Palestine Update 485
Palestinian officials warn United States, EU, and West that continued occupation of Palestinian land no longer tolerable
Fatah deputy chairman Mahmoud Aloul condemned the increased number of “martyrs and wounded as a result of the intensification of the Israeli occupier and settler attacks on our people, and on the funerals and mourners.” Israel had committed criminal acts, highlighting the escalation of hostilities in occupied East Jerusalem and the siege of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrar neighborhoods. These districts have been targeted by Israeli authorities in an ethnic-cleansing operation, though attempts at the forced removal of Palestinian families from their homes have met with determined resistance and global condemnation. Protests would increase in these areas, despite the occupying forces’ attempts to suppress them, warning that the Palestinian leadership “cannot any more tolerate these acts.”
Israel has the continued backing of the US in its oppression of the Palestinian people, as was underlined by the latest sale of military hardware to Tel Aviv on Friday: a $3.4 billion (£2.5bn) deal for 18 helicopters made by Lockheed Martin. Hawkish US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Washington’s steadfast support in a message welcoming the deal.
Israel Fights its Finest Sons: Ex-soldiers who dare speak up
The Tax Authority surrendered to the pressure of right-wing organizations and demanded the removal from its building of signs posted by Breaking the Silence – from a campaign in which the organization called on the defense minister and the public security minister to take aggressive action against settler violence. This violence is a daily occurrence, and its objective is terror: to expel the Palestinians from their land by force – the combined force of the settlers and the army – and to convince them that there is no point in returning to it. If the Palestinians fail to cultivate their land for several years, the government will transfer it to the settlers.
IHRA definition of antisemitism is used to muzzle criticism of Israel
“Champions of the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance – Working Definition of Antisemitism (IHRA-WDA) insist that their definition is merely aspirational, meant only to rally opposition to hatred of Jews and is not legally binding. But an event in the Canadian city of Winnipeg is a perfect and lasting example of how toxic is the definition’s threat to freedom of expression about Israel and Palestine and how it is really meant to be used. It was the nightmare scenario that critics of the IHRA-WDA warn about and a lesson to all of us.”
Israel-UAE oil deal cancellation could lead to severing ties
“A decision by Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister, Tamar Zandberg, to freeze a major oil deal with the UAE to Israel might lead to ties between the two countries being severed, UAE officials have warned. The deal to develop the Eilat-Ashkelon oil pipeline would enable UAE oil tankers to unload in Eilat from where oil would be pumped to the Mediterranean port and on to its destination. The route would bypass Egypt’s Suez Canal.”
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SA government ‘appalled’ that Israel got observer status at AU
The decision to grant Israel observer status was “even more shocking in a year in which the oppressed people of Palestine were hounded by destructive bombardments and continued illegal settlements of the land”, the SA government said. The department of international relations & cooperation (Dirco) issued a statement condemning the decision of the African Union (AU) Commission to grant Israel observer status. “The government of SA is appalled at the unjust and unwarranted decision of the AU Commission to grant Israel observer status in the AU.
Israel obtained observer status, which it had been demanding for years. Israel, which maintains relations with 46 African countries, previously had observer status within the Organisation of African Unity until it was disbanded in 2002 and replaced by the AU. “The AU strenuously objected to the deaths of Palestinians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. The decision by the AU Commission in this context is inexplicable. The unjust actions committed by Israel offend the letter and spirit of the charter of the AU,” Monyela said.
UK-EU should recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel and Palestine (Excerpts) – by Liam Hoare
In April 1949, what was then the New Statesman and Nation came out against the internationalization of Jerusalem as a ‘quite impracticable’ scheme. The 1937 Peel Commission had called for an enclave whose borders would encompass Lod, Ramla, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, while the November 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine envisaged Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and their environs under an international trusteeship administered by a UN governor.
David Ben-Gurion accepted the Partition Plan, including Jerusalem’s internationalization. The Arab states did not, the rest is history, and a Jerusalem as a UN governorate became a proposal whose implementation would never come to pass. In March 1949, Israeli troops reached Eilat, and a month later, an armistice agreement with Transjordan drew a Green Line down the middle of Jerusalem. In light of these developments, the New Statesman and Nation decreed the that Jerusalem ‘become the capital of Israel and Transjordan, the new city going to the Jews and the Old City to the Arabs’. West Jerusalem to Israel; East Jerusalem to Palestine — is now a commonplace view. The Partition Plan formed still forms the basis for many within the international community’s legal stance towards Jerusalem. UN Resolution 194 (1948) called for Jerusalem to be demilitarized, ‘accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine,’ and ‘placed under effective United Nations control’. The UN condemned subsequent unilateral changes to the status of Jerusalem: in Resolution 242 (1967) following Israel’s post-Six Day War occupation of East Jerusalem; and in Resolutions 476 and 478 (1980), adopted after Israel’s de facto annexation of Jerusalem’s eastern neighborhoods to create a single municipality.
The notion of a corpus separatum continues to inform European diplomatic policy to some extent. Jerusalem, the EU asserted, is an international city; unilateral changes to its borders and sovereignty would not be recognized. Today, the EU’s official position is that ‘Jerusalem will be the future capital of two states, and will become an open city with access for Israelis, Palestinians and the rest of the world’. Though no longer party to Europe’s common foreign policy, Britain like the EU’s member states houses its embassy in Tel Aviv and finds itself in a similar diplomatic position. Since 1950, Britain has ‘withheld recognition of sovereignty over Jerusalem pending a final determination of its status’. As such, Britain only recognizes Israel’s ‘de facto authority over West Jerusalem’.
Europe has long aspired to play a larger role in the Middle East peace process. Its diplomatic efforts via membership of the Quartet, however, have not borne much fruit. Germany’s Greens who will likely form part of the next German government now believe shifting alliances in the region offer an opportunity to jumpstart multilateral negotiations towards a two-state solution with EU and US involvement. To realise that ambition, Europe’s powers would need to do something about its outdated policy on Jerusalem. David Ben-Gurion told the Knesset in December 1949, ‘for the State of Israel there has always been and always will be one capital only”. Seat of its prime minister and president, parliament and Supreme Court, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The Palestinians, meanwhile, view Jerusalem as their capital, and as recently as last year, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas restated that there will not be a Palestinian state without it.
If it is the anachronistic view of the EU and UK that Jerusalem should be the shared capital in some form of both Israel and a future Palestinian state, then its official stance towards Jerusalem should keep up with that ambition. Unlike the US, however, Europe should do this in a way that is fair to both sides of the argument. This must not determine what precisely constitutes Jerusalem. With one hand, the UK in concord with the EU and its member states should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and begin preparations for relocating their embassies there. With the other, they should recognize the State of Palestine – something only 9 of the EU’s 27 members have done – with Jerusalem as its capital. Countries and institutions with existing representation in Ramallah should change their accreditation from the PA or PLO to the State of Palestine.
Never have talks between Israel and the Palestinian over a two-state solution felt more remote but been more urgent. But jumpstarting negotiations may require an outside force to make a paradigm-shifting move. Now is not the moment to lean on resolutions long past their use-by date. Jerusalem is or will be the capital of Israel and Palestine; any other solution is quite impracticable.