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Occupation magazine - Commentary

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William Hagues unlawful preconditions
Nadim Souss
Webster University, London

Following Thursdays General assembly vote to upgrade Palestine to a non-member state, one question arises; why did Foreign Secretary William Hague request that the Palestinians give him assurances that they would not seek to try Israeli war criminals at the ICC if granted observer status at the United Nations?

As a constitutional monarchy and a permanent member of the Security Council, does Great Britain not have a moral and legal obligation to uphold International Law and not defend war criminals?

As a flagrant reminder of how British policy in dealing with the Palestinian question has been biased, one must go back to the decisions made following the Balfour declaration in 1917 which planned the division of Mandate Palestine, inevitably dooming generations of Palestinians to decades of a distressed existence. British foreign policy since the Peel commission (1937) and its recommendation to offer Mandate Palestine on a silver platter to the World Zionist organization (Weizmann, Ben-Gurion) has been borderline discriminatory.
From regular violations of human rights in Colonial India, to the public defense of Israeli war criminals, British Foreign policy has done anything but uphold international law standards. It is a known fact that when Palestine, essentially under the impulsion of GB was to be divided into Zionist/Jewish and Arab regions, British policy makers were only concerned with appeasing Jewish populations regardless of the fate of native Palestinians living on the land since times immemorial. A flagrant example of a biased policy, a document which was entitled the Churchill white paper (1922) reassumed Britains policy towards the creation of the Jewish state. When it is asked what is meant by the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, it may be answered that it is not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish community...

Let us not forget that, the United Nations was created by the victors of World War II who defeated Nazism for a vision of a better world to guarantee human rights and punish those who choose to disregard them. Is it not the moral and legal obligation of the permanent members of the Security Council to uphold international law and human rights, whatever the cost? As important as it was to bring Nazi war criminals to justice at Nuremberg in 1945-46, it is as imperative that Israeli war criminals be brought to justice today.
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