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Posts tagged ‘Israeli apartheid’

Exclusive: Amnesty pledges to consider if Israel is committing apartheid

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

Boycotting Israel isn’t anti-Semitic – how many human rights groups need to condemn it until this is clear?

The Conservative Government is planning a significant assault on political freedoms in the name of protecting those profiting from human rights violations. Specifically, they are seeking to shield Israel from the growing pressure of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Read more

The missing data on the Palestinian revolt

On Wednesday, Palestinian youths from a village in the northern West Bank attacked Israeli Border Police officers outside Damascus Gate, in Occupied East Jerusalem, killing one and wounding another. The three assailants were killed on the spot.

With nearly daily bloodshed, most news agencies have been using ‘copy and paste’-style paragraphs to provide context for readers. Here are three such summaries, taken from reports of Wednesday’s attack by Reuters, The Associated Press, and AFP. Read more

Goldstone’s ‘apartheid’ denial sparks strife

After his famous article earlier this year on Gaza, Judge Richard Goldstone has written a new op-ed, this time seeking to defend Israel against charges of apartheid.

There are numerous problems with Goldstone’s piece, but I want to highlight two important errors. First, Goldstone – like others who attack the applicability of the term “apartheid” – wants to focus on differences between the old regime in South Africa and what is happening in Israel/Palestine. Note that he does this even while observing that apartheid “can have broader meaning”, and acknowledging its inclusion in the 1998 Rome Statute. Read more

Israel’s apartheid demands a response

When I visited Israel and Palestine in July (my eighth trip since 2003), I once again witnessed the reality attested to by countless human rights organisations, journalists and Israeli and Palestinian peace activists: Israel’s brutal occupation and apartheid is only worsening.

Take, for example, Daoud and his family in the Bethlehem Governate of the West Bank. Like millions of Palestinians they are under military rule, denied basic rights we take for granted. The family has owned a farm for generations, yet must fight to maintain their presence there.

This summer, Israeli soldiers issued the family with demolition orders for several structures on the farm, including an outside toilet, chicken coop, and underground water cistern. In 60% of the West Bank, Palestinians must apply for building permits from Israeli occupation forces; yet according to a 2008 UN report, 94% of applications are denied. Building illegally means demolition. Meanwhile, all around the farm’s olive trees and vines, Jewish settlements expand and flourish. Read more

Obama Needs To Tell It Like It Is

Ever since Barack Obama’s election, many have been eagerly awaiting the “new” approach they hope he will bring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in contrast to his predecessor. Yet rather than revealing change, my most recent visit to the region in April brought home to me how much of the Bush approach has been maintained under Obama and the Madrid Quartet with its special envoy Tony Blair.

That similarity is most clearly demonstrated by the huge contradiction that exists between the rhetoric of these major players when they talk about a “peace process” and the reality on the ground in Palestine/Israel. Read more

What direction will Israel take now?

Three pieces of legislation proposed recently by members of Israel’s Knesset have been making headlines: banning the commemoration of the Nakba; introducing a mandatory ‘loyalty oath’ to the Zionist state; and criminalising public declarations of opposition to Israel being a ‘Jewish state’.

None of these efforts may actually become law – the loyalty oath has already been voted down by the cabinet’s law committee. The Nakba bill though has now been tweaked, so that rather than straightforwardly outlawing any events, there will be economic sanctions for the local authorities and organisations involved. Read more

One for the shelf

Yesterday, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz published what seemed like a significant development in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, reporting that PM Ehud Olmert had presented Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president “with a detailed proposal for an agreement in principle on borders, refugees and security arrangements between Israel and a future Palestinian state”.

The “offer” is nothing too different to what we’ve seen before: Israel keeps the main settlement blocs, including around Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim, and, the Ha’aretz article suggests, Efrat and Ariel too. There is no mention of arrangements for the Jordan valley, crucial territory that Olmert has previously declared his intention to annex. Read more

The Jordan Valley’s forgotten Palestinians

From the veranda of his home up on the hillside, Hassan Abed Hassan Jermeh looks out over his village, fertile green fields, and all the way over to the mountains across the border in Jordan. Village elder since 1995, he is intimately familiar with the challenges facing Palestinians in the Jordan Valley.

Al-Zubeidat is home to around 1,800 members of the same hamula (clan), originally Bedouin refugees displaced from Beer al-Sabe’, now the Israeli town of Beer Sheva, in 1948. The residents mainly work in agriculture on land that since 1967 has been rented from the Israeli government, which refused to recognize previous agreements made with the Jordanians. Read more

West Bank bantustan

Once more, there has been an upsurge of violence in the Gaza Strip. Israeli military attacks have killed over 30 Palestinians in the last few days, while in the neighbouring Israeli city of Sderot and across the Negev, Palestinian rockets have fallen in their dozens.

At the same time, however, there is also a renewed emphasis on negotiations – it was only Monday that Israelis and Palestinians began to discuss issues such as Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, and the borders of the proposed Palestinian state. Most of the media coverage this week has dealt with these parallel stories by referring to the fresh bloodshed as coming “despite” the “renewed peace talks”, or as representing an ill-timed challenge to the successful continuation of the top-level meetings. Read more