|Israel Resource Review
||4th Febuary, 2005
USAID Releases $2 Million for
(No Vetting of Recipients
Concerning Criminal or Terrorist Affiliation)
[What follows is a a memo in which US AID announces its renewal of aid to Palestinian women's enterprises.
The memo notes that US AID has determined fiscal responsibility among the recipients.
The memo does not indicate any requirement to vet potential recipients to see if they are members of terrorist organizations or if they have any criminal or terrorist background.
A simple question should be forwarded to US AID to ask why US AID does not vet potential recipients to see if they are or have been members of terrorist organizations or if they have any criminal or terrorist background. - DB]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
18 January 2005
Press Office: 03 511 4846
Ramallah, West Bank - The American government is releasing $2 million to the "Palestine for Credit & Development" organization, FATEN, to support micro-finance activities for Palestinian women.
The $2 million will be used to provide small loans to an estimated 3,000 women entrepreneurs seeking to establish or improve their businesses.
FATEN has made 63,579 loans to the poorest and most marginalized Palestinian women since it emerged from a micro-finance program launched in the West Bank and Gaza by Save the Children (US) in 1995. Its loans have totaled more than $27 million, with the average loan size $427.
The largest micro-finance institution in the West Bank and Gaza, FATEN currently has 3,319 active clients, 99% of them women, with outstanding loans totaling $2.4 million.
FATEN has financed women who want to open a corner grocery store or beauty parlor. It also gives credit to rural women, like the lady who took out a loan to buy a cow and now has nine and a lucrative milk supply business. Some 40 % of the loans have been in the trade sector, 25% in the service sector, 17% to production ventures and 14% for agricultural enterprises.
Though repayment rates suffered during the period of severe economic crisis caused by the Intifada, FATEN reported a 97.23% repayment rate in 2004 thanks to its personalized client services.
FATEN, an independent Palestinian not-for-profit corporation, has five offices in Gaza and five in the West Bank.
The $2 million is the second injection of cash from the American people to the FATEN program. The first was in 1996 when USAID gave FATEN $4.5 million. Between 2001 and the end of 2004, USAID was reluctant to release funds obligated to FATEN because of risks associated with the Intifada. USAID did, however, support FATEN's operational expenses.
In late 2004, USAID noted that Save the Children and FATEN had cut operational expenses and established an internal auditing unit and decided that they could effectively manage new funds.
USAID is a U.S. government agency that provides economic
development and humanitarian assistance overseas. Since 1994,
USAID's West Bank and Gaza Mission has distributed more than
$1.3 billion in assistance to Palestinians.
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Abu Mazen Watch:
Incitement in Today's Mosque Speeches
Dr. Michael Widlanski
2005-1330 Jerusalem/6:30 a.m. NY)
The official Palestinian news media today broke Mahmoud Abbas's promise
to halt incitement to violence and hatred in the course of radio and
television news programs as well as the regularly scheduled speeches from
Friday's mosque prayers.
A 30-year-old Gaza man who was killed while attacking an Israeli
checkpoint with hand grenades was said to have carried out 'istish-haad': a
heroic martyr's death.
There was no hint of official condemnation or even reservation over the
man's actions, though Abbas and other Palestinian officials are demanding
that "Israel cease its violence it all its forms" as well as releasing from
jail captured Palestinian terrorists.
"The Jews came and they threw us out of cities, our villages and our
land," declared Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris in a fiery televised mosque speech
from Gaza in which he also identified the Palestinians insurgent Arab
terrorists fighting Western forces in Iraq.
"Palestine is a sweet land for our lord, and they [the Jews] came from
their lands and threw us out," cried Sheikh Mudeiris, a rotund bearded
preacher who receives his salary, like other mosque officials, from the
Palestinian National Authority (PA).
Sheikh Mudeiris, who is known as a fiery preacher with close ties to the
Al-Qaeda movement of Osama Bin-Laden, delivered a relatively calm speech by
his usual standards, although he periodically interspersed his own remarks
with his own stylized chanting of verses from the Quran, Islam's holy book.
"We can return to the borders of '67 [all of the West Bank and Gaza] by
policy [i.e. political means], but we cannot return to the borders of '48
[i.e. present-day Israel] with policy," declared Sheikh Mudeiris, hinting
broadly that only taking up arms against Israel would solve the Palestinian
"Our tears and our hearts demand that we return there [Israel],"
declared Sheikh Mudeiris. Repeatedly in his 40-minute sermon or khutba he
hammered home the words "They came from their lands and they threw us out."
Although Mudeiris did not mention the United States by name, he hinted
broadly that Muslims around the world were right to fight America and the
During its regular radio and television broadcasts Friday, official PA media
continued to refer to "the American occupation army" in
Iraq being attacked by "resistance forces," a term it also uses for
Palestinians attacking Israelis.
The major Palestinian newspapers, which are vetted and subsidized by the
Abbas-led PA, also continued their harsh anti-Israeli and anti-American
stance, some employing venomous cartoons.
The Al-Ayyam daily, for example, produced a Friday cartoon depicting a
skeleton walking with a ballot box in Iraq under the caption "Successful
Al-Ayyam February 5, 2005 internet edition
Al-Quds yesterday (February 3 Thursday) depicted an Israeli soldier, carrying
a flag labeled "threat," shooting at an unarmed Arab carrying a flag labeled
"What tortures we are suffering Palestine," said Sheikh Muderis in his
speech from the Sheikh Sultan al-Nahayan Mosque in Gaza.
"Women [i.e. Palestinian women convicted of terrorism] are in jail and
are giving birth in jail. Two-year-old children spend their whole lives in
Later in his remarks Mudeiris criticized wide-spread corruption in
Palestinian society and in the Arab world, and he hinted broadly that
righteous Muslims had the right to take up arms against such corrupt
Earlier this week, PA President Abbas promised Israeli officials that he
would end broadcast incitement to violence and hatred, and Israel's Channel
2 even broadcast a puffy feature with PA television managers in Gaza
promising to end incitement.
In its own Arabic language media, however, the PA has remained silent,
and it has not used the microphones of Sawt Felasteen (Voice of Palestine)
nor PBC (the Palestinian Broadcast Corporation) to urge Palestinians not to
Dr. Michael Widlanski teaches political communication at the Rothberg
School of Hebrew University. His doctorate, "Palestinian Broadcast Media
In the Palestinian State-Building Process: Patterns of Influence and
Control," was based on eight years of research involving more than 7,000
hours of monitoring Palestinian radio in Arabic as well as television and
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Fighting Israeli Jewish
Settlement Activity in the Negev
[The following piece from the "bustan" organization indicates
that a movement is underway to fight against further Israeli
Jewish settlement in the Negev-db]
Another 1,200 acres of Bedouin crops in the Negev are destroyed this week. Is this Ben Gurion's dream, to 'make Israel's desert bloom'?
Hundreds of soldiers, border police, tractors, helicopters, and horses awakened the winter season's farmers and their families, just north of Beer Sheva. Overturning food crops with heavy government-chartered machinery, the renowned 'Green Patrol' began its work at clearning the Negev land. (see below)
Israel is acting illegally and bypassing formal statutory channels, as these lands have not been adjudicated to date. Adalah petitioned Israel's High Court against crop-spraying operations on behalf of the families affected, as well as Bustan and 8 other NGO's in March 2004. An injunction was issued against the fumigations. (see below) However, being a resourceful country, Israel has returned to its former method of "redeeming" the land from its non-Jewish cultivators: overturning it with tractors. Overturning fields or spraying food crops with Monsanto's Roundup are not effective methods for resolving legal disputes with the Bedouin over land ownership.
In February 2004, deputy prime minister Ehud Olmert was reported in Ha'aretz as telling a convention of the Jewish National Fund that the state "will displace unrecognized Bedouin communities in order to make room for thousands of Jews." Bustan challenges the Israel Land's Authority and relevant government ministries in their widespread tractor destruction of Bedouin-cultivated wheat fields. While designed 'to prevent Bedouin encroachment from State Land,' this political measure aims to displace and further pauperize Bedouin farmers while clearing the inhabited Negev land. The land is then reserved in an unused land tank for industrial expansion or future Jewish settlement. The Negev is 65% of the land base of Israel. It is the largest and the least populated region of Israel. There is enough room for Bedouin and Jewish citizens to coexist there, even if Jewish communities worldwide, and Gazan settlers, and their sizable, extended families are all relocated there. This is not the way to settle the Last Frontier, it is the way to exacerbate the schism among Negev Jews and an unrecognized, severely disenfranchised minority, the Negev Bedouin.
Bustan joins other NGO's in demanding that those responsible for the fumigations should be brought to trial, and Bedouin farmers affected by any means of government authorized crop-destruction should be fully compensated.
Many of you have met Nuri Elokbi on Bustan's critical tours of
the Negev. His fields were sprayed. Below is his press release,
and relevant links for further information on crop destruction.
We are collecting organic seeds for distribution to the
Negev Bedouin to sue the state for massive crop destruction
After taking legal advice, Bedouin inhabitants of the Negev intend to sue the government of Israel for major damages, following a massive destruction of their crops by government-chartered tractors earlier this week.
The Bedouin are not squatters. They are peaceful farmers, citizens of the state of Israel since it was first established and who had worked their land for many generations before that, who are in possession of all the necessary documents, and who had asserted their ownership of the land in a document submitted to the Ministry of Justice as long as 40 years ago.
On February 1 this week, in the early hours of the morning, the state "organized" itself for the purpose of assaulting its Bedouin citizens, in order to ruin their agricultural work on their land. Thus they destroyed close to 5000 dunams (about 1200 acres) belonging to the Elokbi, Altori, Abu Madigum and Abu Siam tribes.
Personnel of the government's Land Office and the "Green Patrol" invaded the Bedouin land, accompanied by hundreds of ordinary policemen, Border Policemen and fully armed and equipped soldiers, having at their disposal everything from horses to helicopters. They had all come to convoy and guard the demolition contractors, who had the best of agricultural equipment - which they used not in order to prepare the land for planting, but on the contrary to destroy and ruin the agricultural work of their Bedouin fellow citizens.
This act is clearly illegal. It is illegal even under the recently enacted "Squatter Removal Amendment" whose whole purpose is evicting and removing the Bedouin citizens of Israel from their land - land which is deemed to be "state land" regardless of the generations that they lived and worked on it. Even under this harsh and manifestly unjust law, the government is supposed to give the inhabitants a warning in advance and give them time to protest or challenge the act in a court of law. This requirement the government arrogantly ignored, sending their troops in without any warning.
The Bedouins do not intend to ignore this criminal act, the destruction of their agriculture and the threat to evict them from the land. "We will demand compensation from the state for the damage done to us by its agents, and insist on an assurance of the full rights of the Bedouin population.
We stand upon our right to hold on to and to work our land and property. Further info: Nuri Elokbi, Association Chair +972-54-5465556
Adalah Press Release on Crop Spraying Injunction- October 2004
On 19 October 2004, the Supreme Court of Israel issued an order nisi (an order to show cause) on a petition filed by Adalah on 22 March 2004, instructing the state to provide an explanation within two months for the crop spraying operations carried out by the respondents - The Israel Lands Administration (ILA), the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Agriculture - in unrecognized Arab villages in the Naqab (Negev). The Court also extended an injunction it had previously issued on 23 March 2004, prohibiting the respondents or any other entity appointed by them from aerially spraying the crops in question. The ILA had used a chemical called ROUNDUP for spraying crops from the air in the Naqab, destroying thousands of dunams of land over a period of almost two years. The ILA issued no warnings, either before or after the spraying.
The petition was submitted by Adalah on behalf of four Arab Bedouin individuals, one of whom was injured by the spraying and three of whom had crops destroyed by the ILA; Physicians for Human Rights-Israel; the Association of Forty; the Forum for Co-Existence in the Negev; the Negev Company for Land & Man, Ltd.; Bustan; the Association for Support and Defense of Bedouin Rights in Israel; the Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA); the Galilee Society; and Adalah. The petitioners sought an order from the Court to stop the ILA from spraying the crops, as these acts constitute a danger to the life and health of human beings and animals, as well as to the environment and the crops, which are the Palestinian Bedouins' only source of livelihood.
The AG's legal representative also contended in her response to the petition that spraying the crops is legal, and a useful and cost-effective means for solving the problem of Arab Bedouin "trespassers," who are allegedly "creeping" onto state-owned lands in the Naqab. She claimed that in the past, the ILA used to come to the fields with tractors and police in order to destroy the crops. However, they were met with resistance - both protests and physical confrontations - by the Arab Bedouin farmers, and therefore decided to spray the fields from the air. Justice Levy stated at the hearing that the central issue appears to be a dispute over land. He suggested that the Arab Bedouin farmers pay the ILA to lease the land, without relating to the issue of title or ownership.
The petitioners further argued that the ILA's spraying of the crops violates the right to life, the right to health, and the right to dignity under both domestic and international law. The ILA has no authority to destroy the crops, regardless of the legal status of the land in question, Adalah emphasized. The Law for the Protection of Plants - 1956 governs the issue of crop spraying. The purpose of the law is to protect health and the environment; it grants sole authority to the Minister of Agriculture to further this purpose. If the Minister grants a permit to another entity regarding these matters, it may only be given for this purpose; the ILA's purpose - to enforce the state's claimed right to land - and its actions in spraying and destroying the crops do not further this purpose. Moreover, Adalah contended that the ILA is also violating regulations made pursuant to this law, which prohibit the spraying of chemicals from the air if nearby plants could be damaged. They also mandate that if poisonous chemicals are sprayed, it must be done in accordance with the instructions and the warnings on the material. Adalah further argued that the ILA's spraying of the crops constitutes criminal offenses. These actions violate the Penal Law - 1977, specifically, Article 336 (Use of a dangerous toxin) and Article 452 (Malicious damage).
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"Israel Committee Against
Housing Demolitions" Joins The Campaign to Divest Against
Should Legal Action Be Brought
Against 'Ichad', Which is Funded in Part by the European
[At a time
when the "divestment" campaign has become one of the newest and
most effective campaigns in the Arab war against Israel, the
ICHAD organization has announced on its website
that ICAHD [is the] First Israeli peace
group to call for sanctions, and the first Israeli group to
support the divestment campaign against Israel. The question
remains: Should legal action be brought against the ICHAD
organization? Should Jeff Halper be arrested when he returns to Israel?
Should a complaint be made against the European Union, which is
prominently mentioned as a funder of ICHAD? - db]
"If apartheid ended, so can the occupation. But the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined. The current divestment effort is the first, though certainly not the only, necessary move in that direction." -- Bishop Desmond Tutu
You can't have it both ways. You can't complain about violence on the part of the Palestinians and yet reject effective non-violent measures against the Occupation that support their right to self-determination, such as economic sanctions. You can't condemn the victims of Occupation for employing terrorism while, by opposing divestment, thereby sheltering the Occupying Power that employs State Terror. You can't end the isolation and suffering of people living under Occupation while permitting the Occupying Power to carry on its life among the nations unencumbered and normally, by withholding a boycott of its economic and cultural products.
The Case For Sanctions
Sanctions, divestment and boycotts are absolutely legitimate means at everyone's disposal for effectively opposing injustice. As penalties, protest, pressure and resistance to policies that violate fundamental human rights, international law and UN resolutions, they are directed at ending a situation of intolerable conflict, suffering and moral wrong-doing, not against a particular people or country. When the injustice ends, the sanctions end.
Sanctions, divestment and boycotts represent powerful international responses that arise not only from opposition to an intolerable situation, but also to the complicity of every person in the international civil society that does nothing to resolve it. Because they are rooted in human rights, international law and the will of the international community, and because they are supremely non-violent responses to injustice, sanctions carry a potent moral force. A campaign of sanctions, even if it proves impossible to actually implement them, mobilizes what has been called "the politics of shame." No country wants to be cast as a major violator of human rights. Precisely because it is so difficult to enforce international humanitarian law, holding up its oppressive policy for all to see is often the only way of pressuring it to cease its oppressive policies. The moral and political condemnation conveyed by a campaign for sanctions and the international isolation it threatens sends a powerful, unmistakable message to the perpetrator: cease your unjust policies or suffer the consequences.
Rather than punishment, a campaign of sanctions rests upon the notion of accountability. A country threatened by sanctions stands in violation of the very principles underlying the international community as articulated in human rights covenants, international humanitarian law and UN resolutions. If we go by Amnesty's annual report, virtually every country could be "called on the carpet" for their human rights violations. A campaign of sanctions constitutes an extraordinary step, however. It is invoked when injustice and suffering have become so routinized, so institutionalized, so pervasive, so resistant to normal international diplomacy or pressures, that their very continuation compromises the very validity of the international system and the moral standing of its members, countries, corporations and citizens alike. And it targets the strong parties. The very basis of a call for sanctions is that the targeted country has the ability to end the intolerable situation. A campaign of sanctions embodies a fundamental principle of the international system: that each country must be held accountable for its policies and actions in light of accepted international norms. The message to all countries must be: Participation in the international community depends upon conformity to the "rules of the game."
Campaigns of sanctions are in essence educative, and that is part of their power. Since the reasons for taking such drastic action must be explicit, weighty and compelling, it forces those calling for sanctions to make a strong case for them. The very act of initiating such a campaign, then, raises awareness not only of the injustice itself, but of the principles it violates, thus strengthening the understanding of the international system itself. And since a campaign of sanctions must be accepted by the international community in order to succeed, it necessitates discussion and dialogue. The considerations behind the demand for sanctions are made transparent, and the targeted country given an opportunity to present its case. The likelihood, then, is that a campaign of sanctions initiated by civil society will express broad-based international consensus if it is to take hold.
Again, at issue is a serious violation of international law and norms. Just as in a case of an individual caught breaking the law, what is in question is what acts have been done, not who the country or the individual is. To paraphrase Jefferson, who spoke of "a government of laws, not men," here we are speaking of "an international system of laws and not only countries that do whatever they want." Thus, when the violations end, the sanctions cease and the country in question rejoins the international community.
The Case for Sanctions Against Israel
In line with the principles just discussed, economic sanctions against Israel are not invoked against Israel per se, but against Israel until the Occupation ends. With this proviso it is Israel's policy of occupation that is targeted, its status as an Occupying Power, not Israel itself. When South Africa ended its system of apartheid, sanctions ceased and it fully rejoined the international community. When apartheid ended, so did the boycott of its sports teams, one of the most potent measures employed to impress on the South African government its international isolation. The divestment campaign currently directed against Caterpillar has gained considerable momentum among the international public, effectively educating people about Israel's policy of demolishing Palestinian homes. It has generated calls for other sanctions, such as the Presbyterian Church's initiative to divest from companies profiting from the Occupation. The European Parliament has also called for trade sanctions on Israel given Israel's violation of the "Association Agreements" that prohibit the sale of settlement products under the "Made in Israel" label. The American Congress should take similar steps, since Israel's use of American weapons against civilian populations violates the human rights provisions of the Arms Control Exports Act. The boycott of California grapes in the 1960s played a key role in gaining employment rights for migrant workers. The current boycott of settlement products is intended to express moral opposition to the very presence of settlements while making it economically and politically difficult for Israel to maintain them.
Once it builds momentum, there is probably no more effective means for civil society to effectively pursue justice than a campaign of sanctions. Its power derives less from its economic impact - although, with time, that too can be decisive - than from the moral outrage that impels it. Sanctions themselves seriously affected the South African economy. Following massive protests inside South Africa and escalating international pressure in mid-1984, some 200 US companies and more than 60 British ones withdrew from the country and international lenders cut off Pretoria's access to foreign capital. US Congressional pressure played a crucial role as well, an element totally lacking vis-à-vis the Israel-Palestine conflict, which makes the possibility of actually imposing sanctions on Israel that more difficult. In 1986 Congress - with a Republican-controlled Senate - passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act over the Reagan's veto. The Act banned new US investment in South Africa, sales to the police and military and new bank loans.
Although the Act was not strictly enforced by the Reagan and Bush Administrations, although European governments found ways of quietly doing business with Pretoria (while Israel, by the way, was helping South African businesses by-pass sanctions by peddling their products in the US and Europe under a "Made in Israel" label, as well as by continued involvement in military development in South Africa, including nuclear; Hunter 1986), it did generate a climate - moral and economic - that made it increasingly difficult to maintain business-as-usual with the apartheid regime. The moral dimension led to a delegitimization of the very apartheid system that left no room for "reform." Carried over to Israel's Occupation, the moral element in a larger political condemnation of Israel's policies could delegitimize the Occupation to the point where only its complete end is acceptable. A campaign of sanctions which highlights the moral unacceptability of Israel's Occupation could have a great impact, eventually impelling governments to impose economic sanctions while creating a climate difficult for businesses (beginning with Caterpillar) to continue function.
It is not only the political unacceptability of Israel's Occupation which makes the call for sanction urgent and obligatory, it is the massive violations of Palestinian human rights, of international law and of numerous UN resolutions that the Occupation entails. If Israel as the Occupying Power is not held accountable for the intolerable situation within its ability, indeed, within its responsibility to end, the entire international system of justice is rendered meaningless and empty. And that is what makes the Occupation an international issue. If Israel succeeds in defying the Fourth Geneva Convention and making its Occupation permanent, if an entire population is literally locked behind walls and its right of self-determination trampled, then the ability of human rights to win out over an international order founded on power politics and militarism is jeopardized. We all have a stake in ending the Occupation; the implications of occupation actually prevailing and a new apartheid regime emerging are chilling. Since the Palestinians do not have the power to shake off the Occupation on their own and the Israelis will not, only international pressure will effectively achieve a just peace. A campaign of sanctions represents one of the most efficacious measures.
ICAHD'S Position on Sanctions
In principle ICAHD supports the use of sanctions against countries engaged in egregious violations of human rights and international law, including the use of moral and economic pressures to end Israel's Occupation. An effective approach to sanctions operates on different levels, however, and requires a number of strategic considerations as to its scope and focus.
First, the generic term "sanctions" actually includes three main types of economic and moral pressure:
(1) Sanctions, defined overall as "penalties, specified or in the form of moral pressure, applied against a country guilty of egregious violations of human rights, international law and UN resolutions, intended to bring that country back into compliance with international norms." Since they must be imposed by governments, regional associations (such as the EU or SEAC) or the UN, the power to actually apply sanctions falls outside of civil society. Nevertheless, governments can be prodded in that direction - and the "prodding" itself constitutes an important form of conscious-raising and moral pressure.
(2) Divestment, the withdrawal of investments in companies doing business with the offending country or directly involved in violating human rights and international law;
(3) Boycott, the voluntary refraining from purchasing the products of the offending country or allowing its companies, institutions, representatives or even professionals from participating in international intercourse.
Now sanctions, divestment and boycott can be applied either totally or selectively, the decision involving a strategic mix of efficacy and moral stance. In the most successful case of sanctions, apartheid South Africa, the call was for total sanctions, since the entire system was considered illegitimate. In the case of Israel and the Occupation, it is the Occupation which is considered illegitimate, illegal and immoral, not Israel per se. Although there are those who would argue that a Zionist Israel whose ongoing policy is to displace Palestinians from the country or confine them to reservations is, indeed, as illegitimate as apartheid, this is a position from which it would be difficult to generate mass support. Most advocates of a just peace - including the Israeli peace movement, ICAHD included - support Israel's right as a recognized member state in the UN to rejoin the international community when the Occupation truly ends and a just peace is attained. Since governments must be induced to impose sanctions, on a purely pragmatic level it is difficult to imagine the international community, with the US at its head, actually agreeing to blanket sanctions.
More do-able would be a campaign for selective sanctions. This could be no less principled and focused than a call for total sanctions, but it targets Israel's Occupation rather than Israel itself. A campaign of selective sanctions can be effective if the choice of targets is strategic: refusing to sell arms to Israel that would be used to perpetuate the Occupation, especially in attacks on civilian populations, for example, or banning Israeli sports teams from competing in international tournaments, especially potent in the South African case. (Israel is currently the European basketball champion and is scheduled to play in the World Cup of football/soccer). These and other selected measures could have a great impact upon Israel, as well as the ability to mobilize international opposition to the Occupation. Yet, with strong civil society advocacy, they also have a reasonable chance, over time, of being adopted.
ICAHD, then, supports in principle a multi-tiered campaign of
sanctions against Israel until the Occupation ends. We believe
that a selective campaign is most effective and we would
incorporate into that campaigns that other organizations have
already launched. At this stage, ICAHD supports:
- Sanctions: Sales or transfer of arms to Israel conditional upon their use in ways that do not perpetuate the Occupation or violate human rights and international humanitarian law, violations that would end if governments enforced existing laws and regulations regarding the use of weapons in contravention of human rights. Rather than adopting new policies of sanctions, ICAHD calls on the governments of North America, Europe and Asia to stop selling arms to Israel that are used in perpetuating the Occupation in accordance with their own laws prohibiting sales of weapons to countries engaged in serious human rights violations. No new policy of sanctions has to be adopted; the existing laws prohibiting such sales must simply be enforced. In addition existing international law must be applied against Israel for using its weapons illegally: against civilian populations, for example, or in campaigns of extra-judicial executions, to name but two. Sanctions that comprise implementation of international and domestic laws should include a ban on purchasing Israeli weapons as well.
ICAHD is currently investigating Israel's involvement in the world's arms trade, including weapons development, joint production and coordinated sales with other countries. We believe this is a hidden element that underlies the broad support Israeli receives from governments, including those outwardly critical of its occupation policies. We hope that advocates for a just peace will use our information to expose their own country's complicity in policies that perpetuate the Occupation. We also call on activist groups to investigate and publicize the forms of aid their country - and especially the US - is giving Israel. Components of that aid that support occupation or settlement, whether military, technological or economic, should be opposed. We also call on Jewish communities to oppose the use of their donations to Israel - to the Jewish National Fund, for instance, or to the United Jewish Appeal, Israel Bonds and other channels of funding - in the Occupied Territories.
- Trade sanctions on Israel due to its violation of the "Association Agreements" it has signed with the European Union that prohibit the sale of settlement products under the "Made in Israel" label, as well as for violations of their human rights provisions.
- Divestment in companies that profit from involvement in the Occupation. Here ICAHD supports the initiative of the Presbyterian Church of the US to divest in "multinational corporations that provide products or services to…the Israeli police or military to support and maintain the occupation,…that have established facilities or operations on occupied land,…that provide services or products for the establishment, expansion or maintenance of Israeli settlements,…that provide products or services to Israeli or Palestinian organizations/groups that support or facilitate violent acts against innocent civilians,…that provide products or services that support or facilitate the construction of the Separation Barrier." We certainly support the campaign against Caterpillar whose bulldozers demolish thousands of Palestinian homes.
We join with the Jewish Voice for Peace in the US whose statement in support of the Presbyterians says in part:
At JVP, we fully support selective divestment from companies that profit from Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. This includes American companies like Caterpillar who profit from the wholesale destruction of Palestinian homes and orchards. It also includes Israeli companies who depend on settlements for materials or labor or who produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights.
We believe that general divestment from Israel is an unwise strategy at this time. We believe that economic measures targeted specifically at the occupation and the Israeli military complex that sustains it are much more likely to produce results. However, we absolutely reject the accusation that general divestment or boycott campaigns are inherently anti-Semitic. The Israeli government is a government like any other, and condemning its abuse of state power, as many of its own citizens do quite vigorously, is in no way the same as attacking the Jewish people. Further, it is crucial not only to criticize the immoral and illegal acts of the Israeli government, but to back up that criticism with action.
We also note with satisfaction the many Jewish and Israeli organizations who support the idea of selective sanctions on Israel: European Jews for a Just Peace (a coalition of 16 Jewish groups from eight European countries); Not in My Name (US); Matzpun (Israel/International); Jews Against the Occupation (NYC Chapter); the petition of South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils and legislator Max Ozinsky, which has gathered more than 500 signatories from South African Jews; Jewish Voices Against the Occupation (US); Jewish Women for Justice in Israel and Palestine (US); Gush Shalom (Israel); Jews for Global Justice (US); and Visions of Peace With Justice (US), among others.
• Boycott of settlement products and of companies that provide housing to the settlements or which play a major role in perpetuating the Occupation, a campaign initiated several years ago by Gush Shalom.
These campaigns, it seems to us, build on existing initiatives. They are capable of garnering broad international support, are focused, raise public consciousness over the economic aspects of the Occupation and expose the complicity of the international community in it. They bring significant moral pressure to bear on Israel, while moving towards effective forms of economic sanctions designed to end the Occupation.
We believe that Israel as a powerful state occupying the territory of another people should be held accountable for its policies and actions. We would therefore add to the list of sanctions the following element:
Holding individuals, be they policy-makers, military personnel carrying out orders or others, personally accountable for human rights violations, including trial before international courts and bans on travel to other countries.
Since sanctions are a powerful non-violent means of resisting the Occupation, ICAHD supports this burgeoning movement and calls on the international community - civil society as well as governments - to do all that is possible to bring a swift end to Israel's terrible Occupation so that all the peoples of the region, and especially Israelis and Palestinians, can enjoy the benefits of a just and lasting peace for the generations to come. The time has come; sanctions seem the next logical step in a global campaign to end the Occupation.
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A Tale of Two Rallies
On Sunday, January 30th, two rallies took place in Jerusalem, both of which reflected the tragedy of Israel's policies towards the PLO.
The first was held at 3:00 p.m. on Gaza Road in Rehavia, where eleven families witnessed a quiet ceremony as a plaque was placed on the spot where bus no. 19 was blown up by an Arab terrorist, exactly one year ago. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski remarked that the Arab terrorist was not aiming to murder the eleven people on that bus, he was intending to murder any and all Jews.
The Arab terrorist who blew up bus no. 19 was an armed and licensed member of the Palestinian security services, an entity of the PLO permitted by Israel to bear arms under the agreements that Prime Ministers Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and now Ariel Sharon reached with the PLO. How timely was that ceremony, marking those murders on Gaza road in Jerusalem on the day that Prime Minister Sharon formally once again allowed armed Palestinian Security Services to be deployed, in accordance with clause five of what has been described as a "disengagement plan".
No one was there to comfort the families of the eleven people murdered on that bus except for the eleven families themselves. I was one of two reporters on the scene. The other one worked for the Jerusalem municipality cable TV network. It would seem that the people of Israel had forgotten the people murdered on bus no. 19, and that the murderer was licensed by Israel to bear arms.
Only five hours later, across the Valley of the Cross, in between the Knesset and the Israel Museum, I covered the "Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) rally", with tens of thousands of people who came to protest Sharon's plan. Media was all over the rally.
At least twenty people addressed the crowd. They all spoke about their opposition to the withdrawal from Katif and the Shomron. Not one spokesman at the rally mentioned one word about how the Sharon Plan threatens all of the people of Israel. Clause five of the plan provides "advice, assistance and training" to "the Palestinian security forces . . . by American, British, Egyptian, Jordanian or other experts, as agreed with Israel."
Not one spokesperson at the Yesha rally mentioned how the Sharon Plan ignores the fact that Israel's military training of the PLO was abused to conduct a terror campaign against Israel in every part of the country for the past four years - resulting in more than 1,000 people being murdered in cold blood.
Not one spokesperson at the Yesha rally mentioned Israel's failed experiment with the security assistance that Israel facilitated for the PLO.
It was as if the people at the "Yesha rally" were telling the people at the bus no. 19 memorial that if Sharon decides to cancel the planned withdrawal from the Jewish communities in Gaza, Samaria and Judea, then, well, they will accept the other clauses of the Sharon Plan. That would allow for the PLO security forces to be fully deployed in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, from where they will undoubtedly stage attacks against Jews everywhere in the land of Israel.
After the rallies, I asked the spokespeople for the Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council why, if they were campaigning so hard to defeat the Sharon Plan, they were not making a systematic effort to stop the implementation of the clause mandating deployment of the very same armed PLO forces that remain at war with the state of Israel. No answer was received from the Council
I also asked the Yesha Council why they would not invite the ten families from Sderot whose loved ones had been murdered over the past few months to come up to the podium to address the crowd, so that the Yesha rally could express its solidarity with the people of Sderot at this time. No answer was received from the Yesha Council.
So, there you have it. Those who suffered on bus no. 19 or in Sderot are not to be comforted by the Yesha Council, whose consistent message is that people must "identify with the people of Katif and the Shomron", as if this is the only issue in the Sharon Plan.
Some of the people whose loved ones were murdered on bus 19, and some of those whose loved ones were murdered in Sderot, have wondered aloud whether the people of the Yesha Council will ever stress that the PLO represents a threat to all of the people of Israel - and not only to Judea, Samaria and Katif.
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