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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

Read in This Issue

P6 FEATURED STORY Vatican causes stir with treaty recognizing Palestine as a state

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5 dead Palestinians; detainee face ‹execution› in Egypt trial, Hamas slams

P5 Palestinian photojournalist shot in eye by Israeli army

REPORT

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“Al – Nakba” facts and numbers

P8 ICC urges Israel to cooperate in inquiry into possible breaches in Palestine

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Israeli general confesses they cannot defeat Hamas

Articles & analyses P 14 Israeli troops clash with Palestinians commemorating the

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Israeli insider

Israel’s colonial regime is 67 years old, and counting

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CONTENTS

Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

FEATURED STORY 8 dead Palestinians face ‹execution› in Egypt trial

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News of Palestine Vatican causes stir with treaty recognizing Palestine as a state 6 ICC urges Israel to cooperate in inquiry into possible breaches in Palestine 7 Israeli troops clash with Palestinians commemorating the Nakba 8

Isreal Insider Israeli general confesses they cannot defeat Hamas Jewish settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem “Al – Nakba” facts and numbers (report)

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Articles & Analyses The persistence of the Palestinian Authority

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

Featured Story

8 dead Palestinians face ‹execution› in Egypt trial

Eight dead Palestinians are among 106 defendants referred earlier on Saturday by an Egyptian court to Egypt’s top religious authority to consider death sentences against them on jailbreak charges, a senior security official from the Gaza Strip has said. The court referred 106 people, including ousted President Mohamed Morsi, to the grand mufti on charges of taking part in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising that ousted longstanding President Hosni Mubarak. Deputy Minister of the Interior in Gaza, Kamel Abu Madi told Anadolu Agency that eight dead Palestinians were among those referred to the mufti. Three of those eight were killed before the events of January 2011, and the remaining five were killed afterwards, Abu Madi said. The list includes Raed al-Attar, a member of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, who was killed in an Israeli attack in August 2014, he added. He noted that in the list is also Hossam al-Sanae, a member of Islamic Jihad group who was 4

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killed in an Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in 2008. The list also includes Tayseer Abu Sneima, Mohamed Samir Abu Lebda and Mohamed Khalil Abu Shawesh, who were killed in 2011, 2005 and 2007 respectively, Abu Madi said. He added that among the defendants is also Hassan Salama, a Palestinian prisoner who has been serving a life sentence in Israel since 1996. “This [court verdict] is a fabrication,” Salama’s brother, Akram, told Anadolu Agency. “My brother has been imprisoned in Israel since 1996,” he added. He said Egyptian intelligence agents had met his brother inside an Israeli prison during negotiations on a prisoner swap deal between Palestinians and Israel. In 2011, Egypt brokered a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Palestinians under which the former freed 1,027 prisoners in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was taken hostage by Hamas in 2006.

Source: World Bulletin

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

News of Palestine

Palestinian photojournalist shot in eye by Israeli army

A Palestinian photojournalist was on Saturday shot in the eye by the Israeli army during clashes that broke out near the West Bank city of Nablus. Nidal Eshtayeh, a photojournalist who works for China’s Xinhua press agency and the Palestinian Safa agency, was shot with a rubber bullet in his left eye and taken to a hospital in Nablus to receive medical treatment. “Eshtayeh’s eyelid was damaged, causing his left eye to swell,” a medical source told on condition of anonymity. He said the photojournalist received medical treatment at the hospital and then went home. Eshtayeh, for his part, told that a rubber bullet penetrated the glass of his teargas mask and hit his eye. “The [Israeli] army opened heavy fire on protesters and media personnel,” he added. Israeli army troops clashed on Saturday with dozens of Palestinians in southern Nablus during a march to commemorate the 67th anniversary of “Nakba Day”.

Source: World Bulletin

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

Vatican causes stir with treaty recognizing Palestine as a state

The Vatican announced a treaty Wednesday that reaffirms Palestinian statehood, a step that immediately drew Israeli criticism and stirred alarm that an activist Pope Francis was advancing the Palestinian cause at Israel’s expense. The agreement, being finalized in Rome by a group called the Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine, “deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine,” according to a joint statement posted on the Vatican’s Web site. Palestinians said the accord addre`sses such matters as properties, taxes and protocol at holy sites. Social media and news reports 6

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— as well as some pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian voices — seized on the treaty to suggest that the Vatican had newly recognized the “State of Palestine,” although the Vatican had done so shortly after the United Nations granted Palestine “non-member observer status” in 2012. News of the pending agreement triggered conflicting statements on its significance for the decades-old Israel-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it was “disappointed.” “Israel heard with disappointment the decision of the Holy See to agree [to] a final formulation of an agreement with the Palestinians including the use of the term ‘Palestinian State,’ “ an unnamed Israeli Foreign Ministry official said in a statement. “Such a development does not further the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct bilateral negotiations,” the official added. Palestinian officials in Ramallah, usually quick to promote anything that advances their cause in the international community, said they were surprised by news media accounts about an alleged change in Vatican policy. “There’s nothing new here, in terms of the recognition of Pal-

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015 estine, which was given to us a few years ago by the Holy See. What is new is we are going to sign an agreement with the Vatican,” said Xavier Abu Eid, a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Abu Eid said there has been an official ambassador from the state of Palestine at the Holy See for several years. Some legal analysts suggested that Vatican negotiations on a treaty with the “State of Palestine” as official partner — rather than the PLO, which is considered by the international community as the sole representative of the Palestinian people — was a step forward for Palestinian recognition. But others, including the Palestinians, said there had been many Vatican communiques and agreements that mentioned the “State of Palestine.” Like the Israeli government, U.S. Jewish leaders from across the political spectrum criticized the Vatican, though it was unclear whether they believed the Holy See was newly recognizing Palestine or was advancing its recognition in a treaty. “I’m shocked by the pope’s appeasement and collapsing in the face of radical Muslims,” said Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America. “I believe this is appeasing radical Muslims in an attempt to mitigate the continuing murdering of Christians in Africa and the Middle East.” Klein added that the move represents a resurgence of “the historical Catholic enmity towards Jews.” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Reform Movement, the largest U.S. denomination of Jews, praised the pope’s “moral leadership” and

expressed hope that he can advance Middle East peace, but he said “a unilateral gesture like this is not the right way to do so.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit Francis at the Vatican on Saturday ahead of the canonization of two new saints from the Holy Land on Sunday. The pope made a trip to Israel and the West Bank last year that was followed by a visit to the Vatican for a “prayer summit” between Abbas and Israel’s then-president, Shimon Peres. The Vatican has a deep interest in the Holy Land because of its centrality in the life and death of Jesus, and it maintains Christian holy sites scattered across both Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, territory sought by the Palestinians for a future state. Yosef Lamdan, a former Israeli ambassador to the Vatican, said it was still unclear what the new agreement means but that it was unlikely to alter diplomatic relations between Israel and the Vatican. “Pope Francis is extremely friendly to Israel and certainly to Jews,” he said. “Israel will not withdraw its ambassador. It might express disappointment, but it will not affect the relationship.” Steve Colecchi, who focuses on Middle East policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the Vatican’s move is “consistent with the trajectory” of the Holy See’s relations with the Palestinians in recent years. The pope used the term “state of Palestine” when he visited the region recently, Colecchi said, and it was used in a Vatican document in January 2013, a few months before Francis was elected. “All popes in the modern era have supported the establishment” of it, Colecchi said. The hammering out of the agreement announced Wednesday “has the incidental effect of recognizing the State of Palestine,” he said. On Sunday, Francis is scheduled to declare the sainthood of two nuns born in the 1840s. Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas, from a Palestinian family in Jerusalem, and Mariam Bawardy, born to Greek Catholic parents in Galilee, will be canonized in a Mass celebrated at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Abbas is scheduled to attend, along with thousands of Palestinian Christians.

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Source: Astro Awani

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

ICC urges Israel to cooperate in inquiry into possible breaches in Palestine

Israel has been warned by the international criminal court (ICC) that if it does not cooperate with an initial investigation into possible breaches of international law in the occupied Palestinian territories, the court may launch a full investigation without its input. The remarks, made by the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in an interview with the Associated Press, suggest she is pushing forward more forcefully than anticipated with her preliminary investigation. The Palestinians accepted the jurisdiction of the international court of last resort in January and formally joined on 1 April. Although the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has not initiated a formal complaint, Bensouda’s office has been investigating potential crimes on its own initiative, including incidents from last summer’s war in Gaza. Bensouda confirmed that prosecutors would be looking at the Gaza conflict, as well as other issues that include Israel’s settlement construction on occupied Palestinian lands. They will also examine alleged war crimes committed by Hamas, which controls Gaza, including its firing of thousands of rockets at Israeli residential areas from crowded neighbourhoods. The preliminary examination is the first step in the lengthy process towards potentially establishing a full case before the court. Israel’s military attorney general has launched its own investigation into a number of controversial incidents that occurred during the war, which left more than 8

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015 2,100 Palestinians and more than 70 Israelis dead. Those incidents include the targeting of UN schools that were being used as shelters. A recent commission of inquiry set up by the UN secretary general, Ban Kimoon, established that Israel’s armed forces were responsible for attacks on seven UN premises that killed dozens of people and injured more than 200. Israel’s conduct of the war was also thrown under a harsh spotlight last week with the publication of the testimonies of dozens of soldiers who served in Gaza, collected by the Israeli human rights group Breaking the Silence, which included allegations that the Israeli military did not meet its obligations to protect civilians in wartime. Bensouda told the agency she had not yet received any information from either side regarding last summer’s Gaza war and urged Israel and the Palestinians to come to her with information. The Palestinians are widely expected to provide material in response to her office’s request. Bensouda said her office was “making attempts” to contact the Israelis and to reach out to the Palestinians. “If I don’t have the information that I’m requesting,” she said, “I will be forced to find it from elsewhere, or I may perhaps be forced to just go with just one side of the story. That is why I think it’s in the best interest of both sides to provide my office with information.” Israel, however, has denounced the Palestinian action as “scandalous,” with prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu warning that it turns the ICC “into part of the problem and not part of the solution”. Bensouda stressed repeatedly that a preliminary examination was not an investigation, calling it “a quiet process” to collect information from reliable sources and both sides of the conflict. She said the prosecutor’s office would then analyse the information to determine whether four criteria were met: Do the crimes come under ICC jurisdiction? Are there any national legal proceedings dealing with those crimes that could take precedence over ICC action? Are the crimes grave enough to warrant the intervention of the world’s permanent war crimes tribunal? Will it not be against the interest of justice if the ICC intervenes? Once the analysis is made, she said, the prosecutor has three options: to open an investigation, not to open an investigation, or to seek additional information. “It’s really difficult to say this is going to take two months or three months, or one year or 10 years,” Bensouda said, noting that in some instances, like Libya, the preliminary examination had been very short, while in Afghanistan the preliminary probe had already taken 10 years. Bensouda said she had already received information “from others regarding the preliminary examination”, but refused to elaborate except to say that her office was also collecting information from confidential sources, identified groups and individuals and open sources.

Source: The guardian

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

Israeli troops clash with Palestinians commemorating the Nakba Clashes between Israeli troops and demonstrators in the West Bank have wounded five people, including two photographers, as protests marking the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948 entered their second day. The violence on Saturday broke out near an army post just south of the city of Nablus, where 200 Palestinians had gathered to mark 67 years since the “Nakba”, or “catastrophe”, that befell them when Israel was established. Israeli troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas grenades as Palestinians tried to approach their post, prompting the protesters to pelt the soldiers with stones, Palestinian security sources said. Palestinian medics gave a toll of five wounded: three protesters as well as freelance photographer Samantha Comizzoli of Italy and a Palestinian colleague who works for the Chinese news agency Xinhua. The clashes came a day after 17 people were wounded when Israeli troops used tear gas, water canon, rubber and live bullets against protesters, according to Palestinian witnesses and sources. The clashes on Friday took place near Ramallah and in Nablus to the north. The Israeli army confirmed the clashes, but denied that live rounds were fired.

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More than 1,000 settlers from nearby Jewish settlements were bused into Nablus to visit Joseph’s Tomb earlier in the day, and soldiers blocked off roads leading to the pilgrimage site, according to Palestinian witnesses and security sources. Palestinians protested, some throwing stones, before clashes with the army erupted. A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said soldiers had “escorted” up to 3,000 Jewish visitors to the tomb since Wednesday evening, and that a crowd of some 200 Palestinians had approached the area throwing stones and burning tyres. Soldiers used “riot dispersal” means, she said. The clashes took place after Israel formed a new rightleaning government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Palestinian officials have said the new lineup pushes the prospects of peace further away than ever. More than 760,000 Palestinians, estimated today to number around 5.5 million with their descendants, fled or were driven from their homes in 1948, with the Nakba marked every May 15. For the Palestinians, the right to return to homes they fled or were forced out of is a prerequisite for any peace agreement with the Israelis, but it is a demand Israel has rejected.

Source: World Bulletin

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

Israeli insider

Israeli general confesses they cannot defeat Hamas Israel and Hamas share common interests, and the Palestinians must stay in power in the Gaza Strip to prevent the enclave descending into chaos, an Israeli general was quoted as saying on Tuesday. Major-General Sami Turgeman’s remarks, reported in the top-selling Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, cast Hamas in a more pragmatic light than comments about the group usually made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. “Israel and Hamas have shared interests, including in the current situation, which is quiet and calm and growth and prosperity,” said the general, who is in charge of Israeli forces on the Gaza and Egyptian borders. “There is no substitute for Hamas as sovereign in the Strip. The substitute is the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) and chaotic rule ... and then the security situation would be much more problematic,” he said.

“I don’t know how the next operations will look. It will take more than a month for a significant achievement and we have to prepare ourselves for such a reality. For Hamas, the number of dead and amount of our attacks are not a measure of success or lack of success. What matters is that it didn’t lose and that it stayed in power.” he added. An Israeli military spokesman did not contest the accuracy of the quotes attributed to Turgeman from the private meeting on Monday with the municipal leaders. Netanyahu’s office had no immediate comment. Nor did Hamas officials in Gaza. Turgeman predicted a continued build-up of Hamas’s armed capabilities and renewed Gaza fighting “every few years”. “The alternative is to try to find periods of quiet, as much as possible,” Turgeman said, arguing against rightist proposals that Israel, which withdrew from Gaza in 2005 after 38 years of occupation, retake the cramped and impoverished territory.

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

Jewish settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem

Scores of Jewish settlers on Sunday forced their way into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, a Palestinian official has said. “At least 60 settlers stormed Al-Aqsa compound through Al-Magharbeh Gate in groups under the protection of Israeli police,” Sheikh Omar Al-Qiswani, Palestinian director of Al-Aqsa mosque, told Anadolu Agency. “The settlers toured the complex, passing through Al-Qibali and Dome of the Rock mosques before leaving from Al-Rahmeh Gate,” he said. “The settlers tried to preform Talmudic rituals near the Dome of the Rock Mosque,” he said, noting that the bid was foiled by Muslim worshippers inside the complex. The intrusion came upon calls by several Jewish groups to barge into the holy site to mark the Jewish Yom Yerushalayim holiday (Jerusalem Day), the day when Israel took control of the Old City of East Jerusalem after the 1967 war. For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times. Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it – in addition to West Jerusalem - as the unified capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community. In September 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the “Second Intifada,” a popular uprising against Israel’s decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.

Source: AA .

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

“Al – Nakba” facts and numbers (report) Introduction: “Al – Nakba” is a Palestinian term that looks into the human tragedy associated with the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. It is the name the Palestinians call their displacement, and the destruction of most of their political, economic and cultural aspects in 1948, it is the year the Palestinians were forced out of their homes and lands and lost it in order to establish the “occupation state of Israel”. The events of Al – Nakba include the occupation of most of the Palestinian land by the Zionist movement, and forcing out more than 900,000 Palestinians and turning them into refugees, they formed half of the population of Palestine at that time, now they are more than 5,000,000 refugees living in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the hosting Arab countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria). This event also includes tens of massacres, pillage and atrocities against the Palestinians, demolishing more than 500 villages and turning major Palestinian cities into Israeli cities. Most of the nomad tribes in Al – Naqab (Negev) were forced out, they also tried to destroy the Palestinian Identity and replacing the geographical Arab names with Hebrew ones, and destroying the authentic Arab landmarks through their continuous Judaization attempts. Although politicians chose the 15th of May 1948 to be the memory of the Palestinian Nakba; this tragedy started before that when terrorist Zionist gangs attacked Palestinian towns and villages, in order to annihilate them and to spread fear and terror in the hearts of neighboring towns’ people, so they would leave their homes.

Facts and numbers: Although the Israeli “Defense” Forces (IDF) or army was keen on concealing the facts relating to war crimes and massacres committed by the Jewish Militias - the (IDF) later - in 1948, especially in the period between May 1948 to March 1948, researchers and historians noted many facts which we will try to narrate in this document. • The Palestinians started 4 main revolts, which all aimed to prevent the rising of “The state of Israel”, the Palestinians offered hundreds of martyrs, and the Jewish settlers suffered major losses which held back the declaration of their state for 20 years according to historians. • Historians indicated that in 1948; 40,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed by committing 50 documented massacres. • The destroyed Palestinian villages were more than 500, the villages were wiped out along with their cultural and historical scenes, which represents the identity of the place, while the Jews tried to fabricate new demographic and topographic facts to falsify history, the land area confiscated by the Israeli Entity in its state declaration day was about

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17,000 square kilometers (63% of Palestine’s area size). • The number of Palestinians in 1950, two years after Naqba, was about 957,000 refugees, about 66% of Palestinians at that time. The number of Palestinian refugees according to the latest statistics has reached 5,400,000 refugees, 75% of the total Palestinians today are refugees and displaced. • At the day of Al – Nakba, Palestinians were scattered to 36 camps in Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and the United Nations created the “United Nations Relief And Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East UNRWA”, the UNRWA was responsible for the Palestinian refugees of 1948, and the refugees of Al – Naksa in 1967 (The fall of Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Strip). The Palestinian refugee camps are distributed as follows: The West Bank: 19 camps. Gaza: 8 camps. Jordan: 10 camps. Lebanon: 12 camps. Syria: 9 camps.

Source: TAWASOL |

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

Articles & Analyses

The persistence of the Palestinian Authority Amjad Alqasis On 15th May Palestinians worldwide will commemorate the ongoing Nakba. Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are the largest and longest-standing case of displaced persons in the world today. There are at least 7.7 million displaced Palestinians including 360,000 IDPs in Israel, representing 66 per cent of the total Palestinian population (12.1 million) worldwide. Among them are 5 million who are registered with and assisted by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The Israeli regime of apartheid, military occupation and colonisation is not limited to the Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt); it also targets Palestinians residing on the Israeli side of the 1949 Armistice (“Green”) Line as well as those living in forced exile. Israel’s treatment of non-Jewish Palestinians throughout Israel and the oPt constitutes a comprehensive discriminatory regime aimed at controlling the maximum amount of land with the least number of indigenous Palestinians upon it. The main components of that structure discriminate against Palestinians in such areas as nationality, citizenship, residency rights and land ownership. Israel initially applied this system in 1948 in order to dominate and dispossess all forcibly-displaced Palestinians, including the 150,000 who 14

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remained and who later became Palestinian citizens of Israel. After Israeli forces occupied the remaining part of Palestine in 1967, this territory became subject to the same Israeli regime in addition to military occupation. Israel’s settler-colonial regime was not necessitated by military expediency or broader national security concerns; on the contrary, its inception dates back to the beginnings of the Zionist movement, decades before the creation of the State of Israel.

Land of Israel.”

As such, the Zionist enterprise combined Jewish nationalism, which it aimed to create and foster, with the colonial project of transplanting people, mostly from Europe, into Palestine by drawing on the support of European imperial powers. The Zionist movement constructed a specific global Jewish national identity in order to justify the colonisation of Palestine. This identity had to be linked to the first century BC Jewish presence in the land. Significantly, like all other national identities which Zionist movement are a modern concept, Jewish naZionist leaders established a tionality cannot be traced back to movement in the late nineteenth a natural origin. Instead, groups century with the aim of creating a of persons constructed nationality Jewish home through the forma- based upon their own self-perception of a “...national movement for tions and desires. the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resump- The task of establishing and tion of Jewish sovereignty in the maintaining a Jewish state on

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015 predominantly non-Jewish territory has been completed by continuously and forcibly displacing the land’s non-Jewish majority population along with the implanting of immigrant Jewish settlers. Today, nearlyseventy per cent of the Palestinian people worldwide are themselves Palestinians who have been forcibly displaced by the Israeli regime or their descendants.

can migrate to Israel and acquire Israeli citizenship. Thus Jewish nationals enjoy the right to enter Israel even if they were not born in Israel and have no connection whatsoever to that land. In contrast, Palestinians, the indigenous population of the territory, are excluded from the Law of Return and have no automatic right to enter the country. The Law of Return has aimed to simplify and encourage the immigration of Jews to Israel in order to achieve the exclusive Jewish state envisioned by Zionism.

Colonising Palestine The Zionist movement faced three major obstacles when setting the scene to colonise Palestine in 1897 under the motto, “A land without a people for a people without a land”: • The indigenous Palestinian people who were living in that territory; • Palestinian property and land rights within that territory; • and Lack of a sufficient number of Jewish people in that territory. Overcoming these three obstacles necessitated a legal system able to maintain the newly established status quo in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Zionist movement, and later Israel, had no interest in simply creating a system of domination of one “racial” group over another. Rather, the intention was to establish a homogeneous Zionist-Jewish state predominantly for Jewish people.

Property rights

All this, combined with a new neoliberal spirit of consumerism and culture of debt, means that people are less likely to resist

Privileged migration To ensure a sufficient number of Jewish people in the colonised territory, Israel passed theLaw of Return (1950). It provides that every Jewish person in the world is entitled to Jewish nationality and

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Israel legislated and deployed the Absentee Property Law (1950) to confiscate Palestinian property legally owned by forcibly displaced Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons. The term “absentee” was defined so broadly as to include not only Palestinians who had fled the newly established State of Israel but also those who had fled their homes yet remained within its borders. Once confiscated, this land became state property. Israel enacted the Land Acquisition Law (1953) to complete the transfer of confiscated Palestinian land, which had not been abandoned during the attacks of 1948, to the state. In the words of former Israeli Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan, its purpose “...was to instil legality in some acts undertaken during and following the war.” An almost identical processtook place in the occupied Palestinian territories in the aftermath of the 1967 occupation. Moreover, the expansion of existing Palestinian localities in Israel and the oPt has been curtailed se|

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015 verely as a result of Israel’s highly discriminatory planning policy. Since the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, Israel has not permitted the establishment of any new Palestinian municipalities. Military Order 418 created a planning and building regime which gives full control of all areas related to planning and development in the oPt to the Israeli state. Forced population transfer The central obstacle to the Zionist movement, the Palestinian people themselves, has been addressed by various means throughout the past few decades. More than seven million Palestinians have been displaced forcibly– as have their descendants - from their homes. Israeli laws such as the Prevention of Infiltration Law (1954) and Military Orders 1649 and 1650 have prohibited Palestinians from returning legally either to Israel or the oPt. Forced displacement of the indigenous Palestinian people did not end with the establishment of Israel in 1948; rather, it began that year. Since the Nakba, almost every passing year has witnessed a wave of forced displacement, albeit varying in degree. While 400,000 Palestinians became refugees in 1967, in 2008, Israel revoked the residency rightsof nearly 5,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites.

be distinguished from the more overt ethnic cleansing achieved under the veneer of war in 1948. Israel’s silent transfer policy today The Israeli policy of silent transfer is evident in the state’s laws, policies and practices. Israel uses its power to discriminate, expropriate and ultimately effect the forcible displacement of the indigenous non-Jewish population from the area of historic Palestine. For instance, the Israeli land-planning and zoning system has forced 93,000 Palestinians in East-Jerusalem to build without proper construction permits because eightyseven per cent of that area is off-limits to Palestinian use; most of the remaining thirteen per cent is already built up. Since the Palestinian population of Jerusalem is growing steadily, it has had to expand into areas not zoned for Palestinian residence by the State of Israel. All those homes are now under the constant threat of being demolished by the Israeli army or police, which will leave their inhabitants homeless and displaced. Another example is the government-approved Prawer Plan, which calls for the forcible displacement of 70,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel due to an allocation policy which has not recognised over thirty-five Palestinian villages located in the Negev (Naqab) Desert. Israel deems the inhabitants of those villages to be illegal trespassers and squatters and, as such, they face the imminent threat of displacement. This is despite the fact that, in many cases, these communities predate the State of Israel itself.

This population shift is carried out today by Israel in the form of a policy of “silent transfer”. This displacement is silent in the sense that Israel carries it out while trying to avoid international attention, displacing small numbers of The Israeli Supreme Court bolpeople on a weekly basis. It is to stered the Zionist objective of

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clearing Palestine of its indigenous population in its 2012 decision prohibiting family unification between Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and their counterparts across and beyond the 1949 Armistice Line. The effect of this ruling has been that Palestinians with different residency statuses, such as Israeli citizen, Jerusalem ID, West Bank ID or Gaza ID (all of which are issued by Israel), cannot legally live together on either side of the 1949 Armistice Line. They are thus faced with a choice of living abroad, living apart from one another, or taking the risk of living together illegally. This system aims to diminish further the Palestinian population. This demographic intention is reflected in the High Court’s explanation that “...human rights are not a prescription for national suicide.” The way forward This Israeli system must be brought to an end and must be judged in accordance with international law and standards. In fact, the ongoing disrespect for international law in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict undermines the very legitimacy of this crucial body of legal instruments, in particular human rights, humanitarian law and international criminal law. As such, it is time to ensure that international law is not a paper tiger, but a legal system which protects rights, establishes obligations and, most importantly, creates realities on the group in accordance with its values and principles. A solution to the ongoing colonisation and oppression of the Palestinian people should, therefore, be found through a strict rightsbased approach. Such rights are not guaranteed through political

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015 negotiations, but through full adherence to and implementation of international law and access to rights. A rights-based approach could be best described as normatively based on international rights standards and directed operationally to promoting and protecting those rights. Hence, a rightsbased approach should integrate norms, standards and principles of the international rights system into the plans, policies and processes which seek solutions to the specific conflict at hand in order to ensure human dignity and justice. It is characterised by mechanisms, methods, tools and activities which are designed to complement the notion of humanity’s struggle for freedom, equality, justice and development for all. Simply speaking, peace cannot be recognised when fundamental human rights and freedoms are violated. In the case of Palestine, this approach would entail solutions based on international law rather than a reliance on political negotiations to bring about a long lasting and just solution. In this light, it should be unacceptable to refer to illegal Israeli settlements in the oPt as “undermining efforts towards peace” - as is regularly the case in political circles - whilst in reality these settlements constitute a violation of numerous international standards and principles. As such, they are but one of a growing number of physical manifestations of Israel’s ongoing impunity. This represents an ugly and dangerous precedent, and if the future sanctity of international law and standards is to be protected, their implementation should not be subject to negotiations, but demanded from the outset.

Most important in this context is the right to self-determination. The International Court of Justice refers to the right to self-determination as a right held by the people rather than a right held by governments alone. The right of the Palestinian people to selfdetermination is deep-seated in international law, most importantly within the International Covenants on Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the Vienna Declaration. In essence, the right to self-determination is the basis for the implementation of the most important fundamental rights and freedoms such as rights of minorities to enjoy their own culture, religion and language, the right to be free from all forms of racial discrimination or simply to live a life in dignity and free from oppression, occupation and colonisation. In addition, and equally importantly, all Palestinian refugees have the right to return to their land. International best practice insists that refugees be offered their choice of solution in a voluntary and informed manner. A rightsbased approach to assistance and protection, moreover, requires that refugees are consulted and given a right to participate in the design and implementation of national and international interventions. UNHCR has adopted both the principle of voluntariness (refugee choice) in the search for durable solutions, and a participatory approach in its operations. The framework for durable solutions for the Palestinians forcibly displaced during the Nakba is set out in Article 11 of UN General Assembly Resolution 194 which

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resolves that the refugees be allowed to return to their homes at the earliest practical date and that compensation be paid to those choosing not to return, and for loss or damage to property. Internationally recognised rights and principles trigger specific state responsibilities at the international level. Third party states have a legal duty to cooperate in the process of bringing to an end Israel’s violations and breaches of international law, including the refusal of such states to provide aid or assistance to Israel, or to recognise the illegal situation which has arisen from Israeli acts. Israel’s continuous and calculated strangulation of the Palestinian people must be challenged properly by the international community, and this challenge must come from an assessment of Israeli actions and policy through the lens of international law. The facts on the ground demonstrate that such an assessment will reveal elements of an international crime against humanity, and Israel’s regime must be judged accordingly, with the state’s impunity for these crimes brought to an end. Yet, the silence - if not complicity - of powerful members of the international community in relation to these crimes continues. The resulting reality represents a worst case scenario: the intense and prolonged suffering of a colonised and occupied population, witnessed in conjunction with an emphatic politicisation and devaluing of international law. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect PCOM’s editorial policy.

Source: MEMO |

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Issue No : 134 19th MAY 2015

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Palestinian Cultural Organization Malaysia

Issue no 134  

Issued on 05/19/2015