Israel, U.S. attempting to prevent Geneva Convention summit on Palestinians

Diplomats say Canada and Australia are also helping Israel exert pressure on Switzerland and other states to thwart confab on conditions in West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

By Barak Ravid, HAARETZ

President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel and the United States are trying to dissuade the nearly 200 states that are party to the Fourth Geneva Convention from convening a special session in mid-December to address conditions in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, Israeli and Western diplomats told Haaretz Wednesday.

Government officials believe that convention sponsor Switzerland has come under strong pressure from the Palestinians and Arab states, and is expected to issue invitations to the conference within days.

In early April, following Israel’s refusal to free the last scheduled group of Palestinian prisoners, and its announcement that it would build 700 homes in East Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decided to sign, in the Palestinian state’s name, on 15 international conventions and ask to join them. One of them was the Fourth Geneva Convention, which deals with protecting the civilian population in fighting areas or occupied territories.

This move brought to a head the crisis that led to the collapse of U.S. efforts to extend the talks between Israel and the Palestinians. A few weeks later the Palestinians and Arab League asked Switzerland officially to call a conference of the convention signatories to discuss the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as the damage Israel caused civilians in Gaza.

So far four attempts have been made to convene the Fourth Geneva Convention – all of them in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The last attempt was made in 2009 after Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

However, after consultations of the Swiss Foreign Ministry at the time, it was decided there wasn’t sufficiently broad international support for holding the conference. In 2001, on the other hand, after the outbreak of the second intifada, such a conference was held. Israel and the United States boycotted it.

Recently Swiss diplomats said their country, as the convention’s sponsor, couldn’t decide by itself on calling the conference again. So Switzerland began consultations with the other signatory states to see if enough of them were interested in holding the conference.

Switzerland distributed to all the signatories a proposal to hold the conference in Geneva in mid-December. The Swiss made it clear they wanted the event to focus on the upholding of international humanitarian law.

The Swiss proposal is for a three-hour conference at an ambassadorial level, with few speeches and no media coverage except for a statement to the press to be released at the end.

“We made it clear we didn’t want a political event or debate club, or a conference that would blame or criticize one of the sides,” a Swiss diplomat said.

Israel objected to the move strongly despite the low profile Switzerland suggested. Senior Israeli diplomats went to Bern and Geneva a few times in a bid to persuade the Swiss Foreign Ministry not to hold the conference, saying Israel would boycott it if it were held.

“They told us that holding the conference would help a one-sided Palestinian move intended to make Israel look bad and attack it in an international forum,” the Swiss diplomat said.

Updated draft refers to settlements

The conference cannot make binding decisions, but could increase international criticism of Israel’s policy in the territories, especially regarding the settlements.

The Israeli fear over the conference increased after Jerusalem received an updated draft of its proposed contents. Unlike previous versions, the updated draft was phrased in a very political way, mentioning Israel by name and referring in detail to issues like the West Bank settlements.

Israeli and Swiss diplomats said the United States, Canada and Australia were helping Israel and exerting pressure on Switzerland and other states to thwart the conference. Israeli diplomats said that despite the fact that the Americans have yet to make a formal decision on the matter, U.S. officials have told Switzerland they would boycott the conference if it is held. Canada has conveyed a similar message to Switzerland.

Speaking with Haaretz on Wednesday, Edgar Vasquez, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, affirmed the American disapproval. “We strongly oppose the convening of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions and have made our opposition unmistakably clear,” he said.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held telephone conversations in the last few days with colleagues worldwide, asking them to object to the conference and declare they would boycott it if it is held. Also, Israeli ambassadors in several key Western states have been instructed to try to obtain a commitment from those states to boycott the conference.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, along with the group of Arab nations, are pushing for the summit to be held.

But the Israeli efforts look bound to fail. Israeli and Swiss diplomats estimate that the Swiss government will in the coming days announce the holding of the summit.

Western diplomats knowledgeable of the proceedings described the Swiss as determined to move forward despite the significant resistance by nations such as the U.S., Canada, Australia and others.

The Fourth Geneva Convention is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions, adopted in 1949, which deals with the protection of civilian populations residing in areas of armed conflict and in areas under military occupation. The treaty forbids harming any agents uninvolved in the fighting – which includes, in addition to civilians, captured and wounded soldiers.

In regarding to a state of protracted military occupation – such as exists in the West Bank – the treaty decrees that the occupying power must uphold the human rights of the occupied civilian population, and ensure its conditions of living. The treaty also forbids any and all movement of civilian population from within the borders of the occupying power into the areas under military rule – such as the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. [This is not true. It may be how the international community has interpreted it but it is not what was intended when passed and not what it says. Also the treaty only applies to the occupation of land of a High Contracting Party which these lands are not. The international community wants to ignore this. Ted Belman]

Israel is a party to the convention, but the Knesset has never legislated the treaty into Israeli law. Israel claims the treaty is not applicable to the West Bank or East Jerusalem, for it considers these areas to be “disputed,” and not as under occupation. Thus, Israel does not regard the settlements as violations to the treaty.

November 27, 2014 | 68 Comments »

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18 Comments / 68 Comments

  1. @ bernard ross:

    “even when he does not … smear a poster…”

    Even“? — what FLAGRANT projection. I am NOT the one who does the smearing around here. YOU are. Smearing is your stock-in-trade.

    “…it is abusive and intrusive in the same manner as would be to read someone preaching their religion on the site.”

    EVERYBODY (effectively) ‘preaches’ their ‘religion’ — on this site or anywhere else. Religion is more than organized bodies of affiliation. Somebody’s ‘religion’ is nothing more (or less) than the way his mind works. People are constantly ‘preaching’ all the time, consciously or otherwise. You just resent the fact that I’m effective at saying things that make you uncomfortable. But that’s just too damned bad. You will not — either directly or thru Ted — silence me OR make me change what or how I write. I don’t pressure OTHERS as to how (or whether) to write.

    And YOU shall not do so either. If you don’t like what or how I write, you have the same ready remedy that we ALL have for things we dislike or can’t handle: don’t read it.

    @ bernard ross:

    “Dweller is the most arrogant poster on the site but his arrogance is usually more pronounced when putting forward his unsupported psychobabble”

    “This is just your way of saying you resent having been sniffed out, long ago, as an envious, vindictive, malicious, bitter old coot. All the rest of this stuff is the sheerest window-dressing, and we BOTH know it.”

    “you are projecting again, you are the humorless bitter old coot.”

    You don’t know just HOW confused you are. I don’t need to project. I have no residues of past traumata, so have nothing to project with, nor any impulse to pass on such.

    Your claiming that I’m ‘projecting’ betrays your ignorance — and labeling me ‘humorless’ is, in fact, nothing more than your OWN projection. You may (or may not) have managed to persuade yourself that I’m ‘humorless,’ but I’m a very happy person. My life is quite cheerful & carefree; it’s filled with humor of a very light-hearted sort.

    When I write here, sometimes it’s all I can do to hold my mirth inside to keep it from busting out out at the expense of the 4 or 5 of you who are truly goofy around here — because that’s not what I want.
    Unlike yourself, e.g., I do not SEEK that. What little I do let out seeps out around the edges — and even THAT you invariably characterize as “insulting.”

    “A citation shows only that somebody else has been there BEFORE the citer — but don’t expect cutting-edge insights there, because by the time studies & citations are available, the insights on the cutting edge which LED to those studies have themselves long since moved on.”

    “there is certainly no cutting edge about you so why does it matter?”

    Fancy yourself some kind of connoisseur, do you? More know-nothing buffoonery. It’s not like wines or coffees. Insights derived from the intuition are ALWAYS cutting-edge, regardless of whom they come thru. But if your mind isn’t open, because you’re prejudiced against the individual or his outlook, you can’t recognize them. Your OWN blindfold is clapped on tight as a drum, yet you presume to know who ELSE’s blindfolds are (or aren’t) off. Fine. Wallow in your smugness. Luxuriate in it. . . .

    No skin off MY nose.

  2. @ bernard ross:

    “…’Religious sermons’??? Your tag-teammate, Y-a-m-i-t, seems not to have gotten your bulletin.”

    “as this is primarily a site populated by jews I have no problem with the dissemination of Jewish religious material.”

    There is not an ‘unJewish’ syllable in ANYTHING I’ve ever written, here or anywhere else.

    “[Capt Huff’n’puff] usually disseminates his religous points as another perspective on the subject which is of interest to Jews here. However, your psychobabble is a disguised religious format”

    That’s just your prejudice fitting itself to his prejudices because you’re insecure in your OWN ‘Jewishness.’ (And don’t tell me you’re not ‘Jewishly’ insecure; that simply won’t fly. There isn’t a single member of the “posse” in whom that insecurity doesn’t stick out like quills on a porcupine.)

    I ‘disguise’ NOTHING; there isn’t anything to disguise. I have no secrets.

    The only SUBSTANTIVE difference between Y-a-m-i-t’s ‘preaching’ and mine is that his will not only never make anybody a better man, but it will also lock you into his twisted mishegasse — and do it in the name of ‘Judaism’ — while mine encourages & promotes God’s own pattern for the freedom & strengthening of the mind and consciousness God gave EVERY man.

    But then, if you insist on calling my remarks ‘psychobabble,’ you’re plainly too scared of your own shadow to ever find out what it means to be Jewish, because you can’t discover that as long as you’ll not consider ideas fresh & on their own terms, and are linked to ANYBODY for your identity.

    Whom did Abraham have to rely on when he began his journey? What community institutions? What studies? What citations? What scriptures? What sages? What rabbonim? Would you have likened HIS ‘unsupported’ remarks to the ravings of a denizen of Bellevue?

    “your intuitive conclusions and ‘common sense’ justifications tend to have an odor of the NT.”

    “Odor” of the NT? — Have you actually read the NT??? If not, then HTF do you know what’s IN it?

    If you have read it, then state with specificity, pls — references & detail — your OWN (not Huff’n’puff’s, or anybody else’s) objections to NT.

    “Stealth evangelism.”

    ROFLMAO.

    Pa-ra-noi-a strikes deep, Into your heart it will creep. . . .

  3. dweller Said:

    A citation shows only that somebody else has been there BEFORE the citer — but don’t expect cutting-edge insights there, because by the time studies & citations are available, the insights on the cutting edge which LED to those studies have themselves long since moved on.

    This may be true in some cases but usually all updated information is available as well sometimes it even gets on to the web before publication. Almost everything today is done in near real time
    Still waiting for your source re: Philistines??? You said I was wrong show me evidence not tell me I don’t believe a damn thing you say. I think you make it up as you go.

    All knowledge is transmitted from one source to another. Without such transmission we would still be back in prehistoric times. If you feel the content of any situation is passe or erroneous or supplanted by new data that changes the old you still have to prove your objections for any case you make unless your preface your contention only your opinion for whatever reason which you almost never do.

    You rarely state your emphatic comments as in your opinion but make unqualified statements of opinions as unqualified fact. it ain’t unless you can demonstrate in concrete authoritative way that it’s not just your unsubstantiated opinion always worth bubkis.

    I hope the next time you are sick you go to a physician who gets his knowledge and training according to the dweller method.

    I would give a hell of a lot to see you go according to your stated beliefs above and beyond. I do think your cerebellum has atrophied from disuse.

    Why don’t you go burn down some abortion clinic and maybe the police will grant one of my deepest hopes.

  4. dweller Said:

    This is just your way of saying you resent having being sniffed out, long ago, as an envious, vindictive, malicious, bitter old coot.

    you are projecting again, you are the humorless bitter old coot. 🙂
    dweller Said:

    the insights on the cutting edge which LED to those studies have themselves long since moved on.

    there is certainly no cutting edge about you so why does it matter?
    dweller Said:

    Like cows, who seek — for security — the center of the herd, there are those who find comfort in leaning on studies & citations

    perhaps you should have stayed with the center because you might then have had access to a computer and internet whereby you can also watch and listen to videos without depending on the public library. apparently you must join the herd to use a computer.
    dweller Said:

    when a man behaves like a cow, we recognize him for what he is, and we have a word to express that: we say he is a cow-ard.

    whats your point, are you boasting about something, are you trying to put me down? I have a computer and internet 24/7 and can always watch and listen to videos, unlike you who must use the library and cant even play videos.

    Only a coward and dysfunctional neurotic can never admit to error. your inability to admit to error and your predictable compulsiveness to be the last word, is the source of much of our entertainment here. Nothing bitter about that. 😛

  5. @ mar55:

    “What is going on? is that pitirre continues around here. I thought he had been locked up in lunatic’s asylum.”

    They’d have had to let you OUT to do that.

    There’s room there only for so many, and they thought the present arrangement — on the inside, and the out — to be the best that could be hoped for, all things considered. . . .

    @ honeybee:

    “Don’t worry mar55 Darlin, Drones don’t bother me.”

    Drones don’t bother me either.

    @ Ted Belman:

    “Mar55 and Honeybee, I respect you both for coming to Yamit’s defense”

    Your first mistake.

    “…not that he needs anyone’s help.”

    Oh, but he does. That’s the crux of the matter.

  6. @ bernard ross:

    “I for one am put off by [yamit’s] arrogance.”

    “I think…”

    I repeat: You DON’T ‘think.’

    You scheme.

    “Dweller is the most arrogant poster on the site but his arrogance is usually more pronounced when putting forward his unsupported psychobabble”

    This is just your way of saying you resent having being sniffed out, long ago, as an envious, vindictive, malicious, bitter old coot.

    All the rest of this stuff is the sheerest window-dressing, and we BOTH know it.

    “when he sticks to the subject…”

    It’s precisely the fact that I DO stick to the subject that you can’t handle it.

    “… with citations etc. then he tends not to be so arrogant and his posts have more value…”

    What horse plop. And from somebody who clearly knows NOTHING about character.

    LIke “envious,” “arrogant” in anything is arrogant in EVERYTHING — it is not deed-specific, but person-specific.

    Whether it shows in one matter or another is not a function of whether it exists at the time.

    A citation shows only that somebody else has been there BEFORE the citer — but don’t expect cutting-edge insights there, because by the time studies & citations are available, the insights on the cutting edge which LED to those studies have themselves long since moved on.

    Like cows, who seek — for security — the center of the herd, there are those who find comfort in leaning on studies & citations — such things don’t disturb their complacent existences. Of course, when a man behaves like a cow, we recognize him for what he is, and we have a word to express that: we say he is a cow-ard.

  7. @ honeybee:

    “He needs professional help.”

    “Thanks for your professional opinion.”

    “Snitch or crybaby !”

    It is YOU, Twinkie, who are both snitch AND crybaby:

    @ honeybee:

    “Dweller is a bad boy too, and I think dweller can defend himself perfectly well.”

  8. honeybee Said:

    Snitch or crybaby !!!!!! Buck-up, boy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Looks like he is both!!! dweller buck up??? Buck teeth maybe but he is incapable of bucking up!!!!!

  9. dweller Said:

    I stand by that, foursquare.

    so does the lunatic at bellevue…. your standing is no basis of fact
    mar55 Said:

    It comes from COMMON SENSE

    thats the bottom line…. your psychobabble is not based in science, not based in psychology, not based on any third party studies, not even accompanied by an argument of support. they are simple statements arising from your mind and supported only by your “common sense”. therefore, they are even less maningful than rapunzel and cinderella which also have an entertainment value. however, they are equal to the ravings of a lunatic at Bellevue in terms of accuracy of fact. The lunatics ravings have no less accuracy than yours and no less support than yours. I have not even seen your “common sense” psychobabble approved or echoed by any posters here, which makes me wonder if your “common sense” is uncommon. It appears that your common sense originates from your intuition which is your direct line to your god. I think Jim Jones had the same line of reasoning but he was able to assemble some followers who shared his “common sense”.
    dweller Said:

    “Religious sermons”??? Your tag-teammate, Yamit, seems not to have gotten your bulletin.

    as this is primarily a site populated by jews I have no problem with the dissemination of Jewish religious material. yamit usually disseminates his religous points as another perspective on the subject which is of interest to Jews here. However, your psychobabble is a disguised religious format, similar to Pauls “marketing” to which you obviously subscribe. Your psychobable, which by your own admission is not based on science, studies, psychology, or reasoned examination but instead arise from your intuition which is your road to your god. hence, your intuitive conclusions and “common sense” justifications tend to have an odor of the NT. Stealth evangelism.