Colonies vs. Settlements
The war of words is most commonly used by the Zionist movement to justify the land theft of other peoples property to sound as if it is a justified and legal action; so they play on words, and instead of using the right words or terminologies to explain their actions, which disclose their crimes against humanity they have been and are still committing, they employ a different term, instead of using the right word for the dwellings they build on the stolen land, they say settlement rather than using the right terminology, namely, colonies.
On the other hand, a foreign invader conquers a foreign land with the aim of colonizing it. They will implement any justification for what they are actually doing. When they are building new dwellings on the invaded land, which is an act displacing its indigenous population and replacing them with an imported invading population, what they are building by the force of arms and terror are colonies built on stolen lands, they are by no means to be considered settlements.
While on the subject we have to point out that there are two kinds of colonization: 1st.- Exploitive colonization, which aims at the exploitation of the colonized land and its people, the exploitation of the land, its resources, cheap labor usually available in abundance, which also could be used as a jumping point to colonize other new lands, examples such as India, Egypt and other lands. 2nd. Settling and displacing colonization, that is colonizing the land, annihilating and/or expelling its people, examples are Palestine, the Americas, Australia and others.
For the first time in history, an
Israeli Arab political party challenged the Palestinian
leadership on Tuesday, calling for the immediate
dismissal of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Far-right activists distributed fliers to fresh
draftees at the Israel Defense Forces induction center in
Tel Hashomer on Tuesday urging them not to confide in
their commanders and to refrain from cooperating with
investigators if they physically abuse Palestinians in
The brochure stated that these two incidents were
cases in which "foreign considerations were involved
in the system's chain of command."
Israel: A Stalemated Action of History
In late 1949 I worked on a boat taking Jews from Marseilles to Haifa, Israel. Jews from Arab nations were in the front of the boat, Europeans in the rear. I was regarded by many of the Europeans as some sort of freak because I had a United States passport and so could stay in the land of milk and honey. One man wanted me to marry his daughter - which meant he too could live in the land of milk and honey. My Hebrew became quite respectable but the experience was radicalizing or, I should say, kept me radical, and I have stayed that way.
Later I learned from someone who ran a displaced persons camp in Germany that the large majority of Jews wanted to go anywhere but Palestine. They were compelled to state Palestine or else risk receiving no aid. I understood very early that there was much amiss in the countless Arab villages and homes I saw destroyed, and that the entire Zionist project - regardless of the often venal nature of the Arab opposition to it - was a dangerous sham.
The result of the creation of a state called Israel was abysmal. Jews from Poland have nothing in common with Germans and neither has anything to do with those from the Arab world. It is nationality, not religion, that counts most. Jews in Israel, especially the Germans, largely ghettoized themselves by their place of origin during the first generation, when a militarized culture produced the mixed new breed called sabras - an essentially anti-intellectual personality far different from the one the early Zionists, who were mostly socialists who preached the nobility of labor, expected to emerge. The large majority of Israelis are not in the least Jewish in the cultural sense, are scarcely socialist in any sense, and daily life and the way people live is no different in Israel than it is in Chicago or Amsterdam. There is simply no rational reason that justifies the state's creation.
The outcome is a small state with a military ethos that pervades all aspects of Israel's culture, its politics and, above all, its response to the existence of Arabs in its midst and at its borders. From its inception, the ideology of the early Zionists - of Labor Zionism as well as the rightist Revisionism that Vladimir Jabotinsky produced - embodied a commitment to violence, erroneously called self-defense, and a virtual hysteria. As a transcendent idea, Zionism has no validity because the national differences between Jews are overwhelming.
What Zionism confirmed, if any confirmation were needed, is that accidents are more important in shaping history than is all too often allowed. Here was the intellectual café, which existed in key cities - Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century or the Lower East Side of New York before World War I - filled with immensely creative people full of ideas and longing for a golden era to come. Ideas - good, bad, and indifferent - flourished. In this heady atmosphere, Zionism was born.
But Zionism has produced a Sparta that traumatized an already artificially divided region partitioned after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during World War I led to the Versailles Treaty and the creation of the modern Middle East. The state of Israel has always relied on military solutions to political and sociological problems with the Arabs. The result is constant mobilization.
Even more troublesome for peace and stability in the vast Middle East, Zionism has always been symbiotic on some great power for the security of its national project, realized in a state called Israel. Before 1939 it was the British; during the 1950s it was France. Israel has survived since the late 1960s on the influx of US arms and money, and this has allowed it to encourage its fears of annihilation - a fate its possession of nuclear weapons makes most unlikely. But Israel also has an importance far beyond the fantasies of a few confused literati. Today its significance for American foreign policy is far greater because the Soviet Union no longer exists and the Middle East provokes the fear so essential to mobilizing Congress and the US public. "The best hopes and the worst fears of the planet are invested in that relatively small patch of earth" - as George Tenet, the former head of the CIA, put it in his memoir - and so understanding how and why that patch came into being, and the grave limits of the martial course it is following, has a very great, even transcendent value.
In July 2003 Foreign Minister Shalom predicted that Iran would have nuclear bomb capability by 2006. It did not have nuclear weapons in 2006, though in fact a successful strike by conventional missiles on Dimona, Israel's nuclear facility, would radioactivate a good part of Israel - and both Iran and Syria have such missiles. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, during Vice-President Dick Cheney's visit in late March 2008, stated that "Iran's weapons program threatens not only the stability of the region, but of the whole world," and he did not rule out a war with it. By spring 2008 Israel was also very concerned about the growing ascendancy of Hizbollah in Lebanon and its greatly increased firepower - mainly in the form of rockets capable of striking much of Israel. It regards Hizbollah as a tool of Iran, and its focus on Iran concerns its control over Hizbollah as well as its ability to challenge Israel's nuclear monopoly. But there can be no doubt that Hizbollah's strength has only grown since Israel attacked it in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Israel now has an enemy that can inflict immense damage on it, probably resulting in highly skilled Jews migrating far faster than they already are at present - even now, more Jews are leaving Israel than migrating to it.
The existence of Israel is scarcely the only reason American policy in the region is as bad as it is. After all, it did not take Zionism to encourage Washington to seek the elimination of British influence in the region, and today no one can tell how long the US will remain mired in the affairs of the Middle East. But Israel is now a vital factor. While the extent of its role can be debated, without it the politics of the entire Middle East would be different - troubled but very different.
At least equally nefarious in the long run, Israel's existence has radicalized - but in a negative sense - the Arab world, distracting it from natural class differences that often overcome religious and tribal ties. It has fanned Arab nationalism abysmally and given it a transcendent negative identity.
I am very realistic - and pessimistic - about an eventual negotiated solution to the crisis that has surrounded Palestine and Israel. Given the magnitude of the changes needed, the present situation justifies the most dismal conclusions. After all, the Arabs that live under Israeli control will quite soon outnumber the Jewish population, leaving a de facto Jewish state in which Jews are a minority! This fact is becoming deeply troublesome within Israeli politics today, causing former expansionists to reverse their position and leading to more and more internal controversy. Nor will there ever be an administration in Washington ready to do diplomatically what none has ever dared do since 1947, namely compel Israel to make an equitable peace with the Arabs.
Neither a one- nor two-state solution will come to pass. But the Jewish population is very likely to decline, and if it falls sufficiently then demography may prove to be a crucial factor. The ratio of Jews to Arabs would then become highly significant. The Jews in Israel are highly skilled and many have gotten out, migrating abroad. The Israeli military is the most powerful in the region because it has been deluged with American equipment, which it has learned to service. But US forces need repairmen to service the very same equipment, more than ever because recruitment into the American military is now lower than it has been in a quarter-century (not to mention its astronomical suicide rate), and skilled Israelis can take jobs with America's armed forces that they are eminently qualified to fill. Moreover, Iran and the other Arab states will eventually develop or acquire nuclear weapons, making Israel incredibly insecure for its highly mobile Jewish population - one exhausted by regular service in compulsory reserves. And as already suggested, destroying Dimona with conventional missiles or mortars would be a cheap way to radioactivate a good part of Israel. Even worse, Osama bin Laden, or someone like him, may acquire a nuclear device, and one nuclear bomb detonated in or near Israel will effectively destroy what is a tiny area. Whoever destroys Israel will be proclaimed a hero in the Arab world. To those with skills, the answer is clear: get out. And getting out they are.
There are also Orthodox Jews in Israel but Israeli mass culture is now virtually indistinguishable from consumerism anywhere - in many crucial respects, there is more Judaism in parts of Brooklyn or Toronto than in most of Israel. The Orthodox too may be ready to leave behind the insecurity and troubles confronting those who live in a nation that is, after all, a part of a highly unstable region.
Sober and quite rational Israelis exist, of course, and I cite them often enough, but American policy will be determined by factors having nothing to do with them. Unfortunately, rational Israelis are an all too small minority.
Gabriel Kolko is the leading historian of modern warfare. He is the author of the classic Century of War: Politics, Conflicts and Society Since 1914, Another Century of War? and The Age of War: the US Confronts the World and After Socialism. He has also written the best history of the Vietnam War, Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the US and the Modern Historical Experience. His latest book is World in Crisis, from which this essay has been excerpted.
The West Widens
the Fatah-Hamas Split
But despite the parade of top American officials visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories this week to drum up business for a new peace conference, the US, Britain and European Union continue to play a central role in preventing the Palestinian national unity that is essential if any deal is going to have a chance of succeeding. Far from helping to overcome the split between Fatah and Hamas, the US, Israel and their allies in practice do everything they can to promote and widen it.
In his speech last month in Cairo, Barack Obama acknowledged Palestinian support for Hamas who won the Palestinian elections three years ago but insisted that only by accepting conditions he knows it will not accept can the Palestinians' elected representatives "play a role". The only settlement scenarios now envisaged by the US administration are based on a deal with the unpopular Mahmoud Abbas, which cannot command Palestinian national support.
Not only that, but the US, Britain and EU continue to require, fund and facilitate a security crackdown against Hamas activists in the West Bank, which makes the necessary reconciliation between the two Palestinian parties increasingly far-fetched.
A new report (pdf) for the London-based Middle East Monitor highlights the scale of detention without trial in the West Bank more than 1,000 political prisoners are reportedly held in Palestinian Authority jails and extrajudicial killings, torture and raids on Hamas-linked social institutions by security forces trained, funded and organised by the US with Israel's blessing.
The repression is justified by reference to the commitment to "end terrorism" in the 2003 road map. And the central role played in building up the security forces to carry it out (at a cost so far of $161m from congress) is played by Lieutenant-General Keith Dayton, US security co-ordinator for the Palestinian Authority, a man increasingly regarded as the real power in the West Bank, whose slogan is "peace through security" (pdf).
Dayton is advised by a team of British officials, as well as a British private security firm, Libra, closely tied to the Foreign Office. Libra has also been busy working for the occupation forces and interior ministry in Iraq, where sectarianism and human rights abuses have been rife.
Naturally, all the governments and security firms concerned say they abhor torture and human rights violations and focus their training on overcoming them. But, as Dayton himself makes clear, the priority is "to allay Israeli fears about the nature and capabilities of the Palestinian security forces".
Privately, official sources have tried to rubbish the Middle East Monitor dossier, partly on the basis of the involvment of the Muslim Council of Britain leader Daud Abdullah. But a survey compiled last month by the independent Palestinian human rights group al-Haq, as well as earlier reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, tell a similar story.
The Hamas-led administration in Gaza is also held responsible for significant human rights abuses, if on a smaller scale. But as the dispute over attendance at next week's long-awaited Fatah conference in Bethlehem has shown, the Islamist movement is prepared to release its Fatah prisoners if the PA frees Hamas detainees in the West Bank. And that needs an American and Israeli green light.
Which only underlines the fact that until the US and its followers stop trying to divide-and-rule the Palestinians, allow them to choose their own leaders and negotiate their own differences, hopes of serious progress in the Middle East under Obama are bound to be unfulfilled.
Jul 29, 2009
Trendy TA bar bans soldiers in uniform
By Abe Selig
At a recently opened eco-friendly bar in Tel Aviv, customers can enjoy vegan delicacies, politic with left-wing activists or indulge in green-colored beer.
But wearing green may get them thrown out.
The Rogatka Bar - the word means "slingshot" in Russian and was used colloquially to describe slingshots used by Palestinian youth during the first intifada - has found itself at the heart of a fiery debate, after Army Radio reported earlier this week that the vegan eatery does not allow entry to IDF soldiers in uniform.
According to the report, two combat soldiers who were sent to the restaurant last week by Army Radio with a hidden recorder, were forbidden from entering the restaurant, and were told they would have to change into civilian clothes if they wanted to come in. Wearing IDF uniforms inside the restaurant, they were told, was forbidden.
"It's nothing personal, but ideological," the soldiers were told by Rogatka employees. "Your uniforms symbolize genocide and violence, and the violence that the IDF perpetrates is the reason for ongoing violence."
One of the soldiers took off his IDF-issue shirt, but his unit's t-shirt didn't pass the restaurant's dress code either. The two were told to leave.
Army Radio later sent another soldier to follow up on the story, but as soon as he sat down at the bar, employees came over to him and demanded that he leave.
"Your shirt symbolizes shit and disgust and as soon as I see your shirt, it hurts me," one of the employees said. "Get out of here."
"I kill myself to protect you and you're throwing me out?" the solider reportedly replied.
"You aren't killing yourself," the soldier was told. "They are taking advantage of you, and you're a slave to the army. Now leave."
Calling itself an "anarchist collective," Rogatka, which is located on Rehov Yitzhak Sadeh, also refuses to purchase produce grown in Jewish settlements and prohibits the carrying of weapons.
While Rogatka management declined to respond to The Jerusalem Post's queries on Tuesday, the restaurant-bar's policies have begun to elicit a backlash both online and in the Knesset.
On Monday, MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor) sent an urgent letter to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai to check if Rogatka was breaking any laws by banning the entry of IDF soldiers in uniform.
MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) told the Post on Tuesday that while he was not mulling any formal moves against the bar, "a society that is embarrassed by its soldiers is not a normal society.
"The soldiers are our emissaries," Orbach said. "I'd like to see a place that invites soldiers in because they're in uniform, not the opposite.
"But this is a symptom of the new Left in this country, as opposed to the old Left of the Labor party. The new left is anti-Zionist, they are against the Jewish state, and while they are a small group, they're very aggressive."
Other voices of protest against the bar's policies could be found on Facebook, where a group called "Boycott The Rogatka" has over 700 members.
The group's creator, Yaniv Dvir, told the Post on Tuesday that the responses his group had received fell into two separate categories.
"One group of people are just personally insulted by this," Dvir said. "They're shocked and upset, and I think it angers a lot of people. For example, I have reserve duty next month, and when I put on my uniform, am I supposed to feel like a murderer?"
Dvir said the second group of responses were more proactive.
"There are other people who actually want to do something, you know, to take a stand against this place somehow, and both of those responses can be found within the group."
Israeli law applies in disputed West Bank territory
The judge was giving an intermediate decision in a
lawsuit over a plot of land near Shilat. He said that
since Israel operates full sovereign authority in the
disputed territory despite avoiding publicly announcing
its annexation, it should be considered as Israeli
territory. "There is, therefore, no need of an
explicit enactment of Israeli law over that territory,"
the judge wrote. He was not convinced by the respondent's
attorney, Anat Meiri, who argued that the issuing of
demolition orders by the Judea and Samaria Civil
Administration to the residents of the Palestinian
village of Midiya proved the various state institutions
were in dispute over the territory's legal status.
director in Lebanon, Shafiq Al-Hut, died today.
from As'ad Anwar The Angry Arab