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

Hamas

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.

In 2011, over 9,000 patients from Gaza received emergency care in Israeli hospitals. Many of the admitted were injured in Israeli attacks on the strip. The director of Physicians for Human Rights’ occupied Palestinian territories division and Khamis al-Essi, emergency physician at one of Gaza’s largest hospitals, talk about why Gaza’s healthcare system fails to treat the thousands of injured who are forced to seek treatment outside the strip.

The beauty lies in the way Israel divides the conflict with the Palestinians into separate battlefields to avoid a comprehensive diplomatic solution… [T]he results of the January 2006 elections in the territories brought Hamas to power and gave Israel the excuse to deprive the PA of its representation. The two parts of the Palestinian state became independent entities and by their own doing fulfilled Israel’s desire to apply the principle of divide and rule.

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.

News that Israel and Hamas had reached agreement on a prisoner exchange instantaneously displaced the PLO bid for full UN membership from the headlines in mid-October. Arguably, Hamas and Israel had a common interest in this regard. More importantly, the Palestinian Islamists, no longer relegated to the margins of the Palestinian UN initiative by the rival leadership in Ramallah, can now resume reconciliation talks from a position of relative equality.

While hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and Gilad Shalit return home, hundreds others go into exile, and thousands remain jailed in Israel.

Some 203 prisoners from the West Bank will not return home: 40 will be exiled outside to other countries and the rest will be sent to Gaza, the official said.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said Israel will release 1,027 prisoners in two stages. Within a week, 450 will be swapped for Shalit and the rest will be freed two months later. Twenty-seven women are among those on the release roster.

Hamas needs a blockade to regulate from within so that the subjects of “independent Gaza” will be exposed as little as possible to different realities and will not question its policies. Hamas needs the blockade and needs Gaza to be cut off from the rest of Palestinian society to ensure the continuation of its regime.

Following last week’s terror attack in which eight Israelis died on the Southern border with Egypt, the Israeli air force escalated its bombardment of Gaza. On Saturday, despite predictions that the cycle of violence would dissolve the rising social protest movement in Israel, thousands poured onto the streets and chanted “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”

Two terror attacks shook Israel on Thursday and Friday. By the weekend, eight Israelis were killed and nearly forty injured. Immediately after the attacks, the Israeli air force bombed many locations in Gaza. Nine were killed and nearly thirty injured. In an interview with The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky, Lt. Col. Avital Liebovitz admits the army does not connect the attack to the Popular Resistance Committee, whom the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blames but that the army targeted and killed its leader anyway.

State Department announcement comes in light of Hamas demands to audit the books of US charities, New York Times reports, which would violate U.S. policy against direct contacts with Hamas.

Bilin’s popular resistance leader Muhammad al-Khatib: ‘I am not for one state or for two states. I am for equality. The principles of equality and human rights are global principles, and they are no less applicable here than elsewhere.’

Hamas spokesman: “The US administration will fail, just as all others have in the past, in forcing Hamas to recognize the occupation.”

Money aside, a PA crisis and/or collapse resulting from a boycott of the new Hamas-Fatah government could ultimately lead to further violence and chaos. This is what happened when the first Hamas-Fatah national unity government, formed under the Mecca Agreement in 2007, failed, after the decision by all the Quartet’s members but Russia to boycott and isolate it.

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.

Hamas did not die when the Israeli air force killed Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the paralyzed founder, ideologue and symbol of Hamas. As a martyr he was far more effective than as a living leader. His martyrdom attracted many new fighters to the cause. Killing a person does not kill an idea.

On April 28th, formerly rivaling Palestinian parties announced their intention to begin reconciliation and hold an election within one year. Hamas is in power in the Gaza strip and Fateh is the leading party in the Palestinian Authority, ruling the West Bank. Since 2006 the parties have fought each other, leading to hundreds of casualties and many failed attempts to reach reconciliation.

But Obama may have done Abbas a favour: by revealing in the starkest terms the unconditional nature of US support for Israel – and how slender the rewards are for being America’s man in Ramallah – he has forced Abbas to do something that, for once, may win him some Palestinian goodwill. And he may just be able to sell the agreement – in other words, the inclusion of a party that has not renounced violence or recognised Israel – to the EU, which has become increasingly exasperated with Obama’s timidity on Palestine.

We are left to speculate regarding the reasons for Abu Sisi’s detention. The number of possibilities includes … that he had helped refine a new fuel system that made the plant far less dependent on Israeli-supplied diesel fuel. This may not have sat well with the Israeli authorities, who wish to control the system’s operations should they want to limit or cut them off.

Vittorio Arrigoni, killed Friday, April 15 is the first international activist killed by Palestinian kidnappers in living memory of the conflict. Mystery surrounding his kidnapping and death leaves significant questions about the those allegedly responsible, the investigation, and the future of the region.

So for all those who demonstrated in support of the Gazans when they were trapped under Israeli fire, all those planners of past and future flotillas, this is your moment to raise your voices and say clearly: The Qassams merely feed Israel’s madness. It is not the Qassams that will ensure the Palestinians, both in and out of Gaza, a life of dignity. It is not the Qassams that will topple the Israeli walls around the world’s largest prison camp.

The era of using the Palestinian cause as a pretext for maintaining martial laws and silencing dissent is over. The Palestinians have been betrayed, not helped, by leaders who practice repression against their own people… Equally, it is no longer acceptable for the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas to cite their record in resisting Israel when justifying their suppression of each other and the rest of the Palestinian people.

Spurred by the events in Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and its ruling Fatah party also promised to hold local elections, followed by general elections, very soon… The PA was supposed to hold local elections last July, but Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s government decided unexpectedly to postpone them, and effectively to cancel them.

“If we are building a police state — what are we actually doing here?” So asked a European diplomat responding to allegations of torture by the Palestinian security forces. The diplomat might well ask. A police state is not a state. It is a form of larceny: of people’s rights, aspirations and sacrifices, for the personal benefit of an élite. This is not what the world meant when it called for statehood. But a police state is what is being assiduously constructed in Palestine, disguised as state-building and good governance.

British film director Ken Loach brought a message of warning to the Palestinians on his first visit to the occupied territories: if you are divided you will fail.

The head of the Israeli secret service, who the Egyptians nicknamed “Superman” after the assassination of Hamas senior official al-Mabhouh earlier this year, concluded on Monday eight years at the helm of the organization.

It would be wrong to dismiss the wisdom of our leaders. Perhaps they’ve gotten exactly what they wanted – to strengthen Hamas in the Gaza Strip, both for perpetuating the intentional division between Gaza and the West Bank and to encourage perpetual low-intensity warfare (which sometimes escalates).

IOA Editor: Hamas, one of Israel’s most important – yet, invisible – allies, affords Israel the opportunity to conjure up “evidence” that an arrangement between Israelis and Palestinians is inherently impossible, particularly on account of Hamas, thus freeing Israel to colonize the little of historic Palestine that is still Arab – while dividing, ruling, and repressing Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel itself. (Lest we leave out Israel’s other excuses for not ending the Occupation, before Hamas it was Arafat who was “not a partner” for peace, and before him it was the Arab World, etc.)

Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the IDF established a special unit whose purpose was to prevent the leakage of classified information onto the internet via social networks. The unit scans a list of popular websites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace looking for breaches of security.

IOA Editor: Israel’s own violent Occupation actions are the best ‘gifts for Hamas,’ not the reporting of such actions.

[A] strategy predicated on the belief that a few more humanitarian truckloads will make the problem of Gaza go away is as deeply flawed as the notion that Ramallah’s surfeit of new high-street cafés will be a sufficient sedative for the aspirants to a Palestinian state. Gaza is a political, not a humanitarian, problem.

“I wish these pictures reached leftists abroad,” my friend said … as she watched Hamas police use rifle butts and clubs to beat her friends – activists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Although my friend has never been a fan of the Fatah government in the West Bank, she is outraged by the romanticization of Hamas rule by foreign activists.

If Israel’s latest order to deport the Hamas MPs was intended to curb support for the movement, it has failed. An array of prominent figures … have flocked to the Red Cross’s doors to offer solidarity. On Fridays the street outside doubles as an open-air mosque. The Hamas MPs, hitherto minor figures, have become celebrities.

Participants in May’s Turkish-sponsored flotilla to Gaza have been offered “Palestinian citizenship” as a gesture of thanks. But after learning that the Palestinian Authority is refusing to issue passports to some Gaza residents, most of them decided to decline the offer.

Security forces in the West Bank continue to arrest people identified with Hamas… The same security authorities that have won praise from the occupier for the quiet they’ve achieved while the occupier acts: confiscating land, demolishing homes, expelling people, arresting children, preventing free movement and killing.

Were it not for Mohammed Abu Tir’s red beard, this would perhaps be only a marginal news item: Israel is working to expel four Palestinian residents of Jerusalem affiliated with Hamas from the city of their birth.

Israel Police arrested Hamas official Mohammed Abu Tir on Wednesday for failing to comply with orders to leave his East Jerusalem home… In early June, Jerusalem police confiscated Abu Tir’s Israeli identity card, along with those of three other Hamas legislators – Mohammed Totach, Khaled Abu Arafa, and Ahmed Atoun – giving them until July to leave Jerusalem.

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