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

Zionism

Israel has for decades been able to frame the discussion about the Palestinians. But its control of the narrative is coming to an end. As Israel loses ground it will viciously and irrationally attack all truth tellers, even if they are American students, and especially if they are Jews. There will come a day, and that day will come sooner than Israel and its paid lackeys expect, when the whole edifice will crumble, when even students at Hillel will no longer have the stomach to defend the continuous dispossession and random murder of Palestinians. Israel, by ruthlessly silencing others, now risks silencing itself.

A political project is purely utopian unless it can indicate a likely agent – a socio-political force able to realise it and whose long-term interests it would serve. In the present article I propose to apply this precept to the project of the ‘one-state solution’ for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the vision of a single democratic (or secular-democratic) state in the whole of so-called ‘historical Palestine’ – the territory of Palestine as it existed under the British mandate from 1923 to 1948.

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.

As [the conflict] is caused by colonization, resolution requires decolonization. In this specific case, as the cause is Zionist colonization, what is required is deZionisation, overthrow of the Zionist project and its state.

[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.

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.

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.

“You know why Israel’s leaders can’t make peace?” a Palestinian friend asked recently. “Because if the conflict ever ended, Israeli Jews would start tearing out each other’s throats.” But any Palestinian who hoped the protest movements emerging in Israel might signal the beginning of Israeli society’s disintegration should think again. There are plenty of reasons to doubt that most Israeli Jews are ready to break free of the militaristic and nationalist thinking that has dominated Zionism for decades.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Since 1999, over 300,000 young Jews from around the world have embarked on the free, 10-day tour of Israel known as Taglit-Birthright. It’s considered the most effective means of connecting the next generation of the Jewish Diaspora to the state of Israel. The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently pledged $100 million to the program.

[Israel’s current “Pillar of Defence” assault on the Gaza Strip] may serve Netanyahu’s hidden agenda: a protracted regional war may provide a smokescreen for a major ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. This is a long-term plan supported by all major Zionist parties. It is designed to resolve the contradiction between the deep-seated Zionist opposition to the creation of a Palestinian sovereign state, however small, in any part of pre-1948 Palestine, and the even greater “demographic peril”, as it is openly described in Israeli public society, of Arab majority in that land.

I have always admired the work of Gisha, and therefore read its response to my “Impressions of Gaza” with much interest — and comparable disappointment. The response refers to exactly one statement of mine: ‘heavy equipment in Gaza is not “lying idle”, as Chomsky describes.’ My statement is quite accurate.

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

In my opinion the whole semantic discussion of Israeli “apartheid” skirts around the fundamental question: the underlying political economy of Zionist colonization.

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.

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.]

All the problems in this region stem from the way that the imperial powers France and Britain divided the region after the First World War, to serve their purposes… Syria, Lebanon, and a country called Palestine were created or refashioned. This new country, Palestine, was an invention of British imperialism following World War I; and it was designed explicitly as a domain for Zionist colonization. A whole complex of problems, including the Israeli–Palestinian conflict are a fallout from the fragmentation and parcelization of the Ottoman Empire.

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).

On June 2nd, Wafa Tiara, a Palestinian agricultural worker organized under the Ma’an union was supposed to address Israel’s J14 social justice movement. The protest was meant to serve as an indicator of whether this movement, which began last summer, could restart after its quiet winter months.

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…”

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.

In fact, it is rarely useful to compare the Holocaust and the ordeal of the Palestinians; it does not help us understand the reality of either. Sixty-four years have elapsed since the Nakba, 64 years during which Palestinians have been subjected to further wars, expulsions, and dispossession. They have been denied political, economic, and human rights… This is not genocide, but what name is there for it?

In the name of ["Never again to us, the Jews"], they end up denying the humanity of the victims of Israel, the purported “State of the Jews”, just as most oppressors throughout history have denied their victims’ humanity.

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.”

Victoria Brittain: “This collection of Moshé Machover’s writings from the mid-1960s to today brings together a coherent and consistent vision of Zionist colonialism and the dispossession and discrimination which have been its hallmarks throughout the whole period. [A] valuable book in its historical reach, accessible style, and forthright debunking of the ‘peace process’ and other lazy myths…”

In late 2011, the self-appointed media watchdog CAMERA informed the Journal of Palestine Studies of an incorrect citation in an article by Ilan Pappé referring to a quotation by Israeli founding father David Ben-Gurion which supports the expulsion (“transfer”) of Arabs from Palestine. Rashid Khalidi discusses the case, its implications and historical context.

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.

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