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

Akiva Eldar

It’s a shame the police don’t show the same determination treating the settlers who invade private Palestinian land as they do evicting the temporary settlers on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard. It’s a shame the social justice activists ignore the creeping eviction by the Israeli government in the occupied territories.

[Netanyahu’s] propaganda was sweet as honey dripping from his lips. It improves from speech to speech. But the prime minister promised that this time he would feed us the truth, not another campaign speech. A test of this promise seems apposite.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised that in his speech at the UN on Friday, he will “tell the truth”. This is no trivial matter when it involves a politician who invented an encounter with British soldiers that happened before he was born… The following lines are an attempt to formulate Netanyahu’s truth ahead of one more speech of a lifetime.

This time, too, Israel will accuse the Arabs of unilateral steps, ignore the United Nations, expand settlements in the West Bank, and build more neighborhoods for Jews in East Jerusalem.

Despite Netanyahu’s rhetoric, the facts on the ground – illegal outposts, failure to abide by court rulings, unfettered settler activity- make peace a distant dream.

I asked Goldstone to help point out even a single word in the two reports that could justify his vague statement about the non-existence of the policy on harming civilians – while both reports repeatedly criticize Israel for not having investigated this issue at all. Apologizing politely, the South African freedom fighter said he had imposed media silence on himself. A pity…

MKs from the party heading the opposition recently voted in favor of two bills that should have been easy “nays”: giving mortgage help to would-be settlers and probing leftist organizations.

IOA Editor: Another, rather mundane, instance where so-called “Labor,” “Centrist” Israeli parties participate, alongside the “Extreme Right,” in the daily conduct of Israel’s colonization program: the century-long dispossession and repression of the Palestinian people, now with a new McCarthyist twist pointing to its own Jewish citizens. History doesn’t repeat itself, it simply continues.

Fostering the illusion that the conflict is ending doesn’t bring a solution closer; in fact, the focus on the final-status talks offers an alibi for deepening the occupation. The high and mighty words about two states for two peoples silence the protest voices of a nation that for more than 43 years has lived under the occupation of another nation.

Knesset approves bill mandating referendum before decision to withdraw from Israeli territory, but does not enable appeal against decision to reject a peace agreement… The wording of the question contradicts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement that the referendum “enables to pass with strong public support an agreement that answers the national interests of Israel.”

According to a June 2010 fact sheet on the USAID Internet site, last year American taxpayers funded the paving of 63 kilometers of asphalt roads in the West Bank.

Akiva Eldar: Freeze Lieberman

20 September 2010

The demand to suspend settlement building is no excuse [to torpedo direct talks] – it’s as legitimate a position as the Palestinians can have. Why should they relinquish a condition that has the support of the entire world, with the sole exception of Israel?

IOA Editor: Eldar is correct in pointing to the reasonableness of the Palestinian position on the settlement freeze. And his focus on Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman is understandable, even if not entirely logical – Netanyahu, at whose pleasure Lieberman serves, is not terribly different. Most importantly, based on past performance, Eldar’s pointing to Livni as a replacement for Lieberman misses the mark entirely: During Israel’s attack on Gaza, Livni was a leading participant in Israel’s crimes, indistinguishable from the rest. It is doubtful that Livni would move Netanyahu towards a viable peace agreement, as Eldar wishes, because there’s nothing to support the suggestion that either Netanyahu or Livni would be willing “to evacuate most [settlements] permanently.”

Sixty-two years after the founding of the state … it is time to acknowledge that the Jewish state is not interested in also being the state of its Arab citizens. The predicament of the Arab minority between the Mediterranean Sea and the Green Line, especially the Muslim Arab minority, is an indication of the attitude of the Jewish democratic state toward those who do not belong to the lords of the land.

Defense Minister Peres, 1974: “This cooperation [Israel – South-Africa] is based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies, but also on the unshakable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and refusal to submit to it.”

President Peres on judge Richard Goldstone: “A small man, devoid of any sense of justice.”

The commotion over the PA’s economic campaign against the settlements indicates, more than anything else, how the colonialist mindset has been branded into Israeli consciousness. The protests over the threatened loss of the hewers of wood and drawers of water shows how hard it is to shake off the master-servant attitudes that have taken root over the last 43 years.

[C]orruption on the hill in West Jerusalem is nothing compared to the theft of land, identity rape, and the body of lies and criminal discrimination against 270,000 residents of the eastern part of the city. Although these despicable acts have been going on in broad daylight for years, the public and the media don’t find them interesting. After all, it’s about Arabs.

In its 62nd year of independence, as it has every year since March 2002, Israel is taking advantage of its independence to turn its back on the Arab Peace Initiative. This year, too, it is ignoring a plan that offers it normalization in return for a withdrawal from the occupied territories and a just and agreed resolution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

In the summer of 1967, Yeshayahu Leibowitz prophesied that Israel’s occupation would corrupt the country and turn it into “a Shin Bet state.” As early as the first intifada, we understood there is no such thing as an enlightened occupation. One nation cannot rule over another for 43 years without behaving cruelly toward the helpless, without executing people without trial, without embittering the lives of women and children, the sick and elderly.

On Sunday… the Arab League marked the eighth anniversary of its peace proposals, which offer Israel normalization in exchange for an end to the occupation and an agreed solution to the refugee problem, in accordance with UN Resolution 194. But Israel behaves as if it had never heard of this historic initiative. For the last year, it was too busy realizing its dubious right to establish an illegal settlement in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem.

IOA Editor: Eldar’s ‘Passover Special’ is very clearly directed to Israelis.

The strife between Israel and the United States concerns something far bigger than the proximity talks with the Palestinians. As far as President Barack Obama and his senior advisers are concerned, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to blame for nothing less than damaging the standing of the U.S.in the Middle East and the Muslim world.

To wipe the spit off his face, Biden had to say it was only rain. Therefore, he lauded Netanyahu’s assertion that actual construction in Ramat Shlomo would begin only in another several years. Thus Israel essentially received an American green light for approving even more building plans in East Jerusalem.

The only difference between “the rock of our existence” that launched the Western Wall tunnel violence in 1996 and the 2010 model is that this time Netanyahu is wearing a mask, trying to pass himself off as peace activist Uri Avnery, with the generous help of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Every year since March 2002, Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization have reiterated their support for the Arab peace initiative. Hopefully they will do so again next month at the Arab League summit in Tripoli. The initiative offers Israel normalization with all Arab League members in return for a withdrawal from all territories occupied in 1967.

Two months after the government decision on November 26 to freeze construction in Jewish settlements for 10 months, you’d have to be blind, an idiot, or a member of the Yesha Council of settlements to use the term “freeze” to describe the real estate situation in Judea and Samaria.

A few days before Israeli physicians rushed to save the lives of injured Haitians, the authorities at the Erez checkpoint prevented 17 people from passing through in order to get to a Ramallah hospital for urgent corneal transplant surgery… So what if the Goldstone Commission demanded that Israel lift the blockade on the Strip and end the collective punishment of its inhabitants? Only those who hate Israel could use frontier justice against the first country to set up a field hospital in Haiti.

See also: Larry Derfner: The pride and the shame

In Israel… institutional discrimination is meant to preserve the supremacy of a group of Jewish settlers over Palestinian Arabs. As far as discriminatory practices are concerned, it’s hard to find differences between white rule in South Africa and Israeli rule in the territories; for example, separate areas and separate laws for Jews and Palestinians.

These days, it’s tough to find a used car with a bumper sticker that reads “Peace is better than a Greater Israel.” Nowadays, everyone seems to favor the latest formula: two states for two peoples.

Netanyahu has in essentially confirmed that he knew in advance that a limited settlement freeze wouldn’t bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. He could have bet that Abbas wouldn’t accept less than what the road map gave the Palestinians more than six years ago: a total freeze that includes natural growth and the immediate dismantling of all outposts established since March 2001.

The point of contention hinges on a completely different issue: the peace process. Abbas insists that the talks on the permanent status agreement be based on the parameters of the 2003 Road Map, which received affirmation in a UN Security Council Resolution. The map is reminiscent, among other things, of the Arab peace initiative which focused on normalization in return for an Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967.

First we shape a new reality for ourselves; then we expect the entire world to adopt it, demand that our neighbors pay the cost, and complain that we have no partner for peace.

Obama’s fury was over not only the principle, but also the way Netanyahu handled the crisis… U.S. embassies in Arab countries are reporting that Obama’s charms are wearing off as it becomes clear that nothing has changed since his June speech in Cairo.

If to Israelis, “what goes for East Jerusalem goes for Tel Aviv,” as Netanyahu says, then as far as the Palestinians are concerned, “what goes for East Jerusalem goes for Ramallah,” as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says. A freeze on Jewish construction in East Jerusalem therefore was and remains the key to the peace process.

For 21 years and a day, since the Palestine Liberation Organization declared independence in Algiers, its leaders have not lowered their price: recognition of Israel and an end to hostilities in exchange for a Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem the capital.

The option has been and remains one of the following: two states for two peoples along the 1967 borders; or one state, in which two peoples continue to make each other miserable. Israel is galloping toward this latter disaster with eyes wide shut.

All of a sudden, after 10 months and who knows how many meetings, freezing construction in the settlements is no longer a precondition for negotiations. True, until now the Palestinians were willing to negotiate the end of the occupation while their partner made it worse. That is how we have gone from 109,000 settlers – not including East Jerusalem – when the Oslo Accords were signed 16 years ago to more than 300,000 today.

But what will we do if the Iranians surprise Obama with an offer to rid the Middle East of nuclear weapons and to help establish peace throughout the entire region? It is so convenient for us to remain tied to the policy of ambiguity on both issues.

The all-too-long history of the “peace process” has taught us that a summit can be a desirable goal, but also a place of unsurpassable danger. When participants come with insufficient preparation, and without a safety net, the depth of the fall can be as high as the summit itself.

IOA Editor: Eldar rightly points out that Hamas will not miss “an opportunity to present the summit as yet more proof of its claim… that support for Fatah is flimsy.” But he does not analyze what a shift in favor of Hamas would mean for Israel. Historically, Hamas has been Israel’s preferred enemy: the argument that Hamas cannot be a partner, although fundamentally wrong, has been readily accepted in the West. Thus, as Hamas’ popularity among Palestinians grows stronger, Israel can more easily repeat the convenient untruth that “there is no Palestinian partner,” when it is the Israeli government itself that refuses to become a partner to a peace agreement.

Read the following IOA items for coverage of Hamas and its attitude toward agreements with Israel:

1. Israel could have made peace with Hamas under Yassin
2. Adam Shatz: Mishal’s luck

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