Palestine Update 114
Israel is on the losing side but holds on to fanatical methods
For most Palestinians, the idea of a two state solution is as dead as the peace talks are. A one-state solution is one which Israel and its close allies dread because Israel would certainly mislay its character as a Jewish state. Support for a one-state solution is increasing as Palestinians, frustrated by lack of progress in negotiations aiming to establish the two-state solution, increasingly see the one-state solution as an alternative way forward. Israel’s policy of steady expansion of settlements, make an eventual “one-state reality” the most feasible outcome. The two-state solution has reduced itself to a mirage that will, at best, allow Israel to continuing Israeli colonization of the West Bank and entrench a new form of systematic ethno-religious discrimination, where only Jews enjoy full rights – to travel, housing, employment, education, and other basics of a free life.
So there is a boomerang effect in all Israel does for its self preservation and ostensible hegemonic designs over the Palestinians. It is not so apparent today because it is Israel that holds sway and rules the roost. But, the Palestinian cause is only growing in ascendancy among all categories of civil society and peoples movements. Governments, with the rare exception of a few courageous ones, may turn up to vote in the United Nations, but they won’t do what it takes to cripple Israel and bring it to its knees around a negotiating table. Until nations act and threaten Israel with the reality of hard economic sanctions and boycott of every possible variety, Israel will hang on to its occupation.
It is not as if the latter is improbable. A desperate Israel would succumb to the weight of numbers and economic-cultural-academic isolation. To feel pariah-like as happened to South Africa in the 1980s and early 1990s would prompt action. Israel is waging literal warfare to immobilize the BDS campaign. Its efforts are achieving the opposite- strengthening this powerful, non-violent instrument. The Jerusalem recognition – which Trump alone did not dream up has virtually pushed the US into the status of a loner, and made it redundant as mediator. It has also unified Arab position regardless of the maze of opinions. But it is on the streets that the difference is visible. There is popular Arab and Islamic awareness of the Palestinian problem accompanied by mounting international solidarity. Countries like Turkey have come into the reckoning and Israel is feeling the heat.
Arab experts outline ‘positive’ aspects of Jerusalem recognition
70 days have passed since Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Arabs are finding positive aspects in the process.
The positive aspects of the American move are based on the analysis of three experts on international relations and international law, and include the following points:
- Exposing the American position as being biased in favor of Israel
- Raising international support for the recognition of the city of “Al-Quds” (the Arabic name for Jerusalem -ed.) and of “Palestine”
- Formulation of a unified Arab position despite existing differences of opinion
- Increasing popular Arab and Islamic awareness of the Palestinian problem
- Strengthening international solidarity with the Palestinians
- The undermining of security as a result of the normalization with Israel
- Highlighting the Turkish role in supporting Islamic issues
Hamas initially reacted angrily to Trump’s Jerusalem move, as did Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, head of longtime Hamas rival Fatah, who declared he would “no longer accept” any peace plan proposed by the United States in wake of Trump’s decision on Jerusalem. Hamas urged the PA to cut off ties with the United States, after U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman criticized the PA’s response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
US Federal Judge upholds America right to boycott Israel
In the hyper-globalized system of finance, trade and security, American policies reverberate around the world in a myriad of ways with far reaching effects, some intended, some not, but often, rarely understood by America’s general public. Nowhere, possibly, is that more true than the occupation of Palestine. Physical distance, a media addicted to sensationalism, and misinformation campaigns by powerful lobbies all help to obscure the complexities on the ground. However, in the relatively rare case of engaged and active citizenry, disillusioned by America’s role in the perpetuation of this permanent occupation, there has been another campaign underway -legal, forced, silence.
In June 2017, the Kansas State Legislature passed a law, HB2409, that required any individual or company entering into a contract with the state to “to certify that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel.” Esther Koontz, a teacher and supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, did not sign the contract and therefore was not awarded the position she was offered. America has long held the right to boycott under the freedom of speech clause in the first amendment of the US Constitution. Koontz, therefore, decided to take Kansas State’s Commissioner of Education to court over her contract’s retraction.
On January 30th, the US District Court for Kansas awarded Koontz a preliminary injunction. This is not a final verdict but means her lawyer was able to prove a “likelihood of success.” With this injunction, Kansas has been ordered to immediately cease “requiring any independent contractor to sign a certification that they are not participating in a boycott of Israel.”
Take a look around. This is what annexation looks like
The annexation of Palestine will not come one day, it is happening every day, and this is what it looks like: legislating mundane changes about higher education councils.
There will be no definitive moment, event or a point in history, when we can say that annexation happened. Israel’s annexation is a process — a deliberate process — which has been carefully planned, began a long time ago, and which will continue for years to come. It is hard to get too excited over small steps toward annexation, such as a law that moves a university from the jurisdiction of one council of higher education to another. The international community will not raise a storm. The UN Security Council will not hold an emergency session. The EU will not threaten sanctions. Yet this is precisely what the annexation of Palestine will look like.
The Knesset on Monday passed a law that places Israeli universities in the occupied Palestinian territories under the aegis of the Israeli Council for Higher Education, a civilian body created by Israeli law to oversee universities and colleges in Israel. Settlement colleges and universities were previous supervised by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria, a military body created specifically because the civilian council’s jurisdiction did not extend beyond the State of Israel’s borders. This was not the first time the Knesset decided that it could legislate beyond the boundaries of the territory over which the state claims sovereignty. Israel rules over the West Bank not with the laws of its elected civilian government but rather with a military regime, in loose accordance with those parts of international law that deal with occupied territories. The wholesale application of civilian law to an occupied territory amounts to annexation.
VIDEO: Palestinian children speak of abuse under Israeli custody
Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) is concerned that Israeli military arrests are not only violent, but that children often lack proper legal representation during the court process, and that the impact of detention lasts well into adulthood. Palestinian children who had been detained by Israeli occupation forces say that they were beaten and humiliated inside Israeli prisons, according to Days of Palestine.
Fawzi al-Junaidi, the 16-year-old Palestinian boy whose detention,while blindfolded by a group of Israeli soldiers in occupied Al-Khalil,was captured in a photo that went viral, spoke to Al Jazeera about how he was treated in Israeli custody.
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