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Western hypocrisy: Crimea and Israeli war crimes

The West hits Russia with sanctions for annexing Crimea, but it has yet to punish Israel for war crimes in Palestine.

Last updated: 24 Mar 2014 00:51
Vacy Vlazna

Dr Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters.
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Billions of dollars to fund the Third Temple are set aside and ready to literally blast away the Dome of the Rock and the holy al-Aqsa Mosque, writes Vlazna [AFP]

The velocity with which the US and EU imposed economic sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea is equal to the mass of hypocrisy on Israel's creeping annexation of Palestinian land through colonial-settlement expansion. The ongoing expansion is seen as a war crime "falling into the provision of Article 8 of the International Criminal Court statutes".

Following the overwhelming vote by Crimeans to secede from the Ukraine and join Russia in the rushed referendum on March 16, US President Barack Obama, on March 20, ordered a second round of soft sanctions targeting a list of key Russian officials, businessmen and bankers, sending ripples of instability through Russia's stock market. 

Unfazed, the following day, President Vladimir Putin, formalised the annexation into law which was then passed unanimously by the Russian parliament. In parallel, the EU and the Ukraine signed a security and defence co-operation pact with the added sweetener of reduced tariffs to boost Ukraine's debt-ridden economy.

Countering the large Russian troop presence on Ukraine's eastern border, the US raised the stakes in the sabre-rattling game. The Pentagon cancelled a military exercise, Atlas Vision, that was to be held in Russia and instead announced the inclusion of US forces in the multinational military exercise, Rapid Trident, that will be held soon in the Ukraine.

Every day, with every brick laid in the colonial settlements, a war crime is committed as Palestine shrinks before the eyes of the world.The very same eyes that have been indifferent to and complicit with 67 years of the longest brutal occupation in modern history have suddenly flared with indignation for the Russian annexation of the Crimea implemented with the blessing of the Crimean people.

Israel's illegal annexations

When in 1947, the UN grappled with the idea of partitioning Palestine, it was rejected, outright and rightfully, by the Palestinians. Nor were the entire inhabitants under the British mandate granted a referendum, as were the Crimeans, on the matter because the indigenous population far exceeded the  Zionist immigrants whom the international community favoured.

So when Israel - unilaterally -  declared the state of Israel, after massacring unarmed Palestinian children, women, elderly and men, destroying over 500 villages and forcefully deporting 700,000 terrified Palestinians, the West did not impose economic sanctions nor lift a military finger to redress the grave violations of international law then.

Furthermore, the West ignored Israel's unilateral annexation, on June 28,1967, of East Jerusalem, including the Old City, that placed its Palestinian residents under Israeli jurisdiction, administration and illegal military occupation as well as ignoring Israel's annexation of Syria's Golan Heights.

Both annexations have been deemed invalid by many UNSC Resolutions such as 478, 269 and 497 - all rejected by Israel that, 47 years later, relentlessly fuels its annexation drive by the expansion of its settlement colonies.

On March 20, while the Ukrainian crisis unfolded, the Israeli Civil Administration, with Putinesque arrogance, defied the Israeli-Palestinian peace process demand for a settlement freeze, by announcing the approval of more than 2,000 housing units in the illegal West Bank settlements.

Today, there are 121 colonies plus 101 offshoot outposts subsidised by the government of Israel and supported by monies from Jews worldwide through rich Zionist organisations like the apartheid JNF "charity" whose provision of illegal settlement housing and leases on stolen Palestinian lands are "chartered to benefit Jews exclusively". Moreover, JNF's racist policies and illegal operations are tax-exempt in the US, UK, Australia and Canada.  

Almost half a million illegal colonists reside in the encroaching settlements. They have the right to bear arms and enjoy the impunity to act as government militia under the protection of the Israeli Occupation Forces. Systematic settler oppression includes torching fields, uprooting thousands of fruit and olive trees, damaging property, arson, poisoning sheep, defacing graves and mosques, illegal squatting, water and farmland contamination by diversion of sewerage, throwing sewerage on Palestinian passer-bys, road blocks, attacks on schoolchildren and school buses, intimidations,  beatings, shootings, deliberate hit and run, vile verbal abuse, racist and threatening graffiti.

Judaisation plans

Over the recent months of peace talks, provocative assaults by settler and military activity against the al-Aqsa mosque has heightened fears of Zionist desecration and judaisation of  al-Haram al-Sharif, marked for the site of the Jewish Third Temple as demonstrated in the propaganda film featuring Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

Billions of dollars to fund the Third Temple are set aside and ready to literally blast away the Dome of the Rock and the holy al-Aqsa Mosque which are under daily threats by excavations below and above by the Zionist religious and settler zealots impervious to the inevitable repercussion of a Muslim conflagration.

Al Jazeera World - Forbidden Pilgrimage

The judaisation of East Jerusalem is fundamental to Israel’s annexation master plan to unite East and West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The relentless coercion and the dispossession and displacement of Palestinian residents is executed by the Israeli government, the Municipality of Jerusalem and Elad, the right-wing settler organisation through the revocation of residency rights, absentee property laws, discriminatory taxation policies, home demolitions, transfer of Palestinian residents,.

In short -  ethnic cleansing in direct violation of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: "Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons is prohibited."

Every day, with every brick laid in the colonial settlements, a war crime is committed as Palestine shrinks before the eyes of the world.The very same eyes that have been indifferent to and complicit with 67 years of the longest brutal occupation in modern history have suddenly flared with indignation for the Russian annexation of the Crimea implemented with the blessing of the Crimean people.  

Israel's overt and furtive annexation of Palestine is also the annexation of Palestinian dignity, rights and  freedoms. However, it is not only the people of Palestine who are injured by the political hypocrisy of Western leaders, all of us are the losers when international law is cynically and deliberately abused and neglected. 

Dr Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters.  She was also a convenor of Australia East Timor Association and coordinator of t he East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

 

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The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

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