from Occupation Magazine: http://www.kibush.co.ilIsraeli Troops Raid Palestinian TV Stations ETHAN BRONNERThe New York TimesFebruary 29, 2012 JERUSALEM Israeli troops raided two Palestinian television stations in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank early on Wednesday, confiscating transmitters, computer hard drives and documents and eliciting angry condemnations from the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli ministry said in a statement that it had repeatedly warned both stations that they were using frequencies that violated Israeli-Palestinian agreements and that interfered with communications and transmission systems in Israel. An Israeli military spokesman said the interference was affecting airplane communication at Ben-Gurion Airport. The Palestinian Authority replied that it had received no such warnings and that the stations were guilty of no violations. We are an educational television station, which puts on Sesame Street, antismoking programs and broadcasts to help integrate handicapped children into the community, said Lucy Nusseibeh, director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al-Quds University, which operates the station. We have all our licenses through the Palestinian ministry of communications and are in constant touch with them. I never heard anything about Israeli complaints or warnings. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of the Palestinian Authority visited both stations after the raids on Wednesday and vowed to get them replacement transmitters. He condemned the raids and likened them to what went on a decade ago during the second Palestinian uprising. This piracy and raids on Palestinian media institutions are reminiscent of practices by the occupation forces in the beginning of the second intifada, when they stormed and vandalized many Palestinian media institutions, including Palestine TV, Palestine Radio as well as Watan TV, he said. Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said that the Palestinian communications ministry had determined that the stations had complied with legal requirements and the authoritys agreements with Israel. An Israeli military spokesman, asked why documents and hard drives were confiscated from Watan TV if the concern was about transmission frequencies, said that once the soldiers entered the premises, they noticed suspicious documents and extended what they took with them. With peace negotiations on hold and the Palestinian Authority exploring reconciliation with the Islamist group Hamas, tensions have risen in the West Bank in recent weeks. Palestinian demonstrations and incidents of stone throwing have increased, as have Israeli raids and arrests. While Israeli forces generally stay out of Palestinian cities during the day, leaving the Palestinian security forces to keep order, Israeli troops often enter the cities at night to conduct raids. rh
By DALIA NAMMARI and KARIN LAUB (via Occupation Magazine – www.kibush.co.il Feb 28, 2012)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 (Majdi Mohammed), a Palestinian woman and children walk in front of solar panels in the Al-Thala community, north of the West Bank city of Hebron. Electricity from solar panels and wind turbines has revolutionized life in Palestinian herding communities that Israel won’t connect to the grid: machines instead of sticks churn goat milk into butter, refrigerators store food that used to spoil and children no longer have to hurry to get their homework done before dark.
AL-THALA, West Bank – Electricity from solar panels and wind turbines has revolutionized life in rural Palestinian herding communities: Machines, instead of hands, churn goat milk into butter, refrigerators store food that used to spoil and children no longer have to hurry to get their homework done before dark.
But the German-funded project, initiated by Israeli volunteers, is now in danger. Israeli authorities are threatening to demolish the installations in six of the 16 remote West Bank communities being illuminated by alternative energy, arguing the panels and turbines were installed without permits.
The German government has expressed concern and asked for clarifications – a rare show of displeasure from Israel’s staunchest defender in Europe.
The dispute is more than just a diplomatic row. It goes to the core of mounting international criticism of Israel’s policies in the 62 percent of the West Bank that remain under full Israeli control two decades after Palestinians were granted self-rule in a patchwork of territorial islands in the rest of the land.
The division of jurisdictions was meant to be temporary, but has been frozen in place as repeated peace talks deadlocked. The Palestinians claim all the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, for a state.
International monitors have warned that Israel is suppressing Palestinian development in the West Bank sector under its full control, known as “Area C,” while giving preferential treatment to Israeli settlements. Most of the international community considers Israel’s settlements in the West Bank illegal.
Israel’s more than 300,000 settlers are already double the number of Palestinians in Area C, which would form the heart of any Palestinian state.
If Israel’s policies are not stopped, “the establishment of a viable Palestinian state … seems more remote than ever,” European Union diplomats warned in an internal report last year.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the division of authorities was agreed to by the Palestinians in the interim deals of the mid-1990s, and that Israel is ready to move forward.
“We of course want to continue with the negotiations, to reach further agreements with the Palestinians, but they have not been willing to do so,” he said.
The Palestinians have said they won’t resume talks without a freeze in settlement building, which they argue grabs lands they want for a state.
More than 90 percent of the West Bank’s Palestinians live in the self-rule areas run by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The economist has won international praise for building institutions of a state like police and courts in the areas he governs. Fayyad has tried to branch out into Area C, but hit a wall of Israeli rejections.
Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib said the donors are increasingly aware of the problem, but that “unfortunately, there isn’t yet action, such as holding Israel accountable.”
Perhaps the most vulnerable Palestinians in Area C are the goat and sheep herding families scraping a living from barren hills of the West Bank. Israel does not recognize their tiny communities, saying the herders are in the area illegally. Residents say their roots go back generations.
The hamlet of al-Thala, a community of 80 in the southern West Bank, had no electricity until last August when the German aid group medico and Comet-ME, a group of pro-peace Israeli scientists, set up solar panels there as part of a campaign to provide 30 communities in the area with solar and wind power.
In al-Thala, 41-year-old Hakima Elayan used to spend four hours a day churning butter by hand. Now a machine does it for her, leaving her more time for her children and other household chores.
“It’s as if we are living the city life,” she said. “I can’t live without it,” she added as three of her young daughters watched a soap opera on TV. Her neighbors have also bought refrigerators, washers, TVs and butter churners.
But last month, Israel’s Civil Administration – a branch of the military dealing with Palestinian civilians – issued “stop work” orders, a precursor to demolitions, targeting solar panels and wind turbines in al-Thala and five other communities.
The installations were set up illegally, without anyone having requested a permit, the Civil Administration said, adding that the cases will be reviewed by a committee.
“International aid is an important component in improving and promoting the quality of life of the Palestinian population but this does not grant immunity for illegal or uncoordinated activity,” said Maj. Guy Inbar of the Civil Administration.
Elad Orian, a physicist at Comet-ME, said the group didn’t ask for permits, feeling it would have been futile because Israel considers the communities illegal. He believes demolition is still months away, and hopes political pressure by Germany, which gave more than 400,000 euros ($520,000), will save the projects.
Germany’s foreign ministry has expressed concern and said it is closely monitoring the situation in Area C.
In a similar case, deputy Polish Foreign Minister Jerzy Pomianowski summoned Israel’s ambassador to express concern over the demolition of a well in a community near al-Thala that had been rebuilt with Polish funds.
Israel said those refurbishing the wells also failed to ask for permits and ignored calls to attend a hearing.
The international community has repeatedly urged Israel to halt demolitions in Area C. Instead, the pace has accelerated, according to a new U.N. report.
Last year, 622 structures, including 222 homes, were demolished, more than 90 percent of them in Area C, an increase of nearly 50 percent from 2010, the report said. More than 1,100 Palestinians were displaced, half of them children.
The Civil Administration said it has formulated master plans for legal Palestinian construction.
However, the U.N. said 70 percent of Area C is off limits to Palestinian construction, having been allocated to settlements or the military, and that development in the remainder is heavily restricted.
“In reality, it is almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits,” the report concluded.
In contrast, critics note that Israel has allowed rapid settlement development in Area C. That includes some 100 unauthorized outposts set up since the late 1990s. Instead of tearing them down, the government has linked outposts to the electricity grid, provided roads and infrastructure and is trying to legalize some retroactively.
At the same time, Israeli officials argue that the Palestinian herders of the southern West Bank are nomads with no legal claim to the lands they squat on.
In al-Thala, Israeli bulldozers last week demolished a well and two corrugated metal shacks of the Elayan family, one serving as a home and the second as an animal shelter.
The family has moved into tents, and on Wednesday, Hakima was hanging laundry from a rope strung between tent poles.
Her husband, Jamil, who was born in a nearby cave, said he will not leave his ancestral land, even if it means going back to living in the dark.
“It’s my land, my country, I don’t have another,” said Elayan, 48.
Laub reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers David Rising in Berlin, Germany and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland, contributed reporting.
Posted on Sat, Feb. 25, 2012 12:46 AM
The initial 2 articles deal with boycotting Israel.
In item 1 Jello Biafra, after cancelling his band’s performance in Israel, shares with us his deliberations about the cultural boycott, and also about the knowledge that he has gained by coming to see for himself. In the end says that he will not perform in Israel except under certain conditions that do not violate the call for boycott—a long thought-provoking essay worth reading.
In item 2 MJ Rosenberg states “Don’t Boycott Israel.” The problem with Rosenberg and Finkelstein and others who believe that boycotting Israel is wrong because it implies a desire to do away with Israel is that they presume that Israel is good for the Jews. It is not. It is worse for Palestinians—much worse– but neither is it good for Israeli Jews. Nor has it been good for Jews as a whole. It has been a most divisive element. Not that Jews have agreed about things as a unit, any more than any other group has. But the debates over Israel have turned nasty, with some Jews calling other Jews anti-Semites and worse. Who needs that?
But beyond that, Israel has been terrible for Israeli Jews. No place in the world since WWII (with the exception of war zones as Syria and Afghanistan, which are safe for no one) has been less safe for Jews than Israel. Zionism foresaw Israel as a safe haven for Jews. That it is not. Nowhere else in the world have so many Jews been killed since the establishment of the state. Nowhere else have so many Jews been injured. Nowhere else have so many Jews suffered from post-traumatic distress. Nowhere else in the world is every 18-year old male and female obligated to enlist in the military (with the exception of ultra-Orthodox who study in Yeshivot and Palestinians with Israeli citizenship). Nor do Jews in other countries face wars every few years (Israel has seen 12 wars/military campaigns in its 64 years).
These data are only part of the story. Israel wishes to be considered a western democracy. But no other Western power is grounded on a single ethnicity, religion, race. No country that is grounded on such can be a democracy. Its criterion will always be demography. From this standpoint there is no difference between in principle between a pure Aryan state and a pure Jewish state. The means to keep the demographic principle might differ from one demographic entity to another, but the tribal ideal holds.
I have said all these things before. I repeat them, because of arguments as Rosenberg’s and Finkelstein’s. The desire to alter Israel from being a militaristic entity enslaved by its demographic fears and to have instead of a ‘pure Jewish militaristic and racist society’ a single country in all of mandate Palestine with a separation of religion and state, and equal rights for all its citizens be they green with purple dots or any religion, ethnicity, and color—where my Palestinian friends can come to visit me as readily as I can visit them, and where they can come with us to the sea without permits and without practicing civil disobedience. And where Palestinian families won’t be separated because of crazy laws and lack of freedom of movement, and where wars will be a thing of the past, not the present and never of the future. Is this such a terrible dream?
To accomplish this dream means finding ways to pressure Israel’s governments to bring about change. I know of no less violent means than bds, except, of course, an end to Jewish immigration to Israel, which, if there is another war, might happen. But till then, bds though not a fast means is the most sure means to bring about change that I dream of.
I apologize for taking so much of your time. But this subject is important, and those who censure us for urging bds are barking up the wrong tree. They should be doing everything in their power to bring about change. It won’t come of itself.
Item 3 is a visit by US congresswomen to Israel and the West Bank under the auspices of Jstreet. I am not a supporter of Jstreet, because I am not a Zionist, having come to the conclusion that Israel is not good for Jews (something others intelligent people knew well before Israel came into being), but I applaud Jstreet for taking these congresswomen on a tour far different from the ones that AIPAC does, in which participants see only the beautiful and none of the ugly.
Item 4 brings us back to reality: Israel is planning on 475 kilometers of rail tracks in the West Bank. Had any doubts about Israel’s intentions as concerns 2 states? Israel’s elected officials are hardly doing this out of the goodness of their hearts for the Palestinian state to be born in some never-never land.
Item 5 is a 1-minute video that shows how CNN quashes what it does not want aired.
1 Al Jazeera Monday, February 27, 2012
Jello Biafra was the frontman of punk rock band The Dead Kennedys. He currently plays with the band Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine.
Caught in the crossfire: Should musicians boycott Israel?
The former Dead Kennedys frontman goes to Israel and the West Bank, and shares his thoughts on the BDS movement.
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2012 12:15
Israel’s wall is intended to permanently enclose Palestinians [GALLO/GETTY]
Last summer, punk rock icon Jello Biafra and his band decided to cancel a show they had planned on playing at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv. At the time, Biafra wrote that ‘the toll and stress on the band members and myself has been huge, both logistically and as a matter of conscience’. In August, Biafra decided to travel to Israel and Palestine himself to explore his thoughts on the cultural boycott of Israel.
San Francisco, CA – So now I have been to Israel. I have also been to Palestine. I got a taste of the place, but not in the way I’d originally hoped.
In many ways I really wish my band, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, had played in Tel Aviv. But I also share most of the boycott’s supporters’ feelings about Israel’s government, the occupation and ongoing human rights violations.
I hope people take the time to understand how deeply this has torn at the fabric of our band. The promoter in Tel Aviv lost thousands, and I am eating thousands more in lost and re-booked airfares that I have no idea how I am going to pay, or how I will pay my bills for the rest of the year. Real human beings got hurt here.
This whole controversy has been one of the most intense situations of my life – and I thrive on intense situations. But the rest of the band was not used to this. How fair was it to drag them there in the first place? This is not like fighting Tipper Gore and the Los Angeles Police Department, greedy ex-Dead Kennedys members or more-radical-than-thou thugs who think it’s OK to put someone in the hospital for being a “sellout”. I gradually felt like I had gotten in over my head sticking my nose into one of the longest and nastiest conflicts on earth.
So with the rollercoaster still in my stomach and my head, I flew solo to Israel instead. The mission: to check things out myself and hopefully at least get closer to some kind of conclusion on whether artists boycotting Israel, especially me, was really the best way to help the Palestinian people.
The first people who wrote asking us to boycott went out of their way to be diplomatic and communicate how they felt. Then the gloves came off, and so did some of the masks. Our Facebook page went from eye-opening and educational to a childish, bickering orgy between a handful of people. Racial slurs began to appear on this and other boycott sites. Many writings seemed to have no idea who I was or what punk is. One called me a “fanatic Zionist with a clear touch of cultural racism”.
I also got an invitation from a self-proclaimed fan to “come meet the Israeli right” and see the settlements through their eyes, complete with a wine-tasting party.
Many people I met on my trip to Israel feel that the boycott has damaged the Israeli opposition more than it has anyone else and “helped silence the peace camp in Israel”. A veteran journalist I met later told me, “the best way to contribute to peace is to try and work to understand both sides” and that he felt that boycotts strengthen extremists by keeping people apart.
Others felt the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement “is not all bad”, and can raise awareness across the pond of what the US is letting Israel’s government get away with. One wrote to me later, saying that: “I don’t disagree with BDS myself … and I definitely feel that BDS is a legitimate way to do so [raise awareness]. But if the price paid for this is worldwide ignorance, then I think I believe the price is too high. If musicians were to boycott Israel or Palestine, they would miss out on the opportunity to educate themselves – and then hopefully preach that opinion when and where they see fit.”
Facing the music
My second day in Israel began with a long, tasty meal above the ocean in Jaffa with two guys (both named Guy), the promoters of the show that my band had originally planned on playing. I felt I owed it to them to sit down and talk, and it is a good thing we did. They said they were more disappointed than angry – and they were sure disappointed. They were also grateful that I at least came to Israel to see things with my own eyes, and was willing to talk to them.
They both described themselves as “left”, a more respectable and widely used term in Israel than in post-Crass Europe or the United States. They felt that concerts and politics should be separate. For me, it’s a little more complicated. “Our fight is not for land or religion, it is for peace,” said Guy from the Barby Club, claiming that some pro-boycott Israelis he knew bought tickets to our show anyway. The Guy from Useless ID, the band that was supposed to open for us, told me: “My band has done benefits for families in Gaza and the West Bank. What have the boycotters on your Facebook page done besides write in?”
He went on to say that we were the only cancellation all year; that I was, in effect, boycotting my own fans. If I cancel Israel, I should also cancel Germany because of the Holocaust and neo-Nazis, Holland because their right-wing government supports Netanyahu, and the UK for occupying Northern Ireland and Scotland. If I want to talk about war crimes, I should be looking at my own country. In other words, why Israel?
The show at the Barby Club went ahead anyway, with the other bands on the bill playing for free. The two Guys encouraged me to come. With so many people so upset, I wondered if that was the worst thing I could do. I finally decided to go. I went up and talked to some of the fans outside. They were the most emotional yet about how heartbroken they were that we didn’t play. Others said they were glad.
“One of the few things both Israelis and Palestinians seem to agree on is that one of the main obstacles to peace these days is the settlers.”
I asked them how they felt the boycott helped, and their main answer was that it was to show solidarity with the Palestinian people. They felt the boycott was already having a major impact and the government was already afraid.
Several felt guilty and angry that they were living in such privilege while people suffered so badly right next door. As I listened, I tried, but could not come up with any quick advice to offer in the way of hope, or step-by-step ideas to lift their own situation and build a future.
Beast in the belly of the beast
One of the few things both Israelis and Palestinians seem to agree on is that one of the main obstacles to peace these days is the settlers.
Today the illegal settlements are completely out of control, with 300,000 settlers planted across the Green Line in the West Bank and another 200,000 beyond the Green Line in East Jerusalem. Borders are creatively moved and enforced by the infamous wall, started by the ideas of Yitzhak Rabin and greatly expanded by Ariel Sharon. It’s a black eye on the face of Israel’s reputation today, considered so even among many of Israel’s citizens and supporters.
Some people told me that if the wall had been built along the Green Line, it might have actually worked. But Sharon then used it as a land grab, creatively and maniacally routing it through the middle of Palestinian towns, Palestinian farmland and across Palestinian roads, in a deliberate attempt to make the West Bank such a splattered Swiss-cheese hodgepodge of impassable walls and checkpoints that a free Palestinian state could never get off the ground.
Any fantasy that Palestinians could one day be broken down to stay on “their side” of the wall and live happily ever after is ridiculous. It flies in the face of all human instinct and human rights. It is never going to happen. Like the Berlin Wall, it is destined to fall sooner rather than later.
However, some activists emphatically denied to me that Israel was an apartheid country. “It is not apartheid. It’s a military occupation. There’s a difference.” OK, how about this: The occupying army is practicing apartheid in the occupied territories, and enforces and maintains it to the smallest, most obsessive detail. Like South Africa, there is a pass system called Tasrich, and a census law requiring people’s ethnicity on their ID books. Jewish Israelis have a blue book, Palestinian books are orange and state whether they are Muslim or Christian, and non-Jewish immigrant workers’ books are green.
A boycott of products made in settlements has begun inside Israel. There is also a growing boycott by artists refusing to cross the Green Line and perform for the settlers. A fancy venue has opened in one of the largest settlements in Ariel. Many artists refuse to perform there. With the law passed last fall by Israel’s parliament – which allows citizens to file lawsuits against people or groups who call for a boycott of Israel – will these artists be sued by settlers for declining a gig?
So now what?
It would have been so easy for me and the Guantanamo School of Medicine to quietly decline the Israel/Tel Aviv gig offer, and no one would have been the wiser. Naïve or not, we thought that in our own small way, if we showed up we might be able to do some good. Opinions swung back and forth every day as hell got hotter, even among individual band members.
“Bringing down this regime by boycott may be a much higher mountain to climb than the boycott of South Africa.”
I do not regret speaking out. It has been quite a learning experience along the way. I can’t very well shut up now. It’s as if I’ve been covered with someone else’s chewing gum, and I’ll never be able to scrape it all off. As my friend said, “it gets in your blood” – and it has definitely gotten in mine.
I loved Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem was hardly the “dead city” at night that some Tel Aviv hipsters claim it is. I want to go back. I want to play. But I, too, am as sickened as the next person that not all the cool people I met in the West Bank can cross into Israel and enjoy Tel Aviv – or even worship in Jerusalem. That unnecessary checkpoints prevent them from reaching their farms, schools or even hospitals. Forty-four years of brutal occupation has done no more to solve the problem than the United States has accomplished in its War on Drugs. You can’t just keep almost four million people in prison.
Yet bringing down this regime by boycott may be a much higher mountain to climb than the boycott of South Africa. The 1985 musician boycott of Sun City (a posh, government-owned golf resort and casino in South Africa) was just a promotional tool for the financial boycott, where banks, universities and corporations caved into pressure to pull their investments out of South Africa and broke the back of the white apartheid regime.
With South Africa, there was not heavy-duty religion involved. There were not millions in the US and worldwide so emotionally attached to the other side for that reason. There was not a powerful Americans for Apartheid lobby in Washington DC or Students for a White South Africa on campus. Investors who pulled their money out did not risk an even bigger backlash from pro-Apartheid stockholders and customers.
There was not so much money pouring in from boycott-proof super-rich zealots such as Netanyahu and settler patron Sheldon Adelson, a casino tycoon – whose estimated $28bn makes him reportedly the third-richest American and the richest Jew in the world.
I am not saying the same tactics that brought down apartheid South Africa can’t be done. I am just saying that there are different and heavier obstacles this time and people need to be ready for them.
South Africa never had anything like the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) lobby, which is now considered more of a lobby for Likud than for the Israeli people. Nevertheless, they have a stranglehold over almost every member of Congress of both parties, using Joe McCarthy-type tactics to smear anyone they don’t like as anti-Jewish – and get them voted out of office.
Then there is the massive funding of settlers, extremists and more by the US Christian right. I am told Mike Huckabee is a regular fixture at the settlements. Sarah Palin – whose end-of-the-world doomsday visions rival those of Ahmadinejad – is on board too, telling Barbara Walters that Israel needs to speed up settlement construction because, “more and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead”.
This is not because they love Israel or the Jewish people. This is because, according to certain strains of evangelical Christianity, the Messiah will return only when the Jewish people return to the Holy Land.
This is why the US Christian right is much more interested in aiding Jewish settlers who don’t need the money than they are in aiding Palestinian Christians on the other side of the Wall who do. I asked people in Israel about this and they told me the settlers don’t care about their motives, they just want the money and think they’re using the Christians.
What the Palestinian Solidarity Movement does have on its side is the horror of the occupation itself for all to see. If only more people could see it. This is where I say, yet again, Don’t hate the media, Become the media. In this case, what this means is that people in Palestine and Israel – and people who have been there – need to reach out, one-on-one, and show everyone else – especially those in the US – what is going on and what they have experienced.
Believe me, most Americans are so out of it, they have no idea any of this is happening.
What can one person do, small things, big things? Step-by-step things that an overwhelmed person just trying to pay their rent can actually work in to their daily rat race and do?
With eyes on the prize of something this important, there needs to be room for everybody. We who care (and I do) need all the people we can get from BDS to Peace Now to the International Solidarity Movement to the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolition, Anarchists Against The Wall and beyond.
There is a new Jewish lobby in Washington called J Street, formed to challenge the toxic effects of AIPAC. They may be moderate for my tastes, but anyone who will get in the ring and challenge AIPAC deserves some support.
I heard talk in Israel of a movement started by Rabbi Menachem Froman saying that the settlements in the West Bank should stay, but Jews living in Judea and Samaria [the Biblical term for the West Bank] should be willing to live there under a Palestinian state.
I personally support a two-state solution in hopes that it can lead to a one-state solution in our lifetime. In the short run we may get a three-state solution if Hamas in Gaza splits with its rival factions in the West Bank, like when East Pakistan broke off and became Bangladesh.
“I will not perform in Israel unless it is a pro-human rights, anti-occupation event that does not violate the spirit of the boycott.”
Let’s not forget that the Palestinians and Arabs have rolled their demands way back from the “destroy the Jewish State” rhetoric of earlier decades. Yasir Arafat agreed to a Palestinian state defined by the pre-1967 borders clear back in 1988. It is now ten years since all 22 nations of the Arab League offered peace and full recognition of Israel if Israel would agree to a solution based on the pre-1967 borders.
Jonathan Pollack, an Israeli activist whom I met in Tel Aviv, told me that a friend of his from the United Democratic Front in South Africa told him that the most hopeless period in their struggle seemed to be around 1985-1990. The Apartheid regime seemed more invincible than ever, right before the regime actually fell. Like the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Velvet Revolution, the collapse of the Soviet Empire – and now the Arab Spring – it took almost everyone, including me, by total surprise. No one expected it. Luckily, like the former Czechoslovakia, the rebels had prepared for the aftermath and all hell didn’t break loose. No civil war, no bloodbath. Could the same thing happen in Israel too? I did not hear one word of simmering anger over high rents and the cost of living, yet Israel’s “summer of protest” erupted less than a week after I left.
I hope that is where we are today. Because the occupation, the wall and the settlements must go. As horrible as the Arab extremists have been, it does not justify this. I support the people of Palestine in their fight to be free, and the many brave Israelis who are totally fed up with their government’s human rights violations and who want to live in peace.
I will not perform in Israel unless it is a pro-human rights, anti-occupation event that does not violate the spirit of the boycott. Each artist must decide this for themselves. I am staying away for now, but am also really creeped out by the attitudes of some of the boycott hardliners, and hope someday to find a way to contribute something positive here. I will not march or sign on with anyone who is more interested in making threats than making friends.
As for the Arab Spring, I cross my fingers on one hand and bite my nails with the other.
I have a lot to learn and a long way to go.
Jello Biafra was the frontman of punk rock band The Dead Kennedys. He currently plays with the band Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.
2 Forwarded by Rupa
Monday, February 27, 2012
Don’t Boycott Israel
1 hour and 13 minutes ago — MJ Rosenberg
The movement to boycott Israeli products seems to be growing, albeit primarily on college campuses and food co-ops — two venues where one might expect this tactic to pick up traction. After all, it is at universities and among progressives (do non-progressives even shop at food co-ops?) that sympathy for the Palestinians is most pronounced and where fury at the 45-year-old Israeli occupation is highest.
It is heartening that, at long last, progressives have come to see that indifference to the occupation, in all its forms, makes no sense. Unless you’re wearing ideological blinders, it is impossible to look at what the Israeli government is doing in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza (yes, Israel still controls the air, sea and land entry and exits to and from Gaza) and not be outraged. The occupation must end, and the United States should do everything in its power to help end it rather than simply do whatever Prime Minister Netanyahu dictates.
As for the rest of us, I believe that we should convey to our elected officials that we will no longer give them a “pass” on Israel/Palestine. Today, a senator or representative feels free to be utterly reactionary on the Middle East and remain immune to challenges by progressive constituents if he is on the right side on other issues.
If he or she is “good” on the economy, gay and women’s rights, health care, immigration, etc., they are free to support Israel’s incursions into Gaza, the expropriation of Palestinian land, saber rattling over Iran and, in fact, to do whatever AIPAC tells them to do. They count on their progressive constituents’ silence and acquiescence. And they get it.
That has to stop. Being “good” on other issues does not absolve any government official from being terrible on Israel/Palestine or, for that matter, Iran. Certainly progressives in the 1960’s and 1970’s didn’t give a pass to liberals who supported LBJ’s Great Society programs but also supported the horrific war in Vietnam. In fact, they even challenged them in primaries (and often won).
There were no free passes on Vietnam. There should be none on the Middle East (especially as the threat of war with Iran grows).
I have to say, however, that I do not believe that boycotting Israel, as we are seeing on some campuses and at those co-ops, makes any sense — at least for those of us who favor peace, the end of the occupation, a Palestinian state, and also the continued secure existence of Israel.
It is one thing to boycott companies which are directly involved in the occupation either by exploiting the natural resources of the occupied lands or by providing the Israeli government with equipment (civilian or military) that can be used to sustain the occupation. If one’s target is the occupation, boycott the occupation.
But boycotting Israel itself only makes sense if one wants Israel itself to go away. After all, why else would one refuse to purchase goods grown on kibbutzim inside Israel proper or manufactured in Haifa and Tel Aviv, places that are indisputably Israel.
Why, for example, would one oppose Israeli participation — Israeli, not settler, participation — in international academic conferences, unless one opposes the existence of the state itself. Why would Madonna and a host of other performers face demands that they not perform in Tel Aviv, unless those urging the boycott believe that all Israelis are beyond the pale.
Those who want to boycott, divest and sanction should limit their actions to the occupation or admit that their target is not just Israel beyond the ’67 lines but inside them as well.
It is particularly maddening to see Americans join in those boycotts. Did they boycott themselves when we, the United States, illegally invaded Iraq and proceeded to destroy the country? How about when we overthrew Allende, supported fascist death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala, and backed blood-drenched juntas in Argentina and throughout Latin America?
To be honest, I would have supported a boycott against my own country in those days if it was targeted against the people responsible for those atrocities. I would have welcomed it as a way to make those responsible for these atrocities pay a price. But I would not have supported a boycott that targeted all Americans.
Not to put too fine a point on it, I would not have punished all those Americans who voted for McGovern in 1972 in order to stick it to Nixon’s thugs. Why would you punish the good guys too?
The same applies to Israel, a country that is as diverse as this one, a country that includes secular left-wing Tel Aviv, a country with millions of people who oppose the occupation and thousands who put their lives on the line to do so.
Who are we to boycott them? We should, instead, empower them by pressing our government to stand up to Binyamin Netanyahu and the settlement movement.
Yes, boycott the occupation — the settlers, the politicians who support them, and the businesses that sustain them. But not Israel itself, unless you think that it is a society beyond redemption. It isn’t — any more than we are.
3 Forwarded by Sam
JTA: The Global News Service of the Jewish People
U.S. congresswomen see Israel, Palestinians in the eyes of J Street
By Linda Gradstein · February 27, 2012
KALANDIYA, West Bank (JTA) — The U.S. congresswomen get off the bus and stand in the chilly shadows of the Kalandiya crossing point between the West Bank and Jerusalem.
It’s late morning, well past the rush hour when thousands of Palestinians congregate here, and only a few dozen Palestinians stand in line. To cross, the Palestinians go through a series of metal turnstiles and wait with their documents until they are called, one by one, to approach the Israeli soldiers sitting behind bullet-proof barriers.
One Palestinian man strikes up a conversation.
“I have American citizenship but I am not allowed to travel through Ben Gurion Airport because I have a Palestinian ID card,” Hamad Hindi of Louisiana tells the congresswomen. “We are seen as guilty of something because we are Palestinian.”
After crossing to the Palestinian side, the congresswomen — part of a trip to Israel and the West Bank organized by the J Street Education Fund — head to Ramallah.
“This is a ticking bomb waiting to go off,” says Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.) “There must be some other way to do this. After so many years there should be some resolution for this issue.”
The congresswomen clearly are moved by their experience at the checkpoint, and that’s the point.
J Street, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobbying group that heralds itself as a left-wing alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is trying to present an alternative to the usual pro-Israel fare on congressional missions to Israel. The trip last week included six U.S. congresswomen and a group of women from the Women Donors Network, a coalition of women involved in progressive and social causes.
A spokeswoman for J Street, Jessica Rosenblum, said the trip was part of the organization’s overall effort to promote a two-state solution.
“Our hope is that this and future delegations will help to open up and deepen the conversation in Congress about American policy in the Middle East,” Rosenblum told JTA. “In particular,” she said, the trips are meant to “encourage participating members to convey to their colleagues the urgency of the situation and the need for sustained and vigorous American engagement to reach a two-state solution.”
Over six days, the delegation met Israelis and Palestinians, both leaders and “ordinary women.”
Among the Palestinian business leaders the group met in Ramallah was Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American entrepreneur who says he has had difficulty acquiring an Israeli residency permit.
“I really appreciate what J Street is doing — it’s a breath of fresh air that there is not one line of thought in the American Jewish community,” he told the delegation. “We are at a fork in the road. Either there will be a two-state solution or it will be too late.”
On the way to the Kalandiya checkpoint, two women from Machsom Watch, an Israeli organization that monitors Israeli soldiers at checkpoints, spoke to the group.
“We believe occupation is ruining our society and threatening our democracy and future existence,” said Neta Efrony, director of a 2008 documentary about the Kalandiya checkpoint. “We need your help and to hear your voice. Israelis don’t want to hear and don’t want to know what is happening.”
If the delegation members’ reactions were any gauge, J Street’s strategy shows promise.
“There’s no awareness of this in the U.S.,” Donna Hall, the president and CEO of the Women Donors Network, said in reference to difficulties faced by Palestinians. “The congresswomen are so brave to be here, especially in an election year.”
The congresswomen also heard from Palestinian businesswomen and female hedge fund managers who described ways to empower Palestinian women in business.
“To see people who are building and hopeful and looking forward to the future is so important,” said Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) “We are already figuring out how to change the dynamics of U.S. policy in the region.”
A single mother living on welfare, Moore began her public career as a community organizer and today is also the Democratic chairwoman of the Congressional Women’s Caucus.
The J Street trip also included visits with Jewish settlers in the West Bank.
From Ramallah, the group drove to Shiloh, a Jewish town in the heart of the West Bank halfway between Ramallah and Nablus that because of its location likely would not be incorporated into Israel in any two-state settlement.
A group of Jewish women from several area settlements met with the congresswomen and told them they have no intention of leaving their homes.
“I’m holding the Bible; Shiloh was our first capital before Jerusalem and it has layers and layers of history,” Tzofiah Dorot, the director of Ancient Shiloh, told the women. “This is the heart of Israel and I don’t see a future for the state if you take the heart out.”
All of the women said they were sure that their settlements would remain part of Israel.
“This is our homeland, the homeland of the Jewish nation — period,” Tamar Aslaf told the delegation. “A Palestinian who lives here is welcome to stay. It’s his home but it’s our homeland.”
Several of the settlers described a scenario in which Palestinians could stay in their homes but not receive national or voting rights. That drew a sharp reply from the congresswomen, five of whom are African Americans.
“Some people would call that apartheid,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), the only white congresswomen on the trip.
“It’s easy to sit in your comfortable house and decide what is good for the Jews,” Dorot responded. “I’m begging you to see that we’re not pieces of Lego you can move around. This is life and death. We all need to think out of the box. I’m asking you to forget about the two- state solution.”
Several members of the delegation said the trip gave them a more sophisticated understanding of the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“In Jerusalem and Tel Aviv it’s so easy not to see much of what we saw,” said Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.). “But what does it mean for democracy when you are willing to sacrifice so much in the name of security?”
5 Forwarded by Marilyn
CNN Silences War-Skeptical Soldier
By Ray McGovern
This one-minute video-that-is-better-than-a-thousand-words could come in handy as at least a symbolic reminder of the bias at CNN and other parts of the FCM when it comes to allowing a full and fair discussion about going to war against some “designated enemy.”
[categories Updates from Activists and Activist
From Dorothy at New Profile (organization for the civil-ization of Israeli society)
I have so far found no updates about Khader Adnan today. If anything comes up will forward. Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to write or phone. We’ll know eventually if your endeavors and those of others have helped. I can only hope, along with all of you, I am sure, that it won’t be too late.
9 items below
Item 1 kicks off with an OCHA update about events in the OPT for February 1-7.
Item 2 is about Lifta (a Palestinian village near Jerusalem emptied of its residents in 1948) as it could be, had Israel not been a demographic state whose leaders care only about Jews, and try to destroy all evidence of Palestinian life here before 1948.
Item 3 is about a supposed ‘squatter’ who turns out to not have been one. We also learn that Israeli racism can be official, when some people by virtue of their ethnic background get better terms than others because of their ethnic background. The ‘squatter’ lives in I guess what could be called ‘upper Lifta.’ Palestinians who lived in the village are not allowed to return.
Item 4, Ethnic Cleansing in a Zionist fairyland, is about how Israel uses archeology to demolish Palestinian history in Jerusalem.
Item 5 informs us that Palestinians and international supporters removed barbed wire.
In item 6 Amira Hass tells us how ‘Saplings serve as Weapons.’
Item 7 and 8 are good news in the realm of bds. Item 7 reports on a victory at the University of Regina, and item 8 that Cat Power has cancelled her Israel performance.
Item 9 is a tremendously interesting and well-written piece on a horrid subject. ‘The threat of Military Provocation is real’ refers to provocation by Israel to induce Iran to start the war, all to the end of ethnically cleansing Israel of as many Palestinians as possible. You might not agree with the thesis, but the article is worth the read.
All the best,
By chance item 2 takes place in ‘upper’ Lifta. Item 3
Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 1 – 7 February 2012
2 Haaretz Thursday, February 9, 2012
Latest update 04:43 09.02.12
Lifta’s imaginary future
Plans for a luxury development in an abandoned Arab village may have been scrapped – but dreams of restoring Lifta to its former glory are likely to remain just that.
By Esther Zandberg
The Jerusalem District Court did the right thing this week when it canceled an Israel Lands Administration plan to build a luxury residential neighborhood in Lifta that threatened to erase any memory of the Arab village.
Lifta, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, is the only abandoned Arab village in Israel that has remained intact since the War of Independence, and it has become a symbol of the destruction of the Palestinian community in this country. The only thing left to do now is to protect Lifta from architecture lovers and preservationists who paradoxically may cause the Palestinian memory of this place to vanish into oblivion, specifically as they attempt to preserve it.
The same would be true if Lifta were turned into a fake and toy-like tourist attraction like Old Jaffa, or preserved as a romantic “artists village” like Ein Hod or Ein Kerem, which were built on quaint Palestinian villages after their residents fled.
Following the court’s historic decision, here is a fantasy of what Lifta might have become – a scenario that could have remedied the historical injustice, even if only symbolically. This fantasy situation appeared in Haaretz a year ago during a previous round of discussions on Lifta’s fate:
Thanks to a plan the Israel Lands Administration promoted together with the families of original residents, the village has been reborn. The streets are bustling, tourism and commerce are thriving, and the old mosque has been refurbished. The 55 historic buildings in the village that were spared destruction have been renovated and converted to new uses, including a historical museum that Jewish and Arab students visit as part of their civics studies to learn Lifta’s story.
There are new homes in the village built in a variety of styles typical of Arab communities in Israel, and quite a bit of the original village’s authentic character has been lost. But even ardent advocates of preservation would have to agree that the historic justice carried out is worth the price.
This is all a fantasy, of course – a distant dream with no chance of being realized in Israeli reality even after the court canceled the Israel Lands Administration’s construction plans for the village. Like the administration’s plan, this fantasy is also political, and perhaps both lack planning logic. Still, some residents of nearby Arab neighborhoods long desperately for this.
3 Haaretz Friday, February 10.2012
Latest update 03:31 10.02.12
Jerusalem ‘squatter’ discovers that his home is rightfully his
Decades-old documents could stymie state’s plans to evict veteran residents from neighborhoods throughout the country.
By Nir Hasson
Tags: Jerusalem Tel Aviv Palestinians
The government has apparently evicted thousands of people from their homes illegally over the last several decades, documents from the 1950s and 1960s uncovered by an independent researcher reveal.
The research was conducted by Yoni Yohanan, who is facing eviction from his home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Lifta after having lived there for 60 years.
Three years ago, the Yohanan family received a legal notice from the Israel Lands Administration asserting that they were squatting in the house illegally and demanding that they leave. That led Yohanan to devote the next few years of his life to trying to solve a legal-historical riddle: How can he have been squatting in his own house since the 1950s?
The answers that he found, several jurists said, may change the lives of tens of thousands of past and present residents defined as squatters – not just in Lifta, but also in Tel Aviv’s Sumail compound, Bat Yam’s Ramat Amidar neighborhood, Kfar Shalem, Givat Amal and other places. What these neighborhoods have in common is that all were Palestinian villages abandoned in 1948 and subsequently used to house new immigrants to Israel.
Putting new immigrants in abandoned Palestinian houses initially served two purposes: alleviating the country’s housing shortage, and preventing the Palestinians from returning. Since then, however, thousands of people have been evicted from these houses – either by the state, because it wanted to promote some new building plan, or by private entrepreneurs to whom the state sold the land.
Yohanan charges that for decades, the state concealed procedures that would have allowed the residents to acquire the legal right to their houses – but not from everyone: While thousands were evicted, thousands of others did acquire rights. “The procedures were honored for people of a certain color,” Yohanan said bluntly. In other words, Ashkenazim were allowed to legally acquire their houses; Sephardim weren’t.
Yohanan’s family came to Israel from Kurdistan in 1951 and moved to Lifta the following year. The documents he gathered show the severe poverty of Lifta residents, who didn’t even have running water or electricity. Inter alia, they include letters from Rachel Yana’it Ben-Zvi, the wife of Israel’s second president, who solicited donations to help them. “The President’s Residence doesn’t usually solicit donations,” she wrote in 1958, “but this time we were so shocked by our visit to Lifta … ”
By 1953, the family’s presence in the house had been recognized by the Jerusalem municipality; they have paid municipal taxes ever since. Yohanan and his nine siblings grew up there, and in time, after becoming a successful businessman, he turned the old house into a large, luxurious dwelling. But then, three years ago, came the blow: Due to a plan to turn Lifta into a luxury neighborhood (which was put on hold this week when the Jerusalem District Court overturned the tender the ILA had issued ), the ILA sought to evict the 13 families still living there, with no compensation and no negotiations.
For the residents – most of them now around 80 years old, Yohanan said – this was not just a disaster, but a humiliation: “Some said we’d give up the house if they just wouldn’t call us squatters.”
So he began researching the matter in an effort to save his house – or at least his honor. First, he bought a legal database and read “perhaps 1,000” court rulings, “but I didn’t find even one in which the court recognized [the residents’] rights.”
Then he moved onto archives – mainly the national archive and the Central Zionist Archives: “I’d come in the morning and stay until they kicked me out,” he says. He also contacted former senior ILA officials, who helped him gather material.
About six months ago, he hit pay dirt: a 1955 document written by the Finance Ministry that set down procedures for residents of houses owned by the state development authority, which had custody of all abandoned Palestinian houses, to acquire legal rights to them. Inter alia, the document stated that anyone who moved into such a house before March 15, 1953 had the right to obtain a contract for it without paying a “permit fee.”
“When I read that sentence, I stopped breathing,” Yohanan said. “My hair stood on end.”
Then he found another, no less dramatic, document: “Instructions for Selling Development Authority Assets 1960.” This document stated that residents must be given a chance to purchase their own dwelling, at a price set by the government assessor, before it can be sold to anyone else.
Yohanan has since shown these documents to several lawyers involved in proceedings between the ILA and “squatters,” and all said they had never before heard of the procedures they detail.
Attorney Gilad Harish, who wrote a legal opinion based on these documents, believes they could completely alter the balance of power between the residents and the state. The fact that residents were never informed of these procedures “illegally deprived them of their rights,” the opinion says, and residents who were evicted are thus entitled to sue the state for damages. That is true even if the eviction happened decades ago, it argues, because by law, if a significant fact “was concealed from the plaintiff,” the clock on the statute of limitations for civil suits starts running only once he discovers that fact. In short, thousands of families evicted over the last 60 years may now be entitled to sue.
Other jurists consulted by Haaretz also said these documents created a significant problem for the state in eviction cases.
Meanwhile, in part to due to the documents Yohanan found, the ILA has begun negotiating with Lifta residents on fair compensation for leaving their homes, and residents facing eviction from other such neighborhoods nationwide are now consulting Yohanan on their cases.
But the ILA said it still doesn’t recognize Lifta residents’ rights to their homes. The documents Yohanan found, it said, apply only to protected tenants – which the Lifta residents aren’t. Moreover, it said, the residents never paid the ILA anything for their property in all those decades, and the “permit fee” waiver is irrelevant to the ILA, which was set up only five years after that document was written.
One question that remains is who did know about these procedures. Yohanan noted that residents of Jerusalem neighborhoods like Katamon, Talbieh and Bak’a – who were generally well-heeled professionals – were somehow never considered squatters.
“I’m someone who succeeded in life, and I’ve never complained of discrimination,” he said. “But when you see these things, you want to scream.”
4 The Palestine Chronicle Friday, February 12, 2012
Ethnic Cleansing in a Zionist Fairyland
Silwan: Steadfastness are synonymous in the Palestinian soul. (Press TV)
By Vacy Vlazna
‘De-Arabizing the history of Palestine is another crucial element of the ethnic cleansing. 1500 years of Arab and Muslim rule and culture in Palestine are trivialized, evidence of its existence is being destroyed and all this is done to make the absurd connection between the ancient Hebrew civilization and today’s Israel. The most glaring example of this today is in Silwan, (Wadi Hilwe) a town adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem with some 50,000 residents. Israel is expelling families from Silwan and destroying their homes because it claims that king David built a city there some 3000 years ago. Thousands of families will be made homeless so that Israel can build a park to commemorate a king that may or may not have lived 3000 years ago. Not a shred of historical evidence exists that can prove King David ever lived yet Palestinian men, women, children and the elderly along with their schools and mosques, churches and ancient cemeteries and any evidence of their existence must be destroyed and then denied so that Zionist claims to exclusive rights to the land may be substantiated.’ — Miko Peled, Israeli dissident.
Indeed, archaeology has become a state apparatus for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Zionist fairyland aka the City of David Archaeological Park located in the Palestinian village of Silwan in East Jerusalem.
East Jerusalem is the proclaimed capital of the proposed Palestine state. It was illegally annexed by Israel in the 1967 war. Prohibiting annexation of territories gained by military conquest is one of the major principles of international law. The international community does not recognise Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem nevertheless over 50,000 illegal premises have been built for 250,000 illegal Israeli colonists.
The goal of the archaeological judaisation of Jerusalem is to transform Jerusalem into the City of David, the capital of Greater Israel by eradicating the mixed ethnic composition of the Palestinian and Jewish population of East Jerusalem to a solely Jewish identity and unifying East and West Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty.
This judaising in Silwan is executed by the Israeli government, the Municipality of Jerusalem, and the rightwing colonist (settler) organisation, Elad, through the revocation of residency rights, absentee property laws, discriminatory taxation policies, home demolitions, transfer of Palestinian residents, replacing Arabic place names with Hebrew names and the expansion of settlements which Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, describes ‘as a form of ethnic cleansing ‘ which is defined as a crime against humanity under the statutes of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Furthermore Article 53 of the Geneva Convention states: “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons.is prohibited.”
Financial support for judaising programmes comes from hundreds of moneyed Zionist organisations and foundations worldwide. In 2005, archaeologist Eilat Mazar announced she had discovered the palace of King David circa 10 Century BCE. The excavations in Silwan were funded by the Shalem Center whose Zionist neocons have invested heavily in the judaisation efforts to give historicity to the David myth. Shalem’s founder, Ron Lauder of the Estee Lauder empire, is an uncompromising Zionist extremist, a Likudnik and a major shareholder in Israeli TV Channel 10 as well as the current Chairman of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and President of the World Jewish Congress (JWC) which normalises the Israeli occupation. Curiously, in January, Abbas and Erekat had a closed meeting with Lauder in London even though the Palestinian team refused to meet with Netanyahu.
The Shalem Center has association with Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire who is a Likud supporter and a key financial backer of the Newt Gingrich campaign and Newt’s ‘Palestinians are an invented people’ idiocy. From 2007-9 the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies in the Shalem Center was directed by Natan Sharansky who is now Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, a quasi-governmental organisation advancing Jewish immigration to Israel including the illegal colonies. Its 2008 the core budget was $314,760,000. The Jewish Agency was established by the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in 1929 founded on the commitment to warrant “The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital “It acts as agent of the government in assigning land to Jewish colonists in the Israeli-occupied territories. Its new chairman is religious Zionist Avraham Duvdevani who served as head of the WZO’s Settlement Division, co-chairman of the board of the Jewish National Fund and a member of the Jewish Agency’s Executive. Over a quarter of WZO delegates are from Orthodox Zionists attesting to their sinister rising influence.
The Shalem Centre works closely with Elad the right-wing hardline colonist organization and militia that advocates illegal Jewish colonial settlement in East Jerusalem acquiring, in cahoots with the Jewish National Fund and its subsidiary Hemanuta, Palestinian properties often through threats, false depositions, forged documents, posthumous witness signatures and militant house takeovers.
Elad is mainly funded by the tax-exempt ‘charities’ Ir David Incorporated and the Irving Moskowitz Foundation which illegally funnel monies to Zionist political objectives. Moskowitz, the casino magnate, is a hardcore Zionist and founder of the Friends of Ateret Cohanim which finances Jews to live in East Jerusalem and owns about 70 properties in the Muslim Quarter. Daniel Luria, its chief fund-raiser commented “Our [fund-raising] activity in New York goes solely toward land redemption.” In 2005, Ateret Cohanim instigated, without license, an archaeological project tunneling 20 meters toward the Al-Aqsa compound causing damage to Palestinian homes in violation of the law.
Elad was given, without tender, exclusive control over the City of David Archaeological Park including a tunnel network that is being dug around and under the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Elad’s lucrative tours of the historic sites, although there is no historical evidence of David or Solomon’s existence, spout historical fabrications from the Jewish biblical narrative such as the Byzantine water pit that is falsified as Jeremiah’s pit. The 8000 year old Palestinian-Canaanite narrative is glossed over.
In December 2011, Australian listeners were treated to a fantasy tour of the so-called Palace of David by ABC presenter Rachael Kohn and archaeologist Avner Goren both of whom gushed forth fairytales about the mythical king absurdly comparing him to George Washington and sidestepping his dubious authenticity by urging trust in the Bible.
In archaeological circles there is an ongoing controversy about whether Biblical texts can be equated to history. In the 70s William Dever suggested that rather than Biblical Archaeology, the term Syro-Palestinian Archaeology (note not Syro-Israeli) was more appropriate and is used in academic circles.
Archaeologists who follow the Minimalist or Copenhagen school “conclude that the books of the Hebrew Bible were written during the Persian (or Hellenistic) period. The historical books actually contain made-up stories (that may have exploited some vague, ancient legends) through which the local organized refugee population provided itself with a mythic cover-(hi)story that linked it to the land and to a religion. This conclusion has two important corollaries: (1) Bible narratives about the political, social, and intellectual world of ancient Israel from Abraham to the temple’s destruction lack probative value. (2) Any narrative about what actually happened to the real people living in the central mountain areas of ancient Israel during what archaeologists call the Iron Age must, accordingly, be based on archaeological data alone. No other authentic sources for their history are available.”
It is widely accepted that the Bible originated in the 7th Century BCE, 300 years after David and other historical aberrations encompass the palaces officially ascribed to Solomon in Megiddo which are dated long after Solomon’s time. Cities conquered by Joshua in the 14th century BCE were destroyed well before that era. Daniel Gavron comments that “The story of Abraham’s journey from Ur of the Chaldees, the Patriarchs, the Exodus, Sinai, and the conquest of Canaan, all these were apparently based on legends…” In 2004, Yuval Goren admitted he examined ” a seemingly endless line of fake biblical texts of various kinds. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of such forgeries referring especially to the time of the First Temple. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the disciplines of biblical history and archaeology have been contaminated to such an extent that no unprovenanced written source seems to be reliable anymore.”
Proof of David’s existence rests on a piece of stone found at Tel Dan in northern Galilee (not Jerusalem) inscribed with the words ‘Beit David’ which could mean House of ‘David’ or ‘Beloved’ but not King David conclusively as with the sherd found at Tel Safi with the name ‘Goliath’ which “almost certainly did not belong to David’s Goliath, if it does say “Goliath” then it shows that there was such a personal name used in the region at approximately the correct chronological period.” The first ancient reference to an Israelite king is found in an 8th Century BCE Assyrian document recording “King Ahab of Israel sent 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers.”
Sumud (steadfastness) life and land are synonymous in the Palestinian soul. King David may be a myth but it is the modern indigenous Palestinians, outcasts in their own land, who stand alone with the stone of sumud in their hands daily facing off the militant aliyah hordes backed by the Zionist Goliaths of multi-billion dollar empires, by Christian Zionist offerings, by the servile US Congress, by a depraved UK and EU and by a contemptibly inadequate United Nations.
– Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 and was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
5 Haaretz Friday, February 10, 2012
Latest update 03:31 10.02.12
Saplings serve as weapons in battle for West Bank land
Saplings cost money, and Women in Green urges its supporters, both in Israel and abroad, to supply it. The goal: to redeem state lands ‘on which Arabs are planting.’
By Amira Hass
Tags: West Bank Israel settlements Israel occupation
Sharon Katz of the Women in Green organization defined the situation well in a YouTube clip the group posted on April 7, 2011: “We are in a battle in a war of agricultural terrorism.”
Residents of the village of Al-Khader, imprisoned between the West Bank settlements of Alon Shvut and Elazar, have already stopped counting the number of battles. Every Palestinian landowner has a thick file full of documents attesting that he and his family owned the land many years before Women in Green founder Nadia Matar was born in Antwerp, Belgium. The files also contain copies of their complaints to the police against the settlers trespassing on their land.
The weapons in this battle are saplings, irrigation systems and plastic sheeting to keep the water from evaporating. The saplings have been uprooted repeatedly, but Women in Green keep planting them – and full-grown olive trees as well. Once, the Palestinians uprooted those, but the women soon planted six more trees. And then another six.
On Tu Bishvat – the Jewish Arbor Day, which fell on Tuesday – a man in a mask (“to protect my lungs” ) surveyed the hundreds of saplings planted since October 2010 on land belonging to Yassin Da’dua of Al-Khader and Sauad and Fatma Sanad of Artis. Armed with no visible weapon but a camera, he bestrode the battlefield where Women in Green members say Arabs attacked them in the past. Another bearded man, looking equally unafraid, was replanting uprooted saplings.
Soon, an army jeep arrived, followed by a vehicle from Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank. A Civil Administration officer emerged; the Palestinians call him “Assad.”
Women in Green claims the Civil Administration dismantled the outpost they are trying to build there. “Assad” indeed sought to determine where new saplings had been planted, but so far, all his agency has done is issue eviction orders from a few plots it deems “state land.” Despite all the police complaints, the forces of law and order have yet to do anything to stop the takeover of the Da’dua and Sanad families’ lands.
On November 5, 2011, Sauad Sanad went with her sister and her sister’s husband to the Kiryat Arba police station to complain that settlers trespassing on their land had beaten them. To their shock, they were arrested on suspicion of having attacked the settlers. They refused to post bail, remained in jail until evening and were released only on condition that they not go near the land for two weeks. When they returned, they found new saplings there.
Police also opened an investigation into Da’dua, after settlers trespassing on his land claimed he assaulted them on April 1, 2011.
Saplings cost money, and Women in Green urges its supporters, both in Israel and abroad, to supply it. The goal: to redeem state lands “on which Arabs are planting.”
The money buys not only saplings, but also irrigation systems and even wooden benches inscribed with the donor’s name. One such bench is redeeming land that Da’dua, 52, can remember from his childhood: He used to accompany his father to tend the family’s vineyard there.
Sauad Sanad says these hills, and the valley between them, are the first sight she ever remembers seeing. Her father, a resident of Artis, bought a plot of land here from an Al-Khader resident in the early 1950s; in the 1980s, before he died, he transferred it to his two daughters. Along with the land, he bequeathed them a one-room stone house he built in 1959. The house still stands, though it is scorched where someone set it on fire several years ago.
Between the terraces are some barren, blackened grapevines. “After 15 or 20 years, the vines get tired,” Da’dua explained. He and his family began uprooting them two or three years ago; they then planned to let the land lie fallow for two years, after which they would replant.
Instead, it is being “redeemed” by Jews on the pretext that is “uncultivated” and “empty.” In one plot, Sanad said, the settlers even uprooted her grapevines and destroyed the terraces. “Now we’re afraid to uproot the existing vines and continue improving the soil,” Da’dua said.
They are also afraid to bring their grandchildren there, due to an incident on January 1: After “Assad” tried to tell three settlers to leave, more settlers arrived, with dogs, and a fight broke out, Da’dua said. Sauad Sanad’s back still hurts; her sister’s wrist was cracked. The dogs attacked the children and tore their clothing.
]They called the army and the police, who indeed came – and told them this was a closed military zone, so they had to leave.
6 Palestine News and Information Agency –WAFA
Palestinians, Supporters Remove Barbed Wire Settlers put on Arab land Date : 11/2/2012 Time : 17:13 [remainder of this post was removed when I emailed it to wordpress – to read complete posts from Dorothy and others at New Profile, please go to http://www.newprofile.org/english/ and subscribe to the e-list]
From the IJV-Members list Feb 14, 2012. Specific suggestions for action follow background info.
Defend Palestine House. Stop Jason Kenney’s attacks on Palestine solidarity.
Please forward widely.
Defend Palestine House. Defend free speech.
Stop Jason Kenney’s attacks on Palestine solidarity.
Palestine House has become the latest target of Jason Kenney’s ongoing attacks on free speech rights and Palestine solidarity in Canada. Last week, Palestine House was informed by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, including its minister, Jason Kenney, that all funding for Palestine House’s immigration settlement program had been cut. Before Kenney’s announcement, department officials had praised Palestine House, a Palestinian cultural and educational organization based in Mississauga, for its highly successful settlement program.
Kenney’s decision to cut funding is entirely political, and part of a broader pattern of government-led censorship and intimidation of anyone who is critical of Canada’s foreign policy, especially in relation to Israel and Palestine. This is not the first time Kenney has targeted civil society groups in response to their political views. Other targets include:
The Canadian Arab Federation , whose funding was cut by Kenney in February 2009, in response to its criticism of Harper’s support for Israel’s war on Gaza
Former British MP George Galloway , who was banned from entering Canada by Kenney in March 2009, in response to his humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza
Pathways to Peace , an academic conference at York University in June 2009, which had its funding threatened by an unprecedented intervention by a Conservative cabinet minister
KAIROS , whose funding was cut by Bev Oda in November 2009 (Kenney later boasted to an audience in Jerusalem that the cut represented his government’s “zero tolerance” policy on anti-Semitism)
Rights & Democracy , whose Conservative-appointed board members cut funding in January 2010 to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs that were critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), whose funding was cut by the Conservatives in January 2010 (UNRWA administers health and education programs to 59 Palestinian refugee camps)
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti , a Palestinian democracy activist and former presidential candidate, who was denied entry to Canada for a speaking tour in March 2010
Israeli Apartheid Week , an annual campus-based educational conference, which was attacked by Conservative MPs, who attempted to condemn it in Parliament in March 2011
Palestine solidarity in general, which the so-called Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA) attempted to equate with anti-Semitism, in its report issued in July 2011
These attacks represent a serious threat to free speech in Canada. Kenney’s attack on Palestine House also represents the loss of 22 jobs in the community, and all the services they provide. Kenney – and the rest of the Conservative caucus – must be held to account. Please take a moment to send an email message to Jason Kenney and to Bob Dechert, the Conservative Member of Parliament who represents Mississauga-Erindale, where Palestine House is located, to let them know you oppose this attack on free speech:
In your email message, cut-and-paste the following email addresses into the “To:” line:
Cut-and-paste info@PalestineHouse.com into the “Cc:” or “Bcc:” line. Let Palestine House know you support their demand to restore funding now.
Cut-and-paste “We support Palestine House. Restore funding now.” into the Subject line.
Cut-and-paste the message below. Write your own personal statement at the beginning of the message (optional). Be sure to include your name and address at the end of the message.
I oppose your decision to cut federal funding for the successful immigration settlement program administered by Palestine House. This decision is not based on the success of the program (which your department has recognized), but on politics. I oppose any move by the Canadian government to penalize civil society and cultural organizations in Canada based on their legitimate political views. This represents an attack on free speech and free expression in Canada, and is contributing to the steady criminalization of Palestine solidarity initiatives in Canada. I call on you to reverse your decision and to restore immediately the federal funding for Palestine House’s immigration settlement program. Thank you for your consideration.
Please stay tuned for further actions. For more information, email info@PalestineHouse.com . In the meantime, please forward this email to allies and supporters.
I haven’t yet finished reading Michael Riordon’s new book, Our Way to Fight: Peace-Work Under Siege in Israel-Palestine, but even at less than half-way through, I think Prof. Victor Friedman’s review on the website of Challenge Magazine is right on. I highly recommend this book.
Sent by Elana Wesley
Sharing the Land of Canaan
|Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle
By Mazin B. Qumsiyeh–Pluto Press (London & Sterling, Virginia)
There is no more compelling and dramatic unfolding story with more profound international ramifications than the conflict in the Middle East. Over five million Palestinian refugees were created and almost an equal number of new immigrants and settlers came under the banner of Zionism. The unrest and injustices created have ramifications for all humanity as seen in recent events. This book brings a critical documentation of these events and the core issues of the conflict with the view that human rights are key to any plans for a lasting peace. There is a growing interest in a vision and a roadmap for peace based on Human Rights among Israelis, Palestinians, and human rights activists around the world. A shared future is increasingly recognized as far more realistic than separation and continued injustice.
This book examines evolution of the conflict in Israel/Palestine and articulates future directions based on the logic of equality and human rights rather than apartheid. The advocated moral, ethical, and humane solutions can achieve a lasting and just peace. People who now live in this land of Canaan and those dispossessed from it will find the text compelling. Another issue addressed in the book is such things as sustainable development and impossibility of separating resources for two countries in the same area. Recent plans confirm this as shown in this report on Water in Palestine.
“An erudite work of extensive scholarship, enormous scope, searing honesty, and intellectual audacity. Mazin Qumsiyeh, once again, is challenging the prevailing misconceptions, facile generalizations, and downright ignorance that have long served to obscure Palestinian realities, and, consequently, to prevent the articulation of a just solution. Breathtaking!” Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, previous Palestinian Minister of Higher Education, Bir Zeit University and http://miftah.org
“Mazin Qumsiyeh brings to light many forgotten and willfully buried facts about the origins of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.” Dr. Norman Finkelstein
“A tour de force by a brilliant scientist who debunks entrenched myths standing in the way of the only logical and compassionate peace based on sharing,integration, co-existence,and equality rather than separation and ghettoization. It is a welcome addition to the growing literature on one of the most complex issues of our times.” Dr. Naseer Aruri, Professor Emeritus and author of “Dishonest Broker”
Errata on first edition
“Free, fair and democratic elections in the occupied territories might make many misguided Israelis and Americans feel good, but the fact remains that Oslo ushered in an era of aggressive Israeli land grabs. Is a separate, viable and fully sovereign Palestinian state still possible? Many moderate and wise scholars who have devoted a great deal of research and honest thought to examining the situation think otherwise. For instance, “Sharing the Land of Canaan,” by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, carefully studies human rights and the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. His conclusion is that a shared state is the best way to achieve justice and peace for Israelis and Palestinians. As his book is not a mystery novel, I feel that it is fair to give away the ending: “We can either remain locked in our old mythological and tribal ways, or we can envision a better future and work for it. The choice is obvious.” Anne Selden Annab, Mechanicsburg, Pa., Jan. 12, 2005, Published Letter in NY Times
“Professor Qumsiyeh, a distinguished Yale University geneticist and highly respected Palestinian activist, contributes in this study some scholarly and thought-provoking new insights into the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. This book is “must-reading” for those who are interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Norton Mezvinsky, CSU University Professor, Central Connecticut State University, co-author of “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel”
We can arrange book signing and lectures about this issue. Author recent appearances are listed under Invited Talks Given. To arrange such events or inquire about closest future appearances, contact email@example.com. In Europe, copies are available through Pluto Press or in the US through The University of Michigan Press, Amazon, Walmart ,Borders or Barnes and Noble.
From the IJV-Members list
The IJV-Canada Steering Committee has unanimously endorsed the Jenin Freedom Theatre’s Freedom Bus project.
From September 23 – October 1st, The Freedom Bus will engage locals and internationals in a 9-day ride through the West Bank of occupied Palestine. During this ride, an ensemble of Palestinian actors and musicians will use Playback Theatre to listen to, and enact the personal accounts of community members throughout the region. Performances will be themed, inviting lived stories that describe the impact of settlement expansion, land appropriation, political imprisonment, home demolitions, the Wall and other realities. Communities will also be invited to share stories that underscore the rich Palestinian history of popular resistance and sumud.
Passengers on the ride will include internationally renowned human rights defenders, artists, writers, intellectuals and others who can help bring attention to the state of egregious injustice that exists in occupied Palestine.
The Freedom Bus will be a focal point for supporters around the world who wish to learn about life in Palestine under Israeli occupation, and who wish to stand in solidarity against the apartheid structures that violate the human rights and sovereignty of the Palestinian people.
This list is from the “Resources for Activism” page of the Palestine Justice Network, a project of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People in Beit Sahour, Palestine.