Hamas and human rights group condemn award for ‘war criminal’ Livni

Tzipi Livni
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Tzipi Livni 

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement has condemned the German Bridge Prize Society for giving its 2020 Award to former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The announcement was also condemned by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.

The Society announced that the award would go to Livni for her role in spreading the culture of peace in the Middle East. “Livni made a name for herself throughout the policy of peace,” it said. Critics said that you couldn’t make this scenario up, it was so ridiculous.

Hamas immediately condemned the move, and pointed out that Livni has the blood of more than 1,400 Palestinians on her hands. That is how many were killed during Israel’s brutal 2008/9 military offensive against the civilians of the Gaza Strip. Livni was Israel’s Foreign Minister at the time.

“It is shameful to grant such an international award to the war criminal Livni,” said Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif Al-Qanou. “Such a step encourages Israel’s criminal leaders to commit more crimes.”

READ: Hamas calls for end of ‘exclusion’ to face Israel’s annexation plan

The Hamas official added that awarding the prize to Livni is a “desperate attempt to beatify the Israeli minister and acquit her of having Palestinian blood on her hands.”

Euro-Med expressed its “serious concern” about the decision of the Bridge Prize Society to award the 2020 prize to Livni. “She stands accused of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the blockaded Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead in 2008/9 when she was Israel’s Foreign Minister. Livni worked relentlessly during the internationally-condemned offensive to whitewash Israel’s assault on Gaza’s civilian population.”

The 2009 UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict concluded that the operation “was a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever-increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”

In December 2009, a British court issued an arrest warrant for Livni over her role in the attack on Gaza, forcing her to cancel a visit to London. As a direct result, and to its great shame, the British government later changed the law of universal jurisdiction to accommodate war criminals such as Israeli political and military officials.

READ: Israel should be worried about the global uprising against racism

Moreover, in 2017 Livni cancelled a visit to Brussels after learning that Belgian prosecutors wanted to question her over allegations of war crimes in the 2008-9 Israeli offensive.

“In that context,” said Euro-Med, “we would like to emphasise that granting such a prize to an Israeli politician who stands accused of war crimes essentially helps to whitewash all of the crimes committed by Israel throughout its occupation of Palestine.”

(Source / 18.06.2020)

Pro-Palestine group wins legal battle against MailOnline over false anti-Semitism claim

Majed Al-Zeer, the chairman of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC)
Majed Al-Zeer, the chairman of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC)

Key figures at the centre of the anti-Semitism row which rocked the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn have suffered an embarrassing legal defeat. Two British right-wing newspapers, the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, have been ordered to pay full damages and issue a written apology for publishing “grotesque” allegations about the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in their serialisation of Tom Bower’s biography of Corbyn, Dangerous Mind.

In the unauthorised biography of the former Labour leader, Bower, an investigative journalist, alleged that the PRC, an advocacy group for Palestinian refugees with links to Corbyn, was an anti-Semitic group. The 73-year-old alleged that the PRC is “known to blame the Jews for the Holocaust,” in his Mail on Sunday and MailOnline serialisation which tries to convince readers that the former Labour leader is unfit for office. The book was published it 2019 prior to the UK general election presumably to inflict the most damage on Corbyn.

“The article (along with Mr Bower’s book) contained the grotesque, but utterly false, allegation that the PRC (and, it was implied, its Chairman) is a group ‘known to blame the Jews for the Holocaust’,” said the PRC in a statement following their victory yesterday mentioning its chairman Majed Al-Zeer. Both papers have “acknowledged, there was no truth whatsoever in this allegation.”

Read: Labour’s anti-Semitism crises fuelled by right-wing faction to undermine Corbyn says new report

The fabricated comment attributed to the PRC, a UN accredited NGO, was made in the House of Lords by an individual from the audience speaking at an event hosted by the advocacy group in 2016.  Although the remarks were “strongly condemned by the PRC at the time”, Bower misused this false allegation to paint the PRC as an anti-Semitic group in what seems to be a desperate attempt to make Corbyn guilty by association. Though the former Labour leader was not a speaker at the event, he has spoken in several conferences and parliamentary meetings hosted by the PRC and made a trip to refugee camps in the Middle East during cross party parliamentary delegations organised by the centre.

As well as publishing full apologies in the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline website, Associated Newspapers has been ordered to pay substantial damages and pay the Palestinian Return Centre’s legal costs.

PRC also confirmed that Harper Collins, the publisher of Corbyn’s biography, along with Bower will have to publish a full statement expressing their regret and confirming their unqualified withdrawal of the allegation while acknowledging that the PRC does not and never has blamed the Jews for the Holocaust. The false allegation will also be removed from all future editions and the paperback version of the book.

This is the second legal victory in under two years for the PRC. Last year its Chairman Majed Al-Zeer won a High Court battle in the UK after being falsely labelled a terrorist. The entire case centred on Israel’s designation of the PRC and its chairman as terrorists. World-Check, which supplies private information on potential clients for corporations, businesses and even governmental agencies, such as police and immigration, appears to have bypassed British authorities in its designation and used Israel’s false depiction of the PRC.

Anti-Semitism and Criticism of Israel - Cartoon [Cartoon Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]
Anti-Semitism and Criticism of Israel – Cartoon

(Source / 18.06.2020)

Israeli Colonists Raze Palestinian-owned Lands near Nablus

Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-atribuut; de bestandsnaam is bulldozers-ALRAY.jpg

Illegal Israeli settlers, on Wednesday, razed several dunams of land that belongs to the Palestinian village of Qusra, south of Nablus city, in the northern occupied West Bank, to be used for a road for illegal colonial projects, according to a settlements-watch group.

Palestinian official, Ghassan Daghlas, chief monitor of Israel’s colonialist activities, told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that the settlers’ bulldozers began razing land belonging to the Palestinian Qusra village, on Monday morning.

The illegal colonists are said to have completed one kilometer of the proposed seven-kilometer road, which when finished, would connect the two colonial settlements of Yesh Kodesh and Magdolim.

(Source / 18.06.2020)

Army Demolishes A Home, A Carwash Facility, In Bethlehem

Israeli soldiers demolished, Thursday, a Palestinian home in the al-Khader town, and a carwash facility in Teqoua’ town, south and east of Bethlehem city, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank.

Several army jeeps, accompanied by a bulldozer, invaded the al-Khader town, before demolishing a two-room house, owned by a local Palestinian, identified as Samir Salah.

The demolition of the property only comes six months after the soldiers destroyed the property, which occupied 150 square meters, for the first time.

The army claims the demolished building was constructed without a permit from the Civil Administration Office, the Administrative Branch of Israel’s illegal occupation, although it was licensed by al-Khader’s Local Council.

In related news, the soldiers invaded Teqoua town, and demolished a carwash facility, owned by Ali Khatib, after isolating and surrounding the area.

The town of Al Khader is often targeted by the Israeli army.

Farmers in the town are losing their land to the illegal Israeli wall, in addition to the ongoing expansion of existing settlements that surround the village, and now the attempt to build the new outpost.

(Source / 18.06.2020)

Adalah backs warning from UN human rights experts: Morning after Israel’s West Bank annexation will be ‘vision of 21st century apartheid’

17/06/2020: ADALAH – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights In IsraelUN experts: Annexation would be a crystallization of already unjust reality: two peoples living in same space, ruled by the same state, but with profoundly unequal rights; Adalah and partners: UN and the international community must oppose annexation, guarantee the right of Palestinians to self-determination.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel presented an oral intervention yesterday, 16 June 2020, at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, co-sponsored by four partner Palestinian human rights organizations, calling on the UN and the international community to vehemently oppose Israel’s looming annexation of large swaths of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and to push for the dismantling of all Israeli settlements.

Adalah and partner groups warn that annexation will normalize Israel’s colonial project and amounts to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of illegal settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation. The Israeli plan would further entrench racial, ethnic, and religious segregation as a legal norm, and Israel will formally establish itself as the sole sovereign regime over the Palestinian people in historic Palestine.

Later that same day, 47 UN special rapporteurs issued a biting denunciation of Israel’s West Bank annexation plan, calling it “a vision of 21st-century apartheid”.

The oral intervention was delivered yesterday by Nada Awad of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies to the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of Adalah, Al-Haq – Law in Service of Man, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC), and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights.

The full text of the oral intervention, presented in the context of Item 9 – Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up, and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, is as follows:

Madam President,

Last month, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel swore in a new government seemingly committed to formally annexing parts of the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) in the West Bank in July, in a blatant violation of international law. This annexation, part of the so-called Trump-Netanyahu “Deal of the Century” and the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition agreement, normalizes Israel’s colonial project and amounts to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of illegal settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation.

The principles of this plan are enshrined in Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Basic Law enacted in July 2018. This law established a constitutional order based on systematic ethnic supremacy, domination, and segregation in the so-called “Land of Israel” and the denial of the realization of national self-determination for the Palestinian people. Article 7 of this law provides that Jewish settlement is a national value to be encouraged and strengthened, giving the state authorities further constitutional legal tools to justify the illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories. This law intends to justify as constitutional segregation in land and housing that targets all Palestinians in historic Palestine, including Palestinians citizens of Israel, who have suffered decades of systematic oppression.

Annexation would further entrench racial, ethnic, and religious segregation as a legal norm. In this context, Israel will formally establish itself as the sole sovereign regime over the Palestinian people in historic Palestine.

We call on the UN and the international community to call for the dismantling of all settlements, to vehemently oppose any annexation, and to guarantee the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right of return to their homes and property.

UN experts warn: Israel’s annexation plan is 21st century apartheid

Adalah backs the statement issued later in the day by 47 UN special rapporteurs – who are leading independent human rights experts – warning that Israel’s West Bank annexation would break international law and would entrench what they called “a vision of a 21st century apartheid”.

Following is the full text of the statement:

The agreement by the new coalition Government of Israel to annex significant parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank after 1 July would violate a cornerstone principle of international law and must be meaningfully opposed by the international community, UN experts said today. Forty-seven of the independent Special Procedures mandates appointed by the Human Rights Council issued the following statement:

“The annexation of occupied territory is a serious violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Geneva Conventions, and contrary to the fundamental rule affirmed many times by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly that the acquisition of territory by war or force is inadmissible. The international community has prohibited annexation precisely because it incites wars, economic devastation, political instability, systematic human rights abuses, and widespread human suffering.

Israel’s stated plans for annexation would extend sovereignty over most of the Jordan Valley and all of the more than 235 illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This would amount to approximately 30 percent of the West Bank. The annexation of this territory was endorsed by the American Peace to Prosperity Plan, released in late January 2020.

The United Nations has stated on many occasions that the 53-year-old Israeli occupation is the source of profound human rights violations against the Palestinian people. These violations include land confiscation, settler violence, discriminatory planning laws, the confiscation of natural resources, home demolitions, forcible population transfer, excessive use of force and torture, labor exploitation, extensive infringements of privacy rights, restrictions on the media and freedom of expression, the targeting of women activists and journalists, the detention of children, poisoning by exposure to toxic wastes, forced evictions and displacement, economic deprivation and extreme poverty, arbitrary detention, lack of freedom of movement, food insecurity, discriminatory law enforcement and the imposition of a two-tier system of disparate political, legal, social, cultural and economic rights based on ethnicity and nationality. Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders, who peacefully bring public attention to these violations, are slandered, criminalized or labeled as terrorists. Above all, the Israeli occupation has meant the denial of the right of Palestinian self-determination.

These human rights violations would only intensify after annexation. What would be left of the West Bank would be a Palestinian Bantustan, islands of disconnected land completely surrounded by Israel and with no territorial connection to the outside world. Israel has recently promised that it will maintain permanent security control between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Thus, the morning after annexation would be the crystallization of an already unjust reality: two peoples living in the same space, ruled by the same state, but with profoundly unequal rights. This is a vision of a 21st century apartheid.

Twice before, Israel has annexed occupied land – East Jerusalem in 1980 and the Syrian Golan Heights in 1981. On both occasions, the UN Security Council immediately condemned the annexations as unlawful but took no meaningful countermeasures to oppose Israel’s actions.

Similarly, the Security Council has repeatedly criticized the Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation under international law. Yet, Israel’s defiance of these resolutions and its ongoing entrenchment of the settlements has gone unanswered by the international community.

This time must be different. The international community has solemn legal and political responsibilities to defend a rules-based international order, to oppose violations of human rights and fundamental principles of international law and to give effect to its many resolutions critical of Israel’s conduct of this protracted occupation. In particular, states have a duty not to recognise, aid or assist another state in any form of illegal activity, such as annexation or the creation of civilian settlements in occupied territory. The lessons from the past are clear: Criticism without consequences will neither forestall annexation nor end the occupation.

Accountability and an end to impunity must become an immediate priority for the international community. Available to it is a broad menu of accountability measures that have been widely and successfully applied by the UN Security Council in other international crises over the past 60 years. The accountability measures that are selected must be taken in full conformity with international law, be proportionate, effective, subject to regular review, consistent with human rights, humanitarian and refugee law, and designed to undo the annexations and bring the occupation and the conflict to a just and durable conclusion. Palestinians and Israelis deserve no less.

We express great regret about the role of the United States of America in supporting and encouraging Israel’s unlawful plans for the further annexation of occupied territory. On many occasions over the past 75 years, the United States has played an important role in the advancement of global human rights. On this occasion, it should be ardently opposing the imminent breach of a fundamental principle of international law, rather than actively abetting its violation.”

CLICK HERE to read this statement on the United Nations Human Rights website and for the full list of signators

(Source / 18.06.2020)

On Behalf of 43 NGOs, Al Mezan calls to lift Israel’s illegal Gaza closure at the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva

Al-Mezan Center For Human Rights: United Nations Human Rights Council – 43rd Regular Session

Item 7 – Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories

Joint Oral Intervention

Delivered by: Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights

NGOs in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) joining this statement:

  • Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
  • Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man
  • Habitat International Coalition – Housing and Land Rights Network
  • Human Rights and Democracy Media Center – SHAMS
  • Medical Aid for Palestinians
  • Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

This statement is also endorsed by 37 NGOs without ECOSOC consultative status.[i]

Speaker: Ms. Nuriya Oswald, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights

Date: 16 June 2020

Madam President,

The Gaza Strip has been under illegal Israeli closure since 2007, amounting to unlawful collective punishment of two million Palestinians, as recognized by the UN Secretary-General. This June, Palestinians mark 13 years since the start of the illegal closure, while no measures have been taken by the international community to put an end to this injustice.

As the world responds to COVID-19, Palestinians in Gaza are particularly susceptible to the pandemic in one of the world’s most densely populated regions. Only 4 percent of water is fit for human use and consumption, and sanitation services are limited, while Gaza’s healthcare system was on the verge of collapse even before the pandemic.

The UN has repeatedly warned that Gaza would become uninhabitable by 2020 should Israel fail to lift the illegal closure. Today, half of Palestinians in Gaza live in poverty, 80 per ent depend on some form of humanitarian aid, 68 percent are food insecure, and 69 percent of the youth are unemployed.

Madam President,

In 2019, the UN Commission of Inquiry called on Israel, the occupying power, to “Lift the blockade on Gaza with immediate effect.” Member States of the Human Rights Council adopted this recommendation in accountability resolution 40/13; however, it remains unimplemented over a year later, while the root causes of the Great Return March have yet to be addressed.

We call on third States to live up to their responsibility to bring Israel’s illegal closure of Gaza to an end and to uphold the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and return.

Thank you.

[i] NGOs without consultative status with ECOSOC also endorse this statement, including: Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, Agricultural Development Association (PARC), Al Dameer Association for Human Rights, Arab Network for Tolerance, Association des universitaires pour le respect du droit international en Palestine (AURDIP), Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), Bait Almostuqbul Association, Baitona Association for Community and Development, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Centre for Arab Unity Studies, Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine, Community Action Center – Al-Quds University, Defence for Children International – Palestine, Deir Al-Balah Rehabilitation Society, El-Wafa Charitable Society, Fares Al Arab for Development and Charity Works, Forsan Al-Ghad Youth Association‏, Fukhary Association for Rural Development, Gaza Action Ireland, Gaza Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture Platform (GUPAP), Just Peace Advocates, MA’AN Development Center, MRAP (Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples), Nuseirat Rehabilitation and Social Training Association (NRSTA), Palestinian Lives Matter, Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO), Peace Sport Club for Persons with Disability, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS), Thalassemia Patients’ Friends Society – Palestine, The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights – Hurryyat, The National Society for Rehabilitation, The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD), The Tunisian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP), Union of Health Care Committees, Wefaq Society for Women and Child Care, Youth Political Forum, and Zakher Association to Develop the Capacity of Palestinian Women.

(Source / 18.06.2020)

Israeli Forces Confiscate Palestinian-owned Bulldozers, Equipment

Israeli forces, on Wednesday, seized five Palestinian-owned bulldozers in addition to other excavation equipment, in the western Almazra’a village, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Board-member of the municipality of the western Mazra’a village, Waseem Ladadwa, told the Palestinian WAFA News Agency that dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the quarry excavation site and seized equipment as well as a power generator.

“Not only did they [Israeli forces] seize that equipment, including five bulldozers, but they also held five workers inside a Caravan, and prevented them from working,” Ladadwa said.

Israeli interruption of the daily work and lives of Palestinian residents, in many areas of the occupied West Bank, have increased over the past several weeks.

In some cases, Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian farmers from cultivating their own farm lands, dismantled green houses, demolished vegetable stands, and closed archaeological sites.

Israeli officials have recently announced that the occupation authorities plan to annex the strategic Palestinian Al-Aghwar area of the Jordan Valley, by early next month.

(Source / 18.06.2020)

An Environmental Nakba: The Palestinian Environment Under Israeli Colonization

By Mazin B. Qumsiyeh and Mohammed A. Abusarhan

Prior to the 1948 war and even the Zionist Congress of 1897, Palestine had some thirteen hundred villages and towns, each with a small and manageable population living sustainably with nature. The land was owned or worked by the Palestinian people, who were 85 percent Muslim, 9.2 percent Christian, and 5.3 percent Jewish. This structure changed radically when mostly European Jews mobilized for massive migration to Palestine and began to assume colonial control over the land. In its long recorded history, Palestine has indeed undergone significant environmental and demographic changes, but it is really only in the past century that these changes took on a colonial dimension. The best-known of these changes is the forcible removal of the indigenous population, which reached its peak between 1948 and 1950. During those years, five hundred villages and towns were destroyed by Zionist militias, resulting in the largest wave of refugees after the Second World War. But the environmental dimensions of the catastrophe, or Nakba, is little talked about. In 1967 Israel occupied the remaining 22 percent of historic Palestine, namely Gaza and the West Bank, and built settlements throughout these occupied territories in contravention of to international law (the Fourth Geneva Convention). These dramatic transformations were detrimental to the people and nature of Palestine. Here, we focus on the environment and sustainability in Palestine, an often overlooked casualty of the colonial occupation.
Colonial Impact on the Environment
Once Israel was declared a Jewish state in May 1948, native trees (such as oaks, carobs, and hawthorns) and agricultural crops (olives, figs, and almonds) were systematically uprooted and replaced by European pine trees. These planted pines reduced biodiversity and harmed the local environment. Pines shed leaves that are acidic and prevent the growth of underbrush plants. These trees are also very susceptible to fire because of their resins. Indeed, fires are now a common occurrence in the areas in which they were planted. Trees, however, were not the only targets of Israel’s colonial practices. Natural resources, primarily water aquifers, have also been confiscated from the Palestinians. This often happened by deliberately building Israeli colonies on hilltops to ensure effective access to these resources and to maintain surveillance over the Palestinians. Environmental sustainability was never a priority for Israel, whose practices detrimentally affected the landscape, resulting in the destruction of diverse habitats and water runoff.

The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 opened opportunities for Israeli industries. Many of the highest polluting companies moved to the West Bank and were provided with tax incentives to do so. There the companies only faced the opposition of the Palestinians who had no way to stop them. For example, pesticide and fertilizer manufacturer Geshuri, which faced significant court setbacks in its original plant in Kfar Saba, was moved to an area adjacent to Tulkarm inside the West Bank in 1987. Significant pollution caused by Geshuri and other companies in this area has damaged citrus trees and vineyards. Moreover, research on genotoxicity in the Occupied Territories shows the significant impact of the Barkan industrial settlement on the Palestinians of Burqeen village.10 As DNA and chromosomes are damaged, there are increasing cases of miscarriage, cancer, and congenital birth defects. Air and water pollution has also caused diseases ranging from respiratory illness to gastrointestinal failures. Other health-related problems have resulted from the Israeli practice of sending trash, including electronic debris, across the Green Line. This debris is often recycled by destitute Palestinians in environmentally harmful ways, such as using fire to remove plastic from useful metals. This practice releases substances that cause serious ailments, including cancer and lung diseases.

Israel has also built an extensive network of roads and other infrastructure serving settlers. Trees and any buildings within seventy-five meters of these roads are bulldozed and declared closed military zones to the Palestinians. The total area used in the West Bank for settler roads was 51.2 km2 in 2000 and has doubled since. Added to the 150.5 km2 of built settlement-colonies, this is a huge area that was previously used by Palestinians for agriculture, pasture, or leisure. The disparity between settlers and natives in land control and standard of living is compounded by disparity in access to other natural resources, especially water. Israeli officials have deliberately ignored facts and selectively presented falsified or inaccurate data to serve their political interests in the Jordan River while catastrophically impacting Palestinian access to water. For example, 91 percent of the total water of the West Bank is expropriated for Israeli settler use.

The Israeli occupation has resulted in considerable loss of biodiversity in the Palestinian territories. This began many years ago when Israel diverted the waters of the Jordan Valley, and when trees surrounding destroyed Palestinian villages were replaced by monoculture crops. More recently the apartheid wall in the West Bank obstructs human activities and animal movement, causing a loss of both human and animal biodiversity. Humans and nature have been intertwined in Palestine for thousands of years, and the continuing loss of biodiversity irreversibly damages Palestine’s cultural and natural heritage, threatens endangered species, and harms agriculture and environmental sustainability.

There are many other practices through which the occupation has undermined sustainable development and protection of the environment. These include refusal to issue building permits in most of the West Bank and destruction of any “unauthorized” structures, even including cisterns and solar panels. Another example is the policy of Israel to absorb the Palestinian tourism sector, including ecotourism.

One of the major threats to the Palestinian landscape is the confiscation of land for settlements, sometimes with temporary false excuses of preventing damage to nature. For example, the Palestinian village of Ras Imweis and six adjacent areas were initially confiscated under such an excuse then turned into the settlement of Nahal Shilo. In many other instances, the Israeli occupation authorities prevented Palestinian sustainable development by claiming certain stretches of land as “green areas,” then turning them into Jewish settlements within the span of two to three years. Such exploitation was also obvious in the Bethlehem district, where Abu Ghuneim Mountain, one of the largest forests in the Bethlehem district, was turned into the Har Homa settlement in 1997. This is how Israel is “green-washing” the occupation.

International Failure
Israel’s colonial settlements have had a devastating impact on the Palestinian environment and on indigenous Palestinian lives. This raises significant questions about the possibility of sustainable development under occupation. Indeed, there are ample grounds, backed by solid scientific and legal research, to bring claims of environmental injustice to local, national, and international forums.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (which Israel ratified) states that “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” adding that life in military occupied areas must be allowed to proceed as normally as possible. UN Security Council Resolution 465 of 1980 reads in part that “all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Israel has largely ignored international law. This impunity is enabled by the international community. For example, a 2003 United Nations Environment Program report identified key effects of the occupation on the environment and made over one hundred recommendations but failed to prioritize them or set target dates. This failure of the international legal system to hold Israel accountable is not just related to environmental issues, but extends across many other areas including Israel’s abuse of prisoners and destruction of civilian life. Israel’s aggressive political lobby has also influenced many governments and shapes decisions at the UN, where the United States has veto power.[Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle (London: Pluto Press, 2004).[/note] The international failure to hold Israel accountable has left the issue—like in South Africa under apartheid—up to organizers and activists on the ground.

(Source / 18.06.2020)

Turkish Ministers confirm the country’s support for Palestinians against annexation plan

Ankara (QNN) – Turkey’s Foreign Minister and the Minister of Religious Affairs ensured, on different occasions, that Turkey will never give up on Jerusalem as an Islamic milestone and that Turkey will stand by the Palestinians against Israel’s annexation plan, which is to be implemented next month.

Turkey’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbas, said on an online forum of Palestinian scholars last week that Jerusalem has a great value internationally. Therefore, “it is impossible for Muslims to give up on the blessed city.” Erbas spoke of the Turkish government’s attempts to adopt Palestine’s cause and gather the Muslim countries around it.

Earlier on June 10th, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusogl, stated in an executive committee meeting that Turkey fully supports the Palestinians against the annexation plan Israel intends to implement next month, and that Jerusalem will continue to be the eternal capital of Palestine. He further added that “Israel’s annexation plan destroys all hopes for a lasting peace in the Middle East.”

(Source / 18.06.2020)

Jordan’s Abdullah warns about an Israeli annexation of West Bank

Amman (QNN) – Jordan’s King Abdullah has warned of an Israeli decision to annex parts of the West Bank in July, saying it will destroy stability in Palestine and the Middle East.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to extend sovereignty to Israeli settlements through annexation to the parts of West Bank that Israel seized from Jordan in 1967.

Netanyahu’s new government is due to begin discussing the de facto annexation on July 1, but it is unclear whether Israel’s main ally, the United States, would greenlight the step.

Thus, King Abdullah expressed worries about the Israeli`s annexation plan, noting to U.S. lawmakers that peace would only come with the creation of an independent, sovereign and a viable Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Officials fear that the annexation decision will lead to the non-establishment of the state of Palestine and affect to Jordan because it has many Palestinian refugees who were forcibly displaced from their home in 1948.

Meanwhile, European and Arab states warned of possible violence and diplomatic repercussions and urged Israel not to annex its settlements, regarded by many countries as illegal.

(Source / 18.06.2020)