As long as there is no Palestinian state and Israel rules over the West Bank, Israel is a de facto apartheid state, a former top Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday, using a highly contentious term usually employed only by radical anti-Israel activists.
Alon Liel, a former Foreign Ministry director-general and ex-ambassador to South Africa, also called on President Barack Obama to stay home if he didn’t intend to warn Israelis about the dangers of an approaching “apartheid cliff.”
“In the situation that exists today, until a Palestinian state is created, we are actually one state. This joint state — in the hope that the status quo is temporary — is an apartheid state,” Liel said at a Jerusalem conference about whether Israel is or could become an apartheid state. Continue reading
[Israel would not allow the UN team to conduct inquiries or take testimony in Israel, and has already dismissed this report, the latest of countless UN declarations, resolutions and findings of Israeli violations of international law. Israeli impunity serves only to rubbish the credibility of the UN as a force for justice, and clarifies once again the need for people to press forward their direct, uncompromising struggle for Palestinian liberation against the always-expanding settler-colonial crimes of ethnic cleansing, Israeli apartheid, and brutal displacement. — Frontlines ed.]
Independent UN inquiry urges halt to Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory
United Nations News Centre, 31 January 2013 – An independent inquiry mandated by the United Nations has called on Israel to halt all settlement activity and to ensure accountability for the violations of the human rights of the Palestinians resulting from the settlements.
The report of the International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) states that a multitude of the human rights of the Palestinians are violated in various forms and ways due to the existence of the settlements.
“These violations are all interrelated, forming part of an overall pattern of breaches that are characterized principally by the denial of the right to self-determination and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian people which occur on a daily basis,” said a news release on the report.
The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, dispatched the Mission in March 2012 “to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
Since 1967, the Mission’s report notes, Israeli governments have openly led, directly participated in, and had full control of the planning, construction, development, consolidation and encouragement of settlements. Continue reading
Israel President Welcomes Abbas’ Refugee Remarks
JERUSALEM November 3, 2012
By IAN DEITCH, Associated Press
Israel’s president on Saturday welcomed as “courageous” a strong public show of willingness by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make concessions on a core issue in peace talks — that of Palestinian refugees.
Abbas told Israeli channel 2 TV on Friday that he does not want to live in his birthplace Safed, a city in northern Israel.
His words drew anger from some Palestinians because they were viewed as relinquishing a long held Palestinian aspiration for the return of those who fled their homes during the fighting between Arab countries and Israel in the wake of the Jewish state’s 1948 independence.
Abbas’ remarks reflect a decades-old understanding among Palestinian officials that only a limited number of the refugees would ever be able to return to their original homes in Israel as part of a peace agreement. It was however the first time he has said so in public to an Israeli audience. Continue reading
[While the Palestine Authority and the US/Israel maneuver to cut a deal or delay on the pending Abbas application to the UN for “Palestinian statehood” (a maneuver so hollow that many Palestinians have dubbed it as nothing more than a marketing strategy for Abbas to hold on to the appearance of credibility and power amid the rising popular challenges and demands, partly fueled by the “Arab Spring”), Palestinian people are not holding their breath for UN action. — Frontlines ed.]
The move would let Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas keep his promise of seeking U.N. membership but allow the U.S. to avoid casting a veto in the Security Council.
By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
September 20, 2011, 8:35 p.m.
Reporting from the United Nations—
Diplomats on Tuesday raced to nail down a plan to deflect the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, crafting a face-saving formula that could lessen the immediate prospect of a Security Council veto, which the Obama administration desperately sought to avoid.
Under the plan, the council decision on the application for recognition, which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to make Friday, would be put off indefinitely. That would buy time for the U.S. to try to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and would keep $600 million a year in American aid and other international assistance flowing to the Palestinians. Congress had threatened to cut the U.S. aid.
Diplomats said Abbas, who is scheduled to meet Wednesday with President Obama, had signed off on the plan.
The scenario, which Western officials have been trying to engineer behind the scenes for weeks, “is now likely,” a senior European diplomat said.
Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian legislator and ally of Abbas who is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly session, said Palestinian officials are willing “to accept some delay, of the kind you would have under normal United Nations procedures.” Continue reading
How the PA’s Statehood Bid Sidelines Palestinians
ALI ABUNIMAH is the author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. He co-founded the Electronic Intifada  and is a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network.
The Palestinian Authority’s bid to the United Nations for Palestinian statehood is, at least in theory, supposed to circumvent the failed peace process. But in two crucial respects, the ill-conceived gambit actually makes things worse, amplifying the flaws of the process it seeks to replace. First, it excludes the Palestinian people from the decision-making process. And second, it entirely disconnects the discourse about statehood from reality.
Most discussions of the UN bid pit Israel and the United States on one side, fiercely opposing it, and Palestinian officials and allied governments on the other. But this simplistic portrayal ignores the fact that among the Palestinian people themselves there is precious little support for the effort. The opposition, and there is a great deal of it, stems from three main sources: the vague bid could lead to unintended consequences; pursuing statehood above all else endangers equality and refugee rights; and there is no democratic mandate for the Palestinian Authority to act on behalf of Palestinians or to gamble with their rights and future.
Underscoring the lack of public support, numerous Palestinian civil society organizations and grassroots leaders, academics, and activists have been loudly criticizing the strategy. The Boycott National Committee (BNC)  — the steering group of the global Palestinian-led campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel that has been endorsed by almost 200 Palestinian organizations — warned in August that the UN bid could end up sidelining the PLO as the official representative of all Palestinians and in turn disenfranchise Palestinians inside Israel and the refugees in the diaspora. A widely disseminated legal opinion by the Oxford scholar Guy Goodwin-Gill underscored the point, arguing that the PLO could be displaced from the UN by a toothless and illusory “State of Palestine” that would, at most, nominally represent only Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip . Continue reading
[The Israeli protests in recent weeks has taken many by surprise, and some have gleaned a hopeful nascent class struggle from the events. But the protests have barred any involvement by those who challenge the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, the settlement/displacement programs, the Israeli apartheid wall/checkpoints/laws and restrictions, and the long-murderous attacks on Gaza, as well as the absurd notion of a “Jewish state” making pretenses of an “inclusive democracy.” Indeed, growing numbers are recognizing that the protests are really over a better division of the spoils of war and occupation–and of the largesse of the US, which pays for much of the unending assault on Palestine. — Frontlines ed.]
By Greg Burris
17 September 2011
The Electronic Intifada
No one could have ever predicted that a single act of protest — the self-immolation of a desperate Tunisian street vendor — would unleash a tidal wave of collective resistance and rebellion throughout North Africa and the Middle East, threatening to topple regimes that had long been considered permanent political players.
But perhaps the most surprising outcome of this regional groundswell of protest was to be seen in Israel where Jewish protesters held up placards and shouted slogans declaring that the revolutionary spirit of Cairo’s Tahrir Square had come to the streets of Tel Aviv. The Arab Spring, it seems, has turned into the Israeli Summer. Continue reading
by nora on Fri, 09/16/2011
The defense team for the Irvine 11 rested their case on Thursday afternoon at the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, after nearly a dozen pieces of evidence ranging from emails to a video made by The Electronic Intifada were offered to the jury during the last two weeks of trial hearings.
The students from UC Irvine and UC Riverside, who nonviolently protested a speech given by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren in February 2010, are being charged by the Orange County District Attorney’s office with two misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to disrupt a meeting and disruption of a meeting. If convicted, each student could face up to a year in jail for each charge.
Several witnesses concluded their testimonies on Thursday, including a professor of sociology at UCLA who is an expert on audience behavior during speeches, and a former student at UC Irvine who witnessed an on-campus demonstration by college Republicans attempting to shut down a speech by a Muslim activist in 2001. Continue reading