Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Works in Progress

Works in Progress:

- The partition of Palestine (most recently into Gaza Strip; East Jerusalem; West Bank)
- The partition of Iraq

In Iraq, the occupation is attempting "ethnic" partition.

See third item below: A statement issued this week (October 10, 2010) by the BRusselS Tribunal.

In Palestine/Israel, Israel's security forces are now drilling the concentration, in camps, and mass deportation to the Palestinian Authority of Palestinian citizens of Israel: On Sunday, October 10, military affairs reporter, Carmela Menashe, reported (in Hebrew; http://www.iba.org.il/bet/?type=1&entity=680286) that a large scale drill simulated "extreme scenarios of violent protests in the Arab sector following accords with the Palestinian Authority on population exchange. A detention camp for Israeli Arabs will be set up at Golani junction to receive detainees. The large-scale drill was administered and led by the Prison Services and included the military Home Command, the Israel Police Force, the Military Police, fire fighting forces and others." [Translation mine]

See first and second items below: 1) A statement issued October 10 by Gush Shalom; 2) Analysis and discussion by journalist and blogger Dimi Reider.

Rela Mazali

Ofer Neiman commented:

"It could be added that the report serves to justify the wider scope of the BDS campaign. After all, an official Israeli scenario indicates that the oppression of Israel's Palestinian citizens may even worsen as a result of political developments involving the dismantling of settlements."


Israeli security forces practice suppression and mass detention of Israel's Arab citizens, in implementation of Lieberman's "population exchange" program.

Gush Shalom: It seems Lieberman is Israel's true Prime Minister

This week Israel's security forces practiced the putting down of mass demonstrations and protests among Israel's Arab citizens and their imprisonment in a large detention camp to be established at Golani Junction in Galilee. The exercise was based on a scenario of the riots being provoked by implementation of Avigdor Lieberman's plan for "an exchange of populations", i.e. massively depriving Arabs of their Israeli citizenship. A week ago Lieberman voiced this heinous idea on the podium of the UN Assembly General and Prime Minister Netanyahu murmured some weak reservations. Now it turns out that the security forces are already preparing to implement it in practice, under the responsibility of none other than Labor Party leader Ehud Barak - the Minister of Defence.

It goes without saying that in a country having any pretence to be a democracy it would be unacceptable and unthinkable for the security forces to practice waging war against the country's own citizens. Together with the racist "Loyalty Oath Bill"
which gained the support of the government, and with the demonstrative resumption of settlement construction in the Occupied Territories, it increasingly seems that Lieberman is the true Prime Minister, and that the government follows on his path, leading the State of Israel in big and rapid strides into the abyss.

Contact: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson 03-5565804 or 054-2340749



October 9, 2010...11:30 pm
Introducing Ethnic Cleansing
Noam Sheizaf reports on his blog the police and army recently concluded an extensive drill, practicing response to riots that would follow the signing of a peace agreement covering "population exchange". Here is a verbatim translation of the very careful phrasing used by Carmela Menashe, the IBA's veteran military correspondent, from whose report Noam fished the info:

"The security forces completed yesterday (Thursday) a large-scale military drill simulating coping with Hamas attacks and riots by the Arabs of Israel following the signing of a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

"Our correspondent reports that among other [eventualities], the forces practiced radical scenarios of violent demonstrations in the Arab sector following an agreement on population swap with the Authority. A detention camp for the Arabs of Israel [sic] will be set up at the Golani Junction to absorb the detainees. The large scale drill managed and led by the Prison Service was attended by the Home Front Command, the Israel Police, the Military Police, firefighting forces and others."

Menashe's report also notes the Prison Service is prepared [sic] to release 1,500 illegal aliens from Israeli prisons to absorb new Palestinian detainees within 24 hours, although it's unclear whether this refers to "the population swap" scenarion or the one described further on, that of a Hamas Gaza-style takeover attempt of the West Bank. If it's the former, it's enough to make one wonder just how many people the authorities are planning to detain, if they'll need all normally available space in our detention system, 1,500 places more, and an entire new detention camp.

Noam writes:

I think we should not turn this into a conspiracy item. The fact that the security forces are training doesn't mean that Israeli leaders have such a plan…

I beg to differ. First, a drill involving so many forces is by definition following a plan hatched Israeli public servants and/or leaders. Second, bringing all those crowds costs enormous amounts of money in equipment, fuel, ammunition, and most importantly, important peoples' time. Third, it's worth noting that the other scenario practiced in the drill is that of a Hamas takeover of the West Bank – Israel's number one conflict scenario in that region, one which the army and the politicians have been speaking about and preparing for to no end, ever since Hamas pulled off the Gaza coup.

Much of our policy in grooming the Bonsai kitten President, Mahmoud Abbas, and much of our ever-tighter cooperation with the PA's security forces, are all centered precisely around preventing this threat from materializing. It would be good to have a full list of the scenarios in the drill, to see if only highly probable or also implausible but highly dangerous scenarios are practiced. But if the top brass are taking the possibility of preparing for transfer as seriously as they take the risk of a Hamas takeover in the West Bank, it means that what Israelis call רוח המפקד must be blowing in that direction very hard indeed; hard enough, as we see, to materialize into fairly detailed plans about who does what when they get the go-ahead.

The drill is also disconcerting for other reasons. As described by Menashe, it seems to assume that there will be a strong violent response from the Arab population, which means the expulsion-and-denial of citizenship "population exchange" will be forced, rather than agreed on (through, say, referendum.) The plan's apparent concentration on population, rather than territory swaps, evokes the possibility of not only fencing out entire Israeli communities in a "redrawing of borders", but of actual physical expulsion and removal.

The report on the drill comes hot on the heels of other disconcerting developments. The ludicrous "loyalty statement" resolution due to be passed by cabinet on Sunday is one; another is the prime minister's feeble response to Lieberman's calls for population swap. More ominous still were commentaries by the omnipresent "sources in the Prime Minister's circle", who told Haaretz the day after the speech that "Liberman's position has come up in internal discussions of the diplomatic process, but there is no official decision by the government of Israel on this position." Read that again: No decision on ethnic cleansing also means not rejecting ethnic cleansing out of hand.

A natural outcome

But rather than seeing this drill as a conspiracy or a monstrous aberration, I propose seeing it as a natural outcome. When the Israeli Right took up the two-state solution it did so with every intention of living up to what this solution promises to the Israeli Jews: A secure and exclusive, ethnocratic nation-state for at least a few more generations. The presence of a large, rapidly politicizing Palestinian minority is a much bigger threat to this vision than either the West Bank or Gaza. The current developments are perfectly reasonable outcomes of a marriage between ultra-nationalist values and the two-state idea: The important thing about the two-state, the symbiosis goes, is to secure Israel's Jewishness; how sovereign the Palestinian state is open to creative interpretation, but the important thing is that as many Palestinians are excluded from any influence and contact with Israel as possible.

Hence the frenetic anti-Arab legislation, aiming to limit the role Arabs play in Israeli politics and culture. Hence Netanyahu's insistence on Abu Mazen, a foreign diplomat, recognizing Israel's Jewish character; and hence the determination to resolve Israel's relations with its Palestinian minority through the most exclusivist and segregationist interpretation of the two state solution; most importantly, hence the exceptionally broad acceptance of this interpretation from right to "center Left," from Lieberman to Tzipi Livni. The beast of ethnic cleansing is well on its way to Bethlehem, and it's rapidly becoming normalized and legitimized – by prettier names – to the general Israeli public. We'll be seeing more and more of this careful, calculated slouch as the year goes on.

Update: So far, the only public official to take notice of the drill is MK Dov Khenin. Khenin, a member for Jewish-Arab party Hadash, has established himself the reputation of a diligent MK keen to work across our parliaments' multilple aisles to forward green, social and human rights agendas. He also ran two years ago for mayor of Tel Aviv, spearheading a coalition of Hadash, Likud and student and community activists, coming in second with third of the vote. The esteemed Yossi Gurvitz writes on his Friends of George blog that Khenin takes an urgent view of the matter:

MK Dov Khenin has requested an urgent discussion in the Knesset. Speaking to this blog, he said it would be a mistake to focus on the fact that Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch [in charge of the police, DR], is a Lieberman man; it seems, he said, much bigger than Lieberman and may involve Defence Minister Ehud Barak himself. Considering the fact the Home Front Command took part in the drill, this is a more than likely supposition. Khenin said he intends to demand explanations of Barak, but admitted that considering the latter's consistent avoidance of accountability to parliament (he strives for perpetual reticence, said Khenin), this will not be easy.

Gurvitz also notes that such drills were carried out ahead of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, with the target of the forces being, obviously, settlers. If I recall, these drills were widely publicised and used in psychological war against the settler community, hoping to persuade them not to resist. Here it seems the state is keen to keep whatever it's preparing under wraps.


From: The BRussells Tribunal [mailto:news@brussellstribunal.org]
Sent: Sunday, October 10, 2010 9:17 PM
Subject: Statement: Partition by Census


We, the undersigned, defending the right of Iraq to independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, rejecting the attempts of Iraqi puppets promoted by the US occupation to trade the national rights of Iraqis and to institutionalise via census the criminal demographic engineering they have pursued by force, declare that:

From the first day of the US-UK occupation of Iraq, the occupation began to undertake a series of measures, directly or through its local allies, to destroy Iraq as a state and a nation and to partition it along ethnic and sectarian lines.

Today, the puppet government of the occupation and its Kurdish partners are trying to hold a population census in Kirkuk province whose aim is to give a permanent legal character to the criminal social engineering, ethnic cleansing and demographic changes that have been implemented under occupation.[1] This could unleash a full blown civil war across Iraq, and potentially lead to its partition and a consequent regional war.

In addition to the death of more than one million Iraqis, the ethnic cleansing and other means pursued by the United States, United Kingdom and their allies in order to implement the process of partitioning Iraq, in its cities and regions, have caused the forced migration of 2.5 million Iraqis out of Iraq and the forced displacement of 2.5 million others from their homes inside Iraq.

The ethnic cleansing suffered by the population in the provinces of Mosul, Diyala, Salahuddin and the Baghdad area, and most notably in Kirkuk and the so-called "disputed areas" — where the population is forced by various means, including systematic assassinations, bombing civilians, collective punishment, transfer, displacement, deportation and other crimes against humanity, to migrate only to be replaced by people from other provinces or even from outside Iraq — is a clear crime of destruction and part of the intended partition of Iraq.

The United States, the United Kingdom and their allies waged an illegal war of aggression against Iraq and occupied its territory. This war in itself is a crime punishable under international law. International law, in particular The Hague Regulations of 1907, the Geneva Conventions and additional protocols, and the Genocide Convention, explicitly prohibits occupying powers from instituting changes aimed at permanently altering the foundational structures of occupied territories, including the judiciary, economy, political institutions and social fabric.[2]

International law considers the systematic transfer, deportation or displacement of population a crime against humanity.[3] Residents of affected areas, the Iraqi national forces, the displaced, and the majority of the people of Iraq declare this census null and void. It has no binding legal consequences and cannot and should not be used to support or justify the intended partition of Iraq.

We demand that no census be conducted before the free return of all Iraqi refugees. We demand that the question of ethnicity not be used to instigate the partition of Iraq and that it be removed from any census, now and in the future. We declare as fraudulent the justification under occupation of a census on the basis of long term planning in the context of a temporary and unstable demographic situation.

We demand that the United Nations and the Arab League and all governments, personalities, organisations and institutions support the demands of the people of Iraq by not recognising the results of this census, and by not assisting in conducting it. This census is designed to reward criminals for their crimes at the expense of their victims.

Dr Ian Douglas, coordinator of the International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq and member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal

Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Iraqi political analyst and member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal

Hana Al Bayaty, member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal and the International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq

Dirk Adriaensens, member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal

Prof. Em. François Houtart, Participant in the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal on US Crimes in Vietnam in 1967, Director of the Tricontinental Center (Cetri), spiritual father and member of the International Committee of the World Social Forum of Porto Alegre, Executive Secretary of the Alternative World Forum, President of the International League for Rights and Liberation of People, Honorary President of the BRussells Tribunal and senior advisor to the President of the United Nations General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, recipient of the 2009 UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence

Prof. Dr. Lieven De Cauter, philosopher, K.U. Leuven / Rits, initiator of the BRussells Tribunal

Prof. Patrick Deboosere , Demographer, VUB - member of the BRussells Tribunal executive committee

Ward Treunen, former TV producer - member of the BRussells Tribunal executive committee

Hugo Wanner, VZW Netwerk Vlaanderen - member of the BRussells Tribunal executive committee


[1] Forced displacement and the construction of walled-in districts and their associated regimes, by contributing to demographic changes in Iraq, contravene international humanitarian law, including Article 49, paragraphs 1 and 5, of The Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of War, 1949, and as such constitute war crimes.

[2] Articles 43 and 55 of The Hague IV Regulations on Laws and Customs of War on Land, 1907 (HR); Articles 54 and 64 of The Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of War, 1949. Occupying powers are obliged to manage the resources of the occupied territory under the law of usufruct only. This means that while they may use national resources as necessary to the upkeep of the wellbeing of the population in the occupied territory (Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 64) they cannot profit from the use of such resources or award themselves partial or whole ownership of such resources. The US remains a belligerent occupier of Iraq.

[3] Article 7 (1) (d) of the Elements of Crimes of the International Criminal Court.

To endorse this statement, please send an email to PARTITION BY CENSUS


Denis Halliday
Former UN Assistant Secretary General & United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq 1997-98, recipient of the 2003 Gandhi International Peace Award

Niloufer hagwatB
Vice President of Indian Lawyers Association

Matthias Chang
Trustee of The Kuala Lumpur Foundation To Criminalise War

Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler
International Human Rights Lawyer

Karen Parker
Attorney , Association of Humanitarian Lawyers, partners of the BRussells Tribunal

Salah Omar Al Ali
ex iraqi minister/ex Iraq's ambassador to UN

Abdulkarim Hani
Former Health minister

Ahmed Manai
Former expert with the UN, President of the Tunisian Institute of International Relations - Tunesia

Naji Haraj
Former diplomat, human rights advocate

Sabah Al Mukhtar
President of the Arab Lawyers Association

Eduardo Galeano
Essayist, journalist, historian, and activist

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

Dr Zulaiha Ismail
Perdana Global Peace Organisation

Dr Souad Al Azzawi
Researcher on the use of DU in Iraq, Asst. Prof. Env. Eng - University of Baghdad

Gideon Polya
retired senior biochemist, author: biochemical scientific publications and global avoidable mortality

Paola Manduca
Scientist, New Weapons Committee

Stephen Lendman
Writer, analyst, co-host of The Global Research News Hour

Felicity Arbuthnot

Dahr Jamail

Nicolas Davies
Author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.

Max Fuller
Author of For Iraq, the Salvador Option Becomes Reality and Crying Wolf, deaths squads in Iraq

Merry Fitzgerald
Europe-Turkmens of Iraq Friendships Association

Sigyn Meder
Member of the Iraq Solidarity Association in Stockholm

Joachim Guilliard
Journalist, Anti-war movement

Inge Van De Merlen
Member of the BRussells Tribunal

Jewish Peace News editors:
Joel Beinin
Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Judith Norman
Lincoln Z. Shlensky
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Alistair Welchman
Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com
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