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

May 2010

Senior academics from Tel Aviv University, Weizmann Institute, and other top institutions around world denounce Boston Science Museum’s sponsorship of Israeli exhibit, calling it propaganda campaign. ‘This is an attempt to distract from Israel’s war crimes and human rights violations,’ they say.

Amira Hass: The Defense Ministry is refusing – on security grounds, it says – to reveal why Israel prohibits the import into the Gaza Strip of items such as cilantro, sage, jam, chocolate, french fries, dried fruit, fabrics, notebooks empty flowerpots and toys, while allowing cinnamon, plastic buckets and combs.

“The most important task for us, expatriate Israeli dissidents, is educational – in the broad sense of the word. When I first came to the UK, not only general public opinion, but even much of the radical left, was very sympathetic to Israel. We had a tremendous job educating the left on the true nature of Zionism as a colonizing project and Israel as an expansionist settler state.”

Israel is intimidating [us] because we are reasserting our community’s stake in the Palestinian struggle. Twenty years ago few considered the Palestinians in Israel as a part of the Palestinian people or the Palestinian cause. During the Oslo process of the 1990s, we were considered an internal problem for Israel to deal with, but our networking, advocacy and lobbying has changed this. Israel is increasingly repressing us to divide Palestinians from each other and isolate us from the outside world.

IOA Editor: See also Ittijah General Director Ameer Makhoul Arrested by Israeli Authorities

The IOA sat with Professor Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, to discuss US-Israel relations, The Obama Administration’s Middle East policies, and effective strategy and tactics for those fighting for justice for the Palestinians.

John Ging, head of the United Nation’s Relief and Work Agency “UNRWA”, demanded the international community to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip through the provision of a sea route and sending ships to break the siege… “We recommend the world to send ships to the shores of Gaza, and we believe that Israel would not stop these vessels because the sea is open…”

An MIT grad student has introduced a new internet platform to help activists deepen and expand their campaigns to boycott products made in Israeli settlements. The website, Boycott Toolkit, is a resource where users can generate lists of specific products and companies targeted for boycotts. Right now the site lists wines, food products, and cosmetics made in settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

Irish Senators and Members of Parliament are leading the way in explicitly calling on the Irish government to VETO Israel’s membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an exclusive club of 30 of the richest industrialized states.

This morning at 3:10 a.m. [6 May 2010], Israeli Security Agency (ISA) agents accompanied by Israeli police raided Ameer Makhoul’s family home in Haifa and arrested him. Mr. Makhoul is a human rights defender and serves as the general director of Ittijah – The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations and as the Chairman of the Public Committee for the Defense of Political Freedom in the framework of the High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel.

IOA Editor: See also Ameer Makhoul: Israel’s repression of its Palestinian citizens unites us in struggle

UPDATE: Welcome, again, to the many new readers from “The Only Democracy in the Middle East” who cannot read this story in local media due to Israeli censorship — yet another Shin-Bet-initiated, court-approved gag order. Please come back to read more about the Occupation and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and all matters the Israeli government tries to prevent you from knowing. (9 May 2010)

The anti-missile systems currently operating in Israel do not provide the country with sufficient protection against surface to surface missiles and rockets, according to the chief of the Israel Air Force’s air defense network… The M-600s, which are manufactured on standard assembly lines in Syria, have a 300-kilometer range, can carry a warhead weighing up to half a ton (including unconventional warheads) and… can be prepared for launch quickly. Most worrisome is the fact that they are more precise than other weapons in the Hezbollah arsenal.

IOA Editor: A peace agreement with Syria could have resolved all this. President Assad has been relentlessly pushing for it while Israel steadfastly rejecting it: Clearly, for Israel, a piece of Syria is more important than Peace with Syria. Expect a military blowup.

Job interviews for the position of imam at mosques in Israel are conducted not by senior clerics but by the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, a labour tribunal has revealed. Sheikh Ahmed Abu Ajwa, 36, is fighting the Shin Bet’s refusal to approve his appointment as an imam in a case that has lifted the lid on Israel’s secret surveillance of the country’s Islamic leaders.

Prado, director of the International Clown Festival in Galicia… planned to go to Ramallah to help organize a festival but was taken aside by a Shin Bet officer [for questioning] about his connections to various Palestinian organizations… After Prado returned to Madrid he launched a media campaign denouncing Israel and comparing the situation of Palestinians in the West Bank with Jews in Poland.

Survey conducted in 28 countries on 29,000 respondents reveals that only Iran, Pakistan, North Korea have more negative perception than Israel. Most ‘loved’ country is Germany. ‘Obama effect’ has resulted in improvement in relations towards US for first time since 2005. The poll shows that just 19% of the 29,000 respondents questioned view Israel positively versus 50% who perceive the country in a negative light.

There are not many Jews like Wiesel, to whom the White House door is open and the president lends an ear. And what does Wiesel do with this golden opportunity? He talks to Obama about postponing discussions on Jerusalem. Not about the need for an end to the occupation, not about the opportunity to establish a just peace (and a just Israel ), not about the outrageous injustice to the Palestinians. Only perpetuating the occupation.

Even if not one more Jewish home is built in the occupied territories ‏(including East Jerusalem‏), the enormous apparatus of domination continues to operate there with an inner logic of many years’ duration. It moves along by itself, like some huge aircraft without a pilot.

The northern branch of the Islamic Movement [in Israel-Palestine] on Wednesday joined Arab states and the Palestinian Authority and called for a boycott of settlement goods. The call was directed at both Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, and the main justification was that the settlements undermine the peace process.

The Kibbutz Movement is encouraging demobilized soldiers to join settlements in the Jordan Valley, according to a document distributed by the organization’s special task force on settlement last month.

In the summer of 2000, preeminent scholar Edward Said sparked what became conventionally known as a “controversy” when he was photographed hurling a small stone into the no-man’s land between Lebanon and Israel… The stone-throwing fracas created by the ADL and other groups was the first salvo in a series of Mideast-related convulsions at American universities, and particularly at Columbia, where Said had attained the vaunted rank of University Professor. The latest iteration of this saga concerns one of Said’s students, Prof. Joseph Massad, who is labeled “controversial,” perhaps as frequently as any contemporary American scholar.

“Iran is perceived as a threat because they did not obey the orders of the United States. Militarily this threat is irrelevant. This country has not behaved aggressively beyond its borders for centuries. Israel invaded Lebanon with the blessing and help of the US five times in thirty years. Iran has not done anything like this.”

An interview with Israeli socialist activist Tikva Honig-Parnass who fought in 1948 War as a Zionist. Years later she would break with Zionism and join the ranks of the Matzpen, a Marxist anti-Zionist group that was active in Israel during the 1960s and 1970s. Matzpen called for the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a regional framework that would involve the unification of the Arab East under a socialist and democratic banner, while also granting Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews equal national rights.

“Economic, political, cultural and institutional normalization legitimize Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people by giving the appearance of normalcy to the relationship between oppressor and oppressed. This relationship is hardly one between equals as Israel continues to violate our inalienable rights, steal our land, and prevent refugees from our right of return in contravention of international law and numerous UN resolutions.”

Instead of defending democracy, the sponsors of this bill prefer to reduce it to ashes. This bill is the direct result of irresponsible leadership that is doing all it can to undermine democratic values and the institutions that are the backbone of a democracy: the Supreme Court, a free press, and human rights organizations. A public sphere without these institutions operating independently of the government is a public sphere that is crippled and anti-democratic at its core.

We WON today before the vote, because our battle was against hegemony and double talk, we won because there are 1000 people here who are learning a new thing about the conflict and about the crimes of the Israeli army, we won because our goal was to shed light on the suffering of the Palestinian people under the Israeli industrial complex and that is exactly what we did today.

It happened in London last December: Police officers raided a hotel in the British capital to arrest Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. Luckily for her, she was not even in the city. The details of the dramatic affair… could have sparked a wide-scale diplomatic incident and possibly put Israel and Britain’s relations in danger.

Amira Hass: Some settlers are employing a new strategy to get Palestinians evicted from their land in the northern region of the Jordan Valley: set[ting] up a “protest” tent next to a tent belonging to Bedouin herdsmen near Wad el Maleh, on private Palestinian land. [The result:] both the Israelis and Palestinians there were handed decrees declaring the area a closed military zone.

In a cruel historical twist, nearly all of the Palestinians evicted from their homes in Sheik Jarrah in the last year-and-a-half were originally expelled in 1948 from their homes in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Talbieh. In the wake of the Six-Day War, Israeli courts ruled that some of the houses these Palestinian refugees have lived in since 1948 are actually legally owned by Jewish Israelis, who have claims dating from before Israel’s founding.

[C]orruption on the hill in West Jerusalem is nothing compared to the theft of land, identity rape, and the body of lies and criminal discrimination against 270,000 residents of the eastern part of the city. Although these despicable acts have been going on in broad daylight for years, the public and the media don’t find them interesting. After all, it’s about Arabs.

Attorney Shatz: “We are pleased that the state has finally admitted that it is the authority in Area A, as if the Oslo Accords have disappeared, and that the ‘bantustan’ known as the Palestinian Authority has no significance. This straightforward position will certainly interest the U.S. secretary of state, in light of the start of proximity talks.”

Cairo – Egyptian opposition groups on Sunday called for arresting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on “war crimes” when he visits Egypt this week. Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Kifaya (Enough) coalition, along with a number of independent politicians filed a report to state prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud demanding the immediate arrest of Netanyahu when he arrives in Egypt Monday for talks with President Hosny Mubarak.

There isn’t any place in the world where apartheid is so systematic as it is today in Palestine… You are talking about a situation where we the Palestinians are prevented from using all our main roads because they are exclusive for Israelis and Israeli Army and Israeli settlers. This did not happen even during the segregation time in the [United] States… But here you can’t use the same road even. I am an elected Member of Parliament… And since five years I am prevented, like 98 percent of the Palestinians, from entering Jerusalem.

A new leftist European Jewish group, JCall, has written a letter to be delivered Sunday to the European Parliament calling for a cessation of what it calls systematic support for Israeli government decisions… The letter calls occupation and settlements “morally and politically wrong,” noting that they “feed the unacceptable delegitimization process that Israel currently faces abroad.”

Many of Israel’s critics blame an “Israel lobby” for the near-total complicity of the US in Israeli annexation, colonization and cleansing programs in the occupied West Bank… Years after Noam Chomsky, Stephen Zunes, Walter Russell Mead published their critiques of the Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer “Israel lobby” thesis, many of the sharpest critics of Israel continue to attribute US foreign policy in the Middle East to the influence of the lobby. Given the prevalence of the Israel lobby argument, and the latest diplomatic confrontation between the US and Israel, it is important to revisit the flaws in the thesis, and properly attribute US behavior to the large concentrations of domestic political and economic power that truly drive US policy.

IOA Editor: The question: Noam Chomsky or Stephen Walt/John Mearsheimer? Very important!

Noam Chomsky: A Middle East Peace That Could Happen (But Won’t)
John Mearsheimer: “The Future of Palestine – Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners”

A new law tabled on Wednesday in the Israeli Knesset, seeks to forbid registration of Israeli organizations (NGOs) that are suspected of provision of information or involvement in law suits against Israeli officials or commanders for breaches of International Humanitarian Law, or war crimes.

“The [Israeli] enlightened camp” is busy with the endless theatrical performance of their moral difficulties, whose real purpose is to create a barrier between them and all those actions for which they refuse to take responsibility. Thus, when the order arrives, the leftist climbs into the tank without a second thought, but later he will do an anguished film about it for the Cannes festival. Thus the obsessive persecution of settlers. Thus Tel Aviv behaves as if it were a Mediterranean suburb of London while in a spitting distance from it eastward and southward lies an immense jail holding millions of people without rights for over half a century.

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