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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

'Israel violates Geneva Conventions'

Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:57AM GMT
An exclusive interview with Henry Norr, Palestine Solidarity Movement, from Berkeley
A prominent political activist says that the Israeli regime's occupation of Palestinian land is an international crime and in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Henry Norr of the Palestine Solidarity Movement from Berkeley to discuss the issue further.

The following is a transcript of the interview.

Press TV: The US always claims to be the backer of democracy and being against injustices, why are they against Palestinians statehood bid?

Norr: Well, basically, because the US government follows the dictates of the Israelis on everything to do with the Palestine question. That's not new, unfortunately. It's been going on for decades. And this is just the latest installment. It's not really a surprise.

I think Palestinians may have won themselves a moral victory. [Acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas], his speech a few weeks ago in the UN was pretty good. And it was pretty exciting to see many diplomats applauding him and giving the cold shoulder to Netanyahu. That was an accomplishment.

It looks like, from what I'm reading that the US will actually escape without having to exercise a veto. They've managed to strong arm Bosnia, France and a few other countries into either voting “no” or abstaining.

Probably, the Palestinians won't get enough votes to force the US to use its veto. If I were the Palestinians, I would follow the path they used in applying to UNESCO last week.

In particular, I don't understand why they don't apply immediately to the International Criminal Court? I understand that legally, having been admitted to UNESCO, they could apply to the International Criminal Court and then, probably, they would have the votes there because there's no US veto there, and it's not a small group like the Security Council that the US can strong arm.

If they could do that, they could file complaints against the Israelis because everything the Israelis are doing is a crime under international law. The entire occupation is in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

If they could file some complaints, they could at least make the Israelis nervous, and get them tired to travel for fear that some other country would actually honor its actual legal obligations and turn people in, when complaints are filed against them, into the International Criminal Court.

Press TV: Do you think that Palestine will not receive the nine votes, or will it receive the nine votes and the US would use its veto power?

Norr: I don't know. I'm not an insider at the UN. But from what I've been reading, it looks like the British have said for a while that they would abstain.

The French, as you know, have voted in favor of the Palestinians admission to UNESCO, so that gave a lot of people hope that they would vote the same way in the Security Council. If the French did vote that way, I think it would add up to the nine votes that are needed until the US exercised its veto.

But, the latest information seems to be that the French, in spite of having voted “yes” to the admission of Palestine to UNESCO, are going to vote “no” or abstain in the Security Council. My understanding is that means that with the US, Columbia, Bosnia, Germany and a few other countries that have said the same thing - that they would vote “no” or abstain - basically, the Palestinians are probably not going to get the nine votes. That's too bad, in a sense, because it would be much clearer to the world if the US had exercised the veto.

Most people around the world understand that even if the Palestinians are defeated on this without the US exercising the veto, it's still the Americans and the Israelis who are blocking their admission to the UN. But it would be clear if it were the form of the veto.

I'm sorry that if that's not going to happen that it's kind of a disappointment because I thought, at least, in the sense that would be valuable in terms of world public opinion to expose the US. This way, they could blame it on France or others...


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