Housing demolitions carried out under the pretext of unlicensed construction are a common occurrence in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinians are rarely granted permits by the Israeli authorities to build houses in the city. Apartments prices have risen drastically in Jerusalem — 120 m apartment would cost approximately $350,000. As a result, they are forced to build without a permit, which often results in the Israeli authorities issuing demolition orders on unlicensed buildings.
In 2013, 82 houses owned by Palestinians in Jerusalem were demolished, effecting 281 people. In recent years, self-demolition of houses has become common in East Jerusalem as the Palestinian owners of “unlicensed” houses are forced to choose between demolishing the houses themselves or paying the Jerusalem municipality to do so for them.
In this video Muhammad ‘Amireh speaks of his experience of having to demolish his own house.
A 14 year old boy goes to meet friends. He comes home with bullets in his neck and hand. The IDF considers that to be “a minor infraction”
At the end of July 2013, J., a boy from the village of Silwad, set out with his brother and two other boys to visit a family of friends in the western side of Silwad, a distance of about a kilometer from his house. One of the boys was asked to deliver a bundle of clothes to the family. They reached the house, gave the bundle over, and headed back. On their way, they met a friend shepherding his flock, and sat down next to him. And then J.’s world turned upside down.
He noticed three soldiers coming out of the trees behind them, blocking the path they had intended to take home. Soldiers on the village roads are not a common sight, so the group changed its course, and started climbing the nearby mountain.
As they reached a bend in the path, they heard gunshots. The group scattered instantly. J. himself says he went into shock, since this was the first time he had heard gunshots so close to him. He was slower than the others. He heard a second volley, and then felt a hit in his right arm; a third volley, and he was hit by a bullet in the neck. J. managed to walk a few more steps, and then collapsed by the wall of a house. He was evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah, where it was determined that the bullet entered the right side of his neck, and existed through the left. He was hospitalized there for four days.
We wrote to the IDF, demanding an investigation into the incident. Four months later, we received an answer that can only be described as infuriating. The debriefing of the incident, wrote the Prosecution for Operational Affairs, showed that on the same date there were clashes between IDF forces entering the village and residents who allegedly threw stones at its forces. The Military Advocate General reached the conclusion that the shooting took place in accordance with the rules of engagement, “with the exception of a minor infraction at the end of the incident.” Nowadays, that is how the IDF refers to the shooting of a live bullet into the neck of a 14 year old boy. Accordingly, we were informed that disciplinary procedures were undertaken against the commander of that force. Not that we were informed of the results of that procedure.
Um, no, no. Firing live ammunition, even at protesters, is not in accordance with the orders, unless the soldiers’ lives are in danger. The IDF doesn’t even try to claim that J. and his friends were threatening the lives of its troops. Also, this wasn’t one shooting; J. counted three separate volleys. Furthermore, from the description given by the IDF, it seems J. and his friends weren’t even in the area were the IDF soldiers were attacked, assuming they were indeed attacked.
The firing of live ammunition at uninvolved civilians is a crime, all the more when minors are involved. Such an incident should not end with a disciplinary procedure, but with a criminal investigation. Accordingly, our attorney, Emily Schaeffer, appealed and demanded the opening of an MPCID investigation ASAP. Recently, we learned that the appeal was rejected. The prosecution is of the opinion that though firing after the first volley – as J. and his friends fled – was improper, given that the officer in question was dealt with in a disciplinary procedure and was even fined, the very fact of the disciplinary procedure exhausts the need for a criminal investigation. We’re uncertain whether the sum of the fine was 10 cents, as per the infamous fine of the colonel responsible for the Kafr Qassem massacre – and we don’t know because the prosecution didn’t mention the sum.
But, even if the fine was serious and not a joke – though if it was serious, why didn’t the prosecution note the sum? – We cannot accept a disciplinary procedure as a replacement for criminal law. After all, if the bullet that hit J. would have deviated just a few millimeters from its course, and the boy would have joined the long rank of minors killed by the IDF, a criminal investigation would obviously have been opened. How can putting a bullet in the neck of a person, agreed to have been uninvolved, end with a disciplinary procedure and a fine?
During the Vietnam War, a common phrase among American soldiers was the “Mere Gook Rule”, meaning that whatever you may do to the foreign population, nothing will happen to you. These aren’t humans, these are merely Vietnamese. When the IDF subscribes to the notion that shooting a 14 year old boy in the neck is just “a minor infraction at the end of the incident,” it sends that same message to its troops: These are mere Palestinians. Do with them as you will. Nothing will happen to you. At worst, you’ll face a disciplinary procedure.
And when that’s the message conveyed by the military prosecution to its ground troops, it itself becomes an accomplice to the crime.
Below are the remarks of US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew before the 2014 Policy Conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee(AIPAC) These are clearly the remarks of the banker for the Empire. It should be noted that Lew’s remarks on Ukraine appear to be in line with those of Rand Paul and though Lew’s comments clearly show that he considers Israel as the 51st, and most important state, his views on sanctions are more moderate than those of Rand.
Read the remarks only if you have a strong stomach. Note the re-introduction of the IMF as key financial enforcer. During a stop over in SF, Lew admitted that the IMF is a tool of the US.
I want to thank President Kassen, incoming President Cohen, the Board of Directors, and everyone for inviting me here today. There are so many familiar faces in this room—friends of many years from my time in Washington, New York, and around the country. It is truly wonderful to be with you.
Before turning to the focus of my remarks, let me say that we are closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine with grave concern. As President Obama told President Putin yesterday, Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity is a breach of international law. I have spoken several times to the Ukrainian Prime Minister who assures me that the government is prepared to take the necessary steps to build a secure economic foundation, including urgently needed market reforms that will restore financial stability, unleash economic potential, and allow Ukraine’s people to better achieve their economic aspirations.
The United States is prepared to work with its bilateral and multilateral partners to provide as much support as Ukraine needs to restore financial stability and return to economic growth, if the new government implements the necessary reforms.
An IMF program should be the centerpiece of the international assistance package, and the United States is prepared to supplement IMF support in order to make successful reform implementation more likely and to cushion the impact of needed reforms on vulnerable Ukrainians.
Now the reason we are all here is because for more than 40 years, AIPAC has been the indispensable leader in keeping the alliance between the United States and Israel unbreakable. And you have done that through your powerful example of advocacy and activism—you make your voices heard, you take your case to your representatives here in Washington, and you stand up for what you believe in. This is not just your right as Americans. It is your responsibility. It is the essence of our democratic system.
And as everyone here recognizes, the future of the United States is tied to the future of Israel. This is something that every President since Harry Truman has understood.
In fact, in 1948, it took President Truman only 11 minutes to recognize the Jewish state of Israel. And from then on, the American-Israel relationship has not been a Democratic cause or a Republican cause, it has been an American cause.
President Obama has remained true to this proud legacy since the first day he took office, and he has made it clear that for him and for this Administration, America’s commitment to Israel is ironclad. As he said as President-elect, before he even took office: “Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is nonnegotiable.” And he has never wavered from that position.
Like the President, Israel’s security is not only a public policy conviction for me, it is a personal one. As many of you know, no one grew up with a deeper appreciation for the state of Israel than I did. And I have no doubt that a strong and secure Israel is vital to America’s strength and America’s security.
As we meet, America’s support for Israel’s security has never been stronger. And over the next three days, you’re going to hear about all the things that the Administration is doing to advance Israel’s security—from promoting a lasting peace with the Palestinians to preserving Israel’s military edge so it can protect itself against any threat.
Today, I will discuss one of the most pressing national security concerns for Israel and the United States—and that is Iran’s nuclear program.
Let us not forget that when President Obama took office, Iran was strengthening its position throughout the region and the international community was unable to provide a unified response. But because of President Obama’s leadership, Congressional actions, American diplomacy, which AIPAC has supported, we put in place a historic sanctions regime and Iran now finds itself under the greatest economic and financial pressure any country has ever experienced.
Initially, many claimed sanctions on Iran would never work, but we have proven exactly the opposite. From the beginning, this sanctions program has had one purpose: Persuade Iran to abandon its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. There can be no alternative.
To be clear, we never imposed sanctions just for the sake of imposing sanctions. We did it to isolate Iran and sharpen the choice for the regime in Tehran. And we did it by bringing the community of nations together. We are talking about China, Russia, India, Japan, Europe, Canada, South Korea, and the list goes on.
Having the international community united in opposition to Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon made an enormous difference.
We now have in place the most sweeping, most powerful, most innovative, and most comprehensive sanctions regime in history. And because of the impact of these unprecedented, international sanctions, Iran finally came to the negotiating table seeking relief and fully aware that to get relief, it had to take concrete steps to curtail its nuclear program. Those negotiations led to the Joint Plan of Action, which went into effect in January.
Today, for the first time in a decade, progress on Iran’s nuclear program has been halted and key elements have been rolled back.
The temporary deal struck in Geneva provides us with a six-month diplomatic window to try to hammer out a comprehensive, long-term resolution, without fear that Iran, in the meantime, will advance its nuclear program. Now, I want to emphasize something: Before we agree to any comprehensive deal, Iran will have to provide real proof that its nuclear program, whatever it consists of, is—and will remain—exclusively peaceful.
This deal will only be acceptable if we are certain that Iran could not threaten Israel or any other nation with a nuclear weapon.
Yet make no mistake: Even as we pursue diplomacy, and even as we deliver on our commitments to provide limited sanctions relief, the vast majority of our sanctions remain firmly in place. Right now, these sanctions are imposing the kind of intense economic pressure that continues to provide a powerful incentive for Iran to negotiate. And we have sent the very clear signal to the leadership in Tehran that if these talks do not succeed, then we are prepared to impose additional sanctions on Iran and that all options remain on the table to block Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
We are under no illusions about who we are dealing with. Iran has threatened Israel’s very existence, supports terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, and has failed to live up to its promises in the past.
Still, it is critically important that we give negotiations, backed by continuing economic pressure, a chance to succeed. I have sat with two presidents as they weighed the enormous decision to send men and women into harm’s way to protect our nation. And while all options must remain available, I believe it is our responsibility to do as much as we reasonably can to reserve force as a last option.
This is as much a strategic obligation as it is a moral one. You see, maintaining the sanctions regime that has crippled Iran’s economy requires international cooperation. No amount of U.S. sanctions would have the same crippling power as this international effort. For other nations to continue to remain steadfast with us, they need to know that we have given negotiations every chance to succeed. And if the moment comes when we have to use force, the whole world needs to understand that we did everything possible to achieve change through diplomacy.
To that end, we do not believe that now is the time to adopt new sanctions legislation. We do not need new sanctions now – the sanctions in place are working to bring Iran to the negotiating table and passing new sanctions now could derail the talks that are underway and splinter the international cooperation that has made our sanctions regime so effective. But as I have said, and as President Obama has said, we continue to consult closely with Congress, and if these talks fail, we will be the first to seek even tougher sanctions.
Now, in the next two days or so, you may hear some say that the very narrow relief in the interim agreement has unraveled the sanctions regime or eased the choke-hold on Iran’s economy. Nothing could be further from the truth. And I want to take a few moments to go through a few basic facts.
The Treasury Department, which administers and enforces the sanctions, monitors the numbers carefully. And when you consider the ongoing sanctions that remain in place, the temporary, targeted, and reversible sanctions relief is extremely limited—totaling an estimated $7 billion. To put that into context, during the same six month period, Iran will lose roughly $30 billion in oil sales alone from the sanctions that remain in place.
Put simply, this relief will not enable Iran’s economy to recover from the deep economic damage inflicted by the sanctions program. The bulk of this relief does not come from suspending sanctions on economic activity like manufacturing or exports. It comes from the measured release of Iran’s own funds that are now impounded in overseas banks. The fact is, because of years of sanctions enforcement, Iran has about $100 billion locked up in overseas banks. The interim agreement allows Iran to access $4.2 billion of these funds.
I want to underscore that Iran’s access to this limited relief is neither immediate nor instantaneous. It will be provided in separate installments on a rolling basis over the six-month period of the Joint Plan, and it will only flow if Iran demonstrates week by week that it continues to comply with its agreement to freeze and rollback its enrichment program.
Other measures amount to less than $2 billion — the limited suspension of sanctions on the export of plastics, the import of parts for Iran’s automotive sector, and tuition assistance for students studying abroad. And the core architecture that makes the program work, oil and financial sanctions, remains in effect fully.
If at any point Iran fails to fulfill its commitments under the Joint Plan, the money will stop, and the suspended sanctions will snap right back into place. And when the six-month deal expires, so does the relief.
The bottom-line is: Promises are not enough—Iran must meet its obligations. This is not a case of trust and verify. This is a case of verify everything.
No matter what, Iran’s economy will continue to feel severe economic pressure from our ongoing sanctions regime. For example, our oil sanctions that remain in place have forced Iran’s oil exports to drop by more than 60 percent over the last two years. And we will continue to enforce them.
All told, the crushing sanctions have deeply damaged economic conditions in Iran. There are four key indicators that tell the whole story: first, last year the economy shrunk by 6 percent and it is expected to shrink again this year; second, the value of its currency, the rial, has plummeted, having lost about 60 percent of its value against the dollar; third, the unemployment rate is over 15 percent; and finally, the inflation rate is about 30 percent, one of the highest in the world.
The economic sanctions have crippled Iran’s economy on many fronts.
Claims that Iran’s economy is undergoing a recovery because of the Joint Plan of Action are just plain wrong. After the election of President Rouhani last June, and well before the Joint Plan took effect, there was a slight drop in the country’s very high inflation rate and small improvements in other economic indicators. This was due to a wave of public optimism that greeted the election of a new president, the appointment of a more capable economic team, and the hope that a deal to lift sanctions would soon materialize.
But the slight improvements in these indicators only mean that a badly wounded economy is not getting worse. It does not mean the economy is getting better. And it certainly does not mean that the Joint Plan has led to a recovery.
Further, if Iran fails to reach a deal with us, business and consumer confidence will quickly erode as will many of the gains the economy has seen over the last few months.
Iran’s economy suffered a serious blow from sanctions, and the impact of sanctions is not being reversed. Iran’s economy remains in the same state of distress that brought the government to the table in the first place. Imagine how any economy would feel, if, by a recovery, it meant leveling off at the bottom of a recession. That is what is happening in Iran today.
There is no question that the relief provided under the six-month plan will not steer Iran’s economy to a real recovery. It is a drop in the bucket. In fact, there will be a net deepening of the impact of sanctions when you consider the new damage that will be inflicted like the $30 billion in additional lost oil sales.
What this relief will do is give the people of Iran and their leaders a small taste of how things could improve if they were to take the steps necessary to join the community of nations. This is a choice for Iran to make. If it wants to pull its economy out of the deep hole it is in, it must remove any doubt that its nuclear program is peaceful and come to a comprehensive agreement with the international community. Until then, we will remain steadfast in our enforcement of U.S. and international sanctions.
Now, when I say we remain firm in our enforcement of sanctions, these are not just words, we are talking about action. For instance, shortly after the Joint Plan went into effect, we moved against more than 30 Iran-related entities and individuals around the globe for evading U.S. sanctions, for aiding Iranian nuclear and missile proliferation, and for supporting terrorism. As President Obama recently said, if anyone, anywhere engages in unauthorized economic activity with Tehran, the United States will—and I quote—“come down on them like a ton of bricks.”
I have personally delivered that message to hundreds of business and banking executives in America and around the world, and we are in regular contact with our international partners—including Israel—to sustain the pressure on Iran’s government.
On top of that, our enforcement officials at the Treasury Department who have been responsible for crafting and implementing this historic sanctions regime have been traveling around the world and putting their expertise and unremitting effort to bear to keep Iran isolated.
Even though I have said this before, it bears repeating: Iran is not open for business. Have no doubt, we are well aware that business people have been talking to the Iranians. We have been very clear that the moment those talks turn into improper deals, we will respond with speed and force. Anyone who violates our sanctions will face severe penalties. Our vigilance has not, cannot, and will not falter.
In closing, let me say, this is a time of great uncertainty. But during difficult times like these, the bonds between the United States and Israel do not grow weaker, they grow stronger.
The U.S.-Israel relationship, which is rooted in our shared story of people yearning to be masters of their own destiny, is as vibrant as ever. And that vibrancy is very much on display here. As I look out across this room, I am reminded of how every year hundreds of young people come to this conference from every corner of the United States. They travel to our nation’s capital because of their boundless hope, their sense of duty, and their unshakeable belief that the future can be brighter, better, more prosperous and more secure. And I am confident that by all of us working together, we can make that happen.
It is sometimes instructive to learn a bit of history to reflect on current events because if we do not learn from history, we are bound to repeat the tragic history of useless wars. This came to me as I read about the escalating situation in Ukraine, where the US and western countries invested heavily to dislodge the Ukraine (strategically located on the Black Sea) from Russian influence. The coup that toppled the elected government in the capital and Russia’s strong influence in the mostly Russian Speaking Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine threatens to ignite another Crimean war (a prelude to many more European wars).
The Crimean war 1854-1856 was a devastating and useless conflict that was started with a with an incident here in Palestine (then under Ottoman Rule). The British were in the midst of an industrial economic boom (at least for the elites, the workers were essentially enslaved). To fuel this industrial boom, Britain (and to a lesser degree France) were aiming to expand their empires. The weak Ottoman empire seemed a target. Russia’s influence on the religious Holy Places was high. This was understandable considering that most Palestinian Christians at the time and even still today are Orthodox (especially around the holy sites of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem).
Russian intellectuals had gone through a period of Westernization before the 1850s and then grew disillusioned with the west and its hypocrisy. Those who considered themselves Patriotic Russians thus became increasingly oriented towards Czar Nicholas and the Orthodox Church and increasingly opposed to the Western Encroachments on the borders of Russia.
When France instigated a provocation by Catholic supporters challenging long standing Orthodox traditions at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, a fury of high level diplomatic lobbying ensued with threats and counter threats that escalated to the Crimean war. Alyce Mange wrote that “The Crimean War (1854-1856) was a war fought ostensibly for the preservation of the Ottoman Empire but actually for the curtailment of Russian encroachment.”
The war was costly to all sides concerned even though the Russian empire lost to the alliance of the three empires (Britain, France, Ottomans). But the origin of the problem remained here in Palestine where competing Russian, British, and French interests remained until the first draft of the Sykes-Picot agreement (which divided their influences). Russia withdrew and so it remained for Britain and France to divide the spoils of WWI in the “Near East/Middle East” (I prefer the term Western Asia to these colonial terms). In parallel, there was the growth of the world Zionist movement that got from France and Britain the infamous Jules Cambon and Arthur Balfour Declarations (1917) partially as quid pro quo for the Zionists lobbying the US to enter the war.
Fast forward from 1854 to 2014 and we see again the beating of war drums for hegemony with triggers in Palestine. The circumstances differ but I am afraid this could also degenerate into a useless devastating war.
The Zionist movement was unhappy about the lack of progress in their efforts (using others) to destroy the Iran-Syria-Lebanon axis. A big part of their failure to achieve success in pushing for more conflicts (as they did with Iraq) is due to the fact that Russia (and China) refuse to go along and realized that the end-game is total Western hegemony in Western Asia (with Israel assuming even more power over Western foreign policies). The Russians and Chinese also took lessons from the disastrous US attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan and NATO attacks on Libya which had terrible consequences (including spreading radicalism and terrorism around the area). They calculated that they must draw a line.
The Zionist movement became involved (as they do frequently) because their key members are in the US State Department and also heavily influential in France and Britain. They thought that we must break Russia’s will to resist encroachment in Western Asia.
Ukraine seemed like an ideal “soft belly” for Russia. It seems possible that reports such as this one on Israelis involved in the protests in Kiev may have some basis. But most Israeli meddling is not done via Israelis but via their now obedient people working for the US government.
It is not a coincidence that protests escalated in Ukraine and Venezuela. I do not know what will happen, but suggest that all wars are useless and counterproductive (to all sides); the history of the 1854 Crimean war should give us pause.
What I suggest is that the talk about democracy by Western leaders like Kerry, Obama, Hollande and company is wearing thin. Most people know that democracy is not achieved by coups against elected governments (whether in Egypt or Ukraine) and certainly not done on behalf of countries who support dictatorships everywhere that are friendly to their interests (see Saudi Arabia as a glaring example).
For the good people of Ukraine (both in the East and the West), do not let your country be used for power politics again. But also I suggest that they remember who their neighbors for the next few hundred years will be (hint it is not Israel or the US or England). But even those countries will not remain immune from destabilization and change if they do not learn to share this planet earth and respect other people. Remember might does not make right and even great empires fell before. This brings me back to the point I always emphasize” READ HISTORY (objectively and not tribally).
In December 2010, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a television interview that if Israel continued to build settlements in the West Bank he would disband the Palestinian Authority (PA), the West Bank authority established under the Oslo Accords.
“I cannot accept to remain the president of an authority that doesn’t exist,” he said.
Abbas responded to the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in early 2013 by again threatening to dissolve the PA. “I’ll tell him… Sit in the chair here instead of me, take the keys and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority.” The threats were made in an attempt to apply pressure on the Israeli government to kick start negotiations.
For the last seven months, both parties have been back at the negotiations table, with the hope of finding a solution to the decades long conflict by this April. The two sides, led by US Secretary of State John Kerry, are again trying to draw the borders in a two state solution.
Established under the Oslo Accords as an interim body, the PA was sold as a national project that would see the transportation of Palestine from an occupied territory to an internationally recognised state. The West Bank was split into three areas under the accords; Areas A, B and C. The PA was given apparent full control of Area A, the smallest chunk of land, while Area B came under shared control and Area C fell under full Israeli control.
The idea was that a final status peace agreement would be reached within 5 years, and all areas would fall under Palestinian jurisdiction. Twenty years later and the status quo established by the Oslo Accords is still in place.
The PA’s control remains limited to Area A, where its authority is nonetheless frequently violated by Israel. For Palestine, the two central functions anticipated from the PA – providing both a vehicle to statehood and a means of institution building – have arguably failed.
The last 20 years of negotiations between the PA and Israel have instead left the West Bank fragmented into 167 enclaves, which are in turn broken up by 552 checkpoints and barriers as well as being separated from Israel by a 440 kilometre long concrete wall which has annexed East Jerusalem, the envisioned capital of an independent Palestinian state. The settler population has doubled and 53 thousand settlement homes have been constructed to house them. Meanwhile 15 thousand Palestinian homes have been destroyed, according to infographics from Visualizing Palestine.
Instead of viewing the Authority as a vehicle towards statehood, many Palestinians see the PA as an arm of the occupation, with the biggest beneficiary of its existence being the occupier. PA run schools and hospitals, supported by foreign aid, maintain a status quo allowing Israel to shoulder its obligations as an occupying power. Instead of tackling the underlying political issues, millions of dollars of aid are poured into the PA and projects in the West Bank, acting as temporary plasters that serve to make the current situation viable.
The security cooperation between Israel and the PA, which was at a high, according to a 2012 summary report by the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories, has led many to define the Authority as a puppet of the occupation. This has fuelled a decline in Abbas’ popularity and, in turn, led to calls for the third intifada to be pitted against the PA.
Israel’s Yossi Kuperwasser, director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, said during a court case waged against the PA, “I think that the Palestinians shared partial, tendentious and incomplete information with the Shin Bet.”
Shin Bet, the Israel security agency, was reportedly trying to “cover up their inability to use this tool called the Palestinian security forces in supplying them with the purpose for which they exist: preventing terror.”
Not only is it recognised here that the PA is openly sharing files with Israel’s notorious intelligence agency, there is no attempt to hide the fact that the PA, as an entity, has been created solely for this purpose, as a “tool” to be used by Israel.
In 2011, 31 per cent of the total PA expenditure, one third of its budget, was spent on security, the beneficiary of such large national expenditure being Israel.
This led Yossi Beilin, the Israeli architect of the Oslo process, to also call for the disbandment of the PA. In a heavily worded letter to Abbas he said; “Do not let Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hide behind the fig leaf of the Palestinian Authority – impose upon him, once again, the responsibility of the fate of four million Palestinians.
“Remain as the head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which will give you the authority to lead the political negotiations if and when they resume, but for the sake of your own people, for the sake of peace, you cannot let this farce continue,” he said.
While the talks restarted, the call for PA disbandment has continued. The two-state solution currently being deliberated is likely to include large settlement blocs being annexed to Israel, with compensatory land swaps, which some argue could be defined as illegal under international law. Israel is likely to gain “legal” control of the valuable Jordan Valley under the pretext of security, with the right of return for Palestinian refugees shelved.
After they have carved up the complex territory, the Palestinian State will be demilitarised with no control over its borders or airspace. Just as the Bantustans of South Africa were seen by the world as fantasy entities with governments and borders that gave them a veneer of legitimacy, a “state” of Palestine as envisaged by Israel similarly leads one to consider when a state ceases to be a state. This kind of “state” also leads one to question where the terms “peace” and “agreement” are in this solution.
After 20 years of negotiations, which many argue has only led to 20 years of concessions made by the Palestinian side, most citizens seem unexcited by the new talks. Talks that continue despite Israel’s refusal to freeze settlement building, an issue which led to the breakdown of the last talks and despite moves in the Knesset to enforce Israeli sovereignty over Al-Aqsa, Jewish claims to the Islamic holy site sparked the last intifada.
On the ground the effect of dissolving the PA would be disastrous, with a projected loss of $3 billion of public spending, 100,000 public servants left unemployed and the poverty rate potentially rising to 60 per cent, according to a report by the Palestinian Center of Policy and Surveys Research. There is also a genuine concern that the power vacuum left behind would be filled with more radical elements.
However, disbanding the PA may push the completion of a two state peace agreement, with the possibility of using the situation as leverage to gain more from the negotiations than a Palestinian Bantustan. Of course its dissolution would make negotiations between the state of Israel and a future state of Palestine difficult, which instead of contributing to the two-state framework, could lead to a one-state solution becoming the only viable option. Either way, it would mean an end to the occupation.
Alternatively Israel could launch a full scale occupation of the whole West Bank, without the façade of the “liberated” Area A. The latter would cost Israel billions, with the gap left by the PA in Area A cities like Nablus and Jericho requiring an investment of more manpower for little gain. In a desperate bid to protect the Jewish demographics of Israel from the threat of a one-state solution, and with the maintenance of the status quo no longer possible, a viable State of Palestine may be born.
Alternatively, the one-state solution may finally gain some ground, outside academic circles. The one-state solution is unpopular with many Palestinians, who see the negotiations as futile, but are still focused on the aspiration for a nation state and see the PA as the only vehicle to get there, while the PA’s 100,000 employees are understandably more concerned with their pay cheque. However the situation on the ground is often referred to as a “one-state reality”, inferring that the one-state solution is the only option.
In this case, Israel would have to choose between turning the one-state into an apartheid state with Palestinians as second class citizens, or a democratic state granting equal rights to its citizens.
In one-state, accusations of apartheid could not be so easily thwarted by those who excuse Israel’s policies and international condemnation would be quick to follow. Either way, desperate not to let the power vacuum left by the PA be filled by radical Islamist groups that may not be so easy to negotiate with, Israel and the US would be pushed to think of alternative solutions.
Nonetheless, Abbas’ past threats to dissolve the PA are empty. Like Israel and its backers, the Fatah run PA does not want the power vacuum to be filled with its political enemy number one; Hamas, who it has been pitted against since the 2006 elections, with the dissolution of the West Bank authority also spelling the dissolution of Fatah’s authority over the territory. In a meeting with EU representative Marc Otte, Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian side, was recorded saying; “Reaching an agreement [with Israel] is a matter of survival for us. It’s the way to defeat Hamas.”
Instead, April will see a US brokered peace agreement unveiled with a State of Palestine resembling a state but not a state with sovereignty but dependent, run by a leader that governs the oppressed, but who is a puppet for the oppressor. The status quo will largely be the same, except this time it will no longer be a called a conflict and the US will celebrate the success of bringing “peace” to the region.
The curriculum taught to students in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been criticised by Hamas through a statement issued by the Education Ministry, which declared the human rights textbooks provided by UNRWA to be detached from Palestinian reality.
The statement denounced the syllabus distribution prior to proper consultation with the ministry and deemed the dissemination of human rights enshrined within the curriculum an exercise in “brainwashing Palestinian students and convincing them to accept the Zionist enemies”.
Apart from providing narratives which have been assimilated into Western mainstream discourse about human rights, Palestinian historical memory was also obscured by providing an alternative history of the Nakba which absolves Israel of the atrocities committed to establish the settler-colonial state, as well as depicting peaceful resistance “as the only way of achieving freedom and independence”.
According to the Times of Israel, UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness insisted that “UNRWA’s education system takes, as its basis, the curriculum taught by the PA. We have done our utmost in developing these materials to be sensitive to local values while also being true to the values that underpin the work of the United Nations.”
However, the issue is of greater complexity than the obvious disagreement about the legitimacy of armed struggle endorsed by Hamas and the peaceful resistance which UN-affiliated entities continue to uphold as sustainable.
It is important to evaluate the alleged universal values of human rights, the probable complicity between UNRWA and the PA as entities affiliated to the imperialist narrative and the inherent selective application with regard to human rights within the imperialist concept of what constitutes humanity.
The “universal” declaration of human rights is a fabricated substitute for freedom providing a backdrop for the constant and premeditated violations. Within this framework there exists oppression and selective application of human rights, decided by the imperialist collective that is also responsible for restraining the legitimacy of the armed struggle in return for a set of competently quoted and intentionally compromised rules.
By relying upon vague terms such as universal qualities and the concept of human rights, the UN is ensuring the depletion of history and memory as a means of preventing nations from asserting their liberation, thus consolidating the subjugation upon which imperialism is dependent.
Extending the imperialist interpretation of human rights to Palestinians remains a conspiracy through which to sabotage armed resistance and the insistence upon the dismantling of the Zionist state, which Hamas has repeatedly insisted upon.
The manipulation of Palestinian history by UNRWA in agreement with the PA, which has repeatedly exhibited its allegiances with oppressive institutions and the settler-colonial state, is an exercise in erasing memories to increase agreement with the dominant narrative.
While resistance is a natural phenomenon against oppression, discourse pertaining to human rights is just a convenient intervention to stifle the reclamation of freedom, perfectly compatible with the alleged values imparted by the UN.
Implementing the compromised education curriculum would limit the possibility of an organised and legitimate armed struggle against the settler-colonial state, as well as indoctrinate Palestinian students against their rights to assert their own historical legitimacy
Muatazz Washaha, 24, was found dead inside the house following a stand-off between Israeli military forces which lasted several hours.
Witnesses said that the victim was hit in the head by a rifle-fired Energa shell.
Israeli forces were reportedly trying to arrest Muatazz for being an activist with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
During the dawn raid, Israeli forces stormed the house and detained his brother, Ramiz, and two other men. Earlier reports suggested Israeli forces were targeting another brother, Thaer.
Palestinian firefighters rushed to the scene after the house caught on fire as a result of Israeli artillery shelling.
Palestinian Authority Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqe, said Israeli troops raided Birzeit at around 3 a.m.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that Israeli forces raided Birzeit to arrest a man suspected of “terror activity.”
“After the suspect was called to turn himself in, he barricaded himself inside his house, effectively resisting arrest. Under the premise that he had weapons in his possession, the forces used different means to complete the arrest, including live fire.”
An AK47 assault rifle was found in the house, but no shots were fired at any point towards Israeli forces.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is proposing for the Palestinians to establish the capital of a future Palestinian state in Beit Hanina instead of all of occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war, Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Beit Hanina is located to the north of the old city, on the road to Ramallah.
According to the newspaper, Kerry’s proposal for the Palestinian capital to be located in only a small part of East Jerusalem, along with his other suggestions, enraged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who left his meeting with Kerry last week furious, threatening to torpedo the framework agreement. Kerry is said to have adopted the Israeli positions completely, including demanding that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state and retain the ten Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank as part of a land swap. Kerry also hinted that the Jordan Valley will not be part of a future Palestinian state and refused having any international presence in the Palestinian territories when Israel pulls out.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that US President Barack Obama has decided to intervene in the talks and “pressure both sides” to reach a framework agreement within the set deadline. Obama is meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday and has invited Abbas to visit Washington next month.
Regarding the possibility of extending the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel after the April deadline, Kerry told reporters that the parties took seven months to reach an understanding on their positions and he did not believe that anyone would feel concerned if it took another nine months to reach a final agreement. “I very much hope we should be able to make both parties take what is necessary to enter the most important stage, that is the final stage. To negotiate the final status based on a clear and specific framework.”
BETHLEHEM – Luxembourg’s general pension fund has decided to boycott five major Israeli banks and a number of major Israeli investment companies over their involvement in supporting construction in illegal settlements in the West Bank, according to the Hebrew-language news site Walla.
In a report published Tuesday, Walla news highlighted that names of the Israeli banks and companies appeared on a list banned by the Fond De Compensation last updated on Nov. 15, 2013. The list, titled on the FDC website as “Exclusion List,” included 60 international banks and companies which FDC decided to boycott over human rights violations.
The Israeli banks and companies on the list are the Africa Israel Investment group identified by FDC as Real Estate, Management and Development group, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Elbit Systems, aerospace and defense group, Finmeccaneca, also aerospace and defense group, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, Jerusalem Economy LTD, the Real Estate, Management and Development Group and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank LTD.
It was explained on the list that the Israeli banks and organizations appeared because they support and finance construction of “illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Territories of the State of Palestine” and some provide security systems for the “illegal separation barrier on Occupied Territories of the State of Palestine.”
The Walla report highlighted that the direct impact of this boycott could be zero, but it is still worrying because it is a chain in an ongoing divestment process.
Israel’s legislative branch, known as the Knesset, passed a controversial bill into law that defines 1948 Christian Palestinians as “non-Arabs”, Israeli media reported.
The new law – passed on Monday with a vote of 31 in favor and 6 against – for the first time differentiates Christian Palestinians from the rest of the Palestinian community, who had survived the 1947-48 ethnic cleansing by Zionist forces, and remained within the 1948 territories.
“This is a historic law. It’s the first time there is separate representation for Christians,” Likud Beytenu coalition chairman Yariv Levin, who proposed the bill, was quoted by the Israeli press prior to the the vote.
“Soon we’ll expand on this and give [Christians] all the separate representation they deserve,” he added.
Previously, Levin justified the bill as “an important, historic step that could introduce balance to the State of Israel, and connect us [Jews] with the Christians, I am careful not to refer to them as Arabs, because they are not Arabs.”
“We and the Christians have a lot in common. They’re our natural allies, a counterweight to the Muslims that want to destroy the country from within… We will use an iron hand and demonstrate zero tolerance of Arabs who tend to identify with the terror of the Palestinian state,” he added. According to reports, the law will enforce a separate representation on the Advisory Committee for Equal Opportunity within the Employment Commission, by extending the number of panel members to ten, adding specific seats for the ultra-Orthodox, Druze, Christian, Circassian populations, and others.
‘Palestinian Christians are Arabs’
CIA statistics put the Arab Christian population living in Occupied Palestine at around 123,000. These people will be directly affected by the new law.
Arab members of the Knesset unanimously condemned the bill as a “racist” act and a “divide-and-conquer” tactic.
“Colonialists try to separate groups of natives. The prime example of this is South Africa,” MK Hanin Zoabi of the Arab political party, Balad, reportedly said to the media after the vote.
“We are the natives here and we have a clear identity, [we] are Palestinians, part of the Arab nation, and your law will fail. Part of the Zionist project is to oppress our identity, but I have the right to speak in the name of Palestinians.”
Khalid Musmar, an official for the Palestinian National Council, told Al-Akhbar,“The Palestinian Christian community will rebuke this before anyone else. The Palestinian Christians are Arab despite the wishes of anyone in the Knesset or otherwise.”
“They have always said they were Arabs and have fought side-by-side with their Muslim brethren, from the times of the Crusades to today. The Palestinian community, in all it’s colors and creeds, is a unified Arab community confronting occupation. They are struggling for a Palestinian nation with Jerusalem as it’s capital. This will not change by the acts of Knesset or anyone else,” the official said.
“The community in 1948 will not remain quiet. This is a major move by the forces of occupation and colonization, and there will be mobilizations just like how we saw the creation and continuation of Land Day protests within 1948 lands. We will see protests in the future.”
“If [Israel] wants to do right to the Palestinians in general and Christians in particular,” said Jumana, from the Galilee region of northern occupied Palestine, during a separate conversation with Al-Akhbar, “let them approve the return of the refugees and internally displaced Palestinians from the two Christian villages of Ekrith and Birem, who already have a court ruling allowing them to return to their destroyed villages.”
She added that this law comes at a time when “the government is attempting to make the drafting to the Israeli Army obligatory to Palestinian Christians, [and] this is completely not acceptable, since this is their way of dividing the Palestinian minority and fragmenting the community as a whole.”
In a similar vein, a 1948 Palestinian Christian from Nazareth, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Al-Akhbar, “I think [Levin’s comments] are outrageous and untrue. It is part of Israel’s broader attempt to segment and fragmentize the Palestinian community from one another inside Israel. Other examples of this are with the Bedouins and the Druze, and this is part of [Israel’s] attempt to break up what is a cohesive community. It won’t work.”
“I see myself as an Arab and so do other Palestinian Christians. [Levin’s] logic only reaffirms the agenda to separate and break-up minorities within minorities,” she added.
“There should be more representation of Palestinians in Israel in general. Christian Palestinians are just as repressed as Muslims.”
I’m American, but my first book, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (now finally back in print), was published in Britain. American houses wouldn’t risk selling an expose of Zionist collaboration with Hitler. Then I found pro and anti-Zionist books published by Croom Helm Ltd. I went to them. They gave me an ultimatum: “You are about to write the most controversial book imaginable…. So there can be no mistakes. You must send us a photocopy of every document you quote.” It was published in 1983.
While British leftists organized a lecture tour for me, I went to Israel. By luck, that visit ultimately generated international attention to the book.
When Menachem Begin retired and Yitzhak Shamir became Israel’s 2nd Likud Prime Minister, I had a Palestinian English-language weekly publish a translation of his 1940-41 outfit’s offer to go to war on Hitler’s side. An Israeli newspaper questioned him about it. I went on to London and there, in the 21 October Times, was the PM’s lie:
“Shamir… denied that he had any part in the efforts by Mr. Abraham Stern… to establish contact with the Nazis and Italian Fascists.
‘There was a plan to turn to Italy for help and to make contact with Germany on the assumption that these could bring about a massive Jewish immigration to Palestine. I opposed this… but I did join Lehi after the idea of contacts with the Axis countries was dropped.’”
The “Proposal of the National Military Organization (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in the War on the side of Germany” was found post-war in Germany’s Turkish embassy. The Sternists declared that
“The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.
Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany’s side.”
I went to The Times with the German original, the translation and a letter. “You sure didn’t make this up in German!” My letter appeared on 4 November:
“Away from my files, I cannot be certain exactly when in 1940 Shamir joined the group. But in any case, isn’t he confessing that he knowingly joined an organization of traitors which had offered to ally itself to the archenemy of the Jews? Nor can there be any doubt that he joined up with Stern before December 1941, when the Sternists tried to send Nathan Yallin-Mor to Turkey to contact the German ambassador there with the same proposal.”
I relocated evidence that Shamir was a ‘Stern Gang’ founder and presented it to The Times. He organized their 1944 assassination of Britain’s Middle East High Commissioner in Cairo. In 1963, Gerold Frank published The Deed about it.
Stern split off from David Raziel’s Irgun in September 1940. Frank wrote up a meeting where “Yizernitsky” (Shamir’s born-name)….“spoke tersely, summing up the reason, behind Stern’s decision decision to walk out of the Irgun.” One of the assassins “could not forget Yizernitsky’s ‘fire and powder’ remark in the days immediately following the Raziel-Stern split.”
This led to Edward Mortimer reviewing the book in the 11 February 1984 Times:
“Who told a Berlin audience in March 1912 that “each country can absorb only a limited number of Jews, if she doesn’t want disorders in her stomach. Germany already has too many Jews”?
No, not Adolf Hitler but Chaim Weizmann, later president of the World Zionist Organization and later still the first president of the state of Israel….
Zionism itself encouraged and exploited self-hatred in the Diaspora. It started from the assumption that anti-Semitism was inevitable and even in a sense justified so long as Jews were outside the land of Israel.
It is true that only an extreme lunatic fringe of Zionism went so far as to offer to join the war on Germany’s side in 1941, in the hope of establishing “the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich.” Unfortunately this was the group which the present Prime Minister of Israel chose to join….
Mr Brenner is able to cite numerous cases where Zionists collaborated with anti-Semitic regimes, including Hitler’s; he is careful also to put on record the opposition to such policies within the Zionist movement.
In retrospect these activities have been defended as a distasteful but necessary expedient to save Jewish lives. But Brenner shows that most of the time this aim was secondary. The Zionist leaders wanted to help young, skilled and able-bodied Jews to emigrate to Palestine. They were never in the forefront of the struggle against fascism in Europe.”
Indeed the Stern Gang weren’t the only Zionist collaborators. On June 21, 1933 the Zionistische Vereinigung fur Deutschland, the German Zionist Federation, appealed to the Nazis:
“May we therefore be permitted to present our views, which, in our opinion, make possible a solution in keeping with the principles of the new German State of National Awakening…. because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group….
For its practical aims, Zionism hopes to be able to win the collaboration even of a government fundamentally hostile to Jews…. Boycott propaganda – such as is currently being carried on against Germany in many ways – is in essence un-Zionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and to build.”
The WZO made the Ha’ Avara (Transfer) agreement in 1933. The Nazis ‘taxed’ money leaving Germany, but the rate was lowest for German Zionists buying Nazi goods which the WZO sold in Palestine and the Middle East. In 1935 Weizmann explained that the WZO “should concern ourselves with the constructive solution of the German question through the transfer of the Jewish youth from Germany to Palestine, rather than with the question of equal rights of Jews in Germany.”
The WZO opposed anti-Nazi boycott movements. Fritz Reichart, the Gestapo’s Palestine agent, wrote to his headquarters:
“The London Boycott Conference was torpedoed from Tel Aviv be- cause the head of the Transfer in Palestine, in close contact with the consulate in Jerusalem, sent cables to London. Our main function here is to prevent, from Palestine, the unification of world Jewry on a basis hostile to Germany.”
The ZVfD asked Baron von Mildenstein of the Nazi SS elite corp to write pro-Zionist articles in the Nazi press. He visited Palestine for six months as the ZVfD’s guest and wrote 12 articles for Der Angriff (The Assault), the leading Nazi propaganda organ, about how Jewish soil under a Jew’s feet “reformed him and his kind in a decade. This new Jew will be a new people.”
To commemorate the Baron’s expedition, Propaganda Minister Goebbels had a medal struck: the Zionist star and EIN NAZI FÄHRT NACH PALÄSTINA — A Nazi Travels to Palestine — on one side, the swastika UND ERZÄHLT DAVON IM Angriff – And tells about it in Angriff – on the other.
The medal is on the front cover of the new edition of my book.
The WZO tried to extend its relationship with Nazism. On February 26, 1937, Feival Polkes of the Haganah Labor Zionist militia, met with Adolf Eichmann in Berlin. The report on their negotiations was in SS files found after the war:
“Polkes…. noted that the Haganah’s goal is to reach, as soon as possible, a Jewish majority in Palestine…. he declared himself willing to work for Germany in the form of providing intelligence as long as this does not oppose his own political goals. Among other things he would support German foreign policy in the Near East. He would try to find oil sources for the German Reich without affecting British spheres of interest if the German monetary regulations were eased for Jewish emigrants to Palestine.”
Eichmann and another SS man went to Palestine on October 2nd. Polkes took them to a kibbutz, a Labor Zionist co-op farm. Two days later the British realized that the visitors also contacted Reichart, known to be a Gestapo agent, and they expelled them to Egypt. Polkes met them in Cairo. He passed on two pieces of “intelligence”:
“The Pan-Islamic World Congress convening in Berlin is in direct contact with two pro-Soviet Arab leaders: Emir Shekib Arslan and Emir Adil Arslan…. The illegal Communist broadcasting station whose transmission to Germany is particularly strong, is, according to Polkes’ statement, assembled on a lorry that drives along the German-Luxembourg border when transmission is on the air.”
Later, Eichmann, hiding in Argentina, taped a look-back at his career. The holocaust’s prime organizer waxed nostalgic about Palestine:
“I did see enough to be very impressed by the way the Jewish colonists were building up their land. I admired their desperate will to live, the more so since I was myself an idealist. In the years that followed I often said to Jews with whom I had dealings that, had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist. I could not imagine being anything else. In fact, I would have been the most ardent Zionist imaginable.”
MUSSOLINI: “YOUR FASCIST, JABOTINSKY”
Most American pro-Zionists, Jew or gentile, know little Zionist history. Most can’t identify Vladimir Jabotinsky (1880 – 1940) even though he was the founder of the Zionist-Revisionist movement, the precursor of the Likud Party, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s father was his secretary.
In 1917 Jabotinsky organized a Jewish Legion to help the British take Palestine from Ottoman Turkey. When Britain declared it the “Jewish national home,” Palestine included today’s Jordan. But in 1921 London separated it from Palestine and gave it to the son of Britain’s puppet Sharif of Mecca. As no Zionists lived there, WZO leaders accepted the loss. But Jabotinsky insisted that the WZO had to “revise” its policy. Britain giving part of Palestine to an Arab would inspire Palestinians to struggle on until London completely abandoned Zionism. “One side of the Jordan is ours – and so is the other.” So goes Shtei Gadot, a song identified with Revisionism from 1923, when Jabotinsky founded the Betar youth movement, until well after the 1948 creation of Israel.
In 1923 he wrote Revisionism’s Bible, an article, “The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs)”:
“Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonized. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of “Palestine” into the “Land of Israel.”…. Zionist colonization must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. This means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population –- behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.”
Jabotinsky looked for a new imperial protector committed to a ruthless policy towards Arabs. Italy was appealing with its bloodthirsty Libyan colonialism. But he had been a student in Italy and couldn’t see anything wrong with the liberal and aristocratic traditions that Mussolini repudiated. In 1926 he sneered at Fascism:
“There is today a country where ‘programs’ have been replaced by the word of one man… Italy; the system is called Fascism: to give their prophet a title, they had to coin a new term—‘Duce’—which is a translation of that most absurd of all English words—‘leader’. Buffaloes follow a leader. Civilized men have no leaders.”
But for Ex-Labour Zionists turned Revisionist, ex-socialist Mussolini was a hero. At the 1932 Revisionist World Conference, Abba Achimeir and Wolfgang von Weisl proposed Jabotinsky as their Duce. He refused but, without abandoning liberal rhetoric, he incorporated Mussolini’s concepts into his ideology.
Jabotinsky proposed quitting the WZO, but their World Union Executive saw no gain in splitting. He took personal control of the movement and let the ranks choose between him and the Executive in a plebiscite. He wrote a letter: “The time has apparently come when there must be a single, principal controller in the movement, a ‘leader’, though I still hate the word. All right, if there must be one, there will be one.”
Jabotinsky set up the New Zionist Organization. Achimeir, its Palestine leader (Britain barred Jabotinsky from Palestine) ran his Yomen shel Fascisti (Diary of a Fascist) in their paper. Von Weisl, NZO’s Financial Director, told a newspaper that “He personally was a supporter of Fascism, and he rejoiced at the victory of Fascist Italy in Abyssinia as a triumph of the White races against the Black.”
In 1934 Mussolini authorized a Betar squadron at his maritime academy. In 1935 he met a rabbi and hailed “your fascist, Jabotinsky.” Mussolini reviewed the squadron in 1936.
The orientation towards Italy ended in a debacle. The Spanish civil war persuaded Mussolini to unite with Hitler to ward off worker revolutions. It was impossible to be Hitler’s ally and have Jews in his own party. He expelled Jews from the party and geared up for war. The Revisionists declared that they were wrong for the right reasons:
“For years we have warned the Jews not to insult the fascist regime in Italy. Let us be frank before we accuse others of the recent anti-Jewish laws in Italy; why not first accuse our own radical groups who are responsible for what happened.”
Stern and Shamir’s “historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis” evolved from this fanaticism.
“THERE IS NOT THE REMOTEST CHANCE OF WAR”
Shmuel Merlin, NZO’s Secretary-General, later explained that in January 1933 Jabotinsky “thought that Hitler would either reform or yield to the pressure of the Junkers and Big Business.” But by March he called for an anti-Nazi boycott. On June 16 Revisionists assassinated Labor Zionist Chaim Arlosoroff who negotiated the Ha’Avara pact with Berlin.
Two days later the British police brought Revisionists Avraham Stavsky and Zvi Rosenblatt in for an identity parade. Arlosoroff’s widow recognized Stavsky. Rosenblatt was cleared on a legal technicality but Stavsky was sentenced to hang. Later the Palestine Court of Appeal acquitted him on technicalities but the Chief Justice was displeased: “in England… the conviction would have to stand.” In 1944 a ballistics expert discovered the gun that killed Arlosoroff was used in the Cairo assassination by the Stern Gang splitters from Jabotinsky’s organization.
There’s no evidence that Jabotinsky ordered Arlosoroff killed but he insisted that Revisionists didn’t commit the crime. Many in the WZO opposed Ha’Avara, but they wouldn’t unite with Arlosoroff’s murderers in anti-Nazi actions. Alone they accomplished nothing and inevitably Revisionist policies re Germany became surreal.
Even as they demonstrated against Hitler throughout Europe, their Staatzionistische Organisation and its leader, George Kareski, were Hitler’s favorite Zionists. On April 13, 1935, the Gestapo declared that State Zionism would receive “permission to let its members… wear uniforms indoors… because the State Zionists have proven to be the organization which had tried in any way, even illegally, to bring its members to Palestine, and… meets half-way the intention of the Reich Government to remove the Jews from Germany.”
The scandalized NZO ranks compelled a resolution that, under the circumstances, there was no German Revisionist movement and Jabotinsky called on him to deny any Nazi connection. However in 1936 Kareski was his go-between with the German publishing house holding the copyright to one of his books, and the Fascists around von Weisl remained in contact with him.
In 1937 Kareski went to Palestine. German Jews discovered him and chased him through the streets until police rescued him. I’d like to report that he died alone and hated, but in 1947 he was appointed chairman of a Revisionist health fund.
In 1939, a week before Hitler invaded Poland, Jabotinsky insisted that “There is not the remotest chance of war.” He planned to invade Palestine, landing a boatload of Betarim on Tel Aviv’s beach while the Irgun seized Government House in Jerusalem, and a provisional Jewish government was proclaimed abroad. After his capture or death, it would operate as a government-in-exile.
His model was the 1916 rising in Ireland. Its leaders were executed, but their martyrdom inspired a revolutionary movement. However it is impossible to see how an invasion could have convinced Jews in Palestine, mostly his WZO enemies, to rise up after his defeat. The plan’s fantasy was revealed on the night of August 31-September 1. The British arrested the Irgun command as they debated whether to take part in the scheme and, within hours, Hitler started the war Jabotinsky insisted wouldn’t happen.
The December 4, 1948 New York Times ran a letter by Albert Einstein and other Jews re Menachem Begin’s visit to the US, exposing his Herut Party which evolved into today’s Likud. Given that Achimeir and von Weisl wrote for Herut’s newspaper, Einstein’s evaluation of Begin’s Revisionist commitment bears quotation:
“Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the ‘Freedom Party’ (Tnuat HaHerut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties…. They have preached an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism and racial superiority… it is imperative that the truth about Mr Begin and his movement be made known in this country.”
Indeed Zionist Revisionist history must be known here. Read Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators and then convince other Americans to read it.
Lenni Brenner can be contacted at BrennerL21@aol.com.
The US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro asserted that the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal currently being negotiated by US Secretary of State of John Kerry will include recognition of Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people”,The Times of Israel reported on Friday.
Citing an interview Shapiro conducted with Israel Radio on Friday morning, The Times of Israel quoted him as saying, “It’s too early to know what compromises and concessions both sides will make. But we do believe… that Israel deserves recognition as a Jewish state. That has always been US policy — that Israel is a Jewish state and should remain a Jewish state. That will be one of the elements of the framework we’re working on.”
“I assume that under the framework that we’re currently preparing, that we’ll see that recognition of Israel and a Jewish state, as the nation state of the Jewish people, will appear in the framework,” he added.
“And in the end, we’ll need to know that this is the end of the conflict, and that’s one way of verifying that… that everyone in the region and all of [Israel’s] neighbors will accept that there is a nation state of the Jewish people here, in the Jewish homeland.”
Shapiro’s comments come a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held more than two hours of “constructive” talks on Israeli-Palestinian peace on Thursday, their second session in as many days.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed on July 29 after a nearly three-year break. At the time, Kerry said, “Our objective will be to achieve a final status agreement over the course of the next nine months.”
As that deadline has approached, US officials appear to have scaled back their ambitions, saying they are trying to forge a “framework for negotiations” as a first step though they still hope to hammer out a full agreement by April 29.
Israel’s demand on recognition of its Jewishness is a recent addition to its list of final-status issues to be resolved with the Palestinians in a negotiated settlement, and the ultra right-wing government has rapidly forced it to the top of agenda, making it all but a precondition for entering talks.
Palestinians have refused to recognize of Israel as a “Jewish state” because it would ultimately signify the end of the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were ethnically cleansed by Zionist forces in 1948, as well as offer legitimacy to the discrimination of the remaining non-Jewish population within the 1948 borders.