life & death in the jew-nazi reich

Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian man in West Bank
Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, May 29 2020

A narrative that plays out all too often in occupied Palestine was repeated again in the West Bank on Friday. A Palestinian motorist was killed by Israeli soldiers who claimed that he had accelerated his car when approaching them. The military claimed that the “assailant” was attempting a car-ramming attack before he was “neutralized” by troops, none of whom were injured. Palestinian outlets named the slain man as Fadi Samara Qaad:

Haaretz reported that Qaad’s family said that the 37-year-old was on his way to pick up his wife and was not attempting any attack when he was killed. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed in similar circumstances in which Israel said there were attempted attacks, but no Israelis were injured. Qaad is the third Palestinian killed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank so far this month. More than 20 Palestinians have died by Israeli fire in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel so far this year, or succumbed to wounds sustained in previous years. An investigation by B’Tselem contradicted Israel’s claims of a car-ramming attack after soldiers opened fire on a car carrying a group of Palestinian boys in February. B’Tselem stated:

It demonstrates, yet again, how easy it is for soldiers to shoot Palestinians (in this case, 15-year-olds), and then justify their action with false claims.

Human rights groups like B’Tselem have long contended that Israel has a shoot-to-kill policy when it comes to Palestinians, including children. Investigations by those groups frequently reveal Israel’s claims to be flat-out lies. Escalated violence is likely in the coming weeks, with the military preparing for increased confrontations with Palestinians as Israel moves to unilaterally annex the West Bank’s Jordan Valley. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which is poised to open a formal investigation of alleged war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza, has warned that such unilateral annexation “has no legal validity.” Israel’s construction of colonies and transfer of its civilian population into the West Bank, in blatant contravention of international law, is likely to be a primary focus of any future ICC investigation. Netanyahu said this week that Palestinians in the Jordan Valley would “remain Palestinian subjects” in enclaves under Israeli “security control.”

The Jordan Valley, currently under full Israeli military control, is the main agricultural region in the West Bank, and agriculture is the primary economic sector in the territory. The World Bank conservatively estimated the value of agricultural production in Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley to be $251m in 2013. That same year, the World Bank estimated that agricultural cultivation of West Bank land currently under full Israeli military control would deliver an additional $700m/yr to the Palestinian economy. Meanwhile, the routine violence of Israel’s military occupation goes on amid the coronavirus pandemic. A Palestinian man with Down syndrome was shot in the foot by Israeli soldiers during a raid on Nabi Saleh village in the West Bank on Friday:

And in Jerusalem, Israel forced the family of an elderly Palestinian woman who uses a wheelchair to demolish the home they built for her seven years earlier to accommodate her mobility needs.

According to Quds News Network, the grandson of Rasmea Kassab had to destroy his grandmother’s home as she watched.

British municipalities invest billions in Israeli occupation
Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada, May 29 2020

Efrat and Bethlehem. Photo: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Local government pension schemes in England and Wales have almost $3b invested in companies complicit with Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. That’s the stark conclusion of new research released by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Friday. The publication of the new database follows PSC’s recent Supreme Court victory. Last month the UK’s highest court ruled against a central government regulation that had barred local government pension schemes from divesting from any foreign nation. The 2016 rule was part of a package of Conservative government measures to protect Israel from accountability through the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. The PSC published a similar database in November, showing that UK universities have investments in complicit firms worth more than $580m. The PSC database shows that at least 33 local government pension schemes in England and Wales have direct investments worth at least $2.9b in complicit firms. The true scale of investment however, is almost certainly far higher. As PSC explains, the pension schemes also have indirect holdings via investment funds, which buy shares on their behalf. Such indirect investment is not included in the database as of yet. Neither are any Scottish local councils. So the figure of $2.9b is likely to be conservative. PSC explains:

The database only displays data we could obtain and verify. It does not include investments made through investment funds and trackers. It represents only a small amount of the overall complicity.

The complicit firms in the database include companies blacklisted by the UN’s human rights office for their involvement in Israeli abuses. East Sussex and Hackney councils, for example, together have more than $60k invested in Elbit, Israel’s biggest private arms manufacturer. The firm constructs the drones used by Israel to bombard Palestinian civilians to death during its sucessive wars against the population of the Gaza Strip. In its last major assault in 2014, Israel killed more than 2.2k Palestinians there, including 550 children. Many of the pension schemes are also invested in Israeli banks, including five in Bank Hapoalim. The bank has been condemned by Human Rights Watch due to its major role in financing Israeli colonies built on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank, including Efrat and Beitar Illit. Israel’s settlement construction in occupied territories is a war crime. PSC is urging activists to step up pressure for divestment. PSC’s director Ben Jamal said:

We condemn the shocking complicity of local government pension scheme funds in Israel’s war crimes. It’s deeply appalling that this money is being used to fund violations of international law. Administering authorities of local authority pension funds should seek to remedy this situation as a matter of extreme urgency. Whether your pension fund is listed or not, it is critical that scheme members get active and demand their fund commits to remove all investments complicit in Israel’s abuses of Palestinian human rights.

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