Palestine Update 380
Feigning victimhood, an Israeli preoccupation
Israel has near complete control over every aspect of Palestinian life, while the Palestinians are largely powerless, they are denied freedom of movement, control over their properties, land and water, the ability to freely engage in commerce and basic human rights. Israel’s one-sided enforcement of the Oslo Accords has rendered the Palestinian Authority a dependent entity needing to stretch its hands out for international aid for support. And this, by no means, is because it cannot grow its own economy. Palestinians are known to be industrious, creative, hard working, and take the tough path to make life reasonably good in all circumstances. I am always surprised how one would never see a single beggar on the streets of Palestine despite levels of deprivation. That is a symbol of Palestinian dignity and sense of co-existence. Israel has impeded Palestinians to a point where they are obliged to settle for sustenance level livelihoods and low-paying jobs in Israel or in the settlements.
External aid tends to be conditioned in ways that bring political gain to Israel. The EU’s aid is geared at cushioning the occupation and make things look better than they really are. Call it opium or a façade – Opium, because EU aid makes the Palestinian economy look better than it actually is. The dependency factor tugs away at Palestinian dignity. It’s a façade for the same reasons. It conceals the atrocities of the occupation by relief and humanitarian supplies to Palestinians and weapons that allow the occupation to be enforced. And anytime there is militant resistance to Israeli atrocities, the threat of withdrawing aid is handed out handed out compelling the PA to enforce a withdrawal of resistance.
Israel is the foremost addressee of American largess, in the form of aid and unquestioning political support. Israel lives by portraying itself as the ‘victim’ nation surrounded by terrorists. Israel adds to the equation the ‘we were once persecuted’ narrative. For reasons that the West knows best, they swallow Israel’s ‘once-persecuted pill’ and freely license Israel’s bullying and pitiless occupation. Israeli competence to twist the tale from one of being the oppressor to seeking pity as perpetual victims is quite amazing.
It is time for civil society, progressive individuals and social movements to abandon the tendency to feel sorry when crocodile tears are shed by Israel and hand out severe punishment in the form of ingoing them as they did not even exist. Not just boycotts and divestments, in the field of economics, culture, academic and exchanges in the field of sports, but sanctions that compel Israel to behave like a normal state and cease its barbaric practices against Palestinian civilians. No more land stealth, and dehumanizing people in any sort of way. Israel should have no place in the community of nations until it conforms to international law and standards of political decency.
EU diplomacy is profitable for Israel, disaster for the Palestinians
Since Israel announced its plan to annex swathes of the occupied West Bank, the EU has only hypothesized on what steps the bloc may take in response. The most prominent of these could be the exclusion of Israel from the Horizon 2020 research grants. Other than this possibility (it is no more than that at this stage), which should have been done long before now in any case due to Israel’s perpetual violations of international law, the EU has tacitly approved Donald Trump’s deal upon which annexation is based, and will most likely restrict its collective response to rhetoric.
US President Trump has dealt Palestinians a severe blow, which would have been impossible if the international community had united, decades ago, to rectify its colonial approach to Palestine. The UN has led the way in creating Israel’s ability to act with impunity which is derived from Palestinian dependence.
The EU is no different. It placed itself at the helm of alleged peace-building strategies, in particular through its financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority alongside its diplomatic relations with Israel. Palestinians are now pawns in a state-building project without a state, presided over by an internationally-funded entity that has no political legitimacy and which functions as a colonial collaborator with, and defender of, the colonial-settler state of Israel, as well as a mouthpiece for international diplomacy. Spanish MEPs have criticized the EU’s Foreign Affairs Chief, noting that calling upon Israel to refrain from annexation is not enough. The EU may still be the solitary international actor that can facilitate authentic negotiations.
UNHRC set to condemn Israeli annexation, call for arms embargo
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) condemned Israeli plans to annex portions of the West Bank and to call on the international community to use all tools necessary to enforce an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, including through an arms embargo. The 47-member body voted on five pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli resolutions, as it wraps up its 43rd session.
Three of the resolutions take Israel to task for its military and civilian hold over the West Bank, one of the resolutions affirms the Palestinian right to self-determination and one calls on Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria. But with Israeli annexation pending, the thrust of the pro-Palestinian resolutions was to affirm Palestinian statehood, a two-state solution, the pre-1967 lines, to declare Israeli settlement activity to be illegal and to call the international community to talk for failing to hold Israel accountable.
The resolution on accountability “calls upon all States to promote compliance with international law and all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention … including by ensuring that they do not become involved in internationally unlawful conduct, and to assess the potential that arms could be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian or human rights law.” The resolution on settlements “condemns the declaration made by Israeli officials calling for the annexation of Palestinian land and reaffirms the prohibition of acquisition of territory resulting from the use of force.” The resolution on self-determination calls on the international community not to recognize Israeli annexation. It “calls upon all States to ensure their obligations of non-recognition, non-aid or assistance with regard to the serious breaches of peremptory norms of international law by Israel.”
UNHRC Adopts Resolution on Israel’s Accountability for Human Rights Violations in Palestine
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riad al-Maliki said on Friday evening that the UN Human Rights Council approved a draft resolution submitted by the State of Palestine, which calls for holding Israel accountable for its human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian Territory. 22 states voted in favor, 17 countries abstained, and eight countries voted against the draft resolution submitted by the State of Palestine through its Permanent Mission in the United Nations.
Al-Maliki pointed out to the importance of voting in favor of the resolution at this critical time, when Israel is planning to annex portions of the occupied Palestinian Territory with the support and direct encouragement of the current US administration, in clear violation of international law and its resolutions. He described the countries that voted against the draft resolution as “practicing political hypocrisy and standing in the face of justice and on the wrong side of history,” and that voting against the draft resolution means “support for Israeli war criminals.”
Al-Malki urged all members of the international community to encourage compliance with international law, and to ensure respect for international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
Over100 progressive groups push Biden support for Palestine claims
A diverse array of over 100 groups that support Palestinian rights announced today that they had sent a letter to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, urging him to adopt policies toward Israel and the Palestinians “based on the principles of equality and justice for all.” The letter, which was initiated by the activist group CODEPINK, advocates a policy approach based on “respecting human rights and international law, promoting the peaceful resolution of conflicts, supporting diplomacy over military intervention, and utilizing multilateralism and multilateral institutions for dispute resolution,” and calls on Biden not only to adopt these principles in Israel and Palestine, but as the basis of U.S. foreign policy in general.
The effort faces an uphill battle. Biden is a staunch and long-time supporter of Israel. As vice president under Barack Obama, Biden was frequently tasked with smoothing out the often-rocky relationship between the administration and the pro-Israel community, due to his well-earned reputation for supporting the Israeli government’s views.
He was once described by Senator Chuck Schumer as “the best friend of Israel in the (Obama) administration.” Biden famously told an interviewer on Shalom TV in 2007. “You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Even when other Democrats were pledging or at least considering the idea of leveraging the United States annual allotment of $3.8 billion in military aid to pressure Israel into cooperating with the goal of a two-state solution, Biden categorically rejected any threat to that annual aid. He has even indicated that, contrary to his former boss, President Obama, he would keep any disagreements between his administration and Israel away from public view.