The Dugard Report

Is the Israeli regime on a downward spiral having failed at the most fundamental level to gain domestic consensus on how its historic zionist ideological underpinning will shape its future?

Debates surrounding this perplexing problem have entered a new phase following Israel’s humiliating military performance against Hizbullah in addition to embarrassing national scandals involving high-ranking politicians related to sex and corruption.

Perhaps the most challenging threat to Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state emanates from a growing awareness within zionism’s political elite and their external backers that occupation and suppression of basic human rights can no longer be covered up. Neither can such atrocities resulting in horrendous consequences be justified as necessary for Israeli security.

It is against this backdrop of deep-seated anxiety confronting the Jewish state’s uncertain future, that many voices are being heard questioning the wisdom of sustaining a project such as Israel which necessitates defending institutions of colonization, dispossession and occupation.

One such voice belongs to Professor John Dugard.

As the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories [OPT], Dugard has served a valuable role in not only fulfilling his mandate, but also to draw the attention of the international community to the fact that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem contains elements of three regimes: colonialism, apartheid and foreign occupation.

That he has diligently uncovered major violations of both human rights as well as international humanitarian law in the OPT by Israel, is a tribute to what the former Chief Justice of SA, Justice Ismail Mahomed had attributed to him: “Fierce intellectual integrity”.

During 2004 in an interview with Victor Kattan of the Arab Media Watch, Dugard was asked whether the issues he raised in an article in ’84 entitled “Israel and the International Community: The Legal Debate” [published in the South African Yearbook of International Law] had changed.

His response was that the legal issues had not changed though the need for Palestinian statehood has been recognized. “Oslo has been and gone, and the same type of human rights violations still occur, albeit with a new severity”. In the context of “settler expansion”, he said that the significance of the wall shows convincingly that the issue is “land and expansion”.

Dugard’s latest report contains the most recent developments flowing from his visit to the OPT during December 2006. It is a compelling study, presenting yet again a challenge to the UN and all its institutions to consider the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the occupying power and third states.

“The apparent failure of Western States to take steps to bring such a situation to an end places the future of the international protection of human rights in jeopardy as developing nations begin to question the commitment of Western States to human rights”.

Israel cannot indefinitely stand against the world!