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Debunking the myths

Jerome Slater’s new “Mythologies Without End” is an indispensable, compelling guide to the truths behind the myths in Israel, Palestine and the Mideast.

BY JAMES NORTH.

MYTHOLOGIES WITHOUT END
The U.S., Israel, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
By Jerome Slater
495 pp. Oxford University Press. $29.95

Professor Jerry Slater is 85 years old, has taught truths about Israel and Palestine for 50 years, and set himself a monumental task in this book.

He does not just cover the Israel-Palestine conflict, but takes on myths about Israel’s relations with the surrounding Arab states, and the role of the United States. The result is a masterpiece, the successful work of a lifetime.

Slater presents his own personal and intellectual odyssey, in a brief but compelling Prologue: 

Like almost all Jews of my generation, coming of age in America in the 1940s, immediately after the Holocaust and with Anti-Semitism still alive in this country I thought of myself as a passionate Zionist and rejoiced over the establishment of the state of Israel and its 1948 and 1967 victories over its Arab enemies.

He started changing his mind after the 1967 Six-Day War.

And now he has made an extraordinary contribution to the global movement for justice in Israel, Palestine, and the Mideast generally, a readable and encyclopedic work that will be invaluable for years to come.

Slater chose the perfect title, “Mythologies Without End.”

First he outlines the received wisdom about an element or feature of the region’s history. Then he coolly looks at the record, and punctures the myths. He points out:

. . . among both Israelis and Americans there has been no other conflict that has been so badly understood, so impervious to the ever-growing and overwhelming historical evidence, and in which the mythology has had such devastating consequences.

Nothing is too farfetched for Slater to calmly examine. He even goes back 2000 years, to start with the prevalent Israeli “Myth of Original Homeland, Exile and Expulsion.”

He notes that after the Jewish rebellion against Rome in 66-70 CE, “Zionist mythology holds that ‘the Romans may have laid the entire nation waste between AD 70 and 135, slaughtering as many as 600,000 Jews, and carrying off half that number in bondage.’” He notes dryly, “This myth is no longer taken seriously by informed historians,” and clearly provides the evidence that refutes the claim.

Then, 1948.

The story goes that a fragile Israel declared independence — and then the four neighboring Arab states invaded.

Slater writes: “In the Israeli mythology, the Arab attack was huge, closely coordinated, and because it was motivated by pure anti-Semitism, there was no chance the war could have been avoided.”

Once again, he looks meticulously at the actual record, and relying on, among others, Israel’s New Historians, points out that “the Arab invasion was small, uncoordinated, riven with conflicting aims, and in all probability could have been avoided if the Israeli leaders were willing to negotiate fair compromises.”

Jerome Slater. (Photo courtesy of Oxford University Press)
JEROME SLATER. (PHOTO COURTESY OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS)

Even those of us with familiarity with the myths may be surprised at some of Slater’s findings.

It turns out that the “every major Zionist leaders” from Theodore Herzl onward openly supported “transfer” — a euphemism for expelling the original Palestinian Arab inhabitants.

In short, the Nakba, when 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven away during the 1948 war and were not allowed to return, was not partly the accidental by-product of the conflict, but had been the intention all along of David Ben-Gurion and Israel’s other founders. 

This exhaustive debunking of historical myths continues. Slater covers it all: the 1956 British/French/Israel invasion of Egypt to seize the Suez Canal; the Six-Day War in 1967; the 1973 Israeli-Egyptian War. At every stage, he shows that the world has been given distorted versions of the events or outright falsehoods. 

His account is particularly important when he reaches the 1993 Oslo Accords and developments since then, because he presents what is probably so far the most comprehensive account of this recent period.

He warns that the Accords were not truly a breakthrough for peace, that in fact they “did more to preserve the Israeli occupation [of Palestine] than to end it.” He explains that Israel’s leaders undermined the weak agreement right from the start, partly because they knew Israeli voters would punish them otherwise. And the number of Israeli “settlers” continued to jump:

At the outset of the Clinton presidency, there were 3,000 Israeli settlers in Gaza and 117,000 in the West Bank; when he left office at the end of 2000 there were 6,700 settlers in Gaza and 200,000 in the West Bank.

Then, Slater analyzes the 2000 Camp David talks, hosted by Bill Clinton.

He presents the myth: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization a generous peace agreement, but the Palestinians “. . . refused to make compromises of their own, made no counteroffers to the Israeli proposals, and then launched a new violent and often terrorist intifada, demonstrating that they had no interest in peace but rather still sought to destroy Israel and take over all of historic Palestine.”

Slater responds, “As with the many other mythologies in the Arab-Israeli conflict, this bears little resemblance to reality. . .”

That false explanation for the failure at Camp David was only another instance of a central dishonesty over many decades: the Israeli/Zionist claim that “the Arabs” will not negotiate, a false view captured in the famous 1973 statement by the Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban: “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Such a view does not survive Jerry Slater’s wrecking ball:

The historical record proves that this myth has it backward: it is Israel, far more than its Arab adversaries, that has been primarily responsible for the many lost opportunities, from 1947 through the present, to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

At one time or another, all the important Arab states and the most important Palestinian leaders — including Yasser Arafat — have been ready to agree to attainable and fair compromise settlements of all the central issues: Israeli security, its legitimate territory and borders, the creation of a Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem, and the Palestinian refugee issue.

In lesser hands, this 495-page debunking might have bogged down, but Jerry Slater is such a skilled wordsmith that your interest does not flag. Instead, the cumulative power of his de-mythologizing increases as the book moves smartly along.

Slater has moral and intellectual courage, rigorous research standards — and a clear writing style that keeps you engaged with this long, thorough book. 

He brings “Mythologies Without End” completely up to date, with a sharp look at how Benjamin Netanyahu has no interest in an agreement with the Palestinians and with a refutation of the 2020 Trump “peace plan.” But he points out that Israel’s occupation of Palestine has marched on, and that Netanyahu couldn’t settle with the Palestinians even if he wanted to.

He says that if Netanyahu

had been willing to order a withdrawal of the settlers and military forces from the occupied territories and agree to a viable Palestinian state, with sovereignty over East Jerusalem, he would have faced a revolt, quite possibly a violent revolt, from the settlers and their supporters.

Indeed, a number of Israeli analysts feared that even the armed forces, in which settlers and right-wing religious forces were becoming increasingly strong, would refuse to obey such orders.

You won’t read anything that brutally realistic and honest in the mainstream U.S. press — or in funding appeals from liberal Zionist organizations.

You finish this long work with a tremendous sense of admiration for its author, and for his successful life’s work. Let us give him the last word.

Here’s the book’s final sentence:

If there is ever to be an at least minimally just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, whether it takes the form of some kind of two-state settlement or a binational democratic single state, the most important prerequisite, indeed the sine qua non, must be an Israeli recognition that their historical narrative of the conflict is largely mythological and that they have incurred an overwhelming moral obligation and an enlightened national self-interest to reach a peace settlement with the Palestinian people.

Israel Self-defense excuses are paralyzing the livelihood and security of Palestinians

Maureen Clare Murphy Rights and Accountability 8 January 2021

The Israeli military cleared itself of wrongdoing in the shooting and grave injury of a Palestinian man in the southern West Bank last week, claiming soldiers acted in self-defense.

The “perfunctory investigation” that closed less than a week later exemplifies the culture of impunity long decried by human rights organizations seeking war crimes investigations at the International Criminal Court.

The military claimed that the man who was shot, Harun Abu Aram, was “hit by a stray bullet fired when a Palestinian tried to seize a commander’s weapon,” as the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz reported.

Abu Aram, 24, is paralyzed from the neck down as a result of his injury.

He was shot while he and others were trying to take back a generator that soldiers had confiscated from a family living in an area declared a military firing zone by Israel.

Palestinians residing in that area, a collection of rural hamlets known as Masafer Yatta, are forbidden from building or improving their dwellings.

The incident in Masafer Yatta was recorded on video:

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1345745628660428803&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Felectronicintifada.net%2Fblogs%2Fmaureen-clare-murphy%2Fisrael-claims-self-defense-after-paralyzing-palestinian&siteScreenName=intifada&siteUserId=6721522&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Language

The Israeli military described unarmed Palestinians defending the Masafer Yatta residence raided by heavily armed soldiers as “a violent riot … where [Israeli] forces were attacked.”

The language used to justify Abu Aram’s shooting at close range echoes that used by Israel regarding the use of live fire against protesters in Gaza.

More than 200 Palestinians were killed during regular mass protests dubbed the Great March of Return beginning in March 2018 until their suspension at the end of 2019.

Thousands more were injured by Israeli sniper fire, many of them permanently. The snipers got later orders to refrain from killing and instead to target legs in order that the Palestinians refrain from joining the marches. Many children and youths were on purpose targeted.

Only one soldier has been indicted over the use of lethal force against protesters.

The military repeatedly referred to Palestinian protesters as “rioters” in its argument to the Israeli high court regarding its “rules of engagement.”

Such language is intended to obscure the fact that Palestinians had mobilized to call for specific demands.

In the case of the Great March of Return, Palestinians were demanding to exercise their right to return to the lands from which their families were expelled in 1948. (Mind you that 80% of Palestinians in Gaza are transferred Palestinians from the West Bank).

Context of oppression

The “law and order” language (the language used by Nixon and the dictators) is used to obscure decades of injustice in the West Bank as well.

The Israeli military refers to Abu Aram as a “rioter” to avoid addressing the context in which the young man was permanently injured.

Abu Aram and the other “rioters” with him belong to a community that has been subjected to forcible transfer, multiple home demolitions and continuous harassment by soldiers and settlers. (I have already posted an article on the harassment that Palestinians in Yatta are subjected to)

This broader context of oppression is not helpful to Israel’s reputation.

And so Israel says that Abu Aram and those with him “sought to obstruct [Israeli military] enforcement activity” – never mind that this “enforcement activity” is part of a coercive environment created by Israel to push Palestinians off of their land.

As the United Nations has made clear, “individual or mass forcible transfer or deportation” of the population of an occupied territory, like the West Bank, is a grave breach of the Geneva Convention “and is also considered a war crime.”

The imposition of a coercive environment, like that endured by Palestinians in Masafer Yatta, is a form of forcible transfer.

While Israel may use the language of “law and order,” characterizing its military’s behavior as “enforcement activity,” occupation forces are, in fact, carrying out violations of international law.

System of oppression

Whether it’s forcible transfer or the use of lethal force against Gaza protesters, Israel’s high court rubber-stamps these policies intended to pacify all Palestinian resistance to the occupation.

In Masafer Yatta, that resistance was about retaining an electricity generator used by a family who are not allowed the basic infrastructure provided to Israelis living in nearby settlements built in violation of international law.

It is not surprising that Israel’s system of oppression and injustice would clear itself of wrongdoing in the shooting of Abu Aram.

As human rights groups stated this week, Israelis responsible for war crimes against Palestinians “have not been subject to any independent legal investigation in Israel.”

The Israeli military’s self-investigation system “is empirically and conclusively evidenced to be unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out investigations and prosecutions,” the Palestinian groups added.

The four groups – Al-Haq, Al Mezan, Al-Dameer and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights – noted Israeli courts’ complicity in the legitimization of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“It is beyond time for a formal investigation” by the International Criminal Court, the groups said.

In late 2019, the court’s chief prosecutor concluded a five-year preliminary examination, stating that requirements to launch a full investigation into suspected war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza had been met.

More than a year later, an investigation has yet to be opened.

The absence of accountability, the Palestinian human rights groups observe, has only allowed for the “consolidated, ongoing and internationalized assault on the right of the Palestinian people to dignity and to self-determination.”

Can you Guess from which town the Third Palestinian Intifada (mass civil disobedience) Will Start? This article was posted in 2013.

Note: the first Intifada took place in 1936 and lasted 3 years against the British mandated power for denying municipality elections to the Palestinians, on the basis that the Jew were a minority (about 20%). Britain dispatched 100,000 soldiers to quell this Intifada and trained Jews to fight. Only the start of WWII stopped the intifada

South of the village of Nabi Saleh, you can see the red roofs of Halamish, an Israeli settlement on the hilltop across the valley.

This settlement was founded in 1977 by members of the messianic nationalist group Gush Emunim, and growing steadily on land that once belonged to residents of Nabi Saleh and another Palestinian village.

Next to Halamish is an Israeli military base, and in the valley between Nabi Saleh and the settlement, across the highway and up a dirt path, a small freshwater spring, which Palestinians had long called Ein al-Kos, bubbles out of a low stone cliff.

In the summer of 2008,the youth of Halamish began building the first of a series of low pools that collect its waters. Later they added a bench and an trees for shade.

The land surrounding the spring has for generations belonged to the family of Bashir Tamimi, now 57 of age,

(Years after, the settlers retroactively applied for a building permit, which Israeli authorities refused to issue, ruling that “the applicants did not prove their rights to the relevant land.” Recently, several of the structures have been removed.)

When Palestinians came to tend to their crops in the fields beside it, the settlers threatened them and threw stones at them.

It took the people of Nabi Saleh more than a year to get themselves organized.

In December 2009 they held their first march, protesting not just the loss of the spring water, but also the entire complex system of control — of permits, checkpoints, walls, prisons — through which Israel maintains its hold on the region.

Nabi Saleh quickly became the most spirited of the dozen or so West Bank villages that hold weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. Since the demonstrations began, more than 100 people in the village have been jailed.

Ben Ehrenreich wrote:

“On the evening of Feb. 10, the living room of Bassem Tamimi’s house in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh was filled with friends and relatives smoking and sipping coffee, waiting for Bassem to return from prison.

His oldest son, Waed, 16, was curled on the couch with his 6-year-old brother, Salam, playing video games on the iPhone that the prime minister of Turkey had given their sister, Ahed (this young girl that defied with fists the Israeli soldiers).

Ahed had been flown to Istanbul to receive an award after photos of her shaking her fist at an armed Israeli soldier and this resistance won her, at age 11, a brief but startling international celebrity.

Their 9 year-old brother Abu Yazan was in tears in the yard, wrestling with an Israeli activist friend of Bassem’s.

Nariman, the children’s mother, crouched in a side room, making the final preparations for her husband’s homecoming meal, laughing at the two photographers competing for shots from the narrow doorway as she spread onions onto oiled flat-breads. Slide Show

On the living-room wall was a “Free Bassem Tamimi” poster, left over from his last imprisonment for helping to organize the village’s weekly protests against the Israeli occupation, which he has done since 2009.

Bassem was gone for 13 months to prison that time, released for 5 months before he was arrested again in October.

A lot happened during this latest stint: another brief war in Gaza, a vote in the United Nations granting observer statehood to Palestine, the announcement of plans to build 3,400 homes for settlers, an election in Israel.

Protests were spreading around the West Bank.

That night, the call came at about 7:30. Twenty people squeezed into three small cars and headed to the village square. More neighbors and cousins arrived on foot.

(All of Nabi Saleh’s 550 residents are related by blood or marriage, and nearly all share the surname Tamimi.)

Then a dark Ford pulled slowly into the square, and everyone fell silent. 

Is This the town Where the Third Intifada Will Start?Peter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times. Protesters fleeing from tear gas launched by the Israel Defense Forces. In the background, the Israeli settlement of Halamish. More Photos »

Bassem, who is 45, stepped out of the car, straight-spined, his blue eyes glowing in the lamplight. He seemed a little thinner and grayer than the last time I saw him, in July.

He hugged and kissed his eldest son. Ahed was next, then one by one, in silence, Bassem embraced family and friends, Palestinian activists from Ramallah and Jerusalem, Israeli leftists from Tel Aviv.

When Bassem had greeted everyone, he walked to the cemetery and stopped in front of the still-unmarked grave of his brother-in-law Rushdie, who was shot by Israeli soldiers in November while Bassem was in prison.

He closed his eyes and said a quick prayer before moving on to the tomb of Mustafa Tamimi, who died after being hit in the face by a tear-gas canister in December 2011.

Back at home, Bassem looked dazed. Nariman broke down in his arms and rushed outside to hide her tears.

The village was still mourning Rushdie’s death, but the young men couldn’t keep up the solemnity for long. They started with little Hamoudi, the son of Bassem’s cousin, tossing him higher and higher in the air above the yard.

They set him down and took turns tossing one another up into the night sky, laughing and shouting as if they never had anything to grieve.

Nariman told me that by her count, as of February, clashes with the army have caused 432 injuries, more than half the injured were minors.

The momentum has been hard to maintain — the weeks go by, and nothing changes for the better — but still, despite the arrests, the injuries and the deaths, every Friday after the midday prayer, the villagers, joined at times by equal numbers of journalists and Israeli and foreign activists, try to march from the center of town to the spring, a distance of perhaps half a mile.

And every Friday, Israeli soldiers stop them with some combination of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, water-cannon blasts of a noxious liquid known as “skunk” and occasionally live bullets.

Last summer, I spent three weeks in Nabi Saleh, staying in Bassem and Nariman’s home.

When I arrived in June, Bassem had just been released from prison.

In March 2011, Israeli soldiers raided the house to arrest him. Among lesser charges, he had been accused in a military court of “incitement,” organizing “unauthorized processions” and soliciting the village youth to throw stones.

(In 2010, 99.74 % of the Palestinians tried in military courts were convicted.)

The terms of Bassem’s release forbade him to take part in demonstrations, which are all effectively illegal under Israeli military law.

Thus, on the first Friday after I arrived, just after the midday call to prayer, he walked with me only as far as the square, where about 50 villagers had gathered in the shade of an old mulberry tree.

They were joined by a handful of Palestinian activists from Ramallah and East Jerusalem, mainly young women; perhaps a dozen college-age European and American activists; a half-dozen Israelis, also mainly women — young anarchists in black boots and jeans, variously pierced.

Together they headed down the road, clapping and chanting in Arabic and English. Bassem’s son Abu Yazan, licking a Popsicle, marched at the back of the crowd.

There were the journalists, scurrying up hillsides in search of better vantage points.

In the early days of the protests, the village teemed with reporters from across the globe, there to document the tiny village’s struggle against the occupation.

“Sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t,” Mohammad Tamimi, who is 24 and who coordinates the village’s social-media campaign, would tell me later.

Events in the Middle East — the revolution in Egypt and civil war in Syria — and the unchanging routine of the weekly marches have made it that much harder to hold the world’s attention.

That Friday there was just one Palestinian television crew and a few Israeli and European photographers, the regulars among them in steel helmets.

In the protests’ first year, to make sure that the demonstrations — and the fate of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation — didn’t remain hidden behind the walls and fences that surround the West Bank, Mohammad began posting news to a blog and later a Facebook page (now approaching 4,000 followers) under the name Tamimi Press.

Soon Tamimi Press morphed into a homegrown media teamBilal Tamimi shooting video and uploading protest highlights to his YouTube channel; Helme taking photographs; and Mohammad e-mailing news releases to 500-odd reporters and activists.

Manal, who is married to Bilal, supplements the effort with a steady outpouring of tweets (@screamingtamimi).

News of the protests moves swiftly around the globe, bouncing among blogs on the left and right.

Left-leaning papers like Britain’s Guardian and Israel’s Haaretz still cover major events in the village — deaths and funerals, Bassem’s arrests and releases — but a right-wing Israeli news site has for the last year begun to recycle the same headline week after week: “Arabs, Leftists Riot in Nabi Saleh.”

Meanwhile, a pilgrimage to Nabi Saleh has achieved a measure of cachet among young European activists, the way a stint with the Zapatistas did in Mexico in the 1990s.

For a time, Nariman regularly prepared a vegan feast for the exhausted outsiders who lingered after the protests. (Among the first things she asked me when I arrived was whether I was a vegan. Her face brightened when I said no.)

Whatever success they have had in the press, the people of Nabi Saleh are intensely conscious of everything they have not achieved.

The occupation persists. When I arrived in June, the demonstrators had not once made it to the spring. Usually they didn’t get much past the main road, where they would turn and find the soldiers waiting around the bend.

That week though, they decided to cut straight down the hillside toward the spring.

Bashir led the procession, waving a flag. As usual, Israeli Army jeeps were waiting below the spring. The four soldiers standing outside them looked confused — it seemed they hadn’t expected the protesters to make it so far.

The villagers marched past them to the spring, where they surprised three settlers eating lunch in the shade, still wet from a dip in one of the pools. One wore only soggy briefs and a rifle slung over his chest.

The kids raced past. The grown-ups filed in, chatting and smoking. More soldiers arrived in body armor, carrying rifles and grenade launchers.

Waed and Abu Yazan kicked a soccer ball until a boy spotted a bright orange carp in one of the pools and Abu Yazan and others tried to catch it with their bare hands, splashing until the water went cloudy and the carp disappeared.

Four settlers appeared on the ledge above the spring, young men in sunglasses and jeans, one of them carrying an automatic rifle. Beside me, a sturdy, bald officer from the Israel Defense Forces argued with an Israeli protester. “I let you come,” the officer insisted. “Now you have to go.”

The children piled onto the swing the settlers had built and swung furiously, singing. A young settler argued with the I.D.F. officer, insisting that he clear the protesters away.

“What difference does 10 minutes make?” the officer said.

Every 10 seconds makes a difference,” the settler answered.

But before their 10 minutes were up, one hour after they arrived, the villagers gathered the children and left as they had come, clapping and chanting, their defiance buoyed by joy. For the first time in two and a half years, they had made it to the spring.

They headed back along the highway, which meant they would have to pass the road leading to Halamish.

Ahed, her blond hair in a long braid, clutched a cousin at the front of the procession. As they approached the road, a border-police officer tossed a stun grenade — a device that makes a loud bang and a flash but theoretically, at least, causes no bodily harm — at Ahed’s feet, and then another, and another.

Within a few seconds, the marchers were racing up the hill back toward their village, tear-gas grenades streaking through the sky above their heads.

On warm summer evenings, life in Nabi Saleh could feel almost idyllic. Everyone knows everyone. Children run in laughing swarms from house to house.

One night, Bassem and Nariman sat outside sharing a water pipe as Nariman read a translated Dan Brown novel and little Salam pranced gleefully about, announcing, “I am Salam, and life is beautiful!”

Bassem is employed by the Palestinian Authority’s Interior Ministry in a department charged with approving entrance visas for Palestinians living abroad. In practice, he said, P.A. officials “have no authority” — the real decisions are made in Israel and passed to the P.A. for rubber-stamping.

Among other things, this meant that Bassem rarely had to report to his office in Ramallah, leaving his days free to care for his ailing mother — she died several weeks after I left the village last summer — and strategizing on the phone, meeting international visitors and talking to me over many cups of strong, unsweetened coffee. We would talk in the living room, over the hum of an Al Jazeera newscast.

A framed image of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque hung above the television (more out of nationalist pride than piety: Bassem’s outlook was thoroughly secular).

Though many people in Nabi Saleh have been jailed, only Bassem was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International. Foreign diplomats attended his court hearings in 2011. Bassem’s charisma surely has something to do with the attention. A strange, radiant calm seemed to hover around him. He rarely smiled, and tended to drop weighty pronouncements (“Our destiny is to resist”) in ordinary speech, but I saw his reserve crumble whenever one of his children climbed into his lap.

When Israeli forces occupied the West Bank in 1967, Bassem was 10 weeks old. His mother hid with him in a cave until the fighting ended. He remembers playing in the abandoned British police outpost that is now the center of the I.D.F. base next to Halamish, and accompanying the older kids who took their sheep to pasture on the hilltop where the settlement now stands. His mother went to the spring for water every day. The settlers arrived when Bassem was 9.

Halamish is now fully established and cozier than most gated communities in the United States. Behind the razor wire and chain-link perimeter fence, past the gate and the armed guard, there are playgrounds, a covered pool, a community center and amphitheater, a clinic, a library, a school and several synagogues. The roads are well paved and lined with flowers, the yards lush with lemon trees. Halamish now functions as a commuter suburb; many of the residents work in white-collar jobs in Tel Aviv or Modi’in. The settlement’s population has grown to more than double that of Nabi Saleh.

I first met Shifra Blass, the spokeswoman for Halamish, in 2010. She talked about how empty the West Bank — she used the biblical name, Judea and Samaria — was when she and her husband emigrated from the U.S. in the early 1970s, intent on establishing a Jewish presence in a land they believed had been promised to them. Relations with the surrounding villages, she told me, had remained cordial, friendly even, until the first intifada. (When I asked people in Nabi Saleh about this, no one remembered it that way.) During the second intifada, three residents of the settlement, Blass said, were killed by gunfire on nearby roads. They weren’t near the village, but attitudes hardened.

When I visited Shifra again last month, she was not eager to talk to me about the conflict over the spring and the lands surrounding it. “We want to live our lives and not spend time on it,” Blass said. She dismissed the weekly demonstrations as the creation of “outside agitators who come here and stir the pot — internationalists, anarchists, whatever.” It was all a show, she said, theater for a gullible news media. “I’ll tell you something: it’s unpleasant.”

On Fridays, Shifra said, the wind sometimes carries the tear gas across the valley into the settlement. “We have some grown children who say they cannot come home from university for Shabbat because of the tear gas. They call and say, ‘Tell me how bad it is, because if it’s really bad, I’m not coming.’ ”

When the first intifada broke out in late 1987, Nabi Saleh was, as it is now, a flash point. The road that passes between the village and the settlement connects the central West Bank to Tel Aviv: a simple barricade could halt the flow of Palestinian laborers into Israel.

Bassem was one of the main Fatah youth activists for the region, organizing the strikes, boycotts and demonstrations that characterized that uprising. (Nabi Saleh is solidly loyal to Fatah, the secular nationalist party that rules the West Bank; Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that governs Gaza, has its supporters elsewhere in the West Bank but has never had a foothold in the village.)

Bassem would be jailed 7 times during the intifada and, he says, was never charged with a crime. Before his most recent arrest, I asked him how much time he had spent in prison. He added up the months: “Around four years.”

After one arrest in 1993, Bassem told me, an Israeli interrogator shook him with such force that he fell into a coma for eight days. He has a nickel-size scar on his temple from emergency brain surgery during that time. His sister died while he was in prison. She was struck by a soldier and fell down a flight of courthouse stairs, according to her son Mahmoud, who was with her to attend the trial of his brother. (The I.D.F. did not comment on this allegation.)

Bassem nonetheless speaks of those years, as many Palestinians his age do, with something like nostalgia. The first intifada broke out spontaneously — it started in Gaza with a car accident, when an Israeli tank transporter killed four Palestinian laborers. The uprising was, initially, an experience of solidarity on a national scale. Its primary weapons were the sort that transform weakness into strength: the stone, the barricade, the boycott, the strike.

The Israeli response to the revolt — in 1988, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin reportedly authorized soldiers to break the limbs of unarmed demonstrators — began tilting international public opinion toward the Palestinian cause for the first time in decades. By the uprising’s third year, however, power had shifted to the P.L.O. hierarchy. The first Bush Sr. administration pushed Israel to negotiate, leading eventually to the 1993 Oslo Accord, which created the Palestinian Authority as an interim body pending a “final status” agreement.

But little was resolved in Oslo.

A second intifada erupted in 2000, at first mostly following the model set by the earlier uprising. Palestinians blocked roads and threw stones. The I.D.F. took over a house in Nabi Saleh. Children tossed snakes, scorpions and what Bassem euphemistically called “wastewater” through the windows. The soldiers withdrew. Then came the heavy wave of suicide bombings, which Bassem termed “the big mistake.”

An overwhelming majority of Israeli casualties during the uprising occurred in about 100 suicide attacks, most against civilians. A bombing at one Tel Aviv disco in 2001 killed 21 teenagers. “Politically, we went backward,” Bassem said.

Much of the international good will gained over the previous decade was squandered. Taking up arms wasn’t, for Bassem, a moral error so much as a strategic one. He and everyone else I spoke with in the village insisted they had the right to armed resistance; they just don’t think it works. Bassem could reel off a list of Nabi Saleh’s accomplishments. Of some — Nabi Saleh had more advanced degrees than any village — he was simply proud. Others — one of the first military actions after Oslo, the first woman to participate in a suicide attack — involved more complicated emotions.

In 1993, Bassem told me, his cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah. Eight years later, another villager, Ahlam Tamimi escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, eight of them minors. Ahlam, who now lives in exile in Jordan, and Said, who is in prison in Israel, remain much-loved in Nabi Saleh.

Though everyone I spoke with in the village appeared keenly aware of the corrosive effects of violence — “This will kill the children,” Manal said, “to think about hatred and revenge” — they resented being asked to forswear bloodshed when it was so routinely visited upon them.  Manal told me, “lost his father, uncle, aunt, sister — they were all killed. How can you blame Said?

The losses of the second intifada were enormous. Nearly 5,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis died. Israeli assassination campaigns and the I.D.F.’s siege of West Bank cities left the Palestinian leadership decimated and discouraged.

By the end of 2005, Yasir Arafat was dead (assassinated by Israeli poison), Israel had pulled its troops and settlers out of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, had reached a truce with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The uprising sputtered out. The economy was ruined, Gaza and the West Bank were more isolated from each other than ever, and Palestinians were divided, defeated and exhausted.

But in 2003, while the intifada was still raging, Bassem and others from Nabi Saleh began attending demonstrations in Budrus, 20 minutes away. Budrus was in danger of being cut off from the rest of the West Bank by Israel’s planned separation barrier, the concrete and chain-link divide that snakes along the border and in many places juts deeply into Palestinian territory. Residents began demonstrating. Foreign and Israeli activists joined the protests. Fatah and Hamas loyalists marched side by side.

The Israeli Army responded aggressively: at times with tear gas, beatings and arrests; at times with live ammunition. Palestinians elsewhere were fighting with Kalashnikovs, but the people of Budrus decided, said Ayed Morrar, an old friend of Bassem’s who organized the movement there, that unarmed resistance “would stress the occupation more.”

The strategy appeared to work.

After 55 demonstrations, the Israeli government agreed to shift the route of the barrier to the so-called 1967 green line. The tactic spread to other villages: Biddu, Ni’lin, Al Ma’asara and in 2009, Nabi Saleh. Together they formed what is known as the “popular resistance,” a loosely coordinated effort that has maintained what has arguably been the only form of active and organized resistance to the Israeli presence in the West Bank since the end of the second intifada in 2005. Nabi Saleh, Bassem hoped, could model a form of resistance for the rest of the West Bank.

The goal was to demonstrate that it was still possible to struggle and to do so without taking up arms, so that when the spark came, if it came, resistance might spread as it had during the first intifada. Bassem said: “If there is a third intifada,we want to be the ones who started it.

Bassem saw three options:

1.  “To be silent is to accept the situation, and we don’t accept the situation.”

2. Fighting with guns and bombs could only bring catastrophe. Israel was vastly more powerful,

3.  “But by popular resistance, we can push Israel power aside.”

As small as the demonstrations were, they appeared to create considerable anxiety in Israel. Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told me that while the West Bank demonstrations do not pose an “existential threat” to Israel, they “certainly could be more problematic in the short term” than a conventional armed revolt.

Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the I.D.F., took issue with the idea that the weekly protests were a form of nonviolent resistance.

In an e-mail Eytan described the protests as “violent and illegal rioting that take place around Judea and Samaria, and where large rocks, Molotov cocktails, improvised grenades and burning tires are used against security forces. Dubbing these simply demonstrations is an understatement — more than 200 security-force personnel have been injured in recent years at these riots.” (Molotov cocktails are sometimes thrown at protests at the checkpoints of Beitunia and Kalandia but never, Bassem said, in Nabi Saleh.)

Buchman said that the I.D.F. “employs an array of tactics as part of an overall strategy intended to curb these riots and the ensuing acts of violence. Every attempt is made to minimize physical friction and risk of casualties” among both the I.D.F. and the “rioters.”

One senior military commander, who would agree to be interviewed only on the condition that his name not be used, told me: “When the second intifada broke out, it was very difficult, but it was very easy to understand what we had to do. You have the enemy, he shoots at you, you have to kill him.” Facing down demonstrators armed with slings and stones or with nothing at all is less clear-cut. “As an Israeli citizen,I prefer stones. As a professional military officer, I prefer to meet tanks and troops.”

But armies, by their nature, have one default response to opposition: force. One soldier who served in Nabi Saleh testified to the Israeli veterans’ group Breaking the Silence about preparing for Friday protests. “It’s like some kind of game. Everyone wants to arm themselves with as much ammo as possible. . . . You have lots of stun grenades . . . so they’re thrown for the sake of throwing, at people who are not suspected of anything. And in the end, you tell your friend at the Friday-night dinner table: ‘Wow! I fired this much.’ ”

According to a leaked 2010 U.S. State Department memo, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi of Israel “expressed frustration” with the West Bank protests to American diplomats, and “warned that the I.D.F. will start to be more assertive in how it deals with these demonstrations, even demonstrations that appear peaceful.” The memo concluded that “less-violent demonstrations are likely to stymie the I.D.F.,” citing the Israeli Defense Ministry policy chief Amos Gilad’s admission to U.S. officials, “We don’t do Gandhi very well.”

Sagi Tal, a former I.D.F. soldier, who was stationed near the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, which also held weekly demonstrations, explained to me that his unit sometimes conducted night raids to gather intelligence or make arrests and sometimes simply so “that they should feel that we are here and we are watching them.”

After dinner one Sunday, Nariman put on a DVD shot both by her and Bilal, the village videographer. (“From the beginning,” Bilal told me at the march on the previous Friday, filming calmly as tear-gas grenades landed all around us, “we decided that the media is the most important thing in the popular resistance.”)

We watched a clip shot in the house in which we sat: soldiers banged on the door late at night and rifled through the boys’ room as Salam and Abu Yazan cowered beneath the covers and Nariman yelled in Arabic: “What manliness this is! What a proud army you’re part of!” The soldiers confiscated a gas mask, two computers, Waed’s camera and two of his schoolbooks — geography and Palestinian history. (In an e-mail, an I.D.F. spokesman described such night raids as “pre-emptive measures, taken in order to assure the security and stability in the area.”)

We watched footage of Nariman being arrested with Bilal’s wife, Manal, early in 2010. Soldiers had fired tear gas into Manal’s house, Nariman explained. Manal ran in to fetch her children, and when she came out, a soldier ordered her back in. She refused, so they arrested her. Nariman tried to intervene, and they arrested her too. They spent 10 days in prisons where they were beaten repeatedly, strip-searched and held for two days without food before each was dumped at the side of a road. (The I.D.F.’s Buchman said, “No exceptional incidents were recorded during these arrests.” He added that no complaints were filed with military authorities.)

We watched a clip of crying children being passed from a gas-filled room out a second-story window, down a human ladder to the street. Early on, the villagers took all the children to one house during demonstrations, but when the soldiers began firing gas grenades into homes, the villagers decided it was safer to let them join the protests. We watched footage of a soldier dragging a 9-year-old boy in the street, of another soldier striking Manal’s 70-year-old mother. Finally, Nariman shook her head and turned off the disc player. “Glee” was on.

One Friday, shortly after the marchers had barricaded the road with boulders and burning tires in order to keep the army out of the village center, a white truck sped around the bend, a jet of liquid arcing from the water cannon mounted on its cab. Someone yelled, “Skunk!” and everyone bolted. Skunk water smells like many things, but mainly it smells like feces. Nariman wasn’t fast enough. A blast of skunk knocked her off her feet. Moments later, she was standing defiantly, letting the cannon soak her and waving a Palestinian flag at the truck’s grated windshield. An hour or so later, smelling of skunk and shampoo, she was serving tea to a dozen protesters.

Every Friday was a little different. Some demonstrations were short and others almost endless. Some were comic, others not at all. Some days the I.D.F. entered the village, and others they stuck to the hills. Sometimes they made arrests. The basic structure, though, varied little week to week: a few minutes of marching, tear gas fired, then hours of the village youth — the shebab — throwing stones while dodging tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets until the sun set and everyone went home. Or failed to make it home.

It was strange, asymmetric combat: a few dozen masked shebab ranging in age from 8 to 38, armed with slings and stones, against 20 or more soldiers in armored vehicles and on foot, dressed in helmets and body armor, toting radios and automatic weapons. The shebab put a great deal of thought into tactics, trying to flank and surprise the soldiers. But even when their plans were perfectly executed, they could not do much more than irritate their enemies. The soldiers, though, would inevitably respond with more sophisticated weaponry, which would motivate the shebab to gather more stones Friday after Friday despite — and because of — the fact that nothing ever seemed to change, for the better at least.

I asked one of the boys why he threw stones, knowing how futile it was. “I want to help my country and my village, and I can’t. I can just throw stones.”

We see our stones as our message,” Bassem explained. The message they carried, he said, was “We don’t accept you.”

While Bassem spoke admiringly of Mahatma Gandhi, he didn’t worry over whether stone-throwing counted as violence. The question annoyed him: Israel uses far greater and more lethal force on a regular basis, he pointed out, without being asked to clarify its attitude toward violence. If the loincloth functioned as the sign of Gandhi’s resistance, of India’s nakedness in front of British colonial might, Bassem said, “Our sign is the stone.”

The weekly clashes with the I.D.F. were hence in part symbolic. The stones were not just flinty yellow rocks, but symbols of defiance, of a refusal to submit to occupation, regardless of the odds. The army’s weapons bore messages of their own: of economic and technological power, of international support. More than one resident of Nabi Saleh reminded me that the tear gas used there is made by a company based in Pennsylvania.

One afternoon, I visited the family of Mustafa Tamimi, who was 28 when he died in December 2011 after being shot at close range with a tear-gas canister from the back of an Israeli Army jeep. (An I.D.F. investigation concluded, according to Buchman, that when the soldier fired the canister “his field of vision was obscured.”) The walls were covered with framed photos: an action shot of Mustafa in profile, his face behind a red Spider-Man mask as he slung a stone at soldiers outside the frame.

In the weeks before her son’s death, Ekhlas Tamimi, his mother, told me that soldiers had twice come to the house looking for him. When she got a call that Friday asking her to bring Mustafa’s ID to the watchtower, she thought he’d been arrested, “like all the other times.” Beside me, Bahaa, a tall young man who was Mustafa’s best friend, scrolled through photos on a laptop, switching back and forth between a shot of Mustafa falling to the ground a few feet behind an I.D.F. jeep, and another, taken moments later, of his crushed and bloody face.

Ekhlas told me about a dream she’d had. Mustafa was standing on the roof, wearing his red mask. There were soldiers in the distance. She called to him: “Mustafa, come down! Everyone thinks you are dead — it’s better that they don’t see you.”

He turned to her, she said, and told her: “No. I’m standing here so that the Israeli soldiers will see me.”

“This is the worst time for us,” Bassem confided to me last summer. He meant not just that the villagers have less to show for their sacrifices each week, but that things felt grim outside the village too. Everyone I spoke with who was old enough to remember agreed that conditions for Palestinians are far worse now than they were before the first intifada.

The checkpoints, the raids, the permit system, add up to more daily humiliation than Palestinians have ever faced. The number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank has more than tripled since the Oslo Accords. Assaults on Palestinians by settlers are so common that they rarely made the news. The resistance, though, remained limited to a few scattered villages like Nabi Saleh and a small urban youth movement.

I sat down one afternoon in Ramallah with Samir Shehadeh, a former literature professor from Nabi Saleh who was one of the intellectual architects of the first intifada and whom I met several times at Bassem’s house. I reminded him of the car accident that ignited the first uprising and asked what kind of spark it would take to mobilize Palestinians to fight again. “The situation this time is 1,000 times worse. There are thousands of possible sparks,” and still nothing has happened.

In the 1980s, youth organizers like Bassem focused on volunteer work: helping farmers in the fields, educating their children. They built trust and established the social networks that would later allow the resistance to coordinate its actions without waiting for orders from above. Those networks no longer exist. Instead there’s the Palestinian Authority. Immediately after the first Oslo Accord in 1993, the scholar Edward Said predicted that “the P.L.O. will . . . become Israel’s enforcer.”

Oslo gave birth to a phantom state, an extensive but largely impotent administrative apparatus, with Israel remaining in effective control of the Palestine Authority’s finances, its borders, its water resources — of every major and many minor aspects of Palestinian life. More gallingly to many, Oslo, in Said’s words, gave “official Palestinian consent to continued occupation,” creating a local elite whose privilege depends on the perpetuation of the status quo.

That Palestinian  elite lives comfortably within the so-called “Ramallah bubble”: the bright and relatively carefree world of cafes, NGO salaries and imported goods that characterize life in the West Bank’s provisional capital. During the day, the clothing shops and fast-food franchises are filled. New high-rises are going up everywhere. “I didn’t lose my sister and my cousin and part of my life,” Bassem said, “for the sons of the ministers” to drive expensive cars.

Worse than any corruption, though, was the apparent normalcy. Settlements are visible on the neighboring hilltops, but there are no checkpoints inside Ramallah. The I.D.F. only occasionally enters the city, and usually only at night. Few Palestinians still work inside Israel, and not many can scrape a living from the fields.

For the thousands of waiters, clerks, engineers, warehouse workers, mechanics and bureaucrats eeking a living in Ramallah who spend their days in the city and return to their villages every evening, Ramallah — which has a full-time population of less than 100,000 — holds out the possibility of forgetting the occupation and pursuing a career, saving up for a car, sending the children to college.

But the checkpoints, the settlements and the soldiers are waiting just outside Ramallah, and the illusion of normalcy made Nabi Saleh’s task more difficult.

If Palestinians believed they could live better by playing along, who would bother to fight? When Bassem was jailed in decades past, he said, prisoners were impatient to get out and resume their struggles. This time, he ran into old friends who couldn’t understand why he was still fighting instead of making money off the spoils of the occupation. “They said to me: ‘You’re smart — why are you doing this? Don’t you learn? Don’t you want to make money..’ ”

At times the Palestinian Authority acts as a more immediate obstacle to resistance. Shortly after the protests began in Nabi Saleh, Bassem was contacted by P.A. security officials. The demonstrations were O.K., he said they told him, as long as they didn’t cross into areas in which the P.A. has jurisdiction — as long, that is, as they did not force the P.A. to take a side, to either directly challenge the Israelis or repress their own people. (A spokesman for the Palestinian security forces, Gen. Adnan Damiri, denied this and said that the Palestinian Authority fully supports all peaceful demonstrations.)

In Hebron, P.A. forces have stopped protesters from marching into the Israeli-controlled sector of the city. “This isn’t collaboration,” an I.D.F. spokesman, who would only talk to me on the condition that he not be named, assured me.“Israel has a set of interests, the P.A. has a set of interests and those interests happen to overlap.”

Bassem saw no easy way to break the torpor and ignite a more widespread popular resistance. “The P.A  have the power, more than the Israelis, to stop us.” The Palestinian Authority employs 160,000 Palestinians, which means it controls the livelihoods of about a quarter of West Bank households. One night I asked Bassem and Bilal, who works for the Ministry of Public Health, how many people in Nabi Saleh depend on P.A. salaries. It took them a few minutes to add up the names. “Let’s say two-thirds of the village,” Bilal concluded.

Last summer, my final Friday in Nabi Saleh was supposed to be a short day. One of the shebab was getting engaged to a girl from a neighboring village, and everyone planned to attend the betrothal ceremony. The demonstration would end at 3.

Four armored cars waited at the bend in the road, the skunk truck idling behind them. Manal pointed to the civilian policemen accompanying the soldiers. “There is a new policy that they can arrest internationals,” she explained. Earlier that month, as part of the effort to combat what Israelis call the “internationalization” of the conflict, the defense forces issued an order authorizing Israeli immigration police to arrest foreigners in the West Bank.

About half the marchers headed down the hillside. Soldiers waiting below arrested four Israelis and detained Bashir, the owner of the land around the spring. Everyone cheered as Mohammad raced uphill, outrunning the soldiers. (Three months later they would catch up to him in a night raid on his father’s house. He was imprisoned until late December.)

I saw Nariman standing in the road with a Scottish woman. I walked over. Two soldiers grabbed the Scottish protester. Two more took me by the arms, pulled me to a jeep and shoved me in. I showed my press card to the driver. His expression didn’t change. Two frightened young women, both British, were already locked inside.

After almost an hour, the soldiers brought a Swede and an Italian who had been hiding in the convenience-store bathroom. More soldiers piled in. I showed one my press card and asked if he understood that I was a journalist. He nodded. Finally, the driver pulled onto the road. As we passed the gas station, the shebab ran after us.

“They were so beautiful a few minutes ago, right?” the soldier beside me said as the shebab’s stones clanged against the jeep. “They were so cute.”

They drove us to the old British police station in the I.D.F. base in Halamish. While I was sitting on a bench, an I.D.F. spokesman called my cellphone to inform me that no journalists with press cards had been detained in Nabi Saleh. I disagreed. (The next day, according to Agence France-Presse, the I.D.F. denied I had been arrested.) A half-hour later, an officer escorted me to the gate.

As I walked back to Nabi Saleh, the road was empty, but the air was still peppery with tear gas. I made it back in time for the engagement party and flew home the next day. The five activists detained with me were deported. Two nights after I left, soldiers raided Bassem’s house. The following week, they raided the village five days in a row.

This past October, the popular resistance movement began to shift tactics, trying to break the routine of weekly demonstrations. They blocked a settler road west of Ramallah, and the following week staged a protest inside an Israeli-owned supermarket in the settlement industrial zone of Shaar Binyamin. Bassem was arrested outside the market — soldiers grabbed at Nariman and dragged Bassem off when he stepped forward to put his arms around her.

Less than two weeks later, Waed was arrested at a Friday demonstration. Soldiers beat Waed “with their fists and their rifles.” When he appeared in court, Waed was still bruised. The judge threw out the charges. But while he was detained, he was in the same prison as his father and saw him briefly there. “When I said goodbye to him,” Waed told me with obvious pride, “he had tears in his eyes. I was stronger than him.”

On the day of Waed’s arrest, a camera caught Ahed shaking her fist, demanding that soldiers tell her where they were taking her brother. The Internet took over: video of the tiny, bare-armed blond girl facing down a soldier went viral. She and Nariman were invited to Istanbul, where, to their surprise, Nariman said, they were greeted at the airport by dozens of children wearing T-shirts printed with Ahed’s photo. They drove past billboards displaying Ahed’s image. Reporters followed them everywhere. Crowds gathered when they walked in the streets. They were taken to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the southeastern city of Urfa, Nariman said, and flew back with him to Istanbul on his plane.

Not everyone reacted so enthusiastically. One right-wing blogger dubbed Ahed “Shirley Temper.” The Israeli news site Ynet took the images as evidence that “Palestinian protesters use children to needle I.D.F. soldiers in the hope of provoking a violent response.”

In mid-November, Israeli rockets began falling on Gaza. Protests spread throughout the West Bank. “We thought it was the start of the third intifada,” Manal told me. The demonstrations in Nabi Saleh stretched beyond their usual Friday-evening terminus. One Saturday in November, Nariman’s brother Rushdie — who worked as a policeman near Ramallah and was rarely home on Fridays — joined the shebab on the hill. He was standing beside Waed when he was hit by a rubber-coated bullet.

Then the soldiers began shooting live ammunition, but Rushdie was hurt and couldn’t run. As he lay on the ground, a soldier shot him in the back from a few meters away. Nariman ran to the hillside with her video camera and found her brother lying wounded. “I wanted to attack the soldier and die with Rushdie right there, but I knew I had to be stronger than that,” Nariman said. “Why is it required of me to be more humane than they are?” Rushdie, who was 31, died two days later. An I.D.F. investigation found that soldiers fired 80 shots of live ammunition and neglected to “control the fire.” The unit’s commander was reportedly relieved of his command.

When the fighting stopped in Gaza, the protests in the West Bank ceased. I went back to Nabi Saleh in January, three weeks before Bassem was expected home. The village seemed listless and depressed, as if everyone were convinced of the futility of continuing. On my first Friday back, the demonstration ended early: the shebab had a soccer match in another village. It rained the next week, and everyone went home after an hour. “We are still living the shock of Rushdie’s killing,” Mohammad told me.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, though, momentum was building. In late November, Netanyahu announced plans to build 3,400 settlement units in an area known as E1, effectively cutting off Jerusalem from the West Bank. Just before I arrived in January, popular-resistance activists tried something new, erecting a tent “village” called Bab al-Shams in E1, symbolically appropriating the methods of land confiscation employed by settlers. “The time has come now to change the rules of the game,” the organizers wrote in a news release, “for us to establish facts on the ground — our own land.”

The numbers were relatively small — about 250 people took part, including Nariman and a few others from Nabi Saleh — and, on direct orders from Netanyahu, soldiers evicted everyone two days later, but the movement was once again making headlines around the globe. Copycat encampments went up all over the West Bank — some in areas where the popular resistance had not previously been active.

The day after his release, Bassem told me that even sitting in prison he had felt “a sense of joy” when he learned about Bab al-Shams. The popular resistance was finally spreading beyond the village demonstrations. “We have to create a sense of renewal,” he said, “not only in Nabi Saleh but on a larger scale.” The village’s losses — and his own — he acknowledged, were daunting. “The price is now higher,but if we don’t continue, it would mean that the occupation has succeeded.” It would take constant creativity, he said, to hold onto the momentum. He didn’t know what it would look like yet, but just talking about it seemed to add inches to his height.

Within days, thousands of Palestinians would protest around the West Bank, first in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strikes to demand an end to the indefinite detention of Palestinians without trial, later in outrage at the death of a 30-year-old prisoner named Arafat Jaradat. Once again, the words “third intifada” were buzzing through the press. Avi Dichter, the head of Israeli domestic security during the second intifada and the current minister of Home Front Defense, cautioned in a radio interview that an “incorrect response by the security forces” might push the protests into full-out revolt.

When I saw Bassem in February, I asked him whether he was worried that the uprising might finally arrive at Nabi Saleh’s moment of greatest self-doubt, that it might catch the village drowsing. “It doesn’t matter who is resisting,” he said. “What’s important is that they are resisting.”

On the last Friday I was there, the wind was against the demonstrators. Nearly every grenade the soldiers fired, regardless of how far away it landed, blew a cloud of gas up the road right at them. A dozen or so villagers watched the clashes from the relative safety of the hillside. Bassem’s cousin Naji was sitting on a couch cushion. Mahmoud, Bassem’s nephew, poured coffee into clear plastic cups. Bright red poppies dotted the hill between the rocks. The way was clear, but no one tried to walk down to the spring.

When the demonstration seemed over, I trekked back to the village with a young Israeli in a black “Anarchy Is for Lovers” T-shirt. He told me about his childhood on a kibbutz bordering the Gaza Strip. His parents were “right-wing Zionists,” he said, “hard-core.” They didn’t talk to him anymore. A group of soldiers appeared behind us, and we ducked into Nariman’s yard as they tossed a few stun grenades over the wall.

Later that evening, at Naji’s house, I watched Bilal’s video of the same soldiers as they strolled down the drive, lobbing tear-gas grenades until they reached their jeeps. They piled in and closed the armored doors. One door opened a crack. A hand emerged. It tossed one last grenade toward the camera. Gas streamed out, the door closed and the jeep sped off down the road.

Ben Ehrenreich won a 2011 National Magazine Award in feature writing. His most recent novel is “Ether,” published by City Lights Books. Editor: Ilena SilvermanAdvertisem

Part 8. Ten Myths on Israel: Not how a “Democratic State” behave (by Ian Pappe)

No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

Crushing Palestinian Resistance Is Not Democratic

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

Imprisoning Palestinians Without Trial Is Not Democratic

By lan Pappe

From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

Crushing Palestinian Resistance Is Not Democratic

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 100 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  (Intifada, civil disobedience)— 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 (administrative detention inherited from Britain laws during the mandated period) , as experienced by so many over the years (every night, a dozen Palestinian youths are detained for months) ; 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. (Two of these cases are currently under way)

Let’s take this in stages.

Firstly, assassinations — what Amnesty’s report calls “unlawful killings”: about 15,000 Palestinians have been killed “unlawfully” by Israel since 1967. Among them were 2,000 two children.

 

 

Yes, Native Americans Were the Victims of Genocide

Saturday, June 04, 2016 By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, History News Network | Op-Ed

This paper, written under the title, “U.S. Settler-Colonialism and Genocide Policies,” was delivered at the Organization of American Historians 2015 Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO on April 18, 2015.

US policies and actions related to Indigenous peoples, though often termed “racist” or “discriminatory,” are rarely depicted as what they are: classic cases of imperialism and a particular form of colonialism — settler colonialism.

As anthropologist Patrick Wolfe writes, “The question of genocide is never far from discussions of settler colonialism. Land is necessary for life “[1] The history of the United States is a history of settler colonialism.

The extension of the United States from sea to shining sea was the intention and design of the country’s founders. “Free” land was the magnet that attracted European settlers.

After the war for independence but preceding the writing of the US Constitution, the Continental Congress produced the Northwest Ordinance. This was the first law of the incipient republic, revealing the motive for those desiring independence.

It was the blueprint for gobbling up the British-protected Indian Territory (“Ohio Country”) on the other side of the Appalachians and Alleghenies. Britain had made settlement there illegal with the Proclamation of 1763.

In 1801, President Jefferson aptly described the new settler state’s intentions for horizontal and vertical continental expansion, stating: “However our present interests may restrain us within our own limits, it is impossible not to look forward to distant times, when our rapid multiplication will expand itself beyond those limits and cover the whole northern, if not the southern continent, with a people speaking the same language, governed in similar form by similar laws.

This vision of manifest destiny found form a few years later in the Monroe Doctrine, signaling the intention of annexing or dominating former Spanish colonial territories in the Americas and the Pacific, which would be put into practice during the rest of the century.

The form of colonialism that the Indigenous peoples of North America have experienced was modern from the beginning: the expansion of European corporations, backed by government armies, into foreign areas, with subsequent expropriation of lands and resources.

Settler colonialism requires a genocidal policy. Native nations and communities, while struggling to maintain fundamental values and collectivity, have from the beginning resisted modern colonialism using both defensive and offensive techniques, including the modern forms of armed resistance of national liberation movements and what now is called terrorism. In every instance they have fought and continue to fight for survival as peoples.

The objective of US colonialist authorities was to terminate their existence as peoples — not as random individuals. This is the very definition of modern genocide as contrasted with premodern instances of extreme violence that did not have the goal of extinction.

The United States as a socioeconomic and political entity is a result of this centuries-long and ongoing colonial process. Modern Indigenous nations and communities are societies formed by their resistance to colonialism, through which they have carried their practices and histories. It is breathtaking, but no miracle, that they have survived as peoples.

Settler-colonialism requires violence or the threat of violence to attain its goals, which then forms the foundation of the United States’ system.

People do not hand over their land, resources, children, and futures without a fight, and that fight is met with violence. In employing the force necessary to accomplish its expansionist goals, a colonizing regime institutionalizes violence.

The notion that settler-indigenous conflict is an inevitable product of cultural differences and misunderstandings, or that violence was committed equally by the colonized and the colonizer, blurs the nature of the historical processes. Euro-American colonialism, an aspect of the capitalist economic globalization, had from its beginnings a genocidal tendency.

So, what constitutes genocide?  (The Turkish government is still debating on the nuance of its Armenian genocide?)

My colleague on the panel, Gary Clayton Anderson, in his recent book, “Ethnic Cleansing and the Indian,” argues: “Genocide will never become a widely accepted characterization for what happened in North America, because large numbers of Indians survived and because policies of mass murder on a scale similar to events in central Europe, Cambodia, or Rwanda were never implemented.”[2] There are fatal errors in this assessment.

The term “genocide” was coined following the Shoah, or Holocaust, and its prohibition was enshrined in the United Nations convention presented in 1948 and adopted in 1951: the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The convention is not retroactive but is applicable to US-Indigenous relations since 1988, when the US Senate ratified it. The genocide convention is an essential tool for historical analysis of the effects of colonialism in any era, and particularly in US history.

In the convention, any one of five acts is considered genocide if “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”:

(a) killing members of the group;

(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.[3]

The followings acts are punishable:

(a) Genocide;

(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;

(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

(d) Attempt to commit genocide;

(e) Complicity in genocide.

The term “genocide” is often incorrectly used, such as in Dr. Anderson’s assessment, to describe extreme examples of mass murder, the death of vast numbers of people, as, for instance in Cambodia. What took place in Cambodia was horrific, but it does not fall under the terms of the Genocide Convention, as the Convention specifically refers to a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, with individuals within that group targeted by a government or its agents because they are members of the group or by attacking the underpinnings of the group’s existence as a group being met with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part.

The Cambodian government committed crimes against humanity, but not genocide. Genocide is not an act simply worse than anything else, rather a specific kind of act.

The term, “ethnic cleansing,” is a descriptive term created by humanitarian interventionists to describe what was said to be happening in the 1990s wars among the republics of Yugoslavia. It is a descriptive term, not a term of international humanitarian law.

Although clearly the Holocaust was the most extreme of all genocides, the bar set by the Nazis is not the bar required to be considered genocide. The title of the Genocide convention is the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” so the law is about preventing genocide by identifying the elements of government policy, rather than only punishment after the fact. Most importantly, genocide does not have to be complete to be considered genocide.

US history, as well as inherited Indigenous trauma, cannot be understood without dealing with the genocide that the United States committed against Indigenous peoples. From the colonial period through the founding of the United States and continuing in the twentieth century, this has entailed torture, terror, sexual abuse, massacres, systematic military occupations, removals of Indigenous peoples from their ancestral territories, forced removal of Native American children to military-like boarding schools, allotment, and a policy of termination.

Within the logic of settler-colonialism, genocide was the inherent overall policy of the United States from its founding, but there are also specific documented policies of genocide on the part of US administrations that can be identified in at least four distinct periods: the Jacksonian era of forced removal; the California gold rush in Northern California; during the Civil War and in the post Civil War era of the so-called Indian Wars in the Southwest and the Great Plains; and the 1950s termination period; additionally, there is the overlapping period of compulsory boarding schools, 1870s to 1960s.

The Carlisle boarding school, founded by US Army officer Richard Henry Pratt in 1879, became a model for others established by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Pratt said in a speech in 1892, “A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him and save the man.”

Cases of genocide carried out as policy may be found in historical documents as well as in the oral histories of Indigenous communities. An example from 1873 is typical, with General William T. Sherman writing, “We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children . . . during an assault, the soldiers can not pause to distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to age.”[4]

The so-called “Indian Wars” technically ended around 1880, although the Wounded Knee massacre occurred a decade later. Clearly an act with genocidal intent, it is still officially considered a “battle” in the annals of US military genealogy. Congressional Medals of Honor were bestowed on twenty of the soldiers involved.

A monument was built at Fort Riley, Kansas, to honor the soldiers killed by friendly fire. A battle streamer was created to honor the event and added to other streamers that are displayed at the Pentagon, West Point, and army bases throughout the world. L. Frank Baum, a Dakota Territory settler later famous for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, edited the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer at the time.

Five days after the sickening event at Wounded Knee, on January 3, 1891, he wrote, “The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one or more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth.”

Whether 1880 or 1890, most of the collective land base that Native Nations secured through hard fought for treaties made with the United States was lost after that date.

After the end of the Indian Wars, came allotment, another policy of genocide of Native nations as nations, as peoples, the dissolution of the group. Taking the Sioux Nation as an example, even before the Dawes Allotment Act of 1884 was implemented, and with the Black Hills already illegally confiscated by the federal government, a government commission arrived in Sioux territory from Washington, DC, in 1888 with a proposal to reduce the Sioux Nation to six small reservations, a scheme that would leave nine million acres open for Euro-American settlement.

The commission found it impossible to obtain signatures of the required three-fourths of the nation as required under the 1868 treaty, and so returned to Washington with a recommendation that the government ignore the treaty and take the land without Sioux consent. The only means to accomplish that goal was legislation, Congress having relieved the government of the obligation to negotiate a treaty.

Congress commissioned General George Crook to head a delegation to try again, this time with an offer of $1.50 per acre. In a series of manipulations and dealings with leaders whose people were now starving, the commission garnered the needed signatures.

The great Sioux Nation was broken into small islands soon surrounded on all sides by European immigrants, with much of the reservation land a checkerboard with settlers on allotments or leased land.[5] Creating these isolated reservations broke the historical relationships between clans and communities of the Sioux Nation and opened areas where Europeans settled. It also allowed the Bureau of Indian Affairs to exercise tighter control, buttressed by the bureau’s boarding school system.

The Sun Dance, the annual ceremony that had brought Sioux together and reinforced national unity, was outlawed, along with other religious ceremonies. Despite the Sioux people’s weak position under late-nineteenth-century colonial domination, they managed to begin building a modest cattle-ranching business to replace their former bison-hunting economy. In 1903, the US Supreme Court ruled, in Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, that a March 3, 1871, appropriations rider was constitutional and that Congress had “plenary” power to manage Indian property.

The Office of Indian Affairs could thus dispose of Indian lands and resources regardless of the terms of previous treaty provisions. Legislation followed that opened the reservations to settlement through leasing and even sale of allotments taken out of trust. Nearly all prime grazing lands came to be occupied by non-Indian ranchers by the 1920s.

By the time of the New Deal–Collier era and nullification of Indian land allotment under the Indian Reorganization Act, non-Indians outnumbered Indians on the Sioux reservations three to one. However, “tribal governments” imposed in the wake of the Indian Reorganization Act proved particularly harmful and divisive for the Sioux.”[6] 

Concerning this measure, the late Mathew King, elder traditional historian of the Oglala Sioux (Pine Ridge), observed: “The Bureau of Indian Affairs drew up the constitution and by-laws of this organization with the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. This was the introduction of home rule. . . .

The traditional people still hang on to their Treaty, for we are a sovereign nation. We have our own government.”[7] “Home rule,” or neocolonialism, proved a short-lived policy, however, for in the early 1950s the United States developed its termination policy, with legislation ordering gradual eradication of every reservation and even the tribal governments.[8] At the time of termination and relocation, per capita annual income on the Sioux reservations stood at $355, while that in nearby South Dakota towns was $2,500.

Despite these circumstances, in pursuing its termination policy, the Bureau of Indian Affairs advocated the reduction of services and introduced its program to relocate Indians to urban industrial centers, with a high percentage of Sioux moving to San Francisco and Denver in search of jobs.[9]

The situations of other Indigenous Nations were similar.

Pawnee Attorney Walter R. Echo-Hawk writes:

In 1881, Indian landholdings in the United States had plummeted to 156 million acres. By 1934, only about 50 million acres remained (an area the size of Idaho and Washington) as a result of the General Allotment Act of 1887. During World War II, the government took 500,000 more acres for military use. Over one hundred tribes, bands, and Rancherias relinquished their lands under various acts of Congress during the termination era of the 1950s. By 1955, the indigenous land base had shrunk to just 2.3 percent of its [size at the end of the Indian wars].[10]

According to the current consensus among historians, the wholesale transfer of land from Indigenous to Euro-American hands that occurred in the Americas after 1492 is due less to British and US American invasion, warfare, refugee conditions, and genocidal policies in North America than to the bacteria that the invaders unwittingly brought with them.

Historian Colin Calloway is among the proponents of this theory writing, “Epidemic diseases would have caused massive depopulation in the Americas whether brought by European invaders or brought home by Native American traders.”[11] Such an absolutist assertion renders any other fate for the Indigenous peoples improbable. This is what anthropologist Michael Wilcox has dubbed “the terminal narrative.”

Professor Calloway is a careful and widely respected historian of Indigenous North America, but his conclusion articulates a default assumption. The thinking behind the assumption is both ahistorical and illogical in that Europe itself lost a third to one-half of its population to infectious disease during medieval pandemics.

The principle reason the consensus view is wrong and ahistorical is that it erases the effects of settler colonialism with its antecedents in the Spanish “Reconquest” and the English conquest of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. By the time Spain, Portugal, and Britain arrived to colonize the Americas, their methods of eradicating peoples or forcing them into dependency and servitude were ingrained, streamlined, and effective.

Whatever disagreement may exist about the size of precolonial Indigenous populations, no one doubts that a rapid demographic decline occurred in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, its timing from region to region depending on when conquest and colonization began.

Nearly all the population areas of the Americas were reduced by 90 percent following the onset of colonizing projects, decreasing the targeted Indigenous populations of the Americas from a one hundred million to ten million. Commonly referred to as the most extreme demographic disaster — framed as natural — in human history, it was rarely called genocide until the rise of Indigenous movements in the mid-twentieth century forged new questions.

US scholar Benjamin Keen acknowledges that historians “accept uncritically a fatalistic ‘epidemic plus lack of acquired immunity’ explanation for the shrinkage of Indian populations, without sufficient attention to the socioeconomic factors . . . which predisposed the natives to succumb to even slight infections.”[12] Other scholars agree. Geographer William M. Denevan, while not ignoring the existence of widespread epidemic diseases, has emphasized the role of warfare, which reinforced the lethal impact of disease.

There were military engagements directly between European and Indigenous nations, but many more saw European powers pitting one Indigenous nation against another or factions within nations, with European allies aiding one or both sides, as was the case in the colonization of the peoples of Ireland, Africa and Asia, and was also a factor in the Holocaust.

Other killers cited by Denevan are overwork in mines, frequent outright butchery, malnutrition and starvation resulting from the breakdown of Indigenous trade networks, subsistence food production and loss of land, loss of will to live or reproduce (and thus suicide, abortion, and infanticide), and deportation and enslavement.[13] Anthropologist Henry Dobyns has pointed to the interruption of Indigenous peoples’ trade networks.

When colonizing powers seized Indigenous trade routes, the ensuing acute shortages, including food products, weakened populations and forced them into dependency on the colonizers, with European manufactured goods replacing Indigenous ones. Dobyns has estimated that all Indigenous groups suffered serious food shortages one year in four. In these circumstances, the introduction and promotion of alcohol proved addictive and deadly, adding to the breakdown of social order and responsibility.[14] These realities render the myth of “lack of immunity,” including to alcohol, pernicious.

Historian Woodrow Wilson Borah focused on the broader arena of European colonization, which also brought severely reduced populations in the Pacific Islands, Australia, Western Central America, and West Africa.[15] Sherburne Cook — associated with Borah in the revisionist Berkeley School, as it was called — studied the attempted destruction of the California Indians. Cook estimated 2,245 deaths among peoples in Northern California — the Wintu, Maidu, Miwak, Omo, Wappo, and Yokuts nations — in late eighteenth-century armed conflicts with the Spanish while some 5,000 died from disease and another 4,000 were relocated to missions.

Among the same people in the second half of the nineteenth century, US armed forces killed 4,000, and disease killed another 6,000. Between 1852 and 1867, US citizens kidnapped 4,000 Indian children from these groups in California. Disruption of Indigenous social structures under these conditions and dire economic necessity forced many of the women into prostitution in goldfield camps, further wrecking what vestiges of family life remained in these matriarchal societies.

Historians and others who deny genocide emphasize population attrition by disease, weakening Indigenous peoples ability to resist. In doing so they refuse to accept that the colonization of America was genocidal by plan, not simply the tragic fate of populations lacking immunity to disease. If disease could have done the job, it is not clear why the United States found it necessary to carry out unrelenting wars against Indigenous communities in order to gain every inch of land they took from them — along with the prior period of British colonization, nearly three hundred years of eliminationist warfare.

In the case of the Jewish Holocaust, no one denies that more Jews died of starvation, overwork, and disease under Nazi incarceration than died in gas ovens or murdered by other means, yet the acts of creating and maintaining the conditions that led to those deaths clearly constitute genocide. And no one recites the terminal narrative associated with Native Americans, or Armenians, or Bosnian.

Not all of the acts iterated in the genocide convention are required to exist to constitute genocide; any one of them suffices. In cases of United States genocidal policies and actions, each of the five requirements can be seen.

First, Killing members of the group: The genocide convention does not specify that large numbers of people must be killed in order to constitute genocide, rather that members of the group are killed because they are members of the group. Assessing a situation in terms of preventing genocide, this kind of killing is a marker for intervention.

Second, Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group: such as starvation, the control of food supply and withholding food as punishment or as reward for compliance, for instance, in signing confiscatory treaties. As military historian John Grenier points out in his First Way of War:

For the first 200 years of our military heritage, then, Americans depended on arts of war that contemporary professional soldiers supposedly abhorred: razing and destroying enemy villages and fields; killing enemy women and children; raiding settlements for captives; intimidating and brutalizing enemy noncombatants; and assassinating enemy leaders. . . . In the frontier wars between 1607 and 1814, Americans forged two elements — unlimited war and irregular war — into their first way of war.[16]

Grenier argues that not only did this way of war continue throughout the 19th century in wars against the Indigenous nations, but continued in the 20th century and currently in counterinsurgent wars against peoples in Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific, Southeast Asia, Middle and Western Asia and Africa.

Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part: Forced removal of all the Indigenous nations east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory during the Jackson administration was a calculated policy intent on destroying those peoples ties to their original lands, as well as declaring Native people who did not remove to no longer be Muskogee, Sauk, Kickapoo, Choctaw, destroying the existence of up to half of each nation removed.

Mandatory boarding schools, Allotment and Termination — all official government policies–also fall under this category of the crime of genocide. The forced removal and four year incarceration of the Navajo people resulted in the death of half their population.

Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group: Famously, during the Termination Era, the US government administrated Indian Health Service made the top medical priority the sterilization of Indigenous women. In 1974, an independent study by one the few Native American physicians, Dr. Connie Pinkerton-Uri, Choctaw/Cherokee, found that one in four Native women had been sterilized without her consent. Pnkerton-Uri’s research indicated that the Indian Health Service had “singled out full-blooded Indian women for sterilization procedures.”

At first denied by the Indian Health Service, two years later, a study by the U.S. General Accounting Office found that 4 of the 12 Indian Health Service regions sterilized 3,406 Native women without their permission between 1973 and 1976. The GAO found that 36 women under age 21 had been forcibly sterilized during this period despite a court-ordered moratorium on sterilizations of women younger than 21.

Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group: Various governmental entities, mostly municipalities, counties, and states, routinely removed Native children from their families and put them up for adoption. In the Native resistance movements of the 1960s and 1970s, the demand to put a stop to the practice was codified in the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

However, the burden of enforcing the legislation lay with Tribal Government, but the legislation provided no financial resources for Native governments to establish infrastructure to retrieve children from the adoption industry, in which Indian babies were high in demand. Despite these barriers to enforcement, the worst abuses had been curbed over the following three decades. But, on June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling drafted by Justice Samuel Alito, used provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to say that a child, widely known as Baby Veronica, did not have to live with her biological Cherokee father.

The high court’s decision paved the way for Matt and Melanie Capobianco, the adoptive parents, to ask the South Carolina Courts to have the child returned to them. The court gutted the purpose and intent of the Indian Child Welfare Act, missing the concept behind the ICWA, the protection of cultural resource and treasure that are Native children; it’s not about protecting so-called traditional or nuclear families. It’s about recognizing the prevalence of extended families and culture.[17]

So, why does the Genocide Convention matter? Native nations are still here and still vulnerable to genocidal policy. This isn’t just history that predates the 1948 Genocide Convention. But, the history is important and needs to be widely aired, included in public school texts and public service announcements.

The Doctrine of Discovery is still law of the land. From the mid-fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, most of the non-European world was colonized under the Doctrine of Discovery, one of the first principles of international law Christian European monarchies promulgated to legitimize investigating, mapping, and claiming lands belonging to peoples outside Europe. It originated in a papal bull issued in 1455 that permitted the Portuguese monarchy to seize West Africa. Following Columbus’s infamous exploratory voyage in 1492, sponsored by the king and queen of the infant Spanish state, another papal bull extended similar permission to Spain.

Disputes between the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies led to the papal-initiated Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), which, besides dividing the globe equally between the two Iberian empires, clarified that only non-Christian lands fell under the discovery doctrine.[18] This doctrine on which all European states relied thus originated with the arbitrary and unilateral establishment of the Iberian monarchies’ exclusive rights under Christian canon law to colonize foreign peoples, and this right was later seized by other European monarchical colonizing projects.

The French Republic used this legalistic instrument for its nineteenth- and twentieth-century settler colonialist projects, as did the newly independent United States when it continued the colonization of North America begun by the British.

In 1792, not long after the US founding, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson claimed that the Doctrine of Discovery developed by European states was international law applicable to the new US government as well. In 1823 the US Supreme Court issued its decision in Johnson v. McIntosh.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Marshall held that the Doctrine of Discovery had been an established principle of European law and of English law in effect in Britain’s North American colonies and was also the law of the United States. ( Israel still applies the British administrative colonial detention law on Palestinians)

The Court defined the exclusive property rights that a European country acquired by dint of discovery: “Discovery gave title to the government, by whose subjects, or by whose authority, it was made, against all other European governments, which title might be consummated by possession.” Therefore, European and Euro-American “discoverers” had gained real-property rights in the lands of Indigenous peoples by merely planting a flag.

Indigenous rights were, in the Court’s words, “in no instance, entirely disregarded; but were necessarily, to a considerable extent, impaired.” The court further held that Indigenous “rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations, were necessarily diminished.” Indigenous people could continue to live on the land, but title resided with the discovering power, the United States. The decision concluded that Native nations were “domestic, dependent nations.”

The Doctrine of Discovery is so taken for granted that it is rarely mentioned in historical or legal texts published in the Americas. The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, which meets annually for two weeks, devoted its entire 2012 session to the doctrine.[19] But few US citizens are aware of the precarity of the situation of Indigenous Peoples in the United States.

Note: Israel is founded on settlers genocide and displacement of Palestinians. Boycott Settlements products and services.

Blatant bus racial segregation: How could it be motivated by “security” concerns?

Israel’s top legal officer has ordered Moshe Ya’alon, the country’s defence minister, to explain a decision that effectively bans Palestinian workers from travelling to their West Bank homes on the same buses as Jewish settlers.

The demand, from Yehuda Weinstein, the Attorney General, follows criticism that the move – officially justified on “security grounds” – amounted to racial segregation.

Mr Ya’alon’s order will make it illegal from December for Palestinian labourers working in Tel Aviv and central Israel from boarding the Trans-Samaria bus, which travels through the occupied West Bank to the settlement of Ariel.

Moshe Ya’alon ordered to explain ban

Decision by Israel’s defence minister has led to accusations of racial segregation despite official insistence that it is motivated by “security” concerns

The defence minister's justification contradicts the stance of the Israeli army, which has said it does not consider the Palestinian workers' presence on the buses a threat

The defence minister’s justification contradicts the stance of the Israeli army, which has said it does not consider the Palestinian workers’ presence on the buses a threat Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Instead they will have to enter the West Bank through the Eyal checkpoint, far removed from many Palestinian populations centres, and then continue on separate buses.

The defence minister’s justification contradicts the stance of the Israeli army, which has said it does not consider the Palestinian workers’ presence on the buses a threat, since only those who have been given security clearance are allowed into Israel.

Now the Attorney General’s office has asked the defence ministry to list the facts and considerations – including legal advice – that prompted Mr Ya’alon’s decision, amid criticisms that he was motivated by a desire to curry favour with settlers’ groups.

The liberal Haaretz newspaper accused him of “kowtowing” to settler opinion while giving ammunition to those who characterise Israel as an “apartheid state“.

“The minister’s decision reeks of apartheid, typical of the Israeli occupation regime in the territories,” the newspaper wrote in an editorial headlined “Welcome Aboard Israel’s Apartheid Bus”.

One of the most blatant symbols of the regime of racial separation in South Africa was the separate bus lines for whites and blacks. Now, Ya’alon has implemented the same policy in the occupied territories.”

A source in Mr Ya’alon’s office defended the move as “purely a security-related matter”. “Its purpose is to supervise the entries and exits into Israeli territory, thereby reducing the chances of terror attacks inside Israeli territory,” the source told Ha’aretz.

Israel’s transport ministry came under fire last year for introducing “Palestinian only” buses from Israel to the West Bank following complaints from settlers.

The latest controversy came as Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, hit back at international criticism of a decision to proceed with plans to build 1,060 new settlers homes in East Jerusalem, which is claimed by the Palestinians as their future capital.

The European Union and the US both condemned the move – apparently agreed in an attempt to appease pro-settler ministers in Mr Netanyahu’s coalition – as harmful to prospects for peace.

Mr Netanyahu dismissed the criticisms as “disconnected from reality”. “The EU and the US are applying a double standard when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said on a visit to the port city of Ashdod.

“When Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority] incites murder of Jews in Jerusalem, the international community remains silent. And when we build in Jerusalem, they become indignant. I don’t accept that. Just as the French build in Paris and the British build in London, Israelis build in Jerusalem.”

 

Child Fatalities

The tables below are updated monthly. For more detailed statistics, please contact the DCI-Palestine ‘s Documentation Unit.

Tables 1 to 4 show the number of children killed as a result of Israeli military and settler presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since the beginning of the second Palestinian uprising against occupation, or Intifada, according to DCI-Palestine’s documentation. These tables do not include children killed while involved in hostilities.

Table 5 shows the number of children killed while involved in hostilities since 2008, according to DCI-Palestine’s documentation.

1406 children killed by Israeli military or settlers since 2000
http://www.dci-palestine.org/content/child-fatalities


1. Distribution of Palestinian child fatalities by month:

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 35 45 11 94
2001 3 3 8 12 9 5 8 8 12 6 9 15 98
2002 3 9 35 36 15 10 13 10 12 19 16 14 192
2003 11 12 18 14 17 8 1 6 7 15 9 12 130
2004 6 3 15 14 36 8 13 9 25 21 6 6 162
2005 20 4 2 3 2 1 6 6 3 4 1 0 52
2006 3 3 5 6 2 9 40 14 10 5 24 3 124
2007 4 1 5 2 9 10 2 8 4 2 3 0 50
2008 6 10 22 21 4 4 2 1 2 0 0 40 112
2009 301 4 1 1 0 2 1 1 2 1 1 0 315
2010 1 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 8
2011 2 0 4 2 1 0 0 4 1 0 0 1 15
2012 0 0 4 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 35 1 43
2013 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 5
2014 1 0 1 0 2 2 6

 

Total: 1406


2. Distribution of
Palestinian child fatalities by age group:

Year 0 – 8 9 – 12 13 – 15 16 – 17 Total
2000 4 9 34 47 94
2001 13 21 31 33 98
2002 50 33 62 47 192
2003 16 22 47 45 130
2004 13 29 58 62 162
2005 2 10 19 21 52
2006 26 12 40 46 124
2007 3 8 17 22 50
2008 22 13 38 39 112
2009 93 63 83 76 315
2010 0 0 3 5 8
2011 2 3 6 4 15
2012 18 8 8 9 43
2013 1 0 2 2 5
2014 0 1 2 3 6

 

Total: 1406


3. Distribution of Palestinian child fatalities by region:

Year Gaza Hebron Bethlehem Jericho Jerusalem Ramallah Salfit Nablus Tulkarm Qalqilia Jenin Inside Israel Total
2000 43 9 4 0 3 7 3 8 6 5 5 1 94
2001 64 9 5 0 4 6 0 1 0 3 6 0 98
2002 84 13 6 0 3 11 0 33 10 1 31 0 192
2003 74 3 1 0 3 5 2 16 9 3 14 0 130
2004 130 2 0 0 1 2 0 19 3 0 5 0 162
2005 28 4 0 1 0 5 1 3 4 1 5 0 52
2006 105 0 2 1 1 1 0 9 1 0 4 0 124
2007 33 2 0 0 2 7 0 0 2 0 4 0 50
2008 101 4 2 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 112
2009 310 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 315
2010 5 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 8
2011 14 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15
2012 40 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 43
2013 1 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 5
2014 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 6

 

Total: 1406


4. Distribution of
Palestinian child fatalities according to circumstances of death:

Year Clashes Air and Ground Attacks During Assassination Attempts Gun Fire Opened Randomly Closures Unexploded Ordnance Other Total
2000 80 4 0 9 1 0 0 94
2001 42 17 12 17 3 7 0 98
2002 30 67 19 50 9 12 5 192
2003 36 37 14 38 3 2 0 130
2004 36 76 9 39 0 2 0 162
2005 6 10 7 23 0 6 0 52
2006 10 66 22 23 0 3 0 124
2007 6 19 4 15 1 5 0 50
2008 9 86 1 13 1 2 0 112
2009 2 270 21 15 1 5 1 315
2010 3 3 0 0 0 2 0 8
2011 0 12 0 2 0 1 0 15
2012 0 39 0 2 0 2 0 43
2013 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 5
2014 3 0 1 2 0 0 0 6

 

Total: 1406

 

5. Distribution of Palestinian Children killed while participating in hostilities:

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2008 4 0 7 0 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 16
2009 15 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 18
2010 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
2011 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2012 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3
2013 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2014 0 0 0 0 0 0

 

Defence for Children International Palestine
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Total: 40

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2021
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