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

April 2010

[O]nly a negotiation in which all of Jerusalem is placed on the table will suffice. This is not only the right thing to do; such a posture is rooted in a solemn U.S. obligation made in the all but forgotten U.S. letter of assurances to the Palestinian delegation… at the outset of the Madrid-Washington-Oslo sequence of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. In it, the U.S. government declared that nothing should be done by either side that would “be prejudicial . . . to the outcome of the negotiations,” notably “unilateral acts that would exacerbate local tensions or make negotiations more difficult or preempt their final outcome.”

Someone has deceived you… Not only may an Arab not build “anywhere,” but he may thank his god if he is not evicted from his home and thrown out onto the street with his family and property. Perhaps you’ve heard about Arab residents in Sheikh Jarrah, having lived there since 1948, who are again being uprooted and made refugees.

IOA Editor: If only Mr. Obama were to “use his clout…” as Sarid, perhaps optimistically, suggests.

Havens Center for the Study of Social Structures and Social Change , Orpheum Theater, Madison WI – 8 April 2010 (Video)

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the implementation of two death sentences in the Gaza Strip this morning. These death sentences were carried out without the ratification of the Palestinian President. PCHR reiterates that the ratification of death sentences is an exclusive right of the President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) under the Code of Criminal Procedures.

The Cost of the Occupation to Israeli Society, Polity and Economy
By Shlomo Swirski, the Adva Center – Updated Nov 2008 (full report)

It was beautiful in Boston… as about 250 invited guests gathered at the Arlington Street Church to celebrate the life of Howard Zinn, who died on January 27. The crowd was full of scholars, writers, editors, actors, poets, activists, neighbors—friends all… [Zinn’s daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn,] told the story of The New York Times calling him up several months before he died and explaining that the paper had a custom of preparing obituaries for people while they were still alive. Without skipping a beat, Howard said: “What’s your deadline?”

It is a reminder to us all that injustice did take place there, and that it is our responsibility to remember that the atrocities and intolerance we see and hear about today had their inception with Deir Yassin. Deir Yassin, which catapulted the Nakba, our catastrophe… Deir Yassin signifies that Palestinians existed and still exist, and we will never give up without a fight.

The [UC Berkeley Student] Senate needed 14 votes to overturn [the] veto, but early this morning, after an epic 10 plus hour meeting, senators found they had only 13 yes votes with one abstention. So the students tabled a vote to overturn the veto. This means the veto stands but can still be overturned later–there will be much continued lobbying and activism in the coming weeks.

“J Street hopes that going forward we are building a relationship based on mutual respect and recognizing that our disagreements are rooted in a deep commitment to Israel’s security and its future as a democracy and the home of the Jewish people…”

IOA Editor: Occupation? What Occupation?

Shlomo Swirski: It can be said that the American administration allowed Israel to conduct its military operations against the Palestinian Authority under highly favorable domestic political conditions. The government was not forced to strain the local capital market or to raise taxes, steps that would have distressed Israel’s more affluent stratum.

Netanyahu’s 1996 government was the first in Israel to use the phrase “Palestinian state.” The government agreed that Palestinians can call whatever fragments of Palestine are left to them “a state” if they like—or they can call them “fried chicken.” … By omission, Obama indicated that he accepts Bush’s “vision”: The vast existing Israeli settlement and infrastructure projects on the West Bank are implicitly “legitimate,” thus ensuring that the phrase “Palestinian state,” referring to the scattered remnants in between, means “fried chicken.”

Jonathan Cook: Haneen Zoubi, an MP who previously headed an Israeli media-monitoring organization, said it was “outrageous” that the suppressed report was still secret so long after the Gaza attack… “There must be at least a strong suspicion that Mr Blau’s article contains vital information, based on military documentation, warning of Israeli army intentions to commit war crimes.”

A survey of the Israeli general public and Israeli settlers taken in early March shows three-fifths of the Israeli public (60%) support “dismantling most of the settlements in the territories as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.” This is eleven points higher than the previous reading (49%) taken in December, 2009, and is the highest level recorded since 2005, during the debate over evacuating the Gaza Strip.

Gaza-born Palestinian living on WB: ‘The Israeli order will destroy our lives. We will live as if we live in a huge prison even if we are not deported to Gaza. No one would dare to leave the city or to go from town to town afraid of the Israeli checkpoints. Who would keep his/her job in this unstable situation’.

More than 200 people took part in a silent protest this afternoon outside Sproul Hall to protest a veto of the UC Berkeley Israel divestment bill which urges the university to withdraw funding from two companies providing military weapons to the Israeli Army.

Some 300 olive trees belonging to Palestinians were uprooted on the night between Monday and Tuesday in groves near the village of Mihmas, close to the illegal outpost of Migron. Mihmas residents blamed settlers for the attack and said this was the third time the settlers had uprooted trees in the area.

If it depended on public opinion, Kamm and Blau would be executed and Haaretz would be shut down on the spot. The general who gave the assassination orders revealed by Kamm and Blau has come out of the affair unscathed, while the journalist and his source are enemies of the people.

IOA Editor: While certain American Liberals – often, self-declared “Left Zionists” – are having a terrible time searching for Israel’s “Jewish Conscience,” and not finding it, Israeli-Jewish conscience remains crystal clear: Execute the traitors and continue with the mission. High walls separate Us from Them; let the military authorities run the Occupation and win the war against Palestine, without the traitors, the Goldstones, and the global Delegitimizers.

Retired chief justice of South Africa Arthur Chaskalson said it was “disgraceful” to put pressure on a grandfather not to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah. “If it is correct that this has the blessing of the leadership of the Jewish community in South Africa, it reflects on them rather than Judge Goldstone. They should hang their heads in shame.”

So if someone says that it offends “the Jews” to oppose the occupation, then you have to consider how many Jews are already against the occupation, and whether you want to be with them or against them. If someone says that “Jews” have one voice on this matter, you might consider whether there is something wrong with imagining Jews as a single force, with one view, undivided. It is not true.

The best way for America to achieve its goals would be to seek a definitive end to Israel’s occupation and other human rights violations; to itself get out of the occupation business with its attendant violations; and, to scale back its global military presence.

Join JVP, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Judith Butler and Israeli peace groups like the Shministim, Gush Shalom, and the Coalition of Women for Peace and help make history at UC Berkeley by sending a letter of support for divestment now.

IOA Editor: Please add your signature to this very important effort in support of DIVESTMENT at UC BERKELEY. DEADLINE: TODAY, Wed, April 14 at 7pm PST

[The British] Advertising Standards Authority rules poster showing Western Wall and Dome of the Rock ‘likely to mislead’. The Israeli Government Tourist Office (IGTO) press ad… featured a range of photos of destinations in Israel including a picture of [East] Jerusalem.

IOA Editor: An ingenious protest frontier! Hurray for UK Regulation! :-)

Never Before Campaign for Palestine: The world is beginning to realize that the Israeli regime and its policies are nothing better than any other, past or present, discriminatory/apartheid regime.

Noam Chomsky: “The evil scourge of terrorism”: reality, construction, remedy – Erich Fromm Lecture 2010 by Noam Chomsky

According to the 2010 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, conducted by the American Jewish Committee, 73 percent of American Jews characterize relations between Israel and the U.S. today as “very positive” or “positive.” In addition to this, 55 percent of American Jews approve of the way the Obama administration is handling U.S.-Israel relations.

I have… criticized Israel for punishing the population of Gaza by imposing a blockade that restricts the flow of food, medicine, and fuel to subsistence levels, or worse. Such a blockade is a flagrant form of collective punishment prohibited by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. I believe that Hamas should be treated as a political actor, that the blockade should be terminated immediately, and that the UN should insist on the end to the blockade as a condition of Israel’s normal participation in the activities of the Organization.

The [US] postponed “until further notice” the appointment of an ambassador to Damascus, Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai Al-Aam said over the weekend… [Hezbollah] is building up its stock of advanced Syrian and Iranian weaponry; Israel has voiced particular concern that the organization might acquire anti-aircraft weaponry that would make it difficult for the Israeli Air Force to fly over Lebanon. [The] arsenal is estimated to contain tens of thousands of rockets capable of reaching nearly any target in Israel. There was a dramatic improvement in the rockets’ range, precision…

IOA Editor: If true, this might reflect an Iranian effort to deter an Israeli attack, with Bashar Assad — repeatedly spurned by Israel — trying a new, and highly risky, approach. Israel, despite the risk of casualties and the lack of apparent domestic or international support, might choose to strike Hezbollah before its recently-delivered advanced weapons become the new reality on the Lebanese front. And, if Israel plans to attack Iran, it will not tolerate a strong Hezbollah, now equipped to do serious, pinpointed-damage to its military and urban centers. Thus, a Third Lebanon War may not be as far off as suggested. Ominous prospects for all, or maybe just a disinformation campaign designed to trick, or to deter someone from doing something. ‘Scud Crisis’ Threatens War between Israel, Hizbullah
Jerusalem Post: Syria snubbed request for talks

Implementing this new military order is not only likely to spark a new conflagration in the territories, it is liable to give the world clear-cut proof that Israel’s aim is a mass deportation of Palestinians from the West Bank.

IOA Editor: Indeed. Is there any reasonable explanation for this move other than ethnic cleansing?

Creative protest or hurtful provocation? Residents of the religious settlement of Otniel were in for an unexpected surprise Saturday after “hosting” a group of 15 leftist activists, including a woman who they say took her clothes off in a residential neighborhood.

IOA Editor: And a lesson in morality from one of Israel’s most hateful, racist politicians.

Amira Hass: A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years. When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.

IOA Editor: “Infiltration,” an Orwellian term invented by the Occupier, is designed to treat certain Palestinians as having no rights to be present at a given area without special permission that is unlikely to be granted by the IDF. Reminiscent of the Present Absentees (internally displaced Palestinians – IDPs), a post-1948 Israeli classification, this, too, is an attempt to segregate and dispose of elements of the Palestinian people that the Occupation authorities wish to remove — based on political, geographic, or any other criteria, however arbitrary. This newly-formalized authority serves as yet another tool at the hands of the IDF in the long-term process of ethnic cleansing — the removal of the Palestinian people from their land — that Israel has been carrying out since 1948.

But this is Israel. Here… there is almost no public sympathy for Kamm or even Blau. The pair are already being described, both by officials and in chat forums and talkback columns, as traitors who should be jailed, disappeared or executed for the crime of endangering the state. The telling comparison being made is to Mordechai Vanunu, the former technician at the Dimona nuclear plant who exposed Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal. Inside Israel, he is universally reviled to this day, having spent nearly two decades in harsh confinement.

UPDATE: Haaretz… revealed that, in a highly unusual move shortly before Israel’s attack on Gaza, it agreed to pull a printed edition after the army demanded at the last minute that one of Mr Blau’s stories not be published. His report had already passed the military censor, which checks that articles do not endanger national security. Lawyers and human rights groups fear that the army and Shin Bet are trying to silence investigative journalists and send a warning to other correspondents not to follow in Mr Blau’s path. (13 April 2010)

MORE in Jonathan Cook’s
Mossad Operation Threatened Against Reporter

Lia Tarachansky interviews Israeli economists Shir Hever and Shlomo Swirski. The OECD finds Israel has the highest poverty rate in the developed world; the economists blame neo-liberal reforms.

Noam Chomsky: I don’t think that the notion of legitimacy of a state means very much. Is the United States a legitimate state? It’s based on genocide; it conquered half of Mexico. What makes it legitimate? The way the international system is set up, states have certain rights; that has nothing to do with their legitimacy. Every state you can think of is based on violence, repression, expulsion, and all sorts of crimes. And the state system itself has no inherent legitimacy. It’s just an institutional form that developed and that was imposed with plenty of violence. The question of legitimacy just doesn’t arise. There is an international order in which it is essentially agreed that states have certain rights, but that provides them with no legitimacy, Israel or anyone else.

IOA Editor: An illuminating exchange between Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar on the important question of the legitimacy of the state, and how it applies to Israel and other nation-states. Presented in the context of the current wave of accusations that critics of the Israeli occupation, and of Israel’s systematic and ongoing violations of international law, are “delegitimizers” — a recently coined term created by Israeli propaganda experts to “delegitimize the delegitimizers.”

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff. Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

IOA Editor:
Clearly, Israeli helicopter crews aren’t the only trigger-happy assassins. Here’s an example of America’s finest, on video, executing Iraqi civilians, including targeting the evacuation of their one visibly helpless, remaining victim who is a threat to no one, and injuring children as well. And then there is a cover up. Sounds familiar? It is. It’s called Murder, Inc. – nowadays a popular school of foreign policy, exercised by the leading World Democracies.

Are Israelis entitled to know that the IDF’s highest ranking officers gave advanced written permission to fire at innocent people during “targeted assassinations?” Isn’t the media’s supreme duty, not only its right, to report this? Are Israel’s citizens entitled to know that IDF commanders approved killing people even when it was possible to apprehend them, in blatant violation of the High Court’s ruling?

In the summer of 1967, Yeshayahu Leibowitz prophesied that Israel’s occupation would corrupt the country and turn it into “a Shin Bet state.” As early as the first intifada, we understood there is no such thing as an enlightened occupation. One nation cannot rule over another for 43 years without behaving cruelly toward the helpless, without executing people without trial, without embittering the lives of women and children, the sick and elderly.

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