October 26, 2012

EDITOR: A new fascist government is awaiting Israel in the new year.

So now we can see the rationale for Netanyahu’s behaviour – by combining with the fascists he will be able to do as much as he ever wanted, have wars to his heart’s content, and continue and intensify the extreme right nature of his social policy, in order to counter the social protest ‘movement’. With an opposition leaders like Yachimowich and Livni, he has nothing whatsoever to worry about. It is the other Israelis who now need to worry and fear. And we are not even mentioning the Palestinians, who now know there is where they stand with Israel, and whoever is in the White House in the new year, also with the US. Nothing will bring Israel and the US to deal justly with Palestine, and the faster this is realised, the better. Until Palestinians realise this is the case, and act accordingly, there will be no improvement in the political situation in Palestine/Israel. Any more energy and dreams on the 2 state mirage will only play into the hands of the Biberman party.

In the piece below, Aluf Benn is writing about left-wing parties… what a joke that is. The Left-wing parties he has in mind are supporting the occupation and the coming war with Iran. When the ‘left’ is in the hands of such characters, the right is quite safe, and can quietly plan the destruction of the Middle East, and much besides. We are all advised to be frightened, to be very frightened, which is indeed Netanyahu’s forte – he likes making people fear him, and fear the future. Fear is his medium, his main and substantial tool of policy and propaganda, and he is good at using and manipulating it.

In the meantime, Zeev Sternhell, one of the last liberals of Israel, is still fantasizing about ‘sane Zionism’, though his article is actually proving such a creature did not exist…

With Lieberman at his side, Netanyahu’s war cabinet is on a one-way track to Iran: Haaretz

The merger between Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu obligates the left-wing and centrist parties to offer an ideological and practical alternative to the newly-formed war cabinet.

By  | Oct.26, 2012

PM Netanyahu and FM Lieberman announce unification

PM Netanyahu and FM Lieberman announce unification, October 25, 2012 Photo by Emil Salman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a war cabinet last night that will lead Israel into a confrontation with Iran.

He did not conceal his intentions; he announced that the top priority of his next government will be preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The merger with Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party will dissolve any domestic opposition to the war, since after the election, Netanyahu will be able to argue that he received a mandate from the people to act as he sees fit. Ministers and top defense officials will have a hard time arguing with him. From now on, only American opposition is liable to delay, or even prevent, a command to the Israel Air Force to take off for Iran.

In announcing the merger Thursday, Netanyahu has finally renounced his attempt to portray himself as a centrist, as a statesmanlike and moderate leader. The mask that he put on before the previous election has finally been tossed into the trash. With Lieberman as second in command and heir to the throne, and his supporters in prominent spots on the joint ticket, Likud will become a radical right-wing party, aggressive and xenophobic, that revels in Israel’s isolation and sees the Arab community as a domestic enemy and a danger to the state.

Netanyahu’s turnabout is reminiscent of the change that Likud founder Menachem Begin underwent after his reelection in 1981. Moshe Dayan and Ezer Weizman served in Begin’s first term, and led the negotiations that resulted in a peace accord with Egypt. The prominent figures in Begin’s second term were Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and Israel Defense Forces chief Refael Eitan, who worked with Begin to lead Israel into the disastrous war in Lebanon.

Netanyahu is gearing up for a similar turnabout. Ehud Barak, Dan Meridor and Benny Begin served in the outgoing cabinet; they pressed for a moderate foreign policy and showed the world a sane Israel. In Netanyahu’s next term, they will disappear, or be neutralized, and the prime minister will lose even the appearance of moderation in Likud. He will be pushed into an aggressive foreign policy and will no longer be able to say the foreign minister doesn’t represent the cabinet’s positions – the standard renunciation of Lieberman, whenever he publicly attacked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, or Turkey, or any other country that raised his ire.

The turnabout will also be evident in domestic policy. Meridor and Begin, along with Michael Eitan and Reuven Rivlin, fought the outgoing cabinet over the existence of a liberal democracy that maintains human rights and those of minorities, in the face of pressure exerted by Lieberman and Netanyahu and his associates (led by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman ) in favor of the establishment of a nationalist state with an all-powerful cabinet. Now the checks and balances have been crushed to bits. Netanyahu is merging Likud – a party that has been characterized by internal democratic workings, by primaries and by party institutions – with the puppet ticket of Lieberman the dictator.

The merger between Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu stemmed from weakness, but it also contains opportunity. It obligates the left-wing and centrist parties, primarily Labor, to offer an ideological and practical alternative to the war cabinet. In the face of “Likud Beiteinu,” Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich can no longer conceal her political positions. In placing Lieberman at the front, Netanyahu has given the left a rival to fight, a reason to gather together the liberal, sane, moderate camp in this country. And in the meantime, Barak, Meridor, Begin and Eitan must quit the government immediately, rather than be tempted by the crumbs Netanyahu will offer them in exchange for making the Israeli public and the rest of the world think this deal is kosher.

The dream has vanished, with the left’s help: Haaretz

The nationalistic and messianic settlement ideology has spread like an oil spill, the dream of a liberal and open society has vanished and the rug is fast being pulled from under the feet of sane Zionism.
By Zeev Sternhell     | Oct.26, 2012

The cloak that the right wing has donned in anticipation of the upcoming election bears the proud label with the brilliant and innovative “ruling” by Justice Edmond Levy. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu without a doubt knows that Levy’s learned conclusions will be treated in the rest of the world just like those rulings once handed down by village courts concerning evolution and the origin of man. He is also aware of the fact that if the government formally adopts the practical conclusions that stem from Levy’s “ruling,” Israel will be perceived as a country struck by fanaticism that deserves condemnation on every possible public stage.

However, according to the concepts of the right wing, annexation is legitimate not only because it is legal and in accordance with the wish of the creator, but also because it rests on the desire of the people. That is the modern side of nationalist fanaticism that grants ultimate justification to the occupation. On the one hand, in the present Knesset, which represents the sovereignty of the people, there is a clear majority in favor of annexation. On the other hand, the survey published on the front page of Haaretz earlier this week confirms what is already clear from our daily experience – that a majority of Israelis are not deterred by apartheid.

In the wake of a continuous ideological effort of an entire generation, the right wing has ultimately succeeded in endowing society with its values: If it were to annex the territories, it would not annex the human beings living there. The Arabs would remain with the status of a population that is no longer occupied because the territories – according to what Levy stated – are not occupied territories, and they will merely be the dust of humanity, without identity or rights.

Levy and those who appointed him have apparently never heard of human rights, because after all these are the rights that people invented and they are universal and applicable to all people in all parts of the world. The only rights the various segments of the right wing have heard of are historical rights that are relative and dependent on time, place and culture. The historic rights of the Jews, who own the Promised Land, erase the Palestinians’ right to be masters of their own lives.

It is reasonable to assume that the upcoming election will give final approval to the will of the Israeli citizen. The Jew – who himself was an oppressed refugee, or whose parents were, an object of hostility, hatred and extermination – has become a tyrant who is permitted to do whatever he wants.

This has happened because the left wing was not ideologically equipped to withstand the violent demands for sole ownership of the land. In the left, as well, too many people followed in the footsteps of those founding fathers of the Labor movement who shared that concept. Therefore, in all the years that have elapsed since 1967, the right also had sympathetic listeners among those on the left.

Many of those who noticed the dimensions of the disaster that was taking place kept quiet or were silenced, lest they be branded “enemies of the people.” The right wing stuck to its principles and sharpened its positions while the left wing, out of fear of being “cut off from the nation,” helped them, the people, to bang their heads against a brick wall. And now, faithful to this path, Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich too is snuggling up to Likud and, if the latest reports are correct, she is becoming a collaborator with Likud in all that is connected with the territories.

As a result of that conduct – which the second government under Yitzhak Rabin interrupted, but only for a short while – the positions of the right have become accepted among wide swaths of the center-left. Today they are considered as being identical to the national interest, or in common parlance, the “state.” In this manner, the nationalistic and messianic settlement ideology has spread like an oil spill, until it reached the point that we are currently at: The dream of a liberal and open society has vanished and the rug is fast being pulled from under the feet of sane Zionism.

The only question now is whether we have already reached the point of no return, or whether there still remains one minute before midnight.

October 24, 2012

EDITOR: …and after destroying Gaza in Winter 2009, they all lived in peace and prosperity for ever and ever…

The usual rhetoric has now taken over Israel – another war against Gaza, and against Hizbolah is required… Officer are giving interviews about preparation like there is no tomorrow (well, there isn’t, really… they always go back to yesterday) and all are happy that the conflict with Iran is on the way. One can be easily overwhelmed by such happiness.

At least 52 rockets and mortars hit south Israel, three wounded: Haaretz

Israel strikes Gaza in response to fire, killing one; Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted seven rockets heading toward Ashkelon.

By  | Oct.24, 2012

Rockets hit southern Israel

Rocket that landed in south Israel October 24, 2012 Photo by Elihayu Hershkovitz

Militants in the Gaza Strip fired at least 52 rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel early Wednesday, leaving three people wounded.

The rockets and morters struck areas in the Eshkol Regional Council, Sha’ar Hanegev and the Ashkelon coast. Three migrant workers were hurt, two of them them seriously and one lightly.

Several houses in the Eshkol Regional Council and Sha’ar Hanegev sustained damage in the attacks. Residents have been asked to remain in bomb shelters, and classes have been canceled in Eshkol and Sha’ar Hanegev.

The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted seven rockets heading toward Ashkelon.

The Israel Defense Forces opened fire on targets in Gaza in response to the rockets, killing a Hamas gunman. Two loud explosions shook Gaza City shortly after that attack, witnesses said, adding Israel had apparently targeted militants firing rockets. There were no reported casualties. Israel had no immediate comment.

Hamas officials also reported Israeli tanks firing into Gaza. A military spokesman confirmed that report.

Earlier Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces attacked a rocket-launching squad in southern Gaza, near the Rafah crossing, who had just fired at Israel, the IDF spokesman said in a statement.

The Israel Air Force carried out a strike on targets in the northern Gaza Strip late Tuesday, after eight mortar shells were fired into southern Israel several hours earlier.

IDF officials said that they carried out two strikes on terrorist cells planning to launch more rockets into Israel in northern Gaza on Tuesday night. Hamas said that three operatives were killed and another three wounded in the strikes.

Also Tuesday, an Israel Defense Forces officer was seriously wounded during a military operation near the security fence on Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip.

The army confirmed that the officer was wounded in an explosion. Though the cause of the blast is still unclear, the army suspects that the officer was wounded after a roadside bomb exploded in the area. In the past, roadside bombs have been used to target IDF forces patrolling the security fence.

Red Lines, by Carlos Latuff

Israeli poll finds majority in favour of ‘apartheid’ policies: Guardian

Two-thirds say Palestinians should not be allowed to vote if West Bank was annexed, while three in four favour segregated roads

Israeli soldiers

Israeli soldiers walk past a settlement in the West Bank. Almost six in 10 Israeli Jews said the country already practised apartheid. Photograph: Majdi Mohammed/AP

More than two-thirds of Israeli Jews say that 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank should be denied the right to vote if the area was annexed by Israel, in effect endorsing an apartheid state, according to an opinion poll reported in Haaretz.

Three out of four are in favour of segregated roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, and 58% believe Israel already practises apartheid against Palestinians, the poll found.

A third want Arab citizens within Israel to be banned from voting in elections to the country’s parliament. Almost six out of 10 say Jews should be given preference to Arabs in government jobs, 49% say Jewish citizens should be treated better than Arabs, 42% would not want to live in the same building as Arabs and the same number do not want their children going to school with Arabs.

A commentary by Gideon Levy, which accompanied the results of the poll, described the findings as disturbing. “Israelis themselves … are openly, shamelessly and guiltlessly defining themselves as nationalistic racists,” he wrote.

“It’s good to live in this country, most Israelis say, not despite its racism, but perhaps because of it. If such a survey were released about the attitude to Jews in a European state, Israel would have raised hell. When it comes to us, the rules don’t apply.”

The poll was conducted by a public opinion firm, Dialog, which interviewed 503 people out of an Israeli Jewish population of just under 6 million.

Talk of the possible annexation of the West Bank, or the main settlement blocks within it, has increased in recent months as expectations of a negotiated settlement to the conflict have sunk to an all-time low. Israel’s defence minister, Ehud Barak, recently argued for the annexation of land between the internationally recognised Green Line and the Israeli-built separation barrier.

The poll results will bolster the claim of Israel’s Arab citizens, who make up 20% of the population, that they suffer from racist discrimination. Almost half the poll’s respondents said Israeli Arabs should be transferred to the Palestinian Authority, and a third said that Arab towns in Israel should be moved to the PA’s jurisdiction in exchange for Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

According to the Haaretz report, the survey found that ultra-Orthodox Jews held the most extreme views about Arabs, with 70% supporting a legal ban on voting rights and 95% backing discrimination against Arabs in the workplace.

“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and security forces and work against anyone initiating terror against the state of Israel,” a written statement issued by the IDF said, adding that Israel holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible, it said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would deliver a strong response to the attack. “We will fight and we will hit them very, very hard,” Netanyahu said.

The death of the Israel-Palestine two-state solution brings fresh hope: Guardian CiF

With many Palestinians and Israelis coming round to the idea of a bi-national state, it’s possible to glimpse a peaceful future

A Jewish settler carries bars for a house he is building in the West Bank

‘It’s now impossible to remove half a million Jewish settlers and infrastructure from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.’ Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

We could argue over who killed it, but what’s the point? It’s increasingly obvious that a continued insistence on zombie peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians is deluded, because the two-state principleframing them is dead. To précis: it’s now impossible to remove half a million Jewish settlers and infrastructure from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem; the international community is opposed to settlements on paper but does nothing in practice, and after 19 years of failed two-state talks, the fault plainly lies in the plan, not the leadership.

This view has been expressed more vocally of late on both sides, from unlikely quarters and for different reasons. Prominent Israeli commentators have declared the end of the two-state period. The latest to do so was the mainstream, veteran journalist Nahum Barnea, who in August wrote in the mass-circulation daily Yediot Aharonot that the Oslo two-state peace process is dead. His view – “Everybody knows how this will end. There will be a bi-national [state],” he clarified on Israeli TV – is shared by others once supportive of the Oslo framework but now calling time on it. “I do not give up on the two-state solution on ideological grounds,” wrote Haaretz columnist Carlo Strenger last month. “I give up on it because it will not happen.”

Alongside that, we’re starting to see the practical consequences of those Jewish settlers who, surprisingly, started talking about one-state approaches two years ago. Last week, a Palestinian village in an Israel-controlled area of the West Bank was given building permits – the first time that’s happened during a 45-year Israeli occupation – thanks to petitions from their Jewish settler neighbours.

Meanwhile, rightwing Israeli politicians such as Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin and ex-defence minister Moshe Arens have been arguing for one state – and while their vision isn’t premised on immediate equal citizenship, they have taken the sting out of the subject.

Among Palestinians, support for a one-state approach is also growing. A poll last month showed that support for a one-state formulation premised on equal rights has inched up among both Palestinians and Israelis. In the West Bank, there are fresh peaks of disillusion with the Palestinian Authority – whose tenure was always supposed to be temporary, pending statehood, as set out in the Oslo Accords. Unelected, tainted by corruption, aid-dependent and viewed as enforcers of the Israeli occupation, the PA’s last stab at credibility was probably its statehood bid at the UN last year. But you could practically hear the hope hissing out of that media-inflated bid when, pressured by the US, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas switched to a hollowed-out version that was meaningless and destined to fail. Now a new generation of Palestinian activists, in part inspired by the Arab uprisings in the region, are bypassing territorial demands to focus on civil rights and freedoms.

In Israel, there are green shoots of debate around practical questions of how to share the space between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Weeks ago, Israeli analyst and blogger Dahlia Scheindlin – previously a two-state advocate – set out a list of key questions and suggestions, concerning issues such as national symbols, voting systems, refugees and land rights. Already, Israeli intellectuals are working out the idea that Jewish claims to the region – currently enforced with guns and walls – would need instead to be enshrined by law, alongside equally guaranteed Palestinian protections. In his new book, Beyond the Two State Solution, Israeli sociologist Yehouda Shenhav draws on a pre-Israeli, bi-national strain of Zionism that was historically drowned out but should now, he argues, be reclaimed.

Countering a common criticism of one-state proposals, these emerging formulations don’t insist that Palestinians and Israelis give up outdated attachments to nationalism – which is helpful, because it seems that neither side wants to, yet. A small group of Palestinians, Israelis and Jewish settlers, Eretz Yoshveyha – “land of its inhabitants” – set out “principles for a single spatial polity” last year, among them safeguarding the collective rights of the two nations. One settler tells me of a consensus emerging within nascent, one-state settler groups that, while national identity may be important, exclusive Jewish sovereignty is not.

It’s all germinal and there are problems, of course. Most polled Palestinians and Israelis still support a two-state framework, even while at the same time believing it doomed. Shared-space alternatives have grassroots momentum, but no leadership support. The left needs to ensure that Gaza remains part of the picture. And doubtless some West Bank settlers support one-stateism as a way of avoiding potential eviction, with scant regard for Palestinian rights. A recent poll suggests Israelis agree, with a majority supporting discriminatory policies if the West Bank were annexed. Tentative meetings between settlers and Palestinians could crash once they progress beyond relatively safe, community issues – a belief in the power of people sitting together over apolitical cups of tea was a theme tune of the peace process years, and look how that turned out.

But one idea is crystallising: that clinging to a two-state approach is, by default, a victory for the far-right claims of one state called “Greater Israel”, with a Jewish minority and two, ethnically coded tiers of rights and freedoms.

That’s the reality on the ground, cemented by Israel while paying lip-service to the idea of Palestinian statehood. Now the Israeli government wants to consolidate this even further, through approval of a report that declares all settlements legal under international law – enshrining the idea that the West Bank isn’t occupied. In this context it’s heartening that peace camps on both sides are starting to break a period of paralysis, discarding the spent husks of the Oslo phase to claw back fresh thinking space. It’s only when freed from the dead weight of a two-state paradigm that a just, dignified and peaceful solution has the chance to flourish.

In Jerusalem, Carter Derides Netanyahu and Obama: NY Times

Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times

Former President Jimmy Carter in Jerusalem on Monday. He is visiting on behalf of the Elders, a left-leaning human rights group.

Published: October 22, 2012

But at 88, Mr. Carter, trying to nudge his agenda without an official platform, no longer filters his words for politics or diplomacy. On Monday, he ramped up his years of criticism of Israeli policy by saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lacked the courage of his predecessors and that he had abandoned the two-state solution that has been the accepted framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. And just two weeks before the American election, he was almost as critical of President Obama, saying his administration has shirked the historical role played by the United States in the region.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that Netanyahu has decided the one-state option is the one he’s going to pursue,” Mr. Carter said, despite Mr. Netanyahu’s professed commitment to two states, notably in a 2009 speech at Bar Ilan University.

As for Mr. Obama, a fellow Democrat, the former president said, “The U.S. government policy the last two to three years has basically been a rapid withdrawal from any kind of controversy.”

He added: “Every president has been a very powerful factor here in advocating this two-state solution. That is now not apparent.”

Mr. Carter was here with the former prime minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and the former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, on behalf of the Elders, a group of 10 left-leaning éminences grises convened by Nelson Mandela in 2007 that aims to promote human rights and world peace by, according to its Web site, “speaking difficult truths and tackling taboos.” Mr. Carter and Ms. Brundtland met with President Shimon Peres ofIsrael on Sunday, and all three met with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority on Monday, consulting in between with like-minded Palestinian and Israeli intellectuals. On Wednesday, they are scheduled to see Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi.

A born-again Christian who served a single term as president from 1977 to 1981, Mr. Carter said he has been to Israel and the Palestinian territories about 30 times. He recalled swimming in the Dead Sea on his first visit, in 1973, and noted that there were then about 1,500 Jewish settlers in the West Bank, compared with the 350,000 living there now. And he has long been an outspoken critic of Israeli policy, particularly in his 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

But Mr. Carter said Monday that the situation is “worse now than it’s ever been for the Palestinians” because of the expanding settlements and lack of prospects for change. Describing himself as “grieved, disgusted and angry,” he said the two-state solution is “in death throes,” which he called “a tragic new development that the world is kind of ignoring.”

Surveys show Palestinians and Israelis overwhelmingly support a two-state solution, but intellectuals on both sides have increasingly been talking about a binational, single state. But models for such a state generally either imagine Israel losing its Jewish character, or ruling over a Palestinian majority in an undemocratic way. Mr. Carter called the one-state option “a catastrophe — not for the Palestinians, for Israel.”

As Ray Dolphin of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs pointed out Jewish homes in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and Hagit Ofran of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Project described Israel’s tourism development around the Old City, Mr. Carter seemed to have heard it all before. When Ms. Ofran said “there are more powers fighting” against Israel’s policies, he shook his head.

“The United States used to be major obstacle to Israeli expansion — now the United States is quite dormant,” he said. “I don’t really detect the forces. They’re not in Europe. They’re not in the United States. They’re not in the Arab world.”

On Sunday evening, he convened a dinner with Avraham Burg, a former member of Parliament now running a liberal research group; Mahdi Abdul Hadi, the head of a leading Palestinian research group; Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian official in charge of international relations; and Alon Liel, a former Israeli ambassador to Turkey and South Africa.

Mr. Burg said Mr. Carter dominated the three-hour conversation and displayed impeccable knowledge of the intricacies of the situation. Mr. Abdul Hadi said the former president urged the Palestinians to follow through on their bid for statehood at the United Nations — a move the Obama administration opposes — and to reconcile the rift between the Fatah faction, which dominates in the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

“This is important, to get the Israeli and Palestinian intelligentsia to think out loud and not to carry on the rhetoric and the slogans, to do something,” Mr. Abdul Hadi said. “Call it Carter’s wake-up call in Jerusalem. The question: Is he meeting Netanyahu?”

No. Mr. Carter said the Elders had in the past been turned down for meetings even with members of Mr. Netanyahu’s cabinet. When he last spoke with Mr. Netanyahu — Mr. Carter could not remember whether it was around the 1999 funeral of Jordan’s King Hussein or the 1995 memorial for Yitzhak Rabin, the assassinated Israeli prime minister — “he said I had betrayed Israel by giving Egypt the Sinai Desert,” recalled the former president, who arbitrated the 1979 Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Mr. Netanyahu, said the prime minister denied that such a conversation took place. Mr. Regev pointed to Mr. Netanyahu’s 2009 speech calling for two states and said he “has repeatedly expressed his readiness for direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks without any preconditions whatsoever in order to advance that goal.”

“Those who want to see peace advanced should be asking the Palestinian leadership why they continue to boycott the negotiations,” he said in a statement. “The prime minister has consistently initiated confidence-building measures,” he added, citing the reduction of roadblocks, the advancement of funds and the issuance of work permits, among other measures.

But Mr. Carter blamed Mr. Netanyahu for the stalemate.

“I’ve known every prime minister since Golda Meir,” he said, ticking off experiences with Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak. “All the previous prime ministers have been so courageous in their own way. In the past, all committed to the two states.

“It looks to me like a decision has been made,” he added, “to go to the one-state solution but to conceal it from the world.”

October 23, 2012

EDITOR: Apartheid Rules! It’s official…

didn’t we know this for years? Who exactly is surprised, apart from some liberal apologists of Zionism, like Jonathan Friedland? Apartheid has not just appeared in the last year or two, like some Israeli liberals would have you believe; it is part and parcel of Zionism, inseparable and impossible to overlook. Some people would like to suggest that it started with the 1967 occupation – that is tosh, of course. These people forget about the 1948 Nakba – how could one possibly explain Israeli moves during and after the war without the racist instinct of not just to create an exclusive Jewish state, but to actively and brutally exile and excise 750,000 Palestinians from their own country, never allowing them to return?

Zionism is a racist ideology, arguing that Jews cannot, and should not live amongst non-Jews. In that it is in agreement with anti-Semitism. That is why since the very early stages of Zionist colonisation of Palestine, the main goal was to rid the country of its indigenous population. Each generation of Zionists is doing its bit towards ridding Palestine of its people, and towards settling more and more of the country with exclusively Jewish habitations. What is this if not racist? What is this if not apartheid? To know Israel means apartheid, it is not necessary to conduct polls – it is enough to read the history books, to just look at what it has been doing since the beginning of the Zionist project.

That this movement is the result of centuries of anti-Semitism, of deep racism against Jews for two thousand years, does not make it right or proper. That you can understand or explain a social or political wrong does not annul it, and anti-Semitism is not fought or countered by the subjugation and oppression of another people, who was not even part of the original offence…

Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel: Haaretz

Survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews.

By  | Oct.23, 2012 | 1:32 AM |  3

A right-wing demonstrator holding a sign that reads 'The Land of Israel for the People of Israel'

A right-wing demonstrator holding a sign that reads ‘The Land of Israel for the People of Israel’ during a protest in 2009. Photo by Emil Salman / Jini

Most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formallhy annexes the West Bank.

A majority also explicitly favors discrimination against the state’s Arab citizens, a survey shows.

The survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews. The survey was commissioned by the New Israel Fund’s Yisraela Goldblum Fund and is based on a sample of 503 interviewees.

The questions were written by a group of academia-based peace and civil rights activists. Dialog is headed by Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs.

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 percent don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.

A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. A quarter – 24 percent – believe separate roads are “a good situation” and 50 percent believe they are “a necessary situation.”

Almost half – 47 percent – want part of Israel’s Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority and 36 percent support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the PA, in exchange for keeping some of the West Bank settlements.

Although the territories have not been annexed, most of the Jewish public (58 percent ) already believes Israel practices apartheid against Arabs. Only 31 percent think such a system is not in force here. Over a third (38 percent ) of the Jewish public wants Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them, while 48 percent object.

The survey distinguishes among the various communities in Israeli society – secular, observant, religious, ultra-Orthodox and former Soviet immigrants. The ultra-Orthodox, in contrast to those who described themselves as religious or observant, hold the most extreme positions against the Palestinians. An overwhelming majority (83 percent ) of Haredim are in favor of segregated roads and 71 percent are in favor of transfer.

The ultra-Orthodox are also the most anti-Arab group – 70 percent of them support legally barring Israeli Arabs from voting, 82 percent support preferential treatment from the state toward Jews, and 95 percent are in favor of discrimination against Arabs in admission to workplaces.

The group classifying itself as religious is the second most anti-Arab. New immigrants from former Soviet states are closer in their views of the Palestinians to secular Israelis, and are far less radical than the religious and Haredi groups. However, the number of people who answered “don’t know” in the “Russian” community was higher than in any other.

The Russians register the highest rate of satisfaction with life in Israel (77 percent ) and the secular Israelis the lowest – only 63 percent. On average, 69 percent of Israelis are satisfied with life in Israel.

Secular Israelis appear to be the least racist – 68 percent of them would not mind having Arab neighbors in their apartment building, 73 percent would not mind Arab students in their children’s class and 50 percent believe Arabs should not be discriminated against in admission to workplaces.

The survey indicates that a third to half of Jewish Israelis want to live in a state that practices formal, open discrimination against its Arab citizens. An even larger majority wants to live in an apartheid state if Israel annexes the territories.

The survey conductors say perhaps the term “apartheid” was not clear enough to some interviewees. However, the interviewees did not object strongly to describing Israel’s character as “apartheid” already today, without annexing the territories. Only 31 percent objected to calling Israel an “apartheid state” and said “there’s no apartheid at all.”

In contrast, 39 percent believe apartheid is practiced “in a few fields”; 19 percent believe “there’s apartheid in many fields” and 11 percent do not know.

The “Russians,” as the survey calls them, display the most objection to classifying their new country as an apartheid state. A third of them – 35 percent – believe Israel practices no apartheid at all, compared to 28 percent of the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities, 27 percent of the religious and 30 percent of the observant Jews who hold that view. Altogether, 58 percent of all the groups believe Israel practices apartheid “in a few fields” or “in many fields,” while 11 percent don’t know.

Finally, the interviewees were asked whether “a famous American author [who] is boycotting Israel, claiming it practices apartheid” should be boycotted or invited to Israel. About half (48 percent ) said she should be invited to Israel, 28 percent suggest no response and only 15 percent call to boycott her.

EDITOR: It is going to get much worse!

In what for me was the most depressing of the three incredible debates, last night’s meeting of minds over Israel was the sign for much more trouble in the very near future. For those Palestinians in PA, who collaborate with Israel and its continues occupation, last night was the death knell, further proof if proof was needed, that they have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to expect from either Obama’s second term, or Mit Romney’s first.

It was not just the sheer disgust which I felt at Obama’s Zionist propaganda use of the Holocaust to justify both Israel’s and his own aggression. It was in every line of the debate – the sheer disregard for the other, the non-American, was infusing every moment of this vile exchange by two males of the capitalist world order. This inability to think, to perceive, to sense interests different from your own, or rather, those you believe to be your own, is not only logically morally wrong – it is going to hasten the decline of the most powerful nation on earth, a nation which already started its avalanche; the problem is going to be the massive price tag of American decline – it will bring capitalism down with it, as it already started to do. The order of things is changing, but the smartest minds in America are unable to see it, or care about it. What seems to be on the cards for the next decade or two, is a new less-than-cold war, where the USA is fighting actively against the emerging powers of the BRIC and other countries, but from an increasingly isolationist and weakened position. This augers badly for all of us – decades of instability, racism, bigotry and more aggressive capitalism – a Darwinist struggle over the crumbs.

For Palestinians, this means that all bets are off, and that the posturing about a ‘peace process’ (‘piss-making process’ as dubbed by Moshe Dayan) and the ‘;two-state solution’ are all but dead and buried. Neither Romney nor Obama, if elected, are going to even bother to pretend. Israel never pretended that much, and now will not have to do even that. For my mind, this means that the only solution to the conflict is clearly the one democratic state, which, in the prevailing situation politically, becomes itself impossible to foresee, as both Israel and the US work harder to extend colonisation.

Does that mean that all is lost? Not at all. Few years back, the Arab Spring, complex and wounding as it has become, was not something we could ever foresee. Political developments are never linear, simple, and predictable, because none of us can accurately calculate the breaking point of any population – the point at which the revolt starts. With no future in sight, Palestinians may go back to taking their fate in their own hands.

Obama and Romney’s last debate: Clash over foreign policy, but both vow to stand by Israel: Haaretz

CNN poll among undecided voters determines Obama won the debate. 48 percent of those polled said the president won the debate, while 40 percent said that it was Romney that had the upper hand.

By  and Reuters | Oct.23, 2012 | 4:52 AM |  10

US President Barack Obama (R) and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney participate

US President Barack Obama (R) and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney participate in the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, October 22, 2012. Photo by AFP

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney clashed over U.S. military strength and how to deal with crises in the Middle East in a third and final debate on Monday as polls showed them in deadlock two weeks before the Nov. 6 election. Israel was mentioned no less than 34 times during the debate.

CNN poll amoung undecided voters determines Obama won the debate. 48 percent of those polled said the president won the debate, while 40 percent said that it was Romney that had the uper hand.

Debate moderator Bob Schieffer asked the candidates whether they would stand by Israel if attacked by Iran. “I will stand with Israel if they are attacked. And this is the reason why, working with Israel, we have created the strongest military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries in history,” President Obama said.

Romney seemed to agree “When I’m President of the United States, we will stand with Israel. And if Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily.”

Iran’s nuclear program also featured prominently in the debate, with Obama saying “As long as I’m president of the United States Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.”

Obama later in the debate lauded his policy on Iran saying “We’ve put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions ever,” then went on to attack Romney: “While we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing business with the Iranian oil sector.”

Obama discussed his trip to Israel while he first ran for president during the last elections, contrasting it with Romney. “When I was a candidate for office,” Obama said, “first trip I took was to visit our troops. And when I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn’t take donors. I didn’t attend fundraisers. I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable.”

President Obama criticized the Republican on his proposals on the Middle East, mocking his calls for more ships in the U.S. military and saying Romney wants to bring the United States back to a long-abandoned Cold War stance.

Obama had a biting response when Romney said he would increase the number of ships built by the U.S. Navy, saying the United States currently has 285 vessels, but should have 300.

“Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets,” said Obama.

Obama also said that the Republican presidential candidate, by once declaring Russia a “geopolitical foe” of the U.S., was seeking to turn back the clock.

“The Cold War has been over for 20 years,” Obama said, turning to Romney as they sat at a table before moderator Bob Schieffer. “When it comes to your foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s.”

Romney, wanting to make no mistakes that could blunt his recent surge in the polls, said Obama’s policies toward the Middle East and North Africa were not stopping a resurgence of the threat from al Qaeda in the region.

“Attacking me is not an agenda,” said Romney. “Attacking me is not how we deal with the challenges of the Middle East.”

The two candidates agreed that the United States should defend Israel if Iran attacked the key U.S. ally in the Middle East, but Romney said he would tighten sanctions that are already affecting the Iranian economy.

The Republican, whose central theme throughout the campaign has been a promise to rebuild the weak U.S. economy, repeatedly turned the discussion back to economic matters, saying U.S. national security depended on a strong economy.

But Obama fired back that Romney’s economic plan was based on tax cuts that had not had their desired effect in the past. Romney would not be able to balance the budget and increase military spending with such a plan, he said.

“The math simply does not add up,” he said.

‘Backbone’ on Russia

On Russia, Romney criticized Obama for an open-microphone comment he made to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more “flexibility” after America’s election.

Instead of showing Russian President Vladimir Putin more flexibility, Romney said, “I’ll give him more backbone.”

The two candidates were tied at 46 percent each in the Reuters/Ipsos online daily tracking poll. Other surveys show a similar picture.

Obama came to Boca Raton with the advantage of having led U.S. national security and foreign affairs for the past 3 1/2 years. He gets credit for ending the Iraq war and the killing of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in 2011.

But Romney had many opportunities to steer the conversation back toward the weak U.S. economy, a topic on which voters see him as more credible.

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, greets Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney following the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, October 22, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, greets Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney following the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, October 22, 2012.

October 22, 2012

EDITOR: On the eve of elections, Obama proves his weakness

It is clear that Romney’s election for president may bring about a global crisis within a short time, where political, military and financial fault lines will come to play in the open. But thinking about the last four years one is less than impressed with Obama’s performance. Thus the voting for Obama becomes a voting against Romney – a vote against danger rather than a vote f0or hope, as was the original vote for Obama in 2007.

Obama entered his presidency with the Cairo speech, and he may leave it with a picture of weakness and confusion – he supported Mubarak to the end, as well as the rump of Libyan rebels who have killed Ghaddafi, but are unable to build a government which is democratic or genuine. He supported the Gulf governments against their citizens, and is completely confused by events in Syria. More than ever, the US position vis Palestine is compromised by Israeli interests – Obama can take credit for establishing support for the settlements, even more than could Dubya – this is the record he takes to the election and to history – the president who started his renure with a Nobel Peace prize, and ended with more conflict than ever before.

Israel’s cranes reprove Barack Obama’s failure to pursue two-state solution: Guardian

In the West Bank’s Jewish settlements, ‘facts on the ground’ entrench divisions between Israel and the Palestinians

A construction site in the Jewish settlement of Gilo, in East Jerusalem

A construction site in the Jewish settlement of Gilo, in East Jerusalem, where expansion will increase separation of Palestinian areas of the city from the West Bank. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

At the eastern tip of the Israeli settlement of Ariel, cranes and earth-movers are at work on the college campus, which stretches across a hill overlooking the villages and valleys of the West Bank. Eleven miles from the internationally recognised Green Line separating Israel from thePalestinian Territories, construction is under way of buildings to accommodate a projected growth from 13,000 to 20,000 students over the next 10 years.

In September, the college passed a significant milestone when the Israeli cabinet voted to upgrade the college to a university as a matter of “national importance”. Backing the move, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the cabinet that Ariel was “an inseparable part of Israel” and would remain so in the future.

The decision, concerning a settlement which is illegal under international law and whose future is a key determinant of a viable Palestinian state and the peaceful resolution of a decades-old conflict, was not universally acclaimed. Urging Israel to reconsider, British foreign secretary William Hague said it would “deepen the presence of the settlements in the Palestinian territories and will create another obstacle to peace”.

Deeper inside the West Bank, a few miles east of Ariel, construction workers are also busy. Earlier this year, Israel approved plans for 600 homes in the settlement of Shiloh and its outpost, Shvut Rachel. “This community has doubled in size in 20 years, and there is no question that there will be further growth. The demand for homes is much greater than supply,” said Shiloh’s former mayor, David Rubin.

Further south, Israel a year ago announced plans for a settlement across the Green Line close to Jerusalem. The 2,600 homes of Givat Hamatos, plus expansion of neighbouring Gilo and Har Homa, will increase the separation of Palestinian areas of the city from the West Bank, reducing the likelihood of East Jerusalem becoming the capital of a future Palestinian state.

These three places illustrate a pattern of settlement growth that mocksBarack Obama‘s demand, issued early in his presidency, that Israel should halt expansion as an impediment to peace.

Entrenchment of “facts on the ground” has led a growing number of people, on both sides of the conflict, to declare that creating a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli state to resolve the conflict is now impossible. The “two-state solution”, they say, is dead.

In June 2009, less than six months into his presidency, Obama addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his keynote speech on the Middle East in Cairo. Restating US commitment to a two-state model, he said the Palestinians must abandon violence, and develop their capacity to govern. By most reckoning, the Ramallah leadership has ticked both boxes.

On the Israeli side, Obama said the US did not accept the legitimacy of Jewish settlements. “It is time for these settlements to stop,” he said bluntly.

There followed protracted negotiations between the US and Israeli governments which resulted, in November 2009, in Netanyahu reluctantly acceding to a temporary construction freeze in West Bank settlements. East Jerusalem was exempt, with the completion of any buildings whose foundations were already laid. In anticipation of the moratorium, the number of construction starts rose significantly in the run-up to November.

Critics denounced the freeze as a farce, but the settlers were incensed and relations between Netanyahu and Obama nosedived. Relations between the two allies were “in the state of a tectonic rift in which continents are drifting apart,” Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the US, memorably said in mid-2010. The freeze ended in September 2010, despite US efforts to secure an extension. Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians swiftly broke down as settlement construction resumed, since when the “peace process” has been in a catatonic state.

Obama was heavily criticised for his early focus on settlements. But, according to one observer, “the problem was not Obama’s identification of the settlement issue as a critical obstacle to the resumption of talks and, beyond that, to the two-state model itself – it was his failure to stick with it in the face of Netanyahu’s intransigence”.

In the past two years, US officials have issued routine condemnation of settlement expansion plans but real pressure from Washington has eased.n June, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank had risen by 15,000 over the previous 12 months, to a record 350,000. Most of the growth was in small hardline settlements deep inside the West Bank. An additional 200,000 Jews live in settlements in East Jerusalem. In the New York Times, s ettlers’ leader Dani Dayon pronounced the Jewish presence across the Green Line “an irreversible fact”. Predicting the numbers in Jewish colonies in the West Bank would top 400,000 by 2014, he wrote: “Trying to stop settlement expansion is futile.” The international community should relinquish its “vain attempts to attain the unattainable two-state solution”.

He said: “Our presence here has now passed a point of non-return. It’s irrevocable, a fait accompli.” The status quo, while not ideal, was “immeasurably better than any feasible alternative”.

In the face of the “facts on the ground”, others are proposing alternative courses of action. Some on the Israeli right have called for annexation of the West Bank. The Palestinian population can either accept living under Israeli rule with limited rights or leave, they say. Critics say this would be akin to apartheid and make Israel a pariah state.

Others have called for a more modest, but unilateral, annexation of the 9.4% of the West Bank which will lie between the Green Line and Israel’s separation barrier when it is complete. Defence minister Ehud Barak recently proposed that settlers outside the three main blocs – Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel – should be evacuated or choose to live under Palestinian rule. The barrier would become what its critics have always charged – Israel’s new border. “It would be best to reach agreement with the Palestinians but, barring that, practical steps must be taken to begin the separation,” he said in a newspaper interview.

Blue White Future, a relatively new organisation, also argues for “constructive unilateralism”, by which it means Israel withdrawing to the security barrier, with voluntary evacuation and compensation for those in settlements beyond. “Once Israel announces it has no sovereignty claims east of the fence, most [settlers] will move westwards,” said Orni Petruschka, co-chairman.

Some have even suggested the “cantonisation” of the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority would be given autonomy in five cantons around the main West Bank cities of Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron, with Israeli sovereignty over the rest of the territory.

There are also growing Palestinian voices declaring the end of the two-state model. “The two-state solution died long ago, with Israel’s refusal to confront the settlement movement,” said Palestinian analyst Diana Butto. “Unless this colonial project is addressed completely, there cannot be two states, only apartheid.” The battle now, she said, was for universal rights within the one state that is in de facto existence.

Among those still fighting for a two-state model are European diplomats in Jerusalem who have identified a handful of West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements as “game changers”. Significant growth in these places would signal crossing a red line, they say. “There’s a year, or 18 months maximum, before it’s over,” said one.

Molad, a young leftist Israeli thinktank, says it is fighting an “irreversibility thesis”. According to director Avner Inbar, “talk of the end of the two-state solution is irresponsible. The two-state solution is not only the best framework, it’s the only one that will work. None of the advocates of one state talk of the likely consequences. It would result in dramatic and possibly catastrophic violence.”

Barring the unexpected, the most likely course is continuation of the status quo – Netanyahu’s preferred option and so, it seems, Republican candidate Mitt Romney‘s, judging by a recently leaked video. But as many analysts and diplomats point out, the “status quo” in practice means the entrenchment and growth of settlements.

A reinvigorated second-term Obama presidency could change that. In an interview with ABC in July, the president was asked if there was anything he believed he had failed at, that “has you desperate to get that second term to atone for?” There were “a bunch of things that we didn’t get done that I think were important,” replied Obama. On foreign policy, he said, “I have not been able to move the peace process forwards in the Middle East in the way I wanted”.

Faith, as well as time, has been lost. “Obama has learned this is not an issue that will win him any votes. I am not someone who believes a second-term president will act any differently that he did in his first term,” said Butto.

According to Dayon, “Obama has learned the limitation of his powers to make change here. President Obama of 2012 will not be the same as President Obama of 2008 because he now realises he cannot deliver.”

Back in Ariel, students are hurrying between classes at the start of term. At the Moskowitz School of Communications, named after the US bingo magnate Irving Moskowitz, who has spent millions of dollars funding the settlement enterprise in the West Bank, 24-year-old Adi said she was thrilled at the institution’s new university classification. “It will give graduates better status and better job prospects. Yes, of course, we are situated in the middle of a conflict, but a city like Ariel is very valuable to Israel. We cannot give it up.”

Down the road in Shiloh, David Rubin dismissed the idea of evacuating any settlements. “We’re supposed to hand over our heartland? This is my country, where my roots are, where my history is, where my destiny is, where the Jewish people were born, exiled from and returned to. This community will never be destroyed. There will never be a deal with the Palestinians.”

Editor: With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Uri Avnery, the veteran Israeli peace nationalist, is barking again against the single state, which he sees as the iceberg in the course of the Israeli titanic… So the saving grace for the Jewish apartheid state is the Two State Solution. At least we know where he stands on apartheid…

A rebellion on the Titanic: Haaretz

If we want to avoid the looming iceberg of destruction, we must change the way we perceive the problem of our existence. The word “peace” has become a four-letter word.
By Uri Avnery     | Oct.22, 2012

The next elections will determine who rules Israel for the next four years, until 2017.

Those will be crucial years – perhaps the most crucial in the country’s history. If things stay as they are until then, change may no longer be possible by 2018. The prediction of Israeli political scientist Meron Benvenisti, that the situation is irreversible, will be realized.

We know that The Conflict, or as we call it, The Situation, is not a situation at all. It is a dynamic process of annexing the West Bank by means of settlements. It inevitably leads to a nightmare known as “the one-state solution.” That single state, between the sea and the river, will be an Apartheid state. The Jews (who will soon be a minority in that single state) will rule over the Arabs (who will soon be the majority there). Life in that state will be hell for rulers and ruled alike.

Sooner or later, the Jews will have no choice but to give the Arabs citizenship rights. The State of Israel will become the State of Palestine. The Jews will be a minority in an Arab country. Many of them will emigrate and scatter throughout the world. One way or another, 130 years of the Zionist enterprise will turn into a historical episode like its predecessor, the Crusader state, which lasted for 200 years. All this is obvious. You don’t need any special intelligence to see it.

There is only one way to prevent this scenario from unfolding: the scorned solution of “two states for two peoples.” In short: peace. This is the major subject – almost the only subject – of our national existence. And not one of the big political parties is talking about it. Heaven forbid they should utter its name.

The State of Israel is like the Titanic, that splendid vessel that was called unsinkable. Even when the iceberg has been spotted on the horizon, there are heated arguments unfolding on deck. And what are they about? The crew wants to hold democratic elections for a new captain. The incumbent captain says he is the only one who can steer the ship safely to port. To prove his point, he reminds those on deck that he has never once run the ship aground.

The mechanics are griping about the difficulties of their work environment and demanding higher pay. Some of the passengers chime in and say their cabins are not comfortable enough and call for immediate renovations. Others demand social justice, noting that the gap in conditions between first class and steerage is just too wide.

There is a story of an aristocratic Englishwoman, drunk as a skunk, who stood of the deck with a glass of whiskey in her hand, muttering, “I asked for some ice, but this is ridiculous!”

Now for the moral. To save the State of Israel – literally – a change of government is not enough. We must change the way we perceive the problem of our existence.

The word “peace” has become a four-letter word. All the large and medium-size parties, on the right and on the left, are running away from it as they would run from a fire. It is simply never mentioned. True, there is the Meretz party, but it is small and isolated. There is Hadash, but it is boycotted. And it never occurs to anyone that the “Arab parties” could ever be part of any coalition.

Last year’s social-justice protest, which was a blessing, bears a great deal of influence on the character of the elections. But the demand for social justice closed all the doors and windows to a discussion of the state’s most fundamental problem.

This shifts the blessing into a curse.

The right wing found a suitable Zionist solution to the problem by simply ignoring it. The right wing rules the country and will keep on ruling it as long as no firm demand from the public compels it to talk about a clear solution. This camp (the Likud, the Haredi and religious factions, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party, the settlers and fascists of various sorts) sings the praises of the Jewish state even as it steers us forward toward destruction.

But the factions running around on the “center-left,” with or without What’s-his-name, with or without new factions, with or without unity, are not challenging the right wing on the matter that will determine our existence. For all practical purposes, they have joined the right wing’s march toward the abyss.

If this ship does not change course, it will hit the iceberg. And then we all know what will happen next.

EU support for Israeli crimes makes it unworthy of Nobel Peace Prize: The Electronic Intifada

15 October 2012

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman at an EU press conference

(Ye Pingfan / Xinhua/Zumapress)

The European Union is not “merely hypocritical” in its relationship with Israel, it is “complicit in crimes against the Palestinian people.” This is one of the main conclusions of David Cronin’s compellingly-argued book Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation.

In fact, the European Union is steadily upgrading its relations with Israel while overwhelming, and growing, public majorities across Europe’s largest nations view Israel “mostly negatively.” According to a recent BBC GlobeScan poll, Israel is on a par with North Korea as the third worst perceived country in the world (“Views of Europe slide sharply in global poll, while views of China improve,” GlobeScan, 10 May).

With the entrenchment of its occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinians, its fanatic-right government’s hubristic and bellicose policies, and the impressive growth of the non-violent Palestinian-led, global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, Israel is gradually losing hearts and minds across the world and becoming the world pariah, as South Africa once was, during apartheid.

Desmond Tutu, the South African archbishop, is particularly eloquent in accusing Israel of the crime of apartheid (“Tutu condemns Israeli ‘apartheid’,” BBC News, 29 April 2002). The Russell Tribunal on Palestine — at its 2011 Cape Town session — determined that Israel is practicing apartheid against the entire Palestinian people, according to the definition of apartheid adopted by the UN in 1973 (“Findings of the South African session,” Russell Tribunal on Palestine, 5-7 November 2011 [PDF]).

Worse than South Africa

South African Christian leaders who played a decisive role in fighting apartheid have condemned Israel’s apartheid as “even worse than South African apartheid” (“An Easter message from South Africa to Palestine,” Oikumene, 31 March 2010). And the publisher of Haaretz, an influential Israeli daily, has recently described a fanatic Israeli ideology of “territorial seizure and apartheid” (“The necessary elimination of Israeli democracy,” 25 November 2011).

Increasingly, international jurists, human rights organizations and activists, as well as international public opinion are recognizing Israel’s unique regime of oppression against the Palestinians as encompassing the crime of apartheid, in addition to occupation, ethnic cleansing and settler colonialism.

With its continued siege of Gaza; its untamed construction of illegal colonies and anapartheid wall in the occupied West Bank, especially in and around Jerusalem; its “strategy of Judaization” in Jerusalem, the Galilee, the Jordan Valley and the Naqab (Negev); its adoption of new racist laws and its denial of the UN-stipulated right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes from which they were ethnically cleansed during the Nakba, Israel has embarked on a more belligerent and violent phase in its attempt to extinguish the question of Palestine through literally “disappearing” the Palestinians, as Edward Said would say.

Prison camp

The most criminal and pressing aspect of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians is without doubt its Western and Egyptian-backed hermetic siege of the occupied Gaza Strip, which even British Prime Minister David Cameron has described as a “prison camp” (“David Cameron: Israeli blockade has turned Gaza Strip into a ‘prison camp’,”The Guardian, 27 July 2010). The systematic Israeli targeting of Gaza’s water and sanitation facilities has compounded an already “severe and protracted denial of human dignity,” according to Maxwell Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, causing “a steep decline in standards of living for the [Palestinians] of Gaza, characterized by erosion of livelihoods, destruction and degradation of basic structure, and a marked downturn in the delivery and quality of vital services in health, water and sanitation” (“Humanitarian organizations deeply concerned about the ongoing water and sanitation crisis in Gaza,” Association of International Development Agencies, 3 September 2009).

A 2009 report by Amnesty International affirmed that, “90–95 percent of the water supply [in Gaza] is contaminated and unfit for human consumption” (“Troubled waters: Palestinians denied fair access to water,” October 2009 [PDF]).

The report cites an earlier study by the UN Environmental Programme which correlates the widespread contamination of Gaza’s water resources to the rise in nitrate levels in the groundwater “far above the WHO [World Health Organization] accepted guideline,” inducing a potentially lethal blood disorder in young children and newborns called methemoglobinaemia, or the “blue babies” phenomenon.

Some of the detected symptoms of this disease in Gaza infants include “blueness around the mouth, hands and feet,” “episodes of diarrhea and vomiting,” and “loss of consciousness.” “Convulsions and death can occur” at higher levels of nitrate contamination, the report concludes (“Environmental assessment of the Gaza Strip following the escalation of hostilities in December 2008-January 2009,” September 2009 [PDF].)

At the conclusion of Israel’s war of aggression on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009, which led to more than 1,400 deaths, mostly civilians, EU leaders dashed to occupied Jerusalem to celebrate with Israel’s then prime minister Ehud Olmert, promising to support Israel in fighting “terror” (“World leaders push for lasting truce in Gaza,” The New York Times, 18 January 2009).

So, when the European Union, which is still actively colluding to maintain the Gaza siege, launches a relatively expensive public relations campaign all over Gaza — and the West Bank — with its main slogan, “Your Priorities are ours,” without a hint of sarcasm, it seems to be sending the Palestinians under occupation two blunt messages: first, we could not care less about your loss of human lives, freedoms and dignity, and second, “We set the priorities, you adopt them as yours, or else we cut funding” (“The priorities of the European Union are not ours,” MWC News, 18 July 2011).

Atoning for the Holocaust?

This leads most sober Palestinians to conclude that the Holocaust-guilt-ridden European establishment wishes to wash its hands of its genocide against European Jews, among others, by imposing on the Palestinian people an unjust “peaceful” settlement of this essentially colonial conflict that would leave Israel with almost full control over the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and over the Palestinians’ economy, most fertile lands, water aquifers, borders and their very destiny.

Most crucially, such a funder-driven, unjust political settlement would perpetuate Israel’s denial of the basic rights of the great majority of the Palestinian people, those in exile as well as in Israel. Foremost among those rights is the inalienable right to participate in exercising self determination. It has been declared by the UN as a prerequisite for any nation under colonial rule to enjoy the full set of rights, political, cultural, economic and other fundamental rights.

Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular were effectively forced to pay the price for a genocidal crime that they had no role in, and are now being bribed to accept injustice as fate, so that this dark chapter in Western history can finally reach closure.

But Europe’s collusion with Israel is too intricate to reduce to sheer Holocaust guilt. Economic interest, US influence, Islamophobia, the prevalence of a security mentality and the corresponding growth of the military-security industry, are all very relevant factors, too, in understanding this relationship.

Ever coveting artificially low-priced energy resources and open access to a large, under-developed, structurally dependent market, various Western powers, after all, were the ones who played the most important role in establishing and nourishing Israel as a colonial outpost in the region. Today, the EU’s governments and institutions continue to support Israel economically, diplomatically, academically and politically to maintain its domination and their interests.

A translated version of this article will be published as a preface to the forthcoming French-language edition of David Cronin’s book Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation.

Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian human rights activist. He is a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israeli (PACBI).

October 21, 2012

EDITOR: Pirates of the Med Part 2

Read below evidence of the Israelis who were kidnapped in international water by the Pirates of the Israel Navy.

‘Estelle’ activist: We were tasered: YNet

Pro-Palestinian activist accused INF soldiers of using stun guns while seizing Gaza-bound vessel

Roee Idan

Latest Update: 10.21.12, 15:36 / Israel News

Activists who were detained aboard the Estelle, a Gaza-bound ship that was seized but the Israel Navy on Saturday, accused the soldiers of using taser guns to overpower them, Ynet learned Sunday.

Pro-Palestinian Israeli activist Yonatan Shapira, who was detained by the military, told his mother, Dr. Zvia Shapira, that soldiers used stun guns to subdue the activists.

The IDF said Saturday that the vessel was seized without the use of force.

Shapira called his mother from the Ashdod Police station, where he and Israeli activists Elik Yehezkel and Reut Mor were taken after they were detained. He noted that they were all unharmed.


Zvia Shapira reportedly told her son that she was outside the police station, with the other detainees’ friends and families, and that they were holding a support rally.

She then recounted his story for the others: “Yonatan said that they were tasered in their legs and arms… It’s horrible, but he sounds calm.”

Earlier in the day, Shapira’s mother said she was proud of him, saying he was “a true Israeli patriot.”

“I wish more Israelis would do what he does. He follows his heart and his values… he doesn’t hate Israel. He’s not a traitor. He’s a bigger patriot than anyone else and he’s much braver than a lot of people.

“He knows that the Israeli government is doing something unthinkable with this blockade and that we won’t be able to end the conflict like that.”

The Estelle (Photo: EPA)

Dr. Shapira also questioned the IDF‘s version of the events, which said no humanitarian aid was found aboard the Estelle.

“If that’s what they say, they should show us the film so we can see for ourselves that there wasn’t any (humanitarian) equipment on the ship. I believe Yonatan, who told me that there were medicines and toys.”

As for the sail being a move meant to provoke an Israeli response, she said: “This was a provocation meant to raise awareness. They assumed they wouldn’t be able to get to Gaza. As long as it’s smart provocation – a nonviolent one – I’m proud of it.”

The Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court remanded the three for three additional days.

Prior to the arraignment, Shapira said: “Five miles from Israel’s international (maritime) border, there were five warships, a helicopter, 10 smaller boats and dozens of soldiers who came to stopped us, boarded the ship and took control of 30 activists. Elik was tasered repeatedly.”

The police asked the court to hold a closed-door arraignment, citing national security, but Judge Orit Hadad denied the request.

The three, who are suspected of sedition, aiding and abetting the enemy and violating a military directive, were defined by Hadad as “peace activists” – and promptly remanded to police custody.

The three’s attorney said that they “did not act violently so these accusations are baseless and overstated. This was a legitimate act of protest and the State is trying to shut them up.”

October 20, 2012


EDITOR: The Pirates of the Med strike again…

And nobody seems to care. When my parents used to tell me, as a young child, about the anti-Semitic attacks they suffered in Poland, even before the Holocaust, I always wondered: ‘Why did people not stop the attackers?”… we know now – most people just do not care a fig, especially Americans, Europeans, not to mention Israelis. Once a community was marked Homo Sacer (see Agamben) their blood is free, and anyone may do to them what they will. The Palestinians are not just the Jews of the Jews, but the real Jews of postmodernity. How depressing this story of the courage of small groups in the face of the state of inhumanity, Israel.

And yet, the boats keep coming, from different parts of the world. People understand the raw force, the brutal might of Israel, they remember the vicious attack on Mavi Marmara and the murder in cold blood of nine protesters, and despite all this, their commitment to justice in Palestine makes them take those enormous risks, face dangers and abuse, in order to prove that the world knows, listens, and remembers.

Gaza-bound ship Estelle intercepted by Israeli forces: Guardian

Israeli marines board the Estelle and direct it to port of Ashdod as 30 activists on board attempt to break Gaza blockade

Israeli forces intercepted the Estelle as it tried to break the Gaza blockade

The Estelle set sail from Naples two weeks ago intending to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli forces have intercepted a boat carrying pro-Palestinian activists seeking to breach the naval blockade on Gaza.

A military spokeswoman said no one was hurt when marines boarded the Estelle, which was rerouted to Israel‘s southern Mediterranean port of Ashdod.

A campaigner said the boat had “come under attack” after being pursued by Israeli naval vessels.

Activists said they lost contact with the Swedish-owned, Finnish-flagged boat early on Saturday.

“The Estelle is now under attack. I have just had a message from them by phone. Some time ago, they said that they had military ships following them,” Victoria Strand, a Stockholm-based spokeswoman for the Ship to Gaza Sweden campaign, told Agence France Presse (AFP).

She added that it was unclear what the activists onboard meant when they said they had been attacked.

The Estelle is carrying 30 activists from Europe, Canada and Israel, humanitarian cargo such as cement, and goodwill items such as children’s books.

Israeli army radio reported that its naval forces had ordered the Estelle to halt its course.

The Estelle is the latest in a series of vessels manned by activist that have tried to challenged Israel’s blockade on Gaza, imposed after Hamas seized power in 2007.

It left the Italian port of Naples on 7 October with about 20 people from eight countries on board.

Israel maintains a tight naval blockade of Gaza, which it maintains is necessary to prevent arms smuggling to Hamas and other Palestinian militants.

Palestinians describe the blockade as a collective punishment on Gaza’s 1.6 million residents, and supporters abroad have mounted several attempts to break it by sea.

Nine Turkish activists were killed in May 2010 when Israeli naval commandos boarded their flotilla of six ships.

An inquiry into that incident commissioned by UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, found that Israel’s Gaza blockade was legal but criticised the navy for using excessive force.

Gaza-bound aid ship boarded by Israeli forces: Al Jazeera English

Organisers of ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists seeking to reach Gaza say Israeli soldiers have boarded vessel.
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2012 11:07

A ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists seeking to breach Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza has “come under attack”
shortly after being approached by Israeli vessels, a spokeswoman said.”The Estelle is now under attack – I have just had a message from them by phone,” Victoria Strand, a Stockholm-based spokeswoman for the Ship to Gaza Sweden campaign told the AFP news agency on Saturday.

According to Dror Feiler, another spokesperson, the Estelle, whose passengers include five parliamentarians from Europe and a former Canadian politician, was attacked at around 08:15 GMT.

“Five or six military vessels surrounded the Estelle. Soldiers wearing masks are now trying to board the ship. The attack took place on international water: N31 26 E33 45,” Feiler said.

The Israeli military confirmed that the ship was boarded, after first denying that they had attacked or boarded it.

“A short while ago, Israeli navy soldiers boarded Estelle, a vessel which was en route to the Gaza Strip, attempting to break the maritime security blockade,” it said in a statement.

It said that the Finnish-flagged vessel was being led to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod.

The Estelle, the latest ship to try to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza as part of the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ movement, set sail from Naples in southern Italy.

Luigi de Magistris, the mayor of Naples, met with members of the crew during a visit to the Estelle in the city’s port.

The Estelle, whose voyage is being organised by an international pro-Palestinian coalition, is carrying humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip.

There are 17 activists from around the world on board, including passengers and crew from Canada, Israel, Norway, Sweden and the US.

Chomsky makes first Gaza visit: Googlenews

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Jewish-American scholar and activist Noam Chomsky reportedly called for an end to Israel’s siege of Gaza, on his first ever visit to the Hamas-ruled enclave on Thursday.

Chomsky, who was in the Gaza Strip for a conference at the Islamic University, called “to end the Israeli siege on Gaza,” a member of Gaza’s legislative council and head of the university’s administrative board, Jamal al-Khudari, told AFP.

“The Palestinian people have a right to live peacefully and in freedom,” Khudari also quoted Chomsky as saying.

Israel says its blockade of the coastal strip, first imposed in June 2006 and tightened in September 2007, is necessary to prevent weapons from entering the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist movement.

“Our trip to Gaza was very difficult, but we arrived here and I saw several things which I hoped before to see,” Chomsky said in remarks broadcast on Palestinian television from the university on Thursday evening.

In May 2010, Israel barred Chomsky from entering the West Bank, where he was to deliver a lecture. He finally broadcast his speech by video link from Jordan.

On Saturday, Chomsky was to deliver a speech on the Arab Spring and the future of foreign policy in the region. He will also meet with NGOs, especially human rights groups, Khudari said.

“We organised a programme for him to tour refugee camps.”

The Palestinian lawmaker noted Chomsky, travelling with an academic delegation, coordinated his entry to Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egyptian authorities.

Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a prominent critic of American foreign policy. He has frequently spoken out against Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Chomsky in first visit to Gaza: End the blockade: Haaretz

The Jewish-American intellectual and staunch critic of Israel is in Gaza to attend a conference at Gaza’s Islamic University over the weekend.

By  | Oct.19, 2012

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky Photo by AP
Jewish-American linguist Noam Chomsky traveled to the Gaza Strip on Thursday to attend a conference at Gaza’s Islamic University. Chomsky called on Israel to put an end to the blockade on the Hamas-ruled costal enclave, the French news agency AFP reported. Chomsky entered the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side of the Rafah Crossing as a member of an academic delegation that is scheduled to partake in a conference at the Islamic University over the weekend. This is Chomsky’s first visit to Gaza.

According to Jamal Khudari, a member of Gaza’s legislative council and head of the Islamic University’s administrative staff, Chomsky said that “The Palestinian people have a right to live peacefully and in freedom.”

In a broadcast from the university on Palestinian television Chomsky said “Our trip to Gaza was very difficult, but we arrived here and I saw several things which I hoped before to see.”

Khudari told AFP that Chomsky is scheduled to lector at the university on the Arab Spring and foreign policy in the Middle East on Saturday, as well as, meet with members of several Palestinian human rights organizations.

“We organized a program for him to tour refugee camps,” Khudari told AFP.

Chomsky, 84 is a professor emeritus at the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT and one of the most influential intellectual figures alive today. He spent a few months in the 1950s in Kibbutz Hazorea, in the Western Jezreal Valley. He is known as a staunch critic of Israeli and American foreign policy.

In 2010, he was barred entry to Israel when he tried to enter from Jordan en route to lector in a university in Ramallah. Israel’s refusal to allow Chomsky to travel to the West Bank received considerable coverage in the foreign press and blogosphere.

October 19, 2012

EDITOR: The video archive of Zochrot in Israel, produced and compiled by Eyal Sivan and Ilan Pappe, is the most comprehensive oral history ever put together on the Nakba, an amazing source of historical truth about the crimes during 1947/8/9. While the text is being translated to English and Arabic, you can see most of the material on video, with English subtitles. This is the most important effort of writing the real history of the period, rather than being limited to mere archive materials. This is the real archive, the archive of reality. It is difficult to express the importance of this archive, it is so revolutionary and unusual!
On the right pane, you can choose from a large verity of witness evidence.

One page is brought here as an example:

Amnon Neumann: Zochrot


Excerpts from the testimony:

Amnon Neumann: I was in the Second, Eighth, and Ninth Battalions of the Palmach from February 1948 until my discharge in October 1949. I was there for this whole period, except for a few months after I had been wounded and after my father had passed away.
The most significant period for me in terms of the Nakba was April-May 1948, when the battles or clashes with the locals took place, until the Egyptian Army arrived. At first we escorted convoys traveling on the road from ‘Iraq Suwaydan , from Rehovot, [through] ‘Iraq Suwaydan, Kawkaba  and Burayr,  to Nir-‘Am where our company headquarters were located. Then an armed group of Arabs situated itself in Burayr and didn’t let us through, so we took a different route, from near Ashdod where Isdud was located, through Majdal,  Barbara,  Bayt Jirja,  to Yad Mordechai. From there we drove to Nir-‘Am. Those were the two routes [we used] until the Egyptian army arrived. When the Egyptian army arrived, it was a completely different situation. The Egyptian army arrived when we had wiped out all Arab resistance, which wasn’t that strong. It would be an exaggeration to say we fought against the Palestinians… in fact there were no battles, almost no battles. In Burayr there was a battle, there were battles here and there, further up north. But there were no big battles; why? Because they had no military capabilities, there weren’t organized. The big battles started with the entry of the Egyptian army, and those were very difficult problems, especially from May 15th, when we were still an organized army—the Palmach—semi-military. But their soldiers were organized by British methods, they fought like the British. But they had no leadership and they had no motivation. So when they attacked, it was very lousy, they hardly knew how to attack, but they did know how to defend themselves. They knew they were fighting for their lives. But as far as all the rest, it was a fifth-rate army. They had terrible cannons that killed us like hell. They had all kinds of tanks of different types, and they were a problem for us. We didn’t have anything, we had armored vehicles, those fluttering ones that were impossible to fight with, not against tanks and not even against a halftrack, right? But we more or less managed with them.

The villagers’ flight, and I understand this is the main issue here, happened gradually. I only know about what happened from the ‘Iraq Suwaydan road, [through] Majdal, to ‘Iraq al-Manshiyya . We were to the south of this area, and to its north there was the Givati Brigade. The day the Egyptians entered the war, the Negev was cut off and that was mostly our fault, my platoon’s fault… I’ll say more about it later. But that wasn’t significant. The Egyptians’ attacks were significant. They beat the hell out of us and killed us mercilessly.
The villagers’ flight started when we began cleaning these convoy escort routes. It was then that we started to expel the villagers… and in the end they fled by themselves. There were no special events worth mentioning. No atrocities and no nothing. No civilians can live while there’s a war going on. They didn’t think they were running away for a long period of time, they didn’t think they wouldn’t return. Nor did anyone imagine that a whole people won’t return.

First we expelled those … and then we started expanding sideways. To Najd , to Simsim , and that was a later stage. There were no battles, except for one battle in Burayr. In the north there were battles, with Givati, but we didn’t have any battles. We did ok with them … (silence). One village was left, between Dorot and Nir-‘Am, that’s Kufr Huj,  they didn’t run away and we didn’t expel them. There was probably an agreement at a higher level that Huj is not to be touched.

The first time I entered Kawkaba and Burayr I was amazed by their poverty. There was nothing there. No furniture and no nothing, there were shelves made of straw and mud, the houses were made of mud and straw. They lived there for thousands of years without any changes, and the only thing that happened to them was the disaster of the Nakba in “Tashah” [1948]. Because we didn’t come to collect taxes, we came to inherit the land from foreigners. That was the foundation of our thinking. We drove them out because of the Zionist ideology. Pure and simple. We came to inherit the land. Who do you inherit it from? If the land is empty, you don’t inherit it from anyone. The land wasn’t empty so we inherited it, and whoever inherits the land disinherits others. And that’s why we didn’t bring them back. It was everywhere, in the north and the south, everywhere. That’s the most important point. The land wasn’t empty as I was told when I was a child. I know it, because I lived with Arabs. I remember I was wounded and I went home, after April 1948, after they had expelled the Arabs in Haifa, they had run away. Our villages, Yajur  and Balad al-Shaykh , didn’t exist anymore either. They were empty. And I came home and my father told me, Come sit, son. Sit. He told me, You know what happened? And I told him, Yes, I passed through Balad Al-Sheikh and there was no one there. And he said, Yes, there was a disaster. That’s not what was intended. That’s not what I intended. He came with the second Aliyah. And he said: that’s not what I intended. So nobody thought in these categories, maybe the Yishuv leaders did. My father was a simple man, a worker his entire life. And then I went back to the Negev and we did the same thing. At that time I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I was educated to it just like everybody else. And I followed through with it faithfully, and if I was told things I don’t want to mention—I did them without the least of a doubt. Without thinking twice. For fifty or sixty years I’ve been torturing myself about this. But what’s done is done. It was done by order. And I won’t go into that, these are not things that … (long silence).
In the north they fought. In the south they didn’t, they didn’t have anything. They were miserable, they didn’t have anywhere to go, or anyone to ask.

Continue reading October 19, 2012

October 17, 2012

EDITOR: Breaking the silence on the 1948 massacres

Read the shocking evidence of a an Israeli soldier in 1948, who admits committing mass murder in the Galilee and in Lydda, carrying out orders to vacate cities and villages, given by Yigal Allon, who was conveying Ben Gurion’s orders. The evidence was collected by the filmmaker Eyal Sivan, working on his massive archive of video evidence of the Nakba. It is terrifying and fascinating, currently available in Hebrew, but soon to be translated into Arabic and English. It is harrowing to read the words of murderers, ones who even today are not repentant, and who openly admit there are even worse stories that cannot be told!

Evidence of Yerachmiel Kahanovich, a Palmach soldier : Zochrot

בית // עדויות //
ירחמיאל כהנוביץ’ – חייל בפלמ”ח
אייל: מה ז”א? זה הרובה שזורקים וזה מתפוצץ בפנים נכון. ירחמיאל: בוא אני אגיד לך מה זה עושה,(…) הוא עושה בקיר חור בערך כזה ובפנים כולם מעוכים על הקירות מהלחץ שהוא עושה בפנים

ירחמיאל כהנוביץ’, חייל ישראלי מודה בראיון זה שביצע את הטבח במסגד דהמש בלוד בשנת 1948
אייל: במבצע מטאטא אתה השתתפת?
ירחמיאל: זה פה בירדן

אייל: השתתפת במבצע מטאטא?
ירחמיאל:הייתי מקלען

אייל: במה?

אייל: היית מקלען במה במבצע מטאטא

מה זה מבצע מטאטא מה היה המטרה שלו?
ירחמיאל: סילקנו את כל הכפרים,

אייל: מה זאת אומרת
ירחמיאל: מכפר לכפר סילקנו וגירשנו, וגירשנו הם ברחו לכנרת ומשם לגליל.

אייל:אבל איך, איך?
ירחמיאל: בירי?

אייל: מה ז”א?
ירחמיאל: ירינו זרקנו רימון פה שם. רק תשמע דבר אחד אתה צריך להבין, בתקופה הראשונה ברגע שהם שמעו יריות הם קמו והלכו במגמה לחזור אח”כ.

אייל: אבל רגע, זה לפני ה-15 במאי, זה לפני הפשיטה של הצבאות הערביים. מבצע מטאטא, אז מבצע מטאטא. איך זה קורה אתם מקבלים מידע זה מבצע מאורגן.
ירחמיאל: כן בטח,

אייל: ספר לי
ירחמיאל: זה היה, מי היה זה יגאל אלון עצמו תכנן את זה. הלכנו ממקום למקום.

עברנו, עברנו את טבריה והלכנו מכפר, לכפר, מכפר לכפר.
אייל: אז אתם היה לכם פקודות לגרש, ולנקות את הכפרים

ירחמיאל: וחוזרים הביתה
אייל: אבל ראיתם איך הם בורחים

ירחמיאל: ראינו אותם, מה יריתי עליהם עם זה עם הברונינג לתוך הסירות
אייל: הם ברחו בסירות?

ירחמיאל: כן
אייל: על הכנרת?
ירחמיאל: כן, בצד השני היה שלהם עוד. חוץ מעין-גב

אייל: ומי האנשים שברחו?
ירחמיאל: אנשי הכפר, הם היו דייגים בין היתר. אח”כ לוד.

אייל: רגע עוד נגיע לזה
ירחמיאל: רמלה.. לבתים נכנסנו רק במקום אחד בבלד אלשיח’ על-יד יגור. שמה זה היה ממש, רצחני וכל זה. והוא אמר, תלכו לשם בגרזנים

אייל: מי אמר?
ירחמיאל: רק אחד אפשר יגאל אלון, ואני מניח לא הייתה אי הבנה בינו ובין בן- גוריון, לא. “אז תלכו לשם בגרזנים, שיסתלקו משם, שלא יישאר שם זכר, כמה שאנחנו לא להשתמש בכדורים שהם לא ילכו למשטרה ושהם לא יישבו במשטרה”

אייל: אז מה עשיתם?
ירחמיאל: פיצחנו את הדלת וזרקנו רימון,

אייל : בבלד אלשיח’
ירחמיאל: ובאמת היא לא קמה יותר, איננה.

אייל:מבצע מטאטא מה זה אתם מסתדרים בשרשרת ופשוט
ירחמיאל: כן הולכים ובאים לכפר מסלקים אותו, מתאספים שותים, אוכלים משהו והולכים לכפר השני

אייל: הם היו יורדים לאן?
ירחמיאל: יורדים לכנרת הולכים לסירות של הדייג ובורחים

אייל: ואתם הייתם עומדים למעלה ויורים עליהם?
ירחמיאל: פה ושם, אח”כ יגאל אלון אמר לא

אייל: אמר מה?
אייל: לא, לא לירות תן להם ללכת

אייל: ואז אתם יורדים למרכז הארץ, אתם יורדים ללוד. מה זה מבצע דני בשבילך?
ירחמיאל: אתה יודע מה זה פיאט? מכיר את הרובה הזה, אני יריתי איתו למסגד איפה שהם היו

אייל: איזה מסגד?
ירחמיאל: בלוד

אייל: מה ז”א? זה הרובה שזורקים וזה מתפוצץ בפנים נכון
ירחמיאל: בוא אני אגיד לך מה זה עושה, אתה עושה את זה כאילו זה ציור יפה של צייר. אתה חושב. הוא עושה בקיר חור בערך כזה ובפנים כולם מעוכים על הקירות מהלחץ שהוא עושה בפנים.

אייל: ספר לי את השיירה של הפליטים
ירחמיאל: איך זה היה נראה, כמו שרואים תמיד בסרטים את אלה שהולכים. ערבים שהולכים למכה, שיירה, עם חבילות. כמו שרואים את הפליטים שלנו הולכים מגרמניה. חבילה עם מזוודה עם משהו זה. בשקט, אנחנו היינו לכל האורך ומפעם לפעם אמרו להם ברמקולים, תשמרו על השביל, מי שלא שמר.

אייל: מה ראית כשנכנסת ללוד?
ירחמיאל: אני בלוד כבר הייתי נכנסתי כבר אחרי המכה הראשונה, והיה שם סיפור כנראה לא הכול אפשר לדבר.

אייל: מה ז”א לא הכול אפשר לספר?
ירחמיאל: שחיטות וזה

אייל: ספר
ירחמיאל: לא שעשינו להם שהם עשו, ואז הם נכנסו כולם לתוך המסגד, או כנסייה אני לא זוכר. בלילה קשה לדעת. ואי אפשר היה להוציא אותם. הם הניחו שאנחנו לא נכנס.

אייל: מי זה היה הם?
ירחמיאל: הערבים

אייל: מי הערבים, נשים ילדים זקנים?
ירחמיאל:  אלה לא דיברו אף פעם. היו למעלה כאלה שדיברו, העניין היה, ודיברו על זה שעוד מעט יבואו מירדן ואנחנו נחסל את כולכם וככה, הם לא. ואז אמרו לי, נו תעשה משהו. כבר ידעו מי אני, ידעו בדיוק למה מתכוונים.

אייל: מה ז”א?
ירחמיאל: שאני אלך עם פיאט הכנסתי לשם פגז של פיאט.

אייל: איפה?
ירחמיאל: לאולם, אני לא. אף אחד לא.

אייל: מי הוציא את הגופות אח”כ?
ירחמיאל: מה זה מעניין אותי? זה שלהם.

אייל: מה ז”א מה הייתה הפקודה?
ירחמיאל: מה זה מה הייתה הפקודה, תכניס פיאט זה הכול, שום דבר לא היה עומד בפני פיאט, של פעם. אתה יודע איך זה בנוי, אם אתה עושה אותו כמו פעמון. מה שקורה שם שכל הכוח נכנס למקום אחד ונותן לחץ עצום, במקום לקחת 3 ק”ג אתה .. וזה נותן חצי ק”ג ואתה נותן את אותה התוצאה

אייל: כמה הרגו שם?
ירחמיאל: אני הכנסתי אחד וזה הספיק

אייל: כמה אנשים היו בפנים אתה יודע?
ירחמיאל: הרבה

אייל: מה ז”א?
ירחמיאל: הרבה, אני פתחתי את הדלת, ראיתי את זה סגרתי את הדלת

אייל: מה ראית?
ירחמיאל: האולם ריק כולם על הקירות

אייל: הרבה אנשים
ירחמיאל: הרבה

אייל: באיזה גילאים?
ירחמיאל: מי יכול לזכור המבט הספיק. אחרי זה, בעיקר אני עסקתי בחבלה, ופינויים.

אייל: ראית דברים שהיום אתה חושב שהם היו דברים לא צודקים?
ירחמיאל: מה זה צדק?

אייל: אני שואל אותך?
ירחמיאל: במונחים שלך יכול להיות צדק בלי אלוהים? אתה שואל אותי צדק, מה זה צדק?

אייל: לא, אני שואל אותך דברים שאתה
ירחמיאל: רגע, אנחנו אומרים שזה ארץ שלנו נכון מאיפה היא שלנו, כבשנו אותה הרגנו את כולם שפעם היו. אז אם אתה מדבר על צדק אז זאת הייתה מלחמה של צדק. הורגים ונגמר העניין. אבל אם לא, אז צריך לתת להם לחיות ולמצוא דרך לחיות יחד. אז אם אתה רוצה למצוא דרך לחיות יחד אז קודם כל צריך להראות הם שזה שלך ושאתה קבעת שזה שלך, אבל כדי לחיות יחד צריך גם למצוא דרך לחיות איתם אז אתה לא יכול לרצוח

אייל: אתה חושב שאולי פה נעשתה טעות קטנה?
ירחמיאל: לא. אני חושב שלא, אני חושב שאין לשום לאף אדם זכות להרוג אדם אחר רק בגלל שהוא רוצה לשבת בכיסא שהוא יושב בו שהוא ישב קודם. הדרכים שהם עושים היום, הם נראות לי יותר נכונות. תראה את אירופה מה הם מנסים לעשות כל הזמן הם כבר לא נלחמים אחד בשני, הבעיה היא שהמלחמות שלנו נעשות בכסף, ולא במלחמה.

אייל: היו מקרים שבדיעבד אני יודע שעוררו המון זעם ביניכם. ביזה, אונס כל מיני דברים כאלה.
ירחמיאל: נכון כי זה לכלוך

אייל: מה נכון?
ירחמיאל: ביזה. אני צריך את המקום, אני נלחם הוא רוצה להרוג אותי אני הורג אותו אבל לקחת להיכנס ולהגיד תרים את הידיים ותביא את הכסף. אני יודע על אחד. שוב פעם יש דברים שעליהם לא מדברים נכון. אני יודע על אחד, תודה לאל לא מהאנשים שלי מהאנשים של אחרים, ששדדו בנק, ואחד מהם לקח מזה אחוז חלקו, קח אתה את זה, ואת זה, תביאו את זה למרכז של המפלגה, ואחד לקח את זה הביתה.

אייל: אבל בלוד היו הוראות למשל לקחו רכבים
ירחמיאל: רכב זה משהו אחר, זה לא לקחת כסף

אייל: יש דברים שאתה יודע שאתה לא רוצה לדבר עליהם?
ירחמיאל: יש.

אייל: אתה יכול להגיד לי למה אתה לא רוצה לדבר עליהם?
ירחמיאל: בוא נאמר ככה יש דברים שצריך לעשות ובכל זאת אתה לא מתגאה בהם. לא הייתה דרך אחרת, אבל זה לא אומר שזה עושה את זה ליפה, או לגאווה. זה לא גאווה. להרוג בן אדם זה אפשר אבל לא מתגאים בזה. אלה שמתגאים בזה אנחנו משתדלים לסלק אותם לשים אותם בבית סוהר

אייל: אתה חושב שצריך לספר את הכול על התקופה הזאת?
ירחמיאל: בוא נאמר ככה לפי דעתי 98% אתה יכול לספר יש אולי פה או אחד יש כמה יש 2 סיפורים, יש אחד שמה שעושים ואין ברירה לא מתגאים בזה. ודבר שני אנחנו עוד נצטרך את זה ולגלות את זה לאחרים.

אייל: למה פוצצו את הבתים?
ירחמיאל: לפתור את הבעיה שיש שאלה אנושית

אייל: לא הבנתי תסביר לי מההתחלה
ירחמיאל: אתה צריך להבין אם מישהו, אם מאיזה שהיא סיבה אני צריך לברוח אני ארצה לחזור לבית, כשהבית הזה איננו זה איננו. אני מסתכל על זה כמו שערבי מסתכל זה הכפר שלי אבל כשהכפר איננו, אין, אין. ככה זה הערבים אומרים. איך עשינו את האדמה שלנו? כל האזור, זה כבר עבדתי, כבר אחרי שלא הייתי בצבא, חרשנו דונם. לא דונם ק”מ רוחב לכל אורך הגבול. עוד, אף אחד לא ידע מי ייקח את זה ומה יעשו שם. חרשנו את זה שמה. ברגע שחרשנו נגמר הערבים הפסיקו לבוא. זהו זה שלנו, בבית שאן היה צריך, היה גם כן דבר כזה, הרב נתן אישור. לחרוש בשבת ויצא בעצמו לחרוש איתם כדי שידעו שהם לא חוזרים.

אייל: יגאל התוכנית שלו הייתה לגרש את כולם נכון
ירחמיאל: גם של בן גוריון

אייל: מה גם?
ירחמיאל: בן גוריון הוא שנתן את ההוראה לגרש אותם, הם לא נתנו לנו מבחוץ. אבל, אם היינו מגרשים אותם כל התנועה כל הסיפור היה נראה אחרת

אייל: אתה חושב שלא עשו את העבודה מספיק
ירחמיאל: הפסיקו אותנו באמצע זה גלוי זה ברור אמרו עד כאן

ירחמיאל כהנוביץ’ (1929)
ראיין: אייל סיוון
בקיבוץ דגניה א’
ב- 23.07.2012