Palestine Update 316
Growing support for Palestine
It is said that power never parts with power voluntarily. It does so only under pressure at political and civil society level and under well organized social movements. Power generally tends to disregard principles of political justice until confronted with people’s power or by institutions which can match the power of the oppressor. In the case of Palestine (and increasingly In Kashmir, which is a close parallel to what is happening in Palestine), one visibly notices obstructions to struggle for liberation in so many forms. At the same time, one also sees growing resistance both at the grassroots and international levels. For example, social media platforms which are meant to convey political messages are increasingly being used to convey the powers-that-be . Now that the European Court of Justice is insisting on the labeling of Israeli goods produced on the illegal settlements in occupied Palestine, Israel has denounced the move as an attack on the Jewish people. Meanwhile, at higher levels of judicial processes in Europe, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has conveyed anguish at Israel’s vow to annex the Jordan Valley. And in further solidarity, The African Union (AU), non-aligned Movement, and the Arab League pledged to continue their support for the realization of Palestinian independence statehood. And in what could be a dramatic political transformation there is every chance that Israel may soon be led by a Jewish-Arab partnership. Read more about these developments in this issue of Palestine Updates and disseminate them widely.
Social media platforms are helping to prevent Kashmiri and Palestinian anguish from reaching a global audience
Kashmir and the Palestinian territories have much in common. Each are heavily occupied or blockaded by the armies of powerful states and are home to some of the most egregious human rights violations. An overwhelming majority of Kashmiri and Palestinians exist in what can only be described as open air prisons. What the citizens and residents of Kashmir, Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem also share is that they are subjected to a sustained and coordinated effort to ensure that their voices remain unheard in the international media.
When Israeli airstrikes bomb schools and hospitals in Gaza, we don’t hear from the Palestinians who’ve been pulled out from the rubble, bloody, shocked and wounded. Instead, we are presented with one non-Palestinian spokesperson, politician or lobbyist after another, each attempting to assuage our outrage with propaganda, such as “Israel has a right to defend itself”.
The same can be said for India’s human rights violations in Kashmir, or what is commonly described as the “most militarized place on earth” – a territory that has become even more so since New Delhi’s sudden move to revoke Article 370 of its Constitution in August, stripping Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status. Instead of the territory’s eight million Muslim voices, we hear only the words of Indian Government spokespeople or Government-friendly news outlets.
African Union, Arab League vow to support Palestine
The African Union (AU), non-aligned Movement, and the Arab League pledged to continue their support for the realization of Palestinian independence statehood. This comes in a meeting of hundreds of diplomats, officials and friends of Palestine gathered in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people at an event organized by AU headquarters. Addressing the gathering, AU representative Alex Ratabaye, said that the Pan-African body, which has been supporting Palestinian struggle for self-determination, will continue its support. “We will continue to call upon the international community to compel Israel to end its unjust occupation of Palestine,” Ratabaye added. “We have always been the staunch supporter of Palestine.”
Representing Azerbaijan, which holds the current presidency of the non-aligned movement, the country’s envoy to Ethiopia Elman Abdullayev, said the non-aligned movement will give unwavering support for self-determination and independence of Palestine. “The international community shall hold Israel responsible for all illegal settlements in all parts of occupied Palestinian territory,” he noted. Salhe Sabun, who represents the Arab League in Ethiopia, said it was time to forge a united action front in support of the people of Palestine.
EU’s highest court accused of ‘lack of moral clarity’ by Israeli minister
Last month’s decision by the European Court of Justice which insisted on the labeling of Israeli goods produced on the illegal settlements in occupied Palestine has been denounced as an attack on the Jewish people, by a member of the Israeli government. The astonishing rebuke, which implied that the legal decision was anti-Semitic, was directed at the European Union’s top court, by former Israeli minister and senior Likud figure, Gideon Sa’ar, during the Israel Allies Foundation conference in Jerusalem this morning. In the meeting attended by several legislators from various parts of the world, Sa’ar denounced the court for not “acting legally” and accused them of conveying a “lack of moral clarity.” His accusations, however, are at odds with international law, as the EU’s top court affirmed through last month’s judgement.
Under international law, settlements are illegal, as is the transfer of civilian population to an illegally occupied territory. Israel contests this international consensus, however. Amongst its justification for denying Palestinians the rights and provisions granted to Jews in the occupied territory, is its claim that the land it calls Judea and Samaria, was given to the Jewish people by God, almost three millenniums ago.
Sa’ar announced to the participants, consisting mainly of religious figures, that the court’s decision “is an attempt to delegitimise the right of the Jewish people to live and build our future in the land of our forefathers.” Insisting that the Jewish people cannot be “occupiers” in their own land, ” Sa’ar concluded by calling on the EU, and on governments around the world, not to be “blind to the truth” and to “show moral clarity, when it comes to the conflict, and all the issues in the Middle East.”
ICC prosecutor ‘concerned’ over Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation plans
Amid Palestinian calls for her to publish findings of 5-year preliminary investigation into conflict, Fatou Bensouda says she’s nearing conclusion
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court expressed concern regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow to annex the Jordan Valley. In an annual report reviewing the status of the various conflicts into which her office has opened preliminary investigations, Fatou Bensouda wrote that she is “follow[ing] with concern proposals advanced during the recent electoral process, to be tabled to the Knesset, for Israel to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly promised to quickly apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley — a quarter of the West Bank — if he is able to put together a new government amid the ongoing political gridlock. His Likud party has even claimed that the premier is only interested in staying in office for an additional six months – a unity coalition negotiation demand — in order to see the promise through. Palestinian officials expressed “great concern” over the report by Bensouda, which also included a warning that Palestinian stipends to attackers and their families could constitute a war crime.
For the Israeli right, Jewish-Arab partnership is the stuff of nightmares
“As far as Israel’s right is concerned, the ‘demon’ – the urgent concern they will present to their voters — is this: the now very real possibility that the country will be led by a Jewish-Arab partnership. Such cooperation can begin with limited support from the Joint List, the majority-Palestinian party, and continue with an agreement on base lines, then manifest in achievements on the ground, and so on. This is the very development that would collapse the right’s empowerment in Israel. Such a partnership signals a new political agenda: it undoes the segregation and animosity between Jews and Palestinians. It brings light after many years of political darkness that resulted in poor Jews, occupied Palestinians and fearful ultra-Orthodox, mediated by those seeking conflict and oppression. Jewish-Arab partnership is the highlight of the September elections, and it is what is preoccupying right-wing leaders now. The daily war against such partnership is in full swing. It’s taking place on billboards with Arabic letters removed, in hospital departments, in student groups, in colleges and universities, in acceptance committees and cultural events, and in the enactment of the Jewish Nation-State Law.”