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

Gideon Levy

Occupation is not on the Israeli agenda. Not a single Jewish MK in today’s Knesset ran on a ticket calling for an end to the occupation. The media, too, is doing everything it can to blur and suppress this issue. While everyone is busy blurring and deceiving, it’s time to use the one tool Israel has never employed: a referendum – Israel’s first – for or against continuing the occupation, whatever either choice entails.

IOA Editor: Be careful what you wish for?

Q: Some Israelis criticize you for writing the same kinds of stories about abuses over and over again.

A: That’s right. They don’t ask why the abuses continue to happen, they ask why I continue to write about them.

About 7,700 Palestinians are imprisoned in Israel, including about 450 without the benefit of a trial. Most of them are not murderers, although they are all automatically labeled as such here. The demonstrators at Megiddo would do well to realize this. Some of the prisoners are political detainees in the full sense of the word, from members of the Palestinian parliament imprisoned without trial, which is a scandal in and of itself, to those behind bars because of their “affiliation.” Innocent people are among them as well as political activists and nonviolent protesters.

IOA Editor: In this Israeli-centric commentary, Levy calls attention to the status of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

So let us admit the truth: The occupier deserves to be boycotted. As long as the Israelis pay no price for the occupation, the occupation will not end, and therefore the only way open to the opponents of the occupation is to take concrete means that will make the Israelis understand that the injustice they are perpetrating comes with a price tag.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman should have sent a big bouquet to Donald Bostrom, the Swedish photographer and journalist who wrote the article claiming that the Israel Defense Forces harvested organs from dead Palestinians… It has been a long time since such a propaganda asset has fallen into the hands of the friends of the occupation. It has been a long time since such damage has been caused to people seriously attempting to document its horrors.

He came into office amid much hoopla. The Cairo speech ignited half the globe. Making settlements the top priority gave rise to the hope that, finally, a statesman is sitting in the White House who understands that the root of all evil is the occupation, and that the root of the occupation’s evil is the settlements. From Cairo, it seemed possible to take off. The sky was the limit. Then the administration fell into the trap set by Israel and is showing no signs of recovery.

It is impossible to ignore the injustices of 1948 while hundreds of thousands of refugees rot in the camps. No agreement will hold water without a solution to their plight, which is more feasible than Israel’s strident scaremongers suggest. But rulings like the current one make it harder to distinguish clearly between Sheikh Jarrah and Sheikh Munis, between the conquest of 1948 and the conquests of 1967. My house stands on land stolen by force, and it is the obligation of Israel and the world to redress the injustice without creating injustice and new dislocation.

Gideon Levy: Our IDF

6 July 2009

Gideon Levy on the latest IDF hijacking of a Gaza relief boat, and on the IDF as an occupation force and a killing machine.

The Supreme Court now appears to be the settlers’ next illegal outpost. They will get their wish, nothing will stop them. This couldn’t happen in a state of law.

It’s true, there is liberty in Israel, but only for us, the Jews. We have a regime that is no less tyrannical than the ayatollahs’ regime: the regime of the officers and the settlers in the territories… When you get a chance, go on Friday to Na’alin or Bil’in and see what happens there. Demonstrators are killed here with similar brutality, but in Iran the crowd is standing up to a tyrannical regime, while here only a handful of brave people stand up to the Border Police, who are firing weapons. Moreover, we hardly write anything about the protest being silenced with bullets. It interests no one, and this, too, is called democracy.

In the outside world such a country is called an apartheid state. In Israel they call it the one-state solution. Once it was out of bounds, only the radical left in both nations dared to suggest it. Now it is being proposed by the Israeli right, while they blur and repress the reality.

We must be thankful to Obama… he is trying to rescue Israel, the Middle East, and basically the entire world… The ball is in Netanyahu’s court. If he ends the occupation, he’ll get peace and security; if he doesn’t, he won’t.

IOA Editor: Levy’s unbridled enthusiasm about Obama’s Middle East plans is not justifiable but may be explained as a desperate desire for someone to step in and block Netanyahu – a sincere hope, but not one grounded in reality.

Mohammed Abu Akrub returned from school one afternoon and stood in the street with a few friends, doing nothing, according to him. Six Israel Defense Forces jeeps appeared suddenly and announced a curfew in the village. That was the start of the abuse of Mohammed and his five friends – abuse that continued until dawn, when the six were tossed out of the jeeps, wounded and battered.

Yitzhak Laor, our best protest poet, may soon face arrest. On Independence Day eve he published a poem in Haaretz’s literary supplement with the lines: “Perhaps shame prevents me from getting up to embrace my son / And warning him of those who want to enlist him.” Arresting Laor for having written such lines may sound like fiction, but something similar has already happened.

Gideon Levy: Word games

22 April 2009

Twenty evacuated settlements are worth more than a thousand peace formulas, and 2,000 released prisoners will move the sides forward more than 10,000 words. If only Israel agrees to implement what it has agreed to, from the release of prisoners to a freeze on settlements.

The media was of course the main agent in removing the issue from our agenda. A rare, wall-to-wall coalition of the defense establishment, editors, writers, broadcasters, viewers, readers – especially viewers and readers – who do not want to write or read, hear or be heard, report or know, came together for the mission of removing the occupation from our world.

[L]et’s admit it: We are (almost) a state governed by religious law.

The message to soldiers is just as clear: Kill as much as you please, no wrong will come to you, the army won’t even bother to look into it. Now, after 1,300 deaths in Gaza, the military advocate general confirmed this policy. Any adherent of the rule of law in Israel should have been shocked by this rash decision, but our army of lawyers is concerned with other things.

All these propagandistic and ridiculous responses are meant not only to deceive the public, but also to offer shameless lies. The IDF knew very well what its soldiers did in Gaza. It has long ceased to be the most moral army in the world. Far from it – it will not seriously investigate anything.

Is Hamas devoid of human emotion? Maybe, but it is fighting for the release of its people, who have no chance of gaining their freedom in any other way but a deal. Nothing can be more humane than that. Even the Israeli propaganda about the “price” of Shalit’s release is based on a lie. Nobody can seriously argue that releasing 325 terrorists wouldn’t harm Israel’s security, and releasing 450 would. Would 125 men, closely watched by the Shin Bet, make the difference?

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