israeli army blows up three Palestinian wells in occupied Hebron

Israeli army blows up three Palestinian wells in occupied Hebron
As the extensive Israeli military invasion into the southern West Bank district of Hebron continues to escalate, the soldiers destroyed, on Thursday morning, water wells, and the entrances of several Palestinian homes. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers destroyed several Palestinian water wells, detonated the entrances of eight apartments, in Hebron city, violently searched many residences and kidnapped at least one Palestinian. Also in Hebron, the army invaded Farsh al-Hawa area, and the area around the al-Ahli Hospital, before storming a residential building, and violently searched several apartments. During the invasions, the soldiers detonated three Palestinian water wells. The soldiers invaded two workshops in Hebron city, allegedly used for manufacturing weapons, and also stormed and ransacked many homes in the towns of Sa‘ir and Bani Ne‘im, east of Hebron, and placed concrete blocks, closing Hebron’s northern road
.http://imemc.org/article/army-destroys-water-wells-damages-property-in-hebron/

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Greenwashing the Nakba: The Real Story Behind israel’s “Blooming Desert”

Whitney Webb | MintNews
Though the official narrative of the state of Israel claims that it has turned the land it occupies from an empty desert into a lush, agricultural wonder, the actual fate of the land following Israel’s establishment in 1948 tells a very different story.

In this Monday, Sept. 7, 2009 file photo, an Israeli flag is seen in front of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the outskirts of Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

Were it not for Israel, the desert would have remained unproductive and fallow – or so the story goes.It has often been said that Israel, since its establishment in 1948, has presided over the “miracle” of making the country’s “desert bloom.” That heavily promoted narrative — which asserts that the Palestinians have long lacked the capacity, knowledge or desire to properly develop agriculture in the region — has often been used as a legitimizing factor in Israel’s establishment. As former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres once said, “The country [Palestine] was mostly an empty desert, with only a few islands of Arab settlement; and Israel’s [cultivated] land today was indeed redeemed from swamp and wilderness.”

There is, however, another side to this story, one that shows that the “blooming desert” of Israel is a convenient disguise for the degradation and destruction of Palestine’s natural resources, a means of obfuscating the worst of occupation by wrapping it in the cloak of Zionist mythology. While a central theme of Zionist mythology has long been the need for the Jewish Diaspora community to re-establish itself by returning to agricultural labor, the truth of Israel’s agricultural “success” involves the unsustainable use of occupied resources and the deliberate destruction of the land and water still used by Palestinians today.

Erasing a rich history
Though the official narrative of the state of Israel claims that it has turned the land it occupies from an empty desert into a lush, agricultural wonder, the actual fate of the land following Israel’s establishment in 1948 tells a very different story. Indeed, prior to 1948, the historical record demonstrates that Palestinian farms were very productive and that both Palestinian Arabs and Jewish settlers were successful farmers. For example, a UN report on agriculture in Palestine between 1945 and 1946 recorded that Palestinian-grown crops accounted for nearly 80 percent of Palestine’s total agricultural yield that season, with Palestinian farms producing over 244,000 tons of vegetables, 73,000 tons of fruit, 78,000 tons of olives, and 5 million liters of wine.

“Villagers of Sidna Ali drawing water from communal well. (source: Palestine Remembered)

Two years later, when the majority of Palestinians were forced from their land during the “Nakba” that founded the state of Israel, the farms and orchards that had previously been tended by Palestinians were left abandoned, as their owners fled under the threat of death at the hands of Zionist militias.

As Israeli historian and journalist Meron Benvenisti detailed in his book Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948:

By April 1948 Jewish farmers had already begun harvesting the crops that had ripened in the abandoned fields and picking the citrus fruit in Arab groves. […] by mid-1949 two-thirds of all land sown with grain in Israel was abandoned Arab land.”

Thus, it was land theft that was largely responsible for Israel’s initial agricultural production, not the labor or agricultural expertise of Zionist settlers.

In addition, the claim that Israel turned an undeveloped desert into an agricultural wonder seems to be – in part – projection on the part of the Israeli state. Indeed, as Benvenisti noted, following the removal of Palestinians, the vast majority of centuries-old fruit orchards that had long been maintained by the native inhabitants of the land were untended, neglected and, in some cases, bulldozed to make room for ever-expanding settlements.

According to Benvenisti’s research, that neglect led to a situation in which “entire tracts of productive citrus trees, especially in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area, were earmarked for the construction of housing developments,” as was the case for Palestine olive groves and pomegranate orchards that the land’s new occupants considered “an annoyance.” Part of the reason for the destruction of the land was that it would weaken Palestinian claims to return to the land, as keeping agricultural infrastructure intact “might have made possible the absorption of the returning refugees.”

Current Israeli government policy, particularly its support for the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land, is the continuation of this effort to erase Palestine’s history by targeting its agricultural heritage as well as its natural wonders. Indeed, Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted back in 2011 that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s steady push for Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory had been coupled with “his insistence on seeing nature and landscape as no more than an obstacle to the realization of his settlement vision.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres, right, and French President Francois Hollande, plant a Cedar tree in Jerusalem. The National Lawyers Guild called for the investigation of the Jewish National Fund, an organization famous for planting tress on land forcibly seized from Palestinians. (AP/Abir Sultan)

Covering a crime with water-sucking pines
Another project central to the “desert bloom” mythology is Israel’s “afforestation” of the desert, which has helped “turn the desert green” through the planting of non-native pine trees. These forests, largely planted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), have been touted as a “miracle.” Yet, the pine stands, much like Israel’s treatment of Palestine’s agricultural legacy, have been motivated by a need to cover up the events that led to the creation of the Israeli state.

Indeed, more than two-thirds of all JNF forests and sites lie on top of the ruins of Palestinian villages demolished during and after the founding of Israel, and the group’s continuing afforestation efforts are aimed at acquiring land in the occupied West Bank to prevent “trespassing” and “conceal” Palestinian villages in order to prevent the return of Palestinian refugees.

Moreover, the effort to maintain a forest of non-native trees – regardless of whether its chief aim is to cover up the true history of Palestine or “green” a desert — has come at a great cost to the natural environment. As journalist Max Blumenthal has noted:
Most of the saplings the JNF plants at a site near Jerusalem simply do not survive, and require frequent replanting. Elsewhere, needles from the pine trees have killed native plant species and wreaked havoc on the ecosystem.”
They also become fodder for forest fires that have caused major damage and mass evacuations throughout Israel over the years.

Another ecological consequence of JNF forests is their likely effect on Israel’s horrendous drought, considered to be the worst the region has faced in over 900 years. As studies have shown in other countries where non-native pine plantations have been introduced in vast numbers, pines consume a significant amount of water – leading to droughts and even the disappearance of entire rivers – as well as fundamentally alter and degrade the soil. While these forests have been presented as an ecological miracle, they are instead destroying the environment and degrading the land’s resources, suggesting that the main driver behind the long-standing project is aimed at covering up the ruins of Palestine.

Continuing the attack on Palestinian agriculture
Today, the stark difference in agricultural development in the land tended by Israelis and Palestinians derives from policies that often receive little coverage in the media and are largely absent from the “desert bloom” narrative. Indeed, much of the coverage the issue has received paints Palestinian agricultural successes as either the work of foreigners offering aid or resulting from the “theft” of Israeli-settlement agricultural infrastructure.

Such reports fail to acknowledge the realities of the issue, such as the illegal blockade of Gaza that has crippled its economy and agricultural sector, as well as Israel’s destruction of agricultural infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank. Gazan agricultural infrastructure was ravaged by Israel in times of war and, in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers regularly demolish rain cisterns, pipelines and irrigation systems installed by Palestinians, citing as a reason that such structures lacked the “proper authorization” from Israel. Farmers themselves, mainly in Gaza, are often targeted directly by Israeli soldiers if they come too close to the border fence.

A Palestinian elderly woman collects olives from broken olive tree branches in the village of Qusra, northern West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Palestinian farmers say Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Eli cut more than 70 olive trees overnight. Olives are the backbone of Palestinian agriculture. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

The Israeli government has also targeted Palestinian agriculture through chemical warfare. The use of white phosphorus as a weapon against Gaza, for example, has had major consequences for the area’s farmers. In addition to the chemical weapon’s often deadly effects on the human body, it has destructive effects on the environment and plants, as its incendiary nature often leads to the spontaneous ignition and burning of trees, forests and farmland. It also lingers in the environment for several years.

Beyond the use of chemical weapons, Israel has also directly targeted Gazan farmland with herbicide. In 2015, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) admitted to using herbicides and germination inhibitors to kill off vegetation along the Palestinian side of the border, damaging over 420 acres of land. A year later, tactic was repeated, this time destroying around 400 acres of farmland. The IDF has stated that it sprays the chemicals over the vaguely defined “no-go zone” it has established along the border “in order to enable optimal and continuous security operations.” However, the area accounts for a third of Gaza’s arable land and 17 percent of the entire territory.

Furthermore, the herbicides, like white phosphorus, have consequences for the environment long after they are sprayed. As Anwar Abu Assi, manager of the chemical laboratory at Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture, told Al Jazeera in 2016:
Herbicides are sprayed in high concentrations. Thus, they remain embedded in the soil, and then find their way to the water basin. This constitutes a real hazard for the population.”
The targeting of Palestinian agriculture in the present and its treatment by the Israeli and American press suggest another and nefarious way in which Israel’s “desert bloom” mythology has manifested. In order for Israel’s agricultural “superiority” to remain unchallenged, Palestinian agriculture must also be suppressed. Were Palestinian agriculture able to develop unimpeded and flourish, it would call into question the idea that the land was barren before the Zionists, threatening the latter’s legitimacy.

The cover-story for all conquerors and colonizers 
The myth of Israel “making the desert bloom” has its basis in neo-colonial narratives that have long been used in other settler states such as Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Australia. In the cases of the latter countries, the native inhabitants and their culture have also inaccurately been depicted as “primitive” and incompetent, a narrative that suggests that the land would have remained “wild” and undeveloped were it not for the “fortunate” appearance of European settlers. Such narratives cast the settlers as both superior and normal while the natives become inferior and abnormal, thus obfuscating the settler’s status as foreigner and conqueror.

Zionist mythology reinforces similar themes. For example, as in the United States Native Americans were considered as uncivilized and wild as the natural environment, Zionist mythology reinforces the idea that all Arabs are “sons of the desert” while the desert similarly represents a barbaric obstacle to “progress” and development.

Another historical analogue is the 19th century concept of “manifest destiny” — the idea that the expansion of the United States had been preordained by God himself, which led the U.S. to break many of its numerous treaties with indigenous tribes and even go to war with Mexico in order to acquire the land it coveted. The Israeli government similarly sees its expansion and control of all of Palestine as a matter of fulfilling prophecy and “redeeming” the Holy Land. This effort of redemption continues to feed Israel’s expansion. As Netanyahu has said, Israel is “obligated to develop all parts of the country – the Galilee and the Negev [the West Bank].”

Living the myth and the lie
Yet, no matter how much evidence exists to the contrary, Israel will never tell the real story behind the “miracle” of making “the desert bloom.” It will never tell the real story precisely because it can’t – to do so would mean demolishing the neo-colonial narrative at the center of the settler state, a narrative that is the pillar of its legitimacy.

Indeed, if Israel has not actually improved the land by making “the desert bloom” but instead degraded the land, the legitimacy of the state of Israel itself becomes questionable, as it suggests that its native inhabitants – the Palestinians – were better caretakers of the land than the current occupiers. For this reason, Israel must continue to propagate the myth regardless of the facts, and continue to deny Palestine’s rich cultural history and agricultural legacy.

With Israel now facing the consequences of its mistreatment of the land and its resources, the historical revisionism once used to sell the disparity between Israeli and Palestinian agricultural prowess has become ineffective. For that reason, Israel must now use other tactics — chemical warfare through toxic agrochemicals, the physical destruction of Palestinian agricultural infrastructure, and illegal blockades – in order to keep the artificial narrative alive, creating the illusion of primitivism and scarcity where none exists.


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Gaza Summer

April 28, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

 By Enzo Apicella

Apartheid is the REAL anti-Semitism

Palestinians file complaint to UN over Israel violation of anti-racism convention

MEMO | April 23, 2018

Palestinians have filed a complaint to the UN against Israel for numerous violations including breaches of its obligations under international anti-racism treaty.

The move, which is likely to trigger a lengthy and high-profile investigation by world bodies monitoring racism and discrimination, was handed to the UN by the Palestinian ambassador to the international organisation, Ibrahim Khraishi, to the body that monitors the implementation of the UN convention against racism.

In the 350 page document seen by the Guardian, which accuses Israel of establishing an apartheid regime, Palestinians say that Israel is implementing policies that have “the common aim of displacing and replacing the Palestinian people for the purpose of maintaining a colonial occupation”.

Palestinians list a number of Israeli violations in the occupied territories and accuse Israel of seeking to maintain “a Jewish demographic majority in the entirety of historic Palestine”.

“Not only is the purpose of the settlement regime discriminatory in itself, it is further maintained by a system of discriminatory measures, severely depriving Palestinians of their fundamental rights,” the report says.

The complaint sent to the UN is over violations of the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Israel has ratified the convention and Palestinians, who were granted UN observer status in 2014, filed the complaint which is believed to be the first interstate complaint filed under the treaty.

The convention is monitored by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a body of 18 independent experts that is now tasked with assessing the complaint. Israel will now be required to submit written explanations within three months, including any remedies it has taken. The committee could then move to investigate the claims.

According to Ammar Hijazi, from the Palestinian ministry of foreign affairs, the complaint “does not reach the level of a court order.” Hijazi added that the finding that Israel had breached the treaty would oblige other signatories to the convention, which include the US, to “ensure that such practices are not continued”, reported the Guardian.

In their list of complaints Palestinians say that they are severely limited in their freedom of movement compared to Israeli settlers and are subject to “confiscation and seizure” of their land, including home demolitions.

In addition to the violations relating to the right to equal treatment under the law, Palestinians claim that Israel is in breach of article 3 of the convention, which prohibits racial segregation and apartheid. “It is clear that Israel’s acts are part of a widespread and oppressive regime that is institutionalised and systematic; that accords separate and unequal treatment to Palestinians,” the summary says, calling for the dismantling of all existing Israeli settlements.

Oil Vey

April 15, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

28db368b025e4994ab4f7b76f26d8e81_18.jpg

By Eve Mykytyn

The US led bombing raid on Syria on April 13th came at an odd time. The civil war in Syria has basically been won by Assad, and in response to the calming of tensions, President Trump said on April 4 that he intended to withdraw US troops from Syria.  Three days later, Assad allegedly used chemical weapons on Syrian civilians and from there talk of war began to be openly encouraged by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Almost immediately, some skepticism arose as to why Assad would use chemical weapons after the war was essentially won. US Secretary of Defense General Mattis was reduced to saying he ‘believed’ there had been a  chemical attack. In any case the rationale for bombing Syria on April 13 was weakened by the fact that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was due to arrive in Syria to examine the claim of chemical weapons use on April 14, the day after the US led bombing. Bombing in advance of the arrival of inspectors seems a bit like an attempt to cut off verification.

Another strange part of the narrative was how suddenly unified our ordinarily discordant US elected leaders were on the necessity of  bombing Syria. Certainly, the timing might have been useful for Trump, stealing headlines just as Comey’s tell all book came out, but then Trump’s presidency has, since its inception, run at a 3 scandal a day pace. Rather than covering up scandals, Trump seems instead to revel in the publicity. The Democrats, even the leaders of the so-called resistance, offered no resistance to the bombing plan other than to grumble about the potential future need for congressional approval. When both sides of our political spectrum converge on what seems to be an awful idea located in the middle east  it is hard not to suspect that Israel is somehow involved.

But why would Israel prefer a civil war next door, fought by Assad against shifting Islamic factions, some no doubt more hostile to Israel than Assad? I think I can point to a possible reason. During the ‘67 war, Israel took 2/3 of the Golan Heights from Syria. Although the UN and others still classify the land as ‘occupied,’ in 1981, Israel declared its control of the entire territory and the population of the Golan Heights is now at least half Israeli. While Israel has claimed that it took additional land in ’67 and after to act as a buffer zone around Israel, the resource rich Golan Heights have provided Israel with much more than a buffer zone. “In fact, the Golan Heights contributes a quenching one-third of Israel’s entire water supply.”

The Golan Heights has also provided Israel’s first major oil find. Afek Oil and Gas, a division of Genie Oil has obtained oil rights for the huge oil fields in the Golan Heights. The company crowed in a letter to investors that, “Billions of barrelsof Israeli oil had been tapped [in the Golan Heights.]”

Genie Oil has powerful political connections. Rupert Murdock, Vice President Cheney, Jacob Rothschild and Larry Summers are among its Board Members. The ex-chairman of Genie Energy’s former parent company, IDT Corp., is Ira Greenstein, a family friend of Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. Greenstein currently works on the White House staff.

In 2017, US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with the far-right Israeli politician and head of Afek Oil, Efraim Etiam.  Etiam has called Israeli Arabs a “cancer” and said that “we will have to kill all [the Palestinians].” The meeting gave an apparent, and probably an actual  US seal of approval to Afek’s oil extraction from disputed territory that the international community has explicitly said does not belong to Israel.

So why does Israel prefer a civil war to peace so close to its water and oil bonanza? I would guess that Israel does not want a strong leader to challenge its right to the spoils of war. There appears to be a tentative coalition of Turkey, Russia, Iran and Syria. While no one since 1999 has seriously challenged Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights, Israel seems to prefer a  neighbour consumed with internal fighting to a strong Syria that may be part of a powerful coalition.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) provides powerful evidence that Israel has undertaken to keep Syria is a state of conflict. UNDOF’s reports have shown the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ to be quite democratic in handing out aid to armed rebel groups, including the official Al-Qqaeda affiliate in Syria. Israel has claimed the aid is ‘humanitarian,’ but that claim contrasts with Israel’s official stated policy to “let both sides bleed” in order to prolong the war for as long as possible so as to weaken Syria and its allies.

So, the US, the UK and France bombed Syria on the basis of an unproven claim of chemical warfare and, if the bombing raid proves successful, the only real practical outcome might be to prolong a brutal civil war in Syria so that Israel’s claim to water and oil rich land will be unlikely to be challenged.

 

Lebanon Achieves New Border Victory over Zionist Entity

March 14, 2018

Lebanon flag

The Lebanese army, supported by the UNIFIL troops, managed on Wednesday to advance into the B1 sea position which was used to delineate the Lebanese-Palestinian border in 1923, confirming the national right to preserve the land and sea borders and resources.

The House Speaker Nabih Berri described the event as a new Lebanese victory over the Zionist entity, underlining that Lebanon and the Lebanese adhere to their sovereignty and borders, whether in land or sea, as well as to all their rights and resources.

Few weeks ago, a rhetoric row erupted between Lebanon and the Zionist entity which claimed right to posses certain land and sea border positions in Lebanon whose officials stressed the country’s right to defend its borders and resources.

Hezbollah SG Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah warned the Zionists against attacking the Lebanese seashore oil facilities or violating the country’s land border, stressing the party’s readiness to deter any Israeli aggression.

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Source: Al-Manar Website

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Hezbollah Gives the Israelis Something to Think About

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Recently Hezbollah released two videos, both within a space of about two weeks, depicting missile attacks upon an Israeli offshore oil/gas platform. This comes at a time when Israelis have been doing a lot of sabre rattling, as well as, likewise, laying claims to a gas field which lies off the Lebanese coast.

Here is the most recent video:

Hezbollah’s Central Military Media releases a video threatening Israel to strike its Oil and Gas facilities if it touches Lebanon’s Gas Block #9 within Lebanese Maritime Borders. pic.twitter.com/Wqz1eKoyB8

Hezbollah’s Central Military Media releases a video threatening Israel to strike its Oil and Gas facilities for the second time in less than two weeks, pinpointing the exact locations of Israel’s Tamar and Karish facilities. pic.twitter.com/HOjtsgdevL

And here is one which was released about 10 or 12 days prior to it:

Hezbollah’s Central Military Media releases a video threatening Israel to strike its Oil and Gas facilities if it touches Lebanon’s Gas Block #9 within Lebanese Maritime Borders.

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Here is a map of Lebanese offshore gas fields. The dispute between Israel and Lebanon is over block 9, to which Israel is laying claim, or at least laying claim to some portion of.

And here is a map of the gas fields off the coast of Israel…the Hezbollah videos appear to be threatening an attack upon the Tamar field unless the Israelis back off and quit trying to lay claim upon block 9…

“He who impinges on the future gas and oil facilities inside the Lebanese maritime borders–his facilities will be impinged on and he knows Lebanon is capable of this,” Nasrallah says in the video.

You’ll note of course the “disputed zone” in the above map. The word “disputed” is a word the Israelis are fond of applying to occupied Palestinian lands in the West Bank (this due to a finicky distaste for linguistic implications of the word “occupied.”) So what gives with the dispute over block 9? The Israelis seem to be employing the same philosophy here as in their settlement enterprise in the West Bank–grab as much as you can. Create facts on the ground (or in this case, in the sea).

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