Posted on 20 March 2011.
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.
Posted in Eye on Palestine
Posted on 19 December 2010.
Israel and Palestine:
- Israel’s ever friendly Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has rejected calls by his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd that Israel sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
- Binyamin Netanyahu has hailed the US climbdown over the settlement freeze/arms deal as “good for peace”. One wonders if the Americans agree.
- A group of 26 ex-EU leaders has urged the Union to impose sanctions on Israel for continuing to build settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.
- On Friday, Bolivia became the third South American state in recent weeks to recognise a Palestinian state on 1967 borders. European foreign ministers have ‘threatened’ to follow suit in order to punish Israeli refusal to halt illegal settlements.
- A US tourist was murdered and her friend stabbed in a forest near Jerusalem at the weekend. Police report that the pair were stabbed by Arabs in what is being considered as a politically-motivated attack.
- Rabbis from around the world have denounced the edict forbidding Jews from renting homes to Arabs.
- A ceremony to honour Palestinian firemen who helped to fight the worst brush fires in Israeli history was called off after the military failed to grant them entry permits in time.
- Where are the wikileaks documents from the US Embassy in Israel’s capital, Tel Aviv? According to Brian Whitaker, ‘sensitive documents from Israel go through different channels – to the White House rather than the State Department – and are therefore not among the batch leaked to Julian Assange’.
- Interesting piece on Guardian’s Comment is Free: Palestinians’ future is in their hands: “The creation of a Palestinian state is closer than ever – but only if its leadership accepts Israel’s place on the map”.
- Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah: “Israel leaves us no choice but to boycott“.
- Former Labour MP Denis MacShane: “The call to boycott Jewish commerce is Europe’s oldest political appeal.”
- Labour MP Gerald Kaufman: “Netanyahu’s refusal to have a peace policy will become a suicide note.”
- Read the debate on Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill in the Commons, with interesting contributions by Gerald Kaufman, including “the hypocrisy of the Liberal Democrats on universal jurisdiction is unlimited, as on so many matters”.
- Read the debate in the Lords, introduced by Lord Fowler’s Question on Gaza: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to alleviate the hardships suffered by people living in Gaza”, with important contributions by Baroness Morris of Bolton and Lord Phillips of Sudbury.
- Discussion on economic development in the West Bank, with Alistair Burt confirming: “The economic development of the whole of west bank area and of Gaza is a crucial part of the development of the Palestinian state. The establishment of that valid state, side by side with a secure and recognised Israel, is of interest to us all.”
- Regarding the Gaza Aid Flotilla, Alistair Burt says that: “The establishment of an independent Israeli Commission of inquiry into the Gaza flotilla tragedy was an important step forward… We have also been in touch with the Commission regarding British witnesses giving testimony.”
- Political Director of Conservative Friends of Israel Robert Halfon MP enquires after the number of rocket attacks on Israel in 2010. Alistair Burt’s reply includes the comment: “The IDF note that at current levels 2010 is set to be the year with the lowest number of rocket attacks since 2002. This is small comfort to those at the receiving end and we continue to condemn all rocket attacks. Such acts of terrorism are indiscriminate and frequently target civilian populations. We call on all sides to halt acts of violence and focus efforts on a negotiated solution.”
- Baroness Tonge asks HMG “what assessment they have made of the adherence to human rights clauses in the EU-Israel Association agreements”, with the response that a recent report “highlighted that international democracy indexes rank Israel at levels comparable to EU member states but more efforts were needed to address the economic and social situation of the Arab minority and enhance their integration in Israeli society.”
Posted in Eye on Palestine
Posted on 15 October 2010.
- The Independent reports that Israeli soldiers shot at children collecting gravel by the Gaza border.
- Peter Hitchens has a rather curious piece in the Daily Mail, arguing that ‘the true state of the Gaza Strip, and of the West Bank of the Jordan, is so full of paradoxes and surprises that most news coverage of the Middle East finds it easier to concentrate on the obvious, and leave out the awkward bits’.
- The Alternative Information Center reports on the ‘BDS Victory’, as Veolia has signed an agreement to sell its shares in the Jerusalem Light Rail project (Israeli government project that ignores the illegality of the Occupation) to the Israeli transportation cooperative Egged.
- The Palestinian leadership rejected a dodgy ‘offer’ from Netanyahu, pledging to extend the freeze of the illegal settlement building in the West Bank in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
- MEMO interviews an Arab Knesset Member, Mr Talab El Sana, about Israel’s proposed ‘loyalty oath’ here. “We view this as a dangerous development which seeks to legitimize state discrimination against the 1.5 million Palestinians in Israel,” he says.
- In the Independent, Adrian Hamilton argues that ‘Israel has no future as a purely Jewish state’, an article that has got Melanie Phillips quite excited.
- Anshel Pfeffer writes in the Jewish Chronicle that ‘rage over ‘racist’ law is misplaced, as ‘the pledge merely underlines an already existing situation’. The real problem, claims Pfeffer, is the law’s ‘PR effect’, as acknowledged by several UK rabbis.
- In the New York Times, Ethan Bronner has a useful analysis piece on the internal dynamics of Israeli politics vis-à-vis Netanyahu’s ‘offer’.
- Jonathan Cook argues that by rejecting Obama’s reckless and extravagant incentives to Israel in return for a temporary freeze on settlement-building, Netanyahu hopes to persuade the White House “to reaffirm a promise made in a 2004 letter from … George W. Bush that Israel will not be required to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders in a peace deal”.
What did we miss? Email us: email@example.com. Links do not necessarily imply endorsement.
Posted in Eye on Palestine