Halifax Chronicle-Herald columnist Paul Schneidereit continues to rely on Israeli propaganda in his ongoing attempts to excuse Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. In his latest column, Schneidereit gives the game away when he writes about the lack of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority:
Negotiations with Israel are stalled due to the Jewish state’s insistence on building settlements in disputed territory. This, as much as the PA’s inability to meet its past commitments, remains a major roadblock to peace.
Sorry Paul. Israel is not “building settlements in disputed territory” as the Israeli government claims. No. Israel continues to build settlements in territory that has been occupied for more than 44 years — a brutal, military occupation that most of the world, including Canada, opposes.
Daily life under Israeli occupation has featured “large-scale arrests, imprisonment without trial, deportations, punitive destruction of homes and property, beating, and the use of tear gas and live ammunition against crowds.” (see Don Peretz, Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising as quoted in The Palestine-Israel Conflict: A Basic Introduction by Gregory Harms, p. 142.) Gaza has also endured a a crippling economic blockade as well as a full-scale military assault that, in the words of an Amnesty International report, amounted to 22 Days of Death and Destruction.
Israeli occupation illegal
Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in the occupied territories and establishes Israel’s obligations as an occupying power, in particular with respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories. As referred to in UN Security Council Resolutions 446 and 465, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.
Nothing here about “disputed territories” only “territories occupied in 1967″ in violation, I might add, of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 which called for Israel’s withdrawal from territories it seized during the 1967 Six-Day War.
Not just semantics
The difference between Israel’s misleading term “disputed” and the international legal term “occupied” is not just a matter of semantics as Schneidereit well knows. After one of his earlier columns last May, the Herald published a response from Halifax doctor Ismail Zayid pointing out that settlements in the West Bank “are illegally occupied Palestinian territories, as affirmed by international law and repeated UN Security Council resolutions.” Zayid ended with this observation:
For any fair-minded person, the failure of any peace process in this area is directly related to Israel continuing its illegal occupation of Palestinian land, and its defiance of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. These violations are defined by international law as war crimes, and must be brought to an end if there is to be peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.
Schneidereit’s repeated framing of what he terms an “interminable, bloody conflict” between Israelis and Palestinians suggests both have equal power to end it. Yes, he admits, Israeli settlements remain “a major roadblock to peace.” Yet, they are somehow equal to the Palestinian Authority’s “inability to meet its past commitments” (whatever that may mean).
The notion that both sides are equally at fault absolves the Israelis of their responsibility for imposing an apartheid regime that journalists such as Schneidereit should condemn, not condone.