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Israel’s High Court just made an ICC investigation more likely

The court’s rejection of a lawsuit challenging the shooting of protesters in Gaza is a reminder that the Israeli legal system simply isn’t set up to investigate the policy makers and policies that result in alleged war crimes. 

Israel’s High Court of Justice may have just inadvertently increased the possibility that senior Israeli officials might themselves show up on the docket of the International Criminal Court one day.

Last Thursday night, the court rejected a legal challenge that sought to strike down the Israeli army’s policy of shooting unarmed protesters in the Gaza Strip. Six Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups had filed two parallel emergency petitions weeks earlier, before the worst of the violence had occurred, hoping to change the rules of engagement in time to prevent more killing.

But their motions to hold emergency hearings were not granted and by the time the justices reached a decision last week, the Israeli army had killed over 110 Palestinians in Gaza — more than half of them on a single day. Israeli snipers shot and wounded more than 3,600 others during the seven weeks of protests that culminated on May 14th.

Weeks earlier, the army had already announced that it was investigating a few of the killings, but it was the policy — the rules of engagement — that authorized Israeli sniper teams to shoot some 3,600 Palestinians that the rights groups had asked the court to review. The court said no.

When most people think of the ICC investigating alleged Israeli war crimes they think of the destruction and carnage the IDF wrought during the 2014 Gaza war. In all likelihood, that is not a realistic prospect. An investigation — and perhaps, one day, an indictment — is far more likely to result from the mass killing and shooting of protesters in recent weeks, or even settlement construction in the West Bank.

Short of simply not committing war crimes, the easiest way for a state to protect its officials and generals from ending up in The Hague is to set up effective, or even seemingly effective mechanisms for investigating itself. At the core of the ICC’s founding treaty, and the at foundation of its jurisdiction, lies the principle of complementarity. 

In short, complementarity means that the ICC will only investigate or prosecute alleged war crimes if the national legal systems — where the crime...

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68 Gazans have died while Israel's High Court deliberates if it's legal to kill them

The High Court has refrained from ruling on an urgent petition about whether it is legal for the army to shoot unarmed, civilian protesters who pose no threat to human life. They have the blood of 68 people on their hands.

The Israeli army has shot and killed 68 unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza while the Israeli High Court deliberates whether or not it is legal to shoot unarmed civilian protesters who pose no threat to human life. That number has likely gone up in the time since this article was published.

When a handful of human rights groups filed an urgent petition to the High Court on April 15, demanding that it strike down the army’s open-fire regulations that authorize shooting unarmed civilians just because of their proximity to the Gaza border fence, army snipers had already gunned down 33 unarmed protesters in the Great Return March, including three minors.

While the three Supreme Court justices deliberated, another 68 people have died. The rights groups asked for an urgent decision, hoping to stop the bloodshed.

The justices did not heed their request. No decision has been handed down. The shooting continues. Sixty-eight more people lost their lives.

If, after waiting until the shooting stops, the court ultimately decides that it is not permissible to shoot unarmed, civilian protesters just because of where they are standing, or because they are attempting to cross or even damage a fence, the blood of 68 people will be on their hands.

If the justices decide that it is, indeed, permissible to shoot unarmed civilians just because they might cross a fence, well, then they will have the blood of those 68 people and countless others on their hands.

It’s bad enough that this massacre is state sanctioned. By declining to rule in a timely fashion, however, this predictable massacre has also been sanctioned by the judiciary.

Israel’s Supreme Court is currently in a fight for its life. The legislature and government are threatening to strip the court of its power to overturn unconstitutional laws and policies. If, out of fear of further angering their detractors in Knesset, the justices did not use that power in this case then they don’t deserve to have it in the first place.

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Jerusalem by the numbers: Poverty, demolitions, and exile

As nationalist Israelis celebrate the ‘unification’ of the city, when Israeli troops occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, a look at the data shows a far bleaker picture of life for Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents.

The following is a collection of facts, figures, and statistics about Jerusalem compiled and published on the occasion of “Jerusalem Day.” Nationalist Israelis mark Jerusalem Day on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the conquest of East Jerusalem and the Old City in 1967. The celebrations include the “march of the flags,” where flag-bearing Jewish revelers march through the Palestinian neighborhoods of the Old City, chanting racist, violent and ultra-nationalistic slogans. Any counter protest by Palestinian residents is rarely tolerated by police.

While Jewish Israelis celebrate the “reunification” of Jerusalem, data shows that the city is anything but unified. From concrete walls that separate to budgets that discriminate, East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem — despite being a part of the same municipality — are hardly the same, let alone a unified city. Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are just that – residents; they were not granted Israeli citizenship and do not have the right to vote in national elections, do not hold Israeli passports thousands have had their right to live in their home city revoked with the stroke of a pen.

The following figures were taken from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), published May 9, 2018, and Ir Amim (IA), published in January 2018.

Demography:

  • Palestinians comprise 37.8 percent of Jerusalem’s residents. (CBS)
  • 61 percent (521,900) of all Jerusalemites live across the Green Line in East Jerusalem — in occupied territory. Of those, 320,300 are Palestinian and 211,600 are Jewish settlers. Despite a theoretical right to live anywhere in the city, a mere 1 percent of Palestinian Jerusalemites live in West Jerusalem. (IA)
  • 78.2 percent of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem live in poverty. The poverty rate for Palestinian Jerusalemites of all ages is 72.9 percent. For Jews in the city, the poverty rate is 29.8 percent. Both are higher than any other major Israeli city. (IA)
  • Israeli authorities revoked the residency of and exiled 94 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem in 2016, 52 of whom were women and children (data for 2017 has yet to be published). Between 1967 and 2015, Israel revoked the residency of 14,500 Palestinian Jerusalemites. (IA)

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Geography:

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You're far more likely to be killed protesting in Gaza than firing a rocket

Not a single rocket has been fired into Israel from Gaza in over two months, yet since March 30 Israel has killed more Palestinians in Gaza than it did in the previous 16 months, during which time militants launched over 60 rockets and mortars.

The Israeli army’s response to unarmed protests in the Gaza Strip over the last few weeks has been vastly deadlier than its response to rockets fired from the besieged territory over the past year and a half.

Israeli military forces have killed more unarmed Palestinians participating in the Great Return March protests in Gaza since March 30, during which time no rockets or mortars were fired into Israel, than it did in the preceding 16 months during which time Palestinian groups fired dozens of projectiles into Israel.

In fact, not a single rocket has been fired into Israel from Gaza since February 18, according to the IDF Spokesperson.

At least 40 unarmed Palestinians — including two journalists — have been shot and killed by Israeli sharpshooters and snipers in the vicinity of the Gaza border fence since March 30. At least 1,500 others were wounded by sniper gunfire, according to the United Nations data from earlier this week.

From November 2016 through February 2018, according to B’Tselem data, the Israeli military killed 28 Palestinians, only 36 percent of whom were participating in hostilities.

In fact, 57 percent of the Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in that 16-month period were unarmed and were shot in the vicinity of the border fence, either while participating in protests or trying to cross into Israel to find work, according to B’Tselem’s research. Another 7 percent were killed by Israeli naval forces while at sea.

There does not appear to be any correlation between periods when greater or fewer rockets and mortars were fired by Palestinian groups into Israel and the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. Furthermore, only two of the Palestinian casualties, or 7 percent of all of the Palestinians killed between November 2016 and February 2018, were targeted in retaliation for firing rockets or mortars into Israel.

If we include the data of protesters killed during the Great Return March and a farmer killed near the border fence in early March 2018, it becomes even clearer that it is far deadlier to be an unarmed civilian in the vicinity of the Gaza border fence than an...

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The Israeli army's war on consciousness

The IDF Spokesperson describes its work as part of the army’s operations arm, speaks of ‘media operations,’ and defines ‘tarnishing the name of Israel’s enemies’ as one of its main goals.

“In the past few months we at the IDF Spokesperson’s Office have come to the understanding that we are actually conducting media operations,” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis told a room full of Israeli journalists earlier this week. “The IDF’s digital platforms are operational tools in the operational arm of the IDF.”

In the chief spokesperson’s words, the military is engaged of “a war over consciousness” — changing what and how people think of Israel, its army — and if you’re an Arab, what you think of your own leaders, government, and society.

“We actually define different goals for each audience, different platforms, and most fundamentally, different messages,” added Manelis, whose background is as an intelligence officer. “We come up with an operational strategy. We conduct media intelligence about who we are trying to reach with what message.”

For Arabic-speaking audiences, the chief spokesperson explained, those operations are meant “to create deterrence and to blacken (tarnish) the enemy — either by explaining that our enemy is really bad and to tarnish his name and to say don’t join them, or to deter them against Israel.”

By effectively taunting Arabic-speaking audiences, including Hamas leaders, with pointed and controversial messages and posts on social media, the IDF is able to game social media algorithms so that audiences who would otherwise have no interest in interacting with Israel, let alone its army, are exposed to its propaganda, Manelis explained, giving the example of a recent Twitter face-off with senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk.

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Manelis also boasted how IDF op-eds and articles published on social media in Arabic are at times reproduced almost in full by mainstream media in countries like Lebanon, and have even elicited direct responses from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. (Manelis also claimed that the army has successfully placed or published information in “two or three opposition sites” in Lebanon in recent months.)

For non-Arab international audiences, the goal is to “legitimize Israel’s freedom of operation,” Manelis continued, which in non-military terms parlance means neutralizing and countering public, political, and diplomatic pressure on Israel over its day-to-day military actions in the occupied territories including the...

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A state-sponsored mass shooting

On a day when military snipers shot hundreds of unarmed demonstrators, the army declares that ‘the circumstances in which journalists were wounded are unknown.’ The circumstances couldn’t be clearer.

Israeli army sharpshooters and snipers have shot over 1,000 unarmed Palestinian protesters inside the Gaza Strip in the past week, killing more than 30 people. This past Friday, at least six Palestinian journalists were reportedly among those shot at the Great Return March. One of them, Yasser Murtaja, a photographer for “Ain Media” who was reportedly wearing a helmet and vest clearly marked “PRESS” when he was shot, later died of his wounds.

“The IDF doesn’t target journalists with gunfire,” numerous publications quoted an Israeli army spokesperson as saying on Saturday, adding that “the circumstances in which journalists were wounded, supposedly by IDF gunfire, are unknown and are being looked into.”

Let’s stop right there.

The circumstances in which Palestinian journalists were shot by Israeli army gunfire couldn’t be clearer. The circumstances are that the Israeli army has shot upwards of 1,000 unarmed protesters in the span of a week.

The circumstances are that the Israeli military, which insists it doesn’t target journalists, has a highly discouraging record of failing to hold its soldiers and pilots and generals accountable for targeting and killing journalists in Gaza. That includes the 2012 assassination of two journalists who were traveling in a car clearly marked “TV,” numerous airstrikes on media and broadcast offices, and more.

The circumstances are that, week in and week out, Israeli security forces consistently fail to differentiate between Palestinian journalists and the protests and events they are covering, using violence against both without distinction. In countless cases, documented and undocumented, journalists have been clearly targeted by troops — and the army often brazenly defends that violence.

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I am generally wary of making any predictions but here’s how I see this playing out. The Israeli army will eventually come out with a statement about how it cannot reach any definitive conclusions about who shot Yasser Murtaja, or why he was shot, but it will be able to definitively conclude that the Israeli army doesn’t target journalists — so he surely was mistakenly hit. A tragedy that can be blamed entirely on Hamas. (Hamas is...

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Rwanda is out, but Israel says it can still deport refugees to — Uganda?

International pressure led Rwanda to back out of a secret agreement to take in African asylum seekers deported from Israel. Now Israel says it has a nearly identical agreement with a second country, widely known to be Uganda. Kampala denies any such agreement exists.

Israeli insisted on Wednesday that despite the collapse of a deal with Rwanda to forcibly deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers, the mass deportations can continue because an agreement is still in place with a “second third country,” widely believed to be Uganda.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the cancelation of the Rwanda deportation scheme Monday night, saying that Kigali had buckled in the face of international pressure. Hours later, however, Netanyahu himself buckled under pressure from his political base and reversed his reversal of policy.

In a brief to the High Court of Justice Wednesday afternoon, the Israeli State Attorney wrote that Israeli in fact had secret agreements with two countries to take in asylum seekers forcibly deported by Israel. A “special envoy to third countries” departed Israel for the “second third-country” Wednesday morning to ensure it, too, won’t back out of its allegedly secret agreement with Israel.

Third country refers to a country other than an asylum seeker’s country of origin to which Israel aims to deport them. Israel has refused to divulge which countries those “third countries” are, although Netanyahu acknowledged for the first time this week that the “first third country” was in fact Rwanda.

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In its filing to the High Court on Wednesday, the state attorney clarified that just because Netanyahu broke his own state secrets declaration by revealing who the “first third country” is (Rwanda), that doesn’t mean that the “second third country” (presumably Uganda) can now be named. That’s still a state secret — for now.

The foreign minister of Uganda, Henry Okello Oryem, told the AP on Tuesday that his country will turn back any deported asylum seekers sent there. “We do not have a contract, any understanding, formal or informal, with Israel for them to dump their refugees here.”

The special envoy was expected to report back by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.

The state provided the updated information in response to a High Court petition demanding the release of several hundred asylum seekers who are being imprisoned for refusing to...

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A week of unbearable heartbreak in Israel-Palestine

From unarmed protesters gunned down in Gaza to hope snatched away from refugees, the human suffering this past week has been overwhelming.

This past week has been one of the more heartbreaking recent periods in Israel-Palestine. First, and this seems surreal to write for the umpteenth time, the Israeli army dispatched 100 snipers to open fire into a crowd of unarmed protesters last weekend, shooting over 700 people, killing at least 16. Some were shot in the back while running away.

Not only have the country’s leadership, its military, and its cheerleaders been completely unapologetic and dispassionate about what some have dubbed Gaza’s Passover Massacre, they have been brazenly shouting — seemingly to themselves — that it was actually the right thing to do. The outcome was not only predictable; it was the plan all along.

Pure heartbreak. And sorrow. And shame.

Then there is the way that Benjamin Netanyahu toyed with and ultimately broke the hearts of tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers — people who fled horrors most of us should be relieved we cannot imagine, and many of whom endured torture and other unimaginable horrors just to reach Israel. To find relative safety and security.

Monday night Netanyahu announced a deal that would have found a decent and dignified resolution for almost all of the tens of thousands of African asylum seekers in Israel. The mass, forcible deportation of refugees to Rwanda is off the table. Sweetening the deal, the UN was to work to resettle over 16,000 Eritrean and Sudanese nationals in Western countries, and Israel would grant legal status to an equal number of refugees who would be allowed to remain.

It was hard to imagine a better outcome for the tens of thousands of men, women and children who have been living in limbo, in fear, subject to crueler and crueler restrictions on their ability to live even semi-normal lives.

And then, just as quickly, just as much out of thin air as the solution had appeared, it was yanked away. Almost like a sick joke. While the world is facing its biggest migration and refugee crisis since the Second World War, Israel, a country of 8 million people, a country comprised almost entirely of refugees of some form or another, declared it is unwilling — not...

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Israel halts refugee deportation plan, UN to help with resettlement [updated]

After major public campaigns inside Israel and abroad, pressure on the Rwandan government not to accept refugees deported by Israel, and ultimately effective legal challenges, Israel announces it will scrap its mass deportation plan and work with the UN to resettle African asylum seekers in Western countries. This is a huge victory but there may be more fight ahead.

[Important update added at the bottom of this article.]

The Israeli government announced Monday that it was abandoning its plan to deport tens of thousands of African asylum seekers to Rwanda, following “mutual understandings” it had reached with the UN Refugee Agency. Under the agreement, UNHCR will work to resettle 16,250 African asylum seekers in Western countries and Israel will give legal status to a portion of the remaining African asylum seeker population in Israel.

This is a huge victory, primarily for the thousands of asylum seekers hopefully headed to countries that, unlike Israel and Rwanda, are willing to accept them. For those refugees who will finally get to stop living in fear of deportation, indefinite imprisonment, increasingly hostile laws targeting them and their livelihoods, and the insecurity of living without any legal status, this is among the better foreseeable outcomes.

It is also fairly clear that the massive anti-deportation movement played a pivotal role in pushing the Israeli government to agree to grant status to at least some of those African asylum seekers who are not resettled by the UN. Paradoxically, it was likely the deportation plan itself that motivated the UN to make its part of the deal happen.

The combination of anti-deportation rallies across Israel and around the world, activists and journalists (+972 Magazine included) working to expose how Rwanda and Uganda refuse to actually absorb the refugees Israel deports there, public and international pressure on the Rwandan government, strategic lawsuits challenging the deportation plan itself, and the right timing, all played a role in stopping the mass deportations.

Speaking through tears Monday afternoon, Michael, a 25-years-old Eritrean asylum seeker, described the news as a huge victory. “It’s all because of our struggle. God and the nation of Israel helped us — first they stopped the deportation, but now they are going to get us status, and that is really great.”

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“They wanted to send us to Uganda and...


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How Israel is predetermining a violent outcome for Gaza return march

Security officials have launched a public campaign painting the ‘Great Return March’ as a violent, Hamas-sponsored event. Israel has never needed excuses to violently suppress Palestinian protests, which makes this a priori justification of violence all the more worrying.

Israel’s senior-most defense policy official once famously told American diplomats that “we don’t do Gandhi very well.” Israeli security forces, Defense Ministry policy chief Amos Gilad was explaining, don’t really have the means or patience to suppress mass, nonviolent Palestinian protests without employing disproportionate violence themselves — nor are they willing to allow such protests to occur without being suppressed.

It is no surprise, then, that in preparation for a series of mass, nonviolent marches along the Gaza-Israel border starting this weekend, the Israeli army’s chief of staff announced the deployment of 100 special forces snipers and several infantry brigades to the area. There will be Palestinians casualties, the generals told Israel’s security cabinet.

Yet the Palestinian organizers of the “Great March of Return” insist that their movement is nonviolent. “We’re against stone throwing or even burning tires,” Gaza-based organizer Hasan al-Kurd told +972 Magazine this week. “We will make sure the protest doesn’t escalate to violence — at least from our end.”

It is the Israeli side that worries the march’s organizers. In Gaza they have been watching with no small amount of anxiety as the Israeli security establishment, through the echo-chamber of Israeli media outlets, has framed their march as a Hamas event. They understand that introducing Hamas into the equation serves as an a priori justification for Israel to employ violence against them; for if the marchers are inherently violent, then surely deploying 100 snipers is a reasonable precaution.

Hamas’s participation, however nominal or considerable it may be, is a non-sequitur. Even if the Islamist movement’s role in the march is larger than the organizers are willing to admit, history teaches us that Israeli security forces will employ violence against the marchers anyway. Hamas is a convenient excuse but one that isn’t actually necessary. Israel has never needed a justification to violently suppress Palestinian political activity — especially when masses take to the streets.

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Friday’s march coincides with the anniversary of Land Day, which itself commemorates how in 1976 Israeli security forces responded to a general strike and mass protest of Palestinian...

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Injunction poses first major hurdle to deportation plan

The temporary injunction against the government’s plan will remain in effect for at least another week and a half. But the mass deportations are still scheduled to begin on April 1.

Israel’s top court issued a temporary injunction against the mass deportation of tens of thousands of African asylum seekers on Thursday.

The decision came in a response to the first major legal challenge to Israel’s deportation plan, and will stay in effect at least another week and a half. If the state’s response satisfies the High Court, however, the deportations could still begin on schedule — April 1.

While the injunction forbids the deportation of asylum seekers as long as it is in effect, the government will continue to conduct hearings for asylum seekers in preparation of the mass deportations. Additionally, the government will not send additional asylum seekers who refuse “voluntary departure” to Saharonim Prison. Asylum seekers currently imprisoned in Saharonim will not be released.

At a hearing earlier this week the justices appeared at least a little perturbed by Rwanda’s denial that the agreement exists, and particularly what that means for deportees’ access to legal remedy if they are denied the protections it is supposed to provide them.The High Court of Justice already approved an earlier version of the deportation plan, which is based on an agreement between Israel and Rwanda — which Israel insists must remain secret and Rwanda denies even exists.

Israel claims that Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers who agree to go to a “third country,” known to be Rwanda and Uganda, will be able to live and work there legally. A +972 Magazine investigation earlier this year in Rwanda and Uganda, where most asylum seekers deported by Israel have been sent thus far, found that not only are they denied legal status but they are often pushed out of the country within days of arrival.

The treatment of African asylum seekers became one of the most serious points of contention between the Israeli government and the Supreme Court in recent years, a conflict that has at times threatened Israel’s informal system of checks and balances.

The court has struck down several different versions of a law used to indefinitely detain African asylum seekers. Each time, however, the government came back with slightly softened legislation that nevertheless accomplished the same policy goal — the imprisonment of African asylum...

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Israel halts asylum seeker deportations — for now

Israeli authorities signal they plan to keep the deportation plan on schedule.

By Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and Joshua Leifer

Israeli authorities announced that they will temporarily halt, until further notice, the deportation of African asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda. Israel will, however, continue to issue deportation notices, and asylum seekers who are already in prison for refusing deportation will not be released. Those processes will continue, the state told the High Court of Justice on Wednesday, “so that the [deportation] plan’s timeline is not delayed.”

The decision to temporarily halt the deportations came in response to a petition that sought an injunction to stop it. The High Court had declined to issue an injunction in a hearing Monday and it is likely that the state’s response on Wednesday was intended to ensure the court does not issue one. The deportations are are not scheduled to begin until April 1, so the Wednesday’s decision will have no immediate effect.

Israel’s plan to deport tens of thousands of African asylum seekers is based on an agreement between Israel and Rwanda, which Israel insists must remain secret and which Rwanda has denied exists at all. One of the main arguments in the petition against the deportation plan was that an agreement which one side refuses to acknowledge even exists is impossible to enforce, thereby putting the deported asylum seekers at risk and with no recourse.

In a hearing on Monday, Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer asked the state attorney how asylum seekers can be sure they will receive what Israel is promising them — legal status and the ability to work — if the Rwandan government denies that any agreement exists.

“If some of the refugees have problems in Rwanda, and theoretically they go to a Rwandan court, the court will say, ‘the Rwandan government denies that there is an agreement,’ so how could this agreement be enforceable?” the justice asked the state, according to Eitay Mack, who along with Attorney Avigdor Feldman is representing 119 Israeli human rights activists petitioning the court for an injunction.

+972 Magazine went to Rwanda and Uganda last month to see how the asylum seekers that Israel deports fare upon their arrival. The deported asylum seekers are not given any status in Rwanda and most are pressured or pushed out of the country within days of their arrival — left with little cash and no travel...

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Netanyahu: Even in peace, the occupation will never end

The next time anyone tries to blame the Palestinians for refusing to return to the table, remember that Israel’s prime minister repeatedly states his unwillingness to end the occupation.

He’s said it countless times before in myriad ways. But he usually only says it in Hebrew. This week, however, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said in English, and on camera, that under his leadership Israel will never end the occupation of Palestine.

Speaking at the Economic Club of Washington earlier this week, Netanyahu dodged a question about whether he supports a one- or two-state solution, and outlined a vision that sounds a lot like an entrenched and enhanced version of the occupation as it exists today.

“I don’t want the Palestinians as citizens of Israel and I don’t want them as subjects of Israel. So I want a solution where they have all the powers they need to govern themselves but none of the powers that would threaten us,” the prime minister said.

“What that means is that whatever the solution is, the area west of the Jordan — that includes the Palestinian areas — would be militarily under Israel,” he continued. “The security, the overriding security responsibility would be Israel’s.”

The mainstay of Israel’s military occupation, of course, is Israeli military control over the Palestinian territories and Palestinians themselves. Through the Oslo Accords, Israel has been able to minimize and outsource much of its control over Palestinians to the Palestinian Authority, but insists on retaining what Netanyahu calls “overriding security responsibility.”

Even after a peace deal, or in Netanyahu’s words, “a solution,” the occupation of Palestine will continue. And without sovereign control of its territory, there would definitely be no independent Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has been saying this for years. In 2014, less than three months after the collapse of the Kerry peace talks, Netanyahu stated that “that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.”

A year after that, in 2015, Netanyahu declared that a Palestinian state will never be established on his watch. Fast-forward to 2017 and the prime minister started promising that he will never remove any Israeli settlements from the West Bank, without which even basic Palestinian autonomy is inconceivable. And more than a decade ago Netanyahu was filmed bragging about how he set...

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