Palestine 2019 Part 5


Settlements: The US changes politics

November 18

The US government announces yet another major step toward more pro-Israeli politics: Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory do not necessarily mean violations of international law, said Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo. The United States believes that the legality of settlements should be assessed by the Supreme Court of Israel, a state located in Asia continent defined by topb2bwebsites. That stance puts the United States at odds with all the country’s allies in the Middle East and with UN resolutions since Israel entered the Palestinian territories in 1967. The Fourth Geneva Convention (one of the laws of war) explicitly prohibits the occupation power from moving its own territory into an occupied territory. From Palestine, Pompeo’s statement is dismissed as the United States replacing international law with “the law of the jungle”.

Shaky truce after battles

November 14

An armistice comes into force between Israel and Islamic jihad in the Gaza Strip, but is not fully respected. Since Israel’s deadly attack on a Jihad leader two days earlier, the most intense fighting in months has taken place across the border. Jihad has fired over 400 grenades against Israel, which fired waves of air strikes at targets in Gaza. Over the course of a few days, 34 Palestinians are reported to have lost their lives. According to Israel, 20 of them were militants. The battles leave injured on both sides. It arouses interest to Hamas, which controls Gaza, has kept out striderna.Hamas have a couple of weeks earlier signaled its willingness to participate in elections that could lead to reconciliation with the leaders in the West Bank and return to a build-up of joint democratic institutions throughout Palestine (see October 28).

The EU requires food labeling

November 12

According to EU rules on origin labeling, food products from the Palestinian territories must be labeled so that they are visible from where they come, the European Court finds. Israel is reacting strongly to the decision, which means that it must also be clear whether foodstuffs sold in EU countries are derived from Israeli settlements on occupied land. The ruling supports guidelines issued by the EU in 2015. It also applies to products from the Golan Heights, which Israel conquered from Syria in 1967. The European Court’s argument is that consumers must be given the opportunity to make “informed choices, including on ethical grounds”.

Israel strikes against Islamic Jihad

November 12

A leader of the militant organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad is killed along with his wife in an attack in Gaza City carried out by the Israeli army and security service Shin Bet. Israel holds the man, Baha Abu al-Ata, responsible for, among other things, rocket fire against Israel, and the attack is followed by a rocket rain from the Gaza Strip. Islamic jihad is described as the most dangerous militant group in Gaza, next to Hamas, and the two movements have a collaboration. At about the same time, Israel launches an airstrike against a home in Damascus, Syria, where a Jihad leader resides. That attack also requires two lives, according to Syria’s state news agency. From the Israeli army comes a message that it does not intend to resume the targeted murders of militant leaders in Gaza, perhaps to avert revenge attacks across the border.

The head of the refugee body resigns

November 6

Swiss Pierre Krähenbühl, head of the UN organization UNRWA, leaves his post after being suspended from service during an ongoing internal investigation into maladministration within the organization. UNRWA is responsible for the care and education of Palestinian refugees in several countries. The business employs upwards of 30,000 people. Krähenbühl and other managers have been questioned for information about abuse of power and allegations of mistreatment. Among other things, a special service must have been set up for an official with whom the UNRWA manager had a relationship. Several of the UN member states have frozen their contributions to UNRWA pending what the internal investigation will lead to (see 29 July 2019).


Break in protest wave

December 26

The recurring protests against Israel in the Gaza Strip are set three months ahead, until the end of March 2020, one of the organizers said. When the demonstrations resume, they should be conducted every month, not every week, it is also called. The organizers give no reason, but the number of participants has decreased recently. The demonstration wave was launched in March 2018, in protest of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and in support of the refugees’ right to return to places of residence that are today within Israel’s borders.

Israeli anger against ICC request

December 20

Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), wants to start a formal, full investigation into whether war crimes have been committed in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. A preliminary investigation has been conducted since the war in Gaza in 2014, but Bensouda points out that the ICC must decide whether the court is also entitled to adjudicate on the matter. Israel, which has not joined the ICC cooperation, rejects the request. The Palestinian Authority joined the ICC in 2015. Should a case be brought up by the ICC, criminal suspicions against individuals can be tried, however states cannot be brought to justice at the ICC. In the 2014 war, 2,251 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 74 Israelis, mostly military, died. The ICC has also tentatively investigated events at the Gaza Strip border 2018.

US resolution against annexation

December 6

The House of Representatives in the US Congress opposes Israeli annexation of the West Bank and gives its explicit support to the two-state solution that has been a prerequisite in recent decades’ peace plans for the Middle East. This occurs when any annexation of the West Bank for the first time is subject to a vote in the House. The resolution is a form of warning to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who wants to annex Palestinian land on the West Bank, and to President Trump, who has given Netanyahu his strong support.

Palestine 2019 Part 5