Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 2 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
September 11, 2018

Gideon Levy explains that the US is doing everything to disempower, humiliate and weaken Palestinian representation. Contrary to common belief, the US is not doing the State of Israel any favors.



Only a focused and well co-ordinated strategy to delegitimize and bring down the Zionist regime can bring justice to Palestine. BDS has the best potential for that.

Miko Peled, an Israeli general’s son and himself a former Israeli soldier, is nowadays a noted peace activist and a tireless worker for justice in the Holy Land. He is considered to be one of the clearest voices calling for support of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against the Zionist regime and for the creation of a single democracy with equal rights on all of historic Palestine.

He will be at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool on 23-26 September. I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview him beforehand. In a week that marks the 70th anniversary of the assassination of Folke Bernadotte and the 36th anniversary of the genocidal massacre at Sabra and Shatila refugee camp, atrocities committed in pursuit of Zionist ambition, what Miko says may give those who take dictation from the Israel lobby cause to reflect.

Stuart Littlewood: Miko, you were raised in a Zionist family on a Zionist diet. What happened to cause you to break out from there?

Miko Peled: As the title of my memoir The General’s Son suggests, I was born to a father who was a general in the IDF and then, as the sub-title points out, I embarked on a “Journey of an Israeli in Palestine”. The journey defined for me, and through me will hopefully define for the reader, what is “Israel” and what is “Palestine”. It is a journey from the sphere of the privileged oppressor and occupier (Israel) to that of the oppressed (Palestine) and the people who are native to Palestine. I discovered that it is, in fact, the same country, that Israel is Palestine occupied. But without the journey I would not have figured that out. This for me was the key. It allowed me to see the injustice, the deprivation, the lack of water and rights and so on. The further I allowed, and continue to allow myself to venture into this journey the more I was able to see what Zionism really is, what Israel is, and who I am within that.

SL: Many months ago you warned that Israel was going to “pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn”, and the reason anti-Semitism is used is because they have no other argument. This has come true with Jeremy Corbyn under vicious, sustained attack even from former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. How should Corbyn deal with it and what counter-measures would you suggest he takes?

MP:  Jeremy Corbyn made it clear during last year’s Labour conference that he will not allow the anti-Semitic accusations to interfere with his work as leader of the Labour Party and as a man dedicated to creating a just society in the UK, and a just world. In that speech he said something that no Western leader would dare to say: “We must end the oppression of the Palestinian people.” He has been right on the money the whole time and his support is growing. I believe he is doing the right thing. I expect he will continue to do so.

SL: And what do you make of Sacks’ outburst?

MP: Not surprising that a racist who supports Israel would come out like this – he represents no one.

SL: The Labour Party’s ruling body, the NEC, has adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism lock, stock and barrel despite warnings from legal experts and a recommendation to include caveats by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee. This decision is seen as caving in to outside pressure and obviously impacts on free speech which is enshrined in British law and guaranteed by international convention. How will it affect Labour’s credibility?

MP: Accepting the IHRA definition was a mistake and I am sure they will live to feel the sting of shame this has placed on those who voted to adopt it. There are at least two notices out already by the Ultra Orthodox Jewish community, which makes up at least 25% to 30% of UK Jews, that they reject the notion that JC is anti-Semitic, they reject Zionism and they reject the IHRA definition.

SL: Turning to the Occupation, you have said that Israel achieved its aim to make the conquest of the West Bank irreversible 25 years ago. Why do you think the Western Powers still cling to the idea of a Two State Solution? How do you expect the situation to play out?

MP: The US, and particularly the current administration, accepts that Israel has swallowed all of Mandatory Palestine and there is no room for non-Jews in that country. They make no claims otherwise. The Europeans are in a different situation. The politicians in Europe want to appease Israel and accept it as it is. Their constituents, however, demand justice for the Palestinians so, as an act of cowardly compromise the EU countries in true post-colonial fashion, treat the Palestinian Authority as though it was a Palestinian state. That is why, I believe, the Europeans are going ahead and “recognizing” the so-called State of Palestine, even though there is no such state. They do it in order to appease their constituents without actually doing anything to further the cause of justice in Palestine. These recognitions have helped not one Palestinian, they have not freed a single prisoner from an Israeli prison, they have not saved a single child from bombings in Gaza, they have not alleviated the suffering and deprivation of Palestinians in the Naqab desert or in the refugee camps. It is an empty, cowardly gesture.

What the Europeans ought to do is adopt BDS. They should recognize that Palestine is occupied, that Palestinians are living under an apartheid regime in their own land, they are victims of ethnic cleansing and genocide and that this must stop, and the Zionist occupation must end completely and without conditions.

I believe the State of Israel will crumble and that we will see a free democratic Palestine from the River to the Sea sooner than most people think. The current reality is unsustainable, two million people in Gaza are not going away, Israel has just announced – again – that two million of its non-Jewish citizens are not welcome to be part of that state, and BDS is hard at work.

SL: The IDF calls itself the most moral army in the world. You served in the IDF. How credible is its claim?

MP: It is a lie. There is no such thing as a moral army and the IDF has been engaged in ethnic cleansing, genocide 

and enforcing an apartheid regime for seven decades. In fact, the IDF is one of the best equipped, best trained, best financed and best fed terrorist forces in the world. Even though they have generals and nice uniforms and the most advanced weapons, they are no more than armed gangs of thugs and its main purpose is to terrorise and kill Palestinians. Its officers and soldiers execute with enthusiasm the policies of brutality and ruthlessness which are cruelly inflicted on Palestinians’ everyday life.

SL: Breaking the Silence is an organisation of IDF veterans committed to exposing the truth about a foreign military trying to control an oppressed civilian population under illegal occupation. They say their aim is to eventually end the occupation. How do you rate their chances of success?

MP: They and other NGOs like them could make a huge difference . Unfortunately they do not go far enough, they do not call on young Israelis to refuse to serve in the IDF, and they do not reject Zionism. Without these two elements I feel their work is superficial and will make little difference.

SL: Israelis often accuse the Palestinian education system of turning out future terrorists. How does Israel’s education compare?

MP: The Palestinian education system goes through a thorough vetting process so all claims of it teaching hate are baseless. Israel, however, does a fine job in teaching Palestinians that they are occupied and oppressed and have no choice but to resist. They do it using the military, the secret police, the apartheid bureaucracy, the countless permits and prohibitions and restrictions on their lives.  The Israeli courts teach Palestinians that there is no justice for them under the Israeli system and that they are counted as nothing. I have not met Palestinians who express hate, but if some do it is because of the education that Israel is providing, not because of any Palestinian textbook.

Israelis go through a thorough racist education that is well documented in a book by my sister, Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, titled Palestine in Israeli Textbooks.

SL: Christian communities in the Holy Land have been dwindling fast. The Israelis claim the Muslims are pushing them out but Christians say it’s the cruelty of the occupation that has caused so many to leave. What is your take on this? Are the Israelis trying to drive a wedge between Christians and Muslims? Is there a religious war going on to drive the Christians out?

MP: Christians used to make up 12% of the population in Palestine, now they are barely 2%. There is no one to blame for this other than Israel. Israel destroyed Palestinian Christian communities and churches just like they destroyed Muslims. To Israel Arabs are Arabs and they have no place in the Land of Israel. I strongly recommend the late Bob Simon’s excellent reporton CBS 60 Minutes from 2012 titled Christians in the Holy Land. At the end he confronts the former Ambassador of Israel to Washington DC who wanted the show cancelled.

SL: Would you call yourself a religious person these days?

MP: I never was.

SL: You know Gaza. How do you rate Hamas on their potential to govern?  And could honest brokers work with them towards peace?

MP: I have no way to rate Hamas one way or another. I did speak to people who worked in Gaza for many years, both Palestinians and foreigners, and their assessment was that as far as governing goes, and taking into consideration the severe conditions under which they live, they are to be commended.

SL: Some people say that the Israeli public are largely unaware of the horrors of the occupation and shielded from the truth. If true, is it beginning to change?

MP: Israelis are fully aware of the atrocities and they approve. Israelis vote, and they vote in high numbers and for seven decades they keep voting for people who send them and their children to commit these atrocities. The atrocities are committed not by foreign mercenaries but by Israeli boys and girls who for the most part serve proudly. The only thing that changed is the discourse. In the past there was a facade of a civilized discourse within Israel, and today that no longer exists. Saying that Israel must kill more and more Palestinians is a perfectly acceptably statement today. In the past people were somewhat embarrassed to admit they thought that way.

SL: Israel has carried out a succession of armed assaults in international waters on humanitarian aid boats taking urgent medical and other non-military supplies to the beleaguered people of Gaza. Crew and passengers are routinely beaten up and thrown in jail, and some killed. Should the organizers now give up, or re-double their efforts using different tactics?

MP: The Gaza flotillas are certainly commendable but if the goal is to reach the shores of Gaza they are doomed to fail. Their value is only in the fact that they are an expression of solidarity and one has to wonder if the time and effort and risk and expense justify the result. Israel will make sure no one gets through and the world pays them little attention. In my opinion the flotillas are not the best form of action. No single issue in the ongoing tragedy in Palestine can be resolved on its own. Not the siege on Gaza, not the political prisoners, not the water issue and not the racist laws, etc. Only a focused and well co-ordinated strategy to delegitimize and bring down the Zionist regime can bring justice to Palestine. BDS has the best potential for that but it is not being utilized enough and too much time is wasted on arguing its merits.

Certainly one of the weaknesses on the part of those who care to see justice in Palestine is that anyone with an idea just “goes for it.” There is little co-ordination and hardly any strategy to the very crucial question of how to free Palestine. Israel has succeeded in creating a sense of helplessness on this side and in legitimizing itself and Zionism in general, and that is a serious challenge.

SL: This week was the 70th anniversary of the murder of Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte by a Zionist hit-squad while serving as UN Security Council mediator in the Arab–Israeli conflict. Everyone is keeping strangely quiet about this, even the Swedes.

MP: This was one in a series of many political assassinations perpetrated by Zionist terrorists gangs in which no-one was held accountable. The first was in 1924 when they assassinated Yaakov Dehan. Then in 1933 they assassinated Chaim Arlozorov. The 1946 massacre at the King David Hotel was, of course, politically motivated and caused close to one hundred deaths, most of them innocent people who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Then in September 1948 the assassination in Jerusalem of UN intermediary and member of the Swedish royal family, Folke Bernadotte, who apparently came with plans to end the violence in Palestine, plans that the Zionist establishment did not find acceptable. Bernadotte is buried in a humble family grave in Stockholm, there are no memorial services planned that I know of or any mention of this anniversary by any official Swedish organization. My grandfather was Israel’s first ambassador to Sweden. This was shortly after the assassination and he did a fine job making sure that the Swedish government would keep the issue quiet.

There were many, many more assassinations and massacres – the attack on the USS Liberty comes to mind as well as the part played by the brutality of the Zionist apparatus that sees killing as a legitimate tool for accomplishing its political goals. Little is known or recalled about these brutal killings. Countless Palestinian leaders, writers, poets, etc., were assassinated by Israel.

SL: A lot of hope is pinned on BDS by Palestine solidarity. How effective is BDS and how best can civil society turn up the pressure?

MP: BDS is a very effective but slow process. It won’t work through magic or Divine intervention. People need to embrace it fully, work hard, demand the expulsion of all Israeli diplomats and total isolation of Israel. There is too much tolerance for those who promote Zionism and promote Israel and the Israeli army and that needs to change. Elected officials need to be forced to accept BDS entirely. The Palestine solidarity groups need to move from solidarity to full resistance, and BDS is the perfect form of resistance available.

SL: Are there any other key issues that you’re confronting right now?

MP: Moving from solidarity to resistance is, in my opinion, key at this point. Using the tools we have, like BDS, is crucial. The passing of the Israeli Nation State Law is an opportunity to unite the Palestinian citizens of Israel back with the rest of the Palestinians. We should all strive to bring total unity between the refugees, the West Bank, Gaza and 1948, and demand complete equal rights and the replacing of the Zionist regime that has been terrorizing Palestine for seven decades with a free and democratic Palestine. This opportunity will hopefully be seized.

SL: Finally, Miko, how are your two books doing – ‘The General’s Son’ and ‘Injustice: The Story of The Holy Land Foundation Five’? It seems to me that the latter, which tells how the justice system in the US has been undermined to benefit pro-Israel interests, ought to be a must-read here in the UK where the same thing is happening in our political and parliamentary institutions and could spread to the courts.

MP: Well, they are doing fine, though neither one is a best seller yet, and as we are on the less popular side of the issue it is a tough sell. TGS is out in second edition so that is good, and I would certainly like to see it and Injustice in the hands of more people. Sadly, though, not enough people realize how the occupation in Palestine is affecting the lives of people in the West because of the work of Zionist watchdog groups like the Board of Deputies in the UK, and AIPAC and the ADL in the US. In this case alone, five innocent men are serving long sentences in federal prison in the US only because they are Palestinians.

SL: Many thanks, Miko.  I appreciate your taking the time to share your views.

Chief among the many positive ideas I get from this encounter with Miko is the need for activists to shift up a gear and accelerate from solidarity to full-on resistance. This will mean wider involvement, better co-ordination, revised targeting and sharper strategy. In effect, a BDS Mk2, supercharged and on high octane fuel. Secondly, we ought to treat Zionism and those who promote or support it with far less tolerance. As Miko said on another occasion, “If opposing Israel is anti-Semitism then what do you call supporting a state that has been engaged in brutal ethnic cleansing for seven decades?”

As for Jeremy Corbyn – if he reads this – yes, he’d better come down hard on hatemongers including the real foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Semites, but he must also purge the Labour Party of its equally contemptible ‘Zionist Tendency’. And that goes for all our political parties.


US President Donald Trump’s plan to recognize Syria's occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory is “illegal”, says an analyst, adding Washington seeks to give Tel Aviv a “license” to do whatever it wishes.  “This is illegal but legality and illegality means nothing to the United States and certainly nothing to Israel. What they are doing is they are giving Israel a license to do whatever it wants,” Paul Larudee, a member of the Free Palestine Movement, told Press TV Friday.

The United States, he said, is violating not only the Golan Heights but also it has thousands of troops in Syria right now without the permission of the sovereign government of Syria.  In a tweet on Thursday, Trump said after 52 years of the Israeli occupation of the Syrian territory, "it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance" to Tel Aviv. 

Trump's tweet comes ahead of a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington next week to meet with the US president and address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Netanyahu has been pressing for Washington to recognize its claim to the occupied Golan Heights for years. Earlier this month, the US State Department changed its usual description of the Golan Heights from "Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled" in an annual global human rights report. Washington’s recognition of the Israeli-occupied area would mark a major shift in US policy. The United Nations emphasizes Syria's sovereignty over the territory.
5-12-2019, 03:28 PM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2019, 03:31 PM by globalvision2000administrator.)


Though the Deal of the Century will try to eliminate the Palestinian issue for good, what the architects of the “Deal” in their arrogance fail to see is that this so-called “Deal” is nothing more than an irresponsible, impractical and precarious plan that will fall just as soon as it is raised.

Miko Peled

As Benjamin Netanyahu returns from Washington to Jerusalem determined to keep his seat as Israel’s prime minister, it is clear that the Final Status issues — those pesky issues between Israel and the Palestinians that Israel never wants to discuss –  are being eliminated one by one in a regional scheme that is titled Deal of the Century. This so-called “Deal” will be the final undoing of Palestinian hopes for justice, self-determination and return.

From the reckless declaration by President Donald Trump that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, to his more recent proclamation that the United States recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights, it is becoming clear what the Deal of the Century will entail: disregard of the Palestinians and recognition of Israeli rights to all of Palestine. 

The purpose of the declaration recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights at this particular moment is twofold: It is an enormous contribution to Netanyahu’s campaign for re-election on April 9, a clear signal that Trump favors Netanyahu; and, what is even more troubling, it is a precursor to what we may soon see happen with Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank.


Four elements

Four elements are likely to dominate the Deal of the Century: Palestinian self-determination; refugees; Jerusalem; and the future of what was formerly known as the West Bank and has been named by Israel Judea and Samaria. We have already been given a  preview of what is to come with the first three:
  • Jerusalem, with the Trump declaration of December 6, 2017 recognizing the city as the capital of Israel;

  • Recognition of Palestinian right to self-determination was de-facto reversed when in September 2018, on the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, the Trump administration closed down the PLO mission in Washington;

  • The refugee issue received an almost fatal blow when in August of 2018 the State Department announced that it will no longer provide funds for UNRWA , the United Nations agency created to take care of Palestinian refugees. Even more than financial significance, the $350 million cut to the UNRWA budget was a blow to the very existence of refugee issue. Trump, serving Netanyahu’s agenda, is attempting to eliminate the refugee issue altogether by questioning the right of the Palestinians to aid and by questioning the right of the descendants of the 1948 refugees to refugee status.

The refugees must cease to exist

The Deal of the Century is likely to include an attempt to eliminate the Palestinian refugee issue. In a statement he made in Hebrew to the Israeli cabinet, in July 2018, Netanyahu called the Palestinian refugee issue “fictitious.” He claimed that the sole purpose of UNRWA was to keep the Palestinian refugee issue alive forever and thus to threaten the state of Israel by perpetuating the notion of a right of return. Trump, for his part, is currently claiming that only the people who had actually lived in Mandatory Palestine before the 1948 ethnic cleansing — people who are now 70 years old or older — can be considered refugees; their descendants cannot.

Netanyahu’s problem is that when you ask Palestinians in the diaspora where they are from, they say Yaffa, Haifa, Ramle, and so on. When you ask Israelis where they are from, they say, Poland, Russia, Morocco, Yemen, and so on.

A United Nations Palestinian refugee camp in Amman, Jordan which housed seven thousand Palestinians that were expelled from their lands, April 30, 1953. Photo | AP

When you ask Jews around the world they say the same thing Israelis do. So, while the grandchildren of the 1948 refugees can tell you the name of the town or village from which their family came, even though the village has been destroyed, no Israelis — or Jewish people, for that matter — can trace their roots back to the ancient kingdom of Judea. 

It is important to note and remind both Trump and Netanyahu that, according to international law, even refugees who were not born in Palestine but in the diaspora are refugees and have a right to return. This is because, under international human rights law, neither local integration nor resettlement forecloses the possibility of refugee return to their country of origin. Furthermore, after a large-scale displacement, such as the one that took place in Palestine in 1948, restitution may cover both public and private property.


Not only people

It is not only the return of the people, but it is also the rightful claim to restitution, which will surely be made, that Israel dreads. The extent of abandoned property that Israel has taken over as a result of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine is enormous. Palestinians were expelled from entire cities including Jaffa, Ramleh, Haifa and all of west Jerusalem. In addition to that, there are vast tracts of agricultural land that were taken. After the population was expelled, profit-making orchards of citrus, olive and other agricultural products were handed over by the newly established state to Jewish agricultural settlements.  

Netanyahu and the entire Zionist establishment are aware of all this and they fear the day when they will be held accountable for this theft of property. Restitution of Palestinian property has received little discussion, largely because of Israel’s refusal to engage and pressure by Zionist groups to keep this subject off the table. The Deal of the Century is likely to try to make it disappear for good.


Judea and Samaria is next

Israeli annexation of the West Bank used to be a far-fetched idea. That is no longer the case. The West Bank is now, and has been for many years, “Judea and Samaria.” It has cities and counties; it includes industry and a bureaucracy with its own police force. There is a highway system in place and shopping centers — all built exclusively for Jews. Official annexation of the area to Israel today — much like recognizing Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights — would be merely a formality, albeit one that contravenes international law.

Palestinian protesters plant olive trees facing the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit in the village of Wadi Fukin, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, March 30, 2015. Mahmoud Illean | AP

It is realistic to expect that, as part of the Deal of the Century, the U.S. will, before long, recognize Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. This will mean officially creating [i]one [/i]state over all of Palestine with exclusive rights for the minority Israeli Jews. While this may seem like a win for Israel, it will also give rise to serious problems for the Zionist state. 

Israel controls the lives of 2 million Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, 2.2 million Palestinians locked up in the Gaza Strip and about 3 million Palestinians in what used to be the West Bank. That is a total of 7 million Palestinians living without rights in a state where about 6 million Israeli Jews have exclusive rights.


Careful what you wish for
[b]Today, perhaps more than ever, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is being dictated by Israel and specifically by Benjamin Netanyahu. It is executed by Jared Kushner through his father-in-law, the president of the United States. Though the Deal of the Century will try to eliminate the Palestinian issue for good, what the architects of the “Deal” in their arrogance fail to see is that this so-called “Deal” is nothing more than an irresponsible, impractical and precarious plan that will fall just as soon as it is raised.[/b]


Israel’s election resulted in a tie for seats in the Knesset between Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and the Blue and White alliance, the center-left party led by Benny Gantz. The likely outcome is a coalition government formed by Likud and other far-right parties, and a fifth term for Netanyahu as prime minister despite his ongoing corruption scandal and possible indictments. Journalist and documentary filmmaker Lia Tarachansky and  Real News Network correspondent Shir Hever joined Marc Steiner to discuss the results of the elections in Israel. In Part 1 of this interview, they look at Netanyahu as a political strategist and pseudo-centrist, the disturbing near-success of Moshe Feiglin's extreme right Zehut Party, and explore whether a center-left party full of army generals is center-left at all.

Shir Hever and Lia Tarachansky discuss the continuing rise of the far-right in Israel and the future of the Israeli state following Netanyahu's probable reelection


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's support for the annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank is the death knell for talk surrounding a two-state solution, Rabbi David Mivasair told The Real News Network's Sharmini Peries. Exit polls suggest Netanyahu will be reelected for a fifth term despite corruption charges, and in no small part thanks to his announcement over the weekend that he supports the annexation of West Bank settlements. The Real News Network's Sharmini Peries spoke to Rabbi David Mivasair about what a Netanyahu reelection means for the future of Palestine.

“I think it's the end of the illusion, it's the end of the pretense, and hopefully will be the end of this kind of false talk about a two-state solution. A two-state solution hasn't been a realistic consideration for decades,” Mivasair said. The two-state solution conversation, though, has been, he observed, “used to deflect and to distract” as Israel obtained more land. Netanyahu's annexation comments follow Trump's decision to support Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights and the Trump administration’s particularly fervid pro-Israel stance.

Official Israeli policy, Mivasair explained, was not to support annexation in order to maintain the promises of the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians. The Oslo Accords, which were intended to bring about the two-state solution, divided the West Bank into three areas, two of which will be annexed if Netanyahu wins.

“Area A is very densely populated Palestinian cities that Israel doesn't want to deal with,” Mivasair said. “They don't want to provide municipal services. They don't want to have to patrol them or or deal with security. So the big cities like Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah, Jericho, that's Area A. I can't imagine anybody in Israel trying to annex those.”

Area B is far less populated, and Israel controls it but does not provide municipal services.

“I can easily imagine that being annexed,” Mivasair said. “And then 60 percent of the West Bank is called Area C. It's sparsely populated by Palestinian people. It has hundreds of thousands of Jews living in it by now. And Israel has totally controlled it—I would say it's de facto been annexed for more than 50 years.”

Once Areas B and C are annexed, Mivasair explained, serious questions surrounding Palestinians rights arise.

“A question is after they annex it, are they going to extend citizenship to the Palestinians who live there? How will they be treated? Will they have equal human rights, political rights, civil rights? I would assume when you annex a place the people who live there become citizens,” Mivasair said. “If that does happen—big if—but if that does happen, the Palestinians who live there will end up with more rights and more access to influence over their own lives than they've had for the last 52 years.”

That “big if” is present because of Netanyahu's rhetoric and right-wing strongman reputation, Mivasair explained. “Jews in Israel, who make up about 80 percent of the population, I think are very focused on claiming the land, holding the land, and their own security,” Mivasair said. “And I think there's been a lot of, I could say, indoctrination, propaganda, or just a lot of information, misinformation, put out persuading them that the safest thing they can do is have such a powerful strongman protecting them. That's what they've gone for.”

June 27, 2019

Ali Abunimah discusses Jared Kushner's presentation of his peace plan's economic portion in Bahrain this week. He dangled fifty billion dollars for the Palestinian economy, but no freedom, political rights, nor an end of the Israeli occupation


Dr. Elias Akleh

Global Research, June 26, 2019
Much have been said and written about the so-called “Deal of the Century”, also called by different names depending on the perspective of different parties. The deal has been in development for two years and is eventually being unveiled this week in Manama, Bahrain after long periods of postponement.  It was headed by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, with the assistance of Jason Dov Greenblatt and David Melech Friedman.

Kushner is a young real-estate investor and developer, who was made Trump’s senior advisor. Kushner is still a young kid, a 38 years old kid maneuvering through adult world. He is politically inexperienced, and totally ignorant of the history of the Middle East. One wonders what kind of political experience he has to be nominated as senior advisor to president Trump. Kushner is an ardent Zionist Jew, who backs and finances Israeli settlements (colonies) in occupied West Bank. The Kushner family foundation contributed financial donations to the Israeli settlement Bet El.

Jason Dov Greenblatt was the personal lawyer for Donald Trump and The Trump Organization. After becoming president, Trump appointed Greenblatt as his advisor on Israel and assistant for international negotiations. Greenblatt is an ardent Zionist, who is a backer and financer of Israeli settlements (colonies) in occupied West Bank claiming that these colonies are not obstacles to peace.

David Melech Friedman was a bankruptcy lawyer and the chairman and president of The Trump Organization, who was appointed later by president Trump as the US Ambassador to Israel. Friedman is the son of a rabbi at Temple Hillel in North Woodmere, New York. He is an ardent Zionist Jew who supports and finances Israeli settlements (colonies) in occupied West Bank. In an interview with The New York Times June 8th. Friedman stated that Israel has the right to annex parts of occupied West Bank.

Yet this Zionist Jewish team claims that it has an economic plan (Deal) to improve the lives of Palestinians by investing money (Gulf Arab money) to invigorate the Palestinian economy. They claim that this economic deal would eventually lead to a political deal that would lead to peace and prosperity. It is worth noting that this team does not include a Palestinian or even an Arab member, who would represent the Palestinian side. It is as if this Zionist team see themselves as “light onto nations” with their solutions believing that Palestinians are incapable of understanding or planning an economic plan for themselves.

Kushner’s team is approaching the issue with the mentality of a business transaction, where money can buy everything and the price depends on skillful negotiations. During a Reuter’s interview, whose reporter seems to boringly read questions from an already prepared transcript, Jared Kushner unveiled portion of his economic deal. He talked about “a global investment fund” of $50 billion used to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab States’ economies and a $5 billion fund to build a transportation corridor connecting the West Bank and Gaza.

Kushner explained that $25 billion would be spent in Palestinian territories over a 10-years period, while the rest of the money would be split between Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon to boost their own economies. Some of the projects would be in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where Palestinians from Gaza Strip could benefit from. The necessary funds for this plan, Kushner explained, would come from wealthy Arab Gulf States, nations from Europe and Asia (but not America), and from private investors. It is implied here that most if not all of the money would come from Saudi Arabia and UAE. Kushner explained that the international economic “workshop” in Bahrain on June 25th and 26th will bring together government and business leaders to launch the plan.

In this “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” or as Kushner called it “The Opportunity of the Century” compared to “The deal of the Century” Kushner gave a business presentation on developing the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Stating that Israel is not the problem he blamed the Palestinians for sabotaging previous political plans to solve the conflict due to their poor political decisions. Throughout his speech one detects that he believes that Palestinians are not well educated and are incapable of having a vision of prosperous future.

Kushner’s plan is built on the bases that building economy would lead to peace as he kept stressing in all his media interviews and in his presentation in Bahrain. Yet during his speech he contradicts this premise many times by sentences like “… if we have real peace and we don’t have fear of terrorism … then we can thin the borders and allow for much flow of goods and people”, and “… all these plans could be phased in real time if there is a real seize fire and real peace” and “ … how to make a safe environment so people can invest in the area” among others. Kushner’s economic plan puts the cart in front of the horse, for how a country’s economy would be developed if the government does not know where its political borders are?

The two business men: Mr. Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone Group, the world’s largest equity investment firm, and Mr. Mohamed Alabbar, the Emirati leading developer and chairman of Emaar Properties famous for building the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, speaking as a panelist stated clearly that safety, security and the rule of law meaning peace are prerequisite for any investments. An independent country with secured border and a government are essential prerequisites for investment and building an economy.

Kushner kept pushing the statement of “help the Palestinian people” when what he really means is “help the Israelis”, who will eventually control all these projects as what had happened during all the previous peace agreements. This so-called economic plan (Deal of the Century) is the same as all previous economic and political peace agreements between Arab countries and Israel that promised peace and prosperity to the region. The 1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt, the 1994 Wadi Araba Treaty between Israel and Jordan, and the 1994 Paris Protocol and later 1995 Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO allowed Israeli goods through and in Arab countries improving Israeli economy but not the other way around. The Oslo Accords gave Israel total control of Palestinian economy; control over customs, taxes, agriculture, industry and all gates to the world economy.

To prevent Palestinian and Arab economies from competing with its own economy, Israel had violated all these treaties and had broken international laws. Israel would take control of all Kushner’s proposed economic projects built mainly by Arab Gulf states. Kushner stated that his plan has two parts; the economic plan is the initial part followed by political part hoped to be released next November. Everybody knows that the political part had already preceded the economic plan when President Trump declared al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel, closed the PA office in Washington, withdrew support to UNRWA, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, and indirectly hinted that Israel should also annex large parts of the West Bank. This is Trump’s favorite mafia technique of imposing life threatening pressure in order to enforce his Deal of the Century.

Other leaked political plans for the region include forcing Jordan to give the fertile Baqoura area; where the Yarmouk River flows into the Jordan River, to Israel. In return Saudi Arabia would give Jordan part of its northern desert. Saudi and Emirati money would buy Al-Arish area in Sinai Peninsula south of Gaza Strip as well as Tiran and Sanafir islands at the mouth of Gulf of Aqaba leading to the Red Sea. According to Kushner’s plan a Saudi oil refinery and a water desalination plant would be built in al-Arish to benefit Palestinians living in Gaza. Tiran and Sanafir islands would be turned to and controlled by Israel, which gives Israel free access to the Red Sea. This territorial division will be the cause of even more future conflicts.

This Deal of the Century is similar to Sikes-Picot agreement, Balfour Declaration and all the other Arab/Israeli agreements, which in reality are progressive phases of implementing the Zionist Greater Israel Project. The main goals of this Deal are the elimination of the Palestinian refugee’s issue and the establishment and confirmation of the state of Israel as a legitimate state in the region, who could normalize relationships with some Arab countries and even become their military and intelligence partner against outside enemy; namely Iran. This also means the end of the two-state solution and making the PA an Israeli security apparatus keeping any Palestinian dissent into check.

The Deal of the Century was faced with strong rejection since its first inception by Palestinians as a whole including the PA and all the Palestinians factions. The Palestinian factions called for mass demonstrations in every city in the West Bank and in Gaza Strip starting on June 24th and continue until the 26th for the duration of Bahraini conference under banners calling “The Manama Workshop is Treason” and “Palestine is not for sale.”

The Deal was also rejected by all Arab countries and populations except by the leaderships of Saudi Arabia, its occupied Bahrain and the UAE. Mass protests have been taken place throughout the whole Arab world extending from the Persian Gulf all the way west through north African countries to Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean. In Bahrain, itself, every house raised the Palestinian flag in solidarity with Palestinians against Kushner’s economic workshop.

It is not just the Arabs who are giving the Deal of the Century the cold shoulder. The EU, who has always supported the two-state solution, had also rejected the Deal. High-ranking former European politicians; 25 former foreign ministers, six former prime ministers, and two former NATO secretary generals, signed a letter to the EU calling for the rejection of the Deal and the implementation of the two-state solution with Israel and Palestinian state living side by side. This Deal is destined to fail. Even US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo acknowledged that the Deal will fail in a speech to Jewish leaders in New York calling it “a deal that only the Israelis could love” and admitted that the plan is “un-executable”, and “it may be rejected”

The economic conference will serve only to intensify the Palestinian and in general the Arab’s hatred to Saudi Arabia and UAE, who claim their goal is to help the Palestinians. If they really wanted to help they could have done so directly and without the American pro-Israeli mediation. The Palestinians have learned the hard lesson not to depend on Arab leaders. The only method of liberating the whole Palestine and rebuilding their state is through armed resistance. They have done so generation after generation throughout the last 71 years. Last generation used stones and knifes, this generation is using rockets that could reach Tel Aviv.

Akiva Eldar
Global Research, May 14, 2017
Al-Monitor 11 May 2017

[i]Ahead of his upcoming visit to Israel, US President Donald Trump should update the two options he presented at his joint Feb. 15 White House news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These were either two states for two people — one Jewish and one Palestinian, on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River (Israel’s territory together with the West Bank) — or one state for the two people on all this land.[/i]

As Education Minister Naftali Bennett said in an Al-Monitor interview with Ben Caspit on May 8: Trump must now be told the truth. So this is the truth: The option being promoted by Netanyahu and Bennett is one state for one people. One state for the Jewish people, between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. As far as they are concerned, the Palestinians are not “a people” and never were “a people.” Therefore, they do not deserve a state. They should thank Israel for not expelling them from their homes and for even being willing to make “economic” peace with them.

The truth is that since 2009, when Netanyahu first spoke of a two-state solution in his landmark Bar-Ilan speech, more than 100,000 people have been added to the population of the Jewish people in Area C (under Israeli civil and security control) — the part of the West Bank intended for a future state of the Palestinian people. In 2009, there were about 300,000, now there are over 400,000. The truth is that out of Area C, which comprises some 60% of the West Bank, Israel has designated 36.5% as “state lands” — namely lands belonging to the State of Israel, of course. Some 63% of Area C is under the jurisdiction of the local and regional councils of Israeli settlements; some 30% is designated as Israel Defense Forces live-fire drill zones. The truth is that the Israeli authorities grant very few construction permits to Palestinians in the remaining areas, and treat with indifference the abuse of Palestinians by Jewish thugs in the illegal Israeli outposts.

The truth is that senior government ministers are promoting a legislative initiative designed to turn all the Jewish population between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River into one solid mass. No more Green Line (which delineated Israel from the West Bank until 1967), and no (virtual) red line of apartheid. According to this joint initiative by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (HaBayit HaYehudi) and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud), all Israeli legislation would apply to the West Bank, too. Needless to say, they don’t mean that it would apply to the Palestinian majority living there, but to settlers.

From the explanations furnished by Levin, one of Netanyahu’s closest allies, it appears that the proposed bill leaves the Palestinians with only three options: living forever under foreign occupation, emigration or expulsion. Levin said with no trace of ambiguity,

“The settlement of Judea and Samaria is a fait accompli. … The measure we are leading will put an end to the blatant discrimination and the disregard by the laws of the State of Israel against the regions of the homeland and the Israeli citizens living there.”

In other words, one could say that the move that Shaked and Levin are promoting will offer a juridical stamp of approval (not a legal one, as the settlement enterprise is contradictory to international law) to clear discrimination and to Israel’s ignoring the human rights of 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians. Such a policy has a name: Apartheid. The Shaked-Levin initiative is a direct sequel to the regularization law, which enables the Jewish people to expropriate Palestinian land rights in the area intended for a sovereign state of the Palestinian people. In a Feb. 6 Knesset debate, Science Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) responded to critics of that bill by saying,

“We are voting on the link between the Jewish people and its land. Fortunately, the public places its trust in us and not in you, which also means that it believes the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel.”

Akunis and his government colleagues keep coming up with new laws designed to silence opponents of apartheid in the territories or, euphemistically speaking, of the solution calling for one state for one people. The political right does not want the public to know what this “belonging” of the land of Israel to the people of Israel, as Akunis described it, looks like — a “belonging” that is actually conducted through military occupation, banishment and violation of international law. Proponents of the two-state solution, such as Peace Now, B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence, impede the political right’s efforts to present Israel as a victim of the Arabs. As far as the Israeli right is concerned, Israel is not an occupier, but a victim, while the Palestinians dare act against it in international fora, such as the international soccer body FIFA. The Israeli government sees nothing wrong in having the soccer clubs of settlements located outside Israel’s sovereign borders included in its national soccer league.

President Reuven Rivlin took the opportunity during his May 7 meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to protest UNESCO’s criticism of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Rivlin repeated HaBayit HaYehudi leader Bennett’s mantra that
“a nation cannot be a conqueror in its own land." 
But unlike Bennett, the president advocates full equality for all Israeli citizens, regardless of religion, race or nationality. Nonetheless, this week the ministerial Legislative Committee voted in favor of the proposed nationality law, which even gained preliminary Knesset approval, granting priority to the Jewish people — the one who “is not a conqueror” in its own land — over the non-Jewish people living in its state.

Zionist Camp Knesset member Erel Margalit said in response to the ministers’ approval of the nationality law, “A government that is afraid to determine the country’s borders is not entitled to determine its nature.” The truth is that the government is not afraid to draw the state borders. But instead of deciding them in a diplomatic agreement, it does so by establishing facts in the occupied territories. And it does so by endless deception. On the one hand, the prime minister implores the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table, and on the other, he advances the nationality law, explaining that he has to “ensure the future of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel.” Pay attention: “Land of Israel,” not “State of Israel.” Sometimes he says that in the foreseeable future it appears that Israel must control all the territories and promises that it will forever live on its sword, and other times he accuses the leadership of the Palestinian people of incitement to violence against Israel.
The next time Trump meets Netanyahu, he must demand that the prime minister present the government and the Knesset with a proposed resolution saying that the government of Israel “commits to promoting the establishment of a state for the Palestinian people based on the 1967 borders. Until then, it will freeze all construction in the Israeli settlements.” At the end of their previous meeting, Trump said that unlike his predecessors at the White House, he believes a deal can be made between Israel and the Palestinians. Such a resolution is essential for a true regional peace deal. And as Bennett said, Americans like those who tell the truth.


By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
Global Research, December 18, 2018

[i]In recent weeks, racism against Palestinian people and the expansion of apartheid-Jim Crow policies have escalated. The Israeli lobby and its supporters attacked freedom of speech in the United States, showing how far they will go to prevent the US public from being aware of their behavior.[/i]

If more people in the US become aware of the truth about Israel’s genocidal policies, the economic lifeline and political protection of the United States will disappear. Israel could be forced to make significant changes that recognize the human rights and self-determination of Palestinians. Israel knows that without the support of the United States, it could not continue these crimes against the Palestinian people. The lesson for US activists: keep telling the truth about Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine.

“The Israeli army has enough bullets for every Palestinian.”
That is what the Chair of the Defense Committee of the Israeli Parliament, Avi Dichter, threatened last week. He was commenting on the Great March of Return protests that took place along the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip. Saying Israel has enough bullets for every Palestinian is saying Israel could kill every Palestinian, the definition of ethnic cleansing. Dichter is not a fringe backbencher but a senior member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party. This former director of the Shin Bet internal security service and Minister of Internal Security said that the Israeli army is prepared to use all means to stop Palestinians.

And, the Strategic Affairs Minister, Gilad Erdan, repeatedly referred to Palestinians killed in Gaza as “Nazis.” Killing Palestinians was acceptable, because  “The number [of peaceful Palestinian protesters] killed does not mean anything because they are just Nazis anyhow.”
Israeli troops shot and killed 180 Palestinians and nearly 6,000 others were shot and injured during the Great March of Return. A staggering 24,000 Palestinians have been injured by Israel during the protests, aided by large corporationsA video released last week showed Israeli soldiers shot dead a young disabled Palestinian from as far away as 80 meters.  The rights group, B’Tselem uploaded the video that debunks Israeli claims that he was killed during violent clashes. The video shows 22-year-old Mohammed Habali, being fatally shot by Israeli soldiers in early December in the West Bank.  It “clearly shows there were no clashes between residents and soldiers in the immediate vicinity of the spot where Habali was shot,” the group said.

Last week, a four-year-old Palestinian boy died after being injured by Israeli gunfire at a routine protest near Gaza‘s border. His father, Yasser Abu Abed, did not usually bring his son to the regular protests but the boy insisted. Within two minutes of arriving, snipers began shooting. They were a few hundred meters away from the fence. Yasser said, “We’re simply asking for basic rights…All we ever wanted was to see the blockade on Gaza come to an end.” The 11-year blockade has caused immense suffering and violations of human rights. These are just two recent examples among many. Mondoweiss reports there are many indiscriminate killings including strikes on children playing football, a police officer’s family, a World Cup beach party, at least six hospitals including a geriatric hospital, multiple UN-run safe houses for civilians, journalists,  survivors looking for family members, ambulances, among others.

Apartheid-Land Theft: 700 Israeli Communities Ban Arabs
In 2006, when fmr. President Jimmy Carter wrote, [i]Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid[/i], he was attacked by Israel’s defenders for using the word apartheid. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote that Carter’s “use of the loaded word ‘apartheid,’ suggesting an analogy to the hated policies of South Africa, is especially outrageous.”  In her book review, Karen DeYoung explained: Carter acknowledges that “the word ‘apartheid’ refers to the system of legal racial separation once used in South Africa… it is an appropriate term for Israeli policies devoted to ‘the acquisition of land’ in Palestinian territories through Jewish settlements and Israel’s incorporation of Palestinian land on its side of a separating wall it is erecting.” Carter also criticized Israelis who believe “they have the right to confiscate and colonize Palestinian land and try to justify the sustained subjugation and persecution of increasingly hopeless and aggravated Palestinians.”

Michelle Alexander Is Right About Israel-Palestine
All pretenses that Israel is not an apartheid state with policies sometimes worse than the Jim Crow south have been removed as Israel gets more overt in its racism. This week the Knesset approved 200 more communities where non-Jewish inhabitants can be banned. Now 700 communities have such Jim Crow-apartheid like laws. Banning Arabs from living in communities wipes away Palestinian history, steals land and makes Palestinians second-class citizens or worse.

The  Knesset also rejected a bill to ‘maintain equal rights amongst all its citizens.’ The Basic Law: Equality bill, was clear: “The State of Israel shall maintain equal political rights amongst all its citizens, without any difference between religions, race and sex.” This is a direct quote from Israel’s Declaration of Independence, rejected last week by Israel’s parliament.  Mondoweiss describes how this action unveiled the truth about Israel, writing, “Despite one of the greatest political cons in history – ‘Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East’ – Israeli law never recognized equality between citizens. An attempt to enter an equality clause to the Human Dignity and Freedom Basic Law, back in 1992, failed – mostly due to the opposition of the religious parties.”

Last July the Knesset, amid widespread protest in Israel and in the US, adopted a basic law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people,” with more rights for Jews than other groups, codifying Israel as an apartheid state. The law made Arabic no longer an official language, “Jewish settlement” a national value, and the right of “national self-determination” “unique” to Jews. Aida Touma-Sliman, a rare Palestinian member of the Knesset, explained the new nation-state law officially established apartheid as the law in the “land of Israel” from the river to sea. American Jews decried the clause as reminiscent of racist Jim Crow laws against black people in the United States.  Palestinian women cross through the Israeli military checkpoint of Qalandiya, the main crossing point between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israel Working to Undermine Free Speech in the United States
Israel and their US supporters fear people telling the truth about Israel. There have been attacks against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which had victories in 2018 and has transformed the debate on Israel. People are exercising their constitutional rights and political freedom to oppose Israel. There are efforts to ban BDS across the country, but courts have found BDS bans unconstitutional. Sen. Ben Cardin is leading the effort to ban BDS under federal law.

CNN fired Marc Lamont Hill for speaking truthfully about Palestine. Hill spoke at the November 29, 2018, UN  International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People. This is the 70th year since the Nakba when 700,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes by the newly-declared state of Israel and hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages were emptied and destroyed. Hill called for the human rights of the Palestinian people. Groups moved to remove him from CNN and from Temple University. A suppressed film by Al Jazeera was finally made public. “The Lobby” showed hidden camera footage of a British Jew who infiltrated AIPAC conferences, programs, and one-on-one meetings. The film showed that the Israeli government spies on US citizens, smears BDS activists as well as others, including Black Lives Matter, and subverts the US democratic process. Read more about the movie and get links to view it hereAIPAC is already working on newly-elected members of Congress.

Last week, the pro-Israel lobby suffered a defeat in its efforts to weaponize support for Palestinian rights when Temple University refused to fire Hill for speaking in solidarity with basic human rights of Palestinians. Their goal is that no criticism of Israel should be allowed in the US. Unfortunately, Hill was fired as a commentator on CNN. This highlighted the bias of CNN reporting. The network has had a pro-Israel bias for quite some time, as their star news anchor, Wolf Blitzer previously worked for the right wing, Jerusalem Post and the extreme Israeli lobby, AIPAC. Blitzer regularly relies on Israeli military spokesman-turned-CNN-contributor Michael Oren to give his “expert” opinion. Blitzer is among the most overtly biased reporters in the US media. Leaked documents from the archives of the American Zionist Council, the precursor to AIPAC, show that Israeli government representatives secretly – and illegally – financed the planting of propaganda articles and speakers in many major American media outlets. There is a campaign, the Khalas! Blitzer-Oren campaign, demanding [i]CNN[/i] end its ties with Blitzer and Oren.

Hill explained what is becoming an obvious fact, that, “Justice will come through a single bi-national democratic state that encompasses Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.”  A two-state solution is no longer possible because Israel has seized so much of the land in the West Bank. The Israeli government, including Netanyahu, opposes the existence of an independent State of Palestine. Even with the discussion of a one-state solution being suppressed in the United States, equal numbers of people in the US support a one-state solution as support a two-state solution and 64 percent support a one-state solution if a two-state solution is not possible. This has Israel, AIPAC and its supporters worried as one nation where everyone has equal rights are inconsistent with Jewish people having greater rights than others in Israel.
“Hill is not the first academic to be targeted by pro-Israel pressure groups. They regard university campuses as a battleground to target and attack all individuals and groups who show solidarity with Palestine and its people and criticize Israel, its apartheid policies and its contempt for international laws and conventions.” Another decline in US support for Israel is young US Jews not signing up for free ten-day birthright tours of Israel. This week it was reported that there was an unprecedented sharp drop in youth, drops range from 20 percent to 50 percent. Other youths have walked off birthright tours because they were so biased. Israel’s actions are building opposition against them. Debra Shushan, of Americans for Peace Now, said, growing support for a one-state solution is due to “the aggressive, annexationist policies of the current Israeli government and its failure to pursue a two-state solution. This has fostered a growing perception that an independent Palestinian state is moot or impossible, which prompts people to look for alternatives.”
Time For Israel To Be Held Accountable
Israel constitutes “an open challenge to international law and the present concepts of human rights enshrined in it,” as Flisadam Pointer writes. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is conducting a pre-investigation of Israel. On the same day that John Bolton threatened the court with economic sanctions if it investigated the US or Israeli war crimes, the Green Party of the United States completed the process of approving a letter to the ICC requesting a full investigation of Israel. We delivered that letter, and Margaret Flowers and Miko Peled met with a representative of the prosecutor’s office on November 19 in The Hague. Palestinians had previously requested an ICC investigation. Last week the ICC announced it has made progress on the pre-investigation. In October, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said: “Extensive destruction of property without military necessity and population transfers in an occupied territory constitute war crimes.”

Holding the leaders of Israel accountable for their human rights violations will be the first step. Progress will continue if we continue to tell the truth, share videos of Israeli abuse


In the United States, the past several decades, at least since the administration of Ronald Reagan, have seen the country move to a position of less tolerance for minorities, less care for the poor, more governmental policies to benefit the rich, and an ever-increasing reliance by politicians on corporate donations. Let this writer hasten to explain that the U.S. was never a place of tolerance and care for the poor, but things have only gotten worse, not better, in the past several decades.

This has come to mean that those running for the highest offices in the land are beholden, not to the people or the Constitution that they purport to hold sacred, but to those industries who donate so generously to their campaigns. This resulted, in 2016, with both major parties nominating loathsome candidates for president. While former First Lady, senator and Secretary of State, the corrupt Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote that year, the incompetent, clown-like narcissist, former reality-TV star Donald Trump became president due to the U.S.’s bizarre electoral college.

Three long and torturous years into the administration of Donald Trump, he now faces impeachment. Articles of impeachment are expected to be handed down by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives within the next several days. It will then be up to the Republican-controlled Senate to decide whether or not to remove him from office. Despite the compelling evidence that he abused his power for personal gain, there is little chance of his removal.

Let us move for a moment to the situation in Israel. That nation is the poster child for one that has never cared about human rights or international law. The brutal oppression of the Palestinians, dating back over 70 years, is the most obvious evidence of that. The current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has expressed utter disdain for Arabs, and under his corrupt administration, the ‘Nation State’ law was passed, decreeing that Israel is the homeland of Jews and no one else. So much for the approximately 25% of people living in the Zionist entity who are not Jews.

But now, Israel’s longest-serving (is ‘serving’ the appropriate word, when genocide, racism and personal gain are the goals?) Prime Minister, who has continued and expanded the brutal, racist policies of all his predecessors, appears to be reaching the end of his tenure with the proverbial bang. He has been indicted on a series of charges including bribery, and may be removed from office. However, like the situation in the U.S., he and his sycophant admirers are fighting tooth and nail to keep him in power.

Also, like Trump, Netanyahu is ‘serving’ without a mandate. Following the April elections, he was unable to form a coalition government, so for the first time in its ugly and bloody history, Israel had two elections in one year. He came in second, but was still selected to form a government. Alas, he was unable to do so, resulting in the opportunity being given to his nearest competitor, the equally odious and racist Benny Gantz, whose party, the Blue and White, actually won more seats that Netanyahu’s Likud party. But with Netanyahu blocking any proposal that didn’t maintain him as prime minister, thus putting him in a position to prevent the indictments against him that have since been issued, Gantz was also unsuccessful in cobbling together a coalition government. Now the opportunity is wide open for any member of parliament: good luck with that. All this paves the way for another election in March, thus making three elections within a 12-month period.

Is it odd that two nations, both built on genocide, whose leaders are contemptuous of international law and human rights, whose policies bring out the absolute worst in people, are now engulfed in chaos? Netanyahu can’t form a government and is under indictment. His racist policies have become so blatant that even U.S. politicians are criticizing him and them, something that was absolutely unheard of a few years ago.

Trump has alienated the military with his interference in military justice cases (in the U.S., the term ‘military justice’ is a total oxymoron, but that’s a topic for another essay), his disdain for their foreign-policy advice (e.g. the U.S. abandonment of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), and his general chaotic style of governing. Any semi-reasonable advisers he ever had have long since departed. In true Orwellian style, truth is seen as falsehood, imagined and completely debunked conspiracy theories are trotted out as if they were proven facts, and the poor, immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans and many others are seen as enemies to the U.S.’s ‘national security’.

The reader will forgive this writer for seeing much good potentially resulting from these two situations. Trump’s domestic problems, while solidifying his base, are certainly alienating many of the ‘undecided’ voters, those who, for some inexplicable reason, are still considering voting for him. Not that whoever the Democrats nominate will be a savior, rescuing the U.S. from its brutal, imperial ways, but such things as Supreme Court appointments and aid to Israel may be far more reasonable.

If Netanyahu is stripped of his role as Prime Minister, a major obstacle to a new coalition government will be removed. Yet the various parties are still very fractured, so Gantz will have to jump through many hoops, including some held by the Arab League, in order to form a government. Again, this will not mean democracy for apartheid Israel, but it could be a step towards alleviating some of the pain and suffering of the Palestinians. One does not wish to be too optimistic, however. Gantz has talked of annexing the West Bank.

A strong caution is necessary. A world power in decline is always extremely dangerous, so what either ‘leader’ may do to either ensure his re-election, or go down in spectacular flames, possibly engulfing much of the world, rather than slinking away quietly, as they should, remains to be seen. It is hoped that someone in U.S. governance will be in a position to prevent it, should Trump be removed from office or is defeated in 2020. And in Israel, which relies on the U.S. to finance and support its many war crimes, an incoming coalition government, assuming one can be formed, may be able to restrain Netanyahu. But in both scenarios, there is very little hope to cling to.

James J. Zogby
Global Research, November 26, 2019

After years of investigation and months of delay, Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit formally indicted Benjamin Netanyahu for crimes ranging from his violation of public trust to bribery and fraud. Israel’s apologists will argue that the fact that a sitting Prime Minister has been charged with crimes against the state and people presents compelling evidence of the country’s democracy and commitment to the rule of law. This is the very point that Mandelblit made in announcing the indictments – “The public interest requires that we live in a country where no one is above the law.” However, this is only partially true since it appears that in Israel the principles of democracy or the rule of law only apply to Israeli Jews or the interests of the state, itself. In fact, Netanyahu’s entire sordid career is evidence of the selectiveness of Israelis’ sense of justice.

In the past the Netanyahu household has been charged with some of the pettiest forms of corruption imaginable. For example, his wife was found guilty of taking the empty bottles from beverages consumed at official state functions and keeping the money she received for turning them for recycling. The Netanyahus were also known to bring three weeks of dirty laundry on two-day official state trips and sending them to the hotel in which they were staying for a night so that the cleaning bill would be charged to the state’s budget. This is the sort of past petty thievery for which the Netanyahus were famous.

Looking at the recent indictments, it is clear that the Prime Minister has graduated to bigger and better forms of fraud and corruption. What’s striking, however, is that all of the crimes with which he is charged were focused on feeding his ego or his appetites. In some instances, they were favors done for a businessman in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts, in others they were the corrupt deals he made with various media tycoons in which he promised them benefits in exchange for their guaranteeing him positive coverage in their news outlets.

There is no doubt, that in all of these cases, Netanyahu’s behavior has been clearly criminal and reprehensible, and, as described by the Attorney General, a breach of the public’s trust. But what I find so striking and disturbing, is that these crimes pale in significance when compared to what Netanyahu has done to the Palestinian people and the prospect for Israeli-Palestinian peace – crimes for which he will not be called to account.

After Oslo, Netanyahu organized a back-door lobby to mobilize US Congressional opposition to the peace accords. This was the first time an Israeli lobby worked in the US to oppose their own government. He should have been charged with treason. Back in Israel, during the same period, he organized with Ariel Sharon and a few others a smear campaign of incitement against Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The campaign was so virulent and threatening that many Israelis, including Rabin’s wife, held Netanyahu responsible for Rabin’s assassination. Netanyahu should have been charged with incitement.

In 1996, he was elected Prime Minister on a platform dedicated to ending the peace process and he did everything he could to slow down, distort, and ultimately sabotage the Oslo Peace Process. Even the agreement he signed with the Palestinians at Wye so encumbered the process that by the end of his first term in office, peace was on life support.  He should have been charged with destroying the prospects for peace and putting at risk the lives of millions.

During his last three terms in office, he incited violence and hatred against Palestinians, both those who are citizens of Israel and those living under occupation. This has fueled extremist settler movements that have engaged in daily acts of violence, destruction of property, and murder. He also encouraged soldiers in the Israeli army to murder defenseless Palestinians and supported them when they were charged with crimes. In addition, as he did with Rabin, he has falsely accused his Israeli opponents of being too close to the Arabs and accused the Palestinian citizens of Israel of being enemies of the state. He should have been charged with hate crimes.

During his time in office he has: expanded settlements on stolen Palestinian land and the demolition of Palestinian property; overseen a number of devastating assaults on Gaza resulting in the indiscriminate massacre of thousands of innocent civilians and the destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure; instituted and maintained a cruel blockade of Gaza’s population, as an act of collective punishment, in which, for long periods of time, food, medicine, and other essential items were restricted or severely regulated – resulting in death, disease, and impoverishment of millions of innocents. He should have been charged with war crimes.

The list could go on, but this should suffice.

The bottom line is that, to be sure, Netanyahu is a criminal. But in today’s Israel he can’t be found guilty of his most serious crimes – treason, incitement, destroying peace, hate crimes, and war crimes. Instead, he will be asked only to answer for his narcissistic appetites and corruption.

Finian Cunningham
November 27, 2019 "Information Clearing House

 It is a ludicrous situation when anyone criticizing Israeli state violations against Palestinians or neighboring countries is then instantly discredited as being “antisemitic”. We see this in Britain and the United States all the time. Congresswomen like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have been denounced for being “anti-Jewish”, including by President Trump, simply because they protested Israeli policy of occupying Palestinian lands or for having a malign influence on US foreign policy.

In Britain, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his party have once again this week been vilified as “antisemitic” in prominent news media. The reality is that Corbyn is neither racist or anti-Jewish. The specious allegation stems from him and sections of Labour being vehemently critical of Israel and its conduct towards Palestinians. If elected in the general election next month, Labour says it will cut military trade with Israel and move to officially recognize a Palestinian state.

This conflation of valid criticism of the Israeli state with being “anti-Jew” is a cynical distortion which is wielded to give Israel impunity from international law. It plays on moral blackmail of critics by equating the historical persecution of Jews and in particular the Nazi holocaust with the sanctity of the modern Israeli state. That distortion is exposed by many Jews themselves who have spoken out in the US and in Britain to defend the right of people to criticize Israeli policies. They understand the vital distinction between the Israeli state and the much wider existence of Jewishness. They understand that to be opposed to Israeli state practices is in no way to mean animus towards Jews in general.

Only in the past week, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared his government intends to expand annexation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank. The land occupied by Israeli forces since the 1967 Six Day War is illegally occupied, according to multiple UN resolutions under international law. Now Netanyahu wants to increase the violations. And with the support of the Trump administration which also announced it was no longer viewing Israeli settlements on Palestinian land as illegitimate.

Over the past month, the Israeli military has stepped up airstrikes on the Gaza Strip where nearly two million Palestinians subsist in abject poverty largely because of an Israeli blockade. One family of nine, including children, was killed by an airstrike on their home on November 14. As always the death toll among Palestinian civilians is grotesquely disproportionate to Israeli victims of rockets fired from Gaza.

Israeli forces have also been carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria, including the capital Damascus, over the past year. Russia, among others, has condemned those attacks as “unlawful aggression”. Arguably, war crimes. When Jeremy Corbyn and Britain’s Labour Party and a handful of American politicians speak out to denounce Israeli violations they are doing so to uphold international law and voice support for victims of state violence. That is a principled and honourable position.

Shamefully, the US and British governments and much of the corporate news media never do speak out. They shield Israeli leaders from international accountability by vetoing UN resolutions or by turning a blind eye. Pro-Israeli lobbies funnel massive donations to politicians in Washington on both sides of the aisle, and to the British Conservative Party. Their silence is bought. Not only silence but outright distortion, such as when people criticize Israeli malfeasance – and there is much of that – then they are absurdly character-assassinated as “antisemites”.

Admittedly, many British Jews phoned into radio stations this week to complain that they feel unwelcome in Britain due to what they perceive as growth in antisemitism under the Labour Party. To be fair though, their claims were not backed up by hard evidence of specifically anti-Jewish behaviour. They were eliding their Jewishness with Labour’s criticism of Israel.

The claims made against Corbyn this week by the British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirviz of being “unfit for office” because of an alleged complacent attitude towards antisemitism in his party should be put in context. Corbyn has apologized several times for a tiny fraction (less than 0.1 per cent) of party members accused of antisemitism. Why should he be obliged to keep on apologizing, as BBC interviewer Andrew Neil imperiously demanded again this week?

Chief Rabbi Mirviz is a self-declared friend of Conservative leader Boris Johnson and an ardent, uncritical supporter of the Israeli state. Mirviz does not represent all British Jews, as many other Jewish groups came out voicing their support for Corbyn and his valid right of free speech to criticize Israel. Mirviz got prominent media coverage for his views this week in the London Times and Daily Mail, among others. Britain’s rightwing media are owned by billionaire oligarchs who despise Labour’s manifesto for progressive wealth redistribution.

Official race-hate figures for Britain show that physical attacks against British Muslims are preponderantly more than attacks against any other religious minority, including Jews. Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have evident problems of fomenting Islamophobia. Yet we don’t see British media providing proportionate criticism on that to balance their focus on Corbyn and his alleged views. The antisemitic card is played to shield Israel from important criticism; and by Britain’s plutocrats and their media who would rather see the public squabbling over spurious claims about antisemitism so they can keep on plundering wealth from the majority of British people.


The Trump Administration again demonstrates its subservience to Israel

A story has been circulating suggesting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will soon be resigning because he needs to focus on planning for his campaign to become a Senator from Kansas in 2020. This is good news for the United States, as Senator Lindsey Graham has had no one he is able to talk to about exporting democracy by blowing up the planet since Joe Lieberman retired and John McCain died. And the tale even has a bit of palace intrigue built into it, with an interesting back story as Pompeo is apparently considering his move because he fears that staying in harness with Donald Trump for too long might damage his reputation. There are also reports that he has been traveling to Kansas frequently on the State Department’s dime to test the waters, a violation of the Hatch Act which prohibits most government officials from engaging in self-promotional political activities unrelated to their actual jobs.

If one is seeking evidence to suggest that Pompeo, a man who lies with a fluency that takes one’s breath away, is delusional, it would certainly have to include his self-assessment that he has a reputation to protect. It is possible to cite many instances in which Pompeo has asserted something that is absolutely contrary to the truth, though one might also have to concede that he could often be saying what his factually challenged boss wants to hear. When Pompeo was Director of the CIA he even joked openly about how “We lied, we cheated, we stole.”

Mike Pompeo’s latest concession to the war criminals in charge of Israel, clearly intended to boost the electoral chances of Benjamin Netanyahu, is only the most recent dose of the Secretary of State’s falsehood piled on fiction. It is generally assumed that the move to help Bibi by interfering in Israeli politics has been made in an effort to have Tel Aviv reciprocate by putting pressure on its many American fellow travelers in the media and congress to go easier on Trump in the impeachment saga. And Trump would also expect additional reciprocity when he runs again in 2020. Even though Netanyahu, who has been indicted over bribery and fraud, will not be able to shift many liberal Jewish votes, he will be able to get allies like mega billionaire Sheldon Adelson to pony up tens of millions of dollars to support the GOP campaign.
The Trump Administration’s gifts to Israel are unprecedented, including moving the capital to Jerusalem and acknowledging the annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights. Pompeo, driven by his Christian Zionist beliefs, has been the point man on many of those moves, ably assisted by a U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, ex-bankruptcy lawyer, who has served as a consistent advocate and apologist for Israel with little or no concern for actual American interests. One might also observe that if Pompeo is truly interested in running for the Senate a little help and cash from Israel and its many friends might be very welcome.

The Pompeo gift to Bibi was announced early last week. He said that the Trump Administration is now rejecting the 1978 State Department Hansell Memorandum legal opinion that the creation of civilian settlements in occupied territories is indeed “inconsistent with international law.” In a sense, he was giving something away to Israel that neither he nor the Israelis legally possess. He said that he was “accepting realities on the ground” and elaborated on his view that the White House believes legal questions about settlements should be dealt with in Israeli courts, meaning that the hapless Palestinians would have no voice in developments that would deprive them of their homes.

Per Pompeo,
“Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace. The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.”

Pompeo’s latest statement, consistent with many of his earlier ones, is completely contrary to the Fourth Geneva Convention framework of international law governing behavior by occupying military powers that was established after the Second World War. It ignores the fact that the [i]status quo[/i] of expanding settlements has only taken place because of Washington’s refusal to do anything about it. The State Department’s new interpretation completely embraces arguments being made by hard-line politicians in Israel and opens the door to endorsement by the White House of a total [i]de facto[/i] or even [i]de jure[/i] annexation of the West Bank by the Jewish state.

Pompeo was talking about the nearly 700,000 illegal exclusively Jewish settlers currently on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Palestinians, in many areas under a brutal regime of martial law enforced by the Jewish state’s army and police, have virtually no rights and are subject to increasing violent attacks by the settlers. Not surprisingly, Pompeo’s statement was rejected by everyone but the Israelis and the usual crowd in the U.S. Congress and media, but even some leading Democratic candidates, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, found the decision troubling. The 28 member European Union declared that “All settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace. The E.U. calls on Israel to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.”

And, of course, there are potential consequences when a government does something stupid. Shortly after Pompeo’s announcement, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem put out a security advisory warning Americans traveling in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, stating, “Individuals and groups opposed to [the Pompeo] announcement may target U.S. government facilities, U.S. private interests, and U.S. citizens.” It suggested that visitors ought “to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness in light of the current environment.”

There is inevitably considerable discussion in some circles regarding what the new situation on the West Bank actually means. To be sure, the number and size of settlements will increase, but some knowledgeable critics like Gilad Atzmon suggest that the move will backfire on the Israelis, who, by taking control of the land, will eventually have to accept some kind of one state solution, giving the Palestinians considerable rights in a not-completely-denominational state. He observes how “…inadvertently, Trump has finally committed the U.S.A. to the One State Solution. It is hard to deny that the area between the ‘River and the Sea’ is a single piece of land. It shares one electric grid, one pre-dial code (+972) and one sewage system. At present, the land is ruled over by a racist, tribal and discriminatory ideology through an apparatus that calls itself ‘The Jewish State’ and declares itself home for every Jew around the world; yet, is abusive, lethal and some would say genocidal toward the indigenous people of the land… Pompeo’s declaration provides an explicit and necessary message to the Palestinians in general and in the West Bank in particular. The conflict is not progressing toward a peaceful resolution. Those amongst the Palestinians who advocated the ‘Two States Solution’ will have to hide now. Pompeo has affirmed that there is one Holy Land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. From now on the battle over this disputed land is whether it will be subject to the racist discriminatory ideology implied by the notion of ‘The Jewish State’ and its ‘National Bill,’ or if it will transform itself into a ‘State of its Citizens’ as is inherent in the notion of One Palestine.”
Tom Suarez posits similarly at Mondoweiss, observing that any form of annexation of the West Bank without giving Palestinians equal rights would basically make Israeli apartheid so visible and unacceptable to world opinion that the Jewish state would become a complete pariah internationally and would be forced to adopt some kind of one state formula.

Nevertheless, even if a one state solution with equal citizenship status for everyone would appear to be both desirable and compliant with modern notions of human rights, it is not necessarily inevitable. The chosen-by-God Israeli state is quite capable of ethnic cleansing or even genocide on a massive scale, as it did originally in 1947-8 when it was founded and also later after it occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967. The Jewish state’s leaders have repeatedly asserted that there is no such thing as a Palestinian, that Jordan is actually Palestine. They have become skilled at making the lives of Palestinians so miserable by destroying their farms, other livelihood and even their homes while also controlling their infrastructure, killing them if they resist, that they emigrate. Christians in Palestine, the original followers of Jesus Christ, constituted close to 8 percent of the population in 1946 but now number less than 2 percent. Most have chosen to leave rather than submit to Israel.

There is no reason to doubt that the Israelis could continue their creeping annexation of the West Bank for ten more years or so while also deliberately driving the remaining Arabs out. I have little doubt that that is precisely what they will do and they will be empowered to do so by the United States, which will never develop either the integrity or the courage to push back against “America’s closest ally and best friend in the entire world.”

Global Research, November 26, 2019 
Yesterday the Trump administration said Israeli settlements in the West Bank don’t violate international law. That’s absurd. Among international lawyers, the consensus that settlements are illegal rivals the consensus among international scientists that humans contribute to climate change. As UCLA’s Dov Waxman has pointed out, the legal advisor to Israel’s own foreign ministry admitted that “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention” after Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967. But critics who condemn the Trump administration for disregarding international law are missing the deeper point. So are critics who condemn it for undermining the two-state solution.

Fundamentally, the problem with settlements is neither legal nor geopolitical. It is moral. Israeli settlements in the West Bank are institutionalized expressions of bigotry. The American and Israeli politicians who legitimize them are the moral equivalent of those politicians who legitimized Jim Crow. It’s time they be treated as such.

Settlements only exist because Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank live under a different law. Jews are Israeli citizens: They can vote for the government that controls every square inch of the West Bank. Palestinians are Israeli subjects: Permanently barred because of their ethnicity and religion from citizenship in the country in which they live. (Yes, Palestinians have at times voted for the Palestinian Authority. But the PA is not a government; it is Israel’s subcontractor. PA officials — like all West Bank Palestinians — need Israeli permission to travel from one part of the West Bank to another).

Because the Israeli government controls the West Bank, and because it is accountable to the Jews — but not the Palestinians — who live there, it has spent the last half-century seizing land on which Palestinians live and giving it to Jews. Employing an 1858 Ottoman law, it has declared much of the West Bank “state land” and then transferred that supposedly ownerless territory to Jewish settlements. According to data from Israel’s own civil administration, almost 40% of the land on which settlements reside was once owned by individual Palestinians.

Big deal, some settlement defenders argue: Lots of people live on stolen land. If a community built on land seized by force is morally illegitimate, then the New Yorkers who live on territory once owned by Native Americans have no more right to be there than the Jewish settlers in Beit El. But there’s a difference: New York is now open to people of any religion or race. Native Amerians, as citizens of the United States, can live there. Palestinians can’t live in Beit El. Jewish settlements are Jewish-only settlements. The West Bank isn’t like New York in 2019. It’s like Mississippi in 1959. It is a territory segregated by law, separate and hideously unequal. That’s what Benjamin Netanyahu obscures when he tweets that the Trump administration’s new settlements policy “reflects an historical truth – that the Jewish people are not foreign colonialists in Judea and Samaria.”

Of course, Jews are not foreign to the West Bank. Much of the Book of Genesis takes place there; there were Jewish communities in the West Bank before Israel’s creation. But morally, the issue is not whether Jews have the right to live in the West Bank. It’s whether Jews have the right to live there under a different law than their Palestinian neighbors.

Do they have the right to bar Palestinians from their communities? Do they have the right to expand those communities onto land the Israeli government keeps expropriating from Palestinian owners? Do they have the right to operate swimming pools and complex irrigation systems while their Palestinian neighbors suffer from what the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has called “a constant shortage of water.”

The injustices are not incidental to the settlement project. Without them, settlements as currently constituted could not exist. So when Netanyahu defends settlements, he’s not defending Jews’ right to live in the West Bank. He’s defending our right to live there as masters. Spend even a few hours on the ground with Palestinians in the West Bank and all this becomes obvious. But it rarely comes through in the American media, which often describes settlements in the bloodless language of geopolitics and international law.

In its report on the Trump administration’s decision, the New York Times emphasized that previous American governments considered settlements “inconsistent with international law.” The Washington noted that they’re often deemed “a major obstacle to settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” But the core problem with Jim Crow was not that it violated international legal norms, nor that it posed an obstacle to settling conflicts between whites and blacks. The core problem was that it violated the principle of human equality.  “If giving some people liberty while denying it to others because of their race, ethnicity or religion was wrong in the segregated South, why isn’t it wrong in the West Bank?” No American television network should interview Benjamin Netanyahu, Ron Dermer, David Friedman or Mike Pompeo without asking some version of that question. Every American politician who defends settlements should be required to explain why he isn’t a modern-day George Wallace. The word that’s missing from most mainstream American discussion of settlements is “bigotry.” People who care about freedom must make it impossible to avoid.

Despite the US administration's announcement to the contrary, there is no question as to the unlawfulness of Israel's settler encroachment

Richard Falk

[i]US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made headlines around the world this week in announcing that the US had shifted its position, and no longer viewed Israeli settlements as a violation of international law. [/i]In one of the stupider public statements of our time, Pompeo explained that “arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace”. It is stupid, first, because there is no genuine argument about the unlawfulness of the settlements; until the US spoke out of turn, Israel was alone in defending their legality.

More definitively, the role of international law is to regulate the proper behaviour of sovereign states – not to make peace by negating the law’s relevance, which truly seems a cheer for the law of the jungle.

‘Reality on the ground’
Pompeo removed any doubt about this when he justified the shift by admitting that the US “recognised the reality on the ground”. In plainer language, lawless behaviour can become lawful if sustained long enough by force – a logic that not only defies international law, but is contrary to the core legal commitments of the UN Charter. Particularly in the area of peace and security, international law can be somewhat ambiguous. Opposing positions can be reasonably maintained, resolved by either an authorised tribunal or by practice sustained over time.

The establishment of settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, however, is an example of an issue upon which it is not possible to make a responsible argument in support of legality.

The unlawfulness of the settler encroachment has been pointed out repeatedly by informed observers as the biggest single obstacle to peace, and the most vivid and unabashed Israeli defiance of international law. So, has Washington given Israel its blessing to do whatever it wants in the future regarding settlements – and for that matter, in the entirety of the occupied West Bank? After all, if the White House now endorses Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights in Syrian sovereign territory, the West Bank may be thought of as small potatoes. The clarity of international law on the issue of Israeli settlements arises in part from the unusual fact that they have been formally declared illegal by the most authoritative sources of international guidance. Several key examples illustrate this international consensus.

Consensus of illegality

Firstly, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that an occupying power “shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. This important provision of international humanitarian law is universally understood as prohibiting the establishment of Israeli settlements on any part of the occupied Palestinian territories.

US Complicity in Israel’s Violations of International Law

If Israel was complying with international law, it should have ceased settlement activity and dismantled what had been built in the years after the 1967 war. Instead, Israel continued building, at an accelerated pace, advancing the lame rationale that Israelis should be able to live wherever they wish in Palestine. Israel does not even view the areas of Jerusalem and the West Bank where settlements exist as being “occupied” in a legal sense, viewing this as part of the “promised land”. Secondly, the International Court of Justice in 2004 strongly reaffirmed the unlawfulness of Israel’s settlement construction in occupied territory – and with a 14-1 ruling, the court showed a highly unusual degree of unity. The court pointed out that the separation wall was built so as to put on the Israeli side 80 percent of the settler population, noting in passing that the settlements were established in violation of applicable law. Israel refused to comply with this conclusive judgment, emphasising its “advisory” character.

Thirdly, in December 2016, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, deeming by a vote of 14-0 that the settlements had no legal validity. The US abstained from the vote. The resolution noted that the settlements constituted “a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace”. It stressed exactly the opposite point to the one made by Pompeo.

Geopolitical significance

No country can, by its decree, influence the legal status of Israeli settlement activity. What Pompeo declared was a shift in the political position of the US government. It is legally insignificant, but geopolitically significant. The Trump spin room sought to minimise the shift by recalling that Ronald Reagan, while president, once indicated off-the-cuff that he didn’t think the settlements were illegal – but as is not so often noted, he went on to suggest that settlement expansion was “unnecessarily provocative”. More relevant was the exchange of letters by former US President George W Bush and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004, in which they agreed that any viable peace deal with the Palestinians would allow the settlement blocs along the border to be incorporated into Israel. Again, such a side agreement was without legal legs, representing nothing more than a geopolitical pat on Israel’s back – but it was a good indicator of what Israel and the US would demand in future peace negotiations.

What makes the Pompeo statement different is its positioning in relation to other controversial Trump moves and its whitewashing language, which gives Israel an incentive to move ahead with annexation. This is another instance of US overreach.

Final nail in the coffin
Palestinian resistance remains strong, as the Great March of Return along the Gaza-Israel fence illustrates, and global solidarity initiatives are gathering strength – a reality that Israel seems to acknowledge, by defaming its nonviolent opponents as antisemites. The new settlements rhetoric continues the pattern established by the Trump administration: repudiating the international consensus on key issues bearing on the rights and duties of states. The highlights of this pattern in the Palestinian context have included moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, endorsing Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights, and now, sidelining as irrelevant the illegality of Israel’s settlements.  This step has been condemned in diplomatic circles as a final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. It moves the political compass towards a one-state outcome, with the likelihood being Jewish dominance and Palestinian subjugation in a state structure that increasingly looks and behaves like an apartheid regime.  Is this, then, the endgame of the Palestinian struggle? I think not. Palestinian resistance and the global solidarity movement will be telling the world a different story.





What will the maps of Palestine and Israel look like if Israel illegally annexes the Jordan Valley on July 1?

The current map of Palestine is often described as resembling "Swiss cheese". Over the past century it has been carved up, walled-in and filled with hundreds of illegal Israeli settlements and military checkpoints.

Now, in the latest round of Israel's ongoing occupation and policy of land-grabs this map could become even more disjointed. On July 1, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announce Israel's annexation of the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea.

Annexation is a term used when a state unilaterally incorporates another territory within its borders. Annexing the Jordan Valley would mean that Israel would officially consider it part of the state of Israel.

"International law is very clear: annexation and territorial conquest are forbidden by the Charter of the United Nations," said Michael Lynk, the UN independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories.

To understand what annexation will look like on the ground and how we got here, Al Jazeera has compiled a collection of historic and present-day maps for you to explore.

Click on any of the links to jump straight to that section:

Historic maps:

1917 - Pre-British Mandate Palestine
1918-1947 - Jewish immigration from Europe
Chart: 1920-1946 - Jewish immigration to Palestine
1947 - Proposed UN Partition Plan (Resolution 181)
1948 - Palestinians expelled
1967 - Israel occupies Gaza and the West Bank
1993 & 1995 Oslo Accords

Present-day maps:

How big are Palestine and Israel?
Occupied Palestinian territories
Israeli settlements
Chart: Israeli settler growth
Separation wall
Israeli checkpoints
Palestinian refugee camps
Israel's history of annexations
Jerusalem, the divided city
The Old City of Jerusalem
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Occupied Golan Heights
Jordan Valley
Israel's annexation of the Jordan Valley
Trump's conceptual map
Jordan Valley annexation: Trump vs Netanyahu
Blockade of the Gaza Strip
Where are the Palestinians today?
Where are the Jews today?
International recognition

Historic maps:

1. 1917 - Pre-British Mandate Palestine
During World War I, Britain made several conflicting agreements to gain the support of various groups in the Middle East. Most notably was the Balfour Declaration - a public pledge promising the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".

On October 31, 1917, British forces conquered Palestine from the Ottoman-Turks, ending 1,400 years of Islamic rule over the region. In 1920, it began its 28-year rule over British Mandate Palestine.

Before the British Mandate in Palestine, Jews made up around six percent of the total population.

Palestine British Mandate
2. 1918-1947 - Jewish immigration from Europe
The British Mandate facilitated Jewish immigration from Europe to Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s. The Jewish population in Palestine increased from 6 percent (1918) to 33 percent (1947).

Jewish immigration into Palestine
3. 1920-1946 - Jewish immigration to Palestine
A total of 376,415 Jewish immigrants, mostly from Europe, arrived in Palestine between 1920 and 1946 according to British records. At its peak in 1935, 61,854 Jews immigrated to Palestine. A detailed breakdown of these records is available here - Stanford BJPA (Page 185) and here - Atlas of Palestine (Page 21).

Jewish immigration into Palestine

This 1935 animated map produced by March of Time shows where many of Germany's Jews fled to following the rise of Hitler's Nazi party / Getty Images.

4. 1947 - Proposed UN Partition Plan
Following the end of WWII, the newly formed United Nations proposed a plan that would grant 55 percent of historic Palestine to a Jewish state and 45 percent to a non-contiguous Arab one. Jerusalem would remain under international control.

Palestinians rejected the proposal because it stripped away much of the land that was under their control. At the time, they owned 94 percent of historic Palestine and comprised 67 percent of the population. This plan was never implemented on the ground.

UN partition plan of 1947

5. 1948 - Palestinians expelled
On May 14, 1948, the British Mandate expired triggering the first Arab-Israeli war. Zionist military forces expelled at least 750,000 Palestinians and captured 78 percent of historic Palestine. The remaining 22 percent was divided into the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The fighting continued until January 1949 when an armistice agreement between Israel and Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria was forged. The 1949 Armistice Line is also known as the Green Line and is the generally recognised boundary between Israel and the West Bank. The Green Line is also referred to as the (pre-) 1967 borders, before Israel occupied the remaining Palestinian territories during the June 1967 war.

1948 Nakba map
1948 Nakba

Palestinians, carrying possessions on their heads, flee from an village in Galilee (1948) / Getty Images.

6. 1967 - Israel occupies Gaza and the West Bank
During the June 1967 War, Israel occupied all of historic Palestine and expelled a further 300,000 Palestinians from their homes. Israel also captured the Syrian Golan Heights in the north and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in the south. In 1978, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty which led to Israel withdrawing from the Egypian territory.

1967 Naksa map

7. 1993 & 1995 Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords represented the first direct Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement. This led to the formation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) - an administrative body that would govern Palestinian internal security, administration and civilian affairs in areas of self-rule, for a five-year interim period.

On the ground, the occupied West Bank was divided into three areas - A, B and C.

Area A initially comprised three percent of the West Bank and grew to 18 percent by 1999. In Area A, the PA controls most affairs.

Area B represents about 22 percent of the West Bank. In both areas, while the PA is in charge of education, health and the economy, the Israelis have full control of external security, meaning they retain the right to enter at any time.

Area C represents 60 percent of the West Bank. Under the Oslo Accords, control of this area was supposed to be handed over to the PA. Instead, Israel retains total control over all matters, including security, planning and construction. The transfer of control to the PA has never happened.

1995 Oslo Map
Present-day maps

8. How big are Palestine and Israel?
Combined, the areas of Palestine and Israel make up 26,790 km2. That is about the size of the US state of Hawaii (28,313 km2), the Caribbean island of Haiti (27,750 km2) or Albania in Europe (28,748 km2).

On the Palestinian side, the occupied territories which include Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem have a surface area of 6020 km2

Israel has a surface area of 20,770 km2 based on the internationally recognised Green Line boundaries.

How big is Palestine and Israel

9. Occupied Palestinian territories
The occupied Palestinian territories have been under Israeli military control since 1967. This makes it the longest occupation in modern history. The segmented territories include Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Gaza Strip is a small coastal area bordering Egypt to the south. This region is home to two million Palestinians.

The West Bank is the kidney bean-shaped area to the east. It lies west of the banks of the Jordan River from where it gets its name. East Jerusalem is located on the Palestinian side of the 1949 Green Line. Three million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Occupied Palestinian Territories

10. Israeli settlements
Israeli settlements are Jewish communities built on Palestinian land. There are between 600,000 - 750,000 Israeli settlers living in at least 250 settlements (130 official , 120 unofficial) in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population to the area it occupies.

In 2019, under the presidency of Donald Trump, the US declared that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land were "not necessarily illegal", a dramatic break from decades of US policy.

Israeli settlements 

11. Israeli settler growth
The population of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is growing at a faster rate than the population of Israel. Roughly 10 percent of Israel's 6.8 million Jewish population lives in these occupied Palestinian territories.

Despite being outside of Israel proper, these settlers are granted Israeli citizenship and receive government subsidies that significantly lower their cost of living.

As of 2020, there were 463,535 recorded settlers living in the West Bank and 220,200 in East Jerusalem.

Israeli settlers chart

12. Separation wall
Since 2002, Israel has been constructing a wall that stretches for more than 700 kilometres.

Israel says that the wall is for security purposes. However, rather than following the internationally-recognised 1967 boundary, known as the Green Line, 85 percent of the wall falls within the West Bank.

This severely limits the freedom of movement for Palestinians.

Israel separation wall

A section of Israel's separation wall in occupied East Jerusalem (2019) Al Jazeera. See more videos in this interactive project: Divided Jerusalem.

13. Israeli checkpoints
There are more than 700 road obstacles across the West Bank including 140 checkpoints. These checkpoints further limit Palestinian movement. About 70,000 Palestinians with Israeli work permits cross these checkpoints in their daily commute.

Israeli Checkpoints
Israeli Checkpoints
Checkpoint 300 blocks the road between Bethlehem and Jerusalem (ActiveStills / Al Jazeera). See more photos of Israel's military checkpoints.

14. Palestinian refugee camps
There are 1.5 million Palestinian refugees living in 58 official UN camps located throughout Palestine and neighbouring countries. In total, there are more than five million registered Palestinian refugees mostly living outside of these camps. The plight of Palestinian refugees is the longest, unresolved refugee problem in the world.

Palestinian refugee camps

15. Israel's history of annexation
Israel has unilaterally annexed two territories in the past.

East Jerusalem (1980)

Israel occupied East Jerusalem at the end of the 1967 War. In 1980, it passed a law making its annexation of East Jerusalem explicit.

Golan Heights (1981)

Israel unilaterally annexed the Syrian Golan Heights in 1981.

Israel uses the term "applying Israeli sovereignty" over areas it has annexed. Annexation and territorial conquest are illegal under international law. In 2019 The US recognised Israel's annexation of the Golan heights. It is the only country around the world to do so.

Israel history of annexations
Annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights

16. Jerusalem - the divided city
According to the international standards, Jerusalem is a divided city. West Jerusalem has been Israeli territory since 1948, and Jews are in the majority. East Jerusalem has a Palestinian majority and was occupied by Israel in 1967. Since its annexation in 1980, Israel has considered the entire city of Jerusalem a part of its territory. This is not internationally recognised. For this reason, Israeli maps do not show East Jerusalem being a part of the occupied West Bank.

Jerusalem the divided city

17. The Old City of Jerusalem
The Old City, located in East Jerusalem, is home to some of the holiest sites in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. In 1981, it was designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations.

The area, which is smaller than one-square kilometre (0.6 miles), is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, the Western Wall, St James Cathedral and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre among others.

Old City of Jerusalem

18. Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa mosque is the entire compound containing al-Qibli Mosque (grey dome) and the Dome of the Rock (golden dome).

The compound is known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount. The compound is similar in size to 20 football fields.

Al Aqsa mosque compound

Inside al-Aqsa: A 360° tour of Jerusalem's holiest mosque (2017), Al Jazeera.
19. Occupied Golan Heights
In 1967, Israel captured 70 percent of the Syrian Golan Heights and has occupied it ever since. In 1974, a UN observer force was created to maintain a ceasefire between Israel and Syria. In 1981, Israel unilaterally annexed the territory.

In 2019, the US became the only country to recognise Israel's annexation of the land.

Syrian Golan heights

20. Jordan Valley
The Jordan Valley makes up 30 percent of the West Bank and constitutes half of its agricultural land.

The 105km fertile strip of land connects the West Bank with Jordan. The Jordan Valley is the lowest point on Earth. It includes the Dead Sea, which is 790 metres below sea level.

The valley is home to 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 illegal Israeli settlers.

Jordan Valley map

The Jordan Valley drone shot (2014). See more drone footage on Palestine Remix.

21. Israel's annexation of the Jordan Valley
Netanyahu's July 1 expected annexation of the Jordan Valley is significant for a number of reasons:

1. Would completely surround the Palestinians

The West Bank's only international border is with Jordan. If Israel annexes the Jordan Valley the entire West Bank would be completely surrounded by Israel. For Palestinians there cannot be a Palestinian state without the Jordan Valley.

2. Cuts off water and agricultural resources

Israeli settlers in the Jordan Valley receive 18 times more water on average than Palestinian residents in the West Bank. Most Palestinian farmers are not connected to the water grid and have to rely on buying water from tankers. Annexation would mean that Palestinians would be physically cut off from the Jordan River.

3. Speeds up the construction of settlements

Currently, any new zoning or building in the West Bank requires the approval of Israel's defence minister and prime minister. This can take months or years. Following annexation, Israel would consider the Jordan Valley part of its territory and so any construction would become a local matter.

According to a map presented by Netanyahu in 2019, the areas to be annexed would comprise 95 percent of the Jordan Valley which makes up at least 22 percent of the West Bank.

Jordan Valley Annexation Map

22. Trump's conceptual map
On January 28, 2020, US President Donald Trump formally announced his Middle East Plan to resolve the seven-decade Israeli–Palestinian conflict. He hailed it as "the deal of the century".

As part of the plan, he presented a conceptual map that would allow Israel to annex huge parts of the occupied West Bank and give Palestinians control of only 15 percent of historical Palestine.

Trump 2020 map

23. Jordan Valley annexation: Trump vs Netanyahu
According to Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now, the area that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to seize from the Jordan Valley is larger than the area presented in Trump's 2020 plan.

Based on their calculations, Israel would seize around 1236km2 of land from the Jordan Valley. According to Trump's conceptual map presented in January, 2020, Israel was to to annex a smaller part of the Jordan Valley, around 964km2.

Trump vs Netanyahu

24. Blockade of the Gaza Strip
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli sea and air blockade since 2007. Since 2008, Israel has waged three wars on the Palestinian territory, killing thousands of people, mostly civilians.

In 1948, the Gaza Strip had a population of less than 100,000 people. Today it is home to two million, 64 percent of whom are refugees.

Gaza Strip blockade

One of the largest neighbourhoods in Gaza City, Shujayeh (2014). See more drone footage on Palestine Remix.

25. Where are the Palestinians today?
There are about 13 million Palestinians today, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Around half of the Palestinian population lives in historic Palestine which includes three million in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, two million in Gaza and 1.9 million Palestinian citizens of Israel. A further 5.6 million Palestinians live in Arab countries with the remaining 700,000 living in other countries around the world.

Map: Where are the Palestinians living today

26. Where are the Jews today?
According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics there are about 14.7 million Jews around the world today. Of these, 6.7 million live in Israel, 5.7 million in the US, 450,000 in France, 329,000 in Canada, 292,000 in the UK, 180,000 in Argentina and 165,000 in Russia.

Map: Where are the Jews living today?

27. International recognition
The United Nations has 193 member states. Of those, 162 (84 percent) recognise Israel and 138 (72 percent) recognise the State of Palestine.


Agreement with Arabs Impossible at present
Zionism Must Go Forward
Originally published in Russian under the title O Zheleznoi Stene in Rassvyet, 4 November 1923
"The Jewish Herald" (South Africa) Friday, 26th November, 1937  
Vladimir Jabotinsky
 It is an excellent rule to begin an article with the most important point,  but this time, I find it necessary to begin with an introduction , and, moreover , with a personal introduction.
I am reputed to be an enemy of the Arabs, who wants to have them ejected from Palestine, and so forth. It is not true.  Emotionally, my attitude to the Arabs is the same as to all other nations – polite indifference. Politically, my attitude is determined by two principles.  First of all, I consider it utterly impossible to eject the Arabs from Palestine. There will  always be 
two nations in Palestine – which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority. And secondly, I belong to the group that once drew up the Helsingfors Programme , the programme of national rights for all nationalities living in the same State.  In drawing up that programme, we had in mind not only the Jews, but all nations everywhere, and its basis is equality of rights.
I am prepared to take an oath binding ourselves  and our descendants that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights, and that we shall never try to eject anyone

This seems to me a fairly peaceful credo.

But it is quite another question whether it is always possible to realise a peaceful aim by peaceful means. For the answer to this question does not depend on our attitude to the Arabs, but entirely on the attitude of the Arabs  to us and to Zionism.  Now, after this introduction, we may proceed to the subject. 

Voluntary Agreement Not Possible.

There can be no voluntary agreement between ourselves and the Palestine Arabs.  Not now, 
nor in the prospective future.  I say this with such conviction, not because I want to hurt the moderate Zionists.  I do not believe that they will be hurt. Except for those who were born blind, they realised long ago that it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting "Palestine" from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority.
My readers have a general idea of the history of colonisation in other countries.  I suggest that they consider all the precedents with which they are acquainted, and see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonisation being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent.

The native populations, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilised or savage.

And it made no difference whatever whether the colonists behaved decently or not. The companions  of  Cortez and Pizzaro or ( as some people will remind us ) our own ancestors under Joshua Ben Nun, behaved like brigands; but the Pilgrim Fathers, the first real pioneers of North America, were people of the highest morality, who did not want to do harm to anyone, least of all to the Red Indians, and they honestly believed that there was room enough in the prairies both for the Paleface and the Redskin. Yet the native population fought with the same ferocity against the good colonists as against the bad.

Every native population, civilised or not, regards its lands as its national home, of which it is
the sole master, and it wants to retain that mastery always; it will refuse to admit not only new masters but, even new partners or collaborators. 

Arabs Not Fools 
This is equally true of the Arabs. Our Peace-mongers are trying to persuade us that the Arabs are either fools, whom we can deceive by masking our real aims, or that they are corrupt and can be bribed to abandon to us their claim to priority in Palestine , in return for cultural and economic advantages.  I repudiate this conception of the Palestinian Arabs. Culturally they are five hundred years behind us, they have neither our endurance nor our determination; but they are just as good psychologists as we are, and their minds have been sharpened like ours by centuries of fine-spun logomachy. We may tell them whatever we like about the innocence of our aims, watering them down and sweetening them with honeyed words to make them palatable, but they know what we want, as well as we know what they do not want.  They feel at least the same instinctive jealous love of Palestine, as the old Aztecs felt for ancient Mexico, and the Sioux for their rolling Prairies.
To imagine, as our Arabophiles do, that they will voluntarily consent to the realisation of Zionism, in return for the moral and material conveniences which the Jewish colonist brings with him, is a childish notion, which has at bottom a kind of contempt for the Arab people; it means that they despise the Arab race, which they regard as a corrupt mob that can be bought and sold, and are willing to give up their fatherland for a good railway system. 

All Natives Resist Colonists
There is no justification for such a belief. It may be that some individual Arabs take bribes. But that does not mean that the Arab people of Palestine as a whole will sell that fervent patriotism that they guard so jealously, and which even the Papuans will never sell. Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonised.

That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of "Palestine" into the "Land of Israel." 

Arab Comprehension
Some of us have induced ourselves to believe that all the trouble is due to misunderstanding – the Arabs have not understood us, and that is the only reason why they resist us; if we can only make it clear to them how moderate our intentions really are, they will immediately extend to us their hand in friendship.

This belief is utterly unfounded and it has been exploded again and again. I shall recall only one instance of many. A few years ago, when the late Mr. Sokolow was on one of his periodic visits to Palestine, he addressed a meeting on this very question of the "misunderstanding." He demonstrated lucidly and convincingly that the Arabs are terribly mistaken if they think that we have any desire to deprive them of their possessions or to drive them our of the country, or that we want to oppress them. We do not even ask for a Jewish Government to hold the Mandate of the League of Nations. 

One of the Arab papers, " El Carmel," replied at the time, in an editorial  article, the purport of which was this :  The Zionists are making a fuss about nothing. There is no misunderstanding. All that Mr. Sokolow says about the Zionist intentions is true, but the Arabs know that without him. Of course, the Zionists cannot now be thinking of driving the Arabs out of the country, or oppressing them, not do they contemplate a Jewish Government. Quite obviously, they are now concerned with one thing only- that the Arabs should not hinder their immigration. The Zionists assure us that even immigration will be regulated strictly according to the economic needs of Palestine. The Arabs have never doubted that: it is a truism, for otherwise there can be no immigration.

No "Misunderstanding" 
This Arab editor was actually willing to agree that Palestine has a very large potential absorptive capacity, meaning that there is room for a great many Jews in the country without displacing a single Arab. There is only one thing the Zionists want, and it is that one thing that the Arabs do not want, for that is the way by which the Jews would gradually become the majority, and then a Jewish Government would follow automatically, and the future of the Arab minority would depend on the goodwill of the Jews; and a minority status is not a good thing, as the Jews themselves are never tired of pointing out. So there is no "misunderstanding".

The Zionists want only one thing, Jewish immigration; and this Jewish immigration is what the Arabs do not want.  This statement of the position by the Arab editor is so logical, so obvious, so indisputable, that everyone ought to know it by heart, and it should be made the basis of all our future discussions on the Arab question. It does not matter at all which phraseology we employ in explaining our colonising aims, Herzl's or Sir Herbert Samuel's. 

Colonisation carries its own explanation, the only possible explanation, unalterable and as clear as daylight to every ordinary Jew and every ordinary Arab. Colonisation can have only one aim, and Palestine Arabs cannot accept this aim. It lies in the very nature of things, and in this particular regard nature cannot be changed. 

The Iron Wall 
We cannot offer any adequate compensation to the Palestinian Arabs in return for Palestine. And therefore, there is no likelihood of any voluntary agreement being reached. So that all those who regard such an agreement as a condition sine qua non for Zionism may as well say "non" and withdraw from Zionism. 

            Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. 

Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach. 

That is our Arab policy; not what we should be, but what it actually is, whether we admit it or not.  What need, otherwise, of the Balfour Declaration? Or of the Mandate?  Their value to us is that outside Power has undertaken to create in the country such conditions of administration and security that if the native population should desire to hinder our work, they will find it impossible. 
And we are all of us ,without any exception, demanding day after day that this outside Power, should carry out this task vigorously and with determination.  

In this matter there is no difference between our "militarists" and our "vegetarians". Except  that the  first prefer that the iron wall should consist of Jewish soldiers, and the others are content that they should be British. 

We all demand that there should be an iron wall. Yet we keep spoiling our own case, by talking about "agreement" which means telling the Mandatory Government that the important thing is not the iron wall, but discussions. Empty rhetoric of this kind is dangerous. And that is why it is not only a pleasure but a duty to discredit it and to demonstrate that it is both fantastic and dishonest.  

Zionism Moral and Just
Two brief remarks:
In the first place, if anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer:  It is not true: either Zionism is moral and just ,or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists.  Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.  

We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality.

Eventual Agreement 
In the second place, this does not mean that there cannot be any agreement with the Palestine Arabs. What is impossible is a voluntary agreement. As long as the Arabs feel that there is the least hope of getting rid of us, they will refuse to give up this hope in return for either kind words or for bread and butter, because they are not a rabble, but a living people. And when a living people yields in matters of such a vital character it is only when there is no longer any hope of getting rid of us, because they can make no breach in the iron wall. Not till then will they drop their extremist leaders, whose watchword is "Never!" And the leadership will pass to the moderate groups, who will approach us with a proposal that we should both agree to mutual concessions. Then we may expect them to discuss honestly practical questions, such as a guarantee against Arab displacement, or equal rights for Arab citizen, or Arab national integrity. 
 And when that happens, I am convinced that we Jews will be found ready to give them satisfactory guarantees, so that both peoples can live together in peace, like good neighbours.
But the only way to obtain such an agreement, is the iron wall, which is to say a strong power in Palestine that is not amenable to any Arab pressure.  In other words, the only way to reach an agreement in the future is to abandon all idea of seeking an agreement at present.      
From the text at (with some corrections of typography and grammar - emphasis is in the original).

                                                            Vladimir Jabotinsky 
'The Jewish Standard', 5/9/1941 (London).
 Originally Published in  Rassviet (Paris) 11/11/1923 as a continuation of the previous article.
Let us go back to the Helsingfors Programme. Since I am one of those who helped to draft it, I am naturally not disposed to question the justice of the principles advocated there.  The programme guarantees citizenship equality, and national self-determination.  I am firmly convinced that any impartial judge will accept this programme as the ideal basis for peaceful and neighbourly collaboration between two nations.

But it is absurd to expect the Arabs to have the mentality of an impartial judge; for in this conflict they are not the judges; but one of the contending parties. And after all, our chief question is whether the Arabs, even if they believed in peaceful collaboration they would agree to have any "neighbours", even good neighbours, in the country which they regard as their own. Not even those who try to move us with high-sounding phrases will dare to deny that national homogeneity is more convenient than natural diversity.   So why should a nation that is perfectly content with its isolation admit to its country even good neighbours in any considerable number?  I want neither your honey nor your sting", is a reasonable answer.

But apart from this fundamental difficulty, why must it be the Arabs who should accept the Helsingfors Programme, or, in that matter any programme for a State which has a mixed national population?  To make such a demand is to ask for the impossible.  The Springer theory is not more than 30 years old. And no nation, not even the most civilised, has yet agreed to apply this theory honestly in practice.  Even the Czechs, under the leadership of Masaryk, the teacher of all autonomists, could not would not do it.

Among the Arabs, even their intellectuals have never heard of this theory. But these same intellectuals would know that a minority always suffers everywhere: the Christians in Turkey, the Moslems in India, the Irish under the British, the Poles and Czechs under the Germans, now the Germans under the Poles and Czechs, and so forth, without end.  So that one must be intoxicated with rhetoric to expect the Arabs to believe that the Jews, of all the people in the world, will alone prove able, or will, at least, honestly intend to realise an idea that has not succeeded with other nations who are with much greater authority.

If I insist on this point, it is not because I want the Jews, too, to abandon the Helsigfors Programme as the basis of a future modus vivendi.  On the contrary we- at least the writer of these lines – believe in this programme as much as we believe in our ability to give effect to it in political life, though all precedents have failed.  But it would be useless now to the Arabs.  They would not understand, and they would not place any trust in its principles: they would not be able to appreciate them.

And since it is useless, it must also be harmful. It is incredible what political simpletons Jews are.  They shut their eyes to one of the most elementary rules of life, that you must not "meet halfway" those who do not want to meet you.

There was a typical example in old Russia, when one of the oppressed nations, with one accord, launched a crusade against the Jews, boycotting them and pogroming them.  At the same time, this nation was fighting to gain its own autonomy, without any attempt to conceal it means to use its autonomy for the purpose of oppressing the Jews. Worse than before.  And yet, Jewish politicians and writers, (even Jewish nationalists) considered it their duty to support the autonomist efforts of their enemy, on the ground that autonomy is a sacred cause. It is remarkable how we Jews regard it as our duty to stand up and cheer whenever the Marsellaise is played, even if it is played by Haman himself, and Jewish heads are smashed to its accompaniment. I was once told of a man who was an ardent Democrat and always whenever he heard the Marsellaise, he stood stiffly attention, like a soldier on parade. One night burglars broke into his house, and one of them played the Marsellaise.  This sort of thing is not morality, it is twaddle.  Human society is built up on the basis of mutual advantage. If you take away the mutual principle right becomes a falsehood.  Each man who passes my window in the street has a right to live only in so far as he recognises my right to live; but if he is determined to kill me, I cannot admit that he has any right to live.  And that is true also of nations. Otherwise, the world would become a jungle of wild beasts, where not only the weak, but also those who have any scrap of feeling would be exterminated.

The world must be a place of co-operation and mutual goodwill.  If we are to live we should all live in the same way, and if we are to die we should all die in the same way. But there is no morality, no ethics that concedes the right of a glutton to gorge, while more tempered people die of starvation. There is only one possible morality, that of humanity, and in practice it amounts in
our particular instance to this: if besides the Helsingfors Programme we had our pocket full of concessions of every kind, including our willingness to participate in some fantastic Arab Federation od morza do morza  (from sea to sea) negotiations with regard to them would still be possible only if the Arabs would first consent to the creation of a Jewish Palestine.  Our ancestors knew that very well.  And the Talmud quotes a very instructive legal action – which has a direct bearing on this matter. Two people walking along the road find a piece of cloth. One of them says: " I found it.  It is mine:" But the other says: " No: that is not true: I found the cloth, and it is mine: " The judge to whom they appeal cuts the cloth in two, and each of these obstinate folk gets half.  But there is another version of this action.  It is only one of the two claimants who is obstinate: the other, on the contrary, has determined to make the world wonder at this magnanimity.  So he says: " We both found the cloth, and therefore I ask only a half of it, because the second belongs to B.  But B. insists that he found it, and that he alone is entitled to it.   In this case, the Talmud recommends a wise Judgment, that is, how very disappointing to our magnanimous gentleman.  The judge says: " There is agreement about one half of the cloth.  A. admits that it belongs to B. So  it is only the second half that is in dispute.  We shall, therefore divide this into two halves: And the obstinate claimant gets three-quarters of the cloth, while the ”gentleman" has only one quarter, and serve him right.  It is a very fine thing to be a gentleman, but it is no reason for being an idiot.  Our ancestors knew that.  But we have forgotten it.  We should bear it in mind.  Particularly, since we are very badly situated in this matter of concessions.  There is not much that we can concede to Arab nationalism, without destroying Zionism.   We cannot abandon the effort to achieve a Jewish majority in Palestine.  Nor can we permit any Arab control of our immigration, or join an Arab Federation.  We cannot even support Arab movement, it is at present hostile to us and consequently we all, including even the pro-Arab rhetoriomongers, rejoice at every defeat sustained by this movement, not only adjacent Transjordan, and Syria, but even in Morocco.  And this state of affairs will continue, because it cannot be otherwise, until one day the iron wall will compel the Arabs to come to an arrangement with Zionism once and for all.

Let us consider for a moment the point of view of those to whom this seems immoral.  We shall trace the root of the evil to this – that we are seeking to colonise a country against the wishes of its population, in other words, by force.  Everything else that is undesirable grows out of this root with axiomatic inevitability. What then is to be done?

The simplest way out would be to look for a different country to colonise.  Like Uganda. But if we look more closely into the matter we shall find that the same evil exists there, too. Uganda also has a native population, which consciously or unconsciously as in every other instance in history, will resist the coming of the colonisers.  It is true that these natives happen to be black.  But that does not alter the essential fact.  If it is immoral to colonise a country against the will of its native population, the same morality must apply equally to the black man as to the white. Of course, the blackman may not be sufficiently advanced to think of sending delegations to London, but he will soon find some kindhearted white friends, who will instruct him. Though should these natives even prove utterly helpless, like children, the matter would only become worse.  Then if colonisation is invasion and robbery, the greatest crime of all would be to rob helpless children.  Consequently, colonisation in Uganda is also immoral, and colonisation in any other place in the world, whatever it may be called, is immoral.  There are no more uninhabited islands in the world.  In every oasis there is a native population settled from times immemorial, who will not tolerate an immigrant majority or an invasion of outsiders.  So that if there is any landless people in the world, even its dream of a national home must be an immoral dream. . Those who are landless must remain landless to all eternity.  The whole earth has been allocated. Basta: Morality has said so:

From the Jewish point of view, morality has a particularly interesting appearance.  It is said that we Jews number 15 million people scattered throughout the world. Half of them are now literally homeless, poor, hunted wretches.  The number of Arabs totals 38 million. They inhabit Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, Tripoli, Egypt, Syria, Arabia and Iraq – an area that apart from desert equals the size of half Europe.  There are in this vast area 16 Arabs to the square mile.  It is instructive to recall by way of comparison that Sicily has 352 and England 669 inhabitants to the square mile. 
It is still more instructive to recall that Palestine constitutes about one two hundredth part of this area.

Yet if homeless Jewry demands Palestine for itself it is "immoral" because it does not suit the native population.  Such morality may be accepted among cannibals, but not in a civilised world.  The soil does not belong to those who possess land in excess but to those who do not possess any.  It is an act of simple justice to alienate part of their land from those nations who are numbered among the great landowners of the world, in order to provide a place of refuge for a homeless, wandering people.  And if such a big landowning nation resists which is perfectly natural – it must be made to comply by compulsion.  Justice that is enforced does not cease to be justice.  This is the only Arab policy that we shall find possible. As for an agreement, we shall have time to discuss that later.

All sorts of catchwords are used against Zionism; people invoke Democracy, majority rule national self-determination.  Which means, that the Arabs being at present the majority in Palestine, have the right of self-determination, and may therefore insist that Palestine must remain an Arab country.  Democracy and self-determination are sacred principles, but sacred principles like the Name of the Lord must not be used in vain –to bolster up a swindle, to conceal injustice. The principle of self-determination does not mean that if someone has seized a stretch of land it must remain in his possession for all time, and that he who was forcibly ejected from his land must always remain homeless.  Self-determination means revision – such a revision of the distribution of the earth among the nations that those nations who have too much should have to give up some of it to those nations who have not enough or who have none, so that all should have some place on which to exercise their right of self-determination.  And now when the whole of the civilised world has recognised that Jews have a right to return to Palestine, which means that the Jews are, in principle, also "citizens" and "inhabitants" of Palestine, only they were driven out, and their return must be a lengthy process, it is wrong to contend that meanwhile the local population has the right to refuse to allow them to come back and to that "Democracy”. The Democracy of Palestine consists of two national groups, the local group and these who were driven out, and the second group is the larger.

* A reference to the national-cultural autonomy theory of Otto Bauer and Karl Renner (who used the pseudonym of Rudolf Brenner) advanced at the second International by Austrian Social Democrats and adopted by the Jewish Russian  Bund (anti-Zionist socialists).  (Journals of original Publication not given)
IP Address: Logged


Turki al-Faisal also says Israel ‘assassinates who it wants to,’ built ‘apartheid wall,’ and denies equal rights to its non-Jewish citizens; FM Ashkenazi slams false accusations. 

A Saudi prince and former senior government official on Sunday launched a blistering attack against Israel, describing the Jewish state as a belligerent and apartheid-practicing occupier, and saying that peace will remain elusive until the creation of a Palestinian state along 1967 lines.

“Israeli governments have arrested thousands of the inhabitants of the lands they are colonizing and incarcerated them in concentration camps under the flimsiest of security accusations — young and old, women and men who are rotting there without recourse or justice,” said Turki al-Faisal al Saud, the former head of the kingdom’s intelligence service, at panel discussion in Bahrain that was also attended by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

“They’re demolishing homes as they wish, and they assassinate whomever they want to. And yet, the Israeli Knesset passed a law that defines the citizenship of Israel as exclusively Jewish, denying the non-Jewish inhabitants of Israel equal rights under the law. What kind of democracy is that?”

Get The Times of Israel's Daily Edition by email and never miss our top storiesFREE SIGN UP
He also lamented Israel’s construction of the West Bank security barrier, which he called the “apartheid wall.”

The Saudi prince, who until Sunday’s appearance had been thought relatively well-disposed toward Israel, made the comments at the concluding session of the Manama Dialogue conference hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Al-Faisal led Saudi intelligence for more than two decades and served as the kingdom’s ambassador to the United States and United Kingdom. Although he currently does not hold any official position, his stance is seen as closely mirroring that of King Salman. In contrast, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has signaled greater willingness to quietly engage with Israel to counter their common enemy, Iran, and boost foreign investment in the kingdom.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi addressing, via video conference, the IISS Manama Dialogue, December 6, 2020 (screen shot IISS) Ashkenazi, in his comments right after the Saudi royal concluded his opening remarks, briefly referred to Al-Faisal’s speech. “At the beginning of my remarks I would like to express my regret on the comments of the Saudi representative. I don’t believe that they reflect the spirit and the changes taking place in the Middle East,” he said, speaking via video from Jerusalem.

Ashkenazi later tweeted: “The false accusations of the Saudi representative at the Manama Conference do not reflect the facts or the spirit and changes the region is undergoing. I rejected his remarks and emphasized that the ‘blame game’ era is over. We are at the dawn of a new era. An era of peace.”

Al-Faisal began his speech by stressing that he was speaking in a private capacity, whereupon he launched a bitter tirade against Israel, portraying the country as a bloodthirsty neighborhood bully that has always trampled on all international norms and standards.

The Saudi prince said that while Israeli leaders often describe their country as existentially threatened, it is in fact a powerful nation with a massive nuclear arsenal that regularly engages in “willy-nilly” military exploits in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.

“Offering friendship to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not stopped successive Israeli governments from unleashing their political minions and their media hounds from all countries to denigrate and demonize Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saudi, left and Bahrain FM al-Zayani, at the IISS Manama Dialogue, December 6, 2020 (screen shot IISS) He cited Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed as saying repeatedly that a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and “fair solution” for the Palestinian refugees, was “the only peaceful option for all of us.”

Saudi Arabia has insisted that any normalization between it and Israel can only happen alongside a lasting peace deal involving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The kingdom publicly continues to state its unwavering support for the Arab Peace Initiative, a 2002 Saudi-sponsored deal that offers Israel full ties with all Arab states in return for Palestinian statehood on territory Israel captured in 1967.

Referring to the Abraham Accords — the normalization agreements Israel signed with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — the Saudi royal said, “You cannot treat an open wound with palliatives and painkillers.

“The Abraham Accords are not divine writ,” he added. For Saudi Arabia to join the agreement, he said, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, “must be implemented.”

Only once the Palestinian question is solved can Riyadh and Jerusalem join hands to confront their common enemy, Iran, he said in conclusion.

Ashkenazi, who was initially scheduled to attend the conference in person but eventually postponed his trip to the Gulf, devoted most of his speech to the historic nature of the Abraham Accords.

“The agreements represent a new paradigm of peace. They symbolize the choice of a better future over the past, of agreement and consensus over disagreement, and of hope and promise over despair,” he said.

Ashkenazi mentioned the fact that Israeli planes are now flying to the UAE and Bahrain, noting that this would not have been possible without Saudi approval. “And we are very grateful for this support,” he said.

The Abraham Accords do not come at the expense of the Palestinians, the foreign minister said. “Quite the opposite. They are an opportunity that should not be missed,” he added, calling on Ramallah to enter direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions.

At the question and answer session that followed the speakers’ opening remarks, Al-Faisal, the Saudi prince, said that Israeli settlements in the West Bank were a deal-breaker and urged Jerusalem to “remove those settlements and then enter negotiations.”

Dr. Ghulam Ali Chaudhry

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 4 Guest(s)