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Israeli manipulation mirrors Balfour’s endeavours

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to London for the centenary commemoration of the Balfour Declaration included an interview with the BBC. It was made clear that both the one-state and the two-state scenarios are not what Netanyahu envisages as an outcome. The statements given during the interview should provide ample proof that deliberate diplomatic procrastination is the only favourable option for Israel, as during such delays it consolidates its colonial expansion with the intent of eliminating Palestine completely. The two-state paradigm, which the international community has endorsed for the purported creation of “an independent, viable Palestinian state” was criticised by Netanyahu as vague. “The other state,” he explained, “if it’s not demilitarised, if it doesn’t recognise the State of […]

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The normalisation of colonial violence is in tune with Balfour’s infamous letter

A century down the line from the Balfour Declaration, the obliteration of Palestine remains the aim of the Israeli colonial entity built on stolen land. On Wednesday, Israeli forces violently dispersed a protest in Bethlehem marking the anniversary of the infamous letter. The protestors marched to the Apartheid Wall, where they were confronted by Israeli police forces, who fired rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition at the gathering, injuring one person. Other protestors suffered from tear gas inhalation. The by now routine violence which, on several occasions, resulted in more severe injuries and deaths, has attracted little attention in the media. Several factors may account for this, but the silence is revealing. Historically, the Balfour Declaration achieved more than just […]

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Despite his talk of ‘reconciliation’, Abbas continues to act in Israel’s interests

The gradual release of the details of the proposed Palestinian unity government has reached its inevitable outcome. According to Israeli media, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will not include any Hamas ministers in the government unless they openly assert their recognition of Israel. According to Aljazeera, Abbas denied making such statements through a very brief notification on social media: “The presidency denies the remarks attributed to the president by Haaretz.” Nevertheless, both the Times of Israel and Israel National News reported that during a meeting in Ramallah with former members of the Israeli parliament, Abbas clarified the conditions for forming part of the unity government. Ex-Labour Chairman Amram Mitzna declared that Abbas “understands that it is in the Palestinian interest […]

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What protection will the unity government offer Palestinian journalists?

Far from exercising their right to reporting, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have ensured that Palestinian journalists continue to face restrictions, violations and punitive measures from both ends. On Wednesday, Ma’an news agency reported that another two Palestinian journalists were arrested by Israel during dawn raids upon several Palestinian media outlets, claiming the broadcasting of “inciting material”. The raids were carried out in Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron, affecting Quds TV, Al-Aqsa, Palestine Today, Palmedia and Transmedia. Office equipment was confiscated and the outlets were closed by a military order for six months. Palmedia and Transmedia were accused of “providing services” to Hamas-affiliated media. An unnamed Israeli army spokesperson quoted by Ma’an stated: “Forces seized documents from companies that provided services […]

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‘Palestine, the reality. The inside story of the Balfour Declaration’

Broken promises, political ambiguity and illegality characterise the unfolding narrative of the 1917 Balfour Declaration and its incorporation into the British League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. J. M. N. Jeffries, a war, foreign and political correspondent based in the Middle East from 1914 until the 1930s, was prompted to write an assessment of the diplomatic manoeuvring culminating in the brief communication which he deems to have been “unlawful in issue, arbitrary in purpose and deceitful in wording.” “Palestine, the Reality. The Inside Story of the Balfour Declaration” (Olive Branch Press, 2017) was first published in 1939. The new edition retains the original introduction by Jeffries, as well as a Foreword by Dr Ghada Karmi. Reflecting upon the centenary of […]

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The backdrop of Palestinian reconciliation

With a deal for political reconciliation having been reached by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, attention should shift to the humanitarian impact of Mahmoud Abbas’s collective punishment of the people in the Gaza Strip. The punitive measures, blatantly visible, were primarily an exercise in deprivation for political gain. On Wednesday, Wafa and Alray reported that re-establishing adequate electricity supply to Gaza is dependent on whether “the Palestinian Government of National Consensus can assume its duties and responsibilities in the Strip.” The statement is open to several interpretations, the most dangerous for Palestinian civilians being additional delays beyond the signing of the reconciliation agreement. According to the Palestinian Energy Authority’s acting director, Thafer Milhem, electricity was one of the issues discussed […]

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The EU context for increasing financial aid to Palestine

We might be excused for assuming that the only party involved in the reconciliation talks is the Palestinian Authority. Since Hamas announced its willingness to commit to political unity, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and President Mahmoud Abbas have been hailed by international institutions as beacons of progress and change. There has been no mention of how, since Israel’s massacre of civilians in Gaza in 2014, this state of affairs was a top priority for the US. That Gaza should come under the PA is not a novel proposal; the scramble for Gaza, although ignited in recent years, has been central to Hamas’s external and domestic adversaries since the 2006 elections. The initial indications are that involving Hamas in reconciliation […]

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The EU boycott of Israel’s 1967 celebration does not change its perception of the Zionist state

September 26, 2017 Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor 0

Israel’s plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its military occupation of Palestine seem to have been shunned by the EU Ambassador to the Zionist state, Emanuele Giaufret. The decision, communicated by the ambassador’s office, unleashed the usual barrage of pompous complaints which is synonymous with Israel and its expectation that all countries, entities and institutions must make obvious their subjugation to its whims and wishes. On the rare occasions when the opposite happens, Israeli officials and settler leaders scramble to issue statements intended to demean the decision and the decision-maker. These range from condescending remarks to belligerent outbursts aimed at establishing boundaries between the self-righteously superior host and the most obviously inferior guest. According to Mark Gallagher from the […]

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Living Memories — Testimonies of Palestinians’ Displacement in 1948

September 25, 2017 Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor 0

This slim volume of testimonies from Palestinians who experienced the Nakba emphasises several factors which are vital to the preservation of Palestinian memory. It counters Zionist myths about Palestine being barren before Israel came along; a deep nostalgia for the homeland is sensed immediately. Palestine was thriving, abundant and beautiful; the reminiscences of Palestinians in this volume assert this fact, particularly with regard to the affinity of the indigenous people for their land. “Living Memories: Testimonies of Palestinians’ displacement in 1948” (2017) should also be read as an important exercise in oral Palestinian history and a means through which it is possible to challenge Israel’s eradication of Palestine and its people. It must be remembered that not only did Israel […]

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Living with the negative consequences of the Oslo Accords

September 22, 2017 Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor 0

The Oslo Accords have resulted in a series of compromises, each one exacerbating the harm done to the Palestinians and undermining seriously important matters, such as the refugees’ right of return. Instead of advocating for decolonisation, the accords have produced decades of futile rhetoric about a “two-state solution” and wasted much of the Palestinians’ valuable time. At the other end of the spectrum, however, the Israelis have exploited the time-wasting “negotiations” to facilitate its colonial expansion on a daily basis. Ahead of a meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, prior to addressing the UN General Assembly, senior Abbas advisor Nabil Shaath declared that it would be “utterly ridiculous” if Trump failed to commit […]

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