Palestine Update 483
Choice is between Israeli colonialism vs. decolonial justice
According to the Israeli state and pro-Israel groups, the Palestinian critique of Israel ultimately stems from a disposition of evil and hate. Pick any of these groups, and you’ll find repeated ad nauseum the assertion that this critique is geared towards the “vilification” and “demonization” of Israel, as if that is the end goal of Palestinian critique and resistance, and as if that goal is driven by antisemitic hatred of Jews. This response has been on full display in Israel’s reaction to Ben & Jerry’s decision to boycott Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, calling this decision “a new form of terrorism” and as “antisemitic.”
Opposite the fictional and simplified worldview of “a land without a people for a people without a land,” “Jewish return to the ancient Land of Israel,” “the Palestinians are terrorists who fight for the sake of death and destruction,” “the Palestinians are the real conquerors and squatters on the Indigenous lands of Jews,” “Israel is merely acting in self-defense,” along other myths, is the reality of the Zionist settler-colonial conquest of Palestine, where Israel and the Zionist project has always been the aggressor, a fact that Ben-Gurion understood even prior to 1948.Emerging from that reality is a complex Palestinian critique of Zionism and Israel that understands the Zionist Israeli drive to eliminate and erase Palestinians as a problem of colonial modernity, and not the result of the “evil” of a particular ethnic, religious, and/or racial group. When contrasted against one another, the picture is rather clear: the Palestinian critique I’m talking about is much closer to reality than the mythological discourse of the Israeli state and its supporters. It is also much closer to reality than accounts we find in the mainstream of Zionist scholarship in Israel and beyond.
A century of Zionist and Israeli settler-colonial aggression
More subtle and sophisticated but still operating on the same ground as Israeli state propaganda are Zionist academics who either out rightly reject the settler-colonial framework for explaining Israel or, as some so-called progressive academics do, downplay its explanatory power. The core of the Palestinian critique is its centralizing of the fact that in order to achieve the goal of exclusive Jewish sovereignty, the Zionist project expels the Indigenous Palestinian inhabitants of the land of historic Palestine and replaces them with Jewish settlers largely from Europe at first but eventually from other regions such as the Middle East and North Africa. This feature of elimination and replacement is the key characteristic of all settler-colonialisms.
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Ex-UN rights Chief Navi Pillay to lead Israel-Palestinian inquiry
Former UN rights chief Navi Pillay will lead the United Nations’ open-ended inquiry into systematic abuses in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The UN Human Rights Council’s president said Ms Pillay would lead a three-person investigation into abuses and their root causes in the decades-long conflict. A commission of inquiry is the highest-level investigation that can be ordered by the council.
The inquiry was triggered during a special session of the council on May 27 to discuss the surge in deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians earlier in the month. The conflict killed 260 Palestinians, including some fighters, according to Gaza authorities. In Israel, 13 people were killed, including a soldier, by projectiles fired from Gaza, the police and army said. The council established an ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law” in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
It will look into “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity”. The commissioners were mandated to get to the facts and circumstances surrounding violations and identify those responsible “with a view to ensuring that perpetrators of violations are held accountable”. The council has so far ordered eight investigations into rights offences committed in the Palestinian territories, but this is the first with a mandate to examine root causes and investigate systematic abuses.
The decades-long struggle for the right to live in Sheikh Jarrah
Palestinian families are living in limbo as the conclusion of a long-running legal battle against their eviction from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district draws near. The fragile truce between Israel and Palestinian militant groups has brought uneasy quiet to the district, where fragrant citrus trees grow in courtyard gardens and cozy terraces overflow with flowering jasmine.
The houses the Palestinians have lived in for nearly 70 years are filled with hand-carved furniture, ornate rugs and traditional embroidery. Maps of historical Palestine hang on the walls of some and the golden Dome of the Rock, in the vicinity of the Al Aqsa Mosque, can be seen from the highest windows. But Israeli military checkpoints tightly control access to the area and Palestinians say the neighbourhood has now taken on the atmosphere of a militarized zone. “
The Israeli army installed several barriers that arbitrarily limited our right of movement,” said Yaara Yaish, a 32-year-old resident of the affluent Al Hara Al Fokaniya lane, named with the Arabic for the high plain. “Many of us won’t leave the area as Israeli soldiers give us a lot of hassle when we come back,” she told The National, referring to the checkpoints that Israel says are key to maintaining security. Though the open hostilities have ended, the families’ right to live in the district remains threatened by a concerted effort, backed by influential Israeli settler groups, to evict them from their homes. The eviction threats turned the tiny district into a flashpoint in the latest surge of unrest between Israel and the Palestinians.
Facilities Provided by IOF to ‘Jewish National Fund’ for Robbing Palestinian Land
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report, that the Israeli Occupation Army’s cooperation with the ‘Jewish National Fund’ and other arms of the occupation and settlement is not new. It also seems clear that the Israeli Ministry of the Occupation Army encourages recruits the ‘the Israeli Keren Kemet’ i.e. (the Jewish National Fund) for real estate to purchase deals And large areas of private Palestinian-owned land in the West Bank for the benefit of settlers to be cultivated as soon as the owners are prevented from accessing them, and robbery deals on Palestinian property, which are carried out with cover and facilities from the occupation army, knowing that the robbery included lands in the Jordan Valley, Ramallah, and Hebron. In early April, the fund approved a draft to purchase lands in isolated settlements, especially in the Nablus and Jenin Governorates.
Ben & Jerry’s capitulation to the BDS Movement – Incredibly incoherent
The iconic, famously woke ice cream company, Ben & Jerry’s, announced on Monday that it will no longer sell its product in “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” As the company explained, “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).” However, they added, “Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement.”
Put another way (and to read between the lines), “We will continue to sell our ice cream to the evil oppressors in their own apartheid state, one that was founded on genocide and ethnic cleansing and one that exists to this day on stolen Palestinian land. But we will not sell our ice cream to these evil oppressors who live in illegal settlements in other portions of equally stolen land.”
How righteous. How consistent. How just!
Israeli settlers set fire to equipment inside quarry south of Nablus
Israeli settlers yesterday at pre-dawn set fire to equipment inside a quarry in the town of Jamma’in to the south of Nablus, in the northern occupied West Bank, according to a local activist. A vehicle carrying a number of settlers pulled over next to a quarry belonging to a Palestinian resident in the town of Jamma’in and set fire to the equipment.
Settler violence has long since become part of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation. Israeli security forces enable these actions, which result in Palestinians casualties – injuries and fatalities – as well as damage to land and property, said the Israeli information center for human rights in the occupied territories, B’Tselem. “In some cases, they even serve as an armed escort or even join in the attacks. Investigations, if even opened, are usually closed with no action taken against perpetrators as part of an undeclared policy of leniency. The long-term effect of this violence is the dispossession of Palestinians from increasing parts of the West Bank, making it easier for Israel to take over land and resources,” said B’Tselem.