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


One of the dangers of the right-wing Zionists’ tactic of smearing as “anti-Semitic” all criticism of any Israeli policy is precisely that they end up trivializing this deadly, soul-killing phenomenon, and by crying wolf so often may actually decrease vigilance toward the real thing.

Israel needs to make every effort to stop the S-300 missile defense system from reaching countries where the air force may need to fly, IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan has told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview.

“My greatest frustration this year has been the Palestine situation,” he told the 192-nation assembly in his final address on 14 September… He found it “disgraceful” the way influential members of the UN Security Council had shown “passivity and apparent indifference” about the long and cruel Israeli blockade of Gaza.

IOA Editor: Thank you, Messrs Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and our very own Mr. Obama.

Initially, Western states tried to stop the resolution from going to a vote, arguing it would be counterproductive to single out Israel, particularly after a resolution had been passed the day before calling on all states in the Middle East to foreswear nuclear weapons.

At 11am today two people entered the Ahava store in Monmoth Street, Covent Garden and closed the shop by locking themselves inside. Under the banner of ‘Stolen Beauty from Stolen Land’, they set out to highlight the sale of beauty products manufactured on illegal Israeli Settlements on Occupied Palestinian land.

Jonathan Cook: When the transit system contract was signed in 2005, Ariel Sharon, the prime minister at the time, said it would “sustain Jerusalem for eternity as the capital of the Jewish people”. Omar Barghouti, a founder of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which has been targeting Veolia and Alstom over their involvement, wrote this month in the Jerusalem Quarterly magazine that the railway was part of “a comprehensive, long-term strategy… to cement the integration of those [settlement] blocs into an ever sprawling ‘Greater Jerusalem”.

“What if [the Israelis] fly over anyway?”
“Well, we have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse.”

The conflict is the outcome of aggression and occupation. Our struggle against the Israelis is not because they are Jewish, but because they invaded our homeland and dispossessed us. We do not accept that because the Jews were once persecuted in Europe they have the right to take our land and throw us out. The injustices suffered by the Jews in Europe were horrible and criminal, but were not perpetrated by the Palestinians or the Arabs or the Muslims.

American failure to pressure Israel is increasingly frustrating the Palestinian leadership which dreads a repetition of the futile peacemaking efforts that characterised the Bush administration. One Palestinian official was quoted this week as saying that the Mitchell approach was “unconvincing and raises a lot of question marks”.

I ACCEPTED with hesitation my United Nations mandate to investigate alleged violations of the laws of war and international human rights during Israel’s three-week war in Gaza last winter. The issue is deeply charged and politically loaded. I accepted because the mandate of the mission was to look at all parties: Israel; Hamas, which controls Gaza; and other armed Palestinian groups. I accepted because my fellow commissioners are professionals committed to an objective, fact-based investigation. But above all, I accepted because I believe deeply in the rule of law and the laws of war, and the principle that in armed conflict civilians should to the greatest extent possible be protected from harm.

The TUC today backed a targeted boycott of Israeli goods originating from illegal settlements and an end to arms sales to Israel to ramp up the pressure “for an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories”. The decision to step up its position was triggered by widespread dismay by unions at the Israeli offensive in Gaza in January.

[W]hether we like it or not, Hamas is the legitimate representative of at least half of the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. To deny this is to eliminate any chance of peace. You cannot make peace with half a people, and a viable peace must include the extremists.

“I deny that completely,” Judge Richard Goldstone said… “I was completely independent, nobody dictated any outcome, and the outcome was a result of the independent inquiries that our mission made,” he said.

Netanyahu’s message is that the Goldstone Commission report hinders the United States’ war on terror. The Foreign Ministry decided Wednesday to focus their efforts to combat the report’s accusations on the United States, Russia and a few other members of the United Nations Security Council and the Human Rights Council that are involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

IOA Editor: The Israeli propaganda machine is going full blast. To protect democracy from terrorism, the UN report deserves every possible rejection, naturally.

See also Norman Finkelstein’s interview and Gideon Levy’s commentary on the UN report.

There’s a name on every bullet, and there’s someone responsible for every crime. The Teflon cloak Israel has wrapped around itself since Operation Cast Lead has been ripped off, once and for all, and now the difficult questions must be faced. It has become superfluous to ask whether war crimes were committed in Gaza, because authoritative and clear-cut answers have already been given. So the follow-up question has to be addressed: Who’s to blame? If war crimes were committed in Gaza, it follows that there are war criminals at large among us. They must be held accountable and punished. This is the harsh conclusion to be drawn from the detailed United Nations report.

IOA Editor: The time to “avert disgrace” was a year ago, before launching the Gaza attack. The Hague is the proper place for states that behave criminally – deservedly, to use Levy’s own language.

There is only thing worse than denial – the admission that the IDF indeed acted as has been described, but that these actions are both normal and appropriate.

The main limitation of the report is it’s all cast in the language of violations of the laws of war. And the fundamental fact about what happened in Gaza is it wasn’t a war. There was no war in Gaza. That’s the main misunderstanding about what happened there.

The U.S. intelligence community is reporting to the White House that Iran has not restarted its nuclear-weapons development program, two counterproliferation officials tell NEWSWEEK. U.S. agencies had previously said that Tehran halted the program in 2003.

Had Richard Goldstone not served as the head of the UN inquiry into the Gaza war, the accusations against Israel would have been harsher, Goldstone’s daughter, Nicole, said in an interview conducted in Hebrew with Army Radio on Wednesday.

Israel “punished and terrorised” civilians in Gaza in a disproportionate attack in its three-week war on the territory earlier this year, a United Nations report has found. Judge Richard Goldstone, who led the inquiry, said he found evidence Israel targeted civilians and used excessive force in the assault, which was launched on December 27. “The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly in some respects crimes against humanity, were committed by the Israel Defence Force,” Goldstone, a former South African justice, said. More than 1,400 Palestinians – about a third of them women and children – were killed in the war. Thirteen Israelis died.

Jonathan Cook: Israeli peace activists are planning to ratchet up their campaign against groups in the United States that raise money for settlers by highlighting how tax exemptions are helping to fund the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank. Gush Shalom, a small peace group that advocates Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories, is preparing to send details to the US tax authorities questioning the charitable status of several organisations.

[I]t’s important for me to tell you, my worldview-sharing [Israeli] compatriots, that many settlements have already almost swallowed up all the agricultural lands from villages in their vicinity. No construction freeze will return them to their owners, most of whom have become day laborers, working or unemployed without any kind of social benefits. They and their wives and children don’t go to the expensive shopping malls in Ramallah.

Israel’s three-week war in Gaza brought a wave of international criticism. About 1,400 people died and accusations of possible war crimes have been levelled against both the Israeli military and the Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, notably Hamas. The latest and most prominent inquiry, led by Richard Goldstone, a respected South African judge, was conducted for the UN human rights council.

Read UN report and access many information resources via The Guardian’s article.

A protest at the Toronto International Film Festival has taken center stage after a group of artists and writers signed a letter of protest against the festival’s decision to spotlight the city of Tel Aviv. Activists say the TIFF spotlight plays into Israel’s attempt to improve its global image in the wake of the assault on the Gaza Strip and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land.

Naomi Klein explains, very eloquently, the reasons for the protest against TIFF to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now TV.

Occupation is not on the Israeli agenda. Not a single Jewish MK in today’s Knesset ran on a ticket calling for an end to the occupation. The media, too, is doing everything it can to blur and suppress this issue. While everyone is busy blurring and deceiving, it’s time to use the one tool Israel has never employed: a referendum – Israel’s first – for or against continuing the occupation, whatever either choice entails.

IOA Editor: Be careful what you wish for?

[A]ny plan, proposal or initiative for peace in Israel-Palestine must be filtered through the following set of critical questions: Will this plan really end the occupation, or is it merely a subtle cover for control? Does this plan offer a just and sustainable peace or merely an imposed and false quiet? Does this plan offer a Palestinian state that is territorially, politically and economically viable, or merely a prison-state? Does this plan genuinely and justly address the refugee issue? And does this plan offer regional security and development?

Jonathan Cook: [T]housands of workers from Gaza had their contracts in Israel terminated without notice by employers in spring 2004, shortly after the government of Ariel Sharon announced it would be “disengaging” from the enclave in summer 2005… “Overnight more than 20,000 workers had their work permits withdrawn and lost their livelihoods,” she said. “They had been paying into the social security system, some of them for decades, but have been denied their legal entitlements, such as severance pay, overtime and holiday allowance.”

Although Lieberman declared he would reactivate Israeli foreign policy in certain African states, past experience has shown that the Defense Ministry and arms manufacturers’ lobby have hijacked Israeli foreign policy in recent decades and subordinated it to their needs, Israeli sources said. No deals were signed on this trip. But Foreign Ministry officials estimate Africa’s business potential at some $1 billion, in addition to the $3 billion of merchandise and services Israel currently exports to the continent.

Since early August, when two families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem were forcibly evicted from their homes, Muhammad Sabagh has had little sleep. The 61-year-old retired plumber fears that he, his five brothers and their wives and children may soon also find themselves on the street.

The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Heritage and Waqf claimed that the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the “Elad” settler organization has already dug a 120 meter long, 1.5 meter wide tunnel from underneath Jerusalem’s Palestinian Silwan neighborhood toward the mosque.

“My commanders on the ground, my company commander, battalion commander, and brigade commander backed me up, and I did what I was taught by my superiors,” Malul added… “[T]he GOC knows what’s going on but chooses to stay in his ivory tower and keep his face clean.”

IOA Editor: Obviously, the junior officer is correct on this. By treating this case as a violation of internal IDF rules, and an exception to the usual practices, the IDF and its high-ranking officers seek to protect themselves from accusations of human rights violations, and from being charged for the acts they are personally responsible for by the International Court of Justice. As numerous findings by many international organizations have indicated, Israel routinely abuses and tortures Palestinian prisoners. As the officer pointed out, in his own defense, this is a charade.

The IDF General Command is made up of professional officers who made their way up the ranks, starting at low level field positions. The Occupation is now 42 years old, and almost nine years passed since the start of the Second Intifada, which saw a dramatic increase of IDF violence against Palestinians. Therefore, all current top IDF officers must be thoroughly familiar with the realities of the Occupation, where the slapping of a detainee – in violation of international law – is probably the least of the evils that take place daily.

Also interesting is the accused officer’s comment “The IDF is dealing with shit, and someone needs to get his hands dirty…” This follows closely a recent comment made by Deputy PM Ya’alon “when I was chief of staff, I told several closed forums that any time politicians bring forth the dove of peace, its up to the army to clean up after them,” reported earlier on the IOA website. Ya’alon, and the rest of the IDF machine are there to deal with ‘doves of peace’ as they know best: with abuse and torture.

Three days after the U.S. administration criticized the decision of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to authorize the construction of hundreds of new housing units in settlements, the Israel Lands Administration published tenders for the construction of 486 apartments in the neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev in East Jerusalem. The new construction project is designated for the outer edge of the northeastern municipal boundary of Jerusalem, and will narrow the distance between the homes on the edge of the neighborhood and the nearby Palestinian communities.

The vast majority of the Palestinians killed in Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip last winter were innocent civilians rather than combatants, according to a new report to be published by the B’Tselem organization Wednesday morning. This is the opposite of what the Israel Defense Forces has said.

The question is not why Norway divested from the defense electronics giant Elbit Systems, but why only now, and why only from that company? [There are] over 40 Israeli and international companies that are involved in solidifying Israel’s occupation, and in which Norway invests, according to data from the “Who Profits” project, run by the Coalition of Women for Peace.

Two cases brought before Israeli courts last week revealed the attitude of the establishment towards Palestinian Arab citizens of the state. One shows how Palestinian citizens are treated as victims of police brutality, and the second shows how they are regularly victimised because of their opposition to injustice.

Abed Abdi: The Wall

8 September 2009

Abed Abdi was born in Haifa in 1942. He belongs to the generation of post 1948 pioneering visual artists. He held his first exhibit in Tel Aviv in 1962, and graduated from the Dresden fine arts academy in 1972, where he studied graphics and mural painting, and obtained the second prize. After his graduation he […]