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UN chief orders report accusing Israel of ‘apartheid’ pulled from web

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres requested the removal of a report accusing Israel of apartheid from the website of the UN body that published it, Reuters reported Friday, citing an unnamed official in the international body.

Guterres had previously distanced himself from the report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which is comprised of 18 Arab countries.

The report was still available online Friday morning US-time, but was later removed.

The United States on Wednesday had demanded that the report be withdrawn altogether.

“The United States is outraged by the report,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement. “The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether.”

Based in Beirut, ESCWA lists the state of Palestine as a full member, and works to strengthen cooperation and promote development.

“That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising,” said Haley.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres shaking hands with new US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at the United Nations in New York, January 27, 2017. (AFP/Bryan R. Smith)

Haley has accused the United Nations of being biased against Israel and has vowed as President Donald Trump’s envoy to staunchly defend Israel at the world body.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said “the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general” and was done without consultations with the UN secretariat.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon slammed the commission on Wednesday for releasing the report which accuses Israel of establishing “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

Danon said the “attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie.”

Rima Khalaf (YouTube Screen Shot)

“It comes as no surprise that an organization headed by an individual who has called for boycotts against Israel, and compared our democracy to the most terrible regimes of the twentieth century, would publish such a report. We call on the Secretary-General to disassociate the UN from this biased and deceitful report,” he said in reference to ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian national.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, speaks to the UN Security Council after it passed an anti-settlement resolution, December 23, 2016 (UN Screenshot)

The report published Wednesday, titled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” says 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.”

The Beirut-based commission slammed Israel’s Law of Return, “conferring on Jews worldwide the right to enter Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship regardless of their countries of origin and whether or not they can show links to Israel-Palestine, while withholding any comparable right from Palestinians, including those with documented ancestral homes in the country,” as a policy of “demographic engineering” meant to uphold Israel’s status as the Jewish state.

The report further accuses Israel of “practices” that have fragmented Palestinians, arguing that it is the “principal method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime.”

“This fragmentation operates to stabilize the Israeli regime of racial domination over the Palestinians and to weaken the will and capacity of the Palestinian people to mount a unified and effective resistance,” the report reads.

Richard Falk (photo credit: AP/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi/File)

The report was compiled by Richard Falk, a Princeton professor emeritus with a long track record of vehemently anti-Israel rhetoric who previously was the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Palestine, and by Virginia Tilley, an American political scientist who authored the book “The One-State Solution” in 2005.

Haley described Falk as “a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories.”

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Palestinian leaders pan UN for scrapping Israel ‘apartheid’ report

Palestinian leaders on Saturday condemned the United Nations for scrapping an agency’s report that charged Israel is an “apartheid regime” guilty of “racial domination” over the Palestinians.

Published last week by the Beirut-based Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the report drew swift and vociferous criticism from US and Israeli officials, and led to the resignation of the agency’s director after the UN secretary-general ordered it removed from UN websites.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly called commission chair Rima Khalaf to congratulate her for resigning in protest at the UN’s rejection of her report, and to promise her the PA’s highest honors.

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi accused UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of giving in to politically motivated intimidation in rejecting the report.

“Instead of succumbing to political blackmail or allowing itself to be censured or intimidated by external parties, the UN should condemn the acts described in the report and hold Israel responsible,” Ashrawi said, according to the official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa.

She praised the report as a “step in the right direction” which highlighted “the true reality on the ground which is one of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and military occupation.” She also demanded Guterres “undertake serious and concrete measures to hold Israel accountable for its persistent violations of international law and human rights.”

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki also condemned the UN’s deletion of the report.

“Shelving the report does not shelve the reality on the ground,” he said according to Channel 2.

Rima Khalaf in 2014 (YouTube screenshot)

After ESCWA, which comprises 18 Arab countries, published its report entitled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” last Wednesday, the US demanded the document be removed from UN websites. “The United States is outraged by the report,” US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement.

UN chief Guterres initially distanced himself from the report, and later ordered it removed from ESCWA’s website.

ESCWA executive secretary Khalaf on Friday announced her resignation in protest of Guterres’s order.

“The secretary-general asked me yesterday morning to withdraw [the report]. I asked him to rethink his decision, he insisted, so I submitted my resignation from the UN,” Khalaf said at a Friday press conference in Beirut.

“We expected of course that Israel and its allies would put huge pressure on the secretary-general of the UN so that he would disavow the report, and that they would ask him to withdraw it,” Khalaf, who had also served as an under-secretary-general to Guterres, added.

Guterres accepted Khalaf’s resignation. Spokesman Stephane Dujarric explained to media in New York that “the secretary-general cannot accept that an under-secretary-general or any other senior UN official that reports to him would authorize the publication under the UN name, under the UN logo, without consulting the competent departments and even himself,” according to Reuters.

Israel ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon addresses the UN Security Council on January 17, 2017 (Courtesy)

Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon and Washington’s ambassador to the world body, Nikki Haley, welcomed Khalaf’s resignation. Khalaf has long been criticized by Israeli officials for her perceived anti-Israel positions.

Danon said Guterres’s move was “an important step in stopping discrimination against Israel.” In a statement, Danon said “Anti-Israel activists do not belong in the UN. It is time to put an end to practice in which UN officials use their position to advance their anti-Israel agenda.” He added that “over the years Khalaf has worked to harm Israel and advocate for the BDS movement. Her removal from the UN is long overdue.”

US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley, who had demanded the report’s withdrawal Wednesday, said in a statement: “When someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the US, it is appropriate that the person resign. UN agencies must do a better job of eliminating false and biased work, and I applaud the secretary-general’s decision to distance his good office from it.”

ESCWA’s report said 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.”

Its authors concluded that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that systematically institutionalizes racial oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres shaking hands with new US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at the United Nations in New York, January 27, 2017. (AFP/Bryan R. Smith)

The Beirut-based commission slammed Israel’s Law of Return, “conferring on Jews worldwide the right to enter Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship regardless of their countries of origin and whether or not they can show links to Israel-Palestine, while withholding any comparable right from Palestinians, including those with documented ancestral homes in the country,” as a policy of “demographic engineering” meant to uphold Israel’s status as the Jewish state.

The report further accused Israel of “practices” that have fragmented Palestinians, arguing that it is the “principal method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime.”

Richard Falk (photo credit: AP/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi/File)

The report was compiled by Richard Falk, a Princeton professor emeritus with a long track record of vehemently anti-Israel rhetoric who previously was the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Palestine, and by Virginia Tilley, an American political scientist who authored the book “The One-State Solution” in 2005.

Haley described Falk as “a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories.”

ADL URGES UN TO RECALL ‘BIASED’ REPORT TERMING ISRAEL ‘APARTHEID REGIME’

 

NEW YORK – The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday urged the UN to immediately recall a UN agency’s “hostile and biased” that accuses Israel of being an “apartheid regime.”

The 74-page document, published by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on Wednesday, points a finger at Israel for racial discrimination toward Palestinians.

“Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole,” the report states.

This was the first time a UN body had clearly made the charge, angering Israeli officials who compared the report to the Third Reich’s wildly antisemitic Der Sturmer newspaper.

“Rather than provide constructive analysis about Israeli policy in the West Bank, this report is rife with outrageous accusations of criminality and apartheid practices, and reflects the biased agenda of the authors,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said on Thursday. “This report does not meet any reasonable standard of judiciousness or constructive analysis about Israeli policy or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The ADL praised the office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for distancing itself from the report.

A spokesman for the UN chief said on Wednesday that the report was released without any consultation with the United Nations Secretariat, and that as it stands, it does not reflect the views of the secretary- general.

Both Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon and his US counterpart, Nikki Haley, had called on the secretary-general to make this clear.

ESCWA, headquartered in Beirut, is composed of 18 Arab states in Western Asia and aims to support economic and social development in member states, according to its website. The report was prepared at the request of member states.

US demands UN pull report accusing Israel of apartheid

The United States on Wednesday demanded that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres withdraw a report by a UN body accusing Israel of imposing apartheid on the Palestinians and of racially dominating them.

Guterres distanced himself from the report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) but US Ambassador Nikki Haley said it should be scrapped altogether.

“The United States is outraged by the report,” said Haley in a statement. “The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether.”

Based in Beirut, ESCWA is comprised of 18 Arab countries, according to its website, which lists the state of Palestine as a full member, and works to strengthen cooperation and promote development.

“That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising,” said Haley.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres shaking hands with new US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at the United Nations in New York,  January 27, 2017. (AFP/Bryan R. Smith)

Haley has accused the United Nations of being biased against Israel and has vowed as President Donald Trump’s envoy to staunchly defend Israel at the world body.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said “the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general” and was done without consultations with the UN secretariat.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon earlier slammed the commission for releasing the report which accuses Israel of establishing “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

Danon said the “attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie.”

Rima Khalaf (YouTube Screen Shot)

“It comes as no surprise that an organization headed by an individual who has called for boycotts against Israel, and compared our democracy to the most terrible regimes of the twentieth century, would publish such a report. We call on the Secretary-General to disassociate the UN from this biased and deceitful report,” he said in reference to ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian national.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, speaks to the UN Security Council after it passed an anti-settlement resolution, December 23, 2016 (UN Screenshot)

The report published Wednesday, titled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” says 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.”

The Beirut-based commission slammed Israel’s Law of Return, “conferring on Jews worldwide the right to enter Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship regardless of their countries of origin and whether or not they can show links to Israel-Palestine, while withholding any comparable right from Palestinians, including those with documented ancestral homes in the country,” as a policy of “demographic engineering” meant to uphold Israel’s status as the Jewish state.

The report further accuses Israel of “practices” that have fragmented Palestinians, arguing that it is the “principal method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime.”

UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk (photo credit: UN Watch)

“This fragmentation operates to stabilize the Israeli regime of racial domination over the Palestinians and to weaken the will and capacity of the Palestinian people to mount a unified and effective resistance,” the report reads.

The report was compiled by Richard Falk, a Princeton professor emeritus with a long track record of vehemently anti-Israel rhetoric who previously was the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Palestine, and by Virginia Tilley, an American political scientist who authored the book “The One-State Solution” in 2005.

Haley described Falk as “a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories.”

Israel fumes as UN board slams its ‘apartheid, racial domination’ over Palestinians

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations slammed the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on Wednesday after the commission released a report accusing Israel of establishing “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

The report, titled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” says 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.”

The Beirut-based commission slammed Israel’s Law of Return, “conferring on Jews worldwide the right to enter Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship regardless of their countries of origin and whether or not they can show links to Israel-Palestine, while withholding any comparable right from Palestinians, including those with documented ancestral homes in the country,” as a policy of “demographic engineering” meant to uphold Israel’s status as the Jewish state.

The report further accuses Israel of “practices” that have fragmented Palestinians, arguing that it is the “principal method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime.”

Richard Falk (photo credit: AP/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi/File)

“This fragmentation operates to stabilize the Israeli regime of racial domination over the Palestinians and to weaken the will and capacity of the Palestinian people to mount a unified and effective resistance,” the report reads.

Danny Danon, Israel’s UN envoy, hit back at the report, saying the “attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, speaks to the UN Security Council after it passed an anti-settlement resolution, December 23, 2016 (UN Screenshot)

“It comes as no surprise that an organization headed by an individual who has called for boycotts against Israel, and compared our democracy to the most terrible regimes of the twentieth century, would publish such a report. We call on the Secretary General to disassociate the UN from this biased and deceitful report,” he said in reference to ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian national.

The report was compiled by Richard Falk, a Princeton professor emeritus with a long track record of vehemently anti-Israel rhetoric who previously was the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Palestine, and by Virginia Tilley, an American political scientist who authored the book “The One-State Solution” in 2005.

At a press conference accompanying the release of the report, Falk said the document and its findings “come after 50 years of frustrated diplomacy that failed to find a way to liberate the Palestinian people from oppression and denial of rights.”

Tilley said “it has become entirely clear that we’re longer talking about risk of apartheid but practice of apartheid.”

“There is an urgency for a response as Palestinians are currently suffering from this regime,” she said.

British FM: Alternative to two-state solution is apartheid

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned that the alternative to a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an “apartheid system,” in an interview with an Israeli newspaper published Thursday.

Johnson had a whistlestop 24-hour visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority Wednesday in which he reaffirmed British support for Israel but criticized settlement building in the West Bank.

“What we are saying is that you have to have a two-state solution or else you have a kind of apartheid system,” Johnson said in an interview published in the English-language daily The Jerusalem Post.

The two-state solution, meaning the creation of a Palestinian state existing in peace alongside Israel, is a key policy goal of the international community.

US President Donald Trump cast uncertainty over his country’s commitment to the idea when he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in February, saying he would be open to a single state if it led to peace.

Palestinians fear the prospect of a single state in which Israel would not give the same rights to Jews and Arabs, with senior leaders warning it would constitute “apartheid.”

Netanyahu has expressed official support for a two-state outcome to the conflict, but also promised voters during his 2015 election campaign that a Palestinian state would not be established “on my watch.”

In Ramallah on Wednesday, Johnson stressed that his government’s policy was “absolutely unchanged” and it remains committed to two states.

The international community considers continuing settlement growth in the West Bank a major obstacle to peace.

Parts of Netanyahu’s right-wing government advocate annexing at least part of the West Bank.

When meeting Netanyahu on Wednesday, Johnson stressed Britain’s “rock-like” support of Israel, but also touched on settlement building.

“Israel has first and foremost an absolute right to live in security, and the people of Israel deserve to be safe from terrorism,” Johnson said.

But he later added: “Of course we must also try to remove obstacles to peace and progress such as the settlements.”

Trump’s top Pentagon pick said settlements were creating apartheid (GOOD!!!!)

WASHINGTON — One of President-elect Donald Trump’s leading candidates for secretary of defense has said Israel’s settlement project could turn the country into an apartheid state and that the United States pays a price for its support of Israel.

Retired Marine Corps general James Mattis met with the incoming president Saturday at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, to reportedly discuss a cabinet post.

According to CNN, Trump was extremely impressed by Mattis, who is now his top choice to run the Defense Department, a position whose power over the US military is second only to that of the president.

Mattis’s resume includes over two years heading the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) under President Barack Obama from August 2010 to March 2013, a post that has command authority for all US forces in the Middle East.

During Mattis’s tenure, he held a commanding presence in the war theaters on Afghanistan and Iraq, experiences for which Trump offered high praise after their hour-long meeting. “All I can say is he is the real deal,” he said. “The real deal.”

When Trump was asked by reporters if Mattis would have a role in the upcoming administration, he said: “We’ll see. We’ll see. He’s just a brilliant, wonderful man. What a career. We are going to see what happens, but he is the real deal.”

In July 2013, shortly after leaving his post running CENTCOM, Mattis said the current situation in Israeli was “unsustainable” and that settlements were obstructing the possibility of a two-state outcome between Israelis and Palestinians, comments that seem to fly in the face of Trump’s position as reported by his Israel advisers.

“The current situation is unsustainable,” Mattis told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during a panel discussion at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado when asked about the peace process. “It’s got to be directly addressed. We have got to find a way to make the two-state solution that Democrat and Republican administrations have supported. We’ve got to get there, and the chances for it are starting to ebb because of the settlements, and where they’re at, they’re going to make it impossible to maintain the two-state option.”

Mattis specifically warned that if Israel continued to expand its settlement presence, its long-term character as a Jewish and democratic state would be at risk, ultimately leading to Israel becoming an apartheid state.

“If I’m in Jerusalem and I put 500 Jewish settlers out here to the east and there’s 10,000 Arab settlers in here, if we draw the border to include them, either it ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote — apartheid,” he said.

Marine Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 5, 2013 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“That didn’t work too well the last time I saw that practiced in a country,” he added, presumably alluding to South Africa. “So we’ve got to work on this with a sense of urgency.”

In that same conversation, Mattis told Blitzer that the US paid a price for its support of Israel and the perception of bias it broadcasts to the rest of the Arab world.

“I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel,” he said, “and that moderates, all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians.”

Trump’s position on Israeli settlements is unclear, but many in Israel and the US see him as willing to tolerate at least some Israeli settlement building in much the way past Republican administrations have.

In an interview in May, he seemed to back Israeli building in settlements.

During his campaign for the presidency, he said Jerusalem was Israel’s undivided capital and vowed to move the US Embassy there, a move that would break with Washington’s policy of not recognizing Israel’s de facto annexation of East Jerusalem.

A day after Trump was elected president, his adviser Jason Greenblatt told Israel’s Army Radio that the president-elect “does not view the settlements as an obstacle to peace.”

Mattis’s comments are not out of sync with others who’ve held his role. His predecessor, General David Petraus, once told the Senate Armed Services committee that the “conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of US favoritism for Israel.”

If Trump selected Mattis to head the Pentagon, his 2013 retirement from the military would require a Congressional waiver to grant him eligibility for the position. US statutes require any retired officer to spend at least seven years outside the military before obtaining extensive responsibilities within the Department of Defense.

Given the Republican control of both houses of Congress, it is highly likely that permission would be granted.

Israel’s added $18.6M for settlements spurs talk of apartheid from Palestinians

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Cabinet approved an additional $18.6 million for West Bank settlements to help defray the costs of their “unique security situation,” spurring one Palestinian leader to say Israel “openly supports apartheid.”

On Sunday at its weekly meeting, the government approved a budgetary supplement that includes stipends for local councils in the West Bank and aid to improve security at public buildings. There are also allocations for small businesses, to develop tourism and for youth programming.

The assistance plan “involves the work of many ministries on behalf of the residents there,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Israel has faced an uptick in terror attacks, mostly stabbing attacks, in the past eight months.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat decried the allocation.

“Israel is doing everything possible to sabotage every effort to achieve a just and lasting peace,” he said. “This is yet another slap in the face of the international community despite several recent international attempts to cover up the Israeli crimes and violations. It is time for the international community to assume its responsibilities toward this extremist government, which openly supports apartheid and stands against the two-state solution.”

A day before the vote, Ofer Newman, spokesman for the left-wing Zionist Union party, said in a Facebook post that the settlers “built swimming pools on the blood of children they murdered.”

“What kind of a twisted moral basis enables these people to stride along on a path toward the deaths of thousands of Israelis without anyone saying to them: ‘You have gone too far! You are lowly murderers. You belong in prison!’” he also said in the post.

Newman apologized on Sunday, saying the outburst was a result of seeing the new movie “The Settlers,” which focuses on the most extremist leaders of the settlement movement.

Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog rejected Newman’s remarks in a statement on Facebook, saying it was “very critical, very blunt, and very wrong, because it creates a generalization that I am unwilling to accept and uses imagery that we mustn’t use under any circumstances.”

“I meet with settlers nearly every day; the Labor Party encouraged and built part of the settlement enterprise, and even if we have criticism about the settler leadership, they are and always will be our brothers and part of our extended family. We have a profound, difficult ideological debate with the settler leadership and it will continue, but even in the middle of the debate, we will uphold their honor and do so respectfully.”

Ads Against Apartheid Arrives in Dallas

Ads Against Apartheid has just begun its first advertising campaign in Dallas, Texas, adding a third city to its growing national presence. The advertisement highlights Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinan land. “Israel announced that it would acquire almost 1000 acres…

Ads Against Apartheid's advertisement highlighting Israel's ongoing theft of Palestinian land is visible to drivers on I-30 in Garland, TX

Ads Against Apartheid has just begun its first advertising campaign in Dallas, Texas, adding a third city to its growing national presence. The advertisement highlights Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinan land.

“Israel announced that it would acquire almost 1000 acres of Palestinian land earlier this Fall, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it very clear he intends to support further settlement building,” said Ads Against Apartheid co-founder Richard Colbath-Hess, “How can we still believe Israel wants a just peace when it’s evicting Palestinians from their homes even faster than it has before?”

Ads Against Apartheid first ventured outside of Boston with a campaign in Chicago this past September. This advertisement in Dallas is part of the organization’s effort to increase it’s national presence. “We are thrilled to be bringing one of our favorite ads to the Lone Star State,” said Colbath-Hess, “We are beginning to set a precedent; advertising companies are increasingly willing to give the Palestinian narrative fair exposure.”

Ads Against Apartheid concluded a massively successful fundraising campaign this October, raising more than $100,000 to run its “One Word” campaign in as many as ten major American cities. The organization is currently seeking local partners in each city to help maximize its impact. Those interested should email outreach@adsagainstapartheid.com for more information.

Israel Escalates ‘Water-Apartheid’ As Illegal Settlers Contaminate Palestinian Water

UNITED NATIONS — Israeli restrictions on Palestinian water use, as well as damage to water supplies and infrastructure by both Israeli forces and Jewish settlers, continue to deplete the already limited water supplies available to millions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Water is used by the Israelis to achieve non-water interests, as a tool of punishment,” Dr. Abed Elrahman Tamimi, director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group in Ramallah, told MintPress News.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of Palestinians within Israel continue to lack access to running water, despite their citizenship in the state and the equality they should receive under its laws.

Israel has limited the water available to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank since its forces occupied the enclaves, placing them under military rule, in 1967.

‘Scandalously uneven, humiliating and infuriating’

The Oslo II Accord, signed by Israel and Palestine Liberation Organization on Sept. 28, 1995, formalized this disparity, imposing what Israeli newspaper Haaretz writer Amira Hass called “a scandalously uneven, humiliating and infuriating division of the water resources of the West Bank.”

The agreement afforded Palestinians 118 million cubic meters of water per year from the Mountain Aquifer that stretches into Israel from the West Bank, while obligating Israel to sell Palestinians a further 27.9 mcm annually at full price.

It also entitled Israel to claim 483 mcm per year – over four times as much – but allocated none to the Gaza Strip, which was left to rely on the small Coastal Aquifer.

According to its own terms, Oslo II should have terminated in Palestinian independence after five years, with a joint committee increasing Palestine’s water allocation through consensus in the meantime. Neither scenario has come to pass.

In coming years, Israel would make clear that it had no intention of ever ending its control of Palestinian water. A June 7, 1997 order reiterated its longstanding policy: “All the water in the land that was occupied again is the property of the State of Israel.”

Successive governments pushed new waves of settlement construction, universally considered war crimes under the fourth Geneva Convention, on Palestinian lands in the West Bank. By 2000, the number of settlers had swelled 26 percent.

Like earlier settlements, the sites of many new units were calculated to maximize Israeli control of Palestinian water. In 2001, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Haaretz: “Is it possible today to concede control of the aquifer, which supplies a third of our water? Is it possible to cede the buffer zone in the Jordan Rift Valley? You know, it’s not by accident that the settlements are located where they are.”

Israeli measures to cement its occupation, along with provocative raids of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, ultimately produced the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising that erupted on Sept. 28, 2000, five years to the day after Oslo II.

A vicious water cycle

Palestinians currently use no more than 11 percent of the Mountain Aquifer, with Israel enjoying the rest,according to the Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH), a coalition of 28 Palestinian and international agencies dealing with water issues in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, West Bank Palestinians purchase 50 mcm of water each year from Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, paying $50 million for the return of their own resources at prices up to three times those charged to Israeli consumers.

Oslo II obligated Israel to increase its water sales to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from 5 to 10 mcm annually during the supposed five-year “interim period.” But only this year, following widespread condemnation of its military operation against the besieged enclave last summer, did it finally do so, meeting 5 percent of the water needs of a population that has more than doubled.

On September 1, a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report repeated a warning, firstmade by the UN’s Country Team for the occupied Palestinian territory in 2012, that the Gaza Strip could become unlivable by 2020.

UNCTAD cited the destruction of Gaza infrastructure during repeated Israeli offensives, including damage to 20-30% of the enclave’s water and sewer network, a water desalination plant, and 220 agricultural wells during last summer’s 51-day operation alone, as well as Israeli restrictions on economic development and reconstruction.

It also warned that “a severe water crisis” had forced the use of water from the Coastal Aquifer — 95% of it unfit for drinking — at levels “well above the recharge rate by over 100 million cubic meters, almost twice the sustainable rate.”

“The over-abstraction and scarcity of drinking water have been exacerbated by crumbling sanitation infrastructure, while the blockade creates chronic shortages of electricity and fuel, which in turn aggravate contamination and the water crisis,” the report said.

“The damage of contamination and over-abstraction is such that the aquifer may be unusable by 2016 and, if unaddressed, the damage may be irreversible by 2020.”

The total damage inflicted to the water sector by Israeli strikes last summer reached over $34 million, according to a report by the Palestinian Water Authority, although UNCTAD’s report says that “long-term repair of the accumulated damage and decay of the water and sanitation infrastructure will require $620 million.”

Last month, EWASH reported that 120,000 Palestinians across the Strip remained disconnected from its water network, while 23 percent of its 1.8 million residents lacked access to its sewage service.

Destroying infrastructure

Palestinians have never extracted their full 118 mcm of water from the Mountain Aquifer, as Israeli restrictions on wells and other infrastructure across most of the West Bank prevent them from doing so.

These military orders stretch into the Gaza Strip, where the threat of airstrikes forces residents hoping to dig wells to first seek permits from the Israeli army.

While sometimes given there, such permission is usually denied in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under direct Israeli military administration, often on the claimed basis of Israeli security.

Israel targets unauthorized construction ruthlessly. Since the beginning of this year, its forces have destroyed 36 Palestinian water, hygiene and sanitation structures in Area C, usually citing their lack of permits, according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs data reviewed by EWASH.

Rare permits come at high prices. A 2013 study found that Israel usually conditions its approval of Palestinian water projects on the Palestinian Authority’s acquiescence to the construction of new settlement infrastructure, forcing the occupied population to “consent to their own colonization.”

As Palestinians, particularly in agricultural communities, scramble to meet their needs for water, Israel’s demolition of the necessary infrastructure, from pipes in Kafr Qaddum and Khirbet Yarza to wells in Hebron, continues.

‘Water-apartheid’

Palestinians displaced by Israeli strikes wait to get water from portable tanks near a makeshift encampment behind Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (Joe Catron)

The pollution resulting from the destruction of wastewater treatment facilities has further damaged Gaza’s already depleted aquifer, rendering over 90 percent of local water unfit for drinking.

In the West Bank, 73.5 percent of Palestinians have expressed satisfaction with the quality of their water.

Yet the quantity remains woefully inadequate, as the average Palestinian can use only 70 liters of water per day – a figure that dips to 20 in some cases – while illegal Israeli settlers enjoy over 300. The World Health Organization suggests a minimum of 100 liters of water per day for sanitation, hygiene and consumption.

Confronted by a lack of water in some areas of the West Bank, and nearly all of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians face the “economic burden of purchasing water from tankers,” the Palestinian Hydrology Group’s Dr. Tamimi said.

In a March 2013 report, the Ramallah-based human rights group Al-Haq called Israel’s “demarcation of the population along racial lines,” their “segregation into different geographical areas” and the “use of ‘security’ to justify an institutionalized regime of domination and systematic oppression,” “the three pillars of Israel’s ‘water-apartheid.’”

“[A] second and disadvantaged Palestinian society living in the same territory is denied most of its basic rights,” Al-Haq stated. “Palestinians are forcibly confined to a land-locked archipelago of territory with minimal water resources available.”

This gross asymmetry extends inside Israel, where a June 2014 report by the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality found that 73,000 Palestinian Bedouin, living in villages unrecognized by the state, lacked sufficient running water.

Despite paying 30 percent more than other consumers for the meager supplies of water they received, the Israeli Ministry of Health did not monitor its quality.

Hazardous waste

Palestinian water supplies face further threats from pollution by Israeli waste, both dumped from nearby illegal settlements and shipped from inside Israel.

A June 2013 Israeli state report found that a third of sewage treatment facilities in settlements were either insufficient or inoperative.

The previous year, it reported, 2.2 mcm of waste had flowed from settlements directly into nearby waterways and cesspits.

As many settlements stand on hills, much of this untreated sewage then becomes the problem of neighboring Palestinian communities whose farmlands and groundwater it pollutes.

“The settlement wastewater goes to the aquifers and pollutes the groundwater,” Dr. Tamimi said.

The city of Salfit and nearby town of Kafr al-Deek have been repeatedly drenched with sewage from the settlements of Ariel and Yakir, most recently on Wednesday, affecting their agriculture and tourism, as well as local water supplies.

“Josephine,” a volunteer for the Ramallah-based International Solidarity Movement, noted that settlement pollution does not stop with sewage. “Many factories let out polluted water and waste into the water sources that Palestinians use,” she told MintPress.

In February, after Palestinian customs police discovered a truck transporting asbestos from Israel to a landfill in Tulkarem, the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority warned against attempts to smuggle Israeli waste into the West Bank.

‘A form of racism’

On July 2, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel announced that Israel’s High Court had ruled in favor of its clients, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem who had faced years of water shortages and cutoffs.

Their neighborhoods, lying within the Jerusalem boundaries claimed by Israel but beyond its West Bank barrier, had been “perennially neglected by both municipal and national water authorities,” ACRI said.

The court’s ruling ordered the National Security Council to “investigate and work to mitigate the water crisis in East Jerusalem.”

By the following month, a new water crisis had gripped Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank as governorates in Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin and the Jordan Valley resorted to water schedules announcing planned cutoffs.

These windows of austerity, many Palestinians say, are nothing new. They often occur when demand for water is at its height, like during the hot summer months. Still, they never result in cutoffs inside illegal settlements or in Israel itself.

This disparate treatment, some think, aptly demonstrates the nature of the occupation itself. As Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouti put it: “Restricting water and electricity is a form of racism.”

Israel’s government no longer bothers to deny the intended permanence of its occupation. Last week, as Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely readied a diplomatic offensive against a pending European Union policy to label settlement products, she told the Times of Israel that withdrawals from “Judea and Samaria aren’t even on the list of options we’re offering the Palestinians.”

The occupied West Bank will remain under Israel’s “de facto sovereignty,” Hotovely said.

“It’s not a bargaining chip. It does not depend on the Palestinians’ goodwill. It’s the land of our forefathers. We don’t intend to evacuate it,” she continued, adding: “What I can promise is that Israel’s position will be very forceful and tough on this matter.”

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