Palestine Update 373
An irrational Israel gets irreversibly malicious
As the annexation draws closer, Israel is getting edgy and irrational. The IOF kills and maims with impunity. Meanwhile an outlandish judicial system offers Israeli killers an easy way out. Reliable reports suggest that Israel’s near-daily use of the noxious tear gas is notorious, with researchers labeling the occupied West Bank’s Aida refugee camp as “the most tear-gassed place in the world”.
Two Israeli forces, who had shot dead a mentally-ill Palestinian man in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, have shockingly been freed. They should, instead, have been fired and jailed. The 32-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by two Israeli armed soldiers in a main entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds. Israel forces have made the ludicrous claim that the Palestinian was allegedly “holding a suspicious object that appeared to be a gun.” The victim was on his way to a special needs educational institute, where he is a student. He simply did not understand the orders of the Israeli forces and sought to escape in fear. He was then shot eight to ten times. The two Israeli forces who were directly involved in Hallaq’s murder have been freed after spending a mere night in detention. They will probably be decorated as ‘war heroes’. Any Palestinian who had committed such a crime would have spent a life time in prison. Clearly Israel is out of its political senses.
The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, the Gaza-based Palestinian Hamas resistance movement, and many human rights organizations have strongly condemned Hallaq’s tragic murder, calling for international probes into Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, particularly extrajudicial killings. If daylight murders have legal sanction in any country, that country must be considered uncivilized and barbaric.
Israeli politics have been dysfunctional for longer than a year. It won’t get too much better over the next few years as Netanyahu strikes unprincipled deals with his political partners and takes Israeli politics to the lowest possible depths just to survive politically and keep the Zionist voter satisfied. Israel’s politics has nothing moral that it can hold up as something to be proud of.
The articles that follow must remind us of the words of Martin Luther King who famously said: “The arc of the moral universe is long. But it bends towards justice”.
Resistance against injustice and resilience in pursuit of a just world
In an expression of solidarity, Dr Bandile Masuku, the South African official responsible for health in the province of Gauteng, and other members of his team have been spotted wearing Palestine Masks as they wage the fight against Covid19. The Palestine Masks (made locally in South Africa with specially imported Palestinian scarf/keffiyeh material) is a joint initiative between #Africa4Palestine and the Embassy of Palestine in Pretoria. The trademark Palestine Keffiyeh scarf (from which the design for the mask is derived) has become an international symbol of resistance and solidarity. During the 1980s Palestinian leaders, including Yasser Arafat, Leila Khaled and others made the keffiyeh widely popular. It is undoubtedly a fashionable and stylish accessory, but wearing it also has deep political and cultural connotations – it is indeed a symbol of resistance and resilience.
With Israeli annexation looming, Palestinian analysts warn of increased violence
Some holding out for Trump defeat in November; others say Abbas running out of options
With Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promising to annex parts of the West Bank sometime after July 1, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians are on the increase and the region is bracing for increased violence this summer. In response, earlier in May, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced an end to security coordination with Israel. Many analysts say the Palestinian leader is running out of options as he gets weaker politically amid fear that he may lose his grip on power.
Bassem Zubaidi, a professor of political science at Birzeit University, near Ramallah, said Abbas’ declaration was intended to appease his domestic audience and to pressure Israel to reconsider annexation. “The PA may have exhausted all of its cards, especially after the cessation of security coordination with Israel.” he said. Zubaidi argues that Abbas views his policies and “political investment” in the Oslo process as a lost cause and that he should rethink his strategy. “The PA is in real trouble. What can the Palestinian leadership tell the people? They have not produced any real, tangible steps in the 25 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords,” he said.Abdul Majeed Swailem, a professor of regional studies at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, disagrees, telling The Media Line that the PA still has a lot of things going for it. “The PA may have exhausted a few of its cards, but it still has few more remaining that it will use to confront the annexation plan and to defy the ‘deal of the century,’” he said.
Israel: Politics, prosecution and annexation
Israeli politics have been dysfunctional for longer than a year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won three general elections by so slim a margin that he couldn’t form a parliamentary majority. In January, in the midst of this, President Trump announced his peace plan for Israelis and Palestinians that effectively gave up on the “two-state solution” concept that has been the basis for the decades-long unsuccessful peace process.
One factor that helped create the political logjam is Mr. Netanyahu’s long tenure in office. He first held the prime ministership from 1996-1999 and has again since 2009. Mr. Netanyahu is a strong conservative leader but a significant part of the Israeli electorate may simply be tired of him. Mr. Netanyahu’s opponent, former Gen. Benny Gantz, fought three elections promising that he would not serve in a unity government with him. Out of sheer exhaustion, Messrs. Netanyahu and Gantz have now agreed to share power with the former still holding onto the top job.
Mr. Netanyahu went through the last election under a cloud of criminal corruption charges. The trial, which Mr. Netanyahu won’t be required to attend each day, will probably take at least two years. It began on May 24 with an arraignment in which he pleaded not guilty. It is the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been tried.
‘Call the Cops on the Cops’: Palestinian Activist Discusses Events that Preceded Murder of African American Man
In a Facebook post that was circulated widely on social media, Palestinian-American author and justice activist, Linda Sarsour confronted misinformation about the circumstances that led to the murder of an unarmed African American man at the hands of the police in Minneapolis, MN, on May 25. “There’s been a lot of misinformation on the internet about the store owner and the details of the events that unfolded before George Floyd was murdered,” Sarsour said in reference to the Palestinian-American family that owned the store, near which Floyd was killed by the police. “Floyd was arrested after he allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a convenience store,” CNN had reported, citing police sources.
“Outrage grew after the first video surfaced showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The 46-year-old, who was unarmed and handcuffed, died after the arrest.”A new video of the murder showed three officers kneeling on Floyd, who clearly was gasping for air while imploring the police to stop. “I can’t breathe, man,” Floyd can be heard saying. “Please, let me stand. Please, man…I spoke to Mahmoud Abumayyeleh, the owner of Cups Food and local patrons and community members,” the well-known activist Sarsour said in her post she published on her Facebook page on May 29.
“The Store owner is Palestinian American and he was not present at the store and was not the one who called the police,” Sarsour explained, adding that the one who actually called the police was a “17-year-old African American teen.” The young employee made the call in accordance with a “state policy that requires stores to call the police in the case of counterfeit bills…This is routine and the police come, ask patrons about the bill to trace its origination. The police confiscate the counterfeit bills. Should be no arrests, no violence,” she wrote. Tragically, that was not the case in Minneapolis, as the police apparently violated what should have been routine conduct, leading to the murder of the African American man.
Decades of loss: Century-old letters highlight roots of Palestinian resistance
The start of the Zionist project and the establishment of the first settlements in Palestine at the end of the 19th century began a systematic and deliberate campaign to expel and displace Palestinians from their land. The Palestinian resistance to these efforts was at times disorganized and limited by financial constraints, but Zionist writings on the subject have not conveyed the true picture of what took place.
Yet, two letters sent by Palestinians in 1890 and 1913 to the grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul shed light on this reality. Bedouins and Palestinian peasants living in the countryside were the first communities affected by Zionist settlement construction in the 19th century. Harassment and aggression by the settlers escalated in an attempt to expel the Palestinian families, who had lived on their lands for hundreds of years. Despite their simplistic lifestyle, these Palestinian communities quickly understood the dangers of settler-colonialism. It was from this unsurprising that the movement to resist Zionist occupation initially emerged from within the peasant and Bedouin communities, whose livelihoods depended on the land itself.
The initial arrival of settlers was sudden and shocking to Palestinian residents. They could not fathom the settlers’ claims that they owned the land, and that the residents would have to leave their homes with their crops not yet harvested. They were the real and practical owners of the land, having ploughed, cultivated and inhabited it for hundreds of years. “The supreme Ottoman state recently sold the land of the Khirbeh to rich people from the homeland. Your faithful servants did not express any objection to that, because the new owners of the land had the knowhow, that we cultivate the farm and have been taking care of it from time immemorial. They neither tried to intercept nor expel us from our places of residence or our farms,” the letter states. “However, in this case, the farm was sold to strangers who arrived with big money and started expelling us from our place of residence and preventing cultivation.