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Did you know?

Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013


Don’t blame Hamas for starting it: JfJfP to William Hague

Letter to British Foreign Secretary

The Right Honourable William Hague MP
Foreign Secretary
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London SW1A 2AH

November 20th, 2012

Dear Mr Hague,

We write to express our astonishment at your statement of 15th November, when you said that Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis. It is difficult to square that with the recorded pattern of attacks or with the resulting deaths and injuries, and impossible to square it with the first-hand account of cease-fire negotiations.

The statistics provided by OCHA (the UN Office for the Protection of Civilians) is the most authoritative record of the intensification of the conflict. They show a pattern of mutual attacks during the year to the end of October 2012, with 73 Palestinians being killed while no Israelis were killed. Israeli forces also carried out incursions into Gaza together with destruction of crops and the targeting of fishermen within Gaza’s Oslo-recognised maritime exclusion zone.

Although Israel had been killing militants continually from early October, which often triggered retaliatory rocket attacks, from 4th November Israel began to kill civilians on land, killing an epilepsy sufferer who strayed too near their border and refusing to allow an ambulance to reach him for several hours. On 10th November an anti-tank missile fired by Palestinian fighters wounded four Israeli soldiers on the Israel-Gaza boundary. Israeli forces then fired an artillery shell that landed in a soccer field, killing two children, aged 16 and 17. Later, an Israeli tank fired a shell at a tent, where mourners had gathered for a funeral, killing two more civilians and wounding more than two dozen others. This resulted in a barrage of rocket fire. It would seem that this was a pattern of mutual attacks, not of Hamas initiating the confrontation.

However, most important is the revelation of ceasefire negotiation by the Israeli negotiator, Gershon Baskin, firstly to Haaretz and then in an OpEd in the New York Times. On 12th November the militant factions confirmed their agreement to cease firing providing Israel stopped its military actions against them. The Palestinian in charge of the negotiations was none other than Ahmed Jabari, who had kept the militant factions in check for years and who had negotiated the release of Gilad Shalit with Gershon Baskin. Israel destroyed the nascent ceasefire by assassinating him, and then commenced its concentrated attacks. The Israeli government justified it by referring to his organizing of terrorist attacks “over 10 years”, thereby neatly ignoring the ceasefire negotiations. The only credible conclusion is that the Israeli government did not want a ceasefire. It is unfortunate that Israel feels its actions are covered by Western support. After all Netanyahu is on record as saying: ‘contrary to the childish scare-mongering in some of our media suggesting that Israel is now more isolated internationally, we have conducted this operation with firm Western backing’.

Underlying this confrontation, of course, is the clear evidence that this Israeli government has no intention of negotiating peace along the internationally accepted lines. Not only has it refused in principle to cease settlement expansion, but it has undertaken several specific actions that are clear markers of its intentions to keep large parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem., all of which are known to your staff in the FCO. The most directly relevant is its refusal to submit negotiating proposals to the Quartet a year ago. It continues to maintain its siege of Gaza which imprisons the population and prevents all economic development, creating a pressure cooker environment which is ideal for recruitment to the militant factions.

None of this has been lost on Hamas or the other Palestinian groups. It is not surprising that they resort to mounting attacks as part of resisting Israeli expansionism, and that leads to Israeli repression, which leads to the cycle of violence. The time has surely come to stop blaming Hamas and to place the responsibility squarely on Israeli expansionism where it belongs. Until Israel is held to account for its actions, it is hard to see how the cycle of violence will end.

Yours sincerely

Diana Neslen

Arthur Goodman

For Jews for Justice for Palestinians
(the largest Jewish Peace and Justice group in Europe, with 1600* signatories.)

P.O.Box 46081
London W9 2ZF

[*1,707 at 18 November 2012]

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