Showing posts with label settlements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label settlements. Show all posts

December 01, 2012

Defeated at the UN Israel creates more racist facts on the ground

Lost a war on Gaza, lost a vote at the UN, what's the last of the colonial settler states to do? Build more Jewish only houses and apartments in the West Bank and Jerusalem, that's what.  Here's Chris McGreal at The Guardian:
The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has ordered the construction of thousands of new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied territories in what will be widely interpreted as retaliation for theUnited Nations vote to recognise a Palestinian state on Thursday.
Israeli officials said the construction would expand existing West Bank settlements and build more homes for Jews in occupied east Jerusalem, where the government is attempting to diminish the proportion of Arab residents. Netanyahu also ordered the speeding up of planning to link Jerusalem with a Jewish settlement, Ma'aleh Adumim, in a move that would cut deep into a future Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. The US and Europe have long asked the Israeli government not to build there.
The US and Europe have long asked the Israeli government not to build there? Well they could always stop funding Israel (US), associating with Israel (EU), providing Israel with diplomatic cover (US/EU). It looks like the tide is turning against Israel but will the EU and US turn against Israel? It will happen one day but not just yet.

April 29, 2012

The Co-op - caring, sharing and boycotting

Here's news of a victory for BDS involving the "caring sharing" Co-op.  See The Boycott Israel Network (BIN):
Palestine human rights campaigners today welcomed news that the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, The Co-operative Group, will “no longer engage with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements”.
The Co-op’s decision, notified to campaigners in a statement, will immediately impact four suppliers, Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh and Mehadrin, Israel’s largest agricultural export company.  Mehadrin sources produce from illegal settlements, including Beqa’ot in the Occupied Jordan Valley.  During interviews with researchers, Palestinian workers in the settlement said they earn as little as €11 per day.  Grapes and dates packaged in the settlement were all labelled ‘Produce of Israel’.
Mehadrin’s role in providing water to settlement farms and its relationship with Israeli state water company Mekorot makes the company additionally complicit with Israel’s discriminatory water policies.  Other companies may be affected by the Co-op’s new policy if they are shown to be sourcing produce from Israel’s settlements in the Occupied Territories.
Someone told me recently that the Co-op might not be as cooperative as its name suggests though it does have some kind of profit share and decision-making scheme for its customers. It's still good news for BDS.

February 12, 2012

Tax breaks for settlement expansion

I can't see how this changes much but who am I to argue with Ha'aretz?

Today - a few days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas a sign of Palestinian refusal of the peace process - the Ministerial Committee for Legislation will discuss another project showing Israel's addiction to the settlement drug.
Coalition Chairman Zeev Elkin and his Likud colleague Zion Pinyan have proposed an amendment to the law governing tax breaks on contributions to foster the growth of communities. Donors will be able to deduct 35 percent of their contribution. Thus the state's tax exemption to institutions that promote public goals will be expanded to include organizations that promote the settlements.
The initiators of the legislation say the amendment has a "negligible" significance on the budget. But its political significance cannot be overstated.
The proposed amendment, like declaring the settlements a preferred development area and promoting the legalization of outposts, is a crude breach of Israel's international obligations. Ariel Sharon's government, in which Netanyahu served as finance minister, pledged in 2004 to U.S. President George W. Bush to stop allocating resources to encourage settlement in the occupied territories. This move was designed to stop creating hasty facts on the ground that would make it difficult to implement a two-state solution.
Actually the implementation of a two-state solution may have been impossible years ago but this editorial reminded me of The Jewish Chronicle's front page on Friday just gone:
The agreement between Fatah and Hamas for a Palestinian unity government, to be headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, almost certainly signals the end of the short-lived attempt to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. 
What peace talks? What two state solution. The capacity of zionists, of every hue, for self-delusion is breathtaking.

July 12, 2011

Israel's anti-boycott law

Israel has passed an anti-boycott law. It's yet another example of Israel jettisoning its democratic facade but apparently it's to protect the economy of the settlements.  Here's Avirama Golan in Ha'aretz:
the Boycott Law is only ostensibly about boycotts of goods produced in the settlements, just as the Admissions Committee Law is only ostensibly about community life in small towns and the Nakba Law is only ostensibly about commemorating the Palestinians' "catastrophe," and so on and so forth ad infinitum.
All of these new laws, all the new conditions stating that "anyone who doesn't recognize the Jewish and democratic state" will not receive state funds or will lose his citizenship or will not be allowed to sleep in the afternoons, have one purpose only: to completely eradicate open political debate and to comprehensively delegitimize everyone who doesn't think like MKs Zeev Elkin, David Rotem, Michael Ben-Ari and their friends.
The question that most preoccupied Meridor yesterday related to how Israel would be perceived by the international Quartet. He was genuinely worried that the law to punish those who boycott the settlements would not paint Israel's parliament in a terribly flattering light.
But Israel's image is a truly trivial issue compared to the process of change being wrought in Israeli society by the cabal of Yisrael Beiteinu, extremist rabbis and Kahanists. This process is crudely erasing entire entries from the democratic dictionary, and in their place - via a series of focused laws with intentionally vague wording - it is putting blatantly totalitarian values.
The Boycott Law is just one step in this process. Anyone who attempts to relate substantively of any of these separatist laws - all of which are meant to "defend" Israel from a long list of imaginary monstrous enemies - or who chooses to ignore their overall anti-democratic context is guilty of naivete at best, and perhaps even of dangerously feigning innocence.
Magnes Zionist has an interesting take on the new law here. He thinks it's unworkable. I don't know if it is or it isn't. I do find it remarkable though that so many people in the west who claim to support Israel because it's "the only democracy in the middle east" don't say a word when the trappings of democracy are being steadily undermined by the Israeli government.

April 19, 2011

Justice for Itamar?

Magnes Zionist explains why there can never be justice in the case of the Fogel family members killed in the Itamar settlement now that two people have been arrested in connection with the case:

 I am puzzled by the silence of the decent folk here. Even if one is convinced that the Itamar murder suspects actually committed the murder – and given the justice system on the West Bank, that is hardly to be taken for granted – the manner of apprehending the suspects clearly involved massive violations of their due process, not to mention collective punishment of innocents.

Would we tolerate this sort of "investigation" if it were conducted against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship within the Green Line? And if a serial killer was discovered in Tel Aviv, would we tolerate the police going to a neighborhood where the murdered was known to have lived, rounding up people with no criminal record, or with no reasonable tie to the murders, arresting them in the middle of the night, at times, and questioning them, taking from men and women DNA samples forcibly, and damaging their property – so as to apprehend murder suspects? Would we tolerate this in murder cases where settlers are suspects?

Even if the murder suspects get a fair trial – and knowing West Bank justice, the likelihood is low -- we already know that justice will not be done in the Itamar murder case.
Mondoweiss has a useful roundup of news of the arrests.

March 21, 2011

Israel: "colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing"

That's what the man said, the man being Richard Falk, the UN's man in, well near, Palestine:
Israel declines to deal with Falk or even allow him into the country, accusing him of being biased.....

In his speech, Falk said he would like the Human Rights Council to ask the International Court of Justice to look at Israeli behavior in the occupied territories.

This should focus on whether the prolonged occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem had elements of "colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing inconsistent with international humanitarian law," the investigator declared.
Only in the occupied territories? Perhaps he counts the whole shebang as occupied.

February 19, 2011

Obama blocks resolution condemning Israel's settlement activity

Yet another capitulation by Obama to the State of Israel:
The United States on Friday vetoed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory after the Palestinians refused to withdraw the Arab-drafted text.

The other 14 council members voted in favor of the draft resolution. But the United States, as one of the five permanent council members with the power to block any action by the Security Council, voted against it and struck it down.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told council members that the veto "should not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity." She added that the U.S. view is that Israeli settlements lack legitimacy.
But she said the draft "risks hardening the position of both sides" and reiterated the U.S. position that settlements and other contentious issues should be resolved in direct peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, speaking on behalf of Britain, France and Germany, condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "They are illegal under international law," he said.
And look how far the UK ambassador has stuck his neck out:
He added that the European Union's three biggest nations hope that an independent state of Palestine will join the United Nations as a new member state by September 2011.
He forgot to mention that it won't actually have any territory.

March 21, 2010

Protest against an ethnic cleanser in London

URGENT ACTION: Protest against Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Monday 22nd March, 5pm, London

Nid BarkatNir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem behind the announcement of 1,600 new settlement units in East Jerusalem, will be visiting London early next week. A total of 50,000 housing units have planned in the coming years - doubling the settler population - and reducing the Palestinian population to a third. Israel's plans to restore Hurva synagogue a few hundred meters from Al-Aqsa mosque has led to clashes over the last few days - men under 50 have been refused entry into Al-Aqsa since Friday. Israel has deployed some 3,000 security forces across the city.

He will be speaking at Chatham House (10 St James's Square, London SW1Y 4LE). Come along and protest against the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

Organised by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Friends of Al Aqsa; Friends of Lebanon, Friends of Sabeel UK, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine, Britain Palestine Twinning Network.

You can let Chatham House know what you think about their recent briefing ‘Jerusalem: the Cost of Failure' and the event by ringing 020 7957 5700 or emailing:

Palestine Solidarity Camoaign

July 22, 2009

Las Vegas & Paris: Boycott Ahava settlement cosmetics

On Monday July 21, CODE PINK protested settlement cosmetics company Ahava at a Las Vegas trade show. On July 16 in Paris, there was a spirited protest at a chic beauty shop which carries Ahava. First off, CODEPINK's Nancy Kricorian writes on the group's blog, A.K.A. the PINK TANK:


The Struggle for a Just Peace in the Middle East Coming to a Store Near You

By Nancy Kricorian

As the dust settled on the destroyed homes, schools and lives in the aftermath of Israel’s assault on Gaza earlier this year, mainstream human rights groups from Amnesty International to Physicians for Human Rights/Israel issued reports condemning Israel’s attack and alleging that the Israeli government and the Israeli Defense Forces had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The staff of CODEPINK Women for Peace re-opened a discussion of what we could do about Israel’s flagrant flouting of international law and the brutality of the ongoing blockade of Gaza, the occupation of the West Bank and the home demolitions in East Jerusalem. We decided to revisit the idea of a boycott against Israeli products—a boycott that was having more difficulty gaining traction here in the United States than in Europe. But the best way to end an occupation is to make it unprofitable, and one of the best peaceful ways to make something unprofitable is to organize a boycott.

While doing research on the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestine , I came across the web site Who Profits , a project of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace . On that site I found a list of Israeli and international companies that are directly involved in and profit from the occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. It seemed strategically and morally important to select for our campaign a corporation whose practices were clearly in contravention to international law. Many of the corporations on the Who Profits list were either unfamiliar to me, discouragingly huge, or didn’t seem like obvious targets for a women’s peace group. But I saw one name that I recognized: Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories. In fact, I knew there was a plastic bottle of Ahava Eucalyptus Mineral Bath Salts sitting on the windowsill next to the tub in my bathroom.

If you take a look at Ahava’s web site, you can read about the company’s environmentally responsible practices: “Our manufacturing processes are non-polluting and environmentally conscious. No animals are involved in testing phases and all of our products are encased in recyclable tubes, bottles and jars.” Ahava’s spokeswoman is fresh-faced Sex & The City actress Kristin Davis, whose commitment to doing good is evidenced by her status as an Oxfam Goodwill Ambassador and her position on the advisory board of The Masai Wilderness Conservation Fund. On the Ahava site, Davis is quoted as saying, “My personal beliefs, which include treating both animals and the environment with respect, are equally important to AHAVA.”

If you navigate around the web site you will see pristine images of the Dead Sea, enticing products with beautifully designed labels, and a photo of a water lily leaf with the caption, “This leaf has nothing to hide.” But, unfortunately, Ahava does have something to hide—an ugly secret about its relationship to a brutal occupation. The Hebrew word “Ahava” means love, but there is nothing loving about what the company is doing in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank. Ahava is an Israeli profiteer exploiting the natural resources of occupied Palestine.

AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics company, has situated its main manufacturing plant and showroom at the Israeli Jewish settlement Mitzpe Shalem in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank near the shores of the Dead Sea. Mitzpe Shalem, built on occupied land in 1970, is an illegal settlement, as are all Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Ahava’s capture of Palestinian natural resources from the Dead Sea is, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, a patently illegal use by an occupying power of stolen resources for its own profit. To add insult to injury, Ahava’s labels claim that the country of origin of its products is “The Dead Sea, Israel”—this type of labeling has been decried by Oxfam, among other human rights groups, as blatantly misleading.

While we were working on putting together the new AHAVA boycott campaign we called STOLEN BEAUTY , CODEPINK led several delegations to Gaza, one of which never made it into the Strip because the Israeli government wouldn’t let them through the Erez crossing. Several CODEPINK activists decided to take a fact-finding mission to the Ahava plant in the West Bank, corroborating what we had read about the plant’s location and its practices. The women decided to seize the opportunity and—with the avid encouragement of the Israeli Jewish and Palestinian peace activists that they had met—they went to the Ahava store at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv to stage a protest action. Some put on bikinis, wrote on their bodies with mud NO AHAVA/NO LOVE, while others carried signs with slogans such as “There is no love in occupation.” They chanted, sang and made the Israeli evening news

About a week later, we heard that Kristin Davis was going to be at Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue promoting Ahava products and signing autographs. Two of us went to the store to deliver a letter to Davis, requesting she stop letting Ahava use her beautiful face and good name to cover up their crimes. She was less than receptive, and we were escorted out of the store. A week later, the CODEPINK bikini brigade showed up at the “Tel Aviv Beach Party”—part of the Israeli government’s multi-million dollar “Re-brand Israel” campaign—in New York’s Central Park. The bikinis and our anti-occupation message made Fox News

We recently sent letters to Ahava’s headquarters in Holon, Israel, as well as to Ahava USA and Kristen Davis, giving them notice of our boycott. We sent copies of these letters to Shamrock Holdings, the investment company of the Roy E. Disney family, which owns 19% of Ahava’s shares. On Monday of this week, CODEPINK women showed up in bikinis and mud at the Cosmoprof North America Trade Show in Las Vegas to let Ahava representatives know we were launching our STOLEN BEAUTY campaign.

We have sent letters to over 100 retailers requesting that they stop stocking Ahava products because Ahava helps finance the destruction of hope for a peaceful and just future for both Israelis and Palestinians. In August we’ll be outside a drugstore, department store or mall near you, exposing Ahava’s dirty secrets and showing that real beauty is more than skin deep. You can go to to find out how to join our campaign. And you don’t have to wear a bikini to do it.

And in Paris, July 16 on the Champs Elysees, French activists participated in a spirited protest directed at a retailer that stocks Ahava products:

Action: Ahava, on n'en veut pas from chris den hond on Vimeo.

Kristin Davis used to have her picture on settlement builder and diamantaire Lev Leviev's website, but when she was told about Leviev's settlement construction, she requested it be removed. Apparently she doesn't mind associating her good name with a settlement-based company when they pay her enough.

July 17, 2009

Send letters to WaPo re: Olmert twaddle on settlements

The following is from a US-based media watchdog, July 17:

WRITE! For Justice, Human Rights and International Law in Palestine  

Today, a Washington Post op-ed by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert 'How to Achieve a Lasting Peace' (7/17) rebukes the Obama administration's call for an Israeli settlement freeze, endorses "natural growth" himself, and maintains the US focus on settlements "has the potential to greatly shake US-Israeli relations."  In the op-ed, Olmert characterizes the focus on a settlement freeze as a waste of time and a "non-priority issue."

Olmert argues that "settlement construction should be taken off the public agenda and moved to a discrete dialogue, as in the past" allowing the US and Israel to deal with the "essential issues" (i.e. those not concerning Israeli actions).  He emphasizes previous "understandings" with the Bush administation on settlement construction but refuses to accept responsibility for Israel's commitments under the road map (which explicitly rejected natural growth - see Kurtzer op-ed here), the Annapolis framework (see PLO Negotiations Affairs Department report link), or international law generally.

Rather than explain 'How to Achieve a Lasting Peace' as the misleading title suggests, Olmert simply blames Palestinians for rejecting a proposal at the end of his term which would have kept most of the settlers in the West Bank and otherwise fell short of Israel's international obligations -- the op-ed contains no mention of the Arab Peace Initiative which offers a comprehensive resolution to the conflict (see op-ed by Shaikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa) or why the US and Israel rejected it.

Please WRITE! to the Washington Post letters [@], it is critical that we correct the record on Olmert's PR piece, which is sure to draw a heavy response. Be sure to keep letters under 150 words, and include your name, address and daytime phone number for verification purposes only.

UN Report: Humanitarian Impact of Israel's Wall Five Years Since ICJ Decision

June 16, 2009

EU says non to Israel

The EU gave a fairly significant rejection to Israel yesterday, particularly to Nethanyahu's speech where he offered a Palestinian state without borders, army, foreign policy etc. At a meeting of Foreign Ministers they rebuffed the charms of Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and refused to upgrade relations with Israel.

The upgrade, announced in June 2008 was put on hold because of the spot of bother Israel had with the natives in Gaza earlier this year. It was expected to continue when things had quietened down and the media had moved on. However, post-Obama and post-Nethanyahu, EU positions on Israel have apparently hardened. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner criticised Nethanyahu's statement saying,

"Nothing was said on the settlements ... but this stopping of the settlements is essential," said Kouchner, who in an earlier statement rejected any pre-conditions to peace negotiations.

The full report can be found here: EU postpones upgrading ties with Israel

My take on this - even if Obama isn't doing much on Israel, the fact that the US is seen as not offering unconditional support to Likud might be allowing other former friends to sneak away.

May 31, 2009

With friends like Saudi Arabia, who needs enemies

Saudi Arabia awarded $1.8 billion dollars to a consortium that would build a rail link between Mecca and Medina. One company in the consortium is the French Alstom, which is also building a light rail that will connect the Jewish settlements around Jerusalem to the city center. The rail link will be another important step in the colonization of the Jerusalem center, enabling Jewish settlers to avoid the overcrowded, badly maintained and often blocked roads left to Palestinians. The rail will of course make the settlements around Jerusalem more attractive for Jewish Israeli settlers. The project involves the Israeli government and the French contractors in making permanent changes to the infrastructure of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which the Fourth Geneva Convention forbids, without any military necessity but to facilitate the illegal colonization.

There is a campaign against the companies, mostly Veolia and Alstom, in Europe and Australia, which includes both lawsuits in France and popular appeals for boycotts. This campaign has already bore fruits, with the involved companies losing a number of big contracts and being excluded from pensions funds. The Australian ASN Bank divested from Veolia, and so did the Swedish National pension fund. Likewise, Veolia lost a $1.9 billion waste improvement plan with the Sanswell Metropolitan Borough, the contract to operate the subway in Stockholm and an urban Network in Bordeau (Nadia Hijab, The Israel Boycott is Biting). Saudi Arabia has other priorities.

It is noteworthy that, According to Gulf News, Palestinian authority officials, despite usually supporting normalization with Israel, are involved in putting pressure on Saudi Arabia to rescind that contract. If the U.S.-E.U.-Israel effort to normalize the occupation cannot rely even on Mahmoud Abbas's "authority" to stand against the global anti-apartheid movement, that is bad news for Israel.

As it were, at least according to Gulf News, the "authority"'s pressure is somewhat underwhelming.
Palestinian foreign ministry officials have expressed reservation at a recent Saudi announcement awarding the contract for the Haramain Express railway to a consortium consisting of French company Alstom Transport....Backchannel talks with the Saudis are ongoing," a Palestinian foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
Not exactly a profile in leadership, but significant nonetheless.

April 10, 2009

Palestinians need international solidarity

Here's Ben White in Comment is free on the free hand Jewish settlers are given by the Israeli government to identify pitches for new settlements and create new "facts on the ground" and how without international pressure they will get away with more colonisation of the West Bank. Here's Ben with the background to the case:
The flat top of the small hill is deserted, as we walk among the gutted concrete buildings. The graffiti on the wall declares that "the Jews will keep this land". This is Ush Ghrab, a small piece of land in Beit Sahour, south of Jerusalem, and a target for religious settlers seeking yet another colony in the Bethlehem region.

I was walking around the site with my friend Saleem and his colleague Jason, who both work for Paidia, an NGO focused on educational play. Their work has been, and continues to be, primarily social, yet they are now forced to join other locals in defending the site from attempts at colonisation.

For decades, this piece of land was used as a military base, first by the Jordanians and then by the Israelis. In 2006 the Israeli army closed down the base, and the land reverted back to the Beit Sahour municipality, which in co-operation with NGOs proceeded with plans for the development of the site.

In May 2008, on Israel's 60th anniversary, Jewish settlers turned up one morning, and announced their intention to create a new settlement on Ush Ghrab. Ever since, rightwing groups such as Women in Green, have been holding events on the hill as part of their open drive to get the land back to its "rightful owners" – the Jewish people.

Ok, that's the colonists, what about the natives?
In parallel to these efforts by settlers, there has also been a huge variety of events held on Ush Ghrab organised by an informal grouping of Palestinian activists in Beit Sahour and Bethlehem. These have included barbeques, bingo, kite flying, bird-watching, music, tree-planting, ecumenical religious services and leadership training activities.

In recent months, however, Ush Ghrab has been quieter. The winter slowed things down, and local activists also decided to give the municipality some time to pursue a more "official" track with the Israeli authorities. Apparently, the Beit Sahour municipality had expressed its displeasure with an intense level of events on the land, arguing that such activities merely provoke the settlers and attract unwelcome attention.

And a view from the ground:
Those like Mazim Qumsiyeh, a professor, author and Beit Sahour resident, disagree with this assessment because "in our humble opinion the settlers are driven by their own agenda and aren't driven by what Palestinians do or don't do". Qumsiyeh believes that "pressure works", and points to places such as Bil'in and Ni'lin where activism has "slowed down" Israeli colonisation and brought about some changes in the path of the wall: "There have been no Supreme Court interventions in other cases where villages didn't offer resistance, or weekly demonstrations."

Yet Qumsiyeh is also well aware of how the struggle in Beit Sahour is ultimately part of a bigger picture: "If the agreement between Nentanyahu and Lieberman is as stated in the newspapers, the Israeli government is going to focus on developing E1 [an area of the West Bank]. This is pure speculation, but maybe this buys us a couple of years here. The Israeli government won't want to receive the flak for too many things at the same time."

And the need for international solidarity?
The hard reality for the Palestinians of Beit Sahour is that, alone, they are unable to resist the theft of their land, should the Israeli government support the settlers' initiative. Khalilieh, whose job at ARIJ means he oversees the daily documentation of Israeli colonisation, says that while the Beit Sahour residents' protests "send a message", they are "probably useless" without international pressure.
It's a funny old thing that almost everybody was claiming until recently that they support a two state solution and yet the action that Ben White has written about here, clearly precludes the idea that a national state could be established on the West Bank. That's of course ignoring the fact that people who speak of Israel and Palestine existing "side by side" when the Palestine bit wouldn't even be side by side with each other.

So without pressure from those powerful states that have supported Israel through every crime from its establishment, through all of its wars, through its colonisation of occupied territory, its array of racist laws, its international crimes like kidnappings, shootings, even the bombing of synagogues, through the ghettoisation of Gaza, without pressure from the states that have supported, covered for, even funded and equipped Israel in these things, Israel will get away with yet another Jewish only colony, yet another microcosm of itself. So who pressures the pressurers?

April 02, 2009

Gulag archipelago?

The future of the West Bank?

Or maybe the present?

From Strange maps

March 14, 2009

American protester critically injured by Israel

From the International Solidarity Movement:
13th Friday 2009, Ni’lin Village: An American citizen has been critically injured in the village of Ni’lin after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear-gas canister.

[I'm mindful that the ADL is monitoring content on youtube so I've downloaded this clip to my pc. Please let me know by comment if it disappears. Thanks - levi9909]

Tristan Anderson from California USA, 37 years old, has been taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Anderson is unconscious and has been bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a large hole in his forehead where he was struck by the canister. He is currently being operated on.

Tristan was shot by the new tear-gas canisters that can be shot up to 500m. I ran over as I saw someone had been shot, while the Israeli forces continued to fire tear-gas at us. When an ambulance came, the Israeli soldiers refused to allow the ambulance through the checkpoint just outside the village. After 5 minutes of arguing with the soldiers, the ambulance passed.
– Teah Lunqvist (Sweden) - International Solidarity Movement

The Israeli army began using to use a high velocity tear gas canister in December 2008. The black canister, labeled in Hebrew as “40mm bullet special/long range,” can shoot over 400 meters. The gas canister does not make a noise when fired or emit a smoke tail. A combination of the canister’s high velocity and silence is extremely dangerous and has caused numerous injuries, including a Palestinian male whose leg was broken in January 2009.

Please Contact:
Adam Taylor (English), ISM Media Office +972 8503948
Sasha Solanas (English), ISM Media Office - +972 549032981
Woody Berch (English), at Tel Hashomer hospital +972 548053082

Tristan Anderson

Tristan Anderson

Tristan Anderson was shot as Israeli forces attacked a demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall through the village of Ni’lin’s land. Another resident from Ni’lin was shot in the leg with live ammunition.

Four Ni’lin residents have been killed during demonstrations against the confiscation of their land.

Ahmed Mousa (10) was shot in the forehead with live ammunition on 29th July 2008. The following day, Yousef Amira (17) was shot twice with rubber-coated steel bullets, leaving him brain dead. He died a week later on 4 August 2008. Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22), was the third Ni’lin resident to be killed by Israeli forces. He was shot in the back with live ammunition on 28 December 2008. That same day, Mohammed Khawaje (20), was shot in the head with live ammunition, leaving him brain dead. He died three days in a Ramallah hospital.

Residents in the village of Ni’lin have been demonstrating against the construction of the Apartheid Wall, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Ni’lin will lose approximately 2500 dunums of agricultural land when the construction of the Wall is completed. Ni’lin was 57,000 dunums in 1948, reduced to 33,000 dunums in 1967, currently is 10,000 dunums and will be 7,500 dunums after the construction of the Wall.

March 08, 2009

Welcome to Najd!

I just got notified of a new Facebook group being established to whinge about the sufferings of the people of Sderot and it occurred to me that there's not much info to be had about the Palestinian village that was ethnically cleansed to make way for the Jewish town of Sderot.

So here's Palestine Remembered on Najd, the Palestinian village razed so that zionists could make the desert green again.

See it? Not much really. It was occupied by the zionist forces on May 13, 1948. That was a day before official histories of Israel begin. According to history books that school students in the UK, I think up to age 18 and 19, are given, nothing happened in Palestine on that day. Nothing happened until the next day or the day after. It had a population of over 700 before they were ethnically cleansed.

So, spare a little thought for Najd and its people and one thousand times that many people that were ethnically cleansed round about the same time.

March 07, 2009

End of zionist project as EU spots Israel expanding

Wow, this is so exciting!!! The European Union has officially noticed Israel's expansionist tendency. Look at this headline in the Guardian:
Israel annexing East Jerusalem, says EU
But it's not just the headline. The article shows remarkable insight:
A confidential EU report accuses the Israeli government of using settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies and the West Bank barrier as a way of "actively pursuing the illegal annexation" of East Jerusalem.

The document says Israel has accelerated its plans for East Jerusalem, and is undermining the Palestinian Authority's credibility and weakening support for peace talks. "Israel's actions in and around Jerusalem constitute one of the most acute challenges to Israeli-Palestinian peace-making," says the document, EU Heads of Mission Report on East Jerusalem.

The report, obtained by the Guardian, is dated 15 December 2008. It acknowledges Israel's legitimate security concerns in Jerusalem, but adds: "Many of its current illegal actions in and around the city have limited security justifications."

Zionist beware. It took European states a mere 60 years to notice the expansionist tendency of the project, whilst sycophantically noting Israel's "security concerns" - ie taking on board that the victims of ethnic cleansing sometimes resist. Can boycott, divestment and sanctions be far behind? Er yes, probably another 60 years.

Oh, hold on. I've noticed another issue here. The EU report is confidential. So the EU has finally noticed the zionist expansionist tendency but it wants to spare Israel's blushes by keeping it secret. Which is strange because Israel makes no secret of it.

March 04, 2009

Huge BDS victory: U.K. boycotting Lev Leviev over settlements

From Ha'aretz, March 3:

U.K. boycotting Lev Leviev over West Bank construction

By Barak Ravid

Tags: East Jerusalem, Africa-Israel

The British embassy in Tel Aviv has stopped negotiations to lease a floor in Africa-Israel's Kirya Tower because of the company's role in West Bank settlement construction.

The British embassy had been expected to move from its current Hayarkon Street location into the office tower on the corner of Kaplan and Begin. The lease would have cost $162,000 a year, the British press reported.

Africa-Israel is owned by Lev Leviev, a tycoon who recently left Israel and settled in Britain.

After the planned move was publicized in the daily Globes about a year ago, British pro-Palestinian groups began protesting. The press ran several pieces detailing the activities of Africa-Israel and its subsidiary Danya Cebus, and its role in three West Bank construction projects: Matityahu East, Har Homa in Jerusalem, and in Ma'aleh Adumim.

The British press also published several petitions calling on the Foreign Office not to move its embassy to Africa-Israel's building. One such petition, which appeared in the Guardian several months ago, was signed by Palestinian Authority parliamentarians including Hanan Ashrawi and Mustafa Barghouti.

The petition said that moving the embassy into a building owned by a company that builds in the settlements would send a message contravening British policy, and would be tantamount to criminal complicity.

The petitioners also argued that choosing this location would enable Israel to continue violating Palestinian human rights in the West Bank.

Due to the public pressure, a special debate was held in the British parliament several months ago. Kim Howells, then minister of state at the Foreign Office charged with Middle East affairs, was asked to explain plans to move to the embassy into the building.

Ambassador Tom Phillips requested details from Africa-Israel about the nature of its activities in the settlements, and a week ago, the British embassy in Tel Aviv received the information. As a result, plans to move into the tower were frozen.

The embassy in Tel Aviv confirmed the details of the story and explained that its decision stemmed from the fact that Africa-Israel's response regarding its involvement in settlement activity failed to assuage Britain's concerns.

In a letter to Leviev, ambassador Phillips said that the decision was made even though 51 percent of the building no longer belongs to Africa-Israel.

An embassy spokesmen said that the search for a new location in Tel Aviv will continue.

Ha'aretz does not mention that Leviev also owns Zufim settlement, which is built on land stolen from the village of Jayyous. Jayyous has been holding weekly protests against the wall, which is stealing almost 6,000 dunums of their farmland, land which will be invariably be given to Leviev to expand Zufim. For the most part the international press has ignored these protests, which have been brutally repressed by Israeli colonizing forces, with live ammunition, tear gas, beatings, and mass arrests. From Jayyous today:

Jayyous under curfew; soldiers threaten demolitions

Occupation forces have put the village of Jayyous under curfew again today, following clashes with youth near the Wall. Soldiers arrested one person and threatened to demolish several farms on the south side of the village.

This afternoon, local youth and soldiers clashed near the Wall in the southern part of the village. Following an exchange of stones and bullets, no less than 10 jeeps invaded the village. Regular army and border police put the entire village under curfew and arrested a youth.

Following the incursion, the army spread out into the streets on foot. Three jeeps are stationed in the center of the village, where soldiers are firing sound bombs and tear gas. A patrol entered the chicken farm on the south side of the village, declaring the area a closed military zone. Farmers were told that if they did not prevent local youth from stoning military patrols, both the chicken and cow farms would be demolished.

See also,Jayyous, a village trapped: IPS, March 1

The UK government has done the right thing by Bilin & Jayyous. Now will the government of Dubai?

UPDATE: Ha'aretz has "Hampshired" the article title, removing both Leviev and "boycotting." It now reads, "U.K. embassy nixes move to building of company behind West Bank construction." However, the title in the sidebar reads: "U.K. boycotts Israeli magnate over West Bank construction."

The article is on the front page above the fold in the Hebrew print edition. The Hebrew internet edition's title is: The British Embassy will not move to a building owned by Leviev: a company he owns builds in settlements." Apparently most of the comments so far are favorable. More coverage in Jordan's Albawaba:

Sharif Omar, the head of Jayyous’ Land Defence Committee, commented, “We feel heartened by the UK government decision opposing Leviev’s settlement construction, and we expect our brothers and sisters in the UAE to follow the UK government's example by banning Leviev from selling his diamonds in Dubai. We need more pressure in order to end Israeli repression, return our land, and restore our rights.”

Omar is quite correct that more pressure is needed on Dubai: despite initial assurances from a Dubai-based official and UAE consular officers in New York, Leviev has been able to sell his gems in Dubai through a local Palestinian-Moroccan partner, Arif Bin-Khadra. Leviev's plan to open shops under his own name was scuttled due to the campaign initiated against him there by Adalah-NY, but his website lists a "Leviev store-in-store" in one of Bin-Khadra's Levant stores. Dubai is proudly listed as one of Leviev's locations on the door of his New York shop. According to the Gulf News, the Arab League's Damascus-based boycott office considered placing Leviev & Levant on their boycott list in a November meeting. But a well-placed source says that the UAE pressured the league not to take action, for fear of the damage it would do to Gulf-Israeli relations.

AFP covered as well, in French. Now in English, in a UAE pub. Also, the JC. And the AP, as carried by YNet.

March 02, 2009

Peace Now: settlements to expand 100%

Peace Now released a report today saying Israel has plans for a mere 73,300 new homes in the West Bank, including East Jeruslem. That's a 100% increase in the number of current number of settlers -- about the same rate of increase between the moment the Oslo swindle was signed, up through Camp David in 2000. The unsurprising result: popular uprising, brutally quashed by the colonizers.

15,000 housing units are already approved, a further 58,000 units await the rubber stamp. 5,722 have been approved in E. Jerusalem. The two biggest settlements, Ma'ale Adumim & Ariel will double in size. Ha'aretz:

Peace Now says that a new right-wing government presents the danger of "expanding settlement growth at a rapid pace... with the clear intention of destroying the possibility of a two-state solution."

They are very observant. Anyhow most Israelis have no interest in a "two-state solution;" a Feb 18 Angus Reid Poll says 51% of Israelis oppose an "independent Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria." Only 32% support the idea -- and note the way the question is phrased, Gaza and E. Jerusalem aren't even on the table in terms of handing over sovereignity to Palestinians.

Bibi says this will all be "natural" growth -- one wonders what unnatural growth of settlements looks like? Anyhow Peace Now points out 17,000 homes are planned to be built "outside" the current footprint of the Gush Etzion "settlement bloc." 19,000 units will be built beyond the "separation barrier," including in the Hebron area.

February 09, 2009

Kahane chai!

That means "Kahane lives" and it is the name of a split from Meir Kahane's Kach Party after the man himself died. Israel was always being hypocritical banning him from the Knesset for his racism given Israel's reliance on ethnic cleansing to maintain its Jewish majority but here's an article in Ha'aretz from Gideon Levy suggesting that Israel has become more racist than ever now:
Rabbi Meir Kahane can rest in peace: His doctrine has won. Twenty years after his Knesset list was disqualified and 18 years after he was murdered, Kahanism has become legitimate in public discourse. If there is something that typifies Israel's current murky, hollow election campaign, which ends the day after tomorrow, it is the transformation of racism and nationalism into accepted values.

If Kahane were alive and running for the 18th Knesset, not only would his list not be banned, it would win many votes, as Yisrael Beiteinu is expected to do. The prohibited has become permitted, the ostracized is now accepted, the destestable has become the talented - that's the slippery slope down which Israeli society has skidded over the past two decades.

There's no need to refer to Haaretz's startling revelation that Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman was a member of Kahane's Kach party in his youth: This campaign's dark horse was and is a Kahanist. The differences between Kach and Yisrael Beiteinu are minuscule, not fundamental and certainly not a matter of morality. The differences are in tactical nuances: Lieberman calls for a fascist "test of loyalty" as a condition for granting citizenship to Israel's Arabs, while Kahane called for the unconditional annulment of their citizenship. One racist (Lieberman) calls for their transfer to the Palestinian state, the other (Kahane) called for their deportation.
I'm sorry Gideon, you seem like an earnest chap. But I just can't see how this differs from zionism as we know it.