All responses to the ratification of the Gaza 2014 report were predictable and had little to do with evidence-based judgments. The US was the only member of the UN’s HRC to vote against accepting the widely-acclaimed report of a UN Commission of Inquiry into the attack on Gaza in 2014. The UK voted to accept it despite qualms that it did not defend Israel’s right to defend itself. Netanyahu said the decision had nothing to do with human rights, the HRC was always picking on Israel, the front line of the fight against ‘terror’ and it might leave the organisation.
It’s jolly difficult, Hamas and Isil are both acronyms, both consist largely of Arab Sunni Muslims and, well, that’s it. The international ranks of Isil are swelling, attracting a Hamas faction, but Hamas itself doesn’t exercise much of a pull on European youngsters. Yet the most democratic 4-time PM in the MidEast insists the two are one and the same, so who are these writers to disagree? Those who use pictures agree.
Netanyahu’s messages about ISIL are confused. One day he says Hamas, fighting for national independence, and ISIL, fighting for national independence to be submerged in an international caliphate, are indistinguishable. On another he hopes that a focus on ISIL will bring a new alliance between Israel and Sunni states (against Iran) – overlooking the fact that this is dependent on his making an acceptable deal with Palestinians. Analysis by Gershom Gorenberg.
Time in an Israeli prison, often without charge or trial, is a rite of passage for many young Palestinians – 40% of Palestinian males have done time in Israeli gaols, many under administrative detention. From a low in 2011, the number detained has risen steadily as have the fears of the security forces that they will organise ‘terrorist’ acts from detention, hence a new rule to forbid their having access to cell phones.
Rumours continue that Hamas and Israel are engaged in serious peace talks – denounced by Lieberman as ‘surrendering to terror’. Hamas wants the siege eased, Israel wants to stop rockets, both sides want to undermine any authority held by Fatah and the PA. Which means recognition of Hamas-ruled Gaza as a mini-state.
The Pro-Israel lobby appears to have agreed that the BDS movement now shares equal place with Iran as the foremost enemies who wish to annihilate Israel – if not physically, by lies, slander and delegitimisation. US Congress has passed a bill outlawing trade with any European body which condones BDS, Yair Lapid speechifies that BDSers were responsible for 9/11, Sheldon Adelson is sending out his Maccabees, Netanyahu is fulminating. Happily, the ADL says BDS is having no effect at all.
American young people have been more reluctant to join demands for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel while it continues its occupation of Palestinian territory. But after decades of promises about peace deals, with absolutely no results, they are now taking up the demands, sure it is not driven by antisemites and drawing on a long history of opposition to colonialism.
The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people has become one of the biggest, most totemic conflicts of our time. Yet the man who heads the Palestinian side, Mahmoud Abbas, acts more like a small-town mayor says Hussein Ibish. And at 80 years old, he has done nothing to ensure a democratic succession but rather has actively connived in ridding himself of impressive candidates such as Salam Fayyad.
Against a background of intense lobbying by Israeli embassies and other agencies, and some American players, including military and State department officials, the UN Human Rights Council is meeting in Geneva to consider the report by its Commission of Inquiry. Here the Federation of International Human Rights urges them to accept their commission’s report.
This is one of the more remarkable testimonies of soldiers ‘breaking the silence’. She reveals that her task of invading Palestinian homes at night was not for the reason of finding out who was where, when – but simply to create ‘a sense of persecution’. They succeeded – in an aim which is both immoral and illegal.
Navy commandos intercepted the Marianne in open waters on Monday night and towed her into Ashdod port. Three smaller boats in the flotilla turned back. Defence Minister Ya’alon said the flotilla’s goal was to de-legitimize Israel and bolster a relentless terrorist group; Netanyahu sent them a message stating they had taken the wrong turn as surely they meant to go to Syria to protest against Assad’s regime, not putting his finger on the point but jabbing it in the air.
The dominant issue for this week, June 22-28th, 2015 – and probably for much longer – is the report from the UN Human Rights Commission on Gaza 2014. Its public reception was of praise for its thoroughness and ‘balance’ – meaning it indicted the paramilitary groups in Gaza for war crimes as well as the […]
Robert Cohen, from his new posting at Writing from the Edge, responds to the praise heaped on the UNHRC report on Gaza 2014 by pointing out that to treat the damage done by Hamas and the IDF as equivalent is to obscure the truth: in the real world, Hamas is weak, not strong, trapped and under siege, not invading Israel.
The EU makes law on trade with Israel – favourable trade terms plus a ban on settlements products which must be properly labelled. This Al Shabaka analysis says the law is about fair trade, not political principles such as BDS. The EU and Israel have ‘strong and structured agreements they have built up with Israel over the years’ but Europeans are increasingly alarmed that Israel is betraying the ‘shared values’ on which this tradition is founded. The Palestinian position is incoherent, disorganized and unprofessional weakening a leg on which the EU needs to stand.
“It is not us women who created the division; it was created by a patriarchal system” said Hanan Ashrawi at the “Women’s Call: One Country, One People, One Flag” conference organised by MIFTAH and a group of civil society organizations. National unity is our priority they said. They are backed by the UN Development Programme but it’s hard to tell what influence they have given the absence of media coverage by local publications.
Less than a week after the US State Department dismissed the UNHRC report on Gaza as ‘biased’ it has issued its own report detailing many breaches of human rights law by Israeli security forces including an ‘excessive’ use of force, detaining Palestinians without due process and holding them in overcrowded prisons. It also accuses Hamas of the unlawful killing and torture of critics and other restrictions of freedom.
A spate of rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel was probably a result of competition between groups more religiously conservative and hard-line than Hamas. The aim was less to do damage to Israel and more to prove military superiority writes Robert Swift.
Like the French foreign minister on France’s resolution to the UN security Council, the Pope’s foreign minister says he hopes the treaty with Palestine signed on June 26th will be a ‘stimulus’ to direct negotiations to end the Palestine / Israel conflict. And as the Israeli foreign ministry responded to the French so with the Vatican: this act does not recognise Israel’s unique security needs or status as the Jewish home.
‘When Europe dares raise its head against the occupation, history and hysterics have always been on Israel’s side’ writes Akiva Eldar, quoting Netanyahu’s view that the French resolution on ending the Israel/Palestine conflict is antisemitic, as is ANY European move. That is predictable. If the Holocaust is the benchmark, France comes second to Germany in dispatching Jews to their death. Ali Abuminah, however, damns the resolution as a denial of Palestinian rights. Will the US use its veto on the UN Security Council to dispatch the French attempt to make a difference?
The US State department, in the form of Rear-Admiral Kirby, has pronounced that the UNHRC report is too biased to take seriously, so the US won’t. Has he read it? Probably not. JJ Goldberg, sensing that Americans are simply reacting to a report that is critical of Israel, urges his compatriots to read it. Not wanting to know is no defence.