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JfJfP comments


2016:

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

2015:

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

2014:

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

2013:

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

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Posts

‘Robbery that is devoid of shame’


You don’t need a caption to know from the barbed wire at every access point, the stack ’em high and sell ’em cheap construction that this is an Israeli settlement on Palestinian land, this one the settlement of Kiryat Arba, near the West Bank city of Hebron. Photo by Reuters

I’m a 90-year-old woman who has lived in Israel for 50 years – here is what I think about Israeli settlements

Since I witnessed their beginnings half a century ago, the settlements have only got worse. The size and scale is something I can’t get over

By Ruth Kedar, The Independent Online
June 14, 2017

It took decades for the immorality of occupation to sink in.

In 1967, my husband was a military man. We were posted abroad when the war was won and the fabric of the still-infant Israel changed, perhaps irreversibly. When we came home in 1968, the mood was victorious and we thought it was marvelous. We were truly blind to what was happening.

No one spoke of occupation back then. In those early days there was no wall, no checkpoints and no closures. But slowly, the cracks began to form. My children first helped me realise what was happening. I had three sons in the army during the first Lebanon war and then later as reservists in the West Bank. Through their stories I began to see the truth.

But still I did nothing. We were busy living and life was good. The anger took a long time to cook before it reached boiling point. It was not until 2001, after the second intifada, when, for me at least, enough was enough. I could no longer sit back and watch my country behave illegally and immorally and so, in anger, I began to act.

First, I stood at checkpoints with other women to monitor what was happening there. It was here we started to see the other side and we were shocked. When we went to the villages in the West Bank, I was flabbergasted.

We met a Palestinian called Ibrahim, who said, “Things are happening here. They won’t let me go on my land. They are beating us.” After several years of simply bearing witness, Ibrahim made us realise that exposing the injustices of occupation was not enough. More needed to be done.

We were just a handful of naive women and, with nothing but chutzpah, we founded Yesh Din. I still don’t know how we did it.

Yesh Din, Hebrew for “there is justice”, is now one of the handful of Israeli NGOs holding our government’s practices to account and seeking to uphold the law, human rights and freedoms the occupation denies millions of Palestinians.

Ibrahim was our test case. We went through legal procedures and got him back on his land. We then heard from a widow who had been forced from her home by settlers. We got her house back.


Ruth Kedar speaking at a French conference, December 2016.

Since 2005, Yesh Din has helped Palestinian victims of crime and grave violations of international humanitarian law file 1,122 complaints. By 2016, only 90 investigations (8 per cent) led to indictments. In addition, we represented Palestinian landowners and municipality heads in 64 legal proceedings before the Israeli Supreme Court or administrative tribunals.

I believe that while this occupation – the main source of Palestinian human-rights violations – continues, there will not be justice here for Israelis or Palestinians alike.

Our wins are still too few. We have successes, such as the recent evacuation of the Amona outpost, and demolitions of settler houses elsewhere, but so much of our daily work, even now, is done knowing that more cases will be closed than won. But even when we know this, we also know, as we did when we stood at the checkpoints almost 20 years ago, it is the right and moral thing to do.


One of Yesh Din’s outstanding roles is to assemble the forensic skills of gathering evidence and preparing court cases to fight for Palestinian rights to the land. Here the people from the village of Burka return to cultivate their land after 35 years, October 3, 2013. The land was confiscated in 1978 under a seizure order for military purposes, which was common practice for establishing Israeli settlements until the late 1970s. The return was an outcome of legal action by the Israeli human rights NGO Yesh Din. Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org

Since I witnessed its beginnings half a century ago, the occupation has only got worse. The size and scale of settlements is something I can’t get over. I know every little road and every little village of the West Bank and it is frightening to see them swallowed up piece by piece by indistinguishable rows of red roofs that multiply across Palestinian land. It is robbery that is devoid of shame.

We are all too indifferent and too comfortable.

If only all Israelis could see what I have seen. I know that when life is good people are indifferent and blind to the suffering of others. In the bustle and beaches of Tel Aviv it is almost impossible to think about the scale of poverty and abuse of rights happening just 20 miles away. Settlers live in cheap housing with wonderful views of the mountains. No one thinks of the injustice that lies among those hills.

No one does enough; Israelis, international governments, or the global public. We are all too indifferent and too comfortable. The occupation, among the worries of the world right now, hardly registers.

For 50 years the occupation has weakened Israel from within. It should never have happened. It has brought such radical and negative change to the country I love that I wonder every day whether what we have become is a place that I want my grandchildren to grow up in. In my 90 years, I have lived all 50 of this occupation. I will keep trying to end it. I don’t know for how long, but I will.

Ruth Kedar is a founding member of the Israeli NGO and Oxfam partner Yesh Din and continues to volunteer every week with Yesh Din in the West Bank.

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