israeli apartheid

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God bless Amira Hass. As ever she is on the cutting edge – exposing lies in the official narrative that we’ve heard so often that they’ve become a part of general wisdom.

The apartheid wall, the checkpoints, the permit restrictions – all seem to be designed to protect ordinary Israelis from suicide bombers and other forms of Palestinian aggression. Hass puts the lie to the entire package!

Father Dave

Amira Hass

Amira Hass

source: www.haaretz.com…

Israeli crackdown on Palestinian mobility began well before suicide bombings

Most Israelis labor under the misconception that restrictions on Palestinian movement were a result of suicide bombings, but they started long before that.

“I didn’t know you were such an empiricist,” a friend told me impatiently, a veteran peace activist with a doctorate, when I insisted at some meeting on specifying the prohibitions on the movement of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

That was in 1995, and he thought I didn’t see the big picture, the positive direction, the vision, the beat of the wings of history, and instead was merely insisting on going into detail, into temporary malfunctions. He wasn’t alone in thinking that. One of my editors at the time told me I lacked perspective because I lived in Gaza, and so my reports looked the way they did. In short, wearisome.

The signs were there right from the start − signs that the so much talked-about Peace Process was a process of subjugation; signs that Israel intended to impose on the other side an agreement whose terms were far from the Palestinian minimum, and far from what many countries in the world envisioned as a two-state solution.

But it was hard for these signs to infiltrate public awareness (as well as the Israeli and international media) through the powerful interest in seeing the outward manifestations of something that you believe exists: in Gazans bathing in the sea; in the head of the Israeli Shin Bet security service meeting with the head of the Palestinian security service; in Shimon Peres visiting Gaza; in joint security patrols; and in our soldiers no longer patrolling in the heart of the Palestinian towns.

From the supposedly narrow perspective of the Strip, though, the reality of incarceration was, looked and felt like the complete opposite of a peace process.

The chronology is important here − I’ve repeated it countless times and will repeat it countless more times − because local readers like to think that the blanket prohibitions on Palestinian mobility were a response to the suicide attacks from 1994 on. That is not the case.

It began in January 1991, on the eve of the Gulf War. The Israel Defense Forces GOC Central and Southern Commands then revoked an earlier order, from the 1970s, of a “general exit permit to Israel” − in other words, one that allowed the Palestinian residents of the occupied territory to enter Israel, and move freely within its borders and between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Initially, the revocation was interpreted as something temporary, a preventive measure during the unclear period of wartime. But after a lengthy curfew, the residents of the Strip woke up to a new reality. If up until 1991 Israel had respected (for reasons of its own) the right to freedom of movement for all Palestinians, but withheld it from a few people, after 1991 the situation was reversed: Israel denied all Palestinians (those in the West Bank as well) the right to freedom of movement, aside from a few groups and numbers that it determined.

Since then, this is the rule in effect, aside from shifts in the various categories and specific numbers of those permitted to leave. The expectation that signing the transfer of powers from the Civil Administration to the Palestinian Authority in May 1994 would restore freedom of movement was soon dashed. That was the first clear sign.

Incarceration within the Gaza Strip bagged several birds during this process of subjugation:

Just how important and deliberate that fourth step was may be gleaned from two other signs. Under the Oslo Accords, the PA has the power to change a person’s home address on his or her identity card, and only has to report the change to the Civil Administration (as the representative of Israeli’s Interior Ministry), which enters the new details in the database of its Population Registry. But in 1996, it emerged that Israel was refusing to register address changes from Gaza to the West Bank.

In 1997, another military order was issued: Gazans now needed a permit even when entering the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge. That closed a loophole which students and others had exploited until then: They would depart Gaza through Egypt, fly to Jordan, and then continue westward, through the Allenby Bridge crossing.

‘No reason to leave’

As early as 1995 I asked a woman in the Israeli security establishment why, if “confidence-building measures” between the Palestinians and Israel had been declared, there would be no easing up with respect to mobility permits and the convoluted bureaucracy that developed around them. Why not, for example, grant women and children exit permits that were valid for a year − if not to Israel, then at least to the West Bank? This woman, though not a decision maker, was placed in the right junction to answer my question: “Because they have no reason to leave,” she told me, honestly.

Clerks and junior officers in the system hear and grasp what is planned in the corridors of power, but are less careful than their superiors about what they say, and do not bother to hide certain intentions. In 1997, when I was already in the West Bank, I started to become acquainted with the traditional Palestinian farming communities in the Jordan Valley, whose tent encampments and shacks had been systematically destroyed by the Civil Administration’s inspectors and soldiers.

Several of the people whose homes had been demolished told me: “I asked the inspector, ‘So where will we go now that you’ve destroyed our home?’ And he replied: ‘Go to Arafat, go to Area A [the small area which was then designed to be under Palestinian administrative-civilian control].’”

These soldiers also divulged the intentions of their superiors. To this day, 16 years later, that is the policy behind the destruction of the water cisterns and of tent encampments there. To this day, that is the state’s answer to the High Court of Justice in petitions by residents of the southern Hebron Hills against intentions to evict them from their communities: “They have somewhere to live in Area A.”

“Area A” and “Area B” (under Palestinian civil control and Israeli military control) are the code names for the Palestinian enclaves that formed in the past 20 years − the years of the “peace process.” The Israeli battle to create the detached and separate Gaza enclave succeeded better than expected when Hamas − aided by foolish decisions of the PA − created its own separate institutions of government.

The Israeli campaign strategy to create Palestinian enclaves in the West Bank has also been crowned a great success, and its name is Area C (which is under full Israeli administrative and security control). Areas A, B and C were established in the Oslo Accords as purely temporary categories, to mark the gradual nature by which the military forces would leave the Palestinians’ territory. Fourteen years later, Area C − the last area the military was supposed to vacate (in 1999) − still covers about 62 percent of the West Bank, and is the expansion space reserved for the outposts, settlements, industrial zones and multilane highways. Permanent and sacred and ours, like the Temple Mount.

  • Separation and creation of distance between senior officials and ordinary folks by granting “generous” mobility permits to a select class of Palestinians: freedom of movement for senior PA officials who came from abroad and gave no thought to the reality that existed before, without a need for permits, and to several prisoners who had been released and positioned themselves high in the PA leadership;
  • Satisfying the PA and then PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s sense of pseudo-control − closing the crossings and requesting permits necessitated coordination between the Civil Administration and its Palestinian twin (the Ministry of Civil Affairs);
  • Giving the PA a chance to develop the commercial monopolies of its people and cronies − by sheer dint of the need to coordinate exits between the PA and Israel;
  • Most important of all: Severing the society in Gaza from that of the West Bank. In other words, undermining the basic condition for a Palestinian state, in both parts of the territory conquered in 1967.

Just how important and deliberate that fourth step was may be gleaned from two other signs. Under the Oslo Accords, the PA has the power to change a person’s home address on his or her identity card, and only has to report the change to the Civil Administration (as the representative of Israeli’s Interior Ministry), which enters the new details in the database of its Population Registry. But in 1996, it emerged that Israel was refusing to register address changes from Gaza to the West Bank.

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Here’s a far more sober analysis of the US President’s visit to Israel/Palestine.

Sam Bahour is no fool, and neither is he a pessimist. As a Palestinian American though, he inevitably feels pain every time he hears Obama speak of the US’s unconditional support for Israel.

Why shouldn’t American support of Israel have conditions and require that certain humanitarian standards be met, as is the case with every other country on the planet? Why indeed?

Father Dave

Sam Bahour

Sam Bahour

source: www.vindy.com…

Obama fails in the Mideast

As I watched President Barack Obama’s helicopter pass above my home, just before landing at the Palestinian Presidential Compound next to Ramallah, I just shook my head in disappointment, first as an American, then as a Palestinian. I thought: “Another U.S. president, on another high fanfare visit, carrying the same, failed political messages.”

It was difficult to follow Obama’s visit on TV. In normal practice when dignitaries come to town, Israel disrupts the satellite signals that feed our televisions. Nevertheless, I was able to tune in to a single Arabic channel, broadcast from Lebanon, that was unaffected by this.

Peeling away all the protocols, red carpets, formalities and artificial photo opportunities, I focused on what was coined “the policy speech.” President Obama gave it in Israel at a conference center to an audience of Israeli students. The president crafted a message directly to Israeli citizens, bypassing the right-wing Israeli prime minister who, until today, continues to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements, despite America’s and the world’s disapproval.

Clear message

The message to Israel was clear: there is no better ally to Israel than the U.S. He went on and on about how Israel will always be backed by the U.S., no matter what. Militarism won the day.

To Palestinians, and the majority of the world, that message no longer makes sense. Why support Israel as a military occupier that continues to build Jewish-only settlements? Why support Israel when it (as the U.S. State Department has documented) structurally discriminates against non-Jews, both Christian and Muslim, inside Israel? Why support Israel when it refuses to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes? In short, if Israel has become a rogue state and is moving (as Israeli leaders have acknowledged) toward a form of apartheid, why should the U.S. be there to fund it, arm it, use its veto to protect it from the United Nations, diplomatically cover for it, and do business with it?

Given that Israel is costing U.S. taxpayers over $3 billion annually and has put the U.S. in a weaker position in the Middle East because of its intransigence, it is past due that every American demand of their government to withdraw its resources and political clout from entities that are moving the region away from peace, instead of closer to it.

Larger message

Just before Air Force One landed at Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel, President Obama’s limousine, the armored vehicle known as “The Beast,” broke down after being wrongly filled with diesel instead of gasoline. A new one was flown in and no disruptions to the schedule occurred. Nevertheless, perhaps this limousine ordeal carried a larger message: whether “The Beast” or a global superpower, it is crucial that issues are filled with accurate and appropriate substances, otherwise, sooner rather than later, they will start with a sputter and end with a total breakdown.

The U.S. has filled the peace process, for the last 20 years, with Israeli-designed falsehoods, only to bring us to a total breakdown today. I was hoping (but not holding my breath) that President Obama would shift gears on this trip and come with a message to the Israelis that the world’s superpower is now going to fill the process with accountability. That did not happen, and will not, until average Americans say, “Enough is enough.”

Sam Bahour describes himself as a Palestinian-American business consultant from Youngstown living in Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine.

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This is an important essay by Gilad Atzmon. Certainly his central claim – that the Palestinian solidarity movement is being hijacked by a Judeo-centric agenda – will be more true in some areas than others.

There will always remain some groups that are  outrightly anti-Semitic. Even so, Atzmon is surely correct – that the Zionist narrative that so dominates mainline media has had a significant influence in shaping Palestinian activism worldwide.

Is there a path back? Atzmon hopes so, but he doesn’t give us any details as to where to start.

Father Dave

source: http://www.redressonline.com/2013/03/time-for-palestine-solidarity-movement-to-liberate-itself/

Time for Palestine solidarity to liberate itself

By Gilad Atzmon

The Palestine solidarity movement is being hijacked and forced to swallow a Judaeo-centric agenda that has nothing to do with the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to return to their homeland from which they were ethnically cleansed.

Palestine solidarity activists are increasingly required to subscribe to the Judaeo-centric notion that Jews and Jewish suffering are uniquely special; that Jews alone are like no other people; that the Jewish holocaust is like no other genocide; and that racism comes in degrees of vileness depending on who the victims are, with anti-Semitism being worse than any other form of racism because it targets Jews.

Conversely, according to this Judaeo-centric worldview, when it comes to the Palestinians the exact opposite is the case.

We are expected to believe that, unlike the Jews, the Palestinians are not special at all and are just like everyone else. Palestinians, we are now required to believe, are not the victims of a unique, racist, nationalist and expansionist Jewish nationalist movement. Instead, we are told to agree that, as with Native Americans and Africans, the ordeal of the Palestinian people is the result of run-of-the-mill 19th century colonialism – just more of the same old boring apartheid.

So, we are instructed to swallow the racist notion that Jews, Zionists and Israelis are exceptional, like no one else, while Palestinians are always, somehow, ordinary, always part of some greater political narrative, always just like everyone else. Their suffering is never due to the particularity of Jewish nationalism, Jewish racism or even the domination of US foreign policy by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). No, the Palestinian is always the victim of a dull, banal dynamic – general, abstract and totally lacking in particularity.

read the rest of this article here: http://www.redressonline.com/2013/03/time-for-palestine-solidarity-movement-to-liberate-itself/

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Zionists are always keen to reject any suggestion that the state of Israel is practicing Apartheid. Indeed, in California it is illegal to even us the word ‘Apartheid’ in connection with the State of Israel!  Even so, it’s hard to think of anything that characterises an Apartheid regime better than a bus service restricted to one race of people!

The transport ministry claims, of course, that the intention of the new service is simply to ease congestion and that no one will be denied entry to the regular bus service on the basis of their race. Even so, according to this report from Ynet, Palestinians who choose to travel on the so-called “mixed” lines, will be asked to leave them.

Father Dave

source: www.ynetnews.com…

Ministry launches ‘Palestinians only’ buses

Transportation Ministry sets up designated bus lines for Palestinian passengers in West Bank; insists lines are for general public, but only Palestinian villages have been advised of their existence

by Itamar Fleishman

Racial segregation or transportation mitigation? The Transportation Ministry announced that starting Sunday it will begin operating designated lines for Palestinians in the West Bank.

The bus lines in question are meant, according to the ministry, to transport Palestinian workers from the West Bank to central Israel. The ministry alleges that the move is meant to ease the congestion felt on bus lines used by Jews in the same areas, but several bus drivers told Ynet that Palestinians who will choose to travel on the so-called “mixed” lines, will be asked to leave them.

While officially the new lines are considered “general bus lines,” Ynet learned Saturday that their existence has been made public only in Palestinian villages in the West Bank, via flyers in Arabic urging Palestinians to arrive at Eyal crossing and use the designated lines.

The Transportation Ministry defended the plan, saying it was the result of reports and complaints saying that the buses traveling in the area were overcrowded and rife with tensions between the Jewish and Arab passengers.

A ministry source said that many complaints expressed concern that the Palestinian passengers may pose a security risk, while other complaints said that the overcrowded buses cause the drivers to skip stations.

The ministry has also gotten reports of scuffles between Jews and Arab passengers, as well as between Palestinians and drivers who refused to allow them to board their bus.

The ministry reportedly considered several alternatives before deciding to opt for designated lines – knowing that the issue of so-called “Palestinian lines” would be highly controversial.

‘Buses meant to improve service’

Still, the ministry eventually decided to launch the lines, which will run from Eyal crossing – near the West Bank city of Qalqilya – to Israel.

Legally, however, there is no way to stop Palestinians from boarding “regular” lines: “We are not allowed to refuse service and we will not order anyone to get off the bus, but from what we were told, starting next week, there will be checks at the checkpoint, and Palestinians will be asked to board their own buses,” a driver with Afikim – the company that holds the routes franchise for the area – told Ynet.

The volatile nature of the decision was not lost on the driver: “Obviously, everyone will start screaming ‘apartheid’ and ‘racism’ now. This really doesn’t feel right, and maybe (the ministry) should find a different solution, but the situation right now is impossible.”

Another driver said that, “Driving a bus full of only Palestinians might turn out to be tricky. It could be unnerving and it might also create other problems. It could be a scary thing.”

The Judea and Samaria Police is reportedly gearing for the move as well, and will deploy additional forces in Eyal crossing to maintain public order.

Police sources said that it is highly unlikely that Palestinians would be excluded from riding on existing bus lines, adding that the forces would “Do their best to execute the ministry’s decision.”

Afikim issued a statement saying that, “This plan aims to ease travel for Palestinian passengers and offer a solution that counters pirate bus companies that charge exorbitant prices. As for any question about removing Palestinian passengers from buses – that has to be addressed by the enforcement and security bodies.”

The Transportation Ministry issued the following statement: “The new lines are not separate lines for Palestinians but rather two designated lines meant to improve the services offered to Palestinian workers who enter Israel through Eyal Crossing.

“The new lines will replace irregular, pirate lines that charge very high prices from Palestinian passengers. The new lines will reduce congestion and will benefit Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

According to the statement, “The Transportation Ministry is forbidden from preventing any passenger from boarding any line of public transportation, nor do we know of a directive to that effect. Instating these lines was done with the knowledge and complete agreement of the Palestinians.”