GENEVA (May 14, 2018) — At the conclusion of its 95th Session, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued the following Statement:
PREVENTION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, INCLUDING EARLY WARNING AND URGENT ACTION PROCEDURES
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting in Geneva at its ninety-fifth session, from 23 April to 11 May 2018,
Acting under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures;
Alarmed by the disproportionate use of force displayed by the Israeli Security Forces (ISF) against Palestinian demonstrators who have been taking part, since 30 March, in the so called ‘the Great March of Return’ in Gaza, which has resulted in the death of at least 40 people, among them five children and in thousands of persons being injured;
Gravely concerned that many of the persons who died or were injured were reportedly posing no imminent threat at the time they were shot;
Alarmed also by the many reports according to which Israeli authorities have denied and continue to deny access to urgent medical treatment to injured Palestinians;
Highly concerned that these incidents are taking place in a context marked by the 50 year- occupation of the Palestinian territory, the blockade imposed since 2007 on the Gaza strip and a rise of racist hate speech and incitement to racist violence against Palestinians by Israeli governmental officials and members of the ISF;
Deeply worried about persisting discriminatory practices against Palestinians by Israel as well as the absence of adequate accountability mechanisms, which would permit Palestinians to seek justice for the human rights violations to which they are subjected and the failure to hold members of the ISF accountable;
Concerned that while the State party publicly announced the conduct of an investigation into these events, an independent and impartial investigation has not yet taken place;
Recalling the provisions enshrined in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Israel has been a party since 1979 and in particular the obligations contained in articles 2 1), 4 and 5 b) and d) as well as the concluding observations on Israel issued by the Committee in 2012 (CERD/C/ISR/CO/14-16), especially paragraphs 10, 23, 24 and 26;
The Committee urges the State party to:
- Put an immediate end to the disproportionate use of force against Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza strip, refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and ensure prompt and unimpeded access to medical treatment to injured Palestinian;
- Initiate an impartial and independent investigation into the use of force against Palestinian demonstrators in compliance with international standards and hold those responsible accountable;
- Ensurethat all Palestinians under its effective control enjoy full rights under the Convention without discrimination especially, their right to life and security of person, freedom of opinion and expression, as well as their right to medical care;
- Takeall the necessary measures to fully implement the recommendations made by the Committee in 2012 and in particular:
- a) To fully respect the norms of humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to lift the blockade of the Gaza strip;
- b) To counter the tide of racism and xenophobia in public discourse, in particular by strongly condemning all racist and xenophobic statements by public officials and political and religious leaders, and by implementing appropriate measures to combat the proliferation of racist acts and manifestations of racist hate speech that particularly target Palestinians in the territories under the State party’s effective control.
8 May 2018
Hemaya Center for Human Rights
Hemaya Center for Human Rights is deeply concerned about the events leading to the resignation of Professor William Schabas as Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, and his replacement by Ms Mary McGowan Davis.
We consider that best practice requires that potential conflicts of interest are explored PRIOR to appointment to such inquiries, and we are most concerned that this appears not to have been the case in regard to Professor Schabas. We remain concerned that it has also not been the case re Ms McGowan Davis, given her hasty appointment. (more…)
by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Gaza SCOOP
Israel’s chickens are coming home to roost, along with those of the UN and the international community. How can anyone be surprised?
You cannot subject a people to 50 years of illegal occupation and expect no response. To illegal demolition of their houses, arbitrary detention, torture and inhumane prison conditions and expect no response. You cannot subject a people to ongoing theft of their land for the construction of illegal settlements, to living behind an illegal apartheid wall and expect no response. You cannot subject a people to an illegal siege and expect no response.
The international community has sat on its hands while the Israeli rogue state rode roughshod over the few rights left to Palestinians, with total impunity.
The UN has not enforced international law even ONCE in response to at least 80 breaches of UN Security Council Resolutions. The US has vetoed many more.
Endless negotiations with dishonest brokers have yielded less than nothing for Palestinians – less land, less water, less natural resources, less houses, less jobs, less opportunities, less travel. It is nothing less than scandalous that this has all taken place under the watch of the Useless Nations. (more…)
by Mike Carlton
Benjamin Netanyahu has ensured that no Israeli will ever again know peace, writes former ABC war correspondent and naval historian Mike Carlton.
So Hamas wins. No matter how Israel and its friends spin it, the raw fact is that this “indefinite ceasefire” leaves Hamas unbeaten in Gaza.
Bloodied and battered, yes, with an echelon of its senior military and political leadership killed by Israeli airstrikes. But it is only down, not out. It lives to fight another day, which means that Benjamin Netanyahu and his hard-Right Likud-coalition government have failed, and disastrously so, in their stated aim of ensuring Israel’s security by a crushing military and economic dominance of the Palestinian people. They rolled the dice. They lost. (more…)
By Khalid Amayreh, Occupied Palestine
The Judeo-Nazi propaganda machine has been trying rather rabidly to demonize Hamas, the Palestinian-Islamic Liberation Movement. Irate Israeli officials used every conceivable offensive epithet in the dictionary to besmirch Hamas’s image, like calling the group “terrorist” and “genocidal.”
The truth of the matter is that Hamas is neither terrorist nor genocidal. It is rather an Islamic-nationalist liberation group, not so different from other liberation movements, past and present. (more…)
Source: UN News Centre
The United Nations Human Rights Council announced today the appointment of three members to its independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly in the Gaza Strip since the conflict began on 13 June.
In a statement released this afternoon, the Council’s President, Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella (Gabon), announced that the human rights body appointed Amal Alamuddin (United Kingdom), Doudou Diène (Senegal) and William Schabas (Canada) to serve as members on the international Commission. Mr. Schabas will also serve as the Commission’s Chair.
The Commission aims to establish the facts and circumstances of violations and crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible. It will also make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways to protect civilians against any further assaults. (more…)
Palestinian resistance and Israeli delegations in Cairo have agreed to a new 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, slated to begin at midnight.
An official announcement for the timing of the start of the ceasefire is expected soon.
The ceasefire will provide an opportunity for further discussion, including with the Arab League, who will convene in Cairo on Monday to discuss the situation in Gaza.
by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Middle East Monitor
The cynical ‘ceasefire’ chorus being sung by Israel and Egypt is merely yet another movement in the well-orchestrated Israeli-Egyptian three-penny opera.
The way in which the ‘negotiations’ were carried out was more farce than finale – Egypt wrote the libretto for the Israeli impresario, leaving the Palestinians in the wings.
The terms themselves are a three-act charade. The Israeli-Egyptian duet omits a core Hamas demand – any mention of the release of more than 50 Palestinian prisoners released in the 2011 Shalit swap who were re-detained during the recent West Bank ‘search’ for three missing Israeli settlers.
Nor does it commit to either re-open the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt, or to lift the crippling – and illegal – Israeli siege of Gaza, merely saying that “crossings shall be opened and the movement of persons and goods through (them) shall be facilitated once the security situation becomes stable on the ground.” Both of these are core demands of the entire Palestinian resistance – Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP and everyone in between.
Any ceasefire that does not change the fundamental paradigm, a hermetically-sealed Gaza and a ‘normal Israel,’ will garner only encore after encore, as every previous performance has done. Read more HERE
by Julie Webb-Pullman
Hamas spokesperson Fawzy Barhoum said today that the only way this “one-sided war” will end is when Israel stops bombing Gaza.
“We have sustained high numbers of casualties – over 100 civilians dead, 150 homes destroyed sometimes with families still inside them, we are the victims. We are defending our civilians from a massacre,” he said outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City early this afternoon.
“We are being attacked from the sea, from the air, from the land – there is massive destruction, and we have the right to defend our people from these attacks. There will be no ceasefire until the occupation stops its shelling of Gaza.” Read more here
Turkey and Palestinians stood together today to honour the ten Turks murdered by Israel aboard the Mavi Marmara aid ship headed for Gaza four years ago.
On the same day the Palestinian unity government is to be announced, Gaza-based Palestinian NGO House of Wisdom brought all factions together with Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Sarnic and Turkish aid agency IHH, owners of the Mavi Marmara, in a show of not only Palestinian, but Ummah unity.
The commemorative events began at Gaza seaport beneath the memorial erected in honour of Cengiz Akyüz (42), Ali Haydar Bengi (39), İbrahim Bilgen (61), Furkan Doğan (18), Cevdet Kılıçlar (38), Cengiz Songür (47), Çetin Topçuoğlu (54), Fahri Yaldız (43), Necdet Yıldırım (32) and Ugur Süleyman Söylemez, who died from his injuries this week aged 51. (more…)
First Published in Middle East Eye
Although not an official actor in the process, Islamic Jihad’s backing of the Palestine reconciliation deal is seen as important for its survival.
As a non-member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), Palestinian resistance movement Islamic Jihad was not privy to the negotiations between the PLO and Hamas that resulted in Wednesday’s agreement to end the seven-year Fatah-Hamas split.
But as one of Palestine’s most important factions, they are crucial to the success of any deal and say they have considerable interest in participating and helping to build the future of the country. (more…)
The International Campaign for Releasing Abducted MPs strongly denounces the Israeli authorities for preventing a fact-finding committee comprised of members of the European Parliament from visiting Israeli prisons to investiagte the situation of abducted members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and other Palestinian prisoners.
The visit followed a request from the International Campaign to the European Parliament to investigate and report on the conditions faced by MPs inside Israeli jails.
The European Parliament decided to send a fact-finding committee, which arrived in Israel on 19 March 2014. However they received no co-operation whatsoever from the Israeli occupation authorities.
The Campaign considers this to be unethical behavior towards parliamentarians protected by parliamentary immunity, and points out that it is yet another example of the ongoing violations suffered by the Palestinian lawmakers, from persecution to abduction and deportation.
11 Palestinians MPs are still behind Israeli bars, being subjected to oppressive and illegal practices.
The Campaign calls for parliamentary and human rights organizations internationally to break the silence on the abduction and detention of Palestinian MPs, and to hold Israel accountable for the crimes it is committing against them, and other Palestinian prisoners.
The International Campaign For Freeing PLC members
“Grave violations and aggression by Israel against the Palestinian people continued in a culture of impunity,” says Human Rights Council
On 24 March The Human Rights Council held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories, in a meeting at which four reports on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories were presented.
The Secretary-General’s report again confirmed continued flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the reports highlighted the issue of settlements, which, together with settler violence, were at the core of many of the human rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Despite repeated calls on Israel to cease settlement activity, their construction continued with devastating consequences for Palestinian civilians. Ms. Pillay also expressed deep concern at the situation in Gaza.
Source: Jordan Times
AMMAN – An independent Palestinian human rights organisation has published the outcome of a self-initiated investigation into the killing of Jordanian Judge Raed Zuaiter, who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on the King Hussein Bridge on March 10. (more…)
Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights
A report issued on March 17th by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights points out that the Israeli forces have detained 740 Palestinian children during the first two months of 2014, 465 of them remained in custody for at least one week.
The Euro-Mid Observer, an independent human rights organization based in Geneva, states that approximately 200 Palestinian minors were detained monthly on average by the Israeli forces during 2013, and 197 on average during 2012, according to data published by Defense for Children International (DCI) and Israel Prison Service.
The first month of 2014 witnessed the detention of 350 Palestinian children; some of them were released within hours of their capture, while 220 others were held for one week or more. However, in February 2014, 390 children were arrested, of whom 245 were kept under custody up to one week or more. This indicates an increase in the number of detained Palestinian children by 80% during the first two months of 2014 in comparison with monthly average of detentions during 2013.
Euro-Mid’s report notes that after following up the cases of the detained Palestinian children, it was apparent that most charges held against them were linked to throwing stones at Israeli patrols roaming around in Palestinian cities, or taking part in a peaceful demonstration condemning Israel’s separation wall, or for shouting slogans, writings statements or paintings glorifying Palestine and rejecting the occupation. Such acts, the report confirms, are not deemed as crimes in international law and do not require the detention of a child as punishment.
According to the Israeli Military Order 1651, Palestinian child prisoners may be sentenced in military courts from the age of twelve, which violates both international and Israeli juvenile law.
The Israeli Military Order 1651 establishes a minimum age of criminal responsibility at 12 years, and sets out the maximum penalties that can be imposed on children in various age categories for a number of listed offences. The most common offence that children are charged with in the military courts is for stone throwing.
Euro-Mid draws the attention to the fact that most cases of detention against Palestinian child prisoners are carried out after midnight, and are accompanied by repressive police actions frightening children and their families without acute or security necessity. Moreover, the children’s parents are not allowed to accompany their children and are not told where they are taken to. Most children, meanwhile, are denied from their right to immediate legal assistance as Israeli authorities often starts investigations right after the detention of the child without the presence of a lawyer. No child should be interrogated in the absence of a lawyer of choice and family member. Additionally, the majority of those children are faced by solitary confinement, a practice with severe negative psychological impacts on the children.
A number of children told Euro-Mid following their release that during their interrogation by the Israeli forces, they were subjected to psychological pressure, scolding, deprivation of sleep, denial of access to toilets, and beating; different forms of torture and “harm, abuse, and violence” prohibited under the provisions of article (19/1) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The report stressed that such escalation in detentions against Palestinian children without any legal basis is at odds with article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that : (a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; (b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time”.
“The report, more importantly, made clear that the detention of Palestinian children mounts to “a stark violation of their right to their freedom of expression.”
Mira Bushara, a researcher at Euro-Mid’s legal department, said “Israel is totally indifferent to the Convention on the Rights of the Child when it comes to Palestinian children” pointing at the incident of Wadea Muswada, a 5 years old Palestinian child from Hebron detained in June 2013 on the charge of “throwing stones”.
Bushara said incidents documented in the film “Children in Chains” by British director Jonathan Pullman, “shows us that what Israel is practicing against the rights of Palestinian children represents a methodology that applies to all Palestinian cities and are not mere individual incidents that happen here and there, especially when nearly 190 Palestinian children under the age of 8 are held in Israeli prisons until this moment”.
by Robert Turner
Director, United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza
It is impossible not to be touched by the apocalyptic scenes emerging from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus, besieged and cut off for months. The images are at once epic and personal. Row upon row of gaunt faces, serried ranks of grimy, raged figures; the delicate, hunger-ravaged features of children waiting in line for an UNRWA food parcel; the face of a mother creased in grief for a deceased child; tears of joy as a father is reunited with a long-lost daughter; these are the vignettes of inhumanity that have become the regular fare of nightly news bulletins.
While the cameras have followed the conflict as they ever do, aid budgets have followed the cameras. International funding abhors a news vacuum. Donors like their cash to be in the news headlines and so UNRWA’s appeal to the international community to fund our emergency work in Syria to the tune of over 400 million U.S. dollars, has found a generous response among donor governments. That’s the relatively good news and we are grateful.
The bad news is that UNRWA works in other places where, like Syria, there are emergencies that have become protracted, but from where, unlike Syria, the cameras have moved on. Gaza is one of those places.
In the last six months of 2013, the unemployment rate in Gaza went from just under 28 percent to over 38 percent — in six months. For refugees the official unemployment rate is 41 percent, for youth 56 percent and for refugee women an astounding 88 percent. The criteria used for this data means that underemployment is not captured; persons aged 15 years and above who worked at least one hour per week are considered employed and so not included in these statistics. Imagine for a moment what that has meant for families in Gaza.
While there are no images from Gaza as compelling as those from Yarmouk — nor is the situation that desperate — the people here having been living under siege-like conditions for more than six years. It is this blockade which was imposed in earnest in June 2007 that destroyed Gaza’s previously dynamic, productive and trade-oriented economy, along with its capacity to create jobs. The vast majority of the population has been pushed into food insecurity, with no other choice but reliance on assistance. Until the blockade is lifted and access to Gaza’s traditional markets — the West Bank and Israel — is secured, any sustainable recovery of the local economy remains elusive. The vicious cycle of unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependency, and consequently the de-development of the Gaza Strip, will continue. A graph of economic volatility for Gaza’s economy over the past decade looks like Liberia or Sierra Leone’s.
The recent dramatic deterioration in the situation here was triggered by the changes in Egypt last year and the closure of the tunnels that linked Gaza and its Southern neighbor. These tunnels formed a necessary lifeline for Gaza given the poverty here — goods are cheaper from Egypt, particularly fuel and basic foods — and for items that Israel will not allow to freely enter, the most important being construction materials. Material for the private sector came through the tunnels at the rate of some 7,500 MT per day, fueling the only portion of the economy that was creating any jobs. The closure of the tunnels has meant the effective end of private sector construction.
UNRWA and other international actors could make up some of that job loss through our own construction projects but we have been limited in our ability to do so by Israel practices. In the third quarter of 2013 UNRWA construction projects generated over 5,000 jobs, but imports of construction materials were suspended in October 2013, and as of February 2014 only some of our projects were re-approved by the Israeli authorities and resumed. We have almost USD $40 million worth of projects Israel had already approved that are ready to go and an additional 38 projects worth over USD $111 million pending approval from Israeli authorities so we can import the necessary construction material. Given the opportunity we could put thousands of Gazans back to work and reduce reliance on aid to survive.
UNRWA is mandated to provide services to the Palestine refugees in Gaza, who make up more than 70 percent of the population of some 1.8 million. In trying to meet the humanitarian demands created by this manmade crisis, UNRWA provides food assistance to over 800,000 people; two out of every three refugees and almost half the overall population. In 2000, when the economy was functioning more normally, only 80,000 refugees required food assistance from us. We provide this assistance based on need, and vigorously target to ensure it gets to the neediest, but given the changes here over the past months we expect our food aid caseload to increase by 10 to 20 percent over the course of this year, to near one million people.
At a time when circumstances would dictate an expansion of aid we are facing a hole in our emergency budget of about $30 million USD. That’s about a quarter of our overall budget, mainly for food aid. Should no additional, unexpected contributions materialize, UNRWA will be forced to significantly cut back its emergency operations in the Gaza Strip. We have already had to take very difficult decisions, including the suspension of our school feeding program, which provided one meal per day to the nearly quarter of a million UNRWA students in Gaza.
Donor fatigue is understandable. UNRWA would prefer to spend money on human development in Gaza, particularly our education program, as opposed to emergency aid to mitigate the impact of man-made policies such as the illegal blockade. But the Agency has no choice but to continue to assist those paying for the consequences of these unresolved political issues.
I end on a note of warning. We have repeatedly seen desperation in Gaza lead to violence. There are rockets which we in the UN repeatedly condemn, but there are many other forms of violence in Gazan society that are related directly and indirectly to the economic predicament of the people here. We in UNRWA have ourselves been the subject of violent attack because of perceived service cuts. At a time when the peace process is on everyone’s lips it behooves us all to address the underlying causes of Gaza’s violence, but barring the political will to accomplish this, we must ensure that basic humanitarian needs continue to be met.
From Huffington Post
In the last hour, Israeli warplanes targeted the following sites in the Gaza Strip:
– The military Site “Abu Atayah” of Nasser Saladin Brigades, west of Rafah.
– The military Site “Saad Sayel” of Qassam Brigades east of Rafah.
– A piece of agricultural land near the site of “Safina” northwest of Gaza City.
No injuries have been reported as a result of the attacks.
In response, Palestinian resistance have launched new rocket attacks, and Israeli planes are flying west of Gaza.
The escalation of hostilities in the past few days was set off by an Israeli airstrike which killed three members of islamic Jihad on Tuesday. Ismail Abu Judah, 23, Shahir Abu Shanab, 24, and 33-year-old Abd al-Shafi Muammar were all killed in southeast Khan Younis near the Sufa crossing.
Khaled al-Batch, an Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza, last night announced they had agreed to restore the calm, but the truce was shortlived, perhaps because of the way it was negotiated.
Ma’an reported that an Egyptian official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that Egyptian national security services contacted Israel and the Islamic Jihad, but not Hamas, in order to negotiate the re-activation of the 2012 ceasefire.
al-Batch told Associated Press, “As long as the occupation [Israel] honors the calm, we will honor the calm and instructions are being given right now to al-Quds brigades, our military wing, about this understanding.”
Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad told al-Mayadeen channel that the group was “not informed by Egypt about any agreement, and the Egyptian side should have coordinated with Hamas.”
Other signs that hostilities are likely to continue are that on Thursday, Israeli armed forces called up its air force reserves, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The Israeli Cabinet met on Thursday morning to dicsuss the situation in Gaza, and the decision to call the reserves was made by Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon. Haaretz noted that calling up reserves requires the approval of the Knesset security and foreign committee, and a waiting period of 48 hours.
Only one thing is certain – as long as Israel coninues to occupy Palestinian territory, as long as Israel and Egypt continue their siege of the Gaza Strip, and as long as the international community continues to ignore Israel’s gross breaches of international law and the impending humanitarian crisis in Gaza, peace will be but a dream.
Al Quds radio reports that Egypt has brokered a truce between Israel and the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, to take effect at 4pm Gaza time.
In another report, Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh said, “The Egyptian side managed to stabilize the truce according to 2012 understandings.”
However Israel is on notice, with Islamic Jihad warning that even one breach of the truce will result in them being hit very hard.
Israel has been documented to have breached the previous truce over 150 times since it was agreed to in November 2012.
10 March 2014
Appeal to Open Rafah Crossing
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council is deeply concerned about the continued deterioration of living condition of the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s denial and negligence of its legal obligations towards civilians and its continuation of imposing collective punishment on the Gaza Strip for more than 7 years.
The council strongly condemns the ongoing closure imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip and its serious impacts on all life aspects of Palestinian civilians. The council also renews its call upon the international community to intervene immediately to lift the closure, open all border crossings to facilitate the movement of Palestinians from and to the Gaza Strip, and ensure the freedom of trade. Thus, the council calls upon Egypt to open the Rafah Crossing, which has been closed for a month, to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians due to the Israeli practices and violations of the international humanitarian law and human rights law against the Gaza Strip population.
Israel has tightened its closure of the Gaza Strip border crossings, including Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing for 7 years. As a result, 1.8 Palestinians have been denied their right to freedom of movement to and from the Gaza Strip. Moreover, this policy has deteriorated the conditions of thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of patients who need advanced medical treatment which is not available in the Gaza Strip, persons who work in other countries, Palestinian families living in other countries and university students who study abroad, have not been able to travel abroad.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council reiterates that the Gaza Strip is still under the Israeli tightened closure, which is considered a form of collective punishment, and impacts severely on all life aspects of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. The council further emphasized that the Gaza Strip is part of the occupied Palestinian territory and reminds Israel as an occupying power of its obligation towards the population of the occupied territory according the international law. This includes taking all the necessary measures to facilitate the movement of people and goods. Thus, Israeli forces must end the illegal closure immediately. The international community must also pressurize the Israeli authorities to open Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing, the sole outlet between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including Occupied Jerusalem. This would enable the Gaza Strip civilians to move freely between the Palestinian cities and the outside world.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, which signed this appeal, takes into consideration the situation in Egypt, but is concerned over the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip. Based on the strong ties between Egyptians and Palestinians and the historical role played by Egypt in supporting the Palestinian cause and particularly the Gaza Strip, the council further:
1. Calls upon Egypt Authorities to open the Rafah crossing, which has been closed for a month, and stop the deterioration of the conditions of the Gaza Strip population due to the total closure imposed on the Gaza Strip;
2. To take the necessary measures to ensure opening the crossing normally before the movement of the Palestinian civilians from and to the Gaza Strip and put an end to their suffering;
3. Calls upon the international community to pressurize the Israeli authorities to stop the policy of collective punishment against the population of the Gaza Strip and immediately open all border crossings to put an end to the serious deterioration of the humanitarian conditions of the civilian population; and
4. Calls upon the Israeli authorities to comply with international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, including finding a prompt solution to ensure the freedom of movement of Palestinian civilians through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing regularly and safely, and to establish a clear system ensuring the freedom of movement of the population of the Gaza Strip and safe passage and flow of the population’s needs through commercial crossings.
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An Israeli drone fired a rocket at a group of Palestinians near Sofa crossing, on Tuesday morning. Three people – Abdulshafi Mo’ammar, 33, Ismael Abu Jouda, 23, and Shaher Abu Shanab, 24 – were killed.
This brings the total of Palestinians killed by Israel in the last 24 hours in the West Bank and Gaza to six.
Palestinian Raed Zuaiter, 38, a judge at the Amman Court of First Instance, was killed at the Jordan River crossing point on Monday morning while on his way to visit family in the West Bank.
Saji Darwish, 18, from Beitin village was killed near Ramallah by Israeli forces, and Fidaa Muhye Addin Majadlah died following a car chase by Israeli police. Palestinian security sources told AFP that Israeli troops fired at the car, but that it was not clear whether Majadlah was killed by the gunfire or the crash.
Also on Tuesday morning dozens of Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers carried out an incursion east of Khuza’a village, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Six bulldozers entered into the area and carried out leveling operations east of al-Rowaida gate, amid gunfire.
Israeli gunboats also opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza coast. No injuries or damage were reported.
WTF? Israel carries out ANOTHER blatant act of piracy in international waters? And expects the world to believe the fiction they were headed for Gaza? A country under Israeli naval blockade for the last seven years??? Even the BB boys Bush and Blair managed better Words of Mass Deception than THAT!
Of course it is AIPAC week, so we can expect a series of attention-seeking missiles across the bows to distract the public from the spectacle of servility and sycophancy assaulting our senses from Washington. But a freaking great shipload of M302’s to go where even Gaza’s fishermen fear to row?!! I don’t think so.
Such nonsense is surpassed only by Netanyahu’s AIPAC-aired demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, which is neither part of the agreed negotiating terms nor even part of any recognised approach to international diplomacy. Does EVERY country have to recognise Israel as such? When and where can we all join the “Israel is a Jewish state” club? At the same time as we join the “Egypt and the Ukraine are democracies” clubs, perhaps?
Not only is it AIPAC week, but also Ukraine week, where the self-proclaimed government in Kiev just appointed dual Israeli-Ukranian citizen Igor Kolomoysky as governor of Dnepropetrovsk. He also happens to be the third richest man in the Ukraine, which may help overcome the difficulty of governing a Ukranian region from his home in Switzerland…
And Cairo week was also a bit of a coup, with a court managing to ban purported activities in Egypt of Palestinian political party Hamas. Who cares about legal niceties such as presenting evidence, or the right to mount a defence when you have enough kangaroos jumping around to keep all eyes off who is filling their pouches?
And Gaza week – well, that is every week. Forget the truce – that is only for the Palestinians. Israel assassinated two young men this week in a drone strike, in a blatant breach. And militants aren’t their only targets. From the scrap collector shot in the head to the middle-aged woman shot in the stomach, the football players shot in the legs and feet to end their potential careers, civilians are being killed and maimed daily. Since 20 December 2013, 55 Gazan civilians have been injured ON THEIR OWN SIDE OF THE BORDER by Israeli soldiers – 43 by live fire, 10 by rubber-coated metal bullets, and two hit in the head by canisters.
But that’s Israel. That’s Egypt. That’s Gaza.
Gaza, the elephant at the so-called peace talks.
Gaza, already reeling from seven years of siege and the theft of its water by Israel, now facing certain strangulation from the south.
Gaza, the Yarmouk about to happen, but from which everyone turns away.
Gaza, bordered by the magnificent Mediterranean – but which they can barely enter. Gaza, Bordered by Egypt, whose enmity has now been slammed on the tabletop, and by Israel, whose ongoing crimes speak for themselves – to a deaf world.
Gaza, land of life and love, and love of life and Allah, whatever the faction.
Gaza, between the devils and the deep blue sea.
by Frances H. Remillard
Do Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, amount to the crimes of colonialism and apartheid under international law? A summary of a legal study by HSRC of South Africa.
Old, but worth reading again – or even just once, Netanyahu.
Republished from If Americans Knew
The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, in its efforts to eliminate and prevent the kind of suffering the South African and Namibian people suffered under apartheid, commissioned a legal study of the Israel-Palestine situation. “The aim of this project was to scrutinize the situation from the nonpartisan perspective of international law, rather than engage in political discourse and rhetoric.”
This fifteen-month collaborative study set out to examine legally the question:
Do Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, amount to the crimes of colonialism and apartheid under international law?
The study was comprehensive including discussion of pertinent international law and legal rulings, the legal status and laws governing historic Palestine from Ottoman times to present, Israeli law, discussion and rebuttal of Israel’s various legal arguments as to why international law does not apply, and a very detailed review of Israel’s practices weighed against this legal context and compared to similar practices carried out by the government of South Africa during apartheid.
To fully explore this issue, the evidence offered in the study was very broad including Israel’s practices within the state of Israel proper, Israel’s practices regarding Palestinian refugees, and Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory; however, the legal question asked and conclusions drawn about apartheid were limited to Israel’s practices after 1967 when Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
Apartheid defined under international law
Apartheid is defined as an institutionalized form of racism in which states enact laws which function as the apparatus to commit inhuman acts for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.
Apartheid regimes rely on three “Pillars of Apartheid” to maintain their domination
Pillar 1: The state codifies into law a preferred identity, and then establishes adjunct laws that grant preferential legal status and material privileges to the preferred group on the basis of their identity while discriminating against the non-preferred group on the basis of the inferior status afforded them.
Pillar 2: The state segregates the population into geographic areas based on their identity. The favored identity receives preferential access to land, water, other resources, and to government benefits and services while the non-preferred group is confined to ever shrinking non-contiguous besieged territorial enclaves.
Pillar 3: The state establishes security laws and policies designed to suppress any opposition to the regime. The system of domination is reinforced through assassinations; administrative detention; torture; cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment; and arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of the non-preferred group.an advisory opinion on the question of Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory.
Using these criteria, the May 2009 South African study found that “Israel, since 1967, is the belligerent Occupying Power in occupied Palestinian territory, and that its occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.”
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA has summarized the findings of this study to make the results accessible to the public, to help people understand that talk of apartheid is more than just rhetoric, and to provide a tool which concerned citizens can use to help bring an end to Israel’s apartheid regime. Our summary briefly describes only the ‘components of apartheid’ and the Israeli practices used by the study group to reach its conclusions.
Israel’s practices, Apartheid Pillar 1: A preferred identity; separate system privileging Jews
Israel’s domestic law codifies the Jewish identity as the preferred identity and establishes that collective rights extend to Jews only. All other people lack the right to a national life anywhere in Israel proper or occupied Palestinian territory.
Israel’s state resources (including land in occupied Palestinian territory which Israel has declared ‘state land’) are specified as being for the exclusive benefit of Jews, administered under the World Zionist Organization, Jewish Agency, and Jewish National Fund. These para-state organizations are authorized agents of the state of Israel; receive funding from the state of Israel; are empowered to manage Israeli state affairs; yet their charters and Israeli Law mandate that they operate in perpetuity for the exclusive benefit of world Jewry.
Since 1967, Israel supplanted existing laws governing Palestinian territory with two separate sets of law: Israeli domestic law to apply to Jewish settlers and Israeli military law to apply to Palestinians (See Table A for examples of Israel’s military orders governing Palestinians).
Right to Housing and Natural Growth
– After occupying Palestinian territory in 1967, Israel froze the municipal boundaries of Palestinian towns and villages. Because Israel, in general, denies Palestinians the right to build outside municipal boundaries, this law has served as the basis for stemming Palestinian growth, denying Palestinians 90% of needed housing permits, and for destroying thousands of Palestinian homes.
– Since 1967 not one new Palestinian community has been established in East Jerusalem.
– Israel encourages Jews from anywhere in the world to move into occupied Palestinian territory by providing automatic citizenship, settlement housing, and financial benefits including permanent exemption from real estate and employers’ taxes; grants to cover costs of moving to settlements; loans for rent, utilities and purchasing apartments (these loans convert to grants after three years residence in the settlement); free education from kindergarten through university; and free technical education. Palestinians are not afforded such benefits.
Freedom of Residence
– Palestinians who procure residency or citizenship in another country immediately lose their right of residency in occupied East Jerusalem. Jews, however, can obtain both residency and citizenship in another country and still retain their right to reside in occupied East Jerusalem.
Freedom to Leave and Return to One’s Country
– Palestinians who either fled or were not in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or the Gaza Strip at the time of the1948 or 1967 wars have never been allowed to return to their homes or reclaim their property. By contrast, Jews from anywhere in the world may ‘return’ to either Israel proper or occupied Palestinian territory even if neither they nor any of their ancestors were born or had previously lived there.
– Jews have no restrictions preventing their living with or being unified with spouses and children who are from a foreign country, not citizens of Israel. By contrast, Palestinians of all categories are not afforded the same right to family unification.
– Israel has refused to allow a Palestinian state to emerge and at the same time has refused Palestinians in occupied Palestinian territory to gain citizenship in Israel. By contrast, Jews from anywhere in the world are rewarded with automatic citizenship and substantial monetary benefits for transferring into and living in occupied Palestinian territory.
– Israel has imposed a burdensome permit system which requires Palestinians to get a permit for everything from repairing their home, making a deposit in their bank account, and planting onions, to which fields Palestinians may use their tractors. Often permits are issued or the permit system is enforced depending on the Palestinians’ willingness to collaborate with their Israeli occupier.
– Israel prevents imports, exports, and Palestinian people from moving freely throughout Palestinian territory. This ‘closure’ policy has halted Palestinian economic development by fragmenting Palestinian economic space, raising the cost of doing business, and eliminating the predictability needed to carry out successful business.
– Palestinians must obtain permits from Israel to grow crops. Permits are granted based on whether Palestinian crops compete with Israeli agricultural production.
– A Palestinian may not establish a factory or business employing more than ten individuals.
– Palestinians laborers must pay 11% of their wages to Israel’s national trade union, Histadrut, for insurance tax. Yet Palestinians do not receive Histadrut insurance benefits such as unemployment compensation, disability benefits, or old age pensions. In addition Palestinian laborers pay 1% of their wages to Histadrut for membership dues. Yet Histadrut represents only Jewish laborers in disputes, and cooperates with the Israeli military in tightening control over Palestinians.
Right to an Education
– Israel denies Palestinians the right to an education through indirect measures such as creating obstacles to movement so Palestinian students cannot get to their schools; repeated closure of Palestinian schools; military attacks on schools and students; destroying educational infrastructure; and denying Palestinian students exit permits preventing them from studying abroad.
Freedom of the Press
– Israel restricts media reporting information from Palestinian territory by direct censorship; by refusing to issue or renew press cards, restricting the movement of the press, damaging or destroying radio and TV installations; through arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists; and by beating, torturing, and killing journalists.
– The Israeli press practices a codified system of self censorship (Nakdi Report) including prohibition of the use of terms such as “Palestinian,” “Palestine,” “East Jerusalem,” or references to areas in the West Bank by their Palestinian name, instead referring to areas of the West Bank as Judea and Samaria.
– Reporters without Borders, a journalism organization advocating freedom of the press internationally, ranks Israel 146th out of 169 in their annual press freedom index.
– Palestinian newspapers must have an Israeli military permit and publications must be pre-approved by the military censor.
Israel’s practices, Apartheid Pillar 2: Segregation; exploitation of resources
After occupying Palestinian territory in 1967, Israel issued Administration Order #1 annexing Palestinian East Jerusalem to the State of Israel.
In 1967 Israel issued military orders declaring all Palestinian surface and ground water “public property” and the “sovereign property of Israel.”
In 1978, the Jewish Agency/World Zionist Organization/Jewish National Fund declared the West Bank a permanent part of the “Land of Israel.”
These para-state organizations laid out a master plan (the Drobles Plan) placing Jewish settlements and Jews-only highways around and between Palestinian populations with the stated purpose of carving up the territory to promote Jewish domination and prevent the creation of a Palestinian state.
By the 1990s, the corridors of Jewish settlements and Jews-only highways enforced complete segregation of Jews and non-Jews. Palestinians have been pushed into disjointed, ever-shrinking enclaves.
– Israel has appropriated over 50% of the West Bank for the exclusive benefit of Jews including settlements and outposts; nature preserves; special security zones; the wall; agricultural development for Jewish settlers; closed military zones; and a Jews-only highway system. Palestinians are prohibited from using, or even crossing, the extensive Jews-only highway system that allows Jews to travel freely between settlements and between the West Bank and the state of Israel.
– Israel’s security wall alone appropriates 10% of the West Bank by fencing that land into Israel proper.
– Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been trapped in the ‘seam zone,’ their homes and villages are walled out of the West Bank. They are not allowed to pass into Israel for services and likewise cannot freely pass through the ‘wall’ into Palestinian territory for services and community. In contrast, a Jew from anywhere in the world, Israeli citizen or not, is free to travel in and out of the seam zones.
– By September 2008, Israel had established 699 restrictions to Palestinian movement within the West Bank including checkpoints, roadblocks, trenches, earth mounds, road gates, 89 ‘flying’ checkpoints (weekly average), and the ‘security wall.’
– As a result of this system of security walls, settlements, and highways, Israel has deliberately severed East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. The West Bank is divided into reserves in which residence and entry is determined by each group’s identity. Israel has also sealed and isolated the Gaza Strip from the rest of Palestinian territory.
Exploitation of resources
– Israel integrated the Palestinian electricity infrastructure and water supplies into that of Israel, thus denying Palestinians control over their own municipal services and water resources.
– Israel diverts all of Palestinian Jordan River water and 87% of Palestinian ground water to the state of Israel proper and the illegal Jewish settlers. The remaining 13% of Palestinian ground water is distributed back to 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank.
– Israel cuts off Palestinian access to water by destroying wells; destroying all Palestinian pumps and ditches accessing the Jordan River; destroying cisterns and irrigation systems; preventing the construction of new water infrastructure; preventing the repair of out-dated infrastructure; preventing Palestinians from drilling new wells; and hindering access through ‘security measures’ such as roadblocks, closures, checkpoints, and the wall.
– The route of Israel’s security wall delineates the eastern boundary of high groundwater production from the Western Aquifer. The wall fences those areas of high water production into Israel, closing off Palestinian access to more than 95% of their groundwater resources, over 630 million cubic meters of water per year.
– Since 1967, not one permit has been granted for the drilling of new Palestinian controlled wells in the largest and most productive of all the aquifer basins, the Western Aquifer.
– Palestinians pay from four to twenty times more for water than Jewish settlers pay, but are restricted to 10 to 60 liters of water per day, less than the 100 liters-per-day minimum standard set by the World Health Organization. Jewish settlers enjoy from 274 to 450 liters of water per day.
– Five thousand Jewish settlers living in the Jordan Valley consume the equivalent of 75% of the water used by the entire West Bank population of over 2.5 million Palestinians.
– All 149 Israeli-approved Jewish settlements in the West Bank are connected to a running water network, while over 200 Palestinian communities in the West Bank have no running water.
Gaza Aquifer, the only source of freshwater in the Gaza Strip
– Israel, through years of over-pumping deep bore wells along the Gaza Strip, has drawn sewage and salt water contamination into the Gaza aquifer.
– Israel reduced natural recharge of the Gaza aquifer by constructing a physical barrier or “verge” to prevent fresh water from the Hebron Hills from reaching the Gaza aquifer.
– Today 90 to 95% of the Gaza aquifer is unfit for human consumption, much of it unfit even for irrigation or showering.
– Between 2000 and mid-2006, Israel destroyed 244 of Gaza’s wells and destroyed 6.2 miles of culinary water lines.
– By January 2008, 40% of the homes in Gaza had no running water.
Israel’s practices, Apartheid Pillar 3: Matrix of security laws to suppress opposition
Security for the state of Israel has been equated with protection for Israel’s institutions—the same institutions that enforce domination of Palestinians.
All Palestinian resistance to Israeli domination is treated as a “security threat.” Palestinians resisting are labeled “terrorists.”
Israel invokes ‘security’ to justify sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of expression, assembly, association, and movement.
Assassinations, torture, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, and no due process are sanctioned by the state of Israel and often approved by the Israeli judicial system.
Israel’s military court system is the “institutional centerpiece of Israel’s apparatus of control over Palestinians.”
– From 2002 to 2006, Israel’s military courts filed more than 43,000 indictments against Palestinians of which only one third were security related and only 1 per cent involved defendants charged with causing intentional deaths.
– Israel’s military courts do not comply with international standards of due process.
– There is no ‘presumption of innocence,’ placing burden of proof on the defense.
– A Palestinian defendant and attorney are not informed of charges against him or her until the first hearing (after the indictment has already been filed). The defendant is expected to respond immediately with no time to study the indictment.
– Indictments are written and presented in Hebrew—a language the defendant does not understand.
– Court decisions can be based on “secret evidence” not provided to a detainee or his or her lawyer.
– Decisions of the court are not published.
– All judges are Israeli military officers, many without legal background or education.
– If a defendant refuses to plea-bargain, the result is a far more severe penalty.
– 95% to 97% of convictions are the result of plea-bargains.
– The average hearing lasts just 3 minutes and 4 seconds.
– In 2006, acquittals were obtained in only 0.29% of cases.
– Over 40% of the Palestinian male population has been imprisoned at some time, many without charges in repeating 6-month administrative detention terms that can go on for years.
– By April 2009, 45 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, over one third of the democratically elected parliament, were imprisoned, most convicted of belonging to a political party Israel deems a “threat,” and eight administratively detained without any charges or trial.
– Palestinian children are prosecuted as adults at age 12. Jewish settler children are not prosecuted as adults until age 18.
– Over 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted by Israeli military courts each year, mostly for throwing stones including throwing stones at the wall. Throwing stones carries a prison term of six months to twenty years.
Freedom of assembly and association
– Palestinian public gatherings of more than ten people are forbidden unless Israel is given advance notice and the names of all attendees.
– Israel uses live ammunition, tear gas, sound bombs, rubber-coated steel bullets, and physical violence against public gatherings and demonstrations.
Persecution of organizations or persons because they oppose apartheid
– Israel has declared most Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations.” All charitable, educational, or cultural organizations deemed to be connected directly or indirectly to a political party are subject to closure, destruction, and military attacks.
– In 2008, Israel carried out a military attack targeting a residential area, a school, two medical clinics, and two orphanages because Israel suspected some donors to the charity that built them to be members of Hamas.
Cruel and inhumane treatment: Gaza
– From 2000 to 2004, Israel demolished over 2500 homes in the Gaza Strip leaving 16,000 Palestinians homeless.
– In 2006, Israel bombed the Gaza power plant destroying all six transformers and halting electricity production, leaving Gaza almost completely dependent on Israel as the sole provider of electricity, power, desalination, pumping sewage, and pumping water.
– After years of systematic bombing and destruction, which transformed Gaza into a dependent population, Israel isolated Gaza with an encircling ‘security wall.’ Then in October 2007, Israel initiated a blockade on Gaza limiting fuel, water, and electricity and cutting basic supplies to less than 1/5 their former levels. 95% of Gaza’s industries shut down; poverty levels reached 80%; hospitals experienced power cuts of 8 to 12 hours a day; thirty to forty million liters of raw sewage poured into the Mediterranean sea every day; 1.1 million Gazans were living below the poverty line.
– Gaza’s fishing grounds extend 20 miles off shore, yet Israel enforced a three-mile limit by opening fire on Palestinian fishing vessels beyond three miles, severely damaging Palestinian fishermen’s livelihood and denying a viable food source to Gaza.
– On December 27, 2008, Israel launched “Operation Cast Lead,” a three-week military attack on Gaza, killing 1380 Palestinians and injuring 5380. During this attack Israel prevented Palestinian civilians from leaving Gaza, “subjecting the entire population to the extreme physical and psychological hazards of modern warfare.”
–Since “Operation Cast Lead,” Israel has continued the blockade, preventing Palestinians from rebuilding, thus deepening the humanitarian disaster in Gaza.
Selected Examples of the 2500 Military Orders Governing Palestinians
Military Order #818: establishes how Palestinians can plant decorative flowers.
Military Order #998: requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to make a withdrawal from their bank account.
Military Order #93 and amendment: gives all Palestinian insurance businesses to the Israeli Insurance Syndicate.
Military Order #96: forbids transport or purchase of goods on a donkey.
Military Order #537: removes democratically elected Mayors of West Bank cities from their position.
Military Order #811 and #847: allows Jews to purchase land from unwilling Palestinian sellers by using a “power of attorney.”
Military Order #25: forbids public inspection of land transactions.
Military Order #58: makes land transactions immune to review so long as the transaction was carried out by an Israeli “acting in good faith.”
Military Order #58, Article 5: says any land transaction will not be voided even if it is proved the transaction was invalid.
Military Order #101: forbids a gathering of more than 10 people unless the Israeli military receives advance notice with names of all participants.
Military Order #107: bans publications including works on Arabic grammar, histories of the Crusades, and works on Arab nationalism.
Military Order #92 and #158: gives the Israeli military control of all West Bank and Gaza Strip water.
Military Order #128: gives the Israeli military the right to take over any Palestinian business which does not open during regular business hours.
Military Order #1015: requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to plant and grow fruit trees. Permits expire in one year or each June 15th.
Military Order #847: declares only Israeli notaries can authenticate signatures.
Military Order #134: prohibits Palestinians from operating tractors or other farm machinery made in Israel or imported from any other country.
Military Order #363: requires Palestinian mechanics to report to the Israeli military the particulars of any and all cars they repair.
Military Order #1147 (amendment): requires Palestinians to get permission from the Israeli military to grow onions.
Military Order #1229: authorizes Israel to hold Palestinians in administrative detention for up to six months without charge or trial. Six-month detentions can be renewed indefinitely.
Discussion: Future Direction
The conclusions of the study by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa were limited to Israel’s practices in occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The study found Israel’s practices in these territories constitute both colonialism and apartheid.
The study did contain much evidence of similar practices within the state of Israel suggesting the need for studies in other areas where Israel’s laws dominate. That would include Israel’s practices within the state of Israel proper where 1.7 million Palestinian Israelis, nearly 24% of the population, are considered “citizen non-members of Israel and afforded a status inferior to that of Jewish citizens;” Israel’s practices regarding Palestinian refugees where Israel’s citizenship laws place inhumane limits on refugees’ right to return to their homes and reclaim their property confiscated by Israel in 1948 and 1967; and Israel’s practices in the occupied Golan Heights.
Under International Law, practices of colonialism and apartheid are judged damaging to international legal order and seriously threaten world peace and security. Findings of colonialism and apartheid legally obligate third party nations to oppose the colonialism-apartheid system. Findings of apartheid, a crime against humanity, also give rise to individual criminal responsibility.
The State of Israel has the duty to:
Cease its unlawful activity
Dismantle the structures of colonialism and apartheid
Promote full rights and expression of the Palestinian people
Pay reparations and damages to the Palestinians people
Third party States are obligated to:
Not recognize the illegal situation as lawful
Not render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation
Cooperate to bring the illegal situation to an end
Not become complicit in the crimes by failing to fulfill the first three obligations
As a next step, the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa strongly recommends that states take action to meet their legal obligations under international law and urgently request the International Court of Justice render an advisory opinion on the question of Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory.
Concerned citizens play a critical role in bringing their governments forward on this issue, from awareness of breaches of international law and human rights to responsibility. The report of the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa recognizes Israeli apartheid and colonization as a matter of global significance. They have named and delineated this egregious policy. The study warns that states providing aid to Israel can be found complicit in this international crime and implies that individuals aiding Israel may bear criminal responsibility. The study further suggests that international methods that helped end apartheid in South Africa are applicable to ending Israeli apartheid.
Specifically, individuals can meet with their representatives; petition their representatives to request an advisory opinion from International Court of Justice on the question of Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory; hold non-violent protests; and join in international boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts—all strategies similar to those used to end South Africa’s apartheid.
In a desperate attempt to stem the tsunami of international public support for boycott, divestment and sanctioning of Israel for its illegal activities in Palestine, an Israeli Rent-a-Crowd from a local evangelical church turned up to try to counter a picket by Kiwi anti-Zionist protestors of a performance by Israeli government-funded dance company Batsheva at the St James Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand on Saturday night.
The NZ performance was under the auspices of the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, and partially sponsored by the Israeli Embassy in Wellington.
Despite numerous kiwi appeals to organisers to cancel the troupe’s invitation, and to the government to refuse them visas, both the festival organisers and the NZ government turned a deaf ear.
Not so the audience, who were left in no doubt as to the implications of their attendance at the event.
Two groups of protestors, one a combined network of Palestinian solidarity organisations in New Zealand and the other a group of pro-Zionists, were divided by security personnel to stand each side of the entrance way.
Waving placards and banners, the anti-Zionist protestors pointed out that The Batsheva Dance Company is part of the Israeli propaganda effort to deflect criticism of its policies towards Palestinians and other Arab countries. As the troupe is largely funded by the Israeli Ministry of Culture & Sport, the City of Tel Aviv and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who praise the troupe as “ambassadors of Israeli culture,” the NZ protestors said that supporting the performance is tantamount to supporting the oppressive – and illegal – practices of the Zionist regime.
To cheers from the crowd, some 15 people decided to forgo their tickets, saying they had no idea it was an Israeli-government sponsored event, and would never have bought them if they had been aware.
Shouts of “Shame” accompanied those who continued through the doors.
Meanwhile, in what is the clearest evidence yet that Israel’s propaganda campaign is an abject failure, the Rent-a-Crowd in the front line of the pro-Zionist group demonstrated not only their ignorance of the issues at stake, but also their general ignorance.
Waving placards with personal jibes at one of the anti-Zionist protestors, yelling personal abuse at the picketers, and merely screaming “lies” without providing any supporting evidence, this pro-Israel frontline showed none of the usual slick hasbara, but instead publicly displayed an appalling lack of personal respect and diplomacy, as well as a paucity of any arguments in Israel’s defence – quite possibly because there are none. Israel must surely be desperate to resort to such ‘supporters.’
As the anti-Zionist protesters said loud and clear, in a message which obviously rang true for many of the audience, “For the same reasons New Zealanders called for the end to rugby links with apartheid South Africa, we are calling for the cutting of ties with apartheid Israel.”
They also had a message for those who make the spurious claim that dance has no place in politics. Quoting University of Auckland Dance Studies Associate Professor Nicholas Rowe:
“If Ohad Naharin and Batsheva Dance Company would have the courage to refuse to offer their bodies up to the Israeli Defense Forces for annual military service, if they would have the courage to publicly condemn the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the ongoing theft of land and property by the government that pays them to tour in the name of Israel, if they would have the courage to publicly state that they do not judge people by their religion or ethnicity and so would welcome the return of non-Jewish refugees back to their homes inside what is now Israel, then they would be touring to New Zealand as dance artists, and not just as political puppets.”
Israel, by its own efforts, has booked its ticket in history alongside the South African apartheid regime. A Rent-a-Crowd of slogan-shouters hurling personal abuse is not going to save it from admission to a similar fateful performance.
A short video of the picket is here