“. . . the destruction of habitable space without expelling too many people . . .” (Sari Hanafi)

Gilo Settlement, Thursday, 19 November 2009 (Photo: BBC NEWS)

❶ PLO: Israel consolidating its ‘Apartheid regime’ through expansion of Gilo settlement

  • background from Social Text

❷ The settlement of Na’aleh expands on lands of Deir Qiddis
❸ Israeli plan to build more housing units for Haredi settlers
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 25, 2016
Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat released a statement Monday condemning Israel’s newly advanced plans to expand the illegal Gilo settlement, saying the move was part of “Israel’s political decision to bury the two-state solution by consolidating its illegal occupation and Apartheid regime over the Palestinian people.”
[. . . .]
___“Such a decision further reflects the failure of the international community to stop Israel’s settlement expansion,” Erekat said. “It comes as Israel receives more assurances that no action will be taken against its illegal policies of colonization and annexation of occupied Territory, a war crime under international law.”   MORE . . .

From Social Text.

(A report of the University of New Mexico’s Israel/Palestine Field School, 2011)

Walls, fences, checkpoints, and bypass roads connecting illegal settlements all work to restrict Palestinian movement with the ultimate goal of encouraging Palestinians to embrace their own ethnic transfer. The field school witnessed an advanced stage of the process of spacio-cide in the West Bank village of al-Walaja. In this small village, a bypass road designed for settlers as well as two expanding Israeli settlements (Har Gilo and Gilo) are daily encroaching on al-Walaja’s land. The village population has been decimated, as most of the village’s men have been imprisoned or have left home in search of work. We met a community organizer in al-Walaja who admitted that her village is likely to disappear in the next few months because the expansionist settler state of Israel is making life impossible. The community organizer’s goal is to figure out how the remaining women of the village can create economic opportunities for themselves once they’ve lost their ancestral lands.
[. . . .]
Specific sites within Israel’s 1948 borders . . . [represent] different strategies of erasure/assimilation and different outcomes. The Palestinian village of as-Zakariyya. . .  had a population of more than one thousand in the mid-1940s.’ The population persisted on the old village site after the 1948 war but was eventually evicted in mid-1950, as decided by the Jewish National Fund. The Jewish settlement of Zecharya replaced the Palestinian village, and we found three buildings from the old village still present. . . . The main building to which we paid attention was the old mosque, surrounded by a fence, trash sprinkled and dumped all around it, boarded up.

  • Lubin, Alex, et al. “The Israel/Palestine Field School.” Social Text 31.4_117 (2013): 79-97.   SOURCE    (Alex Lubin is Professor and Chair of the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico)

POICA – Monitoring Israeli Colonization Activities in the Palestinian Territories
July 25, 2016
On the 13th of July 2016, the Israeli occupation Bulldozers backed by army forces commenced a large scale land razing in Deir Qiddis village west of Ramallah Governorate, to expand the nearby Na’ale Settlement located on the northern edges of Deir Qiddis Village. Villagers and affected Palestinian land owners stated that the expansion is being implemented based on a previously approved Town Plan scheme in the settlement. Analysis conducted by the applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) to the affected area showed that on the 13th of April 2016. . . the Town Plan Scheme was deposited for approval to the Israeli settlement sub-committee on the 27th of May 2015, and was approved in 2016. The construction is being implemented by Holly Ervin Wiesenthal company.    MORE . . .

deir qaddis
Deir Qaddis, occupied Palestine, 20th July 2016 (Photo: International Solidarity Movement)

The Palestinian Information Center
July 25, 2016
Israel’s cabinet for housing affairs on Friday discussed a plan to build more housing units for ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) settlers in the Galilee and the Negev. According to Haaretz newspaper, a crew was assigned to study the construction of new two towns for Haredi families in the northern and southern regions during the meeting that was chaired by Israel’s minister of finance Moshe Kahlon     MORE . . .

Contemporary Arab Affairs
Sari Hanafi
[. . . .]
Since the inception of the Zionist myth of a land without people for a people without land, the policy of successive Israeli governments has been to appropriate land while ignoring the people on it. The founding myth has been perpetuated, and, in its more modern form, can be seen in the policy of acquiring the most land with the least people (where ‘people’, of course, refers to the Palestinians). The resulting institutionalized invisibility of the Palestinian people both feeds and is fed by Israel’s everyday settler-colonial practices. For example, parts of the Israeli West Bank wall are being constructed specifically to remove the visual presence of Palestinian villages such as the wall along the sides of Route 443 where there is no security function or those of Gilo Settlement in front of Beit Jala.
___Moreover, this enforced invisibility sustains an Israeli system neither interested in killing nor in assimilating the Palestinians. . . . The Israeli colonial project is ‘spacio-cidal’ (as opposed to genocidal) in that it targets land for the purpose of rendering inevitable the ‘voluntary’ transfer of the Palestinian population, primarily by targeting the space upon which the Palestinian people live. This systematic destruction of the Palestinian living space becomes possible by exercising the state of exception and deploying bio-politics to categorize Palestinians into different groups, with the aim of rendering them powerless.
___. . .  This policy involves a combination of three strategies.
___First, it involves ‘space annihilation’. . .
___The second strategy is that of ethnic cleansing . . . the forced expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians . . .  was part of a long-standing Zionist plan to manufacture an ethnically pure Jewish state. . .  [by] reduction of lives to ‘bare life’ without eliminating too many people, the destruction of habitable space without expelling too many people from that space, the production of impoverishment without  starvation. . . .
___The third strategy, deployed in the face of resistance to space annihilation and ethnic cleansing, consists of what . . .  ‘creeping apartheid’ . . . . increasingly impregnable ethnic, geographic, and economic barriers between groups vying for recognition, power, and resources.

  • Hanafi, Sari. “Spacio-cide: colonial politics, invisibility and rezoning in Palestinian Territory.”  Contemporary Arab Affairs 2.1 (January–March 2009), 106–12.  FULL ARTICLE. 

“. . . serene foreshadowing things to come . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

Combatants for Peace
Combatants for Peace demonstration, January 15, 2016, Bethlehem. (Photo: Combatants for Peace)

❶ Israeli opposition leader warns of ‘uprising of hatred’ in Israel

  • background from Digest of Middle East Studies

❷ ‘No military solution’ say Israeli, Palestinian ex-fighters
❸ Opinion/Analysis: WHAT  IS  LEFT  OF  THE  ISRAELI  LEFT?
❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
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Ma’an News Agency
July 18, 2016
Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog warned of what he called “growing hatred and racism” in Israel encouraged by right-wing politicians, adding that it could pave the way for further deadly violence, Hebrew-language news site NRG reported on Monday.
___”We are on the verge of an uprising of hatred, racism, darkness and upcoming killings and assassination based on the overwhelming internal hatred here,” NRG quoted Herzog as saying during a speech at a Zionist Camp parliamentary bloc session on Monday.
___”We hear hatred at every turn, whether it is directed towards women by military rabbis, by Ashkenazi Jews against Sephardi Jews and Mizrahi Jews against Ashkenazis, from military school rabbis towards homosexuals, or between Arabs and Jews,” the Labor Party leader added, notably in reference to the recent appointment of Eyal Karim, who has implicitly justified the rape of women in times of war, as the new chief rabbi of the Israeli army.      MORE . . .

From Digest of Middle East Studies
Carlo Strenger . . . writes that “Mizrahi [Jews descended from Arab Jews] resentment” has led to “hatred and resentment towards Israel’s liberal secular Jews,” while noting that “The core values of liberal democracy have become associated with the so-called ‘white tribe’ of the secular Ashkenazi [European Jews] ‘elite’.” He concludes that “Israel’s secular liberals must cease apologizing for fighting for a liberal democratic Israel. We are not oppressors, but a minority . . . our ethics are not meant to discriminate against anybody, whether on grounds of ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. The opposite is true: our ideals are the only ones that can ensure freedom and dignity for all.”
[. . . .]  The fear of the Orthodox other manifests itself in a notion that their birth rate endangers the state. Donniel Hartman, president of the Shalom Hartman institute [a pluralistic center of research in Jerusalem] noted “In truth, we have no desire to share our country with them and prefer that their integration be limited, all the while hoping for their religious assimilation” . . .  Yuval Elizur and Lawrence Malkin in The War Within: Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Threat to Israeli Democracy . . . described [the Haredim – Orthodox Jews who reject modern culture] as a “problem” that must be “solved.”
___The “battle” for Israel is viewed as one between its secular minority and the burgeoning Arab and Orthodox public. . .  Newspaper editor Amnon Dankner argued in 2011 that “what adds to my sense of depression is the awareness that demographic processes are turning our society more and more religion [sic], more and more racist and venomous, more and more withdrawn and violent.”

  • Frantzman, Seth J. “‘They Will Take The Country From Us’: Labor Zionism, The Origins And Legacy Of The ‘Other’ In Israeli Mass Media, And Hegemonic Narratives.” DOMES: Digest Of Middle East Studies 23.1 (2014): 156-189.   SOURCE.  

Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Daoud Kuttab
July 18, 2016
The request for a travel permit seemed terribly innocent. An international filmmaker was debuting a film about Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and wanted the Palestinian activist to be present at the premier in West Jerusalem. But the Israeli authorities denied Shifa al-Qudsi’s request.
___. . .  “I have received permits to visit my brother in jail in Israel, so why do they deny me a chance to attend a peace documentary?” she commented in a phone call with Al-Monitor from her home in Tulkarm.
___Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young’s “Disturbing the Peace,” about a brave group of Israelis and Palestinians, was screened July 14 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. The film features four Israelis and four Palestinians, including Qudsi, who are part of Combatants for Peace, a nonviolent organization originally made up exclusively of members who had participated in the conflict as armed combatants on one side or the other.      MORE . . .

isaac herzog
Labor Party chief Isaac Herzog speaks in Jerusalem. (Photo: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

❸ Opinion/Analysis: WHAT  IS  LEFT  OF  THE  ISRAELI  LEFT?
Ilan Pappé
Brown Journal of World Affairs, 2015

. . . being a leftist in Israel means opposing the ultra-Orthodox Jewish way of life, almost as though it were an existential threat. It is this clash of ideas that highlights the difference between Left as it is understood in the world and Left as it is defined in Israel. The clash between Left and Right in Israel is not about socioeconomic issues such as government spending, social welfare, or minority rights. It is rather a clash between a secular way of life and a more traditional and religious way of life. This is important to understand because  after  the  1967  war,  the  division  between  the  Zionist  Left  and  Right revolved around the question of whether or not Israel should withdraw from the territories it occupied in the June 1967 War. Quite a few of the ultra-Orthodox Jews supported withdrawal, as did the Zionist Left. However, this was not enough to form an alliance, as secularism was just as important to the Zionist Left as the idea of withdrawing from the 1967 occupied territories.
[. . . .]
Ultimately, it is impossible to reconcile a Zionist perspective with universal values associated with the Left. The history of the Zionist Left reveals genuine attempts to reconcile Zionism with universalism, but all these attempts have failed dismally. Yet, an alternative approach was always there, waiting for its historical opportunity to come forward as a universal agenda of peace and reconciliation for the sake of Israelis and Palestinians alike. Were such an agenda to be integrated into the Palestinian liberation project, it would become possible for the international community to rally around it. This can only happen when the two-state solution, which accepts and reinforces that there is conflict between two national movements that divide the land, is declared dead and gone. This has already been defeated as a possible solution, but a strong international coalition still supports it, and it will be a long process to undo this. It can only be replaced by a framework that recognizes that the conflict is between a settler-colonial movement, Zionism, a settler state of Israel, and the native population. Such a solution means, in essence, a decolonization of the whole of Palestine, which means reframing the relationship between the Jewish settler community (by which I mean the Israeli Jewish society as a whole), now in its third generation, and the native population.

  • PAPPÉ, ILAN. “What Is Left Of The Israeli Left? (1948-2015).” Brown Journal Of World Affairs 22.1 (2015): 351-367.    SOURCE.

Interview with Ilan Pappé 

“THE THREE CYPRESS TREES,” by Mourid Barghouti

Transparent and frail,
Like the slumber of woodcutters,
serene foreshadowing things to come,
the morning drizzle does not conceal
these three cypresses on the slope.

These details belie their sameness,
their radiance confirms it.

I said:
I wouldn’t dare to keep looking at them,
there is a beauty that takes away our daring,
there are times when courage fades away.

The clouds rolling high above
change the form of the cypresses.

The birds flying towards other skies
change the resonance of the cypresses.

The tiled line between them
fixes the greenness of the cypresses
and there are trees whose only fruit is greenness.

Yesterday, in my sudden cheerfulness,
I saw their immortality.

Today, in my sudden sorrow,
I saw the axe.

Mourid Barghouti.
From Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT AND OTHER POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008. Available from Amazon.