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Re: Palestine

Post by blindpig » Tue May 25, 2021 11:56 am

In Al-Aqsa, Sheikh Jarrah and Rest of Palestine, Israeli Oppression Continues
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on MAY 24, 2021
Peoples Dispatch

Jewish settlers invade the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Sunday. Photo: Palestine Chronicle

While the ceasefire has ended the bombing in Gaza, violence against Palestinians continues across the occupied territories. The Al-Aqsa compound was invaded on Friday and Sunday and Palestinian organizations have warned of mass arrests by Israel

Days after a ceasefire was announced putting an end to Israel’s brutal bombardment of Gaza, violence against Palestinians continued across the region. While Palestinian activists are being arrested and restrictions have come up in the locality of Sheikh Jarrah, fresh invasions were reported at the Al Aqsa mosque compound. The planned evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and the repeated attacks on worshipers at Al Aqsa, both in East Jerusalem, had led to massive protests in the occupied territories, as well as rocket firing by Hamas. Israel responded to this with its brutal assault on Gaza and other parts of historical Palestine.

On Sunday, May 23, groups of extremist Jewish settlers illegally entered the Al-Aqsa mosque complex. Around 125 settlers stormed the premises with the protection of Israeli security personnel who reportedly physically assaulted and cleared the area of Palestinians. The security forces also arrested six Palestinians, including Al-Aqsa mosque guard Fadi Alyan and Islamic Waqf council member Ali Wazouz.

Following the raid by settlers, the Israeli security forces banned the entry of anyone over the age of 45 into the mosque compound. According to an official of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf (Religious Endowment), the body which is appointed by Jordan to administer and look after the mosque compound, the situation is very “dangerous” as extremist settlers continue to invade the mosque premises regularly. According to an agreement dating back to 1967, the status quo at the mosque must be maintained and only Muslim worshipers are allowed to pray at the al-Haram al-Sharif, the third holiest site in Islam.

At the beginning of the month too, settlers had entered the mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, leading to clashes with Palestinians. On Friday, Israeli police had invaded the mosque premises and attacked Palestinians with tear gas and stun grenades, leading to fierce resistance.

Israeli forces also attacked protests and demonstrations with rubber bullets and live ammunition across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Friday. 97 Palestinians suffered injuries in the Israeli violence. The following day, Israeli security forces carried out a systematic campaign of mass arrests, detaining more than 50 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization, Palestinian Prisoners’ Society has recently revealed that since mid-April, Israeli forces have arrested close to 1800 Palestinians, majority of them in the occupied West Bank, but also many Palestinian-Israeli citizens in the Palestinian majority towns in Israel during protests over protests against evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, the raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque complex and the Israeli bombardment of besieged Gaza.

Palestinian news agencies and activists have warned of a 48-hour mass arrest campaign in the Occupied Territories and Israel. As reported by Quds News Network, Israeli forces will carry out Operation Law and Order against a “bank of targets”. Youth organizers have stated that thousands of forces including border patrol have been deployed in Palestinian villages and cities. As per reports, at least 500 Palestinians will be targeted for participating in the uprising over the past month.

Israeli forces and police are going on a mass arresting rampage in Lydd, and other Palestinian cities in an attempt to ‘even the score’ with Palestinians that spoke up against their ethnic cleansing. This is what we warned about. Israel will target us all when you stop looking.

— مريم البرغوثي (@MariamBarghouti) May 23, 2021

Reports from the ground also indicated that Israeli forces have also placed a blockade on the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Palestinians have reported being forced to show their IDs and no one from outside the neighborhood is being let in. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers, who are often armed, are allowed to enter.

The ceasefire on Friday saw an end to the 11-day assault on Gaza by Israel which ended up killing 248 Palestinians, including close to 70 children, wounding close to 1800 and rendering roughly 90,000 Palestinians homeless. 12 people were killed in Israel due to rockets fired by Hamas. ... continues/
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Re: Palestine

Post by blindpig » Wed May 26, 2021 2:02 pm


Time to end the silence on Israel’s nuclear weapons
Posted May 22, 2021 by Mehrnaz Shahabi

Originally published: Consortium News (May 17, 2021)

The attack on Natanz nuclear enrichment plant in Iran, on April 11, targeting underground centrifuges operating under (IAEA) safeguards, was an act of nuclear terror with the potential to kill and harm many thousands of human beings and irreparably contaminate the environment.Although Israel has not confirmed or denied responsibility, the media have almost universally attributed the attack to Israel, citing senior American and Israeli intelligence officials confirming Israel’s involvement.
According to The Jerusalem Post,

Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom expressed concerns about the leak about Israeli involvement to the Times, warning that it could impact Israel’s operational capability, in an interview with Army Radio on Monday. ‘If indeed this thing is the result of an operation involving Israel, this leak is very serious,’ said Yatom. ‘It is detrimental to the Israeli interest and the fight against Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. There are actions that must remain in the dark.’

Western members of the UN Security Council and signatories to the JCPOA, media establishments, pundits and human rights organizations, i.e, the frontline crusaders against “Iran’s nuclear threats” and “human rights violations,” have failed to condemn this abhorrent crime.

This is not the first time Israel is targeting nuclear plants. Bombing Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 and an alleged nuclear fuel plant in Deir al-Zour in Syria in 2007 were precedents. Since 2010, Israel has started a campaign of assassination of Iranian scientists and targeted Iran’s civilian nuclear infrastructure.

In June 2010, Natanz enrichment plant was attacked by the Stuxnet virus, a malicious computer worm, collaboratively made by the U.S. and Israel–entered into Natanz with the collaboration of the Dutch Intelligence–which caused the centrifuges to accelerate until they disintegrated.

On July 2, 2020, in a wave of terrorist attacks on Iran’s industrial, military and nuclear sites, a bomb blast caused a powerful explosion and fire in Natanz nuclear plant which destroyed a large number of centrifuges. Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, told The New York Times that Israel had detonated a bomb and U.S. and Israeli officials had expressed certainty that Israel was responsible for the incidents at the military and nuclear sites.

Anti-aircraft guns guarding Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility in 2006. (Hamed Saber, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

All these Israeli acts of aggression, with potentially catastrophic human and environmental consequences, and in clear violation of international law and the UN Charter, have been met with total impunity, often with the stated rational that Israel is trying to stop Iran and other Middle Eastern countries from developing nuclear weapons.However, Israel–leading the scaremongering and fabrications against Iran’s civilian nuclear program for years and actively sabotaging the 2015 nuclear deal–is the ONLY country in possession of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Israel has adamantly refused to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Neither has it signed and ratified the Biological Weapons Convention nor ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Started Half Century Ago

Israel’s nuclear weapons program started in the 1950s, assisted by the French who helped construct the Dimona nuclear reactor and secret reprocessing plant for separating plutonium from spent reactor fuel. The program accelerated in the wake of the 1967 war. Julian Borger in The Guardian on Jan. 15, 2014, provided a valuable outline of “The truth about Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal,” explaining how,

Israeli agents charged with buying fissile material and state-of-the-art technology found their way into some of the most sensitive industrial establishments in the world.

Israel’s theft and secret acquisition of material and expertise for its nuclear warheads by a sophisticated spy ring named Lakam (acronym for Science Liaison Bureau), although amply documented, remains an open secret. The same countries that secretly sold or turned a blind eye to Israel’s illegal trafficking of nuclear material and technology–the U.S., Britain, Germany and France and even Norway–are now the staunchest protagonists against Iran’s civilian nuclear program, and continue to turn a blind eye to Israel’s acts of nuclear terror. Borger wrote:

In 1968 the CIA director Richard Helms told President Johnson that Israel had indeed managed to build nuclear weapons and that its air force had conducted sorties to practice dropping them… At a meeting in 1976…the CIA deputy director Carl Duckett informed a dozen officials from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the agency suspected some of the fissile fuel in Israel’s bombs was weapons-grade uranium stolen under America’s nose from a processing plant in Pennsylvania.

Not only was an alarming amount of fissile material going missing at the company, Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (Numec), but it had been visited by a veritable who’s-who of Israeli intelligence, including Rafael Eitan, described by the firm as an Israeli defence ministry “chemist,” but, in fact, a top Mossad operative who went on to head Lakam…
On Sept. 22, 1979, a U.S. satellite, Vela 6911, detected the double-flash typical of a nuclear weapon test off the coast of South Africa. Leonard Weiss, a mathematician and an expert on nuclear proliferation, was working as a Senate adviser at the time and after being briefed on the incident by U.S. intelligence agencies and the country’s nuclear weapons laboratories, he became convinced a nuclear test, in contravention to the Limited Test Ban Treaty, had taken place. … Israeli sources told [Seymour] Hersh the flash picked up by the Vela satellite was actually the third of a series of Indian Ocean nuclear tests that Israel conducted in cooperation with South Africa.

Mordechai Vanunu, who had worked as an engineer in the secret Negev Nuclear Research Centre near Dimona in the 1970s, on a trip to London in September 1986, blew the whistle to Sunday Times journalist, Peter Hounam, revealing 57 covertly taken photographs and a detailed description of his knowledge of the Israeli nuclear weapons program including separation of lithium-6, needed for the production of tritium, an essential ingredient of fusion-boosted fission bombs. From the information provided by Vanunu it was possible to estimate that Israel had sufficient plutonium for about 150 nuclear weapons.

Mordechai Vanunu’s photograph of a Negev Nuclear Research Center glove box containing nuclear materials in a model bomb assembly, one of about 60 photographs he later gave to the British press. (Mordechai Vanunu’s website, Wikimedia Commons)

Vanunu’s revelations were published by The Sunday Times in October 1986. Vanunu was lured to Rome by Mossad agents, kidnapped and taken to Israel on Sept. 30, 1986.Convicted of espionage and treason, Vanunu was placed in solitary jail for 18 years. His terms of release on April 21, 2004, have barred Vanunu from speaking to journalists, leaving Israel or traveling to the West Bank. Thirty five years after his initial imprisonment, repeated court hearings continue to rule he is bound by the terms of his release, unable to leave Israel or talk to journalists because of his possession of secrets and sensitive information dangerous to Israeli state’s security.

Iran, on the other hand, has been a longstanding member of the NPT. Despite an early history of covert activity in the 1990s in order to avoid the U.S.’ heavy-handed obstructions of Iran’s legitimate purchases and contracts for its newly fledged civilian nuclear energy program, there has been no credible evidence of a weapons dimension to Iran’s nuclear program.

Historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter, in his seminal book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (2014) comprehensively argues how what is cited as evidence of Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, such as the alleged smuggled laptop and Parchin test chamber, were concocted by Israel and the U.S. to create the fabricated crisis around Iran’s nuclear program.

History of Co-operation & Concessions

M. Javad Zarif (left), Permanent Representative of the Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, at the conclusion of the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, held at UN Headquarters today.

Iran has been fully cooperating with the IAEA and the West to address every concern about Iran’s nuclear energy program and these attempts at transparency and confidence building have been thwarted by the U.S. under pressure from Israel.In 2002, the National Council of Resistance or Modjahedin-e-Khalgh (MEK), which until Sept. 28, 2012, was on the U.S. State Department’s terrorist list, “revealed” to the IAEA the existence of two nuclear sites: Natanz uranium enrichment plant and Arak’s heavy water reactor, both still under construction. However, Iran was not obliged to allow inspection or even inform the IAEA of the existence of these facilities until six months before the introduction of nuclear materials. Iran was not a signatory to the new Safeguards Agreement introduced in 1992.

As the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) document further chronicles,

To boost confidence in its nuclear programme during the course of two years of negotiations with the EU3 (France, UK, Germany), the Iranian government voluntarily suspended its nuclear enrichment programme and in December 2003 also voluntarily implemented the IAEA’s Additional Protocol for more intrusive inspections than those required under the NPT until February 2006, when under U.S. pressure, Iran’s file was reported to the UN Security Council.

Iran “offered to implement this again subject to the return of its nuclear file from the Security Council to the IAEA,” the document says. It goes on:

Iran has invited Western companies to develop Iran’s civilian nuclear programme. Such joint ventures would create the best assurance that the enriched uranium would not be diverted to a weapons programme. …. but the U.S. and its allies have refused Iran’s offer.

The nuclear swap (Tehran Agreement) deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in 2010, according to which Tehran agreed to swap 1200kg of its low enriched uranium with uranium rods already enriched to 20 percent for cancer treatment, was a huge compromise on the part of Iran, again rejected by the U.S.

In September 2011, then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, speaking to the UN General Assembly, announced Iran’s preparedness to suspend the enrichment of uranium to the higher percentage of 20 percent if the West provided Iran with uranium rods enriched to that level “If they give us the 20 percent (enriched) fuel, we will immediately halt 20 percent (enrichment),” he said.

This offer too was ignored by the Obama administration. On Jan. 1, 2012, Iran announced the domestic testing and production of its first fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, seated, saying goodbye to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Vienna, July 14, 2015, after Zarif read a declaration of the nuclear agreement in his native Farsi. (State Department)

After two years of extensive negotiations, Iran and the Security Council members plus Germany reached a time-bound agreement in 2015, which heavily–and very controversially in Iran–curbed Iran’s civilian nuclear program and placed it under the most stringent inspections in the history of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in return for removing Security Council, U.S. And European Union sanctions and recognizing Iran’s right to enrichment.In the face of powerful patriotic sentiments from many Iranians, Iran also accepted the intrusive inspections of the Additional Protocol, which would allow access to any sites including military sites, should the IAEA present evidence of suspicious nuclear-related activity.

This concession, in circumstances of the military siege of the country and the fresh experiences of the aggressive bombardments of military and critical infrastructure of Iraq and Libya, is felt by many Iranians to be a dangerous colonial imposition under circumstances in which the other parties to the deal, Germany excepted, are all nuclear armed, as is Israel, Iran’s main regional adversary.

While, its large arsenal of nuclear weapons are exempt from any discussion and question, Israel drives the suspicion and the crisis over Iran’s nuclear energy program. According to Kelsey Davenport, director for non-proliferation policy with the Arms Control Association,

Iran is a unique case in that some key locations are subject to 24-hour surveillance and inspection teams are continually in Iran to verify its compliance with the agreement.

All IAEA reports under the nuclear deal, from 2016 to September 2019, certified Iran’s full compliance with its commitments. The U.S., however, from the start, under pressure from Israel and Saudi Arabia, obstructed an effective removal of sanctions, particularly financial and banking sanctions, and prevented its European allies to enter trades and investments in Iran through introducing a climate of uncertainty and fear of secondary sanctions.

The U.S., in February 2016, stopped nationals of countries in the Visa Waiver Program Act from entering the U.S. without a visa if they had traveled to Iran after March 1, 2011. Dual nationals of VWP and Iran were also barred.

Former President Donald Trump’s announcement on May 8, 2018, of the U.S.’ withdrawal from the JCPOA and the imposition of the “highest level of economic sanctions” on Iran, was followed by then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech to the Heritage Foundation on May 21 presenting a “New Iran Strategy.”

In his typical, puffed-up, bullish style, Pompeo presented Iran with its “terms of surrender” in the form of 12 demands, which included: stopping enrichment and closing Iran’s heavy water reactor, providing unqualified access to all sites in the country, stopping Iran’s conventional defensive missile program, and ending support to strategic regional allies vital to Iran’s security and national and regional identity.

Iran’s response to these “maximum pressure’ policies was to continue with all its commitments under the JCPOA, for another year. On the anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the deal, in May 2019, Iran gave an ultimatum that unless other signatories reversed their aggressive non-compliance, Iran would use its right under articles 29 and 37 of the JCPOA to withdraw in part or in whole from its commitments under the deal, and on July 1, 2019, Iran began its incremental withdrawals.

The assassination on Jan 3, 2020, of Iran’s revered General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Qods Force that is at the forefront of the fight against ISIS, led to a several millions strong mobilization of grief and anger in Iran and throughout the region. It has had unintended consequences for the perpetrators. It has crystalized a more determined resistance to colonial rule and the dominant colonial discourse–a discourse that has continued, despite the velvet gloves, into the Joe Biden administration.

Demonstrations in Iran over the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (Fars News Agency, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The new administration has reiterated Pompeo’s terms of surrender of Iran and made the fulfillment of its obligations, i.e., the removal of sanctions, conditional on Iran relinquishing its defensive missile program, its vital regional alliances and extending the timeframe and Iran’s obligations under the JCPOA. Iran’s response has been to refuse to accept any demands and to insist on the verified, full removal of all sanctions. Rooted in this emergent and growing national consciousness is a mood for no compromise, empty promises or neo-colonial threats.Iran’s response to Israel’s nuclear terror on April 11, which was intended to undermine any possibility of the revival of the JCPOA that doesn’t meet Israel’s demands, has been to increase its enrichment level at Natanz to 60 percent. This reflects the very powerful effect of the wave of anti-colonial consciousness and resistance, which is in no mood for an unequal compromise and understands that a strong lever is the necessary ingredient in negotiations, as well as that a more equal balance of power is the only effective guarantee for self-defense.

On April 28, Israel’s intelligence minister, Eli Cohen, repeated the Israeli threat that should the U.S. re-enter the JCPOA and remove the sanctions on Iran, Israel would hit Iran’s nuclear plants with long range missiles. This threat too was met with silent acquiescence on the part of the U.S. and its Western allies, the same kind of silence that has met Israel’s continued acts of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, house demolitions, settlement building, administrative detention of children, Gaza blockade, use of phosphorous bombs, flooding and contamination of agricultural land, raiding Al-Aqsa Mosque in the holy month of Ramadan, torching trees and agricultural crop s and bombarding residential apartment blocks in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israel’s free license to act with impunity is fast sliding into war. Only fools would believe that attacking Iran’s enrichment plants, its critical infrastructure, shipping, and scientific and military personnel, would remain unanswered, and could not spill over into a destructive regional war with global consequences, from which use of nuclear weapons can not be excluded.

The gravity of what is at stake demands action. The only possible path to avoiding a catastrophic war and reaching a just peace in the Middle East, is, in the first instance, the demand that Israel disarm its nuclear weapons and place its nuclear facilities under the same scrutiny as demanded from Iran. That would be in line with the longstanding goal, backed by the UN Security Council, of a Middle East Free of Nuclear Weapons.

Mehrnaz Shahabi is an Iranian-British peace activist and independent researcher. She has published articles on Iran-related issues on various progressive website.

The author has started the following petition, which can be found, also in Farsi, on

Call for Nuclear Disarmament of Israel and a Nuclear-Free Middle East

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the sabotage in the Natanz nuclear enrichment plant in Iran on 11 April 2021, as a form of nuclear terror. This attack has been almost universally attributed to Israel, including by the Israeli media, and confirmed by U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials. Such attacks carry a serious risk of high level radioactive leakage which could potentially endanger the lives of thousands of innocent human beings and irreparably contaminate the environment causing long-term genetic malformations and disease, with far-reaching destructive consequences into the future.

It has been repeatedly verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran’s nuclear programme is peaceful and under a strict monitoring regime. Israel, in contrast, is the only nuclear weapons state in the Middle East as it is in possession of a large arsenal of nuclear weapons, which is the reason for the country’s refusal to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The deafening silence of the self-proclaimed international community in response to Israel’s nuclear terror could set a deadly precedent for its repetition and escalate into an endless chain of retaliations and an arms race in the already war-ravaged Middle East. Therefore, we call on the UN and the Security Council to responsibly and unreservedly condemn and hold Israel accountable for repeated dangerous and profoundly irresponsible attacks on civilian nuclear installations and the assassination of Iranian scientists. In addition, we urge UN member states to embark, as a matter of urgency, on the long-delayed task of nuclear disarmament of Israel and placing its nuclear programme under the supervision and monitoring of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in line with the long-standing drive to creating a Nuclear Free Middle East.

Abrahamian, Professor Ervand (Distinguished Professor of History, Baruch College and City University, NewYork)

Adib-Moghaddam, Professor Arshin (professor in Global Thought & Comparative Philosophies, School of Oriental and African Studies, London)

Azad, Dr Bahman (Executive Secretary, U.S. Peace Council)

Baraka, Ajamu (National Organizer, Black Alliance for Peace, USA)

Brown, Dr Catherine (BA Cantab, MA, London, MScLond, PhD Cantab)

Brown, Dr Raymond (FRCPych, retired Consultant Psychotherapist, UK)

Chomsky, Professor Noam (Institute Professor Emeritus MIT, Laureate Professor U. of Arizona)

Coombe, Sheila (activist, Founder Frome Stop War)

Deane, Dr. Raymond (composer, author, political activist, Ireland)

Edalat, Professor Abbas (Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics, Imperial College, London, Founder of CASMII)

Ferrada de Noli, Prof Marcello (psychiatrist, professor emeritus of Epidemiology, Founder, Swedish Professors & Doctors for Human Rights)

Finkelstein, Dr Norman (political scientist, activist, former professor, author)

Flowers, Margaret (Director, Popular Resistance, USA)

Harris, Roger (Board Member of The Task Force on the Americas)

Hedges, Chris (former Middle East Bureau Chief for The New York Times)

Lauria, Joe (Editor-in-Chief, Consortium News)

Mercouris, Alexander (Editor-In-Chief, The Duran)

Mohit, Dr Morteza, M.D. (social and political analyst, USA)

Porter, Gareth (journalist, historian, author)

Prashad, Vijay (historian, journalist, Executive-Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, Chief Editor LeftWord Books)

Ramadani, Dr Sami (lecturer in sociology, activist, author)

Shahabi, Mehrnaz (peace and cultural activist, UK)

Shahabi, Mehrdad (peace and cultural activist, Iran)

Taherian, Dr. Mohammadreza (cultural activist, Iran)

Turner, Carol (Vice-Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, London)

Farshid Vahedian (peace and cultural activist, U.S.) ... r-weapons/
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Re: Palestine

Post by blindpig » Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:21 pm

Norman Finkelstein: Truth and Justice Are the Ultimate Test, Not International NGOs
Ann Garrison, BAR Contributing Editor 02 Jun 2021

Norman Finkelstein: Truth and Justice Are the Ultimate Test, Not International NGOs

Even Human Rights Watch says Israel is committing crimes against humanity in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and in Gaza, and the idea of a Jewish state in the context of Palestine is not legitimate.

“Do concentration camp guards have a right to self-defense?”

Scholar Norman Finkelstein, author of “The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering ,” “Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom ,” and many other books, held a two-hour, Zoom press conference last Friday to take questions about Israel’s latest attacks on the Palestinian people. My questions about international law and international human rights NGOs, and his answers are here, but I’d first like to note that, in other recent interviews, Finkelstein has said that:

1) Black Lives Matter and Israel’s heroizing of Donald Trump have put pressure on the racist Zionist narrative, even among Israel’s usual champions;

2) Human Rights Watch depends on its wealthy Jewish donor base;

3) Human Rights Watch would not have published its latest report, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution ,” if it thought that doing so would cost them their wealthy Jewish donor base.

Ann Garrison: I’d like to ask Norman about his seeming commitment to international law. I know, Norman, that you understand the international Caucasian Court very well and understand why a number of African members have withdrawn from its jurisdiction. Do you still put faith in this institution or in the idea of international criminal tribunals?

Norman Finkelstein: OK, let's start from the beginning. I don't put faith in any institutions, even institutions which I'm a member of. I’m old enough to recognize the fact that human beings are capable of many wonderful things. As Shakespeare said, “What a piece of work is man.” We're capable of quite wonderful things and we’re also very capable of corruption, capable of being bought off, capable of being seduced by power, seduced by fame, seduced by wealth. Human beings have their good side and their bad side. And since institutions ultimately are led by human beings, I think a healthy dose of skepticism is always in order with all institutions because people are easily bought off. I won’t say all people, but 99 out of a hundred can be bought off. So I don't put faith in institutions.

On the other hand, I do believe that these institutions, if you can exert sufficient pressure on them, can yield decisions which will be beneficial to the cause because these institutions carry a lot of moral authority. For better or for worse, they carry moral authority.

So in 2004, the International Court of Justice yielded a decision on the wall that Israel has been building in the West Bank, which was very favorable to the Palestinians. I thought that was an important victory. Unfortunately, the Palestinians didn't do anything with that victory, but it was an important victory in the same way.

I don't put faith in Human Rights Watch, but it must be said that it’s a very powerful institution. It carries a lot of moral authority and its April 27 report, entitled “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution ,” was a very valuable weapon in delegitimizing aspects of Israeli policy. And it's now being very widely quoted by supporters of the Palestinians: “Human Rights Watch says Israel is a state based on Jewish domination. Human Rights Watch says Israel is committing crimes against humanity in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and in Gaza. Human Rights Watch says the idea of a Jewish state in the context of Palestine is not legitimate.”

That's a very powerful weapon. If you are involved in the struggle of trying to persuade public opinion, these are very powerful weapons. And Israel is currently in a panic mode. For those of you who know the United States scene of the past three years, Israel's supporters have been targeting college campuses about what's called Israeli Apartheid Week . Israel supporters are trying to say that it’s anti-Semitic to call Israel an apartheid state, that the university officials should not allow an Israel Apartheid Week. Well, guess what happened? B’ T selem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories , Israel's leading human rights organization, said Israel practices apartheid. Human Rights Watch, the main human rights organization in the world? Guess what it said? Israel is practicing apartheid in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem, in Gaza.

“Israel supporters are trying to say that it’s anti-Semitic to call Israel an apartheid state.”

Well guess what that means? Israel supporters who are trying to stop Israel Apartheid Week have no answer when Human Rights Watch and Israel's leading human rights organization say it's apartheid. That's a huge victory. They have been silenced. They have been stopped. They have been defeated by those developments. So I don't think we should trivialize or diminish their significance.

Faith? No, but I recognize a victory for what it is, and exploiting and capitalizing on victories like that is what politics is all about. You win the battle for public opinion when you can get organizations and individuals commanding moral authority or political authority supporting your cause. We shouldn't be purist about it and say, “Well, these are all Western colonialist, Zionist, imperialist, blah, blah, blah organizations, and therefore we shouldn't bother with them.” No, no. They're more than that. They command authority. They are susceptible to popular pressure, and there are victories that have been won and we should not ignore those victories or diminish their significance.

AG: Thank you first for talking about Human Rights Watch. As soon as you started talking about the possibility of achieving victories in international courts, I was reminded of what you said about Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem in your interview with Katie Halper . It addresses a problem I encounter whenever I'm inclined to cite Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International because they got something right. I feel obliged to say how badly corrupted these institutions have been in this, this, and that report, and I worry that, by citing them, I'm putting any credence I may have myself behind them.

NF: You're totally right, completely right. You end up legitimizing organizations which then make statements that are absolutely appalling. And then people come back to you and say, “Well, you said they’re honorable, you said they’re accurate. You said that they're just, and now they say X, Y, and Z, and you don't like what they say, so now you're condemning them.” I think that's a problem.

The way I get around that problem, and I’ve faced that problem the whole of my adult life, is: When they do backtrack, when they do act in a duplicitous way, I sit down and I try to demonstrate that what they're saying in this instance is factually untrue and therefore I'm not obliged to support it. So in the book I wrote on Gaza . . . actually I wrote two books on Gaza, one on Gaza and the International Criminal Court, and before that, one on Gaza and the human rights organizations. I went through all the human rights organizations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN Human Rights Council, and I showed that what they said about the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza, Operation Protective Edge , was all lies. But I didn't just say it. I documented it in about 50 pages of very dense text.

I think you can do two things. You can cite Human Rights Watch when it says something which you can demonstrate is true and correct and you can also, at the same time, criticize or even attack those organizations when they’re carrying on in a hypocritical or duplicitous way. I can attack Ken Roth, the head of Human Rights Watch, for how he carried on during Operation Protective Edge. But I can also praise him for the report that was just issued.

In my opinion, you can do both because the ultimate test is not what the reports say. The ultimate test is always truth and justice. When they start to lie, which they do, you can call them out on their lies.

The same is true when they carry on in an unjust manner. I'll give you an example. Gaza has been called a concentration camp, by many reputable scholars and journalists, people like Baruch Kimmerling , the late Baruch Kimmerling from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Amira Haas , the journalist with Ha’aretz. Now, during the Great March of Return , which began March 30th, 2018, the Palestinians attempted nonviolently to breach the immoral, illegal, criminal blockade of Gaza. And throughout that period of the Great March of Return, even though organizations like Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, and Amnesty International did attack Israel’s killing of the non-violent protestors, they also said that the Israeli combatants and snipers along the perimeter of Gaza had what they called “the right to self-defense.”

“The ultimate test is always truth and justice.”

And at the time I wrote an article jointly with a young comrade of mine, Jamie Stern Weiner . And we asked the question, “Do concentration camp guards have a right to self-defense?” That to me is a self-evident question. If you describe Gaza as a concentration camp, then those who are preventing people from escaping from that concentration camp are concentration camp guards. That's what they are. Let's be clear about what we're saying. If you describe it as a concentration camp, then they are concentration camp guards.

And then I asked a simple question. This is not a factual question. It's not a question about truth. It's a question about justice. As I said, every human rights organization ultimately is not its last word. The last word goes always to truth and justice. Not what Human Rights Watch says, not what Amnesty International says, not what B’Tselem says. The last word goes to truth and justice.

And I say, is there any moral system, any ethic of justice that can possibly conclude that concentration camp guards, who have been confining more than 1 million children in that concentration camp since 2006, have the right to self-defense? And I do not believe that any system of justice, any ethical system can possibly conclude that concentration camp guards have the right to self-defense against children who are trying to escape that concentration camp either nonviolently or violently.

So I can praise them. When I think they are applying the standards of truth and justice, and I can criticize them or even condemn them when they don't apply those standards. And that's my answer to you. I recognize the problem that you're raising. I think it was excellently put. You said, “When I praise these organizations, I feel like I'm legitimizing them. And then when they do something, which is deserving of condemnation, I'm in a very difficult position because I just praised them.”

And I say, when you praise them, you should make clear you’re praising them because what they're saying is true. You're praising them because what they're saying is just, but all human beings and all institutions are capable of corruption, are flawed. They never reach the ideal of pure justice and pure truth. And when they fall short of that ideal, we have every right to reserve the right to condemn them. That's how I see it.

Norman Finkelstein is a political scientist who has taught at Brooklyn College, Rutgers University, Hunter College, New York University, and DePaul University. He is the author of “The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering ,” “Gaza: An Inquest in to Its Martyrdom ,” “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History ,” “I Accuse! HEREWITH A PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT ICC CHIEF PROSECUTOR FATOU BENSOUDA WHITEWASHED ISRAEL, " a nd other books .

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace through her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes Region. Please help support her work on Patreo n . She can be reached on Twitter @AnnGarrison and at ann(at)anngarrison(dot)com. ... nal-ngos-0

We must use every tool at hand if they advance the cause. At the same time we must be nihilists, in the finer meaning of the term. Praise for Ken Roth certainly sticks in the throat, he is more often a lying sonofabitch, qualification and specificity are mandatory, ya can't blink when dealing with these slippery bastards. Nonetheless, if it works we use it. More work...
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Re: Palestine

Post by blindpig » Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:48 pm


THE NAQAB, PALESTINE — As I was preparing to leave Palestine, I found it harder to fall asleep. I spent the last few days in Jerusalem, mostly walking between the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah in the north and Silwan in the south, crossing through the alleys of the Old City on the way. But even during the days when things had seemingly calmed down, like lava that seems to have cooled on the surface but is still hot on the inside, eruptions that tell of greater eruptions to come were everywhere.

Two fine boys taken

Abdul Khaliq and Mohammed Burnat — sons of the well-known Bil’in activist and popular resistance leader, Iyad Burnat — were arrested and for days their parents knew nothing of their whereabouts. These two fine young men were kidnapped by armed Israeli terrorists. As I was driving through Jerusalem, I passed by the Moskubiya, or the Russian Compound, where they were being held. The Moskubiya is a notorious prison and interrogation center where the Israeli authorities interrogate and torture Palestinians. It sits in the heart of downtown West Jerusalem, cafes and restaurants all around it filled with people having a good time. Too bad that they cannot hear the screams of children being tortured right around the corner

I cannot imagine what the parents of Abdul Khaliq and Mohammed must be going through. Knowing that your children were kidnapped and are now being tortured, beaten and threatened with no one to support or help them and there is no law or authority that can provide them protection! If one or both of them were to be killed or permanently injured there would be no recourse. It is like a coming-of-age ceremony that countless young Palestinians must go through because they live on the oppressed side of an apartheid regime.

Iyad Burnat poses with his family circa 2019. Twitter | @IyadBurnat

A younger generation stands

It was just a few days ago that I spent a long day driving through the Naqab. The first part of the day I was in Bir El-Saba to visit the Zionist district court, where a hearing was taking place regarding the fate of Palestinian activists from the Naqab. These were activists who had been beaten by an Israeli mob and then detained, and the court was discussing their possible release.


Later that day I drove with friends to the unrecognized village of Sawawin. We wanted to visit another local activist who had just been released from prison. The Naqab — or Negev, as Israel calls it — is the entire southern half of Palestine, and its 250,000 Palestinian-Beduin residents are citizens of the State of Israel but enjoy few if any, rights.

Out of close to 250,000 Palestinian Beduin in the Naqab, about half live in “unrecognized villages.” This means they get no services at all. There are no roads, something I was about to experience for myself, as well as no electricity or running water, no schools or medical facilities. This is the apartheid state of “Israel.” As a point of interest, it is estimated that close to half of the refugee population in the Gaza Strip, as well as over a million refugees in Jordan, are from the Naqab region.

As we were speeding down the highway in my tiny rented Citroen, I was told to slow down and look for a place to get off the main road. There was no road, just a place my friends thought was the starting point of the journey that leads to Sawawin as well as several other Palestinian villages to which the State of Israel refuses to provide services. The total population in that part of the Naqab is around 50,000.

We drove with no clear road in sight, on dirt covered in rocks, going up hills and down ravines and we were not really sure whether we were going the right way. We passed other unrecognized villages along the way and asked for directions — my friends, all Beduin Palestinians, speaking in Arabic with an accent that is unique to the Naqab. About halfway through I was urged to start driving faster, my very slow pace and the setting sun meant we would soon see nothing.

It was about five or six miles before we reached Sawawin. The drive was long and far from safe and we had to ask for directions three or four times. I couldn’t help thinking about the possibility of a medical emergency. “How would an ambulance reach this place?” I asked. “Ambulances do not come here,” my friends responded. “If there is a medical emergency the residents need to find their way to the main road.”

A child climbs on the remains of a home demolished by Israeli authorities in Naqab Desert. Photo | Activestills

Six and half years in solitary confinement

We reached Sawawin as the sun was setting. We walked into a cinder block structure where about thirty men were sitting on the floor in a large circle. Some of them had their children huddled next to them. We took our places in the circle, the seated area covered by a cloth, large pillows placed on it for people to recline on, all covered in Bedouin-style cloth. Arabic coffee was served, followed by large trays of rice and chicken. Then more coffee, then tea and cigarettes.

The men were talking about prison and their experiences at the hands of the Israeli authorities. One activist leader who had just been recently released sat next to me. He told of his experience, which included six and a half years in solitary confinement. He was a political prisoner but, unlike most Palestinian political prisoners, he was not from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip but a citizen of Israel. Out of fear that he would influence the others he was kept in solitary.

Citizens with rights?

At one point one of my friends spoke. He told the others — many of whom were arrested for just being at the wrong place at the wrong time, some as young as thirteen or fourteen — about their rights. He reminded them that the Palestinian Beduin in the Naqab have Israeli citizenship, which means they are tried in civilian court, not military-like the residents of Gaza and the West Bank. He reminded them that they have a right to remain silent, and a right to see a lawyer.

He also stated that the state gets around these rights by designating Palestinian detainees as “security” detainees. This means the Shabak, or secret police, have the right to keep the detainees for long periods of time and interrogate them without their seeing a lawyer.

The illusion of democracy in action

As the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, swears in a new government to replace Benjamin Netanyahu, one can see the illusion of democracy in action. It is a democracy for the few, who continue to rule and oppress the many. While many question marks regarding the new government remain — such as how long it will take before Netanyahu returns to the prime minister’s chair — one thing is clear: Mohammad and Abdul Khaliq Burnat, as well as countless others throughout Palestine, will continue to fight the apartheid regime and pay a heavy price.

Feature photo | Bedouin children play before a rally marking the 40th anniversary of Land Day and against an Israeli plan to uproot the village of Umm Al-Hiran in the Naqab Desert. Ariel Schalit | AP ... democracy/
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Re: Palestine

Post by blindpig » Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:16 pm

The Palestinians’ Inalienable Right to Resist
Louis Allday June 22, 20211

Extract from a design by Ismail Shammout

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

George Habash (1926-2008)

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

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Louis Allday is a writer and historian based in London. He is the founding editor of Liberated Texts. ... -to-resist
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Re: Palestine

Post by blindpig » Sun Jun 27, 2021 5:01 pm

Why Washington Rejects a Liberal Democratic Solution to the Problem of Palestine


Freedom does not consist in the dream of independence of natural law, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends. Friedrich Engels, Anti-Duhring, 1877.

June 26, 2021

Stephen Gowans

The United States dominates the Arab and Muslim worlds. This is a fairly uncontroversial statement. What’s less uncontroversial is the reason why.

US domination of West Asia is often understood to be related to Washington’s need to secure its energy supplies, but the United States has always been one of the world’s top producers of oil and natural gas, and often the top producer, which has allowed the country to be either energy self-sufficient, or close to it, and when it hasn’t been self-sufficient, it has relied on energy imports from Canada and Mexico to top up its energy supply more than it has relied on West Asia. The idea, then, that the United States needs access to Arab oil to satisfy its energy requirements is a myth.

The US domination of the Arab world has always been an outcome, not of a quest for energy security, but for oil profits, and for the geostrategic advantage that comes with control of a source of oil on which many other countries depend.

China, Germany, and Japan, the United States’ top economic competitors, depend on oil from the Arab and Muslim worlds. By controlling this region and the maritime shipping and pipeline routes through which the region’s oil travels to its markets in Europe and East Asia, Washington gains enormous leverage over its economic rivals. If any of these countries steps too far out of line, Washington can close the spigot. The dictum of Henry Kissinger, a former US secretary of state and national security advisor, was: Control oil and you control nations.

Expansionary Compulsion

It is the nature of profit-making enterprises that they incessantly look for new business opportunities, to enter new markets and sell more goods and services—in short, to generate more profit. They look to their governments for aid in securing and protecting these opportunities, both at home and abroad. Because business people as a class have enormous sway over governments, the aid is routinely given.

Capitalist expansion often leads to conflict among governments acting on behalf of their profit-driven, perpetually expansion-seeking, business class.

The first is the conflict between competing states to secure profit-making opportunities for their own business people and, if they can, to deny the same opportunities to the business people of other nations.

Conflict among countries for profit-making opportunities led to the First and Second World Wars, but since the end of WWII, and the rise of the United States as an informal world empire, conflict of this sort has been contained. Washington has absorbed its rivals into an economic order that regulates conflict among rival capitalisms according to rules the United States has established. The rules ultimately serve US interests. The Pentagon acts as the ultima ratio regnum of the “rules-based” system.

However, the conflict is regulated only so far as rivals remain within the system. When they step outside its bounds, the conflict becomes less restrained. This can be seen today in the rivalry between the United States, the system’s architect and superintendent, and China, which has reached a point in its economic development where the constraints of the system have become fetters on its further development. While Washington attributes its hostility to China to the East Asian giant’s “autocracy”, the origins of its animus lie, in point of fact, in the threat Chinese enterprises pose to the ability of US firms to dominate the industries of tomorrow: among them 5G, artificial intelligence, robotics, and quantum computing.

As The Wall Street Journal observed:

“President Biden portrays U.S. relations with China as a clash of values: democracy vs. autocracy. But his …goal is to stay ahead of China in semiconductors, artificial intelligence and other advances that are expected to define the economy and military of the future.”

The second kind of conflict arises when people who live on the territories in which profit making opportunities are present, say they want to set the terms of access to their labor, markets, and resources, or monopolize access, locking out or restricting foreign investment and trade.

Conflicts of this ilk have arisen, for example, when an oil industry, owned by foreign firms, has been nationalized, and the foreign firms’ government objects and takes measures to reverse the nationalization. This was done in Iran in the 1950s, by the United States and Britain, which organized a coup d’état against the elected government, in order to recover British oil assets. Also, in the 1950s, Britain and France sought to recover the Suez Canal, which had been nationalized by the Arab nationalist government of Egypt under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser, by arranging for Israel to attack its neighbor.

Israel was envisaged by the secular Jews who undertook the project of building a Jewish state, that it would be a state that acted as an instrument of a sponsoring great power (or powers), which would be used to quell the resistance of Arabs to assaults on their sovereignty. Israel’s role would be to overcome the Arabs’ resistance to Western domination and the plunder of their markets, labor, and resources—a domination that would eventually be related to achieving the principal US aim of controlling Arab oil.

Arab oil was seen, in the words of a US State Department official, as a stupendous economic and strategic prize. It was regarded as an economic prize, because a lot of money could be made selling it. And it was viewed as a strategic prize, because whoever controlled it, effectively controlled the countries that were dependent on it.

Political Zionism as a Tool of Empire

Theodore Herzl, an Austrian journalist, pioneered political Zionism, the movement to enlist the help of a European power to build a Jewish state in Palestine. In return, Herzl proposed the Jewish state would look after the interests of its sponsor in the Arab world. Israel’s attack on Egypt in an effort to recover the Suez Canal for Britain and France, was precisely the kind of role Herzl envisaged for the Jewish state.

Acting as the West’s lieutenant in the Arab world would mean that, if the Arabs should seek to use their resources for their own development, on their own terms, that the Jewish state would see to it that they acquiesced to the use of their resources for the enrichment of investors represented by the Jewish state’s sponsors. The Zionist Jews would rent themselves out as an army to whichever European colonial power would back them, and the army would act as the guarantor of the colonial power’s economic interests against the interests of the Arabs.

Herzl said the Jewish state would be a “link in Europe’s rampart against Asia,” and “an outpost of civilization against barbarism” (barbarism being his word for the Arab world.) In this tradition, Moshe Dayan, who held several key posts in the Israeli government is reputed to have said that the “Jewish people has a mission, especially its Israeli branch. In this part of the world, it has to be a rock, an extension of the West, against which the waves of…Arab nationalism will be broken.” In this vein, Benjamin Netanyahu—until recently Israel’s prime minister—has written that Israel is the West’s outpost in the Middle East.

Arab nationalist leaders have seen the role of Israel in exactly the same light: as an instrument of the United States against the Arabs. Saddam Hussein called Israel a club the United States uses against the Arab world. Nasser, whose name became an eponym of Arab nationalism, described Israel as a poisoned dagger implanted in the heart of the Arab nation. Leila Khaled, the Palestinian revolutionary, called Israel “America and Europe combined in Palestine”, i.e., the face of the West in the Levant, or as Netanyahu wrote, a Western outpost in the Arab world.

The Empire of Liberty

Since 1967, the United States has been the Jewish settler state’s principal sponsor. It shares with Israel two important characteristics: both are European settler states, and both were founded on the belief that they had a mission from God to evict the natives and take their land.

The United States is also an informal or undeclared empire. Current US practice is to avoid the use of the word “empire” or “imperialist” to refer to the country. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, wrote a book, The Grand Chessboard, in which he drew from a deep well of synonyms for empire to describe the United States, but avoided the E word.

However, concealing the United States’ status as an empire hasn’t always been the norm. Thomas Jefferson referred to the United States as an empire of liberty, with a mission to spread freedom across the world, which turned out to mean, in practice, freedom for US business people to dominate the world’s profit-making opportunities wherever they existed—or for US investors to freely take whatever they wanted, aided by US soft and hard power. In the early twentieth century, US presidents openly and accurately referred to the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Hawaii, as US colonies. That’s what they were, and some of these euphemistically named “territories” remain US colonies to this day.

From the moment of its birth, the empire of liberty continually pushed, if not its territorial frontiers, then its military and economic frontiers, outward, guided by various doctrines of empire: Manifest Destiny, the Monroe Doctrine, the Atlantic Charter, the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Carter Doctrine, and so on.

Always, US expansion was driven by an economic imperative: a quest, or a need, for: new land (for plantations to be worked by slaves and for the settlement of European immigrants); new markets; new investment opportunities; and territory that had strategic value, places like Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines, that could be used to park a few battleships, to be used in the service of gunboat diplomacy to coerce other countries into opening their markets. The need was to keep US capitalism going, for without new markets, without new investment opportunities, and without access to vital raw materials that could only be obtained overseas, the US economy would sputter, stagnate, and contract. Magnates would lose their fortunes, and the lash of poverty and unemployment would turn the minds of common people to socialism and revolution, i.e., to political and economic arrangements that did’t depend on incessant expansion, with its inevitable foreign conflicts and concomitant possibility of war, to deliver a materially secure existence.

But incessant expansion means resistance. In the decades leading to WWII it meant the resistance of other expanding powers (Germany and Japan), driven by the same needs. And it also meant the resistance of local forces of independence (such as the Arab nationalist governments in Syria and Iraq, and in the 1950s and 1960s, Egypt)—local forces seeking to use their markets, resources, and investment opportunities on their own terms, for their own development.

Israel has proved helpful to the US project of overcoming the Arab nationalists. Equipped with a US-supplied armamentarium of the world’s most advanced weapons, the Jewish settler state has crushed the Arab nationalists, intimidated them, and weakened their ability to resist. The targets have included the Arabs inspired by the Arab nationalism of Nasser, the Syrians and Iraqis inspired by the Ba’ath Arab Socialist party, and, in the larger Muslim world, the resistance project of the Iranian Revolution and Hezbollah. Had these movements been allowed to pursue their nationalist agendas unopposed, corporate America’s ability to extract wealth from the Arab and Muslim worlds would have been severely compromised.

Overlapping Interests

The interests of Israel largely overlap those of the US state and this makes Israel an effective instrument of US empire. The two states, Israel and the USA, share a common enemy: the peoples of the Arab and Muslim worlds. These peoples oppose Washington, because it imposes its will on them, sometimes directly but typically indirectly, through satraps who govern at the pleasure of Washington (such as the Saud family in Arabia, other Arab monarchies, and Egypt’s military dictator); and they oppose Israel, because it has evicted Palestinians from their homes and from the Palestinians’ country, and is an ongoing threat of further expansion into Arab territory.

If the United States did not need Israel as a tool of its empire, Israel would soon meet its demise. It is a very small country, its Jewish population comprises only seven million, and it is surrounded by hundreds of millions of Arabs who disapprove of the existence of a racist Jewish settler state implanted on stolen Arab land. Without Washington providing Israel with the means to defend itself, the Zionist state would be toppled by the internal revolt of the Arabs and the invasion of Arab and Muslim nationalist armies and movements.

How does Washington guarantee the survival of a small Jewish settler state amidst a much larger population of injured, dispossessed, aggrieved, aggressed upon, Arabs and Muslims?

First, US legislation compels Washington to provide Israel with a qualitative military edge over its neighbors. The QME policy ensures that, militarily, Israel will always be at least one qualitative step ahead of its neighbors. The Jewish settler state won’t necessarily have more weapons, but it will have superior ones.

Superior weaponry has long been the means by which the Western world and its outposts, comprising one-tenth of humanity, has dominated the remaining nine-tenths. As Hilaire Beloc rhymed: “Whatever happens, we have got, the Maxim gun, and they have not.” Today, an Israeli might say: “Whatever happens, we have got, the F-35, and they have not.” Or: “Whatever happens, we have got, the atom bomb, and they have not.”

Second, the United States provides Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid annually, about equivalent to the cost of operating a carrier strike group. This aid travels from the pockets of US taxpayers to the US Treasury, onward to US arms manufacturers, and thence to Israel in the form of weapons superior to those of the Jewish settler state’s neighbors.

In this relationship, there are two winners and two losers. The winners are the dividend collectors, bond holders, and stock market gamblers who have a pecuniary interest in the US arms industry and whose wealth is expanded by arms shipments to Israel. The second winner is the class of Jewish settlers in Palestine who are made more secure and better able to continue their expansion into Arab land. The losers are, first, US residents, whose pockets are picked to confer this largesse on both the US arms industry and Israel; and second, the Arabs whose land, livelihoods, future, and lives are thereby threatened. The immediate cause of the injuries Israel inflicts on the Arab and Muslim worlds is the Jewish settler state itself, but the ultimate cause is the US taxpayer, for without the support they provide Israel by paying for its qualitative military edge, Israel would not exist as a poisoned dagger aimed at the heart of the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Third, Washington runs diplomatic interference for Israel, protecting it from attempts by other members of the Security Council to issue punitive resolutions in connection with Israel’s violations of international law, of which there are many. The losers are international law and the Arabs. The winners are Israel, which can act as it will with impunity, as well as the United States, which benefits from the services Israel provides within a framework unfettered by the constraints of international norms.

And finally, the Pentagon is prepared to intervene on Israel’s behalf on the slim chance that despite Israel being equipped with superior weaponry, that Israeli forces face a threat they cannot readily deter.

Israel is thus completely dependent on the good will of the United States for survival. This comports perfectly with US aims. As a dependency of the United States, Israel must do Washington’s bidding, or perish.

As The New York Times observed:

“Israel, a small country surrounded by adversaries and locked in conflict with the Palestinians, depends absolutely on American diplomatic and military support. By giving it, the United States safeguards Israel and wields significant leverage over its actions.”

Services to the Empire

What services are provided to the United States by Israel in return for the quid-pro-quo of US protection?

Israel has for years waged an undeclared war on Iran, the principal enemy of the US empire in the Muslim world. The New York Times calls the campaign a years-long shadow war on land, air and sea. It involves assassination, sabotage, cyberattacks, attacks on Iranian shipping, and air strikes on Iranian targets in Syria.

In Arab nationalist Syria, Israel has armed and supported anti-Syrian al-Qaeda elements that operated in the south of the country; provided air cover for ISIS’s war on the Syrian government; and conducted countless airstrikes on Syrian targets and those of Syria’s Iranian and Hezbollah allies.

In 2007, Israel deployed warplanes to destroy a nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert. The reactor was very likely intended to produce fissile material for a military nuclear program. The Israeli action was a reprise of the country’s earlier bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981. Had Israel not acted, and had these Arab nationalist states succeeded in developing nuclear deterrents against US and Israeli aggression, the Arab world would look very different today. The United States would not have invaded Iraq in 2003, and it would not have marched into Syria to set up an indefinite (and little recognized) occupation of one-third of the country.

Today there are, in Syria, three foreign occupations: A US occupation, which relies on the Kurds as the tip of the US spear; a Turk occupation; and an Israeli occupation. The Israeli occupation covers two-thirds of Syria’s smallest province. The Israelis conquered this territory in 1967, ethnically cleansed it, built Jewish settlements on it, and gave it a Jewish name: Golan. The conquest, ethnic cleansing, settlement, and imposition of a Jewish name on a part of Syrian territory, perfectly recapitulates Zionist practice in Palestine: Conquer territory by force; ethnically cleanse it; implant Jewish settlements on it; and rename it (from Palestine to Israel).

These actions are just the tip of the iceberg. For decades, Israel has either intimidated Arab nationalists into submission or inaction, or has weakened their ability to resist US domination. In return, the United States has appeared to overlook the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians and Syrians; in reality, it has welcomed it.

To be sure, the Israeli Judaization project does not benefit Washington directly, but it does aid the US imperial project by firmly binding Israel to the United States as a protégé. Israeli encroachments on Arab interests spark Arab enmity. This in turn induces Israel to look to the United States for protection, which Washington is happy to provide, in return for Israel performing services in the Arab world and beyond that benefit the United States directly, such as eliminating Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear weapons programs. The process is self-reinforcing: The services Israel provides to Washington against Arab interests strengthen Arab animosity; growing Arab animosity strengthens Israel’s need for US protection; Israel’s growing need for US protection, strengthens its willingness to ingratiate itself with Washington by doing the empire’s bidding.

The Anti-Racism Solution

We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire with fire. But we say you fight fire best with water. We say you can’t fight racism with racism. We’re going to fight racism with solidarity. – Fred Hampton

There is a solution to the problem of Palestine, that is, the problem of Jewish settlers claiming a right to the territory of the natives, and a right to evict them and to prevent their repatriation, in order to create a Jewish majority state as a haven for the world’s Jews against anti-Jewish racism. Indeed, the problem of Palestine is not the problem of Palestine at all, but the problem of political Zionism, and in a larger context, the problem of racism.

The problem of political Zionism is that its proposed solution to anti-Jewish racism is the practice of anti-Arab racism. Political Zionism is a hierarchical doctrine which elevates Jews to a position of primacy relative to all other groups, with the exception of its US sponsor; vis-à-vis the United States, political Zionism accepts a servile position for Jews. In practice, political Zionism prioritizes the welfare of the Jews over the welfare of the Arabs, while at the same time subordinating Jews to the foreign policy dictates of the United States. Political Zionism says that in defense of Jewish welfare, the welfare of Arabs can be sacrificed, but in defense of Jewish welfare, Jews must do the bidding of their American master as an expedient of maintaining US protection against Arab efforts to overcome the injuries of anti-Arab racism.

The solution to the problem of Palestine qua the problem of political Zionism is the solution to the problem of racism, both anti-Jewish and anti-Arab. The solution, which has existed at least in embryo since the French Revolution, is the solution of universal equality.

It 1947, before the UN promulgated its infamous resolution to expropriate Palestine from its rightful owners and partition it into Jewish and Arab states, R. Palme Dutt proposed a solution to the problem of racism in Palestine based on universal equality. Dutt called for “the creation of a single, free, independent and democratic state, which would guarantee equal rights of citizenship with full religious freedom and full opportunities to develop their culture to all its inhabitants, Arab and Jew.” This would be one democratic state, not two national states. While the proposal, or those like it, are occasionally acknowledged in the Western world as an idea with growing currency among Palestinians, and some Jews, it is rarely explored.

Gregory Shupak, who teaches media studies at the University of Guelph, has observed that mass media “coverage is written as though ethnic partition in Palestine [the two national states “solution”] were the only way to resolve the conflict—rejecting without consideration the possibility of a single, secular, democratic state, in which all people, Jews and Arabs, have the same rights.”

Why doesn’t Washington favor a single, unitary, democratic state in all of Palestine? After all, such a state would be liberal democratic. And Washington claims to be the world’s foremost champion of liberal democracy. Indeed, Joe Biden is said to be rallying the world’s democracies against Chinese authoritarianism in an effort to strengthen a global liberal democratic order.

The answer is that Washington’s support for liberal democracy is contingent—it’s contingent on whether, at a particular time and place, liberal democracy suits US interests. Liberal democracy doesn’t suit US interests in Palestine.

A racist Jewish settler state, which by its nature must arouse the animosity of the Arab world, and which therefore makes that state dependent on the United States for protection from Arab indignation, and which consequently must do the bidding of the United States as a condition of its survival, is what suits US business interests. An Israel organized to engender the hostility of the Arab and Muslim worlds, guarantees the settler state will act as an instrument of Washington to overcome the region’s resistance to its plunder by corporate America, since, if Israel doesn’t accept this role, Washington will withdraw its support and Israel’s existence will soon come to an end.

On the other hand, a unitary, democratic, state of Arabs and Jews, with equal rights for all, is one that would be more acceptable to its Arab citizens and its Arab neighbors than the current anti-Arab racist Zionist state, and therefore would no longer require the protection of Washington for survival. As a consequence, Washington would lose its leverage over the state as the guarantor of its existence, and could no longer use the state as a battering ram against the Arabs, a poisoned dagger aimed at the heart of the Arab nation, or a rock against which the waves of Arab nationalism are to be broken.

Another reason Washington favors a racist Jewish settler state, is that it facilitates the US project of doing what Zbigniew Brzezinski called preventing the barbarians from coming together.

In the US view, the barbarians are the people who live on territory whose abundant profit-making opportunities Washington covets. The territory stretching from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf—the area in which Arabs predominate—contains a significant proportion of the world’s petroleum reserves. Were the inhabitants of this territory to come together as a single political unit, determined to use their resources and markets for their own benefit and for their own economic, scientific, and military development, they would significantly challenge US political and economic power and deny US investors substantial profit-making opportunities. Hence, an imperative of US foreign policy is to disrupt the potential for unity in this region, and to do all that is possible to aggravate its demographic fault lines. Accordingly, the United States promotes one ethnic group against another: the Kurds in Iraq and Syria against the Arabs; the Maronite Christians against the Muslims; and the Jews against the Muslim and Christian Arabs.

When Washington wrote Iraq’s post-conquest 2005 constitution, it politicized ethnic and religious divisions within the country, to prevent Iraqis from congealing into a coherent collectivity, in accordance with Brzezinski’s (and imperialists’ longstanding) divide and rule strategy. That is the precise opposite of what the previous Arab nationalist government of Saddam Hussein did. The Iraqi president tried to mute the ethnic and religious divisions within his country, to make them irrelevant to Iraq’s politics, so that for the purposes of politics people regarded themselves as Iraqis, not as Shiites or Sunnis, Arabs or Kurds.

However, Washington doesn’t always create demographic fault lines. Sometimes the barbarians create the fault lines themselves, and Washington simply works with the material it finds.

For example, Arab nationalism has a strength vis-à-vis imperialism in bringing large numbers of people together in a common anti-imperialist struggle on the basis of their Arab identity, but it also has a weakness—it leaves non-Arabs, such as Kurds, outside the struggle. The excluded become opportunities for imperialists; they can be turned against the majority, to act as US agents in return for various Washington-provided benefits. In the case of the Jews and Kurds, these benefits have included US backing for their political autonomy vis-à-vis the Arabs.

Once recruited as an ally, the ethnic minority’s role as US lieutenant is to pull the trigger of the US-supplied gun whenever Washington gives the order. As the immediate perpetrator of the injury to the majority, the ethnic minority absorbs the blame, while the puppeteer behind the curtain escapes culpability. In this way, Washington has been able to deceptively present itself as a neutral arbiter of a conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine, when in fact it is the principal instigator.

Another way Washington has contributed to disunity among the “barbarians” is to promote highly sectarian brands of political Islam. Since the early 1950s, acting both directly and through its proxies, especially Saudi Arabia, Washington has promoted sectarian political Islam as an alternative to secular Arab nationalism and atheistic communism. Both doctrines emphasize the unity of Arabs against outside domination, and therefore work against Brzezinski’s dictum of preventing the “barbarians” from coming together. Communism, however, goes one step further than Arab or Muslim nationalism, promoting the unity of all oppressed peoples, including those within Arab-majority countries who aren’t Arab, and those within Muslim-majority countries who aren’t Muslim.

Political Islam can also be a doctrine of unity. The political Islam of the Iranian revolution, for example, encourages Muslims to unite against foreign oppression across sectarian lines. But Washington has always promoted a sectarian brand of Sunni political Islam, in which fanatical Sunni fundamentalists seek to settle theological scores with Muslims they abominate as heretics. This explains why the United States is antagonistic to the political Islam of Iran, with its emphasis on Muslim unity, but covertly encourages all forms of political Islam which regard other interpretations of Islam (as well as secular Arab nationalists and communists) as enemies to be destroyed.

Unfortunately, political Islam, in either its sectarian or non-sectarian forms, is a barrier to any solution to the problem of Palestine which seeks to bring Jews and Arabs together in a secular, unitary, democratic state as equals. Political Islam’s solution to the problem of the eviction of Muslims by Jews from Palestine, is not the repatriation of the Muslims, and the assignment of equal rights to all people, but the repatriation of Muslims combined with either the eviction of the Jews or their relegation to a second class citizenship in a state in which Islam has primacy.

Washington has no real objection to political Islamists who, viewing themselves as modern-day Salah al-Dines, want to recover Palestine for Islam. The more political Islam presents the Israelis with a future that denies them a place in Palestine as equal citizens, the stronger the Israeli attachment to the United States as a protector against what is, from their perspective, an intolerable future. If Jews are to leave the political Zionist highway, they must have an exit ramp to a secure future. Political Islam offers no exit ramp.

Arab nationalism also stands as a barrier, so far as it defines Palestine as an Arab country. An Arab Palestine as a national state for Arabs, would be no less an apartheid state against Jews than a Jewish Palestine as a national state for Jews is an apartheid state against Arabs. Washington can have no real objection to Arab nationalists who want an Arab Palestine, for the same reason it can have no real objection to political Islamists who want a Muslim Palestine. Exclude Jews from a fair and just political settlement, and you guarantee that they will continue to identify with the United States as their protector and the surrounding population as their enemy—all to Washington’s benefit.

What is needed is a state of all its citizens.

A Just Solution

Returning to Dutt’s 1947 analysis, the British communist argued that the United States and Britain were using political Zionism in pursuit of a policy of divide and rule; that they were deliberately setting Jews against Arabs.

Dutt wrote:

“We warn all Jewish people that Zionism, which seeks to make Palestine a Jewish state as an ally of the United States and Britain and their base in the Middle East, diverts Jewish people from the real solution of the problem of anti-Semitism, which is along the lines of democratic development and full equality of rights within the countries in which they live. It is in the interests of Jews to oppose the Zionist conception which seeks to put them in the position of being an instrument of great powers in the Middle East.”

In Dutt’s view, Jews should unite with Arabs, in a unitary, secular, democratic state, a state for all its people, rather than what it is today: a state that elevates one ethnoreligious group above another, and whose existence depends on its acting on behalf of Washington to serve up the territory of the “barbarians” as a field of lucrative business opportunities for US dividend collectors, coupon clippers, and stock market gamblers. Instead, Palestine must be an end in itself, not a means to religious ends (whether Muslim or Jewish), nor a means to ethnic ends (whether Arab or Hebrew), nor a means to Wall Street’s ends, but a state in which all its citizens, individually, are ends in themselves. ... palestine/
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Re: Palestine

Post by blindpig » Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:40 pm


Legalized Apartheid: The Israeli Supreme Court Just Cemented Jewish Supremacy into Law
July 20, 2021
By Jessica Buxbaum – Jul 16, 2021

Only a few years old, the nation-state law has already proven it can serve as a legal tool for discrimination, racial segregation, and outright apartheid.

JERUSALEM — In November of last year, an Israeli judge invoked the controversial Jewish Nation-State Basic Law when striking down a lawsuit against the city of Karmiel over funding transportation for two Palestinian students.

In his ruling, the chief registrar of the Krayot Magistrate’s Court, Yaniv Luzon, said that establishing an Arabic-language school in Karmiel or funding transportation for Palestinian Arab students would “damage the city’s Jewish character” and may encourage Palestinian citizens of Israel to move into Jewish cities, thereby “altering the demographic balance.”

Luzon cited Section 7 of Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Law, writing:

The development and establishment of Jewish settlement is a national value enshrined in the Basic Law and is a worthy and prominent consideration in municipal decision-making, including the establishment of schools and the determination of policies relating to the funding of [school] busing [of students] from outside the city.

The students’ father, Kasem Bakri, said of the judge’s decision, “The municipality treats my sons as guests in the best of times and as enemies in the worst of times.” The family was fined 2,000 shekels (roughly $600) and ordered to pay all of the court’s expenses.

The court ruling came just before a Supreme Court hearing on 15 petitions submitted by human rights organizations and Palestinian political leaders challenging the Nation-State Law in December. After only one discussion on the law, the high court last week rejected the petitions and upheld the 2018 law in a 10 to 1 decision. The single dissenting opinion was from the only Palestinian justice on the court, Justice George Kara.

Swift condemnation of the Supreme Court’s decision

“The Israel Supreme Court approved a law that establishes a constitutional identity, which completely excludes those who do not belong to the majority group. This Law is illegitimate and violates absolute prohibitions of international law,” Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel wrote in a press release. Adalah, one of the law’s petitioners, deemed this piece of legislation “a law that clearly shows the Israeli regime as a colonial one, with distinct characteristics of apartheid.”

Israel: Not a Democracy. Apartheid

Activists drop a banner reading “Israel: Not a Democracy. Apartheid” from atop the Israeli military court in Jaffa, July 12, 2020. Photo | Activestills

“The Supreme Court refrained from doing what was essential — to defend the basic right to equality,” Dr. Yousef Jabareen, chair of the Human Rights Forum in the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and a former member of the Knesset, said in a statement, adding:

The so-called ‘Jewish Nation-State’ law formalizes in Israeli constitutional law the superior rights and privileges that Jewish citizens of the state enjoy over its indigenous Palestinian minority, who comprise roughly 20% of the population.”

What is the Jewish nation-state law?
In 2018, the Knesset voted to approve the nation-state law by 62 to 55. The basic law essentially legalizes Israel’s apartheid nature and states the following:
• Exercising the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
• The name of the state is ‘Israel.’
• A greater, united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
The director of the land and planning rights unit at Adalah, Adv. Suhad Bishara, helped formulate Adalah’s petition against the nation-state law. “The overriding objective of the basic law is to violate both the right to equality and the right to dignity of the Arab citizens of Israel,” she said.

Additionally, the law promotes Jewish settlement and views it as a national value. It also demotes Arabic from one of the two official languages to a “special status.” With the nation-state law’s basic tenets, Palestinian history and identity are effectively erased from the land.

Emphasizing the law’s notion of Jewish settlement and demotion of Arabic, Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu — co-director of Abraham Initiatives, an Israeli nonprofit focused on Jewish-Arab partnership — said the legislation institutionalizes inequality between Israeli Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel. “It’s creating a situation in which, according to our basic laws, there is a sector in society that is not equal,” Be’eri-Sulitzeanu told MintPress News. “This is something that no democracy can allow.”

In a tweet, Abraham Initiatives advocated for repealing the law, writing that it “establishes the status of Arab citizens in Israel as second-class citizens.”

The nation-state law’s impact

Only a few years old, the nation-state law has already proven it can serve as a legal tool for discrimination and racial segregation.

The Bakri family in Karmiel sued the local municipality over their school transportation costs. Since there isn’t an Arabic-language school in Karmiel, the Bakri children were forced to travel nearly four miles to the town of Rameh for their education. According to the Bakris, the traffic often made the commute more than 30 minutes and cost the family 1,500 shekels (or roughly $460) each month. The family’s lawsuit requested reimbursement for their transportation costs totaling 25,000 shekels (about $7,683).

Nizar Bakri, the children’s uncle and the attorney who filed the lawsuit, condemned the magistrate court’s dismissal of the suit, saying, “The court’s decision wasn’t based on law; it was based on Jewish existence.” Following the ruling, Nizar Bakri filed an appeal with the Haifa District Court. The district court denied the Bakris’ appeal in February but determined the lower court’s reliance on the nation-state law was “fundamentally wrong” and “liable to damage the public’s trust in the courts.”

“The court may have unequivocally ruled that the registrar of the Krayot Magistrate’s Court made a mistake in the use of the nation-state law and its connection to this case, but this ruling should not satisfy the opponents and victims of the nation-state law,” Nizar Bakri told Haaretz.

For Adalah’s Bishara, the district court’s opposition to the magistrate’s court’s use of the nation-state law is irrelevant when it comes to future court decisions, as the grounds for discrimination are officially embedded into law. She explained:

It doesn’t really matter whether it’s explicitly mentioned or not because it’s the legal, constitutional framework that’s there that sets the basic principles of supremacy and of the right to self-determination only for one national ethnic group in the state. This sends a very clear message to all the authorities that you can not only go on with what you have been doing so far in terms of violating the rights of the Palestinian citizens as individuals and as a group, but this will certainly give you more backing to deepen these policies.”

Bishara told MintPress that she anticipates the legislation will add another dimension to Israel’s ongoing discrimination and have huge implications for Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line — not just 1948-occupied Palestine. “Since it speaks about the land of Israel as the historic land of the Jewish people and Jewish settlement as a constitutional value, this combination of both becomes very problematic both in Israel proper and in the Occupied Territories,” she said.

Israel’s long list of discriminatory laws
Globally, the state of Israel touts itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East,” but Dr. Jabareen said the nation-state law “prioritizes the Jewishness of the state over its democratic character,” specifically in “omitting any reference to democracy or equality.” He added:

The nation-state law further marginalizes the Arab-Palestinian community and entrenches Israel’s regime of racial discrimination and deterioration into apartheid. It will lead to more racist, anti-democratic laws, adding to the more than 50 laws already on the books that disadvantage non-Jewish citizens.”

Palestinian workers cross the Eyal checkpoint, January 10, 2021. Keren Manor | Activestills

According to an Adalah database, Israel has more than 65 laws discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). These laws encompass nearly every facet of daily life, from property and housing rights to citizenship and finances. The following are just a few notable examples:
• The Admissions’ Committees Law, which permits towns built on state land to deny housing to Palestinians based upon the criterion of “social suitability.”
• The Nakba Law, which bans groups or schools receiving government funding from commemorating Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign against Palestinians during the state’s founding (known as the Nakba or Catastrophe).
• The Boycott Law, which prohibits calls to boycott Israel. This legislation effectively outlaws the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
• The Absentees’ Property Law, which categorizes individuals who were expelled or fled their property after November 1947 as absentees and thereby having no ownership claims to their properties. However, Jews who lost property during this time are allowed to reclaim their land through the Legal and Administrative Matters Law. These laws are often used to displace Palestinian communities, as has been witnessed in the Occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
• The Law of Return, which guarantees citizenship to all Jews. No law exists guaranteeing Palestinians the right to citizenship — even if they were born in what is now considered modern-day Israel.
• The Citizenship Law, which bans citizenship rights to Palestinians living in the OPT who are married to Israeli citizens. Settlers living in the Occupied West Bank are exempt. Israel’s new government failed to extend the law this month, but reunification still remains a significant problem for many Palestinian families.
Codifying apartheid into law

While the principles outlined in the nation-state law have always been part of Israel’s foundation and way of governing, enacting this legislation turns these de facto concepts into de jure ones and opens the floodgates for further inequity.

“This nation-state law is validating racist behavior against Palestinian Arabs,” Kasem Bakri said.

Despite the controversial legislation remaining, Kasem Bakri is steadfast. “I exist here as an Arab person and I have the right to be here,” he said. “Palestinians exist here like the cactus and the olive trees. We will never be gone from here.” ... -into-law/
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Re: Palestine

Post by blindpig » Fri Sep 03, 2021 1:53 pm


Protests Highlight U.S. Non-Profits Driving Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine
Palestinian Homes Stolen; Theft Abetted by U.S.-Based Settler Organizations

By Andy Ratto, Contributor September 2, 2021

On July 27th, Palestinians and allies held protests in East Meadow, Long Island and Brooklyn as part of the Defund Racism campaign targeting US settler organizations that support the theft of Palestinian land. The Long Island protest was outside the home of Yaakov Fauci, an American settler currently living in someone else’s home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem. Fauci became infamous when he told the family of Palestinian activist Muna El-Kurd, whose home he non-consensually occupies, that if he did not steal her house, then “someone else” would.

The NYC protest was targeting New York Attorney General Tish James, who has the authority to investigate US organizations who claim to be charities, but who fund and support land theft in Palestine. These actions were led by Al-Awda NY: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition as part of the launch of its own campaign to expose Anti-Palestinian hate groups and settler movements in NY and the US, and in support of the Campaign to Defund Racism. According to their website, “The Campaign to Defund Racism is a Palestinian-led movement to end the use of ‘charitable’ funds raised in the United States to carry out the mission of Israeli settler organizations.”

Palestine advocates protest Zionist extremist Fauci and Settler Organizations in Long Island

In East Meadow, Long Island, the protesters chanted outside Yaakov (Jacob) Fauci’s former home. Fauci has been living in the El-Kurd home in Sheikh Jarrah for eleven years with the support and funding of Nahalat Shimon International, a settler organization that is committed to the ‘Judaization’ of Jerusalem and all of Palestine. This effort includes the goal of expelling entire Arab populations from Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah.

In May, a video of a confrontation between Muna El-Kurd and Fauci went viral. She told him, “you are stealing my house.” Fauci replied, “if I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it.”

Protesters are seen outside Yaakov Fauci’s Long Island home, with shirts that read “You’re stealing my house,” and “Zionist Home Invader – If I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it.” Video still by Andy Ratto

While outside the Fauci home, protesters repeated his infamous exchange with El-Kurd (“This is my house” – “if I don’t steal it, someone else will!“) as well as “Shut down war crimes! Shut down genocide! Free free Palestine!.” They held signs which read, “Jacob ‘Yaakov’ Fauci – Funded to commit war crimes in Palestine by Nahalat Shimon. Shut down US-based settler organizations mobilizing genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine.” Protesters left these signs affixed to the trees outside Fauci’s house after the action.

Organizers distributed mock ‘Wanted’ and eviction notices during the protest. The ‘Wanted’ poster noted “Yaakov Fauci – Accused by Al-Awda NY and under international law suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity including being an agent of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and conspiracy to commit genocide.”

The eviction notice read in part,
“You are hereby notified that, under the terms of international law, you are occupying stolen land and participating in ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people of Palestine. Al-Awda NY, acting on behalf of the international community and all peace-loving people of the world, hereby demands you vacate the premises immediately and render back payments for over 11 years of rent to the El-Kurd family.”
Digital copies of the mock Wanted and Eviction posters that protesters distributed during the protest.

Lamis Deek, an organizer with Al-Awda NY, spoke in front of the Fauci house:
“Many communities in New York are being exhorted to commit violence and genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine. We say that day is over. We remind county officials that under the US Federal code 18 USC 1091, that it is a federal crime for people, for New Yorkers, for Americans to engage in acts of genocide, which means acts of ethnic cleansing, intended to damage and erase an entire people, as Yaakov himself, has testified to openly and repeatedly through his statements, written and spoken. It is also a federal crime to aid and abet that genocide, just as Nahalat Shimon did when they funded him to go to Palestine, first in the West Bank, and then in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Al-Quds [Jerusalem]. It is also a crime to conspire, and we call out the Zionist institutions that are calling on Americans and New Yorkers to go and colonize Palestine. This will be the first of many actions, by Al-Awda New York, by our friends at New York for Palestine, the National Lawyers Guild and because what we say is, crimes against humanity have no place in our community.”
A video of the full action can be viewed here.

The National Lawyers Guild also supported the protest. “The U.N. Human Rights Commission Rapporteur recently decried settlements as war crimes, and New York private and government actors are actively abetting war crimes, violence and genocide in Palestine with wholesale impunity. This must end if Palestine and the region can ever see peace,” said attorney Audrey Bomse, a member of Al-Awda New York and the National Lawyers Guild.

Fauci is a documented extremist and a supporter of former President Donald Trump. He has repeatedly shared Kahanist content – Kahanism is a far-right ideology named after Rabbi Meir Kahane which openly preaches violence, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians. Fauci is also bedfellows with some of the most violent and extremist Israeli organizations and individuals, including Kahane Chai, a well-known Zionist terrorist organization closely tied to the extremist Kahanist movement.

Right-wing extremists who support the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians denounced the protest at Fauci’s home on social media. Arsen Ostrovsky, an Israeli lawyer, called the protest “Jew hatred” and demanded the NYPD investigate. Emily Schrader, an Israeli propagandist, and Rabbi Elchanan Poupko, a NYC Israel supporter, also demanded the NYPD look into the protest. Yishai Fleisher, a leader of the Jewish community in Hebron, one of the focal points of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, called Lamis Deek of Al-Awda NY a “dumb jihadi.”

One tactic that Israel supporters use against Palestinian advocates is to try to criminalize their organizing, whether it is with laws that target the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, or the new definition of antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) which attempts to label some criticism of Israel as antisemitic. Anti-Palestinian advocates also often attempt to label peaceful protests as violent, relying on anti-Arab and Islamophobic tropes.

Al-Awda NY and Deek have since been subjected to threats and hate mail, common treatment for organizers who take public stances to expose the violence and criminality of the Israeli settler colonial project.

In mobilizing a hate campaign and labeling the activists as antisemitic, Israel advocates are trying to normalize and encourage the violence of Israeli settler colonialism generally, and to whitewash Fauci in particular. After invading the Kurds’ family home, Fauci assaulted Muna El-Kurd, and in response Israeli police arrested Muna and released her on the express condition she not have contact or speak with Fauci.

Protesters in Brooklyn Target NY Attorney General James About Settler Organizations

After the morning protest in Long Island, a large crowd gathered in downtown Brooklyn to picket New York State Attorney General Letitia James to demand she “revoke the charitable status of Zionist settler organizations abusing nonprofit law to fund Israel’s war crimes of ethnic cleansing and illegal settlement.”

The lead organizers were Al-Awda NY and the NY4Palestine Coalition, which includes the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, American Muslims for Palestine – New Jersey Chapter, Within Our Lifetime: United for Palestine, and Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, as well as Jewish Voice for Peace – New York City and Neturei Karta (a Haredi Jewish anti-Zionist group).

“This is the beginning of a concerted campaign to tell Attorney General Letitia James and the Department of Justice – If you won’t do your job, we will do it for you,” said Lamis Deek of Al-Awda NY. “If not us – who will? This is the beginning of a strong and concerted campaign. There will be no safe spaces for these people who should be locked up in jails under US Federal law – conspiracy, attempting, and aiding and abetting ethnic cleansing is a federal crime. They should be locked up, not given tax shelters.”

Speakers at the protest included Lamis Deek and Daniel Teehan of Al-Awda NY, Joe Catron of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Michael Letwin of Labor for Palestine, Rabbi Yisrael Dovid Weiss of Neturei Karta, Roger Wareham of Black liberation organization D12 Movement, Yhamir Chabur of SOS Colombia, and more.

Palestinians and allies protested in Brooklyn near New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s office demanding she take action against US charities that support and fund ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Photo by Andy Ratto.

A large number of Jews also attended the protest in support of Palestine. “We are opposed to the occupation of Palestine. Because we are Jews, we oppose the occupation. Because we are Jews, we oppose the existence of the state of Israel,” said Rabbi Yisrael Dovid Weiss of Neturei Karta. “The Torah – the Jewish teaching – is not stealing, is not occupation, is not terrorism. This is unacceptable. We will not stand for it.”

Along with the speeches, the crowd chanted a series of slogans, including: “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free“; “Israel – you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide“; “Intifada intifada – long live the intifada“; “Resistance is justified when people are colonized“; “Globalize the intifada“; “Say it loud, say it clear – we don’t want no Zionists here.”

Approximately six Israel supporters showed up to counter-protest, and they waved an Israeli flag and shouted at the crowd of Palestinian advocates.

After the speeches, the group marched through downtown Brooklyn while holding a banner that read, “Everyone has the right to return to their home.” The protesters also chanted, held signs, and waved Palestinian flags.

One Palestinian was arrested by the NYPD during the march on an unknown charge.

Palestinian advocates march on a Brooklyn street with a banner that reads “Everyone has the right to return to their home” as they wave flags and carry signs. Photo by Andy Ratto.

Campaign to Defund Racism demands end of ‘charitable’ funds raised in the United States to carry out Israeli settler colonialism in Palestine

The Campaign to Defund Racism is a grassroots coalition of Palestinians working with supporters in the United States and around the world to “clearly define under the law that organizations supporting the oppression, displacement, and colonization of Palestinian lands is illegal under US charitable law,” according to their website. Over 200 organizations have endorsed the Campaign to Defund Racism, and the lead organizers of the coalition are The Hebron Defense Committee, Human Rights Defenders, the Youth of Sumud, the Good Shepherd Collective, and activists from the Bilin, the Jordan Valley, and Bethlehem as well as community members from Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah.

The idea for the Campaign to Defund Racism began around three years ago during discussions between Palestinians living in the South Hebron Hills and the occupied West Bank who were facing violent efforts to remove them from their land, primarily from the right-wing Israeli settler NGO Regavim.

According to Defund Racism, “Regavim is an Israel-based non-governmental organization that works to expand Jewish control of land across Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories by pushing Israeli administrative, judicial, legislative, and military bodies to dispossess Palestinian and other non-Jewish communities of their land.”

This opposition to settler activity and ethnic cleansing soon spread to the Jordan Valley, Nablus and Tubas, Jerusalem, and throughout all of Palestine. The recent launch of the Campaign to Defund Racism in the United States takes the lead from these Palestinians, and is working to support their campaigns to protect their homes and land. Besides Regavim, other Israeli settler organizations that are working to displace Palestinians include The Hebron Fund, Ateret Cohanim, The Israel Land Fund, and the Ir David Foundation (Elad).

Within the United States, the main focus is for New York State Attorney General Letitia James to revoke the 501(c)(3) charitable status of five US sponsors of the organizations that are actively stealing land and engaging in ethnic cleansing in Palestine: American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, Friends of Ir David, the Hebron Fund, the Central Fund of Israel, and Israel Independence Fund. Regavim is funded by the Central Fund of Israel and the Israel Independence Fund.

According to the Campaign to Defund Racism website: “Revoking the charitable status of these organizations will help to defund their work by halting a large portion of the tax-exempt money sent to them via US organizations. From 2014 to 2019, these organizations had $319,921,483.00 in gross receipts on their charitable forms.”

Israeli settlements being built on occupied Palestinian land are illegal under international law, as are the house demolitions that Israel regularly conducts against Palestinian homes.

A June 2020 map from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs documents Israel’s extensive network of settlements in the West Bank occupied since 1967. (High-res PDF – 15MB). More maps are available from B’Tselem.

“Charities should be organizations that abide by international law, human rights, and international humanitarian law. Charities should be organizations that promote human values. Regavim promotes war crimes and therefore, it is extremely [not] understandable to me how it manages to continue to be a charity and to receive charitable money,” said Munir Nuseibah, Director of the Community Action Center at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.

The controversy surrounding Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians has recently received substantial attention in the United States, in part because of the visibility of Muhammad and Muna El-Kurd, who are fighting to save their home in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, along with many other Palestinians in that neighborhood. The #SaveSheikhJarrah campaign has gone viral on social media. Israel’s efforts to forcibly remove Palestinians from the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem has also received substantial international attention.

Cody O’Rourke from the Good Shepherd Collective spoke about the importance of American solidarity with Palestinians. The Good Shepherd Collective is a member of the Campaign to Defund Racism. “This is a Palestinian call. Nearly 200 Palestinian organizations, villages, and community activists have asked specifically for US solidarity groups to leverage their power in this public campaign, endorsing these tactics and these specific targets,” said O’Rourke.
“This call-to-action was birthed out of the suffering of the people on the ground, and the people on the front lines. It is a call from the people of Atwuani, Khan al-Ahmar, Silwan, the Jordan Valley… the people most impacted by these settler organizations. People like Sami Huraini of Atwuani have been arrested several times for speaking out and taking action against the settler movement and Regavim [an Israeli settler organization]. And people in the US are inspired by his willingness to continue to be jailed and sacrifice his freedom for communal liberation. People are inspired and they are joining. They are joining because they see Palestinians believing in this call and that they see it as a winnable campaign that would have an immediate impact on the ground.”
Cody O’Rourke, Good Shepherd Collective
O’Rourke from the Good Shepherd Collective is optimistic about the possibility of success for this campaign, in part because of growing support for Palestinians in the United States. “It’s not a complex issue. You see Israel install this system of dominance to erase and displace the Palestinian communities. The movement for Palestinian rights just continues to grow.” People interested in learning more about the campaign can visit ... palestine/
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Masar Badil: The New Palestinian Movement that Has Both Israel and the PA on Edge
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on NOVEMBER 24, 2021
Robert Inlakesh

Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Feature photoA Revolutionary Alternative

Palestinians overwhelmingly reject the Palestinian Authority — which has refused to hold elections and constantly sided with Israeli forces, jailing and torturing rather than protecting its own people — and have long sought an alternative. Now, Masar Badil claims to be the solution.

OCCUPIED PALESTINE — “We are building a campaign against the Palestinian Authority” and will “mobilize our people in the refugee camps” from Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, to all corners of the globe, says a newly launched Palestinian revolutionary movement that supports all forms of resistance against Israel in order to liberate Palestine “from the river to the sea.”

On November 2, a revolutionary Palestinian movement called ‘Masar Badil’ (The Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path) officially announced its launch following conferences convened in Madrid, Sao Paulo, and Beirut. The movement vows to build on the cause of Palestine’s national liberation within the Palestinian diaspora and to provide an alternative to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which currently operates out of Ramallah in the West Bank. A major component of their work will be to unite Palestinians in the refugee camps of Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, seeking to build the strength of these communities.

In late August, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank began taking to the streets, calling for the fall of the Palestinian Authority, which has ruled over them for decades, after the brutal murder of popular PA critic Nizar Banat. The demonstrations frightened the PA as well as its Israeli allies, threatening to pose serious problems for Israel’s relatively stable security situation in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, a representative body which was created as a result of the Oslo Accords — signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel — currently rules over the most heavily populated cities in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Per the agreements made between the two sides, Oslo had established that three areas would be designated for different levels of control in the occupied Palestinian territories: Area A, where the PA would have both civil and security control; Area B, where Israel controls security and the PA has civil control; and Area C, where Israel has full control. Area C currently covers approximately 63% of the territory. However, this plan was supposed to last only five years, before control was gradually ceded to the PA and eventually a Palestinian State inaugurated on roughly a quarter of historic Palestine.

Israel, however, continues to ignore its obligations under Oslo and Tel Aviv now rejects the notion of a Palestinian State. While many Palestinians expected the PA, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, to fight for their rights, most now see it as doing the very opposite. All elections since 2006, when Hamas beat the ruling Fatah Party in a landslide, have been canceled by Abbas. The PA — which is funded by the UK, EU, and the U.S. — also uses its security forces to collaborate with Israel in the oppression of the Palestinians. Strategically, the Oslo areas gave Israel control in most of the agricultural and open lands, which is where all their illegal settlements are located; and, in turn, the PA forces would rule over the major population centers, such as Ramallah, Nablus and Al-Khalil, among others.

After facing the PA’s perpetual postponement of democratic processes; its refusal to protect Palestinians from Israeli forces; and instead its jailing, torturing, and handing over of its citizens who take action against Israel, through what is called ‘Security Coordination,’ the Palestinian people have come to a position of overwhelming rejection of the Palestinian Authority’s rule and have long sought an alternative. Masar Badil claims to be the movement finally to provide the solution.

Demonstrators march in support of Masar Badil on November 1, in central Madrid. Photo | Robert Inlakesh

A Palestinian revolutionary alternative to Oslo futility

Notable international representatives who appeared for the launch of the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path (PARP) Movement in Madrid included: Bolivia’s Nardi Suxo, Venezuela’s Mauricio Rodriguez, and Eumelio Caballero Rodríguez of Cuba, who all attended the PARP Movement’s cultural event. They were joined by representatives from grassroots groups across Europe and from the United States who pledged to work with the PARP.

The attendees of the conference also met with representatives from a range of resistance movements across the world at the headquarters of the Spanish Communist Party, discussing various projects and resulting in the formation of a Boycott Committee, Return Committee and Youth Committee. Additionally, in a letter of support, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) pledged its support for the PARP. Luis Jalandoni, the chief international representative of the NDFP, stated the following:

Let us join hands as we struggle to liberate ourselves from the clutches of U.S. imperialism, overthrow the oppressive and exploitative ruling system, and carry forward with determination our struggle for national and social liberation.”

“We are working to build a Palestinian revolutionary alternative to the Oslo process and the futile so-called peace process,” says Khaled Barakat, the Coordinator of the Preparatory Committee of the PARP Movement. Barakat says that the PARP will begin to “organize with our communities in the refugee camps in Lebanon, in Jordan, in Syria, and across the globe.” He continued:

One of the positions that came out of our conference is to immediately set up a campaign against the Palestinian Authority and the self-rule government in the West Bank, in order to bring this government down and form revolutionary councils and committees in Palestine.”

When I asked Barakat about some of the aspects that make the Masar Badil different as an alternative revolutionary movement, he responded:

Ninety percent, so the vast majority, of the three committees that convened — in Beirut, Madrid and Sao Paulo — were youths and they are assuming their responsibilities, the younger generations participating is very important for us. We also value, whether it be in leadership or other roles, the participation of Palestinian women and put an emphasis on their playing a central role in decision-making, and we believe that this will push our movement into becoming much stronger.

PARP Movement demonstration in central Madrid, November 1, 2021. Photo | Robert Inlakesh

“We do not recognize the PA as a legitimate entity; it doesn’t have any constitutional legitimacy, it doesn’t have revolutionary legitimacy, nor does it have any legal legitimacy,” says the PARP.

Putting the Palestinian Authority on edge

To find out more about the positions of Masar Badil on the PA, I also spoke to a founding member of the PARP Movement, Mohammed Khatib, who participated in the group’s launch and is additionally the European Coordinator for Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network, Samidoun. Khatib says, “I do believe that any step, any work, against the Oslo Agreements and against the Madrid Conference, is against the Palestinian Authority and against the Zionist Entity.” Khatib further states that one of the major missions of the PARP Movement is to “focus on the Palestinian diaspora, on reorganizing our people in the diaspora and re-establishing our institutions in the diaspora and re-establishing our national liberation movement in the diaspora,” which he believes means taking down the PA. Khatib continued:

Sixty percent of the Palestinian people live in the diaspora, as migrants and refugees, so we are the ones with the interest to go back to Palestine and to dismantle this Zionist Entity and also everyone who is cooperating with the Zionist Entity inside of Palestine — especially the PA, who are doing security coordination with the occupation [by Israel] against our people.”

He also says that opposition to the PA comes from the attacks carried out against Palestinians by the forces of PA President Abbas, including “giving up on our political prisoners, shutting off funds and salaries of the families of our martyrs.” He continued:

What the Palestinian Authority is doing today is besieging the resistance, not only inside the West Bank; they are also participating, with the Zionist Entity and the Egyptian Regime, in the siege placed against the Gaza Strip.”

Khatib stresses that all the work that the Masar Badil is doing is to create an alternative to the Palestinian Authority, not to the Palestinian National Liberation Movement:

We are an essential part of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement. All the organizations and associations that are part of the Masar Badil, are part of the National Liberation Movement, so we are not an alternative to anyone who is participating in or practicing resistance against the Zionist Entity. Instead, what we are trying to do is to create a mass movement, a popular movement, that can help to create a supportive environment around the Palestinian resistance.”

The PARP Movement, Khatib told me,

…calls on all the resistance and Palestinian political Parties — Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and everyone who participates and practices armed resistance, especially in Gaza and elsewhere inside Palestine — to work on creating a national democratic Palestinian front where all the resistance will work together to achieve the one program, which is the liberation of all Palestine from the river to the sea and to drop the two-state solution.

Our one and only aim is liberating all of Palestine, so we believe that all of our actions against the Zionist Entity and the Arab Reactionary Regimes are de-facto an effort against the Palestinian Authority. The PA does not represent anyone in our land today; they are there only because they take funds from the EU, U.S., and the Zionist Entity. How can the PA take money from Israel to protect our people? Of course, this is not the case; instead, the PA is a hand of the Zionist Occupation.”

As one of the first journalists to cover the movement’s first public press conference on November 2, I asked Barakat what the PA thinks about the launch of the PARP movement, to which he replied:

We know that the Palestinian Authority is nervous, particularly Fateh. They are nervous because of the establishment of the Masar Badil… last night they [the PA] forged a statement in Spanish and Arabic and they signed three [Palestinian] factions onto it; the statement was a fabrication designed to make it look like Palestinian Parties are rejecting Masar Badil and we believe it to be the work of the PA’s intelligence agents. In fact, one hour ago the PFLP, who were falsely connected to the statement, issued their own statement stating that they had nothing to do with this statement and it was a forgery by the PA.”

Barakat says that the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence network has been consistently attempting to distort the image of the Masar Badil and has caused many problems, including in Beirut, for the PARP’s conference there. He told me:

The PA is nervous because they know what they have done and what they are doing now; …they are attacking our people not just physically, but also our student movements in Palestine and our intellectuals. Critics of theirs, like Nizar Banat, were killed at the hands of the Palestinian security forces.”

I was also informed that Palestinian Authority representatives in Beirut had allegedly been making problems for the Masar Badil, spreading misinformation about the group and its intentions prior to the conference in the Lebanese capital. In response to threats put out, through back channels, the conference required the presence of a security detail for fear of violence being carried out against them and it was believed that the PA had something to do with this, but I was informed that there was no way we could know whether or not it was their doing.

Masar Badil demonstrators hold up banners demanding the freedom of Ahmed Sa’adat and George Abdullah, November 1, 2021. Photo | Robert Inlakesh

After convening three separate conferences, from October 30 to November 2, Masar Badil announced its official declaration and list of 10 key positions, agreed upon by consensus of “The General Preparatory Committee” during the conference’s Plenary Session.

A movement to take on the PA “is finally here”

As one of its first actions, the PARP Movement has received the signatures of at least 91 Palestinian and international musicians, including that of Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, to a statement urging artists to boycott Israel’s annual Oud Festival. The statement reads:

The oud, as the quintessential stringed instrument of Palestinian and Arab world music culture, is being appropriated by a Zionist state whose history is based on the erasure and theft of indigenous livelihoods. As the Israeli ‘Jerusalem Municipality’ re-launches its musical PR projects with the easing of certain coronavirus restrictions, Palestinians in Jerusalem are fighting tooth and nail against the accelerating land-grab of Sheikh Jarrah and swathes of the land east of their city. Palestinian performing artists are attacked or imprisoned, while broader communities of the displaced face the terror of aerial destruction of their cultural centers and systematic underdevelopment of their means of production.”

The movement to boycott the festival falls in line with the overall stance of the PARP movement, which rejects any form of normalization with Israel.

As an attendee of the conference myself, I was able to read through all documents outlining the movement’s long-term visions and goals — including creating a Palestinian students network, labor union network, and networks for everything from Palestinian youth institutions and movements to popular committees and Palestinian Cultural Centers. This in addition to founding an institution that sponsors sports clubs; providing support financially for fishermen and farmers in the Gaza Strip; and establishing a foundation that deals with art, cinema, theater, and the fields of creativity and the arts. Even child care and kindergartens, as well as institutions for research and strategic studies, were mentioned. This is important to note, as it demonstrates the long-term scope that the movement has.

As a result of the discussions at the conference, Barakat says,

…we made a decision to establish two youth centers, one in Berlin and another in Athens; the reason we made that decision is that this is where the majority of newly arrived Palestinians in Europe are residing. In Athens in particular, the Palestinian youth in the thousands now are living in poverty, so we seek to organize our youths, our women, and our students; that’s our goal and we have a five-year plan to do this.”

I then asked what the relations between the Palestinian resistance parties were with the PARP movement, to which Khaled responded:

As far as the forces of the resistance — like Hamas, the PFLP, Islamic Jihad — the relationship is good and we hope that we can strengthen this relationship with the Palestinian resistance movement, because we consider ourselves an integral part of the resistance movement, not just on the Palestinian level but on the Arab level.”

The Masar Badil movement also states its intention to fight all imperialist forces, in addition to the reactionary Arab regimes and Israel — with members mentioning the Islamic Republic of Iran as being targeted by imperialist powers, and condemning the sanctions against the people of Iran, which they say comes regardless of any potential reservations from within the group regarding some Iranian policies. The movement sees itself as part of a camp that is confronting imperialism, Zionism and reactionary regimes in the Global South, and hence works with international groups, organizations, and movements in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Philippines, South America, and elsewhere.

The first demonstration that the group staged took place through the streets of Madrid and featured chants against the Palestinian Authority and in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners, national liberation, and the likes of Ahmed Sa’adat, George Abdullah, and Ghassan Kanafani.

Although the movement has just begun, the momentum is building and their revolutionary visions to build the strength of the Palestinian diaspora, mobilizing it once again in the struggle against Israel, could make a huge impact on the course of the national liberation movement. If the Palestinians of Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria become a strong force, it could pose real problems for Israel. At the very least, a movement designed with its founding intention being to take on the Palestinian Authority is finally here — and that is big news.

Feature photo | Demonstration supporting the launch of the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path (PARP) Movement. November 1, 2021. Photo | Robert Inlakesh ... a-on-edge/


Raids, Arrests and Death Threats: Israel’s Strategy of Silencing Human Rights Defenders
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on NOVEMBER 23, 2021
Ramzy Baroud and Romana Rubeo


On October 21, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced the issuance of a military order designating six prominent Palestinian human rights groups as ‘terrorist organizations’. Gantz claimed that they are secretly linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a socialist political group that Israel considers, along with most Palestinian political parties, ‘a terrorist organization.’

The Palestinian organizations included in the Israeli order are Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights, Al-Haq, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children Palestine, Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

Considering the significance of these organizations in Palestine and their global networks among like-minded civil society organizations, the Israeli decision provoked a public outcry. One of the many statements of condemnation was a joint statement by rights groups, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), in which they called Gantz’s move an “appalling and unjust decision”, which represents “an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement.”

Strong Words, but No Actions

AI and HRW, which have documented Israeli human rights violations of Palestinians for many years, fully understand that the ‘terrorist’ designation is consistent with a long trajectory of such unlawful moves:

“For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations.”

Equally important in the world’s leading rights groups’ statement is that it did not fail to highlight that the “decades-long failure of the international community to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has emboldened Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.”

True to form, the international community did react to Gantz’s decision, albeit it was the kind of ineffectual reaction, which persisted in the realm of rhetoric that is rarely followed by substantive action.

A joint statement by UN experts called the Israeli decision “a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere”.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, criticized the “arbitrary” decision by Israel and warned of the “far-reaching consequences as a result,” in terms of work, funding and support for the targeted organizations.

Many governments around the world also condemned the Israeli move and echoed the sentiment conveyed by UN experts. Even the US expressed its ‘concern’, though, using the same typically cautious and non-committal language.

US State Department spokesman, Ned Price, told reporters on October 23, in Washington, that his country “believe(s) respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and a strong civil society are critically important to responsible and responsive governance.” Instead of an outright condemnation, however, Price said that the US will “be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for these designations.”

However, like other governments, and certainly unlike AI and HRW, Price made no link between the Israeli decision of October 21 and numerous other past practices targeting human rights and civil society groups in Palestine and, more recently, in Israel as well. Also worth noting is that the supposed link between such organizations and the socialist PFLP is not new.

The following are a few examples of how Israel has attempted to silence some of these organizations, which, eventually were declared to be ‘terrorist.’

Raids, Arrests and Death Threats

Addameer – In December 2012, the Israeli army raided the headquarters of Addamer in Ramallah, confiscating laptops and a video camera. The offices of the Union of Palestinian Women Committees were also raided by Israeli occupation forces on the same day. The organization is one of the six now designated by Israel as ‘terrorist.’

In September 2019, Addameer’s offices were raided, once again. The Israeli military raid at the time, however, did not generate as much attention or outrage, despite the accompanying violence, let alone the blatant violation of human rights. Then, Al-Haq – also one of the other six effectively banned Palestinian groups – issued a statement warning that “the private property of human rights organizations in occupied territory is especially protected under Article 46 of the Hague Regulations (1907).”

Expectedly, such legal constraints mattered little to Israel.

Al-Haq – Al-Haq’s staff have faced many restrictions throughout the years. Shawan Jabarin, the General Director of Al-Haq, has been banned from travel on various occasions, starting in 2006.

In March 2009, Jabarin was prevented by Israel from traveling to the Netherlands to receive an award on behalf of his organization. Again, in November 2011, this time, Jabarin was now allowed to travel to Denmark.

The Israeli obstacles began taking even more sinister turns when, in March 2016, Jabarin began receiving death threats over the phone. These anonymous calls began arriving “in the context of increasing harassment of Al-Haq and its members, amid their recent work at the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking justice for human rights violations being committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” the Front Line Defenders website reported.

Defense for Children International-Palestine – In July, and again August 2021, Israeli forces raided Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) offices in Al-Bireh, in the occupied West Bank. They seized computers, hard drives and other material, alleging a link between the organization and the PFLP.

This allegation had already been advanced in 2018, when UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) persuaded Citibank and the Arab Bank PLC to stop providing banking services to DCIP, providing what they defined as “evidence of the close ties” to the PFLP.

While it is true that the recent Israeli measures against Palestinian NGOs are a continuation of an old policy, there are fundamental differences between the growing perception of Israel, now, as an apartheid state and the misconstrued perception of the past, namely Israel as an oasis of democracy.

Even international entities and groups that are yet to brand Israel an apartheid state are becoming familiar with the Israeli government’s undemocratic nature.

A ‘Tectonic Shift’

In December 2019, and after years of haggling, the ICC resolved that “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to Article 53(1) of the (Rome) Statute.” Despite intense Israeli and western pressure, the last hurdle in the way of the investigation was removed last February, as the ICC has finally approved the Prosecutor’s request to open legal proceedings regarding war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza.

This legal milestone was cemented by major declarations, one made by Israel’s own rights group, B’tselem, in January, and another by HRW in April, both slamming Israeli policies in Palestine – not just the occupied territories – as ‘apartheid’.

This critical change in the international legal position regarding Israel’s new, unflattering status, was boosted by Israel’s own violent actions in East Jerusalem, Gaza and throughout Palestine in May. Unlike previous wars, the May events have shifted sympathy mostly towards Palestinians, who are fighting for their freedom, homes and other basic human rights.

The change was also notable within the US government itself, which is unprecedented by any account. An increasing number of US lawmakers are now openly critical of the State of Israel, due to a radical change in the US public opinion and, again, unprecedently, they are not paying a heavy price for it as was often the case in the past due to the great influence of the Zionist lobby in Washington.

“The shift is dramatic; it’s tectonic,” the BBC, on May 21, quoted US pollster, John Zogby, as saying. “In particular, younger generations are considerably more sympathetic to the Palestinians – and that age gap has been on full display with the Democratic Party,” the BBC noted.

Israel’s losses are not just sentimental or political, but economic as well. Last July, the international ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s decided to stop selling its products in illegal Jewish settlements while pinpointedly condemning Israeli occupation, a move that was described by Amnesty as “legitimate and necessary”. A few months later, the sports clothing manufacturer, Nike, followed suit, announcing that it will end the sale of its products in Israeli stores starting May 2022, although it did not justify its decision based on political reasoning.

While Israel continues to lash out at its critics, it no longer seems to behave according to a centralized strategy.

Lacking a strong leadership after the dethroning of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the formation of a diverse ‘unity government’, the new Israeli government does not seem capable of holding back international criticism of its conduct in occupied Palestine. The notion that everything that Israel does is justifiable as a form of ‘self-defense’ is simply no longer a strong selling point. The May war is the perfect example of this assertion.

In the case of the banned NGOs, for example, aside from sending a representative from the Israeli intelligence agency, Shin Bet, and another from the Israeli Foreign Ministry to Washington on October 25 with “relevant intelligence” to justify its decision, Tel Aviv continued to carry out the same policies that further exposes its apartheid in the eyes of the international community.

Indeed, on October 27, Israel announced the construction of thousands of new housing units in illegal Jewish settlements, in its first such move during the presidency of Joe Biden.

A perfect illustration of the frantic nature of the Israeli response came on October 29, when the Israeli envoy to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, during his speech at the General Assembly, tore into pieces a report issued by the UN Human Rights Council illustrating Israeli ongoing violations of international law.

“The Human Rights Council attacked and condemned Israel in 95 resolutions compared to 142 resolutions against the rest of the world,” Erdan said. “This distorted and one-sided report’s place is in the dustbin of anti-Semitism,” he ranted.

Branding Israeli Apartheid

We may be at the cusp of a fundamental change in terms of Israel’s relationship with the international community. While Tel Aviv continues to heavily invest in its apartheid infrastructure, the international community is slowly, but clearly, becoming aware that Israel’s apartheid status is a permanent one. The successive statements by B’Tselem, HRW, the joint HRW-Amnesty statement condemning the de facto outlawing of the Palestinian NGOs and, again, the ICC investigation are all indicative of this growing awareness.

The question remains – will Israel be able to use its power, influence and leverage in Western societies to force the world to accept and co-exist with a full-fledged apartheid regime in Palestine? And if yes, then, for how long?

The South African apartheid example showed that, despite decades of apartheid and initial acceptance, if not support, by western societies of legalized racial separation in South Africa, the pendulum eventually turned. Even before the formal end of apartheid in that country in 1994, it was becoming clear that the days of the racist regime of Pretoria were numbered. That realization was possible because of the growing international awareness, especially at grassroot, civil society level, of the evil of apartheid.

A similar scenario seems to be evolving in the case of Israeli apartheid in Palestine as well. A critical mass of support for Palestinian rights is being constructed around the world, thanks to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and hundreds of pro-Palestine civil society groups all around the globe.

For years, Israel seemed keen on countering the influence of Palestine’s solidarity around the world using a centralized strategy. Large sums of money were dedicated, or pledged, towards that end, and a partly government-controlled company was even established, in 2017, to guide the Israeli global campaign. Much of this has amounted to very little, however, as BDS continues to grow, and the conversation on Palestine and Israel is gradually changing from that of a political ‘conflict’ into recognition of Israeli racism, apartheid and utter disregard of international law.

Of course, it will take more time, more decided effort and, certainly, more sacrifices on the part of Palestinians and their supporters to expose Israeli apartheid to the rest of the world. Now that Israel seems to have accepted that there is little it can do to reverse this brand, it is accelerating its colonial efforts, while hunkering down for a long fight ahead.

The onus is now on the international community to force Israel into dismantling its apartheid regime. Though it is ultimately the people who liberate themselves, international solidarity is essential to the process of national liberation. This was the case in South Africa, and will surely be the case in Palestine, as well. ... defenders/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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