|Different message for Cheney
By Ismail Zayid
JON GOLDBERG is quite right that U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney
should take a clear message to the Middle East (Feb. 20 opinion
article). The message should be that international law and the UN
Charter should be applicable to all nations, including Israel.
Illegal occupation of neighbouring people's territories should not
be allowed. Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory in the West
Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, as well as Syrian
territory in the Golan Heights, must not be allowed to stand for
over 34 years, in defiance of repeated Security Council resolutions.
Mr. Cheney should emphasize to Israel that demolition of
Palestinian homes, expropriation of their land to create illegal
Jewish settlements, daily humiliation of Palestinians, torture of
prisoners, extra-judicial execution, collective punishment and other
acts of violation of Palestinian human rights are all in violation
of the Fourth Geneva Convention; and it is the responsibility of
High Contracting Parties to the Convention to enforce this
Israel should be reminded that it receives over $5 billion in
military and economic aid from the U.S., which expects from Israel
compliance with international law so that world peace and American
interests in the area can be protected.
Mr. Cheney should inform Israel that complete and immediate
withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories, which
constitute only 22 per cent of historic Palestine, must be
implemented to allow the Palestinians to establish a viable state
with full freedom within its borders, unlike the fragmented
Bantustans that Ehud Barak proposed.
As for the Palestinian refugees, who were systematically uprooted
from their homes 54 years ago in a process of ethnic cleansing, they
should be allowed the choice to return to their homes or accept
compensation as mandated by the UN General Assembly Resolution 194
and the Universal Declaration of Human rights.
This is the message that Mr. Cheney should take to the Middle
East, so as to ensure that all states in the area, including Israel,
are allowed to have secure borders and live in peace with their
Ismail Zayid, MD, is president, Canada Palestine Association.