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

Israeli law

Leaders from the [Israeli] Palestinian community, Christian and Muslim, who have spoken against this new [IDF] enlistment effort have been called in for investigation by Israel’s secret police. In an Orwellian inversion, they have been accused of “incitement to violence.”

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 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.

Israeli security officials given approval to search email accounts of ‘suspicious’ travellers despite petition over invasion of privacy.

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,

Far from marking a revival by the center-left, as most media presented the results, [Israel's 2013] election results signaled a further rightward shift in the center of political gravity in Israel. Hana Suwayd of the Democratic Front, the least outspoken of all the Palestinian legislators, observed: “I believe that what happened in Israeli politics is a kind of transformation: The extreme right became the mainstream, and the most extreme people are sitting at the center of Israeli politics.”

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.”

Adalah document covering Israeli election rules and party or individual disqualifications.

MK Haneen Zoabi called the decision “anti-democratic and illegitimate”, a form of political revenge that reflected the tyranny of the majority. “No one will determine for the Arab minority who represents it other than Arab citizens themselves,” she said. “I was elected to represent my people and, through their support, I have a legitimacy that the committee cannot take from me.”

Jamal Zahalka: “Our problem is not that we are terrorists but rather that we are democrats in an environment that does not believe in democracy… We are tired of apologising for demanding full equality for all Israeli citizens. We’re tired of sitting in the dock for being patriotic Palestinians.”

Haneen Zoabi: “Legally, they have no case. I never imagined myself to be in the middle of a war like this. I don’t think they will disqualify me. If so, and if Balad is disqualified, there will be no election – the Arabs will not vote.”

Awad Abdel Fattah: “Our [Palestinian Israelis'] traditional strength derived from the fact that we, as a community, survived the ethnic cleansing of 1948 [the Nakba]. We remained in our homeland, even as it was transformed into a Jewish state.”

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.

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.”

In recent years Israel’s control over the Palestinian people in the occupied territories has changed. While the presence of the Israeli army has been greatly reduced, the occupation has taken a more invisible form. In her new book The Bureaucracy of Occupation, attorney Yael Berda sheds light on how the Israeli secret service (the Shabak) exploits every point of contact with Palestinians, especially the imposed permit system, to recruit informants to further its control over the population. Activist Anan Quzmar of Birzeit University’s Rights to Education campaign tells how this form of “phantom control” makes political involvement and activism nearly impossible.

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 National Democratic Party has accused Israel’s security services of repeatedly harassing one of its leaders each time he leaves and enters Israel. The NDP, which represents Israel’s large minority of Arab Palestinian citizens and has three members sitting in the Israeli parliament, has suffered a campaign of persecution from the Israeli security services for many years. The latest incident occurred last month, when Awad Abdel Fattah, the NDP’s secretary-general, returned from a speaking tour in Europe.

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.

On Saturday Israelis organized the first demonstration of what was meant to be a resurrection of last summer’s protests against the high cost of living. Last July protest mass demonstrations reached half a million people in Tel Aviv. This Saturday, roughly ten thousand people came out to downtown Tel Aviv. A crew of police media staff circled the demonstrators, filming activists who held megaphones or looked like leaders. One officer instructed the police to arrest a man who called officers “fascists.”

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.

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.”

Israel sees its Arab citizens as a security threat, and their leaders are increasingly under attack. While cooperation and political participation once seemed feasible, systematic discrimination has led to an untenable situation. Secretary general of The National Democratic Party Assembly (Tajamoa) writes on missed opportunities and grim predictions.

It is Amnesty International’s assessment that the reasons for Ahmad Qatamesh’s arrest and continued administrative detention are his peaceful expression, in his writing and teaching, of non-violent political views and the fact that he is considered a mentor for left-wing students and political activists, some of whom may be affiliated to the PFLP. As such, his detention may be part of the Israeli authorities’ strategy to put pressure on the PFLP organisation. Therefore, Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

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.

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.

Adalah: “When the issue of ‘equality’ for Palestinian citizens of Israel is seen as a political rather than a constitutional question, it is then a short step to also view human rights groups that strive to achieve the rights of dignity and equality for Palestinian citizens as political organizations, and the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence in such cases as political, and thus subject to intervention by the Knesset. However, the Knesset’s interference in the work of the Supreme Court threatens the fundamental principle of the separation of powers.”

The following statement will be distributed to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Israeli officials, and the US State Department urging immediate action for the freedom of Khader Adnan. Please join.

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.”

Despite the focus on my new book and writing, this was not about me; it is all about targeting a Palestinian citizen who is determined to use the legal means available to her in order to fight for her people – whether they are Israeli citizens, inside the Occupied Territories, or expelled refugees.

Marwan Barghuti: “The conflict will be finished the moment the Israeli occupation ends, and there is a full withdrawal to the 1967 borders and a Palestinian state is established… I call on the great Palestinian people to embrace unity and cohesion and to establish a national unity government and also to embrace popular, peaceful resistance to end the occupation.”

Annual report lists Israel’s blockade of Gaza Strip, settlement expansion in West Bank, and home demolitions in East Jerusalem; report also accuses Hamas for carrying out judicial executions and for allegedly torturing detainees.

The new infiltration law is the latest in a set of policies fortifying Israel’s status as the world’s first “bunker state”- and one designed to be as ethnically pure as possible. The concept was expressed most famously by an earlier prime minister, Ehud Barak, now the defense minister, who called Israel “a villa in the jungle,” relegating the country’s neighbours to the status of wild animals.

Racists sitting in the stands at soccer games who yell “Death to Arabs” have never ripped a mother away from her children. But Justice Asher Dan Grunis and his friends have rendered such expulsions kosher, and the representatives of Israel’s Arab citizens will now have to bring the issue to the international community.

Palestinian Knesset member Haneen Zoabi is known for her fierce opposition to Zionism, to the concept of Israel as a Jewish state which she sees as inherently racist and unjust, and to the Israeli occupation. Instead, she envisions Arab-Jewish co-existence in Israel/Palestine, based on justice and equality, under a state for all its citizens. She also advocates replacing the Israeli occupation by a Palestinian state, and protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Jonathan Cook and the IOA Editor sat with Haneen Zoabi at her Nazareth home in mid-December 2011 for an extended interview covering these issues and much more.

Last summer, Israelis rose up in a mass movement inspired by the regional protests of the Arab Spring. Starting on Rothschild Boulevard, one of tel Aviv’s wealthiest neighborhoods, tent cities sprung up throughout the country, and Israelis poured to the streets to demonstrate. But in September, as quickly as the tent cities popped up, they disappeared. The protests stopped, and in a sweeping move, the government demolished dozens of tent cities throughout the country.

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