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

January 2010

[T]he move to “purge” east Jerusalem of its Arab residents saddens [MK Mohammed Barakeh] not only on a personal level but also because he feels “there is no peace process, no two-state solution without east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.”

Recent Israeli repression of anti-Occupation activities:

  Israel blocking NGO efforts with tourist visas

  Night Raids and Arrests of West Bank Popular Leaders

  Police arrest CEO of Israeli rights group in Sheikh Jarrah

  Israeli authorities deny American journalist entry

  Israel stages night-time Ramallah raid, arrests activist

  Israel Crushes Local Dissent, Attacks Global Criticism

Amira Hass: Under the cover of the incessant noise from the roads in the Hebron district, an anonymous Arab is perpetrating a serious crime: With a small hammer, he is digging a cistern so he can collect rainwater on his rocky land.

The Amman prosecutor general on Wednesday agreed to open an investigation into a complaint against Israeli politicians over statements suggesting that Jordan become an alternative homeland for Palestinians, activists said.

Israel will maintain a security presence along the eastern border of a future Palestinian state in order to prevent weapons smuggling, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

IOA Editor: This is part of the on-going Israeli snow-job, underway for years now: talking about the borders of the “future Palestinian state” while overwhelming the land of such conceptual state with Jewish settlements and urban neighborhoods thereby assuring that it can never materialize. The “rockets and missiles” excuse is particularly vacuous in that such missiles can be fired into Israel across far greater distances.

[I]n 1948, the Israelis wanted to create a state without Palestinians, and they almost succeeded in driving them out. In 1967, their victory reunited the refugees with those who had remained in Israel. We were scattered, they brought us back together. The Israelis are sowing their own failure by their success. The colonization of Jerusalem and the West Bank, which makes impossible a two-state solution, will force Israel to live with a sizable Arab population and to reconsider its democratic system.

IOA Editor: Sari Nusseibeh has long advocated the Two-State solution. After decades of relentless Israeli colonial settlement in the West Bank, he now sees it as a near-impossibility.

Amira Hass: The Interior Ministry has stopped granting work permits to foreign nationals working in most international nongovernmental organizations operating in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, Haaretz has learned.

IOA Editor: This is part of a broader clamp down on non-violent Occupation-resistance activities in the West Bank that has taken place in the past few months. It includes a systematic campaign to arrest Palestinian and Israeli protesters (e.g., in Bil’in, Ni’ilin, Sheikh Jarrah), to expel or prevent entry to journalists, and now to limit visa and work permits to international aid organizations. All the while, Gaza remains under a tight siege controlled by both Israel and Egypt, with US approval.

The clamp down is now mentioned in mainstream US media. The “only democracy in the Middle East” is finally getting less than favorable press, after it illegally “detained the leader of a leading Israeli human rights group during a vigil against the eviction of Palestinian families whose homes were taken by Jewish settlers.” See AP report in the Washington Post: Israel accused of silencing political protest

The IDF also uses networking sites to its own ends: The army spokesperson’s office makes regular use of Facebook and Twitter, as well as publishing regular blogs. In the last year the military has intensified its online activities in an attempt to broaden its public relations drive to reach young people who increasingly gather information from unofficial sources, rather than traditional news providers.

IOA Editor: The reach and importance of online ‘social networks’ is often underestimated: Facebook, for example, has over 300 million global users. To the IDF, social networks provide a nearly limitless global arena for propaganda dissemination – for example, using what Israel does in Haiti to whitewash what it does in Gaza.

The IOA on Facebook: – ‘fan’ us…

The IOA on Twitter: – follow us.

Keeping culture alive in a conflict zone is a daunting challenge. The Israeli Occupation involves not only the destruction of Palestine as a political entity, but the dissolution of its social and cultural life. Resisting that process and fighting the occupation through creativity is what drives Ahmad al-Bakri and Abdel Merizar, two exceptional and enigmatic young actors from Hebron.

The discovery was made hours after Israel Defense Forces soldiers, ultra-Orthodox Jews, and Israeli settlers were seen entering the cemetery… Israelis are forbidden from entering Awarta, although the IDF occasionally organizes group trips for which it provides security.

MK Ahmad Tibi: “Barak continues to permit the infestation of settlements and surrender to Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu. Barak’s decision will only spur the academic boycott of Israel in the world. The Labor Party proves once again that that it is a barrier to reconciliation between the two nations.”

[A]s far as the Middle East is concerned, Mrs. Merkel has paid scant attention to the miserable living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza as well as Israel’s settlements and detention policies. German legislators and analysts say that of all chancellors of the postwar period, Mrs. Merkel is considered the most pro-Israeli. “The chancellor is particularly close to Israel.”

Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti said on Sunday that returning to negotiations with Israel is not possible until a complete settlement standstill, including in occupied East Jerusalem, is enforced, as well as population growth, during a reception for the European Council. A timeline for negotiations, Barghouti added, must be identified in order to resume talks. “The Israeli government is trying to deceive the world with talks of its settlement freeze while construction is plainly increasing in Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

Sheikh Tamimi further warned that houses in the surround neighborhood are at risk resulting from the Israeli Antiquities Authority working a night and removing dozens of bags with stones from the excavation site south of the mosque.

More on the Jerusalem excavations: Chief Jerusalem digger admits excavation endangers Arab homes

Analysts say it is no surprise that the main effort to restore the relationship is coming from the two militaries, which have formed its bedrock ever since the alliance was formed in the mid-1990s… Israel and Turkey signed more than 20 military agreements in the 1990s. One called for four joint air force training sessions a year in each country. The two navies participated in joint exercises and staff officers collaborated on war-game simulations…

IOA Editor: In addition to being an important Israeli military industries’ customer and a strategic military partner, Turkey also provides the “Northern Route” alternative for an Israeli air-force attack on Iran, which is not mentioned in this WSJ article. See Anthony Cordesman and Abdullah Toukan’s Israeli attack on Iran: A Study of Options and Consequences

“Whereas the bulk of the (Goldstone) report addressed violations by Israel, the occupying power, it also considered violations by Palestinian armed groups and the Palestinian authorities in Gaza and the West Bank… We urge you to immediately take clear and public steps toward holding to account all those who prove to be responsible for the violations detailed in the report”

A few days before Israeli physicians rushed to save the lives of injured Haitians, the authorities at the Erez checkpoint prevented 17 people from passing through in order to get to a Ramallah hospital for urgent corneal transplant surgery… So what if the Goldstone Commission demanded that Israel lift the blockade on the Strip and end the collective punishment of its inhabitants? Only those who hate Israel could use frontier justice against the first country to set up a field hospital in Haiti.

See also: Larry Derfner: The pride and the shame

Amir Nizar Zuabi: “I don’t draw the line between: you’re Israeli, he’s Palestinian, or Muslim or Christian. I draw the line in a different place completely. I draw the line between people who believe that all people were born equal, and hence deserve the same things, same rights, same duties, same everything, and people who say, ‘Yes, but I am more special.’”

Persistent blockades, destruction of [olive] trees, closure of factories and other repressive and punitive measures by Israel in the occupied territories have massacred the Palestinian economy, widened unemployment and poverty, and killed hopes of the young generation of any recovery under Israel.

“The governments have failed to display the reactions that the world’s Muslims expected from them. And this has been a pitiful aspect of the matter,” Erdogan told reporters.

Akiva Eldar: Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told Abbas [in October 2009] that if he did not ask for a deferral of the vote on the critical report on last year’s military operation, Israel would turn the West Bank into a “second Gaza.”

IOA Editor: The “thugs” of Gaza, to quote former Israeli Foreign Minister Livni, don’t seem to hesitate repeating their crimes in the West Bank.

The power to arrest individuals reasonably suspected of war crimes anywhere in the world should they set foot on UK soil is an efficient and necessary resource in the struggle against war crimes, and must not be interfered with.

Also: British MP: Israel and Egypt’s blockade of Gaza is ‘evil’

Ayalon praised Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s policies. “His policy is proving to be effective. We will not allow a situation where every country will kick us. If there will be an attack on Israel, we will leave all options open, including the expulsion of ambassadors.”

IOA Editor: The “only democracy in the Middle East,” and one that cannot stand criticism.

Gideon Levy: Waltz in Batir

16 January 2010

“The Palestinians don’t have a real organization fighting for their rights and they can’t expect others to fight for them… No revolution in history was ever led by a government or a bureaucracy. We’ve became an agency of Israel and of the United States. You can’t lead a revolution and fly to America. Our leaders are too fluid in their views. A revolution requires toughness, not flexibility. In music, you can be flexible, but not when you’re leading a revolution.”

“There is a large variety of international activists here,” he says. “There are those who spend weeks and months in the village and take the political issue seriously, and there are others who, as part of their trip to Israel and Palestine, drop in at Bil’in to see what’s happening. Some of them have a strong political awareness, others come to take pictures.

In the early hours of the morning, dozens of soldiers invaded the village of alMaasara – a site of weekly peaceful demonstrations for over three years – and surrounded the houses of Popular Committee members Mohammed Barjiya and Mahmoud Zwahre. Both Barjiya and Zwahre were warned about that repercussions will follow if they do not stop organizing protests in the village. Zwahre was even threatened that a child may end up dead.

Leftist activists have held weekly demonstrations in Sheikh Jarrah for the past three months, in protest of the eviction of Palestinians from their homes and their replacement with Jewish families.

The increasing isolation of Gaza — and the ratcheting up of pressure — is designed to send a message to Gaza: that Hamas has nothing to gain, and everything to lose, from resisting Israel’s occupation, and that ordinary Gazans should turn their back on the Islamic movement.

Alon Liel, a former director-general of the Israeli foreign ministry and an expert on relations with Turkey, said Mr Ayalon’s treatment of the ambassador had made “Israeli diplomacy look ridiculous.”

IOA Editor: The “thugs” of Gaza, to quote former Israeli Foreign Minister Livni, let their thuggery spill into the diplomatic arena. No wonder they look ridiculous.

A new global movement is challenging Israel’s violations of international law with the same strategies that were used against apartheid

Anyone who carefully reads the debates about the military government in Arab-populated areas in the 1950s and ’60s will see that… security arguments are linked to preventing Arab farmers from entering the land in question… Whatever the nature of the solution, from the Israeli point of view it always entails the removal of Arabs from areas where Jews live.

IOA Editor: A pro-Israel Democratic party activist enumerates the many ways in which president Obama supports Israel and its aggressive policies, including the 42 year long Occupation – no less, and perhaps more, than Republicans. A required reading for those who feel that the recently minted Nobel Laureate is a “Man of Peace.”

We’re at war with the Middle East, with Europe, with liberal Jews in the Diaspora and with a pathetically small handful of dissenters at home. We trust no one. We see anti-Semites everywhere. We’d like to build an Iron Dome over this whole country to keep the world out.

IOA Editor: Mr. Derfner has an interesting, but wholly unfounded, views on the differences between Republicans and Democrats. For a fact-based view on the differences, if any, between the two US parties, as it concerns Israel, see Steve Sheffey: Obama’s First Year: Pro-Israel. Although Derfner is not focusing on the party differences with respect to Israel but more in terms of war, Obama’s treatment of Israel is very much in line with his actions elsewhere – specifically, the two active war he’s currently commanding.

UPDATE: Jared Malsin, chief editor, English Desk, at Ma’an News Agency, and a US citizen, was detained upon arriving at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. He was deported week later, as was his girl-friend, according to The Guardian: Israel deports US journalist.

IOA Editor: Israel, for “security reasons,” cannot accept Palestinian reporting. The US, for reasons it doesn’t care to explain, “does not recognize Ma’an as a news organization.” It seems that both the “world’s leading democracy” and the “only democracy in the Middle East” cannot independent reporting. Israel, following Soviet/Chilean/Iranian (pick your favorite dictatorship) tradition, decided to ban the journalist. And his girl-friend.

UPDATE: Guardian reports Israel deports US journalist.

This new arrangement makes an already problematic situation even worse. Those same lands that the state expropriated from Arabs in the past for “public use,” and which were then added to the vast land reserves it controls, are now being privatized, meaning they are being sold to the highest bidder. As long as he’s a Jew, of course. Granted, you won’t find a sign anywhere saying “no entry for Arabs,” but aside from that, all the rules of the Wild West are in force.

IOA Editor: This is one of the most important issues in Israel today, defining the very nature of the nominally “Jewish and democratic” state. Excluding Palestinians who are Israeli citizens from land ownership has been the foundation of Israeli-statehood from 1948. (Much has been written on the subject, starting with Sabri Jiryis’ The Arabs in Israel, 1966.) This current twist is designed to continue the practice, which is anchored in a complex web of laws that are updated as circumstances change, and in order to circumvent Israeli Supreme Court rulings that threaten to undo the old order. The bottom line: the state legally bars its Palestinian Arab population – 25% of Israel’s total – from buying land in the ‘free market,’ demonstrating again that it is neither Jewish nor democratic – and how evil this very concept is.

Israel is developing an army of robotic fighting machines that offers a window onto the potential future of warfare… In 10 to 15 years, one-third of Israel’s military machines will be unmanned, predicts Giora Katz, vice president of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., one of Israel’s leading weapons manufacturers.

IOA Editor: As covered in detail by Amira Hass and others, Israeli high technology warfare plays a lead role in spying on and killing Palestinians, most recently in Gaza, a development zone for Israel’s military industries. This will undoubtedly continue – paid for generously by the US, and by Third World client regimes – as Israelis are increasingly intolerant of death of their own, while they readily accept the death of thousands of innocent Palestinians.

Israeli soldiers raided the Ramallah home of Eva Nováková tonight at 3 am near the Manara square. The operation to apprehend Nováková, the ISM’s new media coordinator since three weeks ago, was carried out by a force of both soldiers and members of the “Oz” immigration police unit. Eva was subsequently deported, forced on a plane back to Prague the next morning.

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