Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

August 2010

Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zuabi testified before a UN panel probing Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May, telling the panel that commandos who boarded the ships intended to kill, [Israeli] Army Radio reported.

The thorniest problem for American and Israeli policy-makers when it comes to Lebanon is the same: how to deal with Hezbollah. While American policy is by necessity equivocal, as it tries to maintain whatever influence it has on Lebanon’s affairs, Israeli policy is explicitly bellicose. But both are equally committed to weakening and ultimately eliminating Hezbollah’s stubborn resistance to US-Israeli efforts at regional domination.

PLO official: “We are not afraid of the outcome of the talks. There is nothing Abu Mazan (Abbas) would or could accept. But going to the talks has undermined our battle to isolate Israel.”

We will know the answer in the coming weeks: Is there genuine theater in Israel, or is it just puppet theater? Are our theater artists really actors, playwrights and directors, or are they marionettes? Israeli theater presents “Moral Blindness” – a play with infinite acts.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized on Sunday the theater figures’ boycott of a new theater in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, saying that the government doesn’t need to fund a group promoting a boycott of Israel from within.

Fifty-three Israeli theater professionals, including performers, playwrights and directors, have signed a petition stating they would not appear in the West Bank settlement Ariel… Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat said Saturday that the actors’ protest was a serious matter, and was causing a rift in Israeli society.

Arab minister: “We have all been colluding in a gigantic confidence trick, and here we go again”…

[T]he heart of the question remains the continuing Israeli occupation. It is essential to remember that the biggest single increase of Jewish settlers on Arab land – a 50 per cent rise – took place in 1992-96 … at the high-water mark of the Oslo peace accords.

“There is no doubt that the occupation is the biggest festering sore in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Futile negotiations over the last two decades have led to its intensification rather than mitigation. The only way forward is an ongoing campaign to put an end to it, without having anything to do with the diplomatic process or with the one-state, two-states, debate.”

Is Israel an apartheid state? The notion of apartheid may be applicable in different ways to different components of the system. While Israel clearly is different from South African historical apartheid, in crucial respects it has affinities with apartheid in its generic sense.

Part II of a two-part essay. Read Part I HERE

“In the long term, the more Israel appears to reject peace and to be the one that opposes a two-state solution, the more it will be perceived as a regional bully that possesses nuclear weapons. So the world will be a lot less forgiving on the nuclear issue. The situation of ambiguity, in which you don’t have real legitimacy, is not a good place to be.”

Over the past two yeas, many of us have felt that the democratic camp in Israel has been under a well-planned, coordinated attack … organizations from the old-style religious right … got together and planned, under the baton of one of the most talented and innovative strategic consultants in Israel, the move that would bring them back to the front of the stage as the hegemonic ideology of Israel.

Lady Ashton:“The EU considers Abdallah Abu Rahmah to be a human rights defender committed to non-violent protest against the route of the Israeli separation barrier … The EU considers the route of the barrier where it is built on Palestinian land to be illegal. The high representative is deeply concerned that the possible imprisonment of Mr Abu Rahmah is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the separation barriers in a non-violent manner.”

Avner Cohen: “International support for Israel and its opaque bomb is being eroded by its continued occupation of Palestinian territory and the policies that support it, such as settlement construction, house demolitions, and restrictions on the movement of Palestinians.” Cohen fears Israel’s insistence on ambiguity will leave Israel increasingly vulnerable to the charge that it is a nuclear-armed pariah state.

IOA Editor: It already is.

Non-violent protest organizer Abdallah Abu Rhamah from Bil’in was convicted of incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations today, after an eight months long military trial, during which he was kept behind bars. He was acquitted of a stone-throwing charge and a vindictive arms-possession charge.

Netanyahu’s decision to cancel his meeting with Amano raised eyebrows on Monday, particularly given the premier’s fixation on Iran’s nuclear program. The prime minister and his aides have also been working feverishly to minimize the effects of last May’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review Conference, which adopted a resolution calling for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons.

Government officials warned Israeli teachers last week not to cooperate with Zochrot, a civic group that seeks to educate Israelis about how the Palestinians view the loss of their homeland and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

Israeli anti-Occupation activist: “We want to overturn this immoral law that gives rights to Jews to move freely around while keeping Palestinians imprisoned in their towns and villages,” referring to regulations that bar most Palestinians in the occupied territories from entering Israel, and Israelis from assisting them.

Israel’s demand that Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state sounds reasonable — unless you understand 1948.

It was a single word scrawled on a wall at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that unlocked something deep inside … two years after she had completed compulsory military service in the IDF. The word was “occupation”. “I really felt like someone was speaking the unspoken… It was really shocking to me. There was graffiti saying, ‘end the occupation’. And I felt like, OK, now I can talk about what I saw.”

Since September 2009, Defence for Children International has given the UN details of more than 100 cases in which the military authorities allegedly abused minors who were held in detention.

“There is no doubt that the occupation is the biggest festering sore in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Futile negotiations over the last two decades have led to its intensification rather than mitigation. The only way forward is an ongoing campaign to put an end to it, without having anything to do with the diplomatic process or with the one-state, two-states, debate.”

Is Israel an apartheid state? The notion of apartheid may be applicable in different ways to different components of the system. While Israel clearly is different from South African historical apartheid, in crucial respects it has affinities with apartheid in its generic sense. (Part I of a two-part essay.)

What is at stake in the conflict over Israel and Palestine are land and sovereignty — the traditional core issues of colonial and anti-colonial rivalry — not theology… Until the US withholds the subsidies that Israel uses to pay for the confiscation and settlement of Palestinian land, there will be no resolution to the conflict in Palestine-Israel.

Bottom line: it’s a witches’ brew that is being stirred up, and it is one that will no doubt produce violence. But the witches are not all on the right. Just as many liberals are stirring the pot to please some of their donors.

Among those surveyed … was Ofra Ben-Artzi, a left-wing activist and the sister-in-law of Sara Netanyahu, wife of the prime minister. “I told the pollster, ‘Imagine this kind of question being asked in London or New York.’ It testifies to the level of racism we’ve reached,” she said.

Yesterday, parties defending a 12th century Muslim burial ground in Jerusalem from disinterment and desecration provided new information on the latest demolitions by Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality to the United Nations and other international officials whom they initially petitioned on the matter in February 2010. The letter was sent by US academic Rashid I. Khalidi on behalf of the Campaign to Preserve Mamilla Jerusalem Cemetery.

Tel Aviv University was partially built on the lands of the Palestinian village of Sheikh Muwanis… Zochrot, an organization that encourages the Israeli state and its institutions to recognize the moral debt for the injustices caused to the Palestinian people during the establishment of the state of Israel, has started a campaign requesting that Tel Aviv University acknowledge the history of Sheikh Muwanis.

PLEASE HELP this effort by sending a letter to Tel Aviv University President Itamar Rabinowich.

American support for Israel is waning, a poll presented to senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem last week revealed. [And it is even lower in western Europe.]

The Palestinians in Israel will not agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinians, the authentic owners of the land here, are an inseparable part of the Arab nation. They were here before Israel, they are not transients and they are certainly not guests in their native land.

UN special rapporteur, Richard Falk: “[The Occupation] is presently a de facto annexation. The creation of a single state would give the arrangement a more legalistic cover. It would seek to resolve the issue of occupied territory without the bother of international negotiations… The effect is to fragment the Palestinian people in such defining ways as to make it almost impossible to envision the emergence of a viable Palestinian sovereign state… The longer it continues, the more difficult it is to overcome, and the more serious are the abridgements of fundamental Palestinian rights.”

Ethnic cleansing is the common theme of [the 1948 and 1967 Golan Height] Israeli conquests. A deeper probe of the archives will almost certainly reveal in greater detail how and why these “cleansing” campaigns were carried out – which is precisely why Mr Netanyahu and others want the archives to remain locked.

Yousef Jabareen, Dirasat’s director, said [Tel Aviv] university’s decision represented an increasingly hardline attitude from its officials. “What is so worrying is that a supposedly liberal academic institution — not the right-wing government — is promoting discrimination,” he said.

Harvard University has insisted that the sale of shares in Israeli companies is not driven by pro-Palestinian boycott and divestment campaign.

Globes (Updated): Harvard denies divestment from Israel
Foreign Policy: Harvard not divesting from Israel

IOA Editor: Harvard’s sale of all its Israeli holdings will remain a bit of a mystery, at least for a while. The manner in which it was done – an entire country-portfolio, sold at once – during the second quarter of 2010 which, coincidentally or not, was also when the Berkeley BDS struggle culminated, suggests it may be more than just a matter of investment management.

If the Harvard Corporation wanted to avoid becoming embroiled in a BDS struggle connected to the Israeli Occupation – say, the next time Israel commits war crimes on sea or land – its best strategy would be to make a ‘business decision’ to pull out of Israel, quietly and without fanfare: not to make a principled, morally-based and publicly explained University policy decision, one that would be controversial and may cause some of Harvard’s donors to put their money elsewhere. And this is exactly what it did. Only time will tell.

Breaking the Silence: Facebook photos depicting Israel Defense Forces soldiers pictured alongside handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainees represent the norm, not the exception, in IDF conduct … refuting an official army statement claiming the opposite.

“I wish these pictures reached leftists abroad,” my friend said … as she watched Hamas police use rifle butts and clubs to beat her friends – activists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Although my friend has never been a fan of the Fatah government in the West Bank, she is outraged by the romanticization of Hamas rule by foreign activists.

In another blow to Israeli shares, the Harvard Management Company notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday that it had sold all its holdings in Israeli companies during the second quarter of 2010. No reason for the sale was mentioned. The Harvard Management Company manages Harvard University’s endowment.

IOA Editor:The Harvard Management Company — a subsidiary of Harvard University charged with managing the university’s endowment, pension assets, working capital, and non-cash gifts — is best known for managing the university’s $26 billion endowment, the largest endowment in US higher education. Historically, the HMC has been the leading university investment management company, receiving a great deal of attention from all other university funds.

This is probably the first reported university endowment divestment from all Israeli holdings. Coming from Harvard, it sets a very important precedent: it is likely to be reviewed, scrutinized, and possibly followed, by other universities. Because Harvard, or HMC, has yet to make a public statement on the decision, one can only assume that it took place as a preventive measure, to avoid becoming the “next Berkeley.”

Yishai Menuchin, director of the Public Committee Against Torture: “The horrible pictures demonstrate a norm of treating Palestinians like objects instead of human beings – treatment that disregards their feelings as humans and their right to privacy.”

President Barack Obama has personally warned Turkey’s prime minister that unless Ankara shifts its position on Israel and Iran it stands little chance of obtaining the US weapons it wants to buy.

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