Swedish church calls for study into Israel’s standards of law keeping

Palestine Update 507

Swedish church calls for study into Israel’s standards of law keeping
When a church body that carries influence and clout speaks up, Israel would feel the tremors. Palestinians would feel unyielding and firm encouragement.

It does not signal the end of the occupation by any stretch of imagination. But there is a threat to Israel’s comfort zones. Influential churches questioning whether Israel is actually playing by the rules of international law is a grim red alert. Other churches will feel prompted to echo the Swedes.

Israel might dodge the answer, but soon the trickle of questions will emerge as a floodgate of glares from different corners of the world. Israel has far too many surreptitious stories about it and will soon have no place to hide them.

Those who are in solidarity with Palestinians in their urgent call for justice will only say ‘Bravo’ to the Swedes for demanding scrutiny of Israel’s implementation of International Law. After all, this is no undersized protest. It is a massive question.

If Israel is clean, it will come clean. But it will resist until it can to obfuscate facts. The whole world (even Israel’s allies) know Israel is guilty of violating international law, UN resolutions, the Geneva Convention, and any kind of humanitarian standards that would stand inquiry and be declared ‘politically fit’. Patience is running thin. And injustice cannot run forever.

This is not the only question being asked of Israel. The ICC investigation is attracting nervous reaction in Tel Aviv. Palestine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants the UN and its specialized agencies to investigate Israel’s biological laboratories especially after Israel stands accused of employing chemical weapons on Palestinian civilians. It is also alleged is that settlers have used chemical material to burn Palestinian families. Crimes of the most horrific nature continue unimpeded –   nothing short of barbaric and unparalleled in terms of cruelties. Daunting comparisons are increasingly drawn and Israel’s list of war crimes lengthening. Indeed is under the scanner and soon, hopefully, will have to face examination for its infinite misdoings.

Under these horrid horrors stories emerging from the political corridors of Israel, the world will also watch with keenness the findings of the 20 European diplomats who will inspect in the Gaza Strip. This is a team of an unprecedented size constituted “to see firsthand the developments in Gaza and will certainly send a political message that it is important to lift the blockade imposed by Israel since 2005. It will also call for an end to the intra-Palestinian division and achieve unity in a way that would allow the Palestinian government to fully carry out its duties in the Gaza Strip”.

Do read the reports in detail and other accounts of Israeli intransigence in this Update.

Ranjan Solomon

Church of Sweden Synod wants scrutiny of Israel’s implementation of International Law
The Church of Sweden Synod decided today, November 23, 2021,”to Commission the Central Board of Church of Sweden to raise the issue of scrutinizing the implementation of International Law in Israel and Palestine, also from the perspective of the United Nations convention on apartheid and the definitions of apartheid in the Rome Statute, in international and ecumenical organizations, especially the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation.”

Church of Sweden made this decision after a difficult debate in the Synod with many exaggerations even from a bishop, fearful of international law. But Church of Sweden is firmly based in international law when it comes to positions in international conflicts. The proposal was carried with 127 votes for, 103 against and 6 abstentions. Other churches are often based in their decisions on prophetic theology, but the long history of being a Lutheran folk church makes Church of Sweden to argue with a common language accepted also in the secular realm. International law is often the foundation of Church of Sweden positions in Political conflicts.

Church of Sweden received the 2009 Kairos Palestine document and the subsequent Cry for Hope in 2020. Now the church has decided to affirm that the fullness of international law be implemented in the case of Israel and Palestine. This way Church of Sweden can respond to the Cry for Hope and the examinations of apartheid made by the Israeli human Rights organization B’Tselem in a Responsible way, furthering the implementation of International Law in both Israel and Palestine through the World Council of Churches and Lutheran World Federation.

Apartheid is a crime against humanity. It is firmly rooted in international law. International law is the only existing alternative to”might is right” and the foundation of a rule based World order.

Rev. Dr. Anna Karin Hammar

Ecumenical coordinator Kairos Palestine – Church of Sweden 

Foreign Ministry to UN specialized agency: Investigate Israel’s biological labs in the settlements
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates today called on the United Nations and its specialized agencies to send an international biological investigation team to the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories to inspect their laboratories.

Omar Awadallah, Assistant Foreign Minister for United Nations and Specialized Agencies, told the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons, currently being held in Geneva, that since Israel controls the crossing and borders in the occupied territories, the Palestinian Authority is unable to verify what kind of weapons Israel is developing in these illegal settlements, which could pose a grave threat to the lives of the Palestinian people. Israel is the only party that refuses to establish a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and it is the only party that has nuclear weapons and refuses to subject them to the supervision of the Atomic Energy Agency.

Awadallah accused Israel of using chemical weapons against the Palestinian people, and its settlers have used chemical material to burn Palestinian families in reference to burning the entire Dawabshe family, including an infant, in the West Bank village of Duma in July 2015, and the burning alive of the Abu Khdeir boy in Jerusalem in July 2014.

20 European diplomats arrives in Gaza to inspect besieged enclave
A delegation of 20 European diplomats arrived this morning in the besieged Gaza Strip to inspect the situation there. Shadi Othman, the spokesman for the European Union office in Jerusalem, stated this is the largest European diplomatic delegation to visit the Gaza Strip at one time. The purpose of this two-day visit, he said, is to see firsthand the developments in Gaza and to send a political message that it is important to lift the blockade imposed by Israel since 2005, end the intra-Palestinian division and achieve unity in a way that would allow the Palestinian government to fully carry out its duties in the Gaza Strip.

The delegation is going to meet with representatives of various sectors to hear from them about the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and the current situation and will include a visit to strawberry farms in Beit Lahiya and Sudaniyeh neighborhoods in the north of the Gaza Strip and a meeting with the producers, a visit to the water desalination plant in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, and a visit to Rafah crossing with Egypt and Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) commercial crossing with Israel, as well as the fishermen port, said Othman.

Israel finally pledges to permit restricted Palestinian 4G cell service

Until 2018, Israel kept Palestinian providers from installing 3G networks, and it could be years before 4G tech is rolled out, even as 5G becomes standard among Israeli competitors

A vendor offers mobile phone contracts from a booth on
a street in Nablus in the West Bank on November 15, 2016.

Israel has tentatively agreed to permit Palestinian cellular companies to set up fourth-generation mobile networks — allowing them to belatedly take advantage of a technology considered standard in much of the world — as part of a series of steps meant to strengthen the Palestinian Authority. The approval, which has yet to be finalized, was formally presented during a recent closed-door meeting of Israeli and Palestinian telecommunications teams, Israeli and Palestinian officials told The Times of Israel. “The 4G system will be available for Palestinians as soon as possible. It has already been discussed and agreed upon,” a senior Israeli official involved in advancing the initiative told The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity.

Israel has not permitted Palestinian cellular providers to upgrade their networks for years, leaving most Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza with dramatically slower connections than those in Israel and much of the worldA spokesperson for the Defense Ministry did not respond to request for comment on the rationale for withholding access to the upgraded networks.

As Hamas’ popularity grows, analyst says it won’t trigger a full-scale confrontation with Israel
A recent poll revealed that 45 percent of Palestinians considered the Islamic group to be their true representative. 56 percent viewed Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh as suitable for the presidential post. His main opponent, the leader of Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, has only gotten the support of 34 percent. On Monday, Israel buried Eliyahu David Kay, the victim of Sunday’s terror attack, reportedly conducted by a Hamas activist in Jerusalem’s Old City. The event, which has also seen five people injured, including Israel’s security forces, has drawn massive condemnation from the country’s right- and left-wing circles. But in the West Bank, the shooting attack and the organisation that took responsibility for the assault had received a warm embrace from the Palestinian public.