Report From Palestine

In this audio interview, I meet with a British activist who has visited Palestine twice this year. She reports back on the reality of life for people in the West Bank and Gaza, and we talk about Israel’s actions and plans to “cleanse” and colonise Arab land.

Find me on Twitter: @MoronWatch

18 thoughts on “Report From Palestine”

  1. A very interesting podcast. My father, now deceased, was posted in Palestine as a British soldier between 1947 & 1948 and always believed that the Palestinians had been robbed of their country. Since my teens, I’m now 55, I have followed this conflict and am dismayed to see the Palestinian land being reduced year on year by Israel and it’s funder the USA. Israel keeps filibustering the world and particularly the UN as it steals Palestinian land with total impunity. This is a shocking state of affairs, if not genocide, happening on Europe’s doorstep.

      1. The Promise was a fascinating piece of fiction which said more about the author than it did about the subject. It seemed to be one incredible scenario after another.

  2. Very Interesting Podcast. I did know some things that happened in Palestine, such as the water situation, but I did not know much about it. I am very shocked that such atrocities are taking place. And to teach children that throwing their trash and shit on Palestinians is ok, and they are not ashamed of their racist attitudes. Israel bit by bit are trying to create a hateful image of the Palestinians, and they are forcing the Palestinians to move from their homes, so they get get that land too. Then they say in their ‘defence’ it’s terrorism, like you created this

    1. The issues of Hebron are complex and the relations between the Jewish and Muslim communities are strained at best. Part of the root of this is the 1929 massacre organised by Amin Al Husseyni, an awful event perpetrated against Palestinian Jews by Palestinian Muslims of Hebron. Despite the accounts of the long standing respectful & convivial relationship that was supposed to have existed between Jews & Muslims in Hebron for centuries, what is astonishing is the speed and the depravity of the violence.
      To this day the Palestinian nation has declined to acknowledge it, and apologise.
      To give a sense of why it is so bad, I have included an extract from Raymond Cafferata’s statement. Cafferata was a British policeman, from Merseyside. There are many other testimonies but they are from the Jewish survivors, and so may be claimed to lack credence.

      “On hearing screams in a room I went up a sort of tunnel passage and saw an Arab in the act of cutting off a child’s head with a sword. He had already hit him and was having another cut, but on seeing me he tried to aim the stroke at me, but missed; he was practically on the muzzle of my rifle. I shot him low in the groin. Behind him was a Jewish woman smothered in blood with a man I recognized as a[n Arab] police constable named Issa Sheriff from Jaffa in mufti. He was standing over the woman with a dagger in his hand. He saw me and bolted into a room close by and tried to shut me out-shouting in Arabic, “Your Honor, I am a policeman.” … I got into the room and shot him.’

      The Hebron Massacre doesn’t make what these fundamentalists say & do right, but neither does it confer upon the Muslims of Hebron innocence or the moral high ground. They are both wrong and have wronged each other, not one more than the other.

  3. As the Israeli National Water Carrier and the Joint body for water management supply 180 ltrs per head at a fixed price to the inhabitants of the West Bank regardless of faith, with 50 ltrs being supplied from Israels desalination plants, one might wonder why there is a water crisis. In the PNA controlled areas, the water is sold to the PNA which then charges a higher rate to its inhabitants. The difference is kept by the PNA. In fact as the PNA hasn’t paid the Israelis for water for some time, it is currently keeping the lot.
    The Israelis do prevent Palestinians and other drilling wells in the southern West Bank, and do so with the agreement of the PNA and Jordan. The reason for this is that the water table in the Jordan River aquifer has fallen so low there is a current risk that the Dead Sea will back flow into it. If this happens all three states will lose the supply of potable water.
    Part of the reason that people in the south West Bank have been drilling wells is in response to the loss of adequate water supplies, especially around Hebron. This has been caused by the illegal tapping of water from the mains by agricultural concerns in the PNA controlled areas to the north and east, and over which the PNA have failed to take effective action. Beyond the Israelis re-occupying those areas and stopping this, there is nothing the Israelis can do.
    The PNA has been given millions by the EU to address water & sewage management, but has yet to spend this money after several years on the approved projects. This currently causes Israel a health problems as the PNA is pumping raw sewage into the Yarkon and its tributaries, which then flow across Israel to the sea.

    The above notwithstanding, how anyone can visit Hebron and expound upon the situation there without considering the impact of the 1929 Hebron Massacre is beyond me. Perhaps people should read Robert Cafferata’s testimony to gain some sense of the barbarity of the event.

    As for the Israelis rounding up the Bedouin and placing them in neo-concentration camps that is an absurdity. The majority of Bedouin have chosen to live in these new towns for access to health care, decent housing and education. (Many of these Bedouin are immigrants from the Sinai whom moved in following the return of Sinai to the Egyptians.) There has been massive increases in Bedouin enlisting in the IDF in last few years (200%), literacy among Bedouin has risen, especially among women and their standard of health has improved immeasurably. This is hardly evidence of genocide or maltreatment of them.

    I would suggest that if you want to win a war against an enemy, in this case the Zionists, propagating fantasies about the enemy weakens yourself and not the enemy. One would have thought that having had decades to learn the lessons of Deir Yassin and the consequences for the Palestinians of the exaggerated claims of massacre, that everyone would have learned to desist from this.

    Anyone can oppose the conduct of the Israelis and the existence of the State of Israel and Zionism as a concept. But to fabricate myths about them actually strengthens them.

    1. To be an Israeli Jewish critic of the Israeli government, Zionism or the conduct of the IDF does require strength of mind, but it is not an especially hazardous activity. There will of course be individuals who express anger, and perhaps threaten violence. But despite their multitude of abominations, Israelis have perhaps surprisingly not taken to carrying out extra-judicial executions of those they disagree with.
      To be a Palestinian, Syrian, or any one of the regions nations, critic of their respective governments is truly hazardous, and it does take courage and heroism to do it.
      We should be cautious of deluding ourselves with our own hyperbole on one hand and our self-deception on the other regarding the realities on the ground.
      There has never been an Israeli / Zionist equivalent of the Palestinian policy of Sumud, and no Israeli has been murdered for criticising the state. In fact in all its history Israel has only sentenced one person to death as a court sentence. While I acknowledge that the assassinations carried out by Mossad etc occurred, and they can be seen as executions, it remains a fact that even Palestinian critics of Israel & Zionism are safer in Israel, than they would be if they were vocal critics of Fatah or Hamas in either the West Bank or Gaza.
      But both the Israelis and the Palestinians need people like Gideon Levy to voice criticism.

  4. Moronwatch, you have used the term “genocide” on a number of occasions to describe Israel’s activities in Gaza. I think this is currently wrong, but may be the future plan. Genocide is the attempt to destroy an entire race (as in the Holocaust, or the Armenian Genocide of 1915), and Israel has not got there (at least, not yet).

    If you wish to use the Nazi regime as a parallel for current israeli treatment of the Palestinians (it’s not exact, but there are similarities, and they are becoming more pronounced), you might wish to try the following:

    The ever shrinking Palestinian land parallels the ever shrinking Ghettos in (say)Warsaw. This allows more living space (in German, lebensraum) for Jews, and the Ghetto is now being walled off too.

    The dehumanisation of the Palestinians described by Gideon Levy makes them “less than human” (his term), or, in German, untermenschen.

    The Nazis always went in for disproportionate punishment for any “transgression”.

    On this level, I see the current invasion of Gaza as more in the nature of an SS Aktion on a large scale than a systematic attempt at genocide (ie we’re at about 1940, rather than 1943).

    I am not saying Israel will never attempt a “final solution to the Palestinian problem”, just that it is not yet doing so (although there are voices such as Gilad Sharon calling for it to do so). I don’t think Obama would let them go that far (a right wing Republican might). In my view it is important to avoid overdramatic terms like “genocide” that can leave you open to accusations of crying wolf.

    1. Excellent points Jamesdar – I agree “genocide” shouldn’t be carelessly used. However, I do think it’s valid in this case, and I wrote a post explaining why:

      I think the most pertinent point regarding Gaza is that Israel is deliberately making the place uninhabitable. Indeed, the UN says that, unless something changes, it will be uninhabitable in seven years’ time:

      This is clearly Israel’s objective with the blockade/attack/blockade/attack cycle. So if Gazan society collapses in 2020, that will undoubtedly be genocide. The question is therefore just one of timing. Are these foundation policies genocidal, or does the genocide only begin at the moment Palestinians are driven en-masse out of Gaza?

      Aside from Gaza, Israel has ALREADY driven millions of Palestinians from their homes, as well as driving Bedouins off their land into settlements. I’ve no doubt that is genocidal behaviour.

      1. I think we agree on 99% of what is happening, and the question is the interpretation of Israel’s intention, so I think it important that you understand exactly what I mean. My view is that, for “genocide” to happen, Israel has to go a step further than what you describe (awful though that would be). One possible outcome, for example, is a disenfranchised arab population wholly dependant on their Jewish “masters” (not dissimilar to Apartheid South Africa). However vile that might be, it is not genocide.

        I observe here that Israel was a consistent and vocal supporter of Apartheid South Africa in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

        If, as you suggest, Gaza collapses in (or about) 2020, and israel seizes the land (to “save” the Gazans, as the press release says!), and sets up “refugee camps” (for “humanitarian reasons”), that is still not genocide. They could even provide the Palestinians with work (no doubt at rock bottom wages) in Jewish factories, because, as we all know, work liberates you (and I’m sure I don’t need to translate THAT into German!). As I understand the term, that is not genocide.

        For genocide to occur, Israel would still need to take one further step. It would need to set up a systematic extermination policy in those camps. That would be genocide. I don’t exclude this as a possibility, but I don’t think it is by any means inevitable.

  5. Stupid question time (I am not of semitic origin). Can anyone explain why it should be regarded as “anti-semitic” to suggest that a land dispute between two semitic peoples should be resolved on an equitable basis (rather than the current one)?

    1. Even weirder, I’m of Jewish but not 100% Semitic origin. Being a European Jew, I may have some Semitic roots, but my background is largely European. The same applies to many/most Israeli Jews. So we have an even greater irony – non-Semitic Jews attacking Semitic Arabs and crying anti-Semitism.

    2. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that a resolution of the conflict on an equitable basis would be “antisemitic”. Rather it is that the Israelis, and their supporters, alleged that the international communities’ stances have been far from equitable. There are those among them who are hypersenstive to criticism and believe that Israel and its Jewish supporters are subject to demands that other nations are not, and there is some justification for that belief.
      We also need to acknowledge that this dispute was not confined to the boundaries to the western part of the Palestine Mandate territory, but extended across the Muslim Arab world. Were that not to be the case then there would be large Jewish communities across the region, which there are not because they were asset stripped & driven out in a larger number than Palestinian Muslims & Christians departed during the Nakhba.
      Israelis can cite examples such as Red Cross membership as being an example of unequal treatment. Israel was the last state to be permitted full membership in the last decade, despite having applied in 1949. The Red Star of David is not recognised as a legal humanitarian symbol, even though the Red Cross and Red Crescent, both religious symbols, are. It is evident in the UN that the GA resolutions are wholly disproportionate to Israel’s conduct.

      As for the dispute being between two Semitic peoples, this is meaningless. Just because they happen to speak associated languages doesn’t mean that they are closely related. (In fact israeli Jew’s DNA is not significantly distinguishable from that of Palestinian Muslims or Christians, with a couple of notable exceptions – either the Jews belong there or the Palestinians are also immigrants, or possibly both)
      To illustrate how absurd this whole thing is, Welsh and Hindi are both IndoAryan languages. Are then both Welsh and Indian peoples the same ethnic group as we understand it?

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