Thursday, 30 May 2019

Dr. Ashrawi meets with UK Minister of State for the Middle East, affirms: Palestinian freedom is not for sale


29 May, 219) Ramallah, Palestine: Dr. Hanan Ashrawi met this Wednesday with British MP and Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, Dr. Andrew Murrison.

Dr. Ashrawi briefed the MP on the current developments, including the acute financial crisis caused by Israel’s illegal pirating of Palestinian tax revenues. She also briefed the minister on the adverse consequences and dangers arising from the punitive and unilateral actions adopted by the Trump administration, including measures targeting UNRWA and Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem. The two officials also discussed the difficulties confronting Palestinian reconciliation efforts, which Dr. Ashrawi reaffirmed was a high national priority.

“The British policy on Palestine remains aligned with international law, especially regarding Jerusalem and the commitment to end the Israeli occupation. That is not enough. Without serious measures to counter the strategic damage to the practicability of the two-state formula caused by the US-Israeli alliance, the UK and the international community will soon have to face the reality that Israel has created a one state reality of Apartheid,” Dr. Ashrawi warned.

“Palestine’s economic crisis is a consequence of the occupation. This is an undeniable fact that the UK and the rest of the international community know and must not ignore,” Dr. Ashrawi noted, adding, “The upcoming 'workshop’ in Bahrain is insulting to the intelligence of Palestinians and all those invited. The Trump administration is attempting to integrate Israel in the region economically while sidelining the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and trading this central question with illusionary promises of charity that Palestinians are not seeking.” She added, “As an ally of the US and a country with a historic responsibility towards Palestine, we expect the UK to inform the Trump administration that our freedom is not for sale”.

“It is not the responsibility of the Palestinian people, who are under Israeli occupation, to find ways to accommodate their occupier. The international community must assume its responsibility in this regard and seek a permanent solution that guarantees justice, freedom, and peace in Palestine rather than adapting to and finding excuses for unilateral and illegal Israeli actions,” Dr. Ashrawi concluded.

Palestinians despair of Israeli restrictions to medical treatment outside Gaza

The air was thick with anxiety as Muna Awad stepped out of the taxi at the entrance to the Erez Crossing, her five-year-old daughter Aisha in tow.

Aisha was about to embark on a journey from the besieged Gaza Strip to occupied East Jerusalem for emergency medical treatment - and Muna was handing her young daughter over to a woman the family had never seen before to help facilitate her travel.

"I felt as if my soul was leaving my body," recalled Muna about being unable to travel with Aisha that day last month.

The five year old was diagnosed with brain cancer on 10 April.

The specialist hospital in Gaza that handles cancer patients told Muna it was ill-equipped to treat her daughter, and ordered her to be transferred to the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem for urgent care.

While Aisha got a permit to leave Gaza within 24 hours, Muna said she was barred from accompanying her daughter, not granted a permit to leave the besieged Palestinian territory because she was under the age of 45.

"That was not my choice, but Israel's choice," said Muna.

Then There's this


Monday, 22 April 2019

Time to wake up America!

The Oded Yinon Plan Explained

Europe urged to reject US Middle East plan if it is unfair to Palestinians

High-ranking former European politicians have condemned the Trump administration’s one-sided Israel-Palestine policy and called in a letter for Europeto reject any US Middle East peace plan unless it is fair to Palestinians.

The letter, sent to the Guardian, the EU and European governments, was signed by 25 former foreign ministers, six former prime ministers, and two former Nato secretary generals.

“It is time for Europe to stand by our principled parameters for peace in Israel-Palestine,” read the letter, calling for a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestinian states live side by side.

Israeli occupation authorities to demolish his family home

Wael Shweiky from Silwan, near Jerusalem, holds an order from the Israeli occupation authorities to demolish his family home, luckily, the Shweiky family were given 96 hours, enough time to demolish their own home by themselves, and avoid paying the Jewish state 90,000 shekels ($24,800) for demolishing their home.

AXA IM divests from Elbit Systems - involved in Israeli war crimes


SumOfUs and the Coalition to Stop Assistance to Israeli Apartheid welcome AXA's decision to withdraw part of its investment in Elbit Systems, and call on AXA to end its complicity in full by withdrawing all of its investments in companies complicit in Israel’s occupation.

AXA is quietly addressing its problematic investments following a year of civil society campaigning, demanding the French multinational stop its investments in the arms manufacturer Elbit Systems and five Israeli banks. The five banks are Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, and they’re involved in the state of Israel’s war crimes.

SumOfUs, an international NGO that acts as a check on the power of big business, launched an international petition in April 2018 that gathered more than 140,000 signatures. It supported the coalition to Stop Assistance to Israeli Apartheid’s demands, in partnership with many organizations that are part of the BDS movement in France, that started the campaign in 2016.

The end of 2018 seems to have marked a new turning point for the unscrupulous investments of banking and financial companies in the arms manufacturer Elbit Systems - sordidly famous for providing cluster munitions banned by international law, and white phosphorus shells, both used against Palestinian civilian populations - a use also condemned by international law.

In December 2018, following a campaign by a coalition of British NGOs against its investments, HSBC decided to divest from Elbit Systems due to its involvement in the production and commercialization of cluster munitions. It is now AXA's turn to take the path of divestment and we welcome this first step.

AXA Investment Managers (a wholly-owned subsidiary of AXA) sold all its shares in the arms manufacturer on December 31, 2018 and confirmed last week that they "do not invest in cluster munition producers.”

However, AXA remains linked to Elbit Systems through its subsidiary Alliance Bernstein (AB). Last month, we learned that AXA no longer controlled AB - reducing its stake in the company from 65.6% to 31.7%.

While this sale seems to affect the decision-making power of AXA within AB, it does not absolve the multinational of its complicity in the investments maintained by AB in the arms manufacturer and in the five Israeli banks - all of which participate in financing the illegal activities of military occupation and colonization carried out by the state of Israel.

This sale does nothing to diminish the direct investments held by AXA IM in four of the five Israeli banks. AXA continues to deny the legal and moral problem of its investments in the arms manufacturer Elbit Systems and Israeli banks, the insurer.

Leyla Larbi, SumOfUs campaigner, said:

While we welcome the AXA Group’s first decision, it is insufficient to end AXA's complicity, both direct and indirect, in serious violations of international law and human rights. We are currently working on a report shedding light on the extent of AXA's investments, which still remains involved in financing these companies on the level of tens of millions of dollars via its subsidiary AXA IM and investments through its subsidiary AB. We expect the multinational AXA to follow this divestment logic to its conclusion in order to fully comply with international law and to finally respect the principles of investing that it promotes so much.

The campaign against AXA's problematic investments is not letting up:

Imen Habib, coordinator of BDS France, said:

On this International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Political Prisoners, the Coalition to Stop AXA Assistance to Israeli Apartheid is organizing actions around the world to call on AXA to divest from companies that violate international law and actively participate in maintaining a violent and illegal regime of oppression against the Palestinian people. We will also be at the AXA AGM on April 24 to ensure that all AXA investors are informed of AXA's irresponsibility.

Alys Samson Estapé, Europe coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), said:

AXA IM’s divestment from Elbit Systems is in line with the global trend whereby more and more institutions, banks and companies are distancing themselves from Israeli apartheid. But for Palestinians living under Israel’s regime of apartheid, colonialism and occupation, AXA’s step is not enough. Grassroots mobilisation will not end until Axa and other companies totally end their complicity with Israel’s racist regime.

Link to the petition "AXA must stop profiting from the colonization of Palestine"

-Fintel financial database reporting the exit of AXA IM from Elbit Systems' capital.
-Press release from the AXA Group announcing the decrease of its shares in AXA Equitable Holding, the majority subsidiary of the AB Group. is a global movement of consumers, investors, and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy.

Omar Bargoutti say Israel's Elections have exposed them for who they are

Dr. Ashrawi meets with UK Minister of State for the Middle East, affirms: Palestinian freedom is not for sale

FROM PLO 29 May, 219) Ramallah, Palestine: Dr. Hanan Ashrawi met this Wednesday with British MP and Minister of State for the Middle East at...