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Israelis just voted for occupation – stop pretending they want peace

Israelis have just voted in favour of continuing to deny all Palestinians, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, equal rights.

September 28, 2019

Asa Winstanley

Israel’s election results are in. In terms of narrow party-focused politics, the results were inconclusive. The two main electoral lists resulted in a near draw.

According to the final vote tally, the Blue and White electoral alliance – led by two former Israeli generals and an ex-TV news presenter – ended narrowly ahead with 33 seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

But they were only a single seat ahead of the ruling Likud Party of the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who won 32 seats.

Nonetheless, the Israeli president has just provided Netanyahu with the first opportunity to form a government, since the incumbent obtained more recommendations from incoming lawmakers overall.

But in terms of what the elections mean for the indigenous people of Palestine, this vote concluded with an emphatic result. Israelis have just voted to continue to permanently impose their racist military occupation regime upon millions of Palestinians.

Liberal Zionists in the UK and the US, when criticised for their support for Israel, quite often take a defensive posture claiming that they oppose “the Netanyahu government.”

Many have been on social media in recent weeks, praying for the downfall of Netanyahu. They also sometimes claim to oppose “the occupation” stating that they work for a “two-state solution” to “the conflict.”

But all that is just so much sophistry.

It is to ignore the reality of the Zionist regime and what it means for Palestinian lives.

The truth is that Israelis have overwhelmingly just voted in favour of continuing the occupation forever.

Israelis have just voted profoundly in favour of continuing the violent, racist, military dictatorship that the Israeli military imposes on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, indefinitely.

Israelis have just voted in favour of continuing to deny all Palestinians, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, equal rights.

And Israelis have just voted unquestionably in favour of continuing to permanently deny Palestinian refugees their internationally recognised legal rights to return to their homes, in present day Israel.

These are the cold hard facts of this most recent Israeli election – as indeed, in every Israeli election.

All Zionist parties in the Knesset, oppose ending the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Only the Joint List – an alliance of parties led by politicians who are mostly Palestinian Arabs – called for an end to the occupation. Even the so-called “left wing” Zionist party Meretz (now part of the Democratic Union list), did not issue a statement claiming that they would end the occupation.

The Joint List did reasonably well, winning 13 seats. But even that means that only almost 11 per cent of citizens of Israel voted to end the occupation of any Palestinians at all.

It means that more than 89 per cent of Israeli citizens voted to keep 5.3 million Palestinians living under the boot of their military dictatorship, forever denying them the most basic human and political rights.

For all the cant of the Western liberal Zionists about “Israeli democracy,” the fact is that none of those 5.3 million people have a vote in the elections for the only government that really controls every aspect of their daily lives – purely, and simply, because they are not Jewish.

None of these are the actions of a democracy. This is an apartheid regime – an ethnocracy.

As the Palestinian intellectual, Diana Buttu, put it this week (in an interview which you can watch in the video above), there is no real difference for Palestinians between Netanyahu and the leader of the Blue and White list – former Israeli general, Benny Gantz.

As Buttu explained, the latter is “a man who even when individuals said that all that they were demanding was equality, came out and said very succinctly he does not at all believe in equality. On the issue of Gantz versus Netanyahu, when it comes to Palestinians, they are exactly identical.”

In his election campaign this year, Gantz repeatedly boasted of how many Palestinians he has killed during wars he has led. His election videos gloated that in the 2014 war, he had bombed parts of Gaza back to the “stone ages”.

When Netanyahu unveiled his plan to annex large swathes of the West Bank this month, rather than condemning him, Gantz too explained that the Jordan Valley would forever remain under Israeli military occupation.

All of this means that anyone campaigning in favour of Palestinian rights, has to face up to a stark reality – the vast majority of Israelis support the occupation. They do not oppose it, as is often claimed.

The figure of 89 per cent of Israelis in support of the occupation, is extremely conservative. A majority of the less than 11 per cent, who voted for the Joint List, will have been Palestinian citizens of Israel.

It is true, that a small minority of dissident Israeli Jews are against the occupation and for equality – just as how in apartheid South Africa, there was a small dissident minority of the white settler population who opposed – and even fought against – the white supremacist regime there.

But we have to face up to this simple fact. Just as was the case with white South Africans – the vast majority of Israelis are never going to vote away their privileges under Israel’s racist system.

Full equality will have to be imposed upon them.

That means isolating Israel’s apartheid regime, by supporting the Palestinian struggle for freedom, equality and return using boycott, divestment and sanctions.

 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our policy.

 

Source: Middle East Monitor

Palestinian Experts warn of American efforts to Arabize, undermine UNRWA

Gaza Experts warned of US and Israeli efforts to Arabize and weaken UNRWA by pushing donors to stop their financial aid.

This came during a political meeting entitled “UNRWA: to where in the light of the financial crisis and corruption investigations?”, organized by Council on International Relations -Palestine in Gaza City, attended representatives of Palestinian factions and political analysts.

“UNRWA is not going through a financial crisis only but a political one, made by the US administration, in preparation for implementing “the Deal of the Century”, liquidating the refugees’ issue and ending the UNRWA’s work “, the attendants said.

Dr. Basem Naim, head of the Council, said there is a consensus that the real crisis is political, and reflects the Zionist-American conspiracy to end the UNRWA and to pave the way to end the Palestinian refugees’ issue.

For his part, Dr. Samir Abu Modallalah, a researcher at the Refugee Centre for Community Development, said the financial crisis has been inherent to UNRWA since its establishment, but with the signing of the Oslo Agreement in 1993, attempts were clear to end the Agency and throw it into the lap of Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority.

Abu Modallala said: “the core of the UNRWA crisis is political because “ending UNRWA will end the refugee’s issue.”

He explained that UNRWA is a temporary institution ad defined by the United Nations, and is renewed every three years. That leads us to wonder why its budget is not as permanent as UNESCO and FAO?!

He added, “We need to work on two levels: First, how to reduce UNRWA’s financial expenses in return for increasing services for refugees. Second, to move politically and reduce the pressure on the Agency, for fear that UNRWA becomes an Arab institution that is thrown into the Arab’s lap.

Huwaidi stressed that the US administration and the Israeli Occupation do not hesitate to seize any opportunity to pressure the United Nations to reduce moral and financial support to UNRWA.

“the fastest the findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry declared, the better for the donors to keep supporting the agency,” Hwaidi said in terms of corruption investigations in UNRWA.

Mandate renewal

UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said that UNRWA does not have the authority to renew its mandate, a vote of the Member States of the United Nations General Assembly does.

He said that UNRWA has been facing financial challenges since 2018 when the United States decided to reduce its aid from $360 million annual budget to only $60 million.

“We faced a large deficit of $446 million which is an existential deficit. Any organization that loses 40% of its budget is exposed to collapse. However, UNRWA was able to fill this gap ”, Abu Hasna added.

“Before UNRWA’s new mandate, are we optimistic or pessimistic?” Abu Hasna said, “We fear the nature of the region and events, but there is a great support for UNRWA and its role in the new mandate,” he said.

Regarding the Agency’s corruption investigations, Abu Hasna said some allegations are being investigated by a UN team, no conclusions are reached to date.

He explained that UNRWA is not only the only organization with allegations and investigations; “But as soon as these allegations came out, we were surprised that Israeli and US officials demanded the liquidation of UNRWA, including US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt,” he said.

CIR: Israel fears unveiling its racist reality by banning US reps. entry to Palestinian territories

Council on International Relations – Palestine (CIR) said that Israeli banning the American representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib entry to the Palestinian territories reveals its fear of unveiling its reality as a racist occupation state.

The council said in a statement issued on Friday that this step reveals the falsity of the claim of the Israeli democracy and its refusal to accept the other for fear of exposing its crimes.

The Council noted that blocking the reps entry will not change anything from the reality of the escalating position against the occupation internationally, especially in the United States, in which the falsity of the occupation and its crimes unfolds day after day among the American people.

The council said that the support of US President Donald Trump and the US ambassador to the occupation state David Friedman to prevent the visit reflects the falsity of their democracy when it comes to the Israeli occupation.

In its statement, the CIR called on the Democratic Party in the United States and its President Nancy Pelosi to take a bold stand towards this Israeli move and respond by preventing the reception of occupation leaders in the party forums and also to introduce laws in Congress to prevent support to the Israeli occupation.

At the same time, the council called on other US lawmakers to insist on visiting the Palestinian territories, exposing human rights violations and exposing the state of criminality practiced by the Israeli occupation state against the Palestinian people.

The Israeli occupation has decided to prevent the US reps Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting the Palestinian territories, as part of a tour they were planning to do in August.

EU now funds Israel’s war ministry

David Cronin

Two years ago, Benjamin Netanyahu was heard complaining that the European Union was “crazy” for attaching “political conditions” to its relations with Israel. By the prime minister’s yardstick, matters have become less “crazy” since then: the EU has quietly expanded the financial support it gives to Israeli government bodies directly responsible for oppressing Palestinians.

Israel’s defense ministry has just begun drawing down European Union cash for the first time.

It is among the beneficiaries of a new $9 million research scheme on using drones during disasters. Known as Respondrone, the scheme is being financed under the EU’s science program Horizon 2020.

The “political conditions” of which Netanyahu complained are respect for basic human rights. By providing money to Israel’s defense ministry, the EU is helping out a major human rights abuser.

If the English language was used accurately, the defense ministry would be called the ministry for war crimes and occupation.

It is tasked with strengthening Israel’s army. In other words, the ministry is dedicated to making an extremely aggressive army even more lethal.

Not content with occupying the West Bank and Gaza, Israel’s army has bombed Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Sudan since the beginning of this millennium – when the EU supposedly began applying those “crazy” conditions. Israel has also killed Turkish humanitarian activists in international waters.

Subsidizing the ministry which oversees that army is tantamount to approving its crimes.

The Respondrone project kicked off in May. The following month the EU’s embassy in Tel Aviv held a ceremony to celebrate how Israel’s researchers have received more than $820 million from Horizon 2020.

Curiously, the material for the event posted on the embassy’s website does not mention that the EU is now funding Israel’s defense ministry.

Read the full article here.

CIR slams Friedman participation in Jerusalem tunnel opening

Council for International Relations – Palestine condemned the participation of the US ambassador to “Israel” in opening an Israeli tunnel under neighborhood of Silwan in the occupied east Jerusalem.

The United States, represented by its administration and envoys in the region, continues to violate and ignore international law and UNESCO resolutions, which explicitly state the right of the Palestinian people to Jerusalem and its holy sites, the council said in a statement on Monday.

The council accused David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, the US president’s envoy to the Middle East, of being Zionist settlers who are no different from the settlers who occupy the Palestinian territories and wreak havoc.

The Council expressed its deep regret over the silence showed by the Muslim and Arab countries. It called upon the American wise politicians and people to pressure the American administration to stop such acts, which only lead to further deterioration and instability in the region.

The CIR called on the international community and the United Nations to take effective measures to pressure the Israeli occupation to stop these American-backed excavations, which are contrary to international law and UN resolutions.

US officials attended the opening, organized by an Israeli settler-linked group in East Jerusalem on Sunday, their latest move breaking with precedent and angering Palestinians. White House Adviser Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman were among the US officials present at the event.

CIR Condemns handing over of Ashqar by American authorities to Israeli occupation

Council on International Relations – Palestine (CIR) condemned the American authorities handing over the Palestinian scholar and former presidential candidate Abdelhaleem Ashqar to the Israeli occupation authorities.

The council said in a statement issued Thursday that the US authorities bear full responsibility for Ashqar, whose fate is now in the hands of the criminal Israeli occupation.

This American step emphasizes the hostile policy of the American administration toward the Palestinian people, stability and peace in the region through its blatant bias towards the unjust occupation and its ongoing crimes, the council noted.

The CIR said that the American administration had unfairly sentenced Ashqar to 11 years in prison after being abducted and placed under house arrest for nearly two years, in a charge not exceeding six months in prison, in clear reference to the targeting of Palestinian activists and scientists by the US authorities.

The council called on the international community, human rights groups and organizations around the world to press for the release of Ashqar, stressing the need for the US administration to review its policies in the region that contradict its claim to be an honest broker to achieve the peace process.

Palestinian scholar and former presidential candidate Abdelhaleem Ashqar was reportedly delivered on Wednesday night by the US authorities to the Israeli occupation, after serving 11 years inside the US prisons.

CIR: Bundestag’s decision to criminalize BDS violates historical European support for peaceful struggle

Council on International Relations – Palestine (CIR) denounced the decision of the Germany’s Bundestag to consider the boycott of the Israeli occupation as a form of anti-Semitism.

The council said in a statement issued Saturday that the decision was shameful and immoral and contradicted human rights, freedom of expression and the right of peoples to unite with other oppressed peoples around the world.

“Germany continues to pay for its historic mistakes against the Jews by exercising injustice against the Palestinian people, who are subjected to unjust and criminal occupation.”, the Council said.

The Council noted that Germany adopts the occupation’s story by considering the BDS and encourages it to practice further apartheid acts against the Palestinians.

“The Bundestag decision violated international law and even the historical decisions of the international community which adopted the idea of boycotting the apartheid in South Africa”, the council said, pointing out that adopting the BDS by many Jews around the world is blatant proof of the lack of validity of the German parliamentary decision.

The Council called on the Bundestag to retract the decision and even to support any popular action against any occupation around the world, especially the Israeli occupation, which continues to commit war crimes and genocide against the defenseless Palestinian people.

CIR condemns holding European song in “Israel”, accusing Europe of art washing occupation

Council on International Relations strongly condemned holding the Eurovision Song Contest in the Israeli occupation state on Tuesday.

The Council said in a statement issued today that Europe should not contribute in any way to whitewashing the occupation and its crimes against the Palestinian people by participating in this celebration.

The Council noted: “It is inconceivable that the participants in the celebration will sing at a time when the Israeli occupation continues to commit war crimes against the Palestinians, while continuing to annex Palestinian territories and impose an unjust siege on the Gaza Strip and at a time when thousands of Palestinians are unjustly and inhumanely imprisoned behind the Israeli bars. ”

“Singing and music are the language of humanity that go beyond all boundaries and barriers in the way of human contact. Art can cannot be used to create immunity for those who have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity.” the Council pointed out.

The CIR said: “We, and all lovers of justice and peace in the world, ask you to intervene to stop this celebration so as European countries not to participate in whitening the occupation and coverage of his crimes, by participating in this celebration, which is located on the ruins of the Palestinian village Sheikh Moanis”.

The Council called on the European Union to reconsider its positions which contradict the principles of international law and stand blatantly against the occupation and against the occupied peoples. The CIR called on the European Union to impose a law under which Israel would be boycotted until the end of occupation, injustice and crimes against the defenseless Palestinian people.

CIR: Deportation of HRW representative serious escalation against human rights defenders

Council on International Relations – Palestine denounced the Israeli decision of deporting Omar Shaker, the representative of Human Rights Watch in the Palestinian territories, after accusing him of promoting campaigns to boycott “Israel”.

The Council said in a statement issued on Thursday that the decision is a serious escalation against human rights defenders and a desperate attempt to delegitimize their work and exploit the term of law to support crimes and suppression of freedoms.

The council said that the decision of the Israeli court to deport Shaker comes within an Israeli policy to pressure on international organizations to silence them and prevent their criticisms and reports against the Israeli crimes committed against the Palestinian people.

In its statement, the Council expressed its support for Shaker, calling for immediate action to immunize workers in human rights organizations and to allow their work to be easily facilitated.

An Israeli court supported the deportation of Omar Shaker, director of Human Rights Watch in Israel and Palestine, accusing him of supporting the boycott of Israel and of Israeli settlements in the West Bank

CIR: Carter Stance on BDS major gain for freedom of opinion, anti-occupation movement

Council on International Relations – Palestine welcomed the statement by former US President Jimmy Carter, in which he called on the US House of Representatives to reject a bill against BDS, describing it unconstitutional.

The Council said in a statement issued Thursday that Carter’s stance is a major gain for all who defend the freedom of opinion and expression, as well as for all activists who exercise their right to pressure the occupation through its boycott to force it to end the occupation and give the Palestinian people their rights.

“In the midst of a wave of attacks against BDS, especially in the United States, President Carter’s stance is an important position to repel this attack and allow the BDS to put more pressure on the Israeli occupation,” the council said.

Former US President said in a statement yesterday: ““Under our Constitution, people and legal entities have the right to express political views without fear of consequences,” stated former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. “U.S. courts have protected the right of individuals to participate in boycotts as a form of political protest. The same protection applies to the right to advocate or oppose BDS. The House of Representatives should reject this unconstitutional bill.”

The Council called upon the international community, parliaments in particular, to ensure the right of peoples to express their views and solidarity with the oppressed peoples, who are subjected to occupation and injustice anywhere, and even to enact laws to isolate and hold criminals accountable.