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Endorsing settler-colonialism at the UN

June 22, 2014 at 10:13 am

Following the previous lobbying for Israel’s inclusion in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), the settler colonial state’s alleged isolation has been rectified by the granting of another concession. On June 18, 2014 Mordehai Amihai was elected vice-chair of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation, allowing Israel a platform from which it will represent the epitome of oppressive countries and also progress with its expulsion and displacement of Palestinians unhindered.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, accused Arab states opposing the nomination of attempting “an assault on the rules and norms of the United Nations.” A notable excerpt from his speech, meant to deride opposition to Israel’s nomination, effectively summarises the international complicity that has advanced Zionist settler-colonialism in Palestine. “We find corrupt countries leading the budget committee at the UN, and countries with rotten justice systems leading discussions on the legal issues committee.”

At first glance, Israel’s newly-acquired status might seem absurd. Unfortunately, the malevolent gesture is in perfect synchronisation with the international organisation’s imperialist agenda. Justifying Israel’s inclusion by echoing statements from the WEOG countries is a reflection of the UN’s ambitions and objectives of rendering the world subservient to its demands. An overview of the UN’s alleged impartiality includes creating a fertile environment for human rights abuses in order to ensure the global manipulation of people and territories by advocating for foreign intervention or supporting the bombardment of resilient populations. In return for this colossal impunity, the perpetrated are then expected to implore for respite through a multitude of resolutions that are primarily issued to erode any semblance of dignity.

In light of this recent travesty, the multitude of statements asserting “concern” with regard to settler-colonial violence, including the regurgitated affirmation that “Israel has the right to defend itself” are but a prelude to the ramifications of the Zionist state’s inclusion in the Special Committee on Decolonisation. It is an error to declare the UN as useless – its intentional misrepresentation of Palestinians and allegiance to Israel has been instrumental in constructing various levels of oblivion to stifle Palestinian memory. In this regard, it is worth noting that the UN declares that fewer than 2 million people live in colonial territories. Presumably, the ramifications of colonialism upon over 5 million Palestinian refugees who have been denied the right of return in order to prevent decolonisation from occurring have been lost upon the organisation, despite the establishment of the imperialist-dependent UNRWA.

Since 1960, the UN has allegedly sought to “speed the progress of decolonisation”, adopting the “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” on that same year. The declaration erroneously states that “the peoples of the world ardently desire the end of colonialism in all its manifestations,” before embarking upon a series of statements promising naught but illusion. “Any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Two years later, the Special Committee on decolonisation was established, to allegedly proper implementation of the 1960 declaration. Since 1990, the Un General Assembly has declared three International Decade(s) for the Eradication of Colonialism. The final decade, spanning 2011-2020, is a mere reverberation of the past declarations – the additional highlights being Israel’s inclusion on the Committee during the proclaimed International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which failed to surpassed the superficial levels of film screenings, multiple language banners and regular reiterations of previously exhausted rhetoric.

However, it is an additional humiliation for Palestinians to describe the calculated move as ironic or absurd – such descriptions retain their validity only in relation to the terminology ascribed by the UN to the Decolonisation Committee. The UN has never considered the dismantling of the settler-colonial state as a preliminary step towards peace for Palestinians. On the contrary, it has perpetually undermined Palestinian history, memory and self-determination since Israel’s inception, ensuring accumulating consequences against the indigenous population it claims to protect. It has advocated for peace on an equal level, endorsed the two-state solution, insisted upon conveniently limiting the description of Israel as an “occupation” rather than categorically call for the dismantling of settler-colonialism and has now dispensed additional authority to the fabricated state in order to ensure the gradual annihilation of Palestinians.

During the negotiations, the question of seeking international recognition at the UN featured regularly in response to Israel’s settlement expansion. A major portion of the debate centred round the so-called necessity to resort to the UN, lauding the validation which the colonised population was expected to achieve. However, scant attention was given to the consequences of garnering recognition from an organisation already tainted by its insistence upon Israel’s impunity. Further insistence upon reference to the UN and its imperialist interpretation of international law will consolidate Israel’s presence in various ways, commencing from the subjugation of any Palestinian government that derides the people’s unity in favour of collaboration with the settler-colonial state and its international protector.

Now that the gradual descent into ultimate treachery has been publicly acclaimed by Israel’s allies, Palestinians are in dire need of constructing and prioritising a nationwide resistance against settler-colonialism, devoid of any relapsing into international community recommendations and resolutions that regard “peace” as further acquiescence to the ultimate Zionist plan of Palestinian extermination. The UN has spent decades ridiculing the essence of human rights by reducing humanity to a regional topic, which in turn allows the epitome of imperialist exploitation to bestow relief at random to acquiescing populations who are deemed “deserving”.

Appointing Israel to the Decolonisation Committee has even dismantled any vestiges of symbolic adherence to human rights which the organisation might have hoped to retain. Prosor’s description of the UN is accurate; the only element he intentionally fails to mention is Israel’s inclusion in the category of corrupt states which hold sway over the dissemination and implementation of international oppression.


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