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


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

Human rights organizations are persecuted – simple as that – exactly in the name of the refusal to know. “It is forbidden to know” means that it is forbidden for our consciousness to move freely among the facts, the scenes, the voices, the options. All these were supposed to comprise the awareness of the Israeli who lives five minutes from these unimaginable things – 43 years of military dictatorship over another people.

“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.”

In the past two weeks the Israeli internal intelligence agency, the Shabak / Shin Bet, arrested two prominent Israeli activists in the middle of the night. The men are well known leaders of Palestinian organizations inside Israel… arrested under secret evidence and a gag order was issued to the Israeli press regarding their arrests.

The commotion over the PA’s economic campaign against the settlements indicates, more than anything else, how the colonialist mindset has been branded into Israeli consciousness. The protests over the threatened loss of the hewers of wood and drawers of water shows how hard it is to shake off the master-servant attitudes that have taken root over the last 43 years.

Who says Jewish humor has disappeared from Israel? Who says that even the state’s shadowiest organizations don’t enjoy occasional moments of levity, in between carrying out assassinations and foiling conspiracies? Israel’s ongoing fascistization, isolation, nationalism and militarism don’t make for much comic relief.

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.

After 18 months with no direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, so-called proximity talks between intermediaries, rather than face-to-face meetings between the direct parties, are scheduled to begin this week. An announcement is anticipated shortly. These shuttle deliberations are expected to continue for four months with Arab League backing. They hold little hope.

“The most important task for us, expatriate Israeli dissidents, is educational – in the broad sense of the word. When I first came to the UK, not only general public opinion, but even much of the radical left, was very sympathetic to Israel. We had a tremendous job educating the left on the true nature of Zionism as a colonizing project and Israel as an expansionist settler state.”

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

The IOA sat with Professor Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, to discuss US-Israel relations, The Obama Administration’s Middle East policies, and effective strategy and tactics for those fighting for justice for the Palestinians.

Job interviews for the position of imam at mosques in Israel are conducted not by senior clerics but by the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, a labour tribunal has revealed. Sheikh Ahmed Abu Ajwa, 36, is fighting the Shin Bet’s refusal to approve his appointment as an imam in a case that has lifted the lid on Israel’s secret surveillance of the country’s Islamic leaders.

There are not many Jews like Wiesel, to whom the White House door is open and the president lends an ear. And what does Wiesel do with this golden opportunity? He talks to Obama about postponing discussions on Jerusalem. Not about the need for an end to the occupation, not about the opportunity to establish a just peace (and a just Israel ), not about the outrageous injustice to the Palestinians. Only perpetuating the occupation.

Even if not one more Jewish home is built in the occupied territories ‏(including East Jerusalem‏), the enormous apparatus of domination continues to operate there with an inner logic of many years’ duration. It moves along by itself, like some huge aircraft without a pilot.

“Iran is perceived as a threat because they did not obey the orders of the United States. Militarily this threat is irrelevant. This country has not behaved aggressively beyond its borders for centuries. Israel invaded Lebanon with the blessing and help of the US five times in thirty years. Iran has not done anything like this.”

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.

Amira Hass: Some settlers are employing a new strategy to get Palestinians evicted from their land in the northern region of the Jordan Valley: set[ting] up a “protest” tent next to a tent belonging to Bedouin herdsmen near Wad el Maleh, on private Palestinian land. [The result:] both the Israelis and Palestinians there were handed decrees declaring the area a closed military zone.

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.

[C]orruption on the hill in West Jerusalem is nothing compared to the theft of land, identity rape, and the body of lies and criminal discrimination against 270,000 residents of the eastern part of the city. Although these despicable acts have been going on in broad daylight for years, the public and the media don’t find them interesting. After all, it’s about Arabs.

There isn’t any place in the world where apartheid is so systematic as it is today in Palestine… You are talking about a situation where we the Palestinians are prevented from using all our main roads because they are exclusive for Israelis and Israeli Army and Israeli settlers. This did not happen even during the segregation time in the [United] States… But here you can’t use the same road even. I am an elected Member of Parliament… And since five years I am prevented, like 98 percent of the Palestinians, from entering Jerusalem.

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).

The fact that the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on without resolution might appear to be rather strange. For many of the world’s conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement. In this case, it is not only possible, but there is near universal agreement on its basic contours: a two-state settlement along the internationally recognized (pre-June 1967) borders — with “minor and mutual modifications,” to adopt official U.S. terminology before Washington departed from the international community in the mid-1970s.

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.

The only democracy in the Middle East is perhaps unique, but it’s doubtful if it’s the real thing. Results of a poll published in Haaretz yesterday reflect what has been known for a long time: a combination of ignorance, a basic lack of understanding and a fascist mood. An ill and dangerous wind is blowing toward a government that is threatened with collapse.

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.

The most educated, respectable and wealthy Palestinian citizen will always fare worse at the airport security check than the most disreputable Jewish citizen, or the one who espouses extremist opinions or even the Jewish citizen with a criminal record.

[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.

Defining a Palestinian with a Gaza Strip address as a punishable infiltrator if he is found in the West Bank – as implied by a military order that has now gone into effect – is one more link in a chain of steps that Israel has taken, whose cumulative effect is to sever the Strip from Palestinian society as a whole.


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