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

March 2012

The state has argued before the Supreme Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague that the route of the separation barrier was based on Israel’s security needs. But Civil Administration’s maps and figures, disclosed here for the first time, suggest the barrier route was planned in accordance with the available land in the West Bank, intended to increase the area and population of the settlements.

Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra’am-Ta’al) criticized the move, saying that it amounted to a “boycott of the UN,” and asked what “Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu have in common with human rights.” MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) also condemned the decision, saying that Israel “prefers settlements over human rights and contact with the international community.” Khenin called the move “dangerous,” saying that “through disconnecting from the world, the government is only isolating itself.”

After more than a month on hunger strike, Hanaa Shalabi is in “immediatemortal danger” and at “risk of coma” according to a Physicians for HumanRights doctor. Shalabi’s strike came at the heels of another high profile campaign by Khader Adnan who survived a 66 day hunger strike before the Israeli authorities decided to release him. Both were arrested under Administrative Detention, a military order that allows Israeli authorities to arrest anyone and hold them indefinitely, without charge or trial.

Dear Mr. Tzabar

25 March 2012

A short film about the late, celebrated Israeli journalist, poet, artist and satirist Shimon Tzabar and his last public protest against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, made shortly before his death in 2007 after forty years of self-imposed exile in London.

Economic war of attrition: “Each Iron Dome system costs $50,000,000 and each Tamir interceptor it employs has a price tag of no less than $62,000. In contrast, each of the Qassam rockets that the Iron Dome is meant to intercept cost no more than $1,000. It is believed that there are tens of thousands of Qassam rockets in Gaza alone and the capacity to produce more.”

IOA Editor: The Israeli leadership has long preferred a ‘technology fix’ when dealing with problems arising from the Occupation. Disregarding the underlying assumptions made by the author, it is clear that technology fixes have significant limitations. In this case, a nation gone mad, preferring occupation to security and stability — both physical and economic — not to mention justice which, clearly, is not a policy consideration.

Human Rights Council votes to dispatch a fact-finding mission to investigate the effects of Israel’s settlements on Palestinians; Netanyahu calls council ‘hypocritical’ and out of touch with reality.

Judith Ilani, Jaffa’s Popular Housing Committee: “In Palestinian Jaffa, the poorest people live on the most expensive piece of soil in the country… Even if I have a doghouse close to the sea, the value of it comes from what you can build once you demolish the doghouse.”

The war in Afghanistan — where the enemy is elusive and rarely seen, where the cultural and linguistic disconnect makes every trip outside the wire a visit to hostile territory, where it is clear that you are losing despite the vast industrial killing machine at your disposal — feeds the culture of atrocity. The fear and stress, the anger and hatred, reduce all Afghans to the enemy, and this includes women, children and the elderly. Civilians and combatants merge into one detested nameless, faceless mass. The psychological leap to murder is short. And murder happens every day in Afghanistan. It happens in drone strikes, artillery bombardments, airstrikes, missile attacks and the withering suppressing fire unleashed in villages from belt-fed machine guns.

Simultaneous Arab marginalisation and revitalisation also has manifested itself in initial efforts by its leadership to define the community’s political aspirations. The so-called “Vision Documents” advocate full Jewish-Arab equality, adamantly reject the notion of a Jewish state and call instead for a “binational state” – in essence, challenging Israel’s current self-definition. This, for many Jews, is tantamount to a declaration of war.

Israel sees its Arab citizens as a security threat, and their leaders are increasingly under attack. While cooperation and political participation once seemed feasible, systematic discrimination has led to an untenable situation. Secretary general of The National Democratic Party Assembly (Tajamoa) writes on missed opportunities and grim predictions.

This hooligan-like logic turns into part of a totally uninhibited language. We are allowed to assassinate, but you aren’t allowed to respond: For the little, if any, of our blood spilled, you will pay with many liters of blood. This is a colonial logic, in which the West has permission to do what it pleases, while the natives do not. This, incidentally, is the logic in the campaign against Iran: You don’t have permission to acquire nuclear facilities, only we do.

White House tells Sunday Times Obama pressed Netanyahu to postpone Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities until after November, adding president ‘might visit Israel in summer’

It is Amnesty International’s assessment that the reasons for Ahmad Qatamesh’s arrest and continued administrative detention are his peaceful expression, in his writing and teaching, of non-violent political views and the fact that he is considered a mentor for left-wing students and political activists, some of whom may be affiliated to the PFLP. As such, his detention may be part of the Israeli authorities’ strategy to put pressure on the PFLP organisation. Therefore, Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

Auschwitz complex

8 March 2012

Having trapped themselves in a death struggle with Palestinians that they cannot acknowledge or untangle, Israelis have psychologically displaced the source of their anxiety onto a more distant target: Iran. An Iranian nuclear bomb would not be a happy development for Israel. Neither was Pakistan’s, nor indeed North Korea’s. The notion that it represents a new Holocaust is overstated, and the belief that the source of Israel’s existential woes can be eliminated with an airstrike is mistaken. But Iran makes an appealing enemy for Israelis because, unlike the Palestinians, it can be fitted into a familiar ideological trope from the Jewish national playbook: the eliminationist anti-Semite.

Abeer Zeibak Hadad is a Palestinian filmmaker living in the Israeli mixed city of Jaffa. This year her first feature film – Dum’a – was released in Israeli theaters. The film is the first in the Arab world to deal with sexual assault of women and girls. The film has been screening throughout the country. This week, two days before International Women’s Day Dum’a was screened to hundreds of high school girls in Qalanswa, a Palestinian city half an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv.

IOA Editor: Finkelstein’s treatment of Palestinian rights reflects the limitations of relying exclusively on international law in the defense of Palestinian rights. Rather than forcing 100 years of history and a national liberation struggle into a legal brief, Finkelstein will do well to reconsider the implications of his focus on the “destruction of Israel” — a regional nuclear superpower — presumably by BDS activists, rather than focusing on 1948 Palestinian refugee rights and those of Palestinian citizens of Israel. As he must know, most Palestinians do not compartmentalize their national history as he appears to be doing.

While perhaps well-meaning, operating under the assumption that any opposition to Zionism is to be welcomed, progressives who promote the work of Atzmon are in fact surrendering the moral high ground by encouraging a belief-system that simply mirrors that of the most racist section of Israeli society. Anti-racism is not a liability; on the contrary, it is a principle that makes our movements stronger in the long fight for a better tomorrow.