The Episcopal church in the USA (nearest relative, the Church of England) has been asked by its new group, the Episcopal Committee for Justice in Israel and Palestine, to adopt a policy of divestment from ‘companies that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands’. This is premised on the fact that Netanyahu has rejected the two-state solution and thus there is a new political landscape. There are several background documents here and a message from Bishop Tutu.
When Israel was founded, a strong drive for Jews’ own country was that they could take up farming and manual labour and thus become new men and women. That didn’t last long. Now Israel relies on foreign workers and increasingly, Palestinian children (they’re cheap) for farm work. Report from Human Rights Watch.
In a quick overview of Jews in Britain Tablet magazine harangues the left for pushing policies against the existence of Israel. In fact, Labour is true to the Balfour declaration (see post) which specified that ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious’ rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country’. Those who appeal to the Balfour declaration appear not to have read it. To criticise the idealised Israel is not to wish for its extermination. Obviously.
The rate of Israeli building on Palestinian land increased by 40% last year says Peace Now in a new report. The PA condemns the construction as a ‘war crime’ but most Israeli parties know there are no votes in ending this means of providing cheap housing for Jewish citizens.
There is a circumstance where it is deemed legitimate to bomb a residential home in a military conflict: when it yields a distinct military advantage to the attacker. B’Tselem has examined 70 cases of house destruction and concluded that most were targeted in order to punish an occupant. This means the IDF regards destroying an operative’s family as a legitimate military action (explaining the very high civilian death toll). It clearly is not.
President Hollande has offered a contract to French Jews: they stay at home in France, the state will crack-down on Islamist freedom of speech. This is not done in the name of curtailing hate-speech but in terms of security. But he snubbed Netanyahu’s opportunistic invitation to all French Jews to move to safe Israel by saying this would be a victory for terrorism. Plus the 2012 Palestinian statement against antisemitism and all forms of bigotry and racism.
The Palestine / Israel conflict is not a war between two armies of grown men. The force used by IDF and police, often demolishing houses, but also using live ammunition, leaves many children dead or crippled, orphaned and homeless. DCI-International’s report on a grim year for Palestinian children.
The BDS movement posts the successes achieved by supporters in 2014. Notably these go beyond individual consumer choices to decisions by local councils not to use services linked to, and pension funds to divest from, Israeli settlements.
‘Clean Break’ was a report addressed to new PM Netanyahu 1996 by a group of policy wonks – academics and ‘opinion formers’ on how to rejuvenate Israel’s economy and take control of the region. There is no academic objectivity in it. It is a blueprint for Israeli supremacy – justified by romantic mythology about The Jews.
In a submission last month to the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, JfJfP’s executive committee carefully distinguishes between antisemitism – which has deep roots in Europe and is rising – and criticism of Israeli policies. which is necessary and commonplace in Israel itself.
This is the second part of the exceptionally engaged and well-informed debate on the UK recognising Palestinian statehood. Again, MPs who have been traditionally pro-Israel remark on their disillusion and again the anger with Israel’s intransigence is cross-party. Questions are over the value of the UK expressing an opinion.
In this new report from Who Profits, the facts and figures are provided of how much money Israeli companies make by growing produce in the Jordan valley, by blocking Palestinian production and sales from their own land and by twisting and turning to evade the international laws that prohibit this agricultural business and its artful mislabelling.
The Palestine Festival of Literature is an annual event which draws authors from around the world. Yet however much they know, their reports back – here from Teju Cole – are not about the literature but stunned accounts of Israeli security; which makes them think – if it’s bad for us, what’s it like for Palestinians? Israeli own-goal.
Perhaps at some point for some Israelis the occupation of Palestinian land was seen as temporary – a situation allowed by the laws of war. The security structure and settlements make it clear beyond doubt that for Israel the occupation is permanent (and thus clearly illegal). New report from B’Tselem.
Here is yet another report, from Defence of Children International-Palestine, on the arrest, confinement and interrogation of Palestinian children some as young as 12 years old. What security threat do children throwing stones represent to the Israeli state? None of the many bodies who have investigated has found any justification for these practices. The security state has an insatiable appetite.
On April 9th, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee announced it was holding an enquiry into the human rights work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). It invited submissions and, on behalf of JfJfP Arthur Goodman submitted a report, It emphasises the human rights which Israel abrogates, argues that the ‘even-handed’ approach of the FCO covers up the reality of Israel’s occupation and power (including its use of violence) and proposes stronger measures to be taken.
“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?