Human rights violations mount and resistance grows

Palestine Updates 2

Editor’s preface
This is the first news version of Palestine Updates from Goa, India. India may seem a distance away from Palestine – we are something like 3200 miles away. But solidarity for justice must be borderless.

In this issue, our focus is on human rights violations – as will generally be the case in all issues of Palestine Updates. We also include news from resistance movements, both from within and internationally, and from religious organizations and human rights groups.

This time, we focus on the the worrying number of complaints filed by human rights activists to the UN in recent months, which, especially, underscore the Israeli government practice of arbitrarily detaining Palestinian activists. There are hundreds more whose complaints have not reached high places. That Israeli actions are often accompanied by impunity is a well documented political fact.  In the context of what we share in the reports in this Palestine Updates, the international community does not any more have the luxury of sitting on its apathy and wait out a solution. Those who bear the brunt of the brutality which the Israel occupation unjustly dispenses on the Palestinians, ask for tangible actions that will hasten their freedom from an illegal occupation. One way is to organize ourselves as solidarity groups, or to strengthen groups in ways that make what Israel does to the Palestinians as public knowledge. Changed perceptions of global civil society are an imperative.

We also offer you a report from the Palestinian BDS National Committee which has experienced a remarkable year of progress since they set out as a Movement in 2005.  They have fairly effectively countered many of Israel’s obstructive policies and practices aimed at weakening and delegitimizing the BDS Movement. The BDS is now one which has its roots across all continents.  The BDS Movement offers a unique opportunity to resist the occupation with a viable and non-violent tool. In small ways, we can begin to make a difference, beginning with ourselves, and then further mobilize progressive sectors in civil society at large. It is only through exposing the moral bankruptcy of the occupation that the politics of isolating Israel can spread and take root in new contexts. The BDS is a powerful tool and it has clearly left Israel threatened and nervous. Why else would Israel want to crush the Movement?

It is this context too that we must take cognizance of two important statements from influential religious quarters. The statement of Jewish scholars and students who are calling on the US House of Representatives and President Obama to reject the controversial “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act” is pertinent. The statement has already been signed by individuals from New York University, Penn State University, and Brown University.

There is also a recent statement from Pax Christi that merits our reading. Pax Christi is calling for “a just resolution to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict” arguing it is “critical for peace in our world today”. Pax Christi reminds us that “2017 marks 100 years since the Balfour declaration, 70 years since UN resolution 181, and 50 years since Israel began its occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the annexation of East Jerusalem”. They call for “renewed commitment to end the violence and to reach a just and sustainable solution…”

Statements from opinion makers and credible organizations can go a long way in influencing decision makers and recognize that there is a public that is watching their actions.

Palestine Updates invites readers to send us critiques of this newsletter, news items you wish to include, and suggestions about how we can improve.

In solidarity

Ranjan Solomon
Editor


UN condemns Israel for arbitrary detention of human rights defenders
The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner released a statement late last week condemning the “daily violations” of human rights and international law faced by human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory. The statement referred to a  “worrying number of complaints” filed by human rights activists to the UN in recent months, which underscore the Israeli government practice of arbitrarily detaining Palestinian activists.  The statement was based on the investigations of two UN “independent experts.”
For more see link from Albawaba

BDS impact round up for 2016
 The Palestinian BDS National Committee is now convinced that Israel’s hope of intimidating and suppressing the continued growth of the BDS movement for Palestinian rights is simply a non-starter.  2016 has been a year when the Movement has gained huge momentum. This has happened despite Israel’s colossal investments of amounts of political capital in the form of  financial resources, espionage, propaganda, cyber “sabotage,” and, even, legal warfare against BDS human rights defenders and networks. Israel’s attempts to stigmatize, demonize and in some cases delegitimize BDS have been botched.

BDS has gained access into the progressive and liberal mainstream among churches, trade unions, universities, and in vital progressive media circles. BDS is now a rising keyword in the resistance against the Israel occupation of Palestine globally, be it in Latin America, the Arab world, South Africa and parts of Asia.

Just like how it happened in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, BDS has emerged as a strong and stubborn sign that Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid can be irradiated. BDS National Committee has compiled a timeline that sums up some of the most significant indicators of direct and indirect BDS impact around the world.
Read Full report for 2016 with a timeline of how 2016 has progressed
Also view video

Jewish Students and Scholars Object to “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act”
Jewish scholars and students have released statements urging the US House of Representatives and President Obama to reject the controversial “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act”.

In a recent initiative by US based organization Jewish Voice for Peace, Jewish scholars and students signed statements urging both the House of Representatives, as well as President Obama, to reject the act. The scholars’ statement has already been signed by individuals from New York University, Penn State University, and Brown University.
Full statement on the website of the International Middle East Media Centre (IMEMC)

Water situation in Gaza alarming says World Bank
People will need water, already scarce in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), even more desperately if temperatures rise because of climate change, said the World Bank in a report on the water situation in Gaza. In Palestine, water resources are critically scarce, and the situation in Gaza is alarming, it said.

Not so long ago everyone in Gaza could drink water from their tap. That was in the late 1990s, but so much water has been pumped out of the natural aquifer underneath Gaza since then that seawater has seeped in, making it too salty to drink.

This interview with Adnan Ghosheh, senior water and sanitation specialist makes important reading for those who worry about how the blockade of that strip is creating a catastrophe for the residents there.
Read more on the Gaza water situation in the  International Middle east Media Center website.

Israeli human rights violations in the Palestinian territories (8-14 Dec, 2016)
Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) with impunity. This listing from the Palestine Centre for Human Rights provides shocking details of the brutality and frequency of multiple violations.
Read the report on the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights website.