The repulsions of Israeli repression!

Palestine Updates 34/2017

Opinion

The repulsions of Israeli repression!

Every serious decision that the US and Israel make together only serve to retard peace in The Middle East as a whole, and for Palestinians in particular. The decision to appoint an absolute Zionist as US Ambassador to Israel means only one thing. The peace process is as good as dead. (Not that this is any real surprise to most Middle East watchers) It may yet miraculously rise from the dead!  Chances of such a prospect are dimming by the day.

David Friedman, the US nominee is the ultimate hawk. To counter this defiant and conceited nomination, the international community should act. And there is only one peaceful option that remains – more and more governments must isolate Israel whether it is in the sphere of trade, cultural exchanges, or special bilateral assistance. Individuals and NGOs, religious bodies, and businesses who understand and subscribe to ethical ethics and corporate accountability must double their BDS work. Israel must feel the pinch of its insolence and the US must learn that they do not own or run the world and can get away with political intransigence. Either Israel acts as a civilized nation, or faces the wrath of the rest by being categorized as a political pariah.

In this context, the world remembers Brazil’s stubborn refusal to accept Israel’s choice of ambassador, Danny Dayan, a former settler leader. In January of this year, Israel backed down and nominated another ambassador. We need more of such steadfastness with Palestine from other nations around the world.

Apart from the Friedman appointment, there are multiple other reasons why Israel needs to be cut off. The rule of law does not seem to matter to Israel. There is evidence now to indicate that up to 90 percent of children detained by the military in the West Bank continue to be interrogated without prior access to a lawyer. And even though that is being challenged in courts by Israel legal luminaries, the harshness of the measures are unparalleled. There is also systemic separation of Arabs from Jews by law in education, access to opportunity, and separation by land, roads and water and, in the West Bank. Another example. Israeli drones have again sprayed weed killers and pesticides on Palestinian crops in the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip. A Jerusalem family was compelled to demolish its own home to avoid excessively high penalties and fines, imposed by the City Council.  Israel’s parliament then voted in favour of a controversial law that detractors say will mostly target Palestinian homes built without required, but hard-to-get, permits. Palestinian citizens of Israel, descendants of the Palestinians who remained on their land after the 1948 creation of Israel know that the bill targets them. That is a long enough litany of evil and discriminatory actions for just a week or less!

On a slightly different front, we see how Israel is committing cultural theft. The theft of antiquities from Palestinian territories which started with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967 continues. Many of the archaeological sites have been looted, which have made it difficult to keep records of the stolen pieces especially in areas out PA control, and where 60% of the archaeological sites are located. The PA is gradually is wresting back control but much too much has been lost.

Please read the news items on each of the above issues in the descriptive accounts that follow and disseminate widely please.

In solidarity

Ranjan Solomon
Editor
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US appoint hardliner as Ambassador to Israel- Is the peace process over?  
Boycott possibly the only viable remaining option
The US Senate’s confirmation of David Friedman to serve as the new U.S. ambassador to Israel threatens to create a mess of new problems in the already troubled Middle East. Friedman strongly supports Israel’s settlements on Palestinian territory, which are illegal under international law, and opposes the formation of a Palestinian state. Simply speaking out is no longer enough. Neither is calling for a return to the established peace process, which has failed for a quarter-century now. Instead, what are needed now are actions to impose a cost on Israel for its settlement building and continued occupation. For governments, that means cutting bilateral assistance programs, modifying or ending special trade arrangements, and implementing sanctions. For individuals, it could mean boycotting and divesting from companies complicit in Israel’s settlement enterprise and military occupation. It’s these concrete actions, not just words that will make change.
Read full report

Brazil condemns Israel’s new settlement approval
Brazil has sternly criticized Israel’s approval for renewed large-scale settlement building in the occupied West Bank. “The settlements in (Palestinian territory) are illegal and amount to an obstacle for the two-state solution and for a fair and lasting peace,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. Brazil reiterated its position in favour of the creation of a Palestinian state so that “Israel and Palestine can live in peace and security.” Brazil recognized the Palestinian state in 2010 and recalled its ambassador from Israel in 2014 in protest at “disproportionate” force used by the Jewish state in the Gaza Strip. Tension also flared in 2015 when Brazil refused to accept Israel’s choice of ambassador, Danny Dayan, a former settler leader. In January of this year, Israel backed down and nominated another ambassador.
Source:

The right to a lawyer and admissibility of evidence – case analysis
On 22 February 2017, a judge at Ofer military court rejected the admissibility of a statement taken from a 15-year-old boy during interrogation on the basis that, inter alia, the boy was denied access to a lawyer prior to interrogation as required under military law.  This decision has potential significance, as there is evidence to indicate that up to 90 percent of children detained by the military in the West Bank continue to be interrogated without prior access to a lawyer.

Read full report in “Military Court watch”

Why ‘it’s not apartheid’ arguments fail: Response to NYT op-ed

It doesn’t actually matter if Israel is a carbon copy of apartheid’s policies or not. It doesn’t matter whether the mentality is rooted in obsolete racial ideologies, or in the desire to decimate Palestinian statehood. The result is a systemic separation of Arabs from Jews, by education, by opportunity, by land, roads and water and, in the West Bank, by law.
Read response in +972 Magazine

Israeli drones spraying harmful substances on Palestinians’ produce

Israeli drones have sprayed weed killers and pesticides on Palestinian crops in the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip. According to Palestinian farmer’s melon, watermelon, okra, and wheat fields close to Israeli checkpoints were sprayed with “poisonous pesticides” and weed killers. Local farmers have said that Israeli troops spray weed killers to dry wild plants around security fences in order to have clear vision to watch the area, but they usually spray dozens of meters around their targeted areas, killing and damaging Palestinian crops. In January, a similar incident occurred in Khan Yunis where Israeli forces sprayed weed killers on crops and burnt them.
Read full report
Read also Maaan News coverage

Jerusalem family self-demolishes their home to avoid high penalties and fines

A Jerusalem family north of occupied East Jerusalem, demolished its own home to avoid excessively high penalties and fines, imposed by the City Council, in addition to the extremely expensive bills it would pay, if the city demolished their property. The family said it built the home fifteen years ago, and that the property has been providing shelter to several persons. Linda Rajabi, the owner of the home, said the family has no other option but to demolish its own home, because the bills the Council would send after demolishing the home would be as high as 250.000 Israeli Shekels.“This was a very difficult, heart-breaking, decision that we had to make,” she stated, “We lived here for 15 years, now we are homeless, but this is our land, and we will never abandon it.”
Source:

Israel approves controversial home demolition law

Israel’s parliament voted in favour of a controversial law against illegal constructions that detractors say will mostly target Palestinian homes built without required, but hard-to-get, permits. Palestinian citizens of Israel, descendants of the Palestinians who remained on their land after the 1948 creation of Israel, were quick to denounce the law. The bill provides punishment of up to three years in jail, increases fines and reduces the powers of courts to postpone the date of demolition orders.
Read report in Al Araby website

Palestinian police foil attempt to smuggle an antique statue from Nablus

Thousands of artifacts that were smuggled outside the Palestinian territories have been as part of the Palestinian government’s efforts to put a stop to illegal excavations and antiquities trade. A report describes the situation thus: “We have lost several relics and antique statues in the past. We are better equipped today to track down illegal excavators and thus thwart more smuggling operations.”
The theft of antiquities from Palestinian territories started with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967. Many of the archaeological sites were looted, which made it difficult to keep records of the stolen pieces especially in areas out PA control, and where 60% of the archaeological sites are located. Palestinian antiquities were at the hands of the occupation authorities. Several illegal excavations by antiquity dealers were done with impunity, whereas Palestinians working in Palestinian institutions were banned from carrying out any excavations or explorations back then.” PA and the civil society institutions are being urged to start awareness campaigns in mosques, at schools and universities, and on television, to highlight the importance of the Palestinian archaeological sites and history.
Read full article in Al Monitor