Full Report: Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid

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.

Palestine, Congress, and the White House

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.

Palestine at the UN

Analysts, media pundits, and lobbyists often appear to have forgotten that the question of Palestine predates the establishment of the UN. Lacking in the coverage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 is a comprehensive understanding of the myriad ways that the UN and its affiliate agencies have worked to redress Palestinian grievances, as well as an awareness of the many roadblocks and challenges it has thrown up to Palestinian needs and demands.

Most people in the United States are far more likely to hear accusations that the UN is an anti-Semitic organization and that the United States has betrayed Israel. Yet, as this month’s Special Focus, “Palestine at the United Nations,” reveals, Resolution 2334’s passage, and the subsequent international reactions – including a speech by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Middle East peace – fall far short of guaranteeing basic rights, equality, and justice to the Palestinian people. Rather, the question of Palestine has been profoundly defined by UN gridlock resulting from U.S. vetoes, as well as the UN’s inability to enforce a host of resolutions that date back to 1948. Will Resolution 2334 be an exception to this trend?

Remembering Sabra & Shatila

Thirty-three years ago on 16 September 1982, the Lebanese Christian Phalange militia entered the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut. Israeli forces occupied the surrounding city and allowed the militia’s entry into the camp. Over the following three days, at least 800 civilians were massacred as Israeli-manned checkpoints turned back fleeing Palestinians and Israeli troops fired flares to illuminate the camp at night.

Symbols Versus Substance: Edward Said on Oslo's Declaration of Principles

On September 13, 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Accords’ Declaration of Principles. To mark that anniversary, we recommend an interview conducted by Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani with Edward Said on the DOP's consequences for Palestinians: 

The Gaza Strip as Laboratory

On 12 September 2005, Israel completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. While erroneously presented as a peace offering to Palestinians, the unilateral withdrawal rebuffed any cooperation from the Palestinian Authority, enabled an indirect Israeli occupation with Gaza's population treated as dispensable, and served the purpose of entrenching Israeli occupation in the West Bank.

United Nations Special Committee on Palestine - 68 Years Later

On September 3, 1947, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) submitted its report to the General Assembly recommending the partition of Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state. UNSCOP's report foreshadowed the Assembly's passage of Resolution 181 on November 29; the so-called partition resolution, an effective green light for the Yishuv to conquer Palestinian villages and "transfer" their inhabitants outside of the allotted Jewish state.

Special Focus – Israel and the U.S. Congress

The present battle by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to scuttle the 14 July Iran nuclear agreement may prove to mark a pivotal moment in the history of the organization and its status as vanguard of the so-called “Israel lobby.” AIPAC is fully mobilized against the American president, and its success or defeat may very well determine its future clout on Capitol Hill.

Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani on Israel’s Defeat on Iran Deal

Israel’s debacle does provide an ideal opening for the Palestinians to reclaim the international stature they have lost since Oslo and particularly in the decade since the death of Yasir Arafat. In order to do so, however, they first need to overcome their petty internal disputes, and once again become a factor that unifies the region in their support and thus deploys its collective clout on their behalf.

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