For example, the Security Council Resolution No. 661 (1990) placed sanctions on the State of Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait which were only lifted in May 2003 after the illegal US-led invasion. The iraqi invasion was without doubt a violation of the sovereignty of Kuwait. However, these harsh sanctions had devastating effects and resulted in the deaths of half a million children, according to UNICEF sources.
In 2010 sanctions were imposed on Iran in order to prevent it from pursuing its nuclear ambitions. The mere fear that Iran might possibly develop destructive weapons some time in the future and then probably attack its neighbouring countries was considered to be enough in order to justify the imposition of sanctions in that case.
Cuba has been suffering under a harsh U.S. embargo since the 60s for having the wrong ideology, which has severed humanitarian conditions in the country.
And most recently, the US and the EU jointly imposed economic sanctions on individuals in Russia for its alledged violation of Ukrainian sovereignty when the people of Crimea freely decided to seperate from their government, after it had been taken hostage by an extreme right-wing mob in a NATO&US-sponsored coup d'état. Russia is also "punished" on the mere suspicion that it might be involved in the struggle for freedom of the people in Eastern Ukraine.
According to unconfirmed reports the EU is finally considering sanctions against Israel over its settlement policies.
However, Israel should have long been sanctioned by the world community for its continuous violation of Palestinian sovereignty, dignity and their right to life and property. There are various reasons for imposing sanctions at last.
1. Settlement building on occupied territory is nothing new to the world and has been going on for decades. The settlements are aimed at torpedoing the U.N. partition plan from 1947 that drew the borders of two states. The systematic demolition of palestinian homes and construction of new jewish settlements on occupied territory has been declared a gross violation of international law by the International Court of Justice and several U.N. General Assembly Resolutions. Israel is acting in disregard for International Human Rights law and Humanitarian law. The Israeli settlement buildings in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is clear proof that Israel has no interest in ever respecting an independent sovereign Palestinian State.
These policies aim at preventing any claim of Palestinians for their territory and at driving out Palestinians from their homes. The goods that are produced on palestinian soil and from palestinian territory are unjustly sold all over the world by Israel.
2. Moreover, Israel is following an apartheid policy, systematically downgrading and discriminating against the 1.5 million-strong Arab minority.
Sanctions against the South African apartheid regime between 1960 and 1990 have once successfully forced it to give up its unacceptable racist policy which had denied the majority black population their basic civil and human rights. Black people were deported from their homes, their lands were distributed to the privilged white class. Blacks were restricted in their freedom of movement and forced to life in separated areas (so-called "Bantustans"). Black people had no access to education or politics and were left to do the lower cheap labour. Health services, education, housing, electricity, sanitation were all exclusively reserved for the white population. Black South Africans were systematically segregated from white South Africans and brutally oppressed.
The similiarities between the South African apartheid and the Israel policy are striking. We see the same things going on in Palestine, were the arab population is being deprived of basic human rights, has less access to water, education and sanitation. Palestinians are also doomed to live in enclaves, their villages hermetically cut off from the outside world, their lands are divided by an illegal separation wall.
The difference is that Israel, though acting even more brutal and blatant - still enjoys the full moral, financial and military support of the major world powers and is even praised as being "the only democracy in the middle east".
It took the UN nearly 25 years to finally call for sanctions against South Africa.
The Israeli occupation has been going on for nearly 50 years. It is time to end this enormous injustice. To give the Palestinian people their right to return. It is time for the world to become aware of the fact that Israel is demolishing Palestinian homes with complete impunity. It is time for the world to react to the inhumane collective punishment that is taking place on a daily basis in the West Bank and the Gaza strip, to rise up against the illegal settlements on occupied territory and the brutal oppression of palestinian political oppostion by imposing economic sanctions now.
The disrespect for human life is exemplified in the legendary words of M. Albright, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., during an Interview on May 12, 1996 with Lesley Stahl on "60 minutes" that later made him win the Emmy Award:
Lesley Stahl: "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" M. Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."