Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel’s goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm. For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence. For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.
The issue of one state or two states has been very divisive among leftist supporters of justice for Palestinians. It will of course be up to Palestinians themselves to decide the terms on which they will settle their long-standing conflict with Israel. But outsiders can offer their assessments and analysis, particularly as the debate has important implications for their Palestine solidarity work, and may be of benefit as well to Palestinians.
It may not have reached the level of fevered expectation unleashed by that famous handshake between Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the White House lawn in 1993, but the sense of hope inspired by the long-awaited revival of peace talks is both tangible and deeply misplaced.
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.
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.
“The Nakba did not begin in 1948. Its origins lie over two centuries ago….” So begins this four-part Al-Jazeera series on the ‘Nakba’ (the ‘catastrophe’), about the history of the Palestinian exodus that led to the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948 and the establishment of the state of Israel.
I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign because, especially in our instantly connected world, an injustice committed against one, or against one group of people, is an injustice against all, against every one of us; a collective injury.
Of course, Israel thinks it can get away with [drilling for oil on the occupied Golan Heights]. It has violated international law with impunity since it prevented the Palestinian refugees’ return, annexed East Jerusalem, and extended Israeli law to the Golan Heights, among other transgressions. Moreover, although Israel’s settlement building in the territories is regularly condemned, international sanctions have yet to be imposed.
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.”
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.’
The dawn of a Palestinian state has been a long time coming. After 65 years of dispossession, 45 years of occupation, and 20 years of failed peace attempts, on Thursday Palestine took one step closer to joining the community of nations. Al Jazeera’s Empire program discusses the prospects for peace with our guests: Rashid Khalidi, Peter Beinart, Ethan Bronner, and Tony Karon.
The inciting cause of the latest confrontation between Israel and Hamas has little to do with the firing of rockets, whether by Hamas or the other Palestinian factions. The conflict predates the rockets – and even the creation of Hamas – by decades. It is the legacy of Israel’s dispossession of Palestinians in 1948, forcing many of them from their homes in what is now Israel into the tiny Gaza Strip. That original injustice has been compounded by the occupation Israel has not only failed to end but has actually intensified in recent years with its relentless siege of the small strip of territory.
Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison, where a million and a half people, in the most densely populated area of the world, are constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment
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.
The Occupation is the embodiment of disaster for Israel. Greater Israel, the enthusiasm to conquer, rule and colonize in the very heart of a dense Palestinian population, that sweeping wave was fostered in the very bosom of Zionism that sees itself as civilized, secular and socialistic. The term “Greater Israel” germinated not in the Likud or in the yeshivas of national-religious Judaism, rather it was coined at Kibbutz Ein-Harod by poets, writers and intellectuals, nearly all of them from the moderate secular stream.
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.”
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.]
A brilliant work by Shimon Tzabar (1926, Palestine – 2007, London), an artist, writer, poet, satirist, amateur mycologist, and a vocal fighter against the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel. As relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1968, well before the term ‘racial profiling’ was known.
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.
An IDF officer with the rank of lieutenant head-butted a Palestinian youth in the face, a video filmed in the city of Hebron on Wednesday and uploaded to YouTube has revealed. A volunteer for the NGO B’Tselem filmed the video on Wednesday from the window of his home in Hebron, documenting an IDF soldier as he stopped a number of Palestinian youths, thought to be between 10 and 17 years of age, next to the Beit Hadassah checkpoint in Hebron.
Military police and soldiers arrest left-wing protesters for painting over racist graffiti.
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.”
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.
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 only excessive stupidity of which deputy brigade commander Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner can be accused is hitting a young blond man in front of a camera. Other commanders and their subordinates will learn the lesson. They’ll check for any subversive cameras before going on to do what is unexceptional in the Wild East. They will beat up Palestinians … as well as anti-occupation activists – by rifle butt, by boot or simply by fist. Soldiers who beat up Palestinians are not generally filmed, and the (few ) written reports that exist are easily dismissed as lies and propaganda, are forgotten immediately or merely go unread.
Imprisoned Fatah commander called on Palestinians to severe economic and security coordination with Israel, urged economic and diplomatic boycott: “It must be understood that there is no partner for peace in Israel when the settlements have doubled… It is the Palestinian people’s right to oppose the occupation in all means, and the resistance must be focused on the 1967 territories.”
Palestinians and activists in the occupied West Bank, Gaza, Israel and neighbouring countires have demonstrated on Land Day in memory of six Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces on March 30, 1976 during protests over land confiscations. Al-Jazeera presents a selection of excellent images.
Haneen Zoabi in a highly biased interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV. Her courage stands out, rising above the abrupt Israeli interviewing style: she keeps to her principled positions. (Hebrew with English subtitles.)
Norman Finkelstein: “They don’t want Israel… They think they’re being very clever. They call it their three tiers… We want the end of the occupation, we want the right of return, and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever, because they know the result of implementing all three is what? What’s the result? You know and I know what’s the result: there’s no Israel.”
South Korea has offered to buy a significant quantity of Israeli-made weapons and defense systems, including the anti-rocket Iron Dome system, if Israel agrees to purchase South Korean fighter jets.
IOA Editor: From crushing Palestinian resistance — however misguided and ineffective — in Gaza via Israeli ‘technological fixes’ (with extra US funding) to profiting from them around the world. The show, called ‘Occupation,’ must go on because there’s no business like war business…
Contrary to the interpretation that this was an intentional humiliation of Abbas, for once it’s actually believable that this was a mere technical error. Humiliation is part of the system’s DNA, and the clerks who implement the system imbibe the techniques of humiliation from the day they enter the army – until they view them as immutable laws of nature.
The PLO’s reneging on their promise to the Palestinian people and their return to negotiations implies that the leadership accepts the continued theft and seizure of Palestinian lands, legitimizes the ever-going attacks of the settlers, and furthermore undermines the Palestinian people in whole.
IDF Reserve Officer: “We get material from the rabbinate every week and it’s mostly positive things,” adding that the edited picture was part of an “official release, which is why it’s problematic the army is distributing it.”
IOA Editor: The many faces of ethnic cleansing.
In this wide-ranging interview, Rashid Khalidi has some harsh words for President Barack Obama, describing his UN speech in September as the worst ever by an American president. Khalidi also reviews the way in which US policy toward the conflict was transformed over decades, and discusses why AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is far more effective today than it was in the 1970s and 1980s. Although he sees no hope at present for a just US policy, this could change if public opinion – which is much more enlightened than that of U.S. policy makers – is expressed through the media and at the political level.