U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 10:45 pm

[Noura Erakat, Palestinian human rights attorney, legal scholar and assistant professor at Rutgers University] What I want to emphasize about Israel’s use of force is, within the framework of jus ad bellum [Jus ad bellum refers to the conditions under which States may resort to war or to the use of armed force in general. The prohibition against the use of force amongst States and the exceptions to it (self-defence and UN authorization for the use of force), set out in the United Nations Charter of 1945, are the core ingredients of jus ad bellum], Israel does not have the right to self-defense against a population that it occupies. It cannot usurp enforcement, law enforcement power from the native population, impose a siege, govern the airspace, govern the seaports, govern the perimeter, govern entrance and exit, govern how much caloric intake Palestinians have — and then shoot missiles onto a besieged population. It cannot do both. This has been established by legal scholars, such as Christine Gray, on the law of self-defense. It is an old trope that was condemned in the 1970s, when Portugal, South Africa and Israel tried to claim the right to self-defense in order to protect its colonial territories. You cannot dominate another people and then use the claim of self-defense in order to protect that domination. Israel is not protecting itself or its citizens. It is protecting its domination. It is protecting its occupation.

-- “It Is Apartheid”: Rights Group B’Tselem on How Israel Advances Jewish Supremacy Over Palestinians, by Amy Goodman


Hanan Ashrawi & Rashid Khalidi: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim Palestinians
by Amy Goodman
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/14/ ... id_khalidi

Hanan Ashrawi: Palestinian diplomat and scholar.
Rashid Khalidi: Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University.
"What we're seeing now is just the latest chapter in Israel's dispossession of the Palestinians"
"The Hundred Years' War on Palestine"

Palestinian scholar Hanan Ashrawi says Israel’s latest assault on Gaza is turning life in the besieged territory into “sheer hell,” aided by U.S. military and diplomatic support. “Israel has total license to use unbridled power to kill and destroy and maim and get away with it,” Ashrawi says. We also speak with Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, who says President Joe Biden’s continued defense of Israeli actions reflects long-standing erasure and dehumanization of Palestinians. “One wonders what proportion you have to have of Arab deaths, of Palestinian deaths, over Israeli deaths. Is it 20 to 1 before the United States finally begins to recognize that this is not legitimate self-defense?” Khalidi says. “This is a perfect illustration of the bias that has been a feature of American policy for many, many years.”


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

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

As we continue to look at Israel’s assault on Gaza and the Palestinian uprising, we’re joined by two guests. In New York, Rashid Khalidi is Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University. He’s the author of several books, including his latest, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine. And in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi joins us, longtime Palestinian diplomat and scholar, formerly an Executive Committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the first woman to hold a seat in the highest executive body in Palestine. She also served as the official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace process.

We welcome both of you back to Democracy Now! Let’s begin in Ramallah with Dr. Hanan Ashrawi. On Thursday, the Israeli Defense Forces, the IDF, put out a one-line tweet: ”IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.” Can you talk about what’s happening there now and the significance of both the attacks there and also the mob attacks throughout other parts of Israel and the Occupied Territories?

HANAN ASHRAWI: Yeah. Well, what the Israeli occupation forces did was once again target an area that is the most densely populated area in the world, that is under a state of siege. They have nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. They don’t have sirens. They don’t have shelters. They don’t have a air force. And, of course, they have no protection whatsoever. And they started bombing and shelling, by air primarily. And they destroyed three — first, three major high-rise buildings with residential apartments, and then they continued. This is a pattern that continued. They escalated. They’re destroying roads and streets, infrastructure, electricity and so on. And they’re turning life in Gaza, which was already a disaster area as a result of the siege — they’re turning it into sheer hell.

And as you’ve mentioned, there were so many people killed, it’s not — I mean, it’s difficult for us to talk about statistics, but when I read stories, when I see pictures of whole families, a mother and her three kids, bombed, shelled, destroyed, killed brutally in their own homes, in their own beds, this is what the reality of living under occupation is, under a state of siege, where Israel has total license to use unbridled power to kill and destroy and maim and get away with it.

And then you get people like Biden and others say Israel has the right to self-defense. I will repeat something I’ve said and I continue to say: There is no normalcy under occupation. This is an abnormal situation. And an occupier who’s oppressing a whole people cannot claim self-defense if its victims decide to strike back even in a minimal way. The real issue is the occupation.

Now we are seeing — not just in Gaza, we are seeing horrific scenes, of course, of death and murder and destruction. We are seeing also in the West Bank there are protest marches ongoing in every town, city and village. You’re seeing in Jerusalem, again, the Israeli border guards, the Israeli security are targeting individuals. They’re killing — they’re shooting at Palestinians. They have injured scores of them and arrested many. In historic Palestine, in what we call 1948 Palestine, which became Israel, the indigenous Palestinians again are being targeted. They are in a — they’re being beaten up, actually, by Jewish Israelis because they happen not to be Jewish, because Israel legislated a basic law called the nation-state law, in which it says only Jews have the right to self-determination, which meant even Palestinians who were in Palestine before Israel was created, and although they are Israeli citizens, have no rights whatsoever. This is legalized discrimination and apartheid, very clearly.

So, as a result of decades of discrimination and oppression and so on, the Palestinians in all major areas, cities, towns and so on, in '48 Palestine, are now protesting, because they are facing the violence of the Israeli — ironically, the Israeli settlers, who came from the West Bank. It's not enough that they’re stealing our land, that they’re illegally building colonies and settlements in the West Bank. They are fully armed. They are never held to account. And they are always protected by the Israeli army in the West Bank. Now they have been imported, particularly the most extreme, racist wing, the Lehava group, that has been emboldened by and adopted, actually, by Netanyahu. And they are wreaking havoc within Israel, within what they call the mixed towns and cities, wherever they can find Palestinians, even though they are supposed to have the same passports or nationality as Israelis. They are totally vulnerable. And the Israeli security — Netanyahu actually also imported not just the settlers into Israel, but also the border guards, which means he is treating all of historical Palestine like an occupied territory. He’s treating Lydda, Ramle, Akka, Haifa, Jaffa, all these towns and villages, as though they are part of an occupied territory, which means Israel is reoccupying Palestine. This is a pattern.

But now it has come to a head because now Palestinians everywhere are united in their opposition to oppression, to injustice, to violence, to cruelty and brutality. You have them, as I said, in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, in the Gaza Strip and within Israel, '48 Palestine, and all over the world. Now Palestinians in the States and in Washington and Manhattan, New York, in Chicago, in different places, are also protesting, along with their allies, along with this amazing solidarity network that is emerging in the U.S., as well as in Europe and in the Arab world. So, there is this unity of identity, unity of struggle, despite the differences of injustice. It's not — you can be under occupation, you can be suffering also from discrimination and apartheid, you can be facing an army, you can be suffering exile, dispossession and refugee status, but you all know that the source of your oppression is the same. And that’s why we [inaudible] —

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I wanted to bring — I want to bring Professor Khalidi into this conversation. And he’s here in New York. And speaking of the United States and its role, I wanted to play a clip of President Joe Biden reiterating his support for Israel’s military attack on Gaza, shrugging off concerns over the mounting Palestinian death toll.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: And one of the things that I have seen thus far is that there has not been a significant overreaction.

AMY GOODMAN: Biden did not mention Palestine or Palestinians during Thursday’s remarks from the White House. And the Biden administration has stopped the United Nations on several occasions this week, the Security Council, from taking up a resolution. Can you talk about this, Professor Khalidi?

RASHID KHALIDI: Yeah. Well, one wonders what proportion you have to have of Arab deaths, of Palestinian deaths, over Israeli deaths. Is it 20 to 1 before the United States finally begins to recognize that this is not legitimate self-defense? We’re currently at about 11 to 1, 119 Palestinians killed in Gaza as against nine Israelis. And the biased rhetoric from American leaders, American politicians continues. I think that this is a perfect illustration of the bias that has been a feature of American policy for many, many years. You have in Washington an entrenched view, going back to what Hanan just said and what Representative Tlaib just said, that the Palestinians are less than human, are not important, they don’t really count. Thirty-one children have been killed. One Israeli child has been killed. Any child being killed is a tragedy. But that does not penetrate the consciousness of the politicians who make statements like this, whether the president or the secretary of state or the secretary of defense. And I think it’s tragic that a country that claims to be in support of human rights universally should basically consider a whole group of people less human and less entitled to rights.

I think that what’s happening all over historic Palestine today has brought us back to basics. I mean, it’s really tragic that it should have taken this kind of ordeal for everybody, but in particular for Palestinians. But it has brought us back to the understanding that things that were done back in 1948, things that have been done since 1948, whether the occupation of '67 or whether the Nakba of 1948, have echoed and echoed and echoed down to the present, what happened in Jerusalem in Al-Aqsa, what happened in Sheikh Jarrah, what's happening now.

Gaza is not just 2 million people in a strip of land 356 square miles. These are people who were driven from their homes in 1948 and who have been denied permission to return to those homes and have been stripped of their property by Israeli laws. Nobody talks about this in Washington. Nobody talks about the fact that — a terrible attack on a synagogue, which happened, for example, in Lod, a city that Israelis call Lod, has been featured in all the American media. The third-holiest mosque in Islam, built in the eighth century, has been attacked repeatedly. Stun grenades, tear gas bombs have been fired into the precincts of the mosque as worshipers are praying in Ramadan. I haven’t heard a peep out of an American official about this.

So, we’re really talking about something that at the top, at least, of the American political pyramid, in my view, is really quite disgraceful. And I think things are changing at the bottom. I think people are fully aware of the complete iniquity in the way in which the United States deals with this. And I think they’re beginning to be aware of the fact that the American weapons being used to kill 31 children in Gaza and another 80 people, others, most of them civilians, are being used in violation of U.S. law. U.S. law dictates that those weapons be used solely for defensive purposes. So, when American officials bleat about Israel is engaged in self-defense, what they’re doing is not just protecting Israel, they’re protecting themselves, because otherwise those arms sales would be illegal, and they would be complicit in illegal actions. So, I think that it’s disgraceful that we should hear such statements. But it is really interesting that other voices are beginning to be heard in the United States and around the world protesting this.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see a difference, Professor Khalidi, between the Trump administration and the Biden administration, between President Trump and President Biden, in dealing with Israel?

RASHID KHALIDI: Well, of course there are differences, but they play the same tune. They play it in a different register. The Trump administration essentially adopted the most extreme tenets of the most extreme Israeli government in history. It’s a government that intends to create one Jewish supremacy state in the entirety of what they call the land of Israel. That’s the Netanyahu agenda. And the Trump administration signed on to that completely.

This administration, however, is still committed to the same kind of bedrock inequalities that every American administration for decades has supported, whether this involves not talking about Palestinians at all, as no administration official has done all week, or whether this involves a kind of acceptance of Israeli terms, like Israel’s security. Israel’s security is seen to mandate the killing of 119 people, most of them civilians, a dozen women and 31 children. That kind of thing, it was shared — that kind of logic, I should say, is shared between all of the American administrations, really —

AMY GOODMAN: You talk about —

RASHID KHALIDI: — for many decades.

AMY GOODMAN: You talk about going back decades. I wanted to go back to 1986, what, like, more than 35 years ago, when then-Senator Joe Biden talked about U.S. support for Israel, saying if Israel did not exist, the U.S. would have to invent an Israel to defend its interests in the region. This is what he said.

SEN. JOE BIDEN: We look at the Middle East. I think it’s about time we stop, those of us who support, as most of us do, Israel in this body, for apologizing for our support for Israel. There’s no apology to be made. None. It is the best $3 billion investment we make. Were there not an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interest in the region. The United States would have to go out and invent an Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Senator Biden in 1986. Has he changed his view? And talk about what he is saying, Professor Khalidi.

RASHID KHALIDI: Well, what he’s saying is that Israel operates as a proxy of the United States in the Middle East. And what he’s also saying is, “Vote for me and continue to give me campaign donations.” That’s unspoken. And those two elements in support for Israel, both in the Democratic Party and in the Republican Party, have been constants.

The search for a strategic role for Israel sometimes has gotten pretty desperate, because Israel in fact harms American interests, in many cases, in the Middle East. But the pretext which, during the Cold War — Biden was speaking in ’86 at the very end of the Cold War. During the Cold War, it could be argued, “Well, Israel is an American proxy, and there are Soviet proxies,” and so on. Those feeble pretexts for arguing for a strategic role for Israel as benefiting the United States, those have disappeared since the Cold War.

Since then, unfortunately, the so-called war on terror has taken the place of that. And Israel has managed to merge into American concerns that were sparked by the 9/11 attacks and the rise of the Islamic State and so forth, in order to sell itself to Americans — Netanyahu is a master salesman in this regard — as a valuable ally in the war on terror. In fact, American support for Israel probably provokes a lot of terrorism. Israeli actions, we know, provoke resistance. Colonial settler regimes always provoke resistance. If you dispossess people, they’re going to resist. Native Americans did the same thing. Africans facing settler colonialism did the same thing. Palestinians have resisted. And this resistance, coded as terrorism, is then turned into a pretext for arguing that Israel is vital to American interests. Well, if you did not have this settler colonial process of dispossession, which has been going on since 1948, you would not have the resistance, and you would not have what is being called terrorism by American politicians.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, can you talk about what you think is going to happen over these next few days, and particularly tomorrow, the significance of the day, tomorrow, as well as these attacks happening during Ramadan and the end of Ramadan?

HANAN ASHRAWI: Well, of course, it’s expected. Tomorrow is the commemoration of Al-Nakba, in which — the date in which Israel was formally formed or created on the land of Palestine. But it’s not the beginning of Palestinian suffering, because the Zionist enterprise started way before that, and not just even with the Balfour Declaration of [ 1917 ] and so on. There has always been an attempt at dispossessing Palestinians, displacing them and replacing them with another nation.

And the extremist Zionist ideology actually gained more and more traction, and has been adopted now ’til now, in a process of negation of a whole nation — our land, our history, our culture, even our very physical presence, our identity — and replacing them, replacing us, with a new narrative, with a new people that came from outside Palestine, at the expense of the Palestinian people, without any kind of curbs or engagement or accountability.

So, to the Palestinian people, the date Al-Nakba signals a process. It probably is in the middle of this process, but it is always ongoing. And as you have seen in the protests in '48 Palestine, the Zionist ideology does seek to displace and replace a whole people. It is not — it is a settler colonial enterprise. It has acted [inaudible] protection as a colonial — a Western colonial outpost. It has been a functional state, let's say, for the remnants of Western colonialism. And the U.S. —

AMY GOODMAN: So, what do you think needs to happen now?

HANAN ASHRAWI: I think what needs to happen is to provide two things: Palestinians need protection in accordance with the law, and Israel needs accountability in accordance with the law. The problem is it has been emboldened. It has been given license to act with full impunity. It has become the primary source of identification and support, these refrains that Rashid talked about where — you know, Israel’s right to self-defense, which is absolutely bizarre and unconscionable. This is one thing, in addition to the fact that the pro-Israel lobby, as well as other factors, self-interest in terms of elections and so on — all these things have worked together in order to give Israel preferential treatment and immunity to act with full impunity. What needs to be done is to treat Palestinians with full recognition of our rights to freedom, to dignity, to live in our own land, to self-determination, actually, and to stop treating Israel as a country governed by international law and humanitarian law. This is one.

The U.S. — of course, we’re not going to expect miraculous transformations. We know that the Biden administration has bent over backwards now in order to prevent any kind of an intervention or engagement. Sending a sort of symbolic, let’s say, third-, fourth-level civil servant does not do anything — Hady Amr going to Israel or wherever — when Netanyahu clearly told the American administration, whether it’s the president or the secretary of state, that it’s none of your business. When they asked him to calm down on the issue of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Jarrah evictions, he said, “We have the right to do whatever we want,” and told them very clearly, “It’s none of your business.” So you think Hady Amr is going to come and be listened to and has — or will have the full weight of the office? No, it’s clearly just a gesture, a symbolic gesture.

And, of course, Biden is looking internally at his own elections, at his own party’s elections, and he’s ignoring a whole body of a new conversation in the U.S. — the progressives, the minorities, women’s movements, LGBTQ, Black. Everybody is out there placing Palestine in the middle of a conversation of rights, of equality, of justice. And within the Democratic Party, they’re not just turning a blind eye, they are sort of closing off their ears, because they don’t want to hear. There are changes now. There’s a new conversation, a new language. Palestine is no longer taboo. It is part of the discussion. It is part of the global rights movement. We have allies.

And to add to what Rashid said, this unholy alliance between the U.S. and Israel historically has cost the U.S. a great deal. It has cost their credibility and standing and interests and quite often even lives, because when you have this obsessive support for a country that is creating a situation of extreme abnormality and injustice, and the occupation is in itself an abnormal state, a state of constant aggression, and yet it is getting cover and protection and it is getting emboldened — as we said, during the Trump administration, they became party to — they became actually partners in the crime of the Israeli occupation and annexation and so on. So, this does not in any way serve American interests. It may serve the interests of individuals who seek to get reelected on the basis of Palestine bashing and rendering the Palestinians invisible and silenced, and amplifying only the Israeli voice in a distorted way. But at the same time, the truth is coming out. You can no longer —

AMY GOODMAN: On that note, we have to end it there, but, of course, we’ll continue to cover what is happening and developments on the ground in Gaza, in the West Bank and in Israel, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian diplomat and scholar, speaking to us from Ramallah, and professor Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University. We’ll link to your op-ed in The Washington Post headlined “What we’re seeing now is just the latest chapter in Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians.”
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 10:47 pm

Watch Rep. Rashida Tlaib Blast U.S. Aid for Israel & Attack on Gaza in Dramatic House Floor Speech
by Amy Goodman
May 14, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/14/ ... e_gaza_war

As the death toll in Gaza reaches at least 119 amid Israel’s escalation of its aerial assault, Congressmember Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress, delivered a powerful speech on the House floor Thursday to denounce the violence and attempted erasure of the Palestinian people. “I am the only Palestinian American member of Congress now,” Tlaib said. “I am a reminder to colleagues that Palestinians do indeed exist.”


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

AMY GOODMAN: The death toll in Gaza has reached at least 119 as Israel escalates its aerial assault and fires heavy artillery at the besieged territory. Israel is also threatening to send in ground troops. Israel has so far killed at least 31 Palestinian children, many under the age of 10. Gaza authorities report 40% of the victims in the Israeli assault have been women and children. Over 830 Palestinians have been wounded so far this week, but Gaza’s hospital systems are on the verge of collapse as doctors face shortages of medicine and recurring power outages. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports more than 24 Palestinian schools have also been damaged in the Israeli strikes.

Eight people have died in Israel as Hamas continues to fire rockets from Gaza. Israel has rejected calls for a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, the United States has blocked the U.N. Security Council from holding a meeting today on the crisis. Earlier in the week, the U.S. twice blocked the Security Council from issuing statements on the violence. On Thursday, President Biden said Israel’s actions do not represent a, quote, “significant overreaction.”

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities have arrested dozens of Palestinians living in Israel, in an attempt to quell an unprecedented uprising. Many are being held without access to legal counsel. Jewish mobs have been filmed attacking Palestinians across Israel, some on live television. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Al Jazeera reports more than 40 Palestinians have been injured, both by the Israeli military as well as mobs of Jewish settlers.

This all comes as Palestinians are planning to mark the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, as they call it, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes after the state of Israel was formed.

Later in the program, we’ll be joined by two leading Palestinian figures, the historian Rashid Khalidi and the longtime diplomat and politician Hanan Ashrawi. But we begin with the words of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. She became the first Palestinian American woman to be elected to Congress in 2018. She spoke Thursday on the floor of the House.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: I am the only Palestinian American member of Congress now, and my mere existence has disrupted the status quo. I am a — so personal for me. I am a reminder to colleagues that Palestinians do indeed exist, that we are human, that we are allowed to dream. We are mothers, daughters, granddaughters. We are justice seekers and are unapologetically about our fight against oppressions of all forms.

And, colleagues, Palestinians aren’t going anywhere, no matter how much money you send to Israel’s apartheid government. If we are to make good on our promises to support equal human rights for all, it is our duty to end the apartheid system that for decades has subjected Palestinians to inhumane treatment and racism, reducing Palestinians to live in utter fear and terror of losing a child, being indefinitely detained or killed because of who they are, and the unequal rights and protections they have under Israeli law. It must end. One of Israel’s most prominent human rights organizations, B’Tselem, has declared Israel an apartheid state. Human Rights Watch recently recognized it, too. This is what Palestinians living under Israel’s oppression have been telling us for decades.

I have been told by some of my colleagues who dispute the truth about segregation, racism and violence in Israel towards Palestinians that I — that I need to know the history. What they mean, unintentionally or not, is that Palestinians do not have the right to tell the truth about what happened to them during the founding of Israel. They are, in effect — effect, they erase the truth about ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Israel, that some refer to as the Nakba, or catastrophe.

As Palestinians talk about our history, know that many of my Black neighbors and Indigenous communities may not know what we mean by Nakba, but they do understand what it means to be killed, expelled from your home, land, made homeless, and stripped of your human rights. My ancestors and current family in Palestine deserve the world to hear their history without obstruction. They have a right to be able to explain to the world that they are still suffering, still being dispossessed, still being killed as the world watches and does nothing. As Peter Beinart, an American of Jewish faith, writes, quote, “When you tell a people to forget its past you are not proposing peace. You are proposing extinction.” The Palestinian story is that of being made a refugee on the land you call home. We cannot have an honest conversation about U.S. military support for the Israeli government today without acknowledging that for Palestinians, the catastrophe of displacement and dehumanization in their homeland has been ongoing since 1948.

To read the statements from President Biden and Secretary Blinken, General Austin and leaders of both parties, you’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all. There has been no recognition of the attack on Palestinian families being ripped from their homes in East Jerusalem right now or home demolitions; no mention of children being detained or murdered; no recognition of a sustained campaign of harassment and terror by Israeli police against worshipers kneeling down and praying and celebrating their holiest days in one of their holiest places — no mention of Al-Aqsa, being surrounded by violence, tear gas, smoke, while people pray. Can my colleagues imagine if it was their place of worship filled with tear gas? Could you pray as stun grenades were tossed into your holiest place?

Above all, there has been absolutely no recognition of Palestinian humanity. If our own State Department can’t even bring itself to acknowledge the killing of Palestinian children is wrong, well, I will say it for the millions of Americans who stand with me against the killing of innocent children, no matter their ethnicity or faith. I weep for all the lives lost under the unbearable status quo, every single one, no matter their faith, their background. We all deserve freedom, liberty, peace and justice, and it should never be denied because of our faith or ethnic background. No child, Palestinian or Israeli, whoever they are, should ever have to worry that death will rain from the sky. How many of my colleagues are willing to say the same, to stand for Palestinian human rights as they do for Israelis’?

There is a crushing dehumanization to how we talk about this terrible violence. The New York Post reported that Palestinian death row — reported the Palestinian death toll as Israeli casualties. ABC says that Israelis are, quote, “killed,” while Palestinians simply, quote, “die,” as if by magic, as if they were never human to begin with. Help me understand the math. How many Palestinians have to die for their lives to matter?

Life under apartheid strips Palestinians of their human dignity. How would you feel if you had to go through dehumanizing checkpoints two blocks from your own home to go to the doctor or travel across your own land? How would you feel if you had to do it while pregnant in the scorching heat as soldiers with guns controlled your freedom? How would you feel if you lived in Gaza, where your power and water might be out for days or weeks at a time, where you cut — were cut off from the outside world by inhumane military blockade?

Meanwhile, Palestinians’ rights to nonviolent resistance have been curtailed and even criminalized. Our party leaders have spoken forcefully against BDS, calling its proponents anti-Semitic, despite the same tactics being critical to ending the South African apartheid mere decades ago. What we are telling Palestinians fighting apartheid is the same thing being told to my Black neighbors and Americans throughout that are fighting against police brutality here: There is no form of acceptable resistance to state violence.

As long as the message from Washington is that our military support for Israel is unconditional, Netanyahu’s extremism, right-wing government will continue to expand settlements, continue to demolish homes and continue to make the prospects for peace impossible. Three hundred and thirty of my own colleagues, Democrats and Republicans here, 75% of the body here, signed a letter pledging that Israel shall never be made to comply with basic human rights laws that other countries that receive our military aid must observe.

You know, when I see the images and videos of destruction and death in Falastin, all I hear are the children screaming from pure fear and terror. I want to read something a mother named Eman in Gaza wrote two days ago. She said, quote, “Tonight, I put the kids to sleep in our bedroom. So that when we die, we die together and no one would live to mourn the loss of [one another].” The statement broke me a little more because of my country’s policies and funding will deny this mother’s right to see children live — her own children live without fear and to grow old without painful trauma and violence.

We must condition aid to Israel on compliance with international human rights and end the apartheid. We must, with no hesitation, demand that our country recognize the unconditional support of Israel has enabled the erasure of Palestinian life and the denial of the rights of millions of refugees and emboldens the apartheid policies that Human Rights Watch has detailed thoroughly in their recent report.

I stand before you not only as a congresswoman for the beautiful 13 District strong, but also as a proud daughter of Palestinian immigrants and the granddaughter of a loving Palestinian grandmother living in the occupied Falastin. You take that, and you combine it with the fact that I was raised in one of the most beautiful, Blackest cities in America, a city where movements for civil rights and social justice are birthed, the city of Detroit. So I can’t stand here — I can’t stand silent when injustice exists, where the truth is obscured. If there’s one thing Detroit instilled in this Palestinian girl from Southwest, it’s you always speak truth to power, even if your voice shakes. The freedom of Palestinians is connected to the fight against oppression all over the world. Lastly, to my sitty in Falastin, ’ashanek ’iinaa iaquf huna [phon.]. I stand here because of you. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, speaking on the House floor Thursday. She’s the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress.

When we come back, we’ll be joined by two leading Palestinian figures: the historian Rashid Khalidi and the longtime diplomat and politician Dr. Hanan Ashrawi. Stay with us.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 10:49 pm

“The Scene Is Horrific”: Gazans Trapped as Israel Escalates Bombing, Killing Dozens in the Territory
by Amy Goodman
May 13, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/13/ ... airstrikes

Issam Adwan: Gaza project manager for We Are Not Numbers.

The death toll in Gaza has reached at least 83, including 17 children, and hundreds of people have been injured, as Israel’s aerial bombardment of the besieged territory continues. Israel is now sending troops to the Gaza border for a possible ground invasion as many Palestinians are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The Biden administration on Wednesday gave Israel a green light to continue its assault, and Israel has reportedly rejected calls for an immediate ceasefire, despite growing international condemnation. Issam Adwan, Gaza project manager for We Are Not Numbers, a youth-led initiative to share Palestinian stories with the wider world, says many international observers make the mistake of viewing the latest violence in isolation. “They think this war is the only violation of human rights Israel is doing to the people of Gaza. Over the past 15 years, we have witnessed three brutal wars, and this is a fourth one,” says Adwan.


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

AMY GOODMAN: The death toll in Gaza has reached at least 83 as Israel’s aerial bombardment of the besieged territory enters a fourth day. The dead include at least 17 children. Over 480 Palestinians have also been injured. Israel is now amassing troops near Gaza for a possible ground invasion.

This comes as many Palestinians are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. On Wednesday, Israel leveled one of the tallest buildings in Gaza City, a 14-story high-rise that housed several local media outlets as well as residential units. It was the third Gaza high-rise destroyed this week by Israel. Israel has also killed several top Hamas commanders.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Israel has reached seven as Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups continue to fire hundreds of rockets into Israel. Israel is reportedly rejecting calls for an immediate ceasefire, saying the assault will continue until there’s, quote, “complete quiet in Gaza.”

The deadly Israeli attacks come after hundreds of Palestinians were injured in Jerusalem and the West Bank by Israeli security forces Monday and over the weekend, including during crackdowns at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and over ongoing protests to stop the expulsion of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden reasserted Israel’s right to defend itself.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Israel has a right to defend itself, when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory. But I had a conversation for a while with the prime minister of Israel, and I think that — my hope is that we’ll see this coming to conclusion sooner than later.

AMY GOODMAN: On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his, quote, “ironclad support for Israel” in a call with his Israeli counterpart. Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the United States has blocked another Security Council resolution about the crisis.

Violence is also spreading across Israel with Jewish mobs attacking Palestinians in mixed Jewish and Arab communities. In the Israeli city of Haifa, a video was posted online showing an Israeli mob trying to break into the home of an Arab family.

In the Israeli city of Bat Yam, an Israeli mob was shown on live TV attacking a driver who they suspected of being an Arab. The man was dragged from his car and attacked. He was left bleeding on the ground after what the Israeli media described as an “attempted lynching.” The Financial Times reports the man was Jewish but was mistaken as an Arab. In other parts of Bat Yam, large groups of Israelis were seen vandalizing Arab-owned businesses.

In the city of Acre, Israelis were filmed marching in the streets chanting “Death to Arabs.” In the Israeli city of Lod, hundreds of border patrol officers have been deployed in a curfew following sustained protests by the city’s Palestinian residents. On Wednesday, groups of Israelis attacked the Great Omari Mosque of Lod. Earlier in the week, a Palestinian man was shot dead there. At least one synagogue has also been set on fire.

We begin today’s show in Gaza, where we’re joined by Issam Adwan. He’s the Gaza project manager for We Are Not Numbers.

Can you describe, Issam, what’s happening on the ground in Gaza right now?

ISSAM ADWAN: Thank you, Amy, for having me here.

Basically, we have been seeing an ongoing aggression on Gaza. And this is ongoing, has been happening since 2008, 2012, 2014. And nowadays we are witnessing fourth brutal war of Gaza. The scene is horrific, and it’s terrifying on our children and ourselvesthat we find a lot of stories of the children, a lot of stories of women, and this is creating a lot of scary moments for our people to handle. As you said, the minister of health has reported the death toll, until so far, 83 people, including 17 children and seven females, including a female who was pregnant. And all this coming news out of Gaza, they are not something new. Luckily, that the social media and the international community paid enough attention to the Israeli aggression that is happening in Gaza and the West Bank, as we have been witnessing in the past week as it happens, in Sheikh Jarrah, the land grabbing, the detention of children and — including children and women, and the theft of Palestinian homes and continuous ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and in different cities and different villages of Palestine.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Issam, even before the present assault on Gaza, conditions in Gaza were more or less unlivable. The U.N. warned in 2012 that by 2020, if prevailing conditions at the time continued, the area would be entirely uninhabitable. Could you talk about what conditions, living conditions, in Gaza have been like?

ISSAM ADWAN: That is what — that is exactly what the international community fails to understand, that they think this war is the only violation of human rights Israel is doing to the people of Gaza. Over the past 15 years, we have witnessed three brutal wars, and this is a fourth one, including the situation is deteriorating from different levels. We are seeing medical insufficiency of expertise, of equipment. We are seeing the economy is collapsing day by day, and the unemployment rate is crazily increasing. And the water is undrinkable. People could barely find food and water to feed their children. And so many other levels of dehumanization. Gaza has been sieged 15 years with an absolute policy to suffocate every norms of a human being’s existence. And whatever people are expecting, what methods of Gaza can express to defend the existence of people in Gaza, as much as people in the West Bank and in the Palestinian territories?

What Israel has been enforcing — has been enforcing to Gazans is a bargaining plate, that “If you remain silent, we will grant you crumbs of rights. We will grant you a little bit of water, natural resources to use. We will grant you eight hours a day of electricity. We will grant you other services of import and import — of export and import coming in and out of Gaza.” And this is the forms of dehumanization that the international community and the media stream are failing to understand.

That is why they are calling and they are entitling our suffering as a matter of a conflict, as a matter of tension, as a matter of escalation, which is so untrue. This is not a conflict. When we are talking about conflict and tension, we’re talking about symmetrical powers that are, I would say, having the same military equipment, the same funding. And to talk about the funding itself, which the U.S. is granting impunity on the political level as much as funding Israel with 3.8 billions of dollars per year, mainly to fund the military occupation.

Those facts, they are not new to the people who are following the news coming out of Gaza. But you don’t hear our stories. You only hear our stories whenever there are numbers of people dying, whenever there are hundreds of people injured, and whenever there are tens and hundreds of bombing happening in the areas of Gaza. That is why we are trying to amplify those stories. We don’t want you to see us as means of numbers. We don’t want you to see us as means of people suffering. But we are people trying to live in peace and dignity. And Israel is not allowing this, and Israel has been violating all norms and all accords of humanity, with full impunity by the U.S. government, as well as the supreme countries all over the world.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Issam, as far as the telling of Palestinian stories is concerned, could you also talk about the coverage in the Israeli media? I mean, some have said that media that are routinely critical of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government and his policies, in this instance, in covering this assault in Gaza, those same media outlets have called for the military, the Israeli military, to be as forceful as possible, etc. Talk about how this is being reported in the Israeli media.

ISSAM ADWAN: Of course, the Israeli media, with the support of the international media, as well, they are reporting Gaza as terrorist, because they are only focusing on the reaction — on the self-defense reaction of the Palestinians in Gaza shooting rockets. But why? Why to discuss the shooting of rockets and ignoring the fact that Israel has been ethnically cleansing Palestine since 1948, land grabbing Palestinians, forcibly expelling Palestinians in the West Bank, in the Occupied Territories, and even not allowing people of the diaspora to return, as stipulated by the United Nations Resolution number 194? We are talking about many human rights violations that are — that should be worthy to be discussed and should be worthy to be asked for. But when it comes to Gaza, they only see Gaza as means of reaction.

And when it comes to shooting rockets and comparing to what happened, for instance, during the Great March of Return, we can clearly see and we can clearly state that Israel does not really need any reason to violate human rights. Israel has been violating human rights. Israel has been established on the forcibly expelling of Palestinians, on the killing, on the imprisonment, including children and women. We have been seeing this aggression on Gaza in 2008, 2012, 2014 and nowadays. Taking an example of this aggression, in 2008, when Israel launched a vast-scale bombing in Gaza, in three minutes, death toll raised to 400 people died. During the Great March of Return, people protested peacefully, which is supposedly the international laws protecting. What we have encountered with? Live ammunition, explosive bullets, sniper rifles, tear gas, and so many other means that are considered internationally prohibited to be used against peaceful protesters. So, why to discuss the reaction, the angry reaction, of the Palestinians, considering the existence — Hamas would have never been existed without the existence of the occupation itself.

So, I believe, after 73 years of this occupation, and my age, 27 years, lived under this direct occupation, and for the past 15 years, imprisoned, denied 99% of my rights, I believe those sufferings are worthy to be discussed. Those sufferings are worthy to be put in the discussion table with Israel to impose sanctions, to take those cases to the ICC. And we have been witnessing, over the long decades, that Israel has never been punished, has never been sanctioned by the ICC, of course, because of the protection and because of the funding that the U.S. administration has been providing for so long.

AMY GOODMAN: Issam Adwan, we want to thank you for being with us, Gaza project manager for We Are Not Numbers, speaking to us from Gaza City.

When we come back, we go to Jerusalem to speak with Mohammed El-Kurd about how Israeli forces forcibly removed him from Sheikh Jarrah yesterday, but he did return. Stay with us.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 10:52 pm

Poet Mohammed El-Kurd Detained in Sheikh Jarrah After Condemning Israeli Apartheid on U.S. TV
by Amy Goodman
May 13, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/13/ ... _jerusalem

Mohammed El-Kurd: Palestinian writer and poet who is organizing to save his family’s home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Mohammed El-Kurd on Twitter
"Rifqa," by Mohammed El-Kurd

On Monday, we spoke to writer and poet Mohammed El-Kurd, whose family is facing forceful eviction from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. He also spoke on CNN and MSNBC. After these interviews, Israeli forces arrested him and forcibly removed him from Sheikh Jarrah. It was captured in a dramatic video shared widely on social media. “They just threw me in the street and told me that I couldn’t come back into the neighborhood,” El-Kurd says. “They’ve done this many times to us, many of my family members, many of my neighbors. They do this routinely.” El-Kurd has been one of the most prominent Palestinian voices in recent weeks describing what is happening in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where Israeli authorities’ planned evictions of several Palestinian families to give their homes to Jewish settlers has been widely described as “ethnic cleansing.”


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

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

On Monday, we spoke to Mohammed El-Kurd, whose family is facing forceful eviction from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. He then spoke on CNN and MSNBC. After these interviews, Israeli forces arrested him and forcibly removed Mohammed from Sheikh Jarrah. It was captured in a dramatic video shared widely on social media.

For more, we go to Jerusalem to speak with Mohammed El-Kurd, writer and poet in occupied Palestine, who is organizing to save his family’s home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Mohammed, we spoke to you Monday. Describe what happened next.

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: Hi, Amy. Good to be back.

Yeah, I was standing in my neighborhood at night, and Israeli forces, while they were dispersing, violently dispersing, and suppressing the protesters and assaulting them and beating them, landed on me. And although they know that I live in the neighborhood, although they know my face, they forcibly took me out of the neighborhood. I would want to mention also that this has happened to me before, on the same day, in the morning, but there was no cameras to capture it.

I am unsure if this was targeted or not, or if this is because of what I said on national television. What I do know is that Palestinians are targeted constantly by Israeli violence, be they outspoken or not. So, for my Palestinian siblings, our silence will not protect us. We should all be speaking out against Israeli atrocities and [inaudible] —

AMY GOODMAN: But where were they taking you? They were taking you out of your home. I mean, there’s this other viral video of your twin sister who is telling a Jewish settler to leave your home. Where were these Israeli soldiers that we are showing now taking you?

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: They just threw me in the street and told me that I couldn’t come back into the neighborhood. And they’ve done this many times to us, many of my family members, many of my neighbors. They do this routinely.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And could you talk also, Mohammed, about the reports of quite blatant collusion between settlers and Israeli security forces?

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: Thank God for social media, because not only in Sheikh Jarrah, in Haifa, in Lod, in Jaffa, in the Gaza Strip, we are seeing the Israeli settlers emboldened by the Israeli state. And there are many videos that have surfaced of Israeli police officers assaulting Palestinians, and doing it with brute force, and doing it with aggression, doing it like they have a personal vendetta against them, which they do. It’s nothing short of terrorism. But again, like I said, thank God for social media, because it appears to me that the world is finally waking up to the fact that Israel is an apartheid state and it treats Palestinians with such dehumanization. It treats Palestinians the way colonizers treat the colonized.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And also, as you point out, the role of social media, as a result, the whole world knows what’s going on. And there have been protests held in many cities around the world. What is the significance of solidarity from activists and others in these different cities, including many in Europe, as well as some in the U.S.?

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: Absolutely. I think those protests, that are in hundreds of cities, actually, are also spearheaded by Palestinians in the diaspora, much like the protests that are happening all across historic Palestine.

The first significance of these protests is that they’ve indicated to us that these colonial fragmentations that Israel has worked tirelessly, explicitly and implicitly, to implement within Palestinians, these tactics of intimidation, are not working, that we are all the Palestinian people, regardless of geography and regardless of, you know, legal status. We are all the Palestinian people, and we are rising up against this.

I also think grassroots people on the ground all over the world are realizing that they have the tools to end Israeli aggression towards Palestinians, to end the Israeli occupation once and for all, to end Israeli settler colonialism in Palestine.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 10:54 pm

“Lynch Mobs”: Palestinians Face Brutal Attacks Inside Israel as Assault on Gaza Escalates
by Amy Goodman
May 13, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/13/ ... _palestine

Budour Hassan: Palestinian writer and legal researcher for the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights.

Televised images of Israeli mobs attacking Palestinians have been widely denounced by Israeli media and public figures, but Palestinian writer Budour Hassan says the selective outrage ignores decades of occupation that have led to this point. “There is some mention of these lynch mobs that are attacking Palestinians in mixed cities. What is not mentioned is who emboldened these lynch mobs. We’re talking about state-sponsored, decades-long discrimination, isolation and erasure that emboldened these groups,” says Hassan, legal researcher for the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, who joins us from Nazareth.


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

AMY GOODMAN: As we’ve reported, at least 83 Palestinians, including 17 children, are dead in Gaza, as Israel continues its assault on the besieged territory as Palestinians mark the end of Ramadan. Israel is now amassing ground troops near Gaza. And inside Israel, Palestinians are fearing for their lives as Israeli mobs attack Arab homes and businesses. This comes as President Biden is giving Israel a green light to continue its assault on Gaza, speaking publicly on it for the first time yesterday.

For more, we’re joined by Budour Hassan, a Palestinian writer and legal researcher for the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, who has been out in the streets in Jerusalem.

Can you describe, Budour, the scene on the ground in Jerusalem? We just listened to Mohammed describe Sheikh Jarrah, and we’ve just listened to Issam in Gaza.

BUDOUR HASSAN: Well, since the start of Ramadan, there have been protests all over Jerusalem. They were sparked by Israel’s decision to close off Damascus Gate, steps where Palestinian youth usually gather every night, especially on the nights of Ramadan, because this is a public space that Palestinians have reclaimed over the past decade. And then these protests extended after they forcefully managed to force the Israelis to remove the barriers and the barricades. They extended to reach Sheikh Jarrah. All over Jerusalem, there are protests in different neighborhoods, both in support of Sheikh Jarrah and in support of the people in Gaza.

But in response to these protests, Israel, especially for the last two weeks, has ramped up its mass arrests campaign. They don’t only target Palestinians who have been protesting in the streets; they are also targeting well-known Palestinian activists in an attempt by Israel to deter and to stop, quell this popular movement, that we probably haven’t seen anything like it before. It’s even greater than the movement we’ve seen in 2017 against Israel’s decision to install metal detectors outside Al-Aqsa Mosque, and it’s definitely even greater than the movement we saw in 2014 against the — after the killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a teenager from Shuafat.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Budour, could you talk about the Israeli leadership that’s spearheading this assault? I mean, Netanyahu was on the cusp of being ousted. He’s known as “Mr. Security.” Also, Israel’s new military chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, outlined last year a, quote, “victory doctrine.” What was his role in determining the scale of this assault — and as you say, even more violent than what we’ve seen in the past?

BUDOUR HASSAN: Yeah, Nermeen, it’s not just Netanyahu and Kochavi. It’s also Benny Gantz. Remember last year everyone was hailing Benny Gantz as some sort of a hope for the so-called center-left. And now we hear his rhetoric. Obviously, we know that he was the chief of staff during the war in 2014. So, Aviv Kochavi is just an extension to the doctrine of Israeli occupation forces against Gaza.

But I’d like to highlight the role that Gantz has been playing on escalating the war on Gaza, on threatening that the war will continue until Gaza is leveled. The celebration on Israeli TV whenever a high tower is destroyed by Israeli occupation forces, blatant celebration, as if there are no civilians living there, is just — you see it in every national television channel. Not a single word is said about the children who are killed. Not a single word is said about the infrastructure that is being destroyed. So, it’s just provoked, and there is outright incitement on Israeli national TV.

I’d just like also to highlight the role that Ohana is also playing, who is the internal affairs security minister, in inciting against Palestinians who live in Palestine ’48, which is present-day Israel, especially in inciting against them and labeling all of them as “terrorists,” describing any unarmed protest that has started as a “riot,” and just inciting really every single mayor of mixed cities where Palestinians are a minority in Jewish-dominated cities. These cities obviously were ethnically cleansed in 1948, and Palestinians who live in these mixed cities have, for decades, suffered unbelievable discrimination, state-sponsored discrimination, and erasure of their Palestinian identity.

So, we have been seeing incitement against Palestinians who live in Palestine ’48, who are being demonized and being treated as internal enemy. And the whole rhetoric is just beat them with force, deploy the border police, deploy the — even calls to deploy the army by Netanyahu in mixed cities. So, there is this violent, intimidating and inciting rhetoric all over the Israeli leadership, and especially on the Israeli national media.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about the violence that’s spreading across Israel with Jewish mobs attacking Palestinians in mixed Jewish and Arab communities. In the Israeli city of Haifa, a video was posted online showing an Israeli mob trying to break into the home of an Arab family. And then you had what happened in another community, as well, in a Tel Aviv suburb, and this was caught live on Israeli television, a Palestinian — a Jewish mob taking people, Israeli extremist settlers breaking shops in the suburb, another harrowing video showing ultranationalist Israelis dragging a man they believed to be an Arab from his car and beating him mercilessly. It turned out he was Jewish. On the one hand, you have the Israeli media, some that have been critical of Israel, joining in supporting Israel in bombing Gaza, but on the other hand, you have the Israeli media talking about lynch mobs, because they’re showing this live on TV as settlers are caught on television chanting “Death to Arabs” and dragging Arabs out of their cars, or people they perceive to be that.

BUDOUR HASSAN: To add to what you said, Amy — although I just would like to correct one thing: Haifa is a Palestinian city. And this is the identity that Israel has been trying to erase since 1948.

But, yes, and to add to what you said, there has been buses bringing settlers from the occupied West Bank to the territories occupied in 1948 to aid these Jewish mobs in attacking Palestinians. Just to remind you, last week, when Palestinian worshipers tried to reach Al-Aqsa Mosque, their buses were blocked from reaching Al-Aqsa Mosque, so they had to walk to Jerusalem by foot. And people in Jerusalem had to bring their cars in order to help these people who were blocked and were prevented from reaching Jerusalem. On the other hand, we see how these settler groups are organizing on Facebook and on social media. And the Israeli police knows all about them and has allowed them to run riots in these cities, and especially in these mixed cities.

And even though, yes, indeed, there is some mention of these lynch mobs that are attacking Palestinians in mixed cities, what is not mentioned is who emboldened these lynch mobs. We’re talking about state-sponsored, decades-long discrimination, isolation and erasure that emboldened these groups. We’re talking about a myth that we’ve always had about so-called coexistence in these mixed cities. Now, what we’re seeing right now is toppling this myth, because it proves that whenever something really — an explosion happens of violence, we see the true face of the Israeli state, which is supporting or being complicit with these attacks against Palestinians. This happened, to remind you, in 2000, when the Israeli police killed 13 unarmed Palestinian protesters who were protesting in solidarity with Jerusalem and with the Palestinian Second Intifada. So these attacks are not new.

And the new dimension is the ease with which these settlers are allowed to run riot, is the justification that we hear on Israeli TV, although it’s criticizing the lynch mob. But on the other hand, it’s using previous attacks by — unspontaneous, to say — by other Palestinians, in order to justify these responses and this retaliation and reprisals. These reprisals by Israeli Jewish mobs against Palestinians are not at all spontaneous. They’re absolutely organized. These settler groups are directly and strongly supported by the Israeli state, and they have representation in the Knesset. And they are represented by far-right parties, Jewish parties, in the Knesset, as well.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Budour, could you also talk about the significance of so many Israeli Arabs joining these protests?

BUDOUR HASSAN: Again, to correct the terminology, I’m sorry, we are Palestinians, not Israeli Arabs. And again, this was one of Israel’s efforts, since 1948, to assimilate us, to erase our identity and to tell us that we are not Palestinians, as an attempt to silence us and to separate us and isolate us from the Palestinian people.

And what we are seeing right now — and Mohammed has mentioned it always very eloquently — is that we’re challenging decades-long colonial fragmentation. We are redefining the geography of Palestine, and we’re redefining the cause. I mean, when I see Palestinians in Nazareth chant for Jerusalem in one voice, in unison, I see the same in Haifa, I hear the same in Jaffa. I hear how Palestinian youth, who had probably never come to Jerusalem before, go on their own to Jerusalem in order to join the protests in Sheikh Jarrah. Not only is it heartwarming, it says that for so long Israel has tried to fragment us and to isolate us and to erase our identity, and despite all the budgets that have been spent for that, despite all the efforts, including intimidation, revenge and arrests and so on, especially after 2000 and the Second Intifada in 2000, when Israel has tried to divide the Palestinian community from within by letting free and letting loose gangs, by spreading weapons and by convincing people that our social and economic cause is somehow separate from the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, and to see that despite all this, for so many years, that the Palestinian people, whenever something happens in Gaza and Jerusalem, they take to the streets.

But what’s happening this time, in particular, I think, in a sense, it’s unprecedented. Sometimes we tend to be — to exaggerate, to be taken away and taken aback, obviously, because we are so emotionally involved in what’s going on. But really it’s something unprecedented, because despite all the repression that these protesters have faced, they’re continuing. And now they know that their cause, as the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, is inseparable from the Palestinian cause, from the cause of the right of return.

And now, just in two days, on Saturday, we will mark the anniversary of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. And what we are seeing now, and one of the most popular chants, actually, in these marches, in these protests in support of Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza, is “I’m returning.” And to see that this young generation, this third generation or even fourth generation to the Nakba, is still insisting, “I will return. I have not relinquished my right of return,” it says so much about their resilience. It’s not just a cliché. It’s truly we’re seeing being implemented this incredible resilience and steadfastness by the Palestinians, that no matter how much we’ve been forced to forget and been forced to be isolated from our people, we continue to act as though this had never happened, and we continue to insist on our right to be called Palestinians and to support our sisters and brothers all over the Palestinian diaspora and all over Palestine.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Budour, how do you even protect yourself when you go outside?

BUDOUR HASSAN: Well, I mean, obviously, I have — I’m very fortunate to have the most amazing comrades and friends in the world, so I know, whenever you’re in the streets, you’re never alone. So, I have the most amazing women and men in the world, young women and men, supporting me. Obviously, it’s always a danger for anyone, by the way, because the Israeli police doesn’t discriminate. But I know that it’s my right and my duty as Palestinian to take to the streets and to participate. Like so many Palestinians, I’ve been — and all Palestinian protesters, whether they’re women, whether they’re men, whether they’re elderly, whether they’re children, have had to suffer the oppression and the violence of the Israeli police. But, you know, when you are in the street, when you’re chanting and raising your voice, there is something — and that’s the most amazing thing, and it always gives me goosebumps. Whenever you are in the street and you’re raising your voice against injustice and for freedom and liberation, really, the last thing you think about is fear.

AMY GOODMAN: Budour Hassan, I want to thank you for being with us, Palestinian writer, legal researcher for the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights.

When we come back, we stay in Jerusalem to speak with Nathan Thrall, author of The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel an Palestine. And he’ll tell us about this New York Review of Books piece he wrote, that was passed around Congress even before this latest Israeli assault, called “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: One man’s quest to find his son lays bare the reality of Palestinian life under Israeli rule.” Stay with us.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 10:56 pm

Nathan Thrall on the Historic Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Control from the River to the Sea
by Amy Goodman
May 13, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/13/ ... _jerusalem

Nathan Thrall: writer based in Jerusalem.
Nathan Thrall on Twitter
"A Day in the Life of Abed Salama"

"The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine"
We look at the crisis unfolding in Israel-Palestine with Nathan Thrall, former director of the Arab-Israeli Project at the International Crisis Group and writer now based in Jerusalem, who says despite a buildup of Israeli troops on the Gaza border, Israel wants to avoid a ground invasion of the besieged territory and return to the status quo that existed before the latest round of violence. “Israel’s preference and its policy is to have Hamas remain in control of its little island of Gaza after this is finished,” Thrall says.


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

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. You can get our Daily Digest mailed to you by sending the word “democracynow,” texting that, to 66866. That’s texting the word “democracynow” — no space — to 66866.

The death toll in Gaza has reached at least 83 as Israel’s aerial bombardment of the besieged territory enters a fourth day. The dead include 17 children. Over 480 Palestinians have been injured. The death toll in Israel has reached seven as Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups continue to fire hundreds of rockets into Israel.

We’re joined now by Nathan Thrall, former director of the Arab-Israeli Project at the International Crisis Group. He’s now a writer, based in Jerusalem, author of the book The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine. His latest piece for The New York Review of Books is headlined “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: One man’s quest to find his son lays bare the reality of Palestinian life under Israeli rule.”

Nathan, if you can comment on the latest escalation and what this means, including the U.S. response? And then tell us the story of Abed and his little 5-year-old son, Milad, and what happened to him.

NATHAN THRALL: Thanks for having me, Amy.

What we’re seeing right now in the land under Israel’s control, from the river to the sea, is an uprising that’s taking place in cities in the West Bank, where it is being suppressed by Palestinian security forces. It’s taking place in Palestinian cities inside of Green Line Israel, pre-1967 Israel. And, of course, it’s taking place in annexed East Jerusalem and in Gaza. And I have to say that, having lived here for quite some time, this feels unlike any other time that I’ve been here. To have lynch mobs roaming through the streets and attacking people purely based on their ethnicity is really quite frightening and disturbing to all the people around here. And it’s really a unique moment.

I think the most significant thing that’s happening now is actually the attacks within Green Line Israel and, as some of your previous guests were saying, the unity that you are seeing among Palestinians that Israel had attempted to fragment for decades. And this has been a key part of Israel’s strategy and Israel’s success in maintaining an occupation for over half a century. And actually, for the entirety of Israel’s existence, save for six months, it kept the majority of the Palestinian native population under its control, under some kind of a military regime, while having a separate regime for the Jews living here.

And what we’re seeing now is really an attempt by Palestinians to connect what had been very separate struggles of Palestinian citizens of Israel for equality. Palestinian citizens of Israel are prevented from even living in hundreds of Jewish-only communities within Israel. What we’re seeing is a unity of Palestinians in Jerusalem who are demanding that Israel cease to implement a racist law which allows Jews to obtain properties held before 1948, while not allowing Palestinian residents, taxpaying residents of the city, to do the same thing. And, of course, in Gaza, we have a brutal siege that shows no sign of ending, and utter desperation among the people there to find some way to end it.

Within the West Bank, you have Palestinians living in — most of them, living in 165 little islands of supposed Palestinian autonomy, that is in fact under total Israeli control. Israel enters these islands of autonomy at will. They’re disconnected from one another. They need Israeli permission to go between them. And the Palestinian security forces now, in these disconnected islands, are suppressing the protests that are taking place.

If we look at the whole territory altogether, these Palestinian islands of autonomy, 165 of them in the West Bank, plus Gaza, they amount to about 10% of the territory of mandatory Palestine, the territory under Israel’s control, not including the Golan Heights. So what we have is Israel directly administering and controlling 90% of this territory, and we have 10% of it that is in this pseudo-autonomy, which is not a real autonomy.

And the international community describes this situation as something totally other than what it is. The international community describes this as a situation of the so-called Palestinian-controlled West Bank or the Fatah-dominated West Bank. Well, actually, Israel not just controls all of the West Bank, but it actually directly administers the majority of the territory in the West Bank. The entire discourse of the international community about this conflict is one of wishful thinking, that we have a Palestinian state in the making and an Israeli state, and it’s really a kind of a border conflict between them, rather than the reality of the situation, which is one sovereign state controlling all the territory, and 165 tiny little islands, that make up less than 10% of the territory, that don’t have real autonomy, don’t have real sovereignty and don’t have any prospect of freedom or independence anywhere on the horizon.

And this entire system is funded by the United States, paid for by the United States. And you hear liberals in the United States now calling for the U.S. to play a greater role — progressives even, well-meaning progressives, calling for the U.S. to play a greater role. But this is a totally contradictory position. If you understand that the U.S. is part of the problem, that the U.S. is funding the slow takeover of this entire territory, the constriction of Palestinians into even smaller spaces, then, of course, anybody in favor of Palestinian freedom and independence should not want a greater role for the United States.

That’s a very long answer, and I haven’t gotten to the piece. So, I’d be glad to discuss that now.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, before we do that, Nathan, could you talk — now there is a real threat of an Israeli ground assault on Gaza. What do you think the prospects of that are, and what will the implications of that be?

NATHAN THRALL: It’s anybody’s guess whether it will actually happen. Israel is trying to signal that it is very possible, and it’s put its forces close to the border, and it may happen. Israel is very frightened of doing a ground operation, because it expects that there will be a large number of casualties, and it fears that Israeli soldiers will be kidnapped. And it’s not a decision that will be taken lightly in Israel.

And I think that most people would prefer — most in the security establishment would prefer to do this without a ground invasion, because at the end of the day Israel’s preference and its policy is to have Hamas remain in control of its little island of Gaza after this is finished. After this round of fighting or this war, whatever it turns out to be, after it is over, Israel wants to return to the situation as it was one week ago, which is the people of Gaza choked, Hamas ostensibly administering Gaza, while Israel controls everything that happens from the outside. And there’s really not much purpose in a ground invasion unless you actually intend to change that situation, stay there for a long time, attempt to replace the leadership in Gaza. And even that, it’s not clear that that’s feasible. I mean, what Palestinian leader is going to come in on an Israeli tank and actually succeed in ruling? So, Israel doesn’t really have any good options. And all of the bloodshed that we’re seeing right now is rather pointless, because it’s clear now that Israel’s intention is simply to return to the situation that it had one week ago.

And by the way, this is a huge problem with Israel-Palestine in general. All the good, well-meaning liberals and progressives in the world, they see — they ignore Israel-Palestine. They pay attention to it when there’s violence. Once there’s violence, what do progressives call for? They call for the Biden administration to make sure that the escalation stops. So that what? So that we return to the status quo, the status quo of slow Israeli takeover of this territory and Palestinians living under apartheid. So, a ground invasion really — it may happen, but nothing good will come of it for Israel.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Nathan, we have a couple of minutes left. You described the situation through one day in the life of Abed Salama, in your New York Review of Books piece. Talk about the piece.

NATHAN THRALL: Sure. It’s the story of one man on one day searching to find his son when a tragic accident occurs. And to understand the story of this man searching through the labyrinth of Israeli rule to find his son, and all of the obstacles he faces, which are historical obstacles — they’re obstacles that go back to the beginning of Zionism, which I address in the piece — you need to understand where this man lives.

And he lives — Abed Salama, he lives in a community that has been separated from the rest of the Jerusalem by the 26-foot-high separation barrier. And half of this community — it’s surrounded on three sides by a wall, by this gray concrete separation wall, and, on the fourth side, by what’s known as the apartheid road, because it has separate lanes for Palestinian and Israeli traffic. And that road itself has a large wall running through the middle of it, so the two sides don’t see one another. So, this community is an enclave. It’s a ghetto, completely surrounded by walls. Half of it is within annexed East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1967. And the residents in that half have blue ID cards. And they have the ability to go through a checkpoint in order to enter the rest of the city. So they’re passing by —

AMY GOODMAN: Nathan, we have 30 seconds.

NATHAN THRALL: OK. The story is really about life inside a ghetto, a walled ghetto that Israel has created. Half of the people in that ghetto are residents of the city of Jerusalem. And one man searches, throughout a horrible day, to find his son and to find out even what happened to his son on that day.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to continue with you after the broadcast, because we have to hear this story in full. It has had an enormous impact. It is called “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama.” And we will bring you Part 2 at democracynow.org. “One man’s quest to find his son lays bare the reality of Palestinian life under Israeli rule.” I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. Thanks so much for joining us.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 10:57 pm

Nathan Thrall on “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama” & Reality of Palestinian Life Under Israeli Rule
by Amy Goodman
May 13, 2021

Nathan Thrall: writer based in Jerusalem.

In Part 2 of our interview with Nathan Thrall, former director of the Arab-Israeli Project at the International Crisis Group, now a writer based in Jerusalem, he discusses his acclaimed piece for The New York Review of Books, “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: One man’s quest to find his son lays bare the reality of Palestinian life under Israeli rule.”


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

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh, as we bring you Part 2 of our conversation with Nathan Thrall, former director of the Arab-Israeli Project at the International Crisis Group, now a writer based in Jerusalem. His latest piece for The New York Review of Books is headlined “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: One man’s quest to find his son lays bare the reality of Palestinian life under Israeli rule.”

Now, this article has had an enormous impact. Congressmember Ro Khanna sent it to about a hundred members of Congress, the whole Progressive Caucus, and it has been read around the world. Nathan Thrall, thanks so much for staying with us. In Part 1 of our discussion, you began to talk about this story. But it needs to be told in full. It is a microcosm of life in Israel and Palestine. Talk about the day of the crash, who Abed and Milad Salama are.

NATHAN THRALL: So, thanks so much, Amy.

This is — as you say, it’s a horrific story that all takes place in one day. And it’s meant to be much more than that, because the obstacles that Abed, the father, faced during that day, they go back not just to the 1967 War, to the annexation of Jerusalem, but actually to the entire history of this conflict, to the beginning of Zionism. And the piece attempts to encapsulate all of that through the story of this tragic day in Abed’s life.

Now, to understand what happened, I need to describe first where Abed and Milad lived. And where they lived is in an enclave. There are several such enclaves. That is, part of the enclave is within municipal Jerusalem. It’s a Palestinian enclave that is separated by the 26-foot-high concrete gray wall that Israel calls a “separation barrier” — some people call the “apartheid wall.” And on three sides, this wall surrounds a densely populated Palestinian set of communities, one of which is the Shuafat refugee camp, which houses Palestinians who fled West Jerusalem, or were expelled from West Jerusalem during the 1948 War, and now live on the other side of the wall and have to go through a checkpoint just to get to the downtown of their own city. They’re taxpaying residents of the city of Jerusalem, and they’re walking through a checkpoint, manned partly by the army, as though they are hostile forces entering, you know, some other state than their own city, the city that they live in and pay taxes to. The Israeli state completely neglects this area. It’s lawless. There are almost no services. The streets are, you know, potholed, without sidewalks. Really, it’s a ghetto. And it’s surrounded on three sides by this wall. A fourth side has another wall, which is a different wall, which is a wall that runs through the middle of what’s known as the “apartheid road.” It’s called that because it has separate lanes for Israeli and Palestinian traffic, and there’s a large wall running through the middle of it so that the two sides cannot see one another.

And inside this enclave, half of it is municipal Jerusalem, which means that those people have the right to go through the checkpoint and enter the rest of the city. The other half live in the town of 'Anata, which is where Abed and Milad lived. Now, within this enclave, you're officially crossing — when you walk within it, you’re officially crossing from the sovereign state of Israel, because it’s the annexed part of East Jerusalem, to the unannexed and occupied West Bank. But, in fact, people move around inside this enclave. They live together. They marry one another. They’re parts of the same families. They attend to the same schools. And it causes enormous problems for them, because, for example, if you are a Palestinian woman living inside the Jerusalem part of the enclave, in the Shuafat refugee camp or the parts of 'Anata town that were annexed, a neighborhood called Dahiyat As-Salam, then Israel is constantly trying to find a way to remove your right to live in Jerusalem and to enter the rest of Jerusalem. And so, if you were to move outside this area — you marry a Palestinian man who has a green ID, he's a West Banker, he lives a few blocks away from you in the same enclave — if you were to move away and Israel finds out, they can remove your residency, and you can’t see your family on the other side of the wall in Jerusalem anymore.

And so, it’s an enormously precarious life that people in this enclave live. And Abed has family members who have blue IDs. He himself has a green ID. And his son Milad attended a school that had both green and blue ID holders within it. And because of that, these kids couldn’t — there’s no playground around. These kids couldn’t go to the nearest play area, which is just on the other side of the wall in the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev inside annexed East Jerusalem, a Jewish settlement. Really, just the people of this camp are looking — of Shuafat camp are just looking directly on the red-roofed buildings of the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood, homes that sell for a million dollars in this neighborhood. And they are looking on a shantytown from — the Jewish residents of this settlement are looking on the shantytown of the Shuafat camp.

Now, one morning, the school took a field trip. And because they couldn’t take a field trip to the nearest play area, which is just, you know, on the other side of the wall, they had to follow the circuitous route of the wall, winding their way up north and to the West Bank toward Ramallah, where they were all going to have a play day at a play area in Ramallah. And on their way, a truck, a massive tractor-trailer, that was ferrying back and forth to a settler-owned West Bank quarry — and this settler tractor-trailer slammed into the bus, and the bus caught fire. And this is right next to a checkpoint. They are minutes away. Soldiers are standing right there. There are settlements that surround the entire area. Flames are rising. Gray smoke is rising. Everyone in the area knows something terrible has happened. And it takes a very, very long time for any kind of rescue to come. The first rescue that does come is actually a Palestinian ambulance from Ramallah. Part of the story I tell is of the first paramedic who came on the scene.

And Abed, he’s stuck in this walled ghetto. His son is outside of it. He has no idea what happens. He’s just hearing rumors that there was an accident with a bus. He doesn’t know if it’s his son’s bus. He doesn’t know anything. And he races to try and get there. He’s stuck in horrible traffic. He gets out of the car. He races up on foot to try and go toward the smoke. He asks soldiers next to the checkpoint if they will give him a lift. He says his son’s on a bus. He thinks it was in this accident. They refuse. He runs to go and find — and by the time he had gotten there, the people on the bus, the teachers and the students, were gone.

And he is now hearing all kinds of rumors. He has no idea what’s happened to his son. He doesn’t even know which hospital he’s in. Is he in Ramallah? Is he in Jerusalem? Abed can’t enter Jerusalem. He has a green ID. Many of the students on the bus, they have blue IDs. They can enter Jerusalem. He doesn’t know what to believe. He runs to a hospital in Ramallah. And on and on the story goes, through this horrific day.

And as I tell the story of Abed’s quest to find his son, I also describe the history of the settlements that were built in this area, the history of the quarry. You know, it’s illegal to pillage. It’s a war crime. And Israel has a number of quarries in the West Bank where it’s extracting natural resources. And many of the roads in Israel are paved with those stones.

And so, I could recite the whole story, but I would like people to read it and not to give too much away. But really, the attempt here is to describe the life of Palestinians as it is now, and as it has been for decades, and just how crushing the Israeli rule over them is.

And I also discuss the other side of it, which is the Israeli justification for this oppression and the justification for taking over the land in the West Bank, which is, by the way, the same justification that was used by Israel to take over former Palestinian towns inside Israel proper after the state was created and to found the Zionist movement. There is incredible continuity there. And we see it today in Sheikh Jarrah, the same justification being used by the two deputy mayors of the city, saying, “Well, of course, we have this discriminatory law in place that allows us to slowly have Jews take over Palestinian areas, because what do you want? This is a Jewish state.”

NERMEEN SHAIKH: But, Nathan, your piece is really quite remarkable. It is extraordinary, though, the reception that it’s received. It’s, of course, you know, fully justified, but it’s not just that, as we mentioned earlier, that Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna has circulated it in Congress to the Progressive Caucus, but also, you know, from Nobel laureates, South African Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but also several prominent figures within Israel, including a former ambassador, the chair also of Jewish history at UCLA, who’s the board president of the New Israel Fund, and David Shulman, who is an Israel Prize recipient. Could you talk about the reception of your piece in Israel itself?

NATHAN THRALL: Well, it’s been a tremendous honor to have these towering figures to read the piece and to speak of it in this way. You know, in Israel itself, it has not yet been translated into Hebrew. I would like that to happen. And I’ve gotten some great feedback from a number of Israelis, including the former speaker of the Knesset endorsed the piece. And that was attached to Ro Khanna’s letter, his endorsement, as well as to former Israeli ambassadors to South Africa and others. But I’d like it to reach a much wider audience in Israel with a Hebrew translation.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you see can happen at this point, as we begin to wrap up, Nathan, in Israel-Palestine with this latest conflagration that people are talking about could escalate into full-scale war? You have a sitting prime minister who is on trial for corruption. He can’t pull together a coalition government. Is he fueling this? And the U.S. response of President Biden and the U.S. Pentagon chief saying we have “ironclad” support for Israel, though saying Palestinians should be able to live?

NATHAN THRALL: So, I think that one of the unique things about the moment that we’re in today is that you have mainstream figures, on the left and the right, all saying, in one way or another, the same thing, which is, there is no — not only is there no two-state solution imminent or even on the horizon, there’s no solution imminent or on the horizon. You hear that — you know, you see it in reports from the Center for a New American Security, from the Carnegie Endowment, from the International Crisis Group, across the board, and even figures on the right, from the Trump administration, figures associated with the Obama administration. Everybody agrees that nothing — there is no solution that’s happening, even on the horizon, not just tomorrow or during Biden’s second term, if that should happen, but not even visible in the decades to come.

So, what that means is that the U.S. is giving $3.8 billion per year to continue a situation in which millions of people are being deprived of basic rights, of civil rights, of political rights, based on their ethnicity. That is called apartheid. And it’s unacceptable that the U.S. is giving a penny to this. And that needs to change. Before we talk about any kind of solution or get into the weeds of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his difficulties and what have you, what really needs to happen is an appreciation of a system of Israeli control, 90% direct administration of the land by Israel, 10% of it in these so-called autonomy enclaves, disconnected from one another, 165 of them, plus Gaza. That’s the situation on the ground, where these people have no rights, and they don’t have any prospect of gaining rights. And that is something that, at the very least, U.S. taxpayers should not be complicit in.

And in the future, I am confident — I am confident that all right-thinking liberals and progressives will say that they were always opposed to this and that they had always been, you know, against U.S. support for a system of oppression and apartheid. But we don’t see them behaving that way right now. And so, the bare minimum we need to see is to have people just call their congresspeople and say, “I don’t want to pay for this. I do not want to be complicit in what’s happening here,” at the very least end our own complicity. Before we talk about what good the U.S. can do, let’s talk about how the U.S. can stop doing harm.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Nathan, as far as that is concerned — stop doing harm — do you think — the Biden administration has now dispatched a special envoy, Hady Amr, to the region to meet with, as they say, leaders of both sides. Could you explain what you think is likely to happen or the significance of this? And what exactly do they mean when they say “leaders of both sides”? Does that mean that they would meet the leader of Hamas?

NATHAN THRALL: A very good question. No, it does not mean that they would meet the leader of Hamas. It means that the U.S. envoy will meet — the deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel-Palestine will meet with PA officials, maybe with President Abu Mazen, and with Israeli officials. It’s not clear how senior, because Hady Amr is — you know, a deputy assistant secretary of state is a very low-level position. It doesn’t require Senate confirmation. And so, I don’t know at what level he’ll be received by the Israelis and at what level he’ll be received by the Palestinians.

But it doesn’t matter. You know, the U.S. is — its only objective is to get us back to where we were a week ago. Can we just go back to the quiet, to the system of Israel’s slow takeover of the land, of what land remains of Palestinians, while we, you know, talk about one day in the future we hope that there will be peace? And so, you know, these efforts will be narrowly focused on how do we get Hamas to stop firing rockets and how do we, you know, try and restore some sense of calm in the area under Israel’s control. So, this is an effort in — basically, Israel is facing an uprising; the U.S. is coming to try and help quell the uprising for Israel. And it’s as simple as that. I mean, Hamas — this is going to — Hamas’s rockets, they can’t go on indefinitely. It’s going to end at some point, you know. So, the U.S. can attempt to accelerate the end of the exchange of fire between Hamas and Israel, but it’s not really going to do much more than that.

AMY GOODMAN: Nathan Thrall, we want to thank you for being with us. And we’ll also link to your latest piece in The New York Review of Books, “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: One man’s quest to find his son lays bare the reality of Palestinian life under Israeli rule.” Nathan is based in Jerusalem.

To see Part 1 of our discussion, go to democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. Thanks so much for joining us.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 11:01 pm

Max Blumenthal on “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”
by Amy Goodman
Octrober 04, 2013
https://www.democracynow.org/2013/10/4/ ... h_life_and

Max Blumenthal: award-winning journalist and best-selling author of Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. His new book is called Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is continuing a public campaign to cast doubt on U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran, we speak to journalist Max Blumenthal, author of the new book, “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.” Blumenthal looks at life inside Netanyahu’s Israel and the Occupied Territories. “I was most surprised at the banality of the racism and violence that I witnessed and how it’s so widely tolerated because it’s so common,” says Blumenthal about his four years of reporting in Israel. “And I’m most surprised that it hasn’t made its way to the American public … that’s why I set out to do this endeavor, this journalistic endeavor, to paint this intimate portrait of Israeli society for Americans who don’t see what it really is.” Click here to watch Part 2 of his interview.


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

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We end today’s show with Israel. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is continuing a public campaign to cast doubt on diplomatic engagement with Iran. Speaking before the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu accused new Iranian Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani of deceiving the world about Iran’s nuclear program.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing; Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the eyes—the wool over the eyes of the international community.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by journalist Max Blumenthal, best-selling author of Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. His new book is Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

Max, welcome back to Democracy Now!

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Great to be back.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you first respond to Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Israel, the government’s response to the openings between the United States and Iran?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, with my book, what I really aim to do is—this is a culmination of four years of my reporting from inside Israel-Palestine, from inside Netanyahu’s Israel. He came to power in 2009 at the helm of the most right-wing government in Israeli history. And he’s kind of occupying the center in Israel. He markets himself to Israelis as—you know, he appears in my book as the salesman, and he markets himself as a man who can go to the U.S. and market a lemon, who can sell a lemon to the American public, because he speaks English perfectly, he was educated at MIT, he worked at Boston Consulting with Mitt Romney.

And here he’s returned to the U.S. to sell the Israeli position to an American public that wants diplomacy, that welcomed Barack Obama’s historic phone call with Hassan Rouhani. And Obama has been forced to sit with Netanyahu for 2.5 hours in the White House, during a government shutdown, to hear Netanyahu’s complaints and lecturing. He’s effectively become the Bibi-sitter, meeting with Netanyahu more times than any foreign leader, the head of this country the size of New Jersey. And so, Netanyahu really looks kind of desperate and diminished at the U.N., and he’s—but, I mean, he loves these animal metaphors. And he has concocted this very belligerent and stentorian speech that really would maybe appeal to elderly evangelicals or an AIPAC crowd, but it’s not resonating with the American public.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, in an interview on Tuesday with CBS News’s Charlie Rose, Netanyahu diminished the significance of Jewish settlements that many see as an obstacle to peace between Israelis and the Palestinians.

CHARLIE ROSE: I don’t understand why you think building settlements in—


CHARLIE ROSE: —East Jerusalem is necessary—

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Now let me tell you something. First of all, what—

CHARLIE ROSE: —to find a solution—

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Let me—let me tell you something.

CHARLIE ROSE: —when the world believes it stands in the way of a solution.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Yeah, well, the world believes a lot of things, but the world doesn’t get it. And here’s what they don’t get.

CHARLIE ROSE: I think the American president believes that.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, let me—let me tell you what I think is the issue, and then you can judge whether you agree with me or not, and the same thing I say to everyone in the world. The settlements in the territories are not the cause of the conflict. They’re—they’re—

CHARLIE ROSE: Nobody says that. But they are—


CHARLIE ROSE: —stand in the way of a solution.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: But—but here’s the way you get a solution. They don’t stand in the way, either. Ninety percent of the Jewish population is clustered in the—in Judea, Samaria, the West Bank, is clustered in a tiny fraction of that land. It’s not an issue. It’s a bogus issue.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Max Blumenthal, a “bogus issue”? “The world doesn’t get it”?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, a lot of Jewish Israelis believe that, and they might cheer Netanyahu for saying that. A majority of Jewish Israelis are against massive pullouts from the West Bank, and so this is also part of Netanyahu’s appeal. And we also have to recognize—you know, I went into the Knesset, and in my book I interviewed a lot of the rising stars in Netanyahu’s party. These are—

AMY GOODMAN: How did you get this exclusive access?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I called. And, you know, it’s not particularly difficult. They want—Israeli politicians want PR. And this younger generation feels like the more pro-settlement they can be, the more extreme they can be, the more votes they get. And so, the younger generation in Netanyahu’s party, the future of Likud, favors annexing 60 percent of the West Bank. So does his economy minister, Naftali Bennett. This is the future of Israeli politics. And that’s what is really appearing in the pages of my book, Goliath.

AMY GOODMAN: How important is U.S. aid to Israel? What is the state of Israel’s economy right now?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, Israel’s strategic deterrence is completely contingent on its direct line to Washington. That’s partly why Netanyahu is there. As I said, he’s the salesman. And, you know, I went into Netanyahu’s early writings, when he was just emerging on the world stage, in my book, and I dissect them, and I talk about how he says that, you know, “It doesn’t matter if your position is just; you have to depict your position as just.” He actually understands that Israel is committing human rights crimes in the West Bank, but he is completely focused on the West, and the world does matter to him.

So, it’s interesting to see him come here and actually face a little bit of tough questioning and see him kind of—you can see the desperation on his face. I don’t think this is helping Netanyahu. But ultimately, it does help the right-wingers in his party, who are to Netanyahu’s right, like Danny Danon or like Naftali Bennett, who have said, “We don’t need the peace process. It’s over. It’s a failed—we don’t even need to talk to the Palestinians. Let’s annex 60 percent of the West Bank and give them Jordanian citizenship.” And that’s getting more and more popularity in Israeli society.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: You spend a lot of time in your book talking about the transformation of Israeli society and the growth of intolerance among the young—the young people, their attitudes towards—not only to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, but Arabs within their own country and Africans, as well. Could you elaborate?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, I devote a lot of my book—actually, most of my book—to what’s happening behind the Green Line, to the area of Israel that will be legitimized under a two-state solution. And there is an active process in Israel of actually kind of moving the occupation back into Israeli society. I talk about how I lived in Jaffa, which is one of the—you know, the remnant of the Palestinian community before 1948, which has now been incorporated into the Tel Aviv municipality. And a religious nationalist settlement has been built in the center of this Palestinian-Israeli area, creating an enormous amount of friction. My favorite restaurant in my neighborhood was firebombed by hoodlums from the West Bank. Homes have been attacked by hoodlums from the West Bank. And—

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “hoodlums”?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean religious nationalist settler youth who stage marches through this neighborhood, provocative marches, chanting “Jaffa for Jews!” And when I was there, they were doing so almost on a weekly basis. This is occurring in Jerusalem, not just weekly, but even daily. And then you look at the polls, you look at the attitudes of Israeli youth. According to a poll by Camille Fuchs, who’s one of the most reputable pollsters in Israeli society, a majority of secular Israeli youth, high-schoolers, say that they would refuse to have an Arab neighbor. A majority of Tel Aviv residents favor the total expulsion of African migrants from Tel Aviv. Forty-eight percent of Israelis, according to a Ynet poll, which is a poll conducted by Israel’s most popular newspaper, favor—are in support of settler price tag attacks—in other words, settler terrorism. A majority of Israelis—

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “price tag attacks”?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Price tag attacks are basically vigilante attacks carried out by settlers against the Palestinian population in the West Bank. And whenever a settler outpost is demolished, there will be a retaliatory attack with graffiti on the Palestinian home that says “price tag.” Only 33 percent of Israelis in this poll oppose that. A majority of Israelis in another poll agreed with the statement by Miri Regev, who’s a rising star in the Likud party, that Africans are a cancer in Israel’s body. So this is the kind of racism coursing through the heart of Israeli society, and it’s encouraged from the—by the central institutions of Israeli society.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: You’ve also talked about the ethnic cleansing policies of Netanyahu with the Bedouins.


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Could you talk about that, as well?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, there are 80,000 Bedouins living in the Negev desert who are Israeli citizens, who serve in the Israeli army. They live in unrecognized communities. Because they’re not Jewish, they can’t hook up to the electricity grid, they can’t get public services, they can’t have health clinics. And now, under a new plan called the Prawer Plan, which was just approved in the Israeli Knesset, 40,000 of them will be removed from their homes, ethnically cleansed, and forced into communities where they’ll be “concentrated” — this is the government’s language, to “concentrate the Bedouin” — in these Indian reservation-style communities.

I just visited one of them, called Umm al-Hieran , when I was in the Negev two weeks ago. Almost every building in this community has been marked for demolition. It is a real town. I mean, when you think of Bedouins, you think of nomadic people. No, these are people who have been there before the state of Israel was established, and they will be replaced by a Jewish community that had gone in the night before I was there to stake out plots and decide where they would live. And they’re living in an artificial forest created by the Jewish National Fund in a barb-wire compound, preparing to take over. This is the plan for the Negev desert under Netanyahu, and it’s been approved across the political spectrum in Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: You’ve spent a lot of time also talking to Palestinian leaders and youth, both in the Occupied Territories but also within Israel. Talk about that.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, I mean, the situation for them is incredibly complicated, because they sit atop the totem pole of Palestinian society, but at the same time there is a program of official discrimination within Israeli society. Their schools are monitored by the Shin Bet. They can’t be taught the Palestinian narrative of 1948—a new law passed in the Knesset. I interviewed its author. He’s a 28-year-old immigrant from Moscow who doesn’t even speak Hebrew very well named Alex Miller. The Nakba law actually penalizes Palestinian NGOs who participate in observation—in observances of the Palestinian dispossession in 1948.

And so, throughout my book, I’m interviewing young Palestinian citizens of Israel, who are just as educated as I am and who are really feeling like they don’t have a place in Israel. I interviewed two young tech workers. You always hear about Israel as the startup nation. And they work in Haifa in the tech sector, and they’ve both been interrogated by the Shin Bet, and they don’t know why. And one of them made a really depressing comment to me. He said, “I wish sometimes I could stop being an Arab and start just being a guy.” And that’s an attitude I hear a lot.

AMY GOODMAN: We have less than a minute. What were you most surprised by in your research for your book Goliath?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I was most surprised at the banality of the racism and violence that I witnessed and how it’s so—it’s so widely tolerated, because it’s so common. And I’m most surprised that, you know, in my reporting on this, it hasn’t made its way to the American public. And so, that’s why I did this book. When we hear about this kind of daily violence, you don’t read about it on the pages of The New York Times. And I really asked myself why, and that’s why I set out to do this endeavor, this journalistic endeavor, to paint this intimate portrait of Israeli society for Americans who don’t see what it really is.

AMY GOODMAN: We have to end the conversation now, but we’ll do part two and post it at democracynow.org. Max Blumenthal, award-winning journalist, best-selling author, his latest book is Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.


Part 2: Max Blumenthal on “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”
by Amy Goodman
October 04, 2013
https://www.democracynow.org/2013/10/4/ ... ter_israel

GUESTS: Max Blumenthal, award-winning journalist and bestselling author of Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. His new book is called Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

Part two of our conversation with journalist Max Blumenthal on his new book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. Blumenthal looks at life inside Israel and the Occupied Territories.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Our guest is Max Blumenthal. his latest book is Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. The book before that, Max, was Republican Gomorrah. And as the Republicans shut down the government in Washington, I’m just wondering your thoughts, before we go back to Israel and the Occupied Territories.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, my book, Republican Gomorrah, really painted a picture of a minority party that was in deep decline. And we see, since I’ve written this book, the thesis of the book has been validated, that an extremist movement has taken over a party that previously had a liberal wing, that was a big-tent party, and absolutely shattered it. And so they’re in a—they’re engaged in a fighting retreat right now. Shutting down the government was kind of politically a disastrous move, but it’s really the only course for a party that’s—that’s in deep decline. That’s why they’re trying to strip voters of their right to vote across the country. That’s why they’ve gone to the states on the issue—on the culture war, on the issues like abortion, because they really have no national base. And so, in a lot of senses, the Republican Party, which is becoming, you know, the base of pro-Israel support, has shared values with Israel, because it also faces a demographic crisis.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, but you mention the Republican Party is the base of pro-Israel support and President Obama’s tense relationship with Netanyahu, but Netanyahu depends on Congress—not only the Republicans, but the Democrats, as well—to continue to validate unequivocal support of the United States for Israel’s policies.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, that’s why I was dying to see the Syria vote take place, because Obama had compelled AIPAC, the central arm of the Israel lobby, to actually come out in favor of this war that was overwhelmingly unpopular with Americans. And it exposed the Israel lobby as acting sort of on behalf of Netanyahu against the will of the American public. And, of course, the vote was canceled, so this rift wasn’t exposed. But we see—we can see the Republicanization of pro-Israel support in the recent Pew poll of Jewish attitudes, where 82 percent of evangelicals believe that Israel is the promised land, that it was given to the Jews by God. Only 16 percent of secular Jews believe this. And so there’s—so the future base of Israel, as long as it’s under the control of people like Netanyahu and those to his right, like Naftali Bennett, is the Bible Belt. That’s Israel’s safety belt, Christian Zionism. And so, this is a dynamic that’s really going to develop in American foreign policy and play out in the next presidential campaign.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: One of the things that struck me about Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations—and I think you’ve mentioned it—is how much time he spent on Iran and how little time he spent dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this insistence that Israel will not permit Iran to have nuclear weapons, while not talking at all about Israel’s own nuclear arsenal.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah. Well, yeah, first of all, Israel has 250 nuclear warheads that are produced in Dimona at a place they officially refer to as a textile factory. Israel has several—

AMY GOODMAN: Which is a nuclear weapons factory?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Which is a nuclear weapons—they enrich uranium there. Israel has several Dolphin-class submarines given them by Germany as part of Holocaust reparations. The launching tubes have been retrofitted to launch nuclear weapons that can reach Iran from the Red Sea. Israel has a massive stock of weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons. It’s used bizarre experimental weapons, like dense inert metal explosives, on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. And this is really the secret of the Israel arms industry, is that they market their weapons, including these bizarre weapons, as field-tested. They’re one of the few countries that can do that. So, this is hypocrisy on Netanyahu’s part.

But then there’s the Iran issue, which you mentioned, Juan. He mentioned Iran 50 times in his speech. He mentioned Palestinians maybe five or six times and the word “peace” three times. He doesn’t want to talk about Palestinians. And over 2,000 new settlement units have been authorized, in religious nationalist settlements, outside the major settlement blocs in the West Bank since negotiations began, along with thousands of arrests of Palestinians. So Netanyahu is using Iran to whitewash what’s actually happening in Israeli-controlled territory. It’s what he’s always done. Actually, at AIPAC, in his speech at AIPAC in 2011, he didn’t mention Palestinians once, and this was an enormous PR coup for him. So, the question is, how can he be forced to talk about this issue? Clearly, the U.S., which has set this nine-month timetable for negotiations, is not forcing him to do it.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the Israeli progressive forces, the Peace Camp?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah. Well, the Peace Camp is sort of—has faded. Their moment has gone, and they’re hanging on to a two-state delusion. And they are being exposed. The problem is they are well paid. They’re part of this peace process industry that never seems to go away. And as long as the two-state solution is—the hope of the two-state solution remains, they keep their paychecks.

But what I tried to do in my book, Goliath, is to talk about the Jewish Israelis who are engaging in acts of civil disobedience, who are, as the—as the Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who tried to organize a movement of mass army refusal in Israel, said, “to organize mass insubordination.” So I talk about the group Anarchists Against the Wall. I spent lots of time with them going in and out of the West Bank, watching how they operate at protests, using human-shielding tactics, visiting Palestinian children who had been arrested at night in the military courts, and just—

AMY GOODMAN: These are Israeli Jews.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: —and just bearing witness. And these are a small handful of Israeli Jews who have basically dedicated their lives to bearing witness and exposing the occupation and fighting it, literally with their hands. When Anarchists Against the Wall was born, it was in a Palestinian town that was facing mass demolitions and expropriation because of the construction of the separation wall. It was called Mas’ha. So these Israeli Jews just came and set up camp with Palestinians—they were invited there—and the popular struggle was born, this unarmed protest movement. And the first thing they did was attempt to tear down the separation wall with their bare hands. And Israeli Jews had their legs shot out, with live ammunition, standing beside Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain what the wall is.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: The wall is the separation wall, which is the—which has expropriated over 100,000 acres of Palestinian land and really serves as sort of a demographic wall. It actually has no real security value. And so, the point of it is to accomplish what Netanyahu warned would be—to prevent what Netanyahu warned would be demographic spillover. It’s an incredibly racist and bizarre concept that is sort of unfamiliar, I think, to real democracies.

AMY GOODMAN: How tall is it?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: It’s enormously tall, and it extends for hundreds of kilometers across the West Bank. I think anyone who visits Israel-Palestine has to see it. But there’s not just that wall. The entire Gaza Strip is surrounded by walls and electric fencing. Netanyahu has authorized $360 million, cutting social spending, to build a wall against the border of Jordan. The entire border between Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Syria is mined. Netanyahu has just built a wall against the Sinai desert to prevent African migrants and asylum seekers, who are fleeing genocide, from getting to Israel. So almost all of the state of Israel, the Jewish state, is surrounded by walls. And one of Netanyahu’s advisers, Arnon Soffer, has proposed sea walls. They are covered by an iron dome, an anti-missile system provided by the U.S., by U.S. taxpayers. It sounds—it’s an absolute dystopian situation that fulfills the prophecy in the Book of Numbers, that the people of Israel will stand alone and not be reckoned among the nations.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I’m interested what kind of reception your book has gotten in the American media and whether there’s been much receptivity to the stuff that you’ve uncovered during your research in Israel.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: My book came out on October 1st, and so I’m going to do a book tour, and we’re going to see. It’s going to be pretty interesting. I’m doing a lot of cities. Actually starts in—right now it starts in Philadelphia at alma mater UPenn with Ian Lustick, who’s a political science professor at Penn who wrote a really fascinating piece calling for the end of the—you know, the two-state delusion and having a binational state. This is someone who, you know, comes out of—who doesn’t come out of the left. And so, I think it’s going to be an interesting tour. But right now, you know, I think that what the Jewish establishment wants to do and what pro-Israel groups want to do is ignore me. They want to ignore this narrative, and they want to ignore the real Israel. They want to ignore the facts on the ground and not talk about it, and keep focusing on this dream castle Israel, because it not only harms their political efforts, it harms them on a personal psychological level, because this goes to the very heart of their identity.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the Oslo Accord—this is, what, the 20th anniversary—and what that means.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: The 20th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, I—I was there weeks after the 20th anniversary, in Ramallah, which is going to be, if there is a Palestinian state, the de facto capital. East Jerusalem is now off-limits to most Palestinians, which was supposed to be the capital. Sixty percent of the West Bank, it belongs to the Israeli military. There are massive demolitions being carried out in that part of the West Bank. The West Bank and Gaza are separated. Over 150,000 settlers, Jewish settlers, have been moved into the West Bank since the Oslo Accords, I think over 80,000 arrests of Palestinians.

And, you know, I hang out in Ramallah with friends that I made here in New York City, who are just like me, just as educated as me, come from the same background, same—just the same identity, except for one crucial fact: They’re not Jewish, they’re Palestinian. And so, when I’m in Ramallah, they’re asking me, “Can you, you know, sneak me in so I can see Tel Aviv, so I can see Jaffa, so I can see Haifa?” That’s the legacy of the Oslo Accords. And the Oslo Accords was born under the slogan of the Zionist left: “Us over here, them over there.” It’s a segregationist slogan that recalls the Jim Crow era of the United States. And it came from the left of the Israeli spectrum, not the right.

AMY GOODMAN: In Goliath, the title, how did you choose it?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, I chose it because of the biblical tale of David and Goliath, and also because my editors forced me to choose it. And I think it’s a good title, especially because my last book, Republican Gomorrah, has, you know, biblical resonances and begins with the letter G. But there’s an interesting quote in my book. There’s a person I quote in my book who is the first Jewish ambassador of the United Kingdom to Israel, Matthew Gould. And he went on Israeli TV, and he said, “You’re obsessed with these hasbara, or propaganda, efforts to explain your position to the world and to cover everything up. You have to recognize that Israel is now seen as the Goliath, and Palestinians are seen as the David. Cut the hasbara, the propaganda, out, and end the occupation. Maybe then you won’t be seen that way.” And that’s the problem. That’s the problem with Netanyahu. It’s the problem in Israeli society. This occupation will not end as long as this current system is intact. And so, I think Goliath is the perfect title.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what do you think has been the impact of the convulsions sweeping the Arab world in the last couple of years on Israel?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: To some extent, I think they’ve benefited Israel, at least in their PR efforts, because, as I said, Netanyahu loves to change the subject to Iran, and now he can change the subject to Syria. And he can say, you know, “How can we give the Palestinians any level of freedom when you see what the Arabs are doing to each other and you see the level of violence?” I mean, it’s a very Orientalist, racist perspective, but it has a lot of cachet, not just in Israel but throughout the West—in the Europe and the United States. And also, Netanyahu has really sought to shift the strategic relationship with the U.S., which always has been based on kind of shared values, from two liberal democracies to two Fort Apaches on the front lines of civilization fighting the brown hordes. This is the post-9/11 U.S. and Netanyahu’s Israel. He warns about the “insatiable crocodile of militant Islam.” And you see that—you see Islamism rearing its head in Egypt and Syria. And so, this works perfectly into Netanyahu’s hands.

Another way it works is the strategy of Lebanonization. Israel depends on a weak Arab world, and Syria is being fragmented. It’s being Lebanonized. And so, Israel would love to see Bashar Assad remain in power. They’ve always counted on him as kind of a backdoor ally, but weakened and constantly under attack.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to end with Netanyahu on NPR today, talking about nuclear weapons. NPR’s Steve Inskeep interviewed the Israeli prime minister on Morning Edition.

STEVE INSKEEP: People will ask, “Why can’t we have nuclear weapons, since Israel has them?” What is a reasonable answer to that question?

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, I’m not going to say what Israel has or doesn’t have, but I will say Israel has no designs to destroy anyone. We have not called for the destruction of a people, the annihilation of Iran or any other country. But that’s exactly what Iran’s doctrinaire, messianic, apocalyptic regime—it’s a terrorist regime. A terrorist regime bent on world domination, seeking to navigate their way cleverly to the point where they have awesome power, should not be allowed to achieve it.

STEVE INSKEEP: What’s the answer to that question about what people see as a double standard?

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, Israel—I think Israel is not the issue. And in general in the Middle East, the issue is not those who have signed the NPT, the Non-Proliferation Treaty—

STEVE INSKEEP: People also ask why Israel hasn’t signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, you should look at those who signed it. See, the signing of it is meaningless, because Syria signed it. It was developing, you know, facilities for nuclear weapons. Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, signed it. It was developing nuclear weapons—twice, actually—from the 1970s on. And Iran signed it, and it’s developing these nuclear weapons, developing ICBMs.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Morning Edition. Final comment?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Final comment is, you know, that—you know, in my book, I try to get past the geopolitics and talk about Netanyahu’s Israel, and it reveals the projections in his statement. He talks about wiping a country off the map. Well, where I lived in Jaffa, a nation had been wiped off the map where I jogged in an—it was to Tel Aviv, where these grassy dunes called Charles Clore Park, which used to be the Palestinian neighborhood of Manshia. So, the state of Israel has already done this. Netanyahu talks about militant, theocratic medievalists in Iran, but in his own country he has state-funded rabbis, like Dov Lior, who have urged human experimentation on Palestinian prisoners, or like Shmuel Eliyahu, the state-funded chief rabbi of Safed, who has called for a genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. He has people like Yitzhak Shapira, the state-funded rabbi of the yeshiva in Yitzhar near Nablus on the West Bank, who published what is literally a manual for how and when to kill non-Jews. And when he was—when he was summoned to an interrogation by the Shin Bet, he didn’t show up, nothing happened, and Netanyahu said nothing. So this book is really about what’s happening in Netanyahu’s backyard. I don’t doubt a lot of things that are said about Iran, but let’s talk about what’s really happening inside Netanyahu’s country, because we’re funding it, $30 billion every 10 years. And Israel is the issue.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 11:02 pm

Israel Kills Dozens in Gaza While Imposing “Constant War” on Palestinian Residents of Jerusalem
by Amy Goodman
May 11, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/11/ ... ikh_jarrah

Raji Sourani: award-winning human rights lawyer and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza.
Orly Noy: Israeli political activist and editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call.

Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have killed at least 26 Palestinians, including nine children, as tension in the region has escalated sharply. Hundreds were also injured by Israeli forces Monday when they stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. Hamas responded by firing hundreds of rockets into Israel, which reportedly caused dozens of injuries but no deaths. The tension in Jerusalem has been mounting for weeks as Palestinians have been organizing to block Israel from forcibly evicting dozens of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to give their homes to Jewish settlers. The United Nations has described the planned eviction as a possible war crime. Raji Sourani, award-winning human rights lawyer and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, says Israel’s latest assault is compounding the suffering of people in the besieged territory. “We have the occupation. We have the blockade for the last 14 years, which paralyzed our entire lives. We have the pandemic, and now we have this fourth war against Gaza,” he says. We also speak with Orly Noy, an Israeli political activist and editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call, who says the latest outbreak of fighting is likely to help Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cling to power. “Israeli politics is now in a very strange phase,” Noy says. “Extreme right-wingers are controlling both sides of the Israeli map.”


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

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in Gaza, where Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 26 Palestinians, including nine children, as tension in the region escalated sharply over the past day. In one attack, seven members of a single family in Gaza died, including three children. Meanwhile, over 700 Palestinians were hurt in Jerusalem and the West Bank by Israeli security forces Monday. Hundreds were injured when Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

Hamas responded by firing hundreds of rockets into Israel. No deaths were reported, but police said over two dozen people were injured. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh warned rocket attacks will continue until Israel stops, quote, “all scenes of terrorism and aggression in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque,” unquote.

The tension in Jerusalem has been mounting for weeks as Palestinians have been protesting Israel’s plans to forcibly evict dozens of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem to give their homes to Jewish settlers. A court hearing on the evictions scheduled for Monday was postponed. The United Nations has described the planned eviction as a possible war crime.

In Gaza, families have started to bury the dead after Monday’s airstrikes. Survivors described the airstrikes killing young children.

REFAT AL MASRI: [translated] What happened here is we were sitting outside the house waiting for iftar, the breaking of the fast. An 8-month-old child was killed. Mohammad, who was getting married in five days after Eid, was killed. How is this the children’s fault? Girls between the ages of 7 and 9 have been killed. How is this their fault? We were just sitting outside the house waiting for the call to prayer.

AMY GOODMAN: Israeli Knesset member Ahmad Tibi blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the violent escalation, which comes as Netanyahu is fighting for his political life.

AHMAD TIBI: There is escalation. Somebody is responsible for this escalation. His name is Benjamin Netanyahu and Amir Ohana, minister of interior security affairs. They are interested in this escalation by the Israeli police. And we are here, as members of the Joint List, to stand with the Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, in Sheikh Jarrah and in Al-Aqsa Mosque. East Jerusalem is an occupied city. And the march today is celebrating the occupation.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by two guests. Orly Noy is in Jerusalem, an Israeli political activist and editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call, a member of B’Tselem’s executive board. And joining us from Gaza City, Raji Sourani, award-winning human rights lawyer, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza. He’s the 2013 Right Livelihood Award laureate. He’s on the executive board of the International Federation for Human Rights, received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 1991. He was also twice named an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience.

Raji Sourani, let’s go to you first in Gaza. The latest numbers we have, 26 people, Palestinians, have been killed, among them a number of children. Can you describe the scene on the ground?

RAJI SOURANI: Thank you, Amy.

It’s very hard. It’s very tough. It’s bloody. It’s bleak, a black situation. In less than 24 hours, I mean, this harvest of lives and injuries and destruction, it’s unprecedented. And this remind us just in what had happened 2014, 2012 and 2008. But this time, I mean, it seems it’s much more tougher than it has been before. Israel, I mean, dominate entirely Gaza, and they are bombing. They didn’t stop since yesterday ’til this moment. And every moment, I mean, this situation deteriorates more, escalate more. And we are having more killings, more injuries, more civilian targets bombed.

And the eye of the storm, unfortunately, as usual, are the civilians and the civilian targets. And that’s very worries, as if Gaza just need that. We have the occupation. We have the blockade for the last 14 years, which paralyzed our entire life. We have the pandemic. And now, I mean, we have this fourth war against Gaza on civilians, civilian targets in the eye of the storm.

Once and again, Israel do flagrantly violate international law, international humanitarian law, which is there to protect civilians at a time of war. They didn’t respect that, neither in Gaza nor in Jerusalem or in Sheikh Jarrah or in any Palestinian territories. This is real, a new brand of apartheid, unprecedented, much, much worse than South Africa used to do.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Raji Sourani, I wanted to ask you: What, from your perspective, prompted this latest round of attacks? Clearly, over the last four years during the Trump administration, there was an effort by the United States to sort of further marginalize the Palestinian question and the Palestinian — the Israeli occupation. What, in your perspective, led to this new round of attacks by Israel?

RAJI SOURANI: Well, I mean, this is a very right-wing government, and Prime Minister Netanyahu competing how he can beat the most right extremist, I mean, in Israel. And that’s why he’s investing and trying his best to suppress, oppress more and more Palestinians and to do what he is doing right now.

And the Trump administration gave him a wonderful gift. They gave him blessing for the settlements policy in the West Bank to cement this apartheid regime of Israel in Jerusalem and West Bank. They enhanced the ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem towards Palestinians. And Trump gave his executive order by recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal united capital of Israel, unlike any other American administration before.

Of course, I mean, Netanyahu felt, with that, he has absolute and a free hand towards that, especially — I mean, he is in the peak of the elections, where his position is shaking, and he tried to prove more and more that he is a real national and he is the one who believes in Eretz Yisrael from the river to the sea, Palestinians with no existence. We don’t exist for him. That’s why he wants to clean Jerusalem from Palestinians. And that’s why when Gaza stood in solidarity as part of the Palestinian people with Jerusalem, he just jumped to that, and he began this orchestrated campaign of bombing, destruction and killing once again.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the evictions that have been proposed in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, the United Nations has described the planned evictions as a possible war crime. And now we have the Israeli Supreme Court postponing at least a decision on it. Could you talk about the importance of this particular neighborhood as representative of the continuing seizure of land by the Israeli settlers?

RAJI SOURANI: Well, Israel Judaized Jerusalem, East Jerusalem. They’re ethnically cleansing, I mean, the Palestinians from there. They are taking it over, day after day, by forcing people to leave, by imposing pressure, by expansion, by building this apartheid wall, that the most important court on Earth said it’s null and void and should be abolished.

Sheikh Jarrah is a good example, I mean, for that. They want to take it over, its stones, its sands, its trees, a Palestinian genuine part of Jerusalem. And the people in it, I mean, they were refugees. I mean, they came in 1948 to this after Israel forced them to leave, after the atrocities they made against them. And they came to this part, and they settled, and they are existing there. They don’t want them to exist there. Israel — and I want to remind everybody that entire East Jerusalem and Occupied Territories, this is not by Palestinians; it’s by Palestinians, by U.N. and the whole world, including the American administration used to call it as such, ’til the Trump administration.

Now with what they are doing, they want to force people to leave, using the name of the High Court. What is the High Court in Israel? The High Court in Israel and the courts in Israel, regarding Palestinians, they are racist. They are schizophrenic. And they are there to provide full legal cover for organized, systemic crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people. They’re just giving, I mean, this legal cover for what Israel — they don’t apply international law. They don’t apply international humanitarian law. For them, this is with nonexistence. What they recognize, one thing only: They recognize the right of the Israeli Jews, those who are considered holy blood, holy soils, holy land. Others, I mean, we are with nonexistence.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to that video that has gone viral on social media of the Sheikh Jarrah resident, Muna El-Kurd, confronting an Israeli settler who had been living in her family’s home for 12 years.

MUNA EL-KURD: Jacob, you know this is not your house.

JACOB: Yes, but if I go, you don’t go back. So what’s the problem? Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t do this. I didn’t do this.

MUNA EL-KURD: But you —

JACOB: It’s easy to yell at me, but I didn’t do this.

MUNA EL-KURD: You are stealing my house.

JACOB: And if I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it.

MUNA EL-KURD: No, no one is allowed to steal it.

AMY GOODMAN: We spoke to Muna El-Kurd’s twin brother, Mohammed El-Kurd, yesterday. They are resisting the forcing out of the Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah. I wanted to bring Orly Noy into the conversation, the Israeli political activist, editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call, member of the B’Tselem executive board. You are in Jerusalem. Explain what is happening there and the escalation. The way the U.S. media, following the Israel government media, often refers to this is Hamas is shooting rockets into Israel. Give us the context before this happened.

ORLY NOY: Yeah, well, we should — I will get in a minute to the context of this last round of escalation, but before doing that, we need to look at the broader context of the inherent and institutionalized violence against the Palestinians, which is a constant. There is a constant war, at different levels, that Israel is embarking upon against the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.

First, we need to remember that the Palestinians in Jerusalem, which make about 40% of the city’s population, are not citizens of Israel. And they are, as far as Israel is concerned, sort of temporary residents of the city. It means that their houses are constantly under the threat of demolition, being taken over by settlers. It means that they are basically subjected to a different set of law. And this is part of the apartheid nature of the Palestinian reality everywhere in Jerusalem. So, this is the broader context.

The latest round of escalation actually started with the very arbitrary and outrageous decision by the Jerusalem police to ban the Palestinians from gathering at the end of the fast during Ramadan on the wide steps outside Damascus Gate, which is one of the main gathering centers of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, certainly in the month of Ramadan, which, you know, should be those festive evenings after the breaking of the fast, which always happened in Damascus Gate. And I think that the police knew very well that this will not go unprotested, without protest. And surely enough, the Palestinians did protest, which only gave the Jerusalem police an excuse to treat them with extreme brutality. And I was there night after night. The amount — I cannot even begin to describe what war zone, an actual war zone, the police created because of Palestinians protesting against this arbitrary, senseless, provocative decision.

And, of course, when you add to that the threat of the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, which, by the way, are not for the first time — Palestinians have been constantly being evicted from not only Sheikh Jarrah, but also from Silwan and from other sensitive areas in the historic Holy Basin of the Old City and from the Muslim Quarter of the Old City itself. So, all of that sort of, as was very much expected from the first moment, exploded into the situation that we are witnessing right now.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Orly Noy, could you talk about how Netanyahu is hoping to benefit from this instability, and his own problems that he is facing in terms of being able to form a new government and the repeated elections in Israel, how this plays into his political interests?

ORLY NOY: Yes. After Netanyahu exhausted the time that was given to him to try and establish a government and failed to do so, his main goal became to prevent his political rivals from succeeding in forming a new government. Now, the Israeli politics is now in a very strange phase, in which extreme right-wingers are controlling both sides of the Israeli map, which is the pro-Netanyahu camp and the anti-Netanyahu camp. But the situation in the anti-Netanyahu camp, which now has the mandate to try and form a government, is such that it needs for extreme right-wingers, like Naftali Bennett and Gideon Sa’ar, to collaborate in some way with left, central-left parties, such as Labor Party, Meretz, and with the silent collaboration or cooperation of the Joint List.

The sure way for Netanyahu to prevent that cooperation between both political sides in the anti-Netanyahu camp is to provoke them, the situation, the reality, into a war, which — in which case it would be much more difficult, because the Bennett people, the right-wing people, Sa’ar, Bennett, etc., they need to be accountable to their bases of voters. They want to escalate the situation. They want stronger attacks on Gaza, more violence against Palestinians, both inside and outside 48 territories, which is something, of course, that would make the cooperation with the left, central-left side of the political map almost impossible to achieve.

AMY GOODMAN: And at the same time, the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is on trial for corruption. As we wrap up, Raji Sourani, we just got word from Haaretz that it looks like two Israelis were just killed in Ashkelon. That’s where the Hamas rockets are falling. And you have the 26 Palestinians, a number of them children, in Gaza, as a result of the Israeli attacks. And finally, the response of the United States: Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Hamas needs to end the rocket attacks immediately, and added “all sides need to deescalate.” What do you think has to happen now? And specifically, what are you demanding of the U.S. government?

RAJI SOURANI: To have an end for this bloody, prolonged military occupation. That’s the issue. I mean, we cannot live with that. We cannot allow this to happen. I mean, I cannot understand or digest how international community, seeing these war crimes, the crimes against humanity, happening once and again, once and again — all international human rights organizations know and realize what’s going on. This is a new brand of apartheid. There is need to have an end for this conflict. It’s a time — sorry — to have something simple apply in this part of the world: rule of law. Make accountability. All what we need, peace. No one on Earth in need for peace more than the suppressed and the oppressed. We suffered a lot as the Palestinian people, but we’re still having strong feeling toward justice. We want peace based on international law, international humanitarian law. What we need, simple thing, end of the occupation. What we need, end of this aggression.

Israel should be held accountable, and U.S. can deliver. It’s enough, what the American administration did for Israel, providing them full political immunity against the crimes they are doing once and again against Palestinians. ICC, as well, will be one of the places where these Israeli war criminals will be held against all the crimes they committed against the Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territories, against the ethnic cleansing, against the settlements policy, against the atrocities, I mean, they are making, day and night.

AMY GOODMAN: Raji Sourani, I want to thank you very much for being with us, a human rights lawyer, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza. Please be safe. And Orly Noy, Israeli political activist, editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call, also a member of the human rights group B’Tselem’s executive board.

When we come back, we look back 36 years ago this week to the day when a Philadelphia police helicopter dropped a bomb on the home of MOVE, a radical Black liberation organization, killing 11 people, including five children. But the tragedy didn’t end on that day. We’ll look at how Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania have used bones from one or two of the murdered children in their classes for years. Stay with us.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Wed May 19, 2021 11:46 pm

Violence in Gaza: Interview with Professor Rashid Khalidi
by Ralph Nader
May 15, 2021
https://www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/fai ... e-in-gaza/

Steve Skrovan: Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. My name is Steve Skrovan ... And we also have the man of the hour, Ralph Nader. Hello, Ralph.

Ralph Nader: Hello, everybody....

Our second guest will be Rashid Khalidi, Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, to discuss the escalating violence in Gaza. Hundreds of worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque were injured when Israeli forces fired on them with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and stun grenades. This followed weeks of increased tensions over Israeli restrictions on Palestinians gathering to break the Ramadan fast and the forced evictions of Palestinians by Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem.

Hamas leadership in Gaza launched rockets in retaliation for the violence at Al-Aqsa. And Israeli forces launched hundreds of airstrikes on Gaza. As of this recording, there at least 53 Palestinians and six Israelis dead and more than 300 Palestinians injured in Gaza. We'll ask Professor Khalidi to provide us with some perspective.... 

David Feldman: Dr. Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. He's the author of The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017. Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, Professor Rashid Khalidi.

Rashid Khalidi: Thanks, David.

Ralph Nader: Welcome indeed. Well, I guess the phrase is "here we go again.” The violence has erupted; the disparity in military capability is staggering in favor of the Israelis, internal domestic politics of Netanyahu, are very much involved. Where would you start to try to explain this, which seems to be escalating and may become much worse with huge casualties predominantly on the side of the Palestinians?

Rashid Khalidi: Well, I think it's worth looking at the casualties; it's worth paying attention to this, the horrible escalation that's ongoing--attacks on Gaza [and] the rocket fire into Israel. But I think it's probably useful to look a little deeper. And I would go back to the subtitle of my book, Settler Colonialism and Resistance. This started over several sets of issues in Jerusalem that are directly rooted in an attempt to displace and dispossess Palestinians, whether residents of the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah or Palestinians worshipping in the Al-Aqsa Mosque by a very heavy-handed, right-wing Israeli government that is following through on imperatives that have really driven the Israeli state and the Zionist project since the beginning.

The trigger for all of this was this attempt to displace a number of families in Sheikh Jarrah.

Ralph Nader: This is in East Jerusalem which is predominantly Arab.

Rashid Khalidi: It's an Arab neighborhood . . . exactly, an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem on the basis of old property claims that supposedly entitle the settlers who purchased these deeds from others the right to expel the residents who are set up there by the Jordanian government many decades ago after being driven from their own homes and property inside Israel in 1948. And the irony here, of course, is that well, property claims to property that was Jewish or supposedly was owned by Jews before 1948, are being enforced by the might, the repressive might of the Israeli state claims of Palestinians to their property in West Jerusalem which had large Arab neighborhoods before 1948 or in Jaffa or Haifa where many of the residents of this Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood come from. Those property claims are inadmissible under Israeli law. Similarly, the right of militant, heavily armed nationalist religious settlers to march through Arab neighborhoods and break into people's property with the protection of the Israeli security forces as part of a policy of intimidation is routinely carried out in Jerusalem. Whereas any attempts to do something similar would of course be brutally repressed. So we're seeing, I think . . . and then this in turn has led to the escalation out of Gaza and the Israeli attacks on Gaza. So I think that what we're seeing, whether in Jerusalem, in Gaza, or in towns and cities with Arab populations across Israel, where there's been a great deal of unrest and several people killed and a clear disturbance [wherein] people are deeply disturbed and angered, shows that we're talking about something that is bigger than just yet another round of escalation as between Hamas and Israel as part of it. But I think we have to look at the triggers and have to look at the root causes.

Ralph Nader: Given that, what's the internal politics here between Netanyahu and forming a coalition and trying to avoid a fifth election and the struggle between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority?

Rashid Khalidi: Yeah, I think that both of those dynamics are actually at work. In the Israeli case, Netanyahu is desperately trying to pull together. He failed in an initial attempt to pull together a coalition. Well, right-wing parties around his Likud Party which won the largest share of votes in the last Israeli election, the fourth in two years. And it's notable that what he's trying to do is to woo some of the most extreme religious nationalists, including a party that was inspired by Meir Kahane of Jewish Defense League fame or notoriety I should say. Trying to keep those people in his coalition, in a perspective coalition, and catering to the extreme settlers who are located in several of the major parties, including his own Likud Party, is part of the reason that this escalation has taken place. Israel has been pushing the Palestinians and squeezing them for decades. This is not new. Properties have been taken over in Sheikh Jarrah in the past. But the push in Jerusalem, whether shutting down celebrations outside the Damascus Gate on Ramadan nights by young Palestinians; whether it's offensive in Sheikh Jarrah to evict people with the support of the security forces, or whether attacks on worshippers in the Haram al-Sharif, the sanctuary, the esplanade around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, including attacks by Israeli forces on the mosque itself throwing grenades, sound grenades and tear gas grenades into the mosque while people are trying to worship. I think all of this is an attempt to cater to the extreme right- wingers whom Netanyahu is desperate to bring into a coalition with him. So that's the Israeli side.

On the Palestinian side, I think that the postponement of elections by Mahmoud Abbas, which was greeted with universal dismay by Palestinians on the pretext that Israel would not allow voting in Jerusalem, which while true, should not have prevented the elections from taking place, is one of the triggers of this as is the ongoing rivalry between Fatah and Hamas. And it's pretty clear that while the unrest in Jerusalem was grassroots, spontaneous local responses to what's happening in the mosque, around the mosque, and what's happening in Sheikh Jarrah, very clearly the politicians were caught unawares by this and were not prepared for it in both cases whether in Ramallah or in Gaza are responding--Abbas, with his usual ineffectual attempts at diplomacy, and Hamas with their tried and true policy of firing rockets. So Palestinian internal politics and, I think more importantly, Israeli internal politics and the incredible pressure that Israel has been putting on Palestinians in the last few weeks, in Jerusalem in particular, are what started this.

Ralph Nader: Well, the latest reports in that area until this eruption started was that the Palestinians were not being given vaccines for the COVID-19 epidemic. They were trying to get some from Russia. And under international law, you occupy a territory, you've got to protect the safety and health of the people. Now it's become the usual asymmetric warfare and two points here. One is, the story of the rockets has never been told, Professor Khalidi. Let me explain. These are garage built, homemade rockets. They fired thousands of them over the years into Israel. And fortunately, 99.9% have dropped on hard desert floors. There's been very, very few casualties. There've been more friendly fire casualties in the Israeli Army than these rockets. But the rockets give the Israelis the excuse for massive counterattacks, huge disproportionate killings, 400 to one in terms of deaths and injuries of innocents with the Palestinians taking the brunt. Now, the Israeli reporters and Israeli human rights groups have long pointed out that Gaza is under the greatest surveillance technologically in world history. The Israelis know every street, every home; in fact, they just attacked militants and they knew exactly what houses they were living in. They have informants. They have spies. They have DNA samples. And, of course, they have electronic surveillance and they know everything that's going on. [So] how do they allow these rockets to be built and fired? I was once talking to a technical specialist and I said, “How many seconds does it take for the Israeli Air Force to find out where the rocket was fired from to fire back? He said, “between three and five seconds.” So the argument is, Hamas needs the rockets to show that they have a pulse and they're defending their people and they're not totally powerless, but Israel desperately needs these rockets in order to say to the world we're retaliating and we have a right to defend ourselves.

Now, there are a lot of reporters in Israel who know this story; there are a lot of ordinary people who know this story; the human rights groups know this story [yet] it's never hit the US press. It's never gotten here. It's never gotten into the European press as far as known. And yet it is the key linchpin for the Israeli attacks on two million people in Gaza crowded into an area not that much bigger than the District of Columbia.

Rashid Khalidi: Well, I mean, I think that's right.

Ralph Nader: Let me back up and put the question to you. Don't you think the Israelis know where the materials are coming from for these crude rockets, who is assembling them, where they're being assembled in this tiny enclave in Gaza, and who's firing them, and when they're being fired?

Rashid Khalidi: I don't know the answer to that question, Ralph. I really can't tell you the answer to that question. I would suspect that they know a lot of that and I would suspect that they often refrain from acting on what they know. But I think that the essential thing to understand here is, first of all, that when you do to the Palestinians what Israel has been doing systematically for over 73 years, you are going to get resistance. You're going to get a push back. And that push back will take various forms whether it's stone throwing, whether it's peaceful demonstrations, whether it's violent action like the firing of rockets. And I think that what the dynamic that you've talked about has helped to skew what should be an understanding of settler colonials and dispossession and displacement will necessarily and inevitably provoke resistance. Two, this flat, superficial narrative of terrorism and of poor Israelis coming under rocket fire... Now obviously, I am not in favor of any civilian target being attacked by anybody, whether it's Israel or whether it's Hamas or it's anybody else, United States, anybody. And I think that that's not the way to wage war. War should be waged within the laws of war and that forbids indiscriminate targeting of civilians. But the two things that are constantly alighted from the picture and the way the media presents it, is that first of all, the population of Gaza didn't originate most of it in Gaza. They are refugees driven out of their homes and forbidden from returning to them or from regaining possession of their property by Israeli policies over all the years since 1948. And secondly, as you yourself, as you pointed out, the incredible imbalance in casualties. The last time that Israel engaged in a war on Gaza in 2014, close to 2200 Palestinians were killed; well over half of them were women and children and the overwhelming bulk were civilians, old people, people who are not involved in any way in combat, as against a number in the low double digits, I think it was 13 or 12 civilians killed inside Israel. When you have that kind of imbalance, which you just mentioned actually, I think 20 or more than 20 to one, or 30 to one, or whatever the number is, 2,000 plus to 13, this is what should be talked about. I mean, the terrorism, in terms of targeting of civilians, can be ascribed if you choose to use that term to both sides. But what about proportions? What about the use of force that's completely disproportionate? And this is not a coincidence or an accident. One listens to Israeli military spokesmen who say, “We do everything possible to avoid targeting civilians.” Well, go to the doctrine, the so-called Dahiya Doctrine, which was adopted by the Israeli armed forces and which specifically talks about disproportionate and excessive use of force as a means of imposing what the Israelis call deterrence. So you do actually have the targeting of civilians even though Israeli spokesmen constantly reiterate that they're not and with these proportions.

Ralph Nader: But they have the most precision instruments of warfare and how come these precision instruments are finding schools, hospitals, clinics, homes being blown up? So this is what you say is just propaganda. The Israeli government is losing public opinion in the US even among the Jewish-American population; that's been going on for some time. And J Street has been gaining strength going for a two-state solution. But just yesterday, the fervent Pro-Israeli government, head of public radio in Albany, WMAC, said that Israel should not be taking Arab homes. He said it twice. That is an extraordinary reversal for this man because he gives a lot of regular political opinion. And so why is the Biden administration still parroting the Clinton and Obama administrations with this phrase, "Israel has the right to defend themselves," as if the Palestinians don't have a right to defend themselves. And they're standing there in the State Department like hapless, indifferent people even though US weapons and US funds are being used to power this military and technological superpower called Israel.

Rashid Khalidi: Well, I'll give you one reason. If they didn't do that they would be admitting that they're in violation of US law because US law mandates that American weapons can only be used for self-defense. If those weapons are being used in an indiscriminate way or in a way that violates international law, that is not consonant with self-defense, then everybody responsible-- the Congress and the administration, for sending these weapons to Israel, is liable under US law. So one reason that you get this absurd statement that the killing of 2200 people in 2014 was self-defense, is because if they were not to say that, they would admit that the United States is criminally liable under US law for the transfer of these weapons.

The other thing that I would say is that this administration I think illustrates . . . I agree with you by the way. I think that there is a big change going on in American public opinion in the Jewish community among young people, in particular, and many other communities of color and other communities, which have moral concerns and have a conscience, you're seeing a big shift. And you can see this in all the polling especially as it concerns the base of the Democratic Party. People are changing. And the person you cited is only one of many, many, many people who shifted considerably in their view of Israel-Palestine. And I think that the extreme right-wing religious nationalist, unconstitutional, semi-autocratic nature of the Netanyahu government is something that's partly driven this change.

But I think that the Biden administration illustrates a serious problem in the Democratic Party, which is that the leadership of the party, which is mainly made up of much older people who are mainly concerned with things like fundraising and big, big donors to the party, and alienating the Israel lobby, is divorced from the base of the party, which is younger, which is not restricted to looking at the mainstream corporate media, but listens to an enormous variety of sources of information through social media and through its access to things like podcasts, which just didn't exist 20 years ago. Twenty years ago, cable news, [the] New York Times, [the] Washington Post, the news agencies, that was it. And the older generation of party leadership, the older generation of this country generally including the Republican Party, which is mainly made up of older White people, and largely made up of older White people, are in another world than most younger people are concerned. And I think the Biden administration faithfully reflects a view that's in fact only, only held by mainly this generation, that generation. I mean, look at Speaker Pelosi; look at President Biden himself; look at Chuck Schumer. You're talking about people from a generation for which 1967 and the way in which the war was completely misinterpreted as a war of annihilation against Israel. Or for that matter, the 1948 war or the Holocaust or the foundational elements.

And with younger people, they see Israel as a nuclear superpower that has acted as a bully against the Palestinians for decades, which is the time the people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s have been alive. So I think that there's a big change underway among major segments of American public opinion. And I think that Israel has furthered this by its missteps in Jerusalem and by its heavy-handed brutality, whether in bombarding Gaza, or in crushing the protests against the dispossession of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah or at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Ralph Nader: This escalation here is probably the most dangerous ever for the simple reason that the Netanyahu regime is coming off the Trump "you can do whatever you want to the Palestinians" policy. And now their eruptions among Israeli-Arabs, who are protesting the treatment of their fellow Palestinians in East Jerusalem, and the more extreme ascension of right-wing Israeli politicians and colonials who make no ambiguity in their desire to eventually create such an eruption as to drive the Palestinians into the desert and there is recorded statements in that direction. I mean, this is a much more dangerous escalation than prior Israeli-Gaza. And listeners should know, the Hamas was founded with the full support of the Israeli and US governments to counteract the secular Palestine Liberation Organization, isn’t that correct?

Rashid Khalidi: The Israeli Intelligence Services supported Hamas from the time it was created and helped to foster the people who eventually founded Hamas and continued to do that for many years thereafter. This is attested by Israeli authors by independent reporting that eventually the Hamas got out of their control. But they were very, very happy exactly, as you said, to divide the Palestinians and they have always tried to divide the Palestinians. And it's a basic principle of colonial policy, divide and rule.


Rashid Abu Shbak, the head of Palestinian Preventive Security in the Gaza Strip said on Friday, December 6, 2002 that his forces had identified a number of Palestinian collaborators who had been ordered by Israeli security agencies to "work in the Gaza Strip under the name of Al-Qaeda." Al-Jazeera TV reported that the Palestinian authorities had arrested a group of Palestinian "collaborators with Israeli occupation" in Gaza, who were trying to set up an operation there in the name of bin Laden's Al-Qaeda. The Palestinian Authority spokesman said the members of the group had confessed that they were recruited and organized by the Israeli intelligence, Mossad. Sharon had personally claimed on December 4, 2002 that he had proof of Al-Qaeda operations in Gaza, and used the allegations to justify brutal Israeli Defense Forces attacks in the Gaza Strip the next day -- which was the start of the Islamic holiday, Eid, celebrating the end of Ramadan. Ten civilians were killed in the IDF assaults. Reuters published an extensive featured story on the affair by Diala Saadeh on December 7, 2002, under the headline "Palestinians: Israel Faked Gaza Al Qaeda Presence." The article quoted President Arafat, who told reporters at his West Bank Ramallah headquarters, "It is a big, big, big lie to cover [Sharon's] attacks and his crimes against our people everywhere." Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo explained: "There are certain elements who were instructed by the Mossad to form a cell under the name of Al Qaeda in the Gaza Strip in order to justify the assault and the military campaigns of the Israeli occupation army against Gaza." (Haaretz, Reuters and Al Jazeera, December 7, 2002) Sharon is of course a past master of false-flag tactics like these, having been implicated in the direction of the Abu Nidal organization and also in the setting up of Hamas.

On Sunday, December 8, 2002, Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian Authority Planning and International Cooperation Minister, held a press conference with Col. Rashid Abu Shbak, head of the PA 's Preventive Security Apparatus in the Gaza Strip, to release documents and provide further information about the Israeli intelligence creation of a self-styled Al Qaeda cell. Shaath called on the diplomats to "convey to their countries that they assume the responsibility of exerting pressure on the Israeli government to stop the Israeli aggression," and announced that the PA had handed ambassadors and consuls of the Arab and foreign countries documents revealing the involvement of the Israeli Intelligence in recruiting citizens from Gaza Strip in a fake organization carrying the name of Qaeda. The goal of the operation was to create a new pretext for aggression against the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. Shbak said that the PA had found eight cases of fake Al Qaeda recruiting over the previous nine months. Three Palestinians were arrested, while another 11 Palestinians were released, "because they came and informed us of this Israeli plot." The PA Security Service had traced mobile phone calls and e-mails, purportedly from Germany and Lebanon, back to Israel; these were messages asking Palestinians to join Al Qaeda. One e-mail even bore the forged signature of Osama bin Laden. "We investigated the origin of those calls, which used roaming, and messages, and found out they all came from Israel," Shbak said. The recruits were paired with collaborators in Gaza, and received money and weapons, "although most of these weapons did not work." The money was provided by collaborators, or transferred from bank accounts in Israel and Jerusalem. (Palestine Ministry of Public Information, Islam Online, December 9, 2002)...

Palestine -- After Israeli had occupied the west bank of the Jordan River, the Gaza strip and the Sinai peninsula in June, 1967, the Israelis found themselves ruling over some two million Palestinians. Under the United Nations system it is illegal to annex territory acquired through armed conflict without the approval of the United Nations Security Council, which in this case was not forthcoming. Rather, the UNSC passed resolution 242, calling on Israel to withdraw to the internationally recognized borders as they had been before June 1967. (In the run-up to the Iraq war, Bush spokesmen accused Iraq of having violated some 17 United Nations Security Council resolutions; they conveniently forgot that Israel was the all-time champion in that department, since Israel is currently in violation of some 30 UNSC resolutions regarded the territories it has occupied since 1967. But the US never proposed war to enforce compliance with those resolutions.) The Israeli occupation of conquered Palestine was oppressive and humiliating, and a national resistance soon emerged in the form of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Its leader was Yassir Arafat, a secular nationalist more or less in the Nasser mold. Since the PLO had few weapons, and since the Israeli army was a dominant presence, the PLO began doing what the Jews had done between 1945 and 1948 against the British occupation of the same territory: they launched guerilla warfare, which the occupiers quickly labeled terrorism. The official Israeli line was that there was no Palestinian people, but this was soon disproved. From the beginning, the Israeli Mossad was active in conducting provocations which it sought to attribute to the PLO and its peripheries: attacks on airliners and on the 1972 Olympic games in Munich are therefore of uncertain paternity. The more horrendous the atrocity, the greater the backlash of world public opinion against the PLO. There is no doubt that the Mossad controlled a part of the central committee of the organization known as Abu Nidal, after the nom de guerre of its leader, Sabri al Banna. In 1987-88, just as the first Palestinian intifada uprising was getting under way, there emerged in the occupied territories the organization known as Hamas. Hamas combined a strong commitment to neighborhood social services with the rejection of negotiations with Israel and the demand for a military solution which was sure to be labeled terrorism. Interestingly enough, one of the leading sponsors of Hamas was Ariel Sharon, a former general who was then a cabinet minister. These facts are widely recognized; US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurzer, an observant Jew, stated late in 2001 that Hamas had emerged "with the tacit support of Israel" because in the late 1980s "Israel perceived it would be better to have people turning toward religion, rather than toward a nationalistic cause." (Ha'aretz, Dec. 21, 2001) In an acrimonious Israeli cabinet debate around the same time, Israeli extremist Knesset member Silva Shalom stated:

"between Hamas and Arafat, I prefer Hamas ... Arafat is a terrorist in a diplomat's suit, while the Hamas can be hit unmercifully." (Ha'aretz, Dec. 4, 2001)

This tirade provoked a walkout by Shimon Peres and the other Labor Party ministers. Arafat added his own view, which was that

"Hamas is a creature of Israel which, at the time of Prime Minister Shamir, gave them money and more than 700 institutions, among them schools, universities, and mosques. Even [Israeli Prime Minister] Rabin ended up admitting it, when I charged him with it, in the presence of Mubarak." (Corriere della Sera, Dec. 11, 2001)

With incredible arrogance, the Bush administration has pronounced Arafat as unfit to be a negotiating partner. In effect, they are choosing Hamas -- or worse, an act of incalculable folly for Israel and for the United States as well.

-- 9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in USA, by Webster Griffin Tarpley

Ralph Nader: Do you think that the Biden administration is going to change at all? Do you think there's going to be more activity in Congress with people like AOC and some of the more progressive leaders and Rashida Tlaib? Or do you think the dominance of AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] will continue?

Rashid Khalidi: Well, I think that we're going to see the beginning of a change. I don't think that the dominance of the kinds of views represented by AIPAC is going to end overnight. The Republican Party is solidly pro-Israel from top to bottom. And in this case, the leadership and the base are marching in lockstep. On the Democratic side, the leadership and many, many Democrats are still very, very wary of crossing the lobby, very, very wary of taking positions that they think will make them vulnerable to their own donors or just some of their own voters and to the kind of pressure that the lobby can exert with smears and with underhanded attacks on them, the kinds of things that have driven a number of people out of Congress in the past. However, on the other side, in addition to the people you mentioned, you have several senators speaking. You have Senator Van Hollen of Maryland. You have Senator Warren of Massachusetts. Of course you have Bernie Sanders of Vermont. And you have had a couple of dozen members of Congress, in the last Congress, willing to support a bill that would make American aid to Israel conditional on Israel ceasing to detain Palestinian minors. Betty McCollum of Minnesota was the sponsor of this and she had 24 co-sponsors in the last session of Congress. Every single one of them was re-elected in November. And she has a new bill, which would ban US aid from being used, not only for the detention of minors, but also for the demolition of Palestinian homes and for Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory. And she's collecting co-sponsors on this new version of the bill. And I think this is unprecedented that you had that large a block of congress people, congressmen and women.

Ralph Nader: The problem is the urgency of the escalating conflict, because Netanyahu and his military general said these airstrikes are just the beginning. So this could go completely out of control and, of course, the Syrians are convulsed in around. And Israel has, by its own admission, bombed Syria hundreds of times in recent years. And Iraq is demobilized and the Biden administration has the priority of restoring the nuclear accord with Iran as its top Middle East policy. And the Gulf Arabs are making good with Israel. This thing could blow sky high for the Palestinians because of the internal politics of Netanyahu forming a coalition in the next few weeks. What must the US do here in the United Nations as well?

Rashid Khalidi: Well, I think it's finally time for the United States to allow the international community to actually not just say things critical of Israel, but to do things that would inflict a price on Israel for its behavior. I think it's time to stop talking about the UN resolutions regarding settlement, for example, or regarding annexation or regarding Jerusalem, and to start to implement sanctions. That's a steep ask, but I don't think anything else will do. They may or may not be able to bring about a ceasefire. But every day that this continues, and hopefully it will not escalate as you're suggesting, Ralph. But every day that this continues, it's not just that the Palestinians become more unified and mobilized; it's not just that people the world over are horrified and support for Israel will continue to ebb, but it is also the case that in the Arab world, the autocratic and unrepresentative, the undemocratic governments that began a rapprochement with Israel are running scared of their own people. You should see the statements being issued by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, countries that have normalized with Israel. They are petrified by the storm on social media in their own countries in support of the Palestinians. These are countries that don't allow any expression of public opinion and that's how they were able to get away with what they did. But they are going to have to reckon sooner or later with the wave of anger that's going over the Arab world. What was done in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Al-Aqsa Mosque is an 8th century structure. It's the first direction of prayer for Muslims before it shifted back to Mecca. It's the third holiest place in Israel.

This is the Holy Month of Ramadan. People are praying in this mosque. Think of St. Peter's Basilica; think of the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem or the Hurva Synagogue. And imagine security forces firing tear gas into a mosque while worshippers are praying. And imagine the impact of that on co-religionists, of people who are praying in a synagogue or a church or, in this case, in the mosque. That's something that the Biden administration is going to have to contend with. Israel is creating enemies for itself, the world over, by its actions. They think that they have a lock hold on the United States. And as long as they have that, they can get away with this. I think that lock hold is beginning to slip, but in any case, they are creating for themselves endless problems and there are Israeli security analysts saying the same thing. Former Israeli national security adviser said the same thing, [i.e.] they have totally mishandled this. This is going to harm us and they're right.

Ralph Nader: And you know, we have some Israeli partisans in our audience; not many, but they let us know. And they should know that in 2002, 19 Islamic nations in the Middle East and Central Asia appealed to the Israeli government for a peace accord based on return to the 1967 borders, a two-state solution and diplomatic and trade relations will resume. They repeated that proposal again and again, put full-page ads in the New York Times, these 19 Islamic nations, and the Israeli government rebuffed them. That's often forgotten.

Rashid Khalidi: Right. No, you're absolutely right. Ironically, the Emirates . . . one of the chief Emirates spokesman for the United Arab Emirates just repeated that peace plan that you mentioned.

Ralph Nader: We're almost out of time. We've been talking with Professor Khalidi. How about some input from David and Steve?

David Feldman: You were talking earlier about how isolated the Palestinians are. Is there anybody who's stepping up, any country in the Middle East now? It feels like Saudi Arabia has abandoned the Palestinian cause? And which country in the Arab League is protecting the Palestinians?

Rashid Khalidi: Well, no country is protecting the Palestinians. I think that's part of the problem. You have an Arab world which is a black hole as far as democracy and a popular representation in constitutions are concerned. And among these autocratic regimes where public opinion is very supportive of the Palestinians.

David Feldman: Is Iran the only country that is supporting the Palestinians in a full-throated way in . . .

Rashid Khalidi: I would question how effective that support is. There are other countries. I mean, Algeria, Turkey, at least, are outspoken in their support. But in practice, I don't think that that is terribly effective. At this stage, I think it's really very much more up to the Palestinians themselves frankly. I think that what they're doing is having an enormous effect on international public opinion, on public opinion in the Arab world. And there are deep divisions among the Palestinians. I mean, I mentioned that in response to Ralph's question that it's not just Netanyahu who is operating on the basis of political calculations. I think that's also true for Hamas and it's true certainly for Abbas.

David Feldman: If Israel keeps killing the Hamas leadership, who speaks for the Palestinians, at least in Gaza?

Rashid Khalidi: This is not new. There's an extraordinary book entitled Rise and Kill First about Israel's assassination policy. They have been systematically murdering Palestinian leaders for decades and decades and decades and decades. Most notably starting in the 1970s, but ever since for the last 50 years and more, they have been doing this, murdering or imprisoning the most important, most effective Palestinian leadership. That's characteristic of every colonial regime fighting every national liberation movement. The French did this in Algeria; the South Africans did this in Southwest Africa, and the Portuguese did this in Mozambique. It is what they do and you have to just go on. The Palestinians will just have to figure out how to find new leaders. There's nothing --

David Feldman: Is Abu Mazen a legitimate leader of the Palestinians or is he being propped up by the Israelis?

Rashid Khalidi: Well, I think he's being propped up by the United States and Europe most significantly. And I think that he's lost his legitimacy and that he was elected so long ago that his term ran out a decade and a half ago, and I think his legitimacy is really quite limited.

Ralph Nader: Thank you. To be continued. Thank you, Professor Khalidi.

Rashid Khalidi: Very much appreciated. Take care.
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