- On March 7, Palestinian Prisoners Society head Qadura
Fares presented a paper to the UN International Meeting on the Question
of Palestine, addressing the plight of political prisoners in Israeli prisons
and detention facilities, saying:
- Palestine "has been under criminal occupation for
44 years. During that time, (Israel) committed the worst crimes against
humanity, violating every international instrument. The occupier has killed
tens of thousands of our struggling people, most of them defenseless civilians.
There have been over 800,000 instances of imprisonment. Tens of thousands
of people have been injured," 30% left with permanent disabilities.
- Moreover, thousands of homes, crops, and other property
have been destroyed. "All this has been done in full view of the world."
Even Israeli rabbis "legitimized the slaughter of Palestinian babies
(claiming they'll) grow up to become enemies."
- Citing many other lawless examples, Fares asked for UN
help to end "the occupation and (let Palestinians) live in freedom
in an independent sovereign State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem) as
- June 6 marks 44 years of occupation, a crime against
humanity by any standard. Yet world leaders ignore it, denying Palestinians
equity, justice, and freedom, putting a lie to those endorsing democracy.
Israel long ago spurned it, especially for anyone not Jewish.
- In 1948, in fact, its war without mercy depopulated villages
and cities, massacred innocent victims, committed rapes and other atrocities,
destroyed Palestinian homes and other property, and prevented them from
returning after seizing 78% of historic Palestine.
- During its Six-Day War, it took the rest, claiming self-defense
against neighbors it attacked preemptively during its long-planned aggression
it knew it could win and did easily.
- The New York Times quoted Prime Minister Menachem Begin's
(1977 - 83) August, 1982 speech saying:
- "In June, 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian Army
concentrations in the Sinai approaches (did) not prove that (President
Gamal Abdel) Nasser (1956 - 70) was really about to attack us. We must
be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."
- In February 1968, two time Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
(1974 - 77 and 1992 - 95) told the French newspaper Le Monde:
- "I do not believe Nasser wanted war. The two divisions
which he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash
an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it."
- General Mordechai Hod, Commander of Israel's Air Force
at the time said in 1978:
- "Sixteen years of planning had gone into those initial
eighty minutes. We lived with the plan. We slept on the plan. We ate the
plan. Constantly we perfected it."
- General Haim Barlev, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief
told Ma'ariv in April, 1972:
- "We were not threatened with genocide on the eve
of the six-day war, and we had never thought of such a possibility."
- Other Israeli leaders and generals voiced the same sentiment,
saying Israel wasn't threatened, yet preemptively waged war, falsely claiming
no other choice. In fact, it had a clear one. It could have chosen peace,
but didn't and never did earlier or since, pursuing its imperial interests
like America, its paymaster/partner from then to now, supporting its worst
- In 1967, it was Israel's third major war, pursuing its
vision for a Greater Jewish State, justified by the myth that Jews got
there first, establishing their ancestral home on "a land without
people for a people without land."
- Israel's 1948 "War of Independence" was its
first preemptive aggression. Palestinians call it al-Nakba. More aggression
followed against Egypt in October 1956, with Britain and France, after
Nasser's Suez Canal nationalization. Eight days later, US and Soviet pressure
ended it, Israel withdrawing its last troops in March 1957 but not further
- A decade later, more war and occupation followed. Ahead
it it, Foreign Minister Abba Eban got Lyndon Johnson's backing to pursue
- Begun on June 5, 1967, it was an impressive display of
power, Israel easily destroying 90% of Egypt's 300 + aircraft on the ground
and two-thirds of Syria's Air Force the first day.
- After 24 hours, Israeli Air Force (IAF) Commander Mordechai
Hod announced the combined Arab air forces were destroyed. The devastating
toll proved it. In contrast, Israel lost only 19 fighter aircraft compared
Egypt's 300, Syria's 60, Jordan's 35, Iraq's 15, and Lebanon's one or two.
- Palestinians, however, lost the remaining 22% of historic
Palestine leaving them stateless. It began on day two when Israel invaded
Gaza and the West Bank.
- On day three, IDF troops entered northern Sinai, devastated
Egyptian brigades, captured Jerusalem, and got Jordan to surrender.
- On day four, they invaded Haram Al-Sharif and central
Sinai, and by day five advanced to the Suez Canal, taking all of Sinai
and the Syria's Golan (including its valuable water resources).
- The war practically ended before it began, but Israel
showed no mercy, using unopposed air power to massacre thousands of defenseless
Egyptian troops on the ground.
- It was a turkey shoot Washington supported, providing
Israel with the latest weapons and munitions, including tarmac-shredding
explosives preventing undamaged planes from taking off, leaving them easy
targets on the ground. Moreover, a US carrier group provided intelligence
and communications help, standing ready to intervene if needed. Washington
effectively partnered in Israel's war, even ignoring the USS Liberty attack.
- Monitoring hostilities in Mediterranean waters about
13 nautical miles off Sinai, Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attacked
it, knowing it was a US vessel as its lead pilot later admitted. Despite
34 on board killed, another 170 wounded, and heavy damage inflicted, Defense
Secretary Robert McNamara called it a case of "mistaken identity,"
knowing full well it was naked aggression.
- Later, retired Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer
called the incident "one of the classic all-American cover-ups,"
one of many times Washington alibied for the worst of Israeli crimes, even
against US forces.
- End the Occupation - Americans and Other Organizations
- Its web site (EndtheOccupation.org) explains its "call
to action," supporting "freedom from occupation, and equal rights
for all....including the right to exist in peace and security."
- Its members from 325 diverse groups include civil and
human rights activists; faith-based organizations including, Muslims, Jews
and Christians; students; and others for peace and justice in Palestine,
united to end US support for occupation.
- Other organizations are also involved, including the
International Solidarity Movement (ISM), calling itself:
- "a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting
the Israeli apartheid in Palestine" through nonviolent, direct activism.
- Other Opposition
- On May 15, the Iranian Fars News Agency headlined, "Israeli
Occupation of Palestine Continues Amid Int'l Inaction," saying:
- Forty-four years of occupation, "bloodshed and devastation....falls
squarely on (Israel's) shoulders (in) direct violation of international
laws and any reasonable moral standard." According to Global Exchange:
- We "oppose the policies of the Israeli government
and the United States support for them, which, in our view, prevent any
peaceful resolution and guarantee that (neither side) can live" safely
- Despite international law and numerous UN resolutions
calling for occupation to end and demanding Israel respect its legal obligations,
Palestinians are still denied.
- On May 16, the General Assembly published identical letters
dated May 13 from the Permanent Observer Mission to Palestine's Charge
d'affairs, addressed to the UN Secretary-General and Security Council President,
- Palestinians are still "uprooted, dispossessed and
displaced" as refugees or under "belligerent military occupation
of Israel....since (June 6,) 1967 in the Palestinian Territory, including
East Jerusalem, forced to endure the systematic violation of their fundamental
rights and war crimes at the hands of the occupying power for nearly 44
- Israel clearly shows "contempt....for the rights
and very existence of the Palestinian people, whom it continues to collectively
punish, colonize, humiliate, intimidate and (subject) to all forms of oppression."
- By not firmly confronting it, occupation, conflict and
suffering continue, affecting the entire region and world peace. Again
this year, Palestinians "call upon the international community to
enforce its own Charter by assuming its (legal) responsibilit(y)"
for Palestinian "self-determination and freedom in their independent
State of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem
as its capital, and ensuring a just and lasting solution to the plight
of the Palestinian refugees."
- "This letter (follows 390 earlier ones) regarding
(resolving) the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including
East Jerusalem....For all of these war crimes, acts of State terrorism
and systematic human rights violations committed against the Palestinian
people, Israel....must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be
brought to justice."
- On June 5, organizers of the Nakba Day rally said Palestinian
refugees will again march to Israel's borders against 44 years of occupation,
despite IDF Nakba Day violence against them, killing over 20 nonviolent
demonstrators, injuring dozens more.
- Organizers again said this is "just the beginning
(until) Palestinian refugees return to Haifa, Haffa, Al-Majdal, Bi'r As-Sab
and all occupied Palestinian towns. The Nakba Day procession was not a
one-time event, but rather a new phase in the Palestinians' historic struggle."
- On June 1, International Middle East Media Center writer
Kevin Murphy headlined, "Protests Announced for Naksa Day ("the
setback" on June 5)," saying:
- Other marches are planned, including to the Israeli -
Lebanese border. Eil Hilweeh refugee camp official Muneer Maqda "said
that 50,000 refugees will march on Israel's borders from two separate locations,
Maron Ar-Ras and Naqoura...." They'll erect tents until their right
of return is granted.
- Other demonstrations will support them, including ones
in Gaza, the West Bank, a march to Jerusalem, another opposite Israel's
London embassy, and others worldwide in support of Palestinian liberation.
- A Final Comment
- On June 1, ahead of Naksa Day, Israelis commemorated
Jerusalem Day provocatively, marching on the forty-fourth anniversary of
its reunification. On June 2, Haaretz writers Yair Ettinger, Jonathan Lis
and Nir Hasson headlined, "24 held during Jerusalem Day violence,"
- Twenty-four Palestinians and Jews "were arrested
yesterday during the traditional....flag procession which saw isolated
instances of racist epithets, fist fights and stone-throwing. Tens of thousands"
of mostly ultra-Orthodox zealots and right-wing settlers marched through
Sheikh Jarrah, a predominantly East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood, home to
about 2,800 Palestinians, as well as diplomatic missions and well-known
- Settlers, however, want it back and have encroached for
years, displacing dozens of Palestinian families, putting hundreds more
- On the same day, Netanyahu addressed a special Knesset
session, affirming continued illegal East Jerusalem settlement construction,
pledging also that the city never again will be divided at a Jerusalem
Day Ammunition Hill ceremony, site of a key 1967 battle.
- Kadima leader Tzipi Livni expressed the same sentiment,
saying: "There is no 'their' Jerusalem and 'our' Jerusalem,"
showing contempt for Palestinian rights and rule of law justice.
- Throughout the day, tensions remained high, exacerbated
by Netanyahu and extremist supporters defying Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
- Nonetheless, Naksa Day rallies will affirm their determination
to accept nothing less than liberation on their own land in their own country,
no matter the obstacles confronting them ahead. Their courage deserves
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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