|Palestinians recover belongings from the
Khuzaa neighborhood of Khan Younis
Video: Palestinian elder fearlessly confronts Israeli soldiers
The Hebron man does not back off even when a soldier fires towards him. www.electronicintifada.net
Syria's devastating civil war that began in March 2011 has killed over 200,000 people, displaced at least 4.5 million, and created 3 million refugees.
|Figure 1. The highest level of drought,
“Exceptional”, was affecting much of
Western Syria in April 2014, as measured
by the one-year Standardized Precipitation
Image credit: NOAA's Global Drought Portal
While the causes of the war are complex, a key contributing factor was the nation's devastating 2006 – 2011 drought, one of the worst in the nation's history, according to new research accepted for publication in the journal Weather, Climate, and Society by water resources expert Dr. Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute. The drought brought the Fertile Crescent's lowest 4-year rainfall amounts since 1940, and Syria's most severe set of crop failures in recorded history. The worst drought-affected regions were eastern Syria, northern Iraq, and Iran, the major grain-growing areas of the northern Fertile Crescent. In a press release that accompanied the release of the new paper, Dr. Gleick said that as a result of the drought, “the decrease in water availability, water mismanagement, agricultural failures, and related economic deterioration contributed to population dislocations and the migration of rural communities to nearby cities. These factors further contributed to urban unemployment, economic dislocations, food insecurity for more than a million people, and subsequent social unrest.”
Just when it appeared that the United Nations could not be more ineffective in protecting Palestinian rights and holding Israel accountable for violating them, here comes the news that Israel has been elected as vice-chair of the UN Special Commitee on Decolonization – which deals among other things with matters related to Palestinian refugees.
|Palestinians examine the ruins of
buildings demolished by Israeli
occupation forces in eastern Jerusalem,
According to UN minutes, the representative of Israel, the world’s last settler-colonial power, received 74 votes for the post, despite strong opposition from the Arab Group of UN member states.
Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Arab states, described Israel as a “State that violated the United Nations Charter and international law. Because its track record was rife with murder and its occupation had lasted more than 66 years, Israel was not qualified to preside over questions pertaining to Palestinian refugees, peacekeeping and the investigation of its own illegal practices.”
The Arab states had demanded a recorded vote, an unusual step, prompting objections from the ambassador of the United Kingdom which is a member of the Group of Western European and Other States that nominated Israel.
|The Balfour Declaration|
Canada took the opportunity to express its “unflinching support for Israel” and the United States said it “unequivocally supported Israel’s election.”
Saudi Arabia – whose own membership of the UN Human Rights Council has drawn much criticism – said that Israel’s election was “the moral equivalent of placing the apartheid regime of South Africa in charge of a committee to end racism.”
Israel thanked its supporters, but perhaps its actions spoke louder than words. While this theater of the absurd was playing out in New York, Israeli occupation forces stepped up demolitions of Palestinian homes to make way for colonial settlements.
Its election comes just weeks after Israel announced yet another massive expansion of illegal colonies in the occupied West Bank.
These latest measures of ethnic cleansing come amid Israel’s assault on West Bank cities over the past week, allegedly in search of three missing colonial settlers. Israel has so far abducted more than 300 Palestinians, raided 750 homes as well as dozens of charities and the Birzeit University campus.
If there were a UN Committee on How to Occupy and Colonize, Israel would indeed be the best candidate to lead it. More
The British are at the root of the Palestinian's problems as they, via the illegal Balfour Declaration, allowed the Jews to settle in Palestine (there was no israel then). And they did so while running the southern part of the ex-Ottoman Empire under a Mandate from the League of Nations. A mandate to govern the State of Trans-Jordan and Iraq on behalf of the citizens thereof. Editor