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Posts tagged ‘refugees’

The subordination of Palestinian rights must stop

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is in dire straits but observers differ on whether the framework of negotiations towards a two-state solution is in poor health, comatose or dead.

The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House, along with an Israeli government and opposition that are either explicitly opposed to Palestinian statehood, ambivalent or believe it is not the right time, are all further evidence of an era of uncertainty and danger. But there is also an opportunity for a rethink by the international community about how they relate to Israel and Palestinians. And it is vital that any new approach must end the subordination of Palestinian rights. Read more

Shocked by Donald Trump’s ‘travel ban’? Israel has had a similar policy for decades

In US President Donald Trump’s first week in office, three policy issues dominated the headlines: his plans to build a wall on the Mexican border, the President’s support for torture, and his executive order targeting refugees, residents and visitors from seven Muslim majority countries.

All three have prompted widespread outrage, in particular, the ban on refugees and blanket immigration restrictions being applied on the basis of national origin and religion. Read more

The Palestinian Nakba goes far beyond one day in 1948

The late Australian scholar Patrick Wolfe famously said of settler colonialism that “invasion is a structure not an event”.

These are words worth remembering, in this three-week period between Nakba Day and Naksa Day, which mark respectively Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947 to 1949, and the beginning of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip on June 5, 1967.

Anniversaries are important, but they can also mislead: the Nakba began long before the formal establishment of the State of Israel on May 15, 1948, and it has continued ever since. Read more

Nakba Day returns, but not the Palestinians

In 1995, a journalist interviewed a number of left-wing Israelis living in West Jerusalem homes whose Palestinian owners were expelled in 1948. One (unnamed) “prominent left-winger” was particularly, and directly, unapologetic. “I don’t have any problem with the fact that we threw them out, and we don’t want them back, because we want a Jewish state.” Read more

Nakba Day: A ‘clear challenge’ to Israeli establishment

Last week, as Israelis celebrated their Independence Day, Palestinians in the country’s south held the annual March of Return, walking to the site of one of hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed between 1947 and 1949.

This mass displacement and dispossession, known as the Nakba (catastrophe), is commemorated internationally each May. But in recent years, Israeli authorities have attempted to clamp down on events to mark the Nakba – most notably through a 2011 change to legislation pertaining to budget allocations.  Read more

Israel keeps making, not taking, more refugees

Long before Syrian refugees found their way to Europe, the war-torn country’s neighbours have been hosting a staggering number of displaced persons – with one notable exception.

Syria has five neighbours: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel (with the latter occupying the Golan Heights since 1967). According to recent figures, Turkey currently hosts 1.8 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon a further 1.17 million, Jordan around 630,000, and Iraq some 250,000.

Israel, however, with a GDP per capita almost double that of Turkey and five times as much as Jordan, has not accepted a single one. Read more

Nakba Day is not just about remembering – it is about the Palestinians’ return

67 years ago, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine unfolded through expulsions, massacres, and demolitions. Hundreds of villages were emptied, then levelled; centres of Palestinian urban life and community disappeared; columns of refugees took flight at the barrel of a gun.

A society was dismembered and fragmented. In the months and years after 1948, the army of the State of Israel, formed from the militias who had occupied and ‘cleansed’ village after village, used bullets and landmines to keep out the refugees trying to return home. Read more

We need to talk about Israel’s ‘right to exist’

There was outrage last week when the University of Southampton cancelled a forthcoming conference on Israel and international law, ostensibly on the grounds of “health and safety”.

The university had been under pressure from pro-Israel advocacy groups, and organisers have begun legal efforts against what they see as a concession to outside interference and bullying. The story of the campaign to shut down the conference should not, however, distract from why Israel’s supporters found the topics scheduled for discussion so objectionable. Read more

From ethnic cleansing to return: a peace process worthy of the name

This week marks the 66th anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Miska, a Palestinian village whose roughly 1,000-strong population was expelled in April 1948 by Haganah forces. Located around 10 miles from Qalqilya, Miska boasted 100-200 houses, an elementary school for boys, and a mosque.

The community was targeted and destroyed by pre-Israel Defense Forces (IDF) militias, as part of a policy of “clearing out [the area’s] Arab inhabitants“. The expulsion of the villagers,according to historian Benny Morris, was carried out “with Haganah/IDF General Staff and/or cabinet-level sanction”. Everything was destroyed except the school and the mosque. Read more

Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state will legalise discrimination against Palestinians

As the US-led Israeli-Palestinians peace process heads towards the buffers, one of the core aims and assumptions of the two decade-long negotiations – preserving a Jewish state in the majority of Mandate Palestine – has been forced into the spotlight.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas recognises Israel as a “Jewish state”, a call taken up by other Israeli politicians and lobby groups internationally, has garnered a lot of attention. But ultimately, it is the explicit expression of what has been the implicit assumption of talks since the Oslo process began. Read more