Washington should shed pro-Israel bias - GulfToday

Washington should shed pro-Israel bias

Donald Trump

The US State Department’s alteration of its usual description of Golan Heights from “Israeli-occupied” to “Israeli-controlled” in its annual global human rights report is a ridiculous step and needless provocation.

Attempts to change the narrative through the use of such words instead of addressing the realities on the ground where the Israeli occupation forces continue to kill and harass innocent Palestinians make no sense.

Another semantic change that appeared in last year’s report showed up again this year, with a section titled “Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza,” instead of its previous “Israel and the Occupied Territories” heading.

Such actions only reinforce the feelings of Palestinians that the American administration under President Donald Trump sticks to a hostile approach against them, contradicting all United Nations resolutions.

Though Trump is expected to unveil his long-awaited plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace in the coming months, Palestinians and the rest of the peace-loving world have every reason to believe that the plan would be blatantly biased in favour of Israel.

This is especially so considering a series of actions taken by the Trump administration which has clearly been in favour of Israel and none in support of the Palestinian cause. The halting of funds to the UNRWA, recognising occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, relocating US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem, refusing to restrain Israel from illegally expanding settlements are just a few among such moves hostile to Palestinians.  

A United Nations human rights panel clearly stated two weeks ago that Israeli troops had killed 189 Palestinians and wounded more than 6,100 at protests from March 30 to Dec.31 and the actions amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The UN report had also made it clear that Israel had opened criminal investigations in only five cases, including the death of four children.

Thirty-five children, two journalists and three “clearly-marked” paramedics were among those killed by Israeli forces in violation of international humanitarian law. Other victims included a double amputee in a wheelchair.

Created by the 47-Member UN Human Rights Council in May last year, the Commission of Inquiry had been tasked with investigating all violence linked to anti-Israeli demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza border from March 30 to Dec. 31, 2018. The Commission conducted 325 interviews with victims and witnesses and analysed audio-visual material showing demonstrators being shot.

Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, rightly stated recently that the Palestinian people need the support of the international community more than ever, as a range of issues are exerting a heavy toll on those living in Gaza and West Bank. These include ongoing violence, lack of progress towards peace, financial pressures and unilateral measures by the Government of Israel.

On another front, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s blatant racism has become more visible after he called Israel the nation-state of “the Jewish people” only, not all its citizens.

Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, has hit the nail on the head by tweeting, “Not only are PM Netanyahu’s comments that “Israel is not a state for all its citizens” repugnant, but they provide vindication sought by extremists. The road to peace is further undermined by this shameful approach.”