US Vice President Kamala Harris has wine produced in illegal Israeli settlements in her office, it has been revealed by Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq. The director of the organisation, Shaawan Jabarin, exposed this in an open letter to Harris in which he pointed out that offering her guests wine produced in settlements encourages Israel’s apartheid system imposed on the Palestinians. Apartheid is akin to a crime against humanity.
Jabarin’s letter highlighted violations of the law by Israeli settlers, as well as the disastrous effects of the illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinians. The wine that Harris serves to her guests, he pointed out, comes from a winery in the settlement of Psagot, an illegal Jewish settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank.
Such support for the settler-colonial, apartheid settlement enterprise, said Jabarin, and the US receipt of illegal goods produced from the proceeds of international crimes, as well as America’s direct involvement in the promotion of Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise in this way, is of grave concern. “Psagot is complicit in the continued illegal appropriation of privately owned Palestinian land and pillage of Palestinian natural resources, acts amounting to crimes within the jurisdiction of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court.”
The director of Al-Haq noted that, “Since 1948, Israel has employed a set of discriminatory laws, policies and practices, with the fundamental goal of engineering a Jewish majority in Palestine, through displacing and dispossessing Palestinians, manipulating the demographic composition of the Palestinian population, and at the same time, building and expanding Jewish settlements on both sides of the Green [1949 Armistice] Line.
“Settlements are a key component of Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people, in which Israel administers the territory under two entirely separate legal systems and sets of institutions: a civil administration for Israeli-Jewish communities living in illegal settlements, and a military administration for the occupied Palestinian population living in Palestinian towns and villages.”
The fact that the US supports this “illegal Israeli settlement enterprise in its highest office” is in blatant violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, making America “complicit” in the war crime of the pillage of Palestinian resources.
“Moreover, the US substantially supports the dissemination and promotion of Psagot Wine by allowing it to be sold by Duty Free America shops located in airports across America,” concluded Jabarin. “The US thus breaches its obligation to promote respect for human rights with business enterprises… involved in gross human rights abuses.”
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