Palestine Update 375
Israeli police mode consists in unabashed cruelty
Israeli police shockingly raided the home and mourning tent of Palestinian martyr, Eyad, a 32-year-old Palestinian with autism, who was shot and killed by Israeli police forces, in Jerusalem’s Old City, while he was on his way to his special education school. When they raided the mourning tent, Israeli police searched the family home and mourning tent, showing grave disrespect. It provoked confrontations with locals and two Palestinian civilians were arrested. A home of mourning is not a space to dishonor and physically attack mourners. There may be no actual law which disallows such action by soldiers. But the raid itself defies political morality and is further distress to a family already in mourning.
In the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, the Court agreed a police request to bar the publication of minutes from a hearing on a petition filed by the family of Iyad. They objected to the release of security camera footage showing him being shot by police in the Old City. The family of Iyad earlier filed a petition earlier this week seeking footage as evidence. They also asked the judge to compel the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations to confirm whether it has collected the CCTV footage, amid their fears that law enforcement will not use it in the probe. The family noted in its petition that security cameras are installed in the alleys through which police chased Halak, as well as in the garbage room where he sought refuge. When the court convened to discuss the Halak petition, police representatives requested the hearing be closed to the public. The officers presented a gag-order that has been placed over the case. Although the judge denied the police request, they granted the police a sidebar hearing, during which reporters and members of the Halak family in the courtroom were ordered to exit the chamber.
The date fixed for the annexation of the West Bank is soon coming. It is unclear whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will go ahead with unilaterally annexing large swaths of the occupied West Bank either on or shortly after July 1. If he does, the question is what the practical regional and international repercussions to annexation will be. If Netanyahu does proceed, Israel will be tough and nasty. This may or may not be a political miscalculation. The EU is in a dilemma. They will surely fail to secure a consensus among all 27 nations. There is hopeful anticipation that individual European countries may take autonomous steps.
As Susie Becher Managing Editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal says: “The big question is: what happens then? At that point, those who threatened sanctions in response to annexation will have to make a choice as well. It will be critical that they not reward Israel by accepting the status quo. On the contrary — having shown that the international community does carry weight, and that with enough determination it can get Israel to back down, Europe should build on the momentum and, in partnership with other allies, move forward to secure an end to the occupation. To do so, Europe must adopt a carrot-and-stick approach.”
And who knows if a Biden victory in November will alter the UNSC dynamics?
Video: Black Voices, Palestinian Voices
“I was born a Black woman and now
I am become a Palestinian
against the relentless laughter of evil
there is less and less living room
and where are my loved ones?”, wrote famed African American poet June Jordan in her poem “Moving Towards Home”.
“Tonight America is looking for an idol. Tell her not
to look in the White House. Direct her to the poems of June
Jordan, the diaries of Malcolm X, the survival of native
Tell her idols are born, not produced. Remind America
of the idols she has murdered, exiled, silenced. Maybe those idols,
human and complicated, have some answers for us,” wrote Palestinian poet Suheir Hammad in her poetry collection “Born Palestinian, Born Black”.
When the disastrous Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, late Edward Said, a staunch opponent of the deal, took up the challenge in October 1993 and wrote a prophetic article The Morning After. Relying on what he called “common sense”, he predicted the tragic situation that unraveled after 1993; nothing more, nothing less. “In order to advance towards Palestinian self-determination – which has a meaning only if freedom, sovereignty and equality, rather than perpetual subservience to Israel, are its goal – we need an honest acknowledgment of where we are.” Said continued to ask “embarrassing” questions: Did the accords guarantee the restoration of long-lasting comprehensive peace? And did the current leadership of the PLO represent the political and national aspirations of the Palestinian people? In his book, The End of The Peace Process, he summed it up: “No negotiations are better than endless concessions that simply prolong the Israeli occupation. Israel is certainly pleased that it can take the credit for having made peace, and at the same time continue the occupation with Palestinian consent.”Palestine Chronicle TV hosted a reading of poetry, statements of solidarity, and passages from the writings of Black and Palestinian intellectuals and activists, in a show of solidarity with George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Edward Said’s spectre and the end of Oslo (Excerpts)
Edward Said’s prediction in the 1990s has come to be. PLO’s two-state project has failed
Twenty-seven years and many Palestinian concessions later, everything that Said predicted has, unfortunately, come true. The PLO is struggling with a dark reality it very much helped to create by agreeing to sign the Oslo Accords. The painful question we must ask today is whether, since 1993, we have been forced to endure horrible massacres, a genocidal siege, the unstoppable seizure of our land, the building of an apartheid wall, detention of children and entire families, demolition of homes, and many other abuses only because a comprador class saw “independence” at the end of a closed tunnel. It is time for us, opponents of the agreement, to throw a question back at the Oslo proponents: Was the deal itself ever meant to guarantee the minimum basic rights of the colonised Palestinian people, including freedom and self-determination?
Said advocated a third way based on “equality or nothing”, one that can be materialised with the establishment of a secular democratic state in Palestine in which all citizens are treated equally regardless of their religion, sex, and colour. He asked: “Is the current Palestinian leadership listening? Can it suggest anything better than this, given its abysmal record in a “peace process” that has led to the present horrors?” It could not back then and it cannot now. It is high time that the Palestinian people move away from the illusion of the two-state solution and try a democratic approach, one that can guarantee their basic rights – freedom, equality, and justice.
Threat of Annexation should spur Corporate Human Rights due diligence across Occupied Territories
With a newly formed Israeli government that has restated its intention to annex parts of the West Bank, issues surrounding the prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory are once again in the headlines. European and other States have reportedly begun strategizing on responses to what would constitute violations of international law, including prohibitions on the acquisition of territory through threat or use of force under the Charter of the United Nations. While States consider their options, businesses should also take heed that their operations in and relationships to the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) and Israel, the Occupying Power, will come under greater scrutiny and expose them to further legal, financial, and reputational risks.
“As in all other contexts, businesses can play a positive role in the development of an occupied territory and the overall well-being of its population. They also, however, may feed into and profit from an unjust administration of the territory, including via structures established and maintained by an Occupying Power that perpetuate oppression, systemic discrimination, and the unlawful exploitation of natural resources. These latter policies may aim at permanently transforming an occupied territory, including physically, economically, and demographically, in contravention of international humanitarian and human rights law. “
Annexation or not, Europe must hold Israel accountable for the occupation
Despite the uncertainty, there is no question that the international opposition to annexation is gaining ground.
It is unclear whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will go ahead with unilaterally annexing large swaths of the occupied West Bank either on or shortly after July 1. It is also too early to tell what the practical regional and international response to annexation will be. When it comes to sanctions, the European Union is caught in the bind of needing to secure a consensus among all 27 member states, but that won’t necessarily deter individual European countries from pursuing their own course. The UN Security Council’s hands will largely be tied by the U.S. veto, but if Democratic hopeful Joe Biden wins in November, a shift might be possible.
“The big question is: what happens then? At that point, those who threatened sanctions in response to annexation will have to make a choice as well. It will be critical that they not reward Israel by accepting the status quo. On the contrary — having shown that the international community does carry weight, and that with enough determination it can get Israel to back down, Europe should build on the momentum and, in partnership with other allies, move forward to secure an end to the occupation. To do so, Europe must adopt a carrot-and-stick approach.”
Condemnations without actions are music to the Israeli government’s ears. To end the occupation, the international community has to change its playbook.