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

History

US officials understood the Israeli reliance on force to expand and control territory, which they criticized while recognizing Israel’s military superiority as compared to that of surrounding Arab states. It was on the basis of such force that Israel altered the balance of power in the Middle East in 1948. And it was on the basis of such developments that Washington calculated that Israel could be useful in the protection of US regional interests.

It is easy to forget, with eulogies casting him as the unexpected “peace-maker”, that for most of his long military and political career Ariel Sharon was known simply as The Bulldozer. That is certainly how he will be remembered by Palestinians.

Whether in military uniform or in politics, Ariel Sharon’s time in power was characterised by construction and destruction frenzies that decisively shaped the physical realities in which both Israelis and Palestinians still struggle to live. His legacy is not only that of a military man and a politician, but also that of an architect. Sharon, more than anyone else, has shaped the spatial realities of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

The true goal of Sharon’s separation regime was never to end the occupation but to reinforce it under new parameters that would prevent the collapse of Israel’s international image. A top aide to Sharon, Dov Weissglass, revealed the real logic behind Sharon’s plans: “The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”

At the fringes, some observers reject the shared [US] assumptions, bringing up the historical record: for example, the fact that “for nearly seven decades” the United States has led the world in aggression and subversion — overthrowing elected governments and imposing vicious dictatorships, supporting horrendous crimes, undermining international agreements and leaving trails of blood, destruction and misery.

Fouzi’s work centered around Israel and the Palestinians, with particular focus on the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Following in the footsteps of his mother, Najla El-Asmar, who was an activist long before Israel’s establishment in 1948, Fouzi helped found al-Ard, an anti-Zionist political organization committed to the defense of the civil and political rights of “Israeli Arabs.”

Journalist Magda Abu Fadil remembers Palestinian activist Fouzi El-Asmar who died last month in the Washington DC area.

Fouzi El-Asmar discusses Al-Ard (The Land), a political organization he helped found in Palestine during the late 1950s whose history and perspective have been marginalized if not largely absented from most narratives about the Palestinian liberation movement.

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.

Six mass grave sites dating back to the 1936 Palestinian uprising and the 1948 Nakba were discovered around the Jaffa cemetery, the al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage reported Wednesday, revealing hundreds of bodies of Palestinians killed by Zionist forces.

Let me start with a proposition that should by now be a matter of general knowledge: the totality of Jews do not constitute a nation in the modern sense of this term; nor have they been a nation in any contemporary meaningful sense for well over 2,000 years.

Akiva Orr was a larger than life character. He was a natural communicator, a performer and a raconteur in search of an audience… From the outset, his trajectory would lead him to critically engage Zionism as a movement laying claim to a libratory essence. Ultimately in the years following Matzpen’s establishment, Aki broke completely with Zionism’s tenets.

Zionism is viewed [by Moshé Machover] as a colonial-settler project, not a national liberation movement. Its particular aims, “based not on exploiting the labor of the indigenous people but aiming to exclude and expel them,” are more characteristic of the U.S. model than the South African one. The fact that the Israeli state is not only a product of this settler project, but a force for its extension and expansion, produces the ever-present danger of new ethnic cleansing.

When the government tries to silence a history, a light is shed on the nation’s biggest taboo. This is the story of those who fought to erase Palestine and created an Israeli landscape of denial.

The “Land of Israel” is barely mentioned in the Old Testament: the more common expression is the Land of Canaan. When it is mentioned, it does not include Jerusalem, Hebron, or Bethlehem. Biblical “Israel” is only northern Israel (Samaria) and there never was a united kingdom including both ancient Judea and Samaria.

[W]e were saddened to hear that you have been awarded the 2013 Israeli Wolf Prize for Architecture, not because you are not deserving of such awards, but that it is being offered to you by the Israeli state, in a very cynical move that would give them the respectability that is not deserved. It is ironic that the award is for architecture, since the practice of architecture in Israel defies international norms and codes of ethics and demeans the humanity and high ideals of our profession.

US diplomats: “Before talking about extermination, and before allowing either the Masada or the Samson complex to progress to obsession, the Israelis might usefully examine their own position and that of the Arabs… All reports we have heard and read from Egypt and Syria lead us to believe that those two countries strongly yearn for peace and that they would like to devote their energies to reconstruction of their countries.”

Statements challenging the national narrative aren’t exactly common in Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day. So it was particularly refreshing to read … about a different sort of speech delivered in honor of the day.
UPDATED

We should never support a war undertaken by our own ruling classes. Often they are undertaken for domestic reasons. Kissinger said of Israel: it has no foreign policy, only domestic policy; and this is actually true of most states – their foreign policies result from internal class contradictions.

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.

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.

Israeli archeologist Yonathan Mizrachi: “Israel wants to present the situation as if it is simply ‘borrowing’ these antiquities from the Palestinians, like it might borrow an exhibit from France or Britain. But that is not the reality in this case. It is borrowing them from the Civil Administration, which has no right to them in the first place.”

A continuous theme in … the book is the view that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a confrontation between the Zionist settler-colonialism and the Palestinian Arab people; it’s the last colonial war. Israel is a colonial-settler state, a result of settler colonialism and an instrument for its continuation. If one doesn’t understand this, one understands nothing about the conflict.

If an Arab state west of the Jordan is legitimate, then Zionist colonisation and its state were and are illegitimate. So by acting consistently to prevent a ‘two-state solution’ Israeli governments since 1967 were not behaving impulsively or opportunistically: they have been driven by a deep commitment to the Zionist self-legitimation of Israel itself.

The veteran Israeli socialist, Moshé Machover, has just brought out a wonderful collection of writings, chiefly his own, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is no exaggeration to say that this book is the best possible introduction to the topic for English-speaking readers. Its inestimable virtue is that it affords a historical overview of the whole Zionist enterprise, without which it is impossible to situate the struggle in any meaningful sense, much less reach a conclusion as to how it might successfully be resolved. Machover does both these things, and the result is a volume which Anglophone socialists must read.

[L]et’s face it. It isn’t that we don’t know what happened in 1947-1948. It’s that we’ve chosen not to see or hear anything that jars our thinking on the subject. Certain words and ideas have remained taboo, certain questions have been sidelined as suspect and certain histories – ours and theirs – have been excised, the better to educate us to numbness and indifference. The result is that we prefer to think of Israeli-Arab wars as instances of the much lamented ‘clashes of civilization’ that pit our civilized allies against the violence-prone ‘other,’ As long as our side wins, there is no need to look into the face of the ‘enemy,’ or to ask ourselves why and why again? Admittedly, doing so risks discovering that ‘they’ are like us, which is as disconcerting as learning that what the ‘experts’ have taught us about our history and theirs is often plain wrong, leaving us to discover that deception can be dangerous.

A new documentary by frequent IOA contributor Israeli-Canadian journalist Lia Tarachansky aims to decipher some of the anxiety that accompanies the Israeli debate over the events of 1948.

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.

Tzipi Livni: “The national solution for Israel’s Arabs lies elsewhere: in order to maintain a Jewish-Democratic state we must constitute two nation-states with clear red-lines. Once this happens, I will be able to come to the Palestinian citizens of Israel, whom we label Israel’s Arabs, and tell them that their national solution is elsewhere.”

Our beloved Tel Aviv, whose reputation for enlightenment and openness is world renowned, is built in part on ruined Palestinian villages – and refuses to acknowledge it.

One can conclude from Grossman’s article, probably contrary to his intent, that in theory things could have been different. In theory the occupation could have been sustained with the upholding of the law – that is, in an enlightened and democratic manner, without dumping an entire people by the side of the road. Furthermore, one can also conclude that if and when we annul the corrupting occupation we will be able to continue the enlightened existence of the small and just State of Israel of the pre-1967 era. [Not so.]

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.

Mouin Rabbani: Many of those who favor a one-state solution see it as the antithesis of the two-state solution, yet you seem to be suggesting a continuum.

Noam Chomsky: I don’t know of any other sensible way that has been proposed to move towards a binational, or one-state, solution other than accepting the world as it is and then taking the next step, which has been pretty clear for thirty years. There’s an overwhelming international consensus behind the two-state settlement essentially along the internationally recognized borders. I think it’s a rotten solution but I think it’s a stage towards a better solution, and I don’t know of any other approach.

Moshé Machover pre-launched his recently published book, Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and resolution at a London event (podcast).

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.

Sami Michael: “Israel is in danger unless its leadership understands it isn’t located in Europe’s tranquil north but in the Middle East’s seething center,” said Michael. “We may lose everything. Israel could be a transient construct, like the First and Second Temples.”

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