Israel’s ‘Peace Now “wants Israel to end criminal settlement policy

Palestine Update 371


Israel’s ‘Peace Now “wants Israel to end criminal settlement policy
Israel can never ignore the embarrassing fact it is under a state of siege – a point that Palestine Updates repeatedly affirms. All land occupied by settlers is stolen in broad daylight. It violates every law in every law book. It is, perhaps, the only theft that people witness, sometimes watch wide eyed, but do little or nothing about. What will bring this illegal land theft to an end?  BDS, for sure! But not in the way it has been carried so far. It has to be robust and militant. It must hit the shekel hard and hurt the economy. It must leave Israel feeling segregated; treated as a no-good neighborhood bully that is best ignored and left bereft of friends.

Israel may yet find its small club of friends – the USA, sometimes the UK, Canada, Germany, Small Island States that get bought off in return for a vote. Peace Now a liberal Israeli NGO which is into advocacy and activism against the occupation. Contends that land in the region of Efrat E2 settler building project segments are private Palestinian property. They ask: How could they even be allocated as state land. With Israeli courts, justice for the Palestinian is a rare commodity. A court battle could be conscience raiser. It is much like a candle in the darkness that says: “I beg to differ”. one hopes that the Palestinians will make this candle shine or justice.

Palestinians are also showing courage and defiance in moderating lock down boundaries. The Prime Minister has announced that mosques, churches and businesses in the West Bank will reopen on Tuesday in an easing of coronavirus restrictions. It takes courage to return life to normal with precautions. People must get adopt immunity bit by bit or stay locked down for ever.

With the date set for possible annexation, over 140 MPs wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on him to place sanctions on Israel should it proceed with annexation plans in line with international humanitarian and human rights law. Netanyahu has studied the art of putting up a brave face and that is something which practiced robbers easily do. The issue, however, is one of  huge land theft in the offing. Netanyahu and company are camouflaging their worst fears- a corruption trial for the PM, the ICC all set to initiate a trial for war crimes by Israel, and the possibility of political seclusion.

Palestinians are not partying at what is happening. Nor is it a pall of gloom that they live under. They are fighting back, sometimes bitterly; at other times with dogged patience and unparalleled courage. It may seem that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It means just one thing: They have not got there- as yet. But they will and liberation is coming. Hope is greater when it is rooted in the knowledge that justice will prevail at the end.

Ranjan Solomon     

Palestinians need reason to win against occupation
There are multiple challenges of annexation and racism in Palestine

It may be happening against the backdrop of a distracted world preoccupied with combating the ravages of coronavirus, its significance passing largely unnoticed, but it is happening nevertheless. Never before in their long history of struggle for independence — certainly not since the release of the infamous Balfour Declaration in 1917 — have Palestinian Arabs faced a challenge as daunting as the one they face at this time.

The challenge? Israel, driven by its Zionist penchant for territorial expansion, is moving to annex one-third of the West Bank, leaving Palestinians with a sliver of land, a pocket-sized remnant of their ancestral patrimony, to exercise limited “self-rule” in — thus pulling the plug on a two-state solution.

For other Arabs, the challenge is no less daunting, for should they fail to respond assertively to Israel’s annexationist plan, they would in effect be, at long last, throwing in the towel in their confrontation with a settler-colonial entity ensconced in the heartland of their world, at a time when settler-colonialism had long since been dead, buried and discredited.
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Peace Now petitions court to halt Efrat E2 settler building project
Palestinians hold that the portions of the land are private Palestinian property and should never have been allocated as state land.

THE WEST BANK town of Efrat, with Bethlehem in the background. (photo credit: REUTERS)Palestinians and the Israeli Left have objected to the project, which they fear will prevent the expansion of the neighboring Palestinian city of Bethlehem. They have dubbed it E2, because much like the Ma’aleh Adumim’s E1 project they argue that it threatens Palestinian contiguity and the viability of a future state. In petitioning the court, however, Peace Now has argued that the property spread over 120 hectares (296.5 acres) of land, which was classified as state land in 2004, should be allocated for Palestinian housing, even though technically it falls within the municipal boundaries of the Efrat community.

Palestinians hold that the portions of the land are private Palestinian property and should never have been allocated as state land. Peace Now argued that the issue is a discriminatory land practice by which state land in the West Bank is mostly designated – 99.76% of the time to  Jewish settlements and is not made available to Palestinians to develop Area C of the West Bank.

“For over 50 years of occupation, the State of Israel has done everything it can to ensure the establishment and expansion of the Israeli settlement in the West Bank, at the expense and serious harm to the Palestinians, who are protected residents [of the area],” the petition stated.

The main tool by which Israel has executed its national goal of settlement development in the last decades is through land classification and allocation, the petition stated. “The time has come and the time has come for the Israeli government to recognize its duty to ensure the welfare of the protected occupied population and to abolish its criminal allocation policy.”
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Israel to annex parts of occupied West Bank, even Jordan Valley
From the Common Concern Network on Israel Palestine
Earlier this month we heard the news that Israel’s new coalition government has announced that, from as early as July 1st, it will legislate to formally annexe parts of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. This has immense implications for the Palestinian people. Annexation, as well as being illegal under international law, threatens the livelihoods, hopes and daily lives of thousands of Palestinian families who are already experiencing severe restrictions under Israeli occupation since 1967. Despite international condemnation, Israel continues to pursue its annexation agenda with support from the United States. At the same time, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, partners on the ground tell us that Israel has increased its policies of home demolitions, closures, arrests, child detention and settler violence. This is not the first time Israel has used an opportunity such as this, when the world’s attention has been diverted elsewhere, to further entrench their illegal control over the lands and lives of Palestinians. This is not only illegal but immoral.

Last week over 140 MPs wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on him to place sanctions on Israel should it proceed with annexation plans. This falls in line with the expectation of states to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law and follows the precedent set by the EU when Russia annexed Crimea.
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Why this Lying to Palestinians and in the Name of Palestine Today?
Lebanon and Palestine: A neighboring controversy – Béryte

A few days ago, Mohammad Fahmi, the Lebanese interior minister appeared on one of the local television stations advocating for “total lockdown” as a means for confronting the coronavirus pandemic. However, what Fahmi said, in contrast, was that abstaining from implementing it would pull society apart from the inside, and “this is an obvious Zionist objective”.The phrase prompted much ridicule, especially by those who recalled that Palestinians, the assumed victims of the Zionist enemy, had recently been barred from returning to Lebanon. However, the issue is nonetheless deeper than its preposterous assumptions. It is an affront to the Palestinians’ pain and cause, a belittlement that stems from nothing but trivialization. With that, the extent of this assessment’s popularity indicates the Palestinian cause’s susceptibility to belittlement and trivialization. It has unfortunately been turned into an easy talking point shared by the commons. Muhammad Fahmi acted with the naivety of a man following fashion.

The Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nassrallah, said in his speech on “Quds Day”, “We are closer than ever to Jerusalem and liberating it today despite all of the regional and international transformations and internal strife.”

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Palestinians easing coronavirus restrictions in West Bank
A view of empty street and closed shops ahead of the Muslim holyday of Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of the fasting holy month of Ramadan, in the West Bank city of Hebron Palestinian PM says time has come to ‘cautiously return life to normal’ with houses of worship, shops and factories set to reopen on Tuesday to coincide with the end of the holy month of Ramadan

The Palestinian Authority declared a health emergency in March and imposed lockdowns after the first cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Shtayyeh said it was time to “cautiously return life to normal” now that infection rates had slowed. The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed 423 cases of the new coronavirus in the West Bank and two deaths. The health crisis has led to a 50% fall in commercial revenues in the West Bank, in a blow to an already ailing economy in which unemployment is at 17.6%, local officials said.

Mosques, churches and businesses in the West Bank will reopen on Tuesday in an easing of coronavirus restrictions, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday.

The reopening of houses of worship, shops and factories on Tuesday will coincide with the last day of the Eid El-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.Shtayyeh said that government ministries and offices would reopen on Wednesday and that checkpoints set up to limit traffic between West Bank cities would be removed.

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Facebook appoints Israeli censor to oversight board
Man stands in front of screenFacebook has hired the former director-general of Israel’s justice ministry as a member of its new oversight board. This body will effectively determine what content to censor or permit on the social media platform. Emi Palmor headed the justice ministry from 2014 until she was dismissed from her post last year. Under her direction, the Israeli justice ministry “petitioned Facebook to censor legitimate speech of human rights defenders and journalists because it was deemed politically undesirable,” Palestinian civil society groups stated this month.

The groups condemned Facebook’s selection of Palmor, warning of her potential role in muzzling freedom of expression and censoring human rights defenders, particularly Palestinian, Arab and Muslim voices on the platform. The Palestine Digital Rights Coalition, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council and the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network are urging Facebook to “consider the grave consequences that electing Emi Palmor may have particularly on Palestinian human rights defenders and on freedom of expression online in defense of Palestinian rights.”