Category Archives: Media

‘There will be no land left’

João Campos Rodrigues

SOL Newspaper



Netanyahu speaks of a “unique opportunity” to annex the Jordan Valley – “a serious violation of international law,” warned Antonio Guterres.


Next week Israel is voting for the second time in less than six months after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to set up a governing coalition. Negotiations were not facilitated by Israeli prosecutor Avichai Mandelblit preparing to move forward with several charges of corruption against Netanyahu – while his critics accused him of wanting a majority to grant immunity to himself. The campaign was further heated by Netanyahu’s pledge to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank. This would constitute “a serious violation of international law,” according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

About 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, an area occupied by Israel since 1967. About 400,000 Israelis live in the region, in fortified settlements, considered illegal by the UN. The Jordan Valley region represents about 30% of the West Bank, and it is where, under the Oslo peace accords – ratified by both sides in the early 1990s – a Palestinian state would be built.
«They are trying to legalize the occupation with annexation. They want to say ‘This [Jordan Valley] is part of Israel, it’s not occupied territories,’” Palestinian Ambassador Nabil Abuznaid told the SOL. “There will be no land left for peace and for a Palestinian state. It’s the end”. The Palestinian Authority representative – as it is in the Oslo Accords – assures that if Netanyahu’s plan goes ahead, and the passivity of the rest of the world continues, it will “destroy any faith in international law and the international community.”

If the Palestinians’ hope of having their own state is destroyed “it will be replaced by people who do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, who see violence as the only way,” warns Abuznaid – who fears “a new cycle of violence” with Netanyahu’s plan. “I don’t know how we will convince the ordinary Palestinians to accept Oslo, to accept the situation as it is,” he says.

However, many have lost faith long ago. «The whole world is supporting him [Netanyahu]. What can the Palestinians do? ‘Asked Hussein Atiayat, a 65-year-old Palestinian heard by The Guardian. Atiayat lives in the Jordan Valley, and like so many of his neighbors is a refugee, expelled by Israeli soldiers from his home village decades ago.

If Netanyahu gets what he wants, Atiyat village, Auja, will be part of a narrow strip of territory around Jericho, surrounded by Israeli territory (see photo). “We will be locked in our village,” Atiyat predicts. “Life will be miserable.”

‘Strategic importance’            
Should the annexation of the Jordan Valley materialize beyond Jericho, the entire West Bank will be surrounded by Israel. “People will be under siege,” says the Palestinian ambassador, explaining that “Jordan would lose its historic border with Palestine.” Something that would allow Israel to control even more directly the access of people and goods to the West Bank, as is the case with Gaza.

“Israel is a very narrow country and the Jordan Valley is the last line of defense against powerful Arab countries,” Israeli ambassador to Portugal Raphael Gamzou tells SOL. “I suggest you look at the statements made in the context of the election campaign,” he added, considering that the Jordan Valley “is of strategic importance to Israel” and “there is consensus on this importance among most [Israeli] political parties.”

On the right, Netanyahu’s proposal found enthusiastic support. In the center, his main opponents of the Blue and White coalition, led by Benny Gantz, rushed to say that the idea had even been theirs after all. “The Jordan Valley is part of Israel forever,” reads a statement from the centrists quoted by Time magazine – in which the prime minister is congratulated for “changing his mind and adopting the Blue and White coalition plan.”


Natural resources
While the Israeli ambassador sees the importance of the Jordan Valley above all in terms of the security of his country, the Palestinian ambassador stresses that this “is an important region for agriculture, for Israeli settlers – and serves [Netanyahu] to win votes”.

Many Palestinians complain that these resources are already in Israel’s hands. “We face ongoing challenges, particularly in accessing and maintaining our wells to irrigate our crops,” Al Jazira Hussein Saida, a Palestinian farmer from the Jericho region, said: “Our wells are indeed under Israeli control ‘.

However, while trying to legalize his control of the territory, Netanyahu also promised “not to annex a single Palestinian”. That is, the Palestinians will continue to live under the tutelage of a country of which they are not citizens, governed by an executive that they have not voted for. “The Palestinians cannot be on both sides,” replies the Israeli ambassador, questioned on the issue. Gamzou underlines that it is not coherent for the Palestinians “not to get involved in the peace process, to reject everything a priori and to seek the status of full citizens”.

‘Unique opportunity’
When the Israeli ambassador accuses the Palestinian authorities of “rejecting everything a priori”, one of the things he refers to is the much-talked-about peace deal for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, promised by US President Donald Trump – considered one of the presidents closest to Israel in recent decades.

Trump called it the “deal of the century” – but his project was immediately rejected by Palestinian leaders after drafts were known through the media. The idea of ​​the White House would be for economic incentives – in the order of $ 50 billion (about € 45 billion) – to make Palestinians forget what was apparently missing from the plan: a Palestinian state.

Despite the failure of the initiative, Netanyahu seems well aware of the importance of a US administration that is as favorable to him as the Trump administration. “It’s a historic opportunity, a unique opportunity,” said the Israeli Prime Minister, when he promised to annex the Jordan Valley. «Netanyahu will support Trump with some Jewish votes in the United States. Now Trump is helping Netanyahu get more votes. Unfortunately, the Palestinian people are paying the price,” says the Palestinian ambassador.

Deal of the Century?

Article in Sol Newspaper

By João Campos Rodrigues


While the BDS calls for a boycott of the Eurovision festival, in Tel Aviv, Trump’s plan
for the conflict between Israel and Palestine includes the annexation of settlements in the West Bank.

For months, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, is speaking of the “Deal of the century”, a supposed agreement to put an end to conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Washington indicated that the deal would be disclosed at the beginning of June after  Ramadan . However, this week the Isreal Hayon newspaper said it had access to main points of the proposal, from documents of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The revealed points are the same as the intentions of the first Israeli minister, Benjamin
Netanyahu, who promised the annexations of  Israeli settlements in West Bank. The disclosed agreement says that these “will remain in the hands of Israel “- with prospect of growing within the isolated areas between settlements. Netanyahu has already told the Ysrael Hayom newspaper that their conditions were that: ‘No settler leaves, Israel in control of the territory west of the Jordan river and no division of Jerusalem “. All of them
are in the agreement.

“The annexation of the settlements means the legalization of the occupation.” said Nabil Abuznaid, Ambassador of Palestine to Portugal. The ambassador confirms that the
Palestinian Authority did not have access to the document and was only informed through the media. But taking into account what has been disclosed, Abuznaid, has no doubts
that the proposal is one of the ‘Biased agreement’, that “will only bring more suffering to
Palestinians’. The ambassador said that despite the promises of Netanyahu, “nothing was ever done to annex settlements”, but that perhaps the prime minister will be “encouraged to do so due to the new agreement”.

The ambassador of Palestine does not trust Trump’s ability to act as mediator, noting how he “Cut off all American humanitarian aid to the Palestinian”. “Does it seem to you that there may be a fair deal?”Abuznaid asks, emphasizing that many of Trump’s closest advisers are “mostly right-wing Jews, not even liberal Jews, represent the right-wing Israeli population.”

Trump’s muscular approach to international diplomacy is clear in the “deal of the century,” promising to cancel all support to both sides if they disagree with the measures – noting in particular that in the Palestinian case he “will not allow any country in the world to transfer money for them. ”
Abuznaid assured that there is no chance that the Palestinian Authority accepts these conditions. If Trump meets the threats, the ambassador has doubts about the future. “Palestine will survive and I believe it will win in the end. But as for the Palestinian Authority, whether it will collapse or not, that’s a different story. ”
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the reason for the calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), a movement which asked Conan Osiris not to go to Tel Aviv to represent Portugal in Eurovision – even through a letter from Roger Waters. Contacted by SOL, Esther Mucznik, a specialist in Jewish culture, called the boycott “an absurdity,” stating that harassing Israeli artists “is to harass the critical conscience of Israel, silence a critical voice.”
Questioned about the fact that the artist who won the Israeli victory, Netta Barzilai, sang in the Israeli navy band – accused of war crimes by the Palestinians – Mucznik assures that “she is free to sing for whomever she wants”, stressing that the Eurovision will be in Tel Aviv, “the most democratic, liveliest, most creative city.” Ben White, a member of the BDS, said in an interview that culture plays an important role in the “propaganda battles” of the Israeli state, and that “gastronomy, music or nightlife in Tel Aviv are part of the so-called rebranding of Israel ‘.

Palestinian Prisoner’s Day

The Fourth Geneva Convention obliges Israel, as an occupying power, to provide allowances for Palestinian detainees, as enshrined in Articles 98 and 81 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel does not honor this obligation. Instead, Israel is punishing the Palestinian government for providing allowances to the families of Palestinian prisoners by pirating Palestinian tax revenues.

This factsheet offers the latest facts, figures, and statistics about Palestinian prisoners as well as information about what international law stipulates regarding the rights of prisoners and the obligations of Israel, as an occupying power, towards them.


Read the full report HERE


Interview Nabil Abuznaid: “They can swallow Palestine, but they will not digest it”

Nabil Abuznaid: “They can swallow Palestine, but they will not digest it”


Jornal de Notícias 09-03-2017


The memory is of the 1960s and the store where Nabil Abuznaid went with his mother to buy the school uniform in the heart of Hebron. Today, he represents in Portugal the country that, in the legal eyes of the world, does not exist.

Today, he cannot take his children to that central street and show them that memory. He is not allowed to enter there, even though it is an internationally recognized Palestinian territory. Territory, not state. There is an Israeli settlement. Hope in the UN? If it did not depend on Trump’s dollars …

The opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem was confirmed for May. Can it ruin the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue?             
If at the time there is some dialogue left to ruin … In my perspective it is already ruined. That will just put salt in the wound. On that day, the Palestinians will witness a second “naqba” (“catastrophe”, as the Palestinian exodus of 1947-48 was called) in the city we believe should be the capital of Palestine, for which we have fought all these years. It will be a sad day, a black day for humanity, for politicians, for the peace camp, even for the United States, a country built on the right to self-determination and now legalizing occupation. East Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and continues to be considered by the international community as an occupied territory. And now (the American president) Donald Trump comes to reward the occupant and legalize the occupation saying: enjoy, it is yours. It will be a sad day for all those concerned with peace, international law and for all people except a few dozen such as (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and company, who are organizing celebrations.

Trump’s decision encouraged the Palestinian Authority to reject the US as exclusive mediators in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Who will be the right mediator?       

We are not talking about who, but the principles by which he rules. If you want to be fair, we do not care where you come from. It is not about replacing the US, but about finding the just mediator who can really bring peace. How a mediator can bring peace says: Jerusalem is out of the discussion and I give it to one side. Who gave you authority for this? What right is it that a real estate magnate who sells towers and land in New York must give up my land – Jerusalem-East is almost all Palestinian and of Palestinian cultural heritage. We seek an honest mediator, but also have real influence. We look at Europe, for countries like France, for the whole world. Because this is a conflict that affects the whole world. If you look at the vote (from the resolution rejecting the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem) at the United Nations, the United States tried to use money to influence the vote. Not only have they taken a stand as they want to drag the world behind them. Who is affected? Poor countries that suffer the most. Like Guatemala, a poor country that decided that it will do the same as the US.

Looking at Syria, the UN seems to reveal a lack of power to intervene. Was it worth the leader of the Palestinian Authority to go to New York for intermediation?      

Why not go where we can still go? We have to get on the podium where the international community joins. We tried in 1974, when Yasser Arafat went to the UN and said, “We have the weapon and the branch of the olive tree: do not let the branch of the olive tree fall from my hand, let us work for peace.” The international community has not done much: since 1974, what happened between the Israelis and the Palestinians was bloodshed. Now we go back there and say, “Please, let us take this peace process forward.” We are trying. What else can we do? And look at the US war against us for going to international organizations, which is where you go when there are conflicts. When we went to the International Criminal Court we were punished, when we went to UNESCO, UNESCO was punished. We cannot go to any international organization because there are financial threats from Washington. We hope that (UN Secretary-General) António Guterres, who knows who the Palestinians are, can do something. But there is also pressure on him and the UN, with threats of funding cuts. We do not realize why it is that when it comes to Palestine, the US thinks differently.

With the whole world together in the chaos of Syria, Israel annoying Iran, Netanyahu pondering to anticipate elections to legitimize himself on accusations of corruption, etc., aren’t you afraid that the Palestinian cause is being lost in the foam of they days? 

The Palestinian cause will always be important. Wherever I go, any city, country, I see initiatives in support of Palestine, 70 to 80 percent of the world’s people are on the side of Palestine. It has to do with justice, as it did with apartheid in South Africa. The cause cannot be swept under the rug. When Israel occupied 78 percent of Palestine and 28 percent (the West Bank and Gaza) came under the responsibility of Jordan and Egypt, Israeli leaders said: “Great, Palestine no longer exists on the map!” They think they can swallow Palestine. But they will never digest it.

The truth is that, across the West Bank, it is increasingly difficult to perceive Palestine as a territory. There are checkpoints, the roads are closed to the Palestinians …         

The occupation is not easy. It not only controls the land but also destroys the culture. By preventing me from going to Hebron they are robbing me my childhood. But they will not rob me of hope and determination. I will continue to resist. And I can see the victory of the Palestinians. We have a poet, Mahmoud Darwish, who says Palestinians have two options: victory or victory.

How many generations will it take to witness this victory?          

I hope not much more. I leave a message to the international community: you must not leave us alone, you must fight with us. As Desmond Tutu used to say, to see oppression and to think that it is nothing with us is to align with the oppressor. It is the responsibility of the international community to help make our children free. Why do we have to live our lives under the threat of guns, why do our mothers have to weep their children in prison – we have more than 7,000 people detained in Israel. For what? Wanting to live well in the place where they were born. We are not born slaves. We were born to be free like the rest of the world, but we have to fight for it. We are barred from traveling from one city to another, barred even from burying the dead. In 70 years, we have not witnessed a single day of justice. We need the world to stand up for us.

Is it possible to imagine advances with Netanyahu?          

Netanyahu plays the game well. And he found a partner who encourages his behavior. Since Trump’s decision on the embassy, ​​he is trying to implement Israeli law in East Jerusalem and expel the Palestinians from there. That is why it is time for the international community to recognize the state of Palestine and tell Netanyahu: “This land is internationally recognized, it is occupied, and it is Palestinian territory, so stay away from it.” International shyness only encourages him to continue with the settlement policy. Why should he stop? I ask the International community if you have not yet realized that criticizing Netanyahu is not the right medicine? It is time for the world to assume that it wants to save the two-state solution and say to Netanyahu it is enough.

Do you think Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old young woman detained after being filmed kicking Israeli soldiers, could become the new symbol of Palestinian resistance?         

It may, but we have so many symbols of these ..

She had “luck” …         

For being alive.

Yes, but also by the international projection that her image gained.      

And how does that image benefit her in prison? She can be a symbol, just like any Palestinian mother can be, her mother, has two children in jail and is alone … Believe me, I could write a book about each of the Palestinian families. Tamimi appeared on television and became known, but there are so many young Palestinians no one has heard of: they were killed in the dark, buried in secret. This must stop. Why do we have to leave the house in the morning with the anxiety of not knowing if we will be back at the end of the day, living worried about being late to school because of security checks, or not being able to harvest our olives. Why do not we have the right to have a land that we can call ours? What harm have we done? What happened to the Jews in the Holocaust was a crime against humanity, but why do the Palestinians have to pay for it? We do not want to erase Israel from the map. We want to live as neighbors, with good neighborly relations.

You came from Holland to Portugal. You were in Washington before. Does the way the Palestinian cause look differ from country to country?            

Much. The Netherlands is considered the second pro-Israel nation in Europe, after the Czech Republic. It was a difficult mission, but interesting because of the effort to try to change attitudes and opinions. Here, the people are very friendly, but I feel they are not very political.

Not interested?           

I figure they have their own problems. And I feel that youth is less involved in international politics – I’ve never been contacted by universities, nor sought for information, lectures, nothing. In Washington and the Netherlands, it was the students who made the difference. They influence politics a lot. The Palestinian question should be important to any student interested in international law, peace and democracy.

Embaixador palestiniano em Portugal vê António Guterres refém de Donald Trump

O embaixador da Palestina em Portugal, Nabil Abuznaid, disse hoje à agência Lusa que o secretário-geral das Nações Unidas (ONU), António Guterres, está refém do Presidente dos Estados Unidos na questão do processo de paz israelo-palestiniano.

Em declarações no final da sessão pública de solidariedade para com a Palestina organizada no Porto pelo Conselho Português para a Paz e Cooperação (CPPC), Nabil Abuznaid acusou ainda Donald Trump de ter “destruído a esperança em torno da discussão do processo de paz”.

Questionado sobre se a Palestina sentiu melhorias com a chegada do português à liderança da ONU, o embaixador respondeu que “não trouxe nada de novo ao povo palestiniano”, justificando-o pelo facto de o antigo primeiro-ministro de Portugal “estar refém de Donald Trump”.

“A ONU sente a ameaça dos Estados Unidos, que exerce um domínio amplo, com Trump a ameaçar publicamente que quem não votar de acordo com os EUA sofrerá as consequências”, repudiou Nabil Abuznaid.

Considerando que o líder norte-americano é um “homem sem visão para a paz”, argumentou que se ele “continuar a espalhar tensão por todo o mundo como faz na Coreia do Norte, pode tornar-se num senhor da guerra”, traçando um paralelismo entre o antigo Presidente Barack Obama que “tentou conter os países” e a “vontade de dominá-los” de Trump.

“Ele pensa que pode fazê-lo da mesma forma com que com o seu dinheiro compra tudo”, disse do Presidente norte-americano Abuznaid, considerando que este “deveria conduzir o processo de paz e não o de mudança de lugar das embaixadas”, numa alusão à mudança da representação diplomática dos EUA para Jerusalém decidida por Trump.

E acrescentou: “os israelitas podem celebrar hoje a mudança das embaixadas para Jerusalém mas um dia verão que foi um processo estúpido e vão sofrer por causa disso”.


Jerusalém não é uma torre de Trump

Artigo de Opinião – Embaixador Nabil Abuznaid

A última decisão, a do reconhecimento de Jerusalém como capital de Israel, é extremamente perigosa, contradiz com a Lei Internacional e destrói a esperança de paz. Trump ofereceu o que não lhe pertence, ignorando o facto de que Jerusalém não é um dos estados norte-americanos, muito menos uma das suas torres. A decisão de Trump, não só legitima a ocupação, especialmente da cidade de Jerusalém ocupada em 1967, como também contradiz com os próprios princípios norte-americanos que apelam ao direito dos povos na autodeterminação, algo que foi defendido pelo Presidente Wilson. Acredito que os palestinianos não são uma excepção e fazem parte destes povos que aspiram pela sua independência.

O mundo acredita que a solução deste conflito será estabelecer Jerusalém, a cidade da paz e o berço das três religiões monoteístas, como capital dos dois Estados. Como tal, a resposta a esta decisão foi absolutamente clara, o mundo reagiu contra, até porque a decisão de Trump pode vir a mudar o conflito de político para religioso, o que é muito perigoso. Parece-me impossível que o mundo inteiro esteja errado e Trump certo.

Os conflitos são causados pelos seres humanos e hão-de ser resolvidos pelos mesmos. Não há conflito sem solução, e o conflicto palestino-israelita não é excepção. E apesar da ocupação e da injustiça, o povo palestiniano acredita na paz, por isso mesmo pensou em algumas soluções. No início da ocupação, o povo palestiniano sugeriu a solução de um Estado laico, onde viveriam muçulmanos, cristãos e judeus, entre outros, sob uma lei, onde todos seriam iguais nos seus direitos e deveres, solução esta designada como a solução de um Estado. Esta solução poderia ser a melhor e mais justa, mas, infelizmente, foi recusada, por completo, pelo lado israelita.

Após a rejeição da solução previamente indicada, surgiu então a solução de dois Estados, o Estado da Palestina viveria ao lado do Estado de Israel nos territórios ocupados em 1967 (Gaza e Cisjordânia, incluindo Jerusalém Oriental). Segundo esta, o Estado da Palestina iria ser estabelecido em apenas 22% da Palestina Histórica enquanto Israel ficaria com 78%, um grande sacrifício que a parte palestiniana está disposta a assumir em nome da paz. No seguimento desta solução de dois Estados, surgiu a iniciativa árabe em 2002, que consistia em: se Israel se retirar dos territórios árabes ocupados em 1967, 57 países árabes e muçulmanos não irão apenas reconhecer Israel, como também irão normalizar as relações com este Estado. O que significaria que Israel iria hastear a sua bandeira em 57 capitais árabes e muçulmanas, caso aceitasse este projecto de paz. Esta iniciativa constituiria uma grande contribuição para apoiar todo o processo de paz. Infelizmente, mais uma vez, Israel continua a recusar a solução de dois Estados baseada na legitimidade internacional e no consenso internacional, optando por uma terceira solução.

A terceira solução que Israel prefere é a continuação do statu quo, ou seja, Israel quer a paz e também, ao mesmo tempo, quer ocupar os territórios palestinianos. Isto é flagrante na política israelita diária de confiscação de território, construção de colonatos e mudança dos factos na terra. O custo desta solução é mínimo para Israel, mesmo com a rejeição desta política pela comunidade internacional inteira. A política de colonização é condenada, diariamente, pelos diferentes países do mundo, pois viola as leis internacionais e o processo da paz. Todavia, Netanyahu sorri e pensa: os palestinianos podem implorar por ajuda, a Europa e o mundo podem condenar à vontade, nas formas mais absolutas, que eu irei continuar a construir mais colonatos.

É a hora de perceber que a condenação da política israelita é um medicamento que não serve para a cura, nem muda as posições políticas israelitas. É a hora de ir mais além, pensar e agir em algo que trave efetiva e decisivamente esta política, salvando a solução de dois Estados. Se não for agora, não será possível nunca mais. O povo palestiniano acredita e almeja que a paz se realize através da justiça e não através da confiscação de terra, da construção de muros, da opressão, em resumo, através da injustiça.

Finalmente, e mesmo depois de tudo isto, o mundo pede aos palestinianos para terem paciência, esperando que seja o oprimido a aguentar, ainda mais, a opressão. Não acham que a paciência do povo palestiniano tem limites e que se esgotou depois de 70 anos de injustiças? Não acham que já está na altura de o povo palestiniano viver em liberdade e com dignidade no seu Estado da Palestina?

Termino com o que o líder negro, lutador pela paz e justiça, Martin Luther King disse: “Uma injustiça em qualquer lugar é uma ameaça à justiça em todos os lugares.”

público, 16/12/2017

Imprisoned Lives: The Reality of the Mass Incarceration of the People of Palestine

his publication outlines mass incarceration, relevant Israeli military orders, and highlights this oppressive system with personal stories of those affected by these policies. It is an opportunity for those whose siblings, children, and partners – who are as much the target of this policy as their incarcerated loved ones – to share their experiences so that the reality of the Palestinian prisoner may be seen for what it is: the continued suppression of a people’s legitimate quest for self-determination and dignity.

 to read click here: