Archive

Archive for the ‘Palestine’ Category

Operation #BDS Israel it is happenning all over the world


by Marivel Guzman
Thanks to Jacob Cohen for sharing the story in his facebook’s page
The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israel it is happening all over the world. Operation “Boycott” was launched in France before French’s courts declared it illegal on October 20, action that is being challenged as a serious attack on freedom of expression.
If you want to know more about the stores that carry Illegal Israel’s products and want to support for Palestinian society in its BDS campaign, add the following store to your boycott’s list.

Carrefour Nice Tnl
Hypermarket · Centre Commercial Nice TNL

Rue de Roquebillière · +33 4 92 17 74 79

Operation boycott in French supermarket. Photo/Sahra Laurent

Operation boycott in French supermarket. Photo/Sahra Laurent

A Carrefour TNL, pro-Palestinian activists have led a boycott operation of Israeli’s products yesterday. The products were removed from shelves and piled into shopping carts installed in the corridors of the supermarket.
About thirty activists who support the campaign “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS), launched in 2005 by the Palestinian civil society, have emptied the shelves of Carrefour TNL last Saturday morning.
In their sights: was a brand name machine that adds oxygen and flavor to the water, this product is made in East Jerusalem in an illegal settlement.

Activists have emptied the shelves and they crammed the products in carts in the aisles of the supermarket. Without causing crowding.

“We are for peace,” the activists said.

“We are here to denounce Israel colonialist’s policy and this action is to ask the supermarket not to offer for sale products from the illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine,” said Michel Abada, BDS member. “We are for peace.” We want this conflict to end and It is not intended to boycott Israeli society or its members,” adds Ismaël Bendjeffal, BDS member.

The punch action operation lasted about twenty minutes before management intervened without confronting the activists. The operation “Boycott” was launched all over France, but declared illegal since 20 October this year. The Supreme Court sentenced 14 BDS activists. “A serious attack on freedom of expression is to be challenged in France’s courts,” according to BDS campaigners.

Story originally published at nice-matin in French and translated by Marivel Guzman with google help


UNRWA USA GAZA5k California for the children of GAZA


by Marivel Guzman

Nick Locke, 19-year-old, from University California San Diego, and member of Students for Global health, first place at the moment to enter the finishing line at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA Race, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2-15, donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWAUSA, with the participation of the Palestinian suppoters community, at at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

Nick Locke, 19-year-old, from University California San Diego, and member of Students for Global health, first place, at the moment to enter the finishing line at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA walk/run, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2015 donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWA USA, with the participation of the Community of  Palestinian at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

Laith N Hassan one of the smaller sponsor at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA Race, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2015, donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWA USA, with the participation of the Community of Palestinian supporters at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

Laith N Hassan one of the youngest sponsors at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA Race, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2015, donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWA USA, with the participation of the Community of Palestinian supporters at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

 

Today the community of Orange, San Diego, Riverside and Los Angeles counties areas came together once again to show solidarity with Palestine specially the children of the besieged Gaza Strip. Palestinian supporters and runners enthusiasts gathered today at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley, Calif to participate and raise funds in the annual  GAZA5K event sponsored by United National Relief Works Agency USA to raise funds for the children of Gaza.
The Gaza5K is an annual walk/run hosted by United National Relief Works Agency USA. This event raises funds for UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Program (CMHP) to support thousands of refugee children in Gaza affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other psychological trauma.

According to Save the Children in one area, al-Shoka, nearly half the children interviewed wet the bed every night.  Up to 89% of parents reported that their children suffer consistent feelings of fear, while more than 70% of children said they worried about another war.  On average seven out of 10 children interviewed suffer regular nightmares.

“Save the Children CEO Justin Forsyth said in a statement that, ‘Many children in Gaza have now lived through three wars in the past seven years, the last one notable for its brutality. They are emotionally and, in some cases, physically shattered.” Save the Children 

During last year’s 51-day war, 551 children in Gaza were killed and 3,436 were injured, while an estimated 1,500 lost their parents. Many more were made homeless and saw their schools damaged or destroyed. In Israel, one child was also killed by rocket fire and 270 were injured.
UNRWA USA is an independent nonprofit organization that supports the humanitarian and human development work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) through fundraising, advocacy, and outreach. UNRWA USA aims to educate the general American public about the situation of Palestine refugees and generate support for UNRWA’s work in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

Approximately 500 people between participants, volunteers and Palestinian supporters showed up to the event. According to Laila Mokhiber coordinator of UNRWA USA the $ 75,000 goal was meet. Business sponsors and Team sponsors collected most of the money.  T-shirts bearing the logo of sponsors were distributed between participants of the race and supporters.
The event was well advertised in Facebook and other social media platforms expecting to attract some media to cover the event, but as always they stay silence, except for Don Kim, a photojournalist from Korea News Agency that came to cover the race.

Don Kim, photojournalist from Korean News Agency and Rima Nashashibi Advisory Board for UNRWA USA at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA Race, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2-15, donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWAUSA, with the participation of the Palestinian suppoters community, at at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

Don Kim, photojournalist from Korean News Agency and Rima Nashashibi Advisory Board for UNRWA USA at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA walk/run, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2015 donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWA USA, with the participation of the Community of Palestinian supporters, at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

Don Kim, photojournalist for Korean News Agency said that he picked the event at his agency website. Kim said that he has been covering Palestine for some time now,  and has visited Gaza, Jerusalem and West Ban.  He supports Palestine.

The following teams were present: Kinder USA, Students for Justice for Palestine from University California,  Riverside, Students for Global Health, Palestine Youth Movement, OC Halal Food Fest, Alliso Viejo Moms for Gaza Team, Laith N Hasan Sponsor Team, Loay Elbasyouni sponsor team, Palestinian American of Women Association (PAWA).

Amir Hammad portrays a Palestinian flag on his face.

Amir Hammad-Guzman-Torres,3-year-old Palestinian, at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA Race, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2015, donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWA USA, with the participation of the Community of Palestinian supporters at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

Amir Hammad-Guzman-Torres,3-year-old Palestinian, at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA Race, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2015, donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWA USA, with the participation of the Community of Palestinian supporters at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

The Musa Family came specially from Florida to attend the event

Musa Family came from Florida to support Gaza's children at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA Race, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2015, donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWA USA, with the participation of the Community of Palestinian supporters at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

Musa Family came from Florida to support Gaza’s children at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA Race, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2015, donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWA USA, with the participation of the Community of Palestinian supporters at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

Business sponsors:

GAZA5K California sponsors at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA walk/run, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2-15, donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWAcUSA, with the participation of Palestinian supporters community, at at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

GAZA5K California sponsors at the Gaza5k Orange County/LA walk/run, at Mile Square Park on October 24, 2015, donation drive for Mental Health Programs in Gaza, Palestine, sponsored by UNRAWA USA, with the participation of Palestinian supporters community, at at Fountain Valley, Calif photo/Marivel Guzman

California communities send their condolences to the families in Palestine that have lost dear ones during the the recent events.

Universal Youth Club for Palestine


by Marivel Guzman

Last day of the 2015 World Social Forum ended with a parade through Tunis streets as a reminder of Palestine land day. Participants to the event calls it "Land Day rally." The parade marched through Tunis' streets to Palestine embassy in a show of solidarity with Palestinian people.

Last day of the 2015 World Social Forum ended with a parade through Tunis streets to celebrate Palestine land day. and to show solidarity with Palestinian people. Participants to the event calls it “Land Day rally.” The parade marched through Tunis’ streets to the Palestine embassy .

Universal Youth Club for Palestine (UYC4Pal), Iranian branch, is a social movement comprised mostly of youth found between facebook users.

  1. Worldwide, there are over 1.39 billion monthly active Facebook users which is a 13 percent increase year over year. (Source: Facebook as of 1/28/15) What this means for you: In case you had any lingering doubts, statistically, Facebook is too big to ignore.
  2. Taking advantage of this social phenomenon called facebook the founder of UYC4Pal decided to act forming this movement.

UYC4Pal  was present at the World Social Forum 2015 celebrated in Tunis from 24-28 March, at Al Manar University Campus where 4398 organizations engaged the participants in its different activities.

Organizations from around the world find this social forum the perfect avenue to bring ideas and discuss solutions for the our world’s problems.

Iran society find itself at the vanguard on the international fight for the liberation of Palestine from the Zionist entity and its youth take active role in this initiative.

The Palestine issue is one of the focal points in the event:

“This situation makes difficult any perspective of fair solution to the Palestinian issue, and gives to Israel all the space to reinforce its hold on the occupied Palestinian territories and its domination in the region.  

Beyond the Palestinian issue, it’s the existence of the nation-states themselves that is challenged. Whether it is in Syria or in Libya, there is a major risk to see the definitive explosion of the historical balances that founded those States existence, and to watch the born of autonomous territories on bases of religion or ethnicity, subject to manipulation by the big and regional powers of time.” WSF2015 official page

UYC4Pal was founded last year by a group of Iranian youth that thought on taking advantage of social networks youth participation, said Whaid Mardane in a facebook interview.  Knowing that young people spend great part of their life engaged in internet forums and specially social networks like facebook they thought on bringing them together using facebook walls.

Wahid Mardane, one of the representatives of the Iranian branch of  UYC4Pal said, that ‘Universal Youth Club for Palestine’ was formed on 2014 with a group of Iranian students found in facebook.

As we speak, this Iranian social network movement has nearly 400 members and the Tunisian group  has reached  1000, he said.

Being at the Tunisia World Social Forum was a very great opportunity to meet the youth and invite other groups to participate, hundreds of students signed out for membership for the UYC4Pal at the event.

Palestinian ambassador to Tunis, Salman Al Harfi greets Reza Barekati, the Iranian representative for  Universal Youth Club for Palestine greets Palestinian at Al Manar University during the World Social Forum 2015

Palestinian ambassador to Tunisia, Salman Al Harfi greets Reza Barekati, the Iranian representative for Universal Youth Club for Palestine, at Al Manar University during the World Social Forum 2015

Mardane said that facebook is full with youth that supports Palestine so they decided to form UYC4Pal to bring them together and help them organize the strategies to fight for Palestine in the social networks. The UYC4Pal was well received and had resulted very fruitful said Mardane,  between the two clubs, more than 1000 participants signed at the event for UYC4Pal membership.

Mardane as one of the members of the Iranian branch of UYC4Pal stated that one of the activities at the event was to enroll new members in the club and participate in the “Land Rally,” an event that follows at the end of the forum.  Thousands of Palestinian activists took part on this parade throughout Tunis major streets and finalized at the Palestinian Embassy building.

 Some young Palestinian activists from different nationalities decided to make a social network named ” Universal Youth Club for Palestine, this is a social movement that trying to find youth in social networks as facebook to have a unity and awareness regarding Palestine’s plight.  Nowadays the youth live in facebook more than in their home and rooms! in this regard we as Iranian branch of this movement were invited and participated in World Social Forum 2015. On the other hand the Tunisian branch of Universal Youth Club for Palestine was formed as to strengthen the Palestinian Youth movement.  Our wish is to see other branches of this movement in other countries, the most important of this movement is a total virtual movement and they can form their own clubs if they wish to develop their own activities, but the main emphasis should on absorbing  facebook’s youth to use their time on humanity, specially in activities for Palestine in any modern ways they prefer. Whaid Mardane, Iranian activist and representative of UYP4Pal, Iranian branch.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“The International Council’s decision to organize  the WSF 2015, again in Tunis (Tunisia) was decided  in Casablanca (Morocco), last November. It responds to a wish formulated by regional and international social movements, after evaluating the social impact of the WSF 2013 in Tunisia, they estimated that it was still necessary to; consolidate the dynamics of changes born thanks to the Tunisian revolution and to the democratic movements in the region.

  • To deepen the debates held about the liberal model crisis and about the civilization crisis, and to  expand the debates about new geopolitical issues, and to promote new alternatives which respect the people rights, and which are based on peace and social justice.” Official World Social Forum webpage.

Human rights groups , non-profit organizations,  cultural institutions and a variety of grassroots organizations  gather every year at the World Social Forum to present their ideas and discus alternative solutions for the present world problems, “Many organizations, networks and movements participates at the WSF 2015, to make another world possible,” states WSF official website.

Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, and Reza Barekati Iranian-representative of Universal Youth Club for Palestine. Al Manar University during the 2015 World Social Forum.  photo/Ali Bagheri

Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, and Reza Barekati Iranian-representative of Universal Youth Club for Palestine. Al Manar University during the 2015 World Social Forum. photo/Ali Bagheri

The Iranian branch for UYC4Pal encourages the youth to form their own clubs in their nations of origin to strengthen the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, that is growing rapidly and strong every day  around the world said Mardane, stating that the Tunisian branch   was formed also and it is growing very fast, he said  at the moment  the Iranian UYC4Pal  facebook official forum has almost 2500 members.

Celebrities For Palestine use the universal language of music for a just cause – Mick Blake

September 20, 2014 2 comments

by Marivel Guzman

Mick Blake #CelebritiesForPalestine from Ireland

Mick Blake band
Mick Blake social protest music singer and composer supports Palestine, as musician do with their music, his heartfelt song “Another Child Another War” written for Gaza children, innocent victims of Israel ‘war’ of aggression.
Show your support for #CelebritiesForPalestine that raise their voices and use their celebrity status to raise their voice for Palestine.

Mick Blakes writes on his youtube video Another Child Another World “My humble contribution to raising awareness of the plight of the surviving children of Gaza.

The idea for this song came to me on the beach at Rosses Point, Sligo, a few weeks ago, Blake said, at the moment that Photographer Brian Farrell,  had the wonderful idea of photographing 400 children dressed in red to show the extent of the young casualties in the conflict.

The rest fell into place when I read a transcript (translated from Hebrew) of an interview from an Israeli radio station.” he said.
Alternative singers and composer now days have the ability to brake out of the stream entertainment culture with more control over their careers than traditional singers that were exposed to the control of the record industry, now the the social media tools in place, authors, singers, and other artists have the ability to survive in the entertainment industry without compromise their integrity as a human beings.

Like Mick Blake that sings for the survivors children of Gaza, other singers have come out in their support for Palestine without fearing the repercussions of the Jews Lobby that it is entrenched in the music industry around the world, lobby that in the past was like yoke on the neck for new musicians, still in US Hollywood is controlled by the Jews Lobby, and any artist that comes out in their support of Palestine is blacklisted, we seen it recently with Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem that faced Hollywood fury over their letter against Israel Genocide in Gaza.

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem face ‘fury’ of Hollywood following ‘genocide’ letter condemning Israel” wrote the independent in their August 10 online publication, heading like these denouncing the actors that broke out of the mold of “Israel support no matter what’ inundated the stream media headlines for days but thanks to their fans supports base that Penelope, Bardem and hundreds of others artist are coming out of the shell without fear
Social Media is showing again to the controllers of lives that the people with their power, controls the success of the artist and not the old- school-grip of dirty tactics which are used to menace to destroy careers for speaking their minds.

The importance of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in the current Palestinian-Israel conflict will be the tipping point in the history of Palestine occupation. Conflict as the media wants to called it, is none other but an going military occupation and a continuous annexation of Palestinian’s lands.
In recent years more and more #CelebritiesForPalestine are speaking up their disgust, against Israel daily practices of murder than amount to #Genocide, and as some want to call it a #PalestinianHolocaust. Mick Blake, the social songwriter and singer subliminally says it in its recent composition to the survivors children of Gaza, in it is song “Another  Child Another War” comparing a murdered Jew girl name Anne Frank that die in a concentration camp in 1945,  to Eman Ammar, a Palestinian girl killed by an Israel Strike.
The resemblance on the story of their death, and even the resemblance of their faces is striking.
Blake subliminally makes the connection of the crimes of the Nazis to the crimes of the Israelis in the same context of a holocaust.
Welcome to the new era of social media where we the people are the opinion makers.

Plugging Our Ears Does Not Serve Israel


by Oded Na’aman

An Israeli soldier poses with Palestinian detainees in an undated photo taken by an Israeli soldier and made available by the campaign group Breaking the Silence.

An Israeli soldier poses with Palestinian detainees in an undated photo taken by an Israeli soldier and made available by the campaign group Breaking the Silence.

I was born in Israel. I served in the Army. Israel is the only home I know. You would think my speaking to students at Hillel would be welcomed. Yet my presentation to students at Washington University’s Hillel in St. Louis last month sparked a storm of controversy.

I had been invited by J Street U and was graciously hosted by Hillel at their beautiful new building. As a member of Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli combat veterans that collects and publishes the testimonies of soldiers who served in the occupied territories, I was on campus to discuss the practices and principles of Israel’s military rule.

In the days leading to my visit, many in the Jewish community called for the event’s cancellation, claiming our sole goal was to “bash Israel.” Jacqueline Ulin Levey, executive director of St. Louis Hillel at Washington University, backed the event. She did, however, impose certain restrictions, asking that I not show any photographs or mention any testimonies besides my own. Hillel also flew in an Israel Fellow from Yale University to “balance” my talk by debriefing the students before and after.

Despite the constraints, the talk went well, with a long question and answer session. After the event, Lawrence Wittels, the chair of the school’s Hillel board, congratulated me.

But in the days following, the assault on Hillel and J Street U escalated. Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of Hillel International, subsequently wrote to members of the Hillel community defending the organization’s decision. “While we join with the majority of the community in deeply resenting the actions of the former IDF soldiers in Breaking the Silence, who come to college campuses in America to disparage the IDF,” Fingerhut wrote, “it is, regrettably, part of the broad tent of dialogue regarding Israel.” By housing the event within Hillel, he argued, the staff could control and mitigate an unfortunate debate.

I applaud Hillel’s work facilitating a broad dialogue within the American Jewish community. But Fingerhut and those whom his letter addressed, seem to be more concerned with their own feelings toward Israel — their “tent” — than with Israel. Mention of the actions of the IDF, the values to which Israel is committed, and concern for the well being of Israel’s residents, whether Israeli or Palestinian, are noticeably absent from Fingerhut’s letter.

I don’t doubt Fingerhut’s genuine concern for Israel. I am sure those who called for the event’s cancellation are also sincerely dedicated to my country.  But their concern does not protect Zionism. Rather, it threatens it. If Zionism is the dream of Jews to overcome a state of mere survival and forge our own destiny, then claiming that the occupation is necessary, that Israel “has no other choice,” is the betrayal of Zionism. Israel’s rule of force over a civilian population threatens our democratic integrity, moral character, and international standing –  in short, it threatens that future.

Israel is a strong and thriving country. We can take responsibility for our actions, hold our institutions and military accountable, acknowledge our mistakes, and correct them. We can forge our own future, but only by ending the occupation.

Naturally, our claims are met with doubt. But we encourage critical debate based on evidence. We have testimony from over 950 soldiers about their service, many of them on film. Incidents we exposed have been confirmed by the Israeli media and we have been invited to speak at the United States Air Force Academy. Carmi Gillon, former head of the Shin Bet, has praised our work.

The testimonies portray a system of control and expropriation of land that is founded on the use of military force. Arbitrary violence is of the essence of military rule, which cannot rely on democratic legitimacy.

Instead of an actual dialogue about our reality and future, they are content to have a conversation about the conversation about Israel. Rather than respond to what they hear, they argue over whether they should plug their ears. This may serve some staff and some donors of Hillel International, but it doesn’t serve Israel. It takes some chutzpah to claim that by silencing our voices you are protecting our own country from us.

Oded Na’aman served in the IDF between November 2000 and October 2003. Since 2005 he has been a member of Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli veterans that collects soldiers’ testimonies from the West Bank. Oded is currently pursuing his PhD in Philosophy at Harvard University.

Dear Jon Voight: A letter about Gaza

August 18, 2014 1 comment

Does Jon Voight have his facts on Israel and Palestine right?

Original published in Aljazeera English: 13 Aug 2014 11:35

Gil Hochberg
Gil Hochberg is a professor of Comparative Literature at UCLA. She is the author of “In Spite of Partition: Jews, Arabs, and the Limits of Separatist Imagination” (Princeton University Press, 2007) and is presently finishing a project studying the Visual Politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Mark LeVine

Mark LeVine is a professor of Middle Eastern History at University of California, Irvine, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Lund University. His new book is One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States, co-edited with Ambassador Mathias Mossberg.
Jon Voight with Israel flag in the background

Jon Voight with Israel flag in the background

 

As the carnage in Gaza reached a crescendo in the beginning of August, Jon Voight, one of Hollywood’s most vocal conservatives, penned a harsh attack on fellow actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz in response to a letter they signed condemning the latest Israeli bombing of Gaza in which he accused them of “inciting anti-Semitism all over the world”. Many activists dismiss Voight’s letter as the rantings of an unthinking actor who long ago lost touch with political reality – a poor relation of conservative icon Charlton Heston. But Voight’s vitriol, and the narratives behind them, have for decades been quite effective in silencing criticism of Israel in Hollywood or among entertainers more broadly.

Indeed, they provide the intellectual cover for even more extreme attacks by celebrities like Joan Rivers, who in an “epic rant” worthy of an Israeli Knesset member, declared that Palestinians in Gaza “deserved to be dead”. This level of hatred mirrors the increasingly genocidal discourse against Palestinians within Israeli political and culture.

Yet it also gives cover for a growing blacklist by “top industry executives” against actors like Cruz and Bardem who dare criticize Israel publicly and without the level of deference that has long defined Hollywood’s treatment of the Jewish state.

Like most Hollywood scripts, the narratives on which the views of Voight, Rivers and other Hollywood Israel supporters are based are far removed from the historical and contemporary realities they purport to describe. Yet their power remains secure precisely because they are the same narratives used by the seemingly reasonable mainstream media and political actors – from the New York Times to President Obama – whenever the conflict is discussed.

Historical myths

There are three fundamental “myths”, to borrow a phrase from one of Israel’s founding revisionist historians, Simha Flapan, surrounding Israel’s birth and subsequent history that cohere the traditional narrative Voight is re-voicing. The first surround’s the state’s creation itself: “when in 1948 the Jewish people were offered by the UN a portion of the land originally set aside for them in 1921… The Arabs rejected the offer, and the Jews accepted, only to be attacked by five surrounding Arab countries committed to driving them into the sea… The Arabs tried it again in 1967, and again in 1973.”

The remains of an ambulance hit during the shelling of Shajaira

The remains of an ambulance hit during the shelling of Shajaira

 

Voight’s account is familiar but it is a distortion of the actual history, one that echoes the official Israeli narrative to the letter. In reality, after three decades of increasing intercommunal conflict marked by periodic bursts of violence and growing Jewish immigration, the UN voted to partition Palestine in 1947.

Already by December 1947 a civil had erupted, in which both Zionist and Arab forces engaged in regular attacks and even terrorism, with coordinated Zionist attacks on Palestinian villages aimed at Judaising strategic parts of the country picking up speed by the beginning of spring 1948.

By May 15, the date of Israel’s establishment, tens of thousands of Palestinians had already been forced into exile. As Oxford University professors Avi Shlaim and Eugene Rogan demonstrated in their book The War for Palestine, Rewriting the History of 1948, Arab leaders either sent mostly untrained and badly armed forces whose primary goals were to prevent rather than support the creation of a Palestinian state. Jordan had even secretly agreed to a division of most of the territory (except Jerusalem) with the Zionist leadership.

The second myth surrounds the Six Day War. Voigt’s description of 1967 as the “Arab trying again” is familiar yet similarly inaccurate. There were certainly many threats emanating from Arab capitals in the late spring of 1967, but ultimately it was Israel that launched a “sneak attack”, one in which US and Israeli intelligence agencies correctly assumed would wipe out the combined forces of the surrounding states in roughly five days.

Whatever its motivations, 1967 became a war of conquest and expansion. Israel could have maintained a military occupation indefinitely, if security was its main concern. Instead, it began a process of settlement, which in Jerusalem and the West Bank has intensified without pause to the present day. Gaza, which Voight and other Israel supporters argues was “give[n] the Palestinians… as a peace gesture”. Gaza was never a gift Israel could “give” to Palestinians. It was not only occupied under international law but legally inseparable from the West Bank. What Israel has done was withdraw and then impose a siege while intensifying once again its settlements in and control over the West Bank, both of which violate international law.

The third myth surrounds the Oslo peace process. The traditional narrative, repeated here, is that “Israel has always labored for a peaceful relation with its Arab neighbors.” In reality, Israel violated every agreement with and about Palestinians, beginning with its pledge in the Camp David Accords to enable “full autonomy to the inhabitants” as soon as possible (as we know, instead of robust autonomy Palestinians received half a million settlers and lost control over the vast majority of their land). Israel’s record of abiding by the Oslo-era agreements is no better, and in fact doomed them from the start.
INTERACTIVE: Gaza Under Attack

The fourth myth surrounds Hamas. Voight claims that “the Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, and they immediately began firing thousands of rockets into Israel.” Even the arch-conservative New York Post recognized that Hamas was elected not because of its terrorism but out of disgust with an utterly coopted, corrupt and brutal Palestinian Authority. More to Voight’s point, Hamas did not begin firing missiles into Israel until after it attempted to remove the newly elected leadership by force in a US and PA-supported coup. No significant rocket fire occurred until two years after Hamas was elected, during which time Israel continued its siege on Gaza and ever-tightening stranglehold on the West Bank.

Finally, Voight claims that his fellow actors “have forgotten how this war started”. But contrary to his assertion, as reported in great detail in the Israeli media, the Israeli government began a series of attacks on Hamas and other Palestinian activists, arresting, shooting and even killing many in response to its unity deal with the Palestinian Authority. This was the context for the kidnap and murder of three settler youth which was not a cause of but rather a link in a much larger chain of events that led to the present disaster.

Have Israel’s actions risen to the level of genocide, as the letter Mr Bardem and others signed alleges? Given the history of genocide against the Jews – the term was invented to describe the Holocaust – it is tragic that such a characterization can even be considered. But it must be faced, because Israel’s actions, which have long been characterized as “politicide” or “spaciocide” by Israeli and Palestinian scholars, as well as the political and public rhetoric against Palestinians, have become so intense that the genocide accusation can no longer be dismissed out of hand.

It is undeniable that Israelis have suffered in the latest Gaza war, but it’s equally certain that the suffering Israel has inflicted upon Palestinians is exponentially greater, and the responsibility for that suffering lies not just with Israel, but with the United States which has, in the words of Jon Stewart, acted as its “drug dealer” while pretending to be a caring friend. If Israel’s most vocal partisans like Jon Voight really care so much about Israel, they should take the time to understand this historical and political reality. Otherwise, their passion and concern for Israel will only lead it closer to the very reckoning they desperately hope it will avoid.

Gil Hochberg is a professor of Comparative Literature at UCLA. She is the author of "In Spite
of Partition: Jews, Arabs, and the Limits of Separatist Imagination" (Princeton University
Press, 2007) and is presently finishing a project studying the Visual Politics of the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict.
Mark LeVine is a professor of Middle Eastern History at University of California, Irvine, and
a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Lund University. His new book is One Land, Two States:
Israel and Palestine as Parallel States, co-edited with Ambassador Mathias Mossberg.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Israel’s atrocities in Gaza prompt unprecedented political fallout


By Ben White
Original Published Middle East Monitor

Friday, 08 August 2014 16:58

‘Now with the evidence of new war crimes there for all to see, Israel’s isolation will only increase, and, despite the predictable backlash, Palestine solidarity campaigning will take a significant step forward.’

“Carnage” in Gaza – “the killing of children and the slaughter of civilians”. Not the words of a Palestinian spokesperson but rather French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Australia’s FM Julie Bishop condemned what she called “shocking” and “indefensible” incidents, with “hundreds of innocent people” killed.Just two examples of how Israel’s strongest allies have criticised the conduct of ‘Operation Protective Edge’ in unprecedentedly harsh terms. In the UK specifically, there has been an undeniable sea-change in the way that self-declared ‘friends’ of Israel have drawn a red line – adding their voices of criticism to more vociferous condemnation heard at numerous, large-scale demonstrations.

More on this in a moment. For now let us recap the devastation visited upon the Gaza Strip where, in the words of Human Rights Watch, Israel has killed “very large numbers of civilians” with “advanced weapons”. In the most recent update, Gaza’s Ministry of Health reported a death toll of 1,893 Palestinians, including 430 children. In one single F-16 strike on July 30, 19 children were killed. A further 9,805 Palestinians have been wounded, including almost 3,000 children. At least 122 families have lost three or more family members in the same attack, killing a total of 652 civilians in those strikes alone.

Many of the wounded are suffering from serious burns, or face life-long disabilities (physical as well as mental). In a fenced-in, blockaded territory, Israel’s attacks displaced almost 30 percent of the population. Israel has destroyed or severely damaged more than 10,000 housing units – many more have sustained less serious damage.

Shops, mosques, government buildings, all lie in ruins – the power plant is out of action, and 134 factories were destroyed. A low-end estimate cost of the damage is $5 billion. The health sector is in a state of emergency, while Amnesty International yesterday released evidence of the Israeli military conducting “deliberate attacks against hospitals and health professionals“. Nor were journalists immune: 13 Palestinian media workers were killed during the course of the attack.

The evidence of atrocities is mounting. One of the defining horrors of this attack has been the targeting of family homesclose to 1,000 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged by Israeli airstrikes. Reporting on the issue, the Associated Press said that the Israeli military did not respond to repeated requests “to explain in detail why even one of [the homes] was targeted”.

Earlier on in the operation, Israeli NGO B’Tselem noted how the Israel military itself had “acknowledged” conducting attacks that were “illegally aimed at homes that were not military targets”. A senior officer, commenting on the bombing of a senior al-Qassam Brigades figure’s house, said: “You call it a home, we call it a command centre and a military post for all intents and purposes”.

As Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard put it, the Israeli military’s “combat doctrine…redefines what constitutes a legitimate target for attack” so that it includes “houses belonging to Hamas commanders and operatives” (it should be noted homes have also been hit lacking even this ‘link’).

Another example of Israel’s war crimes – the intense and indiscriminate attack on Rafah on August 1, when the Israeli military killed an estimated 130 Palestinians, mostly civilians, after soldier Hadar Goldin was feared captured. Haaretz referred to “dozens of innocents killed” in a “massive use of force” – another item reported “the demolition of houses with bulldozers and very aggressive artillery, aerial and tank fire“. The Givati brigade responsible is commanded by Ofer Winter, who had told his soldiers prior to the ground invasion they were “engaged in a war to ‘wipe out’ an ‘enemy who defames’ God.”

Then there is the devastation of Shuja’iyya, when IDF officers boasted of “taking off the gloves” and tanks received orders “to open fire at anything that moved”. A brutal attack which, in the words of Israeli analyst Ron Ben-Yishai, was the very “essence of the deterrence” sought by Israel in its battering of Gaza. In Khuza’a, Israeli forces fired on and killed fleeing civilians, with a “furious assault” that left “whole streets flattened” and “its nine mosques…in pieces”. And so it goes on.

A report in Haaretz a week ago said that more than 30,000 artillery shells had landed in Gaza, in addition to the then-4,000 “targets” struck by airstrikes. It is vital to recall, when considering the bigger picture of Israel’s military operations, that the army’s own legal advice strips civilians of their protected status, in what has been described as “a ‘targeted assassination’ of the principles of international law“.

Meanwhile, Israel is preparing for the anticipated legal ramifications of its war crimes – a reasonable expectation given the calls already made by the likes of Amnesty International for an arms embargo, as well as the UN Human Rights Commission inquiry.

According to the Israeli media, for domestic consumption officials describe the damage done to Gaza “as the main deterrent” – but “play down this claim in the international arena”, as they are “aware the destruction will have serious political ramifications”. On July 10, a military source claimed that when “Gaza residents see the great damage to the Strip“, it “will speak for itself”.

The Israeli military has already established a team “in case the army is accused of war crimes” consisting of senior army officials, as well as representatives of the Foreign and Defense Ministries. Their remit also includes “organizing a diplomatic and public relations offensive“.

They will have their work cut out. In recent weeks, Israel’s image has taken a battering in Britain. The public has taken a clear stand on what it thinks of the Gaza attack, while politicians and pundits from both the Right and centre-left have condemned the killing of Palestinian civilians. Palestine has shaped the domestic political agenda in a way perhaps never seen before.

Tory war over Gaza‘, ran a front page headline in The Times, in the aftermath of Sayeeda Warsi’s resignation. A self-defined pro-Israel Conservative MP spoke out against the “swift, and terrible, elimination of so many Palestinian lives, homes, hospitals and schools”. Newspapers have focused on the arms trade, as campaigners and senior politicians alike call for an embargo.

From celebrity tweets to Jon Snow’s emotional broadcasts – this summer would appear to be a watershed moment in how Israel is perceived, and treated, in the UK. No wonder that the Israeli embassy has almost begged for help in its embattled propaganda drive, while the country’s defenders issue desperate-sounding “choose which side you are on“-style pleas.

Take a step back from the summer’s bloodshed and remember where things stood in the spring. An intransigent Israeli government was winning few friends abroad, as the US-led peace process died on its feet. Israeli settlements in the West Bank were increasingly the target of mainstream anger and boycotts, as a growing chorus warned that Israeli colonisation policies had made a Palestinian state impossible. BDS campaigns were growing, in trade unions, faith communities, and on campuses.

Israel already stood charged with systematic violations of international law, apartheid, and institutionalised discrimination, even before the barbaric attack on the Gaza Strip. Now with the evidence of new war crimes there for all to see, Israel’s isolation will only increase, and, despite the predictable backlash, Palestine solidarity campaigning will take a significant step forward.

– See more at: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/debate/13342-israels-atrocities-in-gaza-prompt-unprecedented-political-fallout#sthash.ESI8pbDa.dpuf

‘Now with the evidence of new war crimes there for all to see, Israel’s isolation will only increase, and, despite the predictable backlash, Palestine solidarity campaigning will take a significant step forward.’

Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel. He has been visiting the region since 2003 and his articles have been widely published in the likes of The Guardian’s Comment is free, Al Jazeera, Electronic Intifada, New Statesman, Salon, Christian Science Monitor, Middle East International, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and others. He currently works as a writer and researcher for Middle East Monitor and Journal of Palestine Studies.

Latest link to Ben White’s pieces

1 Israel’s atrocities in Gaza prompt unprecedented political fallout Friday, 08 August 2014
2 Aid for Gaza, arms for Israel – UK must end complicity and ensure accountability Thursday, 31 July 2014
3 Premeditated murder: the Shuja’iyya massacre and Israeli criminality Tuesday, 22 July 2014
4 Israel’s Palestinian citizens feeling the heat, as space for dissent shrinks Wednesday, 02 July 2014
5 New ‘security’-focused plan advances Israel’s colonisation of East Jerusalem Monday, 30 June 2014
http://rt.com/op-edge/178228-israel-war-crimes-gaza/ 6 Fighting a losing battle, UK’s Israel lobby bolsters links with Christian fundamentalists Thursday, 26 June 2014
7 Israel studies conference to feature far-right speakers, hasbara activists Saturday, 21 June 2014
8 Israeli ministers join vicious new attack on Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi Thursday, 19 June 2014
9 Israel’s president-elect Reuven Rivlin in his own words Wednesday, 11 June 2014
10 Israeli film festival in London part of efforts to rebrand apartheid Monday, 02 June 2014
%d bloggers like this: