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

Yitzhak Laor

A nuclear demilitarization of the Middle East is the answer to the Israelis greatest quandary. The validity of this demand has never been more clear. The religion that has developed here – the basic belief that only we should have nuclear weapons, because we are the arm of God – has reached a dead end.

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.

Yitzhak Laor on the inability of social-networks-based movementsto bring about a lasting change:

The blogosphere is a salient expression of this hermetically closed system… a ridiculous extension of the cage [the Internet and television]: “I live among people who are like me so as not to fear people who are unlike me”… You do not take the power you have gathered onto the streets, in order to build an organization that will transcend the street and reach former opponents who have experienced a turning point in their lives.

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.

We must not dismiss the NGO Bill – it truly intends to create a democracy for Jews only; if it were passed, no Arab – whether resident of the territories or Israeli citizen – would have access to the law.

The academic Orientalists experts who sold the defense establishment the Shi’ites, and Hamas thereafter, “in order to stop the PLO,” failed in their understanding of the simplest matter: Occupation gives birth to opposition; opposition gives birth to death; death leads to more conflict, etc.

Why list religion [on Israeli national IDs] at all? Isn’t the reason for the tremendous importance of the ‘religion clause’ the need to distinguish between Jews and Arabs, in order to discriminate simply by defining the difference? Of course.

IOA Editor: Important review of the role of official religious identification (indicated on national IDs) in Israel: a tool devised by the mainstream (secular) Zionist leadership around 1948 to distinguish between Jews and Arabs in the new state.

So this is how the occupation develops into war, which the commentators, in their righteousness, call a war “that neither side wants.” Really? Do Military Intelligence and Shin Bet not know that Hamas will fire rockets if the air force kills people in the Gaza Strip? Of course they know.

The Israeli occupation is the longest military occupation of modern times. The subjects of the occupation in its two forms – the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – live under a brutal regime that few other occupations allowed themselves, without any law… The prolonged occupation, a disaster for us and for the Palestinians – [is made possible] because Israel enjoys the support of the West.

Israel’s streets are silent. Supporters of the left can be found mainly on Facebook and on Internet petitions. There you can sign as much as you want and under any name. The political context is not forming the resistance but granting approval to what exists. “Like” – as you say on Facebook when you like something – is the name of the neoliberal game.

Israel does not want to recognize the Palestinian minority within its borders because it seeks to continue to grant privileges to Israeli Jews and to Diaspora Jews, at the expense of the cheap labor, land and water of its Palestinian citizens.

Human rights organizations are persecuted – simple as that – exactly in the name of the refusal to know. “It is forbidden to know” means that it is forbidden for our consciousness to move freely among the facts, the scenes, the voices, the options. All these were supposed to comprise the awareness of the Israeli who lives five minutes from these unimaginable things – 43 years of military dictatorship over another people.

Anyone who carefully reads the debates about the military government in Arab-populated areas in the 1950s and ’60s will see that… security arguments are linked to preventing Arab farmers from entering the land in question… Whatever the nature of the solution, from the Israeli point of view it always entails the removal of Arabs from areas where Jews live.

The threats uttered against a possible Palestinian declaration of independence by our leaders… let the Israeli sanctimony (usually tedious and belabored) drop to the floor for a moment… It exposed the ugly skeleton of force that gives only us freedom of speech… We are allowed to reiterate Israel’s Declaration of Independence over and over. You are not allowed to do so with yours.

[The US] has no intention of being a “balanced mediator”… Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, allies of the final takeover of the West Bank, know very well that U.S. policy has not changed… The prevailing attitude of all U.S. administrations [is] essentially that any possible settlement must match the positions of the stronger party. This is how the Americans abandoned the refugee issue, and this is why they abandoned the opposition to settlements.

Israeli democracy is being administered by four elites: the political elite (which includes influential journalists), the financial elite (which excels in extraordinary cowardice when it comes to opposing the powers that be), the military elite (whose power is greater than anyone would like to admit), and the academic elite (whose role is to legitimize the other three elites).

After years of total disdain for the international community, of violating laws and treaties while Israeli legal experts turn into a kind of public defense counsel for our generals, there are finally members of the military elite who can no longer travel to Switzerland to ski, or to the opera in Covent Garden, or to a high-tech exhibition in Spain, without first consulting their lawyers. And that’s a good thing.

Israeli democracy functions for Jews, who are well represented, but has been denying any representation to 4 million people for 42 years. It allows itself to do whatever it wants with them in the name of the democratic “national consensus.” Who will protect them?

The name of this Israeli ethos is “who are you to tell us?” We are destroying Arab East Jerusalem? Who are you to tell us that it is wrong? We killed masses of Palestinians in Gaza? Who are you to tell us anything? We have maintained a brutal dictatorship in the territories for 42 years – longer than any other military occupation of the post-World War II era? Who are you to tell us? We’re allowed. We’re your victims. The past belongs to us. We will do as we please with it.

The proposal by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to redo all signs so that even names written in Arabic will be transliterations of Hebrew (for example, the city known as Jaffa in English will now be written as Yafo on signs in Arabic, not Yaffa), was received like all other injuries to Arabs: easily – like Arab high-schoolers’ matriculation results or Arab infants’ high mortality rates.

Aided by a carefully crafted narrative (by intellectuals on the Zionist left) we have been built as a nation that makes no room whatsoever for a contradictory private narrative, or at least an argument about sacred cows. Everyone is marching to the same drummer. The symbols are always ready. Anything that did not fit the “nationalist” template was rejected. Exodus? Good enough for us. The Struma affair? Only for advanced researchers. Deir Yassin? It was not “us” who did it, but “dissidents.” The massacre of Sasa, Tiberias or Lod? A non-sequitor. Qibya? Forget about it! Sabra and Chatila? That can be remembered (Christians killing Muslims).

Opposition is created first and foremost in the street, not in an electoral carnival where the political programs are produced by strategist Reuven Adler and other propaganda experts. Whatever the makeup of the next coalition, the left’s role will be manifested in the streets, not in waiting for the next elections.