The apartheid tag is getting harder to conceal

 Palestine Update 577
Opinion

The apartheid tag is getting harder to conceal
Israel is in dire straits. It finds it necessary to sell its narrative at any cost to those who will buy its storyline. This is likely the reason why Israel has invited Australian federal parliamentarians and sponsored  more trips to Israel than to any other country – 25 in all in the last four years (June 2018-April 2022). Israel also sells and subsidizes pilgrimages to churches in different parts of the world. Their sole aim is to ensure that the common person in the church does not get to be told about the horrors of Israel’s apartheid cruelties. These tours are strictly guided and many of the pilgrims hardly, if ever, hear the Palestinian version of things. Israel even makes sure it invites the cream of Church leadership mainly  Bishops and those who ae further up.  Israel wines and dines them, gives them luxurious gifts  and then extracts assurances that their churches will not take stances that questions Israel’s illegal colonial existence.

The ‘apartheid’ tag has now begun to stick on Israel much as they seek to shrug it off. For how long can they hide that fact and label?    ‘Apartheid’ is a term that falls short of describing Israeli settler colonialism, according to former UN human rights commissioner. South Africa has joined this chorus with Minister of International Relations and cooperation, Naledi Pandor expressing concerns over the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and a “significant portions of the West Bank”, calling on the UN to class Israel as an Apartheid State. Apartheid practices are verifiable from evidence of credible sources such as the Tel Aviv-based Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) which exposed the fact that 32 percent of requests to reach either occupied East Jerusalem, or the West Bank or Jordan to receive urgent medical care for children were rejected in 2021, compared with 17 percent in 2020.  There are alerts of an Israeli project to construct a  Yemenite visitor centre in Silwan district in occupied Jerusalem as part of ongoing efforts to take over the neighborhood that they claim belonged to Yemenite Jewry. These apartheid policies and actions are supported by Israel’s allies in the West as evidenced in the double standards of how Ukraine and Palestine are represented by comparison.

Please read these stories and disseminate widely so as to build solidarity for justice to the Palestinian claims.

In solidarity

Ranjan Solomon


 Israel junkets: Australia’s politicians are taking the most trips 

In the last four years (June 2018-April 2022),* Australian federal parliamentarians have received more sponsored trips to Israel than to any other country. There were 25 parliamentary visits to Israel, with the next most popular destinations being Taiwan (17 visits) and the United States of America (USA) (15 visits). Notably, during the same time period, there were no official Australian Government international parliamentary delegations to Israel or Taiwan. The total number of non-Australian Government sponsored trips to all countries in this period was 139, so Israel comprised 18% of all trips.

In the last four years (June 2018-April 2022), Australian federal parliamentarians have received more sponsored trips to Israel than to any other country. There were 25 parliamentary visits to Israel, with the next most popular destinations being Taiwan (17 visits) and the United States of America (USA) (15 visits).

Notably, during the same time period, there were no official Australian Government international parliamentary delegations to Israel or Taiwan. The total number of non-Australian Government sponsored trips to all countries in this period was 139, so Israel comprised 18% of all trips.
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‘Apartheid’ not sufficient to describe Israeli settler colonialism, according to former UN human rights commissioner
Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East has come and gone. Biden dropped in on Israeli and Palestinian leaders, then flew to Saudi Arabia for the top of his agenda—getting the Saudis to pump more oil, countering Russia and China’s challenge to US hegemony in the region, and uniting Arabs and Israelis against archenemy Iran. Israel’s permanent subjugation of 5 million Palestinians did not come up. Accountability for the murder of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was soft-pedaled. Against the backdrop of US indifference on these and other human rights matters, a handful of international bodies are taking a much closer look, and building a legal case. One of them, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry, has just issued its first report on the root causes of violence in Palestine in May 2021, triggered by the imminent eviction of Palestinian families from their homes, and the police attack on worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque which killed nearly three hundred Palestinians, including 66 children, and thirteen Israelis. Independent journalist David Kattenburg interviews Miloon Kothari, a former UN Human Rights Commissioner and one of the three members of the International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
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 South Africa calls for Israel to be classified an Apartheid State

South Africa has expressed its concerns over the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and a “significant portions of the West Bank”, calling on the UN to class Israel as an Apartheid State. At the second meeting of the Palestinian Heads of Mission in the South African capital Pretoria yesterday, the country’s Minister of International Relations and cooperation, Naledi Pandor, said that the “Palestinian narrative evokes experiences of South Africa’s own history of racial segregation and oppression.”

Insisting that South Africans’ own struggle against systemic state-sanctioned racism gives them the ability to understand the plight of the Palestinian people, Pandor stated: “We experienced firsthand the effects of racial inequality, discrimination and denial and we cannot stand by while another generation of Palestinians are left behind.” The minister called on the international community to classify Israel as an Apartheid State, saying that the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) must establish a committee to officially verify whether Tel Aviv fulfils the requirements for such a classification.
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Israel’s doubles denial of medical permits for Gaza’s children
Almost 840 Palestinians died awaiting a permit to leave the besieged enclave for treatment between 2008 and 2021
Israeli authorities have rejected a third of medical permit requests for Palestinian minors in the besieged Gaza Strip, almost double the previous year, according to new data. A report by the Tel Aviv-based Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) found that 32 percent of requests to reach either occupied East Jerusalem, or the West Bank or Jordan to receive urgent medical care for children were rejected in 2021, compared with 17 percent in 2020.  Out of 2,578 requests, 812 were either denied passage or have had their applications significantly delayed. Ghada Majadle, director of the occupied territories department at PHR, said Israel was complicit in “a serious and ongoing crime that is harming patients, especially minors”.  PHR, which relied on figures provided by the Israeli army through freedom of information requests, said there were several reasons for the spike in rejections, including restrictions put in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in May 2021.
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Israel to build Synagogue in East Jerusalem’s Silwan district

Jerusalem affairs experts have warned of an Israeli plan to build a Yemenite visitor centre in Silwan district in occupied Jerusalem as part of ongoing efforts to take over the neighbourhood that they claim belonged to Yemenite Jewry, the Palestinian Information Centre has reported. The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) and the Ateret Cohanim settler group claim that the Yemenite neighbourhood (Batn Al-Hawa) in Silwan was founded in the late 19th century, but it was evacuated by Britain in 1938 before dozens of Palestinian families moved in. They also claim that an old Yemenite synagogue used to exist in Silwan as part of their relentless efforts to seize as many Palestinian homes and buildings as possible in the district, which is located near the Old City of Jerusalem.

In 2015, Ateret Cohanim managed to evict the Jerusalemite Abu Nab family, who had been living in what this group claims to be an old Yemenite synagogue in Batn Al-Hawa, and gave their house to illegal Jewish settlers. Recently, Ateret Cohanim reached an agreement with Israeli Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Justice Minister Gideon Jerusalem Sa’ar to allocate 4.5 million shekels ($1.3 million) to build this Yemenite visitor centre, which will include a synagogue and a police monitoring station, in Batn Al-Hawa neighbourhood, according to experts. Ateret Cohanim is a government-backed Jewish group and educational institute located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It actively works on Judaising the holy city and expelling its indigenous people, the Jerusalemites, from their homes.the district, which is located near the Old City of Jerusalem.
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Survey exposes UK government’s ‘hypocrisy’ over Ukraine and Palestine 
The glaring disparity between the way that the British government views support for Ukraine in schools and solidarity with Palestine has been revealed by a new survey conducted for the London-based advocacy group CAGE. The survey is based on the feedback of 532 respondents across England, Wales and Scotland, and covers primary schools, secondary schools, sixth forms and two universities.

 It highlights starkly the double standards employed by the government in the way it looks at the suffering of Ukrainians and Palestinians. In particular, it asked respondents to consider the government response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which started in February this year, and Israel’s 2021 military offensive against the Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip. Both Ukraine and Palestine have seen some of the most brutal violence against civilians in recent history. In Palestine, though, the aggression has continued over seven decades with the complicity of successive British governments, and their reaction to the ethnic cleansing, almost daily killings and human rights abuses, not to mention violations of international law, has been muted at best.
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