Irish Recollections: After the Cork Conference on ‘International Law and the State of Israel’

14 Apr

 

 

Having recently spent several days at a very intense academic conference held in seductive Cork gave me the opportunity to reflect upon earlier experiences in Ireland, admittedly an unabashedly self-indulgent diversion. I realize that this will probably disappoint most regular blog readers who subscribe either to vent their strong disagreement with my views, often accompanied by harsh assaults on my character or personality, or by those likeminded persons who share enough of a common understanding of what it means for our species to exist in biopolitical end time to find this website congenial enough to stay connected. On this occasion I am admittedly exploring the depths of autobiographical banality to take advantage of the relationship between Ireland and my own highly individual end time, as well as an earlier period of my life when dark cosmic thoughts rarely clouded my inner space.

This reflective mood was further stimulated a few days ago by an interview to be broadcast sometime soon on a Cork radio station. The interview was conducted by the kind of personable Irish young woman with dancing eyes that we dream about: She seems to dwell in realms of gleeful immediacy as imprudently as a wayward leprechaun. After a longish exchange about the visit and the visitor she poses questions of more current interest, in this instance, about the conference that brought me to the city of Cork for the first time ever. This academic event was indeed a rather unusual occurrence for this serene and magical place, one of the oldest, yet small scale, urban habitats in all of Europe. The conference [“International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism, and Repsponsibility”] that brought me to Cork was treated as sufficiently controversial to have been cancelled the two prior years in England, specifically at the University of Southampton whose administrators yielded to heavy pressures exerted by pro-Israeli Jewish groups. With exceptional perseverance, the Southampton conveners, determined not to be silenced, teamed up with colleagues at the University of Cork, and despite some minor friction with Irish university administrators, went ahead with the conference. It took place between March 31 and April 2 without a single disruptive glitch, three long days of serious discussion exemplifying the highest ideals and spirit of academic freedom. I will comment further about this happy outcome toward the end of this post, but in the meantime, I will without further wimpish evasion, walk softly upon the thin ice of my Irish past.

 

My earliest contact with Irish sensibility was undoubtedly my most profound. From the ages of two or three until eleven or twelve, my almost continuous companion was a young Irish woman, Bridie Horan, a recent immigrant to the U.S. from County Kerry, who became more of a mother to me than my biological mother who was supremely unmotherly, a quality undoubtedly accentuated by a strained marriage with my father that led to their separation, which was quickly followed by a Nevada divorce well before I was seven. During this period we moved twice, once to the countryside from mid-Manhattan, and then a year or two later back to an adjacent apartment building in New York City half a block away. Both buildings fronted Central Park, between 64th and 65th streets, and both had good views of the park. The earlier apartment building, 50 Central Park West, was the setting for the film “Four Men and a Baby.”

 

From this childhood experience, I remember particularly being taken quite often by Bridie to the neighborhood Catholic Church, absorbed by the ritual of the Mass, but performed in Latin, I didn’t grasp the religious symbolism. I did develop an appreciation of religious mystery and the power of communities of faith. In these years this was my only exposure to religious practice. My parents were totally assimilated Jews who never bothered to explain what that meant, nor did they exhibit any ethnic consciousness associated with Jewish tradition, Yiddish language, and a cultural understanding of what it meant to be a Jew in American society in the 1930s.

 

I was especially impressed by the devoutness of those devotees who daily approached the altar to receive communion. Bridie was among those who stood in line to receive a wafer and a sip of wine from a silver chalice, but she never explained why or what. It was clearly an organic part of her fragile identity, which was torn from its deep Irish roots. She retained strong nationalist feelings for Ireland, but I do not recall her speaking of her Irish life or family. She expressed hostility toward the British who terrorized her community, sending notorious colonial troops known as ‘the black and tans’ tasked with subduing the rebellious Irish.

 

I didn’t realize until now that this was my first exposure to anti-colonial struggle, but at the time it seemed to me something distant and unreal. As a somewhat loutish child I teased Bridie until tears came to her eyes by praising Winston Churchill, who as colonial overlord personified for her British cruelty to the Irish. Bridie also daily escorted me back and forth to the Ethical Cultural School a half block away where I was enrolled in pre-kindergarten from the age of three. She was very Irish in her temperament and way of speaking, and remains a vivid remembrance brought to life while in Cork.

 

Bridie would also take me to visit friends of hers, presenting me as if her own child, a feeling that I remember enjoying at the time without much thought about what this meant. After the divorce of my parents and my mother’s departure, first for NYC, and later California, I lived briefly with my father in Pound Ridge, NY, near Stamford, Connecticut, for a year or so, before we returned to New York. We lived in a rather modern house far from the nearest neighbor, representing it seemed a final effort to save a doomed marriage. What I remember most from this period of rural isolation was acute loneliness, a fear of snakes, affection for snowscapes, wiling away hours hitting a jai-lai ball against the garage wall, and an early minor talent in basement table tennis. I was so alone that I even listened to news broadcasts, recalling now the excited voice of network commentators describing the the onset of World War II, signaled by the attack of Germany and the Soviet Union on Poland, followed by the German attack on the Soviet Union. I had the most minimal comprehension of what was transpiring beyond a vague realization that something historically significant was unfolding. What this war meant was completely unreal to me at the time, and Bridie was probably as confused as I was, doing little to help me grasp this epochal turn of events. When the American entry into war occurred in 1941, I recall listening to a radio broadcast a few days after the war started that warned of an expected German air attack against New York reported as being only hours away. Before realizing that it was a false alarm, I felt no fear, and a kind of ill-defined disappointment that the attack never happened, disclosing my perverse ignorance of the horrors of warfare. At this time, maybe a result of wartime tensions, Bridie later ran afoul of my father for reasons that were never clear, and likely were connected with personal feelings gone astray. My father insisted that Bridie had built up an obsessive desire for a close relationship with him, but I never heard her version. His story was that it became impossible to juggle a responsible childrearing framework with an intimate connection that he denied wanting. I mourned the loss of this original Irish connection, and for weeks suffered from the loss of the only female that touched me deeply during those childhood years. It was a broken connection never to be restored.

 

Long before I went to Ireland or ever read a serious book I had a short adolescent acquaintance with Stephen Joyce, grandson of the great James Joyce, son of Helen Joyce married to the author’s son, and the sister of one of my father’s closest and most unconventional friends, Robert Kastor. I recall being told that Helen would read to the famous Irish writer as he was losing his eyesight. I remember Stephen as a congenial boy, but later lost touch with him. I was told by an Irish diplomat at Cork that Stephen grew to be a wily adult who pursued business interests linked to his grandfather’s legacy, which may or may not have been true. Perhaps, my visit to the Dublin home of Joyce twenty-five years ago and a devotional reading of Ullyses, as well as Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, allowed me to see Ireland through the impassioned prose, flow of consciousness, and extraordinary literary rendering of the Irish imaginary by Joyce.

 

Then came Yeats and Sean MacBride, each imparting distinctive dimensions of the Irish experience, and linked through the mystery of Sean’s mother, Maud Gonne, who seemed to provide Yeats with romantic inspiration tempered by his impassioned rejection of her political alignments and aspirations. As a young adult I came to regard Yeats as the greatest poetic voice of our time, and the one that resonates most with my own somewhat pathetic strivings that persist to this day.

 

I had three significant contacts with Sean MacBride (winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 1974; Lenin Peace Prize in 1975) each of which seemed peculiarly relevant to the substantive side of this recent visit to Ireland. The first of these occurred early in 1968 when Sean was Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists, a widely respected NGO with headquarters in Geneva. There was an impending trial of 35 political and cultural leaders of what was then called South West Africa, a territory held as a Mandate by South Africa, since independence known as Namibia. I had been asked by defense counsel to be an expert witness, an invitation that probably resulted from my role as part of the defense team that represented Liberia and Ethiopia in the International Court of Justice in a 1964-65 case focused on whether the extension of apartheid to South West Africa violated the trust relationship between South Africa as mandatory power and these two former members of the League of Nations who had the authority to raise such legal questions. The decision rendered in 1965 shocked the UN, actually supporting the basic claim of South Africa that it was acting in accord with its obligations under the mandate in good faith by doing in South West Africa what it did with respect to race relations in its own country under the heading of ‘separate development’ of distinct races. The General Assembly reacted to this decision that flaunted the moral and political anti-apartheid consensus by revoking the South African mandate, and granting independence to South West Aftrica, since known as Namibia.

 

The South African Government obviously didn’t want my participation in the trial in Pretoria as an expert witness, delaying indefinitely a decision on whether or not issue a visa. Assuming that the visa would not be issued, the defense shifted tactics, requesting that the International Commission of Jurists (a respected NGO supportive of the rule of law) designate me as an official observer of what was anticipated to be a political trial. Sean’s father, Major John MacBride, who fought on the Afrikaaner side in the Boer War, and later executed by the British due to his activist role in support of Irish revolutionary nationalism, used family connections with South African leaders to arrange my visa. It was a memorable experience, especially as the trial coincided with the Tet Offensive in Vietnam that reshaped the mainstream approach to the Vietnam War in the United States, but would be a diversion to discuss here. What was relevant to my time at Cork was this earlier exposure to apartheid as a system of discriminatory oppression in the South African context, as well as the recollection of Sean MacBride’s unlikely facilitative link that enabled me to observe and report upon the trial. My report to the International Commission of Jurists on the various horrors of the trial and the heroics of the defendants was condemned by a South African government spokesperson, observing that I wrote with ‘a poison pen’ making me subject to criminal prosecution if I dared to return to South Africa. I took this criticism as a compliment, some sense that my reportage was on target.

 

My second link to MacBride was associated with a fact-finding commission set up in Britain to investigate Israeli war crimes associated with the 1982 attack on Lebanon, including the siege of Beirut. I was invited to be Vice Chair of the Commission, and became acting Chair when Sean’s health made it impossible for him to make the trip to Lebanon and Israel to assess the evidence. The rest of us came to the Lebanese port of Jounieh by ship from Cyprus, and as we entered the harbor, there were young Lebanese women water skiing, while we could hear gunfire from the other side of the hills in the Beirut area. Again the experience was quite extraordinary as Beirut was under Israeli siege, the Maronite leader then President-elect of Lebanon, Bachir Geymayel, was assassinated, and several days later the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps occurred with guidance and support of Israeli invading forces headed by Ariel Sharon. Returning to London, Sean took charge of the discussions leading up to the submission of our report that found Israel responsible for a series of major violations of the laws of war. Our initiative came to be known as the MacBride Commission, the report was a collective effort, with the initial draft prepared by Kader Asmal, who was living in Dublin in exile from South Africa at the time, dean of the faculty at the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, a prominent figure in the Irish anti-apartheid campaign, and later a principal author of the South African Constitution. [published under title Report of the International Commission to enquire into reported violations of International Law by Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon (London: Ithaca Press, 1983)] Kader became the only Indian member of the cabinet formed by Nelson Mandela after his election at President of South Africa. I became a lifelong friend of Kader as a result of sharing this experience, and maintained close contact until his death a few years ago, a tragic loss on many levels of personal and public engagement.

 

The third and final link with MacBride was to serve under his chairmanship as a participant in a civil society initiative known as the London Nuclear War Tribunal held in London, 1985. In addition to Sean and myself, Dorothy Hodgkin (Nobel Prize, chemistry, 1964) and Maurice Wilkins (Nobel Prize, medicine, 1962). The proceedings involved a comprehensive inquiry into the status of nuclear weapons in relation to customary international law, and produced a declaration and series of findings and recommendations that remain relevant at present. [For the full account see Geoffrey Darnton, ed., Nuclear Weapons and International Law: From the London Nuclear Warfare Tribunal (Bournesmouth, UK: Peace Analytics, 2nd ed. 2015)].

 

There are other recollections of Ireland based on several visits to Dublin. Perhaps, the most memorable was participation with the late Fred Halliday at a conference in 1996 on the sociology and politics of terrorism that was partly held under the auspices of the army of the Republic of Ireland. After the conference there was a dinner at the army headquarters, and I was greeted on my entry to the building by a full-length portrait of William Butler Yeats. Although an ardent cultural nationalist, Yeats was a relatively conservative figure in the Irish struggle for independence, and is celebrated around the world for the lyric universality of spirit embodied so enduringly in his poetry. I continue to feel that only in Ireland would that sense of nationalism and national security become merged with reverence for a poet of global stature so displayed by the country’s armed forces.

 

Actually, the most memorable part of the experience came during dinner. I was seated next to the commander-in-chief of the army of Ireland. Midway through the dinner a waiter handed the general a note, which reported the major IRA bomb exploded in the city center of Manchester, England. His only words at the time were “I guess I won’t be going home this weekend.” Apparently, military officers could normally spend weekends with their families.

 

All of this as background to my days in Cork, culminating in the conference partly held in the City Hall of Cork (due to a compromise with university officials under Zionist pro-Israeli pressures of the sort that had led to University of Southampton cancellations), with the third and final day held on the new campus of the University of Cork, one of Europe’s most venerable universities. The extraordinary perseverance and good will of Oren Ben-Dor, a historian on the faculty at Southampton, and the willingness of the Irish organizing team at Cork to withstand the usual pressures, allowed the conference to go forward without incident.

 

The conference consisted of three long days of high quality academic presentations that were organized as panels with ample time for audience participation. It was a lively participatory audience whose member posed challenging and probing questions. I was the first of two keynote speakers (the other was Ugo Mattei, a very imaginative Italian legal scholar who insisted that there was no solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict without taking account of the broader context of neoliberal capitalism and geopolitical militarism, a position I regarded as extremely important). My talk focused on the significance of the recently released UN report, co-authored with Virginia Tilley, on Israel as an apartheid state. The basic policy contention derived from the report, which can be found on the website of this blog, is that 50 years after the 1967 War it is more appropriate to call for ‘ending apartheid’ rather than continue to mouth the slogan ‘end the occupation.’ This conceptual move is significant for at least two reasons: as signifying a shift from ‘territory’ to ‘people,’ and as a belated acknowledgement that the Palestinians as a whole (including those in refugee camps and exile, minority in Israel, and those residing in Jerusalem) are being subjugated by an Israel regime or structure of apartheid that fragments, discriminates, and dominates on the basis of race, and violates relevant international legal norms.

 

There is much more that could be said about this conference, rich in ideas and devoted to a search for a sustainable peace for both peoples on the basis of equality in form and substance. Although there was considerable attention paid to the illegitimacy of Israeli state formation, the emphasis of the conference was on finding a just peace for the future rather than dwelling upon the necessity to redress past grievances. At the same time, the past could and should not be ignored. Palestinian wounds will not heal until there a credible reconciliation process is established that includes Israeli official acknowledgements of historic wrongdoing centered on the nakba, conceived of as a process of dispossession, displacement, and domination.

 

Advertisements

24 Responses to “Irish Recollections: After the Cork Conference on ‘International Law and the State of Israel’”

  1. Rabbi Ira Youdovin April 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Richard,

    The emphasis of the Cork Conference may have been on finding a just peace for the future rather than dwelling upon the necessity to redress past grievances—you were there, I wasn’t. But if so, that wasn’t what the organizers had in mind when they planned it.

    Following your suggestion, I went to the Conference’s website and found the following list of Aims and Objectives:

    • To generate a multidisciplinary platform for scholarly debate about the relationship between injustices and ongoing violence in historic Palestine.

    • To examine the role law and in particular, international law, both in terms of substance and jurisdiction, can play in responding to injustices and ongoing violence in Palestine.

    • To help shift public debate from merely focusing on the legality of Israel’s actions in the context of a partitioned Palestine, to the ways in which injustice and violence in historic Palestine are a result of the founding manner a d nature of the State of Israel.

    • To discuss the constitution and nature of the State of Israel under the pillars of legitimacy, exceptionalism, and responsibility.

    • To envision different senses of unique belonging in historic Palestine that can serve as a constitutional basis for political community in historic Palestine and to examine the integrative role of law in bringing about such vision.

    • To allow and to actively encourage highly different responses to the questions posed by the conference.

    • To reflect on the often depoliticized and deferential use of international law by Palestinians. To that end, to engage a new generation of Palestinian lawyers and scholars in discourse and concepts that engender more radical and expansive uses of international law which go beyond the ‘1967 occupation’ paradigm.

    Lots there about past grievances and code words challenging Israel’s legitimacy. Little or nothing about a just peace for Jews and Palestinians.

    I do regret the difficulty organizers had in finding a venue, and find objectionable the actions of misguided co-religionists in creating those difficulties.

    Regards,

    Ira

    • Richard Falk April 14, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

      Ira:

      I think these conference objectives did frame some of the presentations; there have been as many as 50. Yet the tone
      of the conference and the opening, closing remarks and the two keynotes were all solution-oriented.

      Whatever else it was a very academic event, and at least one extremely outspoken Zionist maximalist who stressed Israel’s
      biblical entitlement to the whole of ancient Palestine, including what is now Jordan. The audience asked him many questions
      but in a respectful manner.

      And, above all, Cork is a rather blessed place.

      Richard

  2. ray032 April 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm #

    Richard, it was interesting reading the personal details from your youth. From that background you went on and achieved great things with your life. More power to you.

    My parents separated when I was 7 and neither of them re-married The Catholic Church was still powerful and Culturally influential in Quebec then, and even separation was going against the Church.

    I totally relate to this in recounting your impressions listening to the radio at the beginning of WWII, “I had the most minimal comprehension of what was transpiring beyond a vague realization that something historically significant was unfolding.”

    My mother took very sick and was hospitalized when I was 12. There was no one to care for me, and I was placed in a Catholic Boys Home with 50 boys between the ages of 10 to 15. I felt something historically significant was unfolding listening to radio reports of the Suez Crisis in 1956. None of the other kids were intwerested

    I was 17 in 1961 and an Officer Cadet in the Navel Reserve as I attended University in Montreal. That 1st Summer’s training, the Canadian Navy Frigate I trained on visited Dublin, Ireland and I actually kissed the Blarney Stone.

    In 1976 I was highly visible at the Republican National Convention in Kansas City. I joined with the protesters in Penn Valley Park across the street from The Crown Centre Hotel where the President and Vice-President were staying.

    While I was speaking through a sound system that reverberated against the Hotel, Vice-President Rockefeller came out on a roof terrace and I started addressing my words to him. Again, I can relate to this sentiment of yours, “I took this criticism as a compliment, some sense that my reportage was on target”

    This picture of Vice-President Rockefeller is his reaction to my words.

    I recount that incident here.
    https://ray032.com/2013/09/01/signs-of-the-times/

    • Richard Falk April 15, 2017 at 7:49 am #

      Thanks, Ray, for sharing these kindred recollection of a youth spent under difficult conditions in Quebec…

  3. Jim Kavanagh April 14, 2017 at 8:36 pm #

    Beautiful reminiscence, Richard. Was Bridie your “nanny”?

    • Richard Falk April 15, 2017 at 7:47 am #

      Jim: Coming from someone with such authentic Irish credentials, your affirming words appreciated. Yes,
      Bridie was what we now call a ‘nanny.’ Warm greetings, Richard

  4. Fred Skolnik April 15, 2017 at 12:26 am #

    I too note that the aim of the Conference is nothing other than to establish Israel’s guilt. Since this has been the aim of countless convocations, it is hard to grasp the point of going through the process still another time. It is fine to call someone an “extreme Zionist maximalist” for wanting everything but then one should also be calling Arabs who want everything “extreme maximalists” as well, not to mention “terrorists” as the case may be. Any balanced approach to the conflict would note Arab actions and attitudes as a contributing factor in the conflict if not the direct cause of it. But as noted above, the idea here seems to be that it is the very creation and existence of the State of Israel that is the cause, which is almost a truism and very much like saying that the existence of zebras is the cause of their being killed by lions. Of course the Arabs did not wish to see a Jewish or any non-Muslim state in the Middle East, but the Middle East did not belong to them and the Jews made a claim no less valid than the Arab claim, which was expressed very clearly by Azzam Pasha as secretary-general of the Arab League in the name of the Arab nation:

    “The Arab world is not in a compromising mood. It’s likely, Mr. Horowitz that your plan is rational and logical, but the fate of nations is not decided by rational logic. Nations never concede; they fight. You won’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise. You can, perhaps, get something, but only by the force of your arms. We shall try to defeat you. I am not sure we’ll succeed, but we’ll try. We were able to drive out the Crusaders, but on the other hand we lost Spain and Persia. It may be that we shall lose Palestine. But it’s too late to talk of peaceful solutions.”

    I have quoted this more than once so that it will be understood that for the Arab nation the Land of Israel was just another Persia or Spain, conquered in the name of Allah.

  5. ray032 April 15, 2017 at 6:06 pm #

    The latest opinion of Gideon Levy is hard core emotion

    Our Nakba

    Israel must cloak itself in sorrow over what happened since that terrible summer of 1967, the summer in which it won a war and lost nearly everything

    This is a jubilee year: 50 years after the greatest Jewish disaster since the Holocaust, 50 years after the greatest Palestinian disaster since the Nakba. It is the jubilee of their second Nakba and our first. A moment before the start of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the “liberation” of the territories, we should remember that it was a disaster. A great disaster for the Palestinians, of course, but also a fateful disaster for the Jews here. 2017 ought to be a year of soul-searching in Israel, a year of unparalleled sadness. It is already clear that it will not be. Instead, the government plans to make it a year of celebration, celebrating the occupation. Ten million shekels ($2.74 million) have already been allocated to celebrate 50 years of suppression of another people, 50 years of rot and internal destruction.

    A state that celebrates 50 years of occupation is a state whose sense of direction has been lost, its ability to distinguish good from evil impaired. A military victory may be celebrated, but to celebrate decades of brutal military conquest? What exactly is there to celebrate, Israelis? Fifty years of bloodshed, abuse, disinheritance and sadism? Only societies that have no conscience celebrate such anniversaries. It is not only on account of the suffering it causes the Palestinians that Israel must refrain from celebrating the anniversary. It must cloak itself in sorrow also over what has happened to Israel since that terrible summer of 1967, the summer in which it won a war and lost nearly everything.

    A great disaster struck us. Like a kibbutz or moshav where farmland has been sold to private residential developers, ruining the community’s character, like gentrification that runs roughshod over the poor, like a once-healthy body now riddled with cancer, so Israel has grown since the summer of 1967, its DNA damaged. It is enough to look at Jerusalem which went from being a charming university city with government institutions to a monster ruled by the Border Police.

    It began with the ultranationalist-religious orgy that swept over everyone but for a handful of prophets, and continues today, through the familiar mechanisms of brainwashing. Size matters, in Israel’s case: It has turned it into an evil, violent, ultranationalist, religious, racist state. It wasn’t perfect before, but in 1967 the seeds of calamity were sowed. We must not blame all the state’s ills on the occupation — not every nightclub stabbing is perpetrated by a veteran of the army’s Kfir Brigade. And we do not have to believe that everything is blacker than black in order to comprehend the enormity of the disaster. From a state that began as a brand plucked from a fire, modest, insecure, hesitant, chalking up amazing accomplishments that the whole world marveled at, to an arrogant, despised state, marveled at only by those that resemble it.

    All this began in 1967. Not that 1948 was so pure, far from it, but 1967 accelerated, institutionalized and legitimized the decline. It gave birth to the ongoing contempt for the word, the bragging and bullying. In 1967 the occupation began. It metastasized wildly inward, from the roadblocks in the West Bank to the nightclubs in Tel Aviv, from the refugee camps to the roads and the supermarket lines. Israel’s language became the language of force, everywhere. The success of the Six-Day War was too much for it — some successes are like that — and after came the boast, “to us, all is permitted.”

    It began with the victory photo albums and the songs — “Nasser is waiting for Rabin, ai, yai, yai” and “We have returned to you, Sharm el-Sheikh.” Right after the hangover came the signs of cancer: The religious suddenly became messianic, the moderates ultranationalist, and it’s a short road from there.

    Nothing stood in the way of Israel becoming what it is, at home or abroad. It perpetuates the occupation, although it ostensibly didn’t want it from the outset, because it could. And it established an apartheid regime in the territories, because there is no other kind of occupation.

    Now it’s here. Strong, armed and rich as it never was in 1967. Corrupt and rotten as only an occupying country can be. That is what we are supposed to celebrate. And that is what we must weep over.

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.783684

  6. ray032 April 17, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

    The latest view from Arab Nazareth.

    Israel’s festivities will highlight 50 years of shame
    17 April 2017

    The National – 17 April 2017

    Israel is to hold lavish celebrations over the coming weeks to mark the 50th anniversary of what it calls the “liberation of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights” – or what the rest of us describe as the birth of the occupation.

    The centrepiece event will take place in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. The West Bank settlement “bloc” enjoys wide support in Israel, not least because it was established long ago by the supposedly left-wing Labour party, now heading the opposition.

    The jubilee is a potent reminder that for Israelis, most of whom have never known a time before the occupation, Israel’s rule over the Palestinians seems as irreversible as the laws of nature. But the extravagance of the festivities also underscores the growth over five decades of Israel’s self-assurance as an occupier.

    Documents found this month in Israel’s archives reveal that, when Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967, its first concern was to hoodwink the international community.

    The foreign ministry ordered Israel’s ambassadors to mischaracterise its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem as a simple “municipal fusion”. To avoid diplomatic reprisals, Israel claimed it was necessary to ease the provision of essential services to the occupied Palestinian population.

    Interestingly, those drafting the order advised that the deception was unlikely to succeed. The United States had already insisted that Israel commit no unilateral moves.

    But within months Israel had evicted thousands of Palestinians from the Old City and destroyed their homes. Washington and Europe have been turning a blind eye to such actions ever since.

    One of the Zionist movement’s favourite early slogans was: “Dunam after dunam, goat after goat”. The seizure of small areas of territory measured in dunams, the demolition of the odd home, and the gradual destruction of herding animals would slowly drive the Palestinians off most of their land, “liberating” it for Jewish colonization. If it was done piecemeal, the objections from overseas would remain muffled. It has proved a winning formula.

    Fifty years on, the colonization of East Jerusalem and the West Bank is so entrenched that a two-state solution is nothing more than a pipe dream.

    Nonetheless, US president Donald Trump has chosen this inauspicious moment to dispatch an envoy, Jason Greenblatt, to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    In a “goodwill” response, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has unveiled a framework for settlement building. It is exactly the kind of formula for deception that has helped Israel consolidate the occupation since 1967.

    Mr Netanyahu says expansion will be “restricted” to “previously developed” settlements, or “adjacent” areas, or, depending on the terrain, “land close” to a settlement.

    Peace Now points out that the settlements already have jurisdiction over some 10 per cent of the West Bank, while far more is treated as “state land”. The new framework, says the group, gives the settlers a green light to “build everywhere”.

    The Trump White House has shrugged its shoulders. A statement following Mr Netanyahu’s announcement judged the settlements no “impediment to peace”, adding that Israel’s commitments to previous US administrations would be treated as moot.

    Effectively, the US is wiping the slate clean, creating a new baseline for negotiations after decades of Israeli changes stripping the Palestinians of territory and rights.

    Although none of this bodes well, Egypt and Jordan’s leaders met Mr Trump this month to push for renewed talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The White House is said to be preparing to welcome the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Some senior Palestinians are rightly wary. Abbas Zaki, a Fatah leader, fears Mr Trump will try to impose a regional solution on Arab states, over Mr Abbas’s head, designed to “eliminate the Palestinian cause altogether”.

    David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding father, reportedly once said: “What matters is not what the goyim [non-Jews] say, but what the Jews do.”

    For nearly a quarter of a century, the Oslo accords dangled an illusory peace carrot that usefully distracted the global community as Israel nearly quadrupled its settler population, making even a highly circumscribed Palestinian state unrealisable. Now, that game plan is about to be revived in new form. While the US, Israel, Jordan and Egypt focus on the hopeless task of creating a regional framework for peace, Israel will be left undisturbed once again to seize more dunams and more goats.

    In Israel, the debate is no longer simply about whether to build settler homes, or about how many can be justified. Government ministers argue instead about the best moment to annex vast areas of the West Bank associated with so-called settlement blocs such as Gush Etzion.

    Israel’s imminent celebrations should lay to rest any confusion that the occupation is still considered temporary. But when occupation becomes permanent, it metamorphoses into something far uglier.

    It is past time to recognize that Israel has established an apartheid regime and one that serves as a vehicle for incremental ethnic cleansing. If there are to be talks, ending that outrage must be their first task.

    http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2017-04-17/israels-festivities-50-years-shame/

  7. ray032 April 18, 2017 at 4:51 am #

    Came across this long read this am, and while not specifically dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian problem, that is included as a sub-group.

    This article by renowned author and political scientist Professor Claudia von Werlhof was first published by GR in 2008.

    Are there alternatives to plundering the earth, making war and destroying the planet

    This text is based on a panel presentation together with Ferdinand Lacina, former Austrian Minister of Finance and Ewald Nowotny, President of the BAWAG-Bank during the “Dallinger Conference”, AK Wien, November 21, 2005.

    Introduction

    Is there an alternative to plundering the earth?

    Is there an alternative to making war?

    Is there an alternative to destroying the planet?

    No one asks these questions because they seem absurd. Yet, no one can escape them either. They have to be asked. Ultimate absurdity has taken hold of our lives. We are not only headed towards the world’s annihilation – we are headed towards it with ever increasing speed. The reason is the “globalization” of so-called “neoliberalism”. Its motto is TINA: “There Is No Alternative!” It is the deal of deals, the big feast, the final battle – Armageddon.

    Wrong? Exaggerated?

    Let us first clarify what globalization and neoliberalism are, where they come from, who they are directed by, what they claim, what they do, why their effects are so fatal, why they will fail, and why people nonetheless cling to them. Then, let us look at the responses of those who are not – or will not – be able to live with the consequences they cause.

    1. What Is “Neoliberal Globalization”?

    1.1 TINA – Supposedly without Alternative

    Before talking about the topic of this panel – alternatives to neoliberal globalization, or: the globalization of neoliberalism – one has to acknowledge that there is indeed a problem here. And not only that. One also has to define what the problem is exactly.

    This is where the difficulties begin. For a good twenty years now we have been told that there is no alternative to neoliberal globalization/the globalization of neoliberalism, and that, in fact, no such alternative is needed either. Over and over again, we have been confronted with the TINA-concept: “There Is No Alternative!” The “iron lady”, Margaret Thatcher, was one of those who reiterated this belief without end – it is an embarrassment to women when one of their own displays such a politics of callousness once she has gained power………………………………………………………………………………..

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-consequences-of-globalization-and-neoliberal-policies-what-are-the-alternatives/7973

  8. Gene Schulman April 18, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    I spent the weekend reading Richard Falk’s new book, “Palestine’s Horizon: Toward a Just Peace”. It is a sober refutation of all the hasbara poured out on his blog. And a sober history of the Palestine/Israel conflict. Anyone reading this book with an open mind will see just how the conflict has played out over the years. It concludes with touch (small) of optimism that the struggle could end in a just peace. Though I, personally, find it difficult to see how it could come about, given the inequality of US bias in the matter:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46865.htm

    For all his good works, and hopes, I am quite a bit less sanguine than Richard in this matter. At this point, I hold not only little hope for Palestine, but also little hope for the human species.

    • ray032 April 18, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      An interesting link, Gene, and I believe the figures in the article that are most probably a conservative estimate.

      One of the conditions in the Obama 10 year plan, all the money has to be spent in the US buying only American Military hardware and consumables. In Truth and Reality, it is a US taxpayer, indirect subsidy the the Military-Industrial complex. All the vetted “expert” retired Generals and colonels given the venue to propagate their opinion have some connection to that MIC the last real commander-in-Chief, General-President Eisenhower warned about over 50 years ago.

      ……This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

      In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

      We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together…..

      We have ignored that wise advice to our own peril, a peril we, collectively, have to face.

      Israel introduced drones. Israel developed the metadata gathering system the NSA uses to keep track of every phone call. email, and text sent and received by everybody everywhere. Big Brother is Already Here!

      The US and Israel are twins joined at the hip. The Star of David is on the back of every US Dollar.

      Both Nations see themselves as being “exceptional Nations.”. Both Nations violate International Law with impunity. Obedience to the World Order and International Law is for the other Nations.

      • Gene Schulman April 19, 2017 at 1:13 am #

        Yes, Ray. And look how prescient Said was. He died way back in 2003!

        Quote of the Day

        Edward Said: “We live in one global environment with a huge number of ecological, economic, social, and political pressures tearing at its only dimly perceived, basically uninterpreted and uncomprehended fabric. Anyone with even a vague consciousness of this whole is alarmed at how such remorselessly selfish and narrow interests – patriotism, chauvinism, ethnic, religious, and racial hatreds – can in fact lead to mass destructiveness. The world simply cannot afford this many more times.”

        And yet……..

  9. ray032 April 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    It’s starting to get really serious as the US under Trump raises tensions. This is the intro to latest link in my Public FB News Feed.

    For those who watched the 1st briefing by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he is now after Iran, Publicly, laying the groundwork for an attack with your acquiesce by your lack of interest as if you live in some alternate Universe as if that’s only a bad movie. It’s not. It’s Life and Death for others, over there, but on the way here if we remain unconcerned while we are amused and distracted by our smart phones while we remain dumb.

    Within 100 days, Trump has intensified military action in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, and only God knows wherever else kept secret from the Public, along with the CIA, Elite US Military Special forces, and other undercover, covert operations conducted overseas by the US Government to stir up shit. In addition to the rampted up military operation so far, the US is also raising the verbal tensions with Russia, North Korea and put on notice Today, Trump is coming after Iran.

    I see it as being on the road to this old vision of a TIME coming on the earth, even NOW.

    And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.(false beliefs about God in Judaism, Christianity & Islam. written some 500 years before Islam, the 3rd arm from the Jewish religious record appeared)

    For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth (the 1%, Presidents, Prime Ministers, CEOs, and other Idols of the People) and of the whole world, (the rest of Humanity) to gather them to the battle of that Great Day of God Almighty. (the war is already underway between Judaism, Christianity and Islam leading to the climax of that Great Day)
    For those who watched the 1st briefing by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he is now after Iran, Publicly, laying the groundwork for an attack with your acquiesce by your lack of interest as if you live in some alternate Universe and that only a bad movie. It’s not. It’s Life and Death for others, over there, but on the way here if we remain unconcerned while we are amused and distracted by our smart phones while we remain dumb.

    Within his 1st `100 days, Trump has intensified military action in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, and God knows wherever else kept secret from the Public, along with the CIA, Elite US Military Special forces, and other undercover, covert operations conducted overseas by the US Government to stir up shit. In addition to the rampted up military operation so far, the US is also raising the verbal tensions with Russia, North Korea and put on notice Today, Trump is coming after Iran.

    I see it as being on the road to this old vision of a TIME coming on the earth, even NOW.

    And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.(false beliefs about God in Judaism, Christianity & Islam. written some 500 years before Islam, the 3rd arm from the Jewish religious record appeared)

    For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth (the 1%, Presidents, Prime Ministers, CEOs, and other Idols of the People) and of the whole world, (the rest of Humanity) to gather them to the battle of that Great Day of God Almighty. (the war is already underway between Judaism, Christianity and Islam leading to the climax of that Great Day)
    Behold, I come as a thief. (when you least expect it)
    Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
    And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
    Revelation 16:13-16

    Armageddon was derived from Har Megiddo, located in Judea and Samaria of occupied Palestine 2000 years ago. Israel as a kingdom disappeared some 800 years before Jesus walked in that area during the occupation.

    Har Megiddo/Armageddon still exists as a physical place in this material world, but is now under the control of temporal Israel re-created from the Bible after an absence of some 2800 years. After all those years, the occupation of Judea and Samaria in Palestine is still an unresolved, violent, open wound in the Middle East and this material world.

    I warned this was on the way by this article 5 years ago.
    http://ray032.com/…/syria-a-witchs-brew-on-the-road-to-teh…/
    Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
    And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
    Revelation 16:13-16

    Armageddon was derived from Har Megiddo, located in Judea and Samaria of occupied Palestine 2000 years ago. Israel as a kingdom disappeared some 800 years before Jesus walked in that area during the occupation.

    Har Megiddo/Armageddon still exists as a physical place in this material world, but is now under the control of temporal Israel re-created from the Bible after an absence of some 2800 years. After all those years, the occupation of Judea and Samaria in Palestine is still an unresolved, violent, open wound in the Middle East and this material world.

    With increased tensions, all it takes is one unintentional mistake and there may be no turning back.
    For those who watched the 1st briefing by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he is now after Iran, Publicly, laying the groundwork for an attack with your acquiesce by your lack of interest as if you live in some alternate Universe and that only a bad movie. It’s not. It’s Life and Death for others, over there, but on the way here if we remain unconcerned while we are amused and distracted by our smart phones while we remain dumb.

    Within his 1st `100 days, Trump has intensified military action in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, and God knows wherever else kept secret from the Public, along with the CIA, Elite US Military Special forces, and other undercover, covert operations conducted overseas by the US Government to stir up shit. In addition to the rampted up military operation so far, the US is also raising the verbal tensions with Russia, North Korea and put on notice Today, Trump is coming after Iran.

    I see it as being on the road to this old vision of a TIME coming on the earth, even NOW.

    And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.(false beliefs about God in Judaism, Christianity & Islam. written some 500 years before Islam, the 3rd arm from the Jewish religious record appeared)

    For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth (the 1%, Presidents, Prime Ministers, CEOs, and other Idols of the People) and of the whole world, (the rest of Humanity) to gather them to the battle of that Great Day of God Almighty. (the war is already underway between Judaism, Christianity and Islam leading to the climax of that Great Day)
    Behold, I come as a thief. (when you least expect it)
    Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
    And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
    Revelation 16:13-16

    Armageddon was derived from Har Megiddo, located in Judea and Samaria of occupied Palestine 2000 years ago. Israel as a kingdom disappeared some 800 years before Jesus walked in that area during the occupation.

    Har Megiddo/Armageddon still exists as a physical place in this material world, but is now under the control of temporal Israel re-created from the Bible after an absence of some 2800 years. After all those years, the occupation of Judea and Samaria in Palestine is still an unresolved, violent, open wound in the Middle East and this material world.

    I warned this was on the way by this article 5 years ago.

    SYRIA: A WITCH’S BREW – ON THE ROAD TO TEHRAN
    A dangerous and volatile Witch’s brew is shaping up in Syria as many competing world powers rush in to affect the outcome not necessarily in Syria’s National…

    http://ray032.com/2012/02/27/syria-a-witchs-brew-on-the-road-to-tehran/

    • ray032 April 20, 2017 at 10:33 am #

      Richard, please delete the above comment and this request to delete it. Obviously I made a big mistake posting it with the repetitive wording.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: