The making of Israel’s Apartheid in Palestine

The making of Israel’s apartheid

Phil Gasper recounts the history of how Israel was founded on the basis of the expulsion of the Arab population of Palestine.

An Israeli soldier stands guard over Palestinians waiting to cross at a checkpoint (Rami Swidan | Maan Images)

ZIONISM IS a political movement that originally emerged in the late 19th century as a response to anti-Semitism, particularly in Eastern Europe.

Capitalist development had undermined the traditional commercial roles that many Jews had played in the old feudal economy. As the economy moved into periodic crises, ruling groups in many countries deflected mass anger by scapegoating Jews.

Zionists drew the pessimistic conclusion that anti-Semitism couldn’t be eliminated–and that to escape persecution, Jews had to emigrate to a region where they could set up an exclusively Jewish state.

Theodore Herzl, known as the father of Zionism, wrote of “the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’ anti-Semitism,” and called for a Jewish state to be set up in an undeveloped country outside Europe.

Herzl was explicit that the program could be carried out only with the backing of one of the major imperialist powers. Once such support had been won, the Zionist movement would conduct itself like other colonizing ventures.

Herzl wrote that, if a Jewish state were created in Palestine, it would form “a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.” In other words, the new state would be part of the system of colonial domination of the rest of the world.

The founders of Zionism were prepared to ally themselves with the most vicious anti-Semites. Herzl approached Count Von Plehve, the sponsor of the worst anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, with the message: “Help me to reach the land sooner, and the revolt [against Tsarist rule] will end.”

What else to read

The International Socialist Review has extensive coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, with numerous articles covering the background.

Annie Zirin’s “The hidden history of Zionism” recounts the history of the Zionist movement and its alliances with right-wing and anti-Semitic forces. “Israel and the Nakba” by Paul D’Amato describes the violence at the founding of the state of Israel. Hadas Thier gives the background to the current conflict in Gaza in “The siege of Gaza.”

For books about the formation of the state of Israel, look for The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, both by Ilan Pappe, a radical Israeli historian. Pappe delivered a March 2007 speech titled “The History of Israel Reconsidered” that is worth the read.

Norman Finkelstein’s Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict is essential reading for picking apart the myths used to justify Israel’s apartheid. For an introductory take on the subject, see Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer, by Phyllis Bennis.

Between the Lines: Readings on Israel, the Palestinians and the U.S. “War on Terror,” by Tikva Honig-Parnass and Toufic Haddad, documents the apartheid-like conditions that Palestinians live under today.

For background on Israel’s war and the Palestinian struggle for freedom, read The Struggle for Palestine, a collection of essays edited by Lance Selfa on the history of the occupation and Palestinian resistance.

Zionist leaders offered to help guarantee Tsarist interests in Palestine, and rid Eastern Europe and Russia of those “noxious and subversive Anarcho-Bolshevik Jews”–in other words, the people who wanted to fight anti-Semitism, rather than capitulate to it. Von Plehve agreed to finance the Zionist movement as a way of countering socialist opposition to the Tsar.

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WHEN BRITAIN took control of Palestine at the end of the First World War, Zionists turned their attention to lobbying the British government. The Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann argued, “A Jewish Palestine would be a safeguard to England, in particular with respect to the Suez Canal.”

This argument began to seem increasingly attractive to the British ruling class. The war had underlined the importance of the Middle East, which guarded the sea routes to the Far East and contained the immensely profitable and strategically vital Persian oilfields. In November 1917, the British foreign minister Lord Balfour (a notorious anti-Semite) issued a declaration pledging his government’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

The Balfour declaration did not create a Jewish state, but it did encourage mass emigration to Palestine and the construction of an extensive settler community that was to become the basis of the state of Israel.

But there was one problem. Contrary to Zionist propaganda that Palestine was “a land without people for a people without a land,” the area was, in fact, the most densely populated region of the Eastern Mediterranean, with an Arab population that had lived there for about 1,000 years and which had developed an extensive economy.

Small Jewish settlements had existed in Palestine from the late 19th century, but after 1917, the colonization process accelerated considerably. Jewish organizations bought up large areas of land from absentee landlords, displacing large numbers of Palestinian peasants.

The Zionists also began building an exclusively Jewish “enclave” economy, organized around the Histadrut–the general confederation of Hebrew workers in Palestine. The settlers refused to employ Arab labor and boycotted Arab goods.

In the 1930s, the rise of fascism in Europe gave a further boost to Jewish immigration, even though most Jews had no interest in moving to Palestine. Zionism was still a fringe movement among Jews, and only 8.5 percent of Jewish migrants went to Palestine during this period.

The number would have been even smaller if countries like the U.S. and Britain had not had racist immigration policies that excluded most Jews. But the refugees who did arrive in Palestine strengthened the settler community.

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THE FOUNDING of a Zionist state is often justified as a response to the rise of fascism and the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, which exterminated 6 million Jews.(that number has been changed numerous times since and is now apparently about 740,000. It must also be noted that many who died at the hands of Hitler were non-Jews and many died from Typhus)) But far from being fighters against fascism, Zionists frequently collaborated with the Nazis.

In 1933, the Zionist Federation of Germany sent a memorandum of support to the Nazis: “On the foundation of the new [Nazi] state, which has established the principle of race, we wish to fit our community into the total structure, so that for us, too, in the sphere assigned to us, fruitful activity for the Fatherland is possible.”

The Zionist movement went so far as to oppose changes in the immigration laws of the U.S. and Western Europe, which would have permitted more Jews to find refuge in these countries. In 1938, David Ben-Gurion, who was to become the first prime minister of Israel, wrote: “If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I would opt for the second alternative.”

Jews in Palestine were given privileged status by the British colonial regime. The British helped establish and train a Zionist militia, granted Jewish capital 90 percent of economic concessions, and paid Jews higher wages than Arabs.

From the 1920s onwards, the British government used the Jewish settlers to help suppress mass Arab demonstrations against landlessness and unemployment, and for independence.

The most sustained uprising by the Palestinians took place from 1936 to 1939, and included a general strike of several months, withholding taxes, civil disobedience and armed insurrection. The British responded by declaring martial law and instituting mass repression, relying heavily on Zionist forces. Hundreds of Palestinians were executed or assassinated, thousands were imprisoned, and thousands of homes were demolished.

But Britain was greatly weakened by the Second World War and was forced to withdraw from Palestine. In 1947, the leading imperialist powers, including the U.S. and the USSR, decided to partition the country into separate Jewish and Palestinian states. Although Jews comprised only 31 percent of the population, the Zionists were given 54 percent of the fertile land.

Even this was not satisfactory for the Zionists, however. In 1938, Ben-Gurion had declared:

The boundaries of Zionist aspiration include southern Lebanon, southern Syria, today’s Jordan, all of Cis-Jordan [the West Bank] and the Sinai…After we become a strong force as the result of the creation of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine. The state will only be a stage in the realization of Zionism, and its task is to prepare the ground for our expansion. The state will have to preserve order–not by preaching, but with machine guns.

The Zionist project could only be completed if the local Arab population was expelled. As Joseph Weitz, head of the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Department, had put it in 1940, “there is no room for both peoples together in this country…And there is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries. To transfer all of them; not one village, not one tribe should be left.”

In 1948, this policy was put into effect. Zionist forces seized three-quarters of the land and expelled some 750,000 Palestinians.

Military groups whose leaders included the future Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, carried out massacres at villages like Deir Yasin–where over 100 men, women and children were murdered–designed to terrorize the rest of the Palestinian population to flee for their lives.

The official Israel Defense Forces carried out other massacres. One soldier gave the following eyewitness account of what happened at the village of Dueima:

They killed between 80 to 100 Arab men, women and children. To kill the children they fractured their heads with sticks. There was not one home without corpses…Educated and well-mannered commanders who were considered “good guys”…became base murderers, and this not in the storm of battle, but as a method of expulsion and extermination.

There were nearly 500 Palestinian villages in the territory that came under Israeli occupation after partition. During 1948 and 1949, nearly 400 of these were razed to the ground. More were destroyed in the 1950s.

In 1969, Moshe Dayan, former chief of staff and minister of defense, admitted: “We came here to a country that was populated by Arabs, and we are building here a Hebrew, Jewish state. Instead of Arab villages, Jewish villages were established…There is not a single [Jewish] settlement that was not established in the place of a former Arab village.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

ISRAEL ALSO learned the lesson of portraying its own aggression as self-defense against hostile neighbors. But in 1948, it was only after Israel had launched its attack on Palestinians that other Arab countries mobilized a token force, largely in an effort to mollify their own populations, rather than as a serious military effort. The Arab states did nothing to reverse the expulsion of Palestinians, and by the time the 1948 war ended, the Zionists were in control of 78 percent of historic Palestine.

Moshe Sharett, an Israeli prime minister in the 1950s, admitted that the Israeli political and military leadership never believed the Arab governments represented any serious danger to Israel. Rather, Israel has sought to maneuver Arab states into military confrontations it was certain of winning, with the aim of destabilizing the regimes and occupying more territory.

Israel’s goal, according to Sharett, has been to “dismember the Arab world, defeat the Arab national movement and create puppet regimes under regional Israeli power” and “to modify the balance of power in the region radically, transforming Israel into the major power in the Middle East.”

Before 1947, Jews owned about 6 percent of the land in Palestine. In the process of establishing the state of Israel, the Zionists expropriated 90 percent of the land, the vast majority of which had formerly belonged to Arabs.

Entire cities were emptied of Palestinians, and Palestinian orchards, industry, rolling stock, factories, houses and possessions were seized. The majority of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homeland. Arabs who remained in Israel became second-class citizens, while Palestinians who were driven out of the country mostly lived in poverty in refugee camps throughout the Middle East.

Israel passed the “Law of Return,” which allows every person of Jewish descent to emigrate to Israel. But Palestinians weren’t allowed to return to their homes.

Following the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel occupied further territory, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, 55 percent of the land and 70 percent of the water were seized for the benefit of illegal Jewish settlers.

In Gaza, 2,200 Jewish settlers were given over 40 percent of the land, while 500,000 Palestinians were confined in crowded camps and slums. Israel finally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but it has maintained a blockade that reinforced conditions akin to a giant prison camp.

Israel’s actions have been repeatedly condemned by the United Nations, but the U.S. government ensured that nothing was done to enforce a series of resolutions.

Since its creation, Israel has been a defender of Washington’s interests in the oil-rich Middle East. As the influential Jewish paper Ha’aretz put it in 1951:

Israel is to become the watchdog. There is no fear that Israel will undertake any aggressive policy towards the Arab states when this would explicitly contradict the wishes of the U.S. and Britain. But, if for any reasons the Western powers should sometimes prefer to close their eyes, Israel could be relied upon to punish one or several neighboring states whose discourtesy to the west went beyond the bounds of the permissible.

As a consequence, Israel has received billions of dollars of U.S. aid every year, which have made it one of the most heavily armed states in the world–one easily capable of undertaking the slaughter in Gaza we see today.

Source

This came out May  2007

Secret memo proves Israel knew occupation was illegal

LONDON
A secret memo proves that the Israeli government knew that its occupation of Palestinian land was illegal after it won the Six Day War in 1967, a British newspaper reported Saturday.

Theodor Meron, who wrote the memo as the Israeli foreign ministry’s legal advisor at the time, said “I believe I would have given the same opinion today,” according to The Independent newspaper.

With Israel now celebrating the 40th anniversary of the war, the 76-year-old Meron, who went on to become a leading international jurist, challenges Israel’s long-held argument that settlements do not violate international law.

The Independent said it obtained a copy of his legal opinion, which was marked “Top Secret” and “Extremely Urgent.”

Quoting its author, the newspaper said the memo concluded “that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Meron also told the newspaper that then foreign minister Abba Eban was “sympathetic” to his view that civilian settlement would go against the Hague and Geneva conventions governing the conduct of occupying powers.

But the Labour government at the time progressively approved the settlements in the captured West Bank despite the secret legal opinion which had been passed on to then prime minister Levi Eshkol.

Such actions paved the way for at least 240,000 Israelis to settle in the the West Bank.

Meron, who served as president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia until 2005, was also quoted as telling the Independent that the settlements have proven to be a real stumbling block.

“It’s obvious to me that the fact that settlements were established and the pace of the establishment of the settlements made peacemaking much more difficult,” he was quoted as saying.

In the Six Day War in June 1967, Israel captured the Sinai peninsula from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan.

Agence France-Presse

Source

Israel has been warmongering and committing crimes for years and are still committing crimes and self defense is what they use continually. It doesn’t hold much water anymore. If anyone believes their propaganda well that is a shame.

They are still doing Washington’s dirty work as well.  Washington is doing Israel’s Dirty work also. Collaborators in crimes against Humanity.

Britain still is one of their buddies as well.

Why would any of it change?

If anyone thinks they actually care how many Palestinians die think again.  They are exterminating them. Just like they have been for years all in the name of self defense. Seems the use the same play book as the Bush administration. It is lies of course. They are the ones breaking the Law. They are the criminals.

To believe other wise is just ignorance and lack of education.

What they do today is what they have always done.

Gaza (3): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Gaza (2): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution again that’s 40 since 1972

Israel’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Israel And Apartheid: By People Who Knew Apartheid

Gaza War Why?: Natural Gas valued at over $4 billion MAYBE?

Pro-Gaza protest, march set for Saturday Jan 3, in St. Petersburg

Added Jan 5

Reports on protests

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: US protests against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: Protests around the World Against Gaza assault

Added Jan 4th 2009

A few reports about the protests

Saturday Jan 3  Reports:Canadian Protesters march in support of Palestinians

Saturday Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009 London Paris Etc

Saturday Jan 3 Reports:US protests against Israels attacks on Gaza

Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault

December Reports

December 29 Reports:Global protests against Israel

Posted Jan 2 2009

Pro-Gaza protest, march set for Saturday in St. Petersburg

January 3, 2009

By Wayne Garcia

This in from Rise Up Tampa Bay:
St. Petersburg — Peace groups and concerned citizens will be gathering outside of the Baywalk facility in support of the victims in Gaza during the most recent military actions.

“Regardless of where one stands on the conflict, we can all agree that war is not the answer, and the horiffically one-sided casualty counts are a travesty”, said Mike Fox, Rise Up Tampa Bay member and Chair of the Pinellas County Chapter of Progressive Democrats Of America.  “We ask that all who see the Palestinian people as the “Davids” in this “David vs Goliath” struggle join us as we ask that the US government and our fellow citizens support a free Palestine and an end to the slaughter.”
Saturday, Jan. 3,7:30pm

On sidewalks outside of Baywalk
2nd Avenue and 2nd Street, N
Downtown St. Petersburg

Rise Up Tampa Bay

Source

Petitions can also be signed at page below.

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

There is also a March in New York and Toronto Canada

Sat, Jan 3rd, NYC GAZA ACTIONS CONTINUE – MARCH & RALLY

Toronto: January 3, demonstrating against Israeli assault In Gaza

Other Protests across the US

Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 12:56 am  Comments Off on Pro-Gaza protest, march set for Saturday Jan 3, in St. Petersburg  
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Sat, Jan 3rd, NYC GAZA ACTIONS CONTINUE – MARCH & RALLY

Added Jan 5

Reports on protests

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: US protests against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: Protests around the World Against Gaza assault

Added Jan 4th 2009

A few reports about the protests

Saturday Jan 3 Reports:Canadian Protesters march in support of Palestinians

Saturday Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009 London Paris Etc

Saturday Jan 3 Reports:US protests against Israels attacks on Gaza

Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault

December Reports

December 29 Reports:Global protests against Israel

Posted Jan 2 2009

WHEN:  Saturday January 3 2009, 1:00 PM

WHERE:  New York City, Rally at Times Square, 42nd and 7th Avenue,

MARCH & RALLY

STOP THE MASSACRE
BOYCOTT ISRAEL
NYC Actions for Gaza Continue
Death toll in Gaza has reached 390!
We urge all of our members and friends to come out and participate in the Rally and March on Saturday January 3, 2009.

Rally at Times Square, 42nd and 7th Avenue, 1:00 PM
March to the Israeli mission on 42nd and 2nd Avenue.

Adalah-NY and friends will gather 12:40 PM at the North East corner of 39th St and 7th Ave.  At 1:10 PM, we will join the protest and try to be near 41st St. and 7th Ave. Join us!

BRING FLAGS & MAKE YOUR OWN SIGN.
Here are some of the the slogans we will be using:

  • STOP THE MASSACRE – BOYCOTT ISRAEL
  • BOYCOTT OCCUPATION & MASS STARVATION
  • STOP ISRAELI WAR CRIMES
  • STOP THE GENOCIDE
  • STOP THE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE! – OR WE’LL HAVE TO THROW OUR SHOES!
  • YES, WE CAN! STOP ISRAELI AGGRESSION!
  • YES, WE CAN! STOP THE GENOCIDE IN GAZA!
  • YES, WE CAN! STOP US MILITARY AID TO ISRAEL!
  • YES, WE CAN! BOYCOTT ISRAEL!
  • NOT IN OUR NAMES, NOT WITH OUR MONEY!
  • ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES = WAR CRIMINALS
  • ISRAELI ATTACK ON GAZA = GENOCIDE
  • YES, WE CAN! STOP THE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINE!
  • ZIONISM = RACISM
  • ISRAEL = APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA
  • WAR IS TERRORISM WITH BIGGER BUDGET – STOP ISRAEL’S WAR ON PALESTINIANS
  • SAY NO TO RACISM – SAY NO TO CARNAGE
  • ACT AGAINST ISRAEL’S WAR CRIMES

Call for the March:

We must act now, before the massacres continue! Over 360 people were killed in Gaza since Saturday, December 27 in a series of Israeli attacks – with US-made and paid for weaponry – upon the Palestinian people. These cold-blooded killings come on top of a siege on Gaza that has killed hundreds by depriving them of medical care, electricity, power and fuel and attempted to strangle the life of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The people of Gaza are standing steadfast in the face of these massacres but our voices must be heard to demand an immediate end to the massacres and an end to US aid to Israel! The Israeli military is promising more massacres – we must say no NOW!
—–
Endorsed by:
Al-Awda: Palestine Right to Return Coalition-NY, Arab Muslim American Federation, MAS-NY(Youth Center), National, Queens, NJ, Yonkers, The General Union of Palestine Students, Bayan-USA, Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, Salam Church, International Action Center, Brooklyn Cultural Center, Hudson Valley Islamic Center, December 12 Movement, New York City Labor Against the War, DRUM, Troops Out Now Coalition, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum, International League of Peoples Struggle, Dawoud Mosque, Muslim Alliance in North America, Masjid Al-Taqwa, Islamic Circle of North America, F.I.S.T

TRAINS:
#1, 2, 3, 7, S, N, Q, R, W to Times Sq.-42d St.; B, D, F, V to 42d St.-Bryant Park (at 6th Av. & walk a block west); A, C, E to 42d St.-Port Authority (at 8th Av. & walk a block east); no weekend B, V or W service;

BUSES:
M6, M7, both via 6th & 7th Aves.; M10, M20, M104 all via Broadway; M27 crosstown via 49th & Broadway; M42 or M104 both crosstown via 42d St.; M10, M16, M20 via 8th Ave.;

Source

Pro-Gaza protest, march set for Saturday Jan 3, in St. Petersburg

Toronto: January 3, demonstrating against Israeli assault In Gaza

Other Protests across the US

If you can’t make it to the Rally/March, you can send letters and sign the petitions at the page below. Become part of the Solution.  Every Voice counts.

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

Published in: on January 2, 2009 at 6:06 pm  Comments Off on Sat, Jan 3rd, NYC GAZA ACTIONS CONTINUE – MARCH & RALLY  
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Top Ten Myths About Iraq, 2008

By Juan Cole
December 26, 2008

1. Iraqis are safer because of Bush’s War. In fact, conditions of insecurity have helped created both an internal and external refugee problem:

‘ At least 4.2 million Iraqis were displaced. These included 2.2 million who were displaced within Iraq and some 2 million refugees, mostly in Syria (around 1.4 million) and Jordan (around half a million). In the last months of the year both these neighbouring states, struggling to meet the health, education and other needs of the Iraqi refugees already present, introduced visa requirements that impeded the entry of Iraqis seeking refuge. Within Iraq, most governorates barred entry to Iraqis fleeing sectarian violence elsewhere.’

2. Large numbers of Iraqis in exile abroad have returned. In fact, no great number have returned, and more Iraqis may still be leaving to Syria than returning.

3. Iraqis are materially better off because of Bush’s war. In fact, A million Iraqis are “food insecure” and another 6 million need UN food rations to survive. Oxfam estimated in summer, 2007, that 28% of Iraqi children are malnourished.

4. The Bush administration scored a major victory with its Status of Forces Agreement. In fact, The Iraqis forced on Bush an agreement that the US would withdraw combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, 2009,and would completely withdraw from the Country by the end of 2011. The Bush administration had wanted 58 long-term bases, and the authority to arrest Iraqis at will and to launch military operations unilaterally.

5. Minorities in Iraq are safer since Bush’s invasion. In fact, there have in 2008 been significant attacks on and displacement of Iraqi Christians from Mosul. In early January of 2008, guerrillas bombed churches in Mosul, wounding a number of persons. More recently, some 13,000 Christians have had to flee Mosul because of violence.

6. The sole explanation for the fall in the monthly death rate for Iraqi civilians was the troop excalation or surge of 30,000 extra US troops in 2007. In fact, troop levels had been that high before without major effect. The US military did good counter-insurgency in 2007. The major reason for the fall in the death toll, however, was that the Shiites won the war for Baghdad, ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of Sunnis from the capital, and turning it into a city with a Shiite majority of 75 to 80 percent. (When Bush invaded, Baghdad was about 50/50 Sunni and Shiite). The high death tolls in 2006 and 2007 were a by-product of this massive ethnic cleansing campaign. Now, a Shiite militiaman in Baghdad would have to drive for a while to find a Sunni Arab to kill.

7. John McCain alleged that if the US left Iraq, it would be promptly taken over by al-Qaeda. In fact, there are few followers of Usamah Bin Laden in Iraq. The fundamentalist extremists, if that is what McCain meant, are not supported by most Sunni Arabs. They are supported by no Shiites (60% of Iraq) or Kurds (20% of Iraq), and are hated by Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Jordan, who would never allow such a takeover.

8. The Iraq War made the world safer from terrorism. In fact, Iraq has become a major training ground for extremists and is implicated in the major bombings in Madrid, London, and Glasgow.

9. Bush went to war in Iraq because he was given bad intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities. In fact, the State Department’s Intelligence & Research (I & R) division cast doubt on the alarmist WMD stories that Bush/Cheney put about. The CIA refused to sign off on the inclusion of the Niger uranium lie in the State of the Union address, which made Bush source it to the British MI6 instead. The Downing Street Memo revealed that Bush fixed the intelligence around the policy. Bush sought to get up a provocation such as a false flag attack on UN planes so as to blame it on Iraq. And UN weapons inspectors in Feb.-Mar. of 2003 examined 100 of 600 suspected weapons sites and found nothing; Bush’s response was to pull them out and go to war.

10. Douglas Feith and other Neoconservatives didn’t really want a war with Iraq (!). Yeah, that was why they demanded war on Iraq with their 1996 white paper for Bibi Netanyahu and again in their 1998 Project for a New American Century letter to Clinton, where they explicitly called for military action. The Neoconservatives are notorious liars and by the time they get through with rewriting history, they will be a combination of Gandhi and Mother Teresa and the Iraq War will be Bill Clinton’s fault. The only thing is, I think people are wise to them by now. Being a liar can actually get you somewhere. Being a notorious liar is a disadvantage if what you want to is get people to listen to you and act on your advice. I say, Never Again.

See also my article in The Nation, “Iraq: The Necessary Withdrawal,” and this piece in the Toronto Star.

Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute – Visit his website http://www.juancole.com/

Source

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 5:37 am  Comments Off on Top Ten Myths About Iraq, 2008  
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Israel Responsible for Genocide by Starvation in Gaza

By Omar Karmi,

November 19 2008

AMALLAH, WEST BANK

Israel rebuffed a plea by the UN to open crossings into Gaza for humanitarian supplies yesterday and continued barring international media from reaching the impoverished strip of land.

Asked yesterday whether Israel intended to reopen crossings, Ehud Barak, the defence minister, told Israel Army Radio: “No. There needs to be calm in order for the crossings to be opened.”

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, telephoned Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister on Tuesday, urging him to facilitate the movement of urgently needed humanitarian supplies into Gaza, where relief agencies have had to halt food distribution and the only power station is running out of fuel.

Israel closed the crossings two weeks ago when Palestinians responded with a salvo of rockets to a Nov 4 Israeli army raid into Gaza that resulted in the killings of six Gazans.

The tit-for-tat violence has continued since, with Israeli air raids causing at least a dozen Palestinian fatalities and one Israeli wounded by a Palestinian mortar.

Hamas is understood to be trying to persuade some of the smaller Palestinian factions, including the Popular Resistance Committees and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine who have claimed responsibility for firing rockets in the past two weeks, to desist.

Nevertheless, Hamas’s military wing yesterday also warned that it was prepared to end a five-month-old ceasefire should crossings remain closed.

It would appear to be in neither Israel’s nor Hamas’s interests to end the ceasefire, however. Israeli politicians are facing general elections in early February and although taking a tough posture with Palestinians is an oft-tried campaign strategy, barring a full-scale – and unpredictable – invasion of the Strip, Israel would seem unable to ensure calm around Gaza without the ceasefire in place.

Hamas, for its part, will be eager for the ceasefire, which officially runs out on Dec 19, to be extended to continue to consolidate its rule over Gaza and strengthen its hand in internal Palestinian negotiations over reconciliation. Nevertheless, Hamas cannot afford to be seen to have abandoned the option of armed struggle and will probably enter the fray should crossings into Gaza remain shut.

Several international relief agencies have warned of a full-scale humanitarian disaster should food and medicine continue being blocked from entering the strip. On Sunday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency announced that it had to stop distributing food to the about 750,000 Palestinians who rely on it for their immediate needs.

On Monday, Israel allowed a limited shipment of food and medicine to reach the strip, but the army shut the border again after three rockets were fired across the border on Tuesday, and yesterday it was reported that Gaza’s biggest mill had closed because of a lack of wheat. Gazans are also suffering regular electricity blackouts as a result of the scarcity of fuel.

Foreign journalists, meanwhile, are protesting against a ban on international media entering the Gaza Strip, also in effect since Nov 4.

The Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists working for international media in the region, has slammed the decision by the Israeli government as a “serious violation” of press freedom.

In an open letter published on Tuesday, the FPA said the decision to bar journalists from Gaza was an “unprecedented restriction of press freedom” and said its protests to the Israeli government had gone unheeded.

“Never before have journalists been prevented from doing their work in this way. We believe it is vital that journalists be allowed to find out for themselves what is going on in Gaza. Israel controls access to Gaza. Israel must allow professional journalists access to this important story.”

In spite of repeated requests, the Israeli ministry of defence was not available for comment. Israeli officials had said no official decision has been made to stop journalists from reaching Gaza, but that preventing them from doing so in the past two weeks was consistent with army policy only to allow passage for essential humanitarian staff.

In Gaza, officials and human rights activists said Israel was trying to prevent foreign journalists from revealing the reality there.

“Israel doesn’t want journalists to report on the conditions in Gaza that have resulted from the Israeli siege,” said Eyad Sarraj, a psychiatrist with the Gaza Community Mental Health Project and a human-rights activist. “Israel doesn’t want journalists from all over the world to bear evidence to what they are doing here.”

Mr Sarraj also suggested that Israel was preparing a major military operation, a suspicion echoed by Ahmad Yousef, a senior Hamas official.

“Israel might be planning something. For this, they don’t want any journalists here to cover their brutality against Palestinians… Journalists are those that can open the eyes of the world by showing them what is really going on in Gaza.”

Source

The Real Goal of Israel’s Blockade

By Jonathan Cook

November 17, 2008

The latest tightening of Israel’s chokehold on Gaza – ending all supplies into the Strip for more than a week – has produced immediate and shocking consequences for Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants.

The refusal to allow in fuel has forced the shutting down of Gaza’s only power station, creating a blackout that pushed Palestinians bearing candles on to the streets in protest last week. A water and sanitation crisis are expected to follow.

And on Thursday, the United Nations announced it had run out of the food essentials it supplies to 750,000 desperately needy Gazans. “This has become a blockade against the United Nations itself,” a spokesman said.

In a further blow, Israel’s large Bank Hapoalim said it would refuse all transactions with Gaza by the end of the month, effectively imposing a financial blockade on an economy dependent on the Israeli shekel. Other banks are planning to follow suit, forced into a corner by Israel’s declaration in Sept 2007 of Gaza as an “enemy entity”.

There are likely to be few witnesses to Gaza’s descent into a dark and hungry winter. In the past week, all journalists were refused access to Gaza, as were a group of senior European diplomats. Days earlier, dozens of academics and doctors due to attend a conference to assess the damage done to Gazans’ mental health were also turned back.

Israel has blamed the latest restrictions of aid and fuel to Gaza on Hamas’s violation of a five-month ceasefire by launching rockets out of the Strip. But Israel had a hand in shattering the agreement: as the world was distracted by the US presidential elections, the army invaded Gaza, killing six Palestinians and provoking the rocket fire.

The humanitarian catastrophe gripping Gaza is largely unrelated to the latest tit-for-tat strikes between Hamas and Israel. Nearly a year ago, Karen Koning AbuZayd, commissioner-general of the UN’s refugee agency, warned: “Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution”.

She blamed Gaza’s strangulation directly on Israel, but also cited the international community as accomplice. Together they began blocking aid in early 2006, following the election of Hamas to head the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The US and Europe agreed to the measure on the principle that it would force the people of Gaza to rethink their support for Hamas. The logic was supposedly similar to the one that drove the sanctions applied to Iraq under Saddam Hussein through the 1990s: if Gaza’s civilians suffered enough, they would rise up against Hamas and install new leaders acceptable to Israel and the West.

As Ms AbuZayd said, that moment marked the beginning of the international community’s complicity in a policy of collective punishment of Gaza, despite the fact that the Fourth Geneva Convention classifies such treatment of civilians as a war crime.

The blockade has been pursued relentlessly since, even if the desired outcome has been no more achieved in Gaza than it was in Iraq. Instead, Hamas entrenched its control and cemented the Strip’s physical separation from the Fatah-dominated West Bank.

Far from reconsidering its policy, Israel’s leadership has responded by turning the screw ever tighter – to the point where Gazan society is now on the verge of collapse.

In truth, however, the growing catastrophe being unleashed on Gaza is only indirectly related to Hamas’s rise to power and the rocket attacks.

Of more concern to Israel is what each of these developments represents: a refusal on the part of Gazans to abandon their resistance to Israel’s continuing occupation. Both provide Israel with a pretext for casting aside the protections offered to Gaza’s civilians under international law to make them submit.

With embarrassing timing, the Israeli media revealed at the weekend that one of the first acts of Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister elected in 2006, was to send a message to the Bush White House offering a long-term truce in return for an end to Israeli occupation. His offer was not even acknowledged.

Instead, according to the daily Jerusalem Post, Israeli policymakers have sought to reinforce the impression that “it would be pointless for Israel to topple Hamas because the population [of Gaza] is Hamas”. On this thinking, collective punishment is warranted because there are no true civilians in Gaza. Israel is at war with every single man, woman and child.

In an indication of how widely this view is shared, the cabinet discussed last week a new strategy to obliterate Gazan villages in an attempt to stop the rocket launches, in an echo of discredited Israeli tactics used in south Lebanon in its war of 2006. The inhabitants would be given warning before indiscriminate shelling began.

In fact, Israel’s desire to seal off Gaza and terrorise its civilian population predates even Hamas’s election victory. It can be dated to Ariel Sharon’s disengagement of summer 2005, when Fatah’s rule of the PA was unchallenged.

An indication of the kind of isolation Mr Sharon preferred for Gaza was revealed shortly after the pull-out, in Dec 2005, when his officials first proposed cutting off electricity to the Strip.

The policy was not implemented, the local media pointed out at the time, both because officials suspected the violation of international law would be rejected by other nations and because it was feared that such a move would damage Fatah’s chances of winning the elections the following month.

With the vote over, however, Israel had the excuse it needed to begin severing its responsibility for the civilian population. It recast its relationship with Gaza from one of occupation to one of hostile parties at war. A policy of collective punishment that was considered transparently illegal in late 2005 has today become Israel’s standard operating procedure.

Increasingly strident talk from officials, culminating in February in the deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai’s infamous remark about creating a “shoah”, or Holocaust, in Gaza, has been matched by Israeli measures. The military bombed Gaza’s electricity plant in June 2006, and has been incrementally cutting fuel supplies ever since. In January, Mr Vilnai argued that Israel should cut off “all responsibility” for Gaza and two months later Israel signed a deal with Egypt for it to build a power station for Gaza in Sinai.

All of these moves are designed with the same purpose in mind: persuading the world that Israel’s occupation of Gaza is over and that Israel can therefore ignore the laws of occupation and use unremitting force against Gaza.

Cabinet ministers have been queuing up to express such sentiments. Ehud Olmert, for example, has declared that Gazans should not be allowed to “live normal lives”; Avi Dichter believes punishment should be inflicted “irrespective of the cost to the Palestinians”; Meir Sheetrit has urged that Israel should “decide on a neighbourhood in Gaza and level it” – the policy discussed by ministers last week. (Criminals they are)

In concert, Israel has turned a relative blind eye to the growing smuggling trade through Gaza’s tunnels to Egypt. Gazans’ material welfare is falling more heavily on Egyptian shoulders by the day.

The question remains: what does Israel expect the response of Gazans to be to their immiseration and ever greater insecurity in the face of Israeli military reprisals?

Eyal Sarraj, the head of Gaza’s Community Mental Health Programme, said this year that Israel’s long-term goal was to force Egypt to end the controls along its short border with the Strip. Once the border was open, he warned, “Wait for the exodus.”

Source

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza


U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza

These are War Crimes.

Innocent Civilians are being murdered by Starvation.

This includes Children just in case we have forgotten.

What Israel is doing is in fact Illegal.

They are murdering innocent people.

That is a crime.

All “Aid” should be cut off, that is going to Israel and no one should be selling them “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

The US does both.  American tax dollars hard at work.
Israel is not to be trusted with any “Weapon of Mass Destruction”.

US Aid: The Lifeblood of Occupation

US Aid to Israel  January 2008

Israel is one of the 50 richest countries in the World. They don’t need any more aid.

Petition to End Israel’s Restrictions on Freedom of Movement and the Press

To: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

We, the undersigned, condemn Israel’s appalling treatment of Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Gaza correspondent and author of the magazine’s regular feature, “Gaza on the Ground.” The 24-year-old Palestinian journalist was brutally assaulted by Israeli Shin Bet security officials at the Allenby Bridge border crossing on his way home to Gaza on June 26. He had just received the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, which he shared with independent American journalist Dahr Jamail. Omer’s award citation reads, “Every day, he reports from a war zone, where he is also a prisoner. His homeland, Gaza, is surrounded, starved, attacked, forgotten. He is a profoundly humane witness to one of the great injustices of our time. He is the voice of the voiceless.” (see John Pilger’s July 2 article, “From Triumph to Torture,” in the Guardian:

This is not an isolated incident, Pilger points out, but part of a terrible pattern. Israel gives its border guards and Shin Bet agents free rein to regularly harass Palestinians (as well as Palestinian Americans and American peace activists and academics) traveling to and from the occupied territories. Israel randomly abuses, searches, interrogates and humiliates travelers of every age—men and women—and frequently refuses to let them pass through Israeli-controlled borders to their homes in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. We just don’t hear their voices.

Israel simply doesn’t want Palestinian voices to be heard abroad. Palestinians are routinely prevented from accepting invitations to speak in Europe or North America. Students with scholarships to study overseas are not permitted to leave. Israel is now preventing Palestinians from returning home, even for a visit, once they have left to work or study abroad. (Israel recently revoked Zeina Ashrawi Hutchison’s travel documents, and will not renew her Jerusalem ID card. She is not allowed to return home to visit her father and mother, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi.)

We, the undersigned, also urge the Israeli government to end its efforts to censor international reports from the occupied territories. The government prefers stories to be filed from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, where they are subject to censorship, and allows few, if any, international journalists to enter the West Bank and Gaza. Israel censors, harasses and even kills Palestinian journalists who are trying to report on conditions in the occupied territories.

We call on the Israeli government to protect journalists who are trying to work in the occupied territories. At least eight journalists have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza since 2001, seven of them in attacks by Israel Defense Forces, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists research.*

We call on the Israeli government to end its harassment of travelers and journalists. When Israel targets journalists it infringes on a basic pillar of democracy, freedom of the press. Human beings, even those ruled for decades by an occupying power, have the right to leave home and return safely, without interference, and the right to freedom of speech.

To Sign Petition

Published in: on November 19, 2008 at 11:28 pm  Comments Off on Israel Responsible for Genocide by Starvation in Gaza  
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