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


So if someone says that it offends “the Jews” to oppose the occupation, then you have to consider how many Jews are already against the occupation, and whether you want to be with them or against them. If someone says that “Jews” have one voice on this matter, you might consider whether there is something wrong with imagining Jews as a single force, with one view, undivided. It is not true.

Implementing this new military order is not only likely to spark a new conflagration in the territories, it is liable to give the world clear-cut proof that Israel’s aim is a mass deportation of Palestinians from the West Bank.

IOA Editor: Indeed. Is there any reasonable explanation for this move other than ethnic cleansing?

Noam Chomsky: I don’t think that the notion of legitimacy of a state means very much. Is the United States a legitimate state? It’s based on genocide; it conquered half of Mexico. What makes it legitimate? The way the international system is set up, states have certain rights; that has nothing to do with their legitimacy. Every state you can think of is based on violence, repression, expulsion, and all sorts of crimes. And the state system itself has no inherent legitimacy. It’s just an institutional form that developed and that was imposed with plenty of violence. The question of legitimacy just doesn’t arise. There is an international order in which it is essentially agreed that states have certain rights, but that provides them with no legitimacy, Israel or anyone else.

IOA Editor: An illuminating exchange between Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar on the important question of the legitimacy of the state, and how it applies to Israel and other nation-states. Presented in the context of the current wave of accusations that critics of the Israeli occupation, and of Israel’s systematic and ongoing violations of international law, are “delegitimizers” — a recently coined term created by Israeli propaganda experts to “delegitimize the delegitimizers.”

At first glance, this ‘affair’ has to do with the transfer of classified material to Haaretz correspondent Uri Blau, the very act of which was supposedly “harmful to national security.” In reality, however, the crime in question is far more severe – the one committed by the security apparatus (GOC Central Command in particular) in ignoring a High Court order and approving the targeted assassination of wanted men who could otherwise have been detained, in strikes that claimed the lives of innocent civilians.

The Anat Kamm affair raises serious suspicions that the law enforcement agencies in question – the Israel Defense Force’s information security unit, the Shin Bet, Israel Police and the State Prosecutor’s Office – are good at coming down hard on the powerless, while overlooking similar suspicions when attributed to senior officials. It’s the “sentinel syndrome”: the weak are persecuted and dealt with a heavy hand, while the deeds of the strong are slighted.

IOA Editor: Melman is the primary reporter covering the Israeli secret service agencies for Haaretz. As always, his is an Israeli-centered focus. This article is important because it covers the mode of operation of Israel’s various “security” agencies, and how they deal with those Israeli-Jews they deem to be their enemies.

I understand the need to keep details of a court case quiet. That’s a gag I can respect. But blacking out news of Kam’s arrest itself is a strike against free speech and freedom of the press. As Kam’s lawyer put it when I interviewed him, “these are the foundations of democracy.”

Americans are heavily involved in the conflict: from funding (the US provides Israel with roughly $3 billion annually in military aid) to corporate investments (Microsoft has one of its major facilities in Israel) to diplomatic support (the US has vetoed 32 United Nations Security Council resolutions unsavory to Israel between 1982 and 2006).

The policy of closing the country’s doors to visitors based on their political ideology is foreign to democratic countries. The fact that the group’s Jewish members were ultimately allowed to stay while the Swedes of Palestinian origin were not colors the affair with more than a tinge of race-based discrimination.

IOA Editor: This is part of a broad Israeli campaign against resistance to the Occupation – including the most peaceful and non-violent resistance. As noted here already, the threat of peace is Israel’s greatest fear. Any opportunity, however small, which supports a dialog is therefore promptly crushed. Equal treatment under the law cannot be expected from a state that runs a 43-year long Occupation — which is entirely racially-based, as is the state itself — and the term “democracy” simply doesn’t apply.

Netanyahu mixed together Romantic-nationalist cliches with a series of historically false assertions. But even more important was everything he left out of the history, and his citation of his warped and inaccurate history instead of considering laws, rights or common human decency toward others not of his ethnic group.

My Jewish sisters and brothers, you can continue to look away as Israel claims to speak and to act in your name. It kills and maims in your name. It dispossesses and occupies in your name. It talks peace and wages war in your name. If you turn a deaf ear to their mourning again this year, if you harden your heart again this year, if your voice is not raised this year in protest – then you are acquiescing in the ongoing ethnic cleansing of another people, in your name.

Both events in London and Washington are the marks of an arrogant nation that has overreached itself. The forging of British passports is the work of a country which believes it can act with impunity when planning the murder of its enemies, while simultaneously claiming to share the values of a law-based state. Mr Netanyahu’s statements in Washington, made as he was preparing to meet Barack Obama, are the mark of a leader who thinks he can openly defy the will of Israel’s closest military ally.

The problem is that the administration’s plan to get to its objective of “two states for two peoples living side by side in peace” looks less credible today than ever. With its aggressive settlement plans, Israel has chosen a one-state solution: but it is an apartheid state.

America subsidises Israel to the tune of $3bn a year. America is Israel’s principal arms supplier, enabling it to retain the technological edge over all its enemies, near and far. In the diplomatic arena too, America extends to Israel virtually unqualified support, including the use of the veto in the UN Security Council to defeat resolutions critical of Israel. America condemns Iran for its nuclear ambitions, while turning a blind eye to Israel’s possession of a large arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The majority of Jewish Israelis are complicit in the perpetuation of the current state of affairs. When growing groups of conscientious people refuse to play the game of building a fictitious democratic sand castle on the shores of the Mediterranean, the Israeli Jew behaves like a spoiled rich brat, who would rather destroy his own castle than see natives share his world and his dreams.

[T]he IDF harms not only one of the basic values of democratic rule, the freedom to demonstrate, but also discriminates in its policy, granting excessive liberty to lawless settlers while being heavy-handed with leftist protesters. The IDF order is therefore a revolting and ridiculous act, and the defense minister… must take immediate action to void it.

IOA Editor: It is extremely unlikely that General Barak will void the IDF decision, which he likely pre-approved.

I will mourn on Nakba Day. And also on the day that precedes it which we call Remembrance Day and which is nothing but a day dedicated to the cult of dead flesh, at the end of which everyone goes out and grills another kind of dead flesh on open flames, sings, dances, overeats and gets drunk. I will mourn for our Independence Day that is nothing but a celebration of the triumph of closure and subjugation.

Edward [Said] was a visionary and constructive critic who spoke truth to power. He was a courageous and original thinker who was not afraid of taking risks and going against the grain, who always thought in alternative ways that led to opening roads and building bridges. The only thing he most abhorred was criticism that was destructive.

The Strategic Affairs Ministry [General Yaalon] never ceases to bring us peace of mind. How nice to know that someone in Israel is monitoring Palestinian incitement, ensuring they “create an environment of peace” and striving “to push them toward a culture of peace”. After all, what do we care about construction in Jerusalem, Efrat or Ramat Shlomo, or about checkpoints, arrests, home demolitions, the army’s “neighbor policy,” bone breaking, land appropriation or the blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza?

[T]he failure of the peace groups is not simply a strategic one but one of understanding and analysis as well: an inability to fully confront the overwhelming evidence that demolishes the most cherished mythologies in Israel and the American Jewish community.

Today there are more than seven million Palestinian refugees around the world. Israel denies their right to return to their homes and land – a right recognised by UN resolution 194, the Geneva convention, and the universal declaration of human rights. Further, “an occupier may not forcibly deport protected persons… or transfer parts of its own civilian population into occupied territory” (article 49).

Israeli generals live a life of luxury and extravagance, mostly shaded from public scrutiny, while their soldiers enforce a brutal and criminal occupation upon the Palestinian people. Now they appropriately choose the Waldorf Astoria in New York to solicit more American money. New Profile, an Israeli feminist movement for the civil-zation of Israeli society, asks US citizens to just say NO.

Interview with Jeff Halper, Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and author of Obstacles to Peace: A Re-framing of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and An Israeli In Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel.

The alienation between Arabs and Jews can be seen everywhere. It has not arisen solely in the context of the national conflict, but is rather a result of an establishment policy which has expropriated Arabs’ lands to build communities “for Jews only” and has pushed the Arab inhabitants into localities under an “ethno-Zionist siege” on all sides.

John Pilger reminds us of the struggle by an extraordinary few in Israel against the repression and lawlessness of the occupation of Palestine. They are the inspiration to break the loud silence in the Jewish diaspora.

The disappearance of the two-state solution is triggering a third transformation, which is turning Israel from a democracy into an apartheid state. The democracy Israel provides for its (mostly) Jewish citizens cannot hide its changed character. A democracy reserved for privileged citizens while all others are denied individual and national rights and kept behind checkpoints, barbed wire fences and separation walls manned by Israel’s military, is not democracy.

Haaretz: A duty to protest

22 February 2010

Bil’in has become a symbol of a civic struggle devoid of terrorism. Such persistent, ongoing protest action is remarkable. It has even prompted the Supreme Court to rule that the route of the fence should be moved, and that some 170 acres of land be returned to the villagers. Astonishingly, this ruling has yet to be implemented by the state, which is thus displaying brazen contempt of court.

As he prepares to leave Jerusalem after four years as the Guardian’s correspondent, Rory McCarthy reflects on a new, harsher climate of thought that is apparent in the wake of the Dubai assassination. But this attitude is not universal: dissent thrives in the most unlikely places.

Collusion. That’s what it’s all about. The United Arab Emirates suspect – only suspect, mark you – that Europe’s “security collaboration” with Israel has crossed a line into illegality, where British passports (and those of other other EU nations) can now be used to send Israeli agents into the Gulf to kill Israel’s enemies.

It could be expected that a country that has ruled another nation for many years would show tolerance toward manifestations of unarmed protest against the occupation and its ills… The suppression of public protest under the transparent guise of protecting state security does not augment Israel’s international standing. Such a policy gives a bad name to “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

U.S. news coverage of the conflict relentlessly presents the news within this Israeli narrative, primarily because powerful forces in this country find that narrative useful for U.S. strategic interests in the region, and U.S. journalists tend to fall in line with that view.

B’Tselem, Yesh Din, Machsom Watch, Breaking the Silence and their ilk are nudniks, they are one-sided, they pick up any story floating around, often giving exaggerated credence to hearsay testimony and they have a tendency for overkill, conflating every report into a phenomenon. Yet we couldn’t do without them.

IOA Editor: Indeed, without them, liberal Anglo-Saxon Jewish immigrants such as Mr. Pfeffer could themselves become targets of the neo-fascist camp that is rapidly rising in Israel as a counter-movement to domestic human rights organizations and to Israel’s international critics. This Israel-centric commentary is presented here to show the tremendous pressure Israeli rights organizations are operating under, and the limited support they receive even from relatively-friendly media such as Haaretz.

The decision to develop Iron Dome appears to have been, from the start, an effort to keep the Rafael scientists employed and compensate the company for not benefiting from the research and development funding for the Arrow system, which is being developed by Israel Aerospace Industries.

IOA Editor: So much for Israeli security and for defending our people from Gaza-based terrorism. There’s no business like War Business (there’s even an Irving Berlin Broadway-tune to go with it). Israeli war profiteering is an important part of the equation. See also:
Amira Hass: Israel knows that peace just doesn’t pay
Who Profits?
Wikipedia – Iron Dome

The wall of shame, as Egyptians call it, will complete the transformation of Gaza into an open-air prison. It is the cruellest example of the concerted ­Israeli-Egyptian-US policy to isolate and prevent Hamas from leading the Palestinian struggle for self-determi­nation. Hamas is habitually dismissed by its enemies as a purely terrorist ­organisation. Yet no one can deny that it won a fair and free election in the West Bank as well as Gaza in January 2006.

[M]any, across the political spectrum, are deeply uncomfortable with the shift in policy that has turned the Palestinians, from historical “brothers,” into something like enemies… [T]he columnist Fahmi Huwaydi remarks that Egypt’s “strategic vision has changed, and Egypt has come to reckon the Palestinians and not the Israelis a danger. And if this sad conclusion is correct, then I cannot avoid describing the steel wall…as a wall of shame.”

Israel is pushing the Palestinian community to a big confrontation, in order to harm the whole community. We must look at the whole of the Palestinian community since 1948. We need to include the 1.4 million Palestinian people living in Israel in our efforts for just solution.

But look at the statistics and leaf through the pile of demolition orders… and it all looks like ethnic cleansing via bureaucracy. Perverse might be the word for the paperwork involved. Obscene appear to be the results.