COP21 – Saudis and Palestinians in Paris

Appears that Palestinians are going to be used as the world’s scapegoat again. This time to blame for the deletion of important language in the climate change agreement being negotiated in Paris this week at COP21.

You didn’t know the Palestinians were so powerful, you say!

The negotiators at the world’s climate change summit in Paris (COP21) have been talking about the connection between human rights and climate change.

A no-brainer, you say!

But some important people don’t want to make the connection.

They say: Pass the laws and regulations at COP21, and let the most vulnerable and poor on our planet, those who have no seat at the negotiating table but will bear the heaviest burdens of our over-consumption and rapacious addiction to fossil fuels, deal with the consequences.


Some people don’t want the world to wean itself off of fossil fuels. I suspect the Saudi royal family might be in that crowd. They shudder when people talk of leaving the oil in the ground. I wonder what they would say to those of us who believe a climate deal could be synonymous with a peace deal. After all, it’s the fossil fuels that are driving the wars.

Ed King reports: “Israel-Palestine conflict seeps into Paris climate talks in human rights row”

Square brackets are a powerful weapon at the Paris climate talks. They come in pairs, and two of them are holding the prospect of a new UN deal referencing human rights to ransom.

Clauses stipulating that a new climate pact should promote, protect and respect human rights can be found at the start of a draft agreement published on Saturday.

The ‘preamble’ and ‘purpose’ sections mention the term. But legal observers worry the chances of them surviving the final cut are thinning by the hour.

Saudi Arabia has inserted (in brackets) ‘the rights of people under occupation’ into both parts of the text. It’s a direct reference to the Palestinian territories, something unacceptable to Israel and the US.

Lets be clear. Saudi Arabia doesn’t give a rats ass about Palestinians or ‘the rights of people under occupation.’

Despite being appointed as Chair of the U.N. Human Rights Council a couple of months ago, Saudi Arabia has no regards for human rights — either of the Palestinians or the rights of its own citizens. In early November, Saudi Arabia was denounced for beheading more people so far this year than since 1995. Some say the Saudi government has beheaded twice as many people this year than ISIS.

Yet, Saudi Arabia is our faithful ally, always turning on the fossil fuel spigots when our rapacious appetites demand more crude.

So don’t let anyone fool you into believing that the House of Saud has finally turned a corner and acknowledged the beacon of human rights. They aren’t in Paris advocating on behalf of the Palestinians. They simply are shrewd negotiators and know how to pull Israel’s and America’s chains. Mention “Palestine” and “human rights” in the same breadth and you are guaranteed a veto.

The entire world loses if the human rights provisions in the climate deal are struck from the final agreement.

COP21 again




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2 responses to “COP21 – Saudis and Palestinians in Paris

  1. Is there any other information about this subject in different languages?

    • There is information about climate change in other languages on the United Nations website, but I don’t know if there is any information specifically about the issues I raised in this post available in other languages.

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