In a personalised Press release, dated 7 January, the Israel Institute of New Zealand (IINZ) attacked Maire Leadbeater, Janfrie Wakim, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, John Minto (accused by IINZ of running a group no different from neo-Nazis) and Roger Fowler (whom they say associates with terrorists). The IINZ also attacked The Daily Blog for likening Zionism to Nazism, as though there was no basis for such criticism. The Zionist obsession with race and ethnicity appears in the opening sentence of the IINZ Press release that begins: “The Arab Palestinian leadership refused offers of coronavirus assistance . . . ” It is worth noting here that it is Zionists, alone, who commonly refer to Palestinians as ‘Arab Palestinians’ – imagine the reaction if critics of Zionism were to constantly refer to Israelis as ‘Jew‘! And there is little value in the IINZ quoting the Palestinian leadership, which itself is compelled to co-operate so much with the Israeli military Occupation.
The Israel Institute Press release claims: “The Oslo Accords are widely considered the international legally binding agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and they clearly stipulate that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for healthcare . . .” But the Oslo Accords were arrived at through merciless military coercion and economic sabotage. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the elected Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip cannot, without help, fund and distribute vaccines and they are forced to depend upon global co-operation, such as that afforded by the WHO-led COVAX programme, which still has not begun distributing vaccines. While Israel’s vaccination campaign includes Israeli settlers (Israeli citizens) living inside the illegally militarily-occupied West Bank, it exclude the territory’s 2.5 million Palestinians. Article 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention makes clear, unequivocally, Israel’s obligation to maintain “public health and hygiene in the occupied territory, with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics.”
The IINZ Press release accuses its New Zealand critics of ‘anti-Semitism’ for calling out Israeli racism but, like all Zionist propaganda techniques, the term itself is misleading and should be ‘dismantled‘, as Jewish Voice for Peace puts it. In New Zealand Sh’ma Koleinu – Alternative Jewish Voices (AJV) published a Press release entitled: “What is the Israel Institute, and for whom do they speak?” AJV defended Golriz Ghahraman, who had been accused by the IINZ of ‘anti-Semitism’ for expressing anti-Zionist views. The Zionist ideology claims to represent all Jews but, as AJV reminds us, “When you think of the Jewish community, assume diversity.”
By sharing its racist vision and stereotyping all who oppose it, the wealthy benefactors of the Zionist enterprise enable the ideology to exercise influence far beyond its actual following. The recently-deceased billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, in 2013 can be heard speaking in a video at Yeshiva University, New York, maintaining that “there’s no such thing as a Palestinian”. The former biggest financial contributor to the Republican Party then goes on to stereotype Muslims, declaring: “these people espouse the destruction of the Jewish people worldwide and the state of Israel”. In the real world, Islam and Judaism are regarded as Abrahamic religions and share a common origin. Islam actually incorporates Jewish history in conjunction with its own.
Just over a year ago, Joe Biden, now US President, declared as “bizarre” a propoal to withhold US military aid from Israel if it did not moderate its behaviour towards Palestinians. Biden accused Palestinian leaders of “fomenting” conflict and “baiting everyone who is Jewish.” On 21 December, the United States Congress passed another bill that included a massive sum of money for Israel.
The year 2020 will be remembered by everyone for the menacing Covid-19 pandemic but, for the defenceless Palestinian people, it was also yet another year of seemingly endless suffering under Zionist military oppression. There were 27 Palestinians, seven of them minors, killed by Israeli forces. Palestinians living under foreign military Occupation are constantly harassed by highly-developed Zionist population-control measures, such as severe limitations on freedom of movement. Besides the regular checkpoints that Palestinian people must pass through, under strict supervision, last year also saw them held up and ill-treated at more than 3,524 spontaneous Israeli Army checkpoints and road-blocks. The disruption is extreme, especially for children on their way to school and workers on their way to employment. In addition, delay in the transfer of essential supplies, such as farm produce, is also economically damaging.
Home invasions and population control
An average of more than five Palestinian homes were destroyed each week by Israeli Occupation forces last year. With at least 19 residents (children making up over half that number) rendered homeless, week after week – imagine the dread their neighbours feel, wondering if and when their turn may come. All forms of home invasion involve a terrifying loss of privacy and security but the destruction of houses must be about the worst. This is especially true when those members of a family who are to be made homeless are ordered to carry out the demolition themselves. Failure to comply is punished by charging the family an exorbitant fee for Israeli Occupation demolition squads to carry out the vandalism instead. Home invasions are psychologically-damaging and oppressive and, as many victims have described them, they certainly amount to relentless acts of state terrorism with, last year, armed Israeli soldiers randomly raiding an average of 267 Palestinian homes every month! Most raids happen between midnight and 5am and last for well over an hour, with Israeli troops awakening women, men and children, with absolute contempt, carrying out acts of violence and vandalism inside their homes.
The IINZ has to be reminded of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that prohibits arbitrary state interference with the right to privacy: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence . . . ”
2021 – oppression and ruin continue
Since the beginning of 2021 our daily newsletter reports, In Occupied Palestine, have recorded increasing violence and oppression by both Occupation forces and illegal settler colonists. From 1-10 January, inclusive, despite there having been no Palestinian missile-firings from Gaza, Israeli forces committed 66 Gaza ceasefire violations, including opening fire on, and pursuing, Palestinian fishing boats, a destructive military incursion and attacks on agriculture. In the West Bank, there were 35 Israeli Army invasions, six of them in UN refugee camps – seven homes were destroyed. Over 50 Palestinians were wounded or injured in the first ten days of the year, among them was a 15-year-old boy, Hamza Zahran. One person was shot and killed.
On 17 January, still with no missile-firings from Gaza, Israeli forces did encounter armed Palestinian Resistance when, after making an incursion into an area east of al-Farahin, they began laying waste to Palestinian land. Of course, such resistance could never stop Israeli forces and is carried out more to strengthen resolve than anything else. Nevertheless, Israel responded with two air strikes and two Israeli Army attacks on Gaza farming areas. Israel cites ‘security’ as the reason for its aggression in Gaza and yet it is the Zionist regime that constantly violates Gaza’s airspace and commits incursions as often as it likes. No security for Palestinians and and never any mention of the Palestinian right to security by Western politicians or the mainstream news media.
In what can only be described as acts of armed robbery, the Israeli Army, on 1 January, opened fire on a resident, Harun Rasmi Abu Aram (24), while invading his home in the al-Musafir area of Hebron, shooting him in the neck and rendering him quadriplegic; then moving on to seize and take possession of a power generator from another home, the property of another resident, Rasmi Abu Aram. On 2 January, Israeli Occupation troops seized and took possession of a motor vehicle at the entrance to Azzun, taking prisoner the occupants: Uday Hamza Hussein and Abdul Rahman Nizam Abu Haniyeh. The next day, in Bethlehem, Israeli Occupation forces seized possession of a bulldozer from another resident, Mahmoud Abu Aahour, near Wadi Rahal village.
On 5 January, near the entrance to the village of An Nabi Samwil, the Israeli Army seized two tents, mobile health-facilities and outdoor cooking facilities from workers at a park. On 8 January, Israeli Occupation troops seized possession of a tractor being used by a farmer for ploughing, in the al-Rafid area of Sinjil, as well as a tractor in the village of Furush Beit Dajan, being used to repair an agricultural road. On 10 January, the Israeli Army seized a truck in the village of Khirbet Atouf that was being used to transport material for road-building there.
Palestinians depend upon agriculture for survival, and so Israel and its settlers relentlessly sabotage it. On 1 January, the Israeli Occupation ordered the removal of 10-15-year-old olive trees standing on Haris village land, claiming it as Israeli state land while vandals, from the Bracha Israeli Occupation settlement, raided a Burin village olive grove and uprooted trees. Israeli settlers also attacked a number of shepherds in the al-Tha`la area, east of Yatta, and prevented them from grazing their animals. The following day, Israeli settlers terrorised Palestinian shepherds at work in the Umm al-Abar area of the North Jordan Valley and invaded Kafr Laqif farmland while militants, from the Itamar Israeli Occupation settlement, raided the Karama agricultural area of Aqraba and terrorised a bulldozer driver, Raslan Hanani. That day also, Israelis from the Mitzpe Yair, Beit Yatir and Sons of Yaqoub Dalia Occupation settlements, attacked a family of farmers near Umm Lakhos, injuring them and forcing them to abandon cultivation of their land.
On 3 January, the Israeli Army ruined farmland near Bidya, uprooting olive trees and grapevines. The next day, militants from the Beitar Illit Israeli Occupation settlement pumped their sewage onto Husan village olive groves and vineyards. That same day, the Israeli Army fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters to prevent an olive tree-planting event, north of Halhul, and a gang of settlers laid waste to crops in the al-Farisiyah area of the North Jordan Valley. On 7 January, the Israeli Army laid waste to Palestinian farmland, west of Kafr al-Dik, while stone-throwing Israeli settlers raided the village of Kafr Malik. The settlers then attacked farmers at work ploughing their land, severely beating and hospitalising three of them. On 10 January, militants from the Yash Kodash settlement outpost raided and plundered farmland in the Shaab al-Kharab area, uprooting and making off with 130 olive seedlings.
Space does not allow a full update of Israeli Occupation war crimes so far this month, suffice it to say that, from 1 January, Israeli forces rampaging through the West Bank up to and including 17 January, carried out 243 raids by day and by night, with 39 of them involving home invasions. One person was killed and over 70 people were injured or wounded. Israeli troops even shot and wounded a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli Army and settlers (sometimes with Army complicity) continued to lay waste to Palestinian farmland and, in both Gaza and the West Bank, Israel committed 132 agricultural/economic acts of sabotage. On 13 January Israel approved a major West Bank settlement roading project, seizing more Palestinian land.
Ending Israel’s immunity
The Israel Institute, along with powerful individual and state promoters of the Zionist enterprise, are entirely unmoved by the daily inhumanities committed to achieve its aims. With not one word of regret or sorrow, they either deny the crimes being committed or seek to divert attention from them. If Israel’s largest human rights group, B’Tselem, can have the courage to call Israel’s Zionist enterprise ‘apartheid’ then what excuse can our politicians offer for their own silence?
If members of the United Nations were to shoulder their responsibility, unite and act in the spirit that inspired the Fourth Geneva Convention, it would be impossible for Israel to get away with its callous violations of international humanitarian law.