Once again, Israeli opposition politician and war crimes suspect Tzipi Livni has been granted diplomatic immunity by the British government for a private visit to London.
Last week, Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Unit invited Tzipi Livni to a police interview under caution, in relation to her role in Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 (Operation Cast Lead). At the time, Livni was foreign minister, vice prime minister, and a member of the security cabinet.
The summons, described in Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as “unprecedented”, was only “cancelled after diplomatic contacts between Israel and Britain, at the end of which Livni received immunity.” Read more
Since the beginning of the year, Israeli authorities have carried out a wave of demolitions of Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank, with numbers that are unprecedented since the United Nations began keeping records in 2009.
As of April 14, Israeli forces had demolished 591 structures in Palestinian communities in Area C, which comprises 60 percent of the West Bank – surpassing the 453 structures demolished in all of 2015. More than 800 people have been displaced; the equivalent figure for all of last year was 580. Read more
Six-year-old Israa Abu Khussa and her 10-year-old brother Yassin were still sleeping when the Israel Air Force launched four airstrikes across the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday. Missile fragments tore through their home, only partly rebuilt following the 2014 offensive. Yassin and Israa were rushed to hospital, but both died of their wounds. Two other children were injured. Read more
The case for a boycott of Israel is straightforward, based on: the reality of Israel’s policies of colonialism and apartheid; the Palestinians’ appeal for solidarity, including the 2005 call for a global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign; and the effectiveness of BDS as a tactic.
But what about a cultural boycott? This is a problem for some people who agree with the above argument – yet it is also based on a similar, logical argument. Read more
Israeli embassy spokesperson Yiftah Curiel accuses the British media of “callousness towards innocent Israelis’ lives.” As ever, when it comes to claims of “anti-Israel” bias in the media, the evidence is flimsy, consisting mainly of supposedly inaccurate headlines.
I welcome Curiel’s focus on “clear and simple [facts]”, and so here is a (partial) summary of significant acts of violence, violations of international law and human rights abuses conducted this month not by private individuals, but by the Israeli government and its armed forces. Read more
Israeli leaders have a long history of levelling the accusation of ‘incitement’ against Palestinian officials. In recent weeks, barely a day has gone by without Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or members of his cabinet claiming that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is encouraging or instigating the recent youth-driven rebellion.
It has reached ridiculous levels. On Sunday, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz claimed “the level and intensity of the incitement and the level of anti-Semitism” from Abbas “is the same level as [Adolf] Hitler.” Two days later, Netanyahu declared that it was the Mufti of Jerusalem who convinced Hitler to exterminate the Jews.
The Israeli government repeats accusations of ‘incitement’ ad nauseam, but on the ground its policies are guaranteed to provoke yet further Palestinian anger and resistance. This toolbox of repression, familiar but intensified, is intended to crush an anti-colonial revolt through collective punishment, discrimination, and violence. Read more
Wednesday marked one year since the ceasefire that ended Israel’s unprecedented seven-week assault on the Gaza Strip. On the occasion of this week’s anniversary, an international coalition of 35 NGOs issued a new call for the end of Israel’s blockade.
“For a whole year the Israeli government has restricted basic and essential construction materials from entering Gaza,” stated the aid groups, who noted that “not one of the 19,000 homes that were bombed and destroyed has been fully rebuilt”.
A petition launched by the NGOs on the Avaaz online community – “World Leaders: Lift the Gaza Blockade” – had, at the time of writing, already attracted 538,000 signatures. Read more
On Sunday, an undercover unit of Israel’s Border Police conducted an arrest raid in Shuafat refugee camp, an area of Occupied East Jerusalem locked behind the Separation Wall.
Encountering resistance from local residents, the undercover forces requested assistance, and a large number of uniformed Israeli forces entered the camp. The police, in order to “extract the undercover unit and the detainee”, deployed “tear gas, sponge-tipped bullets and stun grenades.”
Nafaz Damiri was shopping in Shuafat when the raid took place. As he stood taking shelter inside a supermarket, Israeli forces shot him in the face with a sponge bullet. The 55-year-old husband and father of one, who was born deaf and dumb, has now lost his right eye. Read more
Over the last two weeks, two Israeli war crimes suspects entered the UK. One, former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni, received diplomatic immunityin dubious circumstances. A second, former Israeli army chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, visited for just 48 hours and left before the authorities acted. These visits have prompted three questions.
The first question is for the FCO. Livni, an opposition MK, came to London to speak at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit. Since this would have constituted a personal visit, rather than an official one, Livni arranged a meeting with Foreign Office (FCO) minister Tobias Ellwood. The FCO then duly granted the visit ‘special mission’ status, and thus gave Livni immunity from prosecution. Read more
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has overruled his colleagues’ recommendations and removed Israel from a list of parties guilty of grave violations of children’s rights, it was revealed Monday.
The decision to exclude Israel from the list, part of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict presented to the Security Council, was slammed by human rights groups, who accused Ban Ki-moon of buckling under pressure from Israel and the US. Read more