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
When a Methodist church in central London decided to hold a small exhibition about life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation, its members probably did not expect to be smeared as antisemites in the pages of The Times.
Yet that is precisely what happened to the members of Hinde Street Methodist church in Marylebone, in response to its “You cannot pass today” event, held as part of an annual “World Week for Peace in Palestine/Israel”. Read more
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat likes to present himself to a Western audience as the head of an open, pluralistic city, a place at ease with its ethnic and religious diversity, despite complex “security” challenges. The reality is somewhat different.
As reported in Haaretz (with thanks to Ofer Neiman for translation), while speaking recently with Likud party members, Barkat boasted of inflicting collective punishment on Palestinian neighbourhoods of Occupied East Jerusalem. Read more
Apartheid, in the words of the Rome Statute, is when inhumane acts are committed “in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”
Increasingly, Israel’s “inhumane acts” against the Palestinians are being understood not as mere aberrations or excesses, but as part of a system of discrimination and segregation: an Israeli form ofapartheid. In response, support for campaigns like Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) is growing.
Recognising these developments, pro-Israel lobby groups are worried. In 2014, one such organisation, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, orBICOM, published a booklet called ‘ The Apartheid Smear’, written by staffer Alan Johnson. Read more
Israeli leaders have a long history of levelling the accusation of ‘incitement’ against Palestinian officials. In recent weeks, barely a day has gone by without Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or members of his cabinet claiming that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is encouraging or instigating the recent youth-driven rebellion.
It has reached ridiculous levels. On Sunday, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz claimed “the level and intensity of the incitement and the level of anti-Semitism” from Abbas “is the same level as [Adolf] Hitler.” Two days later, Netanyahu declared that it was the Mufti of Jerusalem who convinced Hitler to exterminate the Jews.
The Israeli government repeats accusations of ‘incitement’ ad nauseam, but on the ground its policies are guaranteed to provoke yet further Palestinian anger and resistance. This toolbox of repression, familiar but intensified, is intended to crush an anti-colonial revolt through collective punishment, discrimination, and violence. Read more
The West Bank, despite its centrality to Israeli designs and Palestinian aspirations, is often overshadowed by other events in the Middle East. Last summer, Gaza ‘disengagement’ grabbed the headlines, and indeed since then, Qassam fire and Israeli military operations in the Strip have stayed at the top of the news agenda. When you also consider more recent events in Lebanon, and a general regional focus on Syria-Iran, West Bank Palestinians have continued their lives under Israeli occupation without international publicity or outcry. Often, when concerned friends from the West contact those they know in Bethlehem to ensure they are not in danger, we reply that here, everything is ‘normal’. Read more