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


If realized, these plans would connect Israeli Jerusalem to the Gush Etzion settlements. At the same time, the swath of Israeli neighborhoods on the South East would join the neighborhoods that close on Jerusalem from the North and North East, thus cutting a major territorial bridge between the future Palestinian state and East Jerusalem.

Congressman Perriello, I am afraid, has become like so many of his colleagues, a mere tool of a hard-right AIPAC agenda that has no business dictating American policy. He has become part of an American dog wagged by an Israeli and AIPAC tail.

IOA Editor: AIPAC is a strong and highly influential organization. But there is no evidence, in this article or elsewhere, that it is “dictating” American policy or that it is the tail that wags the dog – it is bad enough that AIPAC buys influence, and that it does so better than most.

History shows that when a US president wants to apply pressure on Israel, he can do so without much resistance from Congress: whether it is blocking persistent Israeli attempts to release its jailed spy, Jonathan Pollard, or punishing Israel for selling to China advanced military technologies against the wishes of the US. This has been done and could be done again, if only there were a president who wanted to do more than just talk about peace and justice. It is easy to focus on AIPAC, and much more difficult to deal with a president who talks about peace and justice while pursuing war and destruction throughout the Middle East – in many ways, reminding us of his predecessor, except for his far greater propaganda skills.

Haaretz: Release Barghouti

29 November 2009

Barghouti is considered a Palestinian leader. Before he moved on to subversive activities and running a terrorist cell, he was a peace activist and sought to hold meetings between Israelis and Palestinians. He considered the Oslo Accords the basis for dialogue. From his cell he developed, along with Hamas leaders, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Document and has not abandoned diplomatic discourse. Anyone who thinks that keeping him behind bars will contain his political power and standing is welcome to learn from South Africa, which imprisoned Nelson Mandela for decades only to see him become president.

IOA Editor: This Haaretz editorial reflects the domestic discussion in Israel on the impending Shalit-prisoners exchange deal.

Hamas proved its prestige in 2006, when it won a large majority in the Palestinian general election. Back then, it did not need an Israeli captive or a prisoner release. It seized authority in Gaza because no party – not Israel nor Fatah, nor the countries of the Quartet – agreed to recognize its esteemed position. Hamas continued to grow stronger as it became clear that without it, there was no point in holding diplomatic discussions on any part of Palestine.

IOA Editor: Barel’s commentary reflects the domestic discussion in Israel on the impending Shalit-prisoners exchange deal.

Peacemaking takes strategic skill. But we see no sign that President Obama and Mr. Mitchell were thinking more than one move down the board. The president went public with his demand for a full freeze on settlements before securing Israel’s commitment. And he and his aides apparently had no plan for what they would do if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said no.

IOA Editor: Even Mr. Obama’s natural allies, the US “liberal media elite” are not impressed by his ME peace initiative. What should the rest of us think? “Hope?” “Change?” Blah, blah. Incidentally, the New York Times has no criticism of Israel. None.

Rabin on the killing of 250-400 Lydda residents under his command in 1948: “There was no way to avoid the use of weapons and warning shots in order to force the residents to march 10 to 20 kilometers… The residents of Ramle observed what was happening and learned the lesson. Their leaders agreed to evacuate voluntarily.”

IOA Editor: Not so, for both towns, according to Segev’s coverage. Despite the differing views among Israeli researchers, and the still restricted sources, it is clear that Palestinians did not leave their homes ‘voluntarily.’ Undoubtedly, another reason to award Rabin the N-Prize.

On June 19, 1967, a week and a half after the end of fighting in the Six-Day War, ministers, including Menachem Begin, were willing to give up on the gains made on the Syrian front in exchange for peace.

Of greatest concern is what is happening on American campuses, which are slowly becoming pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli. That is dangerous because this is where America’s future leaders are bred. But our opponents are not motivated by anti-Semitism, as our political hacks like to claim. If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, then anti-Semitism is the last refuge of the occupier.

IOA Editor: Marcus, historically, a defender of the Occupation, is beginning to appreciate the significance of Israel’s diminishing popularity. This Israel-centric commentator marks the early signs of change, and a welcome indication of the success of BDS and the global anti-Occupation movement.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz appears to have been unaware of some important facts when he said at a recent conference on discrimination that Arab society in Israel is partially responsible for the low levels of employment for Arab women.

Currently around 130 Palestinian citizens of Israel are incarcerated as security prisoners. Hamas… is concentrating on the 22 who have been in jail for more than 15 years, much longer than the average for offenders sentenced to life… None are Hamas members. Some are serving life sentences, although they were not convicted of murder or manslaughter. In most cases, a minimum term before eligibility for parole has not been set, in others it has been set at 40 or 45 years.

[The US] defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” The Hebron settlers’ violence is certainly premeditated. It is, by their own admission, politically motivated. It is perpetrated solely against noncombatant targets (overwhelmingly children), and it is obviously the work of a subnational group – the settlers themselves. The business of the Hebron settlers is terrorism, pure and simple.

“Apartheid” is a word bomb akin to “lynching” or “untouchables.” It explodes upon the page, ripping the scabs off the wounds of state-enforced segregation in South Africa, a system that ended only in 1994… We have used the word “apartheid” to describe Israel’s system of rule over the Palestinians with eyes wide open to the incendiary quality of the term… Our purpose in making this comparison is not to shock… Rather, we seek… to stare hard, cold realities in the face and to participate in the discussion about how to transcend them without compounding the loss and dislocation they have already caused.

[I]t’s no exaggeration to propose that this idea, although well-meant by some, raises the clearest danger to the Palestinian national movement in its entire history, threatening to wall Palestinian aspirations into a political cul-de-sac from which it may never emerge. The irony is indeed that, through this maneuver, the PA is seizing — even declaring as a right — precisely the same dead-end formula that the African National Congress (ANC) fought so bitterly for decades because the ANC leadership rightly saw it as disastrous. That formula can be summed up in one word: Bantustan.

IOA Editor: See comments on article page.

[Lacking] the most essential elements of statehood: independence and sovereignty, and effective control over its territory… A Palestinian state that is recognised under these circumstances, with its territory partitioned, and subdivided into cantons, surrounded by walls, fences, ditches, watchtowers, and barbed wire, would scarcely be a state worthy of the name.

Joe Klein: Israelophilia

19 November 2009

Dov Hikind is not only a U.S. citizen, but also a member of the NY state legislature… and he wants to buy property in an illegal Jewish settlement, in an East Jerusalem neighborhood that the U.S. government considers a disputed area where no additional construction should be taking place? Indeed, it is an area that would be the capital of Palestine, if and when we achieve a two-state solution.

IOA Editor: Irrespective of the warped comment on “the deal negotiated by Bill Clinton (and foolishly rejected by the Palestinians),” a view common in US media and among those not doing critical, careful fact-checking – including Klein, “a lifetime supporter of the Jewish state,” who feels the need to state it – this commentary shows the changes currently underway in how Israeli aggression is covered in the US.

For facts and myths on the Bill Clinton “deal,” see Gush Shalom’s presentation: Barak’s “Generous Offers”

It seems Israel is taking full advantage of the crisis in the peace process to push its anti-peace agenda… It is a rogue state, in contravention of international law, occupying another people’s land in contempt of human rights law and common decent standards of human behaviour… Israel has been given a free pass for too long. Without returning occupied land, it cannot arrive at peace with the Palestinians and there can be no comprehensive peace in this region.

Despite the hype, [the new Mofaz "peace" plan] turned out to be nothing more than recycling of familiar worn-out schemes, repeatedly put forward by Israel and then abandoned: a Palestinian state with “temporary borders” on 50 to 60 percent of the West Bank with large Jewish-only settlement blocs annexed to Israel.

The PLO, ever since the armed Palestinian organizations got the upper hand within it after 1967, very quickly came to understand that anti-Semitic discourse is bad in itself and altogether contrary to the interests of the struggle of the Palestinian people. Hence the insistence on the distinction to be made between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, which was the issue in a political battle within the Palestinian movement.

[B]efore Abu Mazen quits… He must declare, unilaterally, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Palestine now… Netanyahu finds this possibility very scary, and he expects the Americans to nip it in the bud. But his nightmare is our only chance for an end to the occupation in our time.

The flurry of US officials’ visits to Ramallah is likely to stop unless a major and important change takes place in Washington. In the meantime, Abbas will pay more attention to the home front, trying to stitch together some type of agreement with Hamas.

A young student deported from the West Bank to Gaza is just the latest victim of Israeli efforts to sever ties between the territories.

UPDATE: New York Times (12 Nov 2009): Expelled West Bank Student Petitions Israel Court. The court… remanded the case to a military hearing to be held at the Gaza border next week, where Azzam can attend. ”My priority, what’s most important, is to get back to my studies,” Azzam said, speaking by phone from Gaza. ”I was so close to finishing, I just want to get back to Bethlehem and finish.”

“Disputed” is a word often used about East Jerusalem and homes in Sheikh Jarrah. Would the international community have considered the homes of American blacks attacked by the Ku Klux Kla as “disputed”?

It has been five years since the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel should cease construction, dismantle the wall, and pay reparations to affected Palestinians. But the “Separation Barrier” is now 400 km, double its length at the time of the court ruling.

The Goldstone… conclusion was that the civilian areas were targeted and the devastation was deliberate… the criticism of Israel in the Goldstone report is justified… it is imperative that the United States and the international community take steps to assure that the rebuilding of Gaza be commenced, and without delay. The cries of homeless and freezing people demand relief.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni asserted in January 2009, “We have proven to Hamas that we have changed the equation. Israel is not a country upon which you fire missiles and it does not respond. It is a country that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.”

Abbas’s acceptance of the Egyptian-mediated reconciliation deal with Hamas is only because that deal presents new ways for him to destroy his opponents, writes Azmi Bishara

The time has come for Obama to summon both sides for serious, continuous negotiations, accompanied by a timetable for establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel on the basis of the June 4, 1967 borders. There could be no clearer expression of the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security and its future as a Jewish and democratic state.

IOA Editor: There could certainly be no clearer expression of US commitment to all peoples in the Middle East, the inherent conflict between a “Jewish” and a “democratic” state notwithstanding.

Goldstone’s standing in the world will only rise as a consequence of Israel’s short-sighted attempts to discredit the man, the report and the facts. That our own government has chosen to join in this unworthy exercise should be a source of deep embarrassment and shame.

Most [friends of Israel] cannot understand the clear conscience of “the only democracy in the Middle East,” which does not hesitate to hold an entire people under occupation and siege, and at the same time punctiliously presents itself as always, in any situation, as the innocent victim of the hostile gentiles.

IOA Editor: This commentary is important in that it reflects the concerns of enlightened Israelis for the loss of the support Israel historically enjoyed in the West. In other words, global pressure against the Occupation and violations of international law works and must continue.

I want to know how and why it was decided to embark on Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip and to expand it into a ground offensive… I want to know if those who gave orders to the Israel Defense Forces assumed that hundreds of Palestinian civilians would be killed, and how they tried to prevent this.

A country’s conditions do not remove its obligations under international law… Whether a state is an aggressor or acting in self-defense, whether it faces a regular army or insurgents that commit abuses, the laws of war apply, imposing a duty to minimize civilian harm. And being a democratic country prevents Israel from committing wartime abuses no more than it stopped the United States from torture and unlawful detentions at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

I believe we should be amending the Basic Law: Human dignity and Liberty, and decide that the State of Israel is committed to maintaining the liberty and dignity of a person only if he’s Jewish; Just like we have land that is only for Jews and roads that are for Jews only. By modifying the Basic Law as suggested, we will know that “dignity and liberty” in the Jewish state are only reserved for Jews.

Goldstone uses the term “continuum,” assessing [the Gaza attack] as part of a chain of events, which also includes the complete closure of the Gaza Strip for three years, the policy of razing homes, the arrests, the interrogations and torture, not only in the Gaza Strip but also in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In short, Operation Cast Lead is not an “incident.” It is a link in a chain as old as the occupation itself… Goldstone puts the symptom under the microscope and derives the illness. The result is a textbook whose title should have been “A manual for the occupier in the fifth decade.”

IOA Editor: Ground breaking commentary.

In praise of… Amira Hass

24 October 2009

Only Amira Hass could have received the International Women’s Media Foundation lifetime achievement award by saying her life as a journalist had been a failure. By her standards maybe, but then she sets them high… But make no mistake, the Haaretz columnist fully deserves this award.

Israeli governments have avoided dealing with Hamas not because they fear that engaging the organization might not produce a peace agreement, but because they know they could not manipulate Hamas the way they have been able to manipulate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas – namely, by using content-less peace talks as a fig leaf for the continued expansion of the settlement enterprise.

Turkey was shocked by Goldstone’s report on the Gaza conflict, but Israel is seeking other explanations for deteriorating ties.