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


IDF soldier describes the distress of a young woman who tearfully pleaded to be allowed to pass through a Jenin checkpoint in order to sit an important exam. He gradually came to understand, he says, that the Israeli army’s intention was “to enforce tyranny on people who you know are regular civilians” and to “make it clear who’s in control here”.

A dramatic video published by the website shows the moment when hundreds of Palestinian refugees and Syrians break through the border fence from Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (part of Syria occupied by Israel in 1967 and illegally annexed in 1981).

Noam Chomsky: “Across the [Middle East], an overwhelming majority of the population regards the United States as the main threat to their interests… The reason is very simple… Plainly, the US and its allies are not going to want governments which are responsive to the will of the people. If that happens, not only will the US not control the region, but it will be thrown out.”

Ynetnews: Around 100 extreme leftists are protesting near Tel Aviv’s Cinematheque in a show of support for the Palestinian “Nakba Day,” “the Just people’s uprising”, and against “the killing of innocent civilians”.

IOA Editor: Interesting that Israel’s most popular Hebrew newspaper describes Israeli-Jews demonstrating in solidarity with Palestinians on Nakba Day as “extreme leftists” when all they do is protest against violations of international law. We now say, “We’re all extreme leftists…”

It is necessary to know that there were 418 villages here that were wiped off the face of the earth, and it should be remembered that there were more than 600,000 natives of this land who fled or were expelled not to return to their homes, and that to this day most of them … and their offspring live in terrible conditions, carrying keys to their lost homes… We must know that under nearly every patch of Jewish National Fund forest rest the ruins that Israel was keen to erase, to ensure that they not serve as evidence of a different heritage. We can know that under our flourishing Canada Park hide the ruins of three villages which Israel razed after the Six Day War, putting its residents on a bus and expelling them.

At the end of March, the Israeli parliament passed the Nakba Law which states that any body that receives government funding, such as schools, can be fined for commemorating the Nakba on Israel’s Independence Day. The Nakba means “Catastrophe” in Arabic and refers to the 1948 war, the result of which was the depopulation of two thirds of the Palestinian population, which today numbers millions of refugees. To this day many still hold the keys to their original homes, but are not allowed to return. In defiance of the law, the Israeli organization Zochrot posted a sign with the law in German throughout the core of Tel Aviv where thousands celebrated. Within minutes, police surrounded the Zochorot office.

The “peace negotiations” were a deceptive farce whereby biased terms were unilaterally imposed by Israel and systematically endorsed by the US and EU. Far from enabling a negotiated and fair end to the conflict, the pursuit of the Oslo process deepened Israeli segregationist policies and justified the tightening of the security control imposed on the Palestinian population, as well as its geographical fragmentation. Far from preserving the land on which to build a state, it has tolerated the intensification of the colonisation of the Palestinian territory.

The sweeping denial of residency status from tens of thousands of Palestinians and deporting them from their homeland in this way cannot be anything but an illegitimate demographic policy and a grave violation of international law. It’s a policy whose sole purpose is to thin out the Palestinian population in the territories.

Money aside, a PA crisis and/or collapse resulting from a boycott of the new Hamas-Fatah government could ultimately lead to further violence and chaos. This is what happened when the first Hamas-Fatah national unity government, formed under the Mecca Agreement in 2007, failed, after the decision by all the Quartet’s members but Russia to boycott and isolate it.

Rapper Mic Righteous’s improvised set on BBC 1Xtra met with complaints after corporation masks the words ‘free Palestine’.

IOA Editor: What a sorry bunch running that ‘venerable institution’ called BBC.

While we are still desperately concealing, denying and repressing our major ethnic cleansing of 1948 – over 600,000 refugees, some who fled for fear of the Israel Defense Forces and its predecessors, some who were expelled by force – it turns out that 1948 never ended, that its spirit is still with us. Also with us is the goal of trying to cleanse this land of its Arab inhabitants as much as possible, and even a bit more.

IOA Editor: This is exactly what we’ve been saying all along, including on the very story Levy cites. It is good to see that Gideon Levy is now reaching the same conclusion. The IOA is far from alone in making these charges. Others include historians Benny Morris and Ilan Pappe. Most recently, American playwright Tony Kushner was rejected by the CUNY Board of Trustees from receiving an honorary doctorate on account of expressing such views. (A decision the Board quickly reversed in the face of mounting criticism.)

Israel has used a covert procedure to cancel the residency status of 140,000 West Bank Palestinians between 1967 and 1994, the legal advisor for the Judea and Samaria Justice Ministry’s office admits, in a new document obtained by Haaretz. The document was written after the Center for the Defense of the Individual filed a request under the Freedom of Information Law.

IOA Editor: This important story sheds light on just one instance of many that is part of a far larger, planned and coordinated effort by the Israeli government to replace Palestine’s Arab population with Israeli Jewish population: in other words, opportunistic Ethnic Cleansing, in small steps incrementally leading towards the desired result – reducing one population and increasing the other. Amira Hass has written on this extensively, as have others.

UPDATE Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat: “This policy should not only be seen as a war crime as it is under international law; it also has a humanitarian dimension: we are talking about people who left Palestine to study or work temporarily but who could not return to resume their lives in their country with their families.”

RELATED Gideon Levy: It’s called ethnic cleansing

The problem, of course, is that Kushner’s status earned him reconsideration; other less well-known personages critical of Israel, including academic and political analysts, are often targeted in ways that generate less attention and debate. Many conclude it’s just not worth it to speak up about Israeli policy, less they became targeted and smeared – and even lose their jobs.

Palestine Studies TV speaks with Rashid Khalidi, professor at Columbia University and editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, on the Fata-Hamas reconciliation agreement.

Following Egypt’s January 25 Revolution, Egyptians are pushing for some of the country’s foreign relations policies to change, especially those related to Israel and Palestine. Aid or protest convoys to Gaza were frequently stopped or arrested during the Mubarak era by the ousted president’s regime, and now for the first time since the revolution thousands of activists are planning to march to the Rafah border town.

“Who Profits” activist Merav Emir: “I want to congratulate the German government for making such a clear and bold statement about the illegality of this train route under international law. We call on other European governments to follow suit in making sure that companies in their countries abide by international law.”

Israeli Defense Ministry director general: Five countries interested in Iron Dome, Israel’s anti-missile system.

IOA Editor: There’s no business like arms business… The Occupation has been very good to Israel’s arms industry, serving as a live shooting range, practice killing fields for the high tech systems Israel is marketing to countries around the world. As Amira Hass wrote in 2009, Israel knows that peace just doesn’t pay. For more on the economic benefits of the Occupation, see the Shir Hever interview series The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation.

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.

Hamas did not die when the Israeli air force killed Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the paralyzed founder, ideologue and symbol of Hamas. As a martyr he was far more effective than as a living leader. His martyrdom attracted many new fighters to the cause. Killing a person does not kill an idea.

When asked about what would happen in the aftermath of an Israeli attack Dagan said that: “It will be followed by a war with Iran. It is the kind of thing where we know how it starts, but not how it will end.” The Iranians have the capability to fire rockets at Israel for a period of months, and Hizbollah could fire tens of thousands of grad rockets and hundreds of long-range missiles, he said.

Morderchai Vanunu demands to apply a recently passed law and revoke his Israeli citizenship. “I have no interest in Israeli citienship, I don’t want to go on living here.”

Join a sunset cruise in New York Harbor: Wednesday, 25 May 2011
The Marco Polo Marina
23rd Street & FDR Drive ~ New York
BOARDING 6:30 pm · RETURNING 10:30 pm

The U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, is committed to breaking the siege of Gaza. Around the U.S. thousands of people have been contributing. Not everyone can sail on the boat but you all are just as much a part of the campaign as the passengers and the crew.

To an outside observer, Israel looks like a nation obsessed with finding a technological fix for problems that are historical, national, and moral – but entirely not ‘technical.’ [Instead,] the Occupation must be dismantled.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner was to receive an honorary doctorate from CUNY’s John Jay College. Not for critics of the Israeli occupation, said CUNY’s Board of Trustees.

Tony Kushner: I believe that the historical record shows, incontrovertibly, that the forced removal of Palestinians from their homes as part of the creation of the state of Israel was ethnic cleansing, a conclusion I reached mainly by reading the work of Benny Morris, an acclaimed and conservative Israeli historian…

New York Times: In Reversal, City University Trustees Approve Honorary Degree for Tony Kushner
New York Times Editorial: CUNY Shamed Iteself
New York Times: After Reversal, Honor Is Likely for Kushner

[Daniel Barenboim] said the Israeli and Palestinian conflict was one between two peoples who believe they are entitled to live on a single piece of land rather than a conflict between two nations about borders, adding that the whole world understood that a Palestinian state should be established on the land that Israel occupied in 1967. “Everyone has to understand that the Palestinian cause is a just cause therefore it can be only given justice if it is achieved without violence. Violence can only weaken the righteousness of the Palestinian cause,” he said.

More worrying still to Israeli officials are reported plans by Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossing into Gaza, closed for the past four years as part of a Western-backed blockade of the enclave designed to weaken Hamas, the ruling Islamist group there. Egypt is working out details to permanently open the border, an Egyptian foreign ministry official told the Reuters news agency on Sunday. The blockade would effectively come to an end as a result.

On May 2, 2011, the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University held a program on “Gaza: Israel’s War and the Goldstone Report.” The speakers included Norman Finkelstein, Peter Weiss, and Rashid Khalidi. The program was moderated by Bashir Abu-Manneh.

Adalah lawyer Saswanzaher Zaher: “This is an ideological law that has been directed against the national identity of Israel’s Arab citizens, and against their collective memory. It detracts from the legitimacy of their standing as citizens entitle to equal rights in the State of Israel.”

The northern and southern branches of the Islamic movement pledge to begin working together, after months of attempts to unify. Announcement of the movement’s reunification came on the same day that rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo.

Ever since January 1991, long before Hamas rose to power, long before the suicide bombings, even before the Oslo accords, Israel restricted the Palestinians’ rights to travel between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. That was when the “caging” of Gaza started, and this cage has gradually become more and more closed over time.

Our problem is not just with the settlement of Halamish. Our problem is the whole occupation. The settlement is merely a face of the occupation. In Bilin and Nilin they set specific goals like moving the separation fence to the green line. That is a problem. Our only goal is to end the occupation.

On April 28th, formerly rivaling Palestinian parties announced their intention to begin reconciliation and hold an election within one year. Hamas is in power in the Gaza strip and Fateh is the leading party in the Palestinian Authority, ruling the West Bank. Since 2006 the parties have fought each other, leading to hundreds of casualties and many failed attempts to reach reconciliation.

Goldstone’s timing may have been significant. He offered his reassessment a few days after the UN Human Rights Council, which appointed his fact-finding mission, recommended that the General Assembly refer the Goldstone Report to the Security Council. In doing so, the council initiated a mechanism designed to move the report to the ICC as a prelude to a possible war crimes tribunal.

A panel discussion dedicated to examining the reality and consequences of Israel’s war and siege of Gaza. The panelists are Norman Finkelstein, Rashid Khalidi, and Peter Weiss. Columbia University, New York – 2 May 2011.

IOA Editor: An outstanding and memorable event with each of the participants excelling. This was another successful, informative event organized by Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies.

Video recording of the event can be found HERE

But Obama may have done Abbas a favour: by revealing in the starkest terms the unconditional nature of US support for Israel – and how slender the rewards are for being America’s man in Ramallah – he has forced Abbas to do something that, for once, may win him some Palestinian goodwill. And he may just be able to sell the agreement – in other words, the inclusion of a party that has not renounced violence or recognised Israel – to the EU, which has become increasingly exasperated with Obama’s timidity on Palestine.