Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Palestine: The silence of the UN is deafening

Stewart Sloan

The United Nations under Ban Ki Moon has announced that 2014 is the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Despite the fact that Palestine is a ‘non-member observer state’ and the year being dedicated to solidarity with the country and six resolutions being passed against Israel, nothing much in the way of progress has been seen. Israeli atrocities continue to happen and in one recent incident alone, Israeli soldiers ordered the members of a house due to be demolished to come out into the street. There, one of the soldiers opened fire, slowly and deliberately, on the family, injuring the grandmother, killing two young girls and critically wounding another, all sisters. The BBC report may be seen at: The BBC has passed a copy of their video to the Israelis along with the map references and copies of the statements relating to the incident and they have promised to investigate. No one is holding their breath.

As regards the UN resolutions, on the one hand there is praise for raising the awareness of the international community to the situation in Palestine but on the other, there are feelings that the resolutions will work towards pushing the two parties further apart and be counter-productive to the already fragile peace process. However, the question must be asked: what peace process?

Israel has consistently denied, and continues to deny the Palestinians the right to live in peace in their own country. There is no justification, legal, moral or religious for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. And the naysayers are not just from the international community but from Israel itself and the Jewish clergy themselves. It is widely accepted, by non-Zionists that God told the Jews that they could live in the land of Palestine if they followed certain rules. However, it is also stated that even if the land was unoccupied they are forbidden by God to occupy it as they must live in exile until such time as mankind unites and embraces God. They are taught that they must live in exile and be loyal citizens of whatever country gives them shelter. They believe that it would be rebelling against God if they came out of exile by their power of their own hands, i.e. by violence against others. Zionism on the other hand is not a religion. It is a nationalist ideal that was set up 100 years ago and their teachings allowed them to make up the law as they go along. And they do so with the financial and moral assistance of the USA and some Arab countries who, for political reasons do not want to make an enemy of Israel. Other Jewish religious leaders believe that the Zionists have stolen the title, ‘Judaism’.

Everyday there are fresh reports of atrocities conducted by the Israelis against Palestinians. The incident given about of the lady and the young girls being shot while Israeli Defense Force soldiers looked on, eating chocolate is just one. I will keep repeating the same questions over and over again: what justification did the Israelis have for shooting these children? What is Ban Ki Moon doing about it and why is America continuing to support a nation of murderers. Perhaps the answer to that last question lies in the fact that the Americans themselves committed genocide against the own native Americans in order to steal their lands. Perhaps they are inured to the pain of the Palestinians because of the pain they caused the American Indians.

Of course it is well known, understood even that the UN is hamstrung because America has let it be known that they will veto any resolution made against Israel and, in fact, have done so in the past. However, it is time for Ban Ki Moon and the representatives of the member states of the UN to stand firm and demand that the United States of America allows resolutions against the state of Israel in order to stop the genocide they are committing against the people of Palestine who want nothing more than to live in peace, in their own land. Not to do so would make the United Nations a party to this crime.

Stewart Sloan is a published author and works as an editor in a regional human rights NGO based in Hong Kong. He became interested in the situation of Palestine several months ago through contact with his friends. This is his second article on this issue and he would welcome the opportunity of becoming more deeply involved. Stewart may be contacted at

PALESTINE: Children starve while the world and the UN look on

Stewart Sloan

Due to the ethnic conflict between Israel and Palestine a blockade has been imposed on most of the country of Palestine. The supply of electricity and running water has been cut off and Palestinian commerce virtually brought to a halt due to the stringent travel restrictions imposed by the Israelis. This has brought the economy to a standstill but it is not so much a case of not having enough money to buy food but rather the fact that there is no food to buy.

Added to this the wanton destruction of Palestinian homes and farms by Israeli settlers is ongoing and no alternative accommodation is provided, meaning that entire families, parents, grandparents, children and infants are left to face the elements and fend for themselves. Olive trees that were planted 50 years ago are being uprooted and destroyed to discourage farmers from returning to the property they have owned and farmed for generations.

The United Nations has declared 2014 to be the Year of Palestinian Solidarity which can only be a good thing. However, in the past, UN interventions in countries around the world have been disappointing at best and the question that begs to be asked is why has the UN not taken action to relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people up to now? In comments made elsewhere the author has made no effort to conceal his disgust at the lack of action by the UN and the seeming indifference of Ban Ki Moon to the suffering of the Palestinians.

Hundreds if not thousands of children, elderly people and the vulnerable face death due to malnourishment within days, not weeks or months. Again, it must be asked, why has this situation been allowed to reach this stage?

International bodies have attempted on several occasions to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza by sending ships laden with food and supplies. Despite the fact that these ships were not carrying weapons or arms but only food and medical supplies the Israelis prevented them from entering port and on one occasion even opened fire on a ship, killing several crew members. In 2012 Israel even demanded that the UN intervene to stop the Estelle, a ship sailing under the Swedish flag from entering Gaza, referring to them as "...less moral than Viking raiders".

There is a humanitarian crisis occurring in Palestine now! It is not hidden. It is happening in full view of the international community,including the United States of American who continues to support Israel and threatens to boycott any action that might be taken against them in the United Nations. Indeed, a newly elected American mayor announced in public that part of his work was to support Israel. At a private gala event hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at the Hilton hotel in midtown Manhattan New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that "part of his job description is to defend Israel". He went on to say, “……it is "elemental to being an American, because there is no greater ally on earth, and that's something we can say proudly." I wonder just how many Americans he is speaking for because I know a great many that want nothing to do with any support for the Zionist regime.

In a recent report it was announced that there is an internal revolt at OXFAM, an organization that provides food for thousands of needy persons around the world because OXFAM America refuses to support any cause that might be detrimental to Israel’s interests. OXFAM, who has been doing a great deal of good for decades is in danger of losing its credibility in the international arena because of the support of its Global Ambassadors, Scarlett Johansson. In one article published recently it was admitted that, “Although Oxfam has done a lot of lobbying both publicly and privately on the issue of Israeli settlements, it has faced intense resistance from Oxfam America”.

Perhaps America and the UN might answer this simple question: What possible advantage can be had by condemning innocent children, the elderly and anyone else for that matter to a slow death by starvation?

Stewart Sloan is a published author and works as an editor in a regional human rights NGO based in Hong Kong. He became interested in the situation of Palestine several months ago through contact with his friends. This is his first article on this issue and he would welcome the opportunity of becoming more deeply involved. Stewart may be contacted at