Palestine Updates 39/2017
Protests meets repression
In a startling report from Middle East Eye, Israeli reactions to the Palestinian prisoners’ strike have bordered on the ‘dangerous and racist’. There have been statements from Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman who, in addition to calling for the execution of prisoners, said that prisoners should be left to die of hunger. In other statements, the prisoners were described as poisonous cockroaches who should be exterminated with gas and for whom extermination camps should be set up. Four days into the strike, Israeli settlers set up barbecues near Ofer prison to provoke the prisoners who, at that point, had gone without food or drink for the equivalent of 12 meals.
The ‘Dignity Strike’ presses for improvements to political prisoners’ conditions: adequate healthcare, regular family visits, access to telephones, and the end of solitary confinement and “administrative detention” which is used to detain people for long periods without trial.
To pre-empt the impact of the strike, Israeli Prisons Service relocated prisoners and harassed them no end. Visits by their lawyers have been suspended and very little information from inside the prisons is made known. Regardless, grassroots solidarity is huge and early this week the hashtag #Dignity_Strike had reached over 12 million tweets.
There is another unending and somewhat forgotten tragedy that multiplies the suffering of the Palestinians. Nothing concrete has been done for the Palestinian refugees, who have been living in refugee camps for almost 50 years. Israel has managed to shift the focus from prisoners and refugees to Syria and other issues that are not the core of the Question of peace and justice in the Middle East. Our article on this is an important reminder of their plight.
The behaviour of Settlers never ceases to astonish the civilized world. Earlier this week, around 8,000 Israeli Jewish settlers, protected by Israeli forces, raided the village of Kifil Haris in the central West Bank city of Salfit and performed Talmudic rituals in an attempt to provoke the local Muslim population according to a report from Quds Press.
Gaza – the catastrophe
Elsewhere in Gaza, the situation continues to slip into chaos. With constant fuel shortages and insufficient infrastructure, the “humanitarian crisis” deepens. This has prompted even the World Bank (normally a sedate source) to issue a report ahead of an international donor conference next week which asserts that foreign aid alone cannot rescue the stagnant Palestinian economy without practical changes and Israeli cooperation.
International solidarity is growing in increments, although far more is needed. A delegation of Pax Christi International met with the EU External Action to raise the voices of Palestinians. It follows Pax Christi’s online petition of February in which Pax Christi petitioned the EU High Representative to push the EU to take a stronger stance towards the Israeli government in condemning the legalization of illegal settlements on Palestinian lands as incompatible with the human rights clause of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Pax Christi had also asked for the EU to take economic measures until Israel complies with International law.
Meanwhile, there is an off-field battle between FIFA, its member countries and Israel. An intense campaign seeks to expel Israeli clubs from Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories from FIFA. More than one hundred sports and human rights associations representing millions of people across the globe have called on FIFA to demand that the Israeli Football Association immediately exclude teams based in illegal settlements. The demand is for FIFA to suspend the association if it refuses to comply. The Israeli government is using its embassies to push for removing the issue of settlement clubs from the Congress’ agenda altogether. The result of the vote by FIFA will be known on May 21, 2017. We urge readers to join the campaign as suggested in the news items that follow.
The news that follows in this Update offers greater details.
Pax Christi – Respect of International law and end settlements or face economic measures
FIFA will make a decision on Israeli football teams based in illegal settlements at their upcoming Congress on May 11, 2017. More than one hundred sports and human rights associations representing millions of people across the globe have called on FIFA to demand that the Israeli Football Association immediately exclude teams based in illegal settlements, and for FIFA to suspend the association if it refuses to comply.
As the pressure mounts on FIFA to respect its statutes, the Israeli government is using its embassies to push for removing the issue of settlement clubs from the Congress’ agenda altogether. Teams based in illegal settlements and human rights violations have no place in the beautiful game.
Palestine Updates endorses the campaign and urges readers to act by – action:
- Joining the Thunderclap to FIFA ahead of its upcoming Congress!
- Joining the action on social media! See sample tweets and memes to share. Use the hashtag #RedCardIsrael
Here are some more actions you can take:
- Organize an action to deliver the letter to your national football association and FIFA Council members urging them to vote Israeli settlement teams out of FIFA.
- Urge sports personalities to take a public stand against the inclusion of Israeli settlement clubs in FIFA.
- Contact sports journalists in your country and encourage them to cover the story
FIFA and member federations must get an identical message – settlement clubs and Apartheid have no place in the beautiful game.
Read more on Palestine Updates website
Plight of Palestinian refugees now spans five generations
Much has been said but nothing concrete has been done for the Palestinian refugees, who have been living in refugee camps for almost 50 years. Now, overshadowed by the Syrian refugee crisis, the tragedy might not come to a conclusion anytime soon
8,000 Jewish settlers’ raid historical sites in the West Bank Around
Gaza power cuts causing humanitarian crisis:
World Bank Constant fuel shortages and insufficient infrastructure have brought about a “humanitarian crisis” for Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, the World Bank said. In a report ahead of an international donor conference next week, it said that foreign aid alone cannot rescue the stagnant Palestinian economy without practical changes and Israeli cooperation. The report is to be presented at a May 4 meeting in Brussels of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which coordinates international donor support for the Palestinians.
Palestinian- Jewish voices must unite to challenge Israel’s past