Political commemorations in Israel and the politics of denial

Palestine Update  85

Political commemorations in Israel and the politics of denialTwenty two years ago on the 4th November, Israel saw the assassination of the then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s. He was murdered by a far-right Israeli angered by the peace deal that Rabin had signed with Yaser Arafat. Today, right wingers do not even want the event to be commemorated as a murder. Still, they will come out in throngs to make their presence felt in commemoration.

The mood is cynical. Most Israeli’s believe that, in the final analysis, it was neither worth losing a life, nor, for that matter, offering the Palestinians an olive branch. Even Rabin himself was never really willing to offer a true peace. That explains why nothing sufficient by way of peace measures followed the Oslo Accords except that Rabin alongside Peres and Arafat took home the Nobel Peace prize. Had he lived on, the Palestinians may have seen worse. After all wasn’t Rabin the same General who co-created the 1967 war that led to the occupation?

History reminds us that Israel’s security was not under threat before the war, and hence the war itself must be viewed as a futile military exercise; a kind of jingoism which Israeli Generals had gotten used to by then. Rabin was known to be a harsh and cruel soldier at the start of his career and rose up the ranks by displaying towering merit of his ability to despise the ‘enemy’. In his death Rabin was consumed by the hate he unleashed after pretending he could produce a false and deceitful peace. His killer refused to see a dove within a hawk.

The Zionists don’t want to risk peace. They just want a full piece of Palestinian lands and will pursue their colonialist-racist project until that is achieved. Small wonder they made sure that the Oslo deal was farcical.

It is so marked that every Israel leader has to show evidence for his/her Zionist tendencies and Rabin did just that. Each leader has led the Israeli public down the pathway of hatred for the Palestinians and thrown in a generous sprinkling of ‘attitude’ that asserts: “Jews are superior to Arabs’. Perhaps, that shake hand with the ‘erstwhile terrorist’ Arafat was not something most Zionists could stomach. Hence the Rabin murder. Israel has become so hostile to a just peace that even mild gestures for peace are viewed as a betrayal.

When the Israeli public came on to the streets to commemorate Rabin; their numbers were hefty. Each year the mob (It’s hard anymore to call it a gathering) is getting increasingly right wing. Israeli’s, in general, have swung to the right. Many have swayed to the far right. Israel has gone so far into that corner and it will be hard to extricate itself from that hate corner into peace mode. The political Left is weak and has been made virtually redundant.

Only two days before the commemoration of Rabin’s death, Israel celebrated the Balfour declaration. Balfour promised British support for the Zionist programme of establishing a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine without consulting the indigenous Christian and Muslim inhabitants of Palestine, the Palestinian people. Balfour, on behalf of Britain, promised Palestine – over which Britain had no legal right – to a people who did not even live there (There were barely 10 per cent of Palestinian Jews in Palestine in 1917, (very few were Zionists). And he did so with the worst of intentions: to discourage Jewish immigration to Britain. Celebrating 100 years of Balfour was a colonial hangover – a shameful one at that.

This piece would be incomplete if there was no mention of the mushrooming Israeli’s peace movement. It is by no means a mass movement and, for the time being, it will not alter the political landscape. If those brave groups hang in there, it is because they believe that the 1948 wars and the ‘Nakba’ were immoral and so too the 1967 Occupation. They live through humiliation of being labeled as ’self-hating’ Jews. The government hands them every possible kind of nuisance and annoyance. But they courageously stand by their conviction that justice and justice only can bring peace, not an erratic land redistribution arrangement. Their persecution may not even remotely match the Palestinian resistance, peaceful as it is in most instances. Palestinians suffer far harsher oppression. But, in the final analysis, it will be the fusion of progressive Israeli voices, international solidarity, and, above all, internal Palestinian resistance that will end the occupation.

Ranjan Solomon

 Apartheid IsREAL
The question is not whether the term “apartheid” applies here. It is why it should cause such an outcry when it is used.

“Jewish residents of the occupied territories enjoy various rights and privileges denied to their Palestinian neighbors. While the former enjoy the protections of Israeli civil law, the latter are subject to the harsh provisions of military law. So, while their Jewish neighbors come and go freely, West Bank Palestinians are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention and to the denial of freedom of movement; they are frequently barred from access to educational or healthcare facilities, Christian and Muslim sites for religious worship, and so on.

Meanwhile, Palestinian citizens of Israel must contend with about 50 state laws and bills that, according to the Palestinian-Israeli human rights organization Adalah, either privilege Jews or directly discriminate against the Palestinian minority. One of the key components of Israel’s nationality law, the Law of Return, for example, applies to Jews only, and excludes Palestinians, including Palestinians born in what is now the state of Israel. While Jewish citizens can move back and forth without interdiction, Israeli law expressly bars Palestinian citizens from bringing spouses from the occupied territories to live with them in Israel.

The educational systems for the two populations in Israel (not to mention the occupied territories) are kept largely separate and unequal. While overcrowded Palestinian schools in Israel crumble, Jewish students are given access to more resources and curricular options. It is not legally possible in Israel for a Jewish citizen to marry a non-Jewish citizen. And a web of laws, regulations and military orders governing what kind of people can live in which particular spaces makes mixed marriages within the occupied territories, or across the pre-1967 border between Israel and the occupied territories, all but impossible.

And so it goes in all domains of life, from birth to death: a systematic, vigilantly policed separation of the two populations and utter contempt for the principle of equality. One group — stripped of property and rights, expelled, humiliated, punished, demolished, imprisoned and at times driven to the edge of starvation (down to the meticulously calculated last calorie) — has withered. The other group — its freedom of movement and of development not merely unrestricted but actively encouraged — has flourished, and its religious and cultural symbols adorn the regalia of the state and are emblazoned on the state flag”.


UN cowardice on full display as it withdraws website report that finds Israel found guilty of apartheid
Israel is blatantly violating human rights and international law in imposing an apartheid regime. Therefore, the actions of the Secretary-General have serious implications on the credibility of the United Nations, and the future of global security.

Many have criticized the United Nations for practicing double standards and the withdrawal of a report on the apartheid practices of Israel from the website of a UN body; the Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) fortifies this belief. The report found that, on the basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of imposing apartheid on the Palestinian people. It is indeed disappointing that a well-researched report on Israeli practices of apartheid can be buried by the United Nations without any discussion on the veracity of the findings. When the report was published, the US and Israel chose to intimidate the United Nations and the Secretary-General into removing the exceptionally researched and well-documented report by Virginia Tilley and Richard Falk, prominent experts in international law.

Read analysis in Milli gazette

22 Years after Rabin’s murder, Israel even further from peace

Was Rabin truly a peacemaker? Or was he just another deceitful leader? Rabin never intended a Palestinian State. Settlements grew under his leadership. Oslo, in hindsight, was never a peace treaty. Settlements have doubled. Oslo was a trap by Israel and more settlements are proof of this hoax. He was an apologist for the nonsense that saw Israel as needing to fight ‘terror’ as if Israel was not a force for terror itself. Rabin’s murder made him a hero, but his political actions do not deserve a commemoration. It has become more right wing – and that is why he can never be seen as a visionary for peace and justice.

Watch this compelling interview

Thousands march for justice for Palestine
“The Balfour Declaration was supposed to protect the Palestinians. But that hasn’t happened—and Britain is culpable for that.”

Thousands of people joined the march organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign after Theresa May celebrated the declaration’s centenary with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at a dinner. May said she was “proud” of Britain’s role in creating Israel. But marchers said the declaration meant the mass displacement of Palestinians – and the continued suffering of Palestinians today. One protester told Socialist Worker, “My grandparents were from Palestine. They were displaced when Israel was founded in 1948. I don’t understand how anyone can celebrate the Balfour Declaration.” She added, “There’s a line in the declaration that’s about protecting the indigenous Palestinian people and that hasn’t been kept to. But even if it was, how could they speak on behalf of that indigenous population. It’s a form of subjugation—a legacy of imperialism”. Another protester said, “I’ve been to Palestine, I’ve seen what it’s like there. I’m also from South Africa and there’s a comparison between the Israeli occupation and apartheid.
Read article in Socialist Worker

Freedom Flotilla to sail again
– Calls for freedom of Movement and a decent future

In 2018, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition will sail once more against the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, for freedom of movement and the right to a decent future for all Palestinians. Children and minors, who make up more than half of the Gaza population of over 2 million, are victims of the ongoing blockade, which has robbed them of their childhood; their rights to safety, education, and health; and their prospects for a decent future.

In response to the brutal Israeli blockade, for seven years, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has carried out non-violent direct actions aimed at raising international awareness and putting pressure on the international community to end it: “We will continue to put pressure on our governments and protest their complicity with Israel’s crimes against humanity. We will sail again – in 2018 – to stand with the Palestinians of Gaza, as they demand their freedom of movement and their right to a decent future in their land”.
Read more in Palestine News Network

A modest proposal: All Palestinians should convert to Judaism!
Now that the dust has settled on the commemoration of the Balfour Declaration’s centenary, Israel still has a problem. It has established a state in what was Mandate Palestine. But it’s struggling to cement its control over the whole of the land, even though, since 1967, it has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into occupying Palestinian territory.
Israel’s issue is not whether the settlements in the Palestinian territories violate international law, or whether its actions might be considered war crimes. No, its real problem is the so-called demographic time-bomb. There are simply too many Palestinians in the land of Israel/Palestine. There is now near parity between Arabs and Jews – about 6.5 million each. The National Union party, which has members in the Knesset, wants to annex the occupied territories and make Palestinians choose between giving up their national aspirations, getting a generous package to emigrate or being handled with “greater force than at present.”
Read more:

#WorldwithoutWalls – Join the campaign

When in June this year Palestinian and Mexican movements called for a Global Day of InterAction for a #WorldwithoutWalls on November 9, they did not expect that over 370 groups and movements from over 30 countries would join in the call against a world where “Walls have not only risen to fortify borders of state control but demarcate the boundaries between the rich, the powerful, the socially acceptable and the ‘other’. They increasingly dominate our cities and societies. Visible and invisible walls, as is the case of the blockade of Cuba, aim to bar us from attaining economic, political, social and environmental justice.”

They did not imagine it would develop into an entire season of action for a #WorldwithoutWalls, including the Mexican-US delegation to Palestine for a World without Walls (October 10-15), various activities during the Global Week of Mobilisation to Stop Corporate Crimes and Impunity (October 23-27), the Border Encounter in Nogales, US-Mexico border (November 10-12).

It’s the time to join now! November 9 – Day of InterAction for a #WorldwithoutWalls – marks only a beginning and organisations and movements will continue to join and build convergences against global securitization and militarization of societies, racist migration laws, rising intolerance, exclusion and repression as well as the corporate interest that drive many of these policies to build initiatives across borders and across movements.

In order to be part of the global InterAction for a #WorldwithoutWalls, please:

  1. Endorse the call on behalf of your organisation: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScCO7KpKDqjlBP2Jxj-SIZM0YGzd6pRzmirf6_C_igScn-mHg/viewform
  2. Add the WorldwithoutWalls logo to your Facebook account now (see below): You can add the campaign logo in your profile clicking here or by following this URL:
  3. From Nov 8-12: follow closely the twitter accounts @Nov9_No Walls and@stopthewall and facebook page www.facebook.com/stop.the.wall.campaign. Those accounts will be publishing the content that you all will produce. Please share!
  4. Let us know what are the walls that your organization is fighting and in which context (best before Nov 9). It can be a statement, a sentence, a video, a photo, that will let people know about your local struggle against walls and how it is connected with the Palestinian, Mexican and global struggles against the walls.
  5. Forward this mail and ask others to join.