Benjamin Netanyahu receives two reasonable requests

December 28, 2017


Earlier this month, MEP Molly Scott Cato added her signature to a ‘bill’ to the Israeli prime minister, coordinated by SNP MEP Alyn Smith. It requires Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to repay the EU at least €1.5m for the demolition of homes, schools, playgrounds and water and electricity infrastructure that were funded by the EU.

She explained: “The EU is a generous donor to infrastructure and services that improve the lives of people in Palestine. Netanyahu’s visit to Brussels is an excellent opportunity to remind Israel that we expect them to pay for the destruction to those projects, paid for through European taxes, that his violent policies in Gaza and the West Bank have destroyed.

“The EU continues to support Palestinians’ right to lead a decent and secure life in a state of their own. We continue to condemn the actions of the Israeli government in attempting to drive Palestinians out of the land that is rightfully theirs.”

Details of the humanitarian aid projects which Israel has been demolishing are listed on her website. Since Netanyahu became PM in 2009, Israel has demolished 5293 Palestinian structures in the West Bank, displacing 8540 people from their homes. At least 400 of these have been EU and member state funded structures, worth almost over € 1.5m, though these figures only cover the EU contribution to the humanitarian structures, not their full cost.

A Palestinian man inspects the ruins of a playground demolished by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank village of Zaatara, near Nablus

The Jerusalem Post and Le Monde report that in October EU members, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg, Ireland and Denmark, the donors of a European humanitarian consortium, decided to formalize their frustration in writing after the destruction of school equipment and the confiscation of solar panels they had financed in the West Bank.

The signatories of the letter delivered to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, set out a claim for compensation for the damage suffered, ie 31,252 euros, writing: “We are still hopeful that our requests for restitution can be met without preconditions as soon as possible, otherwise Israel will have to provide compensation without delay”.






30,000 Israeli Jews and Arabs gather to oppose their government’s policies

August 2, 2017

At the end of May, Peace Now reported that 30,000 Israelis (above) raised their voices against 50 years of occupation and in support of a two state solution.

Peace Now is a movement of Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens who see the pursuit of peace, compromise and reconciliation with the Palestinians on the one hand and with the Arab states on the other, as necessary to guarantee Israel’s future security and its identity as a state.

30,000 Jews and Arabs, Ashkenazi and Mizrahi, old and young, arrived from all across Israel to show that many support a two state solution, oppose the government’s policies and seek to end the occupation, which is hurting Palestinians and deteriorating Israel’s democracy.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in Jewish-only colonies, which are deemed illegal by international law, throughout occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.

However, two months later, there was an incident at Abu Rajabs’ family home, in the southern occupied West Bank, raising tensions in the city. The clearest account is given by IMEMC News here.

In 2012, Israeli settler colonizers took over the top two floors of the home, forcing the Abu Rajab family to huddle into the lowest level of their home. The home has been the subject of a long-standing legal case, with settlers claiming that they legally purchased the property. The Abu Rajab family rejects that claim, and Israel’s civil administration has said the settlers have been unable to provide proof of that purchase.

Since that time, the Abu Rajab family has been continually harassed, including having their entrance and exit to the home blocked, being beaten and threatened, having soldiers occupy their home and assist the settler colonizers in their takeover, and having one of the sons of the Abu Rajab family abducted and put into prison without charge for years. Throughout 2015, Israeli settlers camped outside the home for months, harassing the Abu Rajab family and preventing them from leaving.

This video shows one altercation, but it is unclear what is happening. The most disturbunig shots were of a large crowd of y oung israels repeatedly calpp9ng and cheering..

IMEMC News reports that the family had filed six different complaints with the Israeli court system, which eventually ruled in their favour and ordered the settlers to evacuate.

Now, in 2017, the family finds themselves once again filing a complaint with the Israeli police, as the settlers have returned to force them from their home in violation of international and Israeli law.

Peace Now has called on the Israeli government to evict the settlers from the home.

Will the Israeli court see that their decision is upheld and implemented?

Israeli citizens “donate” their ballot to Palestinians

January 22, 2013


The Lebanon Daily Star (linked via reports news of the “Real Democracy” project – a joint campaign launched by Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, attracting “thousands” of participants.

As a Palestinian living in the West Bank, Mousa Maria has no legal right to vote in Israeli elections this week, but thanks to this campaign an Israeli voter, Shahaf Weisbein, will be casting a ballot for him for the Arab-Israeli party Balad. Shimri Zameret, a 28-year-old Israeli activist who helped Maria to set up the initiative, is donating his vote to a 19-year-old Palestinian.

hanin zoabiIts candidate, Hanin Zoabi, the first Arab Israeli woman to be elected to the Israeli legislative body on an Arab party’s list,faced attempts to disqualify her from the Knesset last month: “The Israelis tried to stop her from being a member of the Knesset and I think that she needs support, and if she knows that some Palestinians support her too it will make her feel stronger,” Mousa Maria told AFP.

They are challenging a system they see as undemocratic: “The Israeli government rules the citizens of Palestine, but is not elected by them. That’s undemocratic. Democracy means rule by and for the people.”

Shimri Zameret hopes the initiative can draw attention to what he calls a lack of democracy at the United Nations, calling for reform of veto powers and a reorganisation of the body along the lines of the European Union, including representation for opposition parties, as in the EU.

Many Arab residents of Israel — Palestinians who stayed in what became Israel after 1948, and their descendants — who do not generally vote are being urged by Mousa Maria to do so and win a ‘space in the government’, get a better chance to do something, or at least have a voice.

The EU’s cross-party resolution on expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank

December 17, 2012


phillip-bennion-mepWest Midlands MEP Phil Bennion presents news of a strongly-worded cross-party resolution ‘brokered’ on Israeli settlements in the West Bank and adopted by the European Parliament in Strasbourg last Thursday.

The resolution warns of the dangers of new and expanded Israeli settlements, which carve the remainder of the Palestinian territory in two, making a two state solution less likely. It addresses some Hamas statements and calls for Palestinian reconciliation.

MEPs also criticised other policies including:

  • the Israeli government’s withholding of Palestinian tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority,
  • and the ongoing blockade of Gaza, which creates hostility and misery among the Palestinian people with no practical benefit to Israel.

Phil Bennion said: ” . . . the European Parliament has managed to agree a statement which sends out a clear message to both sides that we want a meaningful peace process to be launched.

“However I worry that these words may continue to fall on deaf ears. The EU must continue to apply pressure on all parties in the region to work towards a negotiated and amicable peace deal ensuring a secure state of Israel and a viable state of Palestine.

“The EU as a key aid donor to the Palestinians and a major trade partner with Israel has real economic leverage over both sides.

“I urge our leaders to start using this leverage to ensure all sides commit to meaningful dialogue and to an immediate end to provocative and destructive policies in the region.”

The full text of the resolution as adopted may be seen here.