Back By Dr Hanan Chehata

By Dr Hanan Chehata

A harvest of tears: Palestinian agriculture continues to suffer as a result of ruthless Israeli policies

A harvest of tears: Palestinian agriculture continues to suffer as a result of ruthless Israeli policies.Olive production

It is olive harvest season once again in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) and something unusual is taking place, something unique to this region. Unlike most harvests around the world which are collected either by local farmers or migrant workers, in the case of Palestine people are literally flying in from all over the globe, albeit in very small numbers, in order to participate in the olive picking season. This is not due to a cultural tradition or as a communal celebration or festival, but to a sense of solidarity. These are international solidarity campaignersi who fly to the Holy Land to stand side-by-side with Palestinian farmers in order to be witnesses and, frequently, protectors for the farmers as they attempt to harvest their meagre crops while being brutalised by Israeli soldiers and illegal Jewish settlers who try to stop them.

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Middle East Monitor and Friends of Al-Aqsa Parliamentary delegation to the West Bank and Israel

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Middle East Monitor and Friends of Al-Aqsa Parliamentary delegation to the West Bank and IsraelThe Delegation

In an attempt to explore the current situation of Palestinians living inside Israel and the occupied West Bank, the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) and Friends of Al-Aqsa organised a small parliamentary delegation to the region. The delegation toured some of the most troubled hotspots in the area, including Silwan where at least 88 Palestinian houses are currently subject to Israeli demolition orders; Hebron where Israeli militarisation and settler violence has devastated the neighbourhood; and the Negev Desert in Israel where the Palestinian Bedouin are subjected to consistent efforts to wipe them and their villages off the map.

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Israeli censorship

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Israeli CensorshipPreface

Censorship is incompatible with Israel’s claim to be a "democracy"

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers."

Freedom of the press is a hallmark of a free and open democracy. It is inevitable that there will always be some restrictions on a free press; the most widely accepted being those pertaining to personal privacy and those relating to national security. However, in Israel today freedom of information is just one more area to come under attack by the Israeli establishment and the truth is another victim. Censorship, in its many forms, is being taken to an extreme degree, one most unbecoming of a so-called "democratic" nation. Under the guise of "security" Israel is taking quite extraordinary measures to censor news coming out of both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). Israel, in fact, has such a blatant disregard for   or to be more accurate, a blatant hostility towards   journalists  reporting on the "wrong side" of the conflict that it actually resorts to the deportation, banning, arrest, intimidation, physical abuse and even killing of journalists, seemingly with total impunity.

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The Cultural Genocide of Palestine

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The Cultural Genocide of Palestine by Dr. Hanan ChehataIn 1948, following the horrors of World War Two and the atrocities committed by the Nazis against millions of people across Europe, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide  to ensure that no such actions would ever take place or go unpunished again. 

However, in a strange twist of fate, the very people who the framers of the Convention had in mind, namely the primarily Jewish victims of the Holocaust, find themselves currently represented by a state, Israel, that claims to speak on their behalf and which is now the perpetrator of similar crimes against another group of innocent people, namely the Palestinians.

But what is genocide? Derived from the Greek word "genos" which means a race or tribe and the Latin word "cide" which means killing, the term "genocide" therefore literally means the killing of a group of people united by tribal, racial or ethnic ties.

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