Palestine Update 304
Israel routinely flouts international legal standards
In this issue of Palestine Updates, the focus is on reports that demonstrate Israel’s disdain for the rule of law. Israel conveniently invents new laws or changes current ones when it does not suit their purposes of adding oppressive mechanisms to repress Palestinian protest or international solidarity. Meanwhile the international community sits and watches in silence and impotence. Israel applies a sick logic while enforcing the law, ignoring the fact that, for as long it carries out its illegitimate occupation and colonialist practices, the Palestinian people will defy its unjust laws simply because they have no choice but to challenge what is illegitimate.
Please read and distribute these profound and analytical articles and reports.
The legitimate alternative to UNRWA; Palestinian right of return
Since allegations about the misconduct and corruption of some staff members at the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) came to light, both defences and criticism of the agency have shielded the UN from its role in enabling the mandate’s renewal. By allowing Israel to perpetuate its colonial expansion, the UN has also supported the political imbalance which created approximately 5 million Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian right of return, meanwhile, has been divested of its potential in order to accommodate the UN’s speciality of maintaining human rights violations in order to create and manipulate a humanitarian agenda.
The UN is far from being at the helm when it comes to protecting Palestinian refugees. Its alternative to UNRWA’s dysfunctional organisation and structure was to consult with Israeli NGOs. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked “pro-Israel non-governmental organisations to submit proposals for UNRWA operations.” What qualifies a colonial power — one that has created Palestinian refugees by its very existence — to participate in decision-making that has a direct impact on the population that it has dispossessed?
Read full article in Middle East Monitor
A political deportation
For the first time since a law was passed forbidding foreign nationals who advocate boycotting Israel to enter or remain in the country; the Supreme Court approved the deportation on Tuesday of Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, because of his support for the BDS movement. Justices Neal Hendel, Noam Sohlberg and Yael Willner rejected an appeal by Shakir and his organization, saying they found nothing wrong with Interior Minister Arye Dery’s decision not to renew Shakir’s visa to work in Israel. In deciding to deport HRW’s representative, Israel has taken another step down the dubious road of authoritarian regimes that deny human rights and silence criticism at any cost.
Gilad Erdan, public security minister and the minister for strategic affairs argued that the deportation was justified because Shakir had exploited his presence in Israel to harm the country. Erdan’s remarks merely reinforce the sick logic of the fight against the boycott movement, which deliberately blurs the distinction between opposing the occupation and opposing Israel’s existence and aggressively identifies people who fight to end the occupation.
Read full article in Haaretz editorial
Is Microsoft Funding Israeli Spying on Palestinians?
The act of Palestinian activists covering their faces during anti-Israeli occupation rallies is an old practice that spans decades. The masking of the face, often by Kufyias traditional Palestinian scarves that grew to symbolize Palestinian resistance is far from being a fashion statement. Instead, it is a survival technique, without it, activists are likely to be arrested in subsequent nightly raids; at times, even assassinated.In the past, Israel used basic technologies to identify Palestinians who take part in protests and mobilize the people in various popular activities. TV news footage or newspaper photos were thoroughly deciphered, often with the help of Israel’s collaborators in the Occupied Territories, and the “culprits” would be identified, summoned to meet Shin Bet intelligence officers or arrested from their homes.
That old technique was eventually replaced by more advanced technology; countless images transmitted directly through Israeli drones the flagship of Israel’s “security industry.” Thousands of Palestinians were detained and hundreds were assassinated in recent years as a result of drones data, analyzed through Israel’s burgeoning facial recognition software.
Read full article in op-ed news
How Israel redefines international law as a cover for its Gaza crimes
Since removing settlers and redeploying its armed forces to the perimeter fence in 2005, Israel has subjected Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to numerous devastating assaults, a blockade, and routine attacks on the likes of farmers and fishermen. Many of these policies have been the subject of substantial condemnation – from Palestinians, of course, as well as Israeli and international human rights groups, and even world leaders and politicians – albeit, critically, with little concrete action at the state level.Israel, however, has sought to thwart even the possibility of meaningful accountability. Its approach has been very simple: in the face of criticism for breaking the law, change the law. More precisely, Israel has been working hard to develop, and promote, interpretations of international law that provide cover for its policies and tactics in the Gaza Strip.
Read full article by Ben White in Middle East Eye