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Israel is a Rogue State which is Violating Over 30 UN Security Council Resolutions

By David Morrison


Israel is a rogue state. It is violating over 30 UN Security Council resolutions, dating back to 1968, resolutions that require action by Israel and Israel alone [1].

That very important fact is entirely absent from reporting on Palestine by the British and Irish media. If any other state in this world were guilty of such persistent refusal to obey the will of the “international community”, it would be subject to continuous threats of economic and/or military sanctions by the US and the EU – and we would never hear the end of it from the British and Irish media.

The Security Council resolutions being violated by Israel are listed in the Appendix below. For a correspondence with the Israeli Embassy in London on these violations see [2].

Four of the resolutions being violated by Israel are very significant: if Israel chose to take the action demanded in them, the political landscape in Palestine would be transformed. These are:


(1) Resolution 252

This resolution, passed on 21 May 1968, demands that Israel reverse its annexation of East Jerusalem. It states:

[The Security Council]

2. Considers that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status;

3. Urgently calls upon Israel to rescind all such measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any further action which tends to change the status of Jerusalem;

Israel’s failure to comply with this resolution prompted further resolutions – 267 on 3 July 1969, 271 on 15 September 1969 and 298 on 25 September 1971 – demanding the reversal of its annexation of East Jerusalem.


(2) Resolution 446

This resolution, passed on 22 March 1979, demands that Israel cease building Jewish settlements in the territories it has occupied since 1967, including in Jerusalem, and that it remove those it has built. It says:

[The Security Council]

Calls once more upon Israel, as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories;

The Fourth Geneva Convention (on the Protection of Civilians Persons in Time of War) bans the planting of settlers on territory captured in war. Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Convention says:

“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Israel’s failure to comply with this resolution prompted further resolutions – 452 on 20 July 1979 and 465 on 1 March 1980 – demanding that Israel cease colonising the territories it occupied in 1967.


(3) Resolution 487

This resolution, passed on 19 June 1981, was prompted by the Israeli air attack on the Osirak nuclear reactor at the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Center near Baghdad on 7 June 1981. The resolution “strongly” condemned “the military attack by Israel in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations” and says that “Iraq is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered, responsibility for which has been acknowledged by Israel”.

Crucially, in paragraph 5, the Security Council

“calls upon Israel urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards”.

By refusing to allow IAEA oversight of its nuclear facilities, Israel is violating this resolution.


(4) Resolution 497

This resolution, passed on 17 December 1981, demands that Israel reverse its annexation of the Golan Heights, which were captured from Syria in June 1967:

[The Security Council]

1. Decides that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect;

2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, should rescind forthwith its decision;”

It is important to emphasise that these four resolutions (and the others in the Appendix below) place obligations on Israel, and Israel alone. It is therefore within Israel’s power to carry out those obligations without negotiation with the Palestinians or with any other state in the region. It doesn’t need to negotiate with anybody before undoing the annexation of East Jerusalem or of the Golan Heights. Nor does it need to negotiate with anybody before dismantling the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Had it wished to do so, each of these resolutions could have been implemented at the time they were passed by the Security Council, and all could be implemented now, without any process of negotiation.


Resolution 242

In that respect, these resolutions are very different from the well-known resolution 242, the so-called “land for peace” resolution. It requires action by other states and non-state actors, as well as Israel.

Resolution 242 was passed on 22 November 1967, a few months after Israel had acquired large swathes of territory (the West Bank and Gaza plus Sinai and the Golan Heights) by war, contrary to Article 2 of the UN Charter. One might have thought that the Security Council, as the guardian of the UN Charter, would have required Israel to withdraw unconditionally from the territory it had recently acquired by war, contrary to the UN Charter, as Iraq was required to do after it invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

But, in reality, 242 didn’t require Israel to do anything. It merely stated its opinion that “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” should be conditional on the “termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force”. As such, 242 has provided the perfect excuse for Israeli prevarication about withdrawal from the territories it took over by force in 1967, contrary to the UN Charter.

Chapter VI resolutions

Israel has been frequently said that the Security Council resolutions requiring action by it are merely non-binding recommendations that don’t have to be obeyed – because they are all Chapter VI resolutions. For example, in a letter to me the Israeli Embassy in London wrote:

“All Chapter VI resolutions (ones which deal with “Pacific Resolution of Disputes”) can only be implemented through a process of negotiation, conciliation, or arbitration between the parties to a dispute. All UN Security Resolutions concerning Israel fall under this category, and cannot be self-enforced by Israel alone; they all require a negotiating process.” [2]

By contrast, according to Israel, Security Council resolutions concerning Iraq in the past and Iran today, are almost all Chapter VII resolutions and are therefore mandatory. In a sense, this is true since Chapter VI resolutions do not contain enforcement measures, that is, economic or military sanctions, and therefore the chances of Israel obeying them are next to nil.

To give effect to its decisions, the Security Council may impose economic sanctions under Article 41 of the UN Charter and may authorise the use of military force under Article 42. Both of these Articles are in Chapter VII of the UN Charter and hence resolutions with such enforcement measures are referred to as Chapter VII resolutions. The Security Council has never passed a Chapter VII resolution authorising economic or military sanctions against Israel.

All Chapter VI resolutions non-binding?

So, Israel regards all Chapter VI resolutions as non-binding recommendations that don’t have to be obeyed? Well, no – only those that demand action by it. Israel takes a different view of Chapter VI resolutions that demand action by other states. In particular, it justified its military assault on Lebanon in the summer of 2006 in part because of Lebanon’s failure to implement Security Council resolution 1559, which “calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias” [3]

Here’s Dan Gillerman, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, on the subject, addressing the Security Council on 11 August 2006:

“The way to avoid the crisis between Israel and Lebanon has been clear: implementation of the unconditional obligations set out in resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), which set out issues for resolution between Lebanon and Syria. The clear path forward required the disarming and disbanding of Hizbollah and other militias, and the exercise by Lebanon, like any sovereign State, of control and authority over all its territory. But the will to implement this way has been lacking, and over the past month the peoples of Israel and Lebanon have paid a heavy price for that inaction.

“In the face of the failure to ensure that the obligations set out in those resolutions were implemented, Israel has had no choice but to do what Lebanon has failed to do.” [4]

So, according to Dan Gillerman, resolution 1559 (and resolution 1680) contain “unconditional obligations” which Lebanon must obey. 1559 is a Chapter VI resolution (as is 1680). So, applying the Gillerman principle

resolution 252 contains an “unconditional obligation” upon Israel to reverse its annexation of East Jerusalem

resolution 446 contains an “unconditional obligation” upon Israel to cease building Jewish settlements in the territories it occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to remove those it has built.

resolution 487 contains an “unconditional obligation” upon Israel “urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards”.

resolution 497 contains an “unconditional obligation” upon Israel to reverse its annexation of the Golan Heights

* * *

The Security Council should concern itself with punishing aggressor states, so that they think twice about repeating their aggression. It has singularly failed to do that in the case of Israel. On the contrary, by passing Chapter VI resolutions without enforcement measures and ignoring Israel’s non-compliance, it has encouraged Israel to engage in further aggression. Nowadays, of course, it is rare for any Security Council resolution expressing even a scintilla of criticism of Israel to be passed, because the US usually vetoes any attempt to do so.

So, in the summer of 2006 when it attacked Lebanon, Israel knew full well that it could slaughter Lebanese with impunity without fear of the merest slap on the wrist from the Security Council, let alone a Chapter VII resolution with enforcement measures demanding that it withdraw and desist. And so it came to pass. For nearly a month, in order to give Israel time to destroy Hezbollah’s military capacity (they hoped), the US/UK went to the extreme of preventing the Security Council calling for a ceasefire and, when the US/UK finally did allow it to speak and pass resolution 1701, it uttered not one word of criticism of Israel’s merciless behaviour.

* * *

Appendix UN Security Council resolutions being violated by Israel

There follows a list of 32 resolutions being violated by Israel, resolutions which require action by Israel and Israel alone. It is based on an article by Stephen Zunes, entitled United Nations Security Council Resolutions Currently Being Violated by Countries Other than Iraq [5]. It does not include resolutions that were violated for a number of years but have now been implemented, such as those dealing with Israel’s 20-year occupation of southern Lebanon.

252 (21 May 1968)
Urgently calls upon Israel to rescind measures that change the legal status of Jerusalem, including the expropriation of land and properties thereon.

262 (31 December 1968)
Calls upon Israel to pay compensation to Lebanon for the destruction of airliners at Beirut International Airport.

267 (3 July 1969)
Reiterates the demand that Israel rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem.

271 (15 September 1969)
Reiterates the demand that Israel rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem and calls on Israel to scrupulously abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the responsibilities of occupying powers.

298 (25 September 1971)
Reiterates the demand that Israel rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem.

446 (22 March 1979)
Calls on Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction, and planning of settlements in the territories, occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.

452 (20 July 1979)
Reiterates the demand that Israel cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction, and planning of settlements in the territories, occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.

465 (1 March 1980)
Reiterates the demand that Israel cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction, and planning of settlements in the territories, occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.

471 (5 June 1980)
Demands prosecution of those involved in assassination attempts of West Bank leaders and compensation for damages; reiterates demands to abide by Fourth Geneva Convention.

484 (19 December 1980)
Reiterates request that Israel abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

487 (19 June 1981)
Condemns Israel’s attack on Iraqi nuclear reactor and calls upon Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

497 (17 December 1981)
Demands that Israel rescind its decision to annex the Golan Heights.

573 (4 October 1985)
Condemns the Israeli attack on the PLO in Tunisia and calls on Israel to pay compensation for human and material losses from its attack and to refrain from all such attacks or threats of attacks against other nations.

592 (8 December 1986)
Insists Israel abide by the Fourth Geneva Conventions in East Jerusalem and other occupied territories.

605 (22 December 1987)
Calls once more upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide immediately and scrupulously by the Fourth Geneva Convention, and to desist forthwith from its policies and practices that are in violations of the provisions of the Convention.

607 (5 January 1988)
Reiterates calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention and to cease its practice of deportations from occupied territories.

608 (14 January 1988)
Reiterates the demand that Israel cease its deportations of Palestinians from the occupied territories.

636 (6 July 1989)
Reiterates the demand that Israel cease its deportations of Palestinians from the occupied territories.

641 (30 August 1989)
Reiterates the demand that Israel cease its deportations of Palestinians from the occupied territories.

672 (12 October 1990)
Reiterates calls for Israel to abide by provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied territories.

673 (24 October 1990)
Insists that Israel come into compliance with resolution 672.

681 (20 December 1990)
Reiterates call on Israel to abide by Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied territories.

694 (24 May 1991)
Reiterates that Israel “must refrain from deporting any Palestinian civilian from the occupied territories and ensure the safe and immediate return of all those deported”.

726 (6 January 1992)
Reiterates calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention and to cease its practice of deportations from occupied territories.

799 (18 December 1992)
Reaffirms applicability of Fourth Geneva Convention…to all Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem, and affirms that deportation of civilians constitutes a contravention of its obligations under the Convention.

904 (18 March 1994)
Calls upon Israel, as the occupying power, to take and implement measures, inter alia, confiscation of arms, with the aim of preventing illegal acts of violence by settlers.

1073 (28 September 1996)
Calls on the safety and security of Palestinian civilians to be ensured.

1322 (7 October 2000)
Calls upon Israel to scrupulously abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the responsibilities of occupying power.

1402 (30 March 2002)
Calls for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian cities.

1403 (4 April 2002)
Demands that Israel go through with “the implementation of its resolution 1402, without delay”.

1405 (19 April 2002)
Calls for UN inspectors to investigate civilian deaths during an Israeli assault on the Jenin refugee camp.

1435 (24 September 2002)
Calls on Israel to withdraw to positions of September 2000 and end its military activities in and around Ramallah, including the destruction of security and civilian infrastructure.



Note: Since 1972, the US has used its veto in the Security Council 42 times in order to prevent the passing of resolutions critical. See [6] for details.

References:

[1] All UN Security Council resolutions on Palestine can be found at domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/vCouncilRes

[2] www.david-morrison.org.uk/palestine/israeli-embassy-corr.htm

[3] www.david-morrison.org.uk/scrs/2004-1559.pdf

[4] www.david-morrison.org.uk/scps/20060811.pdf

[5] www.fpif.org/commentary/2002/0210unres.html

[6] www.globalpolicy.org/security/membship/veto/vetosubj.htm

 




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