Palestine Update 618
As 2022 ends, Israeli forces and settlers killed 231 Palestinians
A year of acute violence has just passed with 231 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers. The apartheid-colonialist regime has been relentless and shows no tolerance for legitimate protest even when the form of protest does not pose danger to the Israeli army. To kill those who resist and weaken the Palestinian resistance is the intent. The stories are ones of horror and barbarity and show reckless disregard for minimum human rights standards. Rights groups deemed that those killed did not even pose an explicit threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers when they were killed. Israel discounts human rights when it comes to Palestinians but labours to express shock when the United Nations deems UN votes against Israel as ‘despicable’. The real question is Israel’s stubborn refusal to decolonize, and refuse to act by the UN Convention on Human Rights to which it is a signatory since 3 July 1990 (further ratified on 4 August 1991.
In this issue of MLN Palestine Updates, we share a new factsheet from OCHA, highlighting the humanitarian impact of the Separation Barrier over the past 20 years. We also share a report from the UN General Assembly Friday which asks its highest judicial authority, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to provide an opinion on the legality of Israeli settlements located on Palestinian territory. The ICJ is expected to consider Israel’s occupation and settlement of Palestinian land as well as the adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.
Israel’s conceited dismissal of the practice of human rights law is also exposed in a report where The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem has condemned the storming and takeover by a radical Israeli settler group on December 27 of its land in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. The Patriarch condemning the act stated: “This radical group has no right or judicial backing in their favor to allow them to enter or occupy the land.” The Patriarchate noted that the raid took place under the eyes of armed Israeli police and border guards. Land grabs are part of the occupation’s tactics and a design of the colonialist designs of the Israeli government.
Finally, we share with abhorrence and disappointment India’s decision to abstain from the vote in the U.N. General Assembly on a resolution that asked the International Court of Justice for its opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s “prolonged occupation” and annexation of the Palestinian territory. The resolution titled ‘Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem’ was adopted by a recorded vote on Friday, with 87 votes in favour, 26 against and 53 abstentions. India’s abstention exposes the closeting of ties between Israel and India with both countries adopting practices typical to extreme right wing ethno-religious nationalism. India, once an ‘influencer’ in the Non Alignment Movement used to assumestrong political postures in support of the liberation of Palestine. In the last decade, in particular, there has been a reversal of this political posture. This counter-trend disappoints Palestinians and progressive Indians, and people around the world, who seek a just and lasting solution to the Question of Palestine. India claims to be the largest democracy in the world, but chooses to support Israel’s fascist regime only because its own ideological positions against religious minorities suits it to side with Israel and coalesce with her. Additionally, Israel is India’s largest supplier of military hardware and defence interests.
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On behalf of MLN Palestine Updates
231 Palestinians were killed this year. These are their stories.
2022 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in decades. In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem specifically, this year marked the highest number of killings of Palestinians in the territories since the UN began recording fatalities in 2005. The killings began almost instantaneously, with the first two Palestinians killed within the first week of January — one by an Israeli soldier, and one by an Israeli settler. From then on, the killings did not stop.
Mondoweiss has kept a record of all the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers. At the time of publication, the total number of Palestinians killed in 2022 stood at 231. This number also includes 53 killed in Gaza, 49 of whom were killed during Operation Breaking Dawn in August, and five Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who were killed inside the territory of the Israeli state. The vast majority of the deaths this year, however, came from the occupied West Bank, with 173 Palestinians killed. For the purpose of this report, we will focus on those who were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or those who were residents of the West Bank and Jerusalem but were killed in other parts of occupied Palestine. This list also includes Palestinian political prisoners who died inside Israeli prisons as a result of “direct medical negligence,” or those who died while resisting Israeli apartheid and colonialism, and are thus considered “martyrs” — those who died for the cause — by the Palestinian public. Among the 173 killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were 39 children aged 17 and under, making them close to 27% of the total deaths in the territory.
Within the West Bank, the highest number of casualties occurred in two specific regions: Nablus and Jenin, representing 19% and 34% of the total casualties, respectively. The particularly high number of deaths in the two regions of the northern West Bank can be attributed to the resurgence of armed resistance witnessed in both areas, which the Israeli military focused its efforts on quashing this year. In late 2021, the Israeli army amended its already loose open-fire regulations in the occupied West Bank, officially allowing troops to shoot at Palestinians who had thrown rocks or Molotov cocktails at civilian vehicles, even if the Palestinian no longer presented an immediate threat. The military spokesperson has maintained that the amended regulations only apply when rocks or fire bombs are thrown towards civilian vehicles, not when such objects are thrown towards forces during military raids, and that soldiers are to follow a protocol in which the use of deadly force is a last resort. The nature of the killings this year, however, tells a different story.
According to Mondoweiss, the vast majority of those killed were shot by Israeli police, border police, and the military during confrontations with Israeli forces. While there was a significant rise in armed confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli armed forces this year, many of those killed were shot while unarmed, or while throwing stones or Molotov cocktails towards Israeli army vehicles and armed soldiers. In many cases, rights groups deemed that those killed did not pose an explicit threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers when they were killed.
Read full narrative in The Mondoweiss
New factsheet, highlighting the humanitarian impact of the Barrier over the past 20 years
As the year comes to an end, we are sharing with you a new factsheet, highlighting the humanitarian impact of the Barrier over the past 20 years: bit.ly/BackToTheWall20
Throughout 2022, we have been marking 20 years since the construction of the 700-kilometre long Israeli Barrier. It was built with the stated aim of preventing violent attacks by Palestinians in Israel and it deviates from the Green Line by running mostly inside the West Bank. The Barrier separates Palestinian communities and farmland from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, hinders access to workplaces and essential services, and transforms geography, economy and social life. Those who can cross the Barrier may only do so with special permits or other arrangements that have become more and more restrictive over the years. As such, the Barrier has increased the humanitarian needs to which we have to respond. In 2004, the International Court of Justice established that sections of the Barrier running inside the West Bank, as well as the associated permit and gate regime, violate Israel’s obligations under international law, and should be dismantled. Almost two decades on, this has not been acted upon.
UN asks International Court of Justice to adjudicate over Israel settlements in Palestine
The UN General Assembly Friday asked its highest judicial authority, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to provide an opinion on the legality of Israeli settlements located on Palestinian territory. The General Assembly passed the resolution by a vote of 87 to 26 with 53 abstentions. The ICJ is expected to consider Israel’s occupation and settlement of Palestinian land as well as the adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.
The resolution condemned the settlement activities of Israel as “violations of international humanity law,” “steadily eroding the two-state solution” and “undermin[ing] the prospect of peace” in the region. The Special Political and Decolonization Committee of the UN expressed “grave concern” at the continued illegal activities of Israel, including the conflicts in and around the Gaza Strip and a lack of respect for principles of international humanitarian law. Palestine’s Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour noted that the vote came one day after a new Israeli government was formed that “pledg[ed] to accelerate colonial and racist policies against the Palestine people.”
Israel took control of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in 1967. The international community, reflected in the General Assembly’s vote, widely considers the settlement to be illegal. The ICJ previously ruled that “the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law” in 2004.
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate condemns illegal takeover of church land in Jerusalem by Israeli settlers
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem condemned the storming and takeover by a radical Israeli settler group on December 27 of its land in Wadi Hilweh in Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. “This radical group has no right or judicial backing in their favor to allow them to enter or occupy the land,” said the Patriarchate in a statement. It also condemned the fact that the raid took place with the protection of armed Israeli police and border guards. The Patriarchate affirmed that this piece of land, known as ‘the red land’, has been leased to the Palestinian Sumrin family, from Silwan, by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem since the beginning of the last century. The Sumrin family is still cultivating it to this day, it said, explaining that, “this intrusion is a clear encroachment on the Patriarchate’s properties in Jerusalem.”
The Patriarchates said that this incident represents “a direct reaction of the radical Israeli groups to the Patriarchate’s criticism of their expansionist practices that are being deliberately targeted against the Christian churches in Jerusalem,” made clear by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III in his speech during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Jaffa Gate on December 16. “The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem stresses its commitment to all its rights, properties, and endowments, and that it will spare no effort to protect and defend its rights, and that it will not retreat from defending the Orthodox rights, which the Church and its people have adopted unanimously since His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III assumed his position as Patriarch of Jerusalem in 2005,” concluded the statement.
Read more from WAFA news
India abstains from voting on U.N. resolution on Israel
India abstained in the U.N. General Assembly on a resolution that asked the International Court of Justice for its opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s “prolonged occupation” and annexation of the Palestinian territory. The draft resolution ‘Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem’ was adopted by a recorded vote on Friday, with 87 votes in favour, 26 against and 53 abstentions, including by India.The resolution decided to request the UN’s highest judicial body to “render an advisory opinion” on “what are the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.” It also asked the Assembly “how do the policies and practices of Israel… affect the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal consequences that arise for all States and the United Nations from this status?”
Read more from The Hindu