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


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s planned visit to Israel has been left in doubt after Jerusalem warned that he would not be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip from Israeli territory.

IOA Editor: It’s us or them. Remember, We’re-Always-Right. Even after international organizations pointed to Israel’s international law violations, Israel maintains a position of totalitarian self-righteousness, as if the truth could be concealed by preventing a Gaza visit.

Thus the absurdity: In Beitar Ilit, which will stay under Israeli control, construction will cease. But in Mitzpeh Yitzhar and the agricultural lands nearby, business will go on as usual, even though the settlers’ success there will mean a death blow to the two-state solution… The Americans will know what is happening; they don’t miss much between the satellites and CNN. What they do miss will be filled in by Peace Now and its associate organizations.

IOA Editor: “The Americans” will surely know, but will they really care enough to do something about it? Doubtful. Why now?

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said… that Israel’s decision to construct nearly 500 new housing units in the West Bank prior to declaration of a settlement freeze further undermined any belief that it is a credible partner for peace… An Israeli government source told Haaretz on Monday that U.S. Mideast Envoy George Mitchell and the Obama administration have been updated on the new housing permits. The same source also said that the new permits were approved with the understanding that in return, Israel would enact a freeze on other settlement projects.

IOA Editor: Approved by the Obama administration with an “understanding…” In other words, business as usual: the Occupation goes on, settlement expansion continues, and US support which makes this colonial venture possible continues as it has in the past 42 years. Mr. Obama is saying No to Change.

Of all of the crises that afflict us, the growing democratic deficit may be the most severe. Unless it is reversed, [Arundhati] Roy’s forecast may prove accurate. The conversion of democracy to a performance with the public as mere spectators-hardly a distant possibility-might have truly dire consequences.

National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau on Monday lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan for a partial construction freeze in the West Bank, deeming the Palestinians “occupiers” and declaring any bounds on settlements a “violation of human rights.”

We found a growing sense of concern and despair among those who observe, as we did, that settlement expansion is continuing apace, rapidly encroaching into Palestinian villages, hilltops, grazing lands, farming areas and olive groves. There are more than 200 of these settlements in the West Bank.

Jane Fonda, Danny Glover and Eve Ensler have joined the growing list of artists who are boycotting the Toronto film festival over a program honoring Tel Aviv’s 100th anniversary, gossip blogger Perez Hilton reported on Friday. The three have added their names to a letter aimed at festival officials claiming that Tel Aviv was built on violence, ignoring the “suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants,” Hilton reported.

Some 200 Palestinians infiltrated and attacked a settlement outpost in the northern West Bank on Friday morning, according to eyewitnesses. The witnesses said that Palestinians from a neighboring village entered a hilltop community near the Nofe Yarden outpost in the Shiloh bloc, armed with hoes and axes.

IOA Editor: Levinson is the Haaretz settlement reporter. Clearly, his writing is Israel-centric. In this report, he neglects to mention that the Palestinians “infiltrated” an illegal compound of outsiders who invaded their land, and whose presence in the Occupied Territories is illegal and in violation of international law.

The “Shock Vehicle” is outfitted with new systems to deal with disorder. In addition, it can remove obstacles weighing half a ton. As of next month, it will be put to use in all IDF West Bank units.

IOA Editor: The latest toy in the IDF killing arsenal is touted as increasing security to both Occupation soldiers and demonstrators. The IDF PR team didn’t mention the recent deaths and grave injuries of anti-Occupation demonstrators targeted by soldiers using gas canister launchers. The “Shock Vehicle” will undoubtedly help soldiers improve their aim when launching gas canisters.

Israel is known throughout the world as a center for innovation and technology, particularly in Aerospace and Defense. Israel is a global leader in the development and manufacture of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), as well as a broad range of systems and technologies used in these unique aircraft.

IOA Editor: Israel’s leading export, by far, is weapons and advanced military systems which it markets and sells all over the world, from the US to the worst third world dictatorships.

It is unfortunate that the good people of Ohio – the City of Dayton and Montgomery County – are collaborating with such profoundly immoral business ventures. We hope the BDS campaign will soon become aware of this new development.

A day after mounting a scare-tactic campaign to prevent the assimilation of Diaspora Jews, the Prime Minister’s Office and Jewish Agency received some 200 calls, most of them reporting names of Jews living abroad. However, many callers also blasted the campaign – which describes assimilation as a “strategic national threat.”

IOA Editor: What’s next? An IDF rescue mission to forcibly airlift strayed Jews to Jewish re-education camps in the Negev?

Q: Some Israelis criticize you for writing the same kinds of stories about abuses over and over again.

A: That’s right. They don’t ask why the abuses continue to happen, they ask why I continue to write about them.

The Norwegian government has decided to pull all of its investments from Israeli arms firm Elbit as a result of it involvement in the construction of the West Bank separation fence, the Norwegian Finance Minister announced on Thursday… Norway’s pension fund is invested in 41 different Israeli companies… A research project by the Coalition of Women for Peace called “Who profits from the occupation?” found that almost two thirds of those firms are involved in West Bank construction and development.

Ben Gurion University students’ democracy lesson following the Neve Gordon Los Angeles Times article and reactions: “we are taught history, but we are forbidden to learn from it. In gender studies, we are taught to identify violent discourse, but we are expected to go on speaking the routine and familiar militaristic language. We are taught to be social workers, but not to identify with exploited cleaning workers. Learning is allowed, but not drawing practical conclusions – especially not in a newspaper, in English, with a large circulation.”

An organization that works to strengthen ties between Israel and Diaspora Jews Wednesday launched a scare-tactic campaign that urges Israelis to combat assimilation in North America by working to prevent the “loss” of their own Jewish acquaintances there.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated on Wednesday his belief that Israel Defense Forces soldiers must be willing to risk their lives in service of their country and that the government would not pay any price for the return of Gilad Shalit, who has been languishing in Hamas captivity for over three years.

IOA Editor: Running a military occupation is a serious, demanding business, requiring everybody’s participation and willingness to make the Ultimate Sacrifice. Dispossessing another nation of its land and natural resources, destroying its infrastructure, erasing its history and eliminating its future as a nation – all require a long term commitment to Jewish nationalism, far bigger and more important than an individual life.

Some 7,700 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli jails, among them people not tried before any court, many political activists, and children who – if they were only Jewish – could not be held in an Israeli jail. Surely Israel could ‘spare’ 450 prisoners without ‘diluting’ the overall impact of holding such a large population of prisoners. But it seems that the principle of Being-Right-Always has to come first.

From the most senior military judge down to the lowest private at a checkpoint, hundreds of thousands of perfectly normal Israelis who are not violent at home are partners in the mission of administering, demarcating, restricting and taming the other society while cumulatively damaging its rights, welfare and well-being. This is the norm that is not taken into account here in the statistics on violence and the violent.

Last year, NIS 577 was spent on each primary school student in the predominantly-Arab eastern section of the city, compared with NIS 2,372 for a student in the mainly-Jewish western part. In preschools, spending per student in West Jerusalem was 2.7 times that of East Jerusalem, and in special education 2.5 times.

The Israel Defense Forces has canceled a number of planned arrest operations in the West Bank fearing soldiers will be seen by American diplomats touring the territories.

A Military Police investigation into a soldier’s killing of a Palestinian near Hebron in January has been going on for seven and a half months, and there is still no end in sight. Yet the sector commander has been giving briefings for the past few months based on his own inquiry into the incident, which he describes as “a serious failure in moral and professional terms.”

End of Freedom

31 August 2009

[A] firm demand… to put an immediate end to the policy of arrests and draconian interrogations currently conducted against the Arab-Palestinian community in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; to free ALL political prisoners; to halt the current wave of legislation aimed at curbing and restricting the civil rights of Israel’s residents and citizens; to stop the violent, racist policy now implemented against refugees and migrant workers; and to condemn crimes of hate and violence against ethnic, religious or gender minorities.

If there is any truth in the reports that came out of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Europe – that the United States agreed Israel can go on building in East Jerusalem – the headlines should have read “Obama has pulled out of the Middle East peace process.”

About 7,700 Palestinians are imprisoned in Israel, including about 450 without the benefit of a trial. Most of them are not murderers, although they are all automatically labeled as such here. The demonstrators at Megiddo would do well to realize this. Some of the prisoners are political detainees in the full sense of the word, from members of the Palestinian parliament imprisoned without trial, which is a scandal in and of itself, to those behind bars because of their “affiliation.” Innocent people are among them as well as political activists and nonviolent protesters.

IOA Editor: In this Israeli-centric commentary, Levy calls attention to the status of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

“You don’t make peace with friends,” he told Ma’an in Ramallah. “You negotiate with those who are regarded as pariahs.”

Photo: Desmond Tutu, center, placed a stone on a grave on Thursday in Bilin, site of weekly protests against the Israeli Wall. With him, from left: Gro Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Ela Bhatt and Abdullah Abu Rahma.

Also: The New York Times coverage of The Elders’ Bilin visit

he number of Israelis who see US President Barack Obama’s policies as pro-Israel has fallen to four percent, according to a Smith Research poll taken this week on behalf of The Jerusalem Post.

“The lesson that Israel must learn from the Holocaust is that it can never get security through fences, walls and guns,” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa told Haaretz Thursday… Tutu also commented on the call by Ben-Gurion University professor Neve Gordon to apply selective sanctions on Israel. “I always say to people that sanctions were important in the South African case for several reasons… it actually did hit the pocket of the South African government…”

Palestinians have finally started to act in a different way. Instead of cursing the occupation, the new strategy is aimed at building up the desired Palestinian state. The idea is to force the Israelis to the negotiating table rather than beg them to come. The way to do that is to work for a state as if there were negotiations. This idea has been brilliantly developed by the Palestinian prime minister.

So let us admit the truth: The occupier deserves to be boycotted. As long as the Israelis pay no price for the occupation, the occupation will not end, and therefore the only way open to the opponents of the occupation is to take concrete means that will make the Israelis understand that the injustice they are perpetrating comes with a price tag.

“Where there is no law and no one to turn to, Ezra is seen as a law breaker, while the state itself breaks the law and fails to uphold its basic obligations. Ezra is the savior of these people. He blocks with his body settlers who stop the farmers from working on their land. You could call him Robin Hood of the Wild West,” she said.

[Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University] believes, and so do I, that only when the Israeli society’s well-heeled strata pay a real price for the continuous occupation, will they finally take genuine steps to put an end to it… The vast majority retains its freedom to be indifferent, up to the moment that someone begs the international community for rescue. Then the voices rise from right and left, the indifference disappears, and violence replaces it: Boycott Israeli universities? This strikes at the holy of holies, academic freedom!

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman should have sent a big bouquet to Donald Bostrom, the Swedish photographer and journalist who wrote the article claiming that the Israel Defense Forces harvested organs from dead Palestinians… It has been a long time since such a propaganda asset has fallen into the hands of the friends of the occupation. It has been a long time since such damage has been caused to people seriously attempting to document its horrors.

“There is so much paranoia from the government, the municipality and the courts about Muslims using this mosque again,” said Nuri al-Uqbi, a 67-year-old Bedouin activist in Beersheva. “It was built with money raised from the local Bedouin and we should have the right to pray in it.”

“They are breaking their silence about the only democracy in the Middle East that has an independent legal system and an investigative press that does not cease dealing with these issues,” Netanyahu told reporters…

IOA Editor: Again, the “Only-Democracy-in-the-Middle-East” cannot deal substantively with challenges to its violent Occupation and Gaza war crimes, such as those coming from the UN, HRW, and other international human-rights organizations. Instead, it tries to silence critical organizations and choke their international NGO funding.

The Palestinian civil society Call for global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, launched in July 2005 by over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and organizations offers an opportunity to join the collective effort for justice for the Palestinian people, based on the successful South African model. It is noteworthy that the Palestinian call for boycott is aimed at institutions rather than an inclusive and personal boycott of Israelis as individuals.

Rather than demand an apology, the Israeli peace camp needs to send Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon a large bouquet of flowers… His statements are straight-from-the-source, first-hand proof of the decisive role the senior military echelon has played in thwarting the peace process.

IOA Editor: True, and very important to recognize. However, what Eldar calls the lack of courage to deal with settlers and fear of “presenting a map which demarcates the state’s permanent borders,” reflect, first and foremost, a lack of commitment to such demarcation.

Historically, right-wing (“Revisionist”) Zionism has viewed Israel’s eastern borders as located somewhere between the Jordan River (“less extreme”) and deep inside Jordan (“more extreme”). So-called “moderate” Labor Zionism, on the other hand, has viewed Israel’s borders with infinite flexibility: initially influenced by the availability of contiguous land and by low Palestinian population density, and ultimately driven by opportunities. For example, the Jordan Valley was first to be included in the future Greater Israel by Labor policy makers, and subsequently settled by Labor-led governments. Future settlements, increasingly deeper in the heartland of the West-Bank, were built as opportunities (often domestic politics) presented themselves – following the old pre-State adage “dunam here and dunam there” (dunam is unit of area approximately equal to 1/4 acre).

The name of this Israeli ethos is “who are you to tell us?” We are destroying Arab East Jerusalem? Who are you to tell us that it is wrong? We killed masses of Palestinians in Gaza? Who are you to tell us anything? We have maintained a brutal dictatorship in the territories for 42 years – longer than any other military occupation of the post-World War II era? Who are you to tell us? We’re allowed. We’re your victims. The past belongs to us. We will do as we please with it.