Jewish community hails Hamas distinction between Jews, Zionism

‘The Jewish community has lived peacefully in Palestine for hundreds of years in mutual respect with our Palestinian neighbors, never seeking to dominate or attack anyone,’ Jewish rabbi said

By Motasem A Dalloul 

Neturei Karta, religious group of Haredi Jews who rejects Zionism and the establishment of Israel, sent on Thursday a letter to Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh praising his movement’s statement which separated between Jews and Zionism.

“We are greatly appreciative of your understanding of the distinction between Judaism, a religion, and Zionism, a nationalistic movement,” the Jewish rabbi wrote.

“The Jewish community has lived peacefully in Palestine for hundreds of years in mutual respect with our Palestinian neighbors, never seeking to dominate or attack anyone,” he added.

He went on: “The Torah teaches that we are in exile and therefore we must live humbly as loyal citizens of our countries, praying for their wellbeing.

“That is how Jews lived in countries all over the world for 2000 years, and that is how we wish to continue living.”

Calls to target Jews around the world

This letter came after the movement had issued a statement, clarify remarks made by a member of its political bureau last week in which he mixed between Jews and Zionists.

Fathi Hammad, a member of Hamas political bureau, addressed the protesters during the protests of the Great March of Return on Friday 12 July, saying that “our patience has run out.”

He continued: “We are on the verge of exploding. If this siege is not undone, we will explode in the face of our enemies, with God’s permission and glory. The explosion is not only going to be in Gaza but also in the [West] Bank and abroad, if God wills.”

Hammad was referring to strict Israeli restrictions on the movement of people and goods between Gaza and the outside world.

Addressing the Palestinians in diaspora, he said: “They are warming up. A long time has passed with them warming up. All of you 7 million Palestinians abroad, enough of the warming up. You have Jews everywhere and we must attack every Jew on the globe by way of slaughter and killing, if God permits. Enough of the warming up.”

Hamas disowns remarks

In the statement, Hamas disowned the remarks uttered by Fathi Hammad and said that these remarks did not represent any of Hamas stances.

Hamas stressed in the statement that such remarks contradict the terms of its charter, which clearly stipulates that the struggle is only between the Palestinians and the Zionist occupiers of Palestine and stresses that the struggle is limited inside Palestine.

“Our struggle is with the occupation occupying our land and desecrating our sanctities, not conflict with the Jews in the world or with Judaism as a religion,” Hamas said in the statement.

“The movement has already condemned the attacks against safe Jews in their places of worship,” the statement added, referring to the attacks carried out mainly against the Jewish synagogues in the USA.

Hope for ending Zionist state

In the letter, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss hoped the speedy end of the Zionist state, which, he said, practices “oppression?” against, not only the Palestinians, but also the Jews.

“We Orthodox Jews are greatly pained over the occupation, with its long history of killing, stealing and oppression. With an aching heart we cry out, ‘Not in our name!’”

He added: “A large percentage of Orthodox Jews are opposed to the Zionist state and all its actions, both around the world and in Palestine.

“It’s well-known that members of our community who live under the Zionists refuse to serve in the IDF, and are currently struggling to resist the Zionist government’s attempts to draft them.”

The Rabbi added: “We pray that the unnecessary loss of life of Arabs and Jews should no longer continue. We pray and look forward for the day when Arabs and Jews will once again live together in peace in tranquility as in centuries past.

“Ultimately, we pray and yearn for the revelation of the Almighty’s glory, when all humanity will serve Him in harmony and joy. Amen.”

Neturei Karta(Aramaic: “Guardians of the City”) is a group of Orthodox Jews which rejects Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel. They believe that the true Israel can only be reestablished with the coming of the Messiah.

They number some 5,000 and are concentrated in Jerusalem. Other, larger groups associated with Neturei Karta but not members of the group, can be found in Israel, London, New York City, and upstate New York state.

(Source / 21.07.2019) 

The solution to Israel’s siege on Gaza is decolonisation

Hundreds of protesters gather in front of the Israeli Embassy in central London in solidarity with Palestinian people who are holding large "Great March of Return" and "Palestinian Land Day" rallies across Gaza border, in London, United Kingdom on March 30, 2019 [Hasan Esen / Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of protesters gather in front of the Israeli Embassy in central London in solidarity with Palestinian people who are holding large “Great March of Return” and “Palestinian Land Day” rallies across Gaza border, in London, United Kingdom on March 30, 2019

By Asa Winstanley 

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip now stands at more than 50 per cent. Enforced joblessness is “as high as 69 per cent in the under-26 age bracket,” according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

These shocking statistics tell you a lot about the truly desperate state of affairs in the coastal enclave. Israel, in alliance with the Egyptian military dictatorship, has kept Gaza under full military siege for 12 years.

Almost 2 million people, mostly refugees, are kept caged there. They are not allowed to return to the homes from which they were expelled by the Zionist militias and later by Israel between 1947 and 1949 – purely and simply because they are not Jewish.

Any attempt by Palestinians to escape these prison walls and return to their ancestral homes is met by Israeli snipers, who gun down even children.

Non-violent resistance or violent resistance, it does not matter – the summary death penalty enacted by the Israeli army is the same. What Israel wants is for Palestinians to disappear from the face of the earth.

READ: Data refutes claims Israel easing Gaza blockade

Reporting on the issue of Palestine, and advocating for the human rights of Palestinians, often feels like you are drowning in statistics, numbers and factoids. The rate of poverty in Gaza. The vast disparity between Palestinian casualties compared to the number of Israeli casualties during each “round of fighting”.

While it’s important to inform people of about such facts, this data often misses the point; numbers are frequently divorced from the simple reality of the injustices done to the Palestinians.

The cause of Palestine is not a humanitarian issue alone. It is not a “conflict” between two “sides” which needs to be “resolved” by a “settlement”. It’s a massive historical injustice, in which the UK government played a primary role, and which has never ended.

Gaza Siege is a Crime

The Zionist project which led to the foundation of Israel, is, and always has been, a settler-colonial project in the classically imperialist mode. It has many similarities with South Africa, Australia and the United States.

It is not some unique, eternal, intractable conflict between “two tribes”. Such mythologies are often based on particular religious interpretations of Biblical texts – but there is no historical substance to them.

The causes of the systemic injustices against the Palestinians are political, historic and ideological, and have their origins in the rooting of the Zionist movement within Palestine by the British Empire.

READ: British MPs condemn killing of Palestinian medics by Israel forces in Gaza

This is the legacy which makes the continuation of violence in all of historic Palestine inevitable until decolonisation is achieved. The violence of Israeli colonisation means Palestinians will continue to resist it, by any means necessary.

This explains the continued resistance of the Palestinians within the Gaza Strip to Israeli occupation and why they continue to use all methods to fight. Since March last year, the population has heroically engaged in unarmed resistance, week after week, protesting against their dispossession by Israel since 1948 – even though it often means their deaths.

The sheer violence and oppression of the Israeli siege on Gaza means that Palestinian fighters continue to respond with armed resistance measures, including rockets.

The poverty, desperation and unemployment in Gaza is not some inevitable situation somehow endemic to Palestinians, as racists would have it. The conditions there are deliberately manufactured by Israel, with the help of the Egyptian dictatorship.

Palestinians protest outside the UNSCO building in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on 23 April 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

In a very calculated fashion, Gaza is purposely being kept forever on the brink of devastation and disaster. Medicines are in short supply. Cancer patients often cannot receive the treatments they so desperately need. Power cuts and electricity shortages are endemic. Emergency fuel supplies for hospitals are constantly threatened.

READ: Gaza health ministry warns of ‘unprecedented’ shortage of medicines, medical supplies

Israel keeps the Gaza Strip as its largest open air prison. It strictly controls the entrances and exits. Airspace and the coasts and seas are often limited, restricted or closed.

Collective punishment is forced upon the civilian population in revenge for armed resistance. Most recently, in June, Israel imposed a period of full maritime closure on Gaza, prohibiting fishermen from making a living entirely.

Even the unjust Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) 25 years ago permitted fishing access up to 20 nautical miles out from Gaza – but Israel has always violated this provision, having never allowed Palestinians beyond 15 nautical miles.

This is a violent, racist regime. If there is to be any hope of peace in historic Palestine, this regime must end. Decolonisation, equality and democracy are the logical solutions to Zionism.

READ: Israel’s Shin Bet refuses work permits for 5,000 Gazans

(Source / 20.07.2019) 

How Israeli media helped turn innocent Palestinian into child rapist

Mahmoud Katusa, who was falsely accused of raping a 7-year-old Jewish girl, fell victim to a press and a public atmosphere that views Palestinians as guilty until proven innocent.

By Uzi Benziman

In order to understand the false allegations against Mahmoud Katusa, a Palestinian man from the West Bank who was wrongfully accused of raping a 7-year-old Jewish girl, one should listen to what Dr Suzy Ben Baruch, the former head of the Israel Police Juvenile Department, told Army Radio last week.

Speaking on an evening show, Ben Baruch firmly stated that Katusa’s was “the perfect case.” The victim’s “early acquaintance with the rapist,” and that he was speedily identified were “sound evidence for filing an indictment. And that’s what we have in this case.”

Co-host Yaakov Berdugo tried to understand Ben Baruch’s diagnosis, repeatedly asking her about how she came to this particular conclusion. Ben Baruch responded resolutely: “If the prosecution had doubts about its ability to prove the accusation, it would not have filed an indictment.”

Army Radio was not the only outlet to host Ben Baruch and make room for her insights. That same night she was also interviewed by several other outlets, and in the following days, her opinion could be found everywhere in the media. The impression she left was incontrovertible: Katusa is the rapist, and the Military Advocate General and the police have solid evidence to prosecute him.

On Tuesday morning, shortly after the police and the MAG withdrew the indictment against Katusa, Ben Baruch’s conclusions now speak for themselves. The irony is clear as day, and perhaps it is symbolic that someone previously tasked with investigating cases of sexual abuse of minors failed so disgracefully.

Deep racism

The behaviour of the police and the MAG in this case not only reflects an inexcusable professional clumsiness; it mainly shows the kind of racist mindset that is poisoning Israeli society — including, woefully, the branch entrusted with enforcing the law.

The state authority whose role it is to protect the public from injustice, to implement the very principles of justice rather than divert or distort it, is infected by a disease that all state institutions must be safeguarded against.

The rape attributed to Katusa took place in an ultra-Orthodox settlement in the West Bank that has limited contact with state authorities, including the police. It is a place where the rabbi has far greater authority than the local police commander.

As expected, the news of the rape initially remained within the family, after which it spread to her school, and only later reached Israeli authorities. The police station located inside the settlement is influenced by the public mood, comporting itself to the expectations of its residents. That same goes for the school and its administration. They are part of the community and its lifestyle.


These circumstances, which exist in other communities across the country, meant there was a higher likelihood of failing to properly take care of the girl’s complaint. The settlement is also influenced by the hostile relations between the settlers and their Palestinian neighbours, as well as incitement, terrorism and “price tag” attacks.

The prejudices, anxieties and growing hatred that inform relations between Jews and Palestinians can be seen in the daily contact between the two — all the more so in cases of extreme violence.

All of this was evident in the way the rape case unfolded, yet these circumstances were not sufficiently considered at the right time by either the investigative authorities or the media, which influences said authorities.

The first lawyer who made the media rounds following the indictment was attorney Haim Bleicher of Honenu, a legal aid organisation with Kahanist leanings.

Honenu has previously offered its services to right-wing terrorists such as Ami Popper, the killers of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, and Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Bleicher represented the 7-year-old girl and her family.

On her radio show, journalist Ayala Hasson asked Bleicher whether he thinks the rape was a deliberate attack on Jewish Israelis, to which the attorney responded:

“When I heard about the incident I thought it was just another case of paedophilia. The moment I understood that the incident included additional adults who looked on and humiliated the girl, I understood that this case has no precedent. We’re not talking about everyone looking on as the act is carried out on an adult woman, but rather pure hatred.

“If they do not suffer from paedophilia, then the only reason they could be going along with the rapist is because she is Jewish and thus they can do anything they want to her. I do not know of a single human being who could look on in the face of such an incident without stopping it.”

Hasson asked Bleicher whether he or the girl’s family expects additional suspects to be arrested. “We expect all those who participated to be arrested, since in our view they are a ticking bomb,” Bleicher responded. “People who can stand there and go along with this kind of thing cannot be trusted… from the nature of the incident it is quite clear that this is not the only case. Their conduct was systematic and professional.”

False allegation

The interview with Hasson should give us pause. The defendant’s attorney was not invited to the interview (in fact, at the time Bleicher spoke on the radio, the defendant was not yet assigned an attorney, nor was his name known) while the family’s lawyer was.

Why does the family need an attorney? It is unclear. Yet Hasson jumped on the opportunity and gave platform to the kind of wholesale racism that seeks to paint all Palestinians as child predators waiting to pounce on young Jewish girls.

Hasson’s interview coloured the way most of Israel’s other media outlets covered the story, which portrayed Katusa as a cruel rapist. Only Channel 13 and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Company began raising questions about the validity of the police’s evidence and the professionalism of the investigators and prosecutors.

There is no need to go into great detail about the kind of racism we saw exuding from Israeli politicians — beginning with Prime Minister Netanyahu himself — as well as right-wing social media and the print media.

Put simply, it was a terrifying spectacle that saw countless Israelis get swept up in a prejudice that views Palestinians as devils lying in wait for any and every Israeli. Now that the indictment has been rescinded, these racists must consider the hatred that flows in their blood and dictates their thinking and their actions.

The dominant tone among the Jewish public in Israel toward Palestinians, and especially the attitude of its leaders (and, unfortunately, of its civil servants) is not unlike that of the white establishment toward African Americans in the United States. Over there, they cannot rid themselves of this curse, even years after they recognised its existence and pledged to uproot it. Here, they deny it even exists in the first place.

A week ago, “The Seventh Eye” recommended the media consider the possibility that the police version of the incident may not reflect reality. Today it should take a hard look in the mirror and not forget the obvious question: who is the actual rapist?

(Source / 01.07.2019) 

There is no parity between ethnic cleansing in Palestine and Jews’ exodus from Arab states

Palestinian woman holds a key, symbolising the right to her home from 1948, during the 68th anniversary of the 'Nakba' in Ramallah, West Bank

Palestinian woman holds a key, symbolising the right to her home from 1948, during the anniversary of the ‘Nakba’ in Ramallah, West Bank

By Nasim Ahmed

British Conservative MP Theresa Villiers blundered into a debate on Israel and Palestine last week. In doing so, the former Northern Ireland Secretary rehashed discredited myths the function of which has historically been to shield Israel from taking responsibility for the plight of Palestinian refugees. During deliberations in the House of Commons on “Jewish Refugees from the Middle East and North Africa”, Villiers spoke of the “untold story” of the “ethnic cleansing” of 856,000 Arab Jews from Arab countries.

According to the member of Conservative Friends of Israel, ignoring the plight of these Jewish refugees and concentrating only on the Palestinians “gives the international community a distorted view of the Middle East dispute.” Villiers added that, “A fair settlement needs to take into account the injustice suffered by Jewish refugees as well as the plight of the Palestinians.”

The MP for Chipping Barnet claimed that, “The historic UN Resolution 242 states that a comprehensive peace agreement should include ‘a just settlement of the refugee problem’; the language is inclusive of both Palestinian and Jewish refugees.”

Villiers-who often speaks in support of Israel and has even used a Commons debate about terrorism on the streets of London to appeal for “sympathy and solidarity” for the Zionist state- mimicked discredited claims made by Israeli officials since the 1950s to absolve the country from its obligations under international law to the 750,000 Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed in 1947-8.

As others have pointed out, “The analogy between Palestinian displacement and the Jewish ‘exodus’ from Arab countries is misleading.” The claims of the two communities are very different; the history and circumstance of their displacement bears no resemblance to each other, which makes any attempt to use the plight of one group to dismiss the other, as though it were a kind of population transfer reminiscent of countries split apart by civil war, totally fanciful.

Contrary to what Villiers suggested, there was no forced mass exodus of Jews from Arab countries, in the way that there was a deliberate, forced expulsion of Palestinians from their own land. If we look at Iraq, for example, Arab Jews left due to a combination of factors, of which a hostile environment following the creation of the State of Israel in Palestine was certainly one. Other push factors, according to Abbas Shiblak, author of The Lure of Zion: Case of the Iraqi Jews, include laws that were enacted to facilitate the Jewish exodus. One such law is 1/1950, known as the denaturalisation law, which empowered the Iraqi government to “divest any Iraqi who wished of his own free will and choice to leave Iraq for good, of his Iraqi nationality.” Shiblak points out that this law was welcomed by Israel, as well as Britain and the US, both of which were applying pressure on Iraq to agree to a population transfer deal involving 100,000 Iraqi Jews. It was indeed a driving factor in the flight of Iraqi Jews.

READ: The moral travesty of Israel demanding Arab and Iranian money for its own ‘Nakba’

Other factors, though mired in controversy, also played a part. The 1950s saw a number of Israeli false flag operations. One that grabbed global attention was the failed covert operation, known as the “Lavon Affair”. Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence to plant bombs inside British and American civilian targets, including churches and libraries. The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian communists in order to induce the British government to maintain its occupation army in the Suez Canal zone.

While that operation was not intended to create a hostile environment for Jews in Egypt with the hope of persuading them to go to Israel — that result was an arguably unintended consequence — similar plots in Iraq were designed with exactly that in mind. From 1950 through to 1951 Israeli spy agency Mossad orchestrated five bomb attacks on Jewish targets in an operation known as Ali Baba, to drum up fear amongst and hostility towards Iraqi Jews. As the mood darkened, more than 120,000 Jews — 95 per cent of the Jewish population in Iraq — left for Israel via an airlift known as Operation Ezra and Nehemiah.

In addition to the anti-Jewish feelings that took root in Arab cities following the creation of the State of Israel and prompted Jewish flight, there was also a powerful pull factor that had nothing to do with hostility in Arab countries. The very creation of Israel was based on the idea of “the ingathering of the exiles”, which assumed that the self-styled “Jewish State” would attract as a matter of course Jews from around the world to make “aliyah” and migrate there. This was not only intended to fulfil the secular dream of a Jewish “national home” (as the Balfour Declaration put it, not a “state”) but also to bring about what fundamentalist Evangelical Christians believe is a Biblical prerequisite for the long-awaited return of Jesus Christ, Armageddon and the end days; what they refer to as the “rapture”. If the whole purpose of the State of Israel was and remains to attract Jewish migration from across the world — Arab states included, presumably — then to claim that those who make the move are “refugees” is totally inaccurate and a false representation of reality.

In stark contrast, the ethnic cleansing (a term applied by Israeli historians) of three-quarters of the Palestinian population of historic Palestine, and the subsequent further expulsions of the native population that followed the June 1967 war, was premeditated in order to create a Jewish majority in the land. This is not only an indisputable historical fact, but is also reflected in various UN resolutions.

READ: Israel army’s killing of Palestinian child was ‘egregious’ shooting, received ‘official backing’ 

Israel’s membership of the UN was conditional upon the nascent Zionist state taking responsibility for the plight of Palestinian refugees and allowing them to return to their homes. It’s worth noting that Israel first applied to join the UN on 15 May, 1948, the day after it declared its independence; the application was rejected. A second application on 17 December the same year was also turned down on the grounds that the fighting was ongoing in Palestine and that Israel had failed to establish a demilitarised zone in the Negev Desert. It was only at its third attempt a year later that the international community allowed Israel to become a member of the organisation with the aforesaid condition.

UN General Assembly Resolution 273 of 11 May, 1949 admitted the state as a member, but required Israel to comply with Resolution 194 of 11 December, 1948 which “resolves that the [Palestinian] refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.” The Israeli government agreed to this condition. In pursuit of this goal, the UN ordered the creation of a commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation.

However, Israel has never shown any inclination to fulfil that condition of its UN membership, despite agreeing to do so. Palestinians who were expelled from their land, and their descendants, still live in refugee camps across the occupied Palestinian territories and neighbouring countries, with many others in the wider diaspora around the world.

The international community recognises no such moral and legal claims for Arab Jews who moved to Israel, though it should also be pointed out that many chose to settle elsewhere. Villiers cited UN Resolution 242 when she claimed that such an obligation does indeed exist. However, the strongest interpretation of this resolution given its context in being adopted by the Security Council in 1967 after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza during a war that led to the displacement of a further 400,000 Palestinians, is that UN Resolution 242 refers only to Palestinian refugees. The resolution also required Israel to withdraw from the territories that it occupied during the war; it hasn’t done that yet, either.

One could of course make a case for Arab Jews to be compensated for the suffering that they endured and the property they left behind, but that should not in any way be at the expense of Palestinian refugees. Such a move would have no basis in international humanitarian law, and would thus be baseless. Human rights are not interchangeable: you cannot simply exchange the rights of one person with those of another as though it were some kind of commodity to be bartered. The rights and claims of Palestinian refugees on the state of Israel cannot be wiped away by rights that Jews may or may not have over Arab states. The simple truth is that there is not, and never has been, any parity between the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since 1947, and the exodus of Jews from Arab states. As a lawyer, Theresa Villiers should know that but, as a strong supporter of the State of Israel, like many others she chooses to ignore it as she tries to deny Palestinians of their legitimate rights.

READ: Arms sold from UK to Israel during Gaza protests

(Source / 26.06.2019) 

Deal of the Century or Eon of Disasters?

By Jamal Kanj*

June 24, 2019

The Trumpian hyperbole marketing brand had generated unrealistic expectations for the “Deal of the Century.” For over a year and a half, Jared Kushner promised but missed at least three dates to unveil the “secret” plan.

Assisted by two bono fide Zionists, Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman, Kushner’s lone political experience with Palestine/Israel is his family’s tax deductible contributions to building “Jewish only colonies.”  

Kushner’s predisposed conviction and his parochial bias were palpable in the June 2nd interview with Axios on HBO. In the interview, he opined that Palestinians were not “capable of governing” themselves or become free from Israeli occupation.

After more than a year of hyped promotion, Kushner’s Zionist team revealed a scaled down version of Trump’s “concrete plan.” Evident in the leaked conference agenda, the goal of Kushner’s gathering is not to offer economic support to Palestinians, but rather to provide a cover-up for opening the doors of Arab capitals to Israeli officials.

Israel gets the reward of the illusionary peace upfront while US tantalizes to Arabs a peace process that may never materialize. Deferring and circumventing political process is archetypical Israeli trademark strategy that seeks to harvest fruits before the tree blossoms. Hence, the fruits of the US proposed miniature workshop in Bahrain. 

In the Oslo Accord in 1993, the PLO agreed to recognize Israel, in advance, over 78% of historical Palestine. There was no reciprocal Israeli obligation toward the PLO on the remaining 22% (West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza). 

A quarter of a century later, peace did not blossom and the only implemented sections of the Oslo Accords were the PLO recognition of Israel. In addition, it relieved Israel of administering the life of five million Palestinians, security coordination and outsourcing―free of cost―the security services to the Palestinian Authority.

Meanwhile, Israel continued to violate and effectively buried the Oslo Accords under new expansive “Jewish only colonies” changing the demographics of the population in areas allotted for the future Palestinian state.

Ten years following the Accord, George W Bush proposed a Road Map for peace. To placate Israeli reservations, Bush rewarded Israel, in advance, with an official American letter agreeing to annex “Jewish only colonies” in the West Bank as part of any future peace agreement.

Israel crushed Bush’s Road Map under the bulldozers of yet more “Jewish only colonies.” The American letter remains the sole outcome of the Road Map. Greenblatt and Friedman are using Bush’s letter to advocate Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Kushner’s economic peace is an age old Israeli contrived gas bubble intends to skirt compliance with international law and UN resolutions. Shimon Peres floated the idea to equivocate Israel’s commitments under the Oslo Accords. Current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived it in 2009 to sidestep the American (Bush and Obama) administration’s support for two-state solution.

Yet, for quarter of a century since the establishment of the Palestinian authority, Israel had systematically strangled the very economy it (and now Kushner) claims to champion.

Since 1993, the European Union invested billions of dollars in economic infrastructure, including an airport and seaport in Gaza. In 2002 after the failure of Camp David, Israel obliterated both facilities denying Palestinians access to trade and fishing.

To further stifle the economy, Israel erected walls separating farmers from their olive groves and farms, spiked the West Bank with intrusive military checkpoints encumbering the movement of goods, divided towns and cities and misappropriated tax money held on Palestinian imports.

Kushner and Israel’s invented economic peace is a political shenanigan to sedate the bird cage (walled) economy, or leverage it in the form of collective punishment to suppress resistance and subjugate Palestinians.

Like Oslo Accords, the Road Map, and now ahead of rolling the political plan for the “Deal of Century”, Trump conferred on Israel another advanced installment by recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, cut financial aid to Palestinians including UN organizations, and the annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights without any Israeli concession.

In addition to normalizing contacts between Arabs attending the Manama workshop and Israel (another advanced installment), Kushner’s plan would relegate the cost of the caged Palestinian economy to Arab countries, gifting Israel yet more freebies without negotiation. 

Kushner economic peace workshop is a false allure to salve Palestinian (and Arab) capitulation before rolling out the eon of all political disasters.

*Mr Kanj ( an author who had written weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. His recent coauthored book “Bride of the Sea” was published in Germany and Poland. 


Mike Gravel Democratic presidential hopeful and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel speaks at the “Take Back America” political conference in Washington Mike Gravel, Washington, USA

By Mike Gravel

One of the most obvious absurdities in the world of foreign policy is seeing what is considered serious. The people who want to continue funding massacres, genocides, and authoritarian regimes abroad frame their ideas in the sober language of realism, and earn plaudits from pundits and think tanks; those who propose the moral and obviously necessary alternatives are dismissed as unserious, among the cruelest insults in the world of foreign policy. Thus I do not expect the policy I will propose for Israel and Palestine to be taken seriously by the foreign policy establishment, which is too busy honoring Henry Kissinger to care much. But I will be frank with what I view as true seriousness on this important issue.

The very basic threshold for seriousness with regards to Israel/Palestine policy is one that no major party backs: the two-state solution is dead, and we have killed it.

The signs of its expiration are all around us. More than half a million Israeli settlers live (illegally) in Palestinian territory, and it would be politically, and logistically, impossible for them to be removed peacefully. The increasingly entrenched Israeli hard right—led by toxic figures like Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett—openly advocates annexing “Area C,” which constitutes most of the West Bank. And the compromises that a two-state solution would require would not only be politically toxic for both Israeli and Palestinian leadership; they would also be disastrous in practice. It is not difficult to envision ethnic cleansing reminiscent of the massacres surrounding the partition of British India in 1947, as vast numbers of people scramble to cross arbitrary borders in short stretches of time.

With these deteriorating conditions constituting difficult obstacles, it stands to reason that if Bill Clinton and Barack Obama could not reach a working agreement, the particular charms of a Pete Buttigieg or Joe Biden won’t be able to, either. It is also apparent that a two-state solution would likely not be worth the bloodshed and chaos it would cause. So why keep up the charade? Most American diplomats will, in their more candid hours, admit that the two-state idea is long dead. Prudence dictates that America acknowledge that on the world stage and begin the search for other solutions.

The most obvious and humane path forward is the creation of a secular, democratic, binational state with equal rights for all. That is the model the U.S. government, with its partners in the region, should work toward and publicly highlight as the ideal outcome. This, like any real solution, would disappoint many, both those who want an official Palestinian national homeland and those who want an official Jewish homeland. But this is necessary. Both visions serve an abstract nationalism rather than the actual needs of Israelis and Palestinians living in the area, and a state along the lines of the idealized United States model, one with no prized ethnicity or religious character, is the solution all those seeking a humanitarian alternative should support. There would be no need for the byzantine arrangements (land swaps, dual city ownership, etc.) upon which most attempts to resolve the conflict have hinged: it would simply be the decision—an admittedly difficult one—to live together, Muslim, Jew, and Christian, in a peaceful, democratic, egalitarian society.

Of course, the sheer power of the Israel lobby in the United States is the main hurdle to such a radical departure from traditional blind support for Israel. Thus the Israel lobby should be restricted; it is time to free American policy from the shackles of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), ZOA (Zionist Organization of America), and other groups. AIPAC especially wields awe-inspiring power over Congress; the hysterical reaction to relatively mild criticism of the group by Rep. Ilhan Omar—criticism that stands out in large part because of the rarity of sitting federal officials criticizing that ship of fools—illustrates just how much influence it wields.

The first step should be mandating that AIPAC register as a foreign lobby under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). AIPAC manages to skirt American laws about foreign lobbying by claiming that it represents Americans who happen to support Israel. But the shockingly close ties between the governing Likud Party and AIPAC give a lie to this legal fiction; AIPAC will always stand closer to Israeli interests than American ones. (And no, despite Vice President Mike Pence’s claim that Israel’s “cause is our cause, her values are our values and her fight is our fight,” Israeli interests and American ones are not one and the same.) Such an arrangement would prevent AIPAC from influencing American elections, and would require it to report all of its contacts with Congress, along with details of its spending, to the Department of Justice.

Next, the U.S. should end military aid to Israel, citing the Israeli military’s complicity in crimes against the Palestinian people. It should call for a gradual demilitarization of Israel and Palestine, and should be clear with the Israeli government that the days of Israel-right-or-wrong are over. Future outrages by either side will receive an even-handed response without bias. Accordingly, it should demand that Israel bring itself into compliance with international law and end the harassment of dissidents like the liberal Zionist Peter Beinart or those who support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

And the U.S. should refuse to take unconstitutional steps to stifle BDS. Whatever one’s personal thoughts on BDS, an individual or group’s decision not to associate with another group or country is a legitimate exercise of the freedoms of speech and association guaranteed by the Constitution, and using the power of the government to influence those decisions is wrong. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker should be ashamed of themselves for supporting federal laws to restrict BDS. (It is perhaps no coincidence that Booker and the president of AIPAC “text message back and forth like teenagers,” by Booker’s own admission.)

What I’m calling for is, in fact, a moderate and sensible proposal; it is the current policy, of unbridled fondness for a government flirting openly with ethnic cleansing, that is radical and dangerous. The current policy is the exact one that George Washington warned against in his Farewell Address: “a passionate attachment of one nation for another,” the creation of “an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists.”

It’s time for a mature relationship with Israel, free of the cloying sentimentalities and tired banalities (“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East”) that infest our political discourse surrounding it. America’s wanton indulgence of the whims of Benjamin Netanyahu and his fellow rightists will only redound to the harm of Israelis and Palestinians years down the line. It is too late to return to the fantasies of old, and high time to begin the projects of the new age. There are two possible futures for Israel and Palestine: one close to the vision of Isaiah—“nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more”—and one reminiscent of the prophecy of the Sibyl of Virgil’s Aeneid: “wars, horrendous wars,” the Jordan “foaming with tides of blood.” It’s a simple choice. Let’s choose peace.

(Source / 23.06.2019) 

Another Gaza medic has been killed on duty by Israel, but nobody expects justice to be served

Al-Judaily was the fifth paramedic to be killed by Israeli forces during the Great March of Return protests; more than 500 others have been wounded

Gaza medic killed by Israel, left bereaved wife, 4 children alone, in Gaza, on 12 June 2019 [Loai El-Agha.]
Gaza medic killed by Israel, left bereaved wife, 4 children alone, in Gaza, on 12 June 2019 [Loai El-Agha.]

By Motasem A Dalloul 

It was a difficult moment for the wife of Mohammad Al-Judaily when she heard that he had succumbed to his wounds. The paramedic was 37 years old when he was shot in the face by an Israeli sniper while providing first aid to participants in Gaza’s Great March of Return protests on 3 May.

“At first,” explained Muna, 31, “when we heard that he was shot at work, I thought he would come home at the same day because I was told he was hit by a rubber bullet. I was shocked when he died; I had a lot of hope that he would recover and come home.”

The mother of four spent a lot of time at her late husband’s bedside, dreaming that he would return and be able to play with their children. It was not to be.

Al-Judaily worked with the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC). On that fateful day at the beginning of May, he joined the emergency medical team which headed to Abu Safiyeh protest site east of the northern Gaza city of Jabalia.

“I asked him to stay at home and have a rest that Friday,” said Muna. “That was the first time I had asked that since the protests began last year, but he insisted on going to help the protesters. He stressed that everyone must be loyal to his work and colleagues.”

READ: Gaza’s health ministry warns of ‘unprecedented’ deteriorated situation 

When she was told that he had been shot by a rubber bullet, she rushed to the hospital. “The rubber is simply a cover for a steel bullet,” she pointed out, “so I found him seriously wounded in the face. Even so, I did not expect him to die.”

The PRC’s Dr Bashar Murad noted that Al-Judaily was wearing a clearly-identifiable paramedic’s uniform when he was shot. “He was rushed to Al-Shifa Hospital where doctors found fractures in his face, but their assessment was that his wounds were not life-threatening.” However, he started to haemorrhage for three days, so the medical team put him into intensive care and then transferred him to Al-Quds Hospital, which is a private healthcare facility run by the organisation and where, according to his widow, Al-Judaily started to feel better. “There was 24-hour care provided by the PRC doctors and Mohammad’s colleagues.”

On 3 June, his wife and children persuaded Al-Judaily to leave the hospital in order to spend the holiday of Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of holy month of Ramadhan, with them at home. “That was the worst decision he ever made,” she sobbed.

Doctors at Al-Quds Hospital and the Ministry of Health in Gaza had decided that he needed treatment unavailable in the enclave’s hospitals. “We applied for a transfer for him and the Ministry of Health in Ramallah agreed to pay for his treatment,” said Dr Murad. “However, the Israeli occupation authorities did not issue a travel permit. Two days before Eid, his wife insisted that he should spend the holiday at home. At first, the doctors refused, but after many requests by his wife, they agreed to discharge him at his own risk.”

Gaza medic killed by Israel, left bereaved wife, 4 children alone, in Gaza, on 12 June 2019 [Loai El-Agha.]
Gaza medic killed by Israel, left bereaved wife, 4 children alone, in Gaza, on 12 June 2019 [Loai El-Agha.]
Gaza medic killed by Israel, left bereaved wife, 4 children alone, in Gaza, on 12 June 2019 [Loai El-Agha.]

Mohammad’s eldest son, Adel, said that he and his siblings were happy that their father was with them for Eid. “At dawn the following day, though, he fell unconscious and had convulsions,” explained the 11-year-old boy. “My mother called the ambulance and the paramedics arrived within minutes, but his heart had stopped beating.”

Dr Murad said that the paramedics did CPR for half an hour before his heartbeat re-started, and then took him to the hospital. Later on the same day he was transferred to Al-Ahly Al-Araby Hospital in the West Bank city of Hebron, but it was too late.

READ: Israel bans Palestinians from fishing off Gaza coast 

The lack of oxygen to the brain during that crucial first thirty minutes of CPR was too much to bear, and his condition deteriorated. Nevertheless, Mohammad Al-Judaily was kept alive in the ICU at Al-Ahly Al-Araby until he passed away earlier this week. His body was taken back to Gaza, where tens of thousands attended his funeral.

Dr Murad has accused Israel of committing yet another war crime because it was very clear that Al-Judaily was a paramedic and he was very far from the soldier who shot him. The PRC, he said, has filed a complaint at the office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner.

However, nobody expects to see justice served for Muna and her four children, the youngest of whom is just seven months old. Al-Judaily was the fifth paramedic to be killed by Israeli forces during the Great March of Return protests; more than 500 others have been wounded. All were wearing clothing and insignia which identified them clearly as medical personnel, but Israel continues to be allowed to act with impunity, despite its deadly and disproportionate response to the legitimate protests.

(Source / 14.06.2019) 

Death Penalty: A State of Assassins !!

By Sami,  The Bedouin 

There’s a worldwide debate over the “legality” of Death Penalty, Execution or Capital Punishment as it is referred to in the different legal systems. There are people and organizations who support capital punishment and even with increasing its rates and the legislation that widens its range alleging that it deters and reduce capital crimes within the society. However, others, people and organizations are against it and fighting and campaigning to stop it as an inhuman way of punishing individuals for committing crimes and offenses that the whole society is responsible for.

You cant justify killing for killing, nor eye-for-eye policy, otherwise you would have a whole dead or blind society. China, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the US are the largest killers in the world in which a whole society is standing up to kill an individual for committing a crime that he is partially responsible for, while actually the whole society is the murderer !!!

No one is born criminal or killer, but the social conditions are the main factor of criminality, and the social conditions are provided and shaped by the society and government !! However, we are not to discuss the official and judicial death penalty, but extrajudicial assassination, the Death Squads !! “israel” is out of this debate, simply because it is so “democratic” and never committed such a punishment but once in 1962 against Eichmann, the Nazi. The human blood and life for “israel” is so precious, specially the jewish one as it never executed anyone from the “chosen people”, the beloved sons of God !!!

zionist secret undercover unit arresting a Palestinian activist

Can you believe this? I don’t, simply because I have witnessed the mass-killing Israelexecuting the whole people of Palestine. Inside “israel” the conditions are perfect for the jew “citizen” but in the occupied Territories, it is hell for the occupied natives !!! “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” David Ben-Gurion (the father of “israel”), May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.


The zionist systematic assassination policy is very well known. “israel” has been using Death Squads even before it was established and once it was terrorist groups of Lehi, Irgun, and Stern, even a long time before they (the zionist terrorists) assassinated the Swedish noble and diplomat Bernadette . It’s a Zionist systematic policy that was established on the Rabbinic genocidal mentality, and the assassins mostly become the top leaders (war criminals) of “israel” like Begin,  ShamirSharon, BarakLivniBennettShaked and the list is endless.

they are fed hatred by their Talmud teachings:


Zionist leaders


A terrorist state (any terrorist state like “israel”) can allege that it doesn’t apply Death Penalty within its borders, and even that its “legal” system doesn’t have such a penalty, but on the ground they practice it openly and widely to annihilate the indigenous occupied people. Since it was established, “isreal” has never committed Death penalty but once, however they (the Zionists) are applying a systematic and deliberate murder of a whole people politically by eliminating its political and social elite. When its murderers reach to the top of the Government like Shamir and the current offense minister Barak (who slain three Palestinian leaders in Beirut with his bare hands), then the whole government is murderous!!It [the assassination policy] began with the (Jewish National Fund) JNF Arab village inventory that was a blueprint completed by the late 1930s that included the topographic location of each village with detailed information including husbandry, cultivated land, number of trees, quality of fruit, average amount of land per family, number of cars, shop owners, Palestinian clans and their political affiliation, descriptions of village mosques and names of their imams, civil servants and more. The final inventory update was finished in 1947 with lists of “wanted” persons in each village targeted in 1948 for search-and-arrest operations with those seized summarily shot on the spot in cold blood.The idea was simple – kill the leaders and anyone thought to be a threat the British hadn’t already eliminated quelling the 1936-39 uprising. It created a power vacuum neutralizing any effective opposition to Zionists’ plans.

 Hundreds of our leader, intellectuals, professors, students, prisoners, women, writers, thinkers, politicians, novelists, researchers, mayors, teachers, peace activists… have been deliberately assassinated by the terrorist state of “israel”. Over the past 100 years, the zionists have been targeting our elite to eliminate any possibility to have a healthy society and leadership, they are annihilating our people.

Thousands of Palestinian prisoners were assassinated inside the prison after being caught and investigated like [Akkawi], others were released and shoot dead in the street a few days after being released. Hundreds of our leaders were assassinated in their offices, cars, homes or the street by the “israeli” assassination units that are ruling the Zionist state. Hundreds of writers, young peace activists, women were deliberately assassinated in their homes or in the street !!!

For the israeli terrorists, there are many different reasons to assassinate. Sometimes they murder a peace activist for his/her ability to convinces the Israelis and international peace activists to act, for his ability to cluster more peace activists [Abu-Rahmeh]. Sometimes a mayor is killed for being a leading national figure that unites Muslims and Christianstogether [Khalaf] the christian mayor of Ramallah. Sometimes when his impartial plan that is about to reach to a peaceful settlement [Bernadotte]. Sometimes students are killed because they are so popular in defending their cause specially those studying in the European Universities [al-Khederi]. Sometimes a leader is assassinated because he so influential in the International politics [Abu-Iyad]. Sometimes, a women is slain simply because her ability to organize and lead [Muna Dahi]. Sometimes a juvenile student is targeted for his a ability to move his fellow students to demonstrate [hundreds]. Sometimes a prisoner is assassinated for his ability to educated other prisoners [Ibrahim alraai]. Sometimes a writer is killed because he is internationally quoted for his authentic writings [Kanafani].  Sometime they assassinate Arab scientist to abort their efforts [Almashad] for developing the Arab society. Sometimes they even slaughter European scientist who are about to reveal the zionist sabotage plots [Bonomo & Ferez]. Sometimes, simply because he doesn’t look good in the zionst eyes…. Shall we go on and name thousands of simple unknown martyrs who were targeted deliberately and shoot from “zero distance מדווח אפס”? if to use the zionist terminology after committing a successful assassination?This policy has been followed all the time even by the zionist terrorists before establishing “israel”, and it was so clear when it was approved by the Knesset in 2000 during the second Intifada where hundreds were deliberately assassinated by the special “israeli” undercover units in a few months…. And still this systematic killing is going on !!!

In an article titled, “The israeli Terrorist State and its Mossad Assassins,” the late professor Israel Shahak, a Holocaust survivor, and chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights from 1970 until 1990, famously wrote: “There is nothing new in the fact that Israel is a terrorist state, which, almost from its inception, has used its intelligence service (the Mossad) to assassinate people on foreign soil with any violence or terror it considers necessary for its ends.”

So, “israel” never assassinated but Eichmann? I can believe this only if I am crazy or fool, or drunk maybe !!!

It is not necessary to have a “legal” system to legalize Death Penalty, but you can simply do it widely and systematically while alleging of being a so “Human” occupation and the “only democratic oasis” in the Middle East !!!

(Source / 10.06.2019) 

‘This is for Palestine’, says mum who gave birth through smuggled sperm

Huriye, 4-year-old, daughter of Suhad and Sameer Abu FayedBy Rebecca Stead / Wafa Ali 

In 2014, Suhad Abu Fayed gave birth to her daughter Huriye, a bright-eyed child with a mop of curly hair. When Suhad took Huriye to see her father, Sameer, for the first time, the Israeli guards at the prison where he is detained looked puzzled. “Who is this girl?” they asked. “How can this be your daughter when your husband is here, inside?”

“I replied that I had thought I was infertile,” Suhad recalls. “I told them I had samples from my husband from before he was imprisoned, and when I was treated I used them to get pregnant.”

In fact, Suhad gave birth to Huriye through sperm smuggled from her husband while he was in prison. Her story, though rare, is not unheard of, and is a testament to the lengths to which Palestinian families are forced to go in pursuit of a normal life under Israel’s now 52-year-old occupation.

“My husband was affiliated with Shuhadaa Al-Aqsa Brigades when the Second Intifada started,” Suhad tells MEMO, referring to the popular uprising in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) from 2000 to 2005. “He was hunted by the [Israeli] occupation for his activities and was captured in 2002. He was sentenced to 18 years.”

“When Sameer went to prison I already had three children: four-year-old Nabeel, three-year-old Nibal and five-month-old Manar.”

“I was banned from visiting him and rarely got a permit to go, perhaps once a year maximum,” she says, adding that it was Sameer who first came up with the idea of conceiving a child through smuggled sperm.

“The first Palestinian child born this way was Muhanned, the son of prisoner Abelkareem Al-Rimawi who was sentenced to 25 years in the Israeli occupation jails,” Suhad recalls. “My husband saw the news about their experience and called to tell me about it. He said he wished to have a child the same way.”

READ: Palestinian prisoner has a baby through smuggled sperm

Asked how she felt about the idea, Suhad remembers being enthusiastic. “I had never met any mothers who had done it. Yet when he asked me if I liked the idea, I was thrilled, I welcomed it; I love having kids, its part of who I am. And thank god, we were blessed that we had Huriye.”

Huriye – whose name means “freedom” in Arabic – is now four years old. Although Suhad had to undergo months of IVF treatment and follow strict procedures, under which the sperm samples can only be smuggled to hospital by a family member, she believes the difficulties were worthwhile.

“Subhanallah [glory be to God] once I had Huriye inside me, she changed me. She gave me self-esteem. I had neglected myself for so long,” Suhad goes on, “my kids were my priority. I forgot about self-care for 12 years, I was just counting days. But that changed once Huriye lightened my life.”

“My kids love her more than anything else,” she says fondly. “Of course, she changed the shape of our life; my youngest daughter, who is now 17, was always the spoiled one. She had always been the centre of attention, but Huriye stole that from her. Everyone in the family wants to see Huriye and spend time with her; she is given all the love possible.”

Giving birth to Huriye so long after her other children also taught Suhad about herself: “She showed me my patience, and showed me how this patience can pay off. Of course, she can be naughty some days, like any child her age, but my patience paid off with the kindness she gives me.”

Report: 67% of Palestinian detainees see their detention renewed

“I learned from Huriye that I am a resilient and strong person. She’s the one that gave me courage after I challenged the whole world to give birth to her.”

Huriye, 4-year-old, daughter of Suhad and Sameer Abu Fayed

Asked why she thinks others have followed her lead, Suhad explains that many see the procedure as a way to circumvent the paralysing restrictions imposed by Israel’s occupation.

“It’s overbearing to live under occupation,” she says. “I have been targeted by the occupation in so many ways; they refuse to give me a permit to visit my husband, the only time in my life they gave me a long term permit was to blackmail me: they held me in custody for 24 hours, then they revoked my permit and even my Palestinian ID card.”

READ: Israel teen killer of Palestinian mum Aisha Al-Rabi released to house arrest

“They don’t like us to feel confident and do things that challenge them,” she continues, “but no matter how much we are happy to have succeeded in having Huriye, against all the odds, everything reminds us of the bitterness and heartache that comes with the prisoners’ experience.”

This is for Palestine, it’s for the prisoner who lost his freedom for the sake of Palestine. It’s like bringing life to a dead soul.

Yet with her husband having only one year left to serve, Suhad is now beginning to think about the future.

“My husband’s parents both died while he was in jail,” she laments. “They lived their lives wishing to be able to celebrate his freedom; they kept talking about how they planned to celebrate. I think even on the day he is released, there will still be some feelings of bitterness and heartbreak.”

Huriye, 4-year-old, daughter of Suhad and Sameer Abu Fayed 

Yet Suhad is also hopeful. “Huriye remembers that his sentence will end next year,” she tells MEMO. “I think she is smarter than a normal child her age; she was only two years old when she started recognising her father’s picture around the house, and she knows his voice over the phone.”

“I also really wish to have a new son, a brother for my son,” she says wistfully. “I pray and ask God to be able to get pregnant again. When my husband’s sentence is finished, I will be 40 years and eight days old. But I love having kids! This is common among most Palestinian women, so I hope I too can have another child.”

READ: Israel imprisons Jerusalemites for attending freed prisoner’s wedding

(Source / 05.06.2019) 

Israel journalist: ‘The deal of the century is the joke of century’

Journalist at Israel's Haaretz newspaper, Gideon Levy poses in his home on August 12, 2014 in the coastal Israeli city of Tel Aviv. [GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images]

Journalist at Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, Gideon Levy poses in his home on 12 August, 2014 in the coastal Israeli city of Tel Aviv

By  Hassina Mechaï

The voice is clear, a slight Hebrew accent can be detected when Gideon Levy speaks English. He is precise and concise, showing off maybe some “chutzpah”, but his way of saying things is direct. Does this make Gideon Levy annoying? Certainly not. On the contrary, kindly and patiently he explains what is at stake here.

Some call Gideon Levy Israel’s conscience, others would rather insult him. Levy is a whistleblower. He would probably hate to be described as such. He is a journalist, and now a columnist at Israeli English daily Haaretz. He is also a board member there. Every week, his columns contradict the nationalist and religious ideology of those in power.

The most hated man in Israel

Levy has the distinct honour of having been considered by the authorities as a “threat” to the country’s security. What did he do to stir up such anger? Almost every week for three decades he visited the occupied territories and described what he saw there. Even though he has not been able to go to Gaza since 2006 (Israeli law prevents any Israeli from entering the Strip), he was able to highlight the killing of Palestinians. His book, “The punishment of Gaza“, earned him the nickname “Hamas propagandist” by far-right nationalists. His work led renowned journalist Robert Fisk to ask: “Is he the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic.”

His goal is simple; rehumanising the Palestinians when everything is being done to dehumanise them, he explains. From the occupation to the slow suffocation of their culture, dispossession, demolition, erasing their names, their villages, their society… Levy’s columns speak of daily struggles, give details about people’s stories, name them and give them back their faces, ages and deaths. This includes the story of a Bedouin woman who, in 1986, was forced to give birth at an Israeli checkpoint. Her newborn died because she could not reach hospital in time and had to walk the two kilometres alone with the baby in her arms.

He remains surprised, he says, by the average Israeli’s ignorance of a reality that often takes place a few minutes away from home. Israeli society “is living in denial, in lies. But totally consciously. People choose to live like this,” he tells MEMO.

“Israeli society is a very aggressive society. But you can’t generalise this. There are easy times and there are hard ones, when there is a war for example. But I still write about Gaza and its uprising. I wrote that what is happening in Gaza is the uprising of the Gaza ghetto. People became very aggressive.” This reference to the uprising of the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War brings to mind a symbolic part of the Israeli “historiography”. “That, might upset people, but I still have total freedom of speech; in my newspaper but not only there. Also on TV. It’s not pleasant every time but I can’t say that they’re trying to shut my mouth.”

Shadow theatre

His years in the media have allowed him to understand Israeli society and the officials that govern it. The latest Israeli elections, which saw incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu re-elected, are just the latest events which have stirred controversy, not least because of the numerous corruption cases in which Netanyahu is entangled.

In spite of this, his win was no surprise to Levy. “He created this situation in which people believe there is no alternative to him. He rules mainly by spreading fear. But he spreads fear and presents himself as the only one who can protect people. He’s a very talented politician with a very good rhetoric.”

He has also created a situation in which many people believe that these corruption charges are false and that he is simply innocent, he is a victim, and they identify with him.

“Gantz was not a real challenger and he will disappear from the political stage very quickly, I think. But many people voted for him. In fact, they didn’t vote for Gantz but they voted against Netanyahu. There’s people who actually want Netanyahu out,” he adds.

But both men are the same, he continues. “After the operation in Gaza, Gantz said the same things as Netanyahu. When it comes to the major issues, like the occupation, there is not much difference between the two of them.”

OPINION: The Israeli Elections, reading the Significance and Repercussions

Netanyahu’s international connections worry Levy, as do his friendships with right-wing governments in Brazil, the US and Hungary.

“Netanyahu can be friends only with those people. Because nationalists and neo-fascists find common language with other fascists… He can’t really dwell on who is anti-Semitic or not, because at the end of the day, what matters is to maintain the occupation. It justifies everything in his eyes.”

Palestinians stage a protest against the 'Deal of the Century', planned by US President Donald Trump to solve the conflict between Palestine and Israel, in Ramallah, West Bank on 2 July 2018 [Shadi Hatem/Apaimages]

The deal of the century: a joke

It is these “friends” that are supporting Israel in peace agreements and annulling previous deals including those which discuss a two-state solution for the Palestine-Israel conflict. Netanyahu, Levy says, “doesn’t speak about it anymore”. “Even when he spoke about it, it was very easy for him because he knew nothing will come out of it. It was the best way to maintain the status quo without doing anything.”

The two-state solution is dead. It’s dead since there are so many settlers and they created an irreversible situation. We have now almost 700,000 settlers and nobody will evacuate them and nobody will ever intend to evacuate them. Without an evacuation, there is no Palestinian state; it’s a joke.

The US’ latest peace plan – dubbed the “deal of the century” – is due to be unveiled in June after the Muslim month of fasting comes to an end. This, Levy says, is the “joke of the century”.

“It will just give Israel more years to maintain the occupation and to carry on its crimes. Nobody can take this seriously. It comes from Trump and [his son-in-law and advisor] Kushner, who can take it seriously?… It can’t be serious because it’s not fair. Those people are totally one-sided. How can you even consider listening to them when they so clearly stand with only one side and they are so aggressive towards the other side? What kind of mediators can they be?” he adds.

Trump's Deal - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Even the UN declaration that the besieged Gaza Strip will be “uninhabitable” by 2020 cannot save Palestinians there, Levy explains. “It’s not a war. It’s a terrible prison. From time to time, the prisoners are trying to resist, to protest. But the guards hit back harshly. And they stay silent for a few months but again they try to break the cage. It will continue to be like this forever.”

“There is no plan for Gaza because nobody cares. Even Europe doesn’t care much. I’m not even mentioning the US. Everyone became quiet and unmoved. Until the catastrophe comes. But as long as it’s not here, nobody cares.”

OPINION: A common Enemy, why Israel is embracing fascism in Europe

Israel against Jews

The occupation led Levy to vote for the Arab-Israeli parties in the last election, he explains this is “because for me it’s hard to vote for any Zionist party. I cannot identify myself anymore with any Zionist list.”

“I’m not anti-Zionist,” he explains, “Post Zionist would be the right definition. I just realised that Zionism completed its purpose; now it’s about creating a democracy, nothing else but a democracy. The ‘all equal’ rights. I don’t see another solution but a one-state solution.”

OPINION: ‘Web of Weirdness’, US and Israeli co-dependent relationship is not just about money

The debate about Israel’s occupation and what solutions there are to it, has led to accusations of “anti-Semitism”, Levy says.

It paralyses Europe, because nobody wants to be labelled an anti-Semitic. And therefore, they don’t talk about international laws and how they are violated by the illegal occupation. They keep apologising for being anti-Semitic, totally dismissing the crimes perpetrated by the occupation forces.

“There is anti-Semitism in the world but way less than what Israel claims,” he explains. “People in Europe, people with conscience should say we have the full right, more, it’s our duty, to criticise the occupation, to be anti-Zionist.”

READ: Macron’s anti-Zionism definition draws criticism

Is there hope for change stemming from the Jewish diaspora, especially those in America? “There are changes sure, but let’s not exaggerate. Still, the Jewish establishment is supporting Israel blindly, automatically supporting the occupation and Netanyahu. Yes, there is a new generation and a new camp there, which is very promising because they are very liberal. But there is a long way to go, because for most of them, standing against Israel is something they can’t do yet. But this movement goes hand in hand with changes in the [US’] Democratic party. This is even more promising because it is the first time ever that Netanyahu has been called a racist. We’ve never heard that before.”

READ: Trump ‘good for Israel, bad for Jews’: Israel historian

(Source / 25.05.2019)