Israel will be probed and held accountable

Palestine Update 474

Israel will be probed and held accountable

Why Israeli progressives have started to talk about ‘apartheid’

The latest chapter in the Israel-Palestine conflict unfolded in many locations, all at once. In the Gaza Strip, civilian population centres were heavily bombarded by Israeli fighter planes and artillery, bringing death, injuries and massive damage to property. Towns in Israel were targeted by Palestinian rockets launched from Gaza; those that get past Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defence system also kill and destroy. In Jerusalem, settlers are attempting to forcibly displace Palestinians from their homes and worshippers have clashed with Israeli forces in one of the holiest sites for Judaism, Christianity and in one of the holiest sites for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Israeli cities, the tension between Palestinians and Jews is rising. Anger and frustration from decades of dispossession, neglect and discrimination – coupled with images that for many represent the desecration of al-Aqsa – sparked eruptions of street violence by Palestinians, mostly from the margins of their society, against Jews.

On social media, Israeli Jews from the far right post hateful messages, not only againstPalestinians living in Gaza, but also against those who are citizens of their country – inciting extreme violence, using racially charged language and organizing for pogroms. The result of all this has been riots, horrifying violence and even lynchings by both sides. The Land of Israel – Eretz Israel-Palestine – is once again burning. In Gaza, Jerusalem, the West Bank, Acre, Jaffa and Lod.

Court overrules EU effort to shield Israel’s settlements
Densely-packed apartment buildings fill a landscapeA European Union court has thrown out an undemocratic decision by Brussels officials that torpedoed a citizen’s initiative to ban trade with settlements in occupied territory. The measure would have targeted Israel’s illegal colonies on Palestinian land in the West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights, as well as trade with Western Sahara. In July 2019, seven nationals of EU states filed a European Citizens Initiative with the European Commission, the EU’s executive. This is a tool that is supposed to make the notoriously unaccountable EU more democratic by giving citizens a say over policy and legislation.

But instead, in September 2019, the Commission refused to register the initiative, claiming that it did not have authority to consider what would amount to imposing sanctions. The Commission asserted that such a step could only be adopted collectively by EU governments, not by the executive in Brussels. So with assistance from the European Legal Support Center (ELSC), the seven citizens took their case to the General Court of the European Union.

UN to probe whole of Israeli repression against Palestinians
The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution establishing a permanent commission of inquiry into Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights in all the territory under its control. The resolution was adopted during a special session of the human rights body held in response to escalated Israeli repression and rights abuses throughout historic Palestine. The 24-9 vote with 14 abstentions came on the heels of 11 days of intensive Israeli bombing in Gaza that resulted in the deaths of more than 240 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians.

Ahead of the vote, Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said that Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against civilians “may constitute war crimes.” Bachelet also decried rocket fire by Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, saying that they “fail to distinguish between military and civilian objects,” and so their use “constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law.” Twelve people in Israel were killed by rocket fire or while running to shelters during the escalation, including three foreign workers, two children and one soldier.

WHO- Staggering health needs emerge in the occupied Palestinian territory in the wake of recent escalations 
“The World Health Organization is scaling up its response to provide health aid for almost 200,000 people in need across the occupied Palestinian territories as the ceasefire holds. WHO has said in a statement that so far it provided essential medicines to support trauma care and ambulance services for more than 2,000 injured beneficiaries in the Gaza Strip, and ten triage and treatment tents by WHO have been set up outside six Ministry of Health emergency departments, also in the Gaza Strip.”

Jewish groups decry mock ‘eviction notice’ sent to residents in Canadian cities

Jewish advocacy groups are condemning a mock “eviction notice” dropped into mailboxes across Canada as part of a campaign to draw attention to the planned removal of Palestinians from a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. “We regret to inform you that your house is scheduled for demolition in the next three days. If you do not vacate the premise within this time frame, we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings,” the document reads.

It goes on to qualify that the document is not real, but says the threat remains a reality for Palestinian families living in Israeli-occupied areas. The 150-person collective behind the faux alerts says it has delivered them to homes and businesses from Edmonton to Toronto to Quebec over the past four weeks, but that no individuals or neighbourhoods were targeted based on their religion or political outlook.

The Jewish Federation of Ottawa says it has seen no evidence that Jewish homes were targeted, but that police are aware of what the organization calls an “upsetting,” “crass” and “counterproductive” tactic. “While it is egregious and outrageous, these flyers do not constitute a hate crime,” spokeswoman Pauline Colwin said in an email.

Shimon Fogel, head of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said mock eviction notices run the risk of triggering intergenerational trauma in individuals whose ancestors have faced expulsion and ghettoization spanning millennia.