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06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011




How the continuation of the blockade of Gaza is being sold…



Spinning the blockade

Superficial improvements in humanitarian conditions in Gaza will only deepen its political isolation: Is this the aim of the international community?

JNews editorial, Tuesday, 15 June, 2010, London, UK

Politicians and officials are suggesting that the blockade of Gaza – defined on Monday by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as illegal – will be significantly eased in the coming days.

Key media outlets are suggesting that the public scandal over the killing of nine and the injuring of dozens by Israeli special-forces during an attack on an aid convoy to Gaza in international waters will ultimately lead to a reversal of the blockade.

However, a closer look at the parameters of this ‘easing’, as outlined by Quartet representative Tony Blair on the BBC’s Today Programme on Monday, gives cause for doubts.

Blair’s definitions of the ‘significant movement’ to be expected within the next few days, and agreed upon ‘in principle’ by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, consist of the following:

Changes in the mechanism of approval: Israel will be asked to provide a list of items prohibited for security reasons rather than a list of permissible items – a change that Blair hopes will lead to an increase in types of items allowed into Gaza.

Definition and monitoring of approved beneficiaries of aid: Items necessary for repair of infrastructure—for example, sewage and power—will be permitted to enter, so long as they are monitored to ensure they reach certain approved users such as the UN.

Involvement of the PA and EU at the crossings: Passage through the Rafah Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt (and perhaps other crossings) would be partly controlled by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) and the EU.

The naval blockade will continue: No permission for access to Gaza’s port.

Perhaps the key problem with these suggested changes is what they omit. Concentrating on entry of goods into Gaza while ignoring exports, as well as free entry and exit of people for medical, social, educational, trade, personal or political purposes, is a skewed approach to lifting the blockade.

Even if we only examine the entry of goods, improving the ‘humanitarian’ conditions of the population (as defined by the Israeli government and international aid groups), while ignoring the private sector and the de-facto authorities in Gaza, will in fact entrench Israeli control over Gaza’s economy and deepen the already extreme dependence of Gaza’s people on external aid.

As for the suggested changes themselves, they seem designed to preserve the status quo.

Israeli authorities do not limit themselves to set lists – either of permitted or of prohibited articles; rather, they use an arbitrary and constantly-shifting policy to disrupt the consistent flow of goods into Gaza.

The restriction of goods principally to UN projects and monitoring of their passage will pose even greater difficulties than before, and will by definition exclude goods whose entry is coordinated by smaller organisations and charities.

Imposing PA coordination at the Rafah crossing will necessarily lead to non-cooperation by Hamas authorities in Gaza and possibly to a complete shut-down of the crossings. The main aim of this measure, according to Blair, would be to exert political pressure on Hamas.

None of the suggested changes represents a qualitative alteration in the terms of the blockade. Although, if respected, they might fend off the ‘humanitarian crisis’ that is so often brandished as the definitive test of Israeli policies, both Israel and the international community know full well that they are a far cry from what is necessary for the recovery of Gaza’s economy, society and autonomy.

In fact, Israel is unlikely to change its central policy regarding Gaza, whose aim, as ably analysed by Israeli journalist Amira Hass, is to completely disconnect the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip from the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (i.e, the West Bank including East Jerusalem) and to exclude them from any international plans regarding a future settlement with the Palestinians.

The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority is in this case only too pleased to comply and, for the sake of prevailing over its political rival, Hamas, is failing to defend the Palestinian residents of Gaza.

The elaborate and widely-covered suggestions for the easing of the blockade seem to be designed to deflect questions regarding its true aims, and provide the EU and the US with some concrete show of progress in the face of growing public outrage following the violent attack on the flotilla.

The international community, whose financial and political involvement in these plans is only growing, has an urgent question to answer: will it cooperate with the entrenchment of the forced rift between the West Bank and Gaza, or will it work to achieve fair and democratic representation of all Palestinians, with an eye to ending Israel’s control over all parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory?

This article may be reproduced on condition that JNews is cited as its source

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