Palestinian perspectives on the future

(photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Shutterstock.com)
A collaboration between The Elders and The Carter Center highlight the plight of youth who were born after Oslo Accords and who have seen three Gaza wars and no change in leadership since being born.

By Jane Kinninmont | The Elders | July 1, 2020

Policymakers working on this area need to be aware of the significant generational change that has taken place since the Oslo paradigm was established.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, traditionally seen as the central conflict in the Middle East, had dropped down the international policy agenda in recent years as progress seemed impossible and as other regional conflicts became far more violent. This year, however, the US president’s “vision for peace”, which largely adopts Israeli positions on the core conflict issues, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s related announcement that he would annex large parts of the occupied West Bank from July this year, have refocused international attention on the conflict and occupation.

In recent weeks there has been worldwide mobilization against annexation, uniting a disparate set of Jewish diaspora groups and scholars, former Israeli security officials, church leaders, US Democrats, European policymakers, and current and former world leaders, including Arab countries who want peace with Israel and see this as a potential dealbreaker. Trump’s rival in the 2020 election, Joe Biden, has said that annexation would “choke off” any hopes of peace. The international community is throwing its weight behind the idea of the two-state solution with an energy and commitment not seen for years. But can it find a constructive and realistic path to deliver two states?

Continue reading “Palestinian perspectives on the future”

The great Palestinian silence

Palestinians look down on the destroyed house of a Hamas militant after an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, 2 January 2009
Palestinians look down on the destroyed house of a Hamas militant in the Gaza Strip. Israel lobbied Australia to argue the ICC should not investigate alleged war crimes in Palestine. (photo: Hatem Moussa / AP)
Palestinian Australian activists put out a statement expressing collective solidarity with Palestinians and are met with censoring by silence from mainstream Australian media.

By Randa Abdel-Fattah |  MeanJin Quarterly | July 10, 2020

What does anti-racism as practice—not a timeline of online platitudes and curated bursts of outrage—actually mean to the many academics, artists and public figures who are vocal about fighting settler colonial and racist violence, but scatter in the dust when anyone mentions Palestine?

It seems everyone is tweeting about freedom of speech. So let me tell you a story about freedom of speech and the exceptional case of Palestine.

In the days leading up to Israel’s proposed annexation of the West Bank, and in the shadow of Australia being one of only two countries to vote against a UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning the illegal annexation of significant parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank by Israel, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed. I wondered why those who profess to care about racism, oppression and injustice rarely dare to tether their politics to Palestine. I can name countless public figures, public intellectuals, academics, artists and activists who have been rightly vocal about a long list of global human rights violations and social and racial justice struggles but have never once spoken up in defence of the rights of Palestinians.

In his ground-breaking book Silencing the Past, Michel-Rolph Trouillot argues that the West’s failure to acknowledge the Haitian Revolution—the most successful slave revolt in history—‘shows us that history is not simply the recording of facts and events, but a process of actively enforced silences, some unconscious, others quite deliberate’.

Continue reading “The great Palestinian silence”

Nonviolence International Statement on Annexation

Palestinians in Gaza City demonstrated Wednesday against Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
Palestinians in Gaza City demonstrated against Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank. (photo: Mohammed Saber / EPA, via Shutterstock)
A pledge to relentlessly push for equal rights and dignity and a call for the world to say no to oppression and injustice.

By Mubarak Awad, Jonathan Kuttab, Mohammed Abu-Nimer, and Peter Weinberger | Nonviolence International | July 2, 2020

‘For the rest of the world, the annexation, large or small is a wakeup call to recognize the illegal actions of Israel in the occupied territories and the need to take active, not just verbal steps to address it. Israeli impunity only encourages further illegalities.’
—Mohammed Abu-Nimer, NVI Board Member

Unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank by Israel is a path of oppression and injustice. The whole world must say no.

There are two major arguments against annexation from the Jordan Valley or near Jerusalem:

The first is that it basically violates the bedrock of international law, which holds that you cannot annex territory that comes into your possession as a result of war.  After WWII, with the creation of the United Nations, 75 years ago, the international community cannot tolerate “border adjustments” taken unilaterally no matter what the justification.  There are 194 countries in the world, and most of them have historical, tribal, economic, or security interests in taking portions of land from their neighbours.  If that is allowed, there would be chaos in the international community.  That is why the few attempts made (Turkey in Cyprus, Morocco in Western Sahara, Iraq in Kuwait, and Russia in Georgia, and Ukraine; and now Israel in Jerusalem, the Golan and the West Bank) have been roundly condemned.  It is unfortunate that the current US administration is so contemptuous of international law and the international community that it would allow such an outrage.

Continue reading “Nonviolence International Statement on Annexation”

Yavne: A Jewish case for equality in Israel-Palestine

Separation wall between Israel and the West Bank near Jerusalem. (photo: Mazur Travel via Shutterstock)
A liberal Zionist questions if the price of a state that favors Jews over Palestinians is too high and what would it really mean to build a Jewish home that is equally a Palestinian home.

By Peter Beinart | Jewish Currents | July 7, 2020

It is time for liberal Zionists to abandon the goal of Jewish–Palestinian separation and embrace the goal of Jewish–Palestinian equality.

WHAT MAKES SOMEONE A JEW—not just a Jew in name, but a Jew in good standing—today? In Haredi circles, being a real Jew means adhering to religious law. In leftist Jewish spaces, it means championing progressive causes. But these environments are the exceptions. In the broad center of Jewish life—where power and respectability lie—being a Jew means, above all, supporting the existence of a Jewish state. In most Jewish communities on earth, rejecting Israel is a greater heresy than rejecting God.

The reason is rarely spelled out, mostly because it’s considered obvious: Opposing a Jewish state means risking a second Holocaust. It puts the Jewish people in existential danger. In previous eras, excommunicated Jews were called apikorsim, unbelievers. Today, they are called kapos, Nazi collaborators. Through a historical sleight of hand that turns Palestinians into Nazis, fear of annihilation has come to define what it means to be an authentic Jew.

Continue reading “Yavne: A Jewish case for equality in Israel-Palestine”

Cry for Hope: A Call to Decisive Action

Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 8.20.45 PM

Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, a broad network of allies including Palestinian Christians and international friends of Kairos Palestine, issue Cry for Hope, an urgent call to end the oppression of the Palestinian people.

By Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice | Cry for Hope | July 1, 2020

We declare that support for the oppression of the Palestinian people, whether passive or active, through silence, word or deed, is a sin.

We, Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, a worldwide coalition born in response to the Kairos Palestine “Moment of Truth: a word of faith, hope, and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering,” issue this urgent call to Christians, churches and ecumenical institutions. We do this together with committed Christians in Palestine and around the world. This is a call for decisive action on a matter that we believe relates to the integrity of our Christian faith.

We have arrived at a critical point in the struggle to end the oppression of the Palestinian people. The State of Israel’s adoption of the Nation State Law in 2018 legalized institutional discrimination in Israel and the Palestinian territories, officially depriving Palestinians of their rights to life, livelihood, and a future in their homeland. Recent acts of the U.S. administration have supported Israel’s ongoing project of land taking and attaining control over the entire territory of Palestine. These include the 2018 move of its embassy to Jerusalem, its announcement in 2019 that the U.S. government no longer deems West Bank settlements to be “inconsistent with international law,” and the 2020 “Peace to Prosperity” plan. Fueled by U.S. support and emboldened by the ineffectual response of the international community, Israel’s newly-formed coalition government has cleared the way for outright annexation of around one third of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. These developments make it all the more clear that we have come to the end of the illusion that Israel and the world powers intend to honor and defend the rights of the Palestinian people to dignity, self-determination, and the fundamental human rights guaranteed under international law, including the right of return for Palestinian refugees. It is time for the international community, in light of these events, to recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law.

Continue reading “Cry for Hope: A Call to Decisive Action”

Day of Rage Seattle Rally

Day of Rage Seattle Rally

Please join our brothers and sisters with the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and other local groups for a  global call to action on July 1.  The Day of Rage is a call to confront Israeli annexation and struggle for a free Palestine and to expose and oppose the deadly exchange of trainings, technologies and weapons between the Seattle Police Department and the Israeli police and military forces.
Date: Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Time: 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Location: Seattle Police Dept. West Precinct, 810 Virginia Street, Seattle WA. 98101
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free
Event Details

In solidarity with the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network’s global call to action to confront Israeli annexation and struggle for a free Palestine, we are organizing a local Day of Rage rally at the West SPD Precinct. Along with actions organized by Palestinian communities in exile and diaspora and solidarity movements around the world, Seattle Palestinian, Black and Indigenous communities are organizing a Day of Rage rally against Israel’s annexation of the West Bank of Palestine and against police terrorism in the US. We demand the defunding and dismantling of US police alongside the defunding and dismantling of Zionist colonialism and racist Israeli apartheid. Join us on Wednesday, July 1st from 5:30-7:00 at the SPD West Precinct [810 Virginia Street, Seattle WA 98101]. Bring your masks, uphold social distancing, bring signs and bring your rage.

We are organizing to expose and oppose the deadly exchange of trainings, technologies and weapons between the Seattle Police Department and the Israeli police and military forces. These trainings make US police forces and the Israeli military more dangerous and reinforce these fascist institutions controlled by the state which both take the lives and terrorize oppressed Black and Indigenous people in our communities. We are outraged by the occupation of Palestine. We are outraged by the police murders of Black people. We are outraged by this oppression and call everyone to join us in saying enough is enough!

More information here →

Ocasio-Cortez spearheads letter vowing to condition US aid to Israel over annexation

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a press conference with Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) about their new bill called the EV Freedom Act on Capitol Hill on February 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. (photo: Samuel Corum / Getty Images)
A letter backed by four prominent progressives in Congress was immediately rejected by pro-Israel groups in Washington.

By Ali Harb  |  Middle East Eye  |  June 30, 2020

‘We cannot support an undemocratic system in which Israel would permanently rule over a Palestinian people denied self-determination or equal rights,’
— US House Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Pramila Jayapal and Betty McCollum

Four Democratic congresswomen have put forward a strong-worded letter against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank, calling for using a “combination of pressure and incentives” to prevent it, including imposing conditions on American military aid to Israel.

The letter, led by House member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and co-signed by Rashida Tlaib, Pramila Jayapal and Betty McCollum, was met with immediate rejection by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Monday, setting the stage for a confrontation between progressive Democrats and pro-Israel groups in Washington.

“Unilateral annexation in the West Bank would alienate US lawmakers and citizens. We cannot support an undemocratic system in which Israel would permanently rule over a Palestinian people denied self-determination or equal rights,” the letter, addressed to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reads.

Continue reading “Ocasio-Cortez spearheads letter vowing to condition US aid to Israel over annexation”

Liberal Zionism paved the Israeli right’s path to annexation

Israelis take part in an annual 8-km march in the Jordan Valley, led by then-Interior Affairs Minister Gideon Saar. February 21, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
Israelis take part in an annual 8-km march in the Jordan Valley, led by then-Interior Affairs Minister Gideon Saar. February 21, 2014. (photo: Yonatan Sindel / FLASH90)
The world’s frantic attempts to stop annexation remain stuck in the liberal Zionist fantasies that kept the occupation running smoothly for decades.

By Yousef Munayyer | +972 Magazine | June 23, 2020

The reality on the ground is that de facto annexation — as the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion on Israel’s separation wall noted 16 years ago — is already in place, thanks in great part to the liberal Zionist governments that built and maintained the occupation since 1967.

As the new Israeli government was being sworn in last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed before the Knesset that it was time to “write another glorious chapter in the history of Zionism” by formally annexing more territory in the occupied West Bank.

With just over a week away from July 1 — the date the government has pledged to begin advancing legislation to apply “Jewish sovereignty” over its settlements — liberal Zionist figures and organizations, in Israel and abroad, have been hastily pulling out all the stops to prevent this annexation move.

However, hardly any of these liberal Zionists are acknowledging that it was their own advocacy that helped to produce this “glorious chapter” in the first place.

Continue reading “Liberal Zionism paved the Israeli right’s path to annexation”

Apparent Bowman victory over Engel is a monumental collapse for Israel lobby

Jamaal Bowman at his campaign launch event (Photo: Twitter/@JamaalBowmanNY)
Jamaal Bowman at his campaign launch event. (photo: Twitter / @JamaalBowmanNY)

Jamaal Bowman’s apparent victory over Eliot Engel punctures the Israel lobby’s carefully cultivated mythology of invincibility.

By Josh Ruebner | Mondoweiss | June 24, 2020

Bowman’s apparent victory is not a setback for the Israel lobby–it is a monumental collapse.

In August 2014, I helped organize and moderated a gut-wrenching panel on Capitol Hill during Israel’s ferocious Operation Protective Edge, its 50-day spree of war crimes unleashed against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The panel featured searing testimony from Tariq Abukhdeir, the Florida teen who had been viciously beaten by Israeli border police while handcuffed the previous month after his cousin Mohammed had been savagely murdered by Israeli extremists, and author Laila El-Haddad, who had received the horrific news that very day that the Israeli military killed eight members of her family.

C-SPAN covered the event live, a move so disconcerting to Israel’s supporters on Capitol Hill that the network was forced to temporarily cut away from the panel to cover a rambling, impromptu paean to Israel delivered by Sen. Barbara Boxer to a largely empty chamber.

Continue reading “Apparent Bowman victory over Engel is a monumental collapse for Israel lobby”

Palestinian-Israeli Joint List urges US Democrats to stop annexation

Any annexation of parts of West Bank would violate ‘universal values and norms’, (AFP / File photo)
Annexation would increase Israeli control over occupied territories and negate prospects of a viable Palestinian state, legislators warn.

By Ali Harb | Middle East Eye | June 25, 2020

‘Let us be clear, without the [U.S.] administration’s plan, annexation would unlikely be considered by the Israeli leadership.’
—letter signed by all 15 Joint list legislators, led by Knesset Member Aida Touma-Sliman

Palestinian members of the Israeli parliament are calling on US Democrats to “take a firm stand” against Israel’s plan to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, and use “all the tools” at their disposal to prevent it.

In a letter addressed to Democratic members of the US Congress on Thursday, members of the Joint List, which represents Palestinian citizens of Israel, said annexation would be a violation of “universal values and norms”.

“We would respectfully suggest that this undermines American interests. We caution that any such move will destabilize the region further and will heighten the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, and between Israel and its neighbors, notably Jordan,” reads the letter, led by Knesset Member Aida Touma-Sliman and signed by all 15 Joint list legislators.

Continue reading “Palestinian-Israeli Joint List urges US Democrats to stop annexation”