Briefing Paper February 2005

Palestine’s War of Independence

No one,apart from the Palestinians, mentions UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions any more, the Oslo process is dead and buried, the road-map has proved a non-starter, even Sharon’s Gaza “disengagement” plan is plagued by uncertainties, as much about the Israeli prime minister’s sincerity as the plan’s opponents’ campaign against it.

In the meantime, the Palestinian public must continue to suffer the occupation, an end to which appears not to be a subject for negotiation. Instead, Sharon’s disengagement plan promises Gaza repeated military incursions and the bloodshed they entail (and no guarantees, either, that they will stop after the Israeli military’s redeployment from the territory), destruction of homes and property and a further tightening of an already draconian border regime. To the West Bank, the plan offers more settlements, and more bypass roads to serve them exclusively, continued closures, the separation barrier, and further fragmentation of the territory into disconnected, incoherent cantons.

Add to this the United States’ effective endorsement of the plan and there are few grounds for optimism left. It is no wonder that the turn-out in the presidential election was poor.


Middle East International 21/01/05

Trapped Like Mice: Palestinians Under the New Israeli “Disengagement Plan”

Analysis, Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, January 6th, 2005

Palestine is in the headlines of the Western mainstream media again. The preparations for the elections give everyone enough news to cover – or rather: they give the media enough news to cover up what is actually developing on the ground. But it is this current situation on the ground that will, if it is not stopped in time, more effectively shape the future for the Palestinian people than any electoral process ever could.

Away from international attention, the destiny being prepared for the Palestinian people is showing its true face more clearly than ever before with the new Israeli plans presented to the public in the past few months. The Apartheid Wall, with its horrendous effects on Palestinian life and land, does not stand alone, but is today merging with the longstanding Israeli settlement policy and the creation of Jewish-only infrastructure into a comprehensive scheme for colonial domination and conquest.

An appalling plan for Palestine is shaping up behind Israeli slogans of “disengagement”; behind the British “initiative to revive the Road Map”; and behind the U.S. drive to force through the completion of Israeli plans that finalize the Bantustanization of the Palestinian people. All three are combining to push for an end to all Palestinian resistance, which is seen as a pre-condition for controlling the Middle East from Jerusalem to Baghdad. The U.S. administration in particular is highly aware that any possible chance of success for the occupation of Iraq, and for U.S.Israeli plans to shape the future of the Greater Middle East, depend on their ability to create “stability” for the Israeli colonial project of annexation, expulsion, and occupation in Palestine.

Among the recent plans announced by Israel, some were mere masquerades for the international media, while others revealed concrete Israeli projects. The latest modification of the path of the Apartheid Wall was a plan of the first kind. These supposed modifications were nothing more than the result of U.S. and international pressure demanding maps that would enable them to defend the Wall in front of their constituencies and public opinion. The “new map” of the Wall represents a contorted game of numbers and definitions that has “lowered” the percentage of West Bank land stolen and destroyed by the Apartheid Wall to 6.1 percent.

But of course, as the media and political leaders praising the “new” plan inevitably fail to point out, this 6.1 percent needs to be added to the 11.8 percent annexed by the settlements and the 29.1 percent isolated in the Jordan Valley. Without even taking into account the additional land that has also been stolen from the Palestinian people for the construction of the settlers-only roads, this makes a total of 47 percent of the West Bank, and reveals itself as absolutely no different from the 47 percent that Israel intended to annex before the supposed modifications.

This game of numbers is also aimed at re-directing the way that the situation on the ground is talked about.

The real Israeli political project, meanwhile, can be found in the “disengagement plan” and the initiatives connected to this plan.

  1. The Building of New Settlements and the Expansion of Existing Settlements: Settlements have always been at the core of the colonial project to control Palestine. The so-called “disengagement plan” claims to be about the dismantling of settlements: that is, the evacuation of settlements in the Gaza Strip and of four minor settlements in the West Bank near Jenin. But at the same time, Israel has announced the annexation of all the other approximately 200 settlements in the Occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. In addition, Israel is currently expanding and constructing new settlements in the Tulkarem and Qalqiliya areas, ensuring the permanent annexation of the Palestinian lands isolated by the Wall.
  2. More Settlers-Only “By-Pass” Roads: The fenced and heavily military guarded bypass roads are for settlers only—Palestinians are not allowed to use or cross them. These roads cut through the West Bank and destroy the Palestinian road system, allowing the settlers free access everywhere while at the same time annexing lands and isolating Palestinian communities from each other in the same way the Apartheid Wall does. Israel has announced the construction of a further 500 km of roads to reinforce this apartheid road network. It ensures that Palestinian residential areas are nothing more than enclosed islands, totally isolated among the settlements and their road system.
  3. Bridges and Tunnels: Israel plans the construction of sixteen junctions with bridges (which will be guaranteed freeways for Israelis) and tunnels (which will be controlled passages for Palestinians, guarded by Israeli occupation forces). These will be the only passage points for Palestinians needing to travel from one area or city to another within the West Bank. While providing a façade of “maximum contiguity” among Palestinian areas to the international community—after all, the claim goes, these junctions connect the Palestinian Bantustans with each other, thus providing “contiguity”—this project is in fact aimed at guaranteeing full Israeli control over the West Bank even after a mock “withdrawal” of the Israeli army. All tunnels will be provided with gates (this is already the case in the village of Habla, in the Qalqiliya district, where the Palestinian population is at the mercy of the occupation forces in order to pass to or from their village), which will enable Israel to impose full curfew over the West Bank, perpetrate collective punishment at will, and control all Palestinian life. To do so, it will need no more than sixteen military cars, one for each junction.
  4. The CBIZ (Cross Border Industrial Zones): The project of enslaving the Palestinian people, once we have been completely deprived of land, resources, trade, and livelihood, will be completed by the construction of Israeli Industrial Zones on our stolen lands that are located outside the ghettos defined by the Apartheid Wall, the settlements and their road system. This is the key element that provides economic sustainability to the rest of the Israeli plans. These Israeli-owned industrial zones will be labour intensive industries where the Palestinian people will be forced to work as exploited labour, enriching the Israeli economy in the attempt to earn a meagre living in the only way possible behind the gates of our ghettos. Israel has asked the U.S. and Europe to fund the CBIZ, and thus to legitimize the Israeli political project, under the pretext of providing “work opportunities” for the Palestinian population. The CBIZ is also presented as a practical economic solution to a potential humanitarian disaster —after all, the argument goes, if the international community does not provide funding for this project, then the Palestinian population will be dependent on humanitarian aid (or simply starve to death in their ghettos, which might be upsetting for the world to watch). This humanitarian aid – like many other costs of the occupation of Palestine and the expulsion of Palestinians from their land – would thus have to be paid by the international community. In any case, under the CBIZ plan, the Palestinian people will remain subjected, enslaved, and deprived of any possibility of self-determination.

The Apartheid Wall allows Israel to implement and link all of the above-mentioned policies into a coherent regime. It completes the Palestinian ghettos that have been prepared by the settlement policy and the road system. It also enables Israel to completely annex Jerusalem and to isolate it from the West Bank, thus providing Israel with a direct passage from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan Valley, while at the same time taking away the heart of Palestine from the Palestinian people.

In the light of these facts on the ground, it is obvious that no Palestinian state will be possible. It is also obvious that the continued violation of Palestinian rights and of international law remains the infrastructure of the new Israeli plans. The only future envisaged for the Palestinian people is one of ghettos and Bantustans, and a life under permanent Israeli control, domination, and humiliation.

A Palestinian farmer standing in front of the destruction caused by the Apartheid Wall in Beit Duqqu asked: “You took our country and killed our children. You destroyed our houses and bulldozed our fields and built your settlements, what more do you want? Why the Wall? … You want to trap us like mice, you want to put a prison gate for us and start counting us as if we were some animals?!”

The Palestinian people will never accept a life lived under these conditions, where the occupation has been reinforced by the – seemingly – definitive colonization of the West Bank. This represents the completion of an apartheid system that by far exceeds the darkest times of South Africa, as it aims at the complete demise of our people.

We will never accept seeing our lands stolen and destroyed, our dignity taken away, our most fundamental rights violated every day, our holy sites barred in front of us, and Jerusalem – the historic, cultural, and economic capital of Palestine – annexed and isolated from our people.

We will not surrender to this destiny. But we are asking for a response from the world to this project for our demise that is clear, effective, and immediate.

Six months after the International Court of Justice decision regarding the illegality of the Apartheid Wall, the settlement policy, and the Occupation, Israel has not given any sign that it will stop the construction of the Apartheid Wall. Rather, it has strengthened its colonial plans. International criticism has proven unable to bring about the changes that are needed. The international community has – as with all other UN resolutions regarding Palestinian rights – once again failed to take up its legal obligations to ensure that the ICJ decision will be implemented and international law respected.

The trend towards a new international anti-apartheid movement is emerging, and this is the grassroots support that the Palestinian people can build upon in the face of continued failures by the international community.

These different campaigns around the world must be the beginning of a process that will make Israel pay a price for its crimes. Such a worldwide movement is necessary in order to end this vicious blend of occupation, expulsion, ghettoization, leading—as the new Israeli plans reveal when they are examined closely, away from the media show surrounding the Palestinian election process—the total enslavement of a whole people.

The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, the whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda, and all this with authority and permission, all with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.

Dov Weisglass senior aide to Ariel Sharon

Ha’aretz 8/10/04

The disengagement – a typical Sharon bluff — B.Michael in Yediot Aharonot, Jan. 1, 2005

[Translation by Adam Keller for TOI-Billboard, Jan. 9, 2004]

The real meaning of the Disengagement Plan could have been understood on the very day of its birth from the circumstances which brought this plan into the world, the personality of its initiator and the accumulated experience of his beliefs, his methods and his escapades. All this makes the disengagement clear and transparent to anybody who refuses to close his eyes and sink (again) into the illusion of “The New Sharon”. Those who refused to understand by themselves the purpose of the disengagement were given a second chance with the interview of Sharon’s confidential adviser Dov Weisglass to Ari Shavit of Ha’aretz, an interview which evidently went out of control. With candor and an almost childish pride he revealed the truth behind the Sharon Plan.

Those who persisted in refusing to understand what it was all about, even after the Weisglass confession, got from Sharon himself an abundance of other opportunities to find out. On countless occasions, the Prime Minister set out his true intentions, whose unconcealed principle is “we give back half a finger, so that we could keep the hand.” True, Mr. Sharon takes care to reiterate with a kind of religious fervour his adherence to the Bush “Road Map”. But between the lines – and in fact, also in the lines themselves – one can read Sharon’s version of this map: as is usual with him, the Sharon map is composed entirely of crooked roads leading nowhere but into every obstacle around.

Under the smoke screen of the intensive discussion of this plan, and protected by the umbrella of silence spread over his head by the so-called left (thrilled by the prospect of Shimon Peres being appointed viceroy to King Arik) Sharon has gone back to his old games. Restraint and self-denial were, after all, never among his conspicuous qualities. So, construction in the settlements, far from any sign of freeze, is blooming and flourishing. In the southern sector of the West Bank the route of the Fence is once again moving eastward – to again rob Palestinian lands, again annex settlements, again imprison thousands of people in enclaves and enclosures.

“The Disengagement”, which has not yet moved further than the stage of planning and mumbling. is already having its desired effect: Sharon can already do whatever he wants, with nobody to protest – either in Israel or elsewhere. The “disengagement craze” has infected the entire world. Even the biggest fool can read the signs of what is ahead: the next stage in Sharon’s crooked “road map”, which leads neither to negotiations, nor to agreement, and certainly not to peace – nothing but a long-term license to continue robbing land and rights.

The true inclinations of Sharon can be discerned by comparing his activity in the West Bank to what he actually does in connection with the Disengagement. In the West Bank, there is a very concrete action going on: bulldozers crush, trees are uprooted, fences go up, houses are built, highways are laid out, millions and billions are enthusiastically buried among the rocks. No settlement budget was cut, no evacuation budget was allocated, no area was blocked to the entry of extreme-right hooligans, not a single “unauthorized outpost” was removed – not even as a symbolic step, no construction was stopped, no settlers-only road was closed down. On the contrary: the government and the army high command seem to make every possible effort to enhance the settlers’ power. The army chief-of-staff meets with the settler leaders and trembling begs them to leave his soldiers alone. The chief commissioner of police announces that if the settlers increase their resistance, he might not be able to fulfil the task of evacuating them. With an idiocy which is incomparable (unless it is a deliberate and intentional policy) the whole government exhibits its panic at the settler threats to foment refusal in the ranks of the army, rather than react with amused tolerance and prepare some extra cells in the military prisons.

To state the grotesque truth, the Disengagement will not take place. There will be problems in the government coalition, or problems with the settlers, or problems with terrorism, or an earthquake and tsunami… something will conveniently come up to explain away the non-implementation. But this marginal and obvious fact will certainly not prevent Sharon from squeezing to the last drop the malevolent benefits for advancing his true policies.

There is nothing to be done about it – the “Disengagement” is a typical Sharon bluff. Of course, there is no way to avoid supporting it, if only to call the bluff. But there is certainly no reason to get enthusiastic over it. Because if it does take place, God willing or God forbid, there is no knowing if the damage may not be even greater.

One can assume, without taking undue risks, that in 2005 Sharon will be looking for an escalation with Iran and possibly some other countries in the region, enabling him to delay the physical evacuation of settlements in Gaza and the northern West Bank. He needs the Labour party to allay European doubts about his sincerity. In addition, Shimon Peres and his coterie will be an ideal collective scapegoat if things go wrong. . .Sharon does not talk to the Arabs, snubs the Syrians and has effectively smashed the PA . . . the conclusions are chilling: Sharon is looking for trouble, never hard to find in the Middle East.

The Haim Baram Column

MEI 7/01/05

Who’s in charge here?  Amira Hass Ha’aretz 19/01/05

A mother and her son were killed on Sunday in a very routine affair, getting only a single line of mention in the Israeli press and immediately sinking into the depths of Israeli disinterest

The Israeli intelligence officials and those who quote them in the press are right when they say that it’s not Abu Mazen and the Palestinian Authority security services who are in control in the Gaza Strip. The intelligence sources and those who quote them are misleading however, when they say that armed gangs and the Hamas run Gaza. The IDF runs Gaza. Not only according to international law, not only as far as the Oslo Accords are concerned by leaving the IDF as the supreme sovereign in all of Gaza and the West Bank, but rather in a concrete, spatial, physical manner. It controls Gaza through its fortified positions, which dominate densely populated residential areas; it controls Gaza with its airborne drones and their unceasing buzzing; the bulldozers that have not ceased demolishing, flattening, exposing, uprooting for the last four years; the helicopters that fire missiles; the military orders that turn roads and farmlands and half the coastline into areas “prohibited to Palestinians” so that any Palestinian using them ends up dead; orders that close all the passages into Gaza; the tanks that fire into civilian neighbourhoods with Qassams, sorry, tank shells and other forms of munitions with a frequency that makes it impossible to count them, as opposed to the Palestinian Qassams, which fired one by one are counted one by one.

A mother and her son were killed on Sunday in a very routine affair, getting only a single line of mention in the Israeli press and immediately sinking into the depths of Israeli disinterest, where the information is buried among many hundreds of other cases of deaths of Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli soldiers in recent years in the war for the peace of the settlements.

On Sunday, at 7:30 P.M., the Palestinians reported Israeli artillery fire from Gush Katif toward houses in the Khan Yunis refugee camp. A fire broke out in the wood on the roof of the Aram family, about 300 meters from an Israeli military position. Firemen were called to the scene and put out the flames. Later, the residents of the house – Suleiman Arab, 54, Fada Aram, 50, their son, Abdullah, 30, and their nephew, Khaled, 38 – went up on the roof to examine the damage. And then, says the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, IDF troops fired. The four civilians on the roof were wounded. Two bullets struck the neck and chest of the woman, Fada, who died in the hospital. Her son was killed by a bullet to his head. The father was severely wounded in his back and the nephew was wounded by shrapnel in his leg.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office did not initiate any report about this incident, as opposed to the immediate reports issued after the Palestinians shoot. The following report, from Israeli military sources, therefore is only a reaction to Palestinian information. “An examination found that a tank shell was not fired,” said the sources, “the only two cases of shooting that are known from those hours are: one, IDF troops opened fire at suspicious figures who appeared to be preparing a mine near the fence around the Gush Katif settlements. The other case was fire at figures gathering information about IDF troops in the Khan Yunis area in an area characterized by mortar fire toward the settlements of Gush Katif and the IDF outposts in the area.”

Sderot residents, suffering under the Qassam barrages and their lethal strikes, are the victims of a deliberate IDF policy of escalation that has been in force since the first day of the current intifada. With inspiration from the political echelons, the army orders soldiers to fire live ammunition at demonstrators and stone-throwers, on the patronizing assumption that intensifying repression will cut off the civil unrest in its infancy.

The contrary took place, and the sides went into a dizzying armed competition. Who will hurt the other side more, deter more, kill more, whose vengeance will hurt more. The competition is between the Israeli army and the armed Palestinian organizations, and between the organizations. The IDF is the winner. But the residents of Sderot and the surrounding kibbutzim are the soft belly in the offensive/defensive structure the IDF built to control Gaza.

Sderot residents are experiencing, particularly in recent days, what Gazans have gone through on a daily basis for years. The bereavement, the fear, the nights without sleep, the flight from their homes – and when the Palestinians leave their homes, the IDF calls them abandoned so the demolition is justified.

Now Abu Mazen is being asked to defend the soft Israeli belly lest he be punished by a massive military offensive. Gazans are reporting a certain degree of success to the Israeli threats: apparently, the Palestinian public is hoping that the Hamas and its organized imitators will stop firing mortars. Then Abu Mazen can make demands of the Hamas without being accused of being an agent of the occupying army. But people are expecting something in exchange, that someone protect their soft belly, prevent this unending and unreported, unimportant killing of mothers and their sons. And that is exactly what Abu Mazen, the elected Palestinian president, cannot promise his voters.

Massive Israeli Land Confiscation in Jerusalem

Application of Israeli Absentee Property Law January 2005


On 8th July 2004, the Israeli cabinet adopted a resolution passed on 22nd June 2004 extending the Israeli Absentee Property Law into East Jerusalem. The resolution was taken with the concurrence of the Attorney General and the Prime Minister.

The Absentee Property Law was enacted in 1950 in order to solidify Israeli control over Palestinian refugee land inside Israel. The law gives the Israeli Custodian of Abandoned Property the right to seize, administer and control land owned by persons defined as “absentee”. The refugee lands seized under the law following 1948 were eventually transferred from the Custodian to the Israeli Development Authority or the Jewish National Fund and made available for Jewish settlement. The Absentee Property Law states that anyone who was at any time “in any part of the Land of Israel that is outside the territory of Israel” [i.e. the West Bank and Gaza Strip] or in other Arab states is an absentee. There is a limited compensation mechanism which will exclude West Bankers from the possibility of appeal or compensation.

After its conquest of East Jerusalem in 1967 Israel extended the municipal boundaries of East Jerusalem from six square kilometers to 70 square kilometers and extended Israeli law into the newly expanded area. In this way, the Israeli government created a land bank around East Jerusalem which it has now decided to annex to Israel. The extension of Israeli law to East Jerusalem, along with the delineation of the expanded borders, were both declared illegal by UN Security Council Resolution 465.

The extension of Israeli law to East Jerusalem in 1967 meant that the provisions of the Absentee Property Law also came into effect there. An Israeli political decision was made that the Absentee Property Law would not be applied but that land now included within Israeli defined municipal Jerusalem could not be registered in the Israeli Land Registry (tabu) by its West Bank owners, leaving the land in a form of legal limbo.

In 1968 the Israeli Attorney General Meir Shamgar issued a directive stating that residents of the West Bank could claim immoveable property in Jerusalem at any time. Residents of the West Bank with property in Jerusalem were not to be considered “absentees”. In 1993 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin reissued this directive. This position was in keeping with international law as East Jerusalem is occupied territory with the same status as the rest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Sharon government’s decision to apply the Absentee Property Law to East Jerusalem is a violation of the Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention. Under article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention the application of the Israeli Absentee Property Law is a grave breach as it constitutes the extensive appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity. Persons who order or commit grave breaches are subject to penal sanction under international law.

Current Situation

The effect of the Israeli government’s June 2004 resolution was to rescind the 1968 directive and pass into Israeli government hands all property in Jerusalem owned by Palestinians resident in the West Bank without any compensation for the lands seized. The construction of the wall around Jerusalem has meant that West Bank landlords whose land is within Israeli-defined municipal Jerusalem can no longer farm their land, as they continued to do without interruption after the 1967 extension of Israeli law to Jerusalem.

The amount of land affected by the application of the Absentee Property Law is not precise, since the Israeli government seized the records of all Palestinian landholdings in Jerusalem when it closed down the Orient House in August 2001. However, the following data is available on land use in East Jerusalem:

  • 43.5% of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem has already been confiscated and used for settlement construction
  • 41% of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem is green area and not constructed – the amount owned by absentee landlords is uncertain
  • 12.1% of East Jerusalem may be built on by Palestinians – half of this land (7% of the total land of East Jerusalem) is owned by “absentees” and may therefore be confiscated under the new law
  • 3.4% of East Jerusalem land is used for Israeli military facilities, roads and other infrastructure

In relation to the green area land, Israeli law has a provision stating that land which has not been cultivated for three years may be confiscated as state land. With the current Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement and the construction of the wall farmers may not access their land, all of this land is therefore threatened, not just the amount owned by “absentee” landlords. Palestinians may therefore own as little as 7% of East Jerusalem following the introduction of this latest measure.

This land grab is being undertaken as part of a broader Israeli government program to annex the historic sites and green field land of East Jerusalem to Israel, whilst leaving the Palestinian residential areas on the other side of the wall and must be seen in the broader context of all of the Israeli measures to impose a final status outcome on Jerusalem ahead of a negotiated solution. Measures such as: the construction and expansion of settlements, construction of Israeli-only roads through and around East Jerusalem, the harassment of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem and the attempt to completely sever the economic and social ties between East Jerusalem the rest of the West Bank.


The extension of the Absentee Property Law, 55 years after it was enacted, to East Jerusalem is a blatant attempt to legitimise the Israeli annexation of Palestinian land within Israel’s self-declared municipal Jerusalem area. The law was originally designed to dispossess Palestinian refugees of their land and prevent their return to the new state of Israel, now it is being used for a new wave of dispossession in the most sensitive and important part of any future Palestinian state.

The application of the Absentee Property Law for the confiscation of thousands of dunums coincides with the Israeli government’s plans for the expansion of the settlement blocs to the south of Jerusalem to link them more directly to West Jerusalem. On the land slated for confiscation two new settlements are planned, around the Palestinian village of

Walaja and to the east of Har Homa (Khirbet Mazmoriya). The confiscated land will also facilitate the expansion of the Gilo and Har Homa settlements. Together all of these settlements will extend control of the roads and territory leading further south to the Etzion bloc.

The settlement expansion has three practical effects: to reinforce Israeli control over Palestinian areas in south west Jerusalem; to prevent the natural growth of Palestinian East Jerusalem down to Bethlehem and; to attempt to integrate the Etzion bloc with West Jerusalem.

The Israeli attempt at legitimising the seizure of Palestinian land on the Israeli side of the wall totally negates the Israeli assertion that the wall is a temporary security measure. These land seizures show that the wall is a political border and that the Israeli government has no intention of ever returning Palestinian land isolated by the wall – as is the case with the land belonging to the Palestinian refugees from Israel.

Since October 2001 Israel has prevented West Banker Palestinians from working in Jerusalem, Palestinians previously employed in the services industries have therefore reverted to farming their land as an alternative livelihood. The economy of the West Bank has been shattered since 2001 and there is no alternative work. The confiscation of the land which Palestinians farm is therefore the removal of the last means available for Palestinians to provide for themselves, without aid.

The medium to long term consequences of this Israeli action are relatively foreseeable. This land which is currently being used for subsistence living by the local Palestinian population is also the land bank for natural growth for the future. Without adequate land resources population densities will rise dramatically, as in the Gaza Strip, and without jobs and facilities this in turn will inevitably lead to increased poverty and social and economic instability.

Israeli confiscation of substantial Palestinian land assets is severely prejudicial to Palestinian short and long term interests. This Israeli action is a naked attempt to impose a final status outcome on Jerusalem ahead of any negotiated solution to the issue. Jerusalem touches on so many Palestinian interests: economic, religious and social, that there can be no solution to the current conflict without a fair, negotiated solution to the Jerusalem issue.

Just as colonialism and its demagogues dignified their conquests, their plunder and limitless attacks upon the natives of Africa with appeals to a “civilising and modernising” mission, so to did waves of Zionist immigrants disguise their purposes as they conquered Palestine. Just as colonialism as a system and colonialists as its instruments used religion, colour, race and language to justify the Africans’ exploitation and his cruel subjugation by terror and discrimination, so too were these methods employed as Palestine was usurped and its people hounded from their national homeland .

War flares up in Palestine, and yet it is Palestine that peace will be born.

Extract from speech to the UN General Assembly 13/11/74 by the late Yasser Arafat

Rising Above

1.Soaked in humiliation                                                                 2.The stern face

Standing in the corner                                                                    Of this woman soldier

Of the-security check-cubical                                                      Was looking down at me

All alone

No mum to hold my hand

No dad to hide my shame

And wipe my tears away

No shoes, no socks, no clothes

Not even underwear

After being stripped

By her . . .                                                                                            In fury and contempt


3.She started her interrogation:                                                 4.A refugee, visiting my stolen Palestine

Where are you going to?                                                               For the first time

Palestine, my little shaky voice replied                                  Since the occupation

Where are you going to? Louder and firmer                         A little girl of nine

Palestine, swiftly this time                                                           Defiant, full of dignity, I

There is no Palestine, do you understand                             leave

No more Palestine,                                                                          Holding in my heart

Where are you going?                                                                     Shouting with rage Palestine, assertively

Determined to deny her the pleasure

Of hearing the word

She wanted to hear                                                                         My very own victory

From Nahida Izzat Ghaith “I Believe in Miracles” – a collection of Palestinian poems (Amman:2004)

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