The right of return for the Palestinian villages of Ikrit and Biram

Let me make it clear from the start: In this article there will be no reference to the coalition quarrels and the question of who was insulted by whom, why and when in the affair of Ikrit and Biram.

I want to exploit the opportunity, after MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi put the story of the never-ending injustice to the people of Ikrit and Biram back on the agenda, to discuss what has been repressed; I want to discuss the cynical, despicable behavior of the extreme right, from opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to Religious Zionism MK Bezalel Smotrich, who were alarmed when they heard the request to return the uprooted population and claimed that this was an implementation of “the right of return.”

In 2000, I brought up for a vote in the Knesset a draft bill to return residents to Ikrit and Biram, two Christian villages near the Lebanese border. The villages were captured by the Israel Defense Forces without a battle at the end of 1948; a week later their residents were told to evacuate for two weeks, “until there are no security grounds” preventing their return, according to the IDF.

They have not returned since. In July 1951 the High Court of Justice ruled that the residents – now already Israeli citizens – should be returned to their homes. The government

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | Zehava Galon writes in Haaretz | Jun 13, 2022

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American survivor of Sabra-Shatila massacre

“They walked us single file against a bullet-riddled brick wall. It seemed like about 40 soldiers facing us. Their rifles were pointed. They looked like a firing squad. Some of my fellow hospital staff started crying. I wondered, was anyone going to know that I died in this refugee camp?

“But I thought, it’s OK I’m here, it’s because I did the right thing. I was humming ‘Here Comes the Sun.’”

Ellen Siegel, now 79 and a retired nurse in Washington, D.C., is telling me what happened to her in 1982, when she was working as one of two volunteer American nurses at the hospital in the Shatila neighborhood of Beirut, Lebanon, which served the Palestinians in Sabra Refugee Camp.

It was the early morning of September 18, in the waning hours of a three-day onslaught against the unarmed camp residents. She had been working there since September 2, caring for burned and gunshot-wounded Palestinians. A staunch friend of the Palestinians despite growing up Jewish in Baltimore and spending time on an Israeli kibbutz, she had pulled strings to get into Lebanon to help care for Palestinians trapped in the Israeli siege of Beirut. The soldiers pointing their guns at her were Lebanese Kataeb militia, known in

— source | Steve France | Sep 16, 2021

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A Review of Shay Hazkani’s ‘Dear Palestine’

“History as well as life itself is complicated — neither life nor history is an enterprise for those who seek simplicity and consistency,” wrote Jared Diamond in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.

This quote would make a fitting epigraph for Shay Hazkani’s daring and illuminating new book Dear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War, which upends truisms, and unsettles the binaries of most nationalist historiographies of the establishment of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba.

Hazkani, an Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland, who has been among historians at the forefront of struggling for greater access to and declassification of Israel’s state archives, has utilized heretofore untouched portions of those archives to present a new interpretation of the seminal events of 1948.

He does so by utilizing captured soldiers’ diaries and battle orders from, transcripts of radio broadcasts by, and Haganah intelligence reports about the Arab Liberation Army

— source | Josh Ruebner | Jun 24, 2021

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Deir Yassin must never be forgotten

Have our special days just become painful memories that we relive every year? Such days within the past few weeks were some that will not be forgotten or erased from the memory of the Palestinians, nor should they be erased from the memory of every Arab worthy of the name and those who campaign for justice around the world. Land Day, Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, and the anniversary of the Deir Yassin massacre should be etched in our memories forever.

There is nothing wrong with recalling these painful events; they are particularly pertinent in the midst of the normalisation epidemic that has swept the Arab countries recently, prompting the UAE to congratulate Israel on its “Independence Day”, when it occupied Palestinian lands and displaced 750,000 Palestinian people. The UAE actually wished the settlers a happy “Independence Day”, coinciding with the intense Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip for three consecutive days in the holy month of Ramadan.

The treacherous rulers in Abu Dhabi have sold Palestine for a pittance, or rather for free. They have betrayed the Arab people and are trying with all their might to change the focus and form a new Arab conscience by erasing Zionism’s historical and present-day violence. Our historic enemy has become their friend and ally.

For them I would say just three words: remember Deir Yassin. This massacre was a prime example of Zionist cruelty and brutality, a model adopted by Israel ever since. Yes, the same Israel which is joining hands with the Emiratis; the same Israeli hands which are stained with Palestinian blood.

Deir Yassin was a Palestinian village to the west of Jerusalem It was attacked by armed Zionist terrorists on 9 April 1948, just a month before the announcement of the

— source | Dr Amira Abo el-Fetouh | Apr 19, 2021

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Ofer Cassif, a Very Important Person

It’s doubtful whether the policeman who beat up lawmaker Ofer Cassif knew who he was hitting. Maybe he knew he was striking a Knesset member, maybe he didn’t – that wasn’t the point. It was enough that he was beating up a leftist demonstrator who deserved it. But what the policeman didn’t know was that he was beating a Knesset leftist of a new stripe, one who doesn’t mince words or apologize, one who doesn’t evade the truth or cover it up. He isn’t just a non-Zionist, he’s patently anti-Zionist, without any attempt at concealing this. In reply to an incidental question posed by Haaretz journalist Nir Guntaz, appearing in the paper’s weekend Hebrew edition, Cassif said so explicitly: “I object to the ideology and practice of Zionism…it’s a racist ideology and practice which espouses Jewish supremacy.”

It’s doubtful that such words have ever been uttered in Israel’s legislature, certainly not by a Jewish lawmaker. Seventy three years of statehood have not given rise to a significant Jewish movement (aside from Matzpen in the 1960s and 70s) rebelling against Zionism or at least casting doubt on the justness of its cause. Several important Jewish figures were anti-Zionist, but not in our parts. That is forbidden here. Cassif made a small crack in this consensus, but his fate is sealed. He’ll become an esoteric item, an oddity, a clown – the fate of any opponent when the regime, aided by the media, is done with him. If he’s lucky, he’ll become an enemy, a loathed traitor. His predecessors, such as Prof. Israel Shahak or attorney Felicia Langer, met a similar fate.

I still remember how the Israeli media treated Shahak as an eccentric. He was renowned around the world, but here his mental stability was questioned. Israel is unwilling to

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | Gideon Levy | 18 Apr 2021

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Why looting was central to the Nakba

These gushing lines from a letter don’t describe shopping items, but bounty: an Israeli soldier’s private profits from the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the city of Safed during the war of 1948.

Alongside the massacres, expulsions, and expropriations of that war, Israelis — combatants and civilians alike — stole and looted an astonishing range of Palestinian belongings: personal items, musical instruments, livestock, agricultural produce, agricultural machinery, antiquities, and the contents of entire stores and libraries. The full scale and value of private plunder has never been established conclusively, as only items expropriated by or handed over to the state were documented in detail.

This mass theft is the subject of “Looting of Arab Property in the War of Independence,” a new book by historian Adam Raz, who works as a researcher at the Israeli archival group Akevot. The book concentrates specifically on the looting of movable assets belonging to Palestinians who were expelled from their land in 1948 and never permitted to return.

Raz separates this particular practice from the expropriation of Palestinian land by the nascent Israeli state, in a bid to trace acts initiated not from the top “by political decree,” but rather “from the bottom up” — by neighbors who cohabited in a shared space until the very eve of war. This experience, Raz believes, proved formative in shaping the

— source | Avi-ram Tzoreff | Mar 24, 2022

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A veteran says, Israel practices apartheid

I am a Jew. I am an Israeli citizen. I am a veteran of a combat unit in the Israeli army. I left Israel in 2001 and immigrated to Canada where I became a Canadian citizen because I felt that I could no longer be a part of a system that practices apartheid against the Palestinian people. I do not use the word apartheid lightly but instead reluctantly. I choose to use this word to describe the reality the Palestinian people have been enduring for generations because I have seen it in action with my own eyes. I have enforced it during my military service in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip and supported it as an Israeli taxpayer.

The separate roads for Jews that Palestinians in the West Bank are not allowed to use. The granting of the full gamut of laws and protections of the Israeli state that are given to Jewish settlers in the West Bank yet denied to Palestinians who are living literally right next door. Living under military rule in the West Bank applies only to Palestinians. This means that restrictions on travel, limited access to water, arbitrary arrest and detention of civilians, confiscation of land, demolition of homes, and the application of collective punishment are applied only to Palestinians and not to Jews. The frequent use of deadly force by Israeli security forces exclusively against Palestinian civilians is a regular occurrence. Even a basic human right recognized the world over, that of family reunification, is denied only to Palestinians.

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | Rafael Silver | Mar 31, 2022

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The Middle East Studies Association endorsement of BDS

Jewish Voice for Peace welcomes the Middle East Studies Association recent endorsement of the 2005 call of Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing. The endorsement of the call for BDS by learned societies highlights the growing opposition to the Israeli state’s oppression of Palestinians, including Israel’s obstruction of Palestinians’ right to education. That MESA has passed this BDS resolution is especially significant, given that MESA is the leading association of scholars of the Middle East. No other international body of scholars has greater knowledge of the region and of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. By endorsing the call for BDS, we claim our own liberation as bound with the liberation of all.

— source | 23 Mar 2022

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Why Israelis need to talk about Palestinian return

The debate in Israel around Amnesty’s recent “apartheid report,” such as there was one, consisted of three familiar appraisals of its contents: some dismissed it as an antisemitic blood libel; some shrugged it off as a statement of the obvious; and others pondered whether this was a development with concrete legal ramifications. What was and continues to be missing in the meantime is a frank discussion of our responsibility as Jewish Israelis not only for the past, but for the future of this country.

Published in early February, Amnesty International’s report is systematic and comprehensive, but does not offer significant new information, and its recommendations are limited. The evidence for Israel’s violations of international law listed in the report will come as little surprise to any Israeli who has ever listened to the news — let alone left-wing activists. Its importance and practical significance lie rather in its two meta-arguments. The first is that the Israeli variant of apartheid is not limited to the occupied territories or to any particular part of the Palestinian population, but is inherent to the very partition of the territory and population into units with different legal statuses.

The second meta-argument is that denying the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to the land and homes from which they were displaced in 1948 is the central mechanism of that

— source | Yaara Benger Alaluf | Mar 17, 2022

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