Israel/Palestine

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...

Israel-Palestine: after the ceasefire

This is the speech given by Gateshead Labour councillor Denise Robson at the Palestine solidarity demonstration in Newcastle on 22 May. Thanks to Denise for allowing us to republish. "Comrades, brothers and sisters, I am delighted to address you today. We are all here, I think, because we want to see lasting peace. This weekend, let’s hope the truce is holding. I hope this pause in violence lasts long enough for meaningful talks to get under way. We know that true and lasting peace can only be secured when both Israelis and Palestinians live with dignity, respect and security in their own...

Kino Eye: Wedding in Galilee

Wedding in Galilee, an early Palestinian feature film, was directed by Michel Khleifi in 1987. Abu Adel, a Palestinian village mayor, wants to celebrate his son’s wedding in traditional style, but the local Israeli military commander insists the curfew regulations must be observed (the film is set in the period of “military government” of Arab areas inside Israel). Eventually, he agrees to let the wedding go ahead but on condition that he and his officers attend, to which the Mayor reluctantly concedes. Unsurprisingly, the presence of the soldiers creates tensions. Some relatives threaten to...

Israel-Palestine: Jewish-Arab unity in fightback

Since the 21 May ceasefire, hundreds of Palestinians in Israel have been arrested on charges to do with protests and conflict inside Israel. There were some attacks during the 6-21 May war on synagogues and such — and a great many attacks by Jewish chauvinists on Palestinian shops and Palestinians. Few of the Jewish chauvinists have been arrested. The run-up to the rockets and bombing was a rise in street protests by Palestinian citizens of Israel and residents of East Jerusalem, with Jewish allies, against planned evictions, especially in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem; and the...

Speech at the UCU Congress

We will report on the Congress and Higher Education Sector Conference of the University and College Union (UCU) in next week’s Solidarity. Here we re-publish in full a speech made by Cambridge UCU delegate, Josh Lovell, who spoke in the late motion debate on Israel/Palestine. “Congress, as this is a motion passed in my branch, I will be voting in favour as per my mandate but want to share some views in a personal capacity. "In previous motions, where delegates (myself included) have called on the union to speak up and campaign for sanctions, or boycotts, these have always been tied to...

New mobilisations inside Israel

The new mobilisation of the Palestinians within Israel is, or could be, a historic shift. The Arab grandees, and much of the small middle class, had fled Palestine before the 1948 war started, many hoping to avoid war and return after the Arab states had won. The Arabs remaining in Israel after the war and the expulsions were mostly peasants. They lived mostly under military government until 1966. Large tracts of their land were seized by chicanery. As with the Palestinian Arab people in the West Bank and Gaza who submitted to Jordan and Egypt seizing those areas and extinguishing the UN...

Equal rights: two nations, two states

Kenan Malik’s column in the Observer of 23 May starts by arguing that the slogan “from the river to the sea” is a sectarian dead-end in both current variants. “In the hands of Hamas, it is a call for the driving out of all Jews from the region”; in the hands of Netanyahu, it has “blocked any workable two-state solution”. There are two nations in the area. The Israeli Jews have recent historical experience of their parents and grandparents being massacred in Europe, denied refuge worldwide, and expelled from Arab states; the Palestinian Arabs, of expulsions and of mistreatment under Jordanian...

Thousands rally for peace and equality

Up to 3,000 people demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday 22 May, in the largest anti-occupation protest in many years. The protest was called by Omdim be’Yachad (Standing Together), a left-wing social movement seeking to mobilise both Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in a common struggle for equality. Slogans included “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies”. Addressing the rally, Sally Abed, a Palestinian leader of Standing Together, said: “I refuse to return to the routine of institutional discrimination, of police violence and political arrests. I refuse to have second-class...

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