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

2012

A recent report in the Haaretz newspaper, on an Israeli Jew who grows Christmas trees commercially, noted in passing: “hotels – under threat of losing kashrut [Kosher] certificates – are prohibited by the rabbinate from decking their halls in boughs of holly or, heaven forbid, putting up even the smallest of small sparkly Christmas tree in the corner of the lobby.”

IOA Editor: Merry Christmas, Israel!

Adalah document covering Israeli election rules and party or individual disqualifications.

MK Haneen Zoabi called the decision “anti-democratic and illegitimate”, a form of political revenge that reflected the tyranny of the majority. “No one will determine for the Arab minority who represents it other than Arab citizens themselves,” she said. “I was elected to represent my people and, through their support, I have a legitimacy that the committee cannot take from me.”

Jamal Zahalka: “Our problem is not that we are terrorists but rather that we are democrats in an environment that does not believe in democracy… We are tired of apologising for demanding full equality for all Israeli citizens. We’re tired of sitting in the dock for being patriotic Palestinians.”

Last week, in one of the first actions of its kind, activists released the names of Israeli soldiers involved in the killing of a Palestinian protester. Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year-old demonstrator from the village of Nabi Saleh, was killed when a soldier shot a tear gas canister at his face in December last year.

A statement by a group of Columbia University professors in response to recent comments by the newly appointed chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, Nicholas Dirks, wherein he equated the criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

On Sunday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stepped down from his post following charges arising from a 13-year investigation against him. 972 Magazine’s Noam Sheizaf analyses Lieberman’s decision and what it will mean for Likud Beiteinu, the new joint list of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Lieberman’s party Yisrael Beiteinu.

International NGOs are working extensively in the Palestinian villages, towns and cities of Areas A and B, whilst Palestinians in Area C (including most of the Jordan Valley) are systematically denied access to water, land, education, health care, or electricity. As these NGOs work within the military laws imposed on the West Bank by the occupation forces, Jordan Valley Solidarity has been analysing the extent to which the work of the NGOs benefits local Palestinian communities, and to what extent it benefits the occupation they are living under.

Haneen Zoabi: “Legally, they have no case. I never imagined myself to be in the middle of a war like this. I don’t think they will disqualify me. If so, and if Balad is disqualified, there will be no election – the Arabs will not vote.”

Since late October, major defence drills, including manoeuvres involving heavy tanks as well as air and missile training, have been taking place throughout the Jordan Valley as part of the joint US-Israeli exercise ‘Austere Challenge 2012,’ especially in the Valley’s northern areas illegally declared as ‘firing zones.’

The dawn of a Palestinian state has been a long time coming. After 65 years of dispossession, 45 years of occupation, and 20 years of failed peace attempts, on Thursday Palestine took one step closer to joining the community of nations. Al Jazeera’s Empire program discusses the prospects for peace with our guests: Rashid Khalidi, Peter Beinart, Ethan Bronner, and Tony Karon.

An old man in Gaza held a placard that reads: “You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.”

[L]et’s face it. It isn’t that we don’t know what happened in 1947-1948. It’s that we’ve chosen not to see or hear anything that jars our thinking on the subject. Certain words and ideas have remained taboo, certain questions have been sidelined as suspect and certain histories – ours and theirs – have been excised, the better to educate us to numbness and indifference. The result is that we prefer to think of Israeli-Arab wars as instances of the much lamented ‘clashes of civilization’ that pit our civilized allies against the violence-prone ‘other,’ As long as our side wins, there is no need to look into the face of the ‘enemy,’ or to ask ourselves why and why again? Admittedly, doing so risks discovering that ‘they’ are like us, which is as disconcerting as learning that what the ‘experts’ have taught us about our history and theirs is often plain wrong, leaving us to discover that deception can be dangerous.

Voting by an overwhelming majority — 138 in favour to 9 against (Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Panama, Palau, United States), with 41 abstentions — the General Assembly today accorded Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations.

Stephen R. Shalom: Gaza Quiz

29 November 2012

An uneasy cease-fire has been declared ending Israel’s attack on Gaza, Operation Pillar of Defense. Take this quiz to see how much you know about the situation.

The ceasefire agreed by Israel and Hamas in Cairo after eight days of fighting is merely a pause in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It promises to ease movement at all border crossings with the Gaza Strip, but will not lift the blockade. It requires Israel to end its assault on the Strip, and Palestinian militants to stop firing rockets at southern Israel, but it leaves Gaza as miserable as ever.

More than 160 people died in the eight-day Gaza war. And though the fighting may have stopped, the dead and the nightmares remain. Survivors and victims’ families say they want revenge.

[Israel’s current “Pillar of Defence” assault on the Gaza Strip] may serve Netanyahu’s hidden agenda: a protracted regional war may provide a smokescreen for a major ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. This is a long-term plan supported by all major Zionist parties. It is designed to resolve the contradiction between the deep-seated Zionist opposition to the creation of a Palestinian sovereign state, however small, in any part of pre-1948 Palestine, and the even greater “demographic peril”, as it is openly described in Israeli public society, of Arab majority in that land.

Assaf Kfoury: Why Gaza?

22 November 2012

Three weeks before Israel launched its Operation Pillar of Defense on November 14, 2012 I was part of an academic delegation on a short trip to the Gaza Strip. For the mainstream media, October was a “normal” time, because hardships endured by Gazans are not newsworthy when there are no F-16’s dropping laser-guided smart bombs. That one or two Gazans were killed by Israeli army patrols from one week to the next in October, because they had transgressed the limits of the Israeli siege, went largely unnoticed. But such are the ethical standards of the mainstream media, genuflecting to power and ignoring the oppressed. One way to see through the ideological fog is to experience “normal” conditions from close range. Inside the Gaza Strip in October, we directly witnessed the devastating effects of the sanctions, the siege, the sea blockade and – more fundamentally – the long systematic evisceration that Gaza has suffered over several decades.

The inciting cause of the latest confrontation between Israel and Hamas has little to do with the firing of rockets, whether by Hamas or the other Palestinian factions. The conflict predates the rockets – and even the creation of Hamas – by decades. It is the legacy of Israel’s dispossession of Palestinians in 1948, forcing many of them from their homes in what is now Israel into the tiny Gaza Strip. That original injustice has been compounded by the occupation Israel has not only failed to end but has actually intensified in recent years with its relentless siege of the small strip of territory.

I have always admired the work of Gisha, and therefore read its response to my “Impressions of Gaza” with much interest — and comparable disappointment. The response refers to exactly one statement of mine: ‘heavy equipment in Gaza is not “lying idle”, as Chomsky describes.’ My statement is quite accurate.

Obama may not have to worry about re-election but he will not want to hand a poisoned legacy to the next Democratic presidential candidate, nor will want to mire his own final term in damaging confrontations with Israel.

Awad Abdel Fattah: “Our [Palestinian Israelis'] traditional strength derived from the fact that we, as a community, survived the ethnic cleansing of 1948 [the Nakba]. We remained in our homeland, even as it was transformed into a Jewish state.”

Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison, where a million and a half people, in the most densely populated area of the world, are constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment

Is Israel preparing to annex Area C, as a growing number of analysts have recently been speculating? This week, on a visit to the Israel’s tourism bureau in Nazareth, Jonathan Cook came across an official brochure, “Your Next Vacation: Israel”, that suggests the answer.

There can be no doubt that the diet devised for Gaza – much like Israel’s blockade in general – was intended as a form of collective punishment, one directed at every man, woman and child. The goal, according to the Israeli defence ministry, was to wage “economic warfare” that would generate a political crisis, leading to a popular uprising against Hamas.

In my opinion the whole semantic discussion of Israeli “apartheid” skirts around the fundamental question: the underlying political economy of Zionist colonization.

The eight signatories of this letter are members of the group that traveled with Noam Chomsky to Gaza. We have spent three and a half days here in Gaza with Chomsky, who departed yesterday. We would like to clarify the circumstances surrounding Chomsky’s visit.

Jewish-American scholar and activist Noam Chomsky reportedly called for an end to Israel’s siege of Gaza, on his first ever visit to the Hamas-ruled enclave on Thursday. Chomsky, who was in the Gaza Strip for a conference at the Islamic University, called “to end the Israeli siege on Gaza.”

An announcement from frequent IOA contributor, Nazareth-based journalist Jonathan Cook: I am excited to announce the launch of my new website – Jonathan Cook: the View from Nazareth – and a related public page on Facebook. The website should make following my work easy, and the Facebook page will, for the first time, give you the chance to participate by commenting and posting your own thoughts directly.

A new documentary by frequent IOA contributor Israeli-Canadian journalist Lia Tarachansky aims to decipher some of the anxiety that accompanies the Israeli debate over the events of 1948.

IOA contributor Lia Tarachansky’s film project Seven Deadly Myths is competing for funding as part of the Cuban Hat Pitching Contest. Lia’s work figures prominently on the IOA website. A key reason why we find Lia Tarachansky’s work to be so important, and why it is unique, is because Lia’s coverage keeps current events and the post-1967 occupation in an historical context: in her work, as well as in her film, Lia discusses West Bank settlements in the context of the Nakba.

After two days of expert testimony by notables such as public intellectual Noam Chomsky and Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, heard before a packed crowd that included actors Harry Belafonte and Wallace Shawn at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, jurors concluded, “Israel’s ongoing colonial settlement expansion, its racial separatist policies, as well as its violent militarism would not be possible without the US’s economic, military, and diplomatic support.”

Seven Deadly Myths

8 October 2012

Upcoming documentary profiles Israeli journalist Lia Tarachansky’s return to the settlement where she grew up, to uncover a buried history and a landscape of denial. The film tells the stories of four veterans of the 1948 war that erased from the Israeli landscape hundreds of Palestinian villages and connects their stories to the modern-day Palestinian dispossession through the occupation and settlements.

Hanan Ashwari: “Typical American behaviour but also overkill. It is ridiculous and unconscionable the way they put themselves at the service of Israel in such a blatant way. This is tremendous American pressure and bias.”

In the shadow of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s theatrics at the United Nations last week, armed with his cartoon Iranian bomb, Israeli officials launched a quieter, but equally combative, initiative to extinguish whatever hopes have survived of reviving the peace process. For the first time in its history, Israel is seeking to equate millions of Palestinians in refugee camps across the Middle East with millions of Israeli citizens descended from Jews who, before Israel’s establishment in 1948, lived in Arab countries.

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