Ethnic Cleansing by All Means: The real Israeli ‘peace’ policy

Israel/Palestine
and on 53 Comments
Pine trees in the Yatir Forest which is being used to displace the Bedouin residents of the unrecognized village of Atir. The original caption on the photo from the website israeltoday.co.il read, "Since the formation of the State of Israel, tree planters have been busy creating forests in the holy land, which was a barren wasteland for centuries."

Pine trees in the Yatir Forest which is being used to displace the Bedouin residents of the unrecognized village of Atir. The original caption on the photo from the website israeltoday.co.il read, “Since the formation of the State of Israel, tree planters have been busy creating forests in the holy land, which was a barren wasteland for centuries.”

The pine trees in Palestine appeared with the establishment of the state of Israel. The pine is generally a European species which before the 20th century was not seen in the Middle East. It was brought to Palestine by the Zionist settlers for two main reasons.  First, it gave the new Jewish settlers the feeling that the place they had migrated to was somehow part of Europe. And if Palestine were to be ‘Europeanized’ in such a manner it would also be ‘civilized’ — the inferior local population would be replaced by a superior one. Thus Zionism was not just a redemption of an ancient land, it was also the revitalization of what in their eyes was an Arabian desert both ecologically and culturally.

The second reason for their import was more practical; they were brought to cover up the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that took place in 1947-48 and produced the Palestinian Catastrophe, the Nakba. The fast-growing pine was widely used to create Israeli national and recreational parks to hide the ruins of destroyed Palestinian villages and neighborhoods which had been evicted by force in 1948.

These forests were presented later on as Israel’s ‘green lungs’ forming together an ecological carpet covering a once barren land. The largest of these ‘lungs’ is the Mount Carmel National Park near Haifa; one of the early projects which attempted to erase the Palestinian life and society that existed there for centuries. This forest stretches over notable villages such as Ijzim, Umm al-Zinat and Khubbaza which have disappeared and are no longer to be found on any map.

This method did not stop in 1948.  When Israel occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967 pine trees again were planted to cover the new wave of destroyed villages; Imwas, Yalo and Beit Nouba, in the Latrun Valley near Jerusalem. In their stead the ‘green lung’ of Canada Park appeared as a recreational ground hiding the inhumanity of the villages’ depopulation.

Covering ethnic cleansing with pine trees is probably the most cynical method employed by Israel in its quest to take over as much of Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians in it as possible.  Like all the other means, which will be described here, they can be found at every historical juncture since Zionism appeared on the land of Palestine.

Another means used in 1948 and in 1967 was renaming Palestinian villages as Jewish settlements –  more often than not by appropriating the Arabic name of a destroyed Palestine community for the new settlement. In 1949 a naming committee facilitated transforming the destroyed villages of 1948 by Hebrewizing their Arabic names and thus the Palestinian village of Lubya became Kibbutz Lavi and the Palestinian city of Asqalan became the Israeli city of Ashkelon. After the 1967 occupation, the settlement of Tekoa was built next to the West Bank village of Tuqu’ and on its land.

The principal means however were not trees or renaming –  it was, and still is, colonization. For this effort to succeed the illegal 19th century method has to perpetually be accepted and approved by Israeli Jewish society, even in 2014.

Israeli colonialist expansion into the West Bank is viewed by mainstream Israelis as normal and necessary. For most it is a historical right and for the rest it is justified as accommodating a natural population growth in the existing Jewish settlements. In effect the colonization of the West Bank has annexed large parts of the territory to Israel (regardless of any prospective peace settlement in the future). Palestinians in the vicinity of settlements are subjected to other means of ethnic cleansing and the further expropriation of their land, including besiegement with wires, fences, walls, gates and imprisonment within their own localities.

Thus ethnic cleansing enables Israel the human as well as the geographical landscapes of Palestine. Control over the landscape is not limited to 1948 Palestine or 1967 West Bank, it is an essential part of the Zionist project today.  Where the land is still Palestinian inside the green line, where Palestinians who survived the Nakba live, it is confined by a spatial master plan that disallows any building permits or expansion of the areas accorded to the indigenous people who are officially citizens of Israel.

The thrust of the ecological and spatial takeover has changed over the years; these days it is managed by right-wing Israeli political forces. In the past, it was the Zionist left that established facts on the ground – without publicly announcing the real intentions behind them while cloaking their actions with a legal discourse that purposely confused Israeli law, international law, Jordanian law and Ottoman law, to justify expropriation of land as ‘state land’.

These colonialist facts were established on the ground before and during the so called “peace process” that commenced in 1993. The Palestinian negotiators were asked to legitimize them through political agreements, which so far they have refused to do. The current right-wing Israeli political leadership declares publicly its desire to cover the West Bank with what it calls ‘settlements’, which are actually 19th century colonies. They do not even seek, as their predecessors did, any Palestinian agreement and continue with their unilateral policies.

This policy of ethnic cleansing, by different means since 1948, is a consensual issue in Israel and thus leaves very little hope for peace and reconciliation. The current Israeli left, the self-acclaimed ‘peace bloc’, is willing to oppose new settlements but refuses to acknowledge the historical injustice inflicted on Palestinians in 1948 and denies displaced Palestinians their right to return to their homes and their homeland.  Most of its members also wish Palestinians would consent to the annexation of so-called ‘settlement blocs’, large swaths of illegal Jewish colonies in different parts of the West Bank, to Israel.

The refusal to acknowledge the Right of Return and the wish to retain the settlement blocs is intended to keep Israel a Jewish state over large parts of historical Palestine while leaving Palestinians limited sovereignty over what remains of the country. These remains can become the State of Palestine without any real sovereignty and viability while the Palestinians inside Israel would have to accept their second degree citizenship as a fact of life under a final agreement.

The strategy of ethnic cleansing is marketed differently domestically and externally. It is based on the need to ‘preserve Jewish identity’ to the Israeli public and abroad as ‘Israel’s need for security’. Taken together these pretexts or excuses form the Israeli consensus behind the ethnic cleansing strategy.

These concepts are used widely across the political spectrum in Israel and provide the framework for the Israeli ‘national consensus’.  They also underpin the political instruments which deny the rights of the indigenous people of Palestine and further the goal of maintaining a Jewish majority.

Another means of ethnic cleansing is the segregation wall surrounding major Palestinian communities in the West Bank combined with Israel’s control of local and international border crossings. All these means allow Israel to gain maximum control over the Palestinian population with minimum cost. At the same time Israeli settlers are connected with major Israeli cities through a developed and modern system of highways and bypasses. These roads were paved in such a way as not to ‘upset’ the settler commuters with the sight of Palestinian villages or towns and many of them go through the day without catching sight of the imprisoned Palestinians near them.

This desire to ‘not see’ Palestinians is evident when one browses the websites of Israeli real estate companies. It is difficult to find any references to the Palestinian presence in any of the properties or neighborhoods offered for sale.

The main attraction mentioned in these ads is that those areas have ‘no security threat’ or that they are situated ‘not far from’ a major Israeli city.  This practice of assuring, explicitly or implicitly, prospective buyers that the new property will not have Arabs in its vicinity now or in the future, is not restricted to ads in the West Bank.  Inside Israel in areas such as Safad, where Palestinian Israeli students go to university, there is an explicit campaign to ensure they cannot get any flats in the town. And websites declare publicly they sell only for Jews by pointing out that their property belongs to the Jewish National Fund. This excuse is also employed in mixed cities such as Haifa and Jaffa to attract Jewish buyers to ‘only Jewish’ areas.

Also, the anti-repatriation policy against Palestinian refugees is ethnic cleansing by other means. Their inability to return has nothing to do with questions of absorption or the country’s capacity, but with their nationality. Israel is a country where citizenship has no relation to a person’s nationality. Judaism is a religion which became a nation though the Zionist project which produced Israel.  Consequently Jewish-Israelis belong to the Jewish nation, and Arab-Palestinians are minorities. Any Jew in the world can become a citizen of Israel while a Palestinian who knows no other home is a resident with unequal rights or no citizenship at all.

The worst method of ethnic cleansing was imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2006. Palestinians there were placed out of sight and beyond the demographic count by imposing a siege on the 1.8 million people living there. It was rationalized by Israel as a security measure but in truth it is part of their ethnic cleansing strategy that, in this case, can easily turn into a genocidal policy. No wonder Palestinians there resist ethnic cleansing with all they have.

What ethnic cleansing enabled Israelis to do was forget about the Palestinians imprisoned behind all the means their state implemented to take the land and ‘solve’ the demographic problem. Even when, in desperation, the people of Gaza resisted the worst of these devices it did not affect most Israelis. The carnage which was broadcast all over the world did not seem to move the vast majority of Israelis who continued, despite what Israeli propaganda attempted to portray, their normal life as they had done before. Life may have been disrupted for a few weeks in certain parts of Israel, but this was not enough to alert Israeli society to the crimes committed in their name.

The problem with Israel thus is not a policy here or there, but its overall strategy that has not changed since 1948 and is as cruel, and far more effective, than some of the ethnic cleansers now in action elsewhere in the  Middle East and in the world as a whole.

About Ilan Pappé

Professor Ilan Pappé is the Director of the European Center for Palestine Studies in University of Exeter and the author of 15 books among them The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2007), A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (2006), The War on Gaza (with Noam Chomsky) (2010) and his latest book in 2014 The Idea of Israel.

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About Samer Jaber

Samer Jaber is a political activist and researcher. He is the managing director for Dar el-Karma Inc. for Media, Researches and Publication. Jaber holds a master's degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University, and studied at the Kennedy School at Harvard University and MIT. He served six years' political internment in Israeli jails during the first Palestinian intifada.

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53 Responses

  1. Talkback
    October 17, 2014, 12:23 pm

    “[…] colonialist expansion into […] is viewed by mainstream […] as normal and necessary. For most of them, it is a historical right and for the rest it is justified as response to the […] natural population growth in the existing settlements.”

    Lebensraum policy in a nutshell.

  2. Citizen
    October 17, 2014, 12:23 pm

    Too bad no US congress folks will ever read this most concise, succinct, and factual portrait of Israel’s creed and deed as implemented. Nor will the USA’s “Fourth Estate” ever bring it to the attention of the US masses.

    • Citizen
      October 17, 2014, 12:25 pm

      The US will be the last enabler of Israel even after it becomes an official pariah, rogue state, just as Israel did that job for the apartheid state of S Africa.

    • JWalters
      October 17, 2014, 8:30 pm

      Very true. That’s because the U.S. government and media were captured as part of the process to establish Israel. Israel was not established to be a “safe haven” for Jews. It was established by Jewish supremacists backed by war profiteers to be a perpetual, profitable religious war zone, which it has been ever since.

      “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”
      http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

  3. ivri
    October 17, 2014, 1:41 pm

    So, to sum up, Israel is about: ethnic cleansing, apartheid, genocide, colonialism, Apartheid, land theft, Lebensraum, war crimes, children-killing, opportunism vis-à-vis the West and what not- In short, the amalgamation of all the conceivable vices in this world.
    Poor, Ayatollahs, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Assads, Erdogan, ISIL, (the late) Saddam and Qaddafi and all the rest in the region who have had the misfortune to have an entity like that in their midst.

    • Horizontal
      October 17, 2014, 1:53 pm

      Hey, ivri, didn’t you hear?

      Israel is a liberal democracy, worthy of our blind support, according to Senator Elizabeth Warren.

      • Faramarz Fathi
        October 20, 2014, 1:24 pm

        Horizontal:

        American politicians will lobotomize their mother either to get to office or stay in office. They are number one threats to American values.

        Faramarz Fathi

    • eljay
      October 17, 2014, 2:11 pm

      >> ivri: So, to sum up, Israel is …

      …an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” that:
      – was born of Jewish terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and lands;
      – remains engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder;
      – refuses to honour its obligations under international law;
      – refuses to accept responsibility and accountability for its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes; and
      – refuses to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

      Zio-supremacists seem to think that the existence of murderers magically transforms the serial rapist into a law-abiding citizen.

    • Bumblebye
      October 17, 2014, 3:38 pm

      So, ivri, Alon Ben Meir is suggesting a kinder, gentler genocide – he wants the international community to rehome all those unwanted pets (aka refugees) living in Gaza and the West Bank, and then just maybe, Isreal
      might let a few thousand of those further afield return. So, where and how do we rehome these nearly 2 million folks, whose “lingering plight” he blames not on Israel – those who caused it and refuse to provide any redress – but on the international community!
      link to huffingtonpost.com

    • Egbert
      October 17, 2014, 3:42 pm

      It is not surprising that you as as a supporter of the JSIL regime just mention the state leaders and political entities, glossing over the millions of civilians whose lives have been ended or destroyed in your quest. I wonder how many millions it amounts to.

    • Shingo
      October 17, 2014, 5:54 pm

      Poor, Ayatollahs, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Assads, Erdogan, ISIL, (the late) Saddam and Qaddafi and all the rest in the region who have had the misfortune to have an entity like that in their midst.

      For a start, there would be no Hezbollah or Hamas were it not for Israel’s obsession with occupation.

      Assad, Erdogan, and the Ayatollahs are governing their own states and minding their own business, unlike Israel that insists on bombing the lot of them.

      • Kay24
        October 17, 2014, 6:20 pm

        And may I add Israel NEEDS Hamas and Hezbollah to keep the occupation going, the aid coming, and the arms being gifted to them, to continue, what they are now being accused of, genocide. Israel will be finding itself with no “Wolf” to cry about.

      • just
        October 18, 2014, 10:29 am

        Well said Shingo.

    • oldgeezer
      October 18, 2014, 3:53 am

      That’s quite a rogues list you presented. Yes, Israel does indeed belong in the same group as that lot. Granted you have a fake, jerrymandered democracy but apparently murderous scum get the most votes. Even Rabin couldn’t claim any kudos for being more than a terrorist but even that got him killed.

    • TheThomas
      October 18, 2014, 8:29 pm

      No disrespect Irv, but your statement plus name suggest you just might be of the Jewish persuasion (not suggesting everyone named Irv is Jewish…..just sayin!)

      Your comment sounds as fair and balanced as Fox News.

      • Mooser
        October 19, 2014, 1:38 pm

        TheThomas, I think if you re-examine the comment, his name is “ivri” (I-V-R-I), not “Irv”.

        We can assume the lower-case ‘i” is just an internet convention, and his name is “Ivri”, not “Irv”. Big difference.

    • Accentitude
      October 22, 2014, 2:55 am

      If there was no occupation, there would be no Hamas and there would be no conflict with Hezbollah. Assad as was not a threat to you but rather you were to him and continue to be as long as you illegally occupy Syrian Land. Yes, the Golan is not Israel. It never was, it never will be. Erdogan has a llegitimate gripe with you because you murdered his citizens in international water and like the stubborn arrogant warmonger you are, you’ve refused to apologize for your crimes. The Ayatollahs have never attacked you except in words. Yet you have attacked and bombed their country on several occasions; attacks which are clearly an act of war. What was the reason? That they have nuclear capabilities? Ah that’s right. So it’s not OK for brown Persians to have nuclear capabilities but it is OK for White European colonists in Palestine to have them. I see.

      As for Israel, it did indeed a colonialist “nation” of illegal immigrants who’ve forcefully expelled the indigenous Arab population. There is no denying that. The evidence is quite crystal clear. Killing children? Indeed. Land theft? Indeed. Ethnic Cleansing? Absolutely and originally perpetrated by the Haganah, the Stern Gang, the Irgun…all whom have been pulled together and reintroduced as the “most moral army in the world.” Moral indeed. The fact is that Israel is an Apartheid State whether you choose to accept it or not. It has all the characteristics of an apartheid state and then some. It is a morally bankrupt, ethnocracy poorly disguised as a faux “western democracy.”

      The lot you’ve listed in your post all have gripes with Israel as a result if Israel’s own doing. It has brought upon itself it’s enemies and it is indeed the only one to blame.

    • talknic
      October 22, 2014, 6:36 pm

      @ ivri “So, to sum up, Israel is about: ethnic cleansing, apartheid, genocide, colonialism, Apartheid, land theft, Lebensraum, war crimes, children-killing, opportunism vis-à-vis the West and what not- In short, the amalgamation of all the conceivable vices in this world”

      If you say so….

      “Poor, Ayatollahs, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Assads, Erdogan, ISIL, (the late) Saddam and Qaddafi and all the rest in the region who have had the misfortune to have an entity like that in their midst.”

      If you say so…

      … weird …

  4. Horizontal
    October 17, 2014, 3:25 pm

    Consequently Jewish-Israelis belong to the Jewish nation, and Arab-Palestinians are minorities. Any Jew in the world can become a citizen of Israel while a Palestinian who knows no other home is a resident with unequal rights or no citizenship at all.

    If we substituted Muslim for Jewish in that phrase, every good Liberal in the US would be all over the inherent injustice of the situation and demand that we pressure them to change it. Instead, they make excuses or pretend that things aren’t as they seem.

    Excellent article which sadly needs much wider distribution here in the US.

  5. just
    October 17, 2014, 4:14 pm

    Implanting non-indigenous trees while burning, bulldozing, and annihilating indigenous and ancient/sapling olive trees.

    I guess it follows that Israel targets & murders the elderly and young Palestinians in order to pay a family from Brooklyn to have the keys to a Palestinian home in Palestine.

    Thank you Ilan and Samer.

  6. shalom
    October 17, 2014, 4:56 pm

    There is truth in what Ilan Pappe and Samer Jaber describe. There was a policy in 1948 of expropriation. There was a policy in 1968 of occupation. There was a policy from 1948 to the present of developing facts on the ground and thus controlling the ground itself. But there were also wars in 1948, 56, 67, 73 and two Intifada’s and now a series, (four), ‘operations,’ wars between Israel and Hamas including the latest that killed some 2100 Palestinians and 72 Israelis. Hamas which lacked the capacity to kill more Israelis fired some 4500 rockets at the civilian population in southern and this time central Israel and some 30 tunnels from Gaza into Israel were discovered that had been built to project terror into the hearts of Israel’s Negev communities with the intent of creating enough fear to make the cost of living their prohibitive for many. The Second Intifada changed the ability of many Israelis to believe that peace was actually possible at least in the short run and required the creation of a Security Wall to separate the populations and eliminate the access of terrorists to Israeli cities. The peace initiatives designed at Camp David, Taba and between Olmet/Abbas offered the Palestinian Authority approximately 94% of the West Bank as well as a piece of Jerusalem. Was it enough? No! Was it a reasonable beginning? I believe so. Can a path to peace and two states be developed through the reconstruction of Gaza and the gradual enhancement of freedom of movement for the people of Gaza in return for the demilitarization of Hamas? Unlikely, but possible, with enough prayers and enough balls…

    • Mooser
      October 17, 2014, 6:17 pm

      “Unlikely, but possible, with enough prayers and enough balls… “

      You can keep what you have stolen, and avoid an accounting for your crimes, and live happily ever after on tomatoes and cell-phone chips and an illegal nuclear arsenal? And the accomplishment will redound through the future to the benefit of all who call themselves “Jews”?

      Sure, that’s what’s gonna happen.

      • eljay
        October 17, 2014, 9:29 pm

        >> shalom: Can a path to peace and two states be developed through the reconstruction of Gaza and the gradual enhancement of freedom of movement for the people of Gaza in return for the demilitarization of Hamas?

        The path to peace and two states should be developed through justice, accountability and equality.

    • Annie Robbins
      October 17, 2014, 10:43 pm

      Was it enough? No! Was it a reasonable beginning? I believe so.

      shalom, Can a path to peace and two states be developed through the reconstruction of Gaza and the enhancement of freedom for palestinians in return for the demilitarization of Israel?

      yes! i believe it can!

    • Philip Munger
      October 18, 2014, 12:21 am

      Olmet/Abbas [sic] offered the Palestinian Authority approximately 94% of the West Bank as well as a piece of Jerusalem. Was it enough? No!

      You are sorely mistaken. Unless you can show us some sort of authoritative map indicating Israeli willingness to give the PLO total internal control of “94%” of the WB. I dare you, shalom.

      Stale Hasbara….

      • Citizen
        October 18, 2014, 7:23 am

        Didn’t Abbas have to keep drawing what Israel proposed on napkins to the best of his recollection because Israel would not give him a map of any of its proposals?

    • oldgeezer
      October 18, 2014, 3:13 am

      I’m waiting to hear why anything less than 100% is acceptable. It’s their land. Israel is anything but an innocent victim in this situation. Israeli documents prove it was the aggressor. Get back into your own land.

    • pjdude
      October 18, 2014, 1:34 pm

      really your going to blame wars that Israel started on the palestinians?

    • walktallhangloose
      October 21, 2014, 10:55 am

      “offered the Palestinian Authority approximately 94% of the West Bank as well as a piece of Jerusalem”

      Just so typical of Zionist arrogance. It is not your territory to offer. Jerusalem is not your city to tear into pieces. The only territory rightfully belonging to the modern State of Israel is that inside the borders it declared on May 14, 1948. All of Jerusalem is outside those borders, as are the towns of Jaffa, Acre, Lydda, Ramle, Ashkelon, Nazareth and Beersheba. Those towns were captured by war, in violation of fundamental principles of international law, and so not legally part of Israel. Palestine has said that Israel can keep that captured territory in a peace agreement, and has not even asked for compensation. There is no reason whatsoever for Palestine to give Israel any territory in the West Bank.

      Central to Palestinian identity is their position as guardians of the Holy Places. Muslims respect the Holy Places of all three monotheistic religions. Jerusalem was always the capital of Palestine. It must remain so. Jerusalem is also central to Jewish identity. That must be respected. Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. Joint sovereignty over Jerusalem is the only way in which a two-state solution could work.

      De-militarization of Hamas? De-militarization of Palestine? What about de-militarization of Israel? Israel has waged two wars of expansion against Palestine, in 1948-49 and in 1967. How could an unarmed Palestine trust Israel? De-militarization of one side, a.k.a surrender, is not the answer. What is needed is a peace-treaty between equals. If there was peace between Israel and Palestine, Israel would have no enemies. The US taxpayer could save several billion dollars a year they spend arming Israel.

    • Accentitude
      October 22, 2014, 3:00 am

      The Second Intifada changed the ability of many Israelis to believe that peace was actually possible at least in the short run and required the creation of a Security Wall to separate the populations and eliminate the access of terrorists to Israeli cities.

      Sure, take a look at the route of the Israeli wall and tell me again that it’s purpose is to “eliminate the access of terrorists to Israeli cities.” You’re either a liar, very naive, or you think that West Bank settlements constitute “Israeli cities.”

    • talknic
      October 22, 2014, 7:48 pm

      @ shalom “There was a policy in 1948 of expropriation”

      Indeed .. pre-planned by the Jewish Agency/Zionist Movement link to wp.me

      “There was a policy in 1968 of occupation”

      There was also a policy of occupation in 1948 link to wp.me
      1948 .. 1968 .. today … are a continuation of Jewish Agency/Zionist Movement pre-planning

      “There was a policy from 1948 to the present of developing facts on the ground and thus controlling the ground itself.”

      Indeed .. a continuation. The Zionist Movement’s aim hasn’t changed in over a century

      “But there were also wars in 1948, 56, 67, 73 … etc ..”

      ‘also’? No buster, they were and still are a part of the plan.

      ’48 – Until May 15th 1948 at precisely 00:01 ME time link to trumanlibrary.org a civil war existed in Palestine exacerbated in the weeks preceding the expiry of the Mandate link to pages.citebite.com by Plan Dalet link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org under which territories NOT slated for the Jewish state were cleansed and occupied by Jewish forces who illegally remained there after Israel proclaimed its boundaries in its plea for recognition (ibid).

      At precisely 00:01 May 15th 1948 the civil war immediately became a war waged by the State of Israel on what remained of Palestine in territories “outside the State of Israel” (ibid)

      ’56 … Israel invaded non-Israeli territories.

      ’67 … Israel invaded non-Israeli territories (preceded by Israeli aggression in ’66 link to unispal.un.org )

      ’73 … Israel refused to withdraw from the Sinai and Golan. Egypt and Syria both had a right to attempt to restore sovereignty over their territory ( Schwebel/Lauterpacht/Herzog link to wp.me )

      “Hamas which lacked the capacity to kill more Israelis fired some 4500 rockets at the civilian population…etc “

      A) The IDF Memorial site tells us more military have been attacked struck, injured and killed than have Israeli civilians.

      B) The amount of ineffective home made Palestinian rockets mostly fired in vain towards Israel, pales into insignificance compared to the tens of hundreds of thousands of high tech human slaughtering armaments Israel has fired on Palestine.

      ” 30 tunnels from Gaza into Israel were discovered that had been built to project terror into the hearts of Israel’s Negev communities with the intent of creating enough fear to make the cost of living their prohibitive for many.”

      A) The Armistice Demarcation Line is not the Israeli border. Israel has never legally acquired any territory beyond it’s proclaimed boundaries. Unless of course you can show an annexation agreement under which Israel legally annexed further territories to its sovereign extent. Yes?

      B) How many attacks via these tunnels were on Israeli civilians? C) How many of these tunnels ACTUALLY had exits near enough to any Israeli civilians to be effective?

      “The Second Intifada changed the ability of many Israelis to believe that peace was actually possible at least in the short run and required the creation of a Security Wall to separate the populations and eliminate the access of terrorists to Israeli cities”

      Problem with your theory is the fact that thousands of illegal entries into Israel are made each month by Palestinians, UN-DETECTED link to google.com.au ….. go figure

      “The peace initiatives designed at Camp David, Taba and between Olmet/Abbas offered the Palestinian Authority approximately 94% of the West Bank..”

      The West Bank ain’t Israel’s to offer. Would you accept a thief offering to swap the spare tyre from your car so that he could keep the rest of it?

      “Was it a reasonable beginning? I believe so”

      WOW, what say I come around and steal a few things, then offer you some bargains for me to keep

  7. just
    October 17, 2014, 5:32 pm

    “Can a path to peace and two states be developed through the reconstruction of Gaza and the gradual enhancement of freedom of movement for the people of Gaza in return for the demilitarization of Hamas? Unlikely, but possible, with enough prayers and enough balls… -”

    Nuclear Israel needs a collective smack on the kippah and ‘demilitarization’.

    Then “a path to peace” and justice can be realized.

  8. Bornajoo
    October 17, 2014, 6:58 pm

    @Shalom

    You mention the second intifada, you mention Hamas rockets and tunnels and “terrorists”

    You need to look at the situation honestly and also be honest with yourself. All of the above were reactions to Israeli aggression, intransigence, lies, betrayal, land theft, decades of brutal oppression and dehumanisation. I know you want your comment to sound reasonable but it’s based on the usual mythology and hasbara. I’m Jewish, I have strong connections to Israel and have been there countless times and once upon a time I used to say and believe the same stuff as you do. But I looked deeper and when you do that you will see the actual truth because only the real truth can free your mind

    • bintbiba
      October 17, 2014, 8:09 pm

      Bornajoo… thank you ,thank you for your honesty and truthtelling. I am proud to be breathing the same air of London as your compatriot.

    • shalom
      October 18, 2014, 10:30 am

      I am Jewish, have been to Israel/Palestine many times and met Israeli MKs, Palestinian Authority leaders including Salam Fayyad, a member of Hamas and many peacemakers. Honesty is about each side listening to, recognizing and understanding the story and the truth of the other. Israeli has enormous military power, but that didn’t prevent Hamas from firing 4500 rockets into Israel this past summer or from Hamas sending a suicide bombers to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during the Second Intifada and killing civilians. It will take two peoples to stop their belligerence and each choose to walk a path toward engagement and peacemaking, (and both sides need enormous help and support).

      • Annie Robbins
        October 18, 2014, 10:41 am

        shalom, i find it hypocritical for you to be writing about honesty and truth in the same paragraph as hamas firing rockets while ignoring the israeli pogrom that precipitated those rockets, as well as the israel slaughter.

        i find it hypocritical you mention suicide bombers while ignoring it was palestinians who suffered and lost their market in hebron as a punishment for the jewish terrorist attack/massacre of dozens of praying muslims, which precipitated the suicide bombings.

        i find it hypocritical you’re referencing “listening” without once referencing israel’s intention to ethnically cleanse palestine for a jewish state that is the cause of this crisis back then as it is now. the continued slaughter of children, the brutal occupation, all of it.

        i’m not interested in your ‘both sides’ narrative if there’s not one bit of recognition those sides are grossly imbalanced; one being the imprisoned and the other controlling the stealing the land and resources. besides, netanyahu just announced he’s never giving up the WB, so this BS about both sides needing “enormous help and support” when one side doesn’t even have running water! seriously.

        and if you want to sound balanced, why arn’t you advocating israel demilitarize as you’re suggested hamas should? or don’t you think palestinian dead people matter?

        israel needs “enormous help and support” the way buffalo bill needs therapy (iow, not high on the list of priorities when a killer is on the lose). see the bloody fingernail in this video clip? re “Israeli has enormous military power, but that didn’t prevent Hamas from firing 4500 rockets into Israel this past summer” well buffalo bill has a very deep well but that didn’t prevent his last prisoner from bloodying the stone walls trying to scratch their way out and it also didn’t stop her from screaming at him. get it? you go ahead and sooth buffalo bill because he has to listen to those wailing screams, but for heavens sakes don’t try pawning off some illusion pretending the needs of “both sides”, between the sadist and the prisoner, are comparable when they are obviously not. there’s only one victim here, and it’s not israel with its decades long sadistic colonialist policies.

      • Mooser
        October 18, 2014, 11:38 am

        “I am Jewish, have been to Israel/Palestine many times…”

        What a strange way of saying ‘I am an American citizen”!!

      • pjdude
        October 18, 2014, 11:59 pm

        back any living creature into a corner and threaten it and they will lash out. a rabbit will attack a wolf if cornered. want the attacks to stop quit attacking them and remove your thieves from their territory.

      • Mooser
        October 19, 2014, 7:02 pm

        I always find myself wondering how much contempt “shalom” must have for people to offer arguments like that.

      • eljay
        October 20, 2014, 11:57 am

        >> shalom: It will take two peoples to stop their belligerence and each choose to walk a path toward engagement and peacemaking …

        Once again, justice and accountability are omitted from the equation.

      • Faramarz Fathi
        October 20, 2014, 3:55 pm

        Shalom:

        “It will take two peoples to stop their belligerence and each choose to walk a path toward engagement and peacemaking,”

        The word peace is such a dreadful proposition to the Israelis.
        Any agreements worth calling it peace between the two people will mean cessation of many Israeli actions that just does not conform to the greater Israel aspirations instilled in vast majority of population.
        Peace means no more ethnic cleansing that is currently under way and clearing way for greater Israel dream to come true.
        Peace means an end to running those two concentration camps preventing the indigenous of the basic human needs and freedoms.
        Peace means no more land grabbing which the current Israeli leader deems as unacceptable.
        Peace means an independent state next to Israel independent of their electric, water supply and banking system eventually.
        Peace means many things that will eventually disrupt the infrastructure that currently support and sustains the status quo.

        But without a permanent and sustainable peace Israel is doomed. It is alienating itself every day from the rest of the world. The Jews, specially the young in this country, are voicing their frustration and rejection of the apartheid in Palestine.
        Nonetheless, I do pray for an everlasting and just resolution in Palestine resultant in two people living side by side in peace and harmony.

        Faramarz Fathi

      • Accentitude
        October 22, 2014, 3:10 am

        “I am Jewish, have been to Israel/Palestine many times”

        It’s usually bad news if you need to start your comment with a statement like this to justify what you said. It’s akin to saying “I’m not racist, I have black friends.” It’s not going to help your argument at all. It’s ironic you had to do that by saying you’ve met a handful of Arabs. Oh my God, now I really believe you don’t hate us b/c you’ve actually met Salam Fayyad, an anonymous member of Hamas and some generic “peacemakers.” Next time just say what you mean: “I’m not racist, I’ve actually met and spoken to Arabs.” It won’t work to your benefit but at least we’ll know where you stand without having to put in some effort.

      • seafoid
        October 22, 2014, 6:11 am

        I’m not Jewish. I was not chosen.
        But I have been to Erez Israel many times and I find the experience depressing.
        Israel is a basket case and a prisoner of the memes of Zionism.

  9. Bornajoo
    October 18, 2014, 5:37 am

    Bintibaba

    Thank you and likewise

    • peeesss
      October 20, 2014, 12:51 pm

      Definition: Both Sides

      “Both sides”: A favoured term among so-called “liberal” politicians and pundits alike. Palestinians have their olive trees uprooted by the thousands, their farms burned, their homes destroyed, their land stolen, their ancient towns and villages razed, their history and culture appropriated, and their children shot, maimed, and murdered by Israel. But who is responsible? Nobody in corporate (liberal) media circles seems to know for sure; it must be then that “both sides” are to blame.

      Other “both sides” phrases repeated ad nauseam include: “both sides are being unhelpful”, “both sides must make painful compromises for peace”, and “both sides must come to the table”. Why Palestinians are to blame for their ethnic cleansing and dispossession and why they must compromise their inalienable human rights to their own oppressors is never made clear by these faux liberal pundits.

  10. Mooser
    October 18, 2014, 11:35 am

    Thanks, all.

  11. benedict
    October 18, 2014, 8:03 pm

    An amazing amount of false information in an article purportedly written by an academic.

    “The pine is generally a European species which before the 20th century was not seen in the Middle East” – that’s simply not true. Pinus halepensis (known in Israel as Jerusalem pine) is an endemic species in the land of Israel. Natural patches of pine have survived till modern times in places such as carmel range and lower Galilee.

    There is nothing uniquely European about pinus halapensis. In fact its natural habitat is Mediterranean – from Spain all the way to Syria and Jordan. If the Zionists where indeed looking for trees that will remind them of eastern Europe they would have gone for maple, ash, birch and oak.

    In fact there are very good professional reasons to pick pine for a forestry renewal project in a semi arid hot climate. Pines are hardy, they grow quickly, they stop soil erosion and provide shade that protects the ground and allows the growth of secondary trees and bushes. Contrary to claims, pines are not more flammable then others trees nor do they create “ecological deserts”.

    As for the carmel national park – it was actually started by the British way before the state and is one of the few natural forests that survived in Israel till modern times.

    • just
      October 19, 2014, 9:07 am

      I prefer the olive trees that the GoI and sponsored settlers demolished/burned/uprooted.

      Thanks anyway.

    • bintbiba
      October 19, 2014, 10:31 am

      Lebanon is covered with Mediterranean pine not imported from Europe. As a 10 year old (in1945) I do remember pine trees on Mount Carmel (where my father owned land where he planned to build a family home to retire in )…. …. …..

      • seafoid
        October 22, 2014, 6:13 am

        The Zionists were naïve. They thought they could escape their history by replanting the land and clearing the locals. As if.
        It may have worked during the day but the demons came back in the night. Local djinns and European trauma.
        The djinns are still winning.

  12. Daniel Rich
    October 18, 2014, 8:53 pm

    Q: …the inferior local population would be replaced by a superior one…

    R: What a difference a day [or 2 makes], if you say/repeat that sentence out loud in Germany today, you end up in jail.

    I like that kinda progress…

  13. Bornajoo
    October 19, 2014, 1:16 pm

    @Annie

    Thanks for the detailed reply to Shalom’s post. I was in the process of writing one but yours covered all the issues far better than I ever could.

    I still want to stress that I used to think and believe in the same way because as a jew with strong Israeli connections I think you are obliged to do so and just don’t want to really see and believe the actual truth. I just had my 50 year old first cousin staying here with me in London with her 17 year old daughter (who is looking forward to going to the army next year!). I just found it impossible to discuss the issues with them in any kind of reasonable and logical manner. I couldn’t get past their immediate anger at me for simply trying to explain how I saw things. They just believe everything they have been told, they have been sold fear and more fear and just refuse to even consider an alternative version of reality. It ended up putting a huge strain on the relationship and we just had to agree never to try and discuss it again.

    What really worried me was just how much more aggressive the daughter was compared to the mother. Very worrying because how is that younger generation ever going to coexist with people they believe are going to slit their throats the first chance they get? Because this is what they unfortunately do believe.

    • Daniel Rich
      October 19, 2014, 5:40 pm

      @ Bornajoo,

      Reading your story/comment fills me with sadness. Sadness, because it is an all too common phenomenon. There simply seems to be no rational way to discuss this situation. It’s the ‘You’re either with us or against us’ redux all over again and flawlessly results in being cast as an outcast.

      I’ve tried hard, but failed to come up with a sound and solid solution to this problem.

      Nevertheless, I want you to know you’re not alone in encountering this lopsided view [and the inability to properly deal with it].

      Perhaps one day…

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