Palestinians are being impoverished by the manipulation of aid

Ramona Wadi By Ramona Wadi

 

In March, the World Bank issued a press release stating that the deterioration in Gaza’s humanitarian situation is preventing economic growth. Among the destabilisation factors mentioned were the lack of access to basic services, unemployment and cuts in UNRWA funding. Israel’s colonial violence was excluded completely from the analysis presented in the press release. Furthermore, the communication also stated that, “Effective governance systems and institutional strengthening under the Palestinian Authority’s leadership are also key for a sustainable recovery.” This was despite it being common knowledge that the PA is corrupt from top to bottom, and there to serve Israel’s interests, not the Palestinians’.

On Wednesday, the World Bank announced recommending an allocation of $90 million “to accelerate much needed economic welfare for the Palestinian people.” In its statement, the Bank’s Group Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, Ferid Belhaj, clarified the institution’s involvement in humanitarian and development aid, while appearing to exclude politics from the wider framework. Yet, the same formula still applies: Israel is absolved of its crimes which catapulted Palestinians into a dire humanitarian crisis in the first place, while the PA – Israel’s collaborator in depriving Gaza of its basic needs – takes centre stage as a tool for recovery.

In the words of Marina Wes, Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza, “Building on its partnership with the Palestinian Authority, the World Bank will continue its support in strengthening the institutions to efficiently manage public finances and deliver services to citizens.”

Most Palestinians would beg to differ. PA institutions are strengthening themselves to ensure their survival, at the expense of the Palestinian people who are exploited under the adopted neoliberal model. As Palestinians are rendered more peripheral and their exclusion becomes normalised, dependency upon financial humanitarian aid is consolidated. This results in a convenient political approach that adopts the humanitarian context and presents it as depoliticised. As the gap between the leadership and the people increases, with the latter being marginalised further, the remaining actors, in this case the World Bank and the PA, are free to form a narrative of development that plays upon the usual formula of donors and the obfuscation of economic development alongside the prevailing humanitarian situation.

Since leaders and institutions refrain from contextualising Palestinian deprivation within the colonial and collaborative context, the World Bank action is shielded from additional scrutiny. It must be noted that marginalising Palestinians has another dangerous repercussion which is overlooked; Israel’s crimes against them are also pushed aside as the perpetrators are allowed to act with impunity.

There is no empowerment of Palestinians in Israel’s settler-colonial context. Failing to acknowledge this, as well as the PA’s role in maintaining “empowerment” as rhetoric, is contributing to a scenario wherein financial aid is funding the continuation of crimes against Palestinians, while the people are forced to bear responsibility for the institutions’ and leaders’ compromised decisions.

Looking at the statement by UN Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov regarding the World Bank announcement, we find a dissociated admission which, besides being repetitive, is also an example of how the UN encourages this neoliberal model: “This significant increase in funding comes at a critical time when urgent interventions are required to prevent renewed conflict and to boost Palestinian economic opportunities and livelihoods.” He also described working with the PA as “exactly the type of response that is needed right now.”

If, as Mladenov suggests, the institutions are presenting the necessary solutions to the humanitarian deprivation experienced by Palestinians (this, keeping in mind that there is a perpetual cycle of alleged solutions that have solved nothing), is it not time to refute the propagation of the international institutions’ narratives and, more importantly, to expose how Palestinian deprivation is a source of profit for Israel, the PA and the international community? Humanitarian and economic aid should not be manipulated for the benefit of the colonial-occupiers and to the detriment of their victims.

(Source / 27.07.2018)

2 Palestinian children injured as Israel army quells peaceful march

Injured rubber bullets

Two Palestinian children were injured with rubber bullets on Friday after the Israeli occupation forces violently quelled the peaceful anti-settlement march staged in Kafr Kaddum, east of Qalqilya.

Israeli patrols attacked the marchers right as they joined the march, kick-started from Omar Ibn al-Khattab Mosque.

Two minors reportedly sustained injuries in the raging clashes.

(Source / 27.07.2018)

One Israeli Killed, Two Wounded by Palestinian Teen; Assailant Killed on Site

27 JUL
5:53 AM

A seventeen-year old Palestinian allegedly carried out a stabbing attack in Geva Binyamin (Adam) Israeli colony, in the Occupied West Bank, killing one Israeli and wounding two others before he himself was killed by an armed paramilitary Israeli settler.

Update: 8:40 AM: Israeli daily Haaretz has reported that the slain Israeli settler has been identified as Yotam Ovadia, 31, and added that Yotam succumbed to stab wounds.

On its part, the “Times Of Israel” said Ovadia, a father a child, 2 years of age, and a 7-month-old infant, worked as a technician with “Brinks Security Company”.

The Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Tareq dar Yousef, 17, allegedly managed to climb over the fence into the illegal Israeli settlement of “Adam”, which had been built on stolen Palestinian land which was taken from his village, Kobar, near Ramallah. He then stabbed three people before he was shot and killed.

|Lieberman Decides To Expand “Adam” Illegal Colony|

A 31-year old Israeli colonial settler was killed, but he has not yet been identified. Another unnamed Israeli settler, age 50, is in critical condition with stab wounds to the upper body, according to Israeli media sources.

Before going to the settlement to carry out the attack, the young Palestinian wrote on his Facebook page, “After all of the injustice the Palestinians continue to face: the killing, the diaspora, the theft of land by force, this injustice still prevails, and many Palestinians are silent – including those who have weapons, and are watching the massacres. Those are the traitors.”

He goes on to say, “You [Palestinians] who own a weapon, remember this is for your enemy, not for use against your own people. Remember the children of Gaza, suffering and dying.” The statement ends, “A salute to the people who defend their land and their honor. And to those who sold their land and betrayed their country, those cowards, you must be ashamed of yourselves. The people of Gaza and Jerusalem are resisting, and you are trying to silence them.”

Dozens of soldiers in armored vehicles surrounded and invaded Kobar, near Ramallah, in the hours following this incident. Protests broke out in the village, and some teens threw stones at the invading soldiers.

The troops invaded Mohammad’s home, surrounding it and demanding that the family leave. It is unknown at the time of this report if the soldiers are planning to carry out a punitive demolition of the alleged assailant’s home, but this is a known and common practice by the Israeli military.

|Israeli Soldiers Invade Kobar, Abduct Three Palestinians|

Over the past hundred days, Palestinians have been engaging in largely non-violent protests on a weekly basis in Gaza as part of the ‘Great March of Return’, calling for a return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes in what is now Israel, and an end to the siege on Gaza that has strangled the economy of the tiny coastal strip since 2007.

Israeli forces have killed nearly 150 Palestinian demonstrators during this time, and wounded more than 17,000, many with live ammunition. One Israeli was killed in this time period, in May, by a stone slab that fell on him from a building in a Palestinian town he was invading in the West Bank. The Palestinian resistance in Gaza has held its fire in solidarity with the non-violent demonstrators, but this past Friday a firefight broke out and an Israeli soldier and four Palestinian fighters were killed.

(Source / 27.07.2018)

Army Invades Ya’bad Near Jenin

27 JUL
11:53 AM

Several Israeli army jeeps invaded, earlier Friday, the town of Ya’bad southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and conducted extensive searches, in addition to installing many roadblocks in Jenin governorate.

Media sources in Jenin said the soldiers conducted extensive and violent searches of homes, and lands, in addition to interrogating many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

They added that the soldiers also installed several roadblocks near villages and towns in Jenin governorate, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, especially in the eastern part of Jenin.

(Source / 27.07.2018)

National Kurdish Council Calls for Commemoration of Qamishli Bombings

The Kurdish National Council called for the commemoration of the second anniversary of the bloody terrorist bombings that targeted the town of Qamishli on July 27, 2017. The Council called upon its supporters and residents of the town to gather at the site of the bombing on Friday evening.

In a statement, the Council called for the commemoration of the bloody attack, calling on residents of the town to gather in the western side of the town, at Amouda road.

Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Abdel Basset Hamo said that the bloody terrorist bombings that targeted Qamishli and its people were intended to instill fear and terrorism in the town. “The circumstances of the crime have not been disclosed yet, especially the way the truck carrying explosives reached the center of the town through checkpoints.” He hinted the responsibility of the Assad regime for the attack, along with ISIS.

The Qamishli bombings killed dozens of people, including women and children as a result of a truck bomb explosion which also led to massive destruction to residential buildings.

Hamo pointed out that he was surprised by the sudden emergence of ISIS militants in the center of the town after travelling long distances. He noted that the attack was accompanied by threats by the Assad regime against residents of the town, which he considered as a systematic policy to force the local population to surrender.

Three terrorist bombings rocked Swaida on Wednesday and were followed by a criminal attack on villages and towns near the city. The attacks killed about 300 people.

Hamo stressed that what happened in Swaida is similar to the one that took place in Qamishli two years ago. He strongly condemned the terrorist attacks, which he said were aimed at creating chaos and terrorizing the population.

Member of the Coalition’s political committee Hawass Saadoun stressed the need to strengthen the spirit of solidarity amongst components of the Syrian people and to stand against all terrorist operations taking place in Syria.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims in Qamishli, Swaida and all other cities and towns where such explosions took place,” Saadoun said. He expressed hope that the root cause of chaos and terrorism in Syria, namely the Assad regime, will be defeated.

Saadoun pointed out that all such bombings took place at particularly sensitive times and, adding that “it is clear that they have political and military objectives.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 27.07.2018)

Israel approves 400 settlement units in West Bank

The illegal Ramat Shlomo settlement, located on Palestinian lands in East Jerusalem, seen on December 29, 2016 [Daniel Bar On / Anadolu Agency]

The illegal Ramat Shlomo settlement, located on Palestinian lands in East Jerusalem, seen on December 29, 2016

Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, today approved plans for 400 new settlement units for the illegal Israeli settlement of Adam southeast of the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.

17-year-old Muhammad Tareq Youssef Abu Ayyush was shot dead by an illegal Israeli settler in the illegal settlement of Adam near occupied Ramallah, West Bank, on 26 July 2018

Lieberman approved the further expansion of the Adam hours after a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed by a settler in the occupied West Bank.

According to settlement watchdog Peace Now, in the year and a half since US President Donald Trump took office some 14,454 settlement units have been approved in the occupied West Bank, more than three times the amount that was approved in the year and half before his inauguration (4,476 units).

Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.

The estimated 196 government recognised Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.

There has been a 17% increase in illegal settlement construction in the occupied #WestBank in the first year of #US President Donald J. Trump‘s term

Read more: ow.ly/6zhH30k1wGS

MEMO infographic by QUAD Business House

(Source / 27.07.2018)

Israel to declare Gaza protest killings ‘operational mishaps’

Women in Gaza take part in the 'Palestinian Women for the Return and Breaking the Siege' protest on 3 July 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinians carry an injured protester after Israeli forces fired tear gas at protesters during the Great March of Return on 3 July 2018

An internal investigation by the Israeli military into the killing of at least 140 Palestinians in Gaza during the Great March of Return is set to conclude all died as a result of “operational mishaps” and that “weapons fire was carried out in accordance with open-fire orders”.

The investigation will also recommend that there is no need for the incidents to be referred to the Israeli Military Police for further investigation, Haaretz reported.

Haaretz added that “the team found that in each incident, […] none of the Israeli army sharpshooters had deliberately targeted uninvolved Palestinian bystanders.” The report will also suggest “demonstrators intruded into the line of fire after troops had opened fire and [there were] incidents in which bullets ricocheted, subsequently hitting Palestinians.”

The investigation team will now pass its recommendations to Israel’s Military Advocate General, Major General Sharon Afek, who will have final say on whether to further investigate the matter.

READ: EU calls on Israel to stop using ‘excessive force’ against civilians

The probe focused on the period between 30 March 2018, when the Great March of Returnbegan, and 14 July 2018, during which time at least 140 Palestinians were killed and 15,000 injured. The investigation was initially ordered following the killing of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja in April, which caused international outcry and calls for those covering the protests to be protected.

Funeral procession of Gazan video journalist and photographer Yaser Murtaja, killed by Israeli snipers despite wearing a vest marked ‘PRESS’, while covering the The Great March of Return on April 6, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

Alongside the death of Murtaja, the investigation also dealt with the individual case of Razan Al-Najjar, the 21-year-old volunteer medic who was shot while helping those wounded by Israeli fire. In July, Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem found that Israeli soldiers killed her with “deliberate shots” and concluded “a routine of whitewashing [by Israeli authorities] ensures very slim chances of anyone being held accountable”.

Other investigations into the killing of Gazan protesters have also been initiated, with the UN Human Rights Council voting in favour of a probe in May. The UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), Professor Michael Lynk, said at the time that:

This blatant excessive use of force by Israel – an eye for an eyelash – must end, and there must be true accountability for those in military and political command who have ordered or allowed this force to be once again employed at the Gaza fence.

Earlier this week, the UN appointed former US legal official, David Crane, to head the investigation. The commissioners are not expected to present a final written report until March 2019.

READ: Three Palestinians killed by Israel artillery

(Source / 27.07.2018)

BREAKING: Israel storms Al-Aqsa compound during Friday prayers, shots fired

UPDATE 12:44 GMT

At least two Palestinian worshippers are thought to have been injured. Quds Network tweetedimages in which one man can be seen lying on a stretcher with blood on his neck and chest.

The Waqf, the endowment that holds custodianship of Al-Aqsa, confirmed reports of injuries, saying that “several people were lightly injured as a result of clashes,” Haaretz reported. The Waqf added that “the [Israeli] police blocked the exits from inside the mosque compound, causing further unrest.”

Reports as to the cause of the violence are mixed. Haaretz quoted Israeli police sources as saying “in an unclear and inexplicable step, stones and fireworks were thrown at the police forces.”

The heavy handed response by Israeli forces seems to have escalated the situation. Al Jazeera Arabic tweeted a video showing intense firing inside the compound, as Palestinians sought shelter near buildings. Meanwhile, Lebanese newspaper the Daily Star reported that “Israeli police sealed the gates to Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.”

—–

Reports have emerged that Israeli occupation forces are shooting rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas at Palestinian worshippers in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Videos show Palestinians running from approaching Israeli soldiers, as shots can be heard being fired in the background. Smoke can also be seen engulfing the compound, believed to be coming from tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces to disperse the crowds.

A number of Palestinians have seemingly been arrested and can be seen being escorted through the compound by armed Israeli forces in riot gear. Others shared images from inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque itself, where women and children can be seen sheltering from the violence.

Initial reports added that Israeli forces have chained the gates of the mosque.

The compound, which is situated in Jerusalem’s Old City, is the site of Friday prayers for thousands of Palestinians. Today’s violence comes just a week after over a thousand Israeli settlers stormedthe Al-Aqsa compound under the protection of Israeli occupation forces.

READ: Israeli police arrest three female relatives of Sheikh Raed Salah

(Source / 27.07.2018)

Israel closes Nabi Saleh village, home of Ahed Tamimi

An Italian artist painted an image of Ahed Tamimi on the Separation Wall in occupied Bethlehem.

An Italian artist painted an image of Ahed Tamimi on the Separation Wall in occupied Bethlehem

Israeli occupation forces closed the entrance gate of the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, yesterday evening, preventing the entry and exit of residents.

According to local sources, a large number of Israeli occupation forces was deployed in the village and completely closed its entrance forcefully preventing residents from entering or exiting.

Locals added that the closed gate forced them to take longer, alternative routes.

With less than a thousand residents, Nabi Saleh is one of the smaller villages in the occupied West Bank.

Since 2009, the village has held weekly Friday demonstrations, along with a dozen other villages in the occupied West Bank in protest against Israeli occupation policies.

READ: Ahed Tamimi may be released on Sunday, says her dad

Nabi Saleh’s weekly protests focus on the confiscation of a large portion of village land for the establishment and expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish and the seizure of the village’s natural spring, which has historically been its only water source.

The residential area of Nabi Saleh only accounts for 4.4 per cent of the village’s total land, according to the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem.

The vast majority of the village land lies in “Area C” which comes under complete Israeli control.

The renowned Tamimi family hail from Nabi Saleh, a number of members of the family are currently in Israeli occupation jails due to their activism.

(Source / 27.07.2018)

Israel’s ‘nation-state law’ parallels the Nazi Nuremberg Laws

Israel’s new ‘nation-state’ law follows in the footsteps of Jim Crow, the Indian Removal Act and the Nuremberg Laws

 Susan Abulhawa   By Susan Abulhawa

Israel's parliament on July 19 adopted a law defining the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, provoking fears it will lead to discrimination against its Palestinian citizens [Reuters]
Israel’s parliament on July 19 adopted a law defining the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, provoking fears it will lead to discrimination against its Palestinian citizens

More than 80 years after Nazi Germany enacted what came to be known as the Nuremberg Race Laws, Israeli legislators voted in favour of the so-called “nation-state law“. By doing so, they essentially codified “Jewish supremacy” into law, which effectively mirrors the Nazi-era legislation of ethnoreligious stratification of German citizenry.

Israel’s “nation-state law” stipulates in its first clause that “actualisation of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people”. In other words, the 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, the native inhabitants who managed to remain in their homes whenEuropean Jews conquered parts of historical Palestine in 1948, shall be without sovereignty or agency, forever living at the mercy of Israeli Jews. 

In similar fashion, the first of the Nuremberg Laws, the Reich Citizenship Law, deemed citizenship a privilege exclusive to people of “German or kindred blood”. The remainder were classed as state subjects, without citizenship rights. 

Since there was no scientifically sound way to distinguish Jewish Germans from the rest of German society, legislators looked into people’s ancestry to determine their Jewishness. Anyone who had three or four Jewish grandparents was defined as a Jew, regardless of whether that individual identified himself or herself as a Jew or belonged to the Jewish religious community.

That will not be necessary for indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel because, since its creation in 1948, Israel put protocols in place to ensure that non-Jews do not assimilate into mainstream Jewish society. 

This brings us to the second Nuremberg Law: Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which sought to prevent mixing of Aryan blood, dubbed “race defilement”. 

The new “nation-state law” may not mention “race defilement” but in Israel, anti-miscegenation laws are already in place, masquerading as legislation meant to protect traditional values. Marriage can only be performed by religious officials and the Orthodox rabbinate has exclusive purview over Jewish marriages. Interreligious marriage within Israel is strictly forbidden by law.

The Reich Flag Law, which established black, red, and white as the national colours of Germany, and the swastika flag as the new national flag, was also part of the Nuremberg Laws.

The second clause of Israel’s “nation-state law” regarding national symbols similarly indicates that “the flag of the state is white, two blue stripes near the edges, and a blue Star of David in the centre.” Two days after it was passed, Israeli police and military soldiers arrested a Palestinian boy for holding a Palestinian flag outside the Al Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

The third clause of the new nation-state law reiterates Israel’s illegitimate claim to the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, an illegal and internationally unrecognised claim that has been emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

Interestingly, however, this new law does not define state borders and Israel remains the only country in the world without declared borders. This is not surprising, as Israel is a continuously expanding settler-colonial state, even though their admission to the United Nations in 1948 was based on their claim to the areas within the 1948 armistice line only, which does not include Jerusalem or any other part of the West Bank.

This new law also marks the beginning of the erasure of Arabic from the land, as it decrees Hebrew to be the only official language of the state, while Arabic has “special status”. Its fourth clause further explains that use of “the Arab language [sic]” institutionally “will be regulated by law.”

As for the 4.5 million indigenous Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank who do not have Israeli citizenship, the nation-state law eludes to their fate in the seventh clause, which states: “The state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labour to encourage and promote its establishment and development.”

Simply stated, Israel will continue to work in earnest to build Jewish-only colonies on seized Palestinian land, ostensibly where a Palestinian state was to be formed per the Oslo Accords.

We can expect that more settlement will simply accelerate Israel’s ongoing displacement of Palestinians to replace them with imported Jews. We know from the past decades of settlement construction that this process is accomplished by systematic dispossession, marginalisation, ghettoisation and robbing of indigenous Palestinian inhabitants. This process more closely resembles the Manifest Destiny removal and marginalisation of First Nations in North America.

Western media should stop mincing words by calling the nation-state law “controversial” when in fact it is encoding the worst human impulses into law, the likes of which were promoted in Nazi Germany, Jim Crow and Indian Removal America and other abominable moments in human history.

(Source / 27.07.2018)