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February 13, 2020

Reality of apartheid

Opinion

February 13, 2020

The Israeli government blockade on Palestinian agricultural exports through Jordan illustrates the Apartheid character of Israeli rule over the Palestinians. Palestinian trucks loaded with produce were stopped by quickly-erected Israeli blast walls and forbidden to head into Jordan.

The Palestine-Jordan trade in commodities such as vegetables, fruits, olives, olive oil, and dates is worth some $100 million a year.

The step was ordered by Israeli minister of defense Naftali Bennett, who in that capacity is the chief of the Occupation Army ruling Palestine. His rationale is that the Palestinians on Feb 2 ceased importing goods from Israel, so this measure is payback.

The argument fails on a number of grounds, however. Most important, the Palestinian West Bank is under Israeli military occupation, and therefore is governed by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague Regulations of 1907.

Here is what Geneva says, and although the situations envisaged are not exactly the same we are facing today, the sort of thing being prohibited is clear:

Art 51: "Every such person shall, so far as possible, be kept in his usual place of employment. Workers shall be paid a fair wage and the work shall be proportionate to their physical and intellectual capacities. The legislation in force in the occupied country concerning working conditions, and safeguards as regards, in particular, such matters as wages, hours of work, equipment, preliminary training and compensation for occupational accidents and diseases, shall be applicable to the protected persons assigned to the work referred to in this Article."

Art 52: "All measures aiming at creating unemployment or at restricting the opportunities offered to workers in an occupied territory, in order to induce them to work for the Occupying Power, are prohibited."

Art 53: "Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations."

By blockading Palestinian exports through Jordan, Bennett as the Occupying authority is preventing the occupied population from earning a fair wage and creating unemployment for the purpose of coercing occupied civilians into doing his political will. Inasmuch as the produce will rot if not exported, he is also destroying their personal property.

These are all violations of international law, and since the International Criminal Court is now looking into whether Israeli officials are guilty of war crimes, Apartheid and other crimes specified in the 2002 Rome statute, the ICC should definitely look into Bennett.

Excerpted from: 'Israeli Blocking of Palestinian Exports to Jordan Shows Reality of Apartheid That the Kushner Plan Would Only Cement'.

Commondreams.org