Goodbye Palestine (But Watch for the Blowback)

Goodbye Palestine (But Watch for the Blowback)

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY | 02.02.2017 | OPINION

Goodbye Palestine (But Watch for the Blowback)

Donald Trump won’t be formally forbidding entry of Palestinians to his New Great America, because he doesn’t recognise Palestine and never will. But he has designed a way of preventing their travel and that of countless others by introduction of ‘extreme vetting,’ which will help to deny Palestine the legitimacy that the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly agreed upon five years ago.

The New York Times reported on January 25 that «the first of the two [of Trump’s] draft orders… calls for terminating funding for any United Nations agency or other international body that meets any one of several criteria [which] include organizations that give full membership to the Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization».

It was ironic that also on January 25 the Times of Israel noted that former Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger would go to prison for fraud, breach of trust and tax offenses. His crimes resulted in a sentence of three years in prison and a fine of over a million dollars, and most people think he got off lightly, given the scale of his deception and grubby hypocrisy.

The irony is that the day before the Chief Rabbi was awarded his just punishment, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (himself under investigation for alleged swindling), announced that the state of Israel would continue to commit fraud, pledge itself to breach of trust and offend against international law and moral principles.

His decision to build 2,500 more homes for Israelis on Palestinian land was denounced as illegal by governments around the world (with a predictable exception), and the UN declared that such ‘unilateral actions’ were an obstacle to peace. The European Union criticised the announcement by saying that it «weakens rather than strengthens the prospects for a two-state solution to the Middle East peace process, and makes the possibility of a viable Palestinian state more remote» — which is exactly the intention of the government of Israel.

The EU also recorded that «settlements are illegal under international law and continued settlement expansion also calls into question Israel’s commitment towards reaching a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians», which highlighted the fact that Israel has no intention of ever attempting to reach a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians and is resolved to destroy them as a nation.

On 24 January the Israeli newspaper Haaretz observed with admirable objectivity that «Netanyahu has tried to destroy every possibility of achieving a two-state solution… With Trump behind him and a silent opposition, the prime minister is leading Israel to a binational state, which will be either not Jewish or not democratic».

No matter the crescendo of condemnation caused by Israel’s scornful rejection of so many humanitarian principles laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there is no doubt that existing illegal settlements will be expanded and more will be built. Israel can afford, politically and financially, to defy the world because it is supported to the ultimate degree by Trump Washington. The President and the entire Congress are solidly on the side of the Zionist state, and with this firmly in mind Netanyahu arrogantly declared that «we came out with one stroke now and there will be more».

The government of the United States was conspicuously absent from those that condemned Israel for its contemptuous dismissal of December’s UN Security Council Resolution, which described settlement building as a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law, and when asked if Trump supported Israel’s flouting of international law, his press secretary, the truculent Sean Spicer, said that «Israel continues to be a huge ally of the United States. He wants to grow closer with Israel».

This was consistent with Trump’s tweet of December 28, just after the Council vote, to assure Netanyahu that «We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the US but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!»

January 20 is now receding to the tunes of erratic displays and decisions, and Trump has not been backward in reiterating his support for Israel.

His patronage became apparent on Inauguration Day, when, as the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported, the mayor of the Israeli settlement of Efrat was the first illegal settler ever to be a guest at a presidential installation. His invitation was not unexpected, however, because Trump has had a deep and personal association with Israeli settlements for a long time. In 2003, for example, he donated $10,000 to ‘Beit El, an affluent settlement of around 7,000 people just north of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.’ The gift was made in honour of David Friedman, Trump’s nomination to be ambassador to Israel.

In August 2015 The Times of Israel wrote that «Trump is not an unfamiliar face in Jewish circles. He has served as a grand marshal at New York’s annual Salute to Israel Parade. After Hurricane Katrina, he was among a group of celebrities who decorated Jewish federation tzedakah boxes to be auctioned off to support hurricane disaster relief. In February, he was honored with an award at the annual gala for the Algemeiner, a right-wing Jewish news organization». And it goes further than that.

As recorded by Slate, «In 1995, a company called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Trump was its chairman and, beginning in 2000, its CEO. The company lost money every year of its existence and went bankrupt in 2004. Its total 1995–2004 losses: $647 million. When it went bankrupt, bondholders had to settle for less than what they were owed. Employees lost their jobs and contractors went unpaid».

Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer was David Friedman.

Donald Trump and his attorney David Friedman, following an appearance in US Bankruptcy Court on February 25, 2010, in Camden, New Jersey. (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News, via Getty Images/JTA)

The UK’s Telegraph reported on January 29 that Friedman had led an American support group that raised funds for the Beit El settlement. Of even more significance, ‘the family of Trump’s powerful son-in-law Jared Kushner have also donated thousands to Beit El.’

It’s good to keep things in the family, but it is apparent that Palestinian families do not figure in the Trump list of priorities any more than the world’s refugees pluck any chord of sympathy in his flinty heart. He is determined to isolate the people of Palestine and will use whatever means at his disposal to do so. His casual malevolence is becoming the emblem of Brand Trump, and it does not matter who suffers as a result of his bizarre posturing on the world stage. His support for the equally malevolent and vindictive Netanyahu will result in obliteration of the Palestinian people – and will create even more resentment and terrorism. It’s called Blowback, and in the end, America and Americans will suffer.

‘Israel’ Plays its Trump Card

21-01-2017 | 13:20

Local Editor

Right-wingers in occupied al-Quds are ecstatic; Palestinian leaders are apoplectic. Welcome to a new era of the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict.

 

‘Israel' Plays its Trump Card


On the issue of Trump’s presidency and the ‘Israeli’ benefit, Neri Zilber wrote for the Foreign Policy:

“We are entering a new era,” Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed last month, the day after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution condemning illegal ‘Israeli’ settlement construction in the West Bank and east occupied al-Quds/Jerusalem.

“Just as President-elect [Donald] Trump said … it will happen much sooner than you think. In the new era there is a much higher price for those who try to harm ‘Israel,’ and that price will be exacted not only by the US, but by ‘Israel’ as well.”

The Zionist government, as Netanyahu made clear, views the new US administration as a ‘shield’ against the rest of the world, and “anti-‘Israel'” measures like the Security Council resolution the Obama administration allowed to pass last month.

The US President called brokering ‘Israeli’-Palestinian peace the “ultimate deal.” Yet the only diplomatic activity taking place right now is focused not on any positive steps toward a two-state solution, but managing the impending rise of Trump.

The Netanyahu government’s optimism appears to be well-founded. In the immediate aftermath of the US election, Trump invited the ‘Israeli’ premier to the White House “at the first opportunity,” adding for good measure that the two leaders have known each other for years.

Trump’s choice for ambassador to the occupied territories, David Friedman, is a long-standing supporter of West Bank illegal settlements, even heading the US fundraising arm for one prominent settlement. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor, is also known for his pro-‘Israel’ activism, with his family’s foundation donating to various West Bank illegal settlements.

Coming on the heels of the UN Security Council resolution and former Secretary of State John Kerry’s subsequent speech excoriating ‘Israel’ for its illegal settlement project, Trump tweeted that things will be “very different” when he officially takes office, imploring the Zionist entity to “Stay Strong.”

‘Israeli’ Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon made the threat first articulated by Netanyahu more explicit. “Perceptions,” he told ‘Israel’ Army Radio late last month, “are important” for the other Security Council members. Recent comments by both the British prime minister and Australian foreign minister, blasting Kerry’s speech and the Security Council resolution, respectively, proved Danon’s point. If foreign leaders want good relations with the new US administration, the path runs through ‘Israel.’

While the first test of the Trump administration’s intentions will come with respect to al-Quds, ‘Israeli’ intelligence assessments peg the adjoining West Bank as the most unstable arena over the coming year.

This “new era” of Trump, peremptorily embraced by Netanyahu and belatedly feared by Abbas, will without doubt put one central article of faith so common among both ‘Israelis’ and Palestinians to the test: that world affairs, whether in Washington or other major capitals, always inevitably revolves around them.

Source: Foreign Policy, Edited by website team

 

Inner and Outer Ugliness: Congress Proves Once Again it is Occupied Territory

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By Richard Edmondson

In the photo above we see US Congressman Ed Royce of California discussing HR 11, a resolution he introduced condemning the UN Security Council for its recent action on Israeli settlements. You’ll also notice, to Royce’s right, Florida  Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen brushing her hair with a pink hairbrush.

The scene is from a debate in Congress which took place on January 5, 2017. Royce and a number of other congressional representatives (342 of them in all) became hot and bothered over the UN’s pointing out (correctly of course) that the settlements are illegal. The photo is a screen shot I took from a C-Span video.  It’s a long video, more than eight hours, but if you advance it to about the 5:19:52 mark, you can watch the entire House debate on HR 11, which not surprisingly includes a lot of groveling to Israel (hat tip to Greg Bacon).

Just to refresh your memory, the Security Council, by a vote of 14-0 with 1 abstention, passed a resolution on December 23 “condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967.” Voting in favor were Russia, China, Malaysia, Venezuela, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Uruguay, France, Angola, Egypt, Japan, UK, Ukraine; the lone abstention was by the US.

The Security Council action was welcomed by a good many people the world over, although Benjamin Netanyahu threw a temper tantrum, claiming to have “absolute” proof the Obama administration had been secretly behind it. Other critics accused the US of a “betrayal” of its longtime “ally,” and an enormous amount of controversy erupted over the issue in the waning days of 2016 and carrying over into the new year.

Of course, anytime a dispute emerges between the US and Israel, members of Congress can always be counted upon to side with the latter rather than with their own nation–and this time was no exception.

“Today we put Congress on record objecting to the recent UN Security Council resolution that hurt our ally, that hurt Israel, and I believe that puts an enduring peace further out of reach,” fretted Royce.

Let me call once again your attention to the image of Ros-Lehtinen brushing her hair, for throughout a good portion of Royce’s speech, the Florida congresswoman–apparently unaware she was on camera–seemed preoccupied with primping and applying makeup to herself, this presumably in an effort to make herself look “beautiful.”

In the first frame of the montage below we see her with the pink hairbrush, followed by a shot of her rummaging in her purse. In the third frame she pulls out what appears to be lipstick or eyeliner (I’m not an expert on women’s makeup), and lastly applying it with her right hand while still holding the container with her left hand.

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In the following three frames we see a now cosmetically-adorned Ros-Lehtinen giving her speech before Congress and the C-Span cameras:

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“Our closest friend and ally, the democratic, Jewish state of Israel, has been under constant attack by the United Nations,” she claimed.

The Security Council resolution that occasioned Ros-Lehtinen’s diatribe specifically is entitled UNSC Resolution 2334. I put up a post about it on December 24 that contains its full text. The measure expresses “grave concern” that settlements, including those in East Jerusalem, are “dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.” It also:

1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

For Ros-Lehtinen, however, UNSC Resolution 2334 was nothing more than an execrable attempt to “delegitimize” Israel–and all the more reason why swift passage by Congress of HR 11 was needed to repudiate it!

This resolution, Mr. speaker, will not undo the damage that has been done at the Security Council, but it sends an important  message to the world that the United States Congress resoundingly, and in a strong bipartisan manner, disapproves of the vote taken on resolution 2334, and it sends a warning to the nations that will gather in Paris next week to discuss the peace process that there will be repercussions if there is a move to introduce a parameters resolution before the 20th and in an effort to further isolate Israel. Our closest friend and ally, the democratic, Jewish state of Israel,  has been under constant attack by the United Nations. Abu Mazen and the Palestinians have pushed a campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state, to undermine the peace process, to achieve unilateral statehood recognition.

For some reason–I’m not quite sure why–the sight of Ros-Lehtinen primping and then fulminating at the podium brought to mind a picture I once saw of an economically-impoverished elderly woman kissing a bird.

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I first came across this image several years ago in a poem posted by Nahida the exiled Palestinian, whose website, Poetry for Palestine, can be found here. Her poem is entitled “Beauty.”  It is not a lengthy poem at all. In fact, it contains a mere five very short, but very powerful, lines:

Sometimes, beauty is mistakenly understood;
Assuming that
If someone is beautiful, they are always good,
When truth is
When someone is good, they are always beautiful.

The woman whose picture accompanies the poem is beautiful in a way that Ros-Lehtinen is not. In addition to berating the Security Council, the Florida congresswoman also attacked the UN Human Rights Council.

“We’ve seen it at  the Human Rights Council where Israel is constantly demonized  and falsely accused of human rights violations while the real abusers of human rights go unpunished because that body has utterly failed to uphold its mandate,” she insisted. “This is a body that allows the worst abusers of human rights–like Cuba, Venezuela, and China–to actually sit in judgement of human rights worldwide. What a pathetic joke!”

It’s interesting that Ros-Lehtinen would single out Cuba, Venezuela, and China as being among “the worst abusers of human rights,” while saying nothing–zip–zero–about Saudi Arabia, a country that executes people by beheading and which currently holds the chair of the Human Rights Council.

 photo syrianchildren.jpg“Yet the only thing they can agree on is to attack Israel,” the congresswoman blubbered on, “the only democracy in the Middle East and the only place in the region where human rights are protected.”

Exceptions were taken to other UN deliberative bodies  as well.

“We’ve seen this scheme to delegtimize Israel at the General Assembly where in its closing legislative session, the General Assembly passed twenty–twenty–anti-Israel resolutions and only four combined for the entire world!” Ros-Lehtinen bellowed.

“These institutions have no credibility, and now we have the unfortunate circumstance of the White House deciding to abstain from this anti-Israel, one-sided resolution at the Security Council,” she added. “Our ally was abandoned, and credibility and momentum were given to the Palestinians’ schemes to delegitimize the Jewish state, to undermine the peace process, and while the damage has been done, Mr. Speaker, by this act of cowardice at the Security Council, we will have an opportunity to reverse that damage.”

What exactly she meant by “we will have an opportunity to reverse that damage” is unclear. Possibly the Trump administration has some plan to introduce a new measure at the UN. In any event, Ros-Lehtinen clearly seems to be a person of both inner and outer ugliness–though of course she is not the only member of Congress with such attributes. Perhaps the most groveling speech of all those given in Congress on January 5 was that delivered by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“The cornerstone of our special relationship with Israel has always been right here in Congress, this institution,” said Ryan. “The heart of our democracy has stood by the Jewish state through thick and thin. We were there for her when rockets rained down on Tel Aviv; we were there for her by passing historic legislation to combat the boycott divestment and sanctions movement; and we’ve been there for her by ensuring Israel has the tools to defend herself against those who seek her destruction.”

“I am stunned! I am stunned!” the House speaker continued, “at what happened last month! This government, our government, abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most! Do not be fooled. This UN Security Council resolution was not about settlements, and it certainly was not about peace. It was about one thing and one thing only. Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish democratic state. These types of one-sided efforts are designed to isolate and delegitimize Israel. They do not advance peace, they make it more elusive.”

If Ryan was the supreme groveler in the debate, Royce would probably have to rank a close second. One thing which seemed terribly to incense the California congressman about the Security Council resolution is that it doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to steal East Jerusalem.

“This dangerous resolution effectively states that the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, are in the words of the resolution ‘occupied territory.’ Why would we not veto that?” asked Royce.

“It also lends legitimacy to efforts by the Palestinian authority to put pressure on Israel through the UN rather than to go through the process of engaging in direct negotiations, and it puts wind in the sails of the shameful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” he added.

gzmrg4Royce also claimed that Israel, not Occupied Palestine, is suffering “bullying and harassment.” That may sound like the statement of someone living in a parallel universe, but it is a view shared by New York Congressman Eliot Engel, one of HR 11’s original cosponsors.

“Throughout its entire history the state of Israel has never gotten a fair shake from the United Nations,” insisted Engel. “Year after year after year member states manipulate the UN to bully our ally Israel, to pile on one-sided resolutions placing all the blame for the ongoing conflict on Israel.”

Even those representatives who spoke in opposition to HR 11, did so while expressing their support for Israel at the same time. One such member was Rep. David Price, a Democrat from North Carolina.

“The fact is, H Res 11 runs a real risk of undermining the US Congress as a proactive force working toward a two-state solution,” Price lamented. ” And in this period of great geopolitical turmoil and uncertainty, we must reaffirm those fundamental aspects of our foreign policy, including our strong and unwavering support for Israel, while also demonstrating to the world that we are committed to a diplomacy that defends human rights and promotes Israeli and Palestinian states  that live side-by-side in peace and security, a formulation that has characterized our country’s diplomacy for decades.”

Another who voted against HR 11 was Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois who is also married to Robert Creamer, the Democrat Party operative who was seen in a Project Veritas video discussing plans to have protestors show up at Trump rallies during the campaign. Schakowsky feels that a little bit of criticism of Israel is allowable at times, and furthermore she holds to this belief as a “proud Jew,” as she stated to her colleagues.

 photo thousandeyes_zps2c4c47c1.jpg“I stand here as a proud Jew and someone who throughout my entire life has been an advocate for the state of Israel, and I am standing here to oppose our H Res 11,” said the Illinois congresswoman. “And as a member of congress I have been committed to maintaining America’s unwavering support for Israel, which has lasted from the very first moments of  Israel’s existence. The US-Israel bond is unbreakable, despite the fact that the United States administrations have not always agreed with the particular policies of an Israeli government.”

Yes, to be sure, our own government and Israel’s have not always seen eye-to-eye, but funny how that never seems to stop the billions in US tax dollars flowing into the Jewish state’s coffers each year. Schakowsky went on:

Presidents from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush have each vetoed, and sometimes voted for, a UN resolution contrary to the wishes of Israel’s government at the time, and only the Obama administration, until two weeks ago, never, ever cast a vote against what Israel wanted. But opposition to the building of settlements on land belonging to Palestinians before the 1967 war was, with the exception of the land, of course, that’s going to be swapped, agreed to by both parties, has been the official US policy for many decades, contrary, again, to the assertions of H Res 11.  It has also been the policy of the United States to recognize that the only long term solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the violence, the loss of life, is to create two states, one for the Palestinians and one for Israel.

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Exactly how a contiguous Palestinian state is going to be created in a West Bank splotched and dotted with all those settlements, is something Schakowsky left unaddressed. But having voiced a few mild criticisms of Israel, the congresswoman apparently felt an overwhelming need for balance–and so she tossed out a few criticisms of the Palestinians for good measure.

“A two-state solution is the only way Israel can continue as both a democratic and a Jewish state living in peace and security that has eluded her from the very beginning,” she said. “The building of settlements is an obstacle to achieving that goal–and of course settlements aren’t the only obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. The US resolution reiterates the Palestinian Authority security forces must continue to counter terrorism and condemn all of the provocations.”

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Provocations? It’s an interesting word when referring to a people who have been resisting land theft and occupation for more years than most of us have been alive. It also gives rise to a question: How is it possible to carry out “provocations” against a country or governmental entity that technically speaking is in all likelihood guilty of the crime of genocide? Of course it’s unlikely you’ll get an honest answer to that question from Schakowsky or any other member of Congress.

At any rate, HR 11–a resolution which not only impugns the Security Council but even criticizes the United States–passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342-80, with 4 abstentions. You can go here to see  the roll call on the vote.

It was Jeffrey Blankfort who first coined the old saying about Washington being Israel’s “most important occupied territory.” I think it was sometime back in the late eighties or the nineties when Jeffrey made that comment, and if anything, over the years, it has become more profoundly true than ever.

‘The Last Bullet in the Peace Process’–Abbas Urges Trump not to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem

In addition to writing to Trump, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also reportedly has written letters to the leaders of Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Arab League asking them to do what they can to stop the newly-elected president of the the US from moving the embassy.

Secretary of State John Kerry has waded into the controversy as well, warning that if the embassy is moved, “you’d have an explosion–an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even Israel itself, but throughout the region.”

A typically un-hinged-from-reality comment on the matter has come from an Israeli official. Ron Dermer, the ambassador to the US, said the embassy “move would be a great step forward to peace,” and he claims also that it would work to undo the “delegitimization of Israel.”

There are also now reports of worries that moving the embassy could increase security threats to State Department personnel in other countries besides Israel–but apparently this doesn’t concern Florida Sen. (and devoted Zionist) Marco Rubio.

“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that’s where America’s embassy belongs,” says Rubio. “It’s time for Congress and the president-elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy’s rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”

Rubio is referring to the “Jerusalem Embassy Act,” approved by Congress in 1995, which calls for the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem but which also allows for a presidential waiver if it is deemed the move would harm US security interests. Every president from the time the law was passed up until today has exercised the waiver.

The PLO response to the move–at least as stated in the above video–would be a withdrawal of its recognition of Israel. There is also a warning that the Palestinian Authority could dissolve itself, effectively rendering Israel responsible for administering what are now referred to as the “Palestinian territories.” This would leave the Jewish state with the choice of either annexing the territories and giving Palestinians living within them the right to vote in Israeli elections–or, alternately, Israel could openly rule over a subject people who have no rights as citizens. This would basically remove the fig leaf cover and expose Israel once and for all as an apartheid state. Should it choose this latter course of action, doubtless it would become grist for the mill for a conference set to take place in Ireland and which I posted an article about four days ago.

The three-day conference is to be entitled “International Law & the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism, and Responsibility,” and as I reported, one of the questions its participants will examine is whether Israel has a legal right to exist under international law.

If Dermer and other Israeli officials are worried about the “delegitimization” they are experiencing now, doubtless the fires of illicitness will get hotter if the Palestinian Authority “hands the keys to the territories” back to Israel. Whether the PA will actually go through with that remains to be seen, however. And my own personal view is that it is something they probably should have done a long time ago.

However, if today’s resignation of a Palestinian mayor inside of Israel is any indication, we could perhaps seem something like that come to pass.

3 Myths About Israeli Settlements…plus…Does Israel have a Right to Exist?

 

Does Israel Have a Right to Exist?

As bad as the settlements are–and as the video above makes clear, they have in essence destroyed any chance of peace–maybe the time has come to stop having debates about the settlements per se. Maybe the time has come instead to approach the problem from an entirely different perspective–maybe, rather than  deliberate and wrangle over settlements, the real issue humanity should take up now, after witnessing 50 years of illegal occupation and land grabs, is the question of whether Israel should even have a right to exist at all.

A three-day conference entitled “International Law & the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism, and Responsibility” is scheduled to take place this spring in Ireland. (H/T Rehmat) A visit to the conference website would suggest that this indeed is the question, or at least one of the questions, the conference will attempt to answer.

This is a conference that was initially supposed to have been held in 2015 at the University of Southampton in the UK, but which had to be postponed–and eventually cancelled altogether–due to Zionist pressure applied to the university administration.

It has since been moved to University College Cork, in Cork, Ireland, where Zionists are still trying their utmost to abort it from happening, although so far they have not succeeded.

A statement by the organizers has been posted on their website which reads in part:

This conference will be the first of its kind and constitutes a ground-breaking historical event on the road towards justice and enduring peace in historic Palestine. It is unique because, while most attention today is directed at Israel’s actions in the 1967 Occupied Territories, the conference seeks to expand the debate surrounding the nature of the State of Israel and the legal and political reality within it.

The conference will raise questions that link the suffering in historic Palestine to the manner of Israel’s foundation and its nature. It aims to generate a debate on legitimacy, exceptionalism and responsibility under international law as provoked by the nature of the Israeli state. It will also examine how international law could be deployed, expanded, and even re-imagined, in order to achieve peace and reconciliation based on justice.

A “ground-breaking historical event” that will explore questions surrounding Israel’s “legitimacy” is something that is of course long overdue. Additionally the website states:

Legal scholarship on Palestine-Israel and international law, involving issues of self-determination, human rights and constitutional law, has largely focused on the Israeli occupation since 1967 of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza and on the illegality of Israel’s settlements and apartheid colonization in these territories.

Alongside these debates, there has been a persistent, if marginalized, scholarship examining and analyzing problems associated with the creation and the nature of the Jewish state itself and the status of Jerusalem. This research has combined historical scholarship and legal analysis of the manner by which the State of Israel came into existence as well as what kind of state it is. The issues explored hitherto linked reflections on the scholarship between international law and: identity and injustice; violence and morality; nationality and citizenship; self-determination and legitimacy; exceptionalism; and responsibility.

Hopefully these debates–i.e. on Israel’s “foundation and its nature,” and, by turn, its ensuing “legitimacy” or lack thereof–will continue to be “marginalized” for not much longer. And a conference of this nature stands a good chance of helping to push the issue from the margins to the mainstream.

Perhaps this is why Zionists are working so feverishly to stop it. The Board of Deputies of British Jews reportedly was instrumental in killing off the conference in the UK, and according to a report here the Israeli Embassy in Ireland is now issuing condemnations of the organizers.

The conference is scheduled to take place March 31-April 2, 2017. The list of confirmed speakers includes academics from the US, the UK, and Israel:

  • Professor Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Research Fellow of the Orfalea Centre of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Professor Ilan Pappe, Department of History, University of Exeter
  • Professor Ugo Mattei, Distinguished Professor of Law, and Alfred and Hanna Fromm Chair in International and Comparative Law, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • Professor Cheryl Harris, School of Law, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Faculty of Law/Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • Dr. Azmi Bishara General Director, Doha Institute of Graduate Studies, and former Member of the Knesset
  • Elias Khouri, Novelist, Beirut
  • Dr. Haitam Suleiman, Al-Quds University Jerusalem
  • Dr. Salman Abu-Sitta, Palestine Land Society
  • Dr. Anthony Löwstedt, Media Communications Department, Webster University Vienna
  • Dr. Blake Alcott, Independent Researcher
  • Dr. Catriona Drew, School of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • Dr. Ghada Karmi, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter
  • Dr. Hatem Bazian, Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at Berkeley University of California (UC Berkeley)
  • Dr. Jeff Handmaker, the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University (EUR)
  • Dr. John Reynolds, Law Department, National University of Ireland Maynooth
  • Dr. Marcelo Svirsky, School of Humanities & Social Inquiry LHA Faculty, University of Wollongong
  • Dr. Mazen Masri, City Law School, City University of London
  • Dr. Michael Kearney, School of Law, University of Sussex
  • Dr. Mutaz Qafisheh, College of Law, Hebron University
  • Dr. Ronit Lentin, Retired Associate Professor in Sociology, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr. Ruba Salih, Centre for Gender Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • Dr. Valentina Azarova, Centre for Global Public Law, Koç Üniversitesi
  • Dr. Victor Kattan, Law Faculty, National University of Singapore
  • Joni Assi, Community arts activist
  • Mr. Eitan Bronstein Aparicio, Co-Director of De-Colonizer and Founder of Zochrot
  • Ms. Lea Tsemel, Lawyer and human rights activist
  • Ms. Mia Tamarin, Law School, University of Kent
  • Ms. Ofra Yeshua-Lyth, Writer, journalist, and member of Jaffa One State Group.
  • Ms. Salma Karmi Ayyub, Barrister
  • Professor Alan Johnson, Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM)
  • Professor Brad Roth, College of Liberal Arts & Science and School of Law, Wayne State University
  • Professor Geoffrey Alderman, Politics and Contemporary History, University of Buckingham
  • Professor George Bisharat, Hastings College of the Law University of California
  • Professor Haim Bresheeth, Centre for Media Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • Professor Joel Kovel, Independent Researcher.
  • Professor John Strawson, School of Law, University of East London
  • Professor Kevin Jon Heller, School of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • Professor Nur Masalha, Centre for Religion and History, St. Mary’s University
  • Professor Oren Ben-Dor, Law School, University of Southampton, UK.
  • Professor Penny Green, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London
  • Professor Robert Wintemute, Law School, King’s College London
  • Professor Robert Home, Law School, Anglia Ruskin University
  • Professor Virginia Tiley, Professor of Political Science, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Professor Yakov Rabkin, Department of History, University of Montréal
  • Professor Yosefa Loshitzky, Centre for Media Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • Adv. Yoella Har-Shefi, legal adviser for the Ani-Israeli Association and a human rights activist

See also

The Shameful Netanyahu Government

“The 500,000 Israeli West Bank settlers are colonists, colonizing other peoples land, and they should not be living where they are and should be removed, immediately.”

Comment

All  Israelis are colonists, colonizing other peoples land, and they should return to the countries they came from
The Shameful Netanyahu Government

MATTHEW JAMISON | 28.12.2016

The Shameful Netanyahu Government

The recent resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council condemning the growth of the illegal colonial Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian land of East Jerusalem and the West Bank was a necessary reprimand for the Netanyahu Government. What made it all the more remarkable was the fact it passed the Security Council without being vetoed by the United States. Historically the United States has shielded Israel from censure by the UN Security Council but this time the Obama administration rightly abstained.

Now, I am about as pro-Israel as they come and feel very protective of Israel. I strongly believe in Israel’s right to exist and I am a huge admirer of the State of Israel and the Israeli and Jewish people. All my closest friends at university were Jewish and I attended meetings of the Cambridge University Jewish Society as well as speaking in defence of Israel at the Cambridge Union. It was one of the greatest privileges of my life to visit the great State of Israel back in November 2013. It was one of the most poignant and memorable trips of my life. My group were taken to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as well as the Israeli-Lebanese border and the Israeli-Syrian border up in the Golan Heights. We got to visit the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament where we had consultations with various Israeli MPs from the Labor Party, Kadima and Likud. We also visited the inspiring Shimon Peres Peace Centre as well as Galilee and Yad Vashem. I would one day love to live in Israel. A magnificent country, only the size of Wales, yet extremely dynamic, innovative, cultured and intellectual with a prodigious output and work ethic. Truly an amazing country and people. But it was not just Israel we visited. We went into the West Bank to Ramallah and met with the de facto Palestinian Foreign Minister as well as Palestinian peace activists.

My meetings in Israel and Palestine made a profound impression upon me and confirmed my belief that one can be at the same time both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. I have always believed that Israel must relinquish the land it conquered in the 1967 Six Day War and return the West Bank to Palestinian rule while sharing Jerusalem. I have absolutely zero tolerance for the Israeli West Bank settlements. It really is a very simple proposition. Israel’s proper, internationally recognised legal borders are what they were prior to the Six Day War. The West Bank settlements are not only illegal but they are a transparent policy of crude imperialism. The 500,000 Israeli West Bank settlers are colonists, colonizing other peoples land, and they should not be living where they are and should be removed, immediately. The West Bank is Palestinian land, not Israeli land. End of story. If the illegal Israeli colonists on the West Bank what to remain there and will not go or be forcibly removed then they will have to live under Palestinian rule, not Israeli. 

My visit to Israel and my work on attempting to revive the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative also reinforced my contempt for Binyamin Netanyahu and his extremist right wing Likud Government. Netanyahu is a terrible man and has done a great disservice to Israel. He is full of hate. He does not believe in the rights and dignity of Palestinians and does not want a State of Palestine living side by side with a State of Israel.

One of my greatest Israeli political hero’s was the late, great Yitzhak Rabin. While Rabin was showing the greatest of visionary statesmanship, strength and courage in the early 1990s striving to make peace with the Palestinians, the odious Netanyahu was out protesting on the streets against Rabin’s efforts and helping to incite and whip up the atmosphere that would eventually contribute to the assassination of Rabin.

Netanyahu has done everything in his power to frustrate peace between Israelis and Palestinians, including making the viability of a Palestinian State seriously problematic given his horrible Governments unrelenting, enhanced and accelerated colonial settlement building activity in occupied Palestinian land of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu called the passage of the UN Security Council resolution as «shameful». What is shameful is not the resolution but Netanyahu himself and his inbred, disgusting Government, which brings continual shame on Israel. It was heartening to see America pull back from vetoing the condemnation though it would have been even better if it had of voted with Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom to support the resolution. In the end, to achieve a Two State Solution, which is the only possible path to secure long term, long lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians it could be that the United States and Russia will have to work together with peace loving Israelis and Palestinians to produce, finally, a Two State Solution.

It is only the United States and Russia who have the credibility and clout with Israel and the regional prestige and standing to help resolve this issue, even if it means imposing upon the Netanyahu Government a Comprehensive Final Peace Plan. Britain is but a very minor player in the Middle East and does not command the respect or attention of Israel. It has little credibility with Israeli Governments given the deep anti-Israel bias of its Foreign Office, media and populace. It is of no use in brokering peace between Israel and Palestine. Just as the United States and the late Soviet Union came together and cosponsored the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, so too should the new Trump administration and the Russian Government partner together to finally achieve a Palestinian State living side by side in peace and harmony with a secure State of Israel.

Spitting Vitriol

 photo vitriolicneta_zps8facfl9o.jpg

Israeli leaders seem to be spitting a lot of vitriol these days over the recent UN vote. It’s almost as if they’re discharging their sputum into a revolving global fan blade. We don’t really know where the spittle is going to end up next.

On Christmas Day, the Israeli government summoned the ambassadors of ten different countries, presumably for a vitriolic dressing down over the resolution which passed the Security Council two days earlier. At a Cabinet meeting, later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nentanyahu openly accused the Obama administration of being the prime impetus behind the resolution.

“According to our information, we have no doubt the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated the wording and demanded it be passed,” he said.

At least some of the spittle, however, seems to be catching a tailwind from the fan and blowing back into the Israelis’ faces. Nina Ben Ami, the Israeli ambassador to Uruguay (Uruguay is currently a member of the Security Council and voted in favor of the resolution), issued a public rebuke to top officials in that country but seems not to have chosen her words with care. (H/T Ariadna )

“Please allow me [to speak] a sincere word in this moment over a recent event,” said Ben Ami. “I have to say that we have been disappointed by the support that Uruguay gave to the resolution of the UN Security Council, which attacked Israel again, while other atrocities and territorial conflicts much more serious go on unnoticed.”

“Other atrocities…much more serious”? The implication (probably unintended) is that Israel commits its fair share of atrocities, they just tend to be somewhat less serious than those committed by other countries.

The ambassador also alluded to the other Security Council members in a manner which, considered in a certain light, might be construed as menacing–although gratefully she seemed somewhat more forgiving toward Uruguay.

“El primer ministro habló de cosas que quiere hacer con quienes votaron la resolución. Pero no todos los países están en la misma situación. De Senegal y Nueva Zelanda que hicieron la propuesta ya hemos removido al embajador. No es el caso acá en Uruguay asi que buscamos como salir de esa situación pero es complicado”, concluyó Ben Ami.

Which according to our interpreter, Ariadna, translates to:

“The Prime Minister [i.e., Netanyahu] talked about what he wants to do with those who voted the resolution. But not all countries are in the same situation. From Senegal and New Zeeland — who proposed it — we have already recalled our ambassadors. It is not the case of Uruguay, so we are looking to see how we can get out of this situation but it is complicated,” concluded Ben Ami.

Yes, of course. Everything always becomes “complicated” whenever anyone gets to justifying the longest occupation in world history.

The spitting continued on Wednesday in a response to a speech given by Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington. Attempting to lay out the administration’s reasons for not vetoing the UN resolution, Kerry said, “The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians” and reiterated his belief that current Israeli policies are contravening that goal.

“The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements,” Kerry said.

“Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by world leaders. No one wants peace more than the people of Israel,” Netanyahu riposted.

He also accused Kerry of “attacking the only democracy in the Middle East” and laid claim that Israel is the “only place in the Middle East where Christians can celebrate Christmas,” insisting at the same time that “all of this doesn’t interest the US Secretary of State, unfortunately.”

If it was a spitting contest between Kerry and Netanyahu, it looks like Netanyahu is hands down the winner.

In fact, the Obama administration now seems to be crying uncle. Following Netanyahu’s response, Ben Rhodes, White House Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, went on CNN to assure the world that the US will veto any further resolutions critical of Israel which may come up during the remainder of the president’s term in office.

It is a shame we have officials in what is purportedly the most powerful nation on earth succumbing so easily to intimidation from a foreign leader, but it looks like top brass in the Obama administration will be carrying umbrellas whenever venturing outdoors between now and January 20.

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