Israel/Palestine

This Labour decision was not so left-wing

The Israel-Palestine composite passed at Labour Party conference is widely considered a victory for the left, like other policy votes there. In fact it is not. It includes no solidarity with democratic and socialist forces on the ground, such as the Jewish-Arab movement Standing Together in Israel and trade union and other groups. Instead it looks exclusively to big-power “sanctions” “against actions by the Israeli government that are illegal according to international law”. It is not for us to object to diplomatic leverage such as that from the USA which pushed Israel to withdraw from Sinai...

Israel-Palestine at Labour conference

The conference agenda has several motions on Israel-Palestine, mostly elaborations on Labour and Palestine’s model motion. No likely composite will deserve support as improving Labour’s existing policy. Nor would the model motion circulated by the Labour right (Labour To Win), but no CLP has submitted that. • No motion adds to Labour’s “two states” policy what it mostly lacks — solidarity with forces on the ground fighting for that, such as the Jewish-Arab Standing Together movement in Israel, trade unions, or campaigns against checkpoints and house demolitions. Probably all the CLPs...

Against the Labour right's Israel-Palestine policy

Labour To Win – the joint right-wing faction formed by Progress and Labour First – proposed a “Two-State Solution” model motion for Labour Party conference 2021. No party affiliate or Constituency Labour Party has submitted it to the conference, but it may still be worth discussion. Workers’ Liberty supports the demand for a free and independent Palestine alongside Israel – “two states”. Nevertheless, LTW’s motion must be opposed by all supporters of Palestinian liberation. Any response to the situation in Israel-Palestine must start from a recognition that this is not a symmetrical conflict...

The Palestinians in the world today

The global Palestinian population is estimated at around thirteen million. There are big Palestinian communities in some countries of the Americas – half a million in Chile, over 250,000 in the United States, 250,000 in Honduras, and 200,000 in Guatamala – but most Palestinians live in countries in the Middle East.

Kino Eye: A film from Palestine

Lemon Tree, directed by Eran Riklis (who is Israeli) was released in 2008. The Palestinian widow Salma Zidane (played by Hiam Abbass) has only her lemon grove to support her. One day a couple move in next door and her life is turned upside. The new neighbours are Israel Navan, the Israeli Defence Minister and his wife Mira. The lemon grove, supposedly, poses a security hazard and must be cut down as a measure against any potential attacks on the Minister. Although there is a possibility of financial compensation Salma refuses it on principle. The trees are fenced off and Salma is not allowed...

Sheikh Jarrah in suspense

On 2 August Israel’s Supreme Court proposed a compromise in the Sheikh Jarrah court case. A Jewish settler group, claiming ownership on pre-1948 authority, seeks to evict Palestinian families from houses in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem in which they were settled by the Jordanian authorities when Jordan controlled East Jerusalem, before 1967. The judges proposed that the Palestinian families pay a token annual fee to the settler group and in return get permanent and inheritable rights to live in the houses. The settler group demands that the families give signed recognition that...

Protests in the West Bank

Protests are continuing in the Palestinian Authority (PA) area of the West Bank after PA police killed Nizar Banat. The PA is able to govern in a limited way — in practice, mostly to administer international aid money and pay police forces — in an area comprising some 165 separate patches of the West Bank, surrounded by Israeli control. Banat, an ex-member of Fatah, the party dominant in the PA, had criticised the PA for corruption and its cancellation yet again of Palestinian elections. PA police invaded the house in Hebron where Banat was staying and seized him. He died soon after. The PA...

Israel-Gaza: another war, another setback

There certainly was a victor in the 6-21 May Gaza flare-up. It wasn’t the cause of peace, national reconciliation, or socialism. Israelis are no safer. The Palestinians who were exiled in 1948 are no closer to self-determination. Arab Israelis have not advanced towards equality. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been sidelined and marginalised. The Israeli Defence Forces, for all their technical wizardry, failed to prevail in a contest of asymmetrical warfare. There were, in short, many losers. But there is a victor, and that victor is clearly Hamas. It had made a mockery of the Israeli...

Standing Together: a pillar of hope

Sally Abed is Resource Development Director of Standing Together in Israel. We have witnessed truly violent and painful events in the past few weeks. However, it the middle of really difficult times, and despite the incitement, racism, and polarisation efforts, we have also felt a sense of hope. Thousands of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel have stood together, in hundreds of locations throughout Israel, and demanded a ceasefire, end to the occupation, equality and freedom for all. We have also seen more Jewish citizens than ever coming to mixed cities like Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem...

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