Beyond Occupation

Sydney Ideas: Sydney University, Australia. Oct 14th, 2008

Dr. Sara Roy, a senior Middle Eastern studies research scholar at Harvard University, discusses the economic impact of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and argues that Israel’s policies are aimed at keeping the territory impoverished and dependent. (via FORA.tv; thanks Iffit)

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On Palestinian Resistance and Israeli Psychosis

Hamas isn’t Hizbullah, and Gaza isn’t Lebanon. The resistance in Gaza – which includes leftist and nationalist as well as Islamist forces – doesn’t have mountains to fight in. It has no strategic depth. It doesn’t have Syria behind it to keep supply lines open; instead it has Mubarak’s goons and Israel’s wall. Lebanese civilians can flee north and east; the repeat-refugees of Gaza have no escape. The Lebanese have their farms, and supplies from outside; Gaza has been under total siege for years. What else? Hizbullah has remarkable discipline. It is surely the best-trained, best-organised army in the region, perhaps in the world (I’m not talking of weapons, but of men and women). Hamas, on the other hand, though it has made great strides, is still undisciplined. Crucially, Hizbullah has air-tight intelligence control in Lebanon, while Gaza contains collaborators like maggots in a corpse.

Continue reading “On Palestinian Resistance and Israeli Psychosis”

Belgium to stop exporting ‘arms that bolster the IDF’ to Israel

Though no official decision has been taken as yet, a consensus is emerging amongst leading Belgian politicians to ban the sales of weapons to the IDF.

Belgium’s government has agreed to ban the export to Israel of weapons that “strengthen it militarily,” a Belgian minister said on Thursday. A Brussels-based research group accused Israel of enlisting child soldiers.

Continue reading “Belgium to stop exporting ‘arms that bolster the IDF’ to Israel”

Gaza desperately short of food after Israel destroys farmland

“Officials warn of ‘destruction of all means of life’ after the three-week conflict leaves agriculture in the region in ruins”, reports Peter Beaumont in The Observer. Lest we forget, the BBC shares the blame for any suffering that might occur as a result of this shortage.

Gaza‘s 1.5 million people are facing a food crisis as a result of the destruction of great areas of farmland during the Israeli invasion.

According to the World Food Programme, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and Palestinian officials, between 35% and 60% of the agriculture industry has been wrecked by the three-week Israeli attack, which followed two years of economic siege.

Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme’s country director, said: “We are hearing that 60% of the land in the north – where the farming was most intensive – may not be exploitable again. It looks to me like a disaster. It is not just farmland, but poultry as well.

Continue reading “Gaza desperately short of food after Israel destroys farmland”

When did we stop caring about civilian deaths during wartime?

‘The mere monitoring of bloody conflict assumes precedence over human suffering’ writes Robert Fisk in his swipe at the BBC.

I wonder if we are “normalising” war. It’s not just that Israel has yet again got away with the killing of hundreds of children in Gaza. And after its own foreign minister said that Israel’s army had been allowed to “go wild” there, it seems to bear out my own contention that the Israeli “Defence Force” is as much a rabble as all the other armies in the region. But we seem to have lost the sense of immorality that should accompany conflict and violence. The BBC’s refusal to handle an advertisement for Palestinian aid was highly instructive. It was the BBC’s “impartiality” that might be called into question. In other words, the protection of an institution was more important than the lives of children. War was a spectator sport whose careful monitoring – rather like a football match, even though the Middle East is a bloody tragedy – assumed precedence over human suffering.

Continue reading “When did we stop caring about civilian deaths during wartime?”

Israeli Settlements

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has revealed that roughly 75 per cent of construction of Israeli settlements has been carried out in contravention of Israeli law.  The statistics are taken from a secret database compiled by the Ministry of Defence in order to fight legal challenges against the settlement programmes brought by the Palestinians.  Scandalous indeed.  You’d think that an illegal occupation would at least respect its own bogus laws.

More to the point, neither Haaretz  nor the BBC, which  picks up the story on its website, mention that 100 per cent of the Israeli settlements have been declared illegal by the World Court.

Israel Academic Boycott Movement Comes to U.S, Australia

Ha’aretz reports on the sudden growth of an American movement to boycott the Israeli academy, in protest at the Zionist ‘scholasticide’ aimed at Palestinian schools, universities, and students. Palestinians have long had the reputation of being the best educated population in the Arab world, but this is now under threat. For years, students in the occupied West Bank and Gaza have had only intermittent access to education as a result of curfews, closures and checkpoints. The Red Cross has found that children in Gaza are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies – which affect brain development – as a result of the Israeli siege of the territory. Studies have shown that more than half of children in Gaza suffered post-traumatic stress disorder before the latest massacre, a condition which results in insomnia, panic attacks, and an inability to concentrate. And during the massacre, Israel targetted schools and the Islamic university (which, despite its name, teaches secular subjects). In this context, anti-boycott lobbyists’ evocation of ‘academic freedom’ seems (to be polite about it) to miss the point. Palestinian civil society organisations, and anti-Zionist Israeli academics such as Ilan Pappe, have called for the boycott.

A call to join the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott, and then the mission statement of the Australian Academic Boycott of Israel follow. Please send on this information to all your academic contacts. Continue reading “Israel Academic Boycott Movement Comes to U.S, Australia”

Peace Recedes as Israeli Settlements Expand

With the Western mainstream media’s attention focused on the ‘peace’ efforts of the new US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, one would expect the latest report by Peace Now, the largest extra-parliamentary movement in Israel, detailing the illegal expansion of settlements in the West Bank, to be of utmost relevance. But no. Yet again, key documentary evidence of grave violations of international law by the Israeli state is consigned to oblivion…

Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased sharply in 2008, despite Israel’s pledge at the beginning of the year to freeze all construction, according to a new report by an Israeli non-governmental organisation.

The report, released Wednesday by the group Peace Now, found that settlement construction in 2008 increased by almost 60 percent, including new construction both inside and outside of the security barrier and within illegal settlement outposts.

Continue reading “Peace Recedes as Israeli Settlements Expand”

Foiling Another Palestinian “Peace Offensive”

The Israeli regime’s bloodbath wasn’t just about upcoming elections and re-establishing deterrence, Norman G. Finkelstein writes [doc], though it did have much to do with this and was indeed calculated to pander to the worst elements of that society. Beyond this, the main goal of Israeli intransigence and its main goal in the Gaza slaughter was to fend off the latest threat posed by Palestinian moderation: that is, to sabotage credible peace efforts. This is an excellent summary of otherwise already well-established facts and a reminder of Israel’s stoush with Hezbollah:

Early speculation on the motive behind Israel’s slaughter in Gaza that began on 27 December 2008 and continued till 18 January 2009 centered on the upcoming elections in Israel. The jockeying for votes was no doubt a factor in this Sparta-like society consumed by “revenge and the thirst for blood,”[1] where killing Arabs is a sure crowd-pleaser. (Polls during the war showed that 80-90 percent of Israeli Jews supported it.)[2] But as Israeli journalist Gideon Levy pointed out on Democracy Now!, “Israel went through a very similar war…two-and-a-half years ago [in Lebanon], when there were no elections.”[3] Continue reading “Foiling Another Palestinian “Peace Offensive””

Carter says Hamas must be included

‘In the previous 16 years, most of the envoys for the president in the Mid East have been openly and publicly committed to Israel’s side. Some of them have been professional lobbyists for Israel.’

Jimmy Carter, the former US president, has said any future permanent Israeli-Palestinian agreement had to include Hamas, the Palestinian movement that controls Gaza.

Carter also told Al Jazeera’s Riz Khan on Wednesday that US presidents were unable or unwilling to take on Israel’s supporters in the US, but said he had high hopes for George Mitchell, the new US Middle East envoy.

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