Palestinian demands should be the foundation for decolonisation

The Palestinian Authority now has a tangible proposal from the US, partly as a result of perpetual waiting. On several occasions waiting was touted as the reason for Mahmoud Abbas’s diplomatic delays and refusal to connect with Palestinian aspirations. However, since US President Donald Trump laid bare his agenda with his unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israel has been able to employ an overt approach to its violence and expansion, while the PA must accept fragments or nothing at all. So far there is no mention of Palestinian resistance as the means through which decolonisation can come about. As a result the PA has not attempted to alter its limitations. If it does, it will destabilise its entire […]

Impediments to UNRWA’s mandate reflect the intention to make violations permanent

Last year, Israel and the US invested unprecedented efforts in discrediting the legitimate rights of Palestinians and seeking to limit, to the point of dysfunction, the role of institutions working directly with Palestinian refugees, notably the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in June 2017, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused the UN of bullying tactics against Israel, prompting Netanyahu to state mere days later that UNRWA should be dismantled. Since the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency, Israel is no longer choosing who to discredit. Supported in international institutions by the US in an overt manner, Netanyahu has adopted a different strategy – that of leveraging similar […]

Despite a clear admission, Mahmoud Abbas’s statement is not unequivocal

Israel is, allegedly, furious. The fact that Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas has finally declared the Zionist entity “a colonial project” has unleashed a tirade of insults. Yet, while accurate, as with other PA-issued declarations, this description of Israel is a belated recognition of the facts. Only a strategy that is derived from a unified Palestinian front and acknowledges a history of anti-colonial struggle can validate Abbas’s statement. So far, the cautious decisions emerging from the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s Central Council’s meetings are to stop security coordination with Israel and to suspend recognition of Israel. These, however, are conditional and reveal the underlying flaw in Palestinian politics – an insistence upon adherence to the two-state compromise. Since US President […]

The Least of All Possible Evils: A Short History of Humanitarian Violence

Eyal Weizman commences his discussion of humanitarian violence with a succinct reflection: “It is through the collateral – flood or blood – that a government – divine or human – can demonstrate, indeed exercise, its power.”  “The Least of All Possible Evils: A Short History of Humanitarian Intervention” (Verso Books 2017) departs from early narratives of collateral damage which depict the political concept of violence as a “lesser evil”. The book is divided into four chapters and an epilogue, commencing with a discussion on spatial reality and how governments navigate this space not with the intent of eliminating violence, but rather how to create a concept of violence that is, in Weizman’s words, pragmatic. Israel’s violence on Palestinians is elaborated […]

Israel is so emboldened by Trump that ministers call openly for killing Palestinians

Israeli Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel wants more injured and dead Palestinians in Gaza. “What is this special weapon we have that we fire and see pillars of smoke and fire, but nobody gets hurt?” he said on local radio. “It is time for there to be injuries and deaths as well.” This was reported by Haaretz. Ariel’s comments come at a time when, bolstered and emboldened by US support over Jerusalem, Israel is seeking to increase ways in which Palestinians are restricted even further in terms of politics, freedom of movement and resistance to its military occupation. The increasingly threatening rhetoric, combined with its often resultant violence, is a clear message that Israel wants Palestinian existence to be determined according […]

The PA is exploiting history rather than confronting reality

Just one week after Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas declared that important decisions will be taken in 2018 there is already evidence that extending the political impasse for Israel’s benefit is high on the agenda. On Monday, Wafa news agency reported that the PLO’s central council will be holding a meeting on 14 January, ostensibly to “seek a new political perspective” on the consequences of US President Donald Trump’s announcement of his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The news brief refers to a statement by the President of the Palestinian National Council, Salim Zanoun, who gave additional details about the forthcoming meeting. Among the issues mentioned is a review of the political scenario since the Oslo Accords, national unity […]

The EU response to Israel’s ‘death penalty for Palestinians’ bill is painfully weak

Israel is planning a law which allows its military courts to sentence Palestinians to death. The bill to bring this about has passed its first reading in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. The aim of the legislation has been backed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who justified his stance before the parliamentary vote by stating, “A person who slaughters and laughs should not spend his life behind bars but be put to death.” Given that the countless Palestinian civilians murdered by Israeli settlers and soldiers are conveniently forgotten by him and his odious colleagues, reminding Netanyahu that his words could just as easily be applied to the citizens and army upon which his colonial entity depends is useless. The difference […]

The campaign for Ahed Tamimi’s release should reflect her stance

Since the detention of teenage Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi by Israeli security forces, social media has erupted in a frenzy calling for her release. Her constant defiance of Israel’s occupation has made her instantly recognisable, prompting the state authorities into an arrest which should increase international scrutiny of how it treats minors who are exercising their legitimate right to self-determination against colonial rule. There is no doubt that the 16-year-old’s arrest, as well as Israeli incitement leading to concerns about her personal safety while in jail, will promote her as a symbol of Palestinian resistance. Thus, how to manage the symbolism associated with Ahed Tamimi is imperative, if her struggle and personal ordeal are to be constructive for herself and […]

The focus on Guatemala obscures international damage to Palestine

Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales has become the first to follow US President Donald Trump in planning to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. The announcement by Morales was a swift manifestation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s prediction that other countries will follow suit. Considering the historical ties between Guatemala and Israel, the move is not surprising. “[This is] coherent with our foreign policy and the ally we have been for Israel,” explained Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel. Her country has also been backed by Washington for decades. According to the Times of Israel, Netanyahu insisted: “Other countries will recognise Jerusalem and announce the relocation of their embassies. A second country did it and I repeat it: there will be others, […]

Any disservice to Abu Thurayya’s memory is a disservice to Palestinian memory

The killing of Palestinian activist Ibrahim Abu Thurayya is an example of Israel’s policy of slow extermination. After losing both legs in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza in 2009, Abu Thurayya was murdered by a sniper, who shot him in the head during protests against the appropriation of Jerusalem, despite posing no threat to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) at the time. As expected, Israel has exonerated itself from the murder. An inquiry carried out by the military and presented to journalists on Monday by Major General Eyal Zamir, claimed that “it was unable to conclude whether he was killed by Israeli forces or what caused his death.” Alleging that no information was forthcoming from Palestinians regarding his murder, the […]