Saturday 13 February 2010

Abu Zuhri: Let resistance retaliate

Abu Zuhri: Let resistance retaliate

[ 13/02/2010 - 08:58 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Sami Abu Zurhi, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, has said that the escalating Israeli occupation authority's (IOA) aggression on the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank reflected the aggressive nature of this occupier and necessitated unshackling resistance to retaliate to such escalation.

Abu Zuhri told the PIC on Friday night that the Israeli occupation forces' (IOF) attacks on Palestinian citizens in the West Bank further reflect the IOA's lies about seeking peace.

He underlined that the escalation is a message to the Ramallah team that is still begging for negotiations with the IOA.

Hamas calls for freeing the shackled hand of resistance in the West Bank to retaliate to the IOF violence, the spokesman said, asking the Ramallah authority to reconsider its policy of restricting and bridling resistance because such a policy only encourages the IOF to go ahead in committing more attacks.

In another context, Abu Zuhri lashed out at the shooting incident at the house of journalist Mustafa Sabri, who has been held in Ramallah jails for weeks.

He said that targeting Sabri, who is an elected member of the Qalqilia municipal council, falls in line with the Ramallah authority's crimes against the West Bank people and against journalistic freedom.

The spokesman noted that the shooting incident coincided with an IOF raid into the same area, which reflected the degree of security coordination between the Ramallah authority and the IOA.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian



February 13, 2010 at 1:41 pm ('Christian' Right, Corrupt Politics, Hasbara, Illegal Settlements, Israel, Occupation)
Image by Paramentis

Hagee’s Gifts to Pro-Settler Groups

Recently, Max Blumenthal uncovered that Elie Wiesel accepted a $500,000 gift from John Hagee, the anti-Semitic pro-settler televangelist. Wiesel appears to have resisted Hagee’s blandishments to come to San Antonio to speak to his congregation as he admits in a video available at the Hagee website. But once Hagee waved that $500,000 check in his face, and after Bernie Madoff had already cleaned him out, Wiesel saw the benefit of making common cause with the Christian Zionist zealot. Wiesel is also a useful tool for Hagee, as the former provides the latter that veneer of Jewish respectability he needs in the face of massive criticism of his motives and his record of strange statements about Jews and the Holocaust.

Wiesel takes home $500,000 check from Christian televangelist, John Hagee, with pro-settler Israeli minister, Uzi Landau, looking on approvingly

Thanks to Didi Remez, I’ve been doing some digging among Hagee’s other gifts to Israeli organizations. In fairness, he does give gifts to hospitals and absorption centers, which are perfectly reasonable. But it is notable how much money and how extensively he gives to pro-settler and extreme rightist Israeli groups.

Besides Im Tirtzu ($200,000 over two years), the radical right smearmeisters who put a horn on Naomi Chazan in a disgusting ad in the Jerusalem Post and Hebrew language press, there are these others (some of which are listed here on page 12):

Gush Katif, $200,000
Young Israel, $150,000
Shurat Ha-Din, $100,000
Nefesh B’Nefesh, $1,000,000
Ariel (settlement), $500,000
Gush Etzion, $150,000

Gush Katif funds support the settler malcontents who resisted the Gaza withdrawal.  It offers them financial support to continue their resistance to territorial compromise and defiance of the directives of Israel’s democratically elected government.

Shurat HaDin’s Intelli tours meeting with targeted killing units
Young Israel is one of the most virulent U.S. Orthodox groups supporting the most extreme of the settlers and settlements.
Shurat Ha-Din is an Israeli-American group using “lawfare” to wage war against the Arab world.  It sues Arab banks alleging that they accept deposits from militant groups in violation of U.S. law.  The group also hosts “Intellitours” to Israel which include meetings with Shin Bet assassins who’ve perpetrated targeted assassinations.

Nefesh B’Nefesh resettles new immigrants who make aliya.  It makes a special point of directing these immigrants to West Bank settlements and subsidizes their lives there.  In effect, this is yet another means of providing ideological and financial support to the settler movement.

Ariel and Gush Etzion are two of the larger settlements in the West Bank.  Hagee’s Ariel gift supported a new conference center.  Again, providing critical infrastructure support strengthens the settler enterprise.

I should add that these are only the publicly announced gifts.  Neither Christians United for Israel nor John Hagee Ministries file 990 IRS forms, claiming they are exempt due to being a church.  As far as CUFI is concerned, this appears to be an abuse of the system as it is certainly not a church.  Rather it is a pro-Israel political-theological group advocating on behalf of the settler movement and Israel’s far right.  Of course, the IRS does nothing to police such abuse as I’ve noted here in similar cases regarding other pro-settler U.S. non-profits.

Since Hagee’s giving is not transparent he could be giving much, much more and to even more radical groups than the ones he publicly acknowledges.  Only he knows and he’s not telling.
Maybe we should ask Elie Wiesel how he feels being among such a hit parade of Israeli Jewish extremists, not to mention taking tzedakah from the bizarro Hagee himself.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Mishaal denies Hamas has conflicting positions


[ 13/02/2010 - 07:47 AM ]

MOSCOW, (PIC)-- Khaled Mishaal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, categorically denied on Friday that the leaders of his Movement have different positions, considering that the talk about internal contradictions is a losing bet.

In an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper during his visit to Russia, Mishaal stressed that Hamas has one leadership representing all its cadres at home and abroad, believing in the exchange of views and practicing real democracy.

The Hamas political leader also told the newspaper that his Movement is adherent to what was agreed upon in Egypt’s reconciliation paper without any change.

He added that this paper took into account all contentious issues, but Egypt made changes to important points especially regarding the issue of the legislative and presidential elections.

The Hamas official underlined that his Movement wants stable reconciliation, warning that if these changes were not cancelled, they would be like mines that might explode any moment.

Speaking about his visit to Moscow, Mishaal hailed the Russian openness to his Movement as courageous and wise, saying that such attitude reflects the seriousness of Moscow about playing a positive role in the region.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

US Escalates Row with China, Refuses to Cancel Obama - Dalai Lama Meeting


13/02/2010 The United States has escalated a mounting row on multiple fronts with China, refusing Beijing's demand to cancel President Barack Obama's meeting next week with the Dalai Lama.

The deepening public spat over Tibet, a row over US arms sales to Taiwan, China's dispute with Google and trade and currency disagreements, come at a key diplomatic moment, as Obama seeks Chinese help to toughen sanctions on Iran.

The White House announced Thursday that Obama would hold his long-awaited meeting with the revered Dalai Lama at the White House next week, drawing an angry reaction from China and a demand for the invitation to be rescinded.

But Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs signaled the White House would defy China's warning that the encounter would damage already strained Sino-US relations.

"I do not know if their specific reaction was to cancel it," Gibbs said.

"If that was their specific reaction, the meeting will take place as planned next Thursday."

Obama avoided the Dalai Lama when he was in Washington in 2009, in an apparent bid to set relations with Beijing off on a good foot in the first year of a presidency which included several meetings with President Hu Jintao.

But he warned Chinese leaders on an inaugural visit to Beijing in November that he intended to meet the Buddhist monk.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said earlier that Beijing firmly opposed "the Dalai Lama visiting the United States and US leaders having contact with him."

"China urges the US... to immediately call off the wrong decision of arranging for President Obama to meet with the Dalai Lama... to avoid any more damage to Sino-US relations."

China does not agree to the concept of toughened sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, calling for more negotiations, even as Russia appears closer to backing the move to impose sanctions on Tehran.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Jewish settlers demand construction of another wall in OJ


[ 13/02/2010 - 07:41 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Jewish settlers in the French Hill in occupied Jerusalem have called for the construction of a new separation wall between them and the Palestinian village of Aisawiya, which paves the way for building ghettos within the holy city that is the target of an unprecedented Judaization campaign.

Weekly Hebrew newspaper Urshalim said on Friday that the settlers claimed that they suffered from lack of security.

It added that the students' council in the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus had asked for a similar wall three months age to block stealing of cars.

The Hebrew weekly quoted sources in the Jewish-controlled municipality of Jerusalem as saying that the emergency and security department was holding constant contacts and reviewing demands in the suburb regarding that issue.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Prophet Cartoon Demo in Oslo: "Stop Denigrating Muslims"


13/02/2010 Nearly 3,000 Muslims took to the streets in Oslo Friday after a Norwegian newspaper published an insulting cartoon of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), police told AFP.

Demonstrators held up signs reading "We are Muslims, not terrorists" and "Stop denigrating Muslims".

The Dagbladet tabloid printed on February 3 an affronting cartoon of the holy Prophet (pbuh).

The drawing was to illustrate an article about the Facebook page of the Norwegian police security service (PST) that contains a link to the cartoon.

The link was posted on the Facebook page by a user but removed, along with other comments deemed offensive, as soon as the police service became aware of it.

Norway's main Muslim associations had told their members not to take part in the protest.

"According to our estimates, there were up to 3,000 protesters.

Everything went well. The crowd dispersed and nothing indicates there will be trouble," police spokeswoman Kari Huseby said.

Over the past few days, taxi drivers in Oslo temporarily walked off the job to protest the printing of the drawing.

The insulting cartoons of Prophet Mohammed have sparked a debate about whether freedom of speech can violate the freedom of belief of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian



February 13, 2010 at 10:09 am (Associate Post, Israel, Occupation, Palestine)

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

We have been extremely busy here.  The presence of soldiers in Beit Sahour gave us ample time to talk to them on Thursday and on Friday; we spent the morning planting trees in threatened private lands. We were proud of young and old, internationals and Palestinians, working together, some 150 people in all.  Even a bus of elderly from the elderly home in Beit Sahour showed up to help.  My 77 year old mother was among them.  It was such a meaningful thing.  The day before was meaningful in a different way.  The hours we spent talking to soldiers on Thursday was important too we believe. Foot soldiers in an army of occupation know so little other than what their government tells them.  They tell them lies about Arabs “terrorism”, Jewish eternal “victimization”,  the need to be strong to “defend” a country created so that they could simply live alone away from the anti-Semites (who are essentially all the Christians and the Muslims).  They tell them that it is an unexplainable phenomenon this hatred of the Jews and it has nothing to do with what Jews do or did.  It is almost a genetic thing.

A friend wrote to me that ” My visit to Yad Vashem in 2006, during the war with Lebanon, was a painful lesson.  The museum of the Shoah is being used to indoctrinate young Israelis, esp. the military, that the whole world is and always has been against the Jews, and that the only solution is for Israelis to be firm and resolute against the whole world, even if it means being inhuman to the Palestinians.  The “righteous among the nations” are cited as flukes, as anomalies, with no explanations offered for their sacrifices because for the Israelis though these people did something good, their motivations MUST remain in the shadows (e.g. Christian faith; social justice; their own experiences of oppression, etc.) so that the survival of the State of Israel can remain the one and only center stage concern.  Yad Vashem is an immoral propaganda museum, and as such is a disgrace to the State of Israel and to Jewish moral and prophetic tradition.  There is great risk in this symbol of moral obtuseness:  if the Jewish people are AGAINST the whole world, then Israel’s role as the priestly people, as the people through whom God has revealed himself through the Torah is fundamentally undermined.  The Jewish people thus LOSE their spiritual role in the history of the world, fail in their duty of faithfulness to the Mosaic covenant, and run the risk of a kind of spiritual suicide.  Anyone can see that this spiritual suicide might become a prelude to a material one, alas.  The individuals you mention who have the courage to oppose the apartheid policies of the State of Israel are in fact true heirs of the Biblical prophets, whose messages of apocalyptic warning were meant to show a “way out” when the ancient people of Israel had lost their way.  It is pretty clear that the Israelis of today have truly lost their way both spiritually and politically, and absolutely need the help of prophetic voices.”

Explaining reality to these young kids (and 18-22 year olds are younger than my son) who are guarding bulldozers engaged in colonization efforts inside a Palestinian is not easy but is doable.  We explain to them things they did not know and some indeed begin to shed the self-imposed chains.  That is why officers have instruction to prevent these kinds of dialogs.  Zionism resulted in dozens of massacres and left 2/3rds of the total population of natives (Christians and Muslims) as refugees or displaced people.  Even  Moshe Dayan stated: “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”

For more on this, see the book by Jewish-Israeli professor Ilan Pappe on “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” Rather than being a victim, Israel is in violation of dozens of UN resolutions and has violated just about every article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights per International human rights organizations (and even Israeli ones like B’Tselem). Israelis who discover this dark history have two choices: either leave or stay and struggle with eth natives to transform this country to a just place for its entire people.

Palestinian Families Appeal to UN Over Israeli Construction of “Museum ofTolerance” on Jerusalem’s Historic Mamilla Cemetery
For what you can do on this, see  <>

A respectable Think Tank describes the growing campaign around the world against Israeli apartheid and calls on the Israeli government to treat it as a “Strategic threat”. Of course it is growing and it is a strategic threat to an apartheid state structure.  The comments on the article in Haaretz are split between those who still buy the notion that wanting to stop Israel from its policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing is somehow “delelegitimizing” because of anti-Semitism and those (Including Israelis) who say enough is enough.

Think tank: Israel faces global delegitimization campaign “The Tel Aviv-based security and socioeconomic think tank called on ministers to treat the matter as a strategic threat.”
Must see Video is going viral:
Gaza in Plain Language  <>
(youtube flagged this because of Zionist pressure) but here is an alternative site for the same video
Another video: Did You Know Gaza

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Egyptian navy boats fire at, wound Palestinian fishermen


[ 13/02/2010 - 07:18 AM ]

RAFAH, (PIC)-- Egyptian navy boats fired at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Rafah, to the southernmost tip of the Gaza Strip, wounding two fishermen before arresting four others.

Local sources told the PIC reporter on Friday that Egyptian gunboats chased Palestinian fishing boats while fishing at sea.

They added that the gunboats encircled one of the fishing boats and arrested four fishermen.

The sources noted that Egyptian helicopters hovered overhead during the attack.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

ZIONISM UNMASKED: Special Series on Zionism

Intifada Voice

Tim King

What is it? Why do we write about it? Why has it led to a genocidal wipeout of the Palestinian people?

(SALEM, Ore.) – There are many of us who have to draw our line in the sand in this life, and it often isn’t comfortable. When we take any position that only fits outside the societal norm, we risk many things that more sheep-like people can legitimately expect to have on a daily basis.
I knew from day one in this that I had a mission in this life. Then I could not have said what it was, but today as the editor of I see it as quite obvious. The unpopular position I very willingly assume is that of a writer who criticizes the military state of Israel, which oppresses the Palestinians who called the land their own scarcely over 60 years ago.

The series ZIONISM UNMASKED by writers Jeff Gates, Alan Hart, Dr. Paul J. Balles and Maidhc Ó Cathail, is created to educate the American public about the threat this mentality, very much separate from Judaism itself, represents for all parties involved, including the United States.

Zionism is not in any way exclusively a belief shared among Jewish people, it is also a common belief among Christians. The matter is based on the reference to Jews being “God’s Chosen People” and while that in and of itself is one matter, it has ultimately led to the decimation of the population of Palestine. How can any belief system that illegally targets schools and hospitals in a historic place like Gaza, mercilessly killing hundreds of innocent children in the process, represent God?
The excuse used by Israel is that it is eternally in defense of itself, but many believe Israel is simply, systematically, creating genocide on the Palestinian population.
The Israelis took the land away from the Palestinians when the Jewish state was created in the late 1940’s. It has grown steadily ever since, and still insists daily on bulldozing of the homes of Palestinians, creating an ever growing number of poverty stricken refugees who would not otherwise exist, and also the construction of ’settlements’ on the remaining Palestinian land.
This genocidal behavior funded by the U.S. simply can not be tolerated by the world any longer, and that is why we never stop publishing stories in this regard. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of our writers in Arizona, London, Washington D.C. and Osaka, Japan in taking on this important subject for our readers.
Special Thanks  to Salem-News
Here are the articles in the series:

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as’s Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation’s only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address:

February 12, 2010 Posted by Elias | NEWS & POLITICS | , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments Yet
River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Saba'na fighting illness in the dungeons of Abbas's militia


[ 12/02/2010 - 04:28 PM ]

JENIN, (PIC)-- The family of Sheikh Faisal Saba'na (50 years) expressed profound fear for the life of their son who is detained in one of Abbas's militia prisons and stressed that he was in a bad health condition and was at risk of having a heart attack at any time.

In a statement, on Friday, the family called on all human rights organisations to intervene to save his life and held the Governor of Jenin district and chiefs of the so called "security apparatuses" in the district responsible for the wellbeing of Sheikh Saba'na.

Saba'na was kidnapped by Abbas's militia after he was released from Israeli occupation jails, but released when his health deteriorated as a result of torture. He underwent catheterisation surgery after being released from Abbas's jails, but Abbas's preventive security did not leave him alone for too long, they kidnapped him again at the beginning of this month.

Saba'na is a prominent reformer in the Jenin district, who was released from Israeli jails 40 days ago after 30 months of detention. He spent a total of seven years in Israeli jails.

Meanwhile, the higher committee of Hamas's captives in Israeli jails held Fatah and Fayyad's illegitimate government responsible for the life of Sheikh Saba'na.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

PACBI: All Israeli academic institutions complicit in apartheid

Press release, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, 12 February 2010

The following statement was issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) on 10 February 2010:

In response to the recent decision by the Israeli government to upgrade the status of the so-called Ariel University Center of Samaria (AUCS) to a full university, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) reiterates its call for a boycott of AUCS and all other Israeli academic institutions due to their complicity in maintaining Israel's occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people. While PACBI welcomes the recent protests against the decision to recognize AUCS -- located in the fourth-largest Jewish colony in the occupied Palestinian territories -- as a university, it cautions against attempts to divert the boycott movement away from its basis in the comprehensive, UN-sanctioned rights embodied in the Palestinian call for boycotting Israel to a selective focus on a subset of these rights.

Academics, journalists and others on the Zionist "left" who have opposed the academic boycott for years are now enthusiastically advocating a boycott that solely targets Ariel College because it is illegally built on occupied Palestinian territory. This, however, reduces the scope of the academic boycott to one against settlement institutions, while exonerating the Israeli academy at large, which is just as complicit, if not more, than Ariel in maintaining and justifying the Israeli colonial and apartheid apparatus. But even if the boycott were to apply only to universities built on occupied Palestinian territory, why hasn't the fact that the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus sits on occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem provoked any Ariel-like condemnation?

All Israeli universities are deeply linked to the military-security establishment, playing indispensable -- direct and indirect -- roles in perpetuating Israel's decades-old violations of international law and fundamental Palestinian rights. No Israeli university or academic union has ever taken a public position against the occupation, let alone against Israel's system of apartheid or the denial of Palestinian refugee rights. Israeli universities are profoundly complicit in developing weapon systems and military doctrines deployed in Israel's recent war crimes in Gaza; justifying the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land and gradual ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians; providing moral justification for extra-judicial killings and indiscriminate attacks against civilians; systematically discriminating against "non-Jewish" students in admissions, dormitory room eligibility, financial aid, etc.; and many other implicit and explicit violations of human rights and international law.

As boycott, divestment and sactions (BDS) gains momentum globally, an increasing number of Israeli voices are emerging in support of this strategy as the most effective, nonviolent route to bring about change towards justice and durable peace. The endorsement by Israeli artists and academics of specific boycott actions in the past few years is welcome and well-known. After Israel's war of aggression on Gaza, several Israeli academic and cultural figures came out in support of BDS. Long before the Gaza massacre, though, staunch Israeli supporters of Palestinian rights such as Rachel Giora, Ilan Pappe, Haim Bresheeth, Oren Ben-Dor, Anat Matar and the late Tanya Reinhart had embraced BDS and defended it against Israeli critics, particularly so-called "leftists" in the academy. The recently-formed group, Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within, is particularly praiseworthy, as it unconditionally accepts BDS as defined and guided by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, and is therefore regarded by the BNC as a reliable and principled partner in the movement.

These emerging voices from inside Israeli society point to the growing appeal of BDS and the recognition of its power to effect real change towards just peace. It is nevertheless crucial to emphasize that the BDS movement derives its principles from both the demands of the Palestinian BDS Call, signed by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations in July 2005, and, in the academic and cultural fields, from the Palestinian Call for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, issued a year earlier in July 2004. Together, the BDS and PACBI Calls represent the most authoritative and widely-supported strategic statements to have emerged from Palestine in decades; all political factions, labor, student and women's organizations, and refugee groups across the Arab world have supported and endorsed these calls. Both calls underline the prevailing Palestinian belief that the most effective form of solidarity with the Palestinian people is direct action aimed at bringing an end to Israel's colonial and apartheid regime, just as the apartheid regime in South Africa was abolished, by isolating Israel internationally through boycotts and sanctions, forcing it to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights.

Since the formulation of these calls, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on defining the principles of the boycott movement. Rooted in universal values and principles, the BDS Call categorically rejects all forms of racism, racial discrimination and colonial oppression. PACBI has also translated the principles enshrined in its Call into practical guidelines for implementing the international academic and cultural boycott of Israel. All the while, the Palestinian boycott movement has been clear as to what the focus and goals of the BDS movement are.

In this respect, the importance of the 2005 BDS Call lies in its comprehensive approach to the Israeli colonial and apartheid system as a whole, and its subjugation of the Palestinian people, whether as second-class citizens inside Israel, subjects under its military occupation, or dispossessed refugees. This was summarized in the concise demands outlined in the Palestinian BDS call that Israel recognize the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and fully comply with international law by: respecting, protecting and promoting the right of return of all Palestinian refugees; ending the occupation of all Palestinian and Arab lands; and recognizing full equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In this sense, the BDS Call effectively counters the systematic Israeli fragmentation of the Palestinian people and the reduction of the struggle for freedom and self-determination to an endless bargaining game over land in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Central to the Palestinian BDS movement's three demands is an understanding of Israel as an apartheid state. Israel fits the UN definition of apartheid not just in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; it defines itself as a Jewish state, not a state of all its citizens. Most importantly, Israeli laws, policies and practices discriminate openly against Palestinian -- i.e., "non-Jewish" -- citizens of the state. The pervasive and institutionalized racism and discrimination are particularly evident in the vital domains of land ownership and use, education, employment, access to public services and urban planning. The apartheid character has been part of the design of Israel since its inception.

The state of Israel was established in 1948 by forcibly displacing the overwhelming majority of Palestine's indigenous Arab population from their homeland. Today, these Palestinian refugees are prevented from returning to their homes and lands from which they were expelled. In contrast, any person who claims Jewish descent from anywhere in the world may become an Israeli citizen and national under the so-called Law of Return. Moreover, Israel's brutal war on Gaza was not an anomaly; rather, it represents the most recent example of the systematic policies of ethnic cleansing and colonial oppression that Israel has carried out against the Palestinian people for more than six decades. During this recent military onslaught, Israel killed over 1,440 Palestinians, of whom 431 were children, and injured another 5,380. Israel subjected the besieged population of Gaza to three weeks of unrelenting state terror.

Despite the clarity with which the Palestinian BDS movement has enunciated the goals of the Palestinian struggle, some Israeli and other advocates of boycott have tried to limit its scope. They have attempted to limit the goals of the BDS movement by restricting it geopolitically and confining it to a call to end the Israeli occupation over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This "interpretation" of BDS is most dangerous as it attempts to appropriate the right to redefine the terms of the struggle in Palestine and to impose an ideologically suspect political agenda that lets Israel off the hook on the charges of apartheid and practicing the most pernicious form of racism and discrimination in all the territory under its control.

Some Israelis also base their support for BDS on a purely utilitarian rationale, that of "saving Israel from itself," rather than principled solidarity with the Palestinians. This Israel-centered, "pragmatic" perspective, however, reproduces a colonial attitude of superiority where the indigenous population and their inalienable rights and struggle for freedom are not even recognized. What matter, according to this perspective, are Israel's own self-interest, international image and future. Yet if some are committed to preserving Israel's character into the future without challenging its colonial and apartheid laws and policies, how can they be counted on as true allies in the Palestinian-led, global BDS movement?

As for the targets chosen for BDS actions, the strength of the BDS movement lies in the fact that it does not impose specific targets or tactics on solidarity groups around the world. Based on the principle of context-sensitivity and respect for the autonomy and integrity of democratic international groups supporting Palestinian rights, the Palestinian BDS collective leadership has always believed that people of conscience and organizations advocating human rights know their respective situation best and are the most capable of deciding the appropriate ways and pace to build the BDS movement in their contexts. Sometimes the tactical targeting of settlement-only products may be the best way for a campaign to progress. At other times, it may be resolutions at local unions endorsing BDS, or cultural boycott targets, etc. But even if one were concerned only about Israel's occupation, not its denial of refugee rights or its apartheid system, this cannot justify a principled focus on boycotting "settlement products" only, as if Israel's colonies themselves were the party guilty of colonialism, not the state that established them and sustains their growth. In no other boycott context in the world does anyone call for boycotting a manifestation of a state's violations of international law, rather than the state itself. After all, under international law states are the legal entities that are supposed to be held accountable for crimes and violations that they commit.

Regardless, it is never up to Israeli academics or activists, no matter what their principles are, to set out the reference parameters and priorities of the movement, particularly for activists worldwide. More often than not, members of the Zionist left have refused to recognize the BDS Call issued by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society organizations, and its anchor and leadership, the Palestinian BDS National Committee, BNC. In so doing they fail to respect the aspirations of the Palestinian people and our right to define the goals of our struggle. Moreover, in response to the Zionist left's insistence on focusing on the symptoms of the Israeli system of colonial oppression, by calling only for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it is worth emphasizing that in apartheid South Africa it would have been ludicrous to focus solely on the Bantustans. The struggle against the Bantustans was an intrinsic part of the struggle to end the apartheid system as a structure of dominance whereby the white minority subjugated and oppressed the Black South African population.

As a people living under Israeli apartheid and exiled from their land, it is up to the Palestinians and their mass organizations to set their priorities, objectives and strategies to attain our rights under international law. Israeli support is a welcome and necessary part of this movement. But it must be extended in the spirit of real solidarity, as in the case of Boycott From Within, respecting the wishes and aspirations of the Palestinian people themselves.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

"Who killed Professor Masoud Alimohammadi? The Iranian regime may turn to be right!"

Via "friday-lunch-club" 

In the Economist/ here

"... But listen to the whispers of Western spies and diplomats, and the Iranian regime may turn out to be right. Well-placed sources in two Western countries now say the professor was “one of the most important people involved in the programme”.
Such conclusions, admit some, are based on “imperfect insight” into the workings of Iran’s nuclear establishment that includes the public and ostensibly civil projects run by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) and an overlapping but secret organisation run by the ministry of defence that focuses more on turning fissile material into nuclear weapons.
The AEOI said it had not employed Mr Alimohammadi. Several Iran-watchers said they had never heard of him until his death. But a Western counter-proliferation source says he “is known to have worked closely” with two key figures in Iran’s ministry of defence, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi and Fereidoun Abbasi-Davani. Both are on the UN’s sanctions list of Iranians whose assets are to be seized and whose travels must be reported to the UN....
In any event, Western spooks are undoubtedly trying to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. There are stories of dodgy parts being slipped into the black market where Iran shops for components. Some prominent Iranians in recent years have mysteriously disappeared or died. They include General Ali Reza Asgari, reported to have defected; Ardeshir Hassanpour, a nuclear scientist, who died in 2007; and Shahram Amiri, another nuclear scientist, who went missing last year on the haj to Mecca.
What effect might all this have? Iranian scientists are said to have run into technical problems, with malfunctioning centrifuges, among other things. Inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s watchdog, have found that about half Iran’s centrifuges are idle and those that work are yielding little. Dennis Blair, America’s director of national intelligence, has taken this as evidence that Iran has been “experiencing some problems”.
A few days after the professor’s death, Al-Ahram, an Egyptian newspaper that tends to echo the government, ran a glowing front-page story calling Meir Dagan, head of Mossad, Israel’s spy service, the “Superman of the Jewish state”. But for him, it said, “Iran’s nuclear programme would long ago have been completed.”
Posted by G, Z, or B at 10:00 PM
River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Israeli Soldiers on Alert for Hamas Capture Attempts


12/02/2010 A senior Israeli defense establishment official said Friday that Israeli occupation soldiers have been warned to stay on high alert amid Hamas plans to capture Israeli troops.

The Shin Bet cleared for publication on Thursday that it arrested a prominent Hamas activist in Gaza, who infiltrated into the occupied territories with the intention to capture an Israeli occupation soldier, murder him, and negotiate over the body.

This was not an isolated incident, the Israeli defense official warned on Friday. "The attempt along the Egyptian border to attack and abduct, which was foiled in December, was not a one-time procedure," said the official. "The terrorist organization won't hesitate at any chance to grab another bargaining chip against Israel."

According to the Shin Bet, the fighter arrested in December was named as Salman Abu Atik, a 43-year-old Gaza resident and a prominent Hamas official who was involved in arms smuggling in the past.

Shin Bet said that Atik was taking orders from another prominent Hamas man. It is believed that Atik exited Gaza through a tunnel into Egypt, where he attempted to enter the occupied territory. He was found in possession of $15,000 in counterfeit bills, a gun, and a silencer.

Following information released in Abu Atik's investigation, another Hamas man, Ibrahim Zuara, was arrested on December 31. Zuara, 44, was in possession of two explosive devices each weighing 31 kilograms.

Zuara was apparently supposed to place the devices in heavily populated areas ten days after his entrance into the Zionist entity. Zuara also confessed to his involvement in planning the soldier capture.

Israel is now in the midst of indirect negotiations with Hamas to see the release of Israeli occupation soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured in 2006. Despite reports of progress, the negotiations have so far not yielded results.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Booz-Allen: "...Ensuring the long-term survival of their interpretation of the Islamic Republic ..."

Via "friday-lunch-club"

"Tough neighborhood..."
Via LR, Booz-Allen's "Persia House"/ here
"As the Islamic Republic’s crackdown on the Green Movement protestors continues to occupy center stage in both the domestic and international media, the regime is also quietly, yet swiftly, moving to lay the foundation for a totalitarian security state. The government is implementing an interlocking series of policies—encompassing the technological, legal, and social spheres—intended to tighten its control over key elements of the Iranian state.
Actions to control technology
In addition to broadening the role of internal security forces, and increasing the resources available to them, the government is accelerating efforts to filter online information coming from outside the country as well as to control access points used by Iranians to communicate with each other within the Islamic Republic.
.... Even Khabar Online—a news source affiliated with the conservative Ahmadinejad critic, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani—did not escape the filters. For instance, a Khabar Online article analyzing the president’s foreign policies was blocked while other stories on the site remained accessible.....

  • The regime also hopes that this step would insulate Iranian government communications from US scrutiny: an indigenous e-mail system would eliminate the need for Iranian government workers’ communications to be routed through servers located in the West.
  • After developing the e-mail system, the regime’s next step would likely be to move ahead on its plan, dating at least to 2008, to create a national internet.
It is important to note that, while the regime remains quite focused on countering the “Soft War” threat posed through the “enemy’s” use of information technology, it is not retreating from the very internet that is its primary enabler.
  • The recent expansion of Iran’s high-speed wireless services is a case in point, as is the continuing spread of internet cafes countrywide. Thus, regime leaders appear confident in their ability to limit the opposition’s use of these technologies while simultaneously harnessing its power to get out their own message and mobilize their hardline base.
  • Furthermore, continued access to the internet is a double-edged sword for the opposition. The government’s goal is clearly to channel users through government-controlled facilities, thus allowing it either to vet and deny service to individuals or to track the communications of those deemed threatening.
In addition to the technical aspects of this strategy, the regime is crafting legal requirements aimed at further ensuring compliance throughout the system, including by those involved in private sector web-hosting. While this is not an entirely new phenomenon, it appears to be taking on more substance and form. This is likely aimed at providing government censoring with a veneer of legal legitimacy. Although Reformists have attempted to challenge the legality of many of these actions, they appear to be having little effect.
Moves to further hardline control over education
Lastly, the regime is attempting to increase its influence over Iran’s impressionable youths and politically active university population. In addition to now maintaining a continuous police presence in Tehran’s high schools, the government is encouraging hardline Basijis to become more involved in the administration of elementary and high schools. At the university level, applicants for student scholarships or faculty positions will have to prove their loyalty to the Supreme Leader—a requirement reminiscent of the regime’s tactics, in the early days of the Islamic Republic, to purge academic institutions of “un-Islamic” and “non-conformist” elements.
The scope of these activities leads only to one conclusion: regime hardliners are moving to tighten control further over virtually every key aspect of Iranian society. Their ultimate goal appears to be not only suppressing the current opposition movement but putting into place a system that will ensure the long-term survival of their interpretation of the Islamic Republic—one that is far more totalitarian in nature."

Posted by G, Z, or B at 9:39 PM
River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

ABU NIMAH: The false sacredness of the 1967 border

February 12, 2010

by Hasan Abu Nimah  -  The Jordan Times -  10 February 2010

When the United States abandoned its demand that Israel freeze settlement construction as a prelude to restarting stalled Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, the Obama administration urged both sides to move straight into discussions about a future Palestinian state “based on the 1967 borders.”

Setting the border first, it was hoped, would automatically “resolve” the issue of the settlements, and this is now the focus of the “indirect talks” that US envoy for the Middle East peace process George Mitchell is trying to broker.

Of course the settlements, built on occupied West Bank land in flagrant violation of international law, would not be removed. Rather, the border would simply be redrawn to annex the vast majority of settlers and their homes to Israel, and as if by magic, the whole issue of the settlements would disappear just like that. This charade would be covered up with a so-called “land swap” of which Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority often speak as a way to soften up the Palestinian public for a great surrender to Israeli diktat.

All this is based on the common, but false notion that the 4 June 1967 demarcation line separating Israel from the West Bank (then administered as part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), is the legitimate border of Israel and should therefore be the one along which the conflict is settled.

This assumption is wrong; the 1967 border has no legitimacy and should not be taken for granted.
UN General Assembly resolution 181 of 29 November 1947 called for the partition of Palestine into two entities: a state for the Jewish minority on 57 percent of the land, and a state for the overwhelming Arab majority on less than half the land. According to the 1947 partition, the population of the Jewish state would still have been 40 percent Arab. Jerusalem would have remained a separate international zone.

Rather than “resolve” the question of Palestine, partition made it worse: Palestinians rejected a partition they viewed as fundamentally unjust in principle and in practice, and the Zionist movement grudgingly accepted it but as a first step in an ongoing program of expansion and colonization.

Resolution 181, called for the two states to strictly guarantee equal rights for all their citizens, and to have a currency and customs union, joint railways and other aspects of shared sovereignty, and set out a specific mechanism for the states to come into being.

The resolution was never implemented, however. Immediately after it was passed, Zionist militias began their campaign to conquer territory beyond that which was allocated by the partition plan. Vastly outgunned Palestinian militias resisted as best as they could, until the belated intervention of Arab armies some six months after the war began. By that time it was too late — as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had already been ethnically cleansed from their homes. Israel, contrary to myth, was not brought into being by the UN, but by war and conquest.

The 1949 Rhodes Armistice agreement, which ended the first ever Arab-Israeli war left Israel in control of 78 percent of historic Palestine and established a ceasefire with its neighbors Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Until the second round — in June 1967 — Arabs had been calling for the abolition of the “illegal Zionist entity” planted by colonial powers like a dagger in the heart of the Arab nation. They also waitied for the United Nations to implement its many resolutions redressing the gross injustices inflicted hitherto. The UN never tried to enforce the law or to exert serious efforts to resolve the conflict, which kept escalating.

Israel’s June 1967 blitzkrieg surprise attack on Egypt, Syria and Jordan led to the devastating Arab defeat and to Israel tripling the area of the land it controlled. The parts of Palestine still controlled by Arabs — the West Bank including eastern Jerusalem and Gaza — as well as Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai fell into Israeli hands.

Defeated, demoralized and humiliated, the Arab states involved in the “setback”, as Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser called it, accepted the painful compromise spelled out by Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967.

It ruled that the 4 June 1967 border would have to be the recognized border of Israel provided the latter evacuated the Arab lands it had occupied that year. In other words if the Arabs wanted to recover their lands lost in that war they had to end the “state of belligerency” with Israel — a small step short of recognition — and accept Israel’s actual existence within the pre-June 1967 borders. This eventually became the so-called “land for peace” formula.

Instead of withdrawing from land in exchange for recognition and peace, Israel proceeded to colonize all the newly occupied territories; it continues to do so 43 years later in the West Bank and Golan Heights. Meanwhile it has also become uncontested that Israel has a “right” to everything to the west of the 1967 border. The only question is how much more land will it get to keep to the east.

Astonishingly, Palestinian leaders, Arab states and the so-called international community have all submitted to the lopsided concept that Israel should have this right unconditionally without evacuating the illegally occupied Arab lands. The legitimacy of the 1967 border was tightly linked to Israeli withdrawal and should remain so.
An inherent contradiction in resolution 242 is that while it affirmed “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of the territory by war” it in fact legitimized Israel’s conquest of 1948, including the 21 percent of Palestine that was supposed to be part of the Arab state under the partition plan.

In other words, the UN granted Israel legitimate title to its previous conquests if it would give up its later conquests. This has set a disastrous precedent that aggression can lead to irreversible facts. Encouraged by this, Israel began its settlement project with the express intention of “creating facts” that would make withdrawal impossible and force international recognition of Israeli claims to the land.

It worked; in April 2004 the United States offered Israel a written guarantee that any peace agreement would have to recognize and accept the settlements as part of Israel. The rest of the “international community” as they always do, quietly followed the American line.

The Palestinian submission to the common demand that the large settlement blocs be annexed to Israel against a fictitious land swap is another vindication of the Israeli belief that facts created are facts accepted.
If and only if Israel adheres to all aspects of UN Security Council resolution 242 and others, could the 1967 line have any legitimacy. Until then, if Israel tells the Arabs that the West Bank settlements of Ariel and Maale Adumim are part of Israel, then the Arab position can be that Haifa, Jaffa and Acre are still part of Palestine.

Hasan Abu Nimah is the former permanent representative of Jordan at the United Nations.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

SHAIK: Israel, the Palestinians and the end of the two state solution

 February 12, 2010 

Map of Palestine & Handala
by Michael Shaik  -  Australian Humanist  -  Autumn 2010 issue

In light of the current negotiations on the future of Judea and Samaria, it will now become necessary for us to conduct a race against time. During this period, everything will be mainly determined by the facts we establish in these territories and less by any other considerations. This is therefore the best time for launching an extensive and comprehensive settlement momentum, particularly on the Judea and Samaria hilltops which are not easily passable by nature and which preside over the Jordan Valley on the east and over the Coastal Plain on the west.

It is therefore significant to stress today, mainly by means of actions, that the autonomy does not and will not apply to the territories but only to the Arab population thereof. This should mainly find expression by establishing facts on the ground. Therefore, the state-owned lands and the uncultivated barren lands in Judea and Samaria ought to be seized right away, with the purpose of settling the areas between and around the centers occupied by the minorities so as to reduce to the minimum the danger of an additional Arab state being established in these territories. Being cut off by Jewish settlements the minority population will find it difficult to form a territorial and political continuity.

(World Zionist Organization “Master plan for the development of settlement in Judea and Samaria, 1979-1983”)

Well there is no doubt that I haven’t been able to stop the settlements; and, there is also no doubt from my perspective that it’s in, not only the US interests but actually Israeli interests to not build settlements.

(Barack Obama, Fox News, 18 November 2009)

“If you will it,” wrote Theodore Herzl, the founding father of the Zionist movement in 1902, “it is no dream.”

The dream to which he referred was the founding of a Jewish state in the Arab country of Palestine, a project that would necessarily involve both the mass migration of Jews to Palestine and the displacement of the country’s indigenous non-Jewish population.

In 1948 the dream was realised when Zionist militia’s conquered 78% of Palestine and the flight or forced expulsion of the all but a fraction of the Arab population of the conquered territories.  Thus the creation of the state of Israel marks a turning point in the national history of both Israelis and Palestinians.  For the former it marks the transformation of the Jewish people from a nation of exiles scattered around the world into a strong and proud European nation state.  For the Palestinians it is remembered as “Al-Nakba” (the Catastrophe), in which they lost their homeland and began their history as a nation of refugees.

In 1967, Israel completed its conquest of Palestine when it captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip and once again it seemed to the world that Israel had won a great victory and would continue to flourish at the Palestinians expense.  The decisiveness of the Israeli victory over three Arab armies left no doubts as to its military superiority and its dominion over the Occupied Territories seemed a temporary phenomenon that would eventually be resolved as part of a peace settlement with its neighbours or even the formation of a Palestinian mini-state comprising of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The real significance of the 1967 war for Israel, however, was that it marked the beginning of its end as a Jewish state and its gradual but relentless transformation into a Jewish-Palestinian entity in which two populations, sharing the same country are subject to different laws and have differing access to resources.

Ironically, one of the main reasons for this transformation was the very speed and decisiveness of its 1967 victory.  In 1948, Zionist militias took six months to conquer 78% of Palestine, giving them plenty of time to depopulate the conquered territory of its Palestinian population.  In 1967, Israel conquered the remainder of Palestine in only six days.  While in the immediate aftermath of the war Palestinians from the Latrun area, East Jerusalem’s Old City and other parts of the West Bank were expelled from their homes, the vast majority of the Occupied Territories’ population remained in place, leaving Israel, for the first time in its history, governing territories that were heavily populated with Palestinians.

The main factor behind Israel’s transformation, however, was its decision to colonise the Occupied Territories with Jewish settlements.  In their history of Israel’s settlements Lords of the Land, the Israeli historian Idith Zertal and journalist Akiva Eldar, demonstrate how in the immediate aftermath of the 1967 victory, Israel’s previously marginal religious Zionist movement was able to exploit the ambiguous policies of an uncertain and divided national government to establish the first settlements in the West Bank.[1] Following the victory of Israel’s Likud party in 1977, however, all ambiguity regarding Israeli intentions regarding the settlements was removed and all subsequent governments have committed themselves to the expansion and developments as a national priority.

In order to understand the role of the settlements in Israel’s transformation, it is important to realise their political purpose.  Settlements are not merely innocent Jewish communities built on lands that have been confiscated from their Palestinian owners.  Settlements are a weapon, the purpose of which is to foreclose the possibility of a Palestinian state by making Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank impossible.  As the accompanying map illustrates, the settlements have been built to make what Ariel Sharon described as a “pastrami sandwich” of the Palestinians, surrounding their communities, preventing their growth and breaking up the territorial continuity of the West Bank, particularly around Jerusalem where they have been built to separate Palestinian East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.  In this respect one of the more ingenious features of the settlements are the “bypass roads” which link up the settlements, which Palestinians are banned from using.  In an article on the impact of the settlements upon the Palestinians, the Israeli-American journalist Gabriel Ash described the impact of these roads in the following terms:

Between August 1994 and September 1996, 4,386 dunam of private land (there are about 4.5 dunams per acre) were confiscated for the purpose of constructing seventeen “bypass” roads.  Roads are long and wide and their trajectory can be shifted here and there to achieve maximum impact in terms of houses that must be demolished, orchards that need to be uprooted, and growth that can be stifled.  Used properly, a road is a weapon of mass destruction.  For example, road 447, which shortens the trip to the Settlement of Ariel by a full five minutes, ‘necessitated’ uprooting one thousand olive trees and confiscating 75 dunams from residents of the two Palestinian villages which Ariel targets.  In addition, every roads that connects two Jewish settlements doubles as a road that separates two Palestinian towns.[2]
As well as land and roads, the settlements require water, which Israel provides by taking water from neighbouring Palestinian communities.  The World Health Organisation has identified 100 litres of water per person per day as the minimum amount of water required for a healthy community, when one accounts for domestic use, medical and business needs.  According to Amnesty International, average Palestinian water consumption in the West Bank barely reaches 70 litres per person per day.  As Amnesty notes the primary reason for such a shortfall is the settlers’ profligate consumption:

Swimming pools, well-watered lawns and large irrigated farms in Israeli settlements in the OPT stand in stark contrast next to Palestinian villages whose inhabitants struggle even to meet their essential domestic water needs. In parts of the West Bank, Israeli settlers use up to 20 times more water per capita than neighbouring Palestinian communities, who survive on barely 20 litres of water per capita a day – the minimum amount recommended by the WHO for emergency situations response.[3]

To quote Ash again:
In this manner, the land becomes a palimpsest, in which every act of civil engineering is also its opposite, an act of war:  roads increase the distance between people, building houses lead to overcrowding, laying down water pipes creates water shortages, etc.  All aspects of human existence are turned into weaponry.  Even the sewerage the settlement produces is a weapon against downhill Palestinian towns.[4]

According to a June 2009 report by B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, each year the settlements dump five million cubic metres of untreated wastewater onto Palestinian lands, ruining farmlands, contaminating water supplies and causing a range of health problems.[5]

While Israel has been largely successful at deflecting international pressure to stop settlement construction, its determination to make the occupation irreversible has been carried out with any apparent regard for the long term consequences of such a program.  As early as 1983, when the Palestinians in the occupied territories were still quiescent, Israel’s former head of military intelligence warned that its continued colonisation of the occupied territories would inevitably result in the transformation of Israel into an Arab-Jewish state and the consequent “Belfastisation” of the country.[6]

In March 2009, U.S. Middle East Project, a bipartisan panel of Middle East experts including Brent Scowcroft, the National Security Advisor to the Ford and Bush Senior administrations, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor to the Carter administration, released a paper entitled “A Last Chance for a Two-State Israel-Palestine Agreement” urging President Obama to make a Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement a high priority for his administration.  Failure to do so, it warned, would be “to cede the field to America’s enemies who are counting on the Arab-Israeli dispute as the gift that keeps on giving.”

Though the extent to which groups such as al-Qaeda have succeeded in exploiting the Palestinians’ suffering to mobilise Muslims against America and it’s allies is impossible to measure, their can be no doubt that the West’s support for Israel forms a central theme of its propaganda.  In his study of radical Islamist movements Journey of the Jihadist Fawaz Gerges makes the following observation regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict in the radical Islamist ideology:

The truth is that Arabs. – not just Islamists – thought that American politicians had stabbed the Palestinians in the back, sacrificing them to placate the powerful Jewish community believed to dominate American political life.  The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shaped the perception of Arabs and Muslims toward America far more than anything else.  On this score there exists no differences between Islamists and secularists, leftists and conservatives; all blame America for tipping the balance in favour of the Jewish state.

Not surprisingly, every Islamist and jihadist I have ever interviewed has made a point of condemning America’s policies towards Israel.  In his “Letter to America” published in the British Observer on November 24, 2002, after being posted on Al Qaeda’s Web site on October 14 2002, bin Laden tried to explain to Americans why he had launched his attacks on them.  Palestine topped his list of grievances.  “The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals…  It brings us both laughter and tears to see that you have not yet tired of repeating your fabricated lies that the Jews have a historical right to Palestine, as it was promised to them in the Torah.”  Bin Laden’s opinion is widely shared by those who denounce his violent methods.[7]

Following Israel’s assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, bin Laden recorded a message that was broadcast on Arab television networks vowing to take revenge on America (not Israel).[8]

In his June address from Cairo’s al-Azhar University, Obama acknowledged the Palestinians’ plight as a major source of tension between the America and the Muslim world.  While firmly denouncing contemporary anti-Semitism, he also denounced Israeli settlement expansion as a violation of previous peace accords that undermined efforts to achieve peace.  The response of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to announce further settlement construction and pay tribute to the settlers as an integral part of “a principled, pioneering and Zionist public”.[9]

In the war of wills that followed, it was Obama who gave way.  In August, Netanyahu pledged that he would not evict any (Jewish) people from their homes as Israeli police evicted Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, which were taken over by Jewish settlers.  The White House reacted by stating that it “regretted” Israel’s actions.  In September, Obama summoned Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to a summit in New York in which he praised Israel for having “discussed important steps to restrain settlement activity” and called upon both parties to “move forward” on negotiations, pressuring Abbas to drop his demand for a freeze in settlement construction an return to the Oslo formula of an open-ended “peace process” against the backdrop of settlement expansion.[10]

“I understand English,” an exuberant Netanyahu gloated at the conclusion of the summit.  “‘Restraint’ and ‘freeze’ are two different words.”[11]

In November, he went onto demonstrate his proficiency in English by announcing that for ten months it would “restrain” settlement construction to (only) 3,000 houses throughout the West Bank and whatever public buildings (schools, shopping centres, synagogues) are needed to accommodate the (government subsidised) “natural growth” of the settler population. 

Palestinian East Jerusalem, where the lion’s share of settlement construction is taking place, will be excluded from any such restraint.[12] In December, after witnessing a Palestinian family being evicted from their home in East Jerusalem to make room for Jewish settlers, the veteran peace activist Rabbi Arik Ascherman warned that “the Obama administration remains a laughingstock at best, and in many quarters the U.S. is again the subject of scorn and derision.”[13]

At the beginning of the 2010, with a burgeoning population of half a million Jewish settlers dominating fully forty percent of the West Bank, it would seem that both Ariel Sharon’s dream of making the occupation irreversible by making “a pastrami sandwich” out of the Palestinians and Yehoshafat Harkabi’s worst fears concerning Israel becoming an Arab-Jewish state have been realised.  According to figures from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2006 there were 5,328,949 Jews and 5,393,400 Arabs living throughout all of Israel and the Occupied Territories.[14] With Palestinian fertility rates significantly higher than those of Jews, it seems inevitable that the Palestinians will soon become the majority population.

Following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, the British historian Arnold Toynbee described the Western powers’ insistence that a non-Western people be made to compensate European Jewry for a crime of which they were completely innocent as a “declaration of the inequality of the Western and non-Western sections of the human race”.[15] Had Israel confined itself to its original borders, however, it is unlikely that its conflict with the Palestinians would have become such an issue of such centrality in international politics.  After all, Israel is hardly the only state to have been founded upon the displacement on its indigenous population, nor, as contemporary events in India and Pakistan or subsequent events in Cyprus demonstrated, was the large scale and violent “transfer” of civilian populations unknown in the twentieth century.

The reason that the Israel-Palestinian conflict has become such a defining and decisive issue in twentieth century geopolitics is that, more than sixty years after the Holocaust, the Palestinians are still paying for the Nazis’ crimes and that, as a result of the changes in Israel’s demography caused by its ongoing settlement drive, Israel’s insistence upon its right to exist as the state of the Jewish people has become manifestly inconsistent with the human rights of the Palestinians as the land’s indigenous population living as non-citizens in their own country.

The international implications of this contradiction became clear last April when the United Nations held a conference against racism in Geneva.  The conference was boycotted by Israel, the US, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Italy, Poland and Australia, all of which made it clear that their reason for doing so was that they feared the conference would provide a stage for the criticism of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, thus marking the first time since the end of apartheid in South Africa that the Western and non-Western worlds have been so clearly split over the issue of racism.[16]

In 2007, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that without a two-state solution the Palestinians would eventually opt for a South African-style struggle for equal rights and Israel would be finished as a Jewish state.[17] Though it was made as part of his campaign to sell his unconvincing “Consolidation Plan”, which envisaged the consolidation of Israel’s Jewish majority through the unilateral annexation of “Greater Jerusalem”, the Jordan Valley and the main “settlement blocs”, while leaving the Palestinians with a “state” comprising of a patchwork of reservations surrounded by Jewish settlements, his observation is revealing.

Given the international community’s evident failure to halt, let alone reverse, Israeli settlement construction, the term “two states”, rather than being a solution has become a euphemism for a one-state reality in which access to roads, water, housing and other resources are determined by one’s nationality.

[1] Zertal, I. and Eldar, A.  Lords of the Land.  Nation Books, New York, 2007.
[2] Ash, G. (2003). ‘Settlements: A User’s Guide.’ Dissident Voice, May 17 2003.  Available at
[3] Amnesty International.  Thirsting for Justice: Palestinian Access to Water Restricted.  October 2009.
[4] Ash, ‘Settlements: A User’s Guide.’
[5] B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.  Foul Play: Neglect of wastewater treatment in the West Bank.  June 2009.
[6] Yehoshafat Harkabi.  The Bar Kokhba Syndrome: Risk and Realism in International Relations.  Rossel Books, 1982.
[7] Gerges, F.  Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy.  Harcourt, 2006.  pp. 161-162
[8] Gerges, Journey of the Jihadist, p. 254.
[9] Sobelman, B and Boudreaux, R.  “Israel’s Netanyahu says he would accept a disarmed Palestinian state”  Los Angeles Times.  15 June 2009.
[10] “Obama calls for Mid-East urgency”  BBC News Website.  23 September 2009.
[11] “Doubts loom large after Obama’s Mideast summit”  Reuters.  23 September 2009.
[12] Koutsoukis, J.  “Israeli housing freeze looks awfully familiar”  The Age.  27 November 2009.
[13] Ascherman, A.  “Armageddon, Straight Ahead”  Rabbis for Human Rights Website.  2 December 2009.
[14] See “Israel-Palestinian Conflict”.
[15] Cited in Quigley, J. The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective.  Duke University Press, 2005.  p. 34.
[16] Sofer, R.  “Netanyahu thanks Geneva boycotters”  21 April 2009.
[17] Benn, A., Landau, D., Ravid, B. and Rosner, S.  “Olmert to Haaretz: Two-state solution, or Israel is done for”  Haaretz.  29 November 2007.
River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian