Free Palestine Melbourne - Freedom and Justice for Palestine and its People.

53-year-old Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces near border in West Bank

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According to Palestinian agency Wafa, the incident took place north of the occupied West Bank and the victim was identified as Nabil Ahmed Ghanem by the Palestinian health ministry.

The tension between Israel and Palestine was stoked once again on Sunday as a 53-year-old Palestinian man was killed by the Israeli forces near the border in Qalqilya city. According to Palestinian agency Wafa, the incident took place north of the occupied West Bank and the victim was identified as Nabil Ahmed Ghanem by the Palestinian health ministry. The victim belong to the village of northern West Bank city of Nablus and the shooting was described as a “field execution”, according to Reuters. It has caused a bit of uproar among the Palestinian community once again as Wafa reported that Ghanem was shot by the forces while trying to cross the separation border.

The Israeli forces have not taken the wall between the two regions down despite an order from the International Court of Justice and the shooting has added fuel to the controversy. The Israeli army spokesperson, however, maintained that the shooting took place because of possible vandalism.

In the last year, more than 60 Palestinians have lost their lives with a number of incidents taking place near the separation barriers. According to official data. around 165,000 Palestinians cross the border with special permits for work and calls for the walls to go down has been gaining momentum.

Meanwhile, the violence between the two sides continue as there were multiple clashes near the military checkpoint southwest of Tulkarm and five Palestinians were arrested. According to the report in Wafa, 13 Palestinians were also detained by the Israeli forces near the town of Bartaa, southwest of Jenin.

Article link: https://www.wionews.com/world/53-year-old-palestinian-man-killed-by-israeli-forces-near-border-in-west-bank-489691
Article source: Wion | Sayan Ghosh | New Delhi, India | Jun 19, 2022

2022-06-24 01:28:28.000000
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Israel set for general election after collapse of weakened government

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Israel’s weakened coalition government has announced that it intends to dissolve the Knesset, setting the stage for the country’s fifth election in three years and a potential return to office for longtime prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A statement released by the office of the prime minister, Naftali Bennett, on Monday night said that “attempts to stabilise the coalition had been exhausted” and his fractious government, made up of eight ideologically disparate parties, will submit a bill next week to dissolve parliament.

If approved as expected, the legislation will force new elections and mean the foreign minister Yair Lapid takes over as caretaker leader as per an existing agreement.

In comments in a joint media conference after the unexpected announcement, Bennett said that dismantling the government “isn’t an easy moment”. “Over the past weeks, we did whatever we could to save this government, not for us, but for the benefit of the country,” he said.

“I held many talks and understood that if the Knesset did not dissolve within 10 days, Israel’s security would be severely harmed,” Bennett added, referring to the coalition’s inability to agree on the renewal of legislation relating to Jewish settlers in the West Bank before a deadline at the end of June.

Lapid, the incoming premier, praised Bennett as a friend and for the “responsibility he is showing today, for the fact that he is putting the country before his personal interests”.

Factions from Israel’s left, right, and for the first time, an independent Arab party, banded together a year ago as part of an ambitious coalition experiment in order to oust Netanyahu from power. The government has struggled to function, however, since losing its slim majority in April.

Monday’s decision was met in the Knesset’s corridors with surprise; Israeli media reported that neither the defence nor interior ministers were aware of the move in advance. It appears to be an effort to pre-empt the Netanyahu-led opposition, which had warned it would submit its own bill to dissolve parliament later this week.

Netanyahu said in a statement on Monday night that the coalition’s imminent collapse was “great news for millions of Israeli citizens” and that his conservative Likud party would seek to form a “wide, national government”.

Elections are expected in late October or November, after the conclusion of several major Jewish holidays. While Likud is leading in the polls, it is unlikely that the rightwing-religious bloc, nor the centre-left bloc led by Lapid, would win an outright majority.

Israel also held four inconclusive elections between 2019 and 2021 that were largely referendums about the corruption scandal-plagued Netanyahu’s ability to rule while on trial, in an unprecedented era of political gridlock.

Likud may now only be able to work with other parties if it promises to remove Netanyahu as leader.

The former prime minister denies wrongdoing. Three separate trials, into allegations that he sought preferential treatment for a telecom company, solicited favourable media coverage and received gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, are ongoing.

Bennett’s government can claim some successes during its short tenure: it formed the most diverse coalition in Israeli history; passed overdue budgets; guided Israel through the latter stages of the pandemic without ordering new lockdowns; and made amends with a judiciary much maligned by Netanyahu.

It has also largely dampened the tensions that last May led to a round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group in control of the Gaza Strip, as well as ethnically charged violence on the streets of Israeli cities.

A year after ousting, Israel’s Netanyahu gets ready for a comeback

An agreement to focus on areas of common ground in government and avoid divisive issues such as the occupation of the Palestinian territories, however, proved too difficult in practice – the coalition’s architects spent much of their time dangling carrots and wielding sticks at wavering factions threatening to quit.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, capitalised on the coalition’s disunity by encouraging the opposition to vote against every government-proposed bill in a bid to further paralyse his rivals.

The government lost its majority in Israel’s 120-seat parliament two months ago when a member of Bennett’s hardline Yamina party announced her departure over what she described as compromises made by the prime minister to keep the coalition afloat.

Recent divisions over the renewal of a measure extending legal protections for Jewish settlers in the West Bank caused fresh friction, with some Arab members of the coalition refusing to back it. Nationalist party New Hope, also part of the coalition, threatened to exit the arrangement if the government could not get the settler legislation passed.

The government’s supporters had hoped it could cling on until the close of the Knesset’s summer session in five weeks’ time.

As it stands, the dissolution may derail a visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories by Joe Biden, the US president, scheduled for mid-July. On Monday night, Israeli media quoted the US ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, as saying that the president’s trip would take place as planned. Lapid is expected to host Biden during the state visit.

The new elections come as Israel deals with the aftermath of one of the deadliest waves of Palestinian terrorist attacks in years, clashes at Jerusalem’s holy sites, and an escalation in tensions with Iran.

Article link: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/20/israel-set-for-general-election-after-pm-announces-coalition-will-disband
Article source: The Guardian | Naftali Bennett | 21 Jun 2022

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‘The land beyond the road is forbidden’: Israeli settler shepherds displace Palestinians

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There are 77 Israeli farms and shepherding outposts across the West Bank, part of an explosion in settlement growth in recent years

On stretches of Route 90, the Israeli-built road running down the length of the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, the west side of the highway is full of straw-like grass despite the summer heat. To the east of the road, what can be eaten by sheep and goats is gone.

The difference is the only perceptible sign of the biggest strategic shift in the battle for control of Area C, the 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli control, in recent years: the emergence of Israeli settlers using shepherding as a tool for seizing the most land, with the least effort.

“We used to be able to take the sheep and goats all over the mountains and the valley,” said Mohammed, a 16-year-old herding a flock of 200 on the side of the road that is safe for Palestinians. “Now the road is the border and beyond that is forbidden.”

“They come down from the mountain and take the water, take the land, but bring goats,” said Abu Fadi, 52, a Bedouin shepherd from Al-Auja, a village north of Jericho. “There’s not enough space any more and the price of food for the animals is going up. We are being pressured on both sides.”

About 450,000 Israelis have settled in what is now Area C of the West Bank since the occupation of the Palestinian territories began in 1967, some motivated by religious or nationalistic reasons, and others by the cheaper cost of living. Their presence is viewed by most of the international community as a major obstacle to lasting peace.

What was once seen as a pioneer lifestyle is now often very comfortable: some early settlements are now well established and wealthy, with security guards at the entrance and fences topped with cameras and barbed wire. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) are on hand to enforce military law for Palestinians, and civilian law for settlers.

According to Dror Etkes, a leading expert on Israeli land policy over the Green Line and founder of the NGO Kerem Navot, during the last 10 years, the rightwing of the settler movement has been trying out something different, with great success.

A new Kerem Navot investigation has found that there are now 77 Israeli farms and shepherding outposts across the West Bank; 66 were established over the last decade, and 46 in the last five years, part of an explosion in settlement growth during the Trump administration. The area now controlled by shepherd settlers is around 60,000 acres – just under 7% of Area C.

As Ze’ev Hever, the secretary general of Amana, a settler organisation, put it at an online conference last year: “Construction takes up little ground, due to economic considerations of building development … The shepherd farms – over the last three years we have ventured into a large expanse – now cover an area almost twice as large as the built area of the settlements.”

Etkes spent three years interviewing Palestinian herders, observing changes over time in the grazing areas visited by Palestinians and settlers, and using aerial photographs to map out geographical features such as deep valleys and roads, which now often form the de facto boundaries of land appropriated by settler shepherds.

He also found that the settler herders are often helped with grants and allocations of pastureland issued directly by Israeli government offices and other publicly funded bodies.

“This is the most important change in the West Bank in decades. The settler enterprise used to be about building communities, and now often someone comes alone to start a farm, and maybe later brings his family, living like he’s in the Wild West,” Etkes said during the Guardian’s visit to several Palestinian and settler communities in the Jordan Valley last week.

Block of cement with warning

A block of cement with the inscription ‘Dangerous, firing zone’ near the Malachei Hashalom farm in the West Bank. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/The Guardian

“They are initially very violent in pushing the Palestinians out, but once they’ve established dominance, they are usually less violent. They feel entitled to the land, like they don’t need numbers or the army to keep them safe.”

Violence related to control of land in the West Bank is on the rise, with 450 attacks by settlers against Palestinians, and 160 attacks by Palestinians against settlers, recorded by the UN in 2021.

The Bedouin hamlet of Ras al-Tin in the Jordan Valley is still reeling from a particularly vicious incident last week: around 20 shepherd settlers living on a nearby hilltop arrived in the village by car on Tuesday evening, accompanied by 10 IDF personnel.

According to other residents, the settlers entered a home and proceeded to beat the four members of a family with batons spiked with nails, while the IDF watched. Mustafa Ka’abanh and his sons Ahmad and Muhammad, in their 20s, were beaten while handcuffed, and the young men arrested.

50-year-old Hager, their mother, was so badly beaten, she was unconscious in hospital in Ramallah for several days. Mustafa was detained for four days after his release from hospital, and their two sons remain in custody at Ofer military prison.

The IDF said that soldiers had been dispatched to the scene to separate a physical altercation between Israeli civilians and Palestinians and had stones thrown at them by two villagers.

“The soldiers responded according to operational procedures, including firing warning shots until all of the suspects dispersed,” a spokesperson said. “Ahmad and Mohammed Ka’abanh were arrested under suspicion of assault of a 15 year old” and their detention was “extended by the military court of appeals for investigative purposes until Monday.”

“I heard the settlers came because they were angry about an incident involving a cow and this was revenge, but we had nothing to do with it,” said a close relative of the family, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.

The attack marked the first time that settlers who established a nearby outpost over the last few years have entered Ras al-Tin itself. People living there are now deeply worried that the violence could escalate and that, like many others, they could be forced to leave their homes.

“There is no worse oppression in the world than not being safe in your own house,” the relative said. “It’s not about who can graze animals and where, not really. They want to get rid of us completely.”

Article link: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/20/land-beyond-road-forbidden-israeli-settler-shepherds-displacing-palestinians
Article source: The Guardian |Bethan McKernan and Quique Kierszenbaum in the Jordan Valley| 20 Jun 2022

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Aid group anger as Israel convicts Palestinian World Vision worker of supporting terrorists

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Aid group anger as Israel convicts Palestinian World Vision worker of supporting terrorists

Beersheba: An Israeli court on Wednesday convicted a Palestinian aid worker who has been detained for six years on Israeli charges that he funnelled tens of millions of dollars in relief funds to the militant group Hamas.

The Beersheba District Court found Mohammed el-Halabi guilty of supporting a terrorist organisation but acquitted him of treason, judges reading out the verdict said. They set a sentencing hearing for July.

Halabi, head of Gaza operations for World Vision, an international Christian aid group, was arrested in June 2016, accused of siphoning off up to $US50 million ($71 million) to pay Hamas fighters, buy arms and fund the group’s activities.

Halabi has denied the charges and refused several plea deal offers. He has told Reuters the charges were “a set of lies” meant to target humanitarian work in Gaza.

World Vision Australia – which says it was funded by the federal government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide services in the region, disputes Israel’s claims, and says audits by DFAT, by World Vision internally, and by an independent company – found no evidence that money or supplies were diverted.

Hamas, which governs blockaded Gaza, is designated by Israel and the West as a terrorist organisation.

The full verdict was classified but the judges said their conviction centred on a confession by Halabi, which they said was “detailed, coherent, with signals of truth and particular details”. They said the confession matched details in other testimonies and evidence.

Sitting in a guarded court booth, Halabi received the verdict through a translator. His lawyer, Maher Hanna, has denied Halabi ever confessed and said he would appeal once the sentence is announced.

“I don’t know what the court is basing its claim on,” he told reporters. He said the judges’ summary had “nothing to do with the evidence that was presented in court.”

He said the state had failed to produce evidence on what projects Halabi was supposed to have diverted funds from, which governments had donated the money, or how the aid was transferred to Hamas.

“This case was never grounded in any reality. The allegation of $US50 million stolen alone is incompatible with the reality of a $22 million total budget,” World Vision Australia’s former chief executive Tim Costello and former colleague Conny Lenneberg wrote in an opinion piece for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“Contrary to the Israeli government claims of respect for the rule of law, the conduct of this trial demonstrates a fundamental disregard for the core principles of a fair trial and the overarching political objective which is to strictly control humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

World Vision spokesperson Sharon Marshall said the organisation acknowledged the verdict “with disappointment” and said it would support any appeal because it believed Halabi was innocent.

 

International human rights organisations have criticised Halabi’s prolonged detention and trial. Human Rights Watch said the verdict “compounds a miscarriage of justice”.

On Tuesday, the head of the United Nations Human Rights Office in Palestine, James Heenan, also expressed concern.

Widespread use of secret evidence, reliance on closed proceedings and credible allegations of ill-treatment in detention “paint a picture of enormous pressure on Mr el-Halabi to confess in the absence of evidence,” Heenan said.

“This is a grave mistake and an injustice,” his father, Khalil el-Halabi, told Reuters. “My son is innocent.”

In a separate case running parallel to Halabi’s trial, Israel’s Corporation Authority (ICA), which oversees NGO activities, petitioned a Jerusalem court to dissolve World Vision in Israel, official documents obtained by Reuters showed.

The ICA declined a request for comment.

A 2021 review of the organisation by the Department of Non-Profit Associations and Charitable Companies determined there were “serious flaws” in World Vision’s activities that involved the transfer of funds to parties “known to be terror operatives”, though the report did not provide evidence or elaborate on whether by “terror operatives” it meant Halabi or others.

A judge is set to rule on whether to dissolve the organisation in Israel later this month.

 

Reuters

Article link: https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/aid-group-anger-as-israel-convicts-palestinian-world-vision-worker-of-supporting-terrorists-20220616-p5au6k.html
Article source: SMH
uploaded file
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AUSTRALIA’s UN voting record for 2021.


1Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources(A/RES/76/?)

Resolution receives initial approval at committee stage: November 19, 2021

Excerpt: “Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land, water and energy resources,” and “Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources” in the OPT and Syrian Golan. 

Committee Vote:

  • 157 Yes
  • 7 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 14 Abstain (Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Israel, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu)

2. “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution receives initial approval at committee stage: November 5, 2021

Excerpt: “1. Reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine; 2. Urges all States and the specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.” 

Committee Vote:

  • 158 Yes
  • 6 No (Israel, United States, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau)
  • 10 Abstain (Australia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Honduras, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga)

3. “Assistance to the Palestinian people” (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution pending


4. “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution pending


5. Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution receives initial approval at committee stage: November 9, 2021

Excerpt: “Reiterates its demand for the immediate and complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and calls in this regard for the full implementation of all the relevant resolutions of the Security Council…”

Committee Vote:

  • 142 Yes
  • 7 No (Canada, Hungary, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States)
  • 16 Abstain (Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Czech Republic, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Slovenia, South Sudan, Togo, Uruguay)

6. “Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories” (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution pending


 7. Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories” (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution receives initial approval at committee stage: November 9, 2021

Excerpt: “Requests the Special Committee, pending complete termination of the Israeli occupation, to continue to investigate Israeli policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967…”

Committee Vote:

  • 77 Yes
  • 17 No (Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Philippines, Slovenia, United Kingdom, United States)
  • 74 Abstain

8. Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution receives initial approval at committee stage: November 9, 2021

Excerpt: “Reaffirms that the Palestine refugees are entitled to their property and to the income derived therefrom, in conformity with the principles of equity and justice”

Committee Vote:

  • 156 Yes
  • 6 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States)
  • 9 Abstain (Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Fiji, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, South Sudan, Togo)

9. Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East” (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution receives initial approval at committee stage: November 9, 2021

Excerpt: “Reaffirms that the effective functioning of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East remains essential in all fields of operation”

Committee Vote:

  • 156 Yes
  • 5 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, United States)
  • 9 Abstain (Australia, Cameroon, Fiji, Guatemala, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uruguay)

10. “Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities” (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution pending


11. Assistance to Palestine refugees (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution receives initial approval at committee stage: November 9, 2021

Excerpt: “Affirms the necessity for the continuation of the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the importance of its unimpeded operation and its provision of services, including emergency assistance, for the well-being, protection and human development of the Palestine refugees and for the stability of the region, pending the just resolution of the question of the Palestine refugees”

Committee Vote:

  • 160 Yes (Australia)
  • 1 No (Israel)
  • 9 Abstain (Cameroon, Canada, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, United States, Uruguay)

12. Jerusalem (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution adopted by the General Plenary on December 1, 2021

Excerpt: “Reiterates its determination that any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures; 2. Stresses that a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of the City of Jerusalem should take into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and Israeli sides, in accordance with international law, and should include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the holy places by people of all religions and nationalities”

Plenary Vote:

  • 129 Yes
  • 11 No (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 31 Abstain (Albania, Austria, Germany, Rwanda, United Kingdom, Netherlands, etc)

13. Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution adopted by General Plenary on December 1, 2021

Excerpt: “Reiterates its call for the achievement, without delay, of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions […] and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, including of East Jerusalem, and reaffirms in this regard its unwavering support, in accordance with international law, for the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders”

Plenary Vote:

  • 148 Yes
  • 9 No (Australia, Canada, Hungary, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 14 Abstain (Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Slovenia, South Sudan, Uruguay, Vanuatu)

14. “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat” (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution pending


15. “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat” (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution pending


16. “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” (A/RES/76/?)

Resolution pending




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Nakba Day 2022 vigil

by Admin

12pm Sunday 15th May at the State Library, Melbourne

“The Nakba, or catastrophe in Arabic, is the common designation given to the hostilities and tribulations that began after the approval of the UN Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947. They led to the uprooting of some 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and communities – about 85% of those living within the borders of what became the State of Israel. Most of these deportees and their descendants still live as refugees without citizenship throughout the Middle East, in the West Bank, in Gaza and all over the world, and are still prevented from returning home. A few have remained in the area that became the State of Israel and were forced to become Israeli citizens, however, they are actively disallowed   from  returning to their destroyed towns and villages, let alone repossessing their lands, which have been expropriated by the State for Jewish-only settlements.”  

from https://www.zochrot.org/articles/view/17/en?Who_Why_and_How

View a map of all the lost villages here: https://www.zochrot.org/villages/nakba_map/en

Nakba: The man reconstructing Palestine’s lost villages

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/5/19/nakba-the-man-reconstructing-palestines-lost-villages




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EMERGENCY RALLY FOR PALESTINE, 1:00 PM SATURDAY, STATE LIBRARY

by Admin

Israel is once again attacking Al-Aqsa Mosque in the holy month of Ramadan. Hundreds of prayer-goers have been brutalized and arrested by the Israeli Offense Force, and air strikes have hit Gaza. Israel is an aparthied state that commits crimes against huminaty and breaks international law, and this must be opposed.

Calling on all Palestine activists to come out this Saturday for an emergency rally to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians fighting back against Israeli terror and oppression.

https://www.facebook.com/events/309692187903703/




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Media Release: Free Palestine Melbourne statement on Israeli apartheid and forthcoming Australian Federal election

by Admin

Amnesty’s report, Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity, demonstrates how Israel violates numerous basic rights of 1.9 million Israeli Palestinians, 5.2 million Occupied Palestinians and 8 million Exiled Palestinians, and in particular for 55 years has denied Occupied Palestinians the chance to vote for the ‘democratic’ government ruling them.

The Report has provoked disingenuous Zionist allegations of lying and anti-Semitism against anti-racist Jewish and non-Jewish humanitarians critical of Israeli human rights abuses.

Amnesty International joins other human rights specialists (Human Rights Watch, and Israeli B’Tselem and Yesh Din), human rights activists, and Jewish and non-Jewish South African anti-apartheid heroes (notably Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu) in exposing and condemning Israeli apartheid. 

Anyone denying the entrenched reality of Israeli apartheid is challenged to demonstrate how the repressive laws, regulations and the enforcement of these applying only to Palestinians in areas as diverse as (e.g.) marriage, travel and property can otherwise be explained. In Amnesty’s words, the Report “documents how massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system which amounts to apartheid under international law. This system is maintained by violations which Amnesty International found to constitute apartheid as a crime against humanity, as defined in the Rome Statute and Apartheid Convention… Whether they live in Gaza, East Jerusalem, Hebron, or Israel itself, Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights.” *

Denial of Israeli apartheid is notably espoused by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) to which Australia shamefully belongs with Coalition and Labor support. The IHRA’s weaponising of Holocaust denial to shield Israel from scrutiny and frank assessment has discredited its voice, and over 40 anti-racist Jewish organizations have condemned the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. 

Denial of Israeli apartheid, notably by the Australian and US governments and the Murdoch media though airy claims to ‘democracy’ and comparisons with nasty dictatorships, is unacceptable. The measure of whether or not Israel is an apartheid state is what is happening on the ground and Amnesty’s careful and detailed assessment clearly demonstrates that it is apartheid.

Decent anti-racist folk world-wide must (a) speak out to everyone they can, and (b) urge and apply Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel for its flouting of the international statutes on apartheid.  

In the 2022 Federal election, decent, anti-racist Australians should question all candidates about their position on Israeli apartheid, and vote accordingly.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/5141/2022/en/




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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE: Civil society organisations welcome the Future Fund’s exclusion of Elbit Systems, and call on the Federal and Victorian Governments to drop Elbit or risk complicity in serious violations of international law 

by Admin

15 March 2022 | For immediate release

Civil society organisations working for human rights for Palestinians and others welcome the news of Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Future Fund’s exclusion of Israeli arms manufacturer, Elbit Systems Limited from its investment portfolio because of allegations of its involvement in the production of cluster munitions.

The organisations call on the Future Fund as part of its duty to undertake responsible investment and human rights due diligence, to investigate its investment portfolio and divest from any entity involved in or complicit in serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights against the Palestinian people. Some of these serious violations include credible and well documented abuses which amount to serious crimes under international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Australia’s public funds should not be involved in furthering grave human rights abuses. 

They further call on the Victorian Government to immediately cease its partnership with Elbit Systems Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems, to establish a research ‘Centre of Excellence’.  

The organisations call on the Australian Government to suspend its defence cooperation with Israel and any facilitation of defence industry partnerships. These recommendations were supported by a coalition of Palestinian human rights organisations in a 2021 submission with the ACIJ to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which is currently conducting a feasibility study into a Free Trade Agreement with Israel.

The Palestinian people suffering under decades of Israeli military occupation and apartheid have called on the UN Security Council and all states parties to the Arms Trade Treaty, which includes Australia, to impose a two-way arms embargo to protect Palestinians lives.

The organisations are encouraged by the Australian Government’s rapid response to the crisis in Ukraine through implementing measures in responding to and condemning Russia’s illegal invasion and act of aggression in Ukraine. The Australian Government must respond similarly to Israel’s serious, decades long and continued violations of international law.

Executive Director of the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ), Ms Rawan Arraf, said:

“The Victorian Government’s outrageous partnership with Elbit Systems should never have been made. We believe the Victorian Government either neglected to consider the human rights implications of the partnership, or ignored them outright. It’s a shameful partnership that must be suspended on account of Elbit’s complicity with serious human rights abuses and crimes under international law. If it continues, the Victorian Government will stand accused of complicity with international crimes.  

“Further, the Australian Government’s eagerness to enhance defence industry cooperation and partnerships with Israeli defence firms has been forged in complete disregard of Australia’s international legal obligations, and respect for Palestinian human rights. All of these must end.”

Hilmi Dabbagh from BDS Australia said:

“BDS Australia sees the Future Fund’s divestment from Elbit as a milestone development which will have ramifications right throughout state and federal Australian governments, companies and academic institutions whose partnerships and trade with Elbit are highly problematic and in breach of international law. 

“BDS Australia has been calling for an end to Australia’s ties with Elbit for many years and has seen the growth of a strong grassroots movement which in 2017 saw the Royal Flying Doctors end its association with this Israeli arms company. Most recently our campaigns in relation to the Victorian and federal Government’s associations with Elbit, have been met with silence from both governments but are strongly supported by growing numbers of people who want to see an end to Australia’s complicity with the apartheid regime of Israel.” 

Bishop George Browning, President of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) said:

“Australia must not explore a free trade agreement with Israel and should halt all military trade while Israel continues its flagrant violations of international law. Israeli officials are under investigation by the International Criminal Court, demonstrating the seriousness of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. Australia must not be complicit.”

Dr Sue Wareham, President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) said:

“The terrible Ukraine crisis has shown us that governments can act quickly when human rights are being grievously violated.  We call for the same level of action to protect the Palestinian people who have long suffered from Israeli military aggression. There is no place in Australia for partnerships with companies, such as Elbit Systems, that are complicit in inflicting human harm.”

Endorsed by:

Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN)

Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) 

Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA)

Australian Palestinian Professionals Association (APPA)

Australian Students for BDS (ASBDS)

Australian Unionists Supporting Palestine

Australians for Palestine (AFP)

BDS Australia

Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP)

Federation of Italian Migrant Workers and their Families (FILEF)

Free Gaza Australia

Free Palestine Melbourne

Friends of Hebron (FOH)

Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA)

General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW)

Justice for Palestine, Meanjin (Brisbane) (JFP)

Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) 

Palestine Fair Trade Australia (PFTA) 

Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN)

Palestinian Christians in Australia (PCiA)

Media enquiries contact:

Australian Centre for International Justice – Rawan Arraf: 0450 708 870

BDS Australia: contact@bdsaustralia.net.au

Notes:

Elbit Systems is an Israeli based manufacturer of military, security and surveillance equipment and is widely known as a major research and development partner to Israel’s Ministry of Defence, who after the US Government, is its second biggest customer. 

Elbit is known for its drones (UAVs) and land weapons.

In 2018 Elbit Systems completed its acquisition of Israel-state owned IMI (Israel Military Industries). IMI – which was merged into Elbit Systems Land manufactures and supplies a wide range of weapons, munitions, missiles, tanks and military technology to the Israeli military. Elbit is also a major partner to Israel’s police and Ministry of Interior. More information on Elbit can be found on WhoProfits.com.

Elbit Systems is excluded from many investment funds, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds worldwide including but not limited to:

  • NZ Super excluded Elbit Systems in 2012 for involvement in Israel’s illegal construction of the Annexation Wall in the occupied West Bank;
  • Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, NBIM excluded Elbit Systems in 2009 for supplying surveillance equipment used on the occupied West Bank’s Annexation Wall;
  • Norway’s KLP excluded Elbit Systems in 2010 for its involvement in the illegal construction of the Annexation wall. It excluded it again in 2021 for its role in production of cluster munitions; 
  • Sweden’s largest state pension funds AP1-4 excluded Elbit in 2010 for its involvement in the Annexation Wall and illegal settlements the occupied Palestinian territory;
  • Denmark’s Dankse Bank excluded Elbit in 2010 for its role in the Annexation wall and in illegal settlements;
  • Sweden’s Nordea Bank;
  • Sweden’s SEB Group;
  • HSBC divested from Elbit in 2018;
  • French investment firm AXA Investment Managers divested from Elbit in 2018; and 
  • Luxembourg’s general pension fund, Fonds De Compensation, FDC in 2014.  

In February 2021, the Victorian Government announced it has entered into a partnership with Elbit Systems Australia to build a ‘Centre of Excellence for Human and Machine Teaming’. For more information see  Stop Elbit BDS campaign

In September 2017, the NSW Royal Flying Doctor Service confirmed it will not contract with Elbit Systems.

Elbit is said to have supplied equipment to the Myanmar military, before the military’s ethnic cleansing clearing operations against the Rohingya people and following the military coup in February 2021.

According to West Papuan human rights advocates, Elbit is alleged to have supplied equipment to the Indonesian military used to suppress human rights in occupied West Papua.




2022-06-24 01:28:28.000000
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West rightly backs Ukraine but ignores Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan…,

by Gideon Polya

Both the Russian occupation of Ukraine and the Apartheid Israeli occupation of Palestine are wrong, inhumane, international law-violating, and have been hugely destructive. However a racist and specifically anti-Arab anti-Semitic West (the Anglosphere, NATO and the EU) utterly ignores the Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine, while quite rightly condemning and sanctioning Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Largely missing from the present Mainstream media reportage are the following:
While thousands of courageous Russians are risking violence and lengthy imprisonment imposed by an authoritarian Russian state for protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the Russian Government forbids use of the terms “war” and “invasion” to describe the current invasion of Ukraine, in the rich, internally peaceful, human rights-cognizant and democratic West there is almost total silence in this context over the Apartheid Israeli invasion, occupation and ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine (and indeed US Alliance invasion of a swathe of Muslim countries post-9/11).
Ukraine was the heartland of Ashkenazi Jews (Eastern European Jews) who descend from non-Semitic Turkic Khazar converts to Judaism in circa the 8th century CE. After the Kievan Rus ended Khazarian independence in 965-969 CE, the forebears of the Ashkenazi Jews continued trading in Eastern Europe from the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. Ashkenazi Jews suffered periodic violent persecution (pogroms) and in the 19th century millions fled to make new lives in the US and elsewhere. After WW1 many Ukrainians settled in Canada.
Ukrainian fascists under Symon Petliura murdered 30,000-50,000 Jews in 1918-1922. 7 million Jewish and non-Jewish Ukrainians died in the 1930s Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor) and the Stalinist purges. Ukrainian fascists under Stepan Bandera collaborated with Nazi Germany in the WW2 Jewish Holocaust. 4.5 million Ukrainians in the Red Army and 0.3 million Ukrainian partisans fought the Nazis. After Ukrainian independence statues were erected to Petliura and Bandera.
Of 15 million mostly impoverished Palestinians (50% children and 75% women and children), 1.9 million Israeli Palestinians can vote for the government ruling them but as Third Class citizens under 65 race-based laws; 5.2 million Occupied Palestinians are denied human rights under military rule and cannot vote for the government ruling them (i.e. they are subject to apartheid); and 8 million Exiled Palestinians represent about 10% of the world’s refugees and are violently excluded from the land continuously inhabited by their forebears for over 3,000 years.
Poverty kills and the GDP per capita is a deadly $3,400 for Occupied Palestine (East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the blockaded and bombed Gaza Concentration Camp), but is $46,400 for Occupier Israel that grossly violates Articles 55 and 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that demand that an Occupier must supply its conquered Subjects with life-sustaining food and medical requisites “to the fullest extent of the means available to it”. Indigenous Palestinians are 50% of the Subjects of Apartheid Israel, Jewish Israelis 47%.
In the last 2 decades Gaza rockets have killed about 40 Israelis as compared to 10,000 Palestinians killed violently by Israelis, 85,000 Palestinians dying avoidably from imposed deprivation, about 1,000 Israelis killed by Palestinians, and an estimated 3,000 Israelis murdered by Israelis (on average some 11 Israelis are murdered by fellow Israelis each month).
While Palestine has not invaded any other countries, and Ukraine has not invaded any other country (apart from token support for the US Alliance’s Iraq War and Afghan War), this is in stark contrast to the record of the following countries (numbers of countries invaded in brackets): Britain (193), Australia (85), France (82), the US (72; 52 after WW2), Germany (39), Japan (30), Russia (26), Canada (25), Apartheid Israel (13), China (3, ignoring border spats) and India (0) (Google “stop state terrorism”).
Humanity and the Biosphere are existentially threatened by nuclear weapons and climate change. Palestine and Ukraine do not have nuclear weapons, in contrast to their invaders. The 9 nuclear weapons states (numbers of nuclear weapons in brackets) are the US (7,300), Russia (8,000), Apartheid Israel (90), France (300), UK (250), China (250), Pakistan (120), India (100), and North Korea (circa 10). India, Pakistan, Apartheid Israel and North Korea have not ratified the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
This is no excuse for the war criminal Russian invasion, but Russia evidently felt threatened by massive movement eastwards of nuclear-armed NATO in the years after the break-up of the Soviet Union, and by the US-, NATO- and neo-Nazi-backed 2014 Coup that removed the pro-Russian Ukrainian president Yanukovich. All but 4 of the 30 members of nuclear terrorist and anti-Russia NATO belong to the all-European, anti-Arab anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish anti-Semitic and holocaust-denying International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
With economic and political disaster facing Russia, one can ask whether Putin was tricked by the US into invading Ukraine, just as the US green-lighted Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 that proved disastrous for Iraq, as summarized here (with dates and deaths from violence and war-imposed deprivation in brackets): in the Gulf War and under Sanctions (1990-2003; 1.9 million), US Alliance invasion and occupation based on WMD lies (2003-2011; 2.7 million), and post-2011 (0.4 million Iraqi avoidable deaths from deprivation).
Deaths from violence and war-imposed deprivation in Afghanistan have totalled 7.0 million, and the post-defeat war criminal US freezing of Afghan foreign reserves will mean that annual under-5 infant deaths and annual avoidable deaths from deprivation will increase hugely from the shocking 2020 values of 76,000 and 106,000, respectively.
It gets worse. 32 million Muslim have died from violence, 5 million, and from imposed deprivation (27 million) in 20 Muslim countries invaded by the US Alliance in the post- 9/11 US War on Terror. 1.7 million Americans die annually from ”lifestyle choice” and “political choice” reasons, and accordingly 34 million Americans have died thus since 9/11. The War on Terror has had a long-term accrual cost of $6 trillion, and accordingly successive US Administrations have committed $6 trillion to killing over 30 million Muslims abroad rather than trying to save over 30 million American lives at home (see my books “US-imposed Post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide” (2021) and “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (second edition, 2022)).
Russia is a major exporter of wheat, oil and gas. The Ukraine is also a major wheat producer. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has already resulted in markedly increased global oil, gas and wheat prices. Millions may die from starvation in the Developing World as a result of this reckless and evil war-making.
It is the inability to buy food that kills in famines. Thus in the WW2 Bengal Famine the price of the staple rice rose up to 4-fold, and those who could not buy enough food simply starved. In the WW2 Bengal Famine (WW2 Indian Holocaust, WW2 Bengali Holocaust) 6-7 million Indians were deliberately starved to death by the British with Australian complicity for strategic reasons in Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Assam. Australia was complicit by refusing to supply its starving ally India with food from its huge wartime grain stores. The Russian invasion of Ukraine will not just kill Russian soldiers and Ukrainians. Already 7.4 million people die avoidably from deprivation each year.
For a detailed and documented account see Gideon Polya, “West Rightly Supports Ukraine But Ignores Brutally Occupied Palestine”, Countercurrents, 1 March 2022: https://countercurrents.org/2022/03/west-rightly-supports-ukraine-but-ignores-brutally-occupied-palestine/ . Whether US invasion or Russian invasion, war is the penultimate in racism and genocide the ultimate. Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Please call out all wars and please inform everyone you can.




2022-06-24 01:28:28.000000
50 views