Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A "fair and balanced" analysis of the I/P situation for the US Congress and the US Administration

My button gets pushed when I hear the common refrain from US politicians about the need for “balance” when they talk about the conflict between Israel and Palestine such as in a recent letter to the UN signed by ALL 100 US Senators calling for the UN to take a more balanced view of Israel.

“Through words and actions, we urge you to ensure that Israel is treated neither better nor worse than any other U.N. member in good standing…. We are deeply committed to international leadership and to advancing respect for human rights. But continued targeting of Israel by the U.N. Human Rights Council and other U.N. entities is unacceptable … U.S  Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Erin Barclay criticized the UNHRC’s anti-Israel focus as ‘unfair and unbalanced’ ”

Here is an explanation of the “balance” issue based on a comparison of the violations of human rights laws by the two parties going back for the last 18,250 days, or 50 years:

Israel has maintained an illegal occupation while the Palestinians have not occupied any land of Israel;

Israel has illegally transferred its Jewish citizens to the illegal occupied territories while the Palestinians have transferred zero of its residents to Israel;

Israel has taken water in the West Bank and distributed it unequally giving Palestinians less than the required minimum but allowing squatters water for pools while Palestinians have diverted none of Israel’s water for their purposes;

Israel has stolen land in the West Bank from Palestinians while Palestinians have stolen no lard from Israel;

Israel has destroyed 48,000 Palestinian homes and structures while Palestinians have destroyed no buildings of Israelis;

Israel has destroyed 800,000 Palestinian olive trees while Palestinians have destroyed no Israeli olive trees;

Israel has built a wall 85% inside the green line while Palestinians have not built a wall in Israel;

Israel has charged Palestinians in a military court while rarely charging a squatter (but if so, in a civilian court) while Palestinian courts have not tried any squatters criminally or civilly;

Israel has taken thousands of Palestinians into administrative detention and held them often more than a year without ever charging them while Palestinians have not placed any Israelis in administrative detention;

Israel has closed Palestinian schools and universities while Palestinians have not closed any Israeli educational facilities;

Israel has instituted curfews on Palestinians sometimes 24/7 while Palestinians have not instituted any curfews on Israelis;

Israel has shut off the electricity of Palestinians and Palestinians have never shut off the electric power to Israelis;

Israel has tortured many Palestinians and Palestinians have not tortured Israelis;

Israel has extorted Palestinians into betraying family and friends while Palestinians have not extorted Israelis to betray family and friends;

Israel has maintained roads just for Israelis not open to Palestinians while Palestinians have not developed such an apartheid road system;

Israel has crept closer and closer to its only goal, the annexation of the entire West Bank (code words – Judea and Samaria) while Palestinians have lost more and more access to the lands of the West Bank;

Israel has created hundreds of checkpoints and barriers (not needed for security) to harass and humiliate Palestinians while Palestinians have not restricted movement of Israelis;
 
Israel has maintained an effective boycott of Gaza making it an outdoor prison while Palestinians have not maintained a boycott on Israel;

Israel has four times in the last twelve years Israel attacking Gaza on the ground and through the air with tanks, motorized vehicles, planes and helicopters and advanced artillery and other weapons because it could with perhaps more than a hundred thousand bullets, missiles, etc., destroying thousands of buildings, killing thousands of men, women and children while Palestinians  have shot a few thousand ineffective rockets into Israel and killed and injured 100’s of Israelis by guns, stones, knives and cars; and

Israel has assassinating many Palestinians “suspected of something” while Palestinians have assassinated no suspected Israelis.

That would total approximately one million (1,000,000) violations of international human rights laws by Israel and a few thousand violations by Palestinians.

This is a situation where one side is an oppressor – Israel - and another side has been for 50 years victimized, terrorized and humiliated - Palestinians. The US Congress and the US Administration continue to ask for fair and balanced treatment of Israel. As the saying goes, beware what you wish for because your dreams may come true. The UN’s hundreds of actions since 1967 condemning and criticizing Israel HAVE been fair and balanced. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Update on the Israel Settlements as an Obstacle to Peace Resolution before Massachsuetts Democrats

I just sent this email to members of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee who live near me in the North Shore of Massachusetts.

Hi

As a member of the Democratic State Committee who might be at the meeting this Saturday, you might be interested in the attached written testimony I presented to the Resolution Subcommittee in support of the resolution proposed by Carol Coakley to oppose the Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace.

As I note in the testimony, I am a 78 year old Jewish resident of Marblehead and “For the last 45 years, since 1972, not a day has gone by where I have not been aware of Israel’s violations of the human rights, and devaluation, of Palestinians caused by its settlement policies.” Many of those areas (such as home and olive tree destruction and unequal distribution of water) are further detailed in my testimony.

One reason to focus on Israel and the West Bank is that the occupation is not only illegal but is now, at 50 years, the longest lasting in the world. Another is that Israel has, since 1967, been in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention which forbids an occupier from transferring its citizens to occupied territory.  A third is that the continued growth of the settlements has likely killed the possibility of a contiguous, viable, independent Palestinian State  

Israel’s settlement policy has been criticized and branded illegal or an obstacle to peace by US Presidents, John Kerry, democratic voters, mainstream Christian organizations, the UN, the International Court of Justice, Jewish people, Israeli officials, and Desmond Tutu. Rabbi  Ben-Zion Gold, former director of Harvard Hillel, who recently passed away, said in 2002 “The Jewish settlements on the West Bank are a grave and dangerous mistake that have done much harm to Israel.”  

The opponents to the resolution have not and will not argue that the settlements are legal nor will they try to prove that the settlements are NOT an obstacle to peace. Opponents are left with no option but to argue “this is one-sided with not enough emphasis on the violence of the Palestinians.” The present situation is, indeed, one-sided. There is a huge imbalance between the vast resources and power of Israel (militarily, technologically and financially) combined with its incalculable number of violations of human rights over the last 50 years versus the limited amount of resources and number of violent acts of Palestinians.

I urge you: not to allow a small vocal group to censor and prevent discussion about Israel’s un-American, undemocratic, unjust and an obstacle to peace settlement policy which is inconsistent with the core values of the Democratic Party; to reject the recommendation of the Resolutions Subcommittee; and to allow Carol Coakley’s resolution to be voted on by the entire Democratic State Committee.

Please feel free to share this material with others and contact me if you have any questions or want to discuss any aspect of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.


Thank you.

Ronald W. Fox

Proposed Resolution for the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee Opposing Israeli Settlements as an Obstacle to Peace

Carol Coakley, a member of the Massachusuetts Democratic State Committee (DSC) has proposed a resolution the thrust of which is to ask the DSC to oppose the Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace. There was a hearing, Wednesday night, April 19, 2017, before a Resolution Subcommittee of the DSC. Ten spoke in favor of the resolution. Three opposed. The subcommittee voted to table the resolution and to so report at the meeting of the DSC this Saturday.

There has been intense opposition to the resolution from the Boston Jewish Community "Relations Council and Steven Grossman, former chairman of the National Democratic Party.

Here is the written testimony I gave to the subcommittee members after I testified for 3+ minutes.as well as links to two related articles.

MEMORANDUM

TO:                  Members of the Resolutions Committee
Massachusetts Democratic State Committee
FROM:            Ron Fox
RE:                  Resolution on Israel’s Settlements as an Obstacle to Peace
DATE:            April 19, 2017

THE SETTLEMENTS ARE AN OBSTACLE TO PEACE

I am a 77 year old resident of Marblehead involved in Jewish organizations locally and nationally since my bar mitzvah in Temple Beth El in Lynn. 

Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 and what is supposed to be only temporary has become illegal and is the longest occupation in the world.

The transfer of Israeli citizens to the West Bank in 1967 violated the 4th Geneva Convention and was contrary to a legal opinion of a lawyer for Israel’s Foreign Ministry

For the last 45 years, since 1972, not a day has gone by where I have not been aware of Israel’s violations of the human rights, and devaluation, of Palestinians caused by its settlement policies.

The growth of the settlements from one settlement with 100 squatters (not permanent settlers but illegal trespassers) in 1967 to 123 now with 350,000 (not including 250,000 in East Jerusalem) and the need to maintain and protect the squatters (many religiously fanatic zealots from Brooklyn) has spawned numerous additional  obstacles to peace, including:

unequal distribution of water, denying Palestinians fair access to minimal water while allowing squatters enough for irrigation and pools;

a massive theft of land from Palestinians leading to Israel taking control of over 40% of the West Bank;

the destruction of over 48,000 homes and other structures since 1967 (very few for security reasons);

the building of a wall, 85% inside the green line separating families from their lands, schools and businesses;

the ignoring and overlooking of squatters and the IDF destroying 800,000 olive trees;

the establishment of military law for Palestinians and Israeli civil law for squatters;
the failure to enforce criminal laws against squatters while punishing Palestinians for the same actions;

the restricting of movement by constructing many checkpoints and physical barriers  unrelated to security concerns, resulting in employment and medical complications; and

the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, sometimes more than a year, in administrative detention  without ever charging them with a crime, leading to today’s  humanitarian based hunger strike.

WHO OPPOSES THE SETTLEMENTS

The UN General Assembly has passed hundreds of resolutions since 1967 condemning or criticizing Israel’s occupation, settlement policy and other violations of Palestinian human rights.
The US, since 1972, has voted in favor of 20 UN resolutions while vetoing 88.

Recently a UN committee found that many of these obstacles to peace taken together are evidence for a finding that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.
The 4th Geneva Convention forbids the transfer of an occupier of its civilians into occupied territory and the International Criminal Court defines it as an indictable war crime.

 Six former heads of Israel’s security agency, Shin Bet, in the powerful movie, Gatekeepers,  deplored most of the political leaders as being indifferent to negotiations with their Arab enemies. One, Mr. Shalom, said, “We have become cruel. To ourselves as well, but mainly to the occupied population”.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2002 said “Over 35 new settlements have been constructed this year.  Each one is a step away from the safety deserved by the Israelis and two steps away from the justice owed to the Palestinians.  If apartheid ended, so can the occupation, but the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined.”

An Israeli -Yitzhak Frankenthal on July 27, 2002 said “My beloved son Arik, my own flesh and blood, was murdered by Palestinians. The Palestinians … have been ready to make peace with us; it is we who are unwilling to make peace with them

Nine mainstream Christian denominations/organizations, including the Methodists, are so opposed to settlements that they have adopted resolutions not to buy settlement goods.

As of September 14, 2015, 136 (70.5%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognized the State of Palestine.

US presidents including Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama have either declared the settlements illegal or an obstacle to peace..

Secretary of State John Kerry on December 4, 2016, warned that the building of Israeli settlements was undermining any hope of an agreement to allow two states to live side by side and is a deliberate obstacle to peace.

Jewish groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace, J-Street and Americans for Peace Now have stated their opposition to the settlement policies of Israel.

A Pew Research Center survey in 2013 that found that “just 17% of American Jews think the continued building of settlements in the West Bank is helpful to Israel’s security; 44% say that settlement construction hurts Israel’s own security interests. 

HAS THE SETTLEMENT POLICY KILLED THE TWO STATE SOLUTION DEAD?

Israel’s aggressive settlement policy has made the establishment of a viable contiguous Palestinian state (a generally acknowledged path to peace)  physically and politically nearly impossible.
Thomas Friedman, in an op-ed published on February 10, 2016, said, “The  peace process is dead. It’s over, folks, so please stop sending the New York Times Op-Ed page editor your proposals for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.”  
In 2015 Netanyahu pledged that there would be no Palestinian state on his watch. This should surprise no one. Since 1967, Israel has pursued a policy, as promoted by Vladimir Jabotinsky in the 1920’s; i.e., the full annexation of the West Bank (code words “Judea and Samaria”).
WHO SUPPORTS THE SETTLEMENTS

The Congress of the United States and President Trump’s newly appointed Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

CONCLUSION

Failure to support this resolution authorizes: the maintenance of what is now the longest occupation in the world; increased illegal transfers of Israeli citizens to settlements; more extensions of the illegal wall; continued violations by Israel of international human, civil and criminal laws with their attendant deaths and destruction of property and the death of the two state solution.

Ironically, the settlements and their attendant abuse and humiliation and, frankly, terrorization of Palestinians are also contrary to the core values of Judaism. As stated by Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold, who recently passed away, the former director of Harvard Hillel;

“The Jewish settlements on the West Bank are a grave and dangerous mistake that have done much harm to Israel. Micah. ‘He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.’ By all means, Humbly.”

Israel’s settlement policy is un-American, undemocratic, unjust and an obstacle to peace. As stated by Martin Luther King, Jr., ”There can be no justice without peace and there can be no peace without justice.”


I urge the committee to vote in favor of this resolution.





http://masspeaceaction.org/opponents-of-resolution-one-sided/ 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Categorized List of B'Tselem Reports Documenting Israel's Violations of International Human Rights

If you ever need factual documentation and eyewitness accounts of Israel's past and continuing violations of the human rights of Palestinians, I have listed below a categorized list of the titles of Reports from B'Tselem sent to me from 2001 to 2014.  Some in the media devote much time to the issue of the illegal settlements which is appropriate but there are so many other inhumane aspects of the occupation that get overlooked and are barely covered.   


B’TSELEM - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories was established in February 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members to document human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.

Titles of Some B’Tselem Reports from 2001 to 2014

SETTLEMENT POLICY FOR ISRAELIS
Land Grab: Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank; May 2002; 140 pages
Jewish Settlements in the West Bank: Built-up Areas and Land Reserves; May 2002; Map
Hebron, Area H-2: Settlements Cause Mass Departure of Palestinians; August 2003; 45 pages
The Hidden Agenda: The Establishment and Expansion Plans of Ma’ale Adummim and their Human   Rights Ramifications; December 2009; 58 pages
By Hook and Crook: Israel Settlement Policy in the West Bank; July 2010; 69 pages

EXPULSION PLANNING FOR PALESTINIANS
Dispossession and Exploitation: Israel’s Policy in the Jordan Valley and Northern Dead Sea; May 2011;  59 pages
 Means of Expulsion: Violence, Harassment and Lawlessness against Palestinians in the Southern Hebron Hills; July 2005; 59 pages
Ghost Town: Israel’s Separation Policy and Forced Eviction of Palestinians from the Center of Hebron; May 2007; 107 pages

FORBIDDEN FAMILIES
Forbidden Families: Family Unification and Child Registration in East Jerusalem; January 2004; 41 pages
Barred from Contact: Violation of the Right to Visit Palestinians Held in Israeli Prisons; September 2006; 49 pages
So Near and Yet So Far: Implications of Israel-Imposed Seclusion of Gaza Strip on Palestinians’ Right to Family Life; January 2014; 67 pages
Perpetual Limbo: Israel’s Freeze on Unification of Palestinian Families in the Occupied Territories; July 2006; 49 pages

HOUSE DEMOLITIONS
Policy of Destruction: House Demolitions and Destruction of Agricultural Land in the Gaza Strip;  February 2002; 45 pages
Through No Fault of Their Own: Punitive House Demolitions during the al-Aqsa Intifada; November 2004; 66 pages

NON-ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW ON SETTLERS AND MILITARY
Standing Idly By: Non-Enforcement of the Law on Settlers – Hebron 26-28 July 2002; August 2002; 20 pages
Foreseen But Not Prevented: The Israeli Law Enforcement Authorities Handling of Settler Attacks on Olive Harvesters; November 2002; 32 pages
Void of Responsibility: Israel Military Policy Not to Investigate Killings of Palestinians by Soldiers;  October 2010;  53 pages

TREATMENT OF MINORS
Caution Children Ahead: The Illegal Behavior of the Police Toward Minors in Silwan Suspected of Stone Throwing; December 2010; 32 pages
No Minor Matter:  Violation of the Rights of Palestinian Minors Arrested by Israel on Suspicion of Stone Throwing; July 2011; 79 pages

RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT
Ground to a Halt: Denial of Palestinians’ Freedom of Movement in the West Bank;, August 2007; 118 pages
Access Denied: Israeli Measures to Deny Palestinians Access to Land Around Settlements; September 2008; 80 pages

FORBIDDEN ROADS
Forbidden Roads: Israel’s Discriminatory Road Regime in the West Bank; August 2004; 55 pages

SEPARATION BARRIER
Behind the Barrier: Human rights Violations as a Result of Israel’s Separation Barrier; March 2003; 41 pages
Facing the Abyss: The Isolation of Sheikh Sa’ad Village Before and After the Separation Barrier; February 2004; 25 pages
Not All it Seems: Preventing Palestinians Access to Their Lands West of the Separation Barrier in the Tulkarm-QalQiliya Area; June 2004; 26 pages
Arrested Development: The Long Term Impact of Israel’s Separation Barrier in the West Bank; October 2012; 78 pages
 A Wall in Jerusalem: Obstacles to Human Rights in the Holy City; Summer 2006; 31 pages

ACCESS TO WATER
Foul Play: Neglect of Wastewater Treatment in the West Bank; June 2009; 45 pages

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION
Absolute Prohibition: The Torture and Ill-Treatment of Palestinian Detainees; May 2007; 104 pages
Without Trial: Administrative Detention of Palestinians by Israel and the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law; October 2009; 74 pages
Kept in the Dark: Treatment of Palestinian Detainees in the Petah Tikva Interrogation Facility of the Israel Security Agency; October 2010; 67 pages

EXCESSIVE FORCE BY IDF
Excessive Force: Human Rights Violations during IDF Actions in Area A; December 2001; 82 pages
Wounded in the Field: Impeding Medical Treatment and Firing at Ambulances by IDF Soldiers in the Occupied Territories; March 2002; 31 pages
Trigger Happy: Unjustified Shooting and Violation of the Open-Fire Regulations during the al-Aqsa Intifada; March 2002; 53 pages
Lethal Curfew: The Use of Live Ammunition to Enforce Curfew; October 2002; 33 pages
Human Shield: Use of Palestinian Civilians as Human Shields in Violation of High Court of Justice Order; November 2002; 21 pages
Harm to Medical Personnel: The Delay, Abuse and Humiliation of Medical Personnel by Israeli Security Forces; December 2003; 30 pages
Take No Prisoners: The Fatal Shooting of Palestinians by Israeli Security Forces during “Arrest Operations”; May 2005; 48 pages

GAZA
One Big Prison: Freedom of Movement to and From the Gaza Strip on the Eve of the Disengagement Plan; March 2005; 79 pages
Act of Vengeance: Israel’s Bombing of the Gaza Power Plant and its Effects; September 2006; 35 pages
Al-Mawasi, Gaza Strip, Intolerable Life in an Isolated Enclave; March 2003; 25 pages

HUMAN RIGHTS GENERALLY

Human rights in the Occupied Territories; 2011 Annual Report; 63 pages

Monday, March 20, 2017

UN ESCWA Report on Israel Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid

Excerpt from the Executive Summary

I may be prepared to scan the entire document in at some time in the future but since the United Nations (under pressure from the Trump Administration) has deleted the Report of the UN ESCWA which found that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid, I wanted to immediately print the first and last paragraph of the Executive Summary, also deleted from the UN website. When you follow the links to both of them on the UN website, you get the message PAGE NOT FOUND.

This report concludes that Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. Aware of the seriousness of this allegation, the authors of the report conclude that available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

The report concludes that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity, the prohibition of which is considered jus cogens (note - peremptory principles or norms from which no derogation is permitted). The international community, especially the United Nations and its agencies, and Member States, have a legal obligation to act within the limits of their capabilities to prevent and punish instances of apartheid that are responsibly brought to their attention. More specifically, states have a collective duty: (a) not to recognize an apartheid regime as lawful; (b) not to aid or assist a State in maintaining an apartheid regime; and (c) to cooperate with the United Nations and other States in bringing apartheid regimes to an end. Civil society institutions and individuals also have a moral and political duty to use the instruments at their disposal to raise awareness of this ongoing criminal enterprise, and to exert pressure on Israel in order to persuade it to dismantle apartheid structures in compliance with international law  The report ends with general and specific recommendations to the United Nations, national Governments and civil society and private actors on actions they should take in view of the finding that Israel maintains a regime of apartheid in its exercise of control over the Palestinian people.

The entire report can be found here. One of the recommendations for National Governments of Member States in the full report is:
National Governments should support boycott, divestment and sanctions activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

Message for Congressman Moulton who Voted for House Resolution 11

Hi Peter Billerbeck,

I received a letter from Congressman Moulton dated February 6, 2017, in which he explains why he voted in favor of House Resolution 11.

Let me tell you why I strongly disagree with the contents of this letter..

The letter limits the charges against Israel to its expansion of settlements and attempts to set up some equivalency between that and the sporadic violence of Palestinians.

This is an incredibly narrow view of what Israel has done.

You and the Congressman have letters and emails from me describing 50 years of Israel’s oppression and violations of Palestinian human rights in the occupied territories including not only the illegality of the occupation and the settlements but also:  distributing water unequally denying Palestinians fair access to minimal water while allowing ample water to squatters for irrigation and pools, stealing land and taking control over 40% of the West Bank; destroying over 48,000 homes and other structures since 1967 (very few for security reasons); building a wall, 85% inside the green line separating families from their lands, schools and businesses; overlooking squatters and the IDF destroying 800,000 olive trees; illegally establishing one (military) law for Palestinians and another (Israeli) law for squatters; failing to enforce criminal laws against squatters while punishing Palestinians for the same actions; illegally restricted movement by constructing many checkpoints and physical barriers (many unrelated to security concerns resulting in difficulty in getting to jobs and medical assistance); holding thousands of Palestinians, sometimes more than a year, without ever charging them with a crime. In addition Israel has on four occasions since 2006, chosen to invade Gaza, using excessive force, including in 2014, killing over 2000 Palestinians, mostly women and children and two-thirds civilians, and destroying or damaging over 96,000 houses and structures.

The letter states that the shared goal is reaching resolution between the parties of this two-sided conflict. The solution is NOT a resolution between only the two parties. In this case where one side has been an oppressor for 50 years and has been the subject for 50 years of condemnation from the UN, often supported by the US, the solution is world pressure on Israel (including especially the BDS movement) to cease and desist from violating the human rights of Palestinians.

In addition the letters states that the H. Res. 11 “correctly emphasizes that the only path to a lasting peace between the Israeli and the Palestinian people is a durable two-state solution where both sides can safely live side-by-side.” Wrong again! There is increasing acknowledgement (including an op-ed by Thomas Friedman) that because of Israel’s 50 year illegal settlement policy, the two-state solution is dead. It is time to explore possible structures for one democratic state, such as a federation, where  all residents have equal rights.

I apologize for the delay in responding to the letter but I was vacationing until yesterday in southern Arizona. While there I had the opportunity to visit the Tohono O’odham reservation and its cultural center as well as other museums created by American Indians. One learns or is reminded of the  cruel treatment of them by non-American Indians including: maps showing the small fraction of land given to them after most of it was stolen; the forced marches, including the “trail of tears”, endured as they were evicted from their lands and sent to reservations (refugee centers?); the attempted forced “civilization” of the “savages” by shipping off children to boarding schools hundreds of miles from their homes in order to help them forget their culture; and many other violations of American Indian human rights. The results can be seen today in the sad picture of poverty, alcoholism and diabetes on most reservations. There are also, of course, stories about the violence of American Indians such as Geronimo against newly arrived immigrants to their lands.

I mention that, obviously, because there is a great similarity between what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians and what “we” did to the American Indians.

We are today enlightened, perhaps, and would not have so easily have justified the violations of American Indians human rights by saying their violence was the same as our taking of their lands to build towns for our settlers from Europe and elsewhere.

Nor is it likely, except in some parts of the country, to say today that the two parties – American Indians and Europeans should have met and established two-states, one for the American Indians and one Christian state for the non-American Indian settlers..

I would ask Congressman Moulton to consider these thoughts the next time he is about to take a position on an issue involving the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

I am also concerned, based on the letter I received, that the Congressman may not be taking full advantage of a number of individuals, both constituents and others in the Boston area, who can provide him with a wealth of facts about the Palestine/Israel conflict.

I invite you to contact me at your convenience so that I can provide you with contact information about some of them.

Thank you and the congressman for your efforts for peace with justice.

Ron Fox
Marblehead

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

ISRAEL'S VIOLATIONS OF PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS

While the focus has appropriately been on Israel's continuing illegal 50 year occupation and its 50 year policy of building and maintaining illegal settlements, we sometimes do not make supporters and opponents of Palestinian human rights aware of the many other actions taken by Israel in violation of international law. 

THE OCCUPATION
The occupation of the West Bank began in 1967.  Israel has been in violation of the United Nations Charter Article 2 and Resolution 242 since 1967. The year 2017 will mark 50th anniversary of the longest occupation in the world

THE SETTLEMENTS
The Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 1949: Article 49 states “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” From 2 by 1968 there are now 123 settlements where approximately 350,000 Jewish Israeli squatters live. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the first illegal transfer of Jewish Israeli squatters into the West Bank.

THEFT OF PALESTINIAN LAND
The use of extrajudicial process (theft and questionable military necessity) to take control of over 60% of the West Bank has been thoroughly documented in B’Tselem’s “Land Grab”.

DESTRUCTION OF HOMES AND OTHER STRUCTURES
Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian houses – about 27,000 in the Occupied Territories since 1967.  In only 2% of the 27,000 houses demolished were done for security reasons related to terrorism.

THE WALL
According to B’Tselem - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories as of 2011:Eighty-five percent of the amended route is within the West Bank itself, not along the Green Line. In areas where the Separation Barrier has already been built, the extensive violations of human rights of Palestinians living nearby are evident.

OLIVE TREE DESTRUCTION
Jewish squatters and the IDF have destroyed 800,000 olive trees (equal to destroying all the trees in Central Park 33 times). Olive trees are the source of income for many Palestinians and Israel has not taken action to arrest, try and punish, or otherwise hold them responsible.

NON-ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS
Israel has failed to charge Jewish settlers for criminal acts including personal injury, deaths and property damage. Many reports from B’Tselem document cases where squatters have stabbed and killed children and adults and destroyed homes and property of Palestinians.

APARTHEID
What does apartheid mean, in Israeli terms? separate, segregated roads and highways for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank; hundreds of attacks by settlers targeting Palestinian property, livelihoods, and lives, without convictions, charges, or even suspects; uncounted Palestinians jailed without trial, shot dead without trial, shot dead in the back while fleeing and without just cause.

RESTRICTION ON MOVEMENT
Israel has created massive restrictions on the movement of Palestinians by the establishment of checkpoints (99 fixed and 174 surprise flying ones as of 2013) most not for security purpose but simply to harass and humiliate Palestinians by having them have to have a long wait to cross into Israel for work or medical treatment or to simply get from one West Bank town to another for family or business reasons.

UNEQUAL ACCESS TO WATER
In its report entitled Troubled Waters – Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water, Amnesty International concludes: Israel’s actions and policies have greatly diminished existing water sources and restricted the availability of water for the Palestinian population in the OPT in breach of Israel’s obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION AND TORTURE
Over the years, Israel has placed thousands of Palestinians in administrative detention for prolonged periods of time, without trying them, without informing them of the charges against them, and without allowing them or their counsel to examine the evidence. As of the end of July 2014, Israel was holding about 446 Palestinians in administrative detention. 

INVASIONS OF GAZA AND COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT
Most devastating is that since 2006, Gaza has been subjected to four massive Israeli attacks that deliberately targeted and destroyed its civilian infrastructure (power plants, water and sewage treatment plants, hospitals and schools) and leveled entire residential neighborhoods. In the 2014 Israeli attack between 2,125 and 2,310 Gazans were killed and between 10,626 and 10,895were wounded (including 3,374 children, of whom over 1,000 were left permanently disabled). The UN calculated that more than 7,000 homes for 10,000 families were razed, together with an additional 89,000 homes damaged, of which roughly 10,000 were severely affected by the bombing. Rebuilding costs were calculated to run from 4-6 billion dollars, over 20 years.

DEATH OF A TWO STATE SOLUTION AND RISE OF THE ONE STATE SOLUTION
Today, all knowledgeable observers recognize that Israel’s aggressive Settlement expansion policies have made establishment of a separate Palestinian state physically and politically impossible. There now are just too many Jewish Settlers— what Israelis call “facts on the ground” scattered throughout the West Bank.

BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS (BDS)
There is a growing movement of actions under an umbrella called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Millions of dollars have been donated and raised by Sheldon Adelson and others in an attempt to paint these actions as anti-Semitic, whereas for reasons outlined above, I refer to his efforts as “Pro-Apartheid”. These actions follow a long history in the United States of attempts to peacefully bring pressure on states and other entities to act in accordance with international human rights laws. The deliberate campaign to try to discredit anyone who objects to Israel’s continuous violations of UN actions and international human and civil rights by accusing them of anti-Semitism and to do the same to those Jewish individuals and organizations who provide evidence that the actions of Israel are brutally in conflict with the core fundamental values of Judaism is disingenuous and serves not only to support the continued brutal oppression of Palestinians but to enable the inexorable push by Israel to drive Palestinians out of the West Bank so Israel can annex “Judea and Samaria”.

These actions would be unthinkable and abhorrent and illegal in the United State (substitute Native Americans and Blacks for Palestinians) and yet the US not only fails to pressureIsrael in the UN but has now passed a 10 year $38 billion military aid deal..

Such racist, demonizing, discriminatory, brutal, violent and hateful actions violate not only international human rights laws, international criminal laws, hundreds of UN actions but also the fundamental and core values of Judaism.

It is incumbent upon those who want to hold to the highest standards of Judaism to condemn the actions of Israel and its oppression of the Palestinian people and to support: actions to end the longest occupation in the world now in its 50th year; calls to dismantle the illegal settlements many of which are close to 50 years old; and efforts aimed at bringing not only peace but justice for Palestinians through the establishment of one state with equal rights for all.

FOR FURTHER RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION

There have accumulated since 1967 thousands of reports, articles, witness statements, videos, books, laws, resolutions and court records to prove that Israel’s has not just mistreated Palestinians but has been brutal, unjust, immoral, discriminatory, inhumane, barbaric and racist.  For anyone wishing to learn more about Israel’s violations of human and civil rights, please visit the websites of these organizations promoting peace with justice including B’Tselem - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, ICAHD  -  Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and Jewish Voice for Peace