Israeli soldiers don keffiyehs to try to break the back of Palestinian resistance, then stop photographers from filming them

Oct 10, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Notes from the moral battleground: an amazing post by Joseph Dana on a demonstration against the illegal colonization of the village of Beit Ummar in which Zio=Nazi Gestapo’s disguised themselves as Palestinian demonstrators in order to arrest three Palestinian protesters. Vicious. Look at Dana’s photograph:


There are more photos at the link. And here is Dana’s report, with a video. Where is the international protest of the military support for the criminal confiscation of people’s land? Where are the legions of support for these brave villagers who did not ask to be thrust into an international battle but who had no choice? Listen to the man cry, “This is our land!” Look at the noble, noble internationals who have come to their side. Where is Hillary Clinton? Where are Barney Frank and Alan Grayson and Jon Stewart?

Four Palestinians, three internationals and one Israeli solidarity activist were arrested by Israeli Forces during a Palestinian demonstration against Karmei Tsur, an illegal Israeli settlement built on Beit Umar land. The arrested Israeli solidarity activist was injured after the Army held her down and deployed pepper spray directly to her eyes. Several undercover soldiers disguised as Palestinians came behind the demonstrators and arrested three Palestinians teenagers. An additional Palestinian activist with mental disabilities was arrested during the protest. Sound bombs and tear gas were used by the Army against the demonstrators, and one member of the press had their camera broken by a soldier.

Around two dozen Israeli soldiers and border police blocked the path of the demonstrators, who began to chant against the occupation. Israeli soldiers then began making arrests and firing sound bombs and tear gas directly at protesters. Members of the press were also beaten by soldiers. Some of the youth in the demonstration responded by throwing stones. Karmei Tsur is one of five Israeli settlements, deemed illegal by international law, that are built on land belonging to Beit Umar villagers. The demonstration, which takes place in Beit Umar every Saturday, started at around 1pm as 70 Palestinians, supported by International and Israeli solidarity activists, marched towards the Karmei Tsur settlement. The demonstration is organized by the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Umar, and the Palestine Solidarity Project.

One other thought. They didn’t ask to be thrust into this battle, those villagers, as I said above. In Nilin, they have lost five young people (including this beautiful boy) to Israeli bullets, people trying to save their land. Now let me quote the New York Review of Books, which deserves great credit for the reporting it has published in recent months. Here is Nathan Thrall, commenting on the occupation:

The danger, for Israel and the Palestinian Authority alike, is what will happen if negotiations fail and Fayyad’s plan does not produce significant concessions from Israel. “[Israel is] not going to withdraw from certain areas just because there was a declaration or a UN resolution,” [former Barak aide Mike] Herzog said. In that event Hamas will be able to present a persuasive argument that violence is the only means of achieving national liberation.

I am against violence, but read that last line over again, and then quarrel with the logic, after 62 years of being promised a state and getting nothing from the world. Then tell me you are against BDS.

Does anyone in Israel have the vision thing?

Oct 10, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Steve Walt had breakfast at Harvard with Tzipi Livni. It was off the record, but he can quote himself:

I didn’t get a chance to ask her a question. I had scribbled one down in my notebook, however, and here’s what I would have asked:

“I would like to know where you think the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is headed. I don’t mean where you want the conflict to go or what resolution you think is most desirable, but rather what outcome you think is most likely given where we are today and what the prevailing trends are.

“At present, most people say they want a ‘two-state solution.’ Barack Obama wants that, and so did George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Tony Blair, Mahmoud Abbas, Ehud Olmert, and you do too. So do I. Even Prime Minister Netanyahu has endorsed that idea at least once.

“Yet if current trends continue, a two-state solution will eventually be impossible and we will all have to acknowledge that reality.

Indeed, a growing number of people are convinced that this is already the case, either because Israel’s political system is too dysfunctional to change course, because the Palestinians are too divided to make a deal, or because there are too many settlers to remove.

“Former Prime Minister Olmert has warned that if the two-state solution fails, then Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state is imperiled. I think he’s right, and what I can’t understand is why more Israelis — and their supporters in other countries — aren’t deeply worried about this situation, and aren’t doing everything in their power to get a two-state deal done before it is too late.

“So my question is: where is this conflict headed, and what should be done today to avoid the one-state future that many now see as inevitable”

This is on the Foreign Policy site, mind you. Ball’s in your court, Tzipi.

Israeli diplomacy: German development minister barred from entering Gaza

Oct 10, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Germany never criticizes Israel. It has no standing, evidently. That may be changing. Spiegel online, commentator Christoph Schult:

[German Development Minister Dirk] Niebel, currently on a trip to the Middle East, was prevented by Israeli authorities from entering the Gaza Strip to check up on the progress of a sewage treatment plant being funded by Germany…

German-Israeli relations are in a state of crisis. The arrogance of the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to blame. Via his security advisors, he let Merkel know that she was not to say anything publicly about the Israeli settlements policy during Netanyahu’s visit to Berlin. He represented a critical telephone call as a positive chat. And he declined a prisoner exchange that had been put together by Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, which could have brought captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit home from the Gaza Strip. Israeli Trade Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, interviewed in the current issue of SPIEGEL, described the latter as “a mistake.”

…Israel has not just denied a visit by a German minister. For months it has also been blocking the entry of building materials necessary for the construction of the German waste water treatment plant.

Palestinian Israelis are to have ‘Jewish’ nationality (as Jews once had to be public Christians in Europe)

Oct 10, 2010

Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel 

Today the Israeli government approved a proposal by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to change the declaration of loyalty required of all non-Jews applying for Israeli citizenship (excluding those entitled to citizenship according to the Law of Return).  Neeman’s proposal seeks to amend the current declaration – “I declare that I will be a loyal national of the State of Israel” (Nationality Law 5712-1952, art. 5c) – to include the words “as a Jewish and democratic state”.

The timing is symbolic. Exactly ten years ago, the first ten days of October 2000 were marked by protests in northern Israel, brutally repressed by Israeli police, who used live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas against Palestinian Israeli citizens, leaving 13 dead. Israeli security forces have never used live ammunition against Jewish protesters – no matter how violent. The contradiction between “Jewish” and “democratic” could not have been more poignant. The events were a watershed for Palestinian Israelis, comparable to 30 March 1976 (“Land Day”), demonstrating once again their second-class citizenship and exclusion (“treated as enemies”), and affirming their connection to Palestinians on the other side of the “green line”.

And for many Jewish Israelis, the protests themselves (in solidarity with Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the OPT) reflected the basic disloyalty of Palestinian citizens to the Jewish state.

A commission of inquiry (the Or Commission) identified institutional discrimination as one of the root causes of Palestinian discontent, and made a series of recommendations to address this inequality. Not only have the commission’s recommendations been ignored, but since October 2000, efforts have been redoubled to “Judaise” the Galilee, Wadi ‘Ara and the Triangle, and to discredit Palestinian Israeli leaders and representatives in the Knesset. The ban on Palestinian family unification (where one spouse is an Israeli citizen and the other a Palestinian from the OPT) can also be traced to these events, as can recent attempts to reinforce Israel’s “Jewish character” – in proposed legislation such as the amendment to the declaration of loyalty (for other examples, see the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s position paper Harming Democracy in the Heart of Democracy), and in the repeated demand for international and especially Palestinian recognition of Israel “as a Jewish state”.

Another Israeli policy with roots in the October Events is the crackdown on Palestinian civil society, as described by Ameer Makhoul.

In The Time of the Green Line, Yehouda Shenhav compares the situation of Palestinian citizens of Israel to that of emancipated Jews in 19th-century Europe (beginning with Prussia, in 1841), who were afforded individual freedoms, but required to be “Christians” in public. Shenhav writes:

According to the model of the green line, Palestinian nationalism must accept the Judaism of the public sphere; it does not allow recognition of Palestinian nationalism that is not subservient, and denies Palestinian citizens of Israel collective political rights. The demand that the state be Jewish and democratic requires Palestinian citizens of Israel to define their nationality as Jewish, even if they are Muslims or Christians by religion. … Palestinian citizens of Israel are not willing to define their nationality as Jewish … all the more so, because the Jewish state defines their own nationality as that of an enemy.

During the Oslo years, many Israeli Jews, even on the left, believed that this transformation had largely been accomplished, that Israel’s Palestinian citizens had developed a national identity distinct from that of other Palestinians, a “Jewish” identity. The events of October 2000 shattered those illusions, but led very few to question the political and ideological system behind them, opting instead for more of the same: forced Judaisation, not only of the land, but of all of its inhabitants – with the caveat that they will never be treated as equals.

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