SETTLER POGROMS AGAINST PALESTINIANS WILL BECOME THE NORM UNDER NEW ISRAELI GOVERNMENT

NOVEMBER 21ST, 2022

Source

By Miko Peled

Saturday, November 19, 2022, was according to Jewish tradition Shabat Chayei Sarah – the Shabbos, or Saturday commemorating the death and burial of the biblical matriarch Sarah. In the biblical story, her husband Abraham purchased her burial plot in the ancient city of Al-Khalil. According to Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, the “commemoration” events that Al-Khalil has been subjected to over the last few decades have nothing to do with Jewish tradition, only, “Zionist Embellishments.”

Al-Khalil, or Hebron in Hebrew, is the largest city in the West Bank, with close to a quarter of a million residents. The Old City part of Al-Khalil, also known as H-2, is a beautiful place, with narrow alleyways and architecture that bears witness to the centuries of grandeur it enjoys, the fourth-holiest city in Islamic tradition. Around 25,000 Palestinians and close to 800 Jewish settlers live in the old city. The settlers are vile, racist and violent to a point where 800 of them are able to terrorize thousands of their Palestinian neighbors.

Besides that, there is a massive military presence in the Old City of Al-Khalil. This military presence includes at least one full combat brigade which monitors the more than five hundred checkpoints and movement barriers that exist within one square kilometer or approximately 0.4 square miles of the city. The military is there to assist the settlers, not protect the Palestinian civilians who they are constantly terrorizing.

THIRTY THOUSAND SETTLERS

The “settler” community is a deeply racist, anti-Palestinian movement that had appeared on the scene after the Israeli attack on its neighbors of 1967, and the consequent occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. This conquest was marketed as an act of the almighty, and a movement of thousands of religious Zionist zealots began invading the West Bank. Al-Khalil was one of their first targets, and they were successful in establishing a city for themselves on the lands of Al-Khalil called Kiryat Arba.

Today, this settler movement mobilizes its people to wherever they want in order to terrorize Palestinians. In May 2021, they sent hundreds of their members to the occupied city of El-Lyd where they rioted and terrorized Palestinian residents of the city. During the attack, they murdered Musa Hassuna, a 31-year-old truck driver, whose family I met. They also rioted and attacked Palestinians in Bi’r Saba in the Naqab and tried to invade local Palestinian Bedouin communities, but were pushed back.

Last weekend, 30,000 settlers converged on the city of Al-Khalil where they, along with the Israeli military, proceeded to terrorize local Palestinians. Even as they invaded Palestinian homes, destroyed shops and attacked people in the streets, the Israeli army was ordering Palestinians to close their shops and leave the area, thus permitting the Israeli setters to riot without interruption.

Anyone who has been to Al-Kalil and particularly to H-2 knows how small and crowded it is. To imagine thirty thousand racist thugs with a license to destroy anything in their path is a terrifying image. And yet there they were.

THE FIRST OF MANY

The Israeli media described what happened in Al-Khalil as a pogrom. Pogroms were known as murderous riots perpetrated against Jews throughout Eastern Europe and usually resulted with entire communities destroyed and countless dead. This riot in Al-Khalil was by no means the first riot by the settler movement. It was, however, the first open riot since the Israeli elections. The election results gave the leaders of the settler movement unprecedented power, and it is expected that they will now be given influential cabinet and sub-cabinet positions, as well as control over important parliamentary committees and appropriation of government funds. This means more money and more licenses than ever before to build and to displace Palestinians.

One portfolio they are demanding is a new government office titled, “The Negev, Galilee and the Periphery.” If they do receive this, it will mean control over areas within 1948 Palestine, where there are still large Palestinian communities.

Their new-found power is also a sign for their base to continue and escalate their vigilantism on the ground, killing, destroying property and generally terrorizing Palestinians everywhere. Other areas where we see members of this movement rioting freely is in the northern West Bank around Za’atara Junction which leads to the cities of Nablus and Jenin.

In that area surrounding Za’atara Junction are towns like the tiny and incredibly beautiful village of Yanoun and the larger town of Akraba, with close to twenty thousand people. All Palestinian communities in that area have seen settler violence and rioting, and they can expect to see a great deal more violence now that the elections have given them a boost. Similarly, the cities of Lyd, Ramle and Yafa as well as the Naqab are all in grave danger.

NO SECURITY PROVIDED FOR PALESTINIANS

The main point to be taken from the results of the Israeli elections is that the lives of Palestinian have never been in more danger than they are now. If one could assume that the reality for Palestinians will continue to be as it has, as one Israeli historian called it, a slow genocide, now it is clear this is not going to be the case. The Israeli politicians who are expected to be in the coalition – people like Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich – want the Palestinians out or dead. They will act with greater authority to accomplish the full ethnic cleansing of Palestine, as well as the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the erection of a so-called Jewish temple in its place.

They demand full control of the budgets and policymaking regarding Palestinians throughout the country. They want an easing of the rules of engagement vis-à-vis the Palestinians and the death penalty for all Palestinian political prisoners. They also call for what they term “stronger governance” over the Palestinian population – a code word for tighter control, more expulsions, home demolitions, arrests, torture and killing.

Palestinians are provided no security, no safety and no protection by anyone. The Israeli authorities are certainly not going to provide security or protection for Palestinians who are terrorized by the army or by groups of Israeli Jewish vigilante gangs. The international community is unwilling to intervene, and the United Nations has no means of enforcing its resolutions regarding Israel.

So who may Palestinians turn to as the violence against them increases? One particularly disturbing video posted on Twitter during the riots in Al-Khalil shows a young Palestinian man, Yousef Azza from Tel-Rumeida, in the Old city of Hebron running to get help. Settlers invaded his home and attacked his mother and sisters. He tried to approach the soldiers, and his fury and fear are evident as he fails to find help.

Just as Yousef Azza tried in vain, so do Palestinians everywhere try in vain to seek help from Israeli authorities, the Israeli public, the international community and the various non-governmental organizations that operate in Palestine. However, there is no entity that is willing to step in to save Palestinians as they continue to be terrorized by Zionist gangs.

Palestinian Martyred after Injuring 5 Israeli Settlers in Car-Ramming Operation

 October 30, 2022

Israeli occupation forces have killed another Palestinian following a car-ramming operation that left five settlers injured near the city of Jericho in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Information Center, quoting Israeli media, said following the Sunday attack the Israeli occupation forces fatally shot the Palestinian man who was driving the car south of Jericho.

The Palestinian news agency also cited Israeli media as identifying the driver as as 49-year-old Barkat Odeh from the town of al-Eizariya near East al-Quds.

Israeli medical said the five injured Israelis are in their 20s and suffered different injuries following the incident.

The reported attack came amid heavily intensified Israeli raids throughout the West Bank in search of alleged Palestinian gunmen responsible for a spate of deadly attacks on Israeli occupation forces by Palestinian resistance forces – which began in March.

More than 100 Palestinians have so far been killed during the Israeli regime’s brutal crackdown on West Bank’s native residents.

On Saturday, four Israelis and a Palestinian were injured in a gun attack near an Israeli checkpoint in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil, also known as Hebron.

The Palestinian man was reportedly martyred by the occupying forces. Local news outlets cited Tel Aviv’s army as saying that the unidentified fighter “shot live fire” at the checkpoint in al-Khalil, also home to a community of radical Israeli settlers.

“Soldiers are conducting searches in the area” for additional suspects, the occupying army said. The Palestinian Red Crescent also announced that the Palestinian victim was receiving treatment at a local hospital.

The Israeli regime occupied and annexed the West Bank, including East al-Quds, in a heavily-Western-backed war of aggression in 1967.

Ever since, it has dotted the territory with hundreds of illegal settlements that have come to house hundreds of thousands of Zionist settlers that immigrated to occupied Palestine – mostly from Europe and the US.

Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)

Sayyed Nasrallah reveals first decision he took as Hezbollah chief

21 Jul 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah reveals that the first decision he took as Hezbollah Secretary-General was firing Katyusha rockets on Israeli occupation settlements.

The Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

In the third episode of the “40 and Beyond” documentary series, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, revealed the first decision he took the moment he was elected as the party’s Secretary-General in 1992.

In an interview with Al Mayadeen CEO, Ghassan Ben Jeddou, in the third episode of “40 and Beyond”, Sayyed Nasrallah recalled that after he was elected as Secretary-General following the martyrdom of Sayyed Abbas Al-Moussawi and his family, who were killed by an Israeli airstrike directly targeting their vehicle, and while he was on his way to the cemetery to attend the martyrs’ burial ceremony, he was informed that the Israeli occupation forces began advancing toward the towns of Kafra and Yater in southern Lebanon.

He also knew that violent confrontations were taking place between Hezbollah resistance fighters and the Israeli occupation.

The Lebanese leader said that back then, Hezbollah’s leadership suggested confronting the Israeli occupation violently, adding that he was told that if he wanted to force the Israeli to retreat, the Resistance should fire Katyusha rockets toward Israeli settlements.

Sayyed Nasrallah explained that at the time, he made consultations with the rest of the Shura members who were present at Sayyed Abbas Al-Moussawi’s funeral. Following the consultations, he took his first decision as Hezbollah Secretary-General to target Israeli settlements.

The Resistance leader pointed out that this was the first time that the Islamic Resistance ever bombed Israeli settlements.

It is noteworthy that on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Hezbollah and the 30th anniversary of the election of Sayyed Nasrallah as the Lebanese party’s Secretary-General, Al Mayadeen produced a five-part documentary series, featuring a rare interview with the Resistance leader dating back to 20 years.

The fourth episode of “40 and Beyond” will be exclusively aired Thursday at 9 pm Al-Quds time, on Al Mayadeen TV.

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“Israel” to Double Settling Population, Expand Construction in Occupied Golan Heights

June 9, 2022

By Staff, Agencies 

As part of its scheme to double its population of settlers in the Occupied Syrian Golan, the apartheid “Israeli” regime continues bolstering its settlements in the Golan Heights.

The plan charged “Israeli” Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked with establishing a special committee for planning and construction, in order to create new settling units at existing communities and plan new ones. 

Last week, Shaked took another step in that direction, announcing the creation of a special planning space only for the Golan Heights. Marking 55 years since the occupation of the Golan Heights, on June 2 Shaked signed a decree authorizing a shortened process for building and expanding settlements in the Golan Heights.

The December 2021 decision to double the occupation population was made in an “Israeli” government meeting held not in Occupied Al-Quds but at “Kibbutz Mevo Hamma” in the southern Golan Heights. After a debate, the decision was passed to allocate a billion shekels in order to double the area’s population within five years. 

Last week, Shaked, who belongs to Bennett’s right-wing “Yamina” party, stated, “Fifty-five years after the ‘liberation’ of the Golan Heights I am excited to sign a decree that would change the face of the Golan Heights and meaningfully help strengthen settlement in the Golan.” 

According to plans, 7,300 settling units will be constructed in the Golan Heights within five years. Two new villages will be established [Asaf and Matar], each with 2,000 units. Further investment will be toward transportation infrastructure, updating the medical system in the region, and developing two advanced sectors, which are actually inter-related.  

The first is the agritech industry/smart agriculture, which includes developing unique greenhouses and advanced water management systems. The second is to turn the Golan into the capital of innovative climate and energy technologies.

THE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF MASAFER YATTA: ISRAEL’S NEW ANNEXATION STRATEGY IN PALESTINE

JUNE 2ND, 2022

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

The Israeli Supreme Court has decided that the Palestinian region of Masafer Yatta, located in the southern hills of Hebron, is to be entirely appropriated by the Israeli military and that a population of over 1,000 Palestinians is to be expelled.

The Israeli Court decision, on May 4, was hardly shocking. Israel’s military occupation does not only consist of soldiers with guns but elaborate political, military, economic and legal structures, dedicated to the expansion of the illegal Jewish settlements and the slow – and sometimes not-so-slow – the expulsion of the Palestinians.

When Palestinians state that the Nakba, or Catastrophe – which led to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 and the establishment of the state of Israel on its ruins – is a continuous, unfinished project, they mean exactly that. The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the endless torment of Palestinian Bedouins in the Naqab and, now in Masafer Yatta, are all testaments to this reality.

However, Masafer Yatta is particularly unique. In the case of occupied East Jerusalem, for example, Israel has made a fallacious, ahistorical claim that Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people. It combined its unsubstantiated narrative with military action on the ground, followed by a systematic process that aimed at increasing the Jewish population and ejecting the original native inhabitants of the city. Such notions as ‘Greater Jerusalem’ and legal and political structures, like that of the Jerusalem Master Plan 2000, have all contributed towards turning the once absolute Palestinian majority in Jerusalem into a shrinking minority.

With the Naqab, Israel’s similar objectives were put into motion as early as 1948, and again in 1951. This process of ethnically cleansing the natives remains in effect to this day.

Though Masafer Yatta is part of the same colonial designs, its uniqueness stems from the fact that it is situated in Area C of the occupied West Bank.

In July 2020, Israel purportedly decided to postpone its plans to annex nearly 40% of the West Bank, perhaps fearing a Palestinian rebellion and unwanted international condemnation. However, the plan continued in practice.

Moreover, a wholesome annexation of West Bank regions would mean that Israel would become responsible for the welfare of entire Palestinian communities. As a settler-colonial state, Israel wants the land, but not the people. In Tel Aviv’s calculation, annexation without the expulsion of the population could lead to a demographic nightmare; thus, Israel needs to reinvent its annexation plan.

Though Israel has supposedly delayed the de jure annexation, it continued with a de facto form of annexation, one that has generated little international media attention.

The Israeli Court’s decision regarding Masafer Yatta, which is already being carried out with the expulsion of the Najjar family on May 11, is an important step toward the annexation of Area C.  If Israel can evict the residents of twelve villages, with a population of over 1,000 Palestinians, unhindered, more such expulsions are anticipated, not only south of Hebron, but throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian villagers of Masafer Yatta and their legal representation know very well that no real ‘justice’ can be obtained from the Israeli court system. They continue to fight the legal war, anyway, in the hope that a combination of factors, including solidarity in Palestine and pressure from the outside, can ultimately succeed in compelling Israel to delay its planned destruction and Judaization of the whole region.

However, it seems that Palestinian efforts, which have been underway since 1997, are failing. The Israeli Supreme Court decision is predicated on the erroneous and utterly bizarre notion that the Palestinians of that area could not demonstrate that they belonged there prior to 1980 when the Israeli government decided to turn the area into ‘Firing Zone 918’.

Sadly, the Palestinian defense was partly based on documents from the Jordanian era and official United Nations records that reported on Israeli attacks on several Masafer Yatta villages in 1966. The Jordanian government, which administered the West Bank until 1967, compensated some of the residents for the loss of their ‘stone houses’ – not tents – animals and other properties that were destroyed by the Israeli military. Palestinians tried to use this evidence to show that they have existed, not as nomadic people but as rooted communities. This was unconvincing to the Israeli court, which favored the military’s argument over the rights of the native population.

Israeli firing zones occupy nearly 18 percent of the total size of the West Bank. It is one of several ploys used by the Israeli government to lay a legal claim on Palestinian land and to, eventually, years later, claim legal ownership as well. Many of these firing zones exist in Area C, and are being used as one of the Israeli methods aimed at officially appropriating Palestinian land with the support of the Israeli courts.

Now that the Israeli military has managed to acquire Masafer Yatta – a region spanning 32 to 56 sq km – based on completely flimsy excuses, it will become much easier in ensuring the ethnic cleansing of many similar communities in various parts of occupied Palestine.

While discussions and media coverage of Israel’s annexation scheme in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley have largely subsided, Israel is now preparing for a gradual annexation scheme. Instead of annexing 40% of the West Bank all at once, Israel is now annexing smaller tracts of land and regions, like Masafer Yatta, separately. Tel Aviv will eventually connect all these annexed areas through Jewish-only bypass roads to larger Jewish settlement infrastructures in the West Bank.

Not only does this alternative strategy allow Israel to avoid international criticism, it will also permit Israel to eventually annex Palestinian land while incrementally expelling Palestinians, helping Tel Aviv prevent demographic imbalances before they occur.

What is happening in Masafer Yatta is not only the largest ethnic cleansing scheme to be carried out by Israel since 1967, but the move should be considered the first step in a much larger scheme of illegal land appropriation, ethnic cleansing and official mass annexation.

Israel must not succeed in Masafer Yatta, because if it does, its original, mass annexation scheme will become a reality in no time.

زياد النخالة: «سيف القدس» أكّدت إمكانية تحقيق الانتصار على العدو

 الإثنين 23 أيار 2022

وليد شرارة

على المقاومة أن تحافظ دائماً على حالة الاشتباك

 العرب والمسلمون، شعوباً وأفراداً، مطالَبون بدعم المقاومة

بعد مضيّ سنة على معركة «سيف القدس»، يحتدم الصراع بين مشروع التطهير العرقي الصهيوني ومقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني الباسلة. فالحكومة الإسرائيلية صادقت، منذ أيّام، على مشروع لبناء أربعة آلاف وحدة استيطانية جديدة، وأطلقت العنان للإرهاب الكولونيالي الذي يمارسه جنودها ومستوطنوها بحقّ أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني، لتهجيرهم من منازلهم أو لقتلهم، كما كثّفت من مساعيها الهادفة إلى الاستيلاء الكامل على المسجد الأقصى. في المقابل، يتصدّى الفلسطينيون ــــ بمبادرات فردية وجماعية ــــ لهذه السياسة، عبر استخدام أساليب النضال المختلفة، الشعبية والمسلّحة. زياد النخالة، الأمين العام لـ«حركة الجهاد الإسلامي»، مقتنعٌ بأن «سيف القدس» كانت إنجازاً كبيراً، لكنها ليست انتصاراً كاملاً، حيث لم تفرِض على العدو التراجع الكامل عن مخطّطاته. وهو رأى، في مقابلة مع «الأخبار»، أن أيّ ميل إلى«المساكنة» مع الاحتلال، تحت أي مبرّرات، لن يخدم سوى هذه المخطّطات، وأكّد أن الخيار الصحيح هو البناء والمراكمة على الإنجاز الكبير الذي حقّقه الشعب الفلسطيني وقواه الحيّة، بفضل الكفاح والتضحيات، لتصعيد المقاومة وإلحاق هزيمة حاسمة بالعدوّ

عندما يصبح هناك «مساكنة» مع العدو، تفقد المقاومة روحها

واليوم، ما هي مسؤوليّتنا كفصائل مقاوِمة؟ تعزيز روحية المقاتل واستعداداته، وعدم إخلاء الميدان أبداً. وإذا كنت أنا مواطناً عربياً أنظر إلى قطاع غزة، سأسأل: ما هي المشكلة في غزة؟ عمّال يذهبون إلى العمل في الأراضي المحتلّة، المعابر مفتوحة، الناس يذهبون للعلاج في الكيان، وهناك خطّ تجاري مع مصر… وهذا كله، في النهاية، محاولة لرشوة الفلسطينيين المحاصَرين، لإبعادهم عن المقاومة. المطلوب من المقاومة أن تحافظ على حالة اشتباك دائم مع العدو، لا أقول حرباً مفتوحة بالضرورة، إنّما ليس مقبولاً أن يطمئنّ العدو إلى قطاع غزة، وأن يصبح الفلسطيني في القطاع غير مشتبك، والفلسطيني في الضفة مشتبكاً… يجب أن تبقى غزة، في حسابات الجانب الإسرائيلي، حالة تهديد دائم، وأن يكون لدينا مقاربة تضعها في هذه الحالة، إلى جانب الضفة الغربية والقدس.

بعد انتهاء المعركة، شهدنا مساعيَ لإعادة إعمار ما دمّرته الحرب، وعروضاً لـ«تحويل غزّة إلى سنغافورة». ما هي خلفيات هذه «اليقظة» المفاجئة وأهدافها؟
المصريّون يبنون، حالياً، تجمّعات سكنية في قطاع غزة (مصر 1 و2 و3). ولكن، خلال المفاوضات التي جرت معهم بعد «سيف القدس»، قالوا: لا يمكن أن نبني لكم، فتذهبون أنتم إلى الحرب ويُدمَّر ما بنيناه. وهذا نوع من التقييد والتكبيل الذي يَخدم العدو. وغداً أيضاً، يمكن أن تأتي دول أخرى غنيّة تجعل من غزة سنغافورة جديدة، لتأمين الهدوء للعدو. المبدأ بالنسبة إلينا، هو عدم القبول بالمساكنة والتعايش مع العدو الإسرائيلي. وعلى هذا، يُدار الصراع. يمكن أن لا يُرضي هذا الكلام بعض الجهات والأطراف، ويمكن أن لا يُرضي بعض المواطنين الفلسطينيين أيضاً، لكن هذا هو دوري، وهذه هي هويّة «حركة الجهاد الإسلامي»، ويُفترض أن تكون هذه هي هوية كل فصائل المقاومة. أمّا الصراع فسيبقى مفتوحاً، ولا تحدّده أيّ جهات أو تنظيمات سياسية، طالما أن الاحتلال قائم. اليوم، ها هم يقاتلوننا على المسجد الأقصى، ويريدون – بالحدّ الأدنى – أن يقسّموه. لذلك، علينا أن نكون جاهزين ومستعدّين دائماً للمواجهة.


 كيف يمكن الاستفادة من التضامن العربي والإسلامي والعالمي الواسع مع القضية الفلسطينية الذي تجلّى خلال المعركة؟
ما شاهدناه من حالة تضامن مع المقاومة خلال معركة «سيف القدس»، كان هائلاً. ولو استمرّت هذه المعركة، لكنّا رأينا أكثر. أنا أريد أن أقنع المواطن العربي أنّنا في حالة اشتباك دائم مع العدو. نحن شعب يقبع تحت الاحتلال والاضطهاد، وأيّ شعب مُحتلّ، عليه واجب المقاومة والقتال. وأنا أطالب العرب بأن لا يقولوا إن المقاومة انتصرت و«خلّصنا»، بل نحن فتحنا آفاقاً جديدة، ونحتاج إلى دعم المواطن العربي، بعيداً من الأنظمة التي تحاول ترويض التنظيمات عبر أموالها. العرب والمسلمون، شعوباً وأفراداً، مطالَبون بدعم المقاومة.

يجب أن تبقى غزة، في حسابات الجانب الإسرائيلي، حالة تهديد دائم


 ألا تعتقدون بأولوية تصعيد المقاومة ضدّ الاحتلال في الضفة الغربية باعتبارها ساحة المواجهة الرئيسة مع مشروع الاستيطان والتطهير العرقي؟
في الضفة الغربية، ذهبت السلطة نحو اتفاقات سلام مع العدو. لكنّ إسرائيل لم تلتزم بها، إلى درجة أن عدد المستوطنين في الضفة بات يبلغ 800 ألف. مَن يُخرِج هؤلاء؟ كلّما ذهبت إلى المساكنة مع العدو، سيفرض عليك أمراً واقعاً، حتى تستسلم له في النهاية، أو تذهب إلى المواجهة التي ستكون قد أصبحت أكثر صعوبة وتعقيداً. مثلاً، قبل «اتفاق أوسلو» كان عدد المستوطنين يبلغ عشرات الآلاف في الضفة. وبعده، صار لدينا دولة أخرى، غير إسرائيل، هي دولة المستوطنين.
الآن، بعد سنوات طويلة، بدأ يتسرّب إلى عقل السلطة أن هذا التنسيق وهذا الاتفاق مع العدو صارا بلا قيمة. وهم يقولون ذلك. وأنا أرى أنه، في الإجمال، لا يوجد فلسطيني يقبل بإسرائيل. كل الفلسطينيين ضدّها. لكنّ هناك فلسطينيين «بيتشاطروا» على فلسطينيين آخرين، ويقولون إن لديهم مشروعاً سياسياً و«تكتيكاً» يحقّق إنجازاً ما، فيذهبون في هذا الاتجاه… لكنّ التجربة أثبتت أن الإسرائيلي لا يمتلك مشروعاً مقابلاً. ما هو المشروع الإسرائيلي المقابل؟ هذا سؤال يجب أن يجيب عليه كل فلسطيني. ما هي إسرائيل؟ نحتاج إلى إعادة تعريف المشروع الصهيوني.
بعضنا ذهب، عبر «التكتيك»، إلى اتفاقات مع العدو الذي يملك دعماً سياسياً وعسكرياً واقتصادياً دولياً هائلاً. أنت دخلت في معركة سياسية ليست بحجمك ولا بقدرتك. ما نستطيع فعله، هو أن نخلق مشاكل لإسرائيل، وعندها سيأتي هو ليحلّ المشكلة، مشكلة المستوطن، وليست مشكلتنا. هذا هو دورنا. العدو لم يفاوض أبا عمار (الرئيس ياسر عرفات) لأنه كان مرتاحاً، بل لأن الشعب الفلسطيني كان يدفع دماً في الانتفاضة. لكن، تبيّن أن مشروع التفاهم أدّى إلى خسارة الفلسطينيين تماماً. الإنجاز هو أن تفرض على العدو أن يدفع ثمن التفاهم، مهما كان، حتى ولو بحدود عام 1967، التي، بالمناسبة، لا يقبل بها الإسرائيلي، بينما يبادر بعضنا إلى القبول بهذه الحدود. وهذا يعني تنازلاً من دون أن يكون لدى الطرف المقابل المحتلّ، أيّ عرض.

في القتال ترتسم الجغرافيا، وليس من خلال المفاوضات. إذا قاتلنا وفرضنا وقائع على الأرض، وشعر الإسرائيلي بأنه مُهدَّد، سينسحب كما حصل في غزة، حيث لم يستطع حماية 15 ألف مستوطن كانوا فيها. نحن، اليوم، قادرون على أن نضع الاستيطان في الضفة الغربية تحت التهديد، وفي هذه الحالة فقط، يمكن أن نُحقق تغييرات، لأن الإسرائيلي يعتقد أنه يشتري الفلسطينيين ببعض التسهيلات الاقتصادية، وهذا مشروع الحكومة الحالية، والتي تعتقد أنه الحلّ لمشكلة غزة.

نرفض إجراء الانتخابات في هذه الظروف وفي ظلّ الاحتلال


إذا قاتلنا نحقّق الإنجاز، أمّا إذا قبلنا بحالة المساكنة، فالإسرائيلي مرتاح وليس لديه مشكلة، ومستعدّ لتقديم المزيد من التسهيلات الاقتصادية، وحتى الأمنية أيضاً، كونه المستفيد. القتال مجال مفتوح: يمكن أن يكون بالحجر والسكين والبندقية والصاروخ. ما يهمّ هو أن يتواصل القتال. يجب أن لا يشعر الإسرائيلي بأنه قادر على إسكات أيّ طرف فلسطيني عبر التفاهم. أنا لا أشكّك في أيّ فصيل فلسطيني مقاوم، لكن يمكن القول إن هذا «اجتهاد غير صائب». الصائب هو أن لا أدع العدو يستقرّ، وأجعله دائماً مضطراً للبحث عن حلّ لمشكلاته التي أخلقها أنا له. والتجربة في جنوب لبنان شاهدة، حيث لم تكن خسائر العدو بالغة وكبيرة، لكن العدو لم يحتمل قتيلاً أو اثنين في الشهر، أي أن العبرة هي في استمرار الاشتباك. وهذا لا يعني أن نذهب إلى «سيف القدس» جديدة كل يوم.

يجب أن تكون القناعة أن إسرائيل طرف لا يمكن التفاوض ولا التفاهم معه. وعلى هذا الأساس، تُبنى كلّ برامجنا. وهو ما يدفعنا إلى خلْق وقائع جديدة تنطلق من المقاومة، ويجعل إيهود باراك (رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلية الأسبق)، مثلاً، يشكّك في كل المشروع الصهيوني بعد مقتل نحو 20 مستوطناً خلال مدّة قصيرة. المستوطنون باتوا يشعرون بأنهم تحت تهديد يومي. وهم يشعرون أكثر بأنهم تحت تهديد أفراد، والدولة التي تكون تحت تهديد فرد، ليست دولة. هذا ببساطة مشروع اقتصادي، إن استطعنا هزّه سينهار. ويمكن أن يكون لهم متّسع في أيّ مكان في العالم، لكن ليس في فلسطين.

ما هو موقف «حركة الجهاد الإسلامي» من أطروحة «أولويّة» تحقيق الوحدة الوطنية كشرط لتفعيل المقاومة؟
البعض يرفع شعار «الوحدة الوطنية»، ليكون إطاراً للتفاهم مع العدو! الميدان هو ما يحقّق الوحدة الوطنية الفلسطينية. المقاتلون في الميدان يرسمون مساراً للوحدة الوطنية، وما يجري في الضفة الغربية، اليوم، وخاصّة في جنين ونابلس وطولكرم وغيرها، حيث يقاتل أبناء «سرايا القدس» و«كتائب القسّام» و«كتائب شهداء الأقصى» وغيرهم، جنباً إلى جنب. حتى إنك لا تستطيع التمييز بينهم كثيراً، لأنهم يسيرون على خطّ واحد، وهنا تُصنع الوحدة. أما في السياسة، فيصبح التنافس على الحصّة الكبرى في المؤسّسات والدوائر والسفارات وغير ذلك. ومن هنا، نرفض إجراء الانتخابات في هذه الظروف وفي ظلّ الاحتلال، لأن المطلب من ورائها هو النفوذ السياسي والحكم، وهذا ما لا يجب أن يكون هدفاًَ.

الأمين العام لـ«حركة الجهاد الإسلامي»

Since the Nakba: More than 100,000 martyrs, 6.4 mln refugees

15 May 2022

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

Palestine’s Central Bureau of Statistics reveals shocking numbers related to Palestine, its martyrs, prisoners, and lands, from the Nakba until the present day.

By the end of 2020, Palestinians around the world numbered 14 million, marking a tenfold increase from their numbers in the Nakba

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) says the number of UNRWA’s Palestinian refugees reached 6.4 million by December 2020.

The center’s statistics showed that 28.4% of Palestinian refugees are currently living in 58 official UNRWA camps, with 10 in Jordan, 9 in Syria, 12 in Lebanon, 19 in the West Bank, and 8 in the Gaza Strip.

These estimates show the minimum number of Palestinian refugees, seeing as some refugees are not registered, like those forcibly displaced from Palestine after 1949 until the war of June 1967, according to UNRWA, and this also does not include those who were displaced during the 1967 war, who weren’t refugees.

According to UNRWA’s official definition, Palestinian refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”

The number of Palestinians increased more than tenfold since the Nakba

The PCBS revealed that historical Palestine’s population reached around 690,000 in 1914, 8% of whom were Jews. In 1948, the population rose to more than 2 million, around 31.5% of which were Jews, as 225,000 flocked to Palestine between 1932 in 1939’s organized migration waves. 

Between 1940 and 1947, more than 93,000 Jews entered Palestine, and by 1975, the total number of Jews that immigrated to Palestine reached more than 540,000.

As for the total number of Palestinians around the world, the number was estimated in 2021 to have reached around 14 million, a tenfold increase of their numbers since the Nakba, especially since 7 million of them were living in historical Palestine, including 1.7 million living in 48-occupied territories.

Nakba cause of overpopulation in Palestine

The Palestinian Nakba turned the Gaza Strip into the world’s most densely populated area. While the population density in Palestine reached 878 persons/km2 by the end of 2021, with a density of 557 persons/km2, the Gaza Strip’s density reaches 5,855 persons/km2, knowing that 66% of Gaza’s citizens are refugees.

Furthermore, the occupation’s establishment of a buffer zone on the periphery of the Gaza Strip allowed it to seize control over 24% of the strip’s 365 km2 area, which further exacerbated the city’s economic difficulties, and impoverished over a half of its citizens, with Gaza’s poverty rate reaching 53% in 2017.

Over 100,000 martyred since the 1948 Nakba

Since the Nakba in 1948, both inside Palestine and out, close to 100,000 people were martyred, with the number of martyrs since the beginning of the Intifada reaching 11,358 between 29/9/2000 and up to 30/4/2022.

It is noted that 2014 was the bloodiest year, as 2,240 people were martyred, 2,181 of whom were martyred in Gaza during an Israeli aggression.

The number of martyrs in Palestine reached 341 in 2021, including 87 children and 48 women, whereas the number of wounded reached 12,500.

Close to 1 million arrests since 1967

The occupation has kept 25 Palestinians under arrest for over a quarter century, whereas the total number of detainees in Israeli prisons reached 4,450 in April, including 160 child prisoners, 32 women, 570 sentences to life, 700 prisoners who are in ill health, six Palestinian lawmakers, and 650 prisoners placed in administrative detention.

The overall number of arrests in 2021 reached 8,000 in Palestine, including 1,300 children and 184, while 1,595 people were sentenced to administrative detention without any charges being brought up against them.

226 prisoners have been martyred since 1967, either because of torture inflicted upon them following their arrest or due to medical neglect; these include 103 prisoners that were martyred since September 2000.

Continued colonialist expansion of Israeli occupation

By the end of 2020, 712,815 illegal settlers were living in the West Bank, around 47% of whom (246,909) were living in Al-Quds. The settler/Palestinian ratio reached 23/100 in the West Bank and surged to 71/100 in Al-Quds.

Moreover, 2021 also witnessed a large increase in the speed at which Israeli settlements were built in the West Bank, as Israeli occupation forces approved the building of more than 12,000 new settlement units in 2021, including 9,000 on the lands of Al-Quds’ Qalandia airport.

Continued confiscation of land

The Israeli occupation abused the categorization of lands according to the Oslo Accords (A, B and C) in order to further its control on Palestinian C-classified lands, which are completely under Israeli control in terms of security, planning, and construction, and close to 76% of their area are currently being exploited.

Al-Quds: Displacement and settlement policies

In 2021, Israeli occupation authorities approved the building of more than 12,000 settlement units, most of which were in Al-Quds. Meanwhile, it demolished more than 300 buildings and gave orders to demolish more than 200 others, in addition to approving a project to seize 2,050 Palestinian properties, including those of the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods in eastern Al-Quds, whose area is estimated at 2,500 acres.

Last year also saw close to 1,621 cases of attacks by settlers protected by occupation forces against Palestinians and their properties, marking a 49% increase in attacks from 2020. Israeli settlers are also exploiting around 120,000 acres of Palestinian lands for agriculture.

20% of water in Palestine is bought from Mekorot

Israeli measures against Palestinian water resources force them to compensate for their lack of water by buying 20% of their water from Israeli company Mekorot, meaning around 448.4 million m3. The main reason behind Palestinians’ inability to use surface water is due to the Israeli occupation’s control over the Jordan River and Dead Sea’s waters.

79% of available water drawn from groundwater

Palestine mainly relies on water extracted from surface and groundwater, which constitutes around 79% of all available water resources. In 2020, the amount of water pumped from groundwater wells (eastern, western, and northeastern basins) in the West Bank amounted to 108.6 million m3.

69% of Israeli settlers worried about the fate of the occupation

10 May 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen net 

An opinion poll published by the Israeli newspaper “Israel Hayom” exposes the settlers’ declining confidence in the Israeli occupation.

75% of the ’48-Palestinians believe Jews have no right to land in occupied Palestine.

In occupied Palestine, 69% of the Jews are worried about the destiny of the so-called “state”, and 67% say that action with weapons and the enforcement of penalties should be used to “avoid confrontations between Jews and Arabs.” This is the result of a poll conducted against the backdrop of the operations taking place in “Israel” and the anniversary of Seif Al-Quds Battle. 

According to the findings, just 25% of ’48-Palestinians feel that the “Jewish people have a claim to sovereignty in the [so-called] Land of Israel,” while the vast majority – around 75% – believe that the Jewish people do not have such a right.

According to the study, the majority of the public, around 66% of Israeli settlers, distrust the police; among ’48-Palestinians, the figure is 73%.

’48-Palestinians also report a higher sense of uneasiness – 71%, compared to 44% of Israeli Jews.

Public trust is becoming a growing concern for “Israel”. The decline in the trust of the public, from the very army of the occupation to the bottom of society, is expressed in numbers, according to a recent Israeli study by the “Israel Democracy Institute.” 

The Institute conducts annual consensus in the Israeli society, and the latest marks the nineteenth edition, which was revealed on January 6. There has been a significant decrease in the trust in the Israeli army, receding to 78% – the lowest number since the July 2006 war on Lebanon. 

The study is named the “Israeli Democracy Index for 2021” and it includes an update to the Institute’s previous poll in June 2021. 

Gaza: Resistance factions will not remain silent about displacement

February 8, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen Net

The National People’s Conference to Confront Settlements agrees on the need to pressure the Palestinian Authority to end its security cooperation with the Israeli occupation.

The National People’s Conference to Confront Settlements called Tuesday for activating resistance in all areas of Al-Quds and the West Bank, starting with a comprehensive popular uprising till reaching an armed resistance that targets all Israeli settlements.

Held in Gaza City, the Conference aims to mobilize Palestinians to defend their rights, Al Mayadeen‘s correspondent reported, reiterating that the resistance factions will not remain silent about the displacement of Palestinians.

In the Conference’s concluding statement, the head of the media office of the Islamic Jihad Movement, Daoud Shehab, pointed out that the West Bank has turned into a state ruled by settlers under the Oslo Accords, adding that the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority’s political approach covers settlement.

Pressuring PA to end security cooperation 

The participants unanimously agreed on the need to mobilize the Palestinian public opinion and all forces to pressure the Palestinian Authority to end its security cooperation with the Israeli occupation.

مشاركة شعبية وفصائلية في المؤتمر الوطني الشعبي لمواجهة الاستيطان “الاستيطان إلى زوال” pic.twitter.com/QI80zbFqAl— 24 (@ar24ps) February 8, 2022

For his part, the head of the Hamas movement media department, Ali Al-Amoudi, stressed that the battle against Israeli settlements is the same as the battle against the “Zionist racist occupation regime.”

Al-Amoudi added that since its establishment, Hamas has harnessed all its capabilities to confront the Israeli settlement project.

For his part, the member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front – General Command, Louay Al-Qaryouti, called on the Palestinian youth in the West Bank and Al-Quds to continue resisting the occupation, pointing out that resisting the occupation is a legitimate duty.

Similarly, the Secretary-General of the National Initiative, Mustafa Al-Barghouti, explained that settler colonialism is the weapon used by the “Zionist gangs to consolidate their presence in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Al-Barghouti said that the entire Zionist system is directed towards one goal: the cultural and ethnic change aimed at the annexation of all Palestinian land, noting that “our struggle today is against the Zionist regime of apartheid.”

As Israel Plots Endgame in Occupied Golan, Bennett Must Remember Lessons of the Past

January 5, 2022

Israeli Government approves a plan to double the number of illegal Jewish settlers in the Golan Heights. (Photo: via Prime Minister of Israel Twitter page)

By Ramzy Baroud

With Syria still embroiled in its own war, Israel has been actively rewriting the rule book regarding its conduct in this Arab country. Gone are the days of a potential return of the illegally occupied Golan Heights to Syrian sovereignty in exchange for peace, per the language of yesteryears. Now, Israel is set to double its illegal Jewish settler population in the Golan, while Israeli bombs continue to drop with a much higher frequency on various Syrian targets.

Indeed, a one-sided war is underway, casually reported as if a routine, everyday event. In the last decade, many ‘mysterious’ attacks on Syria were attributed to Israel. The latter neither confirmed nor denied. With the blanket support given to Israel by the Donald Trump administration, which recognized Israel’s illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights of 1981, Israeli reluctance to take credit for the frequent and increasingly destructive and bloody air raids has dissipated.

Briefly, some in the Israeli government were concerned by the possible repercussions of the advent of Joe Biden to the White House in January 2021. They worried that the new president might reverse some of the pro-Israel decisions enacted by his predecessor, including the recognition of the “Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” due to the “strategic and security importance to the State of Israel”. Biden, a long-time supporter of Israel himself, did no such thing.

The initial concern about a shift in US policy turned into euphoria and, eventually, an opportunity, especially as Israel’s new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, is eager to break the Right’s historic dominance over the Jewish settlement movement in occupied Palestinian and Arab lands.

“This is our moment. This is the moment of the Golan Heights,” Bennett declared triumphantly at an Israeli government cabinet meeting held specially to officiate plans regarding the further colonization of the Golan on December 26.

The following statement by Bennett speaks volumes about the context of the Israeli decision, and its future intentions: “After long and static years in terms of the scope of settlement, our goal today is to double settlement in the Golan Heights.” The reference to ‘static years’ is an outright rejection of the occasional freezing of settlement construction that mostly took place during the so-called ‘peace process.’ Bennett – who, in June 2021, was embraced by Washington and its western allies as the political antithesis to the obstinate Benjamin Netanyahu – has effectively ended any possibility of a peaceful resolution to Israel’s illegal occupation of the Golan.

Aside from predictable and clichéd responses by Syria and the Arab League, Israel’s massive push to double its settlement activities in the Golan is going largely unnoticed. Not only Israel’s right-wing media, but the likes of Haaretz are also welcoming the government’s investment – estimated at nearly $320 million. The title of David Rosenberg’s article in Haaretz tells the whole story: “Picturesque but Poor, Israel’s Golan Needs a Government Boost to Thrive.” The article decries government ‘neglect’ of the Golan, speaks of employment opportunities and merely challenges Bennett’s government on whether it will “stay the course”. The fact that the occupation of the Golan, like that of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, is illegal under international law is absent from Israeli media coverage.

Namely, Israel’s main focus currently is to normalize its occupation of Arab land entirely. But if that mission has failed over the course of 54 years, can it succeed now?

For Israel, the illegal settlement enterprise, whether in the Syrian Golan or in occupied Palestine, is synonymous. It is inspired by deep-rooted ideological and religious beliefs, compelled by economic opportunities and political interests and assuaged by the lack of any meaningful international response.

In the case of the Golan, Israel’s intention was, from the onset, to expand on its agricultural space, as the capture of the fertile Syrian territory almost immediately attracted settlers, who set the stage for massive agricultural settlements. Although the home of merely 25,000 Jewish settlers, the Golan became a major source of Israeli apples, pears and wine grape production. Local tourism in the scenic Golan, dotted with numerous wineries, thrived, especially following the Israeli annexation of the territory in 1981.

The plight of the steadfast Golan Arab Druze population of nearly 23,000 is as irrelevant in the eyes of Israel as that of the millions of occupied Palestinians, whether under siege in Gaza or living under a perpetual occupation or apartheid in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Golan population is equally isolated and oppressed but, like the Palestinians, continues to resist despite the heavy price of their resistance. Their hardship, however, is likely to increase with the expected doubling of the Jewish settler population.

Israel is, of course, aware that popular uprisings will eventually be mounted in response to its latest colonial endeavors, but various factors must be giving Bennett the confidence to continue with his plans. A major source of reassurance is that it could take Syria years to achieve any degree of political stabilization before mounting any source of challenge to the Israeli occupation. Another is that the Palestinian leadership is in no mood for confrontation, especially that it is, once again, on good terms with Washington, which has resumed its funding of the PA soon after Biden’s inauguration.

Moreover, in Israel, the anti-settlement movement has long subsided, crystallized mostly into smaller political parties that are hardly critical in the formation or toppling of government coalitions.

More importantly, Washington has no interest to initiate any kind of diplomatic efforts to lay the ground for future talks involving Israel, the Palestinians and certainly not Syria. Any such attempt now, or even in coming years would represent a political gamble for Biden’s embattled administration.

Israel understands this absolutely and plans to take advantage of this opportunity, arguably unprecedented since the Madrid talks over thirty years ago. Yet, while Bennett is urging Israelis in their quest for settlement expansion with such battle cries as “this is our moment’, he must not underestimate that the occupied Palestinians and Syrians are also aware that their ‘moment’, too, is drawing near. In fact, all popular Palestinian uprisings of the past were initiated at times when Israel assumed that it had the upper hand, and that people’s resistance has been forever pacified.

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). His website iswww.ramzybaroud.net

Fearing Hezbollah Rockets, ‘Israeli’ War Ministry Reinforces Northern Settlements

December 28 2021

By Staff, Agencies

The Zionist entity’s war ministry on Monday announced that it was expanding its effort to reinforce the ‘Israeli’ settlements closest to the Lebanese border, amid fears they will be the most likely to be hit by rocket fire in a future war against Hezbollah.

The effort — dubbed “Shield of the North” — officially began last month, when the so-called Engineering and Construction Division of the occupation regime’s ministry, along with the Zionist military, started installing new bomb shelters in settler units in the settlements of Kfar Yuval, northeast of Kiryat Shmona.

The ministry said it was expanding the program to three more settlements on the ‘Israeli’-occupied Palestinian territories: Metula, Shlomi and Shtula, all of which lie directly along the border with Lebanon.

“In the coming days, [the Engineering and Construction Division] will begin setting up dozens of bomb shelters in private homes in the three additional communities,” the ministry said.

Ultimately, the ministry intends to carry out its “Shield of the North” reinforcement plan to the 21 settlements closest to the northern border of the occupied Palestinian territories.  

In the coming weeks, the ministry said it plans to expand the program to four more settlements that are Avivim, Margaliot, Misgav Am and Manara.

This reinforcement plan came after years of promises to improve the settler units in northern settlements, which were regularly found to be lacking, despite the high probability that these areas were most likely to be hit by barrages from the Lebanese resistance group, Hezbollah.

Israeli media: “Homesh” operation is security failure

December 18 2021

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

Israeli media reported that the Palestinians who carried out the operation didn’t act alone, stressing that it was carefully planned.

One settler was killed and two others were wounded in the ‘Homesh settlement operation’.

A military correspondent for Israeli Channel 12 said that the “Homesh settlement operation might change the situation.”

Israeli media reported Thursday that one settler was killed and two others were wounded in an alleged shooting attack at the entrance to the “Homesh” settlement, an Israeli-occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The Israeli Channel 12 correspondent added that the Palestinians who carried out the operation didn’t act alone, but rather, it constituted an “armed group” that has carried out an ambush using imported weapons in a carefully planned operation, as per the Channel.

He went on to say that “the situation could have escalated,” noting that “the Shin Bet and the army are strengthening their forces in every region north of Samaria, in an attempt to limit the possibility of similar operations.”

The operation constituted a “failure of the security establishment in Israel”, the correspondent stressed.

He continued, “We see Hamas pushing hard to conduct similar operations inciting forcefulness on social media. As a result, only a joint operation between the army and the Shin Bet will be able to halt deterioration and escalation in the region.”

It is worth noting that Al Mayadeen correspondent confirmed Thursday that the Israeli forces were heavily deployed in the northern West Bank, noting that they were storming villages in search of the individuals who carried out the operation.

Israeli settlers attacked, on Friday, several citizens in their homes in the village of Qaryut, south of Nablus. In addition, settlers destroyed a number of vehicles near the entrance of the town of Sebastia, north of Nablus.

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Confrontations between Palestinians and IOF near Beita

December 12, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen Net

Israeli occupation forces shoot a Palestinian youth in confrontations with Palestinians during the “night confusion” activities near Beita.

Confrontations in the town of Beita are ongoing since last June against the establishment of the new “Evyatar” settlement.

The Israeli occupation forces shot a Palestinian youth in confrontations that erupted Saturday evening near the entrance of Beita, south of Nablus, during “night confusion” activities.

Activists had announced shifting the “night confusion” activities from Mount Sbeih to Beita’s entrance in response to the martyrdom of Jamil Abu Ayyash who passed away just hours after being shot in the head by Israeli occupation forces who were brutally suppressing a march against settlements in Beita.

A military procession was held for the martyr on Friday, starting from the Rafidia Government Hospital, with the participation of Palestinian security forces. Mourners chanted slogans glorifying Abu Ayyash and other martyrs, vowing to continue their popular resistance on Mount Sbeih, until the defeat of the settlement process and the end of the occupation.

Last night, members of the resistance opened fire on the illegal “Evyatar” settlement outpost built on the top of Mount Sbeih in Beita, in the northern occupied West Bank. 

Following the shooting, Israeli occupation forces were mobilized in the vicinity of the outpost.

Daily confrontations are ongoing in the town of Beita since last June, in protest of the establishment of the new “Evyatar” settlement.

The Palestinian youths have been developing new forms of resistance held on a weekly basis, in addition to the “night confusion” activities. 

20 Palestinians Displaced as Israel Forces Family to Demolish House in Jerusalem (VIDEO)

December 11, 2021

Three Palestinian households of 20 members, in the occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, became homeless on Saturday after they were forced by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem to demolish the building where they live, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

WAFA correspondent said that the Nassar family, who lives in the Wadi Qaddum quarter of Silwan, was forced to demolish its own building, after being forced to do so by the Israeli municipality, under the pretext it was built without a permit.

Jawad Nassar, the owner of one of the apartments, said that he, his brother and his nephew had no other option but to demolish the building themselves, in order to avoid paying unreasonable demolition costs to the Israeli municipality, in the event it carried out the demolition.

Palestinians in Jerusalem say they are forced to build without a permit because getting a building permit is nearly impossible, as the right-wing mayor and city council attempt to keep the city’s Palestinian population at a bare minimum while multiplying its Jewish residents by approving the construction of thousands of new housing units in illegal Jewish settlements.

Almost 75 percent of applications for a permit by the Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem are rejected by the municipality, according to rights groups.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Palestinian Resistance Targets ‘Givat Avitar’ Settling Outpost

DECEMBER 11, 2021

Palestinian resistance fighters opened fire at the illegal settler outpost dubbed ‘Givat Avitar’ established on top of Subeih Mountain in the town of Beita southern Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

Local sources reported that fire was aimed at the outpost leading to a military alertness in its surrounding.

The operation came a few hours after the martyrdom of Jamil Abu Ayyash who was shot dead by the ‘Israeli’ occupation fire during Friday confrontations atop of Subeih Mountain.

This targeting is the first of its kind of ‘Givat Avitar’ since its establishment in May.

People of Beita and the neighboring towns have been organizing weekly popular protests, in addition to night confusion activities, against the establishment of this illegal outpost.

The Enemy Fears Hezbollah’s “Invasion” of Its Settlements

Nov 1, 2021

The Enemy Fears Hezbollah’s “Invasion” of Its Settlements

By Staff

Facing Hezbollah and its threat is the ‘Israeli’ enemy’s main concern. It is conducting a series of maneuvers this week in preparedness for war scenarios that aim at comprehending the last war on Gaza and “Operation al-Quds Sword”, in addition to testing the training concerning the “Formulation of Galilee” that was carried out by the General Staff last month and that simulates Hezbollah’s “invasion” of the Zionist settlements.

“Walla” news website quoted a senior Zionist officer in the northern command as saying that the ‘Israeli’ military establishment is highly concerned about an abrupt ‘invasion’ from the northern borders. “We are working on the issue confidentially and publicly. It will be really difficult on Hezbollah, yet it’s a good course of action. We are getting ready with a physical obstacle, with forces, and with activities that I won’t elaborate about. We have “positive” news concerning working on the obstacle,” the official claimed.

According to the website, the officer tackled the possibility of Hezbollah using toxic substances to hypnotize the Zionist soldiers, saying that “the core endeavor is invading the “Israeli” lands. Using such substances or using them under the cover of 15 Kornet missiles is a dramatic transformation,” as Kornet is one of most advanced anti-tank missiles in the world.

As Hezbollah’s Military Might Grows, So Does ‘Israeli’ Fear

Report Reveals European Firms Have More Than $255B Entwined in Illegal Israeli Settlements

October 21st, 2021

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

The Israeli Jewish-settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem, Feb. 7, 2017. (AP/Oded Balilty)
The continuous settler takeover of Palestinian land has prevented Palestinians from developing and utilizing their resources and therefore significantly depleted their economy.

OCCUPIED WEST BANK, PALESTINE — Nearly 700 European firms have financial ties worth $255 billion with businesses actively involved in Israeli settlements, according to a new civil society report.

The Don’t Buy Into Occupation (DBIO) coalition is a joint project between 25 Palestinian and European non-governmental organizations investigating the business connections between companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT) and European financial institutions. The coalition’s latest research found 672 European financial institutions had relationships with 50 businesses participating in Israel’s settlement economy. Between 2018 and May 2021, major European firms provided loans and underwritings amounting to $114 billion to these businesses while investing $141 billion.

“The involvement of these corporations with the settlements — through investments, banking loans, resource extraction, infrastructure contracts, and equipment and product supply agreements — provides them with the indispensable economic oxygen they require to grow and thrive,” Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967, wrote in the report.

The findings

The DBIO coalition found that the top 10 creditors collectively gave $77.81 billion to businesses involved in the Israeli settlements. These firms are BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Société Générale, Santander, ING Group, Commerzbank, UniCredit, and Crédit Agricole. And the top 10 investors — Deutsche Bank, Crédit Agricole, Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), Investor AB, BPCE Group, Allianz, Swedbank, Legal & General, AB Industrivärden, and Alecta — contributed $67.22 billion.

The coalition reached out to 138 firms as well as three corporations highlighted in the report and additional businesses the coalition found to be heavily involved in the settlement economy. Booking.com, BNP Paribas, and HeidelbergCement and 21 financial institutions responded to the report’s results.

Replies varied, with some banks wanting to set up meetings to further discuss the findings while other institutions said they’ve already investigated human rights concerns with their business partners. The report’s authors declined to disclose with which institutions they are meeting, but DBIO said they plan to publish updates in the future.

“Some of them claim they did their human rights due diligence, but still decided to be involved in a settlement enterprise, which is quite against any of the suggestions or analysis of human rights experts,” Dr. Anna Khdair — a legal researcher at Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization, and one of the report’s co-drafters — told MintPress News.

Other institutions said any ties to Israeli settlements are not within their sphere of decision-making because settlements are legal under Israeli law. While they are warranted by Israel, settlements are illegal under international law.

“So, we still have a lot of work to do to explain how the settlement enterprise actually works and how much it is connected to the Israeli economy, [while] Israel itself will not provide enough information or transparency about those links with the illegal settlement enterprise,” Khdair said.

Holding corporations accountable

The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has experienced incredible mobilization recently. American ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s made headlines over the summer after announcing it will stop selling in Israeli settlements. Two pension companies named in the DBIO report also recently divested from companies linked to the settlement enterprise. In July, Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP), Norway’s biggest pension firm, divested from 16 companies involved in Israeli settlements.

“In KLP’s assessment, there is an unacceptable risk that the excluded companies are contributing to the abuse of human rights in situations of war and conflict through their links with the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank,” KLP said in a statement regarding their decision.

The businesses from which KLP divested are:

  • Ashtrom Group Ltd.
  • Electra Ltd.
  • Alstom SA
  • Bank Hapoalim
  • Bank Leumi
  • Israel Discount Bank
  • First International Bank Israel
  • Bezeq
  • Mizrahi Tefahot Bank
  • Altice Europe
  • Partner Communications
  • Cellcom
  • Delek Group
  • Paz Oil
  • Motorola Solutions
  • Energix Renewable Energies

In September, the Norwegian pension company GPFG announced it will stop working with Elco Ltd., Ashtrom Group Ltd., and Electra Ltd. because of their activities in the Israeli settlements. In the last decade, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, and Barclays have also divested from some companies involved in the settlements.

Nonetheless, Willem Staes, coordinator of the DBIO coalition, noted:

Despite the illegal nature of Israeli settlements under international law, European financial institutions continue to throw a financial lifeline to companies operating in the settlements. European financial institutions should take up their responsibility and follow the example of KLP and GPFG. They should end all investments and financial flows into Israeli settlements, and not buy into the Israeli occupation.

Even with these divestment decisions, however, the aforementioned firms still associate with settlement-entwined businesses. KLP is invested in eight companies involved in the settlement enterprise: Delta Galil Industries, FIBI, Matrix IT, Mivne Group, Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006, Shapir Engineering and Industry, and Shufersal. GPFG still has business dealings with 34 companies linked to the settlements. These businesses are:

  • ACS Group
  • Atlas Copco
  • Bank Hapoalim
  • Bank Leumi
  • Bezeq
  • Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF)
  • Caterpillar
  • Cellcom
  • CNH Industrial
  • Delek Group
  • Delta Galil Industries
  • DXC Technology
  • Energix
  • CETCO Mineral Technology Group
  • Cisco Systems
  • Expedia
  • FIBI
  • General Mills
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
  • Israel Discount Bank
  • MAN Group
  • Tripadvisor
  • Manitou
  • Shufersal
  • Siemens
  • Matrix IT
  • Mizrahi Tefahot Bank
  • Volvo Group
  • WSP GLobal
  • Motorola Solutions
  • Partner Communications
  • Paz Oil
  • Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006
  • Terex

These ongoing financial relationships put into question the firms’ commitment to human rights.

Maha Abdallah, one of the co-drafters of the report and the International Advocacy Officer at Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, told MintPress News that the DBIO’s findings definitely contradict the institutions’ purported ethical responsibilities.

“These companies and financial institutions claim that they’re committed to human rights, but then we see the facts on the ground and the level of their involvement in the settlements,” Abdallah said. “So clearly these are all in violation of their responsibilities under international law and towards human rights standards.”

Al-Haq’s Khdair speculated, however, that the slow pull-out from the settlement enterprise may stem from fears of political backlash. “We saw how the reaction from [the] Israeli government towards Ben & Jerry’s’ decision was,” Khdair said. “So some companies would be wary of reputational risk and also see [divestment] as problematic for their shareholders. It’s a process of finding the right balance in terms of their gains and their goals.”

All 50 companies named in the report participate in at least one of the activities listed by the United Nations as criteria for inclusion in its database of companies operating in the Israeli settlements. Of the 50 companies implicated, 15 are American. These businesses are:

  • Airbnb
  • Booking Holdings
  • Caterpillar
  • CETCO Mineral Technology Group
  • Cisco Systems
  • CNH Industrial
  • DXC Technology
  • Energix
  • Expedia
  • General Mills
  • HPE
  • Motorola Solutions
  • RE/MAX Holdings
  • Terex Corporation
  • Tripadvisor

Israeli settlements crushing Palestine’s economy

More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements across the oPT and 42% of the West Bank is under settlement control. Area C of the West Bank abounds with natural resources, but 68% of this region is reserved for Israeli settlements while only 1% is designated for Palestinian use.

The continuous settler takeover of Palestinian land has prevented Palestinians from developing and utilizing their resources and therefore significantly depleted their economy.

Restricted access to the Dead Sea, quarries and mines has led to an over $1 billion annual loss in revenue for Palestine, according to a 2015 policy brief from Palestinian thinktank Al-Shabaka. And companies’ exploitation of West Bank quarries is estimated at $900 million annually. The DBIO report authors write:

The exploitation of natural resources means that the Palestinian people are denied their right to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over their natural resources. By profiting from the depletion of Palestinian finite quarry resources, individual corporate actors may be held criminally liable for complicity in the crimes of appropriation, environmental destruction and the pillage of natural resources.

European Union’s hypocrisy

The EU provided more than $40 million in humanitarian aid to Palestine in 2021. It also follows international law in declaring the Israeli settlements illegal. Yet the EU is Israel’s largest trade partner, with a total of approximately $36 billion in traded goods last year.

“There are conflicting interests even between different European institutions [each with] their [own] priorities,” Khdair said, explaining that the goals of foreign affairs units often clash with human rights entities in the EU.

The EU does not support the UN database on companies complicit in Israeli settlements and continues to block funding to update the resource over budgetary constraints. Yet again in contradictory fashion, an EU court also ruled in 2019 that consumers have a right to know if products sold in EU markets were made in Israeli settlements.

“On the one hand, the EU has a very consistent approach and position on the illegality of settlements and all the associated violations that come along with it that undermine Palestinian rights,” Abdallah said. “But at the same time, we’re seeing that European businesses and financial institutions are still freely and without any consequences are being involved and active with the settlement enterprise.”

For Abdallah, European business activity in the settlements seems in stark contrast to the EU’s stated allegiances to the Palestinian cause. “We know what that means in reality,” Abdallah said. “It means giving them an economic lifeline allowing them to sustain themselves and expand and grow with time because these settlements, at the end of the day, rely on money in order to prosper and sustain and expand.”

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

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

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

By Meron Rapoport

Published date: 7 September 2021 13:02 UTC 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permanent status quo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Shrink the conflict’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israeli right in crisis

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

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

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

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

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

‘Israeli’ Occupation of Syrian Golan Heights Illegitimate, Invalid – UN

July 23, 2021

Visual search query image

By Staff, Agencies

The United Nations emphasized Syria’s sovereignty over the ‘Israeli’-occupied Golan Heights, stressing that annexation measures imposed by the Tel Aviv regime in the territory are invalid and illegitimate.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia [ESCWA] made the announcement in a periodic report distributed in Beirut, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported on Thursday.

“The compliance with the international law and the absence of impunity are two prerequisites for achieving peace and justice for all the peoples of the region,” the UN body added.

In 1967, the Zionist occupation waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, during which it occupied a large swathe of Golan and annexed it four years later, a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1973, another war broke out and a year later, a UN-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which Tel Aviv and Damascus agreed to separate their troops and create a buffer zone in the Heights.

The Zionist entity has over the past decades built dozens of settlements in the Golan Heights in defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction activities.

Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

The United Nations has time and again emphasized Syria’s sovereignty over the territory.

In March 2019, former American president Donald Trump controversially signed a decree recognizing ‘Israeli’ “sovereignty” over the Golan Heights during a meeting with then Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.

The ESCWA report, which covers the period from April 2020 to March 2021, further stressed that it is impossible to achieve sustainable development in the occupied Palestinian territories in light of the continuing ‘Israeli’ occupation and the policies and practices pursued by the entity.

The UN commission also emphasized the necessity of halting such Zionist measures that hinder efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide additional humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

The report also stressed that the measures and policies adopted by the Zionist regime in Arab territories, occupied since 1967, including the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip and settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, are all in sheer violation of international law.

Elsewhere in the report, ESCWA said that last year was one of the worst years in the Palestinian economy since 2002, as it shrank by 11.5 percent.

The UN commission prepares a report for the UN chief every year on the economic and social repercussions of the ‘Israeli’ occupation on the conditions of the Palestinians in the occupied territories and also the conditions of the Syrians in the Golan Heights.

If Bibi Was the Frying Pan, Is Bennett the Fire? What To Expect from Israel’s New PM

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

“It’s not like [Israel is] replacing Netanyahu with a person who believes in equality for all, who believes in freedom for all, who believes in human rights for all. They’re replacing Netanyahu with an ultra-nationalist who is going to put forward his ultra-nationalist agenda.” – Diana Buttu, former PLO spokesperson

JERUSALEM — After more than a decade, four elections, three corruption charges, and a tumultuous parliamentary vote, someone other than Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as Israel’s prime minister this week.

Naftali Bennett, the far-right nationalist who has replaced Netanyahu, heads the most politically diverse coalition in the nation’s history, but his politics are far from progressive.

Who is Naftali Bennett?

Unlike his predecessors, Bennett is more of a novice than a veteran politician. While he has served in several ministerial roles, his government experience is relatively brief.

Bennett began his political career as Netanyahu’s chief of staff in 2005, when the latter served as opposition leader. Prior to his first role in government, he served in the Israeli army as a commando unit officer during Israel’s 1996 offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon and was indirectly involved in the Kfar Qana Massacre, in which Israeli artillery fire killed 102 Lebanese civilians at a United Nations facility.

The 49-year-old Bennett was born in Haifa to parents who immigrated to Israel from San Francisco in 1967. Donning a kippah (a cap often worn by Jewish men during rituals), Bennett is Israel’s first religiously observant prime minister.

While not a settler himself, Bennet is seen as an icon of Israel’s settler right. He was appointed director general of the Yesha Council, the political body representing Israeli settlers, in 2009. The following year, he founded the My Israel Movement along with fellow Israeli politician Ayelet Shaked. The Zionist group works to eradicate what it identifies as “anti-Israel activity” online, specifically in relation to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Bennett became chairman of the religious and right-wing Jewish Home Party in 2012, but left in 2018 to create the New Right Party, which is currently the sole member of his far-right electoral alliance, Yamina (or “to the right” in Hebrew). He was often perceived as standing on the sidelines of politics — an outsider desperately wanting in. Except for his time as education minister, almost every stint as an Israeli minister was short-lived. His contribution to politics has been less action-oriented and more centered on his inflammatory statements.

A history of racist rhetoric

Bennett is notorious for the myriad of controversial remarks he’s made over the years:

  • During a parliamentary debate on releasing Palestinian prisoners, Bennett bragged about “killing Arabs.” “If we capture terrorists, we need to just kill them,” Bennett said in 2013. “I’ve already killed a lot of Arabs in my life, and there is no problem with that.”
  • In 2018, he advocated for a shoot-to-kill policy for Palestinians crossing the Gaza border. When questioned about whether children would be part of this policy, he said, “They are not children — they are terrorists. We are fooling ourselves. I see the photos.”
  • During a televised debate in 2010, Bennett said to Palestinian lawmaker Ahmad Tibi, “When you were still climbing trees, we had a Jewish state here.”
  • In an interview with The New Yorker in 2013, Bennett reiterated his strong opposition to a Palestinian state. “I will do everything in my power, forever, to fight against a Palestinian state being founded in the Land of Israel,” Bennett said.

Bennett has long advocated for full annexation of Israeli-controlled Area C of the Occupied West Bank, which comprises 60% of the West Bank. He said, in 2013:

The most important thing in the Land of Israel is to build, build, build [settlements]… It’s important that there will be an Israeli presence everywhere. Our principal problem is still Israel’s leaders’ unwillingness to say in a simple manner that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel.  “

In 2014, Bennett referred to Israeli annexation of the West Bank, telling reporters Israel “will be gradually attempting to apply Israeli law on Israeli controlled areas of Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank].”

And more recently, in February of this year, he said in an interview, “As long as I have any power and control, I won’t hand over one centimeter of the Land of Israel. Period.”

Benjamin Netanyahu,Naftali Bennett
Netanyahu, right, and Bennett pose for a photos with children in the Arab town of Tamra, Sept. 1, 2016. Sebastian Scheiner | AP

While Diana Buttu, a Palestinian analyst and former spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization, is happy Netanyahu is out of office, she doesn’t see the new leader as the right kind of change. “It’s not like [Israel is] replacing Netanyahu with a person who believes in equality for all, who believes in freedom for all, who believes in human rights for all,” Buttu said. “They’re replacing Netanyahu with an ultra-nationalist who is going to put forward his ultra-nationalist agenda.”

Bennett’s possible policies

Bennett’s lack of a governing record makes it difficult to predict what kind of leader he’ll be and what kind of policies he may enact.

Paul Scham, executive director of the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland, surmises the new prime minister will tackle mundane but necessary agenda items like passing a budget and solving Israel’s infrastructure crisis.

“He recognizes that this isn’t a time for a bold action on the ideological front,” Scham told MintPress News.

Two hours after Bennett was sworn in as prime minister, President Joe Biden phoned the new leader to congratulate him. By contrast, Biden waited a month after his own swearing-in ceremony to call Netanyahu. Scham suggested such actions hint Bennett may prioritize relations with the United States and remain diplomatic in an effort to undo his predecessor’s damage.

“Since Bibi seemed to have this adverse relationship with [former President Barack] Obama and was very pro-Republican, Bennett will take care not to push the buttons, like denying that a Palestinian state will ever come into existence,” Scham said. On several occasions, Netanyahu has rejected the formation of a Palestinian state under his leadership.

Naftali Bennett protest
Israelis hold signs during a protest against Benneft’s allaince with Arab politicians in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 30, 2021. Sebastian Scheiner| AP

On the other hand, Buttu believes Bennett will want to bolster his right-wing credentials in the face of criticism for joining forces with Palestinian and leftist parties. Israel’s new government was formed through a coalition of several conflicting political parties, including Muslim party United Arab List, the far-left Meretz Party, centrist Yesh Atid Party, the Labor Party and Bennett’s Yamina.

Earlier this month, hundreds of right-wing activists demonstrated in front of Shaked’s and other fellow Yamina members’ homes against the far-right coalition teaming up with left-wing parties.

“He’s been saying in statements ‘Now is the time for a national unity government,” Buttu said. “But then to his crowd, he’s saying, ‘Don’t worry, this is a right-wing government.’”

New leader, same agenda

While other Israeli politicians often tone down their rhetoric to fit a global standard, Bennett thrives on unquestionably racist language.

“If anything, Bennett is just that much worse because his ideology is an ideology of extreme racism,” Buttu said. “Whereas when it comes to Netanyahu, he’s learned how to polish up that same ideology.”

Despite a new government coming to power, the politics of settler-colonialism remain the same. In that regard, peace and any chance for Palestinian liberation feel out of reach.

“People are happy Netanyahu is out, and my worry is that because Netanyahu is out and because [Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Yair] Lapid is backing Bennett, there’s going to be a red carpet rolled out for a person who is openly racist,” Buttu said, cautioning that placing Bennett on a pedestal will make the mistake of validating the politician’s perspectives. “Legitimating him inside Israel once again means it’s okay to have a prime minister who is so openly ultra-nationalist and who believes in land theft.”

And with this extremist ideology heading the Israeli government, the recent wave of settler terrorism may become even more emboldened.

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