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Posts tagged ‘Palestinians’

False hopes for Palestine

Over the last six months, there have been numerous reports on the apparent signs of hope in West Bank cities such as Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin. The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, has also enjoyed flattering coverage in the likes of Newsweek and the New York Times, with his unilateral state-building strategy praised by a variety of commentators. The Israeli government, for its part, has trumpeted improvements in Palestinians’ daily lives – from the easing of restrictions on movement, to a boosted economy. Yet as I discovered during a visit at the beginning of this year, these sunny reports bear no relation to Israel’s colonisation of East Jerusalem and West Bank, where the permanently-temporary occupation continues to defy state-building efforts. Read more

Capital murder

First and foremost, united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev — as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty… – Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, on the vision for a “permanent solution”, 5 October 1995

Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people, a city reunified so as never again to be divided –Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 21 May 2009

The current consensus in the international community is that East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967, is the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel’s unilateral annexation of territory to create expanded municipal boundaries for a ‘reunited’ Jerusalem was never recognised.

Over the last forty-three years, Israel has created so-called ‘facts on the ground’ in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), in defiance of international law. Since the Madrid/Oslo peace process, successive Israeli governments have continued to colonise Palestinian land at the same time as conducting negotiations. Read more

‘Punish, humiliate, terrorise’

As the one year anniversary of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip is marked, it is vital to re-examine Operation Cast Lead within the wider context of Israel’s approach to both Gaza and the Palestinians.

There is a danger that the scale of the devastation and the international protests which followed the war can deflect attention from the broader Israeli policies of collective punishment and deliberately-engineered socio-economic collapse.

The first important part of this context for both before – and since – Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip is the crippling blockade. Read more

Free Mohammad Othman

The Occupied Palestinian Territories is not a place where it is easy to hold on to hope. For decades, Palestinians have been living under Israel’s brutal military rule; their land colonised and subject to an apartheid regime of separation.

Yet one of the most inspiring developments in the West Bank over the last few years has been the emergence of a grassroots non-violent resistance movement amongst Palestinians, targeting Israel’s Separation Wall. Read more

Fatah and Hamas set for surface unity

After half a dozen unsuccessful attempts, there is now a strong sense that Egypt has managed to negotiate a national unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. Reports indicate that at the end of October, Palestinian factions will gather in Cairo to finalise an agreement, the result of a breakthrough in recent weeks. Next week, Mahmoud Abbas is expected to support the plan after meeting with senior Egyptian officials. Read more

The making of Salam Fayyad

Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad is the man of the moment, according to a lot of recent Middle East coverage in the western media. From The Economist and the LA Times, to The Huffington Post and Harper’s, the man reportedly referred to by Shimon Peres as a “Palestinian Ben-Gurion” is certainly getting a lot of column inches. Thomas Friedman has lauded what he calls “Fayyadism”, while Newsweek published an extensive report on the PM’s performance described by Tony Blair as “absolutely first class”. Read more

Palestinian rights deserve Anglican action

At the 14th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting, held in Jamaica earlier this month, a resolution on the Middle East was passed, criticising the Israeli occupation. An original version of the resolution was originally submitted by the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN), but as the language was felt by some to be too “strong”, a new resolution was put forward and adopted.

The resolution staked out a position based on international law, a rejection of violence as a means of conflict resolution, and opposition to Israel’s occupation and colonisation of the Palestinian territories. Read more

In praise of Palestinian steadfastness

As Israel celebrates 60 years of statehood this month, Palestinians are taking the opportunity to remember the catastrophic shattering of their society in 1948. It is not simply a question of recalling the past; they continue to struggle for self-determination and to have their rights recognized under international law.

Yet it is a mistake to consider the past 60 years as simply a story of unmitigated disaster for the Palestinian people. There have also been significant successes and achievements – and it is a story worth telling. This is all the more remarkable, given the extent to which the society was devastated in 1948: Israel destroyed some 400 villages as 85 percent of Palestinians in what became Israel were dispossessed. Read more

Gaza violence: some lives worth more than others

Once again, we are learning that when it comes to the conflict in Palestine/Israel, some lives are worth more than others. Earlier today, dozens of Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip fell on Sderot, the Israeli town that has borne the brunt of Palestinian rocket fire over the last few years. This time, an Israeli man, “father-of-four” Roni Yechiah, was killed in a car park by shrapnel. Others have suffered injuries.

Even as I write this, however, there is news that in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military, in separate attacks, has killed a 6 month old baby and three Palestinian children age 10, 12 and 14. No names yet. In the case of the three children, the Israeli army claims that it was aiming at militants, and a spokesperson said it was “strange” that there should be children around the alleged vicinity of rocket launchers. Read more

Nonviolent resistance a means, not the end

In a recent article on the openDemocracy website, the rewritten Palestinian Authority policy document that replaced “muqawama” (resistance) with “popular struggle” was hailed as having “the potential to dramatically transform a conflict whose just resolution has continually eluded diplomats and militants.” [1] The writer Maria Stephan may be admired for her optimism about the possibility of large-scale mobilization in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) for a program of nonviolent resistance, but there is a twofold failure of contextualization that compromises her analysis. Read more