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

Noam Chomsky: Obama on Israel-Palestine

24 January 2009

Barack Obama is recognized to be a person of acute intelligence, a legal scholar, careful with his choice of words. He deserves to be taken seriously – both what he says, and what he omits. Particularly significant is his first substantive statement on foreign affairs, on January 22, at the State Department, when introducing George Mitchell to serve as his special envoy for Middle East peace.

Irene Gendzier: What the US knew and chose to forget in 1948 and why it matters in 2009

23 January 2009

The PR war being waged by Israel over coverage of its invasion of Gaza is a critical part of maintaining the US public, if not the US government, in a state of maximal ignorance and above all, indifference, to the meaning of what is taking place in Gaza.

Uri Avnery: The Boss Has Gone Mad

17 January 2009

In this war, this has become political and military dogma: only if we kill “them” disproportionately, killing a thousand of “them” for ten of “ours”, will they understand that it’s not worth it to mess with us. It will be “seared into their consciousness” (a favorite Israeli phrase these days). After this, they will think twice before launching another Qassam rocket against us, even in response to what we do, whatever that may be.

Ralph Nader: Punishing the Palestinians

17 January 2009

In the long sixty-year tortured history of the Palestinian expulsion from their lands, Congress has maintained that it is always the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority, and now Hamas who are to blame for all hostilities and their consequences with the Israeli government. The latest illustration of this Washington puppet show, backed by the most modern weapons and billions of taxpayer dollars annually sent to Israel, was the grotesquely one-sided Resolutions whisked through the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Stephen R. Shalom: Question and Answer on Gaza

16 January 2009

On December 27, 2008, Israel launched its brutal assault on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead. Here are many of the most frequently-asked questions and answers, and information sources.

Stephen R. Shalom: Question and Answer on Gaza

16 January 2009

On December 27, 2008, Israel launched its brutal assault on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead. Here are many of the most frequently-asked questions and answers, and information sources.

Anat Biletzki: Grieving Over Gaza

14 January 2009

I write as an Israeli. In the past two-and-a-half weeks Israeli forces have killed over 900 people in Gaza; Palestinian rockets have killed four Israelis and Palestinian fighters have killed six soldiers.

Chris Hedges: The Language of Death

12 January 2009

The incursion into Gaza is not about destroying Hamas. It is not about stopping rocket fire into Israel. It is not about achieving peace. The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use the lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase of the decades-long campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestinians. The assault on Gaza is about creating squalid, lawless and impoverished ghettos where life for Palestinians will be barely sustainable. It is about building ringed Palestinian enclaves where Israel will always have the ability to shut off movement, food, medicine and goods to perpetuate misery. The Israeli attack on Gaza is about building a hell on earth.

Gideon Levy: The time of the righteous

10 January 2009

Yet there are some who still want it both ways. To kill and destroy indiscriminately and also to come out looking good, with a clean conscience. To go ahead with war crimes without any sense of the heavy guilt that should accompany them. It takes some nerve. Anyone who justifies this war also justifies all its crimes.

George Bisharat: Israel Is Committing War Crimes

10 January 2009

Deliberate attacks on civilians that lack strict military necessity are war crimes. Israel’s current violations of international law extend a long pattern of abuse of the rights of Gaza Palestinians. Eighty percent of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents are Palestinian refugees who were forced from their homes or fled in fear of Jewish terrorist attacks in 1948. For 60 years, Israel has denied the internationally recognized rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes — because they are not Jews.

New Yorkers Rally at City Hall to Protest Bloomberg’s Trip to Israel

8 January 2009

Some 300 New Yorkers gathered in front of City Hall in Manhattan Wednesday evening, slamming New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for a recent visit to Israel, during which he endorsed the Jewish state’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza and failed to acknowledge the suffering of the Palestinians.

Rashid Khalidi: What you don’t know about Gaza

7 January 2009

Nearly everything you’ve been led to believe about Gaza is wrong. Below are a few essential points that seem to be missing from the conversation, much of which has taken place in the press, about Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip.

Naomi Klein: Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction

7 January 2009

It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.

Nancy Kanwisher, Johannes Haushofer, Anat Biletzki: Reigniting Violence – How Do Ceasefires End?

6 January 2009

The lessons from these data are clear: First, Hamas can indeed control the rockets, when it is in their interest. The data shows that ceasefires can work, reducing the violence to nearly zero for months at a time. Second, if Israel wants to reduce rocket fire from Gaza, it should cherish and preserve the peace when it starts to break out, not be the first to kill.

Akiva Eldar: White Flag, Black Flag

5 January 2009

Exactly one week ago I asked in this column how many Palestinians and Israelis must die before both sides hold their fire and tahadiyeh II is signed. The answer came, ostensibly, on Saturday, a few hours before the Israel Defense Forces stormed the Gaza Strip. Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal announced on the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Web site that he was prepared not only for a “cessation of aggression” – he proposed going back to the arrangement at the Rafah crrossing as of 2005, before Hamas won the elections and later took over the region. That arrangement was for the crossing to be managed jointly by Egypt, the European Union, the Palestinian Authority presidency and Hamas.

Bashir Abu-Manneh: Destroying Gaza, Delaying Palestine

4 January 2009

We watch in horror as Israel unleashes yet another war on the dispossessed and weak. Hundreds are killed (mostly police and civilians, not trained militants), thousands are injured, and a million and a half are terrorized, punished for defying the will of their besiegers and refusing to submit. Again the media colludes and sells a barbaric aggression on a basically defenseless and deprived population as a war between two sides, mystifying fundamental inequalities of power through words like “disproportionate response” and “ceasefire.” Again “shock and awe” is bandied about as military currency, as if it worked the first time round in Iraq, or the second in Lebanon 2006.

Ali Abunimah: We have no words left

29 December 2008

With governments and international institutions failing to do their jobs, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee – representing hundreds of organisations – has renewed its call on international civil society to intensify its support for the sanctions campaign modelled on the successful anti-apartheid movement.

Mustafa Barghouthi: Palestine’s Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood

29 December 2008

The Israeli campaign of ‘death from above’ began around 11 am, on Saturday morning, the 27th of December, and stretched straight through the night into this morning. The massacre continues Sunday as I write these words… What has and is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the Israeli public relations machine is in full-swing, churning out lies by the minute.

Bashir Abu-Manneh: The Question of Palestine

21 December 2008

Israel’s goal has been a constant: Jewish sovereignty in Palestine. Israel has always sought to expropriate as much Palestinian land as possible and to rule over as few Palestinians as possible. This has been the single most important ideological and political principle informing the practices of the dominant strand of Zionism which founded the Jewish State in Palestine against the wishes of the Arab indigenous majority. 1948 epitomizes this principle: 78 percent of Palestine was forcibly conquered and 750,000-840,000 Palestinians were systematically expelled and prevented from returning to their cities and villages (hundreds of which were completely erased) in violation of international law and of UN General Assembly resolution 194 safeguarding refugees’ right of return.

Noam Chomsky: The Election, Economy, War, and Peace

25 November 2008

A good question is why the margin of victory for the opposition party was so small, given the circumstances. One possibility is that neither party reflected public opinion at a time when 80% think the country is going in the wrong direction and that the government is run by “a few big interests looking out for themselves,” not for the people, and a stunning 94% object that government does not attend to public opinion. As many studies show, both parties are well to the right of the population on many major issues, domestic and international.

Howard Zinn interview: US “in need of rebellion”

13 September 2008

The power and influence of the United States has declined rapidly since the war in Iraq because American power, as it has been exercised in the world historically, has been exposed more to the rest of the world in this situation and in other situations.

So the US influence is declining, its power is declining.

However strong a military machine it is, power does not ultimately depend on a military machine. So power is declining.

Ultimately power rests on the moral legitimacy of a system and the United States has been losing moral legitimacy.

My hope is that the American people will rouse themselves and change this situation, for the benefit of themselves and for the benefit of the rest of the world.

Anat Biletzki: Much Ado About Nothing – The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

1 May 2008

TWO MYTHS have been with us for a while now… The first is that the way to get out of the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio is by engaging in a “peace process,” and the second is that the result of that peace process is pretty much well-known.

Tanya Reinhart: Linguist and ardent critic of Israel

31 March 2007

Tanya Reinhart, linguist, writer and political activist: born Kyriat Haim, Palestine 23 July 1943; married 1997 Aharon Shabtai; died New York 17 March 2007.

Tanya Reinhart was a distinguished academic linguist and a political commentator and activist. She was known internationally as an ardent critic of Israel’s policies and of the Zionist ideology. Reinhart was married to the Israeli poet and translator Aharon Shabtai.

Bashir Abu-Manneh: Israel in the US Empire

1 March 2007

What has U.S. support for Israel actually meant for the Israeli state? Which state capacities have been enhanced and which were curtailed as a result of this support (importantly, force or peace)? And what impact has this had on Israeli society and its economy at large? To answer such questions would involve specifying the nature of U.S. involvement in Israel-Palestine, spelling out the kinds of policies and objectives the U.S. state has allowed the Israeli state to pursue. It would, in fact, involve raising the specter of Israel as a colonial and occupying power, and this the various contributors to Israel Studies seem unwilling to do. Colonialism and occupation are far from mainstream concerns in the Israeli academy. This may sound strange since both practices have defined the history of Israel since 1967 if not before. Yet it is not so strange if one considers that in this respect the Israeli academy merely reflects the attitudes of wider Israeli society: academic evasion mirrors popular denial and indifference.

Moshé Machover: Israelis and Palestinians — conflict and resolution

30 November 2006

How should we think about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict? Please note: how comes before what. Before coming to any substantive conclusions – certainly before taking sides – we must be clear as to how the issue ought to be approached. It would be a mistake to start in normative mode. A moral value judgment must be made: I would certainly not advocate avoiding it. But we must not start with moral value judgments. Assigning blame for atrocities is not a good starting point. In any violent conflict, both sides may – and often do – commit hideous atrocities: wantonly kill and maim unarmed innocent people, destroy their homes, rob them of livelihood. And of course all these atrocities must be condemned.

Bashir Abu-Manneh: In Palestine, a Dream Deferred

30 November 2006

Since occupying the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, Israel has been the only sovereign state in British Mandate Palestine. Palestinians have been living either as second-class citizens in the Jewish state; or as colonized residents of the West Bank and Gaza with no human or political rights; or as refugees dispersed and stranded in neighboring Arab countries, in often extremely difficult conditions. The chances of Palestinians overcoming exile and exercising their right of return seem as far away as ever. Hardly more promising are the immediate prospects for ending the Israeli occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza in accordance with the international and Arab consensus, in place since at least 1976 and rejected by the United States and Israel.

Tanya Reinhart: Always-the victim – Israel’s present wars

1 September 2006

In the Israeli discourse, Israel has always been the innocent victim of vicious aggression from its neighbors. This perception of reality has only intensified with its two recent wars – against the Palestinians in Gaza and against Lebanon. On this view, in both cases Israel has manifested its good will – it ended the occupation of the Gaza strip in 2005, just as it ended the occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000. But, on this perception, the other side reciprocated with unprovoked rockets attacks on Israel.

Tanya Reinhart: Israel’s “New Middle East”

26 July 2006

Beirut is burning, hundreds of Lebanese die, hundreds of thousands lose all they ever owned and become refugees, and all the world is doing is rescuing the “foreign passport” residents of what was just two weeks ago “the Paris of the Middle East”. Lebanon must die now, because “Israel has the right to defend itself”, so goes the U.S. mantra, used to block any international attempt to impose a cease fire.

Tanya Reinhart: What are they fighting for?

14 July 2006

Whatever may be the fate of the captive soldier Gilad Shalit, the Israeli army’s war in Gaza is not about him. As senior security analyst Alex Fishman widely reported, the army was preparing for an attack months earlier and was constantly pushing for it, with the goal of destroying the Hamas infrastructure and its government. The army initiated an escalation on 8 June when it assassinated Abu Samhadana, a senior appointee of the Hamas government, and intensified its shelling of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Assaf Kfoury: Noam Chomsky in Beirut

12 July 2006

May 11, Sabra-Shatila camp

There is a plot of land of perhaps less than a half acre, surrounded by a wall with a large iron gate, where the victims of the 1982 massacre are buried. The land is mostly flat and covered by grass, with a few mounds here and there, the locations of mass graves which we can see through the gate’s vertical bars. On the outside wall there are large, slightly fading, poster photos of those found dead after the rampage of Phalangist militiamen that were sent in by the Israeli army that had surrounded the camp in 1982. The gate-keeper is an old Palestinian, with half of his teeth missing, sitting under the shade of the tree near the gate and selling flowers. We ask him to open the gate and let us enter the ground. The old man says that if the visitors are American he will not let them enter. “Yes, the visitors are American, but they are good Americans,” I explain. Then pointing to Noam a few steps away, I say that he, in particular, is the most indefatigable defender of Palestinian rights in America. The old man stares at me with a skeptical look for a few seconds, as if to gauge the truth of what I just said, then gets up and opens the gate.

Harold Pinter: Nobel Lecture – Art, Truth, and Politics

7 December 2005

The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don’t quite know how they got there but they are there all right.

The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity – the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons – is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.

Mustafa Barghouthi: Palestinian Defiance

1 March 2005

There are two choices. The first is obviously an independent Palestinian state. At a minimum, this would be within the 1967 frontiers—only 23 per cent of historic Palestine—and would have East Jerusalem as its capital. All settlements, without exception, would have to be dismantled. Their occupants could stay if they wished, since we want no more expulsions, but it must be under Palestinian sovereignty. Personally I would see no objection to this state being demilitarized, on condition that there was an international force to protect us. But the borders must comply with international decisions.

Moshe Neeman: No Atonement

14 October 2004

1. Dominate thy neighbor. No atonement necessary for an occupation that deprives the Palestinian population of life, liberty and even brief moments of happiness. We’ll continue violating every international law and convention that stands in our way.

2. Nothing succeeds like success. The thirty-seven-year-old occupation continues in full force and will remain in place. With lands confiscated and settled, the territories as we knew them in 1967 no longer exist. And with every Israeli under 50 raised with the occupation in the background, the territories are no longer “occupied”–a term that suggests an interim condition–but rather transformed into areas permanently and irreversibly controlled by Israel. Incidentally, this process follows closely the “creation of facts” that took place in pre-state and immediately post-state Israel.

Edward Said: Imperial continuity – Palestine, Iraq, and US policy (video)

8 May 2003

IOA Editor: A very important discussion on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and ‘God-given land’ claims by Israelis, including Said’s recognition of Jewish/Zionist rights in Palestine – but not as “the only claim or the main claim,” rather, as “a claim, among many other.”

Edward Said’s comments are as relevant today as they were in 2003, a few months before his death. They serve as an excellent ‘reality check’ against the current focus on Settlement Freeze – an insulting diversion from the main discussion: the Occupation itself.