Solidarity – Why it applies to justice for Palestine now

Palestine Update 548

Solidarity – Why it applies to justice for Palestine now


New Israeli rules on foreigners visiting West Bank stir outrage

  “Palestinian legal experts, academics and digital rights groups have expressed outrage over an incoming Israeli policy for the entry and residence of foreigners in the occupied West Bank, which they say further, complicates the rules of movement, and adds restrictions to an already convoluted system. The 97-page ordinance, called Procedure for Entry and Residence for Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Area (PDF), replaces the current four-page document…Foreign-passport holding Palestinians must provide information – for visa purposes – on an application for approval prior to travel, which includes the names and national ID numbers of “first-degree” relatives, or other non-relatives with whom they may stay or visit. Digital rights experts say that personal information on travelers and their families and acquaintances is likely to be used in Israel’s mass surveillance and data collection efforts. “It’s a surveillance exercise,” said Marwa Fatafta, a Palestinian digital rights expert and Al Shabaka policy analyst. “With the new policy, Israeli authorities want to map out the social circles and property of Palestinians who live abroad with foreign passports… “The entire identification system is built to control the most two crucial aspects of Palestine: people and land. Now, in a way, it will also apply to Palestinians with ties to the West Bank,” she told Al Jazeera.”
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Legalized Discrimination: How Israel’s “Citizenship & Entry” law harms Palestinian families by design
Last month, the Israeli Knesset passed a new version of Israel’s infamous “Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law.” This law denies to Palestinian citizens of Israel a fundamental right that Israel’s Jewish citizens take for granted (and, indeed, citizens around the world hold dear): the right to make a life together with one’s chosen spouse, in the country where one hold’s citizenship. Adopted originally by the Knesset in 2003 as a “temporary” measure ostensibly for “security” reasons, the law has been repeatedly renewed for almost 20 years, most recently in March 2022. The renewed law includes explicit provisions referring to its “demographic” purpose, leading Adalah to call it “one of the most racist and discriminatory laws in the world.” In March, Israel’s Minister of Interior Ayelet Shaked celebrated the law’s passage on Twitter, saying; “Jewish & Democratic State – 1; State for all its citizens – 0”
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 Palestinians in Detention Without Trial in Israel Hits 5-year High
There are currently 579 Palestinians in administrative detention and over the past month 19 detention orders were issued against Israeli citizens, 2 of whom are Jewish. According to data supplied by the Israel Prison Service to Haaretz, there are currently 579 Palestinians in administrative detention…By comparing the data provided to Haaretz and the statistics obtained by Hamoked, it appears that between March and April of this year, the number of administrative detainees increased by 109. The last time that such a leap was recorded was between May and July of last year – amid the war between Israel and Hamas and its allies in Gaza and widespread riots in mixed Jewish-Arab cities. Despite the increase then, the absolute number of administrative detainees was lower than it is now. In addition to Palestinians under detention without trial, 19 administrative detention orders were issued against Israeli citizens over the past month, 17 of whom are Arab and the other two Jewish.”
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 Why is Israel’s antisemitism envoy sharing investigation files against a Palestinian child?,

“Are Israeli security authorities handing over investigation materials to online hasbara stars in order to score points on social media? It certainly seems so. Last Friday, Israeli actress Noa Tishby, who this month was appointed Israel’s first-ever special envoy for combating antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel, released a video on her personal Instagram account in response to a post by Palestinian-American supermodel Bella Hadid. Hadid had shared a story about Athal al-Azzeh, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy who was arrested two weeks ago by the Israeli army, who accused him of throwing stones – a charge Athal has adamantly denied. In her response video, Tishby featured two photos of a masked Palestinian rolling a tire, which appear to have been part of the Israeli military’s investigation file on Athal — a fact corroborated by his mother, Jinan, who says she was shown the photos by Israeli interrogators several days before Tishby’s post. The investigation file, which is not public, was most likely handed over to Tishby by the authorities…Riham Nassra, an attorney who represents Palestinian detainees in military courts, said that publishing investigative materials before an indictment is issued, as Tishby did, is illegal, and indicates that the materials had in fact been leaked…Noa Tishby did not respond to a request for comment, but following publication of this article took down her original post on Instagram.”
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GEICO rescinds invitation to Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour
Zionist organizations pressured the auto-insurance giant GEICO to rescind their invitation to Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour to speak at an internal event celebrating Middle Eastern and North African heritage month. GEICO had caved to a smear campaign launched by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and canceled the event.

GEICO, in other words, not only disinvited Sarsour. They unquestioningly accepted the anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic logic the ADL and AJC relied on in their attacks by automatically equating Sarsour’s presence with condoning hatred. GEICO’s actions did not merely deprive Sarsour of a platform. They normalized the racist Zionist idea that Muslims and/or Palestinians who advocate for Palestinian freedom are inherently anti-Semitic, when in reality the fight for Palestinian liberation is guided by the principle that all peoples deserve to live free of colonial oppression and racist subjugation.

 “GEICO decided they were more comfortable publicly vilifying and dehumanizing a prominent advocate for Arab Americans, US Muslims, Palestinians and other marginalized communities, than simply having a conversation,” reads a petition by MPower Change, the Muslim advocacy organization for which Sarsour is executive director. The petition was included in a mass email sent out by the organization to its followers on 8 April, just a day after Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, took to Twitter to credit his organization with successfully pressuring GEICO to disinvite Sarsour.
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Boycotting Apartheid Is a Moral Duty
This week (26 April 2022), the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, along with forty-seven other civil society organisations, released a statement opposing government plans to introduce an ‘anti-boycott bill’ to stop public bodies from boycotting or divesting from companies involved in human rights abuse or environmental destruction. Such a bill will threaten so many campaigns for social and climate justice, including international solidarity campaigns like ours in support of Palestinian rights.

While the statement is intended to raise alarm about the government’s plans, it also reveals something exciting: a wide range of organisations committing to defend our collective right to use boycott and divestment tactics. Signatories include: nine national trade unions (representing millions of workers between them); faith-based institutions; climate justice organisations, large and small; anti-militarism and anti-war groups; human rights groups; community organisations; and more. When the bill is finally tabled, likely before the summer recess, we expect even more to take up the call to defend our #RightToBoycott.

The text of the bill has not appeared yet, but we have indications of its contents based on the government’s 2016 attempt to ban local government pension schemes from using ‘divestment and sanctions against foreign nations and UK defence industries’. PSC took the government to court over it, and we won a landmark case in the Supreme Court in 2020, forcing the government to scrap its unlawful regulations.

The government hit back threatening primary legislation to ‘ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries, or those linked to them; the sale of goods and services from foreign countries; UK firms which trade with such countries, where such an approach is not in line with UK Government sanctions’.