Newsletter 19 June 2008
1. On the upgrading of the EU-Israel Association Agreement
2. ACRI on Palestinians barred from Dead Sea beaches + Independent article
3. FFIPP-UK Latest Newsletter
4. Snippets from B’tselem
5. ‘Israel’s ambassador says Britain has become a hotbed of radical anti-Israeli feeling’
6. ‘Ambassador’s own goal’, Brian Klug
7. Khalid Mishal: The Making of a Palestinian Islamic Leader interviewed by Mouin Rabbani
8. ‘On the Future of Israel and Palestine’, an Interview with Ilan Pappé and Noam Chomsky
9. ‘No I Can’t!’, Uri Avnery on Barak Obama
10. An Apology, Uri Avnery
11. “The U.S. is sowing the seeds of a long term tragedy…” An interview with Gilbert Achcar on Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, and the Anti-War Movement.
1. JfJfP Comments on the upgrading of the EU-Israel Association Agreement
‘As we understand it, there is an intention to upgrade the agreement in the form of a political declaration, rather than a new agreement, which will give Israel access to increased EU programming and will state clearly that there is a special relationship between the EU and Israel. The issue of Israel’s compliance with the Association Agreement’s human rights requirement will not, however, be mentioned. Amnesty International and other NGOs will be making a formal representation to the Council and the Commission.’
Full commentary by Arthur Goodman.
EJJP letter to MEPs
At the European Council meeting on 19-20 June, I understand that EU heads of state will consider upgrading political and economic ties with Israel under the EU’s Euro-Med programme. I am writing to you on behalf of European Jews for a Just Peace, to request that you make the strongest representations possible to the EU governments that such an upgrade is deeply inappropriate at this time.
EU officials have emphasised that the importance of maintaining close relations with Israel, at a time when Israel is occupying or blockading Palestinian Territory, is to encourage Israel to adhere more closely to European norms of behaviour with respect to human rights, democracy and international law. This policy has failed.
The Barcelona Declaration governing the EuroMed process – signed by then Prime Minister, now Defence Minister Ehud Barak – commits signatories to:
“act in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other obligations under international law…
…develop the rule of law and democracy in their political systems…
respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and guarantee the effective legitimate exercise of such rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, freedom of association for peaceful purposes…”
Israel is known to contravene international law, most obviously through the collective punishment of the population of Gaza, so described by External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner in January this year. Less widely known are the many instances where it shows contempt for the rules of its own laws. I have appended some instances for your information.
The intention to promote European values through closer economic, political and cultural ties is noble in principle. In practice, Israel shows no respect for the agreements it has already signed. Now is not the time for the EU to upgrade relations with Israel.
I would be grateful if you would convey these concerns to your foreign minister and let me know their response.
Dan Judelson, Secretary, European Jews for a Just Peace
June, 12th 2008
EU unanimously upgrades Israel ties, turning aside PA objections
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
The European Union, turning aside Palestinian objections, has announced upgraded relations with Israel in the form of a range of steps involving commerce, the economy, and academic ties as well as improvements in the diplomatic dialogue between the sides.
The decision was taken unanimously on Monday by the EU’s 27 member nations, following an intense diplomatic effort by Israel.
2. From ACRI
I am writing to update you about a petition that ACRI submitted to the High Court of Justice last week challenging the IDF’s illegal prohibition on Palestinians from entering the beaches in the northern Dead Sea located in the occupied West Bank. Our petition highlights the fact that the prohibition was introduced following complaints by Israelis managing beaches in the area, who claim that a “mix” of patrons at their beaches hurts their businesses.
ACRI’s petition challenges the Military Commander’s exploitation of security arguments to serve extraneous interests, and highlights the IDF’s widespread policies of discrimination which prohibit and restrict a person’s freedom of movement solely on the basis of his or her national origin. Furthermore, the petition challenges the unlawful expropriation of the only strip of beach accessible to the Palestinian population of the West Bank for the exclusive use of Israelis and for the economic benefit of Israeli settlements established in occupied territory.
An in-depth article on our petition appeared in The Independent:
Palestinians barred from Dead Sea beaches to ‘appease Israeli settlers’
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
3. A new FFIPP-UK Newsletter has just gone out (15 June2008).
It contains, among other things, links to articles and reports on the FFIPP-International Conference in Jerusalem at the beginning of July, updates on the Finkelstein and the Fulbright scholars affairs, articles on the recent UCU motion 25, and much else besides.
Available on the web.
If you would like to be put on the FFIPP-UK mailing list contact firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Snippets from B’tselem:
(a) Video testimony: Heart patient dies after delay at checkpoint, reported in 12 June mailing
In February 2008, Fawziyeh a-Dark suffered a heart attack and died after soldiers prevented her passage to hospital. Now, her husband gives B’Tselem a video testimony of the events leading up to her death.
(b)Israel denies unregistered Palestinians ability to obtain ID cards, report on 29 May
Israel refuses to provide a solution for residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip whose parents did not register them in the population registry at birth. Living without ID cards, these persons are often barred from realizing basic rights such as the right to work, to education, to family life, and more.
(c) Ministry of Justice skews facts in response to World Bank report, May 28
B’Tselem wrote to the Justice Ministry to protest its response to the World Bank’s report on the effects on the Palestinian economy resulting from Israel’s restrictions on movement in the West Bank. The response included distorted and misleading data regarding several issues, including roads forbidden to Palestinians and planning and building in Area C
5. Israel’s ambassador says Britain has become a hotbed of radical anti-Israeli feeling, reported in the Daily Telegraph on 10 June.
6. Ambassador’s own goal: Israel’s ambassador in London is trying to delegitimise genuine debate about his country’s future, says Brian Klug in a particularly well-aimed reply.
7. Khalid Mishal: The Making of a Palestinian Islamic Leader
Interviewed by Mouin Rabbani
Khalid Mishal (Abu Walid), a founder of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the head of its politbureau since 1996, has been the recognized head of the movement since the assassination of Shaykh Ahmad Yasin in spring 2004. A very intresting interview with him appears in the current issue of Journal of Palestine Studies, Issue 147 (Spring 2008). It is available for free download at http://www.palestine-studies.org/final/en/journals/content.php?aid=9851&jid=1&iid=147&vid=XXXVII&vol=207
8. On the Future of Israel and Palestine, an Interview with Ilan Pappé and Noam Chomsky, by FRANK BARAT, June 6, 2008
Interestingly, Pappé and Chomsly differ considerably on a range of issues.
9. No I Can’t!, Uri Avnery on Barak Obama, 7 June 2008
‘And what was the first thing he did after his astounding victory? He ran to the conference of the Israel lobby, AIPAC, and made a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning.
That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked.’
10. An Apology, Uri Avnery, 14 June 2008
THIS WEEK, the Prime Minister of Canada made a dramatic statement in Parliament: he apologized to the indigenous peoples of his country for the injustices done to them for generations by successive Canadian governments…
The President of France has apologized on behalf of his people for the misdeeds of the Vichy regime, which turned Jews over to the Nazi exterminators. The Czech government has apologized to the Germans for the mass expulsion of the German population at the end of World War II. Germany, of course, has apologized to the Jews for the unspeakable crimes of the Holocaust. Quite recently, the government of Australia has apologized to the Aborigines. And even in Israel, a feeble effort was made to heal a grievous domestic wound, when Ehud Barak apologized to the Oriental Jews for the discrimination they have suffered for many years.
I BELIEVE that peace between us and the Palestinian people – a real peace, based on real conciliation – starts with an apology.
11. “The U.S. is sowing the seeds of a long term tragedy…”
An interview with Gilbert Achcar on Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, and the Anti-War Movement, Znet 2 June 2008
A wide-ranging interview containing very interesting comment, especially on the one-state or two-state question (‘To be frank, I consider this debate to be largely a waste of time.’)