Rights and Accountability – Political Hypocrisy, Israeli Impunity

pray over the body of Riham Dawabsha during her funeral in the West
Bank village of Duma, 7 September. Dawabsha, who died of her injuries
the night before, was the mother of Ali Dawabsha, the Palestinian
toddler killed in the July firebombing of their family home. The boy’s
father, Saad, died of his injuries in August.

Nedal Eshtayah
APA images

death of the mother of a Palestinian baby killed in a firebomb attack
underscores that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are a
threat to the life of every Palestinian.
European Union foot dragging and indulgence of the settlers is
generating criticism from Palestinians who are dismissing a move to
label settlement products as a totally inadequate response to decades of violent Israeli colonization.

Riham Dawabsha, a 27-year-old schoolteacher, died late Sunday night
in an Israeli hospital after struggling for more than a month to survive
burns over 90 percent of her body, Ma’an News Agency reported.

Her 18-month-old son Ali Dawabsha was burned alive in the settler firebomb attack on the family home in the village of Duma on 31 July.
Suspects were observed fleeing toward an Israeli settlement after the attack.
Ali’s father Saad Dawabsha died of his injures on 8 August, leaving
Ahmad, Ali’s severely injured 4-year-old brother, as the lone survivor.

Settler attacks on Palestinians
have only been getting worse in recent years as the number of settlers
on Palestinian land, installed and supported by the Israeli government, hits new record highs.

Yet despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vows that the killers would be caught, Israel has made no arrests.
In contrast to June 2014, when Israeli occupation forces ransacked Palestinian towns and villages in a brutal campaign of collective punishment after the abduction of three Israeli youths, Israeli settlements have been left alone.
Even the UN envoy to the region Nickolay Mladenov has expressed concern that no arrests have been made.

“Political hypocrisy”

Given the systematic impunity
Israeli soldiers and settlers enjoy for attacks on Palestinians, it
would seem all the more urgent that international actors hold Israel

But the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee
(BNC), the broad Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the
global BDS movement, criticized the EU’s move toward labeling Israeli
settlement products as “insufficient for fulfilling European states’
legal obligations under international law.”

At a Saturday press briefing in Luxembourg, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
announced that the 28-country bloc would soon decide on whether or not
to require special labels telling consumers if products come from West
Bank settlements.

“The work is close to being finished but it is still ongoing,” Mogherini said of the long-debated move.

BDS pressure must continue

“The growing European consensus around labeling Israel’s settlement
products reflected mounting public pressure in Europe on policymakers to
end the profound European complicity in Israel’s violations of
international law and Palestinian human rights,” the BNC said in a statement today.

But it is far from enough. “If the EU is serious in implementing its
own policy of non-recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the occupied
Arab territories of 1967, why doesn’t it implement a ban on the import
of products of Israeli companies that illegally operate in the occupied
territories?” asked Rafeef Ziadeh, a member of the BNC Secretariat.
“Merely labeling, rather than banning, illegal settlement goods
indicates political hypocrisy par excellence.”

Ziadah called for ongoing grassroots pressure from the BDS movement
“to compel decisionmakers to comprehensively fulfil European states’
obligations under international law.”

BNC general goordinator Mahmoud Nawajaa added: “One year after
Israel’s 2014 massacre in Gaza, the least the EU should do is not to
reward and sustain relations with entities that profit from serious
Israeli violations of international law.”

The BNC also called once again for an arms embargo and banking sanctions on Israel as well as a suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, a trade deal that supposedly conditions Israel’s privileges on its respect for human rights.
More than 300 trade unions, organizations and dozens of European Parliament members from across Europe have called on the EU to end its support for Israel’s crimes, including by suspending the agreement.

Ongoing complicity

In 2013, the EU itself introduced a policy
barring funding or allowing Israeli participation in EU projects if
such participation amounted to recognition of Israeli sovereignty over
occupied territories.

But the EU continues to flout these rules, providing funding to numerous Israeli institutions directly complicit in the occupation, including arms makers Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, and also to the Hebrew University, which is partially based in occupied East Jerusalem.
Were the situation not so grave, it would be laughable that almost 50
years after Israel’s illegal colonization of the West Bank, including
East Jerusalem, and Syria’s Golan Heights began, the mighty EU is still
debating whether or not to put stickers on the fruit of Israel’s crimes.

Whatever the EU ends up doing, however, it will be too late for the
Dawabsha family whose members were killed not just by the hands that set
fire to their house but by decades of international support and