How the Israel-UAE Pact Undermines International Law

Lawrence Davidson (@PointAnalyses) | Twitter

Posted by Lawrence Davidson 

How the Israel-UAE Pact Undermines International Law—An Analysis (22 August 2020) by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—“Normalizing” Relations

Much of the diplomatic world has gone gaga over the 13 August 2020 “normalization” of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—facilitated by years of encouragement coming out of Washington. 

In truth this is but a quasi-new relation, because “Israel and the UAE have been cooperating and normalizing relations under the table for many years.” The UAE’s agreement to the public upgrading of this relationship was reportedly made in exchange for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “suspension of plans to annex parts of the West Bank.” We can now update the old warning to beware of Greeks bearing gifts—beware of Zionists offering compromise.

Though the Israeli Prime Minister’s suspension of annexation is hailed as a major compromise on the part of Israel, it is more illusory than real. Both the Palestinians and Netanyahu himself pointed out that the suspension is not seen as a permanent one. The Palestinians and their supporters also quickly pointed out that this agreement changed nothing in terms of Israel’s illegal behavior on the ground—particularly the de facto annexation represented by the continuing encroachment of Israeli settlements. Under these circumstances, the agreement actually registers the UAE’s acceptance of this criminal state of affairs. The Palestinian spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi put it succinctly: “May you never be sold out by your ‘friends.’ Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it has been doing to Palestine illegally & persistently since the beginning of the occupation.”

Despite the fact that the change from informal relations to something more official and public meant little change on Israel’s part, the leaders of the Zionist state, the U.S., and the UAE were determined to present the event in a way that would convince both themselves and others that something momentous had been realized. 

The joint statement coming from the three governments celebrated a “historic diplomatic breakthrough.” Netanyahu asserted that the agreement marked “a new age in Israel’s relations with the Arab World.” He expected to see more Arab states follow the UAE’s lead. And, indeed, it looks like the disreputable dictatorship in Bahrain might be the next in line. 

President Trump framed the event this way, “By uniting two of America’s closest and most capable partners in the region” — something which his egocentric worldview drove him to insist only his administration could do—“this deal is a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous Middle East.” Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien expressed his opinion that the deal should “solidify a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for Trump.” That would, potentially, put Trump right up there with the ignominious Henry Kissinger.

The Democratic Party candidate for president, Joe Biden, immediately gave his approval. “The UAE’s offer to publicly recognize the State of Israel is a welcome, brave, and badly-needed act of statesmanship. … A Biden-Harris administration will seek to build on this progress, and will challenge all the nations of the region to keep pace.”

Others soon chimed in:

—Egyptian military dictator Abdel Fattah El-Sisi told us “This step will bring peace to the Middle East. We appreciate the efforts of those in charge of this agreement in order to achieve prosperity and stability for our region.”

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas: Germany welcomed the “historic” deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The normalization of ties between the two countries “is an important contribution to peace in the region.”

—United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the agreement, saying “The UAE and Israel’s decision to normalize relations is hugely good news.”

Besides the Palestinians, there were only a few others who saw through the facade. Iran labeled the agreement as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause. “The oppressed people of Palestine and all the free nations of the world will never forgive the normalizing of relations with the criminal Israeli occupation regime.” Turkey’s reaction was similar: “Neither history nor the collective conscience of the region will ever forget and forgive the hypocritical behavior of the UAE, which is trying to depict the deal as a sacrifice for Palestine, when in reality it is a betrayal to the Palestinian cause for its own narrow interests.”

I think Iran and Turkey are correct in their reaction to what is certainly a betrayal. However, I am not sure of the “never forgive” part, keeping in mind the fact that collective memories have, historically, proved fickle. Nonetheless, if anything, these two critical countries did not go far enough in their condemnation. This is so because the Israel-UAE deal is a betrayal of more than the hopes for justice and a better future of oppressed peoples. This bilateral agreement, whether it spreads to the rest of the Arab world or not, is nothing less than the forsaking of the world’s prospects for more civilized and humane international relations.

Part II—The Deep Context 

It would appear that the vast majority of world leaders either know very little history or consider it, as Henry Ford did in 1916, as “bunk.” Yet, the Israel-UAE pact should be measured not only against the historical injustices to Palestinians which it reinforces, but also against the harm it does to a number of progressive historical achievements realized immediately following World War II.

After World War II a number of seminal reforms were undertaken. A revived United Nations was established, a Universal Declaration of Human Rights was inaugurated, international conventions outlawing genocide and crimes against humanity were signed. Eventually apartheid was outlawed and an international criminal court established. These steps, spurred on by the horrors of total war culminating in the Holocaust, represented great forward progress for mankind. They should have strengthened the provisions set forth in the pre-existing Geneva Conventions and acted to restrain aggressive nationalism. They should have acted to educate the masses against racist policies and assured accountability for those who would promote government-level criminal behavior. 

If all of these post-World War II reforms had actually been enforced, it would now be easier to exercise effective pressure to settle the differences between Israelis and Palestinians based on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention. International acceptance of the racist nature of Israeli society and the apartheid-style policies it pursues would be much less likely. Government leaders who promoted near-genocide in places like Myanmar and Sri Lanka would face a truly effective International Criminal Court. George Bush’s unjustified invasion of Iraq in 2003 would have had to be judged every bit as criminal as Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. And the two men’s fates might have been the same. The world would have progressed both in terms of ethics and respect for laws forbidding crimes against humanity.  

The recent Israel-UAE deal is but another sign that these progressive reforms mean nothing. The Israelis can perhaps look forward to “normal” relations with ever greater number of Arab states. The reaction of Western countries to Israeli crimes will be to continue turning a blind eye. All the governments concerned will see the UAE’s behavior as a green light, and thus they too will acquiesce in the destruction of those progressive achievements outlined above.

Part III—Calling Going Backwards Something “New and Innovative”

Back in 2018 I attended a small conference put on by an organization named Middle East Dialogue. The stated aim of this meeting was to “promote dialogue about current policy concerns in the Middle East, and to provide a civil space for discussion across the religious and political spectrum.” The conference theme in 2018 was “A New Collective Vision.” 

While there I attended a presentation on “new and innovative” approaches to foreign policy in the Middle East. The presenters were extolling an environment of national self-reliance—the formation of policy based on assumed national interests without any “unreasonable” restrictions placed on policy by outside organizations. This was, of course, a version of the traditional “realist” approach to foreign policy that conservatives support. However, here the approach was being presented as something new. And, surprise, surprise, the presenters were claiming that Israel was leading the way into this new and bright future.

Come the Q and A session, it took me about 45 seconds to destroy the presenters’ premise. And, if I do say so myself, I did it politely. Their only reply was that my rebuttal was not how they saw things—implying that mine was but another opinion. The presenters were wrong. What I laid out was a short version of the above, based on evidence of the potential progress they sought to destroy. As good Zionists they probably knew that it was only based on the destruction of agreements like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 4th Geneva Convention, that today’s Israel could be accepted as a “normal” state. The United States has long bought into this Faustian restructuring of international relations. Now the UAE leaders can regard themselves as fully part of this ruinous bargain. 

PCHR: Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (23– 28 July 2020)

Source

Summary

Israeli forces continued to commit crimes and multi-faceted violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized by the excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians. This week, the Israeli’s excessive use of force rendered 3 injuries among Palestinian civilians, including a child, during raids and attacks on peaceful protests in the occupied West Bank.

Since announcing its plans to annex West Bank territories, including occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli state has continued systematic demolitions and land razing, establishment of exclusive roads for settlements in an accelerated manner.

This week, PCHR documented 125 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli forces and settlers in the oPt. It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, including closure of certain territories, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information documented in this report are only part of the continued IOF violations.

PCHR would like to note that its Weekly Report on Israeli Violations of Human Rights in the oPt will not be published next week as Eid al-Adha is celebrated. PCHR confirms that the following report will cover a two-week period.

Israeli forces shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity: Israeli soldiers shot and wounded 3 Palestinians, including a child, in excessive use of force against the weekly peaceful protest in Kufur Qaddoum in Qalqilia; Israeli forces also used live bullets 4 times in raids into West Bank cities.

In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands once and 4 times at fishing boats in eastern and western Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: Israeli soldiers carried out 64 incursions into the West Bank. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, inciting fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 64 Palestinians were detained, including 12 children and 1 woman.

Israeli soldiers also conducted two limited incursions into eastern Rafah and northern Beit Hanoun, southern and northern Gaza Strip.

Settlement expansion activities and settlers’ attacks: Israeli authorities continued its settlement expansion operations in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, PCHR documented 14 violations, including:East Jerusalem: 3 warehouses demolished in Wadi al-Hilweh in Silwan village; 14 dunams razed and 5 barracks demolished in al-‘Isawiya; and 1 house vacated in prelude to self-demolishing it;Bethlehem: 3 houses received cease-construction notices; 4 cattle barns (barracks) confiscated;Hebron: 5 cease-construction delivered to 2 houses, an agricultural room and a barracks; 2 demolition notices for a cave used as a house and a barn; and a machine confiscated;Nablus: confiscation of machinery and vehicles used in reconstruction of a road in the Industrial area in Wadi al-Sham area;Salfit: demolition notice delivered of a room.

PCHR also documented 3 illegal Israeli settler attacks: attack on a quarry, wheel loader and excavator set on fire in Nablus; al-Bir wal Ihsan Mosque set on fire in al- Bireh; and suspicion of settler attack on cattle in north-eastern Jericho where 70 sheep died from poisoning.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement: The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst blockade in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

This was amplified by the restrictions put in place by Israeli authorities since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, that had already had grave implications on the humanitarian and economic situation of the Gaza Strip population. Of all the Gaza Strip’s border crossings, only 2 currently function: Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) for movement of goods and Beit Hanoun (Erez) for movement of individuals. The Israeli authorities continued to impose restrictions on the entry of goods classified as “dual-use items”,[1] despite their importance in reviving the market, manufacturing and maintenance. As to Beit Hanoun crossing, it is almost completely closed except for emergency humanitarian cases. Lately, a very limited number of individual cases of patients who have obtained medical referrals and financial coverage to Israel were able to travel, and some others referred to Israeli organizations working in the field of health for assistance in coordination.

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent military checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to detention.

I. Shooting and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity

  • At approximately 07:00 on Thursday, 23 July 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, chased and heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area (3 nautical miles). Fishermen, as a result of that, panicked and had to sail back to the shore fearing for their lives. Israeli gunboats also fired flare bombs in the same area at 13:10 on the same day. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 13:00 on Friday, 24 July 2020, Israeli soldiers stationed at the northern entrance established on lands of Kufur Qaddoum village, suppressed a protest in which dozens of civilians participated. Israeli troops chased young men who gathered in the area, clashed with them, and fired rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and tear-gas canisters, resulting in 3 civilians injuries, including a child who was shot with a rubber bullet in his waist.
  • At approximately 15:20 on the same Friday, Israeli soldiers stationed at “Eyal” crossing established north of Qalqilia, fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and tear-gas canisters at civilians who were present in the area. Israeli soldiers claimed that the locals threw stones. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 03:15 on Saturday, 25 July 2020, while storming Qalqilia, Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and tear-gas canisters at Palestinian civilians’ homes. Israeli soldiers claimed that locals threw stones. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 07:30, July 25, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, chased and heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area (3 nautical miles). Fishermen, as a result of that, panicked and had to sail back to the shore fearing for their lives. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 00:00 on the same Saturday, Israeli troops, stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Khuza’a village, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 19:40 on the same Saturday, Israeli troops stationed adjacent to the annexation wall established in Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit, indiscriminately opened fire at Palestinian workers, while attempting to pass through the annexation wall for work in Israel. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 00:30 on Sunday, 26 July 2020, Israeli troops stormed Deir Estia village, north of Salfit and heavily fired sound bombs, claiming that a bus carrying Israeli settlers was stoned on the main street. Israeli troops withdrew from the villages at 03:00 on the same day. Neither casualties nor arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 08:00 on Sunday, 26 July 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, chased and heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area (3 nautical miles). Fishermen, as a result of that, panicked and had to sail back to the shore fearing for their lives. No casualties were reported.

II. Incursions and Detentions:

Thursday, 23 July 2020:

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Jama’een village, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and detained Hamza As’ad Zeitawi (25).
  • Around the same time, Israeli soldiers reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron, and stationed around Wad al-Hareya. They raided and searched Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) secretary Nizar Abdul Aziz Ramadan’s (59) house and detained him and his son Ahmed (27). They took them to an unknown destination.
  • Around the same time, Israeli soldiers reinforced with several military vehicles moved into northern Hebron. They raided and searched the former minister Eisa Khayrat al-Ja’bari’s (58) house and took him to where army vehicles were stationed. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers raided and searched Alaa Mohammed Mujahed’s (50) house, and detained him. Israeli soldiers released al-Ja’bari after investigating with him at the Israeli Intelligence Services’ office in Etzion, who threatened him from committing any illegal activities.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli soldiers moved into al-Dheesha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Omar Yousef Mana”s (21) house and detained him.
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli soldiers moved into Jabal al-Mawaleh area, in the central Bethlehem. They raided and searched Ahmed Burhan Daraghma’s (19) house and detained him.
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Aqabat Jabt refugee camp, southwest of Jericho. They raided and searched two houses and detained Mohammed Taleb Yaghi (17) and Abdullah Mahmoud Yaghi (19).
  • At approximately 04:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Mahmoud Yousef al-Ghalith’s (18) house and detained him.
  • At approximately 08:00, Israeli forces moved into Shu’fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and detained the Secretary-General of Fatah Movement, Adham al-Hindi.
  • At approximately 08:15, Israeli forces reinforced with 5 military vehicles, moved 100-meters to the south of the border fence, at Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing’s eastern security passage, northwest of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip. They razed and combed lands that were previously levelled amidst a sporadic Israeli shooting which caused fear among farmers. At approximately 10:30, Israeli soldiers withdrew, and no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 13:00, Israeli forces stationed at Shu’fat military camp, detained Adam Mansour al-Rashq (17), while passing through the military checkpoint. They took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 20:30, a group of Musta’ribeen (Israeli Special Unit disguised as Palestinian civilians), moved into al-‘Isawiya neighborhood in East Jerusalem. When they arrived to Martyr Mohammed Obaid neighborhood in the city, they wore their masks and stepped out of the car and abducted Mo’ath Owaiwi (12). Israeli forces took him to an unknown destination.
  • Israeli forces carried out (6) incursions in al-Samoua’, Karza, and Halhoul in Hebron; al-Am’Ari refugee camp, Um al-Sharayet in al-Beira. No detentions were reported.

Friday, 24 July 2020:

  • At approximately 01:20, Israeli forces moved into Tubas, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and detained (3) civilians: Osaid Mahmoud Saleh (20), Emad Sayel Abdul Razik (32), and Lo’ay Rasheed Daraghma (28).
  • At approximately 15:00, Israeli forces stationed at a temporary military checkpoint on the entrance of Beit Einoun village, east of Hebron, detained Eisa Adel al-Haroush (26), from Yatta. Israeli soldiers65 took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 15:14, Israeli forces stationed at Huwara checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, detained Omar Ahmed Shamasna (27), from Jayyous village in Qalqilia governorate. Israeli soldiers took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 15:30, Israeli forces stationed at Huwara checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, detained Yaser Abed Hashash (19), from Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. Soldiers took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 23:30, Israeli forces stationed at Elon Moreh settlement, northeast of Nablus, detained Ahmed Mohammed Hashash (17) and Marwan Bassam Hashash from in Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. They took them to an unknown destination.
  • Israeli forces carried out (2) incursions in Hebron and al-Shoyoukh in Hebron governorate. No detentions were reported.

Saturday, 25 July 2020:

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and detained (4) civilians including 2 children. The detainees are: Mohammed Emran Obaid (18), Yazan Emran Obaid (23), Zein el-Dein Muhanna (13), and Mohammed Hamza Obaid (12).
  • At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces stationed at Nazlet Zeid checkpoint, west of Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin, detained Rima Abdul Fattah Kilany (16), from the city. Israeli soldiers took her to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 14:00, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Ahmed al-Rajabi’s (13) house and detained him.
  • At approximately 18:00, Israeli forces severely beat and detained (3) children while present in al-Wad neighborhood, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s neighborhoods, and took them to one of the police stations in the city. The detainees are: Abdulrahman Ayman al-Bashiti (16), his brother Hatem (14), and Nabil Nidal Sidr (17).
  • Israeli forces carried out (4) incursions in Dura, Beit Kahel, Beit Marsm, and Deir al-‘Asal villages in Hebron governorate. No detentions were reported.

Sunday, 26 July 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Qalqilia and stationed in three entrances. They raided and searched a number of houses and detained (3) civilians: Mohammed Nour Yaseen (20), Wajdi Moeen al-Shanti (20), and Wesam Hamadah Yaseen (20).
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched the PLC Member of Hamas Movement, Nayef Mohammed Mahmoud Rajoub’s (62) house and detained him. Israeli soldiers released Rajoub from “Ofer” prison, west of Ramallah.
  • At approximately 03:20, Israeli forces reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron. They raided and searched the PLC Member of Hamas Movement, Hatem Qafishah’s (58) house and detained him. At approximately 10:00, Qafishah was released from a detention center in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces stationed at Erez crossing, north of the Gaza Strip, detained Sa’eed Harbi Abdul Fattah al-Shurafa (37), from al-Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza City, who is married with 2 children and a Franchise owner of DHL Company. Israeli soldiers detained al-Shurafa after he drove his vehicle into an Israeli gate to deliver and receive mail. They took al-Shurafa to an unknown destination and confiscated his vehicle.
  • At approximately 15:00, Israeli forces stationed at Erez crossing, north of the Gaza Strip, detained Mansour Ibrahim Mansour (18), who have a Jerusalemite ID card, while leaving the Gaza Strip to study in Abu Dis University in Jerusalem.
  • Mansour’s father, a former prisoner who served 11 years in the Israeli prisons from 1988 to 1999 and married to a Jerusalemite woman who lives in Jerusalem, and he lives in Gaza city, said that his son headed to Erez crossing at 11:00 to go to occupied East Jerusalem to study in Abu Dis University. Mansour’s father added that he received a phone call from his wife’s family informing him that Israeli police informed them that Mansour was detained, and he is detained in al-Ouz detention center.
  • At approximately 16:30, Israeli police stationed adjacent to Bab al-Rahma, one of al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates, arrested Mohammed Ma’moun al-Sheikh (28), from Ras al-Amoud neighborhood in Silwan village, in the occupied East Jerusalem and took him to a police station in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • At approximately 21:30, Israeli forces stationed at a temporary military checkpoint, established at the entrance of Jeet village, north of Qalqilia, and detained Jamila Salman Daghamesh, from Jericho.

Monday, 27 July 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Samoua’ village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched three houses and detained (3) civilians: Eisa Mohammed al-Hawameda (25), Mohammed Ibrahim al-Hawameda (29), and Ayman Ali Abu ‘Arqoub (30).
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Silat al-Thuhr village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and detained Maher Abdul Latif al-Akhras (49).
  • Around the same time, Israeli soldiers moved into Jaba’ village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and detained Emara Abdul Latif Fashafisha (29).
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli soldiers moved into ‘Anata village and Shu’fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and detained (4) civilians: Ya’qoub Qawasmi, Abdullah al-Bakri, Ali al-Rashq, and Ra’fat Kayali.
  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli soldiers, reinforced with several military vehicles and bulldozers, moved 100-meters in al-Shawka village, east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. They combed and levelled lands along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
  • At approximately 11:00, Israeli soldiers stationed at Huwara military checkpoint, on the eastern entrance of Nablus, north of the West Bank, detained Oday Yehya Hamada (18), from Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 19:00, Israeli soldiers stationed at Huwara military checkpoint, on the eastern entrance of Nablus, north of the West Bank, arrested Baker Emran Hashash (21), from Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. Israeli soldiers took him to an unknown destination.
  • Israeli soldiers carried out (5) incursions in Sebastia and Rujeib in Nablus; al-Zababeda, east of Jenin; Beit Kahel and Hebron in Hebron governorate.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020:

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli soldiers moved into Aqabat Jabr Refugee camp, southwest of Jericho. They raided and searched three houses and broke the back window of Jamal Sukkar’s vehicle, while storming his house, and detained Mahmoud Sami Abu Atta (28).
  • At approximately 07:00, Israeli soldiers moved into Wad Qaddoum neighborhood, in Silwan, in East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Nidal Abd al-Wadoud Dandis’s house and detained his two sons: Obada (23) and Oday (18). It should be noted that Obada is a former prisoner who spent 50-months in the Israeli prisons and was released last January.
  • Israeli army carried out (7) incursions in Nablus, Sebastia, and Qublan in Nablus governorate; Um al-Tout village, east of Jenin; Deir Samit, Nouba, and Yatta villages in Hebron governorate.

III. Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank

a. Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • On Thursday, 23 July 2020, Israeli authorities demolished 3 stores in Wadi Hilweh neighborhood in Silwan village, under the pretext of using the land for public utility. Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan stated that joint crews from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Israeli Municipality and Israeli forces raided Marwan Siyam’s plot of land in Bab al-Magharebah area in Wadi Hilweh neighborhood. The municipality staff demolished the 3 stores with manual tools, under the pretext of using the land for public utility. Othman Siyam, a store owner, said that the plot of land belongs to his family and the stores are established on the land before occupying Jerusalem. He added that the Israeli Municipality notified his family in October and November 2019, claiming that the land is for public utility, and his family challenged the municipality decision. Siyam also clarified that his family was shocked when Israeli soldiers raided the land and vacated the stores to demolish them, upon a decision issued by the legal advisor at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Siyam added that Elad settlement association attempted several times to raid his family land and conducted excavation works on it, but his family confronted them. He said that the municipality notified his family and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority seized the land.
  • On Friday, 24 July 2020, Israeli authorities notified to stop construction works in 3 houses in Beit Sakaria village, south of Bethlehem. Hasan Breijieh, Head of the Bethlehem office of Settlement and Wall Resistance Commission, said that Israeli soldiers moved into Beit Sakaria in the central of “Gush Etizon” settlement, where they distributed 3 cease-construction notices to Mohammed Ibrahim ‘Atallah’s houses, under the pretext of non-licensing. It should be noted that Beit Sakaria village is exposed to a fierce settlement attack, which prevents its residents from urban expansion in order to seize their lands and displace them.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Sunday, 26 July 2020, Israeli soldiers backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Khelet al-Forn area in southern Hebron. IOF were deployed between Palestinians’ houses while the Israeli Civil Administration officers distributed 2 cease-construction notices, under the pretext of non-licensing in Area C. The 2 notices included: Yousef Suliman al-Hanjory’s residential rooms, kitchen and bathroom built of tin plates on an area of 80 square meters; and Ja’far Mohammed al-Qadi’s tin-plate house and foundations built on an area of 70 square meters.
  • At approximately 09:30 on Monday, 27 July 2020, Israeli soldiers moved into ‘Asirah al-Qabaliyia village, southeast of Nablus. Israeli soldiers seized equipment and machineries that were working to rehabilitate a street located in the industrial area in Wadi al-Sham, north of the village, under the pretext of working in Area C. This equipment belongs to Shahir Hanini’s company. It is noteworthy that the village local council has been working on this street for almost three years without objection, and yesterday they started paving it.
  • On the same day, Israeli soldiers seized 4 barracks used for breeding livestock in Nahaleen village, west of Bethlehem. Municipality Mayor, Subhi Zaydan, said that Israeli forces moved into ‘Ain Fares area and seized Ibrahim, Mahmoud and Mousa Hasan Shakarna’s barracks. It should be noted that Nahaleen village is exposed to recurrent attacks by Israeli soldiers and settlers, in addition to distributing cease-construction notices and levelling agricultural lands.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 28 July 2020, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Kherbet Bereen, west of Bani Na’iem village in eastern Hebron. Israeli forces were deployed between Palestinians’ houses while Israeli Civil Administration officers stopped a truck belongs to Hebron Municipality and confiscated it. Also, Israeli forces distributed 2 demolition notices to ‘Imran Burqan’s old cave used for breeding animals and to Yousef al-‘Ajlouni’s barn built of tin plates and bricks, under the pretext of non-licensing.
  • ‘Abed al-Rahman ‘Abed al-Fattah Tamizy’s 300-square-meter barrack built of tin plates and used for breeding livestock.
  • Rezeq Mohammed Isma’il Salimiyia’s 40-square-meter agricultural room built of concrete and roofed with tin plates.
  • Fadel Ahmed ‘Abed al-Fattah Salimiyia’s 45-square-meter agricultural room built of concrete and roofed with tin plates.
  • On the same day, Israeli forces accompanied with Israeli Municipality staff moved into al-‘Isawiya village in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli military construction vehicles levelled 14 dunams and demolished 5 barracks. Mohammed Abu al-Humus, Member of al-‘Isawiya Follow-up Committee, said that, Israeli troops accompanied with Israeli Municipality staff levelled lands in northern and western of al-‘Isawiya village and detained vehicles parked near the lands. IOF also confiscated sheep, horses and dogs from the area.
  • On the same day, Eyad Abu Subieh was forced to vacate his house in Silwan village in occupied East Jerusalem as a prelude to self-demolish it upon a decision issued by the Israeli Supreme Court. Abu Subieh said that: ” I was shocked when Israeli municipality bulldozers raided my house and vacated it 2 weeks ago. I headed to the Israeli Supreme Court to challenge and the lawyer managed to delay the demolition for 21 days. During this period, I appealed the demolition decision before the court, but in vain.”
  • In the evening, Israeli troops placed mobile houses in lands, which were previously levelled in Kisan village, east of Bethlehem. Hasan Breijieh, Head of the Bethlehem office of Settlement and Wall Resistance Commission, said that Israeli troops placed 2 mobile houses in Kisan village lands, near “Ebi Hanahel” settlement.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF moved into al-Zawiyia village, west of Salfit. They handed Ibrahim Mostafa As’ad Shoqair a notice to demolish his agricultural room in the western area, under the pretext of being in Area C.

b. Israeli Settler Violence

  • On Thursday, 23 July 2020, Israeli settlers, from ” Price Tag group”, attacked Ayman ‘Abdullah Zitawi’s quarry in Jama’een village, southeast of Nablus. Also, the settlers vandalized the quarry walls with racist slogans, set a digger and a bulldozer ablaze and fled later.
  • On Monday, 27 July 2020, Israeli settlers moved into al-Bireh city , where they set al-Bar and al-Ihsan mosque ablaze and vandalized its walls with racist slogans. Mayor of al-Bireh municipality, ‘Azzam Isma’il, said that Israeli settlers moved into the city, vandalized the mosque’s interior walls and set its facilities ablaze. The imam of the mosque, Sheikh Ghassan Abdul Salam al-‘Adassi, said that at approximately 03:00, he went to the mosque before dawn prayer. When he arrived at the mosque, he smelled a smoke from the mosque’s facilities. He entered the bathroom and saw flames. Al-‘Adassi said that flammable materials were poured through the bathroom window on the floor. He also said: “I immediately called the civil defense to put out the fire and they claimed that there was a defect in the mosque’s electrical wires.”
  • On Tuesday, 28 July 2020, 70 sheep died after they were poisoned while grazing them in a pastoral area, close to “Naamat” settlement, northeast of Jericho. The sheep’s owner accused the settlers of intentionally poisoning his sheep. According to information obtained by PCHR’s fieldworker that Ahmed Khaled Zawahra (78) headed to a pastoral area in al-‘Ojah village, near “Naamat” settlement, to graze his sheep. In afternoon, Zawahra took his 110 sheep and returned to the barn. After that, he was shocked when he saw his sheep died together within few minutes. He immediately brought a veterinarian to treat them , and it turned out the sheep were poisoned. As a result, 70 sheep died while the rest sustained pain.

On Israel’s Bizarre Definitions: The West Bank is Already Annexed

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

The truth is that Israel rarely behaves as an ‘Occupying Power’, but as a sovereign in a country where racial discrimination and apartheid are not only tolerated or acceptable but are, in fact, ‘legal’ as well.

Wednesday, July 1, was meant to be the day on which the Israeli government officially annexed 30% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and the Jordan Valley. This date, however, came and went and annexation was never actualized.

“I don’t know if there will be a declaration of sovereignty today,” said Israeli Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, with reference to the self-imposed deadline declared earlier by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. An alternative date was not immediately announced.

But does it really matter?

Whether Israel’s illegal appropriation of Palestinian land takes place with massive media fanfare and a declaration of sovereignty, or whether it happens incrementally over the course of the coming days, weeks, and months, Israel has, in reality, already annexed the West Bank – not just 30% of it but, in fact, the whole area.

It is critical that we understand such terms as ‘annexation’, ‘illegal’, ‘military occupation’, and so on, in their proper contexts.

For example, international law deems that all of Israel’s Jewish settlements, constructed anywhere on Palestinian land occupied during the 1967 war, are illegal.

Interestingly, Israel, too, uses the term ‘illegal’ with reference to settlements, but only to ‘outposts’ that have been erected in the occupied territories without the permission of the Israeli government.

In other words, while in the Israeli lexicon the vast majority of all settlement activities in occupied Palestine are ‘legal’, the rest can only be legalized through official channels. Indeed, many of today’s ‘legal’ 132 settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, housing over half a million Israeli Jewish settlers, began as ‘illegal outposts’.

Though this logic may satisfy the need of the Israeli government to ensure its relentless colonial project in Palestine follows a centralized blueprint, none of this matters in international law.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions states that “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive”, adding that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Israel has violated its commitment to international law as an ‘Occupying Power’ on numerous occasions, rendering its very ‘occupation’ of Palestine, itself, a violation of how military occupations are conducted – which are meant to be temporary, anyway.

Military occupation is different from annexation. The former is a temporary transition, at the end of which the ‘Occupying Power’ is expected, in fact, demanded, to relinquish its military hold on the occupied territory after a fixed length of time. Annexation, on the other hand, is a stark violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations. It is tantamount to a war crime, for the occupier is strictly prohibited from proclaiming unilateral sovereignty over occupied land.

The international uproar generated by Netanyahu’s plan to annex a third of the West Bank is fully understandable. But the bigger issue at stake is that, in practice, Israel’s violations of the terms of occupation have granted it a de facto annexation of the whole of the West Bank.

So when the European Union, for example, demands that Israel abandons its annexation plans, it is merely asking Israel to re-embrace the status quo ante, that of de facto annexation. Both abhorring scenarios should be rejected.

Israel began utilizing the occupied territories as if they are contiguous and permanent parts of so-called Israel proper, immediately following the June 1967 war. Within a few years, it erected illegal settlements, now thriving cities, eventually moving hundreds of thousands of its own citizens to populate the newly acquired areas.

This exploitation became more sophisticated with time, as Palestinians were subjected to slow, but irreversible, ethnic cleansing. As Palestinian homes were destroyed, farms confiscated, and entire regions depopulated, Jewish settlers moved in to take their place. The post-1967 scenario was a repeat of the post-1948 history, which led to the establishment of the State of Israel on the ruins of historic Palestine.

Moshe Dayan, who served as Israel’s Defense Minister during the 1967 war, explained the Israeli logic best in a historical address at Israel’s Technion University in March 1969. “We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here,” he said.

“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there, either … There is no one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population,” he added.

The same colonial approach was applied to East Jerusalem and the West Bank after the war. While East Jerusalem was formally annexed in 1980, the West Bank was annexed in practice, but not through a clear legal Israeli proclamation. Why? In one word: demographics.

When Israel first occupied East Jerusalem, it went on a population transfer frenzy: moving its own population to the Palestinian city, strategically expanding the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem to include as many Jews and as few Palestinians as possible, slowly reducing the Palestinian population of Al Quds through numerous tactics, including the revocation of residency and outright ethnic cleansing.

And, thus, Jerusalem’s Palestinian population, which once constituted the absolute majority, has now been reduced to a dwindling minority.

The same process was initiated in parts of the West Bank, but due to the relatively large size of the area and population, it was not possible to follow a similar annexation stratagem without jeopardizing Israel’s drive to maintain Jewish majority.

Dividing the West Bank into Areas A, B, and C as a result of the disastrous Oslo accords, has given Israel a lifeline, for this allowed it to increase settlement activities in Area C – nearly 60% of the West Bank – without stressing too much about demographic imbalances. Area C, where the current annexation plan is set to take place, is ideal for Israeli colonialism, for it includes Palestine’s most arable, resource-rich, and sparsely populated lands.

It matters little whether the annexation will have a set date or will take place progressively through Israel’s declarations of sovereignty over smaller chunks of the West Bank in the future. The fact is, annexation is not a new Israeli political agenda dictated by political circumstances in Tel Aviv and Washington. Rather, annexation has been the ultimate Israeli colonial objective from the very onset.

Let us not get entangled in Israel’s bizarre definitions. The truth is that Israel rarely behaves as an ‘Occupying Power’, but as a sovereign in a country where racial discrimination and apartheid are not only tolerated or acceptable but are, in fact, ‘legal’ as well.

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