably some now attribute to the Palestinians a collaborating role with the Germans, a matter that ought to be addressed with a generous measure of broader contextual understanding.

    Secondly, on a theological plane, the core question that needs to be squarely framed & thoroughly interrogated, is why the present Jewish inhabitants of Israel dare not fully recognize Islam. For if they did, then the Palestinians should be embraced as spiritual brethren, not cruelly scapegoated as surrogate Nazis.

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