Who are Israel’s true friends?

Palestine Updates 36/2017


                              Who are Israel’s true friends?                            

Israel has branded the international community in two neat categories: Friends, and enemies. To Israel, a friend is one which tolerates (and chooses complicity) with its actions that violates international law, UN resolutions, Geneva conventions, and International human rights law. In other words, those persons and countries that go along with Israel’s atrocities against a people it has occupied for 50 years and oppresses them in the most inhuman of ways is a friend. You qualify as ‘friend’ of the Middle East’s only democracy once you endorse (implicitly or explicitly) tacit violation of human rights standards and all manner of cruelties against Palestinians. But if you choose the truth and speak it out, you are an enemy. You are even anti-Semitic. In this case, you become racist and evil.

So, the near-unanimous UN resolutions of the last many decades are redundant to Israel and the US and several other European powers that toe the Israeli line for purposes of political convenience. Israel argues that it is anti-Semitism. They are prejudiced regardless of the fact UN condemnations judge the situation is the fairest way possible, and, sometimes, are much too sedate. The oft-and-on condemnations have even become mere routine condemnations which carry no weight or substance. After the resolution, it is always back to square one, which is about keeping apartheid Israel afloat and prospering.

With each passing year, and increasingly each passing week, Israel is cementing its occupation with some of the most outlandish legislations and actions that have no legitimacy in law. The world watches muted. One part watches aghast and the other turns a blind eye or will issue a mild reprimand with the footnote: “Please ignore above.” Others are intimidated into silence. The rest simply don’t care.

In the last week, Palestinian Prisoners have launched a hunger strike in their thousands against prison conditions – but more pertinently, against the very occupation. Israel has vowed to not to negotiate deeming the action of prisoners to be irrational. From all indications, Israel is not looking for honest negotiations and a just settlement. Nor do the powers-that-be in the international community want justice. They would rather choose the easy way out with a solution that offers Palestinians a Bantustan State.

It is the West alone who must accept blame for the ongoing catastrophe. True negotiations will not happen as long as the West is in charge – least of all the US and UK. They are proven dishonest brokers and cannot be expected to change until a South-Africa-like situation emerges. The solutions lie on the streets of the world with progressive movements that compel governments to pressure Israel into standards of civility and common sense. They (Israel) cannot rule the Palestinians forever. They must not. It was bad enough that an unequal partition agreement was drawn up by a colonial-racist West in the first place and passed off as a UN agreement. It is simply not tenable any longer given the brutality of what is happening.  Walking past the problem blindfolded does not mean the problem has gone.

Violence is not an option although the Gaza wars have shown that Israel understands force and is afraid (all bullies are also cowards). But civil disobedience, local protests, among the people remains forms of defiance that Israel also fears. Israel is absolutely terrified by what the BDS can do to it.

Israel’s true friends are not those who offer it aid with which it kills Palestinians and further equips them to steal their land and oppress their peoples. They are those who will acquire and exercise the moral principles of pushing Israel to the table not as the superior, but as the party that has stolen land, maimed and killed people, imprisoned without reason, terrified children, demolished homes, kept people as refugees for a life time, and make mere living close-to-impossible.

Ranjan Solomon

Opinion: A heartfelt apology to Haaretz readers
A must-read for all those who care

This letter is a cryptic response to some regular subscribers/readers of Haaretz which every now and then publishes critical perspectives of the Israeli occupation. Gideon Levy is an Israeli journalist and author who writes opinion pieces and a weekly column for the newspaper Haaretz that often focus on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. He has won wide recognition for his bold writings. His letter (see link) tears into mainstream Israeli stereotypes of the situation involving the Israeli occupation of Palestine. He chooses to question two people who have withdrawn two readers who have withdrawn from Haaretz readership because they find Gideon Levy’s articles offensive.
Read full text in The Haaretz:

Barcelona to end complicity with Israeli Occupation & illegal Settlements
In light of the Barcelona City Council’s vote to condemn Israel’s occupation, call to end complicity in Israel’s violations of international law, and affirmation of the legitimacy of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) recalled “how similar measures have contributed to ending apartheid in South Africa”. The council also voted to ensure that its public procurement policies incorporate clauses guaranteeing respect for human rights in order to “prevent the Barcelona City Council from having any kind of complicity with this occupation, violation of human rights and plundering of resources.”

In an unmistakable reference to the right to advocate for Palestinian rights through BDS tactics, the Barcelona City Council recognized the legitimacy of “nonviolent campaigns promoted by Palestinian and international civil society for defending international and human rights law in Palestine.”

Barcelona City Council now joins more than 70 local authorities across the Spanish state that have adopted diverse measures to end local complicity in Israel’s regime of  occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism. Tens of these local authorities have passed motions in support of the BDS movement for Palestinian rights and declared themselves “Apartheid Free Zones”.
Read full text from repot in International Middle East Media centre

 Extremist Jews resort to absurd humiliation of Palestinian prisoners
Members of Israel’s right-wing National Religious Party, “Mafdal”, held a barbecue today in front Israel’s Ofer prison where Palestinian prisoners have entered the fourth day of a mass hunger strike. The group wanted to “celebrate the hunger strike”, and to break the will of the Palestinian hunger strikers by barbecuing so that the smells would enter the prison cells. Local Palestinian Ibrahim Ikhmayes told Ma’an that the behaviour of the Israelis was “stupid and ridiculous”. They vowed it would strengthen the resolve of the Palestinian prisoners.
Read Middle East  Monitor for full story

All Jews should speak out against atrocities in Gaza: Jewish scholar
The Jews are partly guilty for the anti-Semitism, inasmuch as Jewish communities are not doing enough to hold Israel responsible for Gaza brutalities, said Dr. Peter Slezak, a Jewish scholar and university lecturer from Malaysia. Slezak said, ‘We have to be more subtle about blaming Jews as a whole for the Israeli government’s actions. But the difficulty is that Jewish communities around the world are uncritical supporters of Israel, and to that extent, they do share some of the blame. “The professor of philosophy at the University of New South Wales is among a handful of Jewish scholars strongly advocating for an end to the occupation of Palestine” by the Zionist regime.

He noted that not all Jews are supportive of Israel, and added, “Unfortunately, Israel is acting in the name of all Jews. Therefore, they have the responsibility to say that it’s not in my name. And that I, as a Jew, do not accept that Israel is committing its crime and stealing Palestinian land for us’.

FIFA Called to action over clubs in illegal settlements
More than 100 sports associations, trade unions, human rights organizations and faith based groups from 28 countries joined football champions, scholars, film directors, politicians and government officials in calling on FIFA’s Council members to insist that Israel’s national football league revoke the affiliation of seven clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, or face suspension from FIFA. The signatories, according to WAFA, delivered their letter to FIFA Council members ahead of FIFA’s upcoming 67th Congress on May 10-11.
Read Middle East  Monitor for full story

This is what a stop-and-frisk in East Jerusalem looks like
When Israeli forces started body searching Palestinians outside Jerusalem’s Old City, an Activestills photographer on the scene started filming. They detained and searched him too.