«Israeli» Ex-Soldiers Depict Life in IOF: Troops Are «Drunk On Power and Boredom»

«Israeli» Ex-Soldiers Depict Life in IOF: Troops Are «Drunk On Power and Boredom»

By Staff, The Guardian

Former “Israeli” soldiers depict their life in the military; day-to-day memories of their time in the military that continue to jolt them in post-army life. Regular house searches, arrest and hours at checkpoints fill their minds when they look back and wince.

When several dozen ex-combatants were asked about a time that most affected them, former First Sergeant Omry Balely remembered weeks of boredom at a roadblock near the parched Palestinian city of Ariha [Jericho].

“The general feeling was that it was a quiet and very safe area,” he says. “When you’re at a checkpoint, you’re in a daily routine of controlling the lives of other people. Who enters and who doesn’t is in your hands – a 19-year-old kid with power.”

They would get agitated and taunt the Palestinians, denying entry or exit to those who said the “wrong” thing, or cuffing one to a barrier for having incorrect documentation. Looking for amusement, his unit handwrote bogus VIP permits for the Palestinians who crossed regularly. They were legally meaningless but added some fun to the long hours in the sun.

Once, an older man in his 50s arrived. He had one of these paper VIP permits, but that day, he came with a donkey. “Where was the donkey’s VIP pass? the soldiers demanded.

“We all laughed at the situation, including the Palestinian,” says Balely, now 30. “But looking back a few years later, I realize what being drunk with power combined with boredom can do to you. You toy with the life and livelihood of a person for entertainment.”

Testimonies like these from 52 “Israel” Occupation Forces veterans are being displayed this month at a gallery in Tel Aviv alongside their portraits for an exhibition called EXPOSE[D]. For a decade, Quique Kierszenbaum, a news photographer and journalist, has been documenting those who agreed to speak out about the abuses they saw and often perpetrated. He did this with the help of Breaking the Silence, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2004 that has been collecting personal military stories, hoping it will show the public the reality of everyday life for Palestinians.

The whistleblower organization, widely derided in “Israel”, says abuse is systematic and institutionalized – an unavoidable part of five decades of occupation – rather than the rare the rare anomalies that such incidents are often explained away as. To date, Breaking the Silence has meticulously collected testimonies from more than 1,200 soldiers, although the vast majority do not have their identities revealed. This has led to the army and others questioning the accuracy of their accounts.

Yehuda Shaul, an ex-combat soldier, was one of the group’s founders and still runs it. His portrait forms part of the exhibition, one of the first people Kierszenbaum photographed. The accompanying text is a story he has shared for more than a decade, from his time in the early 2000s during the street fighting of the second intifada.

“I would shoot directly at Palestinian neighborhoods using a grenade launcher in response to Palestinian fire towards the [Jewish] settlements in the city,” the text reads. “It’s clear to me that many civilians were hurt by this fire. We did it without any identification of the sources of shooting from the Palestinian side.” A decision was later made to carry out what he calls “deterrent firing”, shooting every day before the Palestinians had even started attacking.

Finally the USA Supports the One State Solution

 

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By Gilad Atzmon

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced yesterday that the US is softening its position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Secretary Pompeo repudiated the 1978 State Department legal opinion that stated that Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law.”

 It is hard to determine whether the move was intended to rescue Benjamin Netanyahu’s political career or to buy the Jewish Lobby’s support for President Trump at a critical time. It is reasonable to assume that the policy was put forth to advance both aims.

 Pompeo’s declaration was, predictably, welcomed by PM Netanyahu and denounced by Palestinian officials and anyone else who still advances the delusional Two State Solution. Like Secretary Pompeo, I am far from an expert on international law, but it seems the notion of international law is vague or elastic enough to allow the secretary to (mis) interpret it in a radical manner. Yet, unlike most Palestinian solidarity campaigners, I see Trump, his administration and the recent move as a positive development.

 However inadvertently, Trump has finally committed the USA to the One State Solution. It is hard to deny that the area between the ‘River and the Sea’  is a single piece of land. It shares one electric grid, one pre-dial code (+972) and one sewage system. Ay present, the land is ruled over by a racist, tribal and discriminatory ideology through an apparatus that calls itself  ‘The Jewish State;’ and declares itself home for every Jew around the world; yet, is abusive, lethal and some would say genocidal toward the indigenous people of the land.

Yesterday’s move may buy Netanyahu some time and it may save Trump from being evicted from his current residence, but what it did most clearly was to redeliver a message to the Palestinians: In the battle for your liberation you are alone. America is not a negotiator, it has never been one. The USA has a side in the conflict and it is not your side.

In categorical terms Pompeo’s declaration repeats Trump’s earlier decision to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On December 6, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. No doubt, the move bought Trump support from the Jewish Lobby in America, and political gain for Netanyahu in the Jewish State, it was also an unambiguous message to the Palestinians: there is no prospect of a  harmonious and peaceful solution for your plight.

 For the Palestinians, the move also exposed the misleading and dangerous nature of their ‘solidarity’ movement. Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist institutions have undertaken a relentless effort to suppress the Palestinian’s Right of Return and replace it with watery alternatives such as ‘End of occupation’ or  ‘the Right to BDS.’ Trump’s move forced the Palestinians to accept that they were alone in their battle and finally  accept that The Right of Return is the core and the essence of their plight. Less than four months after Trump’s Jerusalem decision, on 30 March 2018,  thousands of Gazans gathered on the Israeli border to demand a return to their land.

That clumsy decision by Trump made to serve some immediate political purpose to do with Jewish support has matured into a vast awakening for the Palestinians.  Week after week, for almost three years, Gazans have arrived at the Gaza border in the thousands to bravely confront the IDF’s merciless snipers, tanks and air force.  The Hamas owes a big thank you to Trump who has managed to fuel and unite the Palestinians with a renewed spirit of fearless resistance. Israeli military analysts and commanders admit that the situation at the Gaza border is pretty much out of control. They agree that Israel’s power of deterrence is literally a matter of  nostalgia. Accordingly, Palestinian resistance organizations do not hesitate to retaliate against  Israel. Last week Israel was hit by the rain of 400 rockets fired over the course of only two days in response to  Israel’s assassination of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant.

 Pompeo’s declaration provides an explicit and necessary message to the Palestinians in general and in the West Bank in particular. The conflict is not progressing toward a peaceful resolution. Those amongst the Palestinians who advocated the ‘Two States Solution’ will have to hide now.  Pompeo has affirmed that there is one Holy Land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. From now on the battle over this disputed land is whether it will be subject to the racist discriminatory ideology implied by the notion of “The Jewish State” and its ‘National Bill,’ or if it will transform itself into a ‘State of its Citizens’ as is inherit in the notion of One Palestine.

A Great Day for Zion

 

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By Gilad Atzmon

 “In A Time Of Universal Deceit, Telling The Truth Becomes A Revolutionary Act” – George Orwell

At the moment, the Jewish State is experiencing growing political instability while exploring its ability to defy Netanyahu’s alleged criminality and his racial incitements against Arabs, while at the same time, the UK has been reduced into a dutiful Israeli remote colony.

Two day ago, the Lobby scored three significant victories that are indicative of Britain’s descent into an Orwellian dystopia. It is now an unfit habitat for intellectuals, artists and humanists and their exodus has begun.

In a statement astonishing for its obsequiousness, ‘opposition’ leader Jeremy Corbyn praised the police for tearing down a poster depicting, in cartoon form, an uncanny portrayal of Corbyn himself under ‘attack’ by Benjamin Netanyahu shown piloting an Israeli air force plane named ‘The Lobby’  and dropping bombs of ‘defamation’ with the words ‘anti-Semite, anti-Semite, anti-Semite.’

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By his response, Corbyn was kind enough to reveal to the Brits that he could be many things, but acting as a prime minister isn’t really among them. And not just because of his clumsy unprincipled action against a legitimate political cartoon but because the man publicly displayed that he can’t handle elementary freedoms. Somewhere, there exists a positive interpretation that would make Corbyn’s shameless groveling seem sophisticated, his response did make the cartoon into national news so that every Brit is now aware of the poster and its message.

Yesterday we also learned that Israel’s stooges managed to cancel a literature event in Brighton. Bad News for Labour- Antisemitism, the Party and Public Belief is, according to its publisher, a ground breaking study on the reality behind the headlines on antisemitism and the British Labour Party.”  I have not seen a ‘ground breaking’ text from Pluto for years, nonetheless, someone within the Hasbara army decided that the Brits are unfit to digest the book.  Waterstones Brighton ‘rapidly surrendered’ and canceled the event. One more piece of evidence that Britain doesn’t really need enemies, it became an authoritarian society voluntarily. I wonder how long it will be before Corbyn tweets that it was he and the Labour Party who begged Waterstones to cancel the event.

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But Zionist tour de force did not end there. We learned yesterday that singer, songwriter and right wing enthusiast Alison Chabloz was once again sent to jail: this time for eight weeks. The Zionist Campaign Against Antisemitism’s web site reports that “District Judge Jonathan Taaffe found Ms Chabloz guilty of breaching the conditions of her suspended sentence after blog posts that she published since June 2018 were found to constitute a breach of a social media ban.”  Apparently the definition of ‘social media’* in Britain underwent a dramatic expansion this week in order to fit the Zionist call. The CAA was pleased to let us know their part in this fiasco, “the trial in Chesterfield today follows contact between Campaign Against Antisemitism’s lawyers and the National Probation Service.”

In 1917 Lord Balfour issued a declaration in the name of the British government announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a tiny Jewish population. In 1917 Britain was an empire although Palestine wasn’t then a British colony. Just over one hundred years later not much is left of the empire and even less remains of British dignity. Britain has allowed itself to be reduced to an Israeli colony, even to the point that Britain willingly  sacrifices any of its most sacred values when asked to do so by  a single right wing ethnic lobby that is largely committed to foreign interests.

فلسطين المحتلة أكبر من الضفة وغزة.. فهل تذكرون؟

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سبتمبر 24, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

اشتراك فلسطينيي 1948 الموجودين على اراضيهم داخل فلسطين المحتلة في الانتخابات الاسرائيلية الاخيرة، لا يستحق التهليل والثناء لا من اهلهم في غزة والضفة الغربية، ولا من العرب المجاورين.

أولاً: يبتعد هذا الكلام عن مجرد توجيه نقد لصامدين بذلوا كامل طاقاتهم لتحرير بلدهم المحتل وسط مراوغات عربية تذهب حالياً الى حدود التحالف العلني مع الكيان المحتل.

لا شك في أن هذا الجانب يُرعب الداخل الفلسطيني ويؤسس لانهيارات، لكن المدقق بأوضاع المنطقة بدءاً من غزة المتمردة العاصية على الاحتلال ببنادق اهلها وصلابتهم، وسورية التي دمرت مخططاً اميركياً لتحويل كامل المنطقة فلسطين محتلة جديدة، وحزب الله الممتشق بندقية منتصرة هزمت «إسرائيل» في حربي 2000 و2006 ونصيرها الارهاب الدولي في الست سنوات الاخيرة، وايران التي تتجه الى تغيير معادلات القوة والاستتباع بصمود أسطوري في كامل الشرق الاوسط، واليمن المندفع كالسهم يُدمي قلب أعدائه، والعراق الذي جعل احتلال الاميركيين له مجرد إرهاق مالي على الاقتصاد الاميركي من دون تحقيق انجازات سياسية، هذه حقائق لا تنتمي الى فنون الخطابة التي تخترع انتصارات وهمية يتخصص بها السياسيون العرب.

لذلك كان من المفترض ان تنعكس هذه الإنجازات المستمرة على مستوى المزيد من تمتين الوضع الفلسطيني وهي تؤدي تدريجياً اليه، انما في غزة فقط مع بدايات غضب فلسطيني في الضفة الغربية، لكنه لم يبلغ أشده حتى الآن، ربما بسبب البراجماتية الزائدة لرئيس السلطة محمود عباس الذي يبالغ في انتسابه الى فئة محترفي فنون الخطابة الجوفاء.

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ما يجب الإقرار به هو استحالة تشكل انتفاضة لفلسطينيي الـ 1948 من دون اندلاع انتفاضات مسبقة في الضفة.

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وبما أن هذا لم يحدث، فلم يكن متوقعاً أن تنشب في أي مكان آخر باستثناء غزة المتحررة سياسياً من وصايات الخليج المتحالف مع «إسرائيل» وسلطة الضفة التي تجهد نفسها في زوايا الاقتراحات السياسية المتداولة للبحث حتى عن «مخترة» او بلدية صغيرة تواصل من منابرها اطلاق شعارات فارغة.

المفاجئ اذاً، ان مرحلة الصمود العربية الغزاوية الراهنة لم تدرك عرب فلسطين 1948 فتورطت قواها السياسية منذ ايام عدة فقط في الانتخابات النيابية الاسرائيلية باندماج مثير للاستغراب وغير مبرر، وبنت برنامجها السياسي على قاعدة منع رئيس وزراء الكيان نتنياهو من العودة الى الحكم باعتبار ان حزبه الليكود هو من الأحزاب الاسرائيلية اليمينية المتطرفة واعلنت تأييدها للحزب الاسرائيلي «ابيض ازرق» على ان يكون رئيسه الجنرال السابق في الجيش الاسرائيلي بني غانتس رئيساً للحكومة المقبلة.

لمناقشة هذه الانعطافة، يندفعُ الجانب الوطني الى صدارتها، فالمشاركة في انتخابات أقرتها البنى الدستورية للكيان المحتل، هي اعتراف كامل به وليست تدبراً للعناية بفلسطينيي الـ 48 من طريق اللعب على التناقضات السياسية بين القوى الاسرائيلية وانتزاع اهتمام حياتي افضل للفلسطينيين وقد تندرج مسألة إبعاد الأكثر تطرفاً من بين القوى الاسرائيلية ضمن لائحة الأهداف.

لكن مجرد الانخراط في آليات انتاج السلطات في كيان الاحتلال هو إقرار بوجوده واستمراريته وقيادته بما يقصي اي نقاش آخر.

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هذا بالاضافة الى ان تشكيل قائمة عربية نجحت في الفوز بـ 14 مقعداً في «الكنيست» الاسرائيلي مجلس النواب هو انخراط كامل في اللعبة السياسية للعدو وإقحام المدنيين الفلسطينيين في الصراعات بين قواه الداخلية اليهودية.

لجهة التذرعِ بيمينية نتنياهو مقابل وسطية منافسه بني غانتس، فهذا امرٌ مرفوض لأن حزب العمال الإسرائيلي المعروف بوسطيته هو الذي هاجم سورية ومصر ولبنان ملتهماً قسماً كبيراً من فلسطين، وبالتالي فإن الفوارق السياسية بين قوى الكيان الغاصب هي لمصلحة المدنيين الاسرائيليين حصراً ولا علاقة لها بموقفهم من موضوع فلسطين المحتلة، او من اقتطاع أجزاء من دول عربية اخرى، وبمعنى اوضح فإن هناك إجماعاً اسرائيلياً على يهودية فلسطين المحتلة من البحر الى النهر وربما من النيل الى الفرات، لكنهم يتحيّنون التوازنات الدولية والتراجعات العربية لتحقيق مطامعهم بالتدريج وليس بالخطابات والعنتريات المسطحة.

قد يتصدّى النواب العرب في القائمة المشتركة الذين نجحوا في الانتخابات الاسرائيلية بالقول إن السلطة الفلسطينية تعمل على دويلة تشمل الضفة وغزة فقط مقابل الاعتراف بالكيان المحتل على أساس حل الدولتين، مضيفين بأن منظمة حماس نفسها وافقت على دويلة في الضفة وغزة إنما من دون ان تقبل بالاعتراف بالكيان ويعتبرون أن الدول العربية تعمل على تطبيق «حل الدولتين» منذ مبادرة الملك السعودي عبد الله في 2002.

وهذا يؤدي تلقائياً الى اعتبار فلسطين الـ 1948 جزءاً من الكيان الاسرائيلي، فلماذا لا يشاركون اذاً في مؤسساته السياسية لتحسين اوضاع أهاليهم؟

 

اسرائيل تعرف قبل غيرها، أن حل الدولتين يؤدي في مراحل لاحقة الى تدهورها وتراجعها وصولاً الى انحلالها وتفككها، لأنه يمنع إلغاء القضية الفلسطينية، فمجرد وجود دولة فلسطينية مع 20 في المئة من الفلسطينيين داخل الكيان المحتل هو أكثر من كافٍ لتفجير «إسرائيل» في تعاون فلسطيني سوري مع حزب الله وإيران والعراق واليمن، لذلك تعمل «إسرائيل» مع الأميركيين على إلغاء القضية الفلسطينية نهائياً مع التركيز على تشكيل المحور الأميركي الخليجي الإسرائيلي.

هذا ما يجعل من الانخراط السياسي لفلسطيني

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ي الـ 1948 في «إسرائيل» عملاً مغامراتياً غير محسوب بدقة. وكان الابتعاد عنه أفضل، لكنه لا يرتقي الى مرتبة العمالة او الخيانة، بقدر ما يعكس احباطاً من السياسات الخليجية والمصرية والأردنية المتحالفة مع «إسرائيل».

بأي حال، فإن الامل معقود على تشكل انتفاضات فلسطينية في الضفة والداخل الاسرائيلي الى جانب الصمود البطولي لفترة، وبذلك يتأكد الجميع ان فلسطين لا تقتصر على غزة والضفة، بل تشمل كامل فلسطين المحتلة من البحر الى النهر، على الشاكلة التي كانت عليها في الزمن القديم لبلاد الشام العصيّة على كل الغزاة والمستعمرين، وما عليكم إلا السؤال عن الفرنجة الذين احتلوا المنطقة مئتي عام وولوا مدبرين بالقوة والعزيمة.

The Only Jewish Ghetto in the Middle East

 

Separation Wall by Enzo Apicella RIP (A to Zion-the Definitive Israeli Lexicon)

Separation Wall by Enzo Apicella RIP (A to Zion-the Definitive Israeli Lexicon)

by Gilad Atzmon

The results from Tuesday’s Israeli elections have confirmed what many of us have known for a long while.  The Jewish state is an ultra nationalist right wing swamp. Israel is more hawkish than more hawkish than ever. There is not a single Jewish Israeli Left wing party. The Democratic Party is led and mentored by a war criminal. What is left of Israel’s Labour Party has very little to do with peace, harmony and reconciliation. In fact, that Party is also led by a person wanted for war crimes.

 As things now stand, although Bibi’s right/religious block has shrunk, Israel is more right wing than ever.  The longest serving Israeli PM cannot form his natural right/religious coalition. Most Israeli commentators agree that the only way out of the current political stalemate is with a wide ultranationalist government led by Likud, Blue and White and others.  Such a coalition will be brokered in the coming days by the rabid nationalist zealot Avigdor Lieberman who has skillfully made himself into Israel’s king maker.

 While Netanyahu has proven to be pretty cautious  in his deployment of Israel’s vast military forces,  we have good reason to believe that a coalition led by Blue and White and its IDF generals, Lieberman and Netanyahu, may be less adept at such maneuvers. The components of Israel’s next government are destined to compete among themselves for the ‘Mr. Security’ title. They will be determined to reinstate the long faded Israeli ‘power of deterrence,’ and presumably, they will push for questionable measures that will likely pull the region into carnage.

 This was written on the wall some time ago. Israel, that was born to emancipate the Jews from diaspora conditions, to replace the Jewish ghetto and to eradicate the ghetto mentality, didn’t just fail in its mission: it has matured into the epitome of a ghetto. It has surrounded itself with humongous ghetto walls. It hates its neighbours and not surprisingly, it is not loved in return.

The Jewish ghetto on the Palestinian seashore resembles, on many levels, its East-European ancestor. Israel’s Jews are united by their hostile feelings towards their neighbours although they are in sharp disagreement amongst themselves about pretty much everything else. Once again, the old Yiddish joke comes to mind:

“How many synagogues do you need in a village with just one Jew?   Two, one to go to and one to boycott.”

Jews are defined not only by what they are or what they believe themselves to be, but also by what they hate or claim to oppose.

Israel is not troubled by its failure to fulfill the early Zionist promise to ‘civilize’ the Jews by means of a ‘homecoming,’ to become “people like all other people.” For more than three decades Israel has defined itself as the Jewish State. Israel is not a state of its citizens. Israel is the state of the Jews, both Israelis and Diaspora.  Israel is a state that enforces racial laws and has institutionaized discrimination against the people of the land, the Palestinians.

Unlike Israeli Jews who are divided in their politics, the Palestinians are more united than ever and not just in Gaza.  Once again, the Arab Joint List is the 3rd biggest party in the Knesset. If Likud and Blue and White manage to form a national unity government, the Arab party will be leading the opposition in the Knesset. The Arab party not only united the Palestinians in Israel, it is also the only Left party in the Israeli parliament. It has been said that the Party expanded electorally on Tuesday because those very few Israeli Jews who adhere to Left universal values gave their votes to the Arab party. It is more than symbolic that the only humane and universal political force in the Israeli ghetto is a Palestinian party.

My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal and security services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me and others.

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Israeli Apartheid Made Official: Annexation is the New Reality in Palestine

Annexing Palestinian land has officially moved from the right-wing fringe of Israeli politics to a centrist talking point and campaign promise.

September 17th, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is moving quickly to alter the political reality in Palestine, and facing little or no resistance.

On September 10, Netanyahu declared his intentions to annex swathes of Palestinian land adjacent to the Jordan River, an area that covers 2,400 square kilometers, or nearly a third of the Occupied West Bank. That region, which extends from Bisan in the north to Jericho in the south, is considered to be Palestine’s food basket, as it accounts for an estimated 60 percent of vegetables that are produced in the West Bank.

A Palestinian shepherd herds his flock near the Israeli settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley, April 2, 2017. Oded Balilty | AP

While Israel has already colonized nearly 88 percent of the entire Palestinian Ghoor (or Jordan Valley), dividing it between illegal agricultural settlements and military zones, it was always assumed that the militarily occupied region will be included within the border of a future Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s announcement has been linked to Israel’s general elections of September 17. The Israeli leader is desperate, as he is facing “unprecedented alliances” that are all closing in to unseat him from his political throne. But this cannot be all. Not even power-hungry Netanyahu would alter the political and territorial landscape of Israel and Palestine indefinitely in exchange for a few votes.

Indeed, talks of annexation have been afoot for years and have long preceded the September elections or the previous ones in April.

A sense of euphoria has been felt among Israel’s rightwing officials since the advent of Donald Trump to the White House. The excitement was not directly linked to Trump but to his Middle East team, like-minded pro-Israel US officials whose support for Israel is predicated on more than personal interests, but religious and ideological beliefs as well.

White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, selected his team very carefully: Jason Greenblatt as special envoy for Middle East peace, David Friedman as United States Ambassador to Israel, and layers of other second-tier officials whose mission was never aimed at resolving conflict or brokering peace, but supervising a process in which Israel finalizes its colonization of Palestine unhindered.

Kushner’s master stroke is epitomized in the way he presented his objectives as part of a political process, later named “Deal of the Century”.

In all fairness, Kushner’s team hardly labored, or even pretended to be, peacemakers, especially as they oversaw the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and of the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territories. Indeed, none of these officials tried to hide their true motives. Just examine statements made by the just-resigned Greenblatt where he refused to name illegal Jewish settlements as such, but as “neighborhoods and cities”; and Friedman’s outright support for the annexation of parts of the Occupied West Bank, and much more.

The US political discourse seemed in complete alignment with that of Israel’s right-wing parties. When right-wing extremist politicians, the likes of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, began floating the idea of annexing most or all of the Occupied West Bank, they no longer sounded like marginal and opportunistic voices vying for attention. They were at the center of Israeli politics, knowing full well that Washington no longer had a problem with Israel’s unilateral action.

It could be argued, then, that Netanyahu was merely catching up, as the center of gravity within his right-wing coalition was slipping away to younger, more daring politicians. In fact, Israel, as a whole, was changing. With the Labor Party becoming almost entirely irrelevant, the Center’s political ideology moved further to the right, simply because supporting an independent Palestinian state in Israel has become a form of political suicide.

Therefore, Netanyahu’s call for the annexation of Palestinian land east of the Jordan River must not be understood in isolation and only within the limited context of the Israeli elections. Israel is now set to annex large parts of the West Bank that it deems strategic. This is most likely to include all illegal settlement blocks and the Jordan Valley as well.

Israel Palestine Jordan Valley

An activist is surrounded by Israeli soldiers during a protest against Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley, Nov. 17, 2016. Majdi Mohammed | AP

In fact, Netanyahu said on September 11 that he was ready to annex the Jordan Valley region even before the election date, but was blocked by the Attorney General’s office. Netanyahu would not have taken such a decision if it represented a political risk or if it faced pushback from Washington. It is, then, sadly, a matter of time.

Suspiciously absent in all of this are the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Arab League, the European Union and, of course, the United Nations and its many outlets and courts. Aside from a few shy statements – like that of the spokesperson of the UN, Stéphane Dujarric, decrying that “unilateral actions are not helpful in the peace process” – Israeli leaders are facing little or no hindrance whatsoever as they finalize their complete colonization of all Palestinian land.

Unable to stage any kind of meaningful resistance against Israel, the Palestinian leadership is so pathetically insisting on utilizing old terminologies. The official Palestinian response to Netanyahu’s annexation pledge, as communicated by Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, came only to underscore the PA’s political bankruptcy.

“Netanyahu is the chief destroyer of the peace process,” Shtayyeh said, warning that annexing parts of the West Bank would have negative consequences.

For his part, the PA leader Mahmoud Abbas resorted, once more, to empty threats. Abbas said in a statement, “All agreements and their resulting obligations would end if the Israeli side annexes the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea, and any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.”

Neither Abbas nor Shtayyeh seem troubled by the fact that a “peace process” does not exist, and that Israel has already violated all agreements.

While the PA is desperately hanging on to any reason to justify its continued existence, Netanyahu, with the full support of Washington, is moving forward in annexing the West Bank, thus making apartheid an official and undisputed reality.

The Palestinian leadership must understand that the nature of the conflict is now changing. Conventional methods and empty statements will not slow down the Israeli push for annexation nor Tel Aviv’s determination to expand its apartheid to all of Palestine. If Palestinians continue to ignore this reality altogether, Israel will continue to single-handedly shape the destiny of Palestine and its people.

Feature photo | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sept. 10, 2019 where he vowed to begin annexing West Bank settlements if he wins national elections. Oded Balilty | AP. Editing by MintPress News

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of The Palestine Chronicle. His last book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’, and his forthcoming book is ‘These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons’. Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a non-resident research fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Zaim University in Istanbul. Visit: www.ramzybaroud.net.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

Jews vs. Israelis

 

Israel vs Jews.jpg

by Gilad Atzmon

 Now would be the correct time for Ali Abunimah, JVP,  & CO to form an orderly queue to issue their deep and sincere apology to me. Since the early 2000s my detractors within the so called Jewish ‘Left’ together with  their sometime stooges, have been harassing me, my publishers and my readers for pointing out that Zionism is an obsolete concept with little meaning for Israel, Israelis  and their politics let alone the conflict that has been destroying the Eastern Mediterranean region

Image result for Abunimah and Jilad

In my 2011 book The Wandering Who, I argue that “Since Israel defines itself openly as the ‘Jewish State’, we should ask what the notions of ’Judaism’, ‘Jewishness’, ‘Jewish culture’ and ‘Jewish ideology’ stand for.” Just before the publication of the book I was urged by both JVP’s leader and Ali Abunimah to drop the J-Word and focus solely on Zionism. In Britain, a gang of so called ‘anti’ Zionist Jews relentlessly terrorised my publisher and promoters. Funny, most of these authoritarian tribals who worked 24/7 to silence me have been expelled from the British Labour Party for alleged anti-Semitism. Now, they promote the ideal of ‘freedom of speech.’

Image result for the wandering who

In ‘The Wandering Who’ and in the years preceding its publication, I realised that the Palestinian solidarity discourse has been suffocated with misleading and often duplicitous terminology that was set to divert  attention from the root cause of the conflict and that acted  to prevent intelligible discussion of  possible solutions.

Let’s face it. Israel doesn’t see  itself as the Zionist State: not one Israeli party integrated the word ‘Zionism’ into its name. To Israelis, Zionism is a dated and clichéd concept that describes the ideology that promised to erect a Jewish homeland in Palestine. For Israelis, Zionism fulfilled its purpose in 1948, it is now an archaic term. In ‘The Wandering Who’ I presented a so-far unrefuted argument that an understanding of ‘Jewishness’, a term familiar to every self-identified Jew, may provide answers to most questions related to Israel and its politics. It may also help us to grasp the fake dissent that has dominated the so- called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist campaign for the last two decades.

Though I was probably the first to write about the crucial shift in Israeli society in favour of Judeo-centrism, this shift is now mainstream news.  Haaretz’s lead writer, Anshel Pfeffer, just wrote a spectacular analysis of this transformation. Pfeffer’s view is that Israelis are going to the polls this Tuesday to decide whether they are “Jews” or “Israelis.” 

According to Pfeffer, in the mid 1990s it was Netanyahu’s American campaign guru, Arthur Finkelstein, who promoted  “a message that could reach secular and religious voters alike. In his polling, he had asked voters whether they considered themselves ‘more Jewish’ or ‘more Israeli.’ The results convinced him there was a much larger constituency of voters, not just religious ones, who emphasized their Jewish identity over their Israeli one.”

In light of Finkelstein’s observation, Likud focused its message on Jerusalem. Its campaign slogan was:  “Peres will divide Jerusalem.” In the final 48 hours before Election Day there was also “an unofficial slogan, emblazoned on millions of posters and bumper stickers distributed by Chabad Hasidim: “Netanyahu is good for the Jews.”

In a Haaretz interview after his narrow 1996 defeat, Peres lamented that “the Israelis lost the election.” When asked then who had won, he answered, “The Jews won.”

Pfeffer points out that Netanyahu learned from Finkelstein that the “Jew” is the primary unifier for Israelis. This certainly applies to religious Jews but also to those who regard themselves as secular. After all, Israel has really been the “Jewish State” for a while.

This is probably the right place to point out that Netanyahu’s move of locating Jewishness at the heart of Israel is a reversal of the original Zionist promise. While early Zionism was a desperate attempt to divorce the Jews from the ghetto and their tribal obsession and make them “people like all other people,” the present adherence to Jewishness and kinship induces  a return to Judeo-centric chauvinism. As odd as this may sound, Netanyahu’s transformation of Israel into a ‘Jewish realm’ makes him an ardent anti Zionist probably more anti Zionist than JVP, Mondoweiss and the BDS together.

Pfeffer points out that when Netanyahu returned to power in 2009 and  formed a right-wing/ religious coalition, was when “the Jews prevailed — and have done so ever since in four consecutive elections, including the last one in April 2019.”

To illustrate this Pfeffer cites the 2012 Israeli  High Court of Justice decision to deny a petition by writer Yoram Kaniuk and others to allow themselves to be registered solely as ‘Israelis’ as opposed to ‘Jews.’

Every so often we hear from one Torah rabbi or another that “Zionism is not Judaism.” Those who have reached this point surely grasp that ‘Zionism vs. Judaism’ is a fake dichotomy. It serves to confuse and to divert questioning minds from the path toward an understanding of the conflict: In Israel Zionism is an empty concept, politically, ideologically and spiritually. Israel defines itself as ‘The Jewish state’ and orthodox rabbis are at the centre of this transition in Israeli politics and life.

I guess that Abunimah and JVP were desperate to silence me at the time as they foolishly believed that shooting the messenger or alternatively burning books was the way forward for human rights activism. I stood firm. The observations I produced in ‘The Wandering Who’ were endorsed by the most profound thinkers associated with the conflict and the anti war movement. My observations are more relevant than ever and in Israel they have entered mainstream analysis. When it comes to Palestine solidarity we have managed to waste a good two decades of intellectual progress thanks to authoritarian lobbies operating in our midst. For truth and justice to prevail, we have to learn to speak the truth as we see it, and to accept JVP and Abumimah’s apologies when they are mature enough to come clean.

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