Robert Massoud: Occupation is Many Dimensional

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.24.13 PM.pngPalestinian-Canadian Robert Massoud provides a review of a new documentary that explores the relationship between American media and the Israeli Lobby, and how this has helped shape America’s sympathy towards the Israeli narrative of the conflict.

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‘Ethnocracy’: The Politics of Judaizing Israel/Palestine

by Oren Yiftachel

“During Israel’s fiftieth year of independence (1997-98), the country’s High Court of Justice was grappling with an appeal known as Qa’adan Vs Katzir. It was lodged by a Palestinian-Arab citizen who was prevented from leasing state land in the suburban locality of Katzir – built entirely on state lands — on grounds of not being a Jew. The court deferred decision on the case as much as it could. Its President, Justice Aharon Barak, known widely as a champion of civil rights, noted that this case has been among the most strenuous in his legal career, and pressured the sides to settle out of court.

In March 2000 the court ruled in favor of Qa’adan, and noted that Israel’s policies towards the Arab minority were discriminatory and illegal. Yet, the court did not issue an order to Katzir to let Qa’adan lease the land, and was very careful to limit the ruling to this specific case, so as not to create a precedent. In addition, the local Jewish community continued to raise administrative and social obstacles and frustrate Qa’adan’s plans to join the locality. By mid 2005 the family has not moved as yet to Katzir.


The fact that in Israel’s fiftieth year, the state’s highest legal authority still finds it difficult to protect a basic civil right such as equal access of all citizens to state land, provides a telling starting point for pursuing the goals of this paper. In the pages below I wish to offer a new conceptual prism through which the formation of Israel’s regime and its ethnic relations can be explained. A theoretical and empirical examination of the Israeli regime leads me to argue that it should be classified as an ‘ethnocracy’.
The paper begins with a theoretical account of ethnocratic regimes, which are neither authoritarian nor democratic. Such regimes are states that maintain a relatively open government, yet facilitate a non-democratic seizure of the country and polity by one ethnic group. A key conceptual distinction is elaborated in the paper between ethnocratic and democratic regimes. Ethnocracies, despite exhibiting several democratic features, lack a democratic structure. As such, they tend to breach key democratic tenets, such as equal citizenship, the existence of a territorial political community (demos), universal suffrage, and protection against the tyranny of the majority.
Following the theoretical discussion, the paper traces the making of the Israeli ethnocracy, focussing on the major Zionist project of Judaizing Israel/Palestine. The predominance of the Judaization project has spawned an institutional and political structure that undermines the common perception that Israel is both Jewish and
democratic.The Judaization process is also a major axis along which relations between various Jewish and Arab ethno-classes can be explained. The empirical sections of the paper elaborate on the consequences of the ethnocratic Judaization project on three major Israeli societal cleavages: Arab-Jewish, Ashkenazi-Mizrahi, and
The analysis below places particular emphasis on Israel’s political geography. This perspective draws attention to the material context of geographical change, holding that discourse and space constitute one another in a ceaseless process of social construction. The critical political-geographical perspective problematizes issues often taken for granted among analysts of Israel, such as settlement, segregation, borders, and sovereignty. As such it aims to complement other critical analyses of Israeli society.
I highly recommend you read the whole 20 pages paper. Written in 1998 it is sadly still very acutely actual. Here’s a link to a PDF copy:

The expulsion of the Palestinians re-examined -Le Monde diplomatique


Nakba detailed maps including Refugees statistics.

/* Excerpt from a 1997 article putting to rest once and for all the #hasbara MYTH of the Palestinian leaving voluntarily following calls from “Arab Leaders”, the bold emphasis is mine  */

What lessons have the revisionist historians drawn from their diligent working-through of the archives? As regards the broad picture of the balance of power between Jews and Arabs in both 1947 and 1948, their results contradict the generally-held picture of a weak and poorly armed Jewish community in Palestine threatened with extermination by a highly armed and united Arab world – David versus Goliath. Quite the contrary. The revisionists concur in pointing to the many advantages enjoyed by the nascent Jewish state over its enemies: the decomposition of Palestinian society; the divisions in the Arab world and the inferiority of their armed forces (in terms of numbers, training and weaponry, and hence impact); the strategic advantage enjoyed by Israel as a result of its agreement with King Abdullah of Transjordan (in exchange for the West Bank, he undertook not to attack the territory allocated to Israel by the UN); British support for this compromise, together with the joint support of the United States and the Soviet Union; the sympathy of world public opinion and so forth.

This all helps to explain the devastating effectiveness of the Jewish offensives of spring 1948. It also sheds new light on the context in which the mass departure of Palestinians took place. The exodus was divided into two broadly equal waves: one before and one after the decisive turning-point of the declaration of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948 and the intervention of the armies of the neighbouring Arab states on the following day. One can agree that the flight of thousands of well-to-do Palestinians during the first few weeks following the adoption of the UN partition plan – particularly from Haifa and Jaffa – was essentially voluntary. The question is what was the truth of the departures that happened subsequently?

In the opening pages of “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem”, Benny Morris offers the outlines of an overall answer: using a map that shows the 369 Arab towns and villages in Israel (within its 1949 borders), he lists, area by area, the reasons for the departure of the local population (9). In 45 cases he admits that he does not know. The inhabitants of the other 228 localities left under attack by Jewish troops, and in 41 cases they were expelled by military force. In 90 other localities, the Palestinians were in a state of panic following the fall of a neighbouring town or village, or for fear of an enemy attack, or because of rumours circulated by the Jewish army – particularly after the 9 April 1948 massacre of 250 inhabitants of Deir Yassin, where the news of the killings swept the country like wildfire.

By contrast, he found only six cases of departures at the instigation of local Arab authorities. “There is no evidence to show that the Arab states and the AHC wanted a mass exodus or issued blanket orders or appeals to the Palestinians to flee their homes (though in certain areas the inhabitants of specific villages were ordered by Arab commanders or the AHC to leave, mainly for strategic reasons).” (“The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem”, p. 129). On the contrary, anyone who fled was actually threatened with “severe punishment”. As for the broadcasts by Arab radio stations allegedly calling on people to flee, a detailed listening to recordings of their programmes of that period shows that the claims were invented for pure propaganda.


(9) “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem”, Benny Morris, pp. 14-18. A careful comparison of the text of the book with the tables showing village by village the principal reasons for the exodus reveals a clear – and surprising – underestimation in the tables of the extent of actual expulsions.


I highly recommend to read the full article: The expulsion of the Palestinians re-examined – Le Monde diplomatique – English edition

Pr SalmanAbu Sitta compiled a list of 600+ depopulated Palestinian villages and Pr Walid Khalidi put the number at over 400, other place the numbers at 500+ …

A good place to go for a detailed list of depopulated villages along with troves of information, pictures and documents:
Palestine Remembered
Villages are filed by Districts shown in Red if the left hand menu. First page of each District presents a detailed table listing all the villages of the District with ’48 Population, 1991 Number of Refugees, Palestinian vs Jewish Land ownership in dunums, name of zionist colonies built on their land. There is even a 411-Page to contact the original families of each village who registered with the site under the heading “Listing For All District’s Members” ! )

Rearrest of Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu “shameful and vindictive”: Canadian Anglican priest

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

Israeli-nuclear-whistlebl-006Mordecai Vanunu shocked the world (and the Israeli government) in 1986 when he revealed that Israel was secretly building an atomic bomb. He spent 18 years in an Israeli prison, 11 of them in solitary confinement. The Israeli government has just laid new charges against him. A Canadian priest who knows Vanunu speaks about the issue. Read more.

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Palestinian Bedouins homeless due to Israeli maneuvers

altahrir, news of Islam, Muslims, Arab Spring and special Palestine

JORDAN VALLEY, (PIC)– Several Palestinian Bedouins were forced out of their native homes due to the wildfires that broke out in Wadi al-Maleh area, in the Northern Jordan Valley, as a result of Israeli military drills. A PIC news correspondent quoted local sources as stating that wildfires burst out across the woods and mountains of the Northern Jordan Valley due to Israeli shells unleashed during military maneuvers.  Local activist Abdullah Besharat also told a journalist that large-scale Israeli maneuvers have been carried out in Wadi al-Maleh, a home to seven Palestinian Bedouin communities. “Dozens of native Palestinian families have gone homeless after they had been deported of their own and only lands. Several among them were forced out of their homes via prior notifications,” the activist added. He sounded the alarm over the striking surge in Israeli military drills in the area, saying they rather make part of an Israeli…

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