19 November 2017   Leave a comment

The US has announced that the Palestinian mission to the US in Washington, DC  must close because the Palestinian Authority has violated US law by bringing a case against Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC).  A law passed by the US Congress in 2015 bans the Palestinians from bringing cases to the ICC.  There are a number of legal questions as to whether the Palestinian Authority had the right to sign the Charter of the ICC since the ICC is only open to “states”.  Since Palestine does not have a clearly recognized “territory”, its status as a state can be questioned.  But statehood is generally determined by what is known as the Montevideo Convention of 1933 which has four criteria:

  1. The entity aspiring to be regarded as a state must possess a permanent population;
  2. it must occupy a clearly defined territory;
  3. it must operate an effective government over the extent of its territory; and
  4. it must display capacity to engage in international relations-such capacity including the ability to fulfill international treaty obligations.

But the UN General Assembly also passed Resolution 67/19, “Status of Palestine in the United Nations” on 29 November 2012.  The resolution was passed with 138 votes in favor,  9 opposed, 41 abstentions, and 5 absent.  Passage of the resolution with more than a 2/3s affirmative vote is considered by some analysts–but not all–as sufficient evidence of common recognition of Palestine by the international community.

In response to the threat by the US, the Palestinian Authority has itself threatened to cut off all communications with the US.  The ICC has initiated a Preliminary Examination of the Palestinian complaint against Israel which focuses largely on crimes “in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014”.  The US move seems to be a prelude to an new round of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with the Saudi Arabians and the Egyptians weighing in to pressure concessions from the Palestinians.  The US considers the ICC to be an obstacle to its role as negotiator.  Ironically, both Israel and the US have yet to ratify their membership in the ICC yet wish to have pre-eminent voices in its deliberations.

 

As the US continues to work closely with Saudi Arabia, the humanitarian situation in Yemen has deteriorated dramatically since the Saudis imposed a blockade on the country.  The Washington Post describes the situation in dire terms:

“According to the United Nations, Yemen is in urgent need of medicines, vaccines and food. The supplies ‘are essential to staving off disease and starvation,’ the organization said. ‘Without them, untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die.’ A joint statement from the heads of the World Food Program, UNICEF and the World Health Organization called the situation in Yemen ‘the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.’

“A least 17 million other people, including 11 million children, are in desperate need of humanitarian supplies. The shortage of medicine and clean water has also led to the spread of disease. The country is now in the throes of the fastest-growing cholera epidemic ever recorded. Nearly 900,000 people have been affected, according to U.N. figures.”

And there is no end in sight to this pointless war.  The Yemeni people are pawns in the proxy war between the Saudis and the Iranians, and the US continues to support Saudi Arabia without conditions.

 

The situation in Zimbabwe remains muddy.  Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, gave the leader an ultimatum: resign or face impeachment on Monday. Most thought the situation was resolved, but Mugabe delivered a televised address to the nation in which he made no offer to resign.  He was flanked by military officers, giving the impression that he had the support of at least some parts of the military.  But it is doubtful that anyone really knows what is going on.  We will wait to see if impeachment proceedings begin tomorrow.

Posted November 19, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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