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

June 2010

The dire situation in Gaza cannot be resolved by providing humanitarian aid. The closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is about to enter its fourth year, choking off any real possibility of economic development. Gazans continue to suffer from unemployment, poverty and warfare, while the quality of Gaza’s health care system has reached an all-time low. The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.

A number of local supermarket chains are taking a political stand: They have decided to boycott products manufactured in Turkey.

IOA Editor: Israel can boycott the world, but won’t tolerate the world boycotting it.

Rashid Khalidi: “Our efforts to insure that the competent UN authorities fully address this issue will continue, and we intend to keep the campaign on the international agenda until Israel and the Simon Wiesenthal Center desist from this project that has desecrated an important Muslim and Palestinian cultural heritage site.”

If a people who so recently experienced such unspeakable inhumanities cannot understand the injustice and suffering its territorial ambitions are inflicting, what hope is there for the rest of us?

IOA Editor: While Israel’s morality (inherent, past, other?) is a figment of Siegman’s imagination, this is an important article in that it makes a powerful connection between the Holocaust and Israel’s Occupation and Gaza crimes.

A confidential Israeli source informs (and AP confirms) that the real reason [for Barak’s trip cancellation was that Palestinian activists in France had filed legal complaints against him over his involvement in the flotilla affair. He was afraid he might be arrested.

If a real Commission of Inquiry had been set up (instead of the pathetic excuse for a commission), here are some of the questions it should have addressed.

Mainstream politicians, civic leaders, university presidents and others in this country routinely express their support for Israel as a Jewish state, despite the fact that such a state only could have been created in a multicultural land by ethnically cleansing it of as many non-Jews as possible. Today, Israel is only able to maintain its Jewish identity because it has established an apartheid regime, both in the occupied territories and within its own borders, and because it continues to reject the Palestinian right of return.

The very idea that pacifist, feminist, Jewish, and Christian organizations like CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the American Friends Service Committee would ally with a violent, misogynist, Islamic group like Hamas — much less any group that engages in terrorism — should be recognized as absurd on face value. When prominent Democrats — including the head of the House subcommittee on terrorism — imply that leading American and Israeli peace groups are linked to terrorism, it is no longer simply heated rhetoric in defense of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, but a dangerous attack on civil liberties.

Senior Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist: “They call this an archaeological excavation but it’s really a clearing-out, an erasure of the Muslim past. It is actually Jews against Arabs.” Jonathan Cook reports.

In response to a lawsuit by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group, the Israeli government explained the blockade as an exercise of the right of economic warfare.

Noam Chomsky talks about US and Israeli aggression in Lebanon and the Middle East, criticizing Obama’s right-wing policies, war making, medical care, coziness with commercial interests. He warns of the coming war in Kandahar and Israel’s possible attack on Iran that could go nuclear.

A recently declassified federal report bolsters a long-simmering Cold War theory that uranium was illegally shipped from an Armstrong County plant in 1965 to Israel to support its nuclear arms efforts… The FBI and CIA blocked efforts to release the GAO report in 1978, the report states. Even today, portions were blacked out for security reasons.

Public prosecutors in Germany are looking into a war crimes complaint filed against Israel by two members of parliament with the far-left Left Party and a human rights activist who were on board the Mavi Marmara when Israeli troops stormed it 11 days ago.

[Emily] Henochowicz became critical of Israel in the spring, after accompanying a friend to a demonstration in East Jerusalem against the eviction of Palestinian families. Very quickly, she began participating regularly in protests against Israeli policies, especially the expansion of Jewish settlements on the West Bank. … The dangers caught up with her on May 31. During a demonstration at the West Bank checkpoint at Qalandia, Henochowicz was struck in the face by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli security forces. She lost her left eye, and her jaw and cheekbone were fractured.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi has appointed Maj-Gen (ret.) Giora Eiland to head “external inquest into deadly raid of Gaza flotilla”. Gen. Eiland is the main author of the Dahiya Doctrine of “disproportionate response”, which calls for “the wholesale destruction of the military, government and civilian infrastructure of the enemy entity”.

Will Palestinian soon pay price for boycott? A new bill submitted by 25 Knesset members Wednesday would see money slated for transfer to the Palestinian Authority used to compensate Israelis hurt by the PA’s settlement boycott… According to the bill, Israeli citizens must not initiate, encourage, or aid a boycott against the State of Israel. Anyone who violates the order will be forced to pay compensation to those undermined by the embargo.

MK Haneen Zoabi (BALAD) faces death threats as the Israeli Knesset House Committee votes to revoke her parliamentary privileges for participating in the Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla and protesting against the blockade.

Like other states, Israel has the right of self-defense. But did Israel have the right to use force in Gaza in the name of self-defense? International law, including the U.N. Charter, is unambiguous: A nation has such a right only if it has exhausted peaceful means. In this case such means were not even tried, although—or perhaps because—there was every reason to suppose that they would succeed. Thus the invasion was sheer criminal aggression, and the same is true of Israel’s resorting to force against the flotilla.

As [Istanbul] hosted the third summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), it was clear that Israel, at the receiving end of global condemnation for last week’s attack on an aid ship trying to sail to the Gaza Strip, faced further isolation for its “brazen act” that killed nine peace activists.

What serves the goal of separating Gaza from the West Bank better than forgetting the sealed Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel, and focusing on Rafah and cement? Unintentionally, the runners of the maritime and media blockade focused attention on aspects that do not undermine the essence of Israel’s closure of Gaza. And that essence is denying the right and thwarting the will of Gazans to be an active, permanent and natural part of Palestinian society.

IOA Editor: As always, one can count on Amira Hass to place current events in the context of Israel’s 43-year long Occupation, and the Occupier’s long-term interests which drive Israel’s actions. Important as the focus on the Flotilla is, viewing it in the context of the Gaza Siege and Israel’s designs to separate Gaza from Palestine is far more important.

The report, published by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam), said activists who attacked commandos with clubs and knives were supported by the Turkish government. Malam is privately run but is widely seen as an unofficial branch of Israel’s intelligence community.

IOA Editor: Even if this “probe” were to be taken entirely seriously – it should not, because it was conducted by a shell organization that is a mouthpiece of the Israeli security services – it does not relieve Israel of the responsibility for its Gaza war-crimes, and international law and maritime law violations.

UPDATE: Max Blumenthal’s Nailed Again: IDF Description of Suspicious Photo It Distributed Is Retracted

Israelis are engaged in a Kafkaesque conversation in which the military attack on the civilian ships is characterised as a legitimate “act of self-defence”, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it, and the killing of nine aid activists is transformed into an attempted “lynching of our soldiers” by terrorists.

One of this country’s most important and courageous journalists said something terribly wrong, was massively criticized, apologized for it, and was forced into retirement. Exactly the way it should be, right? Wrong. It’s hard to even chart out the hypocrisy of the whole affair.

Hanin Zoabi was aboard the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the flotilla where all nine activists were killed, and she witnessed some of them bleed to death. When she returned to Israel to speak in the Knesset, she was verbally assaulted by parliament members for her participation in the flotilla.

Although Israel successfully controlled news of its deadly commando raid on the Freedom Flotilla during the first crucial 48 hours of media coverage, emerging evidence from witnesses and survivors is challenging the Israeli government’s version of events.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of U.S. voters believe pro-Palestinian activists on the Gaza-bound aid ships raided by Israeli forces are to blame for the deaths that resulted in the high-profile incident.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 19% of voters think the Israelis are to blame. Thirty-two percent (32%) more are not sure.

According to website of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Fahima converted to Islam in a mosque in Umm al-Fahm; Fahima served three years in prison for aiding the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade.

IOA Editor:The Hebrew version of this story which, for domestic Israeli consumption, is entitled “Extreme Left-wing Activist…” states that Fahima served two years in Israeli prison. Interestingly, the more-detailed original Hebrew story leaves out the gossip about her “reported” affair with Zubeidil – and this is probably as gossipy an IOA story as you’d ever find, or so we hope.

The American stores [in Israel] hold rockets, bombs, aircraft ammunition and armored vehicles, along with other weapons. The gear fully matches equipment already used by the Israel Defense Forces and is cataloged upon arrival to ensure quick and easy access at a time of need, pending permission from the United States. The American move has a dual purpose: bringing military equipment closer to areas in which Americans might need to fight, and assisting the U.S. ally should the need arise.

Jonathan Cook: In addition to the removal of Ms Zoubi’s [Knesset] privileges, she is also facing the revocation of her citizenship. The measure has been used only twice before in Israel’s history — both times against Palestinian citizens accused of terrorism.

[Haneen Zoabi] stated that the Knesset committee has taken decisions in retaliation against her, and virtually every Knesset Member is calling for more extreme measures, including calls for her dismissal from the Knesset, to revoke her citizenship, to expel her from the country, and imprisonment. Thus, these MKs consider the committee’s decisions to be just a first step of more punitive measures to come. “Our response will be to defy them. We will continue on our path of upholding human values and human rights, calling for equality, justice and the end of occupation and racism despite all their incitement and threats.”

Knesset members toasting for the Israeli navy commandos (“Shayetet 13″) and for their parliamentary success, after a committee voted in favor of recommending the removal of MK Zoabi’s Knesset privileges in response to her participation in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

IOA Editor: If the scene depicted in video strikes you as a cruel anti-Semitic joke, rest assured you’re not the only one. Except that it is neither a joke nor is it funny. And, yes, it’s plenty anti-Semitic – in that it is entirely, pointedly, and directly anti-Arab.

The real, unlike the declared, strategy is to continue this state of affairs. As long as the international community is complacent, the Arab world impotent and Gaza contained, Israel can still have a thriving economy and an electorate that regards the dominance of the army in its life, the continued conflict and the oppression of the Palestinians as the exclusive past, the present and future reality of life in Israel.

Decision to strip Balad MK Hanin Zuabi of privileges over Gaza flotilla participation passed by a majority of seven to one. Zuabi: We are victims of a witch hunt.

IOA Editor: First the Flotilla massacre; then the massive propaganda campaign filled with lies, and more lies, and then some more lies; then the attempted explanations, and the retractions; then the racist joking about murder and starvation, followed by more retractions, and now an official Israel government apology. What do you know… Aren’t we all thankful to the Israeli government for clearing it up?

And to think that all of this is supported and financed by hard-earned US tax-dollars and by tax-deductible contributions… under the presidency of a Nobel (Peace!) Laureate who has yet to criticize Israel for carrying out all these actions that his administration, like all previous ones, is so very generously financing. Not a pretty picture, any way you look at it.

On the other hand, kinder and better people decided to vote with their feet this week, to show their disapproval of Israeli actions: the Occupation, the Gaza Siege, the attack of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

They include: Best-selling authors Alice Walker and Iain Banks [and Henning Mankell] who have backed the boycott campaign; three international performance groups that canceled their scheduled Tel Aviv appearances; Dockworker unions in Sweden and South Africa who refused to handle Israeli ships;
a UK union that passed a motion to boycott Israeli companies.

Now, this is Hope, this is Change!

UPDATE: Max Blumenthal’s Nailed Again: IDF Description of Suspicious Photo It Distributed Is Retracted

An example of racist, hateful Israeli propaganda widely distributed after Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

A Swedish activist, Soren Johanssen who was reportedly standing near Henochowicz, was quoted as saying: “They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession. One landed on either side of Emily, then the third one hit her in the face.” Another protester, Jonathan Pollak, was quoted as saying that Border Policemen had intentionally aimed at the demonstrators.

IOA Editor: The extent of the demand made by the US embassy remains to be seen, especially since Israel Foreign Ministry says “We have not received an official request from the Americans on this matter.”

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