Waging peace, the politics of aid, and how Trump gives peace a shot

Opinion

Palestine Update  76

Waging peace, the politics of aid, and how Trump gives peace a shot
When thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women marched through the West Bank along the Dead Sea on Sunday as part of a more than two week a “Journey to Peace”, it was not a mere message. It was an affirmation of grit that stated “We’re not stopping without an agreement”. Mounting repression has been met with escalating resistance and from quarters hitherto unexpected.Consider, for example, the defiant tone of distinguished Jewish-Israeli civil society leader, a psychiatrist, and feminist and the Founder and President of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI), Dr. Ruchama Marton. Pursuant on decades of human rights work, she embraced the BDS as “critical to ending Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people” Then the very organization she founded abandoned her. They simply did not share “in her principled commitment and courage to end apartheid”.

Israel’s Supreme Court has done the unpredictable and lit up hope for Israel Arabs. They received a petition on behalf of Abu Arafeh and three other Palestinian parliamentarians cancelling the revocation of their Jerusalem residency.” The Parliamentarians asserted their cause as being just: “Jerusalem cannot be replaced by any other city, and I am eagerly waiting for the day I can return to Jerusalem.”

Then Donald Trump did the unimaginable. He deferred moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He said: “I am not making any predictions, but I want to give that (peace) a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem.” This did not please Tel Aviv.

Finally, it is emerging as a non-negotiable for Palestinians to abandon their status as a dependent economy and create grounds for a future state. This is even more urgent in light of U.S. legislation in Congress that aims to cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority if it does not stop paying annual stipends to the families of those either killed by Israeli security forces or imprisoned in Israel. Aid has the tendency to deny the receiver dignity and autonomy of action. Here is a forewarning of things to come. These warning signs should add a new momentum to the struggle for freedom from occupation.

Ranjan Solomon

Editor

Thousands of Israeli, Palestinian women ‘wage peace’ in the desert
Women Wage Peace, the group behind the demonstration, says the two-week march sends a message to leaders to work toward a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to make sure women have equal representation in any talks. The march by Israeli and Palestinian women, demanding that both peoples’ leaders do more for peace, was set to culminate with a protest outside Netanyahu’s residence

            Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women marched through the West Bank along the Dead Sea on Sunday, part of more than two weeks of a “Journey to Peace” by an organization called Women Wage Peace. The march, which was held under the banner, “We’re not stopping without an agreement,” was meant to culminate with a protest outside the Israeli Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem later Sunday evening. Last year a similar march was held in the same area near Jericho. In 2015, Women Wage Peace fasted (in shifts) outside the Israeli Prime Minister’s Residence for 50 days, to mark one year since the 2014 Gaza war. Smaller events have been taking place throughout Israel and Palestine for the past two weeks.
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Watch videoDistinguished Israeli Doctor supports BDS“You can’t fight colonialism, occupation, and apartheid – call it what you want – by playing in the government’s court, according to the government’s agenda. You must breach those boundaries.”Dr. Ruchama Marton is a distinguished Jewish-Israeli civil society leader, a psychiatrist, feminist and the Founder and President of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI). After speaking last month out about why she, after decades of human rights work, is convinced that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is critical to ending Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, the very organization she founded distanced itself from her, failing to share in her principled commitment and courage to end apartheid.
Read excerpts of an interview with Dr. Marton

Aid and its limits in Palestine
Sustainable aid-enabled development will largely rely on Palestinians being able to access their natural resources, and control their borders.  It will also rely on PA’s commitment to democracy, efficient governance and, bolstering Palestinians’ hope for a political settlement.

International aid has played a crucial role in sustaining the humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinian economy, and the PA’s operations since 1993. According to the World Bank, more than US$31 billion in international aid has flowed to Palestinians since 1993. Each and every infrastructure project or government institution in the West Bank or Gaza has significant international financial backing. But since 2013, aid disbursements in the form of development and direct budgetary support have fallen sharply.

There are many reasons why the level of aid has declined. Firstly, many donor countries have cut their global development and humanitarian assistance budgets in recent years. Secondly, regional developments may have diverted aid disbursements from Palestine to other destinations with greater humanitarian needs such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Finally, donor fatigue related to both the gridlocked peace process and the PA’s deteriorating democracy and human rights records should not be underestimated. These factors are also affecting opinion at home.

Despite declining disbursements, aid will continue to play an important role in sustaining the Palestinian economy and the PA. Similarly, humanitarian assistance will continue to provide much-needed, short-term relief, particularly for marginalized Palestinians mainly in Gaza, and Area C in the West Bank.

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Propelled by unfounded anti-Palestinian propaganda
– The sadly misnamed Taylor Force Act

“Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,” according to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report. The total military and financial aid to Israel exceeds $3 billion annually, the largest recipient in the planned $25.4 billion U.S. foreign assistance budget for the 2018 fiscal year. 

Sam Bahour writes: “On March 9, 2016, a 29-year-old American graduate student, Taylor Force, was tragically murdered in the Israeli city of Jaffa. Mr. Force was killed by a 22-year-old Palestinian named Bashar Masalha. There is no way for anyone to know what this crime’s motivation was because Israeli security personnel shot dead the perpetrator on the scene.

In any other place on earth, the victim would be mourned, the perpetrator condemned, prayers would be sent to both families, and life would go on. But not in Israel, where in minutes Israeli leaders blamed the Palestinian leadership for the incident, which took place under total Israeli security, legal and national jurisdiction.

More than a year and a half later, new U.S. legislation is in Congress. The legislation aims to cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority if it does not stop paying annual stipends to the families of those either killed by Israeli security forces or imprisoned in Israel”.
Read full article

Trump to ‘Give Peace a Shot’ before Embassy move to Jerusalem
Donald Trump claims that he would like to try to establish peace between Israel and Palestine any discussion on moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

US President Donald Trump said that he would like to try to establish peace between Israel and Palestine before moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “Right now we are actually working on a plan that everybody says will never work, as for many-many years it has never worked. They say it is the toughest deal of all it is peace between Israel and Palestinians… I do not think it is impossible and I think it is something that can happen. I am not making any predictions, but I want to give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem,” Trump said Saturday in an interview to Mike Huckabee broadcast by Trinity Broadcast Network.
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‘Jerusalem cannot be replaced by any other city’

Court ruling offers shred of hope to Palestinians who have had their Jerusalem residency revoked by Israel.Israel’s Supreme Court last month accepted a petition on behalf of Abu Arafeh and three other Palestinian parliamentarians who were expelled from the city, cancelling the revocation of their Jerusalem residency. “I know that our cause is a just one” says Abu Arafeh. “Jerusalem cannot be replaced by any other city, and I am eagerly waiting for the day I can return to Jerusalem.”

Israel revoked the residency status of almost 15,000 Palestinians between 1967 and 2016. The majority of those cases involved a failure to prove that an individual’s “centre of life” was in the city, but there have also been cases of punitive revocations and collective punishment against family members of Palestinians who were accused of attacking Israelis, as well as a number of individuals accused of “breach of loyalty”.
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