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The Dirty Little Secret behind the “Global Terrorism Index” (GTI)

The Omission of Israeli Terrorism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

By Karin Brothers | Global Research | December 6, 2014

The Global Terrorism Index from 2000 – 2013[1] was launched on December 5, 2014, endorsed by such luminaries as the Dalai Lama, Bishop Tutu and Jane Goodall; it describes itself as ”a comprehensive study that accounts for the direct and indirect impact of terrorism in 162 countries.” The GTI not only lists the countries most affected by terrorism (Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan), and the major terrorists (Muslims: Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram and ISIS), but also advises on the most effective ways of dealing with it, noting that terrorism is connected more to injustice than to poverty.  

Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which also produces the Global Peace Index, the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) which is collected and collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), which is supported by the Department of Homeland Security.

A Self-Serving Definition of Terror Incidents?

The Global Terrorism Index uses data from START’s Global Terrorism Database (GTD) which includes incidents meeting the following criteria:

1. The incident must be intentional – the result of a conscious calculation on the part of a perpetrator.

2. The incident must entail some level of violence or threat of violence — including property violence, as well as violence against people

3. The perpetrators of the incidents must be sub-national actors. This database does not include acts of state terrorism.

In addition to this baseline definition, two of the following three criteria have to be met in order to be included in the START database from 1997:

… The violent act was aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious, or social goal.

… The violent act included evidence of an intention to coerce, intimidate, or convey some other message to a larger audience (or audiences) other than the immediate victims.

… The violent act was outside the precepts of international humanitarian law.

There is a contradiction in the definition of terrorist incidents in the study. While the GTI claims that their database only includes acts which are contrary to international humanitarian law, the “two out of three” criteria allows for legal actions to be included. Legal actions included in the GTD database are Palestinian resistance attacks on the Israeli military. [2]

A unique feature of the GTI is described as a “lagged scoring”, or replicating a terror event for up to five years to weight the estimated psychological impact of a terror event. Examples of such scoring were given as the bombing of a marketplace or the 2011 massacre in Norway of 77 youth.

Global Terror Database Notes and Anomalies

A cursory look at the Global Terror Database[2]  for Israel indicates various problems. Some of the listed incidents are inadequately documented, with “unknown” location. Actions attributed to Hamas are counted despite what should have been its state exclusion and the exclusion for legal actions. The “West Bank and Gaza Strip” is listed but the incidents involving Palestinians are far from complete.

The Terror Omission

It is only in Appendix C that the Global Terrorism Index mentions that despite a “notable amount of terrorism” in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), this region is excluded “by Global Peace Index convention”.  Since the GTI was supposed to be using the START Global Terrorism Database, it is not clear why the Global Peace Index “convention” was relevant; also, the GPI’s source, the Economist Intelligence Unit, does include the Palestinian Territories. By excluding the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and pre-2006 Gaza Strip from the survey, the attacks by Israeli settlers are omitted.

It becomes apparent why the occupied Palestinian territories were excluded when the incidence of Israeli settler violence is examined. According to their definition of terrorism, the Israeli settlers’ violence not only qualifies as terrorism, but puts them near the top of the listing of the most violent terrorists. With over 1,750 violent settler attacks fully documented from 2006 –  2013[3], the only group credited with more terror attacks was the Taliban, with 2,757 incidents from 2002 – 2013. Al Qaeda’s 1,089, Boko Haram’s 750 and ISIL’s 492 attacks aren’t even close.[4] When the numbers of settler attacks on Palestinians are combined with the number of non-military Israeli attacks on the Arabs within Israel, the problem of Israeli violence within the tiny state can be seen to be one of staggering proportions.  Yet, according to the GTI, Israel was not in the 20 worst states for terrorism. 

Moreover, the number of violent incidents, as the report points out, should be weighted by factors reflecting the psychological impact on a victim community.  About half of the incidents listed in the GTI report were from explosions, which typically aim for a broader, less personal, target community.  The settler attacks on Palestinians tend to be of a more personal nature: shootings, running down civilians with vehicles, beatings, and damage or destruction of civilian property, such as razing agricultural land and raiding houses. Children have been frequent targets, as are Palestinian farmers and workers. Because settlers are allowed to attack Palestinians with impunity from prosecution and often target those whose neighbouring lands they want, settler attacks tend to be more traumatic and should be accorded the full psychological weighting factor.

Are Israeli Settlers Comparable to Muslim terrorists?

Although the actions of Israeli settlers fit the definition of terrorism, can they be considered as comparable to the organizations accused of terrorism? The Muslim organizations accused of being terrorist are a variety of political and/or religious ideological movements that typically arose as a reaction to western power. Israeli settlers are by definition people who have chosen to violate international humanitarian laws by living on territory they have no right to; the settler  movement is led by right-wing, religious extremists. That some settlers make the choice for economic motives is similar to the ISIS or Taliban fighters who join because they need the wages.

Additionally, settler attackers are doubly guilty of terrorism: the act of living illegally on Palestinian land fits this definition of terrorism; subsequent attacks on Palestinians are further acts of terrorism.

The Global Implications of Not Naming Settler Attacks as “Terrorism”

The Israeli settlements — all of which are illegal –  have been identified as a major impediment to peace. The refusal of a major “global” terrorism report to name the Israeli settlers as one of the groups most responsible for terrorism not only misrepresents a major source of regional violence but exposes the Global Terrorism Index as a propaganda tool that supports a U.S. agenda.

In recent years, governments have been attempting to thwart terrorism by blocking supportive fund-raising. When it comes to Israeli settlements, however, the US and Canada actually encourage fund-raising by giving organizations (such as Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFOIC) and the Jewish National Fund) financial support in the form of donor tax-deductions.

Charities which provide funds for the Israeli settlements should be regarded as terror-financing organizations. They should not only lose their tax-deductible status, but they should be banned because they support the violation of international humanitarian law. The terror-financing laws that are being strictly enforced for Muslim charities should be applied to Christian and Jewish charities as well. Governments that do not recognize settler violence as terrorism are feeding what Naomi Klein once termed “the engine that keeps the War on Terror running”: injustice in Israel.

Notes

1.  The Global Terrorism Index is at: http://www.visionofhumanity.org/sites/default/files/Global%20Terrorism%20Index%20Report%202014_0.pdf

2. Global Terror Database on Israel: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?search=israel&sa.x=0&sa.y=0

3. Annual reports of the Palestinians Center for Human Rights Gaza (PCHRGaza) at: http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=40&Itemid=172,

Israeli settler attacks from 2000-2013 accounted for 63 deaths, and from 2006 – 2013 at least 1766 violent attacks.  (From 2002 – 2013, there were 35 deaths and over 1750 attacks documented.)

While PCHRGaza has published weekly reports that have included settler violence since 1997, it only started to compile the total number of settler attacks in their annual reports from 2006 onwards.  One would have to examine the weekly reports for 2000 to 2005 to obtain the annual totals that should have been used for the Global Terrorism Index’s 2000 – 2013 study.

The PCHRGaza noted on at least some of their annual reports that their totals for Israeli settler attacks were not complete because they included only those for which they had documentation.  Al Haq and the UN also kept documentation of settler attacks, only some of which overlap PCHRGaza’s.

4. Global Terrorism Index “Targets and Tactics, 2000 – 2013″totals of incidents by group  p. 51

December 7, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Tacit Admission that Israel is Ethnically Cleansing Palestinians

By Paul Larudee and Beth Daoud | Dissident Voice | October 25, 2013 

On April 8, 2009, ten billboards went up in the Albuquerque area saying “Tell Congress: Stop Killing Children. No More Military Aid to Israel.” On April 28, Lamar Advertising, with whom the ads had been placed by the Coalition to stop $30 Billion, tore down the ads due to pressure, presumably from other clients with larger accounts.

In June, 2012, twenty-three billboards went up in the Los Angeles area, also calling for an end to US aid to Israel. One week later, the billboard company, CBS Outdoor, also took down the ads.

We have come a long way since then. Ads that are critical of giving billions of US tax dollars to Israel, of Israeli human rights violations and of the creation of the Jewish state at Palestinian expense have appeared in Detroit, Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Sacramento, Albuquerque, and other locations.

In Denver, another free speech struggle has achieved its objective. A partnership of NoTaxDollarsToIsrael.com and ColoradoBDSCampaign.com initially failed twice to get approval for a billboard. First, CBS Outdoor placed the restriction that the ad must not use the words Jew and Israel, so the coalition offered the wording “Want peace? Stop ethnic cleansing in Palestine.” CBS Outdoor rejected it without explanation.

The groups then tried Lamar Advertising, with the same result. Finally, they borrowed a technique tried and tested by an anti-Muslim group, the Freedom Defense Institute. FDI chose public transit advertising space to place anti-Muslim ads in New York and San Francisco. After initial rejection in New York, FDI’s Pamela Geller sued and won a court order to permit her ads, based on the fact that the ad space was publicly owned and therefore subject to constitutional free speech principles. While the use of privately owned ad space is largely at the discretion of the owner, publicly owned space is not, and must conform to First Amendment principles. The court also decided that in the absence of clear evidence that the ad used hate speech, it could also not be restricted by such criteria.

Mall bus 2The Denver groups pursued the same strategy. They resubmitted the ad to Lamar, but this time for space on the public transit system (inside the Denver light rail vehicles and outside the 16th street mall buses). After a long delay, the ads were approved, with no change at all in the message or graphics. As of this writing, the ads are available for all to see, both Denver residents and visitors to the city, like the hundreds of delegates to the convention of the Jewish National Fund, 1½ blocks from the 16th street mall.

What was going on during the delay? One may speculate that much deliberation was taking place, possibly in consultation with lawyers from the ADL (Anti-Discrimination League) and AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). The only possible challenge would be that the ad constituted hate speech or was libelous. In both cases, however, the challenge would depend upon proving the falsity of the “ethnic cleansing” label.

Apparently, these august jurists decided that a discussion of “ethnic cleansing” as a description of Israel’s actions was potentially far more dangerous to Israel than the placement of an ad to that effect. After all, there was no assurance that the court would rule in their favor, in which case a terrible precedent would be set. Better to allow a bit of uncomfortable truth to appear in public than a legal ruling certifying such a truth. How Palestinians disappeared from much of Palestine is a question that the Israel lobby would prefer to leave unanswered.

Paul Larudee and Beth Daoud are organizers with No Tax Dollars to Israel and Colorado BDS Campaign, respectively.

October 26, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel: A great place to be white!

By Charles Davis | False Dichotomy | June 29, 2013

Not everyone who lives in Israel is of pasty white European heritage, but you wouldn’t know it from the Israeli government’s outreach. For reasons only fully understood by the gods and the person trolling me, I was recently subscribed to the newsletter of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a quasi-governmental organization that seeks to replace brown people in Israel with Jews and trees.

An explicitly racist organization (Israel’s second largest property owner, it refuses to rent land to Arabs), it was not surprising to find that JNF’s printed propaganda featured almost exclusively smiling white people. On one page, smiling white college kids whose trip to the Holy Land totally rocked. On another page, a smiling white foodie dishing the inside scoop on Israeli cuisine. Here a white person; there a white person; everywhere a white person. The reader at home’s takeaway: Go to Israel and you won’t have to mix with the coloreds, unless of course you book the 4 day / 3 night Ethnic Immersion tour package.

What’s a little weird is that when I tweeted something snarky about the awful lot of white folk in JNF’s newsletter, the CEO of JNF, seemingly awful white person Russell Robinson, saw fit to retweet it. Judging by the rest of his tweets — yes, older friends, I too find my generation’s language insufferable — it does not appear this was an act of passive aggression, though I probably shouldn’t jump to any conclusions. Perhaps he was just distracted by how pasty white I am and hit the wrong button.

 

June 30, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel’s dirty little secret: the ‘internally displaced persons’ it continues to deny basic rights

By Dr. Daud Abdullah | MEMO | May 17, 2013

Inevitably, the 65th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba – Catastrophe – was overshadowed by calls to exercise refugees’ right of return. Although the vast majority of Palestinians live in forced exile and the focus tends to dwell on their plight, there are now an estimated 370,000 ‘internally displaced persons’ (IDPs) within the Israeli state. They are also denied the right to return to their homes and villages. No Nakba anniversary can pass without remembering them.

Unlike their compatriots in the wider Diaspora, the displaced Palestinians in Israel enjoy little international assistance and far less protection. Ever since the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) stopped providing services for them in 1952, they have remained refugees in their own land and second-class citizens in the state established around them.

From the very first, Israel never intended to accord equal rights to the 150,000 Palestinians who remained on their land as 750,000 of their compatriots were being driven into exile, despite an undertaking given in its ‘declaration of independence’ to ‘uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of religion, race or sex’. The Palestinians have always been regarded as a ‘fifth column’ and a threat to the security of the state. As such, they were subjected to military rule from 1948 until 1966.

Under Israeli law, the IDPs are present in so far as they are obliged to pay taxes but absent in terms of their rights to employment, health care, water and education. They were assigned the absurd legal designation, unique to Israel, of ‘present-absentees’.

With no regard for their rights to ownership, the state has used its Absentee Property Law of 1950 to confiscate some 97 per cent of Palestinian land, leaving 1.5 million Palestinian citizens’ access to the remaining three per cent. These are either administered by the state or allocated to Zionist institutions such as the Jewish National Fund (JNF) for the exclusive use of Jews. Priority is given routinely to American Jews, followed by Europeans, Russians and others in that order.

While Palestinian villages which pre-date the state of Israel are denied basic services, newly-established Jewish settlements are granted them unconditionally. In 1992, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that the Palestinian villages should be connected to the Israeli national water system. That has still not been done.

On another level, the Regulation and Construction Law prohibits Palestinians from repairing let alone building their homes on land which Israel classifies as ‘agricultural land’ or ‘closed military zones’. Their villages, mostly in the Negev and the Galilee, are ‘unrecognised’ by the state and, therefore, by definition ‘illegal’. The underlying purpose of all these classifications by Israel is to force its Palestinians citizens to leave; it is, in other words, ethnic cleansing by stealth.

If Palestinian homes in the West Bank, including Ramallah, are destroyed with impunity on the pretext that they have no proper licence, one can only imagine what is done to the ‘unrecognised villages’ in what Israel regards as its sovereign territory. Using the Emergency Laws inherited from the British Mandatory government, officials often post notices on homes earmarked for demolition, which are thereafter destroyed within forty-eight hours.

In the Negev, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – Adalah – reported the destruction of 2,200 homes and the forced displacement of more than 14,000 people between 2008 and 2011. In these villages women and children die in childbirth because they have no access to basic medical care of a kind accessible by Jewish immigrants the moment they land at Tel Aviv airport.

Nevertheless, the fact that Palestinians in Israel marked this year’s Nakba anniversary across the country demonstrates that after 65 years Israel has failed to erase their sense of identity and link to their land. Nor has it succeeded with its discriminatory laws to break the bonds between them and the rest of the Palestinian people; in fact, this has grown stronger. They all, to this day, share the common aspiration to return to their homes. After all the sacrifices they have made over the past 65 years it is inconceivable that the displaced Palestinians in Israel will submit to further ethnic cleansing.

The problem of the IDPs in Israel differs only marginally from that of the refugees in the Diaspora. Without doubt, they all share the common experience of dispossession and dislocation but because the IDPs didn’t cross international borders they have no access to humanitarian aid from the UNHCR or UNRWA. Though initially recognised and served by UNRWA, that came to an abrupt end in 1952 when Israel assumed responsibility for them not, it transpired, in order to provide for all of its citizens. Quite simply, and very cynically, the Israeli government wanted to divert attention from their officially-sanctioned maltreatment of its Palestinian citizens and prevent them from having access to international legal protection.

The full story of the IDPs in Israel is yet to be told. After 65 years their dream of return remains unfulfilled. Like the generation who were forcibly evicted in 1948 they also have a right to return to their homes. Their living, striving and dying over the past six decades were all with this objective in mind. Israel may delay it for some time but cannot prevent it in the long-term, because no people in history have ever accepted completely the loss of their homeland. The Palestinians’ day will come, with or without the approval of the Israeli government.

May 18, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Securing the ethnic cleansing of Silwan: Settlements in Wadi Hilweh using Pelco security equipment

Pelco cameras system being used by illegal settlements in Silwan
Pelco camera system being used by illegal settlement in Silwan
Corporate Watch | February 10, 2013

The Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan is experiencing harassment and home demolitions at the hands of the Israeli state and settler organisations. This ethnic cleansing is enforced by security companies and surveillance technology and facilitated by revenue from international donors and from tourism. Corporate Watch will be writing a series of articles over the coming months exposing the companies and charities carrying out this ethnic cleansing and those organisations who are funding it and profiting from it.

The communities of Wadi Hilweh and Al Bustan in Silwan in East Jerusalem are watched over by hundreds of Closed Circuit Surveillance (CCTV) cameras installed by settlers and the settler/colonial organisation El Ad.

These cameras watch over the creeping colonisation of the area which has been going on since the 1990s. Much of this has centred around the seizing of Palestinian property by the El Ad organisation and the undermining of the Palestinian community through archaeological excavations  carried out by the same organisation with the complicity of the Israeli National Parks Authority and the Israeli antiquities Authority (read more about El Ad and the excavations here).

During the 1990s the Israeli state and the Jewish National Fund gave one third of the land of Wadi Hilweh to El Ad. Since then settlers have moved in and El Ad has used a series of dirty tricks to acquire more and more properties in Wadi Hilweh. At the same time Palestinian homes are subject to demolitions under planning regulations, such as the demolitions that took place on 2nd February 2013.

On Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th January 2012 Corporate Watch researchers photographed dozens of Pelco security cameras being used by the settlements in Silwan including those at the El Ad compound close to the ‘City of David’ Visitors Centre in Wadi Hilweh.

The cameras included those in use at the Tirah House settlement, a Palestinian home occupied by Israeli settlers.

Pelco is a manufacturer and supplier of security cameras based in Clovis, California. The company has 2,200 employees worldwide and resellers in 130 coutries.

PIC_1096Since 2007 Pelco has been part of Schneider-Electric, a French multinational company headquartered in Rueil-Malmaison. Schneider-Electric has 130,000 employees and 2011 sales totaling 22.4 billion Euros. It operates in 190 countries.

Schneider-Electric is one of the only companies to have shown interest in the joint French-Palestinian Authority (PA) industrial zone in Bethlehem, the Bethlehem Multidisciplinary Industrial Park. It seems the PA have chosen poor partners for its flagship industrial zone.

Schneider-Electrics global operations are listed here

To contact Pelco click here

For more information on Silwan click here.

Photos taken by Corporate Watch researchers

February 10, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good old Israel?

By Georgina Reeves | Palestine: a journal of everyday occupation | August 5, 2012

In his latest piece written for the New York Times, Avraham Burg asks: “Where is the good old Israel?” Assuming he is not being tongue-in-cheek, and there is no suggestion in the rest of the article that he is, he continues to peddle the same old clichés that liberal Zionists are so fond of. Propaganda is a powerful tool, but so is the truth.

He talks of the early days of Israel’s foundation: “It was an age of dreamers and builders who sought to create a new world, one without prejudice, racism or discrimination.” He neglects to mention, though, the Palestinians who remained in what became Israel, and how the new state treated them.

From 1948 until 1966, Palestinians lived under martial law. They required permits issued by the military governor to leave their villages or towns. Palestinians were subject to curfews, administrative detention – detention without charge or trial – and expulsions were common. As Palestinians were concentrated mainly in the Galilee, the Negev and the Triangle, subjecting them to such strict measures of control was simple for the authorities.

Alongside the physical restrictions on Palestinians, the newly-created state of Israel also enacted laws designed to dispossess Palestinians of their land and their rights to their land. The Absentees Property Law aimed to take ownership of property and land belonging to Palestinians. The term “absentee” was carefully applied and targeted Palestinians who had been expelled from their homes during the war of 1948.

This law applied to Palestinians who had been made refugees and were now outside Israel, and also to those who were now in Israel but living as internally displaced persons. Israel calls these Palestinians “present absentees”, an Orwellian state of being which denies them access to their homes, even though many live in the same area and their homes are still standing (unlike the 500-plus towns and villages razed to remove the evidence of Palestinians’ existence on the land for many hundreds of years before).

Burg goes on to say “But something went wrong in the operating system of Jewish democracy. We never gave much thought to the Palestinian Israeli citizens within the Jewish-democratic equation.” But that is just not true. A lot of thought went in to how to treat the non-Jewish citizens of Israel. Even before 1948 the Zionists were planning how to gain as much land with as few Palestinians as possible: for the Zionist plan of the Jewish state to become reality, Arabs had to be removed.

Yossef Weitz, director of the Jewish National Fund played a major role in acquiring land for the Yishuv (pre-1948 Jewish community). He stated: “Transfer does not serve only one aim—to reduce the Arab population—it also serves a second purpose by no means less important, which is to evict land now cultivated by Arabs and to free it for Jewish settlement. The only solution is to transfer the Arabs to neighbouring countries. Not a single village or a single tribe must be let off.”

The Dalet plan was devised during February 1948 by the Haganah – the Jewish paramilitary organisation succeeded by the Israeli Defence Forces upon Israel’s establishment. The plan was simple: the systematic expulsion of the Arab communities. The expulsions were conducted by the Palmach (elite Haganah fighters), the Irgun and the Stern (Lehi) gang. Villages and towns were attacked, depopulated and destroyed.

The men who designed and fought the war of 1948 were the same men who designed and created Israel after that war. Prejudice, racism and discrimination characterise the Israel they built and the Israel that exists today. The truth is there never was a “good old Israel”.

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Jason Kenney getting an award for ‘diversity’ only reinforces discrimination

By David Heap | Rabble| June 23, 2012

Conservative minister Jason Kenney is to receive an award for “diversity” from the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in London, Ontario this Sunday. It is hard to say which does more harm to the true values of diversity: the “honouring” organization or the politician being “honoured.”

The JNF covenant reserves the 13 per cent of Israeli land it owns for the exclusive benefit of Jews. It plays the same discriminatory role in the Israeli Lands Authority: together, these two interlocking institutions control 93 per cent of land in Israel, which (with a few short-lease exceptions) is not available to Palestinians. Many of these lands, originally belonging to Palestinians expelled in 1948, were expropriated and then sold to the JNF.

In 1998, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reported that the “large-scale and systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and property by the State and the transfer of that property to these agencies constitute an institutionalized form of discrimination because these agencies by definition would deny the use of these properties by non-Jews.”

Segregation and exclusion are incompatible with diversity, but fine with Minister Kenney. Since the robo-call election of 2011, Ottawa Conservatives have pushed through measures that discriminate against migrants and refugees. Last November they completely halted applications for immigration sponsorships of parents and grandparents until 2014.

The JNF creates forests and parks on the ruins of destroyed Palestinian villages to hide the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and to prevent Palestinian refugees from returning. Canada Park, built on top of the ruins of the Palestinian villages of Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba (deliberately destroyed by Israel in 1967), was funded through Canadian tax-deductible donations to the JNF Canada.

The destruction of the Palestinian villages and the denial of the villagers’ right to return to their homes are grave violations of the 4th Geneva Convention. Former Israeli Knesset member Uri Avnery calls this destruction a “war crime under international law.”

War crimes (even those subsidized through our tax system) do not promote diversity but they are OK with Kenney and other Conservatives, whose unconditional support for Israeli crimes matches their complete disdain for our own national obligations under international humanitarian law. Just last week, they passed Bill C-31, a law that will result in the arbitrary detention, intimidation and re-victimization of highly vulnerable asylum-seekers in Canada, especially women and children. As of next week, refugees in this country will be denied vital medical services by the same Conservative government.

Like Indigenous peoples elsewhere, Palestinians Bedouins in the Negev have been and continue to be dispossessed of their land, their resources and their livelihoods by occupying populations. While countries like Canada move slowly towards reconciliation with aboriginal peoples through land settlements and compensation, funds raised through JNF dinners and Canadian tax deductions contribute to further dispossession of Bedouins and other Palestinians.

Indigenous dispossession does not help foster diversity, but that doesn’t bother Conservatives like Kenney. In April 2012, they pushed through a policy allowing employers pay “temporary” foreign workers up to 15 per cent less than the prevailing local wage.

The JNF’s exclusionary practices and policies in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories are not well known in North America, but recently in the U.K. major political party leaders (including the current Prime Minister) have begun distancing themselves from this discriminatory organization.

It is time more Canadians demanded the JNF’s charitable status be revoked – in the name of diversity (and international law), while we work to reverse the damage done to vulnerable migrants by Kenney and other Conservatives.

We may not get any awards for “diversity,” but we will be helping build a more just world for all.

UWO Faculty for Palestine member David Heap is a Steering Committee member of works with community groups including People for Peace and No One is Illegal in London. He gratefully acknowledges help from allies and colleagues in preparing this column.

June 23, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

State of Israel Dispossesses Negev Bedouin

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | May 6, 2012

Not content with dispossessing nearly 1 million Israeli Palestinians during the Nakba through exile and theft of their land, Israel is repeating this Original Sin against the Negev Bedouin, who’ve lived in their homes for decades.  The State now intends to expel the Bedouin from these settlements, where they’ve lived for several generations, and to appropriate the land for itself.  In many cases, there are plans hatched with the Jewish National Fund and Israel Lands Authority to Judaize the Negev by creating new Jewish settlements to replace the Bedouin.

There are indigenous tribal members who are fighting back with every means at their disposal.  But the odds and long and the deck is stacked.  Every legal appeal has been repelled by a judiciary that many liberal Zionists like to claim stands as a bulwark against the worst excesses of rampant Israeli nationalism.  This particular issue shows the limits of such optimism.

nuri el okbi
Nuri el Okbi, Negev indigenous activist, imprisoned for ‘being Bedouin without a license’

Ben Gurion University Prof. Oren Yiftachel provides historical background to this struggle:

Since its foundation, the State of Israel refuses to recognize Bedouin ownership over ancestral lands in the Negev.  Most of the Bedouins did not register their lands in 1921, as was required by one of the British laws; but neither did most other residents of Mandatory Palestine, including Jewish ones, carry out such registration. Sixty years later, the State of Israel made cynical use of this lack of registration to order to register most Bedouin lands as “State Lands”, thus making the Bedouins into “invaders” or “squatters” on their own ancestral land.

Some of the Bedouins have tried to challenge the system of dispossession. Notable among them is Nuri el-Okbi, long-time dedicated human rights activist. In recent years, Nuri and his brothers are conducting a series of law suits against the state, demanding restoration of the lands taken from them in the fifties.

A few weeks ago, a ruling rejecting the claims of the el-Okbis was made in an important case – one in which for the first time a professional support team was involved, including attorney Michael Sfard, geographer Oren Yiftachel and other experts. The proceeding lasted three years, during which dozens of witnesses testified and hundreds of documents and expert reports [were] submitted, attesting to the el-Okbis’ ownership of the land.

The judge, however, chose to render a harsh, confrontational ruling, sticking to earlier precedents and concluding that any land which had not been registered in 1921 is ipso facto the property of the state. The court relied mainly on legal precedents, hardly referring to the evidence presented. Therefore, it is very important to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court – the only body which is empowered to overturn precedents and strike out in a new direction.

At such a hearing, the judges would not be able to ignore the rich materials submitted by the el-Okbi Tribe, and the new legal arguments presented. In addition, such an appeal would strengthen the struggle of tens of thousands of Bedouins, who at this very moment are struggling against government plans to evict them to existing townships.

The government’s plan is based on the wrong assumption that Bedouins have no land ownership rights, and a Supreme Court appeal is now the only way to stop these draconian plans. Therefore, it is highly important to lodge an appeal on the el-Okbi Land Case, and make it clear that the Bedouin community is determined to struggle for their basic human rights – specifically to change a legal ruling which causes severe and completely undeserved damage to a large section of Israel’s citizen body.

Gush Shalom adds:

After a legal struggle lasting three years, the Be’er Sheba District Court rejected the appeal of Nuri al-Okbi, veteran activist for the rights of the Negev Bedouins. El-Okbi’s plea for recognition of ownership over the Al-Araqib lands, from which he and his family were evicted in 1951, was rejected out of hand by Judge Sarah Dovrat. The ruling has wide implications for Negev Bedouins in general, implying an overall denial of their rights over ancestral lands.

Further information

May 6, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish TUC delegates join Palestine freedom struggle – unanimously!

Scottish PSC | April 25, 2012

The delegates to the Annual Conference of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), the umbrella group for every trade union in Scotland, today voted unanimously and repeatedly against Israeli apartheid. The 450 delegates voted to:

  • campaign to expose the role of the racist JNF (Jewish National Fund) in the Israeli apartheid system
  • support the participants in the Welcome to Palestine initiative who tried to travel peacefully to Palestine via Tel Aviv Airport
  • fully support the Palestinian-Brazilian call for the World Social Forum-Free Palestine in Brazil in November
  • support the Palestinian hunger strikers and the work of Addameer, the Palestinian prisoner support organisation.

Congress delegates congratulated the students for their work organising Israeli Apartheid Week 2012 events, who initiated action in support of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike and called for support for the Scottish demonstration this Saturday 28th April in Edinburgh.

These decisions of the Scottish TUC in support of the Palestinian freedom struggle, by a union confederation representing half a million organised workers in every sector of the economy, will be widely seen as a continuation of the international solidarity the STUC also provided to the liberation struggle in South Africa. Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, named a city centre street after Mandela in 1986 while he was still on Robben Island. How long till there is a Palestine Square or Palestine Street in our major cities?

The full text of the resolutions – all passed unanimously – is given below.

The Jewish National Fund

That this Congress notes that the Jewish National Fund acquisition and control of land in Israel and the occupied territories actively discriminates against Palestinians.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

  • endorse the international call for action against the Jewish National Fund;
  • campaign to expose the role of the Jewish National Fund in the oppression of Palestinians; and
  • campaign to have the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund revoked.

(Mover: Midlothian TUC)

Emergency Motion – Palestine

Congress:

  • notes that despite prisoner releases, over 4,600 Palestinian political prisoners remain in detention, including 203 children.
  • applauds the steadfastness of 1,200 Palestinian political prisoners who began an open-ended hunger strike on 17 April to protest against ‘administrative detention’, where detainees are held without charge or trial for up to six months and which can be renewed repeatedly.
  • congratulates the student Palestine solidarity network for organising the biggest ever ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ of educational and solidarity events and for their mobilisation across Scotland in support of Palestinian political prisoners.
  • believes that the engagement of students, trade unionists and others with Palestinian civil society can only strengthen the current human-rights based approach to Palestinian self-determination and is essential to building a future of peace and democracy in the Middle East.
  • therefore welcomes the January call by the Palestinian National Committee and the Brazilian National preparatory committee for the 2012 ‘World Social Forum: Free Palestine’ to be held at Porto Alegre, Brazil in November. Conference believes that this “Global Meeting of Solidarity with Palestine” will underline the strength and diversity of the support for the Palestinian call for justice.
  • therefore instructs the General Council to:
    • Support the work of Addameer, Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, by distributing information and updates to affiliates and by supporting appeals for action where appropriate;
    • Endorse the Scottish demonstration, called by students in support Palestinian political prisoners and the hunger strikers, taking place in Edinburgh on Saturday 28th April;
    • Endorse the WSF Free Palestine as part of the internationalist activities promoted by the STUC and fully support the appeal from the Secretariat of the Palestinian National Committee for the World Social Forum “Free Palestine” to mobilise the Scottish trade union movement towards WSF Free Palestine.

(Mover: Dundee Trades Union Council)

Emergency Motion – ‘Welcome to Palestine 2012′

This Congress notes that there is no way into the Occupied Palestinian territories except through Israeli controlled airports or checkpoints.

Congress applauds the ‘Welcome to Palestine 2012′ initiative which highlighted Israel’s oppressive and abhorrent policy of restricting free and unopposed movement to, from and within the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Congress condemns:

  • the actions of the Israeli government in blacklisting activists from around the world and denying them access to the Palestinian territories.
  • the detention of those activists who reached Tel Aviv wishing to visit Bethlehem at the invitation of the Mayor in order to attend the launch of an educational project to build new schools.
  • Congress asks the General Council to call upon the Israeli government:
    • to allow unrestricted passage to and from the Occupied Palestinian Territories for those wishing to visit.
    • to end the continued, illegal siege by air, land and sea of the Palestinian Territories.

(Mover: Midlothian TUC)

Palestine

That this Congress applauds the successful delivery of humanitarian aid by the Scottish FBU to the Nablus Municipality Fire Department. Congress calls for continued trade union support for Palestinian projects, and for the exploration of a Scottish Trade Union Palestinian Support Group, and report back to Congress in 2013 any progress on this matter.

(Mover: Fire Brigades Union)

President’s Address to Congress (Mike Kirby, UNISON):

“There is a growing apartheid elsewhere, in Palestine.  There have been many changes since my first official visit with Bill Speirs, Eddie Reilly and Malcolm Burns in 2001, during the Second Intifada. We were challenged by different militia, as we were escorted throughout the Occupied Lands by PGFTU, our hosts. On leaving, at the last stop at Jerusalem, we met  members of the British Press Corps, who challenged us that we had only visited one place, met with one people. Eddie Reilly’s reply still pertains “We met many Israelis on our travels in Palestine. They were all armed and wearing uniforms.” Order may have been restored in many parts under the control of democratically elected representation of Fatah, democratically elected Hamas, and other political organisations. But that order is still enforced by a circle of unlawful Occupation, and the Apartheid Wall divides communities from their lands and work, and families are split apart.”  Read full President’s address

April 27, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Green Party conference calls for revocation of JNF UK charitable status

By Asa Winstanley – The Electronic Intifada – 02/27/2012

The annual conference of the Green Party of England and Wales this weekend passed a motion endorsing the Stop the JNF campaign and calling for the Jewish National Fund to have its charitable status revoked in the UK.

 Motion passed at the Green Party of England and Wales Spring conference on 26th February 2012

  • The Green Party of England and Wales condemns the Jewish National Fund for its activities in excluding non-Jews from Israeli land and denounces the organisation for claiming to be an ecological agency.
  • The GPEW endorses the international call for action against the JNF and supports efforts to revoke its charitable status in the UK.
  • The GPEW will add its name to the list of signatories of the ‘Stop the JNF Campaign’.(http://www.stopthejnf.org/).

As I reported last week, the campaign against the JNF (led by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign) has been making impressive gains recently.

The Green Party has now followed the lead of the Scottish Green Party who made a similar move in October last year. The move is the latest blow to the JNF, which is accused by Palestinian citizens of Israel of ethnic cleansing and maintaining a system of land-apartheid that discriminates against non-Jews. The JNF describes itself as “the caretaker of the land of Israel, on behalf of its owners — Jewish people everywhere”.

Read the full Stop the JNF press release for more details.

February 27, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Comments Off on Green Party conference calls for revocation of JNF UK charitable status

Stop the JNF campaign makes steady gains as Israel charity goes “on the retreat” in UK

By Asa Winstanley | The Electronic Intifada | 22 February 2012

London – Palestinian activists and their supporters have condemned a recent fundraising campaign by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) as a “greenwashing” cover for ethnic cleansing.

The JNF “Green Sunday” fundraiser took place in several countries on 5 February. In publicity materials, JNF UK asked volunteers to “give two hours of your time to help turn the Negev green” and “make the Negev a livable place.”

But Palestinian citizens of Israel who already live in the southern Naqab desert (Negev in Hebrew) say the JNF has a colonialist agenda.

Usama Uqbi, head of the Naqab Bedouin Committee, told The Electronic Intifada that the impression of an empty desert the JNF portrayed was “a big lie.” Palestinian Arabs have been living on their land in the Naqab for hundreds of years, he said. He mocked the JNF flyer giving the impression of an empty land as “empty words.”

The JNF’s real goal is to demolish the homes of Palestinians who already live there, and bring Jewish settlers from the center of Israel to live on the expropriated land, he said.

The Electronic Intifada asked the JNF UK for their response to Uqbi’s criticisms.

A spokesperson replied: “You’re asking do we have a secret agenda to Judaize the desert and steal Palestinian homes?” The word “Judaize” was not used in The Electronic Intifada’s question. He said he would send an official response via email, but failed to follow up on this promise.

The Bedouin in the Naqab

The JNF has been directly implicated in the destruction of Palestinian communities in the Naqab. On 8 March 2011, the Alternative Information Center published a photo of a bulldozer that was involved in one of the destructions of the village of al-Araqib, emblazoned with Israeli and JNF flags (“El Araqib Destroyed for 21st time, JNF Changing Facts on Ground”).

Uqbi said that the Bedouin style of life in the Naqab has been eroded by Israel over the years. Bedouins have been forced to sell their cattle, as Israel has confiscated more and more of their land. The state established seven Bedouin resettlement projects in the Naqab in exchange for abandoning our land, he said. The houses offered in these modern-day reservations are rented, and the Palestinian citizens resettled there are stripped of land rights, he said.

Uqbi himself lives in an “unrecognized village,” which the state refuses to connect to even the most basic public utilities such as water, roads, electricity or schools. Uqbi said this was a deliberate policy to force him to abandon his home.

Sofiah MacLeod from the campaign group Stop the JNF told The Electronic Intifada that Green Sunday was a “propaganda exercise” to cover-up JNF involvement in establishment of “Jewish-only settlements” which are an attempt to “exclude the Palestinian population.”

MacLeod says she visited al-Araqib in December. The now-famous Naqab Bedouin village has been destroyed by the Israelis approximately thirty times since July 2010. Each time the villagers insist on rebuilding.

MacLeod says the villagers were left only with the graveyard in December. Their olive trees have been uprooted and replaced with eucalyptus trees, she says, but despite this, olive tree saplings had started to grow back.

The JNF says it wants to “develop” the area as part of its “Blueprint Negev” initiative.

In a recent press release, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network condemned “Green Sunday,” saying the JNF “shamelessly exploits Tu B’shvat [the Jewish holiday that celebrates fruiting trees] as an opportunity to raise money to fund their ongoing colonization of Palestine and displacement of Palestinians … As Jews of conscience, we stand against the ethnic cleansing of Palestine” (“Jewish Call: Stop the JNF – Trees should be sacred, not profane”).

Palestine solidarity groups should start thinking more about the JNF, says MacLeod. A March 2011 parliamentary motion — called an Early Day Motion (EDM) — signed by more than sixty members of British parliament has helped raise awareness, she says. Initiated by left wing Labor Party MP Jeremy Corbyn, the EDM welcomed the Stop the JNF campaign and condemned the JNF for “its ongoing illegal expropriation of Palestinian land” while calling for its charitable status to be revoked (“Early Day Motion 1677”).

Top British politicians desert the the JNF

The EDM also expressed opposition to Prime Minister David Cameron’s status as an honorary JNF patron. In May, Stop the JNF wrote to Cameron asking him to cut his ties. News that the prime minister quietly dropped the charity broke soon after.

Speaking to The Electronic Intifada at the time, a spokesperson for Cameron downplayed the move as “not a particularly recent decision” and that the JNF had been one of a “number of charities” dropped. But in June, this line shifted when a spokesperson told The Jewish Chronicle that the JNF’s ties to Israel had in fact been the issue. The Zionist paper reported the spokesperson as saying it was “nothing to do with a policy issue and was based around the fact he is now prime minister rather than leader of the opposition” (“Cameron’s JNF split: it was Israel,” 2 June 2011).

In a 31 May 2011 letter to The Jerusalem Post, former JNF president Gail Seal wrote that “a British prime minister has been an honorary trustee since” 1901 when the JNF was founded. “How sad it is that, whatever the reason, David Cameron has broken this chain,” she lamented.

Writing in The Jewish Chronicle, JNF Chairman Samuel Hayek criticized Cameron more robustly: “The Prime Minister’s words of support for Israel to Jewish audiences are too often contradicted by those said in front of more hostile crowds. Actions speak louder than words. The decision to resign from JNF has reverberated around the world” (“Why David Cameron – and the community – got it so wrong,” 10 June 2011).

The Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister and the leader of the Labour Party opposition have also declined to become JNF honorary patrons, said MacLeod. Stop the JNF wrote to both Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband asking about the issue and both replied that they had no plans to associate themselves with the JNF, although they gave no reasons, says MacLeod.

Both Scottish Friends of the Earth and the Scottish Green Party have now condemned the JNF and endorsed the campaign against it, says MacLeod. In a statement, The Scottish Greens condemned the JNF “for using the ‘green label to practice crimes against the Palestinian people” (“Scottish Green Party reject ‘green’ claims of charity involved in ethnic cleansing of Palestinians,” 31 October 2011).

MacLeod also says that the Green Party of England and Wales is set to discuss the issue at the upcoming conference.

JNF worried about campaign’s gains

Although parliamentary Early Day Motions are often criticized as impotent, a leaked document shows that JNF chief executive David Goodman is worried about the “legitimacy granted to this campaign by the EDM.” In a December letter sent to most of the MPs signed onto the EDM, Goodman smeared Stop the JNF, asking to meet each MP in private to “discuss the issues.”

Stop the JNF responded to Goodman’s letter by publishing it on their website, refuting its accusations point by point and challenging Goodman to a debate in an “open forum” in Westminster, the seat of the UK parliament (“JNF denies it works to dispossess Palestinians, smears critics,” 2 January 2012).

MacLeod points out that the EDM has yet to lose the signature of a single MP, despite this JNF counter-lobbying.

Goodman’s letter denies treating Palestinian citizens of Israel in a racist way, but admits the “Israeli state has made extensive efforts to encourage the permanent settlement of the Bedouin in recent years” in “additional towns in the Negev to smooth the transition to permanent settlement.”

Future plans

Stop the JNF is optimistic about the future of the campaign, saying in a recent press release that 2012 could be “perhaps its last year holding charity status in the UK” for the JNF.

According to the Charity Commission, the JNF’s last reported annual income was over £12 million ($7.6 million) in the UK alone. Loss of UK charity status would be a massive political blow to Israel as well as a significant financial blow. Registered charities have significant exemptions from UK taxes.

Over the years, many groups and activists have written to the Charity Commission to complain about the JNF, says MacLeod. Through freedom of information requests, Stop the JNF has learned about some of the internal thinking on the issue. The campaign is currently working on putting together a more solid case that it hopes to submit towards the second half of year, she says.

Although the JNF held “Green Sundays” in the UK, France, Australia, the US and Israel this month, there were no public event in the UK, says MacLeod. A few years ago they were very proud to hold public events, even bringing famous names like former US President Bill Clinton and actress Goldie Hawn. But in recent years they are now “on the retreat,” the campaign argues. Their events are held in full or partial secrecy, with publicity often containing vague directions like “London venue” — presumably to throw off potential protests.

MacLeod says the JNF are planning a “charity shoot” event on 11 May, very close to Nakba Day, the annual Palestinian commemoration of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Stop the JNF will protest the Glasgow event and is also holding a conference in Edinburgh on 12 May.

JNF’s long historical connection to Israeli colonialism

The JNF has quasi-governmental status in Israel, and describes itself on its website as “the caretaker of the land of Israel, on behalf of its owners — Jewish people everywhere” (Jewish National Fund, Essence of Life Campaign).

After Israel was established in 1948, the JNF purchased expropriated Palestinian land from the state, and since then has played a key role in an exclusionary land regime that discriminates against Palestinian citizens.

According to Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination, and Democracy, a new book by Ben White: “Since 1948, over 700 Jewish communities have been established in Israel’s pre-1967 borders. In the same period, not one new city, town or village for the Palestinian minority has been created, except for seven townships in the Negev intended to ‘concentrate’ the Bedouin population” (p. 38).

In the last accounts and annual report document filed with the Charity Commission (December 2010) JNF UK said it had “supported Israel since 1901, helping to build a country out of nothing” (my emphasis).

This kind of language invokes the old pre-state Zionist slogan “a land without a people for a people without a land,” suggesting the JNF’s agenda in 2012 has changed little since those days.

In his book Expulsion of the Palestinians, Palestinian scholar Nur Masalha wrote of this infamous slogan that it was not intended as a literal demographic assessment: “[Zionists] did not mean that there were no people in Palestine, but that there were no people worth considering within the framework of the notions of European supremacy that then held sway” (p. 6).

In a 2005 US diplomatic cable revealed by WikiLeaks, current Israeli President Shimon Peres is reported as saying Israel had “lost one million dunams [a dunam is the equivalent of 1,000 square meters] of Negev land to the Bedouin” (i.e. supposedly equal Palestinian citizens of Israel). Peres slurred the “Arab sector in both the Negev and the Galilee” as a “demographic threat,” reported the cable (“05TELAVIV1847, Shimon Peres on disengagement, Palestinian social”).

Uqbi emphasized to The Electronic Intifada that Peres went on to play a key role in the confiscation of Palestinian land in the Naqab from his time as development minister between 2006 and 2007.

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who has lived and worked in occupied Palestine. His website is www.winstanleys.org.

February 22, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Comments Off on Stop the JNF campaign makes steady gains as Israel charity goes “on the retreat” in UK

Ethnic Cleansing in a Zionist Fairyland

By Vacy Vlazna | Palestine Chronicle | February 10, 2012

‘De-Arabizing the history of Palestine is another crucial element of the ethnic cleansing. 1500 years of Arab and Muslim rule and culture in Palestine are trivialized, evidence of its existence is being destroyed and all this is done to make the absurd connection between the ancient Hebrew civilization and today’s Israel. The most glaring example of this today is in Silwan, (Wadi Hilwe) a town adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem with some 50,000 residents.  Israel is expelling families from Silwan and destroying their homes because it claims that king David built a city there some 3000 years ago. Thousands of families will be made homeless so that Israel can build a park to commemorate a king that may or may not have lived 3000 years ago. Not a shred of historical evidence exists that can prove King David ever lived yet Palestinian men, women, children and the elderly along with their schools and mosques, churches and ancient cemeteries and any evidence of their existence must be destroyed and then denied so that Zionist claims to exclusive rights to the land may be substantiated.’ — Miko Peled, Israeli dissident.

Indeed, archaeology has become a state apparatus for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Zionist fairyland aka the City of David Archaeological Park located in the Palestinian village of Silwan in East Jerusalem.

East Jerusalem is the proclaimed capital of the proposed Palestine state. It was illegally annexed by Israel in the 1967 war. Prohibiting annexation of territories gained by military conquest is one of the major principles of international law. The international community does not recognise Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem nevertheless over 50,000 illegal premises have been built for 250,000 illegal Israeli colonists.

The goal of the archaeological judaisation of Jerusalem is to transform Jerusalem into the City of David, the capital of Greater Israel by eradicating the mixed ethnic composition of the Palestinian and Jewish population of East Jerusalem to a solely Jewish identity and unifying East and West Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty.

This judaising in Silwan is executed by the Israeli government, the Municipality of Jerusalem, and  the rightwing colonist (settler) organisation, Elad, through the revocation of residency rights, absentee property laws, discriminatory taxation policies, home demolitions, transfer of Palestinian  residents, replacing Arabic place names with Hebrew names and the expansion of settlements which Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, describes ‘as a form of ethnic cleansing ‘ which is defined as a crime against humanity under the statutes of the  International Criminal Court (ICC). Furthermore Article 53 of the Geneva Convention states: “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons.is prohibited.”

Financial support for judaising programmes comes from hundreds of moneyed Zionist organisations and foundations worldwide. In 2005, archaeologist Eilat Mazar announced she had discovered the palace of King David circa 10 Century BCE.  The excavations in Silwan were funded by the Shalem Center whose Zionist neocons have invested heavily in the judaisation efforts to give historicity to the David myth. Shalem’s founder, Ron Lauder of the Estee Lauder empire, is an uncompromising Zionist extremist, a Likudnik and a major shareholder in Israeli TV Channel 10 as well as the current Chairman of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and President of the World Jewish Congress (JWC) which normalises the Israeli occupation. Curiously, in January, Abbas and Erekat had a closed meeting with Lauder in London even though the Palestinian team refused to meet with Netanyahu.

The Shalem Center has association with Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire who is a Likud supporter and a key financial backer of the Newt Gingrich campaign and Newt’s ‘Palestinians are an invented people’ idiocy. From  2007-9  the Adelson Institute for Strategic  Studies in the Shalem Center was directed by Natan Sharansky who is now Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, a quasi-governmental organisation advancing Jewish immigration to Israel including the illegal colonies. Its 2008 the core budget was $314,760,000. The Jewish Agency was established by the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in 1929 founded on the commitment to warrant “The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital “It acts as agent of the government in assigning land to Jewish colonists in the Israeli-occupied territories. Its new chairman is religious Zionist Avraham Duvdevani who served as head of the WZO’s Settlement Division, co-chairman of the board of the Jewish National Fund and a member of the Jewish Agency’s Executive. Over a quarter of WZO delegates are from Orthodox Zionists attesting to their sinister rising influence.

The Shalem Centre works closely with Elad the right-wing hardline colonist organization and militia that advocates illegal Jewish colonial settlement in East Jerusalem acquiring, in cahoots with the Jewish National Fund and its subsidiary Hemanuta, Palestinian properties often through threats, false depositions, forged documents, posthumous witness signatures and militant house takeovers.

Elad is mainly funded by the tax-exempt ‘charities’ Ir David Incorporated and the Irving Moskowitz Foundation which illegally funnel monies to Zionist political objectives. Moskowitz, the casino magnate, is a hardcore Zionist and founder of the Friends of Ateret Cohanim which finances Jews to live in East Jerusalem and owns about 70 properties in the Muslim Quarter. Daniel Luria, its chief fund-raiser commented “Our [fund-raising] activity in New York goes solely toward land redemption.” In 2005, Ateret Cohanim instigated, without license, an archaeological project tunneling 20 meters toward the Al-Aqsa compound causing damage to Palestinian homes in violation of the law.

Elad was given, without tender, exclusive control over the City of David Archaeological Park including a tunnel network that is being dug around and under the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Elad’s lucrative tours of the historic sites, although there is no historical evidence of David or Solomon’s existence, spout historical fabrications from the Jewish biblical narrative such as the Byzantine water pit that is falsified as Jeremiah’s pit. The 8000 year old Palestinian-Canaanite narrative is glossed over.

In December 2011, Australian listeners were treated to a fantasy tour of the so-called Palace of David by ABC presenter Rachael Kohn and archaeologist Avner Goren both of whom gushed forth fairytales about the mythical king absurdly comparing him to George Washington and sidestepping his dubious authenticity by urging trust in the Bible.

In archaeological circles there is an ongoing controversy about whether Biblical texts can be equated to history. In the 70s William Dever suggested that rather than Biblical Archaeology, the term Syro-Palestinian Archaeology (note not Syro-Israeli) was more appropriate and is used in academic circles.

Archaeologists who follow the Minimalist or Copenhagen school “conclude that the books of the Hebrew Bible were written during the Persian (or Hellenistic) period. The historical books actually contain made-up stories (that may have exploited some vague, ancient legends) through which the local organized refugee population provided itself with a mythic cover-(hi)story that linked it to the land and to a religion. This conclusion has two important corollaries: (1) Bible narratives about the political, social, and intellectual world of ancient Israel from Abraham to the temple’s destruction lack probative value. (2) Any narrative about what actually happened to the real people living in the central mountain areas of ancient Israel during what archaeologists call the Iron Age must, accordingly, be based on archaeological data alone. No other authentic sources for their history are available.”

It is widely accepted that the Bible originated in the 7th Century BCE, 300 years after David and other historical aberrations encompass the palaces officially ascribed to Solomon in Megiddo which are dated long after Solomon’s time. Cities conquered by Joshua in the 14th century BCE were destroyed well before that era. Daniel Gavron comments  that “The story of Abraham’s journey from Ur of the Chaldees, the Patriarchs, the Exodus, Sinai, and the conquest of Canaan, all these were apparently based on legends…” In 2004, Yuval Goren admitted he examined ” a seemingly endless line of fake biblical texts of various kinds. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of such forgeries referring especially to the time of the First Temple. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the disciplines of biblical history and archaeology have been contaminated to such an extent that no unprovenanced written source seems to be reliable anymore.”

Proof of David’s existence rests on a piece of stone found at Tel Dan in  northern Galilee (not Jerusalem) inscribed with the words ‘Beit David’ which could mean House of ‘David’ or ‘Beloved’  but not King David conclusively as with the sherd found at Tel Safi with  the name ‘Goliath’  which “almost certainly did not belong to David’s Goliath, if it does say “Goliath” then it shows that there was such a personal name used in the region at approximately the correct chronological period.” The first ancient reference to an Israelite king is found in an 8th Century BCE Assyrian document recording “King Ahab of Israel sent 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers.”

Sumud (steadfastness) life and land are synonymous in the Palestinian soul. King David may be a myth but it is the modern indigenous Palestinians, outcasts in their own land, who stand alone with the stone of sumud in their hands daily facing off the militant aliyah hordes backed by the Zionist Goliaths of multi-billion dollar empires, by Christian Zionist offerings, by the servile US Congress, by a depraved UK and EU and by a contemptibly inadequate United Nations.

– Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 and was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

February 11, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on Ethnic Cleansing in a Zionist Fairyland