My pick of recent press on Palestine

Hi everyone. Apologies for the recent drying-up of my journal entries. I have several different items in the pipline, so look for something new here soon. Meanwhile, it’s been far too long since my last post so you should check the ISM site for all the latest stuff that I’ve been up to. Since I spend most of my time posting to the ISM site, I thought I would post some of the best stuff I’ve read recently on the site and in the press in general. Although most of the following links are to our site, many are are reposts of articles from the Israeli and international press (the Ha’artez english website for example is not the best and articles on it often disappear after a few days).

This op-ed piece from the International Herald Tribune by Fareed Taamallah, about checkpoints and the repressive nature of the Israeli occupation is simply beautiful. That radical anarchist, anti-semite Jimmy Carter seems have recently started telling something resembling the truth about the situation here, most recently about Israel’s “convergence” plan.

An Israeli involved in the ISM has been translating a lot of articles from the Hebrew press recently – although both Yedioth Ahronoth and Ha’aretz (two of the main Hebrew language Israeli papers) have English editions (both in print and online) not everyting is translated. The choice of what is and is not translated is often a political one. One of the most interesting pieces he has translated is about recent comments by Brigadier General (retired) Ilan Paz, who until recently was the head of the District Coordinating Office (DCO) in the West Bank. It’s called “Mr. Occupation Saw the Light” and is very reveiling. Also from the Israeli press is this op-ed about the recent high court decision that prevents Palestinian citizens of Israeli (the decendents of those who in 1948 choose not to flee and were not directly driven out) from living with their husbands, wives and children if they happen to come from the West Bank or Gaza strip. A law excluding people from the “only democracy in the middle east” based purely on race and nationality – all in the name of “security” (the magic answer). Finally from the Israeli press, Ha’aretz has been getting all hot and bothered recently about the boycott of Israeli academics and academic institutions that do not publicly condemn the occupation. Considering that Ha’aretz is so Zionist, this is a good sign!

As you probably know, I go to demonstrations in the village of Bil’in most weeks. If you want to know the background as to why the villagers are demonstrating, read “Wall of Shame” in a recent edition of the excellent SchNEWS. Also check these two photos, which show the truth about the “self defence” Israeli soldiers are “forced” to use in Bil’in every week. Recently, there has been an upsurge in violence used against the demonstrators. Two of my friends were shot at close range with rubber bullets (against even the regulations of the Israeli army) a few weeks ago. If they had used the rubber-coated steel bullets that they use against Palestinians, they would probably have been dead now. Thankfully they are now fine, and getting back to ISM work.

For people who tell you nonsense like “the Palestinians are uniquely violent – other anti-occupation movements have used non-violence”, it is worth noting that the almost instinctive reaction of the Israeli military to mass non-violent demonstrations by the Palestinians is violence. In Ar-Ram recently, just such a large, organised, peacefull protest against the Aparthied Wall that Israel has built right through the main street of their town was simply attacked. The Israeli military later told the press that they had to do this because the demonstrators threw stones as they approched. I was there and I know this was a total lie. We also have video footage that proves this, which we offered to the press. After they were attacked by the army, some of the youth did retaliate with stones, but this was mostly symbolic in that they were too far away to hit anything. This is the standard practice of the Israeli army – attack non-violent demonstrations and then afterwards claim they were “violent riots”, instead of demonstrations demanding basic human rights. They get away with this becase the Israeli and international press regularly reports these claims as fact. They attack tiny demonstrations even more freely. Palestinian demonstrations without media presence or Israeli and international support are met with lethal force. Finally, to illustrate the fundamentally racist nature of the Israeli military and their occupation, check out this account and pictures on how the military reacts to stone throwing by Jewish settlers.

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