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

January 2011

IOA Advisory Board member Bashir Abu-Manneh speaks about current events in Egypt.

President Shimon Peres has not abandoned his old friend Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. “We always have had and will have great respect for President Mubaraek. Not everything he did was right, but he did do one thing for which all of us are thankful. He was the peace keeper of the Middle East,” Peres [said].

PASSIA director Mahdi Abdul Hadi: “It is now much clearer to Palestinians that they are living in a prison and that the PA leaders are there only to negotiate the terms of our imprisonment.”

My husband and other Palestinian prisoners are being denied basic rights and subjected to harsh treatment in detention.

Amnesty International: “Ameer Makhoul is well known for his human rights activism on behalf of Palestinians in Israel and those living under Israeli occupation. We fear that this may be the underlying reason for his imprisonment. We are also extremely concerned by allegations that he was tortured and otherwise ill-treated following his arrest on 6 May last year in a dawn police raid on his home in Haifa, by the fact that he was not permitted to see his lawyers for 12 days after his arrest, and by the gag order that prohibited media coverage on the case during this time.”

The failure of the US to halt the slow-motion ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel has consequences. The failure to acknowledge the collective humiliation and anger felt by most Arabs because of the presence of US troops on Muslim soil, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but in the staging bases set up in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, has consequences. The failure to denounce the repression, including the widespread use of torture, censorship and rigged elections, wielded by our allies against their citizens in the Middle East has consequences. We are soaked with the stench of these regimes.

The Haifa District Court on Sunday sentenced Israeli Arab activist Ameer Makhoul to nine years in prison and another year suspended sentence for charges of spying and contact with a foreign agent from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militant organization.

Former Israeli MP Issam Makhoul: “Now, a new Middle East had truly been born. The struggle aims to return the government in these states to their peoples… We are not indifferent to this struggle and we aren’t neutral. We urge the Egyptian people to resist the weak regime, which was associated with American imperialism and its regional interests.”

The US will stand by its favored authoritarian Arab states until the bitter end… The reasons for this stance have changed little over the decades since the US became the superpower in the Middle East. Strategic interest number one is the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to the world economy, unimpeded by a rival hegemon or a regional upstart that might raise prices dramatically or deploy the oil weapon to extract political concessions from the West. Number two is the security of Israel. But third … is the stability of satrapies that Washington can trust to safeguard its other interests and initiatives, whether the US-sponsored “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians (and the blockade upon Hamas that Egypt helps to enforce) or the campaign to curtail Islamist movements…

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Wednesday in an interview with the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television that a U.S. citizen, who worked in the U.S. State Department, and a British citizen, a former MI6 and EU official, are the ones responsible for leaking the so-called ‘Palestine papers.’

Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kasriel has demanded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explain reports that he had secretly promised the US that Israel would not build new neighborhoods in E1, a controversial area which connects Jerusalem to the nearby settlement.

A B’Tselem report reveals that as a result, 472 Palestinians, including 223 minors, lost their homes last year, up from 217 – including 60 minors – in 2009.

Both Palestinian rivals know how to use the resilience and creativity of their people in the face of the daily torture that is foreign rule. But they do not help translate this personal and collective stamina into a strategy of unarmed popular struggle.

A summary of important articles and documents covering revelations of The Palestine Papers.

A selection of video reports from Al-Jazeera’s comprehensive coverage of the leaked Israeli-Palestinian negotiations documents.

The “Palestine Papers” demand a serious re-evaluation of two lingering, erroneous assumptions made by many Western observers: 1) the US’ self-proclaimed role as honest broker; 2) the assumption that peace talks have fallen into abeyance chiefly because of the election nearly two years ago of Netanyahu’s rightwing Israeli government. The Americans’ goal was to strong-arm him into bringing into his coalition Tzipi Livni who is widely regarded as the most credible Israeli advocate for peace. However, Livni, previously Mr Olmert’s foreign minister, emerges in the leaked papers as an inflexible negotiator, dismissive of the huge concessions being made by the Palestinians.

IOA Editor: Indeed, as we’ve said since the release of The Palestine Papers.

Livni to Ahmed Qurei and Saeb Erekat: “Israel was established to become a national home for Jews from all over the world. The Jew gets the citizenship as soon as he steps in Israel, and therefore don’t say anything about the nature of Israel… The basis for the creation of the state of Israel is that it was created for the Jewish people. Your state will be the answer to all Palestinians including refugees. Putting an end to claims means fulfilling national rights for all.”

Al-Jazeera TV , the Guardian: PA agreed to concede almost all of East Jerusalem to Israel, accept Israeli demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and much more.

At a meeting in November 2007, [Livni] told Qureia that she believed Palestinians saw settlement building as meaning “Israel takes more land [so] that the Palestinian state will be impossible”; that “the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that is impossible, we already have the land and we cannot create the state”. She conceded that it had been “the policy of the government for a really long time”.

IOA Editor: US-backed Israeli rejectionism, delivered by Tzipi Livni — generally regarded as Israel’s “more flexible” opposition leader. [Ha!] Nothing that we didn’t already know, other than the details on the specific Palestinian concessions. Even more interesting is Qureia’s March 2008 comment to Condoleezza Rice “You bring back life to the region when you come.” After Israel’s mass killing campaign in Lebanon and the US slaughter Iraq, it would have been far more accurate to state “you bring death to the region.”

Al-Jazeera TV , the Guardian: PA agreed to concede almost all of East Jerusalem to Israel, accept Israeli demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and much more.

Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat: “This is the first time in Palestinian-Israeli history in which such a [concession] is officially made.” … But the offer was rejected out of hand by Israel because it did not include … Ma’ale Adumim as well as Har Homa and several other [settlements] deeper in the West Bank, including Ariel. “We do not like this suggestion because it does not meet our demands,” Israel’s then foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, told the Palestinians.

IOA Editor: US-backed Israeli rejectionism, delivered by Tzipi Livni — generally regarded as Israel’s “more flexible” opposition leader. [Ha!] Nothing that we didn’t already know, other than the details on the specific Palestinian concessions.

MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) who was onboard the Marmara making its way to the Gaza Strip said on Sunday she was not summoned to testify by the Turkel Commission. “The commission purposely and intentionally failed to summon the civilian and the only witness to see what happened out of fear her testimony would damage the harmony of the report,” she said.

“The report is a scanty version of the official Israeli version. The report cannot clear Israel’s image as a serial international law breaker,” Zoabi added.

MORE on the Turkel Commission whitewashing Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara

Imad Samouni: I know Hebrew and I told the family not to worry because Jews have better hearts than we do, I worked with them for 10 years. They tied us up… There were 46 of us… “The soldiers passed among us, made our home into their hostel… [The shackles] hurt me terribly and my fingers swelled. A soldier tried to open them but couldn’t, and only made them tighter. My wife cried that they hurt me. He brought scissors and cut down to the flesh to open them. My wife cried… And I’m a man, I told them not to cry, and he brought new plastic ties. We stayed that way from Sunday to Monday…

The army declared the River Jordan a closed military zone in 1967 and later laid mines along much of its length to deter “infiltrators” from Jordan, both Palestinian refugees seeking to return to their homes in the West Bank and Arab fighters trying to launch attacks… [T]he Israel director of Roots of Peace, a global advocacy group opposed to landmines, said half a million remained in the Valley. He added that mines could drift from fenced-off areas during storm-floods, putting worshippers at risk if they strayed off marked paths.

Israelis and Palestinians dedicated to the village Lifta’s preservation have called the plan to build 212 luxury units and a small hotel the end for the last Palestinian village of its kind.

IOA Editor: Yet another example of Palestinian history to be erased by Israel — this time, while not physically razed, it will be raped and pillaged by government planners and private developers. Even greater than the loss of the remarkable architectural beauty of the remnants of this village (which managed to escape Israeli bulldozers for 63 years) is the importance of the ‘big picture’ behind the story: Israel has methodically eradicated most of Palestine’s pre-1948 Palestinian history — the more than 400 conquered Arab villages it destroyed after 1948 — while reconstructing Palestine’s Jewish history. This is particularly true for Jerusalem, where the ‘battle of the narratives’ continues to be at the forefront of the Occupation.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish was a well-known Palestinian gynecologist who spent years working in one of Israeli’s main hospitals. On January 16, 2009, two days before the end of Israel’s brutal 22-day assault on Gaza, his home was shelled twice by Israeli tanks. His three daughters and his niece were killed. He has just written a book about his life called I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity.

For months now, the media has been reporting that the UN-mandated Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is expected to indict Hezbollah members for the killing of Rafiq Hariri in February 2005. Up until about 2008, when Syria was Washington’s official evildoer, the STL targeted Syria. When the US sought to improve relations with Syria and draw it away from Iran, it was Hezbollah’s turn to assume the role and the STL put Hezbollah in its crosshairs. As with other shifting designations of who the official evildoers are, it is not too conspiratorial to suppose that the STL’s re-adjusted focus is more than mere coincidence and serves a political purpose.

The ‘diplomatic holding action’ that Israel is conducting has enjoyed partial success, but the world is gradually becoming accustomed to the idea that Palestine will join the family of nations this summer.

IOA Editor: A centrist Israeli view about the impending Palestinian statehood. Maybe. Unclear just how any Israeli government — Netanyahu’s or other — would respond. And what kind of state? On that, read Aisling Byrne’s Building a Police State in Palestine.

“If we are building a police state — what are we actually doing here?” So asked a European diplomat responding to allegations of torture by the Palestinian security forces. The diplomat might well ask. A police state is not a state. It is a form of larceny: of people’s rights, aspirations and sacrifices, for the personal benefit of an élite. This is not what the world meant when it called for statehood. But a police state is what is being assiduously constructed in Palestine, disguised as state-building and good governance.

The Palestinian military prosecutor’s office will stop detaining civilians, and civilians will no longer be tried by Palestinian military courts, according to a pledge made by senior officials in the Palestinian security establishment to representatives of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq.

IOA Editor: For background and political analysis, see Aisling Byrne’s Building a Police State in Palestine.

Israeli civics teacher: “When we have a discussion in class about equal rights, the class immediately gets out of control. The students attack us, the teachers, for being leftist and anti-Semitic, and say that all the Arab citizens who want to destroy Israel should be transferred… It’s very sad, but the students justify the [Kafr Qasim] massacre and say, ‘A good Arab is a dead Arab.'”

RELATED Israeli Humor: Hope Kindergarten

A brilliant skit from the Israeli comedy show “Eretz Nehederet” (“Wonderful Country”) on Israel’s Channel 2 TV showing anti-Arab racism introduced to young Israeli children very early in life.

IOA Editor: If you think that this is some sort of an abstract humor, think again. For the latest, see Student’s answer on civics test: Death to Arabs

The ACLU of Washington filed a federal lawsuit against King County over the decision to cancel a bus ad that alleges Israeli war crimes. The lawsuit claims that King County violated the First Amendment rights of the group that sought to place the ad on the sides of [Seattle] Metro Transit buses.

RELATED   Seattle Mideast awareness campaign: Gaza vigil and metro bus ad campaign

It was once widely assumed that creation of the Palestinian state would be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians. No more. The final nail in the direct-negotiations coffin was driven by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he coldly rejected President Obama’s offer of an extra $3.5 billion in U.S. aid in exchange for a 90-day settlement freeze.

IOA Editor: Just when was the last time such an assumption could be made? Twenty years ago? If then. Netanyahu’s predecessors, of the Likud and Labor alike, drove many earlier nails into the negotiations coffin. While Rosenberg is correct in calling for a US recognition of a self-declared future Palestinian state — a theoretical entity lacking borders, authority, or substance — he neglects to mention the historical role of all US governments in the burial of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations: it is US support of Israel — militarily, financially, and diplomatically — that enables the Occupation to continue unabated, now on the Nobel Laureate’s watch.

Russia: Palestine Exists!

18 January 2011

Medvedev: “As we did in 1988, Russia still recognizes an independent Palestine.” Russian president makes announcement after meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in West Bank; Israeli officials fear recognition will cause a domino effect of other states following Russia’s lead, including China.

[Labor's] demise, however, should not be lamented. It has been in terminal decline for decades. What its disappearance may do is free up the political landscape for a real left to emerge in Israel, one less tied to the onerous legacy of Labor Zionism and prepared to collaborate creatively with the Palestinian national movements. That is an outcome not considered in Netanyahu’s scheming.

IOA Editor: As we said on these pages a few days ago, History doesn’t repeat itself, it simply continues…

In the final analysis, whether Barak stays in the Netanyahu government as the head of Labor, or as the head of a newly-created “Independent” section, or altogether retires from politics matters not. With Barak or without him, with Labor or without it, with Kadima or without it, the Israeli government — whether Netanyahu’s, Barak’s, Livni’s, or others’ — will continue its mission full force: the colonization of Palestine and the slow replacement of one people by another…

Attorney Kais Nasser: “Anyone who reads the documentation file can see that the request for a permit was in fact intended to take revenge on the mufti in his grave, 100 years later, for his political positions in the Arab-Jewish conflict… The request for a permit has a political and Zionist agenda.”

IOA Editor: From the Before and After photos, the demolition of this fine example of Jerusalem architecture appears to be a done deal. Yet another bit of Palestinian history erased by Israel.

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