Turf War in Palestine

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on October 16, 2015


Illustration: Latuff again. The last Intifada was 2000. This is 2015. Not a time for another lost generation.

If you have been paying any attention lately, you have probably heard of the “unrest” on the West Bank. Actually, this time the Palestinians are not using slingshots that much anymore.

The knife has become the weapon of choice. While watching the scenes, including that of one guy shot 12 times in the back while running away, it was mentioned that 7 Israelis have been killed in the last two weeks by stabbings. It is assumed that these were all done by knives, but actually a couple used screwdrivers that being the only weapon available.

Even more interesting, to a kid that grew up in Chicago in the “Old Days” was that these 7 were about the same amount that were supposedly killed by missiles during the Gaza War when between 2000 and 3000 Arabs were massacred by Israeli air strikes. If you can count, it would seem that the knife is mightier than the missal. So, what kind of training camps are needed?

Probably any large city would provide many area were one could learn to use a knife quickly, and efficiently, or else. The switchblades of today are more complicated than they were in the old days, but seem quite as effective. So, either a real two-state solution or get knifed. I mean, that’s the way gangs in Chicago, New York, Detroit, and one hope Los Angeles has caught on as well.

So, Jews stay on their side of the border of 1967 and Arabs on their side. All will be well. And take down that damn wall!

It should be pointed out that there is no fear of another Holocaust on the part of Israelis. That is more or less kept alive as some sort of justification. We have to be against oppression, right?

We can’t let this go without mentioning the Democratic Debate, just briefly. The dumbest statement was from Webb, the short guy on the left of the screen when he complained about Assad “INVADING” Syria. No, Webb, he FUCKING LIVES THERE! The other issue was Bernie saying we are sick of Clinton’s damn e-mails. Well, we are, but comments right afterwards pointed out that Bernie lost an “opportunity” to be President. Well, so be it, we are tired of the damn e-mails, no matter who is President.

So, here is a discussion of Palestine. It is not that long, but it is something that has been ignored for too long. The three people are people who actually live in the region, one of them a Jew and two are Arab:


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEENSHAIKH: We turn now to the latest round of violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories, the worst since last year’s Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip. A series of uncoordinated stabbing attacks by Palestinians on Israelis has sparked a new Israeli crackdown on Arab areas. Israel says seven of its citizens have been killed and many more wounded by Palestinian assailants armed with knives and other weapons this month. Four of the deaths came on Tuesday, when separate knife-wielding attackers targeted a bus and a busy thoroughfare. Another rammed a car into civilians standing on a street. Israel has imposed new checkpoints and closures on Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and intensified military attacks in the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli forces have shot dead at least 11 suspected Palestinian assailants, though questions have been raised over whether all were armed or posed a threat. In the latest violence, two knife-wielding suspects were fatally shot on Wednesday. Overall, at least 33 Palestinians, including eight children, have been killed, and more than 1,600 have been wounded this month.

In a speech on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel is threatening to spark a religious war.

PRESIDENTMAHMOUDABBAS: [translated] These days, the Israeli aggressive assault against our people and its land and its holy places is escalating, and the racism is showing its ugly face and is making the occupation uglier. It is threatening peace and stability and is threatening to spark a religious conflict that would burn everything, not only in the region, but also in the whole world.

AMYGOODMAN: In the deadliest day of violence so far, Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians in Gaza Friday as hundreds marched on the border wall with Israel. Meanwhile, a Jewish assailant killed four Bedouin Arabs in a stabbing attack in the Israeli city of Dimona. On Wednesday, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. considers the Dimona attack an act of terrorism. He also raised concerns the Israeli military is using excessive force.

JOHNKIRBY: I think you’re going to ask me what—do we consider it an act of terrorism? And we do. … Certainly, individuals on both sides of this‚ of this divide, have proven capable of—and in our view, guilty of—acts of terror. … We’ve certainly seen reports of security activity that—you know, that could indicate the potential excessive use of force. And again, we don’t want to see that anywhere. We don’t want to see that here in our own country. So—so, yeah, we’re concerned about that.

AMYGOODMAN: The new flare-up appears partially fueled by Palestinian concerns over Israeli control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem and ongoing attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinians. It’s also sparked new demonstrations across the occupied West Bank that have revived talk of a Third Intifada.

For more, we’re joined by three guests. Diana Buttu is with us, an attorney based in Palestine. She served as a legal adviser to the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel, previously an adviser to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Gideon Levy is with us. He is Haaretz columnist and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. He is the author of The Punishment of Gaza. And Budour Hassan is a Palestinian writer, activist and law student at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her most recentpiece for Electronic Intifada is called “‘Son of Palestine’ mourned by thousands.”

We’re going to go first to Haifa to Diana Buttu. Can you tell us what’s happening right now? Are we seeing a Third Intifada?

DIANABUTTU: Well, it doesn’t matter how you classify it, if you classify it as an intifada or not as an intifada. But what is happening is that Palestinians are being killed at will by the Israeli government and by Israelis. It’s turned into a lynch mob scene, where all it takes is for one person to scream out that the person is an Arab or a terrorist, and suddenly you see the shoot-to-kill orders that have been issued by the government come into effect. We’ve seen this with at least a few children just this past week, with Fadi Alloun, who was killed last week. And all that it takes is simply one shoot-to-kill order, and there you have it. And so, what we are seeing now is protest. We’re seeing people who are fed up with living under Israeli military rule and who are demonstrating and demanding that they be free.

NERMEENSHAIKH: And, Diana Buttu, could you give us some sense of what you think accounts for this upsurge in violence? And also talk specifically about what’s happening in East Jerusalem. Israel has sealed many of the neighborhoods there. Tell us a little bit about who the residents principally are of East Jerusalem and what this means.

DIANABUTTU: Well, first, in terms of East Jerusalem, we’re talking about a population of 200,000 Palestinians, many of whom actually hail from West Jerusalem but were removed from the city in 1948 and now reside under Israeli military rule. These are people who are not citizens of the state of Israel; they are permanent residents. And living as permanent residents means that their residency is considered temporary by Israel, even though generations of these people have lived there.

The newest measures that have been put into place are everything from searching entrances into cities; demanding proof that people have paid their taxes, for some reason; also things such as indicating that they’re going to demolish homes of anybody who is suspected of being involved in any resistance or otherwise; and basically the shoot-to-kill orders that I’ve been speaking about.

Some of the videos that you’ve seen that have gone viral are videos of children who have been—one video, in particular, of a young boy who was hit in the head with a metal rod, who was run over by a jeep and then stood over by an Israeli settler telling him that he should die. These are—this is the type of activity that is taking place in Jerusalem.

Now, in terms of the protests themselves and what’s happening and what’s going on, or the reasons for it, it’s because it’s been going—this is a new generation that has lived exclusively under Israeli military control. This is a generation that hasn’t seen anything but the false promises of the Oslo agreements. It’s a generation that has to apply for permits to be able to go visit the sea, to be able to go to Jerusalem. It’s a generation that recognizes that the denial of freedom is not something that is normal or natural, and they are resisting this and standing up and saying to the Israelis, “Once and for all, we want to be free. Enough is enough.” And if the world is very concerned about these protests, etc., they should be actually demanding that Israel end its occupation, rather than demanding that the protests be quashed.

AMYGOODMAN: I wanted to turn to Budour Hassan. You have written for Electronic Intifada. You’re a student at Hebrew University. We’re speaking to you in Jerusalem. You have had the chance to speak with the family of Subhi Abu Khalifa, who stabbed and wounded an Israeli on Thursday. Can you talk about what the family said and what you understand is happening right now?

BUDOURHASSAN: Subhi Abu Khalifa lives in Shuafat refugee camp, which is literally a ghetto, which the Israeli occupation since the 1970s has tried to crush with all means possible, turning it into a poverty hub, turning—putting drugs in the camp, smuggling arms to some of the residents. So they’ve tried to do everything in the camp, not just to destroy the community there, but to also prevent this camp from being active in the Palestinian resistance movement. And Subhi Abu Khalifa comes from this background. And despite all the attempts to destroy this generation, Subhi Abu Khalifa and his brothers and his family and thousands who live in Shuafat refugee camp, despite all the hardships, are standing up against the Israeli occupation and resisting.

And what was astonishing about the interview with his family is that his father told me that just one day after the alleged stabbing, he was fired from his job, because he works at the Israeli occupation municipality’s cleaning services. And I’ve asked him, “Do you regret that, resent your son’s actions?” He told me this—he told me, “I will never value my job over my dignity.” And it was—his grandmother said the same. She said that “I will not accept that my children and my grandchildren will see the Israeli occupation or colonize our city, destroy our lives, stab our children and slaughter our children in front of our eyes, and they’ll be silent.”

So, this is just the case of Subhi Abu Khalifa, but there are tens of Subhi Abu Khalifas who have carried out these lone-wolf attacks and who—not only they are fed up with the Israeli occupation, they’re also fed up with the Palestinian Authority, with the Oslo Accords, with the neoliberalization of the Palestinian society. They are fed up with being preached all the time about being civil, about being respectable, in the face of the most uncivil and unrespectable army in the world. And they are fed up with being told that we should be nonviolent, when all that this so-called nonviolence and peace talks have brought is just further colonization, not only of Jerusalem, but also of the West Bank, further destruction of the Gaza Strip, and further attempts to erase Palestinian identity from Jerusalem, take over the urban space that Palestinians once had in Jerusalem, and also sort of pacify and try to take over the Palestinian mentality in Jerusalem, because what’s harder than what’s happening in Jerusalem is all these attempts to Israelify or to try to contain the anger in Jerusalem, try to pacify the spirits of people in Jerusalem.

So these people are saying, “No, we will never be Israelified. We will never be contained. And we will never be domesticated by all these attempts, even the slighter repression, the attempts of the Israeli municipality, for example, to sugarcoat the occupation by putting all these community centers, by trying to sound sweet and kind and visit Palestinian neighborhoods.” So these people, these young people, are not stupid to be deceived by this kind of sugarcoating. They are saying that “We don’t accept neither your hard repression, which is embodied by the checkpoints and the closures, nor do we respect your slighter repression, which is personified by these attempts to actually appeal or appease the Palestinian communities in Jerusalem.”

AMYGOODMAN: We’re going to take a break and then come back to this discussion. Budour Hassan is a Palestinian writer. She’s a student at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Diana Buttu is a Palestine-based attorney. She is joining us from Haifa. And when we come back, we will also be joined by Gideon Levy, the Haaretzcolumnist. He’s in Tel Aviv. Stay with us.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMYGOODMAN: Our guests are Diana Buttu—she’s in the studio in Haifa, a Palestinian attorney. Budour Hassan is joining us by Democracy Now! video stream from Jerusalem, a Palestinian student and writer. And Gideon Levy is also with us,Haaretz columnist, in Tel Aviv.

NERMEENSHAIKH: In an appearance at Harvard University, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to draw a link between the wave of violence and increased Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

SECRETARYOFSTATEJOHNKERRY: Unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody. And there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years. Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing—and a frustration among Israelis, who don’t see any movement. So, I look at that, and I say, you know, if that did explode—and I pray and hope it won’t, and I think there are options to prevent that—but we would inevitably be—you know, at some point, we’re going to have to be engaged in working through those kinds of difficulties. So, better to try to find the ways to deal with it before that happens than later.

NERMEENSHAIKH: That was Secretary of State John Kerry speaking Tuesday. Gideon Levy, could you respond to what he said and give us a sense of what the mood there is?

GIDEONLEVY: Unfortunately, I must say that John Kerry’s declaration is rather hypocritic. The Americans could have prevented long time ago; the Americans know exactly how to prevent it. If they really wanted to put an end to the occupation, the Israeli occupation would have come to its end long time ago. This policy of only serving carrots to Israel, of flattering to Israel again and again, is now decades long and never worked, never, ever worked. And the Americans never really tried the alternative path of putting pressure on Israel in order to bring Israel back to the international law, back to legal and order, back to morality.

And now John Kerry is saying that this can be prevented and should be prevented? Where were you in the last 67 years, in the last 48 years, when Israel is so much depending on the United States like never before, and you just gave Israel a carte blanche to go wild in Gaza, in the West Bank, again and again, build settlements, go for wars, and never tried to push Israel and to put an end to all this? So, really, with all the respect to John Kerry’s good intentions, this is not the way to deal with Israel after all those years.

NERMEENSHAIKH: But Israeli government officials, Gideon Levy, if you could give us a sense of how they’ve responded to remarks made by U.S. officials? The defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, for example, accused Washington of completely misreading the situation on the ground in Israel-Palestine. The public security minister called the U.S. remarks “foolish.”

GIDEONLEVY: Yeah, they got all the same message from the prime minister’s office: now to condemn the United States. In the last years, they found out that condemning the United States doesn’t take any price. Israel can talk to and about the American administration as if Israel is the superpower and the United States is just like one of those small countries which depend on Israel. They allow themselves what no country in the world allows themselves vis-à-vis the United States, going and trying to sabotage an international agreement with Iran in the American Congress against the American administration. Things which are unheard of by any other country, Israel learned in the recent years that they are possible—and not only possible, they are productive, and they are working. So, sure, Israel will attack now the Americans for any kind of criticism—

AMYGOODMAN: I want to bring Diana—

GIDEONLEVY: —because, you know, the Americans will not punish Israel for this.

AMYGOODMAN: I want to bring Diana Buttu into—back into the conversation. Also, Netanyahu was speaking at the U.N. General Assembly saying that Israel will now negotiate with the Palestinians without any preconditions.

DIANABUTTU: But that is a farce. I mean, one of the things that Netanyahu has said over and over again is that he’s not going to stop any settlement construction, in fact that he’s going to continue it. And, in fact, this is what has actually happened. In addition, what he’s also said is that they reserve the right to continue to kill Palestinians. And so, while he indicates that he has no preconditions, in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

But the issue is not whether there are preconditions, it’s whether the negotiations process actually works. And it doesn’t. I was part of the negotiations process. You cannot negotiate with one very powerful party, backed by a superpower—the United States—and a very weak party. We call that dictation. The negotiations have failed over the course of the past 22 years.

And so, now is the time, rather than heading back to negotiations, which only serve to give Israel more legitimacy, only serve to give Israel more international recognition—in fact, more countries started recognizing Israel after the negotiations process began than before it—rather than going back to that process, which was failed and futile for Palestinians, there needs to be a different way. And this different way is to be pushing for boycotts against Israel, to be pushing for divestment, and to be pushing for sanctions, to be pushing for Israel to be held accountable under international law, and to be pushing for Israel’s isolation. All of those measures will work. But going back to a failed negotiations process will not.

AMYGOODMAN: How does the Al-Aqsa Mosque fit into this, the current unrest?

DIANABUTTU: Amy, this is one of the reasons that we are seeing these latest round and latest wave of protests. If you just look back about a year ago, a year ago there was a very brutal Israeli attack on Gaza in which Israelis—in which the Israeli army killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, including more than 500 children. A hundred thousand Palestinian homes and businesses were demolished or destroyed, and still to this day remain unbuilt. Add to that this summer’s attacks by Palestinian—excuse me, by Israeli settlers on Palestinians, including the burning of a Palestinian home in the West Bank town of Duma that ended up killing an 18-month-old and his two parents. Add to that the Israeli measures to allow the Temple Mount Faithful, a group that actually believes in the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, allowing them onto the Al-Aqsa compound under the guise of religious freedom, when there is nothing involving prayer there at all, allowing them to be able to go there while simultaneously denying Palestinians and denying Muslims the ability to be able to go to their holy sites. This is exactly the recipe that the Israelis have been laying out time and again in order to spark another wave of protests or an intifada, what have you. And so, the issue of Al-Aqsa plays—is very central, but it’s not just Al-Aqsa, it’s all of the other measures that have been taken, as well.

AMYGOODMAN: Diana Buttu, we want to thank you for being with us, joining us from Haifa, a Palestine-based attorney. Budour Hassan, who was joining by video stream from Jerusalem and a Palestinian writer, writes for The Electronic Intifada. And the Israeli writer Gideon Levy, a Haaretz columnist, joining us from Tel Aviv.


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