In light of the Netanyahu-Lieberman coalition’s newly proposed (or passed) laws that target the Jewish state’s Arab minority, increasing attention is being paid to the discrimination and hate speech faced by Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Issues like the struggle of ‘unrecognised’ villages, and phenomena like the ‘don’t rent to Arabs’ rabbis’ letter, for example, are being covered by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, international media, and even the UK Foreign Office. Read more
Posts tagged ‘Palestine’
Standing with Palestinian Bedouin activists on the traditional lands of al-Araqib, we watched as Jewish National Fund workers in the distance continued preparing the ground for the ‘Ambassador’s Forest’. Earlier in the day, I had stood on a hillside: in front lay an ‘unrecognised’ Bedouin village, denied basic infrastructure and services. Across the road was a fully integrated Jewish community.
Separation and inequality – it could have been anywhere in the Occupied Territories, where Jewish settlements lie alongside impoverished Palestinian communities threatened with demolition orders for ‘illegal’ construction. But it is not just in the West Bank colonies that the Israeli authorities work with ideologically motivated para-state agencies to ‘protect’ and ‘redeem’ the land. The phenomenon is as familiar in the Naqab (Negev). Demolitions, housing shortages, and politically driven Jewish settlement of the kind faced by Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are also everyday challenges confronting Palestinian citizens of Israel. With all the significant differences in conditions on either side of the Green Line, the Israeli state’s policies towards its minority citizens and the militarily occupied Palestinians have been shaped by similar strategic goals. Read more
In an unprecedented development for the Palestine solidarity movement in the UK, last week the student union at Sussex University in Brighton ‘yes’ to boycotting Israeli goods. The referendum saw high levels of participation, with the vote tally coming in at 526 votes in favour of a boycott, and 450 against.
University rules meant that campaigning was restricted to a few days immediately preceding the referendum, which was carried out using an online voting system. Both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns actively pushed their positions with the student population – those opposing the boycott move adopted the slogan ‘Build bridges not boycotts’. Read more
In his introduction to the book he edits, Remi Kanazi describes the moment in his own life when he “realised that Palestinians were not so ‘other’ after all,” that “there exists a substantial ‘we’ of people alienated from our own lands across the globe”. Poets for Palestine, whose publisher – Al Jisser Group – means ‘the bridge’ – is a beautiful celebration of the creativity and defiance of the Palestinian people, and a testimony to the spirit of resistance found in many different human struggles for justice. Read more
Palestine should not have problems attracting tourists, with its rich blend of history, religious significance, local culture, as well as the varied and breathtaking scenery. But of course, the political context of the Israeli occupation means that the vast majority of tourists in the “Holy Land” only see Palestinians through the window of a tour bus, as they dash in and out of Bethlehem for a couple of hours.
The occupation, however, has also attracted a different kind of visitor, the “alternative tourist,” who comes to the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), occupied by Israel along with the Gaza Strip since 1967, in order to better understand the conflict, and deliberately go “beyond” the standard pilgrimage or mainstream tourist trip to Israel. These kinds of tourists are much fewer in number, and are typically already sensitized to some degree to the Palestinian situation. Virtually no tourists, if any, go to the Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli-imposed closure for several years. Read more
The Bishop of Manchester recently warned of an increase in anti-Semitism as a result of a “backlash from Gaza”, in remarks reported in this paper. The week before, Paul Richardson had also written (Jan 23) of how Israel’s attack on Gaza led to attacks on synagogues in Britain and Europe”.
Unfortunately, these and other articles that have appeared in CEN since Israel launched its operation at the end of December have not helped to either clarify the link between Gaza and anti-Semitism at home, nor to foster a serious understanding about events in Israel/Palestine and the Western church’s role. Read more
In what is becoming somewhat of an annual tradition, recent weeks have seen dozens of stories in the international media about the difficulties facing Palestinians during the olive harvest season. Ever since the start of the Second Intifada in 2000, the West Bank olive harvest has been extensively covered by the press, with reporters accompanying Palestinian farmers and villagers out to the groves.
The olive harvest, as a proportion of the Palestinian economy, is not particularly big, but for many families and villages, it represents the prime, or even only, source of income. The olive tree is also invested with heavy symbolic value; rooted in the soil, ancient, it has come to represent Palestinian steadfastness in the face of concerted efforts to remove them from their land. Read more
As the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel approaches, Western church leaders are putting their names to a historic joint declaration calling for a just peace in Palestine/Israel. Recognising that for many Israelis and Jews around the world, this landmark is a cause for joyful celebration, the declaration goes on to recognise that Palestinians will mark the same occasion by remembering 60 years since the Nakba (Catastrophe). Furthermore, for the Palestinians: Read more
A few weeks ago, the Oxford University Union held a debate on the “one-state solution” in Palestine/Israel. Before the speakers had even taken to the floor, however, the event was the focus of an intense controversy, over allegations that the Union organizers had buckled under pressure to cancel Norman Finkelstein’s appearance. Ghada Karmi, Ilan Pappe, and Avi Shlaim — all scheduled to speak on the opposite side of the floor to Finkelstein — pulled out in solidarity.  Read more
We’ve had Live 8 and Live Earth, and this week, albeit on a smaller scale, we almost had One Million Voices. Organised by the OneVoice group, the declared aim was to bring together Palestinians and Israelis in simultaneous events in Tel Aviv, Jericho, London, Washington and Ottawa to voice support for the “moderates” and call for a negotiated two-state solution.
The plans fell through, amid bitter claim and counter-claim, as artists lined up for the Jericho event cancelled, and the Tel Aviv concert followed suit. This followed grassroots pressure by Palestinians who objected to what they see as yet another attempt to promote a false peace that fails to address the structural injustices driving the conflict. Read more