Palestine Update 79
Palestinian unity jolts Israel into desperate measures
Palestinian reconciliation has left Israel’s ‘tunnel-vision cabinet’ running helter-skelter with desperate moves. It is obvious that Likud and its partners had never, even in their wildest dreams, expected that PA-Hamas would find unity. Hamas has demonstrated political pragmatism that put the people of Gaza and their welfare above political egotism. The PA may have made the choice out of sheer political compulsions. All the same the deal is now here to stay- whether fragile or robust, time will tell.
This unity is something beyond the capacity of Israel’s racist colonialist political mind-set. For Israel, a fragile and disjointed Palestine is one they can dominate and divide to their advantage. Ending the occupation and ushering in peace is not their intent or hope. Never has been. The stealth of more land and dispossession of more people is their agenda forward. In one word, ethnic-cleansing!
Israel’s security cabinet has been hurriedly convened to thrash out the implications of Palestinian Reconciliation. Senior Ministers are calling for Israeli sanctions on the Palestinian Authority following the deal. Netanyahu is in a quandary. He can reject the move, but what will he tell the world?
Every statement from Hamas after the reconciliation suggests that the reconciliation is not about uniting to crush Israel. It IS about being a united front in future peace talks. Nor has Hamas abandoned agreed to give up its weapons and fighting capacities. An Israel that is armed to the teeth, nuclearised, and rabidly war-mongering in intent, must know that Palestinians have the right and means to resistance. This is political theory from way back in the 16th century when the New Hampshire Bill of Rights, written in 1784, declared: “The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.” In modern parlance: “Protesting, however, is not necessarily violent or a threat to the interests of national security or public safety. Nor is it necessarily civil disobedience, because most protest does not involve violating the laws of the state. Protests, even campaigns of nonviolent resistance or civil resistance, can often have the character (in addition to using nonviolent methods) of positively supporting a democratic and constitutional order.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_protest)
A just peace in Palestine Israel demands key steps that Israel must take as a pre-condition. First, the military occupation must end because it is illegal; it has lasted way too long, and is cruel and vicious. It robs Palestinians off their dignity and right to live as people with equal human rights. The settlements must be dismantled in haste because it is around these settlements and, because of them , that Israel’s violence thrives as a colonialist entity. The borders between the two states must be drawn so that the two states will have continuity. The land will be divided 78% to 22%, allowing for swaps of land along the “Green Line.” The arrangements satisfying contiguity between Gaza and the West Bank must guarantee the free flow of people and goods within both Israel and Palestine, so that it will not entail crossing a border. Jerusalem will be the capital of both Israel and Palestine and administration arrangements mutually accepted. An agreed and fair solution to the refugee problem must address both the individual claims and the collective considerations of the two sides. On the one hand, the Palestinian refugees should be able to choose a permanent place of residency with compensation scheme for the refugees and with refugee status changed to that of citizens.
Israel is at fault on all these counts unwilling to surrender rights it snatched away from the Palestinians first in 1948, and then again in 1967. Worse, it manipulated the Oslo accords and had rendered it a mere piece of trivia. This is why Israel is threatened by the Palestinian unity. It is not a document that endangers peace. It can only serve to advance peace if only Israel views it thus.
The stories below lay bare the unending atrocities of Israel’s military machine. But we end on a note of a substantive optimism. International solidarity is growing and the Olive Tree campaign shows one way. International accompaniers work with Palestinian farmers on their lands and provide a sense of international protection in the area especially that it is surrounded by illegal settlements and is threatened with settlement expansion and settler extremism.
Settlers in barbaric attempt to torch in South Hebron Hills
Israeli settlers from Ma’on settlement, which is located on West Bank lands in the southern Hebron hills, on Sunday overnight attempted to torch the mosque of Twaneh village, as part of their systematic attacks on the village to intimidate and deport its residents. According to eyewitnesses, extremist settlers stormed the area and tried to set fire to the mosque. Then, a number of citizens woke up to the noises, and forced them to leave. Locals also said that the settlers attacked the homes in the area, adding that Israeli occupation forces, which were present in the vicinity of the village, fired tear gas at the village, causing several cases of teargas inhalation.
UN: Israel wounded 62 Palestinians, abducted 205 in 10 days
The UN says 23 children, two women among the wounded and nine children among the abducted
Israeli occupation forces shot wounded 62 Palestinians and abducted 205 others in occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in the last ten days, a UN report said. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that 23 children and two women were among the Palestinians wounded by the Israeli occupation forces. Six of the injuries occurred in the Gaza Strip, during protests next to the perimeter fence, and the rest in the West Bank, including Jerusalem. Israeli occupation forces conducted 121 search and abduction operations across the occupied West Bank and abducted 205 Palestinians, including nine children.
Hamas agrees not to refrain from instigating war unilaterally
Hamas has agreed not to initiate confrontation with Israel in Gaza or the West Bank, a report has claimed
Hamas and Fatah have said they will not act unilaterally on either peace deals or armed conflict. This comes after the two factions signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo last week, including a timetable for elections, and the transfer of Gaza border crossings to Palestinian Authority control. Under the accord, control of Gaza will also be transferred to the PA. The rival Palestinian parties will cooperate on key decisions, under the “principle of participation” and Hamas will not attempt to ignite conflict with Israel in the West Bank, without prior agreement.
Blair admits boycott of Gaza was blunder- Too little too late?
Tony Blair has said for the first time that he and other world leaders were wrong to yield to Israeli pressure to impose an immediate boycott of Hamas after the Islamic faction won Palestinian elections in 2006. As prime minister at the time, Blair offered strong support for the decision to halt aid to, and cut off relations with, the newly elected Hamas-led Palestinian Authority unless it agreed to recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by previous agreements between its Fatah predecessors and Israel. The ultimatum was rejected by Hamas. The elections were judged free and fair by international monitors. Blair now says the international community should have tried to “pull Hamas into a dialogue”.
Reports: 11 Palestinian Lawmakers Languishing in Israeli Jails
Israel has arrested about 70 Palestinian lawmakers and administratively jailed most of them with no indictment or trial since 2002. Earlier this year, more than 1,700 Palestinian prisoners had joined a hunger strike dubbed the Freedom and Dignity Strike which started on April 17 and lasted for 40 days. The strikers were demanding basic rights, such as an end to the policies of administrative detention, solitary confinement and deliberate medical negligence. The strike ended after the Israeli regime met the demands of the hunger strikers. Israeli authorities have detained approximately one million Palestinians since the establishment of the state of the usurper Israeli entity in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip in 1967.
Olive Picking in Palestine: Another form of solidarity
A group of 70 internationals today participated in picking olives in Wadi Fukin village, southwest of Bethlehem, central West Bank, in area C (Lands under Israeli control). The group assists Palestinian farmers in these lands and provides a sense of international protection especially that it is surrounded by illegal settlements and threatened with settlement expansion and settler extremism. This program is a joint annual JAI-ATG event. According to a spokesperson of the people: “The participants come to Palestine to see our lifestyle and target “lands that are close to settlements and the apartheid wall, especially since there are a lot of settlers and soldiers who assault the Palestinian farmers during the olive picking season.”