Why the Huwwara pogrom was inevitable

Monday, 27 February 2023 — The Electronic Intifada

Maureen Clare Murphy

Part of the aftermath of a “state-sanctioned” settler rampage in the West Bank village of Huwwara, 27 February, Ilia Yefimovich DPA

In early January, as Israel was forming its most openly extreme right-wing government yet, Nadav Tamir, a former Israeli diplomat and current lobby group director, gave a prescient warning.

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Finally charged and lacking a mandate to govern, Netanyahu’s days are numbered

24 November 2019 — Jonathan Cook

As the deadlock over forming a government continues, charges against the caretaker prime minister have tipped the country into an uncharted constitutional crisis

The National – 24 November 2019

The decision to indict Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on three separate criminal counts pushes the country’s already unprecedented electoral stalemate into the entirely uncharted territory of a constitutional crisis.

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Israeli attack on Syria is a message for Russia BY M.K. Bhadrakumar

1 July 2019 — Indian Punchline

(Russian President Vladimir Putin met US President Donald Trump at Osaka on June 29, 2019)

Although G20 summit in Osaka achieved nothing and there were no breakthrough decisions, a pleasant feeling had appeared momentarily that in the disjointed world situation, all the participants in the event at least reconfirmed their commitment to continue efforts to improve the global trade system, including work to reform the WTO. The G20 summits are generally convergent occasions and Osaka was no different.

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EU envoy admits he doesn’t really care about Palestinian rights By David Cronin

3 May 2019 — Electronic Intifada

Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, greets Benjamin Netanyahu during his 2017 visit to Brussels. (Council of the European Union)

Oscar Wilde wrote that “the truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

The French diplomat Gerard Araud has – unintentionally, no doubt – overturned that observation. He has shown how the truth is often simple and rarely accepted.

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FAIR TV: Iran Nuke Tall Tales, New Benghazi Nonsense, White Guys on Affirmative Action By Peter Hart

3 May 2014 — FAIR TV

FAIRTV050214On the show this week: CNN goes to Iran nuclear expert… Benjamin Netanyahu? Plus new nonsense on Benghazi, and Meet the Press presents a discussion on affirmative action with mostly conservative white guys–showing media’s need for some affirmative action of their own.

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Gilad Atzmon: Israel Cannot Handle Its Past

31 July, 2010 — Gilad Atzmon – Writings

gilad.jpgIsrael cannot handle its past. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu decided this week to extend from 50 to 70 years the time state archives remain classified. Israel realizes that it has too much to hide.

Haaretz reported this week (in its Hebrew edition only), that the first documents will be released to the public only in 2018 (1948+70). Many of the documents that are stored in the archive are relevant to the history of the first 20 years of the Jewish state: the mass expulsion of the Palestinian people, the massacres in Deir Yassin, Tantura and many others, the 1956 Suez conflict, the Israeli nuclear project and so on. Disclosing such documents may bring to light some facts that could ‘shatter myths and cause embarrassment to many entities and individuals’ said the Israeli paper. I guess that president Shimon Peres is one of those ‘many individuals’.

In my latest work I elaborated on the concerning fact that history is foreign to the Jewish religion, ideology and politics. Israeli and Jewish history are set as phantasmic tales. Facts and historical documents are either pushed aside, shoved under the carpet, eliminated or simply destroyed. As we all know, truth seeking is interpreted by Israelis and Zionist as anti Semitism or even holocaust denial.

As it seems, 50 years were not enough for Israel to tackle its original sin. The reason is simple, the crimes that are entangled with the foundation of the Jewish state have never been resolved. Millions of Palestinian refugees are still awaiting to return to their land. Israel is still driven by racist and supremacist laws. The Jewish state has never matured from its lethal philosophy of constant physical intimidation. Consequently, the IDF, the Mossad and the security services mounted pressure on the government to extend the classification status of these 50 year old documents. And no surprise, Netanyahu has provided the required extension.

Haaretz pointed out that it is slightly peculiar that PM Netanyahu, the son of Benzion Netanyahu, a Zionist historian, gave his hand to a crude attempt to conceal historical research and truth seeking. I read Benzion Netanyahu, I actually learned a lot from him. Benzion wasn’t exactly an ordinary historian, he was a Zionist historian (as opposed to a historian of Zionism). He was there to give the Jewish national aspiration a contextual pseudo academic meaning. PM Netanyahu’s decision to hide facts for another 20 years is actually in line with his father’s philosophy.

A disclosure of the truth regarding Israel’s early days would reveal that the Jewish state was a murderous lethal attempt from its very beginning. As much as Zionist and Israeli leaders vowed publicly to make Jews ‘people like all other people’, behind closed doors they commanded their army and secret services to kill like their imaginary Biblical forefathers.

I would argue that from a historical perspective, Israel can keep sitting on its secret files as long as it wants. We do not really need the Israeli archive in order to examine the true murderous meaning of the Jewish state and the Jewish national project. However, the fact that Israel insists on hiding its past, means that there is a little bit of shame and consciousness left in this tribal collective. This is actually a positive sign.

See also the video: Teddy Katz: Israel Cannot Handle Its Past

Israel targets human rights groups

3 August, 2009 — Jonathan Cook, Foreign Correspondent

NAZARETH // In a bid to staunch the flow of damaging evidence of war crimes committed during Israel’s winter assault on Gaza, the Israeli government has launched a campaign to clamp down on human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad.

It has begun by targeting one of the world’s leading rights organisations, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as a local group of dissident army veterans, Breaking the Silence, which last month published the testimonies of 26 combat soldiers who served in Gaza.

Additionally, according to the Israeli media, the government is planning a “much more aggressive stance” towards human rights groups working to help the Palestinians.

Officials have questioned the sources of funding received by the organisations and threatened legislation to ban support from foreign governments, particularly in Europe.

Breaking the Silence and other Israeli activists have responded by accusing the government of a “witch hunt” designed to intimidate them and starve them of the funds needed to pursue their investigations.

“This is a very dangerous step,” said Mikhael Mannekin, one of the directors of Breaking the Silence. “Israel is moving in a very anti-democratic direction.”

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When Netanyahu Invalidated Camp David and Wadi Araba By Ahmad Barqawi

19 June, 2009 – Palestine Think Tank

Netanyahu-2.jpg“The simple truth is that the root of the conflict has been and remains – the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish People to its own state on its historical homeland”. Never have I heard the entire Arab-Israeli conflict summed up so concisely yet so deceptively.

Of course those were the words of Benjamin Netanyahu during his latest speech which was delivered –ever so eloquently- last Sunday; the 30-minute Israeli foreign policy speech that laid more damage to an already frail and worn out peace process, was a clear demonstration of Tel Aviv’s right winged government’s profound sense of political tyranny and down right immaturity; and what astounds me the most is this seemingly inexhaustible ability of Israel’s successive governments to sensationalize the opinions of a bunch of right winged religious fanatics and Zionist nationalists and easily get away with it appearing rather praiseworthy in the eyes of western leaders.

In its essence, the speech was no different than the sheer bigoted and “uncompromising” rhetoric that seems to characterize the common Jewish settler, it showed a complete distrust of Arabs and disdain for their efforts to reach a just peace settlement (or any peace settlement for that matter); it was no different than countless of speeches that Netanyahu and his cohorts of neo-fascists and extremists made while campaigning for the latest parliamentary elections, which garnered them the support of the majority of Israelis and ultimately led to the rise of his own party; the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and the rest of their allies to power.

True that he tried to sugarcoat it with a couple of carefully chosen phrases scattered here and there, but that actually resulted in the whole thing being mired in contradictions and falsehoods, in one instance he appealed to the Palestinian people to start peace negotiations “immediately without prior conditions” and in the other; he expressed that The “fundamental condition” for ending the conflict is the public, binding and sincere Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish People.

If the recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people was and still is such an unavoidable and essential prerequisite for reaching a peace settlement and that the Arabs’ refusal to meet that condition “has been and remains the root” of this 60-year long and historic conflict; shouldn’t the peace treaties that Israel signed with both Egypt and Jordan be immediately and completely negated given that neither the Camp David accords nor the Wadi Araba Treaty recognized that very same “fundamental condition”?

But Netanyahu’s audacious and confrontational “twisted” logic was indeed something to be seen when he said: “I call upon the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world, to come and invest here, to assist the Palestinians and us, to give the economy a jump-start. Together we can develop industrial zones, we can create thousands of jobs, and foster tourism that will draw millions…” ….so in short; Arab leaders could go on all day about the niceties of the Arab peace initiative until they go blue in the face; but for Netanyahu it is total and complete normalization of relations first, then –in the far distant and uncertain future- the possibility of demilitarized Palestinian cantons on whatever land that Jewish settlers will approve of granting to the Palestinians could be negotiated.

In his first official reaction to Netanyahu’s speech, U.S. president Barack Obama said the there was a positive movement in the Prime Minister’s speech and that he (Netanyahu) acknowledged the need for two states.

That was the final nail in the coffin of what little hope the Arab world might have had for a “real change” in the United States’ approach with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be brought about by the new “brave” American administration and it shouldn’t come as a surprise either, Obama’s vision of a Palestinian state is akin to that of Netanyahu’s and he can definitely relate to it; after all, it was the United States that first practiced that very same logic and contained native Americans into segregated reservations (read demilitarized and heavily populated cantons) with no territorial integrity or control over their own natural resources.

And even if that was not the case; the truth of the matter is that the current status quo is what preserves this comfortable equilibrium that world leaders and regional regimes have grown so habituated to; because evidently it is far “safer” for them than the alternative in many cases, and from the looks of it; this status quo is –and will be- dearly nurtured in safe hands, at least for the next four years, and no “pacifying” speech (whether from Cairo or elsewhere) will distract the common Palestinian in besieged Gaza from realizing that.

Saree Makdisi – The language that absolves Israel

19 June, 2009 – Palestine Think Tank

Saree Makdisi.jpgA special political vocabulary prevents us from being able to recognize what’s going on in the Middle East.

On Sunday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech that — by categorically ruling out the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state — ought to have been seen as a mortal blow to the quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Monday morning, however, newspaper headlines across the United States announced that Netanyahu had endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, and the White House welcomed the speech as “an important step forward.”

Reality can be so easily stood on its head when it comes to Israel because the misreading of Israeli declarations is a long-established practice among commentators and journalists in the United States.

In fact, a special vocabulary has been developed for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the United States. It filters and structures the way in which developing stories are misread here, making it difficult for readers to fully grasp the nature of those stories — and maybe even for journalists to think critically about what they write.

The ultimate effect of this special vocabulary is to make it possible for Americans to accept and even endorse in Israel what they would reject out of hand in any other country.

Let me give a classic example.

In the U.S., discussion of Palestinian politicians and political movements often relies on a spectrum running from “extreme” to “moderate”. The latter sounds appealing; the former clearly applies to those who must be — must they not? — beyond the pale. But hardly anyone relying on such terms pauses to ask what they mean. According to whose standard are these manifestly subjective labels assigned?

Meanwhile, Israeli politicians are labeled according to an altogether different standard: They are “doves” or “hawks”. Unlike the terms reserved for Palestinians, there’s nothing inherently negative about either of those avian terms.

So why is no Palestinian leader referred to here as a “hawk”? Why are Israeli politicians rarely labeled “extremists”? Or, for that matter, “militants”?

There are countless other examples of these linguistic double standards. American media outlets routinely use the deracinating and deliberately obfuscating term “Israeli Arabs” to refer to the Palestinian citizens of Israel, despite the fact that they call themselves — and are — Palestinian.

Similarly, Israeli housing units built in the occupied territories in contravention of international law are always called “settlements” or even “neighborhoods” rather than what they are: “colonies”. That word may be harsh on the ears, but it’s far more accurate (“a body of people who settle in a new locality, forming a community subject to or connected with their parent state”).

These subtle distinctions make a huge difference. Unconsciously absorbed, such terms frame the way people and events are viewed. When it comes to Israel, we seem to reach for a dictionary that applies to no one else, to give a pass to actions or statements that would be condemned in any other quarter.

That’s what allowed Netanyahu to be congratulated for endorsing a Palestinian “state,” even though the kind of entity he said Palestinians might — possibly — be allowed to have would be nothing of the kind.

Look up the word “state” in the dictionary. You’ll probably see references to territorial integrity, power and sovereignty. The entity that Netanyahu was talking about on Sunday would lack all of those constitutive features. A “state” without a defined territory that is not allowed to control its own borders or airspace and cannot enter into treaties with other states is not a state, any more than an apple is an orange or a car an airplane. So how can leading American newspapers say “Israeli Premier Backs State for Palestinians,” as the New York Times had it? Or “Netanyahu relents on goal of two states,” as this paper put it?

Because a different vocabulary applies.

Which is also what kept Netanyahu’s most extraordinary demand in Sunday night’s speech from raising eyebrows here.

“The truth,” he said, “is that in the area of our homeland, in the heart of our Jewish homeland, now lives a large population of Palestinians.”

In other words, as Netanyahu repeatedly said, there is a Jewish people; it has a homeland and hence a state. As for the Palestinians, they are a collection — not even a group — of trespassers on Jewish land. Netanyahu, of course, dismisses the fact that they have a centuries-old competing narrative of home attached to the same land, a narrative worthy of recognition by Israel.

On the contrary: The Palestinians must, he said, accept that Israel is the state of the Jewish people (this is a relatively new Israeli demand, incidentally), and they must do so on the understanding that they are not entitled to the same rights. “We” are a people, Netanyahu was saying; “they” are merely a “population.” “We” have a right to a state — a real state. “They” do not.

And the spokesman for our African American president calls this “an important step forward”?

In any other situation — including our own country — such a brutally naked contrast between those who are taken to have inherent rights and those who do not would immediately be labeled as racist. Netanyahu, though, is given a pass, not because most Americans would knowingly endorse racism but because, in this case, a special political vocabulary kicks in that prevents them from being able to recognize it for exactly what it is.

Saree Makdisi is a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA. He is the author of, among other books, “Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation.”

Copyright 2009 Los Angeles Times