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.
If you read this report from the UN’s committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is neither mere ‘Israel bashing’ nor a mere list of IDF abuses of children. More subtly, its mix of praise for some Israeli laws and procedures and censure of the violence, fear and poverty to which Palestinian children are subjected reads as a thorough documentation of an apartheid system.
In this powerful article, Idan Landau writes that the soundtrack to the building of zionism is the rumble of destruction. Since its creation, the state of Israel has routinely smashed down the homes of Palestinians, leaving the families homeless, their belongings either broken or scattered. How is it that Israelis take this sound of the devastation of human life to be ‘normal’, not deserving a second look or a first question?
Widely picked up and recirculated this week, a story that Britain’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has issued a report showing it had turned down many licences for ‘security’ equipment that the IDF wanted to buy. Well, not exactly. A spokesperson for BIS tells JfJfP that it has issued no such report but thought some clever person had logged into their website and trawled the data. We can’t compete with that level of industry, so here are a few excerpts from a compendium of reports from four committees responsible for scrutinising arms exports.
In a report for the European Council of Foreign Relations (not a EU body) former diplomat Nick Witney writes with unusual lucidity and honesty about the EU’s cowardice on Israel/Palestine. The EU wants to be a player, but only through its diplomats who can only see their role as ‘mediators’ in an essentially unequal power conflict. Comment on report by Sam Bahour is second.
The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which consists of the world’s 34 most economically developed countries, has placed Israel as the most unequal country of all, that is, it has the biggest gap between the richest and poorest. Contrary to some reports, it doesn’t measure the ‘richest and ‘poorest’ countries although a high poverty rate may depress the national income.
There is no need to exaggerate the situation in Gaza with dramatic talk of open-air prisons and over-crowded ghettoes. The reality is of limited freedom, daily 12-hour electricity blackouts, lack of medicine and of an economy that is squeezed by Israeli restrictions to the point where it can barely function. Gisha provides the facts and figures.
There is every reason why the Obama administration should be deeply concerned about the image of the US among Muslims and Arabs; it doesn’t need professional surveys to tell it the US is widely distrusted by the majority in the Middle East and North Africa. So, argues Michael Omer-Man, whether Kerry’s mission produces results or not, Obama et al need to be seen to be engaged in a peace process.
The Israeli claim that it is a democratic state based on law is shown to be laughable in a new report and film from Adalah on the forced displacement of Palestinians. When the Israeli government or the IDF or the Jewish National Fund or settlers want land where Palestinians live, they almost invariably get it and there almost no laws which Palestinians can use to assert their right to their homes or free movement. Adalah questions whether trying to use the notion of rights to protect Palestinians – who may be Israeli citizens – is effective.
The Church of Scotland played a leading role in designating Palestine as the Biblical land of Israel to which Jews must return for prophecies to be realised. It was one of its ministers who made the claim that Palestine was ‘a land without people for a people without land’ . Over 180 years after that kickstart to Christian Zionism, the Church of Scotland publishes a report – The Inheritance of Abraham? – throwing out the literal reading of ‘the land of Israel’ and putting forward its view of how Christians should regard the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli state. UPDATE: Rebuke from Scottish Council of Jewish Communities.