Archive | November 25th, 2020

UAE to Buy 50 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

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The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the United Arab Emirates of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and related equipment for an estimated cost of $10.4 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has requested to buy up to fifty (50) F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft and fifty-four (54) Pratt & Whitney F-135 Engines (up to 50 installed and 4 spares). Also included are Electronic Warfare Systems; Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence/Communications, Navigational, and Identification (C4I/CNI); Autonomic Logistics Global Support System (ALGS); Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN); Air System Training Devices; Weapons Employment Capability and other Subsystems, Features, and Capabilities; F-35 unique chaff and infrared flares; reprogramming center access; F-35 Performance Based Logistics; software development/integration; aircraft ferry and tanker support; aircraft and munitions support and test equipment; communications equipment; provisioning, spares and repair parts; weapons repair and return support; personnel training and training equipment; weapon systems software, publications and technical documents; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated cost is $10.4 billion.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of an important regional partner. The UAE has been, and continues to be, a vital U.S. partner for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.

The proposed sale of F-35s will provide the Government of the UAE with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. forces. The UAE has demonstrated a commitment to modernizing its military and will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into their armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support represents a significant increase in capability and will alter the regional military balance.

The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, TX; and Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, CT. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. However, the purchaser typically requests offsets. Any offset agreements will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor(s). Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the UAE.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to the UAE involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, program management, and training over the life of the program. U.S. contractor representatives will be required in the UAE to conduct Contractor Engineering Technical Services (CETS) and Autonomic Logistics and Global Support (ALGS) for after-aircraft delivery.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law. The description and dollar value is for the highest estimated quantity and dollar value based on initial requirements. Actual dollar value will be lower depending on final requirements, budget authority, and signed sales agreement(s), if and when concluded.

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Zionist Trump’s Legitimization of the Nazi Occupation

The Republican Party has its own Israel problem – J.

Trump’s Legitimization of Occupation

Palestine Center Brief No. 307 

By Mohamed Mohamed

Every six months since 1995, American presidents have signed a waiver delaying the implementation of a law which requires the U.S. embassy to be relocated to Jerusalem, since doing so would destabilize the region further, which in turn harms U.S. national security interests.

President Donald Trump issued the waiver in June, but insisted that he will eventually move the embassy as promised during his election campaign. Monday, December 4 was the latest deadline, but the White House made no announcement about whether or not the waiver was signed.

This raised concern among Palestinians and others throughout the world, including European allies of Israel, that Trump may indeed alter the status of Jerusalem by recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the city. Israel annexed Jerusalem illegally under international law, which is why no country in the world recognizes it as the Israeli capital and why all embassies are in Tel Aviv.

Reports emerged on Tuesday that Trump informed Arab and Israeli leaders that he plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The President’s predecessors, both Democrat and Republican, have always signed the waiver and upheld the consensus on Jerusalem’s status, but Trump seems to be set on deviating from this longstanding policy and living up to his reputation as an unconventional president.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the conflict, and recognizing the city as Israel’s capital is an absolute deal-breaker for Palestinians. Anyone with basic knowledge of the conflict knows this. It is such a cornerstone of their struggle that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, usually bitter rivals, have expressed solidarity on this issue in a rare phone call between their leaders.

To make matters worse, legitimizing the occupation of Jerusalem provides implicit support for Israeli settlements, since there are now over 200,000 settlers colonizing Palestinian land in East Jerusalem. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and pose a huge problem for Palestinians, so any endorsement of the Israeli settler-colonial project is also a deal-breaker.

Even if Trump were to backtrack and maintain the status quo, it is astonishing that he would so much as hint at making such a move after claiming to be committed to brokering the “ultimate deal” that would resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Clearly, he has never been serious about this.

Obviously, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital marks an unprecedented shift in U.S. policy, but it is important to note that from presidents Truman to Trump, the U.S. has never actually been an “honest broker” of peace between Palestinians and Israelis. On the contrary, the U.S. has provided exceptional diplomatic, economic, and military support to Israel ever since its creation in 1948.

For example, even though the official American position on Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank is that they are illegal, the U.S. has never taken any meaningful steps to hold Israel accountable for its continued and increasing settlement of Palestinian land. The most it has done was under the final month of President Obama’s tenure, when it abstained from a UN vote calling on Israel to cease settlement activity. But only months before, the Obama administration had approved a record military aid package to Israel worth $38 billion, including the sale of advanced F-35 fighter jets (the first foreign country to receive them).

Clearly, American presidents and officials have failed miserably as impartial mediators in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over the past 70 years. The latest reports of Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. Palestinians and the Palestinian leadership must recognize this fact, and they must abandon all attempts to pursue justice through American channels, which have been entirely fruitless. Otherwise, they will be wasting their time and efforts. Surely there will be a major backlash to this decision that will probably lead to violence at some point, but the Israeli and U.S. governments will have no one to blame but themselves. You reap what you sow.

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The Deal that Was Never Meant to Be

Palestine Center Brief No. 337 

By Mohamed Mohamed

On January 28, 2020, US President Donald Trump finally revealed the details of his so-called “Deal of the Century.” The proposal is so condescending and ludicrously biased in favor of Israel that it is almost comical and not even worth discussing. But this was expected.

To begin with, let us look at the definition of a “deal,” which is very straightforward. It is when two or more parties enter into an agreement for their mutual benefit. In this case, one would logically expect the “Deal of the Century” to be negotiated between Palestinians and Israelis. But Palestinians were never included in this process. How can there be a deal when one of the primary parties is excluded?

The reality is that this “deal” was never meant to be a serious one. The input and legitimate grievances of Palestinians were never meant to be taken into consideration.

In 1948, more than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or forced to flee from their homeland in historic Palestine thanks to the violence and terrorism of invading Zionist forces. Most of these people, along with their descendants, were never able to return to their homes. Later that year, the UN General Assembly issued Resolution 194, which called on Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.  

To this day, Israel has not only failed to comply with this international resolution, but it has also stated that the Palestinian right of return is out of the question. The Trump proposal reinforces this explicitly: “There shall be no right of return by, or absorption of, any Palestinian refugee into the State of Israel.”

In 1967, Israel initiated a war and invaded the West Bank, Gaza, and parts of Egypt and Syria. This situation created another wave of Palestinian displacement and refugees, and shortly after, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 237, which again called on Israel to allow the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes. Later in the year, the UN Security Council also issued Resolution 242, which called on Israel to fully withdraw from the territories that it acquired by force. Again, Israel did not comply with either of these resolutions.

On the contrary, since 1967, Israel colonized tens of thousands of hectares of Palestinian land on at least 200 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a total population of between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers. Under international law, these settlers are occupying land illegally, and until recently, even the US considered the settlements to be illegal.

But unsurprisingly, the Trump plan calls for these illegal settlements, along with the Jordan Valley, to be officially recognized as sovereign Israeli territories.

This plan also pictures any future Palestinian state as a neutered one. Israel would continue to “maintain control over the airspace and the electromagnetic spectrum west of the Jordan river” as well as all international crossings into Palestine. The State of Palestine would be a demilitarized one that will be prohibited from possessing a military or weaponry that could endanger the State of Israel, and Palestine “will not have the right” to forge agreements with any other state or organization that “adversely affect the State of Israel’s security, as determined by the State of Israel.” In effect, Israel would be able to maintain its current control over almost all aspects of Palestine’s politics, economy, and military.

Perhaps one of the most insulting proposals of the plan is that the capital of Palestine “should be in the section of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north of the existing security barrier, including Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat and Abu Dis, and could be named Al Quds or another name as determined by the State of Palestine.” In other words, Palestinians are expected to establish a capital city on other pieces of land and just call it Al Quds (Arabic for Jerusalem).

The matters of Palestinian refugees’ right of return, illegal occupation and settlement of Palestinian land, and the status of Jerusalem are widely known as the most contentious issues in the conflict. So how is it possible that such a plan, which favors Israel on all issues, could be taken seriously? There is no attempt to even appear as a fair, “honest broker.”

The answer is that this so-called “peace” plan was never meant to be reasonable. The Palestinian leadership, along with many observers, said that the proposal would be dead on arrival. They were right, but this seems to have been the intention of the proposal all along.

The reason is very simple. Israel benefits much more by perpetuating the status quo regarding Palestine. Even with a deal that is so skewed in its favor, Israel would have to commit to allowing the creation of a state of Palestine, officially defining Israeli borders, giving Palestinians more autonomy over their affairs, and bearing more responsibility for its total control of Palestinians. For as long as Israel can maintain it, the status quo of occupation, oppression, and exploitation of Palestine is preferable.

Israel and its allies in the US government know that no Palestinian can accept such a horrible proposal, but this is no accident. From the leadership to the average person, Palestinians have overwhelmingly rejected this plan. This happens to serve Israel’s propaganda efforts. Israel and its Zionist supporters will point the blame on Palestinians and claim that they are not interested in peace. Once again, Palestinians will be painted as the obstacles to the resolution of the conflict.

Even worse, if by some magical reason Palestinians agreed to the terms of the US plan, they would likely fall into the same trap as the Oslo Accords of the 1990’s, which Israel breached and ignored. Palestinians have every right to doubt the credibility of Israel and the US as well.

The bottom line is that Israel’s best interest is to maintain its current occupation and control of Palestinians for as long as it can. It has no incentive to commit itself to a “peace plan” that will be more costly than the status quo. As long as the US and other world powers continue to provide diplomatic, economic, and military cover for its human rights violations against Palestinians, Israel will never change its behavior.

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Double Standards of the Dishonest Brokers

Palestine Center Brief No. 340 

By Mohamed Mohamed

On May 28, China’s parliament passed a national security law for Hong Kong that China claims will confront “secession, subversion, terrorism, and foreign interference.”

As someone who is not a China or Hong Kong observer, I cannot comment on the merits, or lack thereof, of this law.

However, I can certainly comment on the double standards and hypocrisy of the US government and its allies.

Shortly after China passed the law on Hong Kong, the US, UK, Canada, and Australia issued a joint statement condemning it. They said that “China’s decision to impose the new national security law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its international obligations.”

They also expressed their “deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong.” They add that the law “does nothing to build mutual understanding and foster reconciliation within Hong Kong.”

At first glance, one might think that the US and its allied governments are benevolent states with deep compassion for oppressed people.

But where is their condemnation and “deep concern” when it comes to Israel’s oppression of Palestinians? Where is their concern for “mutual understanding” and “reconciliation” between Palestinians and Israelis? The fact is, they do not exist.

In 1948, when Israel declared its independence by force, it caused the expulsion of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland. Later that year, the UN General Assembly issued Resolution 194, which called on Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. To this day, Israel has not only failed to comply with this international resolution, but it has also explicitly stated that the Palestinian right of return is out of the question.

In 1967, Israel initiated a war and invaded the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, and Syria. This created another wave of Palestinian displacement and refugees, and shortly after, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 237, which again called on Israel to allow the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes. Unsurprisingly, Israel did not comply. Later in the year, the UN Security Council also issued Resolution 242, which called on Israel to fully withdraw from the territories that it acquired by force.

More than half a century later, Israel continues to illegally occupy the Palestinian West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Syrian Golan Heights, and has maintained a near-total land, sea, and air siege of the Gaza strip.

Collective punishment of occupied peoples, the theft and destruction of their territories and private property, and their detention without due process are all forbidden under international law, but Israel violates these rules daily.

In 2011, Israel passed the “Admissions Committees Law,” which allows residents of small towns to prevent individuals “who do not suit the lifestyle and social fabric of the community” from residing in these towns. In practice, this law primarily targets Palestinian citizens of Israel.

In July of 2018, the Israeli Knesset passed the “Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People” bill into law, which declared that only Jewish people have the “right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel.”

Israel has plenty of other discriminatory laws that are too many to name here. But for more than 72 years, the US and its allies have barely condemned, if at all, Israel’s blatant discrimination and tyranny toward Palestinians.

The fact of the matter is that these world powers do not care about “international obligations” or principles of human rights. They only express “concern” when the country in question is a rival such as China. When it is an ally such as Israel, there will be nothing but silence.

It is also important to note that even though Hong Kong is a “special administrative region” of China, it enjoys a significant level of political and economic autonomy. It is not under military occupation, as is the case with the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The US and its allies are exposing their hypocrisy. They are quick to criticize China’s law on Hong Kong, but they show a flagrant disregard for international law and human rights when it comes to Israel.

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USA-‘ Israel’ Police Brutality

Police Brutality: From Israel to the US

Palestine Center Brief No. 340 (June 9, 2020)

By Mohamed Mohamed

Parts of American cities are in chaos right now. As everyone knows, the current protests and turmoil in the US were triggered by the murder of an unarmed and restrained black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police officers in the city of Minneapolis.

People throughout the US and the rest of the world are shocked at the brutality and excessive force used by the police officers responsible for Floyd’s death. Of course, any decent person with a conscience would be sickened by such cruelty. But while they are appalled, Palestinians are not surprised.

Why? Because Palestinians have endured similar force and oppression at the hands of Israel for more than 70 years.

In 1948, Zionist terrorists invaded the land of Palestine and expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes. They terrorized them, they killed women, children, and the elderly, and they committed massacres in numerous Palestinian villages. The few Palestinians who were able to stay are now treated as second-class citizens at best, and they face even worse discrimination than African Americans in the US.

In 1967, Israel initiated a war and invaded the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. To this day, the Palestinian and Syrian territories are either under Israeli military occupation, or under a near-total siege as is the case in Gaza.

Israel denies these Palestinians the most basic of human rights, which should be guaranteed under international law. They do not enjoy the right to freedom of movement. They are routinely subjected to unlawful surveillance, searches, and seizures. They are often shot, killed, and maimed for very trivial reasons or for no reason at all. Israel and Israeli settlers regularly confiscate their land and private property. They do not have decent access to basic resources such as water, and they do not even have access to quality healthcare.

And as is the case with George Floyd and many others like him, Palestinians have been subjected to racial profiling, torture, and extrajudicial killings. The list of abuses goes on and on, and they are frequent. In fact, on May 30, Israeli police officers in Jerusalem shot and killed Iyad Hallak, an unarmed young man with autism. Israeli police claim they suspected he was carrying a weapon, so they ordered him to stop. Hallak panicked and ran away, and one of the Israeli officers shot him twice in his torso and ended his life.

But there is another important reason why Palestinians are not surprised by police brutality in the US. In order to maintain its lethal grip on Palestinians for the past seven decades, Israel has honed its skills in subjugation and torture. It has marketed and exported its violent tactics to many countries, and sadly, the US has gladly imported its ruthless methods.

In fact, thousands of members of law enforcement in the US have received training in “crowd control, use of force, and surveillance” from Israel. This training has been conducted here in the US, in Israel, and even in the occupied Palestinian territories. This makes them complicit sponsors of Israeli crimes against humanity.

In a 2016 report, the human rights organization Amnesty International wrote that American law enforcement personnel were placed in the hands of Israeli “military, security and police systems that have racked up documented human rights violations for years,” and it describes Israel as a “chronic human rights violator.” Other orgs have documented this.

It is very telling that many US law enforcement departments choose to learn and train in subjugation tactics from Israel, because it is a country known for its ruthless and unrestrained violent methods against the Palestinian people under its occupation.

During the first and second Intifadas (uprisings) in Palestine in 1988 and 2000, Israel responded to Palestinians protesting military occupation with tremendous force. Thousands lost their lives and tens of thousands were wounded. It seems that America is going through an Intifada of its own, but hopefully it will not lead to the same loss of life that occurred in Palestine.

American law enforcement’s collaboration with Israel in learning the policing tactics that led to Floyd’s death is abhorrent, but there is hope for the future. In 2018, the city of Durham in the state of North Carolina became the first American city to ban police from training in Israel. This is encouraging, and hopefully all cities in the US will follow suit soon.

A step in the right direction is to discontinue this training cooperation with Israel and to hold American police officers to a much higher moral standard. After all, the purpose of police anywhere is “to protect and serve,” not to torture and kill.

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Re-framing the Narrative for Palestinian Rights and Justice

Video & TranscriptNadia Hijab, Zena Agha, and Yara HawariTranscript No. 497 (April 10, 2018) 

Mohamed Mohamed:

On behalf of our board of directors and staff, it is a pleasure to welcome you all here today including everybody watching online. It is also a great pleasure to introduce and welcome our distinguished speakers from al Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. We have Nadia Hijab, Zena Agha and Yara Hawari. 2018 marks 70 years since the Nakba and Israel’s disposition of the Palestinian people and violation of their rights, yet an end to their oppression and displacement remains out of reach. Indeed the discourse about what constitutes Palestine and Palestinian people has been steadily circumscribed during this period and the focus on the ephemeral two-state solution has excluded the majority of Palestinians from request for a just peace. Nadia Hijab, who is the executive director of al Shabaka, along with Zena Agha and Yara Hawari, policy fellows of al Shabaka will discuss how reframing the narrative on Palestine could help further the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

Nadia Hijab, she is the co-founder and executive director of al Shabaka and a writer, public speaker and media commentator. Her first book Women Power: the Arab Debate on Women at Work was published by Cambridge university press and she co-authored Citizens Apart, a Portrait of Palestinians in Israel. She is a co-founder and former chair of US Campaign for Palestinian rights and now serves on its advisory board. Zena Agha is the US policy follow for al Shabaka, her areas of expertise includes Israeli settlement policy related mapping efforts and the status of Jerusalem. She has previously worked at the Iraqi embassy in Paris and the Palestinian delegation at UNESCO. Zena’s media credits include The IndependentThe NationPR Arise the World and the BBC World Service and BBC Arabic. She was awarded a Kennedy scholarship to study at Harvard University where she completed her MA degree in Middle East Studies. Yara Hawary is the Palestine Policy Fellow of al Shabaka. She completed her PHD in Middle East Politics at University of Exeter where she focused on world history projects and memory of politics within an indigenous studies framework.

Her other areas of expertise include the Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jerusalem. Her articles have been published in the Independent, al Jazeera English and Middle East Eye. Her previous professional experience includes working at Kenyon institute in East Jerusalem and the refugee studies intern at the University of Oxford. Nadia Hijab, Zena Agha and Yara Hawari will each speak for about 15 minutes after which we will have a Q&A session. As always we ask that you please wait for the mic to come to you before u ask your question that everybody online can hear as well and for the online audience you can tweet your questions to us at Palestine Center and I also just want to let you know we have a signup sheet for al Shabaka and some flyers next to the door where all the other flyers are there so please sign up on your way out. Without further ado, please join me in giving a warm welcome to Nadia Hijab, Zena Agha and Yara Hawari.

Yara Hawari:

Thank you everyone for coming here today and thank you Mohammed for the introduction. As was mentioned, it has been 70 years of Nakba and the Palestinian people as a result remain socially, geographically and politically fragmented. There are Palestinians in the diaspora in every corner of the world. There are Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria and over the last 6 years, since the war in Syria, an increasing number have made their way to Europe. There are also Palestinians in the West Bank, in Gaza and there are Palestinians in present-day Israel. This geographic fragmentation is of course no accident, a naverusim mainstream discourse and definitions on who and what constitutes as Palestinian. Mainstream Israeli and international discourse limits Palestinians to the West Bank and Gaza and some of the more right wing discourse even eliminates them entirely and refers to them simply as Arabs, severing their connection with Palestine. Now the peace negotiation discourse is slightly more inclusive and it will include the Palestinian refugees because of UNRWA, but this does not translate into recognition of their right to return to their homes. Most discussions on Palestine and Palestinians on a policy level for sure on encompassing the Palestinian people in their entirety and this is one of the major downfalls. 

So I am going to briefly talk about an often forgotten group of Palestinians and these are the Palestinian citizens of Israel, who today number about 1.8 million and who make up 21 percent of Israel’s population. The Palestinian citizens of Israel were the remnants of Palestinian society in 1948 and whilst 750 of their brothers and sisters were expelled, around 150,000 remained within the borders of the new state and these pockets in which they remained were mostly focused on the south a few Bedouin populations some areas in the Triangle region, some villages in the Galilee and a few populations remained in the cities. From 1948 until 1966, this population was placed under military rule which restricted every aspect of their lives and in particular there was a lot of political repression and enforced isolation from the rest of the Arab world. The military rule ended in 1966; one year later we saw Israel occupies the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights in the six-day war. In Palestine terminology or Arab terminology, this became known as the Naksa and historic Palestine was geographically reunited and Palestinians across the green line could share their experiences after being two decades apart.

Naturally over the years, relationships were re-established and there was a relative amount of fluidity between the West Bank, Gaza and the rest of historic Palestine. This fluidity in these relationships once again disrupted with the building of the separation wall in the early 2000s.

Now in the early years after the establishment of the state of Israel, there was a discussion on what to do with these Palestinians who remained there were many discussions on expulsion and population transfer but in the end it was decided that they would be granted citizenship. Now this was done on the understanding that this citizenship would be nominal and would never be full. A common phrase is that Palestinians in Israel are second class citizens, but I don’t think this phrase gives a complete picture of reality. In Israel, citizenship and nationality are distinct terms and categories unlike most countries where the two are interchangeable. So whilst there is such a thing as Israeli citizenship, there is no Israeli nationality.

Rather nationalities designated along ethnic religious lines and actually in Israel there are about 137 possible nationalities including Jewish Arab and Druze. These nationalities are recorded on the identity cards and in the registry databases but because these data defines itself constitutionally as Jewish, it is therefore those with Jewish nationality who crumb the non-Jewish population. So whilst European states might categorize themselves as Christian culturally or historically, but constitutionally the rights to full citizenship are not premised on that. As the Jewish nation and the state of it considered to be one of the same, the exclusion of non-Jewish systems is a rather predictable consequence. The differentiation between citizenship and nationality allows for a very sophisticated and convert racist system which is not necessarily detectable to the unknowing observer.

This system essentially divides into 2 categories Jews and non-Jews, and Palestinians are designated as Israeli Arabs which not only serves as part of this binary exclusion mechanism, it also attempts to negate their Palestinian identity whilst at the same time allowing Israel to portray itself as a multicultural and diverse state. Now this citizenship and nationality issue has been challenged several times in Israeli courts by both Palestinian citizens and Israeli Jews, but thus far the Israeli Supreme Court have rejected all petitions to change the law on the basis that Israeli nationality would technically open up inclusion for non-Jewish citizens and we challenge the Zionist underpinning as a Jewish nation state. Now most of the Palestinian citizens of Israel live in Arab only villages and towns with a few living in the so-called mixed cities and it is important to note that this segregation of these populations is neither accidental not a natural residential pattern. The villages that survive ethnic cleansing in 1948 have many of their lands appropriated and expropriated and expansion since has not been permitted.

As a result these Arab towns and villages suffer from severe overcrowding with no opportunity of relied redevelopment or growth and in addition since 1948 not a single new Arab town or village has been built. So essentially the goal of the Israeli state with regards to these Palestinians is the same goal as with other Palestinian communities, to squeeze as many Palestinian Arabs into as little space as possible. If Palestinians leave their towns or villages of origin they are restricted from purchasing or leasing lands through two mechanisms: First admissions committees and second the discriminatory policies pursued by the JNF the Jewish national fund and the state authorities. The admissions committees have been continuously upheld by the high court despite challenges against it. Basically, what they are is rural communities which set up admissions committees that assess the social suitability of potential residents so in this way Palestinian applicants can be legally rejected on the very basis that they are not Jewish. So in practice this has had very devastating consequences for Palestinian spaces in 1948 borders Israel proper. In the Galilee which is in northern Israel where there is a Palestinian majority population. This has led to furious attempts by the government to Judaize the region which includes circling Palestinian villages with Jewish Israeli settlements to prevent geographic contiguity.

The Galilee also reveals the Israel state’s preoccupation with demographics and in particular its fear of the rising Palestinian population and this fear have also played out in the south, in the Negev, where there is a continued displacement and forceful relocation of tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins. Now in order to counter these racist policies and to challenge their overall treatment by the state, Palestinians in Israel have created a civil society space that is pretty much separated from its Jewish Israeli counterpart. Palestinian society initially developed to make up for the services that the state failed to provide its Palestinian citizens. However, over the last two decades, there has been a burgeoning of civil society organizations working explicitly on political mobilization and Arab Palestinian identity and cultural preservation.

Now these activities are wide-ranging and diverse and they include art, cinema, theatre and they are all very political because in their very nature they express a Palestinian identity and a Palestinian narrative. Some more perhaps interesting recent political developments among this community include the publication of a series of documents called the Future Vision Documents. These were published between 2006 and 2007, and came out of a political context of total frustration from being marginalized from the Israeli state and being marginalized at the same time from the Palestinian national movement. So what these documents were was a collective effort from politicians, intellectuals, civil society, and basically they laid out social and political demands of the Palestinian community in Israel. They put forward a cohesive Palestinian narrative. These documents didn’t present new ideas but rather what they did was consolidate what Palestinian academics, organizers and activists have been calling for decades and they have a very clear picture of an imagined future. This included equal rights and equal full rights within the state of Israel and that the state would become a state for all its citizens ending the occupation of the 1967 territories as well as the right of return for refugees. Now unfortunately, these documents have not gained much attraction but if developed I think and worked on with Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and the diaspora, they could really lay the foundation for a collective Palestinian vision of the future.

Another interesting political development took the form of the joint lists in the 2015 Knesset elections. The Knesset being the Israeli Parliament, now this was the first time all major Arab parties in Israel joined together on a single list. Israel has an electoral list system and the reason they did it in 2015 was because they were trying to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government. The joint list was headed and is headed by Ayman Awdeh and they won a total of 13 seats, making it the third largest party in the Knesset. And they managed to mobilize about two-thirds of the Palestinian citizens to vote which was quite phenomenal because usually many Palestinians within Israel take a boycott stance towards Knesset elections. During the elections itself when it was apparent that the joint list was gaining in popularity, Netanyahu actually released a video on social media in which he said the following: the right-wing government is in danger, Arab voters are heading to the polls stations in droves. Left-wing, NGOs are bringing them in buses. Now this discourse might be very uncomfortable to us but it’s actually quite common to hear in Israeli politics, where Palestinian citizens are light into animals or a sort of hegemonic mass that can be sort of driven or taken on buses. Now the joint lists hope that their increase in seats would help them be able to prevent racist bills such as the 2012 per hour plan which I’ll explain shortly, which seeks to relocate ninety thousand Palestinian Bedouins in the south.

My analysis is that the join list is not naive, it doesn’t think that it can drastically change the system from within but I think it does hope that can, well it did at the time hope that it could alleviate some of the hardships of daily life for Palestinians in Israel and also highlight and bring attention to that specific case. Unfortunately however, Netanyahu cemented a coalition deal that would see the formation of Israel’s most right-wing government state. The aforementioned government proud plan received a lot of attention in 2013, particularly because on the 30th of November, the day before the Knesset second vote on the plan, a collective day of rage was organized by activists around the country and across the green line. Demonstrations were held in Gaza, Bir Alsaba’, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Yafa, Bethlehem and the Galilee, all in solidarity with the Negev Bedouin facing displayed displacement. They used collective political manifestations across the green line were met with the same repression from the Israeli authorities and it’s this repression that unifies the Palestinian experience.

Now just a final point because I’m running out of time, another example of political solidarity across the green line is that of BDS the boycott divestment sanction movement and this has recently been developing a lot amongst the Palestinian community in Israel, and particularly there are a lot of conversations about normalization. Normalization here refers to a concept that was developed by the movement which argues that Israel must not be treated like any other country or enjoyed normal relations. Practically this means not having relations with Israeli initiatives, institutions, organizations and so on and that are not openly against Israeli oppression and colonization. For Palestinians in Israel, this can obviously be a huge challenge as interactions with the state and its institutions are unavoidable.

So, specific guidelines have been developed that recognize the difference between necessary relations and normalizing relations. For example, funding from the state for cultural projects constitutes as normalization as it’s possible to get funding elsewhere but going to a state school is not because it’s necessary as part of daily life. But I can go into BDS further in the question time. Now just to end, my sort of brief intervention here was not to isolate this fragment of the Palestinian people from the other Palestinians but rather to highlight the nuances and the specific characteristics that they face under an overall system of Israeli oppression which affects all Palestinians where they might be wherever they might be, and I really think this should be part of our reframing effort to expand the discussion of Palestine and Palestinians beyond the 1967 borders, particularly this year as we approach the 70th anniversary of the Nakba and we have remained geographically fragmented and still far from achieving full rights. Thank you.

Zena Agha:

Thank you Yara and thank you Mohammed and other organizers at the Palestine Center for having us here today. So as was mentioned at the beginning and repeated by Yara, next month we do commemorate 70 years since the loss of the Palestinian homeland and the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinian Arabs from Palestine, who are still awaiting their return entrapped in a political limbo and of course last year marked 50 years since the Naksa since the 1967 war and the reality that between the river and the sea Israel controls everyone and everything in it in one single stratified system. In the time that I have though, I’d really like to discuss the status of Jerusalem and the annexation attempts that are happening in the West Bank, not only because the imminent move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem next month but also because Israel’s brazen attempts of the West Bank among other factors mean that Palestine really is facing an existential moment. In the 50 years since Israel has captured Jerusalem, Israel has limited Palestinian power, ownership and habitation in the Jerusalem area on the one hand, while increasing Jewish Israeli presence and control on the other.

While Jerusalem was the only officially annexed part of Palestinian territory since 1967, the nationalist right wing in Israel has long since advocated the full annexation of the West Bank, otherwise known as the occupied Palestinian territories, and over the last year, the current Benjamin Netanyahu government has presented a slew of plans, resolutions and bills which were tighten Israel’s grip on Jerusalem. This is of course you know elevated by Trump’s green light but Israeli politicians, administrators and planners have also presented thousands of housing units to be built in the Jerusalem area and also deep into the occupied Palestinian territory. Now of course as we know the establishment of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is a violation of the article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the larger Israeli scheme to annex the West Bank requires a demographic majority and of course the expansion of the settlements that we see all over the West Bank, the multitude of bills introduced such as the now shelved greater Jerusalem bill and the aerial bill which of course extends Israeli law into the universities in the settlements have usually been introduced by the hawkish right-wing justice minister Ayelet Shaked from the Jewish home party. They mostly on the whole seek to apply Israeli law to the settlements, which would essentially blur the green line even further and bring the settlements into the fold of the Israeli state amounting in other words to an annexation. An annexation would irrevocably sever Palestinians from their capital Jerusalem.

It would Judaize the city demographically and spatially and it would colonize the narrowest part of the West Bank, making a contiguous Palestinian state all but impossible. Now fundamental to both of these outcomes is the proposed annexation of the larger city settlement called Maale Adumim, and the strip of land that connects to Jerusalem which is known as the E1 corridor Maale Adumim for those who don’t know it is located next to Jericho in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and it functions as a Jewish suburb of Jerusalem, a population of about 40,000 people and demographically its inclusion in Jerusalem would drastically increase the number of Jewish Israelis, who were considered residents of Jerusalem but it’s intended and when it was built it was really built with this intention to achieve two overarching goals: first to strategically penetrate deep into the Occupied Palestinian Territories and second to consolidate Israel’s grip on Jerusalem. Around 70 percent of Maale Adumim of residents commute daily to Jerusalem for work barely noticing the crossing of the Green Line, of course a privilege reserved only to Jewish Israeli citizens and Maale Adumim along with the neighboring settlements in Palestinian territory which have sprung up around Maale Adumim, they form a sweeping built-up area which interposed the Palestinian landscape and isolate Palestinians from their capital Jerusalem.

It is in other words the jewel of the settlement crown of the Israeli colonizing project. Now any annexation of Maale Adumim or any other part of the West Bank would depend on the acquisition of a strategically significant parcel of land called the E1 corridor which is only measures about 12 kilometers squared, and it’s located in Area C which is Israeli controlled. Its primary objective in acquiring E1 is to really secure Maale Adumim continuity with Israel and Jerusalem by creating an urban Jewish bloc. But in the West Bank this would bolster Israel’s grip on East Jerusalem by dwarfing its neighboring Palestinian districts with Jewish neighborhoods while also you know applying the final nail in the coffin to this two-state solution. Now recognizing the spatial and political difficulties of an annexing this parcel of land, Israel is building the Eastern Ring Road otherwise dubbed as the apartheid Road. But due to the wall that runs down its middle which separates Israel from Palestinian motorists and it’s intended to facilitate Palestinian travel between the north and south West Bank to ensure a transportation contiguity.

But it’s also meant to better connect Israeli settlements to Jerusalem while severing Palestinian motorists from accessing Jerusalem. The implication of the road is devastating to Palestinians freedom of movement from their future capital. For many Palestinians in the Occupied Territory, Jerusalem is their economic and cultural center of life. The building of the separation wall over a decade ago through parts of the West Bank and around the existing settlements has already denied Palestinians access to Jerusalem. Palestinians holding West Bank IDs could no longer do businesses, study, receive medical care or visit friends and family without permission from the Israeli security apparatus. Moreover, the religious significance of such an annexation should not be downplayed. Jerusalem is home to many of the most religious sites for Muslim and Christian Palestinians including the noble sanctuary, including al-Aqsa mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Annexation would only exacerbate the religious restrictions imposed on Palestinians who are denied rights to worship freely at their holy sites. Most significantly however and something I would really like to dwell on in the time that I have is implementation and implementing any annexation or settlement in the E1 area would require that immediate expulsion of the Bedouin Palestinians living on the land, another violation of international law. At present there are approximately 2,700 Palestinians, Palestinian Bedouins half of whom are children in the Maale Adumim vicinity. The majority of these communities come from the jhaleen tribe.

The Israelis or the Israeli Authority have deliberately deprived jhaleen of access to the most basic services such as water and electricity, which makes their existence on that land intolerable. They are not allowed to work or build on the land and the military limits their access to their allotted farmland which of course is used for grave grazing their stock which forces them to depend on purchasing costly further for their sheep and herders have been obliged in recent years to excel their livestock with the result that only 30 percent of the residents continue to earn a living from livestock. The rest work as laborers usually in the nearby settlements and under the current E1 plans, the jhaleen are to be expelled and relocated in three townships. This forces a lifestyle onto the Bedouin that runs anathema to their nomadic existence. In the context of a military occupation, any transfer of protected persons such as these communities, which includes the confiscation of their land or the destruction of property by the occupant, by the occupying power, represents a gross breach of international law by extension any military plan which is intended to permanently relocate occupied people is considered a war crime. Yet despite the clear international legal framework condemning these practices, Israel’s attempt to relocate the Bedouin does continue using Israeli domestic law as a tool to obfuscate Bedouin and Palestinian claims to the land.

This all ties into decades of established Israeli policy which is characterized by land confiscation, creeping annexation, demographic manipulation and popular population transfer, and of course this is not unique to the Bedouin or to the Palestinians living in the West Bank as Yara mentioned. The bedouin communities living in the Naqab or the Negev in the Negev desert are also living in a very precarious condition in so-called unrecognized villages. And despite being Israeli citizens, they are a perpetual threat of expulsion. And I’m thinking most vividly here of the Om Al Heran village which is intended to be cleared of its Bedouin Palestinians and a Jewish settlement called Heran to be built in a space. Populations transfer namely the removal of Palestinian Arabs and settlement of Jewish Israelis in their place really isn’t a new phenomenon, and it ties and it lies at the root of the Palestine-Israel conflict as we understand it.

While Israeli annexation attempts should be understood as a thirst for Palestinian land, forced population transfer of Palestinians should be understood as a desire for an ethnically homogenous Jewish population. The Nakba or catastrophe again denoting 750,000 Palestinians being removed of their land cannot and should not be understood as a single moment in history. Rather as the Bedouins in E1 and Om Al Heran ill-attest, it’s a process of ongoing dispossession and displacement. This is what cannot be forgotten and should not be underestimated. It is in this context that we should understand the return march that has been taking place in Gaza over the last two weeks. Since March 30 since the 30th of March, Israel has killed more than 31 Palestinian peaceful demonstrators and wounded more than 2,500 including children and young people. The Israeli authorities have done this openly and without shame. The threat from these protesters lies precisely in the indisputable fact that the Palestinians have not forgotten where they are from, nor that they have an indisputable and inalienable right to return to their historic homeland. It is unsurprising event that Israel has responded in the only way it knows how through brute force. Annexation and population transfer in and around – in the Jerusalem area is merely the latest installment of the Israelization project to dominate and control the land of historic Palestine. Until this reality is reckoned with by the international community and as policy makers, the situation can only get worse before it gets better. Thank you.

Nadia Hijab:

Well thank you very much Mohamed and thank you very much to the Palestine Center in Jerusalem Fund for organizing this event. And it’s always a real pleasure for me to come back to one of my homes as I caught one of my intellectual homes I consider it, so I’m really happy to be here with my colleagues. So you’ve heard from Zena and Yara about the situation on the ground and the continuous process of decolonization that’s been going on since 1948 and that actually for which the ground was laid at the turn of the century. I want to focus in my talk on the narrative and discourse that we use to describe this struggle. And as part of that I want to also emphasize, discuss the importance of emphasizing not just what Palestinians are fighting against but what they are fighting for. And finally I also want to touch on some of the sources of power that Palestinians have to achieve these goals. So when it comes to the narrative, there’s a lot of debate particularly in academic circles about what framework of analysis, how should we understand the Palestinian question and what happened? Is it a question of settler colonialism or ethnic cleansing or racial discrimination or apartheid? In fact you can make a strong case for any one of these and many more frameworks of analysis. But it is important to agree on a common framing because without it, there’s a lack of clarity about the strategies that are needed to succeed.

My colleague, My al Shabaka colleague Ingrid Jaradat and I reviewed a number of frameworks in a recent al Shabaka policy paper. And we identified apartheid as the most strategic framework that should be applied to this struggle, to this question. In other words, it’s strategic because it is most useful to the Palestinian struggle for rights. For example the settler colonial framework which is beloved of many academics is strategic in many ways but it was not expressly prohibited by international law at the time that Israel was established so this means that it would only be applicable to Israel settler colonial enterprise in the occupied territories under international law and it could not be used to address the rights of the refugees or equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In addition, although settler colonialism was prohibited it was not criminalized. In the case of Palestine you can make the case that the settler colonial society that apartheid began when the settler colonial society transformed into the State of Israel.

So Israel actually bears legal responsibility for acts of apartheid against all Palestinians including the refugees, the citizens of Israel and those under occupation. Now there is much more on this in the UN report by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley that was withdrawn under pressure. There’s also more in my al Shabaka paper with Ingrid and as I think from admission there is a sign-up sheet at the door. So if you want to be on our email list and to get regular Palestinian analysis, please do sign up and check out this paper and others online. So if we can establish the apartheid framework as our common framing of what we are fighting against, that would be a major source of power for the Palestinian people and for the Palestine Solidarity movement. Now if that’s what we’re fighting against what are we fighting for? And this is where the discussion slips always into a debate about one state versus two states. Is that what we should be pursuing? is that what we should be going for? But let’s think about that for a moment. In terms of achieving Palestinian rights what would the one state do that two states would not see, he agrees with me I like that.

The vision of a secular democratic state in all of Palestine as set out by the PLO in 1968 has always been more compelling for the Palestinian people than that of two states. I mean we need to recognize this. Through a single state Palestinians would exercise the right to self-determination in the entirety of the land that had been Palestine under the mandate alongside the Jews living there with equal rights for all. But when we come to discuss the two states vision, it’s important to discuss between the one that was said it’s important sorry to distinguish between that the vision that was set out in 1988 when the Palestinian National Council adopted it and the disaster that was set out in the Oslo Accords. When it was adopted in 1988, the two-state solution was seen as a pragmatic, doable recognition of reality Palestinians would exercise the right to self-determination through a sovereign state that would secure the equal rights of its citizens. The 1988 Palestinian National Council resolution also upheld the UN resolutions regarding the rights of the Palestinian refugees. And the struggle for two states does not mean forsaking the vital struggle for the equality of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In any case Oslo doomed any kind of rights based project from the start. The Palestinian leadership was willing to sacrifice refugee rights, there was no reference to the Palestinian citizens of Israel and asked for the Israeli side even the so called great peacemaker Yits Caribbean made it clear that Palestinians would have an entity that was less than a state and that the Israeli security border would be located in the Jordanian Valley, i.e. extending over the entire West Bank.

But and here’s the thing and here’s why I want to discuss the sources of power that are needed. Had the Palestinians built up enough power to ensure that this-state solution had stayed faithful to its original framing, then this approach could have fulfilled the right to self-determination and return just as the one state would have. Plus and this is a very important point fulfilling Palestinian rights needs some of the sources of power that associated with the state system. For example under international law states believe that Israel has no right to annex and colonize East Jerusalem. In fact, it has no right to West Jerusalem under international law obviously the settlements are illegal these are sources of power that should not be given up until Palestinian goals are achieved. So just to summarize that piece of the discussion, either state outcome one or two could be made to achieve Palestinian rights if there is sufficient power to do so, or it’s useful to remember that this was the smart strategic choice of the founders of the BDS boycott divestment and sanctions movement.

Recognizing that the Palestinian people had very little power at present, they focused on rights instead of on political outcomes because there was no power to actually influence or realize a political outcome. So the BDS call is for the realization of self-determination through freedom from occupation, equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and justice for Palestinian refugees in fulfilling the rights of return, freedom, justice, equality. This is how the BDS movement reached the broad spectrum of Palestinian society and a very broad spectrum of international solidarity activists in for Palestinian rights. And they built a considerable source of power by giving the Palestine solidarity movement specific actions they could take. Now when it comes to the question of narrative, in my view the three goals of the BDS we often when we talk about BDS we often talk about the strategy and the tactics but we rarely talk about the goals. The three goals of BDS capture very well what the Palestinian narrative should emphasize not just what Palestinians are against, Israel’s violations of international law and apartheid, but also what Palestinians are for and Israel continues to dominate the narrative in the West despite inroads by Palestinians and by the Solidarity movement. This dominance of the narrative can be challenged by a narrative that communicates what Palestinians are for until the time comes for a political outcome, and that unifying narrative already exists: its freedom, its justice, its equality.

This speaks to two goals all human beings can aspire to it, speaks to the reality of each segment of the Palestinian people whether they’re under occupation in Israel or in refugee camps and exiles. What this narrative would make clear is that human rights advocates support BDS because they want to achieve freedom, justice and equality. They are against Apartheid because they want to achieve freedom, justice and equality. So far and so I think that getting the narrative right would be a major source of power. So in my last few remarks I want to touch on the sources of power available to the Palestinians I’ve already mentioned three: the first the fact that what Israel is doing is illegal under international law, second which is a source of power that the Palestinian leadership should be using but is not second is the strategic use of BDS that’s a that’s a very good source of power and third a narrative that communicates what the Palestinian people are for not just what they’re against. There is a fourth source of power there are many but I’m just singling out these four there’s a fourth source of power which is the ability and determination of the Palestinian people to mobilize for their rights over the last hundred years.

There is of course everyday resistance to stay on the land as Palestinians try to stay on the land which is called sumoud which is Arabic for steadfastness there’s a continuous flowering and culture in the art both with within historic Palestine as well as amongst refugees and exiles as Palestinians tell their story. But if you think about it looking back every 10 or 20 years, there’s a major uprising or mobilization. Think back for example to the great Palestinian uprising of 3639 which stands out in Palestinian history. And even though but by now it has failed, still the effort to organize Palestinian refugees in exile into the PLO into a national liberation movement was another major mobilization. And despite repeated setbacks and many mistakes the PLO did impose itself and its advocacy for Palestinian rights on the world stage. there’s been other mobilizations in 1976 the Palestinian citizens of Israel rose up in land day even as Israel drove the PLO away from the borders, all the borders abutting Palace so that’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 during that time, a new wave of struggle began to be built for Palestinian rights by the Palestinians under occupation and that led to the first intifada an 87.

The launch of the BDS movement in 2005 was another mobilization because it mobilized international civil society around targeted peaceful actions that could be taken against Israeli policies. Last summer they were there was an uprising by Jerusalemites with support of the Palestinian citizens of Israel in math’s peaceful protests that stopped Israel’s attempt to change the status quo at Al-Aqsa mosque and as Zena and I mentioned since March 30th of this year there’s been the great march of return spearheaded by the Palestinians besieged in Gaza. And it’s very great this risk to life and limb which has imposed itself on the world stage despite a multitude of other crises. So even though Palestinians have not been able to achieve human rights in the land of Palestine, it’s very clear that steadfastness and mobilization will continue to challenge Israel’s policies of apartheid as well as the current Palestinian leadership defeatism and collaboration and the international community’s acquiescence in this injustice until justice is done. Thank you very much.

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The Zionist UAE’s Deals With the Nazi regime

Open Secrets: The UAE’s Deals With Israel

After 69 years of occupation, oppression, and exile, the overall situation for Palestinians on the ground remains bleak, if not worse than before. On the other hand, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement has made significant progress in recent years by encouraging economic, academic, and cultural boycotts of Israel. These high-profile BDS campaigns helped convince major international companies and investors to divest from the Israeli market.

But, as people from Europe all the way to New Zealand begin to disassociate themselves from Israel, Arab Gulf countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seem to be regressing in the opposite direction.

This week, the UAE participated in “Iniohos 2017,”a joint military exercise with the air forces of Greece, Italy, the United States, and Israel. This is not the first time that Emirati pilots have flown alongside Israelis. Last year, the UAE also participated in the “Red Flag” exercise in Nevada, and it is reportedly taking part this year too.

The UAE’s collaboration with Israel goes beyond these multiparty training exercises. In 2015, Israel established its first diplomatic mission in the UAE in order to represent itself at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is based in Abu Dhabi. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that this office is strictly for IRENA related activities, and that its establishment does not represent a change in policy towards Israel, which the UAE refuses to recognize.

Considering that in 2009 Israel supported the UAE’s bid against Germany to become the headquarters of IRENA, it is quite clear that UAE policy has in fact shifted, albeit unofficially. It is extremely unlikely that Israel provided its backing without prior guarantees from the UAE.

Also, despite what the UAE claims, it is likely that this unconventional diplomatic mission will engage in activities unrelated to IRENA and will serve to narrow the gap in communication between the two countries. Given that Israel has engaged in extensive spying against its number one ally, it is safe to say that the Israeli mission in Abu Dhabi will not hesitate to provide at least some kind of support for Mossad agents plotting in the UAE.

Furthermore, trade between the two countries is an open secret. According to a 2012 report, the UAE’s Critical National Infrastructure Authority has made business deals with several Israeli firms. This includes an $800 million contract with AGT, which is a Swiss-based company owned by Israeli businessman Mati Kochavi.

This deal provided “Falcon Eye,” a comprehensive surveillance and security system to protect the UAE’s “strategic infrastructure and oil fields.” A Middle East Eye analysis of publicly available flight data revealed that a private jet is secretly flying between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, with a brief stop in Amman. The company that operates the jet, PrivatAir, is based in Geneva, so it is possible that Mati Kochavi is the secret Israeli guest of the UAE.

These secret ties with Israel are believed to be cultivated with the help of Mohammed Dahlan, a former strongman of the Palestinian Authority living in exile in the UAE since 2011, currently acting as security adviser of the UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Dahlan is a shady figure in Palestinian politics accused by many of financial corruption and collaboration with Israel. Given that Avigdor Lieberman prefers Dahlan as successor to Mahmoud Abbas, it seems quite likely that Dahlan is indeed the primary connection between the UAE and Israel.

So far, the UAE has engaged Israel quietly and under the table, with intermediaries and indirect transactions serving as cornerstones of the relationship. This gives the government a degree of plausible deniability to avoid facing serious criticism from the Emirati people, who are supportive of the Palestinian cause.

At the same time, it seems as if the UAE is subtly signaling to its people and to the region that normalization of relations with Israel is coming and has already started. The fact that the Emirati flag appears on the Iniohos 2017 insignia along with the Israeli flag suggests that the UAE is not too concerned with the backlash of public opinion. Of course, it is helpful that these events are censored by the Gulf Arab media (at quick glance, Al Mayadeen and RT Arabic are the only major Arabic-language outlets that mentioned the military exercise).

In November, UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed stated that, “We in the UAE commit to continue our solidarity and our political and economic support to the Palestinian people, based on our belief in their just cause.” If this is true, then why does the UAE purchase Israeli security technologies, which have been developed and tested on the backs of the Palestinian people and are directly involved in their oppression? This is a far cry from the legacy of the UAE’s founder, Sheikh Zayed, who actively provided humanitarian, political, and moral support to Palestinians.

The UAE’s underhanded dealings with Israel, aided by Mohammed Dahlan and facilitated by Arab countries, provide a sobering and disappointing reminder that Palestinians are being betrayed by some of the people closest to them.

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Zionist Arab League, Palestine, and the tide of normalization

The Arab League, Palestine, and the tide of normalization

Palestine Center Brief No. 345 (October 26, 2020)

By Dalal Yassine

“Forty-six years ago, in October 1974, the Arab League met in Rabat, Morocco. The League recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as ‘the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.’ The decision challenged the United States, Israel, as well as Jordan and a month later the United Nations bestowed the same recognition on the PLO. Although it was evidence of Arab unity and solidarity with the Palestinian cause, the Arab League’s decision also represented the policies of major Arab states. Today, however, those same states are leading the drive toward normalization with Israel and the Arab League appears to have abandoned the Palestinians. 

Last month, the ‘Abraham Accords’ were signed at the White House. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel formalized diplomatic relations and Bahrain signed a declaration in support of peace. On October 18, Bahrain and Israel formalized ties. The UAE and Israel have moved quickly to implement normalization with increased commercial flights, cargo shipments, and promised investments.”

To read this article, please click here.

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Zionist Arab Normalization at the Expense of the Palestinians

Normalization at the Expense of Palestinians

Palestine Center Brief No. 341

By Mohamed Mohamed

On August 13, 2020, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to normalize relations between their two countries, with the assistance of the United States. In return, Israel agreed to temporarily “suspend” or “delay” its plans to annex the Palestinian West Bank.

Politicians and media outlets all over the world described this as a “historic” deal, since the UAE is the first Gulf Arab state and only the third Arab state (after Egypt and Jordan) to establish full relations with Israel.

The only thing historic about this agreement is that it is now official. In reality, Israel and the UAE have been cooperating and normalizing relations under the table for many years.

In 2017, the UAE participated in “Iniohos 2017,” a joint military exercise with the air forces of Greece, Italy, the United States, and Israel. This was not the first time that Emirati pilots have flown alongside Israelis. In 2016, the UAE also participated in the “Red Flag” exercise in Nevada.

The UAE’s collaboration with Israel goes much beyond these multiparty military training exercises. In 2015, Israel established its first diplomatic mission in the UAE in order to represent itself at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is based in Abu Dhabi. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that this office is strictly for IRENA related activities, and that its establishment does not represent a change in policy towards Israel. Obviously, this was a blatant lie.

Trade between the two countries has also been an open secret. According to a 2012 report, the UAE’s Critical National Infrastructure Authority made business deals with several Israeli firms. This includes an $800 million contract with AGT, which is a Swiss-based company owned by Israeli businessman Mati Kochavi.

This deal provided “Falcon Eye,” a comprehensive surveillance and security system to protect the UAE’s “strategic infrastructure and oil fields.” A Middle East Eye analysis of publicly available flight data revealed that a private jet was secretly flying between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, with a brief stop in Amman.

Even worse, the Emiratis, along with Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Mexico have used spyware technology from the Israeli NSO Group to repressively target journalists, dissidents, and other activists.

These examples show without a doubt that the UAE has been engaging in relations with Israel for a long time. In fact, a 2018 report by Tamara Nassar at the Electronic Intifada mentions how the UAE’s collaboration with Israel dates back to the 1990’s when the UAE tried to buy fighter jets from the US. Emirati and Israeli officials secretly met, and after these meetings, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin did not object to the sale of American jets to the UAE (in many instances Israel’s objections have been major obstacles to US arms sales to Middle East countries).

It is important to note that these activities are not unique to the UAE. Many countries have employed the same strategy and may follow suit later one.

The UAE, by making its relationship with Israel public, drops its longstanding declared support of Palestinian aspirations for an end to Israeli occupation. Its motives are most probably political, currying favor with the Trump administration and with Netanyahu, at a time when both are in trouble politically. Any strategic interests are not for the benefit of the UAE. More so, they are paving the way for others to follow suit, stabbing any remnants of Arab solidarity in the back.

The problem is that Israel does not care about the UAE. It only cares about the political victory of securing official relations with another Arab country, along with the cash that will come from Emirati investment, tourism, and imports. Much of Israel’s exports will consist of military, surveillance, and other oppressive products and services (most of which are tested on Palestinians), without any regard for human rights or personal privacy.

Another issue is that this deal only “suspends” or “delays” Israeli annexation of the Palestinian West Bank. There is no guarantee that Israel will not proceed with annexation in the future. In fact, the specific language of “suspending” or “delaying” annexation basically says that this is only temporary. Once again, Israel and other states conspire to benefit, while Palestinians pay the price.

Israel is known for violating agreements that it signs, and history suggests that it will do the same here. It will profit from this relationship at the expense of both the people of Palestine and the people of the UAE.

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How about Nazi destruction freeze?

They just die': Palestinian village choked by Israeli settlement dumpsite |  Middle East Eye

How about an Israeli destruction freeze?

Palestine Center
Brief No. 220 (8 December 2011)

By Yousef Munayyer

Much was made of what many in the media described as a “confrontation” between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama over the building of illegal Israeli settlements (or colonies) in Occupied Palestinian Territory. From the very beginning of the Obama administration, the pursuit of a freeze on Israeli settlement activity was a stated goal – one that was never really accomplished and never adequately pursued.

The idea of a settlement freeze, which was wrongly attributed to the now-resigned special envoy George Mitchell, was actually stipulated in the Bush administration’s Road Map and accepted by the parties in 2003. A freeze on all settlement activity was a first-phase Israeli obligation – not to mention an obligation under international law. It should go without saying that the Israelis failed to fulfill this obligation, and instead the Israeli government, then led by Ariel Sharon, presided over the single largest and most aggressive period of settlement activity in the West Bank since the Menachem Begin government in 1977-83.

Still, Israeli settlement construction is not the only belligerent behaviour conducted by the occupation regime in Palestinian Territory. To paraphrase the now-former US Congressman Brian Baird, if the law is “thou shall not build on territory which does not belong to you”, an equally important corollary of this law is “thou shall not destroy what belongs to others in territory which does not belong to you”. Of course, apart from the regular construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, there is also the regular destruction of Palestinian buildings and infrastructure in the same territory.

Both the construction of illegal settlements and the destruction of the homes and property of the native Palestinians stem from the same origin: Israel’s unbridled assertion of power over the native Palestinians in the context of total impunity.

Much destruction occurs in Area C of the West Bank. This territory comprises roughly 60 per cent of the West Bank, and Israel maintains full control over security, planning and zoning.

The United Nations Organisation for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Territories (UNOCHA) noted in a recent report:“In the first six months of 2011, OCHA recorded the Israeli authorities’ demolition of 342 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C, including 125 residential structures, displacing a total of 656 Palestinians, including 351 children. This is almost five times as many structures demolished and people displaced as during the equivalent period in 2010.”

Take, for example, the time when 30 Israeli vehicles and 100 soldiers entered the village of Ein al-Duyuk and demolished the homes of four different Palestinian families deep in the West Bank. Or the dawn raid of Jaba’a near Hebron which led to the demolition of another family’s home. Or the demolition of five homes in Khan al-Ahmar, near Jerusalem, which left 71 people, including 60 children, homeless. Or when a mosque, two homes and a barn housing children’s pet rabbits were demolished in the village of Um Fagareh. Or the demolition of wells near Idhna, which debilitated Palestinian farmers. Or Khirbet Susa’s rural primary school, which currently educates 36 Palestinian children and has recently received demolition orders after it was last demolished a year ago. Or the solar panel complex, built by a Spanish NGO for €300,000 ($401,310) in 2009 to provide much-needed sustainable electricity to the isolated Palestinian village of Imneizel, which also has demolition orders pending.

Or, perhaps most disturbing of all, is that all of the above-mentioned Area C demolitions and demolition orders were executed or handed down only in the past 90 days.

Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes and buildings, like the construction of illegal settlements, is part of a matrix of control aimed at limiting Palestinians to an existence on only a fraction of a fraction of their land. No objective observer can take the argument that the destruction of Palestinian village schools, water wells, solar panels and homes provides anyone with security. Likewise, Palestinian villagers left homeless at the hands of an Israeli bulldozer will rightly find claims that Israeli politicians want peace to be farcical.

Yet this destruction persists today at accelerated levels, with little objection from an Obama administration that races to show its support for Israel as we enter an election year.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration should demand an immediate halt to all Israeli settlement construction because it is illegal, and an immediate halt to all Israeli destruction in the West Bank because it is simply inhumane.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on How about Nazi destruction freeze?

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