Australia’s FM Julie Bishop Encourages Illegal Israeli Settlements
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, called on “The International Community” to stop labelling Israeli Settlements in the Palestinian West Bank as illegal, and denounced those European Countries who are pressuring Israel into stopping the illegal Settlement Construction. The Australian Foreign Minister’s apparent ignorance about international law is increasingly attracting international attention.
Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said in an interview with the Israeli daily Times of Israel, that the international community should refrain from labelling Israel’s settlements in the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank as illegal, claiming that Israel has the right to build its settlements, reports the independent Palestinian news agency IMEMC. The news agency added, that Bishop denounced European countries which are “pressuring Israel” into stopping its illegal settlement activities, quoting the Australian Foreign Minister as saying that she would like to see “which international law declared those settlements illegal”.
Bishop’s statement is causing worldwide dismay and prompting the question how it could be that an Australian Foreign Minister could be unaware of the most fundamental principles in international law and their applicability within the context of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. The international law, which the Australian Foreign Minister apparently is unaware of, includes among others:
- The Charter of the United Nations from 1945, Article 2, Paragraph 4, which state: Article 2: The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles. Paragraph 4: All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
- The Declaration On Principles Of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations And Co-Operation Among States In Accordance With The Charter Of The United Nations (1970), Principle 1: The principle that States shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
- The Hague Regulations IV (1907), articles 43 & 55: Article 43. The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country. Article 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.
- The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Article 47 and Article 54, which specify, Article 47: Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory. And Article 54: The Occupying Power may not alter the status of public officials or judges in the occupied territories, or in any way apply sanctions to or take any measures of coercion or discrimination against them, should they abstain from fulfilling their functions for reasons of conscience.
- And Article 49 which states that “The occupying power shall not move part of its civilian population into territories it occupies.
Besides those most fundamental laws, Foreign Minister Bishop is apparently unaware of of the at least six UN Security Council Resolutions, in which the Council stresses that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the occupied Palestinian territories, including resolution UNSC Resolution 465 (1980) that describes Israel’s settlement activities as clear violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) quotes Bishop as saying that the “disputes” regarding Israel’s settlement activities are clear indications of the importance of talks in an attempt to achieve a comprehensive agreement.
The Australian Foreign Minister, however, did not mention a word about the official Israeli documents, according to which Israel plans to annex 93 percent of the West Bank and that Israel only “designates” 3 percent of the territory it occupies in the Palestinian West Bank to Palestinians.
Bishop also omits that the Palestine Liberation Organization is calling on an end to the US facilitated talks between the US-EU-and Israeli-funded Palestinian Authority and Israel, or the fact that the PLO is the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in international affairs. The PLO leadership rejected the proposal put forward by US Secretary of State, John Kerry.
The Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee, Yasser Abed Rabbo, stated earlier this week:
“The Peace process is hitting large walls, the walls of Israel’s illegal settlements, of Israel’s rejection to recognize our internationally guaranteed rights. Tel Aviv is merely placing more obstacles and preconditions. … Israel wants to build a wall in the Jordan Valley, similar to its apartheid wall in the West of the West Bank, so that it can keep its illegal settlements and military bases”.
“Palestine must join international organizations. .. We need to search for an (other) international mediator for peace talks, (because) the USA has failed, and is merely adopting Israel’s demands and preconditions”.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s criticism of EU member states, who have passed legislation that binds their countries to uphold international law with regards to the Palestine – Israel conflict as a means of solving the crisis and ending the war and occupation does not come as much of a surprise for those who know her political track record.
In June 2013, ABC reported that the coalition wants to punish those who boycott Israel.
In August 2013, J-Wire reports that the then Australian shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop criticized then Foreign Minister Carr for stating that the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories were illegal.
In October 2013, Countercurrents reports that Bishop threatened Anti-racist Jewish Academics, who support boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel.
Ch/L - nsnbc 17.01.2014