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'Rule of Law' in Palestine: An Interview With Jurist Cees Flinterman

Society & Culture  (tags: world, Human Rights, Israel, Palestine, violence, ethics, politics, culture, humans, sadness, abuse, freedoms, dishonesty, media, rights )

- 1199 days ago -
Western governments praise Israel as a bastion of freedom in an otherwise tyrannically governed, strife-torn region. Mainstream media preserves Israel's lustrous image by avoiding references to key practices.


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Carrie B (306)
Monday November 9, 2015, 10:42 am

Western governments praise Israel as a bastion of freedom in an otherwise tyrannically governed, strife-torn region — a true “liberal democracy” along the lines of Canada, the US, and the European states.

In its reporting on the current wave of violence — in which 10 Israelis and an estimated 70 Palestinians have been killed and over 8000 Palestinians injured — mainstream media preserves Israel’s lustrous image by avoiding references to key practices of its fifty-year occupation of the West Bank: arbitrary arrest and seizure, often in the dead of night, accompanied by the ransacking of homes and the kidnapping of children; home demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem; forced relocation of Bedouin communities south of Hebron; discriminatory travel regulations; systematic support for Jewish settlers who commit violence against Palestinians and their property, etc. etc.

The stark proportions of Israel’s seemingly permanent occupation is revealed in a 2014 report by a United Nations committee tasked with reviewing the status of a pivotal human rights instrument — the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Israel had been asked to respond to concerns expressed in the report by November 1 of this year. It did not respond to similar concerns following submission of its last report. I am currently seeking clarification on whether Israel has responded this time around, but assume it has not.

The ICCPR — adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 16, 1966; in legal force since March 23 1976 — guarantees right to life, freedoms of religion, speech and assembly, the right to vote, and to due process and fair trial. Seventy-four nations have signed the Covenant and 168 have formally ratified it, thereby becoming Covenant parties. Responsibility for monitoring Covenant compliance falls to the United Nations Human Rights Committee — a body of the UN’s Human Rights Council — which reviews periodic state reports on the Covenant’s implementation. States typically report once every four years.

Israel — one of the first state parties to the ICCPR — submitted its 4th Periodic Report in the fall of 2013. The Committee issued “concluding observations” on Israel’s report on October 28, 2014, along with a set of follow-up questions. Under Committee rules, Israel was asked to reply to these questions within one year of the Committee’s concluding observations — by November 1, 2015. A response is not mandatory.

As of this date, Israel appears not to have responded to the committee’s request.

Key among the committee’s concerns — expanded upon in the audio interview below with committee chair Cees Flinterman, a Dutch jurist — is Israel’s position on Covenant applicability. Israel argues that the Covenant does not apply to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.


Darren W (218)
Monday November 9, 2015, 10:45 am
Shared everywhere
Thanks Carrie.

Erika A (0)
Monday November 9, 2015, 11:34 am

Arild G (174)
Tuesday November 10, 2015, 4:54 am
Zionist killing and harrasing Palestinians in the name of democracy??

Farah H (155)
Tuesday November 10, 2015, 5:23 am
noted, Thank you for sharing

Lona G (66)
Tuesday November 10, 2015, 12:21 pm
As always, reports from the UN, in this case the ICCPR, are shrouded in diplomacy, but as Cees Flinterman makes abundantly clear without ever becoming less diplomatic: Israel is wanting to have its cake and eat it too. It upholds different rules and laws for Israeli Jews living in occupied land than it does for the Palestinians living there. In fact it maintains a three-tiered system of laws, one for Jewish Israeli citizens, Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, violating the human rights of the last two groups. Apparently this system is very similar to to the apartheid system in South Africa and described as such, but , again for diplomatic reasons, never called that.

Too many reports that have come out of the UN have been quite clear on Israels abuse of Palestinian (human) rights but, because they were always worded in diplomatic terms, could be ignored or denied by Israel and its supporters. It's time the diplomatic niceties were stripped from these reports and a more frank and open language was adopted.

Janet B (0)
Tuesday November 10, 2015, 12:29 pm

Colleen L (3)
Tuesday November 10, 2015, 10:01 pm
Thanks Carrie

fly b (26)
Wednesday November 11, 2015, 5:25 am
Israel is no 'democracy'.

End the occupation of Palestine-siege of Gaza, now!

Janet B (0)
Wednesday November 11, 2015, 12:40 pm

Knud T (53)
Wednesday November 11, 2015, 1:30 pm
Thank you

Colleen L (3)
Thursday November 12, 2015, 11:15 pm
Thanks Carrie

Past Member (0)
Monday January 18, 2016, 7:42 am
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