Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

The Palestinians’ Inalienable Right to Resist

By Louis Allday | EBB Magazine | June 22, 2021

We remembered all the miseries, all the injustices, our people and the conditions they lived, the coldness with which world opinion looks at our cause, and so we felt that we will not permit them to crush us. We will defend ourselves and our revolution by every way and every means.

George Habash (1926-2008)

A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

In December 1982, following Israel’s devastating invasion of Lebanon six months earlier, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution A/RES/37/43 concerning the ‘[i]mportance of the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination’. It endorsed, without qualification, ‘the inalienable right’ of the Palestinian people to ‘self-determination, national independence, territorial integrity, national unity and sovereignty without outside interference’, and reaffirmed the legitimacy of their struggle for those rights ‘by all available means, including armed struggle’. It also strongly condemned Israel’s ‘expansionist activities in the Middle East’ and ‘continual bombing of Palestinian civilians’, both said to ‘constitute a serious obstacle to the realization of the self-determination and independence of the Palestinian people’. In the four decades since then, Israel’s violence against the Palestinian people and its colonisation of their land has not ceased. Up to the present moment, all over historical Palestine, from the Gaza Strip to Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinians are still under that same occupation, subject to suffocating control over virtually every aspect of their lives – and the sadistic, unaccountable violence of the Zionist state.

In addition to its endorsement by the UN, the Palestinians’ right to resist their occupation is also guaranteed by international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention requires an occupying power to protect the ‘status quo, human rights and prospects for self-determination’ of occupied populations, and as Richard Falk – an expert in international law who later went on to be appointed the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – has explained, Israel’s ‘pronounced, blatant and undisguised’ refusal to ever accept this framework of legal obligations constitutes a fundamental denial of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and engenders their legally-protected right of resistance. Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and its flagrant disregard for international law through the construction of illegal settlements and other daily violations has continued unabated since Falk’s assessment was made during the al-Aqsa Intifada. In fact, the occupation has only become further entrenched since then with the collaboration of the comprador Palestinian Authority.

Furthermore, regardless of what is mandated by international law, the Palestinians possess a fundamental moral right to resist their ongoing colonisation and oppression through armed resistance, and that right must be recognised and supported. The multi-generational suffering of the Palestinians, perhaps none more so than those who live in the besieged and bombarded Gaza strip, is unremittingly cruel and has one central cause: Israel and the perpetual belligerence, expansionism and racism that is inherent to its state ideology, Zionism. Moreover, contrary to the Western media’s narrative that, without fail, portrays Israel as acting in ‘retaliation’, it is the actions of the Palestinians which are fundamentally reactive in nature, because the violence that Israel inflicts upon them is both perpetual and structural, and therefore automatically precedes any resistance to it. ‘With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun’, said Paolo Freire; ‘[n]ever in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed’. In Palestine, as Ali Abunimah recently wrote, ‘the root cause of all political violence is Zionist colonisation’.

Given that the Palestinians’ legal and moral right to pursue armed resistance is clear, endorsement of this position should be uncontroversial and commonplace among supporters of their cause. Yet in the West, such a position is rarely expressed – even by those who loudly proclaim their solidarity with Palestine. On the contrary, acts of Palestinian armed resistance, such as the firing of missiles from Gaza, are condemned by these ostensible supporters as part of the problem, dismissed condescendingly as ‘futile’ and ‘counter-productive’, or even labelled ‘war crimes’ and ‘unthinkable atrocities’, said to be comparable to Israel’s routine collective punishment, torture, incarceration, bombardment and murder of Palestinians. This form of solidarity, as Bikrum Gill has argued, is essentially ‘premised upon re-inscribing Palestinians as inherently non-sovereign beings who can only be recognized as disempowered dependent objects to be acted upon, either by Israeli colonial violence, or white imperial protectors’.

To sit in the comfort and safety of the West and condemn acts of armed resistance that the Palestinians choose to carry out – always at great risk to their lives – is a deeply chauvinistic position. It must be stated plainly: it is not the place of those who choose to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians from afar to then try and dictate how they should wage the anti-colonial struggle that, as Frantz Fanon believed, is necessary to maintain their humanity and dignity, and ultimately to achieve their liberation. Those who are not under brutal military occupation or refugees from ethnic cleansing have no right to judge the manner in which those who are choose to confront their colonisers. Indeed, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause is ultimately meaningless if that support dissipates the moment that the Palestinians resist their oppression with anything more than rocks and can no longer be portrayed as courageous, photogenic, but ultimately powerless, victims. ‘Does the world expect us to offer ourselves up as polite, willing and well-mannered sacrifices, who are murdered without raising a single objection?’ Yahya al-Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, recently asked rhetorically. ‘This is not possible. No, we have decided to defend our people with whatever strength we have been given.’

This phenomenon speaks to what Jones Manoel calls  the Western left’s ‘fetish for defeat’ that predisposes it towards situations ‘of oppression, suffering and martyrdom’, as opposed to successful acts of resistance and revolution. Manoel continues:

People become ecstatic looking at those images – which I don’t think are very fantastic – of a [Palestinian] child or teenager using a sling to launch a rock at a tank. Look, this is a clear example of heroism but it is also a symbol of barbarism. This is a people who do not have the capacity to defend themselves facing an imperialist colonial power that is armed to the teeth. They do not have an equal capacity of resistance, but this is romanticized.

As a result, large swathes of the Western left express solidarity with the Palestinian cause in a generalised, abstract way, overstating the importance of their own role, and simultaneously rejecting the very groups who are currently fighting – and dying – for it. All too often, those who have refused to surrender and steadfastly resisted at great cost, are condemned by people who, in the same breath, declare solidarity with the cause. Similarly, it is common for these same people to either ignore or demonise those external forces that materially aid the Palestinian resistance more than any others – most notably Iran. If this assistance is acknowledged, which is rare, the Palestinian groups that accept it are typically infantilised as mere ‘dupes’ or ‘pawns’, for allowing themselves to be used cynically by the self-serving acts of others – a sentiment that directly contradicts Palestinian leaders’ own statements.

A specific criticism of Hamas that is frequently deployed in this context is the ‘indiscriminate’ nature of its missile launches from Gaza, actions which both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty Intentional regularly label ‘war crimes’. As observed by Perugini and Gordon, the false equivalence that this designation relies upon ‘essentially says that using homemade missiles – there isn’t much else available to people living under permanent siege – is a war crime. In other words, Palestinian armed groups are criminalised for their technological inferiority’. After the latest round of fighting in May 2021, al-Sinwar stated clearly that, unlike Israel, ‘which possesses a complete arsenal of weaponry, state-of-the-art equipment and aircraft’ and ‘bombs our children and women, on purpose’, if Hamas possessed ‘the capabilities to launch precision missiles that targeted military targets, we wouldn’t have used the rockets that we did. We are forced to defend our people with what we have, and this is what we have’.

This failure to support legitimate armed struggle is a part of a wider problem with the framing used by many supporters of the Palestinian cause in the West, that obscures its fundamental nature and how it must be resolved. Palestine is not simply a human rights issue, or even just a question of apartheid, but rather an anti-colonial fight for national liberation being waged by an indigenous resistance against the forces of an imperialist-backed settler colony. Decolonisation is a word now frequently used in the West in an abstract sense or in relation to curricula, institutions and public art, but rarely anymore in connection to what actually matters most: land. And that is the very crux of the issue: the land of Palestine must be decolonised, its Zionist colonisers deposed, their racist structures and barriers – both physical and political – dismantled, and all Palestinian refugees given the right of return.

It should be noted that emphasising the importance of supporting the Palestinians’ right to carry out armed struggle in pursuit of their freedom does not mean that their supporters in the West should recklessly call for violence or fetishize and celebrate it unnecessarily. Nor does it mean that non-violent efforts such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) are inconsequential or unimportant. Rather, BDS should be considered part and parcel of a broad spectrum of resistance activities, of which armed struggle is an integral component. Samah Idriss, founding member of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon has stated: ‘[b]oth forms of resistance, civil and armed, are complementary and should not be viewed as mutually exclusive.’ Or, as Khaled Barakat has stressed: ‘Israel and its allies have never accepted any form of Palestinian resistance, and boycott campaigns and popular organizing are not alternatives to armed resistance but interdependent tactics of struggle’.

Nelson Mandela’s analysis is relevant in this context, when he wrote that, ‘[n]on-violent passive resistance is effective as long as your opposition adheres to the same rules as you do’, but if peaceful protest is met with violence, its efficacy is at an end’. For Mandela, ‘non-violence was not a moral principle but a strategy’, since ‘there is no moral goodness in using an ineffective weapon’. Clarifying the rationale behind the African National Congress’ decision to adopt armed resistance, Mandela explained that it had no alternative course left available: ‘[o]ver and over again, we had used all the non-violent weapons in our arsenal – speeches, deputations, threats, marches, strikes, stay-aways, voluntary imprisonment – all to no avail, for whatever we did was met by an iron hand’. This standpoint is reflected in the words of al-Sinwar, who  when referring to the Great March of Return protests in 2018-19, during which Israeli snipers shot dead hundreds of Gazan protestors and seriously wounded thousands more said: ‘we’ve tried peaceful resistance and popular resistance’, but rather than acting to stop Israel’s massacres, ‘the world stood by and watched as the occupation war machine killed our young people’.

Mandela’s reference to efficacy is crucial. Despite what many Western supporters seem intent on implying, although it comes at a huge cost, the Palestinian armed resistance in Gaza is not ‘futile’ and has grown enormously in effectiveness and deterrent capacity. This was already evident after Israel’s failure to win the 2014 war on Gaza and has been underlined by the recent success of the resistance in May 2021, during which it launched an unprecedented number of missiles that can now reach deep inside historical Palestine. In spite of its devastating aerial bombardment of Gaza, Israel was unable to stop the launch of these missiles and, after the losses it experienced in 2014, is now too fearful of launching another ground invasion of the strip – notably as the resistance is now equipped with greater numbers of Kornet missiles previously used to such deadly effect against Israeli tanks in Southern Lebanon. The ceasefire that was declared on May 21st was widely seen in Israel as a defeat, and was celebrated by Palestinians across historical Palestine as a victory. The military balance has changed, and although Israel is still vastly more powerful by every conventional measure, the resistance is in a stronger position now than it has been for years. It has built upon the successes of Hezbollah against Israel in 2000 and 2006 and with the support, training and further aid of the Lebanese group and others in the Resistance Axis, it has taken its capabilities to a higher level. This change is reflected in the fact that since 2014, Israeli arms sales have stagnated and its aggressions against Gaza no longer lead to an immediate rise in the stock price of its arms companies that use Gaza as a training ground and stage for its latest technologies. Shir Hever has noted that after Israel’s failures in Gaza beginning in 2014, customers of its arms companies began to ask ‘What is the point of all this technology? If you cannot pacify the Palestinians with these missiles, why should we buy them?’.

In addition to its practical impact, armed struggle has significant propaganda value. The reality is that Palestine would not have dominated global news headlines in May 2021 in the way that it did were it not for the armed resistance in Gaza that – contrary to the Western media’s singular focus on Hamas – is composed of a united front of various factions including Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP is a case in point in this regard, for it was their actions throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, most notably a series of plane hijackings (in which passengers were released unharmed), that implanted the Palestinian cause in the consciousness of millions of people for the first time and marked a key turning point in raising awareness of the Palestinians’ plight globally. Indeed, the Palestinian writer and PFLP spokesman, Ghassan Kanafani, believed that armed struggle was the ‘best form of propaganda’ and that in spite of the ‘gigantic propaganda system of the United States’, it is through people who fight to liberate themselves in armed struggle ‘that things are ultimately decided’.

In 1970, after the Western-backed regime in Jordan had shelled Palestinian refugee camps in the country, the PFLP – under the leadership of Kanafani’s comrade (and recruiter) George Habash – took hostage a group of nationals from the US, West Germany and Britain (Israel’s primary supporters) at two hotels in Amman. In return for their safe release, the PFLP demanded that ‘all shelling of the camps be ended and all demands of the Palestinian resistance movement met’. Shortly before the hostages were eventually released, Habash addressed them apologetically and said:

I feel that it’s my duty to explain to you why we did what we did. Of course, from a liberal point of view of thinking, I feel sorry for what happened, and I am sorry that we caused you some trouble during the last 2 or 3 days. But leaving this aside, I hope that you will understand, or at least try to understand, why we did what we did.

Maybe it will be difficult for you to understand our point of view. People living different circumstances think on different lines. They can’t think in the same manner, and we, the Palestinian people, and the conditions we have been living for a good number of years, all these conditions have modelled our way of thinking. We can’t help it. You can understand our way of thinking, when you know a very basic fact. We, the Palestinians… for the last 22 years, have been living in camps and tents. We were driven out of our country, our houses, our homes and our lands, driven out like sheep and left here in refugee camps in very inhumane conditions.

For 22 years our people have been waiting in order to restore their rights, but nothing happened… After 22 years of injustice, inhumanity, living in camps with nobody caring for us, we feel that we have the very full right to protect our revolution. We have all the right to protect our revolution…

We don’t wake up in the morning to have a cup of milk with Nescafe and then spend half an hour before the mirror thinking of flying to Switzerland or having one month in this country or one month in that country… We live daily in camps… We can’t be calm as you can. We can’t think as you think. We have lived in this condition, not for one day, not for 2 days, not for 3 days. Not for one week, not for 2 weeks, not for 3 weeks. Not for one year, not for 2 years, but for 22 years. If any one of you comes to these camps and stays for one or two weeks, he will be affected.

You have to excuse my English. From the personal side, let me say, I apologize to you. I am sorry about your troubles for 3 or 4 days. But from a revolutionary point of view, we feel, we will continue to feel that we have the very, very full right to do what we did.

Habash’s words should be listened to carefully. The urgency that underlines his message is even more palpable half a century later, for the Palestinians – consistently refusing passive victimhood – have now lived in the wretched conditions Habash depicts for 73 long years, not 22.

Revolution, Mao Zedong once remarked, ‘is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle’. The same is true of decolonisation, in which although past struggles have been multi-faceted, armed resistance of some kind was almost invariably an integral component of the struggle. Palestine is no exception. Beyond endorsement of BDS and other civil society campaigns, the Palestinians’ unassailable right to pursue armed struggle must be supported by those who choose to stand in solidarity with them and their righteous cause.


June 23, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Change in the Middle East?

New Israeli government controls the agenda

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • JUNE 22, 2021

The media focus on the Summit meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin has to a certain extent crowded out news about the new government in Israel, headed by hardline nationalist Naftali Bennett. In those media outlets that are actually discussing the change there is an odd sort of perception that Israel’s new government will have to adjust to the new regime in Washington. That would imply that the Israelis will have to mitigate some of their more outrageous behavior to accommodate themselves to Biden’s intention to take actions that will be disapproved of in Jerusalem, to include a possible rapprochement with Iran over its nuclear program and a White House reengagement with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015.

The New York Times has an interesting article written by its Washington bureau diplomatic correspondent Michael Crowley with contributions from its new correspondent in Jerusalem Patrick Kingsley. The article is entitled “Shift in Israel Provides Biden a Chance for Better Ties” with a sub-heading that reads “The departure of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister is a relief for Democrats, but Iran and the Palestinians could test Mr. Biden’s relations with a fragile new Israeli government.”

The article argues that the fact that Biden did not call Netanyahu for three months after his own inauguration but called Bennett within three hours is significant. In the phone call Bennett reportedly blamed Netanyahu for “poisoning” the relationship with the United States, which should surprise no one as that was one of the issues hammered at repeatedly by Bennett during his own electoral campaign.

But one has to look beyond that and ask where is the evidence that Netanyahu’s admittedly acidic personality and arrogance led to any retribution by the White House, either under Barack Obama, Donald Trump or Joe Biden? It was generally reported and probably quite correct that Obama deeply disliked Netanyahu, even once being caught on an open mike speaking to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and regretting the fact that he had to interact with the petulant Israeli Prime Minister every week. Yet Obama then turned around and did something that no American President had ever done, arranging to give the Israeli’s a guaranteed $38 billion in military assistance over the course of ten years. The money was not conditional on Israeli behavior, did not reflect actual US interests, and was then sweetened by another half billion per year to support the Jewish state’s Iron Dome air defense system.

In 2015 the Obama Administration did indeed enter into the JCPOA, a multilateral agreement to monitor and limit Iran’s existing nuclear program, a move that was strongly opposed by Israel, but the only time the White House actually demonstrated any annoyance with Israel was when it abstained on a United Nations vote critical of the Jewish state’s settlements shortly before Obama left office. And it should be observed that Obama was duly punished by Israel for his bad attitude, with Netanyahu showing up at a joint session of Congress to denounce the impending Iran pact in March 2015. Bibi received twenty-nine standing ovations from a completely brainwashed gathering of the “peoples’ representatives.”

And then there is Donald Trump, who was probably the most pro-Israeli president in US history. Trump promoted Israeli interests repeatedly, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights, de facto approving eventual incorporation of the Palestinian West Bank into Israel, and assassinating a senior Iranian general while also turning a blind eye to illegal settlement expansion and bombing attacks on both Syria and Lebanon. The US also repeatedly used its United Nations veto to prevent any criticism of Israel and its policies. Trump’s Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was notorious for his pander to Israeli interests, approving harsh measures against Palestinians and war crimes directed against its neighbors, so much so that he was perceived as a spokesman-apologist for Israel rather than the US.

Not much “poison” in the relationship as reflected by facts on the ground, is there? The money kept flowing, the political support hardly wavered, and the United States government at all levels could hardly stop gushing about how the Jewish state was a “democracy” and a “close ally,” both of which assertions were and are not true.

So now we come to Biden and talk about a reset. The Times oddly concedes that “The change in government in Israel will hardly wipe away deep differences with the Biden administration: The right-wing Mr. Bennett is ideologically closer to Mr. Netanyahu than to Mr. Biden. And it did not make the longstanding issues in the Middle East any less intractable. But the early interactions suggest a shift in tone and an opportunity, analysts said, to establish a less contentious relationship, with potential implications for dealing with Iran, the Palestinians and the wider region.”

Excuse me, but Bennett ran on a very hard line. He opposes any nuclear agreement with Iran and will not permit anything like a Palestinian state. He has been in office only a short time and has already approved airstrikes against targets in Syria and Gaza as well as a march by thousands of settlers through Palestinian East Jerusalem calling for “Death to Arabs.” A change in tone might be welcome, but as the United States already supinely agrees to support everything claimed by Israel, what will it mean on the ground? Nothing. And the “contentious relationship” is likewise hard to find. The thunder heard along the Potomac several weeks ago consisted of Congress and the White House’s synchronized chanting of “Israel has a right to defend itself!” And then there is the Iranian nuclear deal, which seems to be slipping away as Secretary of State Tony Blinken seemingly adds “conditions” to US reentry. So what are, in reality, the deep differences between Jerusalem and Washington that will be more manageable with “better tone?”

The Times argues perhaps more credibly that the damage has been done re the Israeli government relationship with the Democratic Party itself. It says “Mr. Biden has long considered Mr. Netanyahu a friend, albeit one with whom he often disagrees. But many administration officials and Congressional Democrats viscerally disdain the ousted Israeli leader, whom they came to see as a corrosive force and a de facto political ally of Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump.”

Excuse me yet again, but such thinking is pie in the sky. To be sure a handful of Democratic Party progressives have come down hard on Israel’s recent slaughter of Gazans, but those who have any real power in the party have not voiced a single criticism of the war crimes committed. Biden might have been able to intervene to shorten the conflict, but he did nothing in reality to put pressure on Israel. His view of the Palestine problem is to give them a state though he is inevitably fuzzy on the details and will put no pressure on the Israelis to take any peace initiatives. In short, he and the Israelis will likely work behind the scenes to reduce the tension so there is no more mass killing and therefore no more negative media. If they are successful, that will make the Palestinians go away.

Joe Biden has called himself a “Zionist” and is proud of it and his first move after Israel was through killing Arabs was to send them $735 million on top of what they already receive from the US taxpayer. And, most important to him is all those Jewish donors whose hands are clutching their checkbooks while their hearts are in Israel, contributing something like two-thirds of all the money going to the Democratic Party. They are led by Hollywood producer Israeli-American Haim Saban who has said unambiguously that he is a “one issue guy and that issue is Israel.” In a sense, Washington is also run by a duopoly that has “one issue” in foreign policy and that issue is also Israel.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

June 22, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Palestine denounces UN for whitewashing Israeli crimes against Palestinian children

Press TV – June 21, 2021

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has criticized the United Nations for leaving Israel off the annual blacklist of parties responsible for grave violations against children, saying ignoring the regime’s crimes would guarantee impunity for the child-killing entity.

“The UN’s non-inclusion of the Zionist regime in the blacklist of governments and groups violating children’s rights in armed conflicts is a move in favor of the killer and in support of the criminals of the Zionist army and its terrorist settlers, and it would guarantee their escape from punishment,” the ministry said in a statement, Palestine’s Wafa news agency reported.

It said the UN action puts its reports at risk of “invalidity” and “dishonesty”, as well as skepticism about the principles on which the UN is based.

In a recent report, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the Israeli authorities to reduce army operations against children and guarantee punishment in all cases where children are killed, but he decided not to blacklist the regime for violating children’s rights in occupied Palestine.

While blaming the Israeli military for most of the major child abuses in 2020 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip, Guterres merely called on the Israeli regime to investigate cases in which it used weapons. It also called for an end to the administrative detention of children and for prevention of any ill-treatment during detention or attempts to recruit children.

In the report, however, the UN secretary general blacklisted Ansarullah movement, which is defending Yemen against six years of Saudi-led military aggression on the impoverished country, while refusing to include Saudi Arabia for the war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni civilians.

He also blacklisted the Syrian army for allegedly violating children’s rights.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it closely follows the UN’s report on the rights of children in armed conflicts, which is to be published by Guterres soon.

The ministry said the Palestinian government expects the UN secretary general to blacklist the Israeli regime and its army and settlers as parties that gravely violate the rights of children in armed conflicts.

It added that a failure to comply with international law and its institutions and principles amounts to encouraging Israel to continue its organized terrorism and inviting the regime to continue its deliberate crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Hamas angered by UN

Earlier, Palestinian resistance group Hamas also expressed anger at the UN’s failure to blacklist Israel, saying the UN green-lighted Israel’s crimes against Palestinian children.

In a statement on Saturday, Hamas blamed Guterres for the non-inclusion, pointing to the Israeli massacre of 66 Palestinian children in the regime’s latest war on the Gaza Strip as well as the killing of innocent Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank as clear examples of the atrocities Israel commits against Palestinian children.

Hamas said the report lacks an impartial and transparent investigation into Israeli crimes, demanding that Guterres correct his mistake and add the name of “the occupation state” to its blacklist.

Meanwhile, the permanent representative of Palestine to the UN said the UN Security Council will hold a session next Thursday to follow up the implementation of Resolution 2334 on Israeli settlements.

The meeting will follow up on the ongoing Israeli violations, including the demolition of homes and the displacement of citizens in Jerusalem al-Quds, Ambassador Riyad Mansour told official Voice of Palestine radio on Saturday.

Mansour added the meeting comes as part of Palestine’s diplomatic efforts to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and “provide international protection to our people.”

Issued in 2016, Resolution 2334 reaffirmed that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity and constituted a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

June 21, 2021 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Germany bans Hamas flag, citing rise in anti-Semitism

MEMO | June 21, 2021

Germany has agreed to ban the flag of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, citing a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents following Israel’s recent assault on the Gaza Strip.

According to a report by the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, the plan to ban the flag of the group which was voted into government in free elections in 2006, was initially proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union party (CDU).

After first opposing the ban due to constitutional concerns, its coalition partner – the centre-left Social Democratic Party – finally gave its backing to the decision.

Thorsten Frei, the deputy parliamentary spokesman for the CDU, is reported to have stated: “We do not want the flags of terrorist organizations to be waved on German soil.” He called the ban a “clear signal to our Jewish citizens.”

The move comes after Germany’s Central Council of Jews called for increased protection of the country’s Jewish community and the cracking down on pro-Palestinian protestors last month, particularly following pro-Palestinian protests across Europe which many said were anti-Semitic.

The ban on Hamas’ flag comes over a year after Berlin banned the political wing of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and its activities. Months after that ban, it was revealed that the United States pressured the German government into enacting it.

June 21, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Smashed Houses, Crushed Orchards, A Trail of Unrestrained Malice

By Barbara Nimri Aziz | June 16, 2021

Residents of Sheikh Jarrah’s resistance to eviction by Israeli Jews evolved into a military confrontation so lopsided, the Israeli bombardments against Gaza so terrifying, it drew widespread condemnation (the US government excepted).

The Palestinian dead, injured and homeless are still being tabulated, while eviction processes of Sheikh Jarrah’s Arab inhabitants continue, even as we learn of similar forced displacement of Arabs in nearby Silwan.

Another Israeli scheme to dislodge Palestinians is home demolition—they number in the many thousands and continue (in Bustan, Silwan) even as I write. For a glimpse of these all-too-routine violations, I append my newly-digitized April 5, 1996 Christian Science Monitor article based on what I witnessed — I likened it to a lynching – when on assignment in the West Bank 25 years ago.

“It’s quite a spectacle, a Palestinian home being blown apart. Furniture, dishes and clothes, hastily removed, are deposited helter-skelter in the path or road.

Villagers stand by, silent and grim . Heavily armed soldiers are massed to prevent any disruption. Confused, awed children turn sullen.

Americans rarely see Israel’s demolition policy at work; but it’s a regular form of punishment. All Palestinians, from toddlers to the elderly, are familiar with it. Perhaps it’s happened to a neighbor. Perhaps they themselves were hauled out of their house in the early morning and told by a soft-spoken Israeli officer, with his troops surrounding the residence, that he has his orders. The entire town is aroused. Neighbors join in the frantic rush to save some household items; they know it’s useless to protest.

The silent frenzy of losing a home this way has no parallel. It’s not like a flood or a fire; it’s more like a lynching. There’s no one to call for help. Hundreds of soldiers surround the house and village to ensure no one interferes with the bulldozers and dynamite teams.

Legalized destruction

It’s all done legally too. That is to say, a paper, written in Hebrew, is presented to the householder spelling out the order to blow up or bulldoze his or her home, or to seal it. Often the order charges that the house lacks a building permit. Typically, a family has two hours’ notice.

In a village near Hebron in 1991, I saw the remains of a mosque that was flattened weeks before. The land had been cleared because of some building infraction, neighbors told me.

At other times, particularly during the intifadah (uprising), a family is informed that their son was caught (not convicted but simply picked up and charged) throwing a Molotov cocktail, or that he was captured in an attack on an Israeli.

In some cases, only the family orchard (their livelihood) is leveled. Again, the family is notified when the machines are already on the nearby road. Orchards have been destroyed based simply on a report that some Palestinian children were hiding from soldiers among the trees, or Jewish settlers claim that someone they were pursuing was heading in that direction.

During the first three years of the intifadah (1987-1991), when communal punishment was the norm for civil disobedience, the Palestinian Human Rights information Center recorded 1,726 demolitions or sealings of homes. On average, there are nine Palestinians living in a home; so those lost houses represent about 15,000 men, women and children, forcibly made homeless during that time. Often the dwelling is not even the family’s original home but a shelter inside a crowded refugee camp built with the help of United Nations funding.

Israel says it demolishes certain houses because they’re the homes of “suicide bombers”. The news media, which remains silent about these actions, are effectively sanctioning the policy. So conditioned is the public that whatever is done to an “Islamist terrorist” seems justified and is endorsed. Are we right to stand by silently and accept that?

Consider this: The demolitions are retaliatory actions that strike deep into the core of Palestinian identity. They are bound to have some traumatic effect on children. Such devastation may quell opposition temporarily, but the long-term effects may be very different. People may become more embittered and hostile towards Israeli authority. Blowing up the home of a family may in fact move the brothers and sisters of a dead man into closer identification with his actions.

Israel does not respond in this manner to all heinous acts. Look at the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by the Israeli law student. Look at Baruch Goldstein, the Hebron mass murderer. Their actions repelled most Israelis, yet their homes and families remained unharmed. No, these destructive acts are specifically designed for and executed against Palestinians.

Palestinians’ view

Palestinians see this type of punishment as another method Israel uses to “clear the land”, to deny their existence, to implement its “cleansing” policy. People deprived of a home may have one less link with the land. But such actions have other consequences. Children witness their homes, the places they were born, blown apart. They watch fathers and other male relatives helplessly held at gunpoint. They imbibe the horrified reaction of their mothers and grandmothers.

The house as the center

Because this form of punishment is so rare, few can imagine the impact of a house being blown up in front of its owners. We have to understand how central the house is to Palestinian life. Even today, most Palestinians are born at home. This is the place for daily prayer, for family meals, for weddings, for homecomings from jail, and for funerals. This is where everyone gathers to pass the evening. It is not a shelter; it is a community. It is the place for consolation and joy, the haven and the refuge.

Mother is the manager, so the home is unequivocally associated with her power and protective role. Harming the house is like violating the mother. Many children will feel they must avenge this injustice. Especially with the world community standing by seeming to sanction the destruction, family members may feel more responsibility to seek justice. Anyone who understands this would advise Israel to cease this practice for these reasons, if not for moral ones.”


Photos above and below–a sturdy old Jerusalem wall, replaced by a parking lot– was posted by Lisa S Majaj

NOTE: Israel’s removal of Palestinians is interminable: sometimes it’s by shrewd legal maneuvers; sometimes it’s by harassment, sometimes it’s violent takeovers, and sometimes it’s brutal demolition. A protracted process, it’s so routine that it hardly garners outside attention. Besides residences, Palestinian orchards and nature preserves are savagely destroyed by Israeli forces. A recent egregious case was reported by my colleague Raouf Halaby in Counterpunch.

June 19, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

US approves replenishment of Israel’s Iron Dome after Gaza defeat

Press TV – June 19, 2021

The United States has vowed to reinforce Israel’s so-called Iron Dome after Tel Aviv suffered a defeat in its 11-day war on the Gaza Strip, with the regime’s much-publicized missile system failing in the face of a massive rocket fire by Palestinian resistance movements.

Earlier this month, Israeli minister of military affairs Benny Gantz visited the United States, where he met with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin.

During the meeting, Gantz reportedly asked Washington for $1 billion in additional emergency military aid, arguing that the money was needed to replenish the Iron Dome battery and purchase munitions for the Israeli air force.

During a Thursday congressional session, addressing the Senate Appropriations Committee, Austin said that Israel’s request for military assistance had been approved by the Pentagon for its 2022 budget.

The US will look to transfer the total requested amount over to Israel following approval from Congress, he added, noting that the US government is working on clarifying the details and that politicians should expect a special budget request within the coming days.

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley also confirmed at the same Senate hearing that the administration of President Joe Biden will call on Congress to pass the budget to replenish the Iron Dome system.

Tel Aviv launched the bombing campaign against Gaza on May 10, after Palestinian retaliation against violent raids on worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Gaza-based resistance groups did not sit idly by and fired 4,300 rockets towards different cities in the occupied lands during the war, which ended on May 21 after Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire that the resistance movements accepted with Egyptian mediation.

The Gaza fighters struck the Red Sea port of Eilat, over 190 kilometres away using a new Ayyash-250 rocket.

Israeli media said 13 people were killed in the panic-stricken occupied territories and 357 others were injured.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said 260 Palestinians lost their lives in the Israeli offensive, including 66 children and 39 women, and 1,948 others were wounded.

After the ceasefire, Biden said he had assured former PM Benjamin Netanyahu that the US would replenish the Iron Dome battery.

“I assured him of my full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system to ensure its defenses and security in the future,” the US president said.

June 19, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 2 Comments

Zionist Ethnic Cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood and the Silwan Village

By Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh | June 19, 2021

In order to understand the issue of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Zionist entity and its tools in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in colonized Jerusalem, we must not address it in the Zionist colonial settler context because it lacks scientific credibility. In order to solve this problem, we have to ask and answer the following questions: Who is the real side that legally owns the properties of the “Jewish Quarter” in colonized Jerusalem? Who legally owns the real estate of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the Silwan village? What follows is a serious attempt to answer these two questions.

Who is the Legal Owner of the Real Estate of the “Jewish Quarter”?

As a result of capitalist contradictions and class conflicts that led to the birth and development of nationalist movements in Europe, European Jewish communities suffered arbitrary persecutions, which included a number of massacres against them. These campaigns of arbitrary persecution have prompted large numbers of European Jews to emigrate from Eastern Europe, particularly Tsarist Russia, to Western Europe. Some of these Jews emigrated also to the Ottoman Empire, particularly to the rising city of Jerusalem.

When the persecution of Jews intensified in a number of European countries in 1880, 

Youssef ibn Rahamim Miyohas arrived in Jerusalem seeking help. Abed Rabbo son of Khalil son of Ibrahim, a resident of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, rented him a plot of land in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood for 90 years. Due to the fact that the land was an Islamic trust land, this lease allows Jews to rent land and prohibits the sale of land to them under Ottoman regulations and laws. 1

In his research article entitled “Guests, then Renters, then Settlers”, Abed Al-Raoof Arnaoot, a Palestinian researcher, reported that after Miyohas signed the rent agreement, he brought 62 Jews to the location and divided the rented land into 62 pieces, which enabled each of them to build a small house of tens to hundreds of meters in area. They then lived in these houses. 2

The land was then registered in the name of Abed Rabbo, the person in charge of this Islamic trust. This is proven in the Turkish property ownership documents which are still owned by both the Abed Rabbo family and the Hijazi family. 3

In addition, the credible historical references indicate that “the year 1880 and its aftermath witnessed a remarkable influx of thousands of Jews from Europe to Jerusalem after facing persecutions. The then Ottomanic laws allowed the rental of these lands by Jews, but not their sale. According to Ottoman laws, Islamic trust lands are legally permitted for lease but are not legally allowed to be sold. 4

According to a reputable and highly credible scientific reference, 85 percent of the real estate in the ‘Jewish Quarter’ was owned by Muslim Arabs5 in the Ottoman period. This real estate belonged to the Islamic trusts. As is well known, Islamic trusts are prohibited from selling their real estate and are only allowed to rent it.

In 1968, the Zionist state expropriated for public usage 12 percent of the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, which included the “Jewish Quarter”. The equivalent of 80 percent of the expropriated area was not Jewish property.6 These expropriated properties were put up for sale only to the Israeli and Jewish publics.

Thus, the credible historical references undoubtedly prove that the territory of the so-called “Jewish Quarter” is mostly the land of the “waqf” Islamic trusts. As is also well known, Islamic trusts are prohibited from selling their property because they are endowed for the benefit of a social purpose or for the benefit of a mosque or a religious place. The land of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is leased land owned by Islamic trusts. Mr. Abed Rabbo al-Saadi, who is the custodian of the bulk of the land, confirms that: “In 1880, some Jews emigrated to Jerusalem, they were in a deplorable state, they came to our ancestors and asked them to lease them this land, and because of their situation and persecution in Europe, our ancestors agreed. Our ancestors agreed to lease the land to a Jewish person named Yusuf ibn Rahamim Miyohas.” 7

Here we can come to the firm conclusion that the Jews who inhabited the so-called “Jewish Quarter” during the Ottoman rule rented their homes from Arabs and Islamic trusts, and did not buy them, because Islamic trusts do not sell their property. Legally, the majority of Jews are not owners of the properties they lived in, but remain tenants. Therefore, they are not entitled to claim ownership of this real estate. These properties are owned exclusively, and mostly by Islamic trusts.

How the Guardian of the Property of the Absentees Turned into a Despicable Thief

According to a credible research that was carried out by two Israeli criminologists, Uzi Livia and Ariel Aboksis, the state of Israel reached in total area of 20,770 square kilometers (more than four and a half million dunams) at the end of the Zionist war of aggression, which began on November 30, 1947 and ended on July 30, 1949. Most of this area, was considered to be the property of the absentees, i.e. Palestinian refugees, and constituted 77 percent of the total area of the Zionist entity. The absentees, a Zionist term, were “Arabs who “left”, and there are those who say they were “expelled” and/or “fled”, during the war of independence. Absentees’ property includes real estate, land, workshops, factories, bank accounts and movable property.” 8

After the end of the war, the newly established Zionist State designated a custodian on the property of Palestinian refugees and gave him a temporary role, with established legal arrangement to determine that role. Uzi Livia and Ariel Aboksis explain this role as follows:

… Basically, these laws are based on the principle that in a period of war, the government temporarily uses these properties for the benefit of the war effort. Its role is to preserve the property for the benefit of their owners or for war damage compensation, in order to return it to them when the state of emergency is abolished. Under this concept, the custodian was given only a temporary role. His primary duty was to preserve the property of those absentees in the transitional period. 9

The justification set by the Zionist state for the “temporary” seizure of the property of Palestinian refugees was that,

Because of their status as hostile citizens, that are located outside the country, under arrest or under surveillance, the law does not allow them to use their property as long as hostilities are under way. The moment the owners stop being absent, the custodian must return their property to them. Therefore, he cannot make a permanent and final decision on the property that he holds temporarily. For the same reason, he can rent property for only a short period of time, which does not exceed five years, and is not authorized to sell or transfer this property to others in an irreversible manner. 10

As a result of the limitations imposed by the law, the custodian of the property of the absentees requested, in 1949, that the government expand his powers so that, for example, he can transfer or lease property for a longer period than five years and also provide him with freedom of disposal, in order to allow the property to be placed in the service of the colonial settlement and colonial objectives of the Zionist entity. This required the enactment of a new law. 11

All requests of the custodian regarding the expansion of his powers were accepted, and the Zionist parliament enacted the “Absentee Property Act of 1950”. Under this law, all property owned by refugees, including the property of the Islamic Waqf,12 was transferred to the absolute control of the Zionist state, represented by the Zionist custodian on the property of refugees. Thus, the power of the custodian has been transformed into a government institution that is the richest in the Zionist state. 13

It is worth mentioning that the establishment of peace between the Arabs and the Zionist entity required talks and concessions, especially on the issue of the return of the Palestinian refugees. The Zionists opposed the return or compensation of the refugees and threw the blame for the creation of the refugee problem on the Arab side, and falsely accused the Arab side of rejecting peace. Historical facts prove that those who ethnically cleansed the Palestinians and that those who occupied half of the Palestinian proposed state under the Partition Resolution, were the Zionist side. 14 These facts have been confirmed by the two researchers Uzi Livia and Ariel Aboksis, who wrote that:

Thus, we believe that the first seeds of Israel’s anti-peace stance have been cultivated in Israel’s position on the return of refugees, which Israel has sharply opposed. All sources of living for Arab refugees who previously lived in the State of Israel has been completely obliterated. Their economy has been destroyed, so their re-absorption into Israel will produce a social and financial problem that is much worse than the arrangement of their absorption in every other country. 15

Thus, the Zionist State plundered and acted freely and without restrictions regarding the property of the Palestinian refugees, selling and renting it as it wished. In order to establish a false legal cover for this theft, the Parliament of the Zionist entity enacted the so-called “Absentee Property Act of 1950.” According to this law, the role of the custodian of the property of the absentees has changed from a “custodian” with temporary and limited powers, to a despicable thief armed with a settler colonial law. Here, the Zionist State has pursued, in its policies towards the property of the indigenous population, a settler colonial approach that is very similar to that pursued by all settler colonial states such as: the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa during the Apartheid regime, and Algeria under French settler colonialism. When comparing them with each other, one notices the great similarities among them regarding the course of action they adopted towards the lands of the indigenous population. Of course, there are special characteristics for each settler colonial project, and there is a different historical context. 

Today, the Zionist colonial entity is using the Absentee Property Act of 1950 to give justification and legal cover to all ethnic cleansing carried out in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Al-Khan al-Ahmar, the Al-Walaji village, Jaffa, Hebron and the Negev region.

The Zionist entity uses all its colonial tools to carry out operations associated with ethnic cleansing such as unjust law, false documents, complicit colonial courts, colonial police and army, herds of armed and violent settlers, and settlement organizations financed with American money from Jews and others. All of them, under the leadership of the extremist colonial government of the Zionist right-wing parties, are carrying out a fierce offensive campaign of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian population. The focus of this study will be on the ethnic cleansing campaigns that are taking  place in Sheikh Jarrah and Salwan.

Preparing for Ethnic Cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood

Ethnic cleansing in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood began with the settlement organizations of “Benvenisti Endowment”, “Ateret Cohanim”, “the Nahlat Shamoun Limited”, and “El-Aad Society”, filing legal proceedings in Israeli courts against the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The first cases began in 1972, in which they claimed that Palestinian-inhabited houses were owned by Yemeni Jews. Lawyers for these organizations provided fake documents to prove their ownership.

In return, the Palestinians submitted their documents from Turkish agreements, and official receipts that clearly show that the land is Arab and owned by Islamic trusts, and that the Jews rented it from their owners and did not own it. The Palestinians have proved that they are the real owners of the land and that the land of the Islamic Trust is not sold, but is rented.

“We have provided all the documents,” said Yahya Abed Rabbo al-Saadi, who was the custodian for the bulk of the land in Sheikh Jarrah: “We presented to the court all the documents which prove Palestinian ownership of the land. These documents were issued to us by the Islamic Shari’a Court in Jerusalem, the Ottoman Archives in Ankara, and the Land Department of Amman…” 16 The Zionist Central Court refused to accept these documents, arguing that the court does not recognize them as valid documents.

For its part, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry sent 14 official documents concerning Sheikh Jarrah’s houses to the Palestinian Authority. These documents show that in 1956, the Jordanian Ministry of Development and the UNRWA refugee agency, concluded an agreement with 28 Palestinian refugee families under which 28 housing units were built in the Al-Jani vineyard to house them. UNRWA’s condition was for Palestinian refugees to relinquish their legal status as refugees. After three years, their ownership will be legally established. 17 For reasons that remain unknown, these families have not been able to register the land in their names. Consequently, these Jordanian documents have been submitted to the Zionist Central Court, which also rejected them.

In 2010, cartographer Khalil Tofakji traveled to Istanbul. At the Ottoman State Archives he found documents which prove that the territory of Sheikh Jarrah is Palestinian and owned by Palestinians, which is contrary to the Zionist claim. These documents have been submitted to the Israeli court. 18

The Zionist Central Court rejected both the Jordanian and Tofakji’s documents and claimed that it did not recognize their credibility. The court then issued an order to adopt the Zionist position which was based on fake documents and false allegations. This has always been the controversial approach of the Israeli courts.

The Role of Zionist Judicial Institutions in Land Cases

The writer Abdelkader Badawi believes that these Zionist judicial institutions have an important role in the settler colonial system and that they provide the Zionist government with a legal cover for the plunder of Palestinian property. No matter how fragile and discredited this cover may be, the oppression and arrogance of the Zionist entity and its instruments, make the settlers’ cases successful through falsification and when unjust judicial decisions are made, the Palestinians have no real power to change them. It is a racist and colonial justice that is devoid of justice, fairness and credibility. The writer further believes that,

It is customary in the Israeli judiciary system to accept the account of Jews and settlers, particularly in matters of land and property, without paying attention to the nature or eligibility of legal justifications, as these institutions have already existed to be, among other objectives and endeavors, an instrument of the settler colonial system to control the land, and to overcome all legal obstacles to this goal. 19

The writer Abdelkader Badawi stated that Zionist settler colonial associations played a big role “… Through its expansionist post-occupation settlement activities, which have never been separated from the activity, in support of successive Israeli governments, as well as, the Israeli judicial system. They constituted a tool of the Israeli settler colonial system of control, expropriation, displacement and expulsion…” 20 

These associations have emerged as “… a representative of the settlers, through the legal cases it filed in the Israeli courts requesting the evacuation of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood from its Palestinian residents…” 21

The Process of Ethnic Cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah

After the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, and its illegal annexation of it to Israel by the Zionist entity, “… The residents of The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood were surprised when two Jewish committees registered, in 1972, the ownership of the Palestinian-owned 18-dunum land, in settler’s name at the Israeli Department of Lands.” 22

Commenting on the Zionist courts and their arbitrary decisions against the Palestinian population in Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinian-American writer Stephen Salaita wrote that,

Palestinians don’t need to respect the institutions of the Zionist state precisely because those institutions negate the Palestinians’ simplest political imperative: existence. Those institutions represent the machinery of colonization. All settler colonies come equipped with a legal apparatus to validate their cruelty. We cannot expect Western pundits and politicians to question the institutional logic so harmful to Palestinians, for their own legitimacy is contingent on the reproduction of state power. 23

Salaita elaborates on his explanation of the logic on which the idea is based that “property is Jewish” and that the Zionist state seeks to restore it and return it to Jewish ownership. 

More nonsensically, we’re asked to assign ethnic characteristics to abstractions and inanimate objects. The basis for Israel’s aggression in Sheikh Jarrah (as throughout all of historic Palestine) is repossession of so-called Jewish property. The property, in other words, doesn’t belong to people who happen to be Jewish. The property itself is Jewish—nobody can specify which denomination—and is therefore fit only for a certain kind of inhabitant. The property has some kind of innate disposition. It is apparently capable of worship. It becomes a crass approximation of humanity. Endowing housing units with confessional qualities exemplifies the problem of prioritizing property over sentient life:  a dwelling has no utility beyond the project of demographic engineering. Under the Zionist regime, even brick and mortar are sectarian. 24

Both Noura Erikat and Mariam Barghouthi described the atmosphere at today’s Sheikh Jarrah as being “… practically a war zone as armed Israeli settlers, under the protection of Israeli police, terrorize the Palestinian residents. These are the very settlers who are looking to kick out families, including El-Kurd’s.” 25

The Settlers are Cowardly Thieves

I have observed Zionist colonial settlers for a number of years. I have also studied their conduct and explored their ideology. Based on my close observation of their conduct inside Israel proper, as well as inside the colonized territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Syrian Heights, I can certainly state the following.

All Zionist settlers are armed militia of fascists, psychologically deranged, cowards as individuals, and work with great passion as mercenaries of the Zionist settler colonial regime. They’re armed with guns and their Jewish religiosity is nothing but a fragile cover to hide their obnoxious behavior. They are inhuman, school dropouts and have a psycho-social willingness to earn their living by theft, bullying and extreme violence. They work in small groups that look like flocks of wild hyenas that go after their victims and keep tirelessly attempting to eat their flesh. They lack any human moral system but they seem to possess a capitalist system of robbers’ morality. In contrast to this distorted human situation, the Zionist and settler colonial class system is ready to defend their violent banditry behavior because it is itself an inhuman system that uses extreme colonial violence against the indigenous Palestinian population. In addition, the Zionist settler regime deploys the settlers in its colonial schemes. Consequently, the Zionist colonial system is extremely violent. It cannot live in tranquility and thus is unable to conduct a calm and civilized dialogue with the indigenous Palestinians.

Some settlers admit that they are thieves who steal Palestinian houses, some of whom openly admit it, such as the settler who lives in half of Mona al-Kurd’s house, where he told her, “If I don’t steal, your house it will be stolen by someone else,” said Mona al-Kurd, a young Palestinian woman who accused him of stealing her home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. 26

Other settlers hide their motives by offering bribes with a threat to the owner of the house. Zuhair Rajabi, who lives in Sheikh Jarrah’s neighborhood in a house with his wife and four children, said the settlers “tried to bribe me by paying 1 million shekels [$300,000], provided I will leave my house quietly. When I refused, they threatened to put me in prison. They then sent the Israeli police to my house to try to arrest me, claiming that I physically attacked the man who was suing me.” 27

These two examples could serve as a proof that the settlers do not own these houses and that the Israeli courts are complicit in the plunder of the indigenous Palestinians.

Inhuman Colonial Brutality

The methods of removing Palestinians from their homes are varied, but some are carried out with extreme cruelty and inhumanity, as happened to the Al-Ghawi family.

Nuha Atiyeh, a resident of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood recalls the following incident. “I watched the doors of our neighbors, the Al-Ghawi family, crash during a black night. The women were evicted by force and were thrown, in their night clothes, outside their house. This scene doesn’t escape my imagination. I remember taking some clothes from my house and giving them to the women.” 28

As a result of dozens of lawsuits filed by the settlers’ committees at the Zionist Central Court in Jerusalem, the Court issued a decision to vacate against 28 Palestinian nuclear families. The total number of people facing expulsion for settlers reached 500, including 111 children. 29/sup>

The Central Zionist Court itself ruled that seven other families would leave their homes from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood by August 1, 2021. In total, an additional 58 people, including 17 children, are to be forcibly displaced to allow Jewish settlers to occupy their homes. 30 The Zionist Central Court also ruled that four families — Kurd, Skaif, Qasim and Al-Jawaani — must leave their homes for settlers, or reach an agreement with these settler organizations by paying rent and recognizing settlers as landowners. 31

Here we clearly see that there are no limits to settler’s arrogance and no limits to colonial insolence, as aggressors and thieves ask real house owners to pay their rent for their houses to the thieves. Of course, if the real Palestinian house owners had acquiesced to this request, they would have lost their right to property.

Ethnic Cleansing in Silwan

In 2002, the custodian of Absentee Property transferred land from the village of Silwan to the “Benvenesti Development Fund”, whose administration belongs to the settler organization “Ateret Cohanim”. This decision was upheld by the Jerusalem District Court, and the transfer was made without informing the Palestinian residents living on the land since the 1950s, and who have contracts to prove it. 32

The colonial settlement project in the village of Silwan began “in 2004, when two outposts were established in the village. By 2014, there were six outposts ranging from apartments for individuals and entire buildings. “Since then, the “Ateret Cohanim” committee has submitted eviction orders against other Palestinian families. In 2017, Palestinian residents petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to challenge the evictions, arguing that in accordance with applicable Ottoman law at that time, the property applied only on buildings, which no longer exist, but not on the same land… 33

Similar to what happened in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, on 26 May 2021, the Jerusalem District Court held a hearing on the forced eviction of some 108 Palestinians from 18 families from their homes in the Batan al-Hawa neighborhood of Silwan. The Jewish “Benvenisti Development Fund” claims to own 5.2 dunums of the land of Batan al-Hawa neighborhood. 34

Israeli television channel 12 reported that settlers had placed Israeli flags on 15 houses in Silwan after they were captured by the “Ateret Cohanim”, association and handed over to the settlers’ families. The channel noted that these new houses that were seized joined 22 other houses recently captured by “Ateret Cohanim”. 35

It is worth mentioning that the Zionist state has “… A settlement strategy called the “Holy Basin”, consisting of the construction of housing units for settlers and a series of parks themed after Biblical places and figures around the Old City of Jerusalem. The plan would require the expulsion of Palestinian residents from Silwan neighborhoods and then the evacuation of 87 Palestinians from the Batan al-Hawa neighborhood of Silwan, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This will be done for the “Ateret Cohanim” settlers association.

Since 1995, the Israeli Antiquities Authority has been excavating sites in Silwan with the official support of the Settlers’ Foundation “Ire David” (the city of David), in order to create a new tourist attraction and find evidence of the 3,000-year-old “City of David”. 36

The group, which aims to expand the presence of settlers within the predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem around and inside the Old City, sued the residents of Batan al-Hawa, a district of Silwan, claiming that the land belonged to Yemeni Jews during the Ottoman period until 1938, when the residents were transferred to another location by the British Mandate authorities because of political tensions. 37

It is worth mentioning that the Zionist policy of uprooting and ethnic cleansing has been followed in a number of places in Palestinian geography such as the Red Khan, Jaffa, Hebron, the village of Al-Walajeh, and the Palestinian Negev region. These remain tense hotbeds ignited by right-wing leaders who have lost their minds. But this fire will burn their fingers and will increase the determination of the indigenous Palestinian population to unite efforts, escalate the struggle and continue the process of liberation.

The essence of Zionist claims about the property is that it is “Jewish property”, some of which belonged to Jews 3,000 years ago, and some of which belonged to Jews a little more than one hundred years ago. These allegations give no regard to modern laws in determining the legal acquisition of real estate, which have changed radically from the time of the Greeks, the Romans, the Mongols and the Vikings, where the property belonged to the usurper and the occupier, not to the indigenous peoples who lived above these properties.

This Zionist nonsense is sponsored and adopted by the Zionist colonial bodies, and those who defend them from Arab protectorates and vassals, European and American imperialists, and by the Zionist and reactionary Arab media, who are hostile to the rights of the Palestinian Arab people in their homeland especially their right to self-determination. 

It is scientifically known that the Jewish Torah does not constitute an official and credible document that is recognized by international law and therefore, can be presented in modern courts as a document of legal ownership. Moreover, God has not been recognized as a feudal landlord who owns the lands of the peoples and can distribute them to whoever he wants and denies them from whoever he wants. Consequently, the British imperialist Lord Balfour does not own Palestine, nor does the extremist right wing President Donald Trump own the colonized land of Palestine or the colonized Syrian Golan Heights, so he has no right to give these lands to the Zionist settler colonialists. 

It should be added that many of the historical events and “facts” mentioned in the Torah were partly a form of broad religious fiction and partly came out of the misappropriation of the heritage of Mesopotamian civilizations. The Torah has no solid scientific credibility, and whoever adopts it reflects the fact that he lacks credible legal documents. Therefore, the claims by the Zionist settler colonialists to their right to own Palestinian land and real estate based on the Torah are fragile and null and void because the real owners were and still are the Arab Palestinians, who are the indigenous people of Palestine, which constitutes a part of the greater Syrian motherland.

International Law is not a Tool in the Service of Zionist Settler Colonialism.

International law prohibits the occupying power from imposing its laws on the inhabitants of the area it has occupied because it is a war zone outside the sovereignty of the belligerent state. International law also prohibits the belligerent occupying power from transferring its citizens to live within the area it has occupied. Moreover, the occupying power may not change the laws in force within the occupied zone.

The Al-Haq human rights foundation stated that,

… the legal framework applicable in occupied East Jerusalem is international humanitarian and international human rights law. Israel is specifically prohibited from annexing the occupied territory under Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. As such, Israel’s application of its domestic law, including the Legal and Administrative Matters Law in 1970, and provisions of Israel Tenancy law are not only wrongful acts in violation of international law, of which there can be no recognition, but acts which third States must collectively work to bring to an end. 38

There are clear obligations under Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, to continue the status quo ante bellum including the preservation of private tenancy rights, which are further protected as private property of the civilian population under Article 46 of the Hague Regulations. In particular, such acts amount to forcible transfer, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. 39

American imperialism helps Zionist colonialism, embraces its wars of aggression and provides it with money and weapons. The imperialist West abandoned the Palestinian people, and the son-in-law of the American President, the Zionist Jared Kushner, who financed the right-wing settlement movement in Israel, was given absolute authority to fabricate “A peace process”, aided by the regimes of colonial mercenaries in the Gulf, the most important of which is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who just imprisoned his relatives, after he ordered the assassination of the Saudi opposition journalist Jamal Al-Khashoukji. 

Expected Results of a Deteriorating Zionist Path

Many indications are that the Zionist settlement entity will continue its Judaization quest in colonized East Jerusalem, but during this insane colonial quest, it has transformed East Jerusalem into the world’s most tense outpost that will become the poorest, most racist and most heinous “capital.” No matter how much the colonial mentality brings about more racist laws and more inhumane practices, the situation that is formed before the eyes of the peoples of the world will make the Zionist entity a rogue, aggressive, hideous and repulsive state.

The deteriorating path chosen by the extreme right-wing leadership of the Zionist entity has generated a severe political crisis that has shown a deep structural imbalance in the level of political leadership, which in turn has produced a turbulent political right, fragmented, and does not benefit, either from elections or from democracy to get out of its acute crisis. This deteriorating path has also produced a Zionist voter with callous consciousness, racial intolerance and ideological blindness. This deteriorated situation has produced more failed leadership than its predecessor. After four parliamentary elections that produced repeated results, the Zionist entity got itself into a fiasco that has no equivalent in the world. It is a lost entity that cannot save itself from the path of deterioration because it is the same path that South Africa followed until the world came to save it from its fiasco by imposing on it a solution that it does not desire.

Here it appears that the Palestinian steadfastness and determination to fight for its patriotic rights, with the assistance of Arab and international solidarity, will lead the Zionist regime to choose a solution similar to that chosen by South Africa. The Palestinian national struggle will not be extinguished, as it is developing and promoted by the united efforts of workers, and progressive elements in the Middle Class. During its development, all the reactionary elements, Palestinian, Arab and international, who together are attempting to preserve the dissonant parts of a rogue state that insists on falling, will disappear forever.

References

  1. Arnaout, Abdul Rauf, “Sheikh Jarrah: Guests, Tenants and Settlers”, Palestinian Studies Foundation, https://www.palestine-studies.org, access to the site on 1-6-2021
  2. Scholch, Alexander, “Jerusalem in 19th Century (1831 – 1917 AD)” in Jerusalem in History, Edited by K.J. Asali. 1989. ISBN 0-905906-70-5. Page 234. Quoting Muhammad Adib al-Amiri, “Al Quds al-‘Arabiyya“, Amman, 1971, page 12 and ‘Arif al-‘Arif, “Al-Nakba“, vol 2, Sidon and Beirut, page 490 (90%). As quoted by: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Old City” (Jerusalem), https://en.wikipedia.org,1-6-2021.
  3. Dumper, Michael (2017). Najem, Tom; Molloy, Michael J.; Bell, Michael; Bell, John (eds.). “Contested Sites in Jerusalem: The Jerusalem Old City Initiative”. Routledge. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-317-21344-4. As quoted by: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Old City” (Jerusalem), https://en.wikipedia.org,1-6-2021.
  4. Livia, Uzi and Aboksis, Ariel, “For the development of the country and for the benefit of its citizens” (in Hebrew), https://web.archive.org, 30-10-2017
  5. 2. See Ilan Papi’s Book, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine https://www.ebay.com, 9-6-2021
  6. Alsaafin, Linah, “What is happening in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah?”, https://www.aljazeera 
  7. Badawi, Abdel Kader, “Nahalat Chamoun”: A private settler’s company and the arm of the Israeli government in the case of the displacement of the people of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood”, https://www.madarcenter.org,17-5-2021
  8. Jundi, Aseel, “Neighborhood’s resilient women say ‘we will not leave’”, https://www.middleeasteye.net, 11-5-2021
  9.  Salaita, Steve,  “Sheikh Jarrah: Zionism Distilled to Its Purest Expression”, https://alethonews.com, 12-5-2021
  10. Erakat, Noura, and Barghouti, Mariam, “Sheikh Jarrah highlights the violent brazenness of Israel’s colonialist project”, https://www.washingtonpost.com, 10-5-2021
  11.  AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES, “Video shows Israeli settler trying to take over Palestinian house”, https://www.aljazeera.com, 4-5-2021
  12. Kunzl, Kelly, “Families face imminent evictions in East Jerusalem”, The Electronic Intifada, https://electronicintifada.net, 24-12-2020
  13. Jundi, Aseel, “Neighborhood’s resilient women say ‘we will not leave’”, https://www.middleeasteye.net, 11-5-2021
  14. Linah, Alsaafin, “What is happening in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah?”, https://www.aljazeera.com, 1-5-2021
  15. Palestine Chronicle, “East Jerusalem: Jewish Settlers Seize 15 Palestinian Homes in Silwan”, https://www.palestinechronicle.com, 8-4-2021
  16. MEE staff, “Not just Sheikh Jarrah: Palestinians elsewhere are facing forced eviction”, https://www.middleeasteye.net, 11-5-2021
  17. AL-JAZERA AND NEWS AGENCIES, “Hundreds hurt as Palestinians protest evictions in Jerusalem”,  https://www.aljazeera.com, 8-5-2021

Zuhair Sabbagh is a writer on Israeli and Palestinian issues. He has published a number of books and research articles in both English and Arabic. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He lives in Nazareth, Palestine

June 19, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Biden nominates Thomas Nides as ambassador to Israel

MEMO | June 16, 2021

US [proclaimed] President Joe Biden appointed Thomas Nides as the country’s next ambassador to Israel, the White House announced in a statement yesterday.

Nides, 60, is vice chairman of Morgan Stanley, the fourth-largest US investment banking firm and has previously served as deputy secretary of state from 2011 to 2013 during the administration of former President Barack Obama.

“Thomas Nides is a distinguished public servant and business leader,” the White House said in a statement. “Nides was Chief of Staff to the US Trade Representative Micky Kantor, was Senior Advisor to Speaker of the House Thomas S. Foley, and earlier to House Majority Whip Tony Coelho,” the announcement reads.

“He is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the former Chairman of the Board of the Woodrow Wilson Center appointed by President Obama. Nides received his B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota. He is the recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award,” it adds.

Born in 1961 to a Jewish family in Duluth, Minnesota, his father, Arnold Nides, was the president of Temple Israel and the Duluth Jewish Federation.

As deputy secretary of state, Nides built effective working relationships with several Israeli officials and played a key role in the Obama administration’s approval of an extension on loan guarantees for Israel worth billions of dollars in military aid, including funding for the Iron Dome missile defence system.

In 2012, Nides articulated the Obama administration’s opposition to an effort to redefine Palestinian refugees as only people who were forced to leave Palestine in and around 1948 – excluding their descendants.

“United States policy has been consistent for decades, in both Republican and Democratic administrations – final status issues can and must only be resolved between Israelis and Palestinians in direct negotiations,” Nides said in a letter to congressional leaders at the time.

“The Department of State cannot support legislation which would force the United States to make a public judgment on the number and status of Palestinian refugees.”

His appointment now needs to be confirmed by the Senate, but no opposition is expected.

June 16, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Letter to Canadian Transport Minister: Israeli Apartheid Not Welcome in Canadian Ports #BlocktheBoat

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | June 15, 2021

The following letter was sent today to Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and called on “the Canadian government to stop legitimizing the crimes of apartheid…and suspend all instances of Zim-operated ships docking and unloading in Canadian ports.” This action is part of the growing demand that Canada must hold Israel accountable, through economic sanctions and a bilateral arms embargo.

June 15, 2021

Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra
Ottawa, Ontario

In recent weeks, people of conscience in Canada watched in horror as the Israeli regime ruthlessly targeted Palestinians from all regions of historic Palestine. What started as a popular movement to #SaveSheikhJarrah residents from further ethnic cleansing expanded into a broad unity of Palestinians from Jerusalem to Gaza to Haifa to Toronto and Vancouver all sending the same message. Palestinians will no longer accept the status quo of Israeli apartheid.

As part of this burgeoning movement, Palestinian-Canadians and their supporters have actively participated in rallies, pickets and #BlockTheBoat actions. The latter refers to the efforts to stop Zim-operated ships from either docking in, or unloading, at U.S., Canadian and other international ports.

Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd is Israel’s largest and oldest cargo shipping company, dealing in Israeli manufactured military technology, armaments and logistics equipment, as well as consumer goods.

The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and a large coalition of all major Palestinian workers unions and professional associations have called on fellow trade unions and workers worldwide to boycott Israel and businesses that are complicit with its apartheid regime. They specifically urge “refus[ing] to handle Israeli goods” and “supporting [union] members refusing to build Israeli weapons.”

Last month, and in response to the above appeal from Palestinian trade unions, South African trade unions refused handling cargo from an Israeli ship in Durban. Dockworkers in Italy have also successfully blocked a recent shipment of munitions and armaments destined for Israel.

At Canada’s largest port in Vancouver, there was a successful community picket on June 8 that tied up both the Port entrance and a busy intersection; activists from a diverse range of groups stated clearly – “Israeli Apartheid Not Welcome in Vancouver Ports”. (The same message was also delivered on June 14 at the Prince Rupert Port.)

Port Authorities in Canada fall under the Ministry of Transport. As such, Mr. Alghabra, allowing and enabling such Israeli apartheid profiteering makes both the ports and the Canadian government further complicit in the ongoing dispossession of the Palestinians. Both B’tselem and Human Rights Watch have been clear in exposing the system of Israeli governance as apartheid. We, the undersigned organizations, expect the Canadian government to stop legitimizing the crimes of apartheid, and to refuse to give economic incentives to such abhorrent behaviour.

Your ministry is already mired in controversy for refusing to cancel a contract with Elbit Systems to purchase one of their drones. Who would have imagined that the Canadian Ministry of Transport would be so entangled with Israeli apartheid? We call on you to observe your government’s alleged respect for international law and human rights and suspend all instances of Zim-operated ships docking and unloading in Canadian ports.

Popular protest is not going to stop as long as Palestinians are not free.

c.c. PM of Canada, Justin Trudeau
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

Signed:

BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish Territories
Canada Palestine Association
Palestinian Youth Movement Vancouver
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Endorsed by:

Anti-Imperialist Alliance, Ottawa
BAYAN Canada
Canadian Peace Congress
Communist Party of Canada
Gabriela BC
Independent Jewish Voices Vancouver
Just Peace Advocates
Niagara Movement for Justice in Palestine Israel
OPRA – Oakville Palestinian Rights Association
Palestinian Canadian Community Centre – Palestine House
Poetic Justice Foundation
Regina Peace Council
Sulong UBC
West Coast Coalition Against Racism Society

June 16, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Congress Moves to Censure Both Ilhan Omar and Marjorie Taylor Greene for Accidentally Offending Jews

By Eric Striker • National Justice • June 16, 2021

Members of Congress have put forth resolutions to censure Reps. Ilhan Omar and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

On the surface, the hijab-wearing Muslim progressive from Minnesota and the gun-toting Southern Evangelical Republican could not be more different. But the two women — portrayed in the press as extreme manifestations of their respective party’s ideologies — have accidentally crossed organized Jewry.

The act of censuring a member of the House of Representatives is less grave than a formal expulsion, but it is still considered to be a serious punishment. Only 24 members of Congress have been censured since 1832, the most recent cases were for engaging in brazen corruption or sexual assault.

In Rep. Omar’s case, Florida Republican Mark Waltz is leading the charge to shut her down for making a moral equivalence between the actions of the Israeli military and the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in a question posed to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

A wide range of Jewish organizations and over a dozen Democrats immediately began attacking Omar. At first, Reps. Omar attempted to call her attackers Islamophobes, but when appealing to identity politics did not work, Omar walked her comment back under pressure from House leader Nancy Pelosi, much to the dismay of pro-Palestine activists.

Rep. Greene is being targeted for comparing COVID restrictions to the “Holocaust.” Democrat Brad Schnieder, who has also led condemnations of Ilhan Omar, announced that he will be “shelving” Greene’s censure after she begged for forgiveness in front of a Holocaust museum on Monday.

While Schnieder appeared to be satisfied with her groveling, the American Jewish Congress (AJC) took the opportunity to attack her even harder.

“Marjorie Taylor Greene, your apology is NOT accepted” read an over the top bulletin on their website. AJC president Jack Rosen is demanding that Greene “find a different career” and went on to condemn her as an abnormal person who cultivates “anti-semites” and “white supremacists” in her base.

Reps. Omar and Greene both serve Jewish interests dutifully in different capacities. Omar has used her political platform to promote “domestic terrorist” and “white supremacist” hysteria, while Greene is an unflinching supporter of the Zionist project abroad.

But the work the two women invest in promoting different Jewish interests do not shield them from constant bad faith attacks from Jewish groups, who demand absolute allegiance on every one of their issues.

June 16, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 13 Comments

Dear PETA, Israel’s animal rights record leaves a lot to be desired

By Zarefah Baroud | MEMO | June 15, 2021

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) praised Israel last week for being the first country to ban the sale of animal furs. Such legislation is worthy of praise, of course, but in the case of Israel any praise, especially regarding its ethics towards animals, is completely misplaced.

Throughout the country’s short history, Israel has repeatedly exposed its worrying position on environmental justice with its state-protected environmental terrorism and deliberate military attacks on animals. The military offensive against the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009, for example, killed hundreds of Palestinians, as well as many animals, particularly those sheltered at the Gaza Zoo.

“This camel was pregnant, a missile went into her back,” Gaza zookeeper Emad Jameel Qasim told Gulf News at the time. “Look, look at her face. She was in pain when she died.”

According to Qasim, when Israeli soldiers entered the zoo, they made their way to the lion enclosures and shot the animals at point-blank range. Monkeys nearby tried to flee. Some were shot inside their enclosures, while others attempted to hide in clay pots and adjacent offices, only to be hunted down and killed in the most brutal of ways at the hands of the “world’s most moral army”. Many of the animals that weren’t killed by Israeli bullets starved to death because the people taking care of them were trapped in their own homes due to the Israeli bombardment.

Rather than a condemnation of Israel’s attacks on all living beings in Gaza, less than a month later PETA took it upon itself to come up with a solution to the so-called “Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. The campaign group appealed to the Israeli Defence Ministry to install a “pro-vegetarian mural” on both sides of Israel’s apartheid wall and barriers in the West Bank and Gaza adorned with the phrases “Give Peas a Chance” and “Nonviolence Begins on Your Plate: Go Vegetarian”. PETA has made it perfectly clear through statements such as these that, like the lives of the people of Palestine, the lives of Palestinian animals are not worthy of mention.

PETA poster [PETA]

Unfortunately, 2008/9 was not the only time that Israel has attacked Gaza Zoo. In 2014, during the occupation state’s so-called “Operation Protective Edge”, Israeli forces bombarded the zoo again, killing more than 80 animals. A number of the zoo’s lions had to be taken elsewhere to recover from the trauma they suffered, a privilege that no Palestinian human beings are afforded.

During that same assault on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian farmers were devastated by the bombing of their agricultural land and livestock. Ali Alommor, a Palestinian farmer in Gaza explained to Middle East Eye that his donkeys were vital for his livelihood and that of his family. However, the Israeli offensive left his donkeys “riddled with bullets” and one looking like it had been run over by a tracked vehicle, such as a tank or armoured bulldozer, as it tried to flee. Another farmer, Sami Abu Hadaeid, had to flee from the bombing, leaving his beloved sheep behind. All 30 of the animals were killed before he could return. They were either shot and decapitated by soldiers or were crushed underneath the rubble of their shelters. Israeli tanks also killed more than 500 cows that supplied many Palestinians with milk, supporting the livelihoods of sixty families. Similarly, in 2017 an Israeli F-16 aircraft fired a missile at a chicken farm in Gaza. The roofs of the enclosures collapsed, killing hundreds of the birds.

Israel’s lack of humanity and concern for Palestinian life has always been extended to include the local environment, livestock, and crops. Whether that be the state-protected illegal settler arson attacks on Palestinian olive groves, toxic waste dumping in the West Bank, or the destruction of Gaza’s water treatment infrastructure leading to the dangerous pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, the Israeli regime has remained consistent in its positions towards Palestine’s people, animals, and wildlife habitats.

At the very least, it is irresponsible for PETA to applaud any action by the Israeli government, considering Israel’s brutal legacy of violence towards Palestine’s environment and the animals it sustains. The activists within the organisation would be better off campaigning for animal rights in the territory occupied and controlled by the colonial state. Anything less diminishes their credibility.

See also:

Critics of conditions in Gaza Zoo expose the value placed on Palestinian lives

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Friedman’s Last Gasp

By Jonathan Cook – New Left Review – June 10, 2021

Thomas Friedman’s recent column in the New York Times reflecting on Israel’s 11-day destruction of Gaza is a showcase for the delusions of liberal Zionism: a constellation of thought that has never looked so threadbare. It seems that every liberal newspaper needs a Thomas Friedman – the UK’s Guardian has Jonathan Freedland – whose role is to keep readers from considering realistic strategies for Israel-Palestine, however often and catastrophically the established ones have failed. In this case, Friedman’s plea for Joe Biden to preserve the ‘potential of a two-state solution’ barely conceals his real goal: resuscitating the discourse of an illusory ‘peace process’ from which everyone except liberal Zionists has moved on. His fear is that the debate is quietly shifting outside this framework – towards the recognition that Israel is a belligerent apartheid regime and the conclusion that one democratic state for Palestinians and Jews is now the only viable solution.

For more than five decades, the two-state solution – of a large, ultra-militarized state for Israel, and a much smaller, demilitarized one for Palestinians – has been the sole paradigm of the Western political and media class. During these years, a Palestinian state failed to materialize despite (or more likely because of) various US-backed ‘peace processes’. While Americans and Europeans have consoled themselves with such fantasies, Israel has only paid them lip-service, enforcing a de facto one-state solution premised on Jewish supremacy over Palestinians, and consolidating its control over the entire territory.

But in recent years, Israel’s naked settler-colonial actions have imperiled that Western paradigm. It has become increasingly evident that Israel is incapable of making peace with the Palestinians because its state ideology – Zionism – is based on their removal or eradication. What history has taught us is that the only just and lasting way to end a ‘conflict’ between a native population and a settler-colonial movement is decolonization, plus the establishment of a single, shared, democratic state. Otherwise, the settlers continue to pursue their replacement strategies – which invariably include ethnic cleansing, communal segregation, and genocide. These were precisely the tactics adopted by European colonists in the Americas, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Friedman’s function in the Western media – conscious or not – is to obfuscate these historical lessons, tapping into a long legacy of unthinking colonial racism.

One of the central pillars of that legacy is an abiding fear of the native and his supposedly natural savagery. This has always been the unspoken assumption behind the interminable two-state ‘peace process’. A civilized and civilizing West tries to broker a ‘peace deal’ to protect Israel from the Palestinian hordes next door. But the Palestinians continuously ‘reject’ these peace overtures because of their savage nature – which is in turn presented as the reason why Israel must ethnically cleanse them and herd them into reservations, or Bantustans, away from Jewish settlers. Occasionally, Israel is forced to ‘retaliate’ – or defend itself from this savagery – in what becomes an endless ‘cycle of violence’. The West supports Israel with military aid and preferential trade while watching with exasperation as the Palestinian leadership fails to discipline its people.

Friedman is an expert at exploiting this colonial mentality. He often avoids taking direct responsibility for his racist assumptions, attributing them to ‘centrist Democrats’ or other right-minded observers. Coded language is his stock in trade, serving to heighten the unease felt by western audiences as the natives try to regain a measure of control over their future. In some cases the prejudicial framing is overt, as with his concern about the threat of an ascendant Hamas to women’s and LGBTQ rights, couched in an identity politics he knows will resonate with NYT readers. But more often his framing is insidious, with terms like ‘decimate’ and ‘blow up’ deployed to cast Palestinians’ desire for self-determination as violent and menacing.

Friedman’s three-layered deception

Friedman’s promotion of the two-state model offers a three-layered deception. First, he writes that the two-state solution would bring ‘peace’, without acknowledging that the condition for that peace is the Palestinians’ permanent ghettoization and subjugation. Second, he blames the Palestinians for rejecting just such ‘peace plans’, even though they have never been seriously offered by Israel. And finally, he has the chutzpah to imply that it was the Palestinians’ failure to negotiate a two-state solution that ‘decimated’ the Israeli ‘peace camp’.

Such arguments are not only based on Friedman’s dehumanizing view of Arabs. They are also tied to his domestic political concerns. He fears that if Joe Biden were to acknowledge the reality that Israel has sabotaged the two-state solution, then the President might disengage once and for all from the ‘peace process’. Of course, most Palestinians would welcome such an end to US interference: the billions of dollars funneled annually to the Israeli military, the US diplomatic cover for Israel, and the arm-twisting of other states to silently accept its atrocities. But, Friedman argues, this withdrawal would carry a heavy price at home, setting off a civil war within Biden’s own party and within Jewish organizations across the US. God forbid, it might ‘even lead to bans on arms sales’ to Israel.

Friedman reminds us of Israeli businessman Gidi Grinstein’s warning that in the absence of a ‘potential’ two-state solution, US support for Israel could morph ‘from a bipartisan issue to a wedge issue’. The columnist writes that preserving the two-state ‘peace process’, however endless and hopeless, is ‘about our national security interests in the Middle East’. How does Friedman define these interests? They are reducible, he says, to ‘the political future of the centrist faction of the Democratic Party.’ A ‘peace process’ once designed to salve the consciences of Americans while enabling the dispossession of Palestinians has now been redefined as a vital US national security issue – because, for Friedman, its survival is necessary to preserve the dominance of foreign policy hawks in the Democratic machine. The argument echoes Biden’s extraordinarily frank admission made back in 1986 that ‘were there not an Israel the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region’.

Friedman then concludes his article with a set of proposals that unwittingly expose the true consequences of a two-state settlement. He insists that Biden builds on his predecessor’s much-ridiculed ‘peace plan’, which gave US blessing to Israel’s illegal settlements on vast swaths of the occupied West Bank, penning Palestinians into their Bantustans indefinitely. Trump’s plan also sought to entrench Israel’s control over occupied East Jerusalem, remake Gaza as a permanent battlefield on which rivalries between Fatah and Hamas would intensify, and turn the wealth of the theocratic Gulf states into a weapon, fully integrating Israel into the region’s economy while making the Palestinians even more dependent on foreign aid. Polite NYT opinionators now want Biden to sell these measures as a re-engagement with the ‘peace process’.

The US, writes Friedman, should follow Trump in stripping the Palestinians of a capital in East Jerusalem – the economic, religious, and historic heart of Palestine. Arab states should reinforce this dispossession by moving their embassies from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem. Neighbouring countries are encouraged to pressure the Palestinian Authority, via aid payments, to accede even more cravenly to Israel’s demands. (Of course, Friedman does not think it worth mentioning that Palestine is aid-dependent because Israel has either stolen or seized control of all its major resources.)

Once this subordinate position is guaranteed, divisions within the Palestinian national movement can be inflamed by making Hamas – plus the two million Palestinians in Gaza – dependent on the PA’s patronage. Friedman wants the Fatah-led PA to decide whether to send aid to the Gaza Strip or join Israel in besieging the enclave to weaken Hamas. For good measure, he also urges the Gulf states to cut off support to the United Nations aid agencies, like UNRWA, which have kept millions of Palestinian refugees fed and cared for since 1948. The international community’s already feeble commitment to the rights of Palestinian refugees will thus be broken, and the diaspora will be forcibly absorbed into their host countries.

Such proposals are the last gasp of a discredited liberal Zionism. Friedman visibly flounders as he tries to put the emperor’s clothes back on a two-state solution that stands before us in all its ugliness. The Western model of ‘peace-making’ was always about preserving Jewish supremacy. Now, at least, the illusions are gone.

Read on: Kareem Rabie, ‘Remaking Ramallah’, NLR 111.

© NEW LEFT REVIEW LTD 2021

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment