The week in brief, 2nd-8th November – a summary of recent postings


November 7, 2010
richardmichaelkuper

jfjfpIn his final address to the UN General Assembly, Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967 said it was important that “urgent and tangible attention be devoted by this body to the ongoing ordeal of the Palestinian people whose fundamental rights are being daily violated in numerous and ways. This intolerable, immoral and unlawful occupation must be brought to an end, and there is no present prospect that traditional diplomacy will achieve this goal. The United Nations will be judged now and in the future by whether it contributes, at long last, to the long-deferred realization of the Palestinian right of self-determination, and thereby brings a just peace to both peoples.”

Further evidence of state complicity in east Jerusalem settlements is provided by Nir Hasson reporting in Haaretz on the use of a controversial law to transfer East Jerusalem assets to the rightist organizations Elad and Ateret Cohanim without a tender, and at very low prices. reports…

The UK government has promised Israel that the law on universal jurisdiction will be modified, to make it possible for Israelis suspected of war crimes to be able to visit Britain with relative impunity. But it all seems too slow for Israel: last week, while Foreign Secretary William Hague was on an official visit to Israel, it was announced that the latter was suspending “strategic dialogue” with Britain. The next day (no connection at all) William Hague met with Palestinian anti-Wall activists and is reported to have said that: “When negotiations seem like an eternally unfulfilled promise due to Israel’s unwillingness to reach a fair solution, popular resistance to the Occupation is the sole remaining possible alternative for the Palestinians to achieve their rights and avoid armed struggle.” Mazel tov!

The Ilana Hammerman story continues as she reflects on her illegal action, back in May, of taking three young Palestinian women to enjoy the beaches in Israel. Other Israeli women followed her example. Hammerman is reports on the official investigation into what she did and reflects more generally on the impediments to free movement, with Palestinians labourers crossing illegally into Israel all the time in a desperate search for work. Hammerman says she is “nurturing the hope that the police will recommend that I stand trial. Because then, before they “prosecute me to the full extent of the law,” I will be given an opportunity to tell my story…”

J.J.Goldberg writes about the intensifying conflict between the religious and the secular in Israel: “Bluntly put, how many Haredim is too many? How long can Israel sustain a rapidly expanding subculture that mostly shuns the work force, lives on public funds and doesn’t serve in the military?… Not surprisingly, most Haredi spokesmen view the entire demographic discussion as rank bigotry. “

In a major victory for the boycott movement, Africa Israel, the flagship company of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, has announced that it is no longer involved in Israeli settlement projects and has no plans for future settlement activities. Africa Israel subsequently denied that this was a political decision…

Despite having a document from the Israeli Ministry of Interior and obtained a document stating that there was no legal basis to deny her entry into Israel, researcher Anne de Jong was arrested and deported at Ben Gurion airport. Her crime? She had been aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. It turns out she is not alone: anyone who took part in the flotilla is apparently banned from entry to Israel for ten years…

Jeremiah Haber continues his analysis of Israel’s “Arab problem”, trying to understand how Rabbi Dr. Daniel Gordis, Senior Vice President at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, ends up  implicitly endorsing the involuntary expulsion of Israeli Arab citizens in the future as a way to solving what he calls “Israel’s conundrum”, i.e., what to do about its Arab citizens…

And Richard Silverstein looks at the role Gisha has played in exposing Israeli motivation for the siege of Gaza – and at the strange symbiotic relationship of Hamas and those who govern Israel today.

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