Israeli delegation to upcoming conference expected to encourage donor countries to help guarantee continued delivery of food, education services and salaries.
By Yaniv Kubovich | Haaretz | Sep 9, 2018
The Israel Defense Forces warned . . . that if the UN agency’s Gaza operations cease without a workable alternative being found, an escalation in violence is nearly inevitable.
Israeli defense officials agreed in a meeting last week that the government must develop an alternative to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip in order to head off a humanitarian disaster in light of the US commitment to defunding the agency.
An Israeli delegation to a donor conference in New York later this month is expected to encourage donor countries to pitch in to guarantee the continued delivery of food, education services and the salaries of the UN’s 30,000 employees in the Strip. Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, is one of several Israeli defense officials who are scheduled to attend.
In earlier meetings ideas for projects were put forward that Israel wanted to promote, mainly in the realm of infrastructure, but now Israel will now seek ways of funding more basic needs.
“The targeting of civilians, particularly children, is unacceptable,” Guterres said in the report, adding that “those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable.”
— UN Secretary General Antonia Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday presented four options aimed at boosting the protection of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, from sending UN rights monitors and unarmed observers to deploying a military or police force under UN mandate.
The proposals were contained in a report requested by the General Assembly in response to a surge of violence in Gaza, where 171 Palestinians have been killed during Hamas-led clashes with Israeli troops since late March. Dozens of the dead were members of Hamas and other terror groups, Hamas has acknowledged.
The UN chief stressed that for each of the options, cooperation by Israel and the Palestinians would be necessary. It remained unlikely however that Israel would agree to the proposals . . . .
Ali requires further surgery. He is still hoping to move his legs again. He is still hoping to defy the treacherous bullet fired by a heartless sniper, and a world that answers Israel’s crimes with shocking silence.
I was sitting behind my desk in my family’s supermarket in Khan Younis on 14 May when my cousin Ali approached. There was going to be another gathering in al-Faraheen for that day’s Great March of Return protest, he said. Would I join him?
“No, I prefer the one in Khuzaa where we usually go,” I said.
Ali insisted to go to al-Faraheen and decided he would do so with his friend Saed. He stayed with me until I closed the shop and we went our separate ways. I called my friend Ahmad to go to Khuzaa.
At the protest, we found the usual: tear gas canisters falling thickly, leaving us barely able to breathe or talk; ambulances and paramedics fanning out everywhere; and the sound of live bullets whizzing past. The sound of a bullet elicits contradictory feelings. All of us know that it will hit someone. But if we hear it, we are safe, just like when we hear shelling it means it has exploded but not on us.
The Palestinian Occupied Territories have, long ago, crossed the line from being occupied to being colonized. But there are reasons that we are trapped in old definitions, leading amongst them is American political hegemony over the legal and political discourses pertaining to Palestine.
June 5, 2018, marks the 51st anniversary of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
But, unlike the massive popular mobilization that preceded the anniversary of the Nakba — the catastrophic destruction of Palestine in 1948 — on 15 May, the anniversary of the occupation is hardly generating equal mobilization.
The unsurprising death of the “peace process” and the inevitable demise of the “two-state solution” has shifted the focus from ending the occupation per se to the larger, and more encompassing, problem of Israel’s colonialism throughout Palestine.
Grassroots mobilization in Gaza and the West Bank, and among Palestinian Bedouin communities in the Naqab Desert, are, once more, widening the Palestinian people’s sense of national aspirations. Thanks to the limited vision of the Palestinian leadership those aspirations have, for decades, been confined to Gaza and the West Bank.
In some sense, the “Israeli occupation” is no longer an occupation as per international standards and definitions. It is merely a phase of the Zionist colonization of historic Palestine, a process that began over a 100 years ago, and carries on to this day. . . .
“I am here on the front line acting as a human shield of safety to protect the injured . . . . No one encouraged me [to be] a paramedic, I encouraged myself. I wanted to take chances and help people.”
— slain Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar
Just when you thought Israel couldn’t get any lower — the Israeli army has just released an incitement video, titled “Hamas’ use of human shields must stop,” in which it frames the slain medic Razan al-Najjar as a “Hamas human shield” — two days after it claimed she was killed by accident.
This is more than adding insult to injury. This is adding malice to crime.
The propaganda effort is based on twisting al-Najjar’s own words. I have consulted with three Arabic experts, who have looked at the original Arabic interview from which the IDF took the “human shield” text, and it is clear to them beyond a doubt that the IDF was knowingly and cynically manipulating Razan’s words to mean something other than what she said. . . .
We Gazans are caught between a rock and an unlivable, uninhabitable place, where the water we drink and the soil in which we plant are poisoning us and our children. Our air, land and sea are completely sealed off by Israel and Egypt’s military might. We Gazans endure humanitarian disaster, generation after generation, and are denied even the most basic right to escape a slow death. We are two million civilian prisoners, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death.
On June 1, 21-year-old volunteer paramedic Razan al-Najjar was shot dead at the Gaza protests while rescuing injured protestors near the separation fence.
Anyone with the smallest modicum of moral decency should be shattered, devastated and overwhelmed by her death, just as they should be devastated by the horrendous improvised projectile that hit a kindergarten in Israel. Both incidents deserve unequivocal condemnation, at the very least, though only one resulted in death (thank God, none of the children were hurt).
But al-Najjar’s murder shows us something else, something horrific that transcends the border shootings. For the systematic dehumanization of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, happens not only at the hands of the Israeli guns and policies but in the media afterwards, in the framing by Israel’s supporters.
Friedman says criticism of recent Palestinian death toll in the Strip is aimed mainly at “my friends in the United States and one Israeli newspaper I’ve been known to criticize here” — a seeming reference to Haaretz.
“I find it curious that an ambassador who repeatedly refuses requests to speak to the media is now criticizing the media. The international media is not a monolithic entity, and for him to generalize like this is simplistic, inaccurate and misinformed.”
— Joe Federman, chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Israel
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Monday accused the media of major bias against Israel in its coverage of the recent violence on the Gaza border, telling reporters to “keep your mouths shut until you figure it out.”
Speaking in Jerusalem, Friedman said his criticism was aimed mainly at “my friends in the United States and one Israeli newspaper I’ve been known to criticize here” –—seemingly a reference to Haaretz, which the ambassador slammed in February after Gideon Levy published a piece criticizing him and his donation of an ambulance to a West Bank settlement.
Friedman claimed that most journalists covering the clashes in recent weeks had never bothered investigating whether Israel had other viable alternatives for defending its border besides using live fire. . . .
“On one side, you have kids with slingshots and people who burn tires, and on other side, there’s sophisticated army of snipers and soldiers.”
— Dr. Marc Sinclair
Along the fence dividing the Gaza Strip from Israel lie a bunch of tents of volunteers who drag injured demonstrators away from the danger zone to provide necessary help using basic medical tools.
One of the young women in white paramedic’s uniform was Razan Al Najjar, the 21-year-old volunteer emergency medical worker who was recently shot dead as she tried to aid a demonstrator, during the ongoing Palestinian protest campaign.
“Razan was a very outspoken and proud woman. She was sure of her role and what she could do to contribute on ground,” said Dr Marc Sinclair, a Dubai-based pediatric orthopedic surgeon who founded the Little Wings Foundation charity that treats children in Palestine.
Despite Israel’s descent into unmasked, right-wing extremism and its decades-old military occupation and oppression of Palestinians, the EU continues to treat it as if it were above international law.
Today, Palestinians everywhere will commemorate the 1947–1949 Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe) — the ethnic cleansing of the majority of indigenous Palestinians from our homeland and the systematic destruction of hundreds of our villages and towns to establish Israel as an exclusionary state.
In 1948, when Zionist paramilitaries forced the family of my late grandmother, Rasmiyyah, out of their spacious home in the picturesque city of Safad at gunpoint, the seminal process of settler-colonialism that was enabled by the Balfour Declaration became personal to my family. The Nakba has shaped my identity and the identity of millions of other Palestinian descendants of refugees.
To suppress the massive peaceful demonstrations in Gaza, where the majority are Nakba refugees and their descendants, demanding an end to the 12-year-old siege and refugees’ rights, Israel has enacted a shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy, killing dozens and injuring thousands, many with live ammunition. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has condemned these crimes, while Amnesty International has called on world governments “to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel” as an effective measure of accountability.