Palestine Update 220
Israel persists with punitive colonialist tactics
In this issue of Palestine Updates, there is an insightful article – a 6-minute read- on Israel’s politics of intervention in Palestinian lives. A decade, or more, ago, Israel’s intrusions into Palestinian lands were to disrupt to a point that would undo the PA. That goalpost has shifted. It is now about annexing the West Bank in totality. Israel will stop at nothing to make their goal possible and the most recent of its attempts has been the withdrawal of funds to pay allowances to families of prisoners. And add to this, the frequent incursions into towns and villages with the sole intent of disrupting life and paving the way for a long term entry. And there are the forceful visits to Al Aqsa that reminds one of highly militarized ‘visits’ to the spot by Ariel Sharon who piggy-backed on the political fallout of those visits and won himself an election and a stint as PM. It bears recall to know Sharon not just won the election. He ignited the Second Palestinian Intifada that led to thousands of deaths.
Israel is also trying to buy itself international gains by selling its best face to regions in the hope of limiting global damage in the UN. That accounts for their forays into Africa – with smiles and goodies. But when Israel offers goodwill, it is never a free lunch. Picking dubious dictators in the region, Israel is selling its special export options- mainly armaments – for a price, thereby assuring dictators they can protect themselves from the people who protest. In the process it makes profit from weapons of killing. Israel has been reduced to a kind of exporter of mercenary weaponry which wins friends in the armament industry and props up dictatorships. This approach has yet to pay dividends in Africa where Israel is known as a colonialist entity imposing an illegal occupation on an entire population. The votes in the UN still favour the Palestinian.
As a confirmed, but undeclared nuclear power, Israel has been dumping nuclear waste with radioactive content in many areas in Occupied Golan. Most of the waste has allegedly been dumped in residential spaces and puts at risk lives and health of Syrians in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention.
The occupations and its injustices are as unending as is the resistance.
“Protest is when I say I don’t like this. Resistance is when I put an end to what I don’t like. Protest is when I say I refuse to go along with this anymore. Resistance is when I make sure everybody else stops going along too.”
– Ulrike Meinhof –
Eyeing West Bank, Israel sets sights on PA
Ali Abo Rezeg*
The PA was established in 1994 as an outcome of the infamous Oslo Accords agreement, which stipulated that the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) could return to Palestinian territories after decades of refuge and representing the Palestinian people from abroad.
The cruel Israeli policies against the PA have a lot to do with U.S. President Donald Trump being in power since Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has been, to a great extent, emboldened to go forward with such measures after the arrival of that administration in the White House. Trump has proved, on different occasions, his administration’s antagonizing polices against the Palestinian people and their just cause.
Israeli policies that were adopted to realize this purpose have been worse than what we used to hear from the daily media of the Israeli violations against the Palestinian people and their lands. Since, Israel has gone extended its expansionist policies in the West Bank in general and in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) in particular.
The Israeli measures have been ranging from cutting the PA’s monthly funds, which are the main income source for its budget, to increasing the role of the “Israeli coordinator” in the West Bank and the Israeli daily incursions into the PA-run towns and villages there.
The Israeli security Cabinet decided in mid-February to deduct around $134 million of the tax fund Israel collects from its crossings since this amount equals what the PA pays, on a monthly basis, of stipends to the families of Palestinian martyrs and detainees.
Based on 1994’s Paris Protocol between the newly born PA and the Israeli side, Israel was given the right to collect the monthly taxes from Palestinian imports and exports on behalf of the PA.
The Israeli financial figures estimated that this amount of money – $134 million – was what the PA paid in 2018 for those families. The Israeli decision came despite the PA’s decision to cut the stipends it was giving to the Hamas-affiliated martyrs and detainees in the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Cutting such an amount of money from the PA’s only financial source added insult to injury. PA officials have been saying, in recent months, that the fiscal year of 2019 would be in danger after many of the PA’s financial supporters have yet to uphold to their pledges in backing the PA’s crippling budget. It also coincided with the crazy campaign the Trump administration led against the U.S. fund, which was a source of funding for the PA and its security agencies in the past.
Another aspect of the increasing Israeli influence in the West Bank at the expense of the PA is the so-called “Israeli Coordinator.” The Israeli Coordinator is an Arabic-speaking Facebook page in addition to a radio station that were set to receive the Palestinian people’s questions and complaints on daily matters. These questions focus mainly on the Israeli checkpoints splitting West Bank cities and on humanitarian issues like medical treatment and work inside Israel.
In a few years, the Facebook page reached half a million subscribers, with a study done by a Palestinian new-media expert saying that the number of subscribers to the page increase 4 percent every week. Older Palestinians say the issues discussed on the page remind them of what was known as “Israeli Civil Administrations,” which regulated daily life matters before the arrival of the PA in 1994. So, it could be interpreted as an Israeli systematic plan to totally terminate the PA by substituting it with alternative forms of administration.
The frequent arrest campaigns Israel launched in West Bank cities and its incursions into the Palestinian government installations is also another facet of the Israeli bids to undermine the role of the PA. Israel’s targeting of the PA’s headquarters in Ramallah not only affects the concept of sovereignty which the PA already lacks but also eliminates the prestige of its security forces there, who found themselves doing nothing on the ground but protecting Israeli interests.
The Israeli bids have one goal only: annexing the entire West Bank. Step by step, Israel has been marginalizing the PA’s role in different sectors, even as it has decided to weaken the PA’s income source by cutting its funds. It also increased its direct services to Palestinians through the coordinator, and it has almost complete control over the security side there.
* Ph.D. student at Yıldırım Beyazıt University’s Department of International Relations
Israel’s increasing ties with Africa a concern
For many years, several African states have been vocal against Israel over its continued occupation of Palestinian territory and aggression towards Palestinians, but with Israel’s growing ties in the region, the position of some of these countries could be compromised.
Israel’s increased interest in Africa is not just limited to diplomacy. It also has huge economic interests in the continent, which is home to over a billion people. He believes Israel wants to sell arms to African states, besides helping them with training in different fields. The inroads that Israel has attempted to make in Africa are via regimes that have questionable democratic credentials which stems from Israel’s position of desperation.
“The message for the [African Union] and the continent of Africa is clear: Israel is a colonial settler regime that has dispossessed and occupied Palestine. To allow it to meddle in Africa is to invite trouble.” Author and activist Suraya Dadoo believes that Israel’s increasing presence in Africa is not something Palestinians worry about. At major forums that matter, like the African Union, the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations, Palestine still has support. “When the Africa group speaks at the UN, it argues that Israel is an occupier and it violates international law…African countries are very keen to use Israeli technology in agriculture and water, but when it comes to voting at international forums and issuing statements…Israel has not been able to buy off too many African states.”
War on in Al-Aqsa: What Price Netanyahu’s Victory
On February 18, members of extremist Jewish groups raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem). They clashed with Palestinian worshippers, as the settlers attempted to shut down the gate of Al-Aqsa itself. On February 19, the Israeli army carried out the unusual step of shutting down Al-Rahma Gate, which leads to a section of the Al-Aqsa compound that has, itself, been shut down by the Israeli army since 2003. The provocative decision to seal the gate was made in advance, and the lock and key have the fingerprints of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. It is quite typical for Israeli politicians to carry out confrontational measures against Palestinians shortly before general elections are due. The nature of these measures is determined by the kind of political constituency that Israeli leaders aim to appease. However, a war on Gaza, at least for now, is too risky an option for Netanyahu as it would take place too close to the April 9 elections date. That said, if the Israeli Prime Minister’s political standing grows too desperate in the coming weeks, a Gaza war may, once again, be placed on the table.
This type of politically-motivated and highly militarized ‘visits’ to Al-Aqsa are reminiscent of the infamous ‘visit’ by late Israeli right-wing leader, Ariel Sharon in September 2000. At the time, Sharon wanted to increase his chances of becoming Israel’s next prime minister, and to ensure that his arch-rival (then, interestingly enough, the very Benjamin Netanyahu) did not win the Likud Party nomination. The gambit worked. Sharon sparked the Second Palestinian Uprising (2000-05), leading to the deaths of thousands and, of course, securing his seat at the helm of Israeli politics for years.
Israel Using Syrian Golan for Radioactive Nuclear Waste Dump
Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres has presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council based on Syrian accusations against Israel’s action in the Golan Heights, saying that Israel has been burying “nuclear waste with radioactive content in 20 different areas populated by Syrian citizens” in the occupied territory. Most of the waste has allegedly been dumped in the area near Al-Sheikh Mountain. According to the report, this puts “the lives and health of Syrians in the occupied Syrian Golan in jeopardy” and violates the 4th Geneva Convention.
The Golan Heights was seized by Israel from Syria during the Six-Day War, in 1967. In 1981, Tel Aviv decided to extend its laws to the occupied territory and established a civil administration in a move that drew condemnation from the UN Security Council and was labeled illegal, in terms of international law. Israel justified the decision by saying that it was aimed at safeguarding its borders from aggressive military acts by its neighbours. UN General Assembly adopted a resolution urging Israel to immediately withdraw its forces from the Golan Heights after Tel Aviv organized local elections in the Golan Heights, on 30 October.
لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.