The Israeli Settlers Dilemma

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Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times

Rimonim, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The vast majority of settlers vow never to leave the West Bank, but some see the occupation as wrong.

Greg Bacon’s blog

Benny Raz, 55, who has lived with his family in the settlement of Karnei Shomron since the mid-1990s, began to call for a way out in the past few years, asking the government to buy his house and those of his fellow settlers.

“My neighbors looked at me like I was a traitor or from another planet,” he recounted. He said that he was fired from his job in charge of settlement bus drivers and that his wife’s sandwich stand was boycotted and driven out of business.

“I get threatening phone calls telling me I am going to be killed,” he said. “Today, I carry a gun because I am afraid of the Jews, not the Arabs.”

West Bank land thieves want to be compensated for their crimes.

Not to worry, Uncle Sucker will rush to the rescue, handing over billions and billions to these illegal Zionist squatters, just like we did back in 2005, when Israel paid money to Israeli land thieves in Gaza.

Money that was reimbursed by Uncle Sam.

How sweet it is. First, you take over the land belonging to the indigenous Palestinians thru a never ending series of violent incursions, starting back in 1948 and you continue this land theft to this day, stealing what you want and either tossing in prison, for “security” purposes the locals or killing those “uppity” Palestinians who try and protect their ancient homeland or using some IDF thugs to terrorize the Palestinians into fleeing for their lives.

When the Palestinians have been disposed of, the Hasidic squatters move in, protected by the IDF, claiming the land as theirs, saying that no one was living there, so it’s our’s by divine right.

When some of these Hasidic land thieves start getting nervous that maybe stealing for a living might upset some people, they start looking for a way to get compensated for their crimes.

After the latest batch of land thieves are evacuated from parts of the West Bank, that will give the Shin Bet a prime opportunity to launch some of those Israeli made “Qassams” back into Israel, giving the Zionist Occupation Force the excuse it needs to go in and bomb parts of the West Bank into oblivion, for “security” purposes.

The Palestinians killed in these “security” operations will join the millions of other Palestinians, that have either been terrorized off their land or murdered by the world’s “most moral” army, the IDF.

All blessed and given protection by the Kabbbalistic number SIX, as in SIX BILION dollars to be paid to these Hasidic land thieves.

Settlers Who Long to Leave the West Bank

Read the rest: http://www.wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/9149


Israeli settlers steal land and distort the truth

Paul J. Balles

November 13, 2008

Paul J. Balles looks at how Israeli settlers – thieves, misfits and squatters – abuse terms such as “anti-Semitism” to distract from their crimes: stealing Palestinian land and property.

In April 2008, Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote in Forward about Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine:

Somehow, for American politicians or activists to express opposition to settlement expansion – or support for active American diplomacy, dialogue with Syria or engagement with Iran – has become subversive and radical, inviting vile, hateful emails and a place on public lists of Israel-haters and anti-Semites. For the particularly unlucky, it leads to public, personal attacks on one’s family and heritage.

From Al-Haq, an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organization:

The settlements in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories] violate a number of international legal norms, and their illegality has been recognized by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and several United Nations (UN) resolutions. They are a flagrant violation of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring parts of its civilian population into occupied territory.

Now, if my use of a phrase like “land thieves” is “very close to being a racial slur, and textbook anti-Semitic”, then I’m in good company. The accolade should also be accorded to other Semites – both Arab and Israeli – to the International Court of Justice, to B’tselem and several other organizations and prominent Israelis who have testified to the illegality of the settlements.

What is it that makes the settlements illegal? They have been built on stolen land. Who else steals land but land thieves? Be careful of mistaking legitimate criticism of Israel for racial slurs or anti-Semitism. It’s not only counter-productive, it’s nasty.

See the entire article: http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m48746&hd=&size=1&l=e


The Route to Durable Peace
Jewish and Arab friends share a playground at a school in Jerusalem. (Getty Images)

By Sam Leibowitz and Mazin Qumsiyeh

As the endless negotiations between Israeli government and Palestinian Authority officials regurgitate old arguments while making no progress, a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians are paying attention to other solutions than the supposed “two-state” outcome. They focus on the “one-democratic-state” solution—a proposal to establish a single, democratic and secular state in the area known as Israel/Palestine.

The concept of coexistence in a bi-national or one secular democratic state, granting equal rights to all its citizens regardless of their religion, is worthy of critical consideration. It is not a new concept. In the early days of the Zionist movement, it was promoted by Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, and Rabbi Judah Leib Magnes, who argued vociferously against a “Jewish state”. It was also a political position adopted by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in its more visible days, and by some Israeli parties in the 1950s.

Although it did not garner significant support in past decades, the idea has received new interest with the collapse of the Oslo process, and recently it has been the subject of books, research papers and conferences.

In the past eight years, over a dozen books were published, analysing carefully why a single democratic state is the only durable solution. They show that the two peoples would benefit a great deal more if they shared the resources of the land together within a democratic framework.

From every aspect – sociologically, economically, environmentally and security – Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if they learn to live together in a secular country, with a constitution modelled after the American one, guaranteeing civil liberties and separation of state from religion.

Certainly, it will be no easy feat to educate the two societies, after decades of war, oppression, colonisation and violence, to respect the human and civil rights of the other. Perhaps the most pressing obstacle is the perception within Israeli society that a single, democratic state poses a threat to the Jews living in Israel/Palestine. However, establishing a shared homeland for Israelis and Palestinians based on civil rights does not mean “the elimination of Israel,” as some politicians believe, any more than similar transformations in South Africa meant the elimination of South Africa. It will rather transform Israel, but this will be a positive transformation, repairing truly destructive aspects of present-day Israel and producing a new and better country.

Today’s Israel has failed to uphold the best of Jewish values; it has, in fact, perverted them by making Judaism an adjunct of a discriminatory and brutal state ideology. An Israel that is really true to the best of Jewish values cannot be exclusively Jewish. It is a strange but manifestly true irony that for Judaism and Israel to become really compatible, Israel must become a democratic, equalitarian and tolerant place.

Most commentators think that the removal of the 450,000 Israeli settlers currently living in the area of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) slated for a tiny Palestinian state is not feasible. But even if this issue is resolved, there are other, far more daunting, obstacles to the mythological “two-state” solution.

Israeli and Palestinian researchers have shown that only a single, democratic state, guaranteeing civil liberties to all its citizens and providing economic opportunity to its communities, can accommodate a just solution to the otherwise intractable refugee problem.

A democratic, secular state divested of national religious components will provide the sustainable framework needed for integrating the returning Palestinian refugees while, at the same time, allowing Israel to continue to thrive economically and technologically. Undoubtedly, it is also the best guarantee of security and peace for both societies.

Rather than engage in convening futile peace conferences that ignore human rights obligations and international law, politicians and policy makers would do well to get us all (Israelis and Palestinians) to sit down and start drafting a constitution that provides for joint security and economic development, and guarantees civil liberties to all. That is the real roadmap to a durable and just peace.

-Sam Leibowitz is an Israeli civil rights attorney and a graduate of American University Washington College of Law LL.M. programme in international law. Mazin Qumsiyeh a is professor at Bethlehem University and the author of the book Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle. (This article is distributed by the Common Ground News Service (CGNews) with permission from the Jordan Times

Source: http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=14384

Also see:

Just Another Week in Palestine

Israel Tightens the Chokehold on Village Entrepreneurs: The Withering Palestinian Economy

When & How the Jewish People Was Invented

What If 750,000 Israelis Were Blockaded and Denied Food?


Are You Ready to Face the Facts About Israel?

Posted on

July 25, 2008

by Paul Craig Roberts

Baqa's camp 1985Palestinian refugee camp, 1952.

“On October 21 (1948) the Government of Israel took a decision that was to have a lasting and divisive effect on the rights and status of those Arabs who lived within its borders: the official establishment of military government in the areas where most of the inhabitants were Arabs.”
– Martin Gilbert, Israel: A History

I had given up on finding an American with a moral conscience and the courage to go with it and was on the verge of retiring my keyboard when I met the Rev. Thomas L. Are.

Rev. Are is a Presbyterian pastor who used to tell his Atlanta, Georgia, congregation: “I am a Zionist.” Like most Americans, Rev. Are had been seduced by Israeli propaganda and helped to spread the propaganda among his congregation.

Around 1990 Rev. Are had an awakening for which he credits the Christian Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem and author Marc Ellis, co-editor of the book, Beyond Occupation.

Realizing that his ignorance of the situation on the ground had made him complicit in great crimes, Rev. Are wrote a book hoping to save others from his mistake and perhaps in part to make amends, Israeli Peace/Palestinian Justice, published in Canada in 1994.

Rev. Are researched his subject and wrote a brave book. Keep in mind that 1994 was long prior to Walt and Mearsheimer’s recent book, which exposed the power of the Israel Lobby and its ability to control the explanation Americans receive about the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Rev. Are begins with an account of Israel’s opening attack on the Palestinians, an event which took place before most Americans alive today were born. He quotes the distinguished British historian, Arnold J. Toynbee: “The treatment of the Palestinian Arabs in 1947 (and 1948) was as morally indefensible as the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis. Though nor comparable in quantity to the crimes of the Nazis, it was comparable in quality.”

Golda Meir, considered by Israelis as a great leader and by others as one of history’s great killers, disputed the facts: “It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”

Golda Meir’s apology for Israel’s great crimes is so counter-factual that it blows the mind. Palestinian refugee camps still exist outside Palestine filled with Palestinians and their descendants whose towns, villages, homes and lands were seized by the Israelis in 1948. Rev. Are provides the reader with Na’im Ateek’s description of what happened to him, an 11-year old, when the Jews came to take Beisan on May 12, 1948. Entire Palestinian communities simply disappeared.

In 1949 the United Nations counted 711,000 Palestinian refugees.

In 2005 the United Nations Relief and Works Agency estimated 4.25 million Palestinians and their descendants were refugees from their homeland.

The Israeli policy of evicting non-Jews has continued for six decades. On June 19, 2008, the Laity Committee in the Holy Land reported in Window Into Palestine that the Israeli Ministry of Interior is taking away the residency rights of Jerusalem Christians who have been reclassified as “visitors in their own city.”

On December 10, 2007, MK Ephraim Sneh boasted in the Jerusalem Post that Israel had achieved “a true Zionist victory” over the UN partition plan “which sought to establish two nations in the land of Israel.” The partition plan had assigned Israel 56 percent of Palestine, leaving the inhabitants with only 44 percent. But Israel had altered this over time. Sneh proudly declared: “When we complete the permanent agreement, we will hold 78 percent of the land while the Palestinians will control 22 percent.”

Sneb could have added that the 22 percent is essentially a collection of unconnected ghettos cut off from one another and from roads, water, medical care, and jobs.

Rev. Are documents that the abuse of Palestinians’ human rights is official Israeli policy. Killings, torture, and beatings are routine. On May 17, 1990, the Washington Post reported that Save the Children “documented indiscriminate beating, tear-gassing and shooting of children at home or just outside the house playing in the street, who were sitting in the classroom or going to the store for groceries.”

On January 19, 1988, Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, later Prime Minister, announced the policy of “punitive beating” of Palestinians. The Israelis described the purpose of punitive beating: “Our task is to recreate a barrier and once again put the fear of death into the Arabs of the area.”

According to Save the Children, beatings of children and women are common. Rev. Are, citing the report in the Washington Post, writes: “Save the Children concluded that one-third of beaten children were under ten years old, and one-fifth under the age of five. Nearly a third of the children beaten suffered broken bones.”

On February 8, 1988, Newsweek magazine quoted an Israeli soldier: “We got orders to knock on every door, enter and take out all the males. The younger ones we lined up with their faces against the wall, and soldiers beat them with billy clubs. This was no private initiative, these were orders from our company commander…. After one soldier finished beating a detainee, another soldier called him ‘you Nazi,’ and the first man shot back: ‘You bleeding heart.’ When one soldier tried to stop another from beating an Arab for no reason, a fist fight broke out.”

These were the old days before conscience was eliminated from the ranks of the Israeli military.

In the London Sunday Times, June 19, 1977, Ralph Schoenman, executive director of the Bertrand Russell Foundation, wrote: “Israeli interrogators routinely ill-treat and torture Arab prisoners. Prisoners are hooded or blindfolded and are hung by their wrists for long periods. Most are struck in the genitals or in other ways sexually abused. Most are sexually assaulted. Others are administered electric shock.”

Amnesty International concluded that “there is no country in the world in which the use of official and sustained torture is as well established and documented as in the case of Israel.”

Even the pro-Israeli Washington Post reported: “Upon arrest, a detainee undergoes a period of starvation, deprivation of sleep by organized methods and prolonged periods during which the prisoner is made to stand with his hands cuffed and raised, a filthy sack covering the head. Prisoners are dragged on the ground, beaten with objects, kicked, stripped and placed under ice-cold showers.”

Sounds like Abu Gharib. There are news reports that Israeli torture experts participated in the torture of the detainees assembled by the American military as part of the Bush Regime’s propaganda onslaught to convince Americans that Iraq was overflowing with al-Qaeda terrorists. On July 23, 2008, Antiwar.com posted an Iraqi news report that the Iraqi government had released a total of 109,087 Iraqis that the Americans had “detained.” Obviously, these “terrorist detainees” had been used for the needs of Bush Regime propaganda. No one will ever know how many of them were abused by Israeli torturers imported by the CIA.

Rev. Are’s book makes sensible suggestions for resolving the conflict that Israel began. However, the problem is that Israeli governments believe only in force. The policy of the Israeli government has always been to beat, kill, and brutalize Palestinians into submission and flight. Anyone who doubts this can read the book of Israel’s finest historian Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006).

Americans are a gullible and naive people. They have been complicit for 60 years in crimes that in Arnold Toynbee’s words “are comparable in quality” to the crimes of Nazi Germany. As Toynbee was writing decades ago, the accumulated Israeli crimes might now be comparable also in quantity.

The US routinely vetoes United Nations condemnations of Israel for its brutal crimes against the Palestinians. Insouciant American taxpayers have been bled for a half century to provide the Israelis with superior military weapons with which Israelis assault their neighbors, all the while convincing America – essentially a captive nation – that Israel is the victim.

John F. Mahoney wrote: “Thomas Are reminds me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: an active pastor who comes to the unsettling realization that he and his people have been fed a terrible lie that is killing and torturing thousands of innocent men, women and children. Not without ample research and prayer does such a pastor, in turn, risk unsettling his congregation. The Reverend Are has done his homework and, I suspect, has prayed often and long during the writing of this courageous book.”

Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran theologian and pastor who was executed for his active participation in the German Resistance against Nazism.

Professor Benjamin M. Weir, San Francisco Theological Seminary, wrote: “This book will make the reader squirm. It asks you to lend your voice in behalf of the voiceless.”

Americans who can no longer think for themselves and who are terrified of disapproval by their peer group are incapable of lending their voices to anyone except those who control the world of propaganda in which they live.

The ignorance and unconcern of Americans is a great frustration to my friends in the Israeli peace movement. Without outside support those Israelis who believe in good will are deprived, by America’s support for their government’s policy of violence, of any peaceful resolution of a conflict began in 1947 by Israeli aggression against unsuspecting Palestinian villages.

Rev. Are wrote his book with the hope that the pen is mightier than the sword and that facts can crowd out propaganda and create a framework for a just resolution of the Palestinian issue. In his concluding chapter, “What Christians Can Do,” Rev. Are writes: “We cannot allow others to dictate our thinking on any subject, especially on anything as important as Christian faithfulness, which is tested by an attitude towards seeking justice for the oppressed. It’s a Christian’s duty to know.”

Duty, of course, has costs. Rev. Are writes: “Speak up for the Palestinians and you will make enemies. Yet, as Christians, we must be willing to raise issues that until now we have chosen to dodge.”

More than a decade later, President Jimmy Carter, a true friend of Israel, tried again to awaken Americans’ moral conscience with his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Carter was instantly demonized by the Israel Lobby.

Sixty years of efforts by good and humane people to hold Israel accountable have so far failed, but they are more important today than ever before. Israel has its captive American nation on the verge of attacking Iran, the consequences of which could be catastrophic for all concerned. The alleged purpose of the attack is to eliminate nonexistent Iranian nuclear weapons. The real reason is to eliminate all support for Hamas and Hezbollah so that Israel can seize the entire West Bank and southern Lebanon. The Bush regime is eager to do Israel’s bidding, and the media and evangelical “Christian” churches have been preparing the American people for the event.

It is paradoxical that Israel is demonstrating that veracity lies not in the Christian belief in good will but in Lenin’s doctrine that violence is the effective force in history and that the evangelical Christian Zionist churches agree.

Source: http://www.antiwar.com/roberts/?articleid=13193

Post by way of: http://mparent7777-1.livejournal.com/

Barack Obama needs more than “wail” at the Wailing Wall to win the “Jewish Vote”. He needs to go to war.

Posted on

Jefferson Corner

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, left, watches as Barack Obama inserts a message into a crack in the Western Wall in old city Jerusalem on Thursday.

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Paul J. Richards / AFP – Getty Images

The television pictures of Barack Obama at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem truly reflects Barack Obama predicament with the American Jewish voters mainly the die hard Zionists in America both the Jews and Evangelical Christians. Obama needs more than”wail” and more than insert his wish and prayers for the Jewish votes on a piece of paper in the Wailing Wall to win the Jewish votes. He needs to go to war.

American presidential candidates and for the last 40 years have to do more than “wail” at the doors of American Jewish lobbies in the United States. Presidential candidates have to sell their body and soul to the “devil” to win the powerful American Jewish votes and of course the money that comes with it. To do that and as we all recall, all of them promises Israeli more than Israel wish to have. All of them and Obama is no exception, promises Israel; money, land, security, weapons and more weapons,legal coverage for its criminal occupation, legal coverage for its human rights violations and legal coverage for its war crimes, they also throw in their mothers, wives and even their mother-in-laws to win AIPAC and the Jewish votes.

No American presidential candidates dare say “no” to Israel and dare say “no” to what AIPAC, the American Jewish lobby dictate and orders them to do. It is AIPAC that dictates the policies not the presidential candidates. It is AIPC that set the tone, the music and the candidates are expected to dance its tunes and of course shut up unless told to open their mouths lest they say something that is of importance to America or reflects some of the great values that makes American the great nation it is. But then winning AIPAC and its powerful support does not necessarily guarantee winning the White House.

Too bad for Barack Obama, the man who made “CHANGE” his platform for the presidency to lack the political and moral and ethical power to extend his theme of “CHANGE” to US policies in the Middle East and in particular the US policies of blind support of the illegal and criminal Israeli and Jewish Occupation. It seems that Barack Obama does not have what it takes to implement a badly needed “change” toward Israel and its occupation and its crimes for the last 60 years. Seeing Dennis Ross at his side in Ramallah does not bode will for peace. Dennis Ross a die hard Zionists could never be a man who commits the US to a fair play in the Middle East. He is responsible for Bill Clinton’s failed policies in the Middle East. He reduced and broken down all issues to so many sub-issues , that ending the military and Settlers occupation was not on the table. He did every thing to water down the issue of the Occupation and Settlements and made it impossible for peace to take place. Yes, Arafat was a very incompetent, corrupt, narcissist leaders but then it is Israel that set America’s and Dennis Ross agenda, and it is Dennis Ross who represented both Israel and the US in dealing with Arafat. The US as a party and a partner to the Israeli Occupation could never be an honest broker, never.

Instead of making ending the Israeli Military and Jewish Settlers Occupation as the “core” issue, Dennis Ross and his colleagues within the American Zionists movement, made “security” for Israel as the main issue and conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. With Security being the “core” issue they went ahead and allowed for the expansions of Settlements, went ahead and allowed for building the Apartheid Wall, allowed for the arrests of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians without ever coming up for trials, allowed for the expansions of security check points, making life for the Palestinians hell. Dennis Ross and his friends within AIPAC did not speak of or work toward ending the Occupation, they worked so hard to make sure that peace, based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338 will never happen. Certainly Barack Obama did not do himself a big favor for having AIPAC as his chief policy advisers on the Israeli-Arab conflict. If AIPAC and American Jewish advisers wanted peace, they could have achieved that long time ago. Peace is not on the agenda of AIPAC and certainly peace will not be on the agenda of Barack Obama. Perhaps Senator Barack Obama needs to go beyond the American Jewish lobby to help him formulate his independent policies toward Israel and peace in the Middle East. Perhaps he needs to “change” and go somewhere else for advice. I am sure there must be one, perhaps two in the United States who are expert on the Middle East, who are not Jewish, not Zionists and not AIPAC. If Obama could not find one, then perhaps can go to Israel and pick one or two Israelis who may be more pro-peace than his team of Dennis Ross and AIPAC. One would think that a candidate who wants “change” will chose different team members with new ideas and who are independent from the American Jewish lobby, AIPAC. Peace for Israel will put AIPAC out of business. Peace for Israel will end AIPAC power and monopoly over US Congress and peace for Israel if not end then reduces AIPAC power and control over the American Jewish community and allows the US to play the active role of a fair and honest broker. Blood, both Jewish and Arabs makes the money flow to the coffer of AIPAC and this blood money allows AIPAC to take charge of US policies in the Middle East and becomes Barack Obama chief policy advisers on the Middle East. The same people who brought us the War on Iraq as a chief policy objectives of the United States and who are working so hard to bring us the War on Iran as the main agenda for the new administration.

I am of the opinion that Barack Obama “wailing” at the Wailing Wall will not win him the Jewish votes he needs to win the presidency, since most Jews continue to believe he is a “closet Muslim” not to be trusted and of course being Black does not help either. Nothing short of going to War on Iran and agreeing to Greater Israel and its Settlements and nothing short of “giving” the West Bank and Gaza to Israel as parts of the Jewish States will do. Nothing short of accepting and guaranteeing the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians from the “Jewish State” will do. There will be some who will demand that Barack Obama put his soul, independence, sense of morality and conscious in trust in AIPAC vault to be released at the end of his presidency. Too bad the man who promised “change” sold his soul to the devil that is AIPAC. If he does that to win the office, one can imagine what he will do to stay in office. Is this the same Barack Obama who promised “Changed” in Washington and America? certainly not. He is Barack Obama the politician, no different from all the others. Too bad Barack Obama chose not, or ordered not to see first hand the Apartheid Wall as it breaks down families and farms, the more than five hundred checkpoints more cruel than that seen by 500 years of slavery. Perhaps he chose not see all of this lest these sites invoke some moral consciousness. Too bad for Obama, too bad for Israel, certainly too bad for America.

Source: Jefferson Corner

Jeff Halper’s "An Israeli in Palestine" – Part II

Posted on

Friday, July 25, 2008

by Stephen Lendman
According to Israeli-based author and journalist Jonathan Cook, Halper’s book is “one of the most insightful analyses of the Occupation I’ve read. His voice cries out to be heard” on the region’s longest and most intractable conflict. Part II continues the story.

Part III: The Structure of Oppression – Expanding Dispossession, The Occupation and the Matrix of Control

What 1948 left undone, 1967 completed – securing control over the entire “Holy Land” with the seizure of Gaza, the West Bank and all of Jerusalem. Nishul’s fifth stage began and today includes expanding West Bank settlements and continued displacement inside Israel.

After the Six-Day War, all Palestinians came under military rule, and “a comprehensive Matrix of Control was implemented to perpetuate Israeli control forever.” A problem arose, however, as international law prohibits an occupier from remaining permanently. Israel’s Attorney General, Meir Shamgar, got around it in typical Israeli fashion. No “occupation” exists so Israel didn’t violate Geneva or other international law. In other words, “occupation” only occurs when one sovereign state conquers another, so presto – Palestine wasn’t sovereign and Israel did nothing illegal.

This has no legitimacy in international law, yet Israel gets away with it, and it’s the reason it calls the West Bank (and formerly Gaza) “disputed,” not “occupied.” Furthermore, Shamgar’s ruling affected Supreme Court decisions ever since and lets Israel expand its settlement project on annexed Palestinian land.

Immediately after the 1967 war, the Labor government began “integrating Judea, Samaria and Gaza to Israel.” After Menachem Begin’s 1977 election, he appointed Ariel Sharon to head a Ministerial Committee on Settlements and gave him the job to do it. He was charged with two tasks:

— create irreversible “facts on the ground;”

— prevent any chance of a sovereign Palestinian state; and begin implementing a formal “Matrix of Control” – an almost “invisible system…behind a facade of ‘proper administration,’ thus protecting Israel’s” democratic image to this day.

It has four modes of control:

(1) Administrative, Bureaucracy, Planning and Law as Tools of Occupation and Control

They include rules, restrictions, procedures and sanctions under Military orders regulating everything in Occupied Palestine. For example, 72% of the West Bank was classified as “state lands” making seizure a simple administrative task. A further 400 square miles were designated as closed “military zones,” and more restrictions covered zoned “nature reserves.”

Military commanders also have authority to prohibit Palestinian construction for security reasons or to ensure “public order.” Hundreds of other military orders forbid Palestinian building around army bases, installations, settlements, or within 200 meters on each side of main roads. This effectively closes off tens of thousands of acres from their rightful owners. At the same time, settlement expansion continues, and measures in place use every means possible to advance them.

Administrative restrictions among them like requiring Palestinians to get permits to plant crops on their own land, sell it, or have them for their own use. Opening banks and businesses are also curtailed through a process of licensing and inspections to harass the owners and harm the Palestinian economy.

Control encompasses everything. Resistance is called “terrorism,” and legal gymnastics justify assassinations in the name of national security. Mass imprisonments as well. Uncharged victims held administratively. Extensive use of torture. All of it under the radar with a wink and a nod from the West.

(2) Economic Warfare

From 1967 to the Oslo process, “asymmetric containment” defined economic policy in the Territories. The idea was to keep cheap products and labor from competing advantageously with Israel and to prevent Palestinians from gaining economic strength. So constraints were placed on them:

— preventing their opening a bank;

— implementing tariffs and subsidies to advantage Israeli businesses;

— various import controls disadvantaging Palestinians;

— de-developing the Palestinian economy through lack of infrastructure development, housing and key services;

— expropriating agricultural land;

— preventing Palestinian produce from reaching Israeli markets; and

— implementing internal closure policies to impede Palestinian business inside the Territories.

Israel eased off somewhat during the Oslo years, but the Paris Economic Protocol annex to Oslo II (in 1995) assured total Israeli control over the Palestinian economy. Today economic closure is total under strict Israeli measures:

— control over industrial and commercial enterprise licensing;

— issuance of import and export permits; and

— a nightmarish bureaucracy controlling all facets of Palestinian commerce.

It devastated the economy. Most manufacturing is shut down, and 70% of Palestinians companies either closed or severely cut production and staff. Unemployment is staggering – 67% in Gaza and 48% in the West Bank at the time of Halper’s writing. Today it’s higher. Without jobs, Palestinians have no income source. Poverty levels are at 75% or higher. Most people live on $2 a day or less. External food and other aid is essential. Still 30% or more of Palestinian children under age five suffer from malnutrition. With Gaza now under siege, it’s far higher there and dangerously so. It remains to be seen what effect the cease-fire will have.

Israel also controls fuel, water, electricity, phone and other services, and when available they’re at higher prices than Israelis pay. The result is “profound structural imbalances in the Palestinian economy and (an) artificial dependence upon Israel.” A “deliberate de-development” scheme as well is in place with international investment cut off and Gaza’s airport and sea port destroyed during the second Intifada.

Conditions are so extreme that one UN official complained that he doesn’t “know of another conflict area in the world” with these type problems. Nor is there one the entire world is so dismissive of or practically so.

(3) Creating “Facts on the Ground”

Israel began the process with the Six Day War still raging. Ever since, disconnected cantons were created to cement settlements and make control irreversible. Following the Gulf War, the Madrid peace conference promised hope and was the catalyst for Oslo. They established a vaguely-defined negotiating process, specified no outcome, and let Israel delay, refuse to make concessions, and continue colonizing the Territories.

In return, Palestinians got nothing for renouncing armed struggle, recognizing Israel’s right to exist, and leaving major unresolved issues for indefinite later final status talks. They include an independent Palestinian state, the Right of Return, the future of Israeli settlements, borders, water rights, and status of Jerusalem as sovereign Palestinian territory and future home of its capital.

Oslo I led to Oslo II in September 1995. It called for further Israeli troop redeployments beyond Gaza and major West Bank population centers and later from all rural areas except around Israeli settlements and designated military zones. The process divided the West Bank into three parts – each with distinct borders, administrative and security controls – Areas A, B and C plus a fourth area for Greater Jerusalem:

— Area A under Palestinian control for internal security, public order and civil affairs;

— Area B under Palestinian civil control for 450 West Bank towns and villages with Israel having overriding authority to safeguard its settlers’ security; and

— Area C and its water resources under Israeli control; settlements as well on the West Bank’s most valuable land.

The Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum followed and was agreed to by Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak in September 1999. It implemented Oslo II and other post-Oslo I agreements. Months later came “permanent status” talks in July 2000. Promises became betrayal, and Barak’s “generous offer” was fake leaving Arafat no choice to reject it. But not without being blamed for spurning an “unprecedented” chance for peace. Barak insisted Arafat sign a “final agreement,” declare an “end of conflict,” and give up any legal basis for additional land in the Territories. There was no Israeli offer in writing, and no documents or maps were presented.

Barak’s offer consisted of a May 2000 West Bank map dividing the area into four isolated cantons under Palestinian administration surrounded by expanding Israeli settlements and other Israeli-controlled land. They got no link to each other or to Jordan. They consisted of:

— Jericho;

— the southern canton to Abu Dis;

— a northern one, including Nablus, Jenin and Tulkarm; and

— a central one, including Ramallah. Gaza was left in limbo as a fifth canton and “resolved” when Israel “disengaged” in August and September 2005 but kept total control; the right to reenter any time for any reason; and, as it turned out, to impose a medieval siege.

Barak’s deal was no deal, all take and no give, with no chance for reconciliation or resolution of the most intractable issues. Halper calls it “a subtle yet crucial tweaking of the Matrix.” Rather than defend all Israeli settlements, Barak defined seven “blocs” to remain under Israeli control under any future agreement.

Overall, Israel maintains total control of the Territories and occupies most of the West Bank with expanding settlements, by-pass roads, Separation Wall, military areas and no-go zones. Palestinians are tightly confined in disconnected cantons. Checkpoints and other obstacles restrict free movement, and no possibility exists for a viable sovereign state as of now.

Halper gave a “brief tour” of Israel’s settlement blocs. Below they’re listed briefly:

— the Jordan Valley as Israel’s eastern “security border;” it separates Palestinians from Jordan;

— the “Western Samaria” bloc centered around the city of Ariel; it virtually divides the West Bank;

— the Modi’in bloc connects the Western Samaria Bloc to Jerusalem; it contains some of the West Bank’s richest agricultural land;

— the three settlement blocs of (1)Givat Ze’ev, (2) Ma’aleh Adumim and (3) Gush Etzion, Efrat-Beitar, Illit, comprise “Greater Jerusalem;” they contain 97 square miles and house 80,000 settlers; along with Israeli-controlled Jerusalem and its 240,000 settlers, it dominates the West Bank, destroys its territorial contiguity, and prevents any hope for a viable Palestinian state; and

— the Hebron bloc in the southern West Bank.

They’re all linked by 29 highways and by-pass for-Jews only roads. Finally, there’s the Separation Wall. Construction began in June 2002. The World Court ruled it illegal. Israel continues building it. It’s nearly complete, and when finished will be 721 kilometers in length or five times longer than the Berlin Wall and more imposing with its sensors, trenches, security roads, mine fields, checkpoints, terminals, watchtowers, surveillance cameras, electronic sensory devices and military patrols using killer dogs. It entraps 50,000 Palestinians, steals their land, and has nothing to do with purported security. It’s a plain and simple land grab combined with enclosing Palestinians inside disconnected cantons.

(4) Military Controls and Military Strikes

Israel’s Matrix conceals its “Iron Fist” that when unleashed is very visible and destructive. During both Intifadas, major operations were launched killing hundreds of Palestinians and wounding thousands more, mostly innocent civilians. Operations Defensive Shield (March-April 2002), Rainbow (May 2004), Summer and Autumn Rains (second half 2006) are just three among many. Israel’s “Iron Wall” shows no mercy.

Concluding Dispossession: Oslo and Unilateral Separation

Oslo represented nishul’s sixth stage, “a kind of occupation-by-consent,” according to Halper. It’s explained above with a few more comments to add. Israel’s “security” is key to any peace process. So is getting Palestinian acquiescence to all Israeli demands and being willing to act as its enforcer. The process was flawed by design, collapsed under its own weight, led to the second Intifada, and awakened peace activists to be more proactive for their cause. It also inspired Halper to establish ICAHD, and he’s been active in it since.

Oslo’s failure got Israelis to “hunker down” and make “security” their foremost issue. It also explains their willingness to elect Ariel Sharon Prime Minister. Halper says “Everything he did had a clear focus and purpose: beating the Palestinians into submission, extending Israel’s sovereignty to the Jordan River and preventing the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.” He would complete the final nishul stage, and by luck he took power along with George Bush, his close friend and willing co-conspirator. They had a common agenda and 9/11 advanced it – in four decisive stages:

(1) Defeating the Palestinians Once and For All

It began with Sharon’s controversial visit to the Haram/Temple Mount on September 28, 2000 before he was elected Prime Minister. It ignited the second Intifada the result of years of frustration over a “dead-end” peace process. It was also inspired by Hezbollah’s forcing Israel’s May 2000 South Lebanon withdrawal.

Anger and discontent built and finally erupted on September 29. Israel responded harshly. A cycle of resistance and retaliation followed, and the struggle persisted since despite its formal 2005 end. The first five days were especially bloody. Before a single Israeli soldier was targeted, the IDF unleashed over a million projectiles – bullets, shells, air-to-surface missiles, chemical weapons and more against a civilian population in clear violation of international law that classifies this as war crimes. Palestinian deaths numbered over 170. Another 7000 were wounded. It was just the beginning, and Sharon once in office unleashed it full force with Khan Yunis and its refugee camp one of his first targets.

With 60,000 residents, it’s one of the most crowded places on earth. The IDF attacked it and obliterated an entire neighborhood. In April 2002, it invaded Jenin’s refugee camp, home of 13,000 Palestinians in the northern West Bank. It cut it off from outside help. Jenin city as well. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed. People were buried under rubble. Power and water were cut off. Food and essentials kept out, including medical aid, and dozens of mostly civilian men, women and children were killed and many more injured and displaced.

Similar campaigns went on throughout the West Bank that took a terrible toll on the people and left all its cities “smoldering.” Palestinian infrastructure was notably targeted – houses, roads and physical infrastructure. Institutional also, including government ministry data banks for Health, Education, and Higher Education. Affected were NGOs, research institutes, human rights organizations and everything a modern state needs to function.

It was the beginning of the end for Yasser Arafat. No longer a “reliable” ally, he was targeted for removal. His Ramallah headquarters was destroyed, save for a room or two where Sharon imprisoned him. Every Palestinian city, town and village was under siege as well and subjected to police state repression, curfews and midnight raids against helpless civilians. Thousands of acres of farmland and olive groves were leveled. “Security” is always the reason. Harassment explains it better – the beating of all resistance out of contained people with no outside support for help. David v. Goliath hardly defines it.

(2) Completing the Matrix of Control

The Separation Wall is the end process and is now nearly complete. Israel has all the choice land and settlements it needs, and in September 2004 unveiled a plan for Palestinian-only roads to assure they stay disconnected from Israeli ones.

(3) Getting American Approval for the Annexation of the Settlement Blocs

For this, the Road Map was announced in March 2003. George Bush was reluctant but agreed. If serious, it held promise, but that was too much to expect. From the start, it was a dead letter, and Israel’s intransigence killed it although technically it’s still alive. It promises a two-state solution, but not the one Israel envisions – disconnected, cantonized and no state at all for Palestinians who reject it out of hand. It can only work if imposed unilaterally and only for so long. For now, Bush is on board with Israel. Negotiations are at a dead end, and the year end Annapolis conference was a combination tragedy and travesty. It was the first time in memory the legitimate government of one side was excluded from discussions, and that alone doomed them.

(4) Implementation of the Cantonization Plan

In December 2003, Sharon launched some called “the maneuver of the century.” It refers to his 2005 Gaza “disengagement” as a ploy to secure greater West Bank control and give up nothing in return. In March 2006, he suffered a stroke, became incapacitated, and Ehud Olmert took over to “nail down” Sharon’s key objective – “a permanent solution, an end of the Occupation based on the notion of cantonization.” It would have to be unilateral as Palestinians were offered nothing.

Olmert conceived his “Convergence Plan” to control all land Israel wants and maintain separation from Palestinians. It’s the same idea as Begin’s Palestinian “autonomy,” Sharon’s cantonization, unilateral separation, the Matrix of Control, and the Oslo process while it lasted. A Palestinian state would be offered between Israel’s two eastern borders, a mere truncated territory with no potential and little sovereignty. It will be imposed unilaterally, but that contradicts the Road Map that requires negotiation. So Olmert switched his “convergence” to “realignment” – finessing a border one. Palestinians get their state but a “transitional” one with “provisional borders,” according the Road Map’s Phase II. The problem is no Phase III will follow to assure an “independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state.”

If Israel manages this, it wins and Palestinians lose. It can claim the Occupation’s end, a two-state solution in place, and the conflict for the victor ended. So far, Palestinians want none of it. Olmert is beset with corruption problems, and final resolution remains a long way off.

Part IV: Overcoming Oppression – Redeeming Israel

Here’s where things now stand. “Israel/Palestine (is) at a crossroads.” Israel’s political leadership believes it’s won. The settlement project is in place. It “ensures permanent control over the entire Land of Israel.” Palestine is cantonized. The “facts on the ground” are established. America is on board. So are Europeans. The Arab world is indifferent. A mere political act will make Occupation permanent. Israel offers no concessions, Palestinians have no say, and as of now have no chance for a fair and equitable solution – or so Israel thinks. Is it so?

Halper’s view is this, and many share it: Ultimately, Israel will fail in its attempt “to transform its Matrix of Control (and permanent Occupation) into a stable, peaceful state of affairs.” Oppressed people everywhere “have one source of leverage: the power to say ‘no.’ ” And Palestinians have said it for six decades. For six more if they have to. For as long as it takes to get the justice they deserve. For all their wishes? Maybe not, but enough to matter and be able to end the most intractable conflict anywhere. Be assured – it will happen, one way or other, at some future time.

Hamas is a powerful symbol – of the future – the power to say “no,” or as Halper puts it: “To hell with”……Israel, its Matrix of Control, America, the international community, the dismissive Arab world, and corrupted Fatah. We won’t submit; won’t play your rigged game; won’t let you crush us; won’t let you deny us our rights; in the end you’ll come to us, and we’ll prevail. If six decades of struggle doesn’t prove it, what then will. We’ll give you six more, and more still. Had enough? Now we’ll set the terms. Think it can’t happen? Read on.

One day Israel and the world community will reach an inevitable conclusion. The price of Occupation is too great – regional instability, global also, continued war, maybe nuclear, and a potential cost far too great to risk. Push will come to shove when it’s too great to chance.

Palestinians like Jews and people everywhere have national rights of self-determination provided they don’t impinge on others with equal rights. Ethnocracies like Israel don’t work. Nor do they in the Muslim or Christian worlds. And understand the distinction. France for the French and Mexico for Mexicans aren’t the same as Israel for the Jews. France like most countries have Christians, Jews, Muslims, whatever – all entitled to equal rights under law. Israel only affords them only to Jews – an untenable system doomed to fail. When it’s realized, push will have come to shove, and then some.

So where are we, and what’s ahead? Halper doesn’t have a solution, but he offers an approach based on “indispensable” elements:

(1) National expression for the two peoples –

Jews and Palestinians both claim self-determination rights in the same country. Logically, it calls for a two-state or bi-national one-state solution.

(2) Viability –

The two-state option requires real sovereignty for Palestinians to be viable – self rule, over borders, basic resources, and so forth.

(3) Refugees –

The Right of Return is essential or something close enough to matter. Most important – Palestinians have the right to choose. International law backs them. It doesn’t give Israel a pass.

(4) A regional dimension –

Adopting a regional approach opens new options. Middle East countries have a stake in what affects them.

(5) Regional Security –

Israel’s only chance for peace and stability is to achieve a just peace with the Palestinians and integrate fairly in the greater region. Playing hegemon won’t do it. In the end, militarism always fails.

Enormous obstacles must be overcome to achieve any meaningful settlement: locked in attitudes, decades of failure, unresponsive governments, much the same for the UN, so where does that leave things – world public opinion, people of conscience, on a global scale, from the grassroots, creating a groundswell for change. Can it happen? Not easily, but Halper offers a “reframing.”

(1) Conceptualizing the conflict: how to secure mutual national rights –

Reconciling mutually opposing rights is key to a meaningful just solution.

(2) Defining the problem: security v. occupation and a proactive expansion policy –

Palestinians have been conciliatory; willing to compromise; accept a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders (22% of historic Palestine); Israel flatly refuses; diktats, not compromise is its strategy; “security” the mantra; the outcome – win-lose.

Only a rights-based win-win solution can work; one under international law; apartheid is untenable; human rights reframing advances the de-colonization argument; why elsewhere but not in Israel.

Sum it up and here are Halper’s choices:

(1) a traditional two-state solution –

A viable Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories is unrealistic given Israeli settlements with 500,000 Jews in them.

(2) An “Israel plus-Palestinian minus” two-state solution: the Israeli option –

It’s a non-starter for Palestinians – a semi-sovereign, hardly viable, disconnected, South African-style apartheid system.

(3) A single-state solution: multi-national and democratic –

The best choice, but is it workable? Transforming a Jewish state into a democratic one faces enormous obstacles. Maybe one day but not soon.

(4) A regional confederation –

It’s more complex, “less elegant,” but for Halper the only workable choice, and he compares it to the EU – balancing national autonomy with freedom to live and/or work anywhere in the union. It neutralizes Occupation, gets Palestinians out of their trap by allowing them wider economic, social, and geographic opportunities within the region. It’s fair and win-win, and he suggests a “two-stage” process:

(a) A Palestinian State alongside Israel –

Essentially what now exists for starters with “stage two” to follow; a “way out of the trap” – an international community regional confederation guarantee within, for example, a decade. That assures viability.

(b) A regional confederation leading to a wider Middle East confederation –

The international community must take charge; set the terms; get everyone on board; and begin say with Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Later bring in Egypt, others and eventually all regional states – a full-blown Middle East Union, like the EU.

Settlements can stay in place; Israel needn’t offer Palestinians citizenship; but nishul must stop, allow Palestinians out of their trap; and bring an end to conflict because its reason no longer exists. Details are important and must carefully be worked out, but on a fair and equitable basis to both sides and all regional states. It’s no simple task, maybe one too great, but look at the possibilities:

— ending the longest and most intractable conflict anywhere;

— stopping it from getting worse; endangering the region; beyond it as well;

— transforming Israel from an ethnocracy to a legitimate democratic state diplomatically recognized by its neighbors; and

— allowing Jews and Muslims to live in peace; then both with everyone everywhere; imagine the possibilities; the alternative is hopelessness: Jews will also suffer; ethnocracy is self-destructive; the way out is justice; a little compromise for a lot of gain; win-win; Halper sees Israel going beyond peace to redemption, committed to human rights, and beginning the journey to get there.

What About Terrorism?

First off, distinguish between individual/group v. the far greater state kind. Then consider aggressors and victims, one act begetting another, an eventual vicious circle, and nations claiming the high ground when they’re at fault – “worthy” victims of “unworthy” ones even when they act in self-defense.

The real issues is life. It’s sacred, and taking it from non-combatants is terrorism. It’s also “illegal, immoral and prohibited.” Self-defense against combatants is another matter fully justified under international law as is the right to resist with arms. Israel says otherwise, blames its victims, and so far has avoided accountability. That no longer can stand, and Halper suggests a “better language” to hold all terrorist acts accountable.

It exists so let’s use it – the language of human rights. It’s codified in law, and it’s high time it’s applied universally. It’s precise, inclusive and condemns all forms of terror – by individuals, groups and most importantly states. And judicial bodies exist to enforce it – the International Criminal Court (ICC) for example to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The principle of “universal jurisdiction” also exists that requires other states to bring rights violators (including heads of state) to trial if their own nation won’t do it.

Halper sees human rights and applying international law as key to genuine peace and conflict resolution. States, of course, are the obstacle. They won’t police themselves, and in-place institutions have proved weak. Changing things requires people action – international civil society demanding justice; doing it proactively; marshaling enough voices to make them heard; refusing to take no for an answer. Think impossible? Think again.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Here’s the problem. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves far more than two peoples. Far more than the region. It’s global and resonates everywhere and affects everyone. For the Middle East alone, regional peace is impossible without a just settlement of the conflict. Absent that and anything is possible – all bad.

Globally, the entire world is affected. For Halper, it’s brought him “full circle,” a Jew, an Israeli in Palestine seeing his “own people coopted by Israel’s security framing and disempowered.” Disadvantaged as well considering the alternative. He’s part of an effort to change things and suggests four strategic elements:

(1) A global, regional, local and personal vision

The last two decades have seen the emergence of a vibrant international civil society – thousands of peace and human rights organizations of all types together with activists, intellectuals and concerned people everywhere standing up against injustice and demanding resolution. So far, the other side outmuscles them, but who knows for how long. New tools are around like the Internet that connects people everywhere. Alternative media as well, including online choices attracting growing audiences fed up with the mainstream’s mind-numbing array.

That combination against injustice has power. Omnipotent – no. Effective – why not, and in enough numbers it works. Social movements comprised of ordinary people have enormous political clout. They can win when they’re of a mind to, but it’s no simple task. It takes muscle-flexing, exercising “disruptive power,” according to Frances Fox Piven, and look what it brought America – ending slavery, labor and civil rights and a liberating revolution from Britain. Why not one freeing Palestinians from Occupation. But it needs an effective program for action. Here’s Halper’s:

— reframe the conflict; make it rights-based; include other choices also; mobilize civil society; get support within governments; UN officials; anyone from anywhere to stand up for justice.

ICAHD has “two meta-campaigns:

— an “anti-apartheid” one involving resistance and ending the Occupation employing various tools and strategies; once an apartheid regime is in place, have planned responses to counteract it;

— a “60 Years Later: Marking 1948” one highlighting displacement and dispossession;

— both campaigns focus on other issues as well – home demolitions, the Separation Wall, the entire Matrix of Control, boycotts, disinvestment, sanctions, holding Israel accountable, and framing everything within a “Big Picture” meta-campaign strategy.

Redeeming Israel fits in as well. Making it an “exclusive patrimony” created a “violent nightmare….a self-defeating enterprise.” The more Jews “try to Judaize Palestine, the more (they) destroy it” and themselves. The situation is untenable and begs for an alternative. Political Zionism is “exhausted.” A prosperous and formidable Jewish state has failed – to achieve “accommodation, justice, peace and reconciliation” with Palestinians, the region, and international civil society.

A “New Cultural Zionism” is needed, disassociating itself from self-defeating politics and its corrupting violence. What’s good for Jews is good for Arabs is good for everyone. Halper “can’t argue with that.” Can anyone?
His book is powerful, enlightening, and important to read and act on.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM – 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM – 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.


posted by Steve Lendman

Elimination Round: Hurtling Down History’s Dark Roads

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Written by Chris Floyd
Wednesday, 02 July 2008
With the backing and the blessing of local government and the police, the anti-Semitic organization takes its program into the local schools, to hammer home its stern, unyielding message: Girls, do not give your bodies to the racial enemy! Do not let them seduce and defile your innocence with their devious ways!

The city’s own welfare representative heads up the program of the “Anti-Assimilation Department.” He shows the schoolgirls a film — “Sleeping with the Enemy” — which dramatizes how the filthy Semite worms his way into the affections of an innocent girl then cruelly abandons her. This “abnormal phenomenon” is plaguing several cities in the area, says the police chief; there have already been many cases of racially pure girls “joining with” Semite men. The propaganda efforts of the Anti-Assimilation Department” are aimed at eliminating the sexual machinations of the “exploitative” Semites.

Even though these Semites are citizens of the country — indeed, many of them serve in the armed forces — the Anti-Assimilation Department’s view is gaining wider and wider acceptance in the nation at large. Racial consciousness has reached new heights in the country, a recent study shows: more than half the population now favors the removal of these minority Semite citizens. And 74 percent of the nation’s youth now believes that these Semites are “unclean.”

Another new study shows that dozens of these Semite citizens have been killed by police, military and private security forces in the past seven years, with almost no legal repercussions for the killers.

A report taken from the crumbling pages of Der Stürmer or some other German paper of the 1930s? No; it all comes from Haaretz, the liberal Israeli paper, and is happening right now. The Semites now being accused as sexual predators, racial defilers, devious operators and “unclean” subhumans who should be removed from the land are the Arab citizens of Israel.

As Haaretz reports this week, the Anti-Assimilation Department of the religious group Yad L’ahim — “which works to prevent Jewish girls from dating Muslim men” — has taken its “Sleeping With the Enemy” program into the schools of Kiryat Gat, where the city fathers also fret about local Jewish girls “joining with Bedouin men.”

The Anti-Assimilation Department says its relentless efforts to prevent sexual contact between Jews and Arabs “is not racism, because it is not mutually exploitative, “says Chaim Shalom, the presenter of the program.”This is a matter of racism on their end,” because it is “the exploitative Arab, the exploitative Bedouin,” who pursues the Jewish girls.

The Kiryat Gal program comes in the midst of a steep rise in racism among Israeli, as Haaretz noted a few months ago, citing a report by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel:

“Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy,” [ACRI president Sami] Michael said. The publication coincides with Human Rights Week, which begins Sunday. “We are a society under supervision under a democratic regime whose institutions are being undermined and which confers a different status to residents in the center of the country and in the periphery.”

The number of Jews expressing feelings of hatred toward Arabs has doubled, the report stated…Among Jewish respondents, 55 percent support the idea that the state should encourage Arab emigration from Israel and 78 percent oppose the inclusion of Arab political parties in the government. According to a Haifa University study, 74 percent of Jewish youths in Israel think that Arabs are “unclean.”

In March, a report by Mossawa, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel, also detailed the increasing support for “the delegitimization, discrimination and even deportation of Arabs,” Haaretz notes:

The report, written by Mossawa director Jafar Farah and others, mainly examines racism against Arabs in Israel, using criteria taken from the anti-Semitism reports in Europe.

The report covers Arabs killed by the security forces and by Jewish citizens, anti-Arab incitement by leading Jewish public figures, workforce discrimination by private Jewish organizations, the barring of Arabs from public places, and the destruction of Arab property. The report particularly highlights what it calls the government’s helplessness in the face of the problem.

The report lists Arab citizens killed by police, soldiers, security guards and Jewish civilians over the past seven years. It notes that only one Jewish citizen, of Ethiopian origin, was killed under similar circumstances during this period. Indictments were issued in only seven cases, the report states. In two cases, the assailants were found not guilty, and the State Prosecutor appealed the verdict in one of these cases…..

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there are no exact historical parallels, but there are resonances that can be instructive. As Arthur Silber notes (in explaining the nature of his questions and warnings about the thrust of the Obama campaign):

NO, I do NOT think Obama is Hitler reincarnated. I must note, however, that his full embrace of the U.S.’s truly insane foreign policy of aggressive, non-defensive war is not precisely unHitlerian, just as his full embrace of corporatism bears a rather disturbing resemblance to aspects of Hitler’s political program. But the same could be said of every major American politician.

What I have been getting at are very broad cultural and political dynamics, general patterns that repeat throughout history, assuming one studies and understands history. [emphasis mine] So, no, Obama is not a Hitler duplicate, but, to a readily noticeable and troubling extent, he is someone riding a similar kind of cultural wave and response, and he may well use an already existing authoritarian-surveillance state that repeatedly engages in aggressive war to wreak great destruction both at home and abroad.

I came upon the Kiryat Gal story just hours after finishing a most instructive work of history examining cultural and political dynamics: “Hitler’s Willing Executioners,” by Daniel Goldhagen. And no, I do not think Israel is Nazi Germany reincarnated, despite its many brutal policies; a reading of Goldhagen’s book, with its copious detailing of what the hands-on perpetrators of the Holocaust — most of them “ordinary” Germans, non-Nazis, good family men, thousands and thousands of them — actually did, would make anyone wary of hair-trigger equations of other regimes to the Nazis.

But equation is not the issue; as Silber notes, it is resonance, pattern, the dynamics of human behavior in certain particular configurations of political, social, cultural and psychological currents. Israeli society is clearly sliding toward something similar to the “eliminationist anti-Semitism” that permeated — saturated — German society in both the pre-Nazi and Nazi eras. Israel has already walled off the “unclean” Arabs in horrendous ghettos where they must live degraded lives, subjected them to collective punishment and repeated military attacks, forced them from their homes, and so on. The resonances of Israeli policy with other race-based oppressions in modern history have long been painfully clear.

The increasing brutalization and coarsening of Israeli political culture has also long been evident, as well as the inexorable, apparently irresistible rise of extremist sectarian factions whose obsessions and strictures mirror those of some Islamic extremists and, yes, have strong resonances with the German anti-Semitic extremists who rose to state power in the 1930s.

There is no good destination at the end of such a road. There is no good outcome to the dynamic of eliminationism and dehumanization. It leads, quite literally, to madness and death and ruin. Israel is not the only nation on that road; the dynamic is not specific to any country, creed, race, religion or polity. It belongs to all of us, it’s a danger we all face. And it requires vigilance, skepticism, action and awareness to break up these patterns as they rise among us, to derail the dynamic — before it’s too far gone and must play out, in one way or another, in the given extent and circumstances of the historical moment, to the bitter end.


Posted on Updated on

June 24, 2008

Olive Trees and the Occupation

Centuries old olive trees, which were uprooted in the Bethlehem region by the construction of the separation wall. The wall has resulted in the uprooting of thousands of olive trees and the crippling of Palestine’s agricultural economic base. (IMEU)

It’s Been Almost Two Years…Isn’t It Time For Tiny, Vulnerable, and Democratic Israel To Blow The Crap Out Of Lebanon Again?

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I‘m not sure how the attack on Lebanon two years ago got started. In coverage of matters like this there is always the Israeli side, embraced immediately by our own biased media, and there is the truth, which usually trickles out in an article by a leftist author in some obscure publication years later. At the time though I thought, Hezbollah, a Lebanese resistance organization born of prior Israeli occupation, was acting in solidarity with its Palestinian brothers. The Palestinians of course had most of their land stolen years ago by Israel, and what little remains is occupied until such time as Israel can steal it too. But until this is accomplished the Palestinians must be oppressed and ethnically cleansed, which is exactly what was happening when the Lebanese hostilities began two years ago(See ADL accuses Justin Ramaindo of Looking Like Mel Gibson).

And now Hezbollah has effectively taken control of Lebanon. Who would have thought that a murderous Israeli bombing campaign resulting in the deaths of over 1,000 Lebanese civilians would cause the collapse of a government friendly to the United States? Sure we encouraged the Israelis to bomb. We even gave them more bombs when they ran out. And then to punish Israel for illegally dropping a shit load of cluster bombs on Southern Lebanon in the final hours of the conflict, we increased their annual military welfare assistance. I bet they will never do that again. The unexploded ordinance from these bombs will be blowing up children in Lebanon for the next century. But why should the Lebanese people hold these things against America? And why don’t these ungrateful Middle Eastern bastards take our peacemaking efforts seriously?

But something was different about the last Israeli assault. The Israeli army poised en masse on its border ready for attack in Lebanon went nowhere. Day after day, virtually no movement. Soon it became apparent to those on the battlefield and to the world, that this was not their father’s Israeli army. It was also not the duck shoot that these young soldiers had become accustomed to in Palestine. Killing untrained and poorly armed freedom fighters in occupied Palestine with sophisticated American arms came easy for them. Killing and brutalizing Palesinian civilians had also become their forte. These Hezbollah warriors however were different. They were trained. Their weapons were almost as sophisticated as those we provide to Israel. They actually had the ability to fight back. And they were fighting with a ferocity that only years of murderous Israeli occupation and injustice could inspire. So when these Israeli soldiers looked these crazed Hezbollah warriors eye to eye…. they choked. What were they asked to defend? What should they be willing to die for as Israel invaded Lebanon once again? A morally bankrupt apartheid state that imprisons half of the population under its control? A leadership under continuous investigation or indictment for graft and corruption? A country built upon a fraud? Given the motivations of all parties, maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising that these young soldiers got their asses handed to them. When you live in an Apartheid state, you probably begin to feel special. Maybe to special to die for a foolish cause. And I’m not so sure this particular group of Israeli soldiers will be in a hurry to return to Lebanon any time soon.