June 2012 Archives

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Note:   Today’s news:   Iran, IAEA begin new round of talks… JPost The essay pasted below was written by  Ray McGovern.  I highlighted a few words.   Peace, Roy

Sorting Out the Facts about Iran  : Information Clearing House

Sorting Out the Facts about Iran

By Ray McGovern

June 07, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — On the issue of Iran’s “nuclear ambitions” you hear one thing on Monday, a different thing on Tuesday. “It’s a puzzlement!” to quote Yul Brunner’s famous line in The King and I. But in this case, the confusion is hardly insignificant.

In a speech on March 4 to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), President Barack Obama drew a new red line, saying that if diplomacy and sanctions fail, he would use military force to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

So, it’s important to try to separate fact from opinion, taking our cue from the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who famously said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

On May 26, the editors of the Washington Post claimed that Iran has “no right” under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to process uranium. In a Letter to the Editor published by the Post on Saturday (June 2), Alireza Miryousefi of Iran’s mission to the UN wrote that the Post was simply wrong on that key point.

The Iranian diplomat seemed to be quoting from the NPT in saying that it unambiguously recognized “the inalienable right of all of the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.” It turns out that it is word-for-word from the Treaty text.

“Peaceful purposes” would include fueling nuclear power plants to generate electricity. But why, some ask, would Iran need those when it has so much oil and natural gas? President Gerald Ford asked that same question in 1976, before he was persuaded to approve a deal with the Shah of Iran, under which Westinghouse and General Electric were to make billions of dollars by supplying essentially the same full nuclear fuel cycle capability to Iran that Tehran now claims the right to create on its own.

Ford’s principal aides, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, reminded the President that Iran’s demand for electrical power would inevitably increase and that its oil and gas resources would be depleted one day. In the interim, they explained, Iran coveted the hard currency it earns from selling its gas and oil on the international market.

The deal fell apart when the Shah fell from power. That this history is not widely known has made it easier for some U.S. and Israeli officials and pundits to argue that that the primary aim of Iran’s nuclear development program must be to build nuclear weapons. For those hoping to stir up a crisis with Iran, it’s helpful to shove down the memory hole that Rumsfeld/Cheney once advocated for Iran having a nuclear program.

Part of the problem (not to mention the confusion) lies in the fact that the uranium enrichment technology used for power plants can also be used to create a nuclear weapon, assuming it is refined to a much higher purity. And the prospect of a nuclear-weapon-capable Iran is widely considered a frightening prospect in view of Iran’s supposed threat to “wipe Israel off the map.” President Obama himself alluded to this in his March 4 address before AIPAC.

But a fact-checking problem is that no senior Iranian official has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, who is also Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy, reluctantly conceded the point during an interview with Aljazeera on April 14. Meridor agreed that Iranian leaders “didn’t say, ‘We’ll wipe Israel out.’”

But, still, “everyone knows” that Iran is secretly working on a nuclear weapon. The trouble there is that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated definitively on Jan. 8 that Iran is not doing that; and ten days later his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, agreed

According to the official U.S. government translation of Barak’s interview on Jan. 18 with Razi Barkay of Israeli Army Radio, Barak stated that Iran “is evidently not trying to procure nuclear weapons.

Barkay: How long will it take from the moment Iran decides to turn it [Iran’s nuclear program] into effective weapons until it has nuclear warheads?

Barak: … It doesn’t really matter. To do that, Iran will have to … announce its departure from the control regime [UN inspections], to stop responding to IAEA’s criticism, and so forth. They haven’t done that. Why? Because then it is clear to everyone that Iran is trying to acquire nuclear weapons. …

On Thursday, I’ll be speaking at Random Row Books in Charlottesville, Virginia, where we can further try to sort this confusion out.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as a CIA analyst for 27 years, in the early 80s preparing The President’s Daily Brief and using it to conduct one-on-one morning briefings of President Reagan’s most senior national security advisers. McGovern will discuss these issues at 6:00 PM Thursday, June 7, at Random Row Books, 315 West Main St., Charlottesville, Virginia.

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As the first Lebanon war fades from the memories of the living, the danger is that the brutal facts of history are recast as epic tales of valour. Thankfully Uri Avnery is still with us – a man who experienced the ugliness of the war first hand and who has the courage to preserve the truth. Father Dave

Uri Avnery

June 9, 2012

From the Gush-Shalom website

The War of Lies

THIRTY YEARS ago this week, the Israeli army crossed into Lebanon and started the most stupid war in Israel’s history. It lasted for 18 years. About 1500 Israeli soldiers and untold numbers of Lebanese and Palestinians were killed.

Almost all wars are based on lies. Lies are considered legitimate instruments of war. Lebanon War I (as it was later called) was a glorious example.

From beginning to end (if it has ended yet) it was a war of deceit and deception, falsehoods and fabrications.

THE LIES started with the official name: “Operation Peace in Galilee”.

If one asks Israelis now, 99.99% of them will say with all sincerity: “We had no choice. They launched katyushas at the Galilee from Lebanon every day. We had to stop them.” TV anchormen and anchorwomen, as well as former cabinet ministers have been repeating this throughout the week. Quite sincerely. Even people who were already adults at the time.

The simple fact is that for 11 months before the war, not a single shot was fired across the Israeli-Lebanese border. A  cease-fire was in force and the Palestinians on the other  side of the border kept it scrupulously. To everybody’s surprise, Yasser Arafat succeeded in imposing it on all the radical Palestinian factions, too.

At the end of May, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon met with Secretary of State Alexander Haig in Washington DC. He asked for American agreement to invade Lebanon. Haig said that the US could not allow it, unless there were a clear and internationally recognized provocation.

And lo and behold, the provocation was provided at once. Abu Nidal, the anti-Arafat and anti-PLO master terrorist, sent his own cousin to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in London, who was grievously wounded.

In retaliation, Israel bombed Beirut and the Palestinians fired back, as expected. The Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, allowed Sharon to invade Lebanese territory up to 40 km, “to put the Galilee settlements out of reach of the katyushas.”

When one of the intelligence chiefs told Begin at the cabinet meeting that Abu Nidal’s organization was not a member of the PLO, Begin famously answered: “They are all PLO”.

General Matti Peled, my political associate at the time, firmly believed that Abu Nidal had acted as an agent of Sharon. So do all the Palestinians I know.

The lie “they shot at us every day” has taken such a hold on the public mind that it is nowadays useless to dispute it. It is an illuminating example of how a myth can take possession of the public mind, including even of people who had seen with their own eyes that the opposite was true.

NINE MONTHS before the war, Sharon told me about his plan for a New Middle East.

I was writing a long biographic article about him with his cooperation. He believed in my journalistic integrity, so he told me his plan “off the record” and allowed me to publish it – but without quoting him. So I did.

Sharon had a dangerous mental mixture: a primitive mind unsullied by any knowledge of (non-Jewish) history, and a fatal craving for “grand designs”. He despised all politicians – including Begin – as little people devoid of vision and imagination.

His design for the region, as told me then (and which I published nine months before the war), was:

(1) To attack Lebanon and install a Christian dictator who would serve Israel,

(2) Drive the Syrians out of Lebanon,

(3) Drive the Palestinians out of Lebanon into Syria, from where they would  then be pushed by the Syrians into Jordan.

(4) Get the Palestinians to carry out a revolution in Jordan, kick out King Hussein and turn Jordan into a Palestinian state,

(5) Set up a functional arrangement under which the Palestinian state (in Jordan) would share power in the West Bank with Israel.

Being a single-minded operator, Sharon convinced Begin to start the war, telling him that the sole aim was to push the PLO 40 km back. He then installed Bashir Gemayel as the dictator of Lebanon. Then he let the Christian Phalanges carry out the massacre in Sabra and Shatila in order to terrify the Palestinians into fleeing to Syria.

The results of the war were the opposite of his expectations. Bashir was killed by the Syrians and his brother, who was then elected by Israeli guns, was an ineffective weakling. The Syrians strengthened their hold over Lebanon. The horrible massacre did not induce the Palestinians to flee. They staid put. Hussein remained on his throne. Jordan did not become Palestine. Arafat and his armed men were evacuated to Tunis, where they won impressive political victories, were recognized as the “sole representative of the Palestinian people” and eventually returned to Palestine.

THE MILITARY plan went awry right from the beginning, no less than the political one. Since the war was celebrated in Israel as a glorious military victory, no military lessons were drawn from it – so that Lebanon War II, some 24 years later, was an even greater military disaster.

The simple fact is that in 1982, no unit of the army reached its goal at all, or certainly not on time. Valiant Palestinian resistance in Sidon (Saida) held the army up, and Beirut was still out of reach when a ceasefire was declared. Sharon simply broke it, and only then did his troops succeed in encircling the city and entering its Eastern part.

Contrary to his promise to Begin (repeated to me at the time by a very senior coalition partner), Sharon attacked the Syrian army in order to reach and cut the Beirut-Damascus road. The Israeli units on that front never reached the vital road, and instead suffered a resounding defeat at Sultan Yacoub.

No wonder. The Chief of Staff was Rafael Eitan, called Raful. He was appointed by Sharon’s predecessor, Ezer Weizman. At the time I asked Weizman why he had appointed such a complete fool. His typical answer: “I have enough IQ for the two of us. He will execute my orders.” But Weizman resigned and Raful remained.

ONE OF the most significant and lasting results of Lebanon War I concerns the Shiites.

From 1949 to 1970, the Lebanese border was the quietest of all our borders. People crossed by mistake and were returned home. It was commonly said the “Lebanon will be the second Arab state to make peace with Israel”, not daring to be the first.

The mostly Shiite population on the other side of the border was then the most downtrodden and powerless of Lebanon’s diverse ethnic-religious communities. When King Hussein, with the help of Israel, drove the PLO forces out of Jordan in the “Black September” of 1970, the Palestinians established themselves in South Lebanon and became the rulers of the border region, which was soon known in Israel as “Fatahland”. The Shiite population did not like their overbearing new Palestinian lords, who were Sunnis. When Sharon’s troops entered the area, they were actually received with rice and candies. (I saw it with my own eyes.) The Shiites, not knowing Israel, believed that their liberators would drive the Palestinians out and go home.It did not take them long to perceive their mistake. They then started a guerrilla war, for which the Israeli army was quite unprepared.

The Shiite mice quickly turned into Shiite lions. Faced with their guerrillas, the Israeli government decided to leave Beirut and much of South Lebanon, holding on to a “security zone”, which duly became a guerrilla battleground.  The moderate Shiites were replaced by a much more radical new Hizb-Allah (“Party of God”) which eventually became the main political and military force in all of Lebanon.

To stop them, Israel assassinated their leader, Abbas al-Musawi, who was promptly replaced by a vastly more talented assistant – Hassan Nasrallah.

At the same time, Sharon’s clones in Washington started a war that destroyed Iraq, the historic Arab bulwark against Iran. A new axis of Shiite Iraq, Hisbollah and Alawite Syria became a dominant fact. (The Alawites, who rule Assad’s Syria, are a kind of Shiite. Their name derives from Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet, whose descendents were rejected by the Sunnis and accepted by the Shiites.)

If Sharon were to wake up from the coma which has been his lot for the last six years, he would be shocked by this result – the only practical one – of his Lebanon War.

ONE OF the victims of the war was Menachem Begin.

Many legends have been woven around his memory, blowing it out of all proportion.

Begin had many excellent qualities. He was a man of principle, honesty and personal courage. He was also a great orator in the European tradition, able to sway the emotions of his audience.

But Begin was a very mediocre thinker, completely devoid of original thought. His mentor, Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky, treated him with disdain. In his way, he was quite naive.

He let himself be easily misled by Sharon. Being single-mindedly devoted to defeating the Palestinians and extending the rule of the “Jewish” state to all of historical Palestine, he did not really care about Lebanon, Sinai or the Golan.

His behavior during the Lebanon War bordered on the ridiculous. He visited the troops and asked questions that became the butt of jokes among the soldiers. In retrospect, one wonders whether by that time he was already mentally affected. Soon after the Sabra and Shatila massacre, which shocked him to the core, he retreated into deep depression, which lasted until his death ten years later.

THE MORAL of the story, relevant today as ever: Any fool can start a war, only a very wise person can prevent one.

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Sonja Karkar of Australians for Palestine, writes: Ilan Pappé, celebrated Israeli Historian and author, argues that the BDS movement is the best means to end Israel’s oppressive occupation and prevent another Nakba.  He says: “For an activist, the realization that change from within is unattainable not only grows from an intellectual or political process, but is more than anything else an admission of defeat. And it was this fear of defeatism that prevented me from adopting a more resolute position for a very long time. . . I came to realize that the problem was not a particular policy or a specific government, but one more deeply rooted in the ideological infrastructure informing Israeli decisions on Palestine and the Palestinians ever since 1948.”

The boycott will work, an Israeli perspective

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by Ilan Pappe

Ceasefire

16 May 2012

I have been a political activist for most of my adult life. In all these years, I have believed deeply that the unbearable and unacceptable reality of Israel and Palestine could only be changed from within. This is why I have been ceaselessly devoted to persuading Jewish society—to which I belong and into which I was born—that its basic policy in the land was wrong and disastrous.

As for so many others, the options for me were clear: I could either join politics from above, or counter it from below. I began by joining the Labor Party in the 1980s, and then the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Hadash), when I declined an offer to join the Knesset.

At the same time, I focused my energies on working alongside others within educational and peace NGOs, even chairing two such institutions: the left-Zionist Institute for Peace Studies in Givat Haviva, and the non-Zionist Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies. In both circles, veteran and younger colleagues alike sought to create constructive dialogue with our compatriots, in the hope of influencing present policy for future reconciliation. It was mainly a campaign of information about crimes and atrocities committed by Israel since 1948, and a plea for a future based on equal human and civil rights.

For an activist, the realization that change from within is unattainable not only grows from an intellectual or political process, but is more than anything else an admission of defeat. And it was this fear of defeatism that prevented me from adopting a more resolute position for a very long time. After almost thirty years of activism and historical research, I became convinced that the balance of power in Palestine and Israel pre-empted any possibility for a transformation within Jewish Israeli society in the foreseeable future. Though rather late in the game, I came to realize that the problem was not a particular policy or a specific government, but one more deeply rooted in the ideological infrastructure informing Israeli decisions on Palestine and the Palestinians ever since 1948. I have described this ideology elsewhere as a hybrid between colonialism and romantic nationalism.[1]

Today, Israel is a formidable settler-colonialist state, unwilling to transform or compromise, and eager to crush by whatever means necessary any resistance to its control and rule in historical Palestine. Beginning with the ethnic cleansing of 80 percent of Palestine in 1948, and Israel’s occupation of the remaining 20 percent of the land in 1967, Palestinians in Israel are now enclaved in mega-prisons, bantustans, and besieged cantons, and singled out through discriminatory policies.

Meanwhile, millions of Palestinian refugees around the world have no way to return home, and time has only weakened, if not annihilated, all internal challenges to this ideological infrastructure. Even as I write, the Israeli settler state continues to further colonize and uproot the indigenous people of Palestine.

Admittedly, Israel is not a straightforward case study in colonialism,[2] nor can the solutions to either the 1967 occupation or the question of Palestine as a whole be easily described as decolonization. Unlike most colonialist projects, the Zionist movement had no clear metropolis, and because it far predates the age of colonialism, describing it in that way would be anachronistic. But these paradigms are still highly relevant to the situation, for two reasons. The first is that diplomatic efforts in Palestine since 1936 and the peace process that began in 1967 have only increased the number of Israeli settlements in Palestine, from less than 10 percent of Palestine in 1936 to over 90 per cent of the country today.

Thus it seems that the message from the peace brokers, mainly Americans ever since 1970, is that peace can be achieved without any significant limit being placed on the settlements, or colonies, in Palestine. True, settlers have periodically been evicted from Gaza settlements and some other isolated outposts, but this did not alter the overall matrix of colonial control, with all its systematic daily abuses of civil and human rights.

The occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the oppression of the Palestinians inside Israel, and the denial of the refugees’ right of return will continue as long as these policies (occupation, oppression, and denial) were packaged as a comprehensive peace settlement to be endorsed by obedient Palestinian and Arab partners.

The second reason for viewing the situation through the lens of colonialism and anti-colonialism is that it allows us a fresh look at the raison d’être of the peace process. The basic objective, apart from the creation of two separate states, is for Israel to withdraw from areas it occupied in 1967.

But this is contingent upon Israeli security concerns being satisfied, which Prime Minister Netanyahu has articulated as the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and the rest of Israel’s political center has articulated as the existence of a demilitarized future Palestinian state only in parts of the occupied territories. The consensus is that, after withdrawal, the army will still keep an eye on Palestine from the Jewish settlement blocs, East Jerusalem, the Jordanian border, and the other side of the walls and fences surrounding the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Whether or not the Quartet, or even the present US administration, seeks a more comprehensive withdrawal and a more sovereign Palestinian state, no one in the international community has seriously challenged the Israeli demand that its concerns first be satisfied. The peace process only requires a change in the Palestinian agenda, leaving the Israeli agenda untouched.

In other words, the message from abroad to Israel is that peace does not require any transformation from within. In fact, it even leaves Israel room for interpretation: the Israeli government, apprehensive of the reaction of hardline settlers, was unwilling to evict them from isolated posts in the occupied territories. That even the weak Palestinian leadership has refused to accept this rationale has allowed the Israelis to claim that the Palestinians are stubborn and inflexible, and therefore that Israel is entitled to pursue unilateral policies to safeguard its national security (the infamous “ingathering policy,” as coined by Ehud Olmert).[3]

Therefore, it seems safe to conclude that the peace process has actually deterred the colonizer and occupier from transforming its mentality and ideology. As long as the international community waits for the oppressed to transform their positions, while validating those upheld by the oppressor since 1967, this will remain the most brutal occupation the world has seen since World War II.

The annals of colonialism and decolonization teach us that an end to the military presence and occupation was a condition sine qua non for meaningful negotiations between colonizer and colonized even to begin. An unconditional end to Israel’s military presence in the lives of more than three million Palestinians should be the precondition for any negotiations, which can only develop when the relationship between the two sides is not oppressive but equal.

In most cases, occupiers have not decided to leave. They were forced out, usually through a prolonged and bloody armed struggle. This has been attempted with very little success in the Israel-Palestine conflict. In fewer cases, success was achieved by applying external pressure on the rogue power or state in the very last stage of decolonization. The latter strategy is more attractive. In any case, the Israeli paradigm of “peace” is not going to shift unless it is pressured from the outside, or forced to do so on the ground.

Even before one begins to define more specifically what such outside pressure entails, it is essential not to confuse the means (pressure) with the objective (finding a formula for joint living). In other words, it is important to emphasize that pressure is meant to trigger meaningful negotiations, not take their place. So while I still believe that change from within is key to bringing about a lasting solution to the question of the refugees, the predicament of the Palestinian minority in Israel, and the future of Jerusalem, other steps must first be taken for this to be achieved.

What kind a pressure is necessary? South Africa has provided the most illuminating and inspiring historical example for those leading this debate, while, on the ground, activists and NGOs under occupation have sought nonviolent means both to resist the occupation and to expand the forms of resistance beyond suicide bombing and the firing of Qassam missiles from Gaza. These two impulses produced the BDS campaign against Israel. It is not a coordinated campaign operated by some secret cabal. It began as a call from within the civil society under occupation, endorsed by other Palestinian groups, and translated into individual and collective actions worldwide.

These actions vary in focus and form, from boycotting Israeli products to severing ties with academic institutes in Israel.

Some are individual displays of protest; others are organized campaigns. What they have in common is their message of outrage against the atrocities on the ground in Palestine—but the campaign’s elasticity has made it into a broad process powerful enough to produce a new public mood and atmosphere, without any clear focal point.

For the few Israelis who sponsored the campaign early on, it was a definitive moment that clearly stated our position vis-à-vis the origins, nature, and policies of our state. But in hindsight, it also seems to have provided moral sponsorship, which has been helpful for the success of the campaign.

Supporting BDS remains a drastic act for an Israeli peace activist. It excludes one immediately from the consensus and from the accepted discourse in Israel. Palestinians pay a higher price for the struggle, and those of us who choose this path should not expect to be rewarded or even praised. But it does involve putting yourself in direct confrontation with the state, your own society, and quite often friends and family. For all intents and purposes, this is to cross the final red line—to say farewell to the tribe.

This is why any one of us deciding to join the call should make such a decision wholeheartedly, and with a clear sense of its implications.

But there is really no other alternative. Any other option—from indifference, through soft criticism, and up to full endorsement of Israeli policy—is a wilful decision to be an accomplice to crimes against humanity. The closing of the public mind in Israel, the persistent hold of the settlers over Israeli society, the inbuilt racism within the Jewish population, the dehumanization of the Palestinians, and the vested interests of the army and industry in keeping the occupied territories—all of these mean that we are in for a very long period of callous and oppressive occupation. Thus, the responsibility of Israeli Jews is far greater than that of anyone else involved in advancing peace in Israel and Palestine. Israeli Jews are coming to realize this fact, and this is why the number who support pressuring Israel from the outside is growing by the day. It is still a very small group, but it does form the nucleus of the future Israeli peace camp.

Much can be learned from the Oslo process. There, the Israelis employed the discourse of peace as a convenient way of maintaining the occupation (aided for a while by Palestinian leaders who fell prey to US–Israeli deception tactics). This meant that an end to the occupation was vetoed not only by the “hawks,” but also the “doves,” who were not really interested in stopping it. That is why concentrated and effective pressure on Israel needs to be applied by the world at large. Such pressure proved successful in the past, particularly in the case of South Africa; and pressure is also necessary to prevent the worst scenarios from becoming realities.

After the massacre in Gaza in January 2009, it was hard to see how things could get worse, but they can—with no halt to the expansion of settlements, and continuing assaults on Gaza, the Israeli repertoire of evil has not yet been exhausted. The problem is that the governments of Europe, and especially the US, are not likely to endorse the BDS campaign. But one is reminded of the trials and tribulations of the boycott campaign against South Africa, which emanated from civil societies and not from the corridors of power.

In many ways, the most encouraging news comes from the most unlikely quarter: US campuses. The enthusiasm and commitment of hundreds of local students have helped in the last decade to bring the idea of divestment to US society—a society that was regarded as a lost cause by the global campaign for Palestine. They have faced formidable foes: both the effective and cynical AIPAC, and the fanatical Christian Zionists. But they offer a new way of engaging with Israel, not only for the sake of Palestinians, but also for Jews worldwide.

In Europe, an admirable coalition of Muslims, Jews, and Christians is advancing this agenda against fierce accusations of anti-Semitism. The presence of a few Israelis among them has helped to fend off these vicious and totally false allegations. I do not regard the moral and active support of Israelis like myself as the most important ingredient in this campaign. But connections with progressive and radical Jewish dissidents in Israel are vital to the campaign. They are a bridge to a wider public in Israel, which will eventually have to be incorporated. Pariah status will hopefully persuade Israel to abandon its policies of war crimes and abuses of human rights. We hope to empower those on the outside who are now engaged in the campaign, and we are empowered ourselves by their actions.

All of us, it seems, need clear targets, and to remain vigilant against simplistic generalizations about the boycott being against Israel for being Jewish, or against the Jews for being in Israel. That is simply not true. The millions of Jews in Israel must be reckoned with. It is a living organism that will remain part of any future solution. However, it is first our sacred duty to end the oppressive occupation and to prevent another Nakba—and the best means for achieving this is a sustained boycott and divestment campaign.

This article is an original extract from The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, published by Verso on 15th May 2012, in which a cast of international voices argue for boycott, divestment and sanctions. The book features contributions from: John Berger, Slavoj Žižek, Angela Davis, Mustafa Barghouti, Ken Loach, Neve Gordon, Naomi Klein, Omar Barghouti, Ilan Pappe and many more.

The Case for Sanctions Against Israel

<www.versobooks.com…>

Audrea Lim (Editor)

 Publication: 15th May 2012

 ISBN: 978 1 84467 450 3

 Price: £9.99

 256 pages

 Publisher: Verso Books

Ilan Pappe is a professor of History at the University of Exeter. His many books include ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’, ‘Gaza in Crisis’ (with Noam Chomsky) and, most recently, ‘The Idea of Israel‘.

Original link:   ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/ilan-pappe-boycott-work-israeli-perspective/…

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A press release from Gush-Shalom – the Israeli peace Bloc.

Former Israeli military man wants to give up his Israeli citizenship and get a Palestinian one instead. Was arrested after living two months in the Dheishe Refugee Camp. Was released after eight days in detention, but will stand trial for being in the Palestinian "A" area.
Says: "I have concluded that Israel is the representative of Western power interests in the Middle East, and that Zionism made cynical use of the Jewish faith "

Press Release June 11, 2012

 Andre Pshenichnikov, an Israeli who immigrated from the former Soviet Union, was arrested by the IDF after living for two months in the Dheishe Refugee Camp near Bethlehem and kept in detention for eight days at the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. He told his police interrogators that he wants to break all ties with Israel, to give up his Israeli citizenship and obtain a Palestinian citizenship instead. Eventually he was released under restrictive conditions and banned from entering the "A" areas of the West Bank penidng the end of legal proceedings against him. He was indicted for having entered these "A" areas which Israelis are forbidden to do under military orders. During some of the proceedings at the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court and District Court, representatives of the prosecution asserted that Pshenichnikov had joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) but eventually withdrew that charge. Regarding the indictment filed against him, Pshenichnikov is represented by Attorney Andre Rosenthal of Jerusalem.

 Andre Pshenichnikov, 23, was born in Tajikistan, then part of the Soviet Union. As a child his family moved to Russia. He came to Israel at the age of 13, enlisted in the IDF Signal Corps, after completing three years of mandatory military service,  served an additional year and a half under conditions of a career soldier. During the years there has been a complete turnover in his opinions and he concluded that the State of Israel serves as a representative of the interests of Western powers in the Middle East and that the Zionist movement had made a cynical use of Jewish religion. As noted, this led him to the conclusion of making contact with Palestinians, with whom he spoke in  Arabic in which he is fluent, going to live in the Dheishe Refugee Camp and seeking to revoke his Israeli citizenship and get Palestinian citizenship instead.

 Pshenichnikov is going to depart tonight (Tuesday June 11) for two months in Europe. Until his departure he can be contacted at phone +972-77-4335158 (home) or +972-52-7728518 (mobile) and by email to Rodnower@gmail.com…. Attorney Andre Rosenthal, who represents him can be contacted at +972-2-6250458.

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Sonja Karkar, of Australians for Palestine, writes:

Below is another extraordinary speech given by Professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan, daughter of a general in the Israeli army and a granddaughter of a signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence.  Nurit lost her daughter in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, but even in the face of such a personal tragedy, she has never hesitated to speak out passionately about the terrible injustices suffered by the Palestinian people at the hands of her government and its leaders.  Like her charismatic brother Miko Peled who came to speak in Australia last year, Nurit speaks from firsthand experience of Israel’s true intentions to take all of the land and gradually expel the Palestinians from their homeland.  In the meantime, Israel has instituted the worst of apartheid policies and practices against those Palestinians under its military occupation, as well as Israel’s own Palestinian citizens.  As the world remains mute and unhearing at the incredible bravery of the Palestinian hunger-strikers, Nurit’s cries from the heart are her effort to break that silence.  We ignore these pleas at our peril.  Israel’s efforts at normalisation are failing and it will only be a matter of time before the ugly face of Zionism will be fully exposed .  Please take a stand now before more people suffer and die, particularly for the three hunger-strikers to whom Nurit refers below.  Protests have taken place across Europe and more action is urgently needed.

Sonja Karkar

The 45th birthday of the Occupation

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by Nurit Peled-Elhanan

Occupation Magazine

9 June 2012

I dedicate my words this evening to three hunger-strikers. Mahmoud Sarsak, who has been striking for 83 days. An excellent football player from Gaza, he was arrested three years ago under the Law against Illegal Combatants, which permits him to be imprisoned for life, without a trial and without charge. Akram Rikhawi, who has been imprisoned since 2004 and has been on a hunger-strike since 12 April, in protest against his not being released despite the fragile state of his health. And Samer al-Barq, who renewed his hunger-strike after he had stopped it, with the signing of the agreement,

because like many who were released, he got a new administrative detention order. Those prisoners are still alive because “when freedom takes hold of a person’s soul, even the gods cannot touch him.” (Jean-Paul Sartre) Not the god of Zionist power and not the Israeli angel of death. Those prisoners, and thousands more like them, including more than twenty Members of Parliament including the Chairman of the Parliament, Dr. Aziz Dweik, are being held without justice or trial, under humiliating conditions, for years, without visits or hope. They are the freedom fighters of this country who remind us again and again that we all live under occupation and that only their liberation will restore our freedom to us.

Arab citizens of Israel have been living under occupation for nearly sixty-five years now, and the Jewish citizens of Israel are living under a siege that they have imposed on themselves. We are all subjects of a colonialist regime that includes the appropriation of lands and water resources, ethnic cleansing, destruction of the landscape and destruction of the human spirit. A language and culture of which they have no need except to express their being conquered has been imposed on the Arabs whose language and culture has been deliberately and institutionally removed from the lives of the Jews, so that we cannot teach our children and remind their children that `there can also be a love story between an Arab poet and this country.` (Mahmoud Darwish). Thus since its establishment Israel has been perpetuating, in the manner of oppressive regimes, an alienated society and a culture cut off from this place, its residents, its aromas and its tastes. Even the trees and the flowers in our gardens are alienated, foreign, and do not belong. This alienation testifies again and again that on the day of its founding Israel emblazoned on its flag the symbol of apartheid and racism, and eschewed the symbol of freedom and brotherhood that ensures democracy.

This year the apartheid regime of the State of the Jews proved its complete loyalty to racism and the principles of racism. Twenty-five racist bills were submitted and more than ten racist laws have been passed this year, and hardly any Jewish citizens went out onto the streets. More than three hundred people imprisoned without trial launched a hunger strike to the death for two months and more, and hardly any Jewish citizens went onto the streets. Thousands of children are not going to school in East Jerusalem because the Jewish ministry of education does not allocate classes or because the racist Citizenship Law makes them the citizens of no-place and no one is going onto the streets. The separation of families, the expulsion of residents, the confiscation of lands, children abducted from their beds and cruelly interrogated, families evicted from their homes out onto the street, farmers tortured by kippa-wearing bullies under the protection of the army and on the orders of the government  and hardly anyone goes out onto the streets. That is the peak achievement of the Zionist movement.

The State of Israel, which was officially declared as an apartheid state, is distinguished by what has always been the most typical and successful method of racism: the classification of human beings. The Hebrew language that keeps getting uglier under the auspices of the army of Occupation and the bureaucracy of Occupation, is full of classifications: there are people who are a cancer in the heart of the nation and there are people who are a security danger, and there are people who are a plague or a demographic nightmare and there are people who are a health risk, all of them classified and categorized in such a way that even the most ignorant and boorish of Israel’s ministers manage to learn this categorization by heart.

We are all subject to classifications. We are all controlled by the racist laws of this place, and voluntarily placed into ghettos. The Zionist ghetto has learned not to see and not to hear anything beyond the walls that surround it: the real walls made of concrete, and the imaginary walls made of obedience, hate and terrible fear. We do not dare protest against the racist laws, we do not dare to defy racist signs, we do not dare to defend tortured children, we do not dare to break the walls of Gaza, and we do not dare go to Hebron and Deheisheh, to Jenin and Ramallah to ask after the neighbours. That is the great victory of the Occupation. Under the cover of the Occupation, we choose again and again to fold under the rule of criminals of every kind, war criminals, ignoramuses and boors. Thus do we punish ourselves for our helplessness and the withering of our spirit. Year after year we take our children to the gates of the schools, let them learn in an education system that burns books of history and citizenship and authorizes books that incite the murder of children. We abandon them to brainwashing and lies about the War of Liberation we won and Jerusalem Day that signifies our conquests, and the parade for Samaria, which is ours, we let them be taken to Hebron, the City of our Patriarchs, and to the City of David who is not alive and not well. The teachers in that system do not flinch when they are called upon to poison their pupils’ minds with mendacious stories about our historical rights to the neighbours’ lands, about heroism and victory when it was really ethnic cleansing, inspired and planned by the institutions of racism. The entire purpose of Israeli education is to prepare children to be obedient soldiers of the Israel Occupation Force.

We bow our heads when the most institutionalized terrorist organization in the world takes our children from us and enlists them into its ranks and teaches them how to classify people, how to classify children, how to classify babies, how to classify pain and how to classify the dead. All that, in order to harden their hearts and to dull their senses so that they can abuse, destroy and kill with a clean conscience. We are occupied to such a degree that even when the human being turns into blood we continue to classify without understanding that all of us, the dead and the living, are victims of the corrupting Occupation.

We feel the pain of the parents of one captive Jewish soldier and do not let the pain of the parents of thousands of abducted Palestinian children penetrate through to us, parents who are not allowed to visit their incarcerated children for years because the price demanded of them for the visit is collaboration with the oppressor. We ignore the sufferings of the children of Gaza who are living on the margins of death, victims of malnutrition and lack of medical care, without electricity, without the right to education and livelihood, without a chance and without hope.

As everyone knows today, the 1967 war was not a war of no choice. It was a bolting from the corral by young generals, hot-blooded colts who had sprouted and grown up in the Zionist ghetto and learned to dream of conquest. They trained and trained until they could do so no longer and then took advantage of a moment of stupidity on the part of the neighbours to breach every obstacle, to cast off all restraints and to conquer and expand and destroy joyfully, with intoxicated senses, with a feeling of omnipotent supremacy but without any plan for the future, without any thought for the day after and the millions of human beings who became subjects overnight. In order to justify the devastation and the destruction, the official mythologists were mobilized to affix a scriptural verse to every profane killing and an entire nation was swept into the stream of plunder and exploitation, surpassing themselves every year, because the Jewish genius, from the moment it was enlisted for the task of ruin and devastation, destruction and killing, has not stopped taking out ever more patents.

Today, when the Occupation is beginning to show its effect on the quality of life of the ruling nation, they are rising up and demanding social justice. But social justice too is classified. Social justice is for residents of this ghetto, not of that ghetto. Residents of that ghetto will only spoil our social justice if we include them in our demands, if we give them a forum, if we let their voices be heard in demand of what is theirs. Because that ghetto is there for security reasons and its residents are not victims of injustice and racism but are a security problem, each and every one of them. And when they are killed it is not from racism but from political considerations and we don’t get involved in politics. Therefore that movement for social justice, the failure of which was written on the wall upon its inception, is the most spectacular product of the Israeli education system.

Woe to us that the criminals of the Occupation today are our children, woe to us that we have so succumbed to racism, that we have thus permitted the apartheid criminals to occupy our spirits and to cut us off from everything that is human, from everything that is just, from everything that is peace and quiet, good neighbourliness, love of humanity, mercifulness and compassion, in order to achieve their base objectives. The spirits of the hunger-striking prisoners in their cramped cells are breathing freedom and liberty, and our spirit is oppressed and expiring.

We are living in a ghetto that has no city and no homeland, the language of which is not the local language, a ghetto that has no place to open onto except the bypass roads that pass by everything that is alive.

The time has come when we must join our neighbours all over the Middle East, to sing the praises of the true rebellion, to declare the opening of the borders and the breaking of the barriers, to break down the doors of the prisons, to return the olives and the vineyards to their owners, to return the Children of Palestine to their borders and their land and to try to recover what was lost and trampled under the hobnailed boots of the fat bullies. Only then, if the true children of this country will permit us to learn how to live in it, we too may be able to liberate ourselves from the Occupation and be free from fear, because as Menachem Begin said:  “The essence of freedom is freedom from fear, because fear is no less terrible a ruler for its being concealed.”

Among us the fear is overt; among us fear is the motivating force behind every action. Fear of refusal to serve in the Occupation army, fear of supporting a justified boycott of the produce of the settlements, fear of visiting the neighbours. Kindergarten children who arrived here from Ethiopia a few months ago already know whom to hate and whom to fear. They are struck with terror and fear of ‘the Arabs’ they have never seen in person. They are sure that it was the Arabs who burned the Temple, who murdered Jews in Germany, who detained them in Gondar, who are lying in wait for them on all sides. We must liberate our children from the walls of fear and teach them the bases of liberty and responsibility, and explain to them and to ourselves that a person who obeys restrictions that prevent him from going wherever he wants, even if it is Hebron or Jenin or Ramallah, is not a free person but a conquered person. A person who invents laws that restrict the ability of their neighbours to get an education and make a living is a repressed person, a person under siege. That siege can be lifted only by resistance of the type that we see in Bil’in and Ni’lin, Babi Salah, Maasara and through courageous civil disobedience, with a blanket “no” as our neighbours are doing.

I will conclude with a few lines written by Almog Behar, who wrote the following to Mahmoud Darwish:

To my brother Mahmoud Darwish:
who made our history conflicted
And placed me among the high towers
Standing watch over the heavy gates of Gaza
Observing the windows of houses through the sights of rifles?
Who erected between us walls of concrete and iron and the eyes of cameras
And divided us into conquerors and conquered
When we should be brothers?

Translated from Hebrew by George Malent

AFP link: www.australiansforpalestine.net…