Terror-bombing Gaza ended.
Occupation harshness continues unabated.
Israel didn't wait long to violate memorandum of understanding truce terms.
They went further. They exacted revenge. They punished Palestinians for
getting overwhelming nonmember observer status UN support.
It bears repeating. That's how rogue states operate. Israel is one of
the worst. Netanyahu and other Israeli hardliners are war criminals. So
are Obama and complicit US officials multiple times over. They conspiratorially
helped Israel terror bomb Gaza for eight days.
Washington and Israel planned Pillar of Cloud. They conducted joint war
games in preparation. They're responsible for slaughter and mass destruction.
They bullied and pressured other nations to oppose Palestine's UN bid.
They embarrassed themselves trying. They failed dismally.
Israel punishes Palestine viciously. In the week ending November 29, 42
Gazans were accosted, including seven children. Two were murdered in cold
blood. Dozens were wounded.
Another died late Friday. Israeli soldiers opened fire on Gazan civilians.
Eleven others were wounded.
Around two dozen fishermen were attacked at sea. On December 1, 13 more
were accosted. West Bank residents didn't escape Israeli viciousness.
Soldiers conducted 81 incursions into civilian communities (over 11 a
Around 100 Palestinians were arrested. They included nine children, six
Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members, and other political leaders
affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Settler violence continues. Israeli security forces do nothing to stop
it. Vandalism and physical assaults occur regularly. Children are terrorized
Recent incidents occurred during Pillar of Cloud. Some now exact revenge
for overwhelming General Assembly support.
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom threatened greater military
crackdowns. He blamed Palestinians for their UN upgrade.
Abbas showed which side he's on. "We now have the right to appeal to the
ICC, but we are not going to do it now and will not do it except in the
case of Israeli aggression," he said.
He was sidelined and largely silent throughout Pillar of Cloud. Evidence
suggests he knew about it in advance and supported it.
He had advance Cast Lead knowledge. He wanted Hamas destroyed. He said
so privately. He likely feels the same way now. Reconciliation talk masks
what he really has in mind.
If eight preemptive terror-bombing days isn't "aggression," what is? He
has no intention of holding Israel responsible. His betrayal belies his
He's no friend of Palestine. He's well compensated for selling out. Treason
pays well. Reports suggest he amassed considerable hidden wealth. A forthcoming
article will discuss what's known.
He paid lip service alone to Netanyahu announcing 3,000 new West Bank
and East Jerusalem settlement homes. "Why does (Israel) not stop" them,
Netanyahu timed his announcement with Palestine's UN success. It came
while General Assembly Member States voted. He has lots of ways to exact
Israeli and PA officials maintain the illusion of eventually establishing
two states co-existing peacefully side-by-side. Each settler home constructed
puts the prospect further out of reach.
Longstanding Israeli plans call for thousands of new E1 Ma'aleh Adumin
settlement housing units. At issue is further encroaching on Palestinian
It's also about separating the city from the West Bank. Israel wants wants
it entirely Judaized as its exclusive capital.
It wants Palestinian cities surrounded by settlements. It wants them isolated,
impotent, and quiescent. It wants Palestinians deprived of all rights,
Netanyahu, Sharon, and Ehud Olmert promised no E1 construction. Plans
were in place long ago. Now they're announced.
Yesh Din defends Palestinian human rights. It exposes Israeli abuses.
It champions long denied accountability. Executive director Haim Erlich
called Israel's decision "collective punishment that will also exacerbate
the ongoing trampling of Palestinian human rights."
"Israel should have understood by now that such behavior, denying basic
human rights of millions in contradiction to international law, will no
longer be tolerated by the international community."
"Expanding building in the West Bank will also implicate more Israelis
in committing offenses to international law. Yesh Din calls on the Israeli
government to retract this decision."
Former Abbas legal advisor, Diana Butto, said:
"Israel's announcement that it plans to colonize the E-1 area was expected.
Israel has always punished Palestinians for demanding their rights."
"This time, however, Israel's plans are also taking aim at the Europeans
and the US, who for over a decade have pressed Israel not to colonize
this land because it will mark the 'death of the two-state solution.'
"With Israel's latest announcement, the ball rests with the international
community. Will it sanction Israel in an attempt to save the two-state
solution, or will it revert to its usual lip service?"
On the one hand, Butto knows Netanyahu's announcement highlights Israel's
commitment to continued occupation harshness. On the other, she pretends
two states, side-by-side, remain possible. She knows otherwise but didn't
Yousef Munayyer serves as Jerusalem Fund and the Palestine Center executive
director. He explained why two states aren't possible, saying:
Longstanding Israeli policy "made it clear that its intentions did not
match its rhetoric (about) a two-state solution."
Expanding settlements in and around Jerusalem "cut it off from" the rest
of the West Bank. Doing so makes a "just two-state solution impossible."
Netanyahu's announcement "further closes the noose around Jerusalem."
Former Israeli peace negotiator, Daniel Levy, agreed. Israel's settlement
construction announcement "endorsed a one-state outcome," he said.
He suggested Netanyahu's plan is more "apartheidist" than democratic.
He also accused of Obama of letting Netanyahu stare him down.
Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah called Thursday's UN vote
"a hollow gesture" of support. How will international leaders react to
Netanyahu's announcement, he asked? Will "concrete action" with teeth
Will Israeli settlement construction be forced to stop? Will sanctions
be imposed otherwise? Will decades of lawless colonization be reversed?
Expect nothing from international leaders beyond disingenuous rhetoric.
"Cold, hard reality (shows there's) no 'two-state solution.' "
"There is one geopolitical entity in historic Palestine. Israel must not
be allowed to continue to entrench its apartheid, racist and colonial
rule throughout that land."
Jerusalem lawyer/peace activist Dani Seidemann called E1 "the fatal heart
attack of a two-state solution." Netanyahu's announcement was a "doomsday
Former US Israeli and Egyptian envoy Daniel Kurtzer called E1 development
"not just another few houses in Jerusalem or another hilltop in the West
"This is one of the most sensitive areas of territory, and I would hope
(Washington) will lay down the law."
He knows nothing beyond meaningless rhetoric ever follows. America lets
Israel get away with mass murder. It'll do nothing to stop colonization
of all parts of Judea and Sumaria Israel wishes.
Obama knew about Netanyahu's announcement hours in advance. He said nothing
until it came. His disapproval rang hollow. The same goes for Clinton
and National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.
They and other US officials speak with forked tongues. Washington marches
in lockstep with virtually all Israeli policies. Little separates what
both states pursue.
They're rogue imperial partners. They're irresponsible, lawless and menacing.
They spurn peace and nonviolence. They prioritize unchallenged dominance.
They never gave a damn about Palestinian rights and don't now.
A Final Comment
Silwan is a predominantly Palestinian village. It's adjacent to Jerusalem's
Old City. It extends along the Kidron Valley alongside the eastern slopes
of Jabal al-Mukaber.
It's home to about 45,000 people. It's one of 28 Palestinian villages
incorporated into East Jerusalem. For years, settler encroachment fueled
controversy and conflict.
Israel is systematically destroying Silwan's historical importance, archeology,
and culture. It wants Jews replacing Arabs.
Excavations claimed large tracts of Silwan land. The militant right-wing
settler group Elad controls them. Its web site tells its own version of
history. It also conducts tours to convince visitors of its Jewish origin.
Palestinians complain about growing Jewish presence. Heavy-handed police
tactics support them. Palestinian homes are demolished for planned parks,
open spaces, restaurants, boutique hotels, and Jewish-only housing.
Ethnic cleansing is official Israeli policy. Silwan is one of many affected
areas. At issue is total Judaization. Jerusalem and surrounding areas
are most valued.
Silwan is in the eye of the storm. A new play reflects what's happening.
"The Peacock of Silwan" web site says the following:
"Three thousand years separate the Kingdom of David from the old building
in the village of Silwan."
"One day, Naama, an Israeli young woman who comes to see the building
in which her grandmother had lived as a girl, and for years now inhabited
by a Palestinian family: two sisters, Iman and Yasmin, who operate a beauty
parlor, 'The Peacock of Silwan.' "
"Iman does everything she can to nurture the family business, while Yasmin
has a dream: to travel to Jordan and develop a singing career there."
"Naama intends no harm to anyone - but Yoram, director of the 'Kingdom
of David' Foundation, swiftly realizes the potential inherent in Naama’s
family connection to the building, and he gets into gear."
"We meet a series of figures - among them an enamored security guard,
a mute boy, an ambitious archaeologist, a Jewish settler building a tunnel
in her room, and a peacock - who will witness what occurs between the
walls of the house in contention."
"A group of Jewish and Palestinian actors are creative artists bringing
more than one story to life, in tandem on a stage at the heart of a building
in Old Akko."
Sinai Peter co-directed the play during the recent Akko (Acco) Festival
for Alternative Theater. Jewish and Arab actors collaborated. The production
reflects the lives of Silwan Palestinian families and Jewish settlers.
Home demolitions and City of David archeological park excavations cause
enormous harm to longtime Palestinian residents. They're systematically
forced out to make way for Jews.
A routine morning reflects the lives of Palestinians and Jews living in
the same house. Amal calls out for her runaway son, Tamer. A settler woman,
She's no ordinary neighbor. She spies on Palestinians and reports what
they say and do. Yoram is the fictional King David Foundation head. He
wants Palestinians out to make way for settlers, excavations, and tourism.
Palestinians Yasmin and Iman operate the Peacock of Silwan beauty parlor.
Living among encroaching settlers and protective security guards, they
struggle best they can.
Their father, Jamil, knows what's at stake. Jews want him out. Throughout
the play, fact and fiction merge. Audience members find what's portrayed
Yoram stands on the porch of a Silwan home. "Come back in a year," he
says. "You won't recognize this place. Instead of this house, there will
be the great Jewish Museum. You will see all our history unfolding, rock
The play ends tragically. Tamer shows up unexpectedly. A security guard
shoots him. His mother hugs her dead son. A suffocating silence fills
the room. Tension pervades it. Audience members are deeply moved.
Inbal Avnaim plays Shosh. "In Israel," she says, "we often forget the
story of Palestinian suffering. No one want to see the other side. But
it is important."
Jewish and Palestinian actors said they were shocked when the witnessed
events in Silwan firsthand. "Most people from Tel Aviv have no idea. They
don't know what is going on there, and also don't care," said Ortal Avnaim.
They live in a different world. They can't imagine what Palestinians endure.
They focus solely on their own lives.
Theatrical fiction and fact reflect life in Occupied Palestine. Audience
members see it portrayed.
Mohammed Awaida is a leading Silwan activist. He calls the village "a
"We have one theater, no playgrounds, and not enough classrooms. Ninety,
if not 99, percent of what you see in this play is reality."
After one performance, a Jew in the audience commented. He was deeply
moved. His understanding deepened.
"I saw myself in the mirror," he said. He's a Gush Etzion settler. His
settlement comes at the expense of displaced Palestinians.
Their rights also matter. They're systematically spurned. Most Israelis
don't know or care. Palestinians suffer out of sight and mind. When it
ends, who knows.