Wednesday, July 01, 2020

I Intend to Decolonize

Decolonization is the process of deconstructing colonial ideologies of the superiority and privilege of Western thought and approaches....decolonization involves dismantling structures that perpetuate the status quo and addressing unbalanced power dynamics...decolonization involves valuing and revitalizing Indigenous knowledge and approaches and weeding out settler biases or assumptions that have impacted Indigenous ways of being.

Decolonization is defined as restoring the Indigenous world view; the culture and  traditional ways; and replaces Western interpretations of history with Indigenous perspectives of history.

In practice, that could take this form:

Campaigners have asked Uganda’s parliament to order the removal of monuments to British colonialists and to rename streets commemorating imperial military forces.

Or this one:

in the United States, the Museum of Man, in San Diego, recently hired a Navajo educator as its “director of decolonization” and announced that it would no longer display human remains without tribal consent. 

At the  American Museum of Natural History, demonstrators have trooped through the museum on an Anti–Columbus Day Tour. They chant, drum, dance, and unfurl banners: rename the day. respect the ancestors. decolonize! reclaim! imagine!.

Of course there is a connection to the issue of "Palestine":

Whether seeking a two-state solution, a confederation, or a single “Jewish” state over the entire Land of Israel, a “conflict resolution” approach does not address the wider need for decolonization. A settler colonial perspective restores the original and underlying problem of settlement that began in the late 19th century — one which asserts its claim to the entire country of Palestine. This is not to say that the occupied Palestinian territories are not occupied under international law, but that occupation is a sub-issue that must be addressed in the context of a wider process of decolonization, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return.

The authors take their analysis one step further, writing there:

Settlers come with the intent of not just living in another territory but taking it over — to thoroughly replace the existing society and to supersede it in a normalized settler state. Through myths of entitlement invented to legitimize their seizure of the land, the settlers strive to become the natives — that is, they assert their indigeneity — while rendering the real indigenous people invisible. 

But hold out hope for the eventual:

integration of the settler population into a society of equals.

Even though he is knwlingly devious, admitting to his real goals:

the majority of Israeli Jews will never be active partners in a struggle for the decolonization of Palestine. As settler colonials they have no motivation to decolonize, which they view as a form of national suicide. The best we can aim for strategically is to “soften” them through an inclusive plan of decolonization

Jeff Halper expands here (pardon the pun). 

Now, here is Israel's Permanent Representative of Israel to the United NationsYeuda Blum at the United Nations December 21, 1978:

(a) In 1917 there was no such thing as a separate "Palestinian people". The Arab nationalist movement had barely begun, and particularist national movements in the Arab provinces of the former Ottoman Empire were virtually unknown. The dominant view among local Arabs at the end of the First World War was that the Arabs living in Palestine were part of the Syrian people and the greater Arab nation. Indeed, in 1919 and 1920, Arabs in Palestine objected to the Palestine Mandate, inter alia, on the grounds that they should not be separated from their brethren outside the area of the Mandate.

On 2 July 1919, the General Syrian Congress adopted 10 resolutions, of which the eighth stated:

"We ask that there should be no separation of the Southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, nor of the littoral western zone which includes Lebanon, from the Syrian cr ltry. We desire that the unity of the country should be guaranteed against partition under whatever circumstances." (King Crane Commission Report in Foreign Relations of the United States: Paris Peace Conferenc 1919, vol. 12, p. 781)On 31 May 1956, Ahmed Shukairy, then a Saudi Arabia delegate to the United Nations and later head of the so-called PLO, told the Security Council:"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria." (S/PV.724, para. 44)In March of 1974, President Assad of Syria stated:"Palestine is a basic part of Southern Syria." (The New York Times, 9 March 1974)Last year, Zuhair Muhsin, head of the PLO's so-called Military Operations Department, told the Dutch daily newspaper Trouw:"There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese ... We are one people. Only for political reasons do we carefully underline our Palestinian identity. For it is of national interest for the Arabs to encourage the existence of the Palestinians against Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity is there only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a new expedient to continue the fight against Zionism and for Arab unity." (James Dorsey, quoting Zuhair Muhsin in Trouw, 31 March 1977)Likewise, as recently as 17 November 1978, Yassir Arafat said at a rally held at Beirut by the Lebanese Ba'ath Party that "al-Assad said that Palestine is the southern part of Syria. I told him that Palestine is southern Syria and Syria is northern Palestine". (Voice of Palestine, 18 November 1978)(b) The reason why the Arabs in Palestine thought in these terms is that a political entity called Palestine had never existed. The term "Palestine" (Falastin in Arabic) was used throughout the centuries for a geographical area of uncertain limits, and not for a "defined territory". Under the Ottomans the area went through a bewildering series of administrative redivisions, and for the most part was governed from Damascus.

(c) It is also false to claim that Arabs in Palestine in 1917 were "a people rooted for centuries" in that country. A good part of the Arab population was made up of recently settled Bebouin from east of the River Jordan. Egyptians who came to Palestine in the nineteenth century in the wake of Ibrahim Pasha were also a significant element. Others could trace their not very distant roots to Morocco, and still others were recent arrivals from the Balkans, the Hauran and even Czarist Russia (Circassians) who came in the latter half of the nineteenth century. It is interesting to note in this connexion that Circassian is still spoken in some "Arab'' villages in the north of Israel.

Moreover, far from being "deeply rooted", sizable numbers of Arabs were leaving Palestine by the end of the nineteenth century, in common with others from the region, and the problem of emigration was discussed by the "First Arab Congress", held in Paris in 1913.

If anything, it is the Arabs who have colonized "Palestine". It is they you should be the objects of a decolonization process.


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Other Minor Details

Minor Detail is Adania Shibli's new novel.  It anchors itself in a 1949 rape and murder of a young Bedouin in 1949.

The book, as reviewed, is

a highly sophisticated narrative that pitilessly explores the limits of empathy and the desire to right (or write) historical wrongs by giving voice to the voiceless.

It is based on an actual case as reported in Haaretz in 2003. The soldiers involved were tried and punished, inadequately I add. The main culprit received 15 years. 

There was no excuse for what happened.

I would, however, hope that other rape incidents would be served by a literary treatment as there were in the past. That is, of Jewish women raped by Arabs. Other minor details.

Like Salia Zohar. Like Jewish women in Jerusalem 1920 (p. 277). Like women in Hebron in 1929 although Hillel Cohen attempted to deny that. Like Ori Ansbacher.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Semantic Subversion

Just one paragraph from this book by Shira Robinson, Citizen Strangers:

Shira Robinson

is Associate Professor of History and International Affairs at The George Washington University. And she is well-connected to anti-Zionist groups. She was born in Israel, or "Palestine" as she prefers, and is the granddaughter of Batsheva Naimer, wife of Gus Naimer of Newark. More relevant, she was an associate at Human Rights Watch/Middle East during the 1990s. At about the same time, she was employed at Yedioth Ahronot.

To return to the extract above.

The new post-modern, post-fact narrative approach simply redefines any term so as to fit it to the predisposed political/ideological outlook.

Race, apartheid, whatever. Takes its original exact meaning and stretch it a bit so that your enemy is incuded, no matter how much you need fabricate.

By the way, conversion of Moslem Arabs to Judaism is not at all impossible. It happens. This female singing star. This Kuwaiti. This man.  Her "blood-based" charge is nonsensical. And a malignment.

Oh, and Israel is not a settler-colonial project.


Friday, June 26, 2020

When are Territories "Disputed"?

When are territories "disputed"?

When they are not administered by Israel.


French President Emmanuel Macron says France will cooperate with Madagascar to find a solution for the Glorioso Islands, a tiny, uninhabited archipelago in the Indian Ocean which is disputed by the two countries....A joint commission on the issue will hold its first meeting next month.
Macron visited the Glorioso Islands Wednesday — a first for a French president. Located between the French overseas island of Mayotte and Madagascar, the islands used to be part of the French colonies.

Mayotte, moreover, is an overseas department and region of France, an integral part of France.

The five overseas departments and regions of France are:

French Guiana in South America;
Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean;

Mayotte and RĂ©union in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa.

All those are a very, very long way from France.


Mr Shukla said India faced a greater threat of a “two-front war” on its border than at any time in the recent past thanks to deepening economic and diplomatic ties between China and Pakistan, both of which accused India of changing the status of disputed Kashmir by bringing Ladakh under central government control last year. Islamabad and Beijing could use the two-front strategy “as a retaliatory measure to up the cost of any escalation by India, or if India activates Tibet”, for instance by declaring it a disputed territory, he said.


At least five dead in separate gun battles as number of rebels killed in disputed territory this year surpasses 100.
At least five people, including a six-year-old boy caught in the crossfire, have been killed in Indian-administered Kashmir.


Japan changes administrative status of disputed islandsJapan recently approved a bill to change the administrative status of a group of islands which have been claimed by both China and Japan, and has remained a point of disagreement for both the countries.Japan’s Okinawa city council approved the bill on Monday. The Ishigaki City Council will change the administrative status of the island group known as Senkakus in Japan, and as Diaoyus in China.


As Islamic State (ISIS) militants continue to launch attacks on Iraqi civilians and security forces, officials have been shuttling between Baghdad and Erbil to discuss a possible joint security mechanism to secure disputed territories of Iraq and prevent further instability. 
Iraqi Defense Minister Juma Inad arrived in Erbil on Thursday to discuss increased coordination between Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga forces to fill the security vacuum in the disputed areas. Inad stressed the importance of “close coordination” between Iraqi forces and Peshmerga forces against ISIS in the disputed areas

Have I made my point?

In 1922, the international community in a legal act made by the countries which had liberated the regions conquered and occupied by the Ottoman Empire along with four dozen others, decided to recognize the Jewish historical connection to the Land of Israel and to recnstitute therein the Jewish National Home.  Part of tht territory, lying east of the Jordan River was separated and Jewish settlemnt activity was prohibited, although th actual language was simply "postponed".

Thus, all the area west of the Jordan River was to become the future Jewish state.

Due to Arab terror throughut the years of the Mandate, a first partition west of the Jordan River was made in 1937, rejected by the Arabs. In 1947, the United Nations recommended a second plan of partition, also rejected by the Arabs.

The area was subsequently illegally annexed by the Kingdom of Jordan, an act not recognized by any country except Great Britain.

No State of Palestine ever existed and in 1967, due to Arab aggression, following 19 years of further Arab terror previously practiced during the Mandate years of 1920-1948, Israel came to repossess that area.

It should be properly referred to as "disputed territory" even if you do not agree with me that it is liberated Jewish land, the regions of Judea and Samaria.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Is Yael Stein Wrong?

Here is Yael Stein in Haaretz:

Israel suspended land registration in the West Bank, declared some 1 million dunams (more than 247,000 acres) as “state land” and allocated them nearly in their entirety to the settlements...That declaration was based on a skewed interpretation of the law and carried out in violation of the basic tenets of due process. Moreover, even if this were in fact public land, it was meant for the Palestinians, not the settlers, who were not supposed to be there: The entire settlement enterprise is prohibited and constitutes a war crime – a point that Hayut ignored...the subordination of the lives of the Palestinians to the needs of the settlers.

Ms. Stein 

Photo: Tony Cross

is the director of research at B’Tselem.

Article 6 of the League of Nations Mandate decision reads:

The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

That decision's preamble reads:

...the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish peopler...recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;

In addition, Article 11 reads:

The Administration of Palestine shall take all necessary measures to safeguard the interests of the community in connection with the development of the country, and...shall have full power to provide for public ownership or control of any of the natural resources of the country ...It shall introduce a land system appropriate to the needs of the country, having regard, among other things, to the desirability of promoting the close settlement and intensive cultivation of the land.

Now, I ask you, is Stein correct in her assertion?

Or is she wrong?


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Yet Another Not-Published Letter

After reading Yossi Klein Halevi's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, "Annexation Would Be a Mistake—and a Tragedy"I sent this 'Letter-to-the-Editor' in.

I cannot seem to find it published.

Yossi Klein Halevi, writing in his "Annexation Would Be a Mistake—and a Tragedy" (June 15), posits that "With every Palestinian rejection, the map of a potential Palestine has gotten smaller. Time is not on their side."  He adds: "Mr. Trump, they are effectively saying, is a useful idiot whose plan will serve settler interests now, and then fail to deliver on a Palestinian state later".

As regards the element of time, ever since 1922 when the Jewish National Home lost all areas of historic Palestine east of the Jordan River, and the 1937 and 1947 Partition Schemes which were to deny Jews more than 60% of the remaining territory west of the river, on through the 1968 Allon Plan, the 1977 Begin Autonomy Plan, the 2000 Camp David II Plan and the 2008 Olmert Plan, among others, how much time would Klein Halevi presume that Israel wait and waste for security and arrangements that will assure as much of a peaceful reality for Israel and its citizens as possible?

Moreover, if anyone will fail to deliver on a Palestinian state, it will be the Arabs-called-Palestinians who will not fulfill the very logical, rational and moral conditions for doing so that the Peace-to-Prosperity Plan sets out. As President Trump detailed in his January 28 remarks, "we are asking the Palestinians to meet the challenges of peaceful co-existence. This includes adopting basic laws enshrining human rights; protecting against financial and political corruption; stopping the malign activities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other enemies of peace; ending the incitement of hatred against Israel — so important; and permanently halting the financial compensation to terrorists." 

Trump is certainly being useful here, but is far from being an idiot. I will avoid judging Klein Halevy on this matter.


Monday, June 22, 2020

The "It" Land

Four hundred years after it was invaded and occupied by the Ottoman Turks;

And six hundred years after it was invaded and subjugated by a force led by the Kurdish Iraqi Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub;

And eight hundred years after it was invaded by the First Crusaders from Europe;

And thirteen hundred years after the hordes of Muslims came out of the Arabian Peninsula to invade and occupy it

And sixteen hundred years after its Christian Byzantine and Persian Sansarian rule came to an end;

And eighteen hundred years after the Roman Empire quashed a second armed rebellion by its residents seeking liberation and named it Palestine;

It, the Land of Israel (Eretz-Yisrael), the Holy Land, the Province of Judaea, the homeland of the Jews for over three-thousand years, where the Jewish People's prophets, priests and princes practiced the first monotheisitic religions, developed the Hebrew Language and culture, after being liberated during World War One by the Principal Allied Powers, was declared by the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference's High Contracting Parties to have its administration entrusted to a Mandatory which would be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on the 2nd November, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. 

The Land was first partitioned in 1922 when the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined were excluded from the Mandate and applying the rights of Jewish immigration and close settlement were postponed and  withheld.

In 1937 another partitioned was made but two years later, was discarded and the whole idea of a Jewish National Home was scrapped.

In 1947, the UN recommended partition and the Jews agreed. Arabs declared war and fr the next 19 years after losing, carried on a terror campaign to eliminate the Jewish state.

Despite many other offers of partition, withdrawal and such including an autonomy plan, a disengagement, the Oslo Accords, a construction moratorium and much more, the Arab side is still declining to negotiate and refusing to pursue peace.

The "it" land is the Jewish people's legacy and it will remain under Jewish control.