Palestine Update 427
Stealth and Killing in the dark passes off as the ‘new normal’
This Christmas will be shattering for Palestinians. The tourists and pilgrims will be missing. It’s normally the time of the year when Christians, and people of all faiths, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with joy and merry making. In a normal Christmas season, the streets are flooded with Christmas revelers who come to take in the Christmas spirit, to shop, eat, drink, and enjoy the well-lit Christmas Trees. It’s usually high season for all tourism-related business.
Not this year though. Two factors will dampen and diminish the celebrations. On one hand there is the pandemic that has torn right into the economy. And there are immensely worsening and uncertain political circumstances.
Some people hope for a new start with Trump gone and Biden in. It is in all probability a false hope. Scratch the surface, and what lies beneath is all but the same, both Republicans and democrats. Palestinians have, for years had to cope with betrayals, the latest of which are the normalization deals and the back room maneuvers that accompany it are not only brokering more such deals. They are arm twisting countries taking advantage of their vulnerability to grant Israel recognition.
This is Round One. Israel has ostensibly won it. There is a residual question: Is the region safer now with each country striking peace deals coupled with armament deals? Israel is smacking its lips at the prospect of selling more military hardware while the military-industrial-complex will look for high end deals for its gain. The oil markets are making varied calculations and miscalculations. It looks a bit too good to be true. It feels like opiate. Veteran Palestinian journalist Abdel Bari Atwan observes how “the Arab-Israeli normalization fad won’t last long; Arab regimes involved will live to regret it.
Meanwhile Europe maintains its façade of being the ‘good guys’ who want a just solution. Europe speaks perkily about a two-state solution knowing that it is deadwood. The EU can scream and shout about peace, Israel smiles the noise away knowing that even the EU knows its actions amount to nought. Israel kills, arrests, and jails in the darkness of the night. It persists with its settlement plans completing the annexation in its own warped formulas of a complete occupation by land theft. Everything the West announces is nothing short of being farcical. Solidarity Movements are distinctly different and committed. But the kind of sting that made possible the downfall of apartheid in South Africa is the only way change will come. Right now, it is all mild and gentle; too placid to be the difference. Europe is afraid of being labeled anti-Semitic do they go soft.
2020 Christmas slogan will be “Hope and Light”
The mayor of Bethlehem, Attorney Anton Salman, revealed that the slogan and message of the glorious Christmas holidays for this year is that Christmas is a message of hope and light for humanity and renewal of life in order to overcome the consequences of the Corona virus on Bethlehem and the world. Salman said that humanity is able to overcome the ordeal and that its continuation means calamity for Palestine and the world. The capabilities at the Palestinian and global level have not reached the status of getting rid of this pandemic, but the slogan remains the carrying of hope and life to return to normal life.
Meanwhile, he appealed to the Palestinian people to be on a level of awareness and responsibility and to take self-initiative in protecting themselves, their families and their surroundings, in the hope that we get rid of the virus quickly and safely. The municipality will start a media campaign in conjunction with the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, aiming to educate the citizen.
Under the Cover of Darkness: Night Arrests of Palestinian Minors by Israeli Security Forces in the West Bank, HaMoked
“Each year, hundreds of Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank are arrested from their homes in the middle of the night, and taken handcuffed and blindfolded to interrogation centers. The Israeli military uses night arrests as its default method for bringing Palestinian minors in for interrogation, as documented in a new report by HaMoked: Under Cover of Darkness. The report is based on affidavits HaMoked took from 81 boys aged 14-17 who were arrested during the years 2018-2019. The report indicates that 58 of the boys (72%) were arrested from their homes in pre-planned arrests between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM. The vast majority did not receive a summons to interrogation prior to their arrest, which could have made the traumatic night arrest unnecessary. The night arrests often involve violations of other rights, including painful cuffing and lengthy blindfolding, and sometimes serious physical violence. Many of the boys were forcibly pulled out of their beds, taken from their homes in front of their frightened younger siblings. In most cases, the soldiers did not disclose the reason for the arrest, and didn’t tell the boys’ parents where they were being taken to and how the family could be in touch with them. These routine night arrests are not only contrary to international law, but also violate the military’s own regulations, which state that they should only be used as a last resort. HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding that the military uphold international law and the principle of the best interest of the child. Issue a summons if minors are wanted for interrogation, rather than dragging them out of their beds.
A ‘New Middle East’ depends on What Saudi Arabia does next
With all the Israeli media confirming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan’s awkward denial that any such meeting took place was unconvincing in the extreme.
Israel refused to confirm or deny the gathering. But a member of the inner cabinet, went on Israeli army radio to describe the event as “an amazing achievement” and a dream come true. He said: Israel is being warmly embraced by the “Sunni world” and was joining it as an alliance to counter “Iranian Shiite extremism…The very fact the meeting happened, and was outed publicly, even if half-officially acknowledged, is a matter of great importance. Ever since he came to power, MBS has been leading Saudi Arabia down the normalization path and supporting rapprochement with the Israeli occupation state along with Donald Trump’s “deal of the century.”
Israel razes EU projects in Palestine, European foreign policy is impotent
Belgium is furious. On November 6, the Belgian government condemned Israel’s destruction of Belgian-funded homes in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. Brussels wants the Israeli government to pay compensation for the unwarranted destruction. The Israeli response was swift: a resounding ‘no’. The diplomatic row is likely to fizzle out soon; neither will Israel cease its illegal demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures in the West Bank nor will Belgium, or any other EU country, receive a dime from Tel Aviv.
Welcome to the bizarre world of European foreign policy in Palestine and Israel. The EU still champions a two-state solution and advocates international law regarding the legality of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories. To make that possible, the EU has, for nearly four decades, funded Palestinian infrastructure as part of a state-building scheme. It is common knowledge that Israel rejects international law, the two-state solution and any kind of outside ‘pressure’ regarding its military occupation.
To back its position with action, Israel has been actively and systematically destroying EU-funded projects in Palestine. In doing so, it aims to send a message to the Europeans that their role in supporting the Palestinian quest for statehood is vehemently rejected. Indeed, in 2019 alone, 204 Palestinian structures were demolished just in Occupied East Jerusalem, according to the Euro-Med Monitor. Included in this destruction – in addition to similar demolition in the West Bank Area C – are 127 structures that were funded mostly by EU member states.
Israel moves on with settlement plans; exploits US transition
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements (NBPRS) stated in its latest weekly report , that the Israeli Government is exploiting the results of the presidential elections in the United States in an extremely ugly manner to implement steps on the ground that devote the actual annexation of large areas of the occupied West Bank supported by the Trump’s Administration including the expected visit of the US Secretary of State, Pompeo, next week to the occupied Golan Heights and a number of settlements in the West Bank. The outgoing Trump is pushing to inflame wedges of dispute between Israel and newly elected US President, Biden.
One-State is not Ideal Justice, but it is Just and Possible: Moving Past Apartheid:
Europe’s top diplomats expressed their ‘deep concern’ regarding Israel’s ongoing illegal settlement expansion, again evoking the maxim that Israeli actions “threaten the viability of the two-state solution”. Aside from the fact that Europe’s ‘deep concern’ is almost never followed with any substantive action, articulating a legal and moral stance in the context of imaginary solutions is particularly meaningless.
“Why does the West continue to use the two-state solution as its political parameter for a resolution to the Israeli occupation of Palestine while failing to take any meaningful measure to ensure its implementation?” The answer is that the two-state solution was never devised for implementation, to begin with. Like the “peace process” and other pretenses, it aimed to promote, among Palestinians that there is a goal worth striving for, despite it being unattainable.
PNN nominated for 2020 MEA Business Awards
Palestine News Network was recently nominated to win the MEA Business Awards 2020, an award hosted by MEA Markets. The award, which honors and celebrates diverse talents across the Middle East, is now entering its fourth year.
The MEA markets website says that the nominated businesses, large or small, are judged purely on merit; this approach enables us to ensure that only the most deserving are acknowledged. PNN Editor in Chief, Monjed Jadou said that the mere nomination for this regional competition is evidence of the network’s presence at the regional and international levels through various media sites in both Arabic and English, in addition to its other media services. Jadou said that this achievement would not have come true without the efforts of all network employees, each in his field, stressing that the network is making leaps at the local and international levels in order to promote independent professional media work in Palestine to serve the Palestinian community.