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

March 2011

Study shows increase in number of Jewish youths that put defining Israel as a Jewish state as a number one goal, while fewer youths recognize the importance of Israel’s identity as a democratic country… Support for Israel to eventually live in peace with its neighboring countries also fell significantly, from 28.4 percent 12 years ago to 18.2 percent last year.

Four Palestinians released after being accused of rape, sexual abuse by 11-year-old boy from Bnei Brak; one of the men tells Army Radio that police beat them and didn’t tell them allegations against them.

IOA Editor: Israeli justice at work.

Higher Arab Monitoring Committee chair Mohammad Zeidan: “Israel is regressing into dangerous directions in its treatment of its Arab citizens.”

Gidon Bromberg, director of Friends of the Earth Middle East: “Complete madness… This sort of thing makes no sense whatsoever… The environmental implications would be felt along the coast of Gaza and Israel… The public should be very sceptical.”

It used to be that when you counted off Israel’s top allies, the obvious names came to mind. Germany, the UK, and of course, the US. These days, Canada seems determined to soar to the top of that list. Taking it straight from the horse’s mouth – Avigdor Lieberman – Israel’s Foreign Minister. While visiting Canada in 2009 he said, “Canada is so friendly that there was no need to convince or explain anything to anyone… We need allies like this in the international arena.” In fact Canada’s arms trade with Israel, its military cooperation with the Israeli occupation and its political support make Canada a very dear ally for Israel indeed.

The ministry has been ordered to release information regarding the minimum nutritional requirements needed to sustain Gaza residents, names of officials responsible for policy of limiting the entry of goods into the strip.

Ban Ki-moon: “Both sides must protect civilians and act in conformity with international law to prevent further escalation and loss of life… Time is of the essence in realizing the two-State solution. The occupation that started in 1967 is morally and politically unsustainable, and must end. The Palestinians have a legitimate right to the establishment of an independent and viable State of their own… A way must be found for Jerusalem to emerge as a capital of two States, Israel and Palestine… And there must be a just and agreed solution to the prolonged plight of the Palestinian refugees.”

Some 1,500 Israeli Arabs protested in Lod (Lydda) on Tuesday against government policies which affect Israel’s Arab sector, launching the events of Land Day, to be marked on Wednesday. The protesters were demonstrating against the government demolition of the houses of the Abu Eid family, which left some 50 family members, 30 of them children, without a home.

While the Middle East is undergoing massive national changes, Israel received little attention in global media until last week’s bombing in Jerusalem. But Israel has seen its own share of national struggles in recent months leading to a major labor victory in March. Israel’s massive labor association, the Histadrut, succeeded in taking the worker’s fight to the government, forcing the Prime Minister to acquiesce to many of their demands, including raising the minimum wage.

ACRI spokeswoman Ronit Sela: “MKs have made it clear that even though the wording of the bill is broad, it is very clearly aimed at Israel’s Arab citizens, and sends them a message that their citizenship is not guaranteed.”

European diplomats have confirmed that such a message was conveyed several days ago. One diplomat said his country did not receive a serious response when asked what unilateral steps Israel might take. Another diplomat … said in light of the current deadlock in negotiations, international recognition of Palestinian statehood appeared unavoidable in September.

IOA Editor: The Israeli government is clearly concerned about the diplomatic front turning against it. But what could it do, “unilaterally,” that hasn’t been done in the past 43 years? Bomb? Annex? Re-Occupy?

Israel’s Supreme Court began Monday to debate a petition filed by MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad), against a Knesset decision to revoke her rights for participating in the flotilla to Gaza last May.”The rightist consensus in the Knesset is trying to punish me and not allow me freedom of expression,” Zoabi said. Rightists who awaited her exit from the court called her a “terrorist”.

On March 30, 2011, join the international campaign to Stop the Jewish National Fund. A key pillar of the colonization of Palestine – from the founding of the State of Israel to the present – has been the Keren Kayemet LeIsrael (KKL), commonly known in English as the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The JNF enjoys charity status in over 50 countries. This is despite its role in the on-going displacement of indigenous Palestinians from their land, the theft of their property, the funding of historic and present-day colonies, and the destruction of the natural environment.

Despite living in the Negev Desert for hundreds of years, long before modern-day Israel was even formed, Bedouin who want to live on their ancestral land are being accused by Israel of ‘trespassing’… The Israeli government says the Bedouin do not qualify as indigenous people, and it’s just enforcing laws it inherited from the British and the Ottomans. Video journalist Amos Roberts travels with Nuri to the edge of the disputed land where he was born and which he’s not even allowed to set foot on. Nearby, Amos witnesses a village being bulldozed by Israeli authorities, then rebuilt by defiant locals – for the seventh time.

Let’s tell the generals, spooks, inquisitors and ideologues that we want to be first on the list to be investigated. I delegitimize Occupation. There. Now I said it. I feel better already. Now when can I be expecting that knock on the door in the middle of the night from someone from headquarters saying they just have a few questions?

The one-two punch of settler “price tag” attacks carried out under the watch of the army and with the encouragement of state-funded religious nationalist rabbis is common all over the West Bank. Most Jewish Israelis view the army with reverence, and are reluctant to criticize its conduct under any circumstance. And though settler violence is considered a matter of controversy in Israeli society, a new poll shows that a staggering number of Israelis support the pogroms meted out by fanatical settlers against defenseless Palestinians.

It is not just the settlements and the occupation, two sides of the same coin, which pose a serious obstacle to peace and infringe on the Palestinians’ human rights. It is everything that supports them – the government and its institutions. It is the bubble that many Israelis live in, the illusion of normality. It is the Israeli feeling that the status quo is sustainable.

[The Nakba Law is] the latest in a growing list of disgraceful legislation whose entire purpose is to discriminate against Israel’s Arab citizens, intimidate them and deny them their rights… The people directly responsible for this process are the [ones] … who sponsored the bills [and] voted for them. But the 60 MKs who did not take part in the vote are no less responsible… [Including] Kadima leader Tzipi Livni … Ehud Barak … Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Culture Minister Limor Livnat.

IOA Editor: As is all too often the case, this is yet another example of the lack of material differences between Israel’s “extreme-right” and the presumably non-extreme “center-right.”

It is possible to sum up Israel’s relations with its Palestinian citizens in one sentence: We are not only a minority that is discriminated against, we are a minority at risk. Over the past two years, the Knesset has brought forth dozens of laws designed to strengthen the Jewish character of the country at the expense of its democratic character. I fight for my rights in my homeland. Perhaps this is news to many of you, but I did not choose to live in the State of Israel; Israel has chosen to live among my people and I.

IOA Editor: Although originally written for International Women’s Day 2011, this commentary is directly related to the anti-Palestinian laws under consideration by the Israeli parliament, including the Nakba Law and the law enabling “admission committees” approval-requirement for would-be residents of towns of fewer than 400 families – both just passed by Israel’s parliament.

[Note also the summary of readers' reactions above article.]

As on previous occasions, a “spy” from the Israeli Embassy was sent to [my lecture] … an Israeli student who was asked to write down what I said and convey it to the embassy. The embassy quickly dispatched a report to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, and the Foreign Ministry quickly leaked it to a well-known newspaper, which published only my harshest statements, without context – and there you have it: the indictment of a dissident.

Can anyone claiming to belong to the left just ignore a popular movement’s plea for protection, even by means of imperialist bandit-cops, when the type of protection requested is not one through which control over their country could be exerted? Certainly not, by my understanding of the left.

MP Haneen Zoabi: “You are creating a monstrous state that will enter the thoughts and emotions of citizens. Is accepting my history considered incitement? … The Nakba is a historic truth, not a position or freedom of expression.”

A dramatic change is taking place in the form of Israeli control in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), whereby, in addition to soldiers and security officials, one begins to notice the growing presence of private security personnel. A number of Israeli security companies operate in the oPt, taking over some of the tasks that were traditionally executed by the army… The variety of operations of private security companies illustrates, perhaps most lucidly, that the Israeli occupation today is sustained not only by state military forces, but also by a multitude of commercial and economic forces, whose activities in the oPt are interwoven into the establishment of control itself.

So for all those who demonstrated in support of the Gazans when they were trapped under Israeli fire, all those planners of past and future flotillas, this is your moment to raise your voices and say clearly: The Qassams merely feed Israel’s madness. It is not the Qassams that will ensure the Palestinians, both in and out of Gaza, a life of dignity. It is not the Qassams that will topple the Israeli walls around the world’s largest prison camp.

Israel admitted this week that it was behind the abduction of a Gazan engineer who went missing more than a month ago while travelling on a train in the Ukraine… Victor Kattan, an international law expert at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University, said Israel had broken several human rights laws in seizing him rather than invoking treaty agreements between the Ukraine and Israel and requesting his extradition.

Like most Arab residents of East Jerusalem who chose not to apply for Israeli citizenship, Fahmi had Israeli residency, but not citizenship. Residency is automatically revoked in the event of an absence of many years or the acquisition of citizenship from another country.

IOA Editor: This seemingly small matter, one case among thousands, reflects the essence of the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict:” It is part of an ongoing, systematic effort on Israel’s part to replace the Palestinian Arab population with a Jewish population: a long term process of Ethnic Cleansing. To that end, a complex web of laws covering citizenship and immigration, land ownership and use, town development and residency, economic benefits, and much more has been set up. New laws are added as deemed necessary, such as the law authorizing ‘admission committees’ approval for residency in Israeli towns, which is designed to exclude Palestinians and others who do not conform to a vague lifestyle standard.

Israel’s Military Intelligence is collecting information about left-wing organizations abroad that the army sees as aiming to delegitimize Israel, according to senior Israeli officials and Israel Defense Forces officers.

IOA Editor: Israel is at the forefront of high technology and Internet surveillance, but it is not alone in the pursuit of ‘democracy’ via a spying campaign on the general public. Read the following Guardian story:
Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media

Frank Barat asks Noam Chomsky six questions sent to him by Alice Walker, John Berger, Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Amira Hass and Chris Hedges.

During the five day curfew in the village of Awarta, south of Nablus, the Israeli military raided homes and detained around 300 people, the youngest 14 years old. Some of the men were taken to the local boy school were they had to leave their finger prints and DNA and some were taken to the military base at Huwwra checkpoint. According to mayor, Qays Awwad, 55 men are still in Israeli custody. Some of the detainees reported that they had been abused by the soldiers while they were detained and handcuffed. It has been reported that a 75 year old woman was handcuffed and had to sit on the ground while the soldiers went through her home, and that an 80-year-old woman was beaten by soldiers.

Francis Boyle: Basically, the resolution as currently drafted authorizes a war across the board against Libya — air-strikes, naval blockade, even a land invasion. The only exception in there is against a foreign military occupation force. But under the laws of war, there is a distinction between a land invasion and an occupation force.

Now there are not enough safeguards in the wording of the resolution to bar its use for imperialist purposes. Although the purpose of any action is supposed to be the protection of civilians, and not “regime change,” the determination of whether an action meets this purpose or not is left up to the intervening powers and not to the uprising, or even the Security Council. The resolution is amazingly confused. But given the urgency of preventing the massacre that would have inevitably resulted from an assault on Benghazi by Gaddafi’s forces, and the absence of any alternative means of achieving the protection goal, no one can reasonably oppose it.

The National Lawyers Guild (U.S.) strongly urges the Human Rights Council of the United Nations to pass a resolution supporting the referral of the Israeli siege, blockade, and war on Gaza to the International Criminal Court. Such a resolution would pave the way for the UN Security Council to make such a referral.

[T]he UN security council resolution is an extraordinary achievement. It is unrelenting in its commitment to saving lives, yet nuanced enough to take into account Libya’s sensitivity to foreign intrusion – a result of its exceptionally brutal colonial experience under the Italians – and seems committed to Libyan sovereignty and political independence. Its authors would do well to remain true to these sentiments.

I just wanted to look at Tanya —
how she stood tall in her coat
at the end of the hall
on her department’s floor
as I came out of the elevator;
how she lit her cigarette
at the entrance archway
as we walked out to Broadway…

IOA Editor: We remember Tanya Reinhart, a courageous anti-Occupation activist, great moral thinker, world renowned linguist, a comrade and a friend. (Born 23 July 1943, Palestine; died 17 March 2007, New York.)

Abdallah Abu Rahmah was given a hero’s welcome in the West Bank village of Bil’in after being released from Ofer Prison on Monday. He was greeted by over a hundred and fifty townsfolk who escorted him home waving flags and letting off fireworks in his honor.

[S]ecurity officials who heard of the volunteer detail said excessive motivation, weapons and the lack of an organized unit could lead to disaster in case of emergency.

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