No 1925 Posted by fw, April 2, 2017
“You’ve basically gone into the archives, the Israeli State archives and exposed how the occupation was constructed from using arcane Ottoman law, British colonial law. So, what was most remarkable about your archival research? What did you find that you didn’t already know”? —Max Blumenthal
“…two things. One is I didn’t realize how systematic…was the thinking about the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip before ’67…. They [the cabinet] all agree that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would have to be part of Israel. The question is how you do it. And this is the debate. So, the debate was, from ’67 onwards, was tactical: how to keep the territories, not whether to keep the territories. And I was surprised how openly they talked in the cabinet about the peace process as one of the best means of keeping the territories…. You can see how they try to work out two things. One is how to convince the world that the open prison model is actually a peace process…. The big question is really the international community. Will it, with the facts unfolding again and again, and the picture becomes clearer by the day, would they continue to be blind intentionally? —Ilan Pappé
Before turning to Ilan Pappé’s revelations behind Israel’s occupation of Palestine, presented below, there is a subtext.
Do Ontarians not have a right to expect their elected members of the Provincial Legislature to bring to their deliberations and the political decision-making process a responsibly informed, unbiased, and balanced perspective?
Considering the evidence-based knowledge that is now readily available about the Israel-Palestine issue, from authoritative online and print sources, 49 members of the Ontario Parliament failed their constituents, failed to meet the acid test of responsible, unbiased and balanced understanding in their December 1, 2016 Support for Israel discussion of a motion presented by Mrs. Gila Marlow, Progressive Conservative MPP. Her motion, which passed, states:
I move that, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario should stand firmly against any position or movement that promotes or encourages any form of hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance in any way; recognize the long-standing, vibrant and mutually beneficial political, economic and cultural ties between Ontario and Israel, built on a foundation of shared liberal democratic values; endorse the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Antisemitism; and reject the differential treatment of Israel, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The irony is dripping from those words.
At the end of this post is a small sample of comments that were exchanged by MPPs during that December 1, 2016 discussion in the Ontario Legislature.
But first, to place the MPPs’ comments in a context that counters the Israeli narrative that has (mis)informed their views, below is a repost of a 13:46-minute video interview of Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian and socialist activist, hosted by Max Blumenthal, American author, journalist, and blogger.
The discussion was presented in two parts. Part 1 was reposted March 31 under my title, Israel employs bogus mythologies to disguise its “get rid of them” policies and violence .
In this repost, Part 2 of 2, Pappé digs into the Israeli archines and uncovers the historical evidence that puts the occupation of Palestinian territory into a wider historical context, going back to 1948. He challenges the conventional view that the 1967 Six Day War emerged out of the blue and forced Israel to occupy the territories. In fact, recently declassified material shows that legal and security measures were put in place to control the population, while concurrently convincing the international community that the controls were simply part of the “peace process”.
In his closing words, Pappé draws what he hopes is a not too optimistic picture: “I think the Israelis are beginning to lose it in their ability to use temerity, bribery, and intimidation to kill the messengers.” He continues, explaining why he supports the BDS movement:
“Unfortunately, while we are waiting for this to have a tangible impact on the ground, the clock of destruction is faster and continues. I think that’s why we all support the BDS because we would like to see a more concentrated reaction even if we’re not sure where we are going. We want to voice our objection to the oppression as it happens on the ground.”
Meanwhile, the killing of Palestinian civilians will continue as a way to keep Israel’s elite military units active and trained.
My transcript, with subheadings, text highlighting and several added hyperlinks, is featured in the repost along with the embedded 13:46-minutes video. For those seeking a quick overview of the main points presented in the transcript, read the italicized subheadings. The video is also available by clicking on the following You Tube website link.
What did you learn from your research on your next book, “The Biggest Prison on Earth”?
Max Blumenthal – We’re in Washington DC at the National Press Club for an event on the Israel lobby. And I’m here with Ilan Pappé. I want to ask you an historical question that relates to your next book, The Biggest Prison on Earth. A lot of people associate Gaza with the biggest prison on earth. But Gaza is really — and the siege of Gaza Panopticon encompasses the lives of all 1.8 million people in the Gaza Strip — really represents the culmination of the historical process that you chart in your book. You’ve basically gone into the archives, the Israeli State archives and exposed how the occupation was constructed from using arcane Ottoman law, British colonial law. So, what was most remarkable about your archival research? What did you find that you didn’t already know?
Ilan Pappé – First of all, two things. One is I didn’t realize how systematic in a way was the thinking about the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip before ’67. I mean, I read Tom Segev’s book 1967: Israel, the War and the Year that Transformed the Middle East, and other books, and I knew that…
Blumenthal – Just to interrupt – a lot of people don’t know that from 1948 to 1966 the Palestinian citizens of Israel, before the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Golan began, were under military occupation, and that occupation in 1967 was simply replaced by the police that we see in the Galilee.
Pappé – Exactly. And I lived through that period myself so I remember the Greater Israel lobby before ’67. I knew there was a public atmosphere that really pushed the Israeli government to occupy the West Bank and regarded – especially the West Bank, less the Gaza Strip – and regarded the decision not to occupy in ’48 as a big mistake because the opportunity was there in 1948.
What I didn’t realize was how systematic was the idea of transferring the military rule that was already imposed on the Palestinian minority in Israel, in saying, in ’63 after Ben Gurion, who was the last obstacle for abolishing this [military] rule — he wanted the keep the [military] rule. In ’63 he left the political arena as an important figure.
Before the ’67 War, the Israeli cabinet was already thinking of using military rule in the West Bank
And this is the moment when they are beginning to prepare the personnel, that imposes the military rule on the Palestinians inside Israel, and says to them we have a new mission – there’s another Palestinian group that waits for you. And the apparatus, not only the apparatus itself, the same people that were at the head of the apparatus, became the first governor general’s legal advisers to the occupation in the first and second year – transferred it — they had a ready-made mechanism for control.
Unanimous cabinet thinking was not reflected in the divided public debate
The second thing that I found, especially from the cabinet meetings in June – again, something I suspected but it was nice to see it confirmed in a way — that there was a unanimous Israeli perception of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that was not reflected in the public debate in the Israeli society itself. The Israeli society itself, you could have said there was a debate between what one can call the Redeemers – those who believed that the West Bank was the ancient land of Israel and therefore ’67 [year of the Six Day War] was an historical opportunity to redeem an ancient homeland — and the Custodians – those who said no, we’re keeping it until we have bilateral peace with Jordan, the time when he [Tom Segev?] talks about the Palestinians.
Everyone in government agreed that the West Bank and Gaza Strip would have to become part of Israel
Everyone in the government, whether they were from the socialist left in [unintelligible], the ultra orthodox, labour of course was the dominant power, but also Likud becomes now an important political party. They all agree that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would have to be part of Israel.
From ’67 on, the debate was how to keep the territories, not whether to keep the territories
The question is how you do it. And this is the debate. So, the debate was, from ’67 onwards, was tactical — how to keep the territories, not whether to keep the territories.
A faux peace process was discussed as one of the best means of keeping the territories
And I was surprised how openly they talked in the cabinet about the peace process as one of the best means of keeping the territories. In June ’67, the first few days after the occupation, especially the 18, 19, 20th of June, there were long debates in the cabinet about that. You read – later on, Dennis Ross and other people who sort of explained that what is important about the peace process is the process itself.
There was never any question of returning to the pre-’67 borders
Dennis Ross did not invent it. It was born there. I think not one Israeli government deviated from this idea that you have to be strategically savvy with how you do it. There’s no question of going back to whatever Abba Eban called the Auschwitz border.
Israel’s open prison model for Palestinians
The whole book [Tom Segev’s book?] says — they developed two versions of the prison – that’s why it’s called the biggest prison – There was the kind of open prison model, which the Palestinians accept our [Israel’s] idea that we control the space but we don’t have to control the people. They can live in an open prison, which gives them some sort of privileges – like working outside the prison and running their own life in the prison. But also, even Ramallah, these densely populated Palestinian areas.
The challenge was to convince the word that the open prison model was just part of the peace process until reconciliation could be achieved
And then there is the maximum-security prison, when the Palestinians are being punished for not accepting the open prison. You can see how they try to work out two things. One is how to convince the world that the open prison model is actually a peace process, reconciliation, time will end to the conflict. And how they tried to convince the Palestinians that they have a lot to lose if they [Israelis] will replace the open prison with a maximum-security prison.
Today, Israel is moving to a new model – autonomous mini prisons everywhere
I think what happens today is that they are moving to a different model, which is let’s just make all of it Israel and police the Palestinians wherever they are with mini prisons everywhere. I don’t think there’s going to be — the biggest prison will remain Gaza. I think the rest of the West Bank, the Galilee, if they can do it – hopefully, we [the international community] will be able to challenge it.
To say that Israel’s future plans for Palestinians are not grounded in reality is an understatement
The idea is to have these little autonomous prisons without territorial continuity, without Palestinian nationality, and somehow have a way of relaxing the oppression, if you can, economic prosperity. I mean there are – there’s nothing grounded in reality the way they think about the future. But they have the power to continue the model on the ground.
The options – one state Apartheid or continue with the duplicitous “all process and no peace”
Blumenthal – Let me ask you, in closing, going forward, this sounds to me like the plan that’s being offered by the Jewish Home Party, which is sort of the rightwing party of the settlers – and Naftali Bennett – it’s a rising force in Israeli society. To what extent is Netanyahu and mainstream Likud moving towards this kind of one-state Apartheid reality where they’ll formalize Israel usurping or annexing much of the West Bank? And to what extent do you think Washington will accept it, because we’ve seen mixed signals from Trump on the one hand – we have David Friedman, Ambassador, who is in with the Bechdel [? spelling unconfirmed] settlers obviously on board with this kind of plan. And then you see Jason Greenblatt going over and he’s more on board with the “all process and no peace” kind of tactic that you’ve just described.
Pappé – I think even the Israeli electorate, on a certain level, thinks both options are fine, in a way. That’s why I’ll tell you what is my vision for the future. I don’t think Netanyahu will be there forever, that’s very clear. One of the alternatives is the Jewish Home and Naftali Bennett, and people like him, taking Israel into this path in which you don’t play the charades anymore, you just openly talk about a one-state — that is, one Apartheid state. And you wait to see every moment, every juncture, to see how the world reacts, and you slow down the process according to the international community reaction and according to developments around you.
And then you have Yair Lapid who is now more popular in the polls than Netanyahu, who is kind of an old type of Zionist in a way, who will say “The status quo is fine. Why should we change it? We can maintain the status quo forever. We need to continue to talk about the peace and the process.” He may convince – whether it’s Trump or someone else – that the old American hollow talk about the process that everybody knew had no influence on the reality on the ground is still the best model for everyone concerned.
Maybe there will be a third Palestinian intifada, there will be this Israeli reaction – I’m talking from their perspective, not mine. We [the Israelis] have the military power to quell it. It’s quite good for the army to be involved in such operations against Gaza or against Lebanon or against – after all…
Blumenthal – Seems like they’re moving towards the latter… [the status quo]
Pappé – They do because the military otherwise is idle and there is a sense that the military will not be able. And the DNA of the military has long been to be a big police force. The elite units of Israel have not done any – supposedly – daring operations of the kind that made Hollywood films like [Raid on] Entebbe or raiding on an Egyptian Raider [?], or even killing PLO leaders in Lebanon.
Elite units killing civilians keeps the military active and trained
And they’re killing civilians. Elite units killing civilians as part of the policing of six million Palestinians within the new one state that they have created. So, they have to be trained and kept alive in this kind of active role.
Israeli citizens are too well indoctrinated to be repulsed by killing innocent Palestinians
The big question is not will there be an internal Jewish Israeli repugnance against it? No, there won’t be. I can assure you of that. The side is too indoctrinated to be repulsed like this.
The big question is – Will the international community continue to be blind intentionally?
The big question is really the international community. Will it, with the facts unfolding again and again, and the picture becomes clearer by the day, would they continue to be blind intentionally?
Recently, the international community issued two major reports critical of Israel and both were immediately withdrawn
Blumenthal – And we’ve seen the international community issue two major reports which amounted to kind of saying that water is wet and the sky is blue, which is Zionism is racism and Israel is an Apartheid state. Both were retracted almost immediately.
Pappé – Yeah. The messengers were killed, not the message.
Blumenthal – The messengers were killed but not the message. But when you kill the messenger you can’t embrace the recommendations and formalize them into any kind of legal repercussions or enforcement mechanism.
The good news is the messengers are growing in numbers and coming from different places
Pappé – I agree. But I think that the messengers are growing in numbers. And that it’s far more diversified. The people who are now willing to say these things come from different places where they haven’t come before.
The Israelis are beginning to lose it — temerity, bribery, and intimidation aren’t as effective
I’m not trying to draw a too-optimistic picture but I think the Israelis are beginning to lose it in their ability to use temerity, bribery, and intimidation to kill the messengers.
It also has to do with cyberspace. We are in it now. I’m still alive. And even if I’m not alive there are other people who will do this. We’re not loners. We’re not the only ones – neither you nor I. It is there. It’s already there in the cyber information highway. It is there. And they will not be able to stop it.
The clock is ticking, time is running out, and BDS is sounding the alarm that time is running out
Unfortunately, while we are waiting for this to have a tangible impact on the ground, the clock of destruction is faster and continues. I think that’s why we all support the BDS because we would like to see a more concentrated reaction even if we’re not sure where we are going. We want to voice our objection to the oppression as it happens on the ground.
Will our time come?
Blumenthal – We keep hearing that time is running out. Time is running out and BDS is sounding the alarm that time has run out. As Bobby Sands would have said, “Our time will come.”
END OF PART 2 of 2
Here is a small sample of the comments that were exchanged by MPPs during the “Support for Israel” session.
Mrs. Gila Martow, PC – If you have an issue with any policies of the Israeli government, if you have any concerns with any advocacy work by the Jewish community here or around the world, please discuss it with yourselves, discuss it among your clubs, discuss it with me, discuss it with all the Jewish organizations that are here today. We are so pleased to have discussions. It’s what we do best.
Mrs. Gila Martow, PC – Medical innovations, other apps, software and things like that, that’s why people are investing in Israel, because they put a smile on their face and they get on with the work, and the job of enjoying life—not just surviving but enjoying—and trying to make the world a better place.
Mrs. Julia Munro, PC — The BDS movement isn’t pro-Palestinian, it’s simply anti-Israel. BDS threatens the livelihood of tens of thousands of Palestinians who work side by side with Israelis. Economic co-operation, not boycotts, will help foster peace.
Mrs. Julia Munro, PC — This motion recognizes the shared liberal democratic values between Ontario and Israel. It rejects the concept of different treatment from Israel to other countries, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Today’s motion rejects hate and anti-Semitism and embraces tolerance.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff, PC — The BDS movement is poison: poison to those engaged in it and poison to the well-being of the Palestinian people and our allies, the State of Israel. BDS is vindictive, short-sighted and fails to improve the lives of either Palestinians or Israelis.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod, PC — But it wasn’t until I actually travelled to Israel that I understood what a contrast she actually is. She is a contrast of antiquity and modernity, a state that is galvanized by religion but is secular. And it’s driven by democratic values: the only democracy in the Middle East that allows for a gay pride parade and the only democracy that has a functioning government.
Hon. Glen R. Murray, Lib — It’s also important that we never, ever, ever back away from our commitment to Israel. But we understand, while the member from Nepean is right—she talked about how it’s often said that it is a good home in a bad neighbourhood when you talk about Israel—that the situations in Syria and situations with the Palestinians are also terrible.
Mrs. Gila Martow, PC – A store or a business owner has products there that come from Israel, and people are sneaking in and putting stickers on that say, “Boycott this product because it comes from Israel.” That is not what I call a positive and encouraging way to promote peace or to promote any countries that surround Israel that are hostile to Israel.
Hon. Steven Del Duca, Lib — We all support the values and the principles that are wrapped up around the notion of defending and standing up for free speech, but we need to draw the line. We need to draw the line collectively in this chamber and beyond and send a very clear message that to do that and to confuse the notion of free speech with what the BDS movement propagates is not appropriate.
Mr. Mike Colle, Lib — They had to fight to go back to their land of Abraham, and they’ve been fighting ever since. They only make up 1.5% of all the landmass of the Middle East, yet they are under constant attack from ISIS, from Iran—always under attack.
END OF EXCERPTS
To download the full “Support for Israel” discussion, click on this link: Private Members’ Public Business — Support for Israel — From Ontario Legislature, Hansard Transcript, December 1, 2016.
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