Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pathetic resistance, bloody suppression – if not worse. Part I

By Gulamhuein Abba

"Ethnic cleansing and “reclaiming” biblical lands go hand in hand for the Zionists and has been going on from a little before the creation of Israel to date. What is going on now in Gaza is a continuation of this project, a work in progress."

In the Orwellian world that we live in today, everything is upside down.

Take the case of what is happening in Israel and Palestine

The narrative, repeated ad nauseam in the Western media and by US political leaders is that militant Palestinian terrorists are firing thousands of rockets into Israel, frightening innocent Israeli men, women and children and disrupting their lives by forcing them to run time and again into air raid shelters when the sirens sound to warn them of incoming rockets. This leaves the peace loving Israeli government with no alternative but to take military action to wipe out the rocket manufacturing, launching and storage sites and the tunnels Hamas uses to infiltrate into Israel.

US President and various Congressmen  have spoken forcefully about this.

Digging deeper reveals a different story. It becomes clear that the present slaughter being carried out by Israel in Gaza has very little, if anything, to do with Hamas raining down rockets on Israel, but has more, much more to do with an innocent sounding, eye catching, heart tugging, emotion lade little phrase coined a very long time back: “A land without people for a people without land.” It was common among Zionists at the end of the nineteenth, and the beginning of the twentieth century and was associated with the movement to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine

Jewish leaders have openly stated that their goal is to reclaim the biblical lands and establish Eretz Yisraeel in the whole of Palestine complete with Judea and Samaria. Originally the goal was to extend the boundaries of Greater Israel to include Jordan but for some years this is not mentioned.
It was also understood by the Zionists that to establish a Jewish state they would have to expel those already residing there. And this they started doing as soon as the boundaries of the Israeli state the UN proposed became known.

As recorded by Jewish historians themselves, aided by the opening of many historical and military documents archived by the Israel, and British governments, have provided a disturbing and troubling picture.

About a month before the creation of Israel, on April 19, 1948, the Stern Gang and Irgun and other Jewish para military forces started their ethnic cleansing in Dir Yasein. 240 men, women and children of this peaceful village were slaughtered. It included rapes and mutilations.

By the end of the 1948 War, hundreds of Arab villages had been completely depopulated. Their house and buildings were bulldozed or blown up primarily for the purpose of preventing the return of their owners. Benny Morris lists 369 Palestinian villages and towns destroyed, while Professor Walid Khalidi, leading a team of field researchers, in an exhaustive study, describes the destruction of each of 418 villages or hamlets which are listed on an index of Palestinian cities of 1945.

There were other massacres and perhaps two to three thousands, essentially defenseless, Palestinians, were massacred, according to Haifa University historian Ilan Pappe.

Israel came into existence on May 15, 1948

Ethnic cleansing and “reclaiming” biblical lands go hand in hand for the Zionists and has been going on from a little before the creation of Israel to date. What is going on now in Gaza is a continuation of this project, a work in progress.

Just a little bit of information about Gaza and Hamas.

Gaza was not included within the boundaries drawn up for an Israeli state by the UN.

After the war that followed Israel's declaration of independence in 1948, the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement of 24 February 1949 established the separation line between Egyptian and Israeli forces, and established what became the present boundary between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Parts of Gaza now fell within the jurisdiction and control of Israel. The truncated Gaza strip came under the control of Egypt.

Gaza, as it exists today, is a small strip pf land situated at the southernmost corner of Israel on the eastern coast. It is about 41 km in length, 8-12 km in width, with a land mass of 363 square km. (140 square miles).On this small strip live about 2 million people, making it one of the most densely populated area in the world.

In 1967 Gaza was OCCUPIED by Israel in a war initiated by Israel. It remains OCCUPIED by Israel.

After the Oslo accords, officially signed at a public ceremony in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993, the civil administration of Gaza came under the newly created Palestinian National Authority (PNA) but remained under the tight control of Israel.

It was founded in 1987

An offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas is a socio economic, religious and political entity.

It was formed essentially to oppose Fatah and offer Palestinians an alternative.

It differed fundamentally from Fatah. The latter chose to adopt peace negotiations crafted by the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations) with the US as an “honest broker”. Hamas on the other believed that to Israel the peace process was just a cover which Israel was using to stall ending the occupation, grab more Palestinian land, build more Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and transfer Israelis from Israel to the occupied territories.

According to its charter, it was founded to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. (This has changed. See Hamas Changes its Charter Stance further into the article)

Hamas became popular among Palestinians because of its social services to Palestinians in the occupied territories. Such services are not generally provided by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli scholar Reuven Paz estimates that 90% of Hamas activities revolve around "social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities". Social services include running relief programs and funding schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues.

Paradoxically, Israel and US initially helped Hamas to grow. They wanted to use it as a counter to the secular Fatah, weaken it. The old tried and tested strategy of divide and rule. But Hamas succeeded far beyond what they had imagined.

In 2005 Israel deployed its armed forces from within Gaza to other areas. Israel also evacuated all Israeli citizens, some forcibly, from within Gaza and resettled them elsewhere. This ended Israel’s physical presence in Gaza but Israel retained full control over the territory, turning it into a tightly controlled open air prison for Gazans. Nothing and no person came into Gaza nor anything or any person left Gaza without Israel’s permission.

In the Palestinian parliamentary elections held on January 25, 2006, Hamas won a plurality of 42.9% of the total vote and 74 out of 132 total seats (56%).When Hamas assumed power the next month, the Israeli government, the United States and the EU, refused to recognize its right to govern the Palestinian Authority. Even though the elections were held under inernational observers wo pronounced it to be a fair election.

After the Gaza election, Hamas leader sent a letter addressed to George W. Bush where he among other things declared that Hamas would accept a state on the 1967 borders including a truce. However, the Bush administration did not reply.

Instead, the Quartet on the Middle East (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations) stated that assistance to the Palestinian Authority would only continue if Hamas renounced violence, recognized Israel, and accepted previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements, which Hamas refused to do. The Quartet then imposed a freeze on all international aid to the Palestinian territories.

Buckling under this pressure, PA declared a state of emergency, dissolved the unity government and formed a new government without Hamas participation. PNA security forces in the West Bank arrested a number of Hamas members.

The relationship between Hamas and the PA unraveled.

 Hamas shifted its attention to Gaza and, by   the middle of June, Hamas fully controlled the Gaza Strip.

Since then Israel has progressively squeezed Gaza tighter and tighter.

Notwithstanding what is stated in its Charter, Hamas no longer has as its goal the ending of Israel as a State and is prepared to accept its existence (even though it continues to deny that Israel has any inherent right to exist, much a right to exist as a Jewish state.)

In its election manifesto for the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Hamas omitted a call for an end to Israel, though it did still call for armed struggle against the occupation.

After the elections in 2006, Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar did not rule out the possibility of accepting a "temporary two-state solution"

Xinhua has reported that Al-Zahar "did not rule out the possibility of having Jews, Muslims and Christians living under the sovereignty of an Islamic state"

In late 2006, Ismail Haniyeh, the political leader of Hamas, said that if a Palestinian state was formed within the 1967 lines, Hamas was willing to declare a truce that could last as long as 20 years, and stated that Hamas will never recognize the "usurper Zionist government" and will continue "jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem".

In early February 2006, Hamas offered Israel a 10-year truce "in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories: the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem,"  and recognition of Palestinian rights including the "right of return"

In March 2006, Hamas released its official legislative program. The document clearly signaled that Hamas could refer the issue of recognizing Israel to a national referendum. Under the heading "Recognition of Israel," it stated simply: "The question of recognizing Israel is not the jurisdiction of one faction, nor the government, but a decision for the Palestinian people."

This was a major shift away from their 1988 charter.

A few months later, via Maryland's Jerome Segal, the group sent a letter to U.S. President George Bush stating they "don't mind having a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders", and asked for direct negotiations. Segal emphasized that a state within the 1967 borders and a truce for many years could be considered Hamas' de facto recognition of Israel.

In an April 2008 meeting between Hamas leader Khaled Meshal and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, an understanding was reached in which Hamas agreed it would respect the creation of a Palestinian state in the territory seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, provided this is ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum. Hamas later publicly offered a long-term truce with Israel if Israel agreed to return to its 1967 borders and grant the "right of return" to all Palestinian refugees.

In November 2008, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh re-stated that Hamas was willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and offered Israel a long-term truce "if Israel recognized the Palestinians' national rights"

In 2009, in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Haniyeh repeated his group's support for a two-state settlement based on 1967 borders: "We would never thwart efforts to create an independent Palestinian state with borders [from] June 4, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital."

In July 2009, Khaled Meshal, Hamas's political bureau chief, said the organization was willing to cooperate with "a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict which included a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders", provided that Palestinian refugees hold the right to return to Israel and that East Jerusalem be the new nation's capital.

British diplomat and former British ambassador to the United Nations Sir Jeremy Greenstock stated in early 2009 that the Hamas charter was "drawn up by a Hamas-linked imam some [twenty] years ago and has never been adopted since Hamas was elected as the Palestinian government in 2006".

On December 1, 2010, Ismail Haniyeh again repeated, "We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees," and "Hamas will respect the results [of a referendum] regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles."

In February 2012, according to the Palestinian authority, Hamas forswore the use of violence. Evidence for this was provided by an eruption of violence from Islamic Jihad in March 2012 after an Israeli assassination of a Jihad leader, during which Hamas refrained from attacking Israel. "Israel—despite its mantra that because Hamas is sovereign in Gaza it is responsible for what goes on there—almost seems to understand," wrote Israeli journalists Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, "and has not bombed Hamas offices or installations"

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal indicated to Robert Pastor, senior adviser to the Carter Center, that the Charter is "a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons". Hamas do not use the Charter on their website and prefer to use their election manifesto to put forth their agenda.

Pastor states that those who quote the charter rather than more recent Hamas statements may be using the Charter as an excuse to ignore Hamas.

Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, has questioned the use of the charter by Israel and its supporters to brand Hamas as a fundamentalist, terrorist, racist, anti-Semitic organization and claims that they have taken parts of the charter out of context for propaganda purposes. He claims that they dwell on the charter and ignore that Hamas has changed its views with time.

All this is ignored by Israel. It continues to claim that the firing of rockets by Hamas, coupled to what is stated in Hamas charter, poses an existential threat to its existence and it is imperative for Israel to protect its citizens by destroying in Gaza the rocket manufacturing units, the cache of weapons, the storage sites, and command centers. Under the latter it includes homes of prominent activists.

Using this unfounded argument Israel has been playing havoc with the lives of the Gazans.

(What Israel has done in and to Gaza and its  citizens, why any cease fire without conditions is worse than useless and how lasting and genuine peace can be brought to that once blessed and now cursed land – all this in part II of the article)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Running Orders

by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha — with Alan Dawson.

From a post on Facebook by Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland)'s photo. 

They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think "Do I know any Davids in Gaza?"

They call us now to say
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth

Just run.
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.

It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
to nowhere.

It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.

It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Who Is Pushing Whom into the Sea?

Delving back series 002
In this series will be published articles from the past, to show how people do not seem to learn from the past, how nothing seems to have changed, how what is being said now was said so many years back. Plus, it will remind you of important event and facts you maay not know or may have forgotten.

This second post in the series was written by William Martin in 2005 and was first published in Counterpunch and subsequently reproduced by Justice for Palestinians Committee on its member’s only website.

Ben Gurion: �We Must Expel the Arabs and Take Their Place�

By William Martin

On 11 October 1961 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion declared in the Israeli Knesset:

'The Arabs' exit from Palestine...began immediately after the UN resolution, from the areas earmarked for the Jewish state. And we have explicit documents testifying that they left Palestine following instructions by the Arab leaders, with the Mufti at their head, under the assumption that the invasion of the Arab armies at the expiration of the Mandate will destroy the Jewish state and push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive'.

Thus, Mr Ben Gurion is asserting that it is his perception that 1) there were directions from the neighboring Arab states and the Mufti in Jerusalem for the indigenous Arabs of Palestine to evacuate their homes and lands on the promise that the Arab armies would destroy the nascent Jewish state, and, further, 2) that those armies intended to "push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive". The phrase "push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive" has acquired a life of its own as it is invoked by Zionist supporters on a daily basis in order to justify the aggressive policies of Israel as well as its recalcitrance in continuing the occupation of the Palestinians of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

It is a highly emotive phrase invoking images of the Holocaust, though adapted to a Mediterranean setting.

Mr Ben Gurion gives no attribution for this phrase, nor does he claim that it is a quote from an Arab source. It is expressed here as if it is his personal surmise as to the Arab army's intentions.
The phrase has been variously attributed by Zionist supporters to Yasser Arafat, Gamel Abdul Nasser, or any other of Israel's enemies, but none whom I have challenged, including U S Congressman Henry Waxman who made the claim in a letter to me, attributing the phrase to Nasser, have been able to provide any documentation of support for their claim. This 1961 speech certainly predates Arafat's 1968 ascension to the head of the PLO. The phrase is very much entrenched in the thinking of Israelsupporters and is taken as a factual basis for an Arab intent of Genocide and of their own potential for peril.

The speech by Mr. Ben Gurion appears to be the origin of the phrase. A search of the speeches of Gamel Abdul Nasser fails to reveal it, nor does it reveal any other than a pragmatics approach to his dealing with Israel. This phrase is sufficiently dramatic and threatening so that if it was in fact uttered by a significant Arab leader, it would be prominent and easily found in any competent historical treatment, which it is not. The phrase, thus, has a Jewish origin and not an Arab origin. Mr Ben Gurion is the originator of the phrase, in all likelihood.

Mr. Ben Gurion's first claim that the Arab exodus from Palestine was provoked by directives from the leaders of the surrounding Arab states has been shown by overwhelming historical research to be false.

Since the early 1980's a new generation of professional historians, many, though not all, Israeli, and recognized as professionally competent within their own society, as well as to a wider audience, and aided in no small measure by the opening of many historical and military documents archived by the Israel, and British governments, and to a lesser extent, Arab governments, have provided a revised historical perspective as a challenge to the official Israeli history of the origin of the state of Israel. These newly released documents have been systematically mined by Ben Gurion University Professor of History, Benny Morris, as well as others.

One telling document uncovered by Professor Benny Morris is "The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine in the Period 1/12/1947 1/6/1948" dated 30 June, 1948 and was produced by the Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence Service during the first weeks of the truce (11 June 9 July) of 1948. It analyzes the numbers of refugees, the stages of the exodus, the causes, destination and problems of absorption in the host countries. The appendix contains the village by village breakdown in terms of numbers of initial inhabitants, their destinations and the causes of their flight.

On the eve of the UN Partition Plan Resolution of 29 Nov 1947, according to the report, there were 219 Arab villages and four Arab, or partly Arab, towns in the area designated for the Jewish state, with a total Arab population of 340,000 Arab residents. By June 1, 180 of these towns had been evacuated, with 239,000 Arabs fleeing the areas of the Jewish state. A further 152,000 Arabs, from 70 villages and three towns (Jaffa, Jenin, and Acre), had fled their homes in the areas designated for Palestinian Arab statehood in the Partition Resolution. Thus by June 1, according to the report, the refugee total was 391,000, with an error of 10 to 15%.

The UN gives a figure of 750,000 800,000 Palestinian refugees by the end of 1948, so that the period covered by the Intelligence Service Report is one in which roughly one half the refugee population was generated.

The report then outlines eleven (I will list five) of what the IDF Intelligence Service regarded, in June 1948, as the factors which precipitated the exodus, listing them in order of importance as:
a. Direct hostile Jewish [Haganah/IDF] operations against Arab settlements. (The Haganah was the army of the Yeshuv, or Jewish community in Palestine, and was the precursor of the Israeli Defense Force, or IDF.)

b. The effect of our [Haganah/IDF] hostile operations on nearby Arab settlements (especially the fall of large neighboring centers).
c. Operations of the Jewish dissidents [Menachem Begin's Irgun and Yitzhak Shamir's Stern Gang, also known as the Irgun Tzvai Leumi and the Lehi, resp.].
d. Jewish whispering operations [psychological warfare] aimed at frightening away Arab inhabitants.
e. Ultimate expulsion orders [by Haganah/IDF].

The Intelligence Service then gives a detailed breakdown and explanation of these factors, stressing that "without doubt, hostile [Haganah/IDF] operations were the main cause of the movement of the population". The wave of emigration in each district, explains the report, "followed hard upon the increase and expansion of our [Haganah/IDF] operations in that district. The departure of the British of course, helped the Arab evacuation, but it appears that the British withdrawal freed our hands for action more than it influenced the Arab immigration directly."

The report cites "surprise, protracted mortar barrages, and the use of loudspeakers broadcasting threatening messages, factors which had a strong influence in precipitation flight". "An attack on one village or town often affected its neighbors. The evacuation of a certain village because of an attack by us prompted in its wake many neighboring villages to flee", the report states. "The fall of Tiberias, Safad, Samakh, Jaffa, and Acre engendered in their wake many waves of emigrants."
The report concludes that "It is possible to say that at least 55% of the total of the exodus was caused by our Haganah/IDF operations and by their influence. the effects of the operations of the dissidents Jewish organizations [the Irgun and the Stern Gang] directly caused some 15% of the emigration." The Intelligence Service states that the activities of the Irgun and Stern were especially important in the Jaffa-Tel Aviv area, in the coastal plain to the north, and around Jerusalem. The report cites the "special effect" of the Irgun and Stern Gang operations in Deir Yassin.

The action at Deir Yassin, especially greatly affected the thinking of the Arabs; not a little of the immediate flight during our [Haganah/IDF] attacks, especially in the central and southern areas was due to this factor which can be described as a decisive accelerating factor.

Recall that the Deir Yassin massacre, which occurred on April 9 1948, claimed the lives of about 240 men women and children of this peaceful village and included rapes and mutilations. See, The Deir Yassin Massacre. There were other massacres, perhaps two to three thousands, essentially defenseless, Palestinians were massacred, according to Haifa University historian Ilan Pappe, however the Deir Yassin massacre was widely publicized and became, in some ways, the signature of the Irgun and the Stern Gang.

Altogether the report states, Jewish [Haganah/IDF, Irgun, Stern] military accounted for 70% if the Arab exodus from Palestine.

In direct contradiction to Ben Gurion, the report states "the Arab institutions attempted to struggle against the phenomenon of flight and evacuation, and to curb the waves of emigration". The Arab Higher Committee imposed restrictions, and issued threats, punishments, and propaganda in the radio and press to curb the emigration, and also tried to mobilize the governments in the neighboring Arab states to assist in this effort, as both shared the same interest.

"More than once", the report states, "[Haganah/IDF units were forced] to expel inhabitants [after they had returned to their homes]".

Thus in sum, this document, which is only one of many to have surfaced in consequence of the historical research of the last 20 years completely refutes Ben Gurion's claim and reveals it to have no basis in fact.

Mr Ben Gurion was lying through his teeth, to put it plainly.

It should be observed that the Jewish agency in Palestine declared itself a state on May 14, 1948. It was the next day, May 15 that the first of five Arab armies or contingents of armies entered Palestine. Thus, approximately half of the 1948 refugees fled or were extirpated before the first foreign Arab soldier set foot in Palestine. The time line is important: the Deir Yassin Massacre occurred on April 9, the expulsion of Arabs from the cities of Jaffe, Haifa, Tiberias, and Safid occurred at the end of April and in the first days of May. The flight of the Palestinian refugees, thus, was not set in motion by the entrance of the Arab armies as is often claimed.

Nor should we take from Mr Ben Gurion's statement that the concept of Palestinian evacuation was confined to the years 1947 - 1948. The concept of transfer of the indigenous Arab population to make way for a Jewish state was intrinsic to the thinking of the Zionist leaders from its initial inception.

Thus Theodor Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organization, said in 1892:

[We shall] spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.

And in 1937, Ben Gurion stated:

The compulsory transfer of Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Jewish state could give us something which we never had, even when we stood on our own feet during the days of the First andSecond Temple.

And in a letter to his son, also in 1937, he stated:

We must expel the Arabs and take their places and if we have to use force, to guarantee our own right to settle in those places then we have force at our disposal.

And in early 1948 Ben Gurion wrote in his War Diary,

"During the assault we must be ready to strike the decisive blow; that is, either to destroy the towns or expel its inhabitants so our people can replace them."

And in February 1948, Ben Gurion told Yoseph Weitz, director of the settlement of the Jewish National Fund and head of the official Transfer Committee of 1948:

The war will give us land. The concept of 'ours' and 'not ours' are peace concepts, only, in war they lose their whole meaning.

In fact, the concept of transfer, a euphemism for expulsion, was embraced by the entire Jewish leadership from the earliest stages of Zionism until the 1948 extirpation of the indigenous population. Transfer committees were actually set up from 1937 on until 1948 in order to study ways of ridingPalestine of as many Arabs as possible.

By the end of the 1948 War, hundreds of Arab villages had been completely depopulated. Their house and buildings were bulldozed of blown up primarily for the purpose of preventing the return of their owners. Benny Morris lists 369 Palestinian villages and towns destroyed, while Professor Walid Khalidi, leading a team of field researchers, in an exhaustive study, describes the destruction of each of 418 villages or hamlets which are listed on an index of Palestinian cities of 1945.

Quoting from Ilan Pappe's book, A History of Modern Palestine:

[W]hen winter was over and the spring of 1949 warmed a particularly frozen
Palestine, the land which we have described reconstructing a period stretching over 250 years had changed beyond recognition. The countryside, the rural heart of Palestine, with its colourful and picturesque villages was ruined. Half the villages had been destroyed, flattened by Israeli bulldozers which had been at work since August 1948 when the government had decided to either turn them into cultivated land or to build new Jewish settlements on their remains. A naming committee granted the new settlements Hebraized versions of the original Arab names . David Ben Gurion explained that this was done as part of an attempt to prevent future claim to the villages. It was also supported by the Israeli archeologists, who had authorized the names as returning the map to something resembling 'ancient Israel'.

Of equal importance, in engendering what Arafat called an Israeli "Masada complex" is the common pro-Zionist interpretation of the 1968 PLO Charter as calling for the destruction of the state of Israel in which the term "destruction" is interpreted as "pushing all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive."

Though the document calls for armed struggle, there is nothing in it incompatible with the establishment of a secular democratic state which recognizes and respects the three major religions.

Indeed, article 16 of the document states:

The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual viewpoint, will prepare an atmosphere of tranquility and peace for the Holy Land in the shade of which all the Holy Places will be safeguarded, and freedom of worship and visitation to all will be guaranteed, without distinction or discrimination of race, colour, language or religion.

And article 19 states:

The partitioning of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of Israel is fundamentally null and void, because it is contrary to the wish of the people of Palestine and its natural right to a homeland, and contradicts the principles embodied in the Charter of the UN, the first of which is the right of self-determination.

Under American pressure, Arafat and the PLO eventually amended the PLO Charter so as to accept the reality of a Jewish state on 80% of historical Palestine leaving room for a Palestinian state on the remainder. However, one democratic state based on non-discrimination with equal rights for Jews, Christians and Moslems is closer to American values than a state created specifically for one ethnicity whose laws uphold the superior rights of one race or ethnicity, namely the Jewish one, over that of another, namely the minority Palestinian citizens of Israel. In amending the PLO Charter so as to accept the two state solution, we have actually moved away from basic American values of non-discrimination based on race. Those liberals who worked for the dissolution of the white supremacists governments of Rhodesia and South Africa need to explain their slavish devotion to the state of Israelwhich is based on Jewish supremacy.

The Zionists did not drive the Palestinians into the sea, but they did drive them from their homes and villages and ancestral lands and from Palestine and into squalid refugee camps, and in the process massacred two to three thousand. The irony of Ben Gurion's statement should not escape us. Ben Gurion and the Zionists demand deference for a fictitious intention on the part of the Palestinian and Arabs while ignoring or denying the very real expulsion of the Palestinians.

Much of the perception of Israel and much of its popular support rest on the myth of the purity of Israeland much of that can be traced directly to David Ben Gurion's distortions of truth. The unambiguous historical evidence is that the state of Israel was founded upon terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Arab population. There is nothing pure or righteous about that.

*, March 11, 2005.

**William James Martin teaches in the Mathematics Department at the University of Florida. He can be reached at:

Important note:
In continuation of our efforts to fill the void left by the mainstream media, present to as many people as possible important facts, views, analysis and interpretation about the situation in Palestine and encourage constructive dialogue and discussion, we are posting the following. Please post your comments and views on this site or just send them  Also, kindly circulate widely, forward extensively, publish or refer to in your mailings and put on your web-sites. And send to us, at names and e-mail addresses of persons we can invite to join our group. Thank you.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Delving back series 001
In this series will be published articles from the past, to show how people do not seem to learn from the past, how nothing seems to have changed, how what is being said now was said so many years back. Plus, it will remind you of important event and facts you maay not know or may have forgotten.

We start with what the editor and manager of this blog wrote way back in 2006
Gulamhusein Abba
Aug 23, 2006 

I first learnt about the Jews when I was just a little boy of 10. There was a picture in the Illustrated Weekly of India. It depicted  Kristallnacht! Even at that young age I was interested in political events. The picture, specially the title, caught my eye. I was shocked at what I read. Living in the midst of bloody Hindu-Muslim riots of Bombay , I well knew the fear each community felt in the area of the city in which it was a minority. People got killed. Houses and businesses got burnt. In my childish ignorance I thought it happened only in Bombay . And here I was reading about it happening in Germany to the Jews. My heart went out to them.

I then learnt more about their sufferings, their humiliations, mass murders, curfews, special badges, permits to move from one place to another. These appeared in small paragraphs in the Times of India. How terrible, I thought. I sympathized with the Jews and was very, very angry at the Germans for treating them in such a way.

About five years later I distinctly remember reading about the brave resistance put up by the Jews of the Warsaw Ghettos against their tormentors. They were hailed as freedom fighters and resistance heroes. I was filled with admiration at their bravery and indomitable spirit. There were reports of how they were supplied with food, clothing, men and weapons through underground “tunnels” (sewers). Movies were made in their honor and I cheered and clapped along with the rest of the audience at their heroic deeds as they flashed on the silver screen.

But not very long thereafter, faces of Jews began to appear on “WANTED --TERRORIST” posters put out by the British during British Mandate years. The former freedom fighters had become terrorists!

And, a short time later, those whose faces had appeared as terrorists on British posters, became the heroes of Israel when it was formally established. At least two of them, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir,  went on to become prime ministers of Israel . Many of these “terrorists” have streets in Israel named after them in their honor.

It can be argued that all this was a long time back and that 9/11 has changed all that. Israel now no longer condones terrorism of any kind. It understands what terrorism is and wants to wipe it out.

Well, Israel’s new foreign minister, Tzipin Livni, is the daughter of the man who was the chief operations officer of the Zionist Irgun Tsvai Leumi, the terrorist organization that dynamited, on the orders of Menachim Begin, the King David Hotel in Jerusalem more than half a century back, in July ‘46, killing 91 people, mostly civilians.

Granted that the sins of the fathers should not be visited on their children and the appointment of Tzipin Livni as Israel’s foreign minister cannot be faulted simply because of who her father was.

But then how is one to explain the putting up by the Israelis, in July 2006, of a plaque honoring the blowing up of the hotel as a deed of ‘resistance’ to the British Mandate government (which, it must be remembered, was put in place by the League of Nations )?

Perhaps the Israelis felt a need to counterbalance the bust and plaque displayed in the UN building in Manhattan in honor of Count Folk Bernadette. He it was who saved 21 thousand prisoners from German camps during World War II and whom the UN sent as its envoy to Palestine to mediate and supervise the cease-fire there but was murdered by Jewish terrorists.

Surprisingly, these very same Israelis insist on calling the brave Palestinians who have been heroically resisting the illegal, brutal, belligerent, 39-year-old Israeli occupation of West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem as “terrorists”!!

By the simple expedient of so labeling them “terrorists”, and playing into the world-wide fixation with terrorists and terrorism after 9/11, the Israelis have arrogated to themselves the right to slaughter and massacre the Palestinians, wipe out their villages, incarcerate and  assassinate their leaders, kidnap, detain and torture their young men, women and children, bomb out or bulldoze their homes, sometimes with residents still inside, confiscate their lands, steal and collar their water, uproot their olive groves and orchards, destroy their farmlands, rip out their roads, demolish their bridges and infrastructure, impose closures and curfews, some lasting for days, restrict their movements, humiliate and even kill them at checkpoints, deport them and prevent refugees from returning to their homes.

What greater irony can there be than this? And how shameful that the US should be complicit in this and the international community should watch impotently.

So then, ask yourself: Are there any resistance heroes left in this world or are they all just terrorists? More specifically, are the Palestinians “terrorists” or are they heroic, indomitable freedom fighters exercising their right to resist and overthrow a long standing and brutal occupation and neutralize state terrorism of the worst kind?

Your views will be greatly appreciated. E-mail them to

Gulamhusein A. Abba

Friday, July 18, 2014

How Israeli PR Sells Gaza Slaughter

July 17, 2014
A favorite line of Official Washington goes: “Perception is reality!” — a misguided notion that makes the U.S. mainstream media particularly vulnerable to “perception management.” And no one does that better than the Israelis when justifying the slaughter of Palestinians, as Danny Schechter notes.

By Danny Schechter

There is an art of war and there is an art to selling war – to one’s own people and to the world at large.
Israel is a master on both tracks. When we speak of the “only democracy” in the Middle East, it is often forgotten, perhaps deliberately, that the country is run by a War or “Security” Cabinet. It is, and has been, in effect, a military regime with as many powerful religious fanatics as its Iranian nemesis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Since proclaiming its “independence” in 1948, it has remained dependent on a large, now over $3 billion per annum and counting,” foreign aid” payment from the United States, far, far MORE than many poor countries that desperately need that aid but don’t get it.

Supplementing this subsidy, Israel has its own advanced military industrial and technology complex upgrading and customizing weaponry in military and aerospace industries.
Its current escalating war on Gaza is only the latest, following on the heels of seven “recognized” wars, two Palestinian intifadas, many reprisal operations and countless covert operations including interventions and assassinations.

Its capacity to punish and its willingness to use advanced weapons in areas dense with civilians like Gaza is terrifying – and it is so by design. The United States may have used “shock and awe” in Iraq to launch its war there, but Israel has routinized it with 2,360 air strikes in its 2008-2009  “Cast Lead” campaign  in Gaza alone. So far there has been well over l,000 sorties in this latest bloody blitzkrieg. Is it any surprise that of all its military branches it is the Air Force that is dominated the most by extremists and West Bank settlers.
And, in all of its conflicts, Tel Aviv invents and then seizes a constantly reinforced “moral” high ground, immediately positioning itself as a victim and defending its actions as DEFENSIVE. That view is then relentlessly streamed 24/7 to the public by lobby groups, PR firms and government agencies to and through a well-orchestrated network of political allies and supporters worldwide.

This is not new, says Israeli historian Ilan Pappe: “The Israeli propaganda machine attempts again and again to narrate its policies as out of context and turns the pretext it found for every new wave of destruction into the main justification for another spree of indiscriminate slaughter in the killing fields of Palestine.”

As in all of its conflicts, propaganda operations designed to win over the press and public opinion, enjoy as much priority as its military operations. Today, military-led units and student groups/cyber armies attempt to dominate the on-line discourse about the war, repeatedly emphasizing  prefabricated, market-tested message points, like blaming Gaza for rejecting a cease-fire that it is repeatedly claimed Israel supported.

In these propaganda dispatches, there is little or no mention of the human slaughter borne by the Palestinians, the lack of proportionality in the casualties and the alternative approaches that might resolve the crisis (and the underlying injustices).

The major U.S. media seems to embrace the Israeli narrative without question or without independent reporting or analysis, much less critically.

Here’s Bloomberg News: “Israel Renews Gaza Bombing After Hamas Rejects Truce Plan.” Here’s the Washington Post: “While Israel Held Its Fire, Hamas  did not.” On and on, around the clock.
In many of these accounts, Hamas is described only as “militants,” not a party or elected government. The perennial message: Israel is being reasonable, while Hamas is irresponsible and even wants the death of its own people. It’s always all their fault! You never hear what Hamas is saying – or trying to say – except in selected snippets of overheated rhetoric used to demonize them.

Israel has moved beyond PR to PM, or “perception management.” Inside Israel, Neve Gordin says the situation is worse, with repeated calls for MORE military escalation amid neo-genocidal demands for a final solution as in “destroy them all, once and for all.”

In a piece on “Israel’s War Echo Chamber,” he writes: “the public debate today is not whether or not to stop the air strikes but rather whether or not to deploy ground forces. In an opinion column, Channel 2′s military correspondent Ronnie Daniel claimed that only ‘a ground operation will extract a heavy enough price from Hamas’ in order to ensure a longer period of peace for Israel. The following day Channel 2′s anchor pondered: ‘We wanted Hamas to fall on its knees and so far this has not happened’; and Daniel responded, ‘So far it’s not happening, and the conclusion, in my opinion, is that it has not received enough.’”
Amira Hess, the gutsy Israeli correspondent for Ha’aretz, explains: “Both sides (Hamas and Israel) say they are firing in self-defense. We know that war is a continuation of politics by other means. Israel’s policy is clear (if not to consumers of Israeli media): Cut Gaza off even more, thwart any possibility of Palestinian unity and divert attention from the accelerating colonialist drive in the West Bank.

“And Hamas? It wants to boost its standing as a resistance movement after the blows it took as a governing movement. Maybe it really thinks it can change the Palestinian leadership’s entire strategy vis-a-vis the Israeli occupation. Maybe it wants the world (and the Arab states) to awaken from its slumber.
“Still, with all due respect to Clausewitz, rational calculations are not the only explanation. Let’s not forget the missile envy — whose is bigger, longer, more impressive and reaches farther? The boys play with their toys and we’ve gotten used to calling it policy.”

In all of this swamp of hawkish sludge, what do we make of an alternative explanation embraced by critical writers who follow these events most knowledgably – when we hear from them at all. Here’s a peace activist, Richard Silverstein:
“Let’s talk about the faux ceasefire. Really a fraudulent ceasefire. Egypt’s ceasefire with no one. My Israeli source, who was consulted as part of the negotiations, tells me that this was not, in reality, an Egyptian proposal. It was, in fact, an Israeli proposal presented in the guise of an Egyptian proposal. Israel wrote the ceasefire protocol. The Egyptians rubber-stamped it and put it out under their letterhead as if it was their own.

“Jodi Rudoren typically called the ceasefire ‘one-sided,’ meaning Israel honored it and Hamas didn’t.  But it was ‘one-sided’ in a way she hadn’t considered. Only one-side prepared the ceasefire and essentially presented it to itself and accepted it. The other side wasn’t consulted.

“The contents of the ceasefire proposal were a fraud as well. They promised and delivered nothing. They only called for a cessation of hostilities on the part of Israel and Hamas. The same document has been signed in the past only to see Israel violate it almost as soon as the ink was dry. There were no provisions for easing the Israeli siege. No provision to open the border with Egypt. Most importantly, the ceasefire didn’t address any underlying issues between the parties. It was a guarantor for resuming hostilities at the earliest possible opportunity: these wars have come at two-year intervals over the past six years. The next one will be in 2016, if not sooner.”

The Israel newspaper, Haaretz, reported that neither Hamas’ military nor political wings were consulted. So, if this is not a charade, what is? The goal was not to engage Hamas in a peace process, but to create a one-sided media narrative as a pretext and ultimatum for more war. It turns out that Tony Blair, the former pro-Iraq War British Prime Minister, and representative of the so-called “quartet,” arranged the phone call between Israeli and Egyptian officials.

This does not mean that eventually there won’t be negotiations of some kind between the warring parties. Christiane Amanpour spoke with a former Israeli intelligence  chief on CNN. He called for negotiations with Hamas.

“Hamas is a very bad option, undoubtedly. But there are worse options than Hamas,” Efraim Halevy, former Mossad chief, said.

“And we already know what some of them might be, especially one of them: the ISIS – which is operating now in the northern Iraq and central Iraq – has its tentacles in the Gaza Strip too.”
Halevy said that just as in Europe, ISIS is recruiting in Gaza. It is “inconvenient politically,” Halevy said, for both Israel and Hamas to admit that they negotiate. But the truth, he said, is that they have already been doing it for years:

“We have coined a new method of diplomacy in the twenty-first century: we don’t meet with them, we don’t talk to them, but we listen to them. Each one listens to the other side. Somehow in the end an understanding is crafted. …
“We have had several rounds with Hamas in recent years, and the previous rounds ended up in agreements … arrangements, as it was called – ‘arrangements,’ not even agreements.”’

Who knows if such an “arrangement” may be possible now, as it seems clear that Hamas has many rockets yet to fire into Israel.The countries most heavily propagandized by Israel are blindly supportive, but that is not the case uniformly around the world. Israeli fanaticism slowly but surely erodes global support for its posture.

Right now, thanks to bullish TV news programming, war has become a form of militainmentfor Israeli spectators. The Atlantic’s Debra Kamin reports from the Golan Heights: “People come here every day to see the show,” says Marom, 54, a retired Israel defense Forces colonel who now works in the tourism industry and regularly brings groups to this point to gaze down on Syria’s bloodletting. “For people visiting the area, it’s interesting. They feel that they are a part of it. They can go home and tell their friends, ‘I was on the border and I saw a battle.’”

Kamin continues: “High above a valley in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israeli tourists have a panoramic view of this strategically important location, which is also known as the Gateway to Damascus. Tour groups, fresh from jaunts to the area’s wineries, cherry markets, and artisanal chocolate shops, stop here by the dozens each day armed with binoculars and cameras, eager for a glimpse of smoke and even carnage.”
Has this what we’ve come to? Sadly, yes,

Newsdissector  Danny Schechter blogs at and edits He made the film “Weapons of Mass Deception” about media coverage in Iraq, and wrote two books about media misrepresentations there. Comments to