Well, of course, such violations are a war crime and when they are widespread or systematic, they become a crime against humanity. And, in the case of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the settlement policy is certainly widespread and systematic.
DB: And, just to add, it's quite a revelation that you've got the British foreign secretary saying they're not going to get the support --the Palestinians are not going to get their support -- unless they agree to pledge not to sue Israel for war crimes. I mean, there it is.
FB: Right. Well, he doesn't understand that we already did that so, you know, these are obviously highly technical matters that basically their international law staff follow. But we already did file that complaint, and all we have to do is reactivate the complaint we already filed. And the reason being, then this would put us in the driver's seat and the settlement policy in the dock. And that is what...remember Britain created this problem in the first place with the Balfour Declaration. They've always been against us. So, you know, it doesn't surprise me that the Brits are still taking this position. And they were behind the partition resolution 65 years ago.
You know, it's not just Palestine...you know, the Brits did the same to my country, Ireland. They partitioned us. The Brits partitioned the Indian subcontinent to India and Pakistan, creating a monumental human rights tragedy, that's still going on. Britain also partitioned the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina that still goes on today. So, you know, this is a joke that, you know, that the British are there, they are saying they are for peace, this, that and the other thing. They've created so many of these problems that we confront today. India, Pakistan, Palestine, Ireland, Bosnia...that's just for starters. The Falklands, Malvinas, I guess I could go on from there.
DB: All right,
let's talk a little bit about the possibilities under the International Court
of Justice, what could happen in terms of Gaza and the illegal siege of
FB: Right. Once it becomes a U.N. observer state, Palestine can
then accede to the terms of the statute of the international court of justice
which is the world court of the United Nations system. And here,
Palestine will -- across the board on all these issues -- be following the
precedent of Switzerland, which did not join the United Nations organization
until what...maybe five years ago? But during that period of
time it had U.N. observer state status. And in that
capacity Switzerland had, you know, pretty much all the rights it needed to do
whatever it wanted to do.
Switzerland became a party to the ICJ statute. Palestine, I'm sure, will too.
Just by taking the Swiss instrument and filing it with the world court, then it
would be able to sue Israel at the International Court of Justice. And I've offered to President Abbas and the PLO executive committee to
file this lawsuit, and try to break the genocidal siege of Gaza that is still
going on today, as we speak. President Morsi of Egypt, despite
all the rhetoric, still hasn't done anything about it. So it is
still there, it's still on and it needs to be broken. So it's on a list of
things that, you know, the Palestinians can do once the dust settles.
Third, Palestine, could then join the Law of the Sea Convention and then get legal access and a legal right to these enormous gas supplies right off the coast of Gaza, which Israel has access to. Lebanon, Cypress, Turkey...they all have their claims in. But Palestine has a claim too. Indeed, a pretty substantial claim. And if Palestine gets access to that gas, it can become economically self sufficient. So this is a very important issue.
They can become a party to the International Civil Aviation Organization and get legal, sovereign control over their own air space. By becoming a member of the International Tele-communications Union, they will get control of their air waves, phone lines, band widths for internet, satellite access and things of this nature.
So, those are just some of the immediate consequences...oh, and finally, of course, also become a high contracting party to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949. Back in 1989, I recommended this step to President Arafat as a purely humanitarian measure. The United States government applied massive pressure to the Swiss government not to accept our instrument of accession. So what the Swiss did, again -- they copped out back in 1989 -- they said, "Well, we're not in a position to determine whether or not Palestine is a state, but we will treat their declaration as binding." ... And they still carry us as a footnote.
So all this will do then is upgrade us to a high contracting party like all the 193 states in the world, with a demand -- the right to demand -- that they all act to protect us as a fellow high-contracting party under common Article 1 to the four Geneva Conventions where they have an obligation, not only to respect the conventions themselves but to ensure respect by Israel.
Just off the top of my head, this morning in drawing up that press release that was six steps I could come up with in very short order and in terms of priority that Palestine could get to work on, I guess, tomorrow.
DB: In terms of the Law of the Sea Convention and the offshore gas fields, is that extensive, are those fields enough to perhaps help bring Palestinians out of poverty? How big is that battle? Because we don't hear much about the battle around resources, this is always like a religious war.
FB: Dennis, this isn't a religious war...you know I've spent a lot of time over there. I've dealt with Palestinians, Christians, Muslims and Jews. No, this is a war over land and resources and water. That's what is really going on here.
And Israel believes it is in its best interest to present this as almost a religious war. But it simply is not. Those gas supplies under the Mediterranean are enormous. There have been stories on this in the financial literature, if you read The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, which I read every day, you will find extensive discussion of how much natural gas there is there. And certainly it would be enough to make Palestine economically self-sufficient, along with the capacity of its people, who are highly educated and highly motivated.
So...and of course, Israel would
be entitled to its share as well. If you read the debates over
the gas fields, of course, no one mentions the Palestinians, and their
legitimate claim to the gas fields. So Palestine, and Israel and
Lebanon and Cypress and Turkey would have to sit down among themselves within
the framework of the Law of the Sea Treaty and negotiate some type of equitable
sharing of these gas supplies -- fields -- which in turn would be based upon the
delimitation of their continental shelves.