“the Israeli government presented no evidence that rock-throwing and other violence by some demonstrators seriously threatened Israeli soldiers across the border fence.”
The New York Times claims that, until the demonstrations began in Gaza last month, Hamas had been firing “a fairly steady tempo” of rockets at Israel. In fact, it had been firing none.
On March 30, fourteen peaceful demonstrators were killed and hundreds wounded when Israeli soldiers fired across the border fence at unarmed Palestinians in Gaza.
The day of the crime, New York Times reported that, although the protests were “billed as the start of a peaceful, six-week sit-in”, Palestinian protesters had “quickly turned violent”.
The Times added, “But as some began hurling stones, tossing Molotov cocktails and rolling burning tires at the fence, the Israelis responded with tear gas and gunfire.”
Three days later, the editorial board of the Times acknowledged that the claim that Palestinians were “hurling stones, tossing Molotov cocktails and rolling burning tires at the fence” was the “Israeli version of events”.
In other words, the Times tacitly acknowledged that it had presented the Israeli propaganda version — in which the violence was instigated by the Palestinians — as though truthful.
By contrast, as Human Rights Watch noted, “the Israeli government presented no evidence that rock-throwing and other violence by some demonstrators seriously threatened Israeli soldiers across the border fence.”
Rather, “The high number of deaths and injuries was the foreseeable consequence of granting soldiers leeway to use lethal force outside of life-threatening situations in violation of international norms, coupled with the longstanding culture of impunity within the Israeli army for serious abuses.”
The Times hasn’t been faring any better with its reporting on Gaza since. In fact, it gets worse.
In an article published as “News Analysis” on April 15, David M. Halbfinger wrote in the Times about Hamas’s attitude toward such non-violent resistance.
To its rockets Israel had responded with the Iron Dome antimissile system. To its tunnels Israel was answering with a $2 billion reinforced-concrete wall buried deep underground.
And on Sunday, Israel said it had uncovered and destroyed the longest operational tunnel yet from Gaza.
It was no surprise, then, that after a grass-roots idea for a peaceful, long-lasting protest along the Gaza fence started gaining widespread support, Hamas brought a halt to what had been a fairly steady tempo of rocket launches into Israel and threw its considerable organizational might behind the demonstrations.
That is a lie.
Hamas had not been routinely launching rockets into Israel until the protests began.
Hamas had not been firing rockets into Israel at all.
Not in the days prior. Not in the weeks prior. Not in the months prior. Not even in the years prior.
According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), 25 rockets fired from Gaza struck Israel in 2015, and 15 rockets in 2016. The IDF itself identified none of those rockets as having been fired by Hamas.
In 2017, according to the IDF, 35 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza. Most of them, about 30, had been fired in the very last month of the year, after US President Donald Trump on December 6 said Jerusalem was Israel’s capital (even though East Jerusalem is under international law “occupied Palestinian territory”, and for the US to move its embassy there would be illegal).
About half of them landed inside Gaza.
The IDF also acknowledged that these rockets were not being fired by Hamas. Rather, as the Israeli daily Haaretz reported, the IDF attributed the attacks to “the desire by Islamic Jihad and other Salafi organizations to thwart the planned reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas”, as well as Islamic Jihad’s “desire to avenge Israels destruction of a cross-border attack tunnel in October that killed 12 of the organizations operatives.”
The Zionist regime presents no evidence to back most of it’s claims. The world is to rely solely on it’s say so.
See, Hamas has actually long been trying to suppress the very rocket attacks the New York Times would have you believe it was responsible for routinely until the Gaza protests. Hamas and the Salafi groups firing these rockets are actually at odds with each other.
Of course, Israel holds Hamas responsible for any rocket attacks — even though it knows that Hamas isn’t the one doing it.
This has been the situation for quite a long time. Every serious observer knows this. Halbfinger is the Times‘ Jerusalem Bureau Chief. He cannot not know this.
Data for this year isn’t so easily obtained. But according to the list compiled at Wikipedia, there were six rockets fired in January and five or more in February.
Pointing out the low number of rocket attacks is not to trivialize their seriousness. Indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilian population centers are a war crime. T
he point is that the Times‘ claim that there had been “a fairly steady tempo” of rocket attacks until the Gaza protests started last month is at best misleading. And the Times‘ insinuation that rockets that have been fired were fired by Hamas is also maliciously false.
I would challenge Kaplow even to support his implication that Hamas fourteen months ago was responsible for firing rockets at Israel; but regardless, it puts the lie to the Times‘claim that Hamas had been steadily raining down rockets on Israel until the demonstrations began last month.
The falseness of the Times‘ claim also goes to the broader propaganda purpose of the article.
What the Times won’t tell you is that, actually, it is Israel that has routinely violated its ceasefire agreements with Hamas — including the ceasefires in place prior to its major operations “Cast Lead” (2008-2009), “Pillar of Defense” (2012), and “Protective Edge” (2014).
Hamas has also since 2005 expressed its acceptance of a Palestinian state alongside Israel within the 1949 armistice lines (a.k.a. the 1967 lines or “Green Line”).
And there is a great deal more about Hamas, and the Israel-Palestine conflict in general, that the Times does not disclose to its readers.
Palestinian land has been planted with 220 million Gharqad Tree trunks. Uniquely and seriously, the Zionists also advertised on the site that anyone could buy the Gharqad Tree via online and then donate it to Israel to plant it in the Land of Palestine.
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is a pillar of Israel’s state-enforced residential segregation. Before the bloody ethnic cleansing that founded the State of Israel, the JNF played a major role in driving Palestinians from land to found Jewish-only communities.
The JNF remains active in the Israeli State’s current operations to dispossess the Palestinian people. While planting trees to obliterate evidence of Israel’s crimes, the JNF seeks to present itself internationally as committed to environmental justice.
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown remain Honorary Patrons of the UK JNF, whose charitable status means that all donations are subsidized by UK taxpayers.
The Stop the JNF Sheffield Conference brings together experts in their fields to discuss the history and current criminality of the JNF, and how to continue the fight against the JNF in the UK.
The conference will be followed by a strategy day in Sheffield on April 19th 2020, for those wanting to get active in the campaign. Accommodation can be provided in Sheffield. Please register: https://forms.gle/4bYjKAT8Dy1SpBuU9 .
Doors open at 10.00.
Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement(via Skype)
Nur Masalha, Palestinian academic and author
Kholoud al-Ajarma, Palestinian activist
Jonathan Cook, journalist and writer based in Nazareth
“We intend to have over five million in place by 2030.”
Jerusalem Forest, August 8 – In what organization executives are calling a strategic move aimed at enhancing both the ecology and defense of the country, the Jewish National Fund will phase out the planting of trees that are not of the gharqad variety, and focus exclusively on the gharqad.
Chairman of the JNF Directorate Danny Atar announced today that the board had voted by a clear majority to move away from its reliance on pine trees and toward a local variety of boxwood called gharqad in Arabic, which reportedly has properties that will help Jews conceal themselves from Muslims in the final apocalyptic battle. The plan calls for a phasing out of non-gharqad varieties by 2020.
“The mission of the Jewish National Fund has always been the reclamation of the land of Israel for the Jewish people,” declared Atar at a press conference.
“Of course the land is only important insofar as it participates in the maintenance of Jewish survival and sovereignty.
Therefore the Directorate has voted overwhelmingly to invest in the gharqad, which will not betray us to the Muslims.”
Most of the saplings the JNF plants at a site near Jerusalem simply do not survive, and require frequent replanting. Elsewhere, needles from the pine trees have killed native plant species and wreaked havoc on the ecosystem.” – Journalist Max Blumenthal
The JNF, established in 1901, has planted more than 250 million trees in the land of Israel, and manages the country’s forests on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture.
It also owns or administers much of the country’s land, and exercises control over the sale, lease, allocation, and purpose of those lands. Most of the JNF’s funds come from affiliated organizations abroad, with the largest contributor JNF-USA.
Atar said he had discussed the issue last month with JNF-USA Chairman Ronald Lauder and other heads of international affiliates, and all agreed on the plan.
“We would be derelict in our duties not to plant the gharqad,” explained Atar. “Cypress and cedar pines are important, but it’s time to move on to more strategically helpful species.
My colleagues and I concurred that the gharqad is the wisest species to plant, and we intend to have hundreds of thousands of gharqads growing throughout the country by the start of the next decade, with over five million in place by 2030.”
“if Israel has not actually improved the land by making “the desert bloom” but instead degraded the land, the legitimacy of the state of Israel itself becomes questionable, as it suggests that its native inhabitants – the Palestinians – were better caretakers of the land than the current occupiers. For this reason, Israel must continue to propagate the myth regardless of the facts, and continue to deny Palestine’s rich cultural history and agricultural legacy.”
How, then, does it continue to portray itself as the victim, while painting the actual victims – Palestinians – as the aggressors?
It has become a tired and broken record, one that Israel and its ardent supporters play, regardless of the rationality of their arguments.
Any criticism of Israel, or any peaceful act to put pressure on the state, draws the same outrage, expressed through carefully thought out, yet irrational, talking points.
One soldier is heard to say “Who’s the coward now?” as the dogs tear at the youth’s clothes.
Anyone, or any organization, who dares to criticize the self-proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East” is accused of being motivated by anti-semitism.
Any critical act or protest aimed at pressing Israel to uphold international law, no matter how peaceful, is denounced.
Israel’s treatment with kid gloves is not new; what is new, however, is its launching of the bullying trigger button within seconds of an attack.
The reality is that the settlement enterprise itself is racist, because homes are only built for Jewish Israelis
While access to the nuclear button is normally reserved for the head of state, any pro-Israel civilian can launch the bullying trigger button, and they are encouraged to do so by Israel.
An army of social media trolls linked to Israeli missions abroad have their fingers hovering over this button, ready to defend as soon as they perceive an attack. It’s a button they have pressed repeatedly in recent days.
Take the case of Airbnb. The holiday property listings company enraged the bullying army by withdrawing listings for properties built in illegal Israeli settlements from its website.
Pro-Israel critics claimed that Airbnb was singling out Jewish Israeli properties, and therefore, this was anti-semitic.
Breaking international law
The first Zionists to establish “Israel” arrived wearing Hitler mustaches.
The reality is that the settlement enterprise itself is racist, because homes are only built for Jewish Israelis.
Imagine the outcry if Britain built homes only for white Christians, banning other inhabitants of Britain from acquiring them.
Settlements are also illegal under international law.
Airbnb said it took action because settlements were at the “core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians”.
A statement from the company noted: “US law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in these territories.
At the same time, many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced.”
A reasonable person would see clear logic in that stance. However, the bullying trigger button was pressed, and an illegal settler is now bringing a lawsuit against Airbnb.
Consider that for a moment: an illegal settler is suing a company for a moral and legal act.
It was then the turn of British Quakers to enrage the pro-Israel lobby. Their crime? Divesting from companies that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation.
Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain, said in a statement: “With the occupation now in its 51st year, and with no end in near sight, we believe we have a moral duty to state publicly that we will not invest in any company profiting from the occupation.”
More pressure needed
This time, it was the Board of Deputies of British Jews that pressed the bullying trigger button. In a statement, the board’s president, Marie van der Zyl, condemned the decision: “The appalling decision of the Friends House hierarchy to divest from just one country in the world – the only Jewish state – despite everything else going on around the globe, shows the dangers of the obsessive and tunnel-visioned approach that a narrow clique of church officials have taken in recent years.”
Any reasonable person who knows the Quakers would realize that they would have reflected seriously before making such a decision, and that it was based on their deep knowledge of the situation over decades.
Divesting from companies that profit from an illegal occupation is moral and legal.
Speak if you want to, they say, but the price will be high. The bullying trigger button can be pressed by anyone in defense of Israeli apartheid
Israel does not recognize that the West Bank and East Jerusalem are occupied. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has deemed it absurd to talk of an occupation, and the long-advertised US “deal of the century” will likely reflect this by avoiding a call to end the occupation.
This will certainly not lead to peace. What is needed is more pressure on Israel to comply with international law and to finally end the occupation of Palestinian land.
Airbnb was correct to identify the settlements as a core issue, and it is time that others follow suit.
Israel is a military force planted in Palestine for the Western powers from over a century ago.
Whither free speech?
The bullying trigger button will now be pressed regularly, judging by the number of moves to ban trade with illegal Israeli settlements.
Chile’s congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution demanding that the government “forbid the entry of products manufactured and coming from Israeli colonies in the occupied Palestinian territory”.
This follows hot on the heels of Ireland’s senate passing a bill banning the import of products from illegal Israeli settlements.
The vicious attack on CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill, fired for standing with Palestinians, shows that Israel is being singled out not for criticism, but rather for protection from accountability.
Israel is shutting down its critics on social media. It happened to me
Free speech, it seems, is a value that most claim to uphold – except those who blindly support Israel. Speak if you want to, they say, but the price will be high. The bullying trigger button can be pressed by anyone in defense of Israeli apartheid.
The Israelis love to muddy the water in order to take the focus away from the fact that they’re not Hebrews (all Hebrews are irrevocably dead) and have no right to the land of Palestine, a country they’ve stolen and destroyed.
The Israelis have been feeding us all a steady diet about this or that country or politician being a “new Hitler’ who will either gas 6M Jews “again”, or wants to wipe Israel “off the map” or even engage in a new Holocaust.
Gilad Atzmon brilliantly calls this mental disorder “pre-traumatic stress disorder”, and he is spot on.
The Israelis mostly used this “preemptive geschrei*” as a way to squeeze out as many concessions (and money) from the western goyim as possible.
But in a deep sense, it is possibly that the Israelis are at least dimly aware that their entire project is simply not viable, that you cannot ensure the survival of any state by terrorizing all of your neighbors.
Violence, especially vicious, rabid, violence can, indeed, terrorize people, but only for so long.
Sooner or later, the human soul will outgrow any fear, no matter how visceral, and will replace that fear by a new and immensely powerful sense of determination.
Here is what Robert Fisk said in distant 2006, 14 years ago: You heard Sharon, before he suffered his massive stroke, he used this phrase in the Knesset, you know, “The Palestinians must feel pain.”
This was during one of the intifadas. The idea that if you continue to beat and beat and beat the Arabs, they will submit, that eventually they’ll go on their knees and give you what you want.
And this is totally, utterly self-delusional, because it doesn’t apply anymore.
It used to apply 30 years ago, when I first arrived in the Middle East. If the Israelis crossed the Lebanese border, the Palestinians jumped in their cars and drove to Beirut and went to the cinema.
Now when the Israelis cross the Lebanese border, the Hezbollah jump in their cars in Beirut and race to the south to join battle with them.
But the key thing now is that Arabs are not afraid any more. Their leaders are afraid, the Mubaraks of this world, the president of Egypt, King Abdullah II of Jordan.
They’re afraid. They shake and tremble in their golden mosques, because they were supported by us. But the people are no longer afraid.
20 years ago this was unheard of. Even Palestine was mostly unheard of!
What was true only for some Arabs in 2006, has now become true for most (maybe even all?) Arabs in 2020.
As for the Iranians, they have never had any fear of Uncle Shmuel, they are the ones who “injected” the newly created Hezbollah with this qualitatively new kind of “special courage” (which is the Shia ethos, really!) when this movement was founded.
Empires can survive many things, but once they are not feared anymore, then their end is near.
The Iranian strike proved a fundamental new reality to the rest of the world: the USA is much more afraid of Iran than Iran is afraid of the USA. U.S. rulers and politicians will, of course, claim otherwise.
But that futile effort to re-shape reality is now doomed to failure, if only because even the Houthis can now openly and successfully defy the combined might of the “Axis of Kindness”.
You can think of U.S. and Israeli leaders as the orchestra on the Titanic: they play well, but they will still get wet and then die.
(*geschrei: the Yiddish word for yelling, crying out, to shriek)
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)