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

February 2011

In Israel there is ethnic democracy: democracy for 80 percent of the public and exclusion and discrimination for 20 percent, and a regime of oppression and dictatorship in the occupied territories. I and my colleagues, my fellow Arab Knesset members, are sitting just a few meters away in the plenum hall from Israelis who have killed members of our people and are imposing a regime of occupation. Will anyone say this testifies to support for their deeds?

The consequences are already tangible across the Middle East, which has suffered disproportionately under the oppressive rule of empire. The upheavals as Arab publics struggle to shake off their tyrants are also stripping bare some of the illusions the western media have peddled to us. Empire, we have been told, wants democracy and freedom around the globe. And yet it is caught mute and impassive as the henchmen of empire unleash US-made weapons against their peoples who are demanding western-style freedoms.

While criticizing decision makers for underestimating the risk of civilian injuries, probe panel says Israel’s Gaza assassination of Salah Shehadeh was a necessary part of its war on ‘murderous terrorism.’

IOA Editor: This is a somewhat diluted version of the Hebrew original. The Haaretz original story points out that the committee found that while the IDF action was “preventative and legitimate,” the result of the bomb used by the IDF was found in retrospect as “disproportional.”

Needless to say, the “Investigation Committee,” appointed by former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert – himself responsible for Israel’s Gaza crimes – did not deal with the legitimacy of the use of any force as a means to prevent the Hamas violence. International law spells out in some detail when force can justifiably be used – generally only as a measure of last resort, after all other efforts have failed: clearly not the case here, and clearly not a concern of this committee.

A crisis erupted between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. During a telephone call this week, Merkel told Netanyahu that he had disappointed her and had done nothing to advance peace.

US Senator John Kerry and Syrian President Bashar Assad reportedly began drafting an unofficial position paper that would define the principles of negotiations with Israel.

The sigh of relief in Israel after it turned out that for the time being the Egyptian people are making do with military rule could be heard all the way to Cairo’s Tahrir square. The democratic threat had been removed from the agenda for the time being.

The US and Israel have successfully tested Israel’s Arrow 2 ballistic anti-missile system off the coast of California. The joint exercise between Israel Aerospace Industries and the US Missile Defense Agency involved firing a missile from an offshore platform inside a US Navy firing range to see if the Arrow 2 system would detect and destroy the missile.

The main value of the 1979 Camp David treaty to the Israeli leadership has been three decades of calm on Israel’s south-western flank. That, in turn, has freed the army to concentrate on more pressing goals, such as its intermittent forays north to sow sectarian discord in Lebanon, its belligerent posturing towards first Iraq and now Iran in the east, and its campaign to contain and dispossess the Palestinians under its rule.

If the story told … is true, Gaddafi is entitled to immigrate to Israel as a Jew under Israel’s Law of Return. Even if every other country on earth refused him entry, Israel would be obligated by its own laws to take Gaddafi in.

IOA Editor: The evil deeds of mankind, and the ironic twists of history.

The Indian Air Force and the Israeli weapons manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems are set to sign a major contract in March 2011, which will outfit India’s Tejas fighter jets with Rafael’s Derby missile.

Six years have passed since residents of Bil’in, together with their Israeli and international supporters, started regularly demonstrating against the Wall and the confiscation of more than half their land by it… The Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements declared this Friday a celebration of six years of struggle against the wall and the Occupation.

US is the only Security Council member that opposes the resolution; though its wording does not conflict with Washington’s stance on settlements it fears that if the resolution passes it will be an obstacle to renewal of peace talks.

Massive public protests continue to sweep the Middle East and North Africa in countries including Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and Iran—many being met with violent government crackdowns. Democracy Now! speaks to Marwan Bishara, senior political analyst at Al Jazeera English, and MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky.

The scenes coming from Egypt in the last 18 days are testimony to peoples’ ability to overcome fear through collective action and organization. Against state intimidation and killings, popular self-organization was resilient and steadfast.

Just as upon return from the state-sponsored trips to Auschwitz, Jewish students will come back from Hebron feeling more nationalist than ever before.

Israeli Civil rights attorney Lea Tsemel: “The [activists] were focused and continue to be focused on legal, democratic and non-violent protest against settlement trends in East Jerusalem . . . the phrasing of the report suggests the Shin Bet view these activists as similar to terrorists . . . as individuals seeking to harm the security forces.”

Although the Ministry of Defense [and] the Jerusalem municipality have claimed that the base will be within the green line, the document proves otherwise… Most of the area in which the base is to be built, however, appears to be on land that belonged to Jordan during the interwar [1948-1967] period. According to armistice agreements, it was a demilitarized zone and a small part of it was no man’s land between the two countries’ borders.

During tour with new IDF chief along northern border, the defense minister said Israel taught Hezbollah a lesson during the Second Lebanon War, but it could soon be forgotten.

IOA Editor: Be Prepared – Israel is always ready for the next attack.

Will the spread of democracy lead to a peaceful end to decades of autocratic rule in the Middle East or will the fear of Islamist extremism galvinise Washington’s resolve to reinforce Pax Americana? Marwan Bishara interviews Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University; Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer-winning author; and Thomas Pickering, the former US under secretary of state.

New West-Bank settlement map

14 February 2011

An updated map of Israeli colonization of the West Bank was released by Peace Now. It deserves careful study. Also note the graph on the left which shows clearly that colonization peaked during the so-called “Oslo Peace Process,” and again during the Camp David Peace charade hosted by US president Bill Clinton. This provides fresh evidence, if it were needed, that as far as Israel is concerned the negotiations were an exercise in deception and fraud.

Demand Al Jazeera in the US

14 February 2011

Al Jazeera English’s correspondent in Cairo, Ayman Mohyeldin, tells our American viewers that we appreciate your enthusiastic support. Largely unavailable through US cable and satellite providers, Al Jazeera has recently received a large amount of attention in the American media.

The era of using the Palestinian cause as a pretext for maintaining martial laws and silencing dissent is over. The Palestinians have been betrayed, not helped, by leaders who practice repression against their own people… Equally, it is no longer acceptable for the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas to cite their record in resisting Israel when justifying their suppression of each other and the rest of the Palestinian people.

After the announcement that Hosni Mubarak would be stepping down, Dr. Moustafa Barghouti, the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative congratulated the Egyptian people for achieving a political victory that will be remembered in history as a testament to the power of popular resistance.

Lifta has become known within Israel and internationally as a quintessential Palestinian village, one of the few of the 500 villages that had not been completely destroyed by Israeli forces in the war of 1948. Lifta is celebrated as part of a beautiful landscape of ruins, loved by walkers and nature enthusiasts, but remembered primarily by its original inhabitants many of whom live nearby but have never been allowed to return.

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

The stability in the region, something which Westerners and Israelis have come to yearn, merely means perpetuating the status quo. That situation might be good for Israel and the West, but it is very bad for the millions of people who have had to pay the price. Maintaining Mideast stability means perpetuating the intolerable situation by which some 2.5 million Palestinians exist without any rights under the heel of Israeli rule; and another few million Palestinian refugees from the war of 1948 are living in camps…

On January 29, Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s top spy chief, was anointed vice president by tottering dictator, Hosni Mubarak. By appointing Suleiman, part of a shake-up of the cabinet in an attempt to appease the masses of protesters and retain his own grip on the presidency, Mubarak has once again shown his knack for devilish shrewdness. Suleiman has long been favoured by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism, his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran – and he has long been the CIA’s main man in Cairo.

It remains unknown what is meant by – and what will happen during – an ‘orderly transition’ under the auspices of temporary leaders closely tied to the old regime, who likely enjoy enthusiastic backing from Washington. Will a cosmetic agenda of reform hide the reality of the politics of counterrevolution? Or will revolutionary expectations come to the fore from an aroused populace to overwhelm the pacifying efforts of ‘the reformers’? Or, even, might there be a genuine mandate of reform, supported by elites and bureaucrats – enacting sufficiently ambitious changes in the direction of democracy and social justice to satisfy the public?

In discovering their power to determine their future, north Africa’s protesters have already opened a new age in world history.

The new vice-president of Egypt, Omar Suleiman, is a long-standing favourite of Israel’s who spoke daily to the Tel Aviv government via a secret “hotline” to Cairo, leaked documents disclose.

IOA Editor: The implications on the continuation of the Gaza siege are only too obvious. Another reason to oppose the US-lead efforts to limit the change of government in Egypt.

We the protesters who are currently on sit-in at Tahrir (liberation) square in Cairo since January 25, 2011 strongly condemn the brutal attack carried out by the governing National Democratic Party’s (NDP) mercenaries at our location … under the guise of “rally” in support of President Mubarak… We regret that some young people have joined these thugs and criminals, whom the NDP is accustomed to hire during elections, to march them off after spreading several falsehoods circulated by the regime media about us and our goals. These goals that aim at changing the political system to a one that guarantees freedom, dignity and social justice to all citizens are also the goals of the youth. Therefore we want to clarify the following.

The Jerusalem Municipal Committee for Planning and Building is expected to approve today the construction of two buildings that will include 13 apartments for Jewish residents in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Backing the plan are settler organizations who currently occupy three homes in the neighborhood. Following the plan’s approval, it will be necessary to evict a number of Palestinian families living on the site in order for construction to commence.

With US-made tear gas canisters fired on protesters in Cairo, Washington’s role in arming Egypt is under the spotlight.

The nature of any regime the US backs in the Arab world is secondary to control. The dictators support us. Their subjects can be ignored – unless they break their chains, and then policy must be adjusted.

Spurred by the events in Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and its ruling Fatah party also promised to hold local elections, followed by general elections, very soon… The PA was supposed to hold local elections last July, but Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s government decided unexpectedly to postpone them, and effectively to cancel them.

A Democracy Now! interview on events in Tunisia and Egypt, and their background: Mubarak, peace and stability, the history of US involvement in the Middle East, the US military industrial complex, WikiLeaks, and more.

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