Beneath the Floor Boards

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Feb. 20—The International Court of Justice took up Feb. 19 the request of the UN General Assembly for an Advisory Opinion on “Israeli practices affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Territory, including East Jerusalem.” President of the ICJ Nawaf Salam opened the live presentations portion of the hearing today by first recognizing the Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine Riyad al-Maliki, who spoke.The following contains some quotes and paraphrases of Mr. al-Maliki’s presentation.“I stand before you as 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, half of them children, are besieged and bombed, killed and maimed, starved and displaced.” 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank “are subjected to colonization of their territory and the racist violence that enables it. As 1.7 million Palestinians in Israel are treated as second-class citizens.” He noted that 7 million Palestinian refugees living outside of Israel (e.g., Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, etc.) “continued to be denied their right to return to their land and homes.”“For over a century, self-determination for the Palestinian people [has been] denied and violated.”Al-Maliki reviewed that, prior to 1947-48, “there was life in Palestine, cultural, political. There were schools and universities … villages and communities.” As Al-Maliki spoke these words, pictures of life in Palestine were displayed in the courtroom.Al-Maliki showed a page from the 1917 British Balfour Declaration, which said that “His Majesty’s government views with favor the establishment of a national home of the Jewish people…” and in the same sentence refers to Palestinians as “the existing non-Jewish communities.” To this he replied that only civil and religious life, but not political life was extended to Palestinians.Al-Maliki stated that Palestinians live a life of “colonialism and apartheid.” This “is a reality known by every Palestinian,” he said, adding, “you can spend your entire life as a refugee.”He asserted, “Successive Israeli governments have given the Palestinian people only three options: displacement, subjugation or death.”He implored the ICJ judges that “as you hear the legal arguments,” to keep in mind the ICJ-ordered measures in the South Africa’s current lawsuit against Israel under the Genocide Convention. He noted with respect to Israel, “no occupying power can be granted perpetual veto power over the rights of a people.”Al-Maliki displayed a series of five maps of Palestine, demarcating the area that was designated Palestinian and that designated Israeli, with the portion for Palestine shrinking. The fifth map was displayed in a photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the 78th UN General Assembly on Sept. 22, 2023, in which Netanyahu is holding up a generated map showing Israel as appearing with only an Israeli population. Al-Maliki commented that the map showed no Palestinian people, meaning “the complete disappearance of Palestine.” When Palestine participated in the Oslo peace process three decades ago, he said, “we did so in the belief that international law would be upheld.” He called on the court to have wisdom and meet the needs of justice.Later in the hearing, Ambassador of State of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour, during his presentation, fought back tears as he spoke about a 12-year-old Palestinian girl whose father, mother, sister and brother were killed in an Israeli shelling, and she herself lost her leg. She told those near her that “while she would never forget, she has to continue living,” and that she wanted to become a doctor to help people. A few days later she was killed by an Israeli strike on a hospital ward.This is the first of five days of hearings.
Feb. 16—A hearing before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that will span Feb. 19-26, will air the crimes of Israel’s 55 years of occupation, as the Court takes up the request of the UN General Assembly for an Advisory Opinion on “Israeli practices affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Territory, including East Jerusalem.” The UNGA filed its request with the ICJ on Dec. 30, 2022, long before the Hamas attack of October 7, 2023! In fact, the UNGA request includes its “Deeply regretting that 55 years have passed since the onset of the Israeli occupation,” without having advanced “meaningful negotiations aimed at the achievement of a peace agreement.”This week-long hearing is not part of the South Africa v. Israel case before the ICJ. Yet the UNGA case dovetails with the South African case, as it likewise seeks to hold Israel to account for its obligations under international laws and conventions regarding the lives and welfare of the Palestinian people. Israel was ordered by the ICJ Jan. 26 decision to report back by Feb. 26 on the progress that it is making in stopping genocidal practices in Gaza; since, as evidenced by their continued blockage of flows of humanitarian aid and their attack on the "refugee city" of Rafah, they have made no such progress, it is not known whether they intend to make such a report. South Africa is going to the ICJ over Israeli actions against Rafah, which have created a new humanitarian disaster.Legal differences between the two cases are these: In South Africa v. Israel, at issue is Israel’s accountability, as well as its obligations, under the Genocide Convention, for its indiscriminate killing and destruction of Palestinians and their means of existence in the wake of the Oct. 7, 2023 attack. Whereas, in the UNGA request for an advisory opinion, at issue are Israel’s violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, the Charter of the UN, as well as various resolutions of the UN Security Council, the UNGA, the Human Rights Council, and even an earlier opinion of the ICJ.When the UNGA adopted its December 2022 resolution to the ICJ, it issued a nine-page recitation of Israel’s harmful actions. The actions described are but the prelude to what the world is witnessing today, as nations and international bodies failed to act then. This document covers 20-plus years, and takes into account findings of five major independent reports, all examining the violations by Israel of human rights in the Palestinian territories. Here is a sampling of acts described in the UNGA original request (asterisked paragraphs are quoted excerpts):• all States have the right and the duty to take actions in conformity with international law and international humanitarian law to counter deadly acts of violence against their civilian population in order to protect the lives of their citizens,…• the need for the full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access and the Agreed Principles for the Rafah Crossing, both of 15 November 2005, to allow for the freedom of movement of the Palestinian civilian population within and into and out of the Gaza Strip …• a grave concern by the tensions and violence in the recent period throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and including with regard to the holy places of Jerusalem [as the world] has legitimate interest in the question of the City of Jerusalem and in the protection of the unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions of the city …• grave concern about the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, … including … the excessive use of force and military operations causing death and injury to Palestinian civilians, including children, women and non-violent, peaceful demonstrators, as well as journalists, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel; the arbitrary imprisonment and detention of Palestinians, some of whom have been imprisoned for decades; the use of collective punishment; … the confiscation of land; the establishment and expansion of settlements; the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in departure from the Armistice Line of 1949; the destruction of property and infrastructure; the forced displacement of civilians….As concerns Gaza, the Dec. 2022 document states these concerns:• Deploring the continuing and negative consequences of the conflicts in and around the Gaza Strip and the high number of casualties among Palestinian civilians in the recent period, including among children, …• Gravely concerned about the disastrous humanitarian situation and the critical socioeconomic and security situation in the Gaza Strip, including that resulting from the prolonged closures and severe economic and movement restrictions that in effect amount to a blockade and deepen poverty and despair among the Palestinian civilian population, and about the short- and long-term detrimental impacts of this situation and the widespread destruction and continued impeding of the reconstruction process by Israel, … on the human rights situation, …Just imagine: had the UNGA’s demands in 2022 or earlier, that “Israel, the occupying Power, cease” measures “contrary to international law including killing and injury of civilians, arbitrary detention and imprisonment of civilians, the forced displacement of civilians, … the destruction and confiscation of property, … obstruction of humanitarian assistance”—all of them now-ongoing acts—been heeded, the present genocide would not be occurring today. Now, these actions will again be before the World Court.International Court of Justice Hearing Schedule Of Country Appearances Feb. 19-26Feb. 16—In six full days of hearing, from 10 am to 6 pm CET, the International Court of Justice will hear from 52 countries, including the State of Palestine, and three organizations. Palestine is awarded three hours of testimony, and appears on the first day, Feb. 19. Thereafter, all other countries or organizations are given 30 minutes to present their statements. The general schedule with which countries will appear, and on which days, follows.Day 2: Tues. Feb. 20—eleven African countries, including South Africa; two from Southwest Asia; four from Ibero-America; two from Europe; and 1 each from Asia and North America.Day 3: Wed. Feb. 21—four African countries; three Ibero-American; one from Southwest Asia; three from Europe, including Russia.Day 4: Thu. Feb. 22—two African countries; five from Southwest Asia; three from Asia; and two from Europe.Day 5: Fri. Feb. 23—three African countries; three from Southwest Asia; two from Asia; and four from Europe.Day 6: Mon. Feb. 26—one African country; two from Asia; two from Europe; and the three organizations, the League of Arab States, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the African Union.
Feb. 16—Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), in a dramatic speech on the floor of the Senate on Feb. 12, accused Israel of a “textbook war crime,” the crime of withholding food aid to Palestinians. “For weeks, the United Nations and international aid organizations have warned that Palestinian civilians are on the verge of starvation,” Van Hollen said. “Those warnings have been ignored and dismissed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his extremist government.” He cited an analysis recently published by the World Food Program and UNICEF which found that 90% of children aged 6 to 23 months and pregnant and breastfeeding women and girls faced severe food poverty. Van Hollen also reported that the WFP has confirmed that people have started dying of starvation in Gaza, including children.“Kids in Gaza are now dying from the deliberate withholding of food,” Van Hollen said. “In addition to the horror of that news, one other thing is true: That is a war crime. It is a textbook war crime, and that makes those who orchestrate it war criminals.” As for what the U.S. should do about the deliberate starvation of children, Van Hollen said: “The President must demand that the Netanyahu government immediately allow more food and water and other lifesaving supplies into Gaza and make sure it reaches the children and other people who are starving, including in the north.” Otherwise, he should invoke the relevant provision of the Foreign Assistance Act to cut off assistance to Israel.Then Van Hollen turned around and voted for the $95.3 billion war budget bill, which includes $14 billion for Israel.
Petition: Support the LaRouche Oasis Plan for Peace and Development in Southwest Asia Schiller Institute Inc.Support the LaRouche Oasis Plan for Peace and Development in Southwest AsiaFor the past century and more, the region called the Middle East has been a geopolitical playground, maintained in a state of perpetual conflict as a bomb whose fuse can be lit at any time. This has exacted a terrible toll on the people of Palestine and Israel. LaRouche's vision for the region promises productivity, not geopolitics. This is the Oasis Plan!Sign below to express your support for the Oasis Plan approach, as presented in this 15-minute video on realizing the LaRouche vision for a future of peace and development, transforming a region of conflict and discord into one of connectivity, growth, and happiness.‍  ‍ Add your signature Click HereSchiller Institutewww.schillerinstitute.comSchiller Institute Inc. · PO Box 20244, Washington, DC 20041-2244, United States This email was sent to You can also keep up with Schiller Institute on Facebook.
Feb. 17—Israel having responded Feb. 15 to South Africa’s letter filed Feb. 12 requesting further urgent measures by the World Court to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Rafah, the Court then issued a brief and toughly-worded response by letter to both nations, declining any further orders, but warning that Israel had better comply with those issued by the Court Jan. 26.“The Court notes that the most recent developments in the Gaza Strip, and in Rafah in particular, ‘would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences’, as stated by the United Nations Secretary-General (Remarks to the General Assembly on priorities for 2024 (7 Feb. 2024)).“This perilous situation demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the Court in its Order of 26 January 2024, which are applicable throughout the Gaza Strip, including in Rafah, and does not demand the indication of additional provisional measures.“The Court emphasizes that the State of Israel remains bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention and with the said Order, including by ensuring the safety and security of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
International Peace Coalition Meeting: Humanity Must Have a Vision for the Next Billion YearsFeb. 17—“We have reached a point in history, where, because we are sitting in one boat, we must step up to the level of reason of finding a solution for the entire human species.” —Helga Zepp-LaRoucheThe 37th meeting of the International Peace Coalition (IPC), convened on Feb. 16, was devoted to fighting the pragmatism which infects the minds of most people in today’s society preventing them from conceptualizing higher-level solutions to the grave crises threatening mankind. People are often blinded by the particulars of this conflict or that conflict—Gaza or Ukraine—robbing them of the ability to envision a means of resolving any conflict, which would require simultaneously taking into account the needs of every single nation on the planet. This was the challenge taken up with the premier to the IPC of The LaRouche Organization's new video: “The Oasis Plan—LaRouche’s Solution for the Middle East."Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute and initiator of the IPC, opened the proceedings with a strategic overview pointing out that in Germany the annual meeting of the Munich Security Conference was taking place. This conference, in the past a forum for finding solutions to critical security issues, has now degenerated into a public relations event for the military-industrial complex—the tone of the event being that of confrontation, not diplomacy. One exception was António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, who lamented the fact that 1.4 million Palestinians are facing an unimaginable destiny in Rafah. Also, the President of Ghana spoke, demanding a just new economic order, saying it cannot continue that one part of the world lives in wealth and the other part is faced with starvation.Zepp-LaRouche continued by reporting on the 52 countries that will testify before the World Court for one full week, starting Feb. 19, on a UN General Assembly complaint issued Dec. 30, 2022, alleging violations of human rights against the Palestinians by the Israelis over a period of 55 years. This is good, but something much more fundamental is needed: Unless the hopelessness of the situation is changed, a solution can’t be found. This is why Lyndon LaRouche’s 1975 Oasis Plan for the economic development of the entire region is so crucial. Unless you kick over the table of geopolitics—which the Oasis Plan would do—and go into a new paradigm of development, there is no hope. She emphasized the importance of “flooding the zone”; and getting the video of the Oasis Plan out far and wide. With that, the video was shown after which Jason Ross, Executive Director of The LaRouche Organization and producer of the video, fielded questions from IPC participants.Ross opened by making the point that charting a path toward peace sometimes requires changing the terrain. Under the current paradigm of “hegemonism,” there is no possibility of peace. There are two aspects of this paradigm that must be changed: The UN has estimated that it will cost $20 billion to reconstruct Gaza over a period about 70 years. This is a monetarist conception which does not take into account the necessity of transforming not only Gaza but the entire region in a way that benefits all people. The other aspect is the problem that there are people who legitimately oppose war but also oppose peace. Ross used as an example energy policy: The Oasis Plan calls for nuclear power as the most efficient means of generating energy. Regrettably, many of the people who oppose war also have a Green, anti-growth Malthusian ideology and are opposed to nuclear energy. This ideology will doom people to poverty and unnecessary death, preventing the establishment of a new paradigm of peace through economic development. Ross concluded his remarks by stressing that the Oasis Plan is not contrary to the necessity of a ceasefire.A participant from the U.K. sparked a very useful discussion with a question on how to finance development outside the conditionalities that enslave countries to Western finance. Ross explained that there is a new paradigm of lending away from the IMF/World Bank policy of debt slavery towards lending focused on real physical economic development. This is characterized by the African Development Bank, New Development Bank, and various Chinese banks that are financing the Belt and Road Initiative.Dennis Small of the Schiller Institute added that, operating under the current bankrupt trans-Atlantic financial system, U.S. and British banks will lend for real development only after Hell freezes over. With $2 quadrillion of financial aggregates on their books, Western banks lend for one purpose: more speculation. The aim of this type of lending is to ensure that no physical economic development occurs and to impose Malthusian genocide particularly on poor nations of the world. The people who attack China—an integral part of this new lending paradigm—need to explain how China succeeded in lifting 850 million people out of poverty.Bob Cushing of Pax Christi began by reading from the book of Isaiah, chapter 58 verses 6-14, on the topic of fasting. He then commented on it with a quote from Frida Berrigan and concluded, “Here’s the ‘to do list’ now: Release the prisoners; set free the oppressed; share your food with the hungry; open the doors for the homeless; clothe the naked; end the wars. Now let’s get to work!”Dennis Speed of the Schiller Institute emphasized that with the proceedings before the World Court starting Feb. 19 on behalf of the UN General Assembly, a “field of action” has been made available to us for escalating our intervention into the strategic situation.Alejandro Zenteno Chávez of Mexico’s Reason and Thought society offered greetings to the IPC and stated his belief that the Oasis Plan provides a path to a solution for the whole world.Helga Zepp-LaRouche in her concluding remarks took the IPC participants on a tour of the “long arc of history” noting that there have been several “high periods of human civilization” from Confucianism in China through the Greek Classical period, the Islamic renaissance, and Italian Renaissance to the American Revolution. However, throughout this historical arc the dynamic was such that one area of the world could be experiencing a renaissance while another was in a dark age. Today that is no longer the case. Humanity is sitting in one boat: nuclear weapons would destroy everyone; the internet allows global connectivity; because of air travel pandemics affect the whole world. Zepp-LaRouche expressed her conviction that because of this dynamic, regional solutions to crises won’t work.Although nations will continue to be important, a paradigm must emerge that does not allow the interest of any one nation to be put above the interest of humanity as a whole. Common economic development among nations makes this possible. A discourse is necessary to establish a vision for how to preserve our immortality as a species, not only here on Earth, but also throughout the galaxy with the inevitable demise of our Solar System over the next billion or so years. Given the gigantic vacuum of leadership in the North Atlantic, our task is to bring the idea of the new paradigm into the public discourse. This includes “flooding the zone” with the Oasis Plan. A handful of leading people coming out in support of the new paradigm could spark a renaissance and spread like wildfire.