Over the past two decades, social, political, cultural and institutional changes have swept across the occupied Palestinian territories. Many of the changes can be traced back to the Oslo process, such as the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, the redefinition of official Palestinian-Israeli relations, the involvement of international donors, and the radical shift in the political economy of the occupied territories. Al-Shabaka policy member Tariq Dana argues that Palestinian civil society is fundamental to understanding the multilayered changes that have negatively affected Palestinian society. He identifies the four dimensions of “what went wrong” since Oslo – the shift in organizations’ agendas, the role of the grassroots, the status of politics, and the production of knowledge – and concludes with recommendations to revive civil society as a fertile terrain for profound social transformation.
Indian movements have called popular movements and organizations from BRICS countries as well as some other guests to Goa in the days ahead of the official summit of the leaders of the BRICS, the alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Palestine was among the people and struggle to be represented and delegates discussed possible ways forward for more powerful solidarity efforts and reaffirmed their commitment to support of the struggle and the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions.
On Sunday morning at 7:00 o’clock 4 bulldozers and dozens of Israeli soldiers demolished 34 tents, animal shelters, solar panels, and ovens in Ras al-Ahmar community, in the north of the Jordan Valley. Since the year 2000, this is the 4th time Israel destroys the properties of this community as part of its ethnic cleansing policies. 50 people in the area have become homeless this Sunday. Demolitions are a strategic tool of the ongoing displacement and mass forcible transfer of Palestinians from the Jordan Valley, in the West Bank and within the Israeli borders. Despite the fact that the whole world knows and condemns and even UN Secretary-General expressed his concerns to the Security council earlier this year, no action has been taken by the international community to stop these Israeli policies.
Shimon Peres was a Nobel Peace Prize winner for the West but continues to be a War Criminal for Palestine. Shimon Peres died few days ago and is best known as an Israeli prince of peace. Peres certainly would have liked to enter history as a peacemaker, but that’s not how he should be remembered: indeed, his greatest contributions were to Israel’s military victories. Despite his involvement in the Oslo peace process, which earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was never his primary work.
Violations continue in the West Bank: 13 people have been killed and 170 wounded, whilst a massive raid of arrests put 380 Palestinians under arrest. Meantime, the construction of 2 new settlements was announced together with 1000 new housing units in the West Bank including Jerusalem. As usual, Israel enforces violence, murders and oppression with one hand, while expanding vital place for its own population with the other. Pushing away Palestinians, pulling in Israelis.
Monday 26th September 2016, about 20 activists protested against the collaboration of the University of Leuven with Israel. During the official opening of the academic year at KU Leuven protesters lay on the street, just before the procession of professors in gowns was coming. The slogan quoted: 'Professors: don’t wipe your feet on Palestinian human rights! ". The Law Faculty of the University of Leuven is in fact part of the LAW TRAIN project, the EU funded research project to develop and share interrogation techniques with Israeli police. The project is led by the Israeli Bar-Ilan University.
After one year of coordination and planning, yesterday the Palestinian Youth Forum (PYF) gathered for the first time. Over 250 young people from all over the West Bank met in Ramallah, Jerusalem to discuss a common vision on the Palestinian struggle and coordinate common further action. Coming from different political experiences and perspectives, the Forum testifies a foundational moment to overcome the differences and divisions tearing apart the Palestinian struggle and unify within differences, the Youth as the most valuable agent of resistance.
“It is our responsibility to do what is in our reach to support justice in Palestine.” With these sound and simple words Jesús Manuel Sánchez Antuña, the mayor of Langreo, has reaffirmed the solidarity of the small town in Asturias, in northern Spain. We had visited to thank the local council for its decision to declare the municipality ‘free of Israeli Apartheid’ and not to contract any companies that are involved in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.
7 people have been killed in the past five days in the Hebron province and in East Jerusalem. With the ending of the Aid celebration, the climate in the West Bank seems to raise up to level it reached last year in the same period. Since October 2015, 227 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli occupation forces.
Nearly 40 European trade unions, water and human rights networks and environmental groups from a dozen countries have written a letter to the European Commission urging withdrawal of patronage from Watec, the Israeli water conference and exhibition to be held for the first time in Europe, September 21-23 in Venice, Italy. (See letter and signatories)
The Palestinian Farmers Union (PFU), Palestinian Environmental NGO Network (PENGON), and 12 other Palestinian agricultural and environmental organizations and networks have in the last weeks addressed the Italian Association of Farmers, Coldiretti Veneto, asking them to rethink their sponsorship and participation in Watec. 21 to 23 September the Israeli Watec conference, aimed at promoting Israeli technology in the water sector, will take place in Venice.
Palestinian agricultural and water organizations have as well extended their solidarity to the Italian people that have been affected by the recent earthquake. They are still waiting for a reply from Coldiretti.
Israel has apparently taken advantage of the holiday season of Western diplomacy and at the UN headquarters in New York to speed up its settlement expansion, approving shocking colonial projects. While further penetrating the center of Hebron with settlements, a new plan to completely ghettoise Bethlehem has been presented. The Bedouin school in Khan al Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, is once again targeted for demolition while only 100 meters from the al Aqsa Mosque a new ‘archeological’ excavation project has been started. In total, projects for over 11 thousand new settlement housing units have been approved or announced.
The Portuguese Ministry of Justice announced that it has withdrawn from a joint EU-funded project with the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, the Israeli National Police and Israel’s Bar Ilan university. The LAW TRAIN project, aimed at unifying police interrogation methodologies, has generated controversy in Portugal because of vocal opposition to Israel’s participation in the EU’s Horizon 2020 research framework and the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Israeli entities taking part.
In Canada a new campaign has started to target military relations with Israel: activists from the network BDS Quebec have launched efforts to stop cooperation between the Montreal based military company CAE Ltd. and the Israeli military as well as Israeli private military companies, Elbit Systems and Aeronautics Ltd.
The Canadian government is threatening not only the participation of delegates from Palestine but from the entire global south in the upcoming World Social Forum (WSF) to be held in Montreal from August 9-14 2016. We urgently need your help! From Palestine alone four delegates - renown activists, trade union leaders, youth activists - have been unable to receive visas.
Together with the Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity and Mayfirst/People's Link we have coordinated action and are asking you to:
The Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine raised awareness about human rights violations perpetrated by the national Israeli water company, Mekorot, by hand delivering an open letter to the Israeli Consul in Boston. Mekorot has been internationally denounced for implementing since its decades ‘water apartheid’ that is essential for Israeli efforts to colonize Palestinian lands and ethnically cleanse it from Palestinian communities. The company was once again in the news recently for shutting off water in many towns throughout Palestine this summer during Ramadan. In the summer temperatures can easily exceed 35 degrees Celsius and cutting water supplies to Palestinian communities is a key component of Israel’s policies to drive people from their lands and communities by making live unbearable and destroying their means of livelihood. The open letter led the group to lobby against an amendment on a bill that would penalize companies taking part in the BDS movement. The group’s initiative to raise awareness against Mekorot successfully led to the anti-BDS amendment to be withdrawn from the bill. More boycott activities is essential for building strength against current efforts in North America and Europe to outlaw BDS.
Israel continues its policies of ethnic cleansing and displacement in Qalandiya Village, outside of East Jerusalem with the destruction of eleven newly constructed buildings. On Monday evening around 500 soldiers entered the village with bulldozers to carry out the demolition orders. The buildings would have been home to some 250 people in the small village that has become increasingly isolated since the early 2000s with the construction of the Apartheid Wall. Seven Palestinians and one journalist were injured in clashes when the Israeli forces used tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets, and force to subdue the villagers.
From Palestine we are accompanying with great concern the developments in Brazil. We condemn the coup against the democratically elected government and are dismayed at the speed in which the coup government has started implementing its own program, accumulating policies that attack the rights of the people in Brazil and globally. Unfortunately, these developments come within a wider context that sees governments come to power that explicitly defend the interests of a small national élite as well as global imperialist interests.
Twelve years ago the International Court of Justice in its verdict on the apartheid Wall, ruled the Wall and Israel’s settlement project illegal and reminded the international of its obligation to stop Israeli crimes. Today, in Palestine we are facing a full scale attack to try to subdue Palestinian rebellion flaring up over and over again while Israel rushes to close off the ghettos in which we are supposed to be herded. The last week has shown the shocking scale of repression.
"What is at stake with the attacks against the BDS movement is the possibility of a myriad of social justice movements to hold corporations accountable: if Israel’s logic aimed at suppressing the BDS movement passes, it will shield corporations from accountability for human rights abuses of all sorts, committed by whoever the corporate actor and wherever the location."
It is time for European citizens to demand not a penny more of their tax money be spent on Israeli military and security corporations
As European leaders are gathered in Brussels to discuss the future of the EU, they would be well advised to put into effect values of accountability, justice and solidarity - and halt funding for Israel's repressive apparatus against Palestinian youth.
Under the title “No to the Horizon2020 Law Train project - No to cooperation with Israel’s repressive system!”, on Thursday 24, a large coalition of Portuguese forces has held the official launch of a campaign aimed at ending the participation of the Portuguese ministry of Justice and the police in a joint, EU funded project with Israeli police forces.
29, June 2016.Israel carries forward its ethnic cleansing and displacement policies, by targeting Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills. New demolitions in the village of Wadi Jheish, led to the destruction of two houses, leaving two families, comprised by 20 people, homeless. Those who tried to remain in the house to prevent the demolition, were harshly beaten and four people were arrested. It is the second time in two years that the large scale demolitions in the village are carried out. The area of the village close to Susiya was declared archaeological site in 1986, long after the community was established, and has since been targeted with demolitions relentlessly by the Israeli military. Settler violence is a daily routine. Making their permanence there unfeasible creates conditions to finally expel the community and colonize the area with Israeli settlers.
With the beginning of Ramadan, the State owned Israeli water company Mekorot cut off water supply in the northern West Bank. The most affected areas are currently the Nablus and Jenin governorates. In the meantime, Mekorot guarantees the full supply of water to the settlements located in the same area. Since decades, Mekorot has been enforcing a water apartheid system upon the Palestinian people, reselling Palestinian communities water it has stolen from them, and is a crucial actor in Israeli colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian land. The problem in Palestine is not the lack of water, it is the lack of justice.