Palestine Updates 10/2017
Israel’s desperate oppression tactics
On January 6th, it seemed Eastern Christian denominations would enjoy a relatively hassle-free Christmas. Restrictions were tolerable with violence visibly down and army attacks in general restricted. But a friend writing from Bethlehem had this to say on January 7th. (Today) is Christmas for my family (Eastern Christian traditions). After we had our large gathering of a few hundred members of the Qumsiyeh clan, and paying visits to my sisters and the older people in my family, I tried unsuccessfully to visit Jerusalem (both with my US passport and with my Palestinian ID). The idea was to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and have dinner in Jerusalem. Here is what happened with a video ( https://youtu.be/r0IIvCaxaKo) and some text explaining why even this short encounter reveals at least six violations of International law.
Palestinians feel enormous unease over the possibility that the US may move it Embassy to Jerusalem. President Mahmoud Abbas has warned that it is tantamount to declaring war. For the international community as a whole, such a move will prove to be a major obstruction in the road map to the dialogue for peace. While the Embassy moves worry the international community, in Israel, the nation is divided over the verdict of manslaughter against soldier Elor Azaria. Astonishingly many in Israel view the convicted soldier as a martyr doing his duty, while others see him as an immature revenge-seeker. Yet others worry that his act typifies the military venture to pacify the right wing extreme factions in Israel who want revenge for any form of Palestinian resistance.
The outpouring of support for the convicted soldier must be seen against the oppressive machinery that Israel has put in place to stall protest. In a report from a reliable source – The Defence for Children International-Palestine – we learn that that 2016 was lethal for Palestinian children in the West Bank, with 32 killed by Israeli security services and eighty three children injured in the year. Taking punitive measures to new heights, Israel also issued nearly 1,658 administrative detention orders against Palestinian prisoners’ in 2016. Administrative detention orders were increased by 30%. Detention orders, without charge or trial, included 588 new orders ranging between two and six months and 1,070 renewed orders. These are devastating and tyrannical tactics.
Reactions to Israeli cruelty are not quite matched by reactions. But, reports from many places show that the BDS movement is getting more robust. The boycott is not just at the level of products but is growing at the level of sport, culture, and academic boycott. The world football governing authority, FIFA, is being asked to take action on Israeli settlement clubs. And this is one tangible consequence from the UNSC vote against settlements. If this move were to succeed, it would send shivers down the spine of Israeli sporting authorities. Israeli reactions to the UNSC vote are a show of false bravado and petty political revenge. Israel has decided to cut its annual dues to the Unites Nations for 2017 by as much as 6 million dollars as a sign of protest against the U.N. Security Council’s December vote condemning Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas.
And the resistance persists. The BDS mounts. It is worth bearing in mind what Mahatma Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
Eastern denominations mark Christmas in Bethlehem
Eastern Christian denominations following the Orthodox calendar last mid-week celebrated Christmas Eve outside Jesus Christ’s traditional birthplace at the Nativity Church in Bethlehem.
Hundreds of Palestinians affiliated to the Orthodox, Assyrian, Coptic and Ethiopian churches arrived on Manger Square to mark the occasion. Major General Jibreen al-Bakri of Bethlehem, Minister of Tourism Roula Maiyaa, and Mayor of Bethlehem Vira Baboun, along with many other official and religious figures, welcomed the start of the parade.
This year’s Christmas celebration came as a slight reprieve from the Israeli violations — characterized by severe restrictions on Palestinian movement and what rights groups have called the ‘extra-judicial’ killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces — that have occurred since violence erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October 2015, which forced organizers last year to scale-down Christmas celebrations.
Maaan News provides a detailed report
Palestinians: Moving embassy to Jerusalem equals declaration of war
A close aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calls Trump’s stated intention to move the US Embassy to the Israeli capital ‘a declaration of war on Muslims’, as another official threatens to call on Arab, Muslim countries to remove embassies from Washington.
Ynet News covers the story
Azaria verdict fractures Israel beyond repair
The splits over the trial of immature Elor Azaria have been solidified by the verdict of manslaughter. To some he is a hero martyr doing his duty – killing violent Palestinians; to others he was hell-bent on revenge. A third, smaller, faction says it is the whole military enterprise of ‘pacifying’ the people which should be found criminal. These splits, which also reflect views of the military judicial system, are unlikely to sink back into the sand of apathy.
Jews for Justice in Palestine write about this in more detail
Child deaths in West Bank hit 10-year high in 2016: Report
2016 was the deadliest year in the past decade for Palestinian children in the West Bank, with 32 killed by Israeli security services. This compares with 30 killed in 2015. Eighty three children were also injured in 2016.
Defence for Children International asserted that Israeli police and soldiers were not being held accountable for lethal attacks on youths in the West Bank, and criticized the use of firearms against demonstrations and stone-throwers. “Israeli forces have increasingly used excessive force to squash demonstrations since 2014,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability programme director at the DCIP. “Intentional lethal force now appears to be routinely used by Israeli forces, even in unjustified situations, with no accountability, putting more and more children at risk.” Speaking to Al-Jazeera, he accused Israeli forces of employing a “shoot-to-kill policy.”
Middle East Eye reports more extensively.
Israel issued 1,658 administrative detention orders in 2016
The Palestine center for prisoners’ studies has issued a report saying that Israeli Occupation Authorities have issued nearly 1,658 administrative detention orders against Palestinian prisoners’ during 2016. The center also affirmed that administrative detention orders have increased by 30% during 2016 in comparison with 2015. The detention orders, without charge or trial, included 588 new orders ranging between two and six months and 1,070 renewed orders.
The sources pointed out that 20 administrative detention orders were issued against Palestinian children during 2016, 16 of whom were from the West Bank and four from occupied Jerusalem. Three Palestinian children are still held in Israeli jails under administrative detention.
7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in Israeli jails including 700 administrative detainees. Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence for up to six month periods, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts.
Palestine News Network details the news item.
Goods from Israel’s illegal settlements mislabeled/sold in the USA & Europe
In December the UN Security Council reaffirmed that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have “no legal validity” and are a “flagrant violation of international law.” Goods produced in these illegal areas have, however, long been sold across the United States and Europe, often without an accurate description of their place of origin. Nativity scenes marked “Hand Carved in Bethlehem, Israel,” were sold according to the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.( http://uscpr.org/whereisbethlehem/)
The inaccurate labeling of settlement goods violates long-standing, but largely ignored, U.S. policy. According to the 1995 U.S.-Israel free trade agreement, products from Israel or the occupied territories must be labeled according to their geographic origin. Improperly labeling West Bank goods as “Made in Israel” subjects them to an import duty in the United States. According to Forward, the legislation’s main purpose was to boost the Palestinian economy by allowing Palestinian goods to enter the U.S. market duty-free without being labeled as “Made in Israel.”
Read Muftah for more details on mislabeling
See US Campaign web pages for info on sale of Nativity scenes in USA
French supermarket labels Israeli settlement products
Yediot Ahronot Hebrew newspaper revealed that a French supermarket has labeled Israeli settlement products for the first time as “Made in Israeli Settlements.” The signs were first seen at the Auchan supermarket chain in the Kremlin Bicetre suburb of Paris. The incident is known to the Israeli Embassy in France, who then turned to French Jewish organizations to ask the chain to take down the “offending” signs, according to the sources.
The manager of the supermarket said that it was a localized initiative to put up the sign, and that he had nothing to do with it. Nevertheless, he replaced the sign the next day to a sign which simply read “Israel.” Israel claims that this is the French government’s “revenge” for Israel refusing to attend the upcoming Paris Peace Conference on January 15.
Palestine News Network offers more insights
Israel Jew: I boycott Israeli products and ask everyone I know to do the same
Avigail Abarbanel is an Israeli-born psychotherapist who migrated to Australia in 1991. She renounced her Israeli citizenship in protest at the Israeli mistreatment of the Palestinian people. Ms. Abarbanel served in the Israeli army between 1982 and 1984 during Israel’s first invasion of Lebanon. She tells Fars News Agency that the mentality of the family and the society where she grew up taught her to look at the Palestinians in a derogatory way. “Israeli indoctrination, or what I think of as brainwashing, has everything to do with how Palestinians and Arabs in general are perceived in Israel. It also has a great deal to do with how Israeli soldiers are able to treat Palestinians of all ages.”
Avigail’s testimony makes profound reading
FIFA must take action on Israeli settlement clubs
Following the UN vote on illegal Israeli settlements; FIFA can no longer postpone action on settlement clubs. The consequences of the resolution could soon be felt in the sport’s world when FIFA, the governing body of world football, meets on January 9-10 and decides on the fate of the Israeli settlement clubs. This could significantly help the BDS movement. Should FIFA demand that the IFA move the clubs inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders or face suspension, it would present an acute political dilemma for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government is beholden to the settlers. If he takes no action he could also face a backlash from an electorate who has become accustomed to their teams participating in European leagues and international competitions.
Read full Al Jazeera report on the issue
Israel cuts substantial amount from UN dues
Israel announced it will cut a substantial amount from its annual dues to the Unites Nations for 2017 as a sign of protest against the U.N. Security Council’s December vote condemning Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas as “a flagrant violation under international law.”
Israel’s U.N. mission announced it will cut $6 million, which it said was allocated “to anti-Israel bodies,” out of its over $40 million contribution the U.N.’s regular budget. According to the mission, groups that would no longer be receiving funding from Israel include the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, the Division for Palestinian Rights and information programs on “the question of Palestine…It is unreasonable for Israel to fund bodies that operate against us at the U.N. The U.N. must end the absurd reality in which it supports bodies whose sole intent is to spread incitement and anti-Israel propaganda,” Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. said.
More on this report in the International Business Times
Middle Easy Eye also reports from its perspective