Israel’s plan to retool occupation includes color-coding ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Palestinians

Israel/Palestine
on 38 Comments

Launched this month, as much of the world was on holiday, Avigdor Lieberman’s plan for the Palestinians – retooling Israel’s occupation – received less attention than it should.

Defence minister since May, Lieberman has been itching to accelerate Israel’s annexation by stealth of the West Bank.

His “carrot and stick” plan has three components. First, he intends to sideline the Palestinian Authority in favor of a new local leadership of “notables” hand-picked by Israel.

Preferring to “cut out the middle man”, in his words, he will open a dialogue with supposedly more responsible Palestinians – business people, academics and mayors.

Next, he has established a new communications unit that will speak in Arabic over the heads of the PA in the West Bank and its Hamas rivals in Gaza directly to ordinary Palestinians.

An online campaign – budgeted at $2.6 million – will seek to convince them of Israel’s good intentions. The Palestinians’ problems, according to Lieberman, derive from corrupt and inciteful national leaderships, not the occupation.

And finally, his defense ministry will produce a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live.

Collective punishment will be stepped up in towns and villages in red areas, from which Palestinian attacks have been launched. Presumably night raids and house demolitions will increase, while closures will further curtail freedom of movement.

Palestinians in green areas will reap economic rewards for their good behavior. They will be given work permits in Israel and the settlements, and benefit from development projects, including the creation of Israeli-controlled industrial zones.

This week the Haaretz daily reported that Lieberman is convinced that all the Palestinians can be attributed to Abbas’ “reign of corruption”. In briefings he has stated that the Palestinian leader “doesn’t want to deal with problems of economics and employment. The entire system of management there has failed.”

It sounds like the musings of a 19th century colonial official on how best to prevent the natives turning restless. Ahmed Majdalani, an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, told the Israeli media the new arrangements assumed Palestinans were “stupid and lacking self-respect” and could be “bought with economic perks”.

Lieberman’s longer-term goal is to persuade Palestinians – and the international community – that their aspirations for self-determination are unattainable and counter-productive

Israel has tried that approach before, as Palestinian officials pointed out. Decades ago, Israel sought to manage the occupation by imposing on the local population Palestinian collaborators, termed “Village Leagues”. Armed by the Israeli military, they were supposed to stamp out political activism and support for the PLO.

By the early 1980s the experiment had to be abandoned, as Palestinians refused to accept the leagues’ corrupt and self-serving rule. An uprising, the first intifada, followed a short time later.

Israel’s agreement to the PA’s creation under the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s was, in part, an acceptance that the occupied territories needed a more credible security contractor, this time in the form of the Palestinian national leadership.

Whatever Lieberman and others claim, the Palestinian leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza are the last parties to blame for the recent wave of Palestinian unrest. The attacks have been mostly carried out spontaneously by “lone wolves”, not organised groups. Many occur in Jerusalem, from which all political activity is barred.

Abbas has described the “security coordination” with Israel as “sacred”, aware that his PA will not survive long if it does not demonstrate its usefulness to Israel. His security services have subdued Palestinian resistance more effectively than the Israeli army.

Bereft of regional allies and a credible strategy, even Hamas have chosen quiet since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, its lethal wrecking spree in Gaza in 2014. It has kept the tiny coastal enclave locked down. Rocket fire – one of the few remaining, if largely symbolic, ways to confront Israel – all but ceased long ago.

The silence from Gaza was briefly disturbed a week ago by a rocket fired by a small ISIL-linked group. Despite Hamas’s disavowal of the attack, Lieberman demonstrated his new big stick by bombarding government sites in Gaza in a show of force unseen over the past two years.

The futility of this approach – blaming the official leaderships for the roiling frustration and resentment of those they formally lead – should be self-evident.

Ordinary Palestinians, not officials, endure the endless expansion of settlements and the resulting takeover of their agricultural lands. Ordinary Palestinians, not their leaders, face daily abuses at checkpoints and in military raids. Reports at the weekend suggested soldiers were deliberately kneecapping youths at protests to permanently disable them.

Round-ups, torture, military courts that always find the accused guilty – these are the rites of passage for Palestinians in the West Bank. For Palestinians in Gaza, it is slow starvation, homelessness and a random missile rain of death.

An Israeli strategy that failed decades ago – before the PA even existed – is not going to succeed now. Social media campaigns and paltry handouts will not persuade Palestinians they are nothing more than a humanitarian problem.

They are not about to shelve their dreams of liberation just because Lieberman color-codes them in red and green.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

About Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is jonathan-cook.net.

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38 Responses

  1. eljay
    August 31, 2016, 11:42 am

    C’mon, Avi – you hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist, you – what are you waiting for? Just round them all up and exterminate them. You know you want to…

    • inbound39
      September 1, 2016, 6:12 pm

      Yes Eljay….those are the words missing….exterminate….exterminate! Lieberman et al are missing the point. Around the World if this plan is actioned will come a backlash where people will likely categorize Jews. Green for non Zionist Jews….Red for Zionist Jews and bright Yellow for Zionist settlers and the same rules will apply. Carrot and stick. Green Jews will get access to overseas travel and business investment and Red and Yellow Jews will have a permanent ban on access and travel to overseas destinations. That is in reality what Lieberman is setting up but I doubt he has thought that far. What Palestinians want is simple. They want Israeli’s gone from their land. They want their own land and determine their own future. They want nothing whatsoever to do with Israel because it offers nothing they truly want or need.

      • eljay
        September 1, 2016, 7:00 pm

        I really don’t understand the Zio-supremacist insistence on shitting on and undermining international laws and human rights and the protections they are meant to afford all people.

        When the blowback hits, they will suffer and – more importantly – non-Zionist Jews will suffer because of their actions.

        Why do Zio-supremacists hate Jews so much?!

      • Mooser
        September 1, 2016, 8:47 pm

        ” – non-Zionist Jews will suffer because of their actions.”

        And where’s a Jew in trouble gonna go?

        I’m not worried “Eljay”, when the blow back comes, it’ll probably be directed almost entirely to the correct scapegoats.

      • eljay
        September 2, 2016, 9:50 am

        || Mooser: … I’m not worried “Eljay”, when the blow back comes, it’ll probably be directed almost entirely to the correct scapegoats. ||

        That’s good. I don’t want any scapegoats – or scapemoose(r)s – getting hurt.

      • eljay
        September 2, 2016, 10:09 am

        || eljay: … I don’t want any scapegoats – or scapemoose(r)s – getting hurt. ||

        Correction: … I don’t want any undeserving scapegoats – or scapemoose(r)s – getting hurt.

      • Mooser
        September 2, 2016, 10:30 am

        ” or scapemoose(r)s – getting hurt.”

        I think there will be social consequences for American Jews as knowledge of the failure of Zionism becomes general, and more generally acknowledged.

      • eljay
        September 2, 2016, 11:20 am

        || Mooser: … I think there will be social consequences for American Jews as knowledge of the failure of Zionism becomes general, and more generally acknowledged. ||

        This is why I continue to wonder why Zio-supremacists who claim to care so much about Jews seem to care so little about Jews.

  2. Ossinev
    August 31, 2016, 4:39 pm

    So let me get this straight. Herr Lieberman wants to separate the Palestinian natives into Kapos and non – Kapos. Can`t really see the untermenschen falling for this one. Weren`t the obliging Kapos “eliminated” in due course anyway as part of the Final Solution plan.

    He`ll just have to revert to a “bouncier” strategy.

    • oneangrycomic
      September 1, 2016, 8:23 am

      Kapos was the first thing I thought of! Unfortunately for the ZioNazis, Palestinians have endured DECADES of suffering in concentration camps, not a few years. Therefore, they’re less apt to buy into their captors’ sinister lies!

      I hope to witness the day when American leaders draw a red circle around Tel-Aviv and stop sending our tax dollars to support the Apartheid, Terrorist government of Israel!

  3. amigo
    August 31, 2016, 4:49 pm

    And we are chided for making comparisons to Nazis.

    Pullllease.

  4. Citizen
    August 31, 2016, 11:49 pm

    So Israel will color code by location, the native’s residential location will be his/her badge, color indicating degree of threat to the state. But we aren’t supposed to draw any analogies to Nazi procedure for prioritizing how to handle enemies of the state.

    Carrot and stick, & as Ossinev relates: kapo versus non-capo.

    “It sounds like the musings of a 19th century colonial official on how best to prevent the natives turning restless.” Indeed it does; also reminds me of how things were handle by the White Man before influx of lots of white settlers into the wild, like in 17th Century Western North America. All those different native tribes–a Frenchie had to figure out which he could trade with, ally with, like the Utes, and which would be the designated evil ones–everybody was scared of the Comanches, so couldn’t mess with them–the tribe picked as most evil were the Apaches.

  5. fingrinn
    September 1, 2016, 3:25 pm

    So whats next, Painting the red areas in Palestinian blood? Hell lets just reward Palestinians good behavior with a Gold star.

  6. mariapalestina
    September 1, 2016, 3:29 pm

    I have a suggestion.
    Why not tattoo every Palestinian with a color coded number?
    Green would mean “On hold for the time being.”
    Yellow for “We’ll get to you next.”
    Red for “Kiss your kids” (or your parents) goodbye.

    • Helena Cobban
      September 1, 2016, 4:57 pm

      I feel that a blue number, tattooed near the wrist, might be more appropriate?

      • klm90046
        September 7, 2016, 1:30 am

        Helena, are you THE Helena Cobban?

      • Annie Robbins
        September 7, 2016, 3:35 am

        yes it is really truly — the one and only — helena ;)

  7. genesto
    September 1, 2016, 4:22 pm

    So, will Palestinians have to address Israeli Jews with ‘Yassir’ and ‘No sir’?

    Got to keep those uppity Arabs in line!

    • xanadou
      September 2, 2016, 4:05 pm

      And take their keffiyehs off when addressed by the chosen übermenschen…

  8. Helena Cobban
    September 1, 2016, 4:56 pm

    This: “Ahmed Majdalani, an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, told the Israeli media the new arrangements assumed Palestinans were ‘stupid and lacking self-respect’ and could be ‘bought with economic perks’…. ” Um, has he looked at the long record of his boss recently?

  9. Kay24
    September 1, 2016, 5:39 pm

    With calls to put them in concentration camps, to bomb them back to the stone age, and Palestinians being used as lab rats to test out new weapons, this suggestion for color codes which is discriminating, one would think this is some kind of holocaust going on over there.
    This one is eerily similar to the last one, although in a much smaller scale. Still there is pain, suffering, lost of property, and unnecessary killings.

    • inbound39
      September 1, 2016, 6:17 pm

      Doesn’t matter which way it gets stood up Kay 24…criminal is criminal……and Israel is every bit a criminal State deserving abso- bloody- lutely no support. British and American Governments need to get that memo very quick.

      • Kay24
        September 1, 2016, 7:47 pm

        If Iran had an occupation, stole lands from helpless people, mowed the lawn and killed hundreds of women and children, stole water, and broke international laws, like Israel has done, we would have shocked and awed them long time ago.

        Israel does not deserve even a dollar in aid, nor our weapons. The US and UK keep ignoring that memo.

  10. mcohen.
    September 1, 2016, 5:55 pm

    finally israel is taking a firm step in the right direction.the dithering.the indecision.must end.the colour coding is exactly what it should be.israel must annexe the westbank and those that oppose it must suffer the consequences.there is no more alternative.the 2 state solution is a failure because there is no power to underwrite it
    empire is gone away

    • Mooser
      September 1, 2016, 8:50 pm

      .“israel must annexe the westbank and those that oppose it must suffer the consequences” “mcohen”, and he means it!

      Absolutely, “mcohen”! Why there’s nothing better than Zionists in the US suggesting the extreme, illegal, solutions and suggesting genocide for any Palestinian who doesn’t like it.
      Very impressive. You know that nothing can stand in the way of 200 million Zionist Jews (and 20-3- million “settlers”), and you don’t mind letting us know it!

    • eljay
      September 1, 2016, 9:05 pm

      || mcohen.: … israel must annexe the westbank and those that oppose it must suffer the consequences. … ||

      That’s a hell of a lesson for a “moral beacon” and “light unto the nations” “Jewish State” to teach the rest of the world: Jews who oppose the actions of non-Jews – regardless of how unjust and immoral those actions are – must suffer the consequences.

    • Talkback
      September 5, 2016, 7:42 am

      mcohen: ‘finally israel is taking a firm step in the right direction … .the colour coding is exactly what it should be.israel must annexe the westbank and those that oppose it must suffer the consequences.

      You would have loved Nazi Germany, their color coding and illegal annexations. Their differentiation of humans into ‘kriegswichtig’ and ‘lebensunwert’. Cause your not different at all and proud of it.

  11. mcohen.
    September 2, 2016, 5:56 am

    eljay says

    “moral beacon” and “light unto nations”

    these 2 words ….beacon and light……about sum it up

    the west bank has not paid for electricity in years.millions owing to the suppliers.

    • eljay
      September 2, 2016, 9:40 am

      || mcohen.: … these 2 words ….beacon and light……about sum it up the west bank has not paid for electricity in years.millions owing to the suppliers. ||

      Yup, the victims have not paid the rapist for electricity in months. Terrible people, those women. And it has nothing to do with the fact that they’re being held captive in the rapist’s basement.

    • talknic
      September 2, 2016, 9:47 am

      @ mcohen

      The Occupying Power is obliged to supply shortfall in necessities. GC IV

    • talknic
      September 2, 2016, 10:00 am

      @ mcohen

      “Israel, the Occupying Power” is obliged to supply shortfall in necessities per GC IV

      GC IV applies according to the UNSC (UNSC res 476 et al)
      The west Bank was by 1967 legally annexed to Jordan by request of the majority of the West Bank’s legitimate inhabitants
      Jordan was by 1967 a UN Member State and High Contracting Power

      • Mooser
        September 2, 2016, 10:35 am

        Ah, “talknic”, you just don’t get it.
        The UN, the Geneva Conventions, and all of their palaver pales before the power of 200 million Jews. And “mcohen”, of course.
        That makes 200 million and one. That’s a lotta people.

  12. Ossinev
    September 2, 2016, 7:12 am

    @mcohen

    “israel must annexe the westbank and those that oppose it must suffer the consequences – See more at”

    Kudos to you for really grasping the nettle and dissing the ludicrous two state solution. JSIL should annex all of the Occupied Territories , scrap the corrupt and useless PA , take over full responsibility for all of the Palestinian population and give them full and equal rights of citizenship. Wait a minute did I get that last bit right or did you mean that JSIL should force them to have some sort of compulsory identifiable colour coded insignia on their clothes then round them all up and then dispose of them somehow.

    Please clarify.

    • Mooser
      September 2, 2016, 12:45 pm

      “JSIL should annex all of the Occupied Territories , scrap the corrupt and useless PA , take over full responsibility for all of the Palestinian population and give them full and equal rights of citizenship.”

      Which will require several plebiscites. Don’t forget those, “mcohen”

      • mcohen.
        September 2, 2016, 7:42 pm

        mooser reminds mcohen

        dont forget the plebs

  13. Qualtrough
    September 2, 2016, 10:24 pm

    A good PR move by Palestinians would be for them adopt wearing a P on their clothing, or a symbol of their choosing. Color to be determined, but perhaps following the red/green guideline in this article. It would be a symbol of pride for Palestinians and a reproach and great irritation to Zionists.

  14. Talkback
    September 6, 2016, 9:20 am

    The real and ugly face of settler colonialism.

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