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Israel embassy scandal sign of panic, as much as influence

Revelations about the activities of an Israeli embassy staff member have been headline news in the British media over the last few days. There might be more to come – the Al Jazeera Investigations programme on which the stories have been based is aired over four nights starting Wednesday.

To summarise what we know already, an Israeli government official based at the embassy in London, Shai Masot, was caught on camera discussing how to “take down” British politicians deemed unfriendly to Israel, including foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan. Read more

The two-state mirage: A fake promise that gives cover to Israel’s land grab

There is a growing consensus that the status quo in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is fatal to the possibility of an independent Palestinian state.

This was the take-home message of a recent, high-profile speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry, and, as pointed out recently by Yousef Munayyer, the diplomat himself warned four years ago that the window for the “two-state solution” would definitively close in two years.

Versions of this warning, that Israel’s colonisation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank is becoming irreversible, have been issued by Palestinians, Israelis and international diplomats and commentators for decades. Read more

Elor Azaria and the Israeli army: One conviction doesn’t change systematic impunity

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria was convicted yesterday of the manslaughter of Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sharif, a 21-year-old Palestinian killed by a shot to the head as he lay wounded and motionless after an alleged attack on uniformed occupation forces in Hebron in March 2016.

Azaria’s sentence has yet to be handed down – and his defence team could well appeal. Furthermore, a number of Israeli ministers have already demanded that Azaria be pardoned, a call supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, and 70 per cent of the Israeli public. Read more

What’s behind John Kerry’s speech?

A eulogy for the two-state solution? Maybe – but Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech Wednesday sounded suspiciously like yet another desperate attempt to sustain the so-called ‘peace process’.

It is only possible to understand the Security Council resolution and Kerry’s speech, how to view them – their weaknesses, and the opportunities they represent – by beginning with a reality check about the two-decade old, US and internationally-led peace process. Read more

Time for international community to get tough on Israel

2017 must be the year that the international community finally toughens up its language and, most importantly, its actions, when it comes to Israel.

The case is well known and irrefutable. Israel is a serial human rights violator whose laws and policies contravene UN Security Council resolutions in addition to various other international humanitarian-law obligations and treaties. Read more

UN report: Palestinian development impossible without ending Israeli occupation

As Israel and its advocates promote a depoliticised framework of economic improvements for Palestinians under military occupation, a new United Nations (UN) document is required reading.

Late last month, the UN Country Team in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) published an extensive, 180-page report on “the state of development in Palestine as the Israeli occupation of its territory enters its 50th year.” Read more

Israeli settlements and Palestinians: Even the ‘moderates’ want segregation

The settlers of the Amona outpost are but a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands who live in colonies, established by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory since 1967. Their fate has seen Benjamin Netanyahu challenged by the pro-settler right both inside and outside his coalition government.

For some, the fact that the court-mandated removal of settlers living on privately owned Palestinian land is taking place at all proves that Israel is not, in fact, being led by the “settler lobby”.

For others, the fact that such a protest, and contrived “compromise”, can be generated over one outpost suggests that a large-scale settler withdrawal is perhaps impossible. Read more

Israeli settlements are about much more than a few houses

Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are illegal, constituting a grave violation of the Geneva Conventions. They are also an impediment to a long-term negotiated deal, in that they eat up land, and their continued growth is a clear sign of bad faith.

But Israel’s colonies in the oPt are also part of a violent, inherently discriminatory regime of segregation and displacement – in other words, they have an immediate, ongoing human rights impact. And their “footprint” goes well beyond the built-up areas of houses and caravans. Read more

Elections or not, US offers no hope for Palestinians

As world leaders reacted to Donald Trump’s US presiden­tial election victory, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not want to be left out. “Abbas congratulates the elected Ameri­can president, Donald Trump, and hopes that peace will be achieved during his term,” said a statement on the official Palestinian news agency. Read more

BDS is not the only tactic against Israeli occupation, but it is working

This week, the BDS National Committee (BNC) published a round-up of campaigning for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel during 2016, including a summary of “the most significant indicators of direct and indirect BDS impact in various fields”. Introducing the timeline, the BNC noted how progress over the past year has occurred in the face of intensified Israeli state efforts to undermine, attack and sabotage the BDS movement. Read more