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Renewed call for UNGA to act for Gaza under Resolution 377

| 9 January 2009

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  • The UN Security Council has failed to stop massive Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
  • Urgent action by the UN General Assembly is warranted and possible.
  • Israeli impunity must be ended by the collective action of the world community
After almost two weeks of impotence, during which an estimated 790 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, including 230 children, a further 1080 children among the 3300 injured, the UN Security Council passed — with US abstention — a weak and indeterminate resolution that has failed to force the State of Israel to halt its criminal onslaught on the occupied people of Gaza, encircled and unable to avoid being massacred.

Today, the security cabinet of the Israeli government, proving again its contempt for its obligations as a member state of the UN, rejected this resolution in no uncertain terms, saying that the State of Israel has never agreed that “any outside body” would determine its military policy, deeming the resolution “not practical” — this a resolution that was even biased towards it, failing to mention Hamas, the elected government in Palestine. In other words, the slaughter will continue whether the Security Council demands that it end or not.

Israeli impunity, UNSC complicity

This outcome is proof that Israel acts with systematic impunity. It is also proof, as recognized by President of the UN General Assembly Miguel d’Escoto-Brockmann, that the Security Council is “dysfunctional”, excusing by omission massive and grave human rights abuses when perpetrated by one of its permanent members or their allies.

In doing so, and in the face of overwhelming evidence — much televised — of Israel war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza, amounting to substantive evidence of the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people, the Security Council has effectively shown that it cannot — or is not willing to — maintain international peace and security and satisfy the Palestinian people’s national right to live peacefully, free on its land.

Uniting for peace resolution

The world need not endure this horror. A mechanism exists that can take the protection of international peace and security, and the Palestinian people, out of the hands of the Security Council and give it to the world community as a whole, represented by the General Assembly.1 General Assembly President d’Escoto-Brockmann supports this mechanism and Malaysia already fulfilled the procedural obligation that one UN member state proposes it.

Hours before the Security Council voted on a resolution made so weak and bereft of mechanisms of enforcement that Israel could dismiss it, a General Assembly emergency session was due to be held. There is evidence that this prospect alone forced the Security Council to act, largely to block invocation of Resolution 377. Given the result, and given Israel’s rejection of Security Council authority, it is urgent that this session convenes and imposes upon Israel an immediate ceasefire, according to the overwhelming will of the international community and people everywhere, or face international ostracism.

Israel fears Resolution 377

According to UN General Assembly Resolution 377, emergency special sessions of the General Assembly are warranted to act when the Security Council “fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.”2 The government of Israel itself has ensured the failure of the Security Council to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

That Israel’s violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Gaza are so flagrant, and that Israel rejects the authority of the Security Council prime facie, suggests as the only route possible — a last resort for the Palestinian people in Gaza — the convening of an emergency session of the General Assembly where no veto could be invoked, to impose on Israel an immediate ceasefire backed by credible collective measures.

Urgent call for action

As stated by the Palestinian human rights community in their 30 December call to invoke Resolution 3773: “The civilian population of the occupied Gaza Strip will inevitably continue to suffer heavy losses without the external intervention of the international community.”

In renewing the call to invoke Resolution 377, we support Special Rapporteur Richard Falk’s demand on “all Member States, as well as officials and every relevant organ of the United Nations system, to move on an emergency basis not only to condemn Israel’s serious violations, but to develop new approaches to providing real protection for the Palestinian people.”

Only the General Assembly can impose, where the Security Council fails, an immediate ceasefire on Israel.

We call upon human rights groups, lawyers and legal organizations, trade unions, intellectuals, the anti-war movement and all people of conscience to support President d’Escoto-Brockmann, demand that an emergency session of the General Assembly be convened under authority of Resolution 377, and to participate in the growing international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

We call upon the UN human rights system to authorize an effective investigation of Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity, including its wilful killings, use of internationally prohibited weapons, destruction of civilian infrastructure, targeting of schools, higher education institutions, mosques and civilian shelters, and even international humanitarian aid workers. The UN Human Rights Council has an obligation to investigate these elements of genocide and in doing so contribute to ending it.

As a signal to Israel, we call upon all states to cut diplomatic relations with Israel forthwith and for the High Contracting Parties of the Geneva Conventions to hold an immediate conference to re-establish respect for international humanitarian law. On the basis of its past and present impunity, Israel should be expelled from the United Nations.

All should demand an immediate Israeli ceasefire, the immediate withdrawal of all belligerent Israeli military forces, and the end of the blockade. Upon realization, collective measures should be taken at all levels to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine and to oblige Israeli society to respect the equality of human rights. Until the occupation of Palestine ends, we underline the legal and guaranteed right of the Palestinian people to resist Israeli aggression by all means.

The BRussells Tribunal Committee
http://brusselstribunal.org

For information contact: [email protected]

Initial endorsers:

Agustin Velloso, UNED-Facultad de Educacion, Madrid (SPAIN)
Amor Belhedi, Faculté des Sciences Humaines & Sociales, Tunis (Tunisie)
Andrew J Silvera, (Somerset, UK, Action4Palestine)
Annan Shehadi
Anthony Maresco, USA
April Hurley, MD, Physician
Chantal Loubier, France
Charles GILBERT
David Polden, London, UK
DENNIS BRUTUS DURBAN SOUTH AFRICA
Dr Gideon Polya, Melbourne, Australia
Dr Hassan T. AYDINLI, Iraqi Turkmen Front Europe Representative
Dr. Mousa Al-Hussaini
Dr. Souad Naji Al-Azzawi (Asst. Prof. Env. Eng. – University of Baghdad – Iraq)
Ellen E Barfield, Peace and Justice Activist, Baltimore, Maryland USA
Etevaldo Hipólito (Mozambique)
Faiza Javad
Francesco Sammarco (El Mundo Magico – UK)
Gabriel Moreira, Lisboa, Portugal
gabriella karlsson, Sweden
Gie van den Berghe, Professor in Ethics and History, University of Ghent, Belgium
Iman H. Babadi
Issam Al-Chalabi, Iraq
Jacqueline Caldwell, Australia
Jamie Atari, Lafayette, Indiana
Janet Thompson
Johanna Wallin, Sweden
John Bart Gerald, writer, Ottawa Canada
John Shafer (Canada)
Josmar Trujillo
Juan Rafael Santos, writer, Los Angeles California, USA
Julie Maas, artist, Ottawa Canada
Karen Button, freelance journalist, Alaska
Karen Parker, JD, attorney
karl garnett, UK
Ken S Green, Alaska
Klaus Bitzer
Laith Al Saud
Lesley Whiting (UK)
Loucifi Coralie
Mahmoud Elgassier
MAHMOUD JIDDAH (Jerusalem)
Malika Barakat
Marc & Anita Loiselle – Canada
Maria Clara Soeiro (Mozambique)
Mariana DUSSIN
Marie-Ange Patrizio
Mark Mahaffy
Mary Meier
Merry FITZGERALD, President of the Committee for the Defence of the Iraqi Turkmens’ Rights
Mesadeh Salem
Michael Sackin
Mohammed Abdel Latif (ARE)
Mouna Schaheen, poet
Nadine et Michel Ghys
Natalie Smolenski
Nathalie Banaigs
Niloufer Bhagwat
Nordine Saïdi pour le Mouvement Citoyen Palestine
pam hardyment
Paola Manduca, Italy
Patricia Storace, Writer
Peter d’Errico, Professor Emeritus, Legal Studies Department, University of Massachusetts / Amherst – USA
Peter K. Vickers, Duncan, BC, Canada, Political analyst, writer
Pierre Lalanne, Orthez (64300), France
Piessens J., Flanders, Belgium
Rani Odeh
Rushna Akhter Choudhury
Ryan Corcoran
Saadallah Al Fathi, Baghdad – Iraq
Sabah AL-MUKHTAR, ARAB LAWYERS NETWORK
Saleh Majid, Middle East Legal Consultant
Sam Finkelstein, Chicago, IL USA
Samia Zaki
sanaa boumnidel – maroc
Sarah Meyer, UK researcher
Sarah PATRIS, Marseille
Shaimaa Issa
Sigyn Meder, Sweden
sundas javad, oxford university student (uk)
Sylvia Campbell
Thiago Murak Soeiro Hipólito (Mozambique
Thomas C. Rockriver
Thomas F. Saffold, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Tony Brännström
Viorica-Ileana Constantinescu (Belgique)
William Cook
Zulaiha Ismail, Hon. Secretary, Perdana Global Peace Organisation, Malaysia

Organisations

Action4Palestine
Association of Humanitarian Lawyers
El Taller International
Gerald and Maas, editions atelier, Ottawa Canada
International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
Mouvement Citoyen Palestine
newweapons research committee (NWRC), international
Nord Sud XXI
Vredesactie VZW (Belgium)
World Court on Women

This statement was drafted by Ian Douglas with the cooperation of Abdul Ilah Albayaty and Hana Al Bayaty, and was first published by the BRussells Tribunal: http://brussellstribunal.org/UNGA377.htm
  1. “Uniting for Peace Resolution”, UN General Assembly Resolution 377 (V) A 1950, 3 November 1950.
  2. Letter from Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev to UN General Assembly President Manuel d’Escoto-Brockmann, 8 January 2009, http://innercitypress.com/protestPGA010809.doc.
  3. “Gross Human Rights Violations and War Crimes in the Gaza Strip”, 30 December 2008, http://pchrgaza.org/files/PressR/English/2008/un_human.html.
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We negate and we must negate because something in us wants to live and affirm — Friedrich Nietzsche