The Twisted Logic of the Jewish ‘Historic Right’ to israel, the Jews never existed as a ‘people’ – still less as a nation

The Twisted Logic of the Jewish ‘Historic Right’ to Israel
By Shlomo Sand

A synagogue in Sarcelles, outside Paris. CAPUCINE GRANIER-DEFERRE / NYT

Our political culture insists on seeing the Jews as the direct descendants of the ancient Hebrews. But the Jews never existed as a ‘people’ – still less as a nation

I enjoy the vacillations of Chaim Gans, even if I don’t always understand them. I have the highest esteem for his intellectual honesty – even if at times, perhaps like everyone, he tries to resolve contradictions with lame arguments.

However, before going into the heart of the matter, I must pause over an annoying mistake – I’m certain that at bottom it’s not deliberately misleading but a folly – concerning my writings. In the article, “From rabid Zionism to egalitarian Zionism” (November 9), Gans writes, “because, according to [Sand], there is purportedly no genetic continuity between ancient and modern Jewry, it follows that the Jewish nationhood engendered by Zionism is a total fabrication, a nationhood created out of thin air.”

If my assumption that Gans has perused my books is correct, he appears to have read them both too quickly and at a diagonal. Since the publication of my first book “The invention of the Jewish people” a decade ago, I have made a point of emphasizing that it’s not only Jews who don’t possess a common DNA – neither do all other human groups that claim to be peoples or nations – besides which I have never thought that genetics can confer national rights. For example, the French are not the direct descendants of the Gauls, just as the Germans are not the offspring of the Teutons or of the ancient Aryans, even if until a little more than half a century ago many idiots believed just that.

One trait that all peoples have in common is that they are retroactive inventions with no distinctive genetic “traits.” The acute problem that genuinely disturbs me is that I live in a singular political and pedagogical culture that continues persistently to see the Jews as the direct descendants of the ancient Hebrews.

The founding myth of Zionism – which proceeds in an unbroken line from Max Nordau and Arthur Ruppin, to worrisome geneticists in several Israeli universities and at Yeshiva University in New York – acts as the principal ideological glue for the nation’s everlasting unity, and today more than ever. The justification for Zionist settlement/colonization (choose your preferred term – they mean the same thing) is the meta-paradigm that is expressed in the declaration of the establishment of the state, namely: “We were here, we were uprooted, we came back.”

Full disclosure: Even when I believed, mistakenly, that the “Jewish people” was exiled by the Romans in 70 C.E. or 132 C.E., I didn’t think that this conferred on the Jews some sort of imagined “historic right” to the Holy Land. If we seek to organize the world as it was 2,000 years ago, we will turn it into one big madhouse. Why not bring Native Americans back to Manhattan, for example, or restore the Arabs to Spain and the Serbs to Kosovo? Of course, such twisted logic of “historic right” will also commit us to supporting the continued settlement/colonization of Hebron, Jericho and Bethlehem.

As I pursued my research, my realization that the Exodus from Egypt never happened and that the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah were not exiled by the Romans, left me nonplussed. There is not one study by a historian who specializes in antiquity that recounts that “exile” or any serious historiographic study that reconstructs a mass migration from the place. The “exile” is a formative event that never took place, otherwise it would be the subject of dozens of research studies. Judahite farmers, who constituted an absolute majority of the population at the first century C.E., were not seafarers like the Greeks or the Phoenicians, and did not spread across the world. It was Jahwist monotheism, which since the Hasmonean era had become a dynamic religion engaged in conversion, which laid the foundations for the Jews’ age-old existence around the globe.

Here’s where we get to the heart of Gans’ arguments. This distinguished jurist and political theorist is not prepared to accept the standard justifications for settlement and for Zionism’s conception of land ownership since the end of the 19th century. He is well aware that such popular propositions would oblige him to justify continuation of the present-day settlement project, and perhaps also to deny the rights of the natives who still remain in “the land of Israel.”

Gans even knows that there never actually was a Jewish nation, which is why he resorts to the literal image of a “profile” – a surprising and original term in the national context – wholly based on ignorance. For him to understand what Clermont-Tonnerre meant in his famous speech (a subject I addressed in an article in the Haaretz Hebrew edition last August), a perusal of Wikipedia would have sufficed. He’d have learned immediately that by “nation,” the French liberal was referring to a closed, insular religious community. Did the Jews, in contrast, not see themselves as a people or a nation according to the modern usage of these terms?

Until the modern era, the terms “people” or “nations” were used in a variety of senses. In the Bible, Moses goes down to the people and speaks with them directly (without a loudspeaker, newspapers, television or Twitter). The people also gathers to welcome Joshua and to congratulate him on his victories. In the Middle Ages the Christians viewed themselves as “people of God,” a term in wide use for hundreds of years. In our time, the terms “people” or “nations” are applied in a different way, albeit not always accurately. A “people” is, generally, a human community living within a defined territory, whose members speak a common language and maintain a secular culture with the same, or similar, foundations. “Nation,” on the other hand, is a term that is today generally applied to a people that claims sovereignty over itself or has already achieved it

I don’t think peoples existed before the modern era – that possibility would have been ruled out by the level of communication they had. There were large clans, tribes, powerful kingdoms, large principalities, religious communities and other groups with various forms of political and social bonds – usually loose ones. In an age when few people could read and write, when each village had a different dialect and the lexicon was appallingly meager, it’s hard to talk about a people with a shared consciousness. Minorities of educated literates do not yet constitute nations, even if they have sometimes created that impression.

I don’t understand why all cats have to be called cats and all the dogs, dogs – and only one cat has to be called a dog. The Jews, like the Christians, Muslims or the followers of the Bahá’í Faith, had in common a strong belief in God alongside diverse and closely linked religious practices. However, a Jew from Kiev could not converse with a Jew from Marrakesh, didn’t sing the songs of the Yemeni Jew and didn’t eat the same foods as the Falash Mura, or Beta Israel, community of Ethiopia. The whole fabric of day-to-day secular life was completely different in each community. Accordingly, to this day – and rightly so – the only way to join the “Jewish people” is through an act of religious conversion.

The Christians, by contrast, viewed the Jews as members of an abominable money-worshipping faith. The Muslims perceived them as adherents of an inferior religion. With the advent of progress in the modern era, many Europeans started to treat them as a defiled race. Anti-Semitism endeavored mightily to cast the Jews as an alien people-race with different blood (DNA hadn’t yet been discovered).

But what in blazes was their self-“profile”? A salient product of the Zionist education system, Chaim Gans tells us that they saw themselves as a kind of nation that dreamed of getting to the “Land of Israel.” I would not suggest that Gans should read distinctively Jewish authors such as Hemann Cohen or Franz Rosenzweig, or the Talmud, which rejected collective emigration to the Holy Land. I’m sure he won’t have time for that. I would only ask him to read a short history that is slightly more reliable.

Until World War II, the vast majority of Eastern and Western Jews – traditionalist, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Communists and Bundists – were avowed anti-Zionists. They did not wish for sovereignty over themselves within a nation-state framework in the Middle East. The Bundists did in fact see themselves, and quite rightly, as a Yiddish people in need of cultural-linguistic autonomy, but they rejected outright the proposal to immigrate to Palestine as part of a project of a trans-world Jewish nation.

And here we come to the last desperate attempt to justify the Zionist enterprise retroactively: Zionism as a response to an emergency situation. History, unfortunately, was more tragic. Zionism failed utterly to rescue Europe’s Jews, nor could it have done so. From 1882 until 1924, the Jews streamed in their masses – about 2.5 million – to the North American continent of promise. And yes, had it not been for the racist Johnson-Reed Immigration Act that prevented continued immigration, another million or perhaps two million of these souls might have been saved.

Additional full disclosure: I was born after the war in a DP camp in Austria. During my first two years I lived with my parents in another camp, in Bavaria. My parents, who lost their parents in the Nazi genocide, wanted to steal into France or, alternatively, immigrate to the United States. All the gates were closed, however, and they were compelled to go to the young country of Israel, the only place that agreed to accept them. The truth is that for Europe, after its participation in the mass slaughter of the Jews, it was convenient to spew out the remnant of a native population that hadn’t taken part in the awful murder, and thereby created a new tragedy, though of a completely different scale.

Chaim Gans isn’t comfortable with this historical narrative, especially when the oppression of the natives and the plundering of their land is continuing even now. Zionism, which succeeded in forging a new nation, is not prepared to recognize its political-cultural-linguistic creation, nor even the specific national rights which that process conferred on it. But Gans, ultimately, is right. From Meir Kahane to Meretz, all Zionists continue to view the state we live in not as a democratic republic belonging to all its Israeli citizens – who definitely have a right to self-determination – but as a political entity that belongs to the Jews of the world, who like their forebears have no wish to come here or to define themselves as Israelis.

What remains for me, then, is to go on being a-Zionist or post-Zionist while doing what I can to help rescue the place I live in from an ever-intensifying racism, due, among other reasons, to the teaching of a false historical past, fear of assimilation with the Other, revulsion of the indigenous culture and so on. For, as the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet wrote, “If I don’t burn / if you don’t burn / … if we don’t burn / how will the light / … vanquish the darkness?”

Shlomo Sand is a historian and professor emeritus of Tel Aviv University.

This article was originally published by Haaretz

Advertisements

No safe place: When israeli (apartheid state) airstrikes hit, Gaza’s children have nowhere to run

When Israel strikes, Gaza’s children have nowhere to run

No safe place: When Israeli airstrikes hit, Gaza's children have nowhere to run

Charlie Hoyle

No safe place: When Israeli airstrikes hit, Gaza’s children have nowhere to run

Most children in Gaza have experienced a major war during their lifetime. [Getty]

A sense of normalcy returned to life in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after a ceasefire agreement between Palestinian political parties and Israel ended a major escalation in violence.

But for children in the besieged territory, it is simply a momentary break in a lifetime of trauma.

Up to 45 percent of Gaza’s population of two million is under the age of 14, with most having experienced at least three major Israeli military operations in their lifetime.

The crushing decade-long siege on the densely populated territory means children have nowhere to play, nowhere to escape, and, during intensified conflict, nowhere to hide.

“There are no safe places to go in times of attacks. We stay at home and pray we are not killed,” Maher Abdullah, a Senior Programme Officer and spokesperson for Save the Children, told The New Arab.

Abdullah and his family huddled together for safety in their apartment as Israel’s military pounded targets in Gaza over the past 24 hours.

Huge bombings punctuated the night at 15-minute intervals as families across Gaza hoped their homes would be spared.

They were asking ‘are we going to die? ‘Why do they want to kill us?’ ‘What did we do for them to kill us?’ Unfortunately, we don’t have an answer for the children
Maher Abdullah

In the most recent 2014 war, Israeli military strikes destroyed over 20,000 homes. More than half a million Palestinians were displaced and over 2,200 killed – including around 500 children.

“They were asking ‘are we going to die? ‘Why do they want to kill us?’ ‘What did we do for them to kill us?’ Unfortunately, we don’t have an answer for the children,” Abdullah said of the most recent Israeli strikes.

“We don’t feel safe and so it’s difficult to make our children feel safe, all we can do is pray.”

Always under threat

Health professionals in Gaza estimate that as many as 50 percent of children suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to their experiences of war.

According to a survey by Save the Children, over 95 percent of children displayed symptoms of depression, hyperactivity, aggression, and a preference for being alone.

Abdullah says the brutal 51-day war in 2014 has left children scared of loud noises and thunder, afraid of the dark, and experiencing constant nightmares.

Children waking up screaming and crying in the middle of the night is the norm in Gaza, he says, a consequence of constant panic amid an unending cycle of conflict.

“Our lives are always under threat”, he says.

Up to 45 percent of Gaza’s population is under the age of 14, with most having experienced at least three major wars in their lifetime

The interminable presence of violence means children and adults alike can never recover from their past traumas, and parents cannot isolate them from threats.

The United Nations estimates that more than 300,000 children are in need of psychosocial support.

But Gaza’s health infrastructure cannot even begin to cope with the mental health crisis.

Hospitals lack medical supplies, while severe underfunding means schools and the United Nations refugee agency can often only provide one counsellor for hundreds of children.

Beyond a simmering mental health crisis for children, the physical threat posed by Israel’s military has proved devastating.

Since protests began in March to demand an end to the blockade and the return of Palestinian refugees, more than 5,000 children have been wounded in demonstrations.

More than 40 children have been killed, while over 1,000 have been shot by live ammunition.

“What we are asking here is just to find a peaceful way to end all of this, to ensure that no more harm will happen to all affected children by these escalations in Gaza,” Abdallah said.

“We want to build our future, and our country’s future.”

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab

 

#BDS Hollywood Stars Raise Record $60m for israeli (apartheid state) Army

Hollywood Stars Raise Record $60m for Israeli Army

MEMO | November 6, 2018

Hollywood celebrities raised a record breaking $60 million for the Israeli military at the Friends of the Israel Defence Forces (FIDF) annual gala last week.

This year’s sold-out Western Region event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel welcomed more than 1,200 supporters of Israel, including prominent actors and singers like Ashton Kutcher, Pharrell Williams, Gerard Butler, and Katharine McPhee.

“We are thrilled that so many members of our community, including major Hollywood figures, are coming together to help us support the brave men and women of the [Israeli army].” said FIDF National Board Member and Chairman of the event, Haim Saban. “Standing behind these heroes is one of my greatest honours in my life.”

The event featured a programme that told the 70-year history of Israel through the accounts of soldiers and the military’s various campaigns against the Palestinians.

It also included several contributions from former and current Israeli soldiers.

Last year, FIDF raised $53.8 million at the same event; contributions have been increasing annually for the past three years. In 2015 the gala raised $31 million, half of this year’s total.

According to a press release by the organisation, the funds raised will be used to “provide much-needed and well-deserved services such as academic scholarships to combat veterans, financial assistance for soldiers in need … crucial aid for wounded veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, weeks of rest and recuperation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities.”

Last month, the FIDF’s New York event raised $32 million for members of Israel’s occupation forces, attended by many of the city’s most prominent business people and philanthropists.

Among the biggest donors to the gala were Or Lachayal – an organisation which works to “strengthen the Jewish identity of the Israeli army” – which pledged $2.5 million and Nefesh B’Nefesh – which promotes Jewish immigration to Israel – which pledged $1.3 million.

FIDF has a long history of fundraising for Israel’s occupation forces; it operates 20 offices across the United States and Panama, according to its own website.

Support for the army from US organisations and the US government has been a cornerstone of Israel’s ability to continue its ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In October, the largest ever US military aid package to Israel – worth $38 billion over a ten year period – entered into force.

israeli (apartheid state) Fake News on Hamas

Israeli Fake News About Hamas

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

On geopolitical issues, along with most everything related to Occupied Palestine, especially blockaded Gaza, Israeli media stick to the official falsified narrative, suppressing what’s vital to report.

Hamas is a legitimate political organization, its military wing for self-defense. It’s not a terrorist organization, as falsely designated by the State Department at the behest of Israel.

The Jewish state needs Palestinian enemies to unjustifiably justify apartheid persecution, especially the Gaza blockade, enforced solely for political, not security, reasons.

Fed up with Fatah’s institutionalized corruption and willingness to serve as Israel’s enforcer, Palestinians overwhelmingly elected Hamas their legitimate government in January 2006.

Its leaders promised an end to serving Israeli interests at the expense of Palestinian rights. US and Israeli harshness followed, including illegally blockading Gaza. 

It continues endlessly as long as Hamas is a convenient enemy both countries need – despite posing no threat to Israeli or regional security.

Hamas’ 2006 electoral triumph benefitted Israel, reinventing its leaders as security threats, unjustifiably justifying suffocating blockade, persecuting an entire population, waging wars and other hostile incidents at its discretion.

Hamas and other Palestinians are consistently blamed for Israeli high crimes. As long as the Jewish state has full US support, it’s able to get away with holding an entire population hostage to its viciousness.

A fake news Haaretz report claimed the Netanyahu regime “decide(d) against toppling Hamas…seek(ing) (only) to weaken it,” adding:

“Israel’s  policy on Hamas has not changed; the plan to keep the group in power in the Strip stems from a desire to prevent a collapse of Gaza’s infrastructure, a problem that could harm Israel as well.”

Fact: Israel’s suffocating blockade created years of humanitarian crisis conditions, along with destroying Gaza’s infrastructure and economy, causing it to collapse – precisely its aims, along with falsely accusing Hamas of being a security threat.

Fact: The Jewish state’s three wars of aggression in the last decade were all about causing mass slaughter, destruction, and human misery – overwhelmingly targeting civilians, entire communities destroyed, dozens of families murdered in cold blood.

Fact: Israel considers civilians legitimate targets, flagrantly violating international law – its wars of aggression the highest of high crimes, what Western and Israeli media never explain.

Fact: Israel’s blockade has nothing to do with deterring Hamas, as Haaretz falsely claimed.

Fact: Claiming the Netanyahu regime “support(s) efforts to reach an agreement that will restore quiet to” Gaza is a bald-faced lie. Israel’s aim is polar opposite, needing violence and chaos to justify its harshness.

Fact: Hamas is an invented enemy, not a legitimate one.

Fact: Haaretz and other Israeli media fail to explain that Fourth Geneva and other international laws prohibit collective punishment, along with requiring civilians be kept out of harm’s way during conflicts.

Netanyahu lied claiming he’s “working to prevent (Gazans from) harm(ing) our soldiers and communities.”

They face no threat from Gazans or any other Palestinians.

Netanyahu lied again saying “we’re working to prevent a humanitarian crisis, which is why we’re willing to accept the UN and Egyptian mediation efforts to achieve quiet and fix the electricity situation” – IDF terror-bombing destroyed, he failed to explain.

Haaretz failed to expose his Big Lies. It quoted an unnamed Israeli source, saying “there is no diplomatic solution with a group that wants to destroy us. The only solution is deterrence…”

Israel is waging war on Gazans and other Palestinians without declaring it. Its only threats are invented one – the same strategy Washington uses as a pretext for endless wars of aggression.

Haaretz and other Israeli media fail to explain what’s going on. They fail to lay blame where it belongs – Israel the aggressor, Palestinian civilians their targeted victims.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against the Palestintans (25 – 31 October 2018)

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations 

01 Nov
7:09 PM

Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 18 – 24 October, 2018.

Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against unarmed civilians and peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip. 7 Palestinian civilians were killed in the 31st week of the Return and Breaking Siege March. 298 civilians, including 68 children, 13 women, 3 journalists and 9 paramedics, were wounded; 14 of them sustained serious wounds.

Shooting:

 

During the reporting period, the Israeli forces escalated their murders as 11 palestinian civilians were killed, including 3 children.

 

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces killed 10, including 3 children.  Seven of those killed due to the use of lethal force against Palestinian protesters, who participated in peaceful demonstrations organized within the activities of the “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” in the Gaza Strip, which witnessed for the 31st week in a row peaceful demonstrations along the eastern and northern Gaza Strip border area. Meanwhile, the 2 children were killed in an airstrike carried out by the Israeli warplanes in violation of the principles of necessity and distinction.  During the Protests in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces wounded 289 civilians, including 68 children, 13 women, 3 journalists, and 9 paramedics.  The injury of 14 of them was reported serious while a civilian was wounded during a shooting incident near the border area.

 

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 16 others, including a child, journalist and 2 paramedics.

 

In the Gaza Strip, on 26 October 2018, Israeli forces killed 4 protestors; 3 in eastern Khan Younis and 1 in northern Gaza Strip, during their participation in the 31st Friday Protests within the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege.  In the next two days, 2 of those wounded on Friday succumbed to their wounds.  On 29 October 2018, a protester was killed while participating in the protests occurred off Zikim Military Base, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza, increasing the number of those killed in protests to 7.

 

in a new crime of excessive use of lethal force, which reflect the highest degree of recklessness of the lives of Palestinian civilians, Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian children after targeting them with a missile in the border fence area with Israel, east of Wadi al-Salqa village, in the central Gaza Strip. Investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human rights (PCHR), indicate that the airstrike violates the principles of necessity and discrimination and the use of force was excessive, especially that the 3 children were civilians and unarmed. The Israeli forces claimed that placed an explosive device near the border fence, but paramedics at Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), who retrieved the dead bodies of the 3 children confirmed that the children did not have anything and they found them on the border fence in the Palestinian side.

 

As part of using excessive forces against the peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip borders, the Israeli forces during the reporting period wounded 298 civilians, including 68 children, 13 women, journalists and 9 paramedics.  Fourteen of those wounded sustained serious injuries.

 

City Injuries
Total Children Women Journalists Paramedics Critical
Conditions
Northern Gaza Strip 89 23 4 4 4
Gaza City 89 17 1
Central Gaza Strip 56 17 8 4 4
Khan Younis 52 10 1 1 3
Rafah 12 1 1 1 3
Total 289 68 13 3 9 14

 

As part of the Israeli airstrikes, the Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of airstrikes targeting military training sites belonging to the Palestinian Armed Groups and other targets, causing complete destruction of them.  Moreover, the nearby houses and civil objects sustained damage such as the Indonesian Hospital, Golden Hall for Weddings, al-Nawras Resort in Beit Lahia, al-Tawil Company for Auto Repair and Kuhail Contracting Company.  In addition, al-Kamal Building comprised of 4 floors and built on an area of 250 square meters was destroyed in central Gaza City while classes were suspended in Ibn al-Nafis Primary School in Bani Suhaila.

 

As part of targeting the border areas, on 28 October 2018, the Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, southeast of Beit Hanoun opened fire at a group of bird hunters, wounding one of them with a bullet to the buttock.

 

In the West Bank, on 26 October 2018, the Israeli forces killed Othman Ladawdah (34) during his participation in a demonstration comprised of 250 civilians from the Western Farm Village, northwest of Ramallah in Kherbet Na’lan area which Israeli settlers from Kirim ‘Alim storm every Friday to perform Talmudic prayers in an attempt to seize it.

 

During the reporting period, the Israeli forces wounded 16 Palestinian civilians, including a journalist and 2 paramedics.

 

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 55 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 6 similar ones into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 49 Palestinians, including 5 children, in the West Bank.  Meanwhile, 12 other civilians, including 3 children, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs.

 

Israeli Forces continued to create a Jewish Majority in occupied East Jerusalem:

 

As part of the Israeli house demolitions and notices, on 29 October 2018, the Israeli forces demolished a newly built house in al-Fheidat neighbourhood in ‘Anata village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, belonging to Saleh Fheidat.  The 50-square-meter house that is of one floor sheltered a family of 5.  It should be mentioned that the Israeli municipality demolished another house, which was built 80 years ago, 2 months ago.  Fheidat said that he was not warned or noticed that his newly built house would be demolished by the municipality and that the demolition was surprisingly carried out.

 

Moreover, on 28 October 2018, the Israeli municipality handed 3 civilians from al-Waljah village, northwest of Bethlehem, notices to refer to it for investigating “violations committed relevant to unlicensed construction”, noting these houses were demolished a month ago.

 

Israeli Forces continued their settlement activities, and the settlers continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property

 

As part of demolition of houses and other civil objects, on 29 October 2018, the Israeli forces levelled 23 dunums and property belonging to civilians in western Beit Oula village, west of Hebron.

 

On 31 October 2019, Israeli forces demolished 2 agricultural rooms in Kherbet Khelet al-Foron, south of Bani Na’im village, east of Hebron.

 

 

As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinians civilians and their property, on 28 October 2018, the guard of “Eili” settlement namely Yousi attacked the Secretary of Qaryout village council, Mofid Jamil Abu Murrah (56), and Member of the village council, Khairy Mohammed Hasan Marawdah (53) on Batishah Road, west of the abovementioned village, southeast of Nablus.  Both of them were in Batishah area within Area B supervising the establishment of the base course within a project funded by the First Aid Society.  The guard beat them up and threw a sound bomb at the bulldozer that was spreading the base course and belonging to the village council.

Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:

 

Israeli forces continued its excessive use of lethal force against peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it was named as “The Great March of Return and Breaking Siege.” The demonstration was in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. Embassy to it. According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed large participation by Palestinian civilians as the Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators, though the demonstration were fully peaceful. The demonstration was as follows during the reporting period:

 

Gaza Strip: (the events on Friday, 26 October 2018)

 

  • The Northern Gaza Strip: Israeli forces killed Mohammed Khalid Mahmoud Abdul Nabi (27)from Jabalia, after firing a live bullet to the head. Moreover, 55 civilians, including 17 children, 3 women, a paramedic, were wounded. Fifty two of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel and 3 were hit with tear gas canisters. medical sources classified 4 civilian’s injuries as serious. The wounded paramedic was identified as ‘Ala’a Sha’ban Mohammed Sabbah (39), a paramedic at the Palestinian Civil Defense, was hit with a live bullet shrapnel to the feet. The Israeli forces also targeted 2 ambulances, one of them belongs to Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), which was hit with a live bullet to the left door and the other belongs to the Military Medical Services and was hit with a live bullet and 4 shrapnel to the left side.

 

  • In Gaza City: 89 civilians, including 17 children, a journalist, were wounded. Fifty two of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel, 7 were hit with rubber bullets and 30 were hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded journalist was identified as Bilal Khalil Noufal, a photojournalist at Seraj Media Office, was hit with a live bullet to the left thigh.

 

  • Khan Younis: Israeli forces’ shooting at demonstrators, which continued from 15:00 to 18:30, resulted in the killing of 3 civilians, who were wounded between approximately 16:45 and 17:00, east of Khuza’ah village. The wounded civilians died after a short time of their arrival at Gaza European hospital. Those killed were identified as follows:
  1. Nassar Eyad Nassar Abu Taim (19), from Bani Suheila, east of Kahn Younis, was hit with a live bullet to the head.
  2. Ahmed Sa’ed Abdul ‘Aziz Abu Lebdah (22), from Bani Suheila, east of Khan Younis, was hit with a live bullet to the chest.
  3. ‘Ayesh Ghassan ‘Ayesh Sha’ath (23), from al-Fukhari, east of Kahn Younis, was hit with a live bullet to the head.

Moreover, 52 civilians, including 10 children, a woman and a journalist, were wounded. Forty four of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapneland8 were hit with tear gas canisters. Doctors classified 3 civilian’s injuries as serious.

 

  • The Central Gaza Strip: 56 civilians, including 17 children, 8 women, 4 paramedics, including 3 female paramedics, were wounded. Fifty three of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel and 6 were hit with tear gas canisters. Doctors classified 4 civilians’ injuries as serious. At approximately 02:30 on Saturday, 27 October 2018, medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City announced the death of one of the wounded civilians namely Mojahed Ziyad Zaki ‘Aqel (24), from al-Nuseirat refugee camp, succumbing to his wounds. Mojahed was hit with a live bullet to the upper thigh. At approximately 02:00 on Sunday, 28 October 2018, medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital announced the death of another wounded civilian namely Yahiya Bader Mohammed al-Hasanat (37), from al-Moghraqah village, was hit with a live bullet to the head.

The wounded paramedics were identified as:

  1. Hala ‘Ata ‘Eqab Abu Thaher (22), from al-Buraij refugee camp, was hit with a shrapnel to the abdomen.
  2. Basmah Maher Fehmi Weshah (27), from al-Buraij refugee camp, was hit with live bullet shrapnel to the feet.
  3. Ibrahim Husni Shaheen (29), from al-Nuseirat refugee camp, was hit with live bullet shrapnel to the right leg.

It should be noted that the 3 paramedics worked at the Union of Health work Committee.

  1. Rajab Husein Rajab al-Khaldi (27), a volunteer paramedic at the Palestinian Ministry of Health from al-Buraij, was hit with a live bullet to the right leg.

 

  • Rafah City: 12 civilians, including a child, a journalist and a paramedic, were wounded. Ten of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel and 2 were hit with tear gas canisters. Doctors classified 3 civilians’ injuries as serious. The wounded journalist identified as Mahmoud Mohammed Sa’ed Shata (25), who works at Forasan Press, was hit with a tear gas canister to the left leg. The wounded paramedic identified as Yasser Rafiq Mohammed Abu Habib (26), paramedic volunteering within Nabd al-Hayah Medical Team, was hit with a shrapnel to the upper part of his body.

 

  • At approximately 15:00 on Monday, 29 October 2018, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel upon calls from the Supreme National Authority for the March of Return and Breaking Siege in which they called for participation in the Return coastal camp located in al-Sefa area, adjacent to “Zikim” military base, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. It should be noted that this is the 14th time for Palestinian boats to sail for Breaking the Siege, which was launched from Gaza Seaport towards the northern Gaza Strip coastline adjacent to the abovementioned camp.

 

The Israeli gunboats heavily fired live bullets and sound bombs at the boat of Breaking the Siege that approached the waster barrier established by the Israeli forces and extends to the border fence. The Israeli forces claimed that they established the border fence fearing of naval infiltration.

 

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers and cement cubes heavily opened fire and fried a large number of tear gas canisters at Palestinian civilians participating in the demonstration and approached the coastline. As a result, Mahmoud Abdul Hai Ahmed Abu ‘Obadi (25), from al-Shati’a refugee camp, west of Gaza Strip, was killed after being hit with a live bullet to the chest.

The Israeli soldiers also wounded 34 civilians, including 9 children, a woman and 3 paramedics. The injuries were classified as follows:

Sixteen civilians, including 2 children, a woman and 2 PRCS paramedics, were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel. The paramedics were identified as Suleiman Mohammed Salman al-Zawa’ah (30) was hit a live bullet to the right leg and Hani Mahmoud Husein Wadi (33) was hit with a shrapnel to the chest.

Moreover, 19 civilians, including 7 children and a paramedic, were hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded paramedic identified as Yusuf Ramzi Mohammed Daif Allah (21), a paramedic volunteering at Algerian Medical Team, was hit with a tear gas canister to the head.

 

 

West Bank:

 

  • Following the Friday prayer on 26 October 2018, about 250 Palestinian civilians from different ages from l-Mazra’ah al-Gharbiyah village, northwest of Ramallah organized a demonstration in “Kherbet Na’lan” area. At approximately 14:00, they attempted to confront Israeli settlers and soldiers, who were about 50-70 settlers and soldiers. The protestors set fire to tires and threw stones at the settlers and soldiers in an attempt to prevent the settlers from performing the Talmudic prayers and controlling the area. The Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors, who were about 30 meters away from them. The clashes continued for 2 hours and a half. As a result, 4 civilians, including a child, were wounded. They were transferred via a PRCS ambulance to the Istishari Arab Hospital in al-Raihan Suburb, north of the city. Doctors classified their injuries as moderate. At approximately 17:00, a number of young men moved forward the Israeli Border Guards, who moved back about 30 meters away from the clashes’ area and stationed in a low area near “Kerem ‘Elim” The young men threw stones and empty bottles at the soldiers. In less than 5 minutes, a soldier from the Border Guard forces directly fired 10 consecutive live bullets at the young men. As a result, 10 civilians, including a journalist and 2 paramedics belonging to the Medical Relief crews, were wounded and then transferred to the Istishari Arab Hospital. Medical sources announced the death of ‘Othman Ahmed ‘Ali Ladadwah (34), who was hit with a live bullet to the left side of the thigh that settled in the lung. The wounded journalist identified as Hamzah Mohammed Shriteh (24), a photojournalist at the Website of the abovementioned village, was hit with a live bullet to the foot. The 2 wounded paramedics identified as Mohanned ‘Abbas Hannoun (20), was hit with a live bullet to the hand, and Mohammed ‘Emad Sa’aidah (32), was hit with a live bullet to the arm.

 

  • Following the same Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian youngsters gathered in al-Zawiyah Gate area in the center of Hebron. They set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed at Checkpoint (160). The soldiers fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. the soldiers also set up ambushes to arrest the protestors. They then arrested Ayman ‘Ammar Abu ‘Aishah (14) and then took him to the checkpoint on al-Shuhada’a Street.
  • House Demolitions and Notices:

 

  • On Sunday, 28 October 2018, the Israeli authorities handed 3 civilians, from al-Waljah village, northwest of Bethlehem, notices to refer to the Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem, in order to question them about building without a license. Activist Ibrahim ‘Awadallah said that the Israeli forces moved into ‘Ain Jowizah and Khelet al-Samak areas and handed Hanan Mohamed al-Razim, Khaled Mahmoud Abu Khiarah and ‘Alaa Hussain Hajajlah notices to refer to Qatar’s Planning and Building Committee in order to question them about building their houses without license, noting that their houses were demolished a month ago. It should be noted that the Israeli forces lately demolished 4 houses and notified 8 others to stop construction work in al-Waljah village.
  • At approximately 06:00 on Monday, 29 October 2018, Israeli vehicles demolished a new residential house in al-Fahidat neighborhood in ‘Anatah village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext of non-licensing. Salah Fahidat said that the Israeli Municipality staff accompanied with Israeli forces raided his house on Monday morning, expelled his family member and then evacuated the house. He added that the Israeli vehicle demolished his 50-square-meter house, where he along with his 5 family members lived. Salah clarified that the Israeli Municipality demolished another house belonging to him 2 months ago and was an old one built over 80 years ago. He pointed out that the Israeli Municipality did not warn him to demolish his new house, clarifying that they raided the house and immediately demolished it.
  • At approximately 09:00, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and 3 diggers moved into the western area of Beit Ola village, west of Hebron. The Israeli vehicles leveled many dunums planted with olive trees, demolished stone chains and then confiscated barbed wires. The damage carried out in Wad al-Qalmoun and Kherbet al-Kharouf was under the pretext of state lands. The targeted area is in the western side of the village and 300 meter away from the annexation wall. The Israeli authorities previously leveled trees and demolished wells in the above-mentioned areas. The attacks were as follows:
    • Hijazi Mohamed ‘Abed al-Raheem Torshan (50): leveling 13 dunums planted with olive trees 5 years ago and damaging stone chains.
    • Mohamed Suliman Mahmoud al-‘Adam, leveling 10 dunums planted with 30 olive and 20 almond trees and demolishing stone chains in addition to damages from the Israeli Civil Administration which included 2 water wells, damaging stone chains and uprooting olive and almond trees.
    • ‘Azmi Mohamed Suliman al-‘Emlah (44), cutting iron bars and confiscating them with the fence.

 

  • At approximately 09:00 on Wednesday, 31 October 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with military vehicles and a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a bulldozer moved into Kherbet Khelet al-Forn, south of Bani Na’iem village, east of Hebron. The Israeli soldiers deployed in the lands overlooking Bypass Road 356 and then demolished two 50-sqaure-meter agricultural rooms belonging to Majed Mohamed Ibrahim Burqan (55). The rooms were demolished under the pretext of building without a license in area classified as Area C. The rooms were used for breeding livestock. Kherbet al- Khelet is located to the west of the Bypass Road 356, adjacent to the intersection leading to “Bani Hefer” settlement established on the lands of Bani Na’iem village. The residents of Kherbet al- Khelet work in agriculture and breeding livestock and most of them are Bedouins.

 

 

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

 

Israeli settlers’ attack:

 

  • At approximately 10:40 on Sunday, 28 October 2018, Yusi, a guard of “Eili“ settlement, attacked Mofeed Jameel Abu Murrah (56), Secretary of Qaryout village council, and Khairy Mohamed Hasan Maradwah (53), Member of the village council, on Batisha Road established west of the abovementioned village, southeast of Nablus. Mofeed and Khairy were in Batisha area, which is classified within Area B, supervising the establishment of the base course within a project funded by the Relief Society. The guard beat Mofeed and Khairy and then threw a sound bomb at the bulldozer that was establishing the base course. Khairy Mohamed Hasan Maradwah (53), Member of Qaryout village council, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that: “ At approximately 10:40 on Sunday, 28 October 2018, I was along with Mofeed Jameel Abu Murrah (56), Secretary of Qaryout village council, in Batisha area. We were supervising the establishment of base course on the road. This project is funded by the Relief Society. The road is 1,500 meters long. At the mentioned time, we were surprised with the guard of “Eili“settlement, Yusi, heading toward us carrying MI6 riffle. Yusi and I know each other. Yuis immediately threw a sound bomb at the bulldozer and then headed toward Mofeed and beat him. After that, Yuis grabbed my neck and cursed me before assaulting me with the rifle’s butt on my hands and chest. He then deported us from the road classified as Area B. As a result, we were forced to leave the area until we could see him leaving.”

 

 

 

Recommendations to the International Community:

 

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC to continue to investigate the Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and grave violations in the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  7. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  8. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  9. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  10. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  11. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.

Fully detailed document available at the official website of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

israel (apartheid state) and Universal Jurisdiction

Israel and Universal Jurisdiction

maxresdefault 2 a957e

In the Oct. 26edition of False Flag Weekly News it was reported that law makers in Israel were considering a new statute that would criminalize BDS supporters including by subjecting them to heavy jail time.

In our brief exchange on the story, Dr. Kevin Barrett and I considered the possibility that there would be efforts to project the same law to people outside Israel in the name of universal jurisdiction. Colleen McGuire took the discussion further by pointing to the fine of $18,000 imposed by an Israeli court in a civil action involving two BDS activists, women of both Palestinian and Jewish ancestry. Their letter persuaded New Zealand performer Lorde not to perform in Tel Aviv. The civil case was brought by a group with tickets to the concert who claim to have been traumatized by Lorde’s decision

Although there is not now any means for the Israeli court ruling to be enforced in Aotearoa (New Zealand) the ruling nevertheless moves the markers and sends a signal of where juridical trajectories are being pointed by powerful interests.

The concept of universal jurisdiction is a two-edged sword for the Israeli government. On the one hand the advancement of the concept through the development of enforcement techniques poses threats that IDF and related Deep State operatives might be apprehended and tried outside Israel for international crimes committed inside Israel and the territories it controls. On the other hand, the application of the principles of universal jurisdiction might offer a means of exercising and expanding the imperial powers inherited from the old Anglo-American empire.

These ideas jumped out at me when I recently read a Mondoweiss story beginning with an account of the Israeli government’s reply to an Israeli Supreme Court ruling concerning the new Regulation Law. It is aimed at trying to regularize the nature of land title beneath illegal Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories. The Mondoweiss story began as follows

The Israeli government has recently claimed that it can “legislate anywhere in the world”, that it is “entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries”, and that “is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires”. This was written in an official response letter to the Supreme Court last month.

Questions concerning the reach of Israeli jurisdiction in the international community were front and centre in the trial of Adolf Eichmann initiated in 1961. In a brief essay looking at the locating of the Eichmann trial in Israel, Andrew J. Batog noted

In the Eichmann trial, the court in Israel set another important modern precedent in the advancement of universal jurisdiction. Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann had been apprehended in Argentina by Israeli intelligence agents and brought to trial in Israel. In a detailed opinion the court appealed to the idea of the natural law to find universal jurisdiction applied.[1] It found the crime of “genocide against the Jewish people” to be unequivocally a crime against accepted international law[2].

I paid particular attention to the footnote describing the court’s dependence on the 17th century Dutch jurist Grotius. Grotius was cited as follows to justify what some saw as a kidnapping of Eichmann away from from Argentina

Eichmann 36 I.L.R. 1 (Dist. Ct. Jerusalem, 1961), at 15. Citing to Grotius, the court in Eichmann reflected:

“According to natural justice, the victim may take the law into his hand and himself punish the criminal, and it is also permissible for any person of integrity to inflict punishment upon the criminal; but all such natural rights have been limited by organized society and have been delegated to the courts of law.”

In Grotius’ vision of natural justice, it seems, some room was left for the principle that might makes right.

International and transnational trade law is another important site of experimentation in the evolving concept of universal jurisdiction. As I see it, the primary role of the WTO created after the demise of the Soviet Union was to establish a single platform from which to charter global corporations not constrained by national borders and the sovereign jurisdiction of national governments. As it is now, corporations continue, in theory at least, to be subject to the authority of the sovereign national governments that created their charters thereby investing in them their legal capacities and personality.

There are unmistakable anticipations of some edified form of Israeliocentric universal jurisdiction associated with the will to build in Jerusalem a Third Jewish Temple along with reconstituting a governing Sanhedrin. The universalist claims made by proponents of this religious agenda including Christian Zionists have profound geopolitical implications that figure into all sorts of issues including the future of the BDS movement.

israeli Nation-State Law is ‘Apartheid,’ Says Democrat Congresswoman

Israeli Nation-State Law is ‘Apartheid,’ Says Democratic Congresswoman

Coverage by Forward of US Representative Betty McCollum’s groundbreaking speech at USCPR’s 2018 national conference, Together We Rise:

A US Democrat Party congresswoman described Israel’s nation-state law as “apartheid” at a Palestinian rights event, Mondoweiss reported.

Accepting a leadership award at the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights conference on September 30, Rep. Betty McCollum said that Israel’s policies were “brutal” and “cruel” and explained her bill to end U.S. funding for the detention of Palestinian children.

McCollum didn’t hold back when describing the law, which defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

“Friends, the world has a name of that form of government that’s codified in the nation state law, and it’s called apartheid,” she said.

Following her speech, USCPR executive director Yousef Munayyer sent an email to supporters praising the congresswoman for using “apartheid” to refer to Israeli policies. “This moment is a benchmark in a narrative shift we have all been working towards for a long time,” Munayyer wrote.

The nation-state law has also been condemned by Israel’s liberal parties and mainstream diaspora Jewish groups like the Jewish Federations of North America.

McCollum said that she doesn’t see criticizing Israel as an act of anti-Semitism.

“Why can’t I hold a foreign government accountable for how they abuse an entire population of people under their control?” she asked the crowd.

McCollum, who has represented St. Paul in Congress since 2001, is endorsed by the left-wing Jewish group J Street.

Visit the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

%d bloggers like this: