On March 15, 2017, the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) released a report entitled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid.” Only two days later, the Under-Secretary General of the agency, Rima Khalaf, resigned rather than withdraw the report as she had been ordered to do by the newly inaugurated UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. Indeed, the report, which concluded that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole,” triggered a campaign by Israel and its allies, especially the United States, to discredit the report.
It is evident, just three weeks in, that Mr. Trump’s presidency is one of dramatic fluctuations, not only where Israel and Palestine are concerned, but also in regard to his other campaign promises. This month’s Special Focus: Palestine, Congress, and the White House, features nine Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS) articles* and three recent JPS Congressional Monitor reports that, together, illuminate Palestine’s status amidst these fluctuations in an historical context. Focusing on the role of various U.S. administrations, five of these articles highlight the ways that the White House often deviously navigated the tumultuous road to peace in the Middle East. Four additional articles examine how the question of Palestine is addressed in Congress. The Congressional Monitor provides a snapshot of the 113th and 114th sessions of Congress, where 211 and 178 measures pertinent to Palestine were introduced, respectively.
It is evident, just three weeks in, that Mr. Trump’s presidency is one of dramatic fluctuations, not only where Israel and Palestine are concerned, but also in regard to his other campaign promises.
The March 2016 Monitor sheds light on the escalating discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of Israel as manifested in official policies and legislation, fed by the racism prevalent in the Jewish Israeli society. The latest discriminatory laws and policies target the bodies and minds of the Palestinians to control and restrain the Palestinian identity in Israel.
The February Monitor surveys the official and unofficial racism toward Palestinian citizens of Israel, starting with the prime minister, the members of his cabinet, the police, and the courts–who are entrusted with the enforcement of the law–through to the military establishment. In addition to that, members of the Knesset (MKs) continue to prepare discriminatory bills, tailored to exclude the Palestinian citizens of Israel regarding their civil-society institutions and parliamentary lists.
This report refers to the reinforcement of Zionism as a project and an ideology, as well as the erasure of Palestinians. The erasure of Palestinians is manifested both in the physical realm and in terms of identity, culture, and freedom of expression.