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


On the morrow of the Six-day War, Amos Kenan came to my editorial office. He was in a state of shock. As a reserve soldier, he had just witnessed the emptying of three villages in the Latrun area. Men and women, old people and children, had been driven out in the burning June sun on a foot march in the direction of Ramallah, dozens of kilometers away. It reminded him of sights from the Holocaust.

IOA Editor: Kenan’s checkered past should be obvious to any reader of these pages (and Avnery’s account of history often leaves one wondering). This piece is included here because of Kenan’s role in revealing Israel’s conduct in 1967, specifically, the war crimes and ethnic cleansing that took place in the Latroun area. On this, see Imwas: occupied and destroyed by Israel in 1967, elsewhere on the IOA website.

It is impossible to ignore the injustices of 1948 while hundreds of thousands of refugees rot in the camps. No agreement will hold water without a solution to their plight, which is more feasible than Israel’s strident scaremongers suggest. But rulings like the current one make it harder to distinguish clearly between Sheikh Jarrah and Sheikh Munis, between the conquest of 1948 and the conquests of 1967. My house stands on land stolen by force, and it is the obligation of Israel and the world to redress the injustice without creating injustice and new dislocation.

[T]he prosperity in Ramallah and Nablus is misleading, just as it was misleading between 1996 and 2000, when the Israeli media and the Oslo spin doctors were impressed by all the coffee shops and high-tech companies. Today, as back then, the people so impressed are visitors-for-a-moment who engage in occupation denial.

[T]he IMF says that if Israel does not continue to remove the restrictions on internal trade, the gross domestic product per capita will decline later in the year. Incidentally, according to the report the unemployment rate still stands at an extremely high 20 percent (less than Gaza’s 34 percent).

Instead of paying the political price for the changes in the government’s positions, [Netanyahu] is passing the burden of proof onto the Arab side and is demanding that they alter their position. When terrorism is at a low, they raise the issue of a Jewish state; when the Americans demand that the Jews cease construction in the settlements, he demands that the Arabs embark on normalization.

Uri Avnery: A Jeremiad

1 August 2009

“Therefore I, a 95 year old Sabra (native born Israeli Jew), who has plowed its fields, planted trees, built a house and fathered sons… and also shed his blood in the battle for the founding of the State of Israel, [d]eclare herewith that I renounce my belief in the Zionism which has failed, that I shall not be loyal to the Jewish fascist state and its mad visions…”

IOA Editor: Avnery’s view of history is founded largely on his own imagination: Post-1948 Israel was a natural outcome of pre-statehood, and post-1967 Israel was a continuation of earlier years. But it fits with Avnery’s retrospective view of his life in Palestine/Israel. The key question conveniently left out by Avnery, and by the Dalia youth of 1947, was “what was to become of the Palestinian natives,” once the dancing stops and the fighting begins. However, the article reflects the internal tension in certain segments of Zionism, and this is why it is of interest.

It would seem that as long as Arab educators, academics and policymakers are excluded from planning, there will be no improvement. The Arab minority constitutes nearly 20 percent of Israel’s population, but has little to no real influence over its own education policy, budgets, standards or curricula.

The proposal by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to redo all signs so that even names written in Arabic will be transliterations of Hebrew (for example, the city known as Jaffa in English will now be written as Yafo on signs in Arabic, not Yaffa), was received like all other injuries to Arabs: easily – like Arab high-schoolers’ matriculation results or Arab infants’ high mortality rates.

America’s best Jewish minds are wracking their brains, trying to find a magic formula that will put the settlements close to the hearts of Israel’s supporters, not to mention its critics. A new guide to the perplexed, disseminated by the leadership of the Israel Project, the organization spearheading Israel’s public relations efforts in the United States, offers a glimpse into its very own internal confusion

If I were Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas I would be deeply insulted by the negotiations U.S. President Barack Obama is conducting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over building permits in the settlements. Who authorized the Americans – this administration or the previous one – to do business with Palestinian land?

The root of the problem is not the illegality of the settlements and outposts, but the Israeli Jewish worldview that sanctifies inequality. In other words, what is naturally befitting for the Jews ought to be denied the Palestinians… The official talk of two states conceals the prevailing reality of one state, from the river to the sea, a state that embraces the South African ideology of “separate but unequal development of the races.” All on the same strip of land, all under the rule of the same government

Not only is it wrong for Israel to pass a law punishing those who extend aid to refugees, but we must pass a law that amounts to the opposite of this – a law that requires the state to assist refugees and allocates resources to the organizations and individuals that do so.

Rydberg slammed the settlements as creating a new reality on the ground in the occupied territories and spawning obstacles… He said the ideology that guides most settlers is based on utter denial of the rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

This is Cynthia McKinney and I’m speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies – and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children. While we were on our way to Gaza the Israelis threatened to fire on our boat, but we did not turn around. The Israelis high-jacked and arrested us because we wanted to give crayons to the children in Gaza. We have been detained, and we want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.

Gideon Levy: Our IDF

6 July 2009

Gideon Levy on the latest IDF hijacking of a Gaza relief boat, and on the IDF as an occupation force and a killing machine.

Ramallah’s intellectual elite, foreigners and curious spectators gathered last Saturday at the Friends School in Ramallah to hear writer and political activist Naomi Klein lecture to a packed auditorium… She chose to speak in Ramallah about her Jewish roots. “There is a debate among Jews – I’m a Jew by the way,” she said. The debate boils down to the question: “Never again to everyone, or never again to us?… [Some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free card… There is another strain in the Jewish tradition that say,’Never again to anyone.’”

One of the main accomplishments of the Israeli government’s bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip last winter was to inspire new vitality within leftist and peace groups in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice and liberation. This wave of activity has continued after the supposed ceasefire, with demonstrations and direct actions from New York to Los Angeles, Paris, Jaffa, and Tel Aviv. Most noteworthy has been a coming out of sorts of an increasingly large and vocal segment of the Jewish world that is not only opposed to the Israeli government’s wars and military occupations, but critical of Zionism itself.

A West Bank checkpoint managed by a private security company is not allowing Palestinians to pass through with large water bottles and some food items – such as 6 pieces of bread.

The Supreme Court now appears to be the settlers’ next illegal outpost. They will get their wish, nothing will stop them. This couldn’t happen in a state of law.

[I]nside the occupied Palestinian territories [there] is a shadow state where the only real law is the law of the gun, where land is being taken away from its rightful owners every day, and where the very few who stand up to protest, without violence, like Ezra Nawi, are sent to prison. Bad times generally bring out the worst in most of us.

An important assessment of the realities of the West Bank settlement program, and why the Israeli Occupation is here to stay – unless Israel is forced otherwise.

It’s true, there is liberty in Israel, but only for us, the Jews. We have a regime that is no less tyrannical than the ayatollahs’ regime: the regime of the officers and the settlers in the territories… When you get a chance, go on Friday to Na’alin or Bil’in and see what happens there. Demonstrators are killed here with similar brutality, but in Iran the crowd is standing up to a tyrannical regime, while here only a handful of brave people stand up to the Border Police, who are firing weapons. Moreover, we hardly write anything about the protest being silenced with bullets. It interests no one, and this, too, is called democracy.

American policies in the average Lebanese voter’s mind are not exemplified by Obama’s pious pronouncements in Cairo on June 4th, but by a long record of unrestricted support for Israel’s meddling in internal Lebanese affairs and oppression of Palestinians, as well as American alliance with despotic Arab regimes, the devastation of Iraq, and aggressive interventions further East.

A thinking, more enlightened Judaism is emerging, a necessity in the face of apartheid realities… Defining a humane Judaism in the 21st century means condemning the brutal military occupation in the West Bank and resisting the ongoing siege of Gaza.

The prime minister’s speech last night returned the Middle East to the days of George W. Bush’s “axis of evil.” Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a patriarchal, colonialist address in the best neoconservative tradition: The Arabs are the bad guys, or at best ungrateful terrorists; the Jews, of course, are the good guys, rational people who need to raise and care for their children.

A photo released by the White House, which shows Obama talking on the phone with Netanyahu on Monday, speaks volumes: The president is seen with his legs up on the table, his face stern and his fist clenched, as though he were dictating to Netanyahu: “Listen up and write ’Palestinian state’ a hundred times. That’s right, Palestine, with a P.” As an enthusiast of Muslim culture, Obama surely knows there is no greater insult in the Middle East than pointing the soles of one’s shoes at another person.

Obama has praised the [Arab Peace] Initiative and called on the Arab states to proceed to normalize relations with Israel. But he has so far scrupulously evaded the core of the proposal, thus implicitly maintaining the US rejectionist stand that has blocked a diplomatic settlement since the 1970s along with its Israeli client, in virtual isolation. There are no signs that Obama is willing even to consider the Arab Initiative, let alone “promote” it. That was underscored in Obama’s much heralded address to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4, [2009].

Apart from a few small nuances, George W. Bush could have delivered the same speech. On the Israeli-Palestinian-Arab issue, in particular, not only could Bush have delivered the same speech, he did – almost everything the current U.S. president said in Cairo was said many times over by his predecessor. It was not Obama, after all, who invented the maxim “two states for two peoples” – it was at the very core of his predecessor’s vision, our great friend in the White House, as early as 2002.

Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo… definitely lived up to expectations — provided we agree on what could have been expected. With regard to the form, Obama fully lived up to his role as the new black and human face of America in its relation with the rest of the world in general, and with the Muslim world in particular. He respected the specifications of his mission, seeking to repair the huge damage caused to America’s image and “soft power” by the previous administration… The world witnessed a spectacular attempt at seducing the Muslim world — its youth in particular.

An important report on how settleres, settlement organizations, and the Israeli government, working in close cooperation, methodically rob Palestinian farmers of their lands and transfer them to Jewish settlers. Incidentally, similar methods were used by the Israeli government in the early 1950s to transfer lands of Palestinian citizens of Israel to Jewish hands.

Does Israel really have an interest in winning the battle over the settlements? What will happen if we destroy the prestige of the strongest man in the world and portray him as an empty vessel, incapable of halting the settlement program of a U.S. protege? Will an Israeli “victory” strengthen the status of the U.S. in the international campaign against Iran?

A million and a half Arab citizens cannot be expected to recognize Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State. They want it to be “a state of all its citizens” – Jews, Arabs and others. They also claim with reason that Israel discriminates against them, and therefore is not really democratic.

A million and a half Arab citizens cannot be expected to recognize Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State. They want it to be “a state of all its citizens” – Jews, Arabs and others. They also claim with reason that Israel discriminates against them, and therefore is not really democratic.

In the outside world such a country is called an apartheid state. In Israel they call it the one-state solution. Once it was out of bounds, only the radical left in both nations dared to suggest it. Now it is being proposed by the Israeli right, while they blur and repress the reality.

The proposal to legally bar the commemoration of the Nakba on Israel’s Independence Day reflects growing trepidation in Israel about the inevitable encounter with the Palestinian Nakba and the understanding that the Nakba is a foundational part of Israeli identity.

Ashkenazi, like other Israelis, could have read the Red Cross’ protest during the offensive, that the IDF prevented medical teams from reaching wounded Palestinians by shooting at them. He or his aides could have gone to the Web site set up by Israeli human rights organizations, which was full of reports and testimonies.