Pro-Palestinian tribunal to gather in New York

Bassem Aly , Sunday 30 Sep 2012

Russell Tribunal on Palestine to host prominent figures to discuss future of Palestinian-Israeli conflict amid renewed Palestinian efforts for UN recognition

Russell Tribunal on Palestine
Russell Tribunal on Palestine ( Photo:

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) will hold its Fourth International Session in New York on 6 October to consider the failure of the United Nations to implement all the relevant resolutions that should lead to the full recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people.

The RToP deals with different aspects of the complicity and responsibilities of states, international organisations, and corporations in the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel, and the violations of international law by the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

Members of the International Support Committee of the RToP include Nobel Prize laureates, a former United Nations Secretary-General, two former Heads of State, and other respected figures in a wide variety of fields.

The jury of the RToP is composed of international personalities known for their actions and moral integrity, including Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace laureate in 1976 from Northern Ireland; John Dugard, professor of international law from South Africa, and Lord Anthony Gifford, senior barrister from the United Kingdom.

Around 25 speakers will be invited to give in-depth analysis to the tribunal over two days regarding their experience in dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli issue.

“The idea is to globalise the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and show that Israel is only doing what it does to the Palestinians with total impunity because of the support it enjoys from the third international parties such as the United States, the United Nations and the European Union,” the coordinator of the tribunal, Frank Barat, told Ahram Online.

Barat added that the session would aim to examine the dismantling of Washington’s role as an “honest broker” and show that the United Nations could have done much more to ensure the application of international law in Palestine.

The first three sessions were held in Barcelona (March 2010), London (November 2010), and Cape Town (November 2011).

The first session discussed the complicities and responsibilities of the European Union and its member states towards the continued occupation of the Palestinian territories. The second session tackled the Israeli violations in terms of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The third session talked about Israeli practices against the Palestinian people as a breach of the prohibition on apartheid under international law.

It is worth noting that the tribunal’s fourth session will come amid endeavours by the Palestinian leadership to upgrading their status from observer entity to that of non-member observer status at the United Nations later this year, seeking support from at least 150 nations.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Thursday formally announced that the Palestinians would ask the UN General Assembly to grant them "super observer" status that could give them access to UN institutions and agencies.

The announcement, made in his address to the General Assembly, came a year after Abbas asked the UN Security Council to grant Palestinians full member status, a request that has been stuck in the council ever since.

Palestinians say the stalemate in peace talks, on hold since late September 2010, has forced them to seek unilateral recognition at the UN. 

“It will be the same story again; the USA will use its power again to oppose any settlement and the other countries will follow their master,” Barat claimed.

However, he blamed the Palestinian Authority for lacking a clear vision and a determined plan regarding a ‘just and peaceful settlement’ to the 64-year crisis. “If the Palestinian Authority does not know what it wants, how can the UN react?” he stated.

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