After winning early elections + forming coalition, Netanyahu vows to fight… the calls for boycott

Israel’s re-elected Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has announced he’s dedicating some 100 million shekels to “to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS)”, as YNet reported here. According to the YNet report, Netanyahu will give his Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan “10 new positions for employees who will deal solely with the boycott and de-legitimization activities against Israel”.

Haaretz’ veteran “Twilight Zone” correspondent Gideon Levy wrote today in Haaretz: “What are you defending? What are you fighting for? … As usual, there are questions that are not even asked. Soul-searching, after all, is a clear sign of weakness. And so an explanation has been invented that absolves us of responsibility: The boycott fell out of the sky, an unavoidable force majeure of Israel hatred, and the only way to fight it is to fight right back at them”…

Levy added:

    “Israel is now defending the preservation of the status quo. It is fighting against the whole world to preserve its advanced school of brutality and cruelty, in which it is educating generations of young people to act brutishly toward human beings, old people and children, to tyrannize them, to bark at them, to crush and humiliate them, only because they are Palestinians. Israel is defending the continuation of apartheid in the occupied territories, in which two peoples live, one of them without any rights…

    Continue reading After winning early elections + forming coalition, Netanyahu vows to fight… the calls for boycott

Gideon Levy profile: Oslo "peace talks" were a scam from the start (17 years ago)

In a profile of Israeli journalist Gideon Levy of Haaretz, who has chronicled Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory for decades, Johann Hari of The Independent evokes his thoughts on the peace process.

He starts with Oslo: “Levy believes the greatest myth – the one hanging over the Middle East like perfume sprayed onto a corpse – is the idea of the current “peace talks” led by the United States. There was a time when he too believed in them. At the height of the Oslo talks in the 1990s, when Yitzhak Rabin negotiated with Yassir Arafat, ‘at the end of a visit I turned and, in a gesture straight out of the movies, waved Gaza farewell. Goodbye occupied Gaza, farewell! We are never to meet again, at least not in your occupied state. How foolish!’ Now, he says, he is convinced it was ‘a scam’ from the start, doomed to fail. How does he know? ‘There is a very simple litmus test for any peace talks. A necessity for peace is for Israel to dismantle settlements in the West Bank. So if you are going to dismantle settlements soon, you’d stop building more now, right? They carried on building them all through Oslo. And today, Netanyahu is refusing to freeze construction, the barest of the bare minimum. It tells you all you need’. He says Netanyahu has – like the supposedly more left-wing alternatives, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni – always opposed real peace talks, and even privately bragged about destroying the Oslo process. In 1997, during his first term as Israeli leader, he insisted he would only continue with the talks if a clause was added saying Israel would not have to withdraw from undefined military locations’ – and he was later caught on tape boasting: ‘Why is that important? Because from that moment on I stopped the Oslo accords’. If he bragged about ‘stopping’ the last peace process, why would he want this one to succeed? Levy adds: ‘And how can you make peace with only half the Palestinian population? How can you leave out Hamas and Gaza?’.”

He continues: “These fake peace talks are worse than no talks at all, Levy believes…

Continue reading Gideon Levy profile: Oslo "peace talks" were a scam from the start (17 years ago)

Gideon Levy reportage

Haaretz’s champion reporter of the sufferings of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Gideon Levy, recently warned: “Don’t let the quiet fool you: It is imaginary. While all eyes are on Gaza, the impression has been created, under the aegis of a media turning a blind eye, that the West Bank is quiet. That’s where the ‘good guys’ are in charge, those with whom we went to Annapolis, those who will be getting the money from the donor nations, and life there is great, so it seems. Well, that is not the case. The lives of the Palestinians in the West Bank are also intolerable, blood is being shed there too. For the Israel Defense Forces it is business as usual, with a frighteningly quick finger on the trigger. The spirit of Annapolis and the lofty words of the prime minister do not prevail there”.

Levy wrote: “I have visited quite a few mourners’ homes in the West Bank in recent months. They were all mourning family members who had been killed for no reason. Every week, innocent people are killed in the West Bank, and nobody talks about them. Among the dozens of Palestinians killed recently, not all were Qassam launchers or gang leaders from Gaza. If a new uprising erupts in the West Bank one day, it will originate in these mourners’ homes. The daily routine in the West Bank is also patently inhumane. The night I spent last summer in the Jenin refugee camp brought that home to me: The IDF enters the camp every night, and even when it does not kill, it strikes great terror in the hearts of thousands of families, who are the victims of anxiety. There are few Israelis who can imagine the daily routine of West Bank residents, during the day and even more so at night. And we have not said a word about the poverty, the roadblocks and the home demolitions. The story of the recent killings in the West Bank is not on our agenda, because so far the Palestinians there have not responded with attacks in retaliation for these deaths. But it is not certain that this quiet will continue“.

As he always does, Levy gives several concrete examples:

Adib Salim, paralyzed on his right side, sold lupini beans. When the IDF conducted one of its raids on Nablus he dared to stick his head out. The soldiers killed him. The IDF Spokesman claimed that he threatened to shoot at the soldiers, but the paralyzed bean seller was totally incapable of doing so.

Abdel Wazir, the 71-year-old cousin of the legendary Abu Jihad, was a retired accountant. He spent a terrifying night in his home: for hours the soldiers fired next to his window, while he sat with his wife on the sofa, both of them incapacitated by fear. When the order to go outside was heard, he left his house and was immediately shot dead.

Jihad Shaar, 19, was making his way from his village, Tekua, in order to register for university. Soldiers killed him for an unexplained reason with cudgel blows and kicks, while he was waiting at the bus stop. The IDF Spokesman said that the soldiers ‘behaved appropriately’.

Mohammed Salah was a Palestinian policeman, after years of working as a tiler in the settlements. On duty, he stopped a suspicious Palestinian commercial van, which had tried to avoid the Palestinian checkpoint in Bethlehem. Salah opened the door, suspecting that the van was carrying stolen merchandise, and the IDF undercover soldiers inside shot him to death. The IDF Spokesman claimed that he tried to shoot at the soldiers, but all the eyewitnesses have rejected this version out of hand.

Firas Kaskas went for a nature hike near Ramallah, accompanied by his brother and his brother-in-law. When they noticed a herd of gazelles running down to the wadi, they stood to watch. The soldiers who suddenly appeared shot him from afar, without warning. The IDF Spokesman claimed that the soldiers thought that he was placing an explosive device in the heart of the nature reserve.

All these people were killed by the IDF in recent weeks, for no reason. Add to them Mohammed Askar from Saida, who was shot at close range during riots at Ketziot Prison; Kamela Kabha of Bartaa, an elderly woman whose son tried to rush her to the hospital in Jenin and was delayed at the Reihan checkpoint for three hours, until she died in his arms, and other incidents of killing, and you will get te true picture of Israel’s ‘peace efforts’.”

Gideon Levy’s reportage in Haaretz is here.