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


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.

A 2007 report on racial profiling by Israeli carriers… concluded: “it is hard to find any Arab citizen who travels abroad by air and who has not experienced a discriminatory security check at least once”… [This] incident follows on the heels of a diplomatic crisis between Israel and South Africa over revelations that spies posing as El Al staff have been operating at Johannesburg airport, gathering information on non-Jewish passengers visiting Israel.

In its 62nd year of independence, as it has every year since March 2002, Israel is taking advantage of its independence to turn its back on the Arab Peace Initiative. This year, too, it is ignoring a plan that offers it normalization in return for a withdrawal from the occupied territories and a just and agreed resolution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

Noam Chomsky: “I don’t bother writing about Fox News, it is too easy. What I talk about are the liberal intellectuals, the ones who portray themselves and perceive themselves as challenging power, as courageous, as standing up for truth and justice. They are basically the guardians of the faith. They set the limits. They tell us how far we can go. They say, ‘Look how courageous I am.’ But do not go one millimeter beyond that. At least for the educated sectors, they are the most dangerous in supporting power.”

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.

[O]nly a negotiation in which all of Jerusalem is placed on the table will suffice. This is not only the right thing to do; such a posture is rooted in a solemn U.S. obligation made in the all but forgotten U.S. letter of assurances to the Palestinian delegation… at the outset of the Madrid-Washington-Oslo sequence of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. In it, the U.S. government declared that nothing should be done by either side that would “be prejudicial . . . to the outcome of the negotiations,” notably “unilateral acts that would exacerbate local tensions or make negotiations more difficult or preempt their final outcome.”

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.

Havens Center for the Study of Social Structures and Social Change , Orpheum Theater, Madison WI – 8 April 2010 (Video)

It was beautiful in Boston… as about 250 invited guests gathered at the Arlington Street Church to celebrate the life of Howard Zinn, who died on January 27. The crowd was full of scholars, writers, editors, actors, poets, activists, neighbors—friends all… [Zinn’s daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn,] told the story of The New York Times calling him up several months before he died and explaining that the paper had a custom of preparing obituaries for people while they were still alive. Without skipping a beat, Howard said: “What’s your deadline?”

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.

Netanyahu’s 1996 government was the first in Israel to use the phrase “Palestinian state.” The government agreed that Palestinians can call whatever fragments of Palestine are left to them “a state” if they like—or they can call them “fried chicken.” … By omission, Obama indicated that he accepts Bush’s “vision”: The vast existing Israeli settlement and infrastructure projects on the West Bank are implicitly “legitimate,” thus ensuring that the phrase “Palestinian state,” referring to the scattered remnants in between, means “fried chicken.”

Jonathan Cook: Haneen Zoubi, an MP who previously headed an Israeli media-monitoring organization, said it was “outrageous” that the suppressed report was still secret so long after the Gaza attack… “There must be at least a strong suspicion that Mr Blau’s article contains vital information, based on military documentation, warning of Israeli army intentions to commit war crimes.”

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’.

If it depended on public opinion, Kamm and Blau would be executed and Haaretz would be shut down on the spot. The general who gave the assassination orders revealed by Kamm and Blau has come out of the affair unscathed, while the journalist and his source are enemies of the people.

IOA Editor: While certain American Liberals – often, self-declared “Left Zionists” – are having a terrible time searching for Israel’s “Jewish Conscience,” and not finding it, Israeli-Jewish conscience remains crystal clear: Execute the traitors and continue with the mission. High walls separate Us from Them; let the military authorities run the Occupation and win the war against Palestine, without the traitors, the Goldstones, and the global Delegitimizers.

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.

The best way for America to achieve its goals would be to seek a definitive end to Israel’s occupation and other human rights violations; to itself get out of the occupation business with its attendant violations; and, to scale back its global military presence.

Noam Chomsky: “The evil scourge of terrorism”: reality, construction, remedy – Erich Fromm Lecture 2010 by Noam Chomsky

I have… criticized Israel for punishing the population of Gaza by imposing a blockade that restricts the flow of food, medicine, and fuel to subsistence levels, or worse. Such a blockade is a flagrant form of collective punishment prohibited by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. I believe that Hamas should be treated as a political actor, that the blockade should be terminated immediately, and that the UN should insist on the end to the blockade as a condition of Israel’s normal participation in the activities of the Organization.

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?

Amira Hass: A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years. When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.

IOA Editor: “Infiltration,” an Orwellian term invented by the Occupier, is designed to treat certain Palestinians as having no rights to be present at a given area without special permission that is unlikely to be granted by the IDF. Reminiscent of the Present Absentees (internally displaced Palestinians – IDPs), a post-1948 Israeli classification, this, too, is an attempt to segregate and dispose of elements of the Palestinian people that the Occupation authorities wish to remove — based on political, geographic, or any other criteria, however arbitrary. This newly-formalized authority serves as yet another tool at the hands of the IDF in the long-term process of ethnic cleansing — the removal of the Palestinian people from their land — that Israel has been carrying out since 1948.

But this is Israel. Here… there is almost no public sympathy for Kamm or even Blau. The pair are already being described, both by officials and in chat forums and talkback columns, as traitors who should be jailed, disappeared or executed for the crime of endangering the state. The telling comparison being made is to Mordechai Vanunu, the former technician at the Dimona nuclear plant who exposed Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal. Inside Israel, he is universally reviled to this day, having spent nearly two decades in harsh confinement.

UPDATE: Haaretz… revealed that, in a highly unusual move shortly before Israel’s attack on Gaza, it agreed to pull a printed edition after the army demanded at the last minute that one of Mr Blau’s stories not be published. His report had already passed the military censor, which checks that articles do not endanger national security. Lawyers and human rights groups fear that the army and Shin Bet are trying to silence investigative journalists and send a warning to other correspondents not to follow in Mr Blau’s path. (13 April 2010)

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Mossad Operation Threatened Against Reporter

Lia Tarachansky interviews Israeli economists Shir Hever and Shlomo Swirski. The OECD finds Israel has the highest poverty rate in the developed world; the economists blame neo-liberal reforms.

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.”

Are Israelis entitled to know that the IDF’s highest ranking officers gave advanced written permission to fire at innocent people during “targeted assassinations?” Isn’t the media’s supreme duty, not only its right, to report this? Are Israel’s citizens entitled to know that IDF commanders approved killing people even when it was possible to apprehend them, in blatant violation of the High Court’s ruling?

In the summer of 1967, Yeshayahu Leibowitz prophesied that Israel’s occupation would corrupt the country and turn it into “a Shin Bet state.” As early as the first intifada, we understood there is no such thing as an enlightened occupation. One nation cannot rule over another for 43 years without behaving cruelly toward the helpless, without executing people without trial, without embittering the lives of women and children, the sick and elderly.

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 believe, even today, in the importance of the two-state solution. But with every passing day I see what can only be described as Israel’s dogged determination to block such an outcome. The time has come to tell Washington that the viability of the two-state solution is being destroyed on Barack Obama’s watch.

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 biggest trap is the growing gap between the general population and the layer of society that represents that population to the outside (in politics, in the NGOs, the media and culture). It is impossible to blame only the occupation for this. You don’t have to directly embezzle funds to live exceptionally well.

Also: Ramallah is not Palestine

Richard Falk argues that a Palestinian victory in the legitimacy war with Israel would not necessarily produce the desired political results and that it is vital that the Palestinians exercise “patience, resolve, leadership and vision, as well as sufficient pressure” if they are to win their just rights.

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.