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


Rabin on the killing of 250-400 Lydda residents under his command in 1948: “There was no way to avoid the use of weapons and warning shots in order to force the residents to march 10 to 20 kilometers… The residents of Ramle observed what was happening and learned the lesson. Their leaders agreed to evacuate voluntarily.”

IOA Editor: Not so, for both towns, according to Segev’s coverage. Despite the differing views among Israeli researchers, and the still restricted sources, it is clear that Palestinians did not leave their homes ‘voluntarily.’ Undoubtedly, another reason to award Rabin the N-Prize.

If not for B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, the State of Israel would look different today. The occupation might have been even crueler, or just as cruel, but we certainly would look different. In its 20 years of existence, this important human-rights organization may not have succeeded in changing reality, but at least it has made it possible for us to know what that reality was.

Why is it permissible to talk to Hamas about the fate of one captive soldier and another several hundred prisoners, but forbidden to talk to them about the fate of two nations? Never has Israeli logic been so distorted… Israel must remove the criminal siege against Gaza and call on the international community to remove the boycott against Hamas, which was imposed under Israel’s leadership.

For years, Israel has developed an entire industry of institutionalized voyeurism. It is a bureaucratic apparatus employing high technology, which not only enhances its methods of control, but also manufactures justification for that control to persist. Israeli society warmly embraces these professional voyeurs and their explanation that their work stems from “security demands.”

IOA Editor: See also Jonathan Cook’s: Israeli spies ‘infiltrate’ Johannesburg airport.

On June 19, 1967, a week and a half after the end of fighting in the Six-Day War, ministers, including Menachem Begin, were willing to give up on the gains made on the Syrian front in exchange for peace.

Of greatest concern is what is happening on American campuses, which are slowly becoming pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli. That is dangerous because this is where America’s future leaders are bred. But our opponents are not motivated by anti-Semitism, as our political hacks like to claim. If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, then anti-Semitism is the last refuge of the occupier.

IOA Editor: Marcus, historically, a defender of the Occupation, is beginning to appreciate the significance of Israel’s diminishing popularity. This Israel-centric commentator marks the early signs of change, and a welcome indication of the success of BDS and the global anti-Occupation movement.

In recent months there is a growing tendency among opponents of Israeli oppression and defenders of Palestinian rights to refer to Israeli policy towards the Palestinians as “apartheid”… I would like to warn against an unthinking use of this misleading analogy between Israeli policy and that of the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa. It is theoretically false and politically harmful.

IOA Editor: This very important discussion of the similarities and differences between the Occupation and Apartheid, originally published in 2004, is again timely, in view of recent commentaries, including on the IOA.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz appears to have been unaware of some important facts when he said at a recent conference on discrimination that Arab society in Israel is partially responsible for the low levels of employment for Arab women.

“Our research showed that the checks conducted by El Al at foreign airports had all the hallmarks of Shin Bet interrogations,” said Mohammed Zeidan, the director of the Human Rights Association. “Usually the questions were less about the safety of the flight and more aimed at gathering information on the political activities or sympathies of the passengers.”

First we shape a new reality for ourselves; then we expect the entire world to adopt it, demand that our neighbors pay the cost, and complain that we have no partner for peace.

Currently around 130 Palestinian citizens of Israel are incarcerated as security prisoners. Hamas… is concentrating on the 22 who have been in jail for more than 15 years, much longer than the average for offenders sentenced to life… None are Hamas members. Some are serving life sentences, although they were not convicted of murder or manslaughter. In most cases, a minimum term before eligibility for parole has not been set, in others it has been set at 40 or 45 years.

[The US] defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” The Hebron settlers’ violence is certainly premeditated. It is, by their own admission, politically motivated. It is perpetrated solely against noncombatant targets (overwhelmingly children), and it is obviously the work of a subnational group – the settlers themselves. The business of the Hebron settlers is terrorism, pure and simple.

Noam Chomsky: ME Questions

20 November 2009

Noam Chomsky in BBC interview:The war in Afghanistan is “immoral.” He spoke to Stephen Sackur and answered viewer questions, among them several on the Middle East.

US embassy: “To stir up controversy at the same time that we are trying to get people back to the [negotiating] table, is not productive… It is only natural that Senator Mitchell would be paying attention to that – and the US government as well.”

IOA Editor: The spirit of Kahane is alive and well (as they used to say, “Kahane Chai” – “כהנא חי”)… Thriving from the hills of the West Bank all the way into Israel’s Knesset. This would serve only as the latest excuse for the US failure to get “people back to the table,” with the primary reason being the woefully one-sided, twisted US foreign policy – one that accepts Occupation of one nation by another as a normal state of affairs.

“Apartheid” is a word bomb akin to “lynching” or “untouchables.” It explodes upon the page, ripping the scabs off the wounds of state-enforced segregation in South Africa, a system that ended only in 1994… We have used the word “apartheid” to describe Israel’s system of rule over the Palestinians with eyes wide open to the incendiary quality of the term… Our purpose in making this comparison is not to shock… Rather, we seek… to stare hard, cold realities in the face and to participate in the discussion about how to transcend them without compounding the loss and dislocation they have already caused.

[I]t’s no exaggeration to propose that this idea, although well-meant by some, raises the clearest danger to the Palestinian national movement in its entire history, threatening to wall Palestinian aspirations into a political cul-de-sac from which it may never emerge. The irony is indeed that, through this maneuver, the PA is seizing — even declaring as a right — precisely the same dead-end formula that the African National Congress (ANC) fought so bitterly for decades because the ANC leadership rightly saw it as disastrous. That formula can be summed up in one word: Bantustan.

IOA Editor: See comments on article page.

[Lacking] the most essential elements of statehood: independence and sovereignty, and effective control over its territory… A Palestinian state that is recognised under these circumstances, with its territory partitioned, and subdivided into cantons, surrounded by walls, fences, ditches, watchtowers, and barbed wire, would scarcely be a state worthy of the name.

Joe Klein: Israelophilia

19 November 2009

Dov Hikind is not only a U.S. citizen, but also a member of the NY state legislature… and he wants to buy property in an illegal Jewish settlement, in an East Jerusalem neighborhood that the U.S. government considers a disputed area where no additional construction should be taking place? Indeed, it is an area that would be the capital of Palestine, if and when we achieve a two-state solution.

IOA Editor: Irrespective of the warped comment on “the deal negotiated by Bill Clinton (and foolishly rejected by the Palestinians),” a view common in US media and among those not doing critical, careful fact-checking – including Klein, “a lifetime supporter of the Jewish state,” who feels the need to state it – this commentary shows the changes currently underway in how Israeli aggression is covered in the US.

For facts and myths on the Bill Clinton “deal,” see Gush Shalom’s presentation: Barak’s “Generous Offers”

[T]here is a gradual mobilizing, galvanizing of public opinion such that… you can see the writing on the wall, that Israel is getting closer and closer to being held accountable… And in that respect you can say the Goldstone report marked a qualitative change. They recognized now for the first time that the shadow of accountability is hanging over them.

The threats uttered against a possible Palestinian declaration of independence by our leaders… let the Israeli sanctimony (usually tedious and belabored) drop to the floor for a moment… It exposed the ugly skeleton of force that gives only us freedom of speech… We are allowed to reiterate Israel’s Declaration of Independence over and over. You are not allowed to do so with yours.

Obama’s fury was over not only the principle, but also the way Netanyahu handled the crisis… U.S. embassies in Arab countries are reporting that Obama’s charms are wearing off as it becomes clear that nothing has changed since his June speech in Cairo.

It seems Israel is taking full advantage of the crisis in the peace process to push its anti-peace agenda… It is a rogue state, in contravention of international law, occupying another people’s land in contempt of human rights law and common decent standards of human behaviour… Israel has been given a free pass for too long. Without returning occupied land, it cannot arrive at peace with the Palestinians and there can be no comprehensive peace in this region.

Despite the hype, [the new Mofaz "peace" plan] turned out to be nothing more than recycling of familiar worn-out schemes, repeatedly put forward by Israel and then abandoned: a Palestinian state with “temporary borders” on 50 to 60 percent of the West Bank with large Jewish-only settlement blocs annexed to Israel.

If to Israelis, “what goes for East Jerusalem goes for Tel Aviv,” as Netanyahu says, then as far as the Palestinians are concerned, “what goes for East Jerusalem goes for Ramallah,” as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says. A freeze on Jewish construction in East Jerusalem therefore was and remains the key to the peace process.

For 21 years and a day, since the Palestine Liberation Organization declared independence in Algiers, its leaders have not lowered their price: recognition of Israel and an end to hostilities in exchange for a Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem the capital.

Peres is our beautiful and misleading face. Equipped with the ability to delude, one of the founders of the settlement movement has turned into Israel’s Mr. Peace.

The PLO, ever since the armed Palestinian organizations got the upper hand within it after 1967, very quickly came to understand that anti-Semitic discourse is bad in itself and altogether contrary to the interests of the struggle of the Palestinian people. Hence the insistence on the distinction to be made between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, which was the issue in a political battle within the Palestinian movement.

[B]efore Abu Mazen quits… He must declare, unilaterally, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Palestine now… Netanyahu finds this possibility very scary, and he expects the Americans to nip it in the bud. But his nightmare is our only chance for an end to the occupation in our time.

The flurry of US officials’ visits to Ramallah is likely to stop unless a major and important change takes place in Washington. In the meantime, Abbas will pay more attention to the home front, trying to stitch together some type of agreement with Hamas.

A young student deported from the West Bank to Gaza is just the latest victim of Israeli efforts to sever ties between the territories.

UPDATE: New York Times (12 Nov 2009): Expelled West Bank Student Petitions Israel Court. The court… remanded the case to a military hearing to be held at the Gaza border next week, where Azzam can attend. ”My priority, what’s most important, is to get back to my studies,” Azzam said, speaking by phone from Gaza. ”I was so close to finishing, I just want to get back to Bethlehem and finish.”

“Disputed” is a word often used about East Jerusalem and homes in Sheikh Jarrah. Would the international community have considered the homes of American blacks attacked by the Ku Klux Kla as “disputed”?

It has been five years since the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel should cease construction, dismantle the wall, and pay reparations to affected Palestinians. But the “Separation Barrier” is now 400 km, double its length at the time of the court ruling.

The option has been and remains one of the following: two states for two peoples along the 1967 borders; or one state, in which two peoples continue to make each other miserable. Israel is galloping toward this latter disaster with eyes wide shut.

[The US] has no intention of being a “balanced mediator”… Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, allies of the final takeover of the West Bank, know very well that U.S. policy has not changed… The prevailing attitude of all U.S. administrations [is] essentially that any possible settlement must match the positions of the stronger party. This is how the Americans abandoned the refugee issue, and this is why they abandoned the opposition to settlements.

Chomsky on the US’s unwavering support for Israel and “rejectionism” of the two-state solution, effectively on offer for 30 years: That’s not because of the overweening power of the Israel lobby in the US, but because Israel is a strategic and commercial asset which underpins rather than undermines US domination of the Middle East… America’s one-sided role in the Middle East isn’t harming their interests, whatever risks it might bring for anyone else.

IOA Editor: Noam Chomsky has just concluded a speaking tour in the UK and Ireland. For coverage of his tour, see:

   Israel’s worst enemies are those who support its policies
   Hundreds flock to hear Noam Chomsky in Dublin
   Discussion with Workers Solidarity Movement

This seventh-grader… is half Israeli and half Egyptian, Jewish and Muslim, speaks Hebrew with her mother and Arabic with her father, lives in Ramat Hasharon and spends vacations in Sinai and Cairo, with her father and grandmother.

IOA Editor: Perhaps the most encouraging story, if it weren’t so singular, romantic, completely out of the norm and, for those who know the Sinai coast, completely out of this world.