Israel is concerned about potential EU court’s ruling to label settlement products

A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on 5 June 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements

Israel is worried about the potential European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) binding ruling to label products of illegal Israeli settlements built in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan HeightsIsrael Hayom reported on Friday.

According to the Israeli newspaper, the ECJ is expected to issue its final ruling on a request from France’s top tribunal on the issue, on 12 November.

The Israeli newspaper disclosed that the ECJ is likely to rule that goods imported from Israeli settlements must be labelled as such, noting that the ruling would be non-appealable and would be legally binding for all EU member states.

In order to fight this measure, the newspaper reported officials from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that it had ordered Israeli diplomats in Europe to increase their diplomatic efforts against this potential ruling.

According to an Israeli official, “this ruling will be a boon for BDS. We know that they are following this with great interest.”

Meanwhile, the newspaper revealed that the Israeli ambassadors and consuls were asked to reiterate that labelling settlement goods “will do nothing to promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,”  and is a move likely to encourage consumer boycotts.

While, the Israeli Foreign Ministry sent a memo to its diplomats in Europe, stating that “any ECJ ruling to that effect will be morally and ethically wrong.”

The memo also stressed that a ruling of this kind “would undermine the EU’s own policy that only direct negotiations [between Israel and the Palestinians] will lead to a mutually agreed and viable solution.”

It warned that this ruling would “encourage those who are undermining Israel’s legitimacy and promoting boycotts against it,” adding that implementing this ruling “will have a negative effect on Israel’s relations with the EU and its member states.”

The newspaper also reported an Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs source stating that Israel is waiting for the final decision “because the wording itself could have serious and important implications.”

“If it has a general wording that does not specify exactly how the product labelling directive should be enforced, then we will have some leeway,” the source affirmed. “If the guidelines are detailed, this will be a serious blow as all EU member-states are bound by it,” he explained.

(Source / 09.11.2019) 

Report: 600 Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists in 2019

Image of journalists [file photo]

Journalists in Gaza [file photo]

Israeli occupation forces committed 600 violations against Palestinian journalists between October 2018 and October 2019, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) announced on Friday.

According to the report, which covered the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, the most dangerous violations were the direct shootings of journalists.

The report stated that 60 journalists were shot and suffered serious wounds; some of them still suffering at the time of the report.

It also disclosed that 43 journalists had sustained light wounds as they were hit by sound grenades directly thrown at them by the Israeli occupation forces.

More than 170 journalists were beaten, detained or banned from coverage,” the PJS’ Freedom Committee revealed.

It also exposed that more than 180 violations were committed by Facebook in coordination with the Israeli occupation authorities.

During the period covered by the report, Israel detained 10 journalists, raising the number of journalists inside Israeli jails to 18.

The violations, according to the PJS, included raids of homes, offices, fines and bans of movement inside the country and traveling abroad.

(Source / 09.11.2019) 

82nd GMR: IOF Shot and Injured 104 Palestinian Civilians, Including 43 Children, a Woman and a Paramedic

The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR):104 Palestinian civilians, including 43 children, a woman and a paramedic, were shot and injured by Israeli occupation forces’ (IOF) fire against peaceful protestors at the 82nd Great March of Return (GMR), this Friday, 08 November 2019.

This week, IOF continued the use of excessive force against peaceful protestors, as 41 civilians sustained live-bullet-injuries – including 2 children in critical condition- in addition to other injuries by rubber bullets and tear gas canisters mainly in protesters’ upper bodies.

Large crowds participated in the protest, as thousands of civilians joined across the 5 GMR encampments. Today’s protest titled: “We Shall Carry On” and lasted from 14:00 to 17:30.

Since the outbreak of GMR on 30 March 2018, PCHR documented 214 civilian killings by IOF, including 46 children, 2 women, 9 persons with disabilities, 4 paramedics and 2 journalists. Additionally, IOF shot and injured 14,706 civilians, including 3,691 children, 387 women, 253 paramedics and 218 journalists, noting that many sustained multiple injuries on separate occasions.

The following is a summary of today’s events along the Gaza Strip border:

Northern Gaza Strip: demonstrations took part in eastern Jabalia. Protesters threw stones at IOF stationed along the border fence. It was noted that IOF installed surveillance cameras on the sand berms, 50 meters away from the border fence.

These cameras were directed towards the protestors. IOF shot and injured 23 civilians, including a woman and 11 children; one was deemed critical: 8 with live bullets and shrapnel, 11 with rubber bullets and 4 were hit with tear gas canisters. ‘Abed al-Rahman Talal ‘Abed al-Latif al-Hisami (16) was shot with an explosive live bullet, causing serious laceration in his legs bones and cuts in the veins and tendons.

Gaza City: protests took part in Malaka area in eastern Gaza City. IOF shot and injured 13 civilians, including 6 children: 2 with live bullets and shrapnel, 10 with rubber bullets and one was hit with a tear gas canister.

Central Gaza Strip: protests took part in eastern al-Buriej Camp and the area witnessed several shows.  Hundreds gathered near the border fence and attempted to throw stones and sound bombs at IOF, who fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 11 civilians, including 4 children, were injured: 8 with live bullets and 3 with rubber bullets.

Khan Younis: Hundreds of civilians joint today’s protests in Khuza’ah area in eastern Khan Yunis.  The protest involved activities such as raising flags and banners written on them “To Continue” by protestors. Dozens gathered near the border fence, set fire to tires and attempted to throw stones and firecrackers. IOF fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them.

As a result, 12 civilians, including 7 children and a paramedic, were injured and taken to hospitals: 7 shot with live bullets and shrapnel and 5 with rubber bullets. Moreover, many civilians sustained superficial rubber bullets wounds and suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.

They received treatment on the spot. The wounded paramedic, Kamal Jawad Kamal al-Shehri (24), was shot with a rubber bullet in his head. It should be noted that some Palestinian young men flocked to today’s protests at 13:00 and were shot with live bullets and hit with tear gas canisters.

Rafah: hundreds of protestors gathered in eastern al-Shawka neighborhood while others remained at the protest encampment, where speeches and theatrical performances were performed. Dozens   attempted to approach the fence and throw stones and burnt tires. IOF fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at protestors and pumped wastewater at them.

As a result, 45 civilians, including 15 children, were injured; one was deemed critical: 16 shot with live bullets and shrapnel, 24 with rubber bullets and 5 were hit with tear gas canisters. Mousa Fawzi ‘Ali Abu Hussain (12) was directly hit with a tear gas canister in his head causing fracture in his skull. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis.

(Source / 09.11.2019) 

Soldiers Force A Palestinian Out Of His Orchard, South Of Nablus

Israeli soldiers invaded, Saturday, a Palestinian olive orchard near Huwwara military roadblock, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and forced a farmer out of his land.

Local sources said many soldiers invaded an olive orchard, before attacking the owner while he was picking his trees, and forced him out.

They added that the Palestinian has a permit from the military to enter his olive orchard, isolated by the illegal Annexation Wall and colonies, however, the soldiers forced him out.

The attack is one of the dozens of violations targeting the Palestinian and their lands by both the soldiers and illegal colonialist settlers.

These violations escalate during the olive harvest season, especially in lands that are isolated by the illegal Annexation Wall, or close to illegal colonies and outposts, which were built on stolen Palestinian lands.

They also include cutting, burning and uprooting trees, picking olive trees and stealing the produce, in addition to assaulting the Palestinians and forcing them out of their orchards.

Israel’s colonies in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, the Fourth Geneva Conventions, and various United Nations and Security Council Resolutions.

Settlers Steal Olive Harvest in Nablus-District Town.

Illegal Israeli Colonists Flood Orchard With Wastewater In Bethlehem.

(Source / 09.11.2019) 


By Maren Mantovani

November 9th marks 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Unfortunately there is nothing to celebrate. We have entered a new era of walls with over 70 of them militarizing borders worldwide or annexing occupied land, such as Israel’s illegal wall in the West Bank. The phenomenon of the “politics of walls” is global and Israel plays a major role in it.

Until 2002, when Israel started building its apartheid wall in the occupied West Bank, walls were a de facto political taboo. Even the wall that incarcerates the entire Palestinian population of Gaza since 1995 was kept in silence. Initially, the outrage over Israel’s eight-meter-high construction deep within the West Bank was huge – partially because this one is built on occupied territory. But even though the International Court of Justice declared it to be illegal in 2004, the decision was put into the drawers of UN diplomacy, and instead walls got normalized and globalized.

Europe today has built over one thousand kilometers of walls – six times the length of the Berlin Wall. The U.S. started the past year with a president causing the longest government shutdown in history over a dispute with Congress on whether it would finance his “big, fat, beautiful wall” or rather go with the project proposed by Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democrats, to opt for a “technological wall”. From Kashmir to Saudi Arabia’s border, from Turkey’s border to Argentina, many more less talked about walls are continuing to grow.

For Stop the Wall the fact that walls are not only used against the Palestinian people but used to oppress, dispossess, exclude, and far too often, kill people across the globe has been long evident. However, it took until Donald Trump’s electoral promise of a wall and his infamous comment in a phone call with the Mexican president – “Bibi Netanyahu told me walls work” – to create the momentum for global action.

Shortly after Trump got into the White House, Palestinian and Mexican movements launched the call for a World without Walls, now endorsed by over 400 movements, networks and organizations from across the globe. Here is the good news: the structures built to segregate have started a process of coming together among movements. What was initially envisaged as a one time global day of action on November 9, 2017 has developed into a recurring action and, more importantly, an ongoing process of building and deepening connections and joint struggles across and against the walls.

A significant part of the years of conversations and actions for a World without Walls are collected in the reader Build Resistance not Walls, published by Stop the Wall. It presents essays, research, and interviews contributed by activists, intellectuals, and investigative journalists from Palestine, Israel, Mexico, the United States, Greece, Italy, the Spanish State, the Basque Country, Morocco, the Western Sahara, Brazil, Argentina, India, and Kashmir. Their insights are thought provoking and inspiring.

The globalization of walls is a response to the ongoing global economic, civilizational and environmental crisis that has revealed the inability of the current ruling élite to give effective responses to the needs of the people. Unable to credibly promise well-being, they adopt what Charles Derber and Yale R. Magrass call the “security story”. The narrative instills fear in our societies by inventing false threats and worsening real threats, and justifies the authority of the ruling élite as the only force that can guarantee at least security and survival. The inevitable result is the rise of racist, supremacist, and exclusionary forces, from India’s Narendra Modi to Brazil’s Bolsonaro, the European far right and Donald Trump.

The role of Israel and the influence of the Israeli political paradigms in this process are discussed by many of Build Resistance not Walls contributors. It is not by chance that these forces have adopted Israel as a role model and walls of various forms as a tool of sociopolitical and geopolitical dominance. Israel’s apartheid and colonial project offers tested methods and technology to implement such racist and supremacist policies.

For Israel, the globalization of walls, the rising far-right and the growth of the security story are an invaluable source of legitimization, and at the same time opens up ever growing markets. A summary of Mark Akkerman’s extensive study on the wall industry shows a global 8% rise annually, with a 15% rise in border militarization spending in Europe alone. Riya AlSanah and Hala Mashood show how Israel’s military and homeland security companies use their comparative advantage over others as they sell their border militarization and wall technology as ‘field tested’, including for the construction of the U.S. Wall at the border to Mexico.

Within the framework of an all pervasive security story, the flip side of the paradigm of walls, according to Jamal Juma’, is the creation of a surveillance society that creates a panopticon stripping people of all layers that could protect their rights and privacy. Once again, having Palestine as a full-time open-air laboratory, Israeli technology and methodology is leading in the market. The recent scandals with AnyVision or the NSO Group’s spyware are only two examples.

Still, walls are nothing new but rather an age old colonial tool, adapted by Israel for current day purposes. Khury Peterson-Smith, one of the organizers of the 2015 Black Solidarity with Palestine statement, describes in his contribution how the US itself is a “Nation of Walls”, having used walls historically to advance its colonial conquest. Widespread support in the U.S. for Israel’s version of contemporary walls seems only logical in this context.

The contributions in Build Resistance not Walls unearth the connections between the walls around the globe and make it clear that only together we can tear them down. Cutting the ties of complicity, of Israel’s support to militarization and racist policies across the globe, is a call repeated throughout the reader by grassroots activists and movements at the forefront of the struggle, whether in Mexico, Brazil’s favelas or at the shores of the Mediterranean where the EU has started to use Elbit System’s Hermes 900 killer drones, effectively substituting rescue missions with surveillance of migrants left to drown.

That it is imperative for movements to unite when “they globalize the way they kill us” is underlined eloquently by Gizele Martins, from the favela movements in Rio de Janeiro, who can draw on the experience of having recognized during her trip to Palestine the same tactics used by Rio’s military police, who were trained by the Israeli security company ISDS.

Other examples of joint actions that break down walls include Popular Tribunals and Popular Caravans, as well as boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) initiatives to tackle the architecture of impunity that shields corporations enabling, facilitating, and profiting from walls of injustice.

Instead of ceding to the temptation to become completely absorbed in the ever more dramatic and brutal crises and attacks on our movements, this is a moment to lift our heads, see beyond the walls, and make connections between our struggles in order to gain strength and confidence together. Friends of the Earth Brazil remind us: “The bigger the walls, the more cracks. If the walls surround us, we should hold on to the certitude of hope that one by one they will be taken down. While we the people continue standing, they will fall!”

(Source / 09.11.2019) 


Qusay al-Jaar, this week

By Gideon Levy 

He’s a fifth-grader, 10 years old, with a speech impediment that constantly hampers him. He is the eldest of the four siblings in his family. Their home is small and cramped, located deep within the town of Beit Ummar, between Bethlehem and Hebron. It’s a town that evokes a feeling of despair, just upon entering it: There is a fortified guard tower, an iron barrier that is sometimes manned and sometimes not, a narrow road, neglect, commotion and filth. Merging onto Highway 60 is dangerous, almost impossible. But who needs a proper intersection with traffic lights? This is a Palestinian town, after all.

Wearing a black shirt, Qusay al-Jaar has a child’s captivating smile. His mother, Hitam, sits next to us in the small living room. The father, Ibrahim, works in construction in Israel.

On Friday, October 18, Qusay, together with a cousin, 17-year-old Rami, helped Ibrahim clear rocks from the roof of their one-story house, in order to put in flooring. The work involved filling pails with the rocks and taking them downstairs. Qusay would took the pails by bike to a place behind the house, where other construction debris was dumped. They began work in the morning: Being Friday, there was no school.

Sometime around 6 P.M., they noticed two young masked people running down the street outside, an army jeep in hot pursuit. With their disguises, Qusay and his cousin couldn’t identify the two, who fled into the alleyways, the vehicle behind them.

A few minutes later, the jeep returned, without having caught the masked people, and stopped next to Qusay, who was standing outside with his bike. Four Israel Defense Forces soldiers got out, grabbed Qusay by his shirt and dragged him forcefully into the vehicle. His mother and father shouted and tried to approach the jeep to free him. The troops fired into the air and hurled tear-gas canisters. Hitam was fearful for her son and for the safety of two of her other children, Ruya, her 3-year-old daughter, and the 18-month-old Umar, who were also on the roof at the time.

Ibrahim al-Jaar gave the following testimony to Musa Abu Hashhash, a field researcher for B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization: “I was removing debris from the roof of my house ahead of tiling. My nephew, Rami, who’s 17, and my son Qusay, 10, were helping me. They each got a pail from me, which they emptied near the house. Qusay carried the pail on his bike and then came back for another load. While this was going on, with me on the roof of the house, I saw two masked children running on the street nearby. I saw a jeep driving fast and figured it was pursuing the two of them.

“I went on working. After about five minutes the jeep returned and stood across from the house. Four or five soldiers got out. I saw Rami and Qusay standing next to the house. Two of the troops snatched Qusay quickly and pushed him into the jeep, and one of them shut the door. When I saw that, I jumped down from the roof. One of two soldiers fired two shots in the air. I saw Rami trying to approach the back part of the jeep; he tried to pull Qusay out. The soldiers kicked Rami hard in the stomach and shouted at him. I pulled Rami away and tried to calm him down.

“Very quickly women from the neighborhood arrived, and also my wife, Hitam, and she tried to intervene. My wife started to cry and begged the soldiers to release the boy. The soldiers threw stun grenades and tear gas, and then got into the jeep and drove away toward [the settlement of] Karmei Tzur. I had tried to explain to them that the boy is my son and that he was working with me; the soldiers spoke in Hebrew and ordered me to back off and shut up. I tried more than once to get close to the jeep, and my wife also tried, in order to get Qusay back, and then one of the soldiers fired a shot in the air.

“I calculated that the jeep was going to the military base next to Karmei Tzur. I went there with my two brothers, Mahmoud and Maher. The soldiers allowed only me inside. I saw Qusay, his hands bound in front and blindfolded, sitting on a chair, crying and scared.

“I stood near Qusay. There was a soldier – not one of the ones who arrested him – who asked him about his friends and people who throw stones. I tried to intervene, but the soldier ordered me not to. He asked Qusay about older friends, and Qusay told him he doesn’t have any older friends. The soldier said he was looking for an older boy named Abdallah. I intervened more than once during Qusay’s interrogation. The interrogating soldier said that he wouldn’t stop asking questions until Qusay gave him the names of the stone throwers.

“The soldier questioned me about the two minors who ran past the house before Qusay’s arrest. I told him that I didn’t know them and that both were masked. I heard Qusay tell the soldier that he wanted to go back home. The soldier told him he would be able to go back, but that he was waiting for an order. Qusay was released at 9:30 P.M. and I went home with him. Qusay was frightened and confused, and I tried to calm him down. A few relatives and neighbors came over to welcome us. After he ate supper he went to sleep. During the last few nights he’s been waking up suddenly and looking all around.”

The cousin’s testimony: “I am Rami Alami and I live with my family in Beit Ummar – my parents are not alive. I am in the 11th grade. On Friday morning, I went to my uncle’s house to help remove covering from the roof of his house. At around 6 P.M., while we were working, I saw an army jeep driving fast along the road close to us. I thought they were chasing two young people (minors). The masked people ran along the road before the jeep arrived. Five minutes later, the jeep came back and stood under the house. Qusay was close to me, with his bike. Without asking a question, four soldiers got out. Two went over to Qusay and one of them grabbed him by the shirt collar and pulled him toward the jeep. I heard and saw Qusay crying and shouting, ‘I didn’t do anything.’

“Just then, I saw Ibrahim jump from the roof to the ground. He started to talk to the soldiers and told them that Qusay was a minor and that he had been working with him. He tried to pull his son away, but then a soldier fired a shot in the air. Qusay’s mother, my aunt, also came out and tried to get close to her son and pull him away, but one of the two soldiers pushed her and kept her from approaching. Some women and neighbors gathered around and tried to get closer. One of the soldiers threw tear gas and stun grenades to disperse them. I also tried to get close to the jeep and pull Qusay out. One of the soldiers kicked me twice, once in the stomach and once in the leg, and threatened to shoot if I tried it again.

“One soldier quickly shut the back door of the jeep. Qusay was still crying inside. The other soldiers got in and drove off in the direction of Karmei Tzur. I saw Ibrahim and his brothers getting into a vehicle and understood that they had decided to catch up with Qusay. I knew they [the troops] were sending him to the military base near Karmei Tzur.

“I waited at my aunt’s house until 9 o’clock, in the hope that Qusay would return, but decided to go home. I was tired and went to sleep early. I found out in the morning that Qusay had been released at 9:30 and that he was back home. I learned that a soldier had accused him of throwing stones and had questioned him about whether he knew the names of the children who threw stones.”

Qusay’s testimony: “On Friday I was helping my dad… Around 6 o’clock that evening, when I was carrying a pail on my bike, an army jeep passed the house going fast. Before that, I saw two masked children running along the road. One of them was wearing a green shirt that was the same color as my shirt. After a few minutes the jeep came back and pulled up next to our house. I had enough time to get on my bike and stand next to Rami. Four soldier got out of the jeep fast. Two came toward me and one of them pulled me by my shirt into the jeep. I saw Dad jump off the roof and he started to talk to the soldiers. I heard the sound of a bullet fired in the air.

“The door of the jeep was open. Mom came out of the house and tried to approach me. She asked the soldiers to let me go and [told them] that I was a minor and hadn’t done anything. I saw a soldier push her and not let her stand there. My cousin, Rami, tried to get closer, and then the soldier kicked him and pushed him away from the jeep. I saw and heard women and men around the jeep who were trying to help me and were talking to the army people. Suddenly I heard the sound of stun grenades and smelled [tear] gas. The soldiers got in fast and the jeep headed toward the settlement. I was scared and I cried the whole time. I said I didn’t do anything. One soldier covered my eyes in the jeep and put metal handcuffs on me. After a few minutes they took me out and put me on a chair next to an army tower.

“A soldier came over to me and pulled the blindfold up and started to ask me if I threw stones, and I said I didn’t. I told him I was helping Dad take things off the roof. The soldier asked me to repeat what I said, because I have a speech problem. After half an hour Dad got there and stood by my side. The soldier was still asking me and kept on asking me. He asked me about my friends and their names and ages. I told him that my friends are in my class. He said he wanted older friends. He also asked me to give him names of people who throw stones and I answered him that I don’t know a single one.

“After my father got there, the soldier took the handcuffs off my hands, after I told him they were too tight. I saw the soldier asking my father questions about the people who throw stones in the neighborhood. I kept on sitting in the chair the whole time.

“After 9 o’clock, I heard the soldier tell Dad that I was getting released and sent home and that he was waiting for an order on the phone. After a few minutes they let me go. I went home with Dad and with my uncles, who were waiting outside. A little bit after I got there I went to sleep, I was very tired. During the arrest I was very scared and I cried all the time. I only stopped crying when Dad came to the place where I was under arrest.”

The IDF Spokesman’s Office told Haaretz in response that the incident is now under investigation.

According to B’Tselem, at the end of August, a total of 185 Palestinian minors (under age 18) were incarcerated in Israeli prisons, two of them under the age of 14. In the past few years, the number of children and teens imprisoned by Israel has ranged between 180 and 400 at any given time.

(Source / 09.11.2019) 

How Israel redefines international law as a cover for its Gaza crimes

Israel’s approach to international law can be summed up as ‘If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it’

By Ben White

Israel’s approach regarding the justification of its violations against the Palestinians has been very simple: in the face of criticism for breaking the law, change the law.

Many of these policies have been the subject of substantial condemnation – from Palestinians, of course, as well as Israeli and international human rights groups, and even world leaders and politicians – albeit, critically, with little concrete action at the state level.

Israel, however, has sought to thwart even the possibility of meaningful accountability. Its approach has been very simple: in the face of criticism for breaking the law, change the law.

Providing cover

More precisely, Israel has been working hard to develop, and promote, interpretations of international law that provide cover for its policies and tactics in the Gaza Strip.

In January 2009, in the aftermath of an Israeli offensive that led to the UN-commissioned Goldstone report, a lengthy piece was published in Haaretz on the work being done by the international law division within the Military Advocate General’s office. These are the officials responsible for vetting (or perhaps rubber-stamping) the military’s actions and tactics, and providing legal justification for such actions.

One of the interviewees in the article was Daniel Reisner, who had earlier served as the head of the international law division. “If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it,” he said. “The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries … International law progresses through violations.”

It is the Gaza Strip that Israel has used as a laboratory for such “progressive” violations. One example is the status of Gaza itself. Since 2005, Israel’s position has been that Gaza is neither occupied nor sovereign, but rather constitutes a “hostile entity”.

In her recent book Justice for Some, scholar Noura Erakat spells out the implications of such a designation, which renders Gaza “neither a state wherein Palestinians have the right to police and protect themselves nor an occupied territory whose civilian population Israel had a duty to protect”.

“In effect, Israel usurped the right of Palestinians to defend themselves because they did not belong to an embryonic sovereign, relinquished its obligations as an occupying power, and expanded its right to unleash military force, thus rendering Palestinians in the Gaza Strip triply vulnerable,” Erakat noted.

Deliberate targeting

The claim that the Gaza Strip is no longer occupied is, of course, flawed, not least because Israel has retained effective control over the territory. Its armed forces enter at will on land and at sea, and Israel retains control over Gaza’s airspace, electromagnetic spectrum, most entry-exit points and the population registry – in addition to the ongoing blockade.

The Gaza Strip is merely one part of the occupied Palestinian territory, along with the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), that forms a single territorial entity. Gaza’s occupied status since 2005 has thus been affirmed by numerous relevant bodies, including the UN Security Council.

Israeli officials’ legal “creativity” is most frequently demonstrated by some of the tactics adopted by the Israeli military during assaults.

During the 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza, 142 Palestinian families had three or more members killed in the same incident. Such shocking figures were partly the result of Israel deliberately targeting dozens of Palestinian family homes, in addition to those struck as a result of indiscriminate bombardment.

Key here was Israel’s determination that any (alleged) member of an armed Palestinian faction was a legitimate target, even when they were not participating in fighting – ie, at home with their families – and that family members became legitimate “collateral damage” on account of the presence of a suspect in the home (even, by the way, if that individual wasn’t actually at home at the time). As one Israeli official put it: “You call it a home, we call it a command centre.”

Civilian casualties

Despite the fact that under international law, Israel needed to show that any targeted structure was performing a military function, as rights group B’Tselem described, “no official claimed that there was any connection between a house that was targeted and any specific military activity there”.

Therefore, the Israeli military’s explanations for the destruction of homes appeared “to be no more than a cover-up for the actual reason for the destruction, namely the identity of the occupants” – that is to say, these were “punitive house demolitions … carried out from the air, with occupants still inside”.

Another tactic used by the Israeli military is the issuing of “warnings” to civilians, whether in the form of phone calls or text messages to specific properties, or leaflets dropped to entire neighbourhoods. Israel presents this tactic as evidence that it goes out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, even though such warnings are, in fact, an obligation rather than “acts of charity”.

Crucially, of course, such warnings do not remove protected status from civilian residents. However, there is good evidence to suggest that this is not a view shared within the Israeli military.

In the aforementioned 2009 Haaretz article, one official said: “The people who go into a house despite a warning do not have to be taken into account in terms of injury to civilians, because they are voluntary human shields. From the legal point of view, I do not have to show consideration for them.”

So, in a disturbing twist, while warnings are presented as minimising civilian casualties, in reality, they serve to facilitate the attacks and can even contribute to the death toll.

Normalising illegality

These are just a few examples, as Israel seeks to normalise the illegal, with two goals in mind.

Note that it was after the publication of the Goldstone report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “instructed government officials to draft proposals for changing international laws of war”.

Israel’s “innovations” in international law are thus intended to facilitate the increasingly brutal suppression of Palestinians on the ground, while internationally, such interpretations are promoted to either muddy the waters in legal fora or, ultimately, to gain support from other state parties.

It is important to remember that the problem of accountability predates more recent developments. Israel has long violated international law, and justified certain policies in legal terms – from the confiscation of land in occupied territory to the establishment of settlements.

This helps us understand that the key problem is a political one – and that the answer to how to challenge impunity and resist Israel’s “innovative” interpretations of the law is the same: political pressure.

Failure on this front will be felt most keenly by those most vulnerable – the Palestinians.

(Source / 09.11.2019) 

US Jewish leader to Israel: Stop killing Palestinians, end occupation

Killing the Palestinians for that they want a state of their own like what Jews wanted is a ‘great moral insult,’ he says

US Jewish leader Henry Siegman asks Israeli occupation to stop killing Palestinians and end the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

In an interview with Democracy Now, Siegman, who is the former head of the American Jewish Congress and the Synagogue Council of America, he said that Israel is actually implementing a destruction policy in Palestine.

Commenting on Hamas charter that calls for destruction of Israeli occupation, Siegman said: “The difference between Hamas and Israel is that Israel is actually implementing [a destruction policy] — actually preventing a Palestinian state which does not exist.”

He added: “Millions of Palestinians live in this subservient position without rights, without security, without hope and without a future.”

Regarding the Israeli justifications for killing Palestinians in the name of self-defence from 1948 through today, Siegman said: “If you do not want to kill Palestinians, if that’s what pains you so much, you do not have to kill them. You can give them their rights, and you can end the occupation.”

Siegman continued: “And to put the blame for the occupation and for the killing of innocents that we are seeing in Gaza now on the Palestinians — why? Because they want a state of their own? They want what Jews wanted and achieved? This is a great moral insult.”

Henry Siegman was born in 1930 in Germany. He fled as the Nazis came to power, eventually arriving in the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement pushing for the creation of a Jewish state.

In New York, Siegman studied and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. He now serves as president of the US/Middle East Project.

(Source / 09.11.2019) 

Israel’s ‘unjust’ war in Palestine fuels ‘anti-Semitism around the world’

In the wake of the 2014 Gaza slaughter, Shipman wrote to the New York Times and said there was a ‘relationship between Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza and growing anti-Semitism in Europe and beyond’

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Former Israeli security official urged last week American Jews to restrain Israel’s “unjust” war in Palestine because it fuels anti-Semitism around the world.

The statement is remarkable because that view is generally seen as anathema: saying that Israel’s actions have any role in the growth of anti-Semitism.

Ami Ayalon, a Navy commander and former head of the Shin Bet, spoke at J Street last week and said that Israelis believe they are fighting a just war of defence for their existence, and that the world refuses to acknowledge that.

But in fact, he says, Israel’s existence is established, and American Jews can see that Israel is engaged in an unjust war.

“What you see from the outside is us fighting two separate, totally different wars,” he said. “The first is indeed a just war,” he claimed, “a war to establish Israel within the 1967 borders based on international resolutions. You correctly say that we have won that war.”

He refers to the 1940s attacks of the Zionist Jewish gangs on the Palestinians when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes and hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns were demolished.

Anyway, he continued: “We continue to fight a second war, a war in order to expand our border to the east, to build more settlements, and to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state next door.”

The former Israeli commander added: “That second war is not a just war. It denies the Palestinians the right to self-determination, which was recognised by the international community.”

Predicting that the war with the Palestinian will not end, he said: “There is no military decision in this war. That is why unless we choose a totally different approach, this war will continue for generations to come, it will lead to more violence and terror.”

He also predicted that “this second war to expand our borders will isolate Israel even more and increase anti-Semitism around the world, but the most important thing, the most dangerous thing, is that this war will be the end of Israel as the founding fathers of Zionism envisioned it.”

Ayalon’s comments are similar to those of the former Episcopal chaplain at Yale, Bruce Shipman, for which he lost his job five years ago.

In the wake of the 2014 Gaza slaughter, Shipman wrote to the New York Times and said there was a “relationship between Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza and growing anti-Semitism in Europe and beyond.”

“[Growing anti-Semitism] parallels the carnage in Gaza over the last five years, not to mention the perpetually stalled peace talks and the continuing occupation of the West Bank,” Shipman wrote.

He added: “As hope for a two-state solution fades and Palestinian casualties continue to mount, the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel’s patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question.”

Shipman was lambasted for blaming the victim and making Jews responsible for Israel’s actions.

Ayalon said just that: that in the spirit of one Jewish people, American Jews should tell Israel to stop making wars.

(Source / 09.11.2019) 

Farmer Forced Out Of His Land South Of Nablus

Photo File

Photo File

Israeli occupation army forced on Saturday a Palestinian farmer out of his own grove near the village of Burin, to the south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, local sources said.

The farmer, who is not yet identified, was picking olives in his own grove, when Israeli soldiers manning the nearby Huwwara checkpoint broke into the grove and ordered him out. The soldiers told him that the grove is located in a military zone and that entering it requires the prior permission of the Israeli authorities.

Israel has declared more than 3500 dunums of agricultural Palestinian land in the Nablus district off to their owners and farmers. The only way the farmers can reach their lands is after getting a special permit from the Israeli military.

The village of Burin witnessed more than 14 attacks so far in this harvest season by Israeli settlers and soldiers.

(Source / 09.11.2019)