PIEF Post: Kairos, Gaza, and children’s rights
Our PIEF POST today begins on an encouraging note. A group of British Christians have responded to the Kairos document with one of their own. The statement–a product of extensive consultation and many months of hard work–is both confessional in nature as well as being pro-active in calling for action.
The rest of our news this time is gloomy. Reports showing zero tolerance for peaceful protest, blatant segregation of African Jews from the sub-Saharan region within Israel, Israel’s abuse of their military superiority as evidenced in the demolition of schools, tear gassing of worshipers in a mosque, and the usual settlement activity- in this case the expansion of an Israeli outpost in Nablus. The situation in Gaza grows grimmer by the day and the military take-over in Egypt is worsening humanitarian conditions for the Gazans.
Finally, human rights and children’s rights organizations have issued reports describe the appalling conditions that children live under- threat and torture to extract confessions from children.
For the Palestinian who live in the ruins of demolished homes and schools, whose olive orchards are uprooted, whose entire areas are dislodged by settlements, whose lack of normal access to schools and jobs take place because of check points, it is hard to locate too many signs of hope. Perhaps the words of Mahatma Gandhi are instructive: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
A British response to the Kairos document
A group of people from multi-religious traditions have combined to produce a response to the Kairos document and urged Christians in Britain to assume the challenge of expressing concrete solidarity with Palestinians as a matter of urgency. They “recognise, as Christians, our responsibility to our Palestinian sisters and brothers in the State of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, the diaspora and in refugee camps in the occupied territory, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.” They acknowledge that that they have so far failed Palestinians by their silence, and their failure to say, “Enough!” They observe that the “peace process has become no more than a means of perpetuating the colonisation of Palestinian land, and the intensification of the structures of dispossession and oppression.”
Israeli shows zero tolerance for peaceful protest
Israeli forces on Friday dispersed a peaceful demonstration south of Bethlehem in solidarity the victims of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Demonstrators marched toward the wall and raised Palestinian flags and pictures of prisoners in Israeli jails. Israeli forces used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
The popular committee against the wall is monitoring peace negotiations closely to ensure that negotiations effectively advocate the issue of Palestinian refugees, land, and prisoners.”
Racially segregated kindergartens in Israel’s most liberal city
When the children of south Tel Aviv head back to school on Tuesday, kindergarteners will attend facilities that are segregated by race. The children of asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa will go to their kindergartens and all the other kids will go to their own. As of this year, the municipality of Israel’s most liberal city decided that separate-but-equal for three-to-six year olds was the way to go.
Worshipers tear gassed in Ramallah mosque
Palestinian medical sources have reported Friday [August 23, 2013] that dozens of worshipers have been treated for the effects of teargas inhalation after Israeli soldiers fired gas bombs into Omar Bin Al-Khattab Mosque, in Kufur Qaddoum village, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.
Israel orders partial demolition of Palestinian school
Israeli authorities on Sunday ordered the demolition of part of a Palestinian school in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian official said. Samir Jabril, a Palestinian Authority education official, said the Jerusalem municipal council decided to demolish the top floor of an elementary school in Sharafat village.
Israeli forces expand illegal outpost in Nablus
Israeli bulldozers on Sunday leveled private Palestinian land in Nablus in order to enlarge an illegal settlement outpost, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas told Ma’an that Israeli forces dug up vast tracts of land surrounding Einabus village to enlarge an outpost known as Hill 782. Settlers destroyed dozens of olive trees to illegally establish the outpost.
Irish fear decline in humanitarian conditions in Gaza
Gaza Action Ireland has expressed growing concern about the dire consequences in Gaza due to the closure of the Rafah crossing, at the border with Egypt. “Palestinians in Gaza are fully locked in by this siege, with the opening of their only two border crossings dependent on the whims of Israel at Erez and Egypt at Rafah…The Israeli blockade is being enforced on all sides and the lifeline via the Rafah crossing into Egypt is no longer operational.” Before the coup in Egypt, some 1,200 people would go over between Egypt and Gaza. Lately the crossing was closed completely.
Gaza’s Rafah crossing
An IMEU report describes conditions at the Rafah crossing: “Here, there are no information screens, no loudspeaker updates, no wifi hotspots. There is only the distant promise of passage into Egypt’s northern Sinai desert, where chaos, abduction, and murder are prospects no dimmer than being trapped. In what British Prime Minister David Cameron described as a ”prison camp,” 1.7 million Palestinians — more than three-quarters of them refugees — are once again the unwitting victims of regional turmoil, their one abiding claim a universal one: to determine their own fate. But that right to self-determination, a right enshrined in international law and the US Declaration of Independence, is no sooner within reach here. Here, there is only waiting.”
B’Tselem reports torture and threats of rape on Palestinian children
Palestinian children are systematically subjected to torture and violence, including threats of rape, by Israeli interrogators, in order to force them to confess to stone-throwing. The revelations from B’Tselem are shocking but hardly new. The accounts of the Palestinian children are consistent with those collected in dozens of cases in 2012 alone by Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI).
Compiled by Ranjan Solomon, Communications Consultant, Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum