‘Watani’: A Kanafanian Song in the Time of National Crisis (VIDEO)

July 13, 2022

Late Palestinian intellectual Ghassan Kanafani. (Photo: via as-Safir)

By Haidar Eid

Bodies fall, but not the idea. (Ghassan Kanafani)

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of Ghassan Kanafani coincides with the passing of 15 years of the Fatah-Hamas rift, instigated by the Bush administration in 2007 and which has led to the formation of two local, opposing administrations by the two parties in the 1967 occupied territories.

The clashes between the two parties created a new reality on the ground, the brunt of which has been paid, mainly, by the 2.4 million residents of the besieged Gaza Strip, and has led to one of the worst national crises Palestinians have had since the emergence of the contemporary Palestinian revolution and the formation of the PLO.

What would Ghassan Kanafani have said?! This song is an attempt to address this question.

The song is written and performed by Haidar Eid.

Nai: Ismail Harazeen

Oud: Mohammed Oukasha

Graphic Design: Alaa Samir

Lyrics:

Oh, WATANY (MY HOMELAND)

Patience and steadfastness

And forgiveness for what we have done

WATANY!

You are the throbbing heart

You are the throbbing HEART

You are the soul

The soul

THE SOUL

And the soul is dear (to the heart)

And so TRANSCENDENTAL

Interim Israeli PM to use pre-Nakba villa as official residence

The villa was built by wealthy Palestinian businessman Hanna Salameh in the 1930s, who was forced to leave Palestine after Israel was created

July 11 2022

(Photo credit: Times of Israel)

ByNews Desk-

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh demanded this month that interim Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid hand over a villa built prior to the Palestinian catastrophe, or Nakba, of 1948.

Shtayyeh gave the order when it was revealed that the Israeli caretaker prime minister was planning on living there temporarily.

The Villa Salameh, as engraved on one of the walls, was built in the 1930s by Palestinian businessman Hanna Salameh.

Salameh was expelled from Palestine in 1948 upon the formation of the state of Israel, and lived in exile in Lebanon.

The luxurious home is located in the Talbieh neighborhood of West Jerusalem, which was built a century ago and was home to several residences built by wealthy Palestinian elites.

After the formation of Israel and the resulting Nakba, the dispossessed residents of the Talbieh neighborhood were forced out of Palestine by Israeli forces.

Two years later, the villa, along with many Palestinian homes in the area, was seized by Tel Aviv under the Absentee Property Law.

The Absentee Property Law was passed by the Israeli government in 1950, allowing it to seize the homes of Palestinians who were forced to both abandon their properties and leave their country.

Reportedly, Lapid has temporarily occupied the villa, as the official prime ministerial residence on Balfour Street in occupied West Jerusalem, which is near the villa, undergoes renovation.

On 4 July, during a meeting in Ramallah, Shtayyeh strongly condemned Israel’s continued violation of homes left behind by refugees, and called for the right of return for all Palestinians to their homeland under UN Resolution 194.

The takeover by the Israeli prime minister of a historic Palestinian home aligns with Tel Aviv’s official policy of seizing or destroying Palestinian homes, and forcibly evicting their residents.

In March this year, the Jerusalem Municipality declared its intention to annex 800 Palestinian homes in the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukaber, in order to raze them and build a commercial center as well as 500 settlement units for Jewish residents.

On 12 June, a report by Land Research Center of the Arab Studies revealed that Israeli forces demolished at least 1,032 Palestinian buildings and homes in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2021.

PALESTINIANS “ARE BOUND TO WIN”: WHY ISRAELIS ARE PROPHESYING THE END OF THEIR STATE

JUNE 16TH, 2022

RAMZY BAROUD

While it is true that Zionism is a modern political ideology that has exploited religion to achieve specific colonial objectives in Palestine, prophecies continue to be a critical component of Israel’s perception of itself, and of the state’s relationship to other groups, especially Christian messianic groups in the United States and worldwide.

The subject of religious prophecies and their centrality to Israel’s political thought was once more highlighted following remarks by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, in a recent interview with the Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Barak, perceived to be a ‘progressive’ politician, who was once the leader of Israel’s Labor Party, expressed fears that Israel will “disintegrate” before the 80th anniversary of its 1948 establishment.

“Throughout the Jewish history, the Jews did not rule for more than eighty years, except in the two kingdoms of David and the Hasmonean dynasty and, in both periods, their disintegration began in the eighth decade,” Barak said.

Based on pseudo-historical analysis, Barak’s prophecy seemed to conflate historical facts with typical messianic Israeli thinking, reminiscent of statements made by Israel’s former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2017.

Like Barak, Netanyahu’s comments were expressed in the form of fear over the future of Israel, and the looming ‘existential threat’, the cornerstone of Israeli hasbara throughout the years. At a Bible study session in his house in Jerusalem, Netanyahu had then warned that the Hasmonean kingdom – also known as the Maccabees – had merely survived for 80 years before it was conquered by the Romans in 63 B.C.E.

The “Hasmonean state lasted only 80 years, and we needed to exceed this,” Netanyahu was quoted by one of the attendees as saying, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported.

But, even according to Netanyahu’s purported determination to exceed that number, he had reportedly vowed to ensure Israel will surpass the Maccabees’ 80 years, and survive for 100 years. That is merely 20 years more.

The difference between Barak and Netanyahu’s statements is quite negligible: the former’s views are supposedly ‘historical’ and the latter’s are biblical. Worth noting, however, is that both leaders, though they subscribe to two different political schools, have converged on similar meeting points: Israel’s survival is at stake; the existential threat is real and the end of Israel is only a matter of time.

But the pessimism in Israel is hardly confined to political leaders, who are known to exaggerate and manipulate facts to instill fear and to rile up their political camps, especially Israel’s powerful messianic constituencies. Although this is true, predictions regarding Israel’s grim future are not confined to the country’s political elites.

In an interview with Haaretz in 2019, one of Israel’s most respected mainstream historians, Benny Morris, had much to say about the future of his country. Unlike Barak and Netanyahu, Morris was not sending warning signals but stating what, to him, seemed an unavoidable outcome of the country’s political and demographic evolution.

“I don’t see how we get out of it,” Morris said, adding: “Already, today there are more Arabs than Jews between the (Mediterranean) Sea and the Jordan (River). The whole territory is unavoidably becoming one state with an Arab majority. Israel still calls itself a Jewish state, but a situation in which we rule an occupied people that has no rights cannot persist in the 21st century.”

Morris’ predictions, while remaining committed to the racial fantasy of a Jewish majority, were far more articulate and also realistic if compared to those of Barak, Netanyahu and others. The man who once regretted that Israel’s founder, David Ben Gurion, did not expel all of Palestine’s native population in 1947-48, spoke with resignation that, in a matter of a generation, Israel will cease to exist in its current form.

Particularly notable about his comments is the accurate perception that “the Palestinians look at everything from a broad, long-term perspective,” and that the Palestinians will continue to “demand the return of the refugees.” But who were the “Palestinians” Morris was referring to? Certainly not the Palestinian Authority, whose leaders have already marginalized the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, and most certainly have no “broad, long-term perspective”. Morris’ ‘Palestinians’ are, of course, the Palestinian people themselves, generations of whom have served, and continue to serve, as the vanguards of Palestinian rights despite all of the setbacks, defeats and political ‘compromises’.

Actually, prophecies regarding Palestine and Israel are not a new phenomenon. Palestine was colonized by Zionists with the help of Britain, also based on biblical frames of reference. It was populated by Zionist settlers based on biblical references dedicated to the restoration of ancient kingdoms and the ‘return’ of ancient peoples to their supposedly rightful ‘promised land’. Though Israel took on many different meanings throughout the years – perceived to be a ‘socialist’ utopia at times, a liberal, democratic haven at others – it was always preoccupied with religious meanings, spiritual visions and inundated with prophecies. The most sinister expression of this truth is the fact that the current support of Israel by millions of Christian fundamentalists in the West is largely driven by messianic, end-of-the-world prophecies.

The latest predictions about Israel’s uncertain future are based on a different logic. Since Israel has always defined itself as a Jewish State, its future is mostly linked to its ability to maintain a Jewish majority in historic Palestine. By the admission of Morris and others, this pipedream is now crumbling as the ‘demographic war’ is clearly and quickly being lost.

Of course, co-existence in a single democratic state will always be a possibility. Alas, for Israel’s Zionist ideologues, such a state will hardly meet the minimum expectations of the country’s founders, since it would no longer exist in the form of a Jewish, Zionist state. For co-existence to take place, the Zionist ideology would have to be scrapped altogether.

Barak, Netanyahu and Morris are all right: Israel will not exist as a ‘Jewish state’ for much longer. Speaking strictly in terms of demographics, Israel is no longer a Jewish-majority state. History has taught us that Muslims, Christians and Jews can peacefully coexist and collectively thrive, as they have done throughout the Middle East and the Iberian Peninsula for millennia. Indeed, this is a prediction, even a prophecy, that is worth striving for.

Feature photo | A Palestinian boy faces an Israeli tank on the outskirts of Gaza City, Oct. 29, 2000. Laurent Rebours | AP

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

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

74 Years of Historical Injustice: The Creation of “Israel”

18 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Hussam AbdelKareem 

The British colonialists viewed the Zionist movement as a tool for their imperial designs and hence the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917.

74 Years of Historical Injustice: The Creation of “Israel”

“Al-Nakba” is the Arabic term used to commemorate the creation of the “State of Israel” on May 15, 1948. “Al Nakba” literally means “catastrophe”, which best describes how Arab peoples feel about the creation of the Hebrew “state” in Palestine at the expense of its legitimate owners; the Palestinian Arabs.

In 1948, the principles of right and justice were, literally, butchered at the hands of the Zionist gangs and militias known as Haganah, which later turned into the “Israeli Army”. The Jewish Zionists in Palestine, who emigrated mainly from Eastern Europe, were preparing for this day for decades. The Zionists knew very well that they were not welcomed in Palestine and will never be accepted by Arab nations, so conquering the land by force was their sole path to achieving their goals in Palestine. War with the Arabs, in the Zionists’ eyes, was inevitable. Extensive military planning and preparations were undertaken by the Zionists in Palestine since their early arrivals at the beginning of the 20th century and particularly after Great Britain took over Palestine at the end of World War I.

The British colonialists viewed the Zionist movement as a tool for their imperial designs and hence the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917, confirming Great Britain’s commitment to establishing a “Jewish homeland” in Palestine. The Zionists were receiving full support from the colonial power, which was true to its pledge. Waves of Jewish immigrants arrived from Europe to strengthen the Zionist project in Palestine, and by 1947, when the Palestine partition plan was passed at the UN, the Zionists had a 75,000 semi-army force, which was further aided by another 20,000 Jewish militants in the following year when they waged their war on the Arabs in Palestine in 1948. When the British withdrew their forces from Palestine in 1948, they handed their military installations, camps, and equipment to the Haganah, thus leaving behind them a fully armed and well-trained Jewish army ready to fight the Arabs in Palestine who were practically deprived of weapons and even the slightest means of defense.

The Zionists, who were owning a mere 6% of the land in Palestine in 1948, launched their “war of independence” against the Arabs, which ended in declaring their Jewish “state of Israel” after conquering about 80% of historical Palestine by force and bloodshed. The war was brutal, and the Zionists exhibited utmost forms of savagery and cruelty. Many massacres against civilian Arabs were committed in several cities and villages in Palestine. In one of the most horrible massacres, 254 civilian villagers, including women and children, were killed in cold blood at the hands of Zionist terrorists in the town of Der Yassin, near Jerusalem. Other brutal crimes were also committed in Haifa, Tantura, and Lydd, and the Zionist terror campaign resulted in about 800,000 Palestinian Arabs fleeing their homes and lands and becoming refugees in neighboring Arab countries, namely Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Total destruction was inflicted by the Haganah on 531 Arab villages all over Palestine. About 85% of the Arabs who lived within the borders of the to-be “State of Israel” were forcefully expelled. It was ethnic cleansing in its ugliest forms.  

The world was watching while these Zionist crimes were happening in Palestine and did practically nothing except some relief efforts and humanitarian aid. Even when “Israel” officially decided to confiscate the Palestinian refugees’ homes, lands, and properties in 1949, the UN did not bother to intervene. Actually, it was no surprise, as the UN was under the domination of the Great Powers of the post-World War II era, particularly the UK and USA, both supporting the new Jewish “state” which was planted in the heart of the Arab world.

After the 1948 war ended, “Israel’ firmly refused to allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their country and demanded they be settled permanently in the other Arab countries. Furthermore, “Israel” refused to admit to the crimes committed by its troops and even declined to acknowledge its responsibility for uprooting the Palestinian Arabs and turning most of them into stateless refugees in miserable camps. The Israeli narrative about the Palestinian refugee problem is that they “voluntarily” left their homes and lands! And “Israel” refused to pay any financial compensation to the refugees whose properties were illegally confiscated and taken over by Jewish settlers. In 1967, another wave of displaced Palestinian refugees was added to the 1948 one to make the problem even worse. Again, the world did nothing apart from some expressions of sorrow for the humanitarian suffering of the refugees. With the help of its patron, the US, “Israel” escaped any accountability for its crimes and actions.

Seven decades have passed, with successive generations, and the status of the Palestinian refugees is still the same; not allowed to return to their historical homeland, not compensated, and not recognized as victims of historical injustice!

“Al-Nakba” will remain the term to be used to describe what happened on May 15, 1948, as long as the Palestinian suffering at the hands of the Israeli occupation continues. It’s a shame that the world allows such a tragedy to go on this long. It’s a shame that “Israel” is left without accountability.

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

Will Shireen Abu Akleh’s Murder Mark a Turning Point in the Liberation of Palestine?

May 14th, 2022

Feature photo | Protesters hold candles and a photo of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Haifa, Israel, May 11, 2022. Ariel Schalit | AP

This particular targeted killing of a journalist – not the first and sadly, probably not the last – touched us all. And the response of the Zionist establishment in occupied Jerusalem, as well as in Washington, is cold and full of excuses.

By Miko Peled

JERUSALEM – As I write these words, the world is trying to make sense of the brutal assassination of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was targeted by Israeli forces while covering yet another Israeli assault on Jenin. Furthermore, Israeli forces have now attacked the funeral procession leading Shireen to her final resting place. One wonders why is anyone surprised.

How often have we seen innocent lives taken? How often have we seen the Israeli military attack funeral processions? And yet, for reasons that perhaps cannot be explained, awe, sadness, and despair have descended upon the world with this particular killing. This particular targeted killing of a journalist – not the first and sadly, probably not the last – touched us all. And the response of the Zionist establishment in occupied Jerusalem, as well as in Washington, is cold and full of excuses.

Israeli police attacks mourners carrying the casket of Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral, May 13, 2022. Maya Levin | AP

On the same day the funeral procession of Shireen was taking place in Jerusalem, a memorial procession was taking place in the ancient city of Lyd. This procession was to commemorate the murder of Musa Hassuna.  It was a year ago in Lyd, as settler gangs were assaulting Palestinians in Lyd, that Musa Hassuna was murdered. This procession, besides being a memorial to the killing, was also a reminder that the Israeli authorities decided to close the case against the only suspects who were on the scene and who fired their weapons at the same place and the same time as Musa was killed. Sources in Lyd say that the Israeli minister of interior called the local DA to demand that they close the case on grounds of self-defense.

Of course, we are all well aware that Musa and Shireen, who were murdered one year apart, were not the only victims of Zionist violence. They are joined by countless others who, without cause or trial, were taken from their loved ones, from their people, and turned into martyrs for the cause. Sure enough, once again we are forced to look at reality in the face and accept that no one will save Palestine but us. No one else can free Palestine, no one can save Palestinians from the long, violent, heartless arm of the Zionist apartheid regime. Only a unity of purpose and an uncompromising pro-Palestinian, pro-justice, pro-liberation agenda can save Palestine and its people from bloodshed and destruction.

As it happens, I had just witnessed precisely such unity, albeit on a small scale. Anyone looking for an agenda on Palestine that is both progressive and unifying should have been in New York City in early May of 2022. Al-Awda New York held its “Rising to Return” conference at the People’s Forum in New York City on Mother’s Day weekend this year. The energy, the speakers, the volunteers, and even the vendors all provided an atmosphere of unity of purpose and unity of cause – the cause being the liberation of Palestine as well as the total rejection of Zionism and the Zionist apartheid state.

Signs of unity

Sitting side by side under posters displaying Che Guevara and T-shirts displaying the image of Thomas Sankara, as well as other fighters for justice, were Palestinians, American Jews, communists, secular and religious people, women wearing hijab, and ultra-orthodox rabbis. All were there to speak and listen but mostly to demonstrate support for the liberation of Palestine and the end to the apartheid regime in Palestine.

Shireen Abu Akleh

Mourners gather at the hospital where the body Shireen Abu Akleh was taken to her final resting place, May 13, 2022. Mahmoud Illean | AP

Contrary to the common misconception regarding the pro-Palestinian camp, a clear and uncompromising message regarding Palestine does have the capacity to unite people of different backgrounds, faiths, and even political affiliations. One is hard-pressed to think of any other issue on which all of these groups could find common ground. Yet Al-Awda New York – with its message of a free, decolonized Palestine – managed to do just that.

The misconception is that in order to present the Palestinian case, in order to achieve the goals of those of seek to free Palestine, we must go slow. “We must first crawl before we walk and run,” we are told. In other words, in order to achieve the liberation of Palestine, we must tread lightly so as not to upset anyone. This was never true and it is not true today.

Who is a Jew?

Too many people think that Jewish people who are orthodox and dress as ultra-orthodox are associated with settlers and right-wing Israeli politics. However, at the Al-Awda conference and in many, many other pro-Palestinian spaces we see ultra-orthodox Jewish people carrying Palestinian flags and calling for the “peaceful dismantlement of the Zionist state.” So the question that needs to be asked is which one of these groups – the racist, violent Settlers or the peace- and tolerance-promoting Jews – represents Judaism?

Revered rabbis from Jerusalem, London and New York have for decades demanded an end to the Zionist state and the liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian people. Young Yeshiva students in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Me’a Sha’arim, as well as in cities around the world, proudly carry the Palestinian flag as they march side by side with Palestinians.

So, clearly, the Zionist Jewish settlers may dress as orthodox Jews but in fact, they are violating the most sacred tenets of the Jewish faith.

Opposition

The opposition to the cause of justice has always been fierce and, in the case of Palestine, the Zionists have learned from other oppressors and refined their methods. This means that the struggle for justice and liberation in Palestine is challenging and demanding, and we who stand on the side of justice and liberation have to work harder and smarter than those who had to fight in other arenas.

We need to reclaim Palestine by teaching the world that what they wrongly refer to as Israel is Occupied Palestine. And that a glorious history was cut out from the curriculum and therefore they don’t know about the long impressive history of this land, which sits at a crucial crossroads uniting Asia, Africa, and Europe.

 Shireen Abu Akleh

Palestinians carry pictures of Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 11, 2022. Nasser Nasser | AP

We need to teach the world that whatever the Zionists had told them was a lie, and then we must be there and in no uncertain terms provide the truth. I was asked once in an interview what I miss about Israel. “This is not Israel,” I replied, “It is Palestine.” The interviewer was astonished: “How can you say that?” he asked me. “It was Palestine, it is Palestine and it will always be Palestine,” I responded. If we act without compromise it will be liberated.

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

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

Zionism in Ukraine Allied with Nazism

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°

In this deep dive with historian and author Matt Ehret we examine the history of Zionism in Ukraine and the origin of many of the Zionist ultra nationalist groups now occupying Palestinian territory since the Nakba (ethnic cleansing of Palestine) in 1948.

We look at the emergence of the Chabad Lubavitch sect that was established before Zionism came into existence and has its origins in Ukraine – now with 10,000 emissaries in 100 countries at the cutting edge of Zionist expansionism. This group is believed to be responsible for the majority of the price tag attacks in occupied Palestine, denies the right to return for all Palestinians and leads the ideological war against non adherents of Judaism.

We make the link between this secular ultra nationalist ideology and consider how it is mutually inclusive of the Ukrainian far right and Nazi elements that now dominate Ukrainian politics, military and police. Matt analyses the Oligarchical power base behind these cults and how it ties into the Great Reset/WEF agenda that is threatening Humanity.

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

March 30 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Robert Inlakesh 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Israel” or the wolf disguised as a sheep

29 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Mikhael Marzuqa 

“Israel” tried to disguise itself as an honest mediator between Russia and Ukraine, but honesty is a trait that is hard to come by once the occupation’s history is full of atrocities and war crimes.

Chile and other Latin-American countries that subscribe to the UN Charter and its resolutions, as well as international law organizations, including the ICJ, must commit themselves to their own actions

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict comes to revalue the need for the rule of International Law and a renewal of the commitment of the entire international community to subscribe to it.

The defense of the sovereignty of Ukraine revives the neglected relevance of promoting the sovereignty of Palestine based mainly on:

– The withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Palestinian territories declared in resolution 181 of the UN General Assembly of November 29, 1947, that “recommended” the partition of Palestine into two States, but without “Israel” allowing the consolidation of the Palestinian State.

– Allow the return of Palestinian refugees expelled from their homes by “Israel”, according to resolutions 194 of December 11, 1948, and 3236 of November 22, 1974, recognizing the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people.

– Israeli withdrawal from Occupied Palestine, including the Eastern part of occupied al-Quds, is based on Resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016, of the UN Security Council, which emanates from this body and is binding.

– End of colonialism and Israeli apartheid considered a form of racial discrimination according to Resolution 3379 of the UN General Assembly in 1975.

– End of the colonial expansion based on settlements of settlers brought from other nations to Palestine, based on Resolutions 446 of March 22, 1979 and 2334 of December 23, 2016 of the UN Security Council (both binding resolutions).

– Demolition of the Separation Wall or “Shame” that penetrates into Palestinian territory expropriating more territories, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice on July 9, 2004

Since 1948, and even before, with the action of the Zionist terrorist organizations, which later became the Israeli army, “Israel” has systematically invaded Palestine, expelling its original population, periodically bombing and committing crimes against the civilian population, selectively assassinating the political leaders of the Palestinian people including their former president Yasser Arafat, demolished their homes and farm fields, seized water sources, turned the West Bank into a huge concentration camp, violently expelled the residents of al-Quds and other Palestinian cities, changed the names and in general the legal status of the territory, prohibited free expression and the operation of NGOs for the defense of Human Rights, converted Gaza into the largest extermination camp and, ultimately, undermined the possibilities of installing a Free and democratic Palestinian state as declared by the national charter of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine.

It is ironic to see how “Israel” first offered itself as the venue for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine and currently offers itself as a mediator since it is the state most condemned by the UN and international human rights organizations and one of the key suppliers of weapons to Ukraine. Therefore, ending this international hypocrisy is imperative today, since we run the risk of widening the lock gates of more flagrant inconsistencies and violations of the norms that regulate coexistence among peoples.

Chile and other Latin-American countries that subscribe to the UN Charter and its resolutions, as well as international law organizations, including the ICJ, must commit themselves to their own actions, as well as promote in the regional economic and political organizations of Latin America and The Caribbean, initiatives that lead to oblige “Israel” to cease its violations, respect international laws and adopt UN resolutions without conditions.

It is appropriate that those who have an international tradition to respect and promote international human rights. Along these lines, they are compelled to adhere to the reports of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and promote the existence of all the facilities for the investigation of the International Criminal Court on war crimes committed by “Israel”.
 
It is important that the Latin American countries deploy a diplomatic crusade at the international level so that the United States, Great Britain and the European Union, mainly, are consistent between their speech and their international action so that, just as they have deployed innumerable and forceful sanctions against Russia, similarly condemn and promote condemnation and similar sanctions against the Israeli regime so that it respects international law. It is pertinent that governments that set themselves up as defenders of democracy, do not jeopardize their declared values ​​of respect for peace, justice, sovereignty, and self-determination, that they assume the moral obligation of consequence between their words and actions and honor the reputation of the states those they represent so as not to be condemned by history as only defenders of interests of power and hegemony.

Promoting the peaceful and respectful coexistence of the legality that the international community has imposed on itself is today transcendent for the world that we are bequeathing to future generations.

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

To Maintain Jewish Demographic Control, Israel Cloaks Family Unification Law in Security Concerns

February 25th, 2022

Amnesty International described “discriminatory laws and policies that disrupt family life” as “primarily guided by demographic – rather than security – considerations and aim[ing] to minimize Palestinian presence inside the Green Line to maintain a Jewish majority.”

By Jessica Buxbaum

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OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM — A controversial law banning family unification between Israelis and Palestinians in the occupied territories expired last summer, but right-wing politicians are seeking to resurrect it with a vengeance. This month, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) approved, in the first of three votes, the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, preventing Palestinians married to Israeli citizens from receiving permits to enter into 1948-occupied Palestine (or modern-day Israel).

“It’s one of the most racist, apartheid laws that was ever passed in the world,” Adi Mansour, attorney with Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, told MintPress News. “There is no other law that’s even remotely close to this law in the effects … that it has on family lives.”

Known as the family unification ban, the bill passed in 2003 and has been renewed annually since its inception — until last year. In July, the law was defeated after former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party voted against it to disrupt the new coalition government.

Now, right-wing Knesset members are hoping to breathe new life into the legislation by adding more restrictive amendments to a law human rights organizations already deem deeply discriminatory.

Making a harsh law even harsher

Knesset member Simcha Rothman of the far-right Religious Zionism Party negotiated with Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked to add tougher amendments to the law and get it back on the agenda.

Rothman’s applied amendments include setting a maximum yearly quota for those eligible to receive Israeli citizenship from the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Iran, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, and requiring the Interior Ministry submit a monthly report on the number of permits granted. While this law is classified as a temporary order, the newest version also allows the government to extend its enforcement for longer than one year at a time, meaning it won’t need to be renewed annually.

“The amendment that was filed by the opposition brings to the surface the real intention of the law —  to prevent a supposed attack on the Jewish majority of the state,” Mansour said.  Rothman and the spokesperson for the Knesset did not respond to requests for comment.

Despite the law’s expiration, Shaked ordered the Population and Immigration Authority to apply the law to family unification requests. Israeli non-profit organizations HaMoked, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, filed a joint petition to the Israeli Court of Administrative Affairs. The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which prompted the Interior Ministry to establish two temporary procedures. One of the procedures — HaMoked argues — simply “perpetuates the relevant provisions of the expired law, under a different name.”

More than just preventing the Palestinian right of return

HaMoked opposes the law, but Dani Shenhar, who heads HaMoked’s legal department, said that if it does pass, there are several amendments they are advocating to have attached to the bill in order to make it constitutional. These include: not applying the law to women over the age of 50, men over the age of 55, and minors; providing full government benefits to those given an entry permit; and giving permanent residency or citizenship to those applying on humanitarian grounds.

“When the law didn’t pass in July, many politicians said that it’s very important for keeping the demographics of Israel under control — not having Palestinians receive Israeli IDs,” Shenhar told MintPress. “This is the real concern of the state.”

Proponents of the law argue it’s necessary for security purposes, specifically claiming unified families are more likely to commit acts of terrorism. Shenhar explained, however, that Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, said that from 2001 to 2016 only 104 individuals from families who obtained residency or citizenship through family reunification were involved in terrorist activity. From his perspective, these low numbers suggest there isn’t a security concern. “Security is an explanation used by the state because it’s easier for the court to give its green light to this law when there’s a security basis for it,” Shenhar said. “It’s more difficult to justify this kind of law on the basis of demographics or racial profiling.”

Even Minister of Interior Shaked suggested this law isn’t just for security purposes. In an interview with Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Shaked admitted the law is meant to prevent the “creeping [Palestinian] right of return.” “The law wants to reduce the motivation for immigration to Israel. Primarily for security reasons, and then also for demographic reasons,” Shaked said.

Adalah’s Mansour argued that family reunification isn’t about the right of return. “We want the right of return, but still when we fall in love with a person, we do not think, ‘Let’s implement the right of return.’ This is not part of the rationality of love and relationships,” he said.

Instead, Mansour argues that the narrative that the law is about the right of return is merely strategic — to better persuade the Israeli media and public of the need for such a law. “The motive to prevent the right of return is not real,” he said, emphasizing the law’s agenda is Zionist and racist. “The real motive is preventing any demographic changes and preventing Palestinians from implementing their right to family life.”

“To basically build and sustain an apartheid regime,” Mansour added.

Denying the right to family life

Earlier this month Amensty International released a comprehensive report declaring Israel an apartheid state. The organization’s analysis highlighted the family reunification ban, calling it a “clear example of how Israel fragments and segregates Palestinians through a single system.”

Amnesty International described “discriminatory laws and policies that disrupt family life” as “primarily guided by demographic – rather than security – considerations and aim[ing] to minimize Palestinian presence inside the Green Line to maintain a Jewish majority.”

“By contrast, the 2003 law explicitly did not apply to residents of Jewish settlements in the West Bank wanting to marry and live with their spouse inside Israel, making it, and the ongoing policy underpinning it, blatantly discriminatory,” Amnesty wrote. The organization also noted that information from the Ministry of Interior indicated the rejection of about 43% of family unification applications from 2000-2013.

Families affected by the legislation were unable to speak on the record to MintPress, given that the bill is still being debated and voted on. However, Amnesty collected anonymous testimonies on how this law has disrupted families’ lives.

One spouse, who moved from the West Bank to 1948-occupied Palestine, applied for family reunification but while awaiting approval and without proper documentation, she lived in a perpetual state of anxiety. “There was a constant fear in my life. I was terrified of getting sick for example, because of this fear of having to go to the hospital without the necessary documents, getting caught [by Israeli authorities], and paying lots of money to cover for any kind of procedure or treatment,” she told Amnesty. She had married in 2003 when she was 18 but, according to the Citizenship Law, couldn’t apply for family reunification until she turned 25.

Another woman was rejected when trying to renew her permanent residency. She is now confined to Jerusalem in fear of arrest if she crosses Israeli checkpoints. She told Amnesty International how the law has impacted her life:

Since 2008, I have not been able to see my children as I please, because I cannot cross Israeli military checkpoints. I can only see my children and grandchildren through video calls. I have spent 12 years of my life trying to solve this, but the [Israeli] authorities keep stalling. I have spent half of my life either at the Ministry of Interior offices or gathering papers for them. This is exhausting.”

Adalah’s Mansour detailed the various cases he’s worked on regarding family reunification and called their experiences “devastating.” One example he offered:

During corona, a woman who was from Ramallah couldn’t leave Ramallah through the checkpoint because there was a lockdown. So she had to live for at least a month away from her kids and her family because they had citizenship and could go back to where her family lived, but she had to stay in Ramallah with her parents.”

In some situations, individuals could only get a driver’s license after 10 years. In other cases, individuals couldn’t find work in 1948-occupied Palestine because they didn’t have citizenship.

Often employers are unwilling to hire individuals with the family unification permit because, since it only lasts a year, their residency status is seen as unstable. Mansour summed it up:

People fall in love and they live together and they get married and they don’t think of the consequences. But eventually what happens is either you leave the country and live abroad, which is a decision that a lot of people don’t want to take because this is their homeland. On the other side, you have people who suffer every day from the consequences of not being able to unify their family.”

Adalah has been working with families on a potential upcoming petition against the legislation. In characterizing the bill, Mansour equated it to doctrines used by the German Nazi and Italian fascist regimes during World War II, in which governments would discriminate against people because of their nationalities. “It’s a law that attacks the very existence of Palestinians for being Palestinians,” he said.

لبنان والقرارات الأمميّة والورقة الخليجيّة

 ناصر قنديل

اختارت دول الخليج في الورقة التي قدمتها للحكومة اللبنانية ثلاثة قرارات أمميّة طالبت الدولة اللبنانية بتنفيذها وهي القرارات 1559 و1701 و1680، وهي تتناول شؤون لبنان في الصراع مع “إسرائيل”، أو تنظيم علاقة لبنان وسورية والعلاقة اللبنانية الفلسطينية، ففيها المطالبة بالانسحاب السوري وحل الميليشيات المسلحة، كما يقول القرار 1559، ودعم ترسيم الحدود اللبنانية السورية وتأكيد دعم سحب السلاح الفلسطيني خارج المخيمات كما يقول القرار 1680، الذي نبش عليه الوزراء العرب في الأرشيف الأمميّ، لأن قلة قد سمعوا بهذا القرار، وتنظيم الوضع في جنوب لبنان بعد الحرب الإسرائيلية في تموز 2006، وما يفهم منه من تقييد لسلاح المقاومة عادة.

الشؤون التي تناولتها القرارات تتضمن بنوداً متداخلة رغم أن نسبة السوء في هذه القرارات ليست واحدة، رغم أن أسوأها وهو القرار 1559 ليس كله سيئاً، ولكن يبدو أن الجانب الخليجي لم ينتبه لدعوتها جميعاً للانطلاق من قرار نسيه وزراء الخارجية الخليجيون هو القرار 425، الذي لم تطوَ ورقته بعد في الأمم المتحدة بعدما فشلت الضغوط الأميركية عام 2000 في انتزاع الموافقة اللبنانية على اعتباره منفذاً، مع بقاء مزارع شبعا وتلال كفرشوبا محتلة. وهذا من باب إنعاش الذاكرة، يوم وقف رئيس الجمهورية العماد اميل لحود بوجه وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية مادلين أولبرايت، رافضا تحذيراتها وإملاءاتها لاعتبار الانسحاب الإسرائيلي تاماً والقرار 425 منفذاً، وتم ابتكار الخط الأزرق القائم حتى الآن، لأن القرار 425 لم يُعتبر منفذاً بنصه على الانسحاب الإسرائيلي حتى الحدود الدولية، ولذلك جاء نص القرار 1559 بالدعوة لانسحاب جميع القوات الأجنبية، وبعد الانسحاب السوري لم يبق الا الاحتلال الإسرائيلي لمزارع شبعا وتلال كفرشوبا، وهو بالحد الأدنى يتقابل ويتوازن ويتعادل مع الدعوة لما يقصده الوزراء العرب بحل الميليشيات وسحب السلاح وهو سلاح المقاومة، لكن السؤال الأهم لماذا تجاهل الوزراء الخليجيّون من ورقتهم القرار 425 الذي تورده كل القرارات الأمميّة حول لبنان في مقدّمتها وتنطلق منه؟

الأمر ليس سهواً بالتأكيد، لكن الدعوة لتطبيق القرارات تريد التصرف خليجياً بمظهر الدعوة لتطبيق القانون، وهي تتبنى المقاربة الإسرائيلية للقرارات الأممية، ولذلك فإن لبنان مضطر للرد بالقانون، فطالما أن الخيار الخليجي تناول ما يتصل بعلاقات لبنان بالاحتلال الإسرائيلي وبكل من سورية والوجود الفلسطيني، فمن واجب لبنان ومن حقه استعادة القرارات المتصلة بهذه العناوين، وهي على الأقل بما يعني لبنان، تبدأ بالقرار  194 الخاص بعودة اللاجئين الفلسطينيين والمتضمن في أصل نص المبادرة العربية الصادرة عن قمة بيروت، مطالباً العرب بتطبيقه، لأنه الجواب على أصل المشكلة بضمان حق العودة للاجئين، ومثله القرارات 242 و338 و181 التي تتناول حلّ قضية الاحتلال الإسرائيلي وفقاً لمفهوم القانون الدولي. والأهم يبقى القرار 425، وتقارير الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة حول مزارع شبعا وربط “إسرائيل” للانسحاب منها بمصير الجولان المحتل المرتبط بالقرارين 242 و338، كحد أدنى. وعلى الوزراء العرب أن يجيبوا هل تراجعوا عن الدعوة لتطبيق هذه القرارات، أم لا يزالون يتمسكون بها؟ فإن تراجعوا فليتخذوا قراراً بإلغاء المبادرة العربية للسلام الصادرة عن قمة بيروت عام 2002 بصورة رسمية وعلنية.

لعل أبسط جواب لبناني هو يا أصحاب المعالي طبقوا ما عليكم لنطبق ما علينا، ويا دار ما دخلك شر، وإن تخلّيتم عما عليكم تخلّينا عما علينا، وقد تضمّنت قراراتكم التزاماً باعتبار القرارات الدولية، اساس أي تعامل عربي مع كل ما يتصل بالاحتلال الاسرائيلي وتداعياته، وإن نجحتم نجحنا وان فشلتم وتراجعتم فشلنا وتراجعنا، أفيدونا يرعاكم الله!

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هل ينكسر الإجماع اللبناني حول التوطين؟

ناصر قنديل

قد يبدو السؤال مستغرباً للكثيرين، مثلما كان مستغرباً السؤال قبل عشر سنوات حول الإجماع اللبناني حول التطبيع، فربما يكون التذكير ضرورياً بأن أشد اللبنانيين تطرفاً ضد المقاومة وسلاحها كان يؤكد صبحاً ومساء أن لبنان أشد المتضررين من التطبيع مع كيان الاحتلال، وأنه سيكون آخر المدافعين عن شروط المبادرة العربية للسلام التي أقرتها قمة بيروت عام 2002، وما تضمنته من تمسك بحق العودة للاجئين الفلسطينيين، إضافة للانسحاب الإسرائيلي الشامل من الأراضي المحتلة عام 67، وقيام دولة فلسطينية عاصمتها القدس، كشروط أي سلام، بينما يبدو لبنان السياسي والإعلامي اليوم كياناً رخوياً في موقفه من التطبيع، حيث يجري حشد آثار الأزمة الاقتصادية والمالية للقول إن لبنان أمانه أولوية واحدة هي كسب رضا الخارج الغربي والعربي الذي يملك الأموال اللازمة للخروج من الأزمة، وتحت هذا الشعار تتدحرج الكثير من الممنوعات اللبنانية ويرفع عنها الحظر.

يمكن رصد ثلاثة ظواهر بائنة لا يمكن إنكارها من جهة، ولا تفسيرها بغير نظرية تفكيك الثوابت تحت شعار الحاجة لاسترضاء مصادر الأموال، وكلها تأتي في سياق تحول لبنان إلى كيان رخوي سياسياً، بلا ضوابط ولا حدود ولا سقوف، الظاهرة الأولى هي الحملة المتعددة المصادر على سلاح المقاومة، من حد أدنى عنوانه الحديث عن الحياد وحصرية السلاح بيد الدولة، إلى حد أعلى يخاطب المقاومة بصفتها جالية إيرانية، وتحرك مرجعية روحية كبرى هي بكركي بينهما، وهي تمثل ما تمثل في السياسة الداخلية والعلاقات الخارجية، وتضاف إليها أصوات تجرأت في ظلال سقف بكركي، مهما كان حجمها صغيراً، للحديث عن احتلال إيراني، أو الحديث عن أن التطبيع وجهة نظر وليس موضع إجماع داخلي، وذريعة كل هذه الظاهرة هي الوضع المالي والإقتصادي، والتساؤل من أين نأتي بالأموال، ما دامت المقاومة قد تسببت بفقدان رضا أصحاب الأموال، وغالباً يقول، تسببت المقاومة بتخريب علاقات لبنان بمن يمكن التطلع إليهم لمساعدته.

الظاهرة الثانية هي تفكيك المناعة التقليدية التي كان الوسط السياسي والحقوقي والإعلامي يملك تجاهها حساسية خاصة، تجاه مسألة حرية التعبير، وقد شكلت ظاهرة الهجوم المتعدد الأطراف لدفع وزير الإعلام جورج قرداحي للاستقالة مؤشراً خطيراً على حجم التحول، حيث الجميع يؤكد يقينه أن الموقف السعودي المبني على التصريح المنسوب للوزير قرداحي قبل أن يصبح وزيراً، ظالم وغير منطقي وليس له أي أساس وفق معادلة الحق والقانون، وعندما قال وزير خارجية السعودية ادراكاً لضعف الحجة في الارتكاز إلى كلام الوزير قرداحي، لم يتغير الموقف الضاغط طلباً لاستقالة الوزير قرداحي تحت شعار يشبه دعوات تقديم قرابين الاسترضاء، بمسمى عصري هو الإقدام على خطوة حسن نية ترضي السعودية، ولم يرف جفن المسؤولين في الدولة والمجتمع وهم يطيحون بما كانوا يصفونه من قبل بإحدى أهم ميزات لبنان، وهي تنوعه وحرية الرأي فيه، ورفض مساءلة الدولة إلا عن مواقفها الرسمية، وبقيت الحملة تتدحرج حتى استقال الوزير الذي تحفظ الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون على المطلبة باستقالته، وبقي يقول المطلوب خطوة من دون أن يحدد الاستقالة لأنه يخشى أن يسجل على رئيس فرنسا طلب استقالة وزير في دولة ذات سيادة لاسترضاء دولة أخرى، وأن السبب هو تصريح سابق لتولي الوزارة من هذا الوزير، فخجل ماكرون ولم يخجل لبنان، بل فتح عينيه على وسعهما، وقال لم لا، ننحر الحرية والسيادة كرمى لعيون صاحب المال.

الظاهرة الثالثة هي ما نشهده هذه الساعات مع قرار وزير الداخلية بترحيل معارضين بحرينيين، يتواجدون في لبنان بصفة قانونية، لأنهم عقدوا مؤتمراً صحافياً حقوقياً يعرض لانتهاكات حقوق الإنسان في بلدهم، ومشهود في العالم كله وفي منظمات الأمم المتحدة لمستوى اللياقة والدقة القانونية والسلمية والمستوى الحضاري لأداء المعارضة البحرينية، ومعلوم بالمقابل نوع المعارضين السوريين الذين فتحت أمامهم أبواب لبنان، ونوع العمل الذي كرسوا وجودهم في لبنان للقيام به، سواء من كان منهم متورطاً بأنشطة ارهابية، أو من كان يقدم الإسناد الإعلامي والمالي لهذه الأنشطة، لكن الفارق كبير بين حكومة البحرين التي تشكل أحد كيانات الخليج، ويندرج استغضابها ضمن مفهوم استرضاء صاحب المال، وحكومة سورية يشكل اغضابها استرضاء لصاحب المال، والتغير اللبناني تجاهها يجري على إيقاع تغير موقف صاحب المال الخليجي وليس تعبيراً عن قراءة مختلفة للمصلحة اللبنانية، ووفقاً لمراقبة سريعة يمكن ملاحظة حجم حضور المعارضة البحرينية في دول أوروبية كبريطانيا تقيم أفضل العلاقات بحكومة البحرين يترجمها وجود قاعدة عسكرية بريطانية في البحرين، كدليل على ثقافة الذل السياسي التي ينحدر إليها لبنان، ضارباً بعرض الحائط معادلة كان يتباهى بها بصفته ملجأ المعارضات العربية الديمقراطية، وفقاً لتوصيف شارل مالك قبل أكثر من نصف قرن، والذريعة هي فقط طلب رضا صاحب المال.

السؤال هو لماذا يستبعد البعض أن يكمل انحدار مشواره تحت ذات الاعتبارات، عندما يقال للبنان إن ثمن التوطين هو مئة مليار دولار على سبيل المثال، أي ما يكفي لسداد الديون وإعادة الودائع، وتحريك النظام المالي والمصرفي بأفضل مما كان عليه؟ والسؤال الموازي هو هل يمكن تصديق من يدعو لنزع سلاح المقاومة، كورقة قوة وحيدة بيد لبنان، عندما يقول إنه يرفض التوطين؟

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بين قرار وزير العمل والمعترض

التعليق السياسي

في كل نقاش يطال تنظيم أحوال الفلسطينيين في لبنان تدخل مفردة شائنة وقبيحة تربط كل تحسين إنساني لأوضاع الفلسطينيين بمزاعم رفض التوطين والتجنيس، وفقاً لمعادلة عنصرية تقول إن الفلسطيني سيتخلى عن حق العودة أو أن التوطين سيصبح أمراً واقعاً لمجرد أن يجد الفلسطيني بيتاً يسكنه أو مهنة يعيش منها، بدلاً من الخيمة والتشرد وتسول المساعدات، وأي نظرة على الواقع الفلسطيني في بلاد مثل كندا والدول الاسكندينافية تفيد أنه حيث تتاح للفلسطينيين أفضل شروط الحياة والاندماج بالمجتمعات المحلية والتقدم الاجتماعي، ترتفع أعلى الأصوات للتمسك بحق العودة، وتنطلق أشد حملات نصرة القضية الفلسطينية.

ثمة صعوبة استثنائية تصل حد الاستحالة لتقبل توجيه تهمة التشجيع على التوطين لطرف سياسي ينتمي لمقاومة لا تقبل أي تسوية للقضية الفلسطينية، يوجهها لها خصم أو حليف يجعل الحل السياسي مع الاحتلال سقفاً لموقفه ويعلن أن لا عداء إيدلوجي بينه وبين كيان الاحتلال، في ظل معرفة الجميع واعترافهم أن ألد عدو للتوطين هو حق العودة، وأن ألد أعداء حق العودة هو كيان الاحتلال ورعاته الدوليين، وأن أهم نقطة اشتباك بين المقاومة وكيان الاحتلال هي التصادم بين مشروعي حق العودة والتوطين.

ما ذكر لايعني إقفال باب النقاش حول قرار وزير العمل بفتح مجالات معينة للعمل أمام الفلسطينيين المولودين في لبنان، ولكن مع الدعوة لإبعاد المزايدات السياسية بالإعتراض من باب الحرص على رفض التوطين.

حق المعترضين بالمطالبة بتشاور وطني يسبق مثل هذا القرار في مسألة حساسة تثير العصبيات كان سيحظى بالاحترام لو حصرت به الاعتراضات.

حق المعترضين بمناقشة نص القرار قانونياً أو مهنياً أو إقتصادياً حق لا نقاش فيه، لكننا سمعنا نقيب الأطباء يعترض قبل أن يقرأ القرار الذي ينص على أن المهن المنظمة بقانون كالطب والهندسة والمحاماة لا تخضع للاستثناء الذي يتيح للفلسطينيين حق العمل.

القرار ككل قرار وزاري يقبل حق المراجعة أمام مجلس شورى الدولة، والمعترضون يملكون القدرة على مناقشة بنوده من قبل قانونيين بعد التفضل بقراءته أولاً، وتقديم طعونهم بكل هدوء، وعندها لا حاجة للضجيج السياسي والإعلامي والتحدي الطائفي، وحتى لو جاء القرار القضائي مجحفاً بحق قرار الوزير فليس أمام الوزير إلا الالتزام.

فيديوات متعلقة

الفلسطيني يرفض “تشليح” اللبناني – زاهر أبو حمدة

 

 الصفصاف

لا يُعرف لماذا اختار جبران باسيل، مصطلح “تشليح” لوصف قرار وزير العمل اللبناني مصطفى بيرم، في ما يخص عمل الفلسطينيين ومكتومي القيد. صحيح أن المصطلح معترف به في المعجم العربي، لكنه يفيد بخلع الملابس وتعرية الجسد. بتاتاً، لا يهدف الفلسطينيون إلى تعرية أي لبناني ولا سيما في هذه الأجواء الباردة. لكن “اللاوعي الباسيلي” اعتاد “تشليح” الناس انسانيتهم وإلباس بعضهم العنصرية بكل أشكالها المقزّزة والبالية.

ومن دون الخوض في السياسة اللبنانية الداخلية، يكفي معرفة أن من “شلّح” أموال المودعين في المصارف ليسوا فلسطينيين، لا بل احتجزت (إذا لم نقل سُرقت) أموال الفلسطينيين. وللمفارقة الغريبة أنه بحجة السرية المصرفية ترفض البنوك الإفصاح عن أرقام وقيمة مدّخرات المودعين الفلسطينيين، ممن فقدوا جنى عمرهم. لكن التقديرات تشير إلى أكثر من مليار دولار أميركي.

وهناك احتمالان لموقف باسيل. الأول: أن فريقه لم يشرح له ماذا يعني قرار الوزير. هكذا ومن دون مقدمات اعتبر عمل الفلسطيني توطيناً مقنعاً وسرقة للوظائف من اللبنانيين. وهنا لا بد من توضيح الأمر، وهذا ما فعله بيرم لاحقاً. فالقرار ليس قانوناً وبالتالي لن يتغير الأمر وسيبقى الفلسطيني ممنوعاً من العمل في المهن الحرة وهي الأساسية. وهذا يحتاج تشريعاً في البرلمان وموافقة النقابات. أما الثاني: أنه يعرف التفاصيل كافة، واستغل الأمر لشد العصب المسيحي قبل الانتخابات والمزايدة على خصومه ورفع أسهمه السياسية والشعبية. وهنا، استغلال غير انساني لقضية إنسانية في المقام الأول. وفي الحالتين يخسر باسيل انسانيته مرة أخرى، فحقوق الانسان بغض النظر عن عرقه ودينه وأصله أهم من السجالات والمناكفات. ولذلك لا بد من سؤال باسيل: هل أنت انسان؟

وبالعودة إلى مسألة “التشليح”، وجب الذكر أن هذا الخطاب ليس جديداً، فهو مستمر منذ جيل النكبة الأول. وفي الخمسينيات، دفع تصاعد الحديث عن التأثيرات السلبية للوجود الفلسطيني في لبنان على الاقتصاد اللبناني، “اللجنة العربية العليا لفلسطين” بقيادة الحاج أمين الحسيني، إلى إصدار تقرير موثق بالأدلة بتاريخ 18 كانون الأول عام 1959 حول الأرصدة المالية الفلسطينية في لبنان. وذلك بهدف إقناع اللبنانيين أن الوجود الفلسطيني لا يشكل عبئاً على لبنان ولا يهدد اقتصاده ومصالحه، بل على العكس هو داعم حقيقي. يفيد التقرير بأن قيمة الأرصدة المالية الإجمالية المحولة لصالح الفلسطينيين في لبنان بلغت 195 مليون ليرة لبنانية، أي أعلى بثلاث مرات من موازنة الدولة اللبنانية أوائل الخمسينيات. استفاد لبنان من رؤوس الأموال والأصول اللاجئة، وتشكلت طبقة رجال الأعمال الفلسطينيين من ذوي الخبرة في التجارة والقطاع المصرفي والمالي والمحاسبة والسياحة والتأمين والهندسة والبناء والصناعة. ووفق بعض التقديرات لم تشكل هذه الطبقة أكثر من 5% من مجموع اللاجئين الفلسطينيين. أما اليوم، ووفقاً لأرقام منظمة العمل الدولية، فالحجم الاقصى للقوى العاملة الفلسطينية يقدر بنحو 45 ألف عامل فقط، يمثلون 3.5% من إجمالي قوة العمل في لبنان. وبالنسبة للمهن الحرة المنظمة بقوانين خاصة (المحامون والأطباء والمهندسون والصيادلة)، فإن عدد الفلسطينيين ذوي الاختصاص ليس كبيراً. ووفقاً لأحدث الدراسات الميدانية لمنظمة العمل الدولية الصادرة عام 2015، يبلغ عدد الأطباء الفلسطينيين 400 طبيب ينتسب نحو 239 منهم إلى الاتحاد الفلسطيني العام للأطباء والصيادلة ويعمل عدد لا بأس به منهم في عيادات الأونروا ومستشفيات جمعية “الهلال الأحمر الفلسطيني”، بينما يصل عدد المهندسين الفلسطينيين، إلى 1200 مهندس غالبيتهم يعملون خارج لبنان. هكذا أرقام لا يمكن أن تزاحم اللبناني، وبكل تأكيد لا يريد الفلسطيني المنافسة على الفرص إن سنحت له بقدر ما يتمنى بعض الإنسانية إذا توافرت.

Philadelphia Mayor Hosts Pro-Palestine Rally

1 Dec 2021

Mayor of Philadelphia Jim Kenney during pro-Palestinian rally

By Al Mayadeen

Source: Forward

The Philadelphia mayor has been criticized for hosting a pro-Palestinian rally.

Mayor of Philadelphia Jim Kenney hosted a rally on the UN’s Day of Solidarity with Palestinians, where organizers advocated for Palestinian’s right of return. 

In a speech to Jewish leaders, the mayor condemned hatred in general and defended his participation in the event.

During a “Shine a Light on Antisemitism” event hosted by some major Jewish group, the mayor boldly told leaders that any form of hate or discrimination must be condemned. 

He added that “It is up to us not to repeat the mistakes of the past.” 

In his speech, Kenney expressed zero support for “Israel”.

Outside the municipal headquarters on Monday, the mayor gave the organizers a proclamation honoring the UN’s international solidarity day with Palestinians and their history.

The mayor explained on Tuesday that Philadelphia’s “Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) and the Office of City Representative (OCR) have been in discussions with representatives of the local Palestinian community to host an event that recognizes their contributions to the city and region.” 

The mayor added that he participated in the event as he participated in many others to recognize Philadelphia’s ethnically and religiously diverse communities.

The 29th of November marks the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People that the UN celebrates every year.

It also coincides with the day the UN General Assembly adopted Partition Resolution No. (181) which called for the partition of Palestinian lands to accommodate the occupation’s expansionist goals, forcefully separating the land into “Arab and Jewish states”.

Kenney was urged not to participate in the pro-Palestinian rally by “Israel’s” consul general in New York and Pennsylvania, Asaf Zamir. His letter was left unanswered by the Mayor’s office.

Palestinian prisoners’ message to Samah Idriss: You are our comrade on the road to freedom

26 November 2021

Following message was written by Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons on the death of Samah Idriss, Lebanese Arab revolutionary intellectual. The editor-in-chief of Al-Adab magazine, Samah Idriss was the co-founder of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of “Israel” in Lebanon. In his speech to the Masar Badil (Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path) conference in Beirut on 30 October of this year, he declared, “If we abandon Palestine, we abandon ourselves.”

We republish in full the letter from Palestinian prisoners:

The prisoners’ message in memory of Samah Idriss

It is an unusual morning, when the news of your departure comes to sink its teeth into the delicateness of love and emotion, the morning turns into sunset and your soul sets there, Samah. We remain in its shade as it flutters and fills the space on this exceptional morning. The news of the tragedy of your departure replaces for now our thoughts of liberation and freedom. Your absence keeps us transfixed in time, we look around us and remember you, and we still need your words and your committed, principled positions. We are still in the middle of the road to freedom, Samah.

Your news has traveled and reached us as the dew drops fade from the prison fences and bars. With it, our feelings crept in, and we felt the wound of losing you publicly. We want you to hear our last cry, you, who always spoke with our voice and our screams, or perhaps we want to bid you farewell with a whisper of screaming.

Our words will certainly reach you. We are in the prisons of the Zionist colonizer, and we wanted to meet you. You can see and, as you taught us, the journey is still long, and our lamp still needs a lot of oil, so why have you left now?!

Samah, we know that you have not left the mountain. You are as a mountain in your stances, and your steps are engraved in the path of this long journey. You are our beloved comrade, a companion on the hard path of struggle, a friend on the long road. Your body has left us, but your spirit will remain an inspiration to us. Your words and your positions are a beacon that we raise, debate and discuss as we walk. We will keep walking, comrade, until we get there.

From behind bars, behind walls, behind fences, in the clutches of the Zionists, we salute your family, your loved ones, your comrades and your companions. We mourn you with pride and admiration, and the highest commitment to the struggle. We mourn you as a writer, an intellectual, a comrade, and a fighter for the freedom for which you died. Sleep with clear eyes, and know that the road to freedom will never be cut off for free people.

Your comrades in the occupation prisons

26 November 2021

An Open Letter from Palestine to Miss South Africa

November 14, 2021

Lalela Mswane, Miss South Africa 2021. (Photo: video grab)

By Haidar Eid

Dear Ms. Lalela Mswane,

We don’t know each other. I only know that you are Miss South Africa and just heard of your name two days ago when the media reported that you will represent South Africa at the Miss Universe pageant on the ruins of the ethnically cleansed village of Um Al-Rashrash in apartheid Israel. I assume you don’t know enough about the suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of Israel’s occupation colonization and apartheid in Palestine. I myself spent six years in South Africa where I got my Ph.D. degree and even citizenship.

Even before the end of the apartheid system in 1994, we, Palestinians, wholeheartedly supported the struggle in South Africa and played a role in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that formed one of the major pillars of the struggle to bring apartheid down. Nelson Mandela made it absolutely clear on more than one occasion that without the support of the Palestine liberation organization, among other national liberation movements, the end of the racist regime would have been delayed.

I live in the Gaza concentration camp which has been under a medieval siege imposed by apartheid Israel since 2007. But even before that, Israel had occupied it since 1967. As a result of Israel’s racist policies, our children suffer from malnutrition; the 2 million people living in the strip do not have access to electricity, clean water, medicine, and hundreds of other items that Israel does not allow. Over the last decade, the country you are visiting has launched four massive wars on Gaza killing more than 4000 civilians, including hundreds of women and children, and destroying hundreds of buildings, factories, roads, and schools.

A UN fact-finding mission, headed by none other than your own Richard Goldstone, has labeled these massacres “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.” And anti-apartheid activists, including the likes of Desmond Tutu and Ronnie Kasrils, have told us that what we are going through in Palestine is “far far worse than apartheid.” Moreover, two mainstream human rights organizations, Human Rights Watch and Israel’s most respected human rights organization, Btselem, issued two damning reports last year calling Israel an apartheid state that discriminates not only against the residents of Gaza and the West Bank but also against its own third-class Palestinian citizens.

Ms. Mswane, allow me to ask you this question. How would you have felt if a Palestinian woman decided to join a similar contest in South Africa in the 70s and ’80s of the last century? How would you have responded if a similar contest was held in Sofia town, for example? And how would the South African people have reacted to the participation of Palestinians in concerts and sports games in apartheid South Africa?

You must have heard of the tens of beautiful women incarcerated in Israeli dungeons without charge or trial, simply for the mere reason of speaking out against occupation and apartheid. Our women, like South African women before them, are at the receiving end of a multi-tiered system of oppression and expect solidarity from their Black sisters.

I am an associate professor of literature;  I teach hundreds of female students who come from refugee camps and whose parents and grandparents are also refugees. My students have one message when I told them that a South African woman is coming to apartheid Israel; they asked me to write this message and appeal to you to refrain from violating our BDS guidelines and stand on the right side of history. I am certain you will not disappoint them.

Nelson Mandela’s much-quoted sentiment that “(South African) freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” is decorating the walls of refugee camps in the Gaza Strip where millions of refugees are waiting for the day of their return to the towns and villages which were ethnically cleansed in 1948 by racist gangs ruling the country you are visiting. We are only asking you to make the right decision that thousands of artists, writers and cultural figures–including Miss Malaysia and Miss Indonesia– have made – to stand against apartheid Israel.

Sincerely Yours,

Haidar Eid

Besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine

The Palestinian Cause is Neither a Religious nor a Human Rights Cause

Susana Khalil

 August 15, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Susana Khalil

The Palestinian cause is political, it is a cause of National Liberation.

The Palestinian Cause is Neither a Religious nor a Human Rights Cause

The violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people is the consequence of the violation of their right to struggle for their national liberation, their right to exist as a nation-state.

The Palestinian cause is political, it is a cause of National Liberation, and it is the cause of a native people that today in the 21st century is fighting against a colonial yoke and anachronism called “Israel”. That’s all, I repeat that’s all. 

To hide the colonial character, Zionist propaganda has successfully managed to plague a pseudo-narrative, claiming it is a prehistoric, millenarian, religious, anti-Semitic, complex, metaphysical conflict. All an attractive abstract… all an aesthetic blah, blah of aromatic lies.

The Palestinian Cause is a political issue of liberation and national independence like the Algerian cause against French colonialism, the struggle for independence lead by the Indian people against British colonialism, the Libyan struggle for liberation against Italian colonialism, the struggle of the Mexican people against Spanish colonialism, the Haitian struggle for liberation against French colonialism and more. These people had their human rights violated, their humanity dismembered.

All colonization registers were showing the violation of the human condition, it is a whole regime and logic of torture, Apartheid, slavery, spoliation, hatred, contempt, racism, supremacy, bestiality, terror, massacres, genocide, memoricide, historicide, culturicide, epistemicide. And all this is done and instrumentalized through the human values of the time.

If the Palestinian people renounce the struggle for their National Liberation against the Israeli colonial yoke, if they renounce their Right of Return to their historical Palestine, if they renounce their Palestinian demonym, then the violation of these human rights will cease, and the Palestinian people will disappear. However, the liberation from the colonial yoke will lead to end human violations and eradicate violence.

The vulnerable West fails to understand the colonial nature of Zionism in Palestine. Likewise, the Palestinian Authority and some Palestinians do not want to talk about the Palestinian Cause as a reason for National Liberation and today the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) has become an entelechy.

There are those who limit themselves to the framework of human rights and there are Arab dictatorships that want to limit the Palestinian Cause to a charitable, humanitarian and benevolent mission. They want to make “Jerusalem” an Islamic symbol; they don’t only disregard the Palestinian National Liberation Cause against Israeli colonialism, but they see it as a religious duty to defend “Israel”. These Arab tyrannies use Palestinian blood to make gigantic economic investments and especially to perpetuate themselves in power as a plan of the imperial West.

In the first instance and till this day, the Palestinian cause is believed and felt to be a religious conflict…the Western displayed remarkable ineptitude to bring the Arab world to a religious commodity…After the end of the Cold War which meant the spread of the internet, the whole world discovered the human atrocities against the Palestinian people. It was obvious that there was no way to hide the barbarity. The well-hidden corpse stinks and there is no way to conceal the stench. Human Rights became a real opportunity for Palestine, as the bestial victim is humanized, while the real victim was guilty, and the fascist character of that bohemian “state” known as “Israel” is unveiled. It is a huge breakthrough, but be warned, there is less talk today of the liberation of Historic Palestine against the Israeli colonial yoke.

Within that grandiose opportunity of the human rights scene, there is also much taboo, repression, persecution and corruption. Repression in the Arab world is brutal but in the West, repression is sophisticated. In the West, as far as Zionism is concerned, repression goes through euphemisms like, you have to be prudent, strategic, intelligent, objective (self-censorship), don’t say this, don’t go near such and such a group, you won’t get a job, you won’t get a grant if you say that, don’t talk about armed struggle as an alternative, you can go to jail as an anti-Semite. Fear operates elegantly.

Fear is the big problem, fear is an infidel component inside of us, and solidarity, struggle, creativity and even talent revolve around fear.

That “our fear”, that cowardice turns us into creative and talented colonized people.

Pro-Palestinian consciousness has been stifled in the colossal Zionist propaganda agenda, for example, they must plead that to be anti-Zionist is not the same as to be an anti-Semite. The tool of Human Rights is valuable and meritorious; it has dismantled religious stereotypes and raised public awareness. People are already talking about Apartheid, ethnic cleansing, occupation, political prisoners, the Wall of Shame, the false two-state solution; no one is talking about the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees scattered around the world. BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is perhaps the most valuable tool. But it is less visible to speak of the Palestinian Cause as a reason for National Liberation against a colonial yoke. Talking about the consequences and not the Cause is not the most honest thing to do. There is a desire to make that seem outdated, rhetorical, conventional…we have to evolve, we have to move forward, and there are those who say that we have to think about peace. We are becoming Zionists, thus defrauding life. The Galilean Mahmud Darwish said, we resist because we love life.  

Fear operates and we think we are clever in our cowardice. Let us not confuse fear with strategy. Let us assume that we are fighting against the greatest power in the world, Zionism.

The Palestinian people are facing a classical colonialism that not only usurped their homeland but usurped their history because it comes from a European movement that has the purpose to turn a certain religious community into a People. That’s why it usurps the history, its culinary territorial characteristics and the whole cultural expression of the native people. The ideologists of Zionism clearly see the need to exterminate this native people in order to guarantee their nation-state project for the sake of the Jewish religious community. The existence and continuity of the Palestinian people is threatened. The Palestinians were expelled from their homeland and are being expelled from history. Palestine, a people with more than 11,000 years in the light of history, has become today a forbidden people.

I renounce intelligence, strategy, prudence and moderation. I cling to justice, to what is honest, sane, noble, generous, humanistic and dignified; the National Liberation of the native people against anachronism and the colonial yoke. I do speak of the abolition of the colonial regime of “Israel”. And I clarify, don’t ever expel those who expelled us, instead, make them Palestinian citizens, as did the Zionist Ukrainian Aryan Golda Meyer, the Belarusian Aryan Shimon Peres and thousands of Zionist Jews, when the extinct League of Nations, established that every Jew who wished to live in Palestine, should apply for Palestinian citizenship. 

We have a date with Universal History, to abolish colonial anachronism from our historical time.

Family Separation Law: Israel’s Demographic War on Palestine Intensifies

July 14, 2021

Palestinians waiting at Qalandia Checkpoint (Photo: Patrick Edgar, Supplied)

By Ramzy Baroud

When the Israeli Knesset (parliament) failed to renew what is commonly referred to as the Family Reunification Law, news reports and analyses misrepresented the story altogether. The even split of 59 MKs voting in favor of the law and 59 against it gave the erroneous impression that Israeli lawmakers are equally divided over the right of Palestinians to obtain permanent residency status or citizenship in Israel through marriage. Nothing could be further away from the truth. 

Originally passed in 2003, the Citizenship and Entry Law was effectively a ban on Palestinian marriage. Under the guise of ‘security’, the law prohibited Palestinians in the West Bank, who marry Israeli citizens, to permanently move to Israel, obtain work, permanent residency and, ultimately, citizenship. 

The law was never made permanent as it was subjected to an annual vote, which successfully renewed it 17 times, consecutively. The 18th vote, on July 6, however, ran into an obstacle. Contrary to the perception given by media coverage, those who voted against the renewal of the ban did so for purely political reasons and not out of concern for the tens of thousands of Palestinian families that have splintered and broken up since the law came into effect.

Since the ousting of former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the hands of his protégé, current Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, Israel’s former leader has been determined to topple Bennett’s already fragile coalition. Bennett’s government allies cobble up extreme right-wing parties, including Yamina, the party of the prime minister himself, centrist and even leftist parties, the likes of Meretz. It even hosts an Arab party, United Arab List, or Ra’am, of Mansour Abbas. A coalition of this nature is unlikely to survive long, considering Israel’s tumultuous politics, and Netanyahu – eager for an early election – will do everything in his power to facilitate what he sees as an imminent collapse.

Netanyahu’s Likud party and its allies in the opposition voted against renewing the discriminatory law to score a political point. Their justification, however, was more appalling than the law itself. The Likud wants the temporary law to become a permanent fixture, a Basic Law, to be added to dozens of other similar racially motivated laws that target the very fabric of Palestinian society. 

Welcome to Israel’s demographic war on the Palestinian people. This one-sided war is situated in the belief among Israel’s Jewish majority, that Israel’s greatest challenge is sustaining its demographic advantage which, thanks to a decided campaign of ethnic cleansing that began over seven decades ago, has been held by Jews over Palestinian Arabs. 

Israel’s main fear is not simply a decisive Palestinian majority between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. Israel’s Jewish ruling classes are also rattled by the real possibility of the growing political influence of Israel’s Palestinian Arab constituency, and are doing everything in their power to ensure Palestinian holders of Israeli citizenship are kept at a minimum. The Citizenship and Entry Law was designed specifically to keep this population in check. 

The general elections of March 2020, in particular, provided a taste of what a doomsday scenario would look like.  Arab Israeli parties unified under the single ticket of the Joint List and emerged with 15 seats, making it the third-largest political bloc in the Israeli Knesset, after Likud and Blue and White. If Palestinian Arabs mastered this much influence, though they represent only 20% of the overall Israeli population, imagine what they could do if the demographic tide continues to shift in their favor.

For Israel, the future of Jewish majority – read: supremacy – is dependent on keeping the population equation in favor of Israeli Jews at the expense of Palestinian Arabs. Most of the laws that discriminate against Palestinians, regardless of where they reside – in fact, anywhere in the world – is motivated by this maxim.  

According to the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), Israel’s Palestinian Arab population is targeted with 65 different government laws and regulations, which ensure Palestinian Arabs do not prosper as a community, remaining politically disempowered, socio-economically disadvantaged and constantly threatened with the loss of their residency, and even citizenship. 

Palestinians elsewhere suffer an even worse fate. For example, Palestinians living in Jerusalem, who supposedly hold permanent residency status, are subjected to different types of legal harassment, so that Jerusalem can maintain its current Jewish majority. When Israel illegally occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, the city was almost entirely Palestinian Arab. Through numerous tactics, the city’s Arab population is now an ever-shrinking minority. Worse still, in 2018 Israel passed a law that granted the Ministry of Interior the right to revoke the residency of Jerusalemites based on the murky accusation of ‘breach of loyalty’.  

The occupied West Bank and Gaza are confined, as only Israel determines who remains and who is permanently exiled. The Israeli military occupation of these regions has taken population control to a whole new level; it is almost an exact science.

This is also precisely why Israelis abhor the very discussion of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, for they consider it an implicit call for the ‘destruction of Israel as a Jewish state’. According to this logic, if millions of Palestinian refugees are allowed to return to their homes and lands in historic Palestine, Israel will no longer exist in its current form, as a Jewish state, but will become a democratic state for all of its citizens, instead.

What is likely to happen next is that Israel’s Interior Ministry will continue to find caveats in Israel’s ever-flexible laws to block the reunification of Palestinian families, until the Knesset officially renews the Citizenship and Entry Law or, worse, make it permanent. Either way, Israel’s demographic war on Palestinians is likely to intensify in the future. Considering that it is a war that cannot rationally be won, Israel is likely to delve deeper into the abyss of apartheid.

As Israel continues to experiment with controlling the Palestinian population, it would be shameful if the international community continued to remain silent. This moral outrage must end. 

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

The Fight to Save Lifta, the Last Remaining Palestinian Village

July 09th, 2021

By Jessica Buxbaum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘In one hour, we became refugees’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saving Lifta

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

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

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

‘Not something we can discuss now’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘You are here as a visitor’

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

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

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

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

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

‘We were kings in our village’

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

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

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

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

Netanyahu Follows Trump’s Footsteps: Political Downfall, Internal Crisis, and Attempt to Bridge the Gap

11-06-2021

Netanyahu Follows Trump’s Footsteps: Political Downfall, Internal Crisis, and Attempt to Bridge the Gap

By Ali Abadi

The recent developments in the Zionist entity reopen the discussion regarding the extent to which this entity is influenced by the US policy as well as the changes inside the United States.

Since Trump’s failure in the US Presidential Elections, the countdown to Benjamin Netanyahu’s downfall has started -who represents the ‘Israeli’ version of Trump’s personality- even though the former was able to reproduce his leadership via three consecutive elections, and prepared to a fourth round to fortify his position against probes in cases of corruption, and to fight the possibility of moving him away from the political scene through a rival party coalition. However, Netanyahu’s ploys didn’t survive in front of the results of the recent war with Gaza, which turned the political atmosphere inside the occupation entity to the extent that Netanyahu’s government was found responsible or losing the deterrence with Gaza, not to mention his weakness to handle the resistance and its growing might.

Herein, we should notice the relative comparison between the American and the ‘Israeli’ arenas:

On the one hand, the extravagance of America’s right wing led to dangerous division that caused an intense desire among all of Trump’s opponents [including some of the Republican party members] to get rid of him via ballot boxes, so they voted majorly against the far-right policies [represented by Trump] more than to support his rival Biden and his electoral program. And in the ‘Israeli’ arena, the right policies led to attractions from within the Zionist society, not between the left and the right, but within the right itself. A dominant agreement emerged that Netanyahu is sticking to power at any price, even if it led to a ‘civil war’, and that he is using Zionist religious parties that exchange with him the electoral services and well as the governmental benefits.

On the other hand, it happened previously that the personalities of Trump and Netanyahu have been linked to each other, in the course of unprecedented similarity in political tendencies of both sides regarding several issues. Trump’s failure in the US has motivated many ‘Israeli’ politicians to think about a way to get rid of his closest ally, Netanyahu. However, they didn’t possess the required energy to unite. Then came the recent confrontation with the Palestinians to uncover the weak structure of the entity as well as the policies of Netanyahu’s government. The decision was among several political parties to scapegoat him based on the rule of preserving the rightist policies that are threatened with the strong Palestinian uprising on the one hand, and the harmony with the American policies as much as possible on the other hand. Hence, the Zionist right settlement scheme would be saved, while Netanyahu’s attempts to shake the alliance with the US due to his objection of its return to the nuclear deal with Iran would fail.

Separation

Both American and ‘Israeli’ societies suffer from not yet hidden political, ideological, and ethnic divisions. Both societies need to absorb the tension from time to time via changing the top of the pyramid. This is one issue. Another remarkable one is that ‘Israel’ didn’t succeed for long in staying away from the requirements of the American interests in the region. And without harboring hopes on a major separation between the two sides, we witness a sort of coldness in relations due to three main points over the past three decades.

First: With launching the Madrid Conference for settlement in the region in the beginning of the 1990s after the US-led war in Kuwait, when Isaac Shamir [Likud] government objected to the principle of establishing an independent Palestinian state, but the Zionist entity’s need for the US financial support to contain the Jewish migration from the Soviet Union and other places pushed ‘Israel’ to reduce its objections and conditions. Washington was able, through guaranteed loans worth billions of dollars, to tame the ‘Israeli’ policy in favor of its wider interests. Then, Shamir was displaced from the ‘Israeli’ scene, and was succeeded by Isaac Rabin [Labor Party] to lead the Oslo track which happened to become later the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and Ariha. However, after the assassination of Rabin in 1995, the abilities of the most harmonized Zionist parties with the US policy declined on the level of their potential to attract, and the base of the far-right parties, which reject the issue of ‘Two-state-solution’ or freezing the settlement activity grew, especially in the aftermaths of the major migration from the previously-known Soviet Union and other places. This led to a change inside the Zionist society, in addition to the structure of its successive governments.

Second: Netanyahu’s impediment of Barack Obama’s attempts to revive negotiations with the Palestinian Authority based on freezing the settlement activity in the West Bank, and then the US signing of a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015. Netanyahu objected to it publicly and inside the US congress in a famous speech. Meanwhile, the dispersion within Netanyahu’s rival ‘Israeli’ parties didn’t allow the formation of a change that suits the US regional policy.  Trump came to power in 2016 to revive Netanyahu’s hopes about change that he didn’t dream about from the part of the American orientation on other levels [such as moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds, recognizing the ‘Israeli’ sovereignty in the Golan, supporting the settlement activity in the West Bank, cutting funds of the Palestinian refugees’ UNRWA agency, shutting the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, and encouraging the ‘Israeli’ normalization with Arab states regardless to the Palestinians.] A parallel US shift took place when Trump left the nuclear deal with Iran.

Third: Biden’s rising to power in Washington, which modified the ‘Israeli’ expectations. This is not limited to some differences regarding the traditional support of ‘Israel’ between America’s Republican and Democratic parties. The truth is that a change started to be witnessed in the public American mood in which a new political generation in the US, and inside the Democratic party is more liberal than its predecessors and doesn’t grant ‘Israel’ an ultimate support. It also cannot digest the rightist ‘Israeli’ thinking to ban the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the Palestinian people’s right to live on their land within internationally recognized borders. The ‘Israeli’ narrative, which has dominated the minds of the US elite over several decades regarding the right of Jews alone to establish their national Jewish state, has turned less tempting to many Americans. Additionally, the pro-Palestinian activism on social media platforms managed to breach the pro-‘Israel’ traditional media, in which Facebook and Twitter’s restrictions couldn’t curb this activism that was crystal-clear during the latest round of ‘Israeli’ aggression. It also scored important attractions in English and other foreign language.

Moreover, the Biden administration prioritizing of returning to the nuclear deal with Iran formed a separation from Netanyahu government’s orientations. He has started hinting to moving without an agreement from Washington, a matter that is not only underestimated in the US, but also among ‘Israeli’ milieus that are worried about losing the strategic alliance with the US.

Back to the house of obedience

After this third stop, ‘Israel’ returns to the so-called American ‘house of obedience’ or to adapting with the major US interests. This return is based upon avoiding confrontation with the US policies and their regional requirements to deal with the nuclear Iran in particular, reducing tension and difference with the American administration when dealing with the flaming Palestinian issue nowadays. However, it is not necessarily at the expense of the rightist tendencies regarding the settlement scheme that is the core of the Zionist project. The official US interest intersected with the internal ‘Israeli’ parties’ interests to remove Netanyahu from the scene. The US administration will take advantage of this shift in an attempt to revive negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the occupation’s government to delegitimize the Palestinian resistance and the Axis that supports it in the region. Washington is to offer significant motivations to the future Zionist right government, led by Naftali Bennett, to allow progress in negotiations. Hereby, new obstacles will emerge from the side of Netanyahu’s successors who publicly adopt a hardline track regarding the rights of the Palestinian people, especially regarding the evacuation of some occupied land, freezing settlement, or establishing the Palestinian state. This will later turn things to the previous empty circle on the level of negotiations.

It is worth noting that Biden’s administration is not totally free to dictate its policies on ‘Israel’, especially amid the contradictions within the US political environment and inside the democratic party itself. However, ‘Israel’s’ dire need to the US support is an existential need to bear the pressures and preserve the qualitative military superiority. This will push the next ‘Israeli’ government to reduce the public contact with the US to overcome the challenges posed in this phase.

Finally, it is important to examine the extent to which the future Zionist government would succeed in:

– Managing the internal chaos along with threats of physical killing among the right affiliates

– Managing the military confrontation with the Gaza Strip

– Managing the variations with the US administration regarding the Palestinian issue and the Iran nuclear deal

On the American level, it is important to note the US administration’s ability to:

– Pass the nuclear deal with Iran without shockwaves inside the US congress and the circles of the conservatives who are more sticking to the ‘Israeli’ interests

– Dealing with the critical Palestinian issue, militarily and politically, based on the results of the recent confrontation that raised the voice of the Palestinian resistance

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