Saturday, May 7, 2011

President Carter: US Support of Unity can Help Palestinian Democracy and Establish a Unified State

Ex-Us president Jimmy Carter called for international support to the Palestinian national unity and reconciliation deal signed today in Cairo by Palestinian groups.

This is a decisive moment. Under the auspices of the Egyptian government, Palestine’s two major political movements — Fatah and Hamas — are signing a reconciliation agreement on Wednesday that will permit both to contest elections for the presidency and legislature within a year. “Carter wrote in an opinion article published on Wednesday by the Washington Post.

On the international support to the Palestinian unity deal Carter said” If the United States and the international community support this effort, they can help Palestinian democracy and establish the basis for a unified Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza that can make a secure peace with Israel. If they remain aloof or undermine the agreement, the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory may deteriorate with a new round of violence against Israel. Support for the interim government is critical, and the United States needs to take the lead.”

Last week Hamas and Fatah leaders meet in Cairo and announced that they have reached a deal to end division. This week Palestinian factions joined Hamas-and Fatah officials and signed the deal on Tuesday and today announced the deal in a calibration that took place in Cairo.

The Islamic movement Hamas was at loggerheads with Fatah, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, since Hamas won the parliamentary elections in January of 2006.

Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip ending months of bloody conflict with Fatah allied security forces. Egypt and other Arab countries attempts of reaching a reconciliation deal between the two largest Palestinian factions have failed in the past four years.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beit Hanoun invasion 01.11.2006 - 07.11.2006

Since the capture of an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid by Palestinian militants on 25 June, Israel launched a major military operation that has gone on for more than four months and led to the death of around 350 Palestinians many of them civilians. During that time, three Israelis soldiers have died.

In one of Israel's biggest raids into Gaza in recent months, troops carried out three air strikes and moved to encircle the town of Beit Hanoun. The town in northern Gaza Strip was at the centre of a major, ongoing Israeli military operation during the week, Israeli army says its aim is to prevent groups like Islamic Jihad firing missiles across the nearby border into southern Israel. The rocket attacks are simply retaliation for daily Israeli raids and killings in Gaza, and over in the occupied West Bank. The crudely made rockets often cause panic and minor injury, but they very rarely kill.

The town of Beit Hanoun has been under the very tight control of a large force of tanks and troops who have ordered the tens of thousands of local people to stay off the streets for all but very brief periods. The Israelis destroyed Beit Hanoun, they destroyed the infrastructure, cut the water pipes and the telephone lines. Hundreds of men have been rounded up and questioned, and some have been taken away to Israel. The entire town of Beit Hanoun remains under Israeli control and troops have ordered residents to stay indoors.

More than 60 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in a week-long operation.

A senior United Nations official, John Ging, has described the atmosphere in Beit Hanoun as one of "death, destruction and despair". It is almost impossible for journalists to get into the town, but the World Food Programme spokeswoman, Kirstie Campbell, was among United Nations aid workers allowed to bring in emergency rations and medicines, "The atmosphere was extremely stressful," she said. "The people were asking for a lot of things. They were asking for food, for milk, and they were very worried about relatives that have been detained." "You could really see that the people are suffering."

A young Palestinian woman has blown herself up in a bomb attack on Israeli troops in northern Gaza, injuring one soldier but also wounding a number of civilians. The bombing came in the northern town of Beit Hanoun. Palestinians regard the attack as an act of desperate resistance.

Earlier, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy was killed in an air strike on the northern town of Jabaliya. During the Jabaliya air strike, at least four people were hurt in the attack near a school. The Israeli military said its aircraft had attacked a group of militants retrieving a device used to fire a missile. But the Palestinians said the plane missed its target and, instead, struck close to a school.

At least two women died when an Israeli shell struck the home of Jamila Shanti, an MP from the ruling Palestinian party Hamas. Ms Shanti has been identified as the organiser of a women's protest on Friday to free militants sheltering in a mosque, that was fired on by Israeli troops killing two unarmed protesters.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniya have called the operation a "massacre" and urged the UN Security Council to convene to discuss the issue. Pope Benedict XVI said he was very worried about the situation in Gaza, and called on all sides to work to stop the bloodshed and to immediately resume direct and concrete negotiations. The European Union presidency, currently held by Finland, has issued a statement deploring "the growing number of civilian casualties the Israeli military operation has caused". The Red Cross has criticised the killing by Israeli force of paramedics. The International Red Cross also criticised Israel for the killing of two medical workers, saying that the paramedics and their vehicle were clearly marked.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

March 30th Day of the Land Listen to Palestine

On Land Day, listen to Palestine. Listen to Palestine tell you about a people steadfast in their land. Listen to Palestine tell you of a people carrying the keys to their homes in their hearts. Listen to Palestine tell you of young people dancing the dabkeh in Yafa, Haifa, and Bethlehem, joining hands from Jerusalem to Bisan and singing of Gaza and Al-Jalil. Listen to Palestine tell you of a people determined to resist the occupier, never to tire, never to rest, never to give up, never to allow the flame of resistance to fade, always to keep it burning until total liberation. On Land Day, listen to Palestine tell you of land that was and forever will be Palestinian from the River to the Sea and from Ras In-Naqoura to Im Ir-Rishrash.
On Land Day listen to Jerusalem tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Yafa tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Bethlehem tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Haifa tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Gaza tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Acca tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Nablus tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Nazareth tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Deir Al-Balah tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Um Il-Fahim tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Jenin tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Tarshiha tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Ramallah tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Beir Is-Sabi’ tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Hebron tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Bisan tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Rafah tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Arraba tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Tulkarim tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Safad tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Qalqilia tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Al-Lyd tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Jericho tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Ar-Ramleh tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Salfit tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Sakhnin tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Khan Younis tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Tabaria tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Toubas tell you: I am Palestinian.
Listen to Kufr Kanna tell you: I am Palestinian.
On Land Day, listen to every inch of the land between the Jordan River
and the Mediterranean Sea tell the whole world: This land is Palestine.
March 31

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

War-Time Contingency and the Balfour Declaration of 1917

Rejecting deterministic views of the 1917 Balfour Declaration as an expression of the inevitable work of history returning Jews to their ancient homeland, this article argues that Britain's fateful endorsement of the idea of a national home for Jews in Palestine was, in fact, the result of a combination of fortuity and contingency related primarily to World War I and the concerns and personalities of the British politicians involved. The article highlights the historic improbability of the Declaration and its implementation in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, noting the regression it represented at a time when British imperial policy aspired to more flexible accommodations with colonial populations.

FOR MANY ZIONISTS in the early twentieth century, the establishment of a national home for the Jews in Palestine through the British government’s Balfour Declaration of 1917 and its League of Nations Mandate of 1922 represented, momentously, the now-imminent return of a diasporic people, comparative aliens in gentile societies, to their ancient home in the Levant. The mystic Zionist, Abraham Isaac Kook, saw it all as an expression of divine purpose, a great restorative sweep of God-driven history. Such ideas were rooted, albeit with a political twist, in the ancient Jewish sense of a “sacred” history and a related metaphysic of material events. There was an even grander reclamation: a “return to history” (ha-shiva la-historia) itself. Until that point, lacking territoriality and incoherent as a nation, the Jews had been, in David Ben-Gurion’s words at the time of the Balfour Declaration, “extricated from world history.” Now, through the official agency of the British, they were poised for a dramatic reentry.


To the disinterested historian, however, what commands attention is not some working through of ineluctable religious or secular historical forces but rather the sheer short-term contingency, much of it war related, of the enabling factors underlying both the Declaration and Britain’s Mandate over Palestine in which it was ultimately incorporated. If there was any great movement of events, it was more a regression than an advance, involving as it did the establishment of a European settler community in an already well-peopled and well-charted territory. Britain’s sponsorship of the Zionist project stood in contradiction to the “Wilsonian” spirit of the times, in which self-determination for formerly imperialized societies had been, notionally at least, a significant concern in post–World War I political dispositions.

The British were remarkably explicit in their denial of democratic rights to the Palestinian Arabs. The author of the Declaration, Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, insisted, in an oft-quoted remark, that the aspirations of Zionists were “of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land,” and that Arab claims to Palestine were “infinitely weaker than those of the Jews.” These views were consistent with the Declaration’s promise of protection for the “civil and religious,” but not “political,” rights of the so-called “non-Jewish” population of Palestine. Lord Alfred Milner, one of the drafters of the Declaration, suggested that history and tradition of “the most sacred character” made it “impossible . . . to leave it to the Arab majority . . . to decide what shall be the future of Palestine.” The prime minister, David Lloyd George, was more succinct: “You mustn’t give responsible government to Palestine.” Nor could the indigenous population do much by way of effective complaint: Sir Ronald Storrs, successively military governor of Jerusalem and civil governor of Jerusalem and Judea between 1917 and 1926, observed that the Palestinian Arabs, in making pleas for political justice, had “about as much chance as had the Dervishes before Kitchener’s machine guns at Omdurman.”

There was, of course, a widespread failure on the part of European colonial powers to deliver self-determination to their subordinate societies: It took a second world war to bring that about. But there was a distinct sense in British imperial policy that aspired to more flexible accommodations with colonial populations—notably in India, Ireland, and Egypt. Winston Churchill as colonial secretary had, despite his own vigorous Zionism, a clear sense of the inflammatory inconsistency involved, declaring in 1922 that the problem with the idea of a Jewish homeland was “that it conflicted with our regular policy of consulting the wishes of the people in mandate territories and giving them a representative institution as soon as they were fitted for it.” Another friend of Zionism, Sir Mark Sykes, insisted in 1918: “If Arab nationality be recognised in Syria and Mesopotamia as a matter of justice it will be equally necessary to devise some form of control or administration for Palestine” that recognizes “the various religious and racial nationalities in the country . . . according equal privileges to all such nationalities.”

The regression, however, was implemented, and proved to be of the greatest historical significance, with bloody consequences for the near-century ahead. The clear implication was that the Jewish national home in Palestine, inserted in newly conquered British territory, could survive only through radical moderation of its colonialist instincts and an historic compromise with the Arab majority; or, alternatively, by iron-fisted attempts to impose unmoderated Jewish political will. The second approach—the one that came to govern events—was well articulated by the “revisionist” Zionists, most notably by the Odessa-born Vladimir Jabotinsky. As Avi Shlaim indicates, Jabotinsky did not subscribe to the common, tendentious illusion that “backward” Arabs would welcome “modernizing” Jews into their midst. Conflict was bound to ensue, he maintained, and it was incumbent upon the arriving settlers to prepare psychologically and militarily for the battles to come. “Any native people,” Jabotinsky wrote in 1923, “views their country as their national home, of which they are complete masters. They will not voluntarily allow, not even a new master, but even a new partner. And so it is for the Arabs. . . . They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or a Sioux looked upon the prairie.” The analogies were not happy ones.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe

Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian and senior lecturer at Haifa University. He's also Academic Director of the Research Institute for Peace at Givat Haviva and Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies. Pappe is an expert on Israel and Zionism and the Palestinians' Right of Return to their homeland, is considered "an honourable academic with integrity and conscience," and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Council for Palestinian Restitution and Repatriation (CPRR), an organization declaring that "every Palestinian has a legitimate, individual right to return to his or her original home and to absolute restitution of his or her property."

Pappe is also one of Israel's "new historians" whose scholarship and writings are based on access to material now available from British Mandate period and Israeli archives that provide the most accurate and authentic documented history of Israel before and after it became a state and which now serve to debunk the myths about the years leading up to the Jewish State's founding and those following it to this day.

Pappe has also authored, contributed to or edited nine books. His latest is the one this review covers in detail so readers will know about its powerful and shocking content, unknown to most in the West and in Israel, that hopefully will arouse them enough to get the book and learn in full detail what Pappe documented. He proves from official records how the Israeli state came into being with blood on its hands from lands forcibly seized from its Palestinian inhabitants who'd lived on it for hundreds of years previously. Since the 1940s, they were ethnically cleansed and slaughtered without mercy so their homeland would become one for Jews alone.

The shameful result is that Palestinians then and today have almost no rights including being able to live in peace and security on their own land in their own state that no longer exists. Survivors then and their offspring either live in Israel as unwanted Arab citizens with few rights or in the Occupied Palestinians Territories (OPT) where their lives are suspended in limbo in an occupied country in which they're subjected to daily institutionalized and codified racism and persecution. They have no power over their daily lives and live in a constant state of fear with good reason. They face economic strangulation; collective punishment for any reason; loss of free movement; enclosures by separation walls, electric fences and border closings; regular curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, loss of their homes by bulldozings and crops and orchards by wanton destruction and seizure; arrest without cause, and routine subjection to torture while in custody.

They're targeted for extra-judicial assassination and indiscriminate killing; taxed punitively and denied basic services essential to life and well-being including health care, education, employment and even enough food and water at the whim of Israeli authorities in a deliberate effort to destroy their will to resist and eliminate those who won't by expulsion or extermination. Palestinians have no power to end these appalling abuses and crimes against humanity or receive any redress for them in Israeli, the West or through the International Criminal Court Israel ignores when it rules against its interests.

How can they as Muslims in a racist Jewish state where Israelis oppressive them with impunity, the US goes along with huge financing and supplying of the most modern and destructive weapons of war, and the West and most Arab states are indifferent preferring to ally with Israel and the US for benefits received while writing off Palestinians as a small price worth paying. It created state of appalling human misery and desperation severely aggravated by crushing economic sanctions for the past year imposed for the first time ever on an occupied people. They're responsible for poverty and unemployment levels of 80% or more and increasing instances of starvation and unreported deaths from all causes because Israel controls everything and everyone allowed in and out of the territories. Those inside them suffer painfully as a result. Others with power to help, don't care and do nothing.

Pappe documents how it all began in 12 chapters with a short epilogue plus 18 graphic pictures needing no explanation. He calls the book his "J'Accuse against the politicians who devised the plan and the generals who carried out the ethnic cleansing" naming the guilty, the villages and urban areas destroyed, and the cruelest crimes committed against defenseless people only wanting to live in peace on their own land and were willing to do it with Jews as neighbors but not as overlords or oppressors.

This review is lengthy so readers will know in detail what Israeli authorities successfully suppressed for decades. Pappe courageously revealed it in a book begging to be read and discussed by all people of conscience and good faith. They need to take the lead building a groundswell consensus to stand up to this long-festering injustice against defenseless people fighting for their rights and existence against overwhelming odds.

Pappe provides them help with his extensive documentation and other suggested reading on the origins of Zionist ideology leading to the ethnic cleansing in the 1940s and thereafter. He particularly mentions two of Nur Masalha's important books - Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of Transfer in Zionist Political Thought, 1882 - 1948 and The Politics of Denial: Israel and the Palestinian Refugee Problem. Readers are encouraged to explore this issue further with these and other books exposing ugly truths long suppressed in the West and needing to be freely aired.

The Beginning - Initial Planning for Ethnic Cleansing

In his preface, Pappe writes about the "Red House" in Tel-Aviv that became headquarters for the Hagana, the dominant Zionist underground paramilitary militia during the British Mandate period in Palestine between 1920 and 1948 when the Jewish state came into being. He details how David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, met with leading Zionists and young Jewish military officers on March 10, 1948 to finalize plans to ethnically cleanse Palestine that unfolded in the months that followed including "large-scale (deadly serious)intimidation; laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centres; setting fire to homes, properties and goods; expulsion; demolition; and finally, planting mines among the rubble to prevent any of the expelled inhabitants from returning."

The final master plan was called Plan D (Dalet in Hebrew) following plans A, B, and C preceding it. It was to be a war without mercy complying with what Ben-Gurion said in June, 1938 to the Jewish Agency Executive and never wavering from later: "I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it." Plan D became the way to do it. It included forcible expulsion of hundreds of thousands of unwanted Palestinian Arabs in urban and rural areas accompanied by an unknown number of others mass slaughtered to get it done. The goal was simple and straightforward - to create an exclusive Jewish state without an Arab presence by any means including mass-murder.

Once begun, the whole ugly business took six months to complete. It expelled about 800,000 people, killed many others, and destroyed 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in cities like Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. The action was a clear case of ethnic cleansing that international law today calls a crime against humanity for which convicted Nazis at Nuremberg were hanged. So far Israelis have always remained immune from international law even though names of guilty leaders and those charged with implementing their orders are known as well as the crimes they committed.

They included cold-blooded mass-murder; destruction of homes, villages and crops; rapes; other atrocities; and massacres of defenseless people given no quarter including women and children. The crimes were suppressed and expunged from official accounts as Israeli historiography cooked up the myth that Palestinians left voluntarily fearing harm from invading Arab armies. It was a lie covering up Israeli crimes Palestinians call the Nakba - the catastrophe or disaster that's still a cold, harsh festering unresolved injustice.

Even with British armed presence still in charge of law and order before its Mandate ended, Jewish forces completed the expulsion of about 250,000 Palestinians the Brits did nothing to stop. It continued unabated because when neighboring Arab states finally intervened, they did so without conviction. They came belatedly and with only small, ill-equipped forces, no match for a superior, well-armed Israeli military easily able to prevail as discussed below.

Ethnic Cleansing Defined

Pappe notes that ethnic cleansing is well-defined in international law that calls it a crime against humanity. He cites several definitions including from the Hutchinson encyclopedia saying it's expulsion by force to homogenize the population. The US State Department concurs adding its essence is to eradicate a region's history. The United Nations used a similar definition in 1993 when the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) characterized it as the desire of a state or regime to impose ethnic rule on a mixed area using expulsion and other violence including separating men and women, detentions, murder of males of all ages who might become combatants, destruction of houses, and repopulating areas with another ethnic group.

In 1948, Zionists waged their "War of Independence" using Plan D to "cleanse" Palestine according to the UN definition. It involved cold-blooded massacres and indiscriminate killing, targeted assassinations and widespread destruction as clear instances of crimes of war and against humanity, later expunged from the country's official history and erased from its collective memory. It was left it to a few courageous historians like Ilan Pappe to resurrect events to preserve the truth too important to let die. His invaluable book provides an historic account of what, in fact, happened. It needs broad exposure but won't get it in the corporate-controlled Israeli, US or Western media overall. It will on this important web site with the courage to publish it.

Zionism's Ideological Roots

Pappe traces the roots of Zionism to the late 1880s in Central and Eastern Europe "as a national revival movement, prompted by the growing pressure on Jews in those regions to assimilate totally or risk continuing persecution." Founded by Theodor Herzl, the movement became international in scope supporting a Jewish homeland in the Land of Israel, or Eretz Israel, even though early on many in the movement were ambivalent about its location. That changed following Herzl's death in 1904 when it was decided the goal was to colonize Palestine because of its biblical connection that happened to be land occupied inappropriately by "strangers" meaning anyone not Jewish having "no right" to be there.

So as justification, the myth was created of "a land without people for a people without a land" even though this "empty land" had a flourishing Palestinian Arab population including a small number of Jews. Zionist leaders wanted a complete dispossession of indigenous Arabs to reestablish the ancient land of Eretz Israel as a Jewish state for Jews alone and got help doing it from the British after Palestine became part of its empire post-WW I. With duplicity, the Brits crafted the 1917 Balfour Declaration supporting the notion of a Jewish homeland in Palestine while simultaneously promising indigenous Arabs their rights would be protected and land would be freed from foreign rule.

Palestinian Arabs saw through the scheme wanting no part of it. It was their land, and they weren't about to give it up without a struggle. They strongly opposed further Jewish immigration but to no avail, as their wishes conflicted with British plans for the territory. It set off decades of conflict leading to the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 with British help under their Mandate and neighboring Arab state indifference doing little to prevent it. Palestinians lost their homeland, their struggle for justice goes on unresolved, and these beleaguered people are virtually isolated from the West and their Arab neighbors preferring alliance with Israel for their own interests that exclude helping Palestinian people get theirs served including a viable independent state free from Israeli occupation.

Pappe traces the early post-Balfour history when Palestinians comprised 80 - 90% of the population. Even then they fared poorly under British Mandate rule giving Zionist settlers preferential treatment. It led to uprisings in 1929 and 1936, the later one lasting three years before being brutally suppressed. In its wake, Britain expelled Palestinian leaders making their people vulnerable to Jewish forces post-WW II that led to their defeat and subjugation. The sympathetic British Mandate made it possible by helping Jewish settlers transform their 1920 paramilitary organization into the Hagana, a name meaning defense. It then became the military arm of the Jewish Agency or Zionist governing body now called the Israel Defense Forces or IDF.

Planning the Expulsion of the Palestinians

David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, led the Zionist movement from the mid-1920s until well into the 1960s. He played a central role and had supreme authority planning the establishment of a Jewish state serving as its "architect" with full control over all security and defense issues in the Jewish community. His goal was Jewish sovereignty over as much of ancient Palestine as possible achieved the only way he thought possible - by forceable removable of Palestinians from their land so Jews could be resettled in it.

To do it, he and other Zionist leaders needed a systematic plan to "cleanse" the land for Jewish habitation only. It began with a detailed registry or inventory of Arab villages the Jewish National Fund (JNF) was assigned to compile. The JNF was founded in 1901 as the main Zionist tool for the colonization of Palestine. Its purpose was to buy land used to settle Jewish immigrants that by the end of the British Mandate in 1948 amounted to 5.8% of Palestine or a small fraction of what Zionists wanted for a Jewish state. Early on, Ben-Gurion and others knew a more aggressive approach was needed for their colonization plan to succeed.

It began with the JNF Arab village inventory that was a blueprint completed by the late 1930s that included the topographic location of each village with detailed information including husbandry, cultivated land, number of trees, quality of fruit, average amount of land per family, number of cars, shop owners, Palestinian clans and their political affiliation, descriptions of village mosques and names of their imams, civil servants and more. The final inventory update was finished in 1947 with lists of "wanted" persons in each village targeted in 1948 for search-and-arrest operations with those seized summarily shot on the spot in cold blood.

The idea was simple - kill the leaders and anyone thought to be a threat the British hadn't already eliminated quelling the 1936-39 uprising. It created a power vacuum neutralizing any effective opposition to Zionists' plans. The only remaining obstacle thereafter was the British presence Ben-Gurion knew was on the way out by 1946 before it finally ended in May, 1948.

Partition, Ethnic Cleansing, War, and Establishment of the State of Israel

Ethnic cleansing began in early December, 1947 when Palestinians comprised two-thirds of the population and Jews, mostly from war-torn Europe, the other third. The British tried dealing with two distinct ethnic entities choosing partition as the way to do it. By 1937, this solution became the centerpiece of Zionist policy, but it proved too hard for the Brits to resolve and be able to satisfy both sides. It instead handed the problem to the newly formed UN to deal with before their Mandate ended.

It put the Palestinians' fate in the hands of a Special Committee for Palestine (UNSCOP) whose members had no prior experience solving conflicts and knew little Palestinian history. It was a recipe for disaster as events unfolded. UNSCOP opted for partition favoring the Jews as compensation for the Nazi holocaust that became General Assembly Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947 giving them a state encompassing 56% the country with one-third of the population while making Jerusalem an international city. Palestinians were justifiably outraged. They were excluded from the decision-making process concluded against their will and at their expense.

From that moment on, the die was cast leading to partition, ethnic cleansing, the first Arab-Israeli war, the others to follow, and decades of disregard for their rights to this day creating their desperate state with no resolution in prospect. Resolution 181 was even worse than an unfair 56 - 44% division of territory as it allotted the most fertile land and almost all urban and rural territory in Palestine to the new Jewish state plus 400 of the over 1000 Palestinian villages their residents lost with no right of appeal.

Pappe explains Ben-Gurion simultaneously accepted and rejected the resolution. He and other Zionist leaders wanted official international recognition of the right of Jews to have their own state in Palestine. He was also determined to make Jerusalem the Jewish capital, intended final borders to remain flexible wanting to include within them as much future territory as possible, and today Israel is the only country in the world without established borders. Ben-Gurion decided borders would "be determined by force and not by partition resolution." He headed the Consultancy or Consultant Committee, an ad-hoc cabal of Zionist leaders created solely to plan the expulsion of Palestinians to cleanse the land for Jewish habitation only.

The process began in early December, 1947 with a series of attacks against Palestinian villages and neighborhoods. They were engaged ineffectively from the start on January 9 by units of the first all-Arab volunteer army. It resulted in forced expulsions beginning in mid-February, 1948. On March 10, final Plan Dalet was adopted with its first targets being Palestinian urban centers that were all occupied by end of April with about 250,000 Palestinians uprooted, displaced or killed including by massacres, the most notorious and remembered being at Deir Yassin even though Tantura may have been the largest.

Deir Yassin was Palestinian land on April 9 when Jewish soldiers burst into the village, machine-gunned houses randomly killing many in them. The remaining villagers were then assembled in one place and murdered in cold blood including children and women first raped and then killed. Recent research puts the number massacred at 93 (including 30 babies), but dozens more were killed in the fighting that ensued making the total number of deaths much higher.

Read :

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jewish settlers savagely attack Palestinians in Hawara

NABLUS, (PIC)– Hundreds of armed Jewish settlers attacked at midnight Saturday Palestinian homes in Hawara village, south of Nablus city.

Eyewitnesses told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the settlers went on the rampage through the villages damaging property, assaulting residents, burning cars and throwing stones at everything.

Consequently, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) closed road 60 between Ramallah and Nablus.

The PIC reporter said the villagers in Hawara and nearby villages used the speakers of mosques to urge the Palestinians to defend their homes and property against settlers’ attacks, which were described as the most violent since a long time.

Hundreds of villagers stood up for themselves using stones and sticks to confront the armed settlers who were escorted by some Israeli troops. The size of damage and injuries is still unknown.


This type of aggression is very common in the occupied areas. Even children going and coming from school are constantly harassed.

Settlers attacking Palestinians and peace activist during an olive harvest

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Tear down this Israeli wall

The Palestinian advocates of a boycott asked that I visit the occupied Palestinian territory to see the wall for myself before I made up my mind. I agreed.

Under the protection of the United Nations I visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw that day. The wall is an appalling edifice to behold. It is policed by young Israeli soldiers who treated me, a casual observer from another world, with disdainful aggression.

If it could be like that for me, a foreigner, a visitor, imagine what it must be like for the Palestinians, for the underclass, for the passbook carriers. I knew then that my conscience would not allow me to walk away from that wall, from the fate of the Palestinians I met: people whose lives are crushed daily by Israel's occupation. In solidarity, and somewhat impotently, I wrote on their wall that day: "We don't need no thought control."

Realising at that point that my presence on a Tel Aviv stage would inadvertently legitimise the oppression I had seen, I cancelled my gig at the stadium in Tel Aviv and moved it to Neve Shalom, an agricultural community devoted to growing chick peas and also, admirably, to co-operation between different faiths, where Muslim, Christian and Jew work side by side in harmony.

Against all expectations it was to become the biggest music event in the short history of Israel. Some 60,000 fans battled traffic jams to attend. It was extraordinarily moving for us, and at the end of the gig I was moved to exhort the young people gathered there to demand of their government that they attempt to make peace with their neighbours and respect the civil rights of Palestinians living in Israel.

Sadly, in the intervening years the Israeli government has made no attempt to implement legislation that would grant rights to Israeli Arabs equal to those enjoyed by Israeli Jews, and the wall has grown, inexorably, illegally annexing more and more of the West Bank.

For the people of Gaza, locked in a virtual prison behind the wall of Israel's illegal blockade, it means another set of injustices. It means that children go to sleep hungry, many chronically malnourished. It means that fathers and mothers, unable to work in a decimated economy, have no means to support their families. It means that university students with scholarships to study abroad must watch the opportunity of a lifetime slip away because they are not allowed to travel.

Full Story at Source :

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Israeli navy shells Palestinian fishing boat in Gaza

Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph)-As occupation military offensive continues, Israeli gunboats near the shore of Rafah city in the south part of Gaza Strip targeted Tuesday evening a Palestinian fishing boat causing damage with one boat.

Local sources reported that Israeli navy opened massive fire at Palestinian fishermen, while they were practicing their job.

Israeli gunboats regularly attack Palestinian fishing boats leaving many families without support since more than 3500 residents of Gaza Strip depend on fishing as a source of their income.

On 17th February, three Palestinian fishermen were killed by Israeli shells fired from the northern coast .


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November 29- Mark it down

In 1977, the General Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (resolution 32/40 B). On that day, in 1947, the Assembly adopted the resolution on the partition of Palestine (resolution 181 (II)). In resolution 60/37 of 1 December 2005, the Assembly requested the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights, as part of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November, to continue to organize an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the UN. It also encouraged Member States to continue to give the widest support and publicity to the observance of the Day of Solidarity. Click Here

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