Palestine Update 558
A guest editorial this time. Steve Liddle is an independent researcher based in New Zealand. In 2018 he taught at a West Bank university, leaving just after retiring chief archivist Yaacov Lukowicz’s was reported as saying, “How can we call ourselves a democracy when 95 percent of archives are withheld by the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office)?”
While the world grappled with a pandemic, occupation violence in Israel-Palestine has been intensifying, with increasing provocations from ‘settlers’ and the IDF.
In a Marchaddress to Washington Report, journalist Gideon Levy expressed the conviction – after more than 30 years of covering events in the OPT – that Israel’s evade-all security defence to human rights abuses may be wearing thin. In the US.
In Israel, however, living with contradictions is so entrenched that information ignorance, plus knee-jerk anti-Semitism accusations, still afford some form of iron-dome protection. In Levy’s experience, however, exceptionalism is so much part of being Israeli that self-censorship meant all four NGO reports, evidencing systemic apartheid, received little media coverage, apart from his newspaper, Haaretz.
Using Israel’s Ukraine-response contradictions–rescuing only Jewish refugees, approving Molotov cocktails “there but not here”, initially not criticising Russia – Levy listed Israel’s responsibility avoidance mechanisms. Including media manipulation and victimhood exoneration.
In denialism, Levy maintained, is real precisely because Israel’s self-image is not. Not only is Israel a democracy, it is the best, with the IDF still the most moral: “the Army is God, Zionism their religion.”
How does a nation become righteously self-deluded?
The short answer, say Levy, is lack of accountability. And history.
Last week the PM of one of world’s most successful liberal democracies–Freedom-House declared!–outlined to another US audience why her country had recently made its history in schools ‘universal’. En routeto urging a counter to corrosion of democracy’s self-correcting power, she informed Harvard graduates that “this year our young people are universally learning about their past, their culture and their history”.
While acknowledging there is always “a range of perspectives on events and decisions”, Ardern emphasised the importance in a disinformation age of learning to analyse and critique.
As our PM pointed out, a young island nation does not tell much older nations what to do. So as a citizen of that country I offer a case-study! In the mid-1980s, my homeland began a Return-and-Compensation process for its historic land seizures. But, as Ardern also indicated, righting history means first knowing it –rorts, massacres and all.
Before the country set up a tribunal to hear claims, a decade of protests had motivated unaware citizens to learn land grab mechanisms. Pan-party acceptance followed– after rigorous debate based on historians’ revelations.
Although compensations were a fraction of values, the goodwill of all parties wanting a better future for the more than 200 ethnicities delivered an acceptable justice. One based on human rights.
Ardern speaks with some authority. She cites 50 percent women MPs, 20 percent indigenous. The ‘first of the land’ (tangatawhenua) are granted special status, but it is a property-owning democracy, one of the world’s oldest.
Winston Churchill’s maxim ‘The further backwards we look, the further forwards we see’ is useful here. But begs other questions. How accurate is our look? What do we do with what we see? And ‘How far back?’
Since 1948, following two world wars, the Holocaust, and formulation of human rights, most nations renounced ancient claims in favour of international law. Whether Israel’s in-denialism stems from exceptionalism or ignorance of how land ‘acquisitions’ occurred, the path to honourable redress is clear. And possible.
Gideon levy is adamant. If Israel’s history –1948and pre-1947 – is not known and redressed, Israel will remain a violent, insecure state defended by one similar.The worst aspect of separate development, Levy says, isits most telling symptom: the dehumanisation and demonisation of ‘Arabs’. An apartheid state, he says, cannot also be a democracy.
And if Israelis can’t see that, like Russia they should be sanctioned until they do.
There are many reason these issues are currently afflicting Israel and the US. In Israel there is the occupation and the violence that ensues.
Since 2000, a total of 971 children have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict violence, representing 18% of the total number of conflict deaths.
Of the overall number of children killed, 88% were Palestinian and 12 % were Israeli.
Since 2014, US Gun Violence Archive estimates 34, 500 children have been killed or injured in shooting incidents, more than 6, 500 of those under the age of 12. There is more than cruel irony in the fact that the country that guarantees Israel’s security has by far the most gun deaths than any other developed country – 214 mass shootings just this year, so far. If you prefer the interpretation, has so much mental illness. Or “evil”!
Within the last month Israel has announced the ethnic cleansing of over 1000 more Palestinians from their land (the largest cleansing since 1967); the building of over 4,000 more homes in illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land; murdered leading Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and then launched a shocking attack on pall-bearers and mourners at her funeral.
Shared by Steve Liddle
West Bank restiveness a sign of changing times
A refusal to surrender
As Palestinians commemorate the 74th anniversary of their forced displacement, the Nakba of 1947-49, it is clear that a new spirit of resistance is emerging in Palestine after years of stagnation.
In the past two months, politically motivated Palestinian attacks against Israelis have increased, resulting in the killing of 18. That represents an unprecedented number since the second intifada ended in 2005. On 7 April, the scene on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv was extremely challenging for the security establishment in Israel, to the extent that former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz even commented that Israel had lost the battle for public “awareness.”
Raad Fathi Hazem from Jenin refugee camp infiltrated into Tel Aviv and obtained a weapon. He attacked a bar, killing two Israelis. A third died later of wounds sustained. The operation caused complete chaos in the city. Some 1,000 security personnel were mobilized, including “elite” units, while 100 roadblocks were erected as hundreds of Israelis were sent running into the streets to escape one Palestinian fighter. The pursuit continued for a total of several hours overnight before soldiers killed him. When Fathi Hazem heard news of his son’s death, he stood before the crowd of mourners coming to offer their condolences. He spoke in words charged with patience and revolution and said he was proud of his son. And he asked God to make him among the first to pray at al-Aqsa mosque after liberation.
Read full report in Electronic Intifada
How media reports of ‘clashes’ mislead Americans about Israeli-Palestinian violence
“Israeli police attacked mourners carrying the coffin of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 13, 2022, beating pallbearers with batons and kicking them when they fell to the ground. Yet those who skimmed the headlines of initial reports from several U.S. media outlets may have been left with a different impression of what happened…There is no mention in the headlines of these articles about who instigated the violence, nor any hint of the power imbalance between a heavily armed Israeli police force and what appeared to be unarmed Palestinian civilians…But as a scholar of Palestinian history and an analyst of U.S. media coverage of this topic, I believe using neutral terms such as “clashes” to describe Israeli police and military attacks on Palestinian civilians is misleading. It overlooks instances in which Israeli forces instigate violence against Palestinians who pose no threat to them. It also often gives more weight to official Israeli narratives than to Palestinian ones. U.S. media have long been accused of misleading their audience when it comes to violence committed against Palestinians. A 2021 study from MIT of 50 years of New York Times coverage of the conflict found “a disproportionate use of the passive voice to refer to negative or violent action perpetrated towards Palestinians.” Using the passive voice – for example, reporting that “Palestinians were killed in clashes” rather than “Israeli forces killed Palestinians” – is language that helps shield Israel from scrutiny. It also obscures the reason so many Palestinians would be angry at Israel.”
Read complete narrative in ‘The Conversation’
What’s behind Israel’s intensifying war on the Palestinian flag?
“What explains the violent Israeli reaction to the sight of the Palestinian flag in the hands of a Palestinian boy in Sheikh Jarrah, or carried by mourners in a funeral procession, or hoisted by students on Nakba Day, or hung on a streetlamp in Huwara? The first possible explanation has to do with the mechanisms of control that Zionism requires for its very existence. From its inception and until today, Zionism has never sought to exist on equal footing with the indigenous Palestinian population. Rather, it aspired to defeat the Palestinians — materially, culturally, and in terms of identity — and to inherit their land…Despite Israel’s unrivaled military, legislative, and administrative power, the Palestinians remain loyal to their identity. Israel has not been able to destroy this deep-rooted national consciousness, embodied in a piece of cloth with four colors. And that is precisely why the Palestinian flag drives it crazy…The second possible explanation comes from Israel’s desperate need to maintain an enemy, which allows it to posit itself as the eternal victim facing an existential threat.”
In photos: Returning to Palestine’s depopulated villages
Over the past six months, I have dedicated much of my time to touring around and documenting the over 500 Palestinian villages across Mandatory Palestine that were depopulated during the Nakba in 1948 and subsequently destroyed by the Israeli state…Within almost every Israeli town inside the Green Line, or at the very least next to them, lies a Palestinian village that was erased by Israel. Walking around the country, I have seen graveyards surrounded by electric fences, mosques that are used as animal barns, homes that were turned into artist villages, and many other forms of dispossession…The photos below should not be viewed as stories about the past — at least as long as Palestinians are forced to remain refugees while Jews from around the globe have the right to settle on their land and receive full Israeli citizenship; as long as forcible transfer and displacement still threatens tens of thousands of those Palestinians who survived the early stages of ethnic cleansing, from the West Bank to the Naqab to Jaffa and Haifa.”
Read full description and view photos from 972mag.com
Pro-Palestine activists welcome Congress resolution recognizing Nakba
“Pro-Palestine activists have welcomed a bid in the US Congress to recognise the Nakba, a term used to describe the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the lead-up to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The resolution was submitted in the House of Representatives on Monday by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a day after Palestinians marked the Nakba’s 74th anniversary. Co-sponsored by Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, Betty McCollum, Marie Newman, and Jamaal Bowman, the resolution calls on the US to reject efforts to enlist, engage, or associate the US government with the denial of the Nakba; encourage education of the Nakba; support the provision of social service to Palestinian refugees, and support the implementation of Palestinian refugees’ rights…Noura Erakat, a Palestinian-American human rights attorney and an associate professor at Rutgers University, said the issue of whether the resolution would pass was not as important as the fact it had been introduced. “Even if it doesn’t pass, it becomes a moment of the historical record and it becomes another seed planted, which indicates the inevitability of its passage, which will continue to take time,” she told Middle East Eye.”
Read full report in Middle East Eye
Holy Land Co-ordination: Christians essential to Jerusalem’s identity
The Co-ordination of Bishops’ Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land, better known as the Holy Land Co-ordination (HLC), has released a statement following the conclusion of their annual solidarity pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine.
The bishops stress that “Jerusalem is a Jewish city, a Christian city, a Muslim city. It must remain a common patrimony and never become the exclusive monopoly of any one religion.” They underline that “the Christian community is essential to Jerusalem’s identity, both now and for the future.” Yet, they say, “its continued presence is threatened by occupation and injustice.” The Co-ordination group says that it came to the city to pray and “to meet and pray with our sisters and brothers, mindful of Patriarch Pizzaballa’s message that it is our right and duty as Christians to uphold the city’s openness and universality.”
The bishops went to the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Hanina, to offer their personal condolences to the family of Christian Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh.
The Al Jazeera veteran reporter was shot dead on 11 May while covering an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank. “We experienced the deep sorrow and anger felt by local Christians at the killing of Palestinian Catholic journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the shameful attack on mourners at her funeral,” the statement reads.
Read full report in The Vatican News