Israel's Quiet War
Saturday, January 05, 2008
While Ehud Olmert and Abu Mazen were wheeling and dealing at Annapolis, several Israeli government ministries and security agencies were deploying their combined resources in a massive operation aimed at Israel’s southern Negev Desert. While the eyes of the world are on the West Bank and Gaza, Israel is in the middle of a campaign to complete the displacement of Palestinian Arabs who also are Israeli citizens.
The indigenous Bedouin are the target, and their lands are required by the state in order to complete the implementation a master plan for the Negev. The plan relegates the Bedouin to ghetto enclaves while allocating huge swathes of territory for Jewish suburban development and agricultural communities. The Negev is the final frontier inside Israel, the last tract of largely undeveloped land in the state. Israel has virtually completed the dismemberment of Palestinian lands in the center and north of the country, and now is consolidating the ‘Jewish redemption’ of the southern desert.
These Bedouin lands are coveted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) which has published plans to move large numbers of Jews to the Negev. To make way for new JNF communities, the ‘unrecognized’ villages of A-Tir, Um Al-Hiran, and Twail Abu Jarwal were destroyed during 2007 in military-style operations involving large forces of police and soldiers, displacing hundreds of families. The Interior ministry has also sent airborne crop dusters to poison the Bedouin fields with broad-spectrum herbicides. The feared Green Patrol, a paramilitary unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, conducts these operations.
There are over 150,000 Bedouin in the Negev desert, with well-established territorial rights dating back to the Ottoman Era. However immediately after the founding of the state in 1948, the government began to confiscate land and move the Bedouin to ever decreasing areas, while allocating state resources for the development of new Jewish-only towns and agricultural settlements. Although the Bedouin were eventually granted citizenship of Israel, they were under military rule until 1966. Through legislation and various legal mechanisms the state has decreed the Bedouin to be squatters on their own land and thus the courts support the demolition of homes and expulsion of the inhabitants. The JNF, through its ‘Blueprint Negev’ plan, intends to create 25 new towns in the Negev over the coming years, bringing 250,000 new Jewish residents to the region according to its web site. The JNF is also planting forests on Bedouin land, such as the Ambassador Forest on the lands of the Elokbi Tribe north of Be’er Sheva.
Such measures would never be taken against Jewish citizens of Israel, who enjoy the right to live almost anywhere in the country in relative luxury, while the Bedouin are relegated to a pitiful remnant of their patrimony. This institutional racism, supported by the JNF, belies the so-called democracy in Israel and is supported by tax-deductible donations from the USA. Perhaps the Annapolis conference might also have considered the plight of the Bedouin citizens of Israel at a time when they are under siege as acute as the situation of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The parallels between them are self-evident. Jewish settlements in the West Bank have almost foreclosed the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian State. Israel continues to consolidate its grip though settlement expansion, land confiscations, ‘Jewish-only’ roads, the construction of the Separation Barrier, and the denial of equal access to water for Palestinians. Is it so different in the Negev? Bedouin in ‘unrecognized’ villages receive no government services, are subject to a separate body of law and regulation, have their land confiscated for Jewish settlement, and are generally relegated to the margins of existence.
The Bedouin have a long and proud tradition as a people. During the first decades of the state, they gave allegiance to Israel, sent their sons to the army and expected the respect they deserve. They received none. Instead the state as continued its mission to serve only the interests of Jewish citizens, and as a result few Bedouin serve in the IDF today. The cost might be high. Bedouin leaders have warned that the anger simmering under the surface may erupt, and Israel may face a Bedouin uprising, an Intifada within the state that could destroy what little is left of Jewish democracy. Perhaps it’s time for the State of Israel to become a democracy for the benefit of all its citizens, before it’s too late.
Fred Schlomka is an Israeli businessman and a board member of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). He is a 2003 Fellow of the Echoing Green Foundation and the founder of Mosaic Communities in Israel.
1-23-08, 9:44 am
Communist Party of Israel is calling Israeli peace lovers to join the Solidarity action Saturday, January 26, 2008.
End the Siege!
Relief convoy to our neighbors in Gaza
Does it help the children of Sderot when they force the children of Gaza to drink polluted water? It seems the government of Israel thinks so (if they think).
Gaza is under siege! Hundreds of commodities needed for maintaining daily life are not allowed into the Strip, by order of the Government of Israel. Even the entry of water filters – vital for purifying the water drawn from Gazan wells, which are heavily polluted by brine, oil and sewage – has already been prevented for over half a year. The Israeli media doesn't succeed (and doesn't even try always) to convey to the public a true impression of how severe the situation is. But anyone who has talked to Gazans in the past months understands that the situation has long since developed into a regional disaster, which puts us, too, in danger.
As is well known, the Gaza Strip is a small, poor, overcrowded territory even in "ordinary" times. The occupation of the Strip did not end with the "Disengagement"; on the contrary, passage of persons and goods, in and out of the Strip, was made far more difficult by the Israeli authorities, and no one can enter or leave, by land, sea or air, except by permission from the Israeli security services. As far as Gazans are concerned, Disengagement brought no liberty, but just made occupation that much worse!
However bad the suffering is of the residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and the kibbutzim and moshavim in the area under the barrage of Qassam missiles, mortar shells and sniper bullets, it is in no way a justification for a cruel siege which severely harms a million and half civilians – men, women and children. The siege is an immoral act and a violation of International Law – and from a practical point of view, increasing the bitterness and suffering in Gaza leads to an intensification of attacks on the Israeli side, not to their end. Unlike what we have been made to believe, residents of Sderot and residents of Gaza are not to be seen as opponents: both are victims of a stupid and vicious policy of the Government of Israel.
In the convoy, departing from all over Israel on Saturday January 26, 2008, we will take with us a large quantity of water filters and firmly demand of the military authorities that they be allowed into the Strip where they are urgently needed, together with basic foodstuffs – flour, rice, oil, salt, lentils, beans – for distribution to residents driven to extreme poverty and despair by the siege.
On the border of the Strip we will conduct a protest rally, simultaneously with a rally held by our Palestinian friends on the other side. Together, we will demand of the
Government of Israel to remove the siege of Gaza forthwith! We intend to hold the rally where we can have eye contact with the Palestinians, at a distance of no more than one kilometer.
Palestinian peace and human rights activists of the Palestinian International Campaign "To End The Siege," such as the well-known psychiatrist Dr. Eyad Sarraj, will go to the border area despite the great difficulty and risk, in order to greet and support us. In a joint Israeli-Palestinian action on both sides of the border we will present a true alternative to the continuing escalation, to the shooting and killing, destruction and suffering, missiles and tanks; an alternative of ceasefire, of a true end to direct and indirect occupation, an alternative of peace and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians, for Sderot and for Gaza.
This is why the carpet bombing of Israel is stupid. Maybe we should tell them about The War On Hugs.
The Palestinian Exile, also known as Al Nakba (Arabic for "The Catastrophe"), refers to the ethnic cleansing of native Palestinian peoples during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
From December 1947 until November 1948, Zionist forces (namely the Irgun, Lehi, Haganah terrorist gangs) expelled approximately 750, 000 indigenous Palestinians--almost 2/3 of the population--from their homes.
Hundreds of Palestinians were also murdered for refusing to leave their homes. The most notable massacre is the Deir Yassin Massacre, in which an estimated 120 Palestinian civilians were brutally murdered by an Irgun-Lehi force. Other massacres include the ones at Sahila (70-80 killed), Lod (250 killed), and Abu Shusha (70 killed). About 40 other massacres were carried out by Zionist forces in just the summer of 1948.
Not only did Zionist forces conduct massacres of Palestinian civilians, rape occured as well. According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, "In Acre four soldiers raped a girl and murdered her and her father. In Jaffa, soldiers of the Kiryati Brigade raped one girl and tried to rape several more. At Hunin, which is in the Galilee, two girls were raped and then murdered. There were one or two cases of rape at Tantura, south of Haifa. There was one case of rape at Qula, in the center of the country. At the village of Abu Shusha, near Kibbutz Gezer [in the Ramle area] there were four female prisoners, one of whom was raped a number of times. And there were other cases. Usually more than one soldier was involved. Usually there were one or two Palestinian girls. In a large proportion of the cases the event ended with murder. Because neither the victims nor the rapists liked to report these events, we have to assume that the dozen cases of rape that were reported, which I found, are not the whole story. They are just the tip of the iceberg."
During Al Nakba, Palestinians were murdered, raped, and ethnically cleansed from their villages. According to Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, "In a matter of seven months, 531 villages were destroyed and 11 urban neighborhoods emptied."
Palestinians were forced into were forced out of Palestine and into neighboring countries (i.e. Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan), where they lived in refugee camps. Many were also sent to camps in West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Most Palestinian towns were demolished and taken by the newly established Israeli government to make room for new Jewish immigrants. Old Palestinian infrastructures, as well as many ruins dating back from the Canaanites, Romans, Greeks, Crusaders, Arabs, and Ottoman Turks were completely destroyed. This signified the end of historical Palestine and the birth of modern-day Israel.
Al Nakba marked the beginning of the Palestinian refugee crisis. Al Nakba destroyed a thriving and diverse Palestinian society and scattered them into diaspora. According to the UNRWA, the number of registered Palestinian refugees today is approximately 4.5 million. These refugees are dispersed throughout the world, many of which are still living in poverty-stricken refugee camps. Today, the situation keeps worsening and thousands die from malnutrition, contaminated water, or scarce medical supply.
Israel has since refused to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and has refused to pay them compensation as required by UN Resolution 194, which was passed on December 11, 1948.
Historically, the Israeli government, Israeli schools, and Israeli historians have denied that Al Nakba has occured. However, The New Historians, a loosely-defined group of Israeli historians, have recently published information recognizing the Al Nakba tragedy and controversial views of matters concerning Israel, particularly events concerning its birth in 1948. Much of their material comes from recently declassified Israeli government papers. Leading scholars in this school include Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim, and Tom Segev. Many of their conclusions have been attacked by other scholars and Israeli historians, who continue deny Al Nakba even occured.
Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:37 am
Joined: 03 Feb 2008 Posts: 3 Location: www.reverbnation.com/salah
We Shall Not Forget mp3- Israeli memoricide of Palestine
We Shall Not Forget mp3- Israeli memoricide of Palestine
Song about the Israeli memoricide of Palestine.
For less than $4 an hour, several Jewish teenagers removed furniture, clothes, kitchenware and toys from homes and loaded the items onto trucks. As they worked diligently alongside the many policemen who had come to secure the destruction of 30 houses in two unrecognized Bedouin villages, Bedouin teenagers stood watching their homes being emptied. When all the belongings had been removed, Israeli bulldozers rapidly destroyed the homes. All those present—Jews and Bedouins—were Israeli citizens.
Bedouins are the indigenous people who live in the Israeli desert of Negev. Before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, approximately 70,000 Bedouins lived in the area. Following the 1948 war, only 12,000 or so remained. The rest fled or were expelled to Jordan and Egypt.
Under the directives of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, the state uprooted those Bedouins who remained on their lands, and pushed them to the northeastern part of the Negev (a mostly barren area) known as the “Sayag” zone. The government reserved the more fertile western part of the Negev for Jewish settlement.
Throughout the ’50s and until the mid-’60s, the Israeli government confiscated a considerable portion of Bedouin ancestral lands and registered them as state land. In the ’70s, the government again moved about half the Bedouin population, this time into seven townships. The remaining half of the Bedouin population was unwilling to give up its property rights and is now scattered across the Negev in 45 villages that have never been recognized by the state. The current population of Bedouins has grown to about 75,000 in the townships and a similar number in the unrecognized villages.
Israel makes life in these unrecognized villages unbearable. For so-called illegal construction, the Israeli government demolishes houses and imposes criminal sanctions. Moreover, the state does not connect these villages to electricity grids, running water, sewage system, or telephone services. There are no paved roads leading to the Bedouin villages. As a result, emergency services cannot reach them quickly, and access to other basic services—such as health, education and welfare—is difficult and limited.
After witnessing the recent demolitions, a Bedouin activist asked one of the Jewish teenagers why he had agreed to participate in the eviction. Without hesitating, the teenager replied: “I am a Zionist and what we are doing here today is Zionism.”
The teenager was not wrong. And yet he was probably too young to recognize that even though Zionism’s major goals have not changed, the methods deployed to realize them have been undergoing a radical transformation.
While over the past two decades, the state itself performed the task of Judiazing space, today the government is outsourcing more and more of its responsibilities to private firms. The teenager was hired by a personnel agency, which was employed by the government to expel Bedouins from their homes in order to establish two new Jewish villages. (Incidentally, their establishment is part of a larger plan that includes the construction of about 30 new Jewish settlements in the Israeli Negev, the seizure of Bedouin land for military needs, and the creation of dozens of single-family farms on land that Bedouins have inhabited since Israel relocated them to the region.)
The process of privatizing Zionism has been slow. For more than five decades, the state was the sole agent responsible for all planning of new villages, towns and cities. Private contractors only carried out the construction. Today, land from which the government is expelling the Bedouins is sold at rock-bottom prices to real-estate moguls, who are then responsible not only for constructing Jewish villages and towns, but also for planning them.
The state gives the Jewish farmers large plots of land and connects them to basic infrastructure like water and electricity, and, in return, expects them to be part of an apparatus whose role is to contract and restrict Bedouin movement and development and to help the security forces keep an eye on the Negev’s indigenous population.
If one drives a few kilometers further and crosses the Green Line into the Occupied Palestinian Territories, one may notice that Israel is also privatizing military checkpoints.
In the past year, the state has handed over the management of at least five checkpoints to corporate warriors—working for such companies as Notari Zion (Guardians of Zion), Shmira Ubitahon (Guarding and Security) and Modi’in Ezrachi (Civil Intelligence). But the difference between Israel Defense Force soldiers and hired guns is that the latter operate within the gray areas of the law. They are Israel’s Blackwater.
As this privatizing continues, the checkpoints in the West Bank, which have already earned notoriety under the management of the Israeli military, will surely become sites of more misery for Palestinians trying to pass through them.
In the early ’80s, the Israeli government allowed private contractors to appropriate land within the Occupied Territories and sell it at great profits, while the military created settler militias to help it police the Palestinian inhabitants. These civilian militias were given military-issue personnel carriers, weapons and communications equipment and were asked to patrol around their settlements, which, in practice, often meant policing nearby Palestinian villages.
Zionism’s privatization does not symbolize a strategic change but a tactical one. The state has been shedding some of its responsibility. The use of teenagers to evict Bedouins from their homes is not only a reflection of this insidious process of privatization, but also the corrosion of moral responsibility.
Most people, 99% of the population are not aware of the facts and what is what and who is doing what.
If you don't understand a topic have can anybody have an intelligent conversation about it, I personally believe the media keep the people confused and ignorant on purpose.
It is a slow burning genocide committed by the Zionist.
Its shameful that people are so ignorant and don't want to know the true, this is how these people get away with killing people every day, when its our turn who will care or understand, 99% won't do anything, the 1% that know will be called conspiracy theorist, the cards are stacked in there favour, the game is rigged.