It is important to respect the legitimate rights of Israel and Palestine. Denying the existence of either nation should be condemned. I also believe that there is a desire by most people in the world to see a full and comprehensive peace in the Middle East but this vision has not been helped by Israel’s current Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu, who continues to build settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. To put the conflict into context with respect to international law and the feelings of the world, may I convey the following. Last November, there were a further 6 UN Resolutions on Palestine and the Middle East. One resolution on Jerusalem was supported by 166 nations plus the UK. Israel disagreed. In fact, there are over 150 UN Resolutions (including 181, 191 and 194) – all remain unimplemented in full. Furthermore the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Hague pertaining to the ‘security barrier’, which is 3 times the length of the Berlin Wall, has been sadly ignored by Mr Netanyahu. Perhaps if the ‘security barrier’ had to be built at all, it would have been better to have constructed it on the 1967 borders – instead of inside the internationally recognised Palestinian Territories (including East Jerusalem). Nonetheless once this ‘separation barrier’ and the settlement enterprise is completed, Palestinian communities will be separated into pockets of territory that lack contiguity, surrounded by settlements only accessible by settler only roads. ‘Natural growth’ settlements too were not acceptable as part of Phase I of the internationally agreed Road Map (2003). Day by day, the ‘security barrier’ and settlements erode the possibility of a two-state solution and the viability to bring about a fully comprehensive peace for Israelis and Palestinians. There are 130 nations in the world that recognise Palestine including India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brazil. More recently Iceland and Thailand have added to that recognition. Lastly UNESCO’s recognition last year of Palestine (supported by France, Spain, Ireland and Norway amongst many European nations) was still a positive step forward and a counter balance to those who deny Israel or Palestine’s right to exist. Dignity and peace is paramount for both peoples and recognition of both states ensures that those in the rejection camps are marginalized even further.
U.S. Marine found guilty of killing transgender Filipino (AP)