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
Speaking at a media-friendly photo opportunity in occupied East Jerusalem this month, Israeli Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog declared the need for a “disengagement” between Israelis and the Palestinians, “not by withdrawing from the territories, but by separating us physically”.
Two months earlier, Herzog had announced a new plan “to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as fast as possible”, describing the two-state solution asimpossible under current conditions. The opposition leader’s proposal: to complete the separation wall around so-called “settlement blocs” in the West Bank, and to cut off major Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem from the rest of the city. The Labor Party has officially approved the plan. Read more
Israel’s “security needs” are routinely cited by officials in Tel Aviv and western capitals as a justification for everything from the continued occupation of the West Bank to the bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Back in June, Israel’s parliament voted to extend for another year a law that “allows the government to avoid granting Israeli citizenship or residency status to Palestinians married to Israelis”.
In the words of Haifa-based legal advocacy group Adalah, the law “bans family unification where one spouse is an Israeli citizen [in practice almost all of whom are Palestinian citizens] and the other a resident of the [West Bank and Gaza Strip]” – though, of course, this excludes Jewish settlers. Read more
From routine clashes in the streets, to the talk of “final status issues” by international diplomats, Arab East Jerusalem continues to be at the center of the struggle in Palestine/Israel. In recent years, there have been some particularly prominent foci: right-wing Jewish settlers and the demolition of Palestinian homes in Silwan; evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah; Israel’s apartheid wall in Abu Dis. Off the radar, however, there are many localized battles as Palestinians face an intensified Israeli regime of control and colonization.
One such place is the Shu’fat refugee camp. While the fact that it is the only Palestinian refugee camp in East Jerusalem makes it unique, Shu’fat’s reality reflects a number of key Israeli strategies in East Jerusalem and the West Bank as a whole: it is surrounded by illegal Jewish-only colonies, choked by the wall and checkpoints, and considered “separate and unequal.” Read more
While the Western world was marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were taking matters into their own hands, physically breaking through two sections of Israel’s Separation Wall in Ni’lin and Qalandia. As this was happening Ramallah’s political elite was busy digesting and assessing the latest developments with regard to Mahmoud Abbas’ future, the official peace process, and prospects for elections. Read more
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
FIVE YEARS ago this July, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague handed down its advisory opinion on Israel’s separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territories (see p. 32). Both the Israeli government and the Palestinians had been preparing for the decision since December 2003, when the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution requesting an ICJ advisory opinion.
On July 9, 2004, the ICJ ruled 14-1 that the wall was illegal in its entirety, that it should be pulled down immediately, and that compensation should be paid to those already affected. The judges also decided 13-2 that signatories to the Geneva Convention were obliged to enforce “compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law.” Less than two weeks later, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution 150-6 supporting the ICJ’s call to dismantle the wall. Read more
Five years ago today, the international court of justice in The Hague published its advisory opinion on Israel’s separation wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The keenly awaited verdict, requested by the UN’s general assembly, was clear: Israel’s wall is illegal, it must be removed and adequate compensation paid.
The wall’s illegality, and Israel’s obligation to dismantle the structure and pay damages for the consequences of the wall thus far, were all agreed by the judges by a margin of 14-1. (The ICJ also accepted the use of the term “wall”, since “other expressions” are “no more accurate”.) There was also confirmation that Israel’s settlements were “a flagrant violation” of the convention, established “in breach of international law” (contrast this with the mealy-mouthed nitpicking over outposts and “freezes” by Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu). Overall, the court found that the route of the wall threatened to create “de facto annexation”, with the wall itself described as severely impeding “the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to Read more