End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine!

By TONY SEED*

HALIFAX (January, 2003) -- In the name of regime change and democracy, George Bush declares that it is open season on the sovereignty of Iraq and its people. He gives himself and the United States the right to use U.S. might to crush Iraq and institute regime change, all under the pretext that Iraq has violated United Nations resolutions and is a threat.

Yet Israel has been violating UN resolutions (68 in all) for up to 53 years, has some 500 nuclear weapons and is following a policy of genocide and ethnic cleaning against the Palestinian people.

During the Intifada, over 2000 Palestinians have been killed and over 40,000 injured. Over 30 per cent are children. Israeli practices include detention without charge or trial, torture, extra-judicial assassination, demolition of thousands of homes, closed military zones, expropriation of territory for the creation of illegal Zionist settlements and uprooting of hundreds of thousands of olive and fruit trees. Collective punishment includes prolonged curfews, denial of access to medical care and schools. UNICEF reports that 30 per cent of Palestinian children are suffering from malnutrition. Seventy per cent live below the poverty line. These acts violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. By international law they are war crimes. These crimes have been condemned by all international human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem, and the Israeli League for Civil and Human Rights.

Nothing is said by George Bush about this and Canada also remains silent. The Canadian media does not report even one-thousandth per cent of the truth of what is actually going on in the Occupied Territories. Chrétien speaks about the rule of law, multilateral action through the UN, and issues sanctions against Zimbabwe, but votes with the United States and Israel.

News agencies report that in the event of the U.S. war against Iraq, Israel has been given another "green light" to intensify its carnage and transfer policies against the steadfast Palestinian people with impunity. It is said that Bush has personally given Sharon the actual date.

Terrorism, according to Israel, the United States and Canada, is being defined in such a way that acts describable as “terror” are applied mostly to resistance groups and rarely to states.

In 1948 the nations of the world adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that “if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”

Who will ensure that this is done? Who will guarantee a nation and a people under occupation being protected against the brutal dictate of a colonial occupier?

This is why we demand that Israel immediately comply with international law, terminate its illegal occupation and that all U.S. and Canadian aid to Israel be ended, as we render support to the Palestinian People’s right to self-determination.

* This article first appeared in the 17 January 2003 edition of Halifax People's Voice, Newsbulletin of the People’s Front / Halifax



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