A week on from Israel’s deadly crackdown on Palestinian protests in the occupied Gaza Strip on Land Day it is clear that the killing of demonstrators constituted a case of pre-meditated murder. The evidence is overwhelming and almost entirely provided by Israeli officials themselves.
First, consider the Israeli authorities’ preparations and open threats in the lead up to Friday, 30 March. Two days in advance, the head of the Israeli armed forces proudly told local media that there would be more than 100 snipers positioned around the Gaza Strip, mostly from “special units,” who would be authorised to live fire on Palestinian demonstrators. Read more
Let us begin with the facts: Israeli authorities have, over the course of the last year, tightened the long-standing blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Even before these more recent restrictions, the Israeli blockade – an illegal policy of collective punishment in the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – was continuing to severely harm the lives of Gaza’s two million residents, furthering the enclave’s de-development. Read more
On Friday 9 September, dozens of Palestinians demonstrated next to the Gaza Strip’s border fence near the Al-Bureij refugee camp, protesting Israel’s ongoing occupation and its various crimes.
Here is how Reuters reported what happened next: “An 18-year-old Palestinian was killed during a rock-throwing protest near the Gaza-Israel border on Friday and a Palestinian health official said Israeli soldiers shot him, but the Israeli army said troops were not responsible.” Read more
In recent days, Israeli authorities have announced charges against two, Gaza-based employees of international NGOs – one from World Vision, one from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Each individual faces accusations of varying degrees of assisting Hamas.
Many have expressed scepticism about the charges, particularly given the lack of due process. Mohammed Halabi, for example, was detained without charge for 50 days and alleges that he was tortured by Shin Bet officials during his interrogation. He was also denied access to a lawyer for three weeks. Read more
Last week, the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) – or Shin Bet – announced serious charges against a Gaza-based Palestinian employee of the global Christian charity, World Vision.
According to Shin Bet, Mohammad el-Halabi, the head of World Vision’s Gaza office, funnelled tens of millions of dollars of aid money to Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades in an elaborate, years-long scheme.
Israeli officials wasted no time in publicising allegations that boost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s narrative that Hamas is exploiting naive, or nefarious, international aid groups. Read more
Students at Palestine Technical University in the Occupied West Bank face an unusual challenge in pursuit of their studies: the Israeli military has built a training facility on campus. The university may be the only one in the world where an occupying army has not only built a firing range on campus, but also regularly shoots and detains student protesters; in one six week period recently, some 350 Palestinian students were injured by the Israeli army. Read more
There were grimly familiar headlines last week, as a new United Nations report warned that Gaza could be uninhabitable by 2020 if present trends continue. This latest warning arrives three years after the UN similarly predicted that the Gaza Strip would not be “a livable place” by 2020 without drastic action to improve basic infrastructure and services.
The new report, published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), is a thorough analysis of the economic reality of the occupied Palestinian territory. The report lays blame with Israel’s “discriminatory policies”, describing how Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip in 2014 led to a 15 percent drop in the latter’s gross domestic product, sending the Palestinian economy into its first recession since 2006, with unemployment shooting up to 44 percent. Read more
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has overruled his colleagues’ recommendations and removed Israel from a list of parties guilty of grave violations of children’s rights, it was revealed Monday.
The decision to exclude Israel from the list, part of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict presented to the Security Council, was slammed by human rights groups, who accused Ban Ki-moon of buckling under pressure from Israel and the US. Read more
During the last couple of weeks, Westminster lobby group Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has been pushing its new publication on Gaza, the key message of which is that the reconstruction of the fenced-in enclave should be contingent on its demilitarisation.
My intention here is not to set out the clear, legal and moral, arguments against LFI’s ‘disarmament for development’ approach – indeed, leading NGOs have already done so. Rather, I would like to make a different point with regards to Israel advocacy in Western capitals. Read more
Leading NGOs have heavily criticised attempts to link the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip with its demilitarisation, ahead of a debate about the issue in Westminster today.
Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) will this afternoon urge “disarmament for development”, as the Israel lobby group launches a new campaign focusing on the Gaza Strip and Hamas.
In their supporters’ briefing, LFI claims: “Reconstruction, lifting the ‘blockade’ of Gaza by Israel and Egypt and demilitarisation are intimately linked: the first two are dependent on the last.” Read more