Israel refuses to budge, but things are tilting away from them

Opinion
Palestine Update  125

Israel refuses to budge, but things are tilting away from them

Conversations with Palestinians are invariably punctuated by double-edged outlooks. On one hand, there is despair and a meager prognosis of the political future. Out-migration, however, does not reflect an absence of national loyalty. To evade a torturous existence is only natural. But this outflow is not a deluge. Analysts of Palestinian politics know that a political surrender is not under construction. On the other, there is defiance bordering on a preparedness to launch forms of civil disobedience to dismantle the occupation as evident from news and statements from civil society and the political leadership. Israel’s own desperate tactics to hang on to their illegal occupation serve to demonstrate that the occupation is simply not tenable under ordinary political measures. Desperate political measures come into play only when normal or ethical standards have been made wholly redundant.
Read these strongly assertive words to comprehend the determination of the Palestinian spirit. PLC Deputy Speaker Ahmed Bahar last week declared: “We have convened an unprecedented session near the temporary border [with Israel] with the aim of reaching our lands occupied in 1948… an affirmation of the sanctity of Palestinian rights, which we will never forsake…Our children will set up numerous tents along the strip’s [eastern] border [with Israel]….intended to represent the many Palestinian towns and villages from which we were expelled 70 years ago”.  Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior official of the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip declared declared on a separate occasion how Palestinians are not ready to “give up one inch of Palestine” no matter how much time elapses. An Arab member of the Knesset has asserted with equal force that Palestinians will breach the fences of West Bank Jewish settlements in the future, as part of non-violent mass protests. Joint (Arab) List Ahmed Tibi announced: “Not only in Gaza, also in the West Bank, there’s no doubt that there will be popular opposition. People without weapons, in a peaceful way, will breach the settlements.”
On the political plain, the Palestinian Authority has meanwhile filed official requests to join eight international treaties.  The Ramallah-based government is seeking to join the UN’s International Convention against Apartheid in Sports and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, among other treaties.  The news came a day after the Human Rights Council adopted five resolutions condemning Israel, one of which called on Israel to relinquish the Golan Heights strategic ridge to war-torn Syria.
Israel remains threatened by all these moves. But there is worse to cope with – fast-changing demographics. According to Statistics cited by Israel officials show the number of Jews and Arabs between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River is at or near equivalence, raising questions whether Israel can remain a democracy if it keeps territory where Palestinians seek a state.
And finally we bring you a discerning interview with eminent international lawyer Richard Falk. Falk argues how the Middle East is heating up again after Donald Trump’s dim decision on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. A must-read!

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In solidarity
Ranjan Solomon


Palestinians prepare for ‘Great Return March’

Gaza-based members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) convened Monday near the Gaza Strip’s eastern border with Israel in the run-up to a mass demonstration — dubbed the “Great Return March”. PLC Deputy Speaker Ahmed Bahar declared: “We have convened an unprecedented session near the temporary border [with Israel] with the aim of reaching our lands occupied in 1948… an affirmation of the sanctity of Palestinian rights, which we will never forsake”. He also stressed “Our children will set up numerous tents along the strip’s [eastern] border [with Israel].” The tents, he explained, “are intended to represent the many Palestinian towns and villages from which we were expelled 70 years ago”.

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Hamas: Palestinians will not give up ‘one inch of Palestine’

The Palestinians will not “give up one inch of Palestine” no matter how much time elapses, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior official of the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip declared on Monday. Zahar also warned Israel against targeting participants in the mass protests that his group and other Palestinian factions are planning in the coming weeks along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The protests will be held under the banner of “March of Return” –  a reference to the demand that Israel allow millions of Palestinians refugees and their descendants to return to their former homes inside Israel.

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Palestinians said seeking to join eight international treaties

The Palestinian Authority has in recent days filed official requests to join eight international treaties.  Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon condemned the “unilateral move” by the Palestinians. The Ramallah-based government is seeking to join the UN’s International Convention against Apartheid in Sports and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, among other treaties.  The news came a day after the Human Rights Council adopted five resolutions condemning Israel, one of which called on Israel to relinquish the Golan Heights strategic ridge to war-torn Syria.
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Palestinians will breach West Bank settlement fences: Arab MK
Palestinians will breach the fences of West Bank Jewish settlements in the future, as part of non-violent mass protests, an Arab Israeli lawmaker predicted on Monday.  Ahmed Tibi of the Joint (Arab) List announced: “Not only in Gaza, also in the West Bank, there’s no doubt that there will be popular opposition. People without weapons, in a peaceful way, will breach the settlements.”
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Jews, Arabs nearing population parity in Holy Land

The number of Jews and Arabs between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River is at or near parity, figures cited by Israeli officials show, raising questions whether Israel can remain a democracy if it keeps territory where Palestinians seek a state. The population statistics were mentioned in an Israeli parliamentary statement on Monday summing up legislators’ questioning of an official of Israel’s military-run civil administration (COGAT) that coordinates government activities in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. Demography is studied closely on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because of its potential implications for both societies as they weigh possible solutions as Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary next month. With over a “two-state solution” frozen since 2014, some argue that if Israel becomes a bi-national state through annexation of land seized 51 years ago, it could one day be forced to choose between remaining a democracy or securing a Jewish majority by denying Palestinians the vote.

An Interview with Richard Falk
– The Middle East is heating up – again
The Middle East is heating up again, in part due to President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Trump administration has also incited upset with its unconditional support for Israel’s aggressive policies, which violate basic principles of international law and threaten the region with the eruption of military confrontations. For an assessment of the latest developments in the Middle East, C.J. Polychroniou spoke to Richard Falk, a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, former UN special rapporteur for Palestinian human rights and author of scores of books and hundreds of academic articles on international relations and international law.
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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.