This month, much of the news on Palestine focused on the mass hunger strikes of prisoners being held inside Israeli prisons; an issue that has been largely ignored in the mainstream media. Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel was finally vindicated after a British court overturned the Home Secretary's deportation order him. Benjamin Netanyahu shows his true colours on peace as he seeks to legalise settlements; one of the major stumbling blocks to the achievement of a lasting peace settlement. While the Co-op steps up its stance against settlement produce.
Palestinian prisoners under Israeli administrative detention continue to hunger strike this month to highlighting Israeli illegal detentions and inhumane imprisonment conditions. Palestinian Prisoners' Day was used to stage a mass hunger strike called 'battle of the empty stomachs'. The hunger strikes are also a protest against regular solitary confinement of prisoners, denial of family visits and lack of access to adequate medical treatment.
This month, the highly renowned Palestinian prisoner, Marwan Barghouti, was thrown in solitary confinement by the Israeli Prisons Authority for a week after making a call for 'large-scale popular resistance'. He was also "denied visits and access to the inmates' canteen for a month" as punishment for the statement.
Earlier this month, the renowned Palestinian activist and political leader, Sheikh Raed Salah won his ten month battle against a deportation order issued by the British Secretary of State for the Home Department, Theresa May.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, announced that his government would seek to legalise the illegal settlements in the West Bank. UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, was 'deeply troubled' by this and criticised Israel for legalising three settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory stating that 'All settlement activity is illegal under international law'. The European Union went further and asked the Israelis to 'reverse' the decision it made later in the month, referring to the Quartet speech which 'expressed concern about unilateral and provocative actions, including settlement activity.'
The Co-op has become one of first major European supermarket groups to cut all ties with illegal settlements in the West Bank. It has extended its pre-existing policy not to buy produce from illegal settlements on Palestinian land to "no longer engaging with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements".
The low cost airline, Jet2.com cancelled the airline tickets [without refund] of two pro-Palestinian activists intending to travel to the West Bank for a gathering of educational and cultural activities following pressure from the Israeli government to ban known activists. Passengers' names, dates of birth, passport numbers and nationalities were provided to the Israeli authorities who informed the airline of who would be allowed to enter. Up to 2,000 activists planned to attend the 'flytilla' events and action was taken to prevent this included distributed lists of banned names to airlines.
The brutal attack by Israeli soldier, Lt Col Shalom Eisner, on the pro-Palestinian Danish activist Andreas Las in the West Bank town of Jericho has caused global outrage. The incident caught on film and posted on YouTube which shows Eisner smashing the Dane in the face with the butt of his M16 rifle drew quick condemnation from the Israeli Prime Minister, president and chief of staff. Eisner was dismissed on 'moral grounds' and will be barred from senior command roles for next two years but will remain in the Israeli army. Las asserts that his assault was nothing in comparison to the on-going brutality faced by Palestinians which receives little and often no media coverage.
Strangely, in A Middle East Twofer, Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times said that in order for a peaceful solution to be found, the onus must be on the Palestinians "to accompany every boycott, hunger strike or rock they throw at Israel with a map delineating how, for peace, they would accept getting back 95 percent of the West Bank and all Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem and would swap the other 5 percent for land inside pre-1967 Israel". Just calling for an "end to the occupation", according to Friedman, is not enough. Not many other conflicts have solutions suggested where the victim of aggression must be the one to make their oppressors feel "strategically secure".