Why can’t the EU say the word apartheid?

Palestine Update 467

Why can’t the EU say the word apartheid?
Ali Abunimah Rights and Accountability
The European Union refuses to recognize the reality of Israel’s regime of apartheid and persecution against Palestinians. (Excerpts from an article)
Human Rights Watch issued a landmark report concluding that Israel commits the crimes of apartheid and persecution against the Palestinian people. Israel has “pursued an intent to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians throughout the territory it controls,” the group states. The crime of apartheid is one of the crimes against humanity enumerated in the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court – putting it in the same category as enslavement and extermination.

Human Rights Watch now joins growing calls for an approach based on rights and accountability, rather than the long dead “peace process” that has for decades provided an alibi for international inaction as Israel entrenches its colonial grip on the Palestinian people and their land.

But if anyone thinks this paradigm shift – even from such a mainstream organization as Human Rights Watch – will dent the European Union’s bedrock commitment to maintaining the brutally unjust status quo in Palestine, they will be sorely disappointed. The EU, when challenged, listed its supposed commitment to human rights, international law and to “a negotiated two-state solution.” Its Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Stano, offered a pretext: “EU will engage with both Israel and the Palestinians, and with our international and regional partners to this end.” That sounds suspiciously like the “constructive engagement” that US President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher advocated in the 1980s in an effort to stave off international pressure and sanctions on South Africa’s white supremacist apartheid regime. A torrent of blank words to say nothing really was all. No substance or conviction.  A political bluff!
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Methodists divest from Caterpillar citing Palestinian evictions
The Methodist Church has sold its shares in the US-based company Caterpillar, citing the continued use of its equipment to destroy peoples’ homes as part of the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, and its poor record in Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance, said a statement issued by Sabeel-Kairos, an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians.More photographs have recently emerged of Caterpillar vehicles being used in the destruction of farmland and olive groves, as well as the construction of illegal settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes. Caterpillar claims it is not directly involved in sales into Israel but the likely path of trade via the US military and local agencies is widely known.

Other church bodies have sold out of Caterpillar in the past, as long ago as 2006 the Church of England voted to divest from Caterpillar and in 2014 the US Presbyterian Church did the same. The Quakers have also indicated they would not hold Caterpillar shares, for similar reasons.

“There never was a Palestinian people”!!~
Racist attitudes are apparently overlooked when displayed by influential lobbyists. The European Leadership Network, a pro-Israel group, has cultivated a warm rapport with numerous politicians and diplomats in recent years. Those relations appear sufficiently strong that no major objections are raised when a representative of the group expresses extremist views. Earlier this month, Arié Bensemhoun, head of the European Leadership Network in France, claimed that “there never was a Palestinian people.” The whole concept, he suggested, was “an invention of anti-Semites” who failed to digest that the Nazis did not exterminate all Jews.

Israel is trying hard to erase Jerusalem’s Palestinians
It has made colonial violence a permanent feature of Palestinian lives in the holy city

For Jerusalemites, it is nauseating to hear commentators throw around cliches of “cycle of violence”, call for a “return to calm”, and generally engage in bothsidesism, whenever violence erupts. And in the past few weeks, we have heard them yet again. There are no two equal sides in Jerusalem.

The problem with these statements is that they whitewash the fact that Jerusalem is a city under violent occupation and its occupier, Israel, has made its intent to slowly uproot the native population quite public. In this sense, violence is a permanent feature of the lives of Jerusalem residents, even when outside observers perceive the streets to be “quiet”. And it is not a matter of “both sides” de-escalating. This past year had been particularly violent for Palestinian Jerusalemites. The impact of COVID-19 on our community is dwarfed by the effects of relentless harassment, arrests, home demolition and displacement by the Israeli authorities, ultimately aimed at the ethnic cleansing of the city. No one should be surprised at the amount of anger Palestinians hold towards the Israeli occupation authorities in the city. Their encroachments on the rights of our community are endless and are directly responsible for any uptick in violence.

Israel initiates Land Registration procedures in Sheikh Jarrah to advance Jewish settlement
‘For the first time in 53 years, Israel has underhandedly began land registration procedures in East Jerusalem, exclusively registering land rights of properties to alleged Jewish owners without the public’s knowledge. Such a move is unprecedented and has potential acute ramifications on Palestinian properties across East Jerusalem, which could ultimately lead to widespread Palestinian dispossession in the city. These measures are being carried out under the guise of the 2018 Government Decision 3790 – “Narrowing Socioeconomic Gaps & Promoting Economic Development in East Jerusalem,” which includes a provision to promote land registration. The Israeli authorities have initiated these proceedings in the Umm Haroun section of Sheikh Jarrah, located in the Old City Basin, the most politically contested and religiously sensitive area of Jerusalem. Due to the acute absence of due process in the land registration procedures, the Sheikh Jarrah community association, together with Bimkom–Planners for Planning Rights and Ir Amim, filed an urgent petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice.”

UN committee to examine Palestinian apartheid charges on Israel
“A United Nations arbitrations committee is poised to examine a Palestinian Authority complaint that Israel has committed acts of apartheid. The move comes as civil society allegations against the Jewish state on the issue of apartheid by Israeli left-wing NGOs such as Yesh Din and B’Tselem and by the US based Human Rights Watch have made headlines. Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva issued a sharp retort on the matter Monday, after the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) said Friday it planned to advance the matter. CERD ‘has applied discriminatory standards against Israel to justify its outrageous decision on the admissibility of the politically motivated Palestinian complaint,’ the mission said.”