Israel has been paranoid about people finding out the truth of what it is doing. In an example of this, 55 Harvard students were expelled from Al-Walaja earlier this week (see 1 below). On several occasions when we took delegations to visit Al-Walaja we were harassed. This included the times when I took a group of Israeli Jews, evangelical Christians, and even diplomatic staff to Al-Walaja. Some who were sympathetic to Israel did change their views and started to see this as the apartheid system h it is (by International legal definition). Just today I took some of my Palestinian students to see Al-Walaja and talk to villagers and even do their research projects on the village. More Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals should come to these struggling villages and see reality. We are happy to show people around and/or put them in touch with the right people and not those who are profiteering from claiming they represent popular resistance. Continue reading →
1)Wikileaks reveals US, Egyptian, Israeli, and Palestinian “cooperation” during Israel’s war crimes in Gaza (and in the case of the US pre-knowledge of the humanitarian crisis that would develop before the attack even commenced). PA officials clearly did not want any demonstrations where confrontation with Israeli soldiers occur (something that is natural in civil popular resistance)
2) The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) reiterates its firm opposition to any bilateral or multilateral relationships between Palestinian and Israeli academics
3) Videos of reality of colonial apartheid in Palestine including must-see videos about our activities over Christmas (Come join us next time) and the destruction of a whole village by the Israeli occupation authorities
4) The farce of Israeli “investigations” into their own actions. Shooting someone 13 times while he is sleeping in his bed (initially called mistaken identity and now called, “he made what appeared to be a threatening move”. This happens daily here and Israeli soldiers feel impunity for murder.
5) Two articles in Foreign Policy this week one that looks favorably at the Palestinian authority actions and one that looks at it as a creation of a police state. My own view falls somewhere in the middle….
1)Significant wikileaks documents shed light on cooperation before and during the war on Gaza by the US, Egypt, Palestinian Authority and the Israeli apartheid system. Before the attack, one message from Ambassador Cunningham evaluated that there will likely be both an Israeli attack and a humanitarian situation developing and then concludes that this should be dealt with as follows:
“We strongly recommend that the Department consider now the U.S. response to the above-mentioned range of Israeli military operations, including press guidance, talking points and even Security Council action, bearing in mind that we are likely to have little to no advance warning and that even a relatively restrained operation could rapidly grow into something much bigger. Our recommendation is that the USG start with putting the blame on Hamas for the illegitimacy of its rule in Gaza, its policy of firing or allowing other factions to fire rockets and mortars at Israeli civilian targets, and its decision to end the “tahdiya” calming period; and support for Israel’s right to defend itself, while also emphasizing our concern for the welfare of innocent Palestinian civilians and U.S. readiness to provide emergency humanitarian relief. On this last point, USAID points out that large-scale U.S. and international humanitarian assistance will be urgently needed in Gaza if the IDF ends up carrying out a broad-scale military operation. “
During the attack, the US Embassy reported
“PA commanders said they told IDF officers that President Abbas and PM Fayyad both directed them to avoid situations that could develop into confrontations with the IDF. The security chiefs said Abbas and Fayyad passed a message to all Palestinian factions, at a PLO Executive Committee meeting on December 29, that only peaceful marches away from flashpoints would be permitted. PA commanders noted they have no control on over B/C areas such as Qalandiya and Nil’in, and would need IDF approval to move PA forces to those areas to prevent clashes between protesters and the IDF. PA commanders said both sides agreed that Hebron is a problem, and cooperation on a case-by-case basis is critical. PA commanders said their IDF counterparts agreed to expedite coordination and movement requests and exchange information on possible disturbances, as both sides have an interest in preventing West Bank violence. They said both sides also agreed not to leak substantive discussions about the meeting to the press, given the sensitivity of security coordination in a time of Palestinian outrage over events in Gaza.” http://www.counterpunch.org/wikigazacables.html
2) Statement of Position: The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) wishes to reiterate its firm opposition to any bilateral or multilateral relationships between Palestinian and Israeli academic institutions. …. http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1451
3) Videos of reality of colonial apartheid in Palestine
Must-see video about our activities over Christmas (Come join us next time)
In south Hebron Hills in the occupied West Bank, a child tries to stop soldiers from kidnapping his father (who is accused of tapping into water pipes that steal Palestinian water to serve settlers and soldiers)
Destruction of the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib (it was destroyed 9 times) by the apartheid state that intends on ethnic cleansing (maximum geography with minimum demography)
4) The farce of Israeli “investigations” into their own actions. Shooting someone 13 times whiel he is sleeping in his bed (initially called mistaken identity and now called, “he made what appeared to be a threatening move”. This happens daily here and Israeli soldiers feel impunity for murder.
5) Two articles in Foreign Policy http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/ this week one that looks favorably at the Palestinian authority actions and one that looks at it as a creation of a police state. (I tend to fall in the middle).
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, 15 October 2010
Negotiations between two unequal parties cannot succeed. Success in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations requires a reasonable balance of power, clear terms of reference and abstention of both sides from imposing unilateral facts on the ground. None of that existed in the talks that were re-initiated in September.
Much like previous rounds of talks, these negotiations were dominated on one side by an Israeli government that controls the land, roads, airspace, borders, water and electricity, as well as the trade and economy of the Palestinian side, while possessing a powerful military establishment (now the third military exporter in the world) and a robust gross domestic product, which has tripled in the last decade.
This same Israeli “partner” now also boasts a general public that has shifted dramatically to the right, and to which an apartheid system for Palestinians has become an acceptable norm. On the other side is the Palestinian Authority — one that paradoxically holds little real authority, and exists as a sort of fiefdom within the Israeli matrix of control. Further debilitating the P.A. is a protracted internal Palestinian division, total dependence on foreign aid and a decline of democracy and human rights. Finally, the Palestinian Authority is constantly pressured to provide security for its occupier while failing to provide any protection whatsoever to its own people from that same occupier.
How did we get here? The answer, in large part, has to do with the continued and unabated construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 17 years since the Oslo agreement. In this time, the number of settlers has increased by 300 percent and the number of settlements doubled. The settlements are only the front line of a complex and profitable system that includes checkpoints, road segregation, security zones, the “apartheid wall” and “natural reserves.” This matrix has for years eaten up the land, water resources and the economic space of the independent Palestinian state supposedly being negotiated in this same period. About 60 percent of the West Bank and 80 percent of water resources have been consumed this way.
We have reached, and probably surpassed, that critical point at which any more settlements mean the death of the two-state solution. The Israeli establishment knows this better than anybody. They also know that their hard-line positions on issues like Jerusalem and borders mean transforming the idea of Palestinian statehood into something much less: isolated clusters of land in a system of segregation.
The International Court of Justice and endless United Nations resolutions have ruled that settlements are illegal and should be removed. Even the Road Map issued by the so-called Quartet (the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia) in 2003 said that all settlement activities must stop. Yet neither the United States nor the Quartet as a whole has had the guts to exert serious pressure on Israel to stop settlements.
So what is left?
The only way to save the two-state solution is for the Palestinians to declare the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and to demand that the world community recognize it and its borders — as it did in the case of Kosovo.
That would also mean supporting the right of Palestinians to struggle nonviolently to end the occupation of their state. Any future negotiations, therefore, would not be about the right of the Palestinians to have their own sovereign independent state, but rather about how to apply and implement that right.
This would be the true test of the state-building strategy of the United States and the donor community. It would be the real instrument to finally demarcate the difference between support for free Palestinian institutions in a sovereign and viable state, or footing the bill of occupation and using E.U. and U.S. tax dollars to maintain under various guises what will never amount to anything but an apartheid system denying Palestinians their human and national rights.
If the world community turns its back on such a declaration of independence by using the well-worn and insulting argument that every step should first be verified with the Israeli government, then the message will be clear: Peace based on two states is no longer an option.
Mustafa Barghouthi is the founder of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
This article was first published on The New York Times
Seven million of the 11 million Palestinians are refugees or displaced people. Israeli war criminals and US officials complicit in ethnic cleansing meet in fancy hotels to claim they are “negotiating” for peace (while in the meantime giving green light to further ethnic cleansing and destruction of Palestinian lives to strengthen the apartheid system….
Israeli colonial officers destroy the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib in the Negev for the fifth time (the village existed in this location before Israel was created in 1948)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5Koc7iEx8E
Colonial apartheid soldiers seal shops in Hebron to add to hundreds of shops closed because illegal settlers took over nearby buildings. Video and story by Israeli human Rights group B’Tselem
But popular resistance is growing and morepeople are getting involved. There is widening gap between government officials and the people around the world on this issue.Millions of activists are being mobilized forthe boycotts, divestments and sanctions movement and as the negotiations lead nowhere, the apartheid system is being exposed more. It will happen just as suddenly and unexpectedly as the fall of apartheid in South Africa. Your involvement can help.
Action: Sign petition Ban Israel from the 2012 Olympics
B R E C H T F O R U M and COMMITTEE FOR OPEN DISCUSSION OF ZIONISM
Present Resolving the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict: Why One Democratic State Is the Best Solution
featured speakers: Joel Kovel& Norton Mezvinsky
Wednesday, October 27 – 7:30 p.m. at the Brecht Forum,51 West Street (between Bank & Bethune Streets, New York, NY 10014 – Phone: (212) 242-4201 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Professors Joel Kovel and Norton Mezvinsky as each presents his respective argument for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Kovel will argue that a two-state solution cannot solve the conflict, because it continues the Jewish ethno-chauvinism that lies at the core of Zionism.
Mezvinsky will propose that a democratic and just two-state solution is highly unlikely to occur and that the presently constructed one state can and must be changed by an emphasis upon and implementation of fair and equal human rights for all inhabitants of the state.
Located at the European University Institute (EUI), the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) conducts “inter-disciplinary and comparative research (on) major issues facing the process of integration and European society.”
Prepared by Asem Khalil, its new report is titled, “Impact of Israeli Military Order No. 1650 on Palestinians’ Rights to Legally Reside in Their Own Country,” accessed through the following link: CARIM_ASN_2010_46
Taking effect in April 2010, it defined all West Bank residents as “infiltrators” (including native born ones), requiring they get IDF-issued permits.
Order No. 1650 (Prevention of Infiltration) and Order No. 1949 (Security Provisions) were issued in October 2009 as amendments to a 1969 Order No. 329 (Order regarding Prevention of Infiltration), declaring “infiltrator” state enemies from Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon would be imprisoned and/or deported.
Potentially, all West Bank and East Jerusalemites risk dispossession and expulsion, part of Israel’s longstanding policy to seize all parts of Palestine it wishes, removing indigenous Arabs from their homeland illegally, controlling those remaining under an oppressive apartheid system critics call worse than South Africa’s with good reason.
It’s a sophisticated form of social, economic, political and racial discrimination, strangulation, and genocide, incorporating the worst elements of colonialism and apartheid as well as repressive dispossession, displacement, and state terrorism to separate Palestinians from their land and heritage, deny them their civil and human rights, and gradually remove or eliminate them altogether.
Apartheid is the worst form of racism, Israel’s militarized occupation its most extreme form, incorporating violence, military incursions, land theft, home demolitions, targeted assassinations, indiscriminate murder, mass arrests, torture, destruction of agricultural land, and isolation – measures amounting to slow-motion genocide, including suffocating Gazans under siege.
Military Order No. 1650 amended Order No. 329 (1969), the latter’s 10 sections including sentencing armed and unarmed infiltrators, deporting them, evidence, unlawful stay after permit expirations, and obtaining them under false pretenses.
Order 1650 has nine sections, updating nearly all of Order 329, the latter defining an infiltrator as “a person who entered the Area knowingly and unlawfully after having been present (on) the east bank of the Jordan, Syria, Egypt or Lebanon following the effective date.”
The new order calls an infiltrator “a person who entered the Area unlawfully following the effective date, or a person who is present in the Area and does not lawfully hold a permit.”
Since “knowingly” no longer applies, document irregularities make anyone an infiltrator, subject to expulsion, fines or imprisonment, Israel potentially criminalizing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians as illegals in their home country, unimaginable virtually anywhere else in the world. The new Order corrupts the rule of law, placing all Palestinians at risk. Specifically:
– any Palestinian without an IDF-issued permit is presumed to be an infiltrator;
– the order’s language is broad and vague, giving the military wide discretion;
– this action was handled secretly;
– it violates Fourth Geneva’s Article 49 prohibiting:
“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country….”
– the military may prosecute, imprison, and/or deport anyone called an infiltrator without judicial review;
– deportations may be executed within 72 hours of order issuances or sooner, and those affected may be imprisoned until deported;
– individuals first affected may be Palestinians Israel wishes to transfer to Gaza, even those born in the West Bank or legally relocated there;
– foreign passport-holding spouses of West Bank residents abroad are likely to be targeted; tens of thousands are affected;
– foreign nationals called infiltrators may be jailed for up to seven years; and
– potentially the entire West Bank/East Jerusalem population is vulnerable.
Regulating Residency Status
The term “resident” was first used in Military Order No. 65 on August 18, 1967, referring to those having permanent residency in the “Area.” Subsequent Orders applied the term to permanent residents “legally” present, dependent on their having been counted in the September 1967 census. Others became immediately “illegal” for lacking lawful documentation. Henceforth to stay, they needed permits and Israeli authorization to work and engage in commercial activities. As a result, many Palestinians were fined, imprisoned or deported.
Those registered (counted) became candidates for ID numbers, strictly regulated by other Orders, including No. 297 (1969), requiring “males over 16 years old” have an ID card always on their presence to show on demand. Females over 16 were “permitted” to request them.
As later amended, they contained name, address, date of birth, gender, religion, nationality, spouse’s name, names and gender of children, and their dates of birth. Order 1206 (1987) issued ID cards to children at birth, their registration linked to mothers, not fathers, perhaps for the greater chance that they were non-residents so authorities could deport them with their parent, Israel having final say. As a result, many children of non-resident parents may be denied registration at the whim of the official in charge.
Regulating Population Access and Exit
In 1967, Palestinians living outside Occupied Palestine and those who fled, can’t return, the determinant being residency based on Israel’s census. Those counted can stay. Others cannot without prior authorization. Those there “illegally” became aliens in their own land, hundreds of thousands displaced (called nazeheen) as a result.
Consider Israel’s logic:
– Area residents can be readmitted through borders;
– qualifying requires being counted in Israel’s census; yet
– to be included depended on Area residency at the time it was taken.
Those absent lost it and couldn’t return to be counted and registered. As a result, many became stateless. Luckier ones got temporary legal stays abroad, then became unlawful once their authorization expired, yet couldn’t return to Palestine.
“Stateless Palestinians, Palestinian refugees, and those denied reentry became ‘illegal’ and ‘unlawful’ – and accordingly undesired – wherever they found themselves, no matter what they did.”
Thereafter, their very existence became suspect, whether in host countries or the Territories. They were trapped in a no man’s land of illegitimacy. Even “legal” residents weren’t secure, their status dependent on satisfying whatever conditions Israel imposed.
Residency alone doesn’t assure legal status; that is, the “right to have rights,” what citizens of other countries enjoy. Israeli military orders explicitly state what non-residents cannot do without authorization. For example, they can’t open, manage or work in any commercial activity with permit permission, “implying what Israel will tolerate residents doing without prior authorization. The fact that they are able to do certain things means that their freedom is not a right.” Rather, it’s what authorities grant.
As a result, restrictions may be imposed at any time for any reason, “even without the explicit suspension of the margins of actions tolerated for legal residents.” For Palestinians, status isn’t an entitlement or a right, making them vulnerable to lose residency at the whim of Israeli officials, what happened to many for “political” or “security” reasons. Others were denied reentry when they exceeded their alloted time abroad abroad or if their travel document expired while there.
Departure through Israel’s airport requires a “Laissez Passer,” requiring renewal within a year. Otherwise residency status is automatically revoked. Palestinians exiting through Jordan’s Allenby Bridge crossing faced the same fate if staying abroad more than six years.
After the Oslo Accords, Palestinians could get a Palestinian Authority (PA) travel document, valid for three years. However, thousands who lost their ID cards before Oslo were considered non-residents, prohibited from entering the Area without (Israeli-issued) permits as visitors, or in some cases, a newly issued ID number if family unification was granted.
As occupier, Israel holds “supreme power” over borders and internal movement, for both residents and non-residents alike.
Those not “legally” registered can only obtain residency status through family unification, what’s extremely hard to get. Otherwise, they need visitor permits for temporary stays, filed indirectly through relatives. Affected persons include:
– Palestinians present but not counted in the 1967 census;
– those the war displaced;
– those outside the Area at the time;
– those whose residency was revoked for overstaying a trip abroad;
– children of residents not duly registered; and
– children of non-resident mothers born between 1987 and 1995.
In all cases, Israel has full authority to grant or deny unifications for any reason. Residency is a privilege, not a right. Even granted, it can be revoked at any time for any reason, Palestinians having no rights in their own land.
Because of restrictive policies and changed rules over time, the number of families affected is high, the largest group being those where one spouse is a non-resident and needs permission to live with the other. At all times, Israel minimizes approvals for political or security reasons, its real agenda to control population growth and reduce it.
Even successful family unifications are complex, long and costly, discouraging many from applying. To enter Occupied Palestine requires temporary visitor permits, granted for three months and requiring renewal. Whenever visitors overstay, they’re illegal, subject to expulsion and denial of future permission. Overall, permit issuance is frozen, 200 short visa extensions only issued in 2007, making the likelihood of family unification slim.
Palestinians of Gaza and East Jerusalem
According to Oslo, the West Bank and Gaza are one unit together with East Jerusalem – what’s, in fact, denied by de facto and de jure separation, hardened with Gaza under siege.
After the 1967 occupation, both Territories were declared closed military areas while Israel annexed East Jerusalem. In 1972, a “general exit permit” was issued, marking a change in movement in Occupied Palestine. In 1991, during the Gulf War, Israel cancelled it. Thereafter, Palestinians who wanted to enter Israel needed permits.
In March 1993, Israel imposed a “general closure” on the Territories, still enforced, making it difficult to change residency from one area to the other. After the second intifada, conditions worsened, Palestinians failing to update their West Bank residency expelled to Gaza, others as punishment, and some prohibited West Bank entry after visiting Gaza.
In 2007, with Hamas in control, Gaza was declared an “enemy entity,” making movement between the Territories nearly impossible. It was also harder to change residency from one area to the other. As a result, Palestinian families holding West Bank and Gaza IDs face similar obstacles to others with non-resident spouses.
Recently, Israel’s High Court rejected a petition challenging the 2003 Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, prohibiting Palestinians from entering Israel and preventing thousands of couples from living normally, most unable to reunite, others residing in Israel without health insurance, work permits, or other social benefits.
According to General Uri Shoham, Israel’s Military Advocate General from 1995 – 2000, “all Israeli governments from 1967 to the present have laid down a strict requirement that all activities of the Israeli military in the control of the Territories must adhere to the principle of ‘the rule of law,’ ” the alternative being John Locke’s 1690 observation that “Whenever law ends, tyranny begins.”
It’s why Israel issued military orders to rule, through law as it claims, no matter how repressive. Contrary to General Shoham, “is this what legality is all about and that this is what rule of law means?” Distinguish instead between “rule by” and “through” law and the rule of law. The former can be called “formal conceptions of legality,” the latter a “substantial conception of legality.”
The former are “value or content-free. Legality is simply converted into respecting certain principles or criteria for making new rules of law and in applying (them) whenever conflict arises.” The latter “look beyond the making and attempt to reach the values behind them.”
Israel uses law and legality to rule by and through law by carrying out discriminatory policies, using military orders to deny Palestinians registration, treat them as aliens in their own land, prohibit reentry, forbid family unifications, and expel, imprison or fine anyone for any reason. That’s how a police state operates, Israeli policy for over 43 years.
As a result, freedom and equality are absent, Palestinians’ basic rights denied. “Only a substantial conception of the rule of law – in which freedom and rights are integrated in the same concept of legality – allows law, especially positive law, to be converted into a tool for discrimination, apartheid and colonialism, and reduces legality to legalism,” a tool for social, economic and political control.
Using “legality,” Israel occupies Palestine oppressively, denying its residents basic freedoms, including civil liberties and human rights, controlled through, not by the rule of law. What must end one day and will. What determined resistance won’t tolerate any other way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.