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.
IPS Senior Fellow Rashid Khalidi:
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Zionism’s material and cultural conquest is a manifestation of the axiom long voiced by its partisans: the Arabs may have rights on the land but only Jews have rights to the land. Every movement needs its propaganda and Zionism has been the colonial master of marketing.
On January 3, 2016, Israeli prosecutors filed a murder indictment against 21-year-old Amiram Ben-Uliel for reportedly firebombing the Dawabsha family home in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed 18-month-old Ali and his parents Saad and Riham; five-year-old brother Ahmed remains hospitalized in Israel.
On December 27, 2008, the Israel Defense Forces launched an assault on the besieged Gaza Strip. For the next 22 days, Gaza’s over one million residents bore witness to an unprecedented Israeli war on a Palestinian territory. By the conflict’s end, the Palestinian death toll numbered over 1,400; mainly civilians, including over 300 children. 13 Israelis were reported dead, four from friendly fire.