Last week, the United Nations human rights office published an update on its work to produce a database of businesses involved in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, as mandated by a UN Human Rights Council resolution adopted in March 2016.
The report revealed that 206 companies, mostly Israeli or American, had been identified as engaged in activities that are either explicitly linked to the settlements or form part of processes that “enable and support the establishment, expansion and maintenance of [the settlements]”. Read more
For those who always saw a so-called two-state solution as a means of preserving Israel as a ‘Jewish and democratic’ ethno-state, goodbye is the hardest word to say.
As the Israeli government consolidates a de facto, single state that all its predecessors since 1967 helped forge, those urging ‘separation’ from the Palestinians are sounding desperate – especially in their attacks on calls for a single democratic state, to replace today’s apartheid status quo. Read more
The commendable decision by Amnesty International UK to cancel an event this week organised by the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) is an important development in the fight against Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The event, which was to focus on the ills of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), featured Hillel Neuer, the head of pro-Israel pressure group UN Watch. Acknowledging that the booking should never have been approved in the first place, Amnesty UK pulled the plug on the event after concerns were raised both externally and within the organisation. Read more
As with the decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, US President Donald Trump surely had his electoral base in mind when deciding to slash funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which looks after Palestinian refugees.
Trump’s decision, however, can not be divorced from a long-standing Israeli animus towards the agency, whose current difficulties have been broadly welcomed by Israeli politicians – including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli officials and pro-Israel groups make two main arguments in their attacks on UNRWA: Palestinian refugees are “fake” and the UN agency “perpetuates” the conflict. Read more
This week saw a new round of construction approvals by the Israeli government for settlement housing units, the majority of which are for colonies “deep” in the occupied West Bank.
The settlement homes were advanced by a committee of the so-called Civil Administration, part of the defence ministry, which forms a key part of the bureaucratic process for advancing settlement construction in the West Bank (East Jerusalem, illegally annexed by Israel, is treated differently). Read more
The Israeli Supreme Court has been accused of redefining torture so as to permit it after a major new ruling was greeted with dismay by local and international human rights groups.
Last week the court – sitting as the High Court of Justice – denied a petition brought by The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) on behalf of Palestinian prisoner Asad Abu Ghosh. Read more
In comparison to the focus on opposition to the move and its possible ramifications, relatively little has been said about why Donald Trump’s administration has decided to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and signal its intent to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv.
For example, one widely-shared piece of analysis does not really answer the question in its title, namely, “Why is Trump undoing decades of US policy on Jerusalem?”
I believe there are three main reasons, none of which are mutually exclusive. Read more
In an unprecedented development, Amnesty International has pledged to consider whether the Israeli government is committing the crime of apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
This marks the first time that the global rights NGO has said it will investigate Israeli practices specifically with regards to whether they meet the international definition of apartheid. Read more