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

Human Rights

Michael Sfard: “While talks are happening Israel gets away with anything. Land grabs, the expansion of settlements, even [Operation] Cast Lead was waged while there were peace talks.”

It is hard to make progress in the real world without making various compromises. I have no advice other than to say don’t let your wishes whip away the facts entirely. Be aware of the facts. We live in an actual world, with all its horror and ugliness, and we have to deal with it and make our decisions within it.

While Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies on the far right were castigating an amusement park called Superland for separating Jewish and Arab children, they were busy backing a bill that will give Israeli Jews who serve in the army a whole raft of extra rights in land and housing, employment, salaries, and much more. Superland’s offence pales to insignificance when compared to that, or to the decades of state-planned and officially sanctoned discrimination against the country’s Palestinian minority.

A major new report has found that the European Union has failed to fulfil its own commitments to ensure Israel improves living conditions for Palestinians.

A major milestone has been reached in the struggle for Lynne Stewart’s freedom. Lynne Stewart wrote on April 26 to confirm that the Warden at FMC Carswell has recommended Compassionate Release to the Bureau of Prisons.

Malaga Statement

26 April 2013

Statement of representatives of 13 Palestinian, Israeli, and international organisations, and a number of international lawyers and legal experts, who held a meeting in Malaga, Spain, to discuss the critical situation facing Palestinian victims who attempt to seek compensation for death, injury, and destruction of property.

Lynne Stewart, in the vindictive and hysterical world of the war on terror, is one of its martyrs. A 73-year-old lawyer who spent her life defending the poor, the marginalized and the despised, including blind cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, she fell afoul of the state apparatus because she dared to demand justice rather than acquiesce to state sponsored witch hunts. And now, with stage 4 cancer that has metastasized, spreading to her lymph nodes, shoulder, bones and lungs, creating a grave threat to her life, she sits in a prison cell at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, where she is serving a 10-year sentence.

We are struggling not only to liberate the Palestinian people from the occupation and from Israel’s racist apartheid regime, but also to liberate you from the illness of racism, so you can stop inflicting harm on me and on millions of people who are the natives of this country. And then we can live together equally and peacefully.

On the occasion of the swearing in of the new Israeli government and the 19th Knesset (18 March 2013) and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (22 March 2013), Adalah is pleased to launch the Discriminatory Laws Database,

The Israeli government has been forcing the Palestinian Authority into approving water infrastructure for illegal West Bank settlements for the past 15 years, according to research by a University of Sussex academic.

HRW’s Bill van Esveld: “The main concern is over the fact that a person cannot simply be disappeared. That is against the norms of international law. That person’s family needs to know what has happened to them. They have to be able to have access to a defence attorney and their government needs to be informed to permit consular access.”

Seven Deadly Myths

8 October 2012

Upcoming documentary profiles Israeli journalist Lia Tarachansky’s return to the settlement where she grew up, to uncover a buried history and a landscape of denial. The film tells the stories of four veterans of the 1948 war that erased from the Israeli landscape hundreds of Palestinian villages and connects their stories to the modern-day Palestinian dispossession through the occupation and settlements.

Israel’s anti-refugee policy reached a new peak this week when Ha’aretz reported that a group of 20 asylum seekers was being denied entry and was stuck in the fenced area between the Sinai Desert in Egypt and the Israeli border. The group has been sitting outside the fence since last Thursday, without food. The soldiers in the field were given an order to give the refugees “as little water as possible.” On Tuesday night, Israeli activists decided to deliver food they bought to the refugees themselves.

Yael Berda: “The administrative flexibility, waste of resources and the frequent administrative friction that is part of granting work permits leads to two desired results in the governmental system. It makes the Palestinian civilian population dependent on the administrative system, enabling the system to control, monitor and apply pressure and it preserves the principle of keeping the two populations separate.”

Zanuta, like other small Palestinian villages in the area, existed as a cave-settlement before the West Bank was occupied by Israel. Archaeological findings reveal that Zanuta had been inhabited continuously from the Byzantine to the Ottoman period, until eventually being reduced to “a settlement of shepherds and fellahs living in the remains of the ancient structures and the residential caves alongside them,” as [Israeli] archaeologist Dr. Avi Ofer described it.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the demolition of eight Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills because the territory is needed for Israel Defense Forces training exercises, the state told the High Court of Justice on Sunday… The IDF and the Civil Administration regard all of them as squatters in Firing Zone 918, even though the villages have existed since at least the 1830s.

IOA Editor: Since the early 1950s, “military training needs” has been a commonly used justification for the removal of Palestinians from lands desired by Israel. Typically, after a period of time, lands captured by this method have been turned over for Jewish settlements. As commented here before, this is an old “legal” tool used by the state to deprive Palestinians of their land and livelihood, which is part of a much larger program: the ethnic cleansing of Palestine — the replacement of the indigenous Palestinian population by a new, Jewish-only population — bit by bit, year after year, decade after decade, “dunam here and dunam there,” as the old Zionist slogan goes.

Day after day, tens of thousands of people live in the shadow of terror. Will there be an attack today on the homes at the edge of the village? Will we be able to get to the well, to the orchard, to the wheat field? Will our children get to school okay, or make it to their cousins’ house unharmed? How many olive trees were damaged overnight?

The discovery of a rare aerial photo of Jerusalem in the 1930s, taken by a Zeppelin, has provided the long-sought after proof that when Israel occupied the Old City in 1967 it secretly destroyed an important mosque that dated from the time of Saladin close to the al-Aqsa mosque.

As a result of the High Court ruling, officers of the Civil Administration show up in Susya on June 12 and hand out six collective demolition orders affecting 52 buildings, including a preschool, a clinic and a solar panel system supplying electricity to the village and its steadfast residents.

Raja Zatara: “From the perspective of the Arab population, which was part of the Palestinian people, David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin are not just prime ministers. The former is identified with the Nakba, from our perspective, and with the repression and land appropriation during military rule, while the latter is identified with the activities of Etzel, with the Lebanon War and the massacre at Sabra and Chatila…”

In recent weeks, incitement by government officials, rightist settlers, and poor community members against African refugees seeking asylum in Israel escalated into violence. In may Molotov cocktails were thrown into refugee homes, businesses and one kindergarten. The incident did not lead to casualties but inspired a wave of protests leading to a race riot on May 23rd.

Israelis are not satisfied with the various measures to worsen [Palestinian] prison conditions. When it comes to Palestinians, punishment is not enough. Prison must also be never-ending revenge that extends what Israel tries to do outside its walls as well: to break up the collective, to weaken the individual, to deter others from resistance to the foreign regime.

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In the name of [“Never again to us, the Jews”], they end up denying the humanity of the victims of Israel, the purported “State of the Jews”, just as most oppressors throughout history have denied their victims’ humanity.

Military prosecution says will take no legal steps against those responsible for deaths of Samouni family, killed in their home during Operation Cast Lead.

The Palestinian Authority has quietly instructed Internet providers to block access to news websites whose reporting is critical of President Mahmoud Abbas, according to senior government officials and data analyzed by network security experts.

The Palestinian issue can only be resolved if Israel and its supporters in Britain abandon the dogmas of supremacy and truly adhere to the universal values of justice and fairness. Britain has a special responsibility in this, because it is uniquely responsible for our suffering: our national tragedy began with the Balfour Declaration.

The only excessive stupidity of which deputy brigade commander Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner can be accused is hitting a young blond man in front of a camera. Other commanders and their subordinates will learn the lesson. They’ll check for any subversive cameras before going on to do what is unexceptional in the Wild East. They will beat up Palestinians … as well as anti-occupation activists – by rifle butt, by boot or simply by fist. Soldiers who beat up Palestinians are not generally filmed, and the (few ) written reports that exist are easily dismissed as lies and propaganda, are forgotten immediately or merely go unread.

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.

Over 1500 activists from 15 countries attempted to fly to Ben Gurion Airport to travel to Bethlehem in the occupied Palestinian territories. They were invited by Palestinian activists to help build a school and protest Israel’s control of all access points to the occupied territories. Hundreds were prevented from even boarding their planes and instead staged protests at various airports. Dozens were deported upon arrival and dozens arrested and transferred to Israeli prison. Israeli activists attempted to hold signs welcoming them at the airport but were immediately removed.

After more than a month on hunger strike, Hanaa Shalabi is in “immediatemortal danger” and at “risk of coma” according to a Physicians for HumanRights doctor. Shalabi’s strike came at the heels of another high profile campaign by Khader Adnan who survived a 66 day hunger strike before the Israeli authorities decided to release him. Both were arrested under Administrative Detention, a military order that allows Israeli authorities to arrest anyone and hold them indefinitely, without charge or trial.

Human Rights Council votes to dispatch a fact-finding mission to investigate the effects of Israel’s settlements on Palestinians; Netanyahu calls council ‘hypocritical’ and out of touch with reality.

Judith Ilani, Jaffa’s Popular Housing Committee: “In Palestinian Jaffa, the poorest people live on the most expensive piece of soil in the country… Even if I have a doghouse close to the sea, the value of it comes from what you can build once you demolish the doghouse.”

Simultaneous Arab marginalisation and revitalisation also has manifested itself in initial efforts by its leadership to define the community’s political aspirations. The so-called “Vision Documents” advocate full Jewish-Arab equality, adamantly reject the notion of a Jewish state and call instead for a “binational state” – in essence, challenging Israel’s current self-definition. This, for many Jews, is tantamount to a declaration of war.

Abeer Zeibak Hadad is a Palestinian filmmaker living in the Israeli mixed city of Jaffa. This year her first feature film – Dum’a – was released in Israeli theaters. The film is the first in the Arab world to deal with sexual assault of women and girls. The film has been screening throughout the country. This week, two days before International Women’s Day Dum’a was screened to hundreds of high school girls in Qalanswa, a Palestinian city half an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv.

IOA Editor: Finkelstein’s treatment of Palestinian rights reflects the limitations of relying exclusively on international law in the defense of Palestinian rights. Rather than forcing 100 years of history and a national liberation struggle into a legal brief, Finkelstein will do well to reconsider the implications of his focus on the “destruction of Israel” — a regional nuclear superpower — presumably by BDS activists, rather than focusing on 1948 Palestinian refugee rights and those of Palestinian citizens of Israel. As he must know, most Palestinians do not compartmentalize their national history as he appears to be doing.

Israeli-Palestinian Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran refused to sing ‘Hatikva’ at retirement ceremony of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, prompting calls for his removal.

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