Netanyahu/Gantz White House Invitation to Discuss Trump Regime’s No-Peace/Peace Plan

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Leaked information shows Trump’s so-called deal of the century is a one-sided scam, favoring Israel at the expense of fundamental Palestinian rights.

The so-called peace process is the greatest hoax in modern times, along with the US war OF terror worldwide, not on it.

Israeli/Palestinian no-peace/peace plans have been around since the 1970s — a near-half century of failure to reach accommodation proof positive of US/Israeli unwillingness to respect Palestinian rights.

If both countries wanted conflict resolution resolution with Palestinians, it would have happened long ago.

Former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir explained why not. He and his predecessors wanted forever talks accomplishing nothing – giving Israel time to steal all valued Palestinian land.

His successors to the present day followed the same strategy.

Since Israel seized control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza in 1967, colonizing and developing the most valued Palestinian land for exclusive Jewish use became official state policy — explained by Yigal Allon’s regional scheme, its elements including:

• permanent militarized occupation;

• maximum land for Jews with minimum Arabs;

• dispossessing Palestinians from areas Israel wants for exclusive Jewish development and use;

• annexing all valued parts of Judea and Sumaria;

• controlling Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital;

• establishing settlements, military bases, free-fire zones, commercial locations, tourist sites, nature reserves, no-go areas, Jews-only roads, checkpoints, other barriers, and other exclusive Jewish areas — non-Jews excluded from them;

• stealing Palestinian resources; and

• cracking down hard on resisters. 

The above policies make peace, stability, equity and justice for Palestinians unattainable.

Achieving them defeats the US/Israeli agenda — dependent on endless regional conflicts and instability.

It’s why decades of peace plans when unveiled were dead on arrival, Trump’s let em eat cake deal of the century dead before arrival.

Partly introduced last June at a so-called “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” in Bahrain, the Trump regime’s dog and pony PR show was boycotted by Palestinians.

Deceptively billed as “a vision to empower the Palestinian people to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society,” the economic plan has nothing to do with peace, equity and justice for long-suffering Palestinians — everything to do with one-sidedly serving US/Israeli interests. 

Based on what’s known so far, subject to fine-tuning, Trump’s overall scheme ignores fundamental final status issues, especially real Palestinian self-determination free from Israeli occupation and control, Israeli land theft, air and water rights, other resources, the right of diaspora Palestinians to return to their homeland, and East Jerusalem as exclusive Palestinian capital. 

He illegally recognized Jerusalem (a UN-established international city) as Israel’s exclusive capital, moved the US embassy there, abandoned a legitimate two-state solution, recognized Israel’s unlawful Golan annexation, and no longer considers illegal settlements occupied territory.

Trump and hardliners surrounding him are no friends of Palestinians or ordinary people anywhere, not at home or abroad.

Information leaked last month about his no-peace/peace plan revealed it excludes 70% or more of West Bank land controlled by Israel, including the Jordan Valley, closed military zones, exclusive Jewish commercial areas, tourist sites, no-go areas, and illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land. 

Jerusalem is to remain undivided, the city “shared between Israel and New Palestine” — Israel maintaining exclusive control, the way it’s been for over half a century.

On July 30, 1980, the Knesset Jerusalem Law officially annexed the city as Israel’s exclusive capital — breaching Security Council Res. 465 (March 1980).

It declared actions taken by Israel “to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity…”

In July 2004,  the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development (and) have been established in breach of international law.”

Time and again, the US and Israel breach Security Council resolutions and other international laws.

Trump’s no-peace/peace plan is all about serving US and Israeli interests at the expense of regional peace, stability, and fundamental Palestinian rights.

According to Mike Pence on Thursday, Netanyahu and his chief political rival Benny Gantz will meet with Trump in the White House next week to discuss regional issues and what PA official Saeb Erekat called Trump’s “deal of the next century,” a conspiracy against Palestinian rights.

Reuters reported that the Trump regime will release his no-peace/peace plan ahead of the January 28 meeting with Netanyahu and Gantz.

DJT calling it “a great plan” defies reality. PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh reaffirmed the Palestinian demand for an independent state within June 1967 borders — free from Israeli occupation and control.

On Thursday, Israel’s Channel 12, citing unnamed Netanyahu regime sources, said Trump’s plan includes exclusive Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, illegal settlements, and the Jordan Valley adding:

It supports the illusion of Palestinian self-determination, demanding a demilitarized Hamas, along with Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Jerusalem its capital.

It also reportedly stipulates that if Palestinians reject the so-called plan, the Trump regime will support Israeli annexation of illegal settlements unilaterally.

According to the Wafa PA news site, Rudeineh said the following:

“If the announcement of this deal, with these unacceptable formulas, is made, the (PA) leadership will announce a series of measures to preserve our legitimate rights, and we will call on Israel to assume its responsibilities as an occupying power,” adding:

“We warn (the Netanyahu and Trump regimes) to not cross the red lines.”

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassim said “any deal or project that does not contain our people’s full rights in our land and holy sites will not stand,” adding:

“All the attempts to make this deal come to pass will be squashed by our people’s resistance and steadfastness.” 

“Our Palestinian people will determine its fate by way of its ongoing revolution, legitimate struggle and absolute belief in the justness of its cause.”

On Thursday, Trump tweeted:

“Reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative.”

If its provisions resemble what’s discussed above, it’ll clearly be rejected by the PA, Hamas, and the Palestinian street.

Dangerous Drivel from Pompeo Confirms America Is No Peace Broker

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

Pretence not to understand 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention perpetuates Israel’s impunity

Pompeo visits the Western Wall and Tunnel with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu edfc9

Before our American friends run away with the idea that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has authority to say that planting Israeli civilian settlements in Occupied Palestine “is not, per se, inconsistent with international law”, and that the Trump Administration is only recognizing the reality on the ground, they might like to hear the authoritative opinion of John McHugo, International lawyer and Balfour Project trustee:

Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 provides that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Article 49(6) was considered by the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2004. It stated, at para. 120 of the Advisory Opinion, that Article 49(6) “prohibits not only deportations or forced transfers of population…but also any measures taken by an occupying Power in order to organize or encourage transfers of parts of its own population into the occupied territory.”

All judges of the court subscribed to this with the sole exception of Judge Buergenthal, the American judge, who is a Holocaust survivor and who lost toes to frostbite as a child in Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen concentration camps. He took the view that the Court should have declined to exercise its jurisdiction. Yet he issued his own Separate Declaration to the Advisory Opinion in which he expressly stated at Para. 9: “I agree that [Article 49(6)] applies to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and that their existence violates Article 49, paragraph 6”. The view that Israeli civilian settlements violated Article 49(6) was thus the unanimous view of the judges.

More recently, the fact that this is the law was reiterated by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2334 of 23 December 2016 at operative paragraph 1: “The Security Council Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

It is not for any State, however mighty and powerful, to rewrite the rules of international law. Realities on the ground are subject to the rule of law, just as all other realities are.

For good measure Article 85(4)(a) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides that “the transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” is a grave breach of the Protocol. And under Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the 1998 ICC Statute “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.

And, by the way, in 1992, in its final report to Congress on the conduct of the Gulf War, the US Department of Defence declared that it regarded the transfer of the Iraqi population into occupied Kuwait in violation of Article 49 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV as a war crime. So, happy with the Convention then.

As usual, the US and its allies (including the UK), will observe international law when it suits them. But not if it upsets their bosom-pals in Israel.

Pompeo’s two cents’ worth follows Trump’s presidential declaration earlier this year recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, which belong to Syria. When will Washington understand that Trump’s capricious shifts in policy don’t alter international law, don’t impress other nations, and endanger world peace?

As a product of Harvard Law School Pompeo should be ashamed of his fatuous pronouncement.

McHugo points out that British government policy is to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state “when it best serves the interests of peace”. In view of Pompeo’s and Trump’s dangerous remarks that moment is now.

Gentle and Loving but Still a Settler

By Jeremy Salt

Source

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Last week a car drew up alongside Dvir Sorek outside the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz. Dvir was on his back from Jerusalem where he had bought a book, a novel by David Grossman, as a gift for his teacher. He was almost home when a man jumped out of the car and stabbed him to death.

David Grossman did not know him but did not hesitate to add to the eulogies: the young man was clearly “a kind, sensitive youth who loved others and loved peace with the soul of an artist.” Netanyahu declared that the murderers would soon be found. Soldiers swooped on the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Fajjar, raiding houses and confiscating security camera footage. Later four Palestinians were arrested in another village.

Grossman’s son was killed during the invasion of Lebanon in 2006, and Sorek’s grandfather on his mother’s side, a rabbi, also a settler of occupied land, killed in an attack near Nablus in 2000.   These other deaths made the killing of Dvir Sorek seem even more poignant.   “Death as a way of life,” declared the Times of Israel, blaming Hamas for the attack, even though the identity and possible ideological affiliations of the attacker/s were not known, as if the death of others was not a way of life for the state of Israel.

The media described Sorek as a student at a yeshiva, or religious school, in his case the hesder (‘arrangement’) yeshiva at Migdal Oz. The programs in the hesder schools blend advanced religious instruction with military service. Government funding makes an application to be listed as a hesder yeshiva an attractive option. Not all courses are of the same duration. They may last for three, four or even five years, with the active military service component varying from about 17 months to two years. Almost all hesder yeshiva students join combat units.

Officially, the peace-loving Dvir Sorek was an IDF soldier even though he had not yet begun the military component of his   course. No doubt this is the reason he was not armed when he was attacked.

In the West Bank yeshiva students, or former yeshiva students, especially those who fall under the heading of the ‘hilltop youth,’ are in the forefront of anti-Palestinian violence, from beating and occasionally killing to attacks on mosques, the destruction of olive trees and crops and the harassment, intimidation and abuse of the general population in general, women and children included. Their hatreds extend to all non-Jews and even ‘Hellenized’ or secular Jews, including those representing the state, including the soldiers who protect them. One has to wonder where this comes from if not religious instruction at the hands of their rabbis.

The history of the hesder schools go back to the 1960s. More recently, the lack of enthusiasm for war among Israel’s secularized youth, especially wars fought on the other side of what they regarded as Israel’s borders, has increased the appeal of religiously indoctrinated hesder zealots to the military command.

For secular Israeli Jews the enemies are Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria and behind them, Iran, but for orthodox religious Jews, the enemy is Amalek, existential, taking different shapes and different forms at different stages of history but always there.

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The injunction to destroy the tribe of Amalek is laid down in several passages of the Bible. According to Deuteronomy: “The Lord said to Moses ‘Write this down in a book to be remembered and tell it to Joshua: (God) will completely blot out any memory of Amalek … Remember what Amalek did to you on the road as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the road, attacked those in the rear, those who were exhausted and straggling behind when you were tired and weary. He did not fear God. Therefore, when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your inheritance to possess you (Israelites) are to blot out all memory of Amalek from under heaven. Don’t forget!’ (Deuteronomy 25/17-19).

The message to the first king of Israel and Judah, Saul, from the prophet Samuel is even more forceful: “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them: put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ (Samuel 1:15.3). Saul went to war against the Amalekites but did not kill them all, allowing their king to live and preserving the best of the livestock.

Learning of this, Samuel tells him he has been rejected by God and will lose his kingdom. He then kills the Amalekite himself. Saul lives until defeated by the Philistines in the battle of Gilboa, after which he either commits suicide or is killed by an Amalekite, according to differing Bible accounts but his death is seen as the consequence of having disobeyed God’s injunction to kill all the Amalekites.

All of this might have happened thousands of years ago – or did not happen as described – but it remains as fresh as yesterday in the thinking of orthodox religious scholars. In the modern age these injunctions are subject to numerous interpretations, partly based on what ‘blotting out’ could mean. Maimonides (12th-13th century) explains the commandment as meaning that if the Amalekites accepted Jewish law and agreed to pay a tax there would no need to kill them. There are numerous variations on the theme that ‘blotting out’ did not mean physical annihilation.

Steven Leonard Jacobs points out that the overwhelming majority of the world’s Jewish population does not draw such deadly conclusions, “much less the implication that they [the Palestinians] must be genocidally destroyed.” While those who do take the Biblical injunctions literally “are in the minority … they do exist and [they] present an ongoing challenge to how one reads history and sacred texts.” They keep the door open to violence: however wrongly understood, “there is an understanding that the enemies of the Jewish people are the literal and lineal descendants of the past.”

These genocidal invocations – as they would be regarded now – are read in synagogues at certain times of the year (during the ‘reading cycle’) and are emphasized again during the festival of Purim, celebrating the delivery of the Jews from Haman, the high Persian court official who planned to kill them all.

For the most extreme Jewish settlers, Amalek is still out there, waiting. According to Benzi Lieberman, former head of the Yesha settler council, “The Palestinians are Amalek … we will destroy them. We won’t kill them but we will destroy their ability to think as a nation. We will destroy Palestinian nationalism.”

However, Amalek is frequently invoked in the political mainstream, which has steadily shifted further to the right since the election of Menahim Begin in 1977 and now includes those once regarded as extremists if not outright fanatics. In the 1950s David Ben-Gurion referred to “the hosts of Amalek from north, east and south.” Begin opposed reparations from Germany, which he regarded as Amalek. During the siege of Beirut in 1982 he described PLO leader Yasser Arafat as Hitler hiding in his bunker, thus another manifestation of Amalek. Speaking in Cracow in 2010, without naming names but clearly thinking of Iran, Netanyahu said “A new Amalek is appearing and once again threatens to annihilate the Jews.” According to the ‘libertarian’ Israeli politician Moshe Feiglin “the Arabs engage in typical Amalek behaviour … I can’t prove this genetically but this is the behaviour of Amalek.”

Throughout history, while identifying Amalek as the existential enemy, Jews never had the power to destroy Amalek but now they do, in a state of their own that has an arsenal of nuclear weapons. According to Steven Jacobs “the propensity of rightwing settlers to identify the Palestinians with the Amalekites has sometimes had deadly consequences” The commandment to exterminate the Amalekites has been preserved by the rabbis “and for that reason, it remains a potential source of conflict.” Needless to say, Mr Jacobs does not regard the Palestinians as Amalekites.

Dvir Sorek was 18 and only a few days short of his 19th birthday when he was killed. He had not begun the military component of his course but in his religious studies he would have had to consider the injunctions to ‘blot out’ the Amalekites. What impact this would have had on his development as a soldier no-one can say.

In the eulogies Dvir was described as a gentle soul, as innocent and full of love for family and friends, all of which he probably was, but he was also living in occupied territory. Ofra, the settlement in which he lived, is illegal even under Israeli law because it was largely built on privately owned Palestinian land.

While a Palestinian drove in the knife, who must take ultimate responsibility for his death, if not the state which seized the land and the settler-colonists who have moved there, including Dvir’s parents? They may have shared the belief that the land was God’s selective gift to the Jewish people; they may have decided to live there because of subsidised housing and tax breaks but whatever their motives, they were living on the West Bank in breach of international law and they would have known it.

The UN General Assembly has passed numerous resolutions affirming the right to resist colonial domination and occupation by all means. It is only putting into print what has been human practice since the beginning of time. An occupied people will resist with all the means at their disposal. In the 1950s the white settlers of Kenya no doubt included loving gentle souls, but they were killed just as ruthlessly as anyone else by the Mau Mau. In the last stages of the Algerian war of independence (1964-62), the FLN (National Liberation Front) slaughtered many French settlers, including women and children innocent of any crime but part of a white settler community which had established itself through violence, collective punishment, the expropriation of land and the ‘purchase’ of land on the basis of forged or spurious documents. Needless, these are the precise tactics used by the Zionists in their occupation of Palestine.

For those whose land is being occupied, it is immaterial whether the colonial settler is a gentle soul or a ranting religious bigot or a family looking for subsidised housing and tax breaks. The settler is always the settler, the usurper of someone else’s lands and rights, to be resisted as long as possible.

It was the Zionists who began the cycle of violence in Palestine and logic demands that they must take the first steps to end it but for the Israeli government, logic is the logic of force and not the logic of justice, law, ethics and morality. The wrong, fateful, irreversible decisions Israel has made will mark its history forever: occupation instead of withdrawal, injustice instead of justice, war instead of peace, including more war, inevitably, beyond the borders of Palestine.

Israel has never had such a degree of military, economic and political support from its great benefactor, the US. Drugged with the sense of its own power it builds even more settlements as it moves steadily towards annexation, thereby guaranteeing that there will be more Dvir Soreks, and far more Palestinian men, women and children killed in the struggle against occupation. Israel is dragging itself and the region into a future even darker than the past.

Illegal Israeli Squats Given False Legitimacy By Western Travel Companies — Rebel Voice

Let’s get this straight. The new cities, towns and villages in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights that have been built for Zionists are illegal under international law. They are referred to as ‘Settlements’ by the MSM. But that is being too kind. They are ‘Squats’ containing squatters upon the land of […]

via Illegal Israeli Squats Given False Legitimacy By Western Travel Companies — Rebel Voice

The Enemy Is Not Resistance

By Stanley L.Cohen
Source

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The Islamic Resistance Movement began more than thirty years ago at an historical moment in time which it knew to be fraught with absolute peril for their people. The founders of this national liberation struggle examined the overwhelming military capabilities of Israel, fostered by its global superpower sponsor, the United States. They looked at Israel’s expansionist programs–the Zionist project of illegal settlements erasing their homes and villages, dispossessing mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers–and at the failure of the international community to stop them.  They  knew then that within a generation Palestinians would lose it all –their motherland and patrimony and their nation–leaving them homeless captives to the whims of another man’s door.  In that moment, resistance was not a lifestyle choice or a revolutionary pose. It was existential necessity, just as it is now.

Everything Hamas predicted then has come to pass. Here, a generation later, it should take no comfort reminding the world that they were right in their analysis. Israel has grown only stronger and more rapacious, more intransigent and murderous in its deeds.  Its “democracy” did not save it from becoming a racist, apartheid state presiding over a military occupation of millions of Palestinians. Israel’s policy of creating “facts on the ground”– that is, the illegal settlement project – has transitioned from a de facto expulsion and annexation policy into a de jure one, as its prime minister calls for the removal of Palestinians and the annexation of the West Bank, and the American president and congress pre-emptively applaud the crime-to-be. The Golan Heights–sovereign territory of another nation– is now Israel’s by force, cynically annexed, while Syria struggles in the throes of war.  And Jerusalem (al Quds) is ringed by new, fortified suburbs and restricted highways demolishing Palestinian neighborhoods and cutting off their city from them. America now calls Jerusalem Israel’s capital–in direct violation of international law. Since 1967, successive U.S. administrations have told Palestinians to trust in their good faith as brokers of a just peace.  This has been a lie, as Hamas anticipated then, America was running cover, a stalling tactic, for the slow-motion destruction of Palestinian national aspirations.  Tragically, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed and maimed and many more imprisoned by Israeli state violence since Hamas began. The international community has done little to stop the monstrous crime unfolding.

Palestinians were right to resist then. The world surely can see that now.  The tragedy of retrospection should, at the very least, accord Palestinians their due: resistance is morally right, history has proven it so.  Yet, even last month, in the pages of America’s official paper of record, the New York Times, the U.S. administration through its craven spokesman Jason Greenblatt, a Zionist real estate lawyer from New York, charged with shepherding the “peace process” for the President as the Special Representative for International Negotiations, heaps insult upon injury, twisting history and recent events in a grotesque parody of a policy statement, adopting the Likud Party platform as the publicly declared U.S. position. None of us should be surprised by the falsifications in the Trump Administration’s official pronouncements. It has proven itself, after all, to be a presidency built on lying.  Yet only the most gullible American readers could possibly believe its juvenile “blame Hamas” refrain.

Hamas did not create the thirteen-year siege of Gaza, cutting Palestinians off from the world.  It did not commence any of the three wars launched by Israel against Gaza in 2008, 2012 and 2014 or it’s countless other attacks and outrages since. It did not destroy their industries, their water treatment plant, their power generation, their hospitals, houses, mosques, schools, television stations and roads–Israeli missiles and bombs did that.  Hamas does not keep two million people penned in an open-air prison, with a prison economy in tatters–Israel does that.  The cynicism of the Administration’s statement is unparalleled: “The countries of the world have attempted to help the people of Gaza,” but their good works have been destroyed by Hamas, according to the Special Representative.  Perhaps he had in mind the post-Oslo airport, built by multinational leadership, attacked in 2001 by Israeli air forces, with its runways bulldozed by Israel a few years later?  Or the catastrophic damage wrought upon the water system by Israeli air strikes during Operation Cast Lead in 2008?  Or the extensive bombing of the sanitation system in Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012? Or Gaza’s only power plant, attacked in 2006, 2008 and finally leveled by Israeli missiles in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge?  All of these key infrastructure projects, indeed, were funded by international donors, but destroyed by American jet planes, flown by the Israeli armed forces. Empty-headed slogans, scribbled by a huckster and moral fraud that has no more business posing as a diplomat than he does as a man of sincere religious belief, cannot smother the truth. The continuing tragedy of Gaza, indeed, all of Palestine, is not so easy to conceal… and Palestinian resistance continues. There is no choice.

Israel daily blocks some 650 basic goods from entry to the Gaza Strip for alleged “security” reasons, including medicines, hospital equipment and even some types of baby formula.  Israel denies fishing nets to Gaza’s fishermen, or materials to repair boats. Infrastructure materials– from pumping equipment to water and sanitation piping, to electrical supplies and cement– are all but forbidden.  Communication supplies and the technology of the internet (server and switching equipment) are embargoed, leaving Gaza lagging behind in poverty and despair, cut off from the world.  A United Nations-approved system instituted after the cease-fire in 2014 exists for monitoring so-called “dual use” materials, yet, Israel continues to ignore it as it stifles the free flow of goods needed to rebuild Gaza… in a deliberate policy of attrition.  Hundreds of Palestinians die annually, per the World Health Organization, because they cannot travel for medical treatment and the health care infrastructure and supply chain is destroyed.

Gaza suffers, but not because of Hamas and its administration. Hamas has done everything in its power to spare the Palestinian people in Gaza the devastating effects of the Israeli siege. It opened the doors wide to facilitate international support reaching Gaza’s residents. It accepted that infrastructure and public health projects should be implemented under full international supervision in coordination with government agencies. It has sought to ensure the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt will be open in both directions as an alternative to the dehumanizing caged passageway at Beit Hanoun (Erez). It has worked in coordination with the United Nations and Egypt to reach understandings that can achieve calm with the occupation and avoid escalation, a step on the road to lifting the siege and alleviating the hardships facing the people in Gaza.

At the strategic political level, Hamas has made great efforts to bring about Palestinian reconciliation, achieve unity, end the division and form an internationally recognized Palestinian unity government. But these efforts have been thwarted by the American veto and Israeli sabotage. Moreover, Hamas has worked with all its Palestinian partners to reach a consensus and internationally recognized formula on the national vision,  in order to find a way out of the current crisis, as expressed most recently in May 2017, wherein it again accepted a state configured upon the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, while simultaneously preserving the right of return for the millions in the Palestinian Diaspora.

Hamas is a national liberation movement, democratically elected by a majority of Palestinians in 2006 under the watchful eye of the world community. At its core it promotes and fights for the fundamental right of Palestinian self-determination fueled by full equality, independence and return. It does not embrace gratuitous violence. Nor, however, does it leave the people of Gaza defenseless at the mercy of an occupation force that has proven itself unworthy of trust and unwilling to exercise even a modicum of respect for international law. A long settled tenet of that law is the right of the occupied to engage in resistance, that includes armed struggle.  Palestinians continue to resist legally. They do not owe their occupier passive surrender.

Not long ago, Israel sent an assassination-squad surreptitiously into Gaza to kill Palestinian leaders. In the weeks since, it has repeatedly attacked civilian targets and infrastructure. It has been met by Palestinian defensive measures; and Israel responds, predictably, with F-16 attacks and tank shelling throughout Gaza, killing some two dozen including three children and two pregnant women, one who was clutching her 14 month old in her arms as both perished.  More than a hundred and fifty other civilians were wounded over several days of Israeli attacks. Almost a thousand civilian housing units, schools and businesses were damaged or destroyed. This latest assault does not yet have an operational name to sell it to the world–marketing Israel’s “bravery” narrative–but surely they’ll think of something catchy to disguise the carnage.

This past year, the Palestinian people, with all its factions and vital forces, including Hamas, took part in peaceful demonstrations… as affirmed by UN monitoring, along the separation fence at the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, demanding the lifting of the siege on Gaza and the right of return. How did the occupation respond?   With live ammunition and sniper fire intended to kill and maim.  Approximately 280 Palestinians have died and more than 28,000 have been wounded during this time, many of whom will live the rest of their lives disabled.  Not one Israeli on the other side was killed because of the demonstrations.   These protests also persist on a smaller scale in the West Bank where Israel continues to steal Palestinian land, destroy Palestinian homes and imprison Palestinian women and children at a pace second to none.

To the Greenblatts and Trumps and their Zionist choir, no amount of campaign sloganeering in puerile public statements can rewrite the palpable facts of Israeli aggression and its deadly occupation or recast Hamas from a lawful indigenous defense force into a mercenary political outlier.   Nor can the soon to come US “deal of the century” entice millions of Palestinians to surrender an age-old history and tradition to the cheap ring of a common real estate cash box.

Hamas is no rogue militant group, with anonymous, shadowy operators.  It will not disappear or shirk its leadership responsibility.  It remains an authentic and powerful part of the Palestinian experience, for over thirty years, much older than some of the current Israeli political parties in the Knesset. While many of its founders, all those years ago, have been killed by Israel, Hamas continues to speak on behalf of the dignity and hope of millions of Palestinians worldwide. Like them, it carries the kindle of resilience and self-determination of a People rendered stateless but neither hopeless nor powerless by a European colonial project. Like them, it will not cease to exist or fade into silence.

Land theft, ethnic cleansing, and Jewish supremacy: Israel’s settler colonialism in Syria’s Golan, the forgotten occupied territory — what’s left

By Stephen Gowans March 31, 2019 Israel’s occupation, annexation, and plunder of Syria’s Golan recapitulates all that is repugnant about the Zionist state: its wars of aggression, land theft, ethnic cleansing, racism, quest for lebensraum, and contempt for international legal norms. It also shows that Israeli citizens, including the country’s Left, are not only complicit […]

via Land theft, ethnic cleansing, and Jewish supremacy: Israel’s settler colonialism in Syria’s Golan, the forgotten occupied territory — what’s left

Australia’s Shameful Gift to Netanyahu

By Jeremy Salt
Source

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Australia and Israel are white settler states, established violently over the heads of the indigenous people, without the benefit of any treaty arrangement. ‘A land without people for a people without land’ was the Zionist lie. ‘Terra nullius’ was the Australian white settler equivalent.

Australian aboriginal ownership was collective and traditional. Palestinian ownership was collective, traditional and individual but in both cases, the land was stolen. How can the foundations of any state established on stolen land be said to be legal? What will white Australians say if someone comes along and takes ‘their’ country from them? ‘You can’t do this to us’?

The essential differences between Israel and Australia are numbers and hinterland. The land the white settlers called Australia was inhabited in the late 18th century by about half a million people. They had lived in this island continent and its small heart-shaped island off the southern coast, Tasmania, for more than 60,000 years, making the oldest recorded civilizations in the Near East look like newborns. They had their own languages, traditions, art, and oral history, the ‘dreaming,’ which is the most wondrous telling of the experiences of their ancestors.

But they were not numerous. They had no written laws and – most importantly – no modern weaponry. Killed, driven off their land and stricken by the diseases the white settlers brought with them, they were soon decimated. There was no-one to whom they could turn for help, no sympathetic similar civilization living nearby that could spring to their assistance. They were all on their own.

Contrast this with the Palestinians. Their land was also taken from them but they lived according to written laws and contracts which Europeans could understand even if they violated them. They were not sufficiently well-armed to defend themselves against a colonial-settler minority backed by outside governments but they were far more numerous than the settlers, 90 percent of the population in 1920, even after 40 years of Zionist colonization, and still two-thirds of the population at the time of the war of conquest in 1948.

By 2018 the Israeli population stood at 8.4 million, of which number 6.1 million (about 75 percent) is Jewish and mostly Zionist. The Palestinian world population of about 12 million includes about 4.4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or Gaza and about 1.4 million within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Within a few years, the Palestinian population between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan is expected to surpass the Jewish population.

These numbers aside, as part of an Arab-Islamic civilization with a rich history, the Palestinians also have the support of a vast hinterland. The population of the Arab world stands at about 420 million. The world Muslim population is about 1.8 billion. Corrupt and undemocratic Arab governments may collaborate with Israel but the people are behind the Palestinians, as are Muslims everywhere as well as Christians and those of no particular religious or ideological affiliation who know right from wrong and, as a matter of conscience, must support the Palestinians.

In the face of these demographics, Israel’s continuing war against the Palestinians would seem to be suicidal. Palestine as an issue is not going to go away. In the long term, this is a war Israel cannot win.  It holds Palestine by force, not by right, law or morality. All three are on the side of the Palestinians and not on the side of an Israeli state which continues the illegal settlement of their land.

No plan, no UN resolution gave Israel any right to drive the Palestinians from their homes and out of their homeland.  No resolution gave the Zionists any sovereign right to Jerusalem.  It was a Palestinian city which, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, should have remained the property of the Palestinian people, overwhelmingly Muslim and Christian, in their own state or as part of a Syrian state.  Instead, their land and the right to choose their future was taken from them.

Here are some relevant land ownership figures, compiled in 1945 by the British mandatory authorities (one dunam is the equivalent of 1000 sq. meters or about 0.245 of an acre):

Jerusalem district (Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramallah):

Arab ownership – 3,3993,001 dunums.

Jewish ownership – 39, 679 acres.

In the Jerusalem region, the ‘Arabs’ (mainly Palestinian Muslims and Christians) owned 1,326, 571 dunums against 33,401 dunums owned by Jews.   In 1946 the UN produced a map showing that 62 percent of the Jerusalem district was ‘Arab’ and only 38 percent Jewish, despite the heavy Zionist settlement.

While the demographics of Jerusalem city showed a Jewish majority, as many incoming Jews preferred to live in cities rather than work on the land, most properties even in West Jerusalem (about 70 percent) were Palestinian-owned in 1948.

Almost all of the east – the old city – was. The fine stone buildings, the walls, the cobbled streets and the arches were designed and built over the centuries by Muslim and Christian Palestinians. They were part of the booty that fell to the Zionists when the city was taken over, first installment 1948 and second 1967, with the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population continuing until the present day.

In law, all Jerusalem – not just the eastern sector – is an occupied city. It is an Israeli city, Israel’s ‘capital’, only according to the occupier’s law, which in fact is not a law at all but a gross violation of international law.

Yet, with two of the world’s most populous Muslim countries, Indonesia and Malaysia, not far away and objecting loudly, the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced his government’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its recognition of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital when the time comes.  He was speaking in Sydney at the Zionist think tank, the Lowy Institute, started by, and named after, Frank Lowy, a billionaire businessman of Czech origin who, as a member of the Haganah, helped to ethnically cleanse Palestine in the war of 1948 before migrating to another ethnically cleansed country, Australia, in the early 1950s.

Of course, Zionism never had any intention of sharing Palestine, let alone sharing Jerusalem as the capital of two states.  Morrison has pledged to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state when the time comes.  He must know that Israel is determined to make sure the time will never come.  Israel, of course, is only partly happy because Australia is only-half recognizing its claim to Jerusalem.

Had the indigenous Australian people been more numerous, had they had the weapons to defend themselves and had they the support of a hinterland willing to support their resistance to white settlement, Australia could well have been driven openly in the direction of Israel or apartheid South Africa.  Israel is now pursuing the same goal that white settler Australia managed to achieve, the reduction of the indigenous population to an insignificant minority, whose rights are covered up with tokenism, as exemplified in the ‘sorry’ movement and the verbal acknowledgment of traditional land ownership at every conference or workshop, at a time rural aboriginal communities are treated with the same neglect as before. Out of sight, out of mind.

Why did Morrison do this? Out of his Christian religious convictions?  (He worships at a Pentecostal church in Sydney, which boasts of its adherents speaking in tongues when being baptized. Morrison has denied ever speaking in tongues himself, even though it would clearly be good practice for anyone planning a political career).

Does Morrison have some idea that the ‘Jewish vote’ will swing the next federal election his way? Did not the Wentworth byelection in 2018, lost by his government, show him that while there is a strong and influential Zionist lobby in Australia, there is no such thing as a Jewish vote, but individual Jewish voters, who may support Israel, but not Netanyahu’s Israel, and might see the Morrison decision as inflammatory and not helpful in the long term to anyone, including Israeli Jews.

Like Israel, Australia began life as a colonial settler state.   Its Foreign Minister, H.V. Evatt, played a significant role in imposing Israel on Palestine in 1948.  There have been exceptions, but by and large, all Australian governments have given open-ended support to Israel ever since.  Their criticisms of its frequently vicious behavior never amount to more than a mild slap on the wrist, delivered for propaganda purposes.

It is no wonder that in Malaysia and Indonesia, Australia is widely regarded as a post-colonial remnant, still dependent on distant countries, first Britain and now the US, and still unable to pluck up the courage to carve out a genuinely independent future.

When Israel refuses to abide by international law, on Jerusalem, on the West Bank, on Gaza, on the occupied Golan Heights, on the return of the Palestinian people to their homeland and on the laws of war, why give Netanyahu the gift of recognizing even the western half of an occupied city as his capital?

Almost everyone writing on Australian politics seems to believe that Morrison will be out of government after the federal elections in 2019.  Bill Shorten, an ALP (Australian Labor Party) machine man all his political life, has criticized Morrison over Jerusalem, but is he just playing politics, scoring points, or when he takes over as Prime Minister, will he rescind this unnecessary and provocative decision?

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