Arab countries, led by Egypt, have never accepted this Israeli nuclear monopoly, nor has Iran.

Iran and most Arab states believe that the creation of a NWFZ (Nuclear Weapons Free Zone) is a necessary first step toward a comprehensive peace. The denuclearization of the Middle East would eliminate what the Iranians and Arabs see as nuclear intimidation by Israel and would lead to broad regional arms-control measures and lay the foundations for lasting peace.

Since the first and only use of atomic bombs in 1945, the fear of nuclear-weapons proliferation has intensified. Many policy makers and scholars have argued that, without global efforts to stop or slow the process, dozens of countries will acquire a nuclear arsenal.

After lengthy and complicated negotiations, a majority of countries signed the NPT in 1968; the treaty entered into force two years later. Article VII states, “Nothing in this Treaty affects the right of any group of states to conclude regional treaties in order to assure the total absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories.”1

This is particularly relevant to the Middle East. Israel, which has never signed the NPT, is believed to be the only nuclear power in the region. Arab countries, led by Egypt, have never accepted this Israeli nuclear monopoly, nor has Iran. Since the mid-1970s, they have sought, unsuccessfully, to pressure Israel to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, join the NPT and establish a Middle East nuclear-weapons-free zone (MENWFZ).

The Israeli Approach

Israel has always held a skeptical view of global arms-control and disarmament treaties. Instead, Israeli leaders have stressed that the proliferation of WMD in the Middle East will have to be dealt with in a regional framework. Five characteristics of the Israeli stand on the issue of a MENWFZ can be identified.

New York Times 1899. The colonization of Palestine was long planned before WW2 by the Zionist movement which most of the Jewish population had nothing to do with. They would not have migrated to the desert voluntarily so a ‘holocaust’ mostly made of myth was created to terrorize the Jews into migrating, feeling they had no alternative.

 First, the Holocaust LIE: the state of Israel was created following the Holocaust, when millions of Jews were killed by the Nazis.  This dramatic experience shaped the Israeli collective psyche, particularly in the first few decades after the formation of the state.

Israeli leaders believe that nuclear weapons will shield them from a future Holocaust; they see nuclear weapons as the last line of defense or as an “insurance policy” to guarantee their survival. The refusal of some regional states to recognize Israel feeds this belief and the need to maintain the “nuclear option.”

Second, Israeli leaders believe that their country’s nuclear deterrent should be seen as a stabilizing factor in the Middle East. They argue that Israel’s presumed nuclear capability has forced the nation’s adversaries to accept that it is there to stay.

Given Israel’s conventional military superiority and its nuclear arsenal, the Jewish state has become an indispensable part of the Middle East landscape. This conventional and unconventional strength, the argument goes, has forced the Arabs to come to the negotiating table and reduced incentives for an all-out war.

Third, Israeli policy has been able to maintain a monopoly over the “nuclear option,” to deny its adversaries such capabilities (the so-called Begin Doctrine). To achieve this, Israel has employed diplomatic and military pressure against potential nuclear proliferators.

This pressure culminated in the attacks that destroyed Iraqi nuclear facilities in 1981 and Syria’s nuclear reactor in 2007. Despite Iran’s claims that its nuclear program is for civilian energy production, Israel is widely believed to be behind the assassination of a number of Iranian nuclear scientists.

Fourth, Israel has been hesitant to fully endorse the global nonproliferation regime. It has “never placed its Dimona nuclear facility under the IAEA safeguards, nor has it since 1970 allowed any other type of inspection visits to that site.”

Israel has not signed the NPT or the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), and although it did sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), it has not ratified either. Despite this hesitancy, Israeli analysts argue that the nation has abided by the norms and rules of the global nonproliferation regime.

Fifth, Israeli leaders have repeatedly confirmed that a comprehensive peace between Israel and all Arab states and Iran is a prerequisite to joining a NWFZ. Israel, they insist, will not give up its “nuclear option” unless all its neighbors recognize and establish diplomatic and commercial ties with the Jewish state.

Peace treaties would not be sufficient; rather, complete normalization of relations is a necessity to assure the Israelis that they have been fully accepted by their neighbors.

These characteristics of the Israeli stance on nuclear proliferation suggest that the country is unlikely to relinquish its nuclear arsenal and join the NPT and the nonproliferation regime any time soon. The few statements made by Israeli leaders regarding nuclear weapons indicate a strong perceived connection between their nation’s survival and the maintenance of a nuclear-weapons capability.

The Arab/Iranian Approach

While there is no united Arab/Iranian approach on the creation of a MENWFZ, Iran and most Arab states share the following sentiments.

First, the Arabs and Iranians do not see the Israeli nuclear arsenal as a “weapon of last resort” or an “insurance policy” to ensure the survival of the Jewish state. Rather, military asymmetry and Tel Aviv’s nuclear capability are seen in Tehran and most of the Arab capitals as enforcing the occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories.

Second, Iran and many Arab governments view the Israeli nuclear arsenal as a primary threat to the region’s security and a key factor in its instability. The fact that Israel is the only (presumed) nuclear power in the region underscores and feeds a sense of Arab and Iranian technological and military inferiority.

Third, Iran and many Arab governments accuse Western powers of applying a double standard in regard to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. In Arab and Iranian eyes, the United States and major European powers have allowed, and even helped, Israel to acquire nuclear weapons but have strongly resisted any attempt by Iran or Arab states to develop a similar capability.

Many Arab officials have argued that, as long as Israel maintains its “nuclear option,” Iran and other regional powers will have incentives to seek one. The most effective way to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambition, some Arabs argue, is to “pressure” Israel to dismantle its nuclear weapons and join the NPT.

Fourth, several Arab countries have unsuccessfully sought to buy or build nuclear weapons. In order to maximize international pressure on Israel, Iran and all Arab states signed and ratified the NPT, leaving Israel as the only nonsignatory in the region. Furthermore, Egypt, a leading Arab state and a close ally of the United States, has championed Arab efforts to resist an Israeli nuclear monopoly.

For several years, Egyptian leaders called upon other Arab states not to sign the CWC until Israel joined the NPT. These efforts have largely failed. Most Arab states and Iran have signed and ratified both the CWC and the BTWC.

Fifth, Iran and most Arab states believe that the creation of a NWFZ is a necessary first step toward a comprehensive peace. The denuclearization of the Middle East would eliminate what the Iranians and Arabs see as nuclear intimidation by Israel and would lead to broad regional arms-control measures and lay the foundations for lasting peace.

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2017 is the year of sad anniversaries for Palestinians

100 Years of Pro-Israel Activism: How a Special Interest Lobby Enabled the Colonization of Palestine. If Americans Knew!

2017 is the year of anniver­saries for Palestinians. Sadly, none can be celebrated.

The first of these will be May 15th — the 69th an­niversary of the catastrophe, known as the Nakba when Israel was cre­ated in the Palestinian homeland without their permission. It also marks the period when 750,000 Palestinians were driven out to neighboring countries by Zionist gangs and Israeli armed forces.

Early June brings the 50th an­niversary of the six-day war, when Israel captured the remainder of historic Palestine, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai. While Sinai was returned to Egypt, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights remain occupied. This occupation is seen as illegal by the international community. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan is not recognized by any other country.

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Israeli armored troop unit entering Gaza during the Six-Day War, June 6

June also marks the tenth anni­versary of Israel’s blockade on Gaza.

In November, two events that ir­revocably changed the future of his­toric Palestine will be marked. No­vember 29th is the 70th anniversary of the UN General Assembly passing Resolution 181, which recommend­ed the partition of Palestine at the end of the British Mandate.

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In practice, Zionists did not accept the UN Partition Plan. Zionists seized areas beyond the proposed Jewish State and did not recognize the International Zone. Using force and terrorism months before May 1948, Jews seized land beyond the UN proposed borders. The UN Plan was used as a pretense for taking over most of Palestine.

NOTE: This is a critical fact often omitted when the history is presented and this leads to a very distorted view of what happened in 1948. The misleading story often told is that “Jews declared Israel and then they were attacked.” The fact is from November 1947 to May 1948 the Zionists were already on the offensive and had already attacked Arabs.

In the months before Israel was declared, the Zionists had driven 300,000 non-Jews off their land. In the months before Israel was declared, the Zionists had seized land beyond the proposed Jewish State. SEE Sources or this blog entry: Sources for the Israeli/Palestinian situation 1947-1948

November 2nd is perhaps the most significant anniversary. This year marks the centenary of what the Balfour declaration, the letter from British Foreign secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild of the Zionist Federation in which he stated:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

The declaration was made before Britain was given the mandate on Palestine and without any consulta­tion with the indigenous popula­tion of Palestine. Through this, Britain prom­ised a land it did not have to a people who did not live on it without consulting those whose land it was.

Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem (1867-1948) “We wish to express our definite opposition to a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.”

Last December, in a speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel, British Prime Minister Theresa May referred to the Balfour declaration as “one of the most important let­ters in history” and that “it demon­strates Britain’s vital role in creating a homeland for the Jewish people”. She said “it is an anniversary we will be marking with pride”.

Image result for Balfour's original sin

 

In his address to the UN General Assembly in 2016, Palestinian Presi­dent Mahmoud Abbas stated: “We ask Great Britain, as we approach 100 years since this infamous declaration, to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibility for the consequences of this declara­tion, including an apology to the Palestinian people for the catastrophes, misery and injus­tice this declaration created and to act to rectify these disasters and remedy its consequences, includ­ing by the recognition of the state of Palestine…This is the least Great Britain can do.”

It seems Abbas’s words fell on deaf ears. Not only has Britain refused to apologize, May recently rolled out the Downing Street red carpet for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

In the meantime, Israel continues to violate UN resolutions with im­punity and Palestinians can expect more bad anniversaries to mark.

Image result for king netanyahu

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How False Allegations of Rape Are Used to Lynch African Refugees and Palestinians

“What we have, is top members of the government committing these crimes.”

KIM BROWN: Welcome to The Real News Network in Baltimore. I’m Kim Brown.

Is rape used as a political tool in Israel, to demonize and dehumanize Arabs and Palestinians? Last June, the Israeli public was shocked to hear of a girl with a mental disability, who was reportedly raped by a Palestinian, as an act of nationalistic violence.

The girl has eventually confessed that her family pressured her to invent the rape, in order to have a Palestinian boy arrested. In December, the Israeli Committee for Women’s Rights, held a debate on sexual offences in joint Jewish-Arab communities. Now, the debate quickly deteriorated into incitement against Arabs.

In a recent piece in Electronic Intifada, David Sheen reported that among the political parties who organized the debate, is the Shas Party, which is described as a very religious, Jewish political party there.

A senior member of the party, Amnon Cohen, has been arrested and was recently accused of receiving bribery, in the form of sexual favors. A woman testified that she was afraid for her life if she refused to have sex with the former member of the Israeli Parliament.

Today we’re joined by the author of the article, David Sheen. David is an independent journalist and a filmmaker, originally from Toronto, now living and reporting from the ground in Dimona, Israel.

David has written for numerous publications, and he regularly speaks on U.S. College campuses, and in European Parliaments, about his work. Which focuses on racial tensions and religious extremism in Israeli society.

And David’s joining us today from Israel, David, welcome to The Real News.

DAVID SHEEN: Thank you for having me.

KIM BROWN: David, if you could, describe for us, what is the culture of rape, in general, and what does it mean in Israel?

DAVID SHEEN: Mm-hmm. Well, rape culture is a problem everywhere in the world that I know of. The places that I lived and visited where patriarchy, misogyny — where men controlled society, and view women and their bodies as fair game, as essentially, an extension of their own property.

And this permeates culture. And it’s a problem in North America, and it’s a problem here in Israel.
Now, unfortunately, what we see is that in Israel, instead of the government saying, “This is a major problem, we need to work at reducing the amount of misogyny and the amount of rape culture and incidences of sexual harassment, and sex crimes.” Instead, what we have, is top members of the government committing these crimes.

Top members of law enforcement, top members of the judiciary, top members of regional councils. And people in society like, university deans, and the head of the largest bank in Israel. The President of Israel! From… on rape charges.

So, we see that throughout the top levels of society, there’s serious, serious, serious sex crimes, and that sends a message to the rest of society. Well, you know, this is a normal way to act, and, sadly, the only time it ever gets mentioned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is if he thinks he can somehow blame rape on non-Jewish… non-white, non-Jewish people, specifically Palestinians, and African refugees, and other non-Jewish folk in the country.

KIM BROWN: So, given the fact that, as you said, rape is prevalent throughout the globe, and doesn’t necessarily tend to be exclusive to one particular society or the other, but the issue with rape is, that it is often under-reported. So, to your knowledge, what kind of data exists about the prevalence of sexual violence motivated by nationalism?

DAVID SHEEN: Mm-hmm. Well, this was the topic of the discussion in the Knesset, in December. And essentially, members of the Knesset were stating, “We have proof, in fact there’s a plague of Palestinian citizens of Israel, Arab men, who sexually harass and sexual assault women.”

Police representatives, representatives of the Israeli police force, which by no means are suspect of being pro-Arab, but they were (inaudible) …no evidence of this, you know? We talked to all of our local police forces and they reported back to us that they see no incidents. In fact, the level of sexual assaults in those mixed cities, where you have both Jewish and Palestinian populations, the amount of sex assaults there, is actually going down. That includes sex assaults in general, and sex assaults committed by non-Jews. That was the police statement.

And, in the article, the same thing happened five years ago. The last time that the right wing tried, once again to convene a Knesset session to blame non-Jews, police said no, “I’m sorry, we don’t have any evidence of some kind of concerted attack by Palestinian people, specifically trying to attack Jewish women, as a way to get revenge or to harm Jewish people, in the weakest link, you know, women, who are easy prey for sexual (inaudible) …evidence of any of this.”
It’s in the minds of racist lawmakers, and I don’t mind also saying, there are many groups in society, who their ostensive reason to exist is to prevent Jews and non-Jews, from being in romantic relationships. I know you had a film called, “Loving”, that came out in the United States just a few months ago, about the Supreme Court — Loving versus Virginia — how a white man and a black woman were not allowed to wed, just a few decades ago in the United States. It had to be a Supreme Court decision to overrule that.

It’s been pointed out that, in Israel, until this day in 2017, there’s no way for Jewish people and non-Jewish people to marry in the country. So, the incidences of Jews and non-Jews, deciding to live their lives together, is relatively rare to begin with. But even those few rare instances are… they make racists so angry… (inaudible) …groups to patrol streets in Israel, and beaches and public places.
And they get funds from the government to actively try to prevent romantic relationships between Jews and non-Jews. And these groups are the ones who put this idea out there that, “Oh, the only kinds of… the kinds of relationships are abusive and therefore we’re not… we’re trying to prevent these relationships to happen, because we’re trying to prevent abuse.”

But, the ultimate reason is, they want to prevent miscegenation. They’ve got a eugenics objective to have ethnic purity, and this is what they openly state. And, sadly, they receive government funds to try to make this manifest.

KIM BROWN: Talk about the accusations against refugees from Africa, who are also blamed for sexually assaulting Jewish women. How much validity should be given — or credence should be given — these accusations, because they sound like they could be somewhat politically motivated?

DAVID SHEEN: Sure. Sure. Look, there is no question that no one is going to claim that the crime rate of any group in society, is zero. Yes, there are rape crimes committed by Jews, non-Jews, Arabs, Africans, and that’s going to be the case, regardless. But, police themselves will say that refugees have a lower crime rate per capita, than native-born Israelis.

So, why then, is the focus on non-white, non-Jewish folk? Well, again, it’s a way to incite racism, and this is what we have seen for the last several years in Israeli society. And the way that this has become a factor — just look a couple of months ago in the city of… (inaudible), it’s a suburb of Tel Aviv — and the incitement is so great against refugees, and associating them with sex crimes, baselessly, I might add.

That now we can have an Emmett Till-like situation, where a refugee was walking down the street, right outside of City Hall, and he walked past a group — the reason why we know the details, is because since it’s outside the City Hall, there are cameras situated there — and so we saw CCTV footage of what actually happened.

Wikipedia: “Emmett Till”

So…(inaudible) …old black man just walking down the street, he sees three girls, three teenage women standing there, and you know, they’re, I don’t know, three feet, maybe five, six feet away from him. And he says something to them — you can’t tell, but whatever — it’s over in ten seconds. He walks away. Words are exchanged for ten seconds, and the man walks away.

Within seconds, he’s pounced upon by a group of young Jewish men, and they beat him for over an hour, in front of City Hall. And it got to the point where they pummeled him to death, and to the point where he was unrecognizable. The only way that his brother was able to recognize him, is because years ago when he fled the fighting in Darfur, he was maimed and he lost several fingers. And because that was the only way that his brother was able to recognize him — because his face was, you know, unrecognizable.

So, on the pure… the accusation that a non-white, non-Jewish man spoke, to some non-Jewish girls, that was enough to set off a lynch. And since that time, the mayor of that city, instead of saying, “Wow, we’ve got to stop this racism.” Just the opposite, instead, he’s rounded up African refugees in the city, and he’s shut the electricity off to their apartments, to banish them from the city.

This is part and parcel of the way that (inaudible) …society, but it does speak to the greater phenomenon of also insinuating that non-Jews are sex criminals, and they should be treated as such.

KIM BROWN: And, David, in the piece that you wrote about this, you write about the, “Sex crime epidemic in Israel.” Why does Israel have such a high rate of sexual violence, in your opinion?

DAVID SHEEN: Well, it’s always difficult to actually measure sexual violence, because as many people have said, so much of it is unreported. So, is it rising, is it falling, or are people just talking about it more, they’re aware of it more? One thing is clear, in that, the attitudes around sexual violence are very problematic. Something like 61% of Israeli men do not think that raping someone who is an acquaintance is rape.

Somehow, they conceive of rape as only being a situation, I guess, where you’re hiding behind a bush, and you jump out at some complete stranger and then physically assault them. They only conceive of that as rape. The idea that someone you’ve met a couple… once or twice, and then you socialize with them and then rape them, that’s… they don’t think of that as rape. Which is, of course, it’s ridiculous. It’s rape in every single way.

But, that really speaks to the overall, overarching problem, of how sexual violence is categorized, and even understood and acknowledged, in society. So, that being the case, the message has to come from up top.

But, when you have Benjamin Netanyahu himself, working in an office that’s full of sex criminals. When you have multiple former chief advisors to the prime minister, who have been accused of sex crimes, some more than once. When you have the prime minister’s spokesperson, who’s been accused of sex… (inaudible)… Prime Minister’s driver, who’s driving him from place to place, convicted of raping multiple women and young girls.

Yeah, the problem is that we do not have leaders… and when we have mayor, after mayor, after mayor, who are going to jail for sex crimes. Then yeah, we have a message from up top: that women are for the taking, and unless we have a message from the government saying, “This is a national emergency.

We need to snuff this out. We need to condemn this, and make clear to our men folk, that women’s bodies are not yours for the taking. And assaulting anyone, whether you don’t know her or whether you know her, whether you’re going to ever know her, that’s a crime and don’t even think about doing it.”

We need to have that kind of messaging. Unfortunately, the message comes from the top as we hear in Israeli society, the (inaudible) so-called, which means the… (inaudible) …rest in Hebrew, and that command your spirit is, that women’s bodies are for the taking. Until we see a change from the leadership, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we can expect this sex crime epidemic to continue.

KIM BROWN: We’re going to take a quick break right now. We’ve been speaking with journalist, author and filmmaker David Sheen. He has been reporting on the issue of rape culture in Israel. Also how racism impacts Israeli society.

100-year-old Bedouin woman left homeless as Israel continues Negev demolitions

https://gnayabchohan.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/wp-1462423509145.gif?w=545

 

The Wadi al-Naam village was established in the 1950s soon after the 1948 European Zionist offensive that established the state of Israel on top of the Palestinians. Military officials forcibly transferred the Negev Bedouins to the site during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel’s military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

NEGEV (Ma’an) — In the latest instance of Israel’s demolition campaign in the Negev region of southern Israel, homes were demolished in two unrecognized Bedouin villages on Wednesday, while Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran.

Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police, demolished a house in the village of Wadi al-Naam in the western part of the Negev in southern Israel.

Locals told Ma’an that the demolished house was owned by an elderly woman and her daughter. A member of the local committee, Yousif Ziyadin, said that an emergency session would be held to discuss the Israeli demolition.

A relative of the elderly homeowner, Ahmad Zanoun, told Ma’an that 100-year-old Ghaytha Zanoun and her 60-year-old daughter Hilala were living in the house, both of whom suffer from various health issues.

Zanoun said that both Ghaytha and Hilala were unable to walk, and noted that the family had renovated the home in accordance with their doctor’s suggestions due to their health conditions.

He added that Ghaytha and her daughter now were homeless following the demolition.

The Wadi al-Naam village was established in the 1950s soon after the 1948 European Zionist offensive that established the state of Israel on top of the Palestinians. Military officials forcibly transferred the Negev Bedouins to the site during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel’s military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

In July, the Israeli government approved plans to build townships for Israel’s Bedouin community. The planned township is expected to be built just south of Shaqib al-Salam, another Bedouin township, and would transfer at least 7,000 Bedouins from the unrecognized village of Wadi al-Naam, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported last year.

The approved village would comprise of an area of approximately 9,000 dunams (2,224 acres), while providing housing to some 9,000 residents, The Times of Israel also reported.

The proposal to expand the area of Shaqib al-Salam was challenged in Israel’s Supreme Court in 2015, as the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), who assisted in the court proceedings, argued that any expansion of the town would be followed by the forcible removal of Bedouins from unrecognized villages, particularly from Wadi al-Naam.

Yaron Kelner, spokesperson for ACRI, confirmed to Ma’an on Wednesday that residents of Wadi al-Naam have continued to refuse the relocation deal.

Meanwhile, Israeli bulldozers also demolished a mobile home in the unrecognized village of al-Zarnouq in the Negev. However, no other details were provided about the demolition.

The Israeli government has plans to evacuate thousands of residents from al-Zarnouq to the recognized village of Rahat in order to build over the land for new housing for non-Bedouin Israeli citizens.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli government approved in 2011 plans to transfer tens of thousands of Bedouins in unrecognized villages, including al-Zarnouq, into officially recognized settlements.

The ongoing attempts at transferring the Bedouins originated from the Prawer Report, a document outlining expulsion plans for the unrecognized Bedouin community. It was officially adopted by the Israeli government in 2013.

According to Israeli human rights group Adalah, the plan would “result in the destruction of 35 ‘unrecognized’ Arab Bedouin villages, the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, and the dispossession of their historical lands in the Negev.”

In another incident in the Negev on Wednesday, the Yoav unit of the Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran. According to locals, residents have expressed fear that their presence could signal another demolition, the last of which erupted into deadly violence when Israeli police raided the village prior to demolishing homes. A local Bedouin teacher and an Israeli police officer were killed at the time.

Meanwhile, the Bedouin village of al-Araqib was demolished for the 109th time on Wednesday.

Bedouin communities in the Negev have been the target of a heightened demolition campaign in recent weeks, following Israeli leaders publicly expressing their commitment to demolish Palestinian structures lacking difficult to obtain Israeli-issued building permits across Israel and occupied East Jerusalem in response to the Israeli-court sanctioned evacuation of the illegal Amona settler outpost.

In December, Netanyahu released a video to address settlers of the Amona outpost, assuring them that he would commit to “enforcing laws” on “illegal construction” in Israel, referring primarily to Palestinian communities that are often forced to build without Israeli-issued building permits, due to what rights groups have attributed to discriminatory zoning policies in Israel which have excluded many Palestinian-Israeli communities from being included in the regional and municipal development plans.

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages.

Rights groups have claimed that the demolitions in Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.

Stealing Palestine: The Rope of a Lie is Short


“Being Palestinian means having to watch Israelis
constantly pretend they are us.”

 

The cultural appropriation of books, music, art, cuisine and dress have been used by Zionists as a weapon against Palestinians

Stealing and appropriating the culture and history of indigenous peoples is a typical characteristic of all modern colonial-settler states, but usually accomplished once the indigenous people in question has been eliminated, dispossessed, or otherwise seemingly defeated therefore making it safe to do so.

The colonial-settler state of “Israel,” established on the ruins of Palestine and through the expulsion of the majority of its indigenous population in 1948 and after, is no different.

The Israeli theft of all things Palestinian, however, does not simply come from misguided notions of nationalism or childish pride as is often argued by Western apologists, but is rather a conscious political policy of the state that seeks to erase Palestine from historical memory, particularly within Western discourse. Indeed, the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their historic homeland goes hand in hand with the theft of Palestinian land, homes, history, and culture.

It is an essential part of the larger, long-term Zionist project of eradicating the Palestinian nation altogether, literally writing it out of history while simultaneously assuming its place.

This erasure has been correctly termed as memoricide by historian Ilan Pappe in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Nur Masalha, elaborating further, writes: “The founding myths of Israel have dictated the conceptual removal of Palestinians before, during and after their physical removal in 1948…

The de-Arabisation of Palestine, the erasure of Palestinian history and the elimination of the Palestinian’s collective memory by the Israeli state are no less violent than the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and the destruction of historic Palestine: this elimination is central to the construction of a hegemonic collective Israeli-Zionist-Jewish identity in the State of Israel” (The Palestine Nakba, 89).

Thus, the theft of Palestine and its culture has two essential and interwoven components, the removal/erasure of Palestinians and a concurrent assumption of nativity or “birthright” in Anglo-European Zionist terms.

Over the last six and a half decades, this brazen erasure and theft has been achieved mainly through two methods: brutal violence (that is, terrorism) and mass media propaganda.
Al Nakba: Physical Destruction/Physical Theft

Between 1947 and 1949, at least 800,000 Palestinians, comprising the majority of the indigenous Arab population of Palestine at that time, were ethnically cleansed from their homes by Zionist militias made up of European and Russian colonists and aided by British imperialists. Major urban Palestinian centres from the Galilee in the north to the Naqab (renamed “Negev” by Zionists) in the south were emptied of their original inhabitants.

During this three-year period alone, some 531 Palestinian towns and villages were also simultaneously ethnically cleansed and then later razed by the newly established Israeli state. As Moshe Dayan, a native of the Ukraine, would later boast:

“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either.

Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu’a in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population” (Ha’aretz, April 4, 1969).

What is perhaps lesser known is that during this same period tens of thousands of books, paintings, musical recordings, furniture, and other artifacts were also looted by the Zionist militias from Palestinian homes, libraries, and government offices.

As documented by Benny Brunner and Arjan El Fassed in their film The Great Book Robbery, at least 70,000 Palestinian books were stolen from their owners. As shown in the documentary, this theft was no mere accidental by-product of war; rather, it was a deliberate act with a specific purpose:

“For decades Zionist and Israeli propaganda described the Palestinians as ‘people without culture.’ Thus, the victorious Israeli state took upon itself to civilise the Palestinians who remained within its borders at the end of the 1948 war. They were forbidden to study their own culture or to remember their immediate past; their memory was seen as a dangerous weapon that had to be suppressed and controlled.”

1948, however, would not be the last time that Israeli forces would steal and destroy Palestinian books and other cultural productions. In 1982, during its occupation of Lebanon, Israeli invasion troops would storm the homes, offices, and libraries of Palestinians and walk away with thousands of books, films, and other records documenting Palestinian history.

This is a common practice of Israeli occupation forces and continues to this day, most notably in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza, which were occupied in 1967 along with Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai.

The meaning behind this theft is not complicated. Unable to assimilate actual, recorded Palestinian history (which was and remains mostly in Arabic) into its fabricated history, Israel chooses simply to destroy it, to physically remove it from sight, while simultaneously inventing and disseminating a fairy-tale account of Palestine as a virgin “land without people for a people without a land.”

Consequently, the destruction of Palestinian villages, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian cities, the aerial bombing of Palestinian refugee camps, and the looting of Palestinian books all lead to the same intersection: what cannot be absorbed within Zionist mythology must be eradicated.
Palestinian Artifacts: Re-writing History

The Zionist belief that modern European and Russian Jews (and all of worldwide Jewry for that matter) are somehow the direct, lineal descendants of ancient Hebrew-speaking tribes who lived on another continent some 2000 years ago and can thus lay claim to Palestine, its history, and its culture would be outright laughable if the political consequences of this fairy-tale ideology were not so tragic.

That this racist belief, propagated by both anti-Semites and Zionists alike, is accepted as self-evident truth and not even worthy of questioning by most Western mainstream media outlets is certainly a testament to decades of Zionist propaganda and to a shameful journalistic laziness and conformity of thought that has now become the norm.

A typical example is this article from the Huffington Post titled “Israel Ancient Jewelry Uncovered in Archeological Dig.” According to the article, “Israeli archaeologists have discovered a rare trove of 3,000-year-old jewelry, including a ring and earrings, hidden in a ceramic jug near the ancient city of Megiddo, where the New Testament predicts the final battle of Armageddon.”

Based on the guesses of Israel Finkelstein, who co-directed the dig, “the jewelry likely belonged to a Canaanite family.” That may well have been so, but the unquestioned assumption throughout the piece is that this jewelry is in some way Israeli. (Note, as well, how a biblical tale associated with the ancient Palestinian city of Megiddo is mentioned as if this was of any relevance.)

In 1919, the World Zionist Organisation officially presented a map of its future state of “Israel” at the Paris Peace Conference. This map included not only all of Palestine, but also southern Lebanon, southwestern Syria, including the Golan Heights, significant parts of western Jordan, and parts of Egypt’s Sinai. Let us for argument’s sake say that the WZO’s colonial wish was granted at least in the case of Lebanon.

Would that make all the ancient artifacts found in occupied southern Lebanon, “Israeli”? What of Syria’s Golan which remains occupied today; are the artefacts found there today somehow “Israeli”? And what about Egypt’s Sinai, a territory that Israel occupied from 1967 to 1979; were the ancient relics discovered there during the period of occupation “Israeli”? And did they stop becoming “Israeli” after the Zionist state properly returned the stolen land back to Egypt?

Since all of Palestine is as stolen as the once occupied Sinai and the currently occupied Syrian Golan, what exactly is so “Israeli” about this ancient jewelry discussed in the Huffington Post article besides the unsubstantiated claims of its author who completely ignores Palestinian history? The European/Zionist re-writing of ancient Palestinian history is so blatant, so ubiquitous, it is almost invisible.

Not only have Zionists re-written Palestinian history, they have also written themselves into it even as they remove indigenous Palestinians both physically and notionally out. Wielding history as a weapon, this type of propaganda utilises the laziest and most common form of censorship, that of simple omission.

This particular form of cultural theft, however, is not limited to Palestine. Israel, against all historical evidence, continues to conflate its racist political ideology, its raison d’être, Zionism – a uniquely European creation – with Judaism, a universal religion with origins in the Arab world.

Thus, Zionists justify the theft of Iraqi-Jewish archives, for instance; or they claim that 1000-year-old Jewish documents originally from Afghanistan belong to the Zionist state. The assumption is that, since a document has Hebrew or even Aramaic script written on it, it must somehow belong in “Israel” and not where it was actually found.

It never occurs to the author of the Haaretz piece that a 1000-year-old document discovered in Afghanistan has absolutely nothing to do with a European colonial-settler state established in 1948 on top of Palestine. Or have perhaps Israel’s undeclared borders now stretched to Afghanistan?
Palestinian/Arab Dress

Palestinian women are rightly proud of traditional Arab dress, as any people would be of their creations. These stunningly intricate, handmade embroidered dresses, scarves, and other accessories have deep roots within the Arab world, especially Greater Syria. The skills with which to create them have been passed down from generation to generation and the evidence of their authenticity and artistry is undeniable.

So refined is Palestinian dress in particular, that one can identify their place of origin within Palestine from the colours and designs of the embroidery alone.

Historian and scientist Hanan Karaman Munayyer, an expert on Palestinian clothing, traces “the origins of proto-Palestinian attire from the Canaanite period circa 1500 B.C. when Egyptian paintings depicted Canaanites wearing A-shaped garments. The distinctive silhouette is observed in a 1200 B.C. ivory engraving from Megiddo, Palestine, identified as a ‘Syrian tunic’” (Sovereign Threads by Pat McDonnell Twair, PalestineHeritage.org). In short, they are living works of art that carry within their stitches millennia of indigenous cultural memory.

Yet even Palestinian dress has not been immune from shameless Israeli theft and appropriation. Basem Ra’ad, in his superb Hidden Histories: Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean, writes:

“An Israeli book on embroidery, Arabesque: Decorative Needlework from the Holy Land, starts with “biblical times” and ends with photographs showing Israeli adults and children wearing the embroidered clothing of Palestinian villagers (many from the villages from which Palestinians were forced to flee in 1948). These Israelis have put on an act for the photographs.

The book not only takes over a Palestinian art form; it impersonates it. The euphemistic allusion to the “Holy Land” helps to camouflage the real, Palestinian source of this unique form of village art” (128).

As Ra’ad notes throughout, often within Israeli cultural works no mention at all is made of Palestinians thus rendering them invisible. A more recent and equally outrageous form of appropriation was documented in an article from Ma’an News which describes the theft of the Arab kufiya or hattah.

Though common throughout the Arab world, the kufiya became a Palestinian symbol of resistance during the Great Palestine Revolt of 1936-39 when the majority of Palestinians rose up against the British occupation and their Zionist colonial allies.

That Zionists today choose to appropriate this symbol in a pathetic effort to make it their own is yet another example of both an ignorance of Arab history and a complete lack of imagination.
Palestinian/Arab Cuisine

What is more fundamental to any people and its culture than its food? The stealing of Palestinian cuisine by the Zionist state has been just as shameless as its theft of Palestinian land. In fact, since cuisine is so overtly geographically-based, the two are in reality one and the same. Jaffa oranges, olives and olive oil, hummus, tabouleh, arak, falafel, kubbeh and almost every other kind of Arabic food, drink, and ingredient native to Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and the rest of the Arab world suddenly becomes “Israeli” within the state’s various media and through its Western advocates without any acknowledgement of its true origins.

Consider, for instance, this article from the Jerusalem Post which states that arak is “indigenous to Israel.” “The largest-selling spirit in Israel may be vodka,” claims the writer, “but the indigenous spirit is arak.” Note, too, how several countries from the region are cited -Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Jordan – but, somehow, Palestine remains beyond the recall of the writer.

This is a typical strategy of Zionist cultural appropriation and usurpation; list the surrounding countries and cultures as if you are a part of them, but don’t mention the country you destroyed and whose culture you stole. One must also wonder how a colonial settler state established in 1948 by Europeans can lay claim to an indigenous Arab cuisine which existed for millennia before it ever came into being. Perhaps this is another example of the fabled “miracles of Israel.”

Or take the example of falafel which Israel claims is its “national” dish, an assertion repeated in countless cook books, blogs, and even academic papers. “What distinguishes the case of falafel from those of rice and wine is our access to its historical origins,” writes Yael Raviv. “Falafel was not assimilated into Israeli society by a long, slow, natural process.

Rather, its transformation into an icon of Israeli culture was rushed and deliberate. In its urgent search for symbols of unity, the nationalist movement hit upon falafel as a signifier of Israeli pride.” This is a remarkable bit of ahistorical sophistry. How exactly is falafel – which existed long before “Israel” – a “signifier of Israeli pride” unless one is proud of cultural theft?

In a refreshing moment of honesty, Gil Hovav admits: “Of course it’s Arabic. Hummus is Arabic. Falafel, our national dish, our national Israeli dish, is completely Arabic and this salad that we call an Israeli Salad, actually it’s an Arab salad, Palestinian salad. So, we sort of robbed them of everything.” Although it is always appreciated to hear Zionists admit their various thefts, take away the apologetic qualifier “sort of” and we will arrive to a much closer truth.

The usual defence or apologetics, however, is that this is a trivial matter; it is only food after all. Unfortunately, Israeli claims to inventing Palestinian and Arabic cuisine are used for distinctly political purposes – to marginalise, discredit and, ultimately, to dispossess the Palestinian people. Did the Russian-born Golda Meir (originally, Golda Mabovich) invent hummus?

Did the Polish native David Ben-Gurion (originally, David Green) create the recipe for tabouleh? Perhaps it was the family of current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (originially, Ben Mileikowsky), who created falafel? As ridiculous as these questions are, this is essentially what Zionists are asking us to believe whenever they refer to Arabic food as “Israeli.”
Palestinian Agriculture and Land

A common Zionist historical fabrication, still disseminated today, is that “Israelis made the [Palestinian] desert bloom.” Palestine, according to this tall tale, was a horrid, barren place until European Jews arrived with their superior technology and know-how and made it flower. It was only then, as the tall tale continues, that those poor Arabs arrived (from other countries, of course) to find work in this new, green, and blooming land.

As recently as the 2012 American election campaign, openly anti-Palestinian bigots such as Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney would parrot this ahistorical fiction in an attempt to score cheap political points.

Here, however, are some historical facts to counter this racist fairy tale. In 1901, the Jewish National Fund was founded in Basel, Switzerland with the explicit goal of buying land in Palestine for exclusive European Jewish colonisation.

By 1948, after nearly half a century, they had succeeded in buying less than 7 percent of Palestinian land, mostly from absentee landlords living outside of Palestine. In other words, the enterprise was a failure; Palestinians understandably would not give up rightful ownership of their land for any price.

Why is this important? When Britain invaded and occupied Palestine from 1917 to 1948, they not only came with their military and typical savagery, but also with their surveyors and scholars whose main job was to produce information on the country they happened to occupy. This information would fill volumes of books sent back for consumption by the British public and in order to justify their government’s imperial projects abroad. One of those volumes is the 1300-page A Survey of Palestine published in December 1945.

Summarised brilliantly by the Lawrence of Cyberia Website, the survey reveals that Palestinians produced the vast majority of Palestine’s agricultural output as late as 1948, including “92 percent of its grain, 86 percent of its grapes, 99 percent of its olives, 77 percent of its vegetables, 95 percent of its melons, 99 percent of its tobacco, and 60 percent of its bananas.”

Sami Hadawi in his Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine showed similar results. It simply makes no agricultural sense that Zionist colonists, who were in the minority at the time, were minority land holders, and who had only recently arrived in Palestine, overnight turned a supposed desert into a flower bed.

The reality is that it was Palestinians who made Palestine bloom through centuries of labour and hard work, not recently-arrived foreign colonists from Europe, Russia, and (later) the United States and elsewhere. These are the facts as recorded in 1948 by both indigenous Palestinians and their British occupiers. Those who believe in magic and fairy tales, on the other hand, can always return to the comfort of Zionist myths and Hollywood.
Conclusion: The Rope of a Lie is Short

Books, music, art, cuisine, dress—these are what constitute the essence of a people’s culture and history. Israel’s cultural claims on Palestine are as vacuous as its claims on the land; both have been taken, and are still being taken, by force and fabrication. The Palestinian intellectual Dr. Fayez Sayegh once said, “Israel is, because Palestine has been made not to be.”

Sayegh was not only speaking of the land but also of the entirety of the Palestinian nation which, naturally, includes its cultural productions as well. Zionism, like all other European colonial-settler movements, uses cultural and historical theft as key weapons in its war of elimination against the indigenous Palestinians.

Israel’s delusion that Palestinian culture belongs to it is no different from the fantasy that it somehow sits in Europe and not in the heart of the Arab world. The continuing theft of Palestinian culture in particular and of Arab culture in general is a damning reflection of its own artificiality, its poverty of spirit and, indeed, of its very illegitimacy.

There is a Palestinian proverb that says, “The rope of a lie is short (قصير الكِذِب حبل)” meaning, a lie will sooner or later be found out. The goal of the Zionist project in Palestine, to erase it from history and take its place using all means possible, has been obvious to Palestinians almost from its inception; it is time for the rest of the world to come to this realisation. For the sake of justice and common decency, it is also long time to give credit where credit is due.

Roger Sheety

Netanyahu not as popular on Broadway as on Capitol Hill

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was booed and met with cries of ‘Free Palestine’ after going to watch hit Broadway musical Hamilton in New York

Members of Congress rush to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after lobbying Congress to kill a peace plan with Iran at all costs. Studies show that more than half of Congress will themselves go on to become lobbyists. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Members of Congress rush to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill

Getting in to see “Hamilton” is hard enough. But on Saturday night, the ticket line turned into a security check at Ben-Gurion Airport, as Benjamin Netanyahu attended the Broadway hit.

Visiting New York for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, the Israeli premier detoured to Richard Rodgers Theater to see the famed musical, and brought with him a retinue of handlers.

That irked some of his fellow spectators, who suffered through long wait-times at the door and had to go through body scanners. “The show started late because of his arrival — the heightened security slowed down seating.

Two women were even escorted out of the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York after trying to shove their way through the politician’s heavy security, witnesses said.

Theater goers took to social media to vent their frustration at how the commando-turned prime minister arrived late on Saturday night and sparked a furor.