PDA

View Full Version : SO WHEN DOES ISRAEL EVER HAVE ENOUGH ?



Gayle in MD
03-27-2011, 11:35 AM
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> THEY TAKE TAKE TAKE....WHEN DO THEY STOP TAKING MORE, MORE MORE? </span>


http://www.salon.com/news/israel/index.h...palestine_palin (http://www.salon.com/news/israel/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/03/26/israel_palestine_palin)

Sarah Palin's trip to Israel this week, which included a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, didn't get much media attention amid a heavy news week. One of the more interesting moments of the trip came when, on Monday, Palin and her entourage attempted to go to Bethlehem, the city where Jesus was born.

But Bethlehem is in the occupied West Bank. And when Palin and her tour guides arrived at an Israeli checkpoint south of Jerusalem, photographers nearby noticed that Palin's vehicle stopped. At that point -- for reasons that are still unclear -- Palin decided not to go through the checkpoint and on to Bethlehem. The Guardian reported that Palin may have called off the visit because she had not pre-cleared it with the authorities.

Later in the week, there was, for the first time in several years, a bombing in Jerusalem that killed one woman and injured 30 at a bus station. Authorities have blamed the attack on Palestinians, though there has not yet been an arrest. Now, there's talk of heightened security measures -- which could mean more checkpoints and greater limitations on Palestinian freedom of movement.

In light of these developments, it's a good time to get some basic questions answered about the situation in Israel and the West Bank, with a particular focus on checkpoints. To do this, I spoke with Geoffrey Aronson, the director of research at the Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington. The following transcript of our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Can you give a brief explanation of what the occupation is?

Continue reading
The occupation began in June 1967 when, in the context of Israel’s war with Egypt, Jordan and Syria, it captured what has become known as the West Bank of the Jordan River, from Jordan. It captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt, along with other territories like Sinai and the Golan Heights from Syria. Israel didn’t annex these places as its own legally -- although it did in some respects -- but generally speaking it assumed the role of an occupying or administering power over those territories. It’s under that characterization that it has remained in the West Bank now almost 40 years.

So there are a number of Israeli troops in the West Bank all the time?

Yes. Israel occupies it, and it for many years had established a military government run by the Israeli Defense Forces to administer the areas it had conquered. That changed during the Oslo years beginning in 1993-94 when the IDF began to share some of those administrative responsibilities with what we know now as the Palestinian Authority. But even now it’s still held by Israeli troops. They are the de facto sovereign force there. It’s run by an Israeli general. And there are troops in the West Bank in numbers depending on the security requirements that Israel feels it has to meet.

How do the settlements factor into this whole picture?

The settlements are in some respects a unique aspect of this occupation, and they relate as much to the history of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs as they do to the situation after ’67. Israel is a self-made entity that began when people emigrated to then-Palestine, now Israel, beginning in the early 20th century. The way in which the Jewish community in Palestine gained a foothold and then claimed sovereignty was by settling Jews on the land. In large part this was a zero sum game, in the sense that by claiming land, that land and those resources and the sovereign energy that the resources represented were made unavailable to Palestinians who also claimed this land as their own. That process works for Israel in the sense that land and settlement led to sovereignty and led to a claim on the land that Arabs and the rest of the world ultimately would have no choice but to recognize. It’s that history that informed Israel’s interest in continuing settlement when it came into control of the land in June ’67 -- which many considered part of its God-given homeland. So in a sense what we’re seeing now is a continuation of the historical effort of the Jewish community in Palestine to expand its sovereign presence and by so doing undermine the ability of Palestinian Arabs to do the same.

But under international law this is considered illegal?

Most international lawyers whom one would consult would consider the settlement of civilians in permanent settlements in areas that are under hostile military occupation to be illegal. Israel, however, has its own view of this. The bottom line is they feel they’ve got a right to do this.

This past week when Sarah Palin was visiting Israel, she went up to a checkpoint to get to Bethlehem, and then abruptly decided not to go through. Can you explain what the checkpoints are?

Checkpoints are a military instrument to control the population that you have some reason to suspect. For the first few decades of the occupation, checkpoints were the exception rather than the rule. That began to change with the beginning of the Gulf War. We’ve seen since then that the Israeli decision to restrict and selectively address the ability of Palestinians to move not only into Israel -- which has been restricted tremendously -- but even within the areas that are under military occupation, has only grown and increased. In large part that is a function of Israel's desire to maintain what it prioritizes as a normal everyday life for Israeli settlers who are now living in these areas. Their needs have become the primary humanitarian or economic concern Israel has. If to preserve the normal everyday life of settlers requires restricting the movements of Palestinians, that is seen to be an acceptable trade-off. As the sense of security threat increases, so do the frequency and rigorousness of these checkpoints.

What physically happens at the checkpoints?

There’s a whole spectrum of checkpoints. From very simple but permanent -- earth mounds, for example, that block access permanently for people in vehicles -- to permanent checkpoints that resemble what was at the Brandenburg Gate that marked the division of Berlin. Each has its own character, each has its own set of operating procedures; sometimes the examinations are more rigorous than other times, sometimes cars are permitted through, sometimes they aren't. Sometimes cars with permits are permitted through and sometimes they aren’t. Ambulances are generally permitted through but oftentimes they’re stopped for examination. One of their signature characteristics is that there’s no transparency, there’s no clarity, there are no standards for operating procedures. So one never knows how one is going to be treated, if one will be able to get through, if it will be open, why it would be closed. That lack of transparency again is part of the essential arbitrary nature of the occupation itself.

And how many are there?

Depending on how you count there are some hundreds of obstacles and restrictions on free movement.

If Palin had gone through that checkpoint to Bethlehem as a tourist, what would have happened?

If she were a VIP she wouldn’t have any problem at all because it would have been coordinated and she would have been waved through. These days, things have gotten pretty loose at checkpoints and Bethlehem, in particular, is one that many tourists use. This is a very important economic corridor, both for Israel and for the Palestinian Authority. So, generally speaking, the standard operating procedures at this checkpoint aren’t as hard-edged as they are in many other places. They don’t want to spook tourists and give them the sense they’re in an armed camp and there’s an occupation. Nonetheless it’s a checkpoint, and its essence is to guard and restrict and constrain. So if you’ve got one young kid who's a soldier, he can keep you waiting there for a while. That’s the way the occupation is: It’s run at the lowest level by young kids. So Palin would have experienced a sanitized version of what Palestinians have to deal with every day.

And what is the unsanitized version?

You can wait under the hot sun for an hour, and then they close the checkpoint. Or you can be there with your screaming kid needing to see a doctor and then get there and the Israelis say, you don’t have the necessary permit, or the doctor signed it a week ago and it’s now expired, so you’ll have to come back. Generally speaking, people aren’t physically abused; that’s the exception rather than the rule.

Can you talk about the economic implications of the checkpoint system?

The primary economic effect of these is to at the very least add to the cost of doing business in every one of its dimensions, whether it be the time taken by employees to get to their place of work, the added cost of special security procedures for goods, to the lack of certainty that informs the whole process. For example, the idea of just-in-time inventory is impossible here because there’s no certainty that the roads will be open or that the checkpoint is functioning well or that it won’t close, and so forth.

Before the bombing this week there hadn't been any bombings in Jerusalem for several years. Was your sense that restrictions on movement had been loosened?

Absolutely. It was much easier to get around the West Bank for Palestinians and third parties alike. It was much easier, it was much more relaxed and there were fewer checkpoints.

What do you expect to happen now?

Certainly if there is an increase in tension I think one of the results will be an increase on the restrictions on movement. I don’t think Israel is anxious to do that, because it imposes costs on them in terms of public relations, which they prefer not to deal with. But in an environment where military security consideration are primary, and those professionals are the ones who set the policy, they understandably always come down on the side of more restrictions, harder lines and so forth. To the extent that tension increases, we begin a reinforcing cascade of decisions that oftentimes only increase tensions, make things worse. We’ve been out of that cycle for a couple of years, at least as far as the West Bank is concerned. The Gaza Strip is another story altogether. But when you don’t fix the problem, the good times last for a while and then you have bad times.





http://open.salon.com/blog/judy_mandelbaum/2010/08/19/new_gaza_convoys_set_sail_as_israel_loses_face





<span style='font-size: 14pt'>Israeli naval vessel escorting a Lebanese aid ship last summer</span>

There is no doubt about it: Israel's ongoing Gaza blockade has brought the country one of its most serious image crises yet. And there is no end in sight. Israel’s Channel 10 and Haaretz both reported this morning that yet another ship carrying humanitarian goods set sail for Gaza last night. This time, the Algerian government has launched a relief vessel containing sixty containers of food, medicine, office supplies, and educational materials. The vessel also has political and religious leaders on board. Its purpose, the “Muslim Wise Men Organization” explained, was to “show identification with the Palestinian nation."

It is unclear what reception the Algerian ship will receive when it reaches Israeli waters. In July, the Israeli navy intercepted a ship sponsored by the Libyan government on its way to Gaza and redirected it to the Egyptian port of El Arish. There its cargo was unloaded and taken by land to the Palestinian enclave.

Also today, activists in Lebanon announced that another aid ship would leave for Gaza on Sunday. According to the project leader, Samar al-Hajj, the all-woman crew of the “Mariam,” named for the Virgin Mary, would be packing medicine for the Gazan population. It will stop in Cyprus first. Israeli officials have warned it not to approach its waters. Al-Hajj told the press that "All on board were instructed to carry details of their blood groups in case they need blood transfusions in the event of being attacked by Israeli forces. There are nuns, doctors, lawyers, journalists, Christian and Muslim women on board," said al-Hajj. The passengers also include a group of American nuns and a touch of stardom: Popular Lebanese singer and femme fatale May Hariri.



Convoys and blockade runners enjoy a special mystique. The very words conjure up movie images of Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable. Their opponents? Not so much, and anyone who stops ships can easily end up looking like a pirate, Somali or otherwise, which is the kiss of death in the image wars - unless the pirate is played by Johnny Depp, of course. But how many are?

We'll soon find out. A further blockade-busting flotilla is preparing to set sail any day now. In June, leftist British political activist George Galloway announced the formation of his latest “Viva Palestina Convoy.” As Galloway described the project,

The land convoy will leave from London, will travel though Europe, Turkey, Syria and Jordan, and it will sail from Aqaba to Sinai and enter the gates of Rafah… The sea convoy will simultaneously leave on the same day, sail from country to country around the Mediterranean. We will arrive off Gaza together. We will enter together with the mightiest breach of the siege there has ever been, and we will end this siege that day.



Galloway hopes that the showy convoys will not only put an end to the Gaza siege but also finish off Israel once and for all. “Just as Soweto began the countdown to the end of the racist apartheid State of South Africa,” Galloway told a group of supporters in London, “so the killing of our martyrs on Monday began the numbering of the days of the Zionist apartheid State of Israel, be sure about that. … There can be no peace between truth and falsehood, there can be no peace between justice and oppression, there can be no peace between the occupier and the occupied, there can only be eternal struggle between them. There can only be eternal struggle until justice has prevailed and freedom has been won.” Galloway believes that with foreign states and international organizations condemning the Israeli raid, it is time to keep up the pressure. Prime Minister Cameron appeared to back him up last month when he bluntly stated “Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp."

Galloway reaffirmed his convoy plans in an editorial in the left-wing Morning Star last Friday. Galloway has already conducted three such Viva Palestina operations since early 2009. So far, though, there is no word on when the latest convoy – scheduled to depart yesterday – will actually get underway. (On the other hand, the “Kurdish Freedom Flotilla” supposedly being planned by a group of Israeli students, and which I wrote about here, seems to be permanently lost at sea.)

While Galloway’s statements may contain more bravado than beef, he is correct about Israel’s loss of prestige over the May 31 raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists were shot dead by IDF forces in international waters. He may even have been understating his case, since for the Jewish state the bad news just keeps on coming. Yesterday, the Israeli press announced that four IDF soldiers are being held for stealing laptop computers confiscated from passengers on the ships and selling them to their fellow soldiers. One of the suspects is a first lieutenant. Images of the soldiers covering their faces are now being splashed all across Middle Eastern media.



Cover his face - one of the accused soldiers

The stolen computers are only the sticky icing on a very foul-tasting cake. IDF soldiers also stole cell phones, an undetermined amount of cash, luggage, and other personal items. An Italian journalist claims that his stolen credit card was used to purchase items. Swedish writer Henning Mankell has formally demanded the return of his personal items, including a confiscated TV script.

"The investigation has just begun,” an Israeli officer was reported as saying, “but as it appears now it will prove embarrassing and shameful. These are soldiers who don't understand what their uniform represents."

Arab Knesset member Hanin Zoabi, who herself was on board one of the ships in the May flotilla and has since been stripped of her parliamentary privileges, told Ynetnews: "Everything that happened on board the ship was an act of pirates…the state cultivates a culture of criminality. If such culture grants legitimacy to killing people, is it any wonder that belongings are being stolen from passengers?"

The IDF is desperate to get this “humiliating” situation under control. One military source told Ynet: "This matter is very problematic in terms of values, as the incident allegedly took place after it was clear that the flotilla was a serious international affair. An officer who under such circumstances steals equipment which does not belong to him, and then tries to sell it – it's almost incomprehensible." Former defense minister Amir Peretz assured the public that “the IDF will do all it takes to clarify that this is a failure in values which cannot be ignored or forgiven,” adding that the offending soldiers are "weeds which must be uprooted."



“Weeds” nor not, the soldiers have seriously damaged the IDF’s already shaky reputation for fair play and are helping to make the Gaza Flotilla fiasco into even more of a public relations meltdown than it already is. Coming on the heels of the Facebook scandal, where IDF soldier Abin Abergil posed alongside blindfolded Palestinians under the caption “the best time of my life,” the scandal has done more damage to Israel than a thousand Qassam rockets. As Hanin Zoabi puts it, “This isn't the first time we hear the IDF being linked to looting and robbery. We've heard about incidents that took place in the West Bank; dozens of incidents involving Palestinians who were robbed and whose homes and businesses were looted. So I'm asking: Is this the society that claims that its army is the most moral in the world?"

It is almost as if Israeli society has simply stopped caring what the rest of the world thinks about it. As Israel steadily loses face thanks to these and a long list of other ugly actions, it seems determined to lose the image war, which means everything in today's media-driven world. And yet, this lack of caring can have some worrisome consequences for the future: In more bad news for Israel, a recent poll by Stanley Greenberg and the US-based Israel Project found a significant loss of US popular support for the Jewish state, particularly among American liberals affiliated with the Democratic Party. “One of the questions that the poll presented was ‘Does the U.S. need to support Israel?,'" Haaretz reports. "In August of 2009, 63% of Americans polled said that the U.S. does need to support Israel. In June of this year, 58% of respondents shared the same view; by July only 51% of respondents said the U.S. needed to support Israel.”

While it's not immediately clear to what extent all these negative images are to blame for this decline in public acceptance, there is no doubt that in the Middle East these days, a picture is worth a thousand friends.




<span style="color: #990000">
Gee... attacking an unarmed ship, murdering 9 people on board and then stealing their "booty"... nah, THAT's not state sponsored piracy now is it?

Where is it written, that in all of the world, ONLY ONE STATE GOVERNMENT, IS BEYOND REPROACH... REGARDLESS OF THEIR INHUMANE ACTIONS???? ACTIONS WHICH HAVE OBVIOUSLY GOTTEN MORE AND MORE ABUSIVE AND INHUMANE, OVER TIME? DOES ANYONE WHO NOTICES, DESERVE A LABLE OF ANTI-SEMITE? WHY DO WE SEND THEM MONEY, WHEN THEY REFUSE TO COOPERATE WITH ANNY OF OUR REQUESTS?

IOW...WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE????

!</span>

Sev
03-27-2011, 12:39 PM
http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t278/Sevelli/Amusing%20Pictures/head_up_butt_syndrome.jpg

Soflasnapper
03-27-2011, 12:56 PM
They KNOW who they are.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> On October 3, 2001, I.A.P. News reported that according to Israel Radio (in Hebrew) Kol Yisrael an acrimonious argument erupted during the Israeli cabinet weekly session last week between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his foreign Minister Shimon Peres. Peres warned Sharon that refusing to heed incessant American requests for a cease-fire with the Palestinians would endanger Israeli interests and "turn the US against us. "Sharon reportedly yelled at Peres, saying "don't worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America."

"The Israelis control the policy in the congress and the senate."

-- Senator Fullbright, Chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee: 10/07/1973 on CBS' "Face the Nation". </div></div>

True in '73, true in '01, true today, although receiving more critical attention, as from the Mearsheimer/Walt book on the power of their lobby.

Gayle in MD
03-27-2011, 02:58 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">They KNOW who they are.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> On October 3, 2001, I.A.P. News reported that according to Israel Radio (in Hebrew) Kol Yisrael an acrimonious argument erupted during the Israeli cabinet weekly session last week between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his foreign Minister Shimon Peres. Peres warned Sharon that refusing to heed incessant American requests for a cease-fire with the Palestinians would endanger Israeli interests and "turn the US against us. "Sharon reportedly yelled at Peres, saying "don't worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America."

"The Israelis control the policy in the congress and the senate."

-- Senator Fullbright, Chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee: 10/07/1973 on CBS' "Face the Nation". </div></div>

True in '73, true in '01, true today, although receiving more critical attention, as from the Mearsheimer/Walt book on the power of their lobby. </div></div>

OMG, you must hate jews, /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/crazy.gif LOL... /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/grin.gif

Soflasnapper
03-27-2011, 04:03 PM
So some would say, although as a deflection.

It's not hate speech to tell the truth, however much people may scream it is.

As Mearsheimer and Walt explicitly say, it is normal for countries to try to influence other countries' policies by lobbying and other means, and we do it ourselves all around the world.

It is also normal for a country to resist what other countries try to get it to do, when it is against its interests.

However, when the very subject of whether it is the fact or not that such influence is being brought to bear is verboten, then we have a problem. We have a problem.

Gayle in MD
03-27-2011, 04:55 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">So some would say, although as a deflection.

It's not hate speech to tell the truth, however much people may scream it is.

As Mearsheimer and Walt explicitly say, it is normal for countries to try to influence other countries' policies by lobbying and other means, and we do it ourselves all around the world.

It is also normal for a country to resist what other countries try to get it to do, when it is against its interests.

However, when the very subject of whether it is the fact or not that such influence is being brought to bear is verboten, then we have a problem. We have a problem. </div></div>

Yes, we certainly do.

G.

JohnnyD
03-27-2011, 06:20 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sev</div><div class="ubbcode-body">http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t278/Sevelli/Amusing%20Pictures/head_up_butt_syndrome.jpg </div></div>.

Qtec
03-27-2011, 08:34 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">A newly released video of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could add some additional strain to the sometimes tense relationship between him and President Obama.

In the video, which is from 2001, Netanyahu -- who reportedly did not know his speech was being recorded -- speaks frankly in Hebrew about relations with the Clinton White House and the peace process.

As noted in Haaretz, Netanyahu seems to boast of his knowledge of the US by saying, "I know what America is. <span style='font-size: 14pt'>America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.</span> They won't get in their way."

He also boasts of manipulating the U.S. in the ongoing peace process, as the Washington Post points out: </div></div>

link (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/16/netanyahu-in-2001-america_n_649427.html)

Q

Soflasnapper
03-28-2011, 08:36 PM
Offensive, of course, but not necessarily incorrect.

On Netanyahu's part, to make my meaning clear.