Palestine Update 154
Palestine resistance designated as criminal by the Israeli colonizer
Israel’s decision to freeze funds that are funneled by the PA to Palestinian prisoners is yet another example of conceited unilateralism and malice. It is true that many of the prisoners are in Israeli jails only because they have taken the path to resistance. Most of these prisoners are innocent and/or coincidentally related to a militant resister. Resistance, in itself, is not a crime.It is a right for any peoples occupied by another country. Nor is the resistance of another family member a crime that can be assigned on an individual. If, indeed, a Palestinian is guilty of having attacked a Jew in Palestinian territory, the first question to be asked is: “What is the Jew doing there”?Israel cannot continue its 1967 war which began its occupation of Palestinian lands in perpetuity. It persists with its illegal attack on Palestinian areas. The Palestinians put an end to armed struggle after Oslo. Every now and then, some amounts of violence have erupted out of sheer frustration and grave provocation. It is no secret that the occupation humiliates Palestinian dignity, steals and appropriates Palestinian land especially precious heritage spaces, embezzles natural resources, destroys agricultural crops, refuses permissions for Palestinians to build homes, and when the Palestinians out of frustration proceed to build the houses after years of waiting, proceeds to destroy them. Israel hardly needs a pretext to penalize or imprison a Palestinian. And a flimsy legal process is all it takes to release an insane murderous Jewish solider who was photographed committing the crime to be released with celebration.Israel is the 11th largest army in the world, but one of the largest dealers of military hardware. There exists a massive asymmetry between Israel and Palestine in military capacities. Yet, Israel remains insecure. They read history only to find how asymmetrical wars in Afghanistan, Vietnam, and now in Syria demonstrate that relatively small numbers of convinced fighters aggressive can carry out successful military operations against superior forces. Time and again, determined, and peaceful Palestinian protestors have forced Israel to withdraw from an invasion. In 2000, after two decades and the loss, according to estimates, of more than 1,000 men, Israel’s chaotic withdrawal from southern Lebanon left its northern flank dangerously exposed.
Now, for Israel to try and dissuade Palestinians to protest, whether militantly or peacefully, it will have to do more than just pass humiliating laws which will become redundant because they lack moral fiber and are empty of political rationale. The protests which are not dangerous by even minimal standards will not cease when new laws come into force.Rather than label Palestine protesters as criminal and seeking to devastate Palestinian lives by holding back family support through dim-witted legislative action, Israel would be wiser to invest in an authentic dialogue with Palestinians, abandon its harsh militarism, and exit from lands that are not theirs. The law will disadvantage many Palestinians but the spirit to contest the racist occupation will not end. The Israeli army is itself a brute terrorist outfit engaged in killings in areas they have no legal right to enter.
Meanwhile, superfluous statements by the EU which asks Palestinians to halt the “slay and flay’ policy must also cease. Does Europe even acknowledge that they are the authors of wars, even recently, where they have been the merciless slayer? The EU must understand that one gains the right to sermonize only when one practices what they preach. Right now, they must act for freedom and liberation for the Palestinians; not moralize.
Israel passes law to freeze millions in Palestine Social Funds
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi on Tuesday accused Israel of theft and piracy. “This is nothing short of highway robbery, this is real piracy, they are stealing Palestinian funds, it’s not theirs to decide what to do with it, and if we were free we wouldn’t need Israel to collect customs.”But, Israeli lawmakers say the payment of funds to Palestinian prisoners is an “expression of support for acts of terror.” Israel’s parliament approved the law – which stipulates the freeze of a sum equivalent to one-twelfth of last years’ total funds that Palestine paid out – with 87 of the 120 legislators voting in favor and 15 opposing. The laws will green light the withholding of hundreds of millions of dollars in funds from Palestine’s welfare payments given to prisoners and their families. “Should this decision be implemented, it will result in the adoption of important decisions by Palestine to counteract this dangerous decision, because the issue concerns red lines, which are not to be either approached or crossed,” the government spokesman told Ma’an News Agency.
The law originally said that the withheld funds would be allocated to the war against terrorism, “for the welfare of all the residents of Judea and Samaria,” i.e., the settlers as well, and to pay compensation in lawsuits against the Palestinian Authority or Palestinian terrorist operatives. However, an amendment was only made after the attorney general said using the money would violate international law. The latest approved version states that the funds will be frozen and transferred to the Palestinian Authority only after it has been established that payments to prisoners and their families have been discontinued.
Prior to the vote, Arab legislators railed against the bill with Joint List of Arab’s Jamal Zahalka leveled allegations against Israel, declaring the bill “despicable.”; He said: “You are stealing from the Palestinian people.” The Palestine-issued social benefit is dispersed to some 35,000 families of Palestinians killed and wounded in the conflict with Israel. The total allocated stipends are approximately US$330 million or 7% of the Palestinian Authority’s US$5 billion budget in 2018.
Palestinians decry Israeli move to freeze prisoners’family funds
Palestinian official have denounced the Israeli law that will freeze money transfers to the Palestinian Authority for paying stipends to Palestinians jailed by Israel, their families, and the families of those killed by Israeli forces. Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the move threatened the existence of the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority (PA). “This is a very dangerous decision that amounts to the cancelation of the Palestinian Authority and is piracy and theft,” Erekat told AFP.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly demanded that the Palestinians, who view prisoners as national heroes, stop paying stipends to them and their families. Earlier this year, US lawmakers enacted legislation to sharply reduce the annual $300 million in US aid to the PA unless it took steps to stop making what lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crime. The measure, known as the Taylor Force Act, was named after a 29-year-old American military veteran fatally stabbed by a Palestinian while visiting Israel in 2016. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on Twitter after the vote: “We promised to halt the stipend free-for-all for terrorists and we have made good on our promise. It’s over. Every shekel that Abu Mazen (Abbas) will pay to terrorists and murderers will be automatically deducted from the Palestinian Authority’s budget.”
According to Palestinian officials, the payments to inmates serving longer sentences for more serious offenses are larger than to others serving shorter sentences for lighter offenses.
Palestinian officials say that some 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails.
Youssef Al-Mahmoud, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah, condemned Israel’s move saying the money belonged to the Palestinians and Israel had no right to hold it back and was violating signed agreements. “This money belongs to the Palestinian people and this is legislation to steal the money of the prisoners and the martyrs who are symbols of freedom for us and they must not be harmed,”
EU against PA ‘terror salaries’
For the first time, the European Union is coming out against the Palestinian Authority’s policy of paying terrorists who attacked Israelis, known as “pay to slay,” Israel Hayom reported. Following the Knesset’s passage this week of the “Pay to Slay Law,” which withholds tax revenues from the PA as long as it continues its “pay to slay” policy, European officials told Israel Hayom, “We do not believe that violence is worthy of any encouragement or reward, but on the contrary, it must be prevented and condemned.” The European Union has reportedly said that it will begin discussions with the Palestinian Authority on the issue. “The payment system for Palestinian prisoners, former prisoners and their families is part of the EU’s political dialogue with the Palestinian Authority being carried out at the highest levels,” the European statement said, according to Israel Hayom.
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.