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November 10, 2023

In both the United States and United Kingdom, progressive politicians have been censured for use of the slogan “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea.” Much media reportage has simply accepted portrayals of the slogan as inherently anti-Semitic and a call for genocide. Nor, given the Hamas atrocities of Oct. 7 and the wave of anti-Semitic attacks around the world since then, should such concerns be merely dismissed. Indeed, the slogan does inherently challenge the precepts of Zionism and the moribund dogma of a two-state solution. In Episode 199 of the CounterVortex podcastBill Weinberg urges activists to articulate a vision of a single secular state with equal rights for all in historic Palestine. While this may seem utopian, clarity on this question will make us more tactically effective in advancing the urgent immediate demand: a ceasefire in Gaza. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

In both the United States and United Kingdom, progressive politicians have been 

November 8, 2023

In a statement, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights brought attention to an "alarming and urgent" situation on the occupied West Bank, with "multi-layered human rights violations of Palestinians" mounting while the world is focused on the greater crisis in Gaza. The statement notes that 132 Palestinians, including 41 children, have been killed on the West Bank since the current crisis began on Oct. 7. Two Israeli soldiers have also been killed. Settler violence, which was already at record levels, has escalated dramatically, averaging seven attacks a day. In more than a third of these attacks, firearms were used, the statement charged. In many of these incidents, "settlers were accompanied by members of the Israeli forces, or the settlers were wearing uniforms and carrying army rifles," raising concerns that "armed settlers have been acting with the acquiescence and collaboration of Israeli forces and authorities."

In a statement released Nov.

June 23, 2023

Israel's right-wing nationalist government announced new plans to approve the construction of thousands of new buildings in the occupied West Bank, despite pressure from both the US and EU to halt settlement expansion. Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has just been granted authority over approval of West Bank settlement construction in a cabinet decision, tweeted in explicitly annexationist language: "The construction boom in Judea and Samaria and all over our country continues." The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called for US and international action to press the Israeli government to backtrack on the decision.

Israel’s right-wing nationalist government announced new plans June 18 to approve the construction of thousands of new buildings in the occupied West Bank, despite pressure from both 

January 28, 2023

In Episode 160 of the CounterVortex podcastBill Weinberg notes hideous ironies in the current horrific headlines. Russia was excluded from the official commemorations of Holocaust Day at Auschwitz-Birkenau as it pursues its war of aggression and extermination in Ukraine in the perverse name of "de-nazification." But Israeli flags were of course displayed at the commemoration—even as Israel escalates toward a genocial solution to the Palestinian question. The fundamental contradiction driving the conflict is the expropriation of the Palestinian people of their lands, and the denial of their self-determination by Israel. The emergence of an explicitly anti-Zionist bloc in the protests against the new far-right government in Israel is a sign of hope. The US, however, is undertaking its biggest joint military exercises ever with the new Israeli regime, despite Biden's supposed rejection of its extremist policies of settlement expansion and annexation—viewing the Jewish State as a strategic ally against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Meanwhile, the oppressive regime in Iran treats the KurdsBaluchAhwazi and Baha'i much as Israel treats the Palestinians. 

In Episode 160 of the CounterVortex podcastBill Weinberg notes hideous ironies in the current horrific headlines.
 

 

 

January 26, 2023

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met in Jerusalem with President Isaac Herzog, signaling continued US support for Israel's new far-right government—despite the Biden administration's supposed opposition to its policies such as settlement expansion and annexation of the West Bank. The trip coincided with Israel's eviction of a wildcat settler outpost in what Israeli authorities call the "Samaria" region of the West Bank. Simultaneously, the Israeli government announced it is preparing to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, home to at least 180 people. Khan al-Ahmar lies within a key corridor stretching to the Jordan Valley, where Israel aims to expand and link settlements, effectively cutting the West Bank into two.

January 2, 2023

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution referring Israel's 55-year occupation of Palestinian territories to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a legal advisory. The vote, which followed approval of a draft resolution by the Special Committee on Decolonization, was 87-26, with 53 abstentions. The Palestinian Authority welcomed the vote, saying in a statement: "The time has come for Israel to be a state subject to law, and to be held accountable for its ongoing crimes against our people." But the response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who returned to power just two days before the vote, makes clear his government's annexationist agenda. He stated: "The Jewish people is not occupying its land and is not occupying its eternal capital Jerusalem. No UN resolution can distort this historical truth." The far-right coalition that now takes power has pledged to expand Israeli settlement of the West Bank. 

The UN General Assembly on Dec.

December 26, 2022

Chile is planning to open an embassy in Palestine, President Gabriel Boric has announced. Speaking at a private ceremony hosted by the local Palestinian community in the capital Santiago, Boric acknowledged that he is "taking a risk" with the move, but added: "We are going to raise our official representation in Palestine from having a charge d'affaires. Now we are going to open an embassy." The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately commended the decision, saying it "affirms the principled position of Chile and its president in support of international law and the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state."

Chile is planning to open an embassy in Palestine, President Gabriel Boric announced Dec. 23. Speaking at a private ceremony hosted by the local Palestinian community in the capital Santiago, Boric acknowledged that he is "taking a risk" with the move, but added: "We are going to raise our official representation in Palestine from having a charge d'affaires.

November 19, 2022

The Israeli military has installed robotic weapons that can fire tear-gas, stun-grenades and "non-lethal" bullets in two volatile locations on the West Bank. One is atop a turret at al-Aroub refugee camp; the other in the nearby city of Hebron, where soldiers often clash with Palestinian residents. When young protesters pour into the streets hurling rocks and improvised firebombs at Israeli soldiers, the robotic weapons unleash gas and projectiles on them, according to witness accounts. The robo-weapons, produced by Israeli firm Smart Shooter, use artificial intelligence to track targets. Israel says the technology saves lives—both Israeli and Palestinian. But, as YNet states in its report on the installation, "critics see another step toward a dystopian reality in which Israel fine-tunes its open-ended occupation of the Palestinians while keeping its soldiers out of harm’s way." 

The Israeli military has installed robotic weapons that can fire tear-gas, stun-grenades and "non-lethal" bullets in two volatile locations on the West Bank. One is atop a turret at al-Aroub refugee camp; the other in the nearby city of Hebron, where soldiers often clash with Palestinian residents.

October 22, 2022

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, released its second report, stating there are "reasonable grounds to conclude that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is now unlawful under international law due to its permanence and the Israeli Government's de-facto annexation policies." The commission called for the UN Security Council to bring to an end the "illegal situation resulting from the permanent occupation imposed by Israel" and require Israel to bring "its permanent occupation to an end immediately." 

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, on Oct.

June 23, 2022

The Parliament of Catalonia passed a resolution recognizing Israel's actions in the Palestinian Occupied Territory as "against international law and...equivalent to apartheid as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court." The resolution was approved with support from all the left parties in the regional body. En Comú Podem (Together We Can) stated that the regional parliament is "the first European institution to recognize that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, as noted by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch."

October 28, 2021

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared six Palestinian human rights groups to be terrorist organizations, claiming they are "secretly linked" to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)–a leftist resistance group that Israel has long designated a "terrorist organization." The groups on Gantz's list are Addameer, al-Haq, the Bisan Center, Defense for Children Palestine (DCIP), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees (UPWC). International rights groups Humans Rights Watch and Amnesty International released a joint statement calling the announcement a "brazen attack on human rights." The Israeli rights group B'Tselem called the declaration "an act characteristic of totalitarian regimes, with the clear purpose of shutting down these organizations." 

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Oct. 19 declared six Palestinian human rights groups to be "terrorist organizations," effectively outlawing their activities.

July 14, 2021

A UN human rights investigator announced that Israeli settlement of the West Bank and East Jerusalem meets the definition of a war crime. Special rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories, Michael Lynk, addressed a Geneva meeting of the Human Rights Council, in which he gave a report on whether the settlements violate the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Lynk concluded that Israeli behavior meets the definition of a war crime and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of the ICC. He accused Israel of not being "serious about peace" because of its ongoing defiance of the Rome Statute. Israel, which does not recognize the special rapporteur's mandate nor cooperate with his office, was not present at the meeting. 

A UN human rights investigator announced July 9 that Israeli settlement of the West Bank and East Jerusalem meets the definition of a war crime.

April 29, 2021

Human Rights Watch issued a report accusing Israeli authorities of crimes against humanity, specifically those of apartheid and persecution, targeting the Palestinian people. The report charges that there is "an overarching Israeli government policy" to mitigate what authorities have openly described as a "demographic threat" from Palestinians. The 213-page report, A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution, cites definitions in the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Human Rights Watch on April 27 issued a report accusing Israeli authorities of crimes against humanity, specifically those of apartheid and persecution, targeting the Palestinian people.

September 20, 2020

An Israeli court sentenced a Jewish settler to life in prison plus 20 years for murdering a Palestinian family in a 2015 firebomb attack on their home in the occupied West Bank. The district court determined that Amiram Ben-Uliel led a racially-motivated attack on the Dawabsheh home in Duma village, and spray-painted the terms "Revenge" and "Long Live the Messiah" on the home's walls in Hebrew alongside a depiction of the Star of David. The attack killed Saad Dawabsheh, 32, and Riham Dawabsheh, 27, along with their 18-month-old son, Ali. Then four–year–old Ahmed Dawabsheh was the only family member to survive the attack, with severe burns. Judge Ruth Lorch stated that Ben-Uliel did not commit "a reckless act" in "a spontaneous manner," but acted in a "meticulously planned" manner "stemm[ing] from racism and an extremist ideology."

An Israeli court sentenced a Jewish settler to life in prison plus 20 years on Sept. 14 for murdering a Palestinian family in a 2015 firebomb attack on their home in the occupied West Bank.

September 1, 2020

The Supreme Court of Israel ruled that a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank had been built on land that was privately owned by Palestinians, and as a result, the settlement must be removed. The case involved the settlement of Mitzpe Kramim, an outpost in the Jordan Valley built 20 years ago. The settlers claimed they had been granted authority to build there by the Israeli government. Palestinian plaintiffs filed suit in 2011, arguing that they were the legal owners of the land and the construction undertaken by the settlers was illegal. The court has given the government 36 months to arrange for the removal of the settlers to alternative housing. Prime Minister Netanyahu responded that his government will "exhaust all processes in order to leave the residents in their place."

The Supreme Court of Israel ruled Aug. 27 that a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank had been built on land that was privately owned by Palestinians, and as a result, the settlement had to be removed.

July 2, 2020

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on Israel to halt its efforts to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. Israel plans to annex settlements in the West Bank, as well as areas of the Jordan Valley, in the coming days. Bachelet said that, regardless of how much land Israel tries to annex, such a move is illegal. She added that while the consequences of annexation would be hard to predict, "they are likely to be disastrous for the Palestinians, for Israel itself, and for the wider region."

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on June 29 called on Israel to halt its efforts to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

June 10, 2020

A joint Jewish-Palestinian rally against Israeli plans for annexation of West Bank settlements drew thousands to Tel Aviv's Rabin Square. Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List of Arab-led parties, told the crowd, "We are at a crossroads. One path leads to a joint society with a real democracy, civil and national equality for Arab citizens... The second path leads to hatred, violence, annexation and apartheid. We’re here in Rabin Square to pick the first path." US Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed the rally via video conference, saying he was "heartened" to see Arabs and Jews demonstrating together.

A joint Jewish-Palestinian rally against Israeli plans for annexation of West Bank settlements drew thousands to Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on June 6. The protest was originally forbidden by the authorities due to fears over the coronavirus, but police relented and issued a permit the previo

March 30, 2020

Officials from Israel's "Civil Administration" for the West Bank arrived with a military escort, a bulldozer and two flatbed trucks with cranes at the Palestinian community of Khirbet Ibziq in the Jordan Valley. They confiscated poles and sheeting that had been brought in to erect tents, emergency housing and a field clinic in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The force also confiscated a tin shack in place for more than two years, as well as a power generator and sacks of sand and cement. Four pallets of cinder blocks intended for the tent floors were taken away and four others demolished. Israeli human rights group B'tselem stated: "As the whole world battles an unprecedented and paralyzing healthcare crisis, Israel’s military is devoting time and resources to harassing the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank, that Israel has attempted to drive out of the area for decades."

On the morning of March 26, officials from Israel's "Civil Administration" for the West Bank arrived with a military jeep escort, a bulldozer and two flatbed trucks with cranes at the Palestinian community of Khirbet Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley.

January 30, 2020

Trump's Israel-Palestine "peace" plan (sic), unveiled at the White House in a joint press conference with Benjamin Netanyahu, has been anointed with the very Trumpian epithet "Deal of the Century." It is actually a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum to the Palestinians to accept the status quo of bantustans, surrender much territory to actual Israeli annexation, give up their long-standing demand for justice for refugees—and call it "peace." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas predictably responded with "a thousand no's." And Palestinians immediately mobilized in outrage.

Trump's Israel-Palestine "peace" plan (sic), unveiled at the White House Jan.

January 15, 2020

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court responded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused her of "pure anti-Semitism" for seeking to investigate possible war crimes in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. "This is a particularly regrettable accusation that is without merit," Fatou Bensouda told the Times of Israel. "I, along with my office, execute our mandate under the Rome Statute with utmost independence, objectivity, fairness and professional integrity. We will continue to meet our responsibilities as required by the Rome Statute without fear or favor."

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court responded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused her of "pure anti-Sem

May 7, 2019

An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip took effect with no formal announcement, after two days of hostilities that saw the most extensive Israeli air-strike since 2014. Hidden from the headlines, the ongoing confiscation of Palestinian lands on the West Bank meanwhile continues. The day after the ceasefore, Israeli forces forced several Palestinian families to evacuate from their homes in northern Jordan Valley, in order to make way for military training. Days before, Israeli bulldozers uprooted some 120 fruitful olive trees west of Ramallah, to pave a settler-only road through the area. A document said to outline Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century" to end the Palestinian conflict calls for a reduced Palestinian state on lands not already appropriated by settlement blocs. The areas of the blocs are to expand, incorporating outlying settlements, and will remain under Israeli control—apparently amounting to a de facto annexation.

An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip apparently took effect with no formal announcement May 6, after two days of hostilities that saw hundreds of rockets launched from Gaza and

April 7, 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to annex areas of the occupied West Bank ahead of the coming week's Israeli Knesset elections. In an interview on Israeli TV, he was asked about plans to annex settlement blocs in the occupied territory, and responded: "Will we go to the next phase? The answer is yes. We will go to the next phase to extend Israeli sovereignty..." In a part of the interview seemingly reported in English only by the independent Palestinian Ma'an News Agency, Netanyahu also appeared to broach annexation of all Area C, the zone of mixed Israeli and Palestinian control, which covers 62% of the West Bank's territory. Asked about the future status of Area C, he reportedly replied: "I promise that you will be surprised. I cannot talk about the plan, but Trump is a big friend and I doubt there will ever be any bigger friend than him."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to annex areas of the occupied West Bank ahead of the coming week's Israeli 

February 14, 2019

The secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee, Saeb Erekat, issued a statement rejecting the US-led conference in Warsaw, ostensibly aimed at brokering Middle East peace. Said Erekat: "Today we face a reality whereby the US Trump administration, in cooperation with the Polish government, is pushing yet a new initiative to annihilate the Palestinian national project." Poland has been making some efforts to resist turning the conference into a propagandistic anti-Iran meeting dominated by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The notable absentees from the summit are meanwhile convening their own meeting in the Russian resort of Sochi. The rival summit is bringing together Vladimir Putin, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran's Hassan Rouhani. 

The secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee, Saeb Erekat, issued a statement rejecting the US-led conference that opens today in Warsaw, ostensibly aimed at brokering Middle East peace.

December 31, 2018

Israel demolished 538 Palestinian homes and facilities across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in 2018, leaving 1,300 Palestinians, including 225 children, homeless, according to a year-end report by the Abdullah Al-Hurani Centre, an affiliate of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The report stressed that these demolitions were carried out in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international norms. It charged that Israel "continues its policy of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem," pointing out that, in addition to the demolitions, Israel issued 460 "stop-building orders" during the same period.

Israel demolished 538 Palestinian homes and facilities across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in 2018, leaving 1,300 Palestinians, including 225 children, homeless, according to a year-end report by the Abdullah Al-Hurani Centre