Israel’s political fault lines keep mounting

Palestine Update 226
Opinion

Israel’s political fault lines keep mounting
Every single item of news in this edition of Palestine Updates calls out Israel’s inflexible ways. Despite the apparent injustice of every political decision it makes vis-à-vis the Palestinian people, international criticism and UN resolutions, Israel remains unfazed.

Unfazed is not all Israel is. It seeks to conceal the truth of the dire consequences of its actions. It joins the US in obstructing the publishing of the UN Database of companies involved in Israel’s illegal settlements. The UN Human Rights Council had voted as far back as 2016 to vote in favour of establishing a database of companies involved in business activities with Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The argument in favour of such a report is that a database of businesses with activities or relationships in settlements would provide transparency for States, businesses, and the public, and can be used to ensure that companies are not complicit in human rights violations and grave breaches of international humanitarian law.

Another ground truth that Israel wants to sweep under the carpet is that East Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque, does not fall within the jurisdiction of  Israel. The Israeli High Court also ignores this fact, rather than mete out justice. The court has now ordered the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site of Islam situated in the occupied Jerusalem.The settlements are one of Israel’s most unlocked illegalities. The year 2018 saw some of the worst assaults on Palestinians by settlers.  614 settler attacks ranging from property damage to stone throwing and lethal assault. This constitutes an increase of 217 percent compared to the previous year; 2017 saw 284 incidents of assault, while the PA recorded 255 such incidents in 2016. As of early March, the committee documented 125 assaults – an average of more than two incidents per day. These are reliable facts provided by the Palestinian Authority’s Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee.Israel uses one more political ploy of deception.

Routinely, the Committee that oversees elections debars registered Arab lists or candidates. Israel bars the candidates they would rather not have in the contest on the dubious grounds that candidates who contradict ‘the existence of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state, or incite people to racism’, cannot run. Even though the Supreme Court overturns the decisions on appeal, the damage is already done.

Israel’s intolerance for dissent is also exercised through collaboration of foreign governments. Demonstrations were held in Berlin last weekend after authorities ordered a prominent Palestinian activist to cease all political activities and leave the country, cancelling her visa. Berlin mayor Michael Mueller welcomed the decision. However the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network blasted the move: “This was clearly a racist attack on the right of a Palestinian woman to speak and the right of her audience to hear her…Through her life, she has been subject to intense state violence: sexual assault, torture, imprisonment, imprisonment again, deportation.

Human Rights groups in Palestine monitor human rights violations by Palestinian political authorities against its people. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) uncovered Hamas security attacks on citizens in Gaza strip following a movement to popular protest against high prices and tax hikes. Eyewitnesses and social media videos have exposed Hamas security aggressions on citizens who joined the protests.Do read and widely disseminate

Ranjan Solomon


Campaign calls for release of database linked to settlements
Al-Haq Human Rights organization launched an action alert urging the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Council and Member States to abide by their commitments and publish the UN Database on companies involved in Israel’s illegal settlements. The campaign mentions that in 2016, the UN Human Rights Council voted in favour of establishing a database of companies involved in business activities with Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Israeli settlements are illegal under international law; a database of businesses with activities or relationships in settlements would provide transparency for States, businesses, and the public, and can be used to ensure that companies are not complicit in human rights violations and grave breaches of international humanitarian law.

Almost three years since the resolution calling for the Database, the UN has yet to publish the result of its work; this is reportedly due to political pressure from Israel, the United States and some European states. On 4 March 2019, the High Commissioner issued a letter stating that “further consideration is necessary” to fulfill the mandate, and that her Office will continue to finalize the “mandate in the coming months.”
Read alert from Al Haq
Read more on report from PNN English

Israeli court orders closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque, again
An Israeli court ordered the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site of Islam situated in the occupied Jerusalem. It was recently closed last Tuesday after Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians. The religious authority Waqf, which takes care of the religious site, reopened the Bab al-Rahmeh (Mercy Gate) prayer space in February after being closed down during the Second Intifada (2000-2005). “Israel seeks to turn Bab al-Rahmeh into an abandoned area with a view to facilitating the annexation process,” Palestinian Authority Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and newly minted member of the Waqf Adnan al-Husseini had said in February. The Waqf department which is a part of the Jordanian government said multiple times in the past that the Israeli courts have no jurisdiction over Al-Aqsa which is a Muslim property.

East Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque, is part of the Palestinian land occupied in 1967 and it does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Israel.
Read full report in TeleSur English

‘The entire world knows the settlers have declared war on us’
This past year was, by all accounts, a difficult one for Palestinians living near settlements in the West Bank. According to data provided by the Palestinian Authority’s Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee, 2018 saw 614 settler attacks against Palestinians, ranging from property damage to stone throwing and lethal assault. This constitutes an increase of 217 percent compared to the previous year; 2017 saw 284 incidents of assault, while the PA recorded 255 such incidents in 2016. As of early March, the committee documented 125 assaults — an average of more than two incidents per day.

The attacks, once referred to as “price tag attacks,” are committed by extremist Jewish youth from settlements and outposts across the West Bank. Their goal is to exact a price from Palestinians for actions Israeli authorities take against the settlers, usually building enforcement in illegally built settlements. The attacks are sporadic and difficult to combat in real time.
Read full article in 972 Mag

The paradox of Israel’s claim to be Jewish and democratic
This has become the routine prior to elections in Israel: the Central Elections Committee, comprising legislators from various Knesset factions, disqualifies registered Arab lists or candidates, decisions that are then typically overturned by the Supreme Court on appeal. These disqualifications are predicated on Israeli law, which specifies that a candidate or list that negates the existence of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state, or incites people to racism, cannot run. The bitter irony is that this clause, originally drafted to keep American-Israeli Orthodox rabbi Meir Kahane out, is now being wielded by his successors in an attempt to prevent Kahane’s victims, Arab parties, from running.
More on Middle East online

Groups condemn Hamas attacks on Gaza protesters
Hamas security attacks citizens in Gaza strip following movement to popular protest against high prices and tax hikes, which started a few days ago. Eyewitnesses and social media videos showed Hamas security forces violently attacking citizens who took part in the popular protest against high prices and tax hikes, and taking them into custody. Local media said that they also set up checkpoints on the roads and inspected cars and ID cards of passengers.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said police officers beat up the Director of the Independent Commission of Human Rights (ICHR), lawyer Jamil Sarhan, and ICHR’s Lawyer Baker al-Turkmani while the two colleagues were following up the incidents in field in Deir al-Balah Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip. PCHR emphasized that attacking peaceful protesters is a crime and violation according to the national and international laws and calls upon the security services to respect the right to peaceful assembly and right to freedom of expression.
Read report on Palestine News network English

Berlin protests after Palestinian activist visa cancelled
Demonstrations were held in Berlin last weekend after authorities ordered a prominent Palestinian activist to cease all political activities and leave the country, cancelling her visa. Rasmea Odeh had been due to speak at a cultural centre in the German capital, however the event was cancelled after pressure from Israel, the US and organisations of the far-right. Berlin mayor Michael Mueller welcomed the decision saying “Anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic resentments wrapped up in liberation rhetoric have no business here. I am glad that we have found a way to stop this propaganda.” However the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network disagreed: “This was clearly a racist attack on the right of a Palestinian woman to speak and the right of her audience to hear her…Through her life, she has been subject to intense state violence: sexual assault, torture, imprisonment, imprisonment again, deportation…The stripping of her visa is only the latest example of state violence. Samidoun’s message has garnered her support from Angela Davis, Jewish Voice for Peace and countless supporters of justice worldwide.”
Read more on the Morning Star online

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.