[Regarding the 'Advanced Edited Version' of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard. A document prepared for fourth session the United Nations Human Rights Council, which will take place next month.]
Bloggers may at times be forgiven recycling their own material. But what is one to say when the 'Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories', Mr. John Dugard, starts sounding like a scratched record?
In a recent report available on the website of the UN office in Geneva, Mr. Dugard recycles most of the same statements that showed him an unashamed apologist for the Palestinians in years past, and in particular repeats the accusation that Israel is practising apartheid. As a South-African, Mr. Dugard feels that he has especial ownership of that word, and whatever he disapproves of is epithetized as being 'apartheid'.
BRIEFLY, ABOUT APARTHEID
Let us examine what apartheid as it was practiced in South-Africa meant, shall we?
One of the primary aims of the Afrikaner government was to eliminate the rights of black South-Africans by stripping them of citizenship in their own country.
This is not even arguably part of the Israeli plan - the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza never were citizens of Israel, and massively expressed the political wish to remain Jordanian and Egyptian citizens after their areas were won in war. It will be noted that both Egypt and Jordan have refused to take back those areas since their peace-treaties with Israel. It will further be noted that nearly twenty percent of the population of Israel proper are Arabs, who vote, sit in the Knesset, and have access to the same services and privileges as other citizens of Israel.
The Afrikaners sought to separate the black South-Africans from the white South-Africans geographically by creating Bantustans, which, it was intended, would eventually become permanent 'homelands' outside of South-Africa, to be acknowledged by the international community. To this end, population transfer was enforced, and blacks permanently barred from many areas.
In Israel, no citizens are forced out (except for those who were taken from Gaza when Israel gave it to the Palestinians) and Arab citizens of Israel continue to reside where they have since 1948; as regards the Palestinians in the territories, their area is already internationally acknowledged as being separate - which is by their express and stated wish. What should especially be noted is that a vast portion of the Westbank is Judenrein, as it became when Jordan seized the territory in 1948 - few of the Jews who lived there before the war have returned (Palestinian attitudes make it ill-advised to go back).
OBJECTING TO THE WALL
One of the main objections which Mr. Dugard again runs up the flagpole is towards the security barrier. In the past he argued that the "wall" was incompatible with a two-state solution, and averred that it made the establishment of a binational Palestinian state advisable. Along with other opponents of the "wall", he insisted that it had no discernable impact on security, and only increased the likelihood of violence and terrorist attacks.
It will be remembered that Mr. Dugard not long ago told the General Assembly that suicide bombers were merely a consequence of the occupation - seeming to suggest that if Israel but gave up on security measures there would be complete peace. How remarkable that since the "wall" was built, the number of successful terrorist attacks has decreased so enormously.
His new report also makes clear that Mr. Dugard refuses to consider the reason for either the wall or the security measures adopted by the Israelis, as he steadfastly fails to counter-argue them, but instead delights in cataloguing (and exaggerating by significant omission of context) the regrettable effects they have on Palestinians in Gaza and the West-Bank - ignoring entirely the constant level of security threats which have necessitated certain actions.
Rather, Mr. Dugard presents the Palestinians as passive uninvolved observers of their own affairs, detached from events, and inexplicably victimized by Jews and the evil West.
REGARDING INTERNATIONAL FUNDING
In what seems like an act of reportorial legerdemain, Dugard accuses the United States and the European Union of punishing the Palestinians for having put democracy into action.
"Israel violates international law as expounded by the Security Council and the International Court of Justice and goes unpunished, but the Palestinian people are punished for having democratically elected a regime unacceptable to Israel, the U.S. and the EU" according to Mr. Dugard's previous statements. In this report, he says that "Israel and sections of the international community have imposed collective punishment on the Palestinian people", and strongly suggests it is the responsibility of the international community to force Israel, the US, and Europe, to resume full financial support of the Palestinian Authority with no conditions attached.
Hamas, a violent Islamic group that came to power after elections in January, has sworn to destroy Israel, and has refused to accept Israel's right to exist. As recognition of Israel is one of the basic presumptions on which the quartet has founded it's advocacy of the two-state solution, and as continuing terror attempts from Hamas (and other Palestinian entities) make clear that Hamas is not a partner for peace, it follows that there is little reason to continue funneling money to the Palestinian Authority.
Funding for the Palestinians was meant to further a peaceful solution along the guidelines which were previously agreed upon, not as something to which the Palestinians were automatically entitled, nor as payment of revenues that were due them for services or products provided. In return, the Palestinians were expected to co-operate with the international community instead of continuing the terrorist campaigns of the decades before Oslo.
Hamas is not doing so, has proven repeatedly that it does not wish to do so, and has stated as a matter of policy that it never intends to do so.
Halting funding, under these circumstances, should be considered an appropriate response by the US and Europe.
Halting funding was also recommended by several non-political international bodies when it became clear that there was massive corruption and fraud within the Palestinian Authority, with large stipends being paid to relatives of officials and important people, and funds earmarked for various projects melting away inexplicably. Corruption and fraud still dog the Palestinian Authority, and the only area in which they seem to efficiently provide a full range of services is in armed wings of political groups, and private militias. For which funding has not dried up, despite the actions of the international community.
None of this is of consequence to Mr. Dugard, who is on record as never having a bad word for his clients.