Israel’s 60th Birthday

Philadelphia: 60 days of Action for the 60th Anniversary of Al-Nakba by Dave
March 21, 2008, 10:21 am
Filed under: Ethnic Cleansing, Israel, Israel's 60th Anniversary, USA | Tags: ,

I discovered this group through a rather biased article in the Philadelphia Daily News. The paper described in detail the suffering of Israeli civilians during the July War in 2006. Why only the Israel suffering? It was horrific – but a response to the Israeli bombing of civilian areas in Lebanon. With all of Lebanon destroyed the significant part of the story is missing e.g. Hezbollah fired about 4,000 rockets at Israel while 2 – 3 million cluster bombs alone were fired on Lebanon and apparently 7,000 rockets (that “hit a target” – probably 300 Hezbollah rockets hit a target at most). For more statistics see here.

I’m really impressed by this Nakba groups activities and will follow their blog to report more.

Philly Remembers Al-Nakba

This spring marks the 60th anniversary of Al-Nakba, Arabic for “the catastrophe,” the little known side of Israel’s creation that drove over 700,000 Palestinians into exile, massacred civilians, and razed hundreds of Palestinian villages. In Philadelphia, a coalition of Palestinian support groups and peace organizations is responding to the call made at last year’s US Social Forum for 60 days of action to coincide with and counter “Israel 60” celebrations.Philly’s Palestine solidarity movement insists Al-Nakba not be forgotten with a series of events nearly every day from March 17th to May 18th. Our intention is to raise awareness of the past 60 years from the Palestinians’ perspective, and to mobilize people against the occupation. Billions of our tax dollars each year go to the Israeli military, funding the destruction of lives, homes, agriculture, and infrastructure. At the same time, people in the U.S. — including Philadelphians — face crises around health-care, housing and education. The Al-Nakba Coalition believes that federal taxes need to come home to support our communities instead of a militarized foreign policy in Palestine, Iraq and around the world.

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Australia to Celebrate Colonialism and Ethnic Cleansing by Dave

The Australian Government will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The morning of the vote a group arranged an advert in a national paper titled not in our name

“Australia and Australians should not give the Israeli people and its leaders the impression that Australia supports them in their dispossession of the Palestinian people,” (a friend was involved who will soon forward me a copy – thanks Ann!)

The following by Sonja Karkar on the Electronic Intifada:

So much for the new Australian government taking an even-handed position on Israel-Palestine. Before our politicians even warmed their seats in the new parliamentary sittings, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that he will lead a parliamentary motion to honor Israel on 12 March acknowledging Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. The opposition leader will second the motion. Then, celebrations will take place at a reception in the Mural Hall of Parliament House.
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Colonialism – bad for Australia, good for Israel by Dave

I love the contradiction that the Australian Government recently appologised for its colonial treatment of its own indigenous population – yet now it celebrates the same treatment of Palestinians. Why do I love it? Because it exposes these fraudulent politicians as being committed to power and spin rather than real values. Alan Ramsey in the Sunday Morning Herald:

You might recall Labor’s Julia Irwin and her efforts 5½ years ago to debate Israel’s theft of what used to be the Palestinians’ half of Palestine. On September 26, 2002, Irwin gave formal notice that she wanted Parliament to debate Israel’s continued military occupation, in defiance of the United Nations, of the West Bank and Gaza for 35 years. Despite thuggish efforts to shut Irwin up, the Howard government allowed her four-point motion to go ahead in the House of Representatives six weeks later but restricted debate to six MPs, each given only five minutes’ speaking time.

As a “debate” of the core malignancy convulsing the Middle East ever since the UN partition of Palestine in 1948, it was a travesty. It was also one of those extremely rare occasions that the easily intimidated Australian Parliament, ever mindful of Jewish financial support of party coffers, has debated the Middle East at all.

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JNF’s Illegal “Canada Park” by Dave

1991 Documentary on JNF’s Illegal “Canada Park”

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Illan Pappe on the JNF in Canada

It was the Jewish National Fund (JNF) that planted these pine trees, to wipe out the memory of the place and Europeanize it. I was bewildered in Toronto, seeing signs for the JNF, asking for support for the JNF as if it was some kind of ecological organization dedicated to protecting whales. It is not. It is a colonialist agency of ethnic cleansing.

One State or Two? Neither. by Dave

Jonathan Cook, as I said before, is one of my favourite journalists and this has to be the best argument for a resolution to the Israel Palestine conflict that I’ve come across. Start reading it and finish it – you won’t be disappointed.

One State or Two? Neither.

The Issue is Zionism

Editors’ note: On Monday we ran Michael Neumann’s argument against the so-called “one state” solution for Israel and Palestine. This is the second of three replies. AC / JSC.

If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the world’s most intractable, much the same can be said of the parallel debate about whether its resolution can best be achieved by a single state embracing the two peoples living there or by a division of the land into two separate states, one for Jews and the other for Palestinans.

The philosopher Michael Neumann has dedicated two articles, in 2007 and earlier this week, for CounterPunch discrediting the one-state idea as impractical and therefore as worthless of consideration. In response, Kathy Christison has mounted a robust defence, neatly exposing the twists and turns of Neumann’s logic. I will not trouble to cover the same ground.

I want instead to address Neumann’s central argument: that it is at least possible to imagine a consensus emerging behind two states, whereas Israelis will never accept a single state. That argument, the rallying cry of most two-staters, paints the one-state crowd as inveterate dreamers and time-wasters.

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The Meaning of Gaza’s ‘Shoah’ by Dave

Jonathan Cook is one of my favourite reporters on the Israel-Palestine conflict.  Yet again his analysis is sharp and harrowing – Israel’s plan to ethnically cleanse all of Gaza.

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai’s much publicized remark last week about Gaza facing a “shoah” — the Hebrew word for the Holocaust — was widely assumed to be unpleasant hyperbole about the army’s plans for an imminent full-scale invasion of the Strip.

More significantly, however, his comment offers a disturbing indication of the Israeli army’s longer-term strategy towards the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Vilnai, a former general, was interviewed by army radio as Israel was in the midst of unleashing a series of air and ground strikes on populated areas of Gaza that killed more than 100 Palestinians, at least half of whom were civilians and 25 of whom were children, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

The interview also took place in the wake of a rocket fired from Gaza that killed a student in Sderot and other rockets that hit the center of the southern city of Ashkelon. Vilnai stated: “The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they [the Palestinians of Gaza] will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.”

His comment, picked up by the Reuters wire service, was soon making headlines around the world. Presumably uncomfortable with a senior public figure in Israel comparing his government’s policies to the Nazi plan to exterminate European Jewry, many news services referred to Vilnai’s clearly articulated threat as a “warning,” as though he was prophesying a cataclysmic natural event over which he and the Israeli army had no control.

Nonetheless, officials understood the damage that the translation from Hebrew of Vilnai’s remark could do to Israel’s image abroad. And sure enough, Palestinian leaders were soon exploiting the comparison, with both the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the exiled Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, stating that a “holocaust” was unfolding in Gaza.

Within hours the Israeli Foreign Ministry was launching a large hasbara (propaganda) campaign through its diplomats, as the Jerusalem Post reported. In a related move, a spokesman for Vilnai explained that the word shoah also meant “disaster”; this, rather than a holocaust, was what the minister had been referring to. Clarifications were issued by many media outlets.

However, no one in Israel was fooled. Shoah — which literally means “burnt offering” — was long ago reserved for the Holocaust, much as the Arabic word nakba (catastrophe) is nowadays used only to refer to the Palestinians’ dispossession by Israel in 1948. Certainly, the Israeli media in English translated Vilnai’s use of shoah as “holocaust.”

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Nakba60: Sands of Sorrow (1950) Palestinian Arab Refugee Camps by Dave

Sands of Sorrow (1950); On the plight of Arab refugees from the Arab-Israeli war. Dorothy Thompson speaks on the refugee problem. Refugees live in tents in the Gaza Strip, are given blankets and food by Egyptian soldiers, and receive flour from UNICEF. A Lebanese priest conducts services. Refugees work as plumbers, carpenters, tailors, and shoemakers in the city of Jerusalem. Doctors vaccinate refugees against disease. Shows the squalid living conditions in refugee camps, starving children, and emphasizes the hopeless condition of the refugees. Producer: Council for the Relief of Palestine Arab Refugees; Creative Commons license: Public Domain.