on prisoners and martyrs

view of the jaber family's home on malwiya street
view of the jaber family's home on malwiya street

yesterday was palestinian prisoners day, but it did not feel like it. or did it? under normal circumstances i would have gone to one of the demonstrations. instead, i spent the afternoon with the jaber and karaki families in their house in the sa’adiyya neighborhood of the old city. there were many people in the room from the neighborhood and from the family who had recently been released from prison, though. 7 of them had been in prison for protecting the home from the israeli terrorists who have now successfully occupied one room in the house along with their m16s. and so the house itself feels like a prison. i can imagine if i were in this family feeling like i couldn’t leave–even to go to the market–so as to make sure more colonists don’t invade and steal more rooms of the house. one of the men who had been in jail had his hand broken by israeli terrorists. while in jail they beat his hand some more.

malwiyeh street with israeli terrorist colonists occupying a palestinian home
malwiyeh street with israeli terrorist colonists occupying a palestinian home

the settler colonists who have stolen a room in the jaber family house is an racist organization called ataret cohanim that has been stealing land in al quds since 1978 and now illegally occupies over 70 palestinian homes in the muslim quarter of the old city. this group is famous for forging papers alleging that they bought property from palestinian families as a pretext to steal houses. some of the houses have also been stolen because of pressure put on palestinians to collaborate with israeli terrorists, though oftentimes these dealings are also illegal because they are done under false pretenses.

jaber family in front of room in their house occupied by israeli terrorists
jaber family in front of room in their house occupied by israeli terrorists

ben white wrote an article for electronic intifada a couple of years ago entitled “bureaucratic dispossession” in which he explains the illegal practices of ataret cohanim:

On 20 August 2007, a story appeared in the Israeli daily Haaretz about the disputed ownership of a piece of land in East Jerusalem. The “land in question,” the report said, is “an olive grove called Kerem Hamufti” and part of the “Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.” According to Haaretz, the “Israel Lands Administration (ILA) is working together with the Ateret Cohanim association to wrest from Palestinian landowners control of 30 dunams (7.5 acres) of land in East Jerusalem and to transfer it to the association without a tender.” Petitioning the High Court, the land’s owners, the Palestinian Arab Hotels Company, described the purpose of this expropriation as “extraneous, illegitimate, racist and discriminatory.”

But who are these groups responsible for the attempted robbery, the ILA and Ateret Cohanim? The latter, is a religious, ultra-nationalist organization, whose main objective is “Judaizing” Jerusalem. Coincidentally, they had in fact already hit the headlines earlier in the month, when one of their private security guards shot dead a Palestinian who, it was claimed, attacked two guards in the Old City before being overpowered and killed. The juxtaposition of these two stories is striking. Unintentionally or otherwise, the alleged shooter, Ahmad Khatib, struck out at a para-state organization whose symbiotic relationship with the powerful colonizing state embodies the agent of his people’s Catastrophe.

Ateret Cohanim are represented in the US by the Jerusalem Reclamation Project (JRP), who sponsored a dinner in May celebrating the 40th anniversary of “the reunification of Jerusalem.” The work of the JRP includes “purchasing and renovating buildings for young yeshiva families, renovating destroyed synagogues, and by supporting nurseries, playgrounds, and children’s recreational facilities.” All of which would be great, if it wasn’t for the fact that East Jerusalem is both illegally annexed, and, more pertinently, already populated with Palestinians — a classic example of how Zionism attempts to render invisible the indigenous population of Palestine.

Allegations of illegal construction work and forgery against Ateret Cohanim had been previously documented by Haaretz, and in their editorial on the Sheikh Jarrah affair, the paper likewise sharply criticized the “underhand manner” in which a government body like the ILA had sought to take over Arab property in cooperation with a “national-religious” NGO. As well as noting that “governmental bodies such as the National Housing Company of Israel (Amidar), the Custodian of Absentee Property, the ILA, certain ministries and the Jewish National Fund have issued funds” to ultra-nationalist groups, the editorial bemoaned how “the practice of placing the settlers above the law … has reached East Jerusalem.”

thus this is one of the many ways israeli terrorist colonists create facts on the ground and try to legitimate their theft of land. like all criminals, they used various devious and illegal methods for securing what does not belong to them. this is how two other homes on the jaber family’s street were confiscated by israeli colonists as well and why the battle over the jaber family house is so crucial. they also pray on the system of palestinian collaborators as part of the system of colonial divide and rule here. as my dear friend said to me the other day, “it is easy to rebuild a home. we need to rebuild the people who are deeply damaged. this task is far more difficult than rebuilding a home.”

clayton swisher did a story on al jazeera yesterday that shows the same group–though he doesn’t name them–occupying a palestinian home in nearby sheikh jarrah and forcing a new family out of their home:

but the occupation of these homes in the old city is also what makes it feel like a prison. this coupled with the fact that everywhere you go you see israeli terrorists in uniform as in the photograph below.

israeli terrorists occupying the old city of al quds
israeli terrorists occupying the old city of al quds

of course these israeli terrorists in uniform are those who make sure that their prisons are heavily populated with palestinian prisoners to help with their colonial project. while palestinians are in prison they cannot have babies so it is a mechanism of controlling demography. and while palestinians are in prison their homes can more easily be demolished and land confiscated. ma’an news reported on prisoner’s day events:

“This year’s Prisoners Day comes at a tense time,” organizing official Amin Shoman said. “Following the Israeli war on Gaza the Israeli prison service has cracked down on prisoners in Israel; cutting off television access, the number of books prisoners are allowed to have and the duration of family visits,” he explained. “Prisoners are no longer allowed to receive fresh clothing from their families, and are prohibited from shaking hands with their fathers.”

Secretary General of the committee Hilmi Al-Araj sent a message to prisoners Thursday morning, saying, ”we promise our detainees that their cases will be solved when the Shalit issue is solved; we will make all efforts to free the 11,000 imprisoned at Israeli jails and we call the international community to seriously deal with this case.”

Minister of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs in the Palestinian Legislative Council Ashraf Al-A`jrami said the day would be one to express solidarity with Palestinians in jail.

“Recognizing the detainees’ rights is part and parcel of recognizing the Palestinian people`s rights,” Al-A’jrami said in the lead-up to Prisoners Day events. He urged international institutions to recognize the illegal Israeli practices and put a halt to them.

of course i think it is necessary to support palestinian political prisoners–all 11,000+ of them including the 400 children–but i feel like this year the day was marred by a number of murders. i first learned about one of the murders while i was in my service at the qalandia checkpoint heading home friday night. the checkpoint was shut down and it was getting late and i knew that if there were any services left heading to nablus there would only be one more. eventually, the checkpoint opened, but it was shut because israeli terrorists had murdered a palestinian:

Palestinian teenager was killed and another was injured by Israeli fire near the Al-Jalazon Refugee Camp north of Ramallah Friday night after allegedly attempting to throw a Molotov cocktail at settler homes.

A youth identified as 16-year-old Muhammad Nuwwara received a fatal gunshot in the chest, and was evacuated to the governmental hospital in Ramallah. A second boy, 19-year-old Muhammad Balasha, was hit in his thigh and transferred to Sheikh Zayid Hospital in Ramallah. Both boys are from Al-Jalazon, a refugee camp just south of the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El.

another palestinian was murdered in khalil by israeli terrorists:

An armed Palestinian was shot dead after entering an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank Friday morning, according to Israeli news reports.

Residents of the Hebron-area settlement of Haggay reported that they were patrolling the area when they saw a Palestinian walking around the Israeli-military secured area. Two settlers approached the man and reportedly struggled with him, at which point he pulled out a knife, according to one account.

Both men then tried to shoot the Palestinian, who was identified as 17-year-old Rabah Hejazi Seder, they reportedly said.

However, local sources told Ma’an they doubted that the teenager had attempted to access the settlement, due to its high level of protection and number of guards. They suggested that the Israelis killed the man outside the settlement and then took him inside.

but the murder of basem abu rahme from bil’in is one that received quite a bit more coverage. he was protesting the theft of his land when israeli terrorists fired at him as nour odeh reported on al jazeera in the context of george mitchell’s arrival in the west bank:

the video from the international solidarity movement (ism) shows far better coverage of basem’s murder, however, because it gives you some context and shows you bassam protesting prior to his death:

and here is clayton swisher reporting on basem’s funeral today:

and while palestinians mourn the loss of these new martyrs, lauren taylor on al jazeera’s “focus on gaza” this week highlighted the murder of mohammed al durra who was martyred when he was 11 years old in the year 2000 at the beginning of the second intifada. his family, who live in the gaza strip, managed to survive the recent savagery on gaza, but just barely:

all of this left me feeling overwhelmed the fast couple of days. it is so difficult to take all these stories in every day. and it is particularly difficult to feel like there is nothing you can do to stop it–to stop the imprisonment, murder, land and house theft. and the united states and its israeli terrorist ally want to keep it that way.

dividing and ruling until there is no one left to divide, nothing left to rule

more and more in my daily life here, my conversations with students and friends, and my observation of the political situation around me that if something is not done soon, if there is not significant unity (among the people, i mean, not in terms of political parties that meet no one’s needs) and resistance palestinians will be removed to jordan. jordan would be the palestinian state that the zionists have always been pushing for. i have posted here in other posts videos of them saying that “palestine is jordan.” they don’t make any secret about this. the thing is that all of their crimes are so patently obvious, written about in the memoirs of israeli terrorists’ from david ben-gurion to ariel sharon. and they widely announce their criminal acts in their media. and there are of course many historians who have documented these crimes: crimes of massacre, of land theft, of ethnic cleansing.

i’ve been reading jonathan cook’s brilliant new book disappearing palestine and one of the many things he documents here are the ways in which patterns of colonialism and its controlling regimes were first in place in 1948 palestine later became the practice in 1967 palestine. he quotes raja shehdeh’s memoir, palestinian walks, who made an important observation about the fact that palestinians in the 1967 territories should have taken their cue and learned their lessons from their kin in 1948 palestine:

They would tell us: “You don’t know a thing about Israel. We can tell you what is coming: land expropriations, biased zoning that will strangle your towns, and unfair taxation that will impoverish you.” And we would look with condescension at them and think they had lived for so long under Israel that they had become colonized unable to think beyond their narrow claustrophobic reality. (83)

cook documents this reality in the aftermath of an nakba and an naksa. one of the first colonial bits of business the zionists had to attend to given that they did not succeed in ethnically cleansing all of historic palestine was to figure out how to control the population:

Israel worked quickly to “de-Palestinianize” the minority, who were officially referred to as either “the minorities” or as “Israeli Arabs.” State policy was to encourage group identification at the sectarian and ethnic levels–in a classic strategy of divide and rule–by accentuating communal differences. In 1949, for example, the Education Ministry was advised to “emphasize and develop the contradictions” between the Druze, Christian and Muslim populations to diminish their Arab and Palestinian identities. (31)

these were the first steps of divide and rule, common to all colonial regimes. the second step was no more unique:

Severe restrictions on the minority’s freedom of movement did offer many benefits, however, even if most were unrelated to security. Any danger of relations developing between Palestinian and Jewish populations could be averted by isolating the minority; expulsions of Palestinians from areas intended for Jewish settlement were made easier; Palestinian workers could be prevented from competing for jobs with Jewish workers; and the minority’s votes could be bought by the governing party through its powers of patronage. But the two most important benefits to the state related to land. First, by exploiting the need of travel permits to work and see family, the military government was able to recruit an extensive network of informers and collaborators who helped in altering the authorities to attempts by the external refugees to “infiltrate” and return to their villages. And second, having confined most Palestinian citizens to their communities, the military government was able to carry out unopposed the confiscation of large tracts of outlying farming land. (36)

you get the picture? palestinians in 1948 palestine have lived in these bantustans for 61 years. they have lived through the imprisonment inside ghettos, while their land continued to be confiscated. they have lived through this system of huge numbers of its population becoming collaborators with the israeli terrorists. this has been the blueprint for the west bank and gaza as well. but also, like in 1948, israeli terrorists wanted to ethnically cleanse the west bank and gaza as they had done in 1948 palestine. during an naksa there were 250,000–1/4 of the population in the west bank and gaza–fled in terror. cook cites the israeli terrorists who planned this ethnic cleansing as they had done consistently over the decades:

A quarter of a century later, the president of Israel, Chaim Herzog, admitted that he had secretly organized the expulsion of 200,000 Palestinians as the first military governor of the West Bank. Men aged between 20 and 70 were rounded up and put on buses to take them to the border with Jordan. In a separate interview, Uzi Narkiss, who was in charge of the Central Command in 1967, alluded to the same, or related expulsions: “The number began with 600 and 700 persons a day, and then it began to decline until it reached a few scores, and after two or three months the operation stopped. (51)

through much of the book cook traces the developments of various strains of zionist thinking in the zionist entity’s regime. one of the issues they went back and forth on, with essentially the same results in practice, was whether they wanted “separation” (= apartheid) or “transfer” (= ethnic cleansing). of course in the end they have done both. but always in the most surreptitious ways possible so as not to upset the international community, to always make it seem as if they have a veneer of abiding by international law, all the while behaving criminally at every level. and we can see the seeds of forcing all palestinians into jordan and egypt respectively–which remain in israeli terrorist discourse–in the blueprint for what they wanted to do–and did–with their newly conquered territories of palestine in 1967. we can see this on the economic level (which is why boycott is essential) and we can see this on the level of land and people. cook lays out the roots of moshe dayan and yigal allon’s plans for the region starting with allon:

Agricultural settlements “camouflaged as military strongpoints” would be erected on the annexed land, while the Palestinians inside their enclaves would live autonomously under what Allon called “home rule.” He argued that “the integration of civilian settlement in the defense plan, especially for outlying locales and the vulnerable regions, will provide the state with permanent advance outlooks.” The settlers could stop a surprise attack or at least “delay the enemy’s progress until the army takes control of the situation.” The result would be “the Whole Land of Israel strategically and a Jewish state demographically.”

Moshe Dayan, the defense minister, proposed an alternative strategy: Israel would take control of the mountain ridge above the Jordan Valley, the spine of the West Bank and the location of its water aquifers and major cities, creating five large army bases next to which would be built civilian settlements connected to Israel by roads. The two nationalities–Israelis and Palestinians–would live side by side, connected to different countries, with the Palestinians remaining Jordanian citizens. The goal of Dayan’s plan, unlike Allon’s, was to break up the continuity of Palestinian areas so that the inhabitants would never be in a position to unite and demand independence. Then, he hoped, Israel would be able to win over the Palestinians by offering them employment servicing the economy of the settlements, or, as he expressed it, “bind[ing] the two economies so that it will be difficult to separate them again.” Over the next decades the settlement project would draw on both plans for inspiration. (57-58)

what is laid out above is essentially what happened in 1948 palestine as well. the way that colonies were built as well as the way that palestinians their were prevented from having their own economy so that they were forced into a service sector serving the colonial regime, though not in some ways as much as in other colonial regimes. partially this is because continual plans of expulsion have always been on the devious minds of israeli terrorists, for instance cook cites the prime minister levi eshkol after 1967 to force palestinians to be expelled to iraq and jordan (59). dayan, also worried about the demographic bomb of palestinians because of the people living in the newly conquered territory, had a solution called “creeping annexation.” here is cook explaining this plan:

The solution, in Defence Minister Dayan’s view, was “creeping annexation.” If it was carried outwith enough stealth, the illegality of Israel’s actions under international law would go unnoticed and the army would also have the time and room to “thin out” the Palestinian population. As Dayan observed in the early 1970s, creeping annexation would give the Palestinians a blunt message:

You shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wants to can leave–and we will see where this process leads…In five years we may have 200,000 less people–and that is a matter of enormous importance.

(59)

just as the quoted bit from raja shehdeh’s memoir above points out the warning from palestinians in 1948 to palestinians in 1967, slowly but surely the same schemes emerged here. under the euphemism of “civilian administration,” for instance, which is really the colonial military administration for the west bank, the zionists have been able to control palestinian life in every imaginable way just as they had done previously in 1948 palestine:

In this way, the Civil Administration was able to control and manage the details of Palestinian life, such as seizing most of the West Bank’s substantial water resources; restricting the import and export of agricultural produce to favour Israeli producers by creating a captive Palestinian market; banning political meetings and the publication of newspapers to prevent dissent; holding Palestinians without trial in “administrative detention”; levying special taxes, the proceeds of which are unaccounted for but impoverish Palestinian society; and withholding money from organizations Israel defines as hostile, also exploited as a way to retard the emergence of civil society. Much like the earlier military rule inside Israel, the immediate benefit to Israel of these controls was to recruit a large class of Palestinian collaborators who depended on favours from the military administration to survive the deprivations of occupation. (63)

these are more ways in which israeli terrorists seek to divide the palestinian people. they do it physically by eroding the continuity of the territory and they do it by dividing the people on a social level so as to erode trust and defy unity. meanwhile the fact that the zionist entity is unified when it comes to devising ways to remove palestinians from the land, oftentimes through economic means (again: boycott! need i say it again?) through an apartheid system:

Shmuel Toledanao, a former Labor Party government adviser on Arab affairs, observed in 1977: “All the economic positions in this country are filled by Jews, the Jews control all the banks, all the corporations. In politics and the Histadrut, they have all the power.” (103)

of course, the zionist entity’s support for apartheid stretches way back, which cook documents including their cooperation on nuclear arms (funnily enough barack obama only ever seems to mention the possibility of iran obtaining nuclear weapons in the region without ever acknowledging that the zionist entity is the only one to already have them on hand). cook explains the recent evolution of apartheid thinking, planning, and acting in the israeli terrorist regime as well:

Apartheid’s abiding influence on Sharon’s thinking was explained by Avi Primor, vice-president of Tel Aviv University, in September 2002. He noted that Sharon and his generation of generals had always harboured an especial fondness for South Africa’s solution to its own demographic problem: a series of sham black homelands known as Bantustans. In these small homelands, termed “independent states” by white South Africans, the country’s black population was supposed to exercise its political and civil rights. Writing two ears after Camp David, when construction of the wall was just beginning, Primor argued that Israel was intending to establish, in line with apartheid policies, a set of bogus homelands for the Palestinians:

A process is under way establishing a “Palestinian state” limited to the Palestinian cities, a “state” comprised of a number of separate, sovereign-less enclaves, with no resources for self-sustenance. The territories of the West Bank and Gaza remain in Israeli hands, and its Palestinian residents are being turned into “citizens” of that “foreign country.”

Primor was not alone in noting Sharon’s affection for the Bantustans. The influential journalist Akiva Eldar reported that Sharon had long dreamt of an independent state of “Hamastan” in Gaza. “In his house, they called it a bantustan, after the South African protectorates designed to perpetuate apartheid.” Eldar pointed out that Massimo D’Alema recalled a meeting a few years before Sharon was elected prime minister in which he confided that the Bantustan model was the right one for the Palestinians. What appealed to him was the fact that the Bantustans were designed not only to separate the white minority from the black majority to the latter’s detriment, but also to divide the blacks from each other, isolating them in a series of separate and potentially antagonistic “states.” Following Camp David, Eldwar added, the Israeli leadership had agreed on a programme to cantonize the Palestinians, breaking up the putative Palestinian state into a series of disconnected ghettoes:

Alongside the severance of Gaza from the West Bank, a policy now called “isolation,” the Sharon-Peres government and the Olmert-Peres government that succeeded it carried out the bantustan program in the West Bank. The Jordan Valley was separated from the rest of the West Bank; the south was severed from the north; and all three areas were severed from East Jerusalem. The “two states for two peoples” plan gave way to a “five states for two peoples” plan: one contiguous state, surrounded by settlement blocs for Israel, and four isolated enclaves for Palestinians. (105-106)

the map i posted the other day, which you can see below or by clicking this link, shows that these plans have largely been successful. in other words there are these islands in which palestinians are separated from one another, from their land, from any possibility of uniting and meeting and organizing successful resistance strategies. but, of course, they need help enforcing that in these little walled in ghettos in which we live. this is, of course, the job of the palestinian authority. here is what cook has to say about how this evolved as yet another mechanism of colonial divide and rule:

Israel derived a major benefit from Arafat’s presence in the territories. In his new role as head of the Palestinian Authority he represented only a fraction of the Palestinian population: those living int he West Bank and Gaza. His other role, as head of the PLO, in which he represented all Palestinians, including those inside Israel and in the refugee camps of the Middle East, was fatally compromised by his return on Israel’s terms. Using the Oslo process, Israel successfully marginalized the question of justice for the entire Palestinian people by concentrating on the far more limited question of justice for Palestinians living under direct occupation.

His power entirely dependent on Israeli goodwill, Arafat’s task as leader of the Palestinian Authority would soon become clear: to enforce Israel’s security in the West Bank and Gaza, just as dozens of other Arab rulers had done before in their own territories on behalf of Western colonial powers. He was, in essence, Israel’s security contractor. (111)

we know what happens inside 1948 palestine when palestinian leaders refuse to do the dirty work of israeli terrorists: they get expelled. azmi bishara is exhibit a on this one. but there are countless others, less famous, less discussed. cook also discusses the ways in which the pa became further fragmented through the entrance of the united states as another layer of colonialism in palestine–a kind of neocolonialism here–that actively created further fragmentation between fatah and hamas. the u.s.-israeli terrorist boycott of the democratically elected hamas government and the infighting it created was what they both hoped would lead to a civil war here as cook explains:

A leaked report from Alvaro de Soto, the retiring UN envoy for the Middle East peace process, highlighted the American mood as Hamas and Fatah prepared to meet in Mecca over forging a national unity government:

The US clearly pushed for a confrontation between Fatah and Hamas, so much so that, a week before Mecca, the US envoy [David Welch] declared twice in an envoys meeting in Washington how much “I like this violence,” referring to the near-civil war that was erupting in Gaza in which civilians were being regularly killed and injured because “it means that other Palestinians are resisting Hamas.”

In June 2007 the unity government collapsed when Hamas launched what it claimed was a pre-emptive strike in Gaza against a coup planned by forces loyal to Fatah strongman, Mohammed Dahlan. According to Hamas, Dahlan, who had been cultivated by US officials for several years, was plotting with Washington to overthrow the elected government. Hamas was widely condemned for its violent actions, though six months later its claims that it had foiled a Fatah coup were finally confirmed. Drawing on official US documents, an article in Vanity Fair revealed that the White House had been conspiring with Hamas to topple the Hamas government. (113-114)

so the divide and rule has been increasingly cultivated not only by the zionist entity, but also by its partner in crime, the u.s. but while they are actively working towards these facts on the ground that separate palestinian people, they are also still conspiring to figure out methods of mass expulsion. on the one hand the geography of little ghettos across all historic palestine, where palestinians are locked inside, this is not enough for the israeli terrorists. thus, cook cites yet another renewed plan to expel palestinians to jordan:

Reuven Pedatzur, a leading scholar on Israel’s strategic policies in the Middle East, noted similar developments in summer 2007. He reported that senior figures in the Jordanian regime were considering a “confederation” between Jordan and the Palestinians. If Israel agreed to the creation of a Palestinian state, they argued, the two neighbours could be run by a federal government presided over by the Jordanian king. Joint security services would also come under the control of the federal government–a move designed to placate both Israeli and Jordanian concerns about the creation of a Palestinian army on their doorsteps. Pedatzur pointed out that a former Jordanian prime minister, Abdel Salaam Majali, apparently with the blessing of the late Hussein’s son, King Abdullah, had been sounding out support in the US for a plan. Amman was reported to have shown renewed interest because it feared that the simmering tensions between Fatah and Hamas might eventually spill over into Jordan: either parallel struggles might develop inside its own borders among the Palestinian population there or fighting int he West Bank might lead to a large exodus of refugees pouring across the Jordan River. (119)

whether palestinian refugees have yet another exodus or not, this plan is clearly one designed to remove any possibility of palestinians receiving any form of justice on their land, on their terms. once again we have jordan conspiring about the status of palestinians with the zionists and their partners in crime behind the backs of palestinians. in the meantime, because of palestinians being forced into their isolated bantustan ghettos they are mostly prohibited from working inside the zionist entity as they used to do. no longer a slave labor market for the zionists they are now merely a captive market (again: boycott!):

But Israel’s other main economic relationship with the Palestinians has not been shed so easily. Until very recently Israel continued to rely heavily on the economic benefits of exporting its goods and produce to a captive market of nearly 4 million Palestinians under occupation. In 2006, for example, some 6 percent of all Israel’s exports–excluding diamonds–went to the territories, a trade worth some $2 billion, making the Palestinian Authority Israel’s second biggest customer after the United States. According to Ilan Eshel, head of the Israeli Fruit Growers’ Association, 10 per cent of all Israeli fruit was exported to Gaza, usually third-class produce that could not be sold elsewhere. (123)

all of these economic, social, and political divisions have the same constant effect whether expulsion or separation. they all work towards the same colonial goal of the zionist entity: to remove palestinians from their land, to make it impossible to ever have any semblance of a state, even if that state were the west bank (but, of course, the west bank is only a small fraction of palestine). there is much more in his book, i strongly recommend this and all of cook’s books. interestingly, on al jazeera’s “inside story” yesterday kamal santamaria addressed some of these issues with his guests, particularly my colleague abdul sattar qassem (he also had an israeli terrorist professor named gerald steinberg and an egyptian man hassan issa who seems to be in cahoots with the zionist). santamaria is a good interviewer, but abdul sattar is especially worth watching and listening to as always.

what you see in the above program is abdul sattar giving you some sense of the fact that there is no state possible, no state in existence. he says what we have is a palestinian “entity.” or more accurately entities given the bantustanization of palestine. moreover, those who have been following the words of israeli terrorist in chief benyamin netanyahu know that rather than talking about a palestinian state now he talks about a palestinian economy (review above for what that will mean for palestinians: in short a captive market). this is the reality. and this reality must be dealt with in a way that alters the discourse so people cannot be deluded into wasting their time on any more bogus so-called “peace processes” which invariably create more of the same apartheid and expulsion of palestinian land and people respectively.

on demographic bombs

carlos latuff
carlos latuff
this morning a palestinian woman in gaza gave birth to quadruplets:

A 24-year-old Palestinian woman from Gaza, Muna Ahmad Juda, gave birth to quadruplets at a local hospital on Thursday.

Juda, who is from Rafah, gave birth to three boys and one girl.

Juda’s husband, Muhammad Subhi expressed “overwhelming happiness” at the birth. The couple already have a two-year-old daughter.

i have been thinking about palestinian children and palestinian women who are pregnant this week. so many friends of mine see having children as a form of resistance. they know all too well that for decades one of the zionist entity’s biggest fears is this fact. when i interviewed suheir hammad a few years ago she commented on a speech that israeli terrorist golda meir gave a year before hammad’s birth:

Well, actually, often the thing that stands out to me, as a Palestinian, about my birthday is that the year before on October 25, 1972, Golda Meir had delivered a speech where she says–and I am not paraphrasing–“I cannot sleep at night knowing how many Arab babies are being born this same night.” This was a speech delivered to her countrymen and women as a nationalistic call to ethnic and national pride. It gave the sense that Palestinians’ children’s birth was the nightmare for the Israeli enterprise. This idea that we had so seeped into the subconscious and the fabric of creation of this state … would keep people up at night. That’s what I think about most when I think about my birthday in the context of a Palestinian exile community and the children that have been born to the refugees. Every child has a story like that. I just happen to have that year, very specifically bookended, but I think any Palestinian child born since that statement was made was a reflection of humanity that Golda Meir and her comments tried to diminish.

of course, she said “arab” and not palestinians because meir famously remarked in 1969 that palestinians “do not exist.” and, ironically, yet ever since their colonization of palestine, zionists main focus has been on murder and ethnic cleansing to remove those palestinians whom they think “do not exist.”

jonathan cook’s writing has long revealed this obsession in the zionist academy, government, and military in his writing. the real reason for ariel sharon removing israeli terrorist colonists from gaza was about shifting the population balance so jews could outnumber palestinians (if we count all of historic palestine’s population at present the numbers are about equal). the israeli terrorists who tried to invade um el fahem last week and who were prevented by a strong, unified town who successfully fought the army and the settlers were doing so in relation to these population transfers and shifts as the zionists continue to try to terrorize palestinian citizens in various ways, including with threats of ethnic cleansing (“transfer” in zionist speak). here is what cook said about um al fahem a couple of years ago in relation to this notion of the demographic bomb:

The idea of land swaps and a “transfer of citizenship,” as some called it, found support among Israeli leaders of the left and right. In an interview in 2002, Ehud Barak suggested that it was “not inconceivable” that Israeli Arabs have their citizenship transferred, though he added: “I don’t recommend that government spokesmen speak of it.” In fact, two years earlier he had privately pondered a very similar scheme—a “land swap” in which the Triangle and its residents would pass to the new Palestinian state—at Camp David, as the Israeli media later reported. His enduring passion for transfer was not dimmed by surveys showing that 83 percent of the inhabitants of Umm al-Fahm, the largest town in the Triangle, were vehemently opposed.

Barak’s successor, Ariel Sharon, was reported to be equally enamored of the proposal. In February 2004 he floated the idea of transferring the Triangle in an interview with the Ma’ariv newspaper, adding that the issue was being examined by his legal advisers. When Israeli Arab leaders denounced the proposal, Sharon’s spokesman, Ra’anan Gissin, questioned their motives: “Palestinians hoping to conquer Israel with the demographic bomb [higher birth rates] are obviously opposed.”

A few weeks later, after Sharon’s comments had been widely reported, he backtracked, publicly reassuring the inhabitants of the Triangle that they were “an integral part of Israel’s population.” But investigations by the Hebrew media revealed that Sharon had been secretly studying the “transfer of citizenship” idea with officials since he was first elected prime minister in early 2001. According to reporter Ben Caspit, Sharon had discussed the plan with Shimon Peres, then his Foreign Minister, suggesting it was the best way to protect Israel’s Jewish majority. Sharon reportedly told his confidants: “If we are already exchanging territory [with the Palestinians], why give empty land when we can transfer land with Arabs living on it?” Sharon’s main problem, Caspit reported, was that such a transfer could be considered a war crime under international law. Government officials were therefore trying to “formulate a package ‘to sell’ to the world.”

lisa taraki and omar barghouti also outline how such racist ideas are born out of israeli terrorist universities, one of many reasons why they must be boycotted and why people should not normalize with their faculty and students:

Despite its substantial Arab-Palestinian student population, Haifa University harbors, or at least tolerates, a culture of racism — against Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular — which manifests itself in the fact that members of its faculty espouse racist “theories,” publish bigoted research papers, and advocate ethnic cleansing with impunity. The university has consistently and systematically failed to censure such academics or to properly investigate accusations of racism raised against them.

It provides institutional support to racist academics and their research activities. The most notorious of these academics is Arnon Sofer, chair of geo-strategy at Haifa University and vice-chair of its Center for National Security Studies. He is also known in Israel as the prophet of the “Arab demographic threat.” He takes credit for the route of the Israeli apartheid wall — declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in the Hague, on July 9, 2004 — saying, “This is exactly my map.”

Prof. Sofer, who views the high birth rate of the Bedouin Palestinian citizens of Israel as a “tragedy,” and has no patience for “democracy and pretty words,” has for many years openly advocated “voluntary transfer” — or soft ethnic cleansing — of Palestinians in the occupied territories as well as Palestinian citizens of Israel, in order to guarantee “a Zionist-Jewish state with an overwhelming majority of Jews.” In one particularly telling prediction, Sofer says, “When 2.5 million [Palestinians] live in a closed-off Gaza, those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day. If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist. The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the [Jewish] boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.”

israeli-terrorist-condom-tshirt

all of these ideas keep me thinking about how many palestinian children who were massacred in gaza. for me it seems to be related to the zionist entity’s policy of ensuring that their population will be less than the jewish population. if they can’t “transfer” them they murder them. look at one of the other t-shirt options that israeli terrorists sport now after the gaza massacre: one of them features a condom suggesting that the murder of palestinian children is a form of birth control.

and yet the attack on two israeli colonist children yesterday, i’m sure, will get much more play in the western media than the decades of attacks, of murders targeting palestinian children made plain by the boasting tshirts. here is the report on the attack from ma’an yesterday:

A teenage Israeli settler was killed and a child injured in an apparent attack by a Palestinian wielding an ax near the settlement of Bat Ayin, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Thursday.

Israel’s Magen David ambulance service attempted to rescue the 16-year-old but failed. The seven-year-old child injured in the attack was taken to Hadassah Hospital in East Jerusalem.

According to news reports the alleged attacker managed to flee.

In the nearby Palestinian village of Safa, Israeli forces overran the town, imposing a curfew and raiding houses. According to witnesses, more than 50 military vehicles have invaded the village. According to witnesses in the village, 28 Palestinians have been detained. It is not known where they are held. Israeli troops are firing in the air. Israeli forces also invaded the town of Surif.

A self-proclaimed Palestinian armed group calling itself the Imad Mughniyya Brigades, after a slain Hizbullah leader, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement received by Ma’an. The group said that the operation was in response to the “crimes committed against Palestinians by the occupation.”

The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, praised the attack. In a statement the group said it “congratulates this heroic attack that comes as a normal response to the Israeli assaults against Palestinians, to Netanyahu, and to threats to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

It has also been revealed that the father of the 7-year-old victim is Ofer Gamliel, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for attempting to bomb a Palestinian girls school in Jerusalem in 2002. He and his co-conspirators were known as the “Bat Ayin Militia.

the israeli terrorist gamliel, who has been in prison, has, apparently, been let out to visit his son as ma’an reports:

Israel has decided to allow a jailed settler militia leader to visit his 7-year-old son who was injured in Thursday’s ax attack near the Bat Ayin settlement.

According to the Ynet, the website of Israel’s mass-selling Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Ofer Gamliel will be allowed to visit Hadassah hospital after a decision by the Israel Prison Service.

Gamliel is serving a 15-year-sentence for attempting blow up a Palestinian girls school in East Jerusalem in 2002. He three to four co-conspirators were members of a group called the “Bat Ayin Underground.” Three men were ultimately convicted in the plot.

Police saw the men planting the bomb – a trailer backed with explosives – outside the school in Abu Tor in the early hours of 29 April 2002. The bomb was attached to a timer, set to explode at 7:25am, as children were arriving for school.

Two men were arrested on the spot and the bomb defused. Gamliel fled the scene and was arrested a few days later.

this man is free while the entire village of safa is under curfew, essentially they have been imprisoned as a form of collective punishment:

In the neighboring Safa village residents continue to live under curfew as troops patrol the streets and raid homes in a now 20-hour-long manhunt. Several roads around the community have been shut, and villagers say at least 28 have been detained and are being held in an unknown location.

this issue of the “demographic bomb” and the way it is tied to israeli terrorism directed at palestinians is important because it ties together the resistance of palestinians from um al fahem to beit lahem. outsiders may decry the methods of palestinian resistance or the targets, but without an army, how is it that people are supposed to resist 122 years of murder and land theft and ethnic cleansing? below is a really terrific interview with jonathan cook. it is a few years old, but sadly so much of what he says has either come true or is still true. his focus on palestinians in 1948 is necessary and far too often neglected by most other journalists.

abu mahmoud harb, here in balata refugee camp in nablus, whose home was recently invaded by israeli terrorists identifies the bizarre inverted logic behind this idea of who the real terrorists are as reported in the palestine monitor:

Balata Refugee Camp is known for being very political and the heart of the Palestinian resistance, many leaders of both Intifadas came from the camp and in 1987 when people in the Gaza Strip ignited the First Intifada, Balata was the first community in the West Bank to engage in violence. For this reason, the Israeli military has been especially hard on the people of Balata.

Imposing curfews, conducting nightly raids in the camp – in which they break down doors to the houses and destroy things inside, beat people, men and women, arrest, and sometimes kill people for being active in the resistance.

For example, only some weeks ago, during a night raid, several Israeli soldiers came to Abu Mahmoud’s apartment at 2am. The door was locked so they started kicking it while screaming and swearing. It woke him up so he opened the damaged door and immediately had an assault rifle put to his head by a soldier.

“Who are you? Why are you doing this and are you really going to kill me? I’m just an old man living here with my family! And I opened the door, I don’t want any problems so why are you putting a rifle to my face?” He then asked to talk to the officer in charge and the guy pointing the gun at him said that he was the officer in charge.

Abu Mahmoud was very surprised, because the person in charge should be someone smart and well educated. He asked him to at least have some respect and treat him as a human. The officer answered that he didn’t deserve to be treated as a human because he is a terrorist and that he teaches his children how to be terrorists.

“Who are the real terrorists here? Who kicked who out of their home and stole their land? Look at how many people that have died on both sides. Look at the weapons used by both sides. Look at all the past massacres and at what just happened in Gaza and tell me who the real terrorist is?”, shouted Abu Mahmoud, who indeed has a lot of things to teach to his children and grand-children: his personal story, the story of the family and of the Palestinian people in general, the fact that they are not living in a city but in a refugee camp, in a place that is their house but not their home…

And even thought it might be one of the reasons why two of his sons are dead, he still thinks he was right to tell all his children the truth about what happened to their family and the Palestinian people since 1948, and keeps, and will keep, telling it to his grand-children.

One of his sons was a suicide bomber and even thought Abu Mahmoud knows that killing innocent people is a bad thing he believes that the main reason why it happened is the Israeli occupation and the behavior of the Israeli soldiers in the refugee camp. Without that it would not have happened, so he says that if you don’t want the consequences you have to fix the cause.