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Israel will celebrate 50th anniversary of ’67 war in — an illegal settlement!

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Israel will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 War with an official ceremony in an illegal West Bank settlement. This news is a week old, but it has gotten no attention in the United States.

Benjamin Netanyahu, on vacation in the Galilee, April 2017

Here is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s declaration eight days ago:

Today the Cabinet will approve a decision about the celebrations to mark 50 years since the liberation of Judea, Samaria [biblical names for the West Bank] and the Golan Heights. We will also celebrate the liberation of Jerusalem. The Six Day War was one of the greatest victories in the history of Israel. It brought us back to parts of our homeland and completely changed our strategic situation. We will mark the 50th anniversary with a series of events. The main event will take place at Kfar Etzion and I thank Culture Minister Miri Regev and Minister Naftali Bennett for their cooperation in promoting these celebrations.

Bennett and Regev are far-right members of Netanyahu’s coalition. Kfar Etzion is an illegal settlement south of Jerusalem that was rebuilt in 1967 because it had been a Jewish town before the partition of the land in 1949, and the site of a massacre of Jews. It is today one of a bloc of 17 illegal settlements that include Nokidim (where Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman lives), Gilo (which Jeffrey Goldberg considers part of Jerusalem) and the sprawling militarized suburb of Efrat.

Rightwing Israelis have celebrated the news. From Haaretz’s coverage: 

“A nation that is concerned for its future must always look back at its past and know how to continue its dynasty,” Bennett said…

Regev said, “Regardless of the conflict over these parts of the country, every Israeli should know and cherish these places as the cradle of the Jewish people and its culture.”

Meretz chairperson Zehava Galon said the celebration is of a massive human rights violations:

“Israel has controlled millions of people for 50 years, treads on them every day anew and denies them rights and sovereignty. Bennett and Regev want us
to continue living with this reality alongside us without considering the heavy price it extracts from us.”

In an editorial, Haaretz called the celebration an “anti-Zionist” festival, because it will delegitimize Israel by being “held, of all places, in its heart of darkness.” Haaretz insists that the Israeli public is not behind the plans (we’re not so sure of that):

Gush Etzion is the occupied land symbolizing the beginning of the messianic criminality that’s arisen. Choosing this spot for the state’s official stage to mark the Six-Day War’s 50th anniversary is an inseparable part of the deceitful attempt to force the public into a sweeping agreement when in fact there is only sharp division.

Haaretz notes the long endless history of occupation:

[The 1967 war] led to the growth of unbridled national arrogance, which exacted an awful price in blood over the past 50 years and turned the military victory into a moral defeat. In retrospect, it should be called the 50-Year War, not the Six-Day War, and judging by the political situation, its life expectancy appears endless.

It is remarkable that this news has not yet gotten any attention in the United States; it is sure to increase Israel’s international isolation when it does get around. The 50th anniversary of the “commencement of occupation” is bound to stir up a lot of criticism of Israel, and call on Israel’s defenders to offer explanations for that war, Alan Solow, a Jewish leader, warned at J Street in February. But J Street has issued no pronouncement on this news.

Netanyahu is clearly trying to shore up his standing in the polls, and fend off challenges from the farther right. But the celebration is a blunder from an international public relations angle. It takes the focus off a less-controversial war on Israel’s part and the iconic imagery of Jewish soldiers praying at the western wall. No one would argue that Israelis should not have access to holy sites in Jerusalem– a city it illegally annexed after that war– but this celebration will put the focus squarely on the occupation, and the 50-year history of oppression that is one of the greatest sources of instability in the world.

Israel has no plan to end the occupation. This news shows that the government feels that it can do whatever it wants because there won’t be any official consequences. The Polish people were occupied from 1795 to 1918 and they never stopped being Poles, and they’re a nation today. It is a lesson that people can be occupied but they can never be defeated.

Thanks to Scott Roth. 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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James North

James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large, and has reported from Africa, Latin America, and Asia for four decades. He lives in New York City.

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21 Responses

  1. John O on April 17, 2017, 1:09 pm

    No coverage here in the UK either, AFAIK. But the Haaretz editorial writers are surely correct – planting your flag in the heart of darkness and mooning at the whole world are not clever actions, and invite said bare arse to get bitten.

  2. Kay24 on April 17, 2017, 4:00 pm

    So much for the gloating. Meanwhile the world should be ashamed that they have ignored the victims of a brutal occupation that have not only have resulted in thousands killed, but are losing their lands, and other resources, and no one in the world seems to care. In fact the US is complicit in all these crimes, by sending billions of dollars in aid, and most shamefully, weapons, that used against unarmed civilians. The Arab nations today are now best buddies with the occupier, which signals that chances of the occupiers victims ever achieving freedom and their own statehood, is slim to none.

    • gamal on April 17, 2017, 4:41 pm

      “The Arab nations today are now best buddies”

      not as recent a development as you might think if you have been following the western media

      “which signals that chances of the occupiers victims ever achieving freedom and their own statehood, is slim to none”

      whatever emerges in the Arab world after the destruction of the nations there will be no Zionism or foreign domination, it may be glass but we are getting by in Fallujah filthy with DU forever now but the women still conceive, Arabs! we are used to difficulties you know tough life. I think our chances are good to go on suffering like this forever, i think we have that capacity.

    • inbound39 on April 19, 2017, 12:49 am

      It would be interesting to see ordinary Palestinians travel en masse to Kfar Etzion on the day of celebration and surround the settlement in protest. The settlers would get a visual idea of how outnumbered they are.

  3. Maghlawatan on April 17, 2017, 4:16 pm

    “and completely changed our strategic situation”

    They mean securing the Jordan Valley but in reality apartheid will destroy Zionism. Groupthink won’t prevent that happening

  4. Stephen Shenfield on April 17, 2017, 5:29 pm

    People can be occupied but never defeated? Even expanding to the limit the range of situations that qualify as not being defeated, I don’t see how you can deny the defeat of peoples who were completely exterminated, like the Hereros and indigenous Tasmanians.

    • James North on April 17, 2017, 6:55 pm

      The Hereros did survive as a people — just barely — and are part of present day Namibia.

    • RoHa on April 17, 2017, 8:55 pm

      If you mean full-blood Tasmanian Aborigines, it seems there are none left. However, there are still people who are descendants of the Tasmanian Aborigines.

    • xanadou on April 18, 2017, 3:38 am

      Even assuming that an entire people can be exterminated, it is not the same as being defeated, hence the need for two words with rather different meanings.

      Their names, plight, and the perpetrators or causal catastrophic events will live forever in history, keeping the memory alive for human eternity. After all, we are not solely our bodies, our stuff, or DNA. We are our consciousness that, possibly, survives our biological death. The latter is something that has captured the attention of some scientists, including astronomers, in connection with the latter’s research of multiverses and our possible alternative presence beyond our known home, the Cosmos.

      Archeologists are finding and adding previously unknown or long-forgotten peoples to that list, too.

      • xanadou on April 18, 2017, 4:32 am

        A link for anyone interested :

        The multiverse theory is relatively new, at least as a scientific proposition. Empirical proof may be hard to find, at least within the limitations of our current knowledge and technology, and the possibility that multiverses may be governed by their own scientific principles, possibly entirely at odds with our own.

        Within that equation, if the theory were to pan out, who knows… perhaps the lost, defeated, exterminated do exist and we do not.

        Please, this is just a theory (for now). Consider, there are many who to this day deny Darwin’s theory of evolution, let alone climate change… Even the existence of the Cosmos beyond our own solar system or galaxy.

        At the very least, this line of thinking should put our petty, parochial and pointless politicking into perspective and challenge us to learn how to grow up and talk to each other rather than drop Death on each other to make a buck. N’est-ce pas?

      • Mooser on April 18, 2017, 12:08 pm

        “Even assuming that an entire people can be exterminated, it is not the same as being defeated, hence the need for two words with rather different meanings.”

        Oh, please, develop and expound on this line of thought. It must be very comforting to many endangered people, and reveals deep compassion for mankind.
        One small caveat on precedence; I said the the destruction of the Palestinians as a polity would result in fashion for Palestinian chic among Israelis several years ago.

      • eljay on April 18, 2017, 12:59 pm

        || xanadou: Even assuming that an entire people can be exterminated … ||

        It’s a safe assumption to make seeing as how Jews did it to Amalekites in what is arguably the greatest genocide in history.

        || … it is not the same as being defeated … ||

        I’d ask an Amalekite his opinion of whether extermination equals defeat but, unfortunately, there aren’t any.

  5. wondering jew on April 17, 2017, 5:57 pm

    Never heard Gilo referred to as part of Gush etzion, always heard of it referred to as East Jerusalem. Would appreciate some source for this questionable classification.

    • Mooser on April 18, 2017, 12:23 pm

      “Yonah” excuse me for going OT, but you’re retired from cab-driving, right? (Something I’ve always wanted to to, but never did.)

  6. ymedad on April 18, 2017, 8:45 am

    Wasn’t Kfar Etzion a pre-1948 kibbutz, built on land purchased from the owners?

    • echinococcus on April 18, 2017, 10:18 am

      So the area for some “kibbutz” was bought? Riiiight.
      So now we can declare all Saudi-owned high-rises in Manhattan Saudi territory, subject to Saudi law, with prohibition to any and all infidels, including US law enforcement, to enter. Under penalty of being shot, decapitated, or all the other nice things Zionists and Saudis do to their enemies.

      Wonder how much more stupid the Zionists will become, with each generation.

    • talknic on April 18, 2017, 11:26 am

      @ ymedad April 18, 2017, 8:45 am

      “Wasn’t Kfar Etzion a pre-1948 kibbutz, built on land purchased from the owners?

      They bought ‘real estate’. Real estate is not ‘territory’. E.g., Japanese companies own real estate in Australia. They have no territorial rights to ANY of Australia’s territories. Territories belong to all the legitimate inhabitants of the territory whether they own, rent or lease real estate or whether they live under a bridge.

    • Maghlawatan on April 18, 2017, 11:54 am

      Swap it for Haifa if ownership counts

    • Mooser on April 19, 2017, 12:36 am

      “Wasn’t Kfar Etzion a pre-1948 kibbutz, built on land purchased from the owners?”

      Did the Zionists get an extraterritoriality agreement with that?

  7. eljay on April 18, 2017, 9:19 am

    … Here is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s declaration eight days ago:

    Today the Cabinet will approve a decision about the celebrations to mark 50 years since the liberation of Judea, Samaria [biblical names for the West Bank] and the Golan Heights. We will also celebrate the liberation of Jerusalem. The Six Day War was one of the greatest victories in the history of Israel. It brought us back to parts of our homeland and completely changed our strategic situation. …

    Zionists sure do love to redefine words:
    – land theft, military occupation and colonialism are “liberation”*; and
    – foreign lands are “homelands”.
    (*From whom, exactly, was “a land without a people” supposed to have been liberated?)

  8. just on April 19, 2017, 7:15 am

    Look who Regev has lined up for this ‘celebration’ of illegality, theft, and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Palestine:

    “Michael Steinhardt, Birthright Founder and ‘Wall Street’s Greatest Trader’, to Light Torch on Israel’s Independence Day

    Steinhardt will be joined by Rabbi Marvin Hier and prominent Israelis in annual ceremony that marks the end of Memorial Day and the start of Independence Day …

    Steinhardt lives in New York and is active in both business and the world of Jewish philanthropy, allegedly even introducing mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Together with Charles Bronfman he founded the Taglit-Birthright project, which is the official reason he was given the honor. He and his family also runs the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life.

    A report in Bloomberg from 2014 described him as “Wall Street’s greatest trader,” with Forbes valuing at $1.05 billion, as of February 2017.

    According to different reports, Steinhardt also sent former President Bill Clinton a letter calling to pardon Marc Rich, who he called “my friend…who has been punished enough.” Clinton famously pardoned Rich hours before leaving office.”

    read more:

    (Hier was the rabbi @ Trump’s inauguration and is also the dean and founder of Simon Wisenthal Center…)

    Big US- monied folks from the ‘diaspora’ invited to celebrate their complicity in the debacle that their organizations have mightily aided and abetted by selling junk.

    Then there’s this:

    “Israeli Settler Convicted of Inciting Violence Online Against Palestinians, Soldiers

    … A right-wing activist from the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar was convicted on Wednesday with inciting violence against Israeli soldiers and Palestinians on Facebook and an online forum.

    After Israeli security forces demolished illegally built structures in the settlement, Eliraz Fein wrote: “I’m in favor of throwing stones (at Jews; obviously, there’s no question about Arabs) in certain situations,” adding, “even if the stone leads to the death of a soldier!!!”

    The prosecution said that mere hours after Fein wrote the post, stones were thrown at Israeli soldiers in Yizhar. In another post, she wrote: “I’ll back stone-throwers against any outside body, even in cases where they weren’t necessary.”

    Fein, who admitted to all the charges against her, was also charged with calling for violence against Arabs on Facebook.

    After Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, was murdered by Jews in July 2014, Fein wrote, “I’m proud and happy to discover that there are Jews who don’t stand on the sidelines and remain silent!! I send a blessing to be strong and courageous to the detainees (who I don’t even know) suspected of the murder of the Arab in the Abu Khdeir family.”

    After the arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in June 2015, Fein wrote, “Good morning! This time it was a church, out of consideration for Muslim sensibilities…”

    Following the Dawabsheh murders in the West Bank village of Duma in July 2015, she wrote, “Terrify them, make them understand that Jewish blood isn’t free for the taking … I see this as a correct and appropriate deed.” 

    Charges were filed against her in August 2016. In his ruling on Wednesday, Judge Hagai Tarsi of the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court noted that she had admitted to the crimes.

    Her lawyer, Gil Eshet, commented that Fein had taken responsibility for “a number of statements that were mistaken,” adding that she is a “young woman who has never been involved in any act of violence against anybody, nor done anything for others to carry out any violence whatsoever.””

    read more:

    Anyone want to guess whether her ‘conviction’ was because she sanctified throwing stones at the IOF??? Wonder what her ‘sentence’ will be.

    Anyone want a sick bucket?

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