This September marks the completion of three decades since the signing of the Oslo Accords. The agreement, which once generated hopes of an independent Palestinian state, is now considered dead due to aggressive undermining by Israel, which is instead intensifying its settler colonial project in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Accords were signed by the Israeli government under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Yasser Arafat-led Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) between 1993 and 1995 under the mediation of the US and others. After their signing, the PLO leadership, which had already renounced armed resistance, was allowed to return to the occupied territories from its exile in Tunis.
While senior representatives of the world’s largest arms firms convened at the ‘International Composites Summit 2023’ to discuss “cost-effective” weaponry components , Palestine Action snuck their way in and crashed the event. Once inside the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, four activists took over the stage to disrupt the marketing of ‘genocide’ as a tool to be bought-and-sold to annihilate the Palestinian people. Activists over-spoke the corporate speeches and raised the Palestinian flag, stating: “You are all war criminals. We’re making a stand against you and your weapons of death.
Last week, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) issued a study two years in the making: The Legality of the Israeli Occupation of the Occupied Territories, Including East Jerusalem. Committee Chair Ambassador Cheikh Niang introduced the study commissioned by the CEIRPP and prepared by the Irish Human Rights Centre of the National University of Ireland in Galway. Niang said, “The relevance and urgency of this study cannot be overstated… It is incumbent upon us, the international community, to deepen our understanding of the legal issues raised by this prolonged occupation and its profound impact on human rights, peace, and stability in the region.”
Activists stormed iO Associates’ new offices in Manchester City Centre, to demand the company stop recruiting for Elbit Systems UK. The group carried flags and a banner, which read ‘IO Associates recruiting for Elbit Murderers’. This action happened the day after iO Associates announced their expansion of ‘defence recruitment’ into Manchester . During the action, the iO Associates director, Ross Markall , assaulted several members of the group, including a 14 year old daughter of a journalist and smashed her phone . iO Associates have offices in Bristol, Reading, Newcastle, London and now Manchester.
I was born in 1942 to a Jewish family while WWII was raging. My mother hated not only the Nazis but the German people for allowing that to happen. She never forgave them. Never would she buy or touch anything made in Germany. In 1948 the Jewish State of Israel was founded. My family were fiercely proud and supportive of what we felt was the heroic Zionist achievements in Israel. We knew nothing about Palestinians. All we knew was that Arabs hated Jews and did terrible things. At a young age I decided to join the US Army and “become a man.” I spent three-and-a-half years, mostly in the 101st Airborne division as a paratrooper, and now I’m an 81-year-old veteran.
On Wednesday 30th August, District Judge Grego found two activists not guilty of ‘obstruction of the highway’. The two activists, Jasmine and Iola, had locked themselves into vehicles, each blocking the two entrances of UAV Engines Ltd. Their action took place during an ongoing camp at the site, and led to the factory being forced to close down for the day on 9th September 2022. Whilst locked in, one activist threw paint at the gates which resembled the colours of the Palestinian flag. Three months after the action, the two were given notices of ‘no further action’, meaning no criminal charges would be brought against them.
Libya is experiencing more political turmoil with rare popular demonstrations witnessed in different parts of the country on Sunday, August 27, following reports that the Tripoli-based Government of Nation Unity (GNU) was attempting to normalize relations with Israel. Protesters in cities such as Al-Zawiya, Tajoura, and Tripoli, among other places, blocked roads and burnt the Israeli flag while shouting slogans against the GNU and Israel. Some of the protesters stormed the foreign ministry office in Tripoli. The protesters expressed solidarity with Palestine and warned that if the government goes ahead with the so-called normalization, they will escalate their protests and block the railways, Al-Mayadeen reported.
Activists from Palestine Action Underground targeted Digital Office Group in Leicester, suppliers of office equipment for the city’s Israeli weapons factory, UAV Tactical Systems (U-TacS). The anonymous contingent broke windows and air conditioning units, whilst spraying red paint to symbolise the blood shed of the Palestinian people by Israeli weapons. This action took place during the fourth month of the ongoing siege outside U-TacS. Over the past few months, Digital Office Group was spotted several times supplying equipment to U-TacS. As part of the campaign to shut down the Leicester weapons factory, activists are targeting all companies who facilitate U-TacS production of Israeli weaponry.
As reported in the Guardian today, correspondence disclosed by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) shows the Israeli Embassy in London attempting to exert diplomatic influence on the prosecution of Palestine Action activists. The disclosures, made under the Freedom of Information Act, show correspondence between the Director General of the Attorney General’s Office, Doug Wilson, with representatives of the Israeli Embassy in London, over the period May 2022 to February 2023. While most of these representatives have their names redacted, we know that one is Oren Marmorstein, Deputy Ambassador of Israel to the UK.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s flagship vessel, The Handala, concluded the first stage of the 2023 Gaza Freedom Flotilla voyage this past week when it arrived in Oslo, Norway. According to the Coalition, The Handala has visited 12 ports in a number of European countries over the past two months carrying the Palestinian flag and raising awareness of its mission to end the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. On board The Handala, TRNN contributor, lawyer, and freelance journalist Dimitri Lascaris speaks about the Flotilla and the global movement for Palestinian liberation with fellow passengers Hege Bae Nyholt, a member of the Norwegian Parliament, representing The Red Party of Norway, and Aram Zaheri, Deputy Leader of the Red Party of Norway (Oslo section).
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition, a grassroots people-to-people solidarity movement working to end the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, has launched numerous Freedom Flotilla voyages since 2008. Joel Opperdoes has served as captain for multiple Flotilla voyages, including in 2012, when his vessel was descended upon and boarded by Israeli naval forces and he and his crew were detained. TRNN contributor, lawyer, and freelance journalist Dimitri Lascaris speaks with Opperdoes aboard The Handala, the flagship vessel of the 2023 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, en route to Oslo, Norway.
On Tuesday 15 August, a Dutch court confirmed that the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” falls under freedom of expression and is not punishable by law. The court’s verdict represents a victory for the Palestinian movement in general, and in the Netherlands specifically. Expressions for Palestinian liberation cannot simply be labeled as anti-Semitism and thereby criminalized or subjected to persecution. The charge was filed in June 2021 by a Zionist activist against Samidoun Netherlands member Thomas Hofland. The Zionist claimed that Thomas’ statement — “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” — during a speech he gave at the annual Nakba rally one month earlier, was allegedly anti-Semitic.
One of the more eye-opening aspects of 2023 for Palestine and Israel is how much has happened while the essential situation for Palestinians has continued its steady decline. The occupation of the West Bank has turned into annexation, and the apartheid nature of Israel has been exposed for more of the world. Protests in Israel have shown the world that Israeli Jews will come out across political lines to protect the democracy reserved exclusively for them, while more and more people recognize the implication that this is something Israelis could have done long ago if the political will to address the apartheid reality had been there.
It is feasible for China to continue playing an important role in mediating Middle East conflicts. In fact, it already has. In the case of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, however, mediation is hardly the issue. Even before Beijing successfully managed to achieve reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran last April, Chinese diplomacy has shown exceptional maturity. For many years, China has been perceived to be an outsider to global affairs, supposedly contending itself to economic expansion or to regional economic integration. Former US President Donald Trump forced, or rather accelerated, China’s global outreach when, in 2018, he launched an unprecedented trade war with the powerful Asian country.
There is a heavy political price to pay for defying Israel, whose overt interference in our political process makes the most tepid protests about Israeli policy a political death wish. The Palestinians are poor, forgotten and alone. And this is why the defiance of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is the central issue facing any politician who claims to speak on behalf of the vulnerable and the marginalized. To stand up to Israel has a political cost few, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., are willing to pay. But if you do stand up, it singles you out as someone who puts principles before expediency, who is willing to fight for the wretched of the earth and, if necessary, sacrifice your political future to retain your integrity.