End the Occupation First

If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today he may well have attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony wearing a black-and-white checkered kaffiyeh and holding a sign saying, “Mr. President, stop the Gaza nightmare. No more false hopes and delayed dreams. End the Occupation NOW!” Civil rights leaders spent precious political capital to speak out against America’s wrongdoings across the world, most notably the war in Vietnam. President Obama should spend domestic political capital to denounce Israel’s domination of the Palestinians. Nothing would boost desperately needed international capital more.

Rev. King would have recognized that without unfettered US arms, funds and political cover, Israel would never have been able to inflict the level of brutality it “proudly” inflicted on Gaza. Nor would it have been able to keep Palestinians in bondage so long.

King would have pointed to where the solution to this conflict lies: the United States of America. If President Obama is to be an historic leader, and not just the first African American elected to the presidency, he must not tolerate Israel’s continued slaps in the face, from restricting President Carter’s movements in the Mideast, to using US funds to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, to launching a one-sided “war” on Palestinian civilians in Gaza. He will instead deal with the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Palestinian people have been on the receiving end of the US-armed-and-financed Israeli military machine for over 60 years. This latest chapter of Israeli-sponsored state terrorism has claimed over 1,300 Gazan lives, mostly civilians, in just three short weeks. A similar Israeli attack on America would have caused over 260,000 deaths: 92 times the loss of life witnessed from the 9/11 tragedy.

Israel owes its existence to the United States. America’s vote was the key to establishing the self-proclaimed Jewish State. However, Israel’s existence is also threatened by the United States. Since President Truman, every US administration has indulged Israel while it has dug itself into deeper and deeper trouble. From expansionist adventures in Egypt-Syria-Palestine, to Jewish-only settlements, to caging Palestinians in their own cities and villages, America has paid the bill. To be sure, Palestinians also paid. But the ultimate cost will be borne by Israel. Its endless aggression (enabled by US warplanes, war technology, Apache helicopters, munitions, and so on) not only angers the world, but causes resistance to escalate.

More dangerous than weaponry has been America’s role in demobilizing international organizations created to rein-in countries like Israel when they act like rogue nations. The two most blatant examples are the Bush administration’s green-lighting of Israel’s military misadventure in Lebanon 2006 and its recent crimes against humanity in Gaza by delaying UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate ceasefires.

To stop further bloodshed, including inevitable revenge attacks against Israelis, President Obama must act immediately to create momentum for lasting peace.

First, he must stop the needless killing. It’s not enough to stop Palestinians from arming themselves. An arms embargo must be placed on Israel, too. No more weapons of any kind should be sent to it. Israel has shown time and again that increasing its military might just escalates the conflict, leading to a regional arms race. The Arms Export Control Act gives the President of the United States the authority to control the export of defense articles and defense services. He should use that authority. And, in due time, he should dismantle Israel’s nuclear capacity, too.

Second, President Obama must force Israel to end–totally–its 41-year military occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank (including East Jerusalem). It took Israel six days to occupy those areas. It would take less than six months to end the occupation, moving settlers violating international law back to Israel, were the will there. Then and only then can the world expect Palestinians to approach negotiations and reach final status agreements. To expect them to negotiate while Israel’s boot of occupation is on their neck (especially after the recent slaughter in Gaza), is a pipe dream.

To bring into reality the dream Martin Luther King envisioned and to avoid the nightmare of a Mideast in flames (which will not spare America), President Obama must focus on leadership. There is no time for posturing or second-term politicking. It’s time for him to make a historical correction that will make the world and America safe for years to come. He can begin by visiting Gaza and the West Bank for the same reason Martin Luther King, Jr. gave from his jail cell: “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.”

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American businessman from Youngstown, Ohio who lives in the occupied West Bank and is co-editor of Homeland: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians. He may be reached at sbahour@palnet.com. Read other articles by Sam.

65 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. mebosa ritchie said on February 9th, 2009 at 1:31pm #

    end the muslim occupation of jewish land given by god to the jewish people

  2. Erroll said on February 9th, 2009 at 1:44pm #

    Is that asinine comment by mebosa ritchie supposed to somehow justify Israel’s slaughter of the Palestinians in Gaza? I think not.

  3. mary said on February 9th, 2009 at 1:44pm #

    Isn’t it time for you to check in to the Jerusalem Post or Y Net? You are needed there in the comments boxes. You have left quite a trail on Google.

  4. Barry said on February 9th, 2009 at 2:18pm #

    Mebosa – Divine right went out as a rationale centuries ago. There is no god-given land. In fact, Israel is the guilt-ridden gift of Europe, gentiles no less, without whose wrong-headed decision the world would be a much better place. Certainly, most Jews would likely now be living in the US – but there is no shame in that, 308 million people live here. And Jews have thrived in America like no where else.

    Of course, that’s all water under the bridge now – Israel is pretty much here to stay, at least for the forseeable future. But Israel has two major chores. One – own up to its tawdry history and two – make amends…generously. (Don’t worry, the US taxpayer will take the hit.)

  5. Gideon said on February 9th, 2009 at 3:32pm #

    Israeli – Palestinian Peace. When will Palestinian Authority consolidate and be ready for negotiations ?

    Sam you can speak for yourself. The dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis is important.
    No need to invoke MLK name to make your point, it has been overdone.

    “First, he must stop the needless killing”
    Palestinians and Israelis need to stop the killing, not US president.

    Recent speech of VP Biden in Munich ” In the near term, we must consolidate the cease-fire in Gaza by working with Egypt and others to stop smuggling, and developing an international relief and reconstruction effort that strengthens the Palestinian Authority, and not Hamas.”

    Second: “Israel to end–totally–its 41-year military occupation of the Gaza Strip”.
    Sam, we already there regarding to Gaza. Israel left Gaza a couple of years ago. This should have been the time for Palestinians to show the world what they can achieve and deliver in Gaza.
    Unfortunately it does not look that good, even in the intra-Palestinian arena: Hamas vs Fatah.
    When will there be a single Palestinian Authority to negotiate with?
    Are we going to see United States of Palestine?
    Gaza and West bank with two regional governments?

    In a recent Gaza poll released yesterday
    “If new legislative elections were to be held today, Hamas would receive 31percent of the vote, while Fatah would capture 49 percent – unchanged from a September poll.” said the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, an independent polling agency.

    Sam, just for the record, some correction.
    ” US-armed-and-financed Israeli military machine for over 60 years.”
    In Dec 1947 US suspended arms sales to Middle East. Embargo had little effect on Arab forces, equipped with European weapons.
    French were the major supplier of arms to Israel before 1967.

  6. bozh said on February 9th, 2009 at 3:33pm #

    what? only a very mean bastard wld give any people a wretched, poor, tiny pice of land surrounded by eterne enemies!

    and pals wld gladly come to merrrikah and leave the retchedness to the mad ‘jews’ but amerikah is not lifing a finger to help ‘jews’.
    i wonder why?
    are amers also as mean to ‘jews’ as their god bastard?
    the least, mean amers, canucks, and UKans cld do, wld be to drive pals to red or dead sea or to a desert in sahara.

    instead of that, the mean christians (my ‘god’, how many enemies ‘jews’ have; is it any wonder they are so mad?) are actually paying a largely nonshemitic peoples (three, actually) to kill as many shemites as they can.

    but how can ‘jews’ be sure that the modern christians are not really closet nazis, wishing to destroy not only judaism but islam?
    this last queery is from devil of my own.
    s/he said, it is either that or it is all a big, big circus. anyhow s/he loves the show. thnx

  7. Erroll said on February 9th, 2009 at 4:15pm #

    Gideon says that “US suspended arms sales to Middle East” and the “embargo had little effect on Arab forces, equipped with European weapons.” That tortured bit of logic does not address the fact that the United States has supplied weapons such as bombs and missiles and F-16 fighter planes to Israel which Israel then used to massacre over a thousand Palestinians.

    Gideon ends his confusing comments by sayi9ng that “the French were the major supplier of arms to Israel before 1967.” That superfluous statement does nothing to exculpate the fact that the U.S. is still supplying millions of weapons in the 21st century to Israel which then in turn uses those U.S.-supplied weapons to commit genocide against the Palestinians.

    The oppressed have now become the oppressors.

  8. Barry said on February 9th, 2009 at 4:41pm #

    Gideon is correct in emphasizing the early French role in providing arms to Israel. While the US was not involved in militarily supporting the Yishuv (the pre-state Zionist colony) American Zionists provided scads of money which was then used to purchase arms (Czech and others) used in the ethnic cleansing of ’47 – ’49. The US first committed itself to supplying arms to Israel under Kennedy, but it was Johnson who stepped up the delivery materially. It has of course grown substantially – and obscenely – since then. The Palestinians were, for their part, woefully under-armed and on their own until several motley Arab armies came to their ‘rescue.’ By then, Plan Dalet, the Jewish plan to cleanse the country of its native population, was in full force – and 700,000 Palestinians fled for their lives.
    So now, when desperate Palestinians in Gaza hurl home made rockets towards Sderot they ironically are hurling them at their old stomping grounds – as many Gaza refugees used to call Sderot home. And Israelis wonder what the Palestinian gripe is. Tomorrow the Israelis will go to the polls and select from a choice of tweedle-dees and -dums, all tripping over themselves in a solemn promise to the Israeli people as to which one can annihilate the most Palestinians. Israelis are there own worst enemy.

  9. Barry said on February 9th, 2009 at 4:47pm #

    One more thing to clarify things for Gideon. Gaza is Israeli-Occupied Palestine. That is the position of the United Nations. Whether a country is occupied or not is independent of whether colonists have been deposited there or not – and removed or not. Further, redeploying Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) does not constitute having ended the occupation. Gaza, like the West Bank is illegally occupied. That’s the law.

  10. Gideon said on February 9th, 2009 at 7:25pm #

    If Israel occupies Gaza,then Egypt occupies Gaza, and US occupies Mexico.
    No legal basis for Gaza to be considered occupied territory.

    Hamas government is the de facto sovereign of the Gaza Strip and does not take direction from Israel, or from any other state. As we all have witnesses recently and Fatah felt on their own bodies.
    OR MAYBE IT DOES? Can it be that Hamas is actually an Israeli puppet?

    The Fourth Geneva Convention refers to territory as occupied where the territory is of another “High Contracting Party” (i.e., a state party to the convention) and the occupier “exercises the functions of government” in the occupied territory.

    The Gaza Strip is not territory of another state party to the convention and Israel does not exercise the functions of government-or, indeed, any significant functions-in the territory. It is clear to all that the elected Hamas government is the de facto sovereign of the Gaza Strip and does not take direction from Israel, or from any other state.
    ( OR MAYBE IT DOES? ……)

    Some have argued that states can be considered occupiers even of areas where they do not declare themselves in control so long as the putative occupiers have effective control. For instance, in 2005, the International Court of Justice opined that Uganda could be considered the occupier of Congolese territory over which it had “substituted [its] own authority for that of the Congolese Government” even in the absence of a formal military administration. Some have argued that this shows that occupation may occur even in the absence of a full-scale military presence and claimed that this renders Israel an occupier under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    However, these claims are clearly without merit.

    First, Israel does not otherwise fulfill the conditions of being an occupier; in particular, Israel does not exercise the functions of government in Gaza, and it has not substituted its authority for the de facto Hamas government.

    Second, Israel cannot project effective control in Gaza. Indeed, Israelis and Palestinians well know that projecting such control would require an extensive military operation amounting to the armed conquest of Gaza.

    Military superiority over a neighbor, and the ability to conquer a neighbor in an extensive military operation, does not itself constitute occupation. If it did,
    United States would have to be considered the occupier of Mexico, Egypt the occupier of Libya and Gaza,
    China the occupier of North Korea.

    Palestinians Reject Israel Claim of Change in Gaza Legal Status. How convenient … It’s tough finally to have nobody to blame and be accountable to your own people.

    Israel’s imposition of economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip are legal means of responding to Palestinian attacks. Since Israel is under no legal obligation to engage in trade with Gaza, or to maintain open borders, it may withhold commercial items and seal its borders at its discretion.

  11. giorgio said on February 9th, 2009 at 7:30pm #

    Holy Moses! Mebosa is back!

    “end the muslim occupation of jewish land given by god to the jewish people” so sez he/she….

    Show the World the property deed duly signed and stamped by god proving once and for all that the land was given “by god to the jewish people”. Let us know precisely its size and borders so that the whole World faced with such irrefutable evidence will compensate the Jewish people for living with no property of their own, without a roof over their heads, and in the cold and rain for over 2000 years. The World’s hand out will be so generous that Germany’s Nazi reparations will look a pittance by comparison…

  12. Tennessee-Socialist said on February 9th, 2009 at 9:52pm #




    Is there intelligent life in Washington, DC? Not a speck of it.

    The US economy is imploding, and Obama is being led by his government of neconservatives and Israeli agents into a quagmire in Afghanistan that will bring the US into confrontation with Russia, and possibly China, American’s largest creditor.

    The January payroll job figures reveal that last month 20,000 Americans lost their jobs every day.

    In addition, December’s job losses were revised up by 53,000 jobs from 524,000 to 577,000. The revision brings the two-month job loss to 1,175,000. If this keeps up, Obama’s promised three million new jobs will be wiped out by job losses.

    Statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) reports that this huge number is an understatement. Williams notes that built-in biases in seasonal adjustment factors caused a 118,000 understatement of January job losses, bringing the actual January job loss to 716,000 jobs.

    The payroll survey counts the number of jobs, not the number of employed as some people have more than one job. The Household Survey counts the number of people who have jobs. The Household Survey shows that 832,000 people lost their jobs in January and 806,000 in December, for a two month reduction of Americans with jobs of 1,638,000.

    The unemployment rate reported in the US media is a fabrication. Williams reports that in changes since 1980, particularly in the Clinton era, “‘discouraged workers’ those who had given up looking for a job because there were no jobs to be had–were redefined so as to be counted only if they had been ‘discouraged’ for less than a year. This time qualification defined away the bulk of the discouraged workers. Adding them back into the total unemployed, actual unemployment, [according to the unemployment rate methodology used in 1980] rose to 18% in January, from 17.5% in December.”

    In other words, without all the manipulations of the data, the US unemployment rate is already at depression levels.

    How could it be otherwise given the enormous job loss from offshored jobs. It is impossible for a country to create jobs when its corporations are moving production for the American consumer market offshore. When they move the production offshore, they shift US GDP to other countries. The US trade deficit over the past decade has reduced US GDP by $1.5 trillion dollars. That is a lot of jobs.

    I have been reporting for years that university graduates have had to take jobs as waitresses and bartenders. As over-indebted consumers lose their jobs, they will visit restaurants and bars less frequently. Consequently, those with university degrees will not even have jobs waiting on tables and mixing drinks.

    US policymakers have ignored the fact that consumer demand in the 21st century has been driven, not by increases in real income, but by increased consumer indebtedness. This fact makes it pointless to try to stimulate the economy by bailing out banks so that they can lend more to consumers. The American consumers have no more capacity to borrow.

    With the decline in the values of their principal assets–their homes–with the destruction of half of their pension assets, and with joblessness facing them, Americans cannot and will not spend.

    Why bail out GM and Citibank when the firms are moving as many operations offshore as they possibly can?

    Much of US infrastructure is in poor shape and needs renewing. However, infrastructure jobs do not produce goods and services that can be sold abroad. The massive commitment to infrastructure does nothing to help the US reduce its huge trade deficit, the financing of which is becoming a major problem. Moreover, when the infrastructure projects are completed, so are the jobs.

    At best, assuming Mexican immigrants do not get most of the construction jobs, all Obama’s stimulus program can do is to reduce the number of unemployed temporarily.

    Unless US corporations can be required to use American labor to produce the goods and services that they sell in American markets, there is no hope for the US economy. No one in the Obama administration has the wits to address this problem. Thus, the economy will continue to implode.

    Adding to the brewing disaster, Obama has been deceived by his military and neoconservative advisers into expanding the war in Afghanistan, a large, mountainous country. Obama intends to use the draw-down of US soldiers in Iraq to send 30,000 more American troops to Afghanistan. This would bring the US forces to 60,000 — 600,000 fewer than US Marine Corps and US Army counterinsurgency guidelines define as the minimum number of soldiers necessary to bring success in Afghanistan–and less than half as many as the army that was unable to occupy Iraq.

    The Iranians had to bail out the Bush regime by restraining its Shi’ite allies and encouraging them to use the ballot box to attain power and push out the Americans. In Iraq the US troops only had to fight a small Sunni insurgency drawn from a minority of the population. Even so, the US “prevailed” by putting the insurgents on the US payroll and paying them not to fight. The withdrawal agreement was dictated by the Shi’ites. It was not what the Bush regime wanted.

    One would think that the experience with the “cakewalk” in Iraq would make the US hesitant to attempt to occupy Afghanistan, an undertaking that would require the US to occupy parts of Pakistan. The US was hard pressed to maintain 150,000 troops in Iraq. Where is Obama going to get another half million soldiers to add to the 150,000 to pacify Afghanistan?

    One answer is the rapidly growing massive US unemployment. Americans will sign up to go kill abroad rather than be homeless and hungry at home.

    But this solves only half of the problem. Where does the money come from to support an army in the field of 650,000, an army 4.3 times larger than US forces in Iraq, a war that has cost us $3 trillion in out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs. This money would have to be raised in addition to the $3 trillion US budget deficit that is the result of Bush’s financial sector bailout, Obama’s stimulus package, and the rapidly failing economy. When economies tank, as the American one is doing, tax revenues collapse. The millions of unemployed Americans are not paying Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes. The stores and businesses that are closing are not paying federal and state income taxes. Consumers with no money or credit to spend are not paying sales taxes.

    The Washington Morons, and morons they are, have given no thought as to how they are going to finance a fiscal year 2009 budget deficit of some two to three trillion dollars.

    The practically nonexistent US saving rate cannot finance it.

    The trade surpluses of our trading partners, such as China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, cannot finance it.

    The US government really has only two possibilities for financing its budget deficit. One is a second collapse in the stock market, which would drive the surviving investors with what they have left into “safe” US Treasury bonds. The other is for the Federal Reserve to monetize the Treasury debt.

    Monetizing the debt means that when no one is willing or able to purchase the Treasury’s bonds, the Federal Reserve buys them by creating bank deposits for the Treasury’s account.

    In other words, the Fed “prints money” with which to buy the Treasury’s bonds.

    Once this happens, the US dollar will cease to be the reserve currency.

    In addition, China, Japan and Saudi Arabia, countries that hold enormous quantities of US Treasury debt in addition to other US dollar assets, will sell, hoping to get out before others.

    The US dollar will become worthless, the currency of a banana republic.

    The US will not be able to pay for its imports, a serious problem for a country dependent on imports for its energy, manufactured goods, and advanced technology products.

    Obama’s Keynesian advisers have learned with a vengeance Milton Friedman’s lesson that the Great Depression resulted from the Federal Reserve permitting a contraction of the supply of money and credit. In the Great Depression good debts were destroyed by monetary contraction. Today bad debts are being preserved by the expansion of money and credit, and the US Treasury is jeopardizing its credit standing and the dollar’s reserve currency status with enormous quarterly bond auctions as far as the eye can see.

    Meanwhile, the Russians, overflowing with energy and mineral resources, and not in debt, have learned that the US government is not to be trusted. Russia has watched Reagan’s successors attempt to turn former constituent parts of the Soviet Union into US puppet states with US military bases. The US is trying to ring Russia with missiles that neutralize Russia’s strategic deterrent.

    Putin has caught on to “comrade wolf.” He has succeeded in having the president of Kyrgyzstan, a former part of the Soviet Union, evict the US from its military base. This base is essential to America’s ability to supply its soldiers in Afghanistan.

    To stop America’s meddling in Russia’s sphere of influence, the Russian government has created a collective security treaty organization comprised of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Uzbekistan is a partial participant.

    In other words, Russia has organized central Asia against US penetration.

    To whose agenda is President Obama being hitched? Writing in the English language version of the Swiss newspaper, Zeit-Fragen, Stephen J. Sniegoski reports that leading figures of the neocon conspiracy–Richard Perle, Max Boot, David Brooks, and Mona Charen–are ecstatic over Obama’s appointments. They don’t see any difference between Obama and Bush/Cheney.

    Not only are Obama’s appointments moving him into an expanded war in Afghanistan, but the powerful Israel Lobby is pushing Obama toward a war with Iran.

    The unreality in which he US government operates is beyond belief. A bankrupt government that cannot pay its bills without printing money is rushing headlong into wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis, the cost to the US taxpayers of sending a single soldier to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq is $775,000 per year!

    Obama’s war in Afghanistan is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. After seven years of conflict, there is still no defined mission or endgame scenario for US forces in Afghanistan. When asked about the mission, a US military official told NBC News, “Frankly, we don’t have one.” NBC reports: “they’re working on it.”

    Speaking to House Democrats on February 5, President Obama admitted that the US government does not know what its mission is in Afghanistan and that to avoid “mission creep without clear parameters,” the US “needs a clear mission.”

    How would you like to be sent to a war, the point of which no one knows, including the commander-in-chief who sent you to kill or be killed? How, fellow taxpayers, do you like paying the enormous cost of sending soldiers on an undefined mission while the economy collapses?

  13. Tennessee-Socialist said on February 9th, 2009 at 9:54pm #

    Giorgio: Helen Thomas a progressive reporter asked Obama who has nuclear weapons in the Middle East? And he didn’t mention Israel. Does Obama thinks we are dumb or something? he was supposed to say that Israel is the real threat in the Middle East and in this world.


  14. giorgio said on February 10th, 2009 at 7:06am #

    Of course Obama thinks we are dumb…didn’t you notice the sparking Stars of David in his eyes when he took the Oath of office?
    Now that’s the change we all got to believe in, and live with, for the very least the next 4 years….

  15. bozh said on February 10th, 2009 at 8:39am #

    thnx for info i had been dying to obtain. since my view is that US wants to obtain the planet and destroy socialism along the way, i’ve been wondering if ‘stans, russia, and china have also come to that conclusion.
    now i see from your piece that c.asian muslims and russia are reestablishing their soyuz and wld thus obviate bloodbath in own countries.

    it wld be nice if iran and syria wld also join the crowd. nevertheless, US and israel’s wish to cripple or tear assunder iran and syria is seriously thwarted by just what is happening now in central asia. thnx

  16. Barry said on February 10th, 2009 at 9:29am #

    Wrong again Gideon. The occupation of Palestine, including Gaza is illegal because the WORLD, thru the UN has deemed it illegal. To the best of my knowledge it is the only illegally occupied land in the world. That’s the law.

    Hamas is de jure sovereign in Gaza, and Israel is the de jure occupier. That’s the law. Hamas does not have to take direction from Israel, there’s nothing Hamas can do about Israel’s control of all exit gates in the cage. Israel polices the entire territory including sea- and air-space, and controls ingress and egress of all money, goods, and people. It enters Gaza routinely and without permission from Hamas and even fires upon those who would approach within several hundred meters of the internment cage.

    The High Contracting Parties in Gaza and the West Bank in 1967 when Israel attacked and occupied those areas were Egypt and Jordan. That both Egypt and Jordan have released sovereignty to the Palestinians does not change the diagnosis. Further, EVERY int’l body of law recognizes the Occupation as such, up to and including the International Court of Justice. As far as Israel not exercising government functions in Gaza see my remarks above on control of space. And as I say, ALL international bodies understant this to mean Gaza is occupied – in fact, mind you, the United States.

    Israel indeed exercises effective control in Gaza – to within an inch of Gazan lives. Only the will of the Gazans stands in Israel’s way. Palestinians understand that ALL of the WB&G (incl East Jerusalem) are occupied and thus – of course – reject any claim by Israel of change in legal status – as does the World.

    Israel has NO legal ground to stand on with regard to Palestinian attacks. The right of self-defense by Israel is negated by being the occupier. In fact, Israel is not exercising self-defense, but merely carrying out its occupaition via genocidal measures (which legal definition Israel easily meets).

    Israel has NO legal right over Gaza’s skies or seas or its border with Egypt. None whatsoever.

    But remember most importantly – the world’s bodies of law ALL agree that the Occupation of Palestine is illegal.

    Israel’s imposition of economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip are legal means of responding to Palestinian attacks. Since Israel is under no legal obligation to engage in trade with Gaza, or to maintain open borders, it may withhold commercial items and seal its borders at its discretion.

  17. Barry said on February 10th, 2009 at 10:58am #

    The last paragraph of my response above is yours – I failed to delete.

  18. Ismail Zayid said on February 10th, 2009 at 6:17pm #

    Mebosa Ritchie tells us to “End the Muslim occupation of Jewish land given by God to Jewish people.”

    I was not aware that God is a real estate agent who can apportion land to some people!!!! And do I take it that the bible is the new Registry of Deeds?!!!

  19. Tree said on February 10th, 2009 at 6:19pm #

    Yeah, God’s a real estate agent and he gets one hell of a commission.

  20. Gideon said on February 10th, 2009 at 11:58pm #

    Legal Status of Gaza after Israel disengagement – NOT OCCUPIED! August 2005
    Now who takes the blame? The status of Gaza.
    (After Israeli withdrawal, confusion surrounds the legal status of the Gaza Strip)
    The Economist (US) August 27, 2005

    The puzzle of Gaza’s new legal status
    THE United Nations has not decided. The Red Cross won’t say. The World Bank is staying neutral. And, of course, the Israelis and the Palestinians disagree.

    Please share with us what UN decisions were made regarding Gaza after Israeli disengagement?
    Are you confusing opinions and position papers with facts?
    Who governs Gaza?
    Some common sense …
    I understand that you have carried the cause against occupation for a long time and now you are experiencing the withdrawal pain and it’s tough, but man you have to face it and get over it.
    Gaza is Not Occupied any more!

  21. Jacob said on February 11th, 2009 at 2:58am #

    This article is bupkis. I wonder if the author researched with due-diligence the subject of his article.

    If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was alive today he would reiterate his original stance on Israel and particularly Zionism:

    “You know that Zionism is nothing less than the dream and ideal of the Jewish people returning to live in their own land. The Jewish people, the Scriptures tell us, once enjoyed a flourishing Commonwealth in the Holy Land. From this they were expelled by the Roman tyrant, the same Romans who cruelly murdered Our Lord. Driven from their homeland, their nation in ashes, forced to wander the globe, the Jewish people time and again suffered the lash of whichever tyrant happened to rule over them.

    “The Negro people, my friend, know what it is to suffer the torment of tyranny under rulers not of our choosing. Our brothers in Africa have begged, pleaded, requested–DEMANDED the recognition and realization of our inborn right to live in peace under our own sovereignty in our own country.

    “How easy it should be, for anyone who holds dear this inalienable right of all mankind, to understand and support the right of the Jewish People to live in their ancient Land of Israel. All men of good will exult in the fulfilment of God’s promise, that his People should return in joy to rebuild their plundered land.

    This is Zionism, nothing more, nothing less.

    “And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is antisemitism.

    “The antisemite rejoices at any opportunity to vent his malice. The times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the antisemite must constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison. How he must revel in the new masquerade! He does not hate the Jews, he is just ‘anti-Zionist’!

    “My friend, I do not accuse you of deliberate antisemitism. I know you feel, as I do, a deep love of truth and justice and a revulsion for racism, prejudice, and discrimination. But I know you have been misled–as others have been–into thinking you can be ‘anti-Zionist’ and yet remain true to these heartfelt principles that you and I share.

    Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews–make no mistake about it.”

    From M.L. King Jr., “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,” Saturday Review_XLVII (Aug. 1967), p. 76.
    Reprinted in M.L. King Jr., “This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

    Gee, look at the date, 1967. Wonder what else happened that year…

  22. Hue Longer said on February 11th, 2009 at 5:57am #

    Used to be that occupation was nice compared to siege because dead cattle and fire didn’t fly over the walls and an in was an out…but descriptions change over time and modern capabilities can allow both at the same time. It’s “occupied”, Gideon.

  23. bozh said on February 11th, 2009 at 8:56am #

    according to so many observers gaza is a free part of occupied palestine.
    in the balkans, which had been occupied by italy and germany and after sept ’43 by germany only, partisan forces also had free or liberated areas in occupied albania, greece, and ex-yugoslavia.
    free partisan territories were also under siege but not anything like gaza is.
    why was it ok for the allies to approve of partisan resistance from free territories and not OK (or is terrorism) for pals to resist occupation of palestine from own free territory?

    placing the begining of the conflict in ‘o1 when gazans began throwing qassams at sderot while ignoring years ’22-2000 will only engender more hate for israel.

  24. Gideon said on February 11th, 2009 at 11:23am #

    Gaza Palestinians do not care what Gaza legal status is. They know who governs them and they feel the pain. It’s time for Hamas accountability.
    Hamas that’s where the buck stops today.

    On the other hand how you can demand a government like Hamas to consider the needs of their people, when Gaza is a welfare state and is population is supported by donations.
    So Hamas really does not need to consider economic development. No tough choices. The world economic crisis is not even an issue. They biggest economic administrative challenge is distribution of donated goods to population. Easy task, no tough decisions. Take from the truck and give out in the ranking order of tribal loyalty and willingness to become martyr .
    That’s why Hamas has so many resources to tighten Security apparatus and develop its military wing.

    It’s about time for Gaza to get independent, if they are seeking Independence. We know how difficult it is to get people off welfare.
    They will have to start somewhere ….

  25. Gideon said on February 11th, 2009 at 1:17pm #

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. supported Zionism! Wow! That pulled the rug underneath this whole article!

    Sam, you can still speak for yourself.

  26. mebosa ritchie said on February 11th, 2009 at 1:52pm #

    Holy Moses! Mebosa is back!

    “end the muslim occupation of jewish land given by god to the jewish people” so sez he/she….

    heh giorgio how’s you doing
    nice to see i’ve been missed but i’m going away again for about a week
    see you soon
    love to mr balkas and the boys

  27. Max Shields said on February 11th, 2009 at 2:14pm #


    The passage by MLK was deemed a HOAX!!!!


    Now back to reality, not the one contrived and propagated by zionists.

  28. bozh said on February 11th, 2009 at 4:07pm #

    is “balkas” referring to bozh? i’ll accept your love only if you are for sale or on sale.thnx

  29. Gideon said on February 12th, 2009 at 1:26am #

    MLK statements- “Israel’s right to exist as a state in security is uncontestable.” “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.”

    Thanks for pointing it out, here some text from the 2002 article by
    U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who worked closely with Dr. King.

    Monday, January 21, 2002
    (San Francisco Chronicle)
    “I have a dream” for peace in the Middle East
    Martin Luther King Jr.’s special bond with Israel
    by John Lewis

    During his lifetime King witnessed the birth of Israel and the continuing struggle to build a nation. He consistently reiterated his stand on the Israeli-Arab conflict, stating “Israel’s right to exist as a state in security is uncontestable.” It was no accident that King emphasized “security” in his statements on the Middle East.

    On March 25, 1968, less than two weeks before his tragic death, he spoke out with clarity and directness stating, “peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.”

    During the recent U.N. Conference on Racism held in Durban, South Africa, we were all shocked by the attacks on Jews, Israel and Zionism. The United States of America stood up against these vicious attacks.

    Once again, the words of King ran through my memory, “I solemnly pledge to do my utmost to uphold the fair name of the Jews-because bigotry in any form is an affront to us all.”

    During an appearance at Harvard University shortly before his death, a student stood up and asked King to address himself to the issue of Zionism. The question was clearly hostile. King responded, “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.”

  30. AaronG said on February 12th, 2009 at 4:57am #

    Stop pickin’ on poor ol’ Mebosa Ritchie, everyone. The statement “…..land given by god to the jewish people” is nothing but a good ol’ half-truth. They’re the best kinda truths cos they just end up confusin’ everyone.

    Let me clear it up for him/her.

    Yes, the statement is true as of about 1070BCE – King David’s coronation. But after centuries of unfaithfulness, God (Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah, or whatever your preference) finally ended this special relationship with the Jews (they were called “a stiff-necked people” and acted worse than the neighbouring pagan nations by including child sacrifices as part of their worship, according to the older books of the Bible). This relationship ended officially when God allowed the Romans to destroy the Jews’ temple in 70CE. In other words, in 2009 the nation of Israel has the same standing in God’s eyes as Vanuatu – no difference.

    From the above short analysis, I would conclude that the present day militaristic occupation of this land is illegal from both a secular (ie UN, UNHCR, World Court, Geneva Convention etc etc) and a theological point of view.

    Looks like those 1300+ lives were taken for no reason after all……….

  31. Moz said on February 12th, 2009 at 6:26am #


    While you are clearly intelligent your comment on Africa is disingenuous at best and here is why I think it is so…

    The peoples of Africa lived in the continent of Africa in their hundreds of millions since time began. Jews have lived in Palestine forever in SOME number as any fule know, however, a lot of other people have lived there too.

    Where are the limits placed here?

    If ANY Jew can emigrate to Israel based on a state that existed 2000 years ago can we begin to apply this standard to the rest of humanity?

    Should we all move to sub-saharan Africa as man began there?

    Can Muslims request that Al-Andalus be returned? (Nobody but the Fundamentalists believes that it should….)

    By all means I am not joining the chorus for the dismantling of Israel, on the contrary, their “security” is rooted in demographics that it cannot maintain indefinitely, if all people under Israeli rule were allowed to vote equally then Israel would be gone as a Jewish state, something even Olmert has conceded as a possibility.

    Therefore they need to swallow their pride, honour the 2002 deal that the Arabs have proposed and things could change. Other alternatives all resemble fascism (Transfer – i.e ethnic cleansing). Anything could be justified in order to maintain the “Jewish State” as Israeli’s will naturally feel they have no choice. Fascism is not per se about death camps but about holding the state above all moral considerations as the ends will always justify the means.

    My last point is a question for Gideon.

    Do you think MLK would support the Palestinians today as he supported the Jews then? Remember how much water has passed under the bridge in the interim.

    I know my answer, ask it honestly and you will too.

  32. Max Shields said on February 12th, 2009 at 6:42am #

    Gideon, what I stated was that the MLK statement that you first commented on is a proven HOAX. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2356.shtml

    Whether MLK was swayed by a sense of Jewish struggle back in the 60s is hardly a case for what MLK would have, based on his whole raison d’etre, be strongly opposed to the apartheid state as it has evolved. He would, as he did with Viet nam conclude that this is state which has become a criminal state, raining terror on Palestinians.

    It is unimaginable that MLK would not have condemned Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, the killing of civilians en mass, including children. http://www.mediamonitors.net/labibnasir1.html

    In the end, using MLK as an apologist for zionism is an atrocity unto itself. It is a slander to the memory of MLK’s memory.

  33. Moz said on February 12th, 2009 at 7:31am #


  34. Barry said on February 12th, 2009 at 9:05am #

    Gideon – The position of the UN is that Gaza has been illegally occupied by Israel since June ’67. The UN has not changed its position. There has been no event that would precipitate a change in the UN position. Nor has any other international body changed its position. Thus Gaza is still Israeli-Occupied Palestine – as is the West Bank.

  35. Barry said on February 12th, 2009 at 9:12am #

    Gaza is not on welfare, Israel is on welfare. Israel receives more aid than virtually the entire total of aid to Sub-Saharan Africa. And sending aid to Israel – a developed nation – is tantamount to sending aid to say, Austria. 3 to 4 billion dollars every year.
    Gaza is not on welfare but instead is on life-support – because of the UN-certified Israeli occupation and siege. And Israel is stepping on the life-support tubes. While Israel has the right to forbid transport at their mutual borders, Israel has no right to control borders with Egypt or the Mediterranean Sea (Where the new oil that Israel wants is located), nor Gaza’s air or sea space. But for Israel and its amen-corner in the US – the world is one on this.

  36. Barry said on February 12th, 2009 at 9:51am #

    Regarding MLK – his views were evolving even up to his premature death. He had made the connection of oppression to labor issues (that’s why he was in Memphis), and to imperialism, which is why he was increasingly vocal about the Vietnam War. As a southerner, MLK knew few Jews. The few he encountered were invarably involved with the civil rights struggle – even dying for that struggle. That type of thing plus biblical stories certainly impacted his thinking concerning Jewry. However, had he lived he would have witnessed the tragedy of and final triumph over Apartheid rule in South Africa. No one knows what a racist society is like its victims – and Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and others have clearly attested to the parallels between Israeli Apartheid and that of South Africa. MLK would surely have been influenced by the events in South Africa and by the leaders of that struggle. There is no way they would not be on the same page on this. Further, MLK would at some point connect the thread, first established by Gandhi (no small influence on MLK) , that Israel is a racist state – a thread long since picked up in South Africa and elsewhere. There is also another aspect. Relations between Jews and Blacks in America soured for a spell in the years after MLK. The bottom line on that was Black resentment of Jewish usurpation of victimhood. That is, the ability of Jews in America to organize around the importance of the Holocaust had come to displace the importance of the historic black struggle in America. Thus, there eventually was built a Museum of the Holocaust in downtown DC while a Museum devoted to understanding enslavement, the Middle Passage or the struggle for civil and human rights of blacks was no where to be found. This, in the country of black enslavement and Jim Crow – this in the country that did not carry out the Holocaust. Over the years since, Holocaust museums have been franchised around the nation. Richmond Virginia -the capital of the confederacy – has no museum dedicated to black enslavement even though Richmond was also a prime port of the slave trade. Richmond does however, have a Museum of the Holocaust. So I think MLK would have evolved a view over time that would put notions of anti-Semitism in perspective. And his views would be in accord with justice for humanity everywhere – including Palestine.

  37. Gideon said on February 12th, 2009 at 10:16am #

    Gaza is not occupied. Common sense speaks louder than any rhetoric.
    The UN has not changed its position on Gaza since 2005 Israeli disengagement and removal of settlements.
    Maybe there are some more pressing conflicts in the world and the weight both Palestinian and Israelis assign to their Arab-Israeli conflict is just exaggerated?

    UN, as an institution has a REAL hand on the pulse of the events.
    If you put blinds over your eyes, it still does not change the fact that daylight arrived.
    After making tens of resolutions about Israeli occupation, why did not UN have a discussion or changed its position? Does UN live in Wonderland, is it under the influence of Arab block – why there was no UN condemnation of Gaza disengagement? UN acted on all other Israeli decisions. Was this even not important enough in the context of Arab-Israeli conflict?
    Maybe there are some more pressing conflicts in the world and the weight both Palestinian and Israelis assign to Arab-Israeli conflict is just exaggerated?

  38. mary said on February 12th, 2009 at 10:39am #

    One of these days you will be hoist by your own petard.

    This is the reality. A blockade and siege followed by a shoah followed by another blockade.

    New York Times February 11 2009
    U.N. Chief Says Israel Is Blocking Most Gaza Aid

    UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, repeated Tuesday his demand that Israel allow significantly more humanitarian aid into the beleaguered Gaza Strip, and he announced that he would send a team to investigate the bombings of United Nations facilities there.

    The human rights organization Amnesty International issued a statement criticizing Mr. Ban for being too timid on the extent of the inquiry.

    Mr. Ban said at a news conference that the United Nations was trying to get relief supplies to nearly one million people daily, but that Israel was only allowing one border crossing to open, permitting trucks with supplies for only about 30,000 people to get through.

    “We are experiencing serious difficulty in getting all the materials, humanitarian assistance, so it is absolutely necessary that they open the crossings,” said Mr. Ban, whose previous statements urging Israel to allow more aid into Gaza have been ignored. “I will continue to urge that.”


  39. Gideon said on February 12th, 2009 at 10:52am #

    Does any of you really think you can speak for MLK?
    Let’s stick with what he actually said!
    The interpretations, what he would have said, have been used as basis for this article.

    I suggested to the author:
    “Sam you can speak for yourself. The dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis is important. No need to invoke MLK name to make your point, it has been overdone. ”

    And then everybody gives their own interpretation of what MLK would have said. Does any of you really think you can speak for MLK?
    Yes, it has been overdone.

  40. Gideon said on February 12th, 2009 at 11:09am #

    Gaza economic sustainability. Show me the money! What is Hamas plan for economic independence of Gaza and getting it off world welfare program?

    Let’s talk numbers. Please share with us your understanding. Budgets, plans, GDP, jobs creation, ….etc
    What kind of stimulus Arab businessmen and governments are planning for Gaza?
    Let’s stay focused, we are talking about Gaza and its economic viability, let’s say till 2010 next Palestinian elections, and the well being of its residents – jobs, health, education …

  41. Gideon said on February 12th, 2009 at 11:18am #

    Bring Gaza humanitarian aid through Egypt border and stop blaming Israel.

    If you believe Israel is not doing enough to support humanitarian aid to Gaza, call Egypt. It is as simple as that.

    How about sending the “parsley women” to petition the Egypt government at that border and approach the Arab league?

  42. Barry said on February 12th, 2009 at 1:40pm #

    Gideon – I repeat, the UN and ALL international bodies have concluded that Gaza is still occupied, as is the West Bank. These are the last occupied lands in the world. (And not by mere coincidence, the West Bank is the only land in the world living under Apartheid rule.) The measure of whether a land is occupied or not has nothing to do with whether settlers are present or not. We’ve counted the ways Israel controls – and strangles – Gaza. The UN understands this as well as anyone.
    The border crossing between Egypt and Gaza is closed because Mubarak is paid handsomely to cooperate with Israel. That leaves Israel with only the sea to patrol in order to maintain its seige of Gaza.

    Gaza is part of Occupied Palestine which includes the West Bank. Gaza will function as as a seaport for all of the state of Palestine. Its economic development is part and parcel of the entire country. Commerce between the two will run on the corridor connecting them. So don’t worry about a free Palestine. On the other hand, as Israelis establish homes in the US and Europe (Germany being a favorite), perhaps you should give pause to the notion that Israel may at some point have too few zealots to keep the lights on.

    PS – I think all understand that MLK would favor a Palestinian state in all of the WB&G. But for a few hardline Zionists – everyone favors that. He would also understand by now that to call someone an anti-Semite these days is like calling someone a dweeb or something. Is it worth even a shrug? That’s what happens to overused concepts.

  43. Barry said on February 12th, 2009 at 1:46pm #

    Gideon – There is no more pressing conflict than that of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. American policy vis a vis the Middle East, with policy favoring Israel over justice as its most obvious manifestation – is why we endured 9/11.

  44. bozh said on February 12th, 2009 at 2:14pm #

    oviously egypt had closed rafah exit on demand by israel/US.
    egypt had complied but had to be paid for it. so, israel is not innocent.

  45. Joe said on February 12th, 2009 at 3:04pm #

    No reply to my question Gidders,

    Do you think the last 40 odd years might have changed his views?

    Or would he have joined the complicit silence?

    I know the answer, the fact that you don’t, or won’t answer me means I know you cannot answer me without exposing the fatal flaw in your thinking.

    I can no more second guess a dead man than anyone, that may be true, it is my belief, based on what I see, hear and read.

    PS. If you’re such an MLK fan maybe you’ve heard of Ghandhi?

    Any thoughts on what Ghandhi thought about Israel?

    Or is he not as worthy as MLK cos he wasn’t a Zionist? The quote game IS fun isn’t it!!

  46. Moz said on February 12th, 2009 at 3:09pm #

    “But in my opinion, they [the Jews] have erred grievously in seeking to impose themselves on Palestine with the aid of America and Britain and now with the aid of naked terrorism… Why should they depend on American money or British arms for forcing themselves on an unwelcome land? Why should they resort to terrorism to make good their forcible landing in Palestine?” – Gandhi

    BTW Moz/Joe – One and the same, I clicked before I realised the difference, no misleading intended.

  47. Gideon said on February 12th, 2009 at 3:35pm #

    World conflicts today: All these peoples believe their conflict is the most pressing: Algeria, Angola, Congo(Zaire), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico-US Border Disorder, Peru, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Kashmir: India-Pakistan, Korea, Burma-Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Basque Country, Bosnia,, Cyprus, Kosovo-Serbia, Northern Ireland, Abkhazia-Georgia, Armenia,
    Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Iran, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Lebanon, Nagorno-Karabakh, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey-Kurdistan, Yemen

    You indicated that Arab-Israeli conflict is the most pressing. For the benefit of all these peoples, could you rank it from less pressing to most pressing?

    Maybe you want to run your MLK interpretations by his family, so you have an official seal on your intimate insight on what MLK would have said today. You have not respect and abusing his name.

    Gaza occupation ended on Aug 2005. You still have not answered the question when did UN review and conclude that it is still occupied?
    Simple question – no answer?

    I see you and bozh adopted my sarcastic point that Israel controls the Arab League. And you said, you thought I was just silly….
    Well, some ideas catch up on Dissident Voice!

    I am holding my breath to read about Gaza economic plan and Arab stimulus proposals. Do you need a couple of weeks to review your sources?

    A change of plans, please instruct “parsley women” to petition Israel to open the Egyptian border.

  48. Gideon said on February 12th, 2009 at 3:51pm #

    “Less pressing” – a conflict for reference: Sudan/Darfur [1983- present] Estimated Death Toll: Approx. Two million killed, 4-5 million displaced
    In 1948, Britain granted independence to Sudan, a divided country dominated by Arab Muslims in the North and Christians, or native animists in the South. Since then , the government in Khartoum has tried to impose Islamic rule over the entire country and has pursued a policy of genocide or ethnic cleansing to eliminate the non-Muslim populations. According to the US Committee for Refugees, around 2 million people have been killed and 4 to 5 million internally displaced since 1983.

    Any thoughts?

  49. Gideon said on February 12th, 2009 at 4:07pm #

    Palestinians plan to adopt Gandhi’s total non-violence, non-violent civil disobedience, economic self-reliance and expanding women rights as a new strategy to achieving independence.

    Gaza first!

    The world is ecstatic!

    This article is based on what MLK would have said. That’s why we talked about MLK.
    When Palestinians are adopting Gandhi’s approach?

  50. Moz said on February 12th, 2009 at 4:28pm #


    1. I Know, I read the article.
    2.I Didn’t suggest that they should.

    I was simply bringing Ghadhi’s view in, I thought this was debate. Heck, I said you were intelligent.

    A cut above the average troll…..

  51. Garrett said on February 12th, 2009 at 4:39pm #

    I started a blog for the purpose of discussing what form a US revolution might take. Here’s the link: http://plutocracykills.blogspot.com/

    I hope you don’t mind the plug.

  52. mary said on February 12th, 2009 at 5:11pm #

    One piece of good news has come from this UK branch of the Judeo-Christian alliance.

    Church of England: Dumping Caterpillar
    Stuart Littlewood
    Feb 11, 2009

    God whispered in the Church of England’s ear and it dumped its shares in Caterpillar. This House of God had about £2.5m invested in a company that manufactures one of Israel’s weapons of mass misery and destruction. After saying for years that they couldn’t see anything unethical about it, Church bosses finally agreed with the rest of us that Caterpillar’s D-9 bulldozer, which is used in the Holy Land for the ugly purpose of demolishing Palestinian homes, uprooting olive groves and destroying civilian infrastructure, is more like a vicious weapon in Israel’s hands than a civil engineering tool.

    Caterpillar simply didn’t look good on the Church’s ethical investments list any more.

    The wholesale destruction of Palestinian homes, and Caterpillar’s part in it, has been going on for a very long time. At the Jenin refugee camp in March/April 2002 Israel’s massive, armoured D-9 Caterpillar bulldozers – driven by army reservists – worked non-stop for three days and nights. More than 300 homes in the densely packed camp were flattened. The bulldozer drivers were instant heroes and showered with medals for valour.

    One such driver did not get down from the cab of his Caterpillar for 75 hours straight.

    “For three days I just erased and erased… the entire area. I took down any house from which there was shooting. To take it down, I would take down several more. The soldiers warned with a speaker, that the tenants must leave before I came in, but I did not give anyone a chance. I did not wait… I would just ram the house with full power, to bring it down as fast as possible. I wanted to get to the other houses. To get as many as possible. Others may have restrained themselves, or so they say. Who are they kidding? Anyone who was there, and saw our soldiers in the houses, would understand they were in a death trap… I didn’t give a damn about the Palestinians, but I didn’t just ruin with no reason. It was all under orders.

    “Many people where inside houses we set to demolish. They would come out of the houses we where working on. I didn’t see, with my own eyes, people dying under the blade of the D-9. and I didn’t see house falling down on live people. But if there were any, I wouldn’t care at all. I am sure people died inside these houses, but it was difficult to see, there was lots of dust everywhere, and we worked a lot at night. I found joy with every house that came down, because I knew they didn’t mind dying, but they cared for their homes. If you knocked down a house, you buried 40 or 50 people for generations. If I am sorry for anything, it is for not tearing the whole camp down…”

    This was the largest single orgy of destruction carried out by the Israeli army, according to Amnesty International. The al-Hawashin quarter was completely destroyed and two further areas of the refugee camp were partially destroyed, leaving more than 800 families, totaling some 4,000 people, homeless.

    House demolition has been a central plank in Israel’s solution to the ‘Arab problem’ from the start, and the bulldozers have been highly successful in dislocating Palestinian society and tearing communities apart.

    ICAHD reports that between 1948 and the 1960s Israel systematically demolished 418 Palestinian villages inside what has become the State of Israel. Residents who were put to flight could not return and their lands were turned over to the Jewish population.

    The Israeli township of Sderot, which the world is meant to feel sorry for, is built on stolen lands belonging to a Palestinian village that was ethnically cleansed and erased.

    At the start of the Occupation in 1967 demolition was carried across the ‘Green Line’ into the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Since then some 12,000 Palestinian dwellings have been destroyed, many of them the homes of people who had fled from the bulldozers in 1948.

    Dozens of ancient homes were destroyed in the Mughrabi Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City to make room for a plaza for the Wailing Wall.

    In 1971 Ariel Sharon, then in charge of Southern Command, cleared 2,000 houses in the Gaza refugee camps to facilitate military control. After becoming Prime Minister in 2001 he oversaw the demolition of another 1500 homes in Gaza.

    At least 2,000 houses in the Occupied Territories were destroyed in a bid to quell the first Intifada in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Nearly 1,700 more were demolished by the Civil Administration during the Oslo peace process (1993-2000).

    Since the start of the second Intifada in September 2000, the Israeli military has destroyed 4,000 to 5,000 Palestinian homes, including hundreds in Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and other cities of the West Bank, and more than 2,500 in Gaza. Tens of thousands of other homes have been left uninhabitable. Altogether around 50,000 people were left homeless. Hundreds of shops, workshops, factories and public buildings, including Palestinian Authority ministry offices in all the West Bank cities, have been destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

    Figures suggest that 60% of the Palestinian homes demolished in the Occupied Territories were bulldozed as part of military “clearing operations”, 25% for being “illegal” (not having permits), and 15% for collective punishment. Amnesty International says that more as than 3,000 hectares of cultivated land were cleared during this time. Wells, water storage pools and water pumps which provided water for drinking, irrigation and other needs for thousands of people, have also been destroyed, along with miles of irrigation networks.

    None of this takes account of the wanton and incalculable destruction caused by the relentless blitzing of Gaza last month…

    When homes are demolished for ‘military reasons’ or as acts of deterrence and collective punishment, there is no process – no formal demolition order, no warning, no time to remove furniture or personal belongings, and often barely time to escape the building falling down around the victim’s ears.

    Demolition orders, when issued, are delivered haphazardly. A building inspector may knock on the door and hand it to anyone who answers, including small children. More often it is slipped into the doorframe or left under a stone near the house. Palestinians frequently complain that they never receive the order before the bulldozers arrive and are thus denied recourse to the courts.

    What took the Church of England so long to catch onto the Caterpillar scandal?

    – Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit http://www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.

  53. Barry said on February 12th, 2009 at 7:09pm #

    Gideon – My reasoning that the UN still considered Gaza as Occupied Palestine was based in the notion that they had not issued a change of status – and believe you me, Israel has been pressing for a change. But hey – here’s the latest from the boys in blue. This is just the first couple of paragraphs. The rest of the report concerns Israel’s creation of Dachau on the Med, so its not quite as relevant to the point. Couldn’t be any clearer than this what the UN position is – Gaza is Occupied Palestine.


    1. This statement focuses on the impact of Israel’s continuing Gaza military campaign, initiated on 27 December 2008, on the humanitarian situation confronting the 1.5 million Palestinians confined to the Gaza Strip. In accordance with the undertaking of the mandate, it confines its comments to issues associated with Israel’s obligations as occupying power to respect international humanitarian law (IHL), which refers mainly to the legal obligations contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which sets forth in some detail the legal duties of Israel as the occupying power. The essential obligations of IHL are also considered to be binding legal duties embedded in customary international law. This statement touches on issues of international human rights law (IHR), as well as the implications of severe and sustained violations of either IHL or IHR as raising issues of international criminal law (ICL). It is also necessary to assess the underlying Israeli security claims that the military incursion into Gaza was a ‘defensive’ operation consistent with international law and the United Nations Charter, and that no ‘humanitarian crisis’ existed making the scale and nature of the military force used allegedly ‘excessive’ and ‘disproportionate.’

    2. Although Israel has contended that it is no longer an occupying power, due to its withdrawal of its forces from within Gaza, it is widely agreed by international law experts that the continued Israeli control of borders, air space, and territorial waters is of a character as to retain Israel status legally as occupying power.

  54. Barry said on February 12th, 2009 at 7:28pm #

    Gideon – Rank the conflicts ‘for the benefit of these peoples’? I’m totally uninterested in doing that. I’m much more interested in seeing Palestine’s Israel problem solved. That’s what I’m interested in – from a human rights point of view, as a tax-paying American citizen, and as an intellectual exercise.

    Now why would I want to run anything by MLK’s family? I couldn’t care less about his family. As for ‘not respect and abusing his name’ ????? Who cares? What is he, a god? But I do think we’d all have to agree that MLK would find Israel’s mass murder in Gaza and the Apartheid regime in the West Bank to be repugnant. Don’t forget, when King was killed Americans were still under the mistaken impression that there was a good Israel before 1967. It took a while for Americans to learn that Israel’s post ’67 behavior was merely a continuation of same.

    With Oslo, Fatah legitimated the Israeli occupation by letting Israel divvy up the WB into A,B,and C areas. PA police then patrolled the WB at the behest of Israel. Fatah cooperated with their oppressors like quisling Jews in a Nazi death camp. Fatah thought that Israeli troops would be removed from the WB. Little did they know that what Israel meant by redeployment was to pull them back out of the city centers. When you combine that with Fatah corruption and its inability to regain one dunam in 30 years, its no wonder people started looking elsewhere for leadership.

    Why would you be holding your breath about a Gaza economic plan? I certainly don’t care if they have one or not. I’m interested in Israel getting the eff out of Palestine. Their economy is their own business.

  55. Barry said on February 12th, 2009 at 7:42pm #

    Gideon – you forget that Palestine has been occupied since 1967 (well, actually since 1948, but that’s another story). in the years between 1967 and the first intifada in 1989 – Gazans certainly did practice Gandhi’s philosophy. Palestinians resisted non-violently, they refused to obey curfews, they refused to accept Israeli-appointed mayors (remember the village leagues? I suppose not), they conducted general strikes, they refused to turn over taxes to the Israeli tax collectors, they refused to tell teenage asshole Israeli soldiers what their names were and where they were going. In short, in it was a time of non-violence. But you see, Israelis are racists and so could not help themselves. So sometimes when a Palestinian did not answer a question quick enough they would bend his wrist till it broke. Or if a Palestinian did not get his bike to the side of the road quick enough they’d run him over. Now and then, they’d just shoot a Palestinian for sport. So the Palestinians tried Gandhi and found it only works when you have 400 million people and the enemy has only 10 thousand civil servants who want to go home. The pals didn’t realize they were up against a people with roots in reactionary regimes of 1930s eastern Europe and with enough armaments to kill every last Palestinian several times over. Yet as soon as the Intifada broke out, the Israelis cried foul. So you guys had 22 years to get it right. But you wanted their land more than you wanted peace. And the same still holds.

  56. Barry said on February 12th, 2009 at 7:46pm #

    Mary – that’s good news about Caterpillar. It was a Caterpillar bulldozer that the Israelis used to murder Rachel Corrie. Of course, that was but one incident of ten thousand. Nonetheless, the day they are put out of business can’t come too soon.

  57. Gideon said on February 12th, 2009 at 8:01pm #

    Are suffering, injustice, death, humanitarian rights of any other peoples around the world deserve less of Dissident Voice than Palestinians?


    Let me try to summarize
    1. You do not care about MLK, but run under his cover, use his name and put words in his mouth.
    2. You do not care about the suffering, injustice, death, humanitarian rights of any other peoples around the world, but you believe that Palestinians is the most pressing world problem.

    So why should we take seriously anything you say about suffering, injustice, death, humanitarian rights?

  58. Gideon said on February 12th, 2009 at 8:41pm #

    Palestinians adopting Gandhi’s nonviolent independence struggle may be the fast track to independence and Palestinian state

    Let’s start with Gaza.

    Economic self-reliance supported by Arab stimulus.

    Anybody knows if Palestinians are working on their economic plan and when it may be published?

    (Bary, I know you are not interested in this, you do not have to respond)

    Mary, Moz, Max, Ismail Zayid, bozh, errol – are you ready to get the ball rolling?

  59. Moz said on February 13th, 2009 at 5:25am #

    I’ll choose myself what merits a response, ta.

    Economic self reliance can never come while 80% of Gaza’s produce rots at Israeli/Egyptian checkpoints!

    I believe there was widespread civil disobedience in during the first intifada, and what was the response.

    “Break their bones!”

    Gandhi would be under a bulldozer if he were alive today. Likely a young French/American/Russian with a hebrew accent would have crushed him like so many shacks in Jenin!

    Shoa 2

    Coming to refugee camp near you….

  60. Gideon said on February 13th, 2009 at 10:10am #

    Does this Palestinian record look like a Gandhi practice? PLO Terror time line, a partial list.

    How many UN resolutions and/or different Humanitarian bodies demands were issued in response?

    July 5, 1965: explosives on the railroad tracks to Jerusalem near Kafr Battir.

    – 1965-1967: Numerous Fatah bomb attacks target Israeli villages, water pipes, railroads. Homes are destroyed and Israelis are killed.

    – Feb. 21, 1970: SwissAir flight 330, bound for Tel Aviv, is bombed in mid-flight by PFLP, a PLO member group. 47 people are killed.

    – May 8, 1970: PLO terrorists attack an Israeli school bus with bazooka (unti tank weapon!) fire, killing nine pupils and three teachers from Moshav Avivim

    – Sept. 6, 1970: TWA, Pan-Am, and BOAC airplanes are hijacked by PLO terrorists.

    – September 1970: “Black September.”Jordanian forces battle the PLO terrorist organization, driving its members out of Jordan after the group’s violent activity threatens to destabilize the kingdom.

    – May 1972: PFLP, part of the PLO, dispatches members of the Japanese Red Army to attack Lod Airport in Tel Aviv, killing 27 people.

    – Sept. 5, 1972: Munich Massacre —11 Israeli athletes are murdered at the Munich Olympics by a group calling themselves “Black September,”said to be an arm of Fatah, operating under Arafat’s direct command.

    – March 1, 1973: Palestinian terrorists take over Saudi embassy in Khartoum. The next day, two Americans –including the United States’ ambassador to Sudan, Cleo Noel – and a Belgian were shot and killed.

    – April 11, 1974: 11 people are killed by Palestinian terrorists who attack apartment building in Kiryat Shmona.

    – May 15, 1974: PLO terrorists infiltrating from Lebanon hold children hostage in Ma’alot school. 26 people, 21 of them children, are killed.

    – June 9, 1974: Palestinian National Council adopts “Phased Plan,” which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on any territory evacuated by Israel, to be used as a base of operations for destroying the whole of Israel. The PLO reaffirms its rejection of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for a “just and lasting peace” and the “right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

    – November 1974: PLO takes responsibility for the PDFLP’s Beit She’an murders in which 4 Israelis are killed.

    – March 1975: Members of Fatah attack the Tel Aviv seafront and take hostages in the Savoy hotel. Three soldiers, three civilians and seven terrorists are killed.

    – March 1978: Coastal Road Massacre —Fatah terrorists take over a bus on the Haifa-Tel Aviv highway and kill 21 Israelis.

    – Oct. 7, 1985: Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro is hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. Wheelchair-bound elderly man, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot and thrown overboard.

  61. Barry said on February 13th, 2009 at 4:35pm #

    Gideon – I think MLK was a great humanitarian, a central figure in the history of 20th century liberation struggles – but not a demigod. I think it is fair to say the MLK, like many people, would have evolved in his thinking. After all, what’s the point of having a philosophy, if an exception is made for one state? He and Mandela would be on the same page.

    Yes, I believe that Palestine’s Israel/US problem is the most pressing in the world. It is why the US was targeted on 9/11. A second major difference between the Palestinian struggle is dollars and diplomacy. The US provides Israel with uncountable aid and amenities each and every year. And perhaps more importantly, the US is shameless and self’-destructive in the diplomatic cover it provides Israel at the UN. So why are you involved with this issue, above all others? Because you are Jewish?

    Nonetheless, it is not difficult to tie Israel’s colonialist and imperialist behavior to similar scenarios elsewhere. Like many others who want to end the Israel/US clique, I was also an activist re the South African and Sandinista campaigns, among others. How ’bout you?

    Moz is right about Israel’s control of Gazan (and WB) produce and economy in general. After Sharon pulled the settlers out of Gaza, Palestinian farmers grew flowers and produce for the EU market. Israel, which controls all Gazan exports, denied them that market – flowers were of course wilted in days and veggies/fruits not far behind. The next year, when Gazan farmers did not plant a crop because of the huge losses they endured, Israel announced loudly it would permit Gazan agro products to be exported. That’s only one illustrative story among many.

    Quite a list of incidents against the occupiers, Gideon. Did you think the occupation was risk-free? On the other hand, Israel has killed many thousands of Palestinians, far more than the reverse, and maimed for life many tens of thousands, far more than the reverse. All because Israelis wanted a bigger country. And all this while the vast majority of Palestinians were carrying out non-violent acts of civil disobedience (as Moz reminds us) for two decades. Tell me, Gideon, what really possesses people like you to take someone else’s land? And to take it and think there are no consequences? And to whine about the consequences? Is the reason that Jewish states are so few and far between because they were unable to come to terms with neighbors? Because they were unable to organize themselves out of self-destructive behavior? So Gideon, knowing that Jews ethnically cleansed Palestine in ’47 – 49, knowing that Israel attacked and conquered the rest of Palestine in ’67, knowing that the whole world is on to you, that the whole world deems the occupation to be illegal – and you just saw that the UN still considers Gaza occupied as of last month – what drives you to insist on Israeli exceptionalism? For the life of me….

  62. Gideon said on February 13th, 2009 at 5:27pm #

    Can Palestinians adopt Gandhi’s teachings as a strategy for Palestinian state?

    It is clear that Palestinians did not follow Gandhi teachings before.

    They tried the exact opposite approach – Terrorism, for many years. Why not really try Gandhi? They may be surprised with how far it can carry them. This is the ONLY way, but CAN they do it? Will they be allowed to do it by the Arab world?

    They have tried many things in the last 60 years, except for fighting for independence from Egypt and Jordan between 1948-1967 (oh yeah, these were Arab Brothers!).

    The main Palestinian tool has been terrorism. Hey they actually invented international terrorism and yes Barry they probably can claim credit for 9/11. All this experience in high jacking planes finally paid off.

  63. bozh said on February 13th, 2009 at 6:05pm #

    by calling resistance to any occupation “terrorism” one has shut the door to any meaningful dailog.

    second, israel wants absolute compliance and absolute peaceful occupation/security;or rather, so it says.
    which is impossible to obtain. stealing land may or may not stop; imprisonment of some 10,000 pals may or may not continue, etcetc.

    palestinians wld be delighted if israel/US wld facilitate/allow A and or THE peaceful occupation.
    we all know that pals resistance neither wins nor defends territory; thus, it is not only fruitless but hurtful to their cause and ther people.

    above everything else, both the israelis and pals are humans thus can fully understand what i have just said.
    a dog cannot but a human can and does perceive the obvious truth. thnx

  64. bozh said on February 13th, 2009 at 6:16pm #

    gideon’s list of ‘terrorist’ acts by plo and other individuals may or may not be accurate but fact is they all came after the first tsunami and many others smaller ones since ’40s.

    gideon must be feral to try this ancient child’s trick: my dad is the strongest, smartest, fairest of them all. thnx

  65. Barry said on February 18th, 2009 at 5:08pm #

    Gideon – The Palestinians have done Gandhi one better. They are the collective Jesus. They die for the sins of the Jews.