Between urgency and vague comments, Palestinians’ rights are being depleted

More rhetoric and the absence of any constructive action have created a spectrum of expectations for Gaza. The past few days have seen an escalation of alarm juxtaposed against fake optimism. The latter is a veneer for a widespread complacency that is not bothered by the decline in financial aid for the enclave. According to Wafa news agency, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah claimed that, “United, we will be able to withstand all plots against our national cause and our just right and will allow us to face unfair American decisions and constant Israeli violations.” Two days earlier, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov used Twitter to give details of a meeting between Hamdallah […]

This B’Tselem report exposes Israel’s pollution of the occupied West Bank

Israel remains the only UN member state which has never declared where its borders are. In fact, it has refused to demarcate any borders due to the Zionist intention to colonise the whole of historic Palestine. For less desirable requirements, however, it does not hesitate to apply a temporary suspension of its agenda, recognise separate areas and impose additional hardships on Palestinians. As with several other discriminatory policies, Israel acknowledges Palestinian existence and land only when it can use such recognition to suit its nefarious purposes. Human rights group B’Tselem’s December 2017 report called “Made in Israel: Exploiting Palestinian Land for Israeli Waste” reveals that there are 15 Israeli waste treatment facilities in the occupied West Bank. Six of these […]

The least the PA can do is to create the space for Palestinian narratives

The White House has dismissed statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding discussions with the US about Israel’s annexation ambitions. Within the larger framework, this latest diplomatic dispute does not carry much weight. In his usual vague commentary, US President Donald Trump has said he is “not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace”. Between the denial of discussions with Netanyahu and Trump’s statement there is merely a reflection of allowing the same violations to be repeated, while holding nothing of value for Palestinians. Speaking prior to the White House communication Palestinian Authority Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh declared that annexation “will not change the reality, because settlements are illegal”. Wafa news agency also quoted him saying that […]

A sliver of truth amidst UN manipulation of Palestinian rights

As always, UN officials take pride in pontificating about Palestine. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proved to be no exception, faithfully pursuing the same agenda which resulted in Palestinians becoming a marginalised subject of discussion. Israel may complain of rhetorical visibility allocated to Palestine at the UN, however, it is this tactic which allows Israeli violations to continue unhindered. International committees, agencies, meetings and resolutions have placed an irreparable burden upon Palestinians, resulting in extreme political isolation. Sometimes, this isolation is publicly voiced, albeit without the desire to allow Palestinians to reclaim their rights to territory and return. In his address to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Guterres spoke a sliver of […]

Projects take precedence over the protection of Palestinian rights

If references to international law were effective in reducing or reversing Israeli violence, Palestinians would have tasted freedom many decades ago. The recent demolition by Israel of two EU-funded classrooms in Abu Nuwar was nothing unusual in this regard, and produced the usual, by now meaningless, responses. The Israelis said that no permits had been issued for the classrooms, bringing to mind the description “construction terror” used by Israeli MK Moti Yogev. Despite the systematic violence targeting sectors which are crucial for Palestinians and their existence, such as education, there has been no variation in the rhetoric of response from UN and Palestinian Authority officials. Roberto Valent, the UN’s acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, issued a detailed […]

‘Gaza – an inquest into its martyrdom’

It is a rare occurrence that an analytical treatise can navigate the humanitarian spectrum without falling prey to dissociation. Yet it is precisely this achievement which makes “Gaza: an inquest into its martyrdom” stand out in terms of valuable research, scrutiny and forthright denunciation of the political violence levelled by Israel against the enclave and its population. Norman Finkelstein’s approach is direct and leaves no doubt about the aims of the book. The preface starts with a simple and succinct explanation of the book’s context: “This book is not about Gaza. It is about what has been done to Gaza.” Since the Oslo Accords, which Finkelstein brands as “collaboration building to facilitate a burden-free Israeli occupation”, Gaza has been subjected […]

A $1 billion proposal will exploit Gaza for the benefit of Israel’s security narrative

When considering Gaza’s dire humanitarian conditions, it is impossible not to remember what Israeli government adviser Dov Weisglass said in 2006 when the Israeli siege started: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” How much of that callous, initial calculation remains valid today is debatable, as Palestinians in Gaza suffer health issues which are a direct consequence of Israel’s restrictions on the food available for the population, the illegal blockade on the enclave and the disaster wrought by the periodic bombardments of Gaza, the latest major offensive being “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014. The international community has repeatedly echoed a statement that Gaza will be “unliveable” by 2020. It […]

‘Construction terror’ is Israel’s latest metaphor for Palestinian displacement

Israel’s construction of its politics on contrasting levels which echo its colonial agenda knows no limits. Now that the international community is largely reluctant to do more than refer to previous statements of colonial expansion as illegal, Israel is more explicit in promoting its state and settler narratives in its appropriation of land ownership. A news report published on Monday in Haaretz quotes Jewish Home Party MK Moti Yogev: “Our goal is to protect state lands, consistent with decisions by the state not letting their status be determined by construction terror guided by the Palestinian Authority with the intervention of international elements such as the European Union.” He also suggested legal recourse against Palestinians opposing demolition orders. This is not […]

Play for time, Kerry tells Abbas, but why?

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has continued to heap humiliation upon himself by keeping up his now usual trick of announcing decisions and then backtracking on them almost immediately. What’s more, there is now an additional twist in the political rigmarole over Jerusalem and the remnants of Palestine, with former US Secretary of State John Kerry advising Abbas to indulge in yet another period of waiting, but why? The Jerusalem Post reported that Kerry met with an associate of Abbas, Hussein Agha, and asked him to tell the PA leader to “stay strong in his spirit and play for time, that he will not break and will not yield to President [Donald] Trump’s demands.” The former US official also told […]

Gaza Weddings

Ibrahim Nasrallah has woven a tale in which themes intertwine; where possibilities and peril are never isolated from each other. “Gaza Weddings” (Hoopoe Press, 2017) immediately presents the reader with ambiguities that remain unresolved by the end of the book. Situated within the complex social, political and psychological scenario of Gaza, the protagonists of Nasrallah’s novel are united by absence and incongruous identity. Twin sisters Randa and Lamis are given distinct personalities, ostensibly to compensate for their outward identical appearance. Randa, an aspiring journalist, provides the reader with observations and narrations of life. Through Randa, philosophy is no longer a cloistered subject. Her recording of people’s musings and thoughts portray moments of introspection from unexpected sources; so unexpected, in fact, […]