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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Justice for Bili'in as Israel moves fence - but is Gilad Shalit alive?

Some people may be sceptical as to claims that Palestinians can appeal to Israel's courts over the location of the West Bank security barrier. Well, Israel has now begun dismantling a section of the barrier at Bili'in following a ruling by the country's High Court, proving that this does sometimes happen. Whether you like it or not, the security barrier has massively reduced the number of suicide bombings, etc. Unless one thinks that suicide bombings are a good thing, then one has to be pleased about there being fewer such bombings, whatever arguments there are about the route of the barrier.

So, justice for the people of Bili'in, but no justice for the kidnapped Gilad Shalit, as the Red Cross demands proof from Hamas that he is still alive, as it is almost two years since he has been heard from. Hamas' refusal to allow the Red Cross (or, for that matter, the Red Crescent) access to Shalit absolutely stinks. 

Meanwhile, Baroness Ashton has expressed doubts as to why a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence could be seen by Israel as rendering the Oslo process null and void. It is quite simple. The Oslo Accords are predicated on the basis that all substantive measures will be undertaken by the Israelis and Palestinians in agreement through negotiations, rather than unilaterally. So if the Palestinians declare a state unilaterally, they are choosing to abandon their obligations under the Oslo process, meaning that Israel, legally, could argue that it is no longer bound by its obligations under the same Oslo process. This is one of many reasons why negotiations are a good idea, and unilateral gestures are a bad idea.

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