Virginia apologizes for role in slavery February 25, 2007Posted by C.A.R.D in A. Donald McEachin, African, African Americans, African-American, Americans Indians, Black, Blacks, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, Frank D. Hargrove, Human Rights, L. Douglas Wilder, profound regret, Racism, Racist, Slave, slave-trade, slavery, Slaves, Timothy M. Kaine, Virginia slavery, White, Whites.
Meeting on the grounds of the former Confederate Capitol, the Virginia General Assembly voted unanimously Saturday to express “profound regret” for the state’s role in slavery.
Sponsors of the resolution say they know of no other state that has apologized for slavery, although Missouri lawmakers are considering such a measure. The resolution does not carry the weight of law but sends an important symbolic message, supporters said.
“This session will be remembered for a lot of things, but 20 years hence I suspect one of those things will be the fact that we came together and passed this resolution,” said Delegate A. Donald McEachin, a Democrat who sponsored it in the House of Delegates.
The resolution passed the House 96-0 and cleared the 40-member Senate on a unanimous voice vote. It does not require Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s approval.
The measure also expressed regret for “the exploitation of Native Americans.”
UN envoy hits Israel ‘apartheid’ February 25, 2007Posted by C.A.R.D in Arab, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Di, family re-unification, Gaza, Human Rights, Israel, Israel apartheid, John Dugard, Muslim, Palestinians, UN, UN envoy, West Bank.
A UN human rights envoy has compared Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories to elements of apartheid. The UN’s Special Rapporteur, John Dugard, describes the regime as being designed to dominate and systematically oppress the occupied population.
Mr Dugard is a South African professor of international law assigned to monitor Israeli human rights abuses.
He has extensively studied apartheid in South Africa and has compared it to what he saw under Israeli rule.
Special rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the UN secretary general to present reports on human rights to the organisation.
Their findings do not represent UN policy.
In a new report, Mr Dugard says: “Israel’s laws and practices certainly resemble aspects of apartheid”.
He points to what he describes as “unashamed discrimination” against Palestinians in favour of Israeli settlers.
“It is difficult to resist the conclusion that many of Israel’s laws and practices violate the 1966 Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination,” says the report.
“House demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are carried out in a manner that discriminates against Palestinians.
“Throughout the West Bank, and particularly in Hebron, settlers are given preferential treatment over Palestinians in terms of movement (major roads are reserved exclusively for settlers), building rights and army protection and laws governing family re-unification”.
UN Special Envoy to visit war-ravaged Darfur February 7, 2007Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, Genocide, Human Rights, Omar al-Bashir, Racism, Racist, South Darfur, Special Envoy, UN, United Nations.
UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur and his African Union (AU) counterpart will conduct a joint mission to Sudan next week as part of their efforts to revive the stalled peace process in the war-torn region.
Mr Jan Eliasson and the AU’s Mr Salim Ahmed Salim will travel on Monday to the capital, Khartoum, and to Darfur itself for talks with the Government and leaders of the rebel groups.
The rebel groups did not sign the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in May last year.
The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) announced the six-day mission on Tuesday as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council that obtaining a cessation of hostilities is urgent because unacceptable delays are preventing humanitarian help from reaching millions of victims.
Following his recent trip to Africa, where he discussed Darfur with AU leaders at their summit in Addis Ababa, Mr Ban warned Council members that slow progress on this issue cannot be tolerated.
“No more time can be lost. The people of Darfur have waited for far too long,” said UN spokesperson Michele Montas, quoting from Mr. Ban’s remarks.
Mr Ban said he had discussed with the Council his “very useful and constructive” recent meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, when they talked about plans for a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force in Darfur.
He said he expects a “positive and clear” response soon from Mr Bashir to a letter he sent last month outlining the details of the hybrid force, its command structure and funding.
East Meadow School District Discriminates Against Deaf Student Because of Service Dog January 10, 2007Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Discriminate, Discrimination, Human Rights, illegal.
The standoff between a Nassau County school district and a family whose deaf son wants to take a service dog to school continued yesterday, despite a budding state human rights investigation into the controversy.
East Meadow School District officials appeared to dig in their heels after the state Division of Human Rights began an investigation into the district’s refusal to allow John Cave, 14, to bring the dog, Simba, to W. Tresper Clarke High School. John, who has limited hearing with the aid of cochlear implants, was rebuffed yesterday for the fourth consecutive school day.
The state investigation was ordered last week after news reports about the dispute between the boy’s parents, John and Nancy Cave, and district officials. Kumiki Gibson, commissioner-designate of the human rights division, said she hoped the investigation can be completed quickly, though she conceded it could take several months.
Gibson, who took office last week, said the investigation is the first initiated by the agency in more than a decade. Normally, the division acts on complaints filed by the public.
“It seemed like there was a violation,” Gibson said. “As soon as we found out about it, we started an investigation. … It just jumped out at me as the kind of thing that our long list of laws calls on us to investigate.”
Activists march against discrimination in Romania November 10, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in activist, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, gender, Holocaust, Human Rights, Jews, Race, Romania, Romanian, sexual orientation.
BUCHAREST, Romania: About 200 activists marched Friday through the downtown of the Romanian capital to protest discrimination based on race, disabilities, gender or sexual orientation.
Participants — including human rights supporters, media freedom activists and anarchists — carried banners reading “All different, all equal.”
They also commemorated victims of Nazi persecution, with marchers stopping at a the site of a monument for Holocaust victims.
“Romania needs to take responsibility for the crimes committed 60 years ago … We don’t see this in history books,” said Razvan Martin, one of the organizers.
Belfast landlords win human rights case November 4, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Belfast, Card, Case, Children, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discrimination, Human Rights, Human Rights Commission, Landlord, Win.
AUGUSTA — Two Belfast landlords won dismissal Monday of a complaint that accused them of discrimination against a tenant family with a mentally handicapped daughter.
The state Human Rights Commission adopted the recommendation of the commission investigator in the case of Misty Steenwyk against Nelson and Ola Hill Wight.
“The commission felt there were no reasonable grounds to believe unlawful discrimination occurred,” said Patricia Ryan, executive director.
Trudie and Douglas Steenwyk had alleged that the Wights evicted them from their apartment last winter after Trudie’s adult daughter Misty moved in with the Steenwyk’s and their two younger children. The lease didn’t limit the number of occupants.
The Steenwyks said the eviction amounted to discrimination on the basis of mental disability and familial status.
The family moved into another apartment and returned later to clean the old one and found the heat had been turned down to 45 degrees. The Steenwyks accused the Wights of harassment.
The Wights denied it was discrimination or harassment. They said they evicted the family because the addition of a fifth person to the apartment would overload the septic system, according to the report from investigator Barbara Lelli. They also said the Steenwyks violated the rental agreement by taking Misty in without their permission.
Caste-Based Discrimination in Nepal October 23, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, Human Rights, UN.
Nepal has survived a decade of internal, armed conflict, which has thrown human rights violations into relief. The root cause of the conflict is social in origin, and centuries of being suppressed and excluded have only fanned the insurgency of the so-called “untouchables” (dalits). OhmyNews citizen reporter Rupesh Silwal interviewed Ian Martin about discrimination based on caste, which is so prevalent in Nepal. Ian Martin is a personal representative of the U.N. secretary-general in Nepal in support of the peace process.
The interview was recorded earlier this year when he headed the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) in Nepal, to which he was appointed in May 2005. The OHCHR’s mandate is to monitor and help establish accountability for human rights abuses and to prevent further violations.
With 30 years of experience in the field of human rights, he served as the secretary-general of Amnesty International from 1986 to 1992 and went on to play a central role in several international missions. He was the human rights director of the U.N./OAS (Organization of American States) Mission to Haiti in 1993 and 1995 and served as chief of the U.N. Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda from 1995 to 1996. He was deputy high representative for human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1998 to 1999. Most recently, he served as the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general and as head of the U.N. Mission in East Timor in 1999 and from 2000 to 2001 as the deputy special representative of the secretary-general for the U.N. Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea. He was also special adviser to the high commissioner in Sudan, strengthening the U.N.’s human rights presence in Darfur.
The violence occurred when up to 500 police tried to break up a 3,000-strong protest, a rights group said.
Twenty people were hurt, including four who were seriously injured, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.
A police official confirmed an incident had taken place on Saturday.
He told the French news agency AFP that the church in the suburb of Xiaoshan had had to be destroyed.
7,000 Romanian Children With HIV Face Bias August 7, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in 7000, AIDS, Bias, Card, Child, Children, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, communist, dentist, Discrimination, HIV, HIV-positive, Human Rights, Kid, Kids, medicine, privacy, Romania, Romanian.
Many of the 7,000 Romanian youngsters with the HIV virus do not attend school, do not have access to dentists or the right medicine and their privacy is violated, according to a Human Rights Watch report on discrimination released Wednesday.
“Forty percent of the HIV youngsters are not in school. The discrimination against those whose status is known is so great that many face daily harassment by teachers and fellow students. In some cases they have been expelled from school,” said Clarisa Bemondo, researcher for children’s rights in Europe and Central Asia for the New-York based Human Rights Watch.
By law, children have to attend school until the age of 16 in Romania, but in the case of HIV-positive students the law is not enforced, Bemondo said. “Romania has good laws for child protection but they are not enforced from above.”
Lebanese Red Cross Repeatedly Targeted August 2, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in ambulance, Bomb, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Cross, Human Rights, Israel, Israeli, Lebanese, Qana, Red, Red Cross, Repeatedly, rescue, Targeted, Tyre.
Israeli warplanes are attacking the Lebanese Red Cross repeatedly, members of the medical aid group say.
“The night of July 23 we were called to rescue a family whose home was bombed,” Kassem Shaulan, a 28-year-old medic with the Lebanese Red Cross in Tyre told IPS. “Just as I finished loading the three injured people in my ambulance, it was struck by a rocket and all of us were injured.”
The ambulance, now parked outside of the Red Cross headquarters in this coastal city, had a hole through the centre of the red cross painted on its roof. The inside was heavily damaged and pieces of the metal frame of the van hung limply, riddled with shrapnel holes.
The Qana Massacre July 31, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Arab, Arabs, Arabs & Muslims, dead children, Death, disturbing, ethnic cleansing, Gaza, Hezbollah, hizballah, Hizbullah, Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Israeli, Isreal, Jew, Jewish, Jews, killed, Lebanon, Massacre, Qana, Qana Massacre, The Qana Massacre, video, youtube.
A powerful video has been released about the Qana Massacre.
Please note: the video contains disturbing images of dead children.
China activist ‘beat himself up’ July 27, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in activist, beat, beating, China, China activist beat himself up, Chinese, Fu Bing, Fu Xiancai, himself, HRIC, Human Rights, severe, Three Gorges Dam, Xiancai.
Chinese investigators say activist Fu Xiancai, who was paralysed after a severe beating, inflicted the blows himself, according to a rights body.
Mr Fu, who campaigned for people displaced by the Three Gorges Dam, was beaten up returning home after he was summoned by police in Hubei province.
The June beating was so severe he is not expected to walk again, according to Human Rights in China (HRIC).
Israel’s Ethnic Weapon? July 26, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Arab, Arabs, Arabs & Muslims, bacterium, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Death, Ethnic, Genocide, Human Rights, Iraqi, Islam, Israel, Isreal, Jew, Jewish, Jews, Muslims, Racism, Semitic, Tziyona, virus, Weapon, Zucker.
Israel is reportedly developing a biological weapon that would harm Arabs while leaving Jews unaffected, according to a report in London’s Sunday Times.The report, citing Israeli military and western intelligence sources, says that scientists are trying to identify distinctive genes carried by Arabs to create a genetically modified bacterium or virus.
Israel Attacks U.N. Observer Post in “Deliberate” Strike July 25, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Ambassador, Annan, Ayalon, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Daniel Ayalon, dead, Death, Deliberate, guerilla, Hezbollah, Human Rights, Israel, Israel Defense Force, Isreal, Khiyam, Killing, Kofi Annan, Lebanese, Lebanon, Observer, peacekeepers, Post, Strike, troops, UN, UNIFIL, United Nations.
An Israeli airstrike hit a United Nations post in southern Lebanon late Tuesday, killing at least two of the agency’s observers, according to the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.
The U.N. initially reported that four peacekeepers were dead, but later said there were two dead and two missing.
Lebanese security sources said the two missing observers are feared buried in the rubble of the building.
Lebanon and Israel: Death Toll July 24, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in 34 in Israel, 372 Dead in Lebanon, 408, 8 Canadians, Arab, Arabs, Arabs & Muslims, Card, Casualties, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, civilian, civilians, Death, Death Toll, died, Hezbollah, Hizbollah, Hizbullah, Human Rights, Israel, Isreal, killed, Lebanese, Lebanon, Lebanon and Israel.
At Least 372 Dead in Lebanon, 34 in Israel
More than 408 people have been reported killed in Lebanon and Israel since fighting broke out July 12 between Israel forces and Hezbollah guerrillas.
Shocking images of “Gifts from Israeli Children”: The Indoctrination of Israeli Children July 19, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Arab, Arabs & Muslims, bombs, Card, Children, children sign bombs, children signing, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, explosives, Genocide, Gift, Gifts from Israeli Children, Hezbollah, Hizbollah, Human Rights, Israel, Israeli, Israeli children sign, Israeli children sign bombs, israeli children signing bombs, Isreal, Jewish, Kill, Lebanese, Lebanon, missiles, Muslim, Palestine, Palestinian, Palestinians, Racism, rockets, sign, sign bombs, victims.
Israeli children sign bombs, as ‘gifts’ to the Lebanese children:
Below are disturbing pictures of Israeli children sending gifts of hatred to their Arab counterparts in what is a systematic method of teaching children to kill others. These pictures were taken at a heavy artillery position near Kiryat Shmona close to the Lebanese border.
Deja-Katrina? US rescue bogs down in Lebanon July 18, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in African-American, Americans, Beirut, Black, Bush, Bush administration, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Civil Rights, Cyprus, Discrimination, emergency services, Human Rights, Hurricane Katrina, Israel, Katrina, Lebanon, minorities, New Orleans, Politics, President, Race, Racism, rescue, response, UN.
BEIRUT — Thousands of Americans whose vacations and business trips to Lebanon have degenerated with sickening speed into stints in a battle zone remained stranded here under Israeli bombardment Monday, their frustration and anger mounting because the U.S. government hasn’t gotten them out faster.
Waiting around Beirut with bags packed and fingers crossed, U.S. citizens derided the embassy for busy phone lines, a lack of information and gnawing uncertainty over when and whether they will get out. Hundreds were expected to be shipped to Cyprus today, but how long the full evacuation will take remains uncertain.
“I had heard it might take a week, two weeks. You hear so many things,” said Pamela Pattie, a 65-year-old professor. “Why in the world aren’t we getting it together?”
The frustration has been intensified by news that other countries have already pulled many of their citizens out of Lebanon, efficiently and free of cost. A ferry chartered by the French government carried about 800 of its citizens and several dozen Americans to Cyprus on Monday. The U.S. military evacuated about 60 Americans by helicopter Sunday and Monday.
Other nations have packed people into rented tour buses and driven them over the mountains to Syria. The U.S. State Department has warned Americans against traveling to Syria.
The main U.S. evacuation plan involves a Pentagon-contracted cruise ship, the Orient Queen, due to arrive in Lebanon today to ferry people to Cyprus. The ship can carry about 750 passengers for the five-hour trip. Defense Department officials said other private ships were likely to be hired as well.
Americans have been told to wait for a telephone call that could come in hours — or days. They’ve also been told they can’t board a ship unless they’ve signed a contract agreeing to repay the U.S. government for the price of their evacuation.
The rules have angered Americans who are already fatigued and nervous after days of explosions. “I’m freaked out that our government is treating us this way,” snapped a Rutgers University student who had been studying Arabic at the American University of Beirut. She declined to give her name for fear she would be taken off the passenger list in retribution for criticizing the evacuation effort.
“Are we a Third World country or what?” she said.
Middle East news roundup July 15, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Arabs & Muslims, Beirut, cease-fire, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, civilians, Conflict, Hizbullah, Human Rights, Iran, Israel, killed, Lebanon, Middle East, Palestine, Palestinian, Syria, UN, West Bank.
Here are some of the new stories about the Middle East conflict:
Ahmadinejad compares Israel to Hitler
TEHRAN (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad compared
Israel’s military strikes on Gaza and Lebanon to tactics used by Adolf Hitler against Jews during World War II.
“Their methods resemble Hitler’s. When Hitler wanted to launch an attack, he came up with a pretext,” Ahmadinejad said during a speech in Tehran.
“Zionists say they are Hitler’s victims, but they have the same nature as Hitler,” he said.
The ultraconservative president has already called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and described the Holocaust of six million Jews as “a myth.”
Vatican condemns Israel for attacks on Lebanon
The Vatican on Friday strongly deplored Israel’s strikes on Lebanon, saying they were “an attack” on a sovereign and free nation.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said Pope Benedict and his aides were very worried that the developments in the Middle East risked degenerating into “a conflict with international repercussions.”
“In particular, the Holy See deplores right now the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and assures its closeness to these people who already have suffered so much to defend their independence,” he told Vatican Radio.
Israel gives Syria ultimatum
London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat says Israel gave Syria 72 hours to stop Hizbullah’s activity, bring about release of kidnapped IDF troops. ‘Israel will not end military activity until new situation created that will prevent Syria, Iran from using terror organizations to threaten its security,’ newspaper quotes Pentagon official as saying
Israel killed at least 32 civilians on Saturday, including 15 children, in air strikes
Israel killed at least 32 civilians on Saturday, including 15 children, in air strikes meant to punish Lebanon for letting Hizbollah guerrillas menace the Jewish state’s northern border.
Israel’s bombing of Lebanese roads, bridges, ports and airports, as well as Hizbollah targets, is its most destructive onslaught since its 1982 invasion to expel Palestinian forces.
An Israeli missile incinerated a van in south Lebanon, killing 20 people, among them 15 children, in the deadliest single attack of the four-day-old campaign launched by Israel after Hizbollah captured two of its soldiers and killed eight.
Police said the van was carrying two families fleeing the village of Marwaheen after Israeli loudspeaker warnings to leave their homes.
Lebanon calls for cease-fire under U.N.
Neither side showed signs of backing down from the conflict, which erupted Wednesday when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid. As civilian deaths mounted, diplomatic efforts to end the crisis had yet to get off the ground.
In an emotional televised speech, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora called on the
United Nations to broker an immediate cease-fire to end Israel’s land, sea and air offensive against Lebanon.
The Invasion of Gaza
Roger van Zwanenberg
The Israeli ongoing invasion of Gaza brings to a head many of the issues that have been fermenting for some time. If it was not clear before, it ought to be clear now, that the Israeli domination of the Palestinian people is a domination of a Totalitarian character. The present invasion, by hugely superior military forces of land, sea and air, on a comparatively unarmed people, cannot be justified by any criteria, legally or morally. That our own British government fails to raise an eyebrow, and that the so called International community does nothing, is a slur on us all of a level that shames our so called democracies. Israel is creating the conditions for a massive famine as the rest of the world looks on and does nothing. This is totalitarianism in action.
The problem is this: Israel is supposed to be a country this is for all the Jewish people a land of refuge where Jewish people will never allow themselves to be destroyed again. To achieve these noble aims the people and government of Israel has ethnically cleaned the land twice, in 1948 and 1967. Israel is now attempting to do so again, through the theft of more land and water resources, through the erection of the Wall, and now through the invasion of the people of Gaza.
This is an ongoing tragedy of huge proportions happening right before our eyes. It is an affront to all human dignity and sensibility. The justification produced by the Israeli media is not worth the time of day, it is all so paper thin. Why should a people who have suffered so deeply themselves impose a new level of suffering on a people who had nothing whatsoever to do with the Holocaust. The most awful aspect of the present Totalitarian regime in Israel is the ultimate innocence of the Palestinian people.
I should add here that I’ve been involved in Israel and Palestine for over 40 years. As a very young man, I learnt the art of “radical” political analysis from a 6 month stint in an Israeli Kibbutz. I was born into a Christian family with deep Jewish roots; all my first cousins were and are deeply Jewish. Mine is a family with deep fault lines everywhere, enough to make me a person deeply involved in the tragedy being played out in the Middle East.
Trained psychoanalysts can explain the actions of Israel better than I. The British have a huge responsibility, which is never admitted. Britain gave away a piece of land in 1948 which was not theirs to give. Israel could have behaved very differently after 48 and at any time thereafter. They could have realized the indignity of what they did in 48 and made an attempt to build up the people of Palestine along with themselves. Never an easy job, of course, but through it much of the hatred that has now built up over 60 years would have been dissipated.
As it now stands the goal of a safe home for all Jews is further away than ever. The Greater Middle East policy of the USA is now Israels only hope of achieving this goal. And it is now clear that such a policy can be carried out only by inflicting untold suffering across the Arabic world. The Arab world divided against itself in 1920 and then further divided in 1948. It has never been allowed by the external Imperial powers to unite, as with the European Union, into a single political entity with its own Central Bank and free trade between all its parts. Instead only buffer States like Jordan, weak States like Syria, and old rich States closely allied to Western interests have been allowed to exist. If one or the other of these States seems to become too powerful they are invaded.
The Arab world has, in short, been consistently undermined in its Development while Israel has been encouraged to become the dominant military State in the region. Israel and its people are now behaving with impunity, just like the State of Germany did in prosecuting the final solution. We are schooled in the belief that we must say “never again!” to such barbarity. But Israel knows that all the surrounding states are too weak to intervene. As we watch with horror the invasion of Gaza, we all feel our helplessness. All the fine words, how the horrors of the Holocaust must always be remembered, are quickly forgotten by the world’s governments as the Jewish people of Israel re-enact the horrors of their German oppressors—the horrors that their mothers and fathers underwent 60 or more years ago.
Just as Nazi Germany could not survive for long, so too, a brutal Israel, brutalizing her own and all the surrounding people, cannot survive for long. As things stand, I cannot see how that demise will come about. But the acts of evil we are now witnessing cannot last without having deep and lasting effects on all of us.
A interesting article from 2003 asking if ethnic cleansing/genocide is being carried out in front of our eyes:
One way to cover up a crime is to find a benign term that hides the violence and cruelty of the act. Such is the case with “transfer,” an idea increasingly being put forward in Israel as a solution to conflict with the Palestinians.
Transfer conjures up images of a worker reassigned to a new office, or a slip allowing a rider to change buses for free. But transfer of the Palestinians would be nothing less than ethnic cleansing.
The main public proponents of this have been on the far right of Israeli politics, such as the Moledet Party, which refuses to recognize Palestinian rights. But in a poll earlier this year, 46 percent of Israelis supported transfer of Palestinians out of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, while 31 percent favored transferring Israeli Arabs out of the country.
As Israeli author Tanya Reinhart argues in her new book “Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948,” there has long been planning for “the second half of 1948” by some Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The phrase refers to the 750,000 Palestinians who fled or were driven from their homes during the 1948 war, which ended with Israel controlling 78 percent of Palestine that existed under the British Mandate (compared with 56 percent under the U.N. partition plan in 1947). Now some Israelis ponder whether can they take 100 percent.
A military campaign to achieve that had been unthinkable, but many now believe that under the cover of a U.S. war against Iraq, Israeli soldiers would be free to finish the job.
I say “finish,” because a slow ethnic cleansing is already under way, primarily through the systematic destruction of the Palestinian economy; when people cannot make a living, many will leave. A study for the U.S. Agency for International Development released in August showed that one-fifth of Palestinian children were malnourished, due to dramatically lowered Palestinian incomes and disruptions of food distribution because of the tightened Israeli occupation.
Life for Palestinians means constant harassment at checkpoints. Olive trees, central to agriculture there, are bulldozed by Israeli troops who claim they provide cover for snipers. Palestinian homes are demolished, supposedly because Palestinians built on their land without appropriate permits, which Israel will not give them. This fall the residents of the Palestinian village Yanun chose to leave rather than continue to endure the property destruction and assaults from Israeli settlers from nearby Itamar.
As Effi Eitam of the right-wing National Religious Party has put it, if Palestinians find “the situation so hard and so dangerous that they prefer to move to some other part of the world,” well, he will shed no tears.
The plan appears to be working. According to the Jerusalem Post, by August last year about 80,000 Palestinians had left the West Bank and Gaza, a 50 percent increase over last year.
If this ethnic cleansing–either the slow version or expulsion by Israeli soldiers–is successful, another term may come into play: genocide. The crime of genocide is generally associated with mass killing, but international law defines genocide as acts intended “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.” One of the five types of acts is “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
Creating conditions “so hard and dangerous” that they drive people off their land is a way to eliminate the Palestinian people. Not all the Palestinians need be killed; once completely dispersed in other countries, they will cease to be a recognizable group that could press a claim to that land.
Is the world ready to accept that kind of genocide as a solution to the conflict?
No doubt the world is not; for years there has been a consensus on a diplomatic settlement that calls on Israel to withdraw from illegally occupied territory in return for peace. The key is whether the United States will allow it.
For years the United States–which supplies Israel with diplomatic support, military assistance, and at least $3 billion a year in economic aid–has backed Israeli power and called it a “peace process.” Unless we demand that our government press for peace rooted in justice, this process will be the end of the Palestinian people.
ROBERT JENSEN, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, is the author of “Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream.”