Barcelona Votes to End «Israeli» Occupation & Illegal Settlements

Local Editor

Barcelona City Council passed a historic declaration on Wednesday upholding the right to boycott the “Israeli” entity over its violations of Palestinian rights.

Boycott "Israeli" apartheid protest in Spain

The motion condemns the apartheid entity’s occupation of Palestinian land, calls for the immediate end to the decade-long Gaza blockade and ensures that the city’s public procurement policies exclude companies that profit from “Israel’s” human rights abuses.

It also admonishes the “Israeli” entity for its intransigence in the face of repeated warnings from the international community to stop its illegal colonization of Palestinian land, according to the Catalan daily Ara.

The council recognizes “nonviolent campaigns promoted by Palestinian and international civil society for defending international and human rights law in Palestine” – a clear nod to the BDS movement.

The city joins dozens of Spanish municipalities which have declared themselves “free of ‘Israeli’ apartheid.”

A coalition of Spanish and Catalan boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] groups welcomed the vote.

“We celebrate this victory because we believe it to be a great step forward in raising the awareness of the role of local government in the defense of human rights and in breaking the complicity that inherently bolsters apartheid and the occupation of Palestine,” the groups state.

“This resolution is an institutional recognition of civil society demands for an end to complicity in violations of international law through nonviolent struggle, as practiced by the BDS movement,” the groups add.

The city’s recognition of the right to engage in “Israel” boycott activism, at a time when more European governments move to protect such activism, “is a triumph for free speech and democratic rights in Europe,” said Rafeef Ziadah of the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

“It gives further recognition to BDS as an inclusive, inspiring, anti-racist movement rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that upholds the basic principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity,” Ziadah added.

For years, Spanish and Catalan activists had engaged in direct action against academic and cultural partnerships with “Israeli”-backed institutions.

In 2014, dozens of activists occupied the offices of Catalan government representatives to protest a wave of newly signed academic collaboration deals between the autonomous region and the “Israeli” entity.

The action forced the representatives to agree to examine proposals aimed at ensuring the new deals do not benefit institutions and companies that participate in the entity’s occupation.

More than 350 Catalan academics and university staff backed the action, calling for the boycott of “Israeli” academic institutions.

The “Israeli” regime, meanwhile, has expressed worry over the growing popularity of BDS activism in Spain, especially as larger cities such as Barcelona, led by left-wing mayor Ada Colau, vote to support Palestinian rights.

A 2016 cable from the “Israeli” embassy in Spain described “the phenomenon of anti-‘Israeli’ activity in Spain” as “bothersome and worrisome, but in the past was centered in small cities.”

But the cable warned that Barcelona city council members were considering canceling a sister-city agreement with Tel Aviv, according to The Jerusalem Post.

After Wednesday’s city Council Vote, David Bondia Garcia, a professor of international law and president of the Institut de Drets Humans de Catalunya, a human rights organization, asserted in the newspaper el Periódico that a break in the twinning agreement with Tel Aviv would be the next logical step.

The Barcelona motion comes just two months after pro-“Israel” groups in Spain filed charges against Palestine solidarity activists for calling on a music festival two years ago to cancel a performer who had used his celebrity to fundraise for the “Israeli” army and to support anti-Palestinian causes.

Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS movement, called the charges “legal intimidation.”

israel | barcelona | bds | spain | israeli apartheid

Source: EI, Edited by website team

21-04-2017 | 13:02

Palestinian Archbishop to Boycott DC Conference in Protest of US Policies

“These misguided American policies in the Middle East are a major reason behind the mass exodus of Christians from the region that has occurred over the years…”

[ Ed. note The gentleman in the photo above is Atallah Hanna, a Palestinian Christian who holds the position of archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. The article below, published yesterday by Ma’an News, reports that Hanna will be boycotting an upcoming conference in the US on the plight of Middle East Christians.

Hanna declined to specify which conference he was referring to, most likely out of a desire not to give them any free publicity. However it could be this conference, scheduled to take place April 20 at the National Press Club in Washington. One of the sponsors of the event is a dubious group calling itself “In Defense of Christians,” an organization that advocates for the establishment of “safe zones” in Syria. Were such zones to come about, the result would be a de facto partitioning of the country and the weakening–and quite possibly the downfall–of the Syrian government. The downfall of the Assad government, needless to say, would be a disaster for Syria’s Christian population.

One other thing worth mentioning–the conference coming up in Washington to is to feature the launch of a report entitled “In Response to Persecution.” I will try to find out more about this report and get back to all of you on that. ]

***

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Sabastiya Archbishop Atallah Hanna, of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said he would boycott an upcoming conference in the United States aiming to discuss the situation of Christians in the Middle East, over what he called “misguided” American policies in the region.

Hanna, the only Orthodox Palestinian archbishop, who is renowned for his high profile political activism against the Israeli occupation, said in a statement Saturday that he and a number of Christian leaders from the region were invited to the conference, scheduled to be held in mid-May.

“We won’t partake in this conference and we urge all Christian leaders in the Arab world who have been invited to boycott this suspicious conference,” Hanna said, without specifying what the conference was called. The archbishop could not confirm to Ma’an whether or not it was the same event held annually in Washington DC by the non profit “In Defense of Christians.”

The Palestinian archbishop explained that he called for the boycott in protest of the US’s “misguided” policies in the Middle East, particularly those related to the question of Palestine.

“These misguided American policies in the Middle East are a major reason behind the mass exodus of Christians from the region that has occurred over the years,” said Hanna, adding that US officials should “stop siding with Israel and assaulting the Arab people before they invite us to a conference about Christians in the Middle East in their capital.”

Hanna accused the United States trying to cover up crimes committed in the Arab world by holding the conference, which he stressed was yet another move by the US government to show that it cares about Middle Eastern Christians — “when in fact, it doesn’t.”

“Who created the terrorist groups and who is providing them with money and arms? Who has been destroying Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya? Who caused the displacement of the Palestinian people? All catastrophes that Palestinians have suffered and are still suffering from were abetted by American and Western governments.”

Referring to recent airstrikes in Syria ordered by the US president Donald Trump, Hanna said that

“American aggression in Syria on Thursday is clear evidence that the current US administration adopts aggressive policies against our people and our region, just as previous US administrations have.”

Amazon Book Burning

Wasn’t it the Nazis who supposedly were the world’s foremost book burners? For more on the Amazon book ban, see article here. Readers might also be interested in a commentary by Gilad Atzmon. Suffice to say, freedom of thought, the right to question history, the right to call for a boycott against Israel–all of these freedoms are under attack now. Something to keep in mind as we head into day two of the the AIPAC conference.

Wishful thinking: israel’s UN rep Danny Danon ‘We’ll eliminate BDS completely’

Israeli UN rep: ‘We’ll eliminate BDS completely’

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said on Wednesday that Israel would “keep fighting” until it “eliminates BDS completely.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said on Wednesday that Israel would “keep fighting” until it “eliminates BDS completely.”

“There is a new approach [to fight BDS] and it is being heard in the halls of the UN Indeed,” Danon told 2,000 attendees at a pro-Israel UN event.

“We have seen a lot of legislation since the first conference; 17 states have enacted anti-BDS legislation and we are seeing more groups fighting back against BDS,” he added.

Danon’s remarks echoed stronger remarks about the issue by the US Ambassador to the international boyd Niki Haley.

Haley said at the same event: “The effort to delegitimise the state of Israel being waged on college campuses and the anti-Israel obsession at the UN are one in the same. They both seek to deny Israel’s right to exist.”

She continued: “They are both efforts to intimidate US friends and embolden her enemies. They are both extensions of an ancient hatred.”.

The ambassador added: “And how tragic is it that of all countries in the world to condemn for human rights violations, these voices choose to single out Israel.

“We should boycott North Korea. We should sanction Iran. We should divest from Syria. Not Israel. It makes absolutely no sense. And it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice. You can let the BDS know that the United States has Israel’s back.”

 

UK facing court battle over right to BDS

UK facing court battle over right to BDS

Foreign minister Boris (The clown) Johnson promoted economic ties in Jerusalem last week. (Israeli Goverment Press Office)

A court challenge against British restrictions on the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is going ahead, according to human rights campaigners.

The British government had undertaken to prevent local councils from using pension policies to protest against the arms trade and repressive regimes, particularly Israel.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is seeking a judicial review of the British government’s policies. The campaigners have been informed by a judge that the review can proceed “as soon as possible” after 1 April.

The campaigners are seeking to overturn changes to the rules on local authority pension schemes, announced by the British government in October 2015.

The Conservative government also published guidance in February last year that was intended to discourage the use of BDS tactics.

Publicly-funded bodies were told these amounted to a “BDS ban” – although closer reading of the text revealed this not to be the case.

But in June 2016, the first case to cite the “ban” failed in the British high court. The case – led by anti-Palestinian lawyers – targeted decisions by a number of local councils to support the BDS movement.

Attack on protest

The government tried to justify the October 2015 pension measures, claiming they aimed at stopping the “growing spread of militant divestment campaigns against UK defense and Israeli firms.”

But speaking to The Financial Times, one top pension official accused the government of “ridiculous nannying”

He said that “the government should stop sticking its nose in. If a democratically elected council body wishes to pursue an investment strategy with money generated by council taxpayers, they should be able to.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign said the judge had agreed the case was of “significant public importance.”

Ben Jamal, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s director, said the guidance on pension schemes “represents a wider attack on people’s rights to protest about Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights, including via the promotion of the peaceful campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions.”

The legal fight is being supported by War on War and the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

The UK government’s increasingly open defense of Israel comes in the context of growing Israeli-backed efforts to restrict BDS activities across the world.

In the US, there has been a wave of laws aimed at punishing and silencing activists. But campaigners and human rights lawyers have fought back, often successfully drawing on constitutional protections to free speech.

If it looks like apartheid

If it looks like apartheid

The separation wall runs round the West Bank supposedly along the Green Line as marked by the 1949 armistice agreement but in fact making many incursions into and across Palestinian land. Here it detours  to enclose the Shuafat refugee camp. Photo by Ahmad Gharabli /AFP

UN report: Israel has established an ‘apartheid regime’

Report breaks new ground on the UN’s examination of the situation in occupied Palestine by using the word ‘apartheid’.

By Ben White, Al Jazeera
March 15, 2017

A new United Nations report accuses Israel of having established “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”.

The publication comes amid renewed debate about whether, through its settlement policy and rejection of Palestinian self-determination, the Israeli government is creating – or even has already created – a de facto “one-state”, which critics warn would constitute a form of apartheid.

It urged governments to “support boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives”.

The report – Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid – was commissioned and published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and launched in Beirut.

John Reynolds, a lecturer in law at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, told Al Jazeera the report “breaks new ground in the context of the UN’s analysis of the situation in Palestine”.

The report was authored by two critics of Israeli state practice: Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University, and Richard Falk, former UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, and professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University.

Noting how “the expert consensus [is] that the prohibition of apartheid is universally applicable and was not rendered moot by the collapse of apartheid in South Africa”, the report argues that Israel is “guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid”, a “crime against humanity under customary international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court”.

The report is a “detailed analysis of Israeli legislation, policies and practices” that highlights how Israel “operates an apartheid regime”, including through “demographic engineering”.


Palestinians climb over the Israeli wall in a-Ram, north of Jerusalem, on their way to al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem to attend the second Friday prayer in the fasting month of Ramadan, 19 July 2013. Photo by Activestills.org

Palestinian citizens of Israel are described as “subjected to oppression on the basis of not being Jewish”, it said.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem similarly experience “discrimination in access to education, healthcare, employment, residency and building rights”, as well as “expulsions and home demolitions”.

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are governed by “military law” alongside Jewish settlers “governed by Israeli civil law”, the report said.


Martial law: Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian protesting against Jewish settlements, in Jalazoun refugee camp, near Ramallah, West Bank. Soldiers have the power to arrest and hold in administrative detention  any Palestinian  who annoys them June 12, 2015.  Photo  by Mohamad Torokman

Palestinian refugees and exiles are “prohibited from returning to their homes in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory” on the basis that they “constitute a ‘demographic threat’ and that their return would alter the demographic character of Israel”.

Israeli authorities failed to respond to Al Jazeera’s request for a comment.

As well as urging governments to back BDS, the report recommends that the UN and its member states should “revive the Special Committee against Apartheid, and the United Nations Centre Against Apartheid (1976-1991)”, which would then “report authoritatively on Israeli practices and policies relating to the crime of apartheid”.

The report also suggests an advisory opinion be sought from the International Court of Justice “as to whether the means used by Israel to maintain control over the Palestinian people amount to the crime of apartheid”.

David Keane, associate professor in law at Middlesex University, said the new report differs from previous ones on the subject because it “expressly attaches the apartheid label”.

water-graph-ewash

Natural resources – land, water, stone –  are distributed with no attempt at parity.

 

There was no immediate response from Israel to the report, which could contribute to an already deteriorating relationship between the government of Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu and the United Nations.

“For Palestinians and their allies, the report will help to provide a solid basis for their work,” Nadia Hijab, executive director of al-Shabaka – The Palestinian Policy Network – told Al Jazeera .

Citing the reputation and credibility of the authors, Hijab described the report as “a clear, concise document” whose recommendations are “timely and much needed”.

Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel.

LINK

To download the report from the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) click here

It’s official, israel is on the road to fascism

First a flashback to the 60’s …. There was a joke circulating that went something like this … An American and a Soviet were having a discussion. The American said “I live in a Democracy, I can call President Kennedy a bastard and nothing will happen to me”. The Soviet responded, “I too live in a Democracy, I can also call President Kennedy a bastard and nothing will happen to me”.

Now, a look at ‘The Only Democracy in the Middle East” ….

U.S.-born Jeff Halper, cofounder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, was held after leading a tour of the E1 area across the road from the Israeli settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.

Police Detain Prominent Israeli Activist for Alleged Possession of BDS Material
Yotam Berger

Police detained prominent left-wing activist Jeff Halper last Wednesday at the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, for suspected incitement, saying they acted on a complaint he had “materials related to BDS” in his possession.

Halper, who moved to Israel from the United States in 1973, was picked up after leading a tour of foreigners to the E1 site across the road from the settlement and transported by police van to a nearby station then released without being placed under arrest.

Police officers photographed the posters and maps he was holding before freeing him. Halper denies handing out any material related to BDS during the tour, or even discussing the boycott movement.

Handing out such materials would not have been in violation of the law, even a 2011 anti-boycott law according to which a person or an organization calling for the boycott of Israel, including the settlements, can be sued by the boycott’s targets without them having to prove that they sustained any damage.

The law also denies a person or a company that declares a boycott of Israel or the settlements eligibility to bid for government tenders. A separate law passed this month entitles Israel to deny entry to pro-BDS activists.

Halper, cofounder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, told Haaretz he was on a tour with foreign visitors in the territories last Wednesday. He took the group of 15 to a lookout over Area E1, near Ma’aleh Adumim.

“It’s a good place to show them this context of where Ma’aleh Adumim is located relative to Jerusalem. It’s a regular stop on our tours, this wasn’t the first time I was taking a group to this spot,” Halper said.

After the tour the tourists boarded a bus headed north and he headed to catch a bus to Jerusalem, but “as I ran toward a bus, I saw police in the area, and I saw them talking and contacting the group. I called the Palestinian driver (of the bus transporting the tourists) and he said he had heard a rumor that we were distributing BDS material.”

“Suddenly the bus came to a stop in the Middle of Maaleh Adumim, after two stops, the police boarded the bus and told me, you are being detained, and they took me off the bus,” Halper said.

Halper was questioned about the material he had.

“They didn’t tell me why I was being detained; they said something about BDS, but no details. They put me into a van, which is unpleasant as it is. They drove me in the direction of the police station. Just when we got to the station they stopped and asked me a few questions about what I had in my bag and whether I had any BDS material in the bag.

“We got out of the vehicle and they threw my maps on the van, the maps were of Jerusalem and the greater Jerusalem area. There was also something on which it was written BDS for BDS, it’s something that I use. I say that we have no solution to offer and I propose a binational democratic state, so I have the slogan that goes BDS for BDS. It’s not a sticker or flyer, but just a map with those words on it.

“They found it and took it, wrote up a summons or something like that, and released me,” Halper said.

Halper said the police refused to give him a copy of the ticket or explain what he was suspected of.

In response to a query from Haaretz, the Samaria regional police said:
“There is no investigation into this matter. There was information checked by a patrol once it became clear he committed no violations, he was freed.”
Police spokespeople said the suspicion against him is “incitement” but he was released after questioning, and no further investigation was expected to take place.

Jeff Halper from his Facebook page. Credit Facebook

Also this weekend ….

British pro-BDS activist barred from entering Israel

Week after Knesset passes law banning foreign nationals who call for boycotts, ex-chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign Hugh Lanning denied entry

Full report HERE

Israel is quickly getting there …

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