Fighting Injustice: A Common Cause for Ireland, Scotland and Palestine

October 13, 2021

Fighting Injustice: A Common Cause for Ireland, Scotland and Palestine

By Mohammad Sleem

Beirut – In Glasgow, during the football matches between the Rangers and Celtic, the famous derby of the Scottish football league, Celtic fans do not hesitate to show every act of solidarity possible with Palestine. Images of fans waving the Palestinian flag and wearing the kufiyah over their shoulders circulate social media platforms, in an act which has been a tradition in Scotland for decades.

On October 9, the ‘Israeli’ football team represnting the Zionist entity played against the Scottish national team for the World Cup qualifications. The match took place in Scotland. The Palestinian flag and kufiyah dominated the seats in the stadium. The event was a great chance to display activities in and outside the stadium to express empathy with the Palestinian Cause. Fans shouted slogans and held banners calling for the boycott of the “Israeli” entity, with “don’t play ball with the ‘Israeli’ apartheid” written on banners.

As the game started, jeering and booing were heard out loud whenever any of the “Israeli” players touched the ball. A winning goal at the last minutes made the scenario even better for the Scottish fans, who celebrate loudly in the face of the “Israeli” fans.

Fighting injustice and calling for independence, are the main common factors bringing the Scots and Palestinians together, as Scotland has been previously colonialized. In addition to the aforementioned, the Palestinian Cause has a popular and political support led by the Scottish National Party, which sees Palestine as a repetition of its experience of independence, following numerous demands for secession from the United Kingdom.

“We want Palestinians to know that we are thinking about them”, that’s how Scots comment on their pro-Palestine activities.

The Scottish people and the Palestinians share a common cause: injustice; both nations have faced suppression and oppression and they share the same values and retell the stories of their sufferings and the experiences they went through.

In a related notion, the Irish also support Palestine since they consider the Palestinian Cause a reflection of their own experience as they have resisted the British occupation for the right to self-determination.

With this being said, we understand the reason behind the empathy of the Scots and the Celtic with Palestine. The Celtic football club founder was an immigrant from Ireland who settled in Glasgow and came up with the idea of founding a football club.

The spokesperson of Celtic expresses the Scottish club’s solidarity with the Palestinian immigrants saying, “They are always welcome in their home”, since we are immigrants and we feel the situation they are in.

Besides, Ireland’s parliament has issued a law to consider all the “Israeli” annexation of Palestinian lands “illegal”. Later on, Irish deputies passed the law and it became official.

The Irish and Scottish are highly knowledgeable when it comes to the Palestinian Case. Not only this, but several activities had also been held in solidarity with oppressed people in different countries such as Africa, to condemn suppression, oppression and ethnic cleansing.

Water as Weapon of War: Activists Say Israel is Drying Out the West Bank to Drive Out Palestinians

October 06th, 2021

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

MASAFER YATTA, OCCUPIED WEST BANK — Last weekend, around 600 Israeli, Palestinian and international activists marched across Masafer Yatta in the Occupied West Bank to deliver a water tanker to Palestinian villagers. Their message was clear: Water is a human right, and Israel is depriving Palestine of this basic necessity.

Amid a sea of rippling Palestinian flags, demonstrators walked alongside a tractor transporting the water tanker from the village of At-Tuwani. The protesters did not reach their intended destination. Instead, they turned back at the village of Mfakara in order to avoid a confrontation with the Israeli Army waiting for them atop a nearby hill.

Demonstrators attempt to deliver a water tank from the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani.

“Water is a right for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black or white or Jewish or Arab,” ​​Adam Rabee — an activist with Combatants for Peace (CFP), one of the march’s organizers — told MintPress News.

On Monday, CFP, along with other human rights organizations, submitted an urgent appeal to international bodies, demanding they “pressure Israel to allow access to water to Palestinians living in Area C,” the Occupied West Bank area that includes Masafer Yatta.

CFP started the water accessibility campaign for Palestine in August. In September, they led a field visit to Masafer Yatta for 20 diplomats from the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Switzerland. During the tour, CFP raised awareness of Palestine’s water crisis and urged the representatives to engage in dialogue with Israel toward providing Palestinians with full access to water.

“[The diplomats] saw families and children without water,” Rabee said of the visit. “My feeling is that they want to help and we have support.”

Soldiers aiding settlers in water attacks

Saturday’s protest was calm and without clashes, but the event was underscored by earlier violence.

Tuesday of that week, at least 60 masked Israeli settlers raided Mfakara — throwing stones, turning over cars, cutting water pipes and slitting the throats of sheep. Five children were injured during the attack, including a four-year-old boy who was sent to the hospital after being pelted in the head with rocks. Israeli soldiers watched from the sidelines — during what activists are describing as a “pogrom”– intervening only to fire tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians.

Earlier in September, a CFP protest to deliver water to Palestinian communities was met with violence from Israeli soldiers. Six Israelis and two Palestinans were injured — including Rabee, who was hit in the stomach with a tear-gas canister.

Protesters held blown-up images of the recent violence as they marched last weekend. In Mfakara, the ground was strewn with shards of glass. Several of the villagers’ cars were dented and the windshields shattered.

The windshield of a Palestinian villager’s car was shattered when Israeli settlers and soldiers attacked the village of Mfakara.

Noma Hamamdah, a Palestinian shepherd living in Mfakara, picked up a tear gas canister off the ground outside his home. He said this was one of 20 launched at the community by the army on Tuesday. He lifted his pants’ leg to reveal where he was hit with a rubber bullet. His daughter-in-law, Sabreen Hamamdah, said the army fired tear gas into their homes and settlers slashed the tires of their water tanker during the raid.

Noma Hamamdah with his son.

“Since last Tuesday we didn’t get water until today,” Noma said, referring to the delivery of the new tanker from activists. “The army aids the settlers and it’s because of the army the settlers have the ability to attack us and destroy our water tanks.” Eight windows in the family’s home were broken, Noma said. He pointed to a bullet hole in the wall of his house where Israeli soldiers fired when trying to disperse settlers. “We’ve been told [President Joe] Biden is a man of peace and he loves peace, but we’ve never heard him mention the Palestinians even once,” Noma continued. “And if the Havat Maon illegal settlement leaves us alone, then there will be peace in this area.”

Noma Hamamdah standing next to his water cistern, in which he stores the water.

Havat Maon is a notoriously violent, illegal settlement outpost adjacent to the Palestinians villages in Masafer Yatta. All of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law but legal under Israeli law. Outposts, constructed without Israeli authority, are defined as illegal by both international and Israeli law.

Living without water

On days without water, Mfkara operates much like a commune. “We usually borrow from each other and when the water comes, we redivide the water,” Noma said.

Sabreen described how household chores like washing dishes, doing laundry and bathing the children are put off until water is replenished. “I have to put everything on hold until there is water,” she told MintPress. “I can’t do anything until the water comes back.”

Noma Hamamdah’s daughter-in-law, Sabreen.

Sabreen receives 20 liters of water (about 5 gallons) costing 500 shekels ($155) from At-Tuwani, or she sources water from a nearby aquifer. That same amount of water costs nearby Israeli settlers about 100 shekels or $30. Water is stored in a cistern serving 10 people for domestic, agricultural and livestock use and may last between two to four days.

The average American uses between 80-100 gallons of water per day for indoor use. This number doesn’t account for outdoor water use, which, for herding communities like Masafer Yatta, is a significant portion of their water consumption. According to the Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG), Palestinians in the West Bank consume about 18 gallons of water per day. This is below the World Health Organization recommendation of 26-31 gallons of water daily to maintain a basic standard of living. By comparison, Israelis use about 80 gallons of water per day and Israeli settlers may use up to 210 gallons daily.

The history of water apartheid

When Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza after the 1967 war, it took control of the areas’ water resources. The state established pumping quotas and banned construction of new wells in the occupied territories.

Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, was put in charge of the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ (oPT) water in 1982. By 1986, pumping quotas were reduced by 10 percent for Palestinian wells — fostering greater water insecurity.

The 1995 Oslo II Accord was portrayed as a turning point for water independence in Palestine. The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee were created but Israel retained control of the flow and volume of water given to the oPT. Despite the name, the PWC doesn’t oversee water resources. Instead its role is to distribute the limited water supply Israel provides.

The agreement was supposed to last only five years but remains in effect today. Under the initiative, 80 percent of the West Bank’s water is for Israeli use and 20 percent is for Palestinian use. Israelis also enjoy an unlimited supply of water while Palestinians have their supply restricted.

What was billed as a cooperative venture between Palestine and Israel is merely the occupation of water in disguise.

“There are no official meetings between the Palestinans and the Israelis because the Israelis don’t consider us as a counterpart,” Dr. Abdelrahman Al Tamimi, PHG’s director, said.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) nonetheless told MintPress that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for providing water to the West Bank and touted collaboration between Palestine and Israel.

“Master programs are being promoted in the area of Judea and Samaria [West Bank], which will address the water supply until the years 2040-2050, to all populations in the area. We will note that these programs are being coordinated with the Palestinian Water Authority and [have] even been shifted in light of its requests,” a COGAT spokesperson said.

“The only solution for lack of water is water”

Dr. Al Tamimi outlined the three main reasons for water scarcity in the oPT — all originating from Israel’s occupation.

First, Israel has not increased the West Bank’s water quota to meet the demands of its rapidly growing population, which is now nearly double what it was in 1995. Al Tamimi explained Israel only increased the commercial consumption (about 10-12 percent of the demand) to around 160 million gallons.

Al Tamimi added that the Oslo II Accord doesn’t allow for Palestinians to do groundwater drilling — eliminating this as a possible water resource. And finally, owing to Israeli military control of Area C of the West Bank, Palestinians are often blocked from developing wells and springs in the region.

Al Tamimi explained these three main factors have intensified the water crisis, specifically in remote Palestinian communities, noting “Some villages in the south of Hebron or north of Jenin receive water twice a month or once a week.”

Water access varies by region in the West Bank. Urban and developed areas have running water while villages Israel prevents from connecting to a water grid rely mostly on costly trucks delivering water that is then stored in black and white tanks on people’s roofs.

“When water is moved from place to place, it’s vulnerable to pollution,” Al Tamimi said. “Because you cannot guarantee the cleanliness of the truck, how they pumped water from the well to the truck and how they empty the trucks. Water is vulnerable to be polluted by air, by bacteria and by other things.”

“The problem is there is no monitoring and there is no authority controlling the quality of water in Area C,” he added.

Palestinians also have to pay a relatively high price for potentially unsafe water. Tanker prices increase when transported on rough terrain — another infrastructural problem, caused by Israel forbidding these communities to pave their roads.

“According to international standards, the average cost of the water bill should not be more than 1 percent of that family’s income. But in some Palestinian villages, they pay more than 10 or 12 percent of their income just to purchase the water,” Al Tamimi said. “The only solution for lack of water is water. There are no other alternatives.”

Access to water in Area C is exacerbated by Israel’s systematic policy of demolishing and confiscating water equipment and resources. Italian NGO WeWorld reported nearly 10 percent of the buildings demolished by Israeli forces in 2020 were water, sanitation and hygiene structures.

CFP’s statement said:

The Military Commander of the West Bank justifies these practices by saying that the Palestinian communities in Area C did not receive building permits; however, the Israeli government’s own policy does not allow Palestinians to obtain building permits in this area. At the same time, all the Israeli outposts and settlers who live in buildings without legal permits are allowed to connect to the water grid.

Activists from the Israeli organization Combatants for Peace hold a banner demanding water for all.

For CFP’s Rabee, water deprivation in Area C highlights the severe discrimination Israel perpetuates. “The Palestinian man can only get water three days a week. And then this illegal outpost next to it has running water,” Rabee said. “So it’s just a very stark example of apartheid.”

“Israel” – Beyond Apartheid

September 30, 2021

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Source: Al Mayadeen

Fra Hughes

Many observers and organizations make parallels between the apartheid segregated Society of South Africa, the Jim Crow racial segregation laws of North America, and “Israel”.

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Apartheid (/əˈpɑːrt(h)aɪt/, especially South African English: /əˈpɑːrt(h)eɪt/, Afrikaans: [aˈpartɦɛit]; transl. “separateness”, lit. “aparthood”) was a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South-West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s.

20 years on from the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, in conjunction with the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, held in Durban South Africa, where are we now?

The use of the law, in this case, an unjust and immoral law in South Africa by the minority white Dutch Afrikaans and the minority white British colonial invaders, was designed to keep white Europeans, in the ascendancy in South Africa.

Thirteen percent of the population who were white-ruled sixty-eight percent of the population who were black with an Asian community representing the remaining nineteen percent.

First, they ruled through a brutal military occupation, using the gun.

Then they ruled through a brutal racist government using repression and separation laws.

It was the use of apartheid laws that legalized and enforced a system of ‘separateness’. A system of dual apartness which left the races unable to socialize, congregate or work together as brothers and sisters, equal and indivisible under the constitution.

In South Africa, they legalized colonial white supremism through parliamentary statute, police enforcement, and judicial sentencing.

The first apartheid law passed in 1949 was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act. This was followed by the Immorality Act of 1950 which made it illegal for many South Africans to marry or have sexual relations across racial lines.

The Pass laws were designed to force black people to live in designated areas, corralled as it were, like animals in a pen, thereby making them available as cheap labor for white farmers.

It was the coming to power of the African National Party in 1948 who created the apartheid laws and system of governing South African society, that reinforced the racial discrimination already self-evident in the country. A series of Land Acts gave more than 80% of the land to whites and banned Black crop sharers from working the land.

A series of discriminatory, racially biased laws, saw the permanent separation of the races, alongside a parallel system of separate transport systems, public lavatories, and housing districts.

In effect, the National Party which won the 1948 parliamentary elections on the slogan of Apartheid meaning ‘separateness’ created a privileged white minority class that used the indigenous black South Africans as a labor pool to work on the farms, clean their homes, as a subjugated underclass, kept in perpetual poverty, in appalling substandard housing units in shantytowns with poor education, poor health, and poor social provision.

Like all colonialists, they strove to keep the people apart by fomenting sectarian tensions between the regional ethnic groups in order to prevent a unified opposition to their racist endeavor. They encouraged black-on-black violence in the townships and in the countryside.

A land of milk and honey for the white supremacist colonial invaders beside a land of despair, oppression, and governmental indifference for the natives.

Apartheid lasted for 50 years in South Africa and only officially ended when the ANC, African National Conference which had historically opposed the apartheid system and fought a legitimate war against the unjust white only parliamentary system, finally came to power in 1993, when the majority of citizens were given the right to vote and they elected Nelson Mandela as the first Black President of the Republic of South Africa,

It can be claimed that not much has changed for the indigenous peoples of South Africa, While it is true they have a majority black representative government, the whites still own the land. White farmers still get rich while employing cheap black labor.

The captains of industry are still white although a new elite cadre of black politicians and civil servants may now live in gated (separate) communities, much of the pain of being poor, disenfranchised, and black has changed very little for so many.

A new black capitalist class also rides high above the black dispossessed workers and those who go to bed hungry.

Many observers and organizations make parallels between the apartheid segregated Society of South Africa, the Jim Crow racial segregation laws of North America, and “Israel”. The use of Israeli-only roads and Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank are prime examples of Israeli separation laws.

The discrimination against black African Americans is again reflective of the white European racism that underpins white American society. It is mirrored in the majority of the white legislator, judiciary, police, and army aficionados in power in American civil society and in the corporate, business, and banking sectors.

White Americans control the levers of power and influence, in the media as well as on Capitol Hill.

The continued destruction of black Afro American society through the widespread use of drugs, criminal gangs, poverty, underinvestment, governmental neglect, police brutality, judicial repression, are continued proof if it were needed, that a white European colonial mindset underpins discrimination and racial prejudice in societies where white Europeans want to maintain an internal hegemonic position of superiority which is then reflected in their foreign policies of exploitation and subjugation, in order to maintain white economic privilege in the countries of the EU, North America, Canada, and Australia.

All the countries I have mentioned above are guilty of genocide, racial intolerance, oppression, military adventurism, and ethnic cleansing.

Is “Israel” any different?

“Israel” is a white European colonial settler state.

It has followed all the steps taken by previous white European settler-colonial states such as South Africa, North America, Canada, and Australia,

It has colonized, subjugated, ethnically cleansed, and marginalized the indigenous populations of the country they have militarily conquered and supplanted.

“Israel” has its Nations state Law which many international observers see as a template for a Jewish only Israeli state that separates non-Jews and others from playing an active role in the state.

“Israel” now has usurped 85% of historic Palestine.

To me, apartheid is an abhorrent manifestation of a supremacist ideology that seeks to separate one from the other, to create disharmony, bitterness, hatred, and a divided dysfunctional broken society based on racial or religious purity.

“Israel” fulfills all these roles but it does so much more.

An apartheid state might use the law to discriminate. It may use the law to repress and isolate those it seeks to subdue but it doesn’t bomb kindergartens, schools, hospitals, and bakeries, does it?

It may have separate roads and separate housing areas but it doesn’t shoot countless children in the legs for throwing stones or bringing water to the kids resisting an illegal occupation, creating crippled boys, does it?

It does not shoot paramedics and leave the wounded to bleed out on the street to die, does it?

It does not murder physicists in another jurisdiction, indiscriminately bomb bridges and civil infrastructure in neighboring countries, does it?

It does not count the calorific intake of those it is legally responsible for, to break their will to resist, to withhold food, medicine, vaccines, fuel in order to impoverish and emasculate an entire population of 1.8 million people, does it?

It does not bomb neighboring countries that are not at war with it, deny building permits to the indigenous population while simultaneously dismantling their homes in a land you are illegally occupying, and forcing homes owners to destroy their properties. To detain citizens under Administrative detention, internment without trial. To murder, maim, imprison, torture, and kill at will with impunity, is this Apartheid? I think not. Yet these are the everyday actions of a rogue unaccountable state immune to international law and international sanctions, actively supported protected, and facilitated by the other white European ethnic colonies that Israel aspires to be.

“Israel” is Beyond Apartheid.

We must find a new way to describe “Israel” based on its everyday practices of Ethnic cleansing, murder, colonization, dispossession, and expansion.

We must call “Israel”, not an Apartheid State which it is, but an Ethno cleansing pariah genocidal rogue state, because that it was, it does? That is what it is. That is what we must call it.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Breaking Out of “Israeli” Prisons Is Not A Rarity!

SEPTEMBER 8, 2021

Breaking Out of “Israeli” Prisons Is Not A Rarity!

Designed by Al-Ahed News

The most recent prison break from an “Israeli” jail was not the first, previous attempts happened throughout time. Below is an infographic that details these attempts.

Breaking Out of “Israeli” Prisons Is Not A Rarity!

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Israel-Palestine: ‘No war, no peace’ apartheid is Bennett’s best case scenario

The Israeli prime minister is first since Golda Meir to propose the racist status quo as a political platform

In March 2015, then Israeli economy minister Naftali Bennett during an election campaign gathering in Kibbutz Kfar Etzion in the Gush Etzion settlement in the West Bank (AFP)

By Meron Rapoport

Published date: 7 September 2021 13:02 UTC 

“There is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, nor will there be one,” said a source close to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last week after his defence minister, Benny Gantz, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.Biden-Bennett summit a meeting of wishful thinkers who oppose NetanyahuRead More »

Thus is Bennett’s spiritual world revealed: a world in which Israel, and only Israel, exists, and where the Palestinians will never, under any circumstances, even if they change their positions, be able to attain equality with Israelis and negotiate with them as equals. There is a word for that: racism.

Nearly a decade ago, Bennett entered national politics after serving as director-general of the Yesha Council, the leading settler institution, although he himself was never a settler and doesn’t live beyond the Green Line. In a now-famous interview, he said: “The Palestinian problem is like shrapnel in the butt.” 

Today, his approach has not changed, although as prime minister, he may express himself less bluntly, as he admitted just before taking office in early June.

Bennett expressed this approach in an interview he gave the New York Times ahead of his recent trip to Washington. “This government will not annex, nor establish a Palestinian state, everyone understands that,” he said. “Israel will continue the standard policy of natural growth [of West Bank settlements].” 

In saying this, Bennett became the first Israeli prime minister, with the possible exception of Golda Meir in the years prior to the 1973 war, to propose what amounts to apartheid as a political platform.

Permanent status quo

It is true that the policy of “managing the occupation” is almost as old as the Israeli occupation itself. In February 1973, for example, then-Defence Minister Moshe Dayan said, “We must plan ahead for our actions in the territories [conquered by Israel in June 1967] … so that a situation of ‘no war and no peace’ will not be unbearable for us… Authority for deciding on what happens from Suez to the [Mt] Hermon is in the hands of the Israeli government. We will not idly delineate boundaries for our settlements nor be threatened by smouldering embers.”

But the philosophy Dayan articulated then still exists and every prime minister since, except perhaps Yitzhak Rabin – whose assassination makes it impossible to know whether he meant to break the mould – has adopted it with different variations: “No war, no peace” or, in other words, a continuation of the status quo. Seven months later, the “smouldering embers” that Dayan dismissed had become the firestorm of the October 1973 war, with thousands killed on both sides, forcing Israel to subsequently return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. 

Bennett basically said that this status quo of ‘no war, no peace’ is not an interim situation, but rather the permanent situation

But Bennett has gone one step further. Even Dayan called the territories occupied by Israel a “deposit” to be returned in exchange for a peace agreement meeting Israel’s needs. Since the 1990s, Israeli prime ministers have been discussing, at least officially, support for the two-state solution, including Ariel Sharon and even Benjamin Netanyahu, who adopted the Palestinian state idea in his 2009 Bar-Ilan speech. In 2020, he also accepted former US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” which included the establishment of a Palestinian state, however crippled and fragmented. 

In his New York Times interview, however, Bennett basically said that this status quo of “no war, no peace” is not an interim situation, but rather the permanent situation to which he aspires.

In this situation, Israel, on the one hand, will continue its military rule over the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and continue to accord Jewish citizens in the West Bank preferential rights as compared with Palestinians.

On the other hand, Israel will not accord Palestinians civil rights equal to those of their Jewish neighbours as would be necessitated by a partial or full annexation of the West Bank. This approach also has a name – apartheid – and Bennett believes it to be the only one possible.

‘Shrink the conflict’

We don’t know precisely what was said in Bennett’s discussions with President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, but publicly at least no American reservations were heard about Bennett’s positions. Nor did the Jewish centre-left parties in Israel like Labor and Meretz, which are part of Bennett’s coalition, voice any protest. This is a dangerous precedent.

But it would be overly simplistic to say that the Bennett government will be more rightist or more violent toward the Palestinians. The opposite might be true.How Beita became a model of Palestinian resistance against IsraelRead More »

First of all, Bennett came into office from a position of political weakness. He heads a small party with six Knesset seats out of 120, and most of his coalition members are more leftist than he is – at least for Israel whose Labor Party positions toward the Palestinians would be considered right in Europe.

And there’s more. Bennett himself, along with his coalition partner, Gideon Saar, who had been a senior Likud figure and a leading candidate to replace Netanyahu, has changed his attitude considerably to the Palestinian question.

As the present government was being formed or immediately thereafter, both Bennett and Saar appeared to have relinquished the idea of Greater Israel and/or annexation, partially or wholly, embracing instead the new political concept of “shrinking the conflict”. The term originated with Micah Goodman, an Israeli of American extraction living in a West Bank settlement, whose books on the conflict have become bestsellers.

Goodman argues that the left in Israel has failed to bring an end to the occupation or to establish an independent Palestinian state, whereas the right failed with its idea of Greater Israel. Therefore, instead of talking about ending the conflict or continuing with the status quo, ways should be sought to “shrink the conflict”: to enable the Palestinians to manage their own affairs as independently as possible, while leaving “security” to Israel. After the conflict has been “shrunk,” says Goodman, it will be possible to discuss a permanent solution.

For a decade, Bennett pushed for annexation, but when the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords in 2020, he realised it was impossible.

Goodman was an adviser to Saar and is considered to be close to Bennett. His influence was perceptible in an interview Bennett gave before taking office. “My approach is to shrink the conflict,” he said. “Where it is possible to have more crossings, better quality of life, more business, more industry, we will do it.”

For Bennett, this is a considerable shift. When he entered national politics in 2013, Bennett presented a detailed plan for the annexation of Area C, which is 60 percent of the West Bank. Over the years, he criticised Netanyahu and the Israeli army for not being aggressive enough toward the Palestinians and not “decisive” enough with Hamas. 

For a decade, Bennett pushed for annexation, but when the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords in 2020, he realised it was impossible. He also understood that a “final resolution” of the conflict by achieving a victory over the Palestinian so crushing that they would relinquish their national aspirations was also impossible. Thus, his adoption of the idea of “shrinking the conflict” is coming from failure and weakness, even if he refuses to admit it.

Israeli right in crisis

Bennett, then, reflects the situation of the Israeli right. On the one hand, he sanctifies the status quo and has no desire or intention of relinquishing the occupation or ending apartheid. On the other hand, the right is gradually losing its faith in its own power to shape the Israeli-Palestinian reality as it sees fit. 

The fall of Netanyahu should be viewed in this context. Under Netanyahu, the right in Israel was united in a coherent, homogeneous bloc. The internal contradictions on the right, which Bennett represents, led to the fragmentation of this bloc and the establishment of a mixed government that contains elements of both right and left, including the United Arab List, an Palestinian-Islamist party headed by Mansour Abbas.Palestinian Authority losing control of West Bank, say insiders and activistsRead More »

Outwardly, all of these changes have not affected the situation on the ground. The occupation, and the settlements, continue. The political discourse in Israel remains stuck, in the best case, or else propounds Bennett’s thesis of “no peace, no war”. Israel is so strong – militarily and economically – that something significant would have to happen in order to threaten its control of the Palestinians and its power in the Middle East as a whole.

But at the same time, one cannot ignore the cracks. The ideological right in Israel is in trouble and the question is how and whether the radical left in Israel, or even more so the Palestinians, can turn that to advantage.

“Where there’s a crack, we have to make it a fissure, and where there’s a fissure, we have to make it a chasm,” a left-wing anti-occupation activist told me. Maybe that approach really will accomplish something.

Twitter Suspended My Account to Appease the Zionist Lobby; Help Me Get It Back!

Source: Al Mayadeen

Laith Marouf

Twitter supports the rights of Zionists to harass Palestinians on its platform and threaten their livelihood and their income.

Twitter Suspended My Account to Appease the Zionist Lobby; Help Me Get It Back!

My 11-year-old Twitter account has been permanently banned by the USA-based social media platform. In its email to me announcing the decision, Twitter quotes 4 of my tweets as evidence of the accusations that I am in violation of their rules against “hateful conduct”, and that I “promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.” Twitter further states: “Additionally, if we determine that the primary purpose of an account is to incite harm towards others on the basis of these categories, that account may be suspended without prior warning.”

There are many things that could be said about the legality of Twitter granting itself the power to judge speech or to levy accusations of crimes actionable under the Criminal Code of Canada and Title 18 of the US Code of Laws. By appointing itself judge, jury and executioner, and claiming the power to permanently sully the reputation of individuals, it usurps their rights under the basics of Natural Justice and Common Law, denying their right to the presumption of innocence, to knowing their accuser and the accusations against them, to cross-examine their accusers and present a defense, and finally to be judged by their peers.    

But in my opinion, the most flagrant violation of rights in the decision to ban me lies in equating the political ideology of Zionism with a race, ethnicity, or a national origin; and, more importantly, to imply that opposing the Settler Colonial ideology of Zionism, and the violence, genocide, and infanticide that are results of its quest to create an exclusively “Jewish” State; is in itself an act that “promotes violence against” or “directly attack or threaten” other people. 

Zionism: a political ideology, not a race, ethnicity, national origin or religion 

Let us unpack this for a minute. Zionism is a political ideology, like Capitalism or Communism, etc. Those who adhere to Zionism come from all walks of life. Therefore, criticizing Zionism is not targeting anyone based on their “Race”, as there is no such thing as a Zionist race; all kinds of abhorrable people pronounce that they are Zionist, from Irish-American President Biden to Brazilian President Bolsanario. Criticizing Zionism is not targeting anyone based on their “ethnicity”; there are Zionist Germans, Zionist Anglos, Zionist French, etc. Criticizing Zionism is not a hateful conduct based on someone’s national origin, as there are many “Israeli” Palestinian citizens and a plurality of other Israelis who are not Zionist. And finally, criticizing Zionism is not targeting anyone based on its religious affiliation, for the largest numbers of those who call themselves Zionists are Christian North Americans and Europeans, and there are many followers of the Jewish faith that reject Zionism.

So, if there is no “other” as defined by Twitter, how can its accusations of “hateful conduct” that “promote[s] violence” or “direct attacks” or “threaten” be accepted? Although there are no valid “victims” in the accusations by Twitter, let us nevertheless take a look at the language it finds threatening and hateful. 

Twitter objects to my use of the following terms: 

– Zionism is Jewish White Supremacy, Genocide and Infanticide. 

– Apartheid Canada and Apartheid “Israel”.

Zionism is a Settler project to Colonize Palestine with European citizens some of which professed Judaism and to create an Imperialist beachhead colony that perpetually causes war in Western Asia and North Africa, and physically fractures the geographic continuity of the Arab world. To create and maintain the Colony, Zionism and its followers committed and continue to perpetrate Genocide against the Indigenous population of Palestine and  Infanticide against the Palestinian children. Zionism works to maintain the White Supremacist Imperialist structures that oppress the Arabic-speaking people; i.e. Zionism is Jewish White Supremacy. Since the Balfour Declaration by the British Empire, and the official launching of the Zionist Colony, more than a million Palestinians were murdered, and since only the beginning of 2021, Apartheid Israel killed at least 200 Palestinian children.

As for Apartheid “Israel” and Apartheid Canada, not much needs to be said when every major human rights organization on the planet – and in historic Palestine – have labeled the Colony as Apartheid, and when thousands of Indigenous children are being excavated from mass graves in Apartheid Canada, and the whole world knows about the Infanticide Camps nefariously named Residential Schools.

In any case, whether you agree with my opinion or not, they all fall under fair and free speech and do not target, harass or advocate violence against a group of people based on their religion, ethnicity or national origin. Looking at the tweets in question, it is clear the complaint against me came from a man named Mark Goldberg. I’ll explain a few things below.

Media Law and Policy, from CRTC to Twitter

I work as a Consultant for Broadcasting Law and Policy, specifically the rights of Indigenous Nations, Racialized communities and/or those who are living with disabilities; communities granted Protections with laws and policies, i.e. Protected Groups. My work can be viewed here.

Part of my work is testifying at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in Canada on files like the license renewal of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC, and its compliance with its license conditions and Broadcasting Act provisions, in regards to the rights of Protected Groups to Access, Reflection and Employment at the network.

My work naturally attracts the attention of individuals who support the Zionist ideology. To them, it is very angering to see a Palestinian citizen of Apartheid Canada appearing at the Commission speaking about these important issues.

In that light, Mr. @Marc_Goldberg, who himself is very involved in the Broadcasting sector and hosts an annual conference for the industry, began harassing me online; first in a general manner, and then specifically in regards to my comments at the CRTC during the CBC hearing. 

On the 22nd of January, 2021, Goldberg tweeted attacking CMAC’s presentation at the hearing, targeting our suggestion that CBC reporters have a duty to point out when the Canadian state violates its treaty obligations with Indigenous Nations. 

Later in the day, Goldberg tweeted a second attack on CMAC, in regards to the CBC administration banning the use of the word ‘Palestine’ on its platforms, and attached a link stating “Palestine doesn’t exist”. 

Because we are both involved in Journalism and Media Production and Policy, and are Public persons and have no private life as such, I did not make a Twitter complaint against him. 

Unfortunately, my policy of respecting his right to free speech led Goldberg to increase his harassment. As the most recent war in Palestine raged two months ago, Goldberg posted a link to a funding grant I received from the CRTC. The file was related to a CRTC call for comments on how the Commission can deliver on its duties as laid out in the Accessible Canada Act (ACA). CMAC, where I work as a Senior Policy Consultant, helped Indigenous and Racialized Communities living with disabilities to participate and produce interventions on the record that would address their rights as prescribed by the ACA. 

Mr. Goldberg was asking how someone like me (a Palestinian) would get funding for this work at the CRTC. He was putting my livelihood and income at risk, and, therefore, bullying me in my workspace that he is also present in. Hence, he was crossing the threshold between Verbal Harassment to Physical Harassment that causes financial harm. Even then, I believed that I could just respond through the exercise of free speech, pointing out how his opinions, which I disagree with and find racist, don’t seem to be stopping the CRTC from participating in his annual industry conference. 

Mr. Goldberg harassed me for months publicly on Twitter, on Hearings I participated in at the CRTC, all relating to the rights of Indigenous and Racialized peoples and/or living with disabilities. Mr. Goldberg attempted to harm my livelihood because he disagreed with my opinions that are protected under the law at the Commission; a Tribunal with powers superseding a Federal Superior Court, where I am held legally responsible under the law for what I say. Because Mr. Goldberg knew he could not challenge my work at the CRTC because it was legally sound, he chose to harass me on Twitter. And when he lost the public debate online after I engaged him, he had the audacity to complain to Twitter about my replies to his harassing posts regarding my work and income.

I hope this lays out the Legal Obligations of Twitter in regards to these specific tweets. The posts Mr. Goldberg complained about, are related to work and speech I presented at a Tribunal of the Canadian Government, where I was/am legally liable for my work. My interventions were accepted on the record of the CRTC. Therefore, in deeming my tweets violent and discriminatory, Twitter is assuming powers by superseding those of the CRTC and usurping the legitimate appeal process that requires complaints to be presented to a Federal Court of Appeal in Canada or to the Governor in Council (the Cabinet of Ministers). (You can watch/listen to CMAC’s oral presentation at the hearing, where we open with “Apartheid Canada” and speak of Palestine, at this link

My assessment of why Mr. Goldberg targeted my account is confirmed by his latest tweet on the subject, where he gloats about having my account suspended and seems to suggest he is also targeting Carleton University professor, Dwayne Winseck. 

Finally, Twitter quotes a fourth tweet I made in its email, outlining its decision to suspend my account. In that tweet, I stated: “if you come to my home and try to steal it or harm my children, it will lead to a bullet in your head.” 

Obviously, there is no promotion of violence against any “Protected Groups” in this statement, except if you consider House Thieves or Children Killers are protected groups. What is ironic about this tweet is the fact that I wrote it, while visiting my wife’s family in Louisiana, a “Stand your grounds” state, where by law a person has the right to shoot and kill anyone who invades their home and harms their children. Of course, we know that “Stand your grounds” doesn’t apply to Black/Brown/Arab peoples, and is a privilege reserved for White Colonists in the USA or Apartheid “Israel”. By dictating that my post was promoting violence, Twitter is asserting that  Colonists have the full right of looting, pillaging and murdering children; considering that the settler’s behavior supersedes the rights of the Colonized populations to defend themselves. 

Twitter usurped the powers of Courts and accused innocents of legally actionable crimes under the criminal laws of Canada and the USA. It denies the basic rights guaranteed under Natural and Common Law, including the presumption of innocence, the right to cross-examines the accuser, and the right to be judged by equal peers. It appoints itself as judge, jury and executioner; and shields Supremacy, Genocide, Infanticide and Apartheid from criticism. It supports the rights of Zionists to harass Palestinians on its platform and threaten their livelihood and their income. Furthermore, it asserts that any fight back against this behavior is threatening, violent and itself a form of harassment.

Private Corporations and the rights to free speech

In my 20 years of activism for the liberation of Palestine, I have faced many injustices similar to this Twitter Ban, and almost all stem from the same speech. In 2001, I was the first Arab candidate to be elected to a student union executive in Canada; at Concordia University in Montreal. Within months I was expelled summarily through a Dictate from the President of the University for writing that “Zionism is Jewish Supremacy”. During our 6-month court battle, Concordia argued that it is not a public institution but, rather, a private corporation that can refuse service to any “customer” (not student?!?). This is the same argument that Twitter makes. Although the judge erroneously agreed that Concordia is a private corporation, he nevertheless ruled that it cannot expel a customer without affording them the basics of Natural Justice and Common Law when it accuses them of crimes prescribed in the Criminal Code and that if it did not do so, it then would be violating the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms (Constitution). Concordia had no choice but to reinstate me as a student and then afford me an internal hearing that abides by the minimums of Common Law. Naturally, I won in the tribunal under these conditions. 

A year later, the Chair of the Department of History at Concordia, who was also the Chair of the Zionist lobby group, the Human Rights League of B’nai B’rith, decided to accuse me of promoting hate because I said Zionism is Jewish Supremacy and that “Israel” is an Apartheid state. The internal Concordia tribunal that was convened to rule over these accusations, after months of deliberations, also found that my statements are covered under fair speech and cannot be considered hate speech no matter how appalled and angered my critics were. 

Given that none of the Tweets quoted in the decision to suspend my account can be construed as promoting hate or violence against a Protected Group; given that it is clear my accuser is actually harassing me online; given that the grave accusations leveled against me are actual crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada; given that my basic rights under Natural Justice and Common Law dictate that I must have a fair trial before being found guilty of such crimes; the only legal and ethical thing Twitter can do is to remove the suspension on my account and restore my tweets.

I urge all readers to tweet this article at @Twitter @TwitterSuppport and @Jack and ask for my account to be reinstated. 

‘Blood for Blood’: On Jenin and Israel’s Fear of an Armed Palestinian Rebellion

August 26th, 2021

Jenin Feature photo

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

What is currently taking place in Jenin is indicative of something much larger. Israel knows this, thus the exaggerated violence against the camp.

The killing of four young Palestinians by Israeli occupation soldiers in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, on August 16, is a consequential event, the repercussions of which are sure to be felt in the coming weeks and months.

The four Palestinians – Saleh Mohammed Ammar, 19, Raed Ziad Abu Seif, 21, Nour Jarrar, 19, and Amjad Hussainiya, 20  – were either newly born or mere toddlers when the Israeli army invaded Jenin in April 2002. The objective, then, based on statements by Israeli officials and army generals, was to teach Jenin a lesson, one they hoped would be understood by other resisting Palestinian areas throughout the occupied West Bank.

In my book, Searching Jenin, published a few months after what is now known as the ‘Massacre of Jenin’ or the ‘Battle of Jenin’, I tried to convey the revolutionary spirit of this place. Although, in some ways, the camp was a representation of the wider Palestinian struggle, in other aspects it was a unique phenomenon, deserving of a thorough analysis and understanding.

By the end of that battle, Israel seemed to have entirely eliminated the armed resistance of Jenin. Hundreds of fighters and civilians were killed and wounded, hundreds more arrested and numerous homes destroyed. Even voices sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle have underestimated Jenin’s ability to resurrect its resistance under seemingly impossible circumstances.

Writing in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, on June 10, 2016, Gideon Levy and Alex Levac described the state of affairs in the small camp. “Jenin, always the most militant of the refugee camps, was battered and destroyed, suppressed and bloodied, by Israel. These days its spirit seems to be broken. Every person is dealing with his own fate, his own private struggle for survival,” they wrote. The title of their article was “Jenin, Once the Most Militant of Palestinian Refugee Camps, Waves a White Flag”.

Being suppressed and shattered by an overwhelming force, however, is entirely different from “raising the white flag”. In fact, this truism does not just apply to Jenin but to the entirety of occupied Palestine, where Palestinians, at times, find themselves fighting on multiple fronts: Israeli occupation, armed illegal Jewish settlers, and the co-opted Palestinian Authority.

However, May 2021 changed so much. The Israeli attempt at ethnically cleansing Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, the subsequent war on Gaza and the unprecedented uprising of unity, bringing all Palestinians, everywhere, together, lifted Jenin and other Palestinian areas from their state of despondency. The stiff resistance in Gaza, in particular, has had a direct impact on the various fighting groups in the West Bank, which were either disbanded or marginalized.

An unprecedented scene in Ramallah, on May 17, tells the whole story. Tens of fighters, belonging to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with the Fatah movement – the political party that dominates Mahmoud Abbas’ PA – marched on the streets of Ramallah, where the Authority is situated, in a relatively calm environment. The fighters chanted against the Israeli occupation and their ‘collaborators’ before clashing with Israeli soldiers, who were manning the Qalandiya military checkpoint.

This event was quite unusual, for it ushered in the return of a phenomenon that Israel, with the help of its ‘collaborators’, had crushed during the Second Palestinian Intifada –  or uprising – between 2000-2005.

The Israeli military understands that the May war and uprising have triggered an unwelcomed transition in Palestinian society. Long-suppressed, occupied Palestinians are ready to rebel, eager to move on, beyond octogenarian Abbas and his corrupt clique, past the stifling factionalism and self-serving political discourses.  The questions are how, where and when.

This is precisely why Israel is back in Jenin, once more trying to teach the nearly 12,000 refugees there a lesson, one that is also meant for Palestinians throughout the West Bank. Israel believes that if the nascent armed resistance in Jenin is suppressed now, the rest of the West Bank will remain ‘quiet’.

Searching Jenin Book

According to Palestinian journalist, Atef Daghlas, the Israeli occupation forces killed ten Palestinians during their frequent nightly raids on Jenin. Eight of the victims have been killed since the end of the Gaza war alone. There are two main reasons behind the increased number of casualties among the Palestinians in the last few months: first, the increased number of Israeli raids – where occupation soldiers, often disguising themselves as Palestinians, enter the camp at night and attempt to capture young Palestinian fighters; second, because of the growing number of youth enlisting in various resistance groups. According to Daghlas, the rifles carried by these youth are purchased by the young men themselves, as opposed to being supplied by a group or a faction.

“Blood for blood, bullet for bullet, fire for fire,” were some of the chants that echoed in the Jenin town and its adjacent refugee camp, when the Palestinian residents carried the bodies of two of the four killed youth, before burying them in the ever-crowded martyrs’ graveyard. The fact that Jenin is, once more, openly championing the armed struggle option is sending alarm bells throughout occupied Palestine. Israel is now worried that an armed Intifada is in the making, and Abbas knows very well that any kind of Intifada would spell doom for his Authority.

It is obvious that what is currently taking place in Jenin is indicative of something much larger. Israel knows this, thus the exaggerated violence against the camp. In fact, two of the bodies of killed Palestinians are yet to be returned to their families for proper burial. Israel often resorts to this tactic as a bargaining chip, and to increase the psychological pressure on Palestinian communities, especially those who dare resist.

It might be relevant to note that the Jenin refugee camp was officially formed in 1953, a few years after the Nakba of 1948, the year when historic Palestine was destroyed and the State of Israel was created. Since then, generation after generation, Jenin’s youth continue fighting and dying for their freedom.

It turns out that Jenin never waved the white flag, after all, and that the battle which began in 2002 – in fact in 1948 – was never truly finished.

My Visit to Lyd, Where Historical and Contemporary Zionist Oppression Meet

August 19th, 2021

By Miko Peled

Source

Palestine stretches from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean and goes right through the ancient Palestinian city of Lyd.

LYD, PALESTINE — One of the toughest challenges facing those who fight for justice in Palestine is breaking the Zionist paradigm, which limits the name Palestine to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These two delineations of territory have no historical meaning and no geographical significance. They are no different from other parts of Palestine except that they were drawn by Zionists who, after the murderous 1948 campaign of ethnic cleansing, decided that they would not include those two areas within the boundaries of the Zionist state.

In 1967 the State of Israel occupied these two areas, and today the West Bank exists only in people’s imagination, while the Gaza Strip operates as a prison. After the disastrous Oslo process began in 1993, and the Palestinian Authority came into being, these two areas became known to the world as the State of Palestine.

Lyd as it was

In July 2021, I visited the city of Lyd, where I met with Councilwoman Fida Shehada, a Palestinian member of the Lyd City Council who was kind enough to spend a day with me in her city. She gave me a tour of the town before we sat down for a lengthy and detailed interview, which will soon be posted to my Patreon page.

“Lyd has archeological sites that show it is as old as the city of Jericho,” Shehada told me. However, the state and the municipality refrain from excavating because these sites have no value to the Zionist narrative. Lyd is perhaps most famous for being home to the Church of Saint George. The church was built over the grave of the famous Saint George of Lyd, who was buried in the city of his Palestinian mother’s birth after he was martyred in the early fourth century.

Church of Saint George, Lyd
Church of Saint George, Lyd, Palestine

The world-renowned hip hop band “Dam” is also from the city of Lyd. According to their website, “Struck by the uncanny resemblance of the reality of the streets in a Tupac video to the streets in their own neighborhood in Lyd, Tamer Nafar, Suhell Nafar and Mahmood Jrere were inspired to tell their stories through hip hop.”

1948 bloodbath

It is becoming clear today that the city of Lyd may well have been the site of the worst massacres by Zionist militia in 1948. In a move more cynical than can be imagined, the municipality of Lyd was renamed Lod in Hebrew, and a plaza was built to commemorate the Palmach right in front of the Dahmash Mosque. The Palmach was the largest of the Zionist militias and was responsible for committing massacres in the city.

The mosque itself was the site of a horrifying bloodbath when citizens from the city, who were fleeing the shooting, crowded into it seeking shelter from the violence. But a Zionist militia headed by Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin took no pity on those seeking refuge and massacred everyone in the mosque. More than 150 men, women and children were gunned down.

Palmach Plaza LYD
The Palmach Plaza in front of the Dahmash Mosque, the site of the massacre, commemorating the murderers as the memory of the victims lingers

Those who were not gunned down at the mosque or on the streets were forced to leave the city, and an estimated 40,000 men, women and children were made to take part in what became known as “The Death March.”

In her book “Palestinian Women, Narrative Histories and Gendered Memory,” published in 2011 by Zed Books, Dr. Fatma Kassem recorded the testimonies of Palestinian women from Lyd who survived the massacres and the forced expulsion.

Some of the women whom Dr. Kassem interviewed had witnessed the massacre at the mosque. One recalled:

The first days when the Jews came in, people went inside the mosques, they thought that the Jews would not kill them in the mosques. But they killed everyone who was inside.”

Another woman remembered:

My father and many others went inside the mosque to protect themselves. He was not fighting. He was an old man. My father and my cousin pushed them into the mosque and [the militia] shot all of them.”

The Kaminitz Law

In 2017, the Knesset passed legislation cracking down on “illegal” construction. The provisions of the new law were based on a report written by Deputy Attorney General for Civil Law Erez Kaminitz. According to Fida Shehada, this law has resulted in over 40,000 demolition orders for Palestinian homes in the north and central parts of the country alone — this does not include the Naqab, Jerusalem or the West Bank. The Kaminitz Law is one of many racist laws designed to keep Palestinian citizens of Israel from building homes.

“I remember one day I saw seven homes being demolished all at the same time, at the same minute,” Shehada told me. “I wanted to understand why this was happening and how to prevent this from happening in the future.”

This drove Shehada to study urban planning. But, she said, “then I saw that when they draw plans for the city, they only have plans for the Israeli population, not the Palestinians.” The city does not account for the growth of the Palestinian population, which makes up about 30% to 40% of the city’s population.

Miko Peled Fida Shehada

Miko Peled, left, meets with councilwoman Fida Shehada in the city of Lyd

“We have 30% Palestinian population, but 40% of the school children,” Shehada said, and smiled as she saw the puzzled look on my face. Officially, on record, the Palestinians make up 30%. Still — because of another racist law, called the Citizenship Law, which limits the rights of Palestinians to wed other Palestinians — some are Palestinian women who are married to Palestinian men are deprived of citizenship.

Their children are citizens but cannot attend public schools, “while their mothers are not allowed to study or work or leave their homes.” So, if the father dies, the mother has to leave, and if she takes the children with her back to the West Bank or Gaza, they will lose their status — which, with all its difficulties, is still better than that of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

A new reality?

In an effort to instill the love of settlement activity in the hearts of Israeli Jews, religious Zionist settlers have made Lyd their home. They have their own municipal budgets and luxury apartments built for them exclusively, even as Palestinians struggle to find housing in the city. During the uprising of May 2021, over 500 armed settlers from the racist, violent Regavim movement moved into the city’s municipality. They aimed to incite violence and terrorize the Palestinian population.

When Councilwoman Shehada questioned the mayor about this, he threatened to report her to the Shabak. The Shabak is the Israeli secret police, known for targeting, detaining and torturing Palestinian political activists. She had to remind him that the Shabak does not work for the mayor’s office.

The most surprising thing I saw or heard during my visit to Lyd was a comment by Councilwoman Shehada: “I am very optimistic,” she said with a grin. “Things are changing, we have seen more Palestinians resist and organize, and I believe that we are facing a new reality today.”

If there is room for optimism, Shehada certainly has a big role in it. “I decided to run for mayor in the upcoming elections,” she told me. Local elections are scheduled to be held in the fall of 2021. Even if the world hasn’t come to terms with reality, Palestine stretches from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean and goes right through the ancient Palestinian city of Lyd.

60 Days in Palestine: The Indigenous Ghettos Win Vs Israeli Apartheid Regime Cracks

August 12, 2021

Daniel Lobato

Source: Al Mayadeen

The events of those 60 days have shown a new scenario in the historical stage of Palestine under apartheid.

Between April 12 (beginning of Ramadan) and June 13 (the establishment of the Israeli Government) we have witnessed a small chapter in the story of 100 years of war on Palestine. The events of those 60 days have shown a new scenario in the historical stage of Palestine under apartheid.

There seems to be no way to differentiate these events of 2021 of those from 2014, 2012 or 2008 if you just list the facts: 250 Palestinians in Gaza were killed, including 67 children and 2000 injured; 11 Israelis were killed and 1000 Palestinians arrested.

And again this scenario was coinciding with a political crisis in Tel Aviv after 4 elections in two years, and the coming threats of a fifth election; another election campaign of repression and massacres, as an Israeli MP denounced on CNN

However, many changes have been in sight even if the beginning was similar to other conflict escalations.

On April 12, “Israel” permitted several ‘goodwill gestures’ at the start of Ramadan with a brightly lit Tel Aviv: “Happy Ramadan to our residents and friends”. 21% of “Israel’s” citizens are native Palestinians, most of them Muslim, and in that message their state was alienating them: for almost 2 million of its indigenous citizens, their “state” called them “residents”. “Israel” applies 65 segregation laws to them and furthermore sent them this poisoned greeting by downgrading their citizenship to a “residency” of outsiders in their own land. Alongside this, Tel Aviv deployed its armed forces to intensify repression in Jerusalem as soon as Ramadan arrived.

The Battle of Damascus Gate

In the first days of Ramadan, Israeli forces charged to clear the steps of Damascus Gate and cut off electricity to the Al Aqsa Mosque. It prevented the popular evening food distribution that celebrates the end of the daily fast. In addition, in Al-Quds without tourists, “Israel” sought further militarization of the Damascus Gate and Al-Aqsa Mosque by besieging the place with barriers and metal detectors. This battle was already lost by “Israel” in 2017 when it tried to cage Al Aqsa mosque and went so far to close it as a sign of pressure. “Israel” tried again in April 2021, the police crackdown was joined by groups of Israelis going around “Jerusalem” shouting “death to Arabs” and lynching with impunity any Palestinian they encounter. As the days passed, such Israeli mobs were repeated in Al-Quds and other cities beating and murdering Palestinians. “Israel” funds racist marches of this kind with more money every year.

As in 2017, the battle of Damascus Gate resulted in a small Palestinian victory, however, the battle of Al-Aqsa evolved into another dimension.

The Battle of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan

Israeli courts have no legal competence to determine private property in a militarily occupied territory. Despite this, in a decades-old farce of a judicial process, its judges ruled that the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in “Jerusalem” must be vacated by May 2, 2021, and handed over to a settler organization. This organization promised to take over the entire neighborhood and expel all Palestinians. This act of dispossession has been the Israeli DNA: in 1948, European settlers owned only 6% of the land in Palestine while 94% belonged to the natives. Today the natives own only 3% of the land inside “Israel”. Dispossession continues in the West Bank and Al-Quds with the natives confined in disconnected ghettos. As one US settler said to the Palestinian Mona el Kurd:  “if I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it”. This settler was fleeing his crimes in the US by adopting a fraudulent Jewish identity in order to obtain the prize of a free Palestinian house. In Sheikh Jarrah, harsh police repression included spraying toxic water and tear gas inside homes and Palestinians were threatened by the Israeli deputy mayor of Jerusalem.

Emptying Sheikh Jarrah of Palestinians is important for “Israel” because it allows it to connect illegal settlements. Just as the Spanish railway company CAF does in “Jerusalem”: connecting with its tramway the colonies in occupied territory and extending apartheid Made in Spain in Palestine.

Another Palestinian neighborhood in Al-Quds, Al Bustan, has a demolition order from the Israeli municipality, knowing that “Israel” has no legitimacy and destroys the IV Geneva Convention. In Al Bustan 1500 natives, 60% children, will be dispossessed under disguises of legalism. Ethnic cleansing against the natives (“temporary residents”) is camouflaged by sophisticated judicial, electoral, administrative, town planning, archaeological, religious and economic strategies. The aim is to eliminate all Palestinians, as in “West Jerusalem”, where the houses of the natives are still standing but occupied by Israeli settlers. The owners were thrown into refugee camps. This gives material reality to their mythology and their strategy of fraudulently Judaizing the city. Tourists strolling through the Old City of “Jerusalem” do not know that the Jewish Quarter is a fake. “Israel” erected it in 1968 after razing to the ground the historic Maghreb quarter built in the time of Saladin almost a thousand years ago.

The Israeli army, courts, settlers and bulldozers are always ready to act anywhere in the Palestinian territory. As in Beita, Nablus, where in just a few weeks the invaders have erected a city in the olive groves of the Palestinian people. Sometimes “Israel” gives up a colony in order to put the media spotlight there, and try to hide 73 years of dispossession of the natives.

The Battle of Al-Aqsa

In the midst of Ramadan when mosques are usually crowded, Israeli forces turned the esplanade into a theatre of war with repeated assaults day and nightinside the mosques. It is strategic for “Israel” to harass the mosques in order to provoke Muslim anger around the world. In this way, colonization would be disguised in the media as an unresolvable religious battle. In addition, Israeli groups demand the demolition of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in order to build a Jewish “Third Temple” in their place. 

This continued Israeli oppression of Al-Quds made Palestinian demonstrations explode throughout the territory. In cities within the Israeli state (Jaffa, Nazareth, Haifa, Lod, Acre or Uhm al Fahem), natives with Israeli citizenship lowered Tel Aviv flags and raised Palestinian banners. The Israeli mayor of Lod acknowledged that he had lost control of the situation and Netanyahu declared a state of emergency.

This united Palestinian revolt terrorized Israeli settler society and mobs lynched Palestinians with impunity.

The demonstrations showed the victory of the united native identity over the fragmentation sought by the Israeli government. The Western media also used submissive categories for Palestinians in “Israel”, such as desert Bedouin, Druze, Galilean Christians, Israeli Arabs, etc.

The Unity Intifada

This unitary revolt finally exploded with the  call for an indigenous general strike on May 18 for the three pieces into which historic Palestine is temporarily divided: “the state of Israel”, the West Bank ghettos and the Gaza ghetto. The call did not come from any political faction. It was youth and grassroots organizations from “Jerusalem” and “the state of Israel”. From Haifa to Galilee, Nablus or Gaza, there was a massive turnout. The whole of Palestinian society connected with its 1936 uprising against British and Zionist oppression, when native dispossession began with the arrival of European settlers. The Manifesto for Dignity and Hope swept across Palestine in those days expressing the significance of the reunification of Palestinian national consciousness. The physical separations and categorical prisons imposed by the colonial regime were destroyed: the prison of the West Bank ghettos, the prison of apartheid citizenship in the “Israeli state”, the prison of Gaza, and the prison of “Jerusalem”. It was set as a unitary goal to end all Zionist colonial structures.

The battle across Palestine

In the face of intense repression in “Jerusalem”, a warning was issued from Gaza on June 10 that rocket fire would begin. “Israel” ignored the warning and launched a large-scale operation against Gaza.

To describe these clashes as a war between “Israel” and “Hamas” is a manipulation. It is “Israel” against Gaza, or against Palestine. Why is a political party cited on only one side?

The Israeli operation “The Guardian of the Walls” announced the death of hundreds or thousands of people in the caged strip. It’s worthy of note that the two million people surviving in Gaza were stripped, crowded and locked up in that Israeli coastal prison.

Handcrafted rockets were pitted against a 21st century military technology for 10 days. The entire world’s media daily quantified the hundreds of rockets launched by the natives but never gave us the number of missiles and bombs dropped by “Israel”. 

“Israel” announced that it was going to step on the gas with its inhumane Dahiya doctrine of maximum devastation and disproportionate force on civilians. It consists of setting the attacked territory “back 20 years”, or even “to the stone age“. This military doctrine is part of the curriculum of Tel Aviv University, with which universities around the world partner rather than boycott. Following this strategy, “Israel” has sought to destroy as much of the infrastructure and economy of the Gaza ghetto as possible. When international donors once again funded the reconstruction of Gaza, the Israeli economy took a cut. Israeli destruction in Gaza included the only COVID laboratory, banks, shops, factories, bookstores, news agency buildings and hospital entrances.

Furthermore, “Israel” has repeated another doctrine started in 2014: intentionally eliminating entire families by bombing the house when the largest number of members are inside. Thus, four generations of the Al Qawlaq family with 21 members, from 90 years old to 6 months old, were exterminated. The survivor Shoukry Al Qawlaq listed his murdered family members for 33 seconds. The families Abu al Auf, Ashkontana, and up to 19 families were exterminated too. 

But unexpectedly within 10 days, Palestinians took over the situation. The Israeli regime thought that the Palestinian “residents” will be “leaving Gaza in complete silence“, to suddenly stopping with a ceasefire. “Israel” could have killed thousands of Palestinians as in 2008 or 2014 without accountability.

The Israeli military gives us the answer by frustratingly acknowledging that the quantity and technology of rockets from Gaza increases inexorably year after year despite the blockade on the strip. The myth of Israeli defenses (Iron Dome) collapsed when the number of rockets launched daily from Gaza quadrupled compared to 2014. Washington’s metropolis came to the rescue of its protectorate with two extra aid packages: one during the battle of $735 million in missiles, and another after the ceasefire of $1 billion to replenish “Israel’s” depleted defense system in just 10 days. Israeli estimates the rocket stockpile in Gaza for several months of continued fighting, with superior models not yet in use. 

Tel Aviv airport was closed for a week, compared to only a few hours in 2014. Eilat airport at more than 200km from Gaza also had to be closed. Israeli industrial facilities and ports were attacked and also closed. Attacks on Israeli cities and the death of 11 civilians instilled terror.

On the other hand, Israeli tanks and soldiers not only did not dare to enter the coastal prison, but did not even dare to approach the wall. A single Israeli soldier was killed by an anti-tank rocket fired from the Gaza ghetto. It was enough of a message for a specialized army in the repression and execution of civilians than in warfare.

Despite this evidence, the Israeli army issued its victory proclamation calling the 67 Palestinian children killed “neutralized terrorists”. But even the extremist Israeli media, which also called the Palestinian babies terrorists, were fearful for the future. Others assumed that the balance of power was shifting. Some media wondered what would happen if Lebanon were to join a joint action with Palestine in the future. The answer came from this Israeli analyst revealing the fear in the military leadership.

The meaning of the Palestinian victory by combining forms of resistance

“Israel” would have liked to be a liberal democracy like Australia or the US after having wiped out the indigenous people. Failing that, its fate will be the same as South Africa’s apartheid regime.

The indigenous demographic superiority (51%) over the settler society (49%) between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean has already been exceeded years ago and is increasing, not counting refugees from abroad, despite the ongoing ethnic cleansing. Furthermore, “Israel’s” 73-year effort to fragment Palestinian identity and territory has failed as the entire native society has been reunified in these two months of resistance.

Around the world there were massive demonstrations of solidarity that reveal the failure of Zionist lobbies and Western governments trying to suppress that support. In Madrid, thousands of people surpassed all expectations

The Palestinian victory on different fronts has generated multiple repercussions.

The price for the apartheid regime

The Israeli army dreams of an operation against Gaza to raze it and send the Palestinians to the Sinai desert. The reality is that this army no longer dares to approach the strip, and furthermore, it is not any more the 1948 era. “Israel” cannot expel or kill two million people. It can only reinforce the inhuman blockade, regularly bombing and killing in order to delay the inevitable fate as long as possible. 

It is the Israeli settler society that has been shocked by the message that its apartheid society and native ghettos have an end date, something its elites already knew. Israeli civilian casualties are “regrettable”, but the settler society must understand that the longer it sustains the regime the higher it will pay the price. The Palestinian defense killed 11 Israeli civilians in one week; in 2014 it was half that number in much longer. Israeli society has never lived under the terror and real death that it has imposed on the societies around it. Damascus and Syrian territory continue to be bombed by “Israel” on a regular basis. Lebanon’s civilians know that price. The new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, when he was a commander ordered the massacre in 1996 of civilians sheltering in a UN building in the village of Qana, Lebanon. More than a hundred were hacked to death in their sleep, half of them women and children, and Bennett has always been proud of this. Civilians in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and other countries have also paid a heavy price in the past.

Naftali Bennett was elected leader of the colonial government at the end of this 60-day cycle. For the first time “Israel” has needed to co-opt an indigenous opportunist to emerge from the political crisis  unleashed by rivalry between Zionist political clans. Two indigenous people of the same surname help sustain the crimes and apartheid: one in the Tel Aviv government, Mansour Abbas, and one inside the ghettos, Mahmoud Abbas. Also the South African Bantustan kinglets temporarily helped sustain the apartheid regime in Pretoria. This new government will be a continuation of the previous ones, because the engine is the same: to capture more land with less indigenous people and by whatever means necessary. But it will need more and more violence to achieve less and less results, with a higher and higher price to pay as Afrikaner society paid in South Africa.

The impact on the Western Metropolis

The Western powers are the colonial metropolis of the Israeli artefact. During this time they have recited “Israel’s” right to defend its apartheid regime. They put pressure on the indigenous colonial administration of Mahmoud Abbas (called Palestinian Authority) to suppress the revolts. The new normalizers of the apartheid regime (Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco) played no role in this crisis. The usual regimes (Jordan, Egypt and Qatar) were pressured to cooperate in suffocating protest and resistance. But the West has no options left. The EU has long been making initiatives to try to co-opt Hamas as the PLO did in 1991. Two years ago the EU removed Hamas from the European list of terrorist groups. Somehow the West seeks to bring Hamas to the table to accept a future of ghettos and apartheid in exchange for money. For this reason, a close ally of the US and EU, the Moroccan regime, invited the Hamas leader a few days after the ceasefire.

But the eternally promised and delayed future of ghettos and apartheid that is called the “Palestinian state” no longer exists. The West can continue to recite the leitmotiv of the “two-state solution” in international institutions and media. Palestinian reunification has buried the coffin containing that ancient corpse of two states.

The international impact

Mass demonstrations, articles, statements, direct actions against Israeli companies and the blockade of Israeli ships all over the world have continued to increase solidarity with Palestine.

In 1991, world solidarity with Palestine declined due to several factors: the fall of the USSR and the new world hegemony, the PLO negotiating with the apartheid regime in Tel Aviv while simultaneously the apartheid regime in Pretoria was collapsing, the forced revocation in the UN of its Resolution 3379 declaring Zionism as a racist ideology, the Oslo Accords, the creation of the indigenous colonial administration called Palestinian Authority, etc.

From 2004 and 2005, solidarity began to recover with the sentence of the Hague Court against the apartheid wall and the launching of the international boycott campaign against “Israel”, BDS.

Today, all over the world, the consensus on Israeli apartheid is spreading and its role as the colonizer of Palestine is being restored. “Israel” is losing the social and legal war despite the efforts of Israeli lobbies in many countries to silence criticism and gain legitimacy through repressive law fare.

The ICC proceedings will continue to move forward with only two paths: issue arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, or close the case by demonstrating that it is a Western court to prosecute only those whom the West decides. Both decisions will have many repercussions and both will damage “Israel” in the eyes of the world’s people.

Antonio Guterres deleted from the UN website in 2017 an internal report singling out “Israel” as an apartheid regime, but other reports are beginning to pile up, and even Western governments are timidly beginning to use the term

It will become the norm to describe “Israel” as an apartheid regime with varying degrees of oppression against the native Palestinians, depending on where they are.

In the war dimension, the victory of the Palestinians against the Israeli nuclear regime’s army also has resonances in the region. The vulnerability of settler society has been exposed. It is no coincidence that a few days after the Gaza ghetto victory, and a Palestinian military spokesman’s thanks to Iran, Antony Blinken said that the US will maintain hundreds of sanctions against Iran, regardless of what happens to the Nuclear Deal. In other words, the Nuclear Deal will not survive because Iran will not agree to add new concessions, whether to its missiles or its relationship with its allies.

The impact on Palestinian society

We have already seen some of the meanings of this 60-day process for Palestinian society.

Internationally, the Palestinian Authority has been further exposed as a subordinate Department of Indigenous Affairs of the West and “Israel”. Mahmoud Abbas dares not accuse the apartheid regime of the crime of apartheid. Its main function is to exercise subcontracted repression, with mass arrests or assassination of grassroots activists. The Palestinian Authority leadership operates in the midst of political and economic corruption, and will do anything to perpetuate itself and sustain the colonial structure. In the midst of these 60 days, Abbas cancelled the theatre of a supposed election because of the risk of someone else taking his seat. But his days as the indigenous governor of the ghetto are about to end, and not only because of his age. After his outrageous repression of the Palestinians, the West is hypocritically condemning Abbas while deciding on his replacement. Abbas will not be honored by the West despite having played his mandated role in stifling Palestinian rights. 

At the end of this 60-day period, on June 12, the Palestinian Polling Centre conducted one of its regular polls. 80% of Palestinians said that Gaza had won the confrontation with “Israel”. They rated each focus of insurrection and resistance positively: 89% approved of the actions of Palestinians in “Jerusalem”, 86% supported the protests of Palestinian citizens of “Israel” and 77% supported the armed resistance of Palestinians in Gaza. The tiny number of Palestinians who support the Palestinian Authority (11%) and Abbas (8%) represent the privileged class that lives by it.

The Palestinian writer murdered by “Israel”, Ghassan Kanafani, warned that one of the enemies of the Palestinian people is the indigenous oligarchies.

The Palestinian people have been reunified but have no political subject in the form of a new national liberation movement. The PLO committed suicide in 1991. Next October marks the 30th anniversary of the fateful Madrid Conference that led to the Oslo Accords. Coinciding with that date, a first attempt will be made to launch a new Palestinian national movement to break with Oslo and apartheid: the alternative route, Masar Badil. Sooner or later a new Palestinian movement will be born.

We in the West have forgotten many lessons. One is that when a people is determined to be free it will apply the maximum of its own suffering during its struggle, however unfavorable it may be to the hostility of the oppressor. 

A fraudulent consensus has been installed in the West, by an ego of white saviors, that only the boycott ended apartheid in South Africa. This is coupled with revisionism of Nelson Mandela and other indigenous South African leaders. In the 1960s, the African National Congress decided to respond to the massacres of the Pretoria regime with armed struggle. To this end it created an autonomous armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe (MK). Indigenous armed self-defense has been indispensable in decolonization struggles, as it was in South Africa. Colonial societies or occupying entities have paid a price in physical insecurity, as in Algeria or Vietnam. Israeli society knows that the price to be paid will be higher and higher.

Palestine solidarity organizations and the boycott movement do not have to try to appease the West or conform to the frameworks of legitimacy that the West designs. In the face of the criminalization of indigenous resistance in any form, declaring the boycott movement terrorist, or armed self-defense, international legality must be remembered. Especially the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or Resolution 3070: “The General Assembly reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples to free themselves from foreign colonial domination by all possible means, including armed struggle”.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Video: Innumerable Ways Canada Supports Israeli Apartheid

A Canadian Foreign Policy Institute panel

By Michael WelchBianca Mugyenyi, and Yves Engler

Global Research, August 08, 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version). 

Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch.

***

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The violence between Israelis and Palestinians went up substantially in May of this year.

A dust-up which began with protests over the threat of the Supreme Court of Israel authorizing the eviction of six families from Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem led to Israeli forces storming the compound of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Before long, the conflict arose between Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad firing rockets, and Israel launching 1500 land, sea, and airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. When the dust settled after an 11 day rampage, 256 Palestinians, 66 of whom were children, perished. Israel by contrast lost 13 people including 2 children.

This episode of terror is most likely not going to end given the failures of past attempts to settle the dispute. As many episodes of Global Research have made clear, the United States have used so-called peace deals to harness more power to them, with Israel as their junior partner.

However, there is another player on the stage that similarly steered the course on the side of Israel against the Palestinians. As outspoken author Yves Engler has pointed out in his book Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid, both of the governing parties in our home and native land and even the Left are promoting Israel.

On this week’s program, we present a panel discussion produced by the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute entitled Innumerable Ways Canada Supports Israeli Apartheid – And What We Can Do About it.

The Canadian Foreign Policy Institute is a non-partisan organization which seeks to inform people living in Canada about the country’s diplomatic, aid, intelligence, trade and military policies abroad which are at odds with their self-portrait as a benevolent force around the world. Its director is Bianca Mugyenyi who will function as the moderator for the discussion.

Yves Engler is one of Canada’s foremost Canadian foreign policy critics and dissidents. He is the author of ten books on Canadian foreign policy including House of Cards: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy (2020), and Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid (2010). His articles have appeared at rabble.ca, canadiandimension.com, and on his own site yvesengler.com.

Jonathan Kuttab is an international human rights lawyer and a co-founder of Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and of Nonviolence International.

Karen Rodman is a reverend and a founder of Just Peace Advocates.

Bianca Mugyenyi is an activist, a journalist and the director of the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM out of the University of Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

Other stations airing the show:

CIXX 106.9 FM, broadcasting from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. It airs Sundays at 6am.

WZBC 90.3 FM in Newton Massachusetts is Boston College Radio and broadcasts to the greater Boston area. The Global Research News Hour airs during Truth and Justice Radio which starts Sunday at 6am.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 7pm.

CJMP 90.1 FM, Powell River Community Radio, airs the Global Research News Hour every Saturday at 8am. 

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday afternoon from 3-4pm.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 9am pacific time.

Israeli Ethnic Cleansing: A Crime Against Humanity

July 18, 2021

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Revanchist Israeli regimes expand the territory of the world’s only borderless state on a platform of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing indigenous people from their homes, possessions and land — to make way for exclusive Jewish developme

nt and use.

Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories are targeted for removal by brute force on land Jewish state extremists want for themselves.

B’Tselem earlier explained what long-suffering Palestinians endured throughout Jewish state history, saying:

“For decades, Israeli authorities…implementing a policy aimed at driving out scores of communities, that are home to thousands of Palestinians.” 

“They have made living conditions miserable and intolerable with a view to establishing facts on the ground and taking over these areas.”

Longstanding Israeli policy seeks “Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea” — what the scourge of apartheid is all about, state-sponsored tyranny by another name.

Over 14 million people live in the above area, half of them Palestinians denied their fundamental rights as affirmed by international human rights law.

Hundreds of thousands of settlers live on stolen Palestinian land, illegally annexed for their use.

Israeli regimes pursue their aims by state terror and other illegal means.

Creation of Israel was a case study in ethnic cleansing on a horrific scale, transforming historic Palestine into an apartheid Jewish state.

The lives and welfare of its indigenous inhabitants were irreparably disrupted, a massive refugee population created internally and abroad in neighboring states – one of history’s great crimes without punishment.

On Palestinian land Israeli regimes want for Jews only, unwanted indigenous families are uprooted, their homes demolished, followed by forcefully removing them from their land.

Time and again, Israeli courts uphold the illegal practice, including its highest, in pursuing a policy of maximum Jews and minimum Arabs on all valued land between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.

Dominant Zionist extremists believe for Israel to survive, it must dominate the region and become a world power.

Achieving its imperial aims requires dividing Arab nations into small, easily controlled states – partitioning them along ethnic and sectarian lines as weakened Israeli satellites. 

Internally, Israel is hellbent on territorial expansion by stealing it from indigenous Palestinians and neighboring states in defiance of international law.

Palestinians seeking redress through Israeli and international courts fail because Jewish tribunals and the world community have done nothing to hold the Jewish state accountable for its highest of high crimes.

It’s been this way throughout Jewish state history since 1948 — nearly three quarters of a century of injustice, notably backed by the US-dominated West.

One among countless examples of Israeli ethnic cleansing occurred last week, explained by B’Tselem, saying:

On July 7, “Israeli military and Civil Administration personnel arrived at the tent-dwelling community of Khirbet Humsah in the Jordan Valley” with sweeping ethnic cleansing in mind.

They forcefully “dismantled and confiscated tents housing numerous community members along with everything inside them, loading them onto trucks…”

Dispossessed Palestinians were forced into buses “in sweltering heat.”

Refusniks in defense of their land and possessions were expelled by by brute force.

“Initial reports indicate the forces demolished the homes of at least nine families, leaving 60 people homeless.” 

“Soldiers and Civil Administration staff continue to load the contents of the homes onto military trucks” as of late last week. 

“B’Tselem is still collecting exact information about the property that was confiscated and destroyed.”

What happened repeats time and again throughout the Occupied Territories — a crime against humanity under international law.

Responsibility for ethnic cleansing like the above lies with Israeli ruling regimes, its military and other security enforcers, along with Jewish state High Court “justices…who lend legal legitimacy” to what flagrantly breaches core international law, B’Tselem explained, adding:

What repeats time and again throughout the Occupied Territories is “a badge of shame for the international community…” 

Instead of upholding the rule of law, the world community and world body leadership “absolved (themselves) of the obligation to demand Israel respect the human rights of Palestinians living under its control and allowed (themselves) to be satisfied with empty rebukes lacking any practical consequences.”

Legalized Apartheid: The Israeli Supreme Court Just Cemented Jewish Supremacy into Law

July 16th, 2021

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

JERUSALEM — In November of last year, an Israeli judge invoked the controversial Jewish Nation-State Basic Law when striking down a lawsuit against the city of Karmiel over funding transportation for two Palestinian students.

In his ruling, the chief registrar of the Krayot Magistrate’s Court, Yaniv Luzon, said that establishing an Arabic-language school in Karmiel or funding transportation for Palestinian Arab students would “damage the city’s Jewish character” and may encourage Palestinian citizens of Israel to move into Jewish cities, thereby “altering the demographic balance.”

Luzon cited Section 7 of Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Law, writing:

The development and establishment of Jewish settlement is a national value enshrined in the Basic Law and is a worthy and prominent consideration in municipal decision-making, including the establishment of schools and the determination of policies relating to the funding of [school] busing [of students] from outside the city.

The students’ father, Kasem Bakri, said of the judge’s decision, “The municipality treats my sons as guests in the best of times and as enemies in the worst of times.” The family was fined 2,000 shekels (roughly $600) and ordered to pay all of the court’s expenses.

The court ruling came just before a Supreme Court hearing on 15 petitions submitted by human rights organizations and Palestinian political leaders challenging the Nation-State Law in December. After only one discussion on the law, the high court last week rejected the petitions and upheld the 2018 law in a 10 to 1 decision.  The single dissenting opinion was from the only Palestinian justice on the court, Justice George Kara.

Swift condemnation of the Supreme Court’s decision

“The Israel Supreme Court approved a law that establishes a constitutional identity, which completely excludes those who do not belong to the majority group. This Law is illegitimate and violates absolute prohibitions of international law,” Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel wrote in a press release. Adalah, one of the law’s petitioners, deemed this piece of legislation “a law that clearly shows the Israeli regime as a colonial one, with distinct characteristics of apartheid.”

Israel: Not a Democracy. Apartheid
Activists drop a banner reading “Israel: Not a Democracy. Apartheid” from atop the Israeli military court in Jaffa, July 12, 2020. Photo | Activestills

“The Supreme Court refrained from doing what was essential — to defend the basic right to equality,” Dr. Yousef Jabareen, chair of the Human Rights Forum in the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and a former member of the Knesset, said in a statement, adding:

The so-called ‘Jewish Nation-State’ law formalizes in Israeli constitutional law the superior rights and privileges that Jewish citizens of the state enjoy over its indigenous Palestinian minority, who comprise roughly 20% of the population.”

What is the Jewish nation-state law?

In 2018, the Knesset voted to approve the nation-state law by 62 to 55. The basic law essentially legalizes Israel’s apartheid nature and states the following:

  • Exercising the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
  • The name of the state is ‘Israel.’
  • A greater, united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

The director of the land and planning rights unit at Adalah, Adv. Suhad Bishara, helped formulate Adalah’s petition against the nation-state law. “The overriding objective of the basic law is to violate both the right to equality and the right to dignity of the Arab citizens of Israel,” she said.

Additionally, the law promotes Jewish settlement and views it as a national value. It also demotes Arabic from one of the two official languages to a “special status.” With the nation-state law’s basic tenets, Palestinian history and identity are effectively erased from the land.

Emphasizing the law’s notion of Jewish settlement and demotion of Arabic, Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu — co-director of Abraham Initiatives, an Israeli nonprofit focused on Jewish-Arab partnership — said the legislation institutionalizes inequality between Israeli Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel. “It’s creating a situation in which, according to our basic laws, there is a sector in society that is not equal,” Be’eri-Sulitzeanu told MintPress News. “This is something that no democracy can allow.”

In a tweet, Abraham Initiatives advocated for repealing the law, writing that it “establishes the status of Arab citizens in Israel as second-class citizens.”

The nation-state law’s impact

Only a few years old, the nation-state law has already proven it can serve as a legal tool for discrimination and racial segregation.

The Bakri family in Karmiel sued the local municipality over their school transportation costs. Since there isn’t an Arabic-language school in Karmiel, the Bakri children were forced to travel nearly four miles to the town of Rameh for their education. According to the Bakris, the traffic often made the commute more than 30 minutes and cost the family 1,500 shekels (or roughly $460) each month. The family’s lawsuit requested reimbursement for their transportation costs totaling 25,000 shekels (about $7,683).

Nizar Bakri, the children’s uncle and the attorney who filed the lawsuit, condemned the magistrate court’s dismissal of the suit, saying, “The court’s decision wasn’t based on law; it was based on Jewish existence.” Following the ruling, Nizar Bakri filed an appeal with the Haifa District Court. The district court denied the Bakris’ appeal in February but determined the lower court’s reliance on the nation-state law was “fundamentally wrong” and “liable to damage the public’s trust in the courts.”

“The court may have unequivocally ruled that the registrar of the Krayot Magistrate’s Court made a mistake in the use of the nation-state law and its connection to this case, but this ruling should not satisfy the opponents and victims of the nation-state law,” Nizar Bakri told Haaretz.

For Adalah’s Bishara, the district court’s opposition to the magistrate’s court’s use of the nation-state law is irrelevant when it comes to future court decisions, as the grounds for discrimination are officially embedded into law. She explained:

It doesn’t really matter whether it’s explicitly mentioned or not because it’s the legal, constitutional framework that’s there that sets the basic principles of supremacy and of the right to self-determination only for one national ethnic group in the state. This sends a very clear message to all the authorities that you can not only go on with what you have been doing so far in terms of violating the rights of the Palestinian citizens as individuals and as a group, but this will certainly give you more backing to deepen these policies.”

Bishara told MintPress that she anticipates the legislation will add another dimension to Israel’s ongoing discrimination and have huge implications for Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line — not just 1948-occupied Palestine. “Since it speaks about the land of Israel as the historic land of the Jewish people and Jewish settlement as a constitutional value, this combination of both becomes very problematic both in Israel proper and in the Occupied Territories,” she said.

Israel’s long list of discriminatory laws

Globally, the state of Israel touts itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East,” but Dr. Jabareen said the nation-state law “prioritizes the Jewishness of the state over its democratic character,” specifically in “omitting any reference to democracy or equality.” He added:

The nation-state law further marginalizes the Arab-Palestinian community and entrenches Israel’s regime of racial discrimination and deterioration into apartheid. It will lead to more racist, anti-democratic laws, adding to the more than 50 laws already on the books that disadvantage non-Jewish citizens.”

Eyal checkpoint Israel
Palestinian workers cross the Eyal checkpoint, January 10, 2021. Keren Manor | Activestills

According to an Adalah database, Israel has more than 65 laws discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). These laws encompass nearly every facet of daily life, from property and housing rights to citizenship and finances. The following are just a few notable examples:

  • The Admissions’ Committees Law, which permits towns built on state land to deny housing to Palestinians based upon the criterion of “social suitability.”
  • The Nakba Law, which bans groups or schools receiving government funding from commemorating Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign against Palestinians during the state’s founding (known as the Nakba or Catastrophe).
  • The Boycott Law, which prohibits calls to boycott Israel. This legislation effectively outlaws the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
  • The Absentees’ Property Law, which categorizes individuals who were expelled or fled their property after November 1947 as absentees and thereby having no ownership claims to their properties. However, Jews who lost property during this time are allowed to reclaim their land through the Legal and Administrative Matters Law. These laws are often used to displace Palestinian communities, as has been witnessed in the Occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
  • The Law of Return, which guarantees citizenship to all Jews. No law exists guaranteeing Palestinians the right to citizenship — even if they were born in what is now considered modern-day Israel.
  • The Citizenship Law, which bans citizenship rights to Palestinians living in the OPT who are married to Israeli citizens. Settlers living in the Occupied West Bank are exempt. Israel’s new government failed to extend the law this month, but reunification still remains a significant problem for many Palestinian families.

Codifying apartheid into law

While the principles outlined in the nation-state law have always been part of Israel’s foundation and way of governing, enacting this legislation turns these de facto concepts into de jure ones and opens the floodgates for further inequity.

“This nation-state law is validating racist behavior against Palestinian Arabs,” Kasem Bakri said.

Despite the controversial legislation remaining, Kasem Bakri is steadfast. “I exist here as an Arab person and I have the right to be here,” he said. “Palestinians exist here like the cactus and the olive trees. We will never be gone from here.”

The Fight to Save Lifta, the Last Remaining Palestinian Village

July 09th, 2021

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

See the source image
Lifta, the only town Israel did not demolish after the Nakba, stands as a symbol of the Palestinian right of return, but an Israeli government “development” plan may soon change that.

LIFTA, JERUSALEM — Yacoub Odeh is 81 years old but he can still remember his childhood in the Palestinian village of Lifta as if it were yesterday. Children playing together in the gardens, swimming in the pools and laying in the grass.

Today, Lifta remains as a frozen time capsule. While the residents were expelled during Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign (Nakba), the ruins of their homes still stand. These ruins carved into the lush hillside are perceived as a symbol of the Palestinians’ right of return. This is the only town Israel did not demolish after the Nakba, but a government plan may soon change that.

In May, the Israel Lands Authority (ILA), the government agency in charge of managing public lands, issued a new tender for construction in Lifta. The development scheme, known as Plan 6036, seeks to build 259 housing units along with a commercial and business space and a luxury hotel on top of and around the existing houses. Daphna Golan-Agnon, a law professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and part of the Save Lifta Coalition’s board, explained that while the homes may not be demolished, “the village will disappear behind walls of concrete needed to hold new construction.”

The bid was supposed to be held on July 4, but significant public opposition delayed it to July 29.

Lifta Jerusalem
The ruins in Lifta, a Palestinian village ethnically cleased in 1948. Liebe Blekh | MintPress News

Attempts to demolish Lifta have been ongoing for years. The ILA first published a tender for Plan 6036 in 2010 after the Israeli state approved the construction plan for Lifta in 2006. A 2012 Jerusalem District Court ruling found Plan 6036 insufficient and requested amending it in accordance with a conservation survey on Lifta from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The IAA survey was completed in 2017 and found that Plan 6036 could not be executed without making significant adjustments in order to preserve the ancient village. Plan 270b was drawn up to fit the survey’s findings but in 2017 the Local Planning and Building Committee of Jerusalem temporarily halted the initiative for further examination.

The recent ILA announcement was met with hundreds of letters to Jerusalem’s mayor rejecting the sale. When reached for comment, the Municipality of Jerusalem told MintPress News that it “wasn’t informed about the publication of this tender and didn’t approve it. The mayor of Jerusalem asked all the relevant authorities to reconsider the construction plan.” The Israel Lands Council, which operates the ILA, did not respond to a request for comment.

‘In one hour, we became refugees’

Lifta’s strategic location at the edge of Jerusalem has made it a prime target for land grabs. Acting as a suburb of Jerusalem, Lifta’s placement next to the Jerusalem-Jaffa Highway makes for an easy trip to the Mediterranean while still being tied to the city of Jerusalem.

Lifta, often referred to as the entrance to Jerusalem, was a wealthy, agricultural community supported by olive presses and flour mills and situated atop the Wadi al-Shami spring. Homes made of limestone were cut into the hillside and Lifta’s roads wended through the valley.

Prior to the 1948 Nakba, Zionist militias like the Haganah saw seizing Lifta as necessary to cement Jewish control over all of Palestine. According to the Haganah Historical Archives, “[s]ecuring the western exit of the city [of Jerusalem] entailed the eviction of Arabs.”  Israeli historian Benny Morris said the Haganah fired the first shots in 1947, setting off the mass expulsion of Lifta’s 2,960 residents.

In December 1947, the Haganah killed a Palestinian business owner in Lifta. Later that month, one of Lifta’s two coffeehouses was ambushed with gunfire and grenades. The attack killed six and wounded seven. Two months into 1948, the Jewish Agency chairman and future first prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, boasted of the ethnic cleansing’s success, telling his political party members: “From your entry into Jerusalem through Lifta — Romema, through Mahane Yehuda, King George Street and Mea She’arim — there are no strangers. One hundred percent Jews.“

Odeh, head of the Lifta Cultural Heritage Protection Commission, was 8-years-old when Lifta came under siege by Zionist forces.

Lifta refugee
Yacoub Odeh, Nakba survivor and head of the Lifta Cultural Heritage Protection Commission. Liebe Blekh | MintPress News

“I remember one day my mother was preparing the fire to heat our room, and then [the Zionist miltiias] began to shoot. My brothers began to cry, ‘Mama, mama! They’re shooting us!’ My mom took us inside the room in the corner and under a table to protect us,” Odeh said, recalling two stories of Lifta — the town’s beauty and charm and then its tragic fall.

“There is the beautiful life and then began the miserable life because of the occupation.”

Toward the end of February 1948, Odeh’s father put him, his siblings and his mother into a truck heading to Ramallah to escape the violence in Lifta. Odeh’s father stayed behind to defend the village from the Zionist gangs.

“We were only wearing the clothing we had on because we are coming back tomorrow. We are coming back. Now we just want to be far from the shooting.” Odeh took a deep sigh and said, “In one hour, we became refugees.”

Today, 55 buildings out of approximately 450 remain in Lifta, including a club, mosque, cemetery and school, which now operates as a school for Israeli Jews. Liftawi refugees are estimated at around 30,000 and live in Jerusalem, the Occupied West Bank and the Diaspora. Most of the homes are empty, but a few are occupied by Israeli settlers. According to Zochrot, the Israeli nonprofit seeking to raise awareness of the Nakba, the “settlements of Mey Niftoach and Giv’at Sha’ul were built on village lands and now have become parts of the suburbs of Jerusalem.”

Saving Lifta

The Save Lifta Coalition orchestrated the campaign to the mayor and has been organizing since 2010 against Plan 6036. The organization spent five years working with scholars, activists, conservation specialists and higher education professionals to develop an alternative to 6036.

Their proposal aims to “expand the area of the national park and turn the village into a natural urban space for the adjacent neighborhoods,” while preserving Lifta’s cultural landscape.

The World Monuments Fund added Lifta to its list of endangered sites in 2018 and UNESCO added the village to its tentative list of world heritage sites.

‘Not something we can discuss now’

When asked about the plan’s responsibility regarding the right of return for Palestinians, Golan-Agnon said, “our plan is a plan to save Lifta as it is for the future generations to decide upon its fate.” She explained:

Many of us [in the coalition] do think there should be a right of return for Palestinians but we know it’s not something we can discuss now. So we say, it’s beautiful, keep it open, and then one day there can be a decision about what happens and who’s coming.

Dana Amawi’s grandmother grew up in Lifta and was expelled from the village in 1948. Now the family lives in Amman, Jordan. The 20-year-old said she was shaken to her core upon hearing the news of the sale. “Lifta symbolized a tiny, very small bit of hope that maybe we will be able to return to it,” Amawi told MintPress. “And now to think that other people might live in the house that I have the right to be in, it’s very sad.”

Lifta Jerusalem
A Palestinian woman holds a partially eaten fig picked from a tree in Lifta. Liebe Blekh | MintPress News

Amawi said that her grandmother fell ill after learning of the auction. “She got sick. She had a fever and she was really, really sad because to her, this is where she grew up. This is where her earliest memories are and this is where she has the right to be,” Amawi said.

Stone houses like the one Odeh spent his early childhood in now crumble from neglect. The walls are sprayed with graffiti and piles of trash line the floors. On Shabbat (the Jewish sabbath), you’ll often find Israelis bathing in the spring’s waters.

Aseel AlBajeh, advocacy officer and legal researcher at the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, visited Lifta in 2018. Her grandmother, who lives in Ramallah, is from Lifta. “It was a painful experience,” AlBajeh said of her time in Lifta. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come back to Lifta in this situation.”

‘You are here as a visitor’

During her visit, AlBajeh tried recalling her grandmother’s memories of a flourishing Lifta, but she said those stories were disrupted by the fact that she’s only in Lifta because of a permit she received from the Israeli government to enter 1948-occupied Palestine or modern-day Israel from the West Bank. “You are here as a visitor. It’s like it’s not a place where you belong, or this is what [the Israeli government] intends for refugees to feel like,” AlBajeh said. “Settlers were swimming in the spring of the village and they were blasting loud music, and it also disrupted my ability to even imagine Lifta as Palestinian.”

Jewish settlers in LIfta
Israeli settlers in Lifta hold a middle finger to a group of Palestinian children. Blekh | MintPress News

To help her reclaim Lifta, AlBajeh took a small piece of the village’s remains during her visit. She collected a broken tile painted with traditional designs from one of the house’s floors, knowing this might be the last physical object she can have of Lifta.

“Lifta is a witness of what happened during the Nakba,” AlBajeh said, explaining:

We have this connection as Palestinians, and when we see the cactus plants, we connect this as evidence that displacement happened here. And if you go to Lifta, you’ll see the huge amount of cactus. So even if the houses remain and [Israel] tries to remove the cactus, it’s still painful… It’s not about the stones or about the trees. It’s about the whole identity of Lifta and the Palestinian history, which we still connect to. “

‘We were kings in our village’

Odeh’s memories paint Lifta as an idyllic place, an oasis carved into the steep slopes of Jerusalem where life was carefree and bountiful. “We were kings in our village,” Odeh said. “Everything we need, we had — a life so simple. We didn’t need cinema or computers, no, everything we needed came from our land.”

But the minute Odeh and his family became refugees, their resources became scarce. “At that time there were no charitable associations or agencies ready to help,” Odeh recalled. “You know what Nakba means? Nakba does not mean to destroy homes. No, Nakba means to destroy the life — economic life, social life, educational life, political life. They destroyed our life.”

Upon reminiscing about Lifta, Odeh said his dream is to go back home:

I miss my childhood. Palestinian children have lost their childhood life to play like children, to go to the theater, to concerts, to football. No, until now we have house demolitions, we have arrests, we have land confiscation and killings. Every day we have events like these — if not my family, my neighborhood.”

Who Will Stand Up for Palestinian Activists? The Brutal, Tragic Murder of Nizar Banat

Nizar Banat Feature photo

By Miko Peled

Source

Blaming the PA for the death of Nizar Banat is the same as blaming the finger of the person pulling the trigger, or blaming the poison rather than those who administered the poison.

OCCUPIED PALESTINE — The inexcusable, tragic murder of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat,– the fierce critic of the Palestinian Authority, or PA, whose “health deteriorated” mysteriously last week while he was in PA custody — shows us once again that Palestinians have no protection. No Palestinian is safe when they decide to stand up and demand rights, justice, or even life. All indicators now point to the PA, as responsible for this reprehensible killing. However, the PA was merely the finger that pulled the trigger.

The Palestinian Authority was created by Israel and it works for Israel — it is a tool in the hands of the apartheid regime. Israel is ultimately responsible for the death of Nizar, just as it is responsible for the death of countless Palestinians. The State of Israel is a violent, racist state that has plagued Palestine for more than seven decades and must be stopped before one more drop of Palestinian blood is shed.

The New York Times quickly published an article berating the corrupt Palestinian Authority and even the U.S. State Department issued a statement regarding Nizar Banat’s death. The State Department spokesman, Ned Price, said in a statement:

We are deeply disturbed by the death of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat and the information that has been reported regarding the circumstances of his death. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and community. We urge the Palestinian Authority to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation and to ensure full accountability in this case. We have serious concerns about Palestinian Authority restrictions on the exercise of freedom of expression by Palestinians and harassment of civil society activists and organizations.”

A staunch defender of Israel, the NYT was quick to denounce the PA's misdeeds
A staunch defender of Israel, the NYT was quick to denounce the PA’s misdeeds

While the family and friends of Nizar undoubtedly feel a deep sense of gratitude that the U.S. Department of State cares enough to issue a statement, one wonders how it is that they don’t issue such statements when Palestinians die in Israeli custody. Is it possible that the U.S. Department of State does not hear of the countless thousands of Palestinians who are arrested, beaten, tortured, and murdered by the Israeli authorities? Curiously, it is only when the executioner is a Palestinian that the U.S. Department of State awakens from its slumber (or perhaps it takes a break from spreading democracy around the world) and pays attention to Palestinians.

While people find great joy in criticizing the Palestinian Authority, they must not forget that it was created by Israel in order to serve Israel and its interests. Blaming the PA for the death of Nizar Banat is the same as blaming the finger of the person pulling the trigger, or blaming the poison rather than those who administered the poison.

Who will be next? Who will defend them?

Reports from media outlets highlight the anti-PA sentiment that is being expressed in large protests throughout Palestinian cities. This latest abuse by the Palestinian Authority may have been a bridge too far and the PA may have underestimated the backlash from the killing of Nizar. We may even see someone being fired from their job or arrested for this, but the fact remains that the Authority itself is an arm of the Israeli oppression.

Those of us who are deeply involved in and committed to the struggle for justice in Palestine are intimately acquainted with Palestinian activists. We should be clear that the world let Nizar Banat die. I personally did not have the honor of ever meeting Nizar, but I live in fear for the lives of the ones I do know. The protests after the fact will not bring Nizar back and, unless we act to prevent the next Palestinian death, we will have failed to stand up to our responsibility.

We neglected to protect Nizar and his family from the brutal injustice that plagues Palestine. Tragically, he is not the first nor will he be the last Palestinian victim of the injustice. This is an injustice that has a name and a face, and with which so many people and governments are happy to engage.

The question raised by the untimely death of Nizar is: Who will stand up for Palestinian activists? Progressive politicians in the West call on us to “tone down the rhetoric.” Bernie Sanders was asked the following question about the use of the word “Apartheid:” “Do you think those who share your view should not use that kind of language?” The senator replied, “I think we should tone down the rhetoric.” The follow-up question should have been “For how long?” How much longer should the rhetoric be “toned down?” How many more fine men and women and children need to be arrested, tortured, expelled, and-or killed before it is appropriate to tone up the rhetoric?

Sanders did introduce a resolution to temporarily block $735 million in U.S. weapons sales to Israel, and he did admit that the sales of weapons to Israel are only “fueling the conflict.” However, this is far from enough.

There is an urgent need to protect Palestinian human rights activists who dedicate their lives to freeing their land and their people from the Zionist oppression. These activists are constantly persecuted by Israel — and by Israel’s contracted enforcer, the Palestinian Authority.

These activists and their children are regularly targeted, arrested, harassed and tortured; and, as we saw in the case of Nizar Banat, killed. While we may see a Palestinian official fired for what must be seen as an embarrassment for the PA, we will not see an end to this persecution until real protection is given to these courageous activists.

The days of expressing solidarity by wearing “Free Palestine” T-shirts are over. People of conscience who want to see an end to the bloody injustice in Palestine need to roll up their sleeves and demand it. There can be no tolerance for Zionism. Zionists and the multitude of Zionist organizations around the world must be shut down and all elected officials, from members of school boards to those who hold national office, must condemn Zionism and the State of Israel or be voted out in shame.

Zionism is racism and it has brought death and suffering to Palestine and its people. It is up to us to see to it that the death of Nizar Banat will not have been in vain.

Palestanian Protesters Recount Harrowing Details of Torture at the Hands of Israeli Police

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

Officers wounded the detainees, terrorized them, and whomever dared to lift his head upwards risked more beatings by officers. According to affidavits, the floor of the room was covered in blood from the beatings.

NAZARETH, ISRAEL — In May, the world watched Israel’s brutal occupation on full display: The forcible displacement of Sheikh Jarrah residents was underway; Israeli security forces attacked Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan; Israeli rocket fire rained down on Gaza; and Jewish extremists chanted “Death to Arabs!” in the streets.

According to multiple testimonies, Israeli police in Nazareth ran a “torture room” where they ruthlessly attacked Palestinian detainees during the wave of demonstrations against Israel in May.

Now, as international headlines fade on Palestine, Israeli violence continues.

‘The floor of the room was covered in blood’

Faiz Zbedeiat was talking on the phone about 20 feet away from a protest in Nazareth. The moment the 21-year-old student hung up the phone, Israeli police threw a stun grenade into the street. An officer then charged at him and punched him in the nose. Zbedeiat was soon encircled by police who grabbed him, hit him, and pushed him toward a Border Police officer who tried to slam his head against a wall.

“I asked why they were hitting me when I’m not resisting,” Zbedeiat said. “I put my hands behind my back even though they didn’t handcuff me. Nevertheless, the same Border Police officer hit me in the nose with the walkie-talkie that he was holding.”

The officers dragged Zbedeiat by his head to the police station, beating him along the way.

“On the way, we met a policeman who appeared to be an officer, and he started laughing and said to them: ‘Did you only arrest him? That’s not enough. We need more,’” Zbedeiat said.

The beating continued inside the police station. Cops kicked, slapped, and hit detainees with batons, laughing as they struck them.

Zbedeiat detailed how one officer smacked detainees with an M-16 rifle. He watched as one man with a broken nose — face covered in blood — was continuously hit by officers. Then Zbedeiat described his own treatment:

A police officer approached me and whispered in my ear, threatening me. He cursed my mother, my sister, and my wife. He then asked, ‘Did you understand?’ I didn’t answer, and he immediately slapped me in the face. He asked me again: ‘Do you understand?’ I still didn’t answer and he slapped me again in the face. Finally, he said ‘Go explain to your friends.’ He pushed me back down to the floor and hit me again.”

Israeli police torture
A Palestinian child is taken into an “observation post” after his arrest at a protest in Jerusalem, June 10, 2021. Maya Alleruzzo | AP

Zbedeiat’s violent detention in May is one of many such, according to Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. The advocacy group collected multiple sworn affidavits attesting to the abuse of Palestinian protesters by Israeli officers, attorneys, bystanders, and children inside Nazareth’s police station from May 9 to May 14. The majority of the violent arrests and most of the abuse were conducted by Israeli special forces, including undercover Mista’aravim (counter-terror units within the Israeli Army, Border Police, and Israel Police) officers pretending to be Palestinians.

Adalah submitted a complaint to Israel’s Attorney General and the chairman of the Police Investigation Department on June 7. In their letter, Adalah wrote:

Police officers led the detainees to a room located on the left side of the entrance corridor to the station, forcing them to sit on the floor handcuffed, to lower their heads towards the floor, and began to beat them on all parts of their bodies, using kicks and clubs, slamming their heads against walls or doors, and more. Officers wounded the detainees, terrorized them, and whomever dared to lift his head upwards risked more beatings by officers. According to affidavits, the floor of the room was covered in blood from the beatings.

Police violence amounting to torture

Under Israeli law, authorities must respond to the letter within 45 days. But Adalah attorney and co-author of the complaint, Wesam Sharaf, told MintPress that Adalah has not received a response from the Attorney General or Police Investigation Department. Adalah did receive a response from Nazareth’s Chief of Police, stating that he will cooperate if there’s an investigation and will take the appropriate disciplinary actions.

“What happened inside the police station in Nazareth amounts to torture and ill-treatment, and requires the immediate opening of a criminal investigation to examine the circumstances and conditions of the protesters’ detention at the station – including the investigation and prosecution of police officers involved in the violence,” Adalah attorneys wrote in their complaint.

Sharaf explained that the witness and victim accounts of police brutality inside the Israeli police station describe activity deemed torturous under international law:

What we have seen in the police station is that instead of investigating the people, the police would beat them up. [The police] deny [the detainees] in need of medical attention that medical attention and make them sign [false] affidavits as a condition to get medical attention… When this treatment is [directed at] detainees, it may amount to torture according to international law.”

Torture is defined under international law as intentionally inflicting severe pain or suffering in order to obtain a confession or information, intimidate or coerce the individual, or as punishment for alleged offenses. Torture is illegal and considered a war crime.

The Police Investigation Department, Nazareth police station, Israel Police, and commander of the Northern District of the Israel Police did not respond to MintPress News’ requests for comment by the time of deadline.

Israel’s mass-arrest campaign targeting Palestinians

In a move largely seen as squelching Palestinian dissent, Israel Police launched a mass-arrest campaign in May, targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel who participated in protests against ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah, attacks at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Israel’s assault on Gaza.

Israeli police arrested 2,142 individuals and filed 184 indictments during “Operation Guardian of the Walls” and “Operation Law and Order.” According to Sharaf, more than 150 Palestinians were arrested in Nazareth in May, and about one in ten were indicted.

Ashraf Mahroum, an attorney representing nine people detained by police in Nazareth, said his clients and others were charged for protesting illegally, creating illegal organizations, and assaulting police officers. Maroum’s clients allege police fired rubber bullets at the upper parts of their bodies during the protests — a direct violation of the low governing use of rubber bullets. During their detention, officers struck them with batons and smacked them over the head with guns. Most of his clients’ injuries were on the head and face. Some were forced to sign affidavits stating they won’t disclose what happened to them in order to receive medical treatment.

Evidence of similar police violence against Palestinians appeared in other cities across 1948-occupied Palestine (modern-day Israel) including in Lydd, Akka, Yaffa and Haifa, Sharaf said, adding detainees in these localities arrived in court with visible signs of abuse. Sharaf concluded:

[Adalah] has other testimonies about police brutality in different areas; some of this brutality was against protesters and some of it has been inside police stations against detainees. With the systematic ill treatment that we have witnessed from the 9th of May to the 14th of May, we can assume that more people have been subject to such kind of treatment.”

Israel’s expanding history of torture

The Israel Security Agency (ISA) has long used torture as a standard tactic during interrogations of Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories. Until the late 1990s, the ISA was allowed to use “psychological pressure” and a “moderate degree of physical pressure” in order to “prevent terrorism,” according to 1987 recommendations from a state commission. The commission’s opinion permitted the ISA to use methods of torture in their interrogations under the “necessity defense” clause found in Israeli penal law.

The Israeli Supreme Court banned the use of physical methods during interrogations in 1999 after a series of petitions were filed by human rights organizations and Palestinians who experienced ISA interrogations. However, the court ruled the practice of physical pressure could remain in urgent cases as part of the “ticking bomb” exception under the necessity defense. This legal loophole has allowed torture and ill treatment to persist in ISA interrogations, despite the Israeli Justice Ministry having drafted a law to criminalize torture.

Israel torture
An illustration from a 1991 B’Teslem report detailing torture methods used by Israeli forces

According to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), 1,300 complaints regarding the use of torture against Palestinian citizens in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by the ISA have been submitted to the Ministry of Justice since 2001. These complaints resulted in only one criminal investigation and no indictments.

PCATI receives dozens of complaints each year attesting to brutality occurring during arrest, detention, interrogation and imprisonment of Palestinians from the OPT. The nonprofit organization estimates 5% to 10% of these cases amount to instances of severe torture.

Severe interrogations increased sharply in 2020. “In the passing year, more people were tortured in Israel than in any other year in the past decade,” PCATI said in their 2020 situation report on torture of Palestinians by Israeli security forces. While cases of torture are prevalent within the OPT, Tal Steiner, Director General of PCATI, said 1948-occupied Palestine is now experiencing an escalation of torture incidents. Steiner told MintPress:

[PCATI] has seen attributes that are usually found in the West Bank trickling into Israel. There’s administrative arrest, prevention of rights to seek counsel, to receive medical attention — those are things that are quite unfortunately common in the West Bank and the Occupied Territories that have now become more evident within Israel proper… This is not something that’s usual or routine within Israel for Israeli citizens — Palestinian or not. So it’s a turn for the worse.”

Israel torture
An illustration from a 1991 B’Teslem report detailing torture methods used by Israeli forces

Steiner attributed this surge within Historic Palestine to a culture of impunity spurred by Israeli politicians like former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, explaining:

When the police and military forces entered the mixed cities within Israel to so-call restore the peace, then-Prime Minister Netanyahu was quoted saying, ‘Go ahead and do your job and don’t worry about any commission of inquiry.’ These types of announcements by the prime minister and other Israeli leaders can also be a reason why police officers thought they could get away with it. They can use extreme force toward citizens, demonstrators, and especially toward people from minority groups, and go unpunished.”

“I thought I was going to die”

On May 13, the eve of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, Nazareth resident Omaiyer Lawabne was out with friends to celebrate. As he approached an ATM to withdraw money, he saw an officer decked in full riot gear running toward him. Instinctively, he began running away.

“The cops started throwing grenades at me, and I kept running because I knew that if I stood still I could be badly wounded by the grenades,” Lawabne said. “While I was still running, one of the policemen raised his hand and hit me in the left eye, and I fell to the ground.”

Police surrounded Lawabne on the pavement, kicking him in the face and head. One officer pressed his boot into Lawabne’s head and shoulder. “I felt intense pain all over my body, from my head to my legs. One of them started kicking me in the artery behind the ear,” Lawabne said. “At that moment, I thought I was going to die.”

t the police station, Lawabne saw detainees stuffed into a room, resembling “prisoners of war.” They sat on the floor with their legs folded under them and heads bent. A masked officer paced around the room with a club-like object in his hand. Any detainee who lifted his head met the full swing of the officer’s bat on their head.

“They pushed me down into a corner and I lowered my head and curled up. Nevertheless, the same police officer hit me hard on the head with that object,” Lawabne said.

Days after his detention, Lawabne still felt excruciating pain throughout his body. He couldn’t sleep from the dizziness. He couldn’t eat without vomiting. He couldn’t speak coherently. He still doesn’t understand why he was arrested when he wasn’t participating in any nearby protests.

“It was the first time I had been arrested, an arrest that I believe was illegal, pointless, and very violent,” Lawabne said.

Where Infrastructure Means Prisons: A Drive into the Naqab and the Illusion of Israeli Democracy

By Miko Peled

Source

Out of close to 250,000 Palestinian Beduin in the Naqab, about half live in “unrecognized villages.” This means they get no roads, no electricity or running water, no schools or medical facilities — no services at all.

THE NAQAB, PALESTINE — As I was preparing to leave Palestine, I found it harder to fall asleep. I spent the last few days in Jerusalem, mostly walking between the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah in the north and Silwan in the south, crossing through the alleys of the Old City on the way. But even during the days when things had seemingly calmed down, like lava that seems to have cooled on the surface but is still hot on the inside, eruptions that tell of greater eruptions to come were everywhere.

Two fine boys taken

Abdul Khaliq and Mohammed Burnat — sons of the well-known Bil’in activist and popular resistance leader, Iyad Burnat — were arrested and for days their parents knew nothing of their whereabouts. These two fine young men were kidnapped by armed Israeli terrorists. As I was driving through Jerusalem, I passed by the Moskubiya, or the Russian Compound, where they were being held. The Moskubiya is a notorious prison and interrogation center where the Israeli authorities interrogate and torture Palestinians. It sits in the heart of downtown West Jerusalem, cafes and restaurants all around it filled with people having a good time. Too bad that they cannot hear the screams of children being tortured right around the corner.

I cannot imagine what the parents of Abdul Khaliq and Mohammed must be going through. Knowing that your children were kidnapped and are now being tortured, beaten and threatened with no one to support or help them and there is no law or authority that can provide them protection! If one or both of them were to be killed or permanently injured there would be no recourse. It is like a coming-of-age ceremony that countless young Palestinians must go through because they live on the oppressed side of an apartheid regime.

Iyad Burnat family
Iyad Burnat poses with his family circa 2019. Twitter | @IyadBurnat

A younger generation stands

It was just a few days ago that I spent a long day driving through the Naqab. The first part of the day I was in Bir El-Saba to visit the Zionist district court, where a hearing was taking place regarding the fate of Palestinian activists from the Naqab. These were activists who had been beaten by an Israeli mob and then detained, and the court was discussing their possible release.

Later that day I drove with friends to the unrecognized village of Sawawin. We wanted to visit another local activist who had just been released from prison. The Naqab — or Negev, as Israel calls it — is the entire southern half of Palestine, and its 250,000 Palestinian-Beduin residents are citizens of the State of Israel but enjoy few if any, rights.

Out of close to 250,000 Palestinian Beduin in the Naqab, about half live in “unrecognized villages.” This means they get no services at all. There are no roads, something I was about to experience for myself, as well as no electricity or running water, no schools or medical facilities. This is the apartheid state of “Israel.” As a point of interest, it is estimated that close to half of the refugee population in the Gaza Strip, as well as over a million refugees in Jordan, are from the Naqab region.

As we were speeding down the highway in my tiny rented Citroen, I was told to slow down and look for a place to get off the main road. There was no road, just a place my friends thought was the starting point of the journey that leads to Sawawin as well as several other Palestinian villages to which the State of Israel refuses to provide services. The total population in that part of the Naqab is around 50,000.

We drove with no clear road in sight, on dirt covered in rocks, going up hills and down ravines and we were not really sure whether we were going the right way. We passed other unrecognized villages along the way and asked for directions — my friends, all Beduin Palestinians, speaking in Arabic with an accent that is unique to the Naqab. About halfway through I was urged to start driving faster, my very slow pace and the setting sun meant we would soon see nothing.

It was about five or six miles before we reached Sawawin. The drive was long and far from safe and we had to ask for directions three or four times. I couldn’t help thinking about the possibility of a medical emergency. “How would an ambulance reach this place?” I asked. “Ambulances do not come here,” my friends responded. “If there is a medical emergency the residents need to find their way to the main road.”

Naqab
A child climbs on the remains of a home demolished by Israeli authorities in Naqab Desert. Photo | Activestills

Six and half years in solitary confinement

We reached Sawawin as the sun was setting. We walked into a cinder block structure where about thirty men were sitting on the floor in a large circle. Some of them had their children huddled next to them. We took our places in the circle, the seated area covered by a cloth, large pillows placed on it for people to recline on, all covered in Bedouin-style cloth. Arabic coffee was served, followed by large trays of rice and chicken. Then more coffee, then tea and cigarettes.

The men were talking about prison and their experiences at the hands of the Israeli authorities. One activist leader who had just been recently released sat next to me. He told of his experience,  which included six and a half years in solitary confinement. He was a political prisoner but, unlike most Palestinian political prisoners, he was not from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip but a citizen of Israel. Out of fear that he would influence the others he was kept in solitary.

Citizens with rights?

At one point one of my friends spoke. He told the others — many of whom were arrested for just being at the wrong place at the wrong time, some as young as thirteen or fourteen — about their rights. He reminded them that the Palestinian Beduin in the Naqab have Israeli citizenship, which means they are tried in civilian court, not military-like the residents of Gaza and the West Bank. He reminded them that they have a right to remain silent, and a right to see a lawyer.

He also stated that the state gets around these rights by designating Palestinian detainees as “security” detainees. This means the Shabak, or secret police, have the right to keep the detainees for long periods of time and interrogate them without their seeing a lawyer.

The illusion of democracy in action

As the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, swears in a new government to replace Benjamin Netanyahu, one can see the illusion of democracy in action. It is a democracy for the few, who continue to rule and oppress the many. While many question marks regarding the new government remain — such as how long it will take before Netanyahu returns to the prime minister’s chair — one thing is clear: Mohammad and Abdul Khaliq Burnat, as well as countless others throughout Palestine, will continue to fight the apartheid regime and pay a heavy price.

End of Netanyhu’s Tenure Leaves Israeli Apartheid Tyranny in Place

 June 12, 2021

By Stephen Lendman

Source

On Sunday Netanyahu’s tenure ends, Israeli apartheid tyranny will remain in power under new management — like always before in Jewish state history.

Ahead of a Friday evening deadline, a penultimate hurdle passed when all opposition parties submitted required signed coalition agreements to the Knesset secretary.

At this time, a final one is Sunday’s Knesset swearing-in ceremony to officially replace the Netanyahu regime with a new one.

At the same time, things are never over when they’re over as long as he’s around.

He’s not leaving quietly and when disempowered won’t operate as a loyal to the country opposition.

Continuing to cite nonexistent victimization, he claims a “deep state” conspiracy targeted him for removal (sic), adding:

“They are uprooting the good (sic) and replacing it with the bad and dangerous,” he roared.

“I fear for the destiny of the nation (sic).”

His inflammatory rhetoric has been around at least since the 1990s.

For him, opposition Jews are anti-Israeli leftists, Arab politicians considered fifth column threat terrorist sympathizers.

Delusions of grandeur define his self-crafted persona, falsely claiming he alone can lead the Jewish state at a time of invented barbarians at the gates.

Since becoming Israeli prime minister for the second time in early 2009 and remaining in office for 12 straight years, he’s on the cusp of being dethroned for being unable to form a majority coalition government after four elections since 2019 — a sign of weakness overtaking diminished strength.

His ravings don’t resonate like earlier.

According to Israeli political scientist Gayil Talshir:

When out of power, “(w)e’re going to see a very assertive and aggressive head of the opposition, meaning Netanyahu, determined to make sure that this coalition of change would be a short-lived one and that we will have another election as soon as possible,” adding:

“We don’t have even a memory of what normal politics looks like.”

On Thursday, the Times of Israel reported that members of Netanyahu’s inner circle know that although his time is up, he’ll combat the new government to “bring it down.”

Peaceful transition of power and respect for the rule of law was never his style, notably not after reigning as King Bibi for 12 straight years.

It’s unclear if he’ll attend Sunday’s swearing in session and traditional handover of power on Monday.

No joint briefing with incoming prime minister Naftali Bennett is scheduled.

On Friday, Ynet News noted even though a new government is set to replace him Sunday, he’s “not relenting for a second…”

He “sen(t) his messengers and sycophants to lash out at his opponents and continue nurturing the toxic discourse he has created.”

You’re either with him or against Israel, according to his mindset.

Because of his extremist rhetoric and toxic environment he created, many opposition coalition members require security for protection of themselves and family members.

In or out of power, he represents an unparalleled internal threat to political forces against him.

The harm he caused since taking power left permanent scars, defenseless Palestinians bearing the brunt of his viciousness.

Haaretz reported on recently surfacing video from Israel’s Ketziot Prison on Netanyahu’s watch, saying: 

It “should have set off an earthquake in the Israel Prison Service, police and the State Prosecutor’s Office.”

It showed dozens of Palestinian prisoners thrown to a concrete floor.

Shackled with their hands behind their back, guards beat them repeatedly with metal batons and by kicking.

Ordered not to move or speak, their ordeal continued for hours — the incident filmed by security cameras.

According to an unnamed prison official, it was one of the most violent unprovoked incidents ever inside an Israeli prison.

Only four guards were questioned briefly about what happened in March 2019, video of it now emerging for the first time.

It showed no rioting or other provocations.

About 15 Palestinian prisoners required hospitalization, at least two in serious condition from what happened at the time.

Recounting the incident, one affected Palestinian said the following:

“They put us in restraints and no one resisted, and then they simply began to beat us with (metal) batons,” adding: 

“They tossed us into the center of the wing like we were nothing, and beat us without us being able to defend ourselves.”

Despite prisoners knowing the guards and seeing them daily, “(t)hat didn’t keep them from beating us mercilessly.”

“We were sure they were going to kill us.”

“Everyone prayed to God. Only after seeing all the blood around me did one of the officers order that I be taken to the clinic.”

“They beat me along the way, too.”

Others described similar horror stories.

Restrained in pairs after beatings, they stayed that way overnight.

Stripped and not given mattresses, they were kept this way for three days “without anything.”

Told to keep heads down, “anyone who raised his head gotten beaten.”

Haaretz explained that four guards alone were “briefly questioned on suspicion of battery,” adding:

Few attempts were made to identify additional officers present that night.” 

“Although the prisoners declared they could identify the perpetrators, no lineup was conducted.”

After closure of the case with no accountability, the Hamoked human rights group appealed to Israel’s attorney general, saying:

“The incident at Ketziont is a case of brute, wholesale violence against tied, helpless people,” adding:

“The investigative authorities’ attempt to shirk responsibility, despite the security camera footage, is a badge of shame for the national unit for investigating corrections officers and investigative bodies in general.” 

Others described similar horror stories.

Restrained in pairs after beatings, they stayed that way overnight.

Stripped and not given mattresses, they were kept this way for three days “without anything.”

Told to keep heads down, “anyone who raised his head gotten beaten.”

Haaretz explained that four guards alone were “briefly questioned on suspicion of battery,” adding:

Few attempts were made to identify additional officers present that night.” 

“Although the prisoners declared they could identify the perpetrators, no lineup was conducted.”

After closure of the case with no accountability, the Hamoked human rights group appealed to Israel’s attorney general, saying:

“The incident at Ketziont is a case of brute, wholesale violence against tied, helpless people,” adding:

“The investigative authorities’ attempt to shirk responsibility, despite the security camera footage, is a badge of shame for the national unit for investigating corrections officers and investigative bodies in general.” 

Press Violations Explode to 180 in May Alone as Israel Cracks Down to Buff Its Image

June 11th, 2021

Israel Press Freedom Feature photo

By Jessical Buxbaum

Source

“The more that Israel is exposed internationally for its human rights violations in Palestine, the more it becomes desperate in its attempt to crack down on journalists and the media in general.” — Dr. Ramzy Baroud

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM — Despite wearing a press vest and holding a government press card, Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Givara Budeiri was violently assaulted and arrested by Israeli police on June 5.

Budeiri was covering a demonstration in the Occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah when Israeli forces attacked and then detained her for several hours on the grounds she kicked a soldier, which she denies. She was released only on terms that she doesn’t visit Sheikh Jarrah for 15 days.

“The silencing of journalists by terrorizing them has become a routine activity for the Israeli authorities, as witnessed in recent weeks in Gaza and occupied Jerusalem,” Dr. Mostefa Souag, acting director-general of Al Jazeera Media Network, said in a statement regarding Budeiri’s detention.

Violence against journalists, destruction of media property, and online censorship are all part of Israel’s systematic campaign to prevent the Palestinian narrative from reaching a global platform and exposing Israel’s crimes. And these efforts are only increasing.

The climate of press freedom

During the course of Israel’s 11-day war on Gaza, Israeli airstrikes destroyed four buildings housing at least 18 local and international media outlets. These included the offices belonging to Al Jazeera, Associated Press, Al-Araby TV, and Nawa Online Women Media Network. Israel’s bombardment also killed Palestinian journalist Yousef Abu Hussein and injured journalists Mohammad al-Louh and Elias Karram. Since April 21, a growing number of journalists have been harassed and assaulted by Israeli security forces and right-wing activists.

But attacks on the press aren’t exclusive to the recent violence in Palestine associated with Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Gaza. Israel holds a ranking of 86 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index (with “1” being the most free) and Palestine sits at 132.

Israel Press Freedom

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 18 journalists have been killed in the region since 1992; and currently 13 Palestinian journalists are imprisoned in Israeli jailsThe Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) reported 408 violations in the Occupied West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza in 2020, with Israel responsible for 53% of the attacks. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) reported 608 media violations in 2020, with 490 of those violations committed by Israeli forces.

Israeli press violations encompass a wide range of dangerous actions, including physical assaults, targeting of media institutions, arrests, detentions, interrogations, raids, confiscation and destruction of equipment, and even using journalists as human shields.

A journalist’s personal experience

In one case, Dan Cohen — an American journalist and MintPress News contributor who was in Palestine from 2014 to 2017 — experienced being used as a human shield by Israeli forces firsthand. During an Israeli army raid into the Aida refugee camp in the West Bank in March 2014, a commander grabbed Cohen while he was reporting and forced him to stand in front of soldiers shooting at Palestinian youth. He was able to escape unscathed, but the incident still burns in his mind when considering freedom of the press in Israel-Palestine. “It was a very obvious case of the Israeli army attempting to use me as a hu

man shield either to punish me for documenting their activities, potentially injure me, or just to scare me,” Cohen said.

Cohen was harassed again during another army operation into the camp in 2014. A group of soldiers approached him, with one brandishing his weapon at Cohen. They forced him to turn around against a wall. “And then when I couldn’t see, they threw a flash [grenade] at me,” Cohen said. “Of course, it startled me and then they just laughed as they walked away. So, this is typical Israeli army harassment of journalists.”

Journalists — foreign and local — face a myriad of barriers when covering Palestine-Israel. But Cohen feels the pressures are more extreme for journalists who don’t fit into the establishment mold. “If you do the mainstream, New York Times reporting and stick to official events and don’t really challenge the hasbara narrative, then you’re not in any kind of danger. But if you dare to go to where Palestinians are demonstrating, then you’ll get tear gassed. You might get shot with a rubber-coated bullet and you may even get hit with live ammunition,” Cohen said. Hasbara is the Israeli term for propaganda and refers to the government’s diplomatic efforts to manipulate information and control the global narrative on Israel-Palestine. Cohen concluded, “A lot of it just depends on what you expose yourself to, but fundamentally journalists in Israel have no real protection.”

Israel Airstrike press offices

For journalists like Cohen, who has reported for alternative media outlets like Mondoweiss, challenging Israel’s status quo can turn you into a target. This is even more likely if you’re Jewish. “Zionists consider Jews who dissent from the Israeli government positions as traitors who are even worse than Arabs,” Cohen told MintPress, adding:

Jews speaking out against Israeli crimes — whether you’re an activist, a journalist, or anybody — severely undermines the so-called Jewish state’s ability to project itself as a defender of Jews worldwide and claim that its crimes against Palestinians are necessary to ensure the livelihood of a worldwide Jewry.

Yet it’s not just the Israeli military and government targeting the press. In recent weeks, CPJ, the Committee to Protect Journalists, uncovered far-right, Jewish nationalists encouraging violence against media professionals documenting these extremists’ coordinated attacks against Palestinians. “[We] can do both [target Arabs and journalists], it really doesn’t contradict. There are Arab terrorists and there are media terrorists,” read a WhatsApp message from a local group.

According to the Union of Journalists in Israel (ITONAIM), Israeli journalists faced dozens of attacks from the public and Israeli authorities from April 21 to May 15.

The I’lam – Arab Center for Media Freedom, Development and Research also released a report documenting 13 incidents of harassment and violence against Palestinian and Israeli journalists in May. The majority of these cases were committed by Israeli security forces. I’lam reported: 

According to the testimonies collected, the Israeli security forces’ attempts to eradicate journalists and prevent the media from reporting on the events aim to provide the official Israeli narrative with legitimacy and credibility in front of the world… Eradicating journalists is not only violating national and international laws, it also undermines the people’s right to know the facts, which it appears Israel is trying to hide.

Palestinian press under greater threat

Neither Israeli nor Palestinian journalists are immune to harassment — especially when it comes to reporting on Israeli corruption. But one group faces significantly greater danger in doing their job.

“There is very little margin for press freedom in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories. Traditionally, the limitations and the restrictions have been imposed on Palestinian journalists covering Israeli military activities, the Israeli occupation, and Israeli violations of human rights,” Dr. Ramzy Baroud, editor of Palestine Chronicle, told MintPress News, adding:

As of late, even Israeli journalists and media that seem to be sympathetic in any way with Palestinians or who are exposing the right-wing policies of Benjamin Netanyahu and his government have also faced a degree of limitation and restriction. But, of course, we are still talking about a vastly disproportionate difference here in how Palestinian and Israeli journalists are treated.”

According to a report from PJS’ Freedom Committee, Israel committed more than 180 press violations against Palestinians in May. About 80 violations occurred in the Gaza Strip, with around 37 media institutions targeted and at least 10 journalists injured by rocket fire.

In the West Bank and Jerusalem, roughly 100 Palestinian journalists have faced ongoing attacks from Israeli authorities through work restrictions, confiscation of equipment, tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets.

PJS called on the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to send a commission to investigate Israeli crimes against Palestinian journalists. The HRC responded on May 27 by adopting a resolution establishing a commission to investigate press violations that have occurred in Palestine-Israel since April 13.

Amid Israel’s latest crackdown on Palestinian journalists, Cohen emphasized, however, that this isn’t a new phenomenon explaining:

For decades Palestinian journalists have been persecuted by an Israeli military dictatorship that doesn’t afford Palestinians any rights or guarantee any kind of freedom, whether that’s freedom of press or anything else. So, the recent attacks on Palestinian journalists and media institutions are part and parcel of the modus operandi of the apartheid regime.”

Media attacks worsening

As previously mentioned, multiple press watchdog groups monitoring Palestine-Israel indicate a drastic increase in media violations in recent months. Dr. Baroud agrees freedom of the press is worsening as Israeli crimes are broadcast on the world stage, concluding:

The more that Israel is exposed internationally for its human rights violations in Palestine, the more it becomes desperate in its attempt to crack down on journalists and the media in general. [Journalists] pose a threat to Israel in the sense that their job exposes Israeli practices and human rights violations against the Palestinians. So, in the eyes of Israel the journalist becomes the enemy because, even though he’s not carrying a weapon, the camera and the pen become weapons.”

Sanctions against Israel, anyone?

Response from UK government has Foreign Office still playing childish game of charades

UK-Israel symbiosis

By Stuart Littlewood -June 10, 2021

…from Stuart Littlewood, Britain

First published June 10, 2021

An online petition was recently sent to the British Government demanding sanctions against Israel. It said: “The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms. Its disproportionate treatment of Palestinians and settlements that are regarded by the international community as illegal are an affront to civilised society.” 385,225 signed.

The Government promises a debate on the petition on 14 June. But its response includes this statement from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office issued yesterday (my comments in italics):

The UK is firmly opposed to boycotts or sanctions against Israel. Our close and varied relationship means we are able to express clearly when we disagree.

HM Government has made its position on sanctions clear. While we do not hesitate to express disagreement with Israel whenever we feel it necessary, we are firmly opposed to boycotts or sanctions. We believe that open and honest discussions, rather than the imposition of sanctions or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts, best supports our efforts to help progress the peace process and achieve a negotiated solution.

• Open and honest discussion with Israel has never worked. You happily slap other nations with sanctions.

HM Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We consider all export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework. We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard.

• Clearly your risk assessments aren’t strict enough.

The UK welcomed the recent announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life.

During the Foreign Secretary’s visit to the region on 26 May he reiterated the UK’s firm commitment to the two-state solution as the best way to permanently end the occupation, deliver Palestinian self-determination and preserve Israel’s security and democratic identity. The UK will continue our intensive diplomatic efforts in the region, focussed on creating the conditions for a sustainable peace.

• The cycle of violence and loss of civilian life didn’t end after previous ceasefires. Israel continued ‘mowing the lawn’. Why are you committed to the two-state solution when you’ve allowed Israel to establish facts on the ground that make a viable Palestinian state impossible? What do you think a Palestinian state will look like when you eventually get around to recognising one?

Haven’t you yet understood that Israel doesn’t want peace until it has annexed the whole of Palestine and that your stance simply aids the Zionists’ criminal ambition? Haven’t you heard Israeli leaders repeated say they will never allow a Palestinian state? And by the way Israel has no “democratic identity”, it’s a deeply unpleasant ethnocracy.

Israel is an important strategic partner for the UK and we collaborate on issues of defence and security. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering. The UK unequivocally condemns the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and locations within Israel.

We strongly condemn these acts of terrorism by Hamas and other terrorist groups, who must permanently end their incitement and rocket fire against Israel. We are also concerned by reports that Hamas is again using civilian infrastructure and populations as cover for its military operations.

• As long as we are a strategic partner of Israel we will never be trusted in the Middle East. We have no enemies in the region, not even Iran, so why provoke hostility? And given Israel’s track record how can anyone feel comfortable swopping defence and security secrets? You persistently accuse Hamas of incitement when it is the Palestinians who are under illegal military occupation and blockade.

You complain about Hamas firing garden-shed rockets but never condemn the Israelis for bombarding tightly-lacked Gaza with devastating state of the art ordnance deliberately mis-aimed to cause horrendous slaughter of civilians. Also check the definition of terrorist and consider whether it fits the Israeli regime better than Hamas.

We are clear that all countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties.

• Israel has no comprehension of “proportionate” and no right of self defence against the people it illegally occupies, murders and dispossesses. It has never complied with international Humanitarian Law, whereas the Palestinians have every right under international law to mount an armed resistance, makeshift though it is, against the occupier.

The UK is strongly opposed to the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel, just as we oppose any calls for boycotts which divide people and reduce understanding.

 It is nonsense to claim the UK as a whole is opposed to sanctions against Israel. Only self-serving supporters of the apartheid regime oppose sanctions.

The UK position on evictions, demolitions, and settlements is longstanding and clear. We oppose these activities. We urge the Government of Israel to cease its policies related to settlement expansion immediately, and instead work towards a two state solution. Settlements are illegal under international law, and present an obstacle to peace.

We want to see a contiguous West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as part of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders. Our position was reflected in our support for UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and we continue to urge Israel at the highest level to halt settlement expansion immediately.

• You may well oppose these things but that’s not enough. Haven’t you noticed – the Israelis don’t give a damn? What HM Government wants to see doesn’t matter to them. Their expansion programme is unstoppable except by applying firm and effective consequences. UNSCR 2334 was adopted four and a half years ago. It says Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”.

It demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Is Israel biting its nails thinking the sky is about to fall in on them? No, it laughs in the UN’s face. What has the British government and other members of the Security Council done in that time to concentrate Israel’s mind and ensure compliance?

We advise British businesses to bear in mind the British Government’s view on the illegality of settlements under international law when considering their investments and activities in the region. Ultimately, it will be the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but the British Government would neither encourage nor offer support to such activity.

• Nevertheless you continually reward Israel for its crimes against humanity with favoured trading deals and special collaboration agreements.

We have also made clear our concerns about the increasing rate of demolitions and evictions of Palestinians. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction.

• The demolitions and evictions have been going on for 73 years. You haven’t in the least been focused on preventing them. And using UK taxpayers’ money to sustain Israel’s criminal policy is utterly gross.

As a strong friend of Israel, and one which has stood up for Israel when it faces bias and unreasonable criticism, we are continuing to urge Israel to not take steps such as these, which move us away from our shared goals of peace and security.

• Why are you “a strong friend” of this apartheid entity in the first place? You shame us all. Israel’s idea of peace and security is far removed from anyone else’s. It’s shocking to hear that you (implying we) “share” their goals.

The occupation will not end and peace will not be achieved by symbolic measures, but by real movement towards renewed peace negotiations which create a viable Palestinian state, living in peace and security side-by-side with Israel.

We will continue to press Israel and the Palestinians strongly on the need to refrain from taking actions, which make peace more difficult. And will continue to encourage further confidence building steps towards meaningful bilateral peace negotiations between the parties.

 What, more lopsided ‘negotiations’ overseen by the most dishonest broker on the planet? Are you SERIOUS? The occupation will end and peace will be achieved only when justice is done and seen to be done. International law has spoken. Now deliver it, please, instead of endless shaming us with your dangerous delusions.

The entire British Government would do well to recall George Washington’s wise words: “The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave… a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.”

Yes, “slave” fits Israel’s stooges at Westminster admirably.

Stuart Littlewood
9 June 2021

AUTHOR DETAILS

Stuart Littlewood

After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics he served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. With a lifelong passion for photography he has produced two photo-documentary books, one of which can be read online at http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk.

http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.ukstu@f8.eclipse.co.uk

Apartheid vs. Apartheid in the time of ‘wokeness’

Apartheid vs. Apartheid in the time of ‘wokeness’

June 02, 2021

By Remote Writer for the Saker Blog

Whose Apartheid is/was the worst? This analysis will focus on the severity of South Africa’s Apartheid and will touch on other forms of Apartheid too.  This article is motivated by The Saker’s call for action in seeking out the Truth, in his recent article: “Woke insanity: why is there so little pushback?!”

Before we proceed to South Africa, the following question is posed: What is/was the level of “Apartheid” (if any) in the following states/countries? Israel and Palestine (current/ongoing conflict); Ireland (Catholic and Protestant divisions in Northern Ireland); India (caste system); China (problems with ethnic minorities); Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador (Quality of life and education for indigenous peoples versus that for Europeans), Middle East (Sunni and Shia divisions); the formation and breakup of Yugoslavia; “Safe Spaces” for Woke?

Bearing that in mind, we now turn our attention to the Apartheid of South Africa (then and now).

The claim is often made that South Africa’s Apartheid was uniquely evil under the Afrikaners/Boers and that nobody could hold a candle to them (except perhaps Israel). First, we need to look at the definition of Apartheid. There are two definitions for it. When people refer to Apartheid, the first definition [below] is the one they usually refer to:

1. The term “Apartheid” was officially named a crime against humanity in 1966 by the United Nations General Assembly. The U.N. defined Apartheid as “inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group over persons of another racial group and systematically oppressing them.” The National Security Council adopted a stance against Apartheid in 1984 as a criminal act (Resource 1).

2. The Afrikaner government who were the originators of the term “Apartheid”, defined it differently. For them it was based on the parallel (separate) development of the different nations within South Africa:

“My point is this that, if mixed development is to be the policy of the future of South Africa, it will lead to the most terrific clash of interests imaginable. The endeavors and desires of the Bantu and the endeavors and objectives of all Europeans will be antagonistic. Such a clash can only bring unhappiness and misery to both. Both Bantu and European must, therefore, consider in good time how this misery can be averted from themselves and from their descendants.

They must find a plan to provide the two population groups with opportunities for the full development of their respective powers and ambitions without coming into conflict. The only possible way out is the second alternative, namely, that both adopt a development divorced from each other. That is all that the word apartheid means.”

– Speech of the Minister of Native Affairs, 5 December 1950, South Africa

It is often stated that Afrikaner leaders were the architects of Apartheid, but about 80% of the segregation laws for the Apartheid policy were already in place (in some form or another) before Apartheid was created (Resource 2). Those foundational segregation laws were promulgated by the Dutch and British colonial powers prior to the Afrikaners coming into power in 1948 (Resource 14).

The Apartheid policy (its reasons and objectives), as it developed, was openly and transparently communicated to local and international audiences by way of press releases, newsreels (Resource 3), and documents made available by South African foreign missions abroad. Here is an excerpt from one such document, a booklet titled, ‘Progress Through Separate Development – South Africa in Peaceful Transition’:

Cannot you understand us fighting to death for our existence? And yet we do not only seek and fight for a solution which will mean our survival but seek one which will grant survival and full development, politically and economically to each of the other racial groups as well, and we are even prepared to pay a high price out of our earnings for their future.” “We prefer each of our population groups to be controlled and governed by themselves, as nations are. Then they can cooperate as in a commonwealth or in an economic association of nations where necessary. Where is the evil in this?” (Resource 4)

Two sentences in the above statement stand out, namely (1) “… us fighting to death for our existence” and (2) “…we are even prepared to pay a high price out of our earnings for their future.” For context both of these need to be interrogated:

1. “Cannot you understand us fighting to death for our existence?”

This sentence stands out because South Africa was not at war at that time, so it must have meant something else:

The Afrikaners/Boers were drastically seeking a solution that would guarantee and secure their survival as a nation at the foot of the African continent – for several reasons:

  • During the Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902) just 46 years prior to them getting into power in 1948, the Boers had lost virtually everything through a scorched earth policy enacted by the British. Their farms (30,000 were burned down), and their independence was lost, and very many of their women and children (26,000) died in concentration camps (22,000 were children under the age of 16). (Resource 5).
  • The Boers had lost their internationally recognized Boer Republics as a result of the Anglo-Boer War, so they couldn’t draw borders around themselves for protection. Post-war they were incorporated into a union of nations (the Union of South Africa) by the Imperial British government in 1910. In 1948 the Afrikaners came into power and inherited this Union of South Africa, along with responsibility for all the nations within the Union.
  • Demographic growth: The Afrikaners/Boers’ numbers and birthrates would have been much higher had they not lost so many females during the Anglo-Boer War. Moreover, their birthrates have always been much lower than African groups within South Africa (Resource 6).
  • The European colonies in other African countries were systematically being disbanded through a process of decolonization which was fully supported (and initiated in some case) by European countries. At the same time Western and Eastern nations were vying with each other, and among themselves, for favor (access to resources) among newly decolonized and decolonizing African leaderships by supporting Pan-Africanism against the local whites in Africa (Resource 7).
  • Afrikaners/Boers had no right of return to Europe, whereas whites in the other African nations did have that right (mainly British, French, Dutch, Belgian, Portuguese and German passport holders). Afrikaners held only South African passports. As a side-note, there were no Boer Republic passports, because the Boer Republics didn’t exist anymore after the Anglo-Boer War.

A common misconception is that Afrikaners/Boers are Dutch and can/should “go back to Europe”. Afrikaners are genetically, according to 2020 research, 34% to 37% Dutch, 27% to 34% German, 13% to 26% French and 6% to 12% non-European (mainly Asian and Khoisan). (Resource 8).

  • The Afrikaners have no right of return to the Netherlands because in 1814 the Netherlands sold its temporary Dutch colony at the Cape (including all the Afrikaners/Boers) to the British for 3 million pounds sterling, with no right for them to return to the Netherlands. In other words, the Afrikaners were “sold lock stock and barrel”. To this day the Dutch do not recognize Afrikaners as Dutch, or that they have a right of return (Resource 9).
  • The Afrikaners have no right of return to Germany, because the Germans who went to South Africa were single men, tradesmen, and artisans who migrated to South Africa for work and assimilated into the Afrikaner nation.
  • The Afrikaners have no right of return to France because the French immigrants that went to South Africa were Protestant refugees escaping religious persecution in France after Protestantism was outlawed in the 1680’s. No right of return to France exists for Huguenots to this day.

The ‘no right of return’ concept is not something that is so out-of-the-ordinary. The same would apply for many/most Chileans, Argentinians and Uruguayans because they are descendants from several European nations with a blended heritage, for example from Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Poland.

Where would/could the Afrikaners go/have gone to? In their minds, they were/are already home (they consider/ed themselves to be White Africans), but after they gained power in 1948 they were also between a rock and hard place (no more Boer Republics). They decided to continue on with the segregation policies already put in place. At that time forms of segregation were also still in place in several other nations, such as USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The new objective with segregation (now called Apartheid) was for the devolution of the already existing traditional ethnic tribal Homelands into autonomous self-ruling ‘state-lets’ within greater South Africa. This devolution and self-rule would then pave the way for complete independence for each of the Homelands. In the interim, and even after independence, economic support would be available from the Apartheid state (Resource 4),

What was the reasoning behind that approach? The lack of industrialization in the Homelands caused an influx of migrant workers out of the Homelands to cities and towns in wider South Africa. This created the formation of townships (‘shantytowns’) on the outskirts of cities and towns by migrant workers (with resulting social issues). It has often been claimed that the Apartheid state “created” such townships, but they formed naturally because of that economic migration from the underdeveloped Homelands.

The populations of the tribal Homelands were becoming increasingly dependent on jobs far away, while not much modern development was happening naturally inside of them. The Apartheid state’s solution was to finance Homeland development (with state finances, i.e. white tax payers money, because black South Africans were exempted from taxes), so that there would be sufficient job creation and infrastructure development within the Homelands and their border areas, to reduce the economic migration. It was hoped such an aproach would result in reducing the informal settlement/squatter camp (and related) issues and would be the impetus for the long-term natural development of the Homelands.

2. “…we are even prepared to pay a high price out of our earnings for their future.”

  • Between 1964 and 1973 the Homeland of Transkei alone had already received $152-million (USD) from the Apartheid government (Resource 10).
  • By 1966 the equivalent of more or less (at the exhange rate at the time) $420-million (USD) had been invested in the development of border area industries neat to the Homelands and by that time 100,000 jobs had been created. (Resource 11).
  • Between 1962 and 1972 the UN paid out $298 Million USD to underdeveloped countries. In that same period it is estimated that South Africa (the Apartheid government) spent $558 Million USD on the development of the traditional tribal homelands for Self Rule (Resource 12).

The above figures are rather significant, even by today’s standards. Should the be adjusted for inflation to the equivalent in today’s terms these sums become even more impressive. Could it be that the white Apartheid government invested more in the development of indigenous peoples’ regions, within a short period of time than any other Western nation in history? This would have to be verified through research, but that seems to be a distinct possibility.

It has frequently been stated by activists that the Apartheid government created the Bantustans (Homelands) and dumped black South Africans in them against their will and that these areas were the least habitable and least desirable parts of the country – that they are desolate places resembling the Gaza strip … But, what are the facts?

  • The Homeland areas were originally inhabited by the Bantu African tribes during their migration into Southern Africa from the Great Lakes/Central and West Africa region (Resource 13). Clearly, Bantustans/Homelands were not created by the Apartheid government. Moreover, the outlines of the Homelands had already been confirmed by colonial administrations prior to Afrikaners coming into power in 1948 (Resource 14).
  • The Eastern part of South Africa, where the Homelands are situated, is actually the most fertile part of the country with the best agricultural potential, not the worst, and this can easily be observed and verified by looking at maps and also by looking at rainfall figures and soil quality (Resource 15).

Were human rights abuses committed in the process of implementing Separate Development, which was one of the components of Apartheid? Was this policy implemented explicitly “… for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group over persons of another racial group and systematically oppressing them”?

Separate development for Self Rule, which was the original South African meaning of Apartheid, does not seem to fit very well into the U.N.’s definition of Apartheid. That said, Apartheid had other components to it. In the rest of South Africa, outside of the Homelands, there were various segregation laws already in place that were inherited by the Afrikaners when they came into power. Those laws resembled the Jim Crow laws of the United States.

After 1948, the state increased the levels of segregation through Apartheid policies and in some cases removed some rights that had already been in place, like the voting rights for Brown people in the Cape Provence for example. Worse than that, it mandated that in some cases families had to be separated from each other when their members were of mixed ethnicity. Those were clearly human rights abuses and some of the most shameful excesses of the Apartheid regime.

If the worst excesses of South African Apartheid are considered as a benchmark for some of the worst human rights abuses of the nineteenth century, as has been claimed (Resource 16), then where would, for example, the caste system in India fall within the spectrum of worst human rights abuses? Or, for example, the forceful removal of aboriginal children from their families in Australia (the Stolen Generations) for assimilation into white families:

“Official government estimates are that in certain regions between one in ten and one in three Indigenous Australian children were forcibly taken from their families and communities between 1910 and 1970” (Resource 17)

Further on this subject, how were indigenous peoples treated in South America and Central America during the Spanish conquest and Portuguese colonialism, and how would that compare to the policy of separate development and/or Apartheid in general, in South Africa? The same questions could be posed about North American countries’ treatment of the indigenous peoples.

The point of the examples above is not to “embarrass anyone”, it is to make the point that the severity of South African Apartheid should be evaluated alongside all past and present segregation policies around the world where similar circumstances applied. Only through side-by-side analysis can an objective analysis be made. That’s the scientific method. Such a study has to date never been done. That’s perhaps for obvious reasons because the vast majority of people in the anti-Apartheid movements were/are from nations that would not escape scrutiny, should such an analysis ever be done honestly.

Why is such an analysis important? Because of the level of disinformation about what really happened during Apartheid. For example, in the document titled ‘Comparing South African Apartheid to Israeli Apartheid’ (Resource 1) the following claims are made about South African Apartheid:

  • Claim: The Apartheid regime created the Bantustans. (Incorrect: They already existed in some form).
  • Claim: Black citizens were made involuntary citizens of those Homelands. (Incorrect: Homelands were settled by Bantu tribes when they migrated into South Africa, although it’s true that not all people originally from Homelands wanted to return there against their will. There was strong support for Self-Rule among the leaders of the Homelands (sources available).
  • Claim: The objective of the “creation” of the Homelands was for the demographic majority of whites in South Africa to be preserved. (Incorrect: The objective of industrializing and developing the Homelands and border areas was to draw Homeland inhabitants back to the Homelands in order to reduce the problems associated with migrant labor, such as informal settlements. In addition, much higher birth rates among African demographic groups presented numerous future challenges related to infrastructure development (carrying capacity) and water resources as well as the future of social and cultural cohesion. The separate development project of the Apartheid government was meant to deal with some of those problems in advance, while – as stated before – the policy would also preserve the survival of Afrikaners/Whites in South Africa. That objective was honestly stated in communiques by the Apartheid government.
  • Claim: Apartheid was about keeping the best parts of the country for the whites and sending the black population to the least habitable, least desirable parts of the country. (Incorrect: The Homelands were and are the most fertile regions of the country).
  • Claim: Blacks were forcibly removed and relocated to black homelands and much of their land seized during Apartheid. (Facts: It is true that many blacks were forcibly removed and relocated to Homelands, but in the majority of cases compensation was involved (Resource 18). White people were also forcefully removed – the Apartheid government forced whites out of the Homelands back into greater South Africa).

A common claim that is made about Apartheid (and/or Afrikaners/Boers) is that tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of black people were killed during Apartheid. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report spearheaded by Rev Desmond Tutu (among other prominent black human rights activists), concluded that around 700 such deaths occurred in 46 years:

“Then there are people who argue that apartheid was a policy in terms of which huge numbers of black people were killed by the apartheid government. It is indeed true that black people were killed by the apartheid government, but the correct figures will come as a surprise to many people. The Human Rights Committee and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that roughly 21 000 people died in political violence between 1948 and 1994. Of those 21 000 people, roughly 100 were killed by white rightists and roughly 600 by members of the security forces. Roughly 19 000 people died following the ANC’s launch of the people’s war against competing black [black against black] institutions and organizations.” (Resource 19)

Finally, it would only be fair to evaluate what’s happening in South Africa today, as opposed to South Africa under Apartheid. How do South Africa’s racial policies in 2021 compare to the original Apartheid policies?

  • By the year 2017, there had been no less than 1700 farm murders (many seem to be politically motivated) and 12 245 farm attacks according to the statistics of the South African police. Only a small number of farmers murdered are black farmers (Resource 20)
  • Today there are more race-based laws in South Africa that discriminate against white people after 27 years of democracy than there were under 48 years of Apartheid and 38 years of British colonialism combined:

“The real problem, inadvertently highlighted by the controversy, is that such a large part of the media, civil society, and the DA do not see the ANC’s race laws as a problem. In fact, they are barely conscious that they exist at all. And yet it is simply impossible to understand South Africa’s predicament without reference to the ANC’s racial project, the plunder that this enabled, and the institutional and economic destruction that resulted.” (Resource 21).

For a few precious years in the early to mid-1990s South Africa was, for the first and last time, a country without operative racial laws. Over the past 26 years the ANC has put in place a web of binding racial requirements through constitutional provisions, legislation, white papers, regulations, charters, and party resolutions; as it has sought to advance through the different stages of the revolution, towards the goal of pure racial proportionality, everywhere. This article has documented some eighty of these, but this is not a complete list. It lists only a handful of regulations. By one count the ANC has incorporated racial requirements into ninety acts of parliament, excluding the Constitution, though many of these relate to the application of the “representivity” principle to the boards of statutory bodies. In addition, there are a number of judgments issued by the Constitutional Court, bending the interpretation of the Constitution in favor of the national revolution. ” (Resource 21).

Somehow the BDS movement has not picked up on these developments, but the question must be posed: “Does South Africa in 2021 (with its multitude of race laws, more than under the old Apartheid) qualify as “an Apartheid state” according to the U.N.’s definition of Apartheid?

The U.N. defined Apartheid as “inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group over persons of another racial group and systematically oppressing them”.

When they came into power in 1948 the Afrikaner government wanted to secure a future for the Afrikaners/Boers within South Africa, because they had lost their Homelands (the Boer Republics), which were their cultural heartlands. They, therefore, assumed that the policy of separate development (self-determination through self-rule for everyone) would be welcomed.

They also believed that the only way to secure a future for themselves would be to at the same time also secure a future for all the other nations within the artificially created country known as South Africa. They believed that if they did not do that, their future within South Africa would not be guaranteed. In other words, they acted from a position of self-preservation, which is the most basic human instinct.

Were they just being paranoid?

The following policies among others are currently in development in South Africa, or are already being implemented:

  • A land confiscation policy known as “Expropriation without compensation” is on the cards in South Africa. If this is passed it would be much worse than the Apartheid government’s forced removals to the Homelands and its resettlement policy in general because there will be no compensation. In other words, Afrikaners/Boers stand to lose everything, notwithstanding their historical developmental, economic, or financial contributions to the country or to black people in particular. (Resource 22).
  • The Afrikaans language, the language of the Afrikaners and also the first language of many Brown people in the Western Cape, has been deemed “non-indigenous” to South Africa in a new language policy by the current South African government. Universities in South Africa are already implementing this new policy and the Afrikaans language has been removed as a main form of instruction. English has been installed in its place. (Resource 23).
  • Affirmative action policies are in place that are formulated according to racial demographics. Higher birth rates for African groups mean higher growth numbers for them, meaning that whites are increasingly squeezed out of the economy for access to jobs, access to education, and access to government services. To an extent also applies to the private sector. (Resource 21).
  • Covid relief funds in some sectors have been made available only to Black Empowerment beneficiaries, while white people did not qualify for financial relief. (Resource 24).
  • Radical politicians in South Africa regularly call on their members to commit acts of violence with regards to farmers, with devastating consequences. Such actions (or worse) hardly ever make it into mainstream media coverage. (Resource 25).

The roots of all the current “wokeness” in the world are to be found in the selective blindness of the anti-Apartheid movements. Wokeness equals selective outrage and double standards with the objective to scapegoat. Most people have supported anti-Apartheid movements, but few are prepared to publicly denounce glaringly obvious discriminatory race policies against white people in South Africa in the present day.

Closing comments:

Some “experts in metaphysics” have claimed that Afrikaners/Boers “deserve” their current circumstances, because of “bad karma”. Apparently, according to them, it’s “just desserts” for their implementation of Apartheid policies in the past. If that is how Karma works (As ye sow, so ye shall reap), it would be interesting to see what the future holds for groups/individuals that have done or are doing, much worse things than were done by/under apartheid. How Karma really works is more likely based upon not bringing bad Karma upon oneself by wishing bad Karma upon others. Today we can see that a lot of South Africa’s problems regarding race issues have arrived in Western Nations too, while “the woke” are demanding their own apartheid: “safe spaces”.

…………

Resource 1:

Article/Report: Comparing South African Apartheid to Israeli Apartheid. itisapartheid.org. http://www.itisapartheid.org/Documents_pdf_etc/outlineapartheidproofedbyc8.15.12-old.pdf

Rescource 2:

Book: South Africa’s Greatest Prime Minister by Stephen Mitford Goodson (2016).P22. ISBN: 978-0-620-68123-0

Resource 3:

News Reel: Creation of the first Bantu state (1962). Pathé.

https://archive.org/details/creation-of-first-bantu-state-transkei-1962

Resource 4:

Booklet: Progress Through Separate Development – South Africa in Peaceful Transition (1963 – First Edition), P4.

https://archive.org/details/ProgressThroughSeparateDevelopmentSouthAfricaInPeacefulTransition

Resource 5:

Book: Apartheid, Britain’s B-Child by Hélène Opperman Lewis (2016).ISBN: 978-0-620-70223-2.

Resource 6:

South Africa population – 1910 to 2016:

(1) https://www.reddit.com/r/southafrica/comments/84g1vt/south_africa_population_1910_to_2016/

(2) https://maroelamedia.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/SA-bevolking.jpg

Resource 7:

Book: Segregeer of Sterf (‘Segregate or Die)’ ) by HJJM van der Merwe (1961).

Resource 8:

Book: Huguenots at the Cape by Philippa van Aardt & Elaine Ridge (2020), P247. ISBN 978-0-620-85911-0.

Resource 9:

Book: AmaBhulu – The Birth and Death of the Second America by Harry Booyens (2014).P99. ISBN 978-0-9921590-1-6.

Resource 10:

Book: Progress Through Separate Development – South Africa in Peaceful Transition (1963 – Fourth Edition), P68.

Resource 11:

Book: Apartheid en Partnership by N.J. Rhoodie (1968/1971). P337.

Resource 12:

“… it is estimated that South Africa (the Apartheid government) spent $558 Million USD on the development of the traditional tribal homelands for Self Rule”.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150513032714/https://the-truth-about-south-africa.org/south-africa/leaked-homeland-financials-year-ending-31-march-1977/

Resource 13:

Video: How the Bantus Permanently Changed the Face of Africa 2,000 Years Ago (History of the Bantu Peoples)

Resource 14

Booklet: Progress Through Separate Development – South Africa in Peaceful Transition (1963 – First Edition), Pages 59,61,63,64,65.

https://archive.org/details/ProgressThroughSeparateDevelopmentSouthAfricaInPeacefulTransition

Resource 15:

Video: South Africa – The Truth About Land:

Resource 16:

“If the worst excesses of South African Apartheid are considered as a benchmark for some of the worst human rights abuses of the nineteenth century – as has been claimed on occasion”:

https://www.countercurrents.org/chengu200415.htm

Resource 17:

Australia’s Stolen Generations:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Generations

Resource 18:

Video: Disrupted Land Documentary:

https://www.disruptedland.co.za/en/

Resource 19:

Article: Apartheid Deaths:

https://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/what-afriforum-did-and-did-not-say-about-apartheid

Resource 20:

Statistics: Farm Murders Racial Breakdown 1991 – 2018:

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4428330-Farm-Murders-Racial-Breakdown-1990-2018.html

Resource 21:

Article: The many many race laws of the ANC:

https://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/the-many-many-race-laws-of-the-anc

Resource 22:

Campaign: Enormous Ramifications of Expropriation without Compensation:

https://irr.org.za/campaigns/kill-the-bill-stop-ewc

Resource 23:

Article [translated]: Politics is behind ANC, SU’s definition of Afrikaans as ‘foreign’:

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=af&u=https://maroelamedia.co.za/debat/meningsvormers/politiek-sit-agter-anc-us-se-definisie-van-afrikaans-as-uitheems/&prev=search&pto=aue

Resource 24:

Article: ANC abuses COVID-19 to push racist agenda against SMME’s:

https://www.politicsweb.co.za/documents/anc-abuses-covid19-to-push-racist-agenda-against-s

Resource 25:

Video: Arson targeting farmers all over South Africa (Oct 2020)


Warm wishes from early-winter South Africa,
Remote Writer

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