RAMALLAH — Israeli media revealed that the Israeli occupation foreign ministry plans to restrict the work of international relief organisations working in Palestine in terms of restricting travel permits for their representatives.
Maariv newspaper said on Tuesday that the foreign ministry aims to reduce the number of travel permits given to charity workers working with international organisations including those affiliated with the United Nations after some Israeli reports said that the number of those workers has increased.
Israeli reports say that there are more than 1000 charity workers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The reports accused charity organisations of using loopholes in the system to obtain travel permits for their workers which allow them to enter Israel.
The Israeli occupation took a number of measure over the past couple of years to restrict the entry of international solidarity activists to Palestine and is systematically trying to restrict the activities of charities helping Palestinians.
Pappe, an Israeli historian and a senior lecturer at Haifa University, has written a superb account of the Israeli expulsion of the Palestinians from their land in 1948. He quotes David Ben Gurion, leader of the Zionist movement from the mid-1920 until the 1960s, who wrote in his diary in 1938, “I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it.” This contradicts the Zionists’ public claim that they were seizing a land without a people.
Pappe writes of the Israelis’ March 1948 plan for evicting the Palestinians, “The orders came with a detailed description of the methods to be employed to forcibly evict the people: large-scale intimidation; laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centres; setting fire to homes, properties and goods; expulsion; demolition; and, finally, planting mines among the rubble to prevent any of the expelled inhabitants from returning.”
Between 30 March and 15 May 1948, i.e. before any Arab government intervened, Israeli forces seized 200 villages and expelled 250,000 Palestinians. The Israeli leadership stated, “The principal objective of the operation is the destruction of Arab villages … the eviction of the villagers.” On 9 April, Israeli forces massacred 93 people, including 30 babies, at Deir Yassin. In Haifa, the Israeli commander ordered, “Kill any Arab you encounter.”
This all happened under British rule in Palestine, where Britain had 75,000 troops: Britain’s Mandate did not end until 14 May. The Labour government connived at the Israeli onslaught, although the British state was legally obliged as the occupier (and also by UN resolution 181) to uphold law and order. Yet the Labour government announced that it would no longer be responsible for law and order and it withdrew all the British policemen. It also forbade the presence of any UN bodies, again breaching the terms of the UN resolution. The government ordered British forces to disarm the few Palestinians who had weapons, promising to protect them from Israeli attacks, then immediately reneged on this promise.
On 24 May 1948, Ben Gurion wrote, “We will establish a Christian state in Lebanon, the southern border of which will be the Litani River. We will break Transjordan, bomb Amman and destroy its army, and then Syria falls, and if Egypt will still continue to fight – we will bombard Port Said, Alexandria and Cairo. This will be in revenge for what they (the Egyptians, the Aramis and Assyrians) did to our forefathers during Biblical times.” These ravings of an insane warmonger hardly betrayed any genuine fear of a `second holocaust’. The Palestinians were suffering massive expulsion, not trying to destroy the Jewish community.
Pappe summarises, “When it created its nation-state, the Zionist movement did not wage a war that `tragically but inevitably’ led to the expulsion of `parts of’ the indigenous population, but the other way round: the main goal was the ethnic cleansing of all of Palestine, which the movement coveted for its new state. A few weeks after the ethnic cleansing operations began, the neighbouring Arab states sent a small army – small in comparison to their overall military might – to try, in vain, to prevent the ethnic cleansing. The war with the regular Arab armies did not bring the ethnic cleansing operations to a halt until their successful completion in the autumn of 1948.”
Overall, the Zionist forces uprooted more than half of Palestine’s population, 800,000 people, destroyed 531 villages and emptied eleven urban neighbourhoods of their inhabitants. Pappe concludes that this was “a clear-cut case of an ethnic cleansing operation, regarded under international law today as a crime against humanity.”
- The Gatekeepers – demolishing the Zionist narrative (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS) has become a full-time partner in the Israeli government’s efforts to spread its propaganda online and on college campuses around the world.
NUIS has launched a program to pay Israeli university students $2,000 to spread pro-Israel propaganda online for 5 hours per week from the “comfort of home.”
The union is also partnering with Israel’s Jewish Agency to send Israeli students as missionaries to spread propaganda in other countries, for which they will also receive a stipend.
This active recruitment of Israeli students is part of Israel’s orchestrated effort to suppress the Palestinian solidarity movement under the guise of combating “delegitimization” of Israel and anti-Semitism.
The involvement of the official Israeli student union as well as Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University and Sapir College in these state propaganda programs will likely bolster Palestinian calls for the international boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
Paying students to spread Israeli propaganda online
This is our opportunity, as Israeli students, to provide hasbara [state propaganda] that is correct and balanced, to help in the struggle against the delegitimization of the State of Israel and against hatred of Jews in the world.
The project seeks to take advantage of the fact that “Many students in Israel master the Internet and are proficient at using the Internet and social networking and various sites and are required to write and express themselves in English.”
The paid scholarship will allow them to get training and then work from home for five hours per week for a year to “refute” what it calls “misinformation” about Israel on social networking sites.
Among the stated goals of the scholarships is “to deepen and expand hasbara activities of students in the State of Israel.” The document explains:
The Internet allows uncontrolled access to content from marginal groups and therefore can influence many audiences who are exposed to such information, particularly young people who are more easily influenced.
The Internet, then, is used as a major tool for the dissemination of anti-Semitism, hatred of Israel and of Jews and thus the Internet is also the place to battle against such sites, pull the ground from under them and to provide reliable and balanced information.
Work from the “comfort of home”
The NUIS program document explains:
After training, the student will begin his activities. The student will do the activities in the comfort of his home, where every week he will be obligated to about 5 hours of activities for a period of one calendar year (not academic year). Students will be paid a total of NIS 7,500 [$2,000] to perform the tasks of the project, at least 5 hours weekly for a total of 240 hours of activities under the project umbrella.
What is completely missing from the program is any indication that criticism of Israel could be valid. Rather the National Union of Israeli Students apparently seeks to indoctrinate Israeli students that every criticism of Israel is “hate” and “anti-Semitism” and that the Internet should be seen as a battlefield on which they are foot soldiers.
Using e-learning tools for government propaganda
An interesting aspect of the NUIS program is that it uses the common open source virtual learning environment Moodle as its interface with program participants. This interface can be found at students.digitalchange.co.il.
Whereas Moodle was designed for education – to spread mind-opening learning beyond the constraints of geography – the Israeli innovation here is to use it for mind-narrowing propaganda: getting students to be uncritical, to not think for themselves, but rather to spread Israel’s state-sponsored propaganda.
See the world, spread more propaganda
NUIS has also partnered with the Jewish Agency, the Israeli state body that encourages Jews from around the world to settle on stolen Palestinian land, to spread propaganda on college campuses around the world.
For the first time in Israel – a unique, world-encompassing scholarship, in cooperation between the Student Union and the Jewish Agency.
Every year the Jewish Agency of Israel sends approximately 150 emissaries to various places around the world – North America, England, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Italy and South America, who engage in Jewish education and hasbara in three main streams – Hillel emissaries (to campuses around North America), community emissaries and youth movement emissaries.
Training for these overseas missions for successful applicants will take place at Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University and Sapir College, after which the would-be missionaries “will set off for a one-year mission in the various Jewish communities around the world, and will also receive a scholarship of up to NIS 5,000 [$1300].”
Applications are open to Israeli citizens who have lived in the country for three years, those who have completed service in the Israeli army, and those who speak foreign languages, among other criteria.
A student union in the service of the state
In most countries student unions often find themselves at odds with state authorities, fighting for the rights of students. But it would appear that Israel’s “student union” does not so much represent students and fight for their rights, but represents the state in the state’s efforts to recruit students to do its political bidding.
In this sense, the NUIS functions in a very similar way to Israel’s “trade union” the Histadrut.
Statement and application at source.
‘Sooner or later, there will be no escape from conducting a significant operation [in Gaza],’ said Israeli army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz on December 27, the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead.
Gantz’s chillingly casual remarks were cited as just another nonchalant declaration of war against a besieged, impoverished, overcrowded and routinely bombarded stretch of land. From the Israeli military and political point of view, Gaza merely exists as an opportunity for the Israeli army to test its latest weapon technology and send political messages to Israel’s foes in the region.
As if to validate Gantz’s logic, the ardently right-wing Israeli Jerusalem Post elaborated on December 28: “The Israel Air Force, working with the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency], fired a missile at Gaza terrorists [fighters] involved in recent attacks on Israel, killing one and injuring two others.” They were ‘terrorists’ because Israel has designated them so. There was no due process and none was expected. When it comes to reporting on Israel/Palestine, corporate media largely relies on Israeli lies and propaganda. And one moral crisis begets another. The Israeli propaganda is predicated mostly on racism, not just in its view of Palestinians in Gaza, but of all Arabs.
Let’s examine the curious logic of Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Propaganda and Diaspora Minister. In a recent talk in Or Yehuda, the man laid out his understanding of how peace can be achieved. “As long as the Arab nation continues to be a deplorable nation, which continues investing in infrastructure for terrorism, education to hate, and welfare for the families of shaheeds [martyrs], there will be no peace,” he said, according to Yossi Gurvitz in +972 online magazine.
Gurvitz further wrote: “I phoned the minister’s office for comment, and asked his spokesman: ‘Are you aware of the fact there are some 80 million Arabs in the world, from Sudan to Syria?’ He replied: ‘Yes, there are — and the minister meant them all.’”
I must admit that cogent political analysis becomes difficult when a country’s foreign policy and military strategy are constructed on unabashed racism, ignorance and a reproduction of 19th century Orientalism. How is one to forecast the possibilities of a just peace in Palestine when a well-regarded Israeli minister places a condition on the ‘Arab nation’ to become less deplorable? How can Gaza avoid another ‘Operation Cast Lead’ if its fate has already been sealed, with the ambiguous time frame of ‘sooner or later’?
It is particularly frustrating to hear Israeli politicians berating Palestinians for not being a deserving ‘peace partner’ when all that the Israeli government has to offer is one war of choice after another. Israel is increasingly ruled by the kind of fundamentalism and militancy that would not be tolerated anywhere else in the world. It is telling that Gantz’s ‘sooner or later’ remarks were followed by another interesting statement: “Gantz said that in certain circumstances and during non-official military events, the Israeli army would be prepared to exempt religious soldiers from participation if they are uncomfortable hearing women sing” (Jerusalem Post).
Such tolerance of religious fanaticism in Israel is a reflection of the growing role of religious extremism in the country. For the Israeli government to win favour among its constituents, all it needs to do is to blitz Gaza, rob more West Bank land, carry out more ethnic cleansing in occupied east Jerusalem or push a few more racist legislation against Israel’s Arab minority. Somehow, this seems to bring about a sense of serenity in Israel. The military emerges as the defender of the troubled borders, and a temporary political unity prevails.
Of course, the obvious truth regarding Israel’s ill-intentions will always find its way through the cracks of mainstream media. This was the case in the unprecedented report issued by European Union ambassadors in Israel. It read in part: “While the international community is focused predominantly on restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, we should see Israel’s treatment of its minorities as a core issue, not second tier to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” The report added, “Israel’s Arab population is measurably worse off than its non-Arab majority in terms of income, education, housing and access to land..
In other words, no Palestinian anywhere is immune. Indeed, in every aspect of its relations with Palestinians — in Gaza, in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, and in Israel itself — Israel’s attitude towards all Palestinians is defined by violence, ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination. Even minister Edelstein, who repudiated Arabs for being “deplorable”, himself reportedly lives in the illegal Jewish colony of Neve Daniel, constructed atop stolen Palestinian land (as reported by Stuart Littlewood, Redress).
It is odd that Israel demands security and peace from the very Palestinians who are deprived of every sense of peace, security, and freedom itself. And yet it is the ‘Arab nation’ that is ‘deplorable’ and deserving of endless war.
Three years after the Israeli war on Gaza, which killed over 1,400 and wounded over 5,500, there are few indications that Israel has in any way altered its attitude. To the contrary, it continues to exact further punishment, while the Israeli Knesset, media and public officials continue to dehumanise Palestinians and Arabs.
True, and sadly so, Gaza will “sooner or later” be the target of another ‘significant operation’ under the pretext of more excuses. But also true is the fact that Israeli crimes against Palestinians will continue to be exposed for the whole world to see. And ‘sooner or later’, this perpetual war against innocent people will have to stop.
Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story – Pluto Press, London. (This article was originally published in Gulf News)
Dear Ms. Goodman,
I have a bone to pick about your coverage of Ron Paul and the five racist comments that appeared in his newsletter a generation ago.
First, contrary to what you say, the rest of the MSM does publish the exact words of the statements – in fact they appear ad nauseam in semi-official publications like the NYT.
Second, as you surely know, Paul has said he did not write those statements, did not read them or know of them at the time and DISAVOWS them. You did not mention that.
Third Ron Paul is against the death penalty and mandatory minimum sentences in part because they are racist – and he has said so. You did not mention that.
Fourth, the head of the NAACP in Austin who has known Ron Paul for 20 years says that the man can in no way be considered a racist. You did not mention that.
Fifth, in an interview with Bill Moyers Ron Paul specifically says that Libertarianism is incompatible with racism. You do not mention that.
I think you have a duty to tell the whole truth on the matter because a half truth is a full lie – as the saying goes.
Finally, I might ask which is more racist: bombing people of color all around the world as Obama has done, for example in the war on Libya for which your constant guest CIA “consultant” Juan Cole was a cheerleader – or five statements written by someone else a generation ago which have now been repudiated by Paul?
Have you forgotten that your program is subtitled the War and Peace Report? My friends in NYC have taken to calling it HypocrisyNow! I hope that soon it can reclaim its older tradition of principled and consistent anti-interventionism and report the full truth on antiwar candidates like Ron Paul, the only anti-imperialist and peace candidate in the race.
John V. Walsh can be reached at email@example.com.
Caracas – The Venezuelan government has described its arbitration hearing at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) as a “successful defence” after it was told to pay just US$907 million to the Texas-based oil company Exxon in return for the nationalisation of one of its projects in Venezuela.
In an official statement, Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA confirmed that of the US$907 now owed to Exxon, it would be obliged to pay just $255 million, after subtracting various debts owed by the corporation from the amount.
According to figures from PDVSA, the oil company had debts of US$191 million which will be subtracted, as well as US$160 million that the ICC awarded to PDVSA in counterclaims. The US$300 million in PDVSA’s New York bank account which was frozen by Exxon following the nationalisation will also be deducted.
“If ExxonMobil had been willing to accept a reasonable compensation, which the arbitration tribunal has confirmed, arbitration would not have been necessary” read an official statement released this Monday by PDVSA.
US oil giant Exxon withdrew from Venezuela in 2007 when the Chavez government effectively nationalised the oil rich Orinoco river belt. At the time, Exxon had a 41.6% stake worth $US750 million in the Venezuelan oil fields, specifically in the Cerro Negro project.
Since then, both Exxon and the Venezuelan government have been locked in a legal battle, with Exxon originally demanding over US$12 billion in compensation – a sum previously described as an “abusive amount” by Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, who also condemned Exxon for demanding over ten times what it had invested in the project.
“This (the verdict) confirms that the amount demanded at the beginning of the case, 12 billion dollars plus accrued interest since 2007, was completely exaggerated and beyond all logic,” continued the statement.
Aside from the ICC’s recent verdict, the US oil company also has a claim pending for the same nationalisation with the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (CIADI).
PDVSA has stated that should Exxon continue with the second arbitration, then the Venezuelan government will “take all necessary steps to defend itself, as PDVSA has done in this arbitration case with the ICC”. PDVSA now has 60 days to pay the compensation in full.
China has voiced strong opposition to the US-led push for unilateral sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, reiterating that Tehran’s nuclear issue must be resolved diplomatically.
“China has consistently believed that sanctions are not the correct way to ease tensions or resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a news briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.
“The correct path is dialogue and negotiations. China opposes putting domestic law above international law to impose unilateral sanctions on another country,” he said.
Hong also defended China’s oil and trade ties with Iran and criticized the Western sanctions that could frustrate such relations.
“China and Iran have normal and transparent trade and energy exchanges that do not contravene UN Security Council resolutions. The dealings in question should not be affected (by sanctions),” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman pointed out.
On December 31, US President Barack Obama signed into law fresh economic sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank in a bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution.
The legislation requires foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with Iran’s Central Bank and oil sector or with the US financial sector.
It will not, however, go into effect for six months in order to provide oil markets with time to adjust.
It also includes a “waiver” allowing the president to suspend the sanctions in case he decides that the anti-Iran attempt will adversely impact national security interests of the US.
The inclusion of the “waiver” in the bill reflects major concerns among American lawmakers that the bullying approach of the US against the Islamic Republic will backfire across the globe.
Meanwhile, energy experts say the sanctions could lead to a major hike in crude oil prices and disrupt the interests of the US and its allies that depend on oil imports from Iran.
The United States has already barred its own banks from dealing with the Iranian Central Bank.