Against the odds

Palestine Update 539
Comment

Against the odds
The Academic and Cultural Boycott actions have gained currency in the BDS conduit. It is an important tool in affirming the Palestinian right to education by safeguarding educational enterprises with the sovereignty needed for creative and productive education.

 The recent Amnesty report has shown the world how vital it is to campaign for the right to return for refugees.  Amnesty’s report is inadequate and silent on essential features of the advocacy line.  Regardless this is a denial that must end if any semblance of justice must find fruition. In the same vein, it is important for the solidarity movements to seek identify helpful pathways and tactics that avenue “an anti-apartheid movement across colonized Palestine and in exile can help Palestinians regain their political agency and reassert their unity”. This approach is strongly endorsed by the Al Shabaka policy group.

Alongside there is fear among legal experts that Israel will resort to ‘forcible transfer’ of selected populations which, in themselves, are harsh infringements of international humanitarian law. Israel’s “multiple policies and practices related to the military occupation and the Israeli settlement enterprise” also call to be curbed and exposed. Israel is also applying its Absentee Property Law to illegally acquire land and hand them to non-owners. There is also the tacit goal of stealthily sneaking in Jewish ascendancy adopting underhand methods.

Finally as a Middle East Monitor report puts it: “It’s impossible to pick out one single act of brutality committed by Israel’s occupation forces over another, because there have been so many in eight decades of the Palestinian struggle for survival. Each atrocity bears the hallmarks of a crime against humanity.”

The struggle is bitter and painful. But at the end of the tunnel there is always a light!

Ranjan Solomon


Israel’s repression of Palestinian universities
The Organizing Collective for the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) writes in support of Birzeit University’s call to action “to defend the Palestinian people’s right to education, free from duress, intervention and political persecution.” We invite you to join us in heeding their call to “Work with us to break the siege that these regulations impose on Birzeit and other Palestinian universities. Accept our invitation to teach and learn in Palestine. Help us exercise our basic right to education and to preserve the institutional autonomy that we built over the decades despite all obstacles.”

We express our strong opposition to Israel’s most recent attempt to restrict Palestinian rights to education and to undermine the freedom and autonomy of Palestinian academic institutions. Scheduled to take effect in May 2022, the “Procedure for Entry and Residency of Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Region” grants the Israeli military absolute powers to select which international faculty, academic researchers and students can be admitted to teach or study at Palestinian universities.
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Refugees of apartheid: Israelis need to talk about Palestinian return
“A meta-argument in Amnesty International’s February 2022 Apartheid report is that denying the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to the land and homes from which they were displaced in 1948 is the central mechanism of that policy principle. The decision to refer to the Palestinian refugees in a report on Israel’s present responsibility and steps required for a future of justice, equality, and reconciliation is a unique one, which breaks through the narrow bounds of Jewish-Israeli political discourse. The debate in Israel around Amnesty’s recent “apartheid report,” consisted of three familiar appraisals of its contents: some dismissed it as an anti-Semitic blood libel; some shrugged it off as a statement of the obvious; and others pondered whether this was a development with concrete legal ramifications. What was and continues to be missing in the meantime is a frank discussion of our responsibility as Jewish Israelis not only for the past, but for the future of this country.

Amnesty International’s report is systematic and comprehensive, but does not offer significant new information, and its recommendations are limited. The evidence for Israel’s violations of international law listed in the report will come as little surprise to any Israeli who has ever listened to the news — let alone left-wing activists. The Israeli variant of apartheid is not limited to the occupied territories or to any particular part of the Palestinian population, but is inherent to the very partition of the territory and population into units with different legal statuses. The second meta-argument is that denying the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to the land and homes from which they were displaced in 1948 is the central mechanism of that policy principle.
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International Law and the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Movement
“This policy memo examines decolonization in the context of international law and increasing recognition of Israeli apartheid. It offers recommendations for how Palestinians and allies should strategize an effective anti-apartheid movement through legal avenues and posits that an anti-apartheid movement across colonized Palestine and in exile can help Palestinians regain their political agency and reassert their unity…While popular mobilization by Palestinians across colonized Palestine and in exile will ultimately be key to Palestinian liberation, international law can help to advance this effort by building external pressure and generating tangible consequences for Israel’s ongoing crimes. The apartheid framework offers an avenue for accountability and enables Palestinians to challenge Israel’s fragmentation and build a united struggle.”
Complete article

Herders struggle under military occupation and settler violence
(A photo essay)
“Herders and other Palestinians in the Hebron hills and across the West Bank are at constant risk of being forced to leave their homes or communities. Legal experts have warned that this may amount to ‘forcible transfer,’ a severe violation of international humanitarian law. This risk is generated by what humanitarian organizations have identified as a ‘coercive environment,’ the multiple policies and practices related to the military occupation and the Israeli settlement enterprise. Israeli forces restrict Palestinian movement, construction and development. Israeli settlers routinely attack or intimidate Palestinians, often backed up by Israeli forces who stand idly by or intervene on the part of the attackers. In 2021, most Palestinians injuries following the actions of settlers resulted from the intervention of Israeli forces rather than directly from the settlers’ actions.”
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Israel citizenship law no longer hides its real goal of Jewish supremacy
 “Few remember the brief period, spanning just a few months in 1948-49, when the cease-fire line between Israel and Jordan ran through the Little Triangle – a concentration of Arab towns in north central Israel, roughly bounded by Baka al-Garbiyeh, Taibeh and Tira. Even the two families from Taibeh and Kalansua that own land there would have lived out their lives without ever remembering. That is, until they received a Kafkaesque reminder in 2017 when the Justice Ministry’s administrator general decided to seize the lands. The agency justified the seizure under the Absentee Property Law. They argued that the owners had been absentees during those few months, decades ago, when the border ran through the area. Even though the families never left their homes and became Israeli citizens after the war, the Supreme Court upheld the decision…In the ensuing legal battle, the families weren’t permitted to request that the land be returned to them, contrary to the wording of the law. Further, they were barred from seeing the maps upon which the state’s claim was based. The battle ended with these 7.5 acres in the state’s possession.”
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The makers of Israel’s deadly drones continue to evade British justice
It’s impossible to pick out one single act of brutality committed by Israel’s occupation forces over another, because there have been so many in eight decades of the Palestinian struggle for survival. Each atrocity bears the hallmarks of a crime against humanity: Deir Yassin in 1948 — at least 107 Palestinians slaughtered by Zionist terrorists; Qibya, 1953 — at least 69 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers led by Ariel Sharon; Kafr Qasim, 1956 — 48 Palestinians killed by Israeli police; Bahr El-Baqar Primary School, 1970 — 46 Egyptian children killed; Sabra and Shatila, 1982 — up to 3,500 Palestinian refugees killed by Israel’s allies, although Israel’s own inquiry put the blame on Ariel Sharon — yes, him again — and the Israel Defence Forces; and Wehda Street, Gaza, 2021 — residential street bombed by Israel, 44 Palestinians killed. These are all examples and a far from complete list of the massacres of innocent civilians by Israel.

One of these which stands out for me is the slaughter of four schoolboys aged ten and eleven years as they played football on the beach in Gaza in 2014. The war crime — what else can you call a missile attack on children playing in the sand? — unfolded in front of representatives of the world’s media who witnessed the killing of the Bakr family cousins.

We now know that the children were killed by missiles launched from an armed drone; possibly even a drone containing parts manufactured in Britain. That is just one of the reasons why activists belonging to Palestine Action target drone factories in Britain owned by Elbit, Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer and supplier.

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