Edith Garwood is Country Coordinator/Specialist for Israel, Occupied Palestinian Territories for Amnesty International. She urges that a human rights framework should put at the centre of any talks – something that has not been the case since Oslo two decades ago.
Michael Sfard shows how the IDF has redefined the laws of war, challenging any differentiation between military targets (which are legitimate) and civilian targets (which aren’t) and undermining the principle of proportionality, which forbids attacking even a legitimate target if the anticipated harm to civilians is excessive in comparison to the military benefit from the target’s destruction has gone. The IDF interprets the laws of war in a way that is “shockingly different” from the general consensus worldwide.
Governments which have been happy to intervene in Libya and Iraq have left it to human rights organisations to speak out about the aims and effects of Operation Brother’s Keeper and the toll taken on Palestinians: three deaths, uncounted homes searched, over 280 arrests, harsher conditions imposed on prisoners, all free movement stopped in much of the West Bank. Only a fit, secretive, group of people could have kidnapped the Israeli boys. The IDF operation seems to have less and less to do with finding them.
There is nothing in this post which regular readers of this website have not read before in the many authoritative reports on the detention of children from the oPt. The point is who has said it now – a senior British solicitor just back from the West Bank and who has published it – the Jewish Chronicle which is responding to the growing disquiet among even conservative British Jews about the illegal practices inherent in Israel’s occupation.
The Israeli state – and its vanguard, the settlers – use many methods to displace Palestinians because they don’t want them where they are, because they do want their land. Adalah workers describe the methods used to get land into – and Palestinians out of – Israel in transgression of their human rights (and the spirit of Succot this week).
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.”