By Nick Clark
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2084

International round up: Israel clamps down on Palestinians

Palestinians are facing enhanced repression by the Israeli apartheid state
Issue 2084
Israel Border

Israeli forces closed the border to Palestinians but allowed Israelis to pass. (Konrad Summers)

Israel has tightened the noose on Palestinians, with raids, shutdowns and threats after a surge of resistance. Israeli occupation forces barred Palestinians from leaving the militarily-occupied West Bank and Gaza over the weekend. The move was the latest example of how Israel is an apartheid state.

While the move trapped Palestinians inside the West Bank, Israel kept open separate border crossings that its citizens use to access settlements seamlessly. Israel later reopened the West Bank, but kept the border from Gaza closed to the few Palestinian labourers there who have permits to leave.

It showed that, while Israel says the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the West Bank and Gaza, the reality is that Palestinians live under the thumb of its military control. The shutdown came after Palestinians resisted Israeli incursions into the Al-Aqsa mosque, in the east of the Palestinian city, Jerusalem. 

Many other Palestinians are determined to resist the brutality. Israel wants to push Palestinians out of east Jerusalem. And prime minister Naftali Bennett said only Israel had the right to make decisions about access to the site of the mosque. He is trying to shore up the right of his fragile government coalition.

Palestinian protesters have defended the mosque from incursions in recent weeks, while a handful—living in the pressure cooker of Israeli rule—have carried out stabbing attacks. Israel has killed at least 27 Palestinians since mid-March in raids aimed at stamping out resistance.

  • Join the National Demonstration, End Apartheid, Free Palestine. Sat 12 May, assemble 12 Noon Portland Place, by the BBC, London. 

Trial highlights Rwanda crimes

The trial of Laurent Bucyibaruta for “complicity in crimes against humanity” during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 began in France this week. He is accused of presiding over the killing of at least 20,000 people in massacres in the town of Murambi and tens of thousands of other killings in Cyanika and Kaduha.

The trial, set to continue until mid-July, ought also to reveal the extent of French complicity in the slaughter. It was only due to French military intervention that Bucyibaruta and similar figures were able to flee Rwanda. 

French soldiers camped in the Murambi technical school and are said to have played volleyball right next to one of the mass graves from the April massacre. They are also accused of having raped Tutsi survivors.

Fury at Turkish court sentence  

Protesters in Britain demonstrated outside the Turkish embassy on Saturday over the vicious sentences imposed on people involved in the Gezi park revolt in 2013.

Turkey recently sentenced civil rights activist Osman Kavala to life in prison for “attempting to overthrow the government”. The court also sentenced seven other defendants to 18 years in prison on similar charges.

The Gezi protests began over a plan to turn a small park in central Istanbul into a shopping centre. They became nationwide anti-government revolts. When judges handed down the verdicts, thousands of people protested in Turkey against the outrageous verdicts chanting “Freedom for prisoners”.

Britain moves on BVI tax haven

Hundreds of people have protested in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), in the Caribbean, after Britain announced plans to take the island under greater direct rule. 

A new report recommends that the BVI government stop existing for at least two years. Protesters marched on the residence of Governor John Rankin and chanted, “People united will never be divided.”

Protester Bishop John Cline said, “We cannot sit back and accept this atrocity. We cannot sit by and let this happen. We live in a democracy, we do not want the Constitution suspended for six months, much less two years, we do not want it suspended at all.”

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