Aanklacht tegen Israel en zijn medestanders onder de ondertekenaars van de politieke verklaring EWIPA [= Explosive Weapons In Populated Areas]

De afgevaardigde van de Palestijnse Staat bij de Conventie over bepaalde conventionele wapens (CCW) in Genève, Nada Abu Tarbush (links), heeft op 17 november 2023 een verklaring afgelegd die neerkomt op een meervoudige aanklacht tegen Israel, een ontkrachting van het Israelisch excuus van “zelf-verdediging” én daarop aansluitend meteen ook een forse aanklacht tegen de vele medestanders van Israel, vooral onder de vele ondertekenaars van de politieke verklaring EWIPA (Explosive Weapons In Populated Areas).

 De afgevaardigde van de Palestijnse Staat bij de Conventie over bepaalde conventionele wapens (CCW) in Genève, Nada Abu Tarbush, heeft op 17 november een verklaring afgelegd die neerkomt op een meervoudige aanklacht tegen Israel, een ontkrachting van het Israelisch excuus van “zelf-verdediging”  én daarop aansluitend meteen ook een forse aanklacht tegen de vele medestanders van Israel, vooral onder de vele ondertekenaars van de politieke verklaring EWIPA [= Explosive Weapons In Populated Areas]

Bron: The 2023 Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention will take place in Geneva, Switzerland from 15 to 17 November 2023, in Room XIX of the Palais des Nations. Chairperson: H.E. Mr. Federico Villegas (Argentina) (https://webtv.un.org/en/asset/k1b/k1bf0dm04k)


[20:14 in TC van UN WebTV] Nada Tarbush: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Given that a number of states have spoken about Palestine directly, we have prepared three replies which we will read one after the other and we kindly ask for your indulgence in that regard. We will first respond to Israel’s statement. 

[20:35] Mr. Chair, at the outset, let us remind Israel that our name is not the Palestinian Authority, but the state of Palestine. Sure, your finance minister said at an event in Paris earlier this year there is no such thing as a Palestinian people. And your prime minister on the 24th of September held up a map at the General Assembly entitled “The New Middle East” in which Palestine was deleted and replaced entirely with Israel. 

[21:08] But if your government is annexationist and racist, this body is not. And we ask you to kindly adhere to UN protocol and nomenclature and to show respect to all stakeholders in this room. Let us also remind the Israeli delegate that the lack of rules of procedure for this meeting does not give carte blanche to lose all sense of decorum when speaking to interlocutors in this room. To the other states and civil society in the room, let me simplify Israel’s statement for you. 

[21:41] Other than throwing insults around and making grave baseless accusations, Israel said something that should make all of you shudder. It effectively said, “I can kill any and every person in Gaza. The 2.3 million people in Gaza are either terrorists or terrorists, sympathizers or human shields and are therefore legitimate targets.” 

[22:06] Every person, according to Israel, falls into one of these three categories. A child, a journalist, a doctor, a UN staff, a newborn baby in an incubator. And so, according to Israel, it can kill them and then have the audacity to come to this room and tell the world with a straight face, we are acting in international law. The death of each of the over 11,350 people killed over the past month, be it children, journalists, UN staff, the sick, the elderly, according to Israel, was justified. Think about that for a moment and let it give you pause. 

[22:52] Anyone espousing this warped logic has no shred of humanity, no sense of morality and no knowledge of legality. But guess what? Your carpet explanation for carpet bombing will not fly. People are not fools. The people in this room are seasoned diplomats who are well read, have a knowledge of history and many of whom have seen your government make the same arguments during your six previous military aggressions on Gaza in the past 15 years. They have seen you resort to collective punishment, targeting of Palestinian children, journalists, medical staff, aid workers before. They have seen you forcibly transfer our communities, colonize our lands, demolish our homes and evict families from their own properties since the 7th of October and for the 75 years that preceded it. They have seen your state-sponsored disinformation campaign before. Again, not fools. Don’t insult our intelligence. 

[24:10] By saying that it is acting in accordance with international law, Israel is effectively saying the UN Secretary General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the WHO, UNICEF, OCHA, UN Special Rapporteurs, the UN Independent Commissioner of Inquiry on the Situation, human rights organizations worldwide, disarmament NGOs worldwide, humanitarian NGOs worldwide, countless legal experts are all wrong. Everyone is lying about Israel violating international law and we are asked instead to believe Israel, the state that is actually doing the indiscriminate killing. It is interesting that by saying even wars have rules, Israel quoted the very same UN Secretary General, whose resignation it has called for, because he dared to say that Israel has a history of occupying Palestinian land. 

[25:15] The dissonance of hearing the Israeli representative talk about wars having rules as it commits genocide and breaches every rule in the book live on our TV screens is quite something. To Israel, we say, we see through your PR and disinformation. The whole world sees through your PR and disinformation. The millions of people filling the streets in every major capital of the world, calling you out for genocide, sees through your PR and disinformation. 

[25:52] Perhaps you think that with your incendiary rhetoric, we will all forget the incitement, the declarations and acts of Israeli officials, the people you represent, to wipe out Gaza, to drop a nuclear bomb on the Palestinian people, to destroy the “human animals” and “children of darkness”. Perhaps you think that your constant intimidation and threatening language will make everyone overlook the fact that Israelis, as we speak, killing babies, youth, women, men, elderly, no one too small or too old or too sick to be spared its wrath. Perhaps you think that by cutting off telecommunications and imposing yet another blackout on Gaza, you can continue to commit genocide while avoiding the annoyance of people being able to use their phones and computers to report on it. Perhaps you think that as your trigger-happy soldiers continue to kill journalists, 41 so far, the highest number of journalists killed over a four-week period than in any conflict in the last three decades, you think that no one will be left to expose your crimes. Perhaps you think that by trying to silence anyone who tries to speak about your crimes, the international law violations of the state, by calling them either anti-Semites or terror supporters, people will be silent. And your intimidation campaign knows no bounds. 

[27:30] They attack Palestinians, Jews, Israelis, U.N. officials, politicians, parliamentarians, university professors, and anyone worldwide who calls you out for your violations of international law. But guess what? Your intimidation and silencing will not work. We, along with all peace-loving nations and along with all people of conscience around the world, will not be silent. We will continue to call you out on your crimes to call for accountability for your violations, for sanctions as your government continues to reject calls for a ceasefire, to massacre our people, and to entrench your colonial occupation and apartheid regime. 

[28:18] Something your country should have learned over the past 75 years is that the Palestinian people are a people who refuse to disappear. And your nuclear threats, and your bombs, and your tanks, and your bulldozers will never break the Palestinian people’s will to be free, and to live in the dignity and peace to which all people are entitled. Unlike you, we have consistently stood in this forum calling for respect for international law, for ethical principles to guide state behavior, for peace over war, for humanity over national interests, for disarmament over destruction. Once again, we stand in this forum to call on all states to respect and ensure respect for international law. Let the law be the measure by which all are judged, not propaganda and hateful, biased, spin steeped in racism. [29:18] And to Israel’s absurd assertion that Palestinians have a problem with people of Jewish faith, and give the impression that this is a religious conflict, let us say it loud and clear, this is not, and has never been about religion. 

[29:35] Had the occupiers of our land, or the violators of our rights been Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, or of any other conviction, we would have called them out all the same. Palestine has always been multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious. People of Jewish faith have lived in historic Palestine as Palestinians for centuries. 

[30:04] We consider them to be our brothers and sisters. And since the memory of the Holocaust has been invoked, let us also say loud and clear, we have the greatest of solidarity with both the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. [30:15] It was not Palestinians that committed that horrific genocide, but the fascist forces that spawned from Europe. And it is unconscionable that a number of European leaders are again beating the drum as another genocide is now underway in Gaza. We are united with those hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world, including from organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, If Not Now, Na’amud UK, who are calling out this genocide and chanting in the streets of New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Sydney, Toronto, and all major western cities so that their governments can hear, “Not in our name! End the genocide in Gaza!” With them, we stand together to end this pain and suffering. Together, we will not allow this to happen. Never again is now.

[31:18] Now in response to the European Union, and states that claimed that Israel is acting in self-defense in Gaza. …

[31:30. De voorzitter grijpt in omdat de verklaring volgens hem weliswaar belangrijk is, nodig, maar wel te lang. Tot dusver heb ik voor transcriptie gebruik gemaakt van anderman’s transcriptie, die ik evenwel heb voorzien van tijdcodes gerelateerd aan de UNWebTV video (https://www.sott.net/article/486169-Palestinian-Representative-Nada-Abu-Tarbush-Demolishes-Israeli-Lies-at-UN). Het vervolg heb ik zelf getranscribeerd. Nada Abu Tarbush hervat dus haar betoog.]

[32:07]  So, In response to the European Union, and states that claimed that Israel is acting in self-defense, I am now convinced there is another International Law that we don’t know about. That the European Union, Switzerland, the United States and others are referring to when they use the term «self-defence» to descibe the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity at scale. One that allows collective punishment, indiscriminate attacks, wanton destruction, racial discrimination as long as your name is Israel. They just forgot to teach us this law in high school. That is why there is such a misunderstanding between us. 

      [32:43] When they say that Israel has a right to «self-defence» in Gaza, perhaps they would like to define their use of the term for all in this room. [32:53] Are you saying that dropping the equivalent of two nuclear bombs over the heads of 2.3 million people in one of the most densely populated areas on earth constitutes «self-defence»? Is destroying over 50% of all civilian infrastructure «self-defence»? Starving civilians, imposing a medieval siege, forcibly displacing millions of people, killing UN Staff, is this «self-defence»? [33:16] Do your governments feel no shame using language intended to justify the killing of thousands of children? So let me correct it for you: carpet bombing an occupied, besieged, colonised population with the latest military technology is not «self-defence». [33:33] It is genocidal aggression. And we encourage your governments to seek legal advice before making such statements. [33:39] Under international law, an occupying power does not have the right of «self-defence» against the territory it occupies. [33:35] And I refer you to paragraph 139 of the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Wall. 

     [33:55] Now, to respond to signatories of the political declaration on EWIPA [= Explosive Weapons In Populated Areas] who did not…. who spoke about the need to uphold the declaration under all circumstances but could not get themselves to say a single word to deplore, condemn or at least express concern about the use of explosive weapons by Israel in Gaza. We have a few words for you. [34:21] For the past month, Gaza has been subjected to the most sustained and intense bombing campaign of a populated area in history. Let me just say that again: Gaza has been subjected to the most sustained and intense bombing campaign of a populated area in history. Amid the bombs, the sound that rings the loudest is the silence and even encouragement of the use of EWIPA by Israel’s allies. Many of whom were at the forefront of advocating for this political declaration. [34:57] Instead, they continue to support Israel’s actions, whether diplomatically, politically or militarily, enabling it to continue the use of EWIPA and egregious violations. [35:07] You know, as we do, that had this been happening in a different part of the world, you would have been horrified, you would have jumped to impose sanctions. Imagine if a hospital in the United States had been hit with explosive weapons killing patients, doctors and staff, or if a church in Europe sheltering homeless refugees was bombed. Any single one of those crimes would have caused you outrage, and they should. Yet all of them happen in Palestine in the span of a few weeks and you are unmoved. [35:39] The Austrian government here deserves especial mention. For years, Austria has been at the forefront of initiatives and efforts of EWIPA. We believed genuinly that Austria was a champion of the declaration. But when push came to shove, and Gaza is facing the most sustained and intense bombing campaign of a populated area in history, the Austrian government was one of the very few states that decided to vote «No» on a General Assembly Resolution calling for a cessation of hostilities. In its statements yesterday, Austria did not condemn Israel’s actions, flauting Austria’s own proclaimed values, but was very quick to condemn the alleged use of hospitals for military purposes with not a single shred of evidence to make that claim. [36:23] Indeed, as Human Rights Watch noted, Israel has put forward no evidence that would justify stripping hospitals of their special protections under IHL [International Humanitarian Law]. This statement therefore clearly emanated from political rather than legal considerations. 

     [36:38] Other states also deserve a special mention. The United States just said that it believes that the political declaration, quote, «helps states to do critical work to help improve the protection of civilians in armed conflict». How could they be saying this, when they themselves are not implementing their commitments under the declaration when it comes to Gaza? [37:02] Had the United States, Israel’s main ally and supporter, ordered a ceasefire seven day ago, a thousand-five-hundred more Palestinian children would still be alive. Had it ordered a ceasefire fourteen days ago, another three-thousand Palestinian children would still be alive. This is a huge responsibility. 

     [37:22] But even more horrifying than that, the United States, the UK, Canada, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands, all of them signatories to the political declaration [of EWIPA] have continued their supply of arms and military support to Israel. Sending more explosive weapons to Israel is not exactly the best way of implementing your commitments under the declaration [37:46] Besides, arms transfers to Israel as it pummels Gaza with explosive weapons could render government officials individually criminally liable for the role in aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity. And indeed a number of NGO’s have formally notified  politicians of relevant countries of their intention to prosecute.

      [38:05] You all spoke about your concerns for the humanitarian situation in Gaza but this humanitarian catastrophy is not the result of an earthquake or a natural disaster. It is the result of a deliberate genocide, supported militarily by some of the states represented in the room. And you have the power to stop it and you choose not to. 

     [38:25] It would be in the interest of no-one for double standards to lead to discrediting the political declaration on EWIPA. The Palestine Question remains a litmus testfor the viability and efficacy of international law. [38:40] The credibility of this declaration is dependent upon it being implemented by endorsing states in all circumstances and not just when politically convenient and expedient. And I will end her, I think. [38:54]


Eindnoot Over EWIPA: Explosive weapons in populated areas

De tekst van de politieke verklaring EWIPA (Dublin 2022):

De lijst met ondertekenaars (Dublin 2022): https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/ourrolepolicies/peaceandsecurity/ewipa/List-of-endorsing-states-18-November-2022.pdf

Nadere toelichting: