Skip to content

Attack on UN agency exposes Israeli charge of Palestinian ‘incitement’

Last month saw yet another attack on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the body supporting Palestinian refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and wider region.

“New UNRWA textbooks for Palestinians demonize Israel and Jews” ran the headline in The Jerusalem Post on 28 September, in a piece on a new “study” funded, carried out and published by the Los Angeles-headquartered Simon Wiesenthal Centre, the anti-Islam, Daniel Pipes-led Middle East Forum, and the Jerusalem-based Centre for Near East Policy Research (CNEPR).

There was one problem, however: almost 90 percent of the books cited are not being used in UNRWA schools. Read more

Advertisements

Israeli incitement, rejectionism & anti-Palestinian racism – fact sheet

Anti-Palestinian incitement and racism can be found throughout Israeli society, from football matches and op-ed pages, to universities and the highest levels of elected office. The dehumanisation of Palestinians and rejection of their basic rights flows from, and has provided justification for, decades of settler-colonialism and occupation.

Palestinians are portrayed routinely by Israeli politicians, academics and religious leaders as barbaric, a “demographic threat” and a “problem” to be managed. This affects public attitudes; according to one study, 60,000 active Israeli social media users posted at least one racist item against Arabs in 2016, at a rate of one post every 46 seconds.

This factsheet is just the tip of the iceberg, with a focus on the rhetoric of government ministers and officials – from various political parties – in recent years. Read more

Separate and unequal: How Israel segregates its own citizens inside the Green Line

The pending demolitions of Khan Al-Ahmar and Susiya, two Palestinian communities in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, along with the forced expulsion of their inhabitants, have been attracting international concern and protests.

Similarly, the recent eviction of a Palestinian family to make way for Jewish settlers in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, prompted widespread condemnation (though, of course, no practical steps of censure or sanction).

In all three cases, the Israeli authorities and settlers deploy a variety of legal tools to dress up displacement and colonisation as merely “respect for the law” and “due process”. Read more

As apartheid deepens Israel targets the UN settlements database

The Israeli government and its allies are mobilising to try and thwart a United Nations list of companies complicit in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

These efforts are taking place in parallel to significant initiatives by figures within and outside of the Israeli government to normalise the presence of the settlements, moves which could contribute towards a future, formal annexation of sections of the West Bank.

On 24 March 2016 the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution by 32 votes to 0 (with 15 abstentions) that called for the establishment of “a database of all business enterprises involved” in settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), to be updated annually. Read more

Debunking Israel’s UN-bias claims

Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the United Nations, made headlines in June when she denounced what she claimed was a pattern of “anti-Israel” behaviour at the UN.

“I have never taken kindly to bullies, and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time,” she said. “We are not going to let that happen any more. It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations.”

While Haley’s words were music to Israeli leaders’ ears and echoed long-standing talking points of pro-Israel advocacy groups, analysts say there is little substance to her allegations that, in the words of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Israel has been “the UN’s punching bag”. Read more

Sensing an opportunity, Israel targets UNRWA and the Palestinian right of return

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the dismantling of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The call was unprecedented in terms of Israeli policy to date, and also marked an escalation in anti-UN rhetoric and steps by Israeli government officials.

Netanyahu, speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting, revealed that he had discussed the need to dismantle UNRWA with US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley: “I told her it was time the United Nations re-examine UNRWA’s existence”, he said. Read more

The peace process industry keeps the Israeli-Palestinian conflict running

At an April conference in Washington DC held by the Middle East Policy Council, University of Pennsylvania-based political scientist Professor Ian Lustick had some strong criticism for what he described as “the continuous merry-go-round of American-orchestrated negotiations”.

After analysing the interests and roles played by, respectively, the Israeli government, the US government, and the Palestinian Authority, Lustick turned his attention to a “fourth player” – what he called “the peace process industry”. Read more

Demographics and Democrats: Brand Israel’s big problems ahead

When David Friedman was sworn in two weeks ago as US ambassador to Israel, all went smoothly. The afternoon event was a straightforward affair; children and grandchildren were in attendance, and US Vice President Mike Pence hailed the bankruptcy lawyer as “literally … born for this job”.

But the bonhomie and ceremonial formalities could not mask the fact that this had been no ordinary nomination or ambassadorial appointment. In fact, Friedman’s Senate confirmation hearing was both an unprecedented affair and a microcosm of trends that spell big trouble for “brand Israel”. Read more

Fact-checking Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev

Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, places a premium on speaking at university campuses. The context? Israel’s uphill struggle to assuage a growing sense of frustration and anger at a Benjamin Netanyahu-led government seen as a serial violator of international law and human rights.

In October, Regev addressed Cambridge University students at its famous Debating Union. The event was recently uploaded onto YouTube, and of particular interest is the Q&A (beginning 27 minutes in). The questions are predominantly critical, or sceptical, and Regev has to shoot from the hip.

So here are three claims that the Israeli ambassador made in response to students’ questions – and an analysis of their accuracy. Read more

Israel’s false narrative on land swaps

When Israeli opposition leader and Labour Party chairman Isaac Herzog published a plan for kick-starting the peace process last month, one of his stated goals was to “save the settlement blocs” – areas of the West Bank where Israel has built clusters of settlements, including larger towns.

Settlement blocs are often referred to by politicians and pundits alike, but there is no common understanding about precisely what the term means. Read more