Palestine Update 458
The fourth Israeli elections within a span of two years have only confirmed the political disarray that Israeli democracy is in. Netanyahu wants to stay power. But his bigger target now is to stay out of jail for acts of corruption. The latest news is that he may run for President as successor to President Rivlin. That would keep him safe from those who are pursuing him as a common criminal.
Too many so-called democracies around the world are faulty and in disrepair. Democracy is turning out to be a camouflage for fascist tendencies.
Senior Palestinian officials say legislative elections cannot be held without occupied East Jerusalem
Azzam al-Ahmad, who is also a member of the ruling Fatah Central Committee headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, and Ahmad Majdalani said in two separate remarks that the Palestinian legislative elections planned for May 22 cannot be held without the inclusion of Jerusalem in nomination for parliament seats and voting at polling stations set up in the occupied city. “There will be no elections without Jerusalem,” said al-Ahmad in an interview on Palestine TV. “It is a key partner in the democratic process.” Palestinian leadership has studied various scenarios in the event that the Israeli occupation government prevented the holding of elections in the holy city, stressing that holding them in Jerusalem is considered a resistance to decisions regarding the city by the Israeli government. “We have an understanding with Hamas and all the factions, and we agree that there will be no elections without Jerusalem.”
Criticism of Israel and Its Policies Isn’t Antisemitism
“The Israeli government and its supporters have a keen interest in blurring the distinction between criticism of Israel and antisemitism, in order to paint any substantive, harsh criticism of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians as anti-Semitic. By these lights, opposing the occupation is considered anti-Semitic, BDS is anti-Semitic, criticism of Zionism is anti-Semitic, and the International Criminal Court in The Hague is of course without a shadow of doubt anti-Semitic. The Israeli government and its supporters have put tremendous effort into advancing this notion. Just recently, Haaretz published a comprehensive report on the witch hunt taking place in Germany against critics of Israeli government policy….Antisemitism is indeed a mounting threat around the world and must be fought as strongly as possible. However, turning this effort into one that is meant to defend Israel’s policies against criticism greatly weakens it, because it diverts attention from the much more dominant and dangerous expressions of antisemitism that are occurring.”
200 researchers support for Israel boycotts as not anti-Semitic
A group of more than 200 scholars has released a definition of anti-Semitism that explicitly excludes efforts to boycott Israel, including those of the international anti-Israel movement of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) as anti-Semitic. They issued the Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism just over a week after a statement by a liberal group of Jewish scholars called Nexus Task Force said that the measures applied to Israel were not necessarily anti-Semitic. The Jerusalem Declaration was spurred in part by objections to the 2016 definition crafted by the so-called International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) which describes the BDS campaigns as anti-Jewish. “Because the IHRA Definition is unclear in key respects and widely open to different interpretations, it has caused confusion and generated controversy, hence weakening the fight against anti-Semitism,” the declaration said.
“Boycott, divestment, and sanctions are commonplace, non-violent forms of political protest,” according to the Jerusalem Declaration. “In the Israeli case, they are not, in and of themselves, anti-Semitic.” The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations pushing for boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”
UNRWA raises alarm on the Palestine refugees in Lebanon
The UNRWA counted 475,075 registered Palestine refugees as of 1 Jan 2019 in its twelve refugee camps in Lebanon. In 2017, a Lebanese government census counted 174,000 Palestinians in Lebanon.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is alarmed by the dire situation of Palestine refugees in Lebanon and the precariousness in which they live, particularly in the last year of acute financial crisis and pandemic. Many Palestine refugees live in 12 overcrowded camps across the country.“Palestine refugees are suffering immensely. The misery that I witnessed in the last two days in Ein el-Hilweh and Nahr el-Bared camps is unfathomable,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini during his visit to the country.
Palestine refugees in Lebanon get health, education and social services from UNRWA. The most vulnerable, including Palestine refugees who fled from Syria, get financial assistance to buy food and other basic necessities. But with the current financial crisis, most Palestine refugees have found themselves slipping further into destitution. The “dollar crisis” in Lebanon, where the official exchange rate of the US dollar against the Lebanese pound is nearly ten times lower than the black-market rate, has seen the purchasing power of the UNRWA cash assistance slashed tenfold.
Yes, Israel occupies West Bank, US says
“US President Joe Biden’s administration said Wednesday that Israel’s control of the West Bank is indeed ‘occupation,’ clarifying its stance after the release of a report that seemed to downplay the term, adopting language used by Donald Trump’s government. The State Department’s annual report on human rights ‘”does use the term ‘occupation’ in the context of the current status of the West Bank,’ State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. ‘This has been the longstanding position of previous administrations of both parties over the course of many decades,’ he said.”
Lawfare Results in resounding victories for Palestinian Solidarity Movements in South Africa
2021 kicked off astoundingly well for South Africa’s broad-based Palestinian solidarity movements. If what they notched up in a series of groundbreaking results in defense of Palestine’s freedom struggle during the first quarter of the year, it certainly heralds more favorable changes.
In the first matter, a weekly Jewish paper has been found by the country’s highest media regulatory authority to be in violation of its press codes and directed to apologize. The offense by the Jewish Report occurred when it carried a report based on a cartoon published by a trade union GIWUSA and subsequently republished by the SA BDS Coalition on its Facebook page. The cartoon which depicted a greedy person gulping money – a traditional capitalist – was in relation to the country’s milk distributor Clover having been taken over by an Israeli conglomerate linked to settlement activities, facing strikes by workers over labor disputes.
The report made a number of damning allegations against SA BDS Coalition including slanderous claims of antisemitism. On behalf of a constituent member, the Palestine Solidarity Alliance, represented by unionist and human rights activist Hassen Lorgat, made a compelling argument against the paper’s injudicious report. Though contested by the Jewish Report to justify its stance, the Press Ombudsman was not convinced and ruled against it. The paper resorted to seeking leave to appeal the judgment but it fell flat. Once again Lorgat on a comprehensive basis argued successfully to have the appeal set aside. The appeal division led by a high court judge dismissed the application and held that the judgment stands.