“The combined effect of the measures designed to ensure security for Israeli citizens, to facilitate and expand settlements, and, it would appear, to annex land, is ‘hafrada’, discrimination and systematic oppression of, and domination over, the Palestinian people.” This is Special Rapporteur Richard Falk’s final judgment on human rights in the oPt in which he also indicts corporate complicity. It is a closely argued and documented report, based on the body of international law.
They make a big pile, the corpses of the 45 Palestinians – unarmed, mostly young – killed by Israeli forces in the last three years, 22 of them last year. Amnesty has been counting and has released its grim report on the “unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians”. The words callous, reckless, trigger-happy, impunity, illegal also occur. The protesters are unarmed – in many cases as a conscious policy of non-violence. The arms trade with Israel should be stopped; Israel’s buying and selling is based on putting down Palestinian resistance.
Determined as ever to extract a victim status for itself government ministers have found many ways to cast Kerry’s efforts as unjust to them – the latest being that the threat of boycott is ‘holding a gun to its head’, meanwhile continuing with the very illegal and inhumane actions which invite boycott – in this case the ruthless clearance of Palestinians from the Jordan valley. Adam Keller and statement from the UN.
Two teenagers shot in cold blood in December and January. Official figures show the IDF killed 27 Palestinians, four of them minors, in 2013 – three times the number killed in 2012. The numbers injured by security forces was also higher, as was the number of settler attacks. Clashes with security forces have been particularly common in Abu Dis, just the other side of the Wall from Jerusalem, and harrassment of students going to Al Quds university has notably increased. Has this increased level of violence and intimidation been ordered – or are police and soldiers just out of control?
Jeff Halper, co-founder and director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. opens this month’s newsletters with an unusually optimisitic forecast about the sustainability of the Occupation – and a bleak warning about Israel’s preferred role as the regional, weapons-exporting hegemon. The newsletter also carries reports from ICAHD in Jerusalem, its tours, and its role in Bethehem Unwrapped.
Israel’s dependence on its arms industry and exports is no secret. What exactly it sells and to which countries is, apparently, a state secret – of course, in the name of ‘security’. Two Ha’aretz reports on a subject that is at the heart of the Israeli state.
Details of what inducements John Kerry offered to Palestinian and Israeli leaders to start negotiations have not been made public. Palestinians certainly thought that if they entered talks Israel’s colonizing policies of land seizure, new Jewish settlements, demolition of Palestinian homes and amenities, military checkpoints etc would be halted. Two brief reports from the Land Research Centre show this is not so.
There have been many reports in the last few years about the lack of due process and lack of respect for human rights and dignity in the arrest and treatment of Palestinians. This is particularly serious in the case of minors, whose fear and helplessness intensifies their ordeal. Until the rights (e.g. to a lawyer or to know the reason for the arrest) of those arrested are enforced these reports will continue to be researched and published.
International energy for a just Palestinian-Israeli peace is expended on everything but the one thing that matters – ending the occupation. The PA, under then-PM Salaam Fayyad’s direction, worked hard to produce the state institutions demanded by the West. So what? As the World Bank report, and this FMEP report, both make clear the Palestinian economy cannot grow while it is squeezed within an inch of its life by Israel’s restrictions, regulations, checkpoints, barriers on movement, and so on. The claim that all these are imposed in the name of security is laughable.
In this time of global response to the destruction of typhoon Hainan it seems useful to look at overseas charitable aid. The biggest donors in terms of proportion of national income are the countries of north west Europe. The meanest giver is Israel and the country most likely to tie its aid to propaganda for its military and nation is also Israel. The head of Israel’s philanthropy centre suggests this is because Israelis think they should be the beneficiaries of aid – despite their insistence they have a first world prosperous economy.
INCLO, a group of 10 human rights organisations, has produced a report on the global suppression of protest. It takes nine countries – including Israel, the UK, Kenya and Hungary – as case studies. The chapter on Israel describes the suppression of the peaceful protests at Nabi Saleh and, in particular, the treatment of Bassem Tamimi. He has been arrested 12 times, held for long spells in administrative detention and tortured.
The Jordan valley is the most fertile land in Palestine/Israel. The land most coveted by Israelis. Before 1967 it was the centre of Palestinian farming and herding. Their population was around 250-300,000. Now it numbers 40-50,000. Settlements, firing zones, water expropriation and ruthless control of any building has forced Palestinians out of the area leaving a harried, unsafe minority.
As we know, so shocked was the Israeli government at the EC guidelines forbidding EU funds and financial instruments being given to Israeli entities in the oPt that it demanded an inquiry. These Guidelines are the single most important step the EU has taken against the economic and political viability of the Occupation. We post four letters sent by JfJFP’s campaigning diplomat Arthur Goodman and by the EJJP to EC and American diplomats urging them to understand, take seriously and enforce those Guidelines.
As B’Tselem says in its latest report, the right not to be subjected to physical or mental torture is regarded as absolute. And that’s for adults. Over the last few years, the Israeli human rights organisation has received multiple reports from minors of horrible threats and serious violence at Gush Etzion police station. It makes sickening reading. B’Tselem has pressed for a proper response from the authorities but received none.Gush Etzion is a bloc of 22 illegal settlements and particularly likely to use violence to intimidate Palestinian children.
The status of Jerusalem as a demilitarized city under the aegis of the United Nations Trusteeship Council was an integral element of the UN’s 1947 partition. The IDF gained control of western Jerusalem in the ensuing war, and seized control of East Jerusalem in 1967. Neither act changed the international status of Jerusalem. Now a federal court has upheld the right of the President to affirm the neutrality of Jerusalem. This means Americans born in Jerusalem can no longer go on declaring themselves to be Israeli-born.
The Alternative Information Centre’s regular bulletin, The Economy of the Occupation, has devoted an issue to a thorough, and invaluable, investigation of the right-wing NGOs which operate in Israel: who they are, what they do who funds them. Unsurprisingly, the donors are largely wealthy American individuals and bodies, both Jewish and Christian. The Israeli government increasingly relies on them to sell Israel’s case – hasbara. Given the results, one might wonder if they’re getting enough bang for their bucks. (Foreign income for human rights NGOs is far smaller.)
As a country of concern for human rights abuses, the FCO issues regular updates on the situation in Israel/the oPt. Its one positive note is on human rights inside Israel – except for the displacement of Bedouin. Its concerns elsewhere are familiar- demolition of Palestinian homes, refusal of permits for building, administrative detention. Respect for human rights and the behaviour of security forces by both Hamas and the PA are criticised.
“We will not issue licences where we judge there is a clear risk that the proposed export might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, or which might be used to facilitate internal repression”:UK government. Despite Israel/ OPT being one such country of concern, it was the most lucrative market for UK military exports amongst such countries. As important, it has exempted itself from all conventions and treaties which control the use of deadly weapons.
Here are the European Commission’s guidelines on which Israeli bodies are, and which are not, eligible for EU funding. This document is followed by a commentary from Tablet magazine which suggests the effects will not be as severe as the reaction suggests.
The separation wall on which the Israeli state has expended so much time, money and energy slices Palestinian lives into unworkable fragments. At best, its planners pay no heed to the economic, social and educational lives of Palestinians – regardless of their religion; at worst, they purposefully destroy those aspects of Palestinian life in a display of arrogant cruelty. The UN office OCHA reports on the impact of the wall.