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Richard Falk on Human Rights

Comments of Mr. Falk at the Term Out of his Duties of Human Rights Rapporteur on The Occupied (Palestinian) Territories

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Geneva (Switzerland)–Your reporter had the privilege to hear the eighty-three year-old Professor Richard Falk, Esq. (emeritus) of International Law now retired from Princeton University in New Jersey.

Since your author is writing to an Islamic audience, I shall quote Wikipedia, “Falk was born into an assimilationist New York Jewish family — which all but repudiated the ethnic side of Jewishness.  Defining himself as “an American Jew,” he says that having an outsider status, with a sense of not belonging, may have influenced his later role as a critic of American foreign policy.  His being Jewish signifies above all for Falk, ‘to be preoccupied with overcoming injustice and thirsting for justice in the world, and that means being respectful toward other peoples regardless of their nationality or religion, and empathetic in the face of human suffering whoever and wherever victimization is encountered.’” 

Your commentator makes this quote because, like Judge Goldstone, it most assuredly does not mean to be Jewish to be anti-Islamic.  It is Zionism in the Middle East that is repressing Muslims there (or here), and not Judaism!  In fact, it is your author’s opinion that progressive Jews and Muslims are “natural allies” in finding peace and justice in the Holy land!

Dr. Falk was talking to us while he was awaiting the presentation of his Report to the United Nations in this city on the Lake of the same name on his findings on the conditions within the Occupied Territories in regards to human rights garnered during his six-year tenure as the (U.N.’s) Special Rapporteur on the Occupied (or Palestinian) Territories.

In the estimation of your writer, Dr. Falk is one of the moral giants of this Century!  On the eve of his testimony before he was to be termed (six-years) from his office, he stated that the situation there on the Mediterranean and the Jordan (riverine) Valley is as severe as ever.  Especially, within Gaza which is living under great distress.   Conditions have deteriorated for that mini-“State” Since the coup in Cairo.  The treatment of the Strip by its surrounding neighbors violates the Geneva Convention, Article 33 of 1949 which outlines the “the status and treatment of protected persons…”  

Falk describes the West Bank as under a state of Apartheid (which is the systematic persecution of one racial [ethnic/sectarian] group by another and was recognized as a Crime against Humanity by the U.N. [in 1976].)  Dr. Falk denounced other policies of the Israelis, also, as Crimes against Humanity as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court’s Explanatory Memorandum [1998 and put into force as of 2002] as “are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack…”)  There has been a total lack of responsibility by the occupiers (the Israelis) to respect the Fourth (Geneva) Convention.  (See http://www. icrc. org /applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Comment.xsp?view Comments=LookUpCOMART&articleUNID= 78EB50EAD6EE7 AA1C12563CD0051B9D) within the territories of which they occupy.  This prolonged Occupation resembles a de facto annexation that he concludes will be difficult to reverse.  At this time — at cessation of his tenure — he concludes that he does not perceive any prospect for change in the immediate future because of the steady expansion of the Israeli Settlements upon traditional Palestinian lands.

He predicts there is a potential prospect for change because of the international outrage that has been generated in opposition to the brutality of the Israeli policies against the Palestinians.

For the present, though, there has to be a signal from Tel Aviv to a commitment for peace to proceed; therefore, “We must stand in solidarity for justice and sustainable peace between both peoples!”


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