Skip to content

UN report: Israel has established an ‘apartheid regime’

Update (17/3//17): since this article was first published, ESCWA has been forced to remove the report from its website. It can be viewed/downloaded here: UN ESCWA Israel Apartheid Report

A new United Nations report accuses Israel of having established “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”.

The publication comes amid renewed debate about whether, through its settlement policy and rejection of Palestinian self-determination, the Israeli government is creating – or even has already created – a de facto “one-state”, which critics warn would constitute a form of apartheid. Read more

Israeli Apartheid Week: How campus activism is being shut down by false charges of ‘anti-Semitism’

Earlier this week, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) cancelled an event planned as part of “Israeli Apartheid Week”, on the grounds that it “contravenes” a controversial definition of anti-Semitism recently endorsed by the UK government.

The panel event, “Debunking misconceptions on Palestine and the importance of BDS”, was organised by the UCLan Friends of Palestine society. I was one of the speakers scheduled to speak.

There are three particularly disturbing aspects to this decision by the UCLan authorities. Read more

Trump and Palestine – so what now?

Before Donald Trump’s inauguration, it was a safe bet to assume that his administration’s approach to Israel and the Palestinians would either be one of relative neglect, or serve as a boost to the far-right Israeli nationalists who seek annexation of all or parts of the West Bank.

Either, of course, would spell trouble for the Palestinians. So far, and particularly after Trump’s meeting this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it would appear to be a combination of the two. Read more

Israeli torture of Palestinian children ‘institutional’

A recent article published by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has confirmed the extent to which Shin Bet interrogators subject their prisoners to torture.

Methods include slapping the head “to hurt sensitive organs like the nose, ears, brow and lips”, forcing a handcuffed individual to squat against a wall for long periods of time, and placing the suspect bent backwards over a chair with his arms and legs cuffed. Read more

News agencies still whitewashing Israeli forces’ lethal violence

Many media outlets are continuing to repeat important mistakes when it comes to covering the killing of Palestinians by Israeli forces, errors that result in a whitewashing of the routine violence of Israel’s occupation, and ultimately, biased coverage.

When I wrote about this issue last year (see here, here, and here), I focused on the output of news agencies like Reuters and The Associated Press (AP), on the basis that their reports go global, and that their coverage – perhaps more than other outlets – is perceived as objective (or striving to be).

Unfortunately, the flaws that have characterised the reporting of events since autumn 2015 have persisted into 2017 – as the following examples demonstrate. Read more

The subordination of Palestinian rights must stop

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is in dire straits but observers differ on whether the framework of negotiations towards a two-state solution is in poor health, comatose or dead.

The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House, along with an Israeli government and opposition that are either explicitly opposed to Palestinian statehood, ambivalent or believe it is not the right time, are all further evidence of an era of uncertainty and danger. But there is also an opportunity for a rethink by the international community about how they relate to Israel and Palestinians. And it is vital that any new approach must end the subordination of Palestinian rights. Read more

Shocked by Donald Trump’s ‘travel ban’? Israel has had a similar policy for decades

In US President Donald Trump’s first week in office, three policy issues dominated the headlines: his plans to build a wall on the Mexican border, the President’s support for torture, and his executive order targeting refugees, residents and visitors from seven Muslim majority countries.

All three have prompted widespread outrage, in particular, the ban on refugees and blanket immigration restrictions being applied on the basis of national origin and religion. Read more

Sorry COGAT, infographics can’t whitewash Israel’s occupation

A key element of Israel’s military regime in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), an occupation that will complete fifty years in June, is the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit, which is overseen by the Ministry of Defence.

COGAT, whose operating budget in 2015 was nearly half a billion shekels, describes itself as “responsible for implementing the government’s policy in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip.” Read more

The Israel lobby scandal and Labour’s anti-Semitism ‘crisis’ are intimately linked

The latest revelations to emerge from the Al Jazeera investigation into the work of the Israeli embassy in London and pro-Israel lobby groups in Britain are a reminder of an issue that once dominated the headlines: the Labour Party’s so-called “anti-Semitism crisis”.

Like Israeli embassy official Shai Masot being caught on camera seeking to “take down” British politicians, the fact that Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) director MP Joan Ryan is shown to have misrepresented and smeared a pro-Palestinian party member is instructive, but not a shock. Read more

Israel’s anti-UN steps could lead to ‘isolation’

Last Friday, the Israeli government announced that it had suspended $6m in funding to the United Nations (UN), a move described as “an act of protest” against the recent Security Council resolution condemning illegal settlements.

But is this just the opening salvo in what could be an unprecedented offensive?

“Judging by how things are being handled in Israel at the moment, anything or any idea is possible, ” said Israeli political journalist and blogger Tal Schneider. “Seeing the government’s responses to Resolution 2334, I thought, ‘Are we going to leave the UN?’,” she told Al Jazeera. Read more