Blowbacks against the powerful pro-Israel lobbies

Palestine Update  172
Opinion

Blowbacks against the powerful pro-Israel lobbies
In the 1950s, the US intelligence community often used the term “blowback” while referring to the unplanned cost of a concealed maneuver that ended up damaging one’s own cause. Reports suggest that the escalating campaign by the Israel lobby in the UK against Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the parliamentary opposition, is starting to have precisely this very aftermath.  Corbyn has faced non-stop unproven accusations that his party has an endemic “anti-Semitism problem”.

In similar fashion, the US decisions against the Palestinians and in favor of Israel has diminished the influence it once had as a peacemaker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On the contrary there is disbelief in the US claim that it even has a peace plan in place. It is merely making one-sided and unilateral changes of facts-on-the-ground that are only further confusing issues and irritating Arab and global opinion on the streets.

But these very practices and policies breed activism of a mature and non-violent nature.  Ever since a temporary injunction delaying the forcible displacement and demolition of the entire Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar expired, over 100 Palestinian, Israeli and foreign solidarity activists have spent the night in the village school’s courtyard. And a good number of Palestinian students and professionals are now are now ready to navigate complex issues in international tribunals, a result made possible by the Al-Quds University’s newly created Academy for Global Justice.

The UN, usually sedate in its responses, has been strident in many ways. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov described Israel’s demolition of Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar a violation of international law. “I am concerned at the intention of the Israeli authorities to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar/Abu Al-Helu,” Mladenov. Mladenov pointed out that this Palestinian Bedouin community “consists of 181 people, over half of which are children…I call on the authorities not to proceed with the demolition and to cease efforts to relocate Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank.”

Even the distinctly conservative CNN in a commentary in its international edition warns Trump: “Trump is due for a rude awakening. No matter how powerful the United States is, it cannot so easily enforce its will on other nations and peoples. Palestinian nationhood has been forged through conflict and suffering over many decades and there is no way they will simply surrender their legitimate rights. Trump’s policy is actually much more likely to hurt Israel by taking the two-state solution off the table, leaving Palestinians and the international community no alternative but to demand equal democratic rights for all people living under one state. That would mean the end of a Jewish majority in Israel and the end of Israel itself as a Jewish homeland. Trump and his supporters should beware the law of unintended consequences”.

Meanwhile the EU has weighed in with a powerful statement on Khan Al-Ahmar: “The European Parliament passed a resolution yesterday describing the Israeli decision to demolish Khan Al-Ahmar and evicting its residents a violation of international humanitarian law”.

Literature activists are also making their imprint on the overall discourse. A book that claims Israel intentionally debilitates Palestinians in order to maintain control over them has won a prize from the National Women’s Studies Association. “The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability,” by Rutgers University professor Jasbir Puar, was a co-winner of the association’s 2018 Alison Piepmeier Book Prize, which is awarded for scholarship that focuses on feminist disability studies.

Ranjan Solomon


Anti-Semitism allegations continue to sideline Palestinian suffering
As the row over what constitutes anti-Semitism rages in Britain, the very real fear that freedom of speech is being threatened has already been realized in America, according to one Jewish campaign group. At the heart of the argument is a decision by the Trump administration to change how the Education Department investigates allegations that Jewish students face discrimination; not surprisingly, the Trump team has backed an approach that is endorsed by pro-Israel groups.

The policy change has already prompted the reinvestigation of an event held seven years ago, involving Holocaust and Nakba survivors, which was deemed to be anti-Semitic because it included criticism of the Israeli government.
Full report in Middle East Monitor

U.S. role as Mideast peacemaker “gone”: analysts
The recent and recurrent decisions made by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump against the Palestinians and in favor of Israel have proved that Washington’s mediating role as a peacemaker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has gone, said Egyptian political experts. In late August, the United States decided to stop funding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). A few days later, it announced shutting down the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington. According to some experts, Washington has never been a fair mediator in the major Middle East conflict but it only orchestrates it in a way that achieves Israeli interests.

The Palestinians pin hope on the UN-proposed two-state solution for the future establishment of their own independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital based on the pre-1967 borders.
Read report in Chinese Xinhuanet

US will never present a peace plan
The United States will not present its long-awaited plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace any time soon and is instead trying to unilaterally change the terms of reference for any future proposal, a senior Palestinian official said. Echoing deep skepticism among the Palestinians, Arab countries and analysts, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Trump administration was siding with Israel on the core issues of the decades-old conflict, burying all chances for Middle East peace.
Read more in Israel Hayom

Activists solidarity night out in Khan al-Ahmar
Ever since a temporary injunction delaying the forcible displacement and demolition of the entire Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar expired, over 100 Palestinian, Israeli and foreign solidarity activists have spent the night in the village school’s courtyard.

After dinner and a few live broadcasts on Facebook, the activists sleep on thin mattresses and heavy blankets laid out across the schoolyard’s artificial grass covered courtyard. As the sun rises each morning, a sense of temporary relief is tangible. The village survived to see another day another night. They made it through the night.
See photos

Al-Quds University’s Academy for Global Justice graduates first cohort of trainees in ICC litigation
 A host of Palestinian students and professionals are now are now ready to navigate complex issues in international tribunals. Al-Quds University’s newly created Academy for Global Justice completed the first of its kind training in the procedural and substantive aspects of litigation before the International Criminal Court, as prescribed by the Rome Statute of 2002. The Academy, which is chaired by the former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court the Honorable Luis Moreno Ocampo, offered this intensive training course to twenty six students from the Faculty of Law and the Al-Quds Bard College. Five public prosecutors from the Palestinian Public Prosecution and four diplomats from the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign affairs also participated in the training.
Details in Palestine News Network

Palestinian olive harvest cut in half due to climate change
Experts have warned that the upcoming olive harvest in Palestine will be only half from last year’s, impacting 100,000 families who are in rapid need to counter-act the effects of climate change. Olives make up nearly half of the total agricultural production in Palestine. In the West Bank this translates to 25 percent of the economy: The 2018 projected harvest is a mere ten thousand tonnes of olive oil, which represents only half of the production in 2017. In 2014, the production hit 24 thousand tonnes, say experts at the agricultural organisation ESDC, that represent 2500 olive farmers in Palestine. The sector, including olive oil, table olives, pickles and soap, is worth between $160 and $191 million in good years, according to UN body OCHA. Up to 100,000 families rely on olives as a source of income in Palestine and will be greatly affected by the dramatic harvest decrease.
Read more from Palestine News Network English

PA calls on ICC to stop demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar – EU calls Israeli plan violation of international humanitarian law
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry yesterday demanded the International Criminal Court (ICC) expedite the opening of an investigation into Israel’s decision to demolish the Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin village in occupied East Jerusalem. The foreign ministry said in a statement yesterday that it called on ICC prosecutors to meet with Palestinians from Khan Al-Ahmar. The European Parliament passed a resolution yesterday describing the Israeli decision to demolish Khan Al-Ahmar and evicting its residents a violation of international humanitarian law.
Read full report
Read also from Middle East Monitor

Don’t befriend me for a day, and leave me a month. Don’t get close to me if you’re going to leave. Don’t say what you don’t do. Be close or get away.

 لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.

Mahmoud Darwish.