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75 years of occupation: A new, must read report on Kashmir
Israeli Minister calls for the military to “reconquer” The Gaza Strip
Since Israel began its new bombing campaign of Gaza five days ago, at least 33 Palestinians have been killed. As Palestinians try to get to grips with a merciless campaign dubbed ‘Operation Shield and Arrow’, Israel’s extreme far-right leadership have been upping the ante.
Bezalel Smotrich, Israel's far-right minister of finance, called for Israel to “reconquer” the Gaza Strip.
“The time will probably come to return to Gaza, disassemble Hamas and demilitarise Gaza. This too will be carried out according to the broad interests and considerations of the State of Israel.
“I believe the moment will come when there won’t be a choice but to reconquer Gaza, Smotrich said on Thursday.
A reminder that Palestinians in Gaza have been under a blockade since 2005.
Read more about the ongoing crisis from my colleagues reporting from the ground in Gaza here.
A new report on Kashmir
Some days ago, the diaspora-led group Stand with Kashmir released a report marking 75 years since India’s occupation of Kashmir began.
The report also highlights the recent strategies employed by the Indian government to advance its settler-colonial project in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
“While an all-out armed war against Kashmiris remains in force on the ground, India has been opening other fronts of this war at a rapid and aggressive pace,” the report reads.
The report is broken up into five sections:
The widespread crackdown on Kashmiri lives
India's increased global network built to help facilitate Kashmir's occupation including
The Indian government's 'normalization' policies
The economic and ecological ramifications post-2019
The aggressive approach taken by India to put technology in service of its occupation in Kashmir
You can read the full report here.
The report comes at a very crucial time given the forthcoming G-20 Meetings in Srinagar scheduled between May 22-24.
The Indian government has already started the ludicrous process of “beautifying” bunkers and attempting to create an image of normalcy in the valley ahead of the visit by foreign diplomats. Earlier this week, the University of Kashmir hosted Y20 meetings - a precursor to the G20 - focusing on youth.
According to The Hindustan Times, delegates from several countries, including Turkey, made their way to the summit.
Stand With Kashmir and several coalition partners including the Kashmir Law and Justice Project, The Polis Project, We are Dissenters, Project South, Within Our Lifetime, International Defenders Council, American Muslims for Palestine and the Kashmir Scholars Consultative and Action Network, have also called for G20 countries to boycott the meeting.
You can read about the campaign and sign the petition here.
The campaign against JKCCS
On Friday, 16 organizations signed a joint statement calling on the Indian government to “immediately stop the reprisals against human rights defenders and organisations in Jammu and Kashmir, especially Khurram Parvez, Irfan Mehraj, and the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). Khurram Parvez has been arbitrarily detained since 22 November 2021 as a reprisal for his human rights work, including documentation and advocacy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We are alarmed by new criminal cases filed against Khurram Parvez and Irfan Mehraj, a journalist and human rights defender, in March 2023, and the ongoing reprisals against JKCCS.”
JKCCS had long been considered a leading human rights organisation in Jammu and Kashmir. It has compiled ground-breaking human rights investigations, published dozens of rigorously researched human rights reports, litigated human rights cases, and through non-violent mobilisation and advocacy given voice to otherwise unheard victims of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, the coalition added.
The Turkish wire service Anadolu agency recently interviewed me for a story about the book. They also put together a neat video op-ed on the burgeoning India-Israel relations as well the connections between Hindutva and Zionism based on the interview. You can watch the video here.
“Hostile Homelands is an important work that contextualizes the project of India’s occupation of Kashmir in relation to Israel’s colonization of Palestine. Essa reveals that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and Netanyahu’s Likud Party are not exceptional to Indian and Israeli liberal democracy. Rather, these far-right parties are able to openly articulate what has always been latent in their national movements. Couched in the democratic, liberal international order, India and Israel are given a pass for their authoritarian, expansionist regimes,” Aravindhan writes.
Next week will also see the first in a series of book talks and events in the UK, starting with SOAS University of London on May 17th.
Here is the full list of the events in England:
If you are interested in hosting an event or a discussion while I am around, feel free to get in touch and we can try to make it happen.
Next week will mark 75 years since Al-Nakba or The Catrastrophe, that marks the expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinians after the founding of Israel in 1948.
There will be several rallies and marches around the world marking the occasion.
Despite efforts to suffocate the story of the Nakba, Palestinian Americans say that the memory of the Nakba is stronger than ever. Jewish Americans, too, say the community is facing a reckoning when it comes to Israel. You can read my profile of Jewish American community here
I also spoke to Palestinian American historian Rashid Khalidi about the meaning of the Nakba, 75 years on (co-produced with Mohamed Hashem). Khalidi is the author of the critically acclaimed The Hundred Years’ War On Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017.
Until next time,
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