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


Unlike the cancellation of Leonard Cohen’s concert in Ramallah, which got a lot of press, the cancellation of conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim’s visit to the West Bank city has been kept almost secret. Both cancellations were spurred by different Palestinian groups which warned against what they described as the normalization with the occupation and with Israel.

The village of Imwas (عِمواس) was one of three villages in the Latroun area (Palestine’s District of al-Ramla) that were occupied by the IDF in June 1967, during Israel’s military conquest of the West Bank in the 6-Day War. Subsequently, the inhabitants of the villages were expelled, and their homes leveled to the ground. Where Imwas stood until 1967, Israel (via the Jewish National Fund) planted the Valley of Springs in Canada Park, a recreation forest which serves the purpose of re-writing the history of Palestine by eradicating its Palestinian past. The two other villages were Bayt Nuba (بيت نوبا) and Yalu (الو). Not one of the several thousands of people who lived there until 1967, and very few traces of their physical presence, remain today.

Information on these three Palestinian villages, and on hundreds of others destroyed by Israel since 1948, can be found at

Born and living in Tamra, Western Galilee. Graduated in Betzalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Graduated Technion, Haifa, Architecture Department.

Two Israel Navy warships made a rare crossing of Egypt’s Suez Canal on Tuesday, heading from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea in a voyage that could be seen as a warning signal to Iran. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the crossings were legitimate in accordance with an agreement between Cairo and Jerusalem.

America’s best Jewish minds are wracking their brains, trying to find a magic formula that will put the settlements close to the hearts of Israel’s supporters, not to mention its critics. A new guide to the perplexed, disseminated by the leadership of the Israel Project, the organization spearheading Israel’s public relations efforts in the United States, offers a glimpse into its very own internal confusion

Ever since the Gaza operation, British MPs and nongovernmental organizations have been trying to persuade London to impose a complete arms embargo on Israel. However, the British government has rejected this demand…

“Future decisions will take into account what has happened in the recent conflict. We do not grant export licenses where there is a clear risk that arms will be used for external aggression or internal repression… We do not believe that the current situation in the Middle East would be improved by imposing an arms embargo on Israel. Israel has the right to defend itself and faces real security threats.”

IOA Editor: Indeed, the British government continues to view Israel as having the right to carry out massive campaigns of destruction against civilian populations, as it did in Gaza, Lebanon, and elsewhere. Such twisted and morally reprehensible positions, along with the very limited nature of the actual steps taken, when evaluated in terms of their impacts, indicate that the “partial embargo” is merely an act of political lip service in the face of growing popular opposition at home to the government’s military support of Israel.

If I were Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas I would be deeply insulted by the negotiations U.S. President Barack Obama is conducting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over building permits in the settlements. Who authorized the Americans – this administration or the previous one – to do business with Palestinian land?

The root of the problem is not the illegality of the settlements and outposts, but the Israeli Jewish worldview that sanctifies inequality. In other words, what is naturally befitting for the Jews ought to be denied the Palestinians… The official talk of two states conceals the prevailing reality of one state, from the river to the sea, a state that embraces the South African ideology of “separate but unequal development of the races.” All on the same strip of land, all under the rule of the same government

Not only is it wrong for Israel to pass a law punishing those who extend aid to refugees, but we must pass a law that amounts to the opposite of this – a law that requires the state to assist refugees and allocates resources to the organizations and individuals that do so.

The outposts are a continuation of the settlements by other means. The sharp distinction Israel makes between them is artificial. Every outpost is established with a direct connection to a mother settlement, with the clear aim of expanding the takeover of the territory and ensuring an Israeli hold on a wider tract of land. Construction in the outposts is integrated into the overall plan of the settlement project and is carried out in parallel to the seizure of lands within and close to the settlements…

Behind every settlement action there is a planning and thinking mind that has access to the state’s database and maps, and help from sympathetic officers serving in key positions in the IDF and the Civil Administration. The story is not in the settlers’ uncontrolled behavior, though there is evidence of this on some of the hilltops, but rather in conscious choices by the state to enforce very little of the law.

IOA Editor: Irrespective of Amos Harel’s assumption that the Obama administration is the enemy of Israel’s settlement project, which has yet to be evidenced by actions, this is an important update report on the status of on-going settlement activities, and on the historically tight relationship between the settler movement, all Israeli governments, and the IDF – a partnership which is a crucial ingredient for the success of Israel’s 42 year old colonial project in the West Bank.

Rydberg slammed the settlements as creating a new reality on the ground in the occupied territories and spawning obstacles… He said the ideology that guides most settlers is based on utter denial of the rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Netanyahu appears to be suffering from confusion and paranoia. He is convinced that the media are after him, that his aides are leaking information against him and that the American administration wants him out of office. Two months after his visit to Washington, he is still finding it difficult to communication normally with the White House. To appreciate the depth of his paranoia, it is enough to hear how he refers to Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, Obama’s senior aides: as “self-hating Jews.”

IOA Editor: This is an alarming report, given the potential destruction Netanyahu can inflict upon the region.

Not just in the courts, but also on the ground, it is hard to see any real indication that the settlement enterprise is headed toward a freeze. Dror Etkes, the man behind the petitions, photographed construction in the outpost of Ali this week.

This is Cynthia McKinney and I’m speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies – and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children. While we were on our way to Gaza the Israelis threatened to fire on our boat, but we did not turn around. The Israelis high-jacked and arrested us because we wanted to give crayons to the children in Gaza. We have been detained, and we want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.

Gideon Levy: Our IDF

6 July 2009

Gideon Levy on the latest IDF hijacking of a Gaza relief boat, and on the IDF as an occupation force and a killing machine.

After years of decline in immigration, Israel is expected this year to absorb 15 percent more new arrivals than last year, thanks in part to 20 flights arriving this summer carrying 5,000 immigrants from North America, France, Great Britain, South Africa and beyond.

The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

A significant change is occurring within the IDF, and it has not yet been sufficiently analyzed. The face of the army, especially the middle ranks, has become more religious over the last decade. It’s not just a matter of counting skullcaps at graduation ceremonies at Training Base 1, where religious soldiers account for 30 percent of infantry officer course graduates. The same process is playing itself out in most of the fighting units. As a result the IDF, and not just its chief rabbi, is speaking with a different, more religious voice.

Housing Minister Ariel Atias… warned against the spread of Arab population into various parts of Israel, saying that preventing this phenomenon was no less than a national responsibility. “I see [it] as a national duty to prevent the spread of a population that, to say the least, does not love the state of Israel,” Atias told a conference of the Israel Bar Association, which focused on a reforming Israel’s Land Administration.

Peace Now plays a very important role in documenting Israel’s on-going international law violations as applied to the misappropriation of lands owned by an occupaied population and land development which causes a change of population in territories under occupation.

Ramallah’s intellectual elite, foreigners and curious spectators gathered last Saturday at the Friends School in Ramallah to hear writer and political activist Naomi Klein lecture to a packed auditorium… She chose to speak in Ramallah about her Jewish roots. “There is a debate among Jews – I’m a Jew by the way,” she said. The debate boils down to the question: “Never again to everyone, or never again to us?… [Some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free card… There is another strain in the Jewish tradition that say,’Never again to anyone.’”

The High Court of Justice on Wednesday ordered the Israel Defense Forces to press stronger charges against a commanding officer over the shooting of a bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainee in the West Bank.

One of the main accomplishments of the Israeli government’s bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip last winter was to inspire new vitality within leftist and peace groups in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice and liberation. This wave of activity has continued after the supposed ceasefire, with demonstrations and direct actions from New York to Los Angeles, Paris, Jaffa, and Tel Aviv. Most noteworthy has been a coming out of sorts of an increasingly large and vocal segment of the Jewish world that is not only opposed to the Israeli government’s wars and military occupations, but critical of Zionism itself.

A West Bank checkpoint managed by a private security company is not allowing Palestinians to pass through with large water bottles and some food items – such as 6 pieces of bread.

The Red Cross released a damning report Monday on the effects of the Israel-led blockade on the Gaza Strip, describing the 2-year-old measure as having trapped the coastal territory’s 1.5 million residentsin despair.

“Gaza neighborhoods particularly hard hit by the Israeli strikes will continue to look like the epicenter of a massive earthquake unless vast quantities of cement, steel and other building materials are allowed into the territory for reconstruction,” the report said.

Ezra Nawi was in his element. Behind the wheel of his well-worn jeep one recent Saturday morning, working two cellphones in Arabic as he bounded through the terraced hills and hardscrabble villages near Hebron, he was greeted warmly by Palestinians near and far.

The Supreme Court now appears to be the settlers’ next illegal outpost. They will get their wish, nothing will stop them. This couldn’t happen in a state of law.

The public committee against torture in Israel released a harsh report on Wednesday, revealing “pain and humiliation” inflicted by the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service, against Palestinian detainees… often constituting torture. In defiance of Israeli law, High Court rulings and international laws and guidelines, detainees in Israel are usually bound in a way that is designed to cause them pain, and not only to prevent them from escaping, the report says.

Activists for Bimkom association, which works for justice and human rights in planning and knows a thing or two about the situation in the territories, have discovered that Barak recently authorized the Civil Administration to submit a plan for the construction of 300 housing units in the unauthorized outpost of Givat Habrecha, near the community of Talmon… The new construction is located around 13 kilometers east of the Green Line, on the “Palestinian” side of the separation barrier.

Entitled “Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace,” the three-day meet features presentations by dozens of speakers, including Palestinian and Israeli scholars.

IOA Editor: So-called “Supporters of Israel” (a misnomer because, invariably, they object to an equitable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian confilct, thus excluding any viable solution) again show their true anti-democratic faces: trying to block an academic conference assessing potential future peace arrangements which they choose not to tolerate. Thus, not for the first time, charges of “anti-Semitism” are leveled. Anyone who experienced the anti-Occupation struggle in the past 42 years is familiar with this dynamic.

[I]nside the occupied Palestinian territories [there] is a shadow state where the only real law is the law of the gun, where land is being taken away from its rightful owners every day, and where the very few who stand up to protest, without violence, like Ezra Nawi, are sent to prison. Bad times generally bring out the worst in most of us.

An important assessment of the realities of the West Bank settlement program, and why the Israeli Occupation is here to stay – unless Israel is forced otherwise.

Haaretz documents the latest abuses of Palestinians by Israeli Border Police at checkpoints. The Israeli military/police soldiers were so pround of their work that the decided to film it and put it on YouTube for the world to see. Haaretz (Hebrew edition) presents six such video clips, each reflecting the fundamental humanity of the victim, and the fundamental indecency and cruelty of the victimizer.

It is important to note that such ugly and unpleasant behavior is just that: ugly and unpleasant. While accurately reflecting the day-to-day abusive aspects of the Occupation, such behavioral aspects are probably among its least important aspects. For 42 years now, the Israeli occupation, in an orchestrated campaign to dispossess an entire people and to physically destroy Palestinian nationhood, has done far, far worse.

It’s true, there is liberty in Israel, but only for us, the Jews. We have a regime that is no less tyrannical than the ayatollahs’ regime: the regime of the officers and the settlers in the territories… When you get a chance, go on Friday to Na’alin or Bil’in and see what happens there. Demonstrators are killed here with similar brutality, but in Iran the crowd is standing up to a tyrannical regime, while here only a handful of brave people stand up to the Border Police, who are firing weapons. Moreover, we hardly write anything about the protest being silenced with bullets. It interests no one, and this, too, is called democracy.

The United States has stepped up pressure on Israel regarding the Gaza Strip: Three weeks ago it sent Jerusalem a diplomatic note officially protesting Gaza policy and demanding a more liberal opening of the border crossings to facilitate reconstruction.

IOA Editor: Clearly, the “stepped up pressure” is not too onerous on Israel: after three weeks, it has yet to result in any meaningful change in Gaza.

American policies in the average Lebanese voter’s mind are not exemplified by Obama’s pious pronouncements in Cairo on June 4th, but by a long record of unrestricted support for Israel’s meddling in internal Lebanese affairs and oppression of Palestinians, as well as American alliance with despotic Arab regimes, the devastation of Iraq, and aggressive interventions further East.