Friday, May 19, 2017

CATCHUP POST: Gideon Levy on Israeli occupation, apartheid and denialism

Dear friends,

veteran Israeli journalist, Gideon Levey pulls now punches when he responds to Israeli settlers, who publicly cancelled their subscription to Haaretz in protest of both Levy and Amira Hass truth telling about Israel's illegal occupation and apartheid regime. 

Here is Levy's "heartfelt" apology from mid April, where he responds to those who want to pretend that they and the Israeli state/military are not the problem.

In solidarity, Kim


A Heartfelt Apology to Haaretz Readers

To all offended readers, I apologize for the one-sidedness. How could I not maintain a balance between the murderer and the murdered; the thief and his victim; and the occupier and the occupied?

Gideon Levy Apr 21, 2017 Haaretz

    Photo: Gideon Levy

Dear Orna and Moshe Gan-Zvi,
I was saddened to read in Tuesday’s Hebrew edition of Haaretz that you’ve decided to cancel your subscription. I don’t know you, but I will miss you as readers. As someone who is partly responsible for your decision, as your article indicated, allow me to apologize. To apologize for writing the truth all these years. I should have taken into account that this truth wasn’t palatable to you, and acted accordingly.

It was not pleasant for you to read the theory put forward by me and my fellow Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass about the occupation. You, who are active in Rotary Israel, who come from the business world, who are so proud of your children and the fact that they live in the West Bank. Your son was educated at the Eli premilitary academy, and your granddaughters proudly carry the last name Sheetrit. You, who are so pleased with yourselves and your values, with your children and your morals, don’t think you should be forced to read unpleasant truths. You simply don’t deserve it.

Indeed, how could I have spent all these years publishing articles that even you, generously, admitted were touching, without ever, to my shame, checking how these Palestinian families ended up in their serious predicaments? Really, how did that happen? Of course it was their own fault, but I keep blaming the Israel Defense Forces – how could I? And how could Amira Hass be so one-sided and lacking in perspective that would explain how a people could prefer the elimination of another people over a democratic society? Really, how could you, Amira?

I assume, Moshe, that if they were to lock you in a cage for years, you would continue your Rotary membership and refuse to back a struggle against your incarceration. I assume, Orna, that if foreign soldiers were to burst into your home in the middle of the night and arrest your Moshe before your eyes, kick him, force him to his knees, blindfold him, handcuff him, and beat him in front of your children who study in Eli – and then snatch him from your home for months without trial – you would be looking for some “creative leadership” for your people.
I assume that you, who come from the business world, would lovingly accept those who confiscate your property and ban you from your own land. I’m sure it would never occur to you to struggle against those who have tortured you with such evil for so many years.   

What can we do? The Palestinians are different from you, dear Orna and Moshe. They were not born in such lofty heights as you. They are human animals, bloodthirsty, born to kill. Not all of them are as ethical as you and your children from the Eli academy. Yes, there are people who fight for their freedom. There are people who are forced to do so violently. In fact, there are almost no nations who haven’t acted this way, including the chosen people you’re proud to belong to. Not only do you belong; you are the pillar of fire that leads the camp, you’re the best, the moral elite – you, the religious Zionists.

I apologize for the one-sidedness. How could I not maintain a balance between the murderer and the murdered; the thief and his victim; the occupier and the occupied? Forgive me for daring to turn off your joy and pride in the land flowing with milk and Mobileye, and cherry tomatoes, too. There are so many wonderful things in this country, and Haaretz – with its “moral deterioration,” as you call it – is ruining the party. How did I not see that you don’t like to read the truth, and didn’t take this into account when I’d return from the occupied territories every week to write about what I’d seen with my own eyes?

But now it’s too late. The call to boycott chocolate spread was too much even for you, so you’ve decided to boycott Haaretz. From now on, the only paper on your coffee table will be the weekly, right-wing Makor Rishon. They won’t write about how IDF soldiers sprayed five Palestinian car passengers with bullets three weeks ago, and I’m sure your Shabbats will be a lot more pleasant from now on.

CATCHUP POST: Secret Documents Reveals Israel Expelled Gazans Right After Six-Day War

Dear friends,
here is the first of my catchup posts - an article published by Haaretz in mid-March about Gaza and the 1967 War.

In solidarity, Kim


Secret Documents Reveals Israel Expelled Gazans Right After Six-Day War

Israeli army was engaged in collective punishment, kicking out dozens of refugee camp residents and demolishing homes over one landmine whose tracks led back to the camp, Foreign Ministry memorandum shows.

Yotam Berger Haaretz Mar 15, 2017
Israel line up prisoners in the Gaza Strip for questioning and identification on June 6, 1967

Israel expelled Palestinians from the Gaza Strip as collective punishment in retaliation for an attempted attack on Israeli troops, a secret Foreign Ministry document dated June 15, 1967 reveals.

The document describes a visit by Foreign Ministry officials to the office of the military governor in Gaza, and discusses a decision to expel dozens of Palestinians from Gaza to Sinai after a land mine meant to harm Israeli security forces was planted. The Foreign Ministry’s Avner Arazi, who served in the ministry’s Asian department at the time, wrote the classified document.

Dr. Guy Laron, a senior lecturer in the Hebrew University’s international relations department, told Haaretz: “I didn’t hear about this incident, but there were acts of expulsion and massacres at the end of the war. They were not part of the official history, but they happened.”

He said he had not read of this specific incident, but cited an example of the Shaked commando unit, which happened at the end of the war. “It was under the command of Benjamin Ben-Eliezer on the 10th or 11th (of June),” he said. “There is also the story of Bedouin of Rafah, which happened later, in January 1972. Thousands of Bedouin were expelled, an estimated 6,000-20,000.”

Members of Akevot, the Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research, discovered the document. “What is exceptional in this story is that Foreign Ministry officials immediately write a memorandum of understanding,” Akevot executive director Lior Yavne told Haaretz. “It was not their mission. They went to sign an agreement with UNRWA. It seems that they were flustered by what they saw.”
Palestinian Refugees in the Gaza Strip - May 1967

The document describes Arazi’s visit to Gaza on June 14, days after the Six-Day War ended, in which he met with the military governor in Gaza. The officials were briefed on events in the days following the capture of Gaza. “On the 12th or 13th, a land mine exploded in the Gaza vicinity,” the document states. “The investigation found that the land mine had been laid shortly before it exploded. The tracks led to a number of homes in the Al-Tarabshe (sic) refugee camp.”

According to the document, the Israelis demanded that residents of the homes point out the people who conducted the attack. “A short time later, 110 people identifying themselves as soldiers in the Palestinian liberation army appeared, and took collective blame,” the document states.

Arazi describes the repercussions of this stand. “They did not heed pleas to identify who among them committed the act,” he recalled. “They gave them three hours to reveal the perpetrators otherwise they would all be punished – it was decided to transfer anyone who did not reply by the end of the ultimatum to Sinai and to leave them alone! It seems the punishment was carried out in the meantime. Likewise, the army blew up eight homes to where the tracks led.”

The document also describes other incidents of the army attempting to pressure the Palestinian population to turn in weapons and soldiers to the security forces.

“The government demanded of refugee camp residents in the Strip that they hand over all weapons in their possession,” the document states. “They did not respond to this appeal. Therefore, the government asked the local UNRWA representative to designate a warehouse in which weapons holders could put their weapons inside for the night without investigation or the need to be identified. This method was more effective.” It adds: “Assuming that some Egyptian soldiers were hiding in refugee camp homes, camp residents were called upon to hand over such soldiers. There has been no response.”
An Israeli armoured unit entering Gaza in 1967.

Laron says that there are eyewitness reports of mass expulsions from the West Bank immediately at the end of the war. “It did happen at the end of the war in the West Bank,” he said. “There was probably some organized plan, about which no documents have been released. However, there are accounts of soldiers arriving in trucks and encouraging residents to leave, and transporting them to expel them,” he added.

“Uri Avnery, in memoirs he has now published, claims that he met soldiers from the unit who said that this was their job – carrying out an organized plan meant to lead to the expulsion of West Bank residents,” Laron continued. “The commanding general, Uzi Narkiss, just before the war said that if they let us, we can kick out the Arabs from the West Bank within 48 hours. Thousands were exiled without a doubt.”

Akevot’s Livne said the testimony in the document by the Gaza governor in 1967 shows that home demolitions and expulsion served as a punishment tool in the territories by the Israel Defense Forces going back to the first days of the occupation. Referring to the officer who spoke with ministry officials, Yavne added, “State jurists tend to deny that home demolitions are part of a punishment policy, but the testimony of Gen. Gaon illustrates the real nature of the act of demolition, which always harms those who are not involved in warfare.”

Upcoming Live From Occupied Palestine posts!

Dear friends,

my apologies for the lack of posts over the last two months. I have been snowed under with work, study and politics.   I actually had a number of posts in draft to post but one reason or another had delayed posting them and now suddenly its two months since I last posted! Where did the time go??  

Over the next week or so, I will posted the backed-up drafts and hope to also get back into the swing of posting on more regular basis once again about what is happening in Palestine, as well as activism for Palestine in Australia and internationally.

Thank you once again for your support!

In solidarity, Kim