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Israel advocates push ABA to adopt anti-Palestinian definition of antisemitism

The American Bar Association will vote on February 6 whether to promote a newly created definition of antisemitism that has been used “consistently (and nearly exclusively) not to fight antisemitism, but rather to defend Israel and harm Palestinians

This has been done “at the cost of undermining and dangerously chilling fundamental rights of free speech, freedom of assembly and protest, and academic freedom

“The ABA’s embrace of the definition would legitimize this infringement on core democratic rights as well as undermine the ABA’s own ability to engage on issues related to Palestinian rights…”

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | January 26, 2023

For 20 years, Israel and its partisans have worked to embed a newly fabricated, Israel-centric definition of antisemitism in governments and institutions around the world. The latest iteration is known as the IHRA definition.

Now there is an effort to push the American Bar Association to promote this definition to “federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments in the United States.”

At its upcoming national meeting (which begins on February 1), delegates will be voting on resolution 514 on Monday, February 6.

Numerous groups have written letters opposing the ABA’s use of this definition, pointing out that it would be used against Palestinian rights, would infringe on freedom of speech, and would interfere with academic freedom.

Israel has a long, thoroughly documented history of violating Palestinian human rights, of an apartheid-like system. and of violent attacks on Gaza and the West Bank. It was founded through a war of ethnic cleansing.

For more information see:

Resolution 514 is co-sponsored by:

Juan Thomas, Chair
Mark Schickman, Senior Advisor
Paula Shapiro, Director
ABA Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice

Hon. Benes Z. Aldana (Ret.), Chair
Skip Harsch, Director
Ann Breen-Greco
ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Twanda Turner-Hawkins, Chair
Selina Thomas, Director
ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice

Priya Purandare, Executive Director
Navdeep Singh, Interim Policy Director
Wendy Shiba, Past President, ABA Delegate
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

James L. Schwartz, Chair
Richard M. Leslie, Chair-Elect
Jack Young, Delegate
Senior Lawyers Division

Marcos Rios, Chair
David Schwartz, Chair-Elect
Michelle Jacobson, Policy Officer
ABA International Law Section

This is what opponents of Palestinian rights enable:

Daily Life in Occupied Palestine from If Americans Knew on Vimeo.

January 27, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 4 Comments

Israeli troops commit massacre in latest raids on Jenin

Raids focused on Jenin but targeted many other areas across the occupied West Bank

The Cradle – January 26 2023

Israeli occupation forces killed ten Palestinians and injured at least twenty on 26 January during violent raids in the occupied city of Jenin and its refugee camp.

The raids began on the evening of 25 January and persisted into 26 January, in what is being described as “one of the deadliest days” in the West Bank since the start of last year.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC), several have been detained throughout the raids and transferred for interrogation by Israel’s security service. As a result of the incursions, intense clashes broke out between Israeli troops and resistance fighters, several of whom sustained bullet wounds.

An elderly woman has also been reported among the dead, according to security officials. Eyewitnesses have referred to the situation as a “massacre.”

Those killed are Majeda Abdel Fattah Obeid (Umm Ziad), brothers Mohammad Ghneim, Nour Ghneim, and Ahmad Ghneim, Mohammad Mahmoud Sobh, Wassim Amjad Jaes, Mutasim Mahmoud Abou Hassan, Ezzedine Yasin Salahat, Abdallah Marwan al-Ghoul, Saeb Issam Azraqi.

The Israeli army cut off the power supply to the Jenin camp, while also blocking journalists and ambulance teams from entering. Health officials have said that injuries are continuing to accumulate.

“There is an invasion that is unprecedented in the past period, in terms of how large it is and the number of injuries … The ambulance driver tried to get to one of the martyrs who was on the floor, but the Israeli forces shot directly at the ambulance and prevented them from approaching him,” Wissam Baker, head of Jenin’s public hospital, told media.

Despite centering around Jenin and its camp, the Israeli raids also targeted several homes and refugee camps across the West Bank, including Ramallah’s Al-Amari camp and Jerusalem’s Shuafat camp, as well as the towns of Silwan, Sur Baher, Al-Tur, and Al-Isawiya.

In response to the Israeli aggression, the Palestinian resistance managed to down a drone as it was flying over the Jenin refugee camp.

According to reports, an Israeli soldier was killed and another injured in the confrontations. Another report says that the Jenin Brigade of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) resistance movement detonated an explosive device inside an Israeli military jeep, resulting in “casualties in their ranks.”

“The military operation in Jenin was launched after intelligence from the Shin Bet about the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement’s intention to carry out a major operation against Israeli targets … the operation aimed to arrest a prominent member of the movement,” Israeli media reported.

The military ended up withdrawing from Jenin, however, the injury toll is expected to rise.

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

A State for some of its citizens: Captured black soldier’s saga highlights racism in Israel

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | January 24, 2023

“For how long will I be in captivity? After so many years, where are the state and the people of Israel?” These were the words, uttered in Hebrew, of a person believed to be Avera Mengistu, an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian origin, who was captured and held in Gaza in 2014.

Footage of Mengistu, looking nervous but also somewhat defiant, calling on his countrymen to end his 9-year incarceration, mostly ended speculation in Israel on whether the soldier was alive or dead.

The timing of the release of the footage by Hamas was obvious, and is directly linked to the Palestinian group’s efforts aimed at conducting a prisoner exchange similar to the one carried out in 2011, which saw the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in exchange for the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

The main target audience of Hamas’ message is the new government and, specifically, the new military leadership. Israel now has a new army chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, who has replaced the departing chief, Aviv Kochavi. The latter seemed disinterested in Mengistu’s cause, while the new chief arrives with lofty promises about uniting the country behind its military and opening a new page where the army is no longer involved in everyday politics.

It may appear that Hamas and other Gaza groups are in a stronger position than the one they enjoyed during Shalit’s captivity, between 2006 and 2011. Not only are they militarily stronger but, instead of capturing one Israeli, they have four: aside from Mengistu, they also have Hisham Al-Sayed, and what is believed to be the remains of two other soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.

But this is when the story gets particularly complicated. Unlike Shalit, who is white and holds dual Israeli-French citizenship, Mengistu and Al-Sayed are Ethiopian Jew and Bedouin, respectively.

Racism based on colour and ethnicity is rife in Israel. Although no Israeli officials will admit to this openly, Israel is in no rush to rescue two men who are not members of the dominant Ashkenazi group, or even of the socially less privileged Sephardic or Mizrahi Jews.

Black Jews and Bedouins have always been placed at the bottom of Israel’s socio-economic indicators. In 2011, the Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post shared numbers from a disturbing report, which placed poverty among children of Ethiopian immigrants at a whopping 65 per cent. The number is particularly staggering when compared to the average poverty rate in Israel, of 21 per cent.

Things have not improved much since then. The Israeli Justice Ministry’s annual report on racism complaints shows that 24 per cent of all complaints are filed by Ethiopians. This racism covers most aspects of public life, from education to services to police mistreatment.

Not even enlisting in the military – Israel’s most revered institution – is enough to change Ethiopians’ position in Israeli society.

The famous story of Demas Fikadey in 2015 is a case in point. Then only 21, the Ethiopian soldier was beaten up severely by two Israeli police officers in a Tel Aviv suburb for no reason at all. The whole episode was caught on camera, leading to mass protests and even violent clashes. For Ethiopian Jews, the humiliation and violence carried out against Fikadey was a representation of years of suffering, racism and discrimination.

Many believe that the government’s lacklustre response to Mengistu’s prolonged capture is directly linked to the fact that he is black.

Israel’s discriminatory behaviour against African asylum seekers, which often leads to forceful deportation following humiliating treatment, is well known. Amnesty International described this in a report in 2018 as “a cruel and misguided abandonment of responsibility”.

But discriminating against a black soldier, who, by Israel’s own estimation, is believed to suffer from mental illness, is a whole different kind of ‘abandonment’.

A former Israeli army official, Col. Moshe Tal, did not mince words in a recent national radio interview when he said that Mengistu and Al-Sayed are a low priority for the public “on the account of their race”, Haaretz reported.

“If we were speaking about two other citizens from other backgrounds and socio-economic statuses … the amount of interest would be different,” Tal said. In contrast to Shalit’s story, the government’s “attention to the affair (and) the media pulse, is close to zero.”

Israel’s Ethiopian Jews number around 170,000, hardly an important political constituency in a remarkably divided and polarised society. Most of them are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who arrived in Israel between 1980 and 1992. Though they are still known as the Falasha, they are sometimes referred to by the more dignified name of ‘Beta Israel’, or ‘House of Israel’.

Superficial language alterations aside, their struggle is evident in everyday Israel. The plight of Mengistu, as expressed in his own question, “where are the State and the people of Israel?” sums up the sense of collective loss and alienation this community has felt for nearly two generations.

When Mengistu arrived with his family at the age of 5 in Israel, escaping a bloody civil war in Ethiopia and historic discrimination there, the family, like most Ethiopians, hardly knew that discrimination would follow them, even in the supposed land of ‘milk and honey’.

READ: Hamas will not release Israel captives without ‘honourable swap’

And, most likely, they also knew little about the plight of Palestinians, the native inhabitants of that historic land, who are victims of terrible violence, racism and much more.

Palestinians know well why Israel has done little to free the black soldier; Mengistu and his Ethiopian community also understand how race is an important factor in Israeli politics. Although a prisoner exchange could potentially free Mengistu and an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of Israel and discrimination against Ethiopian Jews will carry on for much longer.

While Palestinians are resisting Israel’s military Occupation and apartheid, Ethiopian Jews should mount their own resistance for greater rights. Their resistance must be predicated on the understanding that Palestinians and Arabs are not the enemy but potential allies in a joint fight against racism, apartheid and socio-economic marginalisation.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Calls for Khan Al-Ahmar’s demolition speak of colonial violence and privilege

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | January 24, 2023

The former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, has told a Likud faction meeting that “illegal Palestinian construction” in the occupied West Bank is “rampant”. He wasn’t being honest.

“Last Friday we made it clear that supporting settlements does not contradict upholding the law,” he claimed. “The defence minister received our backing. We expect the defence minister to act with the same determination in the face of rampant Palestinian illegal construction in the West Bank. We will no longer tolerate discrimination against the settlers.”

Israeli settlements and settlers are, of course, illegal under international law, something that Danon is adept at overlooking when he makes such outrageous claims.

As the Israeli government prepares to submit its response to the High Court over the impending demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar, Danon and Likud MK Yuli Edelstein visited the village, calling for its demolition and accusing the government of selective enforcement over the evacuation of the Or Chaim illegal settler outpost in the occupied West Bank.

In an op-ed, Danon described the EU’s funding of infrastructure in Khan Al-Ahmar as “subversive involvement of international entities in Israel’s domestic affairs” and accused the bloc of violating Israel’s sovereignty and international law. “It is part of an ulterior agenda that seeks to delegitimise Israel’s historical claim to its own land,” Danon wrote.

Completely eliminating Israel’s colonial context and the fact that Khan Al-Ahmar is built on Israeli-occupied Palestinian land, Danon referred to the evacuation of Or Chaim and said, “The law is the law and must be applied to all citizens and communities, Jews and Arabs alike.” However, there is no equivalence between the coloniser and the colonised, as Danon knows well.

Khan al-Ahmar has attracted enough international attention to become newsworthy periodically, and the related activism has ensured that Israel’s violations are fully exposed. The village, though, is also part of a long colonial process that seeks to dispossess Palestinians of their land. Its demolition is not an isolated incident. Earlier expulsions and destruction of properties, including the ethnic cleansing from the 1948 Nakba onwards, need to be kept in mind.

Israel benefits from the international community’s differentiation of colonial settlement expansion. It has gained a veneer of legitimacy for the earlier colonial settlements despite the atrocities committed by Zionist paramilitary terror gangs to establish control over Palestinian territory. Israeli law is justifiable only unto itself and the violence it created. In terms of equality and rights, there is no justification for Israel’s colonial expansion. Likewise, there is no equivalence in calling for the demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar because an illegal (even under Israeli law) settlement outpost was dismantled. Palestinians are rarely issued building permits on what remains of their land. Danon’s use of the word “rampant” is totally dishonest. Indeed, his words only reflect his country’s colonial violence and privilege when calling for Khan Al-Ahmar’s destruction, not to mention targeting an integral part of Palestinian resilience in the face of impending demolition orders.

Lest Danon forgets, Khan Al-Ahmar’s residents relocated to the area after being displaced by Israel in 1950, laying bare the lie of delegitimising “Israel’s historical claim to its own land”. Israel wants territorial contiguity to Jerusalem, not demolitions based on equal rights. Erasing the Palestinian landscape through colonial settlement expansion does not erase the fact that Israel’s settler-colonial population cannot lay legitimate claims to Palestinian land, and neither can the Israeli government. The only claim that Israel can make with any degree of accuracy and honesty is that it colonised Palestine and intends to finalise its colonial enterprise. Khan Al-Ahmar stands in the way of its plans, just as other Palestinian towns and villages did decades ago. More than 500 paid the price and were totally destroyed and wiped off the map.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

Israel approves decision to demolish school in Masafer Yatta

MEMO | January 19, 2023

An Israeli court has approved a decision by Israeli authorities to demolish a school in Al-Ain Al-Baida in Masafer Yatta, based south of Hebron in the Occupied West Bank, reported Wafa news agency.

Head of the Masafer Yatta Village Council, Nidal Younis, told Wafa that an Israeli court revoked a previous injunction issued against the demolition of the school and gave the Israeli Occupation army 10 days to destroy it.

He noted that the school was built last year with funding from the European Union, which 50 students from local Bedouin communities attend.

On 4 May 2022, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that there were no legal barriers to the planned expulsion of Palestinian residents from Masafer Yatta to make way for military training.

The UN OCHA said then that this ruling “effectively placed the residents at imminent risk of forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer.”

According to the UN OCHA, in the 1980s, the Israeli Occupation designated part of Masafer Yatta as ‘Firing Zone 918’ and declared it a closed military zone.

Since this declaration, indigenous Palestinian residents have been at risk of forced eviction, demolition and forcible transfer. The two villages of Khirbet Sarura and Kharoubeh no longer exist after their homes were demolished.

“Approximately 20 per cent of the West Bank has been designated as ‘Firing Zones’, affecting over 5,000 Palestinians from 38 communities,” the UN OCHA said.

It added: “Currently, Masafer Yatta is home to 215 Palestinian households, including about 1,150 people, of which 569 are children.”

In an effort to force Palestinians out of the area, the Israeli Occupation has deprived residents of access to basic amenities, including drainage and permission to construct to meet the needs of the growing population.

January 19, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

The content of AIPAC’s recent Political Leadership Forum was largely concealed from the public

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | January 19, 2023

The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) brought together last week 1,000 top political leaders to discuss the new political reality the pro-Israel lobby faces following the swearing-in of Israel’s new, extremist government, and to “strategize for the 2024 election cycle.”

The conference was closed to journalists, and only excerpts of some speeches have been released. Speakers included Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (via video call) on Monday, and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (in person) on Tuesday. Below is a partial summary of their remarks.

Normalization

PM Netanyahu addressed, among other topics, his hope to see the Trump-era Abraham Accords expand to include more Arab nations (read about the Abraham Accords here). According to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, he is optimistic because many Arab leaders have changed their perception of Israel and now see it as a partner rather than an enemy.”

Secretary Austin likewise stated his eagerness to “deepen and broaden the Abraham Accords and to forge other normalization agreements.”

Both men overlooked the fact that in a recent UN meeting, all of the Abraham Accords signatories (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco) – as well as every other Arab country – had voted against Israel on a resolution calling for the International Court of Justice to weigh in on the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Iran

The Israeli Prime Minister made reference to Iran, which is under worldwide scrutiny at the moment for its brutal suppression of human rights protest. Netanyahu labeled Iran “a terrible regime, depressive and terroristic.”

The US Secretary of Defense similarly stressed Iran’s oppression: “The regime has killed, and beaten, and jailed its own citizens for daring to speak out against its repressive rule,” adding, “we’re working closely with Israel and our allies and partners to impose coordinated pressure on the Iranian regime.”

Neither of the speakers acknowledged Israel’s own brutal suppression of Palestinian protesters and resistors (for  examples, go here). United Nations data shows that in 2022, Israeli troops killed over 150 Palestinians in the West Bank alone (almost 50 in Gaza) – more than any other year since the UN started keeping track.

So far in 2023, at least 14 Palestinians have been killed already. Thousands more are held in prison or administrative detention without charge or trial – and many prisoners are tortured.

“Democracy”

AIPAC issued a statement in late December, immediately after the new Israeli government had been formed, congratulating the state and its new prime minister, adding, “Once again, the Jewish state has demonstrated that it is a robust democracy with the freedoms that Americans also cherish.”

Within a few days after forming the new government in December, PM Netanyahu tweeted the coalition’s intentions – which exclude any language about democracy:

“These are the basic guidelines of the national government headed by me: The Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop settlement in all parts of the Land of Israel – in the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria.”

(Note: “the Galilee” is part of the current state of Israel, but less than half of the population is Jewish; “the Golan Heights” and “Judea and Samaria” refer to lands belonging to Syria and Palestine, respectively; the internationally recognized name of “Judea and Samaria” is Occupied Palestinian Territory. 20% of the citizens of Israel and roughly 50% of the population over which Israel exercises control are Palestinian Arabs, largely Muslim and Christian.)

Rather than responding to Netanyahu’s blunt assertion, US Secretary of Defense Austin quoted a statement the Prime Minister had made back in November:”[We] will work for the benefit of all residents of the state of Israel, without exception” – a promise that preceded the formation of a government coalition that included some of the most extremist members in recent memory.

Notably, Israel has defied international law and the demands of the global community since the country’s inception – including its constant drive to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land and transfer Jewish Israeli citizens to that land.

American money for Israel

Austin went on to list the financial perks that the US is providing to Israel, including $3.8 billion annually in military aid (“the highest it’s ever been”). (Note: Congress spends another $3 billion a year on projects that benefit Israel, for a total of about $7 billion a year – $20 million a day.)

While some Congress members have pressed to block aid to Israel while it is in defiance of international (and US) law, the effort has gained little traction.

Full article

January 19, 2023 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

It has always been a ‘Religious War’: On Ben-Gvir and the adaptability of Zionism

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | January 17, 2023

In a self-congratulatory article published in the Atlantic in 2017, Yossi Klein Halevi describes Israeli behaviour at the just-conquered holy Muslim shrines in Occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 as “an astonishing moment of religious restraint”.

“The Jewish people had just returned to its holiest site, from which it had been denied access for centuries, only to effectively yield sovereignty at its moment of triumph,” Halevi wrote with a lingering sense of pride, as if the world owes Israel a ton of gratitude in the way it conducted itself during one of the most egregious acts of violence in the modern history of the Middle East.

Halevi’s pompous discourse on Israel’s heightened sense of morality – compared to, according to his own analysis, the lack of Arab appreciation of Israel’s overtures and refusal to engage in peace talks – is not in any way unique. His is the same language recycled umpteen times by all Zionists, even by those who advocated for a Jewish state before it was established on the ruins of destroyed and ethnically cleansed Palestine.

From its nascent beginnings, the Zionist discourse was purposely confusing – disarranging history when necessary, and fabricating it when convenient. Though the resultant narrative on Israel’s inception and continuation as an exclusively Jewish state may appear confounding to honest readers of history, for Israel’s supporters – and certainly for the Zionists themselves – Israel, as an idea, makes perfect sense.

When Israel’s new National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir raided Al-Aqsa Mosque on 3 January to re-introduce himself to Jewish extremists as the new face of Israeli politics, he was also taking the first steps in correcting, in his own perception, a historical injustice.

Like Halevi, and, in fact, most of Israel’s political classes, let alone mainstream intellectuals, Ben-Gvir believes in the significance of Jerusalem and its holy shrines to the very future of their Jewish state. However, despite the general agreement on the power of the religious narrative in Israel, there are also marked differences.

What Halevi was bragging about in his piece in the Atlantic is this: soon after soldiers raised the Israeli flag, garnished with the Star of David, atop the Dome of the Rock they were ordered to take it down. They did so, supposedly, at the behest of then-Defence Minister Moshe Dayan, quoted in the piece as saying to the army unit commander: “Do you want to set the Middle East on fire?”

Eventually, Israel conquered all of Jerusalem. Since then, it has also done everything in its power to ethnically cleanse the city’s Palestinian Muslim and Christian inhabitants to ensure an absolute Jewish majority. What is taking place in Sheikh Jarrah and other Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem is but a continuation of this old, sad episode.

However, the Haram Al-Sharif Compound – where Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dome of the Rock and other Muslim shrines are located – was nominally administered by the Islamic Waqf authorities. By doing so, Israel managed to enforce the inaccurate notion that religious freedom is still respected in Jerusalem even after Israel’s so-called ‘unification’ of the city, which will remain, according to Israel’s official discourse, the “united, eternal capital of the Jewish people”.

The reality on the ground, however, has been largely dictated by the Ben-Gvirs of Israel who, for decades, have laboured to erase the Muslim and Christian history, identity and, at times, even their ancient graveyards from the Occupied city. Al-Haram Al-Sharif is hardly a religious oasis for Muslims but the site of daily protests, whereby Israeli soldiers and Jewish extremists routinely storm the holy shrines, leaving behind broken bones, blood and tears.

Despite American support of Israel, the international community has never accepted Israel’s version of falsified history. Though the Jewish spiritual connection to the city is always acknowledged – in fact, it has been respected by Arabs and Muslims since Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab entered the city in 638 – Israel has been reminded by the United Nations, time and again, regarding the illegality of its Occupation and all related actions it carried out in the city since June of 1967.

But Ben-Gvir and his Otzma Yehudit Party, like all of Israel’s major political forces, care little for international law, authentic history or Palestinians’ rights. However, their main point of contention regarding the proper course of action in Al-Aqsa is mostly internal. There are those who want to speed up the process of fully claiming Al-Aqsa as a Jewish site, and those who believe that such a move is untimely and, for now, unstrategic.

The former group, however, is winning the debate. Long marginalised at the periphery of Israeli politics, Israel’s religious parties are now inching closer to the centre, which is affecting Israel’s priorities on how best to defeat the Palestinians.

Typical analyses attribute the rise of Israel’s religious constituencies to the desperation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is arguably using the likes of Ben-Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich and Aryeh Deri to stay in office. However, this assessment does not tell the whole story, as the power of religious parties has long preceded Netanyahu’s political and legal woes. The Zionist discourse has, itself, been shifting towards religious Zionism; this can be easily observed in the growing religious sentiment in Israel’s judicial system, among the rank and file of the army, in the Knesset (Parliament) and, more recently, in the government itself.

These ideological shifts have even led some to argue that Ben-Gvir and his supporters are angling for a ‘religious war’. But is Ben-Gvir the one introducing religious war to the Zionist discourse?

In truth, early Zionists have never tried to mask the religious identity of their colonial project. “Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine,” the Basel Program, adopted by the First Zionist Congress in 1897, stated. Little has changed since then. Israel is “the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said in March 2019.

So, if Israel’s founding ideology, political discourse, Jewish Nation State Law, every war, illegal settlement, bypass road and even the very Israeli flag and national anthem were all directly linked or appealed to religion and religious sentiments, then it is safe to argue that Israel has been engaged in a religious war against Palestinians since its inception.

The Zionists, whether ‘political Zionists’ like Theodore Hertzl or ‘Spiritual Zionists’ like Ahad Ha’am’ – and now Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir – have all used the Jewish religion to achieve the same end, colonising all historic Palestine and ethnically cleansing its native population. Sadly, a major part of this sinister mission has been achieved, though Palestinians continue to resist with the same ferocity of their ancestors.

The historic truth is that Ben-Gvir’s behaviour is only a natural outcome of Zionist thinking, formulated over a century ago. Indeed, for Zionists – religious, secular or, even atheists – the war has always been or, more accurately, had to be, a religious one.

January 17, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

Nasrallah: The new Netanyahu government will hasten Israel’s demise

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on January 3, 2023, during the commemoration of the third anniversary of the assassination of Commanders Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Source : video.moqawama.org
Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

[…] I want to conclude on two points. The first point will be to address a message to the new Israeli government, and the second point concerns the presidential elections and the political situation in Lebanon.

First of all, this new government… Of course, we already have many years of experience with Netanyahu. If someone wants to scare us with Netanyahu, with the new (Israeli) Minister of War [Yoav Galant] or with anyone else, (he is wasting his time because) we have already dealt with them in the previous years. Yes, there is something new, namely that this government is a mixture of corrupt people – some of whom have been tried and sentenced to prison for corruption charges – and madmen and extremists, which is new. This level of transparency (in corruption and in fanaticism) is something new. So we are facing a government of corrupt, criminal and extremist fanatics. Of course, such a government does not scare us, and never such governments have been able to scare us in any way.

And more than that, we can even be optimistic about it, contrary to what most (analysts) say: when a new government is composed of corrupt and crazy people, with the grace of God, it will only accelerate the end of this temporary entity. These madmen, whom we have seen for a few days, and until this morning, (desecrate) the Al-Aqsa mosque in the early morning, their Minister of National Security (Ben Gvir), this administration, with the grace of God, will accelerate (the demise of Israel).

As you know, we have spoken many times about the internal dangers within the Israelis (themselves), the sharp divisions (of their society and elites), the lack of trust in the political and military leadership, and even in the religious authorities, the growing corruption, etc., up to the prevalent anxiety in Israel as to whether this entity will exceed 80 years of existence or not [never in history has a Jewish state exceeded 80 years], with the grace of God the Most High and Exalted, and by the grace of this new government composed of madmen, it will accelerate the end of this entity, through mistakes and stupid acts that could drag them to the bottom of the abyss. This is how we see things. In no way does the situation frighten us, on the contrary: we see a great hope in this evil (government). That’s the first point.

Second point, of course, these madmen and fanatics… Their first aim is internal, and concerns Palestine: the colonization of the West Bank, the question of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem). What happened today (desecration of the Al-Aqsa mosque by the new Minister of National Security), and the Palestinian stances as well as the reactions of some Arab and Muslim States and groups in the world confirm that these people are pushing for a (very) dangerous situation. I would like tonight to add the voice of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah) to that of all the Resistance organizations in Palestine and declare this: desecrating Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Muslim and Christian holy places in Palestine and Bayt al-Maqdis in particular, on the part of these Zionists, will not only explode the situation inside Palestine, but can put the whole region on fire (by triggering a massive counter-strike against Israel). Our peoples will not tolerate such aggression by these madmen against the Muslim and Christian holy places. We have said this before, and we confirm it again. And we declare to all the countries of the world, and (especially) to those who protect this usurping entity, that if you want to avoid a second war in the Middle East in addition to the war in Ukraine, you must keep a tight rein on these extremist and fanatical madmen.

As for the rules of engagement with this new government, as I said, we already have experience with Netanyahu, there is nothing new, but also, since there is a new government, we reaffirm to them that we are alert, vigilant and ready (for anything), and that we will not tolerate any change in the rules of engagement and the balance of deterrence (between Israel and) Lebanon, whatever it may be. Let no one get any ideas or illusions. In any case, they could see a few months ago that we were ready, during the dispute over the maritime border and oil and gas resources, to go as far as possible in the confrontation (up to an all-out war) against this enemy (Israel). And they knew with certainty that we were ready for that (and that we were not bluffing). That is why we will not tolerate any alteration of the rules of engagement (between Hezbollah and Israel), nor any violation of Lebanon’s security, its capabilities or its sovereignty.

See Nasrallah: If Lebanon is denied its oil and gas resources, we will shut down all Israeli platforms

Likewise, we stress the importance for the Lebanese government to pursue its efforts to launch the extraction of (Lebanese) oil and gas. Some feared that Netanyahu’s rise to power would end the border agreement between Lebanon and Israel, but he announced that he would abide by it. The signs from the companies involved (Total, etc.) give cause for optimism. So we are not at all worried on that side.

In truth, with this government, our eyes must rather be turned towards the interior of occupied Palestine, towards Al-Quds (Jerusalem), towards the West Bank, and towards the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the first place. […]

January 16, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel occupation forces bulldoze Greek Orthodox land in occupied Jerusalem

MEMO | January 16, 2023

The Israeli occupation authorities yesterday started to bulldoze a 5,000 square metre plot of land owned by the Greek Orthodox Church in occupied Jerusalem’s Silwan neighbourhood, the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre has reported. The operators of the bulldozers were protected by a large number of Israeli occupation security forces and police.

According to the centre, the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority as well as settler organisations commissioned the bulldozers to uproot fruit-bearing trees and level the land. Illegal settlers and police seized the land on 22 December. The Jewish settlers fenced it off and installed surveillance cameras under police protection.

When Silwan residents rushed to the scene to stop the land theft, they were assaulted by security forces, said the centre, which monitors Israeli violations in the area. The land is owned by the Greek Orthodox Monastery in Silwan, which is part of the city’s Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

Silwan is home to more than 60,000 Palestinians and is located strategically to the south of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The area has been the target of Israeli settler expansion for years, with hundreds of Palestinian families facing the threat of expulsion, either through lawsuits by powerful settler groups or administrative eviction orders by the Israeli-run Jerusalem municipality.

Middle East Eye has reported that the Greek Orthodox Church has been criticised heavily by Palestinian groups for its dealings with settlers and allegations of bribery and fraud. In 1951, church-owned land in West Jerusalem was rented to the Jewish National Fund for a period of 99 years. Today, the land houses most Israeli state institutions, including Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

January 16, 2023 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

China urges Israel to stop ‘incitement’ to avoid escalation

MEMO | January 16, 2023

China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Qin Gang, urged Israel on Sunday to stop its “incitement” in order to avoid escalation with the Palestinians, news agencies have reported.

In a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo, the Chinese minister called on Israel to “stop incitements and provocations, and to refrain from taking uniliteral actions that could worsen the situation.”

Referring to the recent provocative incursion at Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israel’s far-right Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Qin Gang reiterated the importance of “maintaining the status quo” in Jerusalem.

He also reiterated China’s longstanding position on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the “the two-state-solution and the land-for-peace principle.” The international community, he added, should find a “just” solution for the Palestinian people through a return to the negotiation table and resumption of the peace process.

January 16, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

How the EU constructs Israel impunity

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | January 12, 2023

The EU could have availed itself of an opportunity to hold Israel accountable for its violations but, instead it opted for the lesser value of requesting financial reparation for the structures funded by the bloc in the Occupied West Bank and destroyed by the settler-colonial enterprise. Neither is the EU’s request a novelty, since demanding financial compensation from Israel has happened in the past, without any compliance, of course.

Recent focus on Israel’s planned forced displacement of Palestinians living in Masafer Yatta prompted 24 European Parliament members to contact the European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, regarding financial reparation. The bottom line is that, while the EU is within its rights to demand financial compensation, the issue at stake – which is the Palestinian people being forcibly displaced by Israel – is nowhere on the EU’s agenda.

Lenarcic’s response, partially quoted by Haaretz, confirms the EU’s repetitive requests for financial compensation and that “the European Union is continuing to work in this regard through a range of diplomatic and political channels”. Of little to no consequence was Lenarcic’s reminding that EU representatives often visit areas in the Occupied West Bank that are slated for demolition, ostensibly “to warn against”. Yet, besides the opportunistic exploitation, keeping tally of EU-funded destroyed dwellings is more a case in point and futile, too. As Lenarcic stated, “The list of possible steps to ensure compensation from Israel for European financing that went down the drain in demolitions has not yet come up for discussion.”

If holding Israel accountable for something as basic as a financial transaction for damages it caused prompts so much caution in the EU’s official statements, it is safe to say that human rights in the EU’s repertoire, when it comes to Israel, descends into still silence. The EU still has not addressed the fact that, without holding Israel accountable for forcibly displacing Palestinians, its humanitarian projects for Palestinians is also financing Israel’s violations. Yet it is precisely what the humanitarian project which the international community imposed upon Palestinians intended. By investing a fragment of humanitarian aid aimed at alleviating the suffering caused by Israel’s colonial existence and violence, the international community can bypass the actual violations which go against international law.

The EU is no exception to this imposed rule. Advocacy by EU representatives does not work to hold Israel accountable but to extend a permanent contract of silence which, in turn, also silences Palestinians. Despite having political means at their disposal, EU representatives prefer playing the amateur activists when it comes to Palestine. Funds for travelling to the Occupied West Bank, after all, form part of the humanitarian project which Palestinians are forced to fit into. In the same way, EU-funded dwellings play a role in the humanitarian project but fail to sustain Palestinian autonomy. The latest purported concern has nothing to do with Palestinians, and is only marginally related to the EU-funded dwellings that Israel routinely destroys. Detracting from Israel’s settler-colonial expansion and the EU’s role in maintaining it, however, is a major part of what the humanitarian paradigm constitutes.

January 12, 2023 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Israel to destroy 58 Palestinian schools

Palestine Information Center – January 6, 2023

RAMALLAH – 58 Palestinian schools are at risk of demolition in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, the Arab Campaign for Education for All revealed.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the campaign expressed deep concern over the Israeli violation of Palestinian children’s right to education.

Israeli authorities issued six demolition or stop-construction orders against six schools over the past year, according to the campaign.

58 other schools, serving 6,550 students, were also notified with demolition, the campaign added.

In this regard, the Arab Campaign for Education for All called on the UN concerned agencies to bear responsibility in confronting Israeli demolition policy against Palestinian schools.

The time has come for international institutions to go beyond condemnation and to move to pressure the Israeli occupation to stop its continuous violations against Palestinian education, the statement reads.

January 7, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments