The people of Lebanon and Palestine have always been deeply suspicious of their cunning neighbour Israel and with just cause. When one looks at the vast open waters of Israel why would they decide to drill right on your border? Could it be a case that whilst they are bullying you they are syphoning off your natural resources?
This is what wars are really about! If we can recall back in the pre Iraq War era we learnt of a situation whereby the oil rigs on the Kuwaiti side of the border were using diagonal (slant) drilling techniques to steal the resources of Iraq….this act alone was instrumental in causing Iraq to attack Kuwait which then led to the Iraqi War’s. It is therefore important for the international community (United Nations) to monitor such activities to avoid conflict but as we have seen in the past they are likely to sit on there hands and allow conflict to happen. After all its in America’s best interest to keep the wars going!
So what is the problem in regard to Lebanon and Palestine and why doesn’t the UN take steps to verify disputed borders? Within the United Nations is an organization that deals with such issues and I will include their own introductory paragraph to explain:
The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the most comprehensive attempt at creating a unified regime for governance of the rights of nations with respect to the world's oceans. The treaty addresses a number of topics including navigational rights, economic rights, pollution of the seas, conservation of marine life, scientific exploration, piracy, and more. The treaty, one of the longest in history, is comprised of 320 articles and 9 annexes, representing the codification of customary international law and its progressive development.
It is hard to understand why such an organization continues to allow such disputes to continue even though it has previously condemned Israel for such acts. The EU and the UN Security Council have a prominent role to play in law enforcement and regulation in the region. Israel should be condemned internationally for its grave violations of international law regarding the exploitation of the Occupied Territory's natural resources. The country’s blatant disregard for the pronounced international regulations has done nothing but increase Palestine's dependency on Israeli oil supplies.
In the case of Lebanon and Palestine Resolution 1803 (XVII) 18 December 1962 declares the right of peoples/nations to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth/resources:
UN resolution 3005 (XXVII) 15 December 1972 affirmed the principle of sovereignty of the population of occupied territories over their natural wealth and resources and called upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize or co-operate with, or assist in any manner in, any measures undertaken by the occupying power to exploit the resources of the occupied territories or to effect any changes in the demographic composition or geographic character or institutional structure of those territories. (US, UK and EU should take note of this).
• Affirms the right of the Arab States and peoples whose territories are under foreign occupation to permanent sovereignty over all their natural resources
• Reaffirms that all measures undertaken by Israel to exploit the human and natural resources of the occupied Arab territories are illegal and calls upon Israel to halt such measures forthwith
• Affirms the right of the Arab States and peoples whose territories are under Israeli occupation to the restitution of and full compensation for the exploitation and looting of, and damages to, the natural resources.
Resolution No. 3175 (XXVIII) 17 December 1973
Affirming the Right of the Arabs to Permanent Sovereignty over National Resources in the Occupied Arab Territories.
In order to look into the sinister working of the United Nations and how Israel manipulates many countries into accepting its own agenda we have to understand the power of the Pro Israeli lobby groups.
It is fact that organisations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the many Friends of Israel Political groups that exist in the US, UK and EU really dictates all the policies that favour Israel.
These groups are the background of so called political democracy and clearly corrupt the political elite by continuously donating vast sums on money into the coffers of political candidates and their respective political parties. What we see here is the US Congress and the British Houses of Parliament being almost totally run by Pro Israel lobby groups.
Add to this the millions of Jewish Zionists scattered around and the Christian Zionists (which in the US alone amount to 40 million) and many members of the Anglican Church and one can see that Israel clearly gets it way in the political sense and thus renders the United Nations as a non effective organisation.
We can see over many many years that violations or intrusions in areas not belonging to Israel has become a normal everyday affair and despite the hundreds of letters sent to the UN Secretary General, the abuse continues.
We should also take this opportunity to look at one particular headline that appeared on the front page of the UN: Farming without Land, Fishing without Water: Gaza Agriculture Sector Struggles to Survive. It was in this article that the UN placed an emphasis on the following: As of June 2009, a total of 46% of agricultural land in the Gaza Strip was assessed to be inaccessible or out of production1 owing to destruction of lands during 'Cast Lead' and inaccessible areas lying within the "security buffer zone". Needless to say it said nothing about the total contamination of the Gaza strip by the IDF weapons that contained uranium components!
It went on to say: Restrictions imposed on the civilian population by the continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip amount to collective punishment, a violation of international humanitarian law (Article 33, Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. See also A/HRC/12/37, para. 30). The blockade of Gaza also prevents or greatly hampers the exercise by the children, women and men living there of many human rights, including the right to food, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to work, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health.
As the occupying power, Israel is obliged to ensure the free and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief (Article 55, 59 and 60 Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949) and must avoid taking measures which impede the full realization by the people of the Gaza Strip of their human rights (Office High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Ramallah 2010).
Fishing in the Gaza Strip currently presents a threat to people's lives as well as livelihoods. Fishers venturing past the imposed 3 nm fishing zone to support their livelihoods find themselves frequently subjected to arrests, seizing of boats, and shootings from the Israeli navy. Fishers are under intensive scrutiny by the IDF, which uses helicopters, and gunboats to monitor fishing activity (IRIN. Gaza fishermen under fire. Available at www.irinnews.org 24th February 2010).
Since January 2009, 2 fishers have been killed and 12 injured by the almost daily shootings (Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Gaza). Over 300 incidents of confiscation of fishing boats and equipment have been recorded since Operation 'Cast Lead' (Palestinian Fishermen's Trade Union, Gaza figures for 2010).
From January to early April 2010 alone there have been 48 reported occurrences of IDF patrol boats opening fire on fishers (IBID) Since Operation 'Cast Lead', the number of incidents in the fishing zone has increased significantly, presenting a serious protection threat and contributing to the reduction in the number of fishers in the Gaza Strip from 10,000 in 2000 down to 3,500 today.
From January to early April 2010 alone there have been 48 reported occurrences of IDF patrol boats opening fire on fishers (IBID)
Since Operation 'Cast Lead', the number of incidents in the fishing zone has increased significantly, presenting a serious protection threat and contributing to the reduction in the number of fishers in the Gaza Strip from 10,000 in 2000 down to 3,500 today.
All of the above wording is taken directly from the United Nations own webpage including this chart showing the dependability on Israel for fish supplies which is so vital for the well being of the residents of Gaza. As you can see the Israelis really know how to manipulate the Palestinians to their own economic advantage and this whole exercise makes the ability of the United Nations to function, as it was first intended, an absolute joke!
Let’s now take a look at another Israeli manipulated plan that resulted in the so called “Oslo Accord” or should I say the “Oslo Discord.” One can only marvel at the decades of false promises made to the people of Palestine. Here are some of those key promises:
Madrid and Oslo (1991-93) – Jericho Agreement 1994 - 1996-1999 agreements - Hebron agreement - Wye River Memorandum - Camp David 2000 Summit - Beirut summit - The "Road Map" for peace – The Oslo Accord etc. If one saved the amount of money spent on these lavish political spin summits we could provide Palestine with all that it requires. It was evident that in so many cases this was a propaganda move by the respective leaders to improve their own image or even possible allow them to receive “The not so Nobel Peace Prize”……..President Obama’s award makes the giving of this award and absolute disgrace.
Ok back to the “Oslo Accord”……. The Oslo Accords stipulated that Palestinian fishermen were entitled to fish up to 20 nm off the Gaza coastline. An agreement reached between the Personal Humanitarian Envoy for the Middle East for the Secretary General, Ms Catherine Bertini, and the Israeli government in August 2002 allowed for fishing up to 12 nm; however this was never realised according to the DoF. Fishing rights have been imposed arbitrarily with the Israeli navy allowing fishing in some locations but not others, on some days and not others. Currently, fishing limits are effective up to six nm. In actual fact the above UN statement is incorrect as on some occasions the fishermen cannot venture out beyond 3 nautical miles……..I wish to point of that this is all in the words of the United Nations who continue to sit on their hands and allow Israel to do what it pleases - as per usual.
It would be an opportune time to take a look at two very historical maps showing three separate deals struck up for the Gaza offshore area none of which has been effective to this day……but hey… does it really make any difference?
The first map shows the agreement made in 1994 and signed by the powers that be and the second one shows the current map which incorporate the Bertini agreement made in 2002 and the final Oslo Accord. Remember that this is only a piece of paper and in reality is totally non effective.
We must now turn to the rape and deceit being carried out by Israel on its neighbour and challenge the legality of existing international boundaries allocated and also the validity of the “Oslo Accord” under the guidelines of the United Nations (UNCLOS).
I have previously shown you a map of Israel’s offshore international maritime borders but in my opinion these borders have not only been severely manipulated by the Israeli Government but also doctored to give them maximum economic advantage in the Oil and Gas sectors.
The same applies to the Gaza fishing limitations which in my opinion are totally illegal and in violation of the very principles of UNCLOS guidelines……so again we ask the question of the UN why are you sitting on your hands and allowing this situation to deteriorate.
It is most important to understand that if the UN allows this trend to continue there will certainly be conflict between Israel and its neighbours of Lebanon and Palestine.
In my opinion no further activity should be allowed to continue in the offshore regions and no production should continue until the UNCLOS has redefined the maritime borders and that the International Court of Justice has determined the extent of the oil and gas fields in the offshore area and to ascertain if in actual fact these reserves are jointly owned.
I know for a fact that some of the existing gas fields, as declared by Israel, are in actual fact jointly owned and that Israel plans to connect these gas fields to the existing Mari B system and take the entire natural gas to onshore Israel……if this is allowed to continue then it certainly is international theft on a huge scale and in total violation of the UN and the Geneva Convention. You will note from this map that Israel has allocated licence drilling areas outside of their own waters (in Lebanese Waters). You will also note that this map only shows two of the many fields that exist namely the Mari B field(that sits on the border of Gaza) and the other the Tamar field (that sits on the border with Lebanon).
In addition to these fields in the Gaza area are the Israeli fields of Noa and Noa South which do extend over the border into Palestinian Territory. It is also debatable in regard to the current production platform (the Mari B), if that field also extends under the Palestinian border…….should this be the case then Israel has been taking jointly owned gas from Palestine for some years. I repeat again that this only shows two stars which identify the location of the Mari B field in the south and the Tamar 2 field in the north and therefore only highlights some of the many issues at stake.
It is time that the UN dug its heals in and that the international community stood up and supported the governments of Lebanon and Palestine and resolved these uncertainties before it turns into a major conflict. At the end of the day all conflicts and wars are caused by the greed of the west to get their hands on the natural resources of the Middle East, intended pipeline routes or to control the drug crops. In the Geo Political sense the west has already won this battle in the Balkans, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan with Yemen and Somalia in its gun sites!
For my part all I can do is to educate the people by revealing the truth behind all of these conflicts. It is the people’s responsibility to lobby their political leaders and to make sure that international justice also applies to the countries of the Middle East and also more importantly the “Third World Countries. If one can imagine that the DRC is one classic example of the west wishing to exploit this poor, war ravaged country. The DRC has lost between 6 – 10 million people as a direct result of inaction by the UN and the international community and just like Rwanda goes unnoticed. Just think that when David Miliband visited the region to address the rebel groups, that were causing the problem, that some of those rebel groups were supported by Britain’s ally the good old US of A. Hypocritical don’t you think?
Peter Eyre – Middle East Consultant – 7/8/2010