ON THE OCCUPATION – Special Edition “. . . The invaders smile . . .” (Majid Abu Ghoush)


Founder of the Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl (1860–1904) was also author of the pamphlet “The Jewish State” (Photo: ZETEO, 11.05.2015)

+972 Magazine
Edo Konrad
June 9, 2016
Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai shocked many Israelis Thursday morning when he cited Israel’s occupation as one factor that leads Palestinians to turn to terrorism. Speaking on Army Radio about Wednesday’s deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv and reported celebrations of it in the West Bank and Gaza, Huldai argued that Israelis should focus instead on the fact that Israel is “perhaps the only country in the world holding another nation under occupation without civil rights . . . . There is no courage to do what needs to be done in order to reach a [peace] agreement.”
___“There is no way to hold people in a situation of occupation and think that they will reach the conclusion that everything is okay and they will continue to live like that,” Huldai added.      MORE . . . 


The vision of Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl, became institutionalised in the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the body that today coordinates with the Government of Israel and largely oversees the continuing land acquisition process (n88). By the close of 1937, the JNF-linked Jewish Agency had established the Population Transfer Committee, and in 1940, director of the JNF Lands Department Yosef Weitz wrote:
___“It must be clear that there is no room in the country for both peoples.… If the Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us … There is no room for compromises … There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for Bethlehem, Nazareth and old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one [bedouin] tribe … For this goal funds will be found … And only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution” (n89).

(n88) For discussion of the legal relationship of the Jewish National Fund to the Israeli government, see Kenneth Lewan and Uri Davis, The Jewish National Fund, London: Kegan Paul, 1989.
(n89) Yosef Weitz, Yomani Ve’igrotai Labanim [My Diary and Letters to the Children] Vol I, entry for 20 December 1940, p181; as quoted in Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987, p 27.

  • Schechla, Joseph. “Ideological Roots of Population Transfer.” Third World Quarterly 14.2 (1993): 239-275.   ONLINE.   


We argue that the legality of the phenomenon of occupation, as it relates to the function of managing the situation, is to be measured in relation to three fundamental legal principles:
(a)          Sovereignty and title in an occupied territory are not vested in the occupying power. The roots of this principle emanate from the principle of the inalienability of sovereignty through actual or threatened use of force. Under contemporary international law, and in view of the principle of self-determination, sovereignty is vested in the population under occupation.
(b)          The occupying power is entrusted with the management of public order and civil life in the territory under control. In view of the principle of self-determination, the people under occupation are the beneficiaries of this trust. The dispossession and subjugation of these people violate this trust.
(c)           Occupation is temporary. It may be neither permanent nor indefinite.
___The violation of any one of these principles, therefore, unlike the violation of a specific norm that reflects them, renders an occupation illegal per se. This is the nature of the Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

  • Ben-Naftali, Orna, Aeyal M. Gross, and Keren Michaeli. “Illegal Occupation: Framing the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Berkeley Journal of International Law 23.3 (2005): 551-614.  ONLINE.

Oma Ben-Naftali is a senior lecturer at the Law School, The College of Management, Academic Studies in Tel-Aviv; Aeyal Gross is a senior lecturer at Tel-Aviv University Law Faculty; and Keren Michaeli is a senior research fellow at the Law School, The College of Management, Academic Studies in Tel-Aviv.

Dheisheh Refugee Camp is a Palestinian refugee camp located just south of Bethlehem. (Photo: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, April 26, 2012)


As a diaspora of over nine million people, Palestinians are everywhere: second-class citizens of Israel, stateless residents of fragmented and walled-in Bantustans in the occupied West Bank, refugees residing inside and outside of camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan; and immigrants, students, professionals and nationalised citizens in virtually every country in the world. . . In the framework of international law, however, Palestinians are virtually nowhere. As stateless persons they occupy a liminal and interstitial space in the international legal and political order, an order that . . .  remains founded upon and grounded in the interests of sovereign nation-states rather than in the claims of sub or transnational actors, whether individuals or groups.
[. . . .]
___The defining event of the 1990s for Palestinians was the signing of the Oslo Accords . . .  Oslo, however, was not founded on international law or treaties but, rather, constituted a negotiated agreement between unequal partners. It was an agreement that side-stepped [international agreements emphasising Israel’s duty to uphold International Humanitarian Law] and to abide by all of international treaties it has signed.

  • King-Irani, Laurie. “Exiled To A Liminal Legal Zone: Are We All Palestinians Now?” Third World Quarterly 27.5 (2006): 923-936.  SOURCE.

Laurie King-Irani is Associate Professor of Teaching, Department of Anthropology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

Occupied Ramallah 17/11/06

Strange days cast dour shadows
Dusk. The fragrance of death
on a windowsill.
In the lingering heat
an impossible burden weighs
down on eyelids and chest;
the throat aches, the spine throbs.

Rose petals all tarnished with foul dust
from the poisoned world.
Black limousines sail past, flying
the skull and crossbones.
The grave yawns open early,
nightmares never leave.
Death squads. Detention camps.

Somewhere, an oud
pronounces its sad chords.
The invaders smile; tap their feet.
―Translated by John Glenday

Majid Abu Ghoush (b. Amwas) is a prolific poet, a member of the secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Writers, and a founding member of Poets Without Borders, Palestine.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY. Ed. by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving. (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014).
Available From Amazon.com. 

“. . . Salaam upon you the day you were killed in the land of peace. . . “ (Mahmoud Darwish)

This blog as of today will become a regular collection of links and short introductions to articles about Palestine and the search for peace in the Middle East centered on the (seemingly) endless war of occupation in Palestine and Israel.

I am committed on this blog to provide information that is not readily available in “mainstream media” about the search for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.

PLEASE HELP ME FIND PERTINENT MATERIAL TO NOTE HERE (contact me here or Email me–or post on Facebook, and I will lift it).

The material here will be loosely organized, but it will be limited enough so to be easily understood.


February 08, 2015
500 rabbis urge Israel to stop demolition of Palestinian homes
demolition.siA Palestinian Bedouin near his dwelling that was demolished by Israeli bulldozers near the Jewish settlement of Karmel, near the West Bank city of Hebron (Reuters / Mussa Qawasma)

  • Conference
    Canadian Friends of Sabeel (CFOS)
    “Seeking the Peace of Jerusalem: Overcoming Christian Zionism in the Quest for Justice”
    23 – 25 April 2015
    St. Mary’s Kerrisdale Church, Vancouver, B.C.
    Anglican Church of Canada
    Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
    Presbyterian Church in Canada
    United Church of Canada
  • Playgrounds for Palestine annual fundraiser, March 28, 2015


Rev. Robert Assaly, Chair of Canadian Friends of Sabeel was in Palestine for the 5th anniversary of the Kairos Palestine Document (December 2-4, 2014) as well as for a CFOS organized witness trip – focusing on models of popular resistance and liberation theology. While there, Robert met with CFOS partners in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. He wrote a series of reflections which are published on the CFOS website. The last, his reflections on visiting Gaza, is particularly important.

Reflections from Palestine – VII
“Gaza: When ‘Apartheid’ becomes a polite understatement.”

“I Belong There,” By Mahmoud Darwish
I didn’t apologize to the well when I passed the well,
I borrowed from the ancient pine tree a cloud
and squeezed it like an orange, then waited for a gazelle
white and legendary. And I ordered my heart to be patient:
Be neutral as if you were not of me! Right here
the kind shepherds stood on air and evolved
their flutes, then persuaded the mountain quail toward
the snare. And right here I saddled a horse for flying toward
my planets, then flew. And right here the priestess
told me: Beware of the asphalt road and the cars
and walk upon your exhalation. Right here
I slackened my shadow and waited, I picked the tiniest
rock and stayed up late. I broke the myth and I broke.
And I circled the well until I flew from myself
to what isn’t of it. A deep voice shouted at me:
This grave isn’t your grave. So I apologized.
I read verses from the wise holy book, and said
to the unknown one in the well: Salaam upon you the day
you were killed in the land of peace, and the day you rise
from the darkness of the well alive!

From Unfortunately, It Was Paradise by Mahmoud Darwish translated and Edited by Munir Akash and Carolyn Forché with Sinan Antoon and Amira El-Zein. Published 2003 University of California Press.

On March 13, 1941 Mahmoud Darwish was born in Al Birweh, Palestine, into a land-owning Sunni Muslim family. During the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, his village was destroyed and his family fled to Lebanon. They returned the following year, secretly re-entering Israel.
As a young man, Darwish faced house arrest and imprisonment for his political activism and for publicly reading his poetry. He joined the official Communist Party of Israel, the Rakah, in the 1960s. In 1970, he left for Russia, where he attended the University of Moscow for one year, and then moved to Cairo. He lived in exile for twenty-six years, between Beirut and Paris, until his return to Israel in 1996, after which he settled in Ramallah in the West Bank. Darwish died on August 9, 2008, in Houston, TX, after complications from heart surgery.