A new report on Israel’s water grab in the occupied West Bank links the widespread deprivation of Palestinian water rights to Israel’s settlement expansion strategy, saying both demonstrate “a clear testament to its colonial and apartheid motives.”
The water grab has fueled increased discrepancy in water usage in the region with the 500,000 Jewish settlers consuming approximately six times the amount of water used by the 2.6 million Palestinians living in the West Bank—with the discrepancy growing even greater when agricultural water use is accounted for.
“There is a grave injustice in the division of water, and the results have been catastrophic,” Tawfiq Salah, mayor of West Bank village al-Khader, told Al-Monitor.
The report cites a number of efforts—including the continued establishment of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory, the transfer of control of Palestinian water infrastructure to Israel’s national water company, ‘Mekorot,’ and finally the Oslo Accords—all which have effectively diminished Palestinian water rights and granted Israel sweeping authority over the vital resource.
Writing about the report, Al-Monitor’s Jihan Abdalla quotes Musa, a Palestinian father of six, who had attempted to build a rainwater cistern in his field before the Israeli authorities quickly issued it with a demolition order. Abdalla continues:
Musa says if they had access to sufficient, affordable water, his family would be able to live off their ancestral field, selling their grapes, olives and fruit in nearby markets.
That, he says, is the reason why Israeli authorities prevent them from building a cistern, and why they do not have any running water.
“They don’t want us to plant or grow anything, they just want us to have barely enough water for drinking and that’s it,” Musa says looking at the unfinished, empty hole in the ground.
Roughly 313,000 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are not connected to a water network, according to Al-Haq, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that between 2009 and 2011 over 200 Palestinian wells and water reserves in the West Bank were demolished by Israeli officials.
Al-Haq writes that that Israel’s discriminatory water policy in the West Bank is “intrinsically linked to its settlement expansion strategy.”
The report continues:
Israel’s water policies represent only one element of an irreversible structural process that can only be described as colonial. Israel’s intention to permanently change the status of the occupied territory, de facto exercising sovereignty, reveals itself through the establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank (currently over 200) and by the creation of a network of roads and flourishing agricultural enterprises for their benefit. The presence of settlements aims to permanently deny the Palestinian population the exercise of their right to self-determination by fragmenting the OPT and preventing the Palestinian people from exercising sovereignty over natural resources, in particular land and water.
“Existing extractions, utilization, and estimated potential” according to the terms of Oslo II, Schedule 10, for the Western and North Eastern Aquifer Basin (mcm/yr)
- Lauren McCauley
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Palestinians reacted skeptically, since Arab League summits have seen many munificent offers of aid to them that never materialized. Qatar has a better track record on such matters, however, and really does have the money.
Qatar has also pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to Palestinians in Gaza, to alleviate the worst effects of the Israeli blockade on its Occupied civilians.
This tendency to try to deal with the Palestinians’ problems by throwing money at them is an improvement on the military flailing about of past decades, which never produced any breakthroughs. But it is no substitute for diplomacy.
What would be really radical would be for the Arab League to recognize Israel inside 1949 borders and invite Israel to join the organization. After all, the vast majority of Israelis are either Jews who had lived in the Arab world or Palestinian-Israelis. There is a better case for Israel than for Somalia. And Egypt and Jordan already have extended that recognition, and Qatar and other states have behind the scenes perfectly correct relations with Israel.
While the Israelis are unlikely to change any policies as a result of such an offer, it would at least begin bringing them into the diplomatic system in the Middle East and would be a means of putting diplomatic pressure on them.
I know, it won’t happen soon. Maybe eventually. But it would be more practical than just promising to pour money into Palestinian areas. That won’t work because the pledges often aren’t fulfilled, and since the Palestinians are stateless, they don’t really have firm property rights, so any new property or refurbished buildings can just be usurped by the Israeli squatters at will.
Aljazeera English reports on Obama’s failures and successes on his recent Mideast trip. Below, I quote translations from the Palestinian press showing for the most part extreme dismay by Obama’s courting of Israel and his surrender to the Israeli Right on the issue of new settlements on the Palestinian West Bank. Although Obama did mildly protest the way the Palestinians are being treated (for all the world like a subaltern speaking truth to power), his practical policy is now far more accommodating of the Israeli squatters on Palestinian territory than in 2009. In other words, the Likud Party won.
The USG Open Source Center translates Palestinian reactions to Obama’s stances during the trip:
Palestinian Commentaries on Obama Visit 22 Mar
West Bank and Gaza Strip — OSC Summary
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Document Type: OSC Summary
On 22 March, Palestinian media carry the following commentaries, reacting to the visit of US President Barack Obama to the region . . .
The Ramallah-based, privately-owned, pro-Fatah daily Al-Ayyam in Arabic publishes an article by Hani Awkal on page 13 of the Mar 22 edition under the headline “He Came Here To Bless the Settlers’ Government.” Awkal reviews the make-up of the new Israeli Government Netanyahu has just formed representing the settlers and right-wing, saying that Obama has come “to bless this government and support it with great strength.” Awkal says: “The objective behind Obama’s visit to Israel has nothing to do with specifying the stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or presenting an initiative. In any case, the presence or absence of an initiative will not serve the Palestinian cause,” since the objective of the visit is to support Israel politically and militarily. Obama “regurgitated his previous stances and declared them in Israel and Palestine,” including his non-opposition of the establishment of a Palestinian state. Awkal argues that Israel is benefiting from the current Arab situation to fortify itself domestically and acquire greater pol itical and military support; the situations with Iran and in Syria also play a role. Israel can tell its European partners that “we are living among a herd of wolves and you must understand our situation and our need to secure ourselves.” Awkal says the Palestinians should not just stand by and lament their situation because Obama did not support them; “in the final analysis, the man represents an old US policy based on loyalty to Israel and the US will not be able to sell us anything more than wasted words.” He concludes by calling for “strengthening our unity and turning it into an inalienable fact, as well as making the arrangements that could set the grounds for an ongoing peaceful, popular, struggle process, that confirms to the world, including the United States, that Israel’s security is linked to Palestine’s security and the establishment of the state.” Awkal ends his article that if the Palestinians persevere with this policy, then Obama and successive leaders will interfere, come to us, and place all their weight on ending the struggle to realize and acquire Palestinian rights.
Pro-Fatah Writer Urges Palestinians To Persevere, Stress That Israel’s Security Linked to Palestinians –
On 22 Mar page 18, the electronic edition of the independent, largest circulation, pro-Fatah daily Al-Quds in Arabic publishes its editorial under the headline “The Palestinian Constants Before Obama.” The paper says that irrespective of the fact that Obama’s visit to the region is intended for rapprochement with the Israeli public, his visit to Ramallah has given the Palestinian leadership an opportunity to present its stance on the peace process and whether it is possible to resume negotiations with Israel. The Palestinians had lesser expectations from Obama’s visit than the ones announced by the White House. It says: “What Obama said in Ramallah about the settlements could constitute the basis for a more effective and specific stance. Observers noted that he did not demand a freeze on settlements, thus averting a clash with the policies of Netanyahu and his government.” It reiterates the well-known Palestinian constants, which need to be taken into consideration and included in any new initiative for a settlement, if such a settlement is meant to break the current freeze and revive the peace process.
Obama Visit Prompted by AIPAC Pressure To Reiterate Jewish Historic Forgeries –Adil Abd-al-Rahman comments in Al-Hayah al-Jadidah in Arabic, the Ramallah-based, PA-owned daily, supportive of the presidency, on page 9 on 22 Mar under the headline “Obama Is Insulting History,” that Obama is forging history and insulting the Palestinian people by stating during his visit to Israel that he stood alongside the Jews on their historic land, their Israeli homeland for thousands of years, and that they had plowed the land and established the state of Israel in a renaissance. Abd-al-Rahman tells Obama that these statements are untrue, because “the Israelis never had a homeland in historic Palestine,” referring to the writings of Shlomo Sand, an Israeli historian who claims that there never was a people called the Israelis. Abd-al-Rahman says: Obama should have been fairer and more objective, so as not to appear as though he is “colluding with Zionist leaderships that have forged history.” However, he notes that Obama did not deny Palestinian Arab presence on this land, thus drawing the attention of “the nihilist leaders among the Israelis to the fact that there is a Palestinian partner and that the Palestinian people do need an independent state.” Obama came to the region to please the Israeli leaders and the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in the United States, which is why he was being blackmailed by these forces, which forced him to forge history and drop the Palestinian rights. Thus, Obama has failed his test in history and politics. PA Writer Says US Must Recognize Palestinian State –
Yahya Rabah writes an article in Al-Hayah al-Jadidah on 22 Mar on page 9 under the headline “Obama Has an Opportunity,” that regardless of Obama’s statements in Israel, “his visit is very important and he has a chance to change the current course of history in the region and record his name with great qualifications as a distinguished policy-maker who does deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded.” Rabah says the title or essence of Obama’s visit to Israel is not the “excessive flirting with Israel about its security requirements,” since this is the traditional stance of the United States. This visit, says Rabah, should “search for a real and serious opportunity befitting the world’s superpower, the United States,” and its president because without such an opportunity, the visit becomes “less than average and totally useless.” As for the opportunity, he says that on the Palestinian side, “we have accomplished many successes” and “raised our status to that of an observer state, a Palestinian state under occupation.” He says the United States must acknowledge this and use it to “cross the gap from isolation to taking action once again and participating with the rest of the world.” Rabah adds that Obama should not repeat the past because it has simply failed. He notes that the Obama visit is an important one, because it proves that the Palestinian cause is the central and topmost cause. He calls for waiting to see what steps US Secretary of State John Kerry will be taking on Saturday, expressing his optimism that “all the necessary elements for a new launch of the peace process are available now with great clarity and the Palestinian side cannot be held responsible for its failures, but Israel will be and so will the US Administration because it supports Israel.” Concluding, Rabah stresses that the Palestinians want success and the bare minimum of their rights as granted by international legitimacy, including the independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital: “Welcome to President Obama along this road.”
Pro-HAMAS Site: Obama Statement on Settlements As Obstacle Gives Israel Green Light for More –
The Gaza-based, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)-affiliated news site, Filastin al-Yawm in Arabic, reports at 1507 GMT on 22 Mar on statements by the news site’s analyst for Israeli affairs that “Obama’s visit to Israel was mandatory, imposed on him by the Jewish lobby in the United States. Its first and foremost objective is for Obama to expose and entrench his loyalty (to Israel), like previous US presidents did before him.” He proved that he did not come to ‘Israel’ to apply pressures on it or on the Palestinian Authority (PA). The analyst says: “When Obama said that Israel must recognize that settlements are the obstacle on the way to peace, this means he is giving the ‘Israeli’ Government the green light to continue settlement-building and that there will be no pressures on the Netanyahu government from the United States to stop building settlements.” On Iran, the analyst believes that “Obama put the entire Iranian nuclear file in ‘Israel’s’ hands” when he said he will do all he can to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. With regard to statements on Syria, Obama said that the Syrian Government or the opposition’s use of chemical weapons there is “a red line.”
Ma’an Commentator: Admitting Failure of Obama Visit Will Re-Ignite Intifadah –
The editor-in-chief of the Bethlehem-based website of the independent, leading Palestinian news agency, Ma’an in Arabic, posts a commentary at 1458 GMT on 22 Mar under the headline “The Robot and the Shoe,” in which he discusses the orchestrated media machine Israel prepared for President Obama’s visit and the extensive coverage of his activities. The editor-in-chief concludes saying that it is customary among politicians and analysts to give any new government 100 days before passing judgment on it. He adds that he has no idea why it is 100 days, not 20 or 200. He says: “I believe we should give the Netanyahu government 40 days only to find out clearly what will happen in the next four years. I do not blame the liberals who exaggerated their optimism in the Obama speech. I also do not blame those who heavily degraded the speech and the entire visit. Both parties have their correct formulations; however, admitting the failure of the visit means that the intifadah is coming with great force.”
Writer in Website Says Outcomes of Obama Visit ‘Secret’ –
The Ramallah-based, independent Duniyat al-Watan website in Arabic on 22 Mar posts a comment by Ghazi Murtaja, director of the editorial department, saying that Obama’s visit to the Palestinian territories, Israel, and some countries in the region is highly significant and a declaration on the future of the entire region. He says that when Obama landed in Tel Aviv, he spoke “as if he was the spokesman for the Israeli army, not just its government.” When he met with Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad, he praised the PA, not the Palestinian state, and “the black master appeared to be the biggest hypocrite in a hypocritical world.” Murtaja says: “This visit revealed the extent of ‘intelligence and genius’ of the protocol managers in the presidential or prime ministerial offices; their preparations for the visit took place at the same time as Mahmud al-Alul and his colleagues were building the village of Ahfad Yunus (the grandchildren of Yunus). Furthermore, rumors spread about containers of shoes in Ramallah to receive Obama with. So, the Palestinian protocol and Ramallah politicians have succeeded, and decision-makers exploited this visit the best way possible.” He warns that the Palestinians may regret this visit in a few days, describing it as a “visit with many objectives that are only secret, and with far-reaching motives that are also very secret. There are no leakages about ‘peace, or Syria, or Iran, or even Gaza.’ Is this going to be a ‘public relations’ or ‘important ends’ visit? This is what the coming days will reveal.”
HAMAS Writer Worries About Negative Effects of ‘Ill-Fated’ Obama Visit to Reconciliation
– The Gaza-based, HAMAS-run daily newspaper, Filastin in Arabic, on 22 Mar on page 7 publishes its “Free Space” column by Isam Shawir under the headline “Treacherous President and Ill-Fated Visit.” He says that the missiles fired at Sederot yesterday from the Gaza Strip were not the work of the resistance, but a protest to President Obama’s visit, “or a not-so-innocent attempt to urge the US President to criticize the resistance and move away from the facts relating to our people’s suffering in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” Shawir laments that four “alleged” missiles fired at Sederot merit the US President’s protest, but “thousands of Palestinians in the Israeli occupation’s prisons and millions in the diaspora,” as well as the settlements in the West Bank do not merit any protest from him; in fact, he demanded “further dialogue and negotiations, as well as a search for solutions between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).” He describes Obama as a “lying cheat like George Bush Junior, Clinton, and other US presidents before him. They are in heart and mind servants and slaves of the occupying state.” He concludes: “The worst thing about the US President’s visit is the possibility of him succeeding in hampering internal reconciliation. The coming few days will show the extent of the negative effects of his ill-fated visit to our domestic state of affairs; I do hope I am wrong.” Pro-Fatah Daily Says Palestinians Had Lesser Expectations From Obama Visit Than White House –
“The prime minister made it clear that the tragic results regarding the Mavi Marmara were unintentional, and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life. In light of the Israeli investigation into the incident, which pointed out several operational errors, Netanyahu apologised to the Turkish people for any errors that could have led to loss of life and agreed to complete the agreement on compensation.”
Erdogan appears to have grudgingly accepted the apology (Israel will pay roughly $6 million to the victims’ families), and the two leaders agreed that normal diplomatic relations would be restored, though Erdogan later said it would be a gradual process.
The Obama administration is touting the apology and the step toward return of correct Israeli-Turkish relations as a win. Turkey is a member of NATO and has been excluding Israel from some NATO meetings (Israel is not a NATO member but is often included in its counsels; Turkey as a member can block it).
What is astonishing in all this is that no one is talking about the reason for which the Mavi Marmara was heading to Gaza and for which the Israeli commandos boarded it and shot it up.
It is that Israel has imposed an illegal blockade on the civilian population of Gaza. The blockade forbids the export of most of what the Palestinians there produce, depriving them of export markets. There are only 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza, many of them thrown into desperate poverty by Israeli policy, so they aren’t much of an internal market. The Israelis have a cover story that they are strangling Gaza out of security concerns, but how could exporting goods from Gaza pose a threat to Israeli security? One Israeli official admitted the truth years ago; the Israelis have put the Palestinians ‘on a diet,’ and most creepily actually tried to figure what was the least amount of food they could let in without producing widespread starvation. This policy can only be called fascist and it recalls the worst kind of medical experiments on human beings and social engineering of the mass political movements of the 1930s.
Palestinian children forage for food in trash
Since Turkey (rightly and courageously) rejects the Israeli blockade on Gaza civilians, its actual diplomatic relations with Israel are likely to continue to be roiled. The Israelis maintain that blockades are a recognized tool of war in international law, but in fact Gaza is not an independent country with which Israel is at war! Gaza is Occupied by Israel, and the 1949 Geneva convention on the treatment of civilians in occupied territories strictly forbids such punitive measures. Gaza has no functioning seaport or airport because the Israelis disallow the former and bombed the latter into smithereens.
I mean, don’t those figures make you want to do something for those mothers and children? Wouldn’t they melt anyone’s heart?
Although, under international pressure, the Israeli government eased its blockade slightly in 2010, and foodstuffs are no longer interdicted, it still limits imports into Gaza, and its wide-ranging ban on exports has thrown Palestinians into unemployment at Depression levels, imperiling their ability to afford food even when it is available.
Israel must end this unconscionable blockade of Palestinian civilians (half of whom are children) immediately. If Obama thinks Israeli-Turkish relations can be healthy without that step, he has another think coming.
President Obama’s speech to students in Jerusalem is covered by Aljazeera. Obama did complain a little about the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians, but he threw in the towel on trying to halt the vast and daily landgrab of Israeli colonizers on Palestinian territory. He postponed the issue to final status negotiations, over which he obviously does not intend to preside. In other words, Obama in Jerusalem adopted the Romney Plan for the Mideast: ” “You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem… and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
Even Obama’s relatively mild complaint that the Palestinians, are being kept stateless provoked rage on the Israeli right, despite his having given in to Prime Minister Netanyahu on the issue of a halt to settlements. Although they were angry and defiant, they did often acknowledge that Obama is personally warm toward Israel and that he was no longer pressuring it to stop the settlements.
The US media seldom reports on the internal politics of other countries, and likely won’t convey to us the reaction of the ruling Israeli Likud Party to Obama’s speech. But the USG Open Source Center translated some reactions from Likud members of parliament and from settler leaders, who are colonizing the Palestinian West Bank. These Israelis warned of the destructive character of Obama’s agenda in Israel and vowed to fight any implementation of his suggestions.
“MK Regev: Speech Urged To Exert ‘Pressure’ on Netanyahu Leadership
Walla! at 1545 GMT carries the reaction of Likud MK [Member of Parliament] Miri Regev: “Obama’s visit is in fact the speech at the International Convention Center, not the receptions, not the meeting with Netanyahu and not the press conferences. Obama called here for public pressure against Netanyahu’s leadership.”
MK Shaqed: Judea and Samaria ‘Our Iron Dome’
Moran Azulay reports in Ynet at 1701 GMT on Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaqed’s reaction: “Obama is a true friend of Israel, this cannot be refuted. But at the end of the day, we will have to bear the tragic and destructive results of the establishment of a Palestinian state. This is the reason why the Israeli people chose a government that does not support the notion of a two-state solution. Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] are our Iron Dome.”
Settler Leaders: Speech Tried To Create ‘Illusion’
Josh Briner reports in leading news website Walla! in Hebrew at 1714 GMT on the statement issued by the Yesha Settlement Council: “President Obama’s speech was warm and embracing, but at the same time he tried to create an illusion of public support for developments that are dangerous to Israel. We believe this is the reason no students from Ari’el University [on the West Bank] were invited. Israelis have experience with illusions that blew up in our face, and will not support the dangerous offers of Obama. The Israeli public makes its political choices in a democratic way by voting in elections, and not by urging the country’s young to oppose its leadership.”
Moran Azulay reports in centrist news site Ynetnews in English at 1749 GMT: “Naftali Bennett, the newly appointed economy and trade minister and a member of the Political-Security Cabinet, was the first senior politician to respond to US President Barack Obama’s speech in Jerusalem. ‘The results of our latest pullout were felt this morning in Sederot and by the thousands of victims born during the last few years,’ Bennett said Thursday in reference to the rocket attack from Gaza on the Israeli border town.’ . . . Bennett said, challenging the wide acceptance of the two-state solution … ‘Generally,’ the new minister added, ‘there is no occupation within one’s own land.’…
MK Yishay: ‘Concerned’ By What Obama Didn’t Say
Kobi Nahshoni reports on Ynetnews at 1901 GMT that Shas MK Eli Yishay told Ynet: “It was a good speech, but clearly there are no free lunches, and now he will probably demand that Netanyahu take active steps towards peace. After feeling that he prefers the Palestinians to us, he has really imparted great warmth and love on Israel. However, this does not mean that there are no strings attached. I am content with what Obama said, but more than that — I am concerned with what has yet to be said.”
Jerusalem Mayor: Big Change in Obama’s Approach
Ya’ir Altman reports in Walla! at 1638 GMT the reaction of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barqat: “I think there is a big change in the US President’s approach. Up until now he pushed us aggressively, but today we heard a speech of a friend who shares his views with us and gives us his unconditional support.”
“Too Good To Be True” by Shalom Yerushalmi, published on page 2 of Ma’ariv, says … “. . . we should make no mistake: There are no free gifts and no gestures without interests. Obama made two high jumps here. He spoke to the Israeli public over the government’s head. He went to the US Congress over the Israeli public’s head. He used feel-good diplomacy on the Israelis. We are not coming to coerce you as we had in the past, he announced. We are coming to learn, to understand, but you should know that an arrangement with the Palestinians is in your interest and in the interest of the Jewish people. … This morning, Obama will go to Ramallah to meet with Abu-Mazin. At one point, peace with the Palestinians burned in his bones. The great fights with Netanyahu focused on that. This time Obama came to Israel without a prepared foreign policy plan, and also without making a ‘big announcement,’ as he admitted. Is this a new approach that is uncharacteristic of the administration, one that attests to the failure of the previous initiatives? Did the energetic secretary of state, John Kerry, come here in advance just to waste time, like most of his predecessors? Or is this a different tactic, in which someone has smeared honey on plastic spoons that will one day return to being sharp knives? After all, this all seems too good to be true.” (Tel Aviv Ma’ariv in Hebrew — Independent, centrist, third-largest circulation Hebrew-language daily)
Last week before Obama arrived there was this item:
Rabbinical Congress Urges Telling Obama Palestinian State To ‘Never Be Established’ — Arutz Sheva reports on 8 March: ” The Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP), comprised of over 350 prominent rabbis in Israel from religious Zionist, Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) and Chabad sectors, Torah leaders of the past and present, has sent a very sharp letter to the heads of the political parties in Israel as they are negotiating on forming a new government, criticizing them for completely ignoring the danger hovering over the millions of residents in Israel as a result of the two-state solution. ‘Is this a time to argue over jobs and portfolios or who will blink first while the ominous threat of a Palestinian state is in the making? If such a state will be established, terrorism will soar and millions of people will be in danger. Instead of finding ways to stop the madness of the so-called two-state solution party leaders are now engaged in power and ego struggles,’ the RCP letter read.” “In their letter, the rabbis called upon all parties to receive President Barack Obama with a clear declaration that a Palestinian Arab state will never be established on Israeli land and to ensure Israel’s security by preserving its borders. Only this will ultimately bring peace to the region.”
Aljazeera English reports on Obama’s opening remarks on arrival in Israel, and how he called Palestine the historic homeland of the Jews but neglected to mention the Palestinians. Non-Jewish Palestinians have lived in geographical Palestine for nearly 2000 years, first as Christians and after the Muslim conquest gradually becoming majority Muslim (and they been the vast majority of inhabitants for much of that time). Since Judaism probably did not emerge from the Canaanite people/religion until the 1000s BC or later, and since by 1000 AD most Jews in Palestine had converted to other religions and the Jewish presence there was thereafter slight until the late 19th century, the non-Jewish presence in that land has arguably been as or more significant than the Jewish-majority period.
Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Jordan very nearly equal the number of Jews in Israel and the West Bank, and the two populations will likely be equal by 2020. The difference is that the Jews and the Palestinian-Israelis are citizens in a state and have the civil rights that come with citizenship. The 4 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are stateless, and have no firm rights against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment (including of their children), against restrictions on the rights of assembly and speech, or against being abruptly deprived of their property and water rights by the Occupying population. Human rights violations against the Palestinians are documented by B’tselem.
PM Binyamin Netanyahu did mention the Palestinians and said he wanted peace with these neighbors, which manifestly is a lie, since he is daily stealing more of their land and oppressing them. He wants peace with them the way the white southerners in the US wanted peace with African-Americans during Jim Crow.
The USG Open Source Center translates an item from the Ma’an News Agency in Arabic on the tent protest and its suppression by Israeli forces:
IDF Raids Encampment Set Up By Palestinian Activists, Demands To Remove Tents
Ma’an News Agency
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 …
Document Type: OSC Summary …
A report posted at 1446 GMT cites Jawad Siyam, head of the Wadi Hulwah Information Center, saying that on 20 March, IDF forces raided the Ahfad Yunus neighborhood and “handed activists orders to remove their tents and leave the area, under the pretext that it is closed military zone.” The report notes that “dozens of Palestinian and foreign activists” set up tents on land of the Al-Ayzariyah village which are in danger of confiscation for the Israeli E1 project.
The Israeli leadership, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, will attempt to strong-arm President Barack Obama, during his visit to Israel, into attacking Iran. (In part this noise about Iran is to deflect attention from the vast Israeli land grab in the Palestinian West Bank). It is now often forgotten, and even denied, that the then Israeli leadership was also a huge cheering section for the disastrous Iraq War. Netanyahu in particular wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in late 2002 entitled “The Case for Toppling Saddam.” The Israeli officials of the time were unanimous that Saddam Hussein was within months of having a nuclear weapon (Iraq’s nuclear enrichment program was mothballed in 1991). President Obama should keep in mind, while in Israel, these passages from John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s Israel Lobby:
“On August 16, 2002, eleven days before Vice President Cheney kicked off the campaign for war with a hard‐line speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Washington Post reported that “Israel is urging U.S. officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.140 By this point, according to Sharon, strategic coordination between Israel and the U.S. had reached “unprecedented dimensions,” and Israeli intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programs.141 As one retired Israeli general later put it, “Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non‐conventional capabilities.”142
Israeli leaders were deeply distressed when President Bush decided to seek U.N. Security Council authorization for war in September, and even more worried when Saddam agreed to let U.N. inspectors back into Iraq, because these developments seemed to reduce the likelihood of war. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told reporters in September 2002 that “the campaign against Saddam Hussein is a must. Inspections and inspectors are good for decent people, but dishonest people can overcome easily inspections and inspectors.”143
At the same time, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak wrote aNew York Times op‐edwarning that “the greatest risk now lies in inaction.”144 His predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, published a similar piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Case for Toppling Saddam.”>145 Netanyahu declared, “Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do,” adding that “I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre‐emptive strike against Saddam’s regime.” Or as Ha’aretz reported in February 2003: “The [Israeli] military and political leadership yearns for war in Iraq.”146 But as Netanyahu suggests, the desire for war was not confined to Israel’s leaders. Apart from Kuwait, which Saddam conqueredin 1990, Israel was the only country in the worldwhere both the politicians and the public enthusiastically favored war.147 As journalist Gideon Levy observed at the time, “Israel is the only country in the West whose leaders support the war unreservedly and where no alternative opinion is voiced.”148 In fact, Israelis were so gung‐ho for warthat their allies in America told them to damp down their hawkish rhetoric, lestit look like the war wasfor Israel.
140 Jason Keyser, “Israel Urges U.S. to Attack,” Washington Post, August 16, 2002. Also see Aluf Benn, “PM Urging U.S. Not to Delay Strike against Iraq,” Ha’aretz, August 16, 2002; Idem, “PM Aide: Delay in U.S. Attack Lets Iraq Speed Up Arms Program,” Ha’aretz, August 16, 2002; Reuven Pedhatzur, “Israel’s Interest in the War on Saddam,” Ha’aretz, August 4, 2002; Ze’ev Schiff, “Into the Rough,” Ha’aretz, August 16, 2002. 141 Gideon Alon, “Sharon to Panel: Iraq is Our Biggest Danger,” Ha’aretz, August 13, 2002. At a White House press conference with President Bush on October 16, 2002, Sharon said: “I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for the friendship and cooperation. And as far as I remember, as we look back towards many years now, I think that we never had such relations with any President of the United States as we have with you, and we never had such cooperation in everything as we have with the current administration.” For a transcript of the press conference, see “President Bush Welcomes Prime Minister Sharon to White House; Question and Answer Session with the Press,” U.S. Department of State, October 16, 2002. Also see Kaiser, “Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mideast Policy.”
142 Shlomo Brom, “An Intelligence Failure,” Strategic Assessment (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel Aviv University), Vol. 6, No. 3 (November 2003), p. 9. Also see “Intelligence Assessment: Selections from the Media, 1998‐2003,” in ibid., pp. 17‐19; Gideon Alon, “Report Slams Assessment of Dangers Posed by Libya, Iraq,” Ha’aretz, March 28, 2004; Dan Baron, “Israeli Report Blasts Intelligence for Exaggerating the Iraqi Threat,” JTA, March 28, 2004; Greg Myre, “Israeli Report Faults Intelligence on Iraq,” New York Times, March 28, 2004; James Risen, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006), pp. 72‐73.
143 Marc Perelman, “Iraqi Move Puts Israel in Lonely U.S. Corner,” Forward, September 20, 2002. This article begins, “Saddam Hussein’s surprise acceptance of ‘unconditional’ United Nations weapons inspections put Israel on the hot seat this week, forcing it into the open as the only nation actively supporting the Bush administration’s goal of Iraqi regime change.” Peres became so frustrated with the UN process in the following months that in mid‐February 2003 he lashed out at the French by questioning France’s status as a permanent member of the Security Council. “Peres Questions France Permanent Status on Security Council,” Ha’aretz, February 20, 2003. On a visit to Moscow in late September 2002, Sharon made it clear to Russian President Putin, who was leading the charge for new inspections, “that the time when these inspectors could have been effective has passed.” Herb Keinon, “Sharon to Putin: Too Late for Iraq Arms Inspection,” Jerusalem Post, October 1, 2002.
144 Ehud Barak, “Taking Apart Iraq’s Nuclear Threat,” New York Times, September 4, 2002.
145 Benjamin Netanyahu, “The Case for Toppling Saddam,” Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2002. The Jerusalem Post was particularly hawkish on Iraq, frequently running editorials and op‐eds promoting the war, and hardly ever running pieces against it. Representative editorials include “Next Stop Baghdad,” Jerusalem Post, November 15, 2001; “Don’t Wait for Saddam,” Jerusalem Post, August 18, 2002; “Making the Case for War,” Jerusalem Post, September 9, 2002. For some representative op‐eds, see Ron Dermer, “The March to Baghdad,” Jerusalem Post, December 21, 2001; Efraim Inbar, “Ousting Saddam, Instilling Stability,” Jerusalem Post, October 8, 2002; Gerald M. Steinberg, “Imagining the Liberation of Iraq,” Jerusalem Post, November 18, 2001.
146 Aluf Benn, “Background: Enthusiastic IDF Awaits War in Iraq,” Ha’aretz, February 17, 2002. Also see James Bennet, “Israel Says War on Iraq Would Benefit the Region,” New York Times, February 27, 2003; Chemi Shalev, “Jerusalem Frets As U.S. Battles Iraq War Delays,” Forward, March 7, 2003.
147 Indeed, a February 2003 poll reported that 77.5 percent of Israeli Jews wanted the United States to attack Iraq. Ephraim Yaar and Tamar Hermann, “Peace Index: Most Israelis Support the Attack on Iraq,” Ha’aretz, March 6, 2003. Regarding Kuwait, a public opinion poll released in March 2003 found that 89.6 percent of Kuwaitis favored the impending war against Iraq. James Morrison, “Kuwaitis Support War,” Washington Times, March 18, 2003.
148 Gideon Levy, “A Deafening Silence,” Ha’aretz, October 6, 2002. 149 See Dan Izenberg, “Foreign Ministry Warns Israeli War Talk Fuels US Anti‐Semitism,” Jerusalem Post, March 10, 2003, which makes clear that “the Foreign Ministry has received reports from the US” telling Israelis to cool their jets because “the US media” is portraying Israel as “trying to goad the administration into war.” There is also evidence that Israel itself was concerned about being seen as driving American policy toward Iraq. See Benn, “PM Urging U.S. Not to Delay Strike”; Perelman, “Iraq Move Puts Israel in Lonely U.S. Corner.” Finally, in late September 2002, a group of political consultants known as the “Israel Project” told pro‐Israel leaders in the United States “to keep quiet while the Bush administration purses a possible war with Iraq.” Dana Milbank, “Group Urges Pro‐Israel Leaders Silence on Iraq,” Washington Post, November 27, 2002.”