Cluster bomb ban comes into force
A worldwide treaty banning the use of cluster bombs has come into force to become binding international law in countries that have signed and ratified it.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the production, use, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster weapons after it was adopted at a conference in Ireland in 2008.
The Convention has been signed by 108 countries and has been ratified by 38 states.
Britain, Germany, and France are among the signatories.
However, the US, Israel, China, and Russia, which are thought to account for the huge bulk of the estimated one billion bomblet global stockpile, have rejected the treaty so far.
Israel's use of cluster bombs during its 33-day war on Lebanon in 2006 was prompted talks to ban the bombs. The UN estimated that Israel dropped four million cluster bombs onto civilian areas in southern Lebanon.
Amnesty International said on Sunday the global ban marked the most groundbreaking disarmament and humanitarian treaty in over a decade.
"This treaty is a crucial step towards protecting civilians, during and after armed conflict, from this cruel and indiscriminate weapon," said Sauro Scarpellli, Amnesty International weapons campaigner.
Cluster bombs, which can contain hundreds of bomblets, pose risks to civilians both during and after attacks. Unexploded bomblets can kill or maim civilians, many of them children, long after a conflict is over.
The bombs have been in use since the 1960s, dropped on countries around the world, with a lasting legacy in places including Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
The United States and Britain also dropped the bombs over Iraq in 2003.
By Andrew Pollack – New York
The United National Antiwar Conference, attended by 850 people from July 23 to 25, 2010 in Albany, New York, marked a sea change in the attitude of the antiwar movement toward Palestine. For the first time a broadly representative, democratic national conference of peace activists adopted the demand "End All US Aid to Israel." UNAC also endorsed the global BDS movement, committed itself to joining Palestine solidarity efforts around future flotillas, emergency responses to Zionist attacks, etc., and expressed its opposition to the US's many-faceted complicity in Zionism's various crimes. All of these positions were adopted in near-unanimous votes and in the face of attempts by a handful of delegates to water down or obstruct them.
This huge success follows on the heels of a similarly significant step forward at the US Social Forum. The resolutions passed at the USSF, which mirrored the positions adopted by UNAC, expressed the sentiment of the 15,000 activists in attendance from every social movement. But what is different about the UNAC votes is that they were taken on amendments to an omnibus Action Proposal calling for specific actions, foremost among them nationally-coordinated local antiwar actions in the fall, and national mobilizations in NY and SF in the spring. As such, UNAC has explicitly put Palestine at the center of those actions.
The victory for Palestine solidarity was made possible on the one hand by the organizing efforts of the conference’s Palestine Solidarity Caucus. The Caucus held several conference calls and extensive email exchanges before Albany to work out texts of the amendments to the Action Proposal and of a stand-alone Palestine resolution going into more detail on the context and goals of the struggle. The first night of the conference the Caucus held a meeting of over 60 people who enthusiastically and unanimously approved the texts to be submitted despite an appeal from Michael Eisenscher, head of US Labor Against War, who had asked to be allowed to address the caucus to urge that the texts not be put forward.
On the other hand, the success in Albany was a reflection of the universal experience of folks coming from dozens and dozens of local antiwar groups which had previously dealt only or mostly with Iraq and Afghanistan but, since the Gaza and flotilla attacks, have all realized that Palestine can never again be relegated to second-class status, much less ignored, as an issue by the movement (a phenomenon recently described by Noura Erekat in her ei article on the USSF). The depth and staying-power of this sentiment could be felt every time a speaker got up on the floor of the conference to call for solidarity with Palestine and was met with prolonged and repeated applause.
But even this universal shift among antiwar activists would not necessarily have found expression in Conference decisions were it not for the democratic nature of the conference. This is a product of years of careful organizing by the National Assembly. Founded in 2008 to unite a fractured antiwar movement, the Assembly held in 2008 and again in 2009 conferences open to all wings of the movement at which attendees made policy for the Assembly on a one-person, one-vote basis.
This year the Conference was held under expanded auspices. A few months ago, the biggest US antiwar coalition, United For Peace and Justice, voted to dissolve itself as a coalition and continue only as an informal network. As a result, the Assembly called for a United National Antiwar Conference to involve as many former UFPJ affiliates as possible as well as to involve all the forces which had operated outside UFPJ. Thus Palestine Solidarity Caucus members had an opportunity in Albany to address the broadest array of antiwar forces ever assembled.
What the Caucus Advocated
The Caucus included activists from Palestine solidarity groups around the country. Among the Caucus leaders were Nada Khader, Executive Director of Westchester’s WESPAC, and Marilyn Levin, one of the three Co-Coordinators of the National Assembly.
The Caucus’s success was also made possible by the work of Joe Lombardo of Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace (which bore the bulk of the logistical burden of the Conference) in bringing Albany’s Muslim Solidarity Committee and Project Salam to center stage in the conference. These groups were part of a special plenary devoted to freeing political prisoners and ending pre-emptive prosecutions, and they organized the Conference’s closing act, a march of hundreds in solidarity with Muslim frame-up victims which proceeded from the hotel to the State Capitol and on to a local masjid. This political focus on Islamophobia and persecution of Muslims reinforced the notion among UNAC attendees that Washington’s wars and terror were all of a piece.
The Caucus proposed adding to the Preface of the Action Proposal wording explaining that the $3 billion a year given by the US to Israel was intended to maintain U.S. economic and strategic dominance in the region. This support sustains an apartheid regime engaged in land theft, discrimination, occupation and repression of Palestinians, including the refugees outside of Palestine, within the Occupied Territories, and within the borders of Israel proper. The U.S. supports Israeli acts of aggression, such as the attacks on Lebanon in 2006, the attacks on Gaza in 2008-9, and the murder of aid activists in the Free Gaza Flotilla.
To address these crimes, the Caucus’s main demands were: End U.S. aid to Israel - military, economic, and diplomatic. End U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the blockade of Gaza.
The second part of the Action Proposal listed actions to be organized in the coming year – actions which would include the above demands if the amendments were accepted. Such actions included local and regional protests from October 6 to 16, 2010; putting antiwar resolutions before city councils and town meetings and in referendums linking war spending to denial of essential public services at home; and bi-coastal mass spring mobilizations in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles on April 9, 2011.
The original Action Proposal included a pledge to mobilize against any US or Israeli attack on Iran. The Caucus amendments added a commitment that in the event of US-backed military action by Israel against Palestinians, aid activists attempting to end the blockade of Gaza, or attacks on other countries such as Lebanon, Syria, or Iran, a continuations committee approved by the conference will condemn such attacks and support widespread protest actions. It further pledged support for actions to end the Israeli occupation and repression of Palestinians and the blockade of Gaza
The political basis for linking Palestine with other wars and occupations was made clear in the Caucus’s stand-alone resolution, which noted that: When antiwar movements in the U.S. have been at their best, they have been motivated not only by opposition to the bloodshed and the money wasted in unjust wars, but also by opposition to the violation of the right of self-determination suffered by the peoples against whom such wars have been waged.
This principle requires the antiwar movement take further steps in putting the rights of Palestinians, and opposition to US support for Israeli violations of their rights and war waged against them, at the center of our discussions, our demands, and our activities.
Our government’s support for the apartheid regime in Israel is part and parcel of its war on terror, and more broadly of its centuries-long string of wars and occupations designed to extend and maintain U.S. economic and strategic dominance.
The resolution also made clear its opposition to all forms of oppression suffered by Palestinians:
$3 billion in U.S. aid go every year to maintaining a regime founded on the ethnic cleansing of the vast majority of Palestinians from their land and homes, who are still denied their inherent right to return. This aid also goes to permit continued land theft and ethnic cleansing, discrimination and imprisonment, and violations of civil and political liberties. And it goes for such military aggressions as the attacks on Lebanon in 2006, on Gaza in 2008-9, for the murder of humanitarian aid activists on board the recent Free Gaza flotilla, and the threats of military attack, including the possibility of using nuclear weapons, against Iran.
Movers of the resolution noted that Washington’s $3 billion in annual aid to Israel doesn’t go just to buy guns for checkpoint police in the West Bank. It goes in far greater amounts for the missiles, bombs and jets like the $3 billion multiyear purchase of F-35 jets signed the week before the conference for actual or potential use against all peoples in the region.
The resolution further noted the direct involvement of US military personnel, such as the training carried out by US General Keith Dayton of security forces used to repress dissent by Palestinians, and the technical and personnel aid given by US personnel to Egypt for its new wall aimed at blocking tunnels to Gaza.
It further denounced US diplomatic support for Israel’s defiance of international law and UN rulings, and its diplomatic cover for phony Israeli peace initiatives.
The resolution denounced Washington’s labeling of forces resisting occupation such as Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorists, and the call by 87 Senators for the Turkish charity IHH to be added to the terrorist list. Such labeling was denounced as a denial of self-determination, as a clear violation of the rights of the peoples of the region to decide for themselves who to support in their fight against aggression and occupation. It further warned of the very dangerous step [taken] by the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Holder case outlawing virtually every form of contact, even promoting nonviolence or support for charitable work, with any group on the list.
On the basis of this political stance, the resolution repeated the demand for an end to all US aid to Israel, and in addition proposed:
- To condemn the murders of humanitarian aid activists on board the Mavi Marmara ship, the beatings and detention of flotilla activists, and the illegal seizure of ships in the Free Gaza flotilla in international waters. We further resolve to publicize and support future aid flotillas and convoys, and to strongly protest any aggression against them that may occur.
- To endorse the call of Palestinian Civil Society, as expressed in its July, 2005 Call, signed by hundreds of Palestinian refugees, human rights and cultural organizations and unions, to support a world-wide campaign of "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights".
- To support the annual international Israeli Apartheid Week in March calling for Solidarity in Action: Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions.
- To urge all organizations and individuals to mobilize in protest against any military attacks launched by Israel, whether against Palestinians inside pre-1967 Israel, in the West Bank or Gaza; against Lebanon or Iran.
- To call for the release of all 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails. We further resolve to call for the release of all Muslim and Arab prisoners held on US soil or in US bases abroad (Guantanamo, Baghram etc.) who are victims of pre-emptive prosecutions as part of Washington’s anti-Muslim, anti-Arab war propaganda;
- To demand that Israel end its illegal occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and E. Jerusalem, remove all settlements, and dismantle the Apartheid Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice.
- To reject the apartheid-like practices of discrimination against Palestinians, including denial of their right to return to their homes, both in the territories seized in 1967 and in pre-1967 Israel. We call for full equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, which means the dismantling of all laws that discriminate against non-Jewish citizens, and which violate international law and UN resolutions seeking to enforce that law on behalf of the Palestinians;
- To demand the immediate end of the siege of Gaza. This means a total end of all Israeli attempts to interfere in any way with the free movement of goods and people, no matter what or who they may be, in and out of Gaza, whether by land, sea or air, and no matter their destination or point of origin.
In a clear message that the antiwar movement’s previous sidelining of Palestine was a disservice to its own stated aims, the Conference voted: To encourage the antiwar and other social movements to continue education on the linkage between Washington’s anti-Palestinian policy and its other wars and support for occupation abroad and exploitation and oppression at home. In this regard we second the points made in the document approved by the 15,000 in attendance at the recent US Social Forum: for an end to U.S. interventions and occupations in Palestine, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Colombia, etc. We call on all organization and social movements to boycott, divest and sanction the Israeli apartheid state and the institutions the support it.
Finally, the Caucus decided to append as a friendly amendment to its own Resolution a motion to support the US Boat to Gaza which had been made by the Boat’s organizers (see ustogaza.org).
The Challenges Ahead
Another victory for Palestine solidarity were the two standing-room only workshops held in Albany, one on BDS and related strategies, the other on the one-state/two-state debate.
Supporters of Palestine made clear at UNAC, as expressed on the floor of the conference by several speakers and in the final votes, that the days of Palestine being relegated to second-class status as an issue or even excluded entirely are over, and that we are not going back.
But it’s also important to remember the context in which we operate, i.e. the current weakness of the antiwar movement. The 850 people who came to Albany did so in the hope and belief that we need a revival and unification of the movement. UNAC was possible in part because of the vacuum created by the dissolution of UFPJ but that very dissolution was symptomatic of the hard times facing all antiwar activists in recent years, manifested on the one hand in frustration that years of mobilizing have not yet ended Washington’s wars, and on the other hand in illusions – only just now beginning to break down that Obama would do the job for us.
In this context, the victory for Palestine at UNAC must be translated into hard, detailed, methodical work: to deepen the education of fellow antiwar activists about the issues, and to find clear and concrete ways to explain the issues to those only just now becoming antiwar activists. Coming very soon is a huge but challenging opportunity to do just that: the October 2nd rally called by the NAACP, AFL-CIO and other major civil rights and labor forces for jobs, peace and justice in Washington, DC, a rally which UNAC pledged to attend and to use to educate about the links between our issues.
- Andrew Pollack, Member, Al-Awda NY, and Coordinating Committee member, National Assembly to End US Wars and Occupations. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
By Omar Ghraieb
(Pal Telegraph) A number of prisoners sitting in the prisons of the Israeli occupation said that the food served to them is not fit to eat or for human use or consumption because of its poor processing, dirtiness, very small quantity, and bad kind.
Center for studies on prisoners said in a statement issued to the press today: “The prevention of the introduction of any kind of food to the prison through visits, and the prevention of buying some through the canteen, and irregular input of funds to the account numbers of prisoners, particularly prisoners of Gaza Strip has caused a real crisis on the subject of food, its not enough for the prisoners, and the impact on their health in general.
The Centre’s Director, Raafat Hamdouna, said:” The management of prison established a set laws of which it controls the amount of money is allowed for the prisoner as a sort of pressure on him, they also dont allow them to enter the kitchens of the prison to cook in their own way.”
The food given to prisoners is of bad quality and quantity, not many kinds of food are available, most notably Fruits, noting that prisoners suffer from hunger everywhere in the prisons and during the whole process due to lack of food and its badness.
Hamdouna demanded all international institutions whether for human rights or humanitarian needs to intervene to put an end the prison administration’s negligence to the requirements of the prisoners basic needs, appealing to the Red Cross, human rights organizations, associations and centers to help the prisoners and improve their living conditions and stop violations of their rights.
Source: The Palestine Telegraph
GAZA, (PIC)-- The prisoners' center for studies appealed to the Red Cross, the Arab League, the UN and all concerned parties to urgently help about 300 Palestinian children and 35 women exposed to daily violations in Israeli jails.
Director of the center Ra'fat Hamdouna stated that the detained children do not receive their minimum rights and suffer from suppressive acts such as isolating them in solitary cells and depriving them of seeing their families.
Hamdouna added that Israeli interrogators also use physical and psychological maltreatment against those children such as depriving them of sleep for many days and threatening them to extend their imprisonment, demolish their homes or arrest members of their families in order to force them to cooperate with Israel and work as informers.
In another incident, Palestinian longtime prisoners from the 1948 occupied lands called on the Hamas Movement to uphold its demand to include them in any future swap deal after they were excluded from many previous deals.
The prisoners made their demand during a visit made by Arab Knesset member Mas'aoud Ghanayem on Saturday to Jilboa prison to check on their incarceration conditions.
The prisoners told the Knesset member they suffer from restrictions imposed on the entry of books and newspapers and family visits.
Ghanayem makes regular visits to the prisoners of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1948 in order to report their needs and suffering to the concerned parties.
The Israeli Parliament (Knesset) approves the deportation of 400 children and their families whom Tel Aviv considers a "tangible threat" to Israel.
Those affected by the new measure fail to meet the regime's criteria of speaking Hebrew and having lived in Israel for more than five years, AFP reported on Sunday.
They have been given only 21 days to return to their homelands.
The motion passed 13 to 10 after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to table an earlier proposal, which he said "is much more harsh and dramatic," Ynetnews reported.
The Israeli Children organization warned that the decision targets kindergarten kids and other children, who "will fail to meet impossible bureaucratic demands."
The premier, however, said "illegal" immigration was a "tangible threat to the Jewish and democratic character" of Israel, the agency added.
The Electronic Intifada,
30 July 2010
As Israel's illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank continues to be a strain on US-Israel relations, an unflattering light is being shone on US private donations towards the development of the settlements that are increasingly encroaching on Palestinian land.
Most of the construction work in the settlements is in the hands of American, Canadian and European developers. Much of the money needed for settlement development comes from private American donations. It is estimated that tens of millions of dollars reach the settlements in the form of charity, contributions that by virtue of their philanthropic nature enjoy tax-exempt status under the US' Internal Revenue Code.
An examination by this writer of IRS documentation led to at least 32 organizations registered in the US as tax-exempt charities that support Jewish settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem with sizable financial contributions ("From New York to the West Bank: Following US Tax Dollars into Israel's Settlements"). The groups, mostly Jewish but also Christian-Zionist, often adopt a particular community of settlers and for the most part claim on their tax forms to be contributing to charitable or educational projects.
The non-profit status some of these groups enjoy as designated 501(c)(3) organizations under IRS regulations implies an official US government recognition of their activity.
Some civil rights activists argue that private American funding of the settlements, while not necessarily illegal, does contradict stated US foreign policy as well as the government's commitment against racial discrimination. But others have started to accuse organizations registered as 501(c)(3)s and supporting settlements of repeatedly violating US tax laws.
"The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," US President Obama said in his celebrated Cairo address to the Arab and Muslim world in June 2009. "This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop." Obama's statement echoed those of previous US administrations, which have alternated in calling Israeli settlements "illegitimate" and "unhelpful."
Last November, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a ten-month settlement freeze -- with the exception of East Jerusalem -- in order to resume peace talks. In January 2010, however, he also announced that the Etzion settlement block, south of Jerusalem, "will be an inseparable part of the State of Israel for eternity." Several news outlets continue to report that construction has yet to stop even in areas where the Israeli government has mandated a freeze.
Meanwhile, US aid to Israel -- the billions of dollars per year from the government as well as private donations -- continues to flow unabated.
According to a July 2009 report by the International Crisis Group, the Hebron Fund rises an average of $1.5 million a year to support Jewish settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron. The 700 Jewish settlers in Hebron, under the protection of the Israeli army, routinely physically harass the Palestinian community in the West Bank town and push them out of their homes.
The solidarity group Adalah-NY, based in New York City, mobilized to protest the Hebron Fund annual fundraiser at the Mets baseball team's CitiField last year. While Adalah-NY and the ten other groups that mobilized against the fundraiser were not able to get it cancelled, the effort was only the beginning of a larger campaign against the flow of US dollars into Israeli settlements.
Born to a Canadian father and an Israeli mother, Neil Strauss, who goes by a pseudonym, grew up between Canada and Efrat, one of the largest settlements in the occupied West Bank. Today, Strauss is a legal researcher for the Washington-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and a supervisor of the Free Palestine subcommittee of the National Lawyers Guild, the nation's first racially integrated bar association, which is committed to civil rights and social justice.
Strauss runs workshops inviting volunteer law students to look for violations of tax regulation, rather than broader political questions of international law, although he does stress that settlements and settlements support are contrary to both international law and American public policy.
"The IRS is staffed by professional tax people and bureaucrats are less susceptible to Zionist political pressure than elected officials," he said, explaining that turning to the IRS is "easier than challenging support to Israel, which is a political issue."
Since March 2009, the ADC has filed official complaints to the IRS -- accompanied by copious documentary evidence -- exposing what it claims are illicit practices by ten of these organizations. They now hope the IRS will audit the organizations in question.
"The law is pretty clear," Strauss said. "If these laws were applied honestly, these organizations would not have tax exemption."
According to IRS regulations, in order to obtain 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, an organization must set forth "charitable, religious, or educational purposes," including "lessening neighborhood tensions, eliminating prejudice and discrimination, defending human and civil rights." The ADC argues settlements do just the opposite.
Furthermore, a charity "may not be an action organization," meaning it must not engage in "political activities." A 501(c)(3) can also be disqualified if it engages in propaganda or if it operates in ways that do not pertain to its stated purposes.
The ADC also maintains that some of these organizations may be guilty of fraud and misrepresentation when they claim they operate in Israel but in fact operate in the West Bank and when they state charitable purposes when they actually buy military equipment and train paramilitary organizations.
"The smallest goal is to get their tax-exempt status removed," Strauss said. "If that happens people will continue donating to the settlements but the amounts will be smaller because the donor will have to pay taxes on it and the organization will have to pay taxes on the income."
For smaller organizations, the removal of the tax exemption could be fatal.
"Some organizations would die without it, especially in these days that donations are down," Strauss said. "Others would see a reduction in income."
The ADC is also hoping that larger, wealthier charities, such as the Jewish National Fund, which operate both in Israel and the occupied West Bank, will end their activities in support of settlers in order to protect their exemption.
The ADC claimed its first success in January 2010, when IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told National Public Radio that if the IRS did find these organizations to be breaking tax law, it would disqualify them from exemption, as it does many organizations every year. Some, however, argued Schulman's statement wasn't quite as resolute as the ADC later implied.
In addition to Adalah-NY and the ADC, at least five other organizations have formed a coalition against American support of settlements.
Among their complaints is the US government's reluctance to deal with groups they say are in flagrant violation of stated US policy and the double standard applied to US-based Arab and Muslim charities. For example, the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Islamic charity in the United States, was shut down in 2007 on the grounds that funding it raised ended up in the hands of Hamas, which the US lists as a terrorist organization.
Adalah-NY members say the double standards are blatant and refer to the case of Noam Arnon, a spokesman of the Hebron Jewish community and an honoree at the 2009 Hebron Fund dinner.
"Noam Arnon openly praises the murder of Palestinians and praises individuals like terrorist Baruch Goldstein," Andrew Kadi, a Palestinian-American member of Adalah-NY, charged, citing a report by the Associated Press.
In 1994, Brooklyn-born doctor Baruch Goldstein entered Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque and opened fire, killing 29 Palestinians gathered for Friday prayer, before being lynched to death. His burial place in the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba became a site of pilgrimage honored by many, including Noam Arnon, until the Israeli high court ordered the shrine to be removed, enforcing an Israeli law against the building of monuments for terrorists.
"Look at the statements made by Noam Arnon," said Ethan Heitner, an activist with Adalah-NY. "Can you imagine a Palestinian making these statements that is affiliated with a US 501(c)(3)? They would get shut down immediately."
While non-profits funding settlements have operated under the radar for some time, the case can no longer be made that their work is unknown to government. "I think there is a lot of willful blindness," Heitner said.
Some of these organizations in fact do more than collect contributions and have become vocal in their challenge to the Obama administration's position on settlements. For example, the projects of the One Israel Fund range from sponsoring "defense equipment" and a Tactical Response Team of volunteers trained to respond to terrorist attacks to covering wedding expenses for settlers who lost their homes when they were evicted from Gaza.
"Next on the chopping block: Judea and Samaria," is the title of one of the Fund's fliers, which quoted President Obama's remarks about settlements at his Cairo speech. "We're used to hearing the same old rhetoric from politicians: obstacles to peace, painful concession," the flier continues, soliciting donations. "Now we have a new buzzword: illegitimate. The only thing that doesn't seem to change is the terror."
Another such group is Shuva Israel, The Return to Israel Fund, a Texas-based 501(c)(3) of "Evangelical Christians Lovers of Zion." "What is our response to President Obama's pressure on Israel to freeze building in the communities of the Biblical Mountains of Judea and Samaria?" the group asks in gigantic font on the homepage of its Stand with Israel campaign. A link leads to the answer: "Become part of 12,000 Christian Zionists to sign up and give $12 a month, equaling $144,000 monthly to support the Jewish community settlements in the eternal biblical heartland of Israel."
If the spirited level of fundraising by such groups says anything, it is that settlers and their American supporters do feel threatened and do fear they are running out of time. While, even pre-recession, charitable donations in general were declining, many pro-settler groups have had their contributions increase remarkably. Construction and expansion of the settlements, too, has been bustling, the Israeli group Peace Now reports, something confirmed by settlers themselves.
Double standards aside, what the activities of settlement supporters have exposed is the inconsistency between stated US foreign policy and the administration's capacity to enforce that policy, not only overseas but first and foremost at home.
Alice Speri is a freelance journalist who has worked for Al-Jazeera English, Agence France Presse and The Christian Science Monitor. She is currently based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and has previously lived in Jenin and Ramallah. This story is adapted from her year-long research project on US-funded settlement expansion.