By Richard Falk*
Makarim Wibisono announced his resignation as UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine, to take effect on March 31, 2016. This is a position I held for six years, completing my second term in June 2014.
The prominent Indonesian diplomat says that he could not fulfill his mandate because Israel has adamantly refused to give him access to the Palestinian people living under its military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“Unfortunately, my efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinian victims of violations under the Israeli occupation have been frustrated every step of the way,” Wibisono explains.
LONDON – The year’s first major atrocity is Saudi Arabia’s execution by beheading on January 2 of 47 people, including an important Shia ayatollah who led Shia protests against discrimination by the Sunni majority but never committed an act of violence.
Even the Islamic State doesn’t behead 47 in one day. Although beheading is swift it strikes most of us as being grotesque as well as medieval. The Saudis are aware of their image in the outside world but nevertheless persist, as if they want to tell the rest of the world: “Back off. Our Wahhabi (ultra puritanical) morality is our morality. We are a belief system unto ourselves.”
They exported the political convictions that have evolved out of Wahhabism to Afghanistan (with money for guns along with the theology), first to fight the Russians, then to arm the Taliban and later to allow them to “ignore” that the Taliban was giving refuge to Al-Qaeda.
Over the last three years rich Saudis, for lack of policing, have been allowed, in effect, to fund IS.