Russel Tribunal on Palestine Part V: A Plan for Justice for Palestine
October 8, 2012
After two days of witness testimonies from Palestinian justice activists, international law experts and former United Nations officials, the Russell Tribunal deliberated on a worldwide plan of action to combat the oppressive Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Through a process of information dissemination via social media, expansion of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign and a comprehensive reform of the United Nations, the jury panel noted these strategies were crucial in a time that is “apocryphal” for Palestinians.
“Citizens around the world are rising up and taking control,” said Michael Mansfield, jury member and human rights lawyer. “Some are in response to outrageous economic conditions, some in response to outrageous political conditions. We must remove the yolk of oppression on which Palestinians have been settled on.”
A massive social movement for Palestine
As comparisons to the South African apartheid were noted during the tribunal proceedings, a similar plan of action followed. An international awakening of outrage through unfiltered truth about the Israeli occupation would be a fundamental beginning of a greater mobilization.
Especially in the United States where Israeli lobbyists, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, have become influential in American foreign policy, the spread of information about the Palestinian struggle will be the turning point from complacency to action.
“Israel has deprived Palestine of a functioning identity,” Mansfield said. “There cannot be justice without truth.”
A younger generation must spearhead the movement and use social media to magnify the daily horrors of Palestine’s open-air concentration camps: home demolitions, polluted water sources, restricted access to schools and hospitals and constant harassment and violence from Israeli police.
Worldwide movements for justice assisted in freeing South Africa from its apartheid regime, and an international outcry and condemnation of illegal settlements and human rights violations, too, will create a threatening shift to the state of Israel and its supporters.
“We need to spread these findings because it reveals the truth and the complicity of the US and the UN,” said Roger Waters, jury member and founding musician of Pink Floyd.
Boycott. Divest. Sanction.
Not only do those with a Zionist agenda benefit from the oppressive Israeli apartheid, but many corporations are profiting from the murder and terrorization of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Companies, such as bulldozer manufacturers Catepillar, technology company Intel and drug manufacturers TEVA, have all been manufacturing supporters and profited in the millions by the occupation.
The tribunal expressed support and great confidence in the abilities to politically and financially pressure corporations, universities and international governments through a global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
In 2005, the Palestinian movement for justice expanded in a different direction when an overwhelming majority of Palestinians issued a BDS call.
According to activist Omar Barghouti’s BDS: A Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, “More than 170 Palestinian civil society groups, such as major political parties, refugee rights associations, trade union federations, women’s unions, NGO networks…called upon the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.”
The BDS call would include a financial boycott of those companies profiting from the apartheid; an academic boycott on institutions that have maintained and supported Zionist colonialism in the occupied territories; a cultural boycott condemning the moral responsibility of universities and public intellectuals complacent with the illegal Israeli settlements; a divestment and disinvestment campaign from Israeli organizations; and a boycott of all Israeli-made products.
Reform the UN to weaken US support, funding
An important step to restoring human rights to Palestine will to crush American financial and political support of Israel.
The United States has given more than $115 billion to fund illegal Israel settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, granting more than 60 percent of its foreign military aid to Israel alone.
But much of the US’s critical Israeli support has manifested in the form of United Nations vetoes. When peacemaking proposals come through the UN, they require approval from the Security Council, made up of five permanent members: the United States, China, the Russian Federation, France and the United Kingdom.
However, the United States has continually abused its Security Council veto power to shoot down proposals to punish Israel for its crimes against humanity and human rights violations. The US has used its veto power more than any other country – 82 times – of which half are used to Israel’s benefit.
The tribunal advocates a comprehensive reform of the UN, including getting rid of the veto power, and expanding Security Council membership to other countries, as well as restoring existing powers of the General Assembly in a more democratic manner.
Once the veto privilege is revoked, the General Assembly will have a great ability to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court for its implementation war crimes on Palestine.
“The Russell Tribunal declares its commitment to continue its work on Palestine by monitoring progress and disseminating information.”
Check out our other posts on the Russell Tribunal here.