Palestine Update 437
The confusions of Israeli politics
PA hopes Biden will shun law deeming PLO ‘terrorist’ –
“With just three weeks until US President-elect Joe Biden enters the White House, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is putting together a strategy for a reset of ties with Washington after three years of boycotting the Trump administration. The centerpiece of the effort will be convincing the Biden administration to designate as unconstitutional congressional legislation from 1987 that labeled the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) “and its affiliates” a terror group, senior Palestinian officials told The Times of Israel. They hope that doing so will set the stage for a renewed bilateral relationship — one in which Ramallah is viewed as a more equal partner, and that isn’t entirely tied to the peace process with Israel.”
Israeli settlers damage land and vandalize homes in West Bank
Israeli settlers launched a wave of separate attacks on Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank on Monday, with cars, homes and farmland vandalised, according to local media. On Monday morning damaged Palestinian vehicles and homes in Sarta village, close to the West Bank city of Salfit. A group of settlers threw stones at several houses and cars, while slashing the tyres of other vehicles in the village. Another group of settlers threw rocks at vehicles with Palestinian registration plates travelling along Road 465, north of Ramallah. Israeli settlers also reportedly uprooted Palestinian farmland in Khirbet Al-Farisiya in the northern Jordan Valley.
Aref Daraghmeh, a local Palestinian activist, told the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official news agency WAFA that settlers used bulldozers to level large areas of agricultural land, owned by local Palestinians, in Al-Farisiya. The Jordan Valley, which is a fertile strip of land running west along the Jordan River, is home to about 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30 percent of the West Bank. Overnight on Monday, Israeli forces attacked a Palestinian hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem by storming the centre and fired “concussion grenades” into the hospital. Director of the Thabet Government Hospital, Haitham Shadeed, told WAFA that he and the medical staff were left shocked when Israeli forces raided the hospital courtyard and the Outpatient Clinics Section’s waiting room at 3:30am.
In Canada, the IHRA definition is stifling pro-Palestinian voices
In 2019, under the guise of combating racism and bigotry, Canada adopted the highly problematic definition of antisemitism promulgated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which conflates political criticism of the state of Israel with anti-Jewish bigotry. Under this working definition, legitimate critiques of Israel and its policies, such as “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor,” may be condemned as antisemitic. Many critics have rightly warned that these provisions threaten the free speech rights of Canadians and will likely be used to silence criticism of Israel.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month named former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler as Canada’s first special envoy on preserving Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism. Cotler’s first responsibility will be leading the Canadian delegation to next year’s IHRA conference, where member states will be discussing the alliance’s definition of antisemitism.
“The IHRA definition will have a deleterious effect on free speech and pro-Palestinian activism because we can already see it happening in the United Kingdom and the United States. And it is no coincidence that, in Canada, the definition is emerging in the context of an increasingly hostile environment toward critics of Israel. Ontario was the first Canadian province to adopt the IHRA definition in October through an Order in Council — a legislative move that skipped the important step of public hearings to debate the decision.
US guns aim at Palestinian kids; Washington won’t take them back
“This worsening pattern of Israeli forces becoming more trigger-prone with live ammunition did not emerge in a vacuum. Since 2013, Israeli authorities have issued indictments against Israeli soldiers in only three out of 155 killings of Palestinian children. And while public pressure calling for Israeli authorities to conduct investigations into killings of Palestinian children are important, we know that Israeli investigations are rarely independent or impartial. This near-complete lack of accountability — such that systemic impunity for Israeli crimes is the norm for Palestinian children — has directly fostered the violent conditions we see on the ground…Congress must not rely on Israeli authorities to investigate themselves, and it is beyond time to end unconditional funding to Israel. McCollum has urged the incoming Biden administration to investigate Ali’s killing and declared, “Committing human rights abuses with impunity and with U.S. taxpayer aid is intolerable and there must be accountability on the part of the U.S. Government.”
Guess who’s in Charge of Whitewashing Israeli Settlements
“Just before they disappear, to become a historical footnote, the explainers of Kahol Lavan are working overtime to try to convince us that liberal voters will “miss us yet,” because they were the only ones who prevented a great harm to Israeli democracy. They don’t see that in fact they repeatedly sugarcoated that harm. Self-deception, as Hannah Arendt once wrote about the Pentagon Papers – “The deceivers started with self-deception” – is a fundamental prerequisite for being able to deceive the rest of us.”
Moroccan Islamists say Western Sahara comes before Palestinian cause
“The General Secretariat of Morocco’s Justice and Development Party has decided to support King Mohammed VI’s decision to normalise relations with Israel. The Islamist party said that the Western Sahara file comes before the Palestinian cause. According to Hespress, a special meeting of the party secretariat on Sunday evening concluded that the party will stand by the decision of the monarch. The website quoted a senior party official as saying that all members of the secretariat agreed on the slogan ‘The national cause first and the Palestinian cause always’.