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‘Just a few more apartments’: Netanyahu dismisses concerns over Israeli settlements

Benjamin Netanyahu is a busy man; he certainly doesn’t have time to deal seriously with international objections – even from allies – to petty topics such as settlement expansion.

That was the impression Israel’s prime minister gave on Wednesday, when he dismissed US concerns about the recent approval of 800 new housing units in settlements. “A few more apartments near the municipality of Ma’ale Adumim” are not “preventing peace”, Netanyahu said.

This was classic Bibi disingenuousness. Read more

Immunity and impunity: Britain protects Tzipi Livni once again

Once again, Israeli opposition politician and war crimes suspect Tzipi Livni has been granted diplomatic immunity by the British government for a private visit to London.

Last week, Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Unit invited Tzipi Livni to a police interview under caution, in relation to her role in Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 (Operation Cast Lead). At the time, Livni was foreign minister, vice prime minister, and a member of the security cabinet.

The summons, described in Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as “unprecedented”, was only “cancelled after diplomatic contacts between Israel and Britain, at the end of which Livni received immunity.” Read more

A welcome week of good news for UK’s Palestine solidarity

This week saw two setbacks in efforts by Israel’s supporters in the UK to undermine Palestine solidarity activism, and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in particular.

The first came at the High Court in London, where Jewish Human Rights Watch – a relatively new organisation founded by a man described by Conservative leadership candidate Michael Gove as a “great friend” – suffered a defeat in its legal action against three local authorities that passed resolutions in support of Palestinian rights. Read more

Demolitions as displacement: Israel targets Negev’s Bedouin Palestinians

A new report has revealed how 2,752 structures were demolished in Bedouin Palestinian communities in the Negev over the last three years, part of what human rights activists have described as an ongoing, concerted campaign of displacement by Israeli authorities.

‘Enforcing Distress: House Demolition Policy in the Bedouin Community in the Negev’, published by the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF), sets out to reveal “the ways in which the [Israeli] state utilizes enforcement in order to displace citizens from their lands.” Read more

Israel: EU’S Growing Concern

On June 3, a few days before the 49th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, diplomats gathered in Paris for a conference framed as a preliminary step towards reviving official Israeli-Palestinian peace talks – though without the presence of either’s respective officials.

The gathering did not amount to much; the final statement was characterized by generalities and included phrases copied and pasted from recent statements issued by the Middle East Quartet, or the Diplomatic Quartet. Read more

Israel’s friends at Westminster ‘hijack’ foreign aid debate

Pro-Israel MPs were accused this week of ‘hijacking’ a Westminster debate on UK government foreign aid in order to attack the Palestinian Authority (PA) and smear Israeli human rights groups.

Monday’s debate came in response to an e-petition initiated by The Mail on Sunday, asking the government to “stop spending a fixed 0.7 per cent slice of our national wealth on Foreign Aid.” A handful of MPs, however, used the forum to repeatedly raise the topic of alleged ‘incitement’ and payments to ‘terrorists’ by the PA, a recipient of UK aid money. Read more

49 facts about Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip

This week marked the 49th anniversary of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. So here are 49 facts about a military regime that has lasted almost half a century. Read more

UK charity under pressure over donations to Israeli settlements

A UK charity is facing regulatory scrutiny and political pressure following revelations that it is acting as a conduit for donations to illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank.

UK Toremet receives donations on behalf of vetted ‘recipient agencies’, making it “easier to gift money to charities outside the UK by facilitating a UK tax receipt and Gift Aid qualification.” It has distributed more than £1 million to organisations in the UK, Israel, and elsewhere.

In September 2015, I revealed how UK Toremet’s list of approved recipients included several groups operating in, or for the benefit of, Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), colonies which are illegal under international law. Read more

Israel: The rise of the new ‘messianic elite’

If there’s one thing everyone across the political spectrum in Israel agrees on, is that it was an audacious move. After intensifying speculation that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, would strengthen his coalition by bringing in Isaac Herzog and the Zionist Camp, the Likud leader turned around and announced a deal with hard-right former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

That deal saw Lieberman offered the position of defence minister, whose incumbent, Moshe Ya’alon, resigned both his post and place in the Knesset. In parting shots, Ya’alon declared he had lost trust in Netanyahu, and warned that “extremist and dangerous elements” had “taken over Israel and the Likud Party”. Read more

The Palestinian Nakba goes far beyond one day in 1948

The late Australian scholar Patrick Wolfe famously said of settler colonialism that “invasion is a structure not an event”.

These are words worth remembering, in this three-week period between Nakba Day and Naksa Day, which mark respectively Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947 to 1949, and the beginning of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip on June 5, 1967.

Anniversaries are important, but they can also mislead: the Nakba began long before the formal establishment of the State of Israel on May 15, 1948, and it has continued ever since. Read more

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