From 10-23 June, inclusive, there was one Palestinian Gaza ceasefire violation in which a missile was fired across the Green Line. Israeli ceasefire violations over the same period numbered 30, including an air strike on Rafah and three incursions. Fifteen minors, aged 14 to 17, were abducted by Israeli soldiers. Several homes were destroyed and there were 64 raids, with homes invaded, many of them at night.
In Khan al-Ahmar, Israeli settlers severely beat and hospitalised a resident, Muhammad Musa Kaabneh. In Nablus, settlers raided the Lafjam area of Aqraba, invading tent dwellings and sheep-pens, variously destroying or stealing the contents. The settlers went on to destroy solar panels, also robbing a family of the batteries charged by the solar panels. Just some of the misery Palestinians must accept, day and night! At night on 10 June, Israeli settler militants assaulted a Palestinian man in Khirbet Tana village, as well as etting on fire a motor vehicle and spray-painting racist messages in the village of Zeita.
Settler arson attacks and Israeli Army complicity
Settler arson attacks on Palestinian agriculture are on the increase. Israeli settlers invaded Burin village agricultural land, severing the branches off 36 olive trees and setting fire to wheat crops. Israelis, from the Yitzhar Occupation settlement, raided Madma village farmland and set fire to crops. Militants from the Barakhah settlement, supported by Israeli troops firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters, set fire to a Palestinian olive grove in Burin village. A gang of settlers destroyed, and set fire to the remains of a house under construction on the outskirts of Burin and more settlers, supported by Israeli troops firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters, invaded Qusra village farmland, setting fire to a large wheat crop. There is increasing despair among Palestinian farmers, especially as, even though the Israeli Army is known to be supporting the settlers in their criminal acts, the world community does nothing to restrain the Zionist regime.
Israeli Army plunder and economic/agricultural sabotage
Israeli forces, in al-Mazra’a al-Gharbiya, seized five bulldozers, rock-mining equipment and an electricity generator. Israeli troops also destroyed a car-wash business in al-Manshiyat village. Armed Israeli soldiers raided Hares village, searched a home and robbed the owner, Thaer Aziz Halahla, of his computer. Israeli troops also forced a halt to work on farmland, south of Nahalin, and robbed farmers of a bulldozer.
Attacks on children
The Israeli Army attacked a 15-year-old boy, Mus’ab Atta, on the main road near Deir Abu Masha’al village, shooting and wounding him, then abducting him. A gang of Israeli settlers severely beat up and hospitalised another 15-year-old boy, Wadih Fadi Khader Salah, close to his home in the Abu al-Sud area of al-Khadr.
On 23 June,Israeli forces, manning the Al-Container checkpoint, opened fire on and killed a resident, Ahmad Mustafa Eriqat (26), who was on his way to Bethlehem to pick up his mother, in preparation for his sister’s wedding that evening. The man had been waiting in a queue at the checkpoint but, on moving forward, had run into a traffic island. He posed no threat to the soldiers who immediately opened fire on his vehicle, wounding him with several live bullets in his upper body. They pulled him out of the vehicle, threw him onto the ground and prevented the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) medical crew from approaching or providing first aid, leaving him instead to bleed to death at the checkpoint. According to Ahmad’s relatives, he was looking forward to attending his sister’s wedding and he, himself, was looking forward to getting married next month.
While, Palestinian suffering grows ever grimmer under a venomous military dictatorship that is so generously unopposed by Great Power leaders, the past fortnight has seen growing global grass-roots resistance to Zionism’s self-centred inhumanities.
Canada fails to gain seat at UN Security Council
One of New Zealand’s Five Eyes partners, Canada, has failed for a second time to win a seat at the UN Security Council, losing out this time to Norway and Ireland, whose support in defence of Palestine has been welcomed worldwide. The Washington Post lamented that the loss was “embarrassing because of Canada’s stature as an economic powerhouse, part of the G7 and a member of NATO” and went on to complain that “when it comes to voting at the United Nations, especially by a secret ballot, governments have many other considerations.” The Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, on the other hand, is campaigning for Canada to adopt an independent foreign policy, free from Washington. The Institute believes that Canada should end its support for “controversial mining companies, indifference to International treaties, climate policies and militarism” and asks why it is that Canada has “isolated itself from world opinion on Palestinian rights rather than standing for universal human rights?”
Majority of Canada’s citizens oppose Israel‘s annexation plan
Released ahead of Canada’s failed bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, a poll conducted by EKOS Research Associates, published on 16 June, showed that 74% of Canadians want their government to express opposition to Israeli annexation in some form, while 42% supported the use of economic or diplomatic sanctions against Israel.
UK Foreign Office at the service of the Israel Lobby
On 18 June, the British Government’s Foreign Office (FO) replied to questions regarding what representations it had made to the Government of Israel about (1) the killing of Iyad Khairi Hallaq, (2) the raiding of his parents’ home, and (3) the physical assault on his sisters by Israeli forces. The FO response began:
“As the UK Consul General in Jerusalem and the UK Ambassador in Tel Aviv stated on 31 May, we are deeply saddened to hear about the death of Iyad Khairi Hallaq after he was shot by Israeli police in East Jerusalem. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family.”
“We urge restraint in the use of live fire by the Israel Defense Forces.”
Restraint? The British Government should listen to itself. Shamelessly, its spokesman immersed himself even more deeply in the playing-down of the callousness of the crime by stating:
“In instances where there have been accusations of excessive use of force, we have advocated swift, transparent investigations and if wrongdoing is found, that those responsible be held to account.”
The obvious question raised here is, who is to “investigate’? Should it be the Israeli police themselves – or should the enquiry be conducted by the very Zionist regime that is imposing military dictatorship over the Palestinian people in the Occupied West Bank? Heaven forbid that Israel itself should be brought to account! In an appalling attempt to spread blame and hide Israel’s responsibility, the FO ended its answer with the words: “The perpetual cycle of violence must end.”
A Jewish voice calls shame on UK:
Dear Foreign Office,
The ministerial replies to the Written Questions from Lord Lothian and Virendra Sharma MP ended with the same sentence: “The perpetual cycle of violence must end.”
If you look at the statistics for the month of February 2020 compiled by the Negotiations Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, you will see that there were 50 Palestinian rocket attacks during that month. Ask yourself whether these might, just might, have been provoked by and in response to the sum total of Israeli ceasefire violations, acts of economic or agricultural sabotage, settler attacks, demolitions, deportations, shootings, suffered by Palestinians: 139 in January, 162 in February.
According to statistics which colleagues in New Zealand receive from the Palestinian Monitoring Group, there have been no further Palestinian attacks since February. Israeli ceasefire violations, acts of economic or agricultural sabotage, etcetera, have continued apace at the rate of 106 in March, 111 in April, 95 in May, and 30 up to 12 June.
The language used by the Foreign Office to describe this state of affairs is an insult to truth. You can not describe what is happening in Palestine as a “cycle of violence” unless you deny that victims have the right to resist the violence perpetrated against them. You cannot pretend not to know that the violence began in February 1917 when the British Government gave to secular European Jews the green light to immigrate to Palestine, 90% of which was inhabited at that time by religious Moslems and Christians. Ever since then the Palestinians have been victims of violence committed against them, initially by the British Mandatory and Jewish terrorists, and subsequently by the racist expansionist state of Israel which has been pursuing a relentless ethnic cleansing of non-Jews with total impunity before the eyes of all the world. Palestinians have also become the sacrificial victims of governments around the world which are complicit with one of the most evil regimes that have ever been.
Shame on the British Government! Shame on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office! Shame on the Prime Minister! Shame, shame, shame!
I have copied in my MP.
Law experts warn against Israel’s annexation of West Bank
Over 100 international law experts have signed a letter against West Bank annexation, calling on Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank, warning that it would “constitute a flagrant violation of bedrock rules of international law, and would also pose a serious threat to international stability in a volatile region.” Published by Kevin Jon Heller, Associate Professor of Public International Law at the University of Amsterdam, the letter was addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Among those who signed the letter were several academics from Israel. Noting that “ . . . it matters not whether such actions would be effected through ‘extension of sovereignty,’ ‘extension of law, jurisdiction, and administration,’ or explicit annexation,” the letter confirmed that unilateral annexation of any part of the West Bank “would be null and void, entail consequences of international wrongfulness, and – under certain circumstances – lead to individual international criminal liability.”
Israel‘s militaristic determination to possess the Jordan Valley
Israeli Control of the Jordan Valley Is Non-Negotiable. Had the international community held Israel to account for its criminal acts decades ago, we would not now be facing this latest threat to international peace and stability.
Israel approves funding for ‘Trump Heights’
On 15 June, Israel’s government approved funding for the expansion of the Bruchim settlement in the Golan Heights and its re-naming as Ramat Trump (Trump Heights). The re-naming is in gratitude for Trump’s decision last year to grant US approval of Israel‘s claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The Israeli Government has approved the spending of eight million Shekels (about US$2.3 million) towards new building development in the settlement. Up to 130,000 Syrians who fled or were forced from their homes in the 1967 Israeli invasion of the Syrian territory continue to live in exile. With their farms and villages destroyed, their ruined houses can still be seen from across the fields.
Israel’s self-alienation from the International Criminal Court
On 12 June, the US announced its decision to sanction International Criminal Court (ICC) court officials following the March authorisation by ICC judges to begin an investigation into allegations of war crimes committed by US military and intelligence personnel, Afghan forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
No business with Israel!
The Israel Trade Commission’s website celebrates what it describes as “stand out examples of successful economic co-operation between Israel and New Zealand.” While Israel boasts of its economic success, ignoring the plunder and abuses of human right that underpin it, it also draws attention away from its spectacular failure to respect its own people. Last year, the National Economic Council on poverty in Israel reported that 1.8 million Israelis, half of them children, live in poverty. The Israeli Government’s National Insurance Institute also ranks the country’s child poverty rates second to bottom in the OECD.
In 2012 the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported on a poll indicating that at least one-third of Israelis would consider emigrating abroad if the opportunity presented itself. In 2018 a Newsweek article stated that: “Spurred by the high cost of living, low salaries, and political and demographic trends, Israelis are leaving the country in droves.” The reason? “Israel has one of the highest poverty rates and levels of income inequality in the Western world.” The reality of Israel, both at home and in the territories it Occupies and terrorises, makes nonsense of US Vice-President Joe Biden’s claim that Israel is “absolutely essential” to the security of Jews around the world.
New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters, has a deep-seated commitment to co-operating with Israel. As far back as 2006 he had this to say: “Without Israel’s support for economic development, it is difficult to imagine how an enduring resolution to the conflict [ending the military Occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza] will be possible. Institutional linkages, through the New Zealand-Israel Trade Association, have a valuable role to play in facilitating closer trade ties between our two countries. We have much to look forward to as the New Zealand/Israel relationship deepens and strengthens. Expanding bilateral trade has a crucial role in this development.”
Both Peters and NZ Defence Minister, Ron Mark, are long-standing members of the Parliament’s Friend of Israel Group. Peters is critical of New Zealand’s support for UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and insisted on inserting in the coalition agreement a clause noting the “lack of process” and failure to seek cabinet approval as the cause of New Zealand’s sponsorship of the Resolution. It is Peter‘ way of declaring opposition to the resolution altogether. Labour’s concession to Peters is lamentable.
MFAT on Sanctions
NZ’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) informs us that it believes:
“Sanctions apply pressure to countries that threaten peace, have harmful policies or don’t co-operate with international law.
“Sanctions are a common tool for seeking to influence foreign governments and individuals to change their behaviour. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) can impose sanctions in response to a threat to international peace and security. As a UN Member State, New Zealand is bound by the UNSC’s decisions.
“We implement sanctions imposed by the UNSC in regulations made under the United Nations Act 1946. Implementing UN sanctions by creating regulations means that we can respond quickly when necessary to impose or remove sanctions. While we don’t have standalone legislation to impose our own sanctions independently of the UNSC, we can impose other measures such as travel bans on people entering our country.”
Time to choose
In a Press Release on 24 June, the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA) called for measures to end co-operation with Israel and an end to what amounts to aiding and abetting the Zionist state’s violations of human rights. The PSNA demands the suspension of our bilateral agreements with Israel and prohibition of the importation of illegal Israeli Occupation settlement products. PSNA also calls for the Superannuation Fund to disinvest in any Israeli company complicit in settlement activities or land confiscation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. At the same time, the PSNA makes it clear that ending the purchase of arms and military equipment from Israeli companies is essential in the support of peace and justice. Finally, the Press Release also calls for the closing of the Israeli Embassy “as we did when Israeli Mossad agents stole New Zealand passports in another breach of international law”.
Janfrie Wakim, writing in The Daily Blog, also calls for those “individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity” who assist and profit from association and business with Israel to be “brought to justice”.
Time to choose – do we join our 5-eyes ‘allies’ in covering for Israel or do we follow the rational rules of international law and respect for human rights?