Palestine’s Land Day: In 2018 mass protests, in 2022 armed struggle

March 30 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Robert Inlakesh 

This 30th of March may more symbolically represent something very different for the youths of Palestine today than it did for those of past generations.

Land Day, first started in the 1948 territories of occupied Palestine, was revived again in 2018 and has shaped the way Palestinian youths are today opposing the occupation of their lands. Whilst mass demonstrations were used a few years ago, today we see a shift towards the use of armed struggle in order to oppose “Israel’s” settler colonialism.

In 1976 Palestinian demonstrations erupted in the Galilee, in addition to areas such as Wadi Ara and al-Naqab (the Negev). The protests inside the 1948 territories of Palestine came as a reaction to the Zionist entity’s expropriation of thousands of dunams of Palestinian land, resulting in Zionist forces killing 6 Palestinians and injuring of hundreds of others. Every year since, Palestinians have marked Land Day on the 30th of March, in order to remember the resistance of their people to “Israel’s” settler-colonial regime.

The 30th of March, however, may more symbolically represent something very different for the youths of Palestine today, than it did for those of past generations. This is also the date on which the ‘Great Return March’ was launched in 2018, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip protested against the separation fence/wall between them and their lands from which over 70% of the population are originally from and are forbidden to return to. The Palestinian refugees and native Gazans hoisted up banners calling for the implementation of United Nations General Assembly resolution 194, which demanded the Palestinian right of return to their homelands. 

The Great Return March continued for over a year, it was overwhelmingly non-violent and resulted in no deaths of Israeli soldiers or settlers. Many international observers thought that this was it, the international community was finally going to be forced to break its silence and the blockade on Gaza would be put to an end. They were unfortunately wrong. The nonviolent protest movement, one of the largest in history – in terms of the percentage of the population in question – only gave Israeli snipers the opportunity for mass murder. Over 300 Palestinian civilians were massacred, more than 30,000 were injured. The international community remained silent, the Western media and governments defended “Israel”, barely even paying attention to the suffering of Gaza’s demonstrators. Women, children, infants, medical workers, journalists, disabled persons, and elderly were amongst the dead and injured, overwhelming Gaza’s already brittle health sector. 

The world sat by and did nothing as the Palestinian people did exactly what is always asked of them, nonviolent resistance, quoting international law, and asking for their rights. Not only did the world media sit by and underreport the demonstrations, when they did touch on the subject they described them as “clashes” and “border riots”. This was despite the fact that no such “border” exists between Gaza and “Israel”. As for the allegation that there were clashes; if so, where are the dead Israelis? Where are the injured Israelis? What really occurred is that a heavily militarized force sat behind mounds of dirt or military towers, behind layers of barbed wire, on top of militarized fences/walls, and shot at defenseless Palestinians like fish in a barrel, often with banned explosive bullets. This was not just the likes of Fox News that reported on the demonstrations like this, it was the BBCCNNThe New York Times, and just about every other mainstream Western news outlet you could think of.

Land Day in 2018 should have been, according to the liberal pundits who preach nonviolence for the Palestinians – but not for Ukrainians against Russia’s military of course – that ended all their oppression. Instead, it was the beginning of a massacre, a catastrophe. 

On this Land Day, the Palestinian people prepare for the month of Ramadan ahead of them, where fascist Israeli settler mobs threaten to raid Al-Aqsa Mosque, they do so in a very different environment than the one we saw in 2018. The world lied to the Palestinians when they told them they could take back their rights through nonviolent resistance, and saw last May, that the only time they can extract a win against their occupiers is through armed struggle. The younger generations are tired of the lies and a Palestinian Authority that collaborates with the Zionist occupier through security coordination, they see that there is no hope in waiting on the Oslo process. The armed struggle is now rising inside the 1948 territories, the West Bank, Al-Quds, and is no longer isolated to the ‘Joint Room’ of resistance factions in the Gaza Strip. 

The Palestinian armed struggle is undergoing a new revival and this time it will take more than empty promises to stop it. A United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), B’Tselem, and many more have declared “Israel” an Apartheid regime and this system of injustice will be confronted by any means necessary.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Related Photos (Al-manar)

South Front

Related Videos

Special coverage | Have Palestinian individual operations become the face of the new conflict?
Palestine from the Negev Summit to Bnei Brak operation

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Palestinian Prisoner’s Club to Al-Ahed: Prisons Revolution Non-stopping

March 11, 2022

By Mostafa Awada

After 33 days of escalatory steps by the Palestinian detainees, the ‘Israeli’ occupation’s prisons administration announced cancelling its measures related to the electronic gates and doubled inspection in ‘Nafha’ Prison.

In this context, the Head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club told al-Ahed News that prisoners in ‘Nafha’ returned to their previous lifestyle.

Qaddoura Fares added that the ‘Prisons’ revolution’ will continue until all measures related to isolating the old detainees and transferring them from their sections every now and then come to an end.

The Club emphasized on Thursday evening that a deal was made regarding the demands of the ‘Nafha’ Prison detainees, in which the prison’s administration backtracked its measures related to the electronic gates and the doubled inspection.

In a brief statement, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club noted that the agreement was made after a dialogue session that was held on Thursday, stressing that everything depends on the implementation of the deal.

The prisoners will stay ready for an open-ended strike on March 25th until all other demands are met, it also mentioned.

It is worth noting that the ‘Nafha’ Prison issue was one of the main demands of the Supreme Committee for the Detainees’ National Emergencies, in which the prisons’ administration had refused earlier to backtrack its measures, keeping the matter unsettled until the detainees announced on Thursday evening that they have reached an agreement.

‘Nafha’ Prison detainees have been recently subjected to systematic and escalating oppression ever since they started their struggle some 33 days earlier.

Among the many steps in their struggle were shutting the sections, rejecting the so-called ‘security inspection’, disobedience, and revolting against the occupation’s prisons’ laws.

Desmond Tutu commemorated at Cape Town tribute

December 30 2021

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

Days after his passing, Cape Town, South Africa celebrated the life of anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu.

From Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s commemoration ceremony in Cape Town

Cape town held Wednesday a musical in commemoration of anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu, who passed away just a few days ago.

The service was held at City Hall as a tribute to Tutu, and it was attended by his family members and politicians. Many attendees wore purple in honor of the Nobel peace laureate’s renowned purple robes. He had been nominated for the prize in 1981, 1982, 1983 and finally won it in 1984.

The funeral was one of many events held to commemorate the South African icon known for his activism that knew no bounds, which he did not stop despite his old age.

He was one of the main figures to lead to the end of South Africa’s apartheid rule, under which black South Africans suffered at the hands of the white minority of the country.

Ahead of his funeral on Saturday, South Africans commemorated him all over their country, celebrating the life of the hard-working liberation fighter, who was also renowned for his criticism of human rights abuses across the world.

The late was a confidant and friend of South African leader Nelson Mandela.

He saw that the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation was similar to the liberation struggle against the South African apartheid government, comparing the two oppressive regimes, and taking a solid stance in favor of Palestine, which he eternalized in many of his addresses and articles throughout his life.

Tutu went as far as to urge the Episcopal Church not to invest in companies that support the Israeli occupation, and asked for a global boycott of “Israel”.

Despite limited numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the commemorations appropriately celebrated the icon, with many South African artists attending and performing in a tribute to the late Archbishop.

Banning of Palestinian NGOs: How Israel Tries to Silence Human Rights Defenders

November 22, 2021

By Ramzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo

On October 21, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced the issuance of a military order designating six prominent Palestinian human rights groups as ‘terrorist organizations’. Gantz claimed that they are secretly linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a socialist political group that Israel considers, along with most Palestinian political parties, ‘a terrorist organization.’

The Palestinian organizations included in the Israeli order are Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights, Al-Haq, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children Palestine, Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

Considering the significance of these organizations in Palestine and their global networks among like-minded civil society organizations, the Israeli decision provoked a public outcry. One of the many statements of condemnation was a joint statement by rights groups, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), in which they called Gantz’s move an “appalling and unjust decision”, which represents “an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement.”

Strong Words, but No Actions

AI and HRW, which have documented Israeli human rights violations of Palestinians for many years, fully understand that the ‘terrorist’ designation is consistent with a long trajectory of such unlawful moves:

“For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations.”

Equally important in the world’s leading rights groups’ statement is that it did not fail to highlight that the “decades-long failure of the international community to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has emboldened Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.”

True to form, the international community did react to Gantz’s decision, albeit it was the kind of ineffectual reaction, which persisted in the realm of rhetoric that is rarely followed by substantive action.

A joint statement by UN experts called the Israeli decision “a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere”.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, criticized the “arbitrary” decision by Israel and warned of the “far-reaching consequences as a result,” in terms of work, funding and support for the targeted organizations.

Many governments around the world also condemned the Israeli move and echoed the sentiment conveyed by UN experts. Even the US expressed its ‘concern’, though, using the same typically cautious and non-committal language.

US State Department spokesman, Ned Price, told reporters on October 23, in Washington, that his country “believe(s) respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and a strong civil society are critically important to responsible and responsive governance.” Instead of an outright condemnation, however, Price said that the US will “be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for these designations.”

However, like other governments, and certainly unlike AI and HRW, Price made no link between the Israeli decision of October 21 and numerous other past practices targeting human rights and civil society groups in Palestine and, more recently, in Israel as well. Also worth noting is that the supposed link between such organizations and the socialist PFLP is not new.

The following are a few examples of how Israel has attempted to silence some of these organizations, which, eventually were declared to be ‘terrorist.’

Raids, Arrests and Death Threats

Addameer – In December 2012, the Israeli army raided the headquarters of Addamer in Ramallah, confiscating laptops and a video camera. The offices of the Union of Palestinian Women Committees were also raided by Israeli occupation forces on the same day. The organization is one of the six now designated by Israel as ‘terrorist.’

In September 2019, Addameer’s offices were raided, once again. The Israeli military raid at the time, however, did not generate as much attention or outrage, despite the accompanying violence, let alone the blatant violation of human rights. Then, Al-Haq – also one of the other six effectively banned Palestinian groups – issued a statement warning that “the private property of human rights organizations in occupied territory is especially protected under Article 46 of the Hague Regulations (1907).”

Expectedly, such legal constraints mattered little to Israel.

Al-Haq – Al-Haq’s staff have faced many restrictions throughout the years. Shawan Jabarin, the General Director of Al-Haq, has been banned from travel on various occasions, starting in 2006.

In March 2009, Jabarin was prevented by Israel from traveling to the Netherlands to receive an award on behalf of his organization. Again, in November 2011, this time, Jabarin was now allowed to travel to Denmark.

The Israeli obstacles began taking even more sinister turns when, in March 2016, Jabarin began receiving death threats over the phone. These anonymous calls began arriving “in the context of increasing harassment of Al-Haq and its members, amid their recent work at the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking justice for human rights violations being committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” the Front Line Defenders website reported.

Defense for Children International-Palestine – In July, and again August 2021, Israeli forces raided Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) offices in Al-Bireh, in the occupied West Bank. They seized computers, hard drives and other material, alleging a link between the organization and the PFLP.

This allegation had already been advanced in 2018, when UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) persuaded Citibank and the Arab Bank PLC to stop providing banking services to DCIP, providing what they defined as “evidence of the close ties” to the PFLP.

While it is true that the recent Israeli measures against Palestinian NGOs are a continuation of an old policy, there are fundamental differences between the growing perception of Israel, now, as an apartheid state and the misconstrued perception of the past, namely Israel as an oasis of democracy.

Even international entities and groups that are yet to brand Israel an apartheid state are becoming familiar with the Israeli government’s undemocratic nature.

A ‘Tectonic Shift’

In December 2019, and after years of haggling, the ICC resolved that “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to Article 53(1) of the (Rome) Statute.” Despite intense Israeli and western pressure, the last hurdle in the way of the investigation was removed last February, as the ICC has finally approved the Prosecutor’s request to open legal proceedings regarding war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza.

This legal milestone was cemented by major declarations, one made by Israel’s own rights group, B’tselem, in January, and another by HRW in April, both slamming Israeli policies in Palestine – not just the occupied territories – as ‘apartheid’.

This critical change in the international legal position regarding Israel’s new, unflattering status, was boosted by Israel’s own violent actions in East Jerusalem, Gaza and throughout Palestine in May. Unlike previous wars, the May events have shifted sympathy mostly towards Palestinians, who are fighting for their freedom, homes and other basic human rights.

The change was also notable within the US government itself, which is unprecedented by any account. An increasing number of US lawmakers are now openly critical of the State of Israel, due to a radical change in the US public opinion and, again, unprecedently, they are not paying a heavy price for it as was often the case in the past due to the great influence of the Zionist lobby in Washington.

“The shift is dramatic; it’s tectonic,” the BBC, on May 21, quoted US pollster, John Zogby, as saying. “In particular, younger generations are considerably more sympathetic to the Palestinians – and that age gap has been on full display with the Democratic Party,” the BBC noted.

Israel’s losses are not just sentimental or political, but economic as well. Last July, the international ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s decided to stop selling its products in illegal Jewish settlements while pinpointedly condemning Israeli occupation, a move that was described by Amnesty as “legitimate and necessary”. A few months later, the sports clothing manufacturer, Nike, followed suit, announcing that it will end the sale of its products in Israeli stores starting May 2022, although it did not justify its decision based on political reasoning.

While Israel continues to lash out at its critics, it no longer seems to behave according to a centralized strategy.

Lacking a strong leadership after the dethroning of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the formation of a diverse ‘unity government’, the new Israeli government does not seem capable of holding back international criticism of its conduct in occupied Palestine. The notion that everything that Israel does is justifiable as a form of ‘self-defense’ is simply no longer a strong selling point. The May war is the perfect example of this assertion.

In the case of the banned NGOs, for example, aside from sending a representative from the Israeli intelligence agency, Shin Bet, and another from the Israeli Foreign Ministry to Washington on October 25 with “relevant intelligence” to justify its decision, Tel Aviv continued to carry out the same policies that further exposes its apartheid in the eyes of the international community.

Indeed, on October 27, Israel announced the construction of thousands of new housing units in illegal Jewish settlements, in its first such move during the presidency of Joe Biden.

A perfect illustration of the frantic nature of the Israeli response came on October 29, when the Israeli envoy to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, during his speech at the General Assembly, tore into pieces a report issued by the UN Human Rights Council illustrating Israeli ongoing violations of international law.

“The Human Rights Council attacked and condemned Israel in 95 resolutions compared to 142 resolutions against the rest of the world,” Erdan said. “This distorted and one-sided report’s place is in the dustbin of anti-Semitism,” he ranted.

Branding Israeli Apartheid

We may be at the cusp of a fundamental change in terms of Israel’s relationship with the international community. While Tel Aviv continues to heavily invest in its apartheid infrastructure, the international community is slowly, but clearly, becoming aware that Israel’s apartheid status is a permanent one. The successive statements by B’Tselem, HRW, the joint HRW-Amnesty statement condemning the de facto outlawing of the Palestinian NGOs and, again, the ICC investigation are all indicative of this growing awareness.

The question remains – will Israel be able to use its power, influence and leverage in Western societies to force the world to accept and co-exist with a full-fledged apartheid regime in Palestine? And if yes, then, for how long?

The South African apartheid example showed that, despite decades of apartheid and initial acceptance, if not support, by western societies of legalized racial separation in South Africa, the pendulum eventually turned. Even before the formal end of apartheid in that country in 1994, it was becoming clear that the days of the racist regime of Pretoria were numbered. That realization was possible because of the growing international awareness, especially at grassroot, civil society level, of the evil of apartheid.

A similar scenario seems to be evolving in the case of Israeli apartheid in Palestine as well. A critical mass of support for Palestinian rights is being constructed around the world, thanks to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and hundreds of pro-Palestine civil society groups all around the globe.

For years, Israel seemed keen on countering the influence of Palestine’s solidarity around the world using a centralized strategy. Large sums of money were dedicated, or pledged, towards that end, and a partly government-controlled company was even established, in 2017, to guide the Israeli global campaign. Much of this has amounted to very little, however, as BDS continues to grow, and the conversation on Palestine and Israel is gradually changing from that of a political ‘conflict’ into recognition of Israeli racism, apartheid and utter disregard of international law.

Of course, it will take more time, more decided effort and, certainly, more sacrifices on the part of Palestinians and their supporters to expose Israeli apartheid to the rest of the world. Now that Israel seems to have accepted that there is little it can do to reverse this brand, it is accelerating its colonial efforts, while hunkering down for a long fight ahead.

The onus is now on the international community to force Israel into dismantling its apartheid regime. Though it is ultimately the people who liberate themselves, international solidarity is essential to the process of national liberation. This was the case in South Africa, and will surely be the case in Palestine, as well.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

– Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.

The War on Gaza Will Be Over within 48 Hours, Israel Lost this Battle

ARABI SOURI 

The Israel war on Gaza

Gaza won this battle that Israel waged against the Palestinian people, the end of the Israeli aggression will be declared, directly or indirectly within 48 hours.

The above is not a prediction, we do not speculate, we’re just reading the events, the data, and the progress of this renewed heinous Israeli aggression and deliberate war crimes against the civilians in the besieged Gaza.

The bombing of civilians on purpose with the intentions to kill as much of them especially the children and in their hundreds and to injure thousands of civilians and destroy residential towers and houses slaughtering entire families are all signs of a failed army, that is if Israel’s IDF can be considered as an army where in reality, the Israeli IDF is an umbrella of the anti-Jewish Zionist terrorist groups the likes of the Haganah, Irgun, Stern, Lehy, et al, whose leaders became the Israeli politicians and prime ministers.

Israel had a bank of targets within Gaza, they thought they can destroy all the launchpads they thought the Palestinian resistance had for the missiles the Israelis ‘intelligence’ thought the Palestinian resistance has. Israel repeated the same mistake of the war it waged against Lebanon in 2006 and as it failed in its ‘intelligence’ data it had about the banks of targets and it failed in achieving the purpose of the war it waged back then, now it’s exactly the same mistake.

In the 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon, Israel set two main targets: disarming Hezb Allah or at least end the Hezb’s missiles threat, and retrieving the IDF terrorists the Hezb Allah arrested, both goals failed. Israel thought the support it had among the Gulfies, especially Saudi Arabia back then was enough to gain the support of the Arab people, it read wrong.

Ehud Olmert went to prison for previous cases of accepting bribes to promote a real estate project in Jerusalem, he spent 16 months in prison out of the 27 months sentence, maybe because he was 71 years old, and Olmert is way smarter than Netanyahu.

Today, Netanyahu has already 4 cases of corruption against him and a lengthy prison sentence is expected for him once he’s no longer a Prime Minister, the post that is shielding him for now being acting PM, he failed to gain enough majority to form a government in 4 consecutive elections in order for him to reside as the PM until he dies or finds a way out of prison. He kept repeating the elections just for that purpose disregarding all the economic challenges he led his people into, his personal interests are more important for criminals like him. Netanyahu found an opportunity to win the votes of his radical Israeli people by killing a large number of Palestinians in a short time and to defeat the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and stealing more land in Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

It’s a constant in Israeli politics to bargain over the Palestinian blood to win elections on the account of the blood of the Palestinians and neighboring countries, each politician who wanted to win elections or remain in power waged a heinous war, the more they killed of innocent people the higher their approval ratings were among the European imported settlers expelled from Europe, Russia, and elsewhere and dumped into Palestine.

What Netanyahu didn’t understand this time, just like Olmert in 2006, that while they and their US patrons and other supporters of their crimes in Europe and the Gulfies make plans for wars and prepare for it the resistance camp also makes plans to defend themselves and prepare for your wars, and surely more.

Today, after the Palestinian missiles continue to fall in bulk on Israeli targets even expanding the targets to hit 6 military airbases today, a number of high profile factories, far cities as Tel Aviv, keeping hundreds of thousands of Zionist settlers in shelters for 10 days, those who were given promises of living in the land of milk and honey and were paid to move to Palestine and were gifted homes and jobs on the account of US and EU taxpayers found themselves in a different reality.

In addition to the humiliation on the Gaza front and the firing back of missiles against Israeli targets, all of the Palestinian cities and towns occupied by 1948 were uprising against the unjust and apartheid they were living in for decades. This is unprecedented since the establishment of so-called Israel and Israel thought the Palestinians in these cities have already accepted to live as second-level citizens in the apartheid regime and will not rise.

The Israeli ‘army’ cannot take more humiliation, the war reached a sensitive point especially after the Palestinian resistance sent their drone that flew very low over Israeli tanks moving around at the outskirts of Gaza, after dozens of Israelis were killed most of who are army, and all of the Israeli adults are army personnel and reserve, and the fear of the Israeli IDF terrorists organization that further attacks means further retaliation by the Palestinians and further demands they have to give up, the IDF started leaking messages of its desire to end the attack, the message was picked by its main patron the USA who was until a couple of days ago refusing to discuss the Israeli war against Gaza in the United Nations Security Council, the US minister of war called his Israeli counterpart and asked him to cease the military operation against Gaza, the head of the White House junta Biden himself called Netanyahu and told him what Netanyahu needed as a lifeline to end the operation against Gaza.

The deliberate killing of civilians and destroying the residential towers including the media towers in Gaza mobilized millions around the world despite the restrictions of movement due to the COVID-19 in many countries and despite the ban on protests for Palestine in retard countries like France, topped up with the angry protests in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, the main countries surrounding ‘Israel’ and the fear of opening a new front with Hezb Allah and Syria from the north, both of whom have very long records to settle with the Israelis and could see the weak state and incapability of the Israeli ‘Iron Dome’ air defense systems to shoot down the Gaza primitive missile comparing to what Hezb Allah has which pales comparing to what Syria has which is even less than the quantity of what Iran has, all these odds are pressing against the Israeli decision-makers.

The outcome of the current Israeli aggression and the Israeli humiliating defeat:

  • Netanyahu’s end of political life, he’s been in politics before many of our readers were born, he was a prime minister between June 96 – July 99 in the last century, and in the current position since March 2009, a prime minister for 12 years..
  • The end of Netanyahu’s political life and especially losing the Prime Minister’s immunity will land him in prison for the corruption charges.
  • Israel will stop stealing the houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Al-Quds (Jerusalem), the spark of the current ‘battle’.
  • There must be a tangible relief of the essential in Gaza, lifting the siege, allowing food, fuel, money, and building material to move freely into Gaza, allowing Palestinians access to their own agricultural land and to their sea for fishing and maybe a seaport, however primitive it would be.
  • A new rule of engagement is set: killing Palestinian civilians will be retaliated by killing Israelis, and the bombing Gaza will be retaliated by bombing any Israeli city or settlement.
  • The Palestinians in the territories occupied before 1948 will have more rights and hopefully the right to hold the Palestinian identity.
  • The Palestinian authority’s collapse and a new Palestinian statehood should be negotiated to start with the election of a new president and legislative council.
  • The release of the Palestinians kidnapped by the Israeli IDF terrorist groups, mainly the children and women.
  • Israel will be seeing an opposite migration of the settlers back to their countries of origin, this is to the dismay of those countries, especially the European ones who did all their best to force expel these people from their countries and dump them into Palestine.
  • The Gulfies will be instructed by the USA to help rebuild what Israel destroyed in Gaza to keep them in connection with the Palestinian people after they were rushing in the opposite direction with the agreements to ‘recognize Israel’ publicly.
  • All the Israeli propaganda to spread fake news about its peaceful nature and playing the role of the victim, all the billions of the US taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars spent on the painting of the image about Israel is blown away with the horrible crimes the whole world is watching them commit. The BBC and its ilk cannot hide the Israeli crimes as they’ve done in previous war crimes, the world has independent social media despite the enormous efforts to suspend anyone exposing those crimes. Israel now stands naked before the international’s public opinion for the ugly apartheid regime it is.

As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, this is exactly how the Palestinians will emerge from this genocide committed against them by Israel whether in the territories occupied by 1948, or the West Bank or what’s left of it, and Gaza. This will also give more motivation for the people of Syria and Lebanon to liberate the Golan and the Shiba Farms and its surrounding in southern Lebanon.

God Bless the resistance against all occupation and against oppression.

To help us continue please visit the Donate page to donate or learn how you can help us with no cost on you.
Follow us on Telegram: http://t.me/syupdates link will open the Telegram app.

US support for Israel | We the People

The US has been giving the Israeli regime unwavering support from the get-go. Thus Israel has no greater friend than the United States today. The US has given Tel Aviv billions of dollars in foreign military aid for Israel to remain a most strategic ally to the Zionist regime.

The rapid Zionist colonisation of Palestine

By: Dr. Ghulam Habib How did Palestine turn into a war-torn land after Palestinian Muslims, Christians, and Jews were living in harmony and peace among themselves? This visual documentary presents historical perspective to shed light on how the first Zionist colony was built in Palestine in 1878 to where we are today with continued illegal occupation, massacres, destruction, and expansion in oppressed Palestine.

Music in this video: ‘The Feeling Begins’ by Peter Gabriel Licensed to YouTube by: itspetergabriel, WMG (on behalf of Real World Records); LatinAutor – SonyATV, SOLAR Music Rights Management, LatinAutorPerf, CMRRA, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., EMI Music Publishing, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, and 8 Music Rights Societies. Original post here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcKUx…

Historic HRW Report: Israel Committing ‘Crime of Apartheid’ against Palestinians (FULL REPORT)

April 27, 2021

Palestinians cross Israeli apartheid wall. (Photo: via Activestills.org)

Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that Israel is committing the crime of “apartheid” by seeking to maintain Jewish “domination” over Palestinians and its own Arab population, an explosive allegation fiercely denounced by Israel.

Currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, Israel blasted HRW’s accusations as “preposterous and false”, accusing the New York-based group of having “a long-standing anti-Israeli agenda”.

HRW said its finding that Israel is “committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution” against Palestinians was based on robust sourcing including government planning materials and statements by public officials.

The 213-page report finds that the Israeli government is the “single authority” with primary control “over the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea”.

Within that territory, there is “an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians,” HRW said.

HRW-Read-the-Full-Report

The group said its findings apply to Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, the blockaded Gaza Strip, annexed east Jerusalem as well as Arab Israelis — a term referring to Palestinians who stayed on their land following Israel’s creation in 1948.

HRW said that while apartheid was initially coined with respect to the institutional persecution of black people in South Africa, it was now a universally recognized legal term.

An apartheid system is defined by “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them,” according to the Apartheid Convention.

Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, told AFP there have been warnings for years that “apartheid is around the corner”.

“I think it’s quite clear that that threshold has been crossed,” Shakir said from Jordan.

A US citizen, Shakir was the first foreign national deported by Israel for allegedly supporting an international boycott movement that seeks to isolate Israel, an allegation he denies.

The rights group listed sweeping movement restrictions, land confiscation, forcible population transfer, denial of residency rights and suspension of civil rights as examples of abuses “Israeli authorities have carried out… against Palestinians”.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

Abbas Statements are Complicit with Israeli Settler-Colonialism

April 22, 2021

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Kremlin, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Ramona Wadi

Known for belatedly spouting known truths, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was true to form in his address to the J Street conference recently, which revealed the extent of his collaboration with the international community over Palestine’s loss, and his complicity with Israeli settler-colonialism.

Mentioning “apartheid” as he did cannot gloss over the fact that Abbas is still championing a paradigm that has facilitated Israel’s colonial expansion and de-facto annexation of Palestinian land.

US President Joe Biden’s two-state policy is still unclear. The strategy has worked well for Israel, while advocates of the internationally-imposed paradigm can once again make themselves useful. But the two-state “solution” has already been declared dead in the water and pressuring the US administration to heed a matter of international consensus that still harms Palestinians should not be deemed “the only solution”, as Abbas is fond of claiming. In doing so, he is on the same page as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who insists that “There is no Plan B.”

If Abbas thought that by mentioning the A word he would be doing a service to the Palestinians, he is wrong. Not only has the Israeli NGO B’Tselem beaten him to it declaring that the colonial state has already passed the apartheid threshold, but Palestinians have also been trying to raise awareness regarding Israel’s apartheid policies for years. The PA, meanwhile, was busying itself with the international community’s state-building illusions and tacitly approving Israel’s settlement expansion.

“Moving away from the two-state solution will eventually lead to a de facto one-state solution, an apartheid state, and this is something neither, we nor the entire world would accept,” Abbas said. “A one-state solution will only perpetuate the conflict.”

This is not necessarily true. Moving away from moribund two-state politics can give a chance to the Palestinian people, but only if they have a leadership worthy of the name and cause. The two-state solution, remember, came back into vogue with the announcement of the so-called Abraham Accords, which saw some Arab countries normalize relations with Israel in return, they claimed, to halt Israel’s annexation plans.

Annexation, as Israel has made clear, was simply “postponed”. Nevertheless, the UN had no qualms about endorsing the diplomatic game that facilitated the de-facto annexation of the occupied West Bank.

The Trump administration’s “deal of the century” shifted focus on what would happen if Abbas and the international community keep insisting upon the two-state compromise. Saying that the one-state solution would entrench apartheid is valid only because Palestinians have not been given the political freedom to construct their own independence and liberation process.

Israel has leverage over the one-state concept because it has secured its narrative within the international community. The Palestinian people, though, are burdened with a leadership whose main interest is to impose the international paradigm and call it a “solution”.

So what is the use of the PA participating in such seminars, if it only serves to strengthen the Israeli narrative and colonial expansion? Abbas had the opportunity to speak to J Street — a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” liberal US advocacy group — about the Palestinian concept of a single, democratic state, but he did not take it. It is possible, of course, that his invitation to address the group was conditional upon his promotion of the two-state compromise because there is purportedly no other option for the Palestinian people.

To speak where the funding lies is to maintain two-state politics, now defunct in terms of implementation yet favorable for Israel and its de-facto annexation — aka theft — of Palestinian land. The Palestinian leadership embarked yet again upon another spectacle that revealed its allegiance to external entities over and above the people of occupied Palestine.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.

The Charge of Anti-Semitism versus Israeli Behavior

About me
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

March 9, 2021  

Posted by Lawrence DavidsonIsrael

The Charge of Anti-Semitism versus Israeli Behavior

Part I—The Misuse of Anti-Semitism

When it comes to anti-Semitism, the Israelis and their Zionist supporters are so deceitful that they risk the moral degradation of Judaism. How do these two things, deceitfulness and the moral degradation, that is the deterioration of ethical standards, go together in this case?

First, the Zionists are deceitful because they purposely conflate Zionism which is an ethnocentric political ideology adhered to by a subset of Jews, with Judaism, a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural religion. Then they insist that Israel’s allies—particularly the United States—adhere to this same propagandistic conflation.

Second, this deliberately instigated error is an attempt to stave off criticism of the Israeli state and its policies toward Palestinians. Those policies are harsh and include segregation, ethnic cleansing and other apartheid-style acts of discrimination. By insisting that (1) the political ideology that promotes and rationalizes this behavior is an expression of religion of Judaism and therefore (2) criticism of these policies is the equivalent of anti-Semitism, the Zionists insist that Israeli state behavior is sanctified by the religion. This is a direct attack on the ethical standards of Judaism, hence the moral degradation. The tactic also undermines the gravity of the charge of anti-Semitism due to chronic misapplication by the Zionists.

Part II—Saturday Night Live Tells a Joke

Let’s take a look at the background of this situation.

First, the sad truth is that Israeli state policies result in racist behavior towards the Palestinians.

The noted journalist Jonathan Cook, who covers Israel and Lebanon as a freelance reporter, has concluded the Palestinians “are viewed as an unwelcome, surplus population that serves as a demographic obstacle to the political realization of a Greater Israel. The severe economic and military pressures Israel imposes on these Palestinians are designed to engineer their incremental displacement, a slow-motion ethnic cleansing.”

This observation has been confirmed by the recent report put out by Israel’s most respected human rights organization, B’Tselem, entitled “A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This Is Apartheid.” Among other points, the B’Tselem report demonstrates that “in the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the Israeli regime implements laws, practices and state violence designed to cement the supremacy of one group—Jews—over another—Palestinians.”

Second, Israel and the Zionists insist that criticism of Israeli state policies is anti-Semitism.

Here is the most recent, admittedly rather absurd, example of the Zionists’ obsessive misuse of the charge of anti-Semitism—in this case directed toward a joke told on U.S. national television.

On February 24, the satiric comedy show, Saturday Night Live (SNL), joked about the Israeli discriminatory distribution of Covid-19 vaccine. It went as follows: “Israel is reporting that they vaccinated half of their population,” said the comedian Michael Che, “and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.” It is not a hilarious sort of joke, but it is attention-getting in a way that draws a smile and an affirmative nod. This is because those in the know, know it is close to the truth, but like the skeleton in the closet, it is not supposed to see the light of day.

The immediate response by American Zionist organizations and spokespeople was, as the saying goes, over the top. The American Jewish Committee (AJC) declared that “Saturday Night Live’s ‘joke’ is dangerous, a modern twist on a classic anti-Semitic trope that has inspired the mass murder of countless Jews throughout the centuries.” This description is such an exaggeration that it smacks of a guilty conscience.

The AJC also said that the assertion that Israel had only vaccinated that half of the population that is Jewish is “untrue.” If you are only counting Israel proper (1948 Israel) the AJC is technically correct. However, if you include the Occupied Territories, which Israel claims to be part of the Jewish state, it is absolutely true that Israel has been holding back on supplying vaccines to the bulk of the Palestinian population—they have transferred only about 5000 doses for a population of almost 5 million and interfered with the Palestinian Authority’s own efforts to import vaccines. So whose “mass murder” are we really talking about?

The AJC complaint was followed up by remarks by the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Gilad Erdan. He said that the SNL joke “isn’t funny. It’s ignorant. It perpetuates anti-Semitism.” Then he told us, “the fact is that the success of our vaccination drive is exactly because every citizen of Israel —Jewish, Muslim, Christian—is entitled to it.” Here he is being purposely misleading. While claiming the OT to be part of Israel, the Israeli government has denied the Palestinians in that territory Israeli citizenship. Nonetheless, Israel has responsibility for Palestinians in the OT under international law. So, the ambassador is hiding his country’s racist vaccine policy, and its violation of international law, by using the term “citizen” in an obfuscating manner.

For the other side of the joke-response story, the reader should see journalist Abby Martin’s YouTube presentation in defense of Saturday Night Live, as well as going to the Israeli progressive website, 972, which reported on the SNL joke under the headline, “SNL Tells the Uncomfortable Truth About Israel.” Their point is that “For over half a century, Israel has lorded over Palestinian society, plundered their land, erased the border of Israel Proper, and settled hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers in a territory slated for a Palestinian state. With this one-state reality firmly in place, Israel is now attempting to obfuscate who exactly counts as part of Israel’s ‘population’—and whether they are deserving of the country’s public health service.” When the Israelis are not trying to confuse the issue, they are using access to Covid-19 vaccines as bait in attempts to wring concessions out of the Palestinian Authority or the Hamas government in Gaza.

So there sure is more than a core of truth to the SNL joke. The non-Jewish half of the population is being discriminated against when it comes to health care, as well as all other aspects of state support. Consider the statement by the Israeli minister of health, Yuli Edelstein, who asserted that the “State of Israel had no more obligations to take care of Palestinians, than the Palestinian minister of health has responsibility to take care of dolphins in the Mediterranean.” Of course the Palestinian minister of health is a powerless figure who is not bound, as is his Israeli counterpart, by the Fourth Geneva Convention. And, now consider Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to reward some twenty foreign countries which “have done favors” for Israel with thousands of vials of Covid vaccine, while the Palestinians in the OT get almost nothing. The Israeli government appeared to back away from this policy only after it generated harmful publicity abroad.

Part III—Promoting a Tribal Worldview

Except for some newspaper editorials and the report from 972, most Israeli Jews have been silent. There seems to be a numbness when it comes to the Palestinians that, in this case, makes many Israeli Jews either accepting of the government’s biased approach to the delivery of vaccines, or too uncaring in the face of the pandemic to notice.

Actually, we should not be too surprised at this. Israeli society has been structured to produce a predetermined sort of Jewish citizen—one who, under normal circumstances, rarely comes in contact with Palestinians (again, it is a segregated society) and, if and when they do think of them, sees them as dangerous interlopers on Jewish land.

Consider the context determining this outlook.

—More than most states, Israel is a tribal nation—a tribe with a flag, if you will. This sense of strong ethnocentrism is the product of centuries of anti-Semitism. The core of this outlook lay with the Ashkenazi—the European Jews who suffered the brunt of anti-Semitism, pogroms, and finally the Europe-centered Holocaust. It was their surviving leadership, guided by the ideology of Zionism, who finally realized the founding of Israel.

—Zionism is the political ideology that combines the goals of ethnic survival, statehood and the reshaping of the modern Jew into a citizen dedicated to the defense and future of a Jewish state.

—In other words what Israel does, or equivalently what Zionism does, is to institutionalize a tribal group sensitivity and ongoing sense of grievance. An expression of this sensitivity is the charge of anti-Semitism against anyone who is critical of Israel and its policies.

—How does Israel maintain and hone this sense of grievance as a basis of tribal solidarity? Through the institutions of society, particularly the state’s educational system and military service, which are designed to realize the appropriate Zionist worldview.

—For this it helps to have enemies right now: the whole non-Jewish world in general and the Palestinians in particular.

—Drill this worldview into successive generations and you get a first-class citizenry which sees no problem with discriminating and ultimately cleansing all supposed second-class interlopers. Thus, the miserly and begrudging outlay of Covid-19 vaccines for those “others!”

Part IV—Conclusion

The promotion of such a skewered worldview is not peculiarly Israeli, and certainly is not inherently Jewish. Tribalism was the social unit of all human beings for millennia and really did not start to break down until modern times. This breakdown process is imperfect, and so there are any number of groups resisting the trend toward multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies. They still react, often violently, to immigrants and other strangers in their midst, and stick together based on ethnicity, religion, or other tribal-like identities. Here in the U.S., Donald Trump is the rather nasty leader of such a reaction.

However, as the growth of integrated societies testifies, tribalism isn’t inevitable. Rather, the modern tribal impulse for an ethnocentric state has to be artificially manipulated through incessant propaganda and organized miseducation.
This manipulation is exactly what is happening in Israel. As a result, the Israelis, and more broadly the Zionists, just can’t take a joke—particularly if it shines a light on their racist behavior.

Zionists’ Efforts to Coopt the BLM Movement: Can Racists Be Anti-Racist?

February 14, 2021

Palestinian artists painting George Floyed on the walls on UNRWA office, in Gaza. (Photo: via UNRWA Website)

By Benay Blend

On February 6, 2021, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza announced that she was pulling out of a World Values Network online gala with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a prominent American Zionist.

“They approached me about having a conversation about the importance of solidarity between black communities and Jewish communities,” she explained, then thanked Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour for amplifying the larger picture.

According to journalist Michael Brown, Garza has a history of denouncing other public figures who joined propaganda trips to Israel. Boteach’s gala, Brown continued, appears just as egregious, for it “follow[s] Boteach’s years of backing the racist Donald Trump, thereby making a mockery of the efforts promoted by Black leaders and the wider Black community to advance racial justice and decolonization.”

Placed within a larger context, Boteach’s move comes at a time when Zionists are increasingly fearful of the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions Movement (BDS)’s success. Coupled with the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to investigate Israel for War Crimes, any support for Palestinian rights will undoubtedly come under attack.

There is a long history of Pan-African support for Palestine which has resulted in Zionists denouncing that alignment. In a lecture series “Palestine and Us: Black and Palestinian Solidarity,” Ahmad Abuznaid traced the history of Black support for Palestine as well as the fall-out from it. Referring to Malcolm X’s Zionist Logic (1964), Abuznaid explained that this statement drew from Malcolm X’s shift from Black Nationalist to a more Pan-Africanist position, particularly after he saw connections between Pan-Arabists, represented by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Pan-Africanists that he was beginning to support.

After the 1967 war, Black Radicals began to move away from seeing Zionism as a liberation movement to viewing it as a colonialist venture, much like the colonialism that was oppressing Africans around the world. Following in this direction, Ethel Minor, a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), wrote a piece in their newsletter entitled “Third World Round-up: The Palestine Problem: Test Your Knowledge,” leading to a split between those, like Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) who would continue to support Palestine on principle, and others who feared that without taking a more “balanced position,” one that included mention of the Holocaust, there would be loss of funding.

Indeed, as Ture made clear“immediately after the statement, phone calls rang in and the checks stopped coming.” Today, organizations, politicians and others who depend on funding are leery of taking a principled stance on Palestine, because, much like what happened with SNCC, Zionist supporters will use whatever means necessary to launch a targeted smear campaign of anyone who is critical of the Israeli state.

For example, in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement’s 2014 platform that denounced the US government’s military aid to Israel, there were claims of “one-sided” and “unfair” from pro-Israel commentators who rejected the coalition’s critique. Several years before B’tselem’s quite similar statement, which was either ignored completely or applauded for its courage, BLM charged the following:

“The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people. Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people.”

The BLM platform also drew ire for its support of BDS. Fear of its success continues to motivate Zionists into the present time. In a piece for Haaretz, Rabbi Dan Dorsch of Atlanta declared that the mainstream Jewish community, and also Palestinian Government officials, have rejected BDS.

He continued that connecting the Black struggle in American to that of Palestinians is “unquestionably shortsighted and will only undermine the credibility of the movement and the important cause of civil rights in America”.

Like several years before, when pro-Israel donors withdrew their funds from SNCC, Rabbi Dorsch was warning that the pattern would continue as long as BLM lent its support to Palestine. Returning to the question of whether Zionists can be anti-racist, the short answer is an emphatic “no.” Quoting a message from Jewish Voice for Peace: “If you oppose racism, you should oppose Zionism too.”

As BDS successes grow and the ICC moves closer to investigate Israel for war crimes, pro-Israel groups will increasingly try to sever anti-racist movements in the US from their ties to Palestinians. Nevertheless, given several factors—the historic connections between Palestine and anti-colonial movements around the world, coupled with the waning acceptance of Progressive Except Palestine–Israel will not succeed.

For example, in a recent article Ramzy Baroud noted that

“Israeli efforts at co-opting Africa countries received a major setback on Saturday, February, 6 when the African Union issued a strong statement of solidarity with Palestine, condemning Israel’s illegal settlement activities and the US’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.”

In return, Palestinians have supported movements against injustice around the globe. Documenting a new round of Palestinian uprisings within the Zionist entity, Gaza-based journalist Wafaa Al-Udaini chose to use a photo from another protest against the Israeli regime.

Dating back a year to the shooting of Iyad al-Halak, an unarmed autistic Palestinian man, Palestinians in the picture also hold signs calling attention to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis the previous week, an extralegal murder that they link with al-Halak.

While Palestinians understand the connections between their struggles and anti-colonial movements in other countries, many liberals in the U.S. do not. Nevertheless, as Marc Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick outline in their new book, Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics, the days are over when so-called progressive public figures can join the anti-racist struggle at home while accepting gifts from Zionist organizations who fully support the Israeli apartheid state.

As Sarah Doyel notes in her review of Hill and Plitnick’s book, the authors observe that

“Democrats will take to the global stage to champion victims of other humanitarian crises, but Palestinians in Gaza living in what is commonly described as ‘the world’s largest open-air prison’ somehow merit little succor in the liberal worldview.”

Their work, Doyel concludes, is “a crucial and ultimately hopeful tool that better equips progressives to combat injustices within their own political circles.” Combined with the work of members of anti-colonial coalitions, some of whom convinced Alicia Garza to withdraw from Shmuley’s gala, perhaps anti-Zionists in the future will be strong enough to resist what will surely be increasing attacks on their political alignment with Palestinians.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

The ‘Western’ Racist Roots of Israeli Apartheid

by Jeremy Salt

Source

Palestinian phoenix 4510c

Joe Biden supports a two-state solution to the ‘Palestine problem’. Well, first of all, it never was a Palestine problem. It was a  zionist problem, leading to the colonization and takeover of Palestine by a settler minority. 

Second, the two-state solution is a chimera. Israel is not interested and by supporting a two-state solution that is a delusion,  Biden is actually supporting the continuation of a policy of no solution. In fact, his bogus two-state solution is no more than a mask drawn over the face of his real policy, of continuing lavish support for Israel whatever it does. The one issue Biden does have to face is the Israeli threat to attack Iran if he dares to take the US back into the nuclear agreement breached by Trump. We have to wait to see how he works this out.   

By themselves, the Palestinians have never counted for less in the strategic and political calculations of the zionists. They are treated as a defeated people who should have surrendered long ago and true, the zionists have never been stronger at the material level,  the Palestinians never weaker. 

Only the Palestinians have the right to decide what to do next in the current calamitous situation, but friends can make suggestions and an obvious one would be the need to reconstitute themselves as a national community, building tactical and strategic consensus, before going any further.

In the absence of a two-state solution, the pendulum swings back to one state, either one  Jewish national state or one state for all.  This second aspiration takes the issue back to the 1960s and the one secular state advanced at that time by the PLO.

This soon foundered on the reef of zionist ideology, which from the beginning was based on a Jewish state established over all of Palestine.  That was the whole point of taking the land in the first place: it was a delusion to think the zionists would ever accept anything less than a Jewish state.  Israel’s extended dissembling over the past two decades has merely enabled what was intended,  its colonization of east Jerusalem and the West Bank to reach the point of what many believe to be irreversibility.   

Irreversibility has no meaning in history, of course. The examples are too numerous even to bother proving the point but apparent irreversibility manifested in the 600,000 settlers occupying East Jerusalem and the West Bank has led many Palestinians back to the idea of  one state for all across all of Palestine. 

The pooling of resources in one state with equal rights for Jews, Muslims and Christians (and anyone else) is an attractive and sensible option, of course,  even with all the immense practical difficulties that such an idea entails, beginning with acceptance of the right to return of Palestinians (and their heirs) to the places they came from,  taken over by Jewish settlers in 1948/9 as illegally as the settlers living in east Jerusalem or the West Bank since 1967.

However, even if all this could be sorted out theoretically (and a new name devised for this shared land),  the Jews of today’s Israel do not want it any more than their forebears did.   

For secular Jews living in pre-1967 Israel/occupied Palestine,  the ‘right’ of Israel to exist as a Jewish state is the rock of their collective existence:   for religious Jews living in the territories taken in 1967,  God’s mandate and not Israel’s ‘right’ to exist explains their position but the two positions dovetail in the belief of the necessity of a Jewish state, across all if not most of Palestine.

Just as there were a handful of brave Afrikaners who fought white settler apartheid, so there have always been Jews who challenge zionist racism:  Judah Magnes and the small circle around him in the 1920s-40s who believed in a binational state,  Uri Avnery and the peaceniks in the 1960s and 1970s and currently,  the scholar Ilan Pappe and the journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy.  They expose the lies of the state and the endorsement of its crimes by the people but they represent a tiny minority, allowing the state and the people to shrug them off. 

The similarities between apartheid South Africa and apartheid Israel should not blind people into thinking that the outcome will be the same, that one day,  like the white settlers in South Africa,  the zionists will voluntarily see the error of their ways and change course. 

As far as we can see ahead, this would be another delusion. By 1990 the small white minority of South Africa had declined to about 13 percent of the total population.  Apart from the numbers, the apartheid regime was isolated internationally, with sanctions being imposed that spelled economic ruin: ultimately it had no choice but to give in to what was manifestly inevitable.    

By comparison, while the demographics continue to change against them all the time,  Jews still constitute about 50 percent of the population of Palestine between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. They still have sufficient numbers as well as the armed might for Israel to be able to put down any Palestinian challenge from inside.   

Furthermore,  there is little effective pressure on Israel from the ‘western’ world to change its ways.   BDS has damaged Israel,  but at the cost of a counter-reaction which has resulted in  Israel being given additional protection by the passage of anti-BDS measures by state legislatures across the US and by parliaments in Canada,  Britain, France and Germany.  The gains have been heavily offset by the cost.

The cash flow from the US continues undiminished,  and neither the UN as a collective body or any of its member governments seeks to restrain Israel in any serious way. Not only that,  but they give their fervent support to the charge of anti-semitism which Israel continues to use unscrupulously to destroy those who stand against its racism, the most recent high profile scalp being Jeremy Corbyn’s.

In such an environment of international indulgence,  with only notional marginal interest at home in a genuine one-state settlement, the Israeli government sees no need to change course.  It knows it can do virtually whatever it wants  without the ‘international community’ stepping forward to stand in its way.  Not even the killing of children on the West Bank or in Gaza have been sufficient to push it into making Israel pay for the consequences of its actions.   

Holocaust guilt helps to explain indulgence of Israel but so does the racism of the ‘west,’  past and present,  as manifested yet again by the recent slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Middle Eastern lands.

Far from generating absolute horror at such crimes,  these deaths count for little in the ‘western’ homeland.  Black lives in the US, Canada, or Australia might matter but black or brown lives destroyed in Iraq,  Syria,  Libya, Yemen,  Palestine and numerous other places count for very little in these same countries.

The deaths of 3000 people on 9/11 were widely described as a turning point.  By comparison, no episode of the mass killing of people of color has ever been described as a turning point in history. 

These deaths have little impact in the countries where they are decided:  the faces are faceless, the names nameless,  the features featureless,  the deaths not counted,  no more than an estimate if someone asks.    

There is no turning point for these victims of racist wars:  their world will continue to turn the same way it always has done.  Their deaths do not register because they are not exceptional  – as the deaths on 9/11 were –  but only the normal continuation of what has been going on for centuries in Latin America,  Africa, the Middle East and South-east Asia, with no end in sight even now, and one does not sit up and take notice of the normal.

The ending of these lives of unequal value at the hands of ‘western’ armies is ignored or quickly forgotten:  no-one in the ‘western’ homeland is ever held responsible, not the politicians launching the wars,  not the pilots firing the missiles, and not the media giving encouragement on the home front.

These two complementary forms of racism, zionist apartheid  on one hand and deeply imprinted  ‘western’ racism on the other,  have been fundamental to the success of Zionism from the beginning. 

With support continuing from the US at all levels,  and with the ‘international community’ reluctant to intervene,  it would be a delusion to think that Israel will one day voluntarily accept a genuine one-state settlement.  The great bulk of Jewish Israelis do not want it and the state will fight it tooth and claw if it ever becomes a serious threat (an extremely remote prospect at the moment).   

There are no signs that sufficient momentum can be developed to compel Israel to accept such a solution.  BDS is effective but only up to a certain point.  The ‘international community’ is not interested in challenging Israel in any meaningful way.  Arab governments never genuinely committed to the Palestine cause in the first place are now coming out of hiding and signing agreements with the enemy who never was. 

To see where any prospect of breaking this deadlock might lie, one has to look at the regional strategic situation as seen through Israeli eyes. The dominant feature in military circles is alarm, born not just of Israel’s failure to intimidate its enemies but the fact that they are stronger now than they were a decade ago. 

The exception is Syria, which has withstood the most determined attempt ever made to destroy an Arab government, has had to pay a terrible price in the loss of life and destruction of its towns and cities and is still battling armed takfiri groups in different parts of the country. It has to concentrate on its own recovery: there is not much else it can do at the moment but its strategic allies, Iran and Hizbullah, remain a standing cause of active preparation for war in Israel.

Inside their homeland, the Palestinians can be killed, bullied and beaten, and otherwise oppressed by a suffocating network of pseudo-legal ‘laws’ but Israel has no such control beyond Palestine’s borders. This external dimension of the Palestinian question –  as an Arab question, historically, politically, culturally, and geographically; as a Muslim question, with the enormous weight that this signifies; and as a human rights question that resonates around the world – has always represented the greatest threat to the zionist state,  as by themselves the Palestinians would never have been capable of overcoming the vast power wielded against them after 1918. 

Resistance to Israel by Iran and Hizbullah arises from the centrality of Palestine in Arab and Muslim consciousness.  They have paid heavily for their commitment but they have not backed off because,  to put it as it is understood in Iran and by Hizbullah, the cause is sacred. Their resistance is deeply principled,  something the ‘western’ homeland cannot allow itself to understand if Israel is to be defended,  but as much as they are demeaned and abused in the ‘western’ homeland as ‘terrorists’  it is they who have human rights and international law on their side,  not Israel.  

In this external form, from beyond Palestine’s borders, the Palestinian phoenix rises again from the ashes of its suffering to haunt its enemy.  An idea can be much harder to crush than a people, because it has to be countermanded by ideas and Israel has none in its armoury, at least not any good ones. 

In the event of another regional war, unfortunately, a probability more than a possibility, on the basis of all past experience, Iran and Hizbullah have the missile capacity to damage Israel well beyond anything it has ever experienced.

Only the trauma of such an experience is likely to push Israel in the direction of one state for everyone living in the land of Palestine,  with the doors of return opened to the refugees. This is clearly the common-sense solution, the humane solution, but it is not one that Israel is likely to embrace voluntarily.

Apartheid from the Sea to the River

By Jeremy Salt

Source

BTselem apartheid Israel Palestine Latuff 46b11

B’Tselem’s description of Israel an apartheid state is valuable because B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization, is saying it.  Otherwise, the reaction should be of course it is. B’Tselem applies the word to all of Palestine and not just the remaining territories seized in 1967.  Again, of course it should.  Structural discrimination against the Palestinians is built into every level of government except elections,  which allows Israel repeatedly to tell the world that it is the only democracy in the Middle East, as if the ballot box is the only measure of democracy, blurring the reality unless people take a close look.

Israel and the policy of apartheid were born in the same year, 1948,  Israel as a colonial-settler declared unilaterally over occupied Palestine on May 15 and apartheid as the election-winning policy of South Africa’s National Party on May 26. On December 9 the same year, the UN General Assemby adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  

The convention describes genocide as acts intended to destroy “in whole or part” a national,  ethnical, racial or religious group.   There is no other way to describe Israel’s intentions in 1948.  Hundreds of Palestinian villages were razed and about 800,000 people driven out of their native land to make way for European settlers.   As for why they had to go there are two reasons:   they were not Jews,  and they were living in a land the zionists wanted to turn into a Jewish state.   

The occupation of the rest of Palestine in 1967 and the military, economic and pseudo-legal weapons used to suffocate the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem ever since are no more than an extension of what began in 1948.

B’tselem’s declaration revives the debate over whether zionism is a ‘racist’ ideology.  For the victims of racism in other colonized countries,  of course it is. Only in the imperial ‘west,’ with its own long history of racism, occupation and massacre, could the question even arise. 

In fact, racism has been in zionism’s DNA ever since Herzl talked of “spiriting” the Palestians out of their land to make way for a Jewish state.   How to get rid of them was the central consideration of the Zionist planners who followed him.

Everything evil committed against the Palestinians since 1948 speaks to the historical racism of the zionist enterprise.  You don’t treat people with the brutality that has accompanied the zionist march through history if you think they have the same rights as you do. Your soldiers, police and settlers do not kill or massacre people if they think they have the same right to life as they do.

Your state doesn’t create different laws and different rights if it thinks all people should have the same rights and live under the same laws. The state does not give a false right of return to Jews wherever they live and deny the genuine right of return of Palestinians. The state does not declare that the state is the state of the Jewish people and not the state of  its citizens,  Jewish or not.  

On November 10, 1975, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 3379,  describing zionism “as a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The word ‘race’ has no basis in science but everyone knows what it means in practice:   discrimination against specific groups on the basis of religion, ethnicity or skin color.  The Israeli ambassador,  Chaim Herzog,  was so enraged when the resolution was passed (72-35 with 32 abstentions) that he tore up his printout.

The passage of this resolution led to an immediate counter-attack by Israel, supported by the US and other governments.   As always, the bludgeon used was anti-semitism, with the US, from behind the scenes, prodding governments that had voted for the resolution to change their minds.  The tactics worked. On December 16,1991, the General Assembly revoked the resolution in resolution 46/86, passed 111-25 with 13 abstentions and 15 absentees.

Daniel Moynihan, the US ambassador at the UN and a zionist diehard, commented before 3379 was revoked that the UN “is about to make anti-semitism international law.” Of course, the resolution had nothing to do with anti-semitism but was born of the growing need to expose the ideology of a state which even by then had wrought massive destruction in the Middle East.

On the basis of  the commitments it had made to respect UN principles,   Israel was accepted as a UN member (Resolution 273, May 11, 1949), the General Assembly having resolved  that Israel “is a peace-loving State which accepts the obligations contained in the charter and is able and willing to carry  out those obligations.”  The next day it signed a protocol accepting resolution 194 (III) of 1948, setting out the basic rights of the Palestinians, including the right of return to their homeland, and the preservation of their property.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Even at the time Israel was not “peace loving”: in hindsight the phrase is grotesque.  Neither did Israel have any intention of abiding by the commitments it had made to the Palestinians whom it had ethnically cleansed.  They would never be allowed to return. 

As for their property,  Israel was asked to suspend its ‘’Emergency Applications on Absentee Property’’ until a final peace settlement could be reached.  It responded that the so-called “custodian of absentee property” was acting only as a trustee for the owners,  “whose property is being administered in their interests.” 

This was a blatant lie. The “absentee property” was already being distributed among settlers old and new. It included village and town houses and a mass of agricultural land which had Chaim Weizmann, the state’s first president, in absolute raptures.  So much of it, and all of it acquired at absolutely no cost:

“ … about five million dunums of land [1.235 million acres] at least which could be taken under the plough almost at once,  but we have not yet got the people. In the district between Ramleh and Latrun there are about two milion dunums of the best land in Palestine for which, if we had to buy it, we would have to pay at least LP [Palestine pounds] per dunum and as you know, one could never buy land between Ramleh and Latrun. Now it is all free, overgrown with weeds and it is very doubtful whether the Arabs will ever come back to work it. Eveybody seems to think they have gone for good.”

This master dissembler knew perfectly well that Israel had no intention of allowing  ‘the Arabs’ back,  and as for a land “overgrown with weeds,” it was fertile and intensively worked by Palestinian farmers.

Everything the owners of “absentee property” had left behind was destroyed or stolen, down to furniture and small household items. The houses left standing were handed over to settlers,  senior zionist figures taking some of the best for themselves. 

An additional category was added to the list of absentees. These were the “present absentees” who fled from one part of Palestine to another during the fighting.   They were not allowed back to their original place of residence and their property was stolen too.

The lies told by Israel to secure UN membership were followed by the serial violations of Palestinian rights and international law along the spectrum of human rights which have continued to the present day. 

This being the case,  the rules of the club should surely prevail.  Anyone who joins a club and refuses to abide by the rules is usually warned once, warned twice,  suspended on the third offence and then thrown out if it still ignores the conditions of membership.  

Israel was admitted to the club on the basis of a false application.  It then refused to obey the rules, not once, twice or thrice but thousands of times but is still allowed to remain a member. 

Without the protection of the US, the UN General Assembly almost certainly would have voted for suspension of Israel decades ago and then ejection if it still refused to comply.   Thanks to the US, however, not only does  Israel remain a member but it is never punished for its crimes.

Noam Chomsky has described Israeli apartheid as “much worse” than South African apartheid. On the basis of the number of people who have died as a result of Israel’s racist policies, there is actually no comparison.

Under an apartheid government,  South African police, soldiers and white settlers beat, tortured and killed Africans.  Israeli police, soldiers and settlers do the same to Palestinians but whereas the worst state massacres in apartheid South Africa were Sharpeville (March 21, 1960), when police killed 69 people and wounded 180 others demonstrating against the pass laws,  and Soweto (June 16, 1976),  when at least 176 students (estimates are as high as 700) demonstrating against having to learn Afrikaans were killed,  the victims of Israel’s massacres run into the tens of thousands. 

This state of affairs will continue as long as the “international community” refuses to punish Israel for violation of the laws it has passed to protect human rights and preserve global peace.  Such punishment would be imposed through suspension from the UN and the suspension by governments of diplomatic and trade relations with Israel, but as long as it does not have to pay for its crimes and its contempt for international law it will see no reason to change.   As long as it refuses to change, it will remain a threat to Middle Eastern regional and global peace.

Dr Tim Anderson: dismantling apartheid in occupied Palestine

HRW: “Israel” Systematically Repressed Palestinians in 2020

HRW: “Israel” Systematically Repressed Palestinians in 2020

By Staff, Agencies

Human Rights Watch [HRW] says the apartheid “Israeli” regime “systematically repressed and discriminated” against Palestinians last year.

HRW said in a report on the year 2020 that the “Israeli” regime’s practices “far exceeded the security justifications” it often gave.

In the occupied West Bank, including East al-Quds [Jerusalem], the “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] martyred 20 Palestinians and injured at least 2,001 as of October 5, HRW cited figures presented by the United Nations [UN] Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA].

“‘Israeli’ authorities have rarely held accountable security forces who used excessive force or settlers who attacked Palestinians,” HRW said.

It also cited the “Jerusalem [al-Quds] Legal Aid and Human Rights Center” as saying that the apartheid  “Israeli” entity held, as of September, the bodies of 67 Palestinians martyred since 2015.

The apartheid “Israeli” regime said in September last year that it would use the bodies of deceased Palestinians as bargaining chips to have the bodies of IOF members purportedly held by resistance factions in Gaza released.

The HRW also criticized the entity’s 13-year-old siege of the Gaza Strip and other restrictions imposed on the Palestinians in the enclave.

“These restrictions, not based on an individualized assessment of security risk, robbed with rare exceptions the 2 million Palestinians living there [the Gaza Strip] of their right to freedom of movement, limited their access to electricity and water, and devastated the economy,” the organization said.

The HRW also denounced the “Israeli” move to tighten the restrictions in August as “unlawful collective punishment.”

The report added that, “Egypt also sharply restricted the movement of people and goods at its Rafah crossing with Gaza.”

The New York-based group also said that the apartheid “Israeli” regime facilitated the further transfer of “Israelis” into settlements constructed in the occupied West Bank, slamming the practice as “a war crime”.

The HRW referred to a report by Peace Now in which the “Israeli” group said the “Israeli” entity last year approved the construction of more settler units in the occupied West Bank – 12,159 as of October 15 –more than in any other year since the group began tracking those statistics in 2012.

More than 600,000 “Israeli” settlers live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 “Israeli” occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All “Israeli” settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.

The HRW also cited OCHA as saying that the “Israeli” entity demolished 568 Palestinian houses and other structures in the West Bank, including in East al-Quds, as of October 19, 2020, leaving 759 people displaced.

Most buildings were demolished under the pretext of lacking “Israeli” building permits, which are almost never given.

Referring to about 600 checkpoints and other permanent obstacles set up by the entity within the West Bank as of June, the HRW said, “‘Israeli’ forces routinely turn away or humiliate and delay Palestinians at checkpoints without explanation.”

Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character

Israel’s separation wall is pictured on 11 February 2020 (AFP)
Jonathan Cook
Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

14 January 2021 11:31 UTC

New report by rights group B’Tselem will make it harder to smear Israel’s critics as antisemites for arguing that Israel is a racist state


For more than a decade, a handful of former Israeli politicians and US diplomats identified with what might be termed the “peace process industry” have intermittently warned that, without a two-state solution, Israel is in danger of becoming an “apartheid state”. 

The most notable among them include Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, two former Israeli prime ministers, and John Kerry, who served as former US President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Time is rapidly running out, they have all declared in the past. 

Their chief concern, it seems, was that without the alibi of some kind of Palestinian state – however circumscribed and feeble – the legitimacy of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” will increasingly come under scrutiny. Apartheid will arrive, the argument goes, when a minority of Israeli Jews rule over a majority of Palestinians in the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan controlled by Israel. 

Demographic threshold

The apartheid threat has been wielded by the so-called “peace camp” in hopes of mobilising international pressure on the Israeli right, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The goal has been to force it into making sufficient concessions that the Palestinian leadership agrees to a demilitarised statelet, or statelets, on fragments on the original Palestinian homeland. 

Meanwhile, demographic trends have continued apace, and the Israeli right has ignored all warnings, preferring to pursue their Greater Israel ambitions instead. But strangely, the apartheid moment never arrived for the Israeli peace camp. Instead, its expressions of concern about apartheid fizzled into silence, as did its once-vocal worries about a Palestinian demographic majority.

How much sense would it have made in the former South Africa to claim that apartheid existed only in the Bantustans or black townships, while exempting white areas?

This entirely cynical approach to Palestinian statehood was very belatedly blown apart this week with the publication of a report by B’Tselem, Israel’s most prominent and respected human rights group. It broke ranks to declare what has been obvious for many, many years. Israel has created a permanent reality in which there are two peoples, Jews and Palestinians, sharing the same territorial space, but “a regime of Jewish supremacy” has been imposed by the stronger side. This unequivocally qualifies as apartheid, B’Tselem said. 

It dismisses the sophistry that apartheid relates to some self-serving demographic deadline – one that never materialises – rather than the explicitly segregationist practices and policies Israel has enforced throughout the territories it rules. It also dismisses arguments made by Israel’s partisans abroad that Israel cannot be an apartheid state because there are no South African-style “whites only” signs on park benches. 

Hagai El-Ad, B’Tselem’s executive director, notes that Israel’s version – “apartheid 2.0, if you will – avoids certain kinds of ugliness … That Israel’s definitions do not depend on skin colour make no material difference: it is the supremacist reality which is the heart of the matter.” The report concludes that the bar for apartheid was met after considering “the accumulation of policies and laws that Israel devised to entrench its control over Palestinians”.

Daring analysis

What is perhaps most daring about B’Tselem’s analysis is its admission that apartheid exists not just in the occupied territories, as has been observed before, including by former US President Jimmy Carter. It describes the entire region between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River – which encompasses both Israel and the Palestinian territories – as an apartheid regime. It thereby denies Israel’s claims to be a democratic state even inside its internationally recognised borders.

B’Tselem has abandoned the pretence that apartheid can be limited to the occupied territories, as though Israel – the state that rules Palestinians – is somehow exempt from being classified as integral to the apartheid enterprise it institutes and oversees.

That was always obvious. How much sense would it have made in the former South Africa to claim that apartheid existed only in the Bantustans or black townships, while exempting white areas? None at all. And yet, Israel has been getting away with precisely this clearcut casuistry for decades – largely aided by the peace camp, including B’Tselem.

Palestinian workers cross the Nilin checkpoint on 18 March 2020 (MEE/Mohammad Abu Zaid)
Palestinian workers cross the Nilin checkpoint on 18 March 2020 (MEE/Mohammad Abu Zaid)

Now, B’Tselem observes: “Jews go about their lives in a single, contiguous space where they enjoy full rights and self-determination. In contrast, Palestinians live in a space that is fragmented into several units, each with a different set of rights – given or denied by Israel, but always inferior to the rights accorded to Jews.”

Israel’s “Jewish supremacist ideology” is revealed in its obsession with “Judaising” land, in its bifurcated citizenship laws and policies that privilege Jews alone, in its regulations that restrict movement for Palestinians only, and in its denial of political participation to Palestinians. These discriminatory policies, B’Tselem notes, apply also to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian and have nominal Israeli citizenship. 

El-Ad concludes: “There is not a single square inch in the territory Israel controls where a Palestinian and a Jew are equal. The only first-class people here are Jewish citizens such as myself.”

Permanent occupation

What B’Tselem has done is echo the arguments long made by academics and Palestinian civil society, including the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, that Israel is a settler-colonial society. 

In an emailed response to the report, Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement, said it helped to put an end to “the vicious and deeply racist lies about the not-so-perfect Israeli democracy that has a problem called ‘the occupation’”. Why acknowledging Israeli apartheid is not enough

The B’Tselem report observes that, while “occupation” must be a temporary situation, Israel has no intention of ending its military rule over Palestinians, even after more than five decades. A Palestinian state is not conceivably on the agenda of any Israeli party in sight of power, and no one in the international community with any influence is demanding one. The two-state solution has been smothered into oblivion.

For that reason, it argues, all of Israel and the Palestinian territories under occupation are organised “under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians”.

There are good reasons why B’Tselem is biting the bullet now, after decades of equivocation from it and the rest of the Israeli peace camp. Firstly, no one really believes that Israel will be pressured from outside into conceding a Palestinian state. Trump’s so-called “peace plan”, unveiled a year ago, gave Netanyahu everything he wanted, including support for annexing swaths of the West Bank on which illegal settlements have been built. 

Four years of Trump, and the recruitment of much of the Gulf to Netanyahu’s side, has shifted the conversation a long way from efforts to secure Palestinian statehood. Now, the focus is on how best to delay Israel’s move towards formal annexation. US president-elect Joe Biden will at best try to push things back to the dismal state they were in before Donald Trump took office. At worst, he will quietly assent to all or most of the damage Trump has inflicted on the Palestinian national cause.

Deeply isolated

Secondly, B’Tselem and other human rights groups are more deeply isolated at home than ever before. There is simply no political constituency in Israel for their research into the systematic abuses of Palestinians by the Israeli army and settlers. That means B’Tselem no longer needs to worry about messaging that could antagonise the sensibilities of Israel’s so-called “Zionist left” – because there is no meaningful peace camp left to alienate. 

The disappearance of this peace camp, unreliable as it was, has only been underscored by the Israeli general election due in late March. The battle for power this time is being waged between three or four far-right parties that all support annexation to varying degrees. 

Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work

The Israeli left has ceased to exist at the political level. It comprises a handful of human and legal rights groups, mostly seen by the public as traitors supposedly meddling in Israel’s affairs on behalf of “European” interests. At this stage, B’Tselem has little to lose. It is almost entirely irrelevant inside Israel.

Thirdly, and as a result, the only audience for B’Tselem’s careful research exposing Israeli abuses is overseas. This new report seeks to liberate a conversation about Israel, partly among Palestinian solidarity activists abroad. Their campaigns have been stymied by the failure of the Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas to signal where they should direct their efforts, now that prospects for Palestinian statehood have vanished.

Activists have also been browbeaten into silence by smears from Israel’s partisans in the US and Europe, decrying any trenchant criticism of Israel as antisemitic. These slurs were relentlessly deployed against the UK’s Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn because of his support for the Palestinian cause.

Breaking a taboo

By calling Israel an apartheid state and a “regime of Jewish supremacy”, B’Tselem has given the lie to the Israel lobby’s claim – bolstered by a new definition promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – that it is antisemitic to suggest Israel is a “racist endeavour”. 

B’Tselem, a veteran Israeli Jewish organisation with deep expertise in human rights and international law, has now explicitly declared that Israel is a racist state. Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work.

Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank on 29 January 2020 (AFP)
Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank on 29 January 2020 (AFP)

The report is also intended to reach out to young American Jews, who are more willing than their parents to foreground the mistreatment of Palestinians and to forgo the Zionist idea that Israel is their bolthole in times of trouble. 

Significantly, the B’Tselem report has been published in the wake of two groundbreaking essays this past summer by influential American Jewish journalist Peter Beinart. In them, he broke a taboo in the US Jewish mainstream by declaring the two-state solution dead and calling for a single democratic state for Israelis and Palestinians.

It doubtless served as a wakeup call to Israeli groups such as B’Tselem that the conversation about Israel is moving on in the US and becoming much more polarised. Israeli human rights groups need to engage with this debate, not shy away from it.

Battle for equality

There is one possible lacuna in B’Tselem’s position. The report suggests a reticence to focus on outcomes. Nowhere is the two-state solution ruled out. Rather, the report notes: “There are various political paths to a just future.” Statements by El-Ad to Middle East Eye indicate that his organisation may still support a framework of international pressure for incremental, piecemeal change in Israeli policies that violate Palestinian human rights.Israeli settlers’ racism is not an aberration. It’s part of an apartheid systemRead More »

That is very much what western states, particularly Europe, have been paying lipservice to for decades, while Israeli apartheid has entrenched.

Does B’Tselem hope its apartheid criticisms will prove more effective than Barak and Olmert’s apartheid warnings, finally galvanising the international community into action to push for a Palestinian state? If so, Biden’s performance in office should soon dispel any such illusions. El-Ad observes that the goal now is “a rejection of supremacy, built on a commitment to justice and our shared humanity.” 

That cannot happen within the two-state framework, even on the untenable assumption that the international community ever seriously rallies behind Palestinian statehood, against Israel’s wishes. So why not say so explicitly? The best-case two-state scenarios on the table are for a tiny, divided, demilitarised, pseudo-Palestinian state with no control over its borders, airspace or electromagnetic frequencies.

That would not offer “justice” to Palestinians or recognise their “shared humanity” with Israeli Jews.

As welcome as the new report is, it is time for B’Tselem – as well as Palestinian solidarity activists who look to the organisation – to explicitly reject any reversion to a “peace process” premised on ending the occupation. The logic of an apartheid analysis needs to be followed to the very end. That requires unequivocally embracing a democratic single state guaranteeing equality and dignity for all.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Read more

Against the Witch Hunt: On the Instrumentalization of Antisemitism in Britain’s Labour Party

December 17, 2020

UK Labour Party voted in favor of a motion which could see Britain cease trade with Israel. (Photo: via Twitter)

By Ronnie Kasrils

The assault on free speech within Britain’s Labour Party speaks like a ghost from my past. I was banned from public speaking in apartheid South Africa almost sixty years ago. My crime aged 23, was advocating votes for all. The apartheid government accused those like me of undermining the safety of whites. When all avenues of peaceful change were blocked, we had no option but to turn to armed struggle.

We argued that there was no equivalence between the state violence of the oppressor and the resistance of the oppressed. International solidarity helped bring about the demise of the apartheid system. We empathize with those in the Labour Party today, who are being victimized by a double agenda: for their socialism and defending Palestinian rights. It is astonishing and deplorable that a witch hunt is underway within those ranks – as elsewhere.

I was invited to address a BDS event in Vienna over a year ago which the city council quickly banned. A couple of months ago I was involved in a planned event with Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled, at San Francisco State University, which was blocked. Then attempts to have our discussion broadcast via Zoom, Facebook and YouTube were obstructed. The voice opponents of free speech were desperate to gag was Leila Khaled. The Palestinian narrative being the primary target.

Those who attack human rights, whether in advanced capitalist countries or feudal tyrannies, simultaneously attack Palestinian rights. They follow violent precedents and consequences.

Repressing freedom of speech in South Africa paved the way for the emergence of a terrorist state. Ruthless suppression was instrumentalized in Europe’s colonies, and by USA imperialism on the back of slavery and genocide; and in the colonization and dismantling of Palestine.

The latter context falls within the project to counter the national liberation upsurge of the 20th Century.

The Apartheid regime’s use of anti-communism as a blanket device to smash opposition; along with Joe McCarthy’s witch-hunting; is mirrored in manipulating “anti-Semitism” as a shield to protect Israel. It is an umbrella formula to delegitimize the Palestinian cause and BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign.

Upholding Palestinian rights has been reflected in United Nations resolutions; and statements by Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky; and back in time Jewish scholars such as Eric Fromm and Martin Buber.

Apartheid alleged the South African struggle was about sweeping whites into the sea and handing the country to Russia. This echoes the claim that giving in on the human and national rights of the dispossessed Palestinians means the extinction of the Jewish people.

Those linking freedom of expression and Palestinian solidarity articulate the same goals as we did in South Africa’s struggle – the objective is about changing a system not destroying a people.

Criticizing Zionism, an exclusivist ethnic-based political doctrine is not anti-Semitic. It is the valid criticism of a reactionary political theory.

Zionism, not the Judaic religion; Israel, not the Jewish people is the focus of criticism.

The anti-communism of apartheid South Africa, and charges of anti-Semitism against Israel’s critics, are terms of Machiavellian elasticity stretched by charlatans to stifle opposition. This is the new taboo. The untouchable holy cow shamelessly peddled in Western countries that preach freedom of expression.

Those who fall prey, who are deceived by the confusion sown, should note the lesson of the boy who cried wolf. When the real monster of anti-Semitism strikes, the most steadfast of opponents, have been on the left of the political spectrum.

False allegations of anti-Semitism weaken the fight against the real demon. This is exactly the pitfall of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) treatise conflating criticism of Israel with hate speech. It is biased and fatally flawed. A dubious, non-internationally represented Eurocentric document, devised by a hand-picked cabal of sophists seeking to be referee and player at the same time. With a veiled attempt at “objectivity,” Israel is given umbrella-like cover, impunity for its crimes and a cudgel to beat its opponents.

In 1948 when Menahem Begin visited New York to raise funds for his party – later to become Sharon and Netanyahu’s ruling Likud – Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt labeled him a “fascist”. After cold-blooded massacres of Palestinians that year, an Israeli cabinet minister, Aharon Cizling, declared “now we too have behaved like Nazis and my whole being is shaken.”

In terms of the IHRA’s guidelines, they would be labeled anti-Semitic. Jeremy Corbyn’s “crime” that accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party have been exaggerated is minuscule by comparison.

Manufacturing mountains out of molehills, characterizes the sophistry of medieval inquisitors, hitching Labour to the Blairite anti-socialist bandwagon. Unopposed this witch hunt will escalate, attacking popular protest wherever humanity opposes injustice.

We say to the deceit of Labour Party leaders, Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, who misappropriate a sacred trade union principle: Yes! “An injury to one is an injury to all” – but in your denialism you ignore the millions of Palestinians facing the bullets and bombs of Israeli aggression.

The recent statement of prominent Palestinian and Arab figures with regard to the IHRA’s false strictures eloquently attests to how the issue of anti-Semitism should be formulated.

They declare:

“Antisemitism must be debunked and combated. Regardless of pretense, no expression of hatred for Jews as Jews should be tolerated anywhere in the world.”

The left and human rights movement, including Black Lives Matter and formations such as the African National Congress of South Africa, should join those Palestinian and Arab voices in formulating genuinely international guidelines regarding defense of free speech; and in combatting the scourge of anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.

– Ronnie Kasrils, veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, and South Africa’s former Minister for Intelligence Services, activist and author. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle

The Palestinian children of Karmiel know what Israeli apartheid is

Orly Noy is a journalist and a political activist based in Jerusalem.

Orly Noy

3 December 2020 11:09 UTC

The nation-state law has been invoked to reject a petition by students for reimbursement of their bus fares to Arabic-language schools

An Israeli flag flies in the northern city of Karmiel on 3 November (AFP)

Less than a day after Israel’s nation-state law was approved by the Knesset, Haaretz published a commentary by Jonathan Lis addressing its practical significance. “The nation-state law is mainly a symbolic measure designed to enshrine national values in a basic law,” he wrote.

Considerable commentary of this nature was heard at the time: Israel is defined as a Jewish state, with all the concomitant discriminatory ramifications. Many sought on that basis to mute criticism of the new law. Others understood that the law, officially legalising apartheid within Israel’s borders, would be more than merely symbolic.

Lawyer Hassan Jabareen, founder of the legal defence group Adalah, whose petition against the law has been pending for more than two years, described it nicely to me at the time: If hitherto Arab citizens could turn to the courts for help in fighting discrimination in the name of the law, from now on the legal system itself can validate apartheid, also in the name of the law.

Confiscated land

A 30 November article in Haaretz proves just how correct Jabareen’s point was, as the Krayot Magistrate’s Court recently cited the nation-state law as grounds to reject a petition from Arab children in Karmiel seeking reimbursement for their bus fares to Arab schools outside the town, since there are no Arab schools in Karmiel.

“Karmiel, a Jewish city, was founded to strengthen Jewish settlement in the Galilee,” Senior Registrar Yaniv Luzon wrote in his decision. “Establishing an Arabic-language school … [and] funding school transportation for Arab students, for anyone who needs it anywhere, could change the demographic balance of the city and damage its character.”   

The experience of more than seven decades proves that the Israeli legal establishment is an integral part of the system of Jewish superiority

It might be worth noting the founding circumstances of the “Jewish city” of Karmiel, whose character the chief registrar is so concerned about: Karmiel was established in 1964 on land confiscated from surrounding Arab villages.

Karmiel is one of more than 700 communities the state has built for the Jewish population since Israel’s founding, compared with none built for the Arab population – apart from a few towns in the Negev designed for the orderly resettlement of Bedouins whose lands the state coveted.

Though the two populations have grown at a similar rate since 1948, the apartheid land-use policy, which confiscates land from one population to build towns for the other, has so constricted Arab towns geographically that many of their residents have been forced to find housing in nearby Jewish towns.

But apartheid is unhappy with that too, apparently. It does not want Arabs in Jewish towns, and it also does not want to let them live on their own lands, separately. On the one hand, outright theft; on the other, a sense of superiority and racial purity.

‘Equal rights as individuals’

Back in the day, when the nation-state law was brought before the Knesset, its initiator, Avi Dichter, made the following appeal to Arab citizens: “You will be able to live as a national minority among us and enjoy equal rights as individuals, but not equality as a national minority.” 

Now, Senior Registrar Luzon clarifies, based on the nation-state law, even “living among us” is not a real option, because maintaining Jewish demographic superiority is an explicit goal of the law itself. That is, even if theoretically the Arab residents of Karmiel were prepared to send their children to the city’s Jewish schools – where they would be exposed to racist, militaristic indoctrination that, among other things, normalises the occupation – that would not be a solution. Their very presence in the city is unwanted, and fighting against it is considered legitimate and lawful.

Protesters denounce Israel’s nation-state law in the village of Jatt in October 2018 (AFP)
Protesters denounce Israel’s nation-state law in the village of Jatt in October 2018 (AFP)

The person who ought to have been battling for the rights of these students who petitioned the court for help is Education Minister Yoav Galant, who voted in favour of the nation-state law. Given the court’s decision, it is worth noting again the deception in the distinction made by Dichter between individual rights and national rights for Palestinian citizens. 

Has the massive confiscation of land belonging to Arab citizens been done on an individual or a national basis? Is the discrimination against Arab students carried out on an individual or a national basis? Is abandoning the security of Arab citizens and ignoring their victimisation by organised crime an individual or a national trend? Is preventing Arab families from making their homes in Jewish towns via residential screening committees happening on an individual or a national basis? 

Just one service was accomplished by the nation-state law for the public discourse in Israel, and that was tearing the mask away from all these manipulative and false distinctions.

Persecuting Palestinian identity

The children of Karmiel did not petition the court to allow them to wave a Palestinian flag or sing the Palestinian anthem in the city’s streets. They petitioned for the right to live in their city and study at a school where their language is spoken, and where they will not be viewed as inferior citizens. The court made it clear that their Palestinian identity makes them inferior and unwanted; that their very existence is a threat, by law.Why acknowledging Israeli apartheid is not enough

The country’s Arab citizens are persecuted for wanting to be who they are. Their Palestinian identity is what makes them, in the eyes of the Zionist government, less than fully reliable citizens. The intra-Zionist argument is only about limits to their rights, which are never material and are always conditional.

True, institutional and racist discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel existed even before the nation-state law. But with its passage, the parliament of Israel proudly proclaimed the legitimacy of the state’s apartheid foundations. Apartheid became the law of the land.

Although many petitions against the nation-state law are still pending, the experience of more than seven decades proves that the Israeli legal establishment is an integral part of the system of Jewish superiority. It is the gatekeeper. In that sense, Luzon has simply done what is expected of him.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Read More »

Hollywood Star Mark Ruffalo Calls out Israel’s Apartheid (VIDEO)

October 9, 2020

Source

Hollywood A-lister Mark Ruffalo has a long history of speaking out for Palestinian rights. (Photo: via Facebook)

Hollywood A-lister Mark Ruffalo called out Israeli apartheid during an interview on the Mehdi Hasan Show aired yesterday.

Speaking to the British journalist, Ruffalo said: “My connection to Palestine came through Palestinians and hearing their stories and then watching this asymmetrical warfare being enacted upon them.”

“That kind of inequality, that kind of oppression, that kind of apartheid.”

The Avengers star has a long history of speaking out for Palestinian rights, during Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza, Ruffalo slammed the Israeli army for blowing up Al-Wafa Hospital killing dozens of patients.

“There is no reason why an ally of America shouldn’t be held to the standards of any other country in the world, especially an ally. And what I see there is wrong,” he added.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Demolish Palestinian Bedouin Village for 177th Time (VIDEO)

Source

August 27, 2020

Israeli forces habitually destroy al-Araqeeb village. (Photo: via Twitter)

The Israeli authorities today demolished the Palestinian Bedouin village of al-Araqeeb, in the Naqab desert, for the 177th time since 2000 and for the sixth time this year, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Israeli police broke into the village and tore down the tents and tin structures, leaving the villagers, including children, homeless.

The village was last leveled on March 5, 2020, and every time the residents rebuild their tents and small houses, Israeli police return to raze them.

The village shelters, inhabited by Palestinian families, were built out of wood, plastic, and corrugated iron.

Located in the Naqab desert, the village is one of 51 “unrecognized” Arab villages in the area and is constantly targeted for demolition ahead of plans to Judaize the Naqab by building homes for new Jewish communities.

Israeli bulldozers, which Bedouins are charged for, have demolished everything, from the trees to the water tanks, but Bedouin residents have tried to rebuild it every time.

Bedouins in the Naqab, who are Israeli citizens, abide by the same laws as Jewish Israeli citizens. They pay taxes but do not enjoy the same rights and services as Jews in Israel and the state has repeatedly refused to connect their towns to the national water and electricity networks in an effort to end their presence in that area of the country.

“Al-Araqeeb is only symbolic of that historic fight,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud, wrote in a recent article.

“It would be no exaggeration to state that there is a war waged by Israel against Palestinian Bedouins. The aim is to destroy their culture and to force them into townships similar to those of Apartheid South Africa,” Baroud added.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

%d bloggers like this: