Israeli Piracy
In addition to its ongoing colonization of the State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, gross human rights violations, seizure and destruction of homes and properties, arrest and detention of thousands of civilians, and inhumane blockade on more than 1.8 million of our people in the Gaza Strip, Israel, ,the occupying Power, has now also resumed the theft of Palestinian tax revenues in direct retaliation for the legitimate, peaceful steps taken by the Palestinian leadership in the pursuit of justice and for the purpose of protecting the Palestinian people and advancing the realization of their rights, including to self-determination and freedom. The “withholding” of Palestinian tax revenues – funds collected on our behalf by Israel which they are obliged to transfer to the Palestinian government according to the economic protocol of Paris – constitutes a blatant act of theft and of collective punishment.  In this regard we wish to underscore that Israel charges 3% of the total revenue for its administrative work. We also wish to underscore that these tax revenues constitute the core of the budgetary funding for our governmental institutions including payment of salaries for civil servants, and thus completely undermine the effective functioning of institutions, including in terms of education, health, public safety and sanitation. Here, we must recall the obligation of the occupying Power, in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure the well-being of the civilian population under its occupation, an obligation that Israel is gravely breaching as it impedes and harms the wellbeing of the Palestinian civilian population through countless such illegal policies and actions. The announcement by the Israeli government that it is withholding tax revenues in response to Palestine’s recent rightful accession to several international conventions and treaties, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), proves that this illegal, punitive action is also being taken in direct retaliation against our Government and against the Palestinian civilian population, in breach of International Humanitarian Law, which prohibits such reprisals. Moreover, we reiterate that such an action constitutes an act of piracy, for which Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable.

Abbas condemns Paris ‘terror’ attack
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned a “terror attack” on a Paris satirical magazine that left at least 12 dead.
The president said in a telegram addressed to French President Francois Hollande that Palestine “strongly condemned and deplored the heinous crime that is in contradiction of religion and morality.”
The president also offered “sincere condolences” to the French people and the families of the victims, as well his hope for a “speedy recovery” for the injured and “patience and strength” for their families.

Justice for victims
 ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office would conduct an “analysis in full independence and impartiality” into alleged war crimes by Israel, including those committed during last year’s Gaza offensive. Human Rights group Amnesty International welcomed the ICC’s announcement saying it “could pave the way for thousands of victims of crimes under international law to gain access to justice.” According to Haaretz News Paper, 19/1/2015, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to launch a media campaign directed against the International Criminal Court in The Hague and its Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, according to sources at the Prime Minister’s office. Over the week end Bensouda announced that the court would begin a preliminary investigation of the “situation in Palestine”. Palestinian membership in the court only takes effect on April 1 but the Palestinians requested the invoking of article 12.3. Under this clause a non-member state can request that the Court’s authority be provided for specific cases pertaining to that state. The Palestinians asked the Court to extend its authority to the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem starting on June 13. A senior official at the Prime Minister’s bureau said that a decision was made to take action to foil the Court Prosecutor’s decision to launch the preliminary investigation”.

The politician who does not apologize and defends the death of Arabs
On the 17th of March Israelis will go to the polls to choose their new representatives and government. There are campaigns to suit all tastes. Such as the one of Naftali Bennett (from Habayit Hayehudi party, Jewish Home, far-right wing). Bennett is (…) a politician who refuses to apologize, and considers that Israel did no wrong and so, doesn’t have to apologize. More: Bennett, who was born in Haifa on the 25th of March 1972, doesn’t conceal his racist views. “You can’t teach a monkey to speak and you can’t teach an Arab to be democratic” said in an interview with The New Yorker. In a discussion with an Arab deputy, he said: “When you were still swinging in the trees, we already had a Jewish state” “I already killed lots of Arabs in my life, and there is absloutly no problem with that” is another famous sentence of Bennett. (…).Bennetts is the Minister of Economy, of Religious Services, of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs. These positions have significant weight and importance in political and social life of Israel. Today, Bennett is seen with suspicion by the right, who is concerned with the politics he advocates for Israel and which many consider dangerous. He defends of the annexation of the entire West Bank, the enlargement of the Jewish settlement and refuses the two-state solution as a way to end the Arab-Israeli conflict; Bennett ignores completely the views of the USA, the European Union and the international community. More: When he is alerted about that, he simply shrugs his shoulders and says that the world will get used to this situation.
Source: (on record this alleged politician is responsible for the Qana massacre in 1996 in Lebanon 104 women and children killed in air-raid shelter)

Security Council’s Paradox
Regrettably, the Security Council as a whole was unable on the 30th of December, to rise to the occasion, to uphold its duties towards world peace and security to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and forge a credible path for peace. Despite the situation is acknowledged by all to be completely unsustainable and to constitute a threat to peace and security in the Middle East and globally. In the occupied East Jerusalem, tensions are raging as Israeli violations and crimes push the situation to a precipice. Israel’s continued settlement colonization altering the City’s demography and character and further surrounding and isolating it; heavy-handed raids and repression of the Palestinian civilian population; vicious Israeli settlers, who continue to harass and assault Palestinians and seize Palestinian homes, with full backing of the Israeli Government.; and ongoing provocations and incitement by Israeli politicians and religious leaders, along with other Jewish extremists, who continue to raid and defile holy sites. In the rest of the West Bank, Israel also continues its illegal settlement activities in a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and in flagrant contempt of the global demands to stop this illegal campaign, Israel doing the exact opposite. In the Gaza Strip, the humanitarian disaster willfully and wantonly inflicted by Israel, the occupying Power last summer and its continued illegal blockade of Gaza with all it repercussions causing an unimaginable suffering of the Palestinian civilian population.

Australia’s UN vote on Palestine does a disservice to all sides, including Israelis
More Australians winced than applauded when they learned of their country’s very last vote at the end of its two year term on the Security Council. On 29 December Australia was one of only two nations to vote against a Jordanian draft resolution designed to hasten a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Once again the conservative side of Australian politics was delivering what the pro-Israel lobby in Australia wanted, ignoring majority Australian opinion and the views of more liberal Jewish Australians. Ignoring as well, the national interests of Australia, the increasingly dire conditions of Palestinians and – a case easily made – the enduring interests of Israel itself. That is, the long term security interests of Israel as opposed to the expectations of its current ethno-nationalist leadership. Australia was ignoring the prospect Israel will end up as a “Greater Israel” governing 5 million Arabs with inferior legal status to Israelis – and be isolated and condemned as a result. It was a lousy way to wrap up a two year term on the Security Council, given the intense competition to win the seat. The draft resolution tabled by Jordan was unexceptional in terms of 25 years of work on Israeli- Palestinian peace. It called for a settlement on pre-1967 lines. It declared East Jerusalem capital of the Palestinian state within three years. It called for security arrangements, thus meeting the long term western commitment to security guarantees for Israel. These would include a “third party presence”; that is, western peacekeepers. It thus captured the recent Palestinian concession that there should be western peacekeepers within the territory of their putative state. And Australia voted that down.

For more information:
Shahd Wadi
Press and Media Officer
 +351 213 621 098