FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Palestine, Israel and the Sea

by

There has long been controversy about Palestinian territorial waters. This issue was raised last year, during Israel’s genocidal assault on the Gaza Strip, wherein part of the so-called ‘cease-fire’ agreement included that Israel would respect international law relating to the sea. Now the issue is once again an area of international focus.

Within the next several days, the ‘Gaza Flotilla’, a group of at least three international ships, will attempt to breach the illegal blockade of the beleaguered Gaza Strip, and dock in Gaza. When this was last attempted, Israeli soldier-terrorists killed ten defenseless, unarmed people, causing international tensions between Gaza and Turkey, home to several of the victims.

As the Flotilla approaches Gaza, it is important to remember that the blockade of the Gaza Strip is illegal under international law. Yet this does not prevent Israel from condemning the Flotilla as if it, and not Israel, was the law-breaker.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who has called for the complete annihilation of Palestine and Palestinians, said that the foreign ministry will prevent the Flotilla from reaching ‘Israel’s territorial waters’.

Perhaps Ms. Hotovely would benefit from a geography lesson, combined with one in international law.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) states, in part, the following:

Each country’s sovereign territorial waters extend to a maximum of 12 nautical miles (22 km) beyond its coast.  Foreign vessels are granted the right of innocent passage through this zone.

The members of the Gaza Flotilla have no intention of, or interest in, approaching Israel’s territorial waters. The coastal state to which it is sailing is Palestine, not Israel. So any discussion of Israel’s ‘territorial waters’ is irrelevant in a discussion of the Flotilla; the foreign ministry of Israel has no legal authority over the coastal waters of Palestine.

Additionally, Palestine’s ‘sovereign territorial waters’, like those of every other coastal nation on the planet, extend 12 nautical miles off its coast. As a sovereign nation, Palestine is free to accept or reject any ship it so chooses, without interference from any other nation.

It is unlikely that the Gaza Flotilla will successfully enter Palestine’s territorial waters; Israel will attack the unarmed vessel before it gets even close. One hopes the loss of innocent life will be minimized, but when dealing with one of the most brutal and inhuman regimes in the world, one has little reason for optimism.

Basel Ghattas, a member of the Israeli parliament with the Joint Arab List, has now caused much consternation in Israel by announcing that he would be on one of the Flotilla’s ships. In a letter to Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu, he explained the purpose of the Flotilla: “,,,to end the siege by way of turning international attention to the situation of 1.8 million Palestinians living in disgraceful, prison-like conditions as a result of Israel’s military siege of both land and sea….” Mindful of the brutal response to the previous Flotilla, he concluded his letter thusly: “Taking over the ships and preventing them from arriving at their destination will entangle Israel in another difficult international crisis, the outcome of which will be the responsibility of you and your government.”

So, let us summarize a few salient points: 1) The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is illegal under international law; 2) A foreign nation has no right to regulate what ships enter or leave a foreign port not under its jurisdiction; 3) Any other nation so blatantly violating international law would be censured by the United Nations.

What does all this mean for Israel? For one thing, any attempt to stop the Gaza Flotilla from reaching Gaza will be a violation of international law.

Additionally, it shows that apartheid Israel violates international law each time its terrorists harass Palestinian fishermen fishing within that internationally-recognized territorial limit. IDF soldiers (Israeli Defense Forces, also known as terrorists), routinely shoot and kill fisherman and ‘confiscate’ their boats. For those fishermen lucky enough to escape with their lives, they lose their livelihood, becoming unable to support themselves and their families.

Can we, for a moment, gaze into our crystal ball and see the near future? As stated, in all likelihood Israel will violently prevent the Flotilla from reaching Palestine. The U.N. will say nothing of this. Any criticisms leveled against Israel will be denounced by the U.S. which will summon the holy mantra of the myth of Israel defending its national security. There will, however, be no mention of Palestine’s national security.

So will it be business as usual? The crystal ball is a bit foggy on this point, but indications are that Mr. Ghattas’s closing comment to Mr. Netanyahu will prove to be right on the mark. Few people outside of Israel and the disgraceful halls of the U.S. Congress will see a few unarmed boats sailing towards Palestine as anything but benign. As Israel screams that everyone around the world is trying to ‘delegitimize’ it, it will not recognize that it needs no one else to do so; it is doing a fine job of that all on its own.

So another attempt to hold Israel accountable for its atrocities will be thwarted, but at what price? All indications are that most of global society has had it up to here with Israel, and eventually the final straw will be applied, breaking the apartheid camel’s back. When that happens, not even Israel’s best friend and main financier, the United States, will be able to save it from itself.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

 

 

More articles by:

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail