Israel and Palestine
- Last week, an Israeli settler family was brutally killed in the illegal West Bank settlement of Itamar. In response, Netanyahu vowed to build hundreds more illegal homes for settlers, a twisted logic of ‘punishment’ criticised by a Haaretz editorial. Melanie Phillips, meanwhile, saw fit to generalise about Arabs as ‘savages’ and bizarrely concluded that illegal settlements are built ‘on land to which [Israel] is legally and morally entitled’. Her comments are now being investigated by the Press Complaints Commission.
- Potential Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin is visiting Israel and Occupied East Jerusalem, and will meet with PM Netanyahu and Likud MK Danny Danon on Monday. Palin is renowned for her foreign policy expertise regarding US relationships with North Korea and Russia, and has previously said that: “I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon, because that population of Israel is, is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don’t think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand.”
- A cargo ship bound for Egypt allegedly carrying arms for militant groups in the Gaza Strip has been seized by Israeli commandos.
- Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says he is ready to travel to Gaza to try and end the division between his Fatah party and the Islamist movement Hamas.
- A Knesset committee has been scheduled to debate on whether the ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ US lobbying group J Street is sufficiently ‘committed’ to Israel to be called a pro-Israel organization.
Perspectives on the Conflict
- The Council for Arab British Understanding has produced a report, ‘Under Occupation: A Report on the West Bank’, based on the findings of its APPG (all party parliamentary group) delegation to the region. Its main findings are:
- The mass arrest and ill treatment of children has to end
- The construction of settlements and the barrier outside of the green line must stop immediately
- Israel’s policies towards Jerusalem should be reversed
- Vulnerable communities in Area C require greater international protection
- The European Union should take a more active and assertive role
- A proper framework for negotiations needs to be developed
- Palestinian municipal, presidential and legislative elections should be held
- Human rights and political opposition have to be respected across the OPT
You can read the report in full here.
- ASA adjudication on ‘Travel Palestine’ advert: two of the three charges were not upheld. The third was only upheld as ‘misleading’ because the Israeli state refuses to uphold international law on the status of Jerusalem, and thus Jerusalem cannot be ‘universally’ recognised as of Palestinian heritage, as the advert had implied. Colonisation is indeed a powerful narrative, then, but the result was perhaps not the whitewash the pro-Israeli lobby were hoping for. Full details on the ruling and its reasoning are here.
- Confused about David Cameron’s varying statements on Israel? As an Economist article says, ‘there could almost be two David Camerons’. The explanation, it argues, ‘might lie in the complex triangular choreography of Anglo-American-Israeli diplomacy’. The article doesn’t completely ‘solve’ the puzzle it sets itself, but is worth reading in full here.
- According to Middle East Monitor/ICM’s recent poll, Europeans believe Jerusalem should be a neutral, international city, as opposed to being a national capital for either the Israelis or the Palestinians. MEMO’s website has more details of the poll, carried out across six European countries, here.
An LDFP member is working for EAAPI in the West Bank; you can see her excellent photoblog here.