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BDS and Israel’s war on Palestinian higher education

A report by UNESCO has documented the “material, human and educational damage” sustained by Gaza’s higher education institutions (HEIs) during Israel’s assault last summer. The UN agency’s conclusion: that “higher education institutions were directly targeted during the hostilities.”

Israel’s “failure to treat learning environments as safe spaces and protect universities from attack”, UNESCO states, constituted “a serious violation of the right to education and is prohibited under international law.” Read more

Wars abroad, witch-hunts at home: responding to Panorama and John Ware

Last week, BBC’s Panorama broadcast a documentary on “The Battle for British Islam” by John Ware, a journalist and film-maker. Ware followed this up with an extended op-ed in this weekend’s Independent on Sunday, covering much of the same ground. Together, they provide an insight into the disturbing assumptions and consequences of current, official ‘anti-extremism’ policies. Read more

Internal inquiry must not whitewash Israeli war crimes in Rafah

Over the last couple of weeks in Israel, in what has been called an “exceptionally widespread attack”, politicians, op-ed writers, and reservists have urged the IDF Military Advocate General (MAG) Danny Efroni to end investigations into a number of incidents that occurred during the recent assault on the Gaza Strip (so-called ‘Operation Protective Edge’)

Out of dozens of alleged incidents of wrongdoing, Efroni has in fact so far ordered the opening ofjust 13 criminal investigations (a number of which are for cases of looting). Yet even this is too much for those who, like Naftali Bennett, believe Israel’s “brave warriors” are being unfairly attacked. Read more

Business as usual at the UN – but US public opinion on Israel is shifting

Speaking to the Security Council on Tuesday shortly after voting against the doomedPalestinian-drafted resolution on statehood, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power referred three times to an “unsustainable status quo” between Israel and the Palestinians.

It is of course Washington itself that bears most responsibility for this status quo, through its diplomatic, military, and economic support for the occupier, and leadership of a decades-long ‘peace process’ that has given Israel the cover to de facto annex its way to a permanent occupation. Read more

In the fight against apartheid, Christian Palestinians defy Israel’s propaganda

In 2012, then-Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in which he claimed that “Christians in [Gaza and the West Bank] suffer the same plight as their co-religionists throughout the region.”

While the diplomat was looking to capitalise on more recent developments in the Middle East – like Netanyahu did at the UN, with his “Hamas is ISIS” mantra – Oren’s claim that Christian Palestinians are being driven out by Muslims is a familiar one. Read more

Israel’s strategy: between mowing the grass or uprooting it

“Heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper? On his way down past each floor, he kept saying to reassure himself: So far so good…so far so good…so far so good…” La Haine (1995)

Writing in the Journal of Strategic Studies at the beginning of this year, Bar-Ilan University-based academics Efraim Inbar and Eitan Shamir discussed the Israeli military’s concept of ‘mowing the grass’, a “new term” that “reflects the assumption that Israel finds itself in protracted intractable conflict with extremely hostile non-state entities.” Read more

One arrest will not alter Israel’s culture of impunity for violence

On the morning of March 19 this year, there were no television crews around to capture the moment when an Israeli soldier pulled the trigger and fatally wounded 14-year-old Yusef Al Shawamreh. There were no photographers on hand nor CCTV cameras rolling as Israeli forces, lying in ambush along the path of the apartheid wall, opened fire on children out to pick plants.

Killed while trying to reach his own family’s farmland, Yusef was shot without warning from a few dozen metres away. There was no “threat”, not even a demonstration: just three friends out to find gundelia, cut down by the soldiers of an occupying army. Read more

Like Israeli apartheid, Palestinian resistance crosses Green Line

In 2003, Israel’s then-finance minister, Binyamin Netanyahu described Palestinian citizens of Israel as the real “demographic problem”.

Seven years later as prime minister, Netanyahu told his cabinet that “without a Jewish majority”, the Negev posed “a palpable threat”.

Did someone say “incitement”? Read more

Jerusalem: A stricken apartheid city

In the weeks and months after the Jerusalem Light Rail was inaugurated, city officials boasted of a practical achievement and powerful symbol of the city’s modernity and “unity”. Criticism that the line served illegal settlements was dismissed as ignorant. Pictures of Jewish and Palestinian passengers were proof positive, some suggested, of the deceit of the apartheid charge.

Yet in the fiery weeks of this year’s summer, the JLR became a different kind of symbol, as Palestinians focused their rage on its stations and trains as representative of Israel’s colonial domination. Read more

Four important ways to advance the conversation on Palestine

Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip over the summer prompted an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity for Palestinians in the West, from street protests to expressions of outrage by mainstream politicians. Israel suffered serious damage to its reputation, while support for Palestinians – including through tactics like boycott and divestment – grew.

This occurred in the context of a slowly but steadily deteriorating environment for Israel in countries whose political leaders can still be counted on, by and large, to offer essential diplomatic, military, and economic support. Read more

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