Brad Parker: I Was Meant to Talk About Palestinian Kids at the UN. Israel Forced Me Out A look at preparations for Israel’s election, continued debate about AIPAC , and more news in this week’s bulletin.
Image: Fadi Ibrahim Abu Khusa (4) holds the photo of his two killed siblings, Shahed (9) and Mohammed (2), in their home in Zawaida village, central Gaza Strip, February 24, 2015. (Anne Paq / Activestills.org)
Brad Parker: I was meant to talk about Palestinian kids at the UN. Israel forced me out 972 Mag
“Last week, the government of Belgium caved in to intense Israeli government pressure and effectively disinvited me from briefing the UN Security Council in New York today (Feb. 24). Ironically, the decision to exclude my voice as a representative of Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), a Palestinian human rights organization, exemplifies and reinforces the message I had prepared to deliver before the Council. I was invited by Belgium’s Permanent Mission to the UN in late January to brief members of the Security Council on violations of children’s rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Image: Fadi Ibrahim Abu Khusa (4) holds the photo of his two killed siblings, Shahed (9) and Mohammed (2), in their home in Zawaida village, central Gaza Strip, February 24, 2015. The two children were killed with their parents, Ibrahim and Sabreen, and 4 other members of their family by an Israeli attack on their home which occurred on July 30, 2014. Ibrahim and Sabreen went to the home of Sabreen's father one week before the attack thinking they would be safer. (Anne Paq / Activestills.org)
Israel’s ‘most vulnerable’ citizens hit by political stalemate Times of Israel
“Israel’s grinding political deadlock has squeezed funding for programs helping troubled youths, disadvantaged communities and the disabled, forcing state-backed social organizations to rely on crowdfunding to get by. Polls indicate the country’s March 2 election, the third in less than a year, will not produce a clear win for right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or his main rival Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White party. That result could force more fraught coalition talks, prolonging the stalemate that has kept lawmakers from passing a budget for this year. But some analysts said the urgent need to approve a government spending package, especially for Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox political allies, could help break the logjam.”
Image: Illustrative photo of a woman begging in Jerusalem. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Israel election: Netanyahu leads Gantz in polls for first time Haaretz
“Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party is projected to win a narrow lead over Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan in next week's Israel election, according to two polls published Sunday by Channel 12 and Kan public broadcaster. Neither party is predicted to secure a parliamentary majority, indicating no clear end to Israel's unprecedented political deadlock. According to Channel 12, Netanyahu's Likud is expected to win 34 seats while Kahol Lavan is expected to win 33 seats. A poll by Channel 12 from last week predicted Gantz would win 35 seats and Netanyahu 33. Sunday's Kan poll predicts 35 seats for Likud and 34 seats for Gantz in the March 2 election.”
Image: Israel election campaign billboards in Bnei Brak, Israel, February 23, 2020. (Oded Balilty/AP)
Our Lent devotional series kicked off on Wednesday with a meditation on what it means to be truly equal in God’s eyes. Check out the post and keep your eye out for further posts during this special time of year.
Netanyahu advances plans for 3,500 settler homes in West Bank’s E1 J-Post
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu crossed a diplomatic redline Tuesday (Feb. 25) when he announced he would advance plans for the construction of 3,500 homes in an undeveloped area of Ma’aleh Adumim known as E1. The settlement, the third largest Jewish West Bank city, is located just east of Jerusalem. Israel considers Ma’aleh Adumim and the E1 section essential to safeguard a unified Jerusalem. ‘We are building up Jerusalem and the outskirts of Jerusalem,’ Netanyahu told a largely right-wing crowd at the annual Besheva conference in Jerusalem. ‘I gave an immediate directive, to deposit plans to build of 3,500 housing units in E1,’ he said to applause.”
Image: A view of the Maale Adumim settlement in the West Bank, Jan. 28, 2020. (Menahem Kahana / AFP)
Impunity persists for alleged violations in Occupied Palestinian Territories, UN Human Rights Council hears UN News
“‘Impunity continues to prevail,’ the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a report on accountability for alleged violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) since 2008, including during large-scale protests beginning in March 2018 along the Gaza-Israel fence. According to the report, which is produced annually at the Council’s request, and was presented today by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilze Brands Kehris, Israeli security forces killed 131 Palestinians throughout the OPT from November 2018 to October 2019: 103 men, five women and 23 children. Over the same timeline, 11 Israelis were killed by Palestinians, including one girl."
Image: Demonstrators walking towards protest site by Gaza separation fence in 2018. (file photo)
Sanders says AIPAC gives platform to ‘express bigotry,’ won’t go to conference Times of Israel
“Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Sunday (Feb. 23) that he would skip the upcoming American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. The Vermont senator said the pro-Israel lobby’s annual confab, which draws top Israeli and US officials, provided a venue for other leaders to disparage Palestinians. ‘The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people,’ Sanders tweeted. ‘I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference.’”
Image: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders gets ready to speak at a campaign event at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (AP/Patrick Semansky)
CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.