Palestinian efforts to get the EU (parliament and Commission) to take up issues of Palestinian human rights have increased and become more focussed in the last year. With several organisations now representing these interests, including the UFree network (based in Oslo) and the CEPR (Council for European Palestinian Relations), Palestinians hope that the EU’s reiterated commitment to unversal human rights will lead to more action to enforce those rights in their dealings with Israel.
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.
Criticisms of the Hamas government for its lack of respect for human rights have dogged its five-year rule in Gaza. While, like its neighbour governments in the West Bank and Israel, it is accused of acts of torture and arbitrary arrest, it is the lack of due process, of a criminal justice system, which draws the most opprobrium. The Hamas defence — it is acting under siege — does not convince Human Rights Watch.
Cultural boycott causes unease, boycotting ”Jewish” products causes dismay. But as Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi argues here, the conflation of Jews and Israel as though these two entities are one and the same thing is an evident factual error while acting as though either Jews or Israel are subject to different ethical criteria from everyone else risks a “twisted, reverse antisemitism”.
A proposed agreement between Israel and the EU on easing trade regulations (ACAA) in relation to pharmaceuticals is coming to the European Parliament next week .JfJfP is asking EU citizens to write to their MEPs urging them to oppose the agreement (see Action Alert in side bar) Here we provide briefings on this ACAA by Euromed Human Rights Network and an account of its history by the Dutch Palestine Committee.
UN experts say Palmer report is blind to how ‘Israel’s siege of Gaza is extracting a human price that disproportionately harms Palestinian civilians.’ Concerned to mediate between the states of Turkey and Israel, it ignored the violation of human rights enforced by Israel’s blockade of Gaza. 2nd, 19 NGOs ask foreign ministers to make clear that Palmer does NOT say closure of Gaza is legal
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy proposes bill to take US subsidy from elite IDF units which, he alleges, commit acts that violate human rights in the Gaza strip and occupied territories
From a modest little leader in the JC criticising Israel’s new boycott act to tirades and cutting analysis from Israeli papers and human rights groups, all but the most short-sighted in and outside Israel condemn this bill as anti-democratic and an underhand way of protecting the illegal settlements
Sponsored by JfJfP, Professor Yakov Rabkin speaks in London, Cambridge, Coventry, Liverpool and Brighton on Zionism, anti-semitism, the Arab spring amongst other conflicts
Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch brings the occupation down to its reality as a massive infringement of human rights and theft of Palestinian property: “in the areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territories where Israel has moved almost half a million Jewish “settlers,” not only do Israeli laws and policies strictly segregate Jews from Palestinians, they deliberately deprive Palestinians of the most basic needs, in many cases forcing them out of their communities.”
The Israeli settler far-right, as part of its campaign of vitriol and intimidation is stalking Rabbi Arik Ascherman, founder of Rabbis for Human Rights. Richard Silverstein reports on Tikun Olam and JfJfP sends message of support.
A UN press release chronicles the onslaughts on Palestinians since 1st January. These events, said Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, “demonstrate a general and unacceptable Israeli disposition to use excessive force against Palestinians, who are already suffering from prolonged occupation”.
Neve Gordon comments on recent developments in Israel: “A spate of anti-democratic bills, now in the process of being ratified in the Israeli Knesset, render it a crime to support any ideology that poses alternatives to conservative interpretations of Zionism, such as support for the notion that Israel should be a democracy for all its citizens…”
A Panel of Independent Experts established by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council to monitor and assess domestic investigation by both parties during Operation Cast Lead has concluded that these investigations “remain incomplete in some cases or fall significantly short of meeting international standards in others.” These events cry out for further investigation. According to the International Commission of Jurists: “The Human Rights Council must therefore assess these domestic proceedings and report accordingly to the UN General Assembly and Security Council.” Plus a statement by Amnesty International…
A devastatingly critical report on Israel’s handling of the flotilla at the end of May has been tabled at the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva. It concluldes:
“The Mission sincerely hopes that no impediment will be put in the way of those who suffered loss as a result of the unlawful actions of the Israeli military to be compensated adequately and promptly. It is hoped that there will be swift action by the Government of Israel. This will go a long way to reversing the regrettable reputation which that country has for impunity and intransigence in international affairs. It will also assist those who genuinely sympathise with their situation to support them without being stigmatised.”
“Unsafe Space: The Israeli Authorities’ Failure to Protect Human Rights amid Settlements in East Jerusalem”, a new report by The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), draws attention to an alarming reality that is taking hold in East Jerusalem: The authorities have sided with well-organized political groups, whose purpose is to “Judaize” Palestinian areas of Jerusalem and especially the Old City and its environs. The result is that Palestinian residents of the city are increasingly subject to hostility and violence, and their rights and needs are disregarded and violated.
B’tselem has just published its latest report on Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, covering the period from 1 January 2009 to 30 April 2010. We reproduce the Preface and the List of contents as well as a link to the full report.
An interesting discussion piece by Shelley Berlowitz and Jochi Weil, two of the original Swiss signatories to the “Worldwide appeal by concerned Jewish men and women to the Israeli government”, launched in March.
A passionate op-ed in the Jerusalem Post by ACRI Attorney Lila Margalit: “Each time a new security affair is exposed here, raising disturbing questions about the extent to which the public’s right to know is protected these days, I console myself with the thought that despite all the particular difficulties and challenges we face, there are still some basic things I can be sure of. I can be sure that there are no secret arrests or trials, since such things so acutely threaten the foundations of the rule of law as well as public confidence in the justice system that they are simply not acceptable in a free and democratic society…”
Stéphane Frédéric Hessel is a diplomat, former ambassador and French resistance fighter who participated in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
He writes: “Non-violent citizen-led initiatives, exemplified by the Flotilla and the various boycott and divestment campaigns around the world, present the most promising way to overcome the failure of world governments to stand up to Israel’s intransigence and lawless behavior…”