‘Israeli’ Occupation of Syrian Golan Heights Illegitimate, Invalid – UN

July 23, 2021

Visual search query image

By Staff, Agencies

The United Nations emphasized Syria’s sovereignty over the ‘Israeli’-occupied Golan Heights, stressing that annexation measures imposed by the Tel Aviv regime in the territory are invalid and illegitimate.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia [ESCWA] made the announcement in a periodic report distributed in Beirut, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported on Thursday.

“The compliance with the international law and the absence of impunity are two prerequisites for achieving peace and justice for all the peoples of the region,” the UN body added.

In 1967, the Zionist occupation waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, during which it occupied a large swathe of Golan and annexed it four years later, a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1973, another war broke out and a year later, a UN-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which Tel Aviv and Damascus agreed to separate their troops and create a buffer zone in the Heights.

The Zionist entity has over the past decades built dozens of settlements in the Golan Heights in defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction activities.

Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

The United Nations has time and again emphasized Syria’s sovereignty over the territory.

In March 2019, former American president Donald Trump controversially signed a decree recognizing ‘Israeli’ “sovereignty” over the Golan Heights during a meeting with then Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.

The ESCWA report, which covers the period from April 2020 to March 2021, further stressed that it is impossible to achieve sustainable development in the occupied Palestinian territories in light of the continuing ‘Israeli’ occupation and the policies and practices pursued by the entity.

The UN commission also emphasized the necessity of halting such Zionist measures that hinder efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide additional humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

The report also stressed that the measures and policies adopted by the Zionist regime in Arab territories, occupied since 1967, including the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip and settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, are all in sheer violation of international law.

Elsewhere in the report, ESCWA said that last year was one of the worst years in the Palestinian economy since 2002, as it shrank by 11.5 percent.

The UN commission prepares a report for the UN chief every year on the economic and social repercussions of the ‘Israeli’ occupation on the conditions of the Palestinians in the occupied territories and also the conditions of the Syrians in the Golan Heights.

If Bibi Was the Frying Pan, Is Bennett the Fire? What To Expect from Israel’s New PM

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

“It’s not like [Israel is] replacing Netanyahu with a person who believes in equality for all, who believes in freedom for all, who believes in human rights for all. They’re replacing Netanyahu with an ultra-nationalist who is going to put forward his ultra-nationalist agenda.” – Diana Buttu, former PLO spokesperson

JERUSALEM — After more than a decade, four elections, three corruption charges, and a tumultuous parliamentary vote, someone other than Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as Israel’s prime minister this week.

Naftali Bennett, the far-right nationalist who has replaced Netanyahu, heads the most politically diverse coalition in the nation’s history, but his politics are far from progressive.

Who is Naftali Bennett?

Unlike his predecessors, Bennett is more of a novice than a veteran politician. While he has served in several ministerial roles, his government experience is relatively brief.

Bennett began his political career as Netanyahu’s chief of staff in 2005, when the latter served as opposition leader. Prior to his first role in government, he served in the Israeli army as a commando unit officer during Israel’s 1996 offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon and was indirectly involved in the Kfar Qana Massacre, in which Israeli artillery fire killed 102 Lebanese civilians at a United Nations facility.

The 49-year-old Bennett was born in Haifa to parents who immigrated to Israel from San Francisco in 1967. Donning a kippah (a cap often worn by Jewish men during rituals), Bennett is Israel’s first religiously observant prime minister.

While not a settler himself, Bennet is seen as an icon of Israel’s settler right. He was appointed director general of the Yesha Council, the political body representing Israeli settlers, in 2009. The following year, he founded the My Israel Movement along with fellow Israeli politician Ayelet Shaked. The Zionist group works to eradicate what it identifies as “anti-Israel activity” online, specifically in relation to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Bennett became chairman of the religious and right-wing Jewish Home Party in 2012, but left in 2018 to create the New Right Party, which is currently the sole member of his far-right electoral alliance, Yamina (or “to the right” in Hebrew). He was often perceived as standing on the sidelines of politics — an outsider desperately wanting in. Except for his time as education minister, almost every stint as an Israeli minister was short-lived. His contribution to politics has been less action-oriented and more centered on his inflammatory statements.

A history of racist rhetoric

Bennett is notorious for the myriad of controversial remarks he’s made over the years:

  • During a parliamentary debate on releasing Palestinian prisoners, Bennett bragged about “killing Arabs.” “If we capture terrorists, we need to just kill them,” Bennett said in 2013. “I’ve already killed a lot of Arabs in my life, and there is no problem with that.”
  • In 2018, he advocated for a shoot-to-kill policy for Palestinians crossing the Gaza border. When questioned about whether children would be part of this policy, he said, “They are not children — they are terrorists. We are fooling ourselves. I see the photos.”
  • During a televised debate in 2010, Bennett said to Palestinian lawmaker Ahmad Tibi, “When you were still climbing trees, we had a Jewish state here.”
  • In an interview with The New Yorker in 2013, Bennett reiterated his strong opposition to a Palestinian state. “I will do everything in my power, forever, to fight against a Palestinian state being founded in the Land of Israel,” Bennett said.

Bennett has long advocated for full annexation of Israeli-controlled Area C of the Occupied West Bank, which comprises 60% of the West Bank. He said, in 2013:

The most important thing in the Land of Israel is to build, build, build [settlements]… It’s important that there will be an Israeli presence everywhere. Our principal problem is still Israel’s leaders’ unwillingness to say in a simple manner that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel.  “

In 2014, Bennett referred to Israeli annexation of the West Bank, telling reporters Israel “will be gradually attempting to apply Israeli law on Israeli controlled areas of Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank].”

And more recently, in February of this year, he said in an interview, “As long as I have any power and control, I won’t hand over one centimeter of the Land of Israel. Period.”

Benjamin Netanyahu,Naftali Bennett
Netanyahu, right, and Bennett pose for a photos with children in the Arab town of Tamra, Sept. 1, 2016. Sebastian Scheiner | AP

While Diana Buttu, a Palestinian analyst and former spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization, is happy Netanyahu is out of office, she doesn’t see the new leader as the right kind of change. “It’s not like [Israel is] replacing Netanyahu with a person who believes in equality for all, who believes in freedom for all, who believes in human rights for all,” Buttu said. “They’re replacing Netanyahu with an ultra-nationalist who is going to put forward his ultra-nationalist agenda.”

Bennett’s possible policies

Bennett’s lack of a governing record makes it difficult to predict what kind of leader he’ll be and what kind of policies he may enact.

Paul Scham, executive director of the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland, surmises the new prime minister will tackle mundane but necessary agenda items like passing a budget and solving Israel’s infrastructure crisis.

“He recognizes that this isn’t a time for a bold action on the ideological front,” Scham told MintPress News.

Two hours after Bennett was sworn in as prime minister, President Joe Biden phoned the new leader to congratulate him. By contrast, Biden waited a month after his own swearing-in ceremony to call Netanyahu. Scham suggested such actions hint Bennett may prioritize relations with the United States and remain diplomatic in an effort to undo his predecessor’s damage.

“Since Bibi seemed to have this adverse relationship with [former President Barack] Obama and was very pro-Republican, Bennett will take care not to push the buttons, like denying that a Palestinian state will ever come into existence,” Scham said. On several occasions, Netanyahu has rejected the formation of a Palestinian state under his leadership.

Naftali Bennett protest
Israelis hold signs during a protest against Benneft’s allaince with Arab politicians in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 30, 2021. Sebastian Scheiner| AP

On the other hand, Buttu believes Bennett will want to bolster his right-wing credentials in the face of criticism for joining forces with Palestinian and leftist parties. Israel’s new government was formed through a coalition of several conflicting political parties, including Muslim party United Arab List, the far-left Meretz Party, centrist Yesh Atid Party, the Labor Party and Bennett’s Yamina.

Earlier this month, hundreds of right-wing activists demonstrated in front of Shaked’s and other fellow Yamina members’ homes against the far-right coalition teaming up with left-wing parties.

“He’s been saying in statements ‘Now is the time for a national unity government,” Buttu said. “But then to his crowd, he’s saying, ‘Don’t worry, this is a right-wing government.’”

New leader, same agenda

While other Israeli politicians often tone down their rhetoric to fit a global standard, Bennett thrives on unquestionably racist language.

“If anything, Bennett is just that much worse because his ideology is an ideology of extreme racism,” Buttu said. “Whereas when it comes to Netanyahu, he’s learned how to polish up that same ideology.”

Despite a new government coming to power, the politics of settler-colonialism remain the same. In that regard, peace and any chance for Palestinian liberation feel out of reach.

“People are happy Netanyahu is out, and my worry is that because Netanyahu is out and because [Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Yair] Lapid is backing Bennett, there’s going to be a red carpet rolled out for a person who is openly racist,” Buttu said, cautioning that placing Bennett on a pedestal will make the mistake of validating the politician’s perspectives. “Legitimating him inside Israel once again means it’s okay to have a prime minister who is so openly ultra-nationalist and who believes in land theft.”

And with this extremist ideology heading the Israeli government, the recent wave of settler terrorism may become even more emboldened.

Israeli Apartheid Confirmed

13 May 2021

About me

by Lawrence Davidson 

Part I—The Question Of Apartheid 

It was perhaps 6 or 7 years ago. I was part of a panel, debating on Israel and the Palestinians, that took place at a local (West Chester, Pa) Quaker Friends school. The school had such debates regularly until the administration caved-in to pressure from the Zionist parents of a number of Jewish students. One of these parents debated for the Israeli side. 

This particular event came to mind upon my seeing the latest Human Rights Watch (HRW) report conclusively laying out the apartheid nature of Israel. Here is the connection: just before the debate was to begin the participating Zionist parent tried to make a command decision. No one was to use the term apartheid in reference to Israel. This was because the assertion was, according to him, obviously nonsense. 

I remember at the time thinking, who gave him the right to define the terms of the debate? As it turned out, and this is quite often the case, those supporting the Palestinians knew twice as much history as did the Zionists, and could call upon twice as many facts and examples. Apartheid Israel was shown to be a matter of fact rather than nonsense. I am convinced that Zionist pressure on the school to end future debates was motivated by the additional fact that those supporting the Palestinians so readily won. 

I have run into many other cases like this. The Zionists would debate for a while, but upon realizing that they could not prevail, they opted for enforced silence—that is, attempting to deny their opposition a stage and eventually labelling them anti-Semites. I often wonder if that Zionist parent who did the one-time debate at the Friends school, ever did face the fact that he was wrong about Israel and apartheid. Not because we said he was wrong. He would never have taken our word for it despite the evidence we had at hand. Rather, because an ever greater number of humanitarian organizations, of which HRW is one, journalists and research institutions have thoroughly and repeatedly laid out the facts that make it so. To this one may now add the charge of “medical apartheid.”

And none of us could forget the ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing if most of us were actually informed of the process.

Amidst the predictable resumption of mass resistance from Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, The Human Rights Watch report confirming Israeli Apartheid presents the seminal context for what we now witness. 

Part II—Human Rights Watch’s 2021 Report

Here is part of the opening pages of the HRW report:

—“About 6.8 million Jewish Israelis and 6.8 million Palestinians live today between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River. Throughout most of this area, Israel is the sole governing power; in the remainder, it exercises primary authority alongside limited Palestinian self-rule.”

—“Across these areas and in most aspects of life, Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power, and land has long guided government policy. In pursuit of this goal, authorities have dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated, and subjugated Palestinians by virtue of their identity to varying degrees of intensity. In certain areas, as described in this report, these deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

—“The prohibition of institutionalized discrimination, especially on grounds of race or ethnicity, constitutes one of the fundamental elements of international law … [over which] the International Criminal Court has the power to prosecute …when national authorities are unable or unwilling to pursue them.”

The report goes on to definitively prove its allegations in 213 pages of depressing detail—all laid out like a damning legal writ. Nor, as suggested above, is this the first time the apartheid nature of Israel been demonstrated. The HRW document was preceded by 16 March 2017 report submitted by UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia demonstrating Israel’s apartheid nature. Though the report was accurate, the UN Secretary General disavowed it under pressure from the United States and Israel. In May of 2018 a

thorough examination appeared entitled Apartheid Israel, by the journalist Jonathan Cook. This was published by Americans for Middle East Understanding in their journal, The Link (April/May 2018). More recently, a 21 January 2021 report by B’Tselem, Israel’s own premier human rights organization, entitled “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid,” proved particularly revealing. One should also take a look at the Israeli Apartheid Factsheet, published 12 January 2021 online, by War On Want. 

The Israeli government dismisses all of these fact-based reports as propaganda. This sets up a question of what is real—one that can be readily resolved, one way or another, through objective outside observers. Unfortunately, Israeli behavior over the past decades has shown that, unless you agree with the Zionist interpretation of events, Israel does not consider you objective. Thus, the HRW representative, and many others as well, have been banned from entering the country. This sort of reaction is not just an Israeli tactic. It is typical of countries in the process of undermining the rule of law and destroying human rights. In a very real way, the charge of “it is all, in this case, anti-Semitic propaganda” is itself a form of propaganda design to shut done critics. 

Part III—The Zionist Rationale

The Zionists consistently say that Israel exists to save world Jewry from persecution—from the constant threat of anti-Semitism and another Holocaust. Many still believe this is true and some of a liberal orientation now resort to this rationale to undermine the HRW report. They charge that it will cause the current wave of anti-Semitism to gain greater traction. Such greater traction always leads to a greater fear of another Holocaust. And this fear will only make the Zionists and Israelis dig in their heels. And indeed, the cries of anti-Semitism and Holocaust has always created a smokescreen behind which can be hidden all Israeli sins. Has anyone ever considered that Israel’s abominable behavior, always committed in the name of the community of worldwide Jewry, is itself a major cause of growing anti-Semitism? 

While Zionism might have started out as a strategy to save the Jews, Israel and the Zionists are no longer in the saving business. In point of fact, various Israeli authorities are constantly bickering about who is or isn’t Jewish. What they are now about is the business of national glorification and expansion—carried on in the old 19th century style of racist imperialism. In this effort the Palestinians are the major victims, but all Jews are, if you will, collateral damage. They become denigrated by the behavior of a brutalizing racist regime that simply declares itself acting in their name.

In the process another truth is also brought low—the fact that means ultimately shape ends. And here is the irony of it all: the outcome of apartheid that is now playing itself out in “greater Israel” was all but predetermined by the nature and behavior of Zionism itself.

Part IV—The Predetermined Nature Of Israeli Apartheid

Here are some of the steps and decisions that made today’s apartheid Israel inevitable:

—The aim of the Zionist movement was to found an exclusively Jewish state. Most of the early Zionists were European Jews searching for a way to escape centuries of anti-Semitism. Living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, their reference point was the ethnically homogeneous nation state. Soon they convinced themselves that Jews could only escape anti-Semitic persecution if they had their own nation state. 

—By the beginning of the 20th century the Zionists had focused on Palestine as their future political, religious, and cultural nation state. This was due to the land’s biblical associations—and despite the fact that many Zionists were of a secular rather than religious orientation. In 1917, they made an alliance with the British government to rally Jewish support for the British war effort in World War I (WWI) in exchange for British support of a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. This alliance was spelled out in the Balfour Declaration.

—Soon thereafter, the British took Palestine from the Ottoman Turks (the Turks were allies of the Germans in WWI). They then allowed Zionist organized immigration to commence. The British told the Palestinian Arabs that Zionist investment would raise the living standards of the land’s non-Jewish residents. In the meantime, the Zionists discouraged any cooperative interaction with the Palestinian Arabs. This was particularly true when it came to use of Arab labor. Jews who had Arab employees were forcefully pressured to replace them with Jewish immigrants.

Between 1914 and 1947 both the Arab and Jewish population of Palestine grew. However, Jewish numbers, even though consistently bolstered by Zionist inspired immigration, were never more than 32% of the total population.

—Given Zionist ambitions and the demographics, the question can be asked, just how they could create a state for one group alone in a land where that favored group was a distinct minority? There were only three direct ways: (1) devising a method to get the Arab majority to move out of the country. (2) creating an unequal political and economic system that marginalized the majority, rendering them politically and economically irrelevant. (3) Committing genocide.  

—Both methods 1 and 2 were employed. The first led to the Nakba, the catastrophic removal of some 700,000 Palestinians, during the 1948 war that led to the creation of the State of Israel. Some of these people fled the fighting, but many were forced out at gunpoint by Israeli forces. In truth, the Nakba never completely came to an end as the ongoing home demolitions and evictions show. The second method followed in two stages for those Palestinians who would still find themselves under direct Israeli rule: (A) the so-called Palestinian Israelis, today numbering close to 2 million people or roughly 21% of the population of pre-1967 Israel. These Arabs have been given Israeli citizenship—actually second class citizenship. They are segregated from Jewish Israelis by  a host of discriminatory practices, among which are inferior housing, schools, and job opportunities. (B) The Palestinians who fell under Israeli control in 1967 and remain so today. These are the residents of the West Bank, Golan Heights and also the Gaza Strip, numbering roughly 5 million people. Most of these Palestinians have been denied Israeli citizenship. They are under the rule of Israeli military authorities or an allied Palestinian authority under Israeli supervision. Internal travel is made difficult for them, their ability to improve or expand their infrastructure is restricted. They are encroached upon by illegal Israeli settlements and harassed by Israeli settlers. Attempts at self-defense or counterattack are seen by the Israelis as terrorist acts.

—Means shape ends. (1) The nature of Zionist goals: the transformation of Palestine into a nation state for Jews alone, (2) undertaken with a group mentality shaped by a memories of European anti-Semitism, the outlook of racist European imperialism, and finally the trauma of the Holocaust, (3) strongly inclined the Zionists toward tactics that precluded compromise and equity with the indigenous Palestinians. (4) When the Palestinians inevitably resisted the Zionists they were cast as Arab Nazis, an image which justified the brutal tactics (suppression and expulsion) already in use. Finally, having conquered Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, and shying away from a second mass expulsion as long as the world was watching, the Israelis inevitably fell into apartheid to neutralize the 7 million Arabs under their rule.

Part V—Conclusion

Once you have segregated away those you oppress, the average member of the dominant group can proceed with his or her life in comfortable blindness—literarily not seeing their victims, and remaining purposefully ignorant of the deformed situation that sustains their status, security and wealth. As time goes on all aspects of society (education, employment, media, social norms) come to reinforce this condition. This is the situation in today’s Israel. 

The blindspots can extend to Israel’s Zionist supporters in the diaspora, even if they are otherwise progressive liberals. Take the case of the American Jewish progressive  Peter Osnos, who fears the definitive nature of the HRW report. Why so? Because, he believes, “this report—in detail, length and tone—could be the basis for sanctions against Israel.” As the old Jewish idiom goes, “from his mouth to God’s ears.” However, that is an unlikely prospect. Western governments are so committed to Israel—and steeped in the hypocrisy this requires—that they will simply ignore the HRW revelations, as they did the earlier reports.  

Nonetheless, when you strip away all the ideologically-bred magical thinking, rationalizations, and blindspots, what you are left with is the blatant truth: you cannot impose a foreign group of people, seeking exclusive domination, into a land already populated by a different people, and not end up with a discriminatory and abusive system of rule. And if the abusive system persists something akin to apartheid becomes inevitable. So does periodic mass resistance.

Abbas Statements are Complicit with Israeli Settler-Colonialism

April 22, 2021

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Kremlin, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Ramona Wadi

Known for belatedly spouting known truths, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was true to form in his address to the J Street conference recently, which revealed the extent of his collaboration with the international community over Palestine’s loss, and his complicity with Israeli settler-colonialism.

Mentioning “apartheid” as he did cannot gloss over the fact that Abbas is still championing a paradigm that has facilitated Israel’s colonial expansion and de-facto annexation of Palestinian land.

US President Joe Biden’s two-state policy is still unclear. The strategy has worked well for Israel, while advocates of the internationally-imposed paradigm can once again make themselves useful. But the two-state “solution” has already been declared dead in the water and pressuring the US administration to heed a matter of international consensus that still harms Palestinians should not be deemed “the only solution”, as Abbas is fond of claiming. In doing so, he is on the same page as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who insists that “There is no Plan B.”

If Abbas thought that by mentioning the A word he would be doing a service to the Palestinians, he is wrong. Not only has the Israeli NGO B’Tselem beaten him to it declaring that the colonial state has already passed the apartheid threshold, but Palestinians have also been trying to raise awareness regarding Israel’s apartheid policies for years. The PA, meanwhile, was busying itself with the international community’s state-building illusions and tacitly approving Israel’s settlement expansion.

“Moving away from the two-state solution will eventually lead to a de facto one-state solution, an apartheid state, and this is something neither, we nor the entire world would accept,” Abbas said. “A one-state solution will only perpetuate the conflict.”

This is not necessarily true. Moving away from moribund two-state politics can give a chance to the Palestinian people, but only if they have a leadership worthy of the name and cause. The two-state solution, remember, came back into vogue with the announcement of the so-called Abraham Accords, which saw some Arab countries normalize relations with Israel in return, they claimed, to halt Israel’s annexation plans.

Annexation, as Israel has made clear, was simply “postponed”. Nevertheless, the UN had no qualms about endorsing the diplomatic game that facilitated the de-facto annexation of the occupied West Bank.

The Trump administration’s “deal of the century” shifted focus on what would happen if Abbas and the international community keep insisting upon the two-state compromise. Saying that the one-state solution would entrench apartheid is valid only because Palestinians have not been given the political freedom to construct their own independence and liberation process.

Israel has leverage over the one-state concept because it has secured its narrative within the international community. The Palestinian people, though, are burdened with a leadership whose main interest is to impose the international paradigm and call it a “solution”.

So what is the use of the PA participating in such seminars, if it only serves to strengthen the Israeli narrative and colonial expansion? Abbas had the opportunity to speak to J Street — a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” liberal US advocacy group — about the Palestinian concept of a single, democratic state, but he did not take it. It is possible, of course, that his invitation to address the group was conditional upon his promotion of the two-state compromise because there is purportedly no other option for the Palestinian people.

To speak where the funding lies is to maintain two-state politics, now defunct in terms of implementation yet favorable for Israel and its de-facto annexation — aka theft — of Palestinian land. The Palestinian leadership embarked yet again upon another spectacle that revealed its allegiance to external entities over and above the people of occupied Palestine.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinians, steal land with impunity. Imagine outrage & calls for sanctions if any other state did it

moi

April 16, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Every aspect of their existence on occupied Palestinian land is illegal. Still, the violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against civilians continues, propped up by Israel’s legal system and the world’s blind eyes.

Periodically, we will hear in the news something about the illegal colonies (settlements), but increasingly rarely over the years, and generally without a human face: just numbers and false promises to end the expansion of these colonies choking Palestinians from their land.

Recently, UN Special Rapporteurs and experts shed light on the uptick of brutality and land theft by Israeli colonists. In a new UN report, they noted:

In 2020, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented 771 incidents of settler violence causing injury to 133 Palestinians and damaging 9,646 trees and 184 vehicles mostly in the areas of Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah. Already, during the first three months of 2021, more than 210 settler violent incidents were recorded, with one Palestinian fatality.”

Stop for a moment and imagine this was a report on violent incidents by Russia, Syria, Venezuela, or any of the nations in NATO’s crosshairs. Media would be howling with outrage and faked tears, with demands for heads to roll, or at least for perpetrators to face justice.

But this is occupied Palestine, where the Israeli legal system serves continued colonist expansion and terrorism against Palestinians. And, let’s be clear, what the colonists do to Palestinians is indeed terrorism.

Colonists have burned alive a Palestinian youth, shot and killed Palestinian civilians, have run people over, including children, leaving them to die. They routinely attack farmers trying to work their land or harvest their olives. 

They hail stones, large rocks, sewage and waste onto Palestinians walking or living below their illegally occupied homes, steal Palestinians’ flocks of sheep (or poison them), even uproot and thieve their olive trees.

This has been going on for decades, and the so-called international community allows it, in spite of overwhelming documentation of these crimes.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem has been reporting on such attacks since 1989. A 2017 B’Tselem article noted:

Thousands of testimonies, videos and reports, as well as many years of close monitoring by B’Tselem and other organizations, reveal that Israeli security forces not only allow settlers to harm Palestinians and their property as a matter of course – they often provide the perpetrators escort and back-up. In some cases, they even join in on the attack.

After more than 25 years of this work, there is no escaping the conclusion that the authorities merely make a show of law enforcement in this context and that, with few exceptions, they have no interest in seriously investigating settler violence against Palestinians.”

*Above images from web

Disturbing memories of colonist brutality

In 2007, I witnessed and heard of colonist violence and land theft when I spent eight months in the West Bank as an activist documenting the crimes against Palestinian civilians by both the Israeli military and the illegal colonists.

The city of Hebron has some of the most violent squatters, who, like colonists all over the West Bank, walk with guns slung over their back and routinely attack and abuse the Palestinian residents, including children. 

In fact, during my two-week stay in Hebron in mid 2007, one of the things I and other activists did was simply to stand on shara Shuhada, the once vibrant main street, now a shuttered ghost town.

We stood, or sat, on that street for hours, in the heat of the day, to deter colonists from attacking children going to or from school, or adults going to market, work or mosque. It seemed a colossal waste of time, but there had been many precedents of Israeli colonists stoning or beating Palestinians.

South of Hebron, in a desert-like hamlet called Susiya, over the course of many months I stayed in the makeshift tent and metal structures of the Palestinians living there. Prior to their shantytown, they, and generations before them, had lived in stone houses and even cave dwellings. But, they were evicted in the 1980s, when Israel declared the area an archaeological site.

As I wrote, “We stayed with them in hopes of preventing the inevitable attacks by the nearby colonists. Hajj Khalil, an elder in his eighties, had been brutally beaten by colonists the year before I met him.”

Eva K Bartlett, 2007

The recent UN report also noted:

“Settler violence was predominantly ideologically motivated and primarily designed to take over land but also to intimidate and terrorize Palestinians. The violence and intimidation often prevents Palestinians from accessing and cultivating their land, and creates a coercive environment pressuring Palestinians to stay away from certain areas or even move.”

Indeed, in the Susiya region, I witnessed land being stolen and quickly annexed by the illegal Jewish colonists.

As I wrote, “The elderly Palestinian landowners have been harassed and threatened, and physically abused. They have been moved off of the land by menacing of the illegal colonists. The owners of the land very much want to use it for agricultural purposes and have tried–mostly unsuccessfully–to file complaints at the nearest police station, Kiryat Arba, nearly two hours away. These illegal tactics have been largely successful in the region, with many Susiya residents and landowners leaving their land for nearby cities and towns.”

During the olive harvest that year, I accompanied Palestinian farmers to their orchards in a northern West Bank region. Not long after they had begun collecting olives, six masked colonists descended a hill, slinging hefty stones at us, for forty minutes stoning and then physically hitting people in our group.

I wrote about that at the time, noting, “One of the six attackers slung a large rock at me. Hitting my camera hand, the rock missed my temple. One of the farmers, on the other hand, was not so fortunate, with severe gashes on his head from multiple stone strikes.

On another occasion, the Palestinians had the needed paperwork to be on their land (that’s right, they have to ask their occupiers for permission to access their land for limited amounts of time, to harvest their olives), and had only just begun to harvest when gun-toting colonists dressed in white descended the hill and began menacing the Palestinians.

What did the Israeli army do? Point their guns at the farmers and tell them to take a hike. Get off their land. The setters have spoken…

There are far worse examples. My encounters and documentation at the time was more on the crimes of the Israeli army against Palestinians. But, B’Tselem has pages of reports and videos of Israeli colonists’ attacks on Palestinians.

In 2015, Haaretz reported colonists had “firebombed” a West Bank house, the ensuing fire burning to death an infant.

The youth I mentioned earlier, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was indeed burned alive by Israelis, in mid-2014. As I wrote some years ago, “Khdeir went missing while going to mosque for morning prayers in occupied Jerusalem. His slight body was found a few hours later charred and beaten. The autopsy report “showed soot in the victim’s lungs and respiratory tract, indicating he was alive and breathing while he was being burnt.”

In a rare instance of justice, the colonist was sent to prison for life for his crime.

But as Israeli rights group Yeshe Din in December 2019 reported, most attacks go unpunished. 

According to their research, “Israeli Police failed in the investigation of 82% of the files opened between 2005 and 2019. 91% of all investigation files were closed without an indictment. After 15 years of monitoring Israeli law enforcement authorities in their handling of complaints filed by Palestinian victims of ideological crimes committed by Israelis, the picture that emerges demonstrates that the State of Israel is failing in its duty to protect Palestinians in the occupied territories from those who would harm them and, in fact, leaves them defenseless as they face assault and harassment.”

In their 2017 report, B’Tselem further noted, “Violent actions of settlers against Palestinians are not exceptions to a rule. Rather, they form part of a broader strategy in which the state colludes, as it stands to benefit from the result. Over time, this unchecked violence is gradually driving Palestinians from more and more locations in the West Bank, making it easier for the state to take over land and resources.

That is the essence: the crimes of Israel’s colonists actually benefit Israel in occupying more and more Palestinian land. So there is incentive to look away, close investigations, let the attacks and murders continue.

In researching for this article I came across yet another account of colonists beating a Susiya resident I knew. The article described an attack in December 2020 on 78 year-old Khalil Haraini. In which, “about 10 settlers rushed out from behind a hill, armed with pistols, rifles, clubs, axes and iron chains. One of them assaulted the elderly farmer, knocking him to the ground. Settlers then beat him with their clubs.

Although I’m not naive enough to believe anything will change after a UN report here or there, I feel the need to write about it still, 13 years after meeting people like Khalil Haraini or the farmers I accompanied.

Their hell continues and, tragically, no one is going to rein in the terrorists known as Israeli settlers. 

RELATED:

-Stealing Palestinian Land in Susiya

illegal colonists assault Palestinian farmers & me

Observations from Occupied Palestine, part 1

Observations from Occupied Palestine: Gaza

Jewish National Fund Plans to Purchase Land to Expand Illegal Settlements

April 14, 2021

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) in Israel approved on Sunday plans to purchase land in the occupied West Bank to expand illegal settlements, mainly in Nablus and Jenin, Haaretz has reported.

The fund is known in Hebrew as Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and still needs to obtain final approval from its board of directors at their meeting on April 22.

According to Haaretz, JNF World Chairman Avraham Duvdevani wants the board to approve the plan so that “controversial land purchases that have already been made” can be approved retrospectively. A JNF-KKL subsidiary has spent “around $30 million” on buying occupied land since 2017.

Moreover, said the Israeli daily, “A group of progressive American Jewish organizations said it was ‘deeply troubled’ by the prospect that the JNF-KKL was moving toward making ‘Palestinian dispossession into its policy.’ The Progressive Israel Network said in a statement it was ‘hopeful that JNF-KKL’s general voting body will reject the decision to participate in settlement expansion when the decision comes to a final vote’ [on 22 April].”

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Zionists’ Efforts to Coopt the BLM Movement: Can Racists Be Anti-Racist?

February 14, 2021

Palestinian artists painting George Floyed on the walls on UNRWA office, in Gaza. (Photo: via UNRWA Website)

By Benay Blend

On February 6, 2021, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza announced that she was pulling out of a World Values Network online gala with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a prominent American Zionist.

“They approached me about having a conversation about the importance of solidarity between black communities and Jewish communities,” she explained, then thanked Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour for amplifying the larger picture.

According to journalist Michael Brown, Garza has a history of denouncing other public figures who joined propaganda trips to Israel. Boteach’s gala, Brown continued, appears just as egregious, for it “follow[s] Boteach’s years of backing the racist Donald Trump, thereby making a mockery of the efforts promoted by Black leaders and the wider Black community to advance racial justice and decolonization.”

Placed within a larger context, Boteach’s move comes at a time when Zionists are increasingly fearful of the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions Movement (BDS)’s success. Coupled with the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to investigate Israel for War Crimes, any support for Palestinian rights will undoubtedly come under attack.

There is a long history of Pan-African support for Palestine which has resulted in Zionists denouncing that alignment. In a lecture series “Palestine and Us: Black and Palestinian Solidarity,” Ahmad Abuznaid traced the history of Black support for Palestine as well as the fall-out from it. Referring to Malcolm X’s Zionist Logic (1964), Abuznaid explained that this statement drew from Malcolm X’s shift from Black Nationalist to a more Pan-Africanist position, particularly after he saw connections between Pan-Arabists, represented by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Pan-Africanists that he was beginning to support.

After the 1967 war, Black Radicals began to move away from seeing Zionism as a liberation movement to viewing it as a colonialist venture, much like the colonialism that was oppressing Africans around the world. Following in this direction, Ethel Minor, a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), wrote a piece in their newsletter entitled “Third World Round-up: The Palestine Problem: Test Your Knowledge,” leading to a split between those, like Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) who would continue to support Palestine on principle, and others who feared that without taking a more “balanced position,” one that included mention of the Holocaust, there would be loss of funding.

Indeed, as Ture made clear“immediately after the statement, phone calls rang in and the checks stopped coming.” Today, organizations, politicians and others who depend on funding are leery of taking a principled stance on Palestine, because, much like what happened with SNCC, Zionist supporters will use whatever means necessary to launch a targeted smear campaign of anyone who is critical of the Israeli state.

For example, in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement’s 2014 platform that denounced the US government’s military aid to Israel, there were claims of “one-sided” and “unfair” from pro-Israel commentators who rejected the coalition’s critique. Several years before B’tselem’s quite similar statement, which was either ignored completely or applauded for its courage, BLM charged the following:

“The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people. Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people.”

The BLM platform also drew ire for its support of BDS. Fear of its success continues to motivate Zionists into the present time. In a piece for Haaretz, Rabbi Dan Dorsch of Atlanta declared that the mainstream Jewish community, and also Palestinian Government officials, have rejected BDS.

He continued that connecting the Black struggle in American to that of Palestinians is “unquestionably shortsighted and will only undermine the credibility of the movement and the important cause of civil rights in America”.

Like several years before, when pro-Israel donors withdrew their funds from SNCC, Rabbi Dorsch was warning that the pattern would continue as long as BLM lent its support to Palestine. Returning to the question of whether Zionists can be anti-racist, the short answer is an emphatic “no.” Quoting a message from Jewish Voice for Peace: “If you oppose racism, you should oppose Zionism too.”

As BDS successes grow and the ICC moves closer to investigate Israel for war crimes, pro-Israel groups will increasingly try to sever anti-racist movements in the US from their ties to Palestinians. Nevertheless, given several factors—the historic connections between Palestine and anti-colonial movements around the world, coupled with the waning acceptance of Progressive Except Palestine–Israel will not succeed.

For example, in a recent article Ramzy Baroud noted that

“Israeli efforts at co-opting Africa countries received a major setback on Saturday, February, 6 when the African Union issued a strong statement of solidarity with Palestine, condemning Israel’s illegal settlement activities and the US’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.”

In return, Palestinians have supported movements against injustice around the globe. Documenting a new round of Palestinian uprisings within the Zionist entity, Gaza-based journalist Wafaa Al-Udaini chose to use a photo from another protest against the Israeli regime.

Dating back a year to the shooting of Iyad al-Halak, an unarmed autistic Palestinian man, Palestinians in the picture also hold signs calling attention to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis the previous week, an extralegal murder that they link with al-Halak.

While Palestinians understand the connections between their struggles and anti-colonial movements in other countries, many liberals in the U.S. do not. Nevertheless, as Marc Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick outline in their new book, Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics, the days are over when so-called progressive public figures can join the anti-racist struggle at home while accepting gifts from Zionist organizations who fully support the Israeli apartheid state.

As Sarah Doyel notes in her review of Hill and Plitnick’s book, the authors observe that

“Democrats will take to the global stage to champion victims of other humanitarian crises, but Palestinians in Gaza living in what is commonly described as ‘the world’s largest open-air prison’ somehow merit little succor in the liberal worldview.”

Their work, Doyel concludes, is “a crucial and ultimately hopeful tool that better equips progressives to combat injustices within their own political circles.” Combined with the work of members of anti-colonial coalitions, some of whom convinced Alicia Garza to withdraw from Shmuley’s gala, perhaps anti-Zionists in the future will be strong enough to resist what will surely be increasing attacks on their political alignment with Palestinians.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Realities of politics and Palestinian aspirations حقائق السياسة وأماني الفلسطيني

**Please scroll down for the Arabic version **

Palestinian politician residing in Jenin, Occupied Palestine

Saada Mustafa  Arshid_

Many Arab and Palestinian policies are built on the fact that Joe Biden’s presidency will  be a natural extension of the policies of the Obama administration, in which Biden was vice president, and president Biden is the same person. I think that’s an inaccurate estimate. The man has a strong personality, he is experienced and experienced in both domestic and foreign politics, and his long experience in Congress has given him the experience and statesmanship he needs, and then there is a lot of water that has taken place  in the valleys of politics  both in Washington and  in the Middle East during the four years  of Trump’s administration, which  has been full of events, which makes the new president obliged to deal  with  those  variables, albeit with a different mentality and policies. If he ever talked about a two-state solution, he ever talked about a two-state solution, it goes back  to a long time ago, and that  does not  mean that he will remain steadfast when he speaks. The new U.S. State Department, which supports the two-state solution, a state (Israel) as a Jewish state and besides it a Palestinian state without sovereignty and dignity, without borders without crossings, without sovereignty over its airspace or the hollow of its territory, without its Jerusalem and some of the West Bank. Last Tuesday, exaggerated statements were made in Ramallah following a speech by the Acting United States Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Richard Wells, in which he said: We will restore relations with the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people, and that many mistakes were made by the administration of former President Trump in this context and must be corrected, but it does not specify what are those mistakes, and it seems certain that the subject of Jerusalem and the transfer of the embassy to it are not one of those mistakes, as well as the annexation of the West Bank from the Jordan, settlements and  goods that have become sold in the United States and written on them.  By Israel, these mistakes may not go beyond cutting off financial aid, closing the PLO office in Washington, and closing the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem.

There is no doubt that the election of Biden was in some respects a coup in the Arab balances  that  have  repercussions on the Palestinian affairs, and he acknowledged in the certainty of many Arab leaders that Trump will remain in the White House for a second term, which led them to invest in supporting his re-election financially and politically, and indeed At the  expense of national security through the processes of normalisation and alliance in its political, security and then economic forms, and this has put them in trouble with the new administration, which has enough files and tools to their necks, making it their plans and dreams and illusions autumn papers, blowing the wind. Biden’s victory, at the same time, was a victory for other regional  powers, which entered into a bitter and strained conflict with the Trump administration, Iran  breathed a sigh of relief, even if there were adjustments to the  nuclear deal with the Obama administration, but with Biden’s arrival, she had passed the difficult stage and had come out  of the bottle, as well as Qatar, a permanent ally of democratic administrations in Washington, and a victory for Qatar’s Muslim Brotherhood allies and Qatar’s Palestinian guests, i.e. Hamas, while at the same time defeating Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and its Palestinian guest, while dealing with an adversary with the Trump administration can be optimistic (and perhaps He is overly optimistic, as we see the Palestinian Authority, which see President Mahmoud Abbas’ call for Trump’s house to be  ruined, has been met with caution, and those who have treated the Trump administration cautiously in its last year find an opportunity to build better relations with the new administration, as Jordan has. Some Arabs are optimistic under Biden, including the Palestinians, as they carry expectations and aspirations above what they can afford, and what comes out of the new U.S. administration is nothing more than delusions and signs that may be misleading — such as talking about a two-state solution — because there are no clear policies or strategies that can be read or built upon yet, This is while the Arab, Islamic and international violations are expanding, with new countries candidates for normalisation, and others in the process of transferring their embassies to Jerusalem, while (Israel) exchanges with Sudan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates embassies, missions, economic and cultural  missions and iron domes, an Arab who was the back of Palestine Its issue and the rights of  its people  will  be at its best only a neutral  intermediary, in the Palestinian (Israeli) relationship, while the Palestinian is totally  absent  from any comment, condemnation or criticism of this nefarious behaviour.

حقائق السياسة وأماني الفلسطيني

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-726-780x470.png
سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد

يتمّ بناء كثير من السياسات العربية والفلسطينية منها على أنّ رئاسة جو بايدن ستكون امتداداً طبيعياً لسياسات إدارة الرئيس الأسبق أوباما، التي كان فيها بايدن نائباً للرئيس، وانّ الرئيس بايدن هو الشخص ذاته. وفي ظني أنّ ذلك تقدير غير دقيق. فالرجل يملك شخصية قوية، وهو مجرّب ومتمرّس في السياسة الداخلية والخارجية على حدّ سواء، وقد منحته تجربته الطويلة في الكونغرس ما يحتاجه من خبرة وحنكة، ثم أنّ مياهاً غزيرة قد جرت في وديان السياسة سواء في واشنطن أو في الشرق الأوسط خلال السنوات الأربع من حكم ترامب والتي كانت مليئة بالأحداث، ذلك ما يجعل الرئيس الجديد ملزماً بالتعامل مع تلك المتغيّرات وإنْ بعقلية وسياسات مختلفة. وإذا كان قد تحدث ذات يوم عن حلّ الدولتين، فإنّ ذلك يعود الى زمن مضى، ولا يعني ذلك أنه سيبقى متمترّساً عند كلمته، فالسياسة أمر دائم التغيّر ولا ثوابت فيها، وكذلك مفهوم حلّ الدولتين الذي يحتمل أكثر من تفسير، مما يدعم هذه النظرة ما قاله منذ أيام، وزير الخارجية الأميركي الجديد بلينكن أمام الكونغرس، من أنه يدعم حلّ الدولتين، دولة (إسرائيل) كدولة يهودية وإلى جانبها دولة فلسطينية منزوعة السيادة والكرامة، بلا حدود بلا معابر، بلا سيادة على أجوائها أو جوف أرضها، بلا قدسها وبعض من الضفة الغربية. الثلاثاء الماضي، صدرت تصريحات مبالغة في تفاؤلها من رام الله اثر حديث أدلى بها القائم بأعمال مندوب الولايات المتحدة في هيئة الأمم السفير ريتشارد ويلز، قال فيه: سنعيد العلاقات مع القيادة الفلسطينية والشعب الفلسطيني، وإنّ أخطاء عديدة كانت قد اقترفتها إدارة الرئيس السابق ترامب في هذا السياق ويجب تصحيحها، ولكنه لم يحدّد ما هي تلك الأخطاء، ويبدو أنّ من الأكيد أنّ موضوع القدس ونقل السفارة إليها ليسا من تلك الأخطاء، وكذلك ضمّ أراضي الضفة الغربية من أغوار ومستوطنات وبضائعها التي أصبحت تباع في الولايات المتحدة ومكتوب عليها أنها من إنتاج (إسرائيل)، ولعلّ تلك الأخطاء لن تتجاوز قطع المساعدات المالية وإغلاق مكتب منظمة التحرير في واشنطن، وإغلاق القنصلية الأميركية في القدس الشرقية.

مما لا شك فيه أنّ انتخاب بايدن كان في بعض جوانبه انقلاباً في التوازنات العربية التي لها انعكاساتها على الشأن الفلسطيني، فقد وقر في يقين عديد من القادة العرب أن ترامب باق في البيت الأبيض لفترة رئاسية ثانية، الأمر الذي دعاهم لأن يستثمروا في دعم إعادة انتخابه مالياً وسياسياً، لا بل وعلى حساب الأمن القومي من خلال عمليات التطبيع والتحالف بأشكاله السياسية والأمنية ثم الاقتصادية، وهذا الذي أوقعهم في مأزق مع الإدارة الجديدة التي تملك من الملفات والأدوات ما يكفى لليّ رقابهم، فجعل ذلك من خططهم وأحلامهم وأوهامهم أوراق خريف، تذروها الرياح. فانتصار بايدن، كان في الوقت ذاته انتصاراً لقوى إقليمية أخرى، دخلت في صراع مرير ومجهد مع إدارة ترامب، إيران تنفست الصعداء، حتى لو جرت تعديلات على الاتفاق النووي الذي أبرمته مع إدارة أوباما، لكنها مع مجيء بايدن، قد تجاوزت المرحلة الصعبة وقد خرجت من عنق الزجاجة، وكذلك قطر، الحليف الدائم للإدارات الديمقراطية في واشنطن، وانتصار لحلفاء قطر من الإخوان المسلمين وضيوف قطر من الفلسطينيين وأقصد هنا حركة حماس، وفي الوقت ذاته هزيمة للسعودية ومصر والإمارات وضيفها الفلسطيني، فيما يستطيع من تعامل بخصومة مع إدارة ترامب بأن يتفاءل (وربما يبالغ في تفاؤله) كما نرى السلطة الفلسطينية التي ترى أنّ دعاء الرئيس أبو مازن على بيت ترامب بالخراب قد تمّت الاستجابة له، ومن تعامل بحذر مع إدارة ترامب في عامها الأخير، أن يجد فرصة لبناء علاقات أفضل مع الإدارة الجديدة، كما حال الأردن. يبدي بعض العرب تفاؤلاً برئاسة بايدن، ومنهم الفلسطينيون، إذ يحملون الأمور توقعات وأماني فوق ما تحتمل، فما يصدر عن الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة ليس أكثر من تهويمات وإشارات قد تكون مضللة – كالحديث عن حلّ الدولتين – إذ لا سياسات أو استراتيجيات واضحة يمكن قراءتها أو البناء عليها حتى الآن، هذا فيما يتسع الخرق العربي والإسلامي والعالمي، بدول جديدة مرشحة للتطبيع، وأخرى بصدد نقل سفاراتها للقدس، فيما تتبادل (إسرائيل) مع السودان والمغرب والإمارات السفارات والبعثات والملحقيات الاقتصادية والثقافية والقباب الحديدية، وهو العربي الذي كان ظهيراً لفلسطين ومسألتها وحقوق شعبها، لن يكون بأحسن أحواله إلا وسيطاً محايداً، في العلاقة الفلسطينية (الإسرائيلية) فيما يغيب الفلسطيني تماماً عن أيّ تعليق أو إدانة أو انتقاد لهذا السلوك الشائن.

Revealed: Israeli Settler Groups With Ties To the US Are Evicting Palestinians in Mass

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

Jessica Buxbaum investigates the slew of Israeli settler groups working to evict Palestinian families from their East Jerusalem homes with the aid of millions of dollars from American donors.

Occupied East Jerusalem — Nearly 20 Palestinian families face homelessness amid a raging pandemic and cold, wet winter in occupied East Jerusalem because of eviction lawsuits from Israeli settler groups backed by wealthy American donors.

Over the last few months, Israeli courts upheld the eviction orders of 16 Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem districts of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah. The evictions are carried out through lawsuits by Israeli company Nachalat Shimon and settler associations Ateret Cohanim and Elad. These three organizations argue the land the families’ homes are on belongs to them because Yemeni Jews owned the land before 1948. Israel’s discriminatory Legal and Administrative Matters Law allows Jews to claim ownership of property they lost during the 1948 War but doesn’t guarantee that same right to Palestinians.

Nachalat Shimon operates in Sheikh Jarrah and is responsible for the evictions of 11 Palestinian families in the neighborhood since 2008. Ateret Cohanim and Elad work to displace Palestinian residents in Silwan and have evicted 14 families in the area since 2015. Silwan is part of Jerusalem’s “Holy Basin,” an area coveted by Jewish settlers because of its proximity to the Old City and purported connections to King David. While 16 families are under threat of imminent eviction, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that over 800 Palestinians are at risk of forced eviction, chiefly as a result of Israeli settlers.

The planned annexation of Greater Jerusalem. Areas in blue are, or soon will be, under Israeli control. Credit | Ir Amim

While Ateret Cohanim and Elad receive Israeli donations, the majority of their money comes from abroad. Ateret Cohanim received nearly 5 million shekels (roughly $1 million U.S. dollars) in foreign donations in 2018 but only 100,000 shekels or $3,000 domestically. Elad, also known as the Ir David Foundation, secured significantly more foreign monies with over 60,000 shekels or $20 million coming from abroad in 2019 and just 760,000 shekels or about $230,000 from Israel.

Public information is limited on where exactly these entities receive their donations from. According to the Israeli settlement watchdog group, Peace Now, Elad has not disclosed a donor list to Israel’s Registrar of Associations since 2005. However, it’s well-documented that Ateret Cohanim receives money from its sister nonprofit American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and Elad receives funds from its American wing, Friends of Ir David.

American money behind the settlements 

The United States’ Internal Revenue Service doesn’t require nonprofits to disclose their donors, allowing American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and Friends of Ir David haven’t to avoid publishing this information in their tax filings. Despite this, Friends of Ir David reported providing grants of $20 million to organizations in the Middle East in 2018. On its tax forms, the group writes its stated purpose is “to provide assistance to organizations in the Old City of Jerusalem and the Ancient City of David.” 

Elad is currently working with the Israel Antiquities Authority to excavate a nearly 300-foot-long tunnel under the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of Silwan in hopes of unearthing the First and Second Jewish Temples. This archaeological dig is part of Israel’s recent efforts to “Judaize” Jerusalem and erase any Palestinian heritage from the city.

American Friends of Ateret Cohanim reported close to $550,000 in 2016 (the most recent filing available). The organization, also known as the Jerusalem Reclamation Project, states that part of its mission is to “provide aid for security equipment in support of the safety and protection of community residents, and provide funds to needy families for housing renovations and repairs.”  

Israeli Settler US dollars
US Ambassador David Friedman, left, talks to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson at an event in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Tsafrir Abayov | AP

Close analysis of IRS reports from 2014-2019 by MintPress News reveals American philanthropists gave large sums to these organizations.

The Hertog Foundation, Irving I Moskowitz Foundation, Adelson Family Foundation, Mindel Foundation, Samueli Foundation, Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Foundation, and the Jewish Communal Fund all donated to Friends of Ir David. The biggest contributors came from the foundations belonging to American billionaires Roger Hertog, Irving Moskowitz, and Sheldon Adelson. The Adelson Family Foundation gifted Friends of Ir David around $3 million in 2018. The Irving I Moskowitz Foundation contributed $1.5 million, and the Hertog Foundation gave around $600,000 during the five-year period.

The Cherna Moskowitz Foundation, the Jewish Communal Fund, and the Mermelstein Foundation have all donated to the American Friends of Ateret Cohanim. During the five years examined, the charity belonging to Irving Moskowitz’s wife, Cherna, gave the most with a total of $775,000.

These foundations, along with American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and Friends of Ir David, are tax-exempt entities. The organizations whose contact information is available did not respond to requests for comment.

Nachalat Shimon is even less transparent than Ateret Cohanim and Elad. According to documents obtained by Peace Now, Shimon Hazadik Holdings LTD is registered in the Israeli Corporation Authority as the owner of Nachalat Shimon.

Peace Now’s investigation also discovered that Shimon Hazadik is registered in Delaware’s Division of Corporations and another company with a similar name—Shimon Hazadik Partners—is also registered in Delaware. Both companies’ statuses have been canceled due to failure to pay taxes. Nachalat Shimon did not respond to a request for comment.

The Jewish National Fund’s hand in advancing settlements

While Nachalat Shimon, Ateret Cohanim, and Elad are the primary entities behind the current evictions, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) has also been involved in evicting Palestinian families, specifically by collaborating with Elad.

The JNF markets itself as an environmental organization helping to green Israel’s landscape. In reality, JNF has uprooted Palestinian communities since before Israel became a state.

+972 Magazine investigation found that JNF has cooperated with Elad lawyers for decades to evict Palestinian families in Silwan. Historical documents indicate that the JNF purchased Palestinian properties in Silwan through its subsidiary, Hemnutah. Hemnutah then works with Elad on eviction proceedings. In coordination with the JNF, Elad is attempting to evict the Sumarin family from their home in Silwan.

The US-Israel connection 

Since Israel’s inception, the state has overwhelmingly relied on American dollars to maintain its occupation of Palestine and the Syrian Golan—whether that’s through military aid or donations to Jewish settlements. Brian Reeves, Peace Now’s director of Development and External Relations, attributes this to the U.S. having the world’s largest Jewish population outside of Israel.

“Israel would not be a country today—100%— if it did not come from foreign funding from the United States,” Reeves said.

“And the United States has continued to invest billions of dollars per year in philanthropic work in Israel,” Reeves added.” “While a lot of that money might sound like it’s going toward archeology and things we all support, it’s actually going to right-wing organizations that are exploiting the archaeology for ideological reasons at the expense of the local Palestinian population.”

While Israeli organizations on the right and the left obtain financial support from the U.S., Reeves pointed out that conservative causes secure substantially more.

“For right-wing people, Israel is their pet project so they’ll put a disproportionate amount of their allocations and philanthropic work toward Israel,” Reeves said.

As an Israeli, though, Reeves’ main concern is how the influx of foreign wealth is subsequently driving the nation’s priorities.

“Coming from an Israeli perspective, how do we feel about the fact that our own politics, media, and country’s agenda is largely influenced by both right-wing Jewish and evangelical funding?” Reeves said. “Imagine if [President Joe] Biden was funded for the most part by outside private donors in foreign countries. It would just be absurd.”

“It’s infringing on our sovereignty and we’re letting it happen.”

إدارة بايدن… فلسطينياً

سعاده مصطفى أرشيد

استطاع بن يامين نتنياهو اعتصار الأيام الأخيرة من رئاسة ترامب، ساعة بساعة ودقيقة بدقيقة، في سباق لاهث مع موعد العشرين من هذا الشهر، وها هو قد حقق على أرض الواقع مجموعة من النقاط والمكاسب الشخصية والانتخابية له، ولجمهوره المتطرّف، ثم لمجموع «الإسرائيليين»، وهي مكاسب من النوع الذي يفرض واقعاً ويكون من الصعب تجاوزه أو العودة عنه لأيّ رئيس وزراء قادم في (إسرائيل) حتى ولو كان ببعض المقاييس معتدلاً، وكذلك على الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة إنْ رغبت – وهي لن ترغب، إذ إنها مرتاحة جداً بما حققت سياسات ترامب – نتنياهو، فما تلك السياسات إلا تعبير عن رغباتها وأمانيها المضمرة ومنسجمة مع قناعاتها، وهي وإنْ كانت تحسب لتنفيذها أكثر من حساب، فإنّ ترامب قد رفع الحرج عنها، سواء في موضوع ضمّ الجولان أو نقل السفارة الأميركية للقدس، أو في صفقته الشهيرة التي منح بها نتنياهو الأغوار والمستوطنات وشمال البحر الميت وبرية الخليل، ويسارع نتنياهو الزمن لتنفيذها خلال الأيام المتبقية، بصمت أو بصوت مرتفع، وكان آخرها إعلان حكومته عن قرارها ببناء مئات الوحدات السكنية الاستيطانية الاثنين الماضي.

أما وقد زال الحرج، ورفع العتب عن الإدارة المقبلة، فإنّ بإمكان بايدن أن يبدو بمظهر المعتدل الحكيم الذي سيحاول معالجة وترميم ما أحدث ترامب من فوضى ودمار، بإعادة إطلاق مسيرة التسوية من جديد، ثم بفتح حوار مباشر مع السلطة في رام الله، وغير مباشر مع غزة. إلى رام الله ستأتي وفود أميركية لعقد لقاءات والتعرّف على عقد ومفاصل الصراع باعتبارهم طارئين عليها، كما يحدث مع كلّ إدارة أميركية جديدة، وستذهب وفود فلسطينية إلى واشنطن، ويزدهر موسم السفر والطيران غرباً برغم عراقيل الوباء. نصيب السلطة من المساعدات المالية سيتسم بالسخاء وتعود وكالة التنمية الأميركية إلى سابق نشاطها في دعم مشاريع ذات شكل يراه الناس، ولكن على أن لا تكون مفيدة، سيُعاد فتح مكتب منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية في واشنطن، كلّ ذلك سيتمّ تسويقه باعتباره انتصاراً للدبلوماسية الفلسطينية، التي سبق لها أن ادّعت محاصرتها للدبلوماسيتين الأميركية و»الإسرائيلية» قبل أيام من الكشف عن مسلسل التطبيع، وقد أعلنت القاهرة الثلاثاء الماضي عن بدء التحضير لاجتماعات رباعية ميونخ لدعم مسار السلام، وذلك بعد عام كامل من الدعوة للاجتماع في مطلع العام الماضي. أما في غزة فسيتولى القطريون إدارة الحوار وينوبون عن الأميركان في تقديم الدعم المالي بحقائب الدولارات الذي ستزيد وزناً وانتفاخاً كلما سارت أمور غزة كما يشتهي ويريد القطري باعتباره الممثل الأول وربما الحصري لسياسات الإدارة الديمقراطية، وبقدر ما تستجيب حركة حماس لخيارات القطري في تركيب وتراتبية قيادتها في المرحلة المقبلة، في الانتخابات الداخلية المقبلة.

ما تقدّم لن يغيّر من حقيقة أنّ الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة لا تقلّ صهيونية ودعماً (لإسرائيل)، وعدوانيّة علينا عن سابقتها الجمهورية في الجوهر، (فإسرائيل) هي ذراعها القوية والضاربة عسكرياً، وقاعدتها المتقدّمة، والنموذج المشابه لها والابن المباشر في السلوك لأبيه، في ادّعاء الديمقراطية والليبرالية وتطبيق نظم الرفاه والرعاية الصحية والاجتماعية، كما يماثله في صفات العدوان والتوحّش وادّعاء التفوّق، ستقوم الإدارة الديمقراطية بدعم وتغطية كامل النشاطات العدوانية والاستيطانية سواء في القدس أو في ما تبقى من الضفة الغربية، فقد أزالت الإدارة السابقة الحَرَج عنها كما ورد آنفاً، وهي تتعامل مع حقائق فاعلة وثابتة على أرض الواقع، هذا فيما يعدّد الفلسطيني انتصاراته وإنجازات دبلوماسيّته، ويحتفي بالضيوف الكرام الوافدين من واشنطن، وإعداد القوائم الطويلة لأعضاء الوفد – الوفود التي ستردّ الزيارة.

العودة إلى مسار التسوية لن يكون فورياً، وقد يستنفذ العام 2021 بأكمله فمن ناحية تجد الإدارة الأميركية أنّ لديها من الملفات الملحّة ما يتفوّق بأولوية على هذا الملف الذي قد لا يكون فيه ما يستدعي الاستعجال، فالعرب يهرولون بتسارع نحو التطبيع، والاهتمام بفلسطين يتآكل بتسارع عربياً وإسلامياً ودولياً، ولا دماء تسيل، ولا اشتباكات تثير فضائيات الأخبار وتشغلها، وسياسات بناء الفلسطيني الجديد وإعادة ترتيب أولوياتة واهتماماته قد آتت أُكُلها، فأمام الرئيس قائمة من العناوين الداخلية المستعجلة وعلى رأسها ملفات وباء الكورونا والانكماش الاقتصادي، وتفكك المجتمع عرقياً وثقافياً، ثم الحالة الشعبوية التي أوجدها ترامب وتجلت في غزوة دهماء على مبنى الكونغرس في الأسبوع الماضي، وملفات خارجية ملحة كالعلاقة مع روسيا والتوتر في بحر الصين ومعها، والملف النووي الإيراني وغير ذلك كثير، ثم أنّ (إسرائيل) ستكون على موعد مع انتخاباتها الرابعة في آذار المقبل، ولا أحد يستطيع الجزم بنتائجها، ولكن مؤشرات عديدة تشير إلى أنّ نتنياهو قد لا يغيب عن مسرح السياسة، والاستطلاعات تعطيه إمكانية الحصول على مقاعد أكثر مما حصل عليه في المرات السابقة، وهو وإنْ غاب عن مسرح السياسة، فإنّ مَن سيرثه في زعامة اليمين، لن يختلف كثيراً عنه إلا في حالة أن يكون أكثر تطرفاً، وأقلّ دبلوماسية ومهارة وخطابة، نتائج الانتخابات بكلّ حال لن تكون حاسمة باتجاه فريق قادر على تشكيل حكومة بسهولة، الأمر الذي سيجعل من مشاورات تشكيلها طويلة، وقد تستمرّ إلى أواخر الصيف فيما يبقى نتنياهو خلال كلّ تلك الفترة رئيساً لحكومة تصريف أعمال، التي قد تنتهي بتشكيل حكومة أو الذهاب إلى انتخابات خامسة، ومن الطبيعي أن ينتظره الأميركي غير المتعجّل الذي سيفضل إطلاق عملية التسوية مع حكومة «إسرائيلية» مستقرة.

هكذا سيمرّ العام 2021، عام انتظار جديد، ولا ندري إنْ كان الأخير، بإمكان الفلسطيني قضاءه في حوارات الوحدة والحديث عن ضرورتها، وعن الانقسام ومخاطره، ثم انتظار فراغ بايدن من معالجة الملفات المزدحمة والملحة على مكتبه، وانتظار مآلات تشكيل حكومة في (إسرائيل) إنْ تشكلت، وقد يجري انتخابات المجلس التشريعي الثالث، بعد عقد ونصف العقد من موعد استحقاقها، بالطبع إنْ وافقت (إسرائيل) على ذلك، مع أو بدون القدس ومناطق (ج) والأغوار، هكذا يحترف الفلسطيني الحزن والانتظار…

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة.

US Labels Illegal Jewish Settlement Products as ‘Made in Israel’

December 24, 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

The US has started to label products from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as “Made in Israel”. Washington claims that this is to mark goods in accordance with import laws and regulations.

In a statement published yesterday by US Customs and Border Protection, it called for the accuracy of the labeling on products from territories held by Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Gaza to be “consistent with the United States’ foreign policy approach.”

Under the new ruling, all products made and packaged in the areas controlled by Israel and its military – including those in the West Bank formerly held by the PA – are to be marked as Israeli-made. The areas mentioned include the West Bank’s Area C, where around 150,000 Palestinians live under Israel’s full control.

The order came into effect yesterday and follows last month’s landmark visit to a settlement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Prior to Pompeo’s visit, he announced that the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against illegal settlement goods will be branded as “anti-Semitic” by the US.

The labeling of goods from Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories has long been a debated issue. Prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the US required all products from those areas to mention Israel. Since 1995, however, products from the West Bank and Gaza have been required to be labeled from those territories; two years later, they were allowed to have the joint label of “West Bank/Gaza”.

In 2016, under President Barack Obama, it was ruled that wrongly labeling settlement goods as “Made in Israel” could lead to fines being levied.

Even though the new ruling has now come into effect, importers have been given a 90-day grace period to implement the changes to their labels.

This new development ensures that consumers who want to buy products from the Palestinian territories and not Israel or its settlements can do so more easily. Nevertheless, such labeling gives US legitimacy to the settlements, all of which are illegal under international law.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

How Gulf states became business partners in Israel’s occupation

Jonathan Cook

14 December 2020 12:29 UTC | 

Since signing the Abraham Accords, the UAE and Bahrain have been actively colluding with Israel’s settler movement and military authorities

The professed rationale for the recent Abraham Accords, so-called “peace deals” signed with Israel by the UAE and Bahrain, was to stymie Israeli efforts to annex swaths of the West Bank. 

The aim was supposedly to neutralise another “peace” plan – one issued early this year by US President Donald Trump’s administration – that approved Israel’s annexation of large areas of the West Bank dominated by illegal Jewish settlements. 

In practice, both have quickly jettisoned any pretence that Palestinians will benefit from these deals

The two Gulf states trumpeted the fact that, in signing the accords in September, they had effectively scotched that move, thereby salvaging hopes of a future Palestinian state. Few observers entirely bought the official story – not least because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that annexation had only been put on temporary hold

The real purpose of the Abraham Accords appeared less about saving Palestinians than allowing Gulf states to go public with, and expand, their existing ties to Israel. Regional intelligence could now be shared more easily, especially on Iran, and the Gulf would gain access to Israeli hi-tech and US military technology and weapons systems. 

Separately, Sudan was induced to sign the accords after promises it would be removed from Washington’s list of “terror-supporting” states, opening the door to debt relief and aid. And last week, Morocco became the fourth Arab state to initiate formal relations with Israel after the Trump administration agreed to recognise its occupation of Western Sahara.

Twisting more arms

Israel, in return, has been able to begin “normalising” with an important bloc of Arab states – all without offering any meaningful concessions on the Palestinian issue.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also reported to have been considering doing their own deals with Israel. Jared Kushner, Trump’s Middle East adviser, visited the region this month in what was widely assumed to be a bid to twist arms. UAE-Israel deal: Abraham accord or Israeli colonialism?

Read More »

Riyadh’s hesitation, however, appears to have increased after Trump lost last month’s US presidential election to Joe Biden. 

Last week, during an online conference held in Bahrain and attended by Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, a former senior Saudi government official, Turki al-Faisal al-Saud, launched a blistering verbal attack on Israel, saying it jailed Palestinians in “concentration camps” and had built an “apartheid wall”. It was unclear whether he was speaking in more than a personal capacity.

While the covert purpose of the Abraham Accords was difficult to obscure, the stated aim – of aiding Palestinians by preventing Israel’s annexation of the West Bank – was still seen as a vital tool for the UAE and Bahrian to sell these agreements back home.

But in practice, both have quickly jettisoned any pretence that Palestinians will benefit from these deals. Not only that, but already they barely bother to conceal the fact that they are actively and tangibly colluding with Israel to harm Palestinians – by bolstering Israel’s illegal settlements and subsidising its military regime of occupation. 

Trade with settlements

Bahrain demonstrated this month how indifferent it is to the negative impacts on Palestinians. On a visit to Israel, the country’s trade minister, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani, said Bahrain was open to importing products from Israel wherever they were manufactured. “We have no issue with labelling or origin,” he said

The comment suggested that Manama was ready to become a gateway for Israel to export settlement products to the rest of the Arab world, helping to bolster the settlements’ legitimacy and economic viability. Bahrain’s trade policy with Israel would then be even laxer than that of the European Union, a top trade partner for Israel. The EU’s feeble guidelines recommend the labelling of settlement products. 

An illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank is pictured on 19 November 2019 (AFP)
An illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank is pictured on 19 November 2019 (AFP)

After wide reporting of Zayani’s comments, Bahrain’s state news agency issued a statement shortly afterwards saying he had been “misinterpreted”, and that there would be no import of settlement goods. But it is hard not to interpret the remarks as indicating that behind the scenes, Bahrain is only too willing to collude in Israel’s refusal to distinguish between products from Israel and those made in the settlements.

That this is the trading basis of the Abraham Accords is further highlighted by reports that the UAE is already welcoming business with Israel’s illegal settlements. An Israeli winery, using grapes grown on the Golan Heights, a large plateau of Syrian territory seized by Israel in 1967 and illegally annexed in 1981, has reportedly started exporting to the UAE, which has liberalised its alcohol laws for non-citizens.

This is a fruitful turn of events for Israel’s 500,000 settlers in the occupied West Bank. They have lost no time touting for business, with the first delegation arriving in Dubai last month hoping to tap new markets in the Arab world via the UAE. Last week a settler delegation reportedly returned to Dubai to sign an agreement with a UAE company to import settlement goods, including alcohol, honey, olive oil, and sesame paste.

New low-point 

This marks a new low-point in the shift by Arab states away from their original position that Israel was a colonial implant in the region, sponsored by the West, and that there could be no “normalisation” – or normal relations – with it. 

In 2002, Saudi Arabia launched the Arab Peace Initiative, which offered Israel full diplomatic relations in return for ending the occupation. But Gulf states are now not only normalising with Israel when the occupation is actually intensifying; they are normalising with the occupation itself – as well as its bastard progeny, the settlements. 

The peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain will help the settlements entrench further, assisting Israel’s longstanding policy of annexing the West Bank in all but name

Israel has built more than 250 settlements across a vast expanse of occupied Palestinian territory – 62 percent of the West Bank, referred to as Area C under the Oslo Accords. This area was supposed to be gradually transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the government-in-waiting under Mahmoud Abbas, to become the territorial backbone of a Palestinian state. 

Instead, over the past quarter of a century, Israel has used its supposedly temporary control over Area C to rapidly expand the settlements, stealing vital land and resources. These colonies have been highly integrated into Israel, with settler roads criss-crossing the occupied West Bank and tightly limiting Palestinian movement.

The peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain will help the settlements entrench further, assisting Israel’s longstanding policy of annexing the West Bank in all but name, through the creation of facts on the ground – the very outcome the Abraham Accords claimed they were meant to prevent. 

Yossi Dagan, head of the West Bank regional council that visited Dubai last month, declared that there was “no contradiction between our demand to impose sovereignty [annex large parts of the West Bank] and the strengthening of commercial and industrial ties” with the Gulf. 

Al-Aqsa dividend

In other words, settlers see the Abraham Accords as a business opportunity to expand their footprint in the occupied West Bank, not an obstacle. The likely gains for the settlers will include tourism, too, as visitors from the Gulf are expected to flock to al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. 

The irony is that, because of Israel’s physical seizure of areas around the Islamic holy site and its control over access, Gulf Arabs will have far greater rights at al-Aqsa than the majority of Palestinians, who cannot reach it.

Jordan, which has long been the custodian of al-Aqsa, justifiably fears that Saudi Arabia may use a future accord with Israel to muscle its way into taking charge of the Jerusalem holy site, adding it to its guardianship of Mecca and Medina. 

Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in June 2018 (AFP)
Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in June 2018 (AFP)

In occupied Jerusalem, Palestinians are deprived of the chance to develop their own housing, let alone infrastructure to cope with the business opportunities provided by the arrival of wealthy Gulf Arabs. That should leave Israel and its settler population – rather than Palestinians – well-placed to reap the dividends from any new tourism ventures.

In a supreme irony, a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family has bought a major stake in the Beitar Jerusalem football team, whose supporters are fiercely anti-Arab and back the takeover of East Jerusalem by settlers. 

Palestinian laboratories

During his visit, Bahrain’s Zayani observed that, as his country geared up for flights to and from Israel next month: “We are fascinated by how integrated IT and the innovation sector in Israel has been embedded in every facet of life.” Israel-UAE deal: The Emiratis are now under Israel’s thumb

Read More »

But Israel’s technology sector is “embedded in every facet of life” only because Israel treats the occupied Palestinian territories as a laboratory. Tests are conducted there on how best to surveil Palestinians, physically limit their movement and freedoms, and collect their biometric data

The hi-tech firms carrying out these experiments may be formally headquartered inside Israel, but they work and profit from their activities in the occupied territories. They are a vast complex of settlement businesses in their own right.

This is why Nabil Shaath, an aide to Abbas, observed of the Gulf’s burgeoning ties with Israel that it was “painful to witness Arab cooperation with one of the worst manifestations of aggression against the Palestinian people, which is the Israeli settlements on our land”. 

Settler ally

How enthusiastically the UAE and Bahrain are getting into the occupation business, and preparing to subsidise its worst features, is highlighted by the Abraham Fund, set up by the US in October. It is a vehicle for Gulf states and Israel to secure billions of dollars in private investment to underpin their new diplomatic relations. 

Again, the official story has glossed over the reality. According to statements from the main parties, the fund is intended to raise at least $3bn to bolster regional economic cooperation and development initiatives.

If the oil-rich Gulf states help pick up the tab, they will incentivise Israel to stay put and steal yet more Palestinian land and resources

The UAE’s minister of state, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, has said: “The initiative can be a source of economic and technological strength for the region, while simultaneously improving the lives of those who need the most support.”

The fund is supposed to help Palestinians, as one of those groups most in need of support. But again, the main parties are not playing straight. The deception is revealed by the Trump administration’s selection of who is to head the Abraham Fund, one of its last appointments before the handover to Biden. 

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the fund will be overseen by Aryeh Lightstone, a fervently right-wing rabbi and ally of Israel’s settler community. Lightstone is a senior adviser to David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel who has his own strong ties to the settlements. Friedman pushed aggressively for the US to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem. Trump finally did so in May 2018, breaking an international consensus against locating diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. 

Checkpoint upgrade

The political priorities of Lightstone are evident in one of the Abraham Fund’s first declared projects: to “modernise” Israeli checkpoints across the occupied West Bank. 

The checkpoint upgrade is being hailed by US officials as designed to benefit Palestinians. It will speed up their passage as they try to move around the occupied West Bank, and as those with permits enter Israel or the settlements to work. One senior Trump administration official promised checkpoint delays that currently keep Palestinians waiting for many hours could be dramatically cut: “If I can upgrade that, which doesn’t cost a lot of money, and have it take 30 seconds, I am blowing up [freeing up] 400,000 work hours a day.”

There are many glaring problems with this approach – not least that under international law, belligerent military occupations such as Israel’s must be temporary in nature. Israel’s occupation has endured for more than five decades already. 

Palestinians make their way through a checkpoint north of Hebron on 4 October (AFP)
Palestinians make their way through a checkpoint north of Hebron on 4 October (AFP)

Efforts to make the occupation even more permanent – by improving and refining its infrastructure, such as through upgrades to create airport-style checkpoints – is in clear breach of international law. Now the Gulf will be intimately involved in subsidising these violations.

Further, the idea that the Abraham Fund’s checkpoint upgrade is assisting Palestinians – “those who most need support” – or developing their economy is patently ridiculous. The fund is exclusively helping Israel, a robust first-world economy, which is supposed to shoulder the costs of its military rule over Palestinians. 

The Abraham Fund’s planned checkpoint upgrade is actually a subsidy by the Gulf to the settlements

The economic costs of occupation are one of the few tangible pressures on Israel to withdraw from the territories and allow Palestinians sovereignty. If the oil-rich Gulf states help pick up the tab, they will incentivise Israel to stay put and steal yet more Palestinian land and resources.

Indeed, the hours being freed up, even assuming that is what actually happens, are unlikely to help the Palestinian economy or bring financial benefits to the Palestinian labourers Israel has made dependent on its economy through the lengthy occupation. To develop their own economy, Palestinians need their land and resources stolen by Israel restored to them.

Herding Palestinians

Seen another way, the Abraham Fund’s planned checkpoint upgrade is actually a subsidy by the Gulf to the settlements. That is because the very purpose of the checkpoints is to enforce Israeli control over where and when Palestinians can travel in their homeland. 

Israel uses the checkpoints as a way to herd Palestinians into particular areas of the occupied West Bank, especially the third under nominal PA control, while blocking their entry to the rest. That includes a denial of access to the West Bank’s most fertile land and its best water sources. Those areas are exactly where Israel has been building and expanding the settlements.From Egypt to the UAE, normalisation with Israel heralds disaster

Read More »

Palestinians are in a zero-sum battle against the settlers for control over land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Any help Israel receives in restricting their movement through checkpoints is a loss to Palestinians and a victory for the settlers. Modernised checkpoints will simply be far more efficient at herding Palestinians where Israel and the settlers want them to be.

In partnering with Israel on upgrading checkpoints, the Gulf will be aiding Israel in making its technology of confinement and control of the Palestinian population even more sophisticated, benefiting once again the settlers. 

This is the real story of the Gulf’s Abraham Accords – not simply of turning a blind eye to Israel’s decades-long oppression of Palestinians, but of actively becoming partners with Israel and the settlers in carrying out that oppression. 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Hezbollah Special Forces to Infiltrate, Take Control of Several ‘Israeli’ Settlements – INSS Study

Hezbollah Special Forces to Infiltrate, Take Control of Several ‘Israeli’ Settlements - INSS Study

By Staff

A 73-page study by the ‘Israeli’ entity’s Institute for National Security Studies [INSS] exposed the weakness the Zionist military would show in any future war with Hezbollah.

With the northern front being the most difficult and main challenge for the ‘Israeli’ entity, and today’s estimations hinting that neither Hezbollah nor Iran are interested in a battle with ‘Israel’, readiness for a possible escalation or war breakout is required, as a result of the transformations or the wrong estimations in this regard.

According to the study, ‘Israel’ will face in the future war new and more difficult challenges than the ones it faced before amid the new threats that will affect a war’s characteristics, if it happened.

Supposing that the war will take place on two fronts at one, the military and civilian fronts, the latter will be hit with a higher average of missiles, in comparison with the previous conflicts, especially in the first stage of war. At the same time, the number of launched missiles will cover a wider range than that in previous conflicts with Hezbollah and Hamas. Relatively, the civilian front will be endangered on different levels, which impedes the ‘security’ Zionist settlers currently feel.

Meanwhile, the head of institute declared that “the situation is alarming for the ‘Israeli’ society. He explained that the lack of the spirit of common destiny, common goal, solidarity, and readiness to bear the burdens during the Coronavirus crisis raise major concerns regarding the results of war.”

Brigadier General Udi Dekel warned of several related scenarios, including attacks targeting the internal ‘Israeli’ front using thousands of missiles, dozens of which are precision-guided ones. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAVs] are also set to be deployed simultaneously from different fronts.

Additionally, several Special Units from Hezbollah forces will infiltrate to the occupied territories and take control of the border settlements, vital facilities along the Lebanese border, as well as the occupied Golan, the study noted, warning that severe damage will be caused to strategic targets within the Zionist entity.

The study came up with a conclusion that the battle will be fought on different fronts in Lebanon, Syria, west Iraq and the possible involvement of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

The study’s conductors pointed that the scenario of the sudden attack, when the ‘Israeli’ ‘defense’ systems are not ready, may harm the military capability. This will reflect in a spontaneous response, readiness of the aerial forces, and mobilization of reserve forces.

In any scenario, the study added, ‘Israel’s’ enemy will focus on causing damage inside the civilian front, and breaking the Zionist entity’s economy.

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

By Ali Abadi, Al-Ahed News

Why are we witnessing the intensification of normalization efforts between Arab regimes and the Zionist entity following the US presidential elections? What options does Donald Trump have during the remainder of his time in office?

Prior to the US elections, it was clear that the goal of the normalization agreements was to boost Trump’s reelection campaign. But the extension of the normalization current beyond the election that Trump lost has other potential objectives:

–    Attracting additional support for Trump in his battle to cling to power by sharpening the capabilities of the Zionist constituencies to support his electoral appeals that don’t have a great chance of success. But Trump has not given up yet in his efforts to reverse the results.

–    Sending important signals to those concerned at home and abroad that Trump still has vigor, as he plans to complete the goals he set and stay on the political scene. If he were to lose the presidency now, he may return in 2024, as those close to him have hinted. In the meantime, he seeks to gain support from the Jewish and Christian Zionist circles as a “man of word and action” in supporting “Israel” absolutely and without hesitation.

With Trump preoccupied with the battle to cling to power at home, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is abroad – touring as “Israel’s” minister of foreign affairs accompanied by Arab ministers to sign more normalization agreements. He is legalizing “Israeli” settlements and the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights and declaring a move to criminalize the campaign of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). 

It’s worth noting that months before the US elections, Pompeo reportedly had his sights set on the 2024 presidential race. As such, Pompeo, who identifies with Trump’s approach and acts as his obedient supporter, plans to be the natural heir to the Trumpian current in the event that its leader is absent due natural causes like death or unnatural causes such as imprisonment due to his legal issues. 

He is also preparing the groundwork for the birth of an “Israeli”-Arab alliance (Saudi, Bahraini, and Emirati) standing in the face of the Islamic Republic of Iran and adding further complications to any possible return of the Biden administration to the nuclear deal.

Saudi and “Israeli” officials are now speaking in one voice about a “no return” to the nuclear agreement, as they set the conditions and limits that they feel the next American administration should abide by. This is also a reflection of widespread concerns over the failure of Trump’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran. 

This was the background for news reports about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meeting “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saudi territory – a get-together arranged by Pompeo.

The choice for war is in the balance

All of the above are possibilities. But does that give way to expectations for a military adventure against Iran, for example, during the transitional period before Joe Biden takes office on January 20?

No sane person can absolutely deny such a possibility. In this context, news about the US strategic B-52 bomber’s flight to the region, the possibility of supplying US bombs that penetrate fortifications to the Zionist entity, the dismissal of US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the withdrawal of US units from Iraq and Afghanistan trickled in. 

The last move may be aimed at withdrawing targets near Iran in the event Washington takes military action against Tehran. However, attacking Iran militarily is not an American desire as much as it is an “Israeli” and Saudi one. The Pentagon has previously opposed military action against Iran, at a time when the US military has not recovered from its wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

This view does not appear to have changed, and US military commanders are unlikely to agree to put the military during the transition period on the course of a new war in the Middle East for personal or populist purposes. 

There are other considerations too. The costs of the war and its consequences are difficult to determine. Trump also knows that the mood of the American public can’t bear sacrifices abroad, financially or on a humanitarian level.

What about other possibilities?

Based on Trump’s behavior over the past four years, it appears the US president prefers to score goals and make quick deals. He is not inclined to get involved in prolonged duels. As such, it’s possible to predict that Trump will resort to localized strikes in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen (there is talk about the possibility of placing Ansarullah on the list of terrorist organizations) or cover a possible “Israeli” strike in Lebanon under one pretext or another. 

He could also resort to assassinating figures affiliated with the axis of resistance, and this possibility is more likely, especially in Iraq and Syria. Trump revealed in recent months that he thought about assassinating the Syrian president, and there are also American threats directed at leaders of the resistance factions in Iraq.

In conclusion, any aggressive military action against Iran appears to be a rooted “Israeli” option that Netanyahu tried to market to the Americans since the Obama era but failed. He is trying to strike Iran via the Americans, but Washington has other calculations and options. 

The Saudis have also urged successive US administrations to strike Iran, according to what appeared in WikiLeaks documents quoting the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The window of opportunity for major military action before Trump’s departure appears narrow. He may consider the rapid operations approach followed by similar actions against Iran’s allies to deal a moral blow to Tehran, cut back its regional leadership role, and besiege its growing influence in the power equation with the Zionist entity that is challenging the US hegemony over the region.

However, we should add that the axis of resistance has its own plans for the confrontation. It withstood the maximum pressure and is able to turn any adventure into an opportunity, relying on its vigilance and accumulated capabilities.

BDS: US to label Israel boycott movement as ‘antisemitic’

ٍSource

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes announcement as he prepares to visit illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank

The United States will label the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, as antisemitic, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.

Calling the movement “a cancer”, Pompeo said the US “will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as antisemitic… We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is.”

Pompeo made his comments in a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he prepared to visit an illegal Israeli settlement in a controversial breach of diplomatic protocol.

The outgoing secretary of state also said he will defy convention and visit the occupied Golan Heights.

The Golan Heights is Syrian territory that has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war, but was unilaterally recognised as Israeli by the US last year.

Pompeo’s announcements come as four Republican Senators call on US President Donald Trump to allow goods made in Israeli settlements as to be labelled as “Made in Israel”. 

Established in 2005, the BDS movement seeks to apply financial pressure on Israel to address its violation of Palestinians’ rights, a tactic the Israeli government has actively sought to discredit. The movement is inspired by the international pressure placed on South Africa’s apartheid regime.

Over the years, Israeli authorities have increased efforts to fight BDS, passing a number of laws seeking to criminalise calls for a boycott of Israel or Israeli companies.

Settlement-building is seen by many as the greatest obstacle for Israeli-Palestinian peace. However it has seen a huge uptick since Trump, a staunch supporter of Israel, took office in 2016.

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (05- 11 November 2020)

Source

Auto Draft

05 – 11 November 2020

  • In 96 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 94 civilians arrested, including 9 children, 2 women (including a journalist)
  • IOF raids a hospital in Tulkarm and fired sound bombs inside its premises, inciting fear among patients and medical crews
  • IOF demolished a house and a car wash in Jerusalem, and bulldozed an aluminium workshop in Hebron
  • IOF established 70 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints

Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians. This week, Kamal N. Abu-Wa’ar, a 46-year-old Palestinian imprisoned by Israel for the last 17 years was pronounced dead on Tuesday evening, 10 November 2020, at Shamir Medical Center in Israel. The late Abu-Wa’ar, originally from Yabad village near Jenin, suffered throat cancer and his health had been steadily declining for over a year. Abu-Wa’ar is the second prisoner to die in Israeli prison this year.

Abu-Wa’ar’s death shed a light on the general decline in the living conditions for thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, and reveals the extent of punitive measure Israel shamelessly adopts against them; namely medical negligence, as Israeli authorities delay offering needed medical treatment, and do not provide the necessary medications for hundreds of prisoners with chronic and dangerous diseases. This manifestation is a serious violation of the occupation authority’s duties to provide humane imprisonment conditions and health care pursuant to the Fourth Geneva Convention stipulations, particularly Articles 85 and 125.

IOF also continued to create new facts on the ground by maintaining its policy of demolishing, confiscating and razing Palestinian houses and properties for its settlement expansion schemes in the West Bank.

This week, PCHR documented 180 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information contained in this report are only part of the continued IOF violations.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

Seven Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, sustained wounds in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank; as well as one fisherman in Gaza. Also this week, IOF raided Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarem, northern West Bank; fired sound bombs in the emergency room terrorizing patients and medical crews and causing damage.

In the Gaza Strip, six IOF shootings were reported at agricultural lands eastern Gaza Strip; and two other shooting incidents against fishing boats, western Gaza.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 96 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 94 Palestinians were arrested, including 9 children and 2 women (one is journalist). In Gaza, IOF conducted a limited incursion into eastern Central Gaza.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 7 incidents, including:

  • Bethlehem: a Palestinian was served a notice to vacate his land for planned confiscation; an agricultural room was demolished;
  • East Jerusalem: Demolitions in Wadi Al-Rababa – Silwan village; a car wash, container and barracks were demolished in ‘Anata; and a house demolished in Sur Baher.
  • Hebron: an aluminium workshop destroyed; 5 cease-construction served to 3 Palestinians for alleged unlicensed construction.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented an incident where a group of settlers detained a Palestinian in his land in al-Rajman area, Beit Dajan, Nablus.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure 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.

Meanwhile, IOF 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 checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

  1. Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity
  • At approximately 17:00 on Thursday, 05 November 2020, IOF gunboats stationed off al-Waha area, northwest of Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 nautical miles, opened heavy fire and pumped water at them, causing fear and panic among them and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 07:00 on Friday, 06 November 2020, IOF stationed near the annexation wall along Eastern Toura village borders, west of Jenin, opened fire at a 25-year-old civilian, from Nazlet Zeid village, when he was near the security fence. As a result, he was injured with a bullet in the right shoulder.
  • At approximately 09:40, IOF stationed inside the Gaza-Israel border fence, east of Deir al-Balah in Central Gaza Strip opened fire at the agricultural lands by the landfill, west of the border fence. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 14:00, Palestinian young men gathered in Bab al-Zawiyah area in central Hebron and threw stones and empty bottles at the checkpoint established at the entrance to the closed Shuhadaa’ Street leading to Tel Rumeida area. IOF fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at the stone-throwers and chased them to the market area, forcing shops to close.  The clashes continued until 18:00, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 12:30 on Saturday, 07 November 2020, IOF stationed at the “northern entrance” established on Kafr Qaddum lands, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a protest organized by dozens of Palestinian civilians. IOF chased the young men, who gathered in the area and clashed with them, firing rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, a 22-year-old civilian was injured with a rubber bullet in the back while another 20-year-old was injured with a rubber bullet in the foot.
  • At approximately 16:00, an IOF infantry unit moved from the watchtower established at the western entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, into the refugee camp, north of Hebron.  The soldiers deployed between houses, and young men gathered in the area and confronted the troops by throwing stones at them.  The soldiers chased the stone-throwers through the neighborhoods, firing sound bombs and teargas canisters.  As a result, a number of young men suffocated due to teargas inhalation.  The soldiers were in the camp until 18:00 while no house raids were reported.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF gunboats stationed off al-Waha area, northwest of Beit Lahia, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 1 nautical mile and opened heavy fire at them.  As a result, Mohammad ‘Ali Yasin Zayed (26),  fisherman from Beit Lahia, sustained a minor injury caused by a rubber bullet in the left thigh when he was on a boat with his brother, Maysarah (18). The shooting and chasing also caused fear and panic among fishermen and forced them to flee.
  • At approximately 07:00 on Sunday, 08 November 2020, IOF stationed inside the Gaza-Israel border fence, northeast of al-Bureij in central Gaza Strip, fired teargas canisters at bird hunters, west of the border fence.  No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 12:00, IOF stationed inside the border fence, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at the agricultural lands and a sanitation truck in eastern ‘Abasan town adjacent to the fence.  No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 20:00, Karam Eyad Mahmoud Sammar (17) from al-Yamun village, northwest of Jenin, sustained various bruises all over his body  after being assaulted by IOF when he was near the security fence in Rumana village to the western side of Jenin.  An ambulance arrived and took him to the Governmental Hospital in Jenin. Sammar was trying to infiltrate into Israel via the security fence seeking a job opportunity. 
  • At approximately 01:30 on Monday, 09 November 2020, IOF raided Dr. Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital, IOF moved into the Hospital’s western yard in Tulkarm, north of the West Bank. One of its soldiers fired sound bombs inside the Emergency Department, causing fear among patients and their companions and some damage. 
  • At approximately 08:00 on Monday, 09 November 2020, IOF inside the border fence, northeast of al-Bureij in central Gaza Strip fired teargas canisters at some bird hunters, west of the border fence.  No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 07:30 on Tuesday 10 November 2020, IOF stationed inside the Gaza – Israel border fence, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at the adjacent agricultural lands in eastern Qarara. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF moved into ‘Ebeid neighborhood, west of al-‘Isawiyah village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.  They deployed in the neighborhood and established checkpoints at the main entrance.  Meanwhile, young Palestinian men protested and threw stones, fireworks and Molotov Cocktails at the IOF, who responded by firing rubber-coated metal bullets, teargas canisters and sound bombs at the protesters.  IOF arrested Anwar Sai ‘Abeid (22).
  • Also on Tuesday evening, Kamal N. Abu-Wa’ar, a 46-year-old Palestinian imprisoned by Israel for the last 17 years was pronounced dead on Tuesday evening, 10 November 2020, at Shamir Medical Center in Israel. The late Abu-Wa’ar, originally from Yabad village near Jenin, suffered throat cancer and his health had been steadily declining for over a year.

In October 2019, Abu-Wa’ar, who was imprisoned at Jalbou’ prison, was diagnosed with throat cancer and transferred to Rambam Hospital in Haifa for chemotherapy, which was delivered to him via a chest-tube. His health condition rapidly deteriorated, as he suffered breakdown of platelets, extreme fatigue, and difficulty breathing, dysphasia, and extreme weight loss as he required tube feeding, according to the Commission of Detainees Affairs. Last July, Abu Wa’ar contracted COVID-19 and was transferred from Jalbou’ prison to Ramla Prison Clinic. He was put on an assistive breathing device; but unfortunately, his health continued to decline, and he was transferred back to Shamir Medical Center where he was pronounced dead yesterday.

Abu-Wa’ar’s death shed a light on the general decline in the living conditions for thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, and reveals the extent of punitive measure Israel shamelessly adopts against them; namely medical negligence, as Israeli authorities delay offering needed medical treatment, and do not provide the necessary medications for hundreds of prisoners with chronic and dangerous diseases. This manifestation is a serious violation of the occupation authority’s duties to provide humane imprisonment conditions and health care pursuant to the Fourth Geneva Convention stipulations, particularly Articles 85 and 125.

Also, Abu-Wa’ar’s death highlights the persistent Israeli disregard for repeated calls for the release of dozens of Palestinian prisoners with chronic and serious diseases who have spent many years behind bars, all the while neglecting its duty to provide them with adequate health care services. Many Palestinian prisoners lost their lives due to this deliberate indifference, the latest victim was Sa’di Khalil al-Gharabli (74) from Gaza City, who died on 08 July 2020, after spending 26 years in imprisonment, and had suffered chronic diseases, including prostate cancer; yet, he was left to die in prison.

  • At approximately 06:50 on Wednesday, 11 November 2020, IOF stationed inside the Gaza-Israel border fence, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at the adjacent agricultural lands and bird hunters, east of Khuza’a. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 08:30, IOF stationed by the annexation wall near “Oranit” settlement, southern Qalqilya, opened fire at a group of Palestinians attempting to cross into their lands to harvest olive trees in Azzun Atma village. As a result, Mo’nes M. I. Younis (16) from Sanniriya village, Qalqilya, sustained three rubber-bullet injuries in the abdomen and feet. He was immediately transported to Yaser Arafat Hospital in Salfit for treatment.
  • At approximately 13:00, a group of Palestinians gathered by the entrance of Fawwar refugee camp, Hebron, where IOF maintain a military watchtower. The group blocked the road and set tiers ablaze. Two IOF patrols arrived at the camp’s main road and were met with stones; soldiers chased the boys across fields and fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, many suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. The clashes continued until 17:00, during which IOF closed the camp’s entrance and banned traffic to and from the camp.
  • At approximately 15:00, a group of young men and boys gathered by the entrance to Beit Ummar village, northern Hebron, where IOF maintain a military watchtower. The group threw stones at the watchtower and set tires on fire. IOF military vehicles arrived at the village; soldiers chased the stone-throwers in Asida area and fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, many suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. The clashes continued until18:30, IOF fired rubber bullets and injured a 14-year-old boy in his right hand, and a 16-year-old boy in his left leg. They were both transported to the emergency department in the village.
  • At approximately 15:30, a group of young men and boys gathered by al-Bireh’s northern entrance and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed at al-Mahkama military checkpoint, established near “Beit El” settlement, north of al-Bireh. A group of soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades, as well as rubber bullets and clashes erupted causing dozens of cases of tear-gas inhalation. IOF chased and arrested: Amro A. Arar (19); Ahmed H. Dar Omar (20) from Qarawat Bani Zeid village, northwestern Ramallah. The group gathered again and threw stones at the soldiers stationed behind cement blocks; the soldiers responded with shooting tear gas canisters, directly aimed at the boys, and chased them. They arrested 6 Palestinians, including 2 children and detained them inside al-Mahkama checkpoint. The arrestees are: Mounir S. Abu-Arkoub (17), from Kafr Ein village; Yousif A. Dardas (17) and Khaled M. al-Masri (24) from Abwein village; Fathi M. Fahel (20) from Kobar village; Amer A. Qendah (18), from Abu Shukheidim village; and Baraa Shalaldeh (20), from Ramallah.

II. Incursions and arrests:

Thursday, 05 November 2020:

  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into al-Issawiya village, northeast to the occupied East  Jerusalem. They raided and searched Yazan Amjad Obaid’s (19) house and took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Khillat Hadour, the southern area of Hebron. They raided and searched Abdullah Wissam Abu Shamsiya’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Illar, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (5) civilians and released them later. The arrestees are: Emad Ahmed Abu Esba, Nazeer Mohammed Nassar, Jameel Jamal Ja’ar, Jaser Mohammed Kharouf, and Nader Salem Kharouf.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Attil village, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Marwan Mahmoud Sidqi and Amjad Adnan Abu Khalil. They were released later.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Deir al-Ghusun village, north of Tulkarm. They arrested Fo’ad Mohammed al-Qeb and released him later.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Seida village, north of Tulkarm, and arrested Lo’ay Fadi al-Ashqar and Fadi Monther Raddad. IOF released them later.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Abu Freiha area in Beit Sahur. They raided and searched Hamada Omar Abayat’s (30) house and took him to an unknown destination.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Issawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Yazan Amjad Obaid (19), and Yazan Emran Obaid (18), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron. They raided and searched Abdullah Mohammed Rasras’ (25) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Deir Sharaf village, west of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Fakher ‘Aqil As’ad Zaghloul (22).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Beit Hanina, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ahmed Ali Shalalida’s house and took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 04:30, IOF moved into Azun, east of Qalqiliya, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians. The arrestees are: Abdul Karim Yaser Hussain (24), Mostafa Sufian al-Riyashi (23), and Zeid Fathi Swaidan (19).
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF moved into Beit Rima village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched Ghassan Ehsan al-Rimawi’s (31) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF stormed a bird’s store bear Road 90 in al-Auja village, north of Jericho governorate. They raided and searched the store which belongs to Omar Nasrallah al-Salaima and confiscated about 20 birds (various kinds).
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF moved into Wadi al-Joz, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched the Secretary General of the Clans of Jerusalem and Palestine, and head of the Arab Jerusalem Campaign, Abdullah Hasan ‘Alqam (53), and arrested him.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Ali Mohammed al-Kaswani’s (18) house and took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Sebstia in Nablus governorate; al-Nazla al-Sharqiya and al-Wusta, north of Tulkarm; Azun, east of Qalqilya; and Kafr Ne’ma, west of Ramallah. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 06 November 2020:

  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Mazra’a al-Gharbiya village, north of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched Laith Mahmoud Ladadwa’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin. They deployed among civilians’ houses and stormed two houses belonging to Najeeb Awni Hawil (30) and Ahmed Mahmoud Nasharti (28).
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Beit Kahil and Deir al-‘Asal, in Hebron governorate; Ramallah and Bituniya, west of Ramallah. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 07 November 2020:

  • At approximately 22:00, IOF arrested Hamza al-Tamimi (22), from Dahiyat al-Salam area in Anata, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem, while appearing for a summons from the Israeli Intelligence Services, and he was brought to the court the next morning. It should be noted that al-Tamimi was arrested a day before his wedding day.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF arrested Mosbah Majed al-Waridat (33), from al-Thahiriya, south of Hebron, while present near the border fence near “Meitar” military checkpoint, west of the village. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF stationed at Container military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, arrested Monjed Mohammed al-Darawish (27), from Dura, south of Hebron governorate, while passing through the checkpoint. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (3) incursions into Yatta, Hebron and Surif. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 08 November 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into the prisoner Nazmi Mohammed Abu Baker’s (49) house, from Yabad, west of Jenin. They raided and searched the house and no arrests were reported. It should be noted that Abu Baker was accused of killing an Israeli soldier by throwing a stone at his head in an IOF raid into the village in May 2020.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (4) civilians; Ahmed Marwan Abu Jom’a (20), Ameer Ra’ed Abu Mfareh (21), Mohammed Naji Abu Jom’a (18), and Abdullah Mohammed Abu Jom’a (19).
  • At approximately 10:00, Ali Belal Taha (17), from Shu’fat refugee camp, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem, surrendered himself to al-Ramla prison to serve his 4 and a half months sentence. Taha was previously injured by IOF.

Bilal Taha stated that his son, Ali, received a summons to surrender himself after being sentenced to jail last week. Taha would stay in al-Ramla prison for 2 weeks (within the COVID-19 preventive measures) then he will be transferred to al-Damoun prison to serve the full duration of his sentence. Taha said that his son was injured in 02 July 2019, while passing through Shu’fat refugee camp’s checkpoint, when IOF opened fire at him and shot him in the leg.  IOF arrested him while he was bleeding; despite the injury they assaulted him and detained him in a room before transferring him to the hospital via an Israeli ambulance. His family knew nothing about him, and they were banned from accompanying him. Taha added that Ali spent 14 days under arrest in the hospital despite his injury, then he was released on an open-ended house arrest in Beit Hanina. In September 2019, his sentence was reduced from the house arrest in Beit Hanina to house arrest in his house in Shu’fat refugee camp. He also mentioned that Ali had received 8 surgeries and is still in need for two others.

  • At approximately 11:00, IOF moved into Beit Hanina, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Shady Saad al-Mtour’s (44) house, the Secretary of Fatah movement in Jerusalem, and handed him a summons to refer to al-Maskoubeya investigation center in West Jerusalem.

Fadi al-Mtour, Shady’s brother, said that the Israeli Intelligence Services interrogated his brother for several hours and then they handed him a decision signed by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security that imposed restrictions on his movement claiming that he was perpetuating Palestinian sovereignty inside Jerusalem and threatening the security of Israel. Fadi added that his brother was prevented from making any activities in Jerusalem or providing any assistances, even humanitarian, for the city residents; he was also banned from organizing or participating in any conferences or events in the city. It should be noted that this decision came after dozens of decisions, summonses, and arrests against Mr. al-Mtour, including banning his entry to al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem’s Old City, and prohibition on his contact with 22 activists and prominent figures.

  • At approximately 15:00, IOF stationed at Bab Huta, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, arrested Shady Talal Abu Snaina (26). He was taken to one of the police stations in the city.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested 3 civilians from al-Jalama village, north of Jenin, attempted to enter Israel through the annexation wall’s gate for work. IOF took Mohammed Yaser Sha’ban, Mohammed Zakaria Hamdan, and Fadi Mohye Abu Farha to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into Bab Huta, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Rami Saleh al-Fakhouri’s (29) house and confiscated all the cell phones in the house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in al-Maskoubeya police station in West Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF moved into al-Sa’diya neighborhood, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched Mohammed Khaled Hazina’s (24) house, confiscated all the cell phones in the house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into Silwan’s central neighborhood, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Marwan Othman al-Ghoul’s (46) house, director of Silwan GYM, and handed him a summons to refer to the Maskoubeya police station on the next day.
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions into Seida town, northeastern Tulkarm. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 09 November 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Mohammed Salah al-Masa’eed’s (18) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron, and stationed in al-Binouk and Abu Hilal neighborhoods. They raided and searched two houses and arrested Mohammed Yousef Shahin (29) and Mo’ayad Waleed Amro (19).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beit Ta’mir village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (5) civilians including 3 brothers. The arrestees are: Murad Mohammed Abu Muhaimed (38), Mohammed Hashem Abu Muhaimed (42), Salah Jom’a Abu Muhaimed (25), and his brothers Mo’taz (29) and Fo’ad (28).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Eizariya, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Ibrahim Fayez Murar’s house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Qaffin, north of Tulkarm, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Emad Fahmi Zaghloul (38). It should be noted that IOF confiscated his cell phone, money, and searched his office in al-Ashqar complex area, in Tulkarm.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron, and stationed in Ein Sara area. They raided and searched Nidal Salah Zughaiar’s house and arrested his two sons; Mos’ab (25) and Salah (29).
  • At approximately 02:40, IOF moved into Nablus. They raided and searched several stores; no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Qalandiya refugee camp, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Laith Ammar (22) and Eyad al-Shahham’s (23) houses and arrested them.
  • At approximately 09:00, IOF moved into al-Issawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Samer Abu Riyala (16) and Eisa Thafer Abu Riyala’s (16) family home and arrested them.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Shawawra village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched the former prisoner Oday ‘Adi Ibrahim Salim’s (31) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of the city.
  • At approximately 12:30, IOF stationed at Nablus-Jerusalem road, 3-kilometers away from al-Mahkama military checkpoint, established near “Beit El” settlement, north of al-Bireh, north of Ramallah governorate, detained Palestine TV staff while heading to Jiftlik village, north of Jericho.

Photojournalist, Mohammed Awawda (24), said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“At approximately 12:30, I was heading with 5 of the Palestine TV staff including the driver Mohammed Mousa, Maryam al-Tarifi, Abdul Karim Abu Sharif, and Hamed Nammoura from Jericho to Ramallah to shoot a TV program in Jiftlik village, north of Jericho governorate. When we arrived at Nablus-Jerusalem road, an Israeli police vehicle intercepted our way and the policemen surrounded, stopped and searched our car, ID cards and recording equipment. They detained us for 30 minutes claiming that they were doing the search procedure, before they let us continue on our way”.

  • At approximately 18:00, IOF moved into Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Khaldoun Izzat Salah’s (47) house and took him to al-Bareed police station in Salah al-Dein street, in the center of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 18:30, IOF stationed at Yitzhar military checkpoint at the entrance of Huwara village, southeast of Nablus, north of the West Bank, arrested the journalist Bushra Jamal al-Tawil (27), and took her to Hasharon detention center in Israel.

Montaha al-Tawil, Bushra’s mother, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“In the morning, Bushra left for Jenin with a friend for shopping. At approximately 18:30, she called me and told me that IOF stopped her vehicle at Yitzhar military checkpoint, examined her ID, and detained her. Bushra told me that an Israeli intelligence officer called her and informed her that she was under arrest and to be taken to Hasharon prison.”

It should be noted that the first time IOF arrested al-Tawil was on 06 July 2011, and she was sentenced to 16 months in jail, but was released within five months in the 2011 prisoner exchange deal. She was re-arrested on 02 July 2014 and sentenced to serve the remaining period of her 2011 imprisonment. On 17 May 2015, she was released after spending 10 and a half months in lock-up. In 2017, IOF arrested al-Tawil on administrative arrest, after raiding and searching her home. Again in 2019, she was arrested for her journalistic work, recording sit-ins for ex-Palestinian prisoners. She was released after 8 months in administrative detention.

  • At approximately 20:00, IOF moved into al-Issawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ma’moun Muhaisen’s house and arrested his sons Mo’men (19) and Mohammed (16). IOF took them to unknown destinations.
  • At approximately 21:50, IOF stationed at the entrance of Qusra village, southeast OF Nablus, arrested (3) civilians from the village, and released them later. The arrestees are: Ahmed Nimir Owda, Hammam Mohammed Mosbah, and Khaled Ibrahim Owda.
  • IOF carried out one incursion into Sebastia, Nablus. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Yabad village, southwestern Jenin; they raided and searched Mohammed A. Hamarshe’s (30) home and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Silat ad-Dhahr town, southwestern Jenin; they raided and searched Naief H. al-Qady’s (28) family home and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:20, IOF moved into Kafr Qallil village, south of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and withdrew at approximately 04:40. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into Mas-ha village in Salfit; soldiers raided and searched several houses and arrested Belal S. Amer (22).
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and stationed in the center of the camp. They raided and searched two houses and arrested two children; Ammar Mohammed Jawabera (16), and Eyad Hani Ja’ara (15).
  • At approximately 04:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron, and stationed in Kureisa area. They raided and searched Eyad Mohammed Abdullah Rajoub’s (33) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Halhul, north of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Mohammed Jehad al-Wawi’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF reinforced with 4 military construction vehicles moved 100 meters into the border fence by Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, then proceeded towards al-Maghazi. They razed the lands and later redeployed back on the Israeli side.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into the Youth Center at Shu’fat refugee camp, northeastern occupied East Jerusalem. They searched the center for two hours and seized several documents. Before withdrawing, IOF arrested Mohammed al-Bahri, Director of the Center, and escorted him to a detention center in the city.

The Youth Center issued a press statement highlighting that this is the second raid of its kind to the center and arrest of its director without legal cause within the year and it is motivated by the growing impact of the center in the refugee camp.

  • At approximately 18:00, Israeli special forces arrested Ahmed Hasan al-Lawzi (26), while on duty in a-Lawzi Gas Station in Jerusalem-Ramallah street, near Qalandiya military checkpoint, north of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into occupied East Jerusalem’s old city, raided and searched several houses and served summonses to three Palestinians: Ahed al-Resheq – Jerusalem Regional Committee member; Raed Hijazi – Jerusalem Mayor; and Naser Qaws – Head of Jerusalem’s The Palestinian Prisoners Society.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020:

  • At approximately 01:50, IOF stormed Nablus, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mo’ath Mohammed al-Ghandour.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF backed by several military vehicles stormed Fawwar refugee camp, south of Heborn. They raided 3 houses and arrested Hasan Karam Zaghmout (27), Ibrahim Ali Abu Wardah (21), and Jawad Zeyad Hadeeb (26).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF backed by several military vehicles stormed Sa’ir village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Ali Mousa Jaradat’s (30) house and arrested him.
  •  At approximately 03:00, IOF stormed Fawwar refugee camp, in the center of Ramallah. They raided and searched Hamada Nakhlah’s (25) family house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF stormed Um Al-Sharayet neighborhood in the center of al-Birah, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house owned Ayman Abed Abu Sareea (26) and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF backed by several military vehicles stormed Kobar village, north of Ramallah. They patrolled the streets  and stationed in the eastern neighborhood. The soldiers deployed between houses and a number of them raided a 4-story building owned by Zebar family; each floor has 6 apartments. After blowing up the doors of the ground floor, which consists of a store and shops, the soldiers raided Mahmoud Yusuf Zebar’s (44) apartment and arrested him and his son Shadi (21). The soldiers also raided the apartment of Mahmoud’s brother Mohammed (43) and arrested him. The detainees were taken to the apartment of their brother Ra’ed and arrested his wife Nedaa Mohammed Suleiman (38). IOF further raided a house owned by Wa’el Yusuf al-Taqez (43) and arrested him. It should be noted that Israeli soldiers raided and searched Ra’ed’s house on 01 November 2020 and arrested his son Marcel. IOF released Nedaa Suleiman on the same evening.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF stormed al-Tour neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Mahmoud Ahmed Ashayer (17) and Na’im Ibrahim Ashayer (13) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF accompanied with a vehicle full of settlers stormed Kafl Hares village, north of Salfit. They stationed at the village’s square and broadcast Jewish songs in the area.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF stormed al-Thawri neighborhood, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house owned by Redwan Jamal Amro (34), Head of the Manuscripts Department at Al-Aqsa Mosque. They ruined the house contents and confiscated cell phones, PCs and a number of papers and books and then arrested Amro.

IOF’s arrest of Redwan was part of an Israeli campaign that escalated lately against al-Aqsa Mosque officers, especially those affiliated with Islamic Endowments (Awqaf) Department’s and Mosque’s guards. Few days ago, IOF raided and searched Directorate of Forensic Science Services near Bab al-Asbat and arrested head of the Directorate of Forensic Science, deputy director general of al-Aqsa Mosque, Najeh Dawoud Bakirat (64) and denied him access to the Old City, al-Aqsa Mosque and all roads leading to it for 6 months. IOF are targeting al-Aqsa officers and guards by arresting them, deporting them, in addition to harassment acts to dissuade them from protecting  and securing al-Aqsa Mosque.

III. Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • On Thursday, 05 November 2020, Israeli authorities notified Yusuf Rayan to evacuate his land in Khalayel Al-Louz village, southeast of Bethlehem, in preparation to its confiscation alleging that the land falls under the sovereignty of the State of Israel.

Hasan Brijiyah, Head of the Popular Anti-Settlement Committee in Bethlehem, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that Israeli authorities notified Yusuf Rayan to evacuate his agricultural land (dozens of dunums implanted with olive trees) in Khalayel Al-Louz village, alleging that this land is part of the State of Israel. Brijiyah also said that this practice is an example of the intense restriction policy imposed by IOF on civilians, especially that Khalayel Al-Louz,  Khelat Al Quton, and Khelat al-Nahlah areas, are excessively attacked by IOF and settlers for being  adjacent to “Efrat” and “Tuqu’ “ settlements which were established on Palestinians’ lands, east of Bethlehem.

  • On Monday morning, 09 November 2020, IOF’s bulldozers demolished an agricultural room owned by Yusuf Abu Hammad under the pretext of non-licensing. The room was located between Jurat ash-Sham’a and Wadi and Nis villages, south of Bethlehem,.

Abu Hammad said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the demolition shocked him, especially that he had built the room many years ago in his own land. Abu Hammad added that IOF alleged that the tin-plated 30-sqm room was built without a license.

  • At approximately 06:00 on Monday, 09 November 2020, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority’s crews and vehicles, secured by dozens of Israeli soldiers, stormed Wadi al-Rababah neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They carried out demolitions in the area. Eyewitnesses stated to PCHR’s fieldworker that the neighborhood’s residents confronted IOF’s vehicles in order to stop the demolition. Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the residents and attempted to disperse them. However, the residents withstood and forced the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority’s crews and vehicles to withdraw from the neighborhood. Before their withdrawal, IOF arrested Mahmoud Samrin (47).

Israeli Municipality and the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority have latterly intensified bulldozing and demolishing of Palestinians’ lands in Wadi al-Rababah neighborhood in Silwan village, for the intended purpose of establishing new settlements. IOF use force during these operations, despite of the previous judicial decision to stop them. Wadi al-Rababah is subjected to recurrent attacks by Israeli settlers in order to seize control of it under the pretext of being absentee-owned lands.  Wadi al-Rababah neighborhood is located in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, it was built on 350 dunums implanted with fruit and olive trees that are property of Silwan village residents. The neighborhood that has about 100 houses and a mosque is threatened of evacuation and confiscation of more than 100 dunums of these lands to establish the so-called ““National Park” project. Wadi al-Rababh area has a strategic importance as it is only 400 meters away from al-Aqsa Mosque and it is also located between al-Bustan neighborhood and the western side of occupied Jerusalem. Therefore, this area connects the western and eastern parts of the city. In addition, this area contains Canaanite, Roman and Islamic remains.

  • At approximately 08:0 on Tuesday, 10 November 2020, IOF backed by several military vehicles and accompanied with Civil Administration vehicle and a bulldozer stormed Hebron’s northern neighborhood, adjacent to the bypass road. They demolished a 100 sqm, tin-plated aluminum workshop. The workshop is owned by Loai Abdul Rahim Ahmed al-Shani, and it was built one year ago. Israeli authorities handed the Military decision No. (96/ 1797) to al-Shani on Wednesday, 14 November 2020.

The military decision No. (1797) issued in 2018, allows the Civil Administration officer to issue a decision to demolish of remove any building where construction was not completed within 6 months or it was inhabited by it residents for less than 30 days from the date of the inspector’s arrival to the site.

This kind of notices deprive civilians their right to defend their houses or facilities. The Israeli Supreme Court also refuse the file an appeal to freeze or cancel these notices. Civilians further are  denied of applying a license for their targeted houses due to the short legal period allowed by the military order.

  • On Tuesday, 10 November 2020, IOF demolished several commercial facilities in ‘Anata village, northeast of occupied east Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of building without a license.

‘Anata village Municipality stated that Israeli Civil Administration bulldozers stormed the village from its southern entrance and demolished a car wash, a container, and a barrack owned by Ammar al-Salaimeh under the pretext of building without a license. The car was adjacent to “Pisgat Ze’ev” settlement established on Palestinian lands, north of ‘Anata village.  The municipality emphasized that the car wash, the container, and the barrack were built on an area of 150sqm 5 months ago. IOF also leveled the land where the facilities were built before they withdrew from the village.

  • At approximately 09:00 on Wednesday, 11 November 2020, IOF backed by 2 military vehicles and accompanied with Civil Administration vehicle stormed Tawana village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The soldiers deployed between houses while the Civil Administration officer handed 5 demolition notices to three civilians under the pretext of building without a license. These notices were as following:
Affected PersonFacilityDescriptionDistanceType of notification
Fadel Mohammed Ibrahim al-AmourAgricultural roomBricks and tin plates30sqmWritten summons
Ashraf Mahmoud al-AmourAgricultural roomBricks and tin plates65sqmHalt work
Ashraf Mahmoud al-AmourWater wellBricks and tin plates100sqmHalt work
Mohammed Issa Rab’iAgricultural residence———80sqmSummons
Mohammed Issa Rab’iWater wellBricks and tin plates90sqmSummons

Israeli authorities handed civilians notices in the form of summonses alleging that the facility’s owner, which has been served a previous notice, did not submit any legal documents before the Israeli competent authorities to settle his case.

  • At approximately 16:00 on Wednesday, 11 November 2020, Israeli municipality crews demolished Odai Rabaiya’s house in Sur Baher village, south of occupied East Jerusalem under the pretext of building without license. IOF also arrested Mohammed and Ahmed Robaiya after they heavily beat them.

Rabaiya stated to PCHR’s fieldworker that he was shocked when IOF raided his house. The municipality crews emptied its contents and closed the whole area and then demolished the house. Rabaiya emphasized that he and his family of 5, including 4 children, have been living in the house since 2016. The Israeli Municipality issued a decision in 2017 to demolish the house. He managed to delay the decision several times and the municipality imposed a construction fine of NIS 55,000 on him, that he is still paying to this date. Rabaiya added that last July, the Israeli court gave him 21 days before applying the demolition, but he managed to delay it until early this month through his engineer and lawyer. The Israeli municipality rejected to freeze or delay the demolition decision and informed him that he must proceed with self-demolishing his house without defining a time limit.

Israeli Settlers’ Attacks

  • At approximately 13:10, Monday, 10 November 2020,  a group of Israeli settlers detained Tareq Abu Ghunaim in his land in al-Rajman area, adjacent to Beit Dajan village, east of Nablus. The settlers searched his cell phone, questioned him, and released him later.

V. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure 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.

The West bank:

In addition to permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals movement between villages and cities and deny civilians’ access to their work. IOF established 70 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 3 of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against

Individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Jerusalem:

  • On Thursday evening, 05 November 2020, IOF tightened its arbitrary measures at Beit Iksa checkpoint, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem, obstructed the traffic movement for civilians, and established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Al-Eizariya village, and Biddu village’s tunnel.
  • On Saturday morning, 07 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Anat village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.
  •  At approximately 9:00 on Sunday, 08 November 2020, IOF closed Qalandiya military checkpoint for hours under the pretext of suspicious object, causing severe traffic jam.
  • On Monday, 09 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Al-Eizariya village, east of occupied East Jerusalem.
  •  At approximately 18:30 on Tuesday, 10 November 2020, IOF closed Qalandiya military checkpoint for hours, causing a sever traffic jam.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 05 November  2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at Aqabat Hasnah area leading to villages west of Bethlehem, and near the intersection of al-Nashash area, south of the city.
  • On Friday, 06 November 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints the northern and western entrances to Tuqu village, the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, and in Aqabat Hasnah area leading to villages west of Bethlehem.
  • On Saturday, 07 November 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, and near the intersection of al-Nashash area, south of the city.
  • On Sunday, 08 November 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, the entrances to Husan and Nahalin villages, and in Aqabat Hasnah area leading to villages west of Bethlehem.
  • On Monday, 09 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem.
  • On Tuesday, 10 November 2020, IOF tightened its measures at the Container checkpoint, east of Bethlehem and established 3 checkpoints at the entrances  to Jannatah and Tuqu village, at Aqabat Hasnah area leading to villages west of Bethlehem.

Ramallah:

  • On Friday, 06 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Birzeit village, north of Ramallah.
  • On Saturday, 07 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint under the bridge of ‘Atara village, north of Ramallah.
  • On Sunday, 08 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Beitin village, east of Ramallah.
  • On Monday, 09 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Nabi Salih village, northwest of Ramallah.

Tubas:

  • On Sunday 08 November 2020, IOF stationed at “Tayasir” Checkpoint, east of Tubas, north of the West Bank, tightened its military measures, obstructed the traffic movement, and checked civilians’ ID cards.

Jericho:

  • On Saturday, 07 November 2020, IOF established 3checkpoints at the northern entrance to Jericho, southern entrance to Jericho, and the road linking between Jericho and Ramallah.
  • On Sunday, 08 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 05 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Furik village, east of Nablus.
  • On Friday, 06 November 2020, IOF tightened its measures at the entrance to Beit Furik villahe, west of Nablus and closed the gate established at the abovementioned entrance and reopened it later.
  • On Monday, 09 November 2020, IOF tightened  its measures at Beit Furik checkpoint, east of Nablus.

Jenin:

  • On Sunday, 08 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Ti’inik village.
  •  On Monday, 09 November 2020, IOF tightened its measures at Beit Furik checkpoint, east of Nablus.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 02 November 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the al-Aroub refugee camp, and Surif village.
  • On Friday, 06 November 202, IOF established 4 checkpoints at: Hebron’s southern entrance, Sa’ir, Beit Einun, and Beit Awwa villages.
  • On Saturday, 07 November 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at Kharsa and Beit Awwa villages, Hebron’s southern entrance and Beit Ummar village.
  • On Sunday 08 November 2020, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the western entrance to Hebron, Idhna, Bani Na’im, ad-Dhahiriya, and Beit Kahel villages.
  • On Monday, 09 November 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to  Beit ‘Amra, and Idhna villages.
  • On Wednesday, 11 November 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to al-Fawar refugee camp, Sa’ir, Ash-Shuyukh, and Idhna villages.

Qalqilya:

  • On Thursday, 05 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Izbat at-Tabib village, east of Qalqilya.
  • On Friday, 06 November 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Izbat at-Tabib village, Azzun village, and the eastern entrance to Qalqilya.
  • On Sunday, 08 November 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Jit village, north of Qalqilya.
  •  On Monday, 09 November 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Jit village, north of Qalqilya, eastern entrance to Qalqilya.

Tulkarm:

  • On Saturday, 07 November 2020, IOF tightened its measures at Izbat Shufa checkpoint, south east of Tulkarm .

Salfit:

  • On Thursday, 05 November 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Istiya, Deir Ballut, Hares villages and northern entrance to Salfit.
  • On Saturday, 07 November 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance Deir Istiya village, and the northern entrance to Salfit.
  • On Monday, 09 November 2020, an Israeli force established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Ballut and Kafr ad-Dik villages, west of Salfit.

Israel’s ‘Silent Transfer’ of Palestinians Out of Palestine

By Ibrahim Husseini

Global Research, November 09, 2020

Al Jazeera 27 September 2020

As more Arab countries normalise relations with Israel, it presses on with a policy of “silent transfer” – an intricate system that targets Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem with residency revocation, displacement through house demolitions, barriers in obtaining building permits, and high taxes.

Palestinian researcher Manosur Manasra notes Israel launched this policy of transfer against Palestinians in East Jerusalem almost immediately after the 1967 war and the subsequent occupation of the eastern part of the city.

The policy continues to this day with the aim to dominate East Jerusalem.

Land expropriation for Jewish settlements has taken place around East Jerusalem and in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods such as the Old City’s Muslim and the Christian Quarters and beyond in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Ras al-Amoud and Abu Tur since as early as 1968.

Following the June 1967 war, Israel applied Israeli law to East Jerusalem and granted Palestinians “permanent resident” status. However, in effect, it is a fragile one. B’tselem, the Israeli human rights information centre in the occupied Palestinian territories describes this status as one “accorded to foreign nationals wishing to reside in Israel”, except that Palestinians are indigenous to the land.

Palestinians of East Jerusalem do not have a right to automatic Israeli citizenship nor are issued Palestinian passports by the Palestinian Authority (PA). They are usually able to obtain temporary Jordanian and Israeli travel documents.

Israeli Bulldozers Continue to Demolish Palestinian Homes in Jerusalem and Occupied West Bank

By allotting a fragile residency status to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Israel has succeeded to revoke and subsequently uproot more than 14,200 Palestinians from East Jerusalem since 1967. These measures coincide with an aggressive house demolition practice.

Home demolitions in the West Bank did not stop despite the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the United Nations, there was a nearly fourfold increase in the number of people displaced from January-August 2020, and a 55 percent rise of structures targeted with demolitions or confiscations compared with a year earlier.

In East Jerusalem, 24 structures were demolished last month, half of them by their owners following the issuance of demolition orders by the Jerusalem municipality.

The “permanent residency” status is maintained as long as Palestinians keep a physical presence in the city. However, in some cases, the Israeli authorities move to withdraw the residency status of Palestinians in East Jerusalem as a retribution measure because they are political dissidents. Israel’s pursuit of Palestinian activists is extensive and does not exclude any faction.

The most recent case is that of 35-year-old Salah Hammouri, a lawyer and activist. Arye Deri, Israel’s interior minister, says Salah is a member of the Palestine Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Israel outlawed the group and wants him out of the country.

In some cases, Israeli authorities cancel the residency permits of spouses of political activists as a punishment. Shadi Mtoor, a Fatah member from East Jerusalem, is currently fighting a case in the Israeli courts to keep his wife’s residence in East Jerusalem. She is originally from the West Bank.

In 2010, Israel revoked the Jerusalem residency of four senior Hamas members – three of whom were elected to the Palestinian Parliament in 2006 and one who served as a cabinet minister – on the grounds they pose a danger to the state. Three live in Ramallah now and one is under administrative detention. A hearing at the Israeli High Court is scheduled for October 26.

In some cases, Israel does not issue a residency ID for a child whose father is from Jerusalem and mother from the West Bank.

International law explicitly condemns the forcible transfer of civilians.

“Ultimately our decision is to remain in this city,” says Hammouri.

Click here to read full article.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image: Salah Hammouri, a lawyer and activist, has had his residency status for East Jerusalem threatened by Israeli authorities [Courtesy: Salah Hammouri]The original source of this article is Al JazeeraCopyright © Ibrahim HusseiniAl Jazeera, 2020

Suspension of Corbyn will define Starmer as Iraq defined Blair

Source

David Hearst

2 November 2020 17:54 UTC |

David Hearst is the editor in chief of Middle East Eye. He left The Guardian as its chief foreign leader writer. In a career spanning 29 years, he covered the Brighton bomb, the miner’s strike, the loyalist backlash in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Northern Ireland, the first conflicts in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in Slovenia and Croatia, the end of the Soviet Union, Chechnya, and the bushfire wars that accompanied it. He charted Boris Yeltsin’s moral and physical decline and the conditions which created the rise of Putin. After Ireland, he was appointed Europe correspondent for Guardian Europe, then joined the Moscow bureau in 1992, before becoming bureau chief in 1994. He left Russia in 1997 to join the foreign desk, became European editor and then associate foreign editor. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he worked as education correspondent.

Keir Starmer’s silence on Palestine and his treatment of his predecessor have set the Labour leader on a collision course with many within his own party

Keir Starmer (L) with Jeremy Corbyn at a press conference in London in December 2019 (AFP)


One of the lesser known aspects of Keir Starmer’s assault on the left of his party since becoming Labour leader is his growing silence on Palestine.

Silencing the Palestinian lobby in Britain has always been a goal of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which has gone to some lengths to condition debate inside the Labour Party on Israel.

In 2017, an Al Jazeera documentary exposed the efforts of the ministry’s man in London, Shai Masot, to start a youth wing in the Labour Party. Masot was also filmed by an undercover reporter saying he wanted to “take down” government ministers and MPs considered to be causing “problems” for Israel.

Silencing the Palestinian lobby in Britain has always been a goal of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which has gone to some lengths to condition debate inside the Labour Party on Israel

When Masot was rumbled and expelled, a continuous feed of Jeremy Corbyn’s meetings as a backbench MP with Palestinians, dating back in some cases over a decade, was created to stoke the furore over the then-Labour leader.

This feed was doctored.

When Corbyn met three Hamas politicians whose Jerusalem IDs had been revoked and had staged a sit-in a tent in the grounds of the Red Cross (this was a cause celebre at the time and many Israelis went to show solidarity with the case), the presence of a second Labour MP, Andy Slaughter, who is not a Corbyn ally but is pro-Palestinian, was excised from British reports.

However, a picture of Slaughter appeared in Israeli news channel i24’s exclusive of “Corbyn’s secret visit” in its report in 2018, which was eight years after the MPs’ visit took place in November 2010. 

Role of Shin Bet

The precise details of Corbyn’s visit to Israel in 2010, including who was on it, who arranged it and who they met, were monitored and logged by Israel’s domestic security service, Shin Bet.

When these visits were over, Shin Bet invited Corbyn’s local fixer in for what turned out to be five hours of questioning in a police station in Haifa.

Shin Bet told her they were relaxed about her charity work for the Palestinian cause, but would not tolerate her campaigning inside the Houses of Parliament in the UK.EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Corbyn questions impartiality of EHRC antisemitism inquiry

If she did not heed the warning, she would spend the rest of her days in prison as an enemy of the state. Her lawyer told her that such a charge could indeed be fabricated against her and that an Israeli court would send her to prison if this happened. She is an Israeli citizen.

At the very least, the warnings given to Corbyn’s fixer confirm that Israel’s security services had set their sights on the MP at least five years before he became Labour leader and long before antisemitism in Labour became a newsworthy issue.

Nobody in the Labour Party was bothered with Corbyn’s travels, which certainly were not secret. He was a backbencher on the fringes of the party. Only Shin Bet took note.

The smear campaign has been wonderfully effective. Of course, many groups joined in for different reasons, including people indifferent to the conflict in Palestine who had shown no past interest in it.

The compromising material of Corbyn’s past contacts would have had no purchase had there not been a determination within the Parliamentary Labour Party and at Labour headquarters to stop Corbyn at all costs. But taken together, it worked.

A poll conducted by Survation last year asked member of the British public who were aware of antisemitism in Labour what percentage of party members had complaints against them.

Their mean average reply was 34 percent. The real figure is a fraction of one percent. The perception of antisemitism was over 300 times the reality in Corbyn’s party.

Palestine lost

Since becoming leader, Keir Starmer has avoided contact with Palestinian leaders, either in Israel or in Britain.

Starmer has had two opportunities to engage.

On 26 June this year, 15 members of the Knesset who comprise the Joint List wrote to all party leaders in Britain to urge them to “actively oppose” attempts by Israel to annex territory unilaterally.Israel’s Joint List urges British political parties to oppose annexation

The Joint List, the main coalition representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, is the third largest group of MKs in the parliament. The letter was sent by Yousef Jabareen, the head of the Joint List’s international committee.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructed one of his ministers, James Cleverly, minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa, to reply.

“We continue to urge Israel not to take these steps. The prime minister has conveyed the UK’s opposition to unilateral annexation to Prime Minister Netanyahu on multiple occasions,” Cleverly wrote.

Starmer did not reply, and still has not replied. Jabareen received an automated reply from Starmer’s office, telling him that he receives hundreds of emails each day.

On 16 September, a group of leading British Palestinians, many of whom were members of Labour, but some not, wrote an open letter to the Labour Party insisting on “the right of Palestinians to accurately describe our experiences of dispossession and oppression” and rejecting Labour’s attempts to conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism.

The letter was accompanied by emails to Starmer to set up a meeting. They were told that Starmer was too busy to meet them. They were referred to Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, who also declined to meet them.

A ‘dressing down’

However when Stephen Kinnock, who comes from the right wing of the party and is a bitter critic of Corbyn, called in a parliamentary debate for the UK to “ban all products that originate from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories”, Nandy found the time to intervene.

Nandy told the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council – according to a source quoted by MailOnline – that Kinnock, a consistent and long-standing critic of Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians, had been given a “dressing down” for his remarks made during the Commons debate.

Starmer’s sole intervention in this debate occurred when he was asked by Jewish News about sanctions and he stressed the need instead to maintain a ‘strong working relationship with Israel’

“Lisa made no secret of the fact she and the leader were angry with Kinnock,” the source is quoted as saying.

“Especially after all the work that has been done to try and restore Labour’s relationship with the Jewish community.”

Starmer was said to be “infuriated”.

Nandy herself proposed a ban on the import of goods from illegal settlements in the West Bank, but only if Israel pressed ahead with annexation.

Starmer’s sole intervention in this debate occurred when he was asked by Jewish News about sanctions and he stressed the need instead to maintain a “strong working relationship with Israel”.

Starmer said: “I don’t agree with annexation and I don’t think it’s good for security in the region, and I think it’s very important that we say that.

“Whether sanctions follow is another matter but at the moment let’s resolve this in the proper way. But this is not good for security in the region. That should be a paramount consideration.

When pressed further, he added: “There needs to be a strong working relationship where we are able to exchange views frankly, as you would with an ally and on some of these issues, a frank exchange is what we most need, I think.”

Labour’s history

This Monday marks 103 years since the Balfour Declaration committed British governments to support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The 1917 document predates Labour’s emergence as a political force in the years after World War One, but the party has a history of its own in the Middle East which no leader can ignore.Jeremy Corbyn suspended from Labour following antisemitism report

In 1944, when the territory of Palestine was still under British control, its national executive committee authored a motion, passed by conference, which read: “Palestine surely is a case, on human grounds and to promote a stable settlement, for transfer of population. Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out, as the Jews move in. Let them be compensated handsomely for their land and let their settlement elsewhere be carefully organised and generously financed.”

But it has history more recent than that.

The suspension of Corbyn after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into antisemitism last week contrasts with Corbyn’s treatment of Tony Blair, who as a former Labour prime minister was excoriated by the 2016 Chilcot Report over his decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

John Chilcot, a former senior diplomat, eviscerated Blair, stopping short of accusing him of lying to parliament.

Chilcot said that at the time of the invasion, Saddam Hussein “posed no imminent threat” and revealed a private note that Blair sent to Bush in July 2002 which read: “I will be with you, whatever.”

In a two-hour press conference following the publication of the report, Blair was unrepentant. “I believe we made the right decision and the world is better and safer,” he declared.

He argued that he had acted in good faith, based on intelligence at the time which said that Iraq’s president had weapons of mass destruction. This “turned out to be wrong”.

Corbyn’s suspension

Corbyn offered a total apology on behalf of the party for the decision to invade Iraq.

He said: “So I now apologise sincerely on behalf of my party for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq in March 2003. That apology is owed first of all to the people of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and the country is still living with the devastating consequences of the war and the forces it unleashed. They have paid the greatest price for the most serious foreign policy calamity of the last 60 years.”

He went on: “The apology is also owed to the families of those soldiers who died in Iraq or who have returned home injured or incapacitated. They did their duty but it was in a conflict they should never have been sent to.”

Corbyn appeared as if he was defying the leadership, even though at the time he spoke, he had no idea what Starmer would say on a key point that defined their dispute

Blair at the time was just a member of the party, in the same situation as Corbyn was last week.

Corbyn, however, did not suspend Blair for not apologising and uttering words which went against the party line.

Instead, the opposite was happening. The “party of war” within the Parliamentary Labour Party went on the offensive against the leadership.

MPs who had backed the Iraq war, and consistently voted against inquiries into it, went after Corbyn.

Of the 71 MPs who voted no confidence in Corbyn in 2016 and who had been in parliament in 2003, 92 percent had voted in favour of the Iraq war and seven against.

In justifying his action to suspend Corbyn, Starmer said that the former leader had defied his response to the EHRC report, which condemned anyone trying to claim that antisemitism had been exaggerated for political reasons.

The night before the report was published, Starmer phoned Corbyn to say he would not be condemning him by name in his statement of reply to the EHRC report. Corbyn and his team repeatedly asked Starmer what he would say in his statement. Starmer said he would send them his lines.

Angela Rayner, the deputy leader, also promised Corbyn’s team that she would send them the lines of Starmer’s statement. Both failed to do so. The reactions of the two men were thus set on collision course.

Corbyn appeared as if he was defying the leadership, even though at the time he spoke, he had no idea what Starmer would say on a key point that defined their dispute.

Corbyn subsequently failed to back down, but one possibility is that Starmer’s team knew what Corbyn would say, while Corbyn himself was kept in the dark until it was too late.

The left bites back

Corbyn did not defend himself against allegations that he tolerated antisemitism or that he himself was an antisemite, claims that are still being made today. To the extent that he let this campaign run unchallenged in the High Court, he himself is responsible.

Quite apart from the fate of Corbyn, support for Palestine is much greater in the party than Starmer is comfortable with. Palestine, which he knows about much less than Corbyn, is his blindspot

On the day Corbyn was suspended, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the original complainant in the EHRC investigation, wrote to Starmer and David Evans, the general secretary, demanding investigations into 32 members of the Labour Party, including Angela Rayner, Starmer’s current deputy, and 10 other MPs. 

In response, seven trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party and one which backed Starmer as candidate, published a statement expressing “serious concern” about the manner and rationale for Corbyn’s suspension, suggesting it had undermined party unity and democratic processes.

Far from being his “Clause 4” moment – the issue that Tony Blair used to define New Labour by dropping the party’s historic commitment to state ownership of key industries – the suspension of Corbyn could define Starmer’s leadership in the same way that Blair’s decision to invade Iraq has cast a shadow over everything a man elected three times as prime minister did. The ghosts of Iraq follow Blair around to this day.

Quite apart from the fate of Corbyn, support for Palestine is much greater in the party than Starmer is comfortable with. Palestine, which he knows about much less than Corbyn, is his blindspot.

Unless Corbyn is reinstated quickly, the decision to suspend him from the party could prove to be a permanent and defining stain on Starmer’s leadership.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

As Long as Hezbollah Exists, ‘Israel’ Can Never Reach ‘Peace’ with Lebanon: Zionist Circles نتنياهو: لا سلام مع لبنان طالما حزب الله مسيطر

As Long as Hezbollah Exists, ‘Israel’ Can Never Reach ‘Peace’ with Lebanon: Zionist Circles

October 15, 2020

As Long as Hezbollah Exists, 'Israel' Can Never Reach 'Peace' with Lebanon: Zionist  Circles – Al-Manar TV Lebanon

The Zionist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed Thursday that the border demarcation talks between ‘Israel’ and Lebanon will never tackle any ‘peace’ deal as long as the latter remains under the control of Hezbollah.

Speaking at the Knesset vote to ratify the normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates, Netanyah called on the Lebanese government to continue with and conclude talks with ‘Israel’ regarding the borders.

On Wednesday, October 14, indirect UN-sponsored negotiations between Lebanon and the Zionist entity to demarcate the borders started as Lebanon firmly rejected any attempt to turn the talks into mulling a deal to normalize deals between the two sides.

Zionist circles stressed that the negotiations are restricted to the maritime border negotiations, adding that Hezbollah will not allow expanding the talks to include more issues.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi highlighted the importance of holding military drills that simulate a direct confrontation with Hezbollah despite all the coronavirus-related risks.

Kochavi’s remarks came in response to a threat made by one of Hezbollah military officers who vowed to storm the Zionist settlements and barracks in the upcoming war with the Israeli enemy.

In the context of Al-Manar TV’s episodic documentary, Second Liberation Secrets, which highlights the military victories achieved by Hezbollah during its fight against the terrorist groups in Syria, one of the Resistance officers threatened to defeat the Israelis in a way similar to that inflicted by the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (P) in the Battle of Khaybar.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

نتنياهو: لا سلام مع لبنان طالما حزب الله مسيطر

يحيى دبوق

الجمعة 16 تشرين الأول 2020

نتنياهو:  لا سلام مع لبنان طالما  حزب الله مسيطر

ما لم يرد في البيانات الرسمية الإسرائيلية، حتى الأمس، حول أهم أهداف المفاوضات من جانب تل أبيب على ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع لبنان، ورد أمس على لسان رئيس حكومة العدو، بنيامين نتنياهو: إمكان إضعاف حزب الله نتيجة التفاوض، وإنْ لاحقاً.

إذاً، المفاوضات هي جزء من الحرب الإسرائيلية الأشمل في مواجهة حزب الله، إضافة إلى ما يمكن أن تجبيه «إسرائيل» من فائدة اقتصادية. في تشخيص نتنياهو، وهو رأس الهرم السياسي في تل أبيب والمعنيّ الأول بأهدافها ومقاصدها، إقرار بأن أي محاولة لفرض الإرادة السياسية والأمنية والاقتصادية على لبنان، غير ممكنة طالما أن حزب الله يحتفظ بقوته وحضوره وردعه، وهو أهم دلالات موقف نتنياهو، كما صدر عنه أمس.
من على منبر الكنيست، وفي مقدمة للمصادقة على «اتفاق السلام» مع الحلفاء الجدد في الإمارات، قال نتنياهو: «طالما استمر حزب الله في السيطرة على لبنان، فلن يكون هناك سلام مع هذا البلد. إلا أننا بدأنا مفاوضات على الحدود البحرية، وأدعو الحكومة اللبنانية إلى الاستمرار فيها حتى استكمالها، وقد يكون ذلك بمثابة خطوة أولى ليوم آخر مقبل في المستقبل، يتحقق فيه سلام حقيقي». أما بشأن «السلام الحقيقي» مع لبنان وغيره، فشدّد نتنياهو على المعادلة الإسرائيلية: «لطالما اعتقدت أن السلام الحقيقي سيتحقق من خلال القوة، وليس الضعف».

مما انتهت إليه عبارة نتنياهو، يجب أن تبدأ معاينة اللبنانيين لمجمل الموقف الصادر عنه، سواء ما يتعلق بالمفاوضات الحالية حول ترسيم الحدود البحرية، أم تجاه الملفات العالقة بين الجانبين: السلام الحقيقي هو نتيجة للقوة الإسرائيلية. وهي عبارة ملطّفة للإشارة إلى القدرة الإسرائيلية على الإملاء من موقع الاقتدار والسطوة، وإلى خضوع الطرف الآخر نتيجة ضعفه. وهذه المعادلة لا تتحقق لـ«إسرائيل» في مواجهة الدولة اللبنانية، وهذا هو جوهر حديثه، طالما أن لديها عنصر قوة قادراً على مواجهة الإملاء ومنعه: حزب الله بوصفه مقاومة مسلحة قادرٌ على الإيذاء وبالتبعية على الردع.

مع ذلك، قد يكون لبنان الرسمي استجاب من حيث يدرك أو لا يدرك، لأولى الخطوات المطلوبة للوصول إلى الخطوة التي أشار إليها نتنياهو أمس، ونتيجتها ما قال بأنه السلام الحقيقي بين الجانبين: الاستجابة للتفاوض غير المباشر / المباشر، مع تضمين الوفد شخصيات مدنية دون مسوغ أو ضرورات، إلا إن كنا نلبي إملاءات ما، أو نتيجة فهم خاطئ ومغلوط لأبسط قواعد التفاوض التقني غير المباشر، مع العدو. وهذا «الخطأ» هو الذي مكّن «إسرائيل» (يديعوت أحرونوت) من الحديث عن «مفاوضات مدنية – سياسية تجري بين لبنان وإسرائيل».

في تصريح نتنياهو قلب حقائق وتموضعات ثابتة منذ نشأة الكيان الإسرائيلي. باتت مقاومة الاحتلال هي المدانة وهي التي تعرقل «السلام الحقيقي»، مقابل تحويل الاحتلال نفسه إلى كيان سوي، رغم كينونته القائمة على الاعتداء. ومنطق تل أبيب هنا بات مستساغاً لدى البعض، ممن يتطلعون إلى هذا «السلام الحقيقي» مع «إسرائيل»، وإن كانوا هم حسب وصف نتنياهو، يتطلعون إليه من موقف الضعف والجهوزية لتلقي الإملاء من تل أبيب، صاحبة السطوة والقوة.

واحدة من الدلالات الواردة في تصريح نتنياهو، هي الحفر أكثر في الوعي الجمعي للرأي العام، بما يرتبط بادّعاء سيطرة حزب الله على لبنان، رغم أن هذا الحديث بات ممجوجاً. أما ما يمكن الوقوف عنده طويلاً، فهو القول إن حزب الله هو المعرقل الوحيد لـ«السلام الحقيقي» مع إسرائيل. ولهذا الحديث وجهان: وجه صحيح، وهو أن حزب الله يمنع الإملاء الإسرائيلي عن لبنان وفقاً لمعادلة نتنياهو عن السلام الحقيقي، الذي يريده فقط مبنياً على ضعف الجانب اللبناني؛ أما الوجه الآخر ففيه إدانة واتهام، بأن اللبنانيين بأحزابهم ومؤسساتهم ومجتمعهم المدني وجمهورهم العريض يتلهّفون لـ«السلام» مع «إسرائيل»، وأن ما يمنع ذلك هو سيطرة حزب الله؟ السؤال برسم القوى السياسية في لبنان، التي عليها هي الرد على العدو، عدا تلك التي لا تُخفي، بطبيعة الحال، تطلعها إلى «الشراكة» مع العدو.

في سياق التفاوض الذي يراد له أن يخدم تموضع «إسرائيل» المواجه لحزب الله في موازاة الفائدة الاقتصادية، ذكرت صحيفة «يديعوت أحرونوت» أمس، أنه إلى جانب البعد الاقتصادي للمفاوضات، ثمّة ثلاثة أبعاد أمنية: على الساحل حيث يوجد موقعان متقدمان جداً لـ«إسرائيل» ولبنان؛ وبعد آخر يتركز داخل المياه الإقليمية، وأين تفرض «إسرائيل» منطقتها الأمنية؛ أما البعد الثالث فيأتي نتيجة التوصل إلى اتفاق على المياه الاقتصادية، الأمر الذي يثير تحديات أمنية لأن «إسرائيل» ستضطر إلى الاستعداد والجهوزية لمواجهة سيناريوات وفرضيات «تخريبية» ضد منشآتها للتنقيب في المنطقة.

Further Betrayal of Palestinians

By The Muslim News

Global Research, October 07, 2020

The Muslim News 25 September 2020

The old idiom says, “possession is nine-tenths of the law”, but in the case of the dispossessed Palestinians, occupation represents one hundred per cent of the law after their land was usurped due to Israel’s creation some 82 years ago. Other Arab territories have been annexed in a succession of wars that followed too.

Justice is further away than ever with the UAE and Bahrain formally becoming the latest Arab countries to sell out their Palestinian brethren by normalising relations with Israel, despite Israel’s continued illegal military occupation of Palestinian land and the expansions of illegal settlements and destruction of Palestinian homes.

Both Arab dictators proceeded to formally sign agreements to normalise relations with Israel at a ceremony hosted by President, Donald Trump, the most pro-Israel US leader since Harry Truman who presided over the recognition of Israel in 1948.

Trump has torn up so many international conventions and norms by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, despite its special status, as well as handing over Syria’s Golan Heights that have been illegally occupied by Israel for over half a century.

Trump’s “No-Peace/Peace Plan” for Palestine. Netanyahu/Gantz Invited to White House to Discuss “Deal of the Century”

The move by the UAE and Bahrain to the Israeli camp is also a shift to realign the Middle East against Iran, described by Benjamin Netanyahu as Tel Aviv’s biggest enemy. Tehran was one of just a few countries to publicly condemn the normalisation of relations, describing it as “shameful” and a “humiliating act.”

Trump has tried to turn the rest of the world against Iran by trying to destroy the landmark nuclear deal by unilaterally withdrawing. According to Middle East Eye Editor, David Hearst, the new alliance in the Middle East could also be targeted against Turkey’s influence in the region.

The deal was brokered by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner and former British PM, Tony Blair, who called the deal “a massive and welcome opportunity to recast the politics of the region.”

The former envoy to the Middle East Quartet has spent much of his forced retirement time trying to encourage Arab countries to build cooperation with Israel based on a “shared outlook.”

He is credited with turning the accepted formula of “peace with the Palestinians before normalisation” on its head by effectively relegating their legitimate aspirations for a viable state to the back of the queue.

Perplexingly, apart from dangling the prospects of more US military sales, the UAE is reported to have received a pledge from Netanyahu that Israel will temporarily suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, not to carry out the usurpation of territories already illegally seized for decades.

The new alliances are a further trampling of Palestinian rights by Israel’s incessant illicit encroachments. The theft of their land is a legacy of British colonialism and placing a special responsibility on the UK to put right before might.

The latest Arab alliance, which some suspect comes ahead of Saudi Arabia following suit, is a sad day, not just a more betrayal and as such sets a precedent that there is little sense of justice left in the world.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.The original source of this article is The Muslim NewsCopyright © The Muslim NewsThe Muslim News, 2020

%d bloggers like this: