At his last press conference as president Barack Obama reminded people the situation in the MidEast was volatile and any sudden change of policy – like moving the US embassy to Jerusalem- could have explosive results. He also reiterated that his actions were steps towards a 2-state solution, the only hope for peace.
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.
President Obama visited Israel and Palestine with a simple message: ‘No we can’t’. We can’t stop Israel building settlements, we can’t stop Hamas firing rockets, we can’t deliver sovereignty to the Palestinians. And we leaders can’t get too far ahead of our people. But you Israelis and Palestinians can if you give up old habits, compromise, and start talking. My Secretary of State John Kerry will fill in the gaps. Here is the transcript of his press conference with President Abbas, (‘shit’ said a Fatah official), AFP report of a ‘soaring address’, transcript of speech, and many comments.
As we said last week, it is expected that Israel’s Supreme Court will overturn the election committee’s ban on Ms Zoabi standing in the January Knesset election. The CEC’s decision, and the support it has received inside Israel, reveals racist, misogynist and deeply parochial attitudes towards political democracy. JfJfP condemns this latest act of discrimination.
Stop the Wall is an organization that promotes non-violent resistance to the Wall and defends its resisters (1). In the early hours of last Tuesday, the IDF raided their Ramallah offices (with or without PA connivance? – 4) and removed valuable computer equipment and records (2). While most see this is as an attack on civil resistance, the IDF says the raid was to prevent ‘terror’ activity (3).
The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Amnesty International called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Operation Cast Lead for war crimes committed by both sides. The Prosecutor’s office has rejected this because the PA is not a state party. Amnesty argues the decision should be made by jurists, not taken from a blocked political process and calls on the Prosecutor to reconsider the decision.
MEMO (Middle East Monitor) has published the full text of the Doha Declaration. For stories on the making of the agreement and reactions to it, see postings below,
UPDATE: MUSEE DE L’ELYSEE SUSPENDS PRIZE BECAUSE SANSOUR EXCLUDED. From Tuesday – London-based Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour, whose work explores Palestinian lives through science fiction modes, was shortisted for the Lacoste Elysee Prize – until the French fashion firm demanded her work be removed as ‘too pro-Palestinian’. Lacoste’s anxiety about its brand was last evident when it tried to stop Anders Breivik appearing in court in Lacoste clothes.
Last August, attacks with bombs and guns killed 8 Israelis. The IDF blamed the Popular Resistance Committees and attacked Gaza killing 15 Palestinian civilians and 5 PRC militants. Now Egypt’s security force has arrested 3 Sinai-based militants as the real perpetators of the attacks. 1. Maan news, 2, IDF statement
A renewed effort by right-wing MKs to limit the role of NGOs in Israeli society by cutting funds from foreign donors has led to a sharp protest by 18 of the NGOs which keep Israeli society dynamic. They ask the international community to join their protest
Prime Minister Netanyahu has taken to many platforms during his period of office to proclaim the many concessions and offers of peace he has made to the Palestinians, all of which they have resisted. In an open letter to him, the German Jewish Forum finds all these claims to be untrue They also press him for the release of the ship Irene.
Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish American, has gained fame – and notoriety – for his intellectual work on, amongst other things, how contemporary Jews and others have exploited the Holocaust and anti-semitism in ways he regards as dishonourable and dishonest. Hear his views on Israel/Palestine at venues round England.
The Saoirse from Ireland and Tahrir with representatives from Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Palestine were on their way to Gaza carrying 27 passengers, medical supplies and letters of support until intercepted by the Israeli navy on Friday. 1) Press release from In Gaza, 2) BBC news 3) JfJfP: Israeli action ‘not in our name’
JfJfP welcomes a ruling by Britain’s advertising authority, ASA, that an ad by the Israeli land agency ILAN is ‘misleading’ and not to be repeated. The ad implied the land being offered is in Israel. In fact, it is in the illegally occupied West Bank. This follows a complaint by Michael Shanahan Previous complaints by JfJfP and PSC have won adjudications against the Israeli tourist office for similar misrepresentations.
Neither the Israeli government nor Hamas has treated prisoners humanely or in accord with international conventions. Amnesty, 1), records the injustices. The inequality of the exchange, says Rachel Shabi, 2) points to the unequal capacity to make use of imprisoning people, with Israel having a hugely greater power to capture political activists
Britain’s Foreign Office has stepped in at the last moment, to declare Kadima leader Tzipi Livni is on a ‘special mission’ to London and immune from prosecution (1). Ms Livni, a former member of Mossad, has been accused of war crimes for her hard-line role in Operation Cast Lead. Palestine Solidarity Campaign leads protest at her visit and another act supporting Netanyahu’s government by the UK coalition (2 and 3). 4) Richard Irvine on the change in UK law on war criminals. (see also http://jfjfp.com/?p=25557)
Home Secretary Theresa May made decisions to exclude, arrest and detain Shekh Raed Salah against the advice of her own officials, using evidence from highly dubious sources provided by the contentious Community Support Trust. This posting has the press release from MEMO, a report from the Guardian and a BBC profile of Salah
Although there is no firm evidence that the rocket attacks on Israel on 18th August came from Gaza, the IOF has responded with deadly airstrikes, continuing after the cease-fire. Personal (Al Jazeera vox pop 1, Eva Bartlett 2, ) and Gazan legal centre (PCHR, 3, Al Mezan Center, 4) accounts testify to the damage
From a modest little leader in the JC criticising Israel’s new boycott act to tirades and cutting analysis from Israeli papers and human rights groups, all but the most short-sighted in and outside Israel condemn this bill as anti-democratic and an underhand way of protecting the illegal settlements
The PLO says the boycott law ‘turns settlements into sacred places’ and makes the Quartet irrelevant; below, a press release from the Palestinian BDS national committee, saying the law consolidates Israel’smove towards an oppressive, apartheid regime