Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Jews/Israel/Palestine’ Category

The Kurdish Barazani family in Iraq are Jews on both side of their parents and for many generations

No need to delve any further why this family is totally supporting Israel and destabilizing Iraq in all periods.

The current Iraq Kurdish “leader” Massoud Barazani was born in Israel from both Jewish parents and his father Moustafa was also Jewish from both parents and tried his best to obtain an autonomous status from central Iraqi government.

شيء من التاريخ ٠٠
—————
كانت المرشدة الدينية ( أَسْنَات البرزانية Asnaat al Barazaniyat  ) ام ملا مصطفى البرزاني ٠٠والتي عاشت في كردستان العراق ،كانت ابنة الحاخام صوموئيل برزاني في كردستان ، وتزوجت في وقت لاحق من الحاخام يعقوب مناحي ، الذي كان رئيساً لمدرسة دينية يهودية في العمادية وكان أستاذاً فيها ٠٠

كانت أَسْنَات البرزانية مشهورة لمعرفتها الشرائع الدينية اليهودية ، وبعد وفاة زوجها في وقت مبكّر ، أصبحت رئيسة المدرسة الدينية في العمادية لأنهاكانت من أكبر العلماء العارفين في التوراة ،

وكنيت بأسم ( أَسْنَات التنائية ) التي تعني عالمة وباحثة ٠٠وكانت شاعرة نظمت القصائد باللغة العبرية التي كانت تجيدها ٠٠


ان (( أَسْنَات اليهودية هذه هي أم ملا مصطفى البرزاني )) وان مصطفى البرزاني هرب الى أعمامه وأخواله في اسرائيل وتزوج منهم في طبرية

، وأنجب مسعود البرزاني والذي سماه أعمامه (( ناحوم )) وسماه ابوه (( مشعو )) ثم تغير الى مسعود البرزاني ٠٠

لذلك يعود الأصل في قوة العلاقات الإسرائيلية الكردستانية الى مسعود اليهودي اماً وأباً٠٠أو ما يسمى يهود (( الدونمي )) ، وان تمسك اليهود بالاكراد يعود الى مسعود الذي ولد في ( تل ابيب ) ويحمل الجنسية اليهودية وهو فخور بذلك !!


لقد قام مسعود بإرسال الشباب البرزانيين الذين هم قيادات الان في ( تل ابيب ) ومنهم نيجرفان برزاني وكوسرت رسول وخسرو وغيرهم الذين هم يهود في الأصل وتسري اليهودية في دمائهم !!


كما عمدت الموساد على تدريب الأسايش والبيشمرگة على ترهيب المسلمين وقتل العديد منهم ، وخاصة العلماء والأساتذة والمفكرين والضباط في الموصل وكركوك وديالى وبغداد٠٠

وكانت مليشيات الأسايش هي اليد اليهودية الصهيونية الضاربة للموساد في العراق ٠٠
هذه اطلالة بسيطة من نافذة صغيرة عن تاريخ العائلة البرزانية اليهودية ٠٠فلاغرابة من ان نرى رفعاً للعلم الصهيوني في كردستان العراق ٠٠

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Why I didn’t join the protests against gender violence in Israel

‘My identity as a woman is not detached from my identity as a Palestinian, so I can only rally behind a movement that calls to free women from all systems of oppression.’

By Maryam Hawari, Dec. 5, 2018

A protester takes part in a mass rally against government inaction toward gender violence, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, December 4, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A protester takes part in a mass rally against government inaction toward gender violence, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, December 4, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

I can only relate to an act of protest that undoes the privileges that other women enjoy as a result of my oppression

I first encountered Alice Miller v. Minister of Defense in my first year of law school.

In 1994, Miller took the Israeli army to the High Court of Justice in a sex discrimination case, challenging its policy banning women from combat roles. The court found the ban to be unconstitutional, and the case was a significant development for gender equity in the Israeli army.

Jewish Israeli feminists still considers it a defining moment for the movement, but even then, I could feel that this “revolution” did not represent me.

On Tuesday, a coalition of women’s organizations declared a general strike to protest the government’s inaction toward violence against women in Israel. The strike came a week after the murders of 16-year-old Yara Ayoub from the village of Jish, and 13-year-old Silvana Tsegai from Tel Aviv.

It garnered the support of hundreds of organizations and institutions, including municipalities, unions, and corporations. To this day, I don’t feel that this revolution represents me.

It’s important for me to note that violence against women and girls, including domestic abuse and femicide, is a problem that crosses nations, socio-economic backgrounds and age, and must be denounced from its root. I have no doubt that the organizers of the strike had good intentions.

They protested under the seemingly-inclusive banner of “Stop the murder of women in Israel” in the hopes that anyone would feel welcome to participate, regardless of their religion, race, gender, or ideology.

But this oversimplified slogan is at the heart of the problem.

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I believe that the personal is political.

As a Palestinian woman who is inseparable from the rest of the Palestinian people, I can’t isolate the murders of Palestinian women in Israel from the context of the imbalance of power that Israel created and has been consolidating since 1948.

I can’t express solidarity with Israeli women as they stand in solidarity with me, I can’t subscribe to a slogan as abstract as “stop the murder of women in Israel” because I can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that the murder of women here is not only a criminal offense, it is also politically motivated.

Palestinian women are not only murdered at the hands of Palestinian men. Women and girls in Gaza and the West Bank are also killed by Israeli soldiers — both male and female.

They are sexually harassed Not only by Palestinian men but by soldiers at checkpoints. They are Not only discriminated against in Palestinian society, but are invisible to Israeli decision-makers.

Tens of thousands take part takes part in a mass rally against government inaction toward gender violence, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, December 4, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Tens of thousands take part takes part in a mass rally against government inaction toward gender violence, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, December 4, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The protest on Tuesday culminated in a mass rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. Some of the activists who attended spoke against the occupation, and included Palestinian women in the occupied territories when they spoke against violence toward women.

They mentioned how discrimination, the Gaza blockade, and Israel’s military rule over millions of Palestinians are inherent to the problem of gender violence.

But they stood side by side with female soldiers, police officers, and politicians who support racist laws, and who endorse the occupation and the siege of Gaza — the very women who view me, a Palestinian, as an existential threat.

This is why the nature of the current wave of protests indirectly — if not purposefully — excludes me.

It only wants to save Palestinian women from the injustices and patriarchy of Palestinian society, while totally disregarding state-sponsored segregation and discrimination in education, the allocation of resources, health care, land expropriation, police brutality, silencing dissent, unrecognized villages, and the lack of access that Palestinian women have to public transportation, in case, say, they would have liked to join the rally in Tel Aviv.

This protest dehumanized Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and pushed Palestinian women in Israel into the shadow of Jewish Israeli women.

I’m not arguing that Palestinian women are not in need of protection — it’s our right to receive the protections we deserve. But my identity as a woman is not detached from my identity as a Palestinian, so I can only rally behind a movement that calls to free women from all systems of oppression.

I can only relate to an act of protest that undoes the privileges that other women enjoy as a result of my oppression.

It begins with a recognition of the ongoing injustice and “state of emergency” that we, Palestinian women, have been enduring for 70 years.

Maryam Hawari is a lawyer and a political and social activist. A version of this article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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Old Palestinian photos & films hidden in IDF archive show different history than Israeli claims

Old Palestinian photos & films hidden in IDF archive show different history than Israeli claims

Still from Rona Sela’s Looted and Hidden: Palestinian Archives in Israel,” a documentary about Palestinian photographs and films that were “captured” and deposited in sealed Israeli archives. They “were erased from consciousness and history” for decades, Sela says. It took a protracted legal struggle to make them public.

By Ofer AderetHa’aretz (Go to original article to see more photos)

Palestinian photos and films seized by Israeli troops have been gathering dust in the army and Defense Ministry archives until Dr. Rona Sela, a curator and art historian, exposed them. The material presents an alternative to the Zionist history that denied the Palestinians’ existence here, she says.

The initial reaction is one of incredulity: Why is this material stored in the Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry Archive? The first item is labeled, in Hebrew, “The History of Palestine from 1919,” the second, “Paintings by Children Who Go to School and Live in a Refugee Camp and Aspire to Return to Palestine.” The third is, “Depiction of the IDF’s Treatment and Harsh Handling of Palestinians in the Territories.”

Of all places, these three reels of 16-mm film are housed in the central archive that documents Israel’s military-security activities. It’s situated in Tel Hashomer, near the army’s National Induction Center, outside Tel Aviv.

 IDF archive contains 2.7 million photos, 38,000 films

The three items are barely a drop in an ocean of some 38,000 films, 2.7 million photographs, 96,000 audio recordings and 46,000 maps and aerial photos that have been gathered into the IDF Archive since 1948, by order of Israel’s first prime minister and defense minister, David Ben-Gurion. However, a closer perusal shows that this particular “drop in the ocean” is subversive, exceptional and highly significant.

The footage in question is part of a collection – whose exact size and full details remain unknown – of “war booty films” seized by the IDF from Palestinian archives in raids over the years, though primarily in the 1982 Lebanon War.

Recently, however, following a persistent, protracted legal battle, the films confiscated in Lebanon, which had been gathering dust for decades – instead of being screened in cinematheques or other venues in Israel – have been rescued from oblivion, along with numerous still photos. The individual responsible for this development is Dr. Rona Sela, a curator and researcher of visual history at Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Rona Sela spent decades researching, discovering, and exposing the confiscated films.

For nearly 20 years, Sela has been exploring Zionist and Palestinian visual memory. She has a number of important revelations and discoveries to her credit, which she has published in the form of books, catalogs and articles. Among the Hebrew-language titles are  “Photography in Palestine/Eretz-Israel in the ‘30s and ‘40s” (2000) and “Made Public: Palestinian Photographs in Military Archives in Israel” (2009). In March, she published an article in the English-language periodical Social Semiotics on, “The Genealogy of Colonial Plunder and Erasure – Israel’s Control over Palestinian Archives.”

Now Sela has made her first film, “Looted and Hidden: Palestinian Archives in Israel,” an English-language documentary that surveys the fate of Palestinian photographs and films that were “captured” and deposited in Israeli archives. It includes heretofore unseen segments from films seized by the IDF from Palestinian archives in Beirut. These documentary records, Sela says, “were erased from consciousness and history” for decades.

Sela begins journey in 1998

Getting access to the films was not easy, Sela explains. Her archival journey began in 1998, when she was researching Zionist propaganda films and photos that sought to portray the “new Jew” – muscular, proudly tilling the soil – in contradistinction, according to the Zionist perception, to the supposedly degenerate and loutish Palestinian Arab.

“After spending a few years in the Central Zionist Archive in Jerusalem and in other Zionist archives, researching the history of Zionist photography and the construction of a visual propaganda apparatus supporting the Zionist idea, I started to look for Palestinian visual representation as well, in order to learn about the Palestinian narrative and trace its origins and influence,” she says.

That task was far more complicated than anyone could have imagined. In some of the Zionist films and photos, Sela was able to discern, often incidentally, episodes from Palestinian history that had “infiltrated” them, as she puts it. For example, in Carmel Newsreels (weekly news footage screened at local cinemas) from 1951, showing the settlement of Jews in Jaffa, demolished and abandoned Arab homes are clearly visible.

Subsequently, Sela spotted traces and remnants of a genuine Palestinian visual archive occasionally cropping up in Israeli archives. Those traces were not immediately apparent, more like an elusive treasure concealed here and there beneath layers of restrictions, erasures and revisions.

Khalil Rassass, father of Palestinian photojournalism

Thus, one day she noticed in the archive of the pre-state Haganah militia, stills bearing the stamp “Photo Rissas.” Digging deeper, she discovered the story of Chalil Rissas (Khalil Rassass, 1926-1974), one of the fathers of Palestinian photojournalism. He’s unknown to the general public, whether Palestinian or Israel, but according to Sela, he was a “daring, groundbreaking photographer” who, motivated by a sense of national consciousness, documented the pre-1948 Palestinian struggle.

Subsequently she found hundreds of his photographs, accompanied by captions written by soldiers or Israeli archive staff who had tried to foist a Zionist narrative on them and disconnect them from their original context. The source of the photographs was a Jewish youth who received them from his father, an IDF officer who brought them back with him from the War of Independence as booty.

The discovery was unprecedented. In contrast to the Zionist propaganda images that exalted the heroism of the Jewish troops and barely referred to the Palestinians, Rissas’ photographs were mainly of Palestinian fighters. Embodying a proud Palestinian stance, they focused on the national and military struggle and its outcome, including the Palestinians’ military training and deployment for battle.

“I realized that I’d come across something significant, that I’d found a huge cache of works by one of the fathers of Palestinian photography, who had been the first to give visual expression to the Palestinian struggle,” Sela recalls. “But when I tried to learn more about Chalil Rissas, I understood that he was a forgotten photographer, that no one knew the first thing about him, either in Israel or elsewhere.”

Sela thereupon decided to study the subject herself. In 1999, she tracked down Rissas’ brother, Wahib, who was working as a photographer of tourists on the Temple Mount / Haram a-Sharif in Jerusalem’s Old City. He told her the story of Chalil’s life. It turned out that he had accompanied Palestinian troops and leaders, visually documenting the battles fought by residents of the Jerusalem area during the 1948 War of Independence. “He was a young man who chose the camera as an instrument for changing people’s consciousness,” Sela says.

Ali Za’arur, forgotten Palestinian photographer

Around 2007, she discovered the archive of another forgotten Palestinian photographer, Ali Za’arur (1900-1972), from Azzariyeh, a village east of Jerusalem. About 400 of his photos were preserved in four albums. They also depicted scenes from the 1948 war, in which Za’arur accompanied the forces of Jordan’s Arab Legion and documented the battle for the Old City of Jerusalem. He photographed the dead, the ruins, the captives, the refugees and the events of the cease-fire.

In the Six-Day War of 1967, Za’arur fled from his home for a short time. When he returned, he discovered that the photo albums had disappeared. A relative, it emerged, had given them to Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek as a gift. Afterward, the Jerusalem Foundation donated them to the IDF Archive. In 2008, in an unprecedented act, the archive returned the albums to Za’arur’s family. The reason, Sela surmises, is that the albums were captured by the army in battle. In any event, this was, as far as is known, a unique case.

Sela took heart from the discoveries she’d made, realizing that “with systematic work, it would be possible to uncover more Palestinian archives that ended up in Israeli hands.”

That work was three-pronged: doing archival research to locate Palestinian photographs and films that had been incorporated into Israeli archives; holding meetings with the Palestinian photographers themselves, or members of their families; and tracking down Israeli soldiers who had taken part in “seizing these visual spoils” and in bringing them to Israel.

In the course of her research Sela met some fascinating individuals, among them Khadijeh Habashneh, a Jordan-based Palestinian filmmaker who headed the archive and cinematheque of the Palestinian Cinema Institute. That institution, which existed from the end of the 1960s until the early ‘80s, initially in Jordan and afterward in Lebanon, was founded by three pioneering Palestinian filmmakers – Sulafa Jadallah, Hani Jawhariyyeh and Mustafa Abu Ali (Habashneh’s husband) – who sought to document their people’s way of life and national struggle. Following the events of Black September in 1970, when the Jordanian army and the Palestine Liberation Organization fought a bloody internecine war, the filmmakers moved to Lebanon and reestablished the PCI in Beirut.

Meeting with Habashneh in Amman in 2013, Sela heard the story of the Palestinian archives that disappeared, a story she included in her new documentary. “Where to begin, when so much material was destroyed, when a life project falls apart?” Habashneh said to Sela. “I can still see these young people, pioneers, bold, imbued with ideals, revolutionaries, who created pictures and films and documented the Palestinian revolution that the world doesn’t want to see. They refused to be faceless and to be without an identity.”

The archive established by Habashneh contained forgotten works that documented the Palestinians’ suffering in refugee camps, the resistance to Israel and battles against the IDF, as well as everyday life. The archive contained the films and the raw materials of the PCI filmmakers, but also collected other early Palestinian films, from both before and after 1948.

Spirit of liberation

This activity reflects “a spirit of liberation and revolt and the days of the revolution,” Habashneh says in Sela’s film, referring to the early years of the Palestinian national movement. That spirit was captured in underground photographs and with a minimal budget, on film that was developed in people’s kitchens, screened in tents in refugee camps and distributed abroad. Women, children, fighters, intellectuals and cultural figures, and events of historic importance were documented, Habashneh related. “As far as is known, this was the first official Palestinian visual archive,” Sela notes.

In her conversation with Sela, Habashneh nostalgically recalled other, better times, when the Palestinian films were screened in a Beirut cinematheque, alongside other works with a “revolutionary spirit,” from Cuba, Chile, Vietnam and elsewhere. “We were in contact with filmmakers from other countries, who saw the camera as an instrument in the hands of the revolution and the people’s struggle,” she recalled.

“Interesting cultural cooperation developed there, centering around revolutionary cinema,” Sela points out, adding, “Beirut was alive with an unprecedented, groundbreaking cultural flowering that was absolutely astonishing in terms of its visual significance.”

IDF confiscates film archive

But in 1982, after the IDF entered Beirut, that archive disappeared and was never seen again. The same fate befell two films made by Habashneh herself, one about children, the other about women. In Sela’s documentary, Habashneh wonders aloud about the circumstances in which the amazing collection disappeared. “Is our fate to live a life without a past? Without a visual history?” she asks. Since then, she has managed to reconstruct a small part of the archive. Some of the films turned up in the United States, where they had been sent to be developed. Copies of a few others remained in movie theaters in various countries where they were screened. Now in her seventies, Habashneh continues to pursue her mission, even though, as she told Sela during an early conversation, “the fate of the archive remains a puzzle.”

What Habashneh wasn’t able to accomplish beginning in 1982 as part of a worldwide quest, Sela managed to do over the course of a few years of research in Israel. She began by locating a former IDF soldier who told her about the day on which several trucks arrived at the building in Beirut that housed a number of Palestinian archives and began to empty it out. That testimony, supported by a photograph, was crucial for Sela, as it corroborated the rumors and stories about the Palestinian archives having been taken to Israel.

The same soldier added that he had been gripped by fear when he saw, among the photos that were confiscated from the archive, some that documented Israeli soldiers in the territories. He himself appeared in one of them. “They marked us,” he said to Sela.

Soldiers loot Nashashibi photos & possessions, take photo from corpse

Another former soldier told Sela about an unusual photo album that was taken (or looted, depending on one’s point of view) from the home of the prominent Nashashibi family in Jerusalem, in 1948. The soldier added that his father, who had served as an IDF officer in the War of Independence, entered a photography studio and made off with its archive, while other soldiers were busy looting pianos and other expensive objects from the Nashashibis. Another ex-soldier testified to having taken a photo from the corpse of an Arab. Over time, all these images found their way to archives in Israel, in particular the IDF Archive.

Sela discovers IDF archive

In 2000, Sela, buoyed by her early finds, requested permission from that archive to examine the visual materials that had been seized by the army in the 1980s. The initial response was denial: The material was not in Israel’s hands, she was told.

“But I knew what I was looking for, because I had soldiers’ testimonies,” she says now, adding that when she persisted in her request, she encountered “difficulties, various restrictions and the torpedoing of the possibility of perusing the material.”

The breakthrough came when she enlisted the aid of attorneys Michael Sfard and Shlomi Zacharia, in 2008. To begin with, they received word, confirmed by the Defense Ministry’s legal adviser, that various spoils taken in Beirut were now part of the IDF Archive. However, Sela was subsequently informed that “the PLO’s photography archive,” as the Defense Ministry referred in general to photographic materials taken from the Palestinians, is “archival material on matters of foreign affairs and security, and as such is ‘restricted material’ as defined in Par. 7(a) of the Archives Regulations.”

Then, one day in 2010, Sela received a fax informing her that Palestinian films had been found in the IDF Archive, without elaboration, and inviting her to view them. “There were a few dozen segments from films, and I was astonished by what I saw,” she says. “At first I was shown only a very limited amount of footage, but it was indicative of the whole. On the basis of my experience, I understood that there was more.”

Israeli soldiers loot the archive of the PLO’s Cultural Arts Section as well as material from other PLO offices, September 1982.

A few more years of what Sela terms “endless nagging, conversations and correspondence” passed, which resulted in her being permitted to view dozens of segments of additional films, including some that apparently came from Habashneh’s archive. Sela also discovered another Palestinian archive that had been seized by the IDF. Established under the aegis of the PLO’s Cultural Arts Section, its director in the 1970s was the Lod-born painter and historian Ismail Shammout (1930-2006).

One of the works in that collection is Shammout’s own film “The Urgent Call,” whose theme song was written and performed by the Palestinian singer Zainab Shathat in English, accompanying herself on the guitar. “The film was thought to be lost until I found it in the IDF Archive,” says Sela, who describes “The Urgent Call” as “a cry about the condition of Palestine, its sons and its daughters.”

Viewing it takes one back in time to the late 1960s and early ‘70s, when the cinema of the Palestinian struggle briefly connected with other international revolutionary film movements.

 Legendary French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard 

For example, in 1969 and 1970 Jean-Luc Godard, the legendary filmmaker of the French New Wave in cinema, visited Jordan and Lebanon several times with the Dziga Vertov Group of French filmmakers (named after the Soviet pioneer documentarian of the 1920s and ‘30s), who included filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin, who worked with Godard in his “radical” period. They came to shoot footage in refugee camps and in fedayeen bases for Godard’s film “Until Victory.” Habashneh told Sela that she and others had met Godard, assisted him and were of course influenced by his work. [Ed. note: Godard’s work on Palestine caused him to be accused of antisemitism by the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen and others. “In Hollywood there is no greater sin,” the Guardian reported.]

Along with “The Urgent Call” – excerpts from which are included in her “Looted and Hidden” documentary – Sela also found another Shammout work in the IDF Archive. Titled “Memories and Fire,” it chronicles 20th-century Palestinian history, “from the days depicting the idyllic life in Palestine, via the documentation of refugeehood, to the documentation of the organizing and the resistance. To use the terms of the Palestinian cinema scholar and filmmaker George Khleifi, the aggressive fighter took the place of the ill-fated refugee,” she adds.

Sela also found footage by the Iraqi director Kais al-Zubaidi, who worked for a time in the PLO’s Cultural Arts Section. His films from that period include “Away from Home” (1969) and “The Visit” (1970); in 2006 he published an anthology, “Palestine in the Cinema,” a history of the subject, which mentions some 800 films that deal with Palestine or the Palestinian people. [Ed. note: unfortunately it appears this book has never been translated into English.]

IDF seals the archive for decades

Some of the Palestinian movies in the IDF Archive bear their original titles. However, in many other cases this archival material was re-cataloged to suit the Israeli perspective, so that Palestinian “fighters” became “gangs” or “terrorists,” for example. In one case, a film of Palestinians undergoing arms training is listed as “Terrorist camp in Kuwait: Distribution of uniforms, girls crawling with weapons, terrorists marching with weapons in the hills, instruction in laying mines and in arms.”

Sela: “These films and stills, though not made by Jewish/Israeli filmmakers or military units – which is the central criterion for depositing materials in the Israeli army archive – were transferred to the IDF Archive and subordinated to the rules of the State of Israel. The archive immediately sealed them for many decades and cataloged them according to its terminology – which is Zionist, Jewish and Israeli – and not according to the original Palestinian terminology. I saw places where the word ‘terrorists’ was written on photographs taken by Palestinians. But after all, they do not call themselves as such. It’s part of terminological camouflaging, which subordinated their creative work to the colonial process in which the occupier controls the material that’s captured.”

Hidden Palestinian history

Sela’s discoveries, which are of international importance, are not only a research, documentation and academic achievement: They also constitute a breakthrough in regard to the chronicling of Palestinian history. “Palestinian visual historiography lacks many chapters,” she observes. “Many photographs and archives were destroyed, were lost, taken as spoils or plundered in the various wars and in the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

From her point of view, the systematic collecting of Palestinian visual materials in the IDF Archive “makes it possible to write an alternative history that counteracts the content created by the army and the military archive, which is impelled by ideological and political considerations.” In the material she found in the army archive, she sees “images that depict the history of the Palestinian people and its long-term ties to this soil and this place, which present an alternative to the Zionist history that denied the Palestinians’ existence here, as well as their culture and history and the protracted tragedy they endured and their national struggle of many years.”

The result is an intriguing paradox, such as one often finds by digging deep into an archive. The extensive information that Sela found in the IDF Archive makes it possible to reconstruct elements of the pre-1948 existence of the Palestinians and to help fill in the holes of the Palestinian narrative up until the 1980s. In other words, even if Israel’s intention was to hide these items and to control the Palestinians’ historical treasures, its actions actually abet the process of preservation, and will go on doing so in the future.

Earlier groundbreaking discovery – confiscated Palestinians books & libraries

Sela’s research on visual archival materials was preceded by another groundbreaking study – dealing with the written word – conducted by Dr. Gish Amit, an expert on the cultural aspects of Zionism at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Amit chronicled the fate of Palestinian books and libraries that, like the photographs and films Sela found, ended up in Israeli archives – including in the National Library in Jerusalem.

In his 2014 book, “Ex-Libris: Chronicles of Theft, Preservation, and Appropriating at the Jewish National Library” (Hebrew), Amit trenchantly analyzes the foredoomed failure of any attempt to conceal and control the history of others. According to him, “an archive remembers its forgettings and erasures,” “documents injustice, and thus makes it possible to trace its paths” and “paves a way for forgotten histories which may, one day, convict the owners” of the documents.

However, Amit also sees the complexity of this story and presents another side of it. Describing the operation in which the Palestinian books were collected by Israeli soldiers and National Library personnel during the War of Independence, he raises the possibility that this was actually an act involving rescue, preservation and accessibility: “On the one hand, the books were collected and not burned or left in the abandoned houses in the Arab neighborhoods that had been emptied of their inhabitants. Had they not been collected their fate would have been sealed — not a trace of them would remain,” he writes, adding, that the National Library “protected the books from the war, the looting and the destruction, and from illegal trade in manuscripts.”

According to the National Library, it is holding about 6,500 Palestinian books and manuscripts, which were taken from private homes whose owners left in 1948. The entire collection is cataloged and accessible to the general public, but is held under the responsibility of the Custodian of Absentees’ Property in the Finance Ministry. Accordingly, there is no intention, in the near future, of trying to locate the owners and returning the items.

Israeli control over history

Sela views the existence of these spoils of war in Israel as a direct expression of the occupation, which she defines, beyond Israel’s physical presence in the territories, as “the control of history, the writing of culture and the shaping of identity.” In her view, “Israel’s rule over the Palestinians is not only geographic but extends also to culture and consciousness. Israel wants to erase this history from the public consciousness, but it is not being successful, because the force of the resistance is stronger. Furthermore, its attempts to erase Palestinian history adversely affect Israel itself in the end.”

At this point, Sela resorts to a charged comparison, to illustrate how visual materials contribute to the creation of personal and collective identity. “As the daughter of Holocaust survivors,” she says, “I grew up in a home without photographic historical memory. Nothing. My history starts only with the meeting of my parents, in 1953. It’s only from then that we have photos. Before that – nothing.

“I know what it feels like when you have no idea what your grandmother or grandfather looked like, or your father’s childhood,” she continues. “This is all the more true of the history of a whole people. The construction of identity by means of visual materials is very meaningful. Many researchers have addressed this topic. The fact is that Zionist bodies made and are continuing to make extensive and rational use of [such materials too] over a period that spans decades.”

Sela admits that there is still much to be done, but as far as she’s concerned, once a crack appeared in the wall, there was no turning back. “There is a great deal of material, including hundreds of films, that I haven’t yet got to,” she notes. “This is an amazing treasure, which contains information about the cultural, educational, rural and urban life of the Palestinian people throughout the 20th century – an erased narrative that needs to be restored to the history books,” she adds.

Asked what she thinks should be done with the material, she asserts, “Of course it has to be returned. Just as Israel is constantly fighting to retrieve what the Nazis looted from Jews in the Holocaust. The historical story is different, but by the same criterion, practice what you preach. These are cultural and historical materials of the Palestinian people.”

The fact that these items are being held by Israel “creates a large hole in Palestinian research and knowledge,” Sela avers. “It’s a hole for which Israel is responsible. This material does not belong to us. It has to be returned to its owners. Afterward, if we view it intelligently, we too can come to know and understand highly meaningful chapters in Palestinian history and in our own history. I think that the first and basic stage in the process of conciliation is to know the history of the Other and also your own history of controlling the Other.”

Defense Ministry response

A spokesperson for the Defense Ministry, which was asked to comment on the holdings in the IDF Archive, the archive contains 642 “war booty films,” most of which deal with refugees and were produced by the UNRWA (the United Nations refugee relief agency) in the 1960s and 1970s. The ministry also noted that 158 films that were seized by the IDF in the 1982 Lebanon War are listed in orderly fashion in the reading-room catalog and are available for perusal by the general public, including Arab citizens and Palestinians.

As for the Palestinian photographs that were confiscated, the Defense Ministry stated that there is no orderly record of them. There are 127 files of photographs and negatives in the archive, each of which contains dozens of photographs, probably taken between the 1960s and the 1980s, on a variety of subjects, including visits of foreign delegations to PLO personnel, tours of PLO delegations abroad, Palestinian art and heritage, art objects, traditional attire and Palestinian folklore, factories and workshops, demonstrations, mass parades and rallies held by the PLO, portraits of Arab personalities and PLO symbols.

The statement adds that a few months ago, crates were located that were stamped by their original owners, “PLO/Department of Information and National Guidance and Department of Information and Culture,” during the evacuation of the archive’s storerooms in the Tzrifin base.

A preview screening of Rona Sela’s film “Looted and Hidden – Palestinian Archives in Israel” will take place at 7 P.M. on July 3 at the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv. A Q&A with Sela and Sabri Jiryis, former director of the Palestine Research Center, in Beirut – from which the IDF also seized items – will follow.

Twenty-six Things About the Islamic State (ISIS-ISIL-Daesh) that Obama Does Not Want You to Know About

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, April 01, 2018

This article was first published in November 2014.  

Recent developments confirm what is known and documented: Washington is behind the Islamic State (ISIS-ISIL-Daesh) and at the same time it is behind the “moderate” Al Qaeda terrorists, which the Trump administration is supporting as part of America’s alleged campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). 

And they expect us to believe that they are committed to waging a campaign against terrorists. (USA still persist on dividing Syria)

The US is protecting both Al Qaeda and ISIS-ISIL-Daesh.

The US Airforce is acting on behalf of the terrorists, bombing Syrian government forces (Around Deir Zour and Sikhim hills by Damascus)

The Islamic State (ISIS) was until 2014 called al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

Al Nusra is an al Qaeda affiliate which has committed countless atrocities in Syria.  It is now considered by the US administration as the “Moderate Opposition”, fighting against Syrian government forces. 

America’s “anti-terrorist campaign’ consists in supporting a so-called “moderate” Al  Qaeda entity (Al Nusra, now renamed)  with a view to going after another al Qaeda entity entitled The Islamic State, formerly designated as Al Qaeda in Iraq.  

“Al Qaeda is going after Al Qaeda”, and both wings of al Qaeda are supported covertly by US intelligence. 

The Liberation of Aleppo

While Aleppo has been liberated against the scourge of US-supported terrorism, most mainstream media are accusing Syrian government forces of committing atrocities against civilians, describing Aleppo as a humanitarian crisis.

What they fail to mention is that for the last four years the Eastern party of  Aleppo has been occupied by Al Qaeda terrorists who are now upheld as “opposition” rebels. 

The terrorists are described as the victims of Syrian government aggression. From the very outset, the atrocities committed by the terrorists are casually blamed on Syrian government forces.  

Moreover, the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels responsible for countless atrocities are trained and financed by US-NATO and its allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel.  

Realities are turned upside down. The terrorists are portrayed as heroes and “freedom fighters”. 

The defeat of the terrorists is described as a crime against humanity. 

The Liberation of Aleppo is tagged as a humanitarian disaster. 

Those who recruited, trained and financed the terrorists are upheld by the “international community” as the guardians of World Peace.

The latter include the heads of state and heads of government of the US, Britain, France and Turkey among others. It’s called “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P).

  • Turkey provided a corridor for the terrorists into Northern Syria, they recruited and trained them in liaison with NATO.
  • Saudi Arabia and Qatar provided money, training and weapons to Al Qaeda.
  • The Obama administration ordered an air campaign directed against the Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh). 
  • What the US-led coalition was doing was PROTECTING ISIS-DAESH, while bombing the civilian infrastructure of Syria and Iraq as part of a so-called “counter-terrorism operation”.
  • The Terrorists R Us…. 
  • The mainstream media applauds, The Lie becomes the Truth. 
  • It’s official: Obama’s counterterrorism campaign requires upholding Al Qaeda as a “moderate opposition.”

It’s all for a good cause: install a puppet Islamic State in Damascus (modelled on Afghanistan), spread “Democracy Made in America” throughout the Middle East, confiscate the regions extensive oil and gas reserves, transform countries into open territories…  

The diabolical plan of sending terrorists into Syria as the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance has failed. 

Aleppo has been liberated: a Sad Day for the War Hawks. 

The Truth is a powerful weapon.

Michel Chossudovsky, December 13, 2016, May 19, 2017, September 4, 2017

*      *      *

The US led war against  the Islamic State is a big lie.

Going after ” Islamic terrorists”, carrying out a worldwide pre-emptive war to “Protect the American Homeland” are used to justify a military agenda.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a creation of US intelligence. Washington’s “Counter-terrorism Agenda” in Iraq and Syria consists in Supporting the Terrorists.  

The incursion of the Islamic State (IS) brigades into Iraq starting in June 2014 was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation supported covertly by the US, NATO and Israel.

The counter-terrorism mandate is a fiction. America is the Number One “State Sponsor of Terrorism” 

The Islamic State is protected by the US and its allies. If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June. 

\

The  Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory (see map below). With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, CF-18) it would have been  -from a military standpoint-  a rapid and expedient surgical operation  

In this article, we address 26 concepts which refute the big lie.  Portrayed by the media as a humanitarian undertaking, this large scale military operation directed against Syria and Iraq has resulted in countless civilian deaths.

It could not have been undertaken without the unbending support of  the Western media which has upheld Obama’s initiative as a counter-terrorism operation.  

THE HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF AL QAEDA

1. The US has supported Al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations for almost half a century since the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. 

2. CIA training camps were set up in Pakistan.  In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 jihadists from 43 Islamic countries were recruited by the CIA to fight in the Afghan jihad.

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad.”

3. Since the Reagan Administration, Washington has supported the Islamic terror network.

Ronald Reagan called the terrorists “freedom fighters”. The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades.  It was all for “a good cause”: fighting the Soviet Union and regime change, leading to the demise of a secular government in Afghanistan.

President Reagan and Mujahideen leaders from Afghanistan

Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)

4. Jihadist textbooks  were  published by the University of Nebraska. “. “The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings”

5. Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman and founder of Al Qaeda was recruited by the CIA in 1979at the very outset of the US sponsored jihadist war against Afghanistan . He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.

Al Qaeda was not behind the 9/11 Attacks. September 11, 2001 provided a justification for waging a war against Afghanistan on the grounds that Afghanistan was a state sponsor of terrorism, supportive of Al Qaeda. The 9/11 attacks were instrumental in the formulation of the “Global War on Terrorism”.

THE ISLAMIC STATE (ISIL)

6. The Islamic State (ISIL) was originally an Al Qaeda affiliated entity created by US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-’Āmah ( رئاسة الاستخبارات العامة‎).

7. The ISIL brigades were involved in the US-NATO supported insurgency in Syria directed against the government of  Bashar al Assad.

8.  NATO and the Turkish High Command were responsible for the recruitment of ISIL and Al Nusrah mercenaries from the outset of the Syrian insurgency in March 2011. According to Israeli intelligence sources, this initiative consisted in:

“a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011.)

9.There are Western Special Forces and Western intelligence operatives within the ranks of the ISIL. British Special Forces and MI6 have been involved in training jihadist rebels in Syria.

10. Western military specialists on contract to the Pentagon have trained the terrorists in the use of chemical weapons.

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

11. The ISIL’s practice of beheadings is part of the US sponsored terrorist training programsimplemented in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

12. Recruited by America’s ally, a large number of ISIL mercenaries are convicted criminals released from Saudi prisons on condition they join the ISILSaudi death row inmates were recruited to join the terror brigades. 

13. Israel  has supported  the ISIL and Al Nusrah brigades out of the Golan Heights.

Jihadist fighters have met Israeli IDF officers as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu. The IDF top brass tacitly acknowledges that “global jihad elements inside Syria” [ISIL and Al Nusrah] are supported by Israel. See  image below:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″

SYRIA AND IRAQ

14 The ISIL are the foot soldiers  of the Western military alliance. Their unspoken mandate is to wreck havoc and destruction in Syria and Iraq, acting on behalf of their US sponsors.

15. US Senator John McCain has met up with jihadist terrorist leaders in Syria. (see picture right)

16  The Islamic State (IS) militia, which is currently the alleged target of  a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, continues to be supported covertly by the US.  Washington and its allies continue to provide military aid to the Islamic State.

17. US and allied bombings are not targeting the ISIL, they are bombing the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria including factories and oil refineries.

18.  The IS caliphate project is part of a longstanding US foreign policy agenda to carve up Iraq and Syria into separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, a Republic of Kurdistan.

THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM (GWOT)

19. “The Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is presented as a “Clash of Civilizations”, a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives.

20 U.S. sponsored Al Qaeda terror brigades (covertly supported by Western intelligence) have been deployed in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Yemen.

original

America’s “War on Terrorism” By Mchel Chossudovsky

These various affiliated Al Qaeda entities in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa  and Asia are CIA sponsored “intelligence assets”. They are used by Washington to wreck havoc,  create internal conflicts and destabilize sovereign countries.

21 Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) (supported by NATO in 2011),  Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),  Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in Indonesia,  among other Al Qaeda affiliated groups are supported covertly by Western intelligence.

22. The US is also supporting Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China. The underlying objective is to trigger political instability in Western China.

Chinese jihadists are reported to have received “terrorist training” from the Islamic State “in order to conduct attacks in China”. The declared objective of these Chinese-based jihadist entities (which serves the interests of the US)  is to establish a Islamic caliphate extending into Western China.  (Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, Chapter 2).

HOMEGROWN TERRORISTS

23 The Terrorists R Us:  While the US is the unspoken architect of the Islamic State,  Obama’s holy mandate is to protect America against ISIL attacks.

24 The homegrown terrorist threat is a fabrication.  It is promoted by Western governments and the media with a view to repealing civil liberties and installing a police state. The terror attacks by alleged jihadists and terror warnings are invariably staged events. They are used to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

In turn, the arrests, trials and sentences of “Islamic terrorists” sustain the legitimacy of America’s Homeland Security State and law enforcement apparatus, which has become increasingly militarized.

The ultimate objective is to instill in the minds of millions of Americans that the enemy is real and the U.S. Administration will protect the lives of its citizens.

25.  The “counter-terrorism” campaign against the Islamic State has contributed to the demonization of Muslims, who in the eyes of Western public opinion are increasingly  associated with the jihadists.

26  Anybody who dares to question the validity of the “Global War on Terrorism” is branded a terrorist and subjected to the anti-terrorist laws.

The ultimate objective of the “Global War on Terrorism” is to subdue the citizens, totally depoliticize social life in America, prevent people from thinking and conceptualizing, from analyzing facts and challenging the legitimacy of the inquisitorial social order which rules America.

The Obama Administration has imposed a diabolical consensus with the support of its allies, not to mention the complicit role of the United Nations Security Council.  The Western media has embraced the consensus; it has described

The Big Lie has become the Truth. 

Say no to the “Big Lie”. Spread the message.

The truth is ultimately a powerful weapon.

Please help us continue. We rely on the support of our readers.

Consider donating to Global Research. 

For Peace and Truth in Media, Michel Chossudovsky

Obsessed with Time? Applicable to every Palestinian living under Israel occupation

Ramallah, occupied West Bank – Palestinian author Raja Shehadeh has used his pen to delicately trace the contours of Palestinian history and landscapes, bringing readers into the harsh and complicated realities that shape daily life in the West Bank, where some two and a half million Palestinians have remained under an Israeli military occupation for more than half a century.

Jaclynn Ashly, Nov. 20, 2018

Shehadeh, who also practices law, wrote his first book in 1982, titled The Third Way: A Journal of Life in the West Bank, which painted a nuanced portrait of life in the occupied territory and created the ideological foundation for his future books.

“[The book] started when I went to the United States for the first time,” the 67-year-old told me at his office in Ramallah city, where shelves of legal books and documents line the white walls.

“I met a close friend of mine, who, although he is Palestinian and follows things here, he really had no idea what life was like here,” he explained.

“When I returned [to the West Bank] I wrote him lengthy letters trying to explain how it is day to day. And it wasn’t a dramatic thing. It was little harassment and difficulties that people outside could not imagine happening at all.” (The daily frequency of these harassment is the main culprit of apartheid practices) 

“I realized there was a need for such writing, and I expanded it into a book,” he said.

The book consists of stories and journal entries written by Shehadeh. Its title is derived from a saying among inmates at the Treblinka extermination camp in Nazi occupied Poland during the Holocaust: “Faced with two alternatives, always choose the third.” (Not applicable for Palestinians in colonial Israel which has endured over 7 decades and worsening)

In Palestine, he uses this saying to explore the options Palestinians have under Israel’s occupation: to either face “exile or submissive capitulation” or “blind, consuming hate.”

The third way is sumud, or steadfastness, a word used by Palestinians to articulate the act of staying on the land, regardless of the difficulties in doing so, in order to resist Israel’s ultimate goal of expelling Palestinians from their lands.

Shehadeh has since written 10 books, his most popular being Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape, which explores his changing relationship with the landscape of the West Bank owing to Israel’s settler colonial project.

He has a new book set to be released next year, titled Going Home.

Although Shehadeh did not want to speak at length about the focus of the book, he said it explores aging and the changing perceptions of time as “you become closer to the end.”

“I’ve become rather obsessed with time,” Shehadeh said. “Maybe that’s why it bothered me so much that you showed up late.” He smiled and chuckled – the first sign of warmth he showed me since I had agitated him by arriving a half hour late. (I had used the wrong café as a reference point to his office.)

Shehadeh lives a simple life in Ramallah city, gardening, reading, listening to classical music and, of course, writing. Shehadeh has kept a sometimes daily — sometimes weekly – private journal for decades, allowing him to revisit old events, feelings and perspectives, transforming blank pages into literary works that have earned him international acclaim.

“I have a practice of always carrying around a small piece of paper or notebook and jotting things down,” Shehadeh told me. “It’s not a journal that I make myself write. I write when I need to in order to explain things to myself, or when I’m coming to terms with things.” (I take notes when I read books)

From law to literature

Shehadeh, one of the founders of the Palestinian human rights group al-Haq, had always wanted to be a writer. However, after the publication of his first book, “I realized there was a lot of work to be done in the legal aspects and the human aspects [in the occupied West Bank],” he said.

He instead dedicated most of his time to challenging Israel’s occupation and human rights violations through international legal frameworks.

“The biggest asset for Palestinians is the law,” Shehadeh told Mondoweiss. “Because the law is on our side. To some extent [at the time] there was more interest and shame among the international community regarding international law.”

(There are 2 parallel law codes in Israel)

Shehadeh served as the legal adviser for Palestinians during the Madrid peace negotiations in 1991, but left over disagreements with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s focus and priorities, which the writer said valued political expediency and the return of exiled leaders over issues facing Palestinians on the ground.

“The PLO agreed to terms that, from the beginning, I thought were too restrictive,” Shehadeh said. “It would have taken great effort to bring in issues that are so relevant to us [Palestinians] here, such as [Israeli] settlements and the land.”

He sipped from a cup of coffee an assistant had brought, and then went on: “It was only about creating a self-government for Palestinians. In my mind, [the negotiations] were leading to Israel unilaterally confirming and consolidating what was already happening. I decided it was futile and left.”

Years later, the Oslo agreements were signed in secret between the PLO and the Israeli government, dramatically altering life in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The agreements broke up the land in the occupied West Bank into Areas A, B, and C, leaving more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control, while the newly established Palestinian Authority (PA) was permitted to govern just 18 percent of the land.

“I was very disappointed [after Oslo],” Shehadeh said calmly, his hands clasped together and resting on his knee. “It made a difference in my whole life, because until then I was giving up everything I could to the legal aspect of the struggle.”

“My life really changed. I felt that my work had amounted to very little in terms of political effectiveness […]

Since Oslo, the Palestinian leadership has been excusing its failures and holding onto this deal, which they are bound to hold onto because they have no power to get out of it. And it has been downhill ever since.”

It was Shehadeh’s frustrations with Oslo that spurred him to leave al-Haq and direct his energy towards writing.

‘My father would feel very disappointed’

While Shehadeh always wrote on the side, even as he did legal work documenting Israel’s violations in the Palestinian territory, the first book he was able to dedicate a significant amount of time to was Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine, which he wrote when he was in his late 30s.

The memoir explores Shehadeh’s complicated relationship with his father Aziz, an accomplished lawyer who was stabbed and left to bleed to death near his home in Ramallah in 1985.

Israeli authorities were accused of harboring political motives and not investigating the murder properly, and the case has since remained unsolved.

His father had, and continues to have, a profound influence on Shehadeh, and to this day the book was the most challenging for him to write, he tells Mondoweiss.

“Parents are extremely important and the perceptions and relationships change when one changes in time,” he said. “Whenever I tried to write something else, I would get back to that subject in my mind. So it was important and difficult to write.”

Since then, he has explored his relationship with his father in many of his books.

His father Aziz was one of the first Palestinians to promote a two-state solution and recognition of an Israeli state.

In 1953, his father won a case against Barclays bank that allowed Palestinian refugees to access their accounts after Israel had seized them in 1948, when Israel was established upon the expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinians from their lands.

“I think my father would feel very disappointed [by the current state of the Palestinian territory],” Shehadeh said, without hesitation. “He realized early on, before many others, that we have to make a peace deal with Israel.”

However, Aziz was unique in his ability to see the potential positives in making a peace deal, Shehadeh noted.

“His father thought that Israelis and Palestinians working together would bring about a much better people, for both of us,” the writer explained. “We complement each other and we can do great things together.”

Shehadeh says that he has also inherited parts of his father’s vision.

Like Shehadeh, Aziz understood the importance of Palestinians staying on the land. “My father would do everything possible to help Palestinians stay here. Every new person staying here was a gain.”

However, unlike his father, Shehadeh does not support a two-state or one-state solution to the decades-old conflict, noting that these discussions were “irrelevant.”

Instead, the writer says his “dream” is “one region,” reminiscent of a Greater Syria, and believes this will inevitably become the future. (So far, Israel is the existential enemy of the One Syrian people)

“It will come one day. But it’s a dream, just like the one-state solution is a dream,” he said. “It’s futile for us to dream now. I think we should focus on calling for the end of the occupation, and then we can find ways that we can live together. The question is how do we relate these two nations — Palestinians and Israelis together?”

The most pressing issue for Shehadeh is the right of return for Palestinian refugees — upheld by United Nations resolution 194 — who were expelled from their homes and lands during the Zionist takeover of historic Palestine in 1948.

“The right of return is a fundamental matter for Israel, because Israel bases its state mythology on the lack of a presence or existence of a Palestinian nation,” Shehadeh explained.

“So to recognize that there was a Palestinian nation living in what became Israel means Israel has to readjust its identity. And this is essential if there’s ever going to be peace”

‘To dehumanize them, you reduce your own humanity’

His latest book, Where the Line Is Drawn: A Tale of Crossings, Friendships, and Fifty Years of Occupation in Israel-Palestine, published last year, documents Shehadeh’s shifting perspectives and relationships with several Israeli friends throughout Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory.

“I’ve been rather obsessed with the fact that when I go to a place, let’s say a checkpoint or a certain landscape that was changed, I see it both in the way it was and the way it is now,” Shehadeh explained to me.

“These two realities are in my mind all the time […] But it’s only because of my age and experience that I can see it in this way. But anybody who is an adult now, even in their 20s or 30s, will only know about how it is now. They will have no perception or imagining of how it was before.”

These thoughts created the framework for the book, exploring various “crossings” that have changed throughout the occupation.

He said that he explores “how different relationships existed between Palestinians and Israelis at various levels, the relationship and continuity of the land, the way that it was open at one point, and how the crossings into Israel have changed.”

Shehadeh’s book, which in part focused on his relationship with his Israeli friend Henry and included personal letters exchanged between the two friends, examines these relationships in a humanistic, thoughtful and honest way.

In a land where even the most mundane aspects of Palestinian life are shaped by Israel’s occupation, it can be a personal struggle not to become bitter and resentful toward Israelis as a whole.

But Shehadeh has been able to transcend these feelings. “To dehumanize them [Israelis], you reduce your own humanity,” he said.

“I’ve passed through stages,” Shehadeh added. “The first intifada was one, when I would be so angry and so full of hate, and therefore feel myself reduced by the hate. I realized it doesn’t do any good. It doesn’t provide me a service and it doesn’t give my cause a service.”

“It doesn’t help me in my life or my understandings. So I got over it, and I never succumbed to it again.” (And now he is succumbing to what? The laws of the occupiers?)

Continuing Sumud

Much has changed throughout the decades Shehadeh has been writing.

He remembers when it was difficult to get away with even mentioning Palestine in his books. When he did write that controversial 9-letter word, his books were often taken from public library shelves and torn apart.

“I remember going to Barnes and Noble, and noticing that one of my books — When the Birds Stopped Singing: Life in Ramallah Under Siege — was placed in the military history section,” he said, noting that he believes someone had placed it there so that no one would see it.

However, “now there are many books and intellectuals who are critical of Israel, which was not the case before.”

Meanwhile, he said, Israel has shifted farther to the right, with US President Donald Trump “allowing Israel to do whatever it wants.” Shehadeh believes that this is in fact bad for Israel.

“It is destroying the country,” he told Mondoweiss. “They are becoming fascists.” (They have been acting fascists since they were created and planned their terrorist activities as fascists before their “independence” from mandated Britain)

For the daily life of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Shehadeh believes that it has become more complex. “I think in the past it used to be a lot simpler because we all understood occupation and we all thought it would end soon. But as time went on we realized that’s not the case,” he said. (As he understood Britain mandated occupation?)

“But it was clear where we were moving and the situation wasn’t confusing,”’ he continued. “At the same time, daily life was much more difficult and obstructed.”

However, now in the occupied West Bank, he says, there are more opportunities and possibilities for Palestinians. Particularly in cities like Ramallah, which boomed after 1997 becoming the de-facto capital of the West Bank, Palestinians have more access to economic ventures or other projects than they did before. (An economy that is extension to Israel economy?)

According to Shehadeh, this is all part of the continuing sumud, and represents developments that have made it easier for Palestinians to remain here.

“If you think about Ramallah, as bad as the government [Palestinian Authority] is, they’ve managed to make it possible for people to lead their lives with clean streets and cafes.” (Great, while settlers dump their sewage in Palestinian schools?)

Ramallah’s active cultural scene, consisting of everything from visual arts, poetry and theater to hip hop and underground music, is an important element of sumud. “The assertion of the self is an important part of the resistance,” Shehadeh says.

“People are staying, and that’s very important. There is power in the fact that despite everything Israel has tried to do we are still staying,” he said, highlighting that the population of Palestinians and Israelis within Israel-Palestine is almost equal.

“That’s a great achievement considering how much Israel has tried to prevent it.”

Shehadeh politely glanced at his watch to check the time. We had been speaking for about two hours, and I thought it was best to finally end the interview.

The acclaimed writer walked me out. “Thank you for your time,” I said, and his reply was brief. “Yes, thank you. Good bye.” His eyes lowered to the ground as he gently closed the door in front of him.

Israel dressing up its terrorist cells in Humanitarian workers: the case of Gaza

The Israeli army is putting humanitarian workers at risk in Gaza

According to the Israeli media, the soldiers who took part in a botched intelligence operation in Khan Younis earlier this month were dressed up as humanitarian workers. If the details are true, it could put countless people in danger.

By Yael Marom

Palestinians stand next to the remains of a car destroyed during fighting between Hamas militants and Israeli special forces in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, November 12, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Palestinians stand next to the remains of a car destroyed during fighting between Hamas militants and Israeli special forces in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, November 12, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Israeli troops impersonated humanitarian workers in order to carry out an intelligence operation deep inside the Gaza Strip, according to details of the botched operation leaked by Hamas and reported by the Israeli media.

If true, the operation could put bona fide humanitarian operations and employees at risk in the coastal strip, where two-thirds of the population is reliant on humanitarian aid.

The operation gone wrong, which left both senior Israeli and Hamas commanders dead, brought the two sides to the brink of war earlier this month.

The Israeli military censor forbade Israeli media outlets from publishing most details of the incident. After Hamas began leaking details of what happened, however, some Israeli journalists followed suit, primarily repeating the information released by Hamas, and presumably with the permission of the IDF Censor.

On Friday, Israeli journalist Ehud Yaari reported that the Israeli special forces team had entered Gaza through one of the two civilian crossings into the strip, either Erez or Rafah, with forged documents.  “They rented a house in Gaza and operated under the guise of a humanitarian aid organization,” Yaari said on a primetime news broadcast.

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A day earlier, Walla! News reporter Amir Bohbot published the following account, also presumably with the approval of Israel’s military censors:

Palestinian reports indicated that the special unit’s operations were part of a longer, broader operation. For that purpose, the unit rented a building and a yard in the Gaza Strip from a Palestinian police officer who did not know with whom he was dealing. Members of the special unit told the officer that they were running a humanitarian aid organization that specializes in distributing food to the needy in Gaza.

For this purpose, the unit operated undercover as Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to distribute aid and managed to get into the homes of Hamas members. According to the [Hamas] reports, some of which appeared on social networks, the special unit successfully planted [technologically] advanced devices to collect signals intelligence in sensitive locations such as entrances to tunnels, rocket launching sites, and the homes of senior Hamas members.

The reports in the Israeli media missed the story entirely: if Israeli soldiers did, in fact, impersonate humanitarian aid workers for the purpose of carrying out military operations, that could be a war crime. It could also endanger the lives of actual humanitarian aid workers.

“If the details are true, this behavior could be considered a blatant violation of international humanitarian law, which says that it is forbidden to use symbols of humanitarian organizations for military activity,” said attorney and human rights activist Eitay Mack.

“It could endanger those who actually operate in these organizations,” Mack added. The Israeli army has effectively justified any paranoia or suspicions Hamas and others might have of humanitarian groups.

This is already happening, according to Ya’ari’s report, which detailed Hamas’ confusion following the incident. After the covert Israeli operation was exposed, Hamas security forces reportedly erected checkpoints and carried out arrests in Gaza.

“Hamas said, wait a second. Israel had a base inside Gaza with people, equipment, a Mercedes truck, a Volkswagen car, weapons? What happened here? How long was this going on? Are there other similar things happening?” Yaari speculated.

When Israeli security forces suspect Palestinian or foreign humanitarian workers are collaborating with Hamas, the Israeli press accuses the Islamic movement of “cynically exploiting” the protections and privileges given to humanitarian groups, even when many of those accusations eventually turn out to be baseless.

Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, February 7, 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, February 7, 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

 

But instead of asking why the Israeli army does the same, instead of explaining to the viewers at home the real meaning of impersonating humanitarian aid workers, instead of asking how it is even possible for Israeli forces to operate deep inside the strip over a decade after “Israel left Gaza,” the media just moves on to the next news item. In the Israeli media, the IDF spokesperson and censor, respectively, decide what reporters report.

A look at what the Israeli media said it the wake of the botched operation and after Hamas started leaking details of it indicates that most journalists published exactly what the Israeli military spokespeople expected.

The Israeli army censor’s attempt to keep this story under wraps was not really about trying to prevent damaging information from reaching hostile elements in Gaza. Its main purpose was to conceal vital information from Israeli citizens.

After all, the details revealed by Hamas had already been published by news outlets and on social media around the world.

Photos supposedly identifying the Israeli operatives are out there for anyone to find. The entire world knew of the name of the Israeli officer who was killed while the Israeli media was forced to refer to him only as “M.” (I still don’t know the name of M)

Once again, the people kept under the dark cloud of censorship are Israeli citizens. And Israeli journalists are playing along.

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where a version of this article was originally published in Hebrew.

 

 

‘We hope the regime lasts’: When Israel enjoyed cozy ties with Brazil’s military dictatorship

Archival documents show how Israel helped prop up the Brazilian junta, supplied it with weapons and military expertise, and even signed a number of nuclear agreements.

By Eitay Mack

Brazilian police arrest a student protesting the military dictatorship, June 20, 1968. (Brazilian National Archives)

Brazilian police arrest students during a protest against the military dictatorship, June 20, 1968. (Brazilian National Archives)

Just under a month ago, following an especially tumultuous election season, Brazilians elected Jair Bolsonaro as president of their country.

Bolsonaro has been a member of the National Congress, Brazil’s parliament, since 1990, where he was part of a group of vocal, extreme-right back-benchers who longed for the days of the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 until 1985.

His election was welcomed by the Israeli right, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu going so far as to announce he would attend Bolsonaro’s swearing-in ceremony in January.

A haphazard transition

Those who long for the era of the dictatorship ignore the fact that Brazilian security forces made hundreds disappear and arrested and tortured thousands of its own citizens.

Brazil served as a model for other murderous regimes, and the military dictatorship intervened in other countries in South America and supported their dictatorships.

It backed Pinochet’s coup and the suppression of dissent in Chile, aided the military coup in Bolivia, helped Uruguay put down internal revolts, and helped coordinate Operation Condor, in which the dictatorships of the Southern Cone worked in concert to eradicate left-wing activists and guerrillas.

Brazil is likely the only country in Latin America that did not undergo a process of self-examination following the dark years of dictatorship.

A law passed in 1979 granted immunity to officers responsible for the junta’s crimes. (The same process in Lebanon after ending the civil war and allowing the militia “leaders” to rule till now)

And while a National Truth Commission was established decades later, in 2011, as opposed to other similar commissions, it did very little investigating. In fact, the commission mostly summarized reports by human rights organizations, testimonies of victims of the dictatorship, and CIA documents handed over by the Obama administration.

Brazil’s power structures, its society, and its economy have changed very little since the transition to democracy.

Part of the blame surely lies with the left-wing and centrist parties that have ruled the country for the past 33 years, and which feared confrontation with the military establishment.

The left’s failure in the most recent elections only added insult to injury: the Worker’s Party, which ruled Brazil since 2003, permitted Luiz Inácio Lula De Silva to run for president from his prison cell, where he was serving time for corruption.

The party changed its candidate at the last minute, replacing De Silva with economist Fernando Haddad. It wasn’t enough to defeat Bolsonaro.

President Obama welcomes the President of Brazil, Lula Da Silva, to the Oval Office of the White House on Saturday, March 14, 2009. (Pete Souza/White House)

President Obama welcomes the President of Brazil, Lula Da Silva, to the Oval Office of the White House on Saturday, March 14, 2009. (Pete Souza/White House)

The lack of public discussion about the dictatorship and the little information available to the public about that period created a lacuna in the collective memory.

Thus, it is no surprise that Bolsonaro supports torture and annulling Brazil’s democracy, along with attacking women’s rights, the LGBTQ community, left-wing parties, and workers.

And yet, to millions of voters, Bolsonaro is not a threat. He is a politician with his feet planted firmly on solid ground—someone who can rescue Brazil from its crises. (Backed by the apartheid Silent Majority)

Dictatorship with a parliamentary veneer

Israeli Foreign Ministry documents at the Israel State Archives reveal that the Jewish state, like many others, were rather disinterested in Brazil’s human rights record during the dictatorship. Israeli diplomats in Brazil focused on hasbara efforts and promoting Israeli culture, and held repeated talks about moving the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem.

Following the military coup on April 1, 1964, the Israeli embassy put together a document that said the coup “was swiftly planned and implemented, and led, for 24 hours, not only to the fall of Goulart (the president at the time), but also to the suppression of all leftist elements […] Brazil is today in a transitional state that can be defined as a military dictatorship with a parliamentary veneer.”

On June 16, 1965, Aryeh Eshel, director of Latin American affairs at the Foreign Ministry, wrote that he hopes “the current regime in Brazil lasts.”

A cable sent by the Israeli embassy on September 26, 1966 on anti-dictatorship student protests reported that “the slogans are always political and against the regime. There is hardly a doubt that leftist elements are exploiting the bitterness that exists among the students.”

In another telegram sent on December 15, 1966, the embassy wrote that “no one cares what happens to ‘democracy’ in Brazil.”

A few months later, a telegram sent to Jerusalem complained about the difficulty of promoting Israeli propaganda, since “there is no possibility to use student groups in our favor, since these organizations were disbanded due to their leftism. The same goes for workers’ organizations, which in effect no longer exist.”

Brazilian students march against the military dictatorship, September 9, 1966. (Brazilian National Archives)

Brazilian students march against the military dictatorship, September 9, 1966. (Brazilian National Archives)

Following the 1967 war, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol came up with and examined a plan to foment the “emigration of Arab residents (Palestinians) from the disputed territories to Brazil.”

After talks with the Israeli embassy in Brazil, Eshkol wrote on August 8, 1967: “These talks give me reason to believe that with intensive efforts, thousands, if not tens of thousands of Arab families, especially from the Gaza Strip, could emigrate to Brazil.”

Since the Israeli Defense Ministry refuses to release documents regarding Israel’s defense exports, and Brazil has not conducted a serious public investigation into the matter, very little information has been revealed regarding the security ties between the two countries at the time.

The little information that has been exposed points to strong ties: Brazil’s security forces used Israeli Uzi submachine guns, and the National Truth Commission revealed that intelligence agents from the National Intelligence Service of Brazil (SNI)  — who were primarily responsible for torture, oppression, and crimes committed by the regime — received training in Israel.

Looking away from anti-Semitism

According to the documents, the two countries exchanged military attachés.

In 1973, Israel used the São Paulo Air Show to present its Gabriel missiles, electronic devices, and more.

The documents also indicate that the two sides negotiated the sale of Israeli military products to Brazil, among them ships, helicopters, armaments, communications equipment, electronics, Shafrir and Gabriel missiles, aircraft engine repairs, radar systems, electronic fences, military training, and an delegation of military advisers.

Less known is the fact that the two countries entered into a nuclear pact for peaceful purposes. Israeli nuclear scientists went to work in Brazil, and even Shalhevet Freier, head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, paid a visit to the country in the early 1970s.

The first nuclear agreement between Israel and Brazil went into effect on August 10, 1964, just four months after the military coup. Complementary agreements were signed in 1966, 1967, and 1974.

Israeli President Zalman Shazar lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Brazil during a visit to the country two years after a military coup brought a junta into power, 1966. (GPO)

Israeli President Zalman Shazar lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Brazil during a visit to the country two years after a military coup brought a junta into power, 1966. (GPO)

A document dated to December 19, 1975, authored by Gideon Tadmor, deputy director of the Center for International Cooperation at the Foreign Ministry, attests to the decline in nuclear cooperation between the two countries, in part because of the desire of the Brazilian regime to play down its relations with Israel.

According to the document, Brazil expressed “disappointment with the kind of assistance we proposed, which was not exactly what they were looking for.”

Despite the cooperation between the two countries, in June 1981 Brazil claimed that Israel had leaked intelligence on a Brazilian deal to sell uranium and nuclear equipment to Iraq. The Israeli Foreign Ministry believed the Mossad was behind the leak.

Similar to Israel’s relationships with Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, and Argentina, its ties with Brazil were not shaken by allegations of anti-Semitism, nor by the fact that Nazis who fled Europe following World War II were living in the country.

In 1967, Brazil appointed Miera Pena to serve as the Brazilian ambassador to Israel, despite the fact that both Israel’s foreign and defense ministries suspected he was a Nazi.

In December 1973, Israel’s Foreign Ministry was alerted to the fact that Brazilian police were tapping diplomats’ phone calls and having them followed in order to locate remittances from Brazil.

In November 1975, the Foreign Ministry received a tip on the possibility that security forces in Sao Paolo were planning to carry out some kind of action against the Jewish community to prove a lack of loyalty among Brazil’s Jews.

In its attempt to court Brazil, Israel tried to brand itself as a crucial partner in the struggle against global terrorism, among other reasons, to convince the Brazilians that the PLO was a terrorist organization that must not win formal recognition.

To do so, the Israeli Foreign Ministry passed on “intelligence” to officials in Brasília. For example, Israeli diplomats sought to spread rumors that refugees from Angola were training to infiltrate Brazil and carry out subversive acts, and that the PLO was training and giving support to guerrilla groups across South America (in truth, only a few Argentinian guerrilla groups trained with the PLO).

Israel’s Foreign Ministry even asked members of Kibbutz Bror Hayil, home to immigrants from Brazil, to share their experiences with the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on being on the “front line of the free world against waves of aggression supported by the communist world.”

But were communists actually at the gates? The persistent use of communism and global terrorism to justify the political and security ties between the countries was so cynical that already in 1966 the Foreign Ministry wrote that “according to our estimates, there is no organization that threatens the current regime” in Brazil. (Actually, the earlier Jewish immigrants were communists. That is why Stalin voted for the creation of Israel)

Foreign Minister Mario Gibson Barboza, the first Brazilian foreign minister under the military dictatorship, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir at her Jerusalem office, June 2, 1973. (Fritz Cohen/GPO) פגישת ראש הממשלה גולדה מאיר עם שר החוץ של ברזיל מריו גיבסון ברבוזה במשרד רה"מ בירושלים.

Foreign Minister Mario Gibson Barboza, the first Brazilian foreign minister under the military dictatorship, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir at her Jerusalem office, June 2, 1973. (Fritz Cohen/GPO)

Immediately following the military coup, Israel was comfortable with its strong ties with Brazil.

A decade later, however, the Foreign Ministry had a soberer view of things. In a telegram from May 28, 1975, Israel’s ambassador at the time noted that “Brazil’s goal in its ties with Middle Eastern countries is entirely pragmatic, and focuses on promoting necessary economic, trade, and financial interests as defined by the president… these interests necessitate cultivating ties with Arab countries, especially with oil-producing countries.”

When it came to security exports, the ambassador claimed that “influential circles in the top military brass are sympathetic to Israel and have, on many occasions, been interested in forging closer and more meaningful ties with the IDF and with our military industries…

Political considerations make it difficult and in some cases prevent transactions, and the sympathy of the military and the public is not enough to overcome political obstacles.” Therefore, he suggested that “we should concentrate on products whose Israeli identity can be disguised.”

Ties between the two countries began to deteriorate in March 1980, 16 years after the establishment of the dictatorship, when the military regime recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and an essential partner in the negotiations to determine the future of Palestine.

That line was reiterated by the Brazilian foreign minister during a meeting with then-Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir in September 1981.

Cut from the same cloth

Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolansaro. (Beto Oliveira/CC BY 3.0)

Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolansaro. (Beto Oliveira/CC BY 3.0)

Netanyahu was quick to congratulate Bolsonaro on his election victory, telling him in a phone conversation that “I am sure that your choice will lead to great friendship between the two peoples and to closer ties between the two countries.”

Bolsonaro, who won much of the Evangelical vote in his country, said he would move Brazil’s embassy to Jerusalem, while Netanyahu said he would attend the president-elect’s inauguration ceremony.

Netanyahu and Bolsonaro, both of them anachronistic leaders, regularly resort to a “politics of fear.”

The former does so when it comes to Iran or “Arabs turning out in droves to the polling stations.”

Bolsonaro uses the crisis in Venezuela, the LGBTQ community, and whatever communists are still around as scapegoats.

Both delegitimise human rights organizations and left-wing parties and their incitement may end up costing lives. Bolsonaro refuses to believe that the Cold War ended and that there is no fear that communists will take over Brazil and the world.

Netanyahu refuses to believe that the 1948 war ended and that Israel’s existential, political, and security situation in 2018 has changed dramatically.

Eitay Mack is an Israeli human rights lawyer working to stop Israeli military aid to regimes that commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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