Analysis News

Why Land Day still matters

Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis

Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.

The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territory but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people, or more than 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither.

On that dreadful day 38 years ago, in response to Israel’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes,” a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev. The night before, in a last-ditch attempt to block the planned protests, the government imposed a curfew on the Palestinian villages of Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Hanna, Tur’an, Tamra and Kabul, in the Western Galilee. The curfew failed; citizens took to the streets. Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in the refugee communities across the Middle East, joined in solidarity demonstrations.

Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed, about 100 wounded and hundreds arrested. The day lives on, fresh in the Palestinian memory, since today, as in 1976, the conflict is not limited to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip but is ever-present in the country’s treatment of its own Palestinian Arab citizens.

The month following the killings, an internal government paper, written by senior Interior Ministry official Yisrael Koenig, was leaked to the press. The document, which became known as the Koenig Memorandum, offered recommendations intended to...

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A proposal: A simple, effective mechanism to improve the world, one penny at a time

Corporations run the world. It’s time we run the corporations.

By Paula Schmitt

There’s a passage in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs that is emblematic of the darkness faced by consumers with any social concern. Apple is being visited by Danielle Mitterrand, the wife of the then French president, and while Jobs keeps force-feeding her all his sloganeering about technology and design, Mitterrand interrupts him to ask about working conditions, overtime, holidays. Jobs, of course, doesn’t answer.

Proponents of capitalism like to boast that their system is about choice; but choice of what? Of brands? Products? I want to be able to choose producers.

We are billions of individually irrelevant people shopping here and there, giving a few dollars every day until those small amounts accumulate into a powerful fortune in the hands of a few, the few that will eventually control our lives and the world we live in.

But if we had the means to determine which corporations are more conducive to a better world, and only purchase from them, we would be able to change life as we know it. Imagine if you could decide on behalf of Nike that instead of paying $100 million to Tiger Woods it should send that money to its stitchers in Asia, whose salaries are often as low as $32 a month? But, considering you don’t have that power, imagine what would happen if Nike could be certain it would sell more shoes by sending money to the stitchers instead of Woods?

Capitalism is not such a bad system – it may even be the least worse. But it must be properly applied. We shouldn’t just be choosing a product – we should be choosing the producers that pay higher salaries for blue-collar workers, that don’t pollute the environment, that spread the wealth, that help their communities, allow maternity leave, pay overtime and use healthy ingredients. But how can we make an educated choice if the main source of information on a product is advertising, and the main source of information on a company is PR firms?

I had to go through hundreds of pages to know I would never purchase another pair of Nike shoes again. But I cannot blame those who do because it took me, a journalist, a few days to learn there were Nike competitors who paid higher salaries to their stitchers and...

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The correlation between Arab economic power and attacks by the Right

If Arabs were still solely manual laborers in Israel’s economy, right-wing MKs would not be rushing to do everything possible to oust them from the labor force, strip them of their political representation and, ultimately, their citizenship.

By Ron Gerlitz

Palestinian construction workers in an Israeli settlement (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Palestinian construction workers in an Israeli settlement (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Of late, not a week has gone by without a senior Israeli government official or politician proposing to strip Israel’s Arab citizens of yet another basic civil right. Most recently, the coalition passed the “governance law,” which raises the electoral threshold from 2 to 3.25 percent. The new law could eject Arab citizens from the Israeli political arena and significantly harms their political rights.

This law followed a slew of similar initiatives, including a bill by coalition chairman Yariv Levin to allow employers to discriminate against job applicants who have not performed military service. This would give legal imprimatur to discrimination against Arab citizens in the workplace and promote a process of ejecting them from the labor force.

Levin is also trying to promote a policy that would distinguish between Christians and Muslims in the allocation of resources. By favoring the former, it would further deepen the budgetary discrimination against Muslims and create friction between the two communities. Unfortunately, the first law that distinguishes between Christians and Muslims was passed in the Knesset last month.

Finally, after attempts to expel Arabs from the Knesset, discriminate against them in the workplace and create cleavages within Arab society, we arrive at the ultimate political solution: depriving hundreds of thousands of Arabs of their Israeli citizenship by transferring them to a Palestinian state. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has make sure to repeat this idea alongside the more moderate political messages he has been presenting recently.

The message to the Arab citizens is clear: if you don’t shut up, you’ll come to a tragic end.

True, not all these troublesome ideas and efforts will be translated into legislation or policy. But even if one of them is realized, it would cause grave damage. In any case, the very fact that ideas of this type have penetrated the public debate is nothing short of an assault by the ruling party against the Arab citizens and against...

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Iranian nuclear talks: Not what Israel wants you to believe

How are the Iranian nuclear talks really going? The answer is: very well, thanks for asking.

By Shemuel Meir

Contrary to what some in Israel would have you believe, the Iranian nuclear talks are not stalled and are proceeding full steam ahead. Between official meetings in Vienna, the technical talks are continuing – and those talks are building the framework for a permanent agreement, which will lead to a non-militarized nuclear Iran. High-level banter in Israel about “deceptive discussions” has no basis in reality. The sides may not yet have reached the stage of mutual trust (which is anyway not necessary; it is preferable to concentrate on verification and intrusive inspections) but there is mutual respect. At the conclusion of the latest rounds of talks, the Iranian and American spokespersons said that these talks had progressed well. The nuclear talks are apparently not an exact replica of the talks-to-nowhere taking place with the Palestinians.

The Iranian nuclear talks are proceeding according to an interim roadmap (Joint Plan of Action) which determined clear parameters along the way to a permanent agreement. At the end of the process, Iran will have the status of a non-nuclear weapon state with the capability to enrich low-level uranium (up to 5 percent, which is not suitable for nuclear weapons) under tight and intrusive IAEA supervision. (Already, in accordance with the interim agreement, daily monitoring is carried out at the centrifuge sites.) At the final phase of the permanent agreement, Iran will be required to ratify the IAEA “Additional Protocol,” allowing intrusive, short-notice inspections of undeclared sites (i.e., on the basis of U.S. intelligence).

Israel’s insistence on “zero uranium enrichment” is not realistic and is not on the agenda of the negotiations. According to the interim agreement, after a “probation period,” Iran will be treated in the same way as all states that have signed the NPT — as non-nuclear weapon state. The duration of the “probation” period will be a tough nut to crack and will require creative diplomacy. Another difficult issue will be the heavy water reactor at Arak, whose construction has been frozen. The U.S. would like to see the closure of the heavy water option and its transformation into a light water electricity reactor, which would not pose a military threat. Iran has taken a positive step toward the U.S. and has hinted at its readiness to...

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'Hi, this is Rona from the Shin Bet'

The logic of Israel’s secret police dictates that it can summon left-wing activists and Palestinian citizens of Israel for friendly ‘chats’ about their political activities. Sounds like a movie script? Illegal? The State, it turns out, insists that this state of affairs is perfectly appropriate.

By Hagai El-Ad (translated by Sol Salbe) / ‘The Hottest Place in Hell’
Read this post in Hebrew here

In Israeli airports, certain people always “endanger security.” Well, it turns out that there are certain ideas that can also “endanger security” if there are people struggling on their behalf. If you’re in the first category but still want to fly, they will rummage through your clothing; if you’re in the latter category and you want to remain conscientious people, they’ll rummage through your thoughts.

Imagine, one day, you receive an unexpected phone call: “Rona” from the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency, also known as the “Shabak”), is on the line. She wants you to come in for a “chat.” You summon enough courage to ask what would happen if, instead of accepting Rona’s invitation, you pass the day chatting with other people. Rona explains that it is for your own good, and that it would be a shame if they had to send a cop car. You are convinced and show up – after all, the cops have other things to do…

During the “chat” they let you know that “they know what you are up to” – you’re involved in demonstrations against the occupation, or for Bedouin rights, for example. They ask about your friends and other activists who you don’t really know. About your studies, salary and family. Rona is quite curious. Basically, they tell you that you’re close to the edge, that they’re watching you, that for your own sake you better not slip, that you have an “opportunity to stop.” Otherwise it could become “a lot less pleasant.”

Sounds like a movie script? A bit exaggerated? Illegal? The State, it turns out, insists that this state of affairs is perfectly appropriate. In response to a petition filed by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) against the “warning chats” that the Shin Bet conducts with various citizens, it stated: “Demonstrations by ‘Leftists’ against the Prawer Plan may develop into widespread confrontations between Jews and Arabs which may have broad security implications. Therefore, disturbances...

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Former Israeli AG: We should have evicted Hebron settlers

In an interview, former Israeli attorney general Michael Ben-Yair says he considers the situation in Hebron a form of Apartheid, refers to ‘Price Tag’ attacks as Jewish terrorism and regrets consenting to the construction of West Bank bypass roads for settlers.

By Yossi Gurvitz, for Yesh Din

Former attorney general Michael Ben-Yair (Photo by Yossi Gurvitz)

Former attorney general Michael Ben-Yair (Photo by Yossi Gurvitz)

About a month ago, I met with Michael Ben-Yair for an in-depth interview offering him a chance to share his thoughts on issues of highest national importance. Ben-Yair is best known to the public as a former attorney general who served in that position under Rabin’s second government. He is also a member of Yesh Din’s Public Council. The following text is a record of our conversation, with some unavoidable omissions.

A few weeks ago, we marked the 20th anniversary of the massacre in the Cave of the Patriarchs. You were there when the government decided how to respond. You effectively approved an arrangement that you later called Apartheid. How did this happen?

In the aftermath of the Goldstein massacre, there were two important steps I believe should have been taken: one which should have been taken but never was; and another that was, but was eventually only loosely implemented. Let’s start with the thing that wasn’t done: The Jewish settlers in Hebron were not removed following the massacre.

Would an eviction have withstood the test of the Supreme Court?

Shuhada Street in Hebron (Photo by Yossi Gurvitz)

Shuhada Street in Hebron (Photo by Yossi Gurvitz)

There were tense relations between Jews and Palestinians in Hebron even before the massacre. The removal of the Jewish settlers was not intended as an act of punishment. The plan to evict the Jewish settlers in Hebron, which was later restricted to the settlers in Tel Rumeida, was intended for prevention rather than punishment. There was a desire to prevent the very tense relations between Jews and Muslims in Hebron following the massacre. The massacre formed part of the tension that had already existed in the city.

I am not talking about the evacuation of the settlement of Kiryat Arba but about the Jewish settlers in Hebron, who were fairly few at this time, and...

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What BDS and the Israeli government have in common

Few of the people accused of boycotting Israel actually advocate or adhere to the central demands of the Palestinian boycott call. Ironically, those same people may be in the best position to help end the occupation.

By Ran Greenstein

JVP Boston activists protest the Veolia transportation company for operating bus lines serving settlements in the West Bank. November 14, 2012. (Tess Scheflan/ Activestills.org)

[Illustrative photo] JVP Boston activists protest the Veolia transportation company for operating bus lines serving settlements in the West Bank. November 14, 2012. (Tess Scheflan/ Activestills.org)

Opposition to the BDS movement has become a crucial test of loyalty to the pro-Israel cause in the U.S. Jewish community in recent months. It has not replaced the Iranian nuclear program as the most prominent cause for alarm raised by the Israel lobby and its allies, but it is moving in that direction.

Naturally enough, this heightened publicity is being celebrated by BDS activists as proof that their campaign is working effectively, and that they do indeed constitute a major problem for the Israeli government and its supporters. What better demonstration of your success than the fear of your opponents?

On the face of it this seems a bit curious. There is a big discrepancy between the achievements of the movement so far and the attention it has been getting. Without wishing to underestimate the impact of the campaign, it has been endorsed by student societies on a dozen university campuses in the U.S. and Europe, and by a couple of academic associations. Most of these expressions of support have focused only on the first of the three goals of the movement: to oppose the 1967 occupation, support the right of return of the 1948 Palestinian refugees and advocate full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel. Rarely has any high-profile group or body come out in support of all three goals combined.

If this is the case indeed, how can we explain the hysteria that has engulfed sections of the hasbara apparatus, in Israel and overseas, as expressed in speeches, legislation and expressions of outrage? To understand the issue we have to make a distinction between two types of BDS, which have been conflated in public discourse.

The first type is the BDS movement as embodied in the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)....

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I'm a Palestinian from Gaza, not an alien

The people of Gaza don’t need the sympathy of the international community, they need to be treated like human beings.

By Abeer Ayyoub

I’m a Palestinian from Gaza, not simply “a Gazan.” I’m not exactly what you see in the mainstream media: I’m no expert in firing rockets, I don’t live under rubble and I don’t rely on humanitarian handouts.

Actually, I was never aware of how people outside of Gaza saw us until I was given the chance to leave the isolated enclave for the first time. The first time I left Gaza was in 2012, when I traveled to Jerusalem for some work meetings. It was strange to find out that even Palestinians who live only dozens of miles away are also mislead by the media about the truth of Palestinians in the strip.

I was extremely overwhelmed to see the other parts of my homeland for the first time. I wanted to tell everyone I met that I was from Gaza, since most people never get to meet us in real life. “I’m from Gaza,” I announced to the Palestinian receptionist at the fancy East Jerusalem hotel with a wide smile. He went speechless before mockingly asking whether I had any rockets in my pockets. I expected such comments from Israelis, but never from a Palestinians.

The next day, I traveled from Jerusalem to Ramallah on a bus near Damascus Gate. After finding a window seat, a handsome man came to sit beside me. We made some small talk – I could tell he was from Bethlehem, but he had no idea where I was from. “I’m from Gaza,” I said. “ No way, but you are cute and smart!” he said. Once again, I went speechless. Where on earth did he get the idea that people from Gaza are any less cute or smart than those in Bethlehem?

These incidents could not prepare me for the reactions I would receive when I traveled to the United States a few weeks later, where some people had no idea that Gaza even exists.

So, for all those who are misled by photos of bombings and bloodshed: yes, there is an ongoing conflict in Palestine, not only in Gaza. And yes, Gaza is not an independent region, it is a part of occupied Palestine. These facts don’t make me an alien.

It became tiresome and offensive to repeatedly hear...

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Standing up to AIPAC means supporting Israeli dissidents

The voice of ‘pro-Israel’ militarism has been ringing through the halls of Washington D.C. since the 1970s. Now, to end the occupation, American citizens must couple their opposition to AIPAC with support for anti-occupation groups in Israel.

By Philip Farah

In the 1970s, Israeli TV had a great program, Nikui Rosh, that was something like the country’s version of Saturday Night Live. Its most famous skit was one in which Israeli leaders would start beating the drums of war, warning against threats from across the Lebanese or Syrian borders, whenever the Israeli economy was in crisis. This is an old trick everywhere: when your leadership is being questioned, rally the nation to unite against the enemy. Today, Israeli leaders don’t need an economic crisis in order to rattle their sabers because they have a chronic political crisis: what to do with the Palestinians under their control, a population whose numbers may have already exceeded those of Jews in Israel. The leaders’ answer is, again, to point the finger elsewhere: Iran is the Boogie Man, with its (Muslim) bomb that threatens not only Israel, but all of the West’s Judeo-Christian civilization.

Is there a war that Israeli leaders or their Washington friends, especially the neocons, do not love? Was there a voice cheering more loudly for the U.S. to launch a war on Iraq in 2002 than theirs? Was there a greater disappointment than theirs when the Syrian chemical weapons crisis did not result in U.S. military strikes against Syria?

President Barack Obama at the AIPAC Policy Conference 2011. (photo: AIPAC)

President Barack Obama at the AIPAC Policy Conference 2011. (photo: AIPAC)

This week, at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, prominent politicians raced to the podium to declare their hawkish foreign policy credentials in order to curry favor with the powerful lobby group. Some leaders complained that the current crisis in Crimea, for example, is the result of the U.S. losing its reputation as a tough international policeman, and that the “mullahs” in Iran ought not to be trusted and that Israel and its friends in the U.S. ought to keep up the pressure. Prime Minister Netanyahu (whose speech in Congress last year received more standing ovations than President Obama’s), declared at the Conference that the stifling economic sanctions weren’t working and that a 

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An open letter to Evangelical supporters of Israel

Addressing Christian Zionists who brush aside the occupation by saying, ‘it’s complicated,’ an American Evangelical writes: ‘Injustice is only complicated to those who don’t suffer from it.’

By Alice Su

Christian Zionists march in Jerusalem, Octover 4, 2012. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Christian Zionists march in Jerusalem, Octover 4, 2012. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

What would Jesus do if he were standing at a checkpoint in Israel/Palestine today? Asked that question one year ago, I would have given you a blank stare. Growing up as an evangelical Christian, I thought of Israel only as a Bible-place of God’s chosen people, quaintly holy and surely blessed. Checkpoints, occupation, Palestine – these words meant nothing for most of my 22-year-old life.

Today I write from Bethlehem at the end of “Christ at the Checkpoint,” a Christian conference that asked “WWJD?” in context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I have an answer.

The question is complicated, as is any discussion of Israel and Palestine in America. I studied the Middle East at Princeton and Oxford, where my classes were objective, historical and politically correct. I swallowed timelines and parsed narratives, but never wanted to make a value judgment on the situation. In my eyes, Tigers for Israel and the Princeton Committee on Palestine were akin to College Republicans and Democrats. Both had valid points and interesting arguments, but no one was right or wrong. Both groups also seemed very emotional, and I wasn’t one to get swept away with radical types.

Then I graduated and came to the Middle East. I first visited Israel and Palestine last August, after a summer of Arabic study in Oman and before moving to Jordan. I wanted to see things for myself but kept my eyes narrowed, wary of activists’ exaggerations.

Instead, I found an occupation; a deliberate power imbalance where the weak were daily stepped on by the strong. Israel’s being “chosen by God” somehow exempted it from international law, basic human rights and the command to love our neighbors. My church and state saw innocent people illegally hurt and beamed in approval.

This went against everything I knew about Christ’s teachings. I came expecting to find suffering but not systematic injustice, and never any Wrong in which my country, church and self were complicit. I felt shocked, confused, and used.

My...

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Abbas must seek recognition from UN, not U.S.

Since entering negotiations with Palestinians last July, Israeli policies have only led to a deeper entrenchment of the occupation. Now, Abbas must listen to left-wing Palestinian parties and put an end to peace talks.

By Uri Weltmann

Dancing the tango with a cactus is a bad idea. Not only are you dancing by yourself, you’re also going to be pricked by the thorns.

But this is exactly what Mahmoud Abbas has been doing since last July, when he agreed that peace negotiations between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Israeli government would be mediated by the U.S. government, knowing full well that the U.S. is not a neutral broker, but rather the main backer of the occupation.

And so, the negotiations continue – yet the Israeli government announces the building of 1,400 new housing units in the settlements. Meanwhile, the United States is satisfied with nothing more than a weak condemnation.

Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres in Jordan, May 26, 2013 (Mark Neiman / GPO)

Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres in Jordan, May 26, 2013 (Mark Neiman / GPO)

The negotiations continue – yet the Israeli government continues to Judaize East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the United States expresses disdain, yet continues to turn a blind eye.

The negotiations continue – yet the goal of an independent Palestinian state drifts further away. Meanwhile, the United States is busy demanding Abbas become a Zionist and “recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

In light of all this, it is no wonder that four Palestinian left-wing parties in the occupied territories rightfully called on Abbas to put an end to the negotiations. The Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Palestinian National Initiative published a joint statement calling on Abbas to withdraw from the talks with Israel, and apply for recognition by the United Nations instead.

According to the statement, “accepting the plan of Kerry to sign the framework peace deal is like committing a suicide, and this plan has many dangerous consequences on the Palestinian cause and our people’s legitimate rights.”

The Palestinian left has also been openly critical of the proposal made by Abbas in February, in which he proposed that an American-led NATO force would...

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Why won't the army stop the theft of Palestinian trees?

Time and time again, the saplings in the West Bank village Sinjil are stolen by Israeli settlers. Meanwhile, the army turns the other cheek, neglecting its obligation to protect the occupied population under its rule.

By Yesh Din (written by Yossi Gurvitz)

In early January 2014, after wandering the bureaucratic desert for over a year, the International Red Cross and the residents of Sinjil in the West Bank managed to get permission to plant 7,500 trees in the northern side of the village. Their joy didn’t last long: settlers began targeting the new saplings almost immediately.

The first attack occurred on January 22nd. The deputy chairman of the local council, Rabkhi Hassin ‘Abd Al-’Aziz Gafri, received a message from one of the farmers working on the project that a massive theft had taken place. An Israeli District Coordination Office (DCO) officer rushed to the scene, followed by the police. A thousand saplings were stolen that night. Gafri, who estimated the damage at several thousand shekels, noted the following: the theft took place between a military post and the illegal outpost of Givat Harel; the military base is 200 meters from the scene; and that it is equipped with security cameras. Therefore, he was hopeful that the crime would be solved.

Ten days later, on February 2nd, Gafri received another urgent call. Once again, saplings were stolen – this time, about 1,200 of them. Once again, the DCO was called and once again the police arrived on the scene. Gafri repeated what he previously noted: the presence of the military post, just over 200 meters away, with security cameras. In his frustration, he told the investigator the following:

Gafri justly noted that the region is under Israeli control, and that Israel is responsible for the security of its residents.

And again, one week later: same place, another theft. This time, the thieves managed to get their hands on only 500 saplings. And this time, it was the Israeli DCO who called the Palestinians.

The uprooting of hundreds of saplings requires a team of several people, working for several hours. The Palestinians estimate this would require four hours. Even if we assume that they exaggerated and that two hours would be enough, there is a military base 200 meters away, equipped with security cameras, which managed three times in a row to not see a group of people coming down and carrying...

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The three truths the U.S. needs to accept about Gaza

Israel and its U.S. allies perpetuate a number of mistruths about Gaza, its role in the conflict and its centrality moving forward. If they are not challenged, violence will continue and the U.S. risks losing even more credibility in the region.

By Samer Badawi

A Palestinian farmer walks through fields near Gaza's eastern border, Al Montar, February 17, 2014. An Israeli military post is seen in the distance to the left, with the border indicated by the dark green areas passing through it. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian farmer walks through fields near Gaza’s eastern border, Al Montar, February 17, 2014. An Israeli military post is seen in the distance to the left, with the border indicated by the dark green areas passing through it. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Fewer than 16 months after the ceasefire agreement that ended Israel’s last full-scale attack on Gaza—nine days of constant bombardment by air, land, and sea—Palestinians there are once again trapped and feeling the brunt of Israeli air strikes.

They have every reason to be worried. On March 12, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, citing “a barrage of more than 50 rockets,” called for his country to re-occupy Gaza. The same day, the U.S. State Department, instead of urging calm, issued a statement, by now familiar, backing Israel’s “right to defend itself.”

Predictably, the statement failed to mention Israel’s murder of seven Palestinians in the prior 24 hours, its dozens of deadly violations of the November 2012 ceasefire agreement with Hamas, and its routine killing of unarmed Palestinians along Gaza’s border.

Left unchallenged, these omissions will lead to more sins of commission. More civilians will die. And Israel’s chest-beating will lead to ever more violence, further eroding America’s diplomatic stature in the region and beyond.

To avoid this scenario, policymakers must challenge three underlying assumptions behind the U.S. position, which currently aligns with the pointedly undiplomatic threats of Israel’s chief diplomat: 1) that Israeli-Palestinian peace can be forged without Gaza, 2) that Israel’s stranglehold on Gaza ended in 2005, and 3) that Israel’s threats are aimed only at Palestinian “militants.”

No peace without Gaza

According to Israeli journalist Amira Hass, Yitzhak Rabin famously declared after signing the Oslo Accords that he wished Gaza “would just sink into the sea.” Reprehensible...

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