Palestine.Israel Apartheid News: 6/15/11: First Gaza Flotilla Ships Depart Scotland

INDEX (stories follow)

In May 1950, a woman from a kibbutz in the South witnessed Palestinian refugees being packed into trucks and unloaded at a camp [pp. 147-48]:

We were waiting for a hitch beside one of the big army camps… Suddenly two large trucks arrived, packed with blindfolded Arabs (men, women, and children). Several of the soldiers guarding them got down to drink and eat a little, while the rest stayed on guard. To our question ‘Who are these Arabs?’ they responded: ‘These are infiltrators, on their way to being returned over the borders.’ The way the Arabs were crowded together [on the trucks] was inhuman. Then one of the soldiers called his friend ‘the expert’ to make some order [among the Arabs]. Those of us standing nearby had witnessed no bad behavior on the part of the Arabs, who sat frightened, almost one on top of the other. But the soldiers were quick to teach us what they meant by ‘order. The ‘expert’ jumped up and began to…hit [the Arabs] across their blindfolded eyes and when he had finished, he stamped on all of them and then, in the end, laughed uproariously and with satisfaction at his heroism. We were shocked by this despicable act. I ask, does this not remind us exactly of the Nazi acts towards the Jews? And who is responsible for such acts of brutality committed time and time again by our soldiers?


Guardian series of videos by Palestinians in East Jerusalem

from The Only Democracy? by Jesse Bacon

If, like me, you are disgusted by the minstrelry of Tom MacMaster pretending he was a queer Syrian womanhere’s a good antidote. The Guardian has published a series of videos made by Palestinians and Israelis in  occupied East Jerusalem who were given cameras by the Israeli human rights group B’tselem and documented their lives.

H/t to +972 Magazine for bringing this too my attention. Five of the six videos below, the final one with Israeli activist Yonatan Mizrahi, is here.








Ex-classmate of accused Israeli spy Ilan Grapel: He “was a standard campus pro-Israel…type”

from Max Blumenthal by Max

Headlines for June 15, 2011

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by (Democracy Now!)


First Gaza Flotilla Ships Depart Scotland

 Channel 10 Israeli TV reports (Hebrew) along with Israel Radio that the first ships of the massive Gaza flotilla are expected to depart shortly (by now they may already have left port) from Scotland.  They will meet with the rest of the group of blockade-running ships on the high seas later this month, in an attempt to be the first ships in two years to make it through.  Israel has vowed to stop them with whatever means necessary, which promises to set up a similar confrontation to the one that led to the massacre almost one year ago on the Mavi Marmara.

The Turkish Muslim relief group IHH is once again dispatching the tragic Mavi Marmara to join the campaign along with approximately 14 other ships, more than twice the number of the last flotilla.  The mayor of Haifa had hoped to turn it into a gambling casinso or some such, but Israel was prevailed upon to return it to IHH, its rightful owners.

I hope Turkey will do more to protect its citizens this time.  Its foreign minister has explicitly told Israel it will not accept the same type of “provocation” which occurred last year.  Given that the Turkish ruling party has just won a resounding election victory, I would suspect that Prime Minister Erdogan is not about the allow Israel to assault its citizens on the high seas.  This should be very interesting.

I’m guessing that Bibi, realizing the UN statehood vote is coming up in September, may allow the boats to pass.  To assault them would bring Israel into even greater disrepute than it already is.  But I’ve learned never to presume Israel will do the rational or reasonable thing when stubbornness and pig-headedness will do.

I wish Mary Hughes Thompson and all the voyagers a safe trip and safe passage to Gaza.

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Israeli Intelligence Leaks Alleged Syrian Memo Claiming Government Support for Nakba Day Protests

 A former high ranking Israeli government source revealed to me that Israeli intelligence leaked to a pro-Israel British tabloid blogger an alleged Syrian government document claiming that the Syrian government organized the bus convoys which brought demonstrators to the Syria-Israel armistice line on Nakba Day.  Demonstrations on that day were met with murderous IDF fire killing 14 individuals.

Michael Weiss, the Telegraph’s pro-Israel blogger known for his neocon views, apparently lied when he claimed the government document was “leaked by the governor of al-Quneitra.”  Any government official who leaked such a document would be jobless in a heartbeat, if not dead.  In truth, my source says Weiss received the document from Israeli intelligence, which has been spreading rumors through the online hasbara community that the government organized the protests in order to distract from the severe instability it faced from democracy protests.  Why did Weiss engage in such a prevarication?  Clearly to conceal his true source.  Though it’s conceivable that Israeli intelligence stole or otherwise secured the alleged memo from the governor of the province.

The Israeli media is dutifully reporting the story as if it was halacha l’Moshe mi’Sinai (‘God’s law from Sinai’).  But no one appears to asking themselves how Weiss got this scoop and whose interest it would be to pass it to him?  This way Israel distracts from its own murder of unarmed Syrian-Palestinians and leaves no fingerprints on the evidence.

I am in the midst of having Arabic speakers authenticate the translation offered by Weiss to determine whether it’s accurate.  Here is an excerpt:

…Security, military, and contingent units in the province, Ain-el-Tina and the old al-Qunaitera are hereby ordered to grant permission of passage to all twenty vehicles (47 passenger capacity) with the attached plate numbers that are scheduled to arrive at ten in the morning on Sunday May 15, 2011 without being questioned or stopped until it reaches or frontier defense locations.

Permission is hereby granted allowing approaching crowds to cross the cease fire line (with Israel) towards the occupied Majdal-Shamms, and to further allow them to engage physically with each other in front of United Nations agents and offices. Furthermore, there is no objection if a few shots are fired in the air.

Captain Samer Shahin from the military intelligence division is hereby appointed to the leadership of the group assigned to break-in and infiltrate deep into the occupied Syrian Golan Heights with a specified pathway to avoid land mines.

It is essential to ensure that no one carries military identification or a weapon as they enter with a strict emphasis on the peaceful and spontaneous nature of the protest.

Though my Israeli source concedes that the document is likely genuine, there are aspects of it that smell “off” to me.  First, why would a Syrian intelligence officer say protesters must not carry weapons, and then say that a few shots may even be fired?  Unless, possibly he was saying that Syrian security forces could fire shots pretending to try to stop the protests from proceeding–though in the videos I have seen I saw no such security personnel in evidence.

Second, why would the official say that protesters should “infiltrate deep into the Syrian-occupied Golan Heights.”  If you were Syrian and you viewed Israel’s Golan territory as sovereign Syrian land, you simply wouldn’t call a protest crossing the armistice line an “infiltration.”

The Mossad has, in the past, been known to leak falsified documents from Middle Eastern nations.  In fact, it leaked fabricated Iranian government memos alleging work on nuclear triggering devices to another British paper, the Times, several years ago.  It also leaked this story of alleged Syrian-Hezbollah war perparations to a Kuwaiti paper.

Michael Weiss is affiliated with two hawkish pro-Israel groups in Britain, the Henry Jackson Society (Jackson was an anti-Soviet hawk Democrat and one of the U.S. Senate’s most ardent pro-Israel supporters) and a pro-Israel media advocacy group, Just Journalism.  It appears to be modeled on a number of such groups like CAMERA, MEMRI, The Israel Project, and Palestine Media Watch.  It would make perfect sense for Israeli intelligence to exploit a willing asset like Weiss for its purposes, and indicates that the line between journalism and intelligence is a very thin one at times.

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An Israeli spy in Cairo: let the Israeli and American lying on the case begin

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

This is a big story: a huge story in the Egyptian press.  It is front page/main headline story in the Egyptian press as you can see from the picture above.  Yet, typical of cases involving Israeli spies, the US press stay silent (did you hear anything here about the Mossad idiot spy who was caught red handed in Moscow?).  As soon as the story appeared in the Egyptian press, the Israeli press started their lying: first, they said he was not Israeli.  And then they said, he is an Israeli but that he studies in the US.  And then they said, oh, no: he is an American.  I am sure that a forged American passport would be arranged by the US to save the guy and let him be whisked out of the country.  I bet you, the guy will be released form Egyptian jail in a matter of months.  What does it take? A cash payment or a phone call to Field Marshal Tantawi–whose chest is filled with evidence of military defeats by the Egyptian Army.  The beauty of the new Egypt–and this should thrill Zionists–is that any story damaging to Israel and its interests get front page billing.  So try to read about the story–but not in the US press.

Ex-classmate of accused Israeli spy Ilan Grapel: He “was a standard campus pro-Israel…type”

from Max Blumenthal by Max

Accused Israeli spy Ilan Grapel in Egypt's Tahrir SquareAccused Israeli spy Ilan Grapel in Egypt’s Tahrir Square

I received the following from a friend who says he was personally acquainted with Ilan Grapel, the man Egyptian authorities are accusing of having spied for Israel:

knew the guy as we all worked for the security department at johns hopkins. the school provided these shuttles taking students/faculty/employees within a mile radius or so of campus, for safety. he was a dispatcher if i remember right, i was a driver of the vans. i’d say we were friendly acquaintances, the drivers would come into the office a couple times a night on the shift, drink slurpees with the other employees, that kind of thing. they used to call him screech, came from queens if i remember right.

was a fairly standard campus pro-israel rally attendee type in those days, when those groups were a lot louder than they are now. not really remarkable, same canned lines and the whole lot back then. other friends knew him a bit better. i don’t think bragging about wanting to join the israeli army some day was remarkable back then or even now.

last i heard about him from a friend was he got shot in the shoulder during the lebanon war in 2006 and couldn’t raise one of his arms over his head anymore, may have gotten some kind of compensation for that. there were a couple of kids i knew who had aspirations to go to the middle east in the future to learn arabic, to help “understand the enemy” in hopes of being of some use to israeli society.

i don’t want to misrepresent myself as someone close to him, i knew him casually and found him mildly interesting, but that’s about it, and it was more than 7 years ago. i think it’s entirely plausible that he was indeed motivated by nothing other than pro-israel romaticism, going to egypt for whatever reason, to talk up israel or do something that he thought would help that cause of his in some way.



It is anti-Semitic to arrest Israeli spies in the Arab world

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

From the 1950s, repugnant Israeli propaganda would resort to a standard tactic: whenever an Israeli spy is arrested in any Arab country, Israel media and their echoes in the West would accuse the Arab country in question of anti-Semitism.  They did that in the Lavon Affair in Egypt when the Egyptian regime arrested the cells, and they even did that in the case of Elie Cohen in Syria (whose achievements have been so exaggerated and was made by Mossad into several movies, plays, and TV mini-series for extra propaganda reward).  Look how the racist Israeli newspaper is now referring to the Israeli spy in Cairo:  “Diplomats from the Israeli embassy in Cairo met on Tuesday with Ilan Grapel, the Jewish American citizen detained in Egypt under suspicion of espionage for Israel.”  Look how deceptive and cunning.  An Israel who fought in the war on Lebanon in 2006, is now referred to as “Jewish American citizen”.  If he is a “Jewish American citizen” you liars, why is he being seen by diplomats from the Israeli embassy?  Who are you kidding, really?

Russian Oligarch Buys 20% Interest in Haaretz

nevzlin and netanyahuLeonid Nevzlin with Bibi Netanyahu

Leonid Nevzlin, former business associate of imprisoned Russian oil tycoon Mikhael Khodorkovsky, who fled Russia for Israel when the latter was arrested by the authorities, has bought a 20% stake in Haaretz, investing $40-million in the company (amazing to think that Haaretz’s total valuation is only $200-million).  Nevzlin’s net worth is approximately $2-billion.  He will also join the board of directors.

This means that only 60% of the stock remains in the hands of the founding Schocken family, while another 20% was sold several years ago to a German publishing conglomerate.  An article in The Marker notes that the latter purchased 25% of the company six years ago when it was only worth $128-million, but says the total value of the company has not changed.  I’m wondering whether the apparent profit is due to currency fluctuation, because otherwise the claim the company hasn’t risen in value appears false.

Nevzlin, through his wife, runs an Israeli Zionist charity, Nadav, which supports pro-Israel/Zionist causes and awarded the pro-Israel media advocacy group, LATMA, its highest award last year at the Beit Hatfutsot Museum, which the tycoon chairs.  I wrote about this last year and queried a childhood friend of mine on the Tel Aviv University faculty about the seemliness of allowing the University (on whose campus Beit HaTfutsot sits) and Museum to be affiliated with an event honoring such an ideologically charged organization.  LATMA produced a video attacking the Turkish peace activists murdered on the Mavi Marmara, We Con the World, and also produced a racist video portraying a singing, dancing Barack Obama bragging how much he hates Jews.

This statement by Amos Schocken seems deliberately vague and even ominous considering Nevzlin’s decided political sympathies with right-wing Israeli politics:

Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken said the new investment follows a year-long period of acquaintance and discussions on the goals of the company and its shareholders. In the new partnership, Haaretz strengthens itself by gaining an investor and director who is an experienced businessman – one with a specific interest and track record in Judaism and education.

Is that what Schocken calls LATMA?  An organization bolstering Judaism and education?  Schocken also claims that Nevzlin will not be involved in editorial content.  That’s about as ironclad a promise as Rupert Murdoch’s that he wouldn’t mess with the objectivity of the news content and reporting at the Wall Street Journal.  It changed radically almost the day he arrived.

I wonder which will it be?  Will Haaretz tone down Nevzlin’s propagandizing on behalf of right-wing Zionism or will Nevzlin infuse his politics into the pages of Haaretz (or both)?  It seems clear to me that Haaretz, which has slightly faded over the years as a beacon of Israeli liberal journalism, will continue a gradual shift to the right.  For example, its current managing editor, Dov Alfon, is a former officer in the IDF’s top-secret military intelligence Unit 8200 (I should add that this may indicate merely a coziness with the intelligence apparatus, rather than a right-wing political ideology).  Haaretz printing presses also publish Yisrael HaYom (aka Bibiton) on behalf of Bibi’s Sugar Daddy, Sheldon Adleson.  Returning to Nevzlin, his ascendancy only confirms an existing trend.

For the former Russian oil tycoon, wanted in Russia in connection with the prosecution of Khodorovsky, his purchase of a minority interest in Haaretz further burnishes his reputation inside the country and furthers the influence of his “charitable” work.  It will also give him a favorable platform in case his reputation needs further polishing should he face further legal difficulties.

In the Haaretz announcement you will find barely a whisper about Nevzlin’s notorious past.  You couldn’t get to be an oligarch without bashing a few heads and burying a few bodies.  Whatever the outrages of the Russian justice system (and they are many), Leonid Nevzlin has much to answer for both morally and legally.  Seems to me Haaretz has taken a calculated risk hopping into bed with someone having this type of reputation.

Oren Persico levels some appropriate criticism at the fawning coverage Haaretz reserved for Nevzlin in the past.  At his 50th birthday party, the paper reported that celebrants as distinguished as the IAF chief said:

You’re so different from those other oligarchs.

While former Tel Aviv University President Itamar Rabinovich, crowed:

Simply, we love ya.

He should, because when the Museum was about to collapse financially, Nevzlin stepped in and saved it with an infusion of his personal cash.

Does this sound like the kind of relationship that will allow Haaretz to cover fairly and judiciously matters related to Nevzlin, his affairs, and his legal tribulations?

One wonders what Haaretz will do with the capital infusion.  They’re talking about competing in the new digital world.  The truth is they produce an online product that is clunky, user-unfriendly, and technologically passe.  You can barely get video content to play.  The English version of the website produces a pale imitation of the Hebrew product.  They’ve got nowhere to go but up.  But can they get there?  Can they produce an attractive website?  Can they add ambitious young journalists to their roster who will produce cutting edge journalism along the lines of Uri Blau, Tom Segev, Amira Hass, and Gideon Levy?  Or will they follow the lead of tabloid journalism and beef up their entertainment/gossip/society offerings?

In discussing how Haaretz arrives at decisions over who it will partner with for investment purposes, Schocken makes an exceedingly odd statement about his German partner.  He says that unlike previous would-be partners, Haaretz chose the Germans because they had no “business obligation” [i.e. to make a profit], but rather an “obligation to the State and its success.”  I find it strange that any businessman would invest money in a venture out of a sense of moral obligation or guilt, or political allegiance, as Schocken implies is the case with the Germans.  Whatever happened to profit?  You mean Germans no longer care about profit when it comes to investments in Israel or anything else?

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Israeli Entrepreneurs, Fearing BDS and UN Recognition of Palestine, Announce New Peace Initiative

from Tikun Olam-תקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place by Richard Silverstein

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israeli peace initiativeCaption: ‘Bibi Take the initiative, stop being dragged, start leading’

In a sign of the rising specter of BDS and its potential impact on Israel’s export driven economy (50% of its value is in exports), a group of 80 of the nation’s most important business leaders, met in closed session (Hebrew) sponsored by a peace group called Israel Initiates (website), to address their fears.  The outline of the initiative roughly follows that of the 2002 Saudi peace plan.  They agreed that if no political initiative was taken by Israel, the country’s financial stability was in grave danger.  Though it wasn’t clear what specific political plan they were advancing, their call was clearly a criticism of the quiescence of the Netanyahu government:

We’re fast becoming like South Africa.  The economic damage that will result from the boycott and sanctions will be felt by every Israeli family from the wealthy classes to the middle class and most harshly on the underclass.

These words were spoken by Eyal Ofer, son of the recently deceased Israeli billionaire Sami Ofer.  The Ofer conglomerate is one of Israel’s largest and most profitable with strong alleged ties to Israel’s defense and intelligence apparatus.  So a peace initiative originating from the Ofers must truly indicate a split of some sort among the Israeli far right political and military echelons and the more pragmatic elements.  The passage above and what follows is a summary of an article in Calcalist, Israel’s leading business journal, on the meeting.

The attendees expressed their fears of a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood by the UN General Assembly in September and the resulting political freeze to which Israel would be subjected as a result.  Ofer believes that if nothing is done Israel’s legitimacy will be seriously eroded on the world stage.  While businessmen don’t usually interpose themselves into the political process, said Ofer (quite naïvely or fatuously I might add), this is a situation that requires taking action to protect the Israeli economy.  Israel faces a very real threat that its major businesses and industries will be devastated by the actions that might follow upon a declaration of Palestinian statehood:

“Therefore,” said Ofer, we must exploit every resource we have to call upon the State of Israel to initiate a political process which will prevent such a boycott [or literally, “excommunication”].

Ofer revealed to the assembled business leaders that international labor associations have with difficulty prevented the adoption of resolutions which would call for boycott of Israeli products and forbid the unloading of Israeli ships containing imports from Israel.  Though such efforts have met mostly with success, the implication of Ofer’s words seemed to be that this success might not last for long, especially if the international outlook worsens.

Dan Gillerman, until recently Bibi’s UN ambassador told the assembled multitude that the day after the UN vote recognizing Palestine a process of “South Africanization” (how’s that for a political neologism?) of the State of Israel would begin.  He warned that the economic success enjoyed by the country today could easily explode in the aftermath of such a UN vote.  Gillerman claimed he’d received assurances from senior Palestinian officials that they preferred a genuine peace process to a unilateral approach.  Which means that a genuine peace initiative is demanded of the current Israeli prime minister [as opposed to the shame current policy] which would avert such a catastrophe.

Ofer told Calcalist that he wanted to remind the government that those in attendance at this session employed hundreds of thousands of Israelis and that their voice should be heeded.  That seemed a shot across Bibi’s bow for sure.

The initiative as outlined by Ofer and his co-founder, former Shin Bet director Yaakov Perry, focussed on the exchange of territory involved in a return to 1967 borders.  It proposed that some of the holy places would come under Israeli sovereignty and some under UN sovereignty.  The ultimate goal is to turn the Initiative into a social movement that goes beyond the business leaders featured and becomes more widely rooted like the Geneva Initiative.  Last month, representatives of the group met with the secretary-general of the Arab League and Egypt’s foreign minister to relay to them the substance of their initiative.

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People should know about this: how Google protects Israel

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

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“There is one entire country, however, that Google Earth won’t show you: Israel. That’s because, in 1997, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, one section of which is titled, “Prohibition on collection and release of detailed satellite imagery relating to Israel.” The amendment, known as the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment, calls for a federal agency, the NOAA’s Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs, to regulate the dissemination of zoomed-in images of Israel. When asked about the regulation, a Google spokeswoman said to Mother Jones, “The images in Google Earth are sourced from a wide range of both commercial and public sources. We source our satellite imagery from US-based companies who are subject to US law, including the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997, which limits the resolution of imagery of Israel that may be commercially distributed.“” (thanks Bert)


UN: Gaza Faces Highest Unemployment in World

unrwa reliefUNRWA plays vital role in stabilizing Gaza humanitarian crisis

A new UNRWA report finds that Gaza, despite the so-called “easing” of Israel’s blockade, faces the highest unemployment in the world.  Almost half of all eligible workers cannot find a job.  By most accounts, the rate hovers at about the same level as the last report in 2009.  The number of poor Gazans applying for UN relief aid has increased from 100,000 to 300,000 in that time.  The only bright spot in the employment picture is the public sector, where Hamas has increased the number of jobs to 25,000.  Fatah also pays PA workers in Gaza not to work (makes sense, right?) to protest Hamas’ takeover of the enclave following Fatah’s preempted coup.  Though Gaza’s economy has improved this is largely through the increase in Hamas-sponsored jobs.  The private sector continues to barely exist.

I’m waiting for the hasbara crowd to break out pictures of that one Gaza seaside resort to show there’s no hunger in Gaza, that everyone lives in the lap of luxury.  Oh wait, they’ve already done it–how helpful of them!  Isn’t it nice when you’re an Israeli with a nice job, nice flat in Tel Aviv or Kiryat Arba, nice car, and you can look down on Gazans who have none of what you do, and call them liars and sponges and grifters?

I’m most tickled by the Israeli claim that the unemployment figures are skewed because they include those who’ve been out of work so long they’ve stopped trying to find a job.  According to Israel, these individuals, who’ve lost all hope thanks to the splendid job Israel’s done at turning the place into an outdoor prison, don’t count.  But does it really make a difference whether the rate’s 46% or 37%??  Only for an Israeli Siege Bureaucrat.

Israel also claims the report is politically motivated, no doubt due to the Gaza flotilla about to set sail to once again attempt to break Israel’s blockade.  If Israel lifted the siege, unemployment would drastically fall, the humanitarian crisis would end, the flotillas would stop coming and Israel would no longer face this PR disaster.  Why blame the UN for a mess all of Israel’s making?

The flotilla will continue to point out the lunacy of the blockade.  Now that Egypt has essentially lifted its own siege, what purpose does Israel’s serve?  Hamas has not been vanquished.  Only ordinary Gazans have suffered.

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Under Punitive Israeli Blockade, Gaza Unemployment among Worst in World: UN

from Informed Comment by Juan

The illegal Israeli blockade of little Palestinian Gaza (pop. 1.5 million) has produced 45% unemployment, perhaps the highest in the world, and a situation in which real income has fallen by a third in the past five years. This according to [pdf] a new report by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The bad economy, caused by an Israeli policy of blocking all exports from Gaza and severely limiting imports, has an especially severe impact on refugee families who had been ethnically cleansed by Israelis from what is now Israel in 1948, who make up about 40% of the Gaza population. The Guardian has more.

Aljazeera English has a video report:

The Gaza Strip’s stock of medicine has also fallen to dangerously low levels. Aljazeera English reports that: “Dr Basim Naim, the minister of health in the de facto government of Gaza, says 178 types of necessary medications are at near zero balance in stock. He says more than 190 types of medicine in stock are either expired or are close to their expiry date, which has forced his administration to postpone several medical operations.”

Israel’s blockade policy is a way of punishing Palestinians in Gaza for the ascendency in the Strip of the fundamentalist Hamas Party, which won the 2006 elections for the Palestine Authority. But a majority of the Palestinians in Gaza is children, who do not vote, and among whom food insecurity is now at record levels. Israeli officials say the blockade targets arms imports, but in fact it targets the Palestinians of Gaza in toto. Why ban all exports of things produced in Gaza if the aim is to stop arms imports? Why did they ban import of chocolate if that was the aim? Wikileaks State Department cables reveal that Israeli officials have admitted privately that their goal in Gaza is to make Palestinians there live on the absolute edge, without tipping the situation over into clear humanitarian disaster. Arguably, in the latter balancing act, they have failed.

I heard a BBC reporter point out that private sector employment has fallen, but public sector employment numbers are not so dire. Since Hamas controls the public sector, Israeli policy is essentially pushing the Gaza population into their arms.

The victory in Sunday’s election of the Justice and Development Party in Turkey was proclaimed by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as a “victory for Gaza.” Turkey opposes the blockade and a Turkish aid flotilla was attacked by Israeli commandos last year this time with lethal force, leaving 9 aid workers dead (including one American). There are plans for more aid convoys. A UN commission found that the attack on the Mavi Marmarawas illegal in international law, as is the blockade of the civilian population in general.

The new transitional government in Egypt has slightly opened the Rafah border crossing, but mainly for certain categories of Gaza residents who need to travel outside the Strip. The new Foreign Minister (and incoming head of the Arab League) Nabil Alaraby has called the Israeli blockade “disgusting,” which is about the least harsh thing a civilized person could say about it.

Israel is considered in international law to be the Occupying Power in Gaza, since it controls Gaza’s air, land and sea borders and took control of the place in the 1967 war. As such, Tel Aviv is in contravention of the Hague Convention of 1907 and the Geneva Convention of 1949 on the treatment of populations in territories occupied in war. In fact, Israel has been in violation of international law on this issue for so long and so egregiously that I think a case could be made that its occupation of Palestinian territory is by now itself illegal.

It is really a joke how Western liberals still consider the terrorist state of Israel as “democratic”

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“Two new legislative initiatives would clamp down on companies non-profit organizations that refuse to recognize the Jewish, democratic character of the State of Israel.”

After 1948: How Israel stopped the “outcast race” from returning home

from Max Blumenthal by Max

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Yesterday, the Israeli army opened fire on unarmed demonstrators seeking to reach Majdel Shams, a village in the occupied Golan Heights. When the demonstrators breached a border fence, the army opened fire, killing several of them. Among those who made it through was Hassan Hijazi. Hijazi hitch-hiked and rode buses from the border to Jaffa, hoping to find his family’s confiscated home. “It was always my dream to reach Jaffa,” he told police after turning himself in.

At the Gaza border, the army opened fire on unarmed demonstrators with tanks, injuring dozens. Israeli forces fired unusually high amounts of teargas at protesters in Qalandiya, wounding scores in the West Bank city which was completely surrounded by the separation wall. Joseph Dana, who documented the Qalandiya protest, told me a group of shabab attempted to pull down a section of the wall but failed in somewhat comical fashion because their rope was too short.

Now that Israeli forces are conducting house-to-house searches for those who managed to surmount the Jewish state’s demographic walls, the word “infiltrator” has retured to the Israeli vocabulary. The term was coined in the months and years after the Nakba when the Israeli military focused on preventing those it had expelled in 1947 and ‘48 from returning to their villages, their land and their families. Israel’s search and expulsion operations, designed to maintain the demographic integrity that the Zionist militias established through ethnic cleansing, represent an under-acknowledged but absolutely crucial component of the history of the Nakba. Indeed, the Nakba did not end in 1948.

Perhaps the most comprehensive account of Israel’s efforts to prevent the refugees from returning home is Benny Morris’ 1993 book, “Israel’s Border Wars: 1949-1956.” Morris’ flaws — his crude racism, rejection of Arab historians and sources, and allegiance to Zionism — are well known. As a pure archivist, however, he is among the best. The sections in his book on infiltration depict in cold, clinical detail the Israeli military’s tactics against those who tried to return. They included detaining refugees in barbed wire enclosed camps that reminded some observers of Nazi Germany; the extraction of fingernails and other torture methods; and forced marches through the desert without food or water. Tawfiq Toubi, the first Arab to serve in Israel’s Knesset, called the search and expulsion operations “pogroms.”

Below, I have excerpted several testimonies about Israel’s operations to stop “infiltration:”

In May 1950, a woman from a kibbutz in the South witnessed Palestinian refugees being packed into trucks and unloaded at a camp [pp. 147-48]:

We were waiting for a hitch beside one of the big army camps… Suddenly two large trucks arrived, packed with blindfolded Arabs (men, women, and children). Several of the soldiers guarding them got down to drink and eat a little, while the rest stayed on guard. To our question ‘Who are these Arabs?’ they responded: ‘These are infiltrators, on their way to being returned over the borders.’ The way the Arabs were crowded together [on the trucks] was inhuman. Then one of the soldiers called his friend ‘the expert’ to make some order [among the Arabs]. Those of us standing nearby had witnessed no bad behavior on the part of the Arabs, who sat frightened, almost one on top of the other. But the soldiers were quick to teach us what they meant by ‘order. The ‘expert’ jumped up and began to…hit [the Arabs] across their blindfolded eyes and when he had finished, he stamped on all of them and then, in the end, laughed uproariously and with satisfaction at his heroism. We were shocked by this despicable act. I ask, does this not remind us exactly of the Nazi acts towards the Jews? And who is responsible for such acts of brutality committed time and time again by our soldiers?

In June 1949, Israeli forces rounded up 5000 accused infiltrators in Nazareth and imprisoned them in a barbed-wire compound. The episode disturbed then-Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, who worried for Israel’s international image. He complained to Ben Gurion [p. 149]:

The army did not allow anyone to remain at home. Among those incarcerated [behind the barbed wire] there were also pregnant women, babies, tired old people, and the sick. The army made no distinction between ordinary folk and notables, so that among those incarcerated was the Arab magistrate of Nazareth… All these people were held in the compound for several hours, in overcrowded conditions, and without food and water. There were outbursts of shouting and yelling by the prisoners and on one occasion the troops fired over the crowd’s heads… I heard from a Jewish member of Knesset who visited Nazareth last Saturday that there had been thefts of money from [some] empty houses [during the round-up].

On May 31 1950, the Israeli army forced 120 Palestinian “infiltrators” into two crowded trucks and drove them to Arava, a point on the Jordanian border, then forced them to march across the desert, firing shots over their heads to urge them on. According to Alec Kirkbride, the British minister in Amman, over 30 died of thirst and starvation during the forced march. The group had spent the past weeks in a makeshift detention center in Qatra that Kirkbride described as ” a concentration camp…run on Nazi lines.” One survivor, according to Morris, had his fingernails torn out.

John Glubb, the latter-day Lawrence of Arabia who had trained the Jordanian army, witnessed the scene with horror. “The Jews want them all to emigrate,” he wrote. “They therefore try to persuade them with rubber coshes and by tearing off their fingernails whenever they get the chance… I do not know whether this is the policy of the Israel cabinet, but it must certainly be known and winked at on a ministerial level… The brutality is too general to be due only to the sadism of ordinary soldiers.”

On June 11 1950, the journalist Philip Toynbee (son of historian Arnold Toynbee) published an account on the front page of the Observer based on his interviews with the survivors of the Arava incident. Toynbee, whom Morris noted was “sympathetic towards Israel,” implied similarities between Israel and Nazi Germany. He wrote [pp. 160-61]:

One member of the outcast race [the Palestinians], a heavy young man with the dull vacant look of Van der Lubbe [the Dutchman falsely arrested and executed by the Nazis for setting fire to the Reichstag in 1933], had been arrested while grazing a cow near the state frontier. The blue-uniformed [Israeli] police with almost incredible naivete…believed him to be a spy… and two of his fingernails were pulled out before they learned better. A young schoolmaster entered [Israel] illegally in order to be again with his family. He was…immediately arrested. One old mason, driven desperate by unemployment, tried to get out of [Israel] to escape. About a hundred of them collected from all parts of the State were taken from the prison camp, [and] herded into two motor trucks… The army blind[folded] them, barking at them and waving their rubber coshes.

On the long tedious journey through the burning countryside one of the victims would occasionally try to see but was hit over the face or back with a cosh…At last…they reached the remotest…part of the frontier. It was no eight o’clock in the evening and they had had nothing to eat and drink all day. A compassionate captain ordered two buckets of water to be brought, but as soon as his back was turned the soldiers spilled the water into the dust. The bandages were now taken from their eyes and they were told that three would be counted and anyone not running by then would be shot…As they ran Bren gunfire opened above and between them so that they were forced to split up into groups of three and four. This story, I know, is sickeningly familiar, and it is only the roles which have been changed. The outcast race is not the Jews and the state is not…Nazi Germany…

The frontier area is the terrible Wadi Araba…a desert valley far below sea level where only lizards and locusts can live, and where in the daytime the sand scorches the bare flesh. Since there was only moonlight when the prisoners were released, nearly all were hopelessly lost by the time the sun rose…The luckiest were picked up on the second day by friendly Bedouins… Others were wandering for four days, eating lizards and drinking stagnant water or their own urine… By the fourth day some 70 out of 1000 had been saved, but many had stories of others they had been forced to leave dying in the desert… I interviewed nine or ten of them separately…their stories coincided… I saw weals and sores caused by prison beating, scorched and swollen feet, and two almost nailless fingers of the young grazier… Nothing can excuse the inhuman brutality of their treatment.

Moshe Dayan, who was then the head of the army’s Southern Command, blamed the atrocities at Arava on “Turkish and Moroccan [Jewish] soldiers” who “lack moral fiber.” He added, “I hope that there will perhaps be another opportunity in the future to transfer these Arabs from the Land of Israel, and as long as such a possibility exists, we must do nothing to foreclose the option.”


When the Shoah met the Nakba (”One group lost all…while the other found everything they needed”)

from Max Blumenthal by Max

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Joseph Kuzkovsky's painting, "Led to the Slaughter -- Baba Yar," hangs in the Israeli KnessetJoseph Kuzkovsky’s painting, “Led to the Slaughter — Baba Yar,” hangs in a hallway in the Israeli Knesset

The Nakba briefly appears in Tom Segev’s magisterial history of Israel and the Holocaust, “The Seventh Million.”In a single (very long) paragraph, Segev tells the story of how survivors of a genocide were transformed by the Zionist enterprise into participants in a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Photo by Oren Ziv of the initial expulsion and destruction of Al Arakib, a Bedouin village in the Negev that the state of Israel has destroyed 21 times in the past yearPhoto by Oren Ziv of the initial expulsion and destruction of Al Arakib, a Bedouin village in the Negev that the state of Israel has destroyed 21 times in the past year

Segev writes on pp. 161-62: “Then the War of Independence broke out, and tens of thousands of homes were suddenly available. This was what Shaul Avigur called ‘the Arab miracle’: Hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled, and were expelled from their homes. Entire cities and hundreds of villages left empty were repopulated in short order with new immigrants. In April 1949 they numbered 100,000, most of them Holocaust survivors. The moment was a dramatic one in the war for Israel, and a frightfully banal one, too, focused as it was on the struggle over houses and furniture. Free people–Arabs–had gone into exile and become destitute refugees; destitute refugees–Jews–took the exiles’ places as a first step in their new lives as free people. One group lost all they had, while the other found everything they needed–tables, chairs, closets pots, pans, plates, sometimes clothes, family albums, books, radios, and pets. Most of the immigrants broke into the abandoned Arab houses without direction, without order, without permission. For several months the country was caught up in a frenzy of take-what-you-can, first-come, first-served. Afterwards, the authorities tried to halt the looting and take control of the allocation of houses, but in general they came too late. Immigrants also took possession of Arab stores and workshops, and some Arab neighborhoods soon looked like Jewish towns in prewar Europe, with tailors, shoemakers, dry goods merchants–all the traditional Jewish occupations.”

The apartheid state of Israel

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

I swear: if Israel does not enjoy US support, the state of Israel and its citizens would be treated like dirt everywhere around the world.  They would be treated just as they should be treated: like the representatives of a racist colonial regime on occupied lands.  “A European Championship qualifier match between the Israeli and Swedish handball teams on Sunday sparked protests urging a boycott of Israel on the grounds that it is an “apartheid state.””
This entry was posted in Apartheid, BDS, Human Rights, Israel, Military, Palestine, Zionism. Bookmark the permalink.

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