Loading...

Follow Palestine Chronicle | Palestine, Israel and Mid.. on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned, in the strongest possible terms, Israel’s imminent plan to demolish 10 buildings in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Sur Bahir, which will result in the displacement of three Palestinian families, totaling 17 people, including 9 children.

Erekat said in a statement:

“If the planned demolitions take place, Israel’s actions will constitute a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as war crimes pursuant to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.” 

A group of Palestinians who gathered at Sur Baher in east Jerusalem to protest the planned demolition of homes were dispersed by Israeli forces https://t.co/NEEVLDkzlt

— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) July 20, 2019

Israel’s illegal policies and practices, ranging from home demolitions and forced displacement to the destruction of Palestinian livelihoods, in East Jerusalem and the rest of occupied Palestine, serve one purpose: the preservation and expansion of the Israeli colonial-settlement enterprise at the expense of Palestinian land and people, he added.

The demolition of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is a routine occurrence. https://t.co/HnkgoO5Veu

— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) July 17, 2019

Palestinians have no recourse, as the Israeli judicial system has repeatedly shown its complicity in Israel’s illegal colonial-settlement enterprise. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the international community to immediately intervene to halt the demolitions in Sur Bahir and hold Israel to account for its repeated violations of international law, the statement concluded.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

The post Erekat Condemns Israel’s Plan to Demolish 10 Buildings in East Jerusalem appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Senior Hamas leader Sami Abu-Zuhri has described comments made by Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, as “shameful” and “hostile.”

Abu-Zuhri wrote on Twitter:

“Greenblatt’s remarks that the West Bank is not occupied and the settlements are Israeli neighborhoods are shameful and proves that Trump’s administration is hostile to the Palestinians and the Umma [Muslim nation].”

Astonishing: US envoy Jason Greenblatt says israel is the "victim".. [despite that it's a murderous, occupying, lawless, apartheid regime] https://t.co/zCJkEP7Ncf

— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) July 18, 2019

This comes after Greenblatt earlier this week told PBS network that  “Israel is a victim and does not bear the responsibility” for its 71-year-old conflict with the Palestinians.

Greenblatt also rejected labeling Israel’s some 500 illegal West Bank communities “settlements”, calling them “neighborhoods” instead, and claiming that the occupied West Bank is “disputed”.

Top envoy to US President Donald Trump, Jason Greenblatt, says he prefers to call Israel’s illegal settlements “neighborhoods and cities” https://t.co/r5KevHxKMu #palestine pic.twitter.com/N0FBRf2wSW

— Al-Shabaka الشبكة (@AlShabaka) July 1, 2019

This is not the first time Greenblatt has drawn sharp criticism from the Palestinian factions. He has previously come under fire for criticizing the Palestinian Authority (PA) for failing to pay for a Palestinian child’s medical treatment while ignoring Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip, and for backing US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s comments that Israel has the “right” to annex the occupied West Bank.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

The post Hamas: Greenblatt’s Comments Shameful and Hostile appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

We have come to live in disconcerting times of unpredictable change. Ever since the USA elected a Twitter-addicted President into power, the world has been in a continuous state of imbalance. While it may seem as if everything only plays into the hands of ‘Israel’ and its Western allies, it would be wise not to draw that conclusion too quickly. There is more at play than only the logic of geopolitics and military dominance.

On a public relations level, some of it must be making Tel Aviv quite nervous. The forces of Zionism have in the past years been stepping up their game, successfully interfering with the legislation in the countries of the West to suit their purposes. However, they certainly don’t seem to be as much in control as they would like to be.

The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) has continued to gain traction among politicians and among the general public all over the world. It continues to be a thorn in the side of Israeli colonization and annexation plans. Zionist lobbies in most Western countries have been trying to counter this trend in two significant ways.

One is at a purely ideological level, which has been to force a change in the official definition of ‘antisemitism’. The other has been taking place at the level of legislation, and is based on attempting to coerce countries to install laws that outlaw calls for the boycott of the state of ‘Israel’.

Before we dive below the surface, let’s first have a look at what has been happening in the lead-up to the confrontation about anti-Israeli criticism between “The Squad” and Donald Trump.

Redefining Antisemitism

In 2016, in Bucharest, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) adopted a ‘working definition’ of antisemitism. It included several definitions that were to be understood as equating any type of criticism of the state of ‘Israel’ to antisemitism. Its undeclared goal was a first step to initiate a kind of ‘purge’ in the West of its adversaries, by providing a framework for clamping down on all its critics.

Interestingly, in the entire text, the word ‘Zionism’ is never mentioned. However, it contains several tendentious ‘examples’, one of which being that ‘claiming the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor’ should be viewed as an expression of antisemitism. Let’s not dwell too long on the undeniable fact that it definitely is a racist endeavor. Instead, for now, pay close attention to the indefinite article ‘a’ that is being used, as if there are several versions of the Zionist entity.

This, of course, is a deliberate choice of words. It aims to immediately project any objection to ‘a’ non-specified zionist state, including one on stolen land, as is the case in Palestine, as being a denial to Jews having any state at all. This negates the fact that the one and only objection that Palestinians have against the state of ‘Israel’, is that it came at the expense of massive land theft, and the ethnic cleansing of the vast majority of Palestinians from Palestine. Their supporters, of course, see it the same way.

The entire text is cleverly constructed, clearly attempting to ensure that the only acceptable behavior of law-abiding citizens is to loudly cheer for the existence of ‘Israel’. It should not matter where and how it was founded, even if by the horrendous war crimes of 1948, the year of the Nakba, which entailed the brutal expulsion of 800,000 indigenous Palestinians from their homeland. It should be applauded and praised regardless of its military aggression and expansion, or its ruthless discriminatory treatment of the indigenous people, as well as that of its ethnic minorities.

Informed citizens know that ‘Israel’ has developed a system of Apartheid, that even many South Africans, including Desmond Tutu, recognize as being the same as, or even a much worse version than that which plagued South Africa for decades before it was finally defeated. They have every reason in the world to be critical of ‘Israel’, if they adhere to the general principle of opposing Apartheid.

In spite of all this, the zionists did their lobbying and pushed on. Predictably, in June 2017, the European Union adopted a resolution to adopt and apply the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. Austria, Romania, and the United Kingdom were among the first countries to formally install the working definition, and apply it in their legislative evaluation of alleged cases of antisemitism. This has had far-reaching effects, effectively becoming a weapon in the hands of Zionist lobbies to eliminate and muffle any criticism of the state of ‘Israel’. The ‘new purge’ had officially started.

Breaking Labour

In the United Kingdom, the IHRA tool was applied to the highest echelons of national politics, as a weapon of mass destruction against Jeremy Corbyn, the increasingly popular left-wing politician, and against Labour itself. It turned into a massive crackdown that split the entire Labour Party apart and resulted in a smear campaign against all Labour politicians who had ever dared to embrace any call for justice for the Palestinian people.

It spiraled out of control, including embarrassing excesses like the zionist lobby forcing The Guardian to retract a letter it had published, signed by Noam Chomsky, Ed Asner and over 100 other prominent Jews. This letter was written in defense of MP Chris Williamson, who was also targeted by the witch-hunt. The fact that Corbyn remained a popular Labour politician, despite all of this, must have been felt like a painful defeat in Tel Aviv. All in all, however, Labour was left severely damaged by all that took place. Britain had surely been made to feel the immense power of the Zionist lobby.

The Squad: the BAravest of all Democrats

In the USA, which is a member of the IHRA, the working definition of antisemitism became effective immediately as it was made public. Since in the past few years, an increasing number of Democrats has been expressing sympathy for the Palestinian plight, this change has had a somewhat similar effect on the left wing in the United States, to that of the UK. The Democrats were split over their views concerning ‘Israel’ and the occupied territories, resulting in fiery debates, and eventually building up to the current upheaval. Divide and conquer clearly and tangibly played out to the advantage of the GOP.

Eventually, it grew to become being the biggest political row over Palestine in the history of the US. Enter “The Squad”, four energetic ladies of color in Congress, who took on Trump for a wide variety of reasons, being highly critical of his policies. They ended up getting racist slurs hurled at them from the President’s Twitter account. Why? Because they were critical of ‘Israel’. The Presidential tweets themselves prove this beyond the shadow of a doubt, citing his anger at their position on this issue as his main frustration.

Adjusting Legislation to Fit the Interests of Zionism

In order to fully grasp the extent of what is actually going on, it is important to be aware of the controversy that has been inflaming the backdrop of these fiery debates, which is the issue of anti-BDS legislation. On February 6, 2019, the United States passed an anti BDS bill in the Senate, with 77 votes in favor, and 23 against. Among those voting against the bill, were five US Senators who were slated to run for president in the 2020 elections: Cory Booker, Kirstel Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders. Step two of the anti-pro-Palestine ’purge’ had now officially been launched.

So, where do we stand now? What is to be expected? Perhaps the most interesting question is: has ‘Israel’, through its new and highly coordinated attempted purge of its critics, enforced through AIPAC in the USA, and its Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) and Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) in the United Kingdom, served its own interests well?

On the surface, it would certainly seem so. The IHRA definition was adopted throughout much of the Western World, and a handful of countries have adopted some form of anti-BDS legislation, despite its ludicrousness. However, one should definitely wonder whether the inflamed public debate about these issues truly works to the advantage of ‘Israel’, or perhaps also partly against it. Let’s examine the less self-explanatory effects, by taking a closer look at what this debate is actually about.

BDS and the Right Not to Buy

Firstly, anti-BDS legislation is perceived by many as a direct infringement on freedom of expression, and even of commerce. Take, for instance, Cory Booker, presidential candidate for the Democrats, who is an ardent supporter of the state of ‘Israel’. Despite this, he still found himself obliged to vote against the BDS-bill. The same can be said of Kamala Harris, albeit to a somewhat lesser extent, as she has in the past been mildly critical of some of the actions of the Netanyahu regime. Or we could look at the example of Bernie Sanders, who is the most pro-Palestinian candidate of all, but actually is against BDS. Despite this, he still couldn’t bring himself to support the bill outlawing it.

It’s not hard to imagine why so many people are so reluctant to enforce this unprecedented and undemocratic type of legislation. Besides being counter-intuitive to anyone who embraces the concept of individual freedom, it is actually at odds with the very principles of capitalism. What is the meaning of a ‘free market economy’, if it doesn’t include the right to decide what not to buy, and where not to buy from? Is that really a ‘free market’? Can you tell people they are not allowed to refuse to shop at Walmart, for instance, if they don’t like its customer service policies? Could you make a law that forbids them to openly choose not to buy anything from there?

Preposterous. No one would accept that. Those who voted for the BDS bill, obviously did it out of partisanship, zionist allegiance, and opportunism, while tarnishing their own principles with a suspicious and irrational exception.

Jewish Antisemites, Really?

Secondly, the increased level of public debate about these issues has made it even more visible how many Jews in the Western World are increasingly refusing to fully align themselves with ‘Israel’. Its blatant persecution, oppression, and genocide of the Palestinian people is nowadays well-known to the general public. Some of the most vocal Jewish opponents of these practices, who were previously relatively unknown, like If Not Now, inadvertently came into the limelight as a response to the Israeli lobby’s McCarthyism against alleged ‘antisemites’. While the idea behind the ‘new purge’ was to expose dissidents to massive public demonization, it actually opened the eyes of many to their balanced and humane views of the world.

Apparently, the policy-makers of Zionism appear to believe that the general public is able to grasp the ridiculous concept that tens of thousands of Jews around the world are, in fact, antisemites. While within zionist circles, the concept of the ‘self-hating Jew’ may be a common slur against any dissident voice from within Jewish ranks, for the general public, this is a notion that is virtually impossible to comprehend.

The credibility of the accusation of antisemitism is eroding at a faster pace than it ever has. Historically, in the West, antisemites were known mostly as ‘Neo-Nazis’, or those who deny or question the Holocaust, but barely outside of these marginalized circles. ‘Israel’ always tried to widen this definition to include all those who support the Palestinian people, but on the level of public opinion, this had always sunk in only partly.

Before this new era of McCarthyist witch-hunts against critics of ‘Israel’, antisemitism was generally understood to mean ‘racism against Jews’. Suddenly, the public now sees a multitude of Jews in the West rallying against anti-BDS legislation, and against Israeli Apartheid, and even against the IHRA definition. Imagine their confusion, when these Jews are smeared as being ‘antisemites’.

If ‘Israel’ is aiming to force this point down the throats of ordinary, unaligned citizens, it must be delusional. This notion is bound to undermine all confidence in the truthfulness of accusations of antisemitism around the world. This is actually a dangerous trend, as it means that it would create more space for true anti-Jewish hatred, with the ‘Cry Wolf’ phenomenon expanding the grey area in which these villains will be able to operate.

Inclusive and Exclusive Anti-Racism

Thirdly, let’s have a look at the worldwide discussion on racism, which has been fueled mostly by events in the American public sphere. We all remember the outrage at the gunning down of unarmed African Americans in the streets, which gave rise to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

That debate is far from over, and many people around the world are intensely appalled and horrified by these continuing racist practices in the United States. The same can be said about the discussions on the horrendous treatment of immigrants at the Mexican border, and the general anti-Hispanic mood, fomented by Donald Trump himself. The “land of the free”? When this is your motto, such policies really don’t help maintain that image.

When Trump lashed out at the courageous and charismatic “Squad” with his racist tweets, he put their criticism of ‘Israel’ at the center of his anger. To the public, this demonstrated that the true antagonists of institutionalized racism were mostly the same people who are critical of the Zionist state. This, of course, was a crucial mistake on Trump’s part. It unmasked the unholy alliance between white supremacy and Zionism in a very tangible way.

Zionism has always been operating within anti-racist circles in Western society, trying to assert that the battle against racism and the battle against antisemitism are intimately connected. With a ‘normal’ definition of antisemitism, this actually makes sense. However, with the polarization caused by these recent developments, it becomes hard to uphold it outside of partisan lines and is becoming a vision that is getting a typical ‘left-wing’ reputation.

Anti-Arab, anti-Black, and anti-Hispanic racism are good, anti-Jewish racism is bad, seems to be the right-wing view in the US now. Despite right-wingers’ desperate attempts to reject the racist label they bring upon themselves, what everyone else sees is a crooked form of ‘racism within racism’. It’s completely outrageous, but it is the harsh reality nowadays in the Western world.

Islamophobic racism is the hallmark and main focus of the so-called ‘alt-right’ and is increasingly becoming a general right-wing view in the era of Trump. The majority of right-wing movements and parties all across the Western world are staunch supporters of the Zionist state. This, in turn, thanks to the new McCarthyist purge by zionists, in close alliance with neocons as well as neoliberals, has had an immediate effect upon public perception.

Those who reject racism in a general sense, nowadays find themselves in the company of a huge body of critics of ‘Israel’. Simultaneously, those who want to support ‘Israel’ and are uncritical of it only because they are unaware of its racist foundations and practices, find their corner heavily populated by rabid supremacists who embrace Donald Trump as if he were the savior of humanity itself. For some among them, it must be an extremely uncomfortable position.

Are Some People More Equal than Others?

Many people around the world will unwittingly be forced to look at antisemitism in a different way, especially those who are sympathetic to Jews. The paradigm shift that has taken place forces them to ponder somewhat deeper on antisemitism. It has them wondering why the only form of ethnic racism that has been given its own official name, is antisemitism. Questions that surface to the mind are: why the exclusivity?

Why isn’t racism against Jews simply one of the many forms of racism? Is it more wrong to be antisemitic, than to be racist against Blacks or Hispanics? Why are Trumpist racists so massively pro-Israel? Why are white supremacist voices like Breitbart in the USA, and the Islamophobic racist right-wing parties in Europe, so rabidly pro-Israel as well?

What does ‘antisemitic’ mean exactly? Who are the Semites? Why isn’t being anti-Arab also called antisemitism? Why is it allegedly antisemitic to be shocked and appalled by the mass murder of Palestinian children by Israel? Is it a coincidence, that the most visible and vocal racists in the Western world are mostly the same ones who are applauding this genocide with the greatest enthusiasm?

In the massive campaign against the Labour Party, one of the MP’s who was suspended on the basis of alleged antisemitism, was Jackie Walker, herself of mixed Jewish and Black descent. In the documentary WitchHunt, it becomes crystal clear that the outrageous character assassination that was waged against her had no other objective than to make an example of her. It was clearly meant to show the public what would happen to those who would dare to be critical against ‘Israel’. Yes, even Jews. Even if the Jew is a Black lady, waging a comprehensive and balanced struggle against all forms of racism, based on the simple and evident principle of human equality.

Does it really take an incredible amount of imagination to see a similarity with Trump’s racist attack on four Congresswomen of color, two of them black, for also being critical of ‘Israel’? Do they think that no one noticed that they were attacked on the basis of their ethnicity, merely for saying the same things as, for instance, Bernie Sanders?

If this is what the zionists think, I believe they are severely underestimating the intelligence of the general population. People are bound to figure it out and to understand, that the honest movement against antisemitism is not Zionism, but the anti-racism movement. That movement also happens to be quite significantly populated by anti-zionists. They are only anti-zionist, because of the racist principles that Zionism is founded on.

Anti-Zionism and Anti-Racism Belong Together

What is happening in two of the most powerful countries in the world, the USA and the UK, has been reverberating all around the world. Sure, the zionist lobby may have the power to enforce ridiculous legislation and to create absurd definitions of antisemitism. Such ludicrous definitions are bound to eventually include any reasonable citizen in the world, including those who have a Jewish background. That’s exactly what is already happening.

Still, the Great Purge of Israel-critics is headed for massive failure, by any calculation, if winning hearts and minds, as opposed to winning political clout, is considered to be any factor at all. Selling tens of thousands of Israel-critical Jews in the Western world to the general public as ‘antisemites’, is an impossible task, that even the most powerful lobbies in the world will not be able to achieve.

The line that is being drawn ever more clearly, is that racists are mostly people who align themselves with the state with the highest level of institutionalized racism in the world, namely Apartheid ‘Israel’. The inevitable effect is also that those who are against racism will automatically shift towards opposing ‘Israel’ on these very same grounds.

Slam Dunk, Wrong Basket

Nowadays, we can view the megalomaniac Trump as the main motor for pushing the connection between Zionism and white supremacy to the surface, and making it blatantly visible. The ones who laid the groundwork for this were the zionists themselves, in their fanatical witch-hunt to shut up all voices of criticism and dissent in the Western world.

However, the clumsy racist tweets of Trump against The Squad lumped things together visibly that were supposed to remain hidden ‘between the lines’. They were certainly not meant to be emphasized too much. Anxious to please the Zionists, who are highly annoyed by The Squad’s ‘insubordination’, Trump took the alley-oop, and then went and dunked it into the wrong basket.

When Trump was elected President of the United States, all those whose world view is based on inclusiveness and equality could never have imagined him to be doing things that unite all those who embrace the struggle against racism, across party lines, across borders, and across all ethnicities. To everyone’s surprise, all those who truly believe in the equality of all ethnicities, have ended up having something to thank ‘Agent Orange’ for, after all.

– Tariq Shadid is a Palestinian surgeon, musician and writer who was born, raised and educated in the Netherlands, but is currently living and working in the Arab Gulf. He has been contributing articles to the Palestine Chronicle since its early years. His website, the Musical Intifada, features his English-language songs dedicated to the Palestinian cause. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle

The post Trump’s Blunder Empowers The Squad and Unites Anti-Racists appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The Twitter account of Christian Clages, head the German mission to Palestine, was spotted liking posts deemed to be “anti-Israel” and even “anti-Semitic.” A probe was launched, but the diplomat denies his involvement.

The suspicious activity on Clages’ account was first spotted by German tabloid Bild on Thursday, triggering an internal investigation by the country’s Foreign Ministry.

The Twitter account of Christian Clages, head the German mission to Palestine, was spotted liking posts deemed to be “anti-Israel” and even “anti-Semitic.” A probe was launched, but the diplomat denies his involvement https://t.co/cdx3e9ll4Y pic.twitter.com/XFHGwQo16E

— Tibet Garden (@Jung19477544) July 19, 2019

The posts liked by the official account of the German Representative Office in the Palestinian territories included claims that Israel only “respects its own religious holidays,” a video praising Palestinian women fighting Israeli soldiers, and even the well-recycled“crying Neymar” meme adapted to poke fun at Israeli soldiers, as well as other posts by Twitter users who blamed Zionists for various things and compared Israel to a totalitarian state.

Hats off for these old Palestinian women who are trying to save a child from the hands of israeli soldiers.

Welcome to the occupied Palestine. pic.twitter.com/2rTXv92XY0

— Muhammad Smiry (@MuhammadSmiry) January 19, 2019

The German Foreign Ministry said it did not endorse such content and launched a probe to find out “how these ‘likes’ came about” and “determine consequences.”

“The Foreign Ministry disassociates itself emphatically from the tweets mentioned,” the ministry told AP in a written statement. 

(RT, PC, Social Media)

The post German Envoy to Palestine in Trouble over ‘Anti-Israel’ Tweets (VIDEO) appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A journalist was injured and many others suffocated from teargas when Israeli forces attacked Palestinians taking part in a rally protesting the planned demolition of hundreds of apartments in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Hummus.

Photojournalist Ayat Arqawi was hit and injured by a gas canister in her pelvis as Israeli forces attacked Palestinians taking part in a rally near Bethlehem in the West Bank, today. pic.twitter.com/TZOIi7awGB

— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) July 20, 2019

WAFA correspondent said Ayat Arqawi, who works as a photojournalist with APA agency, was hit and injured by a gas canister in her pelvis.

Meanwhile, several protesters sustained suffocation from gas inhalation, including Minister Walid Assaf, the chairman of the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

The post Israeli Soldiers Injure Palestinian Journalist during Protests near Bethlehem appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Israeli army forces on Friday used rubber bullets and teargas shells to disperse Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank, injuring over 40 protesters, a Palestinian official said, Anadolu Agency has reported.

Murad Shtewi, a protest organizer, told Anadolu Agency.

“The Israeli army attacked the weekly march [in the Kafr Qaddum town], using rubber bullets and teargas shells.”

One Palestinian child protester wounded in the head east of #Gaza city#GreatReturnMarch pic.twitter.com/X1yw13Umwm

— Aya Isleem #Gaza (@AyaIsleemEn) July 19, 2019

Shtewi said the injured persons are being treated in the field.

The Friday weekly protest has witnessed the participation of Palestinian leaders from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), he added.

97 Palestinians were wounded today at the #GreatReturnMarch when Israeli occupation forces opened fire at the protesters along the perimeter fence with Gaza. 49 were hit by live fire. Among the wounded are four paramedics and two journalists. #Gaza pic.twitter.com/uLSP9tiqas

— We Are Not Numbers #Gaza (@WeAreNotNumbers) July 19, 2019

Every Friday, Palestinians across the Israeli-occupied West Bank stage demonstrations to protest Israel’s decades-long policy of building Jewish-only settlements on the confiscated Palestinian land.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

The post Israeli Forces Wound over Palestinian Protesters in Gaza appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Gaza’s growing humanitarian crisis is finally registering in Israel as a pressing problem requiring “clear and immediate” action. However, it is not the impact of the crisis on the population of Gaza that is sounding the alarm bells in Tel Aviv, but the potential environmental damage Gaza’s ongoing misery may cause Israel.

On June 3, researchers from Israel’s Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion universities presented a report, commissioned by the environmental organisation EcoPeace Middle East, in which they warned that “the collapsing water, sewage, and electricity infrastructure in the Gaza Strip pose a material danger to Israel’s groundwater, seawater, beaches and desalination plants.”

One would expect any report on the environmental situation in Gaza to focus on the fact that nearly two million Palestinians in the Strip are living in inhumane conditions due to a relentless 12-year Israeli blockade and repeated devastating military assaults, which are rending the area “uninhabitable by 2020“.

Instead, the report has implied that the local residents are solely responsible for the imminent environmental catastrophe in Gaza which is threatening the security and wellbeing of Israeli citizens. Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which published a detailed report on the presentation, also spun the issue as a matter of national security.

But what Israel has now identified as a “national security problem” is indeed a disaster of its own making. The occupation, colonization, dispossession, and aggression against Palestine and the Palestinians have caused so much environmental damage that now even the Israeli occupier is suffering.

Polluting Gaza

The environmental situation in Gaza is indeed dire at the moment, but it is not the Palestinians who made it so. Neither the “rapid population growth”, nor neglect or ignorance of local residents that are its root causes. Countless reports by the United Nations and other organizations have documented in detail how and why the main culprit is Israel, its violent assaults on Gaza and its merciless siege.

Take the problem of untreated sewage ending up in the sea, which is causing problems for Israeli beach-goers and water desalination plants. The reason why Gaza’s sewage is getting disposed of in this “irresponsible” way is that water treatment plants are not operational; they were targeted in the 2014 Israeli assault on the Strip and were never rebuilt because the Israeli siege does not allow for construction materials and spare parts to be brought in.

Untreated sewage is part of the larger water crisis in Gaza. As the report rightly points out, Gaza residents are overusing the aquifer under the Strip, which has become increasingly contaminated with seawater and chemicals and which constitutes the only source of fresh water for local residents because of the involuntary separation between the West Bank.

The reason why Palestinians in Gaza are unable to establish a proper water management system is again not their fault. Israel has repeatedly bombed its water infrastructure, including water pipes, wells, and other facilities, and the debilitating Israeli siege has prevented the local authorities from fixing it and building a water desalination plant.

Gaza’s water problem is not only an annoyance for the Israelis but a potential source of an epidemic for the Palestinians. Already diarrheal diseases have doubled, reaching epidemic levels, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, while salmonella and typhoid fever are also on the rise. 

Then there is the problem with rubbish, which Palestinians are burning and hence”polluting Israeli air”. As Cambridge University academic Ramy Salemdeeb has pointed out, Gaza has been unable to develop a proper waste management system because of economic restrictions due to the Israeli siege and a “limited land availability” because of its isolation from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories. 

What the Israeli report does not mention is that beyond sewage and rubbish problems, Gaza is also suffering from a variety of other environmental disasters, which are again linked to the Israeli occupation and aggression against the Palestinians.

The Israeli army regularly sprays herbicide on Palestinian arable land close to the fence separating the besieged territory from Israel. The chemical it uses most often is glyphosate, which has been proven to cause cancer. According to the Red Cross, these activities not only damage Palestinian crops but also contaminate the soil and water.

Israel’s repeated bouts of heavy bombardment of the Strip have also contributed to pollution. There is evidence that the Israeli army has used depleted uranium and white phosphorus in its assaults on Gaza, which not only cause immediate harm to civilian populations but also remain a source of health risk long after the bombardment has stopped.

Likewise, weapons used in Israeli military operations have contaminated the environment in Gaza with heavy metals like tungsten, mercury, cobalt, barium, and cadmium, which are known to cause cancer, birth defects, infertility, etc.

Colonialism and Environmental Destruction

That Israel, which prides itself on supposedly “making the desert bloom” is responsible for a major environmental disaster in that same “desert” is hardly surprising. Given that it is a settler-colonial project, the (over)exploitation of the colonized land to the detriment of the environment and the local population is naturally a part of its modus operandi.

Indeed, all the land Israel has taken and occupied has suffered from environmental degradation in one way or another, with its harmful effects being conveniently shifted towards Palestinians land, villages, and cities.

Israel’s aggressive settlement-building practices have not only uprooted, segregated and dispossessed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians but have also harmed the environment. They have led to excessive consumption of water, which has not only diminished significantly the access to water for Palestinians – leading some to talk about “water apartheid“, but it has also depleted water resources in general. Aggressive use of water for agriculture – much of it run by illegal settlers in the West Bank – has led to the depletion of aquifers and a sharp decline in water levels in the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River.

Israel is also polluting Palestinian land by literally using it as a dumping ground. It has been estimated that some 80 percent of the rubbish generated by Israeli settlements is being dumped in the West Bank. Various Israeli industries and the army are also known to discard toxic waste on Palestinian land.

Furthermore, over the past few years, Israel has systematically moved polluting factories to the West Bank. It has done so by building so-called “industrial zones” which not only use cheap Palestinian labor but also release their toxic byproducts into the environment without regard to the wellbeing of Palestinians living nearby.

Israel has also continued its decade-long practice of uprooting Palestinian olive and fruit tree groves. This strategy, meant to sever the connection Palestinians have to their land, has not only resulted in the loss of livelihood for thousands of Palestinian farmers but also caused soil erosion and accelerated desertification of parts of occupied Palestine.

All of these activities damaging the environment in which the Palestinian people live are accumulating over time. Today they are endangering Palestinian lives, but tomorrow they will threaten Israeli lives as well.

If Israel continues to treat the issue as a “security problem” it will never get resolved because at the heart of it is the destructive logic of a colonial enterprise which seeks to exploit both land and people with no regard for nature and human wellbeing.

In other words, Israel will never achieve security – environmental or otherwise – as long as it continues to oppress the Palestinians, occupy their land and ravage the environment. Israeli air, water, and overall environment will never be immune from the Israeli-made disasters in occupied Palestine.

(This article was originally published in Al Jazeera)

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author, and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His last book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press, London). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and was a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

– Romana Rubeo is an Italy-based writer and an editor at the PalestineChronicle.com. Rubeo holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in Audio-Visual and Journalism Translation.

The post Israel’s ‘Environmental Crisis’ Is of Its Own Making appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

One side is playing for keeps. They oust elected representatives and block members from voting on efforts to challenge a brutal occupation. On the other side, members defending a morally righteous cause twist themselves in knots to avoid directly criticizing nakedly authoritarian party leaders.

Recently, the NDP national office overturned the vote of party members in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour after they elected Rana Zaman to represent the ridding in the upcoming federal election.

Party ‘leaders’ excluded the Muslim woman of Pakistani heritage from running because she defended thousands of Palestinians mowed down by Israeli snipers during last year’s “Great March of Return” in the open-air Gaza prison. A prominent local activist, Zaman represented the party provincially in 2017.

In May the leadership of the Ontario NDP blocked a resolution on Palestinian rights from being debated at their biannual convention. According to party member Moe Alqasem, the resolution “was pushed to the very bottom of its list of resolutions on block 4” despite having

“as many endorsements as the top resolution on that same list … The appeals committee refused to re-prioritize it on the list, a speech was given in favor of the re-prioritization and the room erupted into cheers and chants for a few minutes. The committee’s decision was next to be challenged on the main floor of the convention, but the chair ‘conveniently’ decided that we were behind on time. There were several attempts to amend the agenda or the order-of-the-day to allow for the membership to challenge the committee’s decision again, conveniently however the chair decided that it was not possible. The chair spent 20 minutes refusing us the opportunity to speak for 1 minute on the resolution. Knowing full well that the membership was supportive of Palestine. Later on during that convention, somehow the order-of-the-day was amended in favour of another resolution and the committee’s decision was challenged in front of the general membership. Several other rules were amended, the same privileges were not afforded to the Palestinians and the Palestine-Solidarity members within the party.”

Recently, the NDP hierarchy undermined former Toronto mayoral candidate Saron Gebresellassi’s bid to represent the party in Parkdale-High Park possibly because she signed an open letter calling on the NDP to withdraw from the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group. The national office took 141 days to vet her candidacy, giving her only 23 days to sign up new members to vote. Then a good number of the 400 members she registered were disenfranchised beforehand and at the riding association vote.

At the center of the sordid affair was Parkdale-High Park president Janet Solberg who was maybe the loudest anti-Palestinian at the NDP’s 2018 federal convention. According to Myles Hoenig,

Janet Solberg, sister of Stephen Lewis, leader of the Ontario NDP for most of the 70s who kicked out the leftist contingent known as The Waffle, played a leadership role in officiating this election. In a 3 way call to the candidates, she openly expressed her hostility to Saron by stating how she won’t support her.”

A former Ontario NDP president, vice president and federal council member, Solberg pushed to suppress debate on the “Palestine Resolution: renewing the NDP’s commitment to peace and justice”, which was endorsed by more than two dozen riding associations before the federal convention. The motion mostly restated official Canadian policy, except that it called for “banning settlement products from Canadian markets, and using other forms of diplomatic and economic pressure to end the occupation.”

Six months after suppressing the Palestine Resolution, NDP foreign affairs critic Hélène Laverdière and party leader Jagmeet Singh participated in an unprecedented smear against one of Canada’s most effective advocates for Palestinian rights.

After Dimitri Lascaris called on two Liberal MPs to denounce death threats made by B’nai B’rith supporters against a number of Liberal MPs and the Prime Minister, the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs called on MPs to attack him, prompting Laverdière to call Lascaris “anti-Semitic” while Singh inferred as much.

In the lead up to the 2015 federal election, the NDP leadership ousted as many as eight individuals from running or contesting nominations to be candidates because they publicly defended Palestinian rights. The most high-profile individual blocked from seeking an NDP nomination was Paul Manly, a filmmaker and son of a former NDP MP. Manly recently delivered a blow to the NDP by winning the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection as a candidate for the Green Party.

In another Palestine-related development, four NDP MPs (quietly) withdrew from the Canada Israel Interparliamentary Group (CIIG). They did not do so because someone politely convinced them it was immoral to participate in a group promoting “greater friendship” with a belligerent, apartheid, state, but because they were directly challenged through an open letter signed by more than 200 prominent individuals, as well as other campaigning.

NDP MP Randall Garrison remains vice-chair of CIIG and a prominent anti-Palestinian voice within the party. Any NDP activist with an internationalist bone in their body should hope Victoria-area Palestine solidarity campaigners help defeat him in the October election. There must be a price to pay for egregious anti-Palestinianism. In a similar vein, individuals such as Solberg should be confronted on their anti-Palestinianism.

At the end of May, I learned Jagmeet Singh was making a major announcement in Montréal. With a hastily drawn placard in my bag, I attended thinking of interrupting the event to decry NDP participation in CIIG and suppression of the 2018 Palestine Resolution. I hesitated for a series of reasons, notably a sense that disrupting a major announcement by the social democratic party was too extreme. I now regret not walking in front of the cameras to denounce NDP anti-Palestinianism at the launch of their climate plan.

Unfortunately, this is the type of action required to force party leaders to have second thoughts about blithely ousting pro-Palestinian candidates and suppressing debate on resolutions opposing Palestinian subjugation. NDP leaders fear anti-Palestinian individuals and groups’ no holds barred brand of politics. They need to know the Palestine solidarity side is also prepared to ruffle feathers.

Enough of walking on eggshells. In Alqasem’s devastating report about the Ontario NDP suppressing discussion of a resolution upholding Palestinian rights, he begins by letting the perpetrators off the hook. He writes, “the following is not an attack on the membership, the party or administrators within.” But, how can one not politically “attack” the NDP “administrators” who just suppressed internal democracy in order to enable the subjugation of a long-suffering people?

After the federal convention 18 months ago I wrote:

“Over the next year NDPers who support Palestinian rights and care about party democracy should hound the leadership over their suppression of the Palestine Resolution. Every single elected representative, staffer, riding association executive and party activist needs to be prodded into deciding whether they side with Palestinian rights and party democracy or suppressing the Palestine Resolution and enabling ongoing Canadian complicity in Palestinian dispossession.”

These words still ring true, even if they may trouble many pro-Palestinian elements within the party (recent developments should be added to the discussion, of course).

For those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, but reluctant to openly challenge the party leadership, ask yourself these two questions:

Since polling reveals a higher percentage of Canadians support Palestinian rights than vote for the NDP federally, why won’t party officials allow a clear statement of support for Palestinian liberation?

Is there a point when explicitly antidemocratic behavior that contributes to Palestinian subjugation will no longer be tolerated in a party claiming the mantra of social justice?

It is time the NDP leadership listened to its membership.

 – Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit his website: yvesengler.com.

The post Canada’s NDP Suppresses Palestinian Solidarity Again appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In 1947, Cuba was one of the few countries opposing the UN Partition Plan, which laid the groundwork for Israel’s colonization of Palestine. At the time, the Cuban envoy to the UN Dr. Ernesto Dihigo spoke out against Zionist settler colonialism and, with clarity, pointing out the UN’s incompetence and refusal to implement its rhetoric regarding the free determination of people.

Decades later, and at a time when Palestinians are risking the loss of what remains of their land, Cuba must rethink its strategy which runs the risk of normalizing Israeli colonialism and human rights violations committed against the Palestinian population.

Israeli media has reported that Doron Markel, chief scientist at the Jewish National Fund (JNF), was invited to an international environmental conference held in Havana, Cuba. Needless to say, Israel was given a golden opportunity to present itself as a model to emulate by lauding its scientific expertise, while eliminating the violent narrative of land and water theft to achieve its goals.

There are no formal diplomatic ties between Cuba and Israel. However, inviting a representative of the JNF to Cuba, an organization which has been at the helm of displacing the Palestinian people, is tantamount to a tacit decision to normalize the violence upon which Israel has been able to build a prosperous image. For every Israeli achievement, there are hidden Palestinian victims.

The forestation which Markel spoke about must be perceived within the context of destroying Palestine’s own environmental heritage. Likewise, Israel’s water strategy requires mentioning how its theft deprives Palestinians of adequate access to water.

Markel’s statement that “science can serve as a bridge” between two countries that have not yet established formal diplomatic relations is a demand for Cuba to normalize Israel’s violations against the Palestinian people. Inviting a JNF representative already points towards such a route.

In one of his memorable speeches to the UN, revolutionary leader Fidel Castro stated:

“Colonies do not speak. Colonies are not known unless they have the opportunity to express themselves.”

By inviting an Israeli representative, Cuba has departed from this truthful observation by Fidel and experienced by the Cubans themselves before their liberation.

Cuban support for Palestine is rooted in the shared experience of anti-colonial struggle. The country should be leading by example, rather than accommodating Israeli narratives that speak about achievements at the expense of the Palestinian population.

This normalization of Israeli violations and its neoliberal endeavors is contrary to the Cuban revolutionary struggle and fails to uphold the internationalist principles upon which Cuba was able to impart support to oppressed people around the world, including Palestinians.

While not representative of people’s sentiment, the Cuban government has made its politics ambiguous as a result of this invitation. It is therefore pertinent to ask where Cuba is heading in terms of its own commitment to supporting the anti-colonial struggle of other oppressed people internationally.

The US, the EU, and the UN have all normalized Israel. Will Cuba rekindle its commitment to its principles or follow the trend that has discarded the Palestinian people’s legitimate political demands?

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.

The post Cuba Should Be Careful Not to Normalize Israel’s Colonization of Palestine appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

An Israeli soldier who shot and seriously injured a Palestinian child last week in the occupied West Bank used live ammunition, human rights NGO B’Tselem stated yesterday, contrary to army reports.

Nine-year-old ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi was shot in the head and remains in hospital.

A soldier fired live ammunition, hitting ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, 9, in the head, while he was playing in the entrance to a home in Kafr Qadum. He is the latest victim of the reckless open-fire policy. https://t.co/5xF3LqmKYX

— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) July 18, 2019

On 12 July, residents of Kafr Qaddum village were holding regular protests against the closure of their main access road by Israeli occupation forces, restrictions imposed after the expansion of an adjacent Israeli settlement.

During the demonstration, soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets at residents, and also, B’Tselem reported, “fired a large number of live rounds in the air”.

Away from the protesters, ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi was “sitting at the entrance of one of the homes on the edge of the village playing with a piece of wood” when he was shot.

#Palestinian Child Seriously Injured by #Israeli Fire in West Bank https://t.co/9OncWGsLTT @PalestineChron pic.twitter.com/F5ai5oXust

— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) July 12, 2019

The child was rushed to hospital in Nablus and underwent head surgery. Two days later, “sedated and ventilated”, he was transferred to the intensive care unit at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer.

B’Tselem noted that, “in its statements to the media, the military denied that soldiers used live fire, and even rejected any responsibility for the incident.”

However, the investigation published yesterday “proves a soldier fired live ammunition”, B’Tselem stated, “a direct result of the [military’s] open-fire policy” in the occupied Palestinian territory.

In case you didn't hear or see, Israeli occupation forces shot a 10 year old boy in the head on Friday. https://t.co/u1TmzJ0fgT

— Dr. Yara Hawari د. يارا هواري (@yarahawari) July 14, 2019

“This policy illegally and without any justification permits the use of live fire against Palestinians who are not endangering anyone. The policy remains in force despite the fact that it has resulted in hundreds of Palestinian deaths and thousands of injuries,” B’Tselem said.

“A-Shteiwi is the latest victim of this policy, but unless it is changed, it is only a matter of time before the next victim is added to the list.”

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

The post Human Rights Group Proves Israeli Soldier Shot Child in Head with Live Fire appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview