Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[ePalestine] LRB: Organised Hypocrisy on a Monumental Scale (By Robert Wade)

"They [restrictions] are so pervasive and systematic that it almost seems as if the Israeli state has mapped the entire Palestinian economy in terms of input-output relations, right down to the capillary level of the individual, the household, the small firm, the large firm, the school, the university, so as to find all possible choke points, which Israeli officials can tighten or loosen at will." ~Prof. Robert Wade

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SOURCE: http://t.co/6LCXAdi759

24 October 2014

London Review of Books

Organised Hypocrisy on a Monumental Scale

Robert Wade on the Economic Occupation of the West Bank

Late last year I made my first visit to the West Bank. I'd never before been anywhere in what was once known as the Levant, between Anatolia and Egypt, though I've travelled in other parts of the world, as a researcher into economic and political development. Mostly I look at institutions – of all kinds and sizes – and the ways they go about their business, whether it's the management of common resources at village level, such as grazing and irrigation, or the state-level implementation of policies on industry and technology. I visited the West Bank at the invitation of the Kenyon Institute, which arranges visits and lectures by British-based academics. As well as lecturing, I interviewed civil servants and politicians, NGO officials and owners of small factories, and travelled across much of the territory. I was struck by the development impasse in the West Bank, and by the granular details of Palestinian life under the Israeli control system: I mean daily life, at the basic level, as distinct from the high-profile feuds and negotiations with which we're all familiar.

First, some figures. In the combined territory of Israel plus Palestine, the population of Israeli Jews is just over six million, of whom about half a million live in East Jerusalem or settlements in the West Bank. The population of Palestinian Arabs is about six million, of whom some 2.7 million live in the West Bank, 1.7 million in Gaza and 1.7 million in Israel. So the ratio of Palestinian Arabs to Israeli Jews in the combined territory is 49.8:50.2. However, two qualifications have to be made. First, the population of Palestinian Arabs living as refugees is estimated at 6.8 million, bringing the number of Palestinian Arabs to nearly 13 million. Second, within the borders of Israel plus Palestine, the Arabs in the four territories where Arabs live (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and Israel) have little exchange with one another; they are in no sense a unit.

The West Bank's population of 2.7 million is around a third the size of Israel's (including Arabs), but has a much higher birthrate (though the birthrate among Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is even higher).

The average income of Jewish Israelis (at market exchange rates) is around $40,000; that of Arab Israelis $13,000; that of West Bankers $3700, and less in Gaza.

At the end of the Second World War, Jews accounted for about 34 per cent of the population of historic or British Mandate Palestine, Arabs 66 per cent; the average income of the Jews was about twice that of Arabs. Today, the population ratio is almost 50:50; the average income of Jews is about 11 times that of West Bankers. Few places in the world have a long land border with such a large average income disparity between the two sides.

Before I arrived in the West Bank I had read about the Israeli system of control. 'The miracle is based on denial,' Ari Shavit writes in My Promised Land. 'Bulldozers razed Palestinian villages, warrants confiscated Palestinian land, laws revoked Palestinians' citizenship and annulled their homeland.' But reading about it is one thing; encountering the system at first hand is quite another.

The souk in Hebron's old city was eerily empty, with almost no people or goods to be seen. Walking through it I noticed netting strung over the street, and looking up towards the bright blue sky was puzzled to see rubbish strewn on the netting. My hosts explained that Israeli settlers had occupied the apartments of departed Palestinians above the souk, or built new apartments on top of the Palestinians'; and from this vantage point had taken to tossing their rubbish onto the heads of passing Palestinians below. Hence the netting. I was told that a minister in the Palestinian Authority recently had a chamber pot emptied on top of her.

The souk was like a ghost town, my hosts explained, because the Israeli government had closed off most access points to Palestinians, in order to ensure that the Israeli settlers could enter and leave the city by dedicated routes, avoiding all contact with Palestinians. The main way in to the souk had a revolving steel gate guarded by an Israeli soldier. As we passed through, two men on one side had a stack of cartons of canned goods on a trolley; they lifted the cartons one by one high up over the top of the barrier, into the hands of two men on the other side, who lowered them onto their trolley, ready to move elsewhere. Think of the transaction costs of shifting those canned goods a couple of metres through the checkpoint.

The next day, on a dusty dirt road outside Nablus, with the Israeli security fence on one side and an olive grove on the other, I met two brothers walking towards the town some three kilometres away, where they lived. They had been working on their (ancestral) land on the Israeli side of the fence. The Israelis manned a gate closer to the town, they said, but opened it for only one hour in the early morning, one hour at midday and one hour in the late afternoon. If they wanted to come or go at other times they walked, or sometimes drove a tractor, several kilometres to the next gate, which had more extended opening hours. They also each needed a permit to cross the fence. The permits didn't last long. The period varied but was commonly about two months. When it expired the men had to apply for another permit, which could take weeks. Last year they applied for a permit to cover the period for harvesting their greenhouse tomatoes, their main source of income. But it took 40 days to arrive, by which time the crop had rotted. They had two more brothers who were not allowed to cross the fence under any circumstances, because years before they had been jailed for protesting against Israeli rule.

On to a nearby herder community, where fifty households tend several thousand head of sheep and goats on barren land. Electricity lines run overhead, water and sewage pipes run below, but the herders have no access to them. They buy water from an Israeli-owned water depot some distance away. They can pay for an Israeli-owned tanker to bring water to their cistern; but it was cheaper for them to tow their own water container to the depot behind a tractor, fill it, and pull it back home. In 2008 the Israeli authorities confiscated their water container, saying it did not meet standards. Now they pay the extra for the Israeli-owned tanker delivery.

The Palestinian Hydrology Group, an NGO, has been working for more than twenty years to improve water and sanitation facilities throughout the West Bank. The Nablus office has provided toilets to fifty poor communities, including this settlement of herders. In Israeli eyes the toilets are illegal, because built without a permit. The PHG knows from experience that the chances of getting a permit are practically zero. So, backed by Spanish aid, it built quickly collapsible toilet cabins. With just a few minutes' notice the components can be spirited out of sight and reassembled when the soldiers are gone. In Area C of the West Bank (more than 60 per cent of the territory) it is illegal even to mend a failing water cistern without a permit – which is rarely given. Solar panels would require a permit, too.

The same restrictions mean that areas A and B of the West Bank (40 per cent of the territory), where Palestinians have greater scope for self-government, cannot be connected to scale-efficient infrastructure networks for electricity and water. The areas are fragmented (ghettoised) into small enclaves surrounded by area C land, where infrastructure projects require Israeli permits, which are rarely given. This greatly increases the cost of infrastructure services and restricts their supply to most of the West Bank population.

At the other end of the socio-economic ladder, I spoke to a senior Palestinian telecommunications executive. He told me that the Oslo Accords explicitly stated that the West Bank administration had the right to establish 'separate and independent telecommunication networks'. But the fine print said that Israel would allocate frequencies for the Palestinians (or not). Unsurprisingly, given the enveloping structure of rule, the Israeli government has not allocated anything like enough frequencies to the Palestinians, with the result that the costs of building networks in Palestine are three times higher than they otherwise would be. Palestinians are unable to access the internet or email on their phones, because Israel has not allocated the frequencies needed for 3G (for 'security reasons'). Israel has however allocated 3G frequencies to Israeli companies serving West Bank settlers and to provide seamless telecom access to Israeli citizens moving about the West Bank.

Telecom equipment can only be brought in through Israeli ports. Several years ago the Palestinian telecom agency ordered equipment from Ericsson, identical to Ericsson equipment imported at the same time by Israel. The Israeli equipment passed through customs in two weeks; the Palestinian equipment was held for two years for 'security checks', all the time incurring daily storage fees. Israel also insists on the same equipment standards for Palestine as for Israel, despite the income disparity.

Israel systematically blocks Palestinian external trade with other countries (70 per cent of the West Bank's exports are sold in Israel). The only alternatives to Israel's ports are two land bridges to Jordan. Israel often closes one of them, and the other is often choked by insufficient infrastructure. Israel levies murky forms of protection against Palestinian products, such as health and safety standards that Palestinian producers cannot comply with. Israeli law requires a wide range of products, including pharmaceuticals, to be certified before entering Israel; but Israeli security law also typically prohibits Israeli citizens from performing inspections in the Palestinian territories. Palestinian products subject to these rules therefore cannot be sold to the Israeli market, because they cannot be inspected by Israelis before entering Israel.

Israel has steadily blocked Palestine's bids for membership of the World Trade Organisation, despite EU support and US non-objection, so Palestine cannot bring complaints against Israel's restrictions on its exports to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism. At the same time as Israel is unconstrained by WTO rules in its dealings with Palestinian trade, the Palestinian economy bears the brunt of the free trade policies – unrestricted imports – instituted by the Palestinian Authority in compliance with the rules of the customs union with Israel and with the prescriptions of the World Bank and IMF.

No surprise, then, that the ratio of Palestine's exports to GDP has steadily declined over the past two decades. One need not believe in free international trade as a magic bullet for development to see that Israel's restrictions on Palestine's international trade – even with Israel – are a major obstacle to Palestine's economic development.

Around 70 per cent of the Palestinian Authority's revenue comes from customs and other fees collected by the Israelis on the PA's behalf. The Israelis take a sizeable collection fee and pass on the balance (or not). If some Palestinians behave badly in Israeli eyes – by striking back against the occupation or pressing for membership of international organisations – they may withhold the revenue, starving the PA of funds and making it difficult to provide even minimal public services.

Universities on the West Bank can usually employ visiting academics from outside Palestine for only one month before a permit is required; the permit may take years to arrive. It is widely said among the Palestinian elite that the quality of university education is deteriorating. To get a quality university education young people must leave, but few have the resources to do so.

Everywhere I went, I encountered despair about the Palestinian Authority and its effectiveness, even allowing for the tight Israeli constraints. Some 70 per cent of the PA's revenues goes on salaries to public officials. Members of parliament, ministers and the president pay themselves extremely generously compared to average income: their average salary is about 24 times the Palestinian average, one of the highest ratios in the world (in Lebanon it's 15:1, in Bolivia 10:1, Saudi Arabia 5:1, USA 5:1, Norway 2:1).

I visited a shoe factory in Hebron and a soap factory in Nablus. They are both supply rather than demand-constrained; they could sell more, mainly for export, if they produced more (though the shoe factory would then have to import more materials, with all the transaction costs that would incur). But the factories are a mess, in bad need of modernisation, not just of their equipment (which would have to be imported) but in terms of layout, storage, cleanliness and lighting.

The engineers of Taiwan's Industrial Development Bureau, which I studied in the 1980s, were required to spend several days a month visiting factories, coaching owners and managers on improving production layout, investing in new equipment, exploring links with foreign-invested firms in Taiwan, investigating export markets.

I asked the shoe and soap factory owners if they had received any visits or support from officials of the Palestinian Authority. They said not. Later I asked a senior official whether the PA had any industrial development coaching or extension service. Yes, he said, we have PalTrade (a trade promotion agency). I said that what I had in mind was quite different from trade promotion. Well, he said, we have a Labour Ministry which looks after work conditions in factories.

His response illustrates what happens when a state is barely able to support itself, at the mercy of its neighbour's (un)willingness to hand over its due revenue and to allow imports and exports. Under such conditions no state can sustain a development strategy, and it is no wonder that many PA officials are focused above all on survival: both their own survival in their well-paid positions, and the survival of the power structure they benefit from. Then the Washington-Brussels Consensus – that market liberalisation is the route to development – can be used to sprinkle justification on passivity. The fact that Chinese textile makers can profitably sell nylon keffiyehs in Palestine for only 10 shekel, undercutting Palestine-made cotton scarves at 25 shekel, can be interpreted as a simple gain for consumer welfare; with the hope, inspired by the theory of comparative advantage, that redundant textile workers will find employment in higher value-added activities elsewhere. But unemployment is high and rising, especially among the young.

The restrictions that the Israeli state imposes on Palestinians in the West Bank (to say nothing of Gaza, which I did not visit) are most visible in the Wall and security fence, which divides the whole length of the West Bank, including deep intrusions to annex additional land for Israel. But the restrictions also cover the movement of people, the import and export of goods and services, investments, and access to basic infrastructure (electricity, water, sanitation). They are so pervasive and systematic that it almost seems as if the Israeli state has mapped the entire Palestinian economy in terms of input-output relations, right down to the capillary level of the individual, the household, the small firm, the large firm, the school, the university, so as to find all possible choke points, which Israeli officials can tighten or loosen at will.

Under these circumstances – which I'm happy to say I have never encountered elsewhere – political and economic development is barely possible. In November 2013, the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said: 'We can talk seriously about a political settlement with the Palestinians when their per capita GDP reaches $10,000 – not a day before that' (because only then will Palestinians have enough at stake genuinely to want peace). This expresses organised hypocrisy on a monumental scale. Until Palestine has substantial sovereignty, including control over borders and natural resources, the conditions for a 'political settlement' will be postponed indefinitely, and the region will remain a generator of conflicts feeding larger regional conflicts – indefinitely.

Still, even within narrow constraints, the Palestinian Authority or its successor could do more than at present to foster economic development. For example, it could give higher priority to industry and agriculture, and less to 'services' (including the salaries of public officials). It could create a public-private-NGO agency to perform the same functions as Taiwan's Industrial Development Bureau and its agricultural equivalent. The Occupied Territories now get more non-military aid per person than just about anywhere else in the world, through multilateral, US and European channels. Aid donors could do more to steer the allocations in more productive directions, and press the Palestinian Authority not to use aid money as an excuse for constructing a social compact with Palestinian citizens. They could press international organisations like the WTO and the International Olive Council to admit Palestine as a member. But in the end, firms, universities, pension funds and NGOs must mount sustained pressure on the US and Israeli governments to change their joint operating premise, 'a sovereign Palestinian state eventually, but not now'.

ISSN 0260-9592 Copyright © LRB Limited 2014

SOURCE: http://t.co/6LCXAdi759
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Friday, October 03, 2014

[ePalestine] +972/TPM: Why must Gaza wait in the dark? (By Sam Bahour)

+972 Blog
Published October 3, 2014

Why must Gaza wait in the dark?

Separating Gaza's electricity supply from the political conflict is a step long overdue.

By Sam Bahour
Palestians gather near a fire in the At-Tuffah district of Gaza City, which was heavily damaged by Israeli attacks during the latest offensive, Gaza City, September 6, 2014.
Palestinians gather near a fire in the At-Tuffah district of Gaza City, which was heavily 
damaged by Israeli attacks during the latest offensive, Gaza City, September 6, 2014.

When I asked my colleague in Gaza about her biggest dream, her answer made an impression on me: "I dream of what life would be like with 24-hour electricity." This was the answer of a single, mid-career, western educated, professional woman who lives in the more affluent part of Gaza City. Her response suggests the depth of despair among Palestinians throughout Gaza.

Day-to-day life in Gaza between Israeli attacks is unworthy news for Western mainstream media. As a result, few people are aware that electricity in Gaza is a luxury, with blackouts lasting 16-18 hours—every day. This bitter reality has warped people's lives for years now, as they must plan their daily activities around the four-six hours when they anticipate electricity, even if that means waking up to put laundry in the washing machine in the middle of the night.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

[ePalestine] Washington Post: An Israel equal for all, Jewish or not (A MUST READ)

Washington Post
 
Opinions
 
An Israel equal for all, Jewish or not

September 26

Patricia Marks Greenfield is a psychology professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

An American colleague and I traveled to Israel at the end of June to continue research with an Israeli team composed of Jewish and Muslim researchers from Ben Gurion University in Beersheba. Our team studies how rapid social change has shifted values among Arabs in northern Israel, Bedouin Arabs in the Negev and Ethiopians Jews in southern Israel — Israeli citizens all. In the course of this work, we have been warmly welcomed into the homes of our Arab partners in northern Israel. We also saw the home of a newlywed Bedouin couple that had been destroyed by Israeli bulldozers because some Bedouin ancestral lands are not recognized by the Israeli government, and we learned about racial discrimination against Ethiopian Jews.

Given these experiences, it seems more important than ever to state two things clearly and forcefully: Israel is a full-fledged multiethnic, multireligious society, and it must provide equal legal and day-to-day treatment to all its citizens, no matter their ethnic or religious background. Unfortunately, this is not the case for those who are Arab or Ethio­pian or whose religion is Muslim or Christian.

In this respect, Israel is out of step with much of the world. Over time, nations have become more ethnically and religiously diverse; populations have become more urban and educated; and economies have become more commercial. In response to these social and economic changes, many nations have left behind the notion of a favored state religion.

It is time for Israel to do the same. It must be a fully secular state.

What was necessary for Israel after the Holocaust is no longer necessary and has even become counterproductive. As long as being Jewish holds such a preeminent place in Israel, then Muslim and Christian Arabs will always be second-class citizens, vulnerable to discrimination in housing, employment, education and other areas. Nor can Ethiopian citizens be truly equal so long as their Jewishness and religious heritage are called into question by powerful religious authorities.

While we were doing our work in July, we were close to the fighting in Gaza. Our research activities were disrupted by rocket fire. We could hear, and feel, rockets falling to the ground or being intercepted by the Iron Dome antimissile system. It was nerve-wracking to live this way, and I have a new understanding and respect for what Israelis go through in wartime.

But I also understood for the first time what Isaiah Berlin said of Israel: "Too much history, too little geography." The cut-off nature of the Gaza Strip means that, geographically, Gaza is, in reality, a part of Israel, while continuing Israeli settlement on the West Bank means that Israel has made itself part of Palestine. Gaza and the West Bank may be separated from each other, but they are not separated from Israel. Given this reality, Gaza and the West Bank must inevitably become part of Israel; there can be no two-state solution. And Israel must leave behind its official Jewish identity to acknowledge its multiethnic, multireligious character by providing equal treatment for all.

The Muslim Israelis with whom we worked as researchers, and the Arab communities we studied in northern Israel, are committed to Israel. Their commitment is based on their long history on the same soil, reinforced by the economic and educational opportunities that Israel provides. But this commitment could become even stronger if Muslim and Christian Israelis were treated the same as Jewish Israelis. As for Ethio­pian Jews, their joy and relief at reaching Israel would be renewed, were their unique history to be respected.

Many Jewish Israelis subscribe to the unfortunate demographic myth that high birth rates among Arabs and Ethiopians mean that they will soon outnumber Jews of other national and racial origins. But education and economic opportunity unfailingly drive birth rates down. If Israeli minorities were provided with the same educational and employment opportunities as other Israelis, their birth rates would decline to the same levels and their proportion in the population would stop increasing. Between the 1960s and 2004, as Arabs in Israel became more prosperous, educated and technologically connected, their birth rate fell by more than half, according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Indeed, the bureau's figures for 2013 revealed that the Jewish birth rate is rising as the Muslim birth rate continues to decline. This is one important reason why Israel will continue to have a culture rooted in Judaism.

If Gaza and the West Bank were truly part of Israel, and Israel were truly a multiethnic, secular society, there would be progress toward peace. The "right of return" championed by Arabs would have new meaning: It would no longer mean the transfer of Israeli land. Instead it would mean the opportunity to live in Israel as fully equal citizens, with all of the privileges from and obligations to the Israeli nation. Internal equality and external peace are two sides of the same coin.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/an-israel-equal-for-all-jewish-or-not/2014/09/26/83151758-3a05-11e4-9c9f-ebb47272e40e_story.html

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[ePalestine] Haaretz: Why Israel pretends Mohammed isn't there (A Must Read)

Haaretz

Why Israel pretends Mohammed isn't there

It isn't a matter of racism. It's a matter of denial.

By Asher Schechter | Sep. 28, 2014

 Babies born in Israel. Photo by Ancho Gosh

Earlier this week, Israel's Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) released its annual statement for Rosh Hashanah. Filled with tidbits about Israel's population, such as the official number of Israeli citizens (8,904,373) and how many births occurred during the outgoing Jewish year (176,230), a main attraction in PIBA's annual publication is the list of most-popular baby names.

The year 5774 saw a stunning upset when it came to girls: Tamar dethroned Noa. Regarding boys, the most popular names stayed Yosef, Daniel and Uri.

But Yosef wasn't actually the most popular baby name in Israel. That, as reported by Haaretz's Ilan Lior last week, was in fact Mohammad.

One would be hard-pressed not to suspect racism. No distinctly-Arab baby name made it to the top 10 of popular baby names in Israel (Yosef and Adam are common among both Jews and Arab-Israelis), although Arabs account for 20% of Israel's population.

On the face of it, the omission smacks of a deliberate attempt to exclude the Arab population of Israel from yet another thing Israeli. Yet this isn't a matter of simple, blatant racism. It's worse. It's denial.

Denial of what? First of all of Arabs, of course. Failing to acknowledge the existence of its big Arab population is a much subtler of exclusion, and in a way worse than outright racism: at least when we discriminate, we acknowledge the other.

But mostly it's a denial of a reality that isn't convenient. In recent years, Israel has developed a habit of trying to embellish or simplify reality by ignoring inconveniences. Let's call it the "not counting the Haredim and Arabs" trick.

Peek-a-boo, I don't see you

For instance, back in April 2012, PM Netanyahu made a revealing admission. Asked about the extreme inequality in Israel and the surge of public anger, as shown in the social protests of 2011, Netanyahu claimed: "If you deduct the Arabs and the Haredim from inequality indices, we are doing great."

His statement caused an uproar but since then, the claim that Israel is doing just great if you don't count it's most impoverished groups has become a cliche of sorts among Israeli officials: if not for those pesky Haredim and Arabs, Israel would have been one of the most advanced countries in the OECD.

A study conducted by the Taub Center for Israel Studies in 2013 proves that even if you discount the Haredim and Arabs, Israel remains a poor, unequal, relatively-unproductive country by OECD standards. But the misconception has become entrenched, appropriated by ordinary and official Israelis for other walks of life beyond economics, whether it's Israel's troubled education system or, well, baby names.

In that sense, if you don't count the name Mohammad, Israel's most popular baby name is Yosef. And if you deduct the Arab population, Israel is a Jewish state. It's a cool mental trick, that enables Israel to be the Jewish country it always wanted to be. It also implies, quite ominously, that Israel as a nation has lost some capacity of dealing with reality.

For years now, for instance, Israel has been concerned with the so-called "demographic threat", a scenario in which Palestinians, both within Israel and in the Occupied Territories, become a majority thanks to their high birth rates and therefore risk Israel's Jewish majority and its status as a Jewish state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the first to raise this concern, back in 2003. Some analysts suggested the fear of it forced Ariel Sharon to unilaterally disengage from Gaza.

Which brings us back to Mohammad, and the reality that its omission masks. After all, what is the acknowledgement that Mohammad is the now most popular baby name in Israel, if not an embarrassing admission that the so called "demographic bomb" has already exploded? That Israel, despite its definition of itself as Jewish, is a lot less Jewish than it would have liked? How would you like a dose of demographic gunpowder with your honey-dipped apple this year?

But, if you deduct Mohammad, everything seems just fine. We are not racists, we swear, we are simply escaping to a much-less complicated fantasy land.

SOURCE: http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.618013
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

[ePalestine] Palestine Pod: Steve Sosebee chats with Sam Bahour + A long read

Palestine Pod: Steve Sosebee chats with Sam Bahour
http://ssosebee.podbean.com/e/palestinian-american-activist-sam-bahour

http://ssosebee.podbean.com/e/palestinian-american-activist-sam-bahour

and

Long, but well worth the read for a comprehensive overview of the U.S.'s role in sustaining the continued deterioration of Palestine. Thanks Nathan Thrall.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

[ePalestine] FILM: To see if I'm smiling (MUST WATCH BEFORE TAKEN DOWN)

The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court are going to have such an easy time holding Israel accountable for their war crimes. Watch how easy here:


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

[ePalestine] The Hill: US guilty of war crimes in Palestine (By Sam Bahour)

The Hill (Congress Blog)

September 18, 2014

US guilty of war crimes in Palestine

http://bit.ly/US-guilty-in-Palestine

By Sam Bahour

The U.S. is not a neutral mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it is an active participant and is guilty of the crimes being committed by Israel against Palestinians, most recently, the mass killings and destruction Israel wrought on the Gaza Strip during the summer. The reality that the U.S. is an active supporter of unimaginable suffering may very well be the motivating force behind the U.S.'s adamant attempts to block the Palestinians from using any of the internationally recognized tools of accountability to hold Israel responsible, such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. When an indigenous, stateless population is blocked access to opportunities for justice by superpowers like the U.S., something is wrong—deadly wrong.

While Israeli bombs were hammering Gaza, Alice Lynd with the assistance of Staughton Lynd, drafted a 32-page pamphlet which was published by the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW) titled, Violations by Israel and the Problem of Enforcement (August 2014). The policy paper places the U.S. in front of its own mirror and meticulously documents how one hand of the U.S. government systematically documents Israeli violations of U.S. law and international law, while the other hand unconditionally dishes out financial, military, and diplomatic support to Israel.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

[ePalestine] 43 brave Israelis take us behind the system of occupation (A MUST READ)

If you don't have time to read them all, please read the first and last articles below.

IDF Unit 8200
Haaretz: Graduates of Unit 8200, the IDF's technological spearhead. Photo by Moti Milrod
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The Guardian, Friday 12 September 2014

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'Any Palestinian is exposed to monitoring by the Israeli Big Brother'

Testimonies from people who worked in the Israeli Intelligence Corps tell of a system where there were no boundaries

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-unit-testimonies

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Israeli intelligence veterans' letter to Netanyahu and military chiefs - in full

Read the letter from 34 reserve soldiers who have served in Unit 8200 explaining why they refuse to serve in Palestinian territories

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-veterans-letter-netanyahu-military-chiefs

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Israeli intelligence veterans refuse to serve in Palestinian territories

Innocent people under military rule exposed to surveillance by Israel, say 43 ex-members of Unit 8200, including reservists

Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-reservists-refuse-serve-palestinian-territories

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and the initial Israeli response to this crack in the system of oppression:

IDF spokesperson: Discipline of Unit 8200 refuseniks will be sharp and clear

Army spokesperson responds to letter of conscientious objection sent by 43 mid-rank soldiers and officers, says no room for refusal in IDF.

By Haaretz, Sep. 14, 2014

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.615674


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