Alan Hart is a controversial figure in Israel/Palestine politics, not for his consistent support for Palestinian rights and critique of Zionist practice and myth-making or his anger about the failure of wealthy Arab states to fund an effective Palestinian public relations operation, but for his endorsement of the attention-seeking Gilad Atzmon. He has, however, withdrawn from the battle to establish the historical and contemporary truth, feeling – wrongly we think – that the money and influence of Israeli propagandists will always triumph.
A report written by UN official Jeffrey Feltman for the quarterly meeting of the Security Council on Palestine warns that the Syrian crisis has created new urgency for finding stability in Israel/Palestine via a negotiated settlement. Various actors took part in the debate last week, including representatives from China, the EU and the Non-Aligned Movement. Not one of them supported Israel’s rigid grip on the status quo.
A teenage child, shackled, in solitary confinement, not allowed visits from family, often for the crime of throwing stones – this is a feature of the Israeli prison system unknown in western europe. For Israeli security, Palestinian children are all wannabee terrorists and their arrest an exultant display of the humiliating inability of Palestinian adults to protect their own children. Many reports have documented this abuse.
The age of email has opened an infinite new world for Israel’s security police of searching for terrorists, spies, infiltrators – or anyone with any interest whatsoever in current affairs. As Richard Silverstein reports, just the word Palestine found in a licensed (by the Attorney General) search of your email is enough to get you turned away. (If you refuse to give your email address you will be denied entry anyway.) Plots are being hatched on how to foil this latest abuse of state power, fb, Richard Silverstein, Ben White, e.g. ‘Make a new email account especially, and leave a nice message in the inbox.’. UPDATE an American intern’s experience.
Ronnie Fraser’s legal action against his union has exposed many rifts within ‘the Jewish community’ in Britain. From those who backed him to bring the case through varieties of political and legal doubters to those who thought he had no case at all the episode has, at least, set a limit to those who, by seeing every defeat as evidence of antisemitism, make it harder to fight real antisemitism.
Official documents made public this week confirm the accounts of the ‘new historians’ – that British protection was withdrawn from the Palestinians by 1948 allowing militant Zionists – feared to have great influence in the US – to seize Palestinian land and force the Nakba. New fact: British officials were preoccupied with which high-status car they could transport back to London.
The student governing body at the University of California, Berkeley voted – after an emotional all-night debate – that its own body, ASUC, and the university should divest from three companies whose services support the Israeli occupation. It can be vetoed by the ASUC president, though that can be overruled by a two thirds vote of the senate.
Every year a bureau of the US State department issues human rights reports on all countries receiving US assistance and all United Nations member states. The muted but careful language of the reports on Israel and the oPt makes their judgment of the poor respect for and enforcement of Palestinians’ rights the more shocking. The PA scores better than the Israeli occupation forces or Hamas.
Israeli authorities, reportedy including PM Netanyahu, Shin Bet and the prison service, have struck a deal with the lawyers of the gravely ill Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike since August 1. The deal renews the potency of the hunger strike, not least because of the symbolic and potent role that political prisoners have amongst Palestinians.
Israeli propaganda which insists that Israel is the one and proper home for all Jews and true representative of Jewish interests has prompted more and more people to argue the opposite; our homes are in the countries we live in, we have no right to live in Israel, ‘diaspora’ life has a long, rich history which we value.
Mitchell Plitnick takes issue with an opinion in the Jewish Forward that Pamela Geller’s anti-Muslim hate speech (Muslims are secretly infiltrating sharia law into the US etc) is the same as speeches in favour of BDS. The principles involved are quite different.
The US administration is providing a $10 billion package of military hardware to Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia as a means of reassuring them of American support against Iran’s nuclear capability and supply of weapons to insurgents in Gaza and Lebanon.
Britains’s pre-eminent news broadcaster, the BBC, has made a series of new appointments to top jobs.The men (sic) have one thing in common: they are unable to see what the Eminent Persons’ Group (below) wisely recognised: Israel is an occupying power, Palestinians are the dispossessed. Their minds are addled by BBC notions of ‘balance’. One might think they had learned from the MMR fiasco.
Pictures of the runners in the London Marathon who wore black armbands and bowed their heads in honour of those killed and injured in the `Boston Marathon were widely shown in the US and abroad. The runners in the West Bank marathon on April 21 who showed the same respect were ignored, as was (BBC excepted) the decision by the Israeli bureaucracy to bar runners from Gaza, as threats to security, from taking part in the West Bank marathon.
To Palestinians the resignation of Salam Fayyad is no great loss; he was not involved in any political negotiations and he was blamed for the financial crisis which caused such serious protests last September there was renewed talk of a 3rd intifada. To the West, Fayyad was the man they could do business with and they fear Abbas becoming enclosed in corruption and croneyism.
The European Eminent Persons Group – a network of elder statesmen – has sent a forthright letter to Lady Aston urging her, and the EU, to acknowledge that the Oslo process is dead, the US can’t broker peace and the EU should take the lead by recognising that Israel is an occupying power which western policy is entrenching.
Protests against one of the world’s biggest companies, G4S, which provides Israel with paramilitary and prison services, has forced the company to give up its contracts in the occupied territories. The cost to its reputation – it was voted the world’s third worst company last January – is not worth it.
The EU is not moving to ban settlement products as many have reported. The EC is acting to enforce EU rules that goods made in the oPt should not be falsely labelled as Made in Israel which allows the makers to benefit from preferential tariffs. Nor, as Israeli officials have complained, is the EU ‘picking on Israel’ alone amongst countries with ‘controversial’ policies. Israel is the only ‘favoured’ nation to practise illegal military colonisation of a subject people.
Faysal Mikdadi, writer and British resident, is made dizzy by the great drop from the West’s rhetoric about freedom and justice and the reality of its policies towards the dispossession of the Palestinians. Perhaps property ownership and freedom are as chained together as John Locke surmised.
As Israel’s Remembrance Day and Independence Day roll past again some reflection is in order. Combatants for Peace and the Forum of Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Parents organise a joint meeting on the eve of Remembrance Day, Uri Avnery reports. And Tony Karon writes about 65 years of Israeli independence – only it was 60 years when he wrote it, but who’s counting? Karon: “without justice for the Palestinians, Israel is no closer now than it was 60 years ago to being able to live in a genuine peace with its neighbors…”