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


Palestinian Agriculture Minister Ismail Daiq: “The year 2009 was the quietest for Israelis from the security point of view and the most violent for the Palestinians from the point of view of attacks by settlers in the West Bank.”

The only difference between “the rock of our existence” that launched the Western Wall tunnel violence in 1996 and the 2010 model is that this time Netanyahu is wearing a mask, trying to pass himself off as peace activist Uri Avnery, with the generous help of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

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.

[T]he battle over Jerusalem’s Mamilla Cemetery, a Muslim cemetery known in Arabic as Maman Allah, where the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center intends to build a Museum of Tolerance, … encapsulates many aspects of Israel’s approach to Palestinian rights since the conflict began.

“The degree to which Bronner’s personal life… is integrated into Israeli society, makes him an excellent candidate to cover Israeli political life, cultural shifts and intellectual life. The problem is that Bronner is also expected to be his paper’s lead voice on Palestinian political life, cultural shifts and intellectual life, all in a society he has almost no connection to, deep knowledge of or even the ability to directly communicate with.”

Ask any tea grower in Sri Lanka or banana farmer in Cameroon and they’ll tell you that Israel is seen as a global weapons provider, a political and economic power, an occupying and oppressing state.

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.

[T]he cabinet backed a bill last week that, if passed, will jail senior officials from the country’s peace-related organisations should they fail to meet tough new registration conditions… “We are seeing the evaporation of the last freedoms of speech and organisation in Israel,” said Amal Jamal, head of politics at Tel Aviv University… The Israeli political system, he added, was being transformed into a “totalitarian 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.

Rashid Khalidi: “A two-state solution looks a lot further off today than it did in the 1990s… In spite of all of these vicissitudes…” Palestinians have an “extraordinary solidarity of society” and general cohesiveness, so they may just escape their “very, very grim future.”

Brown University student: “I thought it was phenomenal” [and] found it “particularly motivational,” and… was “enraged by the current situation in Palestine.”

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.

There’s no difference between the assassins by the Border Police or the Duvdevan unit that kills wanted people in the occupied territories, and the daring hush-hush assassins of Dubai. The only debate since Dubai is about whether it was a snafu. But the real snafu is that assassinations have long been a legitimate weapon: no doubts and no questions asked, all without the true designation – executions.

IOA Editor: See also Haaretz editorial: Troubling questions from Dubai, which is questioning the wisdom of the Mossad assassination, but not the legitimacy of murder as a foreign policy.

Jaffa Councillor Omar Siksik: “For six decades the authorities have not built one new house for the Arab population, and in fact they have demolished many Arab homes, while building social housing for Jews.”

Noam Chomsky: Howard Zinn

14 February 2010

Historian Howard Zinn’s remarkable work, including his most famous book, A People’s History of the United States, is summarized best in his own words. His primary concern, he once explained, was “the countless small actions of unknown people” that lie at the roots of the great moments of history–a record that would be profoundly misleading, and seriously disempowering, if torn from such roots. Howard, who died Jan. 27 at 87, was devoted to the empowerment of these unknowns.

“Israel knows that the non-violence struggle is spreading and that it’s a powerful weapon against the occupation,” said Neta Golan, an Israeli activist based in Ramallah. “Israel has no answer to it, which is why the security forces are panicking and have started making lots of arrests.”

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.”

It is a matter of regional planning policy that expropriates vacant lands and restricts Palestinian development, and of the denial of the indigenous people’s natural rights: the right of inheritance and cultivation, the right to freedom of movement, the right to work, the right to family life, and the right to housing and education by choice. This… sums up the history of the occupation from 1967 to today. It is the government’s guiding policy in East Jerusalem and lies at the foundation of the treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Jerusalem’s mayor threatened last week to demolish 200 homes in Palestinian neighbourhoods of the city in an act even he conceded would probably bring long-simmering tensions over housing in East Jerusalem to a boil.

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.

Every year since March 2002, Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization have reiterated their support for the Arab peace initiative. Hopefully they will do so again next month at the Arab League summit in Tripoli. The initiative offers Israel normalization with all Arab League members in return for a withdrawal from all territories occupied in 1967.

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

Jonathan Cook: [Israel's] finance ministry has admitted that most of the money taken from the workers was passed to Israeli military authorities in the Palestinian territories to pay for “infrastructure programmes”. [The] co-author of the report said she believed that the ministry was actually referring to the construction of illegal settlements… In one especially cynical use of the funds, the report notes, the money was spent on portable stoves for soldiers involved in Israel’s three-week attack on Gaza last year.

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.

Howard Zinn: 1922-2010
Amy Goodman interviews Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Alice Walker, and Anthony Arnove.

Additional Videos:
“Three Holy Wars” – May 2009
The Daily Show with Jon Stuart – 6 Jan 2005
Introducing A People’s History
On human nature and aggression – 2004
On civil disobedience – 2002

[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.”

MP Zahalka: “Imagine the outcry if a Jewish representative in the US or Britain was expected to swear loyalty to his country as a Christian state.”

Howard Zinn was magical as a teacher. Witty, irreverent, and wise, he loved what he was teaching and clearly wanted his students to love it also. We did.

IOA Editor: As did this former Zinn student, and probably everyone else. A friend who knew Howard well and worked closely with him said: “Howard had that je ne sais quoi that is rare beyond expression. Allowed him to say the most amazingly radical thing and seem like common sense. And make you laugh while doing it.” Exactly.

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.

We can continue to remain silent and know that silence means collaboration. But when the left wakes up it will be too late. In fact, it is already too late. Meretz is dead, Labor is dying, Kadima is nonexistent, Peace Now is still deliberating over whether to petition against the pardon, and the right is freely celebrating and going wild.

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.

Mr. Zinn was chagrined by the present state of affairs, but undaunted. “If there is going to be change, real change,” he said, “it will have to work its way from the bottom up, from the people themselves. That’s how change happens.”

Spelman College girls are still “nice” but not enough to keep them from walking up and down, carrying picket signs, in front of two supermarkets in the heart of Atlanta. They are well-mannered, but this is somewhat tempered by a recent declaration that they will use every method short of violence to end segregation.

IOA Editor: In these days of Apartheid Walls and resistance to military occupation, it is both interesting and inspiring to read Howard Zinn’s account of protesting segregation in the South.

It has been a wonderful privilege to have been able to join Howard on his “moving train” on many occasions over these years of challenge, inspiration, torment, and persistent concern over impending catastrophe. Like everyone who knows him, I too have been struck by his enduring optimism… Howard’s life and work are a persistent reminder that our own subjective judgments of the likelihood of success in engaging human problems are of little interest, to ourselves or others. What matters is to take part, as best we can, in the small actions of unknown people that can stave off disaster and bring about a better world, to honor them for their achievements, to do what we can to ensure that these achievements are understood and carried forward. In brief, to follow the model provided for us by the subject of this welcome biography.

We have a prime minister who speaks about evil but is building a fence to prevent war refugees from knocking at Israel’s door. A prime minister who speaks about evil but shares the crime of the Gaza blockade, now in its fourth year, leaving 1.5 million people in disgraceful conditions. A prime minister in whose country settlers perpetrate pogroms against innocent Palestinians under the slogan “price tag,” which also has horrific historical connotations, but against whom the state does virtually nothing.