French peace conference for Palestine-Israel ends up as damp squib

Palestine Updates 12/2017

Editorial Comment
In this edition of Palestine Updates, we share with you an Opinion piece on why the French peace conference for Palestine-Israel ended up as damp squib.

In other news, we share with you an account that states quite unequivocally that “no day is ordinary in a situation of ongoing criminality”. A report from the newsletter of Jews for Justice in Palestine highlights how “soldiers ignore the illegal settlers and their aggression – but are upset at being photographed”! There are also reports on how hundreds of Palestinians marched toward the Israeli Annexation Wall to peacefully protest the Israeli policy of refusing to return the bodies of deceased Palestinians to their families. Israel’s reaction is inexplicable. The army fired semi-lethal weapons at the demonstrators resulting in injuries. Elsewhere, Israeli Soldiers Israeli soldiers attacked a weekly nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall and colonies. As if to prove that these seemingly stark contradictions are mere routines, Israeli authorities uprooted Palestinian-owned olive trees in order to build a road that will be completely off limits to them.

In a policy brief, we read about how Israel is consciously plotting the economic collapse of East Jerusalem and leaving it unlivable for Palestinians so as to gain ultimate Jewish control over it.

Finally, we bring you Al Jazeera’s account of “A record year of demolished homes in Occupied East Jerusalem”.

Please read and disseminate.

Ranjan Solomon
Editor


French peace conference for Palestine-Israel ends up as damp squib
By Ranjan Solomon

Palestinian supporters and votaries for a just peace hoped that the 15thSeptember may just tip the scales further in favour of the Palestinian claim to justice. Those hopes were a mere mirage.

In spite of the Palestinian Authority’s endorsement of the conference by France attended by 70 countries, Palestinian factions were opposed to the very premise of the international summit. Their expectations of diplomatic breakthroughs were down to minimum. And this skepticism is rooted in real politic.

The international community has done little to bring relief to the Palestinian condition even in the fiftieth year of Israel’s illegal occupation. Te only constant is the war is the worsening of the Palestinian predicament. Kayid al-Ghoul, a senior leader in the Gaza Strip for the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) told a reliable news outlet that the premise of the conference, which was expected to recommend the resumption of peace negotiations toward a two-state solution, meant “bypassing the right of return and self determination” for Palestinians. A senior Islamic Jihad official in Gaza described the conference plans as merely another attempt to resume a peace process “that Israel has already killed and buried, while the international community had failed to admit that Israel is the main source” of the crisis.

It was clear too that Israel would torpedo any possible positive outcome by its veiled threats of more demolitions of Palestinian homes and land confiscations in the occupied territory. This would be much like Israel’s reaction to condemning illegal settlements by approving new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) also warned of a possibility that the conference may only serve to create “low standards” regarding Palestinian rights. Israel’s outrage over the mere fact the conference is evidence of this. Israel’s cabinet had described the conference, even before it began, as “useless.”

What matters now is that an increasing number of Palestinians view the two-state prospect as devoid of any probability of success. This becomes even clearer when one views mounting extremism among Israel’s right-wing government and public, and a surge in illegal Israeli settlement construction with tacit and blatant approval by the incoming US administration. Palestinians increasingly favour a bi-national state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.

Those who want justice for the Palestinians and a peace that rests on this premise wonder why the conference did not dedicate itself to putting political substance to the recent United Nations Security Council Resolution, 2334. That resolution was unambiguous in its condemnation of Israeli settlement activity. It had demanded that member states differentiate between dealing with Israel and the occupied territories. It had also demanded full recognition of Palestinian statehood.

The Paris meeting turned out to be a damp squib merely reiterating outdated rhetoric about the two-state solution. The international community is playing ‘wordsmith’ at the cost of Palestinian dignity and rights through its statements and speechifying. It is intimidated by Israeli threats and American belligerence. The US presence in France was inconsequential with a mere five days before Obama moves into political oblivion. Donald Trump will soon assume centre stage. The future promises worse than any time before for Palestinians given the trends that are showing from Trump’s outlooks.

The conference ducked the core question of creating the grounds for Palestinian recognition by a large enough number of countries and did precious little to offer mechanisms for ending the illegal occupation. It simply evaded the demand for the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

The summit coincides with an extraordinary move in Israel to endorse a bill that would authorize Israel to deport family members of Palestinian assailants from 1948 areas. In the morning after the Paris conference concluded, Israel displayed contempt for the Palestinian condition. Israeli soldiers indiscriminately uprooted hundreds of olive trees only to pave a new road for an illegal colony in the occupied West Bank.

On a daily basis, Israel attacks targets the Palestinian people on their lands, to construct and expand colonies disregarding the fact that they are deemed illegal by the International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The judiciary is as bizarre as the political scenario.  The Israeli Supreme Court recently allowed the illegal confiscation of 104 Dunams (25.6 Acres) of Palestinian land, after rejecting appeals filed by the Palestinian owners of these orchards. Inother4 words even the judicial system props up the occupation.

One need go no further to explain why two in three Palestinians say that the two-state mold is no longer doable.

It’s time for the world to swap words with tangible actions that open the avenues of a just and sustainable settlement. It is time for Israel to feel the pinch for its political conceit and obdurate machinations. If this is not the time for the international community to isolate this racist, apartheid state, which is? It is well worth applying the prophetic words of Martin Luther King to this asymmetrical conflict: “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice”.

Pictures from an illegal outpost

To defend each and every piece of Palestinian land from the increasingly aggressive, unchecked, settlers is not possible. Here David Shulman describes the efforts near several illegal outposts while Margaret Olim photographs them. Soldiers ignore the illegal settlers and their aggression – but are upset at being photographed. You might say it’s a picture of another ordinary day in Palestine – but no day is ordinary in a situation of ongoing criminality.

Read more on the  Jews for justice for Palestine website

Israel uses harsh measures to suppress peaceful Bethlehem protests

In Bethlehem on Sunday; hundreds of Palestinians marched toward the Israeli Annexation Wall to protest the Israeli policy of refusing to return the bodies of deceased Palestinians to their families. Israeli reacted to the peaceful protests by firing semi-lethal weapons at the demonstrators resulting in injuries. Protesters chanted and marched while holding Palestinian flags and mock coffins, calling on the Israeli government to release the bodies of Palestinians who died or were killed in Israel. This responds to an Israeli policy of holding the bodies of Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis, claiming that the funerals of these Palestinians were a source of ‘incitement’ against Israel.

In 2016, the UN Committee Against Torture called upon the Israeli authorities to “to return the bodies of the Palestinians that have not yet been returned to their relatives as soon as possible so they can be buried in accordance with their traditions and religious customs, and to avoid that similar situations are repeated in the future”

Read more on the international middle east media center website.

Israeli soldiers attack weekly protest in Ni’lin

Israeli Soldiers Attack Weekly Protest In Ni’lin Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall and colonies, in Ni’lin village, in the central West Bank district of Ramallah. Coordinator of the Popular Committee in Ni’lin Mohammad ‘Amira said the soldiers targeted the nonviolent protesters with gas.

Read more on the international middle east media center

PHOTOS: How the state builds a road for settlers only
Israeli authorities continue to uproot Palestinian-owned olive trees in order to build a road that will be completely off limits to them. Israeli authorities uprooted dozens of olive trees in order to build a settler bypass road near the West Bank city of Qalqilya early Monday. The Israeli army declared the area a closed military zone after the landowners, along with a number of Israeli activists, arrived in the area to protest and try to nonviolently stop the uprooting. Three of the demonstrators were arrested.
View a photo-exhibition

Engineering the economic collapse of East Jerusalem

This brief by Al-Shabaka Policy Fellow Nur Arafeh focuses on Israel’s deliberately engineered economic collapse of East Jerusalem, which renders the city essentially unlivable for Palestinians so as to ensure Jewish control over it. By so doing, the brief aims to provide those concerned with the fate of the city with the analysis necessary to understand Israel’s aims as well as some of the policy prescriptions to spur economic development. The brief zeroes in on the deterioration of two sectors that have been East Jerusalem’s prime strategic assets—tourism and the commercial markets of the Old City—which exemplify the economic collapse. It also explores initiatives undertaken in East Jerusalem to foster sumud, or steadfastness that challenge the myriad obstacles imposed by Israeli occupation authorities and concludes with recommendations on how to enhance summud in the city and restore its capacity for the limited economic development possible under occupation.
Read more on Jews for justice for Palestine website .

Broken homes

A record year of demolished homes in Occupied East Jerusalem on Aljazeera