AFPS press release, Wednesday 28 October 2015
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Yet again, John Kerry visited the Middle East in an attempt to come to the rescue of Israel, which bears full responsibility for the violence in recent weeks. Kerry’s visit was made to look as though it enabled an agreement on the installation of cameras to document the situation at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and a commitment to suspend settlement expansion.
In fact, it did no such thing.
Israel immediately dismantled and confiscated the first surveillance cameras installed by the Waqf, which manages holy sites under Jordanian responsibility. Israel did this to maintain exclusive control of the footage and to prevent any accountability for the daily provocations of settlers who aim to destroy the status quo and impose their presence in holy Muslim sites. As though to clarify this stance, Minister Tzipi Hotovely stated after Kerry’s visit: “my dream is to see the Israeli flag flying over the Temple Mount”!
Likewise, there has been no halt to the settlement activity whose “legitimacy” Netanyahu repeatedly and tirelessly defends, in clear contradiction with the most elementary rules of international and humanitarian law. Are we expected to forget the B. Netanyahu in 2001 who believed he was off-camera when he boasted to settlers that he had succeeded in derailing the Oslo Accords?
Confronted with this, what is France doing? Telling the Security Council that settlements are at the root of the violence – this is good. But to draw no practical conclusions in the form of sanctions is to choose powerlessness and to give up on defending the law.
Similarly, it is time to question the license to kill that is given to settlers and the army. The norm now is that the perpetrator of a knife attack is to be killed even if already neutralized. There is a name for this: extrajudicial killing. The occupation forces killed 15 demonstrators, including five children in Gaza who presented no threat to them on the other side of the border fence. This constitutes outright murder, just as it did in the case of the young, unarmed demonstrators in Bethlehem and elsewhere, killed as though in a hunt from a 100-meter distance. And it requires exceptional complacency to turn a blind eye to the image manipulation that turns victims into culprits, as in the case of Hebron, or to tolerate the ignominy of withholding bodies from families.
The situation calls for reactions, both judicial and political, from which France cannot shy away. The same France that has always advocated for the establishment of an international court must support Palestine in its efforts with the ICC and share all the files in its possession.
As we are reminded by the Council of Palestinian Human Rights Organizations and the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, “The United Nations and members states, therefore, share responsibility for the renewed surge of violence across the OPT and Israel because of their failure to recognize and address the systematic violence inherent to the Israeli system of occupation, settler colonialism, and apartheid that has oppressed Palestinians for decades”.
European countries are not exempt; France is not exempt, and must take initiatives to protect the Palestinian people.
The Executive Board of the AFPS