Palestinian life becomes expendable to Israel – International community challenges to Israel heightens

Palestine Updates 51

Palestinian life becomes expendable to Israel –
International community challenges to Israel heightens

It has to be very hard to be a Palestinian and still find encouragement in actions that those from the outside refer to as signs of hope. To live through an occupation whose brutality is increasingly unrivaled cannot be easy.

In article by Neve Gordon in ‘The Nation’ (June 5, 2017), Gordon narrates the following episode: “During a Labor Party meeting that took place not long after the June 1967 war, Golda Meir turned to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, asking, “What are we going to do with a million Arabs?” Eshkol paused for a moment and then responded, “I get it. You want the dowry, but you don’t like the bride!” This anecdote shows that, from the very beginning, Israel made a clear distinction between the land it had occupied—the dowry—and the Palestinians who inhabited it—the bride. The distinction between the people and their land swiftly became the overarching logic informing Israel’s colonial project. Ironically, perhaps, that logic has only been slightly modified over the past 50 years, even as the controlling practices Israel has deployed to entrench its colonization have, by contrast, changed dramatically.”

How else can one categorize and understand the Knesset renewal of the controversial “Citizenship and Entry into Israel” law? The law surpasses anything that asserts human rights law. It actually sets severe limitations on Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory married to Israeli citizens, for the 14th year. The law is an undisguised illustration of racism and an illustration of “apartheid” practices against Palestinian citizens of Israel. The law had significant support. (57 in favor: 16 against). The law, in the main, applies to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip, but it also brings under its purview and foreign nationals from Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq and can unilaterally pertain to other nationalities originating from countries the Israeli government considers a security threat.

A self-imposed siege that Israel has imposed can only last till it crumbles under its own weight. International resistance has not satisfactorily countered the levels of oppression by Israel. But there is no denying that with each passing day, resistance is mounting. BDS supporters are spreading far and wide. Israel is troubled by its potential to grow from a growl to a dangerous bite. The occupation is beginning to look and sound hideous by all standards.

And this is accompanied by courage as made visible in the recent prisoners strike. Palestinians have said “enough is enough” and the world is listening. Israel’s desperate bid to hold on to the occupation, and acquire more, is a last bid tactic before it falls apart. If South Africa could collapse so suddenly, so will Israel. The question is ‘how soon’. Time and patience are running out.

In this issue of Palestine Updates, we look at growing actions of international solidarity to the occupation and its aftershocks.  Opinion makers are shifting public perception against Israel’s occupation in ways that make space for hope.

Do read and disseminate the news below. Do also join the campaigns for BDS. Every single voice and signature counts especially when you get one more person to join your struggle.

In solidarity

Ranjan Solomon

“You don’t belong” in Apartheid Israel Radiohead
– Don’t Entertain Israeli Apartheid

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke described calls to respect Palestinian picket
line as “divisive.” What’s really divisive is Israel’s regime of settler colonialism and apartheid.

The British rock group Radiohead is planning to entertain Israeli apartheid with a concert in Tel Aviv on July 19, 2017. Help to get the message to Radiohead: “You don’t belong there!”

Palestinians, thousands of Radiohead fans, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ken Loach, Roger Waters, the Young Fathers and tens of renowned artists have all called on Radiohead to cancel their Israel gig. And during the band’s US tour, Radiohead fans unfurled banners at concerts and published articles in the press to get Radiohead to turn away from playing apartheid.

Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke broke the band’s silence in an interview on Rolling Stone, describing calls not to cross the Palestinian picket line “divisive”. Roger Waters, Ken Loach and others have responded to Yorke’s comments.

Radiohead must hear the popular message loud and clear throughout their tour. Take action by:

  • Creating a buzz on social media. You can use sample tweets and memes
  • Joining or organizing a creative action at Radiohead tour stops in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, UK, Poland, Belgium and France: Drop a banner along the route to the concert, leaflet fans as they enter, or hand out signs for concertgoers requesting a selfie from inside.  Take photos and videos, and share them with:
  • Sign the petition to Radiohead
Join Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
Also read

Swiss parliament blocks attempt to criminalize Israel boycott
Electronic Intifada reports that “the Swiss upper house aborted an attempt to criminalize the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign for Palestinian rights”. Swiss foreign minister criticized the original anti-BDS motion, saying it threatened the essential right of civil society to criticize governments. Swiss foreign minister described how there are sufficient controls on financing of foreign organizations in place. “Swiss values must not be abandoned, especially when democracy and civil society are supported, in accordance with the constitution, which provides general support for peace, democracy and civil society.”Rejecting right wing claims, the government said:  “The right of citizens to advocate for BDS is part and parcel of the fundamental freedoms protected by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights,” Robert Kolb, a professor of international law at the University of Geneva, in a press release from BDS Switzerland welcomed parliament’s rejection of the anti-BDS language. Switzerland now joins the European Union, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden in resisting pressure to curtail BDS as a tool to defend the rights of the Palestinian people.
Report in full in Electronic Intifada

Amos Trust initiates a walk from London to Jerusalem in solidarity with the Palestinians

Justin Butcher, a playwright and creative director, describes an encounter in the small town of al-Khadr, near Bethlehem with a family who narrated to him their reality as occupied Palestinians.  Butcher left that home challenged by their message: “when you leave, don’t forget us. Tell people our story.”  It galvanized him to work on launching the initiative Just Walk to Jerusalem to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Balfour declaration. The 2,000-mile journey from London to Jerusalem is a show of solidarity with the Palestinians and highlights the role Britain in the suffering.The five-month-journey will go through France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Jordan, where they will follow an ancient pilgrimage route to Jerusalem, entering on 2 November, 100 years on from Balfour’s Declaration. Butcher explains. “It’s sort of a reverse refugee path, and at the same time, represents the right of return deprived to so many Palestinians.”

The walk is organized by  Amos Trust which claims: ‘It’s time to tell people the honest truth, a hundred years is far too long for an injustice to continue, and most people aren’t even aware of our role in history.'(Garth Hewitt, Founder of Amos Trust).
Comprehensive report in Middle East Eye

A voice for justice- a voice for Gaza
Excerpts from an article by Richard Falk
Richard Falk recounts the life of Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, who died a few days ago, was a Catholic priest and former president of the UN General Assembly. The Nicaraguan diplomat was also a leading voice of conscience on Middle East peace.

Miguel took on that role, traditionally considered a largely ceremonial position leading a too-often marginalized organ of the UN system, and almost immediately emerged as an influential global voice who spoke powerfully in support of Palestinian rights under international law. He courageously opposed Israel’s brutal Cast Lead military operation, defying the always present geopolitical pressures mounted by Washington on behalf of Israel. He aimed to transform the General Assembly into a potent force for global justice.

Within hours of the first airstrikes against Gaza, Father Miguel condemned Israel’s actions as “wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that it illegally occupies” … and called Israel’s war “a monstrosity.”

Father Miguel explained, under assault and hemmed in by an illegal Israeli blockade, “they (Gazans) have no means of escape”… in such times “it becomes the responsibility of the international community as a whole, represented here in the United Nations, to provide that protection.”
This is a must-read article
Read full article

Al Jazeera English online Launches ‘Palestine in Motion’
A report from Palestine Chronicle

Al Jazeera English online has launched ‘Palestine in Motion‘, a storytelling technique, centered on the story of Palestinian people.‘Palestine in Motion’ allows the user to explore the personal narratives of Palestinians, which are linked through various themes and keywords in a new and unique way. It retells the story of Palestine by linking the past and the present, and reorienting the entire Palestinian discourse through conveying seemingly ‘ordinary stories of ordinary people’.

“The 19 stories featured in the project tell the Palestinian story through personal experiences of people who lived certain periods of Palestine’s history. In addition, it tells the story of what it’s like being Palestinian today,” said Imad Musa, manager of Al Jazeera English Online.

Diaspora Jews join solidarity “Summud” camp in West Bank

Two weeks ago, as part of the Centre for Jewish Nonviolence, a delegation of 130 diaspora Jews to the West Bank undertook solidarity work with Palestinian communities on the ground. It was a historic coalition of Israeli, Palestinian and International activists to establish the Sumud Freedom Camp.
The village of Sarura in the South Hebron Hills was displaced in the late 1990s after the Israeli Defence Forces declared the area a military firing zone. On the hill opposite our camp sits the settlement outpost of Ma’on. Jewishness and international status gives privileges of safety, and of freedom of movement. Through working with and being guided by our Palestinian partners on the ground, the group was able to demonstrate solidarity and support in a way that shifts the norms of conversations around this issue in our home communities and within this type of activism.

The IDF and the civil administration have attempted to shut down the camp multiple times and yet it still stands. To be clear, this is not about hating Israelis, or hating Palestinians. At the end of the day, this is about systems. The Occupation is systematic. It necessitates daily indignity and violence towards Palestinians in order to maintain a status quo that prioritises

There is an idea within Jewish texts that justice lies at the heart of what it means to be a part of this world. The Occupation has become a Jewish tragedy. Being part of a resolution that is based on a shared humanity and dignity of Palestinians and Israelis? That’s our Jewish responsibility too.

The full report can be found in the newsletter of Jews for Justice for Palestine

 South African Council of Churches reaffirms solidarity for Palestinian struggle for justice and the end of Israeli occupation
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) at its recently concluded conference resolved, among others reaffirms our solidarity with Palestinian struggle for justice and the end of Israeli occupation; and:

  1. In the light of current widespread mobilization of Christians going on Pro Israeli trips, it is resolved that the SACC executive encourage alternative tourism trips and pilgrimages through Churches and Tour groups. Such tours and pilgrimages should give a clear picture of the military occupation of Palestine by Israel.
  2. In light of many Western countries’ especially USA’s unwillingness to pressure Israel to comply with international law, it is recommended that we invite Christians in those lands to play a prophetic role in relation to their centres of power. Such prophetic role to include a clear call for structural justice in Palestine /Israel.
  3. To defeat the idea that to speak against Israeli injustice to be to anti Semitic.
  4. Information must be made available to Christian communities in South Africa about the state of affairs in Israel/Palestine. Make better use of the EAPPI and other resources.
  5.  Commend BDS to Christians as a nonviolent form of pressuring Israel to change. Further to pressure RSA to stop doing business with Israel.
  6. Establish a study group to develop Theological Resources to address Christian support of secular Zionism. Further to clearly distinguish between Zionism as it finds usage among African Indigenous Churches in South Africa, from the secular political and cultural programme of Israeli Zionism.
  7. Encourage the WCC to consider a Programme to Combat Racism in relation to Apartheid Israel that was helpful in the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa.