Palestinians face sanctions for going to United Nations

US, Israel to punish Palestine for exercising right to join UN

Free Palestine won’t need aid – DfID
Is it a crime to go to the United Nations? Is it a crime for a country to sign up to UN conventions and join UN agencies?
Yes, according to the Americans.
The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, warned last week that America “will oppose any attempt to upgrade the status of the Palestinians everywhere in the UN”.
Yes, according to Israel.
Israel’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu imposed sanctions on the Palestinian Authority for signing up to UN conventions this week by ordering his ministers not to speak to Palestinian ministers or their civil servants.
We’d rather you didn’t do it, says the FCO.
The Middle East minister told David Winnick MP that, while the UK would “ultimately” like to see a Palestinian state sign up to UN conventions, “at this stage” it believed the “only route” to ending the occupation was through negotiations and it should focus on that.
This was the bizarre reaction to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision last week to sign letters of accession to 15 UN treaties and conventions – exercising a right he has had since November 2012 when the UN voted by 138 to nine to recognise Palestine as a state.
The Palestinians agreed last summer not to exercise this right during the nine months of the peace talks provided the Israelis released 106 prisoners who have been in Israeli jails for more than 22 years.
The Israelis failed to release the last batch of 26 prisoners on Saturday March 29th and as a result President Abbas felt free to sign the letters on Tuesday April 1st.
However, he made it clear he would suspend action on the applications to the UN if and when the prisoners were released and he was willing to continue the talks until the final day of the nine months, April 29th.
If they are not released, he will in due course apply to join all 63 UN bodies – including the one the Israelis fear most, the International Criminal Court.  Once Palestine is a member of the ICC, Israeli generals can be tried for war crimes in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
At Foreign Office questions this week William Hague did his best to convince himself that the talks will continue – even though John Kerry has now washed his hands of them and blamed the Israelis for causing the collapse.
In the Lords Lord Turnberg urged him to start thinking of a Plan B.
At DfID questions in the Commons Aid Minister Alan Duncan said Israeli restrictions did tremendous damage to the Palestinian economy and to the living standards of ordinary Palestinians.
“The simple truth is that they are not allowed to develop their banking or information and communications technology sectors, or to build even their basic infrastructure.
“Were these restrictions to be lifted … within a relatively short space of time the Palestinians would probably not need our aid at all.”
During the so-called ‘peace talks’ there have been 56 Palestinians killed, 146 houses demolished, 550 attacks by settlers, 897 Palestinians injured, 3,061 arrested, 3,767 military raids and 10,509 new homes built in illegal settlements – enough to house 52,000 new settlers. 
Is any more proof needed that the Israelis use ‘peace talks’ as a cover for the accelerated take-over of the West Bank?



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