Challenging Israel’s climate apartheid in Palestine

Protest against trees uprooting, As Sawiya, West Bank, 2.5.2020
Palestinian farmers examine their damaged olive trees, which are suspected to have been cut down by Israeli settlers, As-Sawiya village, West Bank, May 02, 2020. The farmers were prevented from tending to their land by Israeli soldiers who declared it a closed military zone. (credit: Ahmad Al-Bazz)
In Palestine, climate change is compounded by political and economic decisions.

By Muna Dajani | Al-Shabaka | Jan 30, 2022

In the case of Palestine, the effects of climate change are influenced and exacerbated by Israeli settler colonialism and theft of natural resources.

Overview

Through its participation in the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and other international forums, the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to promote a state-centric approach to climate change that ultimately blocks legitimate climate and environmental justice in Palestine. In effect, Palestinian leadership has reduced the Palestinian liberation struggle – inherently a struggle for climate and environmental justice – to a failed state-building project since the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Justice is rarely addressed in these international conventions and forums, leaving Palestinians confined to the logic of international donors who seek to manage the occupation instead of pressuring Israel to end it. The normalization and depoliticization of Israel’s climate apartheid characterize the existing approach to addressing Palestine’s climatic and environmental issues, and they must be countered by Palestinians and international climate justice advocates alike.

Continue reading “Challenging Israel’s climate apartheid in Palestine”

US federal court blocks Texas from enforcing anti-BDS law on contractor

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Rasmy Hassouna, executive vice president of the Palestinian-owned A&R Engineering and Testing Inc, said Texas’ anti-BDS law violated his constitutional rights. (credit: Cair / Rasmy Hassouna)
Palestinian American filed the lawsuit after city of Houston required his company to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel.

By Middle East Eye staff | Jan 29, 2022

‘The Court does find that Hassouna authentically holds a pro-Palestinian point of view that is protected by the First Amendment’
US District Judge, Andrew S Hanen

United States federal court has blocked the state of Texas from enforcing its anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) law against a Palestinian-American contractor who refused to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel.

Rasmy Hassouna, an engineer and executive vice president of the Palestinian-owned A&R Engineering and Testing Inc, filed the lawsuit in November challenging a Texas law that bars the state from doing business with companies participating in the BDS movement against Israel.

The firm said in its complaint filed in a Houston federal court that the law violates its First Amendment right to participate in economic boycotts as a form of protest.

Continue reading “US federal court blocks Texas from enforcing anti-BDS law on contractor”

The UK welcomed an Israeli arms factory into our town. We shut it down

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Activists from Palestine Action hold up a banner on top of Elbit Systems factory in Oldham, northern England, August, 2021. (credit: Palestine Action)
By forcing Elbit Systems to close one of its factories, we showed what direct action can achieve when governments remain indifferent to Israeli apartheid.

By Huda Ammori | +972 Magazine  | Jan 23, 2022

When every attempt to campaign through traditional methods is dismissed, and people’s lives are at stake, it is our duty to take direct action.

Earlier this month, we at Palestine Action received thrilling news: Israel’s largest arms company, Elbit Systems, announced that it had decided to sell its weapons factory in Oldham, a town in the north of England, and leave the area for good.

Through 18 months of sustained direct action, and with the unwavering support of the local community, our #ShutElbitDown campaign made it intolerable for the Israeli arms factory to continue operating on our doorstep. This is a welcome victory for all those who have worked tirelessly to campaign for the rights of Palestinians, and, crucially, for the Palestinian people themselves.

The case against Elbit is clear: its weapons — drones, tanks, bullets and more — are developed and marketed through being “tested” on the captive population of the Gaza Strip, which is besieged under an illegal military blockade. These products are then sold on to other brutal regimes, further violating human rights around the globe — for example, in occupied Kashmir. Yet despite Elbit’s immorality, the British government has been more than happy to assist the company in facilitating such crimes against humanity.

Read the full article here →

A Hebrew teacher called herself an Anti-Zionist. She was fired.

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The Westchester county courthouse.  (credit: AP Photo / Frank Franklin II)
A complaint arguing that a Reform synagogue violated New York labor law could point toward a new strategy for Palestinian rights advocates.

By Isaac Scher | Jewish Currents | Jan 25, 2022

The facts of the case show a notable synagogue struggling with whether to recognize anti-Zionism as a legitimate mode of Jewish life.

On July 22nd, Jessie Sander was fired from her job as a Hebrew teacher in the education program of the Westchester Reform Temple, a high-profile congregation in Scarsdale, New York. According to a legal complaint obtained by Jewish Currents, the dismissal—which occurred before Sander, 26, had even met her students—came in response to a blog post Sander co-wrote criticizing Israel.

Sander had been offered the job on May 10th, the same day that Israel initiated an aerial bombardment of Gaza that killed, according to the most recent count, 260 Palestinians over the course of 10 days. On May 20th, the day Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, Sander and a friend published the blog post, in which they condemned Israeli “settler-colonial violence” and referred to themselves as anti-Zionists. “Being anti-Zionist has made us even more invested in building Jewish community and fighting for justice for all Jews,” they wrote. “Jews in the United States must speak out against genocide in our name and state-sponsored murder disguised as support for Jewish people.”

Continue reading “A Hebrew teacher called herself an Anti-Zionist. She was fired.”

Between a rising tide and apartheid: Environmental justice in Palestine

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The environmental situation in Gaza is dire at the moment. (credi: via ActiveStills.org)
A review of work using graphic representations as applied to Israel/Palestine environmental issues.

By Jim Miles | The Palestine Chronicle | Jan 23, 2022

The most compelling statement made during the discussion on cartography was “…the settler-colonial imperative is to create private land…for profit” – a strong summation.

A recent seminar from the group “Visualizing Palestine” served to present four graphic representations of environmental problems within Israel/Palestine.

The graphics are self-explanatory and need no review here – they are after all graphic, and speak well for themselves. The discussion talked around the graphics, what they emphasized and how they are necessary for a clear understanding of environmental issues in Palestine.

Continue reading “Between a rising tide and apartheid: Environmental justice in Palestine”

‘Two-time refugees’: Israel forcibly expels Palestinian family from Sheikh Jarrah, demolishes their home

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The rubble of the Salhiya family home in Sheikh Jarrah, occupied East Jerualem. (credit: Twitter / Mohammed El-Kurd)
At around 3:00 am Wednesday morning Israeli forces raided the Salhiya family home in Sheikh Jarrah and forcibly displaced the 15 family members living inside the house before demolishing the family’s home.

By Yumna Patel | Mondoweiss | Jan 19, 2022

The Salhiya family, like the other Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah under threat of forced expulsion, were displaced from their homes during the Nakba in 1948, and were settled into Sheikh Jarrah as refugees.

After a standoff that captured global attention, Israel forcibly displaced a Palestinian family from their home and demolished it in the middle of the night on Wednesday, in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

At around 3:00 am Wednesday morning Israeli forces raided the Salhiya family home in Sheikh Jarrah and forcibly removed the 15 family members living inside the house.

Continue reading “‘Two-time refugees’: Israel forcibly expels Palestinian family from Sheikh Jarrah, demolishes their home”

‘In our teens, we dreamed of making peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Then my friend was shot’

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Aseel Aslih (seated far right) and Roy Cohen (seated third from right) at a Seeds of Peace camp in the 1990s. (credit: Bobbie Gottschalk)
At a summer camp for kids from conflict zones, I met my brave, funny friend Aseel. He was Palestinian. I was Israeli. When he was killed by police, my hope for our future died with him.

By Roy Cohen | The Guardian | Jan 13, 2022

That year, I got a glimpse of the connections that were possible between Palestinians and Israelis. Our relationships would always be complicated, but we had discovered we had a lot in common, and we had a lot to say.

On 11 May 2021, I was sitting with a small group in a cafe in southern Tel Aviv, studying Arabic. Our teacher, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, had been telling us that he and his pregnant Jewish wife kept getting turned down by landlords who would not rent their property to a “mixed” couple. We were almost at the end of the three-hour class when air raid sirens sounded. A few days earlier, missiles had been launched from Gaza into Israel, but this was the first time they had hit Tel Aviv. Beyond the fear of an airstrike, I had a sad, heavy feeling. I had recently returned to live in Israel after 15 years studying and working abroad. I remembered a time, in the mid-1990s, when I had believed that Israel was going to be different, more just and less violent. That belief now felt like a distant memory.

My faith in Israel’s future had been inspired by an experience I shared as a teenager with a group of extraordinary people. As we waited for the rocket fire to stop, I recalled one of those people in vivid detail, a person I have barely been able to talk about in my home country for more than 20 years. His name was Aseel Aslih. Continue reading “‘In our teens, we dreamed of making peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Then my friend was shot’”

The International Community and Israel: Giving permission to a permanent occupation

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A closed Palestinian shop in the Israeli settlement in Hebron. Note door welded shut. (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Five foundational criteria that could shape a viable and principled strategy by the international community to end the Israeli occupation and enable Palestinian self-determination.

By Michael Lynk | JustSecurity | Jan 7, 2022

Beyond tut-tutting about settlement expansion and ensuring that the Palestinian Authority’s head is kept above water, the international community has no coherent strategy to actually end the 54-year-old Israeli occupation.

On Nov. 17, 2021, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) gathered in Oslo for its semi-annual meeting. Created in 1993 shortly after the famous handshake on the White House lawn, the AHLC is the semi-formal organization of international donors to the Palestinian Authority (PA). It promotes a two-State solution through the development of the Palestinian economy and civil institutions. Its membership of 15 leading States and institutions includes the United States, the European Union, Russia, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, and four Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia). Norway acts as the chair.

At the Oslo meeting, the AHLC reviewed the progress towards a Palestinian State, assessed the debilitated Palestinian economy, and encouraged donors to provide a new round of funding pledges for the Palestinian Authority. It also received reports from the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) and the World Bank on the current economic and political landscape of the 54 year-old Israeli occupation.

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Netherlands ends funding to Palestinian agricultural NGO outlawed by Israel

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A man wearing a Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) t-shirt harvest an olive tree in a Palestinian village occupied West Bank, October 2020 (credit: Facebook)
Fallout continues for non-profit groups that Israel has outlawed.

By Mustafa Abu Sneineh | Middle East Eye | Jan 6, 2022

“From the onset, this investigation was politically motivated and responded to pressure of the Israeli government and malign organizations affiliated with it,”
— Union of Agricultural Work Committees

The Dutch government has ended its funding for Palestine’s Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), one of six non-profit groups recently outlawed by Israel.

In October, Israel designated the Palestinian human rights groups “terrorist organizations,” saying that they acted as “part of a network of organisations operating under cover in the international arena” on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

On Wednesday, UAWC said it was “shocked and saddened” by the Netherlands’ decision to stop its funding.

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Is Donald Trump an Anti-Semite?

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President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in the East Room of the White House to unveil details of the Trump administration’s Middle East Peace Plan. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
A revealing new interview peels back yet another layer.

By David Remnick | The New Yorker | Dec 21, 2021

It’s no surprise that Trump is willing to trash foreign leaders in the most vivid terms. What seems to have shocked some American readers is that he trafficked so fluently in traditional tropes about Jewish power, conspiracy, and disloyalty.

When hundreds of hours of tapes from the Nixon White House became public, two decades ago, the full extent of Nixon’s prejudices, including his contempt for Jews, came into sharp focus. “The Jews are all over the government,” he told his chief of staff H. R. Haldeman, at an Oval Office meeting, in 1971. What’s more, “most Jews are disloyal.” Nixon made allowances for some of his useful advisers, including Henry Kissinger and William Safire, but, he said, “generally speaking, you can’t trust the bastards.”

Continue reading “Is Donald Trump an Anti-Semite?”