JAI: Eye on Palestine–February 2014

JAI: Eye on Palestine–February 2014

#Israel, #Palestine

Johansson quits Oxfam role in favour of Sodastream

Actress Scarlett Johansson has quit her role as an ambassador for Oxfam, the charity announced, after she fell out with the group for endorsing SodaStream, an Israeli firm operating in the occupied West Bank. SodaStream claim that their plant offers a model of peaceful cooperation, however, it operates inside a settlement which is deemed illegal under international law and condemned by Oxfam who have a large operation in the area. In a statement the Oxfam group claim that ‘businesses such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support’. Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson with the Palestinian BDS National Committee said that ‘Johansson has abandoned her reputation as a progressive celebrity in exchange for the money that accompanies becoming the new face of Israeli Apartheid, she will be remembered for having stood on the wrong side of history’. More details

Water cooperation or water apartheid

The World Bank and were very pleased last month to announce an agreement on water between official authorities of Israel, Jordan and Palestine, hailing it as a ‘rare water cooperation agreement’. The agreement is to allow transportation of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, this is to avoid the otherwise inevitable drying up of the Dead Sea. Furthermore the project aims to build a new desalination plant in Aqaba in Jordan, which will convert Red Sea salt water into fresh water addressing acute shortages in the region. However the project has been broadly criticised. Friends of the Earth Middle East claim that the volumes of water being transferred are inadequate to make the Dead Sea viable and that the entire project is just an excuse to build a desalination plant. Said plant is expected to produce between 8 to 13 billion gallons of water a year, much of which will be sold to the Palestinians at preferential prices.
Perhaps rather than celebrating a water collaboration agreement that forces the Palestinians to purchase water from Israel at exorbitant prices the World Bank should perform a comprehensive research into the manifestly unjust water arrangement that was put in place under the framework of the Oslo Accords which has resulted in a steady deterioration of Palestinian access to water and sanitation over the last two decades.
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Newsletter Spotlight

Letter from the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the UN
IDF & Settler violence on the increase in the West Bank
Kerry’s speech on Palestine Israel Peace Agreement in Davos, 2014

A round up of BDS successes in 2013
Ariel Sharon was by no means a ‘man of peace’