Bulletin N° 281
Subject: ON "ANTI-ZIONISM AS RACISM" AND OTHER
28 December 2006
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
My daughter came home with a joke the other night : An ethnologist
entering the Amazon River Basin was looking for a lost tribe of
cannibals. Coming upon the chief of a small tribe of a few men, women
and children he asked, "Are there cannibals in this region?" to which
the chief replied, "No, I ate the last one."
A similar (but not so funny) jump in logic can be seen concerning the
continued killings and brutalization by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza
today, and the growing army of Ideologues in the West who are
prepared to rewrite history in a one-dimensional way that would deny
the inconvenient reality of Israel's aggressive criminal activities in
Gaza. To mention this reality is to be called a "hate monger" by their
It is reminiscent of the McCarthy Era in America, when an
anti-communist ideology prevailed, and the most superficial
declarations of correct, "main-stream" opinion passed as profound
truth. This comes with all the force of a "survival instinct"....
On the individual level, job shortages for academics make this
kind of intellectual practice practically inevitable. To get hired in
the intellectual market place where a growing ideological hegemony
governs, one simply must "tow the party line," where conclusions are
evaluated, not by their relationships to supporting evidence, but
rather in accordance with their usefulness to the defenders of an
"official order", who are themselves prepared to ignore completely any
inconvenient truths. Cooking the evidence is also one necessary
preparation for war!
On the more general level of political economy, the "survival
plays a role. At the end of his book, Man
and Woman, War and Peace: The strategist's companion, (Routledge
and Kegan Paul, 1987), Professor Anthony Wilden poses a final question
concerning the "survival instinct" of the capitalist system itself, and
not just that of individual players, like the ideologues :
The K-wave theory, he suggests, has some predictive
value. Are wars essential for the private profit motive to
remain the driving force of our political economy, or can democratic
participation take the place of war and govern the production and
distribution of goods and services according to social needs
instead of private profits ? [For more detailed discussions of "Market
Socialism vs. Socialism" and "War as a
capitalist imperative" visit the CEIMSA Archives where recent bulletins can be found that are
devoted to these subjects.]
- Does the
Kondratieff Wave give us reliable information about the future?
Perhaps. The future
- behavior of a goal-seeking,
time-dependent, adaptive system like state and private capitalism
- cannot be predicted with
any detail or accuracy. General patterns and trends can be singled out.
- The K-wave
represents a pattern of economic behavior which cannot at present be
shown to be true,
- but which can always be
proved by becoming true.
- The interest
of the K-wave chart, in my view, is that although it was drawn up in
1972, over 15 years
- ago and before the oil
price hike in October 1973, the shape of the curve still fits the
- of behavior of the world
- The question
to be decided of course is whether or not we are in the middle of a
fourth K-wave. Is the
- world economy presently
recovering (in 1987) from what may have been the "primary recession"
- the U.S. withdrew from
Indochina and about to embark on the long decline of the "second
- with a cataclysmic war at
the end of it, near the turn of the century? (pp.293-94)
Below are 4 items that were received by CEIMSA and which
describe the increasingly militarized environment of capitalism, where
conformity to militarist "main-stream" thinking (such as zionism in
Gaza) has become the modus vivendi for ambitious,
goal-seeking, time-dependent, adaptive systems of all kinds (to
paraphrase the systems-analysis concept from communication theory).
Item A. is an article by investigative reporter, Robert Fisk,
on the surrealistic political environment of "denial" in the United
States at the end of year 2006.
In item B. Dr. Catherine Shamas introduces us to a new
publication from the Alternative Information Center (AIC), Cheap
Wars, by Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan.
Item C., from Edward Herman, presents two more reviews of
Jimmy Carter's controversial book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (published by Simon & Schuster, November 2006)
Item D., also from Edward Herman, is a series of seven
short testimonies on the growing "chain of callousness" in Gaza.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Dircector of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Robert Fisk :
23 December 2006
America, I stare at the land in which I live and see a landscape I do
not recognise ]
it the Alice in Wonderland effect. Each time I tour the United States,
I stare through the looking glass at the faraway region in which I live
and work for The Independent - the Middle East - and see a landscape
which I do no recognise, a distant tragedy turned, here in America,
into a farce of hypocrisy and banality and barefaced lies. Am I the
Cheshire Cat? Or the Mad Hatter?
I picked up Jimmy Carter's new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid at
San Francisco airport, and zipped through it in a day. It's a good,
strong read by the only American president approaching sainthood.
Carter lists the outrageous treatment meted out to the Palestinians,
the Israeli occupation, the dispossession of Palestinian land by
Israel, the brutality visited upon this denuded, subject population,
and what he calls "a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying
the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis
totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of
their basic human rights".
Carter quotes an Israeli as saying he is "afraid that we are moving
towards a government like that of South Africa, with a dual society of
Jewish rulers and Arabs subjects with few rights of citizenship...". A
proposed but unacceptable modification of this choice, Carter adds, "is
the taking of substantial portions of the occupied territory, with the
remaining Palestinians completely surrounded by walls, fences, and
Israeli checkpoints, living as prisoners within the small portion of
land left to them".
Needless to say, the American press and television largely ignored the
appearance of this eminently sensible book - until the usual Israeli
lobbyists began to scream abuse at poor old Jimmy Carter, albeit that
he was the architect of the longest lasting peace treaty between Israel
and an Arab neighbour - Egypt - secured with the famous 1978 Camp David
accords. The New York Times ("All the News That's Fit to Print", ho!
ho!) then felt free to tell its readers that Carter had stirred "furore
among Jews" with his use of the word "apartheid". The ex-president
replied by mildly (and rightly) pointing out that Israeli lobbyists had
produced among US editorial boards a "reluctance to criticise the
Typical of the dirt thrown at Carter was the comment by Michael Kinsley
in The New York Times (of course) that Carter "is comparing Israel to
the former white racist government of South Africa". This was followed
by a vicious statement from Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League,
who said that the reason Carter gave for writing this book "is this
shameless, shameful canard that the Jews control the debate in this
country, especially when it comes to the media. What makes this serious
is that he's not just another pundit, and he's not just another
analyst. He is a former president of the United States".
But well, yes, that's the point, isn't it? This is no tract by a
Harvard professor on the power of the lobby. It's an honourable, honest
account by a friend of Israel as well as the Arabs who just happens to
be a fine American ex-statesman. Which is why Carter's book is now a
best-seller - and applause here, by the way, for the great American
public that bought the book instead of believing Mr Foxman.
But in this context, why, I wonder, didn't The New York Times and the
other gutless mainstream newspapers in the United States mention
Israel's cosy relationship with that very racist apartheid regime in
South Africa which Carter is not supposed to mention in his book?
Didn't Israel have a wealthy diamond trade with sanctioned, racist
South Africa? Didn't Israel have a fruitful and deep military
relationship with that racist regime? Am I dreaming,
looking-glass-like, when I recall that in April of 1976, Prime Minister
John Vorster of South Africa - one of the architects of this vile
Nazi-like system of apartheid - paid a state visit to Israel and was
honoured with an official reception from Israeli prime minister
Menachem Begin, war hero Moshe Dayan and future Nobel prize-winner
Yitzhak Rabin? This of course, certainly did not become part of the
great American debate on Carter's book.
At Detroit airport, I picked up an even slimmer volume, the
Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group Report - which doesn't really study
Iraq at all but offers a few bleak ways in which George Bush can run
away from this disaster without too much blood on his shirt. After
chatting to the Iraqis in the green zone of Baghdad - dream zone would
be a more accurate title - there are a few worthy suggestions (already
predictably rejected by the Israelis): a resumption of serious
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, an Israeli withdrawal from Golan, etc.
But it's written in the same tired semantics of right-wing think tanks
- the language, in fact, of the discredited Brookings Institution and
of my old mate, the messianic New York Times columnist Tom Friedman -
full of "porous" borders and admonitions that "time is running out".
The clue to all this nonsense, I discovered, comes at the back of the
report where it lists the "experts" consulted by Messrs Baker, Hamilton
and the rest. Many of them are pillars of the Brookings Institution and
there is Thomas Freedman of The New York Times.
But for sheer folly, it was impossible to beat the post-Baker debate
among the great and the good who dragged the United States into this
catastrophe. General Peter Pace, the extremely odd chairman of the US
joint chiefs of staff, said of the American war in Iraq that "we are
not winning, but we are not losing". Bush's new defence secretary,
Robert Gates, announced that he "agreed with General Pace that we are
not winning, but we are not losing". Baker himself jumped into the same
nonsense pool by asserting: "I don't think you can say we're losing. By
the same token (sic), I'm not sure we're winning." At which point, Bush
proclaimed this week that - yes - "we're not winning, we're not
losing". Pity about the Iraqis.
I pondered this madness during a bout of severe turbulence at 37,000
feet over Colorado. And that's when it hit me, the whole final score in
this unique round of the Iraq war between the United States of America
and the forces of evil. It's a draw!
from Dr. Catherine Shamas :
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006
Subject: FW: "Cheap Wars" - New publication by the Alternative
Information Center (AIC)
We cordially invite you to read our new
publication. You can download it directly from our website www.alternativenews.org
Or if you want your own hardcopy, please contact Shir Hever,
Economy of the Occupation 10: Cheap Wars
Written by Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan for the Alternative
Information Center (AIC)
|The Economy of the Occupation is a socioeconomic
bulletin describing the economic reality of the occupation. The
publications attempt to challenge the mainstream economic perspectives
of the Israeli and Palestinian economy, and to provide an alternative
analysis that can be understood by non-economists.
1. Capitalism and War
2. The Rise and Demise of Military Keynesianism
3. The Globalization of Ownership
4. The New Wars
5. The New Order of Capital
6. Energy Conflicts and Differential Profits
7. The Primacy of Prices
8. Sweet Inflation
Your comments are more than welcomed email@example.com
Alternative Information Center
Phone (Jerusalem): 972 2 624 1159
Fax (Jerusalem): 972 3 7624664
from Edward Herman :
Subject: Two commentaries on Carter in WSJ
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006
The Wall Street Journal ran two
commentaries today (both pasted below). The first, by Ali Abunimah,
supports President Carter's use of the term "apartheid" to describe
Israeli policies and points out the inequalities between Jews and
non-Jews within Israel itself. The second, by Michael Oren,
an Israeli-American and former officer in the Israel Occcupation Army,
claims that President Carter has a religious problem with Israel.
Please take a minute to let the Wall Street Journal hear from
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters should be
200 words or less and include your name, address and telephone (for
identification purposes only).
Jimmy Carter's Book: A
By ALI ABUNIMAH
December 26, 2006; Page A12
President Carter has done what few American politicians have dared
to do: speak frankly about the Israel-Palestine conflict. He has done
this nation, and the cause of peace, an enormous service by focusing
attention on what he calls "the abominable oppression and persecution
in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a rigid system of
required passes and strict segregation between Palestine's
citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank."
The 39th president of the United
States, the most successful Arab-Israeli peace negotiator to date, has
braved a storm of criticism, including the insinuation from the
pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League that his arguments are anti-Semitic.
Mr. Carter has tried to mollify
critics by suggesting that his is not a commentary on Israeli policy inside Israel's own borders, as compared with the West Bank, Gaza Strip
and East Jerusalem -- territories Israel occupied in 1967. He told NPR,
"I know that Israel is a wonderful democracy with equal treatment of
all citizens whether Arab or Jew. And so I very carefully avoided
talking about anything inside Israel."
Given the pressure he has faced, it
may be understandable that Mr. Carter says this, but he is wrong. In
addition to nearly four million Palestinians living under Israeli rule
in the occupied territories, another one million live inside Israel's
pre-1967 borders. These Palestinians are descendants of those who were
not forced out or did not flee when Israel was created in 1948.
They have nominal Israeli
citizenship, and unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa, they
do vote for the country's parliament. Yet this is where any sense of
equality ends. In Israel's history, no Arab-led party has ever been
asked to join a coalition government. And, among scores of Jewish
ministers, there has only ever been one Arab minister, of junior rank.
Discrimination against non-Jewish
citizens both informal and legalized is systematic. Non-Jewish children
attend separate schools and live in areas that receive a fraction of
the funding of their Jewish counterparts. The results can be seen in
the much poorer educational attainment, economic, health and life
outcomes of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Much of the land of
the country, controlled by the quasi-governmental Jewish National Fund,
cannot be leased or sold to non-Jews. This is similar in effect to the
restrictive covenants that in many U.S. cities once kept nonwhites out
of certain neighborhoods.
A 2003 law stipulates that an
Israeli citizen may bring a non-citizen spouse to live in Israel
from anywhere in the world, excluding a Palestinian from the occupied
territories. A civil rights leader in Israel likened it to the American
anti-miscegenation measures from the 1950s, when mixed race couples had
to leave the state of Virginia to marry legally.
For Palestinians, the most blatant
form of discrimination is Israel's "Law of Return," that allows
a Jewish person from any country to settle in Israel. Meanwhile, family
members of Palestinian citizens of Israel, living in exile, sometimes
in refugee camps just a few miles outside Israel's borders, are not
permitted to set foot in the country.
The rise of Avigdor Lieberman, the
new deputy prime minister, who openly advocates stripping Palestinians
in Israel of citizenship and transferring them outside the
state, reflects increasingly extremist politics. In response to growing
discrimination, leaders of Palestinians inside Israel recently issued a
report, "The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel." It
calls for Israel to become a state where all citizens and communities
have equal rights, regardless of religion. Many Israeli commentators
reacted angrily, calling the initiative an attempt to dismantle Israel
as a "Jewish state." However, even if Mr. Carter's recommendations are
implemented, and Israel withdraws from the territories occupied in
1967, the struggle over the legitimacy of a state that privileges one
ethno-religious group at the expense of another will not disappear.
As other divided societies, like South
Africa, Northern Ireland and indeed our own are painfully learning,
only equal rights and esteem for all the people, in the diversity of
their identities, can bring lasting peace. This is an even harder
discussion than the one President Carter has courageously launched, but
ultimately it is one we must confront if peace is to come to
Mr. Abunimah is the author of
"One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse"
(Metropolitan Books, 2006).
Jimmy Carter's Book: An
By MICHAEL B. OREN
December 26, 2006; Page A12
Several prominent scholars have taken
issue with Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,"
cataloguing its historical inaccuracies and lamenting its lack of
balance. The journalist Jeffrey Goldberg also critiqued the book's
theological purpose, which, he asserted, was to "convince American
Evangelicals to reconsider their support for Israel."
Mr. Carter indeed seems to have a
religious problem with the Jewish state. His book bewails the fact that Israel is not the reincarnation of ancient Judea but a modern,
largely temporal democracy. "I had long taught lessons from the Hebrew
Scriptures," he recalls telling Prime Minister Golda Meir during his
first tour through the country. "A common historical pattern was that
Israel was punished whenever the leaders turned away from devout
worship of God. I asked if she was concerned about the secular nature
of the Labor government."
He complains about the fact that
the kibbutz synagogue he enters is nearly empty on the sabbath and that
the Bibles presented to Israeli soldiers "was one of the few
indications of a religious commitment that I observed during our
visit." But he also reproves contemporary Israelis for allegedly
mistreating the Samaritans -- "the same complaint heard by Jesus almost
two thousand years earlier" -- and for pilfering water from the Jordan
River, "where . . . Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist."
Disturbed by secular Laborites, he
is further unnerved by religiously minded Israelis who seek to fulfill
the biblical injunction to settle the entire Land of Israel.
There are "two Israels," Mr. Carter concludes, one which embodies the
"the ancient culture of the Jewish people, defined by the Hebrew
Scriptures," and the other in "the occupied Palestinian territories,"
which refuses to "respect the basic human rights of the citizens."
Whether in its secular and/or
observant manifestations, Israel clearly discomfits Mr. Carter,
a man who, even as president, considered himself in "full-time
Christian service." Yet, in revealing his unease with the idea of
Jewish statehood, Mr. Carter sets himself apart from many U.S.
presidents before and after him, as well as from nearly 400 years of
American Christian thought.
Generations of Christians in this
country, representing a variety of dominations, laymen and clergy
alike, have embraced the concept of renewed Jewish sovereignty in Palestine.
The passion was already evident in 1620 when William Bradford alighted
on Plymouth Rock and exclaimed, "Come, let us declare the word of God
in Zion." Bradford was a leader of the Puritans, dissenting Protestants
who, in their search for an unsullied religion and the strength to
resist state oppression, turned to the Old Testament. There, they found
a God who spoke directly to his people, who promised to deliver them
from bondage and return them to their ancestral homeland. Appropriating
this narrative, the Puritans fashioned themselves as the New Jews and
America as their New Promised Land. They gave their children Hebrew
names -- David, Benjamin, Sarah, Rebecca -- and called over 1,000 of
their towns after Biblical places, including Bethlehem, Bethel and, of
course, New Canaan.
Identifying with the Jews, a great
many colonists endorsed the notion of restoring Palestine to
Jewish control. Elias Boudinot, president of the Continental Congress,
predicted that the Jews, "however scattered . . . are to be recovered
by the mighty power of God, and restored to their beloved . . .
Palestine." John Adams imagined "a hundred thousand Israelites"
marching triumphantly into Palestine. "I really wish the Jews in Judea
an independent nation," he wrote. During the Revolution, the
association between America's struggle for independence and the Jews'
struggle for repatriation was illustrated by the proposed Great Seal
designed by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, showing Moses
leading the Children of Israel toward the Holy Land.
Restorationism became a major theme
in antebellum religious thought and a mainstay of the Methodist,
Baptist and Presbyterian churches. In his 1844 bestseller, "The Valley
of the Vision," New York University Bible scholar George Bush -- a
forebear of two presidents of the same name -- called on the U.S.
to devote its economic and military might toward recreating a Jewish
polity in Palestine. But merely envisioning such a state was
insufficient for some Americans, who, in the decades before the Civil
War, left home to build colonies in Palestine. Each of these
settlements had the same goal: to teach the Jews, long disenfranchised
from the land, to farm and so enable them to establish a modern
agrarian society. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln said that "restoring the
Jews to their homeland is a noble dream shared by many Americans," and
that the U.S. could work to realize that goal once the Union prevailed.
reached its fullest expression in an 1891 petition submitted by
Midwestern magnate William Blackstone to President Benjamin Harrison.
The Blackstone Memorial, as it was called, urged the president to
convene an international conference to discuss ways of reviving Jewish
dominion in Palestine. Among the memorial's 400 signatories
were some of America's most preeminent figures, including John D.
Rockefeller, J. Pierpont Morgan, Charles Scribner and William McKinley.
By the century's turn, those advocating restored Jewish sovereignty in
Palestine had begun calling themselves Zionists, though the vast
majority of the movement's members remained Christian rather than
Jewish. "It seems to me that it is entirely proper to start a Zionist
State around Jerusalem," wrote Teddy Roosevelt, "and [that] the Jews be
given control of Palestine."
Such sentiments played a crucial
role in gaining international recognition for Zionist claims to Palestine
during World War I, when the British government sought American
approval for designating that area as the Jewish national home. Though
his closest counselors warned him against endorsing the move, Woodrow
Wilson, the son and grandson of Presbyterian preachers, rejected their
advice. "To think that I the son of the manse [parsonage] should be
able to help restore the Holy Land to its people," he explained. With
Wilson's imprimatur, Britain issued the declaration that became the
basis of its League of Nations mandate in Palestine, and as the
precursor to the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution creating the Jewish
The question of whether or not to
recognize that state fell to Harry S. Truman. Raised in a Baptist
household where he learned much of the Bible by heart, Truman had been
a member of the pro-Zionist American Christian Palestine Committee and
an advocate of the right of Jews -- particularly Holocaust survivors --
to immigrate to Palestine. He was naturally inclined to
acknowledge the nascent state but encountered fervid opposition from
the entire foreign policy establishment. If America sided with the
Zionists, officials in the State and Defense Departments cautioned, the
Arabs would cut off oil supplies to the West, undermine America's
economy and expose Europe to Soviet invasion. Hundreds of thousands of
U.S. troops would have to be sent to Palestine to save its Jews from
Truman listened carefully to these
warnings and then, at 6:11 on the evening of May 14, he
announced that the U.S. would be the first nation to recognize the
newly-declared State of Israel. While the decision may have stemmed in
part from domestic political considerations, it is difficult to
conceive that any politician, much less one of Truman's character,
would have risked global catastrophe by recognizing a frail and
miniscule country. More likely, the dramatic dÃ©marche
reflected Truman's religious background and his commitment to the
restorationist creed. Introduced a few weeks later to an American
Jewish delegation as the president who had helped create Israel, Truman
took umbrage and snapped, "What you mean 'helped create'? I am Cyrus"
-- a reference to the Persian king who returned the Jews from exile --
"I am Cyrus!"
Since 1948, some administrations
(Eisenhower, Bush Sr.) have been less ardent in their attachment to Israel,
and others (Kennedy, Nixon) more so. Throughout the last 60 years,
though, the U.S. has never wavered in its concern for Israel's survival
and its support for the Jewish people's right to statehood. While
U.S.-Israel ties are no doubt strengthened by common bonds of democracy
and Western culture, religion remains an integral component in that
relationship. We know that Lyndon Johnson's Baptist grandfather told
him to "take care of the Jews, God's chosen people," and that Bill
Clinton's pastor, on his deathbed, made the future president promise
never to abandon the Jewish state. We know how faith has impacted the
policies of George W. Bush, who is perhaps the most pro-Israel
president in history.
In his apparent attempt to make
American Christians rethink their affection for Israel, Jimmy
Carter is clearly departing from time-honored practice. This has not
been the legacy of evangelicals alone, but of many religious
denominations in the U.S., and not solely the conviction of Mr. Bush,
but of generations of American leaders. In the controversial title of
his book, Mr. Carter implicitly denounces Israel for its separatist
policies, but, by doing so, he isolates himself from centuries of
Mr. Oren, a senior fellow at
the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, is the author of "Power, Faith, and
Fantasy: America in the Middle East," to be
published by Norton in January.
from Edward Herman :
Subject: Testimonies on the growing "chain of callousness" in Gaza.
Date : Sunday, December 27, 2006
24 December 2006
Until Enaya Samara, who has been living
in forced exile for the past eight months returns to her village near
Ramallah, and until Someida Abbas, who was banished from his home 10
months ago accompanies his children to kindergarten again, it will not
be possible to believe the defense establishment's promise to change
its policy. So long as American, Brazilian and German citizens whose
name is not Cohen but Abdullah, are refused entry at the borders, we
will know that the policy is still in effect - the policy of causing
tens of thousands of Palestinian families to break up, or to leave
their homes and emigrate. This is not a new policy in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip. Since 1967, Israel has been carrying out demographic
manipulations which should actually be called expulsion. Military
edicts have caused some 100,000 people to lose their status as
permanent residents in the occupied territories and to remain exiles in
the countries to which they went to study or work. These manipulations
have turned 240,000 people who were born in the West bank and Gaza and
left the territories because of the 1967 war, and another 60,000 who
were abroad when it broke out, to become new refugees.
All of them left behind families in the territories, but Israel
prevented the vast majority from reuniting again in their homeland.
(During those years, Israel was actively promoting the right of Jews in
the USSR to emigrate and reunite with their families in Israel). After
1994, Israel made it possible for several thousand Palestinian families
to unite every year; in other words, it granted their children the
status of permanent residency. But the quota it fixed was always less
than the real needs, and since 2001, Israel has even frozen the family
unification process and barred Palestinians who are citizens of Arab
countries (particularly Jordan and Egypt) from coming to visit.
Until 2006, Palestinians with Western citizenship (Europeans and
Americans) were able to avoid this comprehensive policy. In the 1990s,
they were considered a welcome population (investors, businessmen,
academics working in international organizations such as the World
Bank). Even if most of them did not get permanent residency, Israel
permitted them to live here and visit regularly. This was also the case
with Western spouses of Palestinian residents. Until someone in the
political echelons decided that this "positive discrimination" (as
opposed to citizens of Jordan and Egypt) was intolerable. And from the
start of 2006 their entry has been blocked.
It is not clear who the
decision-maker is. The coordinator of government activities in the
territories told Western diplomats it was the Interior Ministry that
made the decision. Interior Ministry officials say it was a joint
decision with the Defense Ministry.
Be that as it may, whoever made the decision did not take into
account that this was a blow to the strongest circles among the
Palestinians - those who speak English, have access to the U.S. State
Department, to important journalists, and to the Israeli and
international business worlds. They found a way to get together and
protest, unlike the tens of thousands of women who have Jordanian
citizenship and hide in fear in the West Bank because Israel does not
recognize their right to live with their husbands and children.
The change of policy toward Palestinians with Western citizenship was
brought to the attention of MK Ephraim Sneh even before he became
deputy defense minister. Already then, Sneh was of the opinion that
there was no point in changing the policy and that doing so would be
harmful to Israel's interests. In a conversation with Haaretz, he
sounded sincere in promising that this policy toward the Americans and
Europeans had been canceled and that his bureau was working on new
regulations that would "make things simpler rather than making them
more complicated, and would alleviate rather than aggravate" the
situation. (However, it was possible to understand from this that the
regulations would not legalize the stay of thousands, particularly
adults and children who remained even though their visas were no longer
But the joy is premature: During the past two weeks, officials
continued to prevent the entry even of those who are married and have
children here and those who came on a visit. Are these merely
"left-overs of the previous situation," as Sneh put it, or does it
testify also to the fact that Sneh is not the sole decision-maker, as
was evident with his position on removing the roadblocks?
On the Israeli scene, army commanders (some of them settlers) act
together with politicians, jurists and academics who are terrified of
the demographic balance. The Green Line does not exist for them. They
thought up the Citizenship Law, which crassly expanded the
discrimination against Israeli Arabs and intervenes in their right to
have a family life. Why do they not act the same across the Green Line
where the military edict is in force? And if Sneh ceases being deputy
defense minister, who can guarantee that a deputy from the Kadima party
will not cancel the cancelation?
More than ever before, the Israeli system today denies the fact that it
is repression and discrimination, an integral part of every occupation,
that create the security threat. The most it is prepared to do is make
"improvements" and mete out "favors," but it will not recognize rights.
24 December 2006
Update on the Father Banned to Mourn Killed Daughter
custom of callousness to the suffering of the Palestinians is ingrained
so deeply in the Israeli establishment that there was no basic human
sensitivity that would have made it possible to treat the mourners in a
manner concomitant with their suffering and with our guilt.”
“It is impossible to attribute the chain of callousness described above
to this or that individual or even to this or that institution, but
only to point out an ongoing process of
brutalization with regard to the Palestinian person: the person who
seeks a livelihood, the person in pain over his daughter, killed by our
forces' fire, the one for whom even natural human empathy with his
mourning is no longer natural to us.” [both quotes from the Editorial
24 December 2006
for harping on the subject. But on the one hand the item is not
likely to appear in the commercial media abroad, and on the other hand
I believe the behavior towards the father symptematic of Israeli
attitudes towards Palestinians. And that pains me, both as a Jew
and as a human being.
Now I find that I am not alone. The Editor of Ha'aretz agrees, at
least insofar as concerns the Israeli officials in charge.
Indeed, the "brutalization with regard to the Palestinian person" had
been ongoing for many a year in Israel. Jews, of all people, who
suffered the like on their own persons, should be the last to have
attitudes as these towards the 'other.'
Below initially is the news report, followed by the editorial.
24 December 2006
IDF dismissed a platoon commander from his post on Sunday, five days
after a soldier in his unit mistakenly shot dead a 14-year-old girl,
Doaa Abd al-Qadr, near the West Bank city of Tul Karm.
The case had received particular attention because the girl's father,
Nasser Abd al-Qadr, was in custody in Israel at the time of the
shooting, and a court refused to allow him to attend his daughter's
funeral or be at home in Tul Karm for the mourning period.
On Sunday, overall West Bank commander Major-General Yair Naveh
conducted an investigation into the incident. The probe was carried out
at the site of the shooting, beside the separation fence by the Tul
Karm-area village of Faroun. A parallel investigation by Military
Police detectives is continuing.
The Naveh investigation ordered the dismissal of the platoon commander.
It also instructructed that the commander of his company, a part of the
Nahshon infantry battalion, receive an official reprimand. The soldier
who shot the girl has been suspended from duty until further notice.
Nasser Abd al-Qadr was freed on bail on Friday, two months after he was
arrested on suspicion of being in Israel illegally and of stealing a
On Saturday, Abd al-Qadr visited his daughter's grave and met his three
other children, whom he last saw two months ago. "I wanted to see her
for the last time, to kiss her for the last time," he said of his dead
Nasser Abd al-Qadr will return to the lock-up on Tuesday morning and
will remain there until his trial begins. He said he has no intention
of trying to flee, and that he was merely seeking work in Israel.
"I hope that Israel w! ill look at my family. I had four children, and
now I have three. I hope they will set me free," he said.
An initial investigation into the Tuesday incident showed that the girl
and a 12-year-old friend were in the area of the fence when they were
spotted by a force of soldiers, who reported two "suspicious figures"
west of the barrier. The force' platoon commander then fired into the
air. As the two girls tried to flee, a soldier who served as a marksman
fired two bullets, hitting the 14-year-old Doaa.
The investigation further showed that the marksman had acted on his
own, had received no permission to open fire, and had ignored the
presence of the officer, who was a meter away from him. The marksman
said that he believed that the figure was a terrorist, mistaking the
girl's backpack for a combat vest. He admitted that he saw no weapon,
and was unable to explain why he opened fire on people escaping away
from the fence and toward the village. He said that he had shot at
their legs, although in fact he hit the girl's forearm.
Father first denied bail The Tel Aviv District Court last week
had refused the father bail on the grounds that the law did not provide
for this, after the prosecution objected to his release. On Thursday
evening, his lawyer petitioned the High Court of Justice, but Justice
Asher Grunis postponed the hearing until Monday, which would have been
after the mourning period concluded.
On Friday morning, however, the state prosecution changed its mind
about the father's release. His attorney, Rami Othman, received an
offer from the prosecution to release him. The Justice Ministry
explained the change of heart by saying the petitioner had originally
approached the wrong court, and that the matter had been reconsidered
after the petition was submitted to the High Court.
Abd al-Qadr was ordered to post NIS 5,000 bail and to bring two people
to sign a guarantee of his return. The money was transferred by th! e
Associ ation for Civil Rights in Israel. Othman found one person to
sign but spent many hours searching fruitlessly for a second. On Friday
afternoon, MKs Ahmed Tibi (Ta'al) and Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) announced
they would serve as the guarantors. Tibi then drove with Othman to the
Abu Kabir lockup and signed.
The police refused to set Abd al-Qadr free at Abu Kabir, where the
media was waiting, and insisted on driving him in a police van to the
Taibeh roadblock, saying otherwise he would again be in Israel
"The judicial system displayed a total lack of sensitivity, and the
girl was killed a second time when her father was not allowed to
participate in the funeral," Tibi said.
Abd al-Qadr was set free at the roadblock but his waiting relatives on
the other side were dispersed by soldiers who said they feared a crowd
Ha’aretz Editorial :
24 December 2006
Tuesday, Doaa Abd al-Qadr, 14, left her home near Tul Karm and walked
toward the separation fence. It was a spring day, her mother says, and
she decided to visit relatives, Israeli Arabs who live on the other
side. Doaa and a 12-year-old friend were walking in a ditch on the
Palestinian side, about 100 meters from the fence, when Israel Defense
Force soldiers spotted them and fired warning shots - as far as is
known. When the two girls came out of the ditch, an IDF marksman fired
another shot. Doaa Abd al-Qadr died on the! way to the hospital.
The IDF responded harshly to the firing against orders; the marksman
and his commander were suspended, and a military police investigation
started. Urgency, however, did not typify the subsequent treatment of
the mourning family. The custom of callousness to the suffering of the
Palestinians is ingrained so deeply in the Israeli establishment that
there was no basic human sensitivity that would have made it possible
to treat the mourners in a manner concomitant with their suffering and
with our guilt.
When it became clear that Doaa's father had been held for two months in
the Abu Kabir lockup for entering Israel without a permit, his lawyer
requested that he be released to attend his daughter's funeral.
Although no one claimed that the father, Nasser Abd al-Qadr, was
involved in terror activities or that his early release would harm the
security of the state, the courts, in three instances, were not
persuaded that it would be possible, beyond the letter of the law, to
allow a man who had lost his daughter due to an IDF mistake to take
part in mourning her death. For three days of excruciatingly
complicated and unnecessary legal procedures, the father
remained incarcerated. Concern that Abd al-Qadr, who was suspected of
stealing a car, would not return from his mourning to prison, hardened
the hearts of the judges.
On Wednesday, half an hour before the funeral, Tel Aviv District Court
Judge Zvi Gurfinkel said that the request to release the father had
been submitted late and to the wrong court, and therefore rejected it.
He did propose that a representative of the Prisons Authority escort
the father to and from the funeral, but ignored the fact that the
father was a resident of the territories and there was no one who could
escort him to Tul Karm. On Thursday, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Noga
Ohad refused to release the father, and High Court Justice Asher Grunis
set another hearing for the following week, aft! er the e nd of the
mourning period. If attorney Rami Otman had not insisted on once more
approaching the State Prosecutor's Office, and if MKs Zahava Gal-On and
Ahmed Tibi had not agreed to sign a guarantee, the father would not
have managed to get to the mourners' tent. On Friday evening, in a
patrol car whose windows were blackened so the media would not, perish
the thought, take advantage of the opportunity to talk to him, the
father was released on bail at the Taibeh roadblock.
It is impossible to attribute the chain of callousness described above
to this or that individual or even to this or that institution, but
only to point out an ongoing process of
brutalization with regard to the Palestinian person: the person who
seeks a livelihood, the person in pain over his daughter, killed by our
forces' fire, the one for whom even natural human empathy with his
mourning is no longer natural to us.
The Associated Press
26 December 2006
Army judge criticizes detention of
Palestinians without trial
military judge disclosed that 2,700 Palestinians have been detained
without trial this year, criticizing the military prosecution for not
filing charges against some of them.
by The Associated Press
[Army judge criticizes detention of Palestinians without trial]
Colonel Shaul Gordon, chief justice of the army's West Bank appeals
court, told the soldiers' weekly "Bamahane" that 2,000 of the detainees
filed appeals, and their detention was shortened in many cases. He said
even the ones who do not file appeals are reviewed.
The practice of administrative detention has been harshly criticized by
Palestinians and human rights groups, who say that if the military
has evidence against suspects, it should put them on trial. The
military has responded that sometimes evidence is too sensitive
to submit to a trial.
Gordon, who is leaving his post after six years, backed the critics in
some cases. "Sometimes we get the impression that with a bit more
effort in the investigation, an indictment could have been brought,
because that is the best way," he told the weekly.
The publication reported that Gordon instituted basic reforms in the
military court system during his term.
Until 2002, the military courts were part of the army prosecution
system, but Gordon forced a separation, making the courts independent.
"Today every defense lawyer knows the prosecution is a separate entity"
from the courts, he said.
Also, until two years ago, the military used army officers with no
legal training as judges. The weekly said standard procedure was to run
defendants through the judicial process at top speed, with officers
pulling duty as judges regardless of their qualifications.
Gordon scrapped the system. "It appeared absurd and unacceptable to
me," he said. Instead, he persuaded civilian judges to serve their
reserve army duty as military judges.
The soldiers' publication said that about 10,000 indictments are
brought against Palestinians each year, including 3,600 for security
offenses and 1,500 for public disturbance. Others are criminal and
Gordon said the most difficult period was during Israel's 2001 sweep
through the West Bank that followed a wave of Palestinian suicide
bombings. The judicial system was flooded with thousands of detainees.
In one case, he said, a Palestinian was brought before him on charges
that he helped plan a terror attack.
Gordon asked for the documentation and was shocked to read that the man
was innocent - another person had confessed to the crimes of which he
was accused. "That's a story that shows how we can go wrong," he told
On Behalf Of Mazin Qumsiyeh
Israeli Apartheid deepening
More Israeli apartheid laws are being enacted and others being
enforced. A new law will punish Palestinians using yellow-plated
("Israeli") cars (including taxis) and punish the drivers unless they
have special permits from Israeli occupation authorities. A
Palestinian getting a ride even from a friend or a relative (or even an
Israeli spouse) will get them both punished. The law was enacted
and will go into effect in January. Israel also is proceeding
with other laws intended to ethnically cleanse Palestine
of a key segment of its remaining population and deny any international
support to Palestinians. An apartheid law is being implemented
removing Palestinians, including those born in Palestine, who hold
foreign passports (and who were unable to retain or get the Israeli
issued ID card, other set of apartheid laws stripped thousands of their
ID cards). Tens of thousands of Palestinians thus were denied
their residency rights and families are forced to either separate or
find other countries to live in. This
coincides with accelerated plans to de-develop the remaining
Palestinain economy by a system of strangulation. For example,
Palestinians in Jerusalem are being separated by massive walls from
Palestinians in the suburbs of Jerusalem (imagine the devastation to
both suburbs and city in America if a wall is built around the city
separating it from its suburbs).
Unemployment is now at 70% and over 50% of Palestinians who
remained in Palestine live in poverty. 80% of Palestinians overall are
refugees or displaced people.
Foreigners are also now routinely denied entry to Palestine. This
is intended to remove witnesses and peace activists from the deepening
apartheid/hafrada. How will we respond and will the hundreds of
organizations around the US (and thousands around the world) that
profess support for human rights rise to this challenge? Will
governments be forced to obey the International Covenant against Crimes
of Apartheid and Racism? Will more people write regularly to the media
to demand they do their job and report teh real news not their racist
1. A new e-Book/Book on the Web explores some of the
Israeli apartheid laws and practices: "Foundations of Civil and
Political Rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories" http://www.flwi.ugent.be/cie/yschmidt/index.htm
2. The Niggerization of Palestine http://www.blackagendareport.com/002/002h_js_niggerization_of_palestine.html
3. Twenty-five Leading Professors from major academic institutions
in Germany explain "Why the 'special relationship' between Germany and
Israel has to be reconsidered" http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?lg=en&reference=1569
4. Swedish human rights worker viciously attacked by Jewish
extremists in Hebron "Tove Johansson from Stockholm walked through the
Tel Rumeida checkpoint
with a small group of human rights workers (HRWs) to accompany
Palestinian schoolchildren to their homes. They were confronted by
about 100 Jewish
extremists in small groups. They started chanting in Hebrew “We killed
Jesus, we’ll kill you too!” a refrain the settlers had been
repeating to internationals in Tel Rumeida all day....." http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/11/18/hebron-day-06/
5. Palestinian mass resistance blocks Israeli air strike.
Palestinians have started to employ new tactics to prevent Israeli air
attacks on their houses. Hundreds of protesters successfully forced the
Israeli air force to halt air strikes on a house belonging to Muhammad
Baroud in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday night. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6074.shtml
6. Picture Balata: Outside the West Bank City of Nablus lies
the Balata Refugee Camp. Home to almost 25,000 residents living on less
than one square
kilometer, Balata is the most densely populated refugee camp within the
West Bank. In recent years Balata has seen hundreds of deaths and
of home demolitions and the camp is subject to near nightly invasions
by the Israeli army. It is here that the Picture Balata workshop was
started to teach youth from the camp about photography. Picture Balata
puts the camera into the hands of the children born and raised inside
the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6067.shtml
7. Israeli Zionist Group on Israeli settlements/colonies in the
occupied West Bank: "More than a third of the Jewish settlements in the
West Bank are built on privately owned Palestinian land, an Israeli
campaign group has reported. Peace Now says nearly 40% of the land the
settlements sit on is, according to official data, "effectively stolen"
from Palestinian landowners. This, the group says, is a violation of
Israel's own laws. Settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal
under international law,
although Israel rejects this. About 430,000 Jews live in these
residential areas in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Peace Now called
on the Israeli government to return the private land to its owners." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6168752.stm
Source: Mazin Qumsiyeh