Posts Tagged ‘occupation’

Disarming: Gaza or Israel?

August 7, 2014


Nasir Khan, August 7, 2014

Palestinians have been under Israeli occupation; they have been frequent targets of destructive Israeli wars and massacres. If common sense can be our guide in this situation than the solution is to disarm Israel and prosecute its war criminals for war crimes and crimes against humanity in ICC. Disarming Hamas? Hamas has no army, no air force, no missiles, no navy, no naval gunships, no tanks, no anti-aircraft missiles. If Israel has played havoc with the homes and buildings of the Gazans and killed people then the main reason for the Gazan tragedy lies in their inability to defend themselves.

Ideally, for Gazans to defend themselves against Israel’s military might they need a matching military power and weapons. It is obvious that without this they have no chance to defend themselves and their homes. We have seen this what Israel is capable of doing in the 29-day war on Gaza. The Gazans have been at the mercy of Israeli missiles and powerful bombs that pulverised their homes and other structures. Unless Israel lifts the blockade, ends the occupation and develops a new approach towards the people of Palestine the conflict will not disappear.

But how can the Gazans under Hamas do that, to defend themselves militarily, remains an open question. The leaders of the ‘New World Order’ especially the United States will not allow that. There is no major country that is ready to give substantive material support to the Palestinians. Therefore the prevailing conditions will remain intact.

We need to keep in mind that Gaza is beleaguered by Israel from all sides including its air space. It is the largest open-air prison in the world. Now Israel by intentional destruction of the infrastructure of Gaza has made sure that its people would not raise their heads again against the ongoing occupation and blockade for years to come. But if they did at some stage then they would have Israeli war-machine on their heads again. It is as simple as that if we want to understand the Israeli position.

No doubt, this is an undefendable situation. To my mind the only explanation lies in the fact that it is military might that decides the fate of a subjugated people, not their rights according to international law or humane considerations. Yet the struggle of the Palestinians for their national liberation from the Zionist yoke needs universal support. The public demonstrations in many countries around the world denouncing the Israeli genocide and carnage in Gaza have been positive. They show a growing awareness among the people of the world about the plight of the colonised Palestinians.

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Israel to forcibly evict Bedouins from West Bank

September 15, 2011

State accelerates relocation of thousands of Bedouins from Area C, which is under complete Israeli control.

By Amira Hass , Haaretz,  Sept. 14, 2011

The Civil Administration is expected to begin forcefully moving Bedouin in the West Bank to a permanent location as part of a plan to remove all the Bedouin in Area C (under both Israel’s civilian and military aegis) from lands they have been living on for decades.

The plan will eventually relocate Bedouin living in other areas of the West Bank. According to various calculations, some 27,000 Bedouin live in the West Bank, mostly in Area C.

bedouin - Michal Fattal - September 14 2011 A Bedouin family in their tent near Ramallah.
Photo by: Michal Fattal

The first to be relocated will be the approximately 2,400 Bedouin living in an area east of Jerusalem, which will make it easier for Israel to implement its plan to expand the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and other settlements to create contiguity of construction for Jews up to Jerusalem.

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Top Ten Myths about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

June 19, 2010

Jeremy R. Hammond, Foreign Policy Journal, June 17, 2010

A Palestinian boy throws a stone at an Israeli  tank in the occupied West Bank.

Myth #1 – Jews and Arabs have always been in conflict in the region.

Although Arabs were a majority in Palestine prior to the creation of the state of Israel, there had always been a Jewish population, as well. For the most part, Jewish Palestinians got along with their Arab neighbors. This began to change with the onset of the Zionist movement, because the Zionists rejected the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and wanted Palestine for their own, to create a “Jewish State” in a region where Arabs were the majority and owned most of the land.

For instance, after a series of riots in Jaffa in 1921 resulting in the deaths of 47 Jews and 48 Arabs, the occupying British held a commission of inquiry, which reported their finding that “there is no inherent anti-Semitism in the country, racial or religious.” Rather, Arab attacks on Jewish communities were the result of Arab fears about the stated goal of the Zionists to take over the land.

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Remembering Rachel Corrie

March 18, 2010

by Neve Gordon, The Nation, March 17, 2010

Seven years ago yesterday, Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by a Caterpillar D9R Israeli bulldozer while nonviolently protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes in Rafah, Gaza Strip, along with other members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Now her parents, sister and brother are suing the State of Israel and the defense minister, claiming wrongful death.

The suit’s objective, according to Rachel’s mother, Cindy, “is to illustrate the need for accountability for thousands of lives lost, or indelibly injured, by [Israel’s] occupation…. We hope the trial will bring attention to the assault on nonviolent human rights activists (Palestinian, Israeli and international) and we hope it will underscore the fact that so many Palestinian families, harmed as deeply as ours or more, cannot access Israeli courts.”

The State’s attorneys have decided to use any and all ammunition to undermine Corrie’s suit. They claim that there is no evidence that Rachel’s parents and siblings are indeed her rightful inheritors; they argue that she “helped attack Israeli soldiers,” “took part in belligerent activities” and accompanied armed men who attacked Israeli soldiers. In defense of the soldiers, the lawyers even write that the state “denies the deceased’s pain and suffering, the loss of pleasures and the loss of longevity.”

The Israeli state attorneys demonstrate yet again that when winning is everything, shame becomes superfluous.

As Corrie’s civil suit is being heard in a Haifa court, Simone Bitton’s movie Rachel is being shown at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. Rendering, as it were, the trial public, Bitton’s subtle and nuanced movie also presents two narratives, one offered by the state of Israel and the other by the ISM activists and the Palestinian eyewitnesses who were with Rachel on that tragic day.

In a self-reflective moment, the film reveals that about an hour after Rachel was crushed to death, Salim Najar, a Palestinian street cleaner, was killed by an Israeli sniper in Rafah. The incident is important because it emphasizes that Palestinian blood is cheap–no media outlet bothered to cover the killing, and, as Bitton herself notes, no one will likely be making a movie about Najar. This incident also helps underscore that Rachel has become an iconic “Palestinian” of sorts as well as a symbol of the struggle for social justice. She dedicated the last part of her short life to the Palestinian cause, and, after she was killed, the memory of her human rights work in Rafah has helped internationalize the struggle. Rachel’s memory has thus itself become a site where several struggles continue to be played out.

The Israeli government has always recognized the importance of the fight over narrative; it is particularly sensitive to stories–like Rachel Corrie’s death–that take on global proportions and therefore influence Israel’s international image.

These struggles are considered so important that in 2004 the Israeli Foreign Ministry introduced the “Brand Israel” campaign, whose objective was to alter the country’s image by rebranding Israel as a land of medical, scientific and technological innovations. Over the years millions of dollars have been channeled into international PR firms; these firms advised the ministry to draw attention to Israeli scientists doing stem-cell research or to the young computer experts who have given the world Instant Messaging, while trying to de-emphasize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by loosening the link between Israel and concrete walls, torture, terrorism, house demolitions and extrajudicial executions.

Yet following last year’s assault on Gaza and the subsequent publication of the Goldstone Report, Brand Israel proponents realized that drawing attention away from conflict-related issues just wasn’t working. Turning the wheels back, they argued that “winning the battle of narratives” had to remain a prime objective.

Cutting-edge technology–such as Twitter, YouTube and a newly devised “Internet megaphone”–was immediately utilized by the Israeli military and Foreign Ministry to counter the images of mass destruction coming out of Gaza. Simultaneously, the strategy of branding anyone critical of Israeli policies as an anti-Semite became even more pervasive, and a variety of methods developed by Bar Ilan University’s Gerald Steinberg were deployed to delegitimize human rights organizations documenting Israel’s occupation while condemning the organizations’ donors.

But this, apparently, was not enough. The attack now is directed not only against the messengers–namely, human rights groups and people like Rachel Corrie who refer to international law in order to protest the abusive nature of Israeli policies–but also against the very legitimacy of international human rights law. International law is now considered a major problem, because it is used to criticize Israel’s violation of human rights in the occupied territories and obstructs certain strategies employed in the war on terrorism, like torture. The well-known trope that Israel is merely defending itself is at the heart of this complaint too.

When social justice activists like Rachel Corrie are branded terrorists and international human rights law becomes the enemy of the state–all in the name of winning the narrative battle–then it becomes absolutely clear that something is terribly wrong. As Jews around the world come together to celebrate Passover, the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery and the beginning of a life of freedom, they should keep in mind Rachel’s last words to her mother: “I think freedom for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world. I think it could also be an incredible inspiration to Arab people in the Middle East, who are struggling under undemocratic regimes which the US supports….” As Jews sit at the Passover table this year, they should take Rachel Corrie’s words to heart.

© 2010 The Nation

Neve Gordon is an Israeli activist and the author of Israel’s Occupation

Should Palestine Declare Itself a State?

November 17, 2009

By Max Fisher, The Atlantic Wire, November 16, 2009

The long and troubled history of start-and-stall diplomacy between Israel and Palestine hasn’t shown much sign of improving. Some Americans even believe that, after decades of mediating, we should disengage from the peace process entirely. Negotiations between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have failed to halt the Israeli settlements still growing in Palestinian territories, a major point of contention. But what if Palestine simply declared itself to be an independent state? Palestinian representatives are feeling out the UN for recognition of statehood should they choose to proceed. They would declare Palestine’s borders to be that of 1967. But could it work?
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Israeli academics must pay price to end occupation

September 8, 2009

Anat Matar, Haaretz/Israel, Sept 9, 2009

Several days ago Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev published an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times. In that article he explained why, after years of activity in the peace camp here, he has decided to pin his hopes on applying external pressure on Israel – including sanctions, divestment and an economic, cultural and academic boycott.

He believes, and so do I, that only when the Israeli society’s well-heeled strata pay a real price for the continuous occupation will they finally take genuine steps to put an end to it.

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Photo of dying American Marine draws fire from Pentagond

September 7, 2009

Sanitizing War and Occupation

By Matthew Shaer | Information Clearing House

Scroll to base of page to view photographs

September 05, 2009 “CSM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has condemned the Associated Press decision to release a photograph of a US Marine wounded during a battle in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan. The Marine, Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard of New Portland, Maine, was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Taliban ambush on Aug. 14. He later died of his wounds.

In the AP photograph, Bernard is pictured lying on his side on a sandy slope. The image is blurry, but Bernard appears to be bleeding; two other Marines stand over him, attending to his wounds. The caption, titled “Afghanistan Death of a Marine,” identifies the location as the village of Dahaneh. The photographer is Julie Jacobson, who also took the image at the top of this post. The AP reports that Bernard later died on the operating table at a nearby field hospital.

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Afghanistan’s election debacle

August 27, 2009

Lee Sustar reports on the fraud and violence that swept Afghanistan during the August 20 presidential elections.

Socialist Worker, August 26, 2009

NATO soldiers on the scene of a bomb attack before elections in Afghanistan (Shah Marai | AFP)NATO soldiers on the scene of a bomb attack before elections in Afghanistan (Shah Marai | AFP)

AN ELECTION intended to showcase Afghanistan’s “emerging democracy” has instead exposed astonishing corruption, fraud and violence on the part of the U.S.-backed government.

Incumbent President Hamid Karzai and challenger Abdullah Abdullah are each claming victory amid allegations of vote-rigging and fraud on both sides, with Abdullah’s supporters even hinting that his forces will take up arms if the election is stolen by Karzai.

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Obama’s America Is Not Delivering The Goods

August 15, 2009
Gideon Levy, Haaretz Correspondent | Haaretz/Israel, Aug 14, 2009

With great sorrow and deep consternation, we hereby declare the death of the latest hope. Perhaps rumors of its death are greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase the famous quote by Mark Twain, but the fears are being validated day after day. Barack Obama’s America is not delivering the goods. Sharing a glass of beer with a racist cop and a pat on the back of Hugo Chavez are not what we hoped for; wholesale negotiations on freezing settlement construction are also not what we expected. Just over six months after the most promising president of all began his term, perhaps hope has a last breath left, but it is on its deathbed.

He came into office amid much hoopla. The Cairo speech ignited half the globe. Making settlements the top priority gave rise to the hope that, finally, a statesman is sitting in the White House who understands that the root of all evil is the occupation, and that the root of the occupation’s evil is the settlements. From Cairo, it seemed possible to take off. The sky was the limit.

Then the administration fell into the trap set by Israel and is showing no signs of recovery.

A settlement freeze, something that should have been understood by a prime minister who speaks with such bluster about two states – a peripheral matter that Israel committed to in the road map – has suddenly turned into a central issue. Special envoy George Mitchell is wasting his time and prestige with petty haggling. A half-year freeze or a full year? What about the 2,500 apartment units already under construction? And what about natural growth? And kindergartens?

Perhaps they will reach a compromise and agree on nine months, not including natural growth though allowing completion of apartments already under construction. A grand accomplishment.

Jerusalem has imposed its will on Washington. Once again we are at the starting point – dealing with trifles from which it is impossible to make the big leap over the great divide.

We expected more from Obama. Menachem Begin promised less, and he made peace within the same amount of time after he took office. When the main issue is dismantling the settlements, the pulsating momentum that came with Obama is petering out. Instead, we are paddling in shallow water. Mitchell Schmitchel. What’s in it for peace? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will once again meet him in London at the end of the month. A “magic formula” for a settlement freeze may be found there, but the momentum is gone.

Not in Israel, though. Here people quickly sensed that there is nothing to fear from Obama, and the fetters were taken off. Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quick to declare that there is no Palestinian partner, even after the Fatah conference elected the most moderate leadership that has ever been assembled in Palestine. Afterward, in a blatant act of provocation, he brought a Torah scroll into the heart of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, in full view of television cameras, just so America can see who’s boss around here.

Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, another two politicians who smell American weakness, were quick to declare during a visit to Ma’aleh Adumim that Israel will not freeze any construction. To hell with Obama. The settlers continue to move into more homes in East Jerusalem, Netanyahu is silent and Israelis sense that the “danger” has passed. Israel is once again permitted to do as it pleases. The landlord has once again gone insane. Except that the landlord has gone insane because the real landlord is showing signs of weakness, signs of folding, signs of losing interest in events in the region that most endangers world peace.

Nothing remains from the speeches in Cairo and Bar-Ilan University. Obama is silent, and Yishai speaks. Even “Israel’s friends” in Washington, friends of the occupation, are once again rearing their heads.

One source familiar with Obama’s inner circle likened him this week to a man who inflates a number of balloons every day in the hope that one of them will rise. He will reach his goal. The source compared him to Shimon Peres, an analogy that should insult Obama. The trial balloons the U.S. president sends our way have yet to take off. One can, of course, wait for the next balloon, the Obama peace plan, but time is running out. And Israel is not sitting idly by.

The minute Jerusalem detected a lack of American determination, it returned to its evil ways and excuses. “There is no partner,” “Abu Mazen is weak,” “Hamas is strong.” And there are demands to recognize a Jewish state and for the right to fly over Saudi Arabia – anything in order to do nothing.

An America that will not pressure Israel is an America that will not bring peace. True, one cannot expect the U.S. president to want to make peace more than the Palestinians and Israelis, but he is the world’s responsible adult, its great hope. Those of us who are here, Mr. President, are sinking in the wretched mud, in “injury time.”

The necessity of cultural boycott

June 27, 2009

By Ilan Pappe | ZNet, June 25, 2009
Source: Pulse Media

If there is anything new in the never-ending sad story of Palestine it is the clear shift in public opinion in the UK. I remember coming to these isles in 1980 when supporting the Palestinian cause was confined to the left and in it to a very particular section and ideological stream. The post-Holocaust trauma and guilt complex, military and economic interests and the charade of Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East all played a role in providing immunity for the State of Israel. Very few were moved, so it seems, by a state that had dispossessed half of Palestine’s native population, demolished half of their villages and towns, discriminated against the minority among them who lived within its borders through an apartheid system and divided into enclaves two million and a half of them in a harsh and oppressive military occupation.

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