Stealing Palestine: A study of historical and cultural theft

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. 

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Hollywood

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.

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To deny Palestine is to hope no one knows anything, and will never learn

Al Nakba: Physical Destruction/Physical Theft

Moshe Dayan doesn’t look like he ran from the Nazis he looks like someone the Jews ran from

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 civilize 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.”

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European Jews brought their own culture with them.

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.” 

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Papyrus with earliest Hebrew mention of Jerusalem likely fake, [like the European Jews] experts say

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 utilizes the laziest and most common form of censorship, that of simple omission.

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The fake state of Israel rejected by real Jews

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

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Ramallah

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

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We’ll live on their land, in their homes, eat their food and pretend we have always been there.

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.

Jordanian Freedom Fighter says Israeli ‘human waste’ dumped in Palestine

“This conflict is destined to continue until the rights are restored to [this land’s true] owners.”- Ahmed Daqamseh

Jordan Frees Soldier Who Killed 7 Israeli Schoolgirls in ’97 Rampage is the headlines. A murderous rampage is what they call a Jordanian Palestinian who killed seven school girls who taunted him while he was in prayer. What do they call it when Palestinian children are killed by the thousands by a foreign military occupation called Israel? While I wouldn’t praise anyone who harms any child for any reason, I hardly think Israel has room for moral outrage.

Besides, “Israelis” train their children since birth to think of Arabs as subhuman. After all, the new European immigrants brought their children along to rob Arab properties and told their kids it belonged to them. How? Who cares? Where did the people go? No such thing. Imagine the mentality of these kids, and their kids.

Genocide:

“Intent to  destroy in whole or in part” –  sustained (and frequently asserted) intent over about 150 years  of the Zionist colonial project; 0.75 million Palestinian refugees in 1948; currently 7 million Palestinian refugees, and 4.2 million Palestinian refugees registered with the UN in the Middle East; over 40 years of illegal Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; 0.1 million 1948-2011 violent Palestinian deaths, post-1967 excess deaths 0.3 million; post-1967 under-5 infant deaths 0.2 million; 3,600 under-5 year old Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) infants die avoidably EACH YEAR in the OPT “Prison” due to Apartheid Israeli war crimes.

a) Killing –   about 510,000 Palestinians killed since 1948; post-1967 excess deaths 0.3 million; post-1967 under-5 infant deaths 0.2 million; 3,600 under-5 year old Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) infants die avoidably EACH YEAR in the OPT “Prison” due to Israeli ignoring of the Geneva Convention; 254 OPT Palestinians killed by the Israeli military in the LAST 2 MONTHS OF 2008 ALONE, 301 killed thus last year (latest UNRWA data; see above).

b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm –  see (a) and the shocking UNICEF reports of the appalling conditions psychologically scarring OPT children: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/oPt.html .

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Who does this?

“They [Palestinians] are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” –Ayelet Shaked Israeli justice minister.

Chart showing that approximately 12 times more Palestinian children have been killed than Israeli children

Blue: Israeli children, red: Palestinian children killed since 2000-2014. “The majority of these [Palestinian] children were killed and injured while going about normal daily activities, such as going to school, playing, shopping, or simply being in their homes. Sixty-four percent of children killed during the first six months of 2003 died as a result of Israeli air and ground attacks, or from indiscriminate fire from Israeli soldiers.”

“They (Israelis) are human garbage that other peoples got rid of by dumping them in Palestine, the most sacred place after Mecca. This garbage should be burned or buried,” he added. “This will happen, if not in our generation, then in other generations.”-Ahmed Daqamseh

AMMAN  // A Jordanian soldier convicted of killing seven Israeli school girls for whistling and clapping while he prayed two decades ago has been released from prison after serving his sentence.

In comments broadcast on the Al Jazeera satellite TV channel, Daqamseh appeared to be unrepentant. He said that those who criticized him for killing young girls were “hired pens” and admonished them to “fear God.”

Standing in a street dressed in a suit and tie, he said, “Palestine needs every single Arab and Muslim.”

Asked by the Al Jazeera reporter about a purported Israeli plot to kill him, Daqamseh said: “They (Israelis) are human garbage that other peoples got rid of by dumping them in Palestine, the most sacred place after Mecca.”

“This garbage should be burned or buried,” he added. “This will happen, if not in our generation, then in other generations.”

In a videotaped statement posted online, Daqamseh urged Jordanians not to believe what he called “the lie of normalization with Israel” and the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In 2013, 110 out of 120 members of the Jordanian Parliament signed a petition calling for his release. In 2014, one Jordanian MP called him

…a rare man, peerless among men; of a knight who, mounted on glory, acted marvelously for his national cause … a prisoner who was a source of concern for his jailors [sic] and whose name is linked to the suffering of his nation. This man swore by Allah – and, later, by blood and by bullets of lead, like the martyrs – that Palestine is Arab, that it will remain as long as the Arabs remain, that history will have its reckoning… and that we live in the hope for his release and draw from him [our] principles and positions.

“[This man swore] that the history of the Arab-Zionist conflict over the sacred homeland would continue – the homeland stolen by those who steal countries from their good residents, whose blood has flowed like rivers for 100 years. Some [of these residents] were killed, others wounded, still others driven out – and some had their land occupied. This conflict is destined to continue until the rights are restored to [this land’s true] owners.

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”.

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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.

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source

Nazi Israel’s War on Palestinian Education

Trying to erase Palestine: The differences between Palestinian memory is Israel’s fabricated history which is void of collective memory. Despite all Zionist effort to the contrary, Palestinians have the highest ratio of PhDs per capita in the world.

Israel destroyed beautiful Gaza university in 2014

“According to a 2016 report from Israeli daily Haaretz, Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem received less than half the funds that the Jerusalem Municipality transferred to West Jerusalem Jewish schools.”

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Thursday closed a Palestinian elementary school for boys in the town of Sur Bahir in the central occupied West Bank Jerusalem district over alleged “incitement”.

Head of the school Luay Jamal Bkirat told Ma’an that Israeli intelligence officials summoned him and the school’s financial manager Nasser Hamed for interrogation at an Israeli police station, where they were then told to their surprise that the Israeli police would be shutting down the school over “incitement in the schools’ materials.”
Bkirat denied the claims, saying that the al-Nukhba school “is teaching the Palestinian curriculum used in all schools in Jerusalem and that no one of the faculty has ever been summoned for interrogation before over incitement.”
 
He added that the school — which serves 250 boys from kindergarten to grade six — was opened last year and gained a temporary operating license from the Jerusalem municipality, and that the license was revoked in November for unknown reasons.

 

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Palestinian children go to school as prisoners

Bkirat condemned the decision and said that he “will conduct procedures to stop this decision which aims to destroy education.”
An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
 
The Times of Israel reported that the school was shut down for being a “Hamas Hamas Hamas front,” after “a months-long joint probe by the Education Ministry, Jerusalem Police and the Shin Bet [internal security agency].”
 
Israeli authorities from the education ministry claimed the school was established by Hamas with the aim of teaching “content that undermines the sovereignty of Israel,” and that the school’s aims were “consistent with the ideology of the terror organization, which calls for the destruction of Israel,” the Times of Israel said.
 
The news website added that Israel’s Education Ministry ordered the school not to open in September “and when it continued to operate, issued the closure order.”
 
“The school’s administration had sued to have the decision overturned, but the case was rejected by the Jerusalem District Court and upheld by the Supreme Court, citing the school’s failure to obtain a license as one of the reasons for siding with the ministry.”
 
As the Times of Israel pointed out, Israeli Jews and Palestinians study in separate school systems in occupied East Jerusalem, with the Palestinian schools run by either the city council or private entities.
 
Though Sur Bahir lies beyond the periphery of occupied East Jerusalem, the town remained under the control of Israel’s Jerusalem municipality, according to NGO Grassroots Jerusalem.
 
According to a 2016 report from Israeli daily Haaretz, Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem received less than half the funds that the Jerusalem Municipality transferred to West Jerusalem Jewish schools.

According to Times

“An Israeli soldier last month on a street that separates an Israeli settlement and a Palestinian neighborhood inside the West Bank city of Hebron

JERUSALEM — The huge billboard images appeared overnight in Tel Aviv: a menacing crowd of Palestinians making the V for victory sign and bearing a legend in Arabic, “Soon we will be the majority.”

One interpretation of that inevitability was explained in Hebrew for those who dialed the number on the billboard: If Israel does not act to separate itself from the Palestinians, it will be less secure, less democratic and less Jewish. The provocative — many said racist — campaign was kicked off last month by retired Israeli generals and senior officers to shake Israelis out of apathy.

President Trump accomplished something similar over the course of just a few seconds on Wednesday, when, standing beside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, he declared that he was “looking at two-state and one-state” formulas for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I like the one that both parties like,” he added, seemingly overturning decades of American policy centered on the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Who wants to live alongside Israhell? I’m for dismantling the grotesque Zionist state. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Purposefully or not, Mr. Trump had suddenly implied that the long-proposed solution of two states did not really matter.

By Thursday, Israelis and Palestinians were feverishly debating what might come next, still confused about American policy after Mr. Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, reasserted that the administration “absolutely” supported two states.

What were the viable options other than the two-state solution? One state with equal rights for both Israelis and Palestinians? A dominant Israeli state alongside a defined Palestinian region with statelike but curtailed powers? Would either side ever settle for less than everything?

Over decades, Palestinians have watched Jewish settlements spread over land they consider theirs for a future state and concluded that Israel did not intend to concede it. Many of them, particularly those in Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, still do not recognize Israel at all.

Many Israelis believe that they have repeatedly made good offers that were refused, and that Palestinians are irrevocably split between the West Bank and Gaza, with no unified leadership to negotiate with. Good will, they say, has been met by rocket fire.

Now, the Israeli political establishment, moving rightward, clearly believes it is the time to put its thumb on the scale.

“I think what the president and prime minister were saying was any solution is possible and now we have to look at alternative solutions, and there are alternative solutions,” said Michael Oren, a deputy minister for diplomacy in Mr. Netanyahu’s office.

Image result for hebron before zionism

Children playing in peace, Hebron #Palestine c1900

These, Mr. Oren told reporters, could involve “interim measures and recognition of the fact that there may be a two-state reality on the ground, which may not conform to what we know as a two-state solution, but would enable the Palestinians to lead their lives in prosperity and security” — and also benefit Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu, weakened by corruption investigations and under pressure from right-wing politicians who oppose a Palestinian state, has recently been evasive about his support for a two-state solution. It depended, he said in Washington, on what the Palestinians had in mind: “What are we talking about? Are we talking about Costa Rica, or are we talking about another Iran?”

Mostly, Mr. Netanyahu appears to want to solidify Israeli control over the occupied West Bank and manage the conflict. That basically means maintaining the current situation of Palestinian cantons divided by growing Israeli settlements and surrounded by Israeli forces.

Mr. Netanyahu has referred to it as a “state-minus” — implying the Palestinians would get some statelike autonomy, and that would be enough. Critics call it a creeping one-state reality, and certainly not the “ultimate deal” that Mr. Trump says he hopes to achieve.

Some analysts chalk up Mr. Trump’s flippancy to a lack of knowledge, because one thing many Palestinians and Israelis do agree on is that a one-state formula will not bring peace.

“One state is not an option,” said Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian political scientist at Birzeit University in the West Bank, noting that Israel, which was established to give Jews self-determination, would never give all Palestinians the vote. “We are talking two states or no solution, a continuation of the status quo,” he said.

A Palestinian worker building a new house in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Over decades, Palestinians have watched Jewish settlements spread over land they consider theirs for a future state. Credit Chris Mcgrath/Getty Images

 

Shaul Arieli, an Israeli expert on political geography who prepared maps for past negotiations with the Palestinians and is a member of Commanders for Israel’s Security, the group behind the billboard campaign, said “one state is impossible” for Israel. Demographically and economically, absorbing millions of comparatively poor Palestinians would destroy it, he said.

Results of a survey of Israelis and Palestinians released on Thursday, put out jointly by Tel Aviv University and Israeli and Palestinian research centers, indicated that 55 percent of Israelis still support the notion of a two-state solution, while support among the Palestinians dropped to 44 percent. But the numbers on both sides rose significantly when they were offered additional incentives like a broader regional peace between Israel and the Arab world. Among Palestinians, support rose for the ability to work freely in Israel even after the establishment of an independent state. The survey included a representative sample of 1,270 Palestinians and 1,207 Israelis.

Israelis are increasingly fearful of the prospect of a Palestinian state at their doorstep. They see other areas of the Middle East in chaos. After Israel unilaterally left the Gaza Strip in 2005, they watched as the militant group Hamas, which rejects Israel’s existence, seized full control of the territory after winning legislative elections. And they know that without the West Bank, Israel is just nine miles wide at its narrowest point.

There is also the emotional issue for those who identify the West Bank as the heart of the biblical Jewish homeland promised by God.

The Israeli idea of Palestinian statehood never included all of the attributes of full sovereignty. Israel insists on a demilitarized state, and Mr. Netanyahu says the Israeli military has to keep overall security control.

Together with other so-far-intractable issues — like the fate of Jerusalem and of Palestinian refugees — many experts have long said that the maximum Israel can offer does not meet the minimum Palestinian requirements.

Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, noted this week that the two-state solution “represents a painful and historic Palestinian compromise of recognizing Israel over 78 percent of historic Palestine.”

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, an interim government that has held sway in parts of the West Bank since the 1990s, is weakened by internal struggles and threatened by his rivals in Hamas.

Mahmoud Zahar, a hard-line member of Hamas and one of its founders in Gaza, said of Mr. Abbas in an interview this week: “He is wasting his time. He is wasting our time and helping the Israelis expand settlements. He is a traitor. He is a spy.”

When the former United States secretary of state, John Kerry, came up with a proposed framework accord defining the principles of a comprehensive two-state agreement after months of negotiations in 2014, Mr. Abbas did not respond.

Since then, Israel has approved plans for thousands of new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and has moved to retroactively legalize settler outposts that were built throughout the territory. The measures have further entrenched the occupation, now in its 50th year since Israel captured the territory from Jordan in the 1967 war.

A growing number of right-wing Israeli ministers, including from Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party, are pushing to annex the settlements that Israel intends to incorporate within its borders under any future deal. Israel has also invested heavily in roads and infrastructure connecting and serving the West Bank settlements, now home to some 400,000 people.

Yet supporters of the two-state solution insist it still could be executed.

Both sides have recognized that it would require adjustments along the 1967 lines. Mr. Arieli, the political geographer, said Israel could keep 80 percent of its West Bank settlers within its borders by swapping territory equal to about 4 percent of the West Bank. Many of the remaining 20 percent of settlers — roughly 30,000 families — would most likely agree to move back into Israel for compensation, he said.

The numbers can also be deceptive, and some experts insist that much of the change on the ground in recent years can be reversed.

About 50 percent of the growth of the settler population has come in two large ultra-Orthodox settlements, Modiin Illit and Beitar Illit. Both are considered swappable, being close to the 1967 line. Jews mostly went there for cheap housing, not ideology. Together, these two settlements have about 130,000 residents — a third of the total settler population of the West Bank.

In some more outlying settlements, Mr. Arieli said, the population was decreasing as Israelis were “voting with their feet” by not moving in, or moving out. Settlement leaders attribute the drop to pressure from the Obama administration that limited the construction of new homes.

Mr. Khatib, of Birzeit University, agreed that a two-state solution was still physically possible “with some creativity, like swapping.” But, he said, “It won’t remain so for long.”

What is lacking is political will of the leaders on both sides.

Nahum Barnea, a leading Israeli columnist, wrote in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Thursday that if Mr. Trump were “slightly more informed,” he might have realized that it was not an issue of one state or two states: “The two sides, in practice, have chosen a third option: not to agree.”

Palestinians will always be in Palestine

— President Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer with no diplomatic experience, apologized on Thursday for his language during the “highly charged presidential campaign,” an apparent reference to his comments comparing liberal American Jews to the Jews who aided the Nazis in the Holocaust.

Appearing before senators for his confirmation hearing, Mr. Friedman — a former campaign adviser who has aligned himself with the Israeli far right and questioned the need for a two-state solution — spoke broadly of regretting his language and promised to be “respectful and measured” if confirmed.

“The inflammatory rhetoric that accompanied the presidential campaign is entirely over,” he said.

Mr. Friedman came under fire last year for an op-ed he wrote for the website of Arutz Sheva, an Israeli news organization, in which he said supporters of the liberal Jewish lobbying organization J Street were “far worse than kapos,” the Jews who cooperated with the Nazis.

 As prolific as he is provocative, Mr. Friedman has also drawn condemnation for lobbing accusations of anti-Semitism against President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and others. And among his criticisms of sitting senators — who now stand in judgment of his fitness for the post — he once slammed Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, for not doing enough to derail the Iran nuclear deal, saying Mr. Schumer was “validating the worst appeasement of terrorism since Munich.”

Despite his expression of contrition, several Democratic senators criticized him as unsuited to a diplomatic post, let alone one as critical as the ambassadorship to Israel.

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat, pressed Mr. Friedman on his apology, pointing out that his remarks during the campaign were written, meaning he would have had time to carefully choose his words.

“I’m having difficulty understanding your use of those descriptions and whether you really can be a diplomat, because a diplomat has to choose every word that he or she uses,” Mr. Cardin said. “So why should I believe that these were just emotional expressions and that you now understand the difference between that role and the role as a diplomat?”

“There is no excuse,” Mr. Friedman said. “These were hurtful words, and I deeply regret them. They’re not reflective of my nature or my character.”

In a sign of the emotions surrounding Mr. Friedman, as he began his opening remarks, a protester abruptly stood up behind him, holding aloft the Palestinian flag and speaking loudly.

“We are going to win, Mr. Friedman,” he called out before being escorted away. “We were there, we are there now, and we are always going to be there. Palestinians will always be in Palestine.”

It was not the only time Mr. Friedman would be interrupted during his brief opening statement. As he and senators sat quietly, police officers removed the protesters, and some other spectators seemed agitated by the interruptions, admonishing the protesters to “sit down” and “show respect.”

Mr. Friedman’s concession made room for other difficult questions about the diplomatic policy he would be charged with carrying out. His testimony came just one day after Mr. Trump said during a news conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel that he could “live with” a one-state solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, apparently suggesting a break with longstanding American policy.

Mr. Friedman, an Orthodox Jew with deep investments in the settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, drew a careful distinction between his words and his opinions, saying that while he regretted some of his remarks, “my views are my views.”

Yet, presenting a more humble approach, he outlined much-tempered perspectives, repeatedly emphasizing his openness to differing opinions.

Although he has been dismissive of it in the past, he said the two-state solution had received “the most thought and effort and consideration.” He later elaborated that he had not seen any evidence that Palestinians had an “appetite” for unifying under a single state.

“It still remains the best possibility for peace in the region,” he told senators, referring to the two-state solution.

Republicans expressed few doubts about Mr. Friedman’s fitness. At one point, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida grew agitated, calling it “unreal” that Democrats were demanding that Mr. Friedman explain his past statements. Mr. Rubio said that, while the two-state solution was ideal, it did not seem realistic given Palestinian leaders’ incitement of violence.

“The worst thing we can try to do is go in there and impose on our most loyal and important ally in the region a deal that is bad for their security and bad for their future,” Mr. Rubio said. Mr. Friedman said he agreed.

As Mr. Friedman was reassuring senators, Nikki R. Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations, sought to soothe concerns Thursday that Mr. Trump’s comments reflected a shift away from the broad international consensus that a two-state solution is the best path to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump said he was “looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.”

Ms. Haley said the Trump administration “absolutely” supported a two-state solution.

Mr. Friedman also assured the committee that he would not push for the expansion of Israeli settlements, echoing Mr. Trump’s recent assessment that they were not “a good thing for peace.”

“They may not be helpful, and I think it makes sense to tread very carefully in that area,” Mr. Friedman said.

He also said he had agreed to sell off his business interests in the region.

While Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said he had accepted Mr. Friedman’s personal apology for saying that the organization’s members sounded like “morons,” not everyone was mollified. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, said Mr. Friedman’s “many restrained and careful answers” and expressions of “regret” were not enough.

Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, said the selection of Mr. Friedman, “one of the strongest partisans on the issue,” sent a message that Mr. Trump was not interested in mending divisions over Israel.

“If that is really the intent of this administration, there are frankly a lot of other people who are better suited to play that role,” he said.