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

International Law

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.”

There are two parts of the Arab world that remain effectively colonies: Western Sahara … and of course Palestine, where negotiations are underway conforming to the two essential US-Israeli preconditions: that there be no barrier to expansion of the illegal settlements, and that the negotiations be run by the US, which is a participant in the conflict (on the side of Israel) and has been blocking the overwhelming international consensus on a diplomatic settlement since 1976, when it vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for its basic terms, with rare and temporary exceptions.

Noam Chomsky covers the upcoming Israel-Palestine ‘peace talks’ and the history of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations; settlements, the Occupation and the ‘One-State’ and ‘Two-State’ solutions; US strategic control of the Middle East; Syria and Egypt; the ‘Iran threat’; Edward Snowden, and much more.

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.”

While everyone is so caught up with Weiner’s wiener, and the many puns that can be created for headlines, the real scandal and reason why he should not be running for office is going unnoticed. The outrage should be over his bigotry towards Palestinians and how he has misused his past position in Congress to support punitive policies against the Palestinians.

Marwan Barghouti: “I call for a strategy that is based on referring to the United Nations to achieve full membership in the UN and all other international agencies, so as to be able to sign pacts and agreements, refer to the International Criminal Court, cooperate with the international community to isolate and boycott Israel, impose sanctions on it to withdraw to the 1967 borders, in addition to imposing economic, security, administrative, negotiating and political blockades.”

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.

If Israel’s government is to be believed, Palestinians have sunk so low as to be capable of faking their own deaths. Or wait, maybe the Israeli accusation of fakery is itself the indication of a horrifying new nadir. An Israeli report has concluded that Muhammad al-Dura, the 12-year-old Palestinian whose death in 2000 in Gaza was captured by a French public TV channel, was not killed by Israelis – and may in fact not be dead at all.

This is an appeal for you to follow the recommendations of the International Court of Justice regarding the building of the Separation Wall and all of the Israel settlements in the occupied West Bank. They are totally illegal under international law, the 4th Geneva Convention, and the UN Charter of Human Rights which gives indigenous people, in this case the Bedouin of Susya and surrounding areas of the Hebron Hills and the Jordan Valley, the right to practice their traditional way of life, and the right to a home on their own land.

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.

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.”

Last week, in one of the first actions of its kind, activists released the names of Israeli soldiers involved in the killing of a Palestinian protester. Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year-old demonstrator from the village of Nabi Saleh, was killed when a soldier shot a tear gas canister at his face in December last year.

International NGOs are working extensively in the Palestinian villages, towns and cities of Areas A and B, whilst Palestinians in Area C (including most of the Jordan Valley) are systematically denied access to water, land, education, health care, or electricity. As these NGOs work within the military laws imposed on the West Bank by the occupation forces, Jordan Valley Solidarity has been analysing the extent to which the work of the NGOs benefits local Palestinian communities, and to what extent it benefits the occupation they are living under.

Since late October, major defence drills, including manoeuvres involving heavy tanks as well as air and missile training, have been taking place throughout the Jordan Valley as part of the joint US-Israeli exercise ‘Austere Challenge 2012,’ especially in the Valley’s northern areas illegally declared as ‘firing zones.’

An old man in Gaza held a placard that reads: “You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.”

Voting by an overwhelming majority — 138 in favour to 9 against (Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Panama, Palau, United States), with 41 abstentions — the General Assembly today accorded Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations.

The ceasefire agreed by Israel and Hamas in Cairo after eight days of fighting is merely a pause in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It promises to ease movement at all border crossings with the Gaza Strip, but will not lift the blockade. It requires Israel to end its assault on the Strip, and Palestinian militants to stop firing rockets at southern Israel, but it leaves Gaza as miserable as ever.

More than 160 people died in the eight-day Gaza war. And though the fighting may have stopped, the dead and the nightmares remain. Survivors and victims’ families say they want revenge.

Assaf Kfoury: Why Gaza?

22 November 2012

Three weeks before Israel launched its Operation Pillar of Defense on November 14, 2012 I was part of an academic delegation on a short trip to the Gaza Strip. For the mainstream media, October was a “normal” time, because hardships endured by Gazans are not newsworthy when there are no F-16′s dropping laser-guided smart bombs. That one or two Gazans were killed by Israeli army patrols from one week to the next in October, because they had transgressed the limits of the Israeli siege, went largely unnoticed. But such are the ethical standards of the mainstream media, genuflecting to power and ignoring the oppressed. One way to see through the ideological fog is to experience “normal” conditions from close range. Inside the Gaza Strip in October, we directly witnessed the devastating effects of the sanctions, the siege, the sea blockade and – more fundamentally – the long systematic evisceration that Gaza has suffered over several decades.

There can be no doubt that the diet devised for Gaza – much like Israel’s blockade in general – was intended as a form of collective punishment, one directed at every man, woman and child. The goal, according to the Israeli defence ministry, was to wage “economic warfare” that would generate a political crisis, leading to a popular uprising against Hamas.

After two days of expert testimony by notables such as public intellectual Noam Chomsky and Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, heard before a packed crowd that included actors Harry Belafonte and Wallace Shawn at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, jurors concluded, “Israel’s ongoing colonial settlement expansion, its racial separatist policies, as well as its violent militarism would not be possible without the US’s economic, military, and diplomatic support.”

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) will be holding its fourth international session in New York City on Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7. The RToP is an International People’s Tribunal created in response to the international community’s inaction regarding Israel’s recognized violations of international law. The Tribunal aims to bring attention to the complicity and responsibility of various national, international and corporate actors in the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the perpetuation of Israel’s impunity under international law.

Actor Wally Shawn explains why the Russell Tribunal on Palestine is, at this moment in time, crucial, and why you should join.

Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine call upon the mayor of Jerusalem to put an end to all house demolitions in Al Bustan, Silwan, and the rest of East Jerusalem.

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.”

Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein: “This verdict is yet another example of where impunity has prevailed over accountability and fairness. Rachel Corrie was killed while non-violently protesting home demolitions and injustice in Gaza, and today, this court has given its stamp of approval to flawed and illegal practices that failed to protect civilian life.”

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.

Under international law, Israel’s rule in the West Bank and Gaza is considered “belligerent occupation” and, therefore, its actions must be justified by military necessity only. If there is no occupation, Israel has no military grounds to hold on to the territories. In that case, it must either return the land to the Palestinians, and move out the settlers, or defy international law by annexing the territories, as it did earlier with East Jerusalem, and establish a state of Greater Israel.

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.

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.

Palestinians in areas of the West Bank under Israeli control live with settler neighbours who beat and shoot them, set alight fields, poison wells, kill livestock and steal crops. These acts of terror have begun to spread elsewhere: homes, cars, cemeteries, mosques and churches are now targets in East Jerusalem and Israel too. Earlier this month a school and several cars were vandalised in Neve Shalom, the only genuinely mixed Jewish-Arab community in Israel.

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.

The Oslo Accords permit Gazan fishermen to sail up to 20 nautical miles from shore. In practice, the furthest they were allowed to fish was 12 miles. This was shortened to six miles after 2000, and since the Operation Cast Lead military onslaught conducted by Israel against Gaza during winter 2008/2009, the permissible limit is only three nautical miles.

Israeli official: “It’s true that the new British law is better than the original one, which allowed any judge to issue a warrant, but the government promised it would be changed so that only the Attorney General, who is a political figure we can trust, would authorize universal jurisdiction arrests. Instead they decided that the Director of Public Prosecutions, who is a civil servant, may decide that he is going to authorize arrest warrants. We are still waiting for assurances on this from the British government.”

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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