This video speaks for itself and demonstrates how ritual sadism and brutality has become an integral part of the Occupation army’s operations.
British MPs and the Vote for a Palestinian State
Latest News: Motion Passed by 274-12
Ed Balls – Labour Shadow Chancellor
One of the key opponents of today’s motion in favour of a Palestinian State is Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. I’m sure it is a coincidence but who is named as a donor on his site but the Labour Friends of Israel
The amount of donation (total for flights, accommodation and transport) is estimated to be about £1,000. The destination of visit was Israel and the Palestinian Territories
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The House has voted
emphatically tonight to support the recognition of the Palestinian state. That
is good news, which will be well received by many people, and we should bear
witness to those thousands who marched and demonstrated and those thousands who
If I may, I will briefly explain why I and my hon. Friend the
Member for Batley and Spen (Mike Wood) were tellers for a position that we do
not actually hold. It was to ensure that democracy could take place and that
Members could record their vote, because those who were opposed to the motion
declined to put up tellers. We have thus ensured democracy here tonight. The
constituents whom we all represent will be able to see what influence they were
able to have on their Members of Parliament, ensuring that this historic vote
Residents of Islington North and the nation at large are now
fully apprised of the motivation of the hon. Gentleman and of his colleague. I
Political wrangling with no diplomatic impact
At Britain’s general election in seven months, the political future of dozens of Labour MPs could be in the hands of Muslim voters.
In Opposing the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Group’s agreeing to support a Palestinian state (leaving to one side the question of whether such a solution is viable) we see the ghost of New Labour and Blair rearing their head.
Their arguments about not prejudging ‘peace negotiations’ are thoroughly dishonest since Israel has consistently blocked any progress in the talks in favour of building further settlement blocs.
Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister Danny Danon stated that ‘Israel’s ruling party and the governing coalition are staunchly opposed to a two-state solution and would block the creation of a Palestinian state if such a proposal ever came to a vote… “ contradicting statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior cabinet members who say Jerusalem is committed to the principle of two states for two peoples.’
Except that for Netanyahu, such a State would be a state in name only. Completely demilitarised, with Israeli forces stationed within it, the settlements continuing to remain and resources such as Water continuing to come under Israeli control.
The British parliament is expected Monday to vote for a motion recognizing an independent Palestinian state. The move is only symbolic; it does not oblige the British government in any way.
Still, it is causing turmoil in the main opposition party, Labour, where a group of senior members, including front-bench shadow ministers, are claiming that the motion contradicts long-standing British foreign policy, including that of Labour governments. They say it is largely motivated by local political considerations.
Two years ago, Britain abstained from a UN vote recognizing Palestine as a nonmember observer state; the official position remains that such recognition should be the fruit of a peace agreement with Israel.
The motion was submitted by a group of pro-Palestinian MPs, led by the head of Labour Friends of Palestine, Grahame Morris, who earlier this year had to apologize for comparing Israel to the Nazis. It was approved by the shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander. Labour chief Ed Miliband is backing Alexander, but senior party members who support Israel have complained that they were not consulted and have asked to be allowed to stay away from the vote.
Miliband has been under increasing fire in recent weeks as the party stagnates in the polls and because few Britons, even Labour supporters, see him as a suitable prime minister. He has been struggling to stave off a split in the party over the Palestine issue.
In an unprecedented move, Miliband has crafted a strategy under which shadow cabinet members would stay away from the vote rather than defy the party line, a step that could force them to resign. Many Labor MPs are indeed expected to keep their distance.
The whips of the parties in the governing coalition — the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats — do not expect their members to attend the vote, and the chief Conservative whip, Michael Gove, one of Israel’s most vocal supporters in British politics, has advised his party’s MPs to stay away and minimize the symbolic effect of the motion’s passing.
Despite Gove’s efforts, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s low profile on the issue and the low attendance expected, the vote is still drawing a great deal of attention. This is partly due to lobbying by Labour Friends of Israel, which is trying to amend the motion to say that recognition of Palestine should only come after “the conclusion of successful peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.”
The motion’s supporters who say the amendment empties their resolution of meaning countered with an amendment of their own: Recognition would be “a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”
Meanwhile, British and European Jewish organizations have further complicated things by launching their own initiatives, calling on MPs to either oppose the motion or support the amendment. This lobbying was not coordinated with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which preferred to play down the vote rather than fight it.
A passed motion would have very little impact on Britain’s foreign policy, if at all, but it would have a whole lot to do with local politics. At Britain’s general election in seven months, the political future of dozens of Labour MPs who hold slim margins in their constituencies could be in the hands of Muslim voters. They fear that not voting to recognize Palestine could keep these voters at home or shift them to other parties.
Muslim voters, however, do not have similar weight in constituencies that are crucial to the Conservatives, and Prime Minister David Cameron has agreed with his election strategist, Lynton Crosby, that if the party courts the Muslim vote, it stands to lose many traditional right-wing voters who are already leaning toward the anti-immigration U.K. Independence Party, UKIP.
During the Gaza conflict this summer, Cameron withstood pressure from his Liberal-Democrat coalition partners who called on him to condemn Israel’s actions. He was eventually forced to accept a statement by the Liberal-Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable that during an escalation in Gaza, the government would consider suspending export licenses for British arms to Israel.
That statement, too, had little meaning (and Israel purchases very few arms from Britain anyway), but it was another sign of how the Israel-Palestine conflict is a sensitive issue in local British politics. On Monday, when parliament votes in favor of recognizing Palestine, we’ll witness another political statement with local significance but no real diplomatic impact.
363 Israeli public figures have signed a letter to the Members of the British Parliament, calling upon them to vote in favor of British recognition of a Palestinian State, to be created side-by-side with Israel.
By Anshel Pfeffer Oct. 12, 2014
[the reality of the Israeli position is that of Israel’s Defence Minister Ya’alon]
There is a zero chance of Israel agreeing to a separate Palestinian state. Its whole settlement policy has been aimed at blocking such a solution. An independent state contradicts the expansionist nature of Israeli settler colonialism. Even before the ‘peace negotiations’ began, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon attacked US Secretary of State John Kerry:
‘On 14 January, Israel’s defense minister Moshe Ya’alon rejected the negotiations and insulted John Kerry, saying he was acting based upon “messianic feeling”, and that “The only thing that can ‘save’ us is that John Kerry will get a Nobel Peace Prize and leave us alone.’
Palestinian Refugees in 1948 – expelled by the Palmach shock troops which the Zionist left led
The Guilty and Hypocrisy of the Zionist ‘Left’
Tikva Honig-Parnass is one of the most dedicated supporters of the Palestinians and opponents of Zionism. In 1948 she fought for the Zionists in their War of so-called Independence. But she is wrong about the Zionist ‘left’s’ support for the Gaza assault signifying its erasure from Israel’s political map. This is to substitute wishful thinking for historical analysis.
Maki – Jewish Communist Part Election Poster 1948
Historically the Zionist ‘left’ has been equally culpable, if not more so, than the ‘right’ when it came to the oppression of the Palestinians. The Naqba was perpetrated by the Zionist left, not least of which was the ‘Marxist’ Mapam party. It was the Zionist ‘left’ which instituted military rule over the Israeli Palestinians until 1966. The whole system of Israeli Apartheid was the creation of the Zionist ‘left’. There is nothing the Zionist ‘Right’ of Likud has done which Labour Zionism hasn’t done before it.
“Israel’s Left no longer exists as a distinct political and cultural
distinguishes this new stage of commitment to the colonial state of Israel by
Left intellectuals is their departure from what remains of their weak
commitment to universalistic values. They are now fully integral to the
chauvinist, racist state of Israel which is the tool for the embodiment and
expansion of Zionist colonial project.”
Ongoing War on Gaza
– 2008-2009 Cast Lead Massacre in Gaza
– David Grossman Praises the Army’s Restraint
– Professor Zeev Sternhell Defends the Army for Following Orders
– A New Combat Doctrine which Violates International Law
– July 2014: Operation Protective Edge
– David Grossman Does not See, Does not Hear, Does not Speak
– Zeev Sternhell’s Lack of Empathy and Moral Judgment
aim of this article is to pinpoint the explicit and implicit support of the
Zionist Left intellectuals usually identified with Labor or Meretz for the
brutal attacks on Gaza since 2006. This support is a new stage in the Left
intellectuals’ loyalty to the state and its oppressive policies against the
Palestinian people. The viciousness of mass murder and horrid devastation of
Gaza, chiefly in the recent Operation Protective Edge, have reached
unprecedented levels. Their support by the “most enlightened” public figures in
Israeli society amounts to total disregard for basic human rights and
international lawsand erases any meaningful difference between them and the
silence of the Zionist Left majority in response to the massacres in
Gaza—including the discourse of evasion and emotional detachment by the very
few who did react—indicates a complete absence of basic humanitarian values and
concepts of justice. The meaning of state security, stretched to include
repression of Palestinian resistance by any bloody means, unites the Zionist
Left with the Right in a joint war against the Palestinian people. The Left
which has been recognized as the offspring of the mythological Zionist labor
movement has been wiped off the political map.
would perhaps expect opposition to such an operation from, for example, Meretz
MP Haim Oron, the past general secretary of Mapam and a member of Kibbutz
Lahav, affiliated to the Hashomer Hatzair stream of the Kibbutz movement.
However, on Friday, 24 July, 2014, when 150 children had already been killed in
Gaza, Oron declared that his party, Meretz, would not participate in the big
demonstration against the operation planned for Saturday night. The daily
of Jews and Arabs are expected to participate in the demonstration. They would
waive the Palestinian Authority flag (sic) and raise placards condemning the
military operation [in Gaza], calling for the removal of the siege of the
Strip, and ending the occupation of the West Bank.
demonstration was organized by a coalition of what’s called “Left factions”
including Palestinian-Arab (Balad and Raam Taal), Palestinian-Jewish (Hadash,
the front headed by the Communist Party), and Daam, the Workers Party. Jewish
protest movements like Bat Shalom and Anarchists Against the Wall, as well as
NGO’s like The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICHAD) and the
Alternative Information Center (AIC), declared their participation in the
demonstration. All in all these are very small groups which could not mobilize
many participants for the few demonstrations there were against the war on
Gaza. Oron explained the Meretz position, which opposed the risking of Israeli
lives by landing troops inside Gaza, but not the operation itself:
position is essentially different from the common denominator of those groups
which organized the demonstration: Meretz supports the operation in Gaza. These
groups don’t accept the basic right of the State of Israel to self defense,
whereas we support it. A massive majority of the Party’s board voted for the
justification of the operation while voting for a resolution to oppose the
would assume that facing the mass murder and displacement which had already
taken place by this time (24 July), those self-proclaimed fighters for
universal human values would take to the streets and join whoever opposed the
massacre in Gaza.
they didn’t. Moreover, Oron and his party members knew well from past
onslaughts on Gaza what horrific massacre and devastation were about to occur.
However they did not join this demonstration or others organized by independent
groups (or the Communist Party) which were violently confronted by right wing
gangs with the help of the police.
Zionist Left/Liberal intellectuals and academics did not adopt an explicit
condemnation of the Israeli “combat” in Gaza, or even make public any alarm at
the genocide committed there. I refer here to those intellectuals and academics
who since the establishment of the State (and prior to it) have supplied the
moral and “scientific” legitimacy for Israel’s colonialist policies which
continue the ethnic cleansing begun in 1948.
of those Left/Liberal intellectuals and academics participated in articulating
the guiding ideology of the State of Israel under the rule of the Zionist Labor
movement in the first decades of the state. Others among them have accepted
their predecessors’ teaching and elaborated on its premises.
support the principal idea of Israel’s established political culture: “security
of the state” is sanctified as a sacred
Israeli Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed various petitions against the
Admissions Committees Law, which allows admissions committees in hundreds of
communities in Israel to reject housing applicants based on their “social
By Amjad Iraqi
March 8, 2000 marked a
unique moment in Israeli history. In a major decision, the Supreme Court of
Israel ruled that the town of Katzir, which was established on state land by
the Jewish Agency, could not deny the right of the Arab Ka’adan family to live in the town simply on the basis that they were not
Jewish. This was the first time
that Palestinian citizens of Israel successfully challenged the legality of
“Jewish-only” communities in the state, generating cautious optimism that it
could set an important precedent for Palestinian rights in land and housing.
Fifteen years later, on
September 17, 2014, these hopes came to an abrupt end. In a 5-4 ruling, the
Supreme Court dismissed various petitions filed by human rights groups
against the Admissions Committees Law, enacted by the Knesset in 2011.
The law allows admissions committees in 434 communities in the Negev and the
Galilee (about 43 percent of all towns in Israel) to reject housing applicants
based on their “social suitability” and the communities’ “social and cultural
fabric.” In effect, these committees are now legally permitted to refuse
residency based on any “undesired” identity, including Palestinian, Sephardic,
African, gay, religious, secular and others.
The Admissions Committees
Law is the Israeli right wing’s response to the Supreme Court ruling in the
Ka’adan case. Realizing that marginalized groups were increasingly challenging
the state’s discriminatory practices, the Knesset under the 2009-12 Netanyahu
government sought to turn Israel’s historical policies against these
groups into law. Many
Knesset members openly declared that the purpose of these laws was to subdue
the “threats” posed by Palestinian citizens to the Jewish character of the
state. The authors of the Admissions Committees Law even stated that, though
deliberately written in neutral language, its main aim was to prevent Arab citizens from living with
This objective of
segregation is not a new phenomenon in Israel, and has in fact been a central,
ongoing practice since the state’s establishment in 1948. Legislation ranging
from the Absentees Property Law (1950) to the Negev Individual Settlements Law (2011), along with the policies of the
Jewish National Fund, Israel Land Authority and the government itself, operate
with the explicit goal of securing maximum and privileged control of land for
Israel’s Jewish citizens – a process known as “Judaization.” This runs jointly
with the state’s goal of minimizing and concentrating non-Jewish communities in
Israel, resulting in the mass confiscation of Palestinian land and the
containment of Palestinian towns through discriminatory planning, home
demolitions and unequal resource allocation.
However, what makes the
admissions committees case significant is that the Supreme Court – the supposed
bastion of Israeli democracy – has upheld this clearly discriminatory law,
claiming that it could not determine yet if the law
violated constitutional rights. Numerous petitions condemned the law from multiple angles,
including nationality, race, religion and sexual orientation, but the court
swept them aside. More importantly, the court directly undermined its own
landmark ruling in the Ka’adan case, overriding one of the few legal decisions
that set a precedent for minority rights in Israel and the struggle against
The latest ruling instead
illustrates the deteriorating status of Palestinian citizens of Israel at the
hands of an increasingly right-wing government and high court. Rather than
introducing laws that guarantee equal rights for all of Israel’s citizens, the
Knesset has worked to deepen racial inequality and consolidate its
discriminatory vision for the state. Meanwhile, the judiciary has allowed the
government to carry out this program, choosing not to set precedents on critical cases affecting
Palestinian rights. With more discriminatory laws being introduced – including
the Prawer Plan Bill, the Contributors to the State Bill, and the Jewish
Nation-State Bill – Palestinian citizens and others are left fearing that,
despite their best efforts to overturn it, race will continue to be the prime
determinant of their rights.
It is therefore up to the
public, non-governmental actors and the international community to take a
principled stance against this unjust law. Racial separation, especially when
engineered by a state, must elicit the same condemnation as other cases have
Under the segregation laws of the Jim Crow South, gentrification and
ghettoization were deliberately used against black Americans in order to keep
white neighborhoods economically superior and racially homogenous, the effects
of which remain damaging to this day. A more infamous comparison is apartheid
South Africa’s Group Areas Act, which legalized the state’s policy of designating land for separate races. Like some of the Israeli law’s
proponents today, South Africa’s leaders attempted to sugar-coat their
intentions by describing racial separation as a policy of “good
neighborliness.” However, such claims cannot conceal the fact that the Israeli
Supreme Court’s approval of the Admissions Committees Law has granted legal
cover for the principle of segregation and, at worst, has permitted a housing
system that disturbingly resembles apartheid.
Iraqi is a projects and advocacy coordinator at Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab
Minority Rights in Israel.
The Israeli town of Rakefet. In 2006, the town’s
admissions committee rejected the application of a Palestinian couple due to
“social unsuitability”; after a six-year legal battle, the couple was
allowed to live there after the Supreme Court ruled that the rejection was
discriminatory. (Photo adapted from Hanay/Wikimedia
Israeli Supreme Court: “We cannot determine at this stage
whether the law violates constitutional rights“
Adalah: “The Supreme Court’s decision entrenches racial
segregation; 434 small communities in Israel, or 43% of all residential areas,
will be allowed to close their doors to Palestinian Arab citizens of the
Today, 17 September 2014, in a
5 to 4 decision, an expanded panel of the Israeli Supreme Court decided to
dismiss a petition brought by Adalah three
years ago against the “Admissions Committees Law”. The law allows for
hundreds of Israeli Jewish communities in the Naqab (Negev) in the south and in
the Galilee in the north to reject applicants for housing based on the criteria
of “social suitability” and the “social and cultural
fabric” of the town.
The law allows
the possibility of rejecting applicants who are Palestinian Arab citizens of
Israel, as well as other marginalized groups, solely on the basis of their
race, ethnicity, religion, or other identity. The court’s decision effectively
legalizes the principle of segregation in housing between Arab and Jewish
citizens, and permits the practice of racism against Arab citizens in about 434
communities, or 43% of all towns in Israel. The Association for Civil Rights in
Israel (ACRI) also filed a petition against this law.
Adalah stated that the Court’s decision, “gives the green light for 434
communities to exist based on the principle of segregated housing. This law is
one of the most racist pieces of legislation enacted in recent years, the
primary objective of which is to marginalize Arab citizens and prevent them
from accessing housing on ‘state land’ in many communities. The court’s
decision upholds one of the most dangerous laws in Israel.”
Suhad Bishara, who filed the petition, added that: “The court’s decision
seriously undermines its landmark decision in 1999 in the Ka’adan case. That
case allowed an Arab family to move to the town of Katzir despite their
rejection by the town’s admissions committee. This latest court decision
illustrates the continued deterioration of the constitutional rights and legal
protection of Palestinian citizens of Israel.” Attorney Bishara further
stated that the new decision, “allows the principle of separation in residency
based on national identity, and as such, 434 communities will be allowed to
close their doors to Arab citizens.”
Committees Law, enacted by the Knesset in 2011, gives “admissions
committees” – bodies
that select applicants for housing units and plots of land – almost full
discretion to accept or reject individuals from living in these towns. The
committees include a representative from the Jewish Agency or the World Zionist
Organization, quasi-governmental entities. The Committees, in practice, filter
out Arab Palestinian applicants and others from marginalized groups. While one
of the provisions of the law states a duty to respect the right to equality and
prevent discrimination, the law allows these committees to reject applicants deemed
“unsuitable to the social life of the community…or the social and cultural
fabric of the town,” thereby legitimizing the exclusion of entire groups.
The law also authorizes admissions committees to adopt criteria determined by
individual community towns themselves based on their “special
characteristics”, including those community towns that have defined
themselves as having a “Zionist vision.”
In the last
hearing on the case before the Supreme Court on 4 December 2012, Attorney
Bishara argued that,
“the law marginalizes certain groups, creating a legal, constitutional,
and legitimate basis for discrimination. The law allows for division of state
land based on vague cultural and social standards – and not even the state can
explain which criteria admissions committees could use to accept or reject
candidates. The law will open the door to arbitrary decisions based on
prejudices and personal grudges.”
Attorney Bishara added after
that hearing that, “The law is functioning the same way it did previously as a
policy, deterring many segments of the population, especially Palestinian Arab
citizens of the state, from applying for housing in these towns for fear of
rejection. The law has serious implications now and has had for many years, so
it is not possible to say that it is not ripe for judicial ruling.”
For more information,
contact Adalah Media Director Salah Mohsen at: [email protected] or 052-595-0922.
It’s hard to know which of the numbers in this nBewsletter
is the most appalling.
The fact that 31% of disability living allowance (DLA)
claimants get absolutely nothing when they transfer to personal independence
Or that just 45% of new PIP claims are successful, if you
don’t include people with terminal illnesses.
There’s the staggering 92% drop in employment and support
allowance (ESA) appeals since the DWP brought in mandatory reconsiderations.
Then there’s the revelation that the PIP waiting list is
still getting longer, in spite of promises by ministers to fix it. There are
now 323,000 people waiting for a medical, meaning an average wait of at least
Or is it that just 19% of claimants who made a new ESA
claim between October and December 2013 have so far had a decision, again
largely because of long delays in getting a medical?
The only mildly entertaining number in amongst all the
latest statistics is that, after all this time and money, there are still fewer
people receiving universal credit than have season tickets for Watford Town FC.
IDs may claim that universal credit is going exactly to plan, but he must be
the only person left who still believes it.
Finally, we reveal that the DWP is still refusing to say
when it will publish one set of statistics that campaigners have been pursuing
for a long time – the ESA death statistics. But we haven’t let them off the
hook that easily.
ESA assessment crisis worsens
More and more claimants who should be in the support group of ESA are being
forced to remain in the assessment phase for a year or more, because of the
growing crisis in the service provided by Atos.
Fewer than one in five claimants who made a new ESA claim
between October and December 2013 have had a decision made on their claim, the latest DWP quarterly statistics reveal.
Just 19% have had a decision, compared to 22% in the preceding quarter,
suggesting that the situation in regard to Atos assessments is continuing to deteriorate.
Over 90% fall in ESA appeals
The DWP’s attempts to make it as difficult as possible to appeal a benefits
decision appear to be succeeding, according to the latest tribunal statistics.
There has been a drop of 92% in ESA appeals and 93% in Jobseekers Allowance
(JSA) appeals in April to June 2014 compared to the same period last year.
ESA death statistics – DWP say they will publish details, but won’t say when
The DWP is continuing to use delaying tactics to block publication of ESA death statistics,
whilst claiming that they intend to release them at an undisclosed future date,
we can reveal. This is the same claim that the DWP have been making for well
over a year and the refusal to publish the figures is now the subject of a
further challenge by Benefits and Work.
Up to the end of July this year 529,000 claims for PIP
had been lodged and 206,000 had been cleared, suggesting that there was still a
backlog of 323,000 claims. At current clearance rates this means an average
wait of around 35 weeks.
More than half of new PIP claims fail, almost
one third of DLA to PIP transfers fail
The latest statistics released by the DWP show that only 45% of PIP claims succeed
where the claimant is not terminally ill. For disability living allowance (DLA)
to PIP transfers, the success rate stands at 69%.
The new figures provided by the DWP show that awards for
terminally ill claimants, whose death can reasonably be expected within six
months, stand at around 96%.
Benefits and Work.
Steve Donnison | PO Box 4352 | Warminster, Wilts BA12
2AF, United Kingdom
In Israel, Lancet
editor regrets publishing open letter on Gaza
Dr. Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal, made a statement Thursday during Grand Rounds at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa saying that he will publish a retraction.
By JTA | Oct. 2, 2014
JTA – The editor of the British medical journal The Lancet, which ran an
open letter accusing Israel of a “massacre” in Gaza, said on a visit to Israel
that he will publish a retraction.
Dr. Richard Horton made a statement Thursday during Grand Rounds at the
Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, which he also visited earlier in the week.
Horton reportedly said during his statement that he “deeply, deeply regrets”
publishing the letter to the people of Gaza in The Lancet during this summer’s
conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. Several dozen physicians from the
West signed the letter, which also accused Israel of “cruel” and “vicious war
crimes.” Physicians, researchers and Israeli officials decried the letter.
NGO Monitor last week unearthed evidence tying two of the letters’ authors
to support for white supremacist David Duke.
During his statement at Rambam on Thursday, Horton reportedly condemned the
contributors to The Lancet who promote explicitly anti-Semitic materials,
expressed a new understanding of Israeli realities including the complexities
of the Arab-Israel conflict, and pledged a new relationship with Israel.
He also invited Israelis to “tell the Israeli health story” in The Lancet,
in parallel to the Palestinians’.
Following Horton’s remarks, NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research
institute which monitors non-governmental organizations, said in a statement
that it is “urgent that the July 2014 “An Open Letter for the People of Gaza”
be removed from The Lancet’s website and a formal retraction and apology be
published prominently, both on the website and the next hard copy issue.”
NGO Monitor also called on The Lancet to “undertake positive initiatives to
accurately inform the medical community of Israel’s contributions to medicine,
as well as the close cooperation that takes place between different sectors of
War Crimes fugitive and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni says that her
country shares the same values with such “moderate” Arab regimes as Saudi
Arabia, other autocratic Gulf states and the Egyptian dictatorship that
massacred more than one thousand protestors in cold blood just over a year ago.
She also called Palestinian Authority de facto
Abbas’ speech to the UN Generally Assembly – in which he accused
Israel of “genocide” in Gaza – “horrific.”
Nonetheless she insisted that Abbas’ PA regime remained an Israeli ally.
Siegel summarized Israel’s position in these terms: “Here’s Israel’s
situation in the region it seems. You’re worried about the very movements and
the very countries that worry the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Jordanians, the
United Arab Emirates, the Turks, to a great extent – without a Palestinian
agreement, though, they can’t deal with you as a public ally and partner in the
region. Are regional concerns strong enough to lead the Israelis to say we’ve
got to – we have to get a deal with the Palestinians to be above-board players
in the Middle East?”
Livni endorsed Siegel’s assessment, adding: “The world is divided between
the good guys and the bad guys,” Livni said. “And we, Israel – of course, the
United States – the legitimate Palestinian government, Egypt, Jordan and the
Gulf States, we are part of the camp of so-called moderates or diplomatics
against these terrorists.”
Livni said she looked forward to the day Israel could be a “public part of
this coalition against the evil that we are facing in the region.” [the most important part of her speech and one which has been overlooked – TG]
Presumably the “evil” Livni was referring to includes the horrifying recent
beheadings of Western journalists by the “Islamic State” group.
But it apparently does not include the “surge” in
beheadings by Israel’s “moderate” Saudi regime allies for such
alleged offenses as drug smuggling and “sorcery.”
Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud in Bahrain – his regime specialises in beheadings. However Livni is right person to lead negotiations. REUTERS
to Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia executed at least 19 people since 4 August
this year by public beheading.
Nor does the “evil” Livni cites apparently include
Israel’s own record of beheading
Palestinian children, albeit using missiles and bombs rather than
blades, in the context of its summertime massacre in Gaza which killed more
than 2,100 people.
And it definitely doesn’t include the Egyptian military
dictatorship’s massacre of at least 817 unarmed demonstrators in Cairo’s Rabia
al-Adawiya square on 14 August 2013.
That premeditated atrocity, among other mass killings
around the same time, was “one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators
in a single day in recent history,” according
to Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
That Israel shares “values” with such US-backed regimes should not surprise
anyone. Israel, the US and their Arab client regimes have always been allied
against the people of the region, against the Palestinians and against
One area where the Saudi regime and Israel share a clear common cause is
stoking regional sectarianism between members of the Sunni and Shia branches of
By pitting potential adversaries of Israel against each other, Israel is
engaging in the classic colonial tactic of “divide and rule.”
This is why in his speech
to the UN this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nominally
condemned “Islamic State” – also known as ISIS or ISIL – but cautioned against “defeating ISIS” only to leave Iran strengthened.
Israel’s goal appears to be perpetual regional sectarian war, not anything
recognizable as peace.
We should at least be grateful to Livni for clearing up the delusions some
may still harbor that Israel is anything other than a fierce foe of democracy
and a staunch ally of the most brutal and unsavory regimes.
Palestinians torn over contact with
Amira Hass of Ha’aretz Told to Leave Bir Zeit University Campus
My own view is that this is an own goal. It is understandable, given the Palestinians
experience of Israelis they come into contact with, but it is self-defeating. Any boycott, especially the Cultural
Boycott, must be intelligently applied.
It’s not intended to boycott Israelis per se but Zionist institutions
and Israelis who are overtly racist. It
is not a boycott of one’s friends, of whom Amira Hass is certainly one.
The same Israel issues came up with the Boycott of South
Africa and were resolved in favour of the latter position. Otherwise a Boycott becomes a fixed and rigid
application of a principle without any thought of what was intending to
achieve. You don’t boycott your friends
but the enemy. It means an intelligent application
of the Boycott.
For the same reasons one doesn’t boycott academics simply
because they are Israelis, given that most anti-Zionist Israelis are the most
fervent campaigners around the Palestinian cause. It is also a gift to the Zionists who can
easily point out that what is being proposed is a form of discrimination on the
grounds of national origins and in effect racial discrimination.
In just the same way as it would be madness to boycott
Israeli anti-Zionists and supporters of the Palestinians, who are isolated from
most Israelis as it is. It can only make
it more difficult for Israelis to break from Zionism.
I’m pleased to say that Bir Zeit University has woken up to the damage that has
been done to the Palestinian cause by allowing th
2014 it issued the following statement:
it to be painted with the charge
of racism. On September 30
Bir Zeit University in Ramallah – Palestine’s national university
In response to the controversy over
the incident involving journalist Amira Hass, Birzeit University wishes to
clarify its principled position of welcoming supporters of the Palestinian
struggle and opponents of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, regardless of
nationality, religion, ethnicity, or creed. Hence, Hass, who has consistently
condemned the Israeli occupation, evinced support for Palestinian rights, and
helped expose the discriminatory policies of occupation and its flagrant
violations of these rights, is always welcome on our campus and at university
Gaza 2014 – This is all most Palestinian students know of Israeli Jews
university regrets the lamentable incident involving the apparent exclusion of
Hass from a Center for Development Studies Conference, and will work with
students and faculty to create better understanding of, and ensure adherence
to, university policies, which oppose discrimination based on identity.
Bir Zeit University
university community takes pride in observing the academic boycott of Israel.
However, this boycott applies to institutions, not individuals, let alone
individuals who have distinguished themselves by being on the side of justice
and humanity, as has journalist Hass.
A Palestinian university’s decision to bar from its campus an Israeli
journalist and outspoken critic of the occupation has exposed a growing rift
among Palestinian activists about the merits of contact with Jewish Israelis.
Amira Hass of Ha’aretz
Staff at Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah in the West Bank, ordered Amira
Hass, a reporter for the Israeli daily Haaretz newspaper, to leave a public
conference late last month. She was told it was for her own “safety”
in case students protested against her presence.
Ahmad Tibi MK Condemns the Exclusion of Amira Hass
Hass, who has lived among Palestinians in the occupied territories for many
years, is a rare critical voice against the occupation in the Israeli media.
Her articles translated in Haaretz’s English edition are widely read outside
Bir Zeit’s decision has provoked a heated debate among Palestinian
intellectuals, students and activists about how far refusal to cooperate with
Israelis should extend.
Amira Hass – A Campaigning Journalist
Observers say hostility towards Israeli Jews of all political stripes has
become more pronounced among some Palestinian youth over the past few years.
The trend is especially strong in Ramallah, where many Bir Zeit students live.
However, a petition circulated on social media against Hass’ exclusion
quickly attracted signatures from hundreds of Palestinian scholars, who noted
that she was a “courageous human rights defender”. In a column in Al-Ayyam
newspaper, Ghassan Zaqtan, a prominent poet, called Hass’ treatment “shameful”.
Meanwhile, Israeli political activists have been left wondering whether, if
the next generation of Palestinians rejects all joint endeavours, they have a
place either in the struggle against the occupation or in a solution to the
South Africa or Algeria?
“The question is whether Palestinians want a South African model of an
inclusive solution that offers a shared future for Palestinians and Israelis,
or an Algerian model of exclusion,” said Jeff Halper, the head of the Israeli
Committee Against House Demolitions, an Israeli group that campaigns against
the demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied territories.
Referring to the expulsion of French colonists from Algeria in the early
1960s, he said: “Increasingly, it sounds like the Palestinian view is that this
is another Algeria. If Israelis are simply colonial settlers, then we have no
right to remain here.”
In a report for her newspaper, Hass wrote that other notable Israeli
dissidents, such as Ilan Pappe, an historian who characterises the
dispossession of Palestinians in 1948 as ethnic cleansing, had in the past been
forced to hold talks off campus.
She said university staff had told her they were enforcing a regulation from
the mid-1990s intended to create a “safe space” for students.
For decades, the Israeli army has targeted Bir Zeit, the most prestigious
place of learning in the West Bank and a hotbed of political activism,
harassing and arresting students and staff.
According to the Israeli media, more than 1,000 Palestinian students have
been arrested by Israel since 2000, with most of them from Bir Zeit. That
number includes three former heads of the student council. In 2009 alone, 83
students from the university were arrested or jailed.
Matthew Kalman, a reporter specialising in education issues, wrote
in Haaretz: “Just about every Palestinian university in the West
Bank has stories of nighttime IDF [Israel Defense Forces] raids, campus teargas
attacks and random arrests and intimidation.”
Arrests and torture
Omar Barghouti, a prominent activist in the boycott movement in Ramallah,
said he opposed exclusion of individuals but understood why there was
increasing opposition to cooperation with Israelis from some young activists.
“Most students’ only experience of ‘meeting’ Israelis is being arrested by
soldiers and tortured by the Shin Bet [Israel’s intelligence service]. Without
a doubt, it colours their view.”
The row about Hass prompted the university to hastily issue a statement in
which it seemed to reverse policy. Staff and students would be told that the
university opposed all “discrimination based on identity”. The statement added
that Israelis “on the side of justice and humanity”, such as Hass, would always
be welcomed on campus.
But many students appeared unhappy with the administration’s more
Shortly after the statement was issued, Bir Zeit’s student council demanded
it be withdrawn. “We say that any Israeli Zionist is not welcome in Bir Zeit
University,” Mustafa Mustafa, the student council’s leader, told the Associated
Press news agency. “If Amira really supports the Palestinian struggle against
the occupation, she needs to leave the country.”
The controversy was pounced on by commentators in Israel and abroad. In
Commentary, a conservative US magazine, Evelyn Gordon asked: “How is peace
possible when Birzeit [sic] is educating these future Palestinian leaders to
believe all Israeli Jews should be shunned simply because they are Israeli
No peace camp
Ghassan Khatib, a senior official at the university, told Middle East Eye
that things had changed significantly since his time studying at Bir Zeit in
“At that time we would make huge efforts to find Israelis to meet or debate
us. There were Israeli Jews who came to show solidarity when we were attacked
by the occupation forces, including during the first intifada [in the late
The situation for today’s generation is very different, he said. “The
[Israeli] peace camp has collapsed, and there is no visible debate in Israeli
society about ending the occupation or even criticism of what happened in Gaza
this summer. In that climate, young people cannot see a reason for any
interaction and dialogue with Israelis.”
The debate about dealings with Israelis should be understood in the context
of a wider policy across the Arab world opposing what is termed
“normalisation”. According to this view, there should be no normal relations
with Israel until the occupation ends.
Bir Zeit’s policy was formulated in the mid-1990s, at the time when the
Palestinian leadership returned to the occupied territories from exile in
Tunisia under the terms of the Oslo accords.
But while the Arab world has rarely needed to test the intricacies of
its anti-normalisation approach, given its lack of public contacts with Israel,
Palestinians in the occupied territories have found the policy more complicated
With the Palestinian economy almost completely dependent on Israel, casual
labourers need permits to work in Israel or the settlements, business leaders
require Israel’s assistance with exports and imports, and the Palestinian
Authority has to cooperate closely with Israel on many matters, including
At the same time, Khatib observed, Israel’s policy of separation –
culminating in the building of a wall across the West Bank and the
“disengagement” from Gaza a decade ago – severely limited the possibility of
contacts between Israelis and Palestinians. That was especially true, he said,
in the Palestinian cities, which were designated by Israeli military
regulations as off-limits to Israelis.
Barred from Ramallah
Sam Bahour, a businessman and political activist in Ramallah, said: “What
makes no sense to me is that young people are vehemently protesting against any
contact with Israeli Jews, even those who are on their side, and yet publicly
they barely say a word against Palestinian security cooperation with Israel.”
He contrasted their position with that held in Palestinian rural areas close
to the Green Line, which formally demarcates the boundary between Israel and
the occupied territories. “There every week Israeli activists are coming to
help Palestinian villagers struggle against the Israeli army’s confiscation of
“The irony is that farmers are fostering cooperation while Palestinian
intellectuals and academics are opposed.”
Bahour cited his own bitter experiences two years ago when he tried to bring
to Ramallah an Israeli group, Zochrot, that supports the right of return to
Israel of Palestinian refugees expelled in the 1948 war, as well as their
descendants. The right of return is possibly the biggest taboo in Israeli
The meeting, which was to have discussed strategies for effecting a return
of the refugees, had to be cancelled after young Palestinian activists mounted
a Facebook campaign threatening to disrupt the meeting.
In one post, an opponent called the meeting an “act of immoral
normalisation”. Another protested at the Palestinians’ continuing dispossession
by Israel: “When they drop their ‘Israeli citizenship’, I can look [at] them as
partners, but since they [are] still living in my grandfather’s house in Akka, Yaffa,
Safad, they [are] occupiers.”
“Such reactions show no understanding of the need to create political
alliances and to break down barriers if we want to make progress on finding a
solution to the conflict,” said Bahour.
“Israelis are no longer seen as an address. The view in the PA is that we
can leapfrog over Israel to talk to Washington, while the activists behave as
though we can leapfrog over Israelis to get help from solidarity groups in
Big picture forgotten
Bahour blamed the lack of effective political leadership for encouraging
sloganeering rather than organised and coherent action from Palestinian
“The PA is talking about getting statehood at the UN but there is no debate
about how we envision relations with Israelis post-occupation.”
Halper concurred. “It’s like Palestinians have given up on the occupation
ever ending. No one talks about where Israelis fit in, no one is sure of the
policy. That’s why Amira Hass gets caught up in this incident at Bir Zeit.”
Sami Kilani, a professor at An-Najah university in Nablus who signed the
petition in support of Hass, said that, in expelling her, Bir Zeit had
“forgotten the bigger picture”.
“It’s a self-defeating approach,” he told Middle East Eye. “An-Najah invites
Israelis to come to meetings and conferences so that we can hear and learn from
each other. But given Israel’s military restrictions, they usually either can’t
or won’t come.”
Bahour and Kilani are among those hoping that Hass’ exclusion will force a
more critical re-appraisal of popular notions of anti-normalisation.
Bahour said Bir Zeit’s policy was inconsistent with the more precise
guidelines introduced since 2005 by the Palestinian movement calling for
boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, modelled on a similar
campaign against apartheid South Africa.
Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement, said the guidelines for
boycott did not apply to individuals, only to institutions and projects that
failed to follow the principle of what he called “co-resistance”.
BDS’ three official goals are: an end to the occupation, a right of return
for Palestinian refugees, and equal rights for Palestinian citizens in Israel.
Barghouti added that the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural
Boycott of Israel (PACBI) had never requested that Palestinian universities
endorse BDS, aware of their precarious situation under occupation.
Some commentators, however, have suggested that the action against Hass was
in accordance with BDS.
They have observed that Hass was expelled from the meeting after she had
registered herself as a representative of the Haaretz newspaper, an institution
that would be covered by the call for boycott.
Hass noted in her report that she had been on the campus many times before
without incident. But she also pointed out that she had been personally barred
from attending an Arabic course at the university in 1998.