Jonathan Cook, February 2014.
It was a momentous week for the Jewish state. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics published the latest census figures for the year 2013 showing that the Arab population in Greater Israel was the smallest ever at just 687,000 compared to a Jewish population of a fraction over eight million. Who could have imagined 10 years ago that only a decade later the demographic time bomb would have been so completely defused? Looking at copies of Ha’aretz and Maariv 10 years back, one finds hysterical headlines warning that one in four children inside Israel (that’s when the Jewish state did not officially include the West Bank and Gaza) was Muslim. Now the figure across the whole of Greater Israel is less than 10 per cent.
Having heard submissions from various states and international bodies, the International Court of Justice is considering the request from the United Nations General Assembly for an advisory opinion on the legal status of the so-called separation wall being built by the Israeli state inside the illegally occupied West Bank. A resolution against Israel in this instance could signal a popular groundswell of Palestinian opposition to their oppression, or the belief that an end might be in sight. For the international community at large the request is increasingly seen as critical to the very future of the rule of law; perhaps even among the most difficult tests of legitimacy faced by international law since its evolution began.
Genevieve Cora Fraser
The erection of the world?s largest prison/ghetto/concentration camp is an engineering feat that requires the invasion of farms and fields, refugee camps, villages and cities by massive troops of Israeli occupying forces who close all entrances and intersections before the real brutalization begins. Then the bulldozing of Palestinian homes becomes the centerpiece and justification for the installation of an alleged security barrier that not so surprisingly doesn?t separate Israel from Palestine but of Palestinians from their land. Tanks and armored personnel carriers serve as guard duty for D-9 military bulldozers as they advance under an aerial shield of combat helicopters amidst a barrage of random fire. Somehow ethnic cleansing doesn?t come off so much as clean but an exercise in state-sponsored terrorism, violent, brutal, and murderously obscene.
Genevieve Cora Fraser
Forty years after the events of 1948 that led to the creation of Israel, Henry Cattan, a Palestinian lawyer from western Jerusalem described the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their property one of the “greatest mass robberies in the history of Palestine.” If final status agreements between Israel and Palestine is ever to emerge and the Palestinian refugee problem resolved, in part, through monetary compensation, then Michael R. Fischbach?s “Records of Dispossession - Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab-Israeli Conflict” is a must read for negotiators and other interested parties, plus all who care about the history of Palestine and Israel.
Linda S. Heard
The USA surely deserves our unending thanks for making our world a safer place. It dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to contain Japan, napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam in its fight against ?Communism?, and ousted Afghanistan?s Taleban with the help of daisy cutters, bunker busters and cluster bombs. In Iraq it used cancer-engendering depleted uranium and non-precision cluster bombs leaving a trail of limbless children in their wake… but all in a good cause. So now we can all sleep well at nights secure in the knowledge our futures lie in the capable hands of Uncle Sam… or can we? Hang on! Haven?t we forgotten something? What about that tiny country, run by that peaceful chap Ariel Sharon who once said: “The Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches”.
Sharon is not going to cede to the Palestinian Authority any land taken in 1948. What he is trying to do is draw the borders while annexing parts of the land occupied in 1967 - this is his idea of “unilateral disengagement”. His speech at the Herzlia Conference should be taken seriously, for the man does not believe that a lasting solution is possible at the moment. He wants to get rid of the roadmap while portraying “unilateral withdrawal” as a daring step. In doing so, Sharon is helped by the clamour the Israeli right is raising about the evacuation of settlements. The right, with nothing better to do, is creating an “existential crisis” about the settlements to be evacuated so as to protect other settlements.
The daily killings in the illegally occupied areas (200 civilians killed in the past two months) and occasional intense assaults, such as on Jenin refugee camp, that leave dozens of civilians dead are called war crimes by human rights organisations, but are ignored by many media outlets. By contrast, attacks inside Israel are described in detail and the media never shy away from using the labels of massacres and terrorism in those instances. The net result is that Israeli lives and deaths become valued while Palestinian lives and deaths are diminished or erased from our conscience.
Do you want to make the deal of a lifetime? Go to Gaza! The government has kindly laid on armored vehicles for this purpose. Once there, you can obtain the villa you have dreamt about all your life, with two floors and a green lawn, for next to nothing. The state is rich. You can put up greenhouses and produce flowers or vegetables. Once upon a time you could engage Palestinian workers, who would work for a pittance. They had no alternative, because their land was taken away from them. Now this is too dangerous, so you will engage workers from Thailand, who get even less.
Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh
It is not easy for an Arab today to be a peace advocate. The present Israeli government, as well as that of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have, through a series of systematic provocative and subversive acts, made a mockery of peace. Peace advocates find it both embarrassing and ludicrous to even talk about peace ? let alone assert their belief in it or call for action. Netanyahu, a few years ago, and Sharon now, came not only with the intention to halt the momentum of talks, procrastinate and then subvert peace, but also to complicate matters, escalate the conflict and either delay peace for decades to come or, worse, kill it. This is no light matter.
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