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UN blacklists 130 Israeli firms & 60 multinationals for working in occupied Palestinian territories

RT | October 26, 2017

The United Nations (UN) has included some of the biggest Israeli and international firms operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights in a blacklist for those violating “international law and UN resolutions.”

According to Israeli Ynet News which has gained access to part of the list, 130 Israeli companies and 60 international corporations received warning letters from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein about their impending inclusion on the blacklist.

The list, which reportedly will be published in late December includes Israel Aerospace Industries, telecom giants, international tech firms, banks, and even cafes.

Israel Aerospace Industries, Hewlett-Packard, the Israeli branches of Motorola and HP, the Dead Sea cosmetics firm Ahava, the Cellcom and Partner telecommunications companies are among those listed. Israel’s two largest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, are also said to be on the list.

Israeli Channel 2 News has reported that among the American firms that received letters were Coca-Cola, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, and Caterpillar.

The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley condemned the blacklist as “the latest in this long line of shameful actions” taken by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). In June Haley warned the US could withdraw from the 47-member body.

“It may cause large investment firms or pension funds carrying stocks of various Israeli companies to divest in them because they, in turn, operate in the settlements,” an unnamed senior Israeli official told Ynet, adding “it may lead to a snowball effect that will greatly harm the Israeli economy eventually.”

The companies say the list’s creation was politically motivated and their inclusion may cause them financial harm and tarnish their brand. They are reportedly looking into filing lawsuits against the Commissioner and the UNHRC.

In September, the UN Commissioner warned over 150 companies that their activities in the “occupied Palestinian territories” may see them added to a blacklist of companies as “they operate in opposition to international law and in opposition of UN resolutions.”

The UN Human Rights Commission voted in March for the resolution being pushed by the Palestinian Authority and Arab nations, according to which the commission would formulate a database of Israeli and international firms directly or indirectly doing business in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. The decision passed despite pressure and criticism from the US.

October 26, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Ex-Israel Commander: Settlement project has failed

MEMO | October 24, 2017

The Israeli settlement project in the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley has failed, a former commander of Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip has said.

“The annual increase in the number of settlers has fallen dramatically, reaching 10.3 per cent in 1996, while in 2016 it fell to only 3.4 per cent,” said Shaul Arieli.

In 1996, there was a 68 per cent increase in Jews leaving Israeli cities to settle in settlements in the occupied West Bank, while in 2016 the figure dropped to only 22 per cent, he said in an article published in Haaretz today.

He questioned former army minister Moshe Ya’alon who claimed that the West Bank could accommodate a million or two million Jews. Arieli stressed that the decline in Jewish immigration to Israel makes such promotion a form of illusion.

The biggest indicator that the Zionist project had failed, Arieli said, was the fact that settlements in the Jordan Valley were unable to attract Jews.

He revealed that former Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon “called for the introduction of a million Jews to settle in the settlements of the valley,” adding that in spite of this, there had been no increase in the population.

Five-thousand settlers had moved to the Jordan Valley over the past 50 years, not the millions the authorities had hoped for, he explained.

Israeli occupation forces approved more than 3,700 housing units in the past weeks in the hope of building 12,000 by the end of the year.

The international community considers all settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories illegal.

Read Also: Israel is pushing its luck with the EU

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Israel offers privileges to settlement companies affected by Boycott

Palestine Information Center – October 2, 2017

NAZARETH – Israeli Economy Minister Eli Cohen decided to offer special privileges to Israeli companies working in settlements in defiance to international boycott resolutions.

Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom reported that the decision stipulates offering aid in form of tax privileges in the exportation field for the factories affected by the boycott in order to guarantee continuing work in settlements.

The UN Human Rights Council decided to publish a blacklist including the names of factories and companies working in settlements in order to support the boycott and pressure these firms to stop working in the settlements as well as to urge international companies to stop dealing with Israel.

October 2, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel To Commit War Crime Against West Bank Villagers

Israel To Commit War Crime Against West Bank Villagers

“No sanctimonious language… can erase the disgrace or hide the facts: the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar means the forcible transfer of protected persons,
and forcible transfer is a war crime.”

[If Americans Knew notes: Twelve Palestinian communities in an area near Jerusalem are at risk of expulsion. These villages have been living for years without basic health, education, and welfare services, and without proper electricity or sewage systems. They are under constant surveillance for “illegal” construction—structures built without a permit from the Israeli government (permits are impossible to obtain in this region). These structures, many built of necessity to house growing families, are then quickly demolished by Israel’s Civil Administration.

Israel makes life almost unbearable for these Palestinians. Demolishing homes is just the beginning: grazing and farming land is confiscated, making it harder and harder for the residents to feed themselves and make a living; roads are nearly impassable; settlers and Israeli authorities harass them daily.

This is taking place not in Israel, but in the West Bank, on Palestinian land under full control of Israel.

One community that is at risk of imminent expulsion is Khan al-Ahmar. The Bedouin tribe has already been expelled twice since the 1950s.]

IMEMC News | September 26, 2017

Israeli rights group B’Tselem said, on Monday afternoon, that Israeli government is to commit war crimes against Palestinian villagers in Khan al-Ahmar.

B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai el-Ad said, according to Days of Palestine: “Following the state’s response submitted earlier today to the [Israeli] High Court of Justice, that the state was asking the court to authorize a war crime.”

He explained: “No sanctimonious language about a ‘planning, proprietary and realistic’ alternate, or ‘time to prepare’ can erase the disgrace or hide the facts: the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar means the forcible transfer of protected persons, and forcible transfer is a war crime.”

El-Ad added: “Those responsible for it will bear personal criminal liability – exactly as B’Tselem stated two weeks ago, in a letter addressed to the prime minister, defence minister, justice minister, chief of staff and the head of the Civil Administration.”

According to updated data, Khan al-Ahmar community, which lives on land Israel has earmarked for settlement expansion in the area, is home to 32 families numbering 173 persons, including 92 minors.

It has a mosque and a school, which was established in 2009 and serves more than 150 children between the ages of six and fifteen – some of them from neighbouring communities.

Khan al-Ahmar is located around the illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

The Israeli occupation considers it strategic for building and expanding illegal settlements and establishing a territorial link between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.


More background on Khan al-Ahmar and the other communities can be found here.

September 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

Jewish settlers hold provocative evening march in Silwan

Palestine Information Center – August 25, 2017

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Dozens of Jewish settlers along with officials on Thursday staged a provocative evening march in the Palestinian Silwan district of Occupied Jerusalem and entered a house that had been already sized and turned into a synagogue in Baten al-Hawa neighborhood.

A reporter for the Palestinian Information Center said the settlers were carrying Torah scrolls and Israeli flags as they were marching to the house that was appropriated a few years ago at the pretext that it was once a synagogue.

Member of the Silwan Land Defense Committee Fakhri Abu Diyab said that scores of Israeli police forces were deployed throughout the area and on rooftops of homes to protect the participants in the march.

Abu Diyab affirmed that Israeli agriculture minister Uri Ariel, right-wing Knesset members, and officials from the Jewish Home Party, and Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Jerusalem Aryeh Stern were among the participants.

He pointed out that it was the first time for the settlers to hold a march in Silwan district.

Silwan and its neighborhoods have always been a target of Judaization projects. The Israeli occupation authority still seeks to demolish several Palestinian homes in the district in order to build a park for its settlers.

In 2005, it started to notify local residents of its intent to raze their homes for the park project, but it had to delay its step several times after home owners managed to extract court verdicts freezing demolition orders.

However, the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem now threatens again to demolish the homes in Silwan after it rejected all the structural blueprints they submitted for their neighborhoods.

August 25, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli settlers torch cars, vandalize property during attack on Ramallah-area village

Ma’an – August 9, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Israeli settlers set fire to two Palestinian-owned vehicles on Wednesday in the village of Umm Safa in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah in an alleged revenge attack for three Israeli settlers who were killed by a Palestinian in the nearby Halamish settlement last month.

Palestinian news agency Wafa received testimony from Marwan Sabah, the village council head, who said that Israeli settlers had set fire to the vehicles around 2:30 a.m.

While Israeli soldiers were reportedly stationed at the entrance of the village at night, the settlers attacked homes on the outskirts of the village after the soldiers had left, Sabah said.

However, Israeli soldiers are rarely able to control Israeli settlers, and reports often emerge of Israeli soldiers watching settler attacks on Palestinians without intervening. If any action is taken by Israeli soldiers, it is typically in the form of shooting “crowd control measures,” such as tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and often live ammunition, at Palestinians.

The settlers had also reportedly graffitied hate slogans on walls in the village, calling for revenge attacks on Palestinians in response to a deadly attack last month when a Palestinian from the Ramallah-area village of Kobar entered the Halamish settlement and stabbed three Israeli settlers to death.

According to the Israeli army, the incident would be under the jurisdiction of the Israeli police. However, an Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

According to Sabah, Israeli forces arrived in the village in the morning following the attack “to examine the area.” An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into any follow-up reports on the incident.

Israeli forces raided Kobar village in the predawn hours of Wednesday, detaining the father and uncle of the Halamish attacker, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed. Three others from the village were also detained during clashes that left 15 injured, some with live fire.

Last week, some 200 settlers from the Halamish settlement attacked the Kobar village. Israeli forces responded by violently suppressing clashes that had broken out between the settlers and Palestinian locals, which resulted in one Palestinian being injured by live ammunition shot by the Israeli army.

An upwards of some 600,000 Israeli settlers reside in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law. The international community has repeatedly called their presence and rising population the main impediment to potential peace in the region.

The UN reported on Saturday that after a three-year decline of settler attacks on Palestinians, the first half of 2017 showed a major increase in such attacks, with 89 incidents being documented so far this year.

“On a monthly average, this represents an increase of 88 percent compared with 2016,” the UN said. The attacks during this time period have led to the deaths of three Palestinians.

Israeli media has reported that the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, has also warned the Israeli government over the alarming trend and has “called on the government to adopt urgent measures to prevent further deterioration,” according to the UN.

Palestinian activists and rights groups have long accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years, according to Israeli NGO Yesh Din.

Meanwhile, Palestinians allegedly or actually committing any attacks on Israelis are often shot dead at the scene, in what rights groups have deemed “extrajudicial executions,” or face long prison sentences.

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian in Salfit tending to his land near separation wall

Ma’an – July 29, 2017

SALFIT – Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian on Friday while he was tending to his land near Israel’s separation wall in the village of Deir Ballut in the western part of Salfit district in the occupied West Bank.

Medical sources at the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma’an that Faed Saleh Odeh Moussa, 33, was injured with a live bullet in his left hand after Israeli forces opened fire on him while he was on his land watering trees.

The sources added that he was transferred to the Yasser Arafat Hospital in Salfit, where doctors reported his injury as moderate.

Saed, Moussa’s brother, told Ma’an that they were caring for their land near Israel’s separation wall, like every Friday, when Israeli forces arrived in the area at 7:30 p.m. and randomly opened live ammunition on them.

Saed said that they quickly hid behind rocks before his brother was injured. He added that their children were also with them at the time and two men from Qalqiliya city in the northern West Bank who were en route to Israel.

Israeli forces remained in the area for some time before leaving following the incident, Saed noted. He added that he had called the Deir Ballut municipality to inform them of the incident, who said that they would notify the Palestinian liaison of the incident.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the incident.

According to the Bethlehem-based Applied Research Institute — Jerusalem, the village of Deir Ballut has had thousands of dunams of land confiscated for the purpose of illegal Israeli settlement building, while Israel’s separation wall — deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004 — is expected to swallow up at least 35 percent of the village’s lands.

Such Israeli activities in Palestinian villages coincide with upticks of Israeli violence against Palestinians — both by Israeli forces and settlers, as Palestinians are stripped of their lands and often barred from entering Israel’s so-called security “buffer zones” on the Palestinian side of the separation wall.

The UN has reported that at least 92 Palestinians are injured by Israeli forces every two weeks, while 1,444 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces this year, as of July 17. However, this data does not include the hundreds of Palestinians who were injured during Al-Aqsa protests post-July 17.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Wine and the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | July 24, 2017

Two weeks ago the worst fear of Canadian opponents of neoliberal ‘free trade’ agreements came true.

Surprisingly, there has been almost no reaction from the political parties, unions, and other organizations that warned these agreements would be used to undermine Canadian law, even though this is exactly what happened.

After David Kattenburg repeatedly complained about inacurate labels on two wines sold in Ontario, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) notified the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) that it “would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading” to declare Israel as the country of origin for wines produced in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Quoting from official Canadian policy, CFIA noted “the government of Canada does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967.” On July 11 the LCBO sent out a letter to all sacramental wine vendors that stated CFIA’s conclusion that products from two wineries contained grapes “grown, fermented, processed, blended and finished in the West Bank occupied territory” and should no longer be sold until accurately labelled.

But, in response to pressure from the Israeli embassy, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai Brith, CFIA quickly reversed its decision. On July 14 the government announced that it was all a mistake made by a low level CFIA official and that the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) governed the labelling of such wine, not CFIA rules. “We did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement,” a terse CFIA statement explained. “These wines adhere to the Agreement and therefore we can confirm that the products in question can be sold as currently labelled.”

In other words, the government publicly proclamed that the FTA trumps Canada’s consumer protection laws. And the basis for this dangerous precedent is that the Israel FTA includes the illegally occupied West Bank as a place where Israel’s custom laws apply.

Incredibly, the Green Party of Canada seems to be the only organization that has publically challenged this egregious attack against consumer protections and Palestinian rights. “The European Union and the United States made it clear long ago that goods made in these illegal settlements cannot be mislabelled as ‘Made in Israel’”, said Green Party leader Elizabeth May in a press release. “Why is Canada singling out Israel for preferential treatment at the expense of both Palestinians’ human rights, and the rights of Canadian consumers?”

The Green’s statement points to a startling “Israel exception” by the government as well as FTA critics. I’ve seen no comment from the Council of Canadians or the organization’s trade campaigner Sujata Dey about the Liberal’s announcement that an FTA overides Canadian consumer protections. The same can be said for NDP International Trade critic Tracey Ramsey as well as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and its Trade and Investment Research Project leader Scott Sinclair. (Since CFIA’s announcement Ramsey and Dey have each posted repeatedly to twitter regarding CETA, NAFTA and other FTAs.) Nor have consumer protection groups such as the Consumers’ Association of Canada or Consumers Council of Canada opposed this attack on the Food and Drugs Act.

But, FTA critics still have an opportunity to join the fight against CFIA’s recent decision. David Kattenburg and his lawyer Dmitry Lascaris are planning a court challenge and their efforts should be supported.

To allow this precedent to pass without challenge the CCPA, NDP and Council of Canadians would be conceding an extremely broad “Israel exception”. Opposing CFIA’s move isn’t akin to backing Palestinian civil society’s (entirely legitimate) call for international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions until Israel: “Ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantles the Wall; Recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and Respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”

Nor is it a request for Ottawa to bar wines produced on the 22% of pre-1948 Palestine supposed to be a Palestinian state as per official Canadian policy. It is not even necessarily a demand to eliminate the special tariff treatment the Israel FTA currently grants companies based in the occupied territories. It is simply a request to respect Canada’s Food and Drugs Act and label two brands of wine accurately.

Kattenburg explains:

Israel’s self-declared right to sell falsely labeled products on Canadian store shelves should not be allowed to trump the right of Canadians to know what they’re eating and drinking; to know that the fine bottle of ‘Israeli’ red or crispy chardonnay that they just bought was actually not produced from grapes grown in Israel, but rather, in Israeli-occupied, brutally exploited Palestine.


Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

150 French Jews move to Israel

MEMO | July 20, 2017

Some 150 French Jews have moved into an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank, according to Arutz Sheva.

The settlers landed on Tuesday night as part of a programme by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), the second such arrival this month. Last week, 200 settlers arrived at Ben Gurion Airport; the largest group scheduled to arrive this summer.

Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan congratulated Tuesday’s arrivals.

“You have done the most Zionist thing. You left your families, homes, and language to move to Israel,” he said.

Israeli Immigration Minister Sofa Landver has also hailed the continued arrival of French Jews as “a Zionist and principled Aliya [Jewish immigration] that has contributed and will continue to contribute greatly to the State of Israel.”

French Jewish immigration has surged since 2012 with a record of 7,800 people settling in Israel in 2015 alone. Over ten per cent of the Jewish community in France have moved to Israel since 2000, half in the past five years, according to the Jewish Agency.

Earlier this month, the grand rabbi of the orthodox Satmar Hassidic group in New York called for Jews not to settle in Israel because the state was secularising Jewish immigrants. The Satmar group has been fiercely anti-Zionist since its inception, and is raising money to fund Jewish community projects in France to dissuade them from moving to Israel.

Read Also:

Expel 100,000 Palestinians and annex settlement says Israeli Minister

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

Apartheid illustrated: Israeli soldier shoots another soldier in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | July 6, 2017

Hebron, occupied Palestine – On Tuesday, 4th July 2017, Israeli forces were conducting a ‘military training’ in a civilian Palestinian neighborhood near Gilbert checkpoint in Tel Rumeida in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron). The result of this ‘military training’ was a fatal shot by one Israeli soldier to the other. The injured commander was immediately evacuated to hospital by an Israeli ambulance, and was later confirmed dead. The Israeli forces immediately closed the whole area to Palestinians by closing all the checkpoints, collectively punishing the civilian Palestinian population. The army, after the incident, announced that these ‘military trainings’ will be suspended in al-Khalil.

The whole incident, though, needs to be contextualized: an occupying army conducted a ‘military training’ near a checkpoint installed for the control and humiliation of the occupied population, in a civilian residential neighborhood. Immediate medical assistance to the injured occupying soldier, with an ambulance that, without any problems, was granted immediate access to the injured.

Military trainings, under international humanitarian law, are prohibited in civilian areas. The Israeli occupying army in al-Khalil, and all over the occupied territories, though, conducts trainings in civilian areas. This serves two functions: for one, it is more ‘real’, a training in the area where the perceived ‘enemy population’ is living, and second, the intimidation of the population. Israeli forces in al-Khalil are sometimes seen ‘practicing’ the ‘neutralization’, as it is called in Israeli rhetoric, of Palestinians at checkpoints. In those cases, a Palestinian that allegedly carries a knife is seen as a threat to the life of the heavily armed and armored occupation forces – and thus has to be shot and, as documented in so many cases, left to bleed to death on the ground without any medical assistance. The idea is always to shoot to kill.

Whereas an Israeli soldier or settler from the illegal settlements would immediately receive medical assistance, as Israeli ambulances are free to pass, Palestinian ambulances, and actually any Palestinian vehicles (often including donkeys and bicycles) are not allowed to drive on one of the (primary artery) roads in al-Khalil – which conveniently connects the settlements in down-town al-Khalil with the Kiryat Arba settlement on the outskirts of the city. Palestinian ambulances, as they are not allowed on this street, instead, are often detained by Israeli forces at the checkpoints, denied to pass and thus denied access to give first aid.

Immediately after the incident, the Israeli forces closed all the checkpoints in the area, effectively putting the area under curfew – for Palestinian residents. Any Palestinian civilian inside the area, thus, was prevented from leaving, and anyone outside trying to reach their homes, was prevented from coming back home. This is clearly collective punishment of the Palestinian civilians, who are not involved in the incident at all – other than living in an area that the Israeli forces are trying hard to rid of any Palestinian presence. Whereas Palestinian movement was completely restricted and Palestinians trying to film the incident and it’s aftermath were stopped and harassed by soldiers. Settlers, however, from the illegal settlements, were allowed to move around freely. In a separate incident, a settler beat up a Palestinian young man, causing his face to be unrecognizable as it was covered in blood. The settler though, can be sure that he’ll enjoy full impunity under the protection of the Israeli forces.

These kinds of military trainings in the aftermath were declared ‘suspended’ in the city of al-Khalil. However, only because a soldier was killed, not because of their illegal nature in civilian areas or a possible threat to the occupied population.

This incident illustrates the apartheid system installed by the Israeli occupying forces in al-Khalil, and all over the occupied Palestinian territories. An apartheid-strategy that aims to displace the Palestinian population from their homeland in favor of illegal settlements.

July 6, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Hear in Every European Country I Visit: The Politicians Are All in Bed with the Israeli Government

By Miko Peled | American Herald Tribune | July 3, 2017

I recently returned from a ten – day speaking tour in Europe, to launch the German language translation of “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” I had lectures to German speaking audiences and even and interviews with main stream media outlets. The tour also included two lectures in Italy, one in Milan and one in the small town of Biella, which of course were not related to the German edition. All the lectures were well attended and people did not mind sitting through the extreme hot weather plaguing Europe this summer or the lengthy process of translation – indeed the audiences sat for hours and listened and then remained for lengthy discussions and Q&A sessions.

This was the latest of many speaking tours I have had in Europe and there is a line that I hear and that is repeated in every European country I visit: “Here in (fill in the blank) the Zionist lobby is very strong, the politicians are all in bed with the Israeli government and media will not report on Palestine.” This stands in contrast to the prevailing opinion which is, that in Europe there is a strong Palestine solidarity movement. That people in general are sympathetic to the cause of justice for Palestine and the BDS movement has recorded serious accomplishments in Europe. And yet, it is true that European governments and mainstream media and the EU as a body are fully supportive of Israel and collaborate with Israel on every level which means that there is an enormous gap between the politicians and their constituents on this issue.

One example of the official and perhaps true attitude of the European Union to Israel and the issue of “illegal settlements” is the following: In the spring of 2016 a conference was held in Jerusalem under the title of “How to Fight the BDS.” I was in Jerusalem at the time and decided to attend. After all, Israeli television news channel 10 described me as a leader of the BDS movement and “the nightmare of the Israeli Hasbara,” two claims in which there is very little truth. The event was very well attended and among the many panels there was one that included the European Union ambassador to Tel Aviv, his Excellency, Lars Faaborg-Andersen. The ambassador was asked about the EU law demanding that products made in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank be labeled indicating that they are not made in Israel but in the West Bank. “We welcome the products from the Settlements” the ambassador responded, “the labeling is merely for accuracy.”

There have been several attempts by the European states and the EU to pacify the pro-Palestinian sentiment and surprisingly, they seem to have worked. One such attempt is the recognition by several European governments and parliaments of a Palestinian state. This recognition is received by many supporters of the Palestinian cause as a reason to rejoice, a reason to feel that justice is being served. But the recognition of a state that does not exist does nothing to promote justice for Palestinians or change the reality in Palestine. The recognition of a fictional Palestinian state does not change the fact that for seven decades Palestine is occupied, Palestinians are subjected to genocide, ethnic cleansing and are forced to live in an apartheid regime. In fact, even the name Palestine has all but been erased off the map and the area recognized as what may one day be a Palestinian state, i.e., the West Bank, is now Judea and Samaria and has – much like all other parts of Palestine – been settled by Jews and, with the exception of some three million Palestinians living there, has been fully integrated into the state of Israel.

So what has this recognition done? Nothing but placate, sedate and allow the Zionist regime to go on with its policies of extermination and dispossession. Instead of recognizing and declaring that Palestine is occupied and should be freed from the regime that has been on a mission to destroy it and its people, the Europeans have recognized a state that has no defined boundaries, no capital, no citizenry and certainly no sovereignty. But as former colonizers themselves, the European states are quite accustomed to the practice of imposing puppet regimes that have no authority or real legitimacy, recognizing a so called state and then doing with it as they will. This is what they are now allowing Israel – a settler colonial project – to do.

The other placating measure was the law that prohibits the labeling of products made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank as made in Israel. This law, as it happens exists in the US as well since the Clinton Administration. It was reiterated by the Obama administration in 2016, and as JPost reported, “The move signals the Obama administration’s continued resistance to folding recognition of settlement products into goods made within Israel’s pre-1967 borders.” but US government officials claimed this was only for providing guidance and is in no way a boycott “or anything like that.”

This ridiculous demand for labeling forces all involved to put forward enormous efforts to define what is “Israeli proper,” or “Legal Israel” as opposed to the expanded or “greater” Israel which includes the West Bank and the Gaza strip. Where do the occupied territories begin and which of the illegal settlements are to be labeled? Are the settlements that are attached to East Jerusalem legal or illegal? What about products that are grown in other areas but get their water from the West Bank which has an enormous water reservoir from which Israel gets much of its water? But in reality there is no West Bank and there is no “Israel proper.” Whichever way we choose to look at it, all of Israel is occupied Palestine, and all of Palestine is occupied. There is no more a line that defines any single area within Palestine that is not part of the State of Israel. So, its either all legal and acceptable or all illegal and unacceptable.

If we take a moment to discuss the US, in what is a bizarre chain of events, we should thank Donald Trump’s ignorance and his close advisors’ hawkish stance on Israel for changing the conversation on Israel and bringing its apartheid nature of the state into the forefront. In his ignorance Trump suggested that any solution is fine with him, one state, two state – whatever. His advisors, the son-in-law Jared Kushner and his ambassador to Israel David Friedman who have funded and supported settlements and even the notorious IDF, have allowed the conversation to move far away from a two-state solution. This can only mean one thing: Is it going to be a democracy which will require equal rights for Palestinians or an apartheid state with a US stamp of approval? Arguably Kushner and Friedman have no problem with the latter, but now the truth is out and clearly there is no third option.

But the European approach is a more subtle one. Labeling the products of Jewish settlements and pretending that there is such a place as the West Bank, and that Israel must not settle Jews in that West Bank while pretending there is a Palestinian state and at the same time arming and funding Israel as it continues to execute its policies of genocide, ethnic cleansing and apartheid. It is what you might call win-win except that Israel is always winning and the Palestinians keep losing. The US – for comparison sake – wouldn’t dream of recognizing a Palestinian state and blatantly and unapologetically arms and supports Israel even though this violates US law.

The spineless attitude towards Israel and the lack of regard for human rights and human lives that are expressed both by the US and the EU create a reality in which anyone who does not stand clearly in opposition to Israel is in fact complicit with Israeli crimes. And while the European approach is somewhat different than that of the US, the result is the same – in both cases the governments work closely with Israel and ignore the plight of the Palestinian people. This places greater demands on people of conscience who need to act, to organize until the political climate is such that supporting Israel is political suicide.

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Israeli authorities approve budget for controversial ‘Apartheid road’ in West Bank

Ma’an – June 27, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Israel has reportedly approved a budget for the construction of the so-called Eastern Ring Road in the occupied West Bank, known by activists and rights groups as the “Apartheid road.”

The road, part of Israel’s plans of developing the controversial E1 corridor, has been denounced as an attempt to further expand illegal Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, while deepening the separation between Palestinian communities on opposite sides of Israel’s separation wall.

According to a statement released by Israeli rights group Ir Amim on Monday, the development of the road is “one of several developments necessary for preparing the ground for E1.”

The reports emerged from Israeli media outlet Israel Hayom, which stated that the road is expected to be opened to Israeli traffic in the next 10 months.

According to rights groups, settlement construction in E1 would effectively divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state — as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — almost impossible.

Israeli activity in E1 has attracted widespread international condemnation, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has in the past said that “E1 is a red line that cannot be crossed.”

However, the Eastern Ring Road was proposed by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a plan to apparently solve the issue of bifurcating the West Bank, by facilitating “navigation from Ramallah to Bethlehem for Palestinians but without any access to Jerusalem.”

Following the second Palestinian intifada and Israel’s construction of the separation wall that has disjointed Palestinian territory, Palestinians from the “West Bank side” of the separation barrier have been forced to obtain Israeli-issued permits in order to access occupied East Jerusalem, which some Palestinians and the international community still consider to be the future capital of an independent Palestinian state.

A map released by Ir Amim shows the expected route of the road. According to the group, the road would “ease access” for Israeli settlers residing around Ramallah in contravention of international law, as settlers have “long exerted pressure to open the road, complaining about traffic jams and delays.”

Ir Amim pointed out that Israel’s plan would enable further expansions of Israel’s illegal settlements around Ramallah.

The road is also planned to connect with Road 1 that connects the mega settlement Maale Adumim with Jerusalem, and would also link to the Mount Scopus Tunnel Road through the Zeitim interchange, another controversial E1 related project that Israeli authorities had begun construction on several months ago, according to Ir Amim.

According to an earlier report released by Ir Amim, the Zeitim interchange is located between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim, and would connect the Eastern Ring Road in the northern West Bank to road 417, leading to the south.

The group highlighted in the report that connecting these roads is “a crucial part in realizing the E1 plans,” as Israeli settlement construction in the E1 corridor would prevent Palestinians in the West Bank from using road 437, which “connects to road 417 and enables Palestinian traffic between the northern and southern West Bank.”

The plans aim to replace road 437 with the northern section of the Eastern Ring Road, which would divert Palestinian traffic away from road 437 and the E1 area” and would establish separate lanes for Israeli and Palestinian traffic, thus its label as an “apartheid road.”

Israel’s plans in E1 have long been denounced by rights groups and the international community since its approval in 1999, in the wake of the Oslo Accords which expected the area of E1 to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) within an interim period of five years.

Another central aspect of Israel’s development plans in the area includes the full eviction and relocation of Bedouin communities residing in E1, near Maale Adumim.

This plan was furthered earlier this year when Israeli authorities delivered demolition notices to every single home in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, including the village’s elementary school. The village is located on the site of planned Israeli settlement development and on the Israeli side of the planned route of Israel’s separation barrier.

Rights groups and Bedouin community members have sharply criticized Israel’s relocation plans for the Bedouin residing near Maale Adumim, claiming that the removal would displace indigenous Palestinians for the sake of expanding Israeli settlements.

Bedouin villages in the area also face routine demolitions by Israeli forces.

Since the E1 corridor is part of Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control and where Israel’s settlements are planned, the Palestinians living there face routine attempts by Israeli authorities to push them off the land.

Khan al-Ahmar is one of 46 villages comprising of a population of 7,000 — 70 percent of whom are Palestinian refugees — in the central West Bank that are considered by the UN as being at risk of forcible transfer by Israeli authorities to alternative sites, in violation of international law.

In addition, Israeli rights group B’Tselem has noted in the past that plans to develop the E1 corridor would also further isolate Palestinians straddled between the “West Bank side” of the separation barrier and those in occupied East Jerusalem, by “enclosing East Jerusalem from the East and linking it up with Israeli neighborhoods built north of the Old City.”

As East Jerusalem used to be the primary urban center for Palestinians in the West Bank, the E1 plans would further exacerbate a Palestinian-Palestinian separation that has wreaked havoc on Palestinian economic, social, and political life.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment