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


On Sunday, 23 May 2010, Ta’ayush activist Ezra Nawi will be jailed for a month for his protest against house demolitions in the Palestinian village of Um al-Chir (see video of action). As openly stated by his judge, the sentence is meant to deter him and others from such actions of protest. On the same day, Ta’ayush will hold a protest in support of Nawi in Jerusalem.

Dershowitz accused anarchist Jewish linguist Noam Chomsky of creating a hostile atmosphere among many groups in the United States and in its academic campuses. They are creating a narrative which always presents Israel as a Nazi occupier, he said, while shutting their eyes to facts contradicting those same claims, like the ties between Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during World War II.

IOA Editor: At no time did Noam Chomsky refer to Israel as a “Nazi occupier.” As the record amply shows, “Israeli occupier” is sufficiently cruel. Linking the Jerusalem Mufti to Hitler does not logically contradict any characterization of the Israeli occupation. On the Mufti-Hitler issue, see Gilbert Achcar: Israel’s Propaganda War – Blame the Grand Mufti.

Dershowitz’ desperately warped arguments are interesting: “legal terror,” for example. As a prominent lawyer, one would expect him to appreciate that “terrorism” is generally understood to mean “violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal… and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians)” (Wikipedia). This definition is sufficiently broad to cover both the bombing of Gaza residential neighborhoods and the blowing up of Tel Aviv buses. On the other hand, legal challenges, unpleasant as they might be to the receiving party, are designed to be countered and resolved, in a civilized manner, in a court of law – something which an army of Israeli lawyers, and international supporters like Dershowitz, are working hard to block.

On “Delegitimization:” Conveniently, Israel’s ‘supporters’ equate criticism of Israeli actions — mostly, directly connected to the Occupation, and the Occupation itself — with denial of its right to exist. This is an old Hasbara trick: You criticize us, you’re really saying Israel has no right to exist. Left out of the discussion is “The right to exist as what?” As an occupying state? An Apartheid state? The term “delegitimization” is actually turned on its head: It is the Israelis who are attempting to delegitimize their critics by calling them “delegitimizers,” trying to blur the distinctions between “delegitimizers” and anti-Semites, consistent with old Israeli propaganda practices: If you criticize us, you’re either an anti-Semite — and Dershowitz’ reference to Nazism is designed to do just that — or you’re a sick, “self-hating” Jew. Chomsky, Finkelstein, and this writer, born to Jewish mothers, must be the latter.

For more on the important question of legitimacy of the state, and how it applies to Israel and other nation-states, see Noam Chomsky, Gilbert Achcar: On the Legitimacy of the State. More on “Delegitimization

The commotion over the PA’s economic campaign against the settlements indicates, more than anything else, how the colonialist mindset has been branded into Israeli consciousness. The protests over the threatened loss of the hewers of wood and drawers of water shows how hard it is to shake off the master-servant attitudes that have taken root over the last 43 years.

The military censor on Monday lifted a gag order on news that two Israeli Arab political activists were arrested last week on charges of spying and contact with a foreign agent from Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Omar Sayid, a member of the Balad movement, and Amir Makhoul, director general of the charity Ittijah (Union of Arab Community-Based Associations) were detained by the Shin Bet security service and police anti-terror squads.

IOA Editor: “The Only Democracy in the Middle East” has a convenient way of dealing with non-violent opposition: Putting it away.

[W]ork has recently begun for the construction of 14 housing units in an old Israel Police station in East Jerusalem, where plans are in the works for the largest Jewish neighborhood in that part of the city… When the two neighborhoods are completed and linked, a Jewish settlement of more than 1,000 people will be situated in the heart of Ras al-Amud, a neighborhood comprising 14,000 Palestinians.

War and Peace Index survey shows 48% of Israelis believe US president managing relations with Israel poorly or very poorly, but clear majority defines ties between the two countries as very good or good; UK seen as less friendly than in the past

Who says Jewish humor has disappeared from Israel? Who says that even the state’s shadowiest organizations don’t enjoy occasional moments of levity, in between carrying out assassinations and foiling conspiracies? Israel’s ongoing fascistization, isolation, nationalism and militarism don’t make for much comic relief.

Seven years after the American activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, evidence has emerged which appears to implicate Israel’s Gaza commander at the time, in an attempt to obstruct the official investigation into her death.

A rational country would have done the arithmetic long ago and understood that by continuing to hold on to the Golan Heights, the chances of a confrontation would simply grow.

After 18 months with no direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, so-called proximity talks between intermediaries, rather than face-to-face meetings between the direct parties, are scheduled to begin this week. An announcement is anticipated shortly. These shuttle deliberations are expected to continue for four months with Arab League backing. They hold little hope.

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.