palestine

How Many Countries Recognise The Palestinian Statehood? You Will be Alarmed by the Numbers.

 
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The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is annually observed on November 29. The day is also known as Solidarity Day.

First observed in 1977, Palestinian solidarity day falls on November 29 each year, as, on that day in 1947, the General Assembly adopted of the  ’Partition Resolution’, which provided for the establishment in Palestine of a ‘Jewish State’ and an ‘Arab State’.

On the occasion of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi in a statement expressed gratitude to everyone who supported the Palestinian statehood recognition.

“We thank those states that have recognized the State of Palestine and the parliaments and people around the world who have voted for recognition. We also appreciate the religious leaders, trade unions, artists, and civil society organizations worldwide that have stood on the right side of justice and supported the Palestinian people in their attempts to seek a just peace,” she added.

European Recognition of Palestine

The French and Irish parliaments have become the latest in Europe to call on their governments to recognise an independent state of Palestine, confirming a trend, alarming for Israel, that reflects changing public opinion across the continent.

In Paris on Thursday the senate ratified an earlier decision by the national assembly, while MPs in Denmark were holding the first reading of a motion urging the government to recognise Palestine as a state alongside Israel within its 1967 borders.

Wednesday’s vote by Irish MPs drew criticism from Israel, which argues that recognition prejudices the outcome of peace negotiations. The Israeli foreign ministry accused the Irish parliament of giving voice to “statements of hatred and antisemitism directed at Israel in a way which we have not heard before”.

Sweden has formally recognised the state of Palestine in October, the Swedish foreign minister said, less than a month after Stockholm announced its intention to make the controversial move, becoming the most prominent European country to do so and just the second after Iceland. All that official recognition means, really, is that it’s the official position of the Swedish government that Palestine is a country.

“Today the government takes the decision to recognise the state of Palestine,” Margot Wallström said in a statement published in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper on Thursday.

“It is an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination,” the foreign minister said. “We hope that this will show the way for others.”

Sweden’s new prime minister, Stefan Löfven, announced in his inaugural address to parliament in early October that his country would become the first EU member in western Europe to recognise a Palestinian state.

That means a lot in a situation this politically fraught. “The purpose of Sweden’s recognition is to contribute to a future in which Israel and Palestine can live side by side in peace and security,” Sweden’s minister for foreign affairs explained in a press release that also touts “a five-year aid strategy including substantially increased support to Palestinian state-building.”

Top Israeli and Swedish diplomats engaged in a heated spat following Sweden’s decision. Ambassadors were scolded and withdrawn, and pointed barbs were flung in both directions.

“The Swedish government needs to understand that relations in the Middle East are more complicated than a piece of furniture from Ikea that you assemble at home,” said Israel’s hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

But Lieberman’s Swedish counterpart was ready with a riposte.

“I will be happy to send Israel FM Lieberman an IKEA flat pack to assemble,” said Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom. “He’ll see it requires a partner, cooperation and a good manual.”

The exchange got picked up on social media. Karl Sharro, a London-based Lebanese blogger known for his biting political wit, made the following intervention on Twitter.

 

The satirical map, done in the form of the Swedish furniture manufacturer’s cartoonish guides, offers a critical take of current Israeli actions that’s being echoed in the international community.

Elsewhere in Europe, the parliaments of Britain, Ireland and Spain have all passed resolutions urging their governments to recognise a Palestinian state.

The British parliament in October voted in favor of recognising Palestine as an official state, answering impassioned pleas by pro-Palestinian ministers and activists. While the measure was approved 274-12, the vote is largely symbolic, however, as it does not mandate the government to change its policies regarding the long-disputed territory. RT’s Manila Chan has more details.

This all reflects widespread European frustration with Israel’s continued expansion of settlements into the West Bank and East Jersualem, which the Palestinians and the international community regard as the future capital of an independent Palestine. Talks between Israel and its Palestinian interlocutors have collapsed. Tensions between Arabs and Jewish Israelis in Jerusalem have reached a boiling point.

Other Countries

Europe is behind the curve here. The bulk of U.N. member states already recognize Palestine, including the majority of countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. These things have a way of gathering momentum. Most of the countries in South America flipped positions to recognize Palestine in rapid succession in 2011. For now, the European votes, with the exception of Sweden, have all been nonbinding parliamentary measures, but if a large European power decides to recognize, the others could follow suit quickly.

The majority of countries worldwide might recognize Palestine, but non-recognition is still the mainstream position among rich Western countries.

President Abdulla Yameen has reiterated the Maldives’ support for the establishment of a Palestinian State on November 29th’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

“Acknowledgment and recognition alone are powerful gestures which can facilitate an international norm,” said Yameen.

“The Maldives welcomes all efforts towards this goal, during the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We hope to see a future where Palestine emerges as a State with full recognition from the United Nations.”

Arab League foreign ministers have resolved to back the Palestinian bid for statehood in front of the United Nations Security Council by presenting a draft resolution determining a timeframe for creating the State of Palestine and “end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories” within the coming days, according to a statement by the Arab League two weeks ago.

 The Council of Foreign Ministers assembled Saturday in Cairo to discuss the current situation in Palestine. The meeting was attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Map: The countries that recognize Palestine as a state

 

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As you can see in the map, most of the other nations that have not officially recognized Palestine are in the E.U. or are U.S. partners who wouldn’t want to ruffle Washington’s feathers. These include South Pacific island nations like Kiribati and Nauru.

Even then, it’s quite likely that the U.S. will find itself on this map within a steadily shrinking patch of gray in the months and years to come.

What does all this mean in real terms?

The violence still continues daily, new settlements are being announced and all the while Palestinians are on the receiving end of all this.

Israel’s most recent transgression of International Law had seen Al-Aqsa mosque targeted and the unprecedented closure of Al-Aqsa mosque to all worshippers.

This is a hostile, disproportionate, and blanket deprivation of fundamental freedoms (including right of association, religious practice, a place of worship, and historic landmarks) targeted at a specific people classed by their creed, religion, or ethnicity- thus fulfilling the criteria for a variation of recognised atrocities.

How much longer will one state be allowed to undermine the legitimacy and supremacy of an international legal system which is respected by, and applied to every other state?

Time will tell, but support for an Independent state of Palestine is growing day by day from the International Community and countries all over the world.

 

Rebuilding Gaza. How Much You Think Has Been Pledged? Hint. Not Enough

 
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A Mosque Minaret toppled over, the mosque destroyed in the fighting.

It’s been a little under three weeks since the Gaza – Israel ceasefire. Children have gone back to school in a sombre mood and back to broken classrooms, schools that have been destroyed partially or in total and many families have gone back to homes that are just rubble, with many more hospitals, mosques and other buildings destroyed.

At least 65,000 people in the Gaza Strip are homeless after the recent seven-week conflict. Infrastructure ranging from water desalination centres to power plants lies in ruins.

The seven-year blockade on the Gaza Strip must end to enable reconstruction and a political solution must be found to resolve the conflict, a UN official said on Saturday.

“Huge swathes of Gaza have been levelled. We cannot rebuild it with our hands tied behind our backs,” said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

The Palestinian Authority said on Thursday that the process of rebuilding whole neighbourhoods and vital infrastructure would take “five years if Israel removed its blockade over Gaza entirely“.

“The attack on Gaza this time had no precedent, Gaza has been hit with a catastrophe and it needs immediate help,” Palestinian economist, Mohammed Shtayyeh, told the Reuters.

An international organisation involved in assessing post-conflict reconstruction says it will take 20 years for Gaza’s battered and neglected housing stock to be rebuilt following the war.

The assessment by Shelter Cluster, co-chaired by the U.N. refugee agency and the Red Cross, underscores the complexities involved in an overall reconstruction program for the Gaza Strip, which some Palestinian officials have estimated could cost almost $8 billion.

Any effort to rebuild Gaza will be hindered by a blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel.

Shelter Cluster’s 20-year assessment is based on the assumption that construction materials will be allowed into Gaza, as promised in the ceasefire. So far, locals say supplies have yet to arrive.

The below from a report produced by OCHA Occupied Palestinian Territories  in collaboration with humanitarian partners.

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Cost Of Rebuilding

Rebuilding Gaza will cost $7.8 billion (£4.7 billion), the Palestinian Authority said on Thursday, in the most comprehensive assessment yet of damage from the seven-week war with Israel. The ground incursion and bombing from the land, air and sea caused huge destruction in Gaza, during which whole neighbourhoods and vital infrastructure were flattened.

Rebuilding Gaza would depend heavily on foreign aid and would require an end to Palestinian rivalry and Israel opening its border crossings, said Mr Shtayyeh, who heads the Palestinian Economic Council for Research and Development (PECDAR)

The cost of rebuilding 17,000 Gazan homes razed by Israeli bombings would be $2.5 billion, the Authority said, and the energy sector needed $250 million after the Strip’s only power plant was destroyed by two Israeli missiles.

UN agencies and the Palestinian Authority are now working on a reconstruction plan which includes rebuilding water, sewerage facilities and electricity supplies.

We can get an idea of the severity of the destruction in Gaza from the video below by Media Town which shows aerial drone footage of Gaza before and after the 7 week assault – this really shows the level of destruction that the worst affected areas now face.

Media Town is a documentary film production and Media services Provider Company, based in Palestine.

The below clip shows the destruction in the Beit Hanoun area.

Progress since Ceasefire

In the 3 weeks since an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire took hold on August 26, little progress has been made in getting the rebuilding under way or settling the bitter political rifts around Gaza.

“If you want aid materials to be permitted to enter, they will almost inevitably come from Israeli sources,” an EU official said. “I don’t think you’ll find it written down anywhere in official policy, but when you get to negotiate with the Israelis, this is what happens. It increases construction and transaction costs, and is a political problem that has to be dealt with.”

As well as Israel’s security restrictions on aid, “it can be very difficult to export materials to Gaza,” the official said. “A lot of goods for a Gaza private sector reconstruction project we had, ended up being held in Ashdod port for very lengthy periods of time – months if not years – so there was de facto no alternative but to use Israeli sources.”

The source added that the policy had benefited Israel’s economy to the tune of millions of euros and was, in his view, deliberate.

Building materials such as steel and cement, necessary for the reconstruction of Gaza, have been designated by Israel as ‘dual use’ items – adaptable for munitions – that may only be imported to Gaza by the UN and aid agencies under Israeli supervision.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime ministers’ office, denied claims that Israel’s entry policy to Gaza prevented non-Israeli-made reconstruction materials from entering the Strip.

“I know that policy, and it is not true,” he told EurActiv over the phone from Jerusalem. He was unable though to give examples of non-Israeli reconstruction materials allowed into Gaza, referring inquiries on to Cogat.

Israel eased restrictions on imports of food and construction materials in 2010 following an international outcry over a botched Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla which was trying break the blockade, killing 10 Turks.

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Chart showing the amount of building materials allowed into Gaza

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Occupied Palestinian Territory (OCHAOPT) has just released a report detailing what the 50 day war has cost Gaza so far, including the death toll. The full 37 page report, published on the 27th August, can be found here  – Gaza Initial Rapid Assessment.

Life in Gaza after the destruction
Palestinian women bake bread in front of the remains of their house in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.  Sourse: ©Reuters/I. Abu Mustafa

Palestinian women bake bread in front of the remains of their house in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Source: ©Reuters/I. Abu Mustafa

“It is enough. We are tired,” said Nasser Mohammed Al-Najjar, 62. “I  lost my wife in the war. I lost my cousins and our homes have been turned into sand.”

It took years for Al-Najjar to build his home and now he, and six family members, are homeless, temporarily sleeping in a UN school. Al-Najjar used to work in Israel, but since 2000 when he was laid off from work, he has tried to live off his land, which was also damaged when bulldozers break into his neighbourhood, east of Khan Younis.

“No one cares about us,” he said.

In another UN school shelter in Khan Younis sits 42-year-old Rasem Abu-Zaed, 42. He had been living in Jordan for more than 15 years and working as a taxi driver which gave him enough money to feed his wife and four children. Then, Abu-Zaed decided to return to Gaza.

In Gaza, he said he has found freedom to express his views, but he has not found stability, nor security. Yet despite the knowledge that it could be 20 years before his family home is rebuilt – and that his one-year-old son, Musbah, will then be an adult – he said he does not want to return to Jordan.

“I felt something fishy the moment ceasefire was announced,” he said. “I asked myself, ‘Why would this work when Israel has the position of power to violate ceasefires?'”

Abu-Zaed said he and his family had heard the news from international bodies that it will take 20 years to rebuild Gaza.

“But we never heard of what they will do to challenge that,” he said.

“The aggression on Gaza has not yet ended. I still feel like I am in a war zone, as the armed drones are still roaming Gaza skies every single second. Nothing actually has improved or changed in our miserable daily life in Gaza. We have 12 hours of electricity outages every day and the borders are shut down. We had great hope that our life will get better soon after an immense loss of our people and infrastructures in the latest Gaza attack. However, there is not even a prospect of improvements in the near future for us.” (The mother of Ayman Qwaider, a Palestinian from Gaza now living in Australia)

Rubble Bucket Challenge

“I can only think of this ceasefire as a pillow that was squeezed against the face of an-already-dying patient to suffocate his/her screams so that he/she dies quickly and quietly.” (Maysam Yusef, a 25-year-old Palestinian in Gaza now studying for a bachelor’s degree in media and politics,

After the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS went viral, Gaza activist Maysam Yusef, 24, started the Rubble Bucket campaign the day before the ceasefire was announced with the Facebook page Rubble Bucket Challenge to raise awareness.

“The whole point is to gain attention,” Yusef said, “because Gaza doesn’t need money, it needs someone to stop this.”

The campaign invites social media users to douse themselves in sand, gravel, and other materials from buildings that have been destroyed during Israel’s seven-week military offensive. The choice of materials was both deliberate and necessary: they couldn’t use ice water, participants say, due to deteriorating conditions on the ground.

The Challenge has reached Jordan, Morroco and even the US, with Pro-Palestinian Activists in Washington taking the challenge as can be seen in the International Business Times UK report above.

The Conflict by Numbers

The 50 days of war in Gaza resulted in damage that the UN said is “Unprecedented since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967.” Here’s a closer look at the conflict by the numbers by AJ+.

Gaza – Israel Conflict: Numbers Behind The Destruction In Gaza

Pledges of reconstruction aid abound—$93 million from the United Arab Emirates, $10 million from Kuwait, $5 million from Bahrain. But Palestinians say the pace of rebuilding will depend on what goods Egypt and Israel let through their borders.

However, the biggest loss is the loss of human life, the livelihoods of Gazan’s, the children who are suffering from post traumatic stress.

And an amount cannot be put on this. Gazan’s continue to strive and will carry on rebuilding, just as they have done after previous conflicts – they have no other choice but to continue living and trying to live life as best they can.

 

What, If Anything, Has Changed On The Ground For Either Side As A Result Of The War?

 
On Tuesday, after almost 7 weeks of conflict, Palestinian and Israel leaders agreed an open ended ceasefire brokered by the Egyptians

Rocket fire and air strikes had continued until the last moments right up to the 4pm deadline

Just minutes after the cease fire agreement was announced, thousands of Palestinians poured onto the streets of Gaza City to celebrate what was being touted as a victory. Mosques announced the victory over the loudspeakers.

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Night of Joy and Happiness

 

Denny Cormier, an American who has been living in Gaza for the past few months, talks about the scenes of joy and happiness in Gaza on Tuesday night in a Facebook status. He says it was “a night when thousands and thousands came to celebrate” and “the prayers filled Gaza and were the first reactions to the cease fire”

Rina Andolini, an International Aid Worker in Gaza throughout the conflict, posted pictures of a party held for the children of Gaza.

“We have mixed feelings. We are in pain for the losses but we are also proud we fought this war alone and we were not broken,” said Gaza teacher Ahmed Awf, 55, as he held his two-year-old son in his arms and joined in the street festivities.
Whatever tomorrow may bring; tonight was a time to rejoice as Gaza’s people celebrated the end of hostilities and the lifting of the 7 year siege.

 

The Telegraph posted this album showing the celebrations taking place: Gaza ceasefire in pictures: Palestinians celebrate truce between Hamas and Israel

Ceasefire

The cease fire brokered by the Egyptians is currently holding – an interim agreement in exchange for a period of calm.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, also confirmed that a ceasefire had been reached, saying that it was time to rebuild Gaza.

“An end to the killing will come at the same time as the entry of humanitarian, medical and building materials,” Abbas said.

The United States and United Nations urged both sides to comply with the terms of the agreement.

“We are all aware that this is an opportunity, not a certainty,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry. “We have been down this road before and we are all aware of the challenges ahead.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the truce. But in a statement via his spokesman, Mr Ban warned that “any peace effort that does not tackle the root causes of the crisis will do little more than set the stage for the next cycle of violence”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced strong criticism in Israel over a costly conflict with Palestinian fighters in which no clear victor emerged

However, Hamas, though badly battered, is still claiming this as a “victory for the resistance” as they remain in control of Gaza.

At a press conference at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: “Hamas is grateful to the people of Gaza who sacrificed their homes, children and money. We announce the victory today after achieving our goals.”

He added: “[Israeli prime minister Binyamin] Netanyahu has failed to force Gaza to surrender. Yes, we defeated them by our standing and our resistance. We will stand by our people and we won’t leave them.”

The terms of the deal – brokered by the Egyptian government, and reached on the 50th day of the conflict – appeared to be almost identical to those agreed at the end of the previous war 21 months ago.

Under the terms that ended more than a week of fighting in 2012, Israel promised to ease restrictions gradually, while Hamas promised to halt rocket fire from Gaza at Israel.

The truce held, but Gaza’s border blockade remained largely intact.

Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade in 2007.

Under the restrictions, virtually all of Gaza’s 1.8 million people cannot trade or travel, and only a few thousand are able to leave the coastal territory every month.

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Deputy Head of Hamas’s Political Bureau Musa Abu Marzouk [Pictured above] explained the terms of the current ceasefire deal agreed between the Palestinian Resistance and the Israeli occupation.

He said the deal fully ended the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, halting all Israeli, American and EU restrictions on money transfers, included holding an international conference on the reconstruction of the Strip and stopping Israel’s tracking and assassination of Palestinian resistance fighters.

Abu Marzouk added that the deal is based on the understandings that ended the Israeli war against the Gaza Strip in 2012.

But this time, the Israeli occupation is to stick to opening the crossings for the entrance of humanitarian and relief aid, as well as all reconstruction materials.

Abu Marzouk added that the deal is based on the understandings that ended the Israeli war against the Gaza Strip in 2012. But this time, the Israeli occupation is to stick to opening the crossings for the entrance of humanitarian and relief aid, as well as all reconstruction materials.

The conditions of the truce

Both sides agreed to address more complex issues later with talks agreed to start in a month. Factions will discuss the construction of a seaport and airport in Gaza and the freeing of about 100 prisoners.

A US state department spokeswoman said: “We call on all parties to fully and completely comply with its terms, and hope very much that the ceasefire will prove to be durable and sustainable. We view this as an opportunity, not a certainty. There is a long road ahead and we’re aware of that, and we’re going into this eyes wide open.”

The deal follows at least eight temporary ceasefires during the course of the conflict.

Following are the immediate terms of what is in this Interim Gaza Peace deal between Israel & Hamas.

  • Both sides to end military action
  • Gaza Crossings – Only two out of the five Gaza crossings are presently functioning. The deal stipulates Israel’s commitment to opening the other three crossings. Regarding the Rafah Crossing, Abu Marzouk said there would be a Palestinian-Egyptian meeting to specify the demands for its full re-opening and called for this meeting to happen as soon as possible. Israel agrees to open more border crossings with Gaza to allow the easier flow of goods
  • Egypt to open its border with Gaza at Rafah
  • The Palestinian Authority (PA), which is headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, will take over operation of Gaza’s borders from Hamas – a bid to reduce weapons smuggling
  • The PA will lead the internationally funded reconstruction effort in Gaza
  • Israel to narrow the security buffer along the inside of the Gaza border, to allow Palestinians more access to farm land
  • Fishing and buffer zone – Israel will extend fishing limits off Gaza’s coast. The fishing zone is to be expanded to six nautical miles and to be gradually expanded to 12 miles at a later date, but before the end of this year.
  • Money transfers and Gaza employees – Israeli, American and European restrictions on money transfers into the Strip were lifted and the ball is now in the court of the Palestinian unity government to pay Gaza employees’ salaries.
  • Reconstruction of Gaza – Abu Marzouk explained that the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip would be discussed at a conference slated to be held next month in Egypt. Preparations for this conference are to start after inviting all the related parties to take part in the reconstruction process. The Palestinian unity government is to run the reconstruction dossier.

The Hamas official, who participated in the Palestinian delegation to the indirect talks in Cairo, said Egypt is the only guarantor for the deal, and that a new round of talks are to start within a month to discuss the other issues, like prisoners, the seaport and airport.

He said that the Israeli occupation would stop targeting senior Hamas commanders, and would allow them free movement throughout the Gaza Strip, stressing that this is the point that had postponed reaching a deal at an earlier stage.

What has Changed?

Now for the inevitable question: What, if anything, has changed on the ground for either side as a result of the war?

In Gaza, the war exacted a devastating price.

After 50 days of fighting, residents face billions of dollars of damage in Gaza.

Source: NBC News

It is impossible to find a Palestinian there who was untouched by the conflict. Families lost loved ones. Neighborhoods were completely destroyed. More than 100,000 people were displaced, according to the United Nations. Businesses, factories, shops and warehouses were demolished by Israeli bombs.

Gaza’s economy is in ruins.

More than 2,200 people have been killed – the vast majority of them Palestinian, more than 11,000 wounded and some 100,000 left homeless with some entire neighbourhoods destroyed.

Basha-Tower-1 destroyed

 

Aid workers warn that mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress, will haunt a generation of Palestinian children, some of whom have now lived through three wars in six years.

So an easing of the blockade will allow humanitarian aid and construction materials to be drip-fed into the Strip. It will most likely not revive the economy or restore livelihoods of families who lost everything.

Denny Cormier posted this on his Facebook timeline on Friday “As an outside observer – and on the ground supporter – let me observe that things are worse now than they were earlier in 2014 – certainly worse than just before the war.

Although we are still celebrating victory, the good people of Gaza are suffering.”

Seven weeks after the war started, the conflict stands where it began, except that now thousands of lives are in ruins.

While, each side claims to be the victor: The countdown until the next round of violence is already ticking.

 

Gaza is the New Warsaw Ghetto – these comparison images prove it

 
Today, in the Holy Land, the Zionist government, with the support of the majority of Israel’s population are themselves perpetuating a holocaust against the Palestinian people.

The Israeli government repeatedly denies that its treatment of the Palestinians is anything like the treatment suffered by the Jews under the Nazi regime. But the Nazis too denied that they were engaging in genocide and war crimes.

It may be a different conflict but there are striking similarities between the historical Jewish Holocaust and the current Palestinian Holocaust, which has been going on since the inception of the State of Israel.
The Palestinian Holocaust has the all the hallmarks of the Jewish Holocaust;

  • the long-term use of state terror including the dispossession of 90% of the land
  • forcing of over four million Palestinians into ghettos with a Nazi style encirclement
  • ethnic segregation and ethnic cleansing forcing some five million Palestinians to live in exile
  • the geographically constrained movement of Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank
  • the continuous expansion of Jewish only settlements in the West Bank and the confiscation of Palestinian homes by Jews
  • the Jewish only roads and plethora of military check points and starving the people of Gaza.

Israel’s ultimate aim, is the “systematic destruction” of the Palestinians as a national group and no doubt is quite deliberate.
What we are witnessing today is a living holocaust, that is being carried out under the eyes of the United Nations, European, Arab and Western World Governments. Some would say that their silence is deafening.

Martin Luther King said “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

The Israeli regime uses similar methods as the Nazi oppressors did, which included practises of collective punishment, racially based legislation, legalised mass torture and ethnic cleansing (distinguished human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights calls this the “Gaza Doctrine”). All are unequivocally illegal but unfortunately all too real in the Occupied Territories.

Israel has imprisoned the 1.8 million people of Gaza by surrounding them with a 7-9 metre wall over 360 square kilometres of land where they cannot escape the bombardments – referred to by many as the “largest concentration camp in the world”. This makes the former East German, Berlin “Wall of Shame” seem mediocre in comparison to the Israeli “Wall of Terror”.

The situation in Gaza is not unlike that faced by Europe’s Jews under Hitler. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all the Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established in the Polish capital between October and November 16, 1940, in the territory of the General Government of German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity residing in an area of 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi)

The Israeli government has converted the Gaza territory into the world’s largest concentration camp, sealed off and subjected to periodic and murderous bombardment. For the people of Gaza, there is no place to shelter their children; no friendly countryside that could provide refuge.

And if this mass imprisonment and torture of the Palestinians was not enough, Israel has become even more despicable through its economic blockade where it has rationed food supplies and calculated the calories allowable per person in Gaza to survive – exactly like what the German civilian authorities do to the inhabitants of Warsaw the Ghetto. Food allotments rationed to the people were not sufficient to sustain life. In 1941 the average Jew in the ghetto subsisted on 1,125 calories a day and tens of thousands died of starvation.

The only word that can describe this inhumane suffering and terror faced on a daily basis by the Palestinian people is HOLOCAUST.

The word “holocaust” was used in English to denote “great massacres”. In 1943 it was the lawyer Raphael Lemkin who invented the term “genocide,” by combining “genos” (race, people) and “cide” (to kill). He campaigned for a legal definition which is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, where genocide is “the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group”. But since the 1960s, the term holocaust came to be used and abused by scholars and popular writers to refer exclusively to the genocide of Jews in Europe during the 2nd World War.

It was reported last week, that almost 250 Jewish Survivors and Descendents of Survivors of Nazi Genocide Condemn the Massacre on Gaza and are calling for an end to the genocide of the Palestinian people. They urged people who are survivors of the genocide or a descendent of survivors, to add their name to the letter.

The tragedy is that although the Palestinians were not part of the anti-Semitism of Europe and the West they are the final victims of Hitler’s Holocaust.

The following juxtaposed images show Jewish life in Germany and Poland over 70 years ago and Palestinian life today in the occupied territories.
And these pictures speak more than words ever could.
Warning – Disturbing and graphic images

 

Building walls and fences to imprison people
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Military checkpoints to prevent freedom of movement to civilians

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Arrests and Harassments

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Destroying Homes and Livelihoods

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The Murder of the Young and the Innocent

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Companies Boycotting Israel Gathering Pace. It Is Beginning To Bite. See Which Big Co’s Are Involved

 

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Introducing the BDS Movement

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), was launched in 2005 and is now a global Movement to get individuals and institutions to withdraw their money and support from Israel with the aim to pressure Israel to end its illegal occupation, settlement building and attacks on Palestinians.

BDS is a strategy that allows people, companies and institutions of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.

2014 has been a strong year for BDS and the support has been growing especially in the US, who are seen as Israel’s closest and most important ally.

Andrew Hammond, a Middle East analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations said “The whole movement is picking up not so much because the BDS movement is so powerful, but because people want Israel to come to a peace agreement.”

Bill Gates Foundations G4S

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The Gates Foundation Asset Trust, which manages investments for the $40bn Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said in June that it sold its stake in the UK security services firm G4S, one of the companies targeted by BDS.

Scandinavian Companies

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In January this year, Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund decided to ban Africa Israel Investments (AFI Group) and its subsidiary Danya Cebus from its portfolio because of their involvement in building settlements in the West Bank.

Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, has blacklisted Israeli Bank Hapoalim because it finances construction of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

Citing its corporate accountability rules, the bank said that Bank Hapoalim was acting against the rules of international law.

The Danish bank had already withdrawn its investments from Africa Israel Investments Limited and Danya Cebus for the same reasons.

Swedens Nordea bank, the largest in Scandinavia followed in the footsteps of the Danish bank and has taken steps against Israeli banks involved in construction in the settlements.

We also witnessed the withdrawal by Dutch pension fund PGGM of tens of millions of euros from Israeli banks. Dutch pension fund PGGM pulled its investment from five Israeli banks in January over concerns that they are financing illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. The settlements contravene several human rights treaties.

Co Op UK / Europe

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The largest Co-operative in Europe, the Co-Operative Group which is the 5th largest supermarket chain in the UK, introduced a policy to end trade with companies that source products from Israel’s illegal settlements, following a determined campaign by Co-Op members. Campaigners are working to pressure other supermarkets to adopt a similarly comprehensive position.  Many supermarkets across Europe already claim not to sell produce from illegal settlements.

Unite in UK and Ireland

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Unite, the biggest union in the UK and Ireland, issued a statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people, on Friday 11 July:

“Unite unreservedly condemns the continuing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and calls for the military strikes and the military build up to be halted immediately.

“Unite further calls on the UK government to demand the Israeli government halt its military action and to make it clear that should it fail to do so then a move for international sanctions will be launched within the United Nations Security Council and the European Union.

Presbyterian Church

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U.S. Presbyterian Church, with 12-million members worldwide, divested an estimated $21 million from HP, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar.

The Presbyterian Church on in June became the most prominent religious group in the US to endorse divestment as a protest against Israeli policies toward Palestinians.

The Group voted 310-303 to sell stock in Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions – three companies whose products Israel uses in the occupied territories.

Russell Brand calls for Boycott

Russell Brand in his Trews E122 13th August urged banks, pension funds and other big businesses to sever investment ties with Israel, or any deals that “facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza”.

Brand citing Barlcays bank as an example, stated they manage “the portfolios of an Israeli defence company called Elbit, which makes the drones that bomb Gaza.”

“The message they give us is the exact opposite of the reality, they’re acting like they’re part of our community,” he said during his new episode of The Trews, which you can watch below.

“But if we’re aware of the reality of what they do, then we have the power to influence them.


Which Companies Invest In Gaza Violence? Russell Brand The Trews (E122)

Individuals as well as companies

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Individuals with MONEY are also taking action – Soros Fund Management – billionaire investor George Soros recently sold 24.3 million dollars in shares of Sodastream.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) – the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society that has been leading the global BDS movement, called for a boycott of the Soros Fund Management back in May saying “George Soros funds and foundationsmust be held accountable for investments in Israeli violations of international law”

The BNC went on to say “George Soros’s alleged respect for human rights and the Open Society Foundation’s actual support for various educational, human rights and cultural projects in the occupied Palestinian territory and the region are incompatible with his investment in companies, like Teva and SodaStream, that consistently violate human rights and international law and profit from the Israeli occupation and colonization.

17 EU members take action against corporate complicity with Israeli crimes

Currently, 17 European governments have published online guidance warning their citizens and businesses about risks involved in trade and other economic links with illegal Israeli settlements

Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BNC said: “European governments are starting to respond to civil society lobbying and public opinion by taking welcome steps to end corporate complicity with Israel’s settlement regime.”

Fears for Israel

Israel fears that the growing support for BDS actions and measures in South Africa, which encompass academic, cultural as well as economic boycott, may have a domino effect internationally, given what is seen by many as South Africa’s moral leadership on the world stage.

Most crucially, Israel is alarmed that the boycott is spreading in Israel’s second largest export market, the European Union.

Last month, Israel’s finance minister also acknowledged the impact that a European-wide boycott could have on the country. The economy could lose a potential $5.7billion and put almost 10,000 people out of work immediately. The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also acknowledged the threat posed by BDS. In a March speech in the US, Mr Netanyahu launched an attack on the movement, branding them as racists.

The british security firm G4S in June announced that it does not intend to renew its contract with the Israeli Prison Service when it expires in 2017.

This follows more than 2 years of campaigning that has seen the company lose millions of dollars of contracts and mainstream investors such as the Bill Gates Foundation and the US United Methodist Church – an example of the BDS movement taking effect.

The Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in an exclusive article for Haaretz on 14th August, calls for a global boycott of Israel and urges Israelis and Palestinians to look beyond their leaders for a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land.

The BDS movement ultimately seeks to emulate the South Africa boycott in the economic, academic, sports and cultural fields, ostracising Israel—and its complicit institutions—until it fully complies with its obligations under international law by ending its occupation, apartheid and denial of the right of Palestinian refugees (69% of the total Palestinian population) to return to their homes of origin from which they were ethnically cleansed during the 1948 Nakba.

The movement for BDS against Israel until it complies with international law is proving to be a truly effective form of action in support of Palestinian rights.

As we can clearly see, BDS is a movement that is gathering pace and it seems it is beginning to bite.