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West Bank IED Attack Kills And Injures Israelis- A Closer Look

By Robert Inlakesh | 21st Century Wire | August 23, 2019

Earlier this Friday morning an IED attack, conducted inside the occupied West Bank, killed one Israeli and injured two others.

The incident has been blamed on unidentified Palestinians, who were said to have planted the IED the night prior to the incident, before detonating it upon the arrival of the Israeli settlers to the location.

The attack took place at the site of the Ein Buben Spring, located in between the Palestinian village of Deir Ibzi and the illegal Israeli settlement of Douleb.

A female Israeli has been confirmed dead, with two men injured, one currently on life support in critical condition and the other suffering moderate wounds. The three Israelis had originated from Lod – formerly the Palestinian towns of Lydda and Ramle – and had reportedly been visiting the spring, entering it from the ever expanding neighboring settlement.

As usual, the Israeli and Western press are treating this incident as if it has no link to anything occurring in the area prior to the attack.

Back in 2017 I lived in the occupied West Bank and visited the spring of Deir Ibzi many times. I remember being driven there with Palestinians friends to hang out. The first time I went I was confronted by Israeli soldiers who stopped our car and pointed guns in our faces and continued to linger in the area, watching us, for hours after the incident.

Another time I had visited, we had to quickly leave as armed settlers emerged over the hills and were heading in our direction.

I was told by people in the village of Deir Ibzi, that they fear the day when the Israelis will completely take the site for themselves.

The site, of course being home to a fresh water spring, has been a part the lives of those living in Deir Ibzi and the neighboring villages for generations. Until now, there has been no violent resistance like this recent attack, despite the illegal settlement expansion on the area and the violent forcing of the native population from their land.

Israel considers of all the West Bank as simply being part of Israel and call the land Judea and Sumaria. To Israel, there are no illegal settlers or illegal land grabs, they simply consider their actions as being reasonable expansion on God given Jewish land.

The eldest of the Israelis injured in the attack, currently being treated in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, is a Rabbi and was reported to be a decorated occupation force veteran.

Due to the constant Israeli settler and occupation force attacks upon Palestinians, in the West Bank, as well as a rise in attacks upon the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, we now see a string of violent attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank.

This year so far, approximately 100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and with the lack of action from the international community, to end the violations of international law, the siege, the occupation etc. Palestinians now have their backs to the wall.

No peace talks or peaceful demonstrations have worked. So now, due to the lack of action taken for the Palestinians, the Palestinian people are resulting to the last and only option left for them, violent resistance.

The mainstream media will paint these attacks as horrid terrorist incidents, but the reality is, this is what happens when a people have no other options.

Today, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, 152 Palestinians were injured in Gaza’s Great Return March protests, 60 were shot with live ammunition. Over 310 Palestinians have been killed in these marches since the 30th of March, 2018, with around 40,000 people being injured. So why aren’t these acts of mass murdered labelled terrorism? Are only Arabs and Muslims able to commit a terrorist act, should this perhaps be the new definition for the word?

Under international law, the Palestinian people reserve the right to armed resistance. So why is it always a terrorist attack, in the eyes of the so-called objective mainstream media, when a Palestinian decides to resist? And why isn’t Israeli settler terrorism reported as such, when 6 year old Palestinians are run down and murdered by Israeli religious fanatics?

***

Author Robert Inlakesh is a special contributor to 21WIRE and European correspondent for Press TV. He has reported from on the ground in occupied Palestine.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jewish Settlers Rule the Roost in Israel, But at What Price?

By Ramzy Baroud | Dissident Voice | August 21, 2019

Israeli Jewish settlers are on a rampage in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. While settler violence is part of everyday routine in Palestine, the violence of recent weeks is directly linked to the general elections in Israel, scheduled to be held on September 17.

The previous elections, on April 9, failed to bring about political stability. Although Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu is now the longest-serving prime minister in the 71-year history of the country, he was still unable to form a government coalition.

Tarnished by a series of corruption cases involving himself, his family and aides, Netanyahu’s leadership is in an unenviable position. Police investigators are closing in on him, while opportunistic political allies, the likes of Avigdor Lieberman, are twisting his arm with the hope of exacting future political concessions.

The political crisis in Israel is not the outcome of a resurrected Labor or invigorated central parties, but the failure of the Right (including far-right and ultra-nationalist parties) to articulate a unified political agenda.

Illegal Jewish settlers understand well that the future identity of any right-wing government coalition will have lasting impact on their colonial enterprise. The settlers, however, are not exactly worried, since all major political parties, including that of the Blue and White, the centrist party of Benjamin Gantz, have made the support for Jewish colonies an important aspect in their campaigns.

The decisive vote of the Jewish settlers of the West Bank and their backers inside Israel became very clear in the last elections. Subsequently, their power forced Gantz to adopt an entirely different political stance since April.

The man who, on April 7 (two days before the last elections), criticized Netanyahu’s “irresponsible” announcement regarding his intention to annex the West Bank, is now a great supporter of the settlements. According to the Israeli news website Arutz Sheva, Gantz vowed to continue expanding the settlements “from a strategic point of view and not as a political strategy”.

Considering the shift in Gantz’ perspective regarding the settlements, Netanyahu is left with no other option but to up the ante, as he is now pushing for complete and irreversible annexation of the West Bank.

Annexing the West Bank, from Netanyahu’s viewpoint, is a sound political strategy. The Israeli prime minister is, of course, oblivious to international law which sees Israel’s military and settler presence as illegal. But neither Netanyahu, nor any other Israeli leader, for that matter, have ever cared about international law whatsoever. All that truly counts for Israel is Washington’s support, which is often blind and unconditional.

According to the Times of Israel newspaper, Netanyahu is now officially lobbying for a public statement by US President Donald Trump to back Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.

Although the White House refused to comment on the story, and an official in Netanyahu’s office claimed that it was “incorrect”, the Israeli right is on the fast track of making that annexation possible.

Encouraged by US Ambassador David Friedman’s comment that “Israel has the right to retain some of the West Bank”, more Israeli officials are speaking boldly and openly regarding their intentions of making that annexation possible.

Netanyahu had, himself, hinted at that possibility in August during a visit to the illegal settlement of Beit El. “We come to build. Our hands will reach out and we will deepen our roots in our homeland – in all parts of it,” Netanyahu said, during a ceremony celebrating the expansion of the illegal settlements to include 650 more housing units.

Unlike Netanyahu, former Israeli justice minister and leader of the newly-formed United Right, Ayelet Shaked, didn’t speak in code. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, she called for the full annexation of Area C, which constitutes nearly 60 percent of the West Bank. “We have to apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria,” she said, referring to the Palestinian land using biblical designations.

Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan, however, wants to go the extra mile. According to Arutz Sheva and the Jerusalem Post, Erdan has called for the annexation of all illegal settlements in the West Bank and the ouster of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas as well.

Now situated at the center of Israeli politics, Jewish settlers are enjoying the spectacle as they are being courted by all major political parties. Their increased violence in the West Bank is a form of political muscle-flexing, an expression of dominance and a brutish display of political priorities.

“There’s only one flag from the Jordan to the sea – the flag of Israel,” was the slogan of a rally involving over 1,200 Jewish settlers who roamed the streets of the Palestinian city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) on August 14. The settlers, together with Israeli soldiers, stormed al-Shuhada street and harassed Palestinians and international activists in the beleaguered Palestinian city.

Just a few days earlier, an estimated 1,700 Jewish settlers, backed by Israeli police, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, over 60 Palestinians were wounded when Israeli forces and settlers attacked worshippers.

The violent scene was repeated in Nablus, where armed women settlers stormed the town of al-Masoudiya and conducted “military training” under the protection of the Israeli occupation army.

The settlers’ message is clear: we now rule the roost, not only in the West Bank, but in Israeli politics as well.

All of this is happening as if it is entirely an Israeli political affair. The PA, which has now been dropped out of American political calculations altogether, is left to issue occasional, irrelevant press releases about its intention to hold Israel accountable according to international law.

But the guardians of international law are also suspiciously absent. Neither the United Nations, nor advocates of democracy and international law in the European Union, seem interested in confronting Israeli intransigence and blatant violations of human rights.

With Jewish settlers dictating the political agenda in Israel, and constantly provoking Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, violence is likely to grow exponentially in the coming months. As is often the case, this violence will be used strategically by the Israeli government, this time to set the stage for a final and complete annexation of Palestinian land, a disastrous outcome by any count.

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

FCO Speeds Up Planning to Move UK Embassy to Jerusalem

By Craig Murray | August 18, 2019

Following US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s talks with Boris Johnson and his ministers in London last week, FCO officials have been asked to speed up contingency planning for the UK to move its Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with an eye to an “early announcement” post Brexit.

The UK is currently bound by an EU common foreign policy position not to follow the United States in moving its Embassy to Jerusalem. As things stand, that prohibition will fall on 1 November. FCO officials had previously been asked to produce a contingency plan, but this involved the construction of a £14 million new Embassy and a four year timescale. They have now been asked to go back and look at a quick fix involving moving the Ambassador and immediate staff to Jerusalem and renaming the Consulate already there as the Embassy. This could be speedily announced, and then implemented in about a year.

Johnson heads the most radically pro-Israel cabinet in UK history and the symbolic gesture of rejection of Palestinian rights is naturally appealing to his major ministers Patel, Javid and Raab. They also see three other political benefits. Firstly, they anticipate that Labour opposition to the move can be used to yet again raise accusations of “anti-semitism” against Jeremy Corbyn. Secondly, it provides good “red meat” to Brexiteer support in marking a clear and, they believe, popular break from EU foreign policy, at no economic cost. Thirdly, it seals the special link between the Trump and Johnson administrations and sets the UK apart from other NATO allies.

Bolton also discussed the possibility of UK support for Israeli annexation of areas of the West Bank to “solve” the illegality of Israeli settlements on occupied territory. My FCO sources believe this is going to be much more difficult politically for the Cabinet to agree than simply moving the Embassy, due to lack of support on their own backbenches.

This is an insight into the future of British foreign policy if the Johnson government, and the UK, both survive. In the massive defeat of the UK at the UN General Assembly two months ago over the illegal occupation of the Chagos Islands, the UK was in a voting block with only the USA, Israel, Australia, Hungary and the Maldives, against the rest of the world. The Maldives had a particular maritime interest there, but the leadership of the others – Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Scott Morrison, Benjamin Netanyahu and now Boris Johnson – constitute a distinct and extreme right wing bloc. These are very worrying times indeed.

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big dreams for a small school

Defence for Children Palestine – August 12, 2019

Students attending Ibziq Mixed Primary school in the northern Jordan Valley, near the West Bank city of Tubas, face danger and instability due to Israel’s military trainings and activities in the area.

Read the feature: https://www.dci-palestine.org/big_dre…

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MUSIC The Machine Assembly by The Whole Other https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBDYF…

August 14, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel settlers’ month of violence against Palestinians documented

MEMO | August 9, 2019

The month of June saw Israeli settler attacks against at least ten Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank, with significant damage done to property and crops.

According to Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, June was yet “another month of routine settler violence fully backed by the military”.

Settlers vandalised property in ten communities across the West Bank, as well as burning some 1,800 trees and dozens of dunams of grain fields, “uprooting more than 700 vegetable seedlings and damaging at least 55 cars and spray painting hate graffiti on buildings”, stated B’Tselem.

In the Nablus area, “settlers threw stones at a family home in the village of Yasuf, shattering the windows, and punctured the family car’s tires”, while “in the village of Jalud, settlers burned more than a thousand trees in lands belonging to 21 farmers and threw stones at the school”.

Meanwhile, “in the village of Madama, settlers torched farmland and the fire spread to land belonging to the village of Burin, consuming about 180 fruit trees”, and “in the village of ‘Einabus, settlers punctured the tires of three cars and graffitied slogans on the mosque”.

In the central West Bank, settlers punctured the tyres of 22 cars in Beitin, Sinjil and Kafr Malik. In Burqah, “settlers set fire to fields and burned about 200 olive and other fruit trees”, while in Al-Mughayir, “settlers burned some fifty dunams of wheat and hay fields and some 370 olive trees”.

Other examples cited by B’Tselem include attacks by settlers in the Bethlehem region, where they “vandalised farming equipment in the village of Wadi Fukin and uprooted more than 700 saplings and four olive trees”.

According to B’Tselem, “these acts of violence, which are backed by the military, have been occurring every month for years.”

“It is part of Israel’s policy in the West Bank, and it serves the state’s agenda. The policy itself is designed to reduce Palestinian farming and gradually transfer areas that have been abandoned due to fear of violence over to settlers,” the NGO added.

“As part of this policy, and to enable these acts of violence, the authorities rarely investigate the crimes and the odds that any of the criminals would be punished for their actions are minuscule. Settlers are well aware of this fact, as are Palestinians who remain defenceless.”

 

August 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

US’ Greenblatt: ‘Israel is victim in conflict with Palestinians’

MEMO | July 18, 2019

The US Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, has said that Israel is the “victim” in its conflict with the Palestinians and that he “cannot think of single instances” when Israel made a mistake.

In an interview aired yesterday by US broadcaster PBS, Greenblatt was asked what responsibility Israel bears for its now 71-year-old conflict with the Palestinians. The US envoy replied:

I think that Israel is actually more the victim than the party that’s responsible. From the moment of its formation, they were attacked multiple times. They continue to be attacked with terrorism. So — I’m not sure I understand the premise of the question.

He added that he “cannot think of single instances” in which Israel made a mistake or overstepped its authority, saying: “I think that they’re trying their best to succeed. They have actually succeeded in many ways, especially economically, under very, very trying circumstances.”

Greenblatt also doubled down on previous comments in which he argued Israel’s illegal settlements should be referred to as “neighbourhoods and cities”, saying that the term “settlements” is “pejorative”.

On the occupied West Bank – where over 500 illegal settlements are located – and the besieged Gaza Strip, the envoy said: “I would argue that the land is disputed. It needs to be resolved in the context of direct negotiations between the parties. Calling it occupied territory does not help resolve the conflict.”

Under international law, both the West Bank and Gaza Strip remain classified as occupied territories.

Greenblatt’s comments are the latest in a series of controversial remarks that have drawn fierce criticism and rebuke of the US envoy.

Earlier this month, Greenblatt came under fire after criticising the Palestinian Authority (PA) for failing to provide adequate funds for a Palestinian child’s blood cancer medication. This came after Gaza-based Palestinian journalist Fathi Sabbah accused PA Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, and Ahmed Abu Houli, a member of the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), of reneging on promises to assist with his daughter Rima’s treatment.

This prompted Greenblatt to write on Twitter: “Mr. Shtayyeh, how about keeping your word & paying for Rima’s treatment? The PA has the funds and it would be a wise and compassionate use of them. Mr. Sabbah, my thoughts are with you and your family. I pray Rima will have a full and speedy recovery.”

Twitter users – including Sabbah – were quick to point out the irony of Greenblatt blaming the PA for the family’s plight while ignoring Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip, regular refusal to grant exit visas for medical treatment, and the US’ almost-unconditional support for Israel.

The US envoy – who is one of the chief architects of the US’ long-awaited “deal of the century” – has also made a number of provocative claims about Israel’s policy in the occupied West Bank.

In June, Greenblatt stood behind comments made by US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, in which the latter stated Israel has “the right” to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Friedman told the New York Times that “under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank”, provoking international outcry and prompting the Palestinian Foreign Ministry to consider filing a complaint against the ambassador at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Greenblatt backed Friedman’s stance, saying: “I will let David’s comments stand for themselves. I think he said them elegantly and I support his comments.” For his part, Friedman has also refused to back down, since claiming he does “not understand why this issue was faced with such criticism. There is no scenario in which Israel is leaving the whole West Bank.”

His comments have been interpreted as an effort to normalise discussion of Israel’s annexation of the West Bank, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed ahead of the country’s April general election that he would annex the territory if he were re-elected.

Though the political elements of the “deal of the century” have not yet been unveiled, the plan is not expected to demand that Israel dismantle its West Bank settlements. Though the US has not yet changed its policy on annexation, the precedent set by President Donald Trump’s recognition of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as Israeli could pave the way for a similar move in the West Bank.

July 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli municipality in Jerusalem names Silwan streets after rabbis

Palestine Information Center | June 21, 2019

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – The Israeli municipality in Occupied Jerusalem has decided to name some streets in the predominantly Arab Silwan neighborhood after Jewish rabbis.

According to Haaretz, the move was against the recommendation of a professional panel who said “It is inappropriate to give Jewish street names in neighborhoods overwhelmingly populated by Arabs.”

The naming committee in the municipality, headed by Mayor Moshe Leon, named five alleyways and narrow streets in the Baten Al-Hawa neighborhood of Silwan.

The neighborhood, which is currently the home of 12 Jewish families and hundreds of Palestinian families, is targeted by extremist settler groups, including Ateret Cohanim.

Settlers claim there was a small Jewish-Yemenite community in the neighborhood 80 years ago. The newly-approved street names are “Ezrat Nidhim,” after the charitable organization founded by Yisroel Dov Frumkin in the late 19th century which established the Yemenite community.

The other streets are named after Yemenite rabbis. The decision was taken by a majority of eight to two.

The committee made the decision despite the opinion of a professional panel, who warned that the move will “create unnecessary tension. The names will not be used by residents and will therefore be futile.” The committee recommended neutral street names which will benefit all residents.

The two committee members opposing the decision are city coalition members Laura Wharton and Yossi Havilio. Havilio said he firmly opposes as the move, adding that it provokes Arab residents and will inflame the atmosphere in the neighborhood.

June 21, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Judaization of Al-Quds, Jerusalem - How it Works

By Rima Najjar | Palestine Chronicle | June 3, 2019

The Judaization of Jerusalem. It used to work under cover of darkness, at least in the mainstream media, but now it’s out in the open with official recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem from the United States.

Israel implements its Judaization of Jerusalem by directly undermining the sanctity of both Muslim (the Haram al-Sharif) and Christian (the Via Dolorosa) holy sites in al-Quds and by continuing to establish irreversible and exclusive control over the holy city as an Israeli-Jewish city.

Israel implements strategies that ensure its physical domination of the city. Since it illegally annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 war, it has devised numerous policies to create geographic integrity and demographic superiority in favor of a Jewish Jerusalem.

But this strategy did not begin in 1967. In the wake of the 1948 war, the newly-minted Israeli government quickly rejected all calls for internationalizing the city and declared that “Arab aggression” invalidated Israel’s obligation to implement the partition plan, and specifically the UN-sanctioned corpus separatum of Jerusalem — Resolution 181 recommended the creation of independent Palestinian and Jewish States and a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem.

Today Israel’s hasbara machine falsely declares that Palestinian “terrorism” invalidated Israel’s obligation to implement final status negotiations for an independent Palestinian state in the Oslo process, when, in fact, it has been busy leaving nothing for the negotiators to decide upon.

Ironically, on 2 Feb 1949, Ben Gurion magnanimously expressed willingness to establish corpus separatum over the Old City, primarily in order to delegitimize Jordan’s hold over the Old City while removing Israel’s own territorial gains from the equation.

Today, unsurprisingly, we hear that Israel’s exclusive control of the Old City is part of the “New Palestine” Deal. At the same time, on June 01, 2019 the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) released a report that documented 130 violations by Israel against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem during April.

It was the Labor government of Levi Eshkol which set the precedents for complete Israeli sovereignty over a “united” Jerusalem in 1967, with a flurry of Israeli legislative maneuvering that echoed the 1949 frenzy, immediately according Jerusalem a status different than that of the rest of the occupied territories.

Jewish colonization efforts were to emphasize security in the Jordan Valley and in “Greater Jerusalem” as well as the high ground along the western portion of the West Bank. In other words, preserve the Jewish demographic majority won as a result of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 in the Palestinian lands already grabbed.

Likud’s obsession, an obsession which today has the political upper hand, was/is on creating a Jewish demographic majority in the occupied Palestinian territories with the purpose of acquiring more Palestinian territory for the Jewish state.

Israel’s strategies re Jerusalem implemented at the municipal level (with full backing of the Israeli government) have been the most devastating for Palestinian Jerusalemites. The architect of the Israeli master plan for Jerusalem, as many know, was former mayor Teddy Kollek, who pursued plans to cut “Greater Jerusalem” from the rest of the West Bank and facilitated its annexation with the stated objective of ensuring Jewish demographic superiority as well as geographic integrity.

Here are a few of his words from 1984 regarding what he considered to be the premature establishment of the now vast Jewish colony of Ma’aleh Adumim ringing the city:

“I think it is a mistake to establish it before we have filled Jerusalem. In another five years, we will fill Jerusalem and then we will go there [Ma’aleh Adumim]. In Jerusalem, we took upon ourselves, as Jews, a very difficult urban task, in that we received distant neighborhoods, and we had to connect them …”

Note: Jerusalem was not empty and did not need to be “filled”!

The Jewish colonization of Jerusalem is in direct contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 465 Concerning the Application of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Prohibition to Establish Settlements in the Territories, including Jerusalem, 1 March 1980.

Israel has forced a Jewish majority in all parts of Jerusalem and in the process brutally suffocated the legitimate rights and aspirations of Palestinian Jerusalemites, who, nevertheless, cling to their rights and identity in the holy city as Muslims, as Christians and as Palestinians.

Since 1967, successive Israeli governments have systematically eradicated all other visions of the holy city of Jerusalem except for the vision of Jerusalem as the “eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish State.”

Without question, Israel has always viewed the final status of Jerusalem as already settled. With Trump’s “Deal of the Century”, Israel believes it will finally secure unquestionable legitimacy for its exclusive rule over the holy city.

It’s up to the international community to stop it. In its report mentioned above, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) “urged the United Nations and its concerned bodies as well as the European Union to closely monitor the situation in Jerusalem and to condemn the harsh acts to which Palestinians are subjected and to shoulder their responsibilities towards the Palestinians under occupation.”

– Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

June 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

UN Rapporteur: Canada’s trade agreement with Israel violates international law

Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied Michael Lynk [Alhadath24/Facebook]

Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied Michael Lynk [Alhadath24/Facebook]
MEMO | May 31, 2019

Canada’s updated trade agreement with Israel violates international law, the UN Special Rapporteur for the [occupied] Palestinian territories, Professor S. Michael Lynk, has said in an article published by the Australian news site, The Conversation.

Commenting on legislation known as Bill C-85 — the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act — which received royal assent on Monday, Lynk said that it lacks “a human rights provision, which would commit both parties to uphold international human rights and humanitarian law.” The Act also allows goods and services originating on illegal Israeli settlements to enter Canada without any tariffs. These “glaring” omissions, said Lynk, not only violate international law but also Canadian law.

The article, which was co-written with Alex Neve, the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, explained that Canadian foreign policy and Ottawa’s own legislation “has long recognised the Israeli settlements as illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

According to the authors, “The 1957 Geneva Conventions Act commits Canada to respect the strict obligations of the convention, including the prohibition against civilian settlements in occupied territory. And the 2000 Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act designates civilian settlements in occupied territory as a war crime.”

Clarifying their position further, they cite the UN Human Rights Council, which in 2016 urged all states to ensure that: “They are not taking actions that either recognise or assist the expansion of [Israeli] settlements… in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, including with regard to the issue of trading with settlements, consistent with their obligations under international law.”

They also cite a number of UN Resolutions, including Security Council Resolution 2334 which states that the Israeli settlements are “a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Lynk pointed out that while Israel denies that it is an occupying power, there is in fact “a virtual wall-to-wall consensus among the international community — including the United Nations, the European Union, the International Court of Justice, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Canada — that the laws of occupation, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, apply in full to the Palestinian territory.”

The authors state that the Bill “makes no distinction between Israel and its illegal settlements in the Palestinian territory and it provides encouragement to the economic growth of the settlements by allowing their goods and services to enter Canada tariff-free.”

In conclusion, Lynk and Neve say that the Bill “entangles Canada in the serious violations of both international human rights and humanitarian law that are part and parcel of the Israeli occupation.”

READ ALSO:

Canada court hears lawsuit challenging Israel settlement wine labels

May 31, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel government to fund hotels in illegal West Bank settlements

MEMO | April 30, 2019

The Israeli government will subsidise hotels in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, as part of a plan to attract more tourists to the area.

According to an article in Arutz Sheva, citing a report by Israel Hayom, Israel’s Tourism Ministry “will aid entrepreneurs who want to invest in building or expanding hotels in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank]”.

The entrepreneurs can now apply for a grant of up to 20 per cent of their intended investment.

Israel Hayom reported that a meeting held earlier this year between senior settler officials and the managers of Israeli travel agencies in the occupied West Bank “showed that the number of guest units is insufficient, causing tourists to avoid staying in the area for more than a day”.

According to the report, the government grants “are intended to encourage investors to open additional guest units in [illegal settlements in] Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley [the occupied West Bank]”.

Settler leader (Yesha Council chair) Hananel Dorani stated: “We thank [Tourism] Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) for his important work on the issue of tourism in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley.”

“Building hotels and guest houses in the area is an important step which shows the deepening of our roots in the ground and paves the way for Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria,” he added.

“Giving grants for the creation of hotels is another supplemental step which will help solve the problem of where to sleep and will strengthen settlements and our hold on Judea and Samaria.”

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel confiscates 51,000 dunams from Jordan Valley

Ma’an – April 16, 2019

TUBAS – The Israeli authorities confiscated 51,000 dunams and isolated five villages in the Jordan Valley area in the northern occupied West Bank, an official in charge of Jordan Valley’s Israeli settlements file at the Palestinian Authority (PA) reported.

Mutaz Bisharat told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the Israeli authorities confiscated 51,000 dunams, isolated 5 villages and seized control over water springs, agricultural machinery and solar cells.

Bisharat added that the Israeli policy is very clear in isolating villages of the Tubas district, pointing out that these areas were marked as closed military areas banning their owners from entering without an Israeli-issued permit.

He stressed that Israel aims to expel Palestinians from the area under its plan to seize the Jordan Valley area.

The Jordan Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C — under full Israeli military control.

International rights organizations consider the continuation of the Israeli campaign which targets Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, whether though confiscations, demolitions or evictions under the pretext of holding military exercises, as a violation of international humanitarian law.

Since the beginning of the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Israel has confiscated hundreds of thousands of dunums by declaring it state land.

Israeli authorities in 1968 banned Palestinians from registering their lands and subsequently took advantage of previously low rates of land registration to confiscate areas currently or previously in use by locals but not registered as such.

The confiscated lands are then used to construct Jewish-only settlements on the land, while further confiscation often uses the pretext of the settlements’ security.

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Once Again, the UN has failed to Name Firms that Profit from Israel’s Illegal Settlements

By Jonathan Cook – The National – March 11, 2019

The United Nations postponed last week for the third time the publication of a blacklist of Israeli and international firms that profit directly from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied territories.

The international body had come under enormous pressure to keep the database under wraps after lobbying behind the scenes from Israel, the United States and many of the 200-plus companies that were about to be named.

UN officials have suggested they may go public with the list in a few months.

But with no progress since the UN’s Human Rights Council requested the database back in early 2016, Palestinian leaders are increasingly fearful that it has been permanently shelved.

That was exactly what Israel hoped for. When efforts were first made to publish the list in 2017, Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, warned: “We will do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day.”

He added that penalising the settlements was “an expression of modern antisemitism”.

Both Israel and the US pulled out of the Human Rights Council last year, claiming that Israel was being singled out.

Israel has good reason to fear greater transparency. Bad publicity would most likely drive many of these firms, a few of them household names, out of the settlements under threat of a consumer backlash and a withdrawal of investments by religious organisations and pension funds.

The UN has reportedly already warned Coca-Cola, Teva Pharmaceuticals, the defence electronics company Elbit Systems and Africa Israel Investments of their likely inclusion. Israeli telecoms and utility companies are particularly exposed because grids serving the settlements are integrated with those in Israel.

There is an added danger that the firms might be vulnerable to prosecutions, should the International Criminal Court at The Hague eventually open an investigation into whether the settlements constitute a war crime, as the Palestinian leadership has demanded.

The exodus of these firms from the West Bank would, in turn, make it much harder for Israel to sustain its colonies on stolen Palestinian land. As a result, efforts to advance a Palestinian state would be strengthened.

Many of the settlements – contrary to widely held impressions of them – have grown into large towns. Their inhabitants expect all the comforts of modern life, from local bank branches to fast-food restaurants and high-street clothing chains.

Nowadays, a significant proportion of Israel’s 750,000 settlers barely understand that their communities violate international law.

The settlements are also gradually being integrated into the global economy, as was highlighted by a row late last year when Airbnb, an accommodation-bookings website, announced a plan to de-list properties in West Bank settlements.

The company was possibly seeking to avoid inclusion on the database, but instead it faced a severe backlash from Israel’s supporters.

This month the US state of Texas approved a ban on all contracts with Airbnb, arguing that the online company’s action was “antisemitic”.

As both sides understand, a lot hangs on the blacklist being made public.

If Israel and the US succeed, and western corporations are left free to ignore the Palestinians’ dispossession and suffering, the settlements will sink their roots even deeper into the West Bank. Israel’s occupation will become ever more irreversible, and the prospect of a Palestinian state ever more distant.

A 2013 report on the ties between big business and the settlements noted the impact on the rights of Palestinians was “pervasive and devastating”.

Sadly, the UN leadership’s cowardice on what should be a straightforward matter – the settlements violate international law, and firms should not assist in such criminal enterprises – is part of a pattern.

Repeatedly, Israel has exerted great pressure on the UN to keep its army off a “shame list” of serious violators of children’s rights. Israel even avoided a listing in 2015 following its 50-day attack on Gaza the previous year, which left more than 500 Palestinian children dead. Dozens of armies and militias are named each year.

The Hague court has also been dragging its feet for years over whether to open a proper war crimes investigation into Israel’s actions in Gaza, as well as the settlements.

The battle to hold Israel to account is likely to rage again this year, after the publication last month of a damning report by UN legal experts into the killing of Palestinian protesters at Gaza’s perimeter fence by Israeli snipers.

Conditions for Gaza’s two million Palestinians have grown dire since Israel imposed a blockade, preventing movement of goods and people, more than a decade ago.

The UN report found that nearly all of those killed by the snipers – 154 out of 183 – were unarmed. Some 35 Palestinian children were among the dead, and of the 6,000 wounded more than 900 were minors. Other casualties included journalists, medical personnel and people with disabilities.

The legal experts concluded that there was evidence of war crimes. Any identifiable commanders and snipers, it added, should face arrest if they visited UN member states.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, dismissed the report as “lies” born out of “an obsessive hatred of Israel”.

Certainly, it has caused few ripples in western capitals. Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn was a lone voice in calling for an arms embargo on Israel in response.

It is this Israeli exceptionalism that is so striking. The more violent Israel becomes towards the Palestinians and the more intransigent in rejecting peace, the less pressure is exerted upon it.

Not only does Israel continue to enjoy generous financial, military and diplomatic support from the US and Europe, both are working ever harder to silence criticisms of its actions by their own citizens.

As the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement grows larger, western capitals have casually thrown aside commitments to free speech in a bid to crush it.

France has already criminalised support for a boycott of Israel, and its president Emmanuel Macron recently proposed making it illegal to criticise Zionism, the ideology that underpins Israel’s rule over Palestinians.

More than two dozen US states have passed anti-BDS legislation, denying companies and individual contractors dealing with the government of that particular state the right to boycott Israel. In every case, Israel is the only country protected by these laws. Last month, the US Senate passed a bill that adds federal weight to this state-level campaign of intimidation.

The hypocrisy of these states – urging peace in the region while doing their best to subvert it – is clear. Now the danger is that UN leaders will join them.

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment