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

January 2012

Rashid Khalidi: ‘This book is the most comprehensive and penetrating analysis available of the catastrophe that befell Arab Palestine and its people in 1948, known as the nakba. It shows how the expulsion and physical obliteration of the material traces of a people was followed by what Masalha calls ‘memoricide': the effacement of their history, their archives, and their place-names, and a denial that they had ever existed.’

From Jenin to Hebron, we are in the West Bank above all because the majority of Israelis believe that it is not only the land of the patriarchs, but that this fact gives us a patrimonial right to sovereignty, to cruelty, to abuse and to occupation – and to hell with the position of the international community and the principles of international law, because, after all, we were chosen from among all other peoples.

IOA Editor: From “Chosen People” to the “Promised Land,” Zionism, and the occupation: it’s a hop, skip, and a jump. Indeed, the belief in the ‘promised land’ is a prerequisite for Zionism — yes, even secular Zionism. The ‘chosen people’ concept goes hand in hand with the ‘promised land.’

JVP has grown dramatically in size and influence in the past two years. As part of the ongoing assessment sparked by this growth, JVP reviewed its BDS policy. On the basis of an organization-wide conversation about BDS, we have refined our position while maintaining our strategy. JVP shares the aims of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee — ending the occupation, achieving equality for Palestinians now living in Israel, and recognizing Palestinian refugees’ right of return. JVP focuses our efforts on boycott and divestment campaigns that directly target Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. We believe this to be the most effective way for JVP to help bring about the aims we share with the Palestinian BDS call.

Herein lies the Zionist left’s main international success: namely the framing of the conflict as being about war and peace between two equal parties, ‘two peoples who fight for the same territory’, rather than that involving colonisers and colonised… Included in this success is also the spreading of the idea of a conflict starting in 1967, with its fictitious semantic differentiation between ‘Israel proper’ and the ‘occupied territories’. These premises have for years succeeded in banishing the Israel-Palestine conflict to a completely different moral universe than other conflicts like Algeria, Vietnam or South Africa under apartheid.

A presentation at SUNY New Paltz entitled “Honoring Howard Zinn: An Historian Who Made History,” given on 4 December 2011.

Anonymous Hackers: “@haaretzprint we are sorry , we didn’t know that haaretz is a good newspaper,we sorry about this , and be sure no one will attack u again.”

IOA Editor: In an interesting twist, rightwing extremist MK Arieh Eldad quipped that the “anti-Israel hate messages” left on the Haaretz website by the hackers “will probably become the paper’s draft editorial for tomorrow’s copy.” The only problem: no hate messages of any kind were placed on the website.

Fully 80 percent of Israeli Jews believe that God exists – the highest figure found since this review of Israeli-Jewish beliefs began two decades ago… 70 percent of respondents believe the Jews are the “Chosen People,” 65 percent believe the Torah and mitzvot (religious commandments ) are God-given, and 56 percent believe in life after death.

IOA Editor: From “Chosen People” to the “Promised Land,” Zionism, and the occupation: it’s a hop, skip, and a jump. Indeed, the belief in the ‘promised land’ is a prerequisite for Zionism — yes, even secular Zionism. The ‘chosen people’ concept goes hand in hand with the ‘promised land.’

Despite the focus on my new book and writing, this was not about me; it is all about targeting a Palestinian citizen who is determined to use the legal means available to her in order to fight for her people – whether they are Israeli citizens, inside the Occupied Territories, or expelled refugees.

Marwan Barghuti: “The conflict will be finished the moment the Israeli occupation ends, and there is a full withdrawal to the 1967 borders and a Palestinian state is established… I call on the great Palestinian people to embrace unity and cohesion and to establish a national unity government and also to embrace popular, peaceful resistance to end the occupation.”

South Korea has offered to buy a significant quantity of Israeli-made weapons and defense systems, including the anti-rocket Iron Dome system, if Israel agrees to purchase South Korean fighter jets.

IOA Editor: From crushing Palestinian resistance — however misguided and ineffective — in Gaza via Israeli ‘technological fixes’ (with extra US funding) to profiting from them around the world. The show, called ‘Occupation,’ must go on because there’s no business like war business…

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has filed suit against President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes controversial provisions authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world, without charge or trial. Sections of the bill are written so broadly that critics say they could encompass journalists who report on terror-related issues, such as Hedges, for supporting enemy forces. “It’s clearly unconstitutional,” Hedges says of the bill. “It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing.”

Annual report lists Israel’s blockade of Gaza Strip, settlement expansion in West Bank, and home demolitions in East Jerusalem; report also accuses Hamas for carrying out judicial executions and for allegedly torturing detainees.

The Road to Tantura is a gripping documentary film that follows a Los Angeles woman as she delves into the history of her family’s past. In 1948, her family was ripped from their homeland of Palestine, forced into refugee camps in Syria, and years later landed as immigrants in Ann Arbor, Michigan. By telling the story of one woman’s journey to her family’s past, this documentary offers a microcosm of the collective Palestinian experience that has been kept buried along with those who perished in Tantura that fateful day in 1948.

IOA Editor: For over 50 years, Tantura has been one of Israel’s most popular beaches; few Israeli-Jews are aware of its history.

The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, has suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu consider ordering a Mossad hit team to assassinate US President Barack Obama so that his successor will defend Israel against Iran.

IOA Editor: One can only imagine what would have happened if, say, an Arab American were to utter such an immoral and stupid suggestion: they’d be put away for quite some time.

Imagine a world without Google, Wikipedia, craigslist, or the IOA, and [add your favorite sites here]…

News Corp, RIAA, MPAA, Nike, Sony, Comcast, VISA and others want to make that world your reality.

80 Members of the US Congress are in their sway, 30 against, the rest undecided or undeclared.

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Contrary to the interpretation that this was an intentional humiliation of Abbas, for once it’s actually believable that this was a mere technical error. Humiliation is part of the system’s DNA, and the clerks who implement the system imbibe the techniques of humiliation from the day they enter the army – until they view them as immutable laws of nature.

The PLO’s reneging on their promise to the Palestinian people and their return to negotiations implies that the leadership accepts the continued theft and seizure of Palestinian lands, legitimizes the ever-going attacks of the settlers, and furthermore undermines the Palestinian people in whole.

The new infiltration law is the latest in a set of policies fortifying Israel’s status as the world’s first “bunker state”- and one designed to be as ethnically pure as possible. The concept was expressed most famously by an earlier prime minister, Ehud Barak, now the defense minister, who called Israel “a villa in the jungle,” relegating the country’s neighbours to the status of wild animals.

The current report holds that, among other things, Israel is working to annex the Eastern part of Israel – a policy that the European Union sees as illegal, and holds that Israeli policies in East Jerusalem are “increasingly undermining the feasibility of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states.”

Fear is the psychological weapon of choice for totalitarian systems of power. Make the people afraid. Get them to surrender their rights in the name of national security. And then finish off the few who aren’t afraid enough. If this law is not revoked we will be no different from any sordid military dictatorship. Its implementation will be a huge leap forward for the corporate oligarchs who plan to continue to plunder the nation and use state and military security to cow the population into submission.

“Some 450,000 Israeli settlers on the West Bank use more water than the 2.3 million Palestinians that live there… In times of drought, in contravention of international law, the settlers get priority for water… Israel’s territorial expansion is seen as a ‘water occupation’ of both streams and aquifers…”

Racists sitting in the stands at soccer games who yell “Death to Arabs” have never ripped a mother away from her children. But Justice Asher Dan Grunis and his friends have rendered such expulsions kosher, and the representatives of Israel’s Arab citizens will now have to bring the issue to the international community.

Palestinian Knesset member Haneen Zoabi is known for her fierce opposition to Zionism, to the concept of Israel as a Jewish state which she sees as inherently racist and unjust, and to the Israeli occupation. Instead, she envisions Arab-Jewish co-existence in Israel/Palestine, based on justice and equality, under a state for all its citizens. She also advocates replacing the Israeli occupation by a Palestinian state, and protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Jonathan Cook and the IOA Editor sat with Haneen Zoabi at her Nazareth home in mid-December 2011 for an extended interview covering these issues and much more.

Using phrases that imply Israel is conducting a policy of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Area C, the report notes the Palestinian population has shrunk dramatically to only 150,000, compared to as many as twice that number in the Jordan Valley alone in 1967. The Jewish population in the settlements, meanwhile, has grown to 310,000, tripling in less than 20 years.

Last summer, Israelis rose up in a mass movement inspired by the regional protests of the Arab Spring. Starting on Rothschild Boulevard, one of tel Aviv’s wealthiest neighborhoods, tent cities sprung up throughout the country, and Israelis poured to the streets to demonstrate. But in September, as quickly as the tent cities popped up, they disappeared. The protests stopped, and in a sweeping move, the government demolished dozens of tent cities throughout the country.

Activists said the artwork was the start of a campaign which will target other locations in Jerusalem and may spread across Israel. It is a message “to both our occupiers and our people here in Palestine and around the world, we are still here and our voice is still loud.”

Survey by European Heads of Mission in Jerusalem, Ramallah criticizes Israel for the ‘forced transfer’ Palestinians from Area C, defined by the Oslo Accords as those parts of the West Bank under full Israeli control.

Taysar Hatib: “The decision is proof that one shouldn’t have any faith in the Israeli judicial system. It is clear that the Supreme Court is influenced by the wave of fascism and racism sweeping Israel and the judges weren’t expected to act in any other way.”

Israeli protests in 2011 looked at first as if they constituted another link in the chain of militant uprisings sweeping the world in 2011. It seemed that the rage and indignation were directed against the disastrous doings of capitalist neo-liberalism which resulted in a vast enrichment of a very small elite, along with a drastic deterioration in living conditions and increased poverty. However, the nature of Israel as a settler-colonial state in which neo-liberalism and privatization were supported by Labor and the General Federation of the Workers determined the decisively different character and development of last summer’s protest.

Benny Katzover: “The main role of Israeli democracy now is to disappear. Israeli democracy has finished its role, and it must disassemble and give way to Judaism… In Jewish faith, the Land of Israel is central…”

Likud MK and coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin contacted right-wing activists over Israeli army movements in the West Bank, investigation documents reveal. Five right-wing extremists were charged by Jerusalem’s District Prosecutor’s Office with tracking Israel Defense Forces operations in the West Bank in an attempt to disrupt attempts to evacuate illegal outposts.

IOA Editor: This unremarkable occupation story is important because it shows how the most extreme elements of Israeli settlers are closely connected to, and directly supported by, the very core of the Israeli political system and government.

IDF Reserve Officer: “We get material from the rabbinate every week and it’s mostly positive things,” adding that the edited picture was part of an “official release, which is why it’s problematic the army is distributing it.”

IOA Editor: The many faces of ethnic cleansing.

In a letter penned in jail to the Palestinian people, commemorating his Fatah party’s 47th anniversary, Barghouti said peace negotiations with Israel are finished, “and there is no point to make desperate attempts to breathe life into a dead body… Fatah … should be in the leadership of the peaceful popular resistance now.”

On New Year’s Eve, thousands of Ultra Orthodox men came out in protest of what they called religious prosecution. In recent weeks, tensions in Israel between religious and secular Jews escalated after Israel’s main TV news, Channel 2, filed a report showing Ultra Orthodox men in the city of Beit Shemesh attacking an 8-year old Orthodox girl for not dressing modestly enough. The report sparked nation-wide outrage and brought thousands to Beit Shemesh in protest.

On the third anniversary of the Cast Lead onslaught, we remember the anonymous soldiers who fired on a red car, in which a father, Mohammed Shurrab, and his two sons were returning home from their farm lands. It is not fair that the officer who then served as GOC Southern Command of the Israel Defense Forces, Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, will be the only one remembered on this anniversary. Indeed, the list of fighters who should be mentioned and recalled is long.