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

ethnic cleansing

[Lawyers] and others argue that Israel is carrying out a systematic and intentional policy to drive Palestinians off their land to replace them with Jewish communities. This, they say, should be identified as “ethnic cleansing”, a term first given legal and moral weight in the Balkans conflict in the early 1990s.

Rabbi Arik Asherman: The demolition of the el-Arabiyeh family home in Anata exceeds all the terrible things I have seen in my 17 years in Rabbis for Human Rights. The sight of a boy or a girl coming back from school and discovering that their house was demolished is something I would not wish my worst enemies to see.

In an interview on IDF Radio, Pundak confirmed that forces under his command razed Arab villages in 1948. “My conscience is at ease with that, because if we hadn’t done so, then there would be no state by now. There would be a million more Arabs,” he said.

In 1948, some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from more than 400 villages as the new state of Israel was declared on a large part of their homeland – an event known to Palestinians as the nakba, or “catastrophe”. The refugees – mostly descendants of those driven from their homes – now number around five million, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

Since 1901 KKL-JNF, known as Jewish National Fund (JNF) in the UK, has worked successfully for the ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine and their project has not been completed… Today sees a fresh and determined initiative to strip JNF UK of its charitable status. This effort can succeed with your help, for the JNF UK is vulnerable as never before. Whereas this racist body used to enjoy virtually automatic patronage from the leaders of all three major UK political parties, today Cameron, Clegg and Miliband have each turned their back on this openly racist ‘charity’ as being increasingly impossible to defend.

Is Israel preparing to annex Area C, as a growing number of analysts have recently been speculating? This week, on a visit to the Israel’s tourism bureau in Nazareth, Jonathan Cook came across an official brochure, “Your Next Vacation: Israel”, that suggests the answer.

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.

An unusual operation by the Israel Defense Forces in the South Hebron Hills region has intensified suspicions among Palestinian residents that Israel is moving forward with its plan to demolish villages in the area and expel their residents. IDF helicopters ferried masked, armed soldiers to isolated Palestinian village of Jinba, where they raided homes, photographing and mapping the site, say residents.

All the problems in this region stem from the way that the imperial powers France and Britain divided the region after the First World War, to serve their purposes… Syria, Lebanon, and a country called Palestine were created or refashioned. This new country, Palestine, was an invention of British imperialism following World War I; and it was designed explicitly as a domain for Zionist colonization. A whole complex of problems, including the Israeli–Palestinian conflict are a fallout from the fragmentation and parcelization of the Ottoman Empire.

Jonathan Cook tells the story of Nazareth, a Palestinian town that survived the Nakba only to be subjected to massive land confiscations, economic strangulation, and systematic discrimination by all Israeli governments since 1948. An important report covering issues crucial for the understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: because the Occupation didn’t start in 1967, and because discrimination against Israeli Palestinians, at times violent, continues.

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.

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 Defense Ministry recently contracted an architect to resume construction of the Givat Sal’it outpost in the Jordan Valley, in what is seen as a step toward legitimizing the outpost. Givat Sal’it is one of 26 communities the Sharon government had promised the United States it would tear down nearly 10 years ago.

Military police and soldiers arrest left-wing protesters for painting over racist graffiti.

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.

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…”

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.

Israel has always denied Bedouin their rights to the land they owned before 1948, because they had no official documents from the Ottoman and British periods to prove their ownership. In those periods, however, Bedouin acquired lands under their own tribal law, the law then valid in the desert, which accepted such transactions based on oral guaranty and dispensed with written proof.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012, is the 64th Anniversary of Palestinian Nakba Day. This date commemorates the end, on 15 May 1948, of the so-called “Mandate” over Palestine “granted” to Britain by the League of Nations (the UN’s predecessor) following the end of World War I. The Mandate system was devised by the victorious powers, chiefly Britain and France, to give a veneer of legality to their post-war military occupation and rule over the former Middle Eastern Arab provinces of the defeated Ottoman Empire.

Members of the left wing organization Zochrot were attempting to distribute flyers containing the names of Palestinian villages that were evacuated or destroyed in 1948, when they were held indoors by police for almost four hours.

IOA Editor: The Only Democracy in the Middle East in action…

Amir Salima, 21, from the Old City of Jerusalem, has no legal status – not in Israel, not in the Palestinian Authority and not anywhere else. He has no identity card, no passport, he cannot register for university studies, apply for a job, sign up for an HMO or open a bank account. He cannot visit the West Bank or anywhere else outside of Jerusalem. In fact, he can barely leave his house, for fear of being caught by the police.

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.

Benny Morris: “Of course. Ben-Gurion was a transferist. He understood that there could be no Jewish state with a large and hostile Arab minority in its midst… There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing… A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians…There was no choice but to expel that population. It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads. It was necessary to cleanse the villages.”

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 recent years, the government has adopted the so-called Prawer Plan, reversing several earlier decisions to recognize unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev desert. The new plan, explained by Association for Civil Rights in Israel lawyer Rawia Abu Rabia, will relocate 40,000 Bedouins in southern Israel for the establishment of 10 Jewish villages in their place.

It is doubtful whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has expressed great concern over the fate of Migron’s residents, has heard of Tha’lah. Unfortunately for the village’s residents, Tha’lah is situated in Area C, which is under Israel jurisdiction. Minister Benny Begin, who worked so tirelessly on the questionable “agreement” that will leave the Migron criminals on stolen land for a few more years (if it is ever implemented ), presumably does not know what happened to the residents of this tiny village in the Southern Hebron Hills. And the Israeli media didn’t stop focusing on an Iranian nuclear bomb that threatens to destroy our homes long enough to cover a boring story about a Palestinian family whose home we Israelis razed.

We managed to delete Mount Hermon’s original, Syrian name as if it had never existed. Precious few Israelis have ever heard the name, or are aware of the 200 towns and villages that were obliterated in the Golan Heights. Most Israelis, we might assume, aren’t aware that they were ever there, since Israeli collective consciousness also erased the existence of their 120,000 residents – refugees that no one knows or cares about.

Michael Sfard: “It’s the first report of its kind which, looking from a bird’s-eye view, sees not just demolitions, not just loss of residency, and not just discrimination between Jewish and Palestinian [inhabitants] – but also displacement based on ethnic origins.”

There are tens of thousands of Jerusalem-born Palestinians who have been stripped of their residency status in the city by heartlessness disguised as Israel’s residency law. Celebrities make no special effort to defend these people’s natural-born right to live in their own city. The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office is now accusing two of them, Mohammed Totah and Khaled Abu Arafa, of staying in the city illegally.

Ben White: I hope that this book can be a useful resource for university students and also for human rights and solidarity activists who seek a better grasp of Israel’s discriminatory policies towards Palestinian citizens. But I also would like this to be read by those people who have an interest in the issue or region as a whole, as well as those who have never had a chance to seriously unpack the implications of Israel’s definition as a “Jewish and democratic” state. There are insights here, I believe, that are crucial for an approach to the conflict that realistically appreciate what it will take to reach a settlement.

Jerusalem report: ‘Death to Arabs’ and ‘Kahane was right’ daubed outside bilingual school; Christian monastery defaced with ‘Death to Christians’ and ‘price tag’ inscriptions; Jerusalem police investigating both incidents.

IOA Editor: Israeli “price-tag” extremists do not discriminate: they hate both Christians and Muslims, and do what they can to encourage them to leave Jerusalem and Palestine.

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