måndag 19 januari 2015

Israel's upside-down world

Israeli diplomats in Sweden have distinguished themselves in different ways through the years—some as art vandals at museums (Zvi Mazel), and others as Islamophobic racists in social media (Isaac Bachman). But not so often as diplomats. Recently (see attached screen dumps from 12/1/2015), Israel’s ambassador to Sweden posted a racist, Islamophobic statement on Fcebook (removed on 14 January, 2015). And now, he is trying to teach Swedish politicians the meaning of diplomacy, consensus and cooperation, in an op-ed published on Swedish public television’s Website. Because that’s what diplomats do in an upside-down world. When an emissary for a government that is doing everything in its powers to prevent the establishment of a vigorous Palestinian state tries to teach us Swedes the meaning of a moral stance and balance, the world is upside down. Continuous illegal settlements—now housing 550,000 Israeli settlers in the heart of what was supposed to be become a Palestinian state—send a clear message; meanwhile, the sweet promises of cooperation, peace and reconciliation send a totally different one. In an upside-down world, the ”diplomat” in question writes: ”If any party in this conflict should be strengthened politically, it is Israel”, while Irael continues down its 48-year course of confiscating Palestinian territory in Jerusalem and the West Bank, demolishing thousands of Palestinian homes and continued ”protection” of criminal settlers in the West Bank. Installing degrading checkpoints that shatter the Palestinian economy, and running Palestinians off their land. Meanwhile, extrajudicial executions, imprisonment of Palestinians members of parliament and government, bombardment of administrative buildings and infrastructure projects and the massacre of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza all continue. And despite all of the above, Israel has escaped any repercussions from the international community. It is an upside-down world when a “diplomat” speaks in Israel’s name about the need to respect the international community and its written and unwritten laws, while it violates countless UN resolutions, Geneva conventions and international law by, for example, annexing East Jerusalem and by attacking boats on international waters that are headed for the illegally besieged Gaza, with dead and wounded as a result. Should we be at peace with this? Should we pretend not to see the glaring discrepancy between facts on the ground and what, at best, amounts to sweet nothings? The signals that Sweden and other countries are sending could have a decisive impact on the prospects for peace. One country after another is now holding parliamentary elections to recognize Palestine. One country after another is taking measures to live up to the EU’s decision to not offer financial support to illegal Israeli settlements. One country after another is requiring certification of origin on its goods. Some, among them Germany, have reviewed their trade agreements to ensure that their collaboration does not include the settlements. And Sweden can do more than lead the way for recognition of Palestine. For example, we could review our public- and private-sector cooperations with Israel, in order to t ensure that Sweden and Swedish businesses do not support (knowingly or not) to the crimes of the Israeli occupation. That would send a decisive message to Israel: no state and no people shall be left to their fate, in Israel or in Palestine, whose fates are closely linked. And no state, democratic or not, will get away with violating international law. An answer to the Israeli Ambassador to Sweden (Translated from Swedish by Chris Pastorella) Original article in Swedish: http://www.svt.se/opinion/israels-uppochnervanda-varld

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