Ramona Wadi – Informed Comment https://www.juancole.com Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Thu, 19 May 2022 03:09:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.6 International Silence over Israel’s media Repression is also an Attack on the Palestinian Narratives https://www.juancole.com/2022/05/international-repression-palestinian.html Thu, 19 May 2022 04:02:04 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=204718 ( Middle East Monitor ) – While there is still much focus on the extrajudicial killing of Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, calls for justice will remain resonant, at least presently. However, Israel has perfected its tactics of denial and impunity. The international community has not gone beyond its usual statements and Israel has already got away with the assault on Abu Akleh’s funeral at the time, despite the repugnance it evoked. US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s glossing over Israeli violence by reframing it as an intrusion is ample proof of what Israel expects and what it receives.

Regardless of what violation Israel commits and on what scale, there is always a corresponding value of impunity which the settler colonial enterprise establishes and the international community approves of.


Israel shoots dead Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, during invasion of Jenin – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Abu Akleh was a veteran journalist for Al Jazeera, hence the increased visibility and coverage of her killing by Israeli snipers. Other Palestinians killed by Israel, who lacked prominence and the privilege of working with an international news organisation, had their memory silenced before it could be eulogised.

Despite the publicity, however, justice will likely still remain elusive. It has been just over a year since Israel destroyed the Al-Jalaa building in Gaza which hosted international press agencies Al Jazeera and The Associated Press. Not only did Israel destroy the building which was also used for residential purposes – the destruction of the offices was a direct attack on the Press. “This memory is linked to our efforts, our work, our equipment and the archive that documented many memories and scenes,” Wael Al Dahdouh, Director of Al Jazeera‘s bureau in Gaza stated.

Meanwhile, Israel’s only concern was how bombing the towers punctured its public image within the international community. “The operation benefit was not worth the damage that it caused diplomatically and in terms of perception,” Major General Nitzan Alon declared last year.

Israel’s concerns regarding international perception and diplomatic damage were very short-lived. The absence of political will to hold Israel accountable for its international law and human rights violations are to blame. When Israel acts belligerently in a way that shifts media attention onto its atrocities, and diplomatic concern sprouts among Israeli officials, the international community is swift to take up the role of public relations for colonial violence.

Justice for Shireen Abu Akleh, therefore, as in the case of other Palestinian journalists, intellectuals and civilians murdered by Israel, will remain an empty slogan due to international incompetence and Israeli impunity. Two major news agencies had their premises bombed and Israel only had to bleat out its concern of diplomatic damage to stem any repercussions coming its way. A single journalist among other Palestinian journalists, more prominent due to her dual nationality and the outlet she worked for, will unlikely prompt the international community into action.

Publicity and activism are calling for justice, yet the international community remains wilfully trapped in Israel’s political requirements. In such circumstances, silence or manipulation of facts serve Israel well, while pushing Palestinians further into oblivion, despite their persistence in claiming their narratives. Undoubtedly, world leaders and diplomats are expecting the fervour over the latest extrajudicial killing to subside, as it has waited out countless other atrocities committed by Israel.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

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World Bank observations on Palestine’s economy gloss over Israel’s Colonialism and Apartheid https://www.juancole.com/2022/05/observations-palestines-colonialism.html Wed, 11 May 2022 04:04:36 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=204579 ( Middle East Monitor ) – Humanitarian aid, which has played a major role in stagnating Palestine and Palestinians, is one of the factors mentioned in the latest World Bank analysis of the dire economic situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, as reported by the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, Wafa.

The report notes that, despite the Palestinian economy recovering from 2020’s deficit of 11.3 per cent to reaching a growth of 7.1 per cent in 2021, “the management of fiscal policies remained challenging as the size of the deficit before aid reached $1.26 billion, while aid hit a record low of only $317 million in 2021.”

In theory and practice, the Oslo Accords have signed Palestine’s destruction. Humanitarian aid, which remained an integral part of the international community’s ambiguous state-building plan for Palestine, has been largely given to the PA which is beholden to the theory of the two-state compromise and Israel’s security narrative. Without a consistent approach that takes into consideration Israel’s colonial expansion, the role the PA plays in sustaining Israel’s colonial violence, as well as the international community’s impositions which prevent the emergence of an independent Palestinian state despite statements to the contrary, humanitarian aid has become synonymous with projects that do more to politically dissociate Palestinians from Palestine. After all, Palestine envisaged by the international community has nothing to do with the Palestinian people’s aspirations for independence, and is equally far removed from the Palestinian collective and historical memory.

Yet reliance on humanitarian aid, which is swiftly dwindling, continues. Since the US, under the Trump administration, cut off humanitarian aid, several countries have followed suit, with some conditioning aid upon adhering to further impositions. US President Joe Biden partly restored humanitarian aid, but at a fragment of the previously allocated budget under other US presidencies.

In addition, humanitarian aid does not address the root cause of the Palestinian economic situation, which is Israel’s colonial enterprise, apartheid policies, and practices. The international donors, contributing decreasing amounts of financial humanitarian assistance to the PA, have no qualms about furthering their ties to Israel. And, indeed, it can be said that there is no discrepancy, since both Israel and the PA function on different but complementary levels of corruption. The PA’s main concern to stave off further economic decline is directly tied to how precarious its existence has become. In the same way, Israel’s concerns about Palestine’s economic decline only have to do with maintaining the status quo of having the PA in power, which guarantees the absence of independent and representative Palestinian political thought and action in terms of governance.

Meanwhile, Israel retains its $3.8 billion annual assistance in military aid from the US, which enables it to control the Palestinian economy through violence, surveillance, and security. The World Bank’s focus on budget support is only a sliver of what Palestinians need and, even then, financial assistance will amount to nothing if Israeli colonialism is not addressed. The discrepancy between rendering humanitarian aid as temporary, albeit lasting decades, and Israel’s colonisation as a permanent fixture, needs to be addressed before other futile measures are applied.

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Israeli Apartheid toward Palestinians isn’t Just a Human Rights Issue; it is about Colonialism https://www.juancole.com/2022/04/apartheid-palestinians-colonialism.html Fri, 29 Apr 2022 04:08:52 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=204366 ( Middle East Monitor) – Since 2021, criticism of Israel has focused heavily on its apartheid system and practices. The gradual awareness within the international community, since B’Tselem’s declaration, which was followed by that of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as other institutions, validated the Palestinian people’s earlier assertions of apartheid. Unfortunately, little recognition was given to Palestinians for raising awareness on their predicament before the more prominent non-governmental and human rights organisations brought Israeli apartheid to mainstream attention.

Amnesty International’s report came under harsh criticism from Palestinians when it tweeted a clarification that the organisation “has taken no position on the occupation itself,” opting to focus on “the Israeli government’s obligations, as the occupying power, under international law”. As Palestinians rightly pointed out, Israel’s apartheid policies are derived from its settler-colonial ideology, practice and expansion. There is no exonerating Israel from its colonial violence when speaking about its current apartheid system.

Speaking about the escalation of Israeli violence in Jerusalem, the UN Special Rapporteur, Michael Lynk, unfortunately made a similar omission when calling upon the international community to halt the brutality of Israel’s security forces. “The past few weeks have seen a rising level of violence associated with Israel’s 55-year-old occupation of Palestine,” Lynk declared. Yet, the earliest association that should be made would require mention of Israel’s colonial existence and expansion.

“This entrenched Israeli occupation, which has become indistinguishable from practices of apartheid, is based on the institutional discrimination of one racial-national-ethnic group over another,” Lynk added.

Focusing on Israel’s military occupation is only a part of the Palestinian experience. Exclusive focus obliterates the fact that Israel is a settler-colonial entity and its apartheid practices exist to strengthen its earlier and subsequent land appropriation. Unfortunately, the two-state compromise has been instrumental in mellowing the focus on settler-colonialism, prioritising “an end to the occupation” with no consideration for the fact that Israel’s colonial structure would remain in place even without military occupation.

Lynk is correct to point out that Israel’s military occupation has become a permanently entrenched reality, mirroring the spineless diplomacy that keeps the international community relevant in terms of interfering with the Palestinian people’s political rights.

“Only by providing a horizon of hope, through the international community’s meaningful demand that the occupation must fully end with all deliberate speed, can this alarming rise in violence be reversed,” Lynk concluded. But the demand to end the occupation is not linked to decolonisation in the international community’s defunct framework.

If both the Israeli military occupation and apartheid are derivatives of Israeli colonialism, then colonialism needs to be addressed when speaking about both manifestations of violence. With Palestinians incurring repetitive losses, fragmented narratives such as these spouted by the international community and human rights organisations are only fuelling further impunity. Limiting the discourse to occupation and apartheid is focused on finding a temporary fix, while leaving Israel’s colonial structure intact. There is also no recognition of the earlier ethnic cleansing upon which Israel was founded, leaving Palestinians still vulnerable to various forms of colonial violence, compounded with the international community’s alienation from the political process which dissociated Palestinians from their history.

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Being There, Being Here: Palestinian Writings in the World https://www.juancole.com/2022/04/being-palestinian-writings.html Mon, 04 Apr 2022 04:00:31 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=203851 ( Middle East Monitor ) – Maurice Ebileeni’s study of Palestinian literary narratives and the imaginings of the Palestinian homeland highlights the need to rethink both. Being There, Being Here: Palestinian Writings in the World takes the reader on a multifaceted journey through land, continents and languages as these intertwine with Palestinian authors’ perceptions, imaginings and affinities to Palestine. Exile – a common experience of Palestinians – has played a major role in shaping diverse narratives that play out in literature, indicating a wide spectrum of how home is perceived, related to, expressed and narrated, in contrast to the Palestinian national narrative that is mainly built upon the legitimate right of return.


Maurice Ebileeni, Being There, Being Here
Palestinian Writings in the World
. [Click here]

Ebileeni writes that Palestinian literature “is grounded in the idea of imagining a Palestinian homeland from a variety of positions that are not primarily dependent upon the artists’ notion of birth or birthplace.” The 1948 Nakba in particular, and the consequent displacement of Palestinians, resulted in a sense of belonging that is primarily attached to the memories of the previous generations. In terms of Palestine as home, the literature reviewed by the author produces a multitude of complex questions. Displacement, the author notes, is also reference to “the irreversible transformation of a certain area, rendering it alien to its native population.”

Palestinian literature in languages other than Arabic, which started flourishing in the 1980s, still contributes to the Palestinian national narrative. The book draws upon Palestinian writing in English, Danish, Hebrew, Spanish and Italian, emphasising not only the widespread Palestinian diaspora, but also the writers’ own experiences of living in their host countries, away from a home that is borrowed from memory.

Particularly for Palestinians who were born in Western countries, Palestinian literature spans a vast itinerary of displacement and sits at the crossroads between generations of remembrance and a Palestinian national narrative which is steeped in history yet, in many ways, is exclusive of experiences that are not necessarily conforming. Palestinian memory is political, and literature most not be perceived as a separate entity. Furthermore, the cultural significance of polylingual Palestinian writings must not be dismissed.

Drawing upon various texts, including those by Ghassan Kanfani, Susan Abulhawa, Fawaz Turki, Susan Muaddi Darraj and Lina Meruane, Ebileeni notes that, “The Palestinian novel is not merely an artistic extension of the national narrative.” Through detailed analysis of literary texts, the author brings the experiences of Palestinian displacement to the helm, noting that the diverse experiences of exile are imparted through a variety of narrations and relation to belonging.

While the anti-colonial resistance, or armed struggle, remains part of the national narrative, polylingual Palestinian authors embrace other forms of association with Palestine. Abulhawa, for example, explores the concept of undoing “a historical injustice” and exile as a temporary condition if reconnecting to Palestinian roots is possible. Meruane, on the other hand, presents Palestine through her writing as “part of a heritage that is both culturally and linguistically remote.” As a Palestinian born in Chile, Meruane maintains the desire of returning as an unfulfilled wish; “a return from someone else, made in someone else’s place.”

Ebileeni notes, “The ongoing fragmentation of Palestinian reality has yielded a culturally nuanced space composed of various localities transcending the diasporic vernaculars and expressing the de-territorialisation of a national centre.” With the Palestinian exile narratives, belonging or connection to Palestine are rooted in imaginings or concepts that emphasise distance, yet the return is also a political call, even if different diasporas hold their own image of Palestine and return depending upon their experience. The book also notes the distinction between national narratives and local narratives in Palestinian literature, the latter being more prominent.

The narrative on Palestine, therefore, is vast and within an ongoing evolution. As the author states, “We should acknowledge the emergence of several epistemic Palestines – similarly grounded in memories and narrations of the past – that are constantly coming into being, as Palestinians everywhere distinctively fathom the past and envision the future.”

Bringing together the diverse Palestinian narratives in terms of language and experience is necessary to comprehend both the roots of the Palestinian experience and literature. Additionally, the collective Palestinian national narrative, while still a political driving force, is no longer the only factor in terms of how Palestinians imagine or experience their belonging.

By hypothesising a return to Palestine 100 years after the Nakba, Ebileeni poses a series of pertinent questions which may be raised, and which also encourage the reader to ponder literary texts as part of a bigger picture. Throughout the book, the author dispels the notion of “a unified people”. As the literature shows, recognising the spectrum of Palestinian experiences of exile and forced displacement is key to realising that holding on to the national narrative does not represent the Palestinian narratives prior to and after the Nakba. What the new Palestine may entail will ultimately arise from a diverse population, and one that that is aware of how exile has altered it.

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The latest UN report blasts Israeli apartheid re: Palestinians, Demands Countries Take Action https://www.juancole.com/2022/04/apartheid-palestinians-countries.html Sat, 02 Apr 2022 04:04:10 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=203817 ( Middle East Monitor ) – UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk has issued one of his strongest condemnations yet of Israeli apartheid in a report to the 49th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council for Agenda Item 7; the session which, claims Israel, singles it out unfairly. Referring to various statements, including those of former Israeli ministers and officials in state institutions who called out the colonial state’s apartheid, Lynk declared, “If these responsible figures have determined that this reality is apartheid, then it is incumbent on the rest of us to test, through the tools of international law and human rights, whether these observations accurately reflect what is happening in the Palestinian territory.”

Lynk’s report notes that the Rome Statute’s legal definition of apartheid provides “a forward looking definition with a universal application”, with no reference to South Africa, the country which remains the state primarily associated with the racist system of government and the main reference when speaking about the apartheid that Palestinians face daily.

In his report, Lynk reiterated, “While the historical practice of apartheid in southern Africa provides useful reference points for assessing the possible existence of apartheid elsewhere, such historical and political comparisons are never exact, and cannot be expected to be.” Israel does, moreover, satisfy the legal criteria upon which apartheid can be assessed, and Lynk has moved several steps ahead of the UN by tracing Israeli apartheid to 1967 and its subsequent military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Given the prohibition of apartheid as a crime against humanity in international law, the international community’s failure to stop Israel illustrates how invested it is in the colonial enterprise. Just as apartheid is deliberately implemented, Israeli colonisation and military occupation are systematic and far from temporary. “The inexorable Israeli occupation has become indistinguishable from annexation,” said Lynk, portraying the process through which Israel has moved seamlessly from one violation to another, while the UN does not even attempt to formulate an accurate reference and description of Israel’s crimes against humanity based upon the parameters of international law.

When the International Criminal Court (ICC) stated unambiguously that settlement expansion is a war crime, the UN should have reflected upon its role in legitimising Israel’s earlier settlements and drawing distinctions between 1948 and post-1967. However, the organisation’s silence only proved to Israel that the international community can still be swayed in its favour, and that the ICC would, at least for a while, be isolated in calling out Israeli apartheid.

As several human rights organisations, including a couple within Israel, have now identified Israel as an apartheid state, the UN is under greater pressure to act accordingly. “Israel has imposed upon Palestine an apartheid reality in a post-apartheid world,” Lynk pointed out. To be in a position where the UN Special Rapporteur has to recommend that the international community should adopt research and conclusions by human rights organisations about Israeli apartheid exposes the apparently inherent corruption within the UN.

With international law at its disposal, and having the means through which it can hold Israel accountable, the UN prefers to shift the responsibility upon human rights organisations to prove violations, while it does nothing substantive for the Palestinian people and their political and human rights. Michael Lynk’s report has highlighted a shocking level of international leniency as far as Israeli apartheid is concerned.

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The US Should Remember that Israel’s Squatter-Settlements in Palestine are War Crimes https://www.juancole.com/2022/03/remember-squatter-settlements-palestine.html Mon, 28 Mar 2022 04:06:33 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=203733 ( Middle East Monitor ) – US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, engaged in further diplomatic contradictions, as he fluctuated between asserting the Biden administration’s stance purportedly against Israeli settlement expansion, yet making concessions for earlier encroachment upon Palestinian land.

“We can’t do stupid things that impede us from a two-state solution,” Nides reportedly told Americans for Peace, referencing the E1 project in Ma’aleh Adumim, which has been targeted for settlement expansion by Israel and which would cut off Palestinian access to Jerusalem.

However, Nides maintained the Trump administration’s stance over Jerusalem, effectively exposing how little has changed since Joe Biden became US President. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” Nides added, while reminding that the status of Jerusalem would be finalised in negotiations. Hypothetical negotiations, Nides might have added, because the issue of final status agreements puts Palestinians in a position where negotiations are unattainable, given that only Israel stands to benefit from the two-state compromise.

Calling Israel’s settlement expansion “stupid things” downplays the importance of settlements in terms of settler-colonialism and its ramifications for the Palestinian people. Israel has a strategy in which the international community is complicit – to speak out against settlement expansion using Nides’s vocabulary only makes the case to argue that Biden’s alleged anti-settlement stance is nothing but hype. In the same way, the UN’s non-binding resolutions against settlement expansion hold no weight when juxtaposed against Israel’s land grab. In particular, UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016), which was hailed as a breakthrough on account of the US veto and which the international community ignored, as it did all previous resolutions.

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AP Archive: “https://youtu.be/6FyI2ipJ_uI”

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Riyad Al-Maliki, stated that the PA was discussing Israel’s settlement expansion with the Biden administration and other world leaders, while reminding the international community of non-binding UNSC Resolution 2334. But the international community is not concerned with Israel’s illegal colonial expansion, in the same way it was never concerned with how Israel was established in the first place, upon the ethnically cleansed Palestinian towns and villages.

Nides is simply unconvincing in his rhetoric. Israel will not be swayed by an administration that is still taking its cues from the Trump era. Even if Biden were to take a staunch political anti-settlement stance, the most Israel would do is to slow down the colonisation process. There is no hurry, after all, not when the international community can be depended upon to fail Palestinians continuously.

Settlements are a war crime. That is what Nides should have unequivocally asserted, instead of attempting to trivialise the theft of Palestinian land. Calling settlements “stupid things” only illustrates US contempt for the Palestinian people’s ongoing Nakba experience, while politically undermining the limited avenues available for Palestinians to seek recourse, considering that the UN has given ample evidence of having failed Palestinians. Furthermore, the Biden administration’s two-state adherence should also be brought into question – not only on account of the paradigm itself being a pathway to complete colonisation by Israel, but also due to Trump’s policies still holding sway over the current presidency.

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Not all Refugees are Equal: Plight of Palestinians Displaced by Israel Worsening https://www.juancole.com/2022/03/palestinians-displaced-worsening.html Wed, 16 Mar 2022 04:04:29 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=203496 ( Middle East Monitor ) – Financial support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is dwindling, despite the renewed mandates and financial contribution pledges by world leaders. “The almost unanimous political support expressed by the UN General Assembly to the Agency is not translated into matching financial resources,” UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini stated during the 157th session of the Council of the Arab League, which was held in Cairo, Egypt.

Lazzarini’s words were also directed towards Arab leaders who, he said, expressed “a strong political support to the rights of Palestine refugees,” yet lessened their contributions from almost 25 per cent of UNRWA’s budget to less than three per cent last year.

Even with the US’s renewed contributions after being halted by the Trump administration, Lazzarini warned that UNRWA would no longer manage to sustainably maintain its services – notably education, health and social protection.

If UNRWA is floundering and being made to feel isolated, what about the Palestinians who depend upon the Agency’s services? For how long will rhetoric about the Palestinian people’s rights serve as diplomatic niceties to tie into the humanitarian paradigm and not do what needs to be done?

Renewing UNRWA’s mandate comes with a commitment or, at least a portion of it, namely to provide funding for its services. What world leaders, and the UN itself, obliterate, is the fact that UNRWA’s work was supposed to be temporary until a political solution for Palestinian refugees is achieved.

Of course, the UN was never going to follow up on its flawed resolution which supposedly allows Palestinians the right to return to their lands, and instituted a humanitarian paradigm instead of decolonising Palestine, which is the solution for the Palestinian people’s return. It is also a far cry from UNGA Resolution 194, which forces Palestinians to accept their subjugated status and only hypothetically, since the UN knows Israel will not allow the non-binding resolution to be implemented. After more than seven decades since the resolution, Palestinians have remained refugees and Israel keeps perpetuating the cycle.

And, now that several Arab states have openly aligned themselves with Israel through the Abraham Accords, the issue of the Palestinian refugees has been marginalised further. Former US President, Donald Trump, was fixated on altering the Palestinian refugees’ status to non-existent. While there is no denying the existence of Palestinian refugees, it is also evident that, with or without Trump’s scheming as part of the so-called “deal of the century”, the international community is failing Palestinians fast, not only through pledging less funds to UNRWA, but also due to its vague rhetoric on Palestinians’ rights, while doing nothing to enhance the Palestinian people’s political standing.

So while Lazzarini is concerned with securing funding for UNRWA, it is pertinent to look at decades of losses which Palestinians have incurred as a result of Israeli colonisation and forced displacement. Behind UNRWA lies an entire framework based on generating Israeli impunity and leaving Palestinians in a permanent refugee status. While funding is necessary to provide humanitarian alleviation, holding the international community politically accountable is even more important.

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Palestinian Refugee Families expelled from Israel can’t Come Home, but 100K Ukrainians Admitted https://www.juancole.com/2022/03/palestinian-families-ukrainians.html Sun, 13 Mar 2022 05:04:39 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=203453 By Ramona Wadi | –

( Middle East Monitor )- Once again, Israel feels entitled to play the humanitarian card, with only Palestinians pointing out its selectivity when it comes to opening its doors to refugees. In February, The Jerusalem Post reported that 10,000 Jewish Ukrainian refugees would be entering Israel. The move was confirmed by Israel’s Ministry of Immigration, which stated that: “The Ministry of Immigration and Absorption is prepared for the emergency immigration of Ukrainian Jews, and in view of the escalation in Ukraine, the ministry, headed by Minister Tamano-Shata, is preparing all sectors to assist and absorb any Jew seeking to immigrate to Israel.”

“We call on the Jews of Ukraine to immigrate to Israel – your home,” the ministry emphasised.

Not only has Israel stolen land from the Palestinian people through the Nakba’s ethnic cleansing, ongoing colonial expansion and apartheid policies, it is now inviting Ukrainian Jews to participate in its colonial violence against the Palestinian people. Israel’s aim is not humanitarianism, it is to maintain a demographic majority, and the current wave of refugees is being exploited by the Israeli government, which has been clear enough to differentiate between Ukrainian refugees and Jewish Ukrainian refugees. Only the latter are welcome in Israel with full rights. As Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced this week, 25,000 non-Jewish Ukrainians will be allowed to stay in Israel as refugees, thus distinguishing between Ukrainians, while still impeding upon the Palestinians’ right to return to their land.

The Jewish Agency’s acting chairman Yaakov Hagoel called the Ukrainian Jews’ arrival: “An important contribution to the development of the State of Israel, which today welcomes you with open arms and brotherly love.” A political admission that is completely void of the humanitarian veneer that fails to shroud Israel’s colonising intent. This means that Jewish Ukrainian refugees choosing Israel must be acknowledged as settlers – active participants in the Zionist colonial project with rights that exceed those of the Palestinians living under colonial apartheid.

Meanwhile, the international community keeps silent about decades of hypocrisy over the Palestinian right of return – purposely inherently flawed to prevent Palestinians from ever claiming their place in historical Palestine.

Palestinians have been forced into perpetual refugee status by Israel and the United Nations (UN), which created the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees to cloister the forcibly displaced Palestinians into the planned humanitarian paradigm. While the world whips up a frenzy about Ukrainian refugees, Palestinians have been insisting upon their right to return to their land for decades, and the international community’s only response was to draw up a flawed non-binding resolution pretending to support that right, while upholding Israel’s colonial project to take precedence.

Given Israel’s involvement in the question of Ukrainian refugees and future Jewish Ukrainian settlers, the international community ought to have played a role in reminding Israel of its obligations and forcing it to comply. The Palestinians’ political right to return to their land is legitimate and should take precedence. The entire world has offered Ukrainian refuge, but Israel’s offer has nothing to do with humanitarian issues and everything to do with keeping Palestinians out.

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Israel to demolish, move the Palestinian Hamlet of Khan al-Ahmar for Squatter-Settlers https://www.juancole.com/2022/01/demolish-palestinian-squatter.html Mon, 31 Jan 2022 05:04:51 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=202726 By Ramona Wadi | –

( Middle East Monitor ) – Israel has announced new plans for the village of Khan Al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank, which has been demolished and rebuilt several times, and which attracted international attention in 2018 after the Israeli Supreme Court approved its destruction. For a brief period in 2019, Khan Al-Ahmar’s impending destruction was exploited by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stated on several occasions that it would be preferable for the demolition to happen before the Israeli General Election. The International Criminal Court warned that the demolition of the village would constitute a war crime.

Despite the delays, however, Netanyahu’s statement that the destruction of Khan Al-Ahmar is an integral part of Israel’s colonial policy still rings true, as the apartheid state seeks territorial contiguity in the area. Under the recent proposal, the village will be destroyed and rebuilt 300 metres away. Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian villagers were not consulted about the plans.

Talk of Israeli annexation has been shelved since the Abraham Accords, with the government focused on de facto annexation to stave off international scrutiny. While it is Israel that holds the upper hand in territorial contiguity, Palestinians are being accused of embarking strategically upon a “take over” of land; their own land. The CEO of the Israeli NGO Regavim, Meir Destsch, pointed out its opposition to the proposed relocation of Khan Al-Ahmar: “The area in question, the Mishor Adumim area, is the most strategic, lying between Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, Jericho and Ramallah. That’s why the place gets so much attention from the PA and the EU.”

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Khan Al Ahmar – WCC-EAPPI Easter Initiative 2021

However, the only attention that the Palestinian Authority and EU have spared for Khan Al-Ahmar has been sporadic, and usually in parallel with mainstream media attention. As such, Destsch’s claim that the Israeli Defence Ministry is playing into any purported Palestinian scheming is unfounded: “The strategic location is what draws this attention. The defence minister’s desire to whitewash the place is the realisation of the Palestinian strategy to take over the area.”

More pertinent to the issue at stake is the repetitive forced displacement which the residents of Khan Al-Ahmar have endured since their first expulsion from the Naqab after the Nakba, as well as Israel’s refusal to recognise Bedouin villages.

For the Palestinian Authority, Khan Al-Ahmar provides a PR opportunity when it is deemed beneficial. After all, the Palestinian experience of forced displacement is not alien to the PA, even though Ramallah does not deem the refugees and their legitimate rights to be relevant to its diplomatic discourse.

The EU, on the other hand, is concerned with the village only as long as it fits into the humanitarian paradigm. A 2018 European Parliament resolution outlined clearly the EU’s concerns on the matter, not least linking the issue to the two-state paradigm. Its warnings to Israel on the forced evictions are no different to those issued on various other occasions; this merely reminds Israel that it is jeopardising the two-state compromise, and that forcible transfer “constitutes a grave breach of international humanitarian law”.

It is ludicrous to speak of Palestinians attempting de facto annexation on their own land, as Regavim claims. They have a more than legitimate right to their land, which Israel’s presence has denied for decades. Moreover, despite the wild claims over any Palestinian strategy, the truth is that the international community’s support for Palestine is inconsequential compared to its complicity with Israel and its own de facto annexation plans, as the Abraham Accords have exposed so clearly.

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