Seventh Fatah Conference Underscores Profound Disconnect Between Abbas and his People

On November 29th, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Fatah, held its seventh congress. The congress had been presented by some as an opportunity to shake up the entrenched and out of touch leadership of the party and renew the Palestinian national struggle.

Such a shakeup is desperately needed. Palestinians in the occupied territories have been denied a democratic voice since the 2006 legislative elections and Fatah party chairman Mahmoud Abbas has overstayed his term as PA president by eight years. Abbas has faced mounting criticism over his continued pursuit of a failed negotiations strategy and increasingly autocratic style of governance. However, on the first day of the congress, delegates unanimously reappointed Abbas as chairman of Fatah for another five-year term.   Continue reading “Seventh Fatah Conference Underscores Profound Disconnect Between Abbas and his People”

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Israeli Leaders Blame Palestinians for Fires Without a Shred of Evidence

Fires raged across Israel and the occupied West Bank last month, causing serious damage to property and destroying thousands of acres of natural forests. Immediately, Israeli government officials and members of the Israeli media began blaming Palestinians for setting the fires, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing them as an “arson intifada” and the police positing that they were lit on “nationalistic grounds.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett took the fires as an opportunity to deny Palestinian claims to their homeland, stating that “only those to whom this land does not belong could burn it.” Continue reading “Israeli Leaders Blame Palestinians for Fires Without a Shred of Evidence”

We bark, but we don’t bite. (And you better not, either)

Two very typical things regarding Palestine occurred recently. The first relates to the passage by the UN Human Rights Council of a resolution to condemn companies that benefit from and facilitate the building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. It also calls on the Council to compile a list, updated yearly, of such companies. The EU and the US, at Israel’s urging, sought to blackmail the PA into removing the article about the database in return for supporting the rest of the resolution (after failing to bully the into PA withdrawing resolution in its entirety).

What this illustrates, once again, is that western powers are perfectly happy to condemn the illegal actions of Israel that they tacitly support and facilitate, but refuse to take action and seek to ban all others from taking action. Countless times, we have heard that settlements harm the peace process. Countless times, the US, UK, EU and Canada have condemned the appropriation of Palestinian land for the building of such settlements. The US even has a law stating that products made in settlements may not be labeled “Made in Israel.” Despite all this, no action is taken by the liberal, democratic, human rights defending western powers. These laws are not enforced. No pressure is put upon Israel to stop its expansionists policies. Israel known this, and the Netanyahu government seems to take special pleasure in announcing the appropriation of West Bank land and the issuing of permits for building more settlement houses on occasions of visits by Vice President Joe Biden. Continue reading “We bark, but we don’t bite. (And you better not, either)”