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7 de febrero de 2014 | | |

Critical Times

Interview with Palestinian leader Jamal Juma of “Stop the Wall”

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Since a new round of negotiations started five months ago between Israel and Palestine, under US mediation, the Israeli State started building over 9500 new settlements in the West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territory. It is expected that 150,000 Israeli settlers will arrive to join the occupation and the Apartheid that is harassing the Palestinian people.

Also in the past five months, Israeli soldiers have murdered 42 Palestinian people. In addition, after these occupation forces destroyed the Makhoul community last September in the Jordan Valley (West Bank), another three communities were destroyed and evicted in the same area. And new orders to destroy Palestinian communities in other areas of the West Bank will soon follow.

A process of negotiations overshadowed by these abuses against the Palestinian people´s rights in their own land seems doomed to fail. The data of the two previous paragraphs were provided in an interesting Real World Radio interview with general coordinator of the Palestinian and international campaign “Stop the Wall” Jamal Juma, who visited Montevideo as part of a trip through Latin America.

“We know there is a lot of solidarity in Latin America, sympathy in Latin America, but this hasn´t been translated into action”, said Jamal, before explaining that his visit in Latin America is a way of “activating this relation between Latin American people and Palestinian people”.

The activist, renowned for his fight against the abuses of Israel in his country and for the rights of his people and who has been arbitrarily detained in an Israeli prison for over a month, warned that the Israeli State is increasingly interested in Latin America, with Free Trade Agreements, after Europe presented possible barriers. “We started opening the eyes particularly of the Brazilian movements on the military trade that Brazil is doing with Israel. And also we started opening eyes on the issue of MERCOSUR´s free trade agreement with Israel”. Jamal has met several times with different social and governmental representatives in Montevideo, Uruguay´s capital.

He said he doesn´t believe that Latin America has forgotten about the role of Israel in supporting dictators or training paramilitary groups in the region.”With such a colonialist country, I don’t think this is the time to open broader relations with them, while they violate the human rights of Palestinians”, he added.

The leader said his country is going through a critical moment because the negotiations with Israel show they are bound to fail, according to what is seen in Palestinian territories as more and more settlements, destruction of houses of local communities, as well as numerous murders. The territories are proof of the fact that the negotiations are a “big failure”, according to him.

Jamal highlighted that the Israeli wall in Palestinian territories is over 800km long and that there are 34 check points that control the movement of Palestinians. The current negotiations are “the last chance, because the Palestinians gave everything. This is the end of the whole story of the negotiations”, said Jamal and added that we´ve seen decades of failed negotiations, and that the rights of the Palestinian People cannot be negotiated anymore. “What’s after that? After that we think two things should happen”, he added. The “Stop the Wall” campaign General Coordinator said the Palestinians won´t accept living in ghettos, and therefore the resistance will continue to grow in the West Bank. In addition, “I think what we need to do as Palestinians is to open the fight for the implementation of international law”, he added, among them UN resolutions against the Israeli occupation that aim to ensure the return of Palestinian refugees to their lands.

Jamal believes that after the UN accepted Palestine as an Observer State in 2012, “now it´s the time to join other international organizations and to start taking even the Israeli criminals to the International Criminal Court”.

The activist strongly highlighted Europe´s resolution in the beginning of the year that bans any investment by European countries in companies that work on Israeli settlements.

“The European companies and enterprises started to respond to this. The Netherlands pension fund divested from five Israeli banks, major banks, because they are investing in the West Bank, they are giving loans in the West Bank (to Israeli people)”. The national water company of Israel, Mekorot, also saw divestments due to their abuses against Palestinian people in their territories, the Dutch pension fund withdrew their economic support from construction companies working in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and there are plenty of other examples.
According to Jamal, Israel has shown concern, but hasn´t openly responded to Europe, saying that there are other regions, such as Latin America or India, regions where “they want our technology and they don’t care about human rights”.

The leader believes that Israel´s statements are a danger for Latin American people and the Global South in general, because these people have suffered the colonization and have fought for their human rights. “So we are telling the people (in Latin America): you have to prove that you care about human rights, and we are sure you care about human rights. We need to say to Israel: what you are doing is not acceptable, this arrogance is not acceptable, occupation is not acceptable, to keep violating international law is not acceptable”.

The leader also said that it is necessary to keep pressuring for the respect of UN resolutions against the Israeli occupation. The multilateral system “must be respected and I think we need to continue our struggle for that”. The US and other colonizing powers have protected Israel, added Jamal. “What we need to do is to keep pressuring. And (…) by continuing and increasing the pressure from the movements and the people we can force this system to act”, and have countries make Israel respect its legal obligations, he concluded.

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