Throughout October, Israeli forces carried out a total of 107 Gaza ceasefire violations before finally provoking the firing of a single missile from Gaza, on the last day of that month.
On 1 November, Resistance fighters launched ten missiles from Gaza into southern Israel, resulting in flying shrapnel that injured a woman and damaged a house. Israeli forces quickly reacted, with air strikes hitting a large number of areas in Gaza that killed one person, Ahmad Muhammad al-Shakhri. The Israeli Energy Minister and Security Cabinet member, Yuval Steinitz, said he believed that Israel “may have to set out on a big army operation” against Gaza.
In October, there were, altogether, 111 Gaza ceasefire violations committed by Israel, as opposed to just one by the Palestinian Resistance. Yet Israel would have the world believe that its relentless military violence against Gaza is solely in response to Palestinian missiles. During the whole of October, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats on at least 26 occasions, wounding two crew members. Israel asserts that Gaza is a threat to Israel, but it is Israel that constantly invades Gaza. Last month saw Israeli forces make at least seven incursions into Gaza, opening fire and using bulldozers to lay waste to the land, while Israeli Army positions, behind the Green Line, opened fire on Gaza farmland on 49 occasions. Israeli sniper fire against unarmed civilian protesters during October killed one person and wounded 295.
In 1936, because of mounting resistance to the Zionist enterprise in the Palestinian homeland, Britain set up the Palestine Royal Commission, headed by Lord Peel. On 20 August 1937, the Twentieth Zionist Congress reacted to the Commission’s recommendations for the partitioning of Palestine by declaring that it understood the Balfour Declaration as being for the establishment of the “Jewish National Home” in the whole of historic Palestine. David Ben-Gurion, who became Israel’s first Prime Minister, saw the partition plan as a foothold from which to incrementally take the whole of Palestine. In October 1938, he wrote: “I don’t regard a state in part of Palestine as the final aim of Zionism, but as a mean toward that aim.” (Shabtai Teveth, p. 188).
In 1980, Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital and, at a ceremony on 14 May 2018, the US opened its Embassy there in support of Israel’s lawless claim to sovereignty over the city. The most obvious proof of Zionism’s expansionist goals are, of course, the ever-growing illegal Israeli Occupation settlements and the continuing loss of Palestinian land.
This September, Israeli human rights author, Gideon Levy, reported in Haaretz a “singularly vicious” attack by the forces of Israel’s ‘Civil Administration’ with “the uprooting of hundreds of olive trees that were about to yield their first fruit, and demolition of the cisterns holding the water that was used to irrigate them.”
Sewage as a weapon
On 4 November, in the district of Bethlehem, militants from the Beit Ayin Israeli Occupation settlement pumped settlement sewage into al-Ju’ba village olive groves.*
This vandalism and agricultural sabotage saw the beginning of a determined campaign against the Palestinian olive harvest. Israel’s founding ideology drives a fanatical contempt towards the Palestinian people which explains, perhaps, why the Zionist regime is the only one in history to use sewage as a weapon against a militarily-Occupied population.
On 1 November, people from the Maskiyot Israeli Occupation settlement raided Ein al-Hilweh and ploughed up Palestinian farmland, while a gang of settlers invaded Yasuf village farmland and stole the olive harvest, along with harvesting equipment. On that same day, Israeli forces raided the Khilat al-Fahm area in al-Khadr and robbed a farmer, Adnan Salah, of his tractor while he was working his land.
On 3 November, in Nablus, militants from the Eli Occupation settlement invaded Qaryut village farmland, stole the olive harvest and blocked access to the olive grove, while Zionists from the Rahalim Occupation settlement invaded al-Sawiya village agricultural land and stole the harvest from approximately 300 olive trees. The following day, also in Nablus – militants from the Eli Israeli Occupation settlement raided Sharqiya village land and stole the fruit gathered from around 900 olive trees, and a security guard from the Kafr Tupah Israeli Occupation settlement closed off access to Yasuf village agricultural land, preventing the day’s olive harvest from proceeding. This was the very same day that militants had pumped settlement sewage into al-Ju’ba village olive groves [*see above].
On 5 November, in Jenin, the Israeli Army issued an order for the confiscation of Faqua village farmland while, in Nablus, the Israeli Army forced Palestinian olive harvesters off their land near the Yitzhar Israeli Occupation settlement, to prevent further harvesting. The Army then issued orders for the seizure of land in Majdal Bani Fadil and Duma villages, for Occupation settlement development. The next day, Israeli forces barred access to Burin village farmland in the Bab al-Sinyat area of Nablus and, in Bethlehem, a gang of Israeli settlers raided the Jabal al-Nahlat area in Irtas village and seized privately-owned farmland.
On 7 November, settler militants assaulted a farmer, Eyad Daraghma, as he ploughed his land in the North Jordan Valley. On the ninth of the month, militants from the Yitzhar Israeli Occupation settlement raided Burin village and severed the branches from over 40 olive trees, while a gang from the Rahalim Israeli Occupation settlement raided farmland in Yasuf and al-Sawiya villages, severing branches from approximately 58 olive trees.
On 10 November, the Israeli Army issued orders for the destruction of a 1,000-cubic-metre water storage tank in east Tubas and barred farmers from harvesting olives near the Shave Shamron Occupation settlement. Also the same day, a gang of Israeli settlers invaded agricultural land in east Kafr Qaddum village, assaulted harvesters and stole 1,000kg of olives. With the olive harvest pretty well over, we can turn our attention to other aspects of Zionist terror. On 11 November, the Israeli Army murdered a defenceless civilian in the al-Aroub UN refugee camp – see video of the shooting.
Zionism – based upon deceit
In 1919, the author of the Balfour Declaration, Lord Arthur Balfour, admitted to the new British Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon:
“The weak point of our position is of course that in the case of Palestine we deliberately and rightly decline to accept the principle of self-determination.”
Balfour’s reference to the Palestinian right to self-determination as merely ‘desire’ and ‘prejudice’ foreshadowed what was going to happen to the Palestinian people.
Later the same year, Balfour also wrote the following to Lord Curzon:
“. . . in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country . . . the Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land . . .”
How then did the world expect life to turn out for a people whose presence in their own homeland had been dismissed by a great power as merely “present inhabitants of the country”?! Balfour’s comment brought with it the threat of forced exodus, or worse.
Under the jackboot
The Israeli Occupation has introduced two very different legal systems: For the settler colonists, Israeli civil law applies but Palestinians are subjected to the authority of imposed Israeli military courts. For the Palestinian population, appearance before a Zionist military court means a near certainty (over 99%) of conviction. The Zionist regime also has a device, imprisonment without trial, for use where there is no, or little, actual evidence against anyone it suspects of showing the slightest sign of resistance to its discriminatory rule. Known as administrative detention, the process has no time limit and there is no requirement for the disclosure of evidence. It is obviously impossible for a person so incarcerated to mount a defence against undisclosed allegations.
In everyday life, Israeli settlers enjoy the use of roads free of restrictions while, for Palestinians, movement to and from work or school on segregated third-rate roads and pathways is constantly delayed by soldiers and checkpoints. While settlers enjoy fast-growing housing in ever-expanding settlements, Zionist forces invade and destroy Palestinian homes and refuse the vast majority of Palestinian applications to build homes.
The two-state solution subterfuge
The New Zealand Government supports the UNSCR Resolution 2334 statement that: “The United Nations Security Council has reaffirmed that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
Our Permanent Representative, Gerard van Bohemen, even told the Security Council that “every settlement creates false hope for the settlers that the land will one day be part of a greater Israel. Every settlement takes land away from Palestinians needing homes or farmland or roads. Today’s resolution provides important signals to the parties and to the international community about the way forward.”
So why are the settlements still growing? Why is the world doing nothing to oppose the militarily-imposed colonialist rule over the Palestinian people’s homeland? Israel’s territorial ambition, supported unconditionally by the US, is undeniable and shameless. US taxpayers are donating US$3.8 billion yearly to the Israeli military as it works to further entrench Israel’s settler presence. Meanwhile, the Zionist regime is impoverishing Palestinians. It robs them of their land and water, sabotages their agriculture and economy, and denies them self-determination to satisfy its own selfish, irrational ideology.
One state to conform with justice and universal human rights
From time to time, ideologies and political propaganda arise that suffocate the voice of reason. The opinions of powerful interests become so dominant that few in a given society dare, or even think, to question them. Ideologies arise, then fall from fashion – but the harm they do lasts for generations, watering the seeds of future conflict. Zionism and the Fourth Geneva Convention are demonstrably incompatible, so we must ask the question: Which of the two offers the best hope for peace and stability? Zionism has resulted in the imposition of a de facto single state over Israel/Palestine and Israel’s leaders have made it plain that they will not permit the establishment of a Palestinian state – and most certainly not one that would have sovereignty over its air space and borders.
The Israeli author and human rights activist, Miko Peled, describes his father as “one of the exalted IDF generals of the 1967 war” and remembers that he also had called for a two-state solution. Peled sees that as a “solution that favours Israel and recognises very limited rights for Palestinians”, adding that it is “a poor excuse for a peace plan.” Miko Peled points out that the two-state solution “ignores the crimes which my father, among others, committed in 1948.” He makes the important point also that it is “a ‘solution’ behind which politicians who want to seem progressive can hide because it offers no solution. It is a solution popular among those who pretend to care for justice and human rights but that do not want real change. One must ask how much longer this charade will be allowed to continue.”
How long indeed?! On 23 December 2016, Gerard van Bohemen addressed the UN Security Council following the passing of Resolution 2334, noting that “today’s resolution provides important signals to the parties and to the international community about the way forward. It reaffirms the central importance of preserving the two-state solution, as the only model we have for achieving a negotiated peace.” It is well past time to recognise that the two-state solution is dead and never was more than an excuse to buy time for Israel. The Zionist regime receives international support from governments who fail to hold Israel to account, as well as from powerful corporations and institutions across the world that benefit from the Zionist enterprise.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) published a finding of the illegality of Israel’s Apartheid Wall and its associated regime of military Occupation in the Palestinian West Bank. The Court also ruled that “all states are bound not to recognise the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. All states also are under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction, and they must see to it that any impediment, resulting from the wall’s construction, to the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination, is brought to an end.” War on Want has, for example, noted that, with regard to the European Union, trade “could provide a key mechanism for exerting pressure on Israel. A full economic embargo would be in line with article two of the EU-Israeli association agreement, which states that trade restrictions can be enforced in deference to a country’s poor human rights record.”
The New Zealand Government supports the principle of imposing UN Sanctions to apply pressure on countries that violate international law. New Zealand also supports the Security Council Resolution 2334 finding that the imposition of Israeli settlements “in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law . . .” It is, therefore, reasonable to demand that our Government take steps, without delay, to seek UN Sanctions against Israel in order to, as our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade puts it, apply pressure to countries that “don’t co-operate with international law.” Israel has not only failed to conform with the requirements of Resolution 2334, but also continues contemptuously to compound its war crimes.
We have a moral duty to take the initiative and call upon the Security Council to impose Sanctions against Israel in defence of Palestinian human rights. Pressure for this can come from many levels: individuals, human rights groups, academia and even local authorities can all set examples. Last month, for instance, in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, its City Council set a precedent for the Norwegian Government to follow by banning Israeli settlement goods and services. In doing so, the city joined six other Norwegian local bodies. A member of the Oslo City Council, Sunniva Eidsvoll, noted: “The Palestinian people, who have to deal with the illegal occupation of their territory every single day, deserve international attention and support. It is a shared global responsibility to help ensure that human rights and international law are not violated.” So while the Norwegian Government still wants more trade and co-operation with Israel, the people of Oslo have clearly dissociated themselves from a policy that enhances the profitability of Israel’s settlement industry and theft of Palestinian land and resources.
On 12 November, a 4am Israeli air strike on a home in the al-Shija’iya neighbourhood killed a man, Baha Saleem Abu Al-Atta, and his wife, and wounded four of their children. Another person in the house, a woman, was also injured in the strike. In a media release, the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa urged the New Zealand Government to condemn such slaughter.
Also on 12 November, Israeli air strikes killed eight more people in Gaza and the same number were injured. Another person was killed in overnight air strikes on UN refugee camps in Gaza that ended on 13 November, with a further 15 people injured.
Tell our Government to no longer remain silent and demand:
■ an immediate end to Israel’s military Occupation of Palestine and imposition of settlements.
■ urgent recognition and implementation of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
■ recognition of the failure of the two-state ‘solution’ and the commencement of work towards the implementation of a single state, with equal rights for all.