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Israeli ex-top diplomat backs boycott

 Al Akhbar | June 27, 2012

Former top Israeli diplomat Alon Liel threw his backing behind renowned author Alice Walker’s decision to shun an Israeli publishing house, citing an international boycott against Israel for its oppression of Palestinians, the Times of Israel reported.

Liel, who served as Israel’s ambassador to South Africa between 1992 and 1994 and was also the director of Israel’s foreign ministry, said he supported the international campaign against Israel, adding that he too boycotted goods from illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

“If nobody speaks about the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict, nothing will happen. I think that such a move, boycotting products from Israeli factories in the settlements, is a kind of wake-up call,” he wrote in South Africa’s Business Day paper published on Sunday.

“I can understand the desire, by people of conscience, to reassert an agenda of justice, to remind Israelis that Palestinians exist. I can understand small but symbolic acts of protest that hold a mirror up to Israeli society,” he said

Liel went on to back Walker’s refusal to allow her best-selling novel “The Color Purple” be translated into Hebrew by an Israeli publishing firm to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people.

“I think it’s needed, yes. Unfortunately, I don’t see Israeli politicians waking up from these calls. But it’s better than nothing,” he said.

The former Israeli diplomat also defended South Africa’s decision to ban “Made in Israel” labels on products from the occupied West Bank.

“I cannot condemn the move to prevent goods made in the occupied Palestinian territory from being falsely classified as ‘Made in Israel.’ I support the South African government’s insistence on this distinction between Israel and its occupation,” he wrote in his column.

Palestinian children tortured

Britain is preparing to challenge Israel over alleged malpractices by the Jewish state of Palestinian children, which could amount to torture, The Independent newspaper reported on Wednesday.

An investigation by senior British lawyers – funded by the Foreign Office – included shocking acts of cruelty against detained Palestinian children, including solitary confinement, blindfolding and being forced to wear leg irons.

The findings, based largely on testimonies by Palestinian children from the West Bank, were published in Children in Military Custody.

“We were sitting in court and saw a section of a preliminary hearing when a very young looking child, a boy, was brought in wearing a brown uniform with leg irons on. We were shocked by that. This was a situation where we had been invited into the military courts for briefings from senior judges,” Greg Davies, a human rights barrister involved in the investigation wrote.

“To hold children routinely and for substantial periods in solitary confinement would, if it occurred, be capable of amounting to torture,” the report said.

The report also found Palestinian children were often dragged from the beds in the middle of the night, and subjected to verbal and physical abuse in jail in a bid to have them sign confessions they were not permitted to read, The Independent said.

Britain’s Foreign Office said it would “lobby” Israel “for further improvements” without clarifying.

“The UK government has had long-standing concerns about the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli detention, and as a result decided to fund this independent report. While recognizing that some positive recent steps have been made by the Israeli authorities, we share many of the report’s concerns, and will continue to lobby for further improvements,” The Independent quoted the Foreign Office as saying.

Israel maintains a military occupation of the West Bank, and a siege on Gaza, subjecting the indigenous Palestinian population to extremely harsh measures that many activists have dubbed apartheid.

(Al-Akhbar, Times of Israel, The Independent)

June 27, 2012 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , ,

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