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

Rashid Khalidi

It’s worth listening carefully when Netanyahu speaks to the Israeli people. What is going on in Palestine today is not really about Hamas. It is not about rockets. It is not about “human shields” or terrorism or tunnels. It is about Israel’s permanent control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives. That is what Netanyahu is really saying, and that is what he now admits he has “always” talked about. It is about an unswerving, decades-long Israeli policy of denying Palestine self-determination, freedom, and sovereignty.

Rockets fired from Gaza also have the inestimable value for Israeli leaders of letting them do whatever they want to Gaza while receiving the usual pious US support for Israeli “self-defense.” This blanket support enables them to disregard the recent warning of a White House official that “Israel confronts an undeniable reality: it cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. Doing so is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability.”

Palestine Studies TV host Omar Baddar sits down with Dr. Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University, and editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, to discuss past and present US Middle-East policy as well as his new book, “Brokers of Deceit: How the US Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.”

For more than seven decades the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people has raged on with no end in sight, and for much of that time, the United States has been involved as a mediator in the conflict. In this book, acclaimed historian Rashid Khalidi zeroes in on the United States’s role as the purported impartial broker in this failed peace process.

A statement by a group of Columbia University professors in response to recent comments by the newly appointed chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, Nicholas Dirks, wherein he equated the criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

The dawn of a Palestinian state has been a long time coming. After 65 years of dispossession, 45 years of occupation, and 20 years of failed peace attempts, on Thursday Palestine took one step closer to joining the community of nations. Al Jazeera’s Empire program discusses the prospects for peace with our guests: Rashid Khalidi, Peter Beinart, Ethan Bronner, and Tony Karon.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is planning to build a Museum of Tolerance on the Muslim Mamilla cemetery. This project is a grotesque attempt to erase the well-established history of a continuous Muslim presence in the city that dates back over a millennium… There is no justification for these desecrations. If they were occurring in any other place on earth, the outcry would be deafening. Unfortunately, the treatment of Mamilla is not an anomaly; Muslim and Christian sites of cultural, religious and historical significance continue to be systematically disrespected by Israeli authorities. The Protection of Holy Sites Law in Israel now covers 137 sites. Not one of these is Christian or Muslim.

In late 2011, the self-appointed media watchdog CAMERA informed the Journal of Palestine Studies of an incorrect citation in an article by Ilan Pappé referring to a quotation by Israeli founding father David Ben-Gurion which supports the expulsion (“transfer”) of Arabs from Palestine. Rashid Khalidi discusses the case, its implications and historical context.

In this wide-ranging interview, Rashid Khalidi has some harsh words for President Barack Obama, describing his UN speech in September as the worst ever by an American president. Khalidi also reviews the way in which US policy toward the conflict was transformed over decades, and discusses why AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is far more effective today than it was in the 1970s and 1980s. Although he sees no hope at present for a just US policy, this could change if public opinion – which is much more enlightened than that of U.S. policy makers – is expressed through the media and at the political level.

Rashid Khalidi: “Nobody believes that firing rockets and getting 1,400 people killed in response is ‘resistance’ that is going to liberate Palestine, and nobody believes that talking with the US, with Dennis Ross putting his thumb on the scales in favor of Israel, which is already overwhelmingly superior, is going to produce an equitable and just and lasting solution of the Palestine question. If you still believe that – you have to have your head examined.”

Rashid Khalidi on Obama: ”I had low expectations and my low expectations were more than fulfilled. He’s done considerably worse than I would have expected. But I never assumed that this would be someone who would be able to break the whole mold of American politics. And he didn’t. Quite the contrary. This has been an Administration that on certain key issues has been almost as bad as and sometimes even worse than the Bush Administration.

Ross has played a crucial role in crafting Middle East policies that have prolonged and exacerbated the more than six-decade conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. His efforts contributed significantly to the growth in the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories from well under 200,000 in the 1980s to nearly 600,000 today. It is in no small measure due to him that the two-state solution is all but dead.

Jackson explicitly lectured Palestinians for not using nonviolence, ignoring a long tradition of nonviolent resistance by occupied and disenfranchised Palestinians. In so doing he also implicitly placed blame on Palestinians for their miserable lot, apparently forgetting that it is they, not the Israelis, who are subjugated.

The continuous desecrations taking place in Mamilla are not isolated or random acts. They are part of a pattern of systematically discriminatory policies that have been implemented against Palestinians since 1948, and are still being implemented inside Israel proper and in the territories occupied in 1967. These policies have resulted in the expropriation of most of the over ninety-three percent of the property of Mandatory Palestine that in 1948 was owned by Arabs.

The United States is sure to bring all its considerable influence to bear to avoid such resolutions being brought before the Council… But the fact that such a course would clarify the situation, and finally extract a small price for the United States’ shameless pandering to Israel, is precisely the reason why this is a course to be seriously considered.

Palestine Studies TV speaks with Rashid Khalidi, professor at Columbia University and editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, on the Fata-Hamas reconciliation agreement.

On May 2, 2011, the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University held a program on “Gaza: Israel’s War and the Goldstone Report.” The speakers included Norman Finkelstein, Peter Weiss, and Rashid Khalidi. The program was moderated by Bashir Abu-Manneh.

A panel discussion dedicated to examining the reality and consequences of Israel’s war and siege of Gaza. The panelists are Norman Finkelstein, Rashid Khalidi, and Peter Weiss. Columbia University, New York – 2 May 2011.

IOA Editor: An outstanding and memorable event with each of the participants excelling. This was another successful, informative event organized by Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies.

Video recording of the event can be found HERE

Suddenly, to be an Arab has become a good thing. People all over the Arab world feel a sense of pride in shaking off decades of cowed passivity under dictatorships that ruled with no deference to popular wishes. And it has become respectable in the West as well. Egypt is now thought of as an exciting and progressive place; its people’s expressions of solidarity are welcomed by demonstrators in Madison, Wisconsin; and its bright young activists are seen as models for a new kind of twenty-first-century mobilization.

Will the spread of democracy lead to a peaceful end to decades of autocratic rule in the Middle East or will the fear of Islamist extremism galvinise Washington’s resolve to reinforce Pax Americana? Marwan Bishara interviews Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University; Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer-winning author; and Thomas Pickering, the former US under secretary of state.

Rashid Khalidi: “Palestinian statehood is 62 years overdue. It should have happened at the time of the partition plan, a Jewish state, an Arab state. That’s what the U.N. mandated. It’s 44 years since the West Bank and the Gaza and Jerusalem were occupied, and we’re still waiting for a peace process that is going absolutely Nowhere, in fact, has made things much worse.”

Despite lavish incentives offered by the U.S. to bring about a 90-day settlement freeze Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has intensified illegal settlement construction in the occupied territories, further casting doubt on the future of peace talks and on the Obama Administration’s ability to secure Israeli cooperation. Listen in on an earlier IMEU briefing with historian Rashid Khalidi and author John Mearsheimer.

Henning Mankell, aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla: “We have been attacked while in international waters. That means the Israelis have behaved like pirates … The moment they start to steer this ship towards Israel, we have also been kidnapped. The whole action is illegal.”

Rashid Khalidi covers Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and turns the focus to Israel’s Gaza siege, Israel-Palestine, and the US – Israel relations in an interview with WBEZ radio, Chicago (Audio).

The IOA sat with Professor Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, to discuss US-Israel relations, The Obama Administration’s Middle East policies, and effective strategy and tactics for those fighting for justice for the Palestinians.

[O]nly a negotiation in which all of Jerusalem is placed on the table will suffice. This is not only the right thing to do; such a posture is rooted in a solemn U.S. obligation made in the all but forgotten U.S. letter of assurances to the Palestinian delegation… at the outset of the Madrid-Washington-Oslo sequence of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. In it, the U.S. government declared that nothing should be done by either side that would “be prejudicial . . . to the outcome of the negotiations,” notably “unilateral acts that would exacerbate local tensions or make negotiations more difficult or preempt their final outcome.”

Rashid Khalidi: “A two-state solution looks a lot further off today than it did in the 1990s… In spite of all of these vicissitudes…” Palestinians have an “extraordinary solidarity of society” and general cohesiveness, so they may just escape their “very, very grim future.”

Brown University student: “I thought it was phenomenal” [and] found it “particularly motivational,” and… was “enraged by the current situation in Palestine.”

Nearly everything you’ve been led to believe about Gaza is wrong. Below are a few essential points that seem to be missing from the conversation, much of which has taken place in the press, about Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip.