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


Asad Ghanem: “The core of the negotiations for Abbas is about ending the occupation, but he has progressively conceded to Israel its very narrow definition of what constitutes occupied land. The rights of the refugees and other Palestinians to be included in the Palestinian nation now exist chiefly at the level of rhetoric.”

Matan Cohen, Israeli who disrupted PM’s speech: We were raised on human rights. Youngster who heckled Netanyahu during GA address in New Orleans says US Jews distancing themselves from community due to “expectation of blind loyalty to Israel.”

IOA Editor: “Raised on human rights” is well intentioned, and an understandable comment when facing the likes of Netanyahu and Lieberman, but it is misleading. Although plenty of individual Israeli (Jewish) families raised their children “on human rights,” Labor Zionism was racist from the very start but, unlike today, mostly below the surface: instituting land laws designed to deprive Arab citizens of most natural and national resources; putting activists under administrative detention without trial, and much more.

Now things are far more out in the open: raiding people’s homes in the middle of the night and putting them away — via trials without the standard rules of evidence that would be required in the West (e.g., most recently, Ameer Makhoul); the ability to legally exclude any Arab citizen from living in much of Israel that is, in effect, designated as Jewish-only; and an “informal,” but well organized and sanctioned by “Higher Authority,” terror campaign against renting to Palestinians when they venture into Jewish towns (even when those had been mostly-Arab towns before 1948), lest their sort mix with our precious daughters (see Jonathan Cook’s Rabbis’ edict bars renting to Arabs). Today’s conditions are far more blatant, and outright scary, but they evolved over a long period of time, starting from the political foundation put in place by Labor Zionism.

“Technically, it would be very easy to stop these plans, but what they are doing is promoting them,” [Peace Now spokeswoman] said, saying it was highly unlikely Netanyahu was unaware the plans were to be made public during his US visit.

Safed’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu: “When a non-Jew moves in, residents begin to worry about their children, about their daughters. Many Arab students have been known to date Jewish girls.”

Court rejects appeal by Jaffa residents, human rights groups challenging leasing land to company specializing in housing for religious Zionist community.

Kaplan and Feiler had planned to use their trip in Israel to lodge an official complaint with the Israel Police against the Israel Defense Forces. Their complaint accused the IDF of kidnapping, armed robbery, violence and obstruction of freedom.

A Haaretz investigation shows the state used a controversial law to transfer East Jerusalem assets to the rightist organizations Elad and Ateret Cohanim without a tender, and at very low prices.

IOA Editor: This is the full Haaretz report – an update of an earlier story. The previous story includes important background on Jewish settlement activities in Jerusalem

Prof. Gilbert Achcar is in the US on a speaking tour for his latest book, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives. Tour schedule includes stops in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

The Israel Lands Administration is transferring properties in the Silwan neighborhood and the Old City of Jerusalem to right-wing groups Elad and Ateret Cohanim for low prices, without issuing a tender as required by law, a Haaretz investigation has found.

IOA Editor: While the headline focuses on the least serious of the violations involved, the Haaretz investigation covers the Israeli government’s active involvement in the on-going takeover of East Jerusalem from its legitimate Palestinian residents (owners) to an illegal Israeli-Jewish control – in clear violation of international laws and conventions.

New York event: A discussion with Gilbert Achcar and Amira Hass, moderated by Rashid Khalidi, at the International Affairs building, Columbia University – Tuesday, 9 Nov, 6:00 – 8:00pm.

Israel and Britain moved last night to limit the damage of an Israeli diplomatic ambush that threatened to overshadow the first official visit to the Middle East by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary.

Africa Israel, the flagship company of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, announced this week that it is no longer involved in Israeli settlement projects and that it has no plans for future settlement activities. Africa Israel subsequently denied that this was a political decision.

The American left is a phantom. It is conjured up by the right wing to tag Barack Obama as a socialist and used by the liberal class to justify its complacency and lethargy. It diverts attention from corporate power. It perpetuates the myth of a democratic system that is influenced by the votes of citizens, political platforms and the work of legislators. It keeps the world neatly divided into a left and a right. The phantom left functions as a convenient scapegoat. The right wing blames it for moral degeneration and fiscal chaos. The liberal class uses it to call for “moderation.” And while we waste our time talking nonsense, the engines of corporate power—masked, ruthless and unexamined—happily devour the state.

Safed was plastered with posters … denouncing a long-time resident for renting an apartment to three Bedouin studying at the local college. The posters are the latest episode in an ongoing campaign waged by certain Safed residents, led by chief municipal rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, to halt the influx of Arab students attracted by the college.

Mandelblit’s recent decisions to open investigations into soldiers and officers for actions inconsistent with international law have aroused criticism in various circles.

IOA Editor:Israelis demand the right to massacre Palestinians with impunity. Reality Check: It was the very same IDF prosecutor’s office that had a key role in planning the Gaza attack so that it can be ‘legally defensible’ in the international arena.

A new joint report exposes routine ill-treatment of Palestinians in interrogations: The treatment of detainees … is consistent with an interrogation doctrine that seeks to break the spirit of the detainee by inducing anxiety and shock, completely removing him from his normal life, and subjecting him to extreme deprivation of sensory stimuli, movement, and human contact. Added to these is the induced enfeebling of the detainee by means of sleep deprivation, food reduction, exposure to cold and heat, and causing pain, mainly through forced stiff postures. This doctrine appeared in the CIA interrogation manuals of the 1960s and 1980s, used … as guides to interrogators operating in Latin American dictatorships.

Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister reportedly faced charges linked to his role in the IDF raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla.

Haneen Zoabi: “We are struggling for a normal state, which is a state for all of its citizens, [in] which the Palestinians and the Israeli Jews can have full equality. I recognize religious, cultural and national group rights for the Israelis, but inside a democratic and neutral state.”

Israel’s apartheid movement is coming out of the woodwork and is taking on a formal, legal shape. It is moving from voluntary apartheid, which hides its ugliness through justifications of “cultural differences” and “historic neglect” which only requires a little funding and a couple of more sewage pipes to make everything right – to a purposeful, open, obligatory apartheid, which no longer requires any justification.

Former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef cites centuries-old interpretation of halakhic ruling barring the sale of land to non-Jews.

Haaretz: Formulas for siege

29 October 2010

The use of mathematical euqations to calculate basic humanitarian needs cannot help but raise parallels with the most monstrous uses of science.

Under the guise of the deceptively mundane name “Amendment to the Cooperative Associations Bill,” an Israeli parliament committee finalized a bill intended to bypass previous rulings of the High Court of Justice. If this legislation is approved by parliament, it will not be possible to describe it as anything other than an apartheid law.

Protest met with rubber bullets: Israeli police shoot ‘hated’ Arab legislator in back.
MP Zoabi: “The police proved that they are a far more dangerous threat to me and other Arab citizens than the fascist group that came to Umm al-Fahm.”

It would be wrong to dismiss the wisdom of our leaders. Perhaps they’ve gotten exactly what they wanted – to strengthen Hamas in the Gaza Strip, both for perpetuating the intentional division between Gaza and the West Bank and to encourage perpetual low-intensity warfare (which sometimes escalates).

IOA Editor: Hamas, one of Israel’s most important – yet, invisible – allies, affords Israel the opportunity to conjure up “evidence” that an arrangement between Israelis and Palestinians is inherently impossible, particularly on account of Hamas, thus freeing Israel to colonize the little of historic Palestine that is still Arab – while dividing, ruling, and repressing Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel itself. (Lest we leave out Israel’s other excuses for not ending the Occupation, before Hamas it was Arafat who was “not a partner” for peace, and before him it was the Arab World, etc.)

Ameer Makhoul admits to charges of espionage, contact with a foreign agent and conspiring to assist an enemy, in plea bargain reached Wednesday.

IOA Editor: This is a travesty of justice of the first order: A man is kidnapped from his bed in the middle of the night by the police and held for days without the ability to consult a lawyer; he’s tortured, and signs an ‘admission.’ By law, his accusers – the Israeli government’s secret services and prosecution – are not required to present to him, and to his legal team, the evidence based on which he stands to be found guilty and be sentenced for a very long jail term. Finally, given the virtual outlawing of anything Palestinian in Israel today, it is no wonder that an accused would feel compelled to sign a plea-deal that is likely to land him in jail for 7-10 years – probably far less than if he were to deny the charges.

“Many Jews come to Umm al-Fahm every day and we have no problem, but Marzel and his gang come as enemies and we want to tell them that they are not welcome to …” Before he could finish his sentence police fired a volley of stun grenades, provoking a stampede.

IOA Editor: MPs Haneen Zoabi and Afou Agbaria injured in violent Israeli police actions against demonstrators.

Guardian photos of the clashes:

Open Letter to Mike Leigh

26 October 2010

We are writing to you as a group of fellow filmmakers and academics, Palestinians, Israelis and others, to thank you for your principled and courageous step of withdrawing from the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School workshop and “implicitly” joining the cultural boycott of Israel… Your action is striking evidence of growing cultural resistance abroad to Israel’s intransigence. We hope it will encourage others. Only by such concerted action will the situation change in the Middle East.

According to Makhoul’s brother Issam, a former MK for Hadash, his brothers’ Attorneys … will ask the prosecution to drop the severe charge of espionage in exchange for Makhoul’s confession on several other counts. If the plea bargain is put into action Makhoul is expected to serve between seven to ten years in jail, yet the details of the plea bargain have not yet been finalized.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s proposal has been presented as a method of deterring potential criminals from embarking on terrorist activities, seen as targeting Israeli Arabs in particular.

IOA Editor:This Haaretz header is entirely misleading, as is made clear in the body of the story. The targets of this ‘legal’ campaign aren’t convicted terrorists but Arab minority dissenters who don’t play by the “Jewish and Democratic” majority’s rules, as Israel’s Interior Minister Yishai states: [loyalty] “declarations and oaths are not sufficient when dealing with cases such as Azmi Bishara and Hanin Zoabi.” (Neither MP was ever charged or convicted of any ‘State Security’ violations.) And, the truth surfaces when Yishai states “Anyone who betrays the state will lose his citizenship.” This flexible term can be useful in eradicating Palestinian dissent: disobedient Arab citizens (e.g., Ameer Makhoul) of the “Jewish and Democratic” State. This is the latest phase of the Nakba, now dressed in a Blue-and-White ‘legal’ attire: Arab, you’ve been outlawed, and now off you go.

Caterpillar, the company which supplies the IDF with bulldozers, has announced that it is delaying the supply of D9 bulldozers during the time that the trial of Rachel Corrie proceeds.

Turkish newspaper reports agencies stopped exchanging intelligence and conducting joint operations following Turkish government decision.

Since Hamas took control of Gaza, [Israeli] officials have employed mathematical formulas to monitor goods from aid groups entering the Strip to ensure amount was in line with what Israel permitted.

Israeli banks provide the financial infrastructure for all activities of companies, governmental agencies and individuals in the continuing occupation of Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights. The services provided by the banks support and sustain these activities. Additionally, as this report shows, it is evident that the banks are well aware of the types and whereabouts of the activity that is being carried out with their financial assistance.

Over the past two years, we have been increasingly troubled by expanding tendencies to harm Israel’s democracy… In anticipation of Israel’s Knesset’s Winter Session 2010-11, we wish to warn against the troubling trend of infringement against democracy in Israel as expressed through the persistent promotion of anti-democratic bills, decision-making process, and conduct by Members of Knesset (MK).

Amira Hass: The many incidents described in the human rights organizations’ reports indicate that the drone photographs are not as precise or clear as they are said to be, or that the technology considered “objective” also depends on commanders’ interpretation: Children playing on the roof are liable to be regarded as “scouts,” people trying to speak to their relatives over the phone are liable to be “signal operators for a terrorist brigade,” and families that went to the garden to feed the goats, squads of Qassam launchers.

Beit Ummar is just one of hundreds of villages in Palestine under constant harassment from Israeli settlers. [Its residents] have suffered the loss of their land, limited access to their own water supply, rocks smashing their windows, midnight arrests, tear gas, rubber bullets, and daily Israeli military aggression. The most recent insult: settlers’ feces covering the vineyards of Beit Ummar.