Netanyahu had hoped to immediately “finish the job” before Israel’s March vote. He also didn’t get his war with Iran via the US HAHA!
Israelis protest in Israel against the ‘Deal of the century”
US President Donald Trump’s newly unveiled Middle East “peace plan” sparked exceedingly divergent reactions around the world, but also within Israel itself — despite the fact that most see the state of Israel as the big winner in Trump’s latest announcement.
And no one seemed more surprised by that split reaction than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself. In his view, his appearance alongside Trump in Washington and the duo’s collective praise for the US plan should have kicked off the final stretch of Israeli parliamentary elections — the third within one year’s time — that would this time secure the politician’s grip on power, something the prior two elections failed to do.
More than anything, Netanyahu had hoped to immediately “finish the job” before Israel’s March vote, cementing the current status quo in the occupied territories in the West Bank with US approval.
Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are a priority for Netanyahu, who immediately implemented steps to “expand Israel’s sovereignty” on land occupied by Jewish settlers, initiating Israeli annexation of the disputed area.
Netanyahu forced to back off
Meantime Netanyahu bombs Palestinians
But Washington called on Netanyahu to pause, saying that such steps could not begin immediately, but were instead contingent upon negotiations and agreements between all parties involved in the matter.
The statement had less to do with Jewish settlers than with Palestinians and Jordanians.
Thus, Netanyahu was forced to back off his plan, despite his calculus that the bold move would translate into political capital for his conservative Likud party.
In his eyes, nothing could facilitate Likud’s political advantage like the the “deal of the century” propagated for three years by Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Likud members have discreetly omitted the word peace when speaking of the new plan, for how could a politician like Netanyahu score electoral points with it?
For the past several years, it was Netanyahu who repeatedly and systematically torpedoed every attempt to reach agreement between Israel and Palestinian leaders.
Ultimately, his actions have left the historic Oslo Accords in tatters, a fact that those on the right of the Israeli political spectrum have quietly avoided talking about.
Thus, it appeared that only one thing mattered: Securing US support on points seen internationally as impediments to peace with the Palestinians.
Trump has done much to aid the Israeli cause since coming to office. Most notably, by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, thereby changing the city’s status, as well as recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed from Syria.
It was widely thought that the next phase of the historic project could now be undertaken, something that seemed self-evident to many Israelis.
That clarity of purpose is, among other things, the direct result of the fact that Israelis have been taught — in kindergarten, in school and in the military — to view West Bank territories occupied in 1967 as part of Eretz Yisrael, or the biblical Land of Israel.
Opinion polls show an even split among Israelis who approve and reject the Trump plan. No one can say with certainty if and how that might change ahead of the election on March 2.
Still, if the vote once again fails to provide a clear electoral winner, the peace plan will have to be abandoned. The same must be said if a March victor tries to implement the plan on his own at all costs — as Netanyahu attempted to do earlier this week.
Nakba 3 Trump’s plan recommends land swap that would strip some 260,000 Palestinians in Israel of their citizenship and “place them under perpetual … military occupation”
Between June 5 and June 10, 1967, Israel invaded and occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. The Six-Day War, as it would later be dubbed, saw the Jewish David inflict a humiliating defeat on the Arab Goliath, personified perhaps by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt.
“The existence of the Israeli state hung by a thread,” the country’s prime minister, Levi Eshkol, claimed two days after the war was over, “but the hopes of the Arab leaders to annihilate Israel were dashed.” Genocide, went the argument, had been prevented; another Holocaust of the Jews averted.
There is, however, a problem with this argument: It is complete fiction, a self-serving fantasy constructed after the event to justify a war of aggression and conquest. Don’t take my word for it: “The thesis according to which the danger of genocide hung over us in June 1967, and according to which Israel was fighting for her very physical survival, was nothing but a bluff which was born and bred after the war,” declared Gen. Matituahu Peled, chief of logistical command during the war and one of 12 members of Israel’s General Staff, in March 1972.
A year earlier, Mordechai Bentov, a member of the wartime government and one of 37 people to sign Israel’s Declaration of Independence, had made a similar admission. “This whole story about the threat of extermination was totally contrived, and then elaborated upon, a posteriori, to justify the annexation of new Arab territories,” he said in April 1971.
Even Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, former terrorist and darling of the Israeli far right, conceded in a speech in August 1982 that “in June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
The reverberations of that attack are still being felt in the Middle East today. Few modern conflicts have had as deep and long-lasting an impact as the Six-Day War. As U.S. academic and activist Thomas Reifer has observed, it sounded the “death knell of pan-Arab nationalism, the rise of political Islam … a more independent Palestinian nationalism” and “Israel’s emergence as a U.S. strategic asset, with the United States sending billions of dollars … in a strategic partnership unequalled in world history.”
Above all else, the war, welcomed by the London Daily Telegraph in 1967 as “the triumph of the civilized,” forced another 300,000 Palestinians from their homes and ushered in a brutal military occupation for the million-odd Palestinians left behind.
The conflict itself may have lasted only six days, but the occupation that followed is now entering its sixth decade — the longest military occupation in the world.
Apologists for Israel often deny that it is an occupation and say the Occupied Territories are merely “disputed,” a disingenuous claim belied by Israel’s own Supreme Court, which ruled in 2005 that the West Bank is “held by the State of Israel in belligerent occupation.”
Fifty years of humiliation and subjugation; of pregnant Palestinian women giving birth at checkpoints; of Palestinian cancer patients denied access to radiation therapy; of Palestinian footballers prevented from reaching their matches.
Consider: In 1992, a year before the Oslo peace process began, West Bank settlements covered 77 kilometers and housed 248,000 Israeli settlers. By 2016, those settlements covered 197 kilometers and the number of settlers living in them had more than tripled to 763,000.
These settlements have rendered the much-discussed “two-state solution” almost impossible. The occupied West Bank has been carved up into a series of bantustans, cut off from each other and the wider world. The settlers are not going anywhere, anytime soon.
They are Israel’s “facts on the ground.” To ignore them is to ignore perhaps the biggest obstacle to ending the occupation. “It’s like you and I are negotiating over a piece of pizza,” the Palestinian-American lawyer and former adviser to the PLO, Michael Tarazi, explained in 2004. “How much of the pizza do I get? And how much do you get? And while we are negotiating it, you are eating it.”
Also on Saturday reports on major Israeli television networks said CIA torture queen Gina Haspel had secretly visited Ramallah in recent days and met with Palestinian officials.
The foreign ministers of the member state of the Arab League unanimously adopted a resolution on Saturday rejecting the Trump Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, and said that “it does not satisfy the minimum of the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people.”
Why it matters: The Trump administration was counting on a coalition of Arab countries it has built over the last several years to prevent such a resolution and press the Palestinians to go back to the table. Those efforts did not materialize.
The state of play: The Arab League foreign ministers convened on Saturday in Cairo at the request of the Palestinians to discuss the Trump plan. The closing statement, which passed in consensus between all member states, said the U.S. plan contradicts the principles of the peace process and United Nations resolutions.
The statement also explained that Arab countries will not engage with the U.S. on the plan and will not cooperate with the Trump administration in its implementation.
What they’re saying: The Arab League foreign ministers’ statement said the Arab peace initiative is the basis for any peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, which must include a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The statement also warned Israel not to annex any part of the West Bank and underscored that the U.S. and Israel will be responsible for the consequences of such moves.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a speech at the meeting rejected the Trump peace plan and stressed he “will not go down in history as the one who sold out Jerusalem.”
He said President Trump tried to reach him through the CIA the week leading up to the unveiling of the peace plan, but Abbas refused to take the calls and even refused to get a copy of the plan in advance.
He said that he told the U.S. through the CIA and Israel by letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if the plan is implemented, there will be no relations between the Palestinian Authority and the U.S. and Israel, including security ties.
Abbas added the Palestinians will not accept the Trump administration as the sole mediator in peace talks with Israel, and said he would present a Palestinian peace plan soon — likely in a speech at the United Nations Security Council meeting in two weeks.
But, but, but: At Saturday’s meeting, Arab foreign ministers who spoke after Abbas backed the Palestinian position, but almost all refrained from criticizing the Trump administration.
The foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Morocco went further than refusing to criticize the Trump plan, giving positive statements about it while suggesting it could be a basis for talks, but not a final solution.
“The United States is appreciative of the positive remarks from many Arab countries made with regard to our Vision for Peace today at the Arab League meeting in Cairo.
It is only by having a willingness to try a new approach that we will make a breakthrough in a conflict that has left the Palestinian people to suffer for decades.
Past Arab League resolutions have placated Palestinian leadership and not led to peace or progress and it is important to try a new approach or the Palestinian peoples’ fate will not change.”
Trump’s plan recommends land swap that would strip some 260,000 Palestinians in Israel of their citizenship and “place them under perpetual … military occupation” Zionist heathens have stolen the holyland from the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
After 70 years of pissing on the Palestinians America and Israel suddenly want to “improve” their lives. But when you look closer at the so-called “Peace to Prosperity” [Trump’s “deal of the century”] it’s all about thieving more Palestinian land, stripping these good people of what remains of their self-respect and grinding them further into the Holy Land dust.
The Zionist terror plan to steal the land of Palestine
It’s plain to see that Trump’s “peace” proposal is actually the climactic fulfillment of the long-running and thoroughly nasty Plan Dalet (otherwise known as Plan D). This was the Zionists’ blueprint, in anticipation of the British leaving, for the violent and murderous takeover of the Palestinian homeland as a prelude to declaring Israeli statehood – which they did in May 1948. It was drawn up by the Jewish underground militia, the Haganah, at the behest of David Ben-Gurion, then boss of the Jewish Agency.
Plan D’s intention was not only to gain control of the areas of the Jewish state and defend its borders but also to control the areas of Jewish settlements and concentrations located outside Jewish borders and ensure “freedom of military and economic activity” by occupying important high-ground positions on a number of transport routes.
“Outside the borders of the state” may seem a curious thing to say when nobody knew where Israel’s borders actually ran, except where marked on the 1947 UN Partition Plan map. Israel has purposely kept its borders fluid in order to accommodate the Zionists’ perpetual lust for expansion.
Success would depend on, among other things,
applying economic pressure on the enemy by besieging some of his cities”, on “encirclement of enemy cities” and on “blocking the main enemy transportation routes… Roads, bridges, main passes, important crossroads, paths, etc. must be blocked by means of: acts of sabotage, explosions, series of barricades, minefields, as well as by controlling the elevations near roads and taking up positions there.
In other words, a reign of terror.
Palestinians in Gaza are “living” an illegal, crippling israeli siege that’s purposely shattering all spheres of life — a prelude to genocide #BDShttps://t.co/Odh6LgC7Fq
Jewish forces would occupy the police stations, described as “fortresses”, 50 of which had been built by the British throughout Palestine after the Arab unrest of 1936-39.
Plan D discussed “operations against enemy population centres located inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being used as bases by an active armed force”. These operations included:
Destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centres which are difficult to control continuously.
Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.
Villages emptied in this way were then fortified.
If they met no resistance “garrison troops will enter the village and take up positions in it or in locations which enable complete tactical control”, said Plan D. “The officer in command of the unit will confiscate all weapons, wireless devices, and motor vehicles in the village. In addition, he will detain all politically suspect individuals… In every region, a [Jewish] person will be appointed to be responsible for arranging the political and administrative affairs of all [Arab] villages and population centers which are occupied within that region.”
Thirty four massacres are said to have been committed in pursuit of Plan D’s racist and territorial objectives. The massacre at Deir Yassin by Jewish terror groups set the tone in order to “soften up” the Arabs for expulsion. More atrocities followed the declaration of Israeli statehood on 14 May 1948. Some 750,000 Palestinians were put to flight as Israel’s forces obliterated hundreds of Arab villages and towns. The village on which Sderot now stands was one such. To this day the inhabitants have been denied the right to return and received no compensation.
And here are the chilling guidelines for besieging, occupying and controlling Arab cities:
1. By isolating them from transportation arteries by laying mines, blowing up bridges, and a system of fixed ambushes. 2. If necessary, by occupying high points which overlook transportation arteries leading to enemy cities, and the fortification of our units in these positions. 3. By disrupting vital services, such as electricity, water and fuel, or by using economic resources available to us, or by sabotage. 4. By launching a naval operation against the cities that can receive supplies by sea, in order to destroy the vessels carrying the provisions, as well as by carrying out acts of sabotage against harbour facilities.
Plan Dalet is one of the sickest documents in history and shows why so many people question Israel’s legitimacy.
Destruction of Jenin refugee camp. In the early hours of 3 April 2002, Israeli forces invaded Jenin and the refugee camp adjacent to it, declared them a closed military area, prevented all access, and imposed a round-the-clock curfew. … On April 25, 2002, Charity Crouse visited Jenin refugee camp.Apr 24, 2002
Atrocities occurred at Deir Yassin, Lod (Lydda) and Ramle. The Deir Yassin massacre was carried out by the two Zionist terror groups, the Irgun and the Stern Gang. On an April morning in 1948 (before the Israeli state declaration) 130 of their commandos made a dawn raid on this small Arab town with a population of 750, to the west of Jerusalem.
The attack was initially beaten off, and only when a crack unit of the Haganah arrived with mortars were the Arab townsmen overwhelmed. The Irgun and the Stern Gang, smarting from the humiliation of having to summon help, embarked on a “clean-up” in which they systematically murdered and executed at least 100 residents – mostly women, children and old people. The Irgun afterwards exaggerated the number, quoting 254, to frighten other Arab towns and villages.
The Haganah played down their part in the raid and afterwards said the massacre “disgraced the cause of Jewish fighters and dishonoured Jewish arms and the Jewish flag”.
Deir Yassin signalled the beginning of a deliberate programme by Israel to depopulate Arab towns and villages – destroying churches and mosques – in order to make room for incoming holocaust survivors and other Jews.
First the Zionist holocaust, next rescue them and bring them to Palestine.
In July 1948 Israeli terrorist troops seized Lydda, shot up the town and drove out the population. Donald Neff reported how, as part of the ethnic cleansing, the Israelis massacred 426 men, women and children. A total of 176 of them were slaughtered in the town’s main mosque.
The remainder were forced to walk into exile in the scalding July heat, leaving a trail of bodies – men, women and children – along the way. Of all the blood-baths they say this was the biggest. The great hero Moshe Dayan was responsible. Was he ever brought to book? Of course not. Lydda airport is now Ben Gurion airport.
The Israeli state’s greedy ambition overran the generous borders gifted to the Zionists in the UN Partition Plan, and by 1949 the Zionists had seized nearly 80 per cent of Palestine, provoking the resistance backlash that still goes on today.
Israel’s numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity, and its continual defiance of international law and the UN Charter, undermine the Jewish state’s claim to legitimacy as far as Arabs and many non-Arabs around the world are concerned.
UN Resolution 194 called on Israel to let the Palestinians back onto their land. It has been re-passed many times, but Israel still ignores it. And so does the Trump plan.
The Israelis also stand accused of violating Article 42 of the Geneva Convention by moving settlers into the Palestinian territories it occupies, and of riding roughshod over international law with their occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
But as Plan D shows, “expulsion and transfer” (i.e. ethnic cleansing) were always a key part of the Zionists’ scheme. According to historian Benny Morris, no mainstream Zionist leader could conceive of future co-existence without a clear physical separation between the two peoples.
Ben-Gurion, who became Israel’s first prime minister, is reported to have said in 1937: “New settlement will not be possible without transferring the Arab fellahin…” The following year he declared: “With compulsory transfer we have a vast area [for settlement]… I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it.”
On another occasion he remarked:
If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. We have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it is true, but 2,000 years ago, and what is that to them?
There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country.
Ben-Gurion reminded his military commanders that the prime aim of Plan D was the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. He was well aware of his own criminality. Today under the Trump plan, as the Guardian points out, a Palestinian state would receive territory, mostly desert, near Gaza to compensate for the further loss of about 30 per cent of the West Bank. And we are all asked to recognize the Jordan valley, which makes up about a third of the occupied West Bank, and the Old City of Jerusalem, as part of Israel.
It is hard to believe that Trump or Kushner ever believed the Palestinians would accept a promise of “money for quiet” in place of a state based on “land for peace”. Of course they did not. Their so-called «deal» was nothing but a dog-and-pony show designed to deceive the uninformed and frame the Palestinians yet again as intransigent when that jackboot is squarely on the other foot.
The results of Israel’s ongoing “peace process”.
The US administration’s call for both Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahul Lavan leader Benny Gantz to visit Washington to discuss with them the details of the deal of the century before putting it to the public is a provocative and hostile act that insult the international community in general and the Arab countries concerned in particular, because it deals as if they are not present in one of the most serious issues, that threatens if it continues without comprehensive and balanced solutions , stability and security in the region as well as international peace and security.
The US administration is promoting the mirage itself, so that none of the Palestinians can be a partner in marketing its poisonous and corrupted deal.
Tayseer Khaled, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization ( PLO ), member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, called on the administration of US President Donald Trump to stop behaving as outlaws and marketing Benjamin Netanyahu and the leaders of his far-right camp with successive gifts starting with the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, and attempt to liquidate the UNRWA , and the right of Palestinian people to return to their homes, from which they were displaced by brutal military force.
Since its inception on 1 May 1950 UNRWA started to produce photographic and film material of the Palestine refugees that had been registered with the Agency and lived inside or outside the camps in the five fields of UNRWA operations, that is Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Beside the film and photographic work done by the staff of the agency, outside contractors contributed with material that became part of UNRWA’s collections. The Palestine refugees were largely ignored by the world’s mainstream media in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
UNRWA has over time created one of the most comprehensive visual archives that cover the history of the Palestine refugees from the very beginning. 3.2.2.
Instead of remembering the Jewish holocaust of the past, as the Jews advertise year after year, decade after decade, instead, the Palestine holocaust should be exposed worldwide until it is stopped.
He added that the US administration’s call for both Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahul Lavan leader Benny Gantz to visit Washington to discuss with them the details of the deal of the century before putting it to the public is a provocative and hostile act that insult the international community in general and the Arab countries concerned in particular, because it deals as if they are not present in one of the most serious issues, that threatens if it continues without comprehensive and balanced solutions , stability and security in the region as well as international peace and security.
He continued, that the American administration, which promotes solutions that take into account the facts imposed by the occupation authorities on the ground over the years, according to its claim, completely ignores that these facts have been imposed by brute force, and does not see that the State of Israel is the only country in the world, that intensity uses live bullets, rubber bullets, and American-made gas and sound bombs over many years against peaceful demonstrators, who defend their lands, on which settlements and outposts crawl, which have turned into safe havens for Jewish terror organizations under full protection by the occupation army and various political, diplomatic protection provided by the US administration and its ambassador in Tel Aviv.
Tayseer Khaled stressed that the goal that the American administration is seeking from inviting Israeli leaders to Washington and presenting its so called the century deal plan , is to present a new free gift to Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right camp before the Knesset elections on the second of next March .
The US administration is promoting the mirage itself, so that none of the Palestinians can be a partner in marketing its poisonous and corrupted deal, and it is better for this administration to return to the United Nations Charter, the values of the civilized international community and apply fully respect for UN Charta and international law and stop working out of the law.
The severity of Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is currently growing in magnitude, as a result of Israel tightening its 15-year long, illegal siege of the poverty-stricken Palestinian territory.
Due to Israel’s restriction of gas, prevented from entering the besieged coastal enclave, the people of Gaza are facing a lack of sufficient heating, lighting, and the ability to properly deal with sewage, all this and more whilst their Arab neighbor, Egypt, is purchasing stolen Israeli gas.
Who’s Egypt? Israel’s Egypt.
Make a road bump with a broken palm tree to stop the buses going into Cairo, and drench the road around it with gas and diesel. When the bus slows down for the bump, set it all ablaze so it will burn down with all the passengers inside … God bless.
Egypt signed a 19-billion-dollar gas deal with Israel. A few days ago, Israel officially began pumping that gas into Egypt via an ‘Eastern Mediterranean Gas’ pipeline formerly used to supply Israel with Egyptian gas (during the rule of [puppet] ex-president of Egypt Hosni Mubarak).
Israeli army Brigadier General, Aryeh Eldad, has taken the Israeli cat out of the bag by saying that Israel was behind the attempt to overthrow the Mohamed Morsi government and replace it with a puppet regime.
Israel restricts the gas it is allowing into Gaza, collectively punishing the Palestinian people — which constitutes a crime against humanity — for what Israel decides is the illegitimate actions of Gaza’s democratically-elected government.
Egypt’s coup leader, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has not only sold the soul of Egypt by purchasing the Israeli occupying entity, but has also participated in enforcing Egypt’s side of the illegal blockade of Gaza.
Sisi has continuously watched on as the two-million-strong population of the besieged Gaza Strip suffers untold misery.
Besides Egypt’s collaboration with Israel’s racist persecution of the Palestinian people in Gaza’s death camp is also the most shameful of deliberate targeting of Gaza’s food and resources by Israel itself.
The Palestinian Agricultural Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that Israel had purposely flooded and destroyed roughly 920 acres of farmlands in Eastern Jabalia and Beit Hanoun, Northern Gaza, causing 500,000 dollars worth of damage.
On top of this, Israel has also begun spraying dangerous chemicals over farmland to the East of Khan Yunis and Rafah, located in the South of Gaza. The Gaza Strip has very scarce amounts of agricultural land and is already operating in a declared state of emergency, as of February 2018.
Adding to the list of Israeli crimes in Gaza is the fact that the Gaza gas fields, which were discovered in 1999 and belong to the Palestinian people under international law, still have not been excavated.
The only reason for the Palestinians not being able to take advantage of their own oil is that Israel’s illegal blockade prohibits them from doing so, meaning that the people of Gaza are living in an area which has been deemed ‘unlivable’ by experts at the United Nations, suffering unimaginable pain, whilst literally sitting right next to a treasure trove of natural gas.
Approximately two weeks ago, Israel decided to cut off the main supply of gas from entering the Gaza Strip. Since then, Egypt has let in 10 trucks, which have entered the besieged territory, but according to Gaza’s residents, this simply has not been enough to supply the people with a sufficient source of gas.
Khaled Tabasha, a Palestinian activist living in Gaza’s al-Bureij refugee camp, spoke to me, informing me that his family and many others living in his camp have not been able to cook properly.
Khaled even said that things have gotten so bad that he and others have begun looking for wood, in order to start fires from which they can cook their food.
The term “sending Gaza back to the stone age” has been often used by Israeli politicians, referring to the military bombardments of the territory by Israel, but it seems by the blockade alone, Israel is achieving this aim.
In the Gaza Strip, a lack of gas not only means that Palestinians are having to resort to using wood fires to cook, it also affects motor vehicles, hospitals, and of course the heating inside houses.
In addition to this, Gaza is again having an electricity crisis, which means that right now the people only have access to roughly four and a half hours of electricity per day. This is during a time where the climate is very cold in Gaza.
To give an example of how cold Palestine has been lately, just yesterday, it snowed in al-Khalil (Hebron), located to the North of Gaza, in the West Bank.
Toxic Pesticides have also recently been sprayed along the separation fence, illegally built between Gaza and Israel.
The spraying of these potentially lethal substances along the separation fence — a violation of international law — is justified by the Israelis as being a “security” precaution.
The question now remaining is: how long can Gaza continue to suffer as the conditions get more and more severe?
The landmark decision was met with hostility in Tel-Aviv. Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, dismissed the court’s decision, stating that it had no jurisdiction to investigate in the Palestinian Territories.
To disrupt the court’s investigation, Israel threatened to prevent ICC officials from entering the occupied territories; a move that would mirror its treatment of United Nations investigators, also prevented from entering the region.
Further attack on the ICC ensued. Netanyahu denounced the court’s decision as “pure anti-Semitism,” during a candle-lighting ceremony marking the start of the eight-day Hanukkah holiday, last month.
“New edicts are being cast against the Jewish people – anti-Semitic edicts by the International Criminal Court telling us that we, the Jews, standing here next to this wall … in this city, in this country, have no right to live here and that by doing so, we are committing a war crime,” asserted the Israeli prime minister.
Some Israeli journalists published articles highlighting her past as a senior official in the Gambian government, where she served under a brutal dictator, in an apparent effort to sully her reputation.
This week chief ICC prosecutor, Bensouda, dismissed the accusation, in an interview with The Times of Israel. “This is a particularly regrettable accusation that is without merit,” stressed Bensouda.
Bensouda explained that she expected to face attempts to undermine her credibility through “character assassination” in the same way that witnesses are discredited and undermined during a legal case.
“I, along with my office, execute our mandate under the Rome Statute with utmost independence, objectivity, fairness and professional integrity.
We will continue to meet our responsibilities as required by the Rome Statute without fear or favour,” she added.
Bensouda is the latest in a growing list of people to face the charge of anti-Semitism. Last week a Jewish teacher in a New York school was fired for expressing remarks critical of Israel.
150 people signed a letter in defense of the teacher, in which it was claimed that the controversy around her firing was another instance in the “weaponisation of anti-Semitism” which “is the subject of a pitched battle within Jewish communities.”
Their concerns were echoed in December by the author of a controversial definition of anti-Semitism, who spoke out over its misuse and warned of its “chilling effect” on free speech. US attorney, Kenneth Stern, who drafted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) “working definition of antisemitism,” warned that “right-wing Jews were weaponizing” it to supress criticism of Israel.
My name is Yaakov Sharett. I am 92 years old. I happen to be my father’s son for which I am not responsible. So this is how it is.”
From Ukraine to Palestine
His grandfather, Jacob Shertok – the original family name – was one of the first Zionists to set foot in Palestine, leaving his home in Kherson, Ukraine, in 1882 after Russian pogroms.
“He had this dream of tilling the land. The big Zionist idea was going back to the land and leaving the superficial activities of Jews who had become remote from land,” he says.
“They thought that, little by little, more Jews would immigrate until they became a majority, and could demand a state, which they then called a ‘homeland’ to avoid controversy.”
I wonder what Yaakov’s grandfather thought would happen to the Arabs, who then comprised about 97 percent of the population, with Jews around 2 to 3 percent.
“I think he thought the more Jews that came, the more they’d bring prosperity and the Arabs would be happy. They didn’t realize people don’t live only on money. We would have to be the dominant power, but the Arabs would get used to it,” he says.
In case the Arabs didn’t bend the knee
Adding with a wistful smile: “Well, either they believed it or they wanted to believe it. My grandfather’s generation were dreamers. If they had been realists, they would not have come to Palestine in the first place.
It was never possible for a minority to replace a majority that had lived on this land for hundreds of years. It could never work,” he says.
Four years later, Jacob wished he hadn’t come, returning to Russia, not because of Palestinian hostility – Jewish numbers were still tiny – but because he couldn’t make a living here.
Many of the very early settlers in Palestine found working on the land far harder than they had ever imagined, often returning to Russia in despair.
But in 1902, after more pogroms, Jacob Sharett returned, this time with a family including Moshe, aged eight.
Palestinians were still – for the most part – welcoming to Jews as the threat of Zionism remained unclear. A member of the prosperous Husseini family, who was headed abroad, even offered Yaakov’s grandfather his house to rent in the village of Ein Siniya, now in the occupied West Bank.
For two years, grandfather Shertok lived there like an Arab grandee while his children attended a Palestinian kindergarten. “My father herded sheep, learned Arabic and generally lived like an Arab,” says Yaakov.
Psychology of the minority
But the Zionist plan was to live like Jews so before long, the family had moved to the fast-growing Jewish hub of Tel Aviv and Moshe was soon honing every skill – including studying Ottoman law in Istanbul – in order to further the Zionist project.
Thanks to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine and ushered in British colonial rule, plans for a full-blown Jewish state now seemed possible, and over the next two decades, Moshe Sharett helped design it, becoming a key figure in the Jewish Agency, the state’s government-in-waiting.
Central to the project was the creation of a Jewish majority and ownership of as much of the land as possible, to which end Sharett worked closely with his ally David Ben-Gurion. Immigration rose fast, and land was bought, usually from absentee Arab landlords.
‘My father and the rest still thought that most Arabs would sell their national honour for the food we would give them’
– Yaakov Sharett
The pace of change provoked the Palestinian revolt of 1936, brutally crushed by the British. In the light of that revolt, did the future prime minister ever question whether the Jewish state could work?
“No,” says Yaakov. The leadership were “still full of justifying their ideas of Zionism. You must remember that they all thought in terms of being Jewish and how they had been subjugated by majorities in the countries in which they had lived.
“My father said this: ‘Wherever there is a minority, every member has a stick and rucksack in his cupboard’. Psychologically, he realizes a bad day will come and he will have to leave.
So the priority was always to create a majority and shake off the psychology of the minority for ever.
“My father and the rest still thought that most Arabs would sell their national honour for the food we would give them. It was a nice dream, but at the cost of others.
And anyone who did not agree was a traitor.”
As a young teenager, in the early 1940s, Yaakov didn’t question his father’s outlook. Quite the contrary.
“I must say,” he continues, “when I was in the Zionist Youth Movement, we went around the Arab villages on foot and you saw an Arab village and learned its Hebrew name as in the Bible and you felt the time has not divided between you and it. I have never been religious, but this is what you felt.”
By 1939, World War Two had broken out and many young Israelis had joined the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, serving in Europe. The Jewish Brigade was an idea of Yaakov’s father, and as soon as he was old enough, Yaakov volunteered, joining up in 1944, aged 17. But a few months later – in April 1945 – the war was over and Yaakov was too late to see any service.
Back in Palestine, those young Jewish soldiers who had served in Europe were amongst those now being recruited to fight in what many knew was coming next: a new war in Palestine to establish a state of Israel.
Yaakov – who had clearly not yet started to see that Zionism “was at the cost of others” – readily agreed to play his part.
Now aged 19, Yaakov was picked to play the role of a Jewish mukhtar, or village head, at a quasi-military outpost in the Negev, a barren terrain barely settled by Jews.
“I didn’t think a lot about politics back then. To build this settlement was literally our dream,” he says.
His wife, Rena, has joined us, perching on a stool, and nods in agreement. Rena Sharett was another eager Zionist who claimed the Negev in 1946.
Before 1948, the Negev constituted the British administrative district of Beersheva and the district of Gaza, which together made up half the land of Palestine. Touching the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, the terrain had vital access to water.
So not surprisingly, the Zionists, who had to date succeeded in purchasing just 6 percent of Palestinian land, were determined to seize it.
However, given that about 250,000 Arabs lived in the Negev, in 247 villages, compared to about 500 Jews in three small outposts, a recent Anglo-American partition plan had divided mandate Palestine between Jews and Arabs, apportioning the Negev region as part of a future Palestinian state.
A British ban on new settlement had also hindered Zionist attempts to alter the status quo. Arabs had always opposed any plan that envisaged the Palestinians as “an indigenous majority living on their ancestral soil, being converted overnight into a minority under alien rule,” as the Palestinian historian, Walid Khalidi, summarised it.
In late 1946, however, with a new United Nations partition plan in the making, the Zionist leaders saw it was now or never for the Negev.
Now or never
So the “11 points” plan was launched. Not only would the new settlements boost the Jewish presence there, they would serve as military bases when war broke out, as it inevitably would.
Everything had to be done in secret due to the British ban and it was decided to erect the outposts on the night of 5 October, just after Yom Kippur. “The British would never expect the Jews to do such a thing the night after Yom Kippur,” says Yaakov.
“I remember when we found our piece of land on the top of a barren hill. It was still dark, but we managed to bang in the posts and soon, we were inside our fence. At first light, trucks came with pre-fabricated barracks.
It was quite a feat. We worked like devils. Ha! I will never forget it.”
‘I remember when we found our piece of land on the top of a barren hill. It was still dark, but we managed to bang in the posts and soon, we were inside our fence’
– Yaakov Sharett
Looking out from inside their fence, the settlers at first didn’t see any Arabs, but then made out the tents of Abu Yahiya’s village, and a few “dirty huts”, as Yaakov described them.
Soon, they were asking the Arabs for water. “I collected our water for our settlement from that well every day in my truck, that’s how I became friends with Abu Yahiya,” he says.
With his smattering of Arabic, he chatted to others too: “They loved to talk. On it went when I had work to do,” he laughs. “I don’t think they were happy with us there exactly, but they were at peace with us. There was no enmity.”
Another local Arab chief watched out for their security in return for a small payment. “It was a kind of agreement we had with him.
He’d act as guard and every month, he’d come up to our fence and sit there quite still – he looked like just a small bundle of clothes,” Yaakov says, smiling broadly.
“He was waiting for payment and I shook his hand and got him to sign some sort of receipt with his thumb which I gave to the authorities in Tel Aviv and they gave me money for the next time.
That was my only real responsibility as mukhtar,” says Yaakov, adding that everyone knew he only got this role as chief because he was his father’s son.
Moshe Sharett, by now a leading political figure, was known as a moderate, and as such was viewed with suspicion by some military hardliners.
The new Negev desert outposts were planned in large part as centres for gathering intelligence about the Arabs, and Yaakov believes it was probably because of his father he too was distrusted and excluded by those sent to the outpost to lay military plans
“Instead I was really used just as a jack of all trades” – driving, collecting water, buying fuel in Gaza or Beersheba. He sounds nostalgic for the freedom of that arid landscape, though the settlers were always back inside their fence at night.
He came to know other Arab villages, too, like Burayr “which was always hostile, I don’t know why,” but most were friendly, particularly a village called Huj. “I used to drive through Huj often and knew it well.”
During the 1948 war, the residents of Huj reached an agreement in writing with Jewish authorities that they be allowed to stay, but they were driven out like all the other 247 villages of this area, mostly to Gaza. The Palestinians called the expulsions their Nakba – or catastrophe.
I asked Yaacov what he recalled of the Arab exodus in May 1948, but he was absent at the time as Rena’s brother was killed in fighting further east so the couple had left to join her family.
I told Yaacov I’d met survivors of the Abu Yahiya clan, who recounted being driven by Jewish soldiers into Wadi Beersheba where the men were separated from the women and some were shot, then the rest were expelled.
“Somehow I don’t remember that,” says Yaakov. But plumbing his memory, he suddenly recalls other atrocities including events at Burayr, the hostile village, where in May 1948 there was a massacre, with between 70 to 100 villagers killed, according to survivors and Palestinian historians.
“One of our boys helped take Burayr. I remember he said when he got there the Arabs had already mostly fled and he opened the door of a house and saw an old man there so he shot him. He enjoyed shooting him,” he says.
By the time Beersheba was taken in October 1948, Yaakov had returned to his nearby outpost, now given the Hebrew name, Hatzerim.
“I learned our boys had led the army to the town,” he says. “We knew the area very well and could guide them through the wadis [riverbeds]”.
After Beersheba fell, Yaakov drove his comrades down in a truck to take a look: “It was empty, totally empty.” The entire population of about 5,000 had been expelled and driven in trucks to Gaza.
I had heard there was a lot of looting. “Yes,” he says. “We took things from several empty houses. We took what we could – furniture, radios, utensils. Not for ourselves, but to help the kibbutz. After all, Beersheva was empty and belonged to nobody now.”
What did he think of that? “Again, I must confess I didn’t think much at all at the time. We were proud of occupying Beersheva. Although I must say, we’d had so many friends there before.”
Yaakov says he couldn’t remember if he had looted himself: “I probably did. I was one of them. We were very happy. If you don’t take it, someone else will. You don’t feel you have to give it back. They were not coming back.”
What did you think about that? He pauses. “We didn’t think about it then. My father, in fact, said they will not come back. My father was a moral man. I don’t think he was a party to the orders to expel the Arabs. Ben-Gurion was. Sharett no. But he accepted it as a fact. I think he knew something was going wrong, but he didn’t fight it,” he says.
“After the war my father gave a lecture and said I don’t know why a man should live two years secluded in a village [a reference to his time growing up in Ein Siniya] to realise that Arabs are human beings. This kind of saying you won’t get from any other Jewish leader…this was my father.”
Then, as if confessing on behalf of his father too, Yaakov adds: “But I have to be frank, my father had some cruel things to say about the refugees. He was against their return; he agreed with Ben-Gurion on that.”
Far more cruel than Sharett was Moshe Dayan. Appointed after the war as chief of staff by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, Dayan had the task of keeping back the Negev refugees and many others “fenced in” behind the Gaza armistice lines.
In 1956, a Gaza refugee killed an Israeli settler, Roi Rotberg, and at his funeral, Dayan gave a famous eulogy urging Israelis to accept, once and for all, that the Arabs would never live in peace beside them, and he spelled out why: the Arabs had been expelled from their homes which were now lived in by Jews.
But Dayan urged the Jews to respond not by seeking compromise but by “looking squarely at the hatred that consumes and fills the lives of Arabs who live around us and be forever ready and armed, tough and hard”.
This speech made a profound impression on Yaakov Sharrett. “I said this was a fascist speech. He was telling people to live by the sword,” he says. Moshe Sharett, who was foreign minister at the time, had been urging compromise through diplomacy for which he was called “weak”.
But it wasn’t until 1967, when he started working as a journalist for the centrist Israeli paper, Maariv, that Yaakov lost his faith in Zionism.
‘They were the majority’
In the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Israel seized more land, this time in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, where military occupation was imposed on the Palestinians who hadn’t fled this time.
Touring the West Bank, Sharett stared at the stunned but defiant Arab faces and felt “uneasy” once again, particularly when he visited his old family village of Ein Siniya, which his father, now dead, had spoken of so affectionately.
It was here that as a child, Moshe had herded sheep and “learned that Arabs were humans”, as Moshe Sharett would say in a later speech.
“The villagers were under the first shock of occupation. They knew the Jews were now the dominating power, but they showed no feelings of hatred. They were simple people.
And I remember that several residents came and surrounded us and smiled and told me they remembered my family and the house in which our family lived.
So we smiled at each other and I left. I didn’t go back. I didn’t like this occupation and I didn’t want to go there as a master,” he says.
“Have you heard of shooting and weeping?” he asks, with another wistful smile, explaining this was an expression to describe Israelis who, after fighting in the West Bank in 1967 showed shame, but accepted the results.
‘We smiled at each other and I left. I didn’t go back. I didn’t like this occupation and I didn’t want to go there as a master’
– Yaakov Sharett
“But I wanted nothing more to do with this occupation. It was my way of non-identification with it. I was depressed by it, and ashamed.”
The faces of the Ein Sinya villagers revealed something else: “I saw in this defiance that they still had the psychology of the majority. My father used to say war always makes waves of refugees. But he didn’t see that usually those who flee are the minority. In 1948, they were the majority so they will never give up. This is our problem.
“But it took me years to realise what the Nakba was and that the Nakba didn’t start in 1967 but in 1948. We have to realise that.”
Rena chips in. “In 1948, it was a matter of them or us. Life and death. That was the difference,” she says.
“We two disagree on this,” says Yaakov. “My wife lost her brother in 1948. She views it differently.”
‘I would leave tomorrow’
In older age, Yaakov has gone back even further in time, looking into the problems with Zionism since the very beginning.
“Now at -years-old, I realise that the story started with the very idea of Zionism which was a utopian idea. It was meant to save Jewish lives but at the cost of a nation of occupants who inhabited Palestine at this time. The conflict was unavoidable from the beginning.”
I ask if he describes himself as an anti-Zionist. “I am not an anti-Zionist, but I am not a Zionist,” he says, turning to look at Rena, perhaps in case she disapproves – his wife holds less radical views.
On the wall beside the picture of his father are photographs of their children and grandchildren; two of Yaakov’s granddaughters have emigrated to the United States. “I am not afraid to say I am happy they are there and not here,” he says.
I ask if he has “a rucksack and stick” packed ready to go and join them? After all, with his views, Yaakov himself is now in a minority – a small minority – living amid a majority of right-wing Jews here in Israel.
And not only is he ideologically “fenced in” but also physically too. He talks of how he can barely move around Israel nowadays. He refuses to go to Jerusalem which he says has been taken over by ultra-orthodox religious Jews.
“This is one of the most terrible disasters. When we were young, we thought religion was going to vanish.” He says he never wishes to return to his beloved Negev because it was long ago settled by new generations of Jews “who have no empathy with Arabs”.
He can still “breathe” in Tel Aviv, and enjoys speeding around on a scooter, but even here, feels that he lives inside a “bubble”. He chuckles again.
“I call it the Haaretz bubble,” and he explains he is referring to a group of left-wingers who read the liberal Haaretz newspaper. “But this clan has no connection with each other except this daily paper that more or less expresses our opinion.
It is the last stronghold. And I feel very bad about it…. It’s true I do not feel at home here.”
‘Look. When you make me think about it, I would leave tomorrow. Thousands are already leaving’
– Yaakov Sharett
Yaakov says he is always thinking about leaving. If other members of his family would join him, he would.
“Look. When you make me think about it, I would leave tomorrow. Thousands are already leaving, most have two passports. We have the worst government we have ever had with Bibi Netanyahu,” he says.
“We are living by the sword, as Dayan said we should…as if we must be forced to make Israel into a kind of citadel against the invaders, but I don’t think it is possible to live by the sword for ever.”
I ask how he sees the future for the Palestinians?
“What can I say? I feel very bad about it. And I am not afraid to say that the treatment of the Palestinians today is Nazi treatment. We don’t have gas chambers, of course, but the mentality is the same. It is racial hatred. They are treated as subhuman,” he says.
Yaakov is well-aware that he – a Jew – will be accused of “antisemitism” for saying such things, but says he believes Israel is “a criminal state”.
“I know they will call me a self-hating Jew for saying that. But I cannot automatically support my country, right or wrong. And Israel must not be immune from criticism. Seeing the difference between antisemitism and criticism of Israel is crucial.
To be honest, I am amazed how in 2019 the world outside accepts Israeli propaganda. I really don’t know why they do,” he says.
“And remember that the very aim of Zionism was to release Jews from the curse of antisemitism by giving them their own state. But today, the Jewish state by its own criminal behaviour is one of the most serious causes for this curse.”
What is his prediction for the Jewish state? “I will tell you what my prediction is. I am not afraid to say it. When the time comes, it might come tomorrow, there will be a conflagration, maybe with Hezbollah … a big catastrophe of some sort that will destroy thousands of Jewish homes.
“And we will bomb Beirut but having Lebanese lose their homes won’t help the Jew who loses his home and family, so people will see no reason to stay here anymore. All rational Israelis will then have to leave.
“It doesn’t have to be Hezbollah. The catastrophe might be the strong domination of our own rightists. All the laws enacted by the Knesset now are fascist laws. I have no solution. Israel will become a pariah state,” he says.
‘To be honest, I am amazed how in 2019 the world outside accepts Israeli propaganda. I really don’t know why they do’
– Yaakov Sharett
Surely, America and the Europeans would never treat Israel as pariah state, I suggest, but Yaakov doesn’t agree: “Their support is mostly shame over the Holocaust. But these feelings of guilt will dwindle in the next generations,” he says.
I ask Yaakov what his father would say if he had heard all this? Rena says she hadn’t even heard Yaakov speak like this before. His eyes dart under his woolly hat.
“I think my father would have to agree with me somewhat. He remained a Zionist to the end, but I think he realised something was wrong. Sometimes, I say he was too moral to be at peace with what is going on here,” he says.
“But he is disappointing because he didn’t arrive at the conclusion his son did. I don’t blame him for that. He absorbed Zionism in his mother’s milk. If he had lived to my age – I am 92, he died at 71 – perhaps he would have seen things like me. I don’t know.”
I get up to leave and pick up my laptop, thereby lighting up the picture of Abu Yahiya’s well again. Our interview has been haunted not only by Moshe Sharett but also by the image of that “tall lean Bedouin with the sympathetic face” last seen by Yaakov, stricken and alone.
“I must say, the picture of that nice man does sometimes come into my mind,” says Yaakov, who then takes me down to the street. Grabbing his scooter, he waves goodbye cheerily and kicks off into the traffic of Tel Aviv.
My Struggle for Peace, the Diary of Moshe Sharett 1953-1956 is published by Indiana University Press. Sarah Helm is a former Middle East correspondent and diplomatic editor of The Independent. Her books include A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE, and If This Is a Woman, Inside Ravensbrück: Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women.
Lead photo: Yaakov Sharett, 18, serving as a soldier in the Jewish Brigade (Courtesy Yaakov Sharett)
Britain played & is still playing a huge role in Palestinian Holocaust. The British wanted to protect their strategic interests in the region and Zionism was the tool they used. Holocausts are designed to terrorize populations into fleeing their homelands to where the Dark Forces wants them.
“Menahem Begin, the Leader of the Irgun, tells how ‘in Jerusalem, as elsewhere, we were the first to pass from the defensive to the offensive…Arabs began to flee in terror…Hagana was carrying out successful attacks on other fronts, while all the Jewish forces proceeded to advance through Haifa like a knife through butter’…The Israelis now allege that the Palestine war began with the entry of the Arab armies into Palestine after 15 May 1948.
But that was the second phase of the war; they overlook the massacres, expulsions and dispossessions which took place prior to that date and which necessitated Arab states’ intervention.” Sami Hadawi, “Bitter Harvest.”
The Deir Yassin Massacre of Palestinians by “Jewish” soldiers
“For the entire day of April 9, 1948, Irgun and LEHI soldiers carried out the slaughter in a cold and premeditated fashion…The attackers ‘lined men, women and children up against the walls and shot them,’…The ruthlessness of the attack on Deir Yassin shocked Jewish and world opinion alike, drove fear and panic into the Arab population, and led to the flight of unarmed civilians from their homes all over the country.” Israeli author, Simha Flapan, “The Birth of Israel.”
“By 1948, the Jew was not only able to ‘defend himself’ but to commit massive atrocities as well. Indeed, according to the former director of the Israeli army archives, ‘in almost every village occupied by us during the War of Independence, acts were committed which are defined as war crimes, such as murders, massacres, and rapes’…Uri Milstein, the authoritative Israeli military historian of the 1948 war, goes one step further, maintaining that ‘every skirmish ended in a massacre of Arabs.’” Norman Finkelstein, “Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict.”
Of about 144 houses, 10 were dynamited. The cemetery was later bulldozed and, like hundreds of other Palestinian villages to follow, Deir Yassin was wiped off the map. By September, Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Poland, Rumania, and Slovakia were settled there over the objections of Martin Buber, Cecil Roth and other Jewish leaders, who believed that the site of the massacre should be left uninhabited.
Jewish refugee arrival in Palestine
The center of the village was renamed Givat Shaul Bet. As Jerusalem expanded, the land of Deir Yassin became part of the city and is now known simply as the area between Givat Shaul and the settlement of Har Nof on the western slopes of the mountain.
“If the king opens his mouth, Israel will turn off the water tap and leave the kingdom to go thirsty”
The plan to turn Jordan into a Palestinian homeland and to give Israel complete control over the historic land of Palestine is regularly rehashed by the Israeli right whenever there is international pressure, however minimal, on Israel to stop its expansionism.
The Israeli right is preparing to present a plan to overthrow the Jordanian king after annexing the Jordan Valley in the West Bank to realize the dream of Jordan being converted to Palestine.
They aim to establish a confederation between the PA and “Palestinian Jordan” because the Israeli right is interested in annexing the West Bank without the millions of Palestinians within it. Forcing them to head to Jordan.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper revealed in late December the Israeli right-wing’s approaches and plans, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
This is based on the claims that Israel has major plans for Jordan, but these plans do not include the same king.
This is evidenced by several articles and reports written by right-wing Israeli writers this month who all present similar justifications and results, the main of them all is to destroy the peace treaty with Jordan.
Right-wing Israelis believe that annexing the Jordan Valley is a tactical operation aimed at hitting two Israeli birds with one stone: the first is to work to annex the West Bank and cancel the peace agreement with Jordan, and the second is to topple the Hashemite royal family and to embody the dream of Jordan being Palestine.
It is interesting that this dream is shared by all the Israeli right, with all its components and currents, because they are enthusiastic supporters of the idea that Jordan is Palestine. The ruling Israeli right has begun to detest King Abdullah II.
When King Abdullah is shamefully toppled, Israel will be able to complete its annexation of the West Bank and establish a confederation between the Palestinian Authority and “Palestinian Jordan”.
Moreover, according to the Israeli perception, when that happens, the Palestinians in the West Bank will obtain political rights in Jordan.
According to this Israeli theory, when the Palestinian state is established in Jordan, the Palestinians can resolve their issue, put an end to their suffering and stop using armed operations against Israel, because since 1988, Palestinians in the West Bank have been able to obtain temporary Jordanian passports.
It is worth noting that the Israeli approach may contradict Jordan’s interest in reducing the total number of Palestinians in the kingdom because it refuses at the moment to receive Palestinian refugees from Syria in the way it allowed Syrian and Iraqi refugees to seek refuge on its soil.
Perhaps such aspirational Israeli calls towards Jordan are encouraged by the fact that the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is no longer practical or realistic.
Meanwhile, there are claims that the alternative solution is the establishment of an Arab Palestinian state east of the Jordan River, which will achieve peace between Israel and Palestine.
They also claim that the river can be used to transport goods and products from either side, with the Israeli Jewish state on one side and the Arab Palestinian country on the other, side by side.
There is another Israeli scenario of Jordan hosting more Palestinians and instead of the kingdom becoming a Palestinian republic, they become citizens with full rights in the Hashemite Kingdom.
The return of Gilad Sharon after a long absence was noteworthy. He is the son of the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who had strong relations with the late King Hussein, King Abdullah’s father.
Gilad Sharon returned to claim that the current Jordanian ling would not dare to oppose the annexation of the Jordan Valley by Israel, because Israel has him by his weak spot and the continuation of his rule depends on Israel.
He also said that if the king opened his mouth, Israel would turn off the water tap and leave the kingdom to go thirsty.
All these are efforts to drive the king to cancel the peace agreement with Israel and allow Tel Aviv to remove him.
King Abdullah finds himself caught between the anger of the Jordanian public and Israel.
The situation of his government has become really difficult because his country’s budget is suffering, the sources of income are declining, the Gulf states, which have always been a source of support for Jordan, have reduced their aid, and millions of Arab refugees have flocked to the kingdom in recent years.
In spite of the increase of tensions between Jordan and Israel over the past year, security coordination between them continues as usual and the intelligence cooperation is at its best.
This raises questions about the king failing to use this card to pressure Israel unless this cooperation serves him and not the kingdom.
The Archbishop was gassed by an Nazi-Israeli army gas canister, lobbed at Hanna’s Church in Jerusalem December 18 .
Hanna is particularly troubling for Israel because his political language demolishes Israeli hasbara at its very foundations.
Atallah Hanna has reiterated his belief that Jerusalem and the Holy Land belong to people of all religious beliefs, stressing the need to recognize the rights of Christians, Muslims, and the Jewish people to reside and visit the area freely without a permit requirement.
“They will run and not grow weary,” is a quote from the Bible (Isaiah, 40:41) that adorns the homepage of Kairos Palestine. This important document, which parallels a similar initiative emanating from South Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle years, has come to represent the unified voice of the Palestinian Christian community everywhere. One of the main advocates of Kairos Palestine is Archbishop Atallah Hanna.
Hanna has served as the Head of the Sebastia Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem since 2005. Since then, he has used his leadership position to advocate for Palestinian unity in all of its manifestations.
Expectedly, Hanna has been on Israel’s radar for many years, as this kind of leadership is problematic from the viewpoint of a hegemonic political and military power that requires utter and absolute submission.
So when Archbishop Hanna was hospitalized on December 18 as a result of what was reported to be Israeli “poisoning,” Palestinians were very concerned.
A few days later, Hanna was found to be at a Jordanian hospital receiving urgent medical treatment for what was described, by Hanna himself, as “poisoning by chemical substance.”
Whatever that substance may have been, it was reportedly discharged from an Israeli army gas canister, lobbed at Hanna’s Church in Jerusalem.
“The Christians of Palestine are one family of Jordanians and Palestinians,” he told journalists from his hospital bed, where he also said that “Israeli occupation may have attempted to assassinate him or keep him sick all his life, indicating that the substance has very serious effects, especially on the nervous system.”
Zionist criminals from the beginning.
Those familiar with Hanna’s discourse would know precisely what the rebellious Christian leader was aiming at when he spoke about the oneness of Palestinian Christians in Jordan and Palestine: unity which, sadly, has eluded Palestinians for a long time.
Indeed, wherever the man may be, standing tall at a rally in Jerusalem in defense of Palestinian rights or from a hospital bed, he advocates unity among Palestinians and for the sake of Palestine.
The Kairos document is itself an act of unity among Palestinian Christian churches and organizations. “This means for us, here and now, in this land in particular, that God created us not so that we might engage in strife and conflict but rather that we might come and know and love one another, and together build up the land in love and mutual respect,” the document, championed by Hanna and many others, states.
Even before claiming his current leadership position, Hanna was a target of Israel. During the Second Intifada, the uprising of 2005, Hanna emerged on the scene as an advocate, not of Palestinian Christian rights but the rights of all Palestinians.
He actively pursued the World Council of Churches to use its credibility and outreach to speak out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and for an independent Palestinian state.
In August 2002, Hanna was detained by the Israeli police in front of his home in Jerusalem’s Old City.
On the orders of the Israeli Attorney General, he was charged with ‘suspicion of relations with terrorist organizations’, a concocted charge that allowed the Israeli government to confiscate the Palestinian leader’s Israeli and Vatican passports.
Despite the fact that Palestinian Christians undergo the same experience of military occupation, oppression, and ethnic cleansing as their Muslim brethren, Israel has labored to propagate an erroneous narrative that presents the “conflict” as one between Israel and Muslim fundamentalists.
Hanna is particularly troubling for Israel because his political language demolishes Israeli hasbara at its very foundations.
“We intend to conduct special prayers inside the Church of the Nativity for the sake of our martyrs,” he declared on October 10, 2001, when he joined Christian and Muslim leaders in their march from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, to challenge Israel’s targeting of Palestinian religious sites.
In an interview with ‘Russia Today’ on January 30, 2015, Hanna refused to even concede the language battle to those who ignorantly – or purposely – ascribe Muslim terminology to terrorism. “Allahu Akbar” – God is great in Arabic – is as much Christian as it is a Muslim phrase, he argued.
“We Christians also say Allahu Akbar. This is an expression of our understanding that the Creator is great. We don’t want this phrase to be related to terrorism and crimes,” he said.
“We speak against using this phrase in this context. Those who do, they insult our religion and our religious values,” he added, again, thoughtfully linking all religious values through faith, not politics.
Israel illustrates daily it’s control over Muslim holy sites
Tirelessly and consistently, the Archbishop announced that “Christian and Muslim Palestinians living in Jerusalem suffer from the occupation, suffer from repression, tyranny, and oppression.”
Although born in Ramah in Palestine’s upper Galilee region, Hanna’s true love was, and remains, Jerusalem.
It was there that his spirituality deepened and his political ideas formulated. His advocacy for the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian identity of the city stands at the core of all of his activities.
“Everything Palestinian in Jerusalem is targeted by Israeli occupation,” Hanna said last January during a meeting with a Doctors without Borders delegation.
“The Islamic and Christian holy sites and endowments are targeted in order to change our city, hide its identity and marginalize our Arabic and Palestinian existence,” the Archbishop lamented.
In fact, Israel has been doing exactly that, efforts that have accelerated since Donald Trump’s advent to the White House, and the US’ subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Archbishop Hanna is one of the strongest and most articulate Palestinian Christian voices in Jerusalem. His relentless work and leadership have irked Israeli authorities for many years.
Now that Israel is finalizing its takeover of the illegally occupied city, Hanna, and like-minded Christian and Muslim leaders, are becoming more than mere irritants but real hurdles in the face of the Israeli military machine.
I met Abouna—Father—Hanna at a California Conference a few years ago. I heard him speak, his thunderous voice is that of a proud Palestinian Arab.
He urged unity, as he always does. I chatted with him later, in the hotel lobby, as he was ready to go out for a walk with his close friend, the Mufti of Jerusalem. He was gentle and polite, and extremely funny.
As I watched them both walk outside, I felt hopeful that unity for the sake of Palestine is very much possible.
Israel attack on the Gaza Strip killed nine Palestinians from the same family 2019 Christmas eve.
Fatou Bensouda, the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor, said in a statement regarding “alleged crimes” committed in the occupied Palestinian territories that “all the statutory criteria under the Rome Statute for the opening of an investigation have been met.”
The territories in question include the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. These territories constitute the state of Palestine, as it is recognized by the United Nations.
The decision flies in the face of anyone who still believes the Israeli claim that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is the “most moral army in the world,” or that Israel does not commit war crimes.
Issues of Jurisdiction
Under the Rome Statute, the founding document that established the International Criminal Court, it is determined that cases can be heard by the court only if one of the affected parties is a signatory. The state of Palestine has been a signatory since 2015.
Israel, which like the United States never signed the Rome Statute, claims that Palestine is not a sovereign state and therefore the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction to investigate issues related to it.
Yet according to UN General Assembly resolution 67/19, adopted on November 29, 2012, Palestine assumed the status of a UN “non-member observer state,” affording it the ability to accede to international treaties like the Rome Statute, and indeed it didn’t take long for Palestine to become the 123rd state party to the statute giving the ICC the legal right to exercise jurisdiction on its territory.
Clearly anticipating that the ICC jurisdiction over Palestine would be called into questions by Israel, Prosecutor Bensouda said in her statement, the full version of which can be found on the ICC website, that she had filed a request for a jurisdictional ruling on the issue.
“Specifically, I have sought confirmation that the ‘territory’ over which the court may exercise its jurisdiction, and which I may subject to investigation, comprises the West Bank and Gaza,” Bensouda said.
She went on to say that she recognizes that “Palestine does not have full control over the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its borders are disputed.”
The West Bank and the Gaza Strip are heavily controlled by the Israeli government and East Jerusalem has been effectively annexed by Israel.
Bensouda quite oddly adds that “The Palestinian Authority does not govern Gaza.” Hamas, however, is the party that currently governs Gaza, in as much as Israeli permits it to do so, as it is the party that won the 2006 Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections.”
Bensouda says that although she is of the view that “the Court may exercise its jurisdiction notwithstanding these matters,” she is aware of contrary views, and therefore “requests that a Pre-Trial Chamber I (“the Chamber”) rule on the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the situation in Palestine.”
Specifically, Bensouda affirmed, she is seeking confirmation that the “territory” over which the ICC may exercise jurisdiction comprises the “Occupied Palestinian Territory, that is the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
She also made it clear that she wants the issue determined before she begins an investigation instead of being settled later by judges after her investigations are completed. It is not clear when a decision will be made on this, but Bensouda said she had asked the court to “rule expeditiously” and to allow potential victims to participate in proceedings.
Notwithstanding the legal challenges, the decision of the prosecutor is encouraging. In Israel, the reactions to her decision were predictably fast, and not surprisingly, fierce. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to Bensouda’s decision was that it is “baseless and outrageous.”
As expected, he said that “the court has no jurisdiction” because only sovereign states can petition the court, and “there has never been a sovereign Palestinian state.” He added that the ICC’s decision means that Jews living in their historic homeland, the land of the Bible, is a war crime.
National Union chairman and Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich tweeted his response to the ICC prosecutor’s decision saying that that the Prime Minister should give the Palestinian Authority 48-hours to pull its petition to the ICC or else face being “torn down.”
He added that this should have been done long ago when the Palestinians first petitioned the UN for statehood.
Yair Lapid, a co-founder of Israel’s Blue and White party, tweeted, “The ICC prosecutor has caved in to Palestinian lies and hatred.
US/Israel will discredit and disconnect from authoritative organizations that disagrees with Israel.
As a former member of the Security Cabinet and a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, I can testify that the IDF does more than any army in history to prevent civilian casualties.”
Despite the evidence, this is a claim often repeated by Israeli politicians.
Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz also attacked the court’s decision. Having served as the IDF Chief of Staff, he is likely to be a major target of any investigation into war crimes.
In his response to the decision, he mentioned his decades of military service, including “serving as the IDF’s 20th Chief of Staff.”
He stated that “the IDF is one of the most moral armies in the world,” and asserted that “The IDF and the State of Israel do not commit war crimes.” Gantz oversaw more than one Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza strip, assaults that saw scores of civilian casualties.
Israel has good reason to fear the International Criminal Court’s decision. Moving forward with an investigation into crimes committed in the Palestinian territories will expose both current and former government officials and military personnel to prosecution when they travel abroad.
That fear is not entirely irrational and not without precedent.
In 2011, it was reported that retired Israeli General Danny Rothschild was forced to cut a scheduled visit to London short and cancel two planned lectures there. This after the Israeli Embassy warned him he was in danger of being arrested if he stayed in the country.
The event came a day after Knesset member and former Defense Minister Amir Peretz was forced to cut short a London visit for the same reason.
All roads lead to Israel
Trial International, an NGO that fights impunity for international crimes and supports victims in their quest for justice, reports that on June 30, 2016, former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was in London for a conference and was summoned to the police regarding allegations of war crimes committed between 2008 and 2009.
Livni was ultimately granted diplomatic immunity. Then, on January 23, 2017, Livni was invited to attend a conference at the European Parliament in Brussels when the Belgium prosecutor’s office announced its intention to arrest and question her regarding her alleged involvement in Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s bloody 22-day military assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008. Livini decided to cancel her trip to Belgium.
Matan Kahana is a member of the Israeli “New Right” party. Kahana is a retired colonel in the IDF who served both as a soldier in Israel’s notorious murder squad “Sayeret Matkal” and as a fighter pilot and officer in the Israeli Airforce. He participated in countless “operations” in which Palestinian civilians were killed.
As an airforce pilot, he would have been directly involved in bombing and killing countless defenseless citizens in the Gaza Strip. Kahana made a statement on Twitter following the ICC’s announcement that “if only people knew how careful the IDF soldiers try not to harm “uninvolved persons.”
Gaza is under attack at this moment.
Yet these “efforts” Kahana and other Israeli officials speak of seem to fail time and time again. The number of civilian casualties from Israeli attacks is staggering and has reached the point where one must question the intent of the IDF and those who send it on these so-called missions.
While a thorough investigation will no doubt precede any decision by the International Criminal Court, it doesn’t take a great legal scholar to understand that dropping tons of bombs from fighter jets on a defenseless civilian population constitutes a war crime.
The full report of the prosecutor states that the scope of any formal proceedings is also likely to include an investigation into the “use by members of the IDF of non-lethal and lethal means against persons participating in demonstrations beginning in March 2018.”
The demonstrations the ICC is referring to are the protests known as “The Great Return March.” This means that the enormous efforts Israel makes to justify its attacks on Palestinians — and to claim that they are carried out in self-defense only — may finally be beginning to fail.