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.”
Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted by the sanctification of victimhood, which it uses to justify an occupation that rivals the brutality and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy—which was always exclusively for Jews—has been hijacked by extremists who are pushing the country toward fascism. Many of Israel’s most enlightened and educated citizens—1 million of them—have left the country. Its most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists—Israeli and Palestinian—are subject to constant state surveillance, arbitrary arrests and government-run smear campaigns. Its educational system, starting in primary school, has become an indoctrination machine for the military.
The negotiations provide a cover for Israel’s takeover of the territories it wishes to control and should spare the United States some further embarrassment at the UN.
One prevailing assumption is that there are two options: either a two-state settlement will be reached, or there will be a “shift to a nearly inevitable outcome of the one remaining reality — a state ‘from the sea to the river’.” … There is a third option, the most realistic one: Israel will carry forward its current policies with full U.S. economic, military, and diplomatic support, sprinkled with some mild phrases of disapproval.
Watch US secretary of state John Kerry assuming the mantle of our lord: just as JC resurrected Lazarus, JK is about to revive the dead-as-a-doornail talks between the Israeli government and the captive so-called Palestinian ‘Authority’. Though, unlike old Lazarus, this corpse will talk and talk and talk … but will not walk.
Former Israeli defence (then industry) minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer: “People like to buy things that have been tested. If Israel sells weapons, they have been tested, tried out. We can say we’ve used this 10 years, 15 years.”
[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.
Despite the 2011 tent protests, house construction has actually decreased over the last year in Israel. At the same time, the West Bank registered a national high in new construction projects for Jewish settlers.
A major new report has found that the European Union has failed to fulfil its own commitments to ensure Israel improves living conditions for Palestinians.
This is an appeal for you to follow the recommendations of the International Court of Justice regarding the building of the Separation Wall and all of the Israel settlements in the occupied West Bank. They are totally illegal under international law, the 4th Geneva Convention, and the UN Charter of Human Rights which gives indigenous people, in this case the Bedouin of Susya and surrounding areas of the Hebron Hills and the Jordan Valley, the right to practice their traditional way of life, and the right to a home on their own land.
Former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami: “Israel’s line was busy, or there was no one on the Israeli side to pick up the phone.”
Ya’alon spent a year working for the AIPAC-created Washington Institute for Near East Policy and also spent time at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies of the infamous Shalem Center. If you want neocon research credentials, these are the places to go. Such a scholarly pedigree confirms Ya’alon’s status as a provincial ex-military officer, with a predictably Manichean worldview.
The Israeli government has been forcing the Palestinian Authority into approving water infrastructure for illegal West Bank settlements for the past 15 years, according to research by a University of Sussex academic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Moshé Machover pre-launched his recently published book, Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and resolution at a London event (podcast).
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.
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.
“When you grow up you will understand how injustice was brought upon your father and upon thousands of Palestinians whom the occupation has put in prisons and jail cells, shattering their lives and future for no reason other then their pursuit of freedom, dignity and independence. You will know that your father did not tolerate injustice and submission, and that he would never accept insult and compromise, and that he is going through a hunger strike to protest against the Jewish state that wants to turn us into humiliated slaves without any rights or patriotic dignity.”
“My beloved Lamar keep your head up always and be proud of your father, and thank everyone who supported me, who supported the prisoners in their struggle, and don’t be afraid for God is with us always, and God never lets down people who have faith and patience. We are righteous, and right will always prevail against injustice and wrong doers.”
“I refuse to join an army that has, since it was established, been engaged in dominating another nation, in plundering and terrorizing a civilian population that is under its control.”
IOA Editor: Please support this latest Israeli conscientious objector. While a 10 day jail sentence may seem ‘light,’ past experience shows that the IDF is likely to re-sentence a CO repeatedly, typically many times, until she changes her mind. A campaign in support of the courageous Noam Gur will not only help her but will encourage other young Israelis to refuse military service.
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.”