The US joins Israel to derail democracy yet again

Palestine Updates 20/2017

Editorial Comment 

“For too long, the U.N. has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley stated when she announced US intention to block the appointment of their former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as U.N. peace envoy to Libya. The US has said it now intends to walk the talk on its support to Israel. This means that there political ethics and moral politics will no more stand in the way of US support to the racist-apartheid regime. It will be on unabashed display as always.
The Security Council had been expected to approve Salam Fayyad’s appointment without objections. Fayed, a former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority was not seen as acceptable to USA’s friend “Israel”. The Palestinians condemned US rejection as “blatant discrimination”. Fayyad, 64, a Texas-educated former International Monetary Fund official, was prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013. He has also served as finance minister twice. He had earned praise in the international community for his efforts to crack down on corruption and to build effective Palestinian public institutions. There are already ramifications from the US veto suggesting that neither the new UN administration nor the  disoriented US administration had thought through the best channels of getting Fayyad’s appointment approved. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres  defended his choice of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad to be the UN peace envoy to Libya after the United States blocked the appointment. He underlined that the decision to put forward Fayyad’s candidacy recognized personal qualities and his competence for the position. UN spokes person Stephane Dujarric said:  United Nations staff serve strictly in their personal capacity. They do not represent any government or country.” he said.
It’s hard to discern which way the US will act politically on peace in the Middle East from now on. Trump has back tracked on a couple of major campaign promises. But he can be erratic and take bizarre decisions in keeping with his eccentric ways. If he chooses fanaticism on the prodding of the equally extremist Netanyahu, the region could implode. It’s not as if previous US Presidents were any more cogent in their policies towards Palestine-Israel.

The US does not rule itself. A lobby of dominant and inflexible Zionist lobbyists control decision making in the US. The President merely rubber stamps their decisions. The world saw Obama lead everyone into make-believe that he would be a peacemaker. He stole the Nobel Peace Prize using his silky talk and words. In that sense we have relief that Trump forewarns and allows the world to guess ahead of time. He does not hesitate to disguise his ‘rogue state control’ mind-set.

Israel’s blatant land theft law – where else in the world is there a law that legalizes theft? – has not received Trump’s reprimand. He has stated his disapproval of expanding settlements in an oblique way.   Some European countries have made noises too but little by way of substance. So, that law will stand, at least for now, go uncontested politically at the global level.

Human Rights organizations and local Palestinian government authorities have vowed to contest it in court. The courts may not take a lenient view of the legislation. If moral grounds take precedence, it will be struck down. But, in Israel, the only thing that is predictable is lawlessness validated by large political support. There is a peace movement that stands away from what they deem illegitimate. But their impact is too small to matter, although they deserve huge respect for being able to stand against the odds. They will stand silenced.

And the resistance goes on internally and internationally. “A new Israeli law that retroactively legalizes the seizure of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements is an offense against justice”, said Bishop William Shomali, the patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem. The bishop said that the new Israeli policy makes the “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “almost impossible.”

Further afield, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme for Palestine Israel (EAPPI), a group passionate about the power of people to make big changes in Israel and Palestine coalesces with volunteer human rights monitors, partner churches and organisations, diplomats and other decision makers, to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and hasten a just, peaceful and secure future for all.

Pax Christi International wants the EU to “take a much stronger stance towards the Israeli government in condemning policies incompatible with the human rights clause of the EU-Israel Association Agreement”. They have gone a step ahead calling for “suspending economic relations until Israel respects International law.

Every two years, Sabeel sponsors an international conference which attracts intellectual, spiritual and civic leaders from around the world. This year, Friends of Sabeel North America and Canada are sponsoring a pre-conference witness trip that will focus on popular resistance in Palestine and Israel. In Malaysia, BDS activists have caught Israel sneaking in goods through the backdoor. BDS Malaysia has demanded that Giant Hypermarket, the store where the goods were being sold immediately withdraw the all Israeli products. A nation-wide public campaign aimed at boycotting Giant is on and the Malaysian government will hopefully act firmly against Giant Hypermarket.

In Australia, churches through the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN) are launching protest actions against Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu’s visit. They state: A statement says that to receive the PM “displays bias from our government, is not conducive to peace, and betrays the possibility of real peace for our Palestinian brothers and sisters… We believe this visit is an opportunity for people of peace to speak up, to call for our government to recognize the injustice of the Israeli occupation and to support Palestinians in their struggle for freedom and self-determination.

In Palestine, Rights Groups are exposing the outrageous record of human rights violations and the wider human rights community is taking notice and acting. There is visible improvement in political perceptions thanks to growing awareness that emanates from these campaigns.

Against the odds, in disaster-struck Gaza, Gaza children who were left blind from violence inflicting the besieged Palestinian territories have benefited from a new app to aid their rehabilitation and adjust to life with visual impairment. The Voice Dream Reader app now allows the children to “read with their ears” by using a touch sensitive computer tablet and text to voice technology. Vision Project has an immediate transformative effect on the quality of life of visually impaired students and teachers in Gaza,” said Interpal, the UK based charity that funded the project.

But the tragedies never stop unfolding. The report of the demolition of a house inhabited by a 100-year-old woman and her 60-year-old daughter, both of whom suffer from various health issues, has caused anger and disapproval from around the world. Left homeless, the women must now find healing from the dastardly act. To be ruthless is the nature of the Israeli occupation. A person’s home can be destroyed; but not a person’s dignity. The elderly women in the West Bank and the blinded children in Gaza know deep inside that justice will prevail.

Justice is not a goal that can be surrendered. The challenge for those parts of humanity who seek justice for the Palestinians is to reject Israel’s cruel occupation and to work to hasten the end of the occupation. We could borrow a lesson from a famed American baseball player, the Late Babe Ruth, in this struggle: “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up”.

Ranjan Solomon
Editor
—————————————————————————————————
EAPPI UK & Ireland announce an opening for Programme Coordinator

SALARY           £19,243 per annum
(£32,073 pro rata per                                 annum)
CONTRACT    Part time – Permanent
HOURS         21 hours per week – 3 days
per week
LOCATION    Friends House, Euston, London NW1

The Ecumenical Accompaniment programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is managed by Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) on behalf of UK and Irish churches and organisations.

QPSW is a hub within Britain Yearly Meeting for action on peace and social justice. Britain Yearly Meeting is a radical church with a deep commitment to peace, integrity, equality, simplicity and sustainability.

 

Join the small and dynamic EAPPI team who are passionate about the power of people to make big changes in Israel and Palestine. We work with volunteer human rights monitors, partner churches and organisations, diplomats and other decision makers, to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and hasten a just, peaceful and secure future for all.

Are you capable, flexible and enthusiastic, with knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the rights of civilians? Do you have excellent communications skills and experience of equipping and engaging supporters or volunteers to take action?  If so, you should apply.
Closing date                        Monday 6 March 2017 (9am)
Interview date                     Tuesday 21 March 2017

For further information about EAPPI, go to
See also:
For details on how to apply, go to

Pax Christi – Israel must respect international law or face EU isolation

In the wake of Israel’s approval of the settlement expansion bill which legalizes 4000 homes in illegal settlements, the EU Foreign Affairs Council stated that these settlements are contrary to international law and an obstacle to a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. Furthermore the proposed meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council has been postponed. Pax Christi International calls upon the EU to take a much stronger stance towards the Israeli government in condemning policies incompatible with the human rights clause of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The EU should consider suspending economic relations until Israel respects International law.

Read more in the Pax christi website 

Israeli seizure of Palestinian land offends justice – Bishop Shomali

A new Israeli law that retroactively legalizes the seizure of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements is an offense against justice, said Bishop William Shomali, the patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem. The bishop said that the new Israeli policy makes the “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “almost impossible.” He told the Fides news service:
If the intention is genuine, proclaimed in words, to proceed in the direction that provides for the peaceful existence of two States, Palestine and Israel, for two peoples, then one cannot take measures and implement accomplished facts that go in the opposite direction, such as the announced transfer of the embassy of the United States to Jerusalem—also denounced by the statements of the US Catholic bishops’ conference.

Read statement from Catholic Culture

Sabeel: Upcoming Conferences and Witness Trips

Two Events in One: Popular Resistance Witness Trip and Sabeel 10th International Conference

March 2, 2017 to March 13, 2017

This year, Friends of Sabeel North America and Canadian Friends of Sabeel are sponsoring a pre-conference witness trip that will focus on popular resistance in Palestine and Israel. The witness trip portion is now full, but you can still register for the conference (see below). To get on a waiting list for the trip, contact Linda Kateeb at lkateeb@sbcglobal.net. 2017 Sabeel 10th International Conference

March 7, 2017 to March 13, 2017

Every two years, Sabeel sponsors an international conference which attracts intellectual, spiritual and civic leaders from around the world. Past conferences have featured Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Edward Said, Professor Rashid Khalidi, and many others.Come and See Israel/Palestine Witness Trip

May 10, 2017 to May 22, 2017

Experience the daily life of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation: the wall, settlements, checkpoints, confiscated land, demolished homes, refugee camps, and environmental degradation. In Jerusalem’s Old City, the Negev Desert, Nazareth, Hebron, and the Sea of Galilee, participants will meet with Palestinians and Israelis fighting the occupation and consider what is needed for a just peace.

About Friends of Sabeel, North America 
About Sabeel

 Australia- Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN) calls churches:
We need you to speak out!

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is due to officially visit Australia sometime between 19th and 24th Feb, at the personal invitation of the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. PIEN believes this visit should not take place. A statement says: “It displays bias from our government, is not conducive to peace, and betrays the possibility of real peace for our Palestinian brothers and sisters… We believe this visit is an opportunity for people of peace to speak up, to call for our government to recognize the injustice of the Israeli occupation and to support Palestinians in their struggle for freedom and self-determination”.
PIEN, with other organisations, have organized some major events. However, we need your support at this very important time.

Refer to PIEN webpage for all actions

Giant’ Victory for BDS Malaysia

On the 25th of January 2017, BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Malaysia reported that items of clothing with the barcode assigned to Israeli companies (which starts with the numbers 729) were found to be on sale in Giant Supermarket’s.

 

Malaysia and Israel do not have diplomatic ties. In fact, Malaysia imposed a trade ban with Israel in 1974. Israel has found backdoor methods to infiltrate the market.

 

BDS Malaysia calls on Giant Hypermarket to immediately withdraw the above mentioned and other Israeli products, failing which we will take the following measures: Urge the Malaysian government to take action against Giant Hypermarket; and Conduct a nation-wide public campaign aimed at boycotting Giant.

Palestine Chronicle has full report

Rights group: IOF continue systematic crimes in Palestine

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (02 – 08 February 2017). The long list is a poor reflection in Israel’s failure to accept the Rule of Law.

Please read the full and startling details in Palestine News Network

Gaza children blinded by violence read again

Gaza children have been left blind from violence inflicting the besieged Palestinian territories have benefited from a new app to aid their rehabilitation and adjust to life with visual impairment. Of the 11,000 Palestinians injured during the 50-day Gaza War, more than 3,000 were children, many of whom live with permanent disabilities. The Voice Dream Reader app now allows the children to “read with their ears” by using a touch sensitive computer tablet and text to voice technology. They can also increase the levels of magnification according to their sight needs, or even use bright colours if necessary. “Mastering Braille remains the foundation of rehabilitation, but the Vision Project has an immediate transformative effect on the quality of life of visually impaired students and teachers in Gaza,” said Interpal, the UK based charity that funded the project. “Now the technology will be used to help countless Gazan children for the foreseeable future.” The Vision Project was implemented by UNWRA in Gaza City, at the al-Nour Centre for the Visually Impaired, where more than 200 students aged between seven and 13 have been trained to use the cutting-edge app.

Read more in the New Arab

100-year-old Bedouin woman’s demolished in Israeli outrage
The unrecognized Palestinian-Bedouin village of Um el Hiran in the Negev village, currently surrounded by Israeli police.
(Photo: Adalah)

In the latest instance of Israel’s demolition campaign in the Negev region of southern Israel, homes were demolished in two unrecognized Bedouin villages on Wednesday, while Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran. Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police, demolished a house in the village of Wadi al-Na‘am in the western part of the Negev in southern Israel.  Locals told Ma‘an that the demolished house was owned by an elderly woman and her daughter. A member of the local committee, Yousif Ziyadin, said that an emergency session would be held to discuss the Israeli demolition. A relative of the elderly homeowner, Ahmad Zanoun, told Ma‘an that 100-year-old Ghaytha Zanoun and her 60-year-old daughter Hilala were living in the house, both of whom suffer from various health issues.  Zanoun said that both Ghaytha and Hilala were unable to walk, and noted that the family had renovated the home in accordance with their doctor’s suggestions due to their health conditions. He added that Ghaytha and her daughter now were homeless following the demolition.

Read Maaan News for the report