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


Uri Davis is used to denunciations. A “traitor”, “scum”, “mentally unstable”: those are just some of the condemnations that have been posted in the Israeli blogosphere in recent days. As the first person of Jewish origin to be elected to the Revolutionary Council of the Palestinian Fatah movement, an organisation once dominated by Yasser Arafat, Davis has tapped a deep reserve of Israeli resentment. Some have even called for him to be deported.

A plan for the building of a new settlement, Ma’aleh David, in the middle of an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem was filed for approval by the relevant municipal committee at the Jerusalem Municipality. The plan calls for the construction of 104 housing units on the land where the former headquarters of the Judea and Samaria police was housed in the neighborhood of Ras al-Amud.

Members of the Los Angeles Jewish community have threatened to withhold donations to an Israeli university in protest of an op-ed published by a prominent Israeli academic in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, in which he called to boycott Israel economically, culturally and politically. Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, a veteran peace activist, branded Israel as an apartheid state and said that a boycott was “the only way to save it from itself.”

IOA Editor: Haaretz leaves out the “unless” part of the threat to withhold donations: the firing of Prof. Neve Gordon from his BG University position. Is the “Only Democracy in the Middle East” about to start yet another round of harassment against a professor who dares to stare the Emperor in the eye?

See Neve Gordon: Boycott Israel on the IOA website.

The blatant attack that Ya’alon has been waging ever since he slammed the door by leaving the Israel Defense Forces has shown acute anti-democratic symptoms. Ya’alon has lashed out at the High Court of Justice in particular and the justice system in general, while expressing scandalous support for illegal settlements, making irresponsible accusations against his colleagues and superiors and stating views that are considered illegitimate even in the right wing.

IOA Editor: We continue focusing on Ya’alon because he is a central figure of Israel’s government and, as described by Haaretz, in many ways he is the government.

[Joe] Stork wrote to Haaretz that rather than deal with the content of the report, Yemini chose to “shoot the messenger… The quotes he attributes to me are more than 30 years old. Most of them I do not recognize, and they are contrary to the views I have been expounding for decades now.” Stork wrote. “I have dedicated much of my adult life to the protection of human rights for all and to fighting the idea that civilians can be attacked for political reasons.”

IOA Editor: Israel Harel is a right-wing Israeli commentator, as is Ben Dror Yemini. Joe Stork is the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division. This attack on HRW and its dedicated staff reflects the opinions of many Israelis who reject any outside criticism of IDF behavior and Israeli actions in the occupied territories.

See IOA coverage of the HRW report.

B’Tselem told Haaretz it intends to appeal against the decision to close the case. “The footage of the attack shocked the Israeli public, but nobody was ever brought to trial. This decision joins other cases in a disturbing trend of a lack of law enforcement, signaling to violent settlers that they can do anything they want,” the organization’s comment read.

There ought to be a law

21 August 2009

Currently the fight against [Arab-Jewish] intermarriage is spearheaded by the Yad L’Achim organization . Not long ago its chairman, Rabbi Shalom Dov Lipschitz, wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, warning of “a fundamental failure in the Jewish education and values in the secular education system in Israel.”

IOA Editor: This is traditional racism at its very best: such attitudes – the separation of couples on racial grounds – are well known in European and North American history, and elsewhere. This news story is important because in the “advanced” countries that Israel would like to associate with and be treated as an ally of, such behavior would be rejected, and is generally outlawed. One would think that such blatantly racist practices are not in Israel’s self-interest, yet it involves organizations which benefit from government support, possibly involving high level government officials.

Peace Now secretary general Yariv Oppenheimer said yesterday that Ya’alon’s clarifications were “lip service only.”

IOA Editor: Indeed. Unlike some other Israeli leaders, General Ya’alon is highly educated, analytical, and measured. He is the opposite of a “hot-headed Israeli” who lets his tongue run ahead of himself. His violent language reflects cold and calculated thinking. He also must know that past comments from fellow members of the Israeli extreme-right were followed by violence, including the assassination of PM Rabin. If there was a mistake here, it was in considering that his comments, made in a closed meeting, would be leaked. That he may regret. Or not.

The poll also found that 64 per cent of Palestinians still feel Obama’s policy is more supportive of Israel, while 40 per cent of Israelis think it is more support of the Palestinians.

I am convinced that outside pressure is the only answer. Over the last three decades, Jewish settlers in the occupied territories have dramatically increased their numbers. The myth of the united Jerusalem has led to the creation of an apartheid city where Palestinians aren’t citizens and lack basic services. The Israeli peace camp has gradually dwindled so that today it is almost nonexistent, and Israeli politics are moving more and more to the extreme right.

Ya’alon told the crowd: “I am not afraid of the Americans” adding, “there are moments where we must say ‘we’ve had it up to here’”.

Ya’alon also referred to the Israeli anti-settlement organization Peace Now and the so-called Israeli “elites” as “viruses… causing grave damage to the state of Israel.”

The U.S. State Department on Wednesday criticized Israeli restrictions placed on foreign nationals entering the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge, calling the new regulations ‘unacceptable’.

“We have repeatedly told the Government of Israel that the United States expects that all American citizens to be treated equally, regardless of their national origin or other citizenship,” a statement issued by the State Department said Wednesday.

For 15 years, Sabawi entered and left the country with no problems, as a senior partner in an insurance company and as chairman of a construction company. But in April, he was denied entry at Ben-Gurion International Airport.

IOA Editor: Quite a contrast to Natanyahu’s “economic peace plan” – Israel’s latest propaganda tool used to avert a meaningful dialog with the Palestinians, and to protect the Occupation.

The decision by Fatah’s Sixth Congress that the movement is sticking to negotiations as a means of achieving independence, statehood and peace is an admission that the use of arms during the second intifada was disastrous. That is a difficult admission for a movement founded on the sanctification of the armed struggle. And despite being tacit, it is a brave admission for Fatah at a time when most Palestinians are convinced that Israel does not want peace.

During the entire period of our rule in the territories, we have destroyed the existing leadership, which led to the rise of more extreme leaders. We destroyed the Palestinian Authority and Yasser Arafat, who had agreed to a two-state solution and was capable of “delivering the goods.” And we brought about Hamas’ seizure of the Gaza Strip. Now we are cultivating the third stage: Al-Qaida.

IOA Editor: This Israeli-centric commentary is rare in its honesty as to who is responsible for where the dialog between Israel and the Palestinians is. For Israel, the more extreme and violent the enemy, the easier it is to ‘prove’ the claim that “there is no one to talk to…” Whether this is brought about via an assassination campaign directed at Palestinian moderates (1980s), the derailing of the meaningful negotiations in Madrid by the introduction of Oslo, the settlement program, the violent crushing of the Intifada and the destruction of Palestinian national infrastructure, or the strangulation of and attack on Gaza – it all serves the same purpose: to crush Palestinian nationhood.

A dry and thirsty land

18 August 2009

IOA Editor: Very important coverage of Israeli policies intended to make life impossible for Palestinians in the West Bank – a key part of the greater offensive on the future of Palestine: By taking over land and shutting off access to natural resources, Israel can shut off the future for the Palestinians in Palestine.

The original Hebrew version header of this article read “200 West Bank villages are not connected to a pipe. That’s how Israel is drying out the residents of the PA”.

Ezra Nawi’s Appeal

18 August 2009

UPDATED 18 Aug 2009: Ezra Nawi’s sentencing hearing took place on August 16, 2009, and Jewish Voice for Peace was there with over 20,000 of your signatures. The judge will render her sentence on September 21st, 2009.

“I always knew that many people silently supported me, and that if I ever got into trouble they would stand behind me. This moment has come.”

Join Naomi Klein, Neve Gordon, Noam Chomsky and thousands of others and tell Israel not to jail Ezra Nawi, one of Israel’s most courageous human rights activists. His crime? He tried to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region.

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Monday urged Israel to consider resettling the evacuated West Bank settlement of Homesh, calling it a strategic asset in the face of Palestinian terrorism.

American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, a nonprofit organization that sends millions of shekels worth of donations to Israel every year for clearly political purposes, such as buying Arab properties in East Jerusalem, is registered in the United States as an organization that funds educational institutes in Israel.

Thus the excuses are running out one after another and the naked truth is being revealed: Netanyahu’s promise – “if they give they’ll get, if they don’t give they won’t get” – was based on the assumption that we would continue to be on the receiving end of Palestinian terror, which would release us from the need to allow them to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. If even U.S. President Barack Obama does not ensure that they get what they deserve, we will all get what we deserve.

Loud applause broke out Saturday evening as it was announced that “brother” Dr Uri Davis had been elected to the Fatah movement’s largest governing body. Fatah conference spokesman Fawzi Salamah announced that the Jewish professor, who teaches Judaic studies at Al-Quds University in the West Bank, won 31st place out of 81 new members of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council.

“The new domain will give Arabic-speaking users in the Palestinian Territories, who use Palestinian ISPs, access to Google in Arabic and eventually, access to more locally relevant content,” the company said on its Arabia blog.

IOA Editor: Not surprisingly, we’re not hearing about Google filing a protest with Israel about disallowing the use of its new Palestinian service as a default by East Jerusalem residents.

Israel’s character is it’s own business. It is not up to the Palestinians to define it, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday, when asked about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

He came into office amid much hoopla. The Cairo speech ignited half the globe. Making settlements the top priority gave rise to the hope that, finally, a statesman is sitting in the White House who understands that the root of all evil is the occupation, and that the root of the occupation’s evil is the settlements. From Cairo, it seemed possible to take off. The sky was the limit. Then the administration fell into the trap set by Israel and is showing no signs of recovery.

Forty Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were incarcerated in Israel Prison Service facilities during Operation Cast Lead at the beginning of this year, and 21 are still in prison. That’s a very small number, compared to the many hundreds the Israel Defense Forces arrested in Gaza, and as compared with the hundreds who were transferred for interrogation to various detention facilities in Israel before being released.

Fatah has changed over the years. It started as a resistance movement of well-intended members, mostly students and young professionals in the 1950’s and 60’s. The young leadership was motivated by various factors, chief amongst them were the plight of the refugees, the lack of a truly independent Palestinian leadership and the failure of Arab governments to deliver on their promises to liberate Palestine. Resistance was in fact the core of Fatah’s liberation program.

Yesh Din, Palestinian village council head file petition to High Court of Justice demanding interim order against construction in nearby settlement on what they say is private Palestinian land be halted immediately.

More than two-third of Americans regard Israel as an ally despite recent diplomatic tensions, a nationwide survey conducted by the U.S. polling firm Rasmussen Reports has revealed.

“The Israeli military is stonewalling in the face of evidence that its soldiers killed civilians waving white flags in areas it controlled and where there were no Palestinian fighters. These cases need thorough, independent investigations.”

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch

The doctors of the Israel Medical Association have now been enlisted into the ranks of mouth-shutting patriots. The IMA announced this week that it is severing ties with Physicians for Human Rights. The announcement was preceded by a letter from the IMA chairman, Dr. Yoram Blachar, who also serves as president of the World Medical Association. In it, he states that “the outrageous situation is that PHR’s activity serves as fertile ground for anti-Semitism, anti-Israelism and anti-Zionism.”

Israel has recently been putting up more obstacles for foreign nationals who enter [Israel] if they have family, work, business or academic ties in the West Bank. It now restricts their movements to “the Palestinian Authority only.” The people concerned are citizens of countries that have diplomatic ties with Israel, mainly Western countries.

It is difficult to increase honey production inside Israel. Ongoing urbanization and the destruction of natural forests have resulted in a dearth of land suitable for bee cultivation. The West Bank, by contrast, contains a great deal of relatively virgin land. It is very easy to plant it with vegetation that consumes little water while making the land suitable for bee cultivation

IOA Editor: Now that 100 years of Zionist settlement has greatly destroyed the natural environment in pre-1967 Israel, the reliance on the natural resources of the Occupied Territories is more important than ever. Unfortunately, West Bank-made honey for Israeli consumption is not likely to be boycotted by many.

Naturally, no mentioning of Palestinian beekeepers… On that, see story on West Bank economy

A fierce debate has erupted among senior Israeli politicians over whether the jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti – regarded by some Israelis as an “arch-terrorist” and by others as the only man who can deliver a lasting peace – should be released from prison after his election to Fatah’s key central committee.

“The fact that the Palestinians elected him or that someone here in Israel thinks that he can be a partner is not a sufficient excuse for his release,” Livni said.

IOA Editor: So much for “moderate” Israelis being more open to finding a basis for compromise with Palestinians as equal partners. Yet another ‘missed opportunity’ for the Occupier to reconcile with the Occupied: ‘Missed’ as a direct result of a calculated policy, not an oversight.

Several new delegates speaking Tuesday pointed out the first task that lies before them is rebuilding Palestinian faith in Fatah. The new leadership will proceed carefully to see whether it faces the same corruption accusations as its predecessor. If it avoids such pitfalls, Fatah is very likely to gain support in Gaza and the West Bank.

There is growing support in the [Israeli] cabinet and in the Knesset for the release of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is a top contender to replace Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the future, and who may be the most popular figure on the Palestinian street.