Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The 'Judaization' of Palestine - Occupation, Theft and Racism Re-defined!

Last week, the Knesset passed a bill that legalizes “acceptance committees” in small localities, a tool that is used to maintain segregation between Jews and Arabs (as well as keeping out various other “undesirables”). As I wrote, this bill is just one of the many policies through which Israel denies its Palestinian citizens the right for adequate housing, even on their own private land.
Another one of these policies is called “Judaization.” It is aimed mainly at Israel’s northern and southern periphery, where most Israeli Palestinians reside. Its purpose is to prevent Palestinians from forming a majority in any area of Israel, so that they will not be able to secede or demand autonomy in that area. This aim is achieved by strategically establishing Jewish localities to create contiguous strips of Jewish settlements, which cut off any sequence of Palestinian habitation.
This is an explicit, formal policy, unabashedly promoted by all Israeli governments. However, it is rarely articulated as bluntly as in comments reported [Hebrew] today in the Israeli business daily TheMarker (a subsidiary of Ha’aretz).
The comments were made by Nissim Dahan, the head of the local council for Harish-Katzir, a Jewish locality of 4,000 residents in Israel’s north. Dahan was not elected by the residents, but rather appointed by the Interior Minister, to promote a plan to build a town of 150,000 residents where Harish is currently located. This plan is strongly opposed by Jewish locals, as well as by nearby Palestinian localities.
Dahan is a former Minister of Health and a member of Shas, the ultra-orthodox Sephardic party. Although the ultra-orthodox have traditionally been skeptical towards the Zionist enterprise, in recent years they have become increasingly nationalist, with Shas leading the trend. However, the following comments, made by Dahan in 2008, are completely in the mainstream of Israeli society:

This is Israel’s interest. We want to Judaize the Wadi Ara area [a mainly Palestinian area where Harish is located]… The state wants to put this place in order so that the Arabs won’t rear their heads. 150 thousand Jews who will live here will put them [the Arabs] in proportion.
You don’t want [to live in the heart of a city with 150,000 ultra-orthodox residents]? Then go live with the Palestinians… Want to live in a small village? You are harming Israel’s security.
When asked by TheMarker about these comments, Dahan reaffirmed their substance, while providing a strange excuse for the harsh tone:

I said in a closed meeting with residents that the government’s policy is to create a border and a sequence of Jewish habitation. The locality of Katzir-Harish is on the seam zone of Israel’s eastern border and these issues were said [sic] after terror attacks that took place in the area.
Dahan’s explanation is, in fact, a lie. No terror attacks took place near Harish in the years before he made those comments. But even if this were true, it could not justify his words, nor the policy that they accurately describe.  Palestinians in Israel are not equal citizens, whose needs are taken into account. They are treated by the state as a security threat, which needs to be cordoned and restricted, not as people who wish to live and build homes for their families.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What Is the Jewish National Fund?

Canada: Cancel the JNF Charitable Tax Status

The JNF advertises itself as an Israeli forestry, park and land charity.
But what is it really?
The Jewish National Fund was created in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Switzerland.  Its purpose is to ‘acquire’ land to establish the Zionist state of Israel in historic Palestine, specifically “for the purpose of settling Jews on such land”.  Crucially, this land could never again be sold or leased to non-Jews.  Today the JNF enjoys charitable status in over 50 countries worldwide, including Canada.
JNF is Involved in Ethnic Cleansing & Colonization
Established as the principle Zionist tool for the colonization of Palestine1, the JNF was actively involved in exiling Palestinians prior to the proclaiming of the state of Israel in 1948:
“….The only solution is to transfer the Arabs from here to neighbouring countries. Not a single village or a single tribe must be let off.” Yossef Weitz (Head of JNF Settlement Dept) 19402
Today the JNF is complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and of the Syrian Golan Heights.
The JNF funds reservoirs and parks for settler use only in the Jordan Valley, illegally occupied by Israel,  while Palestinians there are denied access to land and water
In the Golan Heights, the JNF works  with the State of Israel to colonize Syrian land illegally occupied by Israel since 1967.
Bulldozer used to clear Bedouin village for Jewish National Fund/Israel Lands Administration (JNF/KKL)
Bedouin residents in the Negev have been forcibly relocated and refused access to their villages. Al-Araqib has been destroyed 20 times in the last year, and rebuilt by villagers and solidarity activists.8
JNF Supports Israel’s Jewish-only Policies
The JNF also has a direct role in implementing Israel’s racial purity policies, continuing the dispossession of Palestinians still living inside Israel (20% of the population). 93% of the land in Israel is public land that is allocated as either property of the state, the JNF or the Development Authority.
Al Araqib Bedouins and Israeli activists rebuilding after their homes were demolished yet again for a JNF forest.
JNF policy directly prohibiting sale or lease of land to non-Jews is, in practice, extended to all of the 93% of state land since the JNF holds the majority position in the Israel Lands Administration and Council (KKL).
The JNF now controls 2500 sq km of Palestinian land (leased to Jews only) and has planted over 100 parks on Palestinian land, many on top of Palestinian villages after their residents were driven from them.3
Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian, has referred to this massive erasure of Palestinian history as state-organized “memoricide.”
Many Jews are upset to find out the shocking truth about what their donations to the JNF funds. This is not what we are told from school-sponsored JNF campaigns to large VIP fund-raisers.
Bedouins protesting destruction of their villages.
Canadian Tax Dollars Fund Illegal JNF Activities
Because JNF Canada (JNFC) has official Canada Revenue Agency charitable status, it provides tax credits for donations, meaning that up to 25% of their budget effectively comes from our taxes4.
Canada Park:
An Egregious Example
JNF Canada raised $15 million

Palestinian village of Imwas before IDF destruction, 1958

after the 1967 war to build Canada Park, a 3200 hectares park outside of Jerusalem in the West Bank. Shamefully, this “tribute to Canada and the Canadian Jewish community”5 was built on the land of three peaceful Palestinian villages – Beit Nuba, Imwas and Yalu -
after the Israeli military razed the villages and expelled their 5,000 residents, all in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  A 1986 UN Special Committee reported to the UN Secretary-General that the villagers were being denied their right of return to their land now occupied by this park built by JNFC.
The sign at the entrance just off John Diefenbaker Parkway (Former Prime Minister Diefenbaker claimed he did not know Canada Park was in the West Bank) reads: “Welcome to Canada Park in Ayalon Valley – A project of the Jewish National Fund of Canada”.7

IDF expelling Imwas residents
Eitan Bronstein, director of Zochrot (Remembering), is committed to educating Israelis and foreign visitors about the park’s hidden past – its Palestinian history.
“In fact, though you would never realise it, none of this park is even in Israel,” he told a tour group. “This is part of the West Bank captured by Israel during the 1967 war. But the presence of Palestinians here – and their expulsion – is entirely missing from the signs.”

Canada Park now buries the Palestinian village of Imwas
JNF Canada’s website proudly declares it “has provided resources to construct new roads, develop recreation and tourist sites, and help increase [Israel’s] meagre water resources”. It fails to mention the human suffering incurred by Palestinians.
Join the world-wide and Canadian anti-JNF campaign:
Israeli, Palestinian, European and North American organizations are now campaigning against the JNF. Independent Jewish Voices is educating about and mobilizing Canadians against the JNF. The anti-JNF campaign is an exciting project for human rights.
Help End Tax-Sponsored Racism:
  • Learn, and educate others about the JNF
  • Shame Canadian government officials to meet our obligations under international law
  • Boycott and disrupt JNFC events (such as annual Negev dinners)
  • Donate to Trees for Life: planting peace in Palestine www.zatoun.com/treesforlife.htm,
  • Support Independent Jewish Voices.
To Join the Campaign Contact: ijv-jnfc@ijvcanada.org

This pamphlet is also based on the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign “JNF factsheet”.

1. Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, p.17
2. Op.cit. p.62
3. Palestinian Land Society (2005) Financing racism and apartheid: Jewish National Fund’s violation of domestic and international law
4. Yves Engler, Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid, p.67
5. Op.cit. p.70, from a JNF brochure
7. Bob Hepburn, “Wiped off the Map”, The Toronto Star, Oct 6, 1991, p. H1
8. Harriet Sherwood, “The Israelis keep bulldozing their village, but still the Bedouin will not give up their land”, The Guardian, March 1, 2011

~reposted by Sofia Smith

UNHRC adopts 4 resolutions criticizing Israel

Israel targeted Gaza with White Phosphorus during Operation Cast Lead 2008-2009
March 26, 2011
GENEVA (Ma’an) — The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted four decisions against Israel on Friday, with Arab and Islamic countries and some Latin American countries voting in favor and the US voting against.
In one resolution, the council demanded that Israel end its occupation of the Palestinian land occupied since 1967, and that it respect its commitments within the peace process toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The resolution strongly condemns Israel’s military operations, including its regular incursions, and calls for their immediate cessation and condemns also indiscriminate rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.
The Israeli envoy, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, said the council was wasting its time criticizing Israel considering other abuses in the region including the stabbing of an Israeli family and bombing in Jerusalem.
“Yesterday Hamas fired on Israel and schools were closed so children could stay in bomb shelters. In Yemen protestors were killed, in Syria as well, and in Libya the Government forces were killing Libyan citizens. In Geneva, this council continued to spend its time condemning Israe,” Leshno-Yaar said.
Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinian ambassador in Geneva, countered that Israel’s philosophy was “shut up there is a war going on.” He noted that the Palestinian Authority’s official position was that Palestine was ready to work together with Israel to investigate the bus bombing in Jerusalem.
“The draft resolution was positive and balanced and took into account most of the comments made by colleagues. The resolution had not asked for a coalition to bomb Israelis as in Libya but only to condemn the violence that was going on against international humanitarian law,” he said.

~ reposted by Sofia Smith

Friday, March 18, 2011

Stop Israel's Blood Diamond Trade!

Stop Israel's Blood Diamond Trade
  • Target: Members of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), NGO observers to the KPCS, the World Jewellery Confederation, the Responsible Jewellery Council and all national and international Jewellers associations
  • Sponsored by: Global Palestine Solidarity
Diamonds processed in Israel fund war crimes and crimes against humanity yet they are sold worldwide as conflict free diamonds.

Israel is the world's leading diamond exporter, with exports valued at nearly $20 billion in 2008, accounting for over 30% of Israel's exports. Revenue from the Israeli diamond industry generates approximately $1 billion annually in funding for the Israeli military/security industry, a military which stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

According to the UN based Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) only "rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments" can be classed as conflict or blood diamonds. The KPCS classifies all other diamonds as "conflict free" regardless of what human rights violations they may be funding. Approximately 50% of all gem-quality diamonds in dollar terms are processed in Israel. These de facto blood diamonds are sold worldwide as conflict free diamonds to unsuspecting consumers who are unaware that their purchase is funding gross human rights violations in Palestine.

The KPCS definition of a conflict or blood diamond must be urgently reviewed in order to include all diamonds that fund human rights violations. 

Here is a video (posted independently from the petition against Israeli blood diamonds on YouTube by planxtysumoud at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l812WrnWbyQ&feature=related) that clearly outlines why Israeli diamonds are conflict diamond whose sale/trade needs to be opposed.

To sign the petition in support of this boycott against the trade in Israeli blood diamonds, please go to this site: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thepetitionsite.com%2F3%2FBoycott-Israeli-Blood-Diamonds%2F&h=2fd56xNUG6tB-pZseTrzKFtEJzw .

~ Posted with permission from Global Palestine Solidarity by Sofia Smith

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cartoon Gallery ~ The Latest From The Greatest (Courtesy of Desertpeace)

All credit and of course copyright goes to Desertpeace Associate, Carlos Latuff. These works cover the most recent world events and tragedies. 

Reposted here with permission from Desertpeace to repost any and all the works below. The Desertpeace blog can be found at http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/cartoon-gallery-the-latest-from-the-greatest/

Palestinian National Unity Day, March 15th…


Disaster in Japan


~ reposted by Sofia Smith