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

Richard Falk

The world watches as tragedy unfolds beneath its gaze. Khader Adnan is entering his 61st day as a hunger striker in an Israeli prison, being held under an administrative detention order without trial, charges, or any indication of the evidence against him. The Palestinian prisoner’s case is a microcosm of the unbearable cruelty of prolonged occupation.

[T]he Palmer Report seems to fault seriously the manner by which the Israeli enforced the blockade, but unfortunately upheld the underlying legality of both the blockade and the right of enforcement, and that is the rub.

In the case of Israel- the line between the government and the Jewish people as a whole is deliberately obscured and groups like the ADL never hesitate to use this confusion to their advantage, making virtually all criticism of Israel subject to potential condemnation as a a form of anti-Jewish hatred. This is the essence of Israeli exceptionalism which leads to the situation we have now- a country that claims all of the benefits of being a western style democracy with little of the accountability.

The Israeli Government has so far done little to deny its culpability. Its highest officials speak of the allegations in self-righteous language that is typically diversionary, asserting an irrelevant right of self-defense, which supposedly comes mysteriously into play whenever civil society acts nonviolently to break the siege of Gaza that has persisted for more than four years.

Goldstone miscalculated; he has given the report a second life. It may still languish in the UN system, thanks to the geopolitical leverage being exerted by the United States to ensure that Israeli impunity is safeguarded once more. But this new controversy surrounding the report has provided civil society with renewed energy to push harder on the legitimacy agenda which is animating the growing Palestinian solidarity movement.

It remains unknown what is meant by – and what will happen during – an ‘orderly transition’ under the auspices of temporary leaders closely tied to the old regime, who likely enjoy enthusiastic backing from Washington. Will a cosmetic agenda of reform hide the reality of the politics of counterrevolution? Or will revolutionary expectations come to the fore from an aroused populace to overwhelm the pacifying efforts of ‘the reformers’? Or, even, might there be a genuine mandate of reform, supported by elites and bureaucrats – enacting sufficiently ambitious changes in the direction of democracy and social justice to satisfy the public?

Israel is gearing up for another major offensive into Gaza, yet the world community still remains bafflingly silent.

Given [Israel's] predispositions, combined with the disparities in bargaining power between the parties, as well as the one-sided hegemonic role of the United States, who but a fool could think that a just peace could emerge from the such a deformed pattern of geopolitical diplomacy?

I have… criticized Israel for punishing the population of Gaza by imposing a blockade that restricts the flow of food, medicine, and fuel to subsistence levels, or worse. Such a blockade is a flagrant form of collective punishment prohibited by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. I believe that Hamas should be treated as a political actor, that the blockade should be terminated immediately, and that the UN should insist on the end to the blockade as a condition of Israel’s normal participation in the activities of the Organization.

Richard Falk argues that a Palestinian victory in the legitimacy war with Israel would not necessarily produce the desired political results and that it is vital that the Palestinians exercise “patience, resolve, leadership and vision, as well as sufficient pressure” if they are to win their just rights.

Ever since the Gaza war the solidity of Jewish support for Israel has been fraying at the edges, and will likely now fray much further. More globally, a very robust boycott and divestment movement has been gaining momentum ever since the Gaza war, and the Goldstone report will clearly lend added support to such initiatives. There is a growing sense around the world that the only chance for the Palestinians to achieve some kind of just peace depends on shaping the outcome by way of the symbols of legitimacy, what I have called the legitimacy war. Increasingly, the Palestinians have been winning this second non-military war.