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

January 2013

This election has been a personal blow to Netanyahu, but not to the right. Netanyahu misread the public mood, but not on the central issues that should define the left-right divide in Israel: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and decades of belligerent Israeli occupation. Far from a collapse of the right, the election demonstrated that the right is continuing to push the center of political gravity ever further rightwards.

A continuous theme in … the book is the view that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a confrontation between the Zionist settler-colonialism and the Palestinian Arab people; it’s the last colonial war. Israel is a colonial-settler state, a result of settler colonialism and an instrument for its continuation. If one doesn’t understand this, one understands nothing about the conflict.

We remember Howard Zinn, our friend and teacher (and among the first members of the IOA Advisory Board), who passed away on 27 January 2010, leaving a formidable legacy. In the words of his close friend, Noam Chomsky: “He changed the conscience of a generation. It’s hard to imagine how many young people’s lives were touched by his work and his life.” This writer one of them.

As Nazareth, the capital of Israel’s Palestinian minority, gears up for the country’s general election next week, the most common poster in the city features three far-right leaders noted for their virulently anti-Arab views. Paid for by one of the largest Palestinian parties, the posters are intended to mobilize the country’s Palestinian citizens to vote. They pose a blunt question in Arabic: “Who are you leaving it [the Israeli parliament] to?”

However futile the activists’ efforts prove to be on this occasion, the encampment indicates that ordinary Palestinians are better placed to find inventive ways to embarrass Israel than the hidebound Palestinian leadership. Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi extolled the activists for their “highly creative and legitimate nonviolent tool” to protect Palestinian land. But the failure of PA officials, including Saeb Erekat, to make it to the site before it was cordoned off by Israel only heightened the impression of a leadership too slow and unimaginative to respond to events.

If an Arab state west of the Jordan is legitimate, then Zionist colonisation and its state were and are illegitimate. So by acting consistently to prevent a ‘two-state solution’ Israeli governments since 1967 were not behaving impulsively or opportunistically: they have been driven by a deep commitment to the Zionist self-legitimation of Israel itself.

The veteran Israeli socialist, Moshé Machover, has just brought out a wonderful collection of writings, chiefly his own, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is no exaggeration to say that this book is the best possible introduction to the topic for English-speaking readers. Its inestimable virtue is that it affords a historical overview of the whole Zionist enterprise, without which it is impossible to situate the struggle in any meaningful sense, much less reach a conclusion as to how it might successfully be resolved. Machover does both these things, and the result is a volume which Anglophone socialists must read.

Since 1999, over 300,000 young Jews from around the world have embarked on the free, 10-day tour of Israel known as Taglit-Birthright. It’s considered the most effective means of connecting the next generation of the Jewish Diaspora to the state of Israel. The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently pledged $100 million to the program.

The success or failure of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza can only be judged against the operation’s aims.

G4S is up for the Public Eye People’s Award 2013, the ‘name and shame’ award no company wants to win. G4S, the world’s largest private military and security company, is complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine and is profiting from conflict and insecurity around the world. Please take a minute to vote for G4S and then tell your friends to do the same.