In a completely unprecedented move, a delegation from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague is to visit Israel to assess whether the country is to be tried for
war crimes carried out during the 51-day military aggression carried out against Gaza in 2014.
More than 2,200 Palestinians, including 490 children, were killed in what the Israeli military called ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Over 11,100 others, including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people, were also wounded in the assault.
This morning, 31st August, Israeli occupation forces accompanying 4 armoured bulldozers raided the al-Bureij refugee
camp, located in the central Gaza strip, and leveled lands in the Deir Al-Balah district.
It was reported that four Israeli bulldozers crossed into the Gaza Strip from Israel and raided the east side of the camp as Israeli drones flew overhead. Witnesses also added that Israeli soldiers randomly opened fire, though at this time no injuries have been reported.
It is important to remember that Israel claim to longer occupy Gaza since their ‘disengagement’ in 2005. However since this ‘disengagement’ the Israeli military have continually made significant incursions into Gaza and after the last military assault on the Gaza strip in 2014, the occupation forces have maintained a presence on a sizeable tranche of land within the strip which they deem a security buffer zone, and from which they can launch further incursions.
As of August 22, the United Nations had documented 45 Israeli military incursions into the Gaza Strip.
The US State Department has urged citizens to leave Gaza ‘as soon as possible’.
This warning is being widely interpreted by Gazans that a further onslaught by the Israeli military is likely expected soon.
Similar warnings were issued by the US State Department shortly before the commencement of the devastating campaigns of aggression by the Israeli military in 2008, 2012 and again in 2014.
On Sunday the Israeli Air Force launched dozens of airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip after a single rocket had struck the southern Israeli City of Sderot earlier in the day, causing no damage or injuries.
This week the Scottish Conservatives sent their first ever delegation to Israel to build closer ties with the far right Israeli administration. The delegation consisted of nine Conservative MSPs, including several shadow cabinet ministers, the chief whip and the party’s director.
Whilst there they ‘met with Israeli MKs, local businessmen and security officials and received briefings by the IDF at the Syrian border.’
However I think we can be pretty sure that they would have made no effort whatsoever to visit occupied Palestine… to go and see how ordinary Palestinians survive in overcrowded refugee camps under constant terror day and night from the Israeli occupation forces.
You can also bet that the delegation of Tory MSPs never made arrangements to interview any of the Palestinian children presently illegaly held under administrative detention (imprisonment without charge) in Israeli prisons to find out about the heinous treatment they endure… to investigate the allegations of torture against these young children.
Do we expect any Parliamentary questions from the Holyrood opposition on these subjects when they return and get back to work? No, not likely! No, from what I hear we’ll see praise upon praise heaped onto the Israeli authorities… we’ll hear talk of the necessity to build more bridges with this under siege democracy, bullied by all of its violent neighbours, and we will, ironically, hear MSPs commend Israel for letting Turkish aid convoys into the besieged open air prison that is Gaza
The Palestinian Journalists’ Forum has denounced Google for deleting the name of Palestine from its maps and replacing it with Israel.
In a statement released yesterday, the forum said Google’s decision to remove Palestine from its maps on 25 July “is part of the Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come and abolish Palestine once and for all.”
Yesterday, 3rd August, the Israeli parliament passed a bill into law which would permit the imprisonment of Palestinian children aged 14 and younger.
The ‘Youth Bill’ allows Israeli authorities to imprison Palestinian children if convicted of “terrorism” against Israeli civilians or military personnel.
The intention of this new law is to punish primarily Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian minors from the occupied WestBank have long since been at the receiving end of the Israel occupation forces military court system.
This week, the Israeli Government are preventing the head of the Palestinian Olympic team, Issam Qishta, from leaving Gaza to join the 22 strong Palestinian Olympic squad in Brazil.
In addition, the Palestinian team has had to buy equipment and supplies upon arriving in Brazil after Israeli authorities had refused to allow their much needed equipment to leave occupied Palestinian territory with them.
Last week Tommy Sheppard MP wrote to the chief executive of the Californian-based online company Airbnb pointing out that the Israeli settlements where the homes are situated are illegal under international law.
“It is of deep concern that a company such as yours that prides itself as being a community, is showing such disregard for the communities in the Occupied Territories who are seeing their homes demolished for Israeli settlements to be built,” he wrote to Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky.
“It seems incredible that a company that aspires to have an international reputation should be assisting in the operation of illegal settlements. By facilitating owners to maintain their settlement properties through Airbnb your company is supporting the unlawful occupation.”
Speaking from Westminster Sheppard told The Scottish Six: “Let’s be clear about this. Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine are illegal. Palestinians are regularly subjected to home demolitions to allow for the building of Israeli settlements which are then subsidised by Israel to encourage settlers to move in and take valuable resources, including water, away from Palestinians.”
Andy Murray, convener of SNP Friends of Palestine, also hit out.
“What Airbnb is doing is immoral, unethical and perpetuates the violation of international humanitarian law,” he said. “Illegal Israeli settlements are counterproductive and one the biggest stumbling blocks to a peaceful and just resolution for the Palestinian people.
“Commercial entities such as Airbnb are effectively financially rewarding illegal settlers for the seizure of occupied Palestinian land and encouraging others to do the same.”
One of the properties in the Occupied Territories is a two-bedroomed apartment with a swimming pool in Ofra, available for £50 per night.
One reviewer said: “The view from this place is lovely. The hosts supplied us with a luscious bowl of fruit, and milk and coffee and tea, as well as locally produced soap made of all-natural ingredients. A beautiful tiled terrace greeted us at the top of the stairs. The apartment was spacious, and the walls were lined with bookshelves, a book-lover’s dream.
“The host and his wife were very available to meet any needs that arose. Also, for those whose only language is English, the host is fluent. For a reasonable charge they supplied us with a fresh Israeli breakfast. Ofra is a safe and protected neighbourhood.”
Last night Yopav Sorek, the host of the Ofra property, told The Scottish Six: “Israel never occupied any territory of Palestine, as such a state never existed.” He added:“Every place needs to be defined in some way. Airbnb offers only two options: Israel and Palestine. As we are Israelis in an Israeli settlement, that’s the reasonable description.”
Founded in San Francisco in 2008, Airbnb’s online listing service spans 191 countries and 34,000 cities around the world.across the world.
The website connects tourists and travellers in need of a place to stay with locals looking to rent out a spare bedroom or property. Both guests and hosts are rated by the online community.
The company’s stated mission is to allow people to “belong anywhere” and it has been used by nearly 17 million travellers.
Despite being based in California, Europe accounts for more than 50 per cent of Airbnb’s business, with Paris as its busiest city worldwide.
Last year the company launched in Cuba with 1,000 listings, even though Cubans have limited access to the internet. It is also trying to expand throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
In a major development, G4S has announced that it will ‘exit the Israeli market in the next 12 to 24 months’.
G4S is heavily invested in the Israeli occupation, providing equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints in the Occupied West Bank and operating Israeli prisons and detention centres where Palestinian prisoners, including children, are held, some without charge. It has also been reported that prisoners in these facilities are routinely tortured.