Palestinian courage; Israel’s dilemma and embarrassment

Palestine Update 183

Palestinian courage; Israel’s dilemma and embarrassment
A picture from some months ago taken by a Palestinian photojournalist won an award for War correspondents. Beyond the photographic qualities of the picture is the subject of the picture itself. It illustrates a man on a wheelchair throwing a rock using a simple slingshot. The determination is plain, as is the courage.

For the people of Gaza, the demand is just and simple. Consent to the right of return millions of to the areas and villages from where they were driven out of in 1948 as a result of the massacres that had been committed by the Zionist mobs.

In an article “The Great March of Return, a hope for Gazans”, Ali Abo Rezeg Ph.D. student in Yıldırım Beyazıt University’s Department of International Relations describes how the very notion of the Great March of Return is creative and peaceful in its essence. He underlines that the “struggle managed to widely embarrass the Israeli state” exposing it as a “fully rouge state with forces shooting unarmed and innocent demonstrators despite the protests being broadcast live by the world’s prominent media outlets”. Rezeg reminds us that “the importance of the weekly protests, staged close to the buffer zone, stem from being the last chance for people in Gaza to break the siege that has lasted for more than a decade”. What other option do the Palestinians have but to use such methods to break the shackles of their dispossession and the sadistic 12-year long siege.

The struggle for liberation has been replete with creative methods, largely non-violent in character. Slinging of stones constitute a symbolism of growing impatience with the injustice of the Zionist regime and the absence of any real intervention by the international community. It was first popularly used in the First Intifada. It is such creativity that has disallowed the world to overlook and obfuscate the claim for the right to return. When all eyes were focused on the dubious ‘deal of the century’, Palestinians saw it would be deficient in terms of a just solution. They are declaring: “No, Palestine is not a matter of real estate.”

While the western government’s side with Israel, and, at best, posture and offer mild versions of political sympathy, governments in the Arab world are also resorting to political opportunism and defaulting in their support to their Arab sisters and brothers.

Those who seek ways to intensify their solidarity through movements for justice, whether in churches, civil society, social movements, trade unions, student movements, or Jewish groups who defy their own governments, will hopefully uncover a fusion of their unity. When global solidarity complements local resistance that is the moment when the countdown to liberation will really begin. The Great March of Return is a symbol of that hope.

Ranjan Solomon  

Wheelchair protester focus of Palestinian photojournalist awardee
The top photo prize of the 25th edition of the Bayeux-Calvados-Normandy Award for War Correspondents went to Palestinian photojournalist, Mahmoud Hams. Thirty-eight-year-old Hams won for his picture of a Palestinian protester on a wheelchair in the besieged Gaza Strip, preparing to throw a rock using a slingshot at Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border fence with Israel. The winning picture, taken on May 11th 2018, which featured Saber al-Ashqar, 29, with amputated legs, showed him swinging a slingshot with black smoke in the background as part of the weekly “The Great March of Return” protests waged at the border since March 30th.

Palestinian Central Council decides to suspend Israel recognition
The Palestinian Central Council (PCC) decided to suspend the recognition of Israel as well as to end the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) commitments toward the agreements signed with the Jewish state until it recognized the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. “In view of Israel’s continued denial of the signed agreements, the Palestinian Central Council… decided to suspend the commitments of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority toward the agreements with the occupying power [Israel] until Israel recognized the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the PCC said. According to the statement, the PCC also decided to stop security and economic coordination with Israel “on the basis that the transitional phase, including the Paris agreement, no longer exists.” The Oslo Accords, a set of agreements between Israel and the PLO, were signed in 1993 and 1995 and are considered to be the cornerstone of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The Paris Protocol, which defines economic relations between the sides, was signed in 1994. Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition of their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity.

Ten dead in latest wave of Israel’s slaughter
Over 100 airstrikes blighted Gaza in just one night, but Palestinians are still resisting

Israeli forces killed at least ten Palestinians – including three children- last weekend. They were the latest victims of an attempt to crush popular Palestinian resistance. It followed a night of airstrikes in which Israel bombed the Gaza Strip close to 100 times and a new onslaught of violence against Palestinian protesters on Friday. Israeli soldiers also shot and killed six Palestinians on a demonstration of at least 16,000 people at the border between Gaza and Israel. Israel later bombed some 95 sites in Gaza after Palestinian resistance factions launched rockets in ­retaliation for the killings. The Gaza protest was the latest in a series of mass demonstrations—known as the Great March of Return—that began in March.

Israeli settlements are a tool for robbing Palestinian land  
According to the new findings that tackled the Israeli housing banks, they showed that the Israeli banks have given loans to 26 random outposts under the direction of the Settlement Department, one of the settlement organizations of the Israeli government. One of those outposts is Amona, which were evacuated under the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision, and the re-housing of its settlers in a new settlement at a cost of NIS 40 million. Early Oct 2018, the National Bureau issued a report on the extensive cooperation between the Israeli Judiciary and banks in service of the settlement project, in which noted that the seven major banks in Israel support the settlement and finance them, and make huge profits, The Department handed over the settlers “rights” in the Palestinian territories months after the Israeli authorities learned that these lands are owned by Palestinian people. Within the ongoing series of crimes against the Palestinian Bedouin communities, the Israeli occupation forces dismantled educational caravans belonging to the Marwan Majali’s school under the pretext that the school is located in an archaeological site.

In Jerusalem, settlement companies submitted a settlement plan to build a number of residential towers in the area of ​​Palestinian homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, especially after the failure of settlement organizations to evict and displace 11 Jerusalemite families in the neighborhood long ago. In the south of Bethlehem Governorate, Israeli bulldozers protected by the Israeli occupation forces, razed areas in the area of Khallet al-Nahla in Wadi Rahal, near the area of Khalayl al-Luz in order to open a bypass road. Some 12 days ago, settlers began to alter land for settlement purposes.

In Hebron, the Israeli occupation forces swept 16 dunums of agricultural land, uprooted hundreds of trees and destroyed 3 water wells in the Jamrourah lands in Tarqumiya, west of Hebron. The lands that were razed belonged to a number of citizens, including Moh’d Kamel Ja’afra and Ali ‘Awad al-Fatafta. The Israeli occupation forces also swept 14 dunums of Beit Ka

Israel is currently preparing for elections for local authorities, including settlements in the West Bank. The atmosphere of the electoral campaign inside the occupying power has been reflected in the streets and roads of the occupied West Bank, which has become an area for election propaganda for settlers who are nominated for the election of the settlement councils in the West Bank, which has become full of electoral slogans calling for the development of settlements.

On the other hand, the position of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Michael Link, in which he stressed that the time has come for the international community to take strict measures to stop Israel’s annexation of large parts of the West Bank lands for expanding the settlements. The report of UN’S General Assembly assured that the construction and expansion of settlements including the recent legislative measures amounted to illegal annexation. He urged the international community to act, noting that despite Israel’s record of non-compliance with the international community’s directives.

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.