At a time when the rest of the world are slowly, ever so gradually starting to notice the atrocities that go on in Syria (but also many other places on our beautiful planet), one would have thought that the Norwegian People’s Aid would at least have mentioned the word Syria, somewhere, anywhere, on its web pages. But nope, not a word, yet NRK, who cannot find too much muck to write about Israel, now finally is reporting on the slaughter that goes on in Syria.
But the Norwegian People’s Aid rather feel that the focus should be singly put on Israel, so they have published a blog where in addition to the usual “specialist” knowledge, that Israeli settlements are in violation of international Law. Interestingly, this is being repeated ad nauseam, but could we please have the reference to the international court final verdict that confirms this is so – last time I checked, this was far form being an established truth.
Nevertheless, on and on they harp, here a translation of one of their blog entries. The author, Kjetil Østnor is a representative of the common committee on Palestine, whilst at the same time being a prominent member of the NPA, with his very own blog to boot:
The settlements on the West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to be developed with increased pace. A halt in construction is essential for Abbas to start the new peace negotiations. In reality,the time for a two-state solution running out, with so many settlements built on Palestinian land.
Illegal according to international law
Currently, about 500,000 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The settlements represent 3% of the land, but as a result of them, the Palestinians do not have access to 43% of the West Bank. Moving its own population into the territory as a country occupying is not permitted under international law (Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva konvesjonen). President Abbas has been clear that he will not make the same mistake as the Palestinians did under the Oslo accords, to let Israel continue to build settlements and thus take more and more land while negotiations are ongoing. He has thus put a stop to the construction of settlements as a precondition to start the new peace negotiations, but the settlements continue to expand.
Pace of construction is rising
The Israeli peace organization “Peace Now” says that in 2011 there was a 20% increase in the number of settlement units under construction. It found that at least 3,500 settlement units were under construction in 2011. The West Bank is becoming more and more looking like a Swiss cheese where there are only holes left for the Palestinians to live and move on. The rest is controlled by Israel. Many of the settlers are not particularly religious, but move to the settlements for economic reasons. These settlers are quite happy to move to major settlements that Israel has more or less converted into suburbs, but still they are thus built on occupied Palestinian land. Overall, according to the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, there are about 150 settlements established by the State of Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The more extremist settlers, living often in one of the 100 settlement outpost built without official authorization from the Israeli authorities.
The consequences of the settlements and resistance
The settlers carry a lot of violence against the Palestinian civilian population.In 2011, five Palestinians, including two children killed and 200 children and a total of 1,000 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli settlers, according to the UN. In 2011, the settlers also destroyed about 10 000 olive and fruit trees in the West Bank in addition to a total of 500 houses, wells, cisterns for rainwater and other structures. Palestinian farmers must therefore constantly fight to keep their land and their olive and fruit trees. Norwegian People’s Aid supports, among other things, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees that are working to organize the farmers so that they will be stronger in resisting the occupation, in addition to a number of partners which help farmers to rehabilitate farmland and reconstruct damaged wells, planting fruit and olive trees, and otherwise strengthen the Palestinian agriculture.
Apart from the spectacular distortions of facts (such as, for instance, the Jewish population is merely moving back into neighborhoods from which the Jordanians illegally expelled them when they equally illegally occupied Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, the failure to also mention Israeli casualties (such as for instance the Vogel family children, and the hundred of thousands of innocent Israelis who live under the constant terror and rockets from Gaza), does it not strike the NPA leadership as somewhat biased, even pathologically false, that there is no mention anywhere or by any NPA representative, the number of Syrian children that have been killed under their very noses.
The NPA, through its activities in organizations such as the Common Committee on Palestine make a mockery of their claims of impartiality. One of the stated policies of this organization is boycott, embargo en delegitimization of Israel.
And finally, why do they not have a special common committee on Israel, one that could look into the severe crimes committed against the people of this country. In the very least, it would have provided them with an ever so thin veneer of respectability.
Oh, and did you notice that paragraph I put in bold font? Are they really of the mind that the Oslo accords should be suspended? I guess that means that the Palestinians promptly would have to give back all what they have received in land and money?