In the wasteland of democracy, Israel destroys Al-Arakib . . . again

on 69 Comments
For more from Al-Arakib see Joseph Dana’s report here and his photos here.

“The Negev affords me the pleasure of watching a wasteland develop into the most fruitful portion of Israel by a totally Jewish act of creation.” –David Ben Gurion, Memoirs

In the middle of the night on August 10, residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Arakib sent a panicked text message to Israeli activists in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Israeli police helicopters were buzzing overhead, surveying the scene ahead of what was likely to be a new round of demolitions. Three activists staying in the village had been nabbed during a night raid. Having already witnessed the razing of their homes twice in the past two weeks, the residents of Al-Arakib expected the third round of demolitions to arrive tonight, on the eve of Ramadan. During Ramadan, when the villagers fasted all day, the police and Israeli Land Adminstration reasoned they would be too weakened to rebuild — it was prime time for destruction.

I arrived in Al-Arakib at 3 AM with a handful of Jerusalem-based activists. A local couple hauled out mattresses and blankets and poured us small cups of coffee. “I’ve had enough of sleeping,” the man grumbled as he reclined next to his wife. He seemed grateful to have company. I laid down and stared at the desert sky, listening to the man describe in a lulled tone the experience of watching his neighbors’ homes crumple under the teeth of bulldozers again and again. As he trailed off, I heard a low droning sound in the distance. Were they here already? I looked around at the others. No one to register the slightest sign of concern. Finally, I slipped into a light slumber.

Two hours later I was torn from my sleep. “They’re here!” someone shouted in Hebrew. I leapt from my mattress and scrambled up a dune until I reached the center of the village. A phalanx of one hundred riot cops were already there, bristling with assault weapons and centurion shields. Flanked by bulldozers, they quickly ringed the activists and journalists, who numbered about two dozen, and began forcibly pushing them away from the site of the demolitions. Their intention seemed to be to prevent any brave souls from standing between the bulldozers and the homes they sought to destroy. Dispatched by a faceless network of clerks and engineers in air-conditioned offices to do the dirty work of the state, the police performed their duty with cold efficiency.

As the bulldozers trundled around the village, tearing tarps from plywood pylons, crushing tin roofs, and dragging the shattered structures into hulking piles, the villagers watched with resignation. Seated on her bed in the naked desert, a girl wiped a few tears from her eyes, grimacing at the sight before her. On a nearby hill, a man quizzed his daughter on surahs from the Quran before sending her to collect mattresses from beneath the dusty waste of what used to be their sleeping quarters. An old woman stood impassively by a flock of birds perched on the collapsed remains of her house. Dispossession and homelessness have become nearly mundane in Al-Arakib.

The villagers remain devoted to the nomadic Bedouin tradition. (Why else would they resist with such tenacity the Israeli government’s plan to resettle them in one of the Indian reservation-style “development communities” the state has created for them?) However, they have established a permanent presence in the areas around their village that pre-dates the foundation of Israel. Al-Arakib’s cemetery, for example, contains the graves dating back to the end of the 19th century. Yet the Bedouins’ historical claim to the Negev has not convinced the state that they deserve legal recognition. Nor have their attempts to demonstrate their loyalty by serving as front-line combat soldiers in the Israeli Army. In the eyes of the state, the Arabs of the Negev are at best quasi-human.

In 1953, the first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion (original name: David Gryn) moved to Sde Boker, a kibbutz in the Negev. A self-described messianist who rejected the existence of God while simultaneously describing the Torah as his political guidebook, Ben Gurion saw the Negev as a blank slate for realizing his revolutionary fever dreams. In his memoirs, he fantasized about evacuating Tel Aviv and settling five million Jews in small settlements throughout the Negev. Just as he disdained the cosmopolitan spirit of Tel Aviv’s urbanists, Ben Gurion was disgusted by the sight of the open desert, describing it as “a criminal waste.” In the place of sand dunes, he imagined a Jewish replica of Northern Europe.

“When I look out of my window and see a tree standing [in the Negev],” Ben Gurion wrote, “that tree gives me a greater sense of beauty and personal delight than all the vast forests I have seen in Switzerland or Scandinavia… Not only because I helped to grow them but because they constitute a gift of man to Nature, and a gift of the Jews to the cradle of their culture.”

Influenced by the ethnocentric Ashkenazi outlook of Labor Zionism, Ben Gurion wrote with deep contempt for non-European cultures. He denigrated the Jews who had immigrated to Israel from Arab countries as “savage” and as “a primitive community” that reveres pimps and thieves. But he at least acknowledged their existence in Israeli life. In his writings about the Negev, Ben Gurion did not once mention the presence of the tens of thousands of Arab Beduoins whose villages abutted his kibbutz. To him, their culture was void; they lived in a “wasteland.” They were obstacles to his utopian vision, not human beings.

Today the Israeli government remains committed to fulfilling Ben Gurion’s fantasies even though the Israeli public has completely turned its back on the Negev. “It seems that the fantasies grow stronger especially when the Jews do not move to live in the desert,” the Israeli blogger Eyal Niv wrote. “The more the Jews back away from the desert, the more their leaders toughen the force, frequency, and cruelty of the expulsion of its other residents.”

In the areas in and around Al-Arakib, just 5 km north of the city of Beersheva, the Jewish National Fund is in the process of planting the “Ambassador Forest.” The forest will cover the land inhabited for over 100 years by the residents of Al-Arakib and prevent them from ever returning. The “Blueprint Negev” plan of the Jewish National Fund, an organization that claims to be acting “on behalf of Jewish people everywhere,” can only be realized through harsh military force, the razing of villages, and ultimately, ethnic cleansing. The meting out of these practices against citizens of Israel should raise serious questions about the country’s claim to uphold democratic values.

After the Israeli Police completed their third demolition of Al-Arakib, the villagers collected the remains of their homes and, with the assistance of a few international and Jewish Israeli activists, began rebuilding again. Without any recourse from the state or its courts, they have no other option but to start over from scratch. And they have nowhere else to go.

This post originally appeared on Max Blumenthal’s blog here.

69 Responses

  1. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 9:57 am

    Earth to Max Blumenthal!

    link to
    Abbas: PA State Would be Jew-Free

    • potsherd
      August 11, 2010, 10:02 am

      Jews who want to live in Palestine will have to take Palestinian citizenship. He never said, “Jew-Free”. In fact, he specifically indicated that the UN can employ Jewish guards on the walls of the prison.

    • eljay
      August 11, 2010, 10:04 am

      >> Abbas: PA State Would be Jew-Free

      What a bold-faced lie.

      “I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land,” Abbas declared.

      Palestinians in Palestine, Israelis in Israel. Makes sense.

    • MarkF
      August 11, 2010, 1:12 pm


      Notice the language about “Arabs who fled”? Notice nothing about the Palestinians who were slaughtered? Can you not see through this neocon blather?

      As pointed out, you’re twisting the guy’s words. Very neocon-type tactics.

      But maybe the best thing for Israel to do is to swear off welfare from the U.S., stand on it’s own two feet and not worry about Jewish opinion of the non-neocon variety.

    • traintosiberia
      August 11, 2010, 2:28 pm

      Abbas is ready to have a little parcel of land 2mile times 3 miles and claim to his minions “look I have a Palestine free of Jewish people”.

      Israel and Synagogues in Congress can then say ” whats wrong with the Arabs/Palestine/Muslims? Thier values are so far removed from ours that a meanigful dialogue is impossible and no further concessions”. Hearing its US counterpart Israel will demand 10 bilions dollars ( as they did for evaculation of Gaza) to resettle 10 families in Bedouin lands in Negev.

      • Psychopathic god
        August 12, 2010, 7:02 am

        Thier values are so far removed from ours . . .

        this is one of the most intractable of mindsets that dominates Israeli culture. Haggai Ram identifies it with the phrase, “partition and enclosure.”

        Derek Gregory, a geographer, related the mental habit to the way physical space is arranged, to convey the same message: you are the other, you are untouchable:

        In Said’s original discussion, imaginative geographies fold distance into difference through a series of spatializations. They multiply <a href = "link to;.partitions and enclosures that demarcate “the same” from “the other,” at once constructing and calibrating a gap between the two by designating in one’s mind a familiar space which is “ours” and an unfamiliar space beyond “ours” which is “theirs.” Said’s primary concern was with the ways in which European and American imaginative geographies of “the Orient” combine over time to produce an archive in which things come to be seen as neither completely novel nor thoroughly familiar.

    • traintosiberia
      August 11, 2010, 2:44 pm

      It was Arabs who wanted in 1948 a secular state with jewish population as part of the landscape as citizen but not as exclusive ethnic rulers as was the intention of Herzl to Nethanayoo all along.

      • Citizen
        August 12, 2010, 5:59 am

        And in accord with the assurances given to the natives in the Balfour Declaration. The jews were promised a home, not a state of their own.

  2. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 9:58 am

    And who will be the Apartheid state now?

    • potsherd
      August 11, 2010, 10:03 am

      All subsequent comments from this poster reported as spam

      • Sumud
        August 12, 2010, 12:52 am

        It is spam – it’s the same lame bot that was Shamir and DividSiden.

        Recall: rapid-fire posts, always at the top level, never ever replying to other comments inline.

  3. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 9:58 am

    Another Arab/Islamic apartheid state

  4. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 10:00 am

    These are your peace partners, O leftists!
    Fascist racist. The P.A. must be eliminated.

    • traintosiberia
      August 11, 2010, 2:49 pm

      Its time to eliminate sophistry from politics , for too long a stronghold and anchors of filthy zionist.

  5. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 10:01 am

    How long does it finally take, until the Jews are waking up???
    The official Israel government is dealing with terrorists, murderers and so on, and they call it politics.

    • Citizen
      August 12, 2010, 6:01 am

      Indeed, wake up: the official Israel government has a history of, and is honoring and rewarding terrorists, murdererers and so on, in their own ranks.

      • Citizen
        August 12, 2010, 6:13 am

        This thread is suppose to comment on Max’s article, the subject being how Israel is dispossessing its very own arab citizens who have a history of defending Israel via their service in the IDF. The factual incident Max brings to our attention reveals clearly what it means for a non-jew to live in a “jewish democracy.”

  6. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 10:07 am

    Wrong potsherd! He said his state will be Jew Free.
    The more I hear the Palestinians, the more i see South African Style Apartheid.
    I think its urgent that Philip Weiss, Adam Horowitz, Richard Falk, Goldstone, Desmond Tutu, Avi, Annie, Chaos4700, VR speak out against Palestinian fascism.
    Or has the Arab lobby bought you out too.

    Abbas has always had supremacist ideals.

    • eljay
      August 11, 2010, 10:10 am

      >> Wrong potsherd! He said his state will be Jew Free.

      Please provide an exact quote, and not one that can be spun or interpreted to mean something. Thanks.

    • Citizen
      August 12, 2010, 6:04 am

      Oh yeah, that Arab Lobby is really powerful–look how they jammed the Goldstone Report down poor Uncle Sam’s throat, and sent all those Israeli settlers packing back to Israel! And I am stick and tired of hearing about Rachel Corrie everytime I turn on the TV news shows!

  7. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 10:07 am

    Abbas in Reverse
    “I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land,” Abbas declared. With this statement, Israel should say the same about any Arab. How would the world react to that? We know the double standard. Time to use their words against them.

    • tree
      August 11, 2010, 10:41 am

      Earth to Ken Davis. “Israeli” does not equal “Jew”, as much as you might like it to. You’re mouthing anti-Semitic garbage in saying so.

      Also, another clue to you. The Negev village in question is within the green line (do you even know what that means?). The Bedouins who’s homes are being destroyed are citizens of Israel. They are not in the Occupied Territories. This incident has absolutely nothing to do with Abbas, and everything to do with Israel’s oppression of non-Jewish citizens.

      • tree
        August 11, 2010, 10:45 am

        Typing too fast. Meant to write “Bedouins whose homes…”

    • traintosiberia
      August 11, 2010, 2:33 pm

      Would Israel allow a Nazi thug to live in Tel Aviv?
      Why Abbas will allow a settler to live in Gaza or WestBank.

  8. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 10:12 am

    potsherd says,
    All subsequent comments from this poster reported as spam.

    Potsherd, you would do well as an Arab dictator.
    I’m quoting Abbas.
    You just proved again how Palestinian fascism doesn’t bother you.

    Does this bother you?

    link to
    Abbas Eulogizes Munich Massacre Mastermind
    Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

    Abbas is widely known as having provided the funds for the Munich massacre.

    • potsherd
      August 11, 2010, 10:16 am

      What bothers me is spam, and thread hijackers. This thread is about the humanitarian disaster of Al-Arakib. Instead of polluting the site, you might consider having some sympathy for human beings.

      • Seham
        August 11, 2010, 10:29 am

        Yeah but potsherd, they (he) sounds so damn dumb. It really shouldn’t bother you, it certainly doesn’t bother me. You see, my whole life I have been hearing people talk about the power of Israeli hasbara and how smart it all is and how we could never fight that powerful machine. Look at what the “powerful machine” looks like on this blog:

        Richard Witty and Ken Davis.


      • Donald
        August 11, 2010, 10:53 am

        Yeah, but they can both clutter up a comment section. RW hasn’t been bad that way lately, but KD is acting like some sort of automaton spewing out repeated talking points. If he’d just post one thing at a time then that would be normal blog etiquette (repulsive as the content would be), but he’s trying to ruin the thread.

      • Seham
        August 11, 2010, 12:43 pm

        IMO it’s worse to legitimize their utter nonsense by responding to them.

      • potsherd
        August 11, 2010, 12:52 pm

        I agree. Report them as spam, instead. The spammer should be banned.

        Max’s thread is totally derailed by this crap.

    • traintosiberia
      August 11, 2010, 2:35 pm

      So what?
      Did not barak kill?
      Did not Nethanhoo kill?
      Did not Jabotinsky,Begin/Shamir/Sharett/Ben Gurion kill?
      Did not Sharon gloat over killing?
      Did not rabbi teach how to kill non -Jews?

  9. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 10:13 am

    Abbas Continues to Reject Direct Negotiations?
    Why, cause he wants all of Israel.
    His plan is the same as Arafats 1974 phase by phase plan to flood Israel with millions of Arabs to end Israel.
    I think left wing Jews need to wake up.
    But dont worry, the left wing wants an Israel with millions of Arabs and a Palestinian state with no Jews in it.

    • traintosiberia
      August 11, 2010, 2:39 pm

      What the F* is direct negotiations?
      How many negotiations from 1991?
      What the F* did Palestinian get?

    • Citizen
      August 12, 2010, 6:15 am

      The “left wing” merely wants equal rights for all citizens of Israel–and an end to the illegal Israeli settlements.

    • Shingo
      August 12, 2010, 8:28 am

      “Abbas Continues to Reject Direct Negotiations?”

      While Israle continues to build settlements. There’s nopoint talking peace without a ceasefire.

      “Why, cause he wants all of Israel.”

      No, because the settlements are a cancer that make a Palestinian state increaisnlgy impossible.

      • RoHa
        August 12, 2010, 8:29 am

        Have the Palestinians ever got anything from negotiations?

  10. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 10:21 am

    eljay, “I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land,” Abbas declared.

    Tell me eljay, if an Israel PM said i will never allow a Palestinian to live on Israeli land. Tell me the world reaction? You wouldn’t hear the end of it.

    Atleast we know the left is fighting for Palestinian aparthied.

    Even the White South African goverment from 44 to 94 had Blacks living there.
    Abbas is 1000 times worse then South African aparthied.
    But dont worry Weiss and Horowitz will be silent on this.

    • eljay
      August 11, 2010, 12:38 pm

      >> Tell me eljay …

      I’ll be happy to tell you, as soon as you provide the exact and authentic quote from Abbas in which, according to you, he states that no Jews will be allowed to live in Israel.

      • eljay
        August 11, 2010, 12:40 pm

        >> … as soon as you provide the exact and authentic quote from Abbas in which … he states that no Jews will be allowed to live in Israel.

        Correction: … in which … he states that no Jews will be allowed to live in Palestine.

      • Seham
        August 11, 2010, 12:51 pm

        The position has always been that Jews can remain in the West Bank as long as they live under Palestinian law. Not unreasonable if you ask me. But Abbas did deny the holocaust in his dissertation (I have never read it but this is widely known and acknowledged). The thing about his dissertation is this: nobody cares and everyone knows about that. The fact that he denied the holocaust in his dissertation did stop the Israeli Zionist machine from propping him up with God speed in favor of Arafat or any other Palestinians. The Zionists only care about holocaust denial when it suits their agenda, but if they can have a perfect obedient little lackey like Abbas that does as Israel pleases in the West Bank then they are completely willing to overlook his holocaust denial. That’s the bigger point of whatever Ken Davis is trying to say.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 12, 2010, 1:43 am

        KenDavis is a well documented faker. Under the name Shamir he once posted a poll stating that a Palestinian majority was in favor of an Islamic state, and put a link to Haaretz..When you click on it you discover that it’s the exact complete opposite of what he claimed..that a vast majority were in favor of a secular non religious gov’t..
        It’s trick..The guy is a sac of poo..a natural born liar and a faker.

      • Citizen
        August 12, 2010, 6:17 am

        What hurts more, holocaust denial or white phosphorous?

      • RoHa
        August 12, 2010, 8:15 am

        If Abbas did say that no Jews would be allowed to live in Palestine, he would have some excuse. The last time Jews were allowed to start living in Palestine didn’t work out so well.

    • traintosiberia
      August 11, 2010, 2:53 pm

      Abbas is stupid .He should say to himself like Herzl said or Ben Gurion said or like Chaim Weizman said to their fellow jews how to say one thing but do another and never let “Arabs figure out” as was advised by LLoyd George to Chaim Weizman in 1919 Paris meetings.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 12, 2010, 1:29 am

        It’s all in the cunning and the trickery..

        At the apex of the Ethnic cleansing of 1948, after their military success against the Arabs, Ben Gurion was boasting that they could continue unchallenged and conquer more lands from neighbouring countries. At the same time he was sending emissaries to the US and Europe :”Go and tell them that we’re on the verge of a second Holocaust. Send more money and aid” (From the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe)

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 12, 2010, 1:33 am

        They still go about it in the same manner today..It’s Arab teghghogh which is preventing peace. We’re building settlements to prevent Arab teghghogh..The wall is to stop Arab Teghghogh..

    • Lexikon
      August 11, 2010, 8:05 pm

      You are the one who’s failing to see simple logic here, not the rest of us.

      Abbas is saying this in the following context: being the leader of a people who has been sistematically stripped from basic rights for the last 60 years, and with most of this agression coming from Israel; a people who has been experiencing political cynism at its highest from the Israeli-American establishment over all these years, living in an OCCUPIED territory with ever expanding land theft.

      Would you expect him to say: “Oh, yes. As soon as Israelis leave this land, retreat to their rightfully borders – oh, by the way, we are forever thankful to you, Bibi – and we get to constitute our country, we are more than happy to grant permission for you all to stay within the best fields of the valley as you have been over the last years; and maybe you would like to walk among our holy sites, even though we weren’t before?

      If Netanyahu says something like: “As long as Iran keeps with its nuclear program, no iranians will be allowed to set foot in Israel”, I think the vast majority of “the Left” would actually not critic the decision.

      But to say that of palestinians, he should FIRST get the fuck out of all occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, remove all the settlers and end the shameful blocade over Gaza.

      Then, he could say something like that.

  11. eshatter
    August 11, 2010, 12:31 pm

    i’d love to know just what sort of trees the Israelis intend to plant in the
    Negev desert. The Israelis are not known for planting native species in any
    of the forests they have planted in the rest of Israel. And I don’t know which
    species of trees survive best in a desert. But then trees probably aren’t the
    point, it’s getting rid of the Palestinians that is.

    • syvanen
      August 11, 2010, 9:59 pm

      You bring up an important point. Israel has been bragging for decades that they have made the desert bloom. They succeeded in doing so by pumping the coastal aquifers to the point that they are now suffering salination from backflow from the Mediterranean. After ruining the coastal aquifers they have seized the high land aquifers from the West Bank.

      Now they are going to plant European forests where the Bedouin villages once were. These can only be sustained by pumping in water from outside. As any person can see from these pictures, the natural rainfall cannot sustain a forest ecosystem.

      If anyone noticed, this last year Israel suffered some major forest fires farther north. These were the unnatural forests that were planted over the last 50 years that were part of that campaign in the West to contribute trees to turn Israel into an European forest ecosystem. Not mentioned at the time but those forests require more water than is provided by natural rainfall. Now they are tinder dry and burning up. I noticed in Haaretz recently another campaign to donate money to replace those recently incinerated forests. It is not mentioned, that what ignited those fires was the IDF practicing artillery fire. Talk about a totally unnatural country, at every level — its agriculture, its forestry, its sociological composition, its cuisine, its zoning rules, oh the list is long.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 12, 2010, 1:18 am

        “Talk about a totally unnatural country, at every level — its agriculture, its forestry, its sociological composition, its cuisine, its zoning rules, oh the list is long.”

        Absolutely, Syvanen..
        A word comes to mind..Israel did not grow organically in the region..It’s a transplant…

      • Psychopathic god
        August 12, 2010, 6:44 am

        O Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters. Isaiah 55

        The Hebrew and Christian scriptures, as joined together in the Bible of Christians, refer continually to water both as a metaphor and as the physical necessity that has played an enormously important role in the advancement of societies throughout history.

        You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it;
        the river of God is full of water;
        you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it.
        Psalm 65:9

        Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty
        again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will
        never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them
        a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’
        John 4:14

        Residents of the Holy Land in Biblical times and in contemporary times contemplate(d) these images of water, both physical and spiritual, with a deep understanding that only those who live in desert lands can appreciate.

        A friend, whom I love but with whom I disagree on many (most?) political issues, and I have carried on correspondence for nearly fifty years. He says we are, in the best sense of the words, the classic “liberal” and “conservative.” I think those terms are meaningless, but will accept them for the sake of argument. He recently wrote me an email in which he made the comment,

        By changing the image of the Palestinians from helpless victims to successful entrepreneurs the region could soon rival Israel in economic strength. After all, hard work and industry is what built Israel into a vibrant, powerful nation where none existed before 1947.

        This analysis of the difference between the Palestinians and the Israelis has nothing to do with “conservatism” or “liberalism.” It is simply wrong.

        Without any claim to expertise, either political or scientific, I have a one word partial explanation of the difference between the Palestinian “victims” my friend writes of and the “vibrant, powerful” society he claims Israel to be: WATER. That the control and distribution of water in the West Bank (indeed in the entire Holy Land) is one of the keys to Israel’s ability to subjugate Palestinian culture and society is not a proposition open to discussion. It simply is.

        When I was a child (this was around 1955), the custodian of our church in Western Nebraska presented a program of projected slides his son had left in his care when he was home on leave from the Navy. He was stationed on a submarine. Somehow he ended up on shore leave in the new state of Israel—just where, I have no idea.

        My memory of the presentation is spotty (I remember the custodian, and I remember that the presentation was in the church sanctuary with the screen in front of the pulpit). The image I remember from the slides is of orange groves with water running in irrigation channels between the trees. I remember the custodian marveling aloud at the industry of the citizens of the new country that they had already managed to begin to make the desert bloom in the eight years since 1947.

        There are at least two problems with both the presentation as our custodian made it and my memory of it. The first problem is that the Israelis had not, in fact, made the desert bloom in a short eight years. That happened before Israel was made a state. The first Jewish orange groves in Palestine date from 1870, planted in the vicinity of Mikveh Israel, a Jewish agricultural school near Tel Aviv (1). The school was important to the Jewish immigrants to Palestine during and after the holocaust (2). According to “Years of Citrus in Israel,” by the time of World War I, Palestine had “7500 acres of orchards, 2500 of which were owned by Jews.” After World War I, “[b]etween 1926 and 1936, the Jewish population had planted 35,000 acres of orchards.”

        The citrus industry continued its growth after the founding of Israel until after the 1967 War. “Production reached 1.7 million pieces of fruit, out of which 1 million were marketed under the brand name Jaffa” (“Years of Citrus”). This growth of the Israeli citrus industry was made possible by one commodity: WATER. It is emblematic of all agriculture in Israel.

        The second problem with our custodian’s presentation was that it avoided the most important implication of the industry of the Israeli farmers: the ownership of the water of the Palestinian Territories is one of Israel’s most powerful tools for maintaining control/occupation of the Territories. According to Harald Frederiksen,

        The objective of Zionist and subsequent Israeli actions over the past 90 years has not been in response to any evolving water shortage that arose before or after the creation of the Israel. It has been a strategy, confirmed in Israeli documents, to garner control of the water resources of Palestine and some of those belonging to neighboring riparians as a means to attain a quite different goal: ownership of all of Palestine (3).

        Garnering control of the water resources of the region has insured the growth of the Israeli agricultural industry, as well as all other industry, and of the building and maintenance of settlements in the Occupied Territories to expand control of the land.

        Apparently even the 1967 War of expansion had as one of its main goals the control of the most important aquifer in the Palestinian Territories:

        Menachem Begin and others later confirmed that the 1967 war was launched not because of Egypt, but as a cover to occupy the Golan Heights, and the rest of Palestine. . . .Israel promptly nationalized the water resources of the Occupied Territories in order to control all West Bank uses (4).

        Israeli settlers continue to arrive in the Occupied Territories, taking more and more of the land on which the Palestinians’ hope for a homeland rests. The shrinking land of the Palestinian people is remarkable in many ways. It was, according to the Biblical record, the “land of milk and honey.” It is, today, a land parched and unable to sustain the people left on it. The situation cannot change until a political solution to the plight of the Palestinians is reached because the “water issue in the West Bank is complicated, in part due to the political situation, as the aquifers are controlled by Israel” (5).

        This political situation was part of the earliest plan of the Zionist settlement in Palestine. The control of the aquifers of the region of the British Mandate of Palestine was their goal from the beginning, their goal of claiming the right to the land because they were the ones who built a “vibrant, powerful nation where none existed.”

        Without access to water, there would be no large-scale agriculture and thus no economic basis for absorbing the world’s Jews in Palestine. And without settlement, the Jews would have no hope of changing the demographic balance in Palestine in their favour and hence laying the basis for a claim to sovereignty over Palestine. Water therefore was not regarded merely as another economic resource, but rather as an important vehicle for creating a new Jewish society based on kibbutzim and other forms of communal agricultural settlements. The selection of one water project over the other was not determined by economic utility, but rather on the basis of its fitting within the overall ideological worldview of the Zionists. In keeping with this view, irrigating the deserts of southern Palestine also became a national goal as part of the overall Zionist ethos of `making the desert bloom’ and thus strengthening Jewish claims to Palestine on the basis of the fact that it was the Jews who were developing the country (6).
        (1) link to history – “Years of Citrus in Israel”
        (2) See the story of the Netzer Family in: Ofer, Dalia. “The march of
        memory: survivors and relatives in the footsteps of the Kladovo-
        Sabac refugees.” Israel Studies 12.3 (2007): 134+
        In addition, the importance of Mikveh Israel can hardly be overstated:

        The creation of the State was made possible by the founding of Mikveh Israel. If Mikveh Israel had not been founded, I doubt that the State of Israel could have come into being. Everything started at that time; we came only to extend the work in its political and national aspects.

        Interview quoted in: Paz, Moria. “A non-territorial ethnic network and the making of human rights law: the case of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Human Rights Law 4.1 (2009): 1+ (146). Quoted in Silberman, Paul. An Investigation of the Schools Operated by the Alliance Israelite Universelle from 1862-1940 (PhD dissertation) (1973).
        (3) Frederiksen, Harald D. “The world water crisis and international security.” Middle East Policy 16.4 (2009): 76+.
        (4) Fredericksen, op. cit. “I know how at least 80 percent of all …” quoted in “Aggression, Expansion and Israel’s Terriorism, Part II.” Found at
        link to
        (5) Nazer, Dima W., et al. “Optimizing irrigation water use in the West Bank, Palestine.” Agricultural Water Management 97 (2010) 339–345 (340).
        (6) Morag, Nadav. “Water, Geopolitics and State Building: The Case of Israel.” Middle Eastern Studies 37.3 (2001): 179.

        Labels: Jaffa oranges, Mikveh Israel, Palestine, Water Rights

      • Tuyzentfloot
        August 12, 2010, 7:05 am

        Someone should compile a photo album of westbank swimming pools. The trick is to minimize the sarcasm bit.

  12. traintosiberia
    August 11, 2010, 3:12 pm

    Lieberman promoted the idea of stripping Citizenship of Arabs in Israel and removing Arabs block in Israel in tandem with removing illegal settlements in Jerusalem and WBank. On the surface, it looks a reasonable idea.But once one looks into the history , one finds that Russian Jews leaving for Israel will basically take up the lands of Israeli Arabs and ask them to move to Wbank or East Jerusalem already uccupied by legitimate communities. Essentially these Israeli Arabs are give one choice, move out and grab the lands of someone else. That is also supported by Kissinger!—( 3/26/06 J.Post)

    Well not so long ago that was also carried out by German Zionist and Hitler’s Germany.

    • MHughes976
      August 11, 2010, 3:48 pm

      Not even on the surface is it reasonable to strip people of their rights in return for others’ giving up what they have no right to.
      I too think it’s important not to respond to those whose purpose is to disrupt discussion.

  13. traintosiberia
    August 11, 2010, 3:25 pm

    Ken david is reminding us of the chatterrings on “Yellow Ribbon” being introduced in Iran,of Hostage taking by Ahmednezad , of “wiping out of Israel” by Ahmednezad.

    Its time to exchange the respective slots . Let israel say all those things Iran,Abbas/Bin Ledden saying and let Iran and Lebanon and Palestine do all those things that Israel and US and UK are doing.

  14. thankgodimatheist
    August 11, 2010, 5:18 pm

    Please note that it’s Al-Araqib not Al Arakib..(same as Quran not koran)…I know it’s just an insignificant detail but better know than not..

  15. thankgodimatheist
    August 11, 2010, 5:23 pm

    Ken Davis the well documented spammer who went by several nics (and who still doesn’t know how to to press reply), who has been banned several times…You’re reported for hijacking the thread..

  16. thankgodimatheist
    August 11, 2010, 5:35 pm

    Thread hijacking alert! Ken Davis, the unscrupulous spammer is back: 10 unrelated posts within few seconds
    KenDavis August 11, 2010 at 9:57 am
    KenDavis August 11, 2010 at 9:58 am
    KenDavis August 11, 2010 at 9:58 am
    KenDavis August 11, 2010 at 10:00 am
    KenDavis August 11, 2010 at 10:01 am
    KenDavis August 11, 2010 at 10:07 am
    KenDavis August 11, 2010 at 10:07 am
    KenDavis August 11, 2010 at 10:12 am
    KenDavis August 11, 2010 at 10:13 am
    KenDavis August 11, 2010 at 10:21 am

    • Sumud
      August 12, 2010, 12:56 am

      My thoughts exactly TGIA – I just wrote above it’s the same bot that was Shamir and DavidSiden.

      To refresh memories:

      link to

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 12, 2010, 1:05 am

        Yes Sumud..Report button…

      • Sumud
        August 12, 2010, 1:14 am

        Done, on KD’s first comment.

    • Donald
      August 12, 2010, 6:34 am

      I reported this to Phil yesterday–it’s a pretty clearcut case of spamming.

  17. RoHa
    August 11, 2010, 7:03 pm


    “Israeli” does not equal “Jew”,


    But they are working on it.

  18. Lockheed Ventura
    August 11, 2010, 9:22 pm

    Song appropriate for this video.

    No Time For Love

  19. Sumud
    August 12, 2010, 1:03 am

    Obomber on the Gaza Massacre:

    “If somebody was sending rockets [bulldozers] into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. I would expect Israelis [Palestinian Israelis] to do the same thing.”

    Oh wait, it’s only OK when the offenders are Palestinians. Israelis jews can do whatever.

    • Chaos4700
      August 12, 2010, 1:12 am

      Were you really expecting moral integrity from the first African American administration — which has apparently fired more black women than they’ve hired?

      • Sumud
        August 12, 2010, 10:41 am

        I have to confess Chaos ~ I expected more from Obama than he’s delivered, at least on US foreign policy.

  20. RoHa
    August 12, 2010, 1:41 am

    But just in case anyone is having anti-Semitic thoughts, remember that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and that Israeli Arabs are equal citizens and have much better lives than they would anywhere else in the entire Universe.

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