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July 23, 2014 0

New EU “Conclusions” on Israel and Gaza

The Euro­pean Union’s For­eign Affairs Coun­cil, com­prised of the 28 EU for­eign min­is­ters, reg­u­larly issues “con­clu­sions” on a vari­ety of inter­na­tional issues.  Yesterday’s “Coun­cil con­clu­sions on the Mid­dle East Peace Process” show greater EU under­stand­ing for Israeli posi­tions and an end to the EU’s patience with Hamas in Gaza.

The most sig­nif­i­cant change from the pre­vi­ous Con­clu­sions of Decem­ber 2013 is the demand that “all ter­ror­ist groups in Gaza must dis­arm” and the call for “the Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment to take charge of the Gaza Strip.”  The EU wants Pres­i­dent Abbas’s so-called “unity” gov­ern­ment to replace Hamas and main­tain a monop­oly on the use of force.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, the EU con­demned Hamas for call­ing “on the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion of Gaza to pro­vide them­selves as human shields.”  Israel has been high­light­ing this war crime by Hamas and now the EU has endorsed Israel’s position. EU Flag

The EU noted that Israeli mil­i­tary oper­a­tions “must be pro­por­tion­ate and in line with inter­na­tional human­i­tar­ian law.”  How­ever, the con­clu­sions do not assert that Israel has acted dis­pro­por­tion­ately or con­trary to inter­na­tional human­i­tar­ian law.

For the first time, the EU included a para­graph about “events in the wider Mid­dle East [which] pose seri­ous threats to the EU” and war­rant a re-statement of the EU’s “fun­da­men­tal com­mit­ment to the secu­rity of Israel.”  For too long and in too many Euro­pean cap­i­tals, diplo­mats pro­moted the fal­lacy of Israeli-Palestinian peace as the key to peace through­out the Mid­dle East.  Per­haps the inclu­sion of regional threats in “con­clu­sions on the Mid­dle East Peace Process” demon­strates a new EU con­sen­sus that the Iran­ian nuclear pro­gram, the civil war in Syria, and the grow­ing threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) hin­der Israeli-Palestinian peace and not the mis­guided reverse.

The EU’s “peace para­me­ters” changed with respect to refugees.  The word “real­is­tic” was added and now states that the EU expects “A just, fair, agreed and real­is­tic solu­tion to the refugee ques­tion.”  The change seems to be a nod towards Israel and an expres­sion of frus­tra­tion with the Pales­tin­ian Authority’s nego­ti­at­ing posi­tion on refugees.

Do the new EU con­clu­sions rep­re­sent a sea change? No. But the tide may be turning.

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July 23, 2014 5

Anti-Israel Protests in South America

Over the past ten days, there have been sev­eral anti-Israel demon­stra­tions through­out Latin Amer­ica protest­ing Israel’s mil­i­tary action in Gaza, known as Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge, some with mes­sag­ing that crossed the line into anti-Semitism. At protests, signs com­par­ing Israel to the Nazis were seen, par­tic­i­pants spoke about Israel com­mit­ting geno­cide and eth­nic cleans­ing against Pales­tini­ans in Gaza, and calls were issued on gov­ern­ments to break rela­tions with Israel.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Argen­tin­ian Com­mit­tee of Sol­i­dar­ity with Pales­tine orga­nized a protest out­side the Israeli Embassy where dozens of social, polit­i­cal, human rights and stu­dent groups par­tic­i­pated. Tilda Rabi, Pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion of Argentine-Palestinian Enti­ties, requested that the Argen­tin­ian gov­ern­ment break rela­tions with the Israeli gov­ern­ment, remove Israel from the Free Trade Agree­ment with MERCOSUR, and stated that Argentina can­not be an accom­plice to Israel’s “war crimes”.

In La Paz, Bolivia, a demon­stra­tion took place on July 11, where Israeli flags were burned and pro­tes­tors were over­heard say­ing “Enough with the geno­cide, Zion­ist State of Israel, for your polit­i­cal inter­ests. They killed thou­sands of inno­cent people…”

In San­ti­ago, Chile, a “We Are Pales­tine” protest took place on Sat­ur­day, July 19th where a num­ber of groups protested in front of the Israeli and United States embassies. Omar Salame, Pres­i­dent of the Union of Pales­tin­ian Stu­dents in Chile, said “Pales­tin­ian peo­ple are a vic­tim of geno­cide,” and Chafik Lasen, Pres­i­dent of the group “Pales­tine For All” said “Pales­tini­ans, we are suf­fer­ing from geno­cide by the ter­ror­ist state of Israel, the largest ter­ror­ist state in the world.” Signs read­ing “Sion­ismo (Zion­ism) = Nazism” were dis­played at the demon­stra­tion. Mem­bers of the Chilean Jew­ish com­mu­nity report expe­ri­enc­ing harassment.

In Arau­ca­nia, Chile, Romina Tuma, the daugh­ter of Sen­a­tor Euge­nio Tuma, led an anti-Israel protest where around 200 peo­ple par­tic­i­pated. The protest used the slo­gan “End the Mas­sacre Against the Pales­tin­ian Peo­ple,” and Tuma said that Israelis “are geno­ci­dal.” Israeli flags with a swastika and signs say­ing “Zion­ism = Nazism” were vis­i­ble at the protest. In addi­tion, pro­tes­tors put red paint on an Israeli flag and later burned it.

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July 22, 2014 2

Anti-Israel Demonstrations Call for Boycott of Israel

On Mon­day, July 21, there were at least four anti-Israel demon­stra­tions held through­out the U.S. At these protests, demon­stra­tors held signs with slo­gans such as “Who would Jesus bomb?” and “Stop Israeli occu­pa­tion and apartheid,” while other pro­test­ers spoke out at a local City Coun­cil meet­ing to call for a boy­cott of Israel.

Here’s a round-up of what took place:

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

A demon­stra­tion against the Chris­tians United for Israel Wash­ing­ton Sum­mit, orga­nized by CODEPINK and the Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Metro Jew­ish Voice for Peace chap­ter, brought out about 50 demon­stra­tors hold­ing signs with slo­gans such as “Who would Jesus bomb?,” “Rap­ture thru death of Pales­tini­ans???,” “Thou shalt not!! Kill #FreeGaza,” and “Netanyahu War Criminal.”

As atten­dees of the con­fer­ence walked inside to attend the evening pro­gram fea­tur­ing Israel’s Ambas­sador to the United States Ron Der­mer, the pro­test­ers chanted slo­gans and deliv­ered speeches. One pro­tester remarked to atten­dees, “Where in the Scrip­tures does Jesus say kill the chil­dren from the air? Where does he say bomb the hos­pi­tal? Where does he say blow up entire fam­i­lies? Where does he say engage in tor­ture? Cru­elty has noth­ing to do with Christianity.”

In addi­tion, some of the pro­test­ers made their way into the event and heck­led Ambas­sador Der­mer dur­ing his speech by scream­ing “free Pales­tine” five times. Those pro­test­ers were report­edly removed from the session.

dc-anti-israel-protest

 

Port­land, OR

Fewer than 50 pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the office of U.S. Sen­a­tor Ron Wyden to con­duct a “die-in.” Some of the par­tic­i­pants laid on the ground with mock tomb­stones placed on top of them, while oth­ers held signs call­ing for boy­cott, divest­ment, and sanc­tions and an end of aid to Israel.

portland-anti-israel-protest

 

Ann Arbor, MI

Three peo­ple report­edly spoke to the City Coun­cil yes­ter­day and urged them to hold a pub­lic hear­ing on a boy­cott of Israel. One of the speak­ers, Mozh­gan Sav­abieas­fa­hani, report­edly told the City Coun­cil that Israel is an “out­law state” and that they have been mur­der­ing Pales­tini­ans “since the begin­ning.” By the end of her com­ments, chants erupted to “Boy­cott Israel, Stop bomb­ing Gaza!”

ann-arbor-anti-israel-protest

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