Apartheid, in the words of the Rome Statute, is when inhumane acts are committed “in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”
Increasingly, Israel’s “inhumane acts” against the Palestinians are being understood not as mere aberrations or excesses, but as part of a system of discrimination and segregation: an Israeli form ofapartheid. In response, support for campaigns like Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) is growing.
Recognising these developments, pro-Israel lobby groups are worried. In 2014, one such organisation, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, orBICOM, published a booklet called ‘ The Apartheid Smear’, written by staffer Alan Johnson. Read more
“We are here to stay.” These were the words of Israel’s Science and Space Technology Minister Ophir Akunis, as he attended the ceremonial opening of a new “heritage centre” in Ariel settlement on 17 January. “I want to send the EU ministers a message from here, the city of Ariel,” the minister said. “No step or decision that you take will remove us from our land.”
Ariel, established in 1978, is one of the largest Israeli settlements in the West Bank, with some 20,000 residents, as well as a university. The colony lies some 12 miles from the “Green Line”, and was “strategically built to wind its way along a mountain ridge surrounded by Palestinian towns and villages on all sides.” The Ariel “finger”, or bloc, includes a dozen or so separate, official settlements. Read more
On Wednesday, a debate was held in the British Parliament on the issue of Palestinian child prisoners detained by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
The same day, two thousand miles away, Israel’s Knesset hosted a discussion on how to combat the growing, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Together, these two parliamentary meetings serve as a useful illustration of why Israel’s international image continues to deteriorate – and why it is not likely to improve any time soon. Read more
Two weeks ago, the Israeli cabinet gave itsapproval to proposed legislation that would “impose new regulations on Israeli non-profit groups that receive funds from foreign governments.”
The ‘Transparency Bill’ will compel NGOs that receive more than half of their funding from foreign governments to state so in all official publications, and to “provide details about that funding in any communication with elected officials.” Read more
There can’t be many universities around the world where an occupying army has built a firing range on campus. But that is the reality for Palestine Technical University in the West Bank.
Since October, the Tulkarm campus has been under repeated attack by Israeli forces, with student demonstrations suppressed by rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas – and even live ammunition. In an approximately six week period, 350 students were injured by the Israeli army. Read more
Writing in Middle East Eye last month, I noted remarks made by US Secretary of State John Kerry, where he described “the current situation” between Israel and the Palestinians as “simply not sustainable”. Last week, at the annual Saban Forum in Washington DC, Kerry repeated the warning.
Addressing an audience that included senior Israeli political and military figures, Kerry said “current trends including violence, settlement activity, demolitions, are imperilling the viability of a two-state solution”, and urged action “in order to prevent this untenable one-state reality from taking hold.” Read more
Israel’s “security needs” are routinely cited by officials in Tel Aviv and western capitals as a justification for everything from the continued occupation of the West Bank to the bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Back in June, Israel’s parliament voted to extend for another year a law that “allows the government to avoid granting Israeli citizenship or residency status to Palestinians married to Israelis”.
In the words of Haifa-based legal advocacy group Adalah, the law “bans family unification where one spouse is an Israeli citizen [in practice almost all of whom are Palestinian citizens] and the other a resident of the [West Bank and Gaza Strip]” – though, of course, this excludes Jewish settlers. Read more
Speaking in Washington DC last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry described “the current situation” between Israel and the Palestinians as “simply not sustainable”.
The senior diplomat reaffirmed that his government sees a “two-state solution” as “the only viable alternative” to the status quo. “Anybody who thinks otherwise,” he added, “can measure what unitary looks like by just looking at what’s been occurring over the past few weeks.” Read more
Israeli embassy spokesperson Yiftah Curiel accuses the British media of “callousness towards innocent Israelis’ lives.” As ever, when it comes to claims of “anti-Israel” bias in the media, the evidence is flimsy, consisting mainly of supposedly inaccurate headlines.
I welcome Curiel’s focus on “clear and simple [facts]”, and so here is a (partial) summary of significant acts of violence, violations of international law and human rights abuses conducted this month not by private individuals, but by the Israeli government and its armed forces. Read more
When US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Middle East last week, for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the senior diplomat had one clear stated goal: to restore ‘calm’ after several weeks of violence.
Speaking last Thursday, Kerry stressed the need to “defuse the situation”, and spoke of the need for “parties…to move to a de-escalation.” Other recent diplomatic efforts, and media reports, have used a similar kind of language. Read more