Michael Sfard teaches the course The International Law of Human Rights: Practical and Comparative Aspects at the Academic Center for Law and Business, Ramat Gan.
Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan teaches languages and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The recent war waged by the Israeli government and the Israeli army on the Gaza strip, already under a blockade, underlines the particular responsibility of the United States and of the European Union in the perpetuation of the injustice done to the Palestinian people, deprived of its fundamental rights.
It is important to mobilize the international public opinion so that the United Nations and Member States adopt the necessary measures to end the impunity of the Israeli State, and to reach a just and durable solution to this conflict.
Based on the Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued on the 9th of July 2004 and on the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Organisation, this Russell Tribunal on Palestine is a civic initiative promoting international law as the core element of the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Further than Israel’s responsibility, it aims to demonstrate the complicity of Third States and International Organisations which, through their passivity or active support, allow Israel to violate the rights of the Palestinian People, and let this situation be continued and aggravated.
The next step will then be to establish how this complicity results in international responsibilities.
Through a decentralised functioning, the organisation of public sessions and other public events, the organisation of a Russell Tribunal on Palestine is designed as a large communication event, with widespread media coverage over the tribunal and its outcomes. Indeed, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine having no official mandate, its impact rests on its ability to mobilise public opinion, so that the latter puts pressure on governments to obtain that they change their policies in the ways that are necessary to reach a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
Adv. Michael Sfard presentation at the tribunal: the israeli settlement project and the plundering of west bank resources
Document prepared for the first international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine Barcelona 1-2-3 March 2010 Page 68 The Israeli Settlement Project and the Plundering of WB Natural Resources By Adv. Michael Sfard 1. i. ii. iii. 2. The Israeli settlement project: definitions and figures Settlements; Outposts; Industrial zones; The international law prohibition on transfer of population from the occupying power to the occupied territory – the rule and its rationale. 3. The ever-growing nature of Israeli settlements: construction, planning and violence. 4. i. ii. 5. 6. Separate laws - applying Israeli law to settlers: The "enclave law" technique; Extra-territorial application of Israeli law; Israeli Quarries in the WB – data. International legal protection of natural resources in occupied territories: i. Humanitarian law: The duty to safeguard the capital of public property; the principle of continuity; ii. Human Rights law: The permanent sovereignty of peoples over their natural wealth and resources; Document prepared for the first international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine Barcelona 1-2-3 March 2010
The organisation of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine is under the responsibility of its International Organising Committee (IOC), composed of the following members: Ken Coates, Pierre Galand, Stéphane Hessel, Marcel-Francis Kahn, Robert Kissous, François Maspero, Paulette Pierson-Mathy, Bernard Ravenel, Brahim Senouci.
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine seeks to reaffirm the primacy of international law as the basis for the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will build its work around the enunciation of law by authoritative bodies. The International Court of Justice in its Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, has analysed the relevant provisions of International Humanitarian Law and International Law of Human Rights and the dozens of international resolutions concerning Palestine. It is for this tribunal to address the failure of the application of the law even though it has been so clearly identified. Our work starts where the opinion of the ICJ stopped: highlighting the responsibilities arising from the enunciation of law, including the responsibilities of the international community. The latter can not continue to shirk its obligations.
Tribunal Russell sur la Palestine - Bruxelles Mars 2009 - Nurit Peled
For those of you who were unable to attend the internet/web conference (Saturday, March 6), or who may have just become aware of it, here is the link to the recording (about 1 hr. 45 min.):
Infinite Conferencing recording: RTP Web Conference I
In this conference you will hear (in order of appearance in the conference) Professor Jeff Halper (anthropologist, author, lecturer, political activist, and co-founder and Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) ), Dr. Ghada Karmi (Palestinian doctor of medicine, author, and a fellow and lecturer at the Institute of Arab & Islamic studies at Exeter University, UK), and Professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan (Israeli peace activist, professor at Hebrew University, and co-founder of the Bereaved Families for Peace) speak passionately, authoritatively, and from their personal experiences about the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP), its mission, the verdict reached by the distinguished members of the RTP jury (in the first session of the RTP just concluded, March 3, in Barcelona), how the RTP is a "people's tribunal" that opens a window of opportunity for all of us to mobilize the international community and empower ourselves with the legal foundation with which to demand action from our governments to respect international laws and the norms of our civil society that have been formulated over the last century to advance us from a dark era of global conflicts forward toward a new era of global peace and cooperation and save ourselves from the ravages of war, the law of the jungle, and the environmental devastation that accompanies war through the various treaties which established the laws of war, universal norms for human rights and humanitarian protections and the charter of the United Nations.
This discussion, led by our host Stephen Lendman (Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization), highlights the hope that the RTP brings to the international grassroots movement for justice and a sustainable peace for Palestinians and Israeli Jews and the hope that the RTP represents (as voiced by Professor Peled-Elhanan) for the Israeli Jews, themselves, to be saved by forces outside Israel and rescued from certain self-destruction that will surely result from the internal turmoil in Israeli society caused by the militarism, racism, and culture of death that exists in that society, which is supported and encouraged by the immoral acts of powerful nations in the West (U.S. and E.U., primarily).
In my humble opinion, this conference is a "must experience" for every U.S. citizen and just might serve as a wake-up call for many of us (hopefully) and shock us into a realization that unless we all make a small committment of our time every week or month to become aware of how this situation in the Middle East is effectively erasing all the progress we have made as a global society toward establishing an international system of laws -- a situation that was created by our government's inaction to end the cycle of impunity that Israel currently enjoys because we protect her from any consequences arising from her illegal and immoral acts vis a vis the Palestinian people -- and begin to take some action to join or support in some way the rapidly growing movement internationally to force our governments to take the actions that they are required to take as signatories on various treaties and as contracting parties in the United Nations charter, etc., and to respect the rule of law and enforce those laws that have been established to protect the rights of all the worlds citizens. I will also just quickly add that we should all heed the warnings of the experts in this conference about how the rule of law is being eroded and what dire circumstances could result if this situation is not reversed by all of us taking action at the grassroots level -- we, the citizens of this global society and increasingly smaller and smaller world of ours. But, also, please take note of the positive side of this discussion regarding the hope that the RTP offers to us and the opportunity for us to join in a movement that WILL ultimately lead to the abolition of Apartheid in Israel, an end to the colonization of Palestine and a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land. Then, please stop and take a few moments to imagine what we could accomplish after we achieve this monumental and historic victory for humanity ...