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Palestinians are facing genocide; Israel deserves its international pariah status

School children in an UNRWA institute fly kites carrying the hashtag 'dignity is priceless' to highlight the dire situation in Gaza [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

School children in an UNRWA institute fly kites carrying the hashtag ‘dignity is priceless’ to highlight the dire situation in Gaza

By Firoz Osman

Zionist fulminations against the evocative A-word will now have to contend with the ignoble G-word. That Israel is an Apartheid entity is now indisputable, with international institutions and academics declaring it to be a crime against humanity. To this must now be added the increasingly obvious fact that the Palestinians are facing Genocide at the hands of the Israeli colonists.

The creation of the state of Israel in May 1948 was a settler-colonial enterprise in which Palestinians were displaced through a deliberate policy of terror and ethnic cleansing that made room for alien colonists, drawn largely from Europe and North America. Colonial Zionism differed from other European colonial enterprises in its much more ambitious intentions; it set out not only to exploit the indigenous people and steal their resources, but also to expel them and move Jews onto the stolen land.

From the outset, Zionism — the ideology underpinning Israel — held terrorism to be one of its indispensable weapons for the achievement of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Innocent Palestinian civilians were massacred by the score, and British Mandate officials were also targeted.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, enunciated the Zionist agenda categorically in 1937, well before its 1948 realisation: “We must expel the Arabs and take their places.” According to Dr Ilan Pappé, such ethnic cleansing has been a pre-planned policy since the1930s. Pappé is an Israeli academic and author of “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” who has defined Israel’s policy in the Gaza Strip as an “incremental genocide”. Instead of rounding up Palestinians for mass execution, Israelis implement subtle policies designed to make life so miserable for the indigenous population that they will decide for themselves to leave and live elsewhere. In Zionist terms, this is called “silent transfer”, and requires the erosion of land and rights, illegal settlements for Jews only, murderous violence and the mass destruction of infrastructure and homes.

All of this is backed up by a near-total blockade of Gaza, aided and abetted by Egypt and the international community. Basic necessities such as food and fresh water are scarce, electricity cuts last up to 20 hours per day, and materials to repair the shattered infrastructure are prevented from getting into the enclave. This has compromised the health sector, for example, very severely, with emergency and diagnostic services such as MRI scans, CT and x-rays, intensive care units and operating theatres in 13 public hospitals at risk. What’s more, public health is threatened by untreated sewage — the Israelis destroyed the facilities and won’t allow repairs to be made — and damaged desalination plants, as well as a reduced capacity for solid waste collection.

Fifty international humanitarian organisations, including the World Health Organisation and the International Committee of the Red Cross, have called for an end to the blockade, describing it as a violation of international law. The strangulation of the Gaza Strip since June 2007 has resulted in a slow journey into malnutrition, disease and death.

The Gaza Strip has also been subjected to three ruthless Israeli military offensives, in 2008, 2012 and 2014. The cost has been devastating, in terms of civilian casualties as well as infrastructure. Thousands of Palestinians have been slaughtered with the most horrible weapons, including remote-controlled bulldozers that demolish their homes over their heads, and drones that fire missiles onto crowded streets and into apartment blocks, schools, clinics and hospitals. Gaza has been showered liberally with depleted uranium, white phosphorus and cluster bombs.

“Israeli forces may also have knowingly or recklessly attacked people who were clearly civilians such as young boys,” claims Human Rights Watch, “and civilian structures, including a hospital; laws-of-war violations that are indicative of war crimes.”

According to Amnesty International:

Deliberately attacking a civilian home is a war crime, and the overwhelming scale of destruction of civilian homes, in some cases with entire families inside them, points to a distressing pattern of repeated violations of the laws of war.

Yotam Feldman, a former journalist with Israel’s Haaretz newspaper and director of the documentary “The Lab”, says that Israel has turned the occupied territories into a laboratory for refining, testing and showcasing its weapons systems.

The author of “War Against the People”, Israeli-American academic Jeff Halper, explains that Israel has an advantage over some of its rivals in the arms trade; its own real-time military laboratory is a testing ground with living targets. “You’ve got 4.5 million Palestinians that you can test these weapons and security devices on,” says Halper. “And that’s what’s given Israel this cutting edge in the market. So that if you insert that, the whole world looks different. All of a sudden, countries that seemed to be your enemies are your friends. There’s all kinds of interests that come out.”

As a result, over the past couple of decades, Israel has become a leading exporter of security, surveillance and military equipment, because Israeli military technology companies have marketed their products as “battle-tested” and “combat proven”, giving them a competitive edge in the international arms market place.

Israel was the biggest arms supplier to Apartheid South Africa and collaborated in its development of nuclear weapons, prolonging the oppression of the non-White population by decades. It also supplied weapons to the Rwandan government even while it engaged in the genocide of the Tutsi tribe, which is considered the fastest execution of genocide in human history. What’s more, Israel also provided the Serbians with arms as they conducted the ethnic cleansing of the former Yugoslavia’s Bosnian Muslims.

Moreover, Israel exports arms to terrorist groups in Syria and Libya, helping to destabilise the whole region. Repressive regimes around the world, including the government in Myanmar, are also propped up by Israeli arms, while tyrannical regimes such as Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s in Egypt, the autocratic kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and other despots receive similar support from Israel.

The Israelis have stoked the fires of Islamophobia, deliberately ratcheting up tensions against Muslims globally. Zionist encouragement of racist right-wing ultra-nationalists in the US, India and Europe has been open, with fabricated “terror” alerts and false-flag operations being used to justify Israel’s illegitimate and immoral usurpation, occupation and colonisation of Palestine.

Israel has sought international support by painting itself as some sort of civilised bastion in the battle between “Islam and the West”. This is similar in tone to the Islamophobia pushed by right-wing ideologues around the world, including Donald Trump, who stated infamously that “Islam hates us” and pushed for a Muslim ban when he became President.

Zionist warlords appear to be addicted to war and civil unrest, as were other colonialists, imperialists, ultranationalists, fascists and Nazis spawned by Europe. Endless war means not only opportunities for the expansion of the Zionist state into “Greater Israel”, but also the generation of huge profits at the expense of the innocent victims of such policies.

The drawn-out and ultimately fruitless “peace negotiations” demonstrate clearly that the far-right which governs Israel sees peace as a threat. Anti-Apartheid stalwarts, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have claimed — with good reason — that Israel’s version of Apartheid is worse than that endured by non-White people in South Africa. In reality, they recognise the genocidal nature of the self-declared Jewish state. Israel more than deserves its growing international pariah status.

(Source / 14.03.2018)

An opportunity to develop the media, who grabs it?

By Nedal Asqoul

Media offices raided

A great media revolution broke out into the Palestinian media in recent years due to the great improvement of the media publishing tools and the rapid flow of information generated by the events in Palestine from the occupation, Palestinian internal division, reconciliation negotiations and exchange prisoner deals at the international level. But this added more challenges and new obstacles to Media sector.

It is no longer logical to deal with the media as cheap accessories that is presented based on the market needs and the demand determined by the governor; indeed, the media with its new tools has become the sight for the public in dealing with its various issues and spreading their ideas and opinions. Also, it is no longer acceptable that this media, which is the property of the entire society, remains a hostage to the masculinity of society. Today, Palestinian women have presented models that enable them to lead the Palestinian media.

Despite all of these improvements of our media, still we are in a desperate need for more training and reforming. All the books, newsletters, magazines, the visual, auditory and written media tools can’t lead to the establishment of honest professional media if it is not honest in the objectives and roles, but if they disregard the supreme interest of our national issues and the concerns of society, it will not be in the interest of anything.

For anyone who tracking and following up the outcomes of the national team for Palestinian media development, can notice the nine axises: Legal reform, academic development, media, society, social type, Career stability, self-regulation, infrastructure, media training and public media. All deserve to be a viable national model, which requires all official and non-official actors to work hard to adopt these outputs are working out.

The Palestinian media still needs big and bold steps to push it forward. This will only be achieved through an advanced and interlinked media strategy, by providing full opportunity for cultural participation by experienced and competent professionals, technologists and intellectuals, to overcome the current problem.

(Source / 07.03.2018)

The Youth of Gaza

By Youth of Gaza


The youth in Gaza represent 30% ?? of what??  the Gazan population? , and they are the most capable of reversing the real country’s reality as the one in charge of making daily life in all its forms in terms of learning and work and marriage and then   creativity in all the aspects of life required to keep up with times.

However, under the conditions imposed on the strip : lack of employment opportunities and the resulting rise in unemployment and lack of daily basic needs, as well as the policy of closing crossings that suggest to the youth that they live in a large prison, which inevitably leads to frustration. All these circumstances build an obstacle between the conditions of youth and the realization of their ambitions, and make the contours of the future before them blurred.

But despite all these unprecedented obstacles in the world, there are still youth of both sexes,  insisting on coping with these obstacles by keeping up with the times, exchanging experiences and daily innovations in all available ways.

In an interview with the student, Reman Abu Rizk, she said : ” As a Palestinian youth, I have a lot of dreams, which I hope to achieve inside the boundaries of my homeland, despite of the cruel reality in which we as a Palestinian youth live” .

She added : ” I have a shining view upon our future in our catastrophic strip. Our dreams will be coming true because we face very dark days, our light will be soon. One day, I will be a successful translator spite of all these challenges, so we should challenge our reality to reach to our dreams” .

Like other youths, Gazans youth dream of marriage and establish a right social life free of obstacles, but the circumstances we have mentioned are an example of  major reasons for youth’s dread of getting married because they are unable to provide marriage decrees as well as the disability they will face in meeting family requirements with a daily minimum .

In an interview with graduate Khalid, he told us:  “I always paint in my mind a bright and fair future for the effort I have made during my studies at med school. But I have faced a shocking reality and hit all my ambitions in the wall. I’m a 30-year-old boy, but all I have is a volunteer job for free, which hinders me from any opportunity to build my social life or my family’s allowance, which  have made so much for me to get to advanced stages”.

These problems have led young people to think that they are forced to travel to any other country where they have the opportunity to achieve their goals and escape from the difficult reality they face in the Gaza Strip.

In our question to a Gazan youth  (Abdel Rahman Shaaban) he answered: ” I always ask myself a question : Why should I leave my country and go to another one ? The answer is always logical: Leave my country and think about traveling because my country has no minimum needs as a youth who seeks to build his future; if the country has what the young people need in Gaza, the idea of travelling was not the only goal to be pursued “.

Using Aid to Trap Palestinians, while Their Rights are Being Depleted

Entrance goods into Gaza

An Israeli army officer monitoring the entrance of goods into Gaza

By Ramona Wadi

More rhetoric and the absence of any constructive action have created a spectrum of expectations for Gaza. The past few days have seen an escalation of alarm juxtaposed against fake optimism. The latter is a veneer for a widespread complacency that is not bothered by the decline in financial aid for the enclave.

According to Wafa news agency, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah claimed that,

“United, we will be able to withstand all plots against our national cause and our just right and will allow us to face unfair American decisions and constant Israeli violations.”

Two days earlier, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov used Twitter to give details of a meeting between Hamdallah and Israeli Major General Yoav Mordechai. Mladenov claimed that the two officials discussed “critical humanitarian solutions.” He concluded with a bizarre statement: “Much can be done if the conditions are right.”

In both statements, it is implicit that Palestinians must subjugate themselves. Hamdallah should not be authorized to speak of unity on behalf of all Palestinians, let alone mangle the history of resistance to exploit the temporary limelight for himself. There is more than enough evidence of the efforts by Hamdallah and the Palestinian Authority to coerce the people of Gaza into yet another farcical attempt at reconciliation by further depriving the population of access to basic necessities through the enforcement of punitive measures.

National unity is absent from the equation, as Hamdallah well knows, being part of an entity that exists to prop-up the Israeli occupation and thrives upon thwarting Palestinian independence. The only equivalence that can be garnered from his comments is the imposition of different forms of oppression upon Gaza derived from its unique circumstances, in a way that complements the ongoing violence in the occupied West Bank. Different tactics yielding a similar result: suffocate all means of people’s resistance in order to place the narrative directly into the hands of a few complicit “representatives”.

If Palestinians are eliminated from their own narrative, the only body with which the international community can negotiate is the PA.

This gives Mladenov’s comment additional context. It defies all considerations and obligations. If the conditions were right, Gaza would not have been reduced to dependence upon international humanitarian aid; the UN’s involvement should emphasize this fact, rather than emulate Israel and blast the enclave into oblivion by other means, in this case collaboration to prolong human suffering.

Since the conditions are not right, Mladenov has the obligation to address the discrepancies in terms of provision on the humanitarian and political level. Humanitarian aid must not be provided on condition that the Palestinians relinquish their political and human rights.

With failed initiatives becoming another premeditated, external imposition upon the Palestinians in Gaza, the political actors involved in Palestine are dedicated to maintaining the deprivation of the enclave’s residents to the point that they will be trapped into relinquishing their political objectives. Humanitarian aid is a powerful weapon and one that is being used by Israel, the US, the PA and the UN to trap Palestinians into navigating parts of the planned deprivation system that they are experiencing.

As the focus keeps shifting upon the most crucial aspects of well-being, the political backdrop is left increasingly in the hands of institutional representatives who alter Palestinian demands from autonomy to charity. This is what should be remembered when listening to statements from the likes of Hamdallah, Mladenov and the power structures that they represent.

(Source / 24.02.2018)

Is Abbas serving the Palestinians or fooling them?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at his compound in the West Bank

By Motasem A Dalloul

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Authority announced that it would start preparing a plan for full disengagement from the Israeli occupation. The decision was taken by the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which held a three-hour meeting chaired by PA and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas in his headquarters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

The plan was approved unanimously by the Executive Committee, which is dominated by Abbas loyalists, and covers the political, administrative, economic and security levels. When the PA government, led by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah — an Abbas man, of course — announced the plan, it added that it would ask a committee to study the possibility of replacing the Israeli shekel with a Palestinian currency.

In fact, the PA’s full disengagement from the Israeli occupation is needed badly, but it would not be effective on the ground because the Israelis control everything related to daily life across the occupied territories. What’s more, the PA has restricted itself through several agreements signed with the occupation authorities, such as the Paris Economic Protocol.

The announcements did not actually reflect anything which suggests that Abbas is really planning to change his deep-rooted policy of dealing with the Israeli occupation, which is built upon what he has called “sacred” security cooperation. Given that the Palestinian cause is passing through a critical phase, and the peace process has failed to achieve anything, Abbas is obviously just trying to keep public opinion on his side.

Read: PA has to cancel punitive measures on Gaza or quit, insists Hamas

There is a lot of evidence to demonstrate that this is the case, not least the fact that meetings between PA and Israeli officials are still held as a matter of routine. Furthermore, cooperation between the PA security services and their Israeli counterparts is ongoing, and Palestinians resisting the occupation — as is their legal right — are still being detained by the PA acting on behalf of the Israelis.

Last Thursday, Economic Ministers Eli Cohen from Israel and the PA’s Abeer Odeh met in the Élysée Palace in Paris, allegedly to discuss obstacles to economic growth in the Palestinian territories. Cohen, though, let slip that such a meeting had security and political purposes.

This meeting came just one day after a high profile get-together by Hamdallah and Major-General Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s Government Activities Coordinator in the [Occupied Palestinian] Territories. The meeting took place at the Prime Minister’s office in Ramallah. According to UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, who attended the meeting, “All sides focused on the urgent need to finalise the reconstruction of physical damage from the 2014 Gaza conflict and on facilitating critical humanitarian solutions related to the electricity, water and health sectors.”

Mahmoud Abbas turns a blind eye on Gaza's blockade - Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

However, if this was the real reason for the meeting, it would have had some effect on the ground. Dozens of similar meetings have done nothing for Gaza or the Palestinians. Hamdallah told the media twice in the past week that there would be no solutions for Gaza’s crises without the full handover of government offices in the enclave. Is he unaware that all of his council ministers have travelled to Gaza and taken control of their offices properly, something that the media has witnessed and broadcast to the world?

Gaza was not the issue in Hamdallah’s meeting with Mordechai, because the Israeli Major General made it very clear that there was another objective. He stressed the importance of recovering the Israeli soldiers still missing in the Gaza Strip.

As far as security cooperation is concerned, Abbas himself called Israeli opposition leader Zehava Gal-On at the end of last month and stressed to her that it would continue. Gal-On wrote this on Facebook and Abbas did not deny it.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera, former Palestinian negotiator Diana Buttu said that, “Despite a decision by the PLO Security Council to end the cooperation, he [Abbas] is still holding on to the very essence of Oslo, which is security collaboration.”


Regarding Abbas and his war against the Palestinians who resist the Israeli occupation, the PA prisons are witnesses to what is being done to them. The PA courts, meanwhile, block the media from covering the issue.

Abbas makes it very clear that he is there to serve the Israeli occupation but not, as Buttu told Al-Jazeera, for the freedom of the Palestinians. “It is quite the opposite,” she explained. “It is the basis for his personal political survival, and he is doing all of this at the expense of Palestinian lives.”

So, is Abbas serving the Palestinians or fooling them? The evidence is clear that it is the latter.

(Source / 20.02.2018)

Israel’s Latest Attempts to Alter Geopolitical Realities in Jerusalem

Since 1967, Israel has sought to limit Palestinian power, ownership, and habitation in the Jerusalem area on the one hand, and increase Jewish-Israeli presence and control on the other.

While Jerusalem remains the only Palestinian territory illegally annexed by Israel since 1967, the nationalist right wing in Israel has openly advocated for the full annexation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) for over 50 years. The current Netanyahu government, emboldened by the election of President Trump, has brazenly presented a slew of plans, resolutions, and bills to achieve this end.

Notably, the Greater Jerusalem Bill of 2017 sought to annex the settlements surrounding Jerusalem, including Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Zeev, Beitar Illit, and the Etzion bloc – a settlement cluster between Jerusalem and Hebron. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indefinitely delayed the bill in October 2017 under pressure from the United States, which was concerned that it would hinder efforts to resurrect peace talks. Since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, there have been reports it might resurface.

Simultaneously, and more seriously, Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party announced a new bill at the end of last month that seeks to apply Israeli domestic law directly to the settlements, constituting de facto annexation. Expected to be introduced in mid-February, the bill is a replica of the decision unanimously approved by the Likud Central Committee on December 31, 2017. Additionally, the Knesset has just approved a bill extending Israeli sovereignty to the universities it has illegally erected in the West Bank.

Annexation would rubber stamp Israel’s Judaization of Jerusalem and cripple future Palestinian statehoodCLICK TO TWEETThere are two serious implications of a settlement annexation plan with regard to Jerusalem. First, the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim would have a demographic impact by drastically increasing the number of Jewish-Israeli residents in Jerusalem. Second, annexing the E1 corridor – a strategically significant 12 km2 parcel of land that connects Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem –would ensure that a future contiguous Palestinian state would be impossible. Additionally, it would result in the population transfer of the Bedouins who currently live in the E1 corridor.

The annexation of E1 and Ma’ale Adumim would alter the geopolitical realities in Palestine-Israel. Not only would it rubber stamp Israel’s Judaization of Jerusalem and sever Palestinians from their intended capital and their economic and spiritual center, it would also cripple future Palestinian statehood.

Policy Recommendations

1. Since the Trump Administration will not be a restraining force on the right-wing coalition in the Knesset, other nations, international bodies, and the growing civil society movement in support of Palestinian rights need to apply targeted pressure on the Israeli government to ensure that any annexation attempt is costly for Israel.

2. The European Union should move beyond platitudes of condemnation when Israel confiscates or destroys its humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities, such as the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar in E1. Instead, it should actively hold Israel to account with diplomatic pressure – such as via the recognition of Palestinian statehood – and economic sanctions.

3. The Palestinian Authority (PA) should make it clear that the implementation of either the Greater Jerusalem Bill or the latest Likud bill would speed up the termination of all cooperation between the PA and Israel. This would also help the PA regain some legitimacy.

4. Mainstream Western and other media attention should keep a close eye on the annexation attempts moving through the Knesset.


(Source / 18.02.2018)

A sliver of truth amidst UN manipulation of Palestinian rights

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres talks at a press conference in Beit Lahia, Gaza on 30 August 2017

By Ramona Wadi

As always, UN officials take pride in pontificating about Palestine. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proved to be no exception, faithfully pursuing the same agenda which resulted in Palestinians becoming a marginalised subject of discussion. Israel may complain of rhetorical visibility allocated to Palestine at the UN, however, it is this tactic which allows Israeli violations to continue unhindered.

International committees, agencies, meetings and resolutions have placed an irreparable burden upon Palestinians, resulting in extreme political isolation. Sometimes, this isolation is publicly voiced, albeit without the desire to allow Palestinians to reclaim their rights to territory and return.

In his address to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Guterres spoke a sliver of truth: “As we all know, the question of Palestine is inextricably linked with the history of United Nations and is one of the longest unresolved issues on our agenda.” Lest a sliver of false hope is ignited, Guterres reiterated that there is no “plan B” to the two-state compromise. His ending remarks comprise of: “A two-state solution is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and secure a sustainable solution to the conflict.”

From father to son: How the Palestinian struggle is passed from one generation to the next

Besides the tedious regurgitation of the usual summary which even refrains from attributing colonial expansion directly to Israel, anyone reading or listening to Guterres’ address would have benefited from an acknowledgement that the colonisation of Palestine was aided by collusion and incompetence on behalf of the organisation claiming to protect human rights. It is unacceptable that the UN maintains its façade of responsibility for human rights when it thrives upon allowing its influential members to break international law with impunity.

The constant appropriation of Palestinian voices through international institutions has not ceased. It is following the designated trajectory set in the early years of the UN, as Guterres has pointed out in his generalised statements. Placing his statement within context, one such example of Palestinian absence can be found in the intervention by the Guatemalan Ambassador to the UN in 1947 when the Partition Plan which paved the way for the colonisation of historic Palestine was being debated. The words uttered by Jose Garcia Granados: “An ignorant majority should not be allowed to impose its will. A million progressive human beings should not be the plaything of a few ringleaders supported by millions of human beings of less advanced ideas,” summarise the UN’s perpetual attitude towards oppressed populations.

Decades later, the colonisers, supported by the UN, have flaunted their purported superiority by massacres, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians while the organisation exploits every life lost through aggression committed by Israel, to create a spectacle out of the colonised. It is puerile to assume that just because the UN regularly debates Palestine; it is a proponent of Palestinian rights.

Palestinian absence has become a requirement in discourse regarding Palestine. Guterres could have substituted his entire speech by publicly asserting that every international action, rhetorical or otherwise, constitutes a collaborative approach towards colonising more Palestinian territory. The UN is well aware of the fact that absence is not equivalent to meaningless. Pursuing such duplicity at the expense of Palestinian lives makes an update on the UN’s motives a prerequisite.

(Source / 08.02.2018)

Ahmad Jarrar: The handsome fighter

Ahmad Nasr Jarrar

At the age of 24, Ahmad Nasr Jarrar, who is a resident of Burqin town in Jenin, has become a source of inspiration for a new generation of Palestinian youths.

Images of two young people who represent different forms of resistance against the occupation have recently emerged in the Palestinian society. The first is for Ahed al-Tamimi: a beautiful girl slapping an Israeli soldier, while the second is for Ahmad Jarrar: a handsome young man alone facing an entire army.

A model
Israeli affairs expert Mu’awiya Mousa said that the biggest fear in the Israeli intelligence and security circles is the establishment of a model that inspires others. That’s why the Israeli occupation seeks to eradicate such phenomena by all possible means.

Hundreds of Palestinian youths in Burqin now chant Jarrar’s name, call for following his path and engage in violent clashes with Israeli occupation forces on a daily basis during their campaigns in search for the Palestinian fighter.

Jarrar has never been a boastful person. After leading the operation in which an Israeli settler was killed near Nablus, he returned to his work selling curtains, cloth and cars to customers as usual. No-one expected Jarrar to be the same brave fighter who confused the Israeli occupation.

An orphan
Ahmad grew up an orphan along with his sister and two brothers after the Israeli occupation forces had assassinated his father Nasr Jarrar, the leader in Hamas’s armed wing al-Qassam Brigades.

Like father like son. Ahmad survived several assassination attempts. Coincidentally, the first assassination attempts that targeted Ahmad and his father were carried out in the same place. After 17 years Ahmad grew up from a child taking his first steps to his father’s successor.

Frenzied campaigns
In addition to the three failed assassination attempts against Ahmad Jarrar, not a single night has recently passed in Jenin peacefully without fierce break-ins and arrest campaigns targeting almost whoever shook hands with Ahmad one day.

Although everyone knows that Ahmad may be killed, injured or arrested at any moment, no-one can deny that the message Ahmad was trying to deliver has been well-received and that a wall of silence has been broken down forever in the West Bank.

(Ahmad was killed by Israeli special forces on Monday night 5/2/2018 only few days after this report was prepared.)

(Source / 06.02.2018)

Projects take precedence over the protection of Palestinian rights

Israeli security forces gather around a demolition site in Jerusalem on 14 March 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli security forces gather around a demolition site in Jerusalem on 14 March 2017

By Ramona Wadi

If references to international law were effective in reducing or reversing Israeli violence, Palestinians would have tasted freedom many decades ago. The recent demolition by Israel of two EU-funded classrooms in Abu Nuwar was nothing unusual in this regard, and produced the usual, by now meaningless, responses. The Israelis said that no permits had been issued for the classrooms, bringing to mind the description “construction terror” used by Israeli MK Moti Yogev.

Despite the systematic violence targeting sectors which are crucial for Palestinians and their existence, such as education, there has been no variation in the rhetoric of response from UN and Palestinian Authority officials. Roberto Valent, the UN’s acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, issued a detailed statement, reminding everyone that the Abu Nuwar School had been targeted by demolition for the sixth time. Israel’s policies, he added “have created a coercive environment that violates the human rights of residents and generates a risk of forcible transfer.”

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah cited the right to education in international treaties. Demolitions which target education facilities, he added, constitute “a deliberate policy of the Israeli authorities to pressure Palestinian communities to leave, in order to confiscate their land and build additional settlements.”

Read: Palestinians, rights groups urge UN to name companies complicit in settlements

The difference between both statements is that the UN has preferred to address forced transfer as a possible consequence of Israeli demolition of Palestinian properties. Hamdallah’s statement leaves no doubt about the policy of forced transfer, yet fails to seek accountability beyond referencing international laws and conventions. If both approaches were to be analysed together, one would discover a complementary approach that safeguards Israel’s perception of itself as being above any law, international or otherwise. It also validates the self-identity which the colonial entity has constructed while requiring that Palestinians adhere to their enforced marginalised existence.

There is certainly enough awareness of the correlation between the destruction of education facilities and forced transfer. However, a statement by Shadi Othman from the EU office in Jerusalem indicates the misplaced priorities of international institutions which fund projects for Palestinians. “The European Union,” he explained, “has demanded from Israel more than once not to demolish projects [that] the European Union funds and which aim to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians.”

This is interesting, because the humanitarian aspect of seeking to improve Palestinians’ lives is not a direct challenge to Israeli politics and policies that create violence against, and the vulnerability of, the Palestinian people. It is also convenient for the EU to have humanitarian structures demolished rather than risking a disruption of economic relations with Israel by, for example, introducing sanctions to put pressure on the state. Thus, it can be deduced that Palestinians and their legitimate rights are far from being a priority for the institutions funding a number of facilities in the occupied territories. If international institutions are forced to address the consequences of forced transfer, an allocation of funds for yet another project to be targeted by Israel will no doubt be forthcoming. It will not, however, come with any kind of diplomatic or other protection for the Palestinians.

Read: International community urged to take immediate action to save patients in Gaza

The responses to the demolitions are detrimental to the people of Palestine; indeed, the approach taken actually safeguards the interests of both Israel and international donors. It is obvious (and has been for decades) that Israel will not bat an eyelid when reminded that it is in constant violation of international law, particularly when it knows that it can exert so much influence at the UN, either directly or through its proxies at the US State Department and its client nations.

The EU, on the other hand, has created a project out of Palestinian suffering, which makes the cycle of violations, including demolitions, favourable for its purportedly humanitarian agenda “to help” Palestinians. All of this posturing, though, merely enables the political actors to divert attention away from the fact that projects, even those scheduled for eventual destruction, are more important than developing and implementing a political framework which makes Israel accountable under international law. Between prioritising projects and people, international institutions prefer the façade of the former over the protection of Palestinian rights.

(Source / 06.02.2018)

Palestine conspiracy, impasse and way out

General labourers, fishermen and farmers gather to call for a successful Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, on September 24, 2017 in Gaza [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

General labourers, fishermen and farmers gather to call for a successful Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, on September 24, 2017 in Gaza

By Firas Abu Hilal

It is clear that a new international and regional conspiracy is being prepared to liquidate the Palestinian cause, and bring an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict in favour of the occupying power, without achieving even a minimum of objectives for the Palestinian people. This conspiracy is no longer a speculative interpretation of history, or a way of escaping our internal problems by blaming others. It has become the topic talked about in major Western and Hebrew media under coded names such as the “deal of the century” which actually express one, and only one, core essence: to end the Palestinian cause with one result, which we can call “the three-state solution”, and not the internationally recognised two-state.

What does the conspiracy look like? With so much talking, writing and leaks about the nature of the conspiracy/deal, it seems difficult to define its final form. However, no matter what the details, it looks like leading to this “three-state solution” of a Jewish state, a Jordanian state that includes part of the West Bank, and an Egyptian state that includes the Gaza Strip.

Some observers believe that the conspiracy will be implemented by escalating the siege on the Gaza Strip (which is happening now) to push the Palestinians in the enclave to rebel against Hamas and hold the movement responsible for the blockade. This could lead to chaos, prompting the Egyptian army to intervene and Cairo to annex the Gaza Strip, as was the case before the Israeli occupation in 1967.

Egypt is not an honest broker for Palestinian reconciliation

Another interpretation of events believes that it will start with a devastating war against the Gaza Strip during which Palestinian civilians will be allowed to escape to the Sinai Peninsula, giving the Israeli army the green light to destroy Hamas and end its military presence. This will let Israel annex Gaza and those people left behind; those who are in Sinai to come under Egyptian sovereignty; and what’s left of the West Bank to be annexed to Jordan.

The third possible interpretation of the deal/conspiracy is to exert pressure and tighten the blockade as much as possible against Gaza, forcing Hamas to “allow” the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority or Mohamed Dahlan to rule the Strip, which will be followed by a solution to the economic situation and lifting the siege in coordination with Egypt. This will lead to an economic peace sponsored by Egypt, with a similar economic solution for the West Bank as part of Jordan.

These three interpretations are uncertain, and no one can determine which is most realistic or accurate, but the ambiguity that surrounds what is known as the “deal of the century” or “Trump deal” allows for all possibilities. If we do not believe that the first and second readings are possible, the third option is probably more likely, but it is not an easy option. It will clash with the positions of Hamas and other factions. It also contradicts official policy in Amman, which rejects any Jordanian solution or even a confederation before Palestinians have a final peace agreement.

The deal of the century: Greater Israel

The Palestinian impasse is the absence of a viable national liberation plan that has a real impact on the occupation. Despite the uncertainty about the nature of the deal that is being prepared to settle the Palestinian issue, and although the implementation of any of the three possibilities (or any others) will not be easy, this impasse still remains. It has been unsolvable for years and actually helps those who conspire against the Palestinians.

I am not referring to the political division in Palestine. That is the excuse that the enemies are using to justify their aggression and friends are using to justify abandoning their support for Palestine and its people.

Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have adopted a negotiations approach to a peace deal, but have declared repeatedly that these negotiations are no longer viable, that Oslo no longer exists, and that America is no longer an honest broker. On the other hand, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other factions have adopted the approach of armed resistance to the occupation, but this has become, in practical terms, defensive in nature. The occupation has been able to impose a real deterrent since its aggression on Gaza in 2008/2009, so that Hamas and its weapons in the territory are for self-defence and not resistance or liberation, because any initiative by Hamas to use these weapons means a devastating war for the Strip.

The impasse, then, is that the two main approaches declared by Palestinians to obtain their legitimate rights have reached a dead end — at least for the time being — as the occupation imposes new facts on the ground every day in the West Bank and turns the lives of the people of Gaza into hell through the blockade. And in the absence of any horizon for an effective Palestinian action against the occupation, Tel Aviv has been for the most part, and for years, enjoying an occupation that is costing it nothing to enforce.

What is the way out? As they face the conspiracy that is being plotted against them, the Palestinians appear as victims waiting for their killers to show up, and only thinking about the options they will be given for how they will die. The Palestinians in Gaza, and the de facto Hamas government there, are waiting for the siege to be lifted. Hamas has done everything it can do on the political level, while at the same time trying to open up to all parties, including those who are hostile to one another. What Hamas and the Gaza Strip are doing is waiting for what others will decide about the siege, the war, the deal or all other options, not least because all of the concessions that the movement has made to Egypt, Abbas and even Dahlan have done nothing to restore life to the coastal enclave.


The same is true in the West Bank. Palestinians are following the changes that the Israelis are making on the ground, from geography to demography, which are creating a new reality that has made the two-state solution, as well as liberation, impossible. The Palestinian Authority and its president are “waiting” for the White House’s decision, while Trump is angry at the position of the PA towards his acknowledgement of Jerusalem as the capital of the occupying power. Nothing but waiting, and the decisions of the Central Council of the PLO were nothing but words and revolving in the same direction of “Oslo”, which continues to prove its own failure.

So what solution is there other than waiting? The historical experience of the Palestinian struggle since the beginning of the 20th century has shown that peaceful popular revolutions are the most effective against the occupation. They are also the most costly for Israel from the political, logistical, economical and security aspects. They expose the Zionist state to the world for what it is — a colonial power — and bring the conflict back to basics: it’s about an occupied people fighting against a military occupation.

Peaceful popular revolutions are also the least costly option for Palestinians. The useless Palestinian waiting and the miserable equation of the inexpensive occupation can be ended by popular civil resistance in the West Bank and along the border between the Gaza Strip and the adjacent territories. A resistance that will force the occupation to become defensive rather than offensive will also contribute to ending the status quo which only benefits Israel and takes a lot from Palestinians every day, including their dreams for the future.

(Source / 05.02.2018)