NEWS FROM THE PALESTINE ISRAEL CONFLICT
“Israel’s military occupation has morphed the entire occupied Palestinian territory into an open-air prison, where Palestinians are constantly confined, surveilled and disciplined.” This is the conclusion of the latest report to the United Nations by its Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory.
The report “finds that since 1967, over 800,000 Palestinians, including children as young as 12, have been arrested and detained under authoritarian rules enacted, enforced and adjudicated by the Israeli military. Palestinians are subject to long detention for expressing opinions, gathering, pronouncing unauthorised political speeches, or even merely attempting to do so, and ultimately deprived of their status of protected civilians. They are often presumed guilty without evidence, arrested without warrants, detained without charge or trial and brutalised in Israeli custody.”
Not surprisingly, the rapporteur, Francesca Albanese, is under vicious attacks by Israel and it supporters. This is described in detail in the an article from the Jordan News.
Another recent report comes from Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, and Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, based on a three-day visit to Israel and Palestine.
They heard from Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights organisations about the “ever-growing evidence that the situation meets the international legal definition of apartheid: the expansion and entrenchment of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the establishment of dual legal regimes and separation infrastructure in the occupied territories, and the institutionalised discrimination and abuses perpetrated against Palestinians. ”
Their report concludes that “The Government of Israel’s intent to exercise sovereignty over all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea undermines the democratic ideals of the Israeli state, denies the Palestinian people their right to self-determination, and risks an uncontrollable explosion of violence on both sides.”
An editorial from Argentina summarizes recent events that threaten the democratic ideals of the Israeli State, in particular a new law that reduced the power of the Supreme Court of Justice to challenge government decisions. The editorial concludes that “the concentration of power makes it almost impossible to remove the president despite holding elections. Israel would thus seek to progressively abandon its democratic character, essential to maintain strong ties with the West and, particularly, with its greatest ally in the world, the United States.”
However, Israelis are not accepting the reforms without protest. As the editorial says that the protests are the greatest in Israeli history: “For more than 30 weeks, hundreds of thousands of protesters defy rain, cold or heat, opposing a reform that they simply consider a coup d’état.”
We are reminded of the apartheid regime in South Africa that was defeated by the combination of struggle within South Africa and diplomatic and economic pressure from the rest of the world.
The movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid (BDS) continues to grow. A summary of BDS events over the past 18 years shows how this has developed.
The most recent BDS declaration comes from the American Anthropological Association, which voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions on the grounds that ““The Israeli state operates an apartheid regime from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea” and “Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the Israeli state’s regime of oppression against Palestinians… including by providing research and development of military and surveillance technologies used against Palestinians.”
Concerning the struggle by the Palestinians themselves, we publish two articles in CPNN this month.
The initiative Swim with Gaza proposes a solidarity swim with the children of Gaza on August 26: “Since 2007 the people of Gaza have been imprisoned. They have no parks, no mountains, no valleys. But they have the sea. Their only free space for fun. Let’s join them in the sea for a solidarity swim. Each year they have a swimming festival on Gaza beach. This year the Swimming Festival will be held on 26th August. So join in wherever you are – Egypt, Lebanon, South Africa, Morocco, Spain, Ireland, Brazil or Chile.”
Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian activist whom we quote often in CPNN, responds to the recent Israeli invasion of the city of Jenin including the Jenin Refugee camp. He asks himself the question of whether the Palestinian resistance can be non-violent or will it end in violence, and responds with a long quote from his friend, the historian Howard Zinn, including the following excerpt:
“We forget how often in this century we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.”
Dismantle Israel’s carceral regime and “open-air” imprisonment of Palestinians: UN expert
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18 Years of BDS. 18 Years of Impact in Turning Darkness into Light
G77 Statement to High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
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Comments on the Project for a National Program on Culture of Peace in Colombia
Global Women for Peace United Against NATO members
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Promotion of the Culture of Peace in Africa – A Pan-African School of Peace in Yamoussoukro
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11th World Peace Forum held in Beijing
UCLG Africa and ACCORD are joining efforts to build a Culture of Peace in Africa