Q - How would you characterize the past year in Palestine/Israel?
Diana Buttu - “This past year witnessed a continuation of Israel’s impunity for its denial of Palestinian freedom and rights. In 2014, Israel carried out one of the most brutal attacks on Palestinians in the history of the conflict with its assault on the Gaza Strip. Over a seven-week period, Israel killed more than 2,100 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, damaged or destroyed over 100,000 homes and businesses and attacked hospitals, schools, and mosques. While Palestinians were assured that the reconstruction of Gaza would come swiftly, a year and a half later little has been accomplished.
“Worse still, Israel continues to act without fear of prosecution or sanction for its numerous violations of international law. Israel has not been held to account for its war crimes in Gaza in 2014 or previously, and continues to build and expand illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. With Netanyahu’s election victory came continued impunity for the actions of violent Israeli settlers, such as the burning of the Dawabsheh family in the Palestinian town of Duma this summer, and the shoot-to-kill policy that the Israeli military and police have been employing against Palestinians. The US continues to show its weakness in the face of an extreme right wing, rejectionist Israeli government, continuing to provide it with unquestioned support and massive military aid.
“Palestinians are now caught between three repressive regimes: Israel’s apartheid regime that seeks to make permanent its subjugation of Palestinians within historic Palestine, an undemocratic Palestinian regime that seeks to suppress Palestinian dissent, and an international system that remains too feeble and/or unwilling to hold Israeli leaders accountable for their actions. Nevertheless, in the midst of this, Palestinians have continued rising up in protest, demanding freedom, equality, and dignity.”
Mouin Rabbani - “Essentially no different than other years since the 1993 Oslo agreement. Israel has proceeded apace with its policies of creeping annexation, the international community continues to lack the political will to challenge this trajectory, and the Palestinians are increasingly fragmented and powerless. The status quo, in other words, is proving very tenable indeed. Two notable developments are the unprecedented levels of official Israeli incitement against the Palestinian community within Israel, and the irreversible collapse of legitimacy of existing Palestinian leadership.”