Report: Israel May Be Planning ‘Forced Transfer’ of Residents from 2 Palestinian Villages

[ Ed. note – The email below was sent out yesterday by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Apparently the Israeli government authorities are planning to completely eradicate two Palestinian villages and forcibly transfer the population. To where is not clear. But B’Tselem is calling it an “extreme escalation,” and judging from the tone of the email there are concerns that what’s apparently in the works now may just be a precursor to an ethnic cleansing operation on a far wider scale. ]

Dear friend,

According to Haaretz, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told journalists in late August that plans for the implementation of a measure virtually unheard of since 1967 were months away from completion. These are plans for the eviction: Eviction and demolition of two whole West Bank Palestinian villages. Together, the two villages, Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills, and Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, are home to hundreds of people, about half of them minors.

Demolishing these communities would constitute the forcible transfer of protected persons, a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention. A forcible transfer occurs whenever residents do not leave of their own free will – for instance, when the authorities make living conditions impossible. This is exactly what Israel has been doing to these and to many other Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank for years –  forcing residents to live without connections to electricity or running water and under the constant threat of demolition. Still, demolishing an entire community would be an extreme escalation of this already abusive policy.

Crimes are usually committed far from the public view, and effort is put into covering them up. Seasoned politicians do not usually declare their criminal intentions, especially in on-the-record conversation with journalists. The fact that Minister Lieberman did so attests to his confidence that the planned evictions will receive the full backing similar actions – albeit less extreme – have always been given here, including the disgraceful support of the High Court. This is an official policy and is not seen as a crime.

For that reason, last week we sent a letter to the prime minister, the defense minister, the justice minister, the chief of staff and the head of the Civil Administration cautioning that demolishing an entire community would constitute a war crime for which they would bear personal liability. This was an unusual step for B’Tselem to take: we do not use the term lightly and it rarely appears in our publications. Yet the extreme circumstances demand it.

For many years, B’Tselem has been advocating for the Palestinian communities that are struggling against Israel’s de facto expulsion policy in Area C. We are determined to do everything in our power to help the residents of Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar escape expulsion, and ensure Israel avoids committing a war crime.

Sincerely yours,

Hagai El-Ad
Executive Director
B’Tselem

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Gilad Atzmon: The Labour Party Has Reached Rock Bottom

March 31, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

It dawned on me a quite a while ago that the Left is no longer a political position, it is, actually, a severe mental disturbance.

Almost one year ago, Ken Livingstone, ex-London Mayor and an icon of resistance and humanism was suspended  from the Labour Party for suggesting that ‘Zionism collaborated with Nazi Germany.’ 

The truth was obviously on Livingstone’s side. In 1933 the German National Socialist government, the Zionist German Federation and the Anglo-Palestine Bank (on behalf of the Jewish Agency) signed an agreement to facilitate the immigration of 60.000 German Jews to Palestine. The transfer agreement was maintained from 1933 to 1939.

But truth and historicity are foreign notions as far as British Labour is concerned: Initially, Livingstone was suspended for making an ‘anti-Semitic’ comment. It seems that telling the truth about Hitler and Zionism is considered by Labour inquisitors to be a ‘hate crime.’

Since then it has taken the Labour expulsion enthusiasts eleven months to realise that they were on very shaky ground. All along, the truth has been with Livingstone – Hitler’s regime indeed collaborated extensively with Zionism, even as late as 1944 (the Kastner Affair). So Labour then amended its case against Livingstone. Instead of being accused of being an ‘anti-Semite,’ he is now accused of bringing the party into “disrepute.”

The take-home message is devastatingly simple. The Labour Party, in its current state, is a disgrace with Livingstone’s truth-telling and his adherence to historicity simply highlighting its grovelling shame. Not only can it not lead this country (as if this was even a remote option) it is in fact a treacherous institution that has betrayed, not just British working people, but every Western and universal value.

Lying about the past and justifying every cruelty in the present, israel is poisoning itself

Zionist Ideology and Where it has Led Israel

Lying about the past and justifying every cruelty in the present, Israel is poisoning itself. (Photo: File)

Lying about the past and justifying every cruelty in the present, Israel is poisoning itself. (Photo: File)

By Jeremy Salt

Is Israel beyond redemption? Should we conclude, after seven decades of worsening behavior, that while there’s life there’s hope – life for the Zionists and Israel, of course, and, in fact, no hope for Palestine and the Palestinians, at least as far as the state of Israel is concerned.

The binary divide is marked on the 68th anniversary of Israel’s ‘independence’. While the Zionists celebrated with street parties and flyovers, the Palestinians in the West Bank were put under lockdown. This was no more a war of ‘independence’ than it was the ‘Unilateral Declaration of Independence’ (UDI) by the Rhodesian white minority leader, Ian Smith, in the 1960s.  It was a war of colonial conquest, the most extreme ever waged, even worse than the French invasion of Algeria. It ushered in the Nakba, the takeover of Palestine which has proceeded in stages ever since.

The war of 1967 was another war of colonial conquest, based on the lie of a ‘pre-emptive’ attack.  Nasser had no intention of attacking Israel and both the Israelis and the Americans knew it.  Egyptian Vice-President, Zakariya Muhi al Din, was on his way to Washington to negotiate a peaceful end to a crisis which Israel had generated through military provocations across the DMZ on the Syrian front. Threatened not by war but by peace, Israel struck before he could get there.  Talk of extermination and an Arab ‘ring of steel’ was deceptive and aimed at Israelis, with the aim of keeping them in a state of permanent preparedness for the next war.

“….. retaliation actions are our vital lymph”, Moshe Dayan remarked in 1955. “Above all, they make it possible for us to maintain a high tension among our population and in the army.  Without these actions we would have ceased to be a combative people, the settlers would leave the settlements…It is necessary to convince our young people that we are in danger.”

This is the way it has been since the establishment of the State of Israel.  The Jewish people of Israel have to be kept on edge permanently.   They must live in fear of someone or something – the ‘Arabs’, Hizbullah, Iran, anti-semitism – for Zionism to be able to prevail.

In 1967 the ‘international community’ again did nothing as hundreds of thousands more people – this time Syrians as well as Palestinians – were evicted from their homeland. The world remained silent as Israel destroyed the ancient Magharibah quarter in the middle of Jerusalem to make way for a ‘plaza’ outside the walls of the Haram al Sharif.

The annexation of Jerusalem was followed by the colonization of the West Bank and in 1981, by the annexation of the occupied Golan Heights. Palestinian resistance was crushed in the newly occupied territories and in Lebanon.  ‘Incursions’ into Lebanon were followed by large-scale invasions in 1978 and 1982.  Real-time television enabled the world to see with its own eyes what Israel was really like behind the clichés of the Middle East’s only democracy and the world’s most moral army.  The bombardment of Beirut and the massacres of Sabra and Shatila opened eyes formerly sympathetic to the Zionist super colony and its brutality during the first and second intifadas, even wider.

The war of 1967 is likely to be remembered not just as a war of conquest but as the war that marked the peak of Israel’s military prowess (within the context of conventional war). In 1973 Israeli forces were being routed in Sinai when Sadat unilaterally stopped the war.  Had he not betrayed Assad the Zionists could have been driven out of Egypt and off the Golan Heights.  Sadat’s treachery and the rapid resupply of weaponry and ammunition by the US enabled Israel to stage a comeback but the myth of its invincibility had finally been shown up for what it was.

During the land invasion of Lebanon in 1982 small contingents of Palestinian guerillas and Syrian soldiers repeatedly blocked the Zionist advance. The logistics of the land campaign were a mess but there was no answer to Israel’s rampage from the air.  The final death toll was close to 20,000.  The vast bulk of the dead were civilians, crushed or buried alive in their collapsed apartment buildings and slaughtered on the streets by indiscriminate missile strikes and artillery fire.  Retreating from Beirut after the outrage of Sabra and Shatila, the Zionists held on to southern Lebanon and no doubt would still be there had Hizbullah not forced them out in 2000. This was their first real defeat since 1948 and was administered by a guerilla army.

The humiliation left Israel thirsting for revenge, yet when it tried to destroy Hizbullah in 2006 it was humiliated again. Its ground forces proved incapable of advancing more than a few kilometers beyond the armistice line.  Its soldiers were repeatedly trapped and saved from annihilation only by air power.  Its prized Merkeva tanks were destroyed and one of its warships crippled by a Hizbullah sea-to-air missile.

The salt in the wound was that it was Hizbullah’s part-time reserves – basically young men who pick up weapons when required – stopped the Israelis in their tracks despite the complete imbalance in firepower and number of fighting men on the ground.   The professional Hizbullah core stayed north of the Litani River which was why after taking a beating for weeks the Zionists did not dare cross it.

In their frustration the Zionists lashed out with their air power. They killed 1,400 civilians, about 400 of them children, and many from the Shia suburbs of south Beirut, with planes and missiles provided by the US.   Apartment buildings, roads, bridges and power stations were obliterated in what was to become the ‘Dahiya strategy’, named after the Shia southern suburb of Beirut where Israeli warplanes wreaked the most damage.  The next time around, the Zionist generals threatened that the ‘Dahiya strategy’ would be applied to the whole of Lebanon.  In readiness for this seemingly inevitable event Hizbullah has been stocking up with missiles which it says can reach any part of occupied Palestine.  It knows as does its mortal enemy, that if Zionist air power is ever neutralized the state of Israel is going to be in serious trouble.

These wars highlight some home truths about the so-called ‘IDF’.  None of its wars have been about ‘defence’ but rather about seizing more land or ‘defending’ land already stolen.  Israel is ‘defending’ what does not belong to it.  It is ‘defending’ its denial of the rights of another people. It has fought wars against regular armies on very few occasions.  In Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon the bulk of its victims have not been fighting men but civilians.  Far from being a righteous army it has a long track record of the most despicable massacres of civilians. Far from condemning these massacres – allowing for such exceptions as the mass protest in Tel Aviv following the IDF-supervised Sabra and Shatila atrocities – a large number of Israel’s Jewish citizens support them.  During Israel’s numerous onslaughts on Gaza, Jewish colonialists on the other side of the fence cheer and jump for joy every time another apartment building crowded with families is hit by missiles or tank-fire.

Hatred of ‘the Arabs’  (the Zionists can scarcely bring themselves to call them ‘Palestinians’) is now more openly expressed than ever. The point has been reached where civilians join in the killing of Palestinians – even looking like a ‘terrorist’ was enough for an Eritrean to be beaten to death by bystanders in a bus terminal. The mother of the soldier who recently murdered a young Palestinian in Hebron was not horrified that her darling boy cocked his rifle and casually put a bullet through the head of a wounded man as he lay on the road.   No, what concerned her was that he had been arrested.  “Is it appropriate that a fighter who neutralizes a terrorist at the site of an attack be detained almost a whole month”, she complained to Netanyahu.  “Manslaughter, for God’s sake, for neutralizing a terrorist?  Is it conceivable that a dedicated, moral fighter be accused of manslaughter on [Netanyahu’s] for shooting a terrorist?” Of course, the ‘terrorist’ had already been ‘neutralized’ and the soldier should have been charged not with manslaughter but murder.

Polls showed that nearly 60 percent of Jewish Israelis supported the murder of the Palestinian.  In other words, it might be said that nearly 60 percent of Jewish Israelis are certifiable sociopaths. It was for this reason that an Israeli general recently drew a parallel between Israel and Germany in the early 1930s:   “It is scary to see horrifying developments that took place in Europe begin to unfold here.”  In Tel Aviv supporters of the soldier who murdered the Palestinian in Hebron held a rally in defense of the murderer, dancing, wrapping themselves in the Israeli flag and blowing the twisted ram’s horn known as the shofar. The Palestinian-hating settler politician, Avigdor Lieberman: “I would prefer a soldier who made a mistake and stayed alive over a soldier who hesitates and is murdered by a terrorist” – a mistake, shooting a wounded man in the head in cold blood?

These murderous feelings are the outgrowth of decades of institutionalized and deliberately inculcated racism. The decline is charted in one survey of public opinion after another. Asked whether the ‘Arabs’ should be transferred or expelled from Israel (Pew Research Centre 2014/15), 21 percent strongly agreed, 27 percent mostly agreed.  Expulsion or transfer was supported by 71 percent of the religious community. This poll was taken before the recent wave of stabbings so the number of Jewish Israelis who want the ‘Arabs’ out would probably now be significantly higher. Asked whether they would live in the same building as ‘Arabs’ (Israel Channel Two poll April 2015), 49 percent said they would not (compared to 42 percent not opposed). An October 2012 poll (Dialog) found that 59 percent of Jewish Israelis think Jews should be given preference over ‘Arabs’ in admission to government jobs.  Forty-nine percent thought the state should treat Jews better than ‘Arabs’ (which of course it does already at every level); 42 percent did not want to live in the same building as ‘Arabs’; 30 percent would support a law barring ‘Arabs’ from voting in the Knesset; 69 percent would oppose ‘Arabs’ being given the vote if Israel annexed the West Bank; 74 percent favored separate roads for Jewish Israelis and ‘Arabs’ on the West Bank; and 47 percent would like to see Israel’s pre-1967  ‘Arab’ population transferred to areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank.

A 2010 poll (Israel Democracy Institute) found that one third of Jewish Israelis would favor putting the Palestinians in internment camps during time of war. Another survey held in March the same year by the Maagar Mochot Institute found that nearly half of Israeli Jewish high school children (15 to 18) believed ‘Arabs’ were not entitled to the same rights as Jews. More than half (56 percent) would deny ‘Arabs’ the right to vote; 49.5 percent believed ‘Arabs’ should not be given the same rights as Jews (82 percent among religious students).   Going as far back as 1963, a poll of 1000 children aged from eight to 14, drawing on Biblical accounts of the destruction of Jericho, ‘and all that was in it, men and women, young and old, ox and sheep’ – the same treatment being given to the inhabitants of another nearby city, found that 600 of them totally approved of the destruction of these cities and their non-Jewish inhabitants.

Rabbis, politicians and even some academics have been complicit in the build-up of this hatred, calling the ‘Arabs’ tumors, snakes, ‘two-legged beasts’ (Menahim Begin), ‘cockroaches in a bottle’ (Rafael Eytan) and wild animals who need to be caged (Benny Morris). In 2007 the former chief Sephardi rabbi, Mordechai Eliyahu, ruled that there was no moral prohibition against the killing of civilians during a military offensive.  His son Shmuel, chief rabbi of Safad, followed on, saying that if they [the ‘Arabs] “don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill 1000, even a million, whatever it takes to make them stop.”  In January this year, during the ‘stabbing intifada’, he said Israel should execute wounded ‘Arabs’ rather than leave them alive.

In October 2015 Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, director of the Tzomet Religious Institute, quoting from the Torah, repeated this genocidal injunction against the enemies of Israel: “Annihilate the Amalekites from the beginning to the end. Kill them and wrest them from their possessions. Show them no mercy. Kill continuously one after the other, leave no plant or tree.  Kill their beasts from camels to donkeys.”  The word ‘Amalekite’ was used by Ben-Gurion against ‘the Arabs’ in the 1950s and directed recently by Netanyahu against Iran: “The new Amalek is making an appearance on the stage of history.”

In November 2015, 29 Orthodox and Chabad rabbis signed a letter calling for the ‘execution’ of all Palestinians who hurt Jews.  The signatories included the settler fanatic, Dov Lior, Yitzhak Grinsburg and Yitzhak Shapira, the author of the Torat Ha Melech (The King’s Torah) which rules that in times of war soldiers can kill babies in their cribs because one day they will grow up to harm Jews.   These readings of the Torah are as hateful and as murderous as the Islamic State’s reading of the Quran.   It will be argued that these people are ‘extremists’ and of course they are, murderous, relentless genocidal extremists, but what the polls show is how deeply these sentiments have worked their way into the mainstream.

The ultimate source of these attitudes is an ideology based on theft and dispossession under the cover of the lie that this is ‘our’ land.  For such criminality to succeed the Palestinians (the ‘Arabs’) had to be stripped of their dignity as human beings.  They had to be portrayed as uniformly lazy, brutal, rapacious,  addicted to violence and bent on killing Jews for no other reason other than being Jews. There could be no letup: these images had to be continually reinforced for the Zionist project to succeed.  The suppression of the best human instincts – compassion, empathy, understanding and the capacity to acknowledge wrongs done – was essential, accounting for how people who can be decent human beings in other areas of their lives can express such contemptuous, hateful and even murderous views when it comes to the Palestinians.

These deliberately created splits in the personality are far from uncommon. Racism was a powerful motivating force in both imperialism and extreme nationalism.  The Nazi state encouraged hatred of the Jews amongst otherwise ‘decent’ Germans – the doctrines of apartheid South Africa shaped hateful attitudes towards the black population among the otherwise ‘decent’ white minority population; and seven decades of propaganda and indoctrination through ‘education’ has had the same insidious effect on Israeli Jewish attitudes towards the Palestinians.

Israel’s ‘strength’ feeds off the financial and political support of the US, and the refusal of the ‘international community’ to hold it to account. The pandering of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to the Zionist lobby has been shameless.  Trump intends to move the US embassy to Jerusalem if elected and has urged Israel to continue building settlements in the West Bank.  Israel is now planning the annexation of 60 percent of the West Bank: no doubt the State Department has said or will say that this will not help the ‘peace process’ as if anyone seriously believes there is one. Only recently Netanyahu held an open-air cabinet meeting on the Golan Heights as a signal to the world – a raised finger to the world – that Israel has no intention of ever handing them back to a country which it hopes will soon no longer exist. Yet, even against these challenges to international order, Israel is still rewarded, most recently by being taken into the NATO fold.   Turkey allowed this by lifting its veto against Israel, thus opening a permanent mission in Brussels; Turkey’s president has called Israel a terrorist state and has taken a high profile as a defender of the Palestinians.

After nearly 70 years it is clear that diplomacy has completely failed or, to put it another way, that it is not going to succeed in bringing about any kind of ‘just’ settlement.  King Hussein of Jordan spent decades talking to the Zionists behind closed doors and had to admit shortly before he died that it was all for nothing.  For all the risks he took  – including the signing of a peace treaty – the Zionists gave him nothing back except, from time to time, a promise not to bomb him. The Palestinians are not back where they started but worse off than when the PLO eschewed violence for the diplomatic track back in the early 1970s.   Diplomacy and an interminable  ‘peace process’ simply enabled Israel to continue its war on the Palestinians by alternative means.

Every coin has two sides and the loss of Palestine is no different. One side is Zionist and the other Arab. By the time of the 1967 war the ‘Arab idea’ was fading fast.  Now there is nothing but fragmentation, confusion, discord and sectarian hatred. Arabs are too busy killing each other to worry about Israel.  Saudi Arabia has its war in Yemen and, with Qatar, has poured billions of dollars into the effort to bring down the government in Damascus. Qatar took the lead in providing an Arab face for NATO’s destruction of Libya, a project backed by the Arab League. Israel is not even the common enemy any longer. Collusion by Arab states with the Zionists is scarcely covert.

It is in these stinking waters that Israel swims.  What it wants is for the Arab world not to be what it is (or what it was or what it thinks it was). It wants the Arab idea dead and buried and with Arab help it is succeeding in achieving this objective. It wants the geography and political landscape of the Middle East rearranged and it is achieving this objective as well. Arab governments apparently cannot see (or do not care) that they are putting their signatures to the end of the ‘Arab world’ as any kind of collective entity.  They have colluded in bringing the forward movement of ‘Arab’ history to a dead halt. Surely this cannot have been the region that produced some of the greatest warriors and thinkers in history. The fall from great heights to such sleazy depths is simply too great.  Obviously, Arab history was not history at all but a mere fairy tale, an entertainment for children before they fall asleep, no different than Hay ibn Yaqzan or the stories in Qalilah wa Dimna.

The Palestinians have tried everything.   It is not they who have ‘never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity’ as Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban once remarked but Israel.  It has never been willing to trade land for peace.  It wants land and peace and seems to hope that time will resolve the inherent contradictions in this formula.

The outlook is terribly bleak but is it beyond hope? There are reasons to think not.  If Israel does annex the West Bank and refuses to grant citizen rights to the Palestinians, it will openly be turning itself into an apartheid state and even more of a pariah state on the world stage.  The global BDS campaign university is gathering more support every day. Corporations, faculties, churches and other social groups are all disinvesting. The invective pouring out of the Israeli government and its lobbyists and their attempts to criminalize BDS are a sure measure of its success.

In the US John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt broke a taboo with the publication in 2007 of their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.   They were not wild-eyed lefties but conservative mainstream academics at two of the best universities in the world – Chicago and Harvard.  The fact that a book questioning the nature of the ‘special relationship’, on moral as well as political grounds, could even find a mainstream publisher was itself an indication that public opinion was shifting.

Since then there have been further setbacks for Israel, most recently the failure of the lobby to block the agreement with Iran. Meanwhile, on campuses Jewish students are just as likely to sign up for the BDS campaign as to oppose it.  They no doubt support Israel’s ‘right to exist’ but they do not support what it has become.  Their support is no longer uncritical – as it might have been back in the 1960s – and can no longer be taken for granted.

In the directly political sphere Bernie Sanders criticized Israel, not very harshly but he did criticize it and in a presidential campaign this is an absolute first.  The Europeans are taking a tougher line. The EU is blacklisting Israeli companies and blocking the funding of any Israeli entity operating in the West Bank. Both the EU and the US government are prohibiting goods manufactured in the West Bank from being labeled ‘made in Israel.’ In European parliaments and amongst the general public Israel is steadily losing ground.

The wheel of history turns slowly but it does turn and it is turning against Israel all the time.  It is often impossible for people or for empires and states who have great power to imagine the day coming when they will be devoid of that power.  Israel has made lots of enemies and has only one ‘friend’. Even that friendship is doubtful: if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are declaring undying love for Israel it is not out of love but out of fear, of the damage the lobby can do if they dare say anything else.   The US is certain to go through its own upheavals.  The day may come when it can no longer afford to give Israel four or five billion dollars a year – the day may come when for moral and political reasons it does not see why it should.

The final element in this mix is the Jewish people of Israel.  What do they want – a real peace or an ersatz peace based on occupation and the permanent oppression of another people? Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman, the settlers and fanatical rabbis are holding out the second option as if Israel has no other choice.  Lying about the past and justifying every cruelty in the present, Israel is poisoning itself.  What greater threat to its future could there be than this?

– Jeremy Salt taught at the University of Melbourne, at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara for many years

Netanyahu: The Ethnic Cleanser

The Ugly Truth

“The longer he rules the closer the current iteration of the State of Israel will come to its own demise.  As the Herut anthem goes: “by fire and blood did Judea fall and by fire and blood shall it rise again.”  Strike the second half of that phrase.  It is the first half that is telling.  Netanyahu offers Israel unending blood and fire.  The blood flows not in rivers at first, but rivulets.  The fire isn’t a conflagration at first.  It only burns a Palestinian baby and father and mother.

But we know how this ends: not well, as the anthem warns.  The question for the world is can we afford a Judea that brings nothing but blood and fire to the region and the world?  If not, what is the world prepared to do to end it?”

——————————————————-

TIKUN OLAM – RICHARD SILVERSTEIN BLOG

A few days ago, an Israeli researcher working on behalf of faculty members from the University of Sciences Po, asked me if I could help authenticate an Al Hamishmar newspaper article which I featured in a 2011 post.  The article quoted Bibi Netanyahu espousing, clearly and definitively, his support for ethnic cleansing.  He delivered these remarks in a November 1989 speech which Maariv, the Jerusalem Post and Al HaMishmar quoted in their reports:

“Israel should have exploited China’s suppression of the demonstrations [Tienanmen Square], at a time when the world’s attention was devoted to events in that country, in order to conduct mass expulsions of the Arabs [sic] of the Occupied Territories. However, to my sorrow, they [government ministers] didn’t support the policy I espoused and whose implementation I continue to recommend.”

A reader notified me of this speech back in 2011 and provided a link to the Cosmos website which documents historical archival material related to the Israel-Palestine conflict.  But the reference there mentioned the Al HaMishmar article, written by Yaakov Lazar, was published on November 28 1989.  That was stymieing those trying to authenticate the report, since the newspaper supplement in which it was originally published, Hotam, was only published on Fridays (November 28th wasn’t a Friday).

Lo and behold, an Israeli who is a highly trusted researcher, discovered another reference to the speech from Al Jazeera, which wrote this about it:

As deputy foreign minister in 1989, speaking to students at Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan University in Israel…said…

This offered us further documentation about the provenance of Bibi’s speech which we hadn’t known (that it was delivered at Bar Ilan University).  And it offered a new publication date: November 24, 1989. Bingo!

Nailing down the source fully, our Israeli friend discovered another reference in the 1989 Knesset plenum, in which Netanyahu was taken to task for his racist remarks by an Israeli-Palestinian MK.  Here is the translation of a portion of MK Tawfik Toubi’s speech:

“…Teachers warn us to be careful of what lies hidden behind the words of the “diplomat,” deputy foreign minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when he’s invited to speak about peace.  On November 16th, he appeared before the students of Bar Ilan University at a political conference.  There he said the following [see quotation above].

This racist, dangerous speech was reported on November 17th in Maariv and November 19th in the Jerusalem Post.  According to the latter, the deputy minister said more–that should’ve expelled 5, 50 or 500 “inciters” when it was offered several opportunities to do so since the beginning of the [first] Intifada.  As the Post reported, its editorial staff has a recording of the speech.  Therefore denials of the deputy minister’s spokesperson, Eyal Arad–who claimed that his boss’ words weren’t reported precisely and that he [Netanyahu] was speaking about the nine Palestinians whom the defense minister ordered expelled–will be ineffective.

The deputy minister’s call for the mass expulsion of the Arab-Palestinian people from its homeland is not an isolated phenomenon or a new one.  This call for expulsion has been heard in the past at various times.  There were ministers who advised the Arabs to leave Israel in taxis via open border crossings before there is a more comprehensive expulsion.  There have been prior calls to exploit events in order to bring about a mass expulsion.  There have been racist calls for mass “transfer.”

The truth is that there haven’t been just calls for expulsion.  During various periods there have been actualexpulsions.  There were mass expulsions during the 1948 War.  There were expulsions during the June [1967] War.  The truth is that the expulsions never ceased.  In the course of 22 years [1967-1989] the Occupation expelled thousands of residents of the West Bank and Gaza from their homeland.  In Gaza, thousands were uprooted in the course of Minister Sharon’s [military] operations.  Tens of thousands were expelled from the West Bank in the months after June 1967.  Up to this day the expulsions continue.  I’m not talking about just a few hundred citizens.  Members of the Palestinian community are expelled regularly, without effect, in order to restrain the Palestinian people from its just struggle for independence and peace…

Along with the condemnation we demand from this Knesset regarding the words of the deputy minister and his preaching in favor of the expulsion of a people from its homeland, we say with full conviction: This is no longer 1948, nor June 1967.  More than ever in the past, the Palestinian people is holds fast–learning from historical experience–with its very fingernails to its land.  No terror, oppression and expulsion will remove it from its homeland.

In his response, Netanyahu attempted to conflate his comments about the nine individual terror suspects who’d been expelled, to say that he was not speaking about mass expulsions, but of selected expulsions of individuals.  Of course, Bibi never denied the authenticity of the quotation attributed to him above.  And this quote rings clear as a bell.  Nor is the sound that of the ‘chimes of freedom,’ as in the resounding Dylan song.  But rather the clanging dirge of mass expulsion and ethnic cleansing.

I used the November 19th date for publication of the Jerusalem Post article to find it online as well.  The article, written by Menachem Shalev, reads:

Deputy Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called for Israel to exploit political opportunities in order to expel large numbers of Palestinians from the territories. Netanyahu made the remark in a speech to Bar-Ilan University students on Thursday. In a tape recording of a portion of Netanyahu’s address obtained by The Jerusalem Post last night, the deputy foreign minister clearly states that “five, 50 or 500” inciters should have been expelled at various times since the start of the intifada.

Netanyahu told the students that the government had failed to exploit politically favourable situations in order to carry out “large-scale” expulsions at times when “the damage would have been relatively small.”

“I still believe that there are opportunities to expel many people,” Netanyahu said.

Those of us who care about Israeli history, who care what politicians say and believe they should be held accountable–we know Netanyahu.  As Jeremiah (who was much wiser than any Israeli politician) told us, the leopard doesn’t change its spots.  The Netanyahu of 1989 is the same Netanyahu of 2016.  For anyone, whether he be John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or even Bernie Sanders to mistake Israel’s prime minister for a man who can change his convictions, for someone who can become a Man of Peace–is laboring under a fatal delusion.

Remember, this is the same demagogue who only six years later stood on a Jerusalem balcony and told a crowd ravening for the blood of Yitzhak Rabin that they were dead-right and should not stop baying for blood till they got it.  Within weeks, they did get his blood and his life, as one of Netanyahu’s admirers murdered Rabin, and thus murdered peace and hope.

Before readers begin to crank up their keyboards to dispute my portrait of Rabin, I am not a devotee.  I understand Rabin’s limits.  And perhaps he would’ve failed.  But at that historical moment, he offered something Israel hasn’t seen since and may never see again.

Returning to Netanyahu, he is the opposite of peace: he is the death of peace.  I would go even farther and say that the longer he rules the closer the current iteration of the State of Israel will come to its own demise.  As the Herut anthem goes: “by fire and blood did Judea fall and by fire and blood shall it rise again.”  Strike the second half of that phrase.  It is the first half that is telling.  Netanyahu offers Israel unending blood and fire.  The blood flows not in rivers at first, but rivulets.  The fire isn’t a conflagration at first.  It only burns a Palestinian baby and father and mother.

But we know how this ends: not well, as the anthem warns.  The question for the world is can we afford a Judea that brings nothing but blood and fire to the region and the world?  If not, what is the world prepared to do to end it?

Palestinian Documentary Producers Need Your Support!

April 12, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

A DISTURBED EARTH is a documentary that follows a Palestinian man and his daughter as they embark on a journey back to his home village that was destroyed decades earlier. Travelling through refugee camps, family gatherings and militarised borders, they uncover a story long buried beneath a dangerous landscape.

The Story

A Disturbed Earth is a documentary about a small Galilean village invaded by Jewish Zionist militias during the olive harvest of 1948. Outnumbered and outgunned, the people were unable to protect their village from invasion. Over seventy men were lined up in front of an ancient limestone wall blindfolded and gunned down, their families as witness. The survivors were forced to seek refuge over the border in Lebanon where many still live today in refugee camps.

A Disturbed Earth reverses the journey back to the village. Fouad now lives in Australia. He is a father, grandfather, poet and survivor of the massacre. Accompanied by his filmmaker daughter and a small crew Fouad travels across three continents through refugee camps and militarised borders. The group attempt to return to the destroyed village to reveal and document its destruction.

A Disturbed Earth brings to life stories of the attack on the village through memories of its survivors. Israeli military archives are explored and surviving traces of indigenous life in the village prior to the invasion are found. With a small investigative team that includes a well-known Israeli historian, the film seeks to reconstruct pieces of a fragmented picture. What follows is a story about dispossession, memory and longing – a story buried under the breathing rubble of a village for almost seventy years.

The Approach

The refugee existence of Palestinians is the most long-term in the modern world, and a long-term refugee camp contains the despair and hardship of dispossession, but also the brilliance of survival.

Each location of the documentary will become one of its characters. While Fouad returns to the camp he grew up in, the camp itself with its surreal contradictions, architecture, colours, and special sound-scape determine the visual and sonic form of the film. The cracks of tired and weary windows become the fatigued exhale of the camp. The dirt ground transforms a voice speaking in dialect, evoking the image of trembling dust that swirls around the foot of a person lined up against a wall, waiting to be murdered.

The viewer not only learns about life in a refugee camp, but understands the way forced exile creates lives capable of living across multiple times, forced to remember and to dream while awake, both for those who physically left Palestine and the generations of the camps who came after.

A Disturbed Earth will explore this dreamscape using a style informed and inspired by the creative expressions of the people whose story it tells. Exile and struggle often create visual and auditory/sonic brilliance. Poetry, music and other art forms will be woven throughout the film.

Story sharing is an organic continuum of oral history traditions and in this spirit the interviews will not be filmed in traditional talking head set up. The interviews themselves will be a form of poetry, taking us back into the village over steel fortified and locked borders. They will tell of life in the village before the invasion, the wheat harvest celebration and help us get to know certain people murdered in the attack such as Mahmoud Zaghmout, Galilee’s best known singer of the time.

A Disturbed Earth will also seek to make historical archive out of the everyday. Here a village folk song, remains of an oil jar or a wedding scarf hastily packed in the bosom of a woman during the flight from home serve as historical document alongside more official and recognised sources. Archival materials help to gather fragments of the story and give it cinematic form.

The Team

Michel Khleifi – Co-Director (Khleifi is an award winning Director – awards include International Critics’ Prize at the Cannes Film Festival)

Rihab Charida – Co-Director, Writer, Producer

Tom Zubrycki – Producer

Theo Fatseas – Production Manager

Fabio Cavadini – Cinematographer

Project Status:

As well as the key creatives mentioned above, we have also secured a very dedicated production crew, including musical composer and musicians for original film score. Most of the research has been completed and locations scouted. We also have access to all of the places and people that we will be filming.

How will your donation be used:

We are seeking $25,000 funding to complete the development phase.

We anticipate that the full budget for the film will be $750,000. We are happy to discuss our production pathway with contributors.

All contributions to the ACF over $2 are tax-deductible.

Looks Like It Was a Purim Execution

 photo qasrasharif_zpsnnigi8fv.jpg

The video I posted yesterday showing an Israeli soldier shooting a Palestinian in the head has gone viral in the past 24 hours or so, and even the mainstream media, including the Washington Post and Time Magazine, have been reporting the story.

The video shows a group of soldiers and medics standing around Abdul Sharif, lying prone and incapacitated on the street, with one of the soldiers stepping up and pumping a bullet into his head.

Sharif is the young man on the right in the above picture. Both he and Ramzi Aziz Qasrawi were killed yesterday after an alleged stabbing attack on an Israeli soldier. Both were 21 years old.

Yesterday, of course, was also Purim day celebration in Israel–the annual holiday event marking the massacre of thousands of Gentiles, as told in the Old Testament book of Esther. This is one aspect of the shooting of Sharif and Qasrawi that the mainstream media don’t seem to be mentioning, probably out of a deliberate desire to play it down.

The two men died in Hebron during the morning hours. Here is a video of the Purim celebration that took places on the streets of the same city later that day:

Here is what ISM reports on the matter:

On the 24th March, Israeli settlers from the illegal settlements in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) celebrated the holiday of ‘Purim’. The settlers marched through the Old City of al-Khalil, starting off from the spot where just a few hours before, Israeli forces gunned down two Palestinian youth and then executed one of them in cold blood.

In the morning, Israeli forces shot and severely injured two Palestinian youth in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood and then left them lying on the ground seriously injured while Israeli medics were attending to a slightly injured Israeli soldier. Palestinian ambulances, that are not allowed to drive on this road that is only for settlers use, were prevented by Israeli forces from reaching the injured Palestinian youth.  In a video published by B’Tselem, a soldier can clearly be seen shooting one of the youth in the head at point-blank range even though he is lying on the ground and is not posing a threat to anyone.

Only a few hours after this extrajudical execution, settlers started their joyous march, dressed up in costumes, with music blasting from a bus, dancing in the same spot where the two Palestinians were murdered in cold blood.

Purim customarily involves excessive consumption of alcohol, and according to areport on Mondoweiss, a large number of Israelis took over Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque at one point and began using its loudspeakers to sing racist songs calling for the expulsion of Palestinians from the city.

Children of Squatters, 1 drinking wine, 1 holstering a machine gun, 1 another aiming a pistol at onlookers
via ISM

The mainstream media are reporting that the soldier who executed Sharif has been arrested, and an Israeli general has attempted, somewhat ludicrously, to portray the whole thing as some sort of stunning aberration.

 photo almoz_zpsfovdroa7.jpg“This is not the IDF culture or the Jewish peoples’ culture,” said Brigadier Gen. Moti Almoz.

Perhaps Almoz hasn’t heard the news that Israel is a sick society, as confessed by the country’s own president.

For most of us, I guess, it would be hard to conceive of a country where people are left to bleed on the street as being anything other than a sick society, and as one writer put it, “Maybe even worse than the murder itself is the fact that no one in the vicinity seems at all moved by it.”

Ma’an News is reporting today that the Palestinian cameraman who shot the video footage of Sharif’s execution has now found himself the target of threats and harassment.

Israeli settlers on Friday gathered outside the home of a human rights worker in Hebron to hurl abuse at him, a day after he captured on camera an Israeli soldier’s killing of a wounded Palestinian that has sparked international outcry.

Imad Abu Shamsiya, a staff member with Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, told Ma’an after settlers threatened him: “I now fear for my life and the life of my family. I’m afraid they might attack my house and do me harm.”

He added that he fears the possibility of suffering the same fate as the Dawabsha family, who were killed in an arson attack committed by settlers last year in the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank.

It’s unlikely that things in Israel are going to change until some “outside force” puts a stop to it, as author E. Michael Jones put it in this interview with Press TV last December. Jones’ words are well worth reflecting upon. As he sees it, the Israelis are in a “rebellion against reason.”

Jews vs. Non Jews in Israel: The New York Times’ Whitewash of Israeli Public Opinion Poll

Global Research, March 16, 2016
Jordan Times 14 March 2016
New York Times

This past week, the Pew Research Centre released the results of a massive poll of Israeli public opinion — focusing on their attitude towards religion, identity, values and political issues facing their country.

In the days that followed the release, a number of articles appeared in Israel and the US commenting on the study’s findings.

The strangest and most troubling of them was the piece titled “Deep Rifts Among Israeli Jews Are Found in Religion Survey”, printed in the New York Times on March 8, 2016.

Written by Isabel Kershner, the article was a transparent effort to combine straight reporting with tortured apologia.

Kershner began the piece with a simple recitation of a few of the poll’s findings: “A majority of Israeli Jews marry within their own religious or secular groups” and the different sub-groups “largely separate social worlds” and have “starkly contrasting positions on many public policy issues”, like whether West Bank settlements contribute to Israel’s security.

Kershner’s straightforward reporting ended, however, when she came to one of the poll’s more disturbing findings:

“nearly half of Israeli Jews said that Arabs should be expelled of transferred from Israel”.

Unable to allow that result to stand on its own, in the same sentence, Kershner added “although Israeli pollsters found the wording of the question problematic”.

The addition of that phrase was a classic example of deflection — a device often used in New York Times’ articles to sow doubt or confusion among readers so as to soften the blow of facts that are damaging to Israel.

Here’s how it works: first the “fact” is stated; then it is quickly followed (usually in the same sentence) by an unsubstantiated remark that questions the “fact”.

The reader is then left confused.

Kershner did not get around to explaining exactly what was “problematic” about the wording of the poll question until she meandered for several paragraphs discussing other results from the poll.

Then she returned to the “transfer” issue, devoting the last full one-quarter of her piece to quotes from Israeli pollsters telling us that “the phrasing of the question is very blunt” or that it is possible that Israeli Jewish respondents may have understood the question to imply that Arabs would “voluntarily” leave or be compensated for leaving [as if that would somehow make it better!].

Kershner quoted another pollster who agonised over the transfer question, saying: “I would feel uncomfortable incriminating the Israeli public based on one question,” adding her fear that this “one question” would “be used as a weapon’ by Israel’s critics”.

Actually, the question was quite clear. And it was not the only question in the poll in which Israelis displayed troubling views.

And, while I might quibble with the term “weapon”, it would be irresponsible not to raise serious questions about what this poll reveals about racism in Israel.

First, let’s look at the “problematic” question and ask whether it was too vague, too blunt or too unclear.

Here is what Israelis were asked: do you agree or disagree with this statement

“Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel?”

In response to this direct question, 48 per cent of Israeli Jews agreed, while 46 per cent disagreed.

Among Israelis who are religious and those who received a Jewish education, two-thirds agreed with the idea that Arabs should be expelled or transferred.

This is not the only disturbing finding in this poll.

Israeli Jews were also asked if they agreed with the statement

“Jews deserve preferential treatment in Israel”;

79 per cent agreed — including well over 95 per cent of those who are religious and those who received a Jewish education.

The bottom line is that Israel’s political culture has become increasingly intolerant.

With eight in ten Israeli Jews supporting preferential treatment for themselves at the expense of the 20 per cent of the population that is Arab, and with almost one-half of Israeli Jews calling for Arab citizens to be expelled or transferred, one can only conclude that this is a society and a political culture that is in trouble.

This dangerous reality needs to be confronted honestly and directly. Whitewashing the situation only allows the danger to grow.

The Times has done Israelis, Palestinians and its readers a disservice.

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