For real peace and justice, Israel’s impunity must be barred

Palestine Update 572
Opinion

For real peace and justice, Israel’s impunity must be barred

The US was never expected to come up with an honest investigation on the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. Washington has proven its bias even on the most obvious facts. To virtually erase the killing as the inadvertent “result of tragic circumstances” is adding insult to the intelligence that is so obvious to the rest of the civilized world. Neutrality is a form of hypocrisy at most times. The US report tried to equalize the murder of Abu Akleh by a sharp shooter with the resistance by Islamic Jihad. How are Palestinians expected to accept Israeli colonialism as evidenced in an abundance of cruelties? Hushed acceptance?

Or, as columnist-writer Ramzy Baroud puts it: “Fifteen years have passed since Israel imposed a total siege on the Gaza Strip, subjecting nearly two million Palestinians to one of the longest and most cruel politically-motivated blockades in history… The Israeli government had then justified its siege as the only way to protect Israel from Palestinian “terrorism and rocket attacks”. This remains the official Israeli line until this day. Not many Israelis, certainly not in government, media or even ordinary people, would argue that Israel today is safer than it was prior to June 2007.

 Reports suggest that Israeli occupation forces have been the aggressor by committing as many as 73 violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Ibrahimi Mosque in June alone according to a report from Quds Press. There have been repeated and provocative Israeli violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque, including recurring closures, settler raids, carrying out diggings, the continuous targeting of its guards and chasing worshippers.” Israeli excavations in Jerusalem are posing an imminent threat to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and residents of the holy city.

 A poll published by the Israel Democracy Institute showed that only 32% of Jews say they will support a peace agreement, if reached, between Israel and the Palestinians. As things politically stand, peace is something that is anything but possible under the ongoing Israeli political dispensations. Conditions in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem cannot be done away with an Oslo-like peace deal which will only serve Jewish interests in Israel. This time around, any agreement with the Jewish State will be meticulously scrutinized.

The everyday humiliations in multiple forms suffered by the Palestinian people cannot continue. The word peace as employed by liberal Zionists rings hollow in the absence of a political transition among Israelis.  Liberalism is equated with a kinder; gentler Israeli State. Justice must be the prime condition in the growing clarity of informed minds who demand a solution based on two peoples living in One State where justice is prime stipulation.

Ranjan Solomon


‘Not about justice’: Advocates slam US line on Abu Akleh killing
Palestinian rights supporters say the US assessment aims to sweep the issue under the rug ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel.
The Biden administration’s handling of the killing of Al Jazeera journalist has infuriated Palestinian rights advocates who say Washington continues to ensure impunity for Israeli abuses even when they target journalists and United States citizens. The US Department of State announced on Monday that gunfire from Israeli positions “was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh”, but it dismissed the incident as the unintentional “result of tragic circumstances”.

The statement added that the killing of the Palestinian-American journalist came as Israeli forces were conducting a “military operation against factions of Palestinian Islamic Jihad on May 11, 2022, in Jenin, which followed a series of terrorist attacks in Israel”. ..The State Department’s statement was an effort to split the difference between both sides,” said Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American analyst and senior fellow at the Arab Center Washington DC. “And instead of coming down on the side of truth, they came down on the side of equivocation. They really had an opportunity to take a stand and do the right thing, but they clearly failed to do so.”

Press freedom and rights groups as well as lawmakers in Washington have been calling for a comprehensive, independent or US-led investigation into the killing. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a US-based watchdog, reiterated those calls and urged accountability for the killing of Abu Akleh.  “The US should either take the lead in investigating Abu Akleh’s death in a fully credible and transparent manner, or it should support international efforts to seek justice on behalf of her and her family,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator, said in a statement. Washington has already rejected the International Criminal Court’s involvement in the case.
Read full analysis from Al Jazeera

Myths and facts about the Israeli siege on Gaza
Excerpts from article by Ramzy Baroud

Fifteen years have passed since Israel imposed a total siege on the Gaza Strip, subjecting nearly two million Palestinians to one of the longest and most cruel politically-motivated blockades in history.

 The Israeli government had then justified its siege as the only way to protect Israel from Palestinian “terrorism and rocket attacks”. This remains the official Israeli line until this day. Not many Israelis, certainly not in government, media or even ordinary people, would argue that Israel today is safer than it was prior to June 2007.

 It is widely understood that Israel has imposed the siege as a response to the Hamas takeover of the Strip, following a brief and violent confrontation between the two main Palestinian political rivals, Hamas, which currently rules Gaza, and Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank. However, the isolation of Gaza was planned years before the Hamas-Fateh clash, or even the Hamas’ legislative election victory of January 2006. Late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was determined to redeploy Israeli forces out of Gaza, years prior to these dates…

 The “disengagement” was an Israeli tactic that aimed at removing a few thousand illegal Jewish settlers out of Gaza — to other illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank — while redeploying the Israeli army from crowded Gaza population centers to the border areas. This was the actual start of the Gaza siege. The ultimate motive behind the “disengagement” was not Israel’s security, or even to starve Gazans as a form of collective punishment. The latter was one natural outcome of a much more sinister political plot, as communicated by Sharon’s own senior adviser at the time, Dov Weisglass. In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, in October 2004, Weisglass put it plainly: “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process.” How?

“When you freeze [the peace] process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem,” according to Weisglass. Not only was this Israel’s ultimate motive behind the disengagement and subsequent siege on Gaza but, according to the seasoned Israeli politician, it was all done “with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress”. The President in question here is no other than US president at the time, George W. Bush.
Read full article in Jordan Times

Unilever decision spotlights crackdown on US Palestinian activism
Palestinian rights advocates say Unilever’s decision to sell Ben & Jerry’s business to Israeli firm is part of a larger push to punish solidarity with Palestinians.

“Ben and Jerry’s has sued parent company Unilever over a decision last week to sell the US company’s Israel operations to a subsidiary, clearing the way for the resumed sale of its ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories. The ice cream brand had announced in July last year that it would no longer sell its products in areas within an “internationally recognised illegal occupation” – a decision that drew scorn from Israel and prompted a campaign to pressure Unilever to roll back the decision.

Israel’s supporters cheered Unilever’s announcement last Tuesday to sell to an Israeli licensee. Palestinian rights advocates say the move by Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company, is part of a larger push to punish solidarity with Palestinians, and that laws put in place to penalise economic boycotts of Israel threaten freedom of speech in the United States. “You wouldn’t be seeing this animated reaction after one ice cream company says they’re going to stop sales in settlements unless Israel was concerned that this could snowball quickly, that one company could become 100,” Amer Zahr, president of the advocacy group New Generation for Palestine, told Al Jazeera.

The year-long campaign against Ben & Jerry’s move relied on laws passed by US states to penalise boycotts of Israeli products. Palestinian activists and civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), say such laws undermine free speech. And Palestinian advocates see such efforts as a sign that the Israeli government is increasingly insecure about its image, under scrutiny as a growing chorus of human rights groups accuses it of apartheid.”
Read full report in Al Jazeera

 73 Israel violations against Al-Aqsa, Ibrahimi mosques in June
Israeli occupation forces committed 73 violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Ibrahimi Mosque in June; Quds Press reported a Palestinian Authority (PA) official saying.

Awqaf Minister Hatem Al-Bakri warned of the “dangerous Israeli violations” mainly against Al-Aqsa Mosque, pointing to the “repeated closures, allowing settler raids, carrying out diggings, the continuous targeting of its guards and chasing worshippers.” He also reiterated that the Israeli occupation “continues its systematic judaisation plans, closures, putting restrictions on worshippers and replacing the Islamic Arab identity of the mosque with a Jewish identity.” The ministry is currently working on a report about the Judaization of the holy city of al-Quds (Jerusalem), pointing to the Israeli attempts and plans to tear the eastern part of the city into pieces. The report will highlight the Israeli plans to judaise wide swathes of Islamic lands in the occupied city by registering it with Jewish names.

The occupation government had started registering land near to Al-Aqsa Mosque in the name of Jews. The Awqaf Ministry said that these lands are located between the Jewish cemetery and the wall of the Old City, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque, noting that this land is part of the property of the ministry.
Read full report in Ahul Bayt News Agency

International impunity is the backbone of Israel’s occupation,’ says rights group

When Palestinian boys, the majority teenagers, stand up to protect their homes and land, the Israeli army responds by beating them, and throwing stun grenades and tear gas at them. It is nothing short of a full-scale assault. “The majority of the Palestinian children who are targeted by the Israeli occupation forces are young males,” says Ayed Abu Eqtaish, the accountability programme director at Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP).

According to a DCIP report, 15 Palestinian children have been killed by occupation forces since the start of the year. “The violations against Palestinian children’s rights are caused by the presence of the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied Palestinian territories.”  Despite the many legal instruments and the standards that the international community has tried to put in place to protect the rights of children, the amount of child violations is getting increasingly worse over the years. In 2021, DCI documented the killing of 78 Palestinian children at the hands of the Israeli army. Sixty-one of those children were from the Gaza Strip and 17 were from the West Bank.”

“Sixty of the 61 children who were killed in the Gaza Strip were killed during the military assault against Gaza in May 2021. But most importantly, we see from our documentation that there was no need to shoot to kill towards Palestinian children, because they did not pose any threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers.” Israeli air and artillery strikes during the 11-day assault killed 253 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,900 people.
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