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Posts tagged ‘settlements’

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

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Why Israel does not want a sovereign Palestinian state

How many Israeli settlers – or settlement houses – until a two-state solution is impossible? That’s the question we should be asking our politicians, who frequently refer to a “closing window of opportunity” for a Palestinian state in light of Israeli “facts on the ground”.

Speaking in Parliament recently, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged a halt to “the illegal settlements”; every time Israeli authorities “build new units”, he said, they “move us further from a two-state solution”, even if “they are not yet making it impossible to deliver the new map”.

So, the question remains: how many is too many? Read more

This week a world leader much worse than Donald Trump is visiting the UK – but I don’t see any protest from MPs

That US President Donald Trump has not yet made an official visit to the UK is down to the entirely justifiable opposition such a prospect provokes.

Here is a man who ran a racist election campaign and brought hard-right nationalists into the corridors of power, who has open contempt for treaties and bodies like the United Nations.

Yet this week, Theresa May will welcome to London another world leader about whom the exact same – and much more – can be said: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Read more

Grants to Israeli settlements could breach UK law, Charity Commission warns

The Charity Commission has warned that making grants to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) could potentially constitute a breach of the Geneva Conventions Act of 1957, in a significant hardening of the Commission’s approach to the issue.

It is understood to be the first time that the Charity Commission has specifically cited the 1957 Act in communication with a charity regarding Israel and oPt. Read more

Don’t believe the hype about Israel’s Labour Party being progressive – it’s just proven that it’s decidedly not

The leader of Israel’s main opposition party, Labour chair Avi Gabbay, is currently making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Yesterday, Gabbay told Israeli television that he opposed discussing the removal of even the most isolated illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The remarks came a day after Gabbay told a meeting of party activists that “the Arabs have to be afraid of us”. He added: “They fire one missile – you fire 20. That’s all they understand in the Middle East”. Read more

As apartheid deepens Israel targets the UN settlements database

The Israeli government and its allies are mobilising to try and thwart a United Nations list of companies complicit in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

These efforts are taking place in parallel to significant initiatives by figures within and outside of the Israeli government to normalise the presence of the settlements, moves which could contribute towards a future, formal annexation of sections of the West Bank.

On 24 March 2016 the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution by 32 votes to 0 (with 15 abstentions) that called for the establishment of “a database of all business enterprises involved” in settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), to be updated annually. Read more

Fact-checking Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev

Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, places a premium on speaking at university campuses. The context? Israel’s uphill struggle to assuage a growing sense of frustration and anger at a Benjamin Netanyahu-led government seen as a serial violator of international law and human rights.

In October, Regev addressed Cambridge University students at its famous Debating Union. The event was recently uploaded onto YouTube, and of particular interest is the Q&A (beginning 27 minutes in). The questions are predominantly critical, or sceptical, and Regev has to shoot from the hip.

So here are three claims that the Israeli ambassador made in response to students’ questions – and an analysis of their accuracy. Read more

Israel’s false narrative on land swaps

When Israeli opposition leader and Labour Party chairman Isaac Herzog published a plan for kick-starting the peace process last month, one of his stated goals was to “save the settlement blocs” – areas of the West Bank where Israel has built clusters of settlements, including larger towns.

Settlement blocs are often referred to by politicians and pundits alike, but there is no common understanding about precisely what the term means. Read more

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

The two-state mirage: A fake promise that gives cover to Israel’s land grab

There is a growing consensus that the status quo in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is fatal to the possibility of an independent Palestinian state.

This was the take-home message of a recent, high-profile speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry, and, as pointed out recently by Yousef Munayyer, the diplomat himself warned four years ago that the window for the “two-state solution” would definitively close in two years.

Versions of this warning, that Israel’s colonisation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank is becoming irreversible, have been issued by Palestinians, Israelis and international diplomats and commentators for decades. Read more