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


How can we rely on those Palestinians? For 43 years, they have been building the settlers’ homes with the sweat of their brows, paving roads for them and building their fences, and then suddenly, out of the blue, a boycott? Is that the way for partners to behave? Is that how they pay us back after we educated them for so many years to be our hewers of wood and drawers of water?

[Mubarak] has developed a partnership with Israel on trade and ‘security’ that is far more extensive than Sadat could have imagined. Their intelligence services work closely together, and Mubarak has supplied weapons and training to the Palestinian Authority in its war against Hamas. The government is also doing what it can to maintain the siege in Gaza.

Today is the 21st day since the arrest of Ameer Makhoul at his home in Haifa, Israel, under the cover of darkness, by officers of the International Crimes Investigation Unit and General Security Service (GSS or Shabak). The arrest was conducted in a brutal and terrifying manner.

Of all the world’s statesmen, the one closest to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They have met four times since Netanyahu returned to power, and unlike U.S. President Barack Obama, Mubarak has no qualms about shaking Netanyahu’s hand in public. “Ties are much closer than they seem,” said a highly placed Israeli source.

IOA Editor: A credible analysis, from an Israeli-standpoint, of the very close relationship between the Mubarak government and Israel.

Nawi’s conviction points to a relatively recent development regarding the restriction of resistance, to extremely passive modes of protest. And, in some cases, even these kinds of protests are prohibited, as in Sheikh Jarrah where activists are repeatedly arrested simply for demonstrating against the seizure of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian village of Sheikh Sa’ad has been essentially disconnected from the outside world by the Israeli defense establishment. This is one of those stories that make me, as an Israeli, feel truly shameful.

[N]either Chomsky nor I are have any illusions about the limits of the aforementioned initiatives or their possible (if not probable) failure in the face of Israel’s hubris and the power disparity between the parties. But Chomsky also alluded to the lesson of a movement that succeeded, not by waiting for favorable political conditions to hand it the vision it sought, but by moving ahead with building its project and waiting for the right political conditions to incrementally achieve what it did.

[C]reate a park at the site in memory of the people buried there, serving all the city’s residents… the part of the cemetery that remains should be restored and cared for; it should be turned into one of the sites that Jerusalem is proud of. The absence of construction on the excavation site must be part of the healing process that Jerusalem so needs: healing through tolerance.

“Israel,” Chomsky was informed, “doesn’t like what you say.” Is this a reasonable pretext for a democratic state to detain someone for questioning or hold him up at the border? And who is this “Israel” that doesn’t like what Chomsky says? The general public? The Interior Ministry? The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories? The government?

I have never heard of a democratic state denying entry to thinkers… who neither call for violence or break local or international law. So what on earth is happening to Israel? … If anything, barring Chomsky gives ammunition to those who say that Israel is infringing on academic freedom in the Palestinian Authority, and that a boycott against its universities is therefore justified.

For the past 43 years, Israel has been occupying Palestinian and other Arab lands conquered in 1967. Since then, and especially in the past 20 years, a campaign of ethnic cleansing has been vigorously underway, one which at times borders on genocide… Israel is methodically replacing the Palestinian population of Palestine with a Jewish population. This is not new. Looking back in time, one sees a pattern and direct connection between this and the 1948 period called the Nakba.

When life is reduced to this brand of “we want to live” you have to fabricate it, as it does not have the wherewithal to regenerate itself. There can be no life under occupation without a fight against occupation. In the absence of independence and national sovereignty, sorrow and joy and life itself can only exist within the context of a project for national independence. When this is abandoned or unravels, all you get is a contrived folk festival passed off as authenticity and the love for life.

At the end of the day, after Goldstone is finally exorcised as a witch and Israel’s human rights NGOs shut down, what then? Won’t accountability still be a cornerstone of the rule of law? Putting the diversions aside for a moment… are we not still left with alarming suspicions, partial information, and a very real need for a credible, independent investigation into Cast Lead?

“The phenomenon of Holocaust denial in the Arab world is wrong, misleading and causes damage to the Palestinian cause.” In his new book, Lebanese-French academic Gilbert Achcar grapples for the first time with the Arab attitudes towards the Holocaust.

Israel’s sabotage of the peace talks, its rapid colonisation of the occupied Palestinian territories and its deadly incursions into Lebanon and Gaza worsened the deterioration of its image. In an attempt to halt this decline, the Israeli authorities, and their unconditional supporters in the West, continue to invoke the memory of the Holocaust in the hope that it will legitimise their actions. They have also attempted to implicate the Palestinians and the Arabs in the Nazi genocide.

ALSO: Gilbert Achcar:The League Against Denial

“We are demonstrating over the collective slander. An Arab doesn’t commit a crime alone, but rather in the name of the Arab nation. This is plainly an attempt to isolate and exclude the Arab population from any circle of legitimacy.”

A rational country would have done the arithmetic long ago and understood that by continuing to hold on to the Golan Heights, the chances of a confrontation would simply grow.

Israel is intimidating [us] because we are reasserting our community’s stake in the Palestinian struggle. Twenty years ago few considered the Palestinians in Israel as a part of the Palestinian people or the Palestinian cause. During the Oslo process of the 1990s, we were considered an internal problem for Israel to deal with, but our networking, advocacy and lobbying has changed this. Israel is increasingly repressing us to divide Palestinians from each other and isolate us from the outside world.

IOA Editor: See also Ittijah General Director Ameer Makhoul Arrested by Israeli Authorities

An interview with Israeli socialist activist Tikva Honig-Parnass who fought in 1948 War as a Zionist. Years later she would break with Zionism and join the ranks of the Matzpen, a Marxist anti-Zionist group that was active in Israel during the 1960s and 1970s. Matzpen called for the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a regional framework that would involve the unification of the Arab East under a socialist and democratic banner, while also granting Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews equal national rights.

In a cruel historical twist, nearly all of the Palestinians evicted from their homes in Sheik Jarrah in the last year-and-a-half were originally expelled in 1948 from their homes in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Talbieh. In the wake of the Six-Day War, Israeli courts ruled that some of the houses these Palestinian refugees have lived in since 1948 are actually legally owned by Jewish Israelis, who have claims dating from before Israel’s founding.

Many of Israel’s critics blame an “Israel lobby” for the near-total complicity of the US in Israeli annexation, colonization and cleansing programs in the occupied West Bank… Years after Noam Chomsky, Stephen Zunes, Walter Russell Mead published their critiques of the Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer “Israel lobby” thesis, many of the sharpest critics of Israel continue to attribute US foreign policy in the Middle East to the influence of the lobby. Given the prevalence of the Israel lobby argument, and the latest diplomatic confrontation between the US and Israel, it is important to revisit the flaws in the thesis, and properly attribute US behavior to the large concentrations of domestic political and economic power that truly drive US policy.

IOA Editor: The question: Noam Chomsky or Stephen Walt/John Mearsheimer? Very important!

Noam Chomsky: A Middle East Peace That Could Happen (But Won’t)
John Mearsheimer: “The Future of Palestine – Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners”

The story I will tell is straightforward. Contrary to the wishes of the Obama administration and most Americans – to include many American Jews – Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream.

The deep racism of the Israeli psyche is on the rise. The 1990s, at least in hindsight, marked some liberalization of the public discourse; the first decade of this century crushed it, and now the mildly critical, left-liberal discourse hardly exists in the mainstream. No wonder the liberal left has just 3 seats out of 120 in the Knesset; all the other parties are various shades of right-wing, far right, or fascism (except the small outcast “Arab” parties).

Meron Benvenisti: “The whole notion of a Palestinian state now, in 2010, is a sham… The entire discourse is wrong. By continuing that discourse you perpetuate the status quo. The struggle for the two-state solution is obsolete… For the last 20 years I have questioned the feasibility of the partition of Palestine and now I am absolutely sure it is impossible… Or, it is possible if it is imposed on the Palestinians but that will mean the legitimisation of the status quo, of Bantustans, of a system of political and economic inequality.

With respect to the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian conflict, Israel has contributed and is contributing to the inability to reach a solution; it is also contributing to the inability to manage the conflict reasonably and fairly. The gap between Israeli politicians’ statements and deeds is large, and contributes a great deal to the continuation and exacerbation of the conflict, parallel to the other side’s contribution. Note, for example, the decision to approve military orders enabling the deportation of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank.

“When will the University of California stop funding war crimes against Palestinian civilians and the occupation of Palestinian land? How much longer will grieving mothers have to wait for justice?” UC Berkeley student and JVP activist Matthew Taylor covers the final stretch before tomorrow’s Student Senate vote.

[T]he line that separates the two sides today is not between Arabs and
Israelis or Jews and Muslims. Today the line is between those who want peace
and are ready to pay the price for it, and all the rest. They are the other
side! And today, that other side, to my dismay, is the corrupt group of
politicians and generals that leads us and behaves like a bunch of mafia
dons, war criminals, who play ping-pong in blood among themselves, who sow
hatred and reap death.

The Arab-Israeli war of narratives that has led to Holocaust-denial on the one hand and Nakba-denial on the other opposes two entirely symmetrical visions of the origins of this intractable conflict. In The Arabs and The Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives, Gilbert Achcar traces a complex history of interpretations from Arab responses to the earliest intimations of the Nazi genocide, through the creation of Israel and the occupation of Palestine, to last winter’s Israeli offensive against Gaza.

There are times when civil society has to take the initiative when government leaders are unable or unwilling to do so. Indeed, today, with tensions rising between Israel and Iran… it is time to talk, before it is too late.

Finkelstein concludes that Gaza was not a war but a massacre, “like shooting fish in a barrel”. Israel maintained undisputed control of the air, carrying out 3,000 sorties virtually unhindered. Amnesty International could not find cases where civilians were caught up in crossfire, because there wasn’t a single battle during the 22-day assault: “‘Most of the time it was boring,’ one soldier confirmed to Amnesty, ‘there was supposed to be a tiny resistance force upon entry, but there just wasn’t’”.

Will a serious battle against Occupation cause a deep rift in the Jewish People? Will it drive a wedge between all those who believe that the Jews, like other peoples, deserve a state of their own? Too late. The Occupation has already been there, and done precisely that.

IOA Editor: We may not share Burston’s vision of post-Occupation Israel, but it is encouraging to see, on Israel’s “Independence Day,” Israeli Jews calling their people to end the occupation.

While public deportation which are contrary to the Geneva Conventions had stopped in 1992, a much more sinister plan appears to have been implemented. The new undeclared policy is called by some “the transfer policy,” whereby Palestinians are “encouraged” to leave and not return by use of various administrative orders, such as this latest order.

IOA Editor: Mr. Kuttab may be referring to “deportation” to other countries. However, expulsions of Palestinians from the West Bank to Gaza not only did not stop, but has picked up momentum in recent months, even before the reports on Order 1650. Read Amira Hass’ High Court: Gaza student cannot complete studies in West Bank.

Someone has deceived you… Not only may an Arab not build “anywhere,” but he may thank his god if he is not evicted from his home and thrown out onto the street with his family and property. Perhaps you’ve heard about Arab residents in Sheikh Jarrah, having lived there since 1948, who are again being uprooted and made refugees.

IOA Editor: If only Mr. Obama were to “use his clout…” as Sarid, perhaps optimistically, suggests.

It is a reminder to us all that injustice did take place there, and that it is our responsibility to remember that the atrocities and intolerance we see and hear about today had their inception with Deir Yassin. Deir Yassin, which catapulted the Nakba, our catastrophe… Deir Yassin signifies that Palestinians existed and still exist, and we will never give up without a fight.

Shlomo Swirski: It can be said that the American administration allowed Israel to conduct its military operations against the Palestinian Authority under highly favorable domestic political conditions. The government was not forced to strain the local capital market or to raise taxes, steps that would have distressed Israel’s more affluent stratum.

Gaza-born Palestinian living on WB: ‘The Israeli order will destroy our lives. We will live as if we live in a huge prison even if we are not deported to Gaza. No one would dare to leave the city or to go from town to town afraid of the Israeli checkpoints. Who would keep his/her job in this unstable situation’.