For Israel’s leaders, the writing is on the ‘Apartheid Wall’

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The ‘A’ word, Apartheid has become inextricably linked to the ‘I’ word, Israel. The latest warning by the weary US Secretary of State, John Kerry, that Israel risks becoming an Apartheid state if the two state solution expires is not the first time the link has been established. In fact past Israeli Prime Ministers Barak and Olmert both warned this association was on its way.

In its editorial on the 28th of April, Haaretz confirms that Apartheid is already practiced through the planning system in area ‘C’, though this is also the case in East Jerusalem where securing planning permission for Zpslestinians is neigh on impossible.

But Apartheid in the West Bank is even more obvious through separation of Jews and Palestinians whether through settler only roads, busses or Jewish only settlements.

Israel of course denies that it practices Apartheid, and numerous pieces have been written analysing the racist practices in Israel and those under Apartheid on South Africa. You wonder whether those authors prefer Israel being called a racist state to an Apartheid state. Either way, it is a state that discriminates as a way of life. Jewish Israelis have full citizens’ rights but no other group does.

When it comes to the Apartheid comparison, you would think that South Africans know best. When eminent figures like Desmond Tutu says Israel practices Apartheid, we should all take note.

The US Secretary of State is beating his head against a brick wall in trying to warn the current Israeli Government about the future. He sees the ‘danger’ to Israel if becoming a single Apartheid state if the two state solution dies. But Israel’s leaders just don’t get it. They only see an opportunity to build more Jewish only homes in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. After all they did this in the past and they became facts on the ground. ‘Major settlement blocks’, they say will not be evacuated in any ‘peace deal’.

The more they build the less chance there is of a Palestinian state. They are right if course. But, what happens to the Palestinians? That is the question current Israeli leaders cannot openly answer at this moment in time but they think that they can cope with it.

They thought joint Israeli-US pressure would have brought the Palestinians to their knees in the current round of talks. They thought President Abbas would have signed a surrender deal that would have ensured a ‘peaceful occupation’, but they seem to have miscalculated.

There is a general consensus that failure of the talks was due to Israeli actions. After all they carried out illegal acts in building more settlements whereas Abbas pursued legal acts through seeking membership of UN agencies and other accords and worked to unify his people.

Israel’s Hasbara has failed miserably. It is increasingly isolated and the BDS campaign is registering success after success. There is no room in the 21st century for a state to practice Apartheid with impunity. The writing is on the Wall, the Apartheid Wall!

Update 28/4

Helpful fact sheet from Institute for Middle East Understanding ‘An Overview: Apartheid South Africa & Israel

Administrative Detention, a cowardly policy

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Israel is a state that has tried to pass itself off as a western style democracy ever since it was created by force in Palestine, against the will of the native inhabitants, the Palestinians. Of course for as long as it continues to occupy the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza without giving them a vote it is not a democracy.

Democracies pride themselves on equality for the people they rule over and the rule of Law. They apply the Law equally to all. Israel does not do that. It applies civil Law to its citizens and military Law to those it occupies.

It also uses Administrative Detention only to those it occupies. This is an abhor any practice through which it abducts Palestinians and imprisons them for months at a time without charge. It only has to tell a judge it cannot disclose the evidence and he or she will normally extend the detention. The detention can therefore be extended indefinitely.

Palestinian prisoners are held in appalling conditions in jails of hate. They are denied basic rights including family visits and even education. They are denied proper access to healthcare and some are subjected to torture.

On the 24th of April a group of 200 Palestinian prisoners incarcerated under Administrative Detention started a hunger strike for freedom. They are left with no option but to starve themselves, possibly to death for their plight to be brought to the World’s attention.

It is time that Western style democracies recognised Israel’s abuses and started a process of distancing themselves from it, eventually bringing it to account. It is time they recognised Palestinians as equal human beings that did not invite Zionists to create their oppressive state on their land. It is time they sided with the victim against the victimiser. It us time they pressured Israel to end the cowardly practice of Administrative Detention

Update 5/5/2014

120 Palestinians under Administrative Detention in Israel went on hunger strike for freedom on 24 April.

Update 11/5/2014

Over 100 Palestinian Administrative Detention prisoners continue the hunger strike they started on 24/4. They are being joined by more prisoners. The anger is increasing as the suffering increases.

Update 28/5/2014

40 Palestinian detainees that have been on hunger strike since 24 April have been moved to a hospital as their condition deteriorates and prison authorities refuse to hear their grievances.

Reconciliation agreement now or never

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An important question arises in relation to yesterday’s reconciliation agreement reached in Gaza between Fatah and Hamas. Why now?

It seems that a combination of factors both internal and external contributed to this. The change of regime in Egypt, coupled with its withdrawal from
Syria saw Hamas isolated and facing a financial crisis. Things were only going to worsen.

The failing talks with Israel and the jack of strong Arab support, partly due to traditional allies being distracted by the Arab Spring meant Fatah was also isolated, though in a different way.

The Palestinians had no one to turn to but each other. If this opportunity was missed and different alliances formed then the urgency to end the division may have passed.

So what now for the peace process? Well, for as long as it continues to be a process rather than a drive for genuine peace, it is doomed to failure. At the moment, I see no prospect for a just, lasting peace. With or without talks, Israel’s military occupation continues unabated. Repeated, unwelcome settler forced entry into Alaqsa and rising settler terror under the watch of an extremist settler Government incite against peace and for violence.

There is a desperate need for an enlightened Israeli leadership to emerge and quickly before the powder keg explodes. It needs to be one that accepts that Israel can live in peace with the Palestinians and Arab neighbours if it gives up its expansionist colonising policies. It must recognise the Nakba, apologise and seek reconciliation.

The question of one or two state solution can be agreed in a spirit of mutual acceptance and respect. The refugees that want to can return to whatever political setup they choose.

There would then be no need for external brokerage by the US but the UN could play its desired role.

Where there is a will there is a way. Once there is a will in Israel for genuine peace, things can move at an astonishing rate. Here is hoping!

UK National Union of Teachers puts Palestine Centre Stage at National Conference

I had a most inspiring experience this morning when I addressed the National Union of Teachers (NUT) conference in Brighton. The Largest teachers’ Union in the UK allocated an hour for an international session and specifically to hear a report … Continue reading

A peace process must deliver justice

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Secretary’s Kerry’s efforts to deliver a peace agreement between the 63 year old Zionist state of Israel and the PLO was doomed from day zero. The basis for starting the talks was for Kerry to promise enough behind closed doors just to get the two sides to meet without a clear framework. The framework he has ended up working to offer at the end of the nine-month period should have formed the basis for the talks.

The framework should have been based on International Law, which is clear and uncomplicated. Israel cannot extend beyond the ‘Green Line’. The West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza are occupied and Israel’s presence in them including its settlements is illegal. The Palestinian refugees have a right to return and compensation. The framework therefore should have been simply a timetable for withdrawal if Israel and Israelis from the occupied territories.

Call me naive and that is fine, but that is what international Law says and if the US wants to go round the world referring to International Law then why exempt Palestine?

Many were struck by the hypocrisy in the way the ‘International Community’ dealt with the Ukraine crisis and were asking why this occupation is different.

Another example was the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait for which a coalition was built to reverse it.

It is clear that Kerry is not willing to tell Israel, the game is up, the occupation must end in concordance with International Law. The pro Israel Lobby would have him strung up for even thinking it.

But for real genuine peace to come to historic Palestine a first crucial step is needed. Israel and individual Israelis must come out of the closet and acknowledge the Nakba. They must accept that the Palestinians paid a heavy price for the Holacaust with their land, rights and lives. They did not ask to be occupied and they have no apology to make for not accepting the theft of their land, freedom and dreams.

An acknowledgement of the Nakba , an apology and a reconciliation process would pave the way to genuine peace that would end the conflict. At that point the politics can assess whether a one or two state solution is implemented.

Without justice there can be no peace. Without an acknowledgement of the Nakba there can be no justice.

A peace process must deliver justice

20140412-230208.jpg

Secretary’s Kerry’s efforts to deliver a peace agreement between the 63 year old Zionist state of Israel and the PLO was doomed from day zero. The basis for starting the talks was for Kerry to promise enough behind closed doors just to get the two sides to meet without a clear framework. The framework he has ended up working to offer at the end of the nine-month period should have formed the basis for the talks.

The framework should have been based on International Law, which is clear and uncomplicated. Israel cannot extend beyond the ‘Green Line’. The West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza are occupied and Israel’s presence in them including its settlements is illegal. The Palestinian refugees have a right to return and compensation. The framework therefore should have been simply a timetable for withdrawal if Israel and Israelis from the occupied territories.

Call me naive and that is fine, but that is what international Law says and if the US wants to go round the world referring to International Law then why exempt Palestine?

Many were struck by the hypocrisy in the way the ‘International Community’ dealt with the Ukraine crisis and were asking why this occupation is different.

Another example was the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait for which a coalition was built to reverse it.

It is clear that Kerry is not willing to tell Israel, the game is up, the occupation must end in concordance with International Law. The pro Israel Lobby would have him strung up for even thinking it.

But for real genuine peace to come to historic Palestine a first crucial step is needed. Israel and individual Israelis must come out of the closet and acknowledge the Nakba. They must accept that the Palestinians paid a heavy price for the Holacaust with their land, rights and lives. They did not ask to be occupied and they have no apology to make for not accepting the theft of their land, freedom and dreams.

An acknowledgement of the Nakba , an apology and a reconciliation process would pave the way to genuine peace that would end the conflict. At that point the politics can assess whether a one or two state solution is implemented.

Without justice there can be no peace. Without an acknowledgement of the Nakba there can be no justice.