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


Gideon Levy, a courageous Israeli journalist whose work is followed and admired by readers all over the world, tells about the odd, yet moving experience of watching a play that focuses on his own work: “never have I felt such satisfaction from my journalistic work as I did in that hall. Never have I been so proud that another chilling story of mine about abuse committed by IDF soldiers, appears Friday in this paper…” We wish him the very best.

In looking for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then, we should once and for all stop looking to governments and officials (elected or otherwise), in the US, Israel, or among the Palestinians themselves. As the Obama administration has already demonstrated, the US government, in the present political conjuncture, will never put peace and justice in Palestine ahead of internal domestic pressures and politics; the Israeli government will not for one moment back down from its continually expanding colonization plan in the West Bank and East Jerusalem until it is compelled by outside pressure to do otherwise; and the Palestinian government — well, there is no such thing.

Even supporters of the Palestinian Authority admit that it was clearly outmanoeuvred by the Israelis and the Americans, and was seen to be totally out of touch with its own public and the Arab and international supporters.

IOA Editor: Illuminating coverage of the background to the Abbas’ decision, and valid practical advice to the PA. However, stating that the Israeli government stood up to “tremendous US pressure” is not supported by by facts: there is no evidence of any actual US pressure.

We strongly urge the leadership to reconsider its decision, and to begin to forge an independent path of diplomacy based on respect for international law that can lead to genuine justice and durable peace.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR) new report, titled “Through Women’s Eyes,” highlights “the Gender-Specific Impact and Consequences of Operation Cast Lead” and the ongoing siege.

A Response to Uri Avnery: No Israeli who claims to support the national rights of the Palestinian people can, decently, turns his or her back to that campaign: after having claimed for years that “armed struggle is not the way,” it will be outrageous that this BDS strategy will too be disqualified by those Israeli activists. On the contrary, we must all together join to “Boycott from Within” in order to provide Israeli support to this Palestinian initiative.

Banned from Al Aqsa

7 October 2009

Jonathan Cook covers the growing tension between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem, culminating yesterday in warnings by Palestinian officials that Israel was “sparking a fire” in the city.

We have no interest or desire in a clash – the opposite is true. Popular protest is legitimate. However, we shall never accept a situation whereby one side feels like a knight while the other feels like the horse; one side is the master and ruler while the other is the servant and slave.

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies.

After years of total disdain for the international community, of violating laws and treaties while Israeli legal experts turn into a kind of public defense counsel for our generals, there are finally members of the military elite who can no longer travel to Switzerland to ski, or to the opera in Covent Garden, or to a high-tech exhibition in Spain, without first consulting their lawyers. And that’s a good thing.

In a single phone call to his man in Geneva, Mahmoud Abbas has demonstrated his disregard for popular action, and his lack of faith in its accumulative power and the place of mass movements in processes of change.

But what will we do if the Iranians surprise Obama with an offer to rid the Middle East of nuclear weapons and to help establish peace throughout the entire region? It is so convenient for us to remain tied to the policy of ambiguity on both issues.

“Anyone who thinks that peace is possible with the current Israeli government and was not possible with the previous governments is being delusional.”

When the world said in near unison, “War crimes,” Kasher said, “We are the most moral army in the world, no one is better than us.” If this is how a philosopher of ethics speaks, who needs propagandists?

The Palestinian leadership—under heavy international pressure lead by the United States—deferred the draft proposal at the Human Rights Council endorsing all the recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Mission (the Goldstone Report). This deferral denies the Palestinian peoples’ right to an effective judicial remedy and the equal protection of the law. It represents the triumph of politics over human rights. It is an insult to all victims and a rejection of their rights.

Obama was right in speaking out against the delay in movement in the peace process. Instead of this false symmetry in which charges are fabricated to appear balanced, the US president should simply lay out who was responsible for the delay. Only by chiding the right party can there be hope of real progress in this decades-old conflict.

The establishment of a state commission of inquiry to investigate the Goldstone report’s allegations of Israeli war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza is the only appropriate response the Israeli government can make.

The wounds of Gaza have not yet healed, the debris has not yet been cleared and the housing there has not yet been rehabilitated. Israel has also not been rehabilitated. It still insists that everything went as it should have. But cracks are now appearing. There is something cynical and depressing about the fact that it is happening only after Israeli leaders started to fear for their personal fates. Now it may be hoped that Goldstone, the United Nations and the world will not give in.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “I lend my full support to Justice Goldstone’s report and its recommendations. I fully agree with him that the prevailing impunity for human rights violations in the Middle East conflict must end.”

Jonathan Cook writes about Samih Jabareen’s Gaza protest and extended house arrest. He also reports that Israel’s “Arab minority” is staging a general strike on Thursday, 1 Oct 2009 to protest the increasingly harsh climate.

For Netanyahu, the threat of peace has passed. At least for the time being. It is difficult to understand how Obama allowed himself to get into this embarrassing situation.

The report’s findings demand action by the international community, including the United States. The importance of U.S. action is elevated because the U.S. currently holds the Presidency of the U.N. Security Council, the U.N. body charged with enforcing the report’s conclusions.

‘We may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the era of impunity,’ Nadia Hijab, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Institute for Palestine Studies, was quoted by IPS in response to the findings of a 574-page report by a four-member United Nations Fact finding mission.

Only one thing does bother the Israelis, according to the polls: fear of a diplomatic embargo and an international boycott. The Goldstone Report and the International Court of Justice in The Hague are arousing concern and interest, far more than Obama’s peace speeches.

IOA Editor: The importance of this commentary is the confirmation of the growing public concern in Israel about possible global isolation due to the boycott campaign and the increasing, however slowly, diplomatic pressure. The assessment of Obama’s ME failure is rather narrow, leaving out the close alliance between the US and Israel – the fundamental reason for Obama’s non-action. See: US ships arrive ahead of joint drill, covered here earlier this week.

“The Jewish soul is a precious, all-too-rare resource, and we are not prepared to give up on even a single one”

Then came the kicker: Operation Cast Lead was a pinpoint attack. Israel telephoned thousands of people to tell them to leave their homes. Where to, Mr. Prime Minister? Into the sea? He said the IDF, which killed nearly 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, exhibited unprecedented restraint.

While Obama, Abbas and Netanyahu are posing for the photos, President Obama should use the presence of the press to state what the Road Map obliges the Quartet to do. Publicly point his finger to the party which has not fulfilled its obligation to the international will.

Ever since the Gaza war the solidity of Jewish support for Israel has been fraying at the edges, and will likely now fray much further. More globally, a very robust boycott and divestment movement has been gaining momentum ever since the Gaza war, and the Goldstone report will clearly lend added support to such initiatives. There is a growing sense around the world that the only chance for the Palestinians to achieve some kind of just peace depends on shaping the outcome by way of the symbols of legitimacy, what I have called the legitimacy war. Increasingly, the Palestinians have been winning this second non-military war.

Meshal clearly stated that the Palestinian struggle was anything but a conflict between Muslims and the Jewish people. He insisted that the Palestinians were fighting against the occupier who had dispossessed them of their homes and lands, regardless of religion, creed or race.

Israeli democracy functions for Jews, who are well represented, but has been denying any representation to 4 million people for 42 years. It allows itself to do whatever it wants with them in the name of the democratic “national consensus.” Who will protect them?

The all-too-long history of the “peace process” has taught us that a summit can be a desirable goal, but also a place of unsurpassable danger. When participants come with insufficient preparation, and without a safety net, the depth of the fall can be as high as the summit itself.

IOA Editor: Eldar rightly points out that Hamas will not miss “an opportunity to present the summit as yet more proof of its claim… that support for Fatah is flimsy.” But he does not analyze what a shift in favor of Hamas would mean for Israel. Historically, Hamas has been Israel’s preferred enemy: the argument that Hamas cannot be a partner, although fundamentally wrong, has been readily accepted in the West. Thus, as Hamas’ popularity among Palestinians grows stronger, Israel can more easily repeat the convenient untruth that “there is no Palestinian partner,” when it is the Israeli government itself that refuses to become a partner to a peace agreement.

Read the following IOA items for coverage of Hamas and its attitude toward agreements with Israel:

1. Israel could have made peace with Hamas under Yassin
2. Adam Shatz: Mishal’s luck

One of the dangers of the right-wing Zionists’ tactic of smearing as “anti-Semitic” all criticism of any Israeli policy is precisely that they end up trivializing this deadly, soul-killing phenomenon, and by crying wolf so often may actually decrease vigilance toward the real thing.

Jonathan Cook: When the transit system contract was signed in 2005, Ariel Sharon, the prime minister at the time, said it would “sustain Jerusalem for eternity as the capital of the Jewish people”. Omar Barghouti, a founder of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which has been targeting Veolia and Alstom over their involvement, wrote this month in the Jerusalem Quarterly magazine that the railway was part of “a comprehensive, long-term strategy… to cement the integration of those [settlement] blocs into an ever sprawling ‘Greater Jerusalem”.

“What if [the Israelis] fly over anyway?”
“Well, we have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse.”

The conflict is the outcome of aggression and occupation. Our struggle against the Israelis is not because they are Jewish, but because they invaded our homeland and dispossessed us. We do not accept that because the Jews were once persecuted in Europe they have the right to take our land and throw us out. The injustices suffered by the Jews in Europe were horrible and criminal, but were not perpetrated by the Palestinians or the Arabs or the Muslims.

American failure to pressure Israel is increasingly frustrating the Palestinian leadership which dreads a repetition of the futile peacemaking efforts that characterised the Bush administration. One Palestinian official was quoted this week as saying that the Mitchell approach was “unconvincing and raises a lot of question marks”.