This week’s postings

October 1, 2017
Sarah Benton

This may be the week of Yom Kippur (ended last night, September 30) but there’s been no evidence of repentance and embracing the other in the public realm of Palestine/Israel (or anywhere else).

Yet in two different places in this website there are heartfelt pleas for understanding the narrative of the other. It is fruitless to ask ‘who’s right’ but makes sense to ask ‘what is the other saying that I can learn from’. The first call for such empathy comes from Tony Klug in a TED talk . The video is in NIBS.

The second is from a new commentator here, Mohammed Amin, in a 2016 article from Conservative Home,
Between Jews and other Arabs
included here apart from its own merits because it features in a discussion on Forgotten Israelis, a Panel Discussion on the Status of Palestinian Citizens of Israel, (9th October. See also NIBS).

Another ‘forgotten group’ in Israel are the Christians, the remnants of those in the place where Christianity was born. (Netanyahu makes the point – and it’s a correct point – that Israel is now the place in the MidEast where Christians are safest and the population is growing – a point of shame for Arab Countries.) Many of the surviving Christians in Palestine share the general view that Israel is an oppressive and dispossessing force for Palestinians.

Such a group is The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) which has sent an urgent plea for help to the World Council of Churches. They are, they say, on the brink of catastrophe. The twist to this unhappy, but straightforward tale, is introduced by Marie van der Zyl, Vice-President, Board of Deputies of British Jews. Simply because the NCCOP is critical of Israel she decides it’s a no-good group. In an extensive paean to Lord Balfour and the British empire and reminder of the persecutions, the pogroms and the holocaust she thinks the desperate plea from the NCCOP can safely be ignored. Methodists pile in to disagree.
Please – stand by us Arab Christians

The majority of articles this week, September 25th-October 1st 2017, are in fact about Palestine. Read them and you’ll know why.

THE PNA has never been in worse repute or held in lower regard. From a grim account of torture in a PNA prison in Jericho through some very astute comments to the findings of opinion polls that Palestinians have lost all faith in Mahmoud Abbas or a two-state solution there is a clear crisis in PNA self-governance and capacity for political leadership:
Degradation of the Oslo authority

Yet, as Ali Abuminah points out in this interview, the Israeli and Palestinian authorities co-operate closely on ‘security’ – which means locking up Palestinian ‘dissidents’. The rhetoric is of total antagonism. The reality is of working together to prevent the status quo of formal enmity and actual co-operation between the two regimes against the mutual enemy of militant Palestinians:
Israeli and Palestinian regimes join to crush Palestinian critics

How can political leadership develop its skills? Last week the IOF arrested almost a third of all members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and is holding them in administrative detention. For what?
Mass arrest of Palestinian legislators

Israeli and Palestinian NGOs have expressed their shock and distress at the clamp-down on their freedom of expression by the security forces of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas has never been tolerant of dissent. The placemen around Abbas are clinging to their places. Israel will arrest Palestinians for incitement at the click of a Facebook button. These are all illegal denials of free speech points out NGO Adalah.
Cyber censorship is illegal says Adalah

As ever in Gaza, wherever there are people bent on revenge or destruction there will be someone creative looking to salve the traumas of wars and of being trapped. Music is the therapy of choice and a Palestinian lute player, Reem Anbar, provides music therapy for the traumatised, often made voiceless, speechless, people of Gaza. “Music is the nutrition of one’s soul” she says:
Using music in Gaza to heal damaged souls

The relationship between Israel and Palestine is intolerable and many have puzzled how best to define it. Apartheid, settler-colonialism both fit. But in a interesting article in Al Shabaka the authors choose ‘racial capitalism’ because the capitalist nature of the subjugation is often overlooked in the search for a political term, especially in these times of global markets:
How Palestinians became a disposable population

Bernie Sanders, defeated Democratic candidate in 2016 (but now an American megastar) had little to say about foreign policy. Would he have done better if he had said what he thought, e.g. the US should stop heaping megabucks on Israel for military spending:
What Bernie Sanders thinks but didn’t say

The UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) is following the brief given to it by UNGA. Israel, the UK, the US are all shuddering in horror and threatening to leave. Israel’s settlements and continued occupation of Palestinian territories are illegal under international law. In compliance with its resolutions, the UNHRC Commissioner is drawing up a list of companies which illegally trade with illegal settlements. A bit of public support and pressure may be needed here:
UN warns firms not to trade with settlements

It is odd how international human rights law – which can bring African warlords to trial – has no effect on Israel’s siege of Gaza which has been classified as an illegal collective punishment by many legal bodies. Israel – and the Gulf Sates – could supply Gaza with all the fuel it needs for sanitary purposes. Israel doesn’t and the blockade remains in force. Meanwhile, for want of fuel, the waste of 2 million people dawdles down the streams and pipes, untreated, into the sea. The pollution is, literally, deadly depriving people of their one escape to the pleasures of the sea. That sea knows no boundaries:
Deadly pollution in Gaza sean

Khan al-Ahmar is a Bedouin village which lies between two Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The settlers, so of course the Israeli government, does not want them there – ship them somewhere else. This ‘forcible transfer’ would be a war crime  says B’Tselem and PM Netanyahu would be culpable. It appears that Israel wants to extinguish the Bedouin way of life – a definite war crime:
Israel applies to ‘transfer’ Bedouin

Hooray. Great news. A young Palestinian woman, Maysaloun Hamoud, of communist parents has made an entirely original film called ‘In Between’ which features the lives of young Palestinians in Tel Aviv. And do you know what – they are very like the lives of young people is every city. For which truth Hamoud has been honoured with a fatwa (the girls don’t cover their hair! they mix with boys! and smoke cigarettes!) Defy the fatwa, see the film and let your hair down:
Breaking the image

This next posting is included because so many thought that the struggle of the Palestinians and the Kurds was the same, so Palestinians should support the Kurds. Well, they’re in the same bit of the world, stateless and aren’t they all Arabs? No Kurds aren’t Arabs which is why Netanyahu supports their bid for independence, hoping for a pro-Western bloc between Iraq and Turkey. Which is why Palestinians aren’t enthusiastic:
Palestinians do not side with Kurds

Our new News in Brief section (NIBS) includes Tony Klug’s TED talk, the Sun on Yom Kippur, PSC’s petition on child prisoners, a letter from Jewish Voice for Labour and much more, in short form.

© Copyright JFJFP 2017