Of Palestinian victories and Israel’s harassment pranks

Palestine Update 194

Of Palestinian victories and Israel’s harassment pranks

Palestinians are compelled to cope with Israel’s bullying tactics day after day. Israel’s arrogant expansion of the occupation comes with an in-your-face approach to the rest of the world. At the UN, Israel unabashedly shows up and pretends it is the victim of Palestinian aggravation. Israel handily overlooks its colossal human rights violations, its settlement enterprises, its brutal killings and maiming of innocent women, children, youth, and elderly. It embezzles land unapologetically, and converts the heritage pieces of land into machines profit under the garb of heritage tourism.On the other hand, every day brings accounts of Palestinian resistance and growing international solidarity. The world remains unacquainted with accounts of courageous resistance and push backs from Palestine only because a pliant corporate media does not report Palestinian successes sufficiently, If we were to adopt the ‘glass is half-full’ narrative, it is possible to see a crisis in the evolution of Israel. It is constantly fending off criticisms and isolation from businesses, cultural icons, academics, and other dimensions of human encounter that can enrich it as a nation. But Israel has mistakenly chosen to make believe that all is well and that its recognition is universal. Sadly, the truth is poles apart.Israel has often to buy people-to-people exchanges at a huge price – a sort of corrupt inducement in order to make it look like a regular country. The burden of up keeping its image as ‘normal’ prompts Israel to indulge in huge investments in projects of normalization such as birthright tours. But even with the highest level of enticements that Israel offers to exchange scholars, academics, musicians, and just ordinary tourists, it is struggling to alter the narrative. Jewish Voice for Peace, a credible and widely supported/respected Jewish Movement of progressive Jews has urged Young Jews to boycott “Birthright Israel” tours arguing that the campaign  “is fundamentally unjust that we are given a free trip to Israel while Palestinian refugees are barred from returning to their homes’. In much the same way, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) initiated in 2004 to steer the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality has made significant advances with many countries adopting its aims and purposes and collaborating to urge artists, academics, sports teams and others to shun Israeli relations which allow it to keep-up-appearances of normalcy. The boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions is geared to punish Israel for deep and persistent complicity in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights that are stipulated in international law.The UN, academia, and various influential sources of public opinion are working intensively to change public perception and challenge Israel’s false claims to normalcy. Churches, and theological institutions are also re-interpreting versions of theology that allow Israel to pass off the occupation as a basic human right by falsely presenting Biblical Israel and the Modern State of Israel as one and the same thing. Many of these religious structures are reading the Bible from the eyes of the Palestinians and are emerging as catalysts to co-ordinate new and existing church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation in accordance with UN resolutions.On the battle a nuclearised, and armed-to the teeth may seem to be marching to victory. On the moral front, Israel looks ailing and decrepit, unable to convince the civilized world that it has a claim to the land it has deceitfully plundered and occupied. Worse, it has, over the years, adopted laws and policies that have made it palpably racist and colonial. Is this tenable and sustainable? Sooner or later, internal dissent will set in with normal Israeli’s being discontented over being the constant antagonist and invader. Already, a small but influential cluster of Israelis reject Zionist-Israel’s ‘political normal’ narrative and are resisting with methods that advance  alternative paradigm of Jewish Palestinian Arab relations based on equality and justice in every sphere of life. For them, there are no half-measures of compromises to be had. They are in the camp where they believe which believes that justice must occur even if the heavens fall.

The articles (excerpted and shared below) hopefully further these arguments.

Ranjan Solomon


A great Palestinian victory (An excerpt)

The UN General Assembly shot down a draft resolution proposed by the US denouncing Hamas. Adopting the resolution would require the consent of two thirds of its members, which did not happen. All Arab members voted against the draft resolution despite efforts by the Trump administration to win over their support. The failure of the draft is a diplomatic embarrassment for Washington and a victory for the PA, which lobbied against it. Palestinian experts say that Palestinian Authority (PA) efforts to thwart a US draft resolution at the UN categorizing Palestinian resistance movements as terrorist has several dimensions for the struggle of the Palestinian people. Such a resolution would have serious consequences for factions in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), including Fatah, as well as on the dispute between the PA and the administration of US President Donald Trump. If Hamas were condemned, the move may extend in the future to include other Palestinian factions such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is a member of the PLO, or even Fatah itself which has a history of armed resistance. The resolution could have also been applied to Palestinian detainees (some Fatah members are in jail for armed resistance activities), and if Hamas were condemned then Israel would have demanded the inclusion of Fatah prisoners.

PA’s position is based on its quarrel with the Trump administration due to the latter’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocating its embassy there, as well as shutting down the PLO office in Washington. PA’s position makes it clear that all Palestinian political movements are patriotic and neither the US nor Israel can describe them as terrorist. PA’s position is based on international law, which asserts the right of an occupied people to resist occupation by all means, therefore any form of struggle against the occupation is legitimate by international legal standards.

President Abbas claims that the position of the PA is a step in the right direction towards national unity between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, noting nonetheless that, “conciliation requires great effort.” Hamas welcomed the outcome of the vote, stating: “The failure of the US proposal at the UN is a slap on the face of the US administration and legitimizes the resistance and boosts political support for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause.” The Islamic Jihad views the defeat of the US resolution was a “blow for Israel and the US and their attempt, as usual, to spread lies on the international stage”.

Temple will not punish Marc Lamont Hill, issues condemnation
In a surprising turnabout Temple University has announced they will NOT punish Professor Marc Lamont Hill!

 Temple University President Richard Englert released a statement on behalf of the board, announcing that professor Marc Lamont Hill will not be punished or investigated for his Nov. 28 speech during an event organized with the United Nations. In that speech, Hill called for “a free Palestine from the river to the sea.” Englert, in delivering the statement, affirmed that Hill “spoke as a private citizen and his right to do so is protected by the constitution.”

The announcement finds Temple returning to its initial statement, which recognized that Hill’s speech was protected by the First Amendment.

While Englert initially defended Hill’s First Amendment rights on Nov. 30, that well-founded position was upended when Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O’Connor declared that he had directed Temple’s legal staff to explore “remedies” for Hill’s “hate speec0068” as members of the administration and board of trustees wanted to “fire him right away.” Today’s statement concluding that Hill spoke as a private citizen was made after consultation with legal counsel, experts, the provost, and the Klein College Dean, according to a Temple News editor: FIRE wrote to Englert on Dec. 3 to remind him that, as a public university, Temple cannot punish or investigate Hill for engaging in protected political speech.

Temple’s “Statement Condemning the Remarks of Professor Marc Lamont Hill” explains that Hill “was not speaking on behalf of or representing the University,” and that “his speech as a private individual is entitled to the same Constitutional protection of any other citizen, and that he has through subsequent statements expressly rejected anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence.” The Board of Trustees then issued a condemnation of Hill’s remarks:

The members of the Board of Trustees of Temple University – Of The Commonwealth System of Higher Education, in exercise of their own Constitutionally-protected right as citizens to express their views, hereby state their disappointment, displeasure, and disagreement with Professor Hill’s comments, and reaffirm in the strongest possible terms the President’s condemnation of all anti-Semitic, racist or incendiary language, hate speech, calls to violence, or the disparagement of any person or person based on religion, nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation or identity.


Criticize Israel & it will instantly trigger its army of outraged partisans
An army of social media trolls are at the ready to denounce legitimate criticism of Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise

Israel was created through violence and terror, which it continues to heap on Palestinians to this day, as it works to fulfill the dream of Zionism – a Jewish state from the river to the sea. How, then, does it continue to portray itself as the victim, while painting the actual victims – Palestinians – as the aggressors? Anyone, or any organization, who dares to criticize the self-proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East” is accused of being motivated by anti-Semitism. Any critical act or protest aimed at pressing Israel to uphold international law, no matter how peaceful, is denounced. The reality is that the settlement enterprise itself is racist, because homes are only built for Jewish Israelis.

An army of social media trolls linked to Israeli missions abroad have their fingers hovering over this button, ready to defend as soon as they perceive an attack. It’s a button they have pressed repeatedly in recent days. Take the case of Airbnb. Pro-Israel critics claimed that Airbnb was singling out Jewish Israeli properties, and therefore, this was anti-Semitic. The reality is that the settlement enterprise itself is racist, because homes are only built for Jewish Israelis. Airbnb said it took action because settlements were at the “core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians”. A statement from the company noted: “US law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in these territories. At the same time, many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced.”A reasonable person would see clear logic in that stance. Consider this for a moment: an illegal settler is suing a company for a moral and legal act!

It was then the turn of British Quakers to enrage the pro-Israel lobby. Their crime? Divesting: “With the occupation now in its 51st year, and with no end in near sight, we believe we have a moral duty to state publicly that we will not invest in any company profiting from the occupation.” This time, it was the Board of Deputies of British Jews that pressed the bullying trigger button. Any reasonable person who knows the Quakers would realise that they would have reflected seriously before making such a decision, and that it was based on their deep knowledge of the situation over decades. Divesting from companies that profit from an illegal occupation is moral and legal.

The bullying trigger button can be pressed by anyone in defense of Israeli apartheid. Speak if you want to, they say, but the price will be high. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has deemed it absurd to talk of an occupation, and the long-advertised US “deal of the century” will likely reflect this by avoiding a call to end the occupation. This will certainly not lead to peace. What is needed is more pressure on Israel to comply with international law and to finally end the occupation of Palestinian land. Airbnb was correct to identify the settlements as a core issue, and it is time that others follow suit. 

The bullying trigger button will now be pressed regularly, judging by the number of moves to ban trade with illegal Israeli settlements. Chile’s congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution that “forbids the entry of products manufactured and coming from Israeli colonies in the occupied Palestinian territory”. Ireland’s senate passed a bill banning the import of products from illegal Israeli settlements. 

Don’t befriend me for a day, and leave me a month. Don’t get close to me if you’re going to leave. Don’t say what you don’t do. Be close or get away.

 لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.

Mahmoud Darwish.