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Academic Newsletter N°47 (May 2019)


"Everything is completely disconnected from context and reality, intentionally and willfully. Half a week after Holocaust Remembrance Day, the knowledge that 2 million people have been locked up more than 12 years behind barbed wire in a giant cage doesn't remind Israel of anything and doesn't arouse anything. Half a week before Independence Day, the struggle for freedom and independence of another people is perceived as murderous terror for no reason... Gaza is a ghetto and what's happening in the south is a ghetto uprising. There's no other way to describe it. You can make claims against Hamas but you can't make any claims against Gaza. It's fighting for its freedom and no struggle is more just than its struggle, and Hamas is its leader...  A country that is established on the memory of the ghettos, which only a few days ago sanctified that memory, hides its face from the much larger ghetto that it built with its own hands and doesn't want to see, one hour from the center of that country. A country that was established in a bloody struggle will not recognize the justness of the struggle of another people and wonders whether that people even exists." (Haaretz, May 5).

Sanctions, blockades and a permanent state of war affects everything that humans might require in order to thrive, as water becomes contaminated, air is polluted, soil loses its fertility and livestock succumb to diseases. People in Gaza who may have evaded bombs or sniper fire have no escape from the biosphere. A combination of repeated Israeli attacks and the sealing of its borders by Israel and Egypt, have left the territory unable to process its water or waste. (Mark Zeitoun and Ghassan Abu Sitta, "Gaza now has a toxic 'biosphere of war' that no one can escape,Mondoweiss, Photo credit: Mohammed Zaanoun.



Actions -- Agenda -- Academia -- Analyses -- Antisemitism Politics -- BDS -- Gaza -- Israel -- Palestine Colonized -- Prisoners -- US/UK/EU -- Resources -- Videos

Actions & Calls:

"On May First: Palestinian prisoners are part of the international workers' struggle" (Samidoun, May 1):

On the First of May - International Workers' Day - Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Palestinian workers and the workers of the world. This is a day of struggle for the liberation of the working class from exploitation, racism, capitalism and imperialism - including the liberation of Palestine from Zionist occupation. 
Within Palestine, 1 May is a day of struggle highlighting the leading role of Palestinian workers in the liberation movement. The prisoners' movement is no exception; indeed, the vast majority of Palestinian prisoners come from the working and popular classes, the refugee camps and the villages, and it is these workers who put their bodies and lives on the line for freedom.
 General strikes have always been a key mechanism of Palestinian resistance, from the earliest revolts of the Palestinian people against British and then Zionist colonialism. In the 1936 revolution, Palestinian workers' six-month general strike was at that time the longest in the world.

"Take Action: Six Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike against administrative detention!" (Samidoun, April 29):

There are currently six Palestinian prisoners engaged in hunger strikes inside Israeli prison. They are striking against administrative detention, imprisonment without charge and without trial, indefinitely renewable for periods of up to six months at a time. These prisoners have been on hunger strike for weeks and are suffering from severe health consequences; their bodies and lives are on the line to demand their freedom. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of freedom and justice to take action and join the campaign to support Hossam al-Ruzza and his fellow hunger strikers for justice and liberation.

"Attacks on Samidoun: PayPal's complicity in silencing Palestinian prisoners" (Samidoun, April 30):

The Israeli state and the Zionist movement are continuing their attacks on the Palestinian prisoners and the Palestine solidarity movement. One of the most recent effects of these attacks was the closing of Samidoun's PayPal account. As a grassroots, unfunded organization, Samidoun very much relies on the small and generous donations provided by contributors, people of conscience who want to ensure that Palestinian prisoners - and the Palestinian people - are not silenced. You can donate online to Samidoun here!

"Joint statement following the US denial of entry to the BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti" (AURDIP, 17 avril):

The United States, a country where freedom of speech is supposedly guaranteed by the constitution, has banned Omar Barghouti from entering to fulfil a speaking tour. Omar Barghouti is the highly-respected co-founder of the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement for Palestinian rights. The BDS movement itself grew out of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) initiative that Omar Barghouti had co-founded in 2004 with prominent Palestinian academics and cultural figures. Our BDS organisations offer a means for the world to engage with Palestinians in a global non-violent resistance movement against Israeli settler colonialism, apartheid and occupation. Israel's apartheid regime is fighting unscrupulously against BDS and its most effective spokesperson.
In Trump's America Israel has a truly fitting partner. We call on supporters of the rights of Palestinians everywhere to protest this outrageous and unjustified attack on freedom of speech and of pro-Palestinian advocacy. The most effective way to do so is through intensified BDS campaigns to hold Israel to account.

Endorsed by:

* Academics for Palestine (AfP, Ireland)
* Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)
* BDS Académico en Argentina
* Belgian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI)
* British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)
* Faculty for Palestine (F4P, Canada)
* Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI)
* Moroccan Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (MACBI)
* Norwegian Committee for Academic and Cultural Boycott of the state of Israel (AKULBI)
* Sydney University Staff for BDS
* Tunisian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (TACBI)
* US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI)

Mustapha Awad : " Sans vous, je ne serais pas là " (Pour la Palestine, 23 avril):

Mustapha Awad, Belge d'origine palestinienne, a enfin été libéré il y a un mois, le 28 mars. Il a passé 253 jours en détention en Israël. 253 jours de trop. S'il est parmi nous maintenant, c'est grâce à la mobilisation de la société civile belge. Le gouvernement belge l'a bel et bien laissé tomber. Quelques éléments de bilan de la campagne pour sa libération.



Roland Lombart, "L'enseignement de la médecine en Palestine" (Lettre du CICUP 44 via AURDIP, 10 avril 2019):

Si les mathématiques, la physique et l'informatique sont souvent évoquées dans la " Lettre du CICUP " peu d'informations sont données sur l'enseignement des sciences de la vie. D'où l'idée d'interroger nos collègues médecins sur l'état de leur discipline, un domaine en plein développement avec des répercussions notables sur le quotidien.

"Lettre du CICUP N° 44 : L'enseignement de la médecine en Paletine" (Mars 2019). 
CICUP - Collectif inter-universitaire pour la coopération avec les universités palestiniennes.

Cesar Chelala, "Edward Said: Remembering a Palestinian Patriot" (CounterPunch, April 12):

The 2019 Memorial Lecture honoring Edward W. Said, "Out of Place: Refugees, Immigrants, and Storytelling" couldn't have come at a more appropriate moment... Edward Said was perhaps one of the most profound analysts of the situation of the Palestinians, and one of the most vocal critics of the Israeli government's policies towards them. To his credit, Said is equally critical of both.

Yaniv Kubovich, "Hebrew University to host Israeli army base on campus" (Haaretz, April 14):

Jerusalem university wins tender for prestigious military academic program. The tender, which stipulates that students wear army uniforms and carry their personal firearms on campus, drew criticism from senior academic figures who said it presents "marked pedagogical difficulty and makes it difficult for the students to integrate into university life." ... Cooperation between the IDF and Israeli academia isn't new, with universities and colleges offering various services for the army and other security agencies. The IDF Havatzalot training program for intelligence officers, itself has been hosted by Haifa University since its founding 14 years ago. However, the most recent tender includes some clauses dubbed by critics as detrimental to campus life. The IDF requires that entry to the living quarters of the soldier-students and IDF staff members, which must be within the campus, be by biometric pass only... The university will also have to provide the army with personal information about university staff, including any sub-contractors, security guards, administration employees and maintenance staff.

Shira Kadari-Ovadia, "Number of Arab engineering students doubles in six years" (Haaretz, April 30):

"The impressive figures testify to the great success of the revolution in making higher education accessible in Arab society," says a chairwoman from Council for Higher Education. The number of Arab university students in general rose by 80 percent in the past seven years, reaching 47,000 in 2018, compared to only 26,000 in 2011. Another general trend is the growth in the number of students majoring in high-tech fields, including electrical engineering, telecommunications engineering, software engineering, optical engineering, computer science and mathematics. Over the past 6 years the number of students in these fields has risen by about 30% and is now 34,660. During the present academic year, for the first time, more students registered for engineering programs than for the humanities - which for years were the most popular majors in Israel.

Analyses & Comments (A-Z):

Susan Abulhawa, "How The Left Also Dehumanizes Palestinians In Gaza" (IMEMC News, April 15):

Along the political spectrum, from the far left to extreme right, and spanning racial and ethnic lines, nearly everyone who has something to say about protesters in Gaza seems to fail the task of recognizing Palestinian humanity... From the left, the stories are the stuff of legends, portraying unfathomable Palestinian heroism, courage and "sumud", an Arabic word romanticized in English to convey epic Palestinian steadfastness... It must be said again and again that our right to life and dignity is not predicated on measures of our collective goodness, bravery or steadfastness. Ultimately, the left must stop fabulizing Palestinians and instead look squarely into the gruesomeness of the despair and anguish of Gaza, which I suspect most of us cannot even imagine.

[Soheir Asaad] "À propos de l'électorat palestinien d'Israël, par Soheir Asaad" (Agence Médias Palestine, avril 22):

Palestinienne citoyenne d'Israël, avocate des droits humains, militante politique jusqu'à récemment membre du comité central du parti Balad. Elle vit à Haïfa. Propos recueillis par Michèle Sibony. M.S.: "Ici en France nous entendons diverses appréciations sur les positions de l'électorat palestinien d'Israël. Un électorat qui semble très divisé. Comment expliquez-vous ces divisions et les nouvelles coalitions après la dissolution de la liste arabe unie? Le vote récent de la loi état nation a-t-il joué un rôle dans ces divisions?

Ramzy Baroud, "Notre Dame of Gaza: Our Mosques and Churches Are also Burning" (The Palestine Chronicle, April 23):

As the 300-foot spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris tragically came tumbling down on live television, my thoughts ventured to Nuseirat Refugee Camp, my childhood home in the Gaza Strip. Every mosque, every church, every graveyard, every piece of art and every artifact is significant because it is laden with meaning, the meaning bestowed on them by those who have built or sought in them an escape, a moment of solace, hope, faith and peace.

Michael Bueckert, "Israel's anti-BDS tactics mirror White South Africa's defence of apartheid" (MEMo, April 23):

The Israeli state and its supporters frequently accuse its critics of being motivated by anti-Semitism, and although they usually concede that it is not inherently anti-Semitic to criticise Israel, recent controversies have proven that it is quite difficult to ascertain precisely where genuine criticism ends and racism begins. One popular method for working this out is the so-called "3D test" - the "Three Ds of anti-Semitism" - developed by Israel's one-time Minister of Internal Affairs, Natan Sharansky.

Dick Callahan, "Baseline of a Desecrated Place - Synopsis" (If Americans Knew, April 4):

How Israel's water and agricultural technologies don't even work for Israel. Guest post by Dick Callahan, examining the ecological and environmental impacts of Israel's occupation of Palestine. Israel says it has much to teach humanity about agriculture, desalination, water conservation, and desert forestry. In reality, Israel can't feed or water itself.

Hagai El-Ad, "The world had decades to stop annexation. Just ask Palestinians" (+972, April 19):

Partially annexed or temporarily occupied, Palestinians living under Israel's thumb do not need legal expertise or international recognition to realize how cheap their lives are to their oppressor. On the eve of Israel's recent elections, Prime Minister Netanyahu made a campaign promise to annex parts of the West Bank, which was followed by a flood of impassioned international appeals. One cannot help but wonder about the gap between all the fuss about a potential future statement on de jure annexation and decades of inaction in response to unilateral Israeli steps, which have already established a reality of de facto annexation. Regardless of possible announcements of annexation, Israel's actions to date are what we need to focus on... Stop feigning concern. For humanity's sake, make their lives matter. Hagai El-Ad is an Israeli human rights activist and the executive director of B'Tselem.

Noura Erakat, "Palestine, International Law, and a Radically Just Future" (Al-Shabaka, April 27):

In her new book, "Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine", Al-Shabaka Policy Analyst Noura Erakat argues that though law can be used as a tool of domination by states, it can also advance progressive causes, including Palestinian liberation. Al-Shabaka spoke with Erakat about this approach and how it can be deployed to envision a just future.
Version en français (AMP):

Kawthar Guediri, "La Journée de la Terre, un rappel de ce qui est en jeu en Palestine" (Agence Médias Palestine, 9 avril):

À 42 ans de distance, la Journée de la Terre en Israël et la Grande Marche du Retour à Gaza ont été toutes les deux des manifestations contre les fondements mêmes du colonialisme de peuplement sioniste ou tout autre colonialisme de peuplement pour ce faire puisque elles se sont concentrées sur les deux aspects, la terre et la population... La Journée de la Terre commémore la grève générale organisée par le Comité National pour la Défense des Terres Arabes créé en 1976 pour protester contre le " projet de Judaïsation de la Galilée " du gouvernement israélien. Ce projet était dans les tuyaux depuis quelques temps et les Palestiniens avaient essayé de le stopper avec des négociations. Pourtant, ce n'est qu'en 1976 que le gouvernement a officiellement annoncé son plan, ce qui a conduit le Comité à explorer d'autres moyens de protestation et alors à appeler à une Grève Générale. Ce mouvement a été si significatif que les Palestiniens des territoires occupés et des camps de réfugiés l'ont rejoint et ont appelé à des marches et des démonstrations dans le reste de la Palestine. Cependant, les autorités israéliennes ont engagé une lourde répression, tuant six Palestiniens d'Israël tandis qu'elles blessaient une centaine de manifestants et qu'elles arrêtaient des centaines de personnes.

Yossi Gurvitz, "It's time to stop talking about the Occupation, we need to talk about the Israeli Military Dictatorship instead" (Mondoweiss, April 29):

I am beginning to think one of the reasons the Israeli occupation has endured for so long is that we insist on speaking of it as an occupation. Let's stop doing that. When you speak of an occupation, you are walking into the hands of the hasbara people. An occupation, they will remind you  - at least, the more subtle of them will - is actually legal. Countries may occupy parts of other countries during warfare... As long as we stick to the paradigm of occupation, Israel will claim (legally, correctly) that it stands in the shoes of the sovereign; that it has valid security concerns; and, using the loophole of "security concerns", will basically do whatever it pleases with the territories... Avoid all discussions of sovereignty. They're useless. Speak of night raids intended only to terrify people, dozens of which are carried out by the IDF each night; speak of impunity, in which soldiers can kill, wound, main, and bully without paying any price; speak of detention without orders; of invading houses without warrants; of housing soldiers in private house for military purposes; of arbitrary confiscation, which is often indistinguishable from looting; speak of daily indignities, humiliations, checkpoints you can pass depending on the mood of the soldier on duty; speak of administrative detention, which is indefinite imprisonment without trial; speak of the horror lurking beneath all this, the knowledge that if you protest too much, you or your loved ones may be taken to a legally-sanctioned dungeon and be tortured. Speak, in short, not of territories but of people. 

Amira Hass, "Soldiers have to shoot at Palestinians. It's Israel's way to keep them in check" (Haaretz, April 28):

"Israel admits it: The military is in the West Bank to protect settlements. The notion that we want peace is old fake news." The soldiers have no choice but to shoot. They have no choice but to hit demonstrators, stone throwers and paramedics who volunteer during confrontations, to kill and wound those who brandish knives. Surprise that the soldiers fire even at youths who are handcuffed and blindfolded belongs to a different era... If we behave otherwise, the Palestinians will conclude that we recognize that they belong to this place between the river and the sea, that we recognize their right to live like anyone else, their right to water, space, planning, their land. The shooting only complements other activities that crowd the Palestinians into cages... The Palestinian doesn't count. He's not a citizen whose support the senior politician, formerly a military commander, is seeking. The Palestinian doesn't vote. He isn't included as a person in the calculations. The larger the number of settlers and the soldiers who guard them, the more Israelis who conclude that the Palestinian is superfluous.

Gavin O'Toole, "Israel's nation-state law to unleash 'deepening apartheid'" (Al Jazeera, April 28):

Israel is poised to unleash a new round of oppressive apartheid policies against Palestinian citizens within its own borders, according to leading experts. The re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu, a hard-right nationalist, as prime minister sets the scene for a new phase in an historic project to end the "demographic threat" posed by Palestinian citizens of Israel to the Jewish majority, they say.
On Saturday, experts at a London conference explored the challenges facing the 1.8 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, a group that comprises 20 percent of the Israeli population yet faces widespread discrimination.

Adam Shatz, "Trump's America, Netanyahu's Israel" (London Review of Books, Online extra, April 18):

Israel's legislative elections on 9 April were a tribute to Binyamin Netanyahu's transformation of the political landscape. At no point were they discussed in terms of which candidates might be persuaded by (non-existent) American pressure, or the 'international community', to end the occupation. This time it was a question of which party leader could be trusted by Israeli Jews - Palestinian citizens of Israel are now officially second-class - to manage the occupation, and to expedite the various tasks that the Jewish state has mastered: killing Gazans, bulldozing homes, combatting the scourge of BDS, and conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

John Steppling, "The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down" (CounterPunch, April 24):

Stepen Gowans has a new book out, "Israel: A Beachhead in the Middle East". And it is most welcome in a period of growing global anti-semitism, perhaps especially, but certainly most disturbingly, on the left. For Israel has managed its narrative with great skill and acumen, and as Gowans notes (and everyone from Adorno to Carlo Ginzburg also noted) *antisemitism* is a political tool of the right.

Antisemitism Politics:

Neve Gordon, Lynne Segal, Kristian Davis Bailey, Olivia Katbi Smith, "Israel and the Antisemitism Playbook in Great Britain and the Grassroots - A Forum" (Middle East Report Online, April 27, 2019):

The continuing attacks on Congressional critics of Israeli policies like Rep. Ilhan Omar for their alleged antisemitism appear culled from the same playbook that Israel's supporters in Great Britain have used to tarnish Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn over the past few years: vilify the messenger in order to discredit the message. This tactic has also been widely used at the grassroots level in the US where increasingly successful Palestinian rights activists have been subject to vitriolic personal criticism, including the frequent charge of antisemitism, for advocating for Palestinian rights or their criticism of Israel. In our continuing discussion of this issue we asked two commentators from Great Britain and two from grassroots activism in the US to respond and reflect on what is behind this tactic and why now it is being deployed in each context. A virulent antisemitism is clearly on the rise and must be confronted, but as the participants in this roundtable point out, conflating criticism of the Israeli government's policies with antisemitism undermines the fight against actual antisemitism as well as the other forms of racism and bigotry with which it is intimately connected today.

Michel Staszewski, "Les sionistes face à l'antisionisme" (Points Critiques n° 380, mars-avril 2019, via Abp, 18 mars):

Comme dans l'ensemble de la population, il y a des antisémites parmi les antisionistes. Mais c'est loin d'être le cas de la majorité d'entre eux. À commencer par les Palestiniens qui sont quasi tous antisionistes puisqu'ils n'acceptent pas que le pays où ils vivent ou dont ils sont exilés soit devenu l' " État des Juifs ", au prix de leur déplacement forcé ou de très fortes discriminations pour ceux qui y sont restés, même pour ceux d'entre eux qui ont obtenu la citoyenneté israélienne. Cela n'en fait pas des ennemis des Juifs.


NYU - Dpt. of Social and Cultural Analysis: "Resolution of Non-Cooperation with NYU-Tel Aviv" (May 2):

By a majority vote, NYU's Department of Social and Cultural Analysis has passed a resolution of non-cooperation with the university's study-abroad program in Tel Aviv. The department's members took this step in order to uphold NYU's own Policy on Ethical Conduct, which prohibits discrimination and guarantees equal opportunity. Faculty and student members of the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis seek at all times to uphold this university's basic principles of non-discrimination and equal opportunity in our relationships with other NYU departments and programs. We feel that these principles, set forth in the Code of Ethical Conduct, are being effectively violated in the operation of NYU's study abroad program in Tel Aviv. Access to the program is clearly being obstructed by Israel's long-standing discriminatory policies (as acknowledged by the State Department) of barring entry to Palestinians or persons of Arab descent and Muslim heritage, and by the recent amendments to its Law of Entry, which advocate for the exclusion of persons on account of their political speech. Moreover, the Israeli government routinely prevents Palestinian students from enrolling in higher education institutions outside of the West Bank and Gaza. The resolution seeks to protect the department from complicity with these forms of racial and religious profiling, and repression against constitutionally protected political speech.

"More academics join boycott against Israel's Ariel University" (Chiara Cruciati, Il manifesto global, April 30):

The Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO) is the latest group of scholars to put pressure on a large, well-funded university in the middle of occupied land. In February, the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO) answered the call from the Palestinian academic world to refuse to recognize the university in the Israeli colony of Ariel. SeSaMO, established in 1995 in Florence, brings together scholars from different disciplines and works to promote research on the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Answered already the call for the boycott: 1,200 Israeli academics, the Israeli Anthropological Association and the Israeli Sociological Society, the Technical University of Denmark, the European Association of Social Anthropologists, the Kasetsart University in Bangkok and Exeter University have ended partnerships with Ariel University and refused to collaborate with it. Now, they have been joined by the Italian SeSaMO as well.

Glenn Greenwald, "In Case Brought by School Speech Pathologist, Texas Federal Court Becomes the Third to Strike Down Pro-Israel Oath as Unconstitutional" (The Intercept, April 26):

A federal court in Texas issued a ruling on Thursday afternoon preliminarily enjoining enforcement of Texas' law banning contractors from boycotting Israel. The court ruled that the law plainly violates the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment.

Gaza :

"On 56th Friday of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, Israeli Forces Wound 110 Civilians, including 37 Children, 3 Women, 4 Paramedics, and Journalist" (IMEMC News, April 27):

According to observations by PCHR's fieldworkers, the Israeli forces who stationed in prone positions and in military jeeps along the fence with Israel continued to use excessive force against the protesters by firing bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, dozens of the protesters were hit with bullets and teargas canisters without posing any imminent threat or danger to the life of soldiers. During this week, Israeli forces have escalated their attacks against the medical personnel in the field, wounding 4 members of them. This indicates that there is an Israeli systematic policy to target the medical personnel and obstruct their humanitarian work that is guaranteed under the rules of the international humanitarian law.

Hamza Abu Eltarabesh, "The wounded around me" (The Electronic Intifada, May 3):

It's been more than a year since the Great March of Return protests started in Gaza. The weekly demonstrations were launched as a way to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians living under a draconian siege that has left Gaza on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. They are also a reassertion of the Palestinian right of return to the lands and homes from which Palestinians were dispossessed in 1948. Two-thirds of Gaza's population of approximately two million people are refugees.
But the activism of demonstrators has come at a high and deadly cost. Still, people march. More than 200 people have been killed and there have been well over 11,000 moderate to serious injuries. According to the
Palestinian Center for Human Rights, up to the end of March and after one year of protests, there were 114 amputations because of injuries to protesters. There is hardly a person in Gaza who has not, in one way or another, been affected by these stark statistics.

Mark Zeitoun & Ghassan Abu Sittan, "Gaza now has a toxic 'biosphere of war' that no one can escape" (Mondoweiss, April 30):

A biosphere refers to the interaction of all living things with the natural resources that sustain them. Gaza has become a "biosphere of war", where sanctions, blockades and a permanent state of war affects everything that humans might require in order to thrive, as water becomes contaminated, air is polluted, soil loses its fertility and livestock succumb to diseases. 
Gaza has often been invaded for its water. Every army leaving or entering the Sinai desert, whether Babylonians, Alexander the Great, the Ottomans, or the British, has sought relief there. But today the water of Gaza highlights a toxic situation that is spiralling out of control. A combination of repeated Israeli attacks and the sealing of its borders by Israel and Egypt, have left the territory unable to process its water or waste. Every drop of water swallowed in Gaza, like every toilet flushed or antibiotic imbibed, returns to the environment in a degraded state. When a hospital toilet is flushed, for instance, it seeps untreated through the sand into the aquifer. There it joins water laced with pesticides from farms, heavy metals from industry, and salt from the ocean. It is then pumped back up by municipal or private wells, joined with a small fraction of freshwater purchased from Israel, and cycled back into people's taps...

Mohammed Zaanoun, "Why we protest" (The Electronic Intifada, 22 April):

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed since the launch of the Great March of Return along Gaza's boundary with Israel on 30 March 2018. Mohammed Zaanoun, a member of the Activestills photo collective, has documented the Great March of Return since its beginning. Here protesters tell their stories and explain why they come back to the boundary week after week, despite Israel's brutal crackdown.

Nikolaj Nielsen, "EU offers terse response to Gaza youth shot by Israelis" (EU Observer, April 8):

People shot by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip want the EU to cut research funding to Israeli defence and security industries. But their demands have been met with short shrift by the European Commission, highlighting the sense of abandonment of a population ring-fenced in an open air like prison... A letter drafted by wounded young people in Gaza says their dreams and futures have been robbed. Signed by 250 medical professionals across Europe and the US, the letter is addressed to the EU's foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini and Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner in charge of research and innovation... However, a response drafted on the behalf of Mogherini makes no mention of the EU research funding, offering only short platitudes on how it wants "to restore a political horizon for the people of Gaza and Palestine."

Al Mezan Fact Sheet: "Gaza's Authorities Violate Rights to Expression, Assembly and Freedom from Arbitrary Detention; 448 Persons Detained in a Year for Political Affiliation Alone" (April 23):

The fact sheet covers the period from 1 March 2018 to 28 February 2019 and is a component of a EU funded project that has as one of its aims to document abuses of these rights and advocate for compliance of duty bearers with international law.


"Arab-Israel MKs walk out of Knesset ceremony during national anthem" (MEMo, May 1):

An official ceremony was held in Jerusalem yesterday for new MKs to swear their oaths of office following the country's general election on 9 April. Arab-Israeli Knesset Members (MKs) staged a walk out, refusing to listen to the Israeli national anthem. "Hatikva" - literally translated as "the hope" - has long been opposed by Israel's some 1.8 million Palestinian citizens on the grounds that it does not represent the country's non-Jewish communities. Its lyrics refer to a "Jewish soul" that yearns "to be a free nation" in the "land of Zion and Jerusalem".  [Photo: MK Dr Yousef Jabareen of the Hadash-Ta'al alliance]

"Israel: Human Rights Watch Official's Deportation Reinstated" (HRW, April 16):

Court Ruling Centers on Reporting Business Ties to Settlements. An Israeli court on April 16, 2019 upheld the Israeli government's order to deport Omar Shakir, the Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director, HRW said today. The deportation ruling comes amid sustained efforts to muzzle criticism of Israel's human rights record. The Interior Ministry has denied entry to a number of other international rights advocates, accused Israeli advocacy groups of "slander" and of discrediting the state or army, imposed extensive financial reporting requirements on Israeli rights groups that burden their advocacy, and subjected Palestinian rights defenders to travel restrictions and even arrest and criminal charges.

Zak Witus, "Netanyahu Is Not a 'Savior' and Israel Is Not at Risk of Annihilation" (truthout, 4/25):

Many Israeli politicians have built their careers upon the fear that Israel faces the threat of imminent destruction. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stoked Israelis' existential dread for decades, first whipping up crowds in opposition to the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, and then, as head of state, galvanizing domestic support for his aggressive bombing campaigns in Syria and crackdowns in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Eitay Mack, "How Israel helped prop up Rwanda's Hutu regime before the genocide" (+972, April 29):

Israel refuses to come clean about its links with the murderous Hutu regime that carried out the genocide in Rwanda 25 years ago. But Foreign Ministry documents show that Israel was aware of the massacres against the Tutsi minority way back in the 1960s - and turned a blind eye... According to various reports, Israel continued sending weapons - including guns, ammunition, and grenades - to the Hutus as the genocide was taking place.

Palestine, occupied and colonized :

"UN officials call for an immediate halt to demolitions in East Jerusalem and respect for international law amidst rise" (OCHA oPT, May 3):

Today, the Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick called for an immediate halt to the Israeli authorities' destruction of Palestinian-owned property in East Jerusalem. "Demolitions in East Jerusalem have increased at a staggering pace over the last month, leaving tens of Palestinians displaced and others who have lost their livelihoods overnight," said Mr. McGoldrick. "This must stop." As of 30 April 2019, 111 Palestinian-owned structures had been destroyed in East Jerusalem in 2019, either directly by the Israeli authorities or self-demolished by their owners to avoid hefty fines, following the issuance of demolition orders for lack of building permits. Of these, 57 per cent (63 out of 111) were demolished in April, bringing the total number of demolitions in the West Bank to 214 in 2019. 

"Over 300 settlers storm Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque" (Middle East Monitor, April 26):

Over 300 settlers yesterday stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, under the protection of Israeli police and armed forces. From the early hours of the morning, groups of settlers entered the compound through Al-Maghrebi Gate, accompanied by members of the Israel Police and the Israeli army. Over the course of the day, some 320 settlers stormed the holy site. The settlers then performed prayers and rituals to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover, violating the status quo agreement which prohibits non-Muslims from worshipping at the site. Israeli forces simultaneously imposed restrictions on Palestinian Muslim worshippers trying to access Al-Aqsa. According to local news agency Ma'an, "Israeli checkpoints were erected throughout the streets and alleyways around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and many others were blocked off with iron barriers and sandbags blocking the movement of locals."

Rima Najjar, "What now for the Palestinian People?" (Medium, April 24):

The West Bank is under threat of annexation by Israel now; the caged Palestinians in Gaza are clamoring, at a grassroots level, for the right to return to their homes and property a few kilometers away in Israel, as per UN Res 194, and being pushed back with brutality. The "deal of the century" is looming darkly on the horizon. So, what next for the Palestinian people? It's important to understand that Palestinian government in the occupied territory derives its legitimacy from the Palestine liberation Organization (PLO).

"New Palestinian Government Powerless but Determined to Fight the Occupation?" (Greg Wilpert, The Real News Network, April 28, video & transcript):

Palestinians have a new government, but it's the third government to be appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas, not one that was elected. In a recent article in Al-Monitor by Daoud Kuttab titled "Shtayyeh Government to Focus on Economy of Resistance," he wrote that the newly-appointed government plans to cut down luxuries for senior officials and to implement other austerity measures to avoid raising taxes.

"Gaza Farmers Get 3.7m euro Support Package from EU and PA" (IMEMC News, April 30):

The Palestinian Authority's programme, "Private Sector Reconstruction Gaza - Agriculture," is providing an integrated package of support to Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip. This EU-funded programme is helping Palestinian farmers, throughout the Gaza Strip, affected by the Israeli occupation, in restoring their businesses. The new contribution of 3.7 million euro targets 178 additional farmers and agro-businesses to relaunch, repair or replace damaged businesses. It covers wide range of activities including the acquisition of agricultural supplies, rehabilitation of land and other small infrastructure works. In particular, the Palestinian Authority will rehabilitate 22 water wells, to irrigate about 2800 dunams, supply 15 agricultural tractors, provide 118 livestock farms, including 2,600 heads of livestock, and construct 37 greenhouses units. This brings the total number of beneficiaries of the programme, to date, to 259 farmers.


Ramzy Baroud & Fayha' Shalash, "Why Palestinian prisoners choose hunger strike as a resistance strategy" (Middle East Monitor, May 2):

One of the many ways in which Israel seeks to oppress and control the Palestinian population is by imprisoning those who lead the resistance to its occupation and settler colonialist project. In Palestine, a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail is referred to as "aseer", or captive, because he or she is not a criminal. What lands Palestinians in Israeli prisons are acts of resistance - from writing a poem about the struggle against the occupation to carrying out an attack against Israeli soldiers in the occupied Palestinian land. For the Israeli occupation, however, every act of Palestinian resistance or defiance is either classified as a form of "terrorism" or "incitement" that cannot be tolerated.
Currently, there are 5,450
 prisoners in Israeli jails, 205 of whom are minors and 48 women. According to some estimates, since the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in June 1967, over 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned in Israeli jails. Needless to say, just as Israel seeks to keep the general Palestinian population in constant distress and oppression, it does so with Palestinian prisoners as well. In recent months, the already horrific conditions in these jails deteriorated even further after the Israeli government announced that it was adopting rigid measures in prisons as a "deterrence" technique - a move that was seen as election PR in Israel.


"Europe must stand by the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine" (Letter to F.Mogherini, with list of 37 signatories, The Guardian, April 15): 

High-ranking former European politicians urge the EU to reject any US Middle East peace plan unless it is fair to Palestinians.
"...In partnership with previous US administrations, Europe has promoted a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the context of a two-state solution. To this date, despite subsequent setbacks, the Oslo agreement is still a milestone of transatlantic foreign policy cooperation. Unfortunately, the current US administration has departed from longstanding US policy and distanced itself from established international legal norms..."

Marwan Bishara, "The logic behind US humiliation of the Palestinians" (Al-Jazeera, April 24):

Over the past two years, the Trump administration has launched an all-out diplomatic assault on the Palestinians, while preparing a new initiative to resolve the Middle East conflict. It has claimed its plan is different from any other, downplayed anything said about it as wild speculation, and accused critics of rushing to judgment before they have seen it.

Lawrence Davidson, "Trump and Netanyahu undermining our future" (Redress Information & Analysis, April 25):

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the re-election of Binyamin Netanyahu in 2019 occurred under different circumstances, and yet they are very similar in their results. They both put an authoritarian figure in power through democratic electoral processes. As well, both of these figures, like so many modern reactionary leaders before them, denigrate the recent past. Why do they do so?

Stephen Gowans, "Why the United States has a special relationship with Israel. It's not the Israeli lobby" (April 23):.

In his book "A World Without Islam", former Kabul CIA station chief, Graham E. Fuller, argues that the 9/11 and other attacks on the US by aggrieved Muslims would have occurred even in a world without Islam, because the attacks were a reaction against US imperialism, and were not a product of the attackers' religion. It "would be a mistake," wrote Fuller, "to consider Islam as the source of the resistance; otherwise we would have to believe that if these Muslims were not Muslims, they would not be rebelling against foreign domination."

Resources - Reports :

@ Newsletter de l'AURDIP du 27 avril 2019 (Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine):
-- Lettre de l'AURDIP à l'IRT Antoine de Saint- Exupéry concernant sa collaboration avec l'Université d'Ariel située dans les territoires palestiniens occupés;
-- Pour Gérard Araud, ancien ambassadeur de France, " Israël est un État d'apartheid ";
-- Amira HASS: "Écouter les informations palestiniennes tous les matins est une torture";
et autres articles.

@ BRICUP Newsletter 131, April 2019 (British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, pdf, 11p.).
From its contents:
p. 3: "Nazifying the Arabs: the war of Holocaust narratives", by Les Levidow, Jewish Network for Palestine;
p. 8: "Academia for Equality - opposing policies of war, domination and military occupation;"
p. 10: "Palestinian Childhoods : Human Rights, Mental Health and Resistance: Conference held on 8/9 March 2019".

@ "Demolition and Displacement Report: March 2019" (ICAHD - Israeli Committee of House Demolitions, April 1):

During March 2019, at least 43 structures, a road and a school were demolished in the oPT (including East Jerusalem) by Israeli forces, displacing at least 77 people - including 34 children - and affecting a further 5,072 people (according to OCHA OPT). In the Naqab desert, southern Israel, the unrecognised Bedouin village al-Arâgîb, was demolished for the 141st time, and a number of houses in Palestinian towns were demolished in the North and Centre of Israel. All the demolitions and confiscations, other than one punitive demolition, were carried out on grounds of lacking an Israeli-issued building permit. Most of the demolished structures supported agricultural, herding and commercial livelihoods.

© Noura Erakat, "Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine." Stanford Univ. Press, April 2019. ISBN: 9780804798259; Digital ISBN: 9781503608832; cloth, 352 pages; $30.00.

Justice in the Question of Palestine is often framed as a question of law. Yet none of the Israel-Palestinian conflict's most vexing challenges have been resolved by judicial intervention. Occupation law has failed to stem Israel's settlement enterprise. Laws of war have permitted killing and destruction during Israel's military offensives in the Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accord's two-state solution is now dead letter. "Justice for Some" offers a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom, told through the power and control of international law. Focusing on key junctures - from the Balfour Declaration to present-day wars in Gaza - Noura Erakat shows how the strategic deployment of law has shaped current conditions.

© Stephen Gowans, "Israel, A Beachhead in the Middle East. From European Colony to US Power Projection Platform." Baraka Books, 2019 (available June 1); ISBN 9781771861830; 264pp.; $24.95.

One US military leader has called Israel "the intelligence equivalent of five CIAs." An Israeli cabinet minister likens his country to "the equivalent of a dozen US aircraft carriers," while the Jerusalem Post defines Israel as the executive of a "superior Western military force that" protects "America's interests in the region." Arab leaders have called Israel "a club the United States uses against the Arabs," and "a poisoned dagger implanted in the heart of the Arab nation."

@ Maayan Geva, "Military Lawyers Making Law: Israel's Governance of the West Bank and Gaza" (in: Law & Social Inquiry, 2019, pp. 1-22).

This Article examines Israeli military lawyers' practice of international humanitarian law (IHL) revolving around the West Bank and Gaza. Based on interviews with legal officers serving in the army between 1967-2009 and archival materials, it interrogates these lawyers' work - the stories that they tell about law, their legal interpretations and their interactions with military decision makers. This interrogation is set in the context of broader structural, historical, and political shifts. Anchored around lawyers' stories about law, their narration of law's relationship with politics, and its position in relation to violence, this account sets out to contribute to discussions on lawyers' - and by extension law's - past and present positions in states' military affairs.

© Carolyn L. Karcher, "Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism. Stories of Personal Transformation". Interlink, Imprint: Olive Branch Press, pb, 2019; ISBN: 9781623719142, 400p. Price: $20.00.

"Carolyn L. Karcher has superbly edited a fascinating collection of autobiographical essays describing how devout American Jews disentangled themselves from the distortions of Zionism. In the process they recovered their authentic religiously and ethnically framed identities" (Richard Falk).

© Gilbert Achcar, "The Arabs and the Holocaust.The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives." Imprint Saqi Books, 2011. pb, ISBN: 9780863564581; 366 pp.; UK Price: £14.99.

The Arab-Israeli conflict goes far beyond the wars waged on Middle East battlefields. There is also a war of narratives revolving around the two defining traumas of the conflict: the Holocaust and the Nakba. One side is charged with Holocaust denial, the other with exploiting a tragedy while denying the tragedies of others. In this path-breaking book, political scientist Gilbert Achcar explores these conflicting narratives and considers their role in today's Middle East dispute.


# Michel Staszewski, "'L'arme' de l'antisémitisme" (RTBF Info):

# "This evening, Zionist occupation soldiers kidnapping Palestinian children from Bab Ezzawyah area in Al-Khalil City (Hebron), 26 April 2019"

Prof. Joseph Massad on Israel's fear of democracy (MEMO's "Present Absentees" conference in London, April 27, 2019)

Gideon Levy and Ilan Pappé discuss Israeli politics (Westminster University, hosted by Dr Ruba Saleh)

Obaida Akram Jawabra is 15 and has already been arrested twice by Israel (DCI-P).

Belgian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel

Committee: Prof. ém. Marie-Christine Closon (UCL), Prof. Patrick Deboosere (VUB), Prof. Lieven De Cauter (KULeuven), Em. Prof. Herman De Ley (UGent), Em. Prof. Marc De Meyere (UGent), Prof. Serge Deruette (UMons), Lieve Franssen (dir. Brussels Brecht-Eislerkoor), Carl Gydé (director CAMPO), Prof. Perrine Humblet (ULB), Prof. Marc Jacquemain (ULiège), Em. Prof. Madeline Lutjeharms (VUB), Raven Ruëll (metteur en scène), Prof. ém. Christiane Schomblond (ULB), Dr. Nozomi Takahashi (UGent), Prof. Karin Verelst (VUB).


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