Jerusalem section of al-Walajeh in threat of forced displacement

Palestine Update 453

Jerusalem section of al-Walajeh in threat of forced displacement
“The residents of the northern part of al-Walajeh, located on the southern perimeter of East Jerusalem, are under acute threat of being forcibly uprooted from their village, where they have lived and cultivated the land for decades. A court injunction, currently preventing the demolition of 38 homes, could be lifted by the end of April, subjecting residents to wide-scale displacement…This section of al-Walajeh has for years been at risk of being uprooted (for a second time) as a result of combined Israeli measures carried out in the past decade. Israel has been gradually confiscating al-Walajeh lands and detaching it from the Palestinian space around it. While its northern segment is situated within the Jerusalem municipal borders, the construction of the Separation Barrier between 2010 and 2017 around three sides of the village turned it into a nearly isolated enclave. In tandem, these lands were declared by the Israeli Authorities as the Nahal Refaim National Park, a form of “touristic settlement,” which would serve to create Israeli territorial contiguity between Jerusalem and the Har Gilo settlement (part of the Gush Etzion bloc), constituting another link in the de facto annexation of “Greater Jerusalem.” If approved, the plan for the new Har Gilo West settlement—designated on al-Walajeh lands southeast of the village—would lead to the extension of the Separation Barrier, which will encompass and seal off the village entirely, completely cutting it off from its surroundings.

The District Committee’s final rejection of the resident-initiated outline plan is hence a culmination of a series of Israeli efforts to create an untenable environment to forcibly drive its residents out and seize their land in service to Israel’s longstanding territorial and demographic goals, including the actualization of the “Greater Jerusalem” vision. In this way, Israel furthers its consolidation of control along the southern perimeter, while carrying out grave human rights violations and sabotaging any prospect of a negotiated agreement in Jerusalem.”

From courts to campuses, US Palestine advocates are reclaiming their free speech 
“Despite the relentless attempts at repression, the context in which to fight for Palestinian rights has “fundamentally changed,” says Meera Shah, of Palestine Legal. The organization reported that it had responded to 213 incidents of suppression of Palestine advocacy in 2020, 80 percent of which targeted students and academics across 68 college campuses. Yet with U.S. courts striking down anti-boycott legislation as unconstitutional, and cross-movement organizing helping to undermine efforts to smear Israel critics as anti-Semitic, Palestine advocates are in a much better position to press the Biden administration “to do more and to do better,” Shah told +972 in an interview. “For those who are trying to speak out for Palestinians: keep on doing that, and we will have your back. We’re there for when the backlash comes.”
Read full article

Al-Haq Position Paper on “The Law by Decree No. 7 of 2021” Concerning the Amendment of the Law No. 1 of 2000 on Charitable Associations and Civil Society Organisations and its Amendments
“On 28 February 2021, President Abbas promulgated the Law by Decree Amending the CSO Law, based on a recommendation made by the Council of Ministers, headed by Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, on 11 January 2021. It was published in the Official Gazette on 2 March 2021. A review of the Law by Decree Amending the CSO Law demonstrates large-scale flagrant violations of the Palestinian Basic Law and international conventions, which the State of Palestine acceded to without reservations, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and international standards of the fundamental right to freedom of association. Contrary to the National Policy Agenda 2017-2022 and good governance requirements, the Law by Decree also infringes on the pillars of transparency and openness to civil society. It reflects a consistent approach of absolute secrecy in the making of laws by decrees, which have undermined the Palestinian political system. “

Israeli occupation exacerbating COVID-19 effects on Palestinian women: UN
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory Lynn Hastings says the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the Palestinian women have worsened amid Israeli violence across the occupied lands. On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, Hastings in a statement censured rights violations against Palestinians, women in particular. 

“While this year’s focus is on Women in Leadership, our commitment must be to all Palestinian women, including those with disabilities, in marginalized and rural communities, refugee camps, Area C, Hebron-H2, and in Gaza,” the statement read. “The United Nations affirms its commitment to continue to work with the Palestinian people and government, and our partners, to combat discrimination and violence, advance human rights, and accelerate progress for girls and women everywhere.”Hastings has urged Israel to allow humanitarian agencies to provide shelter, food and water to the vulnerable Palestinian communities living in Area C, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank, and forms a significant part of a future Palestine state under the so-called two-state solution. She also called on the regime to immediately halt its razing of Palestinian homes in the West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan for grabbing a huge swathe of the West Bank has left numerous Palestinian women and children homeless. In addition to that, there has been a surge in cases of violence against the Palestinian women by Israeli forces since the pandemic broke out last year.

Elections under Fire: Palestine’s Impossible Democracy Dilemma
(Excerpts from article by Ramzy Baroud)

PLC-678x455 (1).pngMany Palestinian intellectuals and political analysts find themselves in the unenviable position of having to declare a stance on whether they support or reject upcoming Palestinian elections which are scheduled for May 22 and July 30. But there are no easy answers. The long-awaited decree by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last January to hold legislative and presidential elections in the coming months was widely welcomed,  not as a triumph for democracy but as the first tangible positive outcome of dialogue between rival Palestinian factions, mainly Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas.

As far as inner Palestinian dialogue is concerned, the elections, if held unobstructed, could present a ray of hope that, finally, Palestinians in the Occupied Territories will enjoy a degree of democratic representation, a first step towards a more comprehensive representation that could include millions of Palestinians outside the Occupied Territories. But even such humble expectations are conditioned on many “ifs”: only if Palestinian factions honor their commitments to the Istanbul Agreement of September 24; only if Israel allows Palestinians, including Jerusalemites, to vote unhindered and refrains from arresting Palestinian candidates; only if the US-led international community accepts the outcome of the democratic elections without punishing victorious parties and candidates; only if the legislative and presidential elections are followed by the more consequential and substantive elections in the Palestinian National Council (PNC) – the Palestinian Parliament in exile – and so on.

If any of these conditions is unsatisfactory, the May elections are likely to serve no practical purpose, aside from giving Abbas and his rivals the veneer of legitimacy, thus allowing them to buy yet more time and acquire yet more funds from their financial benefactors. All of this compels us to consider the following question: is democracy possible under military occupation?

A Baby and His Mother: The Cancer Journey of a Palestinian Family
Excerpt from an article by Tamar Fleishman – Qalandia – The Palestine Chronicle
 “We`re waiting for a cancer patient from Jenin so we can deliver him to Augusta Victoria Hospital on Mount Scopus in East Jerusalem,” said the member of the Jerusalem Red Crescent medical team while waiting in their parked ambulance on the roadside of the Israeli military checkpoint at Qalandiya. We spent the time talking about various issues pertaining to their difficult mission, including when Palestinian patients are transferred between ambulances, about the vaccinations, and more. But nothing prepared me for the fact that the cancer patient we were waiting for was an 11-month-old baby.

Furath, gravely ill with cancer, was taken out of the ambulance in his mother’s arms, his scrawny arm pierced by a plastic tube where the IV entered his little body. Present were the two Palestinian medical teams – one from Jenin and one from East Jerusalem, the two ambulances, two stretchers, Israeli soldiers and security guards, guns, and in the midst of all of these – a sick baby and his mom. The military procedure was followed strictly, including the baggage inspection. The mother handed Furath over to the medical team and bags to a soldier.

The military occupation is not responsible for Furath’s cancer … but the occupation is still guilty; guilty of forcibly taking a little baby and his mother away from their city, isolating them from their own family, separating between a gravely ill child and his father, who was unfairly denied permit to accompany his wife in this painful journey.
Read full narrative