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ANC decides South Africa should downgrade ties with Israel – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Ali Abunimah Power Suits 5 July 2017

South Africas ruling party wants to sharply downgrade ties with Israel.

At its national policy conference on Tuesday, the African National Congress adopted a recommendation to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel to a liaison office in a bid to reduce diplomatic ties, the Mail & Guardian newspaper reported.

The policy will go to the ANCs national conference for ratification in December.

Our embassy has failed to achieve its necessary political objective over the past 22 years in moving Israel closer to a resolution on the Palestinian question, Faiez Jacobs, an officer in the Western Cape provincial branch of the ANC which proposed the recommendation, told the newspaper.

The move is intended to send a strong message in protest of Israels continued military occupation and human rights abuses against Palestinians.

The policy does not call on the government to downgrade Israels embassy in Pretoria, but Jacobs anticipates that if South Africa reduces its representation in Tel Aviv, Israel might respond by doing the same.

In 2012, the year of its previous national policy conference, the ANC endorsed the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

Israel maintained extremely close ties with apartheid South Africa. Tel Aviv was the white supremacist regimes main weapons supplier when Pretoria was under a tightening international embargo.

Relations cooled significantly after the ANC took power in democratic elections in 1994. Many grassroots activists and iconic leaders in South Africas liberation struggle, including the late Ahmed Kathrada, have been staunch supporters of the Palestinian struggle.

Recently, a number of government ministers, including South Africas Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, fasted in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.

In 2015, Israel prevented the entry of South Africas higher education minister, who had planned to travel to the occupied West Bank to discuss cooperation with Palestinians.

The minister, Blade Nzimande, had observed as many leading South Africans have that Israeli apartheid is worse than South African apartheid.

While the South African government has offered consistent support for Palestinians albeit within the framework of backing the so-called two-state solution it has not spearheaded international efforts to isolate Israel despite a growing consensus that Israel is guilty of apartheid against Palestinians.

Such leadership could be particularly important as Israel launches a renewed diplomatic offensive to win over support from African governments.

Israel markets itself to African countries as a purveyor of development technologies such as drip-irrigation assistance it withdrew from Senegal in revenge for that countrys December vote for a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israels illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

But despite the end of its cozy relationship with South Africa, Israel has continued to fuel conflict and atrocities on the continent by supplying arms used in conflicts in South Sudan and Burundi and sending weapons to Rwanda before the 1994 genocide a role Israel has sought to cover up.

South Africa has gone further than many countries by explicitly discouraging its citizens from traveling to present-day Israel because of the mistreatment of Palestinians.

The ANC policy conference decision indicates that the ruling partys grassroots feel that the government could be doing much more to translate the strong sentiments of solidarity into effective action.

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South Africa ruling party votes to downgrade diplomatic ties with Israel – Ma’an News Agency (press release)

PRETORIA (Ma’an) — The African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party of South Africa, voted on Tuesday in favor of downgrading South Africas diplomatic representation in Israel in protest of the occupation.

The decision, made during ANCs National Policy Conference, was hailed as a major victory for human rights and for the people of Palestine, according to a statement released by the Western Cape branch of the ANC on Wednesday.

The Oliver Tambo Resolution — named after the prominent anti-apartheid figure who served as president of the ANC between 1967 and 1991 — states that the aim of downgrading South Africas embassy to Israel was to send a strong message about Israels continued illegal occupation of Palestine and the continued human rights abuses against the peoples of Palestine.”

Yesterdays resolution is the strongest and clearest position taken by the ANC in our history as a governing party regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ANC Western Cape wrote.

We believe that those of us calling for downgrades, sanctions and other actions against apartheid Israel and other oppressive regimes are following in (Tambos) footsteps.

We are under no illusion that Israel and its lobby will (not) attempt to pressure the ANC, but this mighty movement will remain steadfast in advancing the interests and solidarity of our people, the statement added. We warn Israel not to interfere with our local politics, but instead to build a just peace with Palestinians.

Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa Hashem Dajani welcomed the decision as an “advanced move to put pressure on the apartheid government of Israel in order to end occupation of the state of Palestine.”

Dajani added that the move would mark a recognition of the Palestinian right to self-determination and statehood.

South Africa has a long history of solidarity with the Palestinian people, due to the parallels between the Israeli occupation and the decades-long South African apartheid regime.

A globally revered figure, late South African President Nelson Mandela also holds a special place in Palestinian society for his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as he famously said in 1997 that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

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South Africa ruling party votes to downgrade diplomatic ties with Israel – Ma’an News Agency (press release)

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UN doing nothing to stop Israeli occupation: Pundit – Press TV

A picture taken on June 19, 2017 shows the Israeli settlement of Hashmonaim, west of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by AFP)

The international community always issues statements on the occupation of the Palestinian lands by the Israeli regime, but The United Nations really does not do anything about this, says a Sydney-based researcher and political analyst.

It is great in terms of bringing the attention to issue [of Israeli occupation] again, but they make these UN resolutions all of the time. They always bring up the obvious violations of international law committed by the Israeli apartheid [regime], but nothing tangible has been done to change this trend, Robert Inlakesh told Press TV on Wednesday.

There is more UN resolutions against Israel than any other nation-state in the world but nothing is done about it,” he noted.

“We need boycotting, we need divestment and we need sanctions,Inlakesh underscored.

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UN doing nothing to stop Israeli occupation: Pundit – Press TV

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Radiohead urged to ditch Israel gig – SBS

Radiohead’s record label has been handed petitions signed by 14,000 people urging the band to cancel their upcoming gig in Tel Aviv as part of a cultural boycott.

The group’s July show has previously been hit with criticism by the likes of film director Ken Loach, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a host of Israeli musicians, who all have called for the show to be pulled.

The new signatures were handed to a member of staff at XL Recordings in London by activists from London Palestine Action, alongside a mock-up petition that read “Radiohead: Please don’t play Tel Aviv! Love from 14,000 fans”.

One of the petitions, launched by US group Jewish Voice For Peace, read: “Palestinian civil society, in an effort to bring worldwide attention to injustice and inequality in Israel/Palestine issued a call for cultural boycott in 2005.

“We ask you to honour that call.

“Israel is regarded as an apartheid state because of separate laws for Jews and non-Jews.”

“Stand with us as we work for peace, justice, and human rights – cancel your concert in Tel Aviv.”

The petitions follow the publication of an open letter to Radiohead by a group of Israeli musicians, in which they said performances by international artists serve as a “propaganda tool for the Israeli government”.

In April, Loach and dozens of other artists and actors, along with Archbishop Tutu, penned an open letter asking Radiohead to “think again” about performing in a country “where a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people”.

In June, Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that he did not agree with the cultural boycott.

He said: “There are people I admire like Ken Loach, who I would never dream of telling where to work or what to do or think.”

Yorke added that he found the response “deeply disrespectful” and “patronising in the extreme”.

Radiohead are due to perform at Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon on July 19.

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Tuesday July 4, 2017 – Israel Hayom


Israel Hayom
Tuesday July 4, 2017
Israel Hayom
MK Aida Touma-Sliman tells U.N. conference marking “50 years of occupation” that “there can be no social justice with the oppression of an entire people” MK Oren Hazan: If Israel were an apartheid state, Touma-Sliman would have been locked up long

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Tuesday July 4, 2017 – Israel Hayom

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Modi’s visit to Israel is an extension of his anti-Muslim politics – DailyO

On May 16, 2014, when the result of the Indian general election was announced, I was in Israel for a lecture tour. Narendra Modis victory prompted me to spend that day in Jaffa, the ancient port city in the southern part of Tel Aviv and famous for its oranges.

Jaffa, predominantly a Palestinian city, came under Israeli occupation after the 1948 war and thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee.

Now, one third of Jaffas population still comprises Palestinians. In Israel, Jaffa has been one of the few areas where Muslims and Jews have co-existed now for decades, but the influx of Israeli hardliners in this decade and with them the rigid Zionist ideology has made the situation quite volatile.

The citys Arab population is living in a terrible condition or gradually being forced to move out. The state supported Israelisation of Jaffa has made it a powder keg situated next to Israels capital.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the second longest serving Prime Minister in Israels history after David Ben-Gurion, is a right-wing hardliner, who has made his political career by portraying Palestinians as an existential threat to the Jewish state of Israel.

He has thrived on playing the politics of fear, vilifying Arabs and demonising Muslims. Thanks to his brand of politics, not only in Jaffa but a million of Arab Israelis in the whole country have been forced to the edge.

Like Netanyahu in Israel, Modi is pursuing his far-right politics in India while fanning anti-Muslim sentiment. Hindu nationalists in India revere Israel for the successful domination of its Muslim neighbourhood.

They not only envisage India following Israels apartheid model to deal with the minorities at home, but also always dream of turning India into an aggressive state like Israel in the region.

In the pursuit of that aggressive nationalist agenda, Modi has not only gone on a shopping binge of readymade military hardware, but is also promoting some of his industrialist cronies without previous experience in the arms production sector to collaborate with foreign arms manufacturers for joint production in the name of Make in India. 2017 has already become a record year of Israeli weapons sales to India.

Modi has no plan to travel to Ramallah for a customary meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as most world leaders visiting Israel do. Photo: Reuters

In April 2016, Israels Aerospace Industries (IAI) received its largest ever defense contract of $1.6 billion from the Indian Army forthe land-based version of the Barak 8 air defence system. A month later, IAI signed another defence contract of $630 million with Bharat Electronics (BEL) for its naval version for four vessels.

During his visit, Modi might sign a deal worth about $500 million to purchase 8000 Spike anti-tank missiles. There is also the possibility of India finalising a $1 billion Phalcon deal as well.

India getting weapons from Israel is not a new development. Israel has supplied arms to India in the past when India had fought wars with China in 1962, and with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. At the time of the Kargil War, Israel had also provided surveillance drones and laser-guided missiles to India.

However, until Modi became the Prime Minister, most of these defence transactions were done quietly. But Modi has abandoned that cautious and time-tested approach. Moreover, he is moving India away from its established policy of not compromising in its support to the Palestinian struggle.

India and Israel have maintained more than cordial relations for many decades in spite of Indias open and firm support for the Palestinian cause. Though both countries have established a diplomatic relationship since 1992 and Israel has become the third-largest arms supplier for India, behind only Russia and the US, it is for the first time a sitting Prime Minister of India is visiting Israel.

While undertaking this high-profile visit, Modi has no plan to travel down to Ramallah for a customary meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as most world leaders visiting Israel do. Even President Pranab Mukherjee in 2015 had first gone to the West Bank before travelling to Israel.

Since independence, India has maintained support for Palestine. Even Albert Einsteins request had not budged Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947 to provide support for the creation of the state of Israel. That year, India voted against the 1947 UN partition plan for Palestine, and only in 1950 recognised Israel.

Indias support for Palestine has been continuing since Nehrus time. This policy is not only in line with the sentiments of Indias largest religious minorities, but also standing with universal principles of justice and fairness and confirming to majority global opinion.

However, the RSS refuses to forgive Nehru for not turning India into a Hindu Pakistan, and considers Indias support for Palestine as part of Congress so-called appeasement policy towards Indian Muslims.

Modi by undertaking this official visit to Israel as PM and not including a trip to Ramallah is pandering to his Hindutva support base. His majoritarian politics thrives on taking political and policy positioning going against the sentiments of Muslim minorities. While he is avoiding a trip to the West Bank, he has found time to schedule a meeting with Moshe Holtzberg, the Israeli child who lost his parents in Nariman House in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. That is to exhibit a faade of a common bond between India and Israel against Islamic extremism.

As an opinion piece in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz points out, Modi can afford to ignore the Palestinians. Modis Hindutva politics not only encourages him to ignore Palestine, but also to build an open alliance with Zionist forces.

Common hatred towards Muslims fuels a Netanyahu and Modi bromance and their partnership is bound to cause further anxiety among Indias minority population. However, Modi by promoting Israels Jaffa model in India hopes to strengthen his majoritarian support base, but it will come at the cost of peace and stability in the country.

Also read:Ahead of Modi’s visit, India and Israel can learn a lot from each other

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U.N. report: Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid …

A report commissioned by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia accuses Israel of racial segregation against Palestinians, compares Israel to the South African apartheid regime. Israels ambassador to the U.N.: The attempts to discredit the only democracy in the Middle East are shameful and bizarre.

A U.N. agency published a report today (Wednesday) accusing Israel of inflicting an apartheid regime based on racial discrimination against the Palestinian people. This is the first time that an agency representing the U.N. has come forth with such harsh accusations against Israel.

The report was commissioned by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), one of six UN organizations dealing with economics and society. The council is comprised of eighteen Arab countries from Western Asia and its headquarters are located in Beirut.

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The head of the agency, ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf, who also serves as U.N. Under-Secretary General, said that the report “clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist state that has established an apartheid system. She went on to explain that the reports conclusions were based on scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence but added that only a ruling by an international tribunal in that sense would make such an assessment truly authoritative.

Israels ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon called for the Secretary General of the U.N to renounce the report. The attempts to discredit the only democracy in the Middle East are shameful and bizarre, Danon said. It is not surprising that the committee that chose for its leader someone who calls for the boycott of Israel and who compares Israel to the most horrific regimes in mankinds history would publish a report such as this one.

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Ehud Olmert, former Israeli prime minister, released from prison – CBS News

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert walks out of the prison door as he is released from prison after a parole board decided to cut his sentence by a third, at Maasiyahu prison near Ramle, Israel, July 2, 2017.

Walla!news/Rubi Kastro via REUTERS

JERUSALEM –Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert left prison early Sunday days after a parole board granted him early release from his 27-month corruption sentence.

Prison Service spokesman Assaf Librati said Olmert, 71, was whisked away by security and driven home after serving 16 months. Olmert appeared gaunt and pale as he left the facility.

Librati said the terms of Olmert’s early release stipulate that for the next few months he must do volunteer work, appear before police twice a month and not give interviews to the media or leave the country. Olmert will reportedly volunteer at a food bank and for a group that provides medical aid to needy families. However, President Reuven Rivlin could relieve him of the parole restrictions.

“We are very happy, a great burden has been lifted and a great sorrow and pain has ended,” Eti Livni, a friend of Olmert, told Army Radio.

Olmert was convicted in 2014 in a wide-ranging case that accused him of accepting bribes to promote a real-estate project in Jerusalem and obstructing justice. The charges pertained to a period when he was mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister before he became premier in 2006.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaks to the media after a hearing at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem December 29, 2015.

REUTERS

His departure from office in 2009 ended the last major Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and ushered in the era of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Olmert was a longtime fixture in Israel’s hawkish right wing when he began taking a dramatically more conciliatory line toward the Palestinians more than a decade ago. He played a leading role in Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and became prime minister in January 2006 after then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke. He resigned amid a corruption scandal that clouded his administration.

A gifted orator, Olmert broke a series of taboos while in office — warning that Israel could become like apartheid South Africa if it continued its occupation of the Palestinians and expressing readiness to relinquish parts of Jerusalem under a peace deal.

He led his government to the Annapolis peace conference in November 2007 — launching more than a year of ambitious, but ultimately unsuccessful U.S.-brokered talks.

Olmert has said he made unprecedented concessions to the Palestinians — including a near-total withdrawal from the West Bank and an offer to place Jerusalem’s Old City under international control — and was close to reaching an agreement at the time of his resignation.

Olmert was rushed to hospital with chest pains last month, but doctors ruled out a heart attack. A few days before that, Israel’s Justice Ministry asked the police to investigate whether Olmert committed a “criminal offense” while behind bars.

It said a book Olmert is writing touches on “sensitive security issues” and that his lawyer was caught leaving the prison with a chapter on “secret operations” not approved by the censor for publication. Police searched the publishing house of the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, but not the paper itself, over the incident.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked welcomed Olmert’s release, telling Army Radio he deserved to have his sentence reduced and that “all in all his behavior in prison was very good.”

A few hours after his release, a somber-looking Olmert was seen walking around a shopping mall in Tel Aviv. A public relations company representing the mall released photos of the former premier in a clothing store. It said people had greeted him and wished him well.

2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Israel’s ex-PM Ehud Olmert released from prison – USA TODAY

Ian Deitch, Associated Press Published 7:11 a.m. ET July 2, 2017 | Updated 7:46 a.m. ET July 2, 2017

In this Dec. 29, 2015 file photo, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert leaves the courtroom of the Supreme Court after the court ruled on his appeal in the Holyland corruption case in Jerusalem.(Photo: Debbie Hill, AP)

JERUSALEM – Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was released from prison early Sunday days after a parole board granted him early release from his 27-month corruption sentence.

Prison Service spokesman Assaf Librati said Olmert, 71, was whisked away by Israels security service after his release and driven home after serving 16 months.

He said the terms of Olmerts early release stipulate that for the next few months the former prime minister has to do volunteer work, must appear before police twice a month and cannot give interviews to the media or leave the country.

He added that President Reuven Rivlin could relieve him of the parole restrictions.

Olmert was convicted in 2014 in a wide-ranging case that accused him of accepting bribes to promote a real-estate project in Jerusalem and obstructing justice. The charges pertained to a period when he was mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister before he became premier in 2006.

His departure from office in 2009 ended the last major Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and ushered in the era of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Olmert was a longtime fixture in Israels hawkish right wing when he began taking a dramatically more conciliatory line toward the Palestinians more than a decade ago. He played a leading role in Israels withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and became prime minister in January 2006 after then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke. He resigned amid a corruption scandal that clouded his administration.

A gifted orator, Olmert broke a series of taboos while in office warning that Israel could become like apartheid South Africa if it continued its occupation of the Palestinians and expressing readiness to relinquish parts of Jerusalem under a peace deal.

He led his government to the Annapolis peace conference in November 2007 launching more than a year of ambitious, but ultimately unsuccessful U.S.-brokered talks.

Olmert has said he made unprecedented concessions to the Palestinians including a near-total withdrawal from the West Bank and an offer to place Jerusalems Old City under international control and was close to reaching an agreement at the time of his resignation.

Olmert was rushed to hospital with chest pains last month, but doctors ruled out a heart attack. A few days before that, Israels Justice Ministry asked the police to investigate whether Olmert committed a criminal offense while behind bars.

It said a book Olmert is writing touches on sensitive security issues and that his lawyer was caught leaving the prison with a chapter on secret operations not approved by the censor for publication. Police searched the publishing house of the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, but not the paper itself, over the incident.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked welcomed Olmerts release, telling Army Radio he deserved to have his sentence reduced and that all in all his behavior in prison was very good.

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ANC decides South Africa should downgrade ties with Israel – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Ali Abunimah Power Suits 5 July 2017 South Africas ruling party wants to sharply downgrade ties with Israel. At its national policy conference on Tuesday, the African National Congress adopted a recommendation to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel to a liaison office in a bid to reduce diplomatic ties, the Mail & Guardian newspaper reported. The policy will go to the ANCs national conference for ratification in December. Our embassy has failed to achieve its necessary political objective over the past 22 years in moving Israel closer to a resolution on the Palestinian question, Faiez Jacobs, an officer in the Western Cape provincial branch of the ANC which proposed the recommendation, told the newspaper. The move is intended to send a strong message in protest of Israels continued military occupation and human rights abuses against Palestinians. The policy does not call on the government to downgrade Israels embassy in Pretoria, but Jacobs anticipates that if South Africa reduces its representation in Tel Aviv, Israel might respond by doing the same. In 2012, the year of its previous national policy conference, the ANC endorsed the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. Israel maintained extremely close ties with apartheid South Africa. Tel Aviv was the white supremacist regimes main weapons supplier when Pretoria was under a tightening international embargo. Relations cooled significantly after the ANC took power in democratic elections in 1994. Many grassroots activists and iconic leaders in South Africas liberation struggle, including the late Ahmed Kathrada, have been staunch supporters of the Palestinian struggle. Recently, a number of government ministers, including South Africas Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, fasted in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. In 2015, Israel prevented the entry of South Africas higher education minister, who had planned to travel to the occupied West Bank to discuss cooperation with Palestinians. The minister, Blade Nzimande, had observed as many leading South Africans have that Israeli apartheid is worse than South African apartheid. While the South African government has offered consistent support for Palestinians albeit within the framework of backing the so-called two-state solution it has not spearheaded international efforts to isolate Israel despite a growing consensus that Israel is guilty of apartheid against Palestinians. Such leadership could be particularly important as Israel launches a renewed diplomatic offensive to win over support from African governments. Israel markets itself to African countries as a purveyor of development technologies such as drip-irrigation assistance it withdrew from Senegal in revenge for that countrys December vote for a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israels illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land. But despite the end of its cozy relationship with South Africa, Israel has continued to fuel conflict and atrocities on the continent by supplying arms used in conflicts in South Sudan and Burundi and sending weapons to Rwanda before the 1994 genocide a role Israel has sought to cover up. South Africa has gone further than many countries by explicitly discouraging its citizens from traveling to present-day Israel because of the mistreatment of Palestinians. The ANC policy conference decision indicates that the ruling partys grassroots feel that the government could be doing much more to translate the strong sentiments of solidarity into effective action.

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South Africa ruling party votes to downgrade diplomatic ties with Israel – Ma’an News Agency (press release)

PRETORIA (Ma’an) — The African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party of South Africa, voted on Tuesday in favor of downgrading South Africas diplomatic representation in Israel in protest of the occupation. The decision, made during ANCs National Policy Conference, was hailed as a major victory for human rights and for the people of Palestine, according to a statement released by the Western Cape branch of the ANC on Wednesday. The Oliver Tambo Resolution — named after the prominent anti-apartheid figure who served as president of the ANC between 1967 and 1991 — states that the aim of downgrading South Africas embassy to Israel was to send a strong message about Israels continued illegal occupation of Palestine and the continued human rights abuses against the peoples of Palestine.” Yesterdays resolution is the strongest and clearest position taken by the ANC in our history as a governing party regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ANC Western Cape wrote. We believe that those of us calling for downgrades, sanctions and other actions against apartheid Israel and other oppressive regimes are following in (Tambos) footsteps. We are under no illusion that Israel and its lobby will (not) attempt to pressure the ANC, but this mighty movement will remain steadfast in advancing the interests and solidarity of our people, the statement added. We warn Israel not to interfere with our local politics, but instead to build a just peace with Palestinians. Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa Hashem Dajani welcomed the decision as an “advanced move to put pressure on the apartheid government of Israel in order to end occupation of the state of Palestine.” Dajani added that the move would mark a recognition of the Palestinian right to self-determination and statehood. South Africa has a long history of solidarity with the Palestinian people, due to the parallels between the Israeli occupation and the decades-long South African apartheid regime. A globally revered figure, late South African President Nelson Mandela also holds a special place in Palestinian society for his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as he famously said in 1997 that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

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UN doing nothing to stop Israeli occupation: Pundit – Press TV

A picture taken on June 19, 2017 shows the Israeli settlement of Hashmonaim, west of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by AFP) The international community always issues statements on the occupation of the Palestinian lands by the Israeli regime, but The United Nations really does not do anything about this, says a Sydney-based researcher and political analyst. It is great in terms of bringing the attention to issue [of Israeli occupation] again, but they make these UN resolutions all of the time. They always bring up the obvious violations of international law committed by the Israeli apartheid [regime], but nothing tangible has been done to change this trend, Robert Inlakesh told Press TV on Wednesday. There is more UN resolutions against Israel than any other nation-state in the world but nothing is done about it,” he noted. “We need boycotting, we need divestment and we need sanctions,Inlakesh underscored.

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Radiohead urged to ditch Israel gig – SBS

Radiohead’s record label has been handed petitions signed by 14,000 people urging the band to cancel their upcoming gig in Tel Aviv as part of a cultural boycott. The group’s July show has previously been hit with criticism by the likes of film director Ken Loach, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a host of Israeli musicians, who all have called for the show to be pulled. The new signatures were handed to a member of staff at XL Recordings in London by activists from London Palestine Action, alongside a mock-up petition that read “Radiohead: Please don’t play Tel Aviv! Love from 14,000 fans”. One of the petitions, launched by US group Jewish Voice For Peace, read: “Palestinian civil society, in an effort to bring worldwide attention to injustice and inequality in Israel/Palestine issued a call for cultural boycott in 2005. “We ask you to honour that call. “Israel is regarded as an apartheid state because of separate laws for Jews and non-Jews.” “Stand with us as we work for peace, justice, and human rights – cancel your concert in Tel Aviv.” The petitions follow the publication of an open letter to Radiohead by a group of Israeli musicians, in which they said performances by international artists serve as a “propaganda tool for the Israeli government”. In April, Loach and dozens of other artists and actors, along with Archbishop Tutu, penned an open letter asking Radiohead to “think again” about performing in a country “where a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people”. In June, Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that he did not agree with the cultural boycott. He said: “There are people I admire like Ken Loach, who I would never dream of telling where to work or what to do or think.” Yorke added that he found the response “deeply disrespectful” and “patronising in the extreme”. Radiohead are due to perform at Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon on July 19.

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Tuesday July 4, 2017 – Israel Hayom

Israel Hayom Tuesday July 4, 2017 Israel Hayom MK Aida Touma-Sliman tells U.N. conference marking “50 years of occupation” that “there can be no social justice with the oppression of an entire people” MK Oren Hazan: If Israel were an apartheid state, Touma-Sliman would have been locked up long …

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Modi’s visit to Israel is an extension of his anti-Muslim politics – DailyO

On May 16, 2014, when the result of the Indian general election was announced, I was in Israel for a lecture tour. Narendra Modis victory prompted me to spend that day in Jaffa, the ancient port city in the southern part of Tel Aviv and famous for its oranges. Jaffa, predominantly a Palestinian city, came under Israeli occupation after the 1948 war and thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee. Now, one third of Jaffas population still comprises Palestinians. In Israel, Jaffa has been one of the few areas where Muslims and Jews have co-existed now for decades, but the influx of Israeli hardliners in this decade and with them the rigid Zionist ideology has made the situation quite volatile. The citys Arab population is living in a terrible condition or gradually being forced to move out. The state supported Israelisation of Jaffa has made it a powder keg situated next to Israels capital. Benjamin Netanyahu, the second longest serving Prime Minister in Israels history after David Ben-Gurion, is a right-wing hardliner, who has made his political career by portraying Palestinians as an existential threat to the Jewish state of Israel. He has thrived on playing the politics of fear, vilifying Arabs and demonising Muslims. Thanks to his brand of politics, not only in Jaffa but a million of Arab Israelis in the whole country have been forced to the edge. Like Netanyahu in Israel, Modi is pursuing his far-right politics in India while fanning anti-Muslim sentiment. Hindu nationalists in India revere Israel for the successful domination of its Muslim neighbourhood. They not only envisage India following Israels apartheid model to deal with the minorities at home, but also always dream of turning India into an aggressive state like Israel in the region. In the pursuit of that aggressive nationalist agenda, Modi has not only gone on a shopping binge of readymade military hardware, but is also promoting some of his industrialist cronies without previous experience in the arms production sector to collaborate with foreign arms manufacturers for joint production in the name of Make in India. 2017 has already become a record year of Israeli weapons sales to India. Modi has no plan to travel to Ramallah for a customary meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as most world leaders visiting Israel do. Photo: Reuters In April 2016, Israels Aerospace Industries (IAI) received its largest ever defense contract of $1.6 billion from the Indian Army forthe land-based version of the Barak 8 air defence system. A month later, IAI signed another defence contract of $630 million with Bharat Electronics (BEL) for its naval version for four vessels. During his visit, Modi might sign a deal worth about $500 million to purchase 8000 Spike anti-tank missiles. There is also the possibility of India finalising a $1 billion Phalcon deal as well. India getting weapons from Israel is not a new development. Israel has supplied arms to India in the past when India had fought wars with China in 1962, and with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. At the time of the Kargil War, Israel had also provided surveillance drones and laser-guided missiles to India. However, until Modi became the Prime Minister, most of these defence transactions were done quietly. But Modi has abandoned that cautious and time-tested approach. Moreover, he is moving India away from its established policy of not compromising in its support to the Palestinian struggle. India and Israel have maintained more than cordial relations for many decades in spite of Indias open and firm support for the Palestinian cause. Though both countries have established a diplomatic relationship since 1992 and Israel has become the third-largest arms supplier for India, behind only Russia and the US, it is for the first time a sitting Prime Minister of India is visiting Israel. While undertaking this high-profile visit, Modi has no plan to travel down to Ramallah for a customary meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as most world leaders visiting Israel do. Even President Pranab Mukherjee in 2015 had first gone to the West Bank before travelling to Israel. Since independence, India has maintained support for Palestine. Even Albert Einsteins request had not budged Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947 to provide support for the creation of the state of Israel. That year, India voted against the 1947 UN partition plan for Palestine, and only in 1950 recognised Israel. Indias support for Palestine has been continuing since Nehrus time. This policy is not only in line with the sentiments of Indias largest religious minorities, but also standing with universal principles of justice and fairness and confirming to majority global opinion. However, the RSS refuses to forgive Nehru for not turning India into a Hindu Pakistan, and considers Indias support for Palestine as part of Congress so-called appeasement policy towards Indian Muslims. Modi by undertaking this official visit to Israel as PM and not including a trip to Ramallah is pandering to his Hindutva support base. His majoritarian politics thrives on taking political and policy positioning going against the sentiments of Muslim minorities. While he is avoiding a trip to the West Bank, he has found time to schedule a meeting with Moshe Holtzberg, the Israeli child who lost his parents in Nariman House in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. That is to exhibit a faade of a common bond between India and Israel against Islamic extremism. As an opinion piece in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz points out, Modi can afford to ignore the Palestinians. Modis Hindutva politics not only encourages him to ignore Palestine, but also to build an open alliance with Zionist forces. Common hatred towards Muslims fuels a Netanyahu and Modi bromance and their partnership is bound to cause further anxiety among Indias minority population. However, Modi by promoting Israels Jaffa model in India hopes to strengthen his majoritarian support base, but it will come at the cost of peace and stability in the country. Also read:Ahead of Modi’s visit, India and Israel can learn a lot from each other

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July 4, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

U.N. report: Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid …

A report commissioned by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia accuses Israel of racial segregation against Palestinians, compares Israel to the South African apartheid regime. Israels ambassador to the U.N.: The attempts to discredit the only democracy in the Middle East are shameful and bizarre. A U.N. agency published a report today (Wednesday) accusing Israel of inflicting an apartheid regime based on racial discrimination against the Palestinian people. This is the first time that an agency representing the U.N. has come forth with such harsh accusations against Israel. The report was commissioned by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), one of six UN organizations dealing with economics and society. The council is comprised of eighteen Arab countries from Western Asia and its headquarters are located in Beirut. Follow JerusalemOnline Twitter page and stay up to date with the latest news The head of the agency, ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf, who also serves as U.N. Under-Secretary General, said that the report “clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist state that has established an apartheid system. She went on to explain that the reports conclusions were based on scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence but added that only a ruling by an international tribunal in that sense would make such an assessment truly authoritative. Israels ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon called for the Secretary General of the U.N to renounce the report. The attempts to discredit the only democracy in the Middle East are shameful and bizarre, Danon said. It is not surprising that the committee that chose for its leader someone who calls for the boycott of Israel and who compares Israel to the most horrific regimes in mankinds history would publish a report such as this one. Signup to receive the most important news events of the day Found mistakes in this report? – Click Here

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July 3, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Ehud Olmert, former Israeli prime minister, released from prison – CBS News

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert walks out of the prison door as he is released from prison after a parole board decided to cut his sentence by a third, at Maasiyahu prison near Ramle, Israel, July 2, 2017. Walla!news/Rubi Kastro via REUTERS JERUSALEM –Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert left prison early Sunday days after a parole board granted him early release from his 27-month corruption sentence. Prison Service spokesman Assaf Librati said Olmert, 71, was whisked away by security and driven home after serving 16 months. Olmert appeared gaunt and pale as he left the facility. Librati said the terms of Olmert’s early release stipulate that for the next few months he must do volunteer work, appear before police twice a month and not give interviews to the media or leave the country. Olmert will reportedly volunteer at a food bank and for a group that provides medical aid to needy families. However, President Reuven Rivlin could relieve him of the parole restrictions. “We are very happy, a great burden has been lifted and a great sorrow and pain has ended,” Eti Livni, a friend of Olmert, told Army Radio. Olmert was convicted in 2014 in a wide-ranging case that accused him of accepting bribes to promote a real-estate project in Jerusalem and obstructing justice. The charges pertained to a period when he was mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister before he became premier in 2006. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaks to the media after a hearing at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem December 29, 2015. REUTERS His departure from office in 2009 ended the last major Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and ushered in the era of Benjamin Netanyahu. Olmert was a longtime fixture in Israel’s hawkish right wing when he began taking a dramatically more conciliatory line toward the Palestinians more than a decade ago. He played a leading role in Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and became prime minister in January 2006 after then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke. He resigned amid a corruption scandal that clouded his administration. A gifted orator, Olmert broke a series of taboos while in office — warning that Israel could become like apartheid South Africa if it continued its occupation of the Palestinians and expressing readiness to relinquish parts of Jerusalem under a peace deal. He led his government to the Annapolis peace conference in November 2007 — launching more than a year of ambitious, but ultimately unsuccessful U.S.-brokered talks. Olmert has said he made unprecedented concessions to the Palestinians — including a near-total withdrawal from the West Bank and an offer to place Jerusalem’s Old City under international control — and was close to reaching an agreement at the time of his resignation. Olmert was rushed to hospital with chest pains last month, but doctors ruled out a heart attack. A few days before that, Israel’s Justice Ministry asked the police to investigate whether Olmert committed a “criminal offense” while behind bars. It said a book Olmert is writing touches on “sensitive security issues” and that his lawyer was caught leaving the prison with a chapter on “secret operations” not approved by the censor for publication. Police searched the publishing house of the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, but not the paper itself, over the incident. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked welcomed Olmert’s release, telling Army Radio he deserved to have his sentence reduced and that “all in all his behavior in prison was very good.” A few hours after his release, a somber-looking Olmert was seen walking around a shopping mall in Tel Aviv. A public relations company representing the mall released photos of the former premier in a clothing store. It said people had greeted him and wished him well. 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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July 3, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Israel’s ex-PM Ehud Olmert released from prison – USA TODAY

Ian Deitch, Associated Press Published 7:11 a.m. ET July 2, 2017 | Updated 7:46 a.m. ET July 2, 2017 In this Dec. 29, 2015 file photo, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert leaves the courtroom of the Supreme Court after the court ruled on his appeal in the Holyland corruption case in Jerusalem.(Photo: Debbie Hill, AP) JERUSALEM – Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was released from prison early Sunday days after a parole board granted him early release from his 27-month corruption sentence. Prison Service spokesman Assaf Librati said Olmert, 71, was whisked away by Israels security service after his release and driven home after serving 16 months. He said the terms of Olmerts early release stipulate that for the next few months the former prime minister has to do volunteer work, must appear before police twice a month and cannot give interviews to the media or leave the country. He added that President Reuven Rivlin could relieve him of the parole restrictions. Olmert was convicted in 2014 in a wide-ranging case that accused him of accepting bribes to promote a real-estate project in Jerusalem and obstructing justice. The charges pertained to a period when he was mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister before he became premier in 2006. His departure from office in 2009 ended the last major Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and ushered in the era of Benjamin Netanyahu. Olmert was a longtime fixture in Israels hawkish right wing when he began taking a dramatically more conciliatory line toward the Palestinians more than a decade ago. He played a leading role in Israels withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and became prime minister in January 2006 after then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke. He resigned amid a corruption scandal that clouded his administration. A gifted orator, Olmert broke a series of taboos while in office warning that Israel could become like apartheid South Africa if it continued its occupation of the Palestinians and expressing readiness to relinquish parts of Jerusalem under a peace deal. He led his government to the Annapolis peace conference in November 2007 launching more than a year of ambitious, but ultimately unsuccessful U.S.-brokered talks. Olmert has said he made unprecedented concessions to the Palestinians including a near-total withdrawal from the West Bank and an offer to place Jerusalems Old City under international control and was close to reaching an agreement at the time of his resignation. Olmert was rushed to hospital with chest pains last month, but doctors ruled out a heart attack. A few days before that, Israels Justice Ministry asked the police to investigate whether Olmert committed a criminal offense while behind bars. It said a book Olmert is writing touches on sensitive security issues and that his lawyer was caught leaving the prison with a chapter on secret operations not approved by the censor for publication. Police searched the publishing house of the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, but not the paper itself, over the incident. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked welcomed Olmerts release, telling Army Radio he deserved to have his sentence reduced and that all in all his behavior in prison was very good. Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2udA4VW

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July 2, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed


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