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.
Israel makes much propaganda about the fate of homosexuals and females under Islamist (Hamas) rule. This provides the cover for open war on Palestinian males of any age who are treated as actual or would-be terrorists. But beyond the propaganda, women and children may be the most disabled by homelessness and the need for a quick escape. So all Palestinians must be divided, quarantined and kept in open air camps as the obvious ‘other’.
Uri Avnery, an early formulator of the 2-state solution, asks how one state for Jews and Arabs would actually work. As Israel is the only country which ensures Jewish supremacy, wealthy Israeli Jews would leave a country with an Arab majority, leaving the poor and ill-educated behind. And one state would not make people love each other, or the country.
Throughout the extensive media coverage of the UN report on Gaza 2014 there have been few Palestinian voices, few opinions sought either from officials or civilians. Reports here from the three Arab publications which covered it, Ma’an news, Al Jazeera and Al Monitor. The single point they make is that the report increases the likelihood of Palestine taking Israel to the ICC.
Although the Israeli government rejects every critical report as biased, if not antisemitic, the wide reception given to the UN HRC report on Gaza 2014, written by respected jurist from the US and Sierra Leone, has unnerved them. The ambassadors have been instructed to reach the highest level ‘to cast doubt on the committee’s mandate, the biased nature of the council, and its constant singling out of Israel’. The usual stuff.
Bizarrely, Netanyahu has attributed the critical (of both Hamas and Israel) UN report to an Arab majority on the UN Human Rights Council. This doesn’t exist. But the Israeli reaction to the UN report has been almost universally one of affront and self-pity – why are they picking on us? What about Syria, Korea, Libya…entirely missing the point that the report is not about internal democracy but about the onslaught on another people.
Suggestion to Ron Prosor, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN who has declared that the UN has been seized by terrorists – why else would they have criticised Israel in their report on Gaza? – when you’re in a hole, stop digging- and certainly don’t hurl the mud you find at a distinguished American jurist. Articles posted here from two American publications are more circumspect and considered.
We have posted in full the ‘Principal findings and conclusions’ of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict. It provides a very clear account of what happened, of the body of international law regulating armed conflict and where these laws were broken by both the IDF and Palestinian armed groups. The Israeli refusal to co-operate with the inquiry seems less a response of fear and more an assertion that the state of Israel cannot be held accountable to or by any body in the world.
This week, June 15th -June 21st, 2015, the stand-out issue is the consequences for Israel of OPE – Operation Protective Edge (the US-friendly English version of their assault on Gaza in 2014). It has not not been forgiven and forgotten. As the PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi says, it is the First time ever that Israel is […]
Right-wing Zionists are affronted by Muslim and Christian places of worship because they, like Islamic State, want to expunge all evidence of other religions pre-dating or usurping their place in Israel. Despite advice by successive heads of Shin Bet that such men should be classified as terrorists, PM Netanyahu has refused. His American friends won’t be happy about the most recent attack on a Christian church in Galilee.
The crime of abduction has a potent history in Israel, from the kidnap and hanging of two British soldiers by Irgun, through the PFLP’s kidnap and shooting of an Israeli soldier to the abduction and killing of 3 Israeli teenagers in 2014 and seizures of Palestinians by Israeli police and soldiers. Adam Keller gives scrupulous attention to the first two examples, the successful drive by the right to block funding for a play about the Israeli Arab who abducted and shot an Israeli soldier and Miri Regev’s criterion – she is open to all artistic endeavour ‘as long as they lay off the occupation and politics.’
Several ships have gathered at Messina, Sicily, preparing to sail to Gaza. The purpose is to bring hope to the people of Gaza that they can be reached, they have not been forgotten. All activists have done training in non-violence should they be attacked by the IDF.