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Israel invites you to ‘like’ the occupation on Facebook

COGAT’s new Facebook page will not hide the fact that with every ‘like’ it receives, the occupation becomes more permanent in our minds.

Palestinians wait to pass through the Erez Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, December 18, 2013. Damage to the border wall and crossing terminal caused by winter storms led to longer delays than usual as Israeli officials failed to establish efficient alternatives to process  the few Palestinians permitted to enter Israel from Gaza. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Palestinians wait to pass through the Erez Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, December 18, 2013. (Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

A few weeks ago, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit launched its own Facebook page. COGAT, which operates under Israel’s Ministry of Defense, controls the blockade of the Gaza Strip through the land crossings; it allocates land and resources to the Jewish settlements in the West Bank; it prevents Palestinian development in Area C and oversees demolitions against Palestinian homes; it accepts or rejects Palestinian permits to enter Israel; and it facilitates the cooperation between the Israeli military and the Palestinian security forces, among other roles. To put it simply: COGAT is responsible for managing the Israeli occupation.

The timing of COGAT’s new social media outlet is no secret. As the tide of international opinion and pressure increasingly turns against Israel’s occupation — a trend that is being felt from government halls to university campuses to the media — COGAT’s Facebook page serves as an online tool to help state employees, ordinary Israeli citizens and their supporters present a more positive and “benevolent” image of Israel’s control of the occupied territories.

So far, the page has mostly posted infographics that show the numbers of vehicles passing through the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings, the types of goods being transported into the Gaza Strip, and other related statistics. Since the start of Ramadan a few days ago, the page has also posted images of Palestinian Muslims crossing into Israel to attend Friday prayers in Jerusalem.

While the graphics are impressive, they are still nothing short of laughable. For one, COGAT’s page is in English, but not in Arabic or Hebrew, making it obvious that the target audience is not the Palestinian people it is claiming to assist, but rather foreigners observing the conflict from afar. The language used on the page demonstrates Israel’s poor attempt to counter the global position on the occupation, by promoting terms and hashtags such as “Judea” and “Samaria” instead of “West Bank” or “Palestinian Territories.” The photos of Muslims in Jerusalem include captions describing them as praying on “the Temple Mount” rather than the Haram al-Sharif, Dome of the Rock or Al-Aqsa Mosque, further displaying its complete inconsideration for its Palestinian subjects.

In addition to its regular posts on activities at the crossings, COGAT released a video this week of Israeli Major General Yoav Mordechai delivering Ramadan greetings in Arabic. In it, Mordechai said that he had “personally instructed” steps to “strengthen the local [Palestinian] economies,” and that he has “decided to increase entry of Palestinians” into Israel for prayers and family visits — as if the Israeli authorities were making a generous choice by providing these services.

#Ramadan Kareem from Major General Yoav ‘Poli’ Mordechai

Posted by COGAT – Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The video does not mention, of course, that Israel is actually obliged to facilitate these activities as an occupying power under international law, and has had to be repeatedly pressured into fulfilling even part of those obligations by the international community. Moreover, those services are not supposed to be privileges or gifts bestowed upon the Palestinian people; they are their basic human rights.

The posts are particularly insulting because they pretend that the Palestinians and the international community would simply forget that the rubble that still covers much of Gaza was primarily caused by Israeli missiles and artillery; that the severe restrictions on movement and goods in both the West Bank and Gaza are due to Israeli checkpoints and denial of permits; or that the economic and natural resources that could help rehabilitate the Palestinians’ welfare are routinely blocked and hijacked by the Israeli authorities. As Samah Salaime wrote on +972’s Hebrew sister site, Local Call, the posts are not fooling anyone — they merely “remind the Arabs who is boss.”

At the time of this writing, COGAT’s Facebook page only has about 1,000 likes, and this writer is aware that this article may regrettably increase the page’s publicity. But it is worth doing so just to highlight a key issue reflected in the page. By attempting to normalize and “beautify” its dominion over the lives of Palestinians, COGAT — by design or by accident — is making the West Bank and Gaza appear as if they are provinces (read “bantustans”) of the Israeli state. Though this is hardly anything new, it illustrates how much Israel has incorporated the occupation into its national consciousness, which more accurately reflects the facts on the ground and the country’s right-wing political objectives.

COGAT’s Facebook page thus may be a tool for Israelis to assist the state’s current PR battles, but it will not hide the fact that, with every “like” it receives, the occupation becomes more permanent in our minds, and its colonial and apartheid-like rule becomes all the more clear.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Weinstein

      PedroGingerSmallmindcatwhiplashTrespassers and 30 other tools liked that

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        Did you not like the information on the Cogat website showing:

        In 2014 115,000 Palestinians crossed into Israel for medical treatment in Israel and abroad?

        Maybe you object to Israel allowing students from Gaza to cross the Allenby Bridge to pursue studies.

        Cogat has supervised the shipping of 1,140,948 ton of building materials into Gaza.

        Cogat has helped deliver building materials to 87,332 Gazans by the end of May.

        Al Bawaba says 60,000 Gazan homes have been repaired. Israel has provided more material than has been used in those repairs. What has happened to the remaining materials for another 27,000 people to repair or rebuild their homes?

        Cogat shows that Israel delivers 125 MW a day of electricity and 10 million cubic meters of water per year to Gaza.

        In May there were 14,694 crossings at Erez into and out of Gaza. How many crossings were allowed at Rafah by Egypt?

        Do you not like Israel shipping 18.5 million tons of diesel, 4. million tons of petrol and 5,233 tons of Gas into Gaza? Maybe you object to Israel allowing shipping of tens of tons of goods every day into Gaza. Maybe you oppose Israel coordinating shipping of goods out of Gaza to Israel, the West Bank and other countries.

        Maybe you do not like the picture of an Israeli soldier pushing the wheel chair of a disabled Arab on the temple mount. Maybe you do not like the picture of Arabs in their best clothes waiting on the street to go to the temple mount. Maybe you oppose Cogat showing it has allowed families from Gaza to visit their relatives in the West Bank.

        Maybe you object to Israelis providing assistance to the Red Crescent Ambulance stuck in the ditch.

        Maybe you just do not like anything that shows Israel in a positive light.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      Music fans! Oren Moverman, the Israeli born director of the new film about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air – he explains why he left Israel:

      http://www.npr.org/2015/06/18/415454607/love-mercy-brings-the-life-of-brian-wilson-to-the-big-screen

      MOVERMAN: It’s a big turning point in my life because it made me realize that I didn’t want to live in Israel. I was part of the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and Israeli occupation of Palestine and spent a lot of time in these territories and just felt, at the end of it, that I was really done with my life in Israel and that I wanted to move to the States to, A, pursue a dream, which has sort of become a reality, and then also to make a life for myself in a different place….

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        And your point is, Bruce?

        …that some people are tired of this 100 year old war which your “friendly” Palestinian Arabs impose on us. So they emigrate…

        So what? There has always been emigration and not just from Israel. But the fact is that the rest of us are here and we are here to stay, in spite of all the propaganda which you subject us to.

        …moreover, there are more immigrants into Israel than the number who emigrate from Israel.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Ike af Carlstèn

      Zionist SS in Action!!!

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Why am I an SS? Because I inform you of reality? Grow up, FOOL!!!

        Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      B’Tselem: Courts turning into ‘hollow formality’ for Palestinians in West Bank

      “B’Tselem was set to publish early Monday a report that argues that pre-verdict detention of Palestinians in the IDF’s West Bank courts forces huge numbers of Palestinians into plea bargains and turns the whole system into a “hollow formality.”

      The extremely thorough 41-page report, based on 260 case files, gathers an unprecedented amount of data from both independent and IDF sources on the topic and includes a myriad of quotations from hard-to-get IDF court opinions which explain a wide range of issues.

      Quoting Judge Lt.-Col. Ronen Atzmon, who wrote: “Always remember that the primary rule is that suspects or defendants are entitled to their freedom, and one should not arrest them. Detention is the exception rather than the rule,” the human rights group says that judges’ actual application of the law has turned this principle on its head….”

      http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/BTselem-Courts-turning-into-hollow-formality-for-Palestinians-in-West-Bank-406721

      Reply to Comment
      • BigCat

        As usual, Brian alias “Ben” alias “MuslimJew” alias “Giora Me’ir” alias etc. has quickly ran out of ideas and is now copying and pasting the junk from Btselem to compensate for his empty mind.

        Shouldn’t you be looking for job, Brian? How come you use the time normal people use to find a paying job to juggle form one Jewish website to another, feverishly searching for and consuming anti-Israel and anti-Jewish news, while neither knowing nor caring about what goes on in your own country or elsewhere, or even having a job to support your poor little self? Something is seriously wrong with you, Brian. Go seek professional help, you psychotic moron!

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Oh hey the junk from my empty mind is the subject of the lead +972 article by Yael Stein today, and a very nice article it is. You should address your troll whines and schnauzer-cat yips, yaps and other vocalizations to Yael, and have a blessed day. Oh, I forgot, you should be grateful. This forum is not a petty pro wrestling extravaganza for you to faux-joust and jerk…in. It’s not about you and it’s not about me. And it’s not about childish winners and losers. It’s about serious, civil, open-minded debate and information sharing. Information sharing is a legitimate activity in this forum. Have a doubly blessed day and please try to avoid importing into this civilized forum the tenor and spirit of the occupation. Many thanks.

          Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            Job, moron, job!! Go find job and quit your manic fixation on- and obsession with Jewish Affairs that are no way no how any of your business.

            Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        As always, Benny insists on looking ONLY on one side of the equation. He and his kind constantly wring their hands and whine about what we do wrong or what we don’t do right…

        But people like him refuse point blank to look at what Palestinians do to provoke our treatment of them. Here, read a subset of the history of their terrorism against us…

        http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/terrorism/terrisraelsum.html

        I ask the Benny’s of this world. What sort of hearing or due process do Israeli victims of terrorism get from the Palestinian Arab perpetrators and those who incite them?

        Reply to Comment
    5. No BS Politics

      They are getting *mercilessly* trolled in the comments.

      Hard to find any positive comments.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “They are getting *mercilessly* trolled in the comments.

        Hard to find any positive comments.”

        Right, we get it. Only comments which agree with the party line of this magazine are “POSITIVE COMMENTS”. Everything else is “MERCILESS TROLLING”.

        Thank you, [No BS Politics], or whatever your BS name is.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Marnie

      THERE IS NO WAR IN ISRAEL, ONLY A BRUTAL OCCUPATION, SUBJUGATION, ETHNIC CLEANSING, CONTINUED THEFT OF LAND, MURDER, ETC.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Oh dear, Marnie is trying to yell the place down. She is in denial. The link in my previous post tells the real story.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Paul

      The Israeli government and its allies can spread all the misinformation it wants! The Occupation and Apartheid against the Palestinian population is doomed to failure because the Palestinian people will not be crushed by the U.S. supplied Israeli military and the Boycott, Divestiment, and Sanctions Movement is isolating Israel day by day.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        1. The only misinformation which is being spread is by the Arabs and their faithful puppy dogs.

        2. Despite the efforts of the Palestinian Arabs and their puppy dog supporters like Paul/Benny etc, to replace the only Jewish state by the 23rd Arab state, they will fail. The Jewish state is here to stay.

        3. The BDS is just the latest weapon that the Arabs and their puppy dogs are trying to wield against us. This is destined to fail too like all the previous schemes which the Palestinian Arabs dreamt up to try to destroy us.

        4. No matter how many new schemes the Palestinian Arabs will dream up we will thawrt their schemes to destroy us. They think that they are steadfast and that time is on THEIR side? They ain’t seen steadfast yet. If we as the Jewish people were able to survive for 2000 years without our state, then those hateful Palestinian Arabs are just a minor challenge to our survival now that we are back in our state. And no, time is NOT on THEIR side. Look how far we have come since 1948.

        Reply to Comment
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