ICJ Says Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian Territory Is Illegal and Must End

Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Israeli soldiers and armored vehicles are pictured in the West Bank town of Beita on July 12, 2024. (Photo: Wahaj Bano Moufleh/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images)

The United Nations’ highest court issued an advisory opinion arguing that Israel’s large-scale expansion of settlements amounts to annexation, a crime under international law.

The International Court of Justice said Friday that Israel’s decadeslong occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is unlawful and must end “as rapidly as possible.”

The court’s nonbinding advisory opinion was read aloud by ICJ President Nawaf Salam, a Lebanese judge and academic. Salam said the court determined based on “extensive evidence” that Israel is guilty of confiscating “large areas” of Palestinian land for use by Israeli settlers, exploiting natural resources, and undermining the local population’s right to self-determination under international law.

The court pointed to “Israel’s systematic failure to prevent or punish” settler violence and “demolition of Palestinian property” in the West Bank as part of its case that the Israeli government’s actions in the occupied territories are indicative of an attempt to permanently annex land and forcibly transfer Palestinians from their homes.

“Israel is not entitled to sovereignty in any part of the occupied Palestinian territory on account of its occupation, nor can security concerns override the prohibition on acquisition of territory by force,” said Salam.

The ICJ vote against Israel’s occupation was 11-4. The court also voted to call on Israel to evacuate all settlers from the West Bank.

In a 12-3 vote, the ICJ said that all nations “are under an obligation not to recognize as legal the situation arising from the unlawful presence of the state of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by the continued presence of the state of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The United States was among the countries that warned the ICJ against advising that Israel must swiftly end its occupation.

The ICJ handed down its opinion as the court is also considering a genocide case brought against Israel over its ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip—a devastating war that the court did not weigh as part of its new advisory opinion.

Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, applauded the ICJ’s call for the dismantling of Israeli settlements and reparations for Palestinians harmed by Israel’s occupation.

“The ICJ ruling in essence confirmed what the majority of people (except the West) already knew and have recognized: that Israel’s occupation is illegal, that it is still occupying Gaza, it is annexing the West Bank, and Israel is an apartheid state,” Parsi wrote on social media. “If there is any respect for international law, Western media must now include this in all its Israel coverage. Most don’t even describe settlements as illegal!”

Nancy Okail, president and CEO of the Center for International Policy, said in a statement that “while the ICJ’s action is nonbinding, countries that seek to uphold international law should respect the court’s determination and take all appropriate steps to counter the injustices of the occupation and bring it to a peaceful end.”

“At a minimum, countries should not engage in actions which help to perpetuate the occupation and its discriminatory, annexationist goals,” said Okail. “In particular, the United States must end the unconditional supply of arms that Israel uses in connection with the dispossession and settlement of Palestinian land and other violations of Palestinian rights.”

Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Rights Group Urges DOJ to Investigate US-Bound Netanyahu for Genocide

‘Ticking Time Bomb’: International Alarm as Poliovirus Found in Gaza Sewage

UK Urged to Cut Off Arms Sales to Israel After Restoring UNRWA Funds

Amnesty Condemns Israel’s ‘Mass Incommunicado Detention and Torture’ of Palestinians

Continue ReadingICJ Says Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian Territory Is Illegal and Must End

Rights Group Urges DOJ to Investigate US-Bound Netanyahu for Genocide

Original article by JESSICA CORBETT republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024. (Photo: Shaul Golan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

“We believe ample credible evidence exists to sufficiently establish that serious crimes falling within U.S. criminal jurisdiction are systematically being perpetrated in Gaza,” said the Center for Constitutional Rights.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to visit Washington, D.C. next week, an American legal group on Friday pressured the U.S. Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation into him and other officials for committing or authorizing genocide, war crimes, and torture targeting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Since Israel launched its retaliation for a Hamas-led attack on October 7, Israeli forces partly armed by the U.S. government have killed at least 38,848 people and wounded another 89,459—according to Gaza officials—while destroying civilian infrastructure and restricting the flow of humanitarian aid into the Palestinian enclave.

“We believe ample credible evidence exists to sufficiently establish that serious crimes falling within U.S. criminal jurisdiction are systematically being perpetrated in Gaza,” says the Center for Constitutional Rights’ (CCR) 23-page letter to Hope Olds, who leads the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) of the DOJ’s Criminal Division.

“Given the frequent travel of Israeli officials and citizens to the United States resulting in their presence within U.S. jurisdiction, and recalling that HRSP is part of a coordinated, interagency effort to deny safe haven in the United States to human rights violators,” the letter states, “the Department of Justice must urgently investigate and hold accountable those responsible for war crimes and other serious crimes being committed on a wide-scale basis in the occupied Gaza Strip, including potentially U.S. and U.S.-dual citizens.”

The Israeli prime minister is expected to be in the United States from at least next Monday to Wednesday for a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden—who is currently isolating in his Delaware home due to a Covid-19 infection—and to address a joint session of Congress, despite objections from critics of Israel’s war including some lawmakers.

“Netanyahu has killed more than 14,000 precious Palestinian children with U.S. weapons and support and is starving all of Gaza—and now sycophants in the White House and Congress are rolling out the red carpet for him,” Maria LaHood, CCR’s deputy legal director, said in a statement. “DOJ’s Human Rights and Special Prosecution Section must exercise its mandate to investigate Netanyahu and hold him to account for his heinous crimes, just as it would an international criminal from any other country.”

The group’s letter says that “in light of Netanyahu’s imminent visit, HRSP should prioritize investigating him… There is overwhelming evidence that under Netanyahu, Israeli forces and authorities are committing genocide, war crimes, and torture against Palestinians in Gaza, acts that are proscribed under federal criminal statutes and prosecutable by HRSP.”

“As the most powerful political figure in Israel, Netanyahu also leads the Security Cabinet, as well as the recently dissolved War Cabinet—the two bodies responsible for setting the strategy for and directing the military assault on Gaza since October 7, 2023,” the letter stresses. “He therefore bears criminal responsibility for the serious international crimes committed against the Palestinian population over the past nine months.”

Various developments this week have elevated concerns for the people of Gaza. The World Health Organization said Friday that poliovirus has been detected in sewage samples at six locations in the strip, and Amnesty International on Thursday published interviews with 27 former detainees who described being tortured by Israeli forces.

A Wednesday report from Oxfam detailed what the group called Israel’s “water war crimes” in Gaza. That same day, Israeli lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing “the establishment of a Palestinian state” west of the Jordan River—widely seen as an effort to send a message to Netanyahu ahead of his trip to D.C.

International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan is seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders, and Israel faces a South Africa-led genocide case at the International Court of Justice—which on Friday issued a nonbinding advisory opinion that Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is unlawful and must end “as rapidly as possible.”

So far, legal efforts to hold the Biden administration accountable for enabling Israel’s genocidal violence against Palestinians have been unsuccessful. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit against the president, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

CCR attorney Katherine Gallagher, who represented plaintiffs in the case, said that “this stunning abdication of the court’s role to serve as a check on the executive even in the face of its support for genocide should set off alarm bells for all.”

Original article by JESSICA CORBETT republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Continue ReadingRights Group Urges DOJ to Investigate US-Bound Netanyahu for Genocide

UK Urged to Cut Off Arms Sales to Israel After Restoring UNRWA Funds

Original article by JULIA CONLEY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

British Foreign Secretary David Lammy speaks at the NATO Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2024 (Photo: Drew Angerer/AFP via Getty Images)

“While the U.K. is giving aid with one hand, it continues to send weapons used in the ongoing killing of civilians with the other,” said one advocate.

Days after independent United Nations experts said the blocking of humanitarian aid to Gaza over the past nine months has led to famine throughout the enclave, rights groups on Friday applauded the British government’s announcement that it will restore funding to the U.N.’s relief agency in Palestine—but said the Labour Party will remain complicit in the suffering of Gazans as long as it continues arming Israel.

Tim Bierley, a campaigner at Global Justice Now, said the decision to restore U.K. funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) six months after it was suspended was “welcome and long overdue,” following mounting reports of dozens of Palestinian children and adults dying of starvation in the intervening months.

The U.K. was one of several wealthy countries that suspended funding for UNRWA, which operates mainly on international donations, after Israel in January claimed without evidence that 12 out of 13,000 UNRWA staff members in Gaza had been involved in the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on October 7, 2023.

The loss of hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S., Germany, the U.K., and other countries severely reduced UNRWA’s ability to provide food aid, healthcare, sanitation services, and employment to Palestinians, nearly all of whom have been forcibly displaced by Israel’s bombardment.

Following sustained advocacy by rights groups and Labour Party lawmakers who support Palestinian rights, Foreign Secretary David Lammy on Friday announced that the new Labour government, which took control after this month’s elections, has committed to providing £21 million ($27 million) to UNRWA following former Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to suspend funding.

Lammy noted in his speech to Parliament that restoring UNRWA funding is “absolutely central” to ensuring humanitarian aid reaches Palestinians in Gaza.

“No other agency can deliver aid at the scale needed,” he said.

The government’s decision leaves the U.S.—UNRWA’s largest funder—as the only country that has not restored its financial support for the agency. In March, the U.S. passed a military spending package that prohibits UNRWA funding through at least March 2025.

Bierley was among those who noted that while the U.K. is committing to provide more humanitarian relief to Palestinians in Gaza, the Labour government is still providing Israel with military aid.

“While the U.K. is giving aid with one hand, it continues to send weapons used in the ongoing killing of civilians with the other. Labour has had more than enough time to review the evidence: The U.K. must ban all arms sales to Israel with immediate effect,” said Bierley.

Journalist Owen Jones added that considering all countries except the U.S. have already restored funding—with many citing the U.N.’s finding that Israel’s accusations were unsubstantiated—the Labour government’s decision is “the bare minimum.”

“Now end arms sales and stop trying to wreck the [International Criminal Court] arrest warrants,” said Jones, referring to the U.K.’s bid to intervene in the ICC’s case against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over alleged war crimes in Gaza.

Member of Parliament Andy McDonald of the Labour Party called on Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s government to “clarify that it supports the processes that will prosecute war crimes and that the U.K. accepts the ICC jurisdiction over Israel, and has no truck with the nonsense legal argument of Israel being exempt from international law.”

The humanitarian group Medical Aid for Palestinians said the Labour Party’s decision will restore “an irreplaceable lifeline” to a population of 2.3 million Gaza residents who “face an existential threat from Israel’s military bombardment and siege.”

“We hope that David Lammy and the U.K. government will now commit to increasing multi-year support to the agency,” said the group, “to bolster its vital humanitarian work across the region and ensure the inalienable rights of Palestinian refugees are upheld.”

Original article by JULIA CONLEY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Continue ReadingUK Urged to Cut Off Arms Sales to Israel After Restoring UNRWA Funds

Trump makes more false promises to the working class

Original article by Natalia MarquesZoe Alexandra republished from peoples dispatch under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

Donald Trump enters the stage on the last day of the Republican National Convention (Screenshot via CBS News)

Former president Trump’s first speech following the attempted assassination against him was an appeal to workers from a pro-boss candidate

Former President Donald Trump, now officially the nominee from the Republican Party for the 2024 Presidential elections, gave an address to the Republican National Convention on its last night, on July 18. 

His address was riddled with appeals to workers in the US, who are experiencing deep economic despair under the Biden administration (as they were during previous administrations). According to the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, the vast majority (67%) of the over 220 million survey respondents claim to have difficulty paying for usual household expenses within the last seven days—no surprise, as grocery prices have risen nearly 27% since 2020.  

Eugene Puryear, journalist with BreakThrough News and political analyst, said that the Republican appeal to workers is telling of the overall political climate in the country. “We see Biden and the Democratic Party talking about ‘working class, working class, working class,’ Trump, JD Vance, and the Republicans also talking about ‘working class, working class, working class,’ when clearly neither of these parties cares at all about the working class,” he stated. “If these two capitalist parties, who have access to the most extensive polling data, think that they have to appeal to the working class, as a class, in their campaign, even if it’s a fraudulent appeal, it confirms class consciousness is growing in the United States. As can be seen from the growing popularity of trade unions and socialism.”

However, the appeal to working people by the Republicans, is one that recognizes their hardship but does not present solutions that would in any way threaten their class interests. As showcased by Donald Trump at the convention, their approach is to misinform, misrepresent, look for scapegoats, and beat the drums of nationalist chauvinism. 

Made in the USA

“We will not let countries come in, take our jobs, and plunder our nation. They come and do that. They plunder our nation,” Trump said. “The way they will sell their product in America is to build it in America, very simple. Build it in America and only in America… If you go back 20, 25 years they’ve stolen, going to China and Mexico, about 68% of our auto industry. Manufacturing jobs. We’re going to get them all back. We’re going to get them all back, every single one of them.”

Trump promises to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US through tariffs and reversing government regulations.

In swearing his commitment to “bringing manufacturing back to the US”, Trump targeted prominent union leader Shawn Fain, the president of the United Auto Workers. Trump essentially blames Fain for having “allowing” auto manufacturing jobs to move to Mexico.

“And right now as we speak, large factories, just started, are being built across the border in Mexico,” said Trump. “So, with all the other things happening at our border, and they’re being built by China to make cars and to sell them into our country, no tax, no anything. The United Auto Workers ought to be ashamed for allowing this to happen and the leader of the United Auto Workers should be fired immediately and every single autoworker, union and nonunion, should be voting for Donald Trump because we’re going to bring back car manufacturing and we’re going to bring it back fast.”

This attack on Fain may be based on his left-leaning political position rather than a supposed “defense of workers”. 

The reason why manufacturing plants have largely moved to the Global South is clearly not because of strong union leaders, but because of corporate greed, and the increase in surplus value that capitalists can extract from cheaper labor in the Global South, ie globalization, a process which has been the driving force in the global economy for the last several decades. A central demand of the successful UAW strike last year in the “Big Three” auto manufacturers, Stellantis, Ford, and General Motors, was in fact to reopen factories that had been closed down due to offshoring and globalization. 

Wealth transfers to the rich

During his speech, Trump proudly touted his legacy of tax cuts for the wealthy and slashing pro-worker regulations. “The biggest tax cuts ever. The biggest regulation cuts ever… We did so much. We do so much,” he said.

Trump has already been president once, and as he proudly articulated, his record proves that his true loyalty lies with the ultra-rich, not with the working class. In 2017, Trump launched tax cuts for the rich that initiated one of the largest transfers of wealth from workers to the wealthy in US history—effectively a wealth transfer of USD 2 trillion. How did he manage this? Trump slashed the corporate tax rate from 36% to 21%, and lowered the income tax rate from those in the highest bracket from 39.6% to 37%, and exempted people with up to USD 12 million from paying any taxes on the inheritance left to loved ones.

He indicated that he would go even further during his second term. “We’ll start paying off debt and start lowering taxes even further. We gave you the largest tax cut. We’ll do it more,” he promised.

Sacrificing workers and the planet, for profit

During his speech, Trump declared that he would address the cost of living crisis and soaring cost of energy by encouraging exploitation of the natural resources in the United States. “We will drill, baby, drill,” Trump said to the convention hall. 

“By slashing energy costs, we will in turn reduce the cost of transportation, manufacturing and all household goods. So much starts with energy. And remember, we have more liquid gold under our feet than any other country by far. We are a nation that has the opportunity to make an absolute fortune with its energy. We have it and China doesn’t.”

It is not new for Republican candidates to promise jobs and benefits for workers in exchange for striking down environmental regulations and violating Indigenous land rights, over uninhibited extraction of gas and oil in the United States. Trump in his 2016 campaign had triumphantly declared, “We’re preparing bold action to lift the restrictions on American energy…and we’re going to put our miners back to work.”

The Republican Party platform for 2024 states: “Under President Trump, the US became the Number One Producer of Oil and Natural Gas in the World — and we will soon be again by lifting restrictions on American Energy Production and terminating the Socialist Green New Deal.” 

But is the drive to extract the earth’s resources necessarily compatible with protecting workers and jobs?

Already Congressional Republicans moved to block the enforcement of life-saving health regulations for coal miners. 

If Trump and the Republican Party implement their drastic program, not only will the planet suffer—so will workers, who conservatives have historically left with the least protections possible. Trump implemented a variety of policies that undermined federal safety regulations, including slashing the amount of Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) inspectors. 

Trump enables tip stealing

Trump also made a big deal about the Republican Party’s proposal of eliminating taxes on tips, telling a confusing anecdote about a waitress he spoke to about the need for this policy. Trump seemed in disbelief that he had a meaningful political conversation with his waitress. “You know, most people who go out, they hire consultants. They pay them [millions] of dollars… I got my information from a very smart waitress. That’s better than spending millions of dollars.”

The Republican Party’s platform states regarding “no tax on tips”, “we will eliminate Taxes on Tips for millions of Restaurant and Hospitality Workers, and pursue additional Tax Cuts.” 

How much good can “no tax on tips” do in an administration (Trump’s) which implemented a “tip stealing rule,” which made it easier for employers to pocket up to USD 5.8 billion worth of workers’ tips? Or which opposed any increase to the federal minimum wage? 

So-called border “invasion” rhetoric divides working class

Trump spent most of his speech harping on policies that divide workers from one another, including a very fine line between recent immigrants, specifically from Venezuela and El Salvador, versus the rest of the working class. Trump and the Republicans have promised to carry out the largest mass deportation the country has ever seen. “We also have an illegal immigration crisis, and it’s taking place right now, as we sit here in this beautiful arena. It’s a massive invasion at our southern border that has spread misery, crime, poverty, disease, and destruction to communities all across our land. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it.”

In an economy ruled by the corporate elite, are migrant workers the true enemies of US-born workers? Economists cite migrant workers as a key reason for job growth despite the Federal Reserve’s aggressive raising of interest rates. 

“There’s been something of a mystery—how are we continuing to get such extraordinary strong job growth with inflation still continuing to come down?’’ Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute and a former chief economist at the Labor Department, told PBS. “The immigration numbers being higher than what we had thought—that really does pretty much solve that puzzle.’’

The policies that are set to come from a second Trump term can only hurt working people. As labor journalist Alexandra Bradbury writes in Labor Notes, “In case there’s any doubt: billionaire Trump, who as an employer has fought unions and stiffed workers, and as a TV personality made ‘You’re fired’ his catchphrase, is not for the little guy.”

While workers in the US are increasingly feeling discouraged by what both the Republican and Democratic parties have to offer, many people are instead turning to alternative options. Claudia De La Cruz and Karina Garcia, are running on the ticket of the Party for Socialism and Liberation on an explicitly socialist platform, and Dr. Jill Stein, running with the Green Party and Dr. Cornel West, running as an independent, are running on progressive platforms. Either way, most working class formations are gearing up for a strong fight back to the next presidential administration and their plans to shred the rights of the people.

Original article by Natalia Marques, Zoe Alexandra republished from peoples dispatch under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

Continue ReadingTrump makes more false promises to the working class

Yemen’s Ansar Allah declares attacks will continue until genocide in Gaza ends

Original article by Aseel Saleh republished from peoples dispatch under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

The spokesperson of the Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree giving a press conference.

The Yemeni Support Front is escalating its attacks on Israeli “primary targets” in solidarity with the Palestinian people, until the aggression on Gaza is halted and the siege is lifted

A drone struck the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on Friday, July 19, killing at least one person and injuring 10 others. The drone exploded hundreds of meters away from the United States Embassy, at the intersection of Shalom Aleichem and Ben Yehuda Streets.

A few hours after the attack, Ansar Allah-led Yemeni Armed Forces claimed responsibility for the attack, in a televised speech delivered by its spokesperson, Brigadier-General Yahya Sare’e. During his speech, Sare’e clarified that Ansar Allah fired a “new drone called Yafa, which is capable of bypassing the enemy’s interception systems”. He also declared Tel Aviv an “unsafe area” and a “primary target” for Ansar Allah’s weapons. Saree asserted that the attack was launched in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people and in retaliation of the massacres committed by the Zionist enemy against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The drone that hit an apartment building in Tel Aviv was an Iranian manufactured craft called Samad-3, which was modified to extend its range, the spokesperson of the Israeli Occupation Forces, Daniel Hagari, said in a televised statement on Friday. He also mentioned that the IOF was investigating what went wrong, as the drone was detected by the Israeli air defenses, but an “error” occurred and “there was no interception.“

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot quoted an unnamed Israeli officials saying “Israel will respond to the Houthi drone strike. The option of an attack on Yemeni soil is on the table and we cannot rule out a response in Yemen.” Moreover, the newspaper said it was told by the officials that the attack on Tel Aviv is assessed to be targeting the Embassy of the United States there. It is the first time for Tel Aviv, which is considered the commercial hub for the Israeli entity, to be struck by a drone according to media reports.

second explosion was heard in Tel Aviv later on Friday, reportedly leaving two casualties. Israeli media said that the incident occurred because an oxygen cylinder exploded inside an apartment in Yosef Zinman Street in east Tel Aviv.

Additionally, the Yemeni Armed Forces struck Singapore-flagged container ship, Lobivia, with ballistic missiles in the gulf of Aden on Friday, for violating entry ban to Israeli ports. Claiming the responsibility for striking the ship, Brigadier-General Yahya Saree reiterated, in another televised speech on Friday, that Ansar Allah’s operations will continue until the war on Gaza stops and the siege imposed on it is lifted.

Original article by Aseel Saleh republished from peoples dispatch under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

Continue ReadingYemen’s Ansar Allah declares attacks will continue until genocide in Gaza ends