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


Amira Hass: Lucky pasta

13 October 2009

Lucky pasta! When an American senator discovered Israel bans importing pasta into the Gaza Strip, a storm broke out. And ever since, senior Israeli defense officials have included noodles on their list of permitted products. And calves, how did we forget them? That was approved by the highest levels of the Defense Ministry. After all, the bureaucrat-officers would never have dared violate the siege directives.

The [Israeli] police have recently started operating an undercover unit among Israeli citizens. Some two months ago, Police Commissioner David Cohen said the force had “no intelligence infrastructure to deal with the Arab community.”

“We hereby announce our refusal to take part in the military apparatus,” read the letter which was signed by 88 youths. “We do not see a military solution as the proper solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

IOA Editor: This is the largest number of Israelis collectively refusing the draft – even though the majority of them found ways to evade military service without formally refusing and being subjected to multiple, consecutive jail terms.

Israel’s relationship with Turkey’s military, which is highly secular and generally supportive of Israel, has remained strong. The apparent disruption of the two countries’ strategic military cooperation is therefore a sign that something is going terribly awry.

His Middle East policy is collapsing. The Israelis have taunted him by ignoring his demand for an end to settlement-building and by continuing to build their colonies on Arab land. His special envoy is bluntly told by the Israelis that an Arab-Israel peace will take “many years”. Now he wants the Palestinians to talk peace to Israel without conditions.

US and Israeli forces were already poised for their joint Juniper Cobra strategic missile defense exercise, which takes place every two years, to begin Oct. 12, when at noon, Oct. 11, an Israeli military spokesman suddenly announced its postponement by one week.

King Abdullah II: “We are seeing problems in Jerusalem that will directly destabilize not only the relationship with Jordan – which has a special concern and role in Jerusalem that is recognized in the peace treaty – but will also create a tinderbox that will be a major flashpoint throughout the Islamic world.”

“It may be that the reality has changed and the strategic ties that we thought existed [with Turkey] have simply ended,” said a senior Israeli official.

IOA Editor: If true, this will be the first significant negative consequence yet to Israel from its Gaza attack. After the US, Turkey has probably been Israel’s most valuable strategic ally for 50 years. It might also bear on any Israeli attempt to bomb Iran, which might have involved US-Israeli bases in Eastern Turkey.

More Israeli-centered Analysis of the Turkey-Israel crisis

[Israeli West Bank outposts] “are snapshots of the way many settlements looked a decade or two ago and, in fact, how towns inside Israel looked after its 1948 conquests. They are symbols of Zionism’s onward march.”

several Turkish requests are currently under consideration by the Defense Ministry’s Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Organization (SIBAT). These will now need to be reviewed due to the change in the diplomatic ties between Jerusalem and Ankara.

IOA Editor: It is unclear who stands to lose more by stopping Israeli military arm sales to Turkey: might it not be the Israeli military industries?

Another Israel-centered story, suggesting how potentially serious the change in relations with Turkey is for Israel.

Israeli authorities have demolished two Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem, in defiance of international calls to stop such actions.

“[W]hile recognizing the need for a free and open debate on these issues, it is important to stress concern over certain policies that could impair Israel’s interests.”

[British Ambassador to the UN said that] he supports the findings of the Goldstone commission, and called for both Israel and the Palestinians to investigate its conclusions… The [Israeli] Foreign Ministry convened an emergency meeting in light of Sawer’s comments, and told ministers not to issue any official response.

There are currently thousands of “mixed” Palestinian families, with one partner an Israeli citizen and the other a resident of the territories… the lives of these families became more and more complicated. Every entry and exit was accompanied by an exhausting bureaucratic process. Following the intifada, the regulations were stiffened further.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been under pressure recently to exclude Israel from the drill, on the grounds that Israel should not be allowed to participate while its planes are bombing the Gaza Strip.

IOA Editor: The Turkish people have spoken.

According to Dr. Muweiyah Hassenein, head of the ministry’s ambulance and emergency department, “we have found cases among newborn babies involving heart defects and brain abnormalities.”

IOA Editor: This report can be found in surprisingly few current media sources (Ma’an in Sept, Haaretz and Xinhua).

“I don’t understand why we incarcerate them in Israel in the first place,” the professor told [Israeli] Army Radio Saturday. She added that “all prisoners should be returned to Palestine regardless of a deal for Gilad Shalit’s release.”

Gideon Levy, a courageous Israeli journalist whose work is followed and admired by readers all over the world, tells about the odd, yet moving experience of watching a play that focuses on his own work: “never have I felt such satisfaction from my journalistic work as I did in that hall. Never have I been so proud that another chilling story of mine about abuse committed by IDF soldiers, appears Friday in this paper…” We wish him the very best.

The U.S. administration is furious over Israeli incitement against President Barack Obama, Democratic congressmen close to Obama told an Israeli source who returned from a visit to Washington this week. The congressmen even hinted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been personally involved.

Israel has 592 obstacles such as checkpoints, trenches and barriers across the occupied West Bank and a report that Israel was removing 100 such curbs can not be verified, a UN agency said on Friday.

“These youngsters don’t realize the damage they’re doing… The problem is that their movement has lost all sense of proportion, it’s drifting away from a balanced point of view and has become completely obsessed with the occupation.”

IOA Editor: Yes, that pesky obsession that just won’t go away.

The IDF banned Israelis from olive groves near Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank this week to enable Palestinians to harvest olives unhindered for two or three days. However, olive farmers and human rights groups say the harvest cannot be completed in that time.

In looking for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then, we should once and for all stop looking to governments and officials (elected or otherwise), in the US, Israel, or among the Palestinians themselves. As the Obama administration has already demonstrated, the US government, in the present political conjuncture, will never put peace and justice in Palestine ahead of internal domestic pressures and politics; the Israeli government will not for one moment back down from its continually expanding colonization plan in the West Bank and East Jerusalem until it is compelled by outside pressure to do otherwise; and the Palestinian government — well, there is no such thing.

Even supporters of the Palestinian Authority admit that it was clearly outmanoeuvred by the Israelis and the Americans, and was seen to be totally out of touch with its own public and the Arab and international supporters.

IOA Editor: Illuminating coverage of the background to the Abbas’ decision, and valid practical advice to the PA. However, stating that the Israeli government stood up to “tremendous US pressure” is not supported by by facts: there is no evidence of any actual US pressure.

We strongly urge the leadership to reconsider its decision, and to begin to forge an independent path of diplomacy based on respect for international law that can lead to genuine justice and durable peace.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR) new report, titled “Through Women’s Eyes,” highlights “the Gender-Specific Impact and Consequences of Operation Cast Lead” and the ongoing siege.

Sahar Francis, a Palestinian Israeli human rights lawyer: [T]he US and Israel, in the name of peace, were actually trying to push the point that any kind of accountability measures against Israel will affect negotiations. But how can you reach peace without giving justice to the people?

Israeli businessman Haim Saban is negotiating with Qatar’s emir the purchase of 50 percent of the Al Jazeera television network, the independent Egyptian newspaper Al-Mesryoon reported earlier this week.

IOA Editor: We should rightly be concerned about media moguls: now an Israeli who reduces the Boycott Campaign to “anti-Semites” and “Jew haters.” There is every reason to worry about the future of Al-Jazeera’s independence and quality reporting. We call upon the Amir of Qatar not to go forward with the sale.

Appeal the Amir of Qatar NOT to sell any share of Al-Jazeera to Saban

A Response to Uri Avnery: No Israeli who claims to support the national rights of the Palestinian people can, decently, turns his or her back to that campaign: after having claimed for years that “armed struggle is not the way,” it will be outrageous that this BDS strategy will too be disqualified by those Israeli activists. On the contrary, we must all together join to “Boycott from Within” in order to provide Israeli support to this Palestinian initiative.

[Bil'in] residents say the IDF conducts nighttime raids up to four times a week, sometimes using percussion grenades and tear gas and sometimes also entering homes, which has led to Israeli activists staying overnight in village homes.

King Abdullah: “Is Israel going to be fortress Israel or is it going to be part of the neighborhood? Because if there is no two-state solution, what future do we all have together?”

The Campaign for Peace and Democracy: “This may be a turning point for the expanding U.S./NATO wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a time when speaking out clearly and unambiguously against war can make a crucial difference. Today we see signs all too reminiscent of the step-by-step deepening of the U.S. commitment to the war in Vietnam in the 1960’s. In response, we declare ourselves firmly against military escalation in the region and for the withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Pakistan now. We also call for an end to drone attacks in both countries.”

In its Code of Conduct, the Volvo Group commits itself to support and respect the protection of human rights and to ensure that it is not complicit in human rights abuses. However, by providing construction and transportation equipment that facilitates Israel’s occupation, the company violates this Code of Conduct on a daily basis. With increasing calls for boycott of and divestment from companies that support Israel’s occupation, Volvo Group can expect activists around the world to put pressure on responsible investors to divest from the company and to call on public bus companies not to buy Volvo buses.

Watch What You Tweet

7 October 2009

A social worker from New York City was arrested last week while in Pittsburgh for the G-20 protests, then subjected to an FBI raid this week at home—all for using Twitter. Elliot Madison faces charges of hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility and possession of instruments of crime. He was posting to a Twitter feed (or tweeting, as it is called) publicly available information about police activities around the G-20 protests, including information about where police had issued orders to disperse.

“We weren’t going to cancel a serious ceremony regarding the construction of another Jewish residency in East Jerusalem just because a few Hooligans make some noise,” organizer Avichai Buaran told Army Radio. “Nof Zion is in the Arab town of Jabel Mukaber, but it remains a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem,” he added.

IOA Editor: The colonial project continues, “dunam here and dunam there,” as the old Zionist saying goes.

Banned from Al Aqsa

7 October 2009

Jonathan Cook covers the growing tension between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem, culminating yesterday in warnings by Palestinian officials that Israel was “sparking a fire” in the city.