Israel: a bit more time?

Submitted by martin on 28 May, 2019 - 6:47 Author: Rhodri Evans
Odeh on 25 May

Around 100,000 - the equivalent, proportional to population, of over 700,000 in Britain - turned out for a protest against Israeli prime minister Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on 25 May.

Their target was Netanyahu's plan for a new law which will limit the Supreme Court's right to override government actions, abolish its right to vet laws - and secure Netanyahu's own immunity from prosecution on multiple and long-standing charges of corruption.

They were a very broad coalition, from the "centre-right" Blue and White party (which has criticised Netanyahu for not being heavy-handed enough in military action in Gaza) through Israeli Labour and the left-Zionist Meretz.

Ayman Odeh of the predominantly Arab Hadash-Ta’al party [pictured above] was described as "the surprise star of the show". At first Blue and White claimed Odeh had been invited but "replied too late" - and it took much protest to get him speaker slot.

Despite his 9 April election victory, Netanyahu has difficulty forming a government, because a major possible partner, secular right-winger Avigdor Lieberman, insists on legislation to end ultra-orthodox Jews' exemption from military service as a condition for a coalition. There is even talk of a new election.

That may give us a little more time to mobilise opposition against the plan which Netanyahu announced before the election to annex "Area C" of the West Bank - 60% of its land area, including the Jewish settlements, and surrounding each of the 160-plus patches of land (cities, towns, villages), in which the (Palestinian) big majority of the West Bank's people live. The Palestinian Authority has some autonomous powers - mostly, to police, and to distribute aid money, in those 160-plus patches of land, called "Areas A and B".

The Trump administration's next move towards its promised "peace plan" for Israel-Palestine - flagged up as abandoning even nominal support for "two states" - is a conference in Bahrain on 25-26 June, touted as organising economic aid for the Palestinians to sugar the poison-pill of political destitution.

The US government talks of raising $68 billion over ten years to go to the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are attending the conference. Whether the money will actually be raised, from where, and where it might go, remains doubtful.

Even host-country Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa says that on 25-26 June will be no diplomatic plan and claims that Bahrain "remains supportive" of the Palestinians "establishing an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital".

Again, a little more time to mobilise against the Trump-Netanyahu axis and to support those in Israel and Palestine battling for a democratic "two states" settlement.

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