The Zionists destroyed the homes of the poor Jews, herded them into concentration camps by proxy and them on ships to the unknown Palestine just to to do the same to the Palestinians. Has there ever been a people more evil than the Zionists? I don't blame the European Jews so much.

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Jews undergoing the selection process

Israel - In 1958, then-foreign minister Golda Meir raised the possibility of preventing handicapped and sick Polish Jews from immigrating to Israel, a recently discovered Foreign Ministry document has revealed.

“A proposal was raised in the coordination committee to inform the Polish government that we want to institute selection in aliyah, because we cannot continue accepting sick and handicapped people. Please give your opinion as to whether this can be explained to the Poles without hurting immigration,” read the document, written by Meir to Israel’s ambassador to Poland, Katriel Katz.

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The letter, marked “top secret” and written in April 1958, shortly after Meir became foreign minister, was uncovered by Prof. Szymon Rudnicki, a Polish historian at the University of Warsaw.

Rudnicki has been researching documents shedding light on Israeli-Polish relations between 1945 and 1967. The document had not been known to exist before this time, and scholars of the mass immigration from Poland to Israel that took place from 1956 to 1958 were unaware of Israel’s intent to impose a selection process on Jews leaving Poland - survivors of the Holocaust and its death camps.

The “coordination committee” Meir refers to was a joint panel consisting of representatives of the government and the Jewish Agency.

Rudnicki concedes that the content of the document surprised him as a scholar and a Jew. “This is a very cynical document,” he said. “It is known that Golda was a brutal politician who defended interests more than people.” Katz died more than 20 years ago, and no proof has been found that anything was done regarding the foreign minister’s query.

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Never a democracy

 The myth that a democratic Israel ran into trouble in 1967 but still remained a democracy has no historical foundation.

  Before 1967, Israel definitely could not have been depicted as a democracy.  The state subjected one-fifth of its citizenship to military rule based on draconian British Mandatory emergency regulations that denied the Palestinians any basic human or civil rights.

Local military governors were the absolute rulers of the lives of these citizens: they could devise special laws for them, destroy their houses and livelihoods, and send them to jail whenever they felt like it. Only in the late 1950s did a strong Jewish opposition to these abuses emerge, which eventually eased the pressure on the Palestinian citizens.

For the Palestinians who lived in prewar Israel and those who lived in the post-1967 West Bank and the Gaza Strip, this regime allowed even the lowest-ranking soldier in the IDF to rule, and ruin, their lives. They were helpless if such a solider, or his unit or commander, decided to demolish their homes, or hold them for hours at a checkpoint, or incarcerate them without trial. There was nothing they could do.

At every moment from 1948 until today, there had been some group of Palestinians undergoing such an experience.

The first group to suffer under such a yoke was the Palestinian minority inside Israel. It began in the first two years of statehood when they were pushed into ghettos, such as the Haifa Palestinian community living on the Carmel mountain, or expelled from the towns they had inhabited for decades, such as Safad. In the case of Isdud, the whole population was expelled to the Gaza Strip.

In the countryside, the situation was even worse. The various Kibbutz movements coveted Palestinian villages on fertile land. This included the socialist Kibbutzim, Hashomer Ha-Zair, which was allegedly committed to binational solidarity.

Long after the fighting of 1948 had subsided, villagers in Ghabsiyyeh, Iqrit, Birim, Qaidta, Zaytun, and many others, were tricked into leaving their homes for a period of two weeks, the army claiming it needed their lands for training, only to find out on their return that their villages had been wiped out or handed to someone else.

This state of military terror is exemplified by the Kafr Qasim massacre of October 1956, when, on the eve of the Sinai operation, forty-nine Palestinian citizens were killed by the Israeli army. The authorities alleged that they were late returning home from work in the fields when a curfew had been imposed on the village. This was not the real reason, however.

Later proofs show that Israel had seriously considered the expulsion of Palestinians from the whole area called the Wadi Ara and the Triangle in which the village sat. These two areas — the first a valley connecting Afula in the east and Hadera on the Mediterranean coast; the second expanding the eastern hinterland of Jerusalem — were annexed to Israel under the terms of the 1949 armistice agreement with Jordan.

As we have seen, additional territory was always welcomed by Israel, but an increase in the Palestinian population was not. Thus, at every juncture, when the state of Israel expanded, it looked for ways to restrict the Palestinian population in the recently annexed areas.

Operation “Hafarfert” (“mole”) was the code name of a set of proposals for the expulsion of Palestinians when a new war broke out with the Arab world. Many scholars today now think that the 1956 massacre was a practice run to see if the people in the area could be intimidated to leave.

The perpetrators of the massacre were brought to trial thanks to the diligence and tenacity of two members of the Knesset: Tawaq Tubi from the Communist Party and Latif Dori of the Left Zionist party Mapam. However, the commanders responsible for the area, and the unit itself that committed the crime, were let off very lightly, receiving merely small fines. This was further proof that the army was allowed to get away with murder in the occupied territories.

Systematic cruelty does not only show its face in a major event like a massacre. The worst atrocities can also be found in the regime’s daily, mundane presence.

Palestinians in Israel still do not talk much about that pre-1967 period, and the documents of that time do not reveal the full picture. Surprisingly, it is in poetry that we find an indication of what it was like to live under military rule.

Natan Alterman was one of the most famous and important poets of his generation. He had a weekly column, called “The Seventh Column,” in which he commented on events he had read or heard about. Sometimes he would omit details about the date or even the location of the event, but would give the reader just enough information to understand what he was referring to. He often expressed his attacks in poetic form:

The news appeared briefly for two days, and disappeared. And no one seems to care, and no one seems to know. In the far away village of Um al-Fahem,
Children — should I say citizens of the state — played in the mud And one of them seemed suspicious to one of our brave soldiers who
shouted at him: Stop!
An order is an order
An order is an order, but the foolish boy did not stand, He ran away
So our brave soldier shot, no wonder And hit and killed the boy.
And no one talked about it.

On one occasion he wrote a poem about two Palestinian citizens who were shot in Wadi Ara. In another instance, he told the story of a very ill Palestinian woman who was expelled with her two children, aged three and six, with no explanation, and sent across the River Jordan. When she tried to return, she and her children were arrested and put into a Nazareth jail.

Alterman hoped that his poem about the mother would move hearts and minds, or at least elicit some official response. However, he wrote a week later:

And this writer assumed wrongly
That either the story would be denied or explained But nothing, not a word.

There is further evidence that Israel was not a democracy prior to 1967. The state pursued a shoot-to-kill policy towards refugees trying to retrieve their land, crops, and husbandry, and staged a colonial war to topple Nasser’s regime in Egypt. Its security forces were also trigger happy, killing more than fifty Palestinian citizens during the period from 1948–1967.


Subjugation of Minorities in Israel Is Not Democratic

The litmus test of any democracy is the level of tolerance it is willing to extend towards the minorities living in it. In this respect, Israel falls far short of being a true democracy.

For example, after the new territorial gains several laws were passed ensuring a superior position for the majority: the laws governing citizenship, the laws concerning land ownership, and most important of all, the law of return.

The latter grants automatic citizenship to every Jew in the world, wherever he or she was born. This law in particular is a flagrantly undemocratic one, for it was accompanied by a total rejection of the Palestinian right of return — recognized internationally by the UN General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948. This rejection refuses to allow the Palestinian citizens of Israel to unite with their immediate families or with those who were expelled in 1948.

Denying people the right of return to their homeland, and at the same time offering this right to others who have no connection to the land, is a model of undemocratic practice.

Added to this was a further layering of denial of the rights of the Palestinian people. Almost every discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of Israel is justified by the fact that they do not serve in the army. The association between democratic rights and military duties is better understood if we revisit the formative years in which Israeli policy makers were trying to make up their minds about how to treat one-fifth of the population.

Their assumption was that Palestinian citizens did not want to join the army anyway, and that assumed refusal, in turn, justified the discriminatory policy against them. This was put to the test in 1954 when the Israeli ministry of defense decided to call up those Palestinian citizens eligible for conscription to serve in the army. The secret service assured the government that there would be a widespread rejection of the call-up.

To their great surprise, all those summoned went to the recruiting office, with the blessing of the Communist Party, the biggest and most important political force in the community at the time. The secret service later explained that the main reason was the teenagers’ boredom with life in the countryside and their desire for some action and adventure.

Notwithstanding this episode, the ministry of defense continued to peddle a narrative that depicted the Palestinian community as unwilling to serve in the military.

Inevitably, in time, the Palestinians did indeed turn against the Israeli army, who had become their perpetual oppressors, but the government’s exploitation of this as a pretext for discrimination casts huge doubt on the state’s pretense to being a democracy.

If you are a Palestinian citizen and you did not serve in the army, your rights to government assistance as a worker, student, parent, or as part of a couple, are severely restricted. This affects housing in particular, as well as employment — where 70 percent of all Israeli industry is considered to be security-sensitive and therefore closed to these citizens as a place to find work.

The underlying assumption of the ministry of defense was not only that Palestinians do not wish to serve but that they are potentially an enemy within who cannot be trusted. The problem with this argument is that in all the major wars between Israel and the Arab world the Palestinian minority did not behave as expected. They did not form a fifth column or rise up against the regime.

This, however, did not help them: to this day they are seen as a “demographic” problem that has to be solved. The only consolation is that still today most Israeli politicians do not believe that the way to solve “the problem” is by the transfer or expulsion of the Palestinians (at least not in peacetime).


The claim to being a democracy is also questionable when one examines the budgetary policy surrounding the land question. Since 1948, Palestinian local councils and municipalities have received far less funding than their Jewish counterparts. The shortage of land, coupled with the scarcity of employment opportunities, creates an abnormal socioeconomic reality.

For example, the most affluent Palestinian community, the village of Me’ilya in the upper Galilee, is still worse off than the poorest Jewish development town in the Negev. In 2011, the Jerusalem Post reported that “average Jewish income was 40 percent to 60 percent higher than average Arab income between the years 1997 to 2009.”

Today more than 90 percent of the land is owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Landowners are not allowed to engage in transactions with non-Jewish citizens, and public land is prioritized for the use of national projects, which means that new Jewish settlements are being built while there are hardly any new Palestinian settlements. Thus, the biggest Palestinian city, Nazareth, despite the tripling of its population since 1948, has not expanded one square kilometer, whereas the development town built above it, Upper Nazareth, has tripled in size, on land expropriated from Palestinian landowners.

Further examples of this policy can be found in Palestinian villages throughout Galilee, revealing the same story: how they have been downsized by 40 percent, sometimes even 60 percent, since 1948, and how new Jewish settlements have been built on expropriated land.

Elsewhere this has initiated full-blown attempts at “Judaization.” After 1967, the Israeli government became concerned about the lack of Jews living in the north and south of the state and so planned to increase the population in those areas. Such a demographic change necessitated the confiscation of Palestinian land for the building of Jewish settlements.

Worse was the exclusion of Palestinian citizens from these settlements. This blunt violation of a citizen’s right to live wherever he or she wishes continues today, and all efforts by human rights NGOs in Israel to challenge this apartheid have so far ended in total failure.

The Supreme Court in Israel has only been able to question the legality of this policy in a few individual cases, but not in principle. Imagine if in the United Kingdom or the United States, Jewish citizens, or Catholics for that matter, were barred by law from living in certain villages, neighborhoods, or maybe whole towns? How can such a situation be reconciled with the notion of democracy?

The Occupation Is Not Democratic

Thus, given its attitude towards two Palestinian groups — the refugees and the community in Israel — the Jewish state cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be assumed to be a democracy.

But the most obvious challenge to that assumption is the ruthless Israeli attitude towards a third Palestinian group: those who have lived under its direct and indirect rule since 1967, in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. From the legal infrastructure put in place at the outset of the war, through the unquestioned absolute power of the military inside the West Bank and outside the Gaza Strip, to the humiliation of millions of Palestinians as a daily routine, the “only democracy” in the Middle East behaves as a dictatorship of the worst kind.

The main Israeli response, diplomatic and academic, to the latter accusation is that all these measures are temporary — they will change if the Palestinians, wherever they are, behave “better.” But if one researches, not to mention lives in, the occupied territories, one will understand how ridiculous these arguments are.

Israeli policy makers, as we have seen, are determined to keep the occupation alive for as long as the Jewish state remains intact. It is part of what the Israeli political system regards as the status quo, which is always better than any change. Israel will control most of Palestine and, since it will always include a substantial Palestinian population, this can only be done by nondemocratic means.

In addition, despite all the evidence to the contrary, the Israeli state claims that the occupation is an enlightened one. The myth here is that Israel came with good intentions to conduct a benevolent occupation but was forced to take a tougher attitude because of the Palestinian violence.

In 1967, the government treated the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a natural part of “Eretz Israel,” the land of Israel, and this attitude has continued ever since. When you look at the debate between the right- and left-wing parties in Israel on this issue, their disagreements have been about how to achieve this goal, not about its validity.

Among the wider public, however, there was a genuine debate between what one might call the “redeemers” and the “custodians.” The “redeemers” believed Israel had recovered the ancient heart of its homeland and could not survive in the future without it. In contrast, the “custodians” argued that the territories should be exchanged for peace with Jordan, in the case of the West Bank, and Egypt in the case of the Gaza Strip. However, this public debate had little impact on the way the principal policy makers were figuring out how to rule the occupied territories.

The worst part of this supposed “enlightened occupation” has been the government’s methods for managing the territories. At first the area was divided into “Arab” and potential “Jewish” spaces. Those areas densely populated with Palestinians became autonomous, run by local collaborators under a military rule. This regime was only replaced with a civil administration in 1981.

The other areas, the “Jewish” spaces, were colonized with Jewish settlements and military bases. This policy was intended to leave the population both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in disconnected enclaves with neither green spaces nor any possibility for urban expansion.

Things only got worse when, very soon after the occupation, Gush Emunim started settling in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, claiming to be following a biblical map of colonization rather than the governmental one. As they penetrated the densely populated Palestinian areas, the space left for the locals was shrunk even further.

What every colonization project primarily needs is land — in the occupied territories this was achieved only through the massive expropriation of land, deporting people from where they had lived for generations, and confining them in enclaves with difficult habitats.

When you fly over the West Bank, you can see clearly the cartographic results of this policy: belts of settlements that divide the land and carve the Palestinian communities into small, isolated, and disconnected communities. The Judaization belts separate villages from villages, villages from towns, and sometime bisect a single village.

This is what scholars call a geography of disaster, not least since these policies turned out to be an ecological disaster as well: drying up water sources and ruining some of the most beautiful parts of the Palestinian landscape.

Moreover, the settlements became hotbeds in which Jewish extremism grew uncontrollably — the principal victims of which were the Palestinians. Thus, the settlement at Efrat has ruined the world heritage site of the Wallajah Valley near Bethlehem, and the village of Jafneh near Ramallah, which was famous for its freshwater canals, lost its identity as a tourist attraction. These are just two small examples out of hundreds of similar cases.

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

House demolition is not a new phenomenon in Palestine. As with many of the more barbaric methods of collective punishment used by Israel since 1948, it was first conceived and exercised by the British Mandatory government during the Great Arab Revolt of 1936–39.

This was the first Palestinian uprising against the pro-Zionist policy of the British Mandate, and it took the British army three years to quell it. In the process, they demolished around two thousand houses during the various collective punishments meted out to the local population.

Israel demolished houses from almost the first day of its military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The army blew up hundreds of homes every year in response to various acts undertaken by individual family members.

From minor violations of military rule to participation in violent acts against the occupation, the Israelis were quick to send in their bulldozers to wipe out not only a physical building but also a focus of life and existence. In the greater Jerusalem area (as inside Israel) demolition was also a punishment for the unlicensed extension of an existing house or the failure to pay bills.

Another form of collective punishment that has recently returned to the Israeli repertoire is that of blocking up houses. Imagine that all the doors and windows in your house are blocked by cement, mortar, and stones, so you can’t get back in or retrieve anything you failed to take out in time. I have looked hard in my history books to find another example, but found no evidence of such a callous measure being practiced elsewhere.


Crushing Palestinian Resistance Is Not Democratic

Finally, under the “enlightened occupation,” settlers have been allowed to form vigilante gangs to harass people and destroy their property. These gangs have changed their approach over the years.

During the 1980s, they used actual terror — from wounding Palestinian leaders (one of them lost his legs in such an attack), to contemplating blowing up the mosques on Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.

In this century, they have engaged in the daily harassment of Palestinians: uprooting their trees, destroying their yields, and shooting randomly at their homes and vehicles. Since 2000, there have been at least one hundred such attacks reported per month in some areas such as Hebron, where the five hundred settlers, with the silent collaboration of the Israeli army, harassed the locals living nearby in an even more brutal way.

From the very beginning of the occupation then, the Palestinians were given two options: accept the reality of permanent incarceration in a mega-prison for a very long time, or risk the might of the strongest army in the Middle East. When the Palestinians did resist — as they did in 1987, 2000, 2006, 2012, 2014, and 2016 — they were targeted as soldiers and units of a conventional army. Thus, villages and towns were bombed as if they were military bases and the unarmed civilian population was shot at as if it was an army on the battlefield.

Today we know too much about life under occupation, before and after Oslo, to take seriously the claim that nonresistance will ensure less oppression. The arrests without trial, as experienced by so many over the years; the demolition of thousands of houses; the killing and wounding of the innocent; the drainage of water wells — these are all testimony to one of the harshest contemporary regimes of our times.

Amnesty International annually documents in a very comprehensive way the nature of the occupation. The following is from their 2015 report:


In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israeli forces committed unlawful killings of Palestinian civilians, including children, and detained thousands of Palestinians who protested against or otherwise opposed Israel’s continuing military occupation, holding hundreds in administrative detention. Torture and other ill-treatment remained rife and were committed with impunity.

The authorities continued to promote illegal settlements in the West Bank, and severely restricted Palestinians’ freedom of movement, further tightening restrictions amid an escalation of violence from October, which included attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinians and apparent extrajudicial executions by Israeli forces. Israeli settlers in the West Bank attacked Palestinians and their property with virtual impunity. The Gaza Strip remained under an Israeli military blockade that imposed collective punishment on its inhabitants. The authorities continued to demolish Palestinian homes in the West Bank and inside Israel, particularly in Bedouin villages in the Negev/Naqab region, forcibly evicting their residents.


Let’s take this in stages. Firstly, assassinations — what Amnesty’s report calls “unlawful killings”: about fifteen thousand Palestinians have been killed “unlawfully” by Israel since 1967. Among them were two thousand children.


Imprisoning Palestinians Without Trial Is Not Democratic

Another feature of the “enlightened occupation” is imprisonment without trial. Every fifth Palestinian in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has undergone such an experience.

It is interesting to compare this Israeli practice with similar American policies in the past and the present, as critics of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement claim that US practices are far worse. In fact, the worst American example was the imprisonment without trial of one hundred thousand Japanese citizens during World War II, with thirty thousand later detained under the so-called “war on terror.”

Neither of these numbers comes even close to the number of Palestinians who have experienced such a process: including the very young, the old, as well as the long-term incarcerated.

Arrest without trial is a traumatic experience. Not knowing the charges against you, having no contact with a lawyer and hardly any contact with your family are only some of the concerns that will affect you as a prisoner. More brutally, many of these arrests are used as means to pressure people into collaboration. Spreading rumors or shaming people for their alleged or real sexual orientation are also frequently used as methods for leveraging complicity.

As for torture, the reliable website Middle East Monitor published a harrowing article describing the two hundred methods used by the Israelis to torture Palestinians. The list is based on a UN report and a report from the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Among other methods it includes beatings, chaining prisoners to doors or chairs for hours, pouring cold and hot water on them, pulling fingers apart, and twisting testicles.


Israel Is Not a Democracy

What we must challenge here, therefore, is not only Israel’s claim to be maintaining an enlightened occupation but also its pretense to being a democracy. Such behavior towards millions of people under its rule gives the lie to such political chicanery.

However, although large sections of civil societies throughout the world deny Israel its pretense to democracy, their political elites, for a variety of reasons, still treat it as a member of the exclusive club of democratic states. In many ways, the popularity of the BDS movement reflects the frustrations of those societies with their governments’ policies towards Israel.

For most Israelis these counterarguments are irrelevant at best and malicious at worst. The Israeli state clings to the view that it is a benevolent occupier. The argument for “enlightened occupation” proposes that, according to the average Jewish citizen in Israel, the Palestinians are much better off under occupation and they have no reason in the world to resist it, let alone by force. If you are a noncritical supporter of Israel abroad, you accept these assumptions as well.

There are, however, sections of Israeli society that do recognize the validity of some of the claims made here. In the 1990s, with various degrees of conviction, a significant number of Jewish academics, journalists, and artists voiced their doubts about the definition of Israel as a democracy.

It takes some courage to challenge the foundational myths of one’s own society and state. This is why quite a few of them later retreated from this brave position and returned to toeing the general line.

Nevertheless, for a while during the last decade of the last century, they produced works that challenged the assumption of a democratic Israel. They portrayed Israel as belonging to a different community: that of the nondemocratic nations. One of them, the geographer Oren Yiftachel from Ben-Gurion University, depicted Israel as an ethnocracy, a regime governing a mixed ethnic state with a legal and formal preference for one ethnic group over all the others. Others went further, labeling Israel an apartheid state or a settler-colonial state.

In short, whatever description these critical scholars offered, “democracy” was not among them.







.jacobinmag.com

 

Face of the Warsaw Ghetto, by Oskar Rosenfeld

Mucky paths, half-covered with snow, lead between individual houses set here and there, grim and meaningless. Low trees and bushes spread their sparse, trembling branches against the sky. Gangs of scruffy children, their yellow, wrinkled faces looking aged, walk tiredly through the streets. Sometimes one sees a fleeting smile on their faces, hears singing from their bloodless lips. Sometimes they throw a snowball like children elsewhere.

No one can say what will happen tomorrow. What will happen to all of us. What all this is for? Why the ghetto? Will there be a tomorrow? Is it worth thinking about?

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We are lepers, outcasts, common thieves, people without music, without earth, without beds, without a world. There is no other city like this in the world. Come here, people from the outside, from over there where there are normal days and holidays, where there are dreams and desire and resistance. Come quickly. For when it is all over, we will be so thinned out and so miserable that we will no longer be able to enjoy the pleasure of seeing you again.

The snow is dirty, no one knows from what. Soot from the chimneys cannot fly over from there to us. A wagon rolls down the street. Instead of a horse, people are harnessed to it.

The Zionist Jews immigrated to Palestine with an army while the non-Zionists Jews remained imprisoned in the concentration camps in Europe.

The Palestinians were pushed off their lands by the Zionists and more concentration camps were established... this time for Palestinians.

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A slice of land just twenty-five miles long and seven miles across at its widest, the Gaza Strip sits at the southwest tip of Israel, bordered to the west by the Mediterranean, to the south by Egypt, and to the east and north by Israel. The other chunk of Palestinian territory, the West Bank, lies fifty miles away, with Israeli territory in between.

Until 1948 there was no “Gaza Strip”; the area around Gaza City was part of a much larger region of Palestine known as the Gaza District, which contained scores of Palestinian villages. During the 1948 war a total of 750,000 Arabs fled or were expelled from all over Palestine. About 200,000 of those living in the south sought refuge in the Gaza City area, which Egypt had seized during the war.

In December 1948 the United Nations passed UN Resolution 194, stating that the Palestinians should have the right to return to their homes, but Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, refused, saying that Palestinians would “never return.” Within a few years Israel had erased almost every Arab village in the former Gaza District. “The old will die and the young will forget,” Ben-Gurion is said to have declared. The Arabs of Palestine, however, have not forgotten the events of 1948, which they refer to as the Nakba, or catastrophe, and they have been working harder in recent years than ever before to preserve the memory of their lost homes.

Ben-Gurion also expressed the hope that the refugees would move away from camps near Israel’s border and disperse into Arab countries, but while some did move away, most have stayed in order to be close to their land. The original 200,000 refugees who fled to Gaza now number up to an estimated 1.7 million. (Each descendant of a refugee is also classified by the UN as a refugee.) And with them in the Strip live another 300,000 Palestinians, indigenous to Gaza.

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Today more than two million people live in Gaza, which is surrounded by walls and fences patrolled by Israeli soldiers. Israeli drones fill the skies above, its gunboats patrol the sea. On Gaza’s southern border is the Rafah crossing into Egypt, usually closed because Egypt has cooperated with Israel’s siege.

The only point of entry from Israel for human traffic is the Erez checkpoint, on Gaza’s northern border. Yet even while making that crossing it’s hard to believe anyone lives on the other side. The only other people passing through with me on a recent visit were a group of British surgeons from the charity IDEALS, their suitcases packed with prosthetic limbs.

Inside Gaza, the medieval and the modern seem to coexist, as horses and carts crowd the streets along with cars and trucks, while children in pristine uniforms pour out of schools. A new UN school is built each month in order to accommodate the population growth. In the middle-class Rimal area, students speaking into mobile phones struggle to be heard over hawkers selling wares. Shops seem well stocked, but prosperity is an illusion, since many of the luxury goods have been smuggled through tunnels from Egypt and hardly anyone can afford them. Thundering generators struggle to provide emergency power as Gaza itself struggles to survive the siege while still rebuilding after recent wars. The Israeli assault of 2014 lasted fifty-one days and killed 2,200 people, including five hundred children, as well as destroying thousands of homes, schools, water plants, and hospitals. Israel lost sixty-six soldiers and seven civilians during the conflict.

The UN says that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. Sitting on stones by the seafront with Emad, my twenty-five-year-old Palestinian driver, we could see why: raw sewage was pouring out into the water, the electricity cuts having crippled the sewage system. Emad pointed out that the stones we were sitting on carried the names of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948. He was sitting on Majdal, where his family came from. He looked up the coast to the swinging cranes of the thriving Israeli port city Ashkelon, built on the spot were Majdal once stood. I was sitting on a stone named Huj, a village just a few miles from Gaza. Many areas and streets in Gaza are named after villages the residents once lived in. A man Emad and I met named Ali Abu Aleish, who lives on Huj Street, produced documents showing that his family owned land that is now part of an estate constructed by Ariel Sharon, the deceased former prime minister of Israel.

In view of Gazans’ daily struggles, it seems surprising that they have time to think of the past. But it is precisely because of recent wars that memories of 1948 have been strengthened. The bombardment of Gaza in 2014 caused people to feel that a “second Nakba” was occurring. I first heard the phrase soon after that war from an old man named Abu Ibrahim, who was sitting on the pile of rubble that had recently been his home. His family had herded sheep around Beersheba for centuries, and in the war of 1948 they were forced to flee, first living in a tent, then building a house near Gaza’s border, from which they could see their old land. He showed me an urn his mother had carried on her head from Beersheba; the urn had survived the first and second Nakba, he said proudly.

Ibrahim’s reference to the second Nakba was echoed up and down Gaza. The destroyed houses, the panicked flight, the tents in which the homeless had to live—these have reminded many of what happened seventy years ago.

In the aftermath of the 1948 war, the refugee tragedy caused headlines and protests around the world, but the story soon faded from view. The Israeli government told the world that Palestinians had fled their villages of their own accord or on orders from Arab armies that wanted them out of the way. There was no obligation on Israel, therefore, to let Palestinians return, since, according to this argument, their displacement was not Israel’s responsibility. Any “infiltrators” who tried to go back were criminals, and they were shot or put in prison. With the US standing behind the new Jewish state, Palestinian accounts of 1948 were too often ignored.

In the late 1980s Israel’s so-called new historians, most notably Benny Morris, examined newly opened Israeli archives and found no evidence that the refugees had fled on orders from Arab leaders, but had done so mostly out of terror after hearing reports of massacres carried out by Israeli soldiers in villages such as Deir Yassin, where Jewish militiamen killed over 150 Palestinian civilians. Ilan Pappé, another of Israel’s new historians, went further, identifying what he called a plan of “ethnic cleansing.”

By this time, however, Israel’s official narrative of 1948 was so entrenched that the voices of these new historians were barely heeded by politicians, and in the 1990s it was considered impossible to secure Israeli support for the Palestinian right of return. Even Arafat agreed to set it aside during the Oslo talks. Today many Palestinian analysts blame Arafat, as well as Israeli and Western negotiators, for Oslo’s failure, warning that a newly unified Palestinian leadership will not remain unified for long if it doesn’t insist on addressing the right of return in any new peace talks. “During the Oslo process the right of return was relegated as if a mere irritant, not a fundamental human right,” said Ramzy Baroud, the son of a 1948 Gaza refugee, editor of The Palestine Chronicle and author of the forthcoming book The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story.* “The collapse of the peace process and the failure of Oslo brought the right of return back to the center.”

In Israel, however, where the policies of the extreme right-wing have received endorsement from Donald Trump, particularly through his stunning recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the prospects of putting a Palestinian right of return on a negotiating table seem more unlikely than ever; the mere mention of it is enough to destroy the possibility of a rapprochement. Even the dovish Yossi Beilin, an architect of Oslo, says the two-state approach remains the only option: “The right of return will never happen. All this talk of ’48 is a mood, not an opinion.”

 nybooks.com

Subsequent research has revealed that much of the violence across North Africa and the Middle East during the 1940s and 1950s was deliberately instigated by Zionist operatives.



 It is now time and right to liberate Palestine, Israel and Africa from the obscene profiteering of the Israeli war business.

One is familiar with the “criminal underworld” of thieves, gangs, drug lords, the Italian Mafia, and other manifestations of organised crime.

More serious is the “criminal overworld” of corrupt politicians, corrupt bankers, corrupt lawyers -- in other words the world’s elites. Historically, this is not a new phenomenon. In recent years however, it has become more pervasive and blatant in which privileged members of society fleece the public, evade taxation and lobby vigorously for even greater benefits.

America’s largest bank, JP Morgan Chase, was fined US$13 billion in October 2013 for residential mortgage bond frauds. The follows previous, albeit lesser, fines against HSBC for laundering Mexican drug monies and Barclays Bank for the LIBOR scandal. Banks, in particular, plead they are now “too big to fail, and too big to jail.” Through corporate structures in tax havens such as Bermuda, Google proudly and legally pays only 2 percent tax whilst billions of people around the world – most especially Africa -- live in dire poverty.

As yet, politicians such as Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, Britain’s Tony Blair or America’s George Bush are not held accountable for their crimes. Jacob Zuma makes a farce of South Africa’s judicial system, and his lawyers and bankers just line their pockets at public expense.

Much, much more serious however, is the merger of the “criminal overworld” with the “gangster state.” The Edward Snowden revelations regarding SWIFT and the Finance Tracking Program have prompted a crisis in United States-European Union political relations.1 Very significantly, the Der Spiegel report that broke the spy story was headlined “follow the money.”

Revelations of spying by the National Security Agency have also confirmed that, properly and internationally regulated, SWIFT offers a unique opportunity to redress crises in Africa resulting from war profiteering and money laundering.

Israel is a prime example of a gangster state, having been established on the theft of lands in Palestine, and ethnic cleansing of most of the indigenous Palestinian Arabs from their homelands to make room for Jewish colonial settlers from Europe and elsewhere. The Iraqi-born Israeli historian Avi Shlaim declares:

Israel has become a rogue state with an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders. A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practices terrorism – the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these criteria. Israel’s real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours, but military domination.2

A former US ambassador to Israel in May 2009 described his host country as having degenerated into “a promised land for organized crime.” He noted that in recent years there had been a “sharp increase in the reach and impact of organised crime networks.”

The Mizrahim (Arab Jews):

The Israeli “footprint” all over Africa has been, and continues to be, hugely destructive. I grew up in Tripoli, Libya until the age of seventeen, and left Libya in 1960. I remember the anti-Israel riots in response to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and the Nakba. These riots also turned anti-Jewish. The Jewish community in Libya went back thousands of years, and about 20 percent of Tripoli’s population was then Jewish. Our immediate neighbors were Jewish, who understandably were terrified whenever there were riots.

Similar histories pertained in Iran, in Iraq, in Egypt, and also west across the Maghreb to Morocco. There are no Jews now in Libya. Subsequent research has revealed that much of the violence across North Africa and the Middle East during the 1940s and 1950s was deliberately instigated by Zionist operatives. The Israelis wanted cannon folder for the army, and Jewish Arabs were deliberately settled in dangerous war zones.

Although constituting more than 50% of Israel’s Jewish population, the Mizrahim remain an economic and social underclass. European Jews (the Ashkenazim) – numbering 20% of Israel’s population, and only 10% of the population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea – make up Israel’s entire political, economic, legal, academic and even military leadership.5

Given its highly militarised society, Israel is a mixture of military dictatorship, colonial occupation and apartheid that masquerades as a democracy. “National security” is the cloak by which generals and their business cronies -- with the complicity of Israeli banks and politicians – make mega money from war profiteering.

The South African Connection:

The mining magnate Cecil Rhodes and the British High Commissioner, Lord Alfred Milner instigated the Anglo-Boer War (South African War) of 1899-1902. Their purpose was to secure gold and other natural resources in South Africa with cheap indigenous labour in circumstances akin to slavery, and to extend British domination over the entire African continent “from Cape to Cairo.”

British imperial power had developed the strategy of “divide and rule.” Milner was the main drafter of the 1917 Balfour Declaration offering “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

With the support of De Beers, the Israeli diamond cutting and polishing industry was established during the Second World War, and by 1975 accounted for almost 40 percent of Israel’s non-agricultural exports.

The diamond industry then became the foundation of Israel’s armaments industry. In turn, arms export sales in 2012 were US$7.5 billion which placed Israel in fourth place, surpassed only by the United States, Russia and France. Thus, Israeli arms exports exceed even those of Britain, Germany and China. An estimated 150 000 Israeli households depend economically on the arms industry.

Yotam Feldman’s award-winning documentary film, The Lab, chillingly focuses upon how the armaments industry markets export sales on Israel’s tried and proven success in dealing with Palestinians. One particularly arrogant character describes the industry as “turning blood into money.”

Prime Minister John Vorster visited Israel in 1976. In defiance of the 1977 UN arms embargo against apartheid South Africa, he and his successor PW Botha (1978-1989) established close Israeli-South African collaboration in developing nuclear and other weapons.9

In the words of Noseweek editor, Martin Welz: “Israel had the brains, but no money. South Africa had the money, but no brains.” With money seemingly to burn to defend apartheid, the “securocrats” instead bankrupted the country. South Africa defaulted on its foreign debts in 1985 after Botha’s infamous “Rubicon Speech.”

Led by church leaders including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the late Dr Beyers Naude and Dr Allan Boesak, the nonviolent international banking sanctions campaign became the tipping point in South Africa’s relatively peaceful transition to constitutional democracy in 1994.11 It was focussed on New York banks because of the role of the US dollar as settlement currency in foreign exchange markets.

The Plunder of Africa’s Natural Resources:

With complicity of the British and French governments, Israel launched the Suez War in November 1956. In exchange, Britain and France provided Israel with technology to develop its nuclear weapons programme.12

In retaliation for British collusion with Israel against Egypt, an angry American President Dwight Eisenhower launched a speculative attack against the pound sterling. The Bank of England lost US$450 million of its foreign exchange reserves.13 It was an early example of banking sanctions, and successfully forced the humiliating British and French withdrawal from Egypt.

The Suez war signalled the end of Britain’s dominance in the Middle East and the world, and replacement by the US.14Within five years the French, British and Belgian colonial empires in Africa had also collapsed.

The Africa Progress Report 2013 released in Cape Town in May by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan focused upon Africa’s natural resources as a potential source of future economic prosperity. Natural resources, it notes, do not cause war, but weak government, under development and violent conflict are accentuated when foreign investors abuse their power by tax evasion and money laundering.

Although the Democratic Republic of Congo is a veritable treasure house of natural resources, it ranks last in the world in terms of the UN’s human development index. The report notes that the DRC lost US$1.4 billion through tax evasion in 2010-2012, and that this is double what the country spends on education and health for its 70 million people.15 Israeli nationals are especially prominent and notorious for such abuses.

The Democratic Republic of Congo:

Uranium ore used by the US Manhattan Project to produce the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was mined at the Shinkobwe mine in the Belgian Congo. The mine was owned by Union Minière du Haut Katanga (UMHK), which was notorious for the brutal economic exploitation that pertained during Belgium’s colonial administration.

After the Congo became independent in 1960, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in collusion with American and South African diamond interests, orchestrated the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba plus the subsequent coup d’etat in 1965 which placed Joseph Mobutu in power until 1997.

The Congo was plundered during Mobutu’s kleptomaniac regime, but the tragic circumstances have deteriorated even further since the Kabilas (father and son) took over. The Congo is the world’s largest producer of cobalt, and a major producer of copper and diamonds. It also produces 70 percent of the world’s coltan.

A three-year investigation convened by the UN Security Council in 2000 found that sophisticated networks of high-level political, military and business persons in collaboration with various rebel groups were intentionally fuelling the conflict in order to retain control over the country’s natural resources. In a series of controversial reports, the investigation exposed the vicious cycle of resource-driven conflict and war.

There is a worldwide profit interest that the present plundering mechanism stays in place. There are an enormous number of people siphoning off Congo's resources. It is all laid out in reports every one can read on the Internet. There are the Congolese government elite, all kinds of European and North American firms, a huge number of African firms, and especially the elites from neighbouring countries. It is a very vast and complex network profiting from the war and its exploitation.16

Smuggling of natural resources sought by “first world” strategic industries has fuelled the war, hence the description as “Africa’s First World War.” The war has caused the deaths of an estimated ten million people. Israeli nationals, led by Dan Gertler, are now the largest foreign investors in the Congo.17 These investments are invariably held via front companies in tax haven jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands which, in turn, are notorious for money laundering and tax evasion operations.

Gertler provides “security” for President Joseph Kabila against lavish concessions to exploit the Congo’s natural resources, including the allocation at giveaway prices in 2011 of 25 percent of the shares of Gécamines, the successor company to UMHK, and other assets.18 The International Monetary Fund in 2013 suspended loans to the DRC pending satisfactory explanation of this and similar transactions.19

Gertler is also closely connected with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and it was at his instruction that Union Bank of Israel in 1997 funded Laurant Kabila to wage war to take over the country. 20

In seeming contradiction to Gertler’s support provided to the DRC government, the Israeli government also arms and funds Ugandan and Rwandan dictators, Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame. They have been “named and shamed” by the UN as the godfathers of “Africa’s First World War.”

The complicity of western (including Israeli) governments in both fuelling the war and protecting Museveni and Kagame has been heavily documented.21 Yet to date no action has been taken against them by the international community.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair proudly describes himself as one of Kagame’s advisors and friend. Huge amounts of British financial aid have been poured into Rwanda which, curiously, has become a member of the Commonwealth. The Rwandan government’s agenda is to annex North and South Kivu provinces and their mineral wealth into Rwanda.22 Blair also chairs the Middle East Quartet, and so provides Israel with diplomatic protection over Palestine.

The UN finally took the offensive in August 2013 with UN troops, including South African soldiers, against the M23 rebels that are backed by Rwanda. The New York Times in September 2013 published an in-depth analysis of Kagame under the title “The Global Elite’s Favorite Strongman.”23 Both the UN and US in October 2013 warned the Rwandan government against its continuing support for M23 and the use of child soldiers.24 The Rwandan government unconvincingly denies involvement.

Preliminary reports suggest that the UN has defeated the M23 rebels.25 If true, and if peace and stability can at last be achieved in the DRC as the heartland of the African continent and its natural wealth, then the hopes of economic development expressed by Annan in Africa Progress Report 2013 might at last become attainable.

Guinea:

The Simandou iron ore deposit in Guinea is reportedly so rich that the ore can be fed into blast furnaces with minimal processing. It has been described as the richest undeveloped iron ore deposit anywhere in the world. It is estimated to be worth about US$140 billion over the next 25 years, and thus could economically transform Guinea. The concession rights to develop Simandou were allocated to Rio Tinto in 1997.

Just two weeks before his death in 2008, the then dictator of Guinea, President Lansana Conté stripped Rio Tinto of its licence and, against payment of US$160 million, re-allocated it to the Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz. Steinmetz reportedly has no experience in iron ore mining. He is however, the richest billionaire in Israel. His political connections include former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, against whom numerous allegations of corruption have been “brushed under the carpet.”

Olmert resigned in 2009 because allegations included that, in supporting Steinmetz’s claim to Simandou, the Israeli General Israel Ziv had illegally signed a US$10 million contract to supply and train the Guinean army.26

The Beny Steinmetz Group Resources (BSGR), which is headquartered in London, then sold a 51 percent stake in Simandou in 2010 to the Brazilian mining company, Vale for US$2.5 billion. The deal came under scrutiny in 2011, and began to unravel. The FBI began investigations when Guinean officials paid cash for expensive properties on Manhattan.

President Conté’s widow -- believing that she had been tricked by Steinmetz and by 2012 now living in the US -- then blew the whistle on the involvement of the Israeli secret service, the Shin Bet, and substantiated her story with detailed documentation.27

In an attempt at damage control because of the role of Britain’s remaining colonies -- such as the British Virgin Islands, as tax and money laundering havens -- the British Prime Minister David Cameron in June 2013, ahead of the G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal declaring:

We must fight the scourge of tax evasion by promoting a new global standard for automatic information exchange between tax authorities. And we must tackle aggressive tax avoidance by encouraging better global reporting to tax authorities in both the developed and developing world; and by letting tax collectors and law enforcement find out who really owns and controls each company.

Second, we must lift the veil of secrecy that too often lets corrupt corporations and officials in some countries run rings around the law. The G-8 must move toward a global common standard for resource-extracting companies to report all payments to governments, and in turn for governments to report those revenues. This will encourage more investment in resource-rich countries and level the playing field for business.28

As scandals recently associated with Barclays Bank, HSBC and other British banks have illustrated, the City of London’s reputation for corruption has degenerated to the point that it is sometimes referred to as the most corrupt square mile anywhere on the planet Earth. Cameron, just six months earlier, had vigorously supported British banks, saying:

Yes, some utterly terrible mistakes were made, and they need to be addressed properly so that they can never happen again. Those who think the answer is just to trash the banks would end up trashing Britain. I say recognise the enormous strength and potential of our financial sector, regulate it properly and get behind it. 29

 The reality however, is that both the British arms industry and its banking industry are virtually without regulation, and scream vociferously whenever regulation is suggested. As an example, when in 1998 I asked the British government to investigate whether BAE was laundering bribes to ANC politicians in connection with the arms deal, the eventual response I received was that it was not [then] illegal in English law to bribe foreigners, and therefore there was no crime to investigate. Britain remains notoriously lax in enforcing its corruption obligations.

At the request of the US Department of Justice, Swiss and French police in August 2013 raided Steinmetz’s offices in Switzerland and France.30 Israeli law is expected to protect Steinmetz from extradition to stand trial.

 Angola:

The son of former French President François Mitterand, several senior French government officials and Russian-born Arcadi Gaydamak were involved in conspiracies between 1993 and 1998 by numerous French, Israeli and Russian gangsters to take control of Angolan oil and diamonds in exchange for Russian weapons. The “Angolagate” scandal rocked the French government for several years.

Gaydamak had political ambitions in Israel to become Mayor of Jerusalem, and even Prime Minister. Both Israel and Russia refused to extradite him to France where he was eventually sentenced in absentia to a six year jail sentence for gunrunning. Extraordinarily, the Paris Court of Appeals in 2011 overturned the judgement. It ruled that irrespective of a UN arms embargo, it was not illegal in Angola to import weapons for use against Unita, and therefore dismissed the charges against Gaydamak and others of arms trafficking.

In 2012 Gaydamak sued his former business partner Lev Leviev in a London court for damages of US$1 billion after alleging Leviev had cheated him out of US$1 billion in earnings from Angolan diamonds. Gaydamak lost the case, but the judge was scathing in his judgement of the behaviour of both men.31

Leviev boasts of having been the man who broke the De Beers diamond cartel. The New York Times reported in 2007:

Leviev saw an opportunity in 1989. De Beers had encountered anti-trust problems in the US. In South Africa, the apartheid government was losing political power. At the same time, the Soviet Union, whose leaders had a long and mutually profitable partnership with De Beers, was nearing collapse.

One of Leviev’s first moves in Russia was to set up a high-tech cutting and polishing plant. It provided jobs and, more important, showed the Russians how they could gain control of their own industry. In turn, the Russian government helped him to gain a foothold in Africa.

Leviev bought into the Catoca diamond mine in Angola, and soon established warm ties with the Angolan President José dos Santos. Dos Santos was fighting a civil war against Unita rebels, who were financed by the sale of smuggled ‘blood diamonds.’32

Leviev laundered much of his newfound diamond wealth through Africa-Israel Investment Company (originally Africa-Palestine Investment Company established in 1934 by South African Zionists), which is now one of Israel’s main property companies. In turn, Africa-Israel subsidiaries are heavily involved in illegal construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Zufrim, Har Homa and Ma’ale Adumin.33

 Zimbabwe:

The Mail and Guardian newspaper during April to July 2013 ran several exposés alleging how a front company for the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, rigged the Zimbabwe voters role to ensure victory for the ruling ZAPU-PF and President Robert Mugabe in the July elections.

The M&G also reported that Nikuv International Projects runs similar operations in Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Botswana, Angola and Lesotho.34 Nikuv denies that it is a front company for Mossad, and claims it was established by a group of professionals and specialises in population registration, birth and death registration; marriage/divorce registration; identity documents; immigration and citizenship; passports; and electoral systems.

Canada Africa Partnership, Global Witness, Human Rights Watch and other organisations have heavily documented corruption and human rights abuses associated with the Marange diamond fields which now finance the Mugabe dictatorship.35 The Marange diamond fields discovered in 2008 are reported to constitute perhaps as much as a quarter of the world’s diamond supply.

The deposits are believed to contain at least three billion carats, and over the next eighty years could be worth about US$800 billion.36 The extent of Israeli and Chinese beneficial ownership is obscured via a network of front companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, but Leviev and his brother Moshe are alleged to be the final beneficiaries.37

The Kimberley Process (KP), which was intended to eliminate the trade in “blood diamonds,” has in recent years been gutted. When the US chaired the KP in 2012, Ambassador Gillian Milovanic assured the Israeli diamond industry that it would not be affected by any proposed changes in definitions of “conflict diamonds.”38

 Thus, the KP now closes its eyes to human rights violations by government forces, enabling Zimbabwe to export its diamonds via Dubai and India, and thereby protects the Israeli high-value cut and polished diamond trade from scrutiny and regulation.39 KP met in Kimberley in June 2013, and was chaired by South Africa represented by the Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms Susan Shabangu. A coalition of Cosatu and civil society organisations unsuccessfully lobbied to have Israel expelled. Their statement declared:

the definition of ‘conflict diamond’ currently applied within the KP extends only to ‘rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to fund violence against legitimate governments’. It thus excludes, for instance, billions of dollars worth of diamonds exported from Israel that are a major source of revenue for the Israeli military, which stands accused of war crimes.

Not only do Israeli diamond exports fund the ongoing crimes of the Israeli military regime against Palestinians, but industrial diamonds processed in Israel are also widely understood to be central to Israel’s production and export of military and security technologies. Most importantly, this includes pilotless ‘drone’ aircraft, of which Israel is the leading exporter to the US and the rest of the world. The extensive use by the US of drones in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen is widely seen as illegal because of ‘collateral damage’ inflicted on civilian populations.40

A KP plenary meeting is scheduled to be held in Johannesburg at the Emperors Palace Convention Centre during 19 to 22 November 2013. This is the main decision-making gathering within KP, and is probably the last good opportunity both within the KP and with our government to highlight the double standard that funds human rights violations in Africa, and allows the trade in cut and polished blood diamonds to continue unchecked. China takes over as chair of the KP in 2014, and Angola is expected to follow in 2015.

 South Sudan:

Israeli destabilisation of Sudan dates back to the 1960s when funds, weapons and training were first provided to the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army.41 The civil war resumed in 1983 after a period of relative peace after 1972, and finally resulted in secession of the South from the North in 2011. Israel also assisted the South when clashes between the two countries erupted earlier this year. In turn, the North supports Hamas in Gaza, and is also politically aligned with Iran.

About 80 percent of the oil reserves are in the South. The new country is thus of enormous economic and strategic interest to Israel should the matter of export shipment ports to be resolved. Politically motivated disruptions of shipments through Port Sudan are prompting consideration by the South of pipeline construction across Kenya to Lamu and Mombasa.42

Credible analysis by Global Research in Canada speculates that the massacre at the Israeli-owned Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi in September 2013 was, in fact, a “false flag” operation to solidify Israeli influence in Kenya and beyond. The analysis argues that Israeli priorities in East Africa are to open a second military front against the Iranians and also to oust Chinese and Indian oil companies from South Sudan.43

 SWIFT Sanctions Against Israeli Banks -- A Nonviolent Remedy:

Apartheid in Palestine-Israel is not only the leading moral issue of this age, but its world impact -- including the plundering of African natural resources -- remains the foremost threat to international peace and security. Given its stockpile of nuclear warheads and the disposition within the Netanyahu government to use them to “defend” the Zionist state, there is no way that the international community can dare challenge Israel militarily. A nonviolent initiative is therefore imperative.

The “Who Profits?” website maintained by the Women’s Coalition for Peace, documents war profiteering by Israeli and international corporations. Corruption, money laundering and human rights abuses are invariably interconnected. Such abuses are rampant in Israel, but are invariably buried or excused by considerations of “national security.” The website lists hundreds of companies involved in construction of the “apartheid wall” and settlements.

Its 2010 report entitled “Financing The Israeli Occupation” found that all Israeli banks are criminally complicit in the Occupation, and are in violation of international law. The report reveals that all Israeli banks are crucially involved in the financing of construction in the settlements and the sale of property, as well as in providing financial services to corporations that illegally operate in the settlements.

Military leaders and their business associates make enormous profits from the illegal occupation of Palestine. The banks are also the conduit by which Israeli nationals remit the proceeds of looting in Africa. The vote by the European parliament on 23 October 2013 to suspend the SWIFT agreement with the US on exchanges of banking information confirms the centrality of the SWIFT system in the international payments system.44 The vote reflects outrage in Europe over recent US spying revelations.

Accordingly, I recommend that SWIFT sanctions against Israeli banks offers an appropriate, effective and nonviolent remedy against both Israeli plundering of African resources as well as support for the liberation of the Palestinian people.

Money laundering is now considered a major international security issue. Recent money laundering and other scandals involving international banks also suggest that SWIFT will not want to be associated with war profiteering in collusion with Israeli banks. Moral pressure from international civil society, combined with a court application in Belgium, could produce a surprisingly rapid and peaceful resolution to the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Banking technology has advanced dramatically since the 1980s and is now reliant on computers. This makes Israel even more vulnerable to banking sanctions than was apartheid South Africa. The Society for Worldwide Inter-Bank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) authenticates financial payments between international banks and financial institutions around the globe.

Being domiciled in Belgium, SWIFT is also outside US jurisdiction. Every bank has a SWIFT code, the fifth and sixth letters of which identify the country of domicile. The Israel economy would quickly collapse without access to the international banking system. The letters IL identify Israeli banks. As illustrations:

 

Israel Discount Bank IDBLILIT

 Bank Hapoalim POALILIT

 Bank Ha Leumi LUMIILIT

 Bank of Israel ISRAILIJ

 Union Bank of Israel UNBKILIT

 It would be a simple matter to re-programme SWIFT’s computer system to suspend inter-bank payments to and from Israeli banks. Unlike trade sanctions which hurt the workers, banking sanctions impact quickly and severely upon the financial and political elites who have the clout to effect political change. The intention is not to bring the Israeli economy to its knees but rather to bring the highly militarised Israeli government to its senses.

I also recommend passage by the General Assembly of a resolution calling upon SWIFT to suspend transactions to and from Israeli (IL) banks until the Israeli government:

 Agrees to relinquish its nuclear weapons, and to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty,

  • Agrees to release immediately all Palestinian political prisoners,

  • Agrees to end its occupation of Gaza, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and to dismantle the “apartheid wall,”

  • Recognizes the fundamental rights of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.

  • Acknowledges the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

In conclusion, I repeat Martin Luther King’s challenge in 1968 in connection with the Vietnam War, and conscientious objection to that war. He said:

Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? Conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.


1 ‘Follow The Money: NSA Spies On International Payments,’ (2013), Der Spiegel, 15 September. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-exclusive-nsa-spies-o…
2 Shlaim, Avi (2009). “How Israel Brought Gaza to the brink of Catastrophe,” The Guardian, 7 January.
3 Mann, Yuval (2010). ‘Promised Land For Organised Crime?’ YNetNews.com, 2 December.
4 Giladi, Naiem (2003). The Ben Gurion Scandals, Tempe, Arizona: Dandelion Books.
5 Levy, Gideon (2010). “And What Happens In Our Community? The rule is that even after 62 years after its establishment, Israel is run by an ethnically pure Ashkenazi elite.’ Ha’aretz, 2 May.
6 Schneer, Jonathan (2010). The Balfour Declaration: The Origins Of The Arab-Israeli Conflict, London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
7 Cook, Jonathan (2013). ‘Israel’s Booming Secretive Arms Trade, Al Jazeera, 16 August.
8 The Lab (2013). Winner of the Jafo Award at the 2013 Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival. http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10220
9 Polakow-Suransky, Sasha (2010). The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa, Johannesburg: Jacana Media.
10 Interview with Martin Welz, editor Noseweek Magazine, Cape Town, May 2013.
11 Crawford-Browne, Terry (2007). Eye On The Money, Cape Town: Umuzi/RandomHouse.
12 Guzman, Timothy Alexander (2013). ‘A Nuclear-Free Zone In The Middle East: Why Israel Will Not Join The Non-Proliferation Treaty’. Global Research, 27 September. http://www.globalresearch.ca/a-nuclear-free-zone-in-the-middle-east-why-israel-will-not-join-the-non-proliferation-treaty/5351738
13 Shaxson, Nicholas (2011). Treasure Islands: Tax Havens And The Men Who Stole The World. London. Vintage/RandomHouse.
14Tyler, Patrick (2009). A World Of Trouble: America In The Middle East, London:Portobello Books.
15 http://www.africaprogresspanel.org/publications/policy-papers/africa-pr…
16 Van Criegkinge, Jan (2006). ‘ Congo (DRC) and War Profiteers: a Tragedy Forgotten by the Global Peace Movement, War Profiteers News #4, London, 1 December.
17 Ewing, Jonathan (2013). ‘Congo: Fool’s Gold,’ World Policy Institute. http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/summer2013/fools-gold
18 Wallis, Williams, Helen Thomas and Katrina Manson (2012) ‘Questions Over Tycoon’s Congo mines role,’ Financial Times, 26 June. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/dce3c89a-bec6-11e1-8ccd-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2gkTBl1dr
19 Kavanagh, Michael J. (2013) ‘Congo Affidavit on Gecamines Deal May Allow IMF Loans To Proceed,’ Bloomberg Business Week, 9 May. http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/503494?type=bloomberg
20 Wild, Franz, Michael J. Kavanagh and Jonathan Ferziger (2012). ‘Gertler Earns Billions as Mine Deals Fail to Enrich Congo,’ Bloomberg Markets Magazine, 5 December. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-12-05/gertler-earns-billions-as-mine-deals-leave-congo-poorest.html and Jim Armitage (2012).’Dan Gertler: Is This The End For Congo’s Diamond Geezer?’ The Independent, 11 December. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/dan-gertler-is-this-the-end-for-congos-diamond-geezer-8406652.html
21 Mantague, Montague and Frida Berrigan (2001), ‘The Business of War in the Democratic republic of Congo,’ Dollars and Sense Magazine. July/August. http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Africa/Business_War_Congo.html
22 Snow, Keith Harmon (2005) ‘Rwanda’s Secret War: US-backed Destabilisation of Central Africa,’ Z Magazine, February 2005. http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Africa/Rwanda_Secret_War.html
23 Gettleman, Jeffrey (2013) ‘The Global Elite’s Favorite Strongman,’ New York Times, 4 September.
24 ‘US Sanctions Rwanda Over Use of Child Soldiers by M23 Rebels, (2013) Radio Okapi/ Congo Planet. 4 October. http://www.congoplanet.com/2013/10/04/news/2057/us-sanctions-rwanda-over-use-of-child-soldiers-m23-rebels.jsp
25 ‘DR Congo Soldiers Recapture Rumangabo from M23 Rebels,’ (2013). BBC News, 28 October. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24713808?print=true
26 Melman, Yossi (2009) ‘Bloody Business In Africa,’ Haaretz, 31 December. http://www.webguinee.net/etat/postcolonial/cndd/camara_moussa_dadis/vu_presse/israel-bloody-business-guinea.html
27 Keefe, Patrick Radden (2013). ‘Buried Secrets: How an Israeli billionaire wrested control of one of Africa’s biggest prizes,’ The New Yorker, 8 July. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/07/08/130708fa_fact_kee
28 Cameron, David (2013). ‘A British-American Tax and Trade Agenda,’ Wall Street Journal, 12 May. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324216004578478652537662348.html
29 ‘Cameron Defends Arms Deals in Gulf’ (2012). Huffington Post, 12 November. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/12/cameron-defends-arms-deal-middle-east-gulf-_n_2117809.html?just_reloaded=1
30 Cobain, Ian (2013). Swiss and French police raid offices linked to billionaire Steinmetz: The Guardian understands the raids were requested by the US department of justice, which has been investigating Steinmetz’s Simandou mining deal,’ The Guardian, 29 August. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/29/swiss-french-police
31 ‘Leviev Wins Legal Round In Diamond Row With Gaydamak,’ (2012). Haaretz, 1 July. http://www.haaretz.com/business/leviev-wins-legal-round-in-diamond-row-with-gaydamak-1.447944
32 Chafets, Zev (2007). ‘The Missionary Mogul,’ New York Times, 16 September. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/16/magazine/16Leviev-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
33 ‘Settlement-builder Lev Leviev’s Company Africa-Israel in Dire Straits,’ (2010). http://adalahny.org .
34 Sole, Sam (2013). ‘Zim Voters’ Roll In Hands Of Suspect Israeli Company,’ Mail and Guardian, 12 April. http://mg.co.za/article/2013-04-12-00-zim-voters-roll-in-hands-of-suspect-israeli-company
35 ‘Reap What You Sow: Greed, Corruption in Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamond Fields,’ (2012), Partnership Africa Canada. http://www.pacweb.org/Documents/diamonds_KP/Reap_What_You_Sow-eng-Nov2012.pdf
36 Mzaca, Vladimir and Zoli Mangena (2010). “Fabulous Wealth In Marange Diamonds,’ The Times, 8 August. http://www.timeslive.co.za/africa/article591181.ece/Fabulous-wealth-in-Marange-diamonds
37 Sharife, Kadija (2013). ‘Disappearing Diamonds,’ 100 Reporters: New Journalism For a New Age, 20 February. http://100r.org/2013/02/disappearing-diamonds/
38 ‘KP Chair Assuages Conflict Zone Diamond Producers,’ (2012). 16 September. http://www.israelidiamond.co.il/english/News.aspx?boneId=918&objid=11798
39 Sharifa, Kadija and John Grobler (2013). ‘Kimberley’s Illicit Process,’ an article still to be published by the World Policy Institute in November 2013.
40 ‘South African Officials Must Reject Israeli Blood Diamonds And Secure Jobs in Diamond Beneficiation,’ (2013). Statement by Cosatu and other civil society organisations. 31 May.
41Fergie, Moshe (2003). Israel and The Movement For the Liberation of South Sudan, Tel Aviv. Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern and African Studies.
42 ‘South Sudan Moves Closer To Oil Pipeline To The South,’ (2013). BBC News, 26 June. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23065592
43 Shimatsu, Yoichi (2013). ‘Was It a Psyop? Nairobi Mall Deceipt Abets Israel-Western Pipeline Wars To Oust Asian Rivals.’ Toronto. Global Research. 1 October. http://www.globalresearch.ca/was-is-a-syop-nairobi-mall-deceit-abets-Israeli-western-pipeline-wars-to-oust-asian-rivals/5351985
44 Laura Klompenhaewer (2013). ‘European Parliament Wants To Suspend Exchange of Banking Information With US,’ http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2013/10/23/europarlement-stemt-voor-opschorting-swift-verdrag-met-vs/
45 Martin Luther King’s speech entitled “A Proper Sense Of Priorities,” Washington DC, 6 February 1968.

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Jerusalem is the capital. Palestine, currently under occupation, is located on the East coast of the Mediterranean Sea, West of Jordan and to the south of Lebanon. The territory of Palestine covers around 10,435 square miles.

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