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The Penal Colonies
by Tanya Reinhart 2:48pm Sat Jun 29 '02

The Gaza strip is a perfect realization of the Israeli vision of "separation". Surrounded with electric fences and army posts, completely sealed off the outside world, Gaza has become a huge prison. About one-third of its land was confiscated for the 7,000 Israeli settlers living there (and their defense array), while over a million Palestinians are crowded in the remaining areas of the prison. Now Israel is considering the imprisonment there of families of suicide bombers from the West Bank.
print article

Untitled Document

THE PENAL COLONIES
Tanya Reinhart

This is an expanded version of an article in Yediot Aharonot, June 30, 2002.

 

The Gaza strip is a perfect realization of the Israeli vision of "separation". Surrounded with electric fences and army posts, completely sealed off the outside world, Gaza has become a huge prison. About one-third of its land was confiscated for the 7,000 Israeli settlers living there (and their defense array), while over a million Palestinians are crowded in the remaining areas of the prison. With no work or sources of income, about 80% of its residents depend, for their living, on UNRWA, or contributions from Arab states and charity organizations. Now Israel is considering the imprisonment there of families of suicide bombers from the West Bank (1). As a senior Israeli analyst stated, Gaza can now serve as "the penal colony" of Israel - its "devils island, Alcatraz". (Nahum Barnea, Yediot Aharonot June 21, 2002).

This is the future that Sharon and the Israeli army designate for the West Bank as well. While the external fence is presently being built, Israel's current military operation is set to be the final step in the implementation the IDF plans for reestablishing full military rule (which was abolished in large parts of the West Bank during the Oslo process). Though Israel describes everything it does as a spontaneous reaction to terror, the plan was fully spelled out in the Israeli media already back in March 2001, soon after Sharon entered office. Alex Fishman, military and strategic analyst of Yediot Aharonot, explained at the time that since Oslo, "the IDF regarded the occupied territories as if they were one territorial cell", and this placed some constraints on the IDF and enabled a certain amount of freedom for the PA and the Palestinian population. The new plan is a return to the concept of the military administration during the pre-Oslo years: the occupied territories will be divided into tens of isolated "territorial cells", each of which will be assigned a special military force, "and the local commander will have freedom to use his discretion" as to when and who to shoot. (Yediot Ahronot weekend supplement, March 9, 2001).

The first stage of this plan - the destruction of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority - was completed in the previous 'Operation Defensive Shield' in April of this year. In practice, from that time on, the towns and villages of the West Bank have been completely sealed. Even exit by foot, which was possible up to that point, became blocked, and movement between the "territorial cells" now requires formal permits from the Israeli military authorities. Soldiers and snipers prevent any "unauthorized" walking to agricultural fields, to places of work and study, or for medical treatment.


However, unlike the pre-Oslo period of Israeli military rule, the army makes it clear that there is no intention to construct any civil administration that will take care of the basic daily needs of the two million Palestinians, such as food supplies, health services, garbage and sewage. For these tasks, some form of a Palestinian Authority will be maintained, though in practice it will not be allowed to function.

As a 'military source' told Ha'aretz, "Internal conclusions of the security echelons, following operation 'Defensive Shield', assessed that the functioning of the civil branches of the Palestinian Authority had reached an unprecedented nadir, mainly due to the destruction the IDF operation left behind in Ramallah (including the systematic destruction of computers and databases)... Combined with the severe restrictions on movement, the Palestinian population is becoming, as the military source defined it, 'poor, dependent, unemployed, rather hungry, and extreme'... The financial reserves of the Palestinian authority are reaching the bottom... In a future not far off, the majority of Palestinians will only be able to maintain a reasonable life through the help of international aid." (Ha'aretz Hebrew edition, June 23, 2002, Amos Har'el). Thus, the West Bank is being driven to the level of poverty of the Gaza strip.

Nevertheless, at the same time that Israel deprives the Palestinians of their means of income, it also makes a substantial effort to diminish or block international aid, under the pretext that the aid is used to support terrorists or their families. At the outset of its new 'operation', Israel "decided to stop the flow of food-aid and medicine from Iran and Iraq to Palestinians in the territories" (Ha'aretz, June 24, 2002, Amos Har'el). Iranian and Iraqi aid is an easy target for Israel, as these countries belong to the "Axis of Evil". However, Israel started launching a more ambitious campaign: The EU - the largest PA donor - is under constant pressure from Israel to cut its aid, which is used, inter alia to pay the salaries of teachers and health workers. The tactics are always the same: Israel provides some documents presumably linking the PA to terror. Any aid to the PA is, therefore, aid to terror (2).

UNRWA's aid is the next target. The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians in the Near East (UNRWA) has become a major source of food for Palestinians in the besieged territories. Its food supplies are now delivered not only to the refugee camps, but also in towns and villages. The amount of food UNRWA supplies has increased four-fold in two years (3). Recently, "Israel has begun a campaign in the United States and the United Nations to urge a reconsideration of the way the UN Relief and Works Agency, which runs the Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, operates. Israel charges that UNRWA workers simply ignored the fact that Palestinian organizations were turning the camps into terrorist bases and it is demanding the agency start reporting all military or terrorist actions within the camps to the UN.... Meanwhile, Jewish and pro-Israeli lobbyists in the U.S. are waging a parallel campaign ... American Jewish lobbyists are basing their efforts on the fact that the U.S. currently contributes some 30 percent of UNRWA's $400 million a year budget, and is therefore in a position to influence the agency: A congressional refusal to approve UNRWA's funding could seriously disrupt its operations. (Ha'aretz June 29, 2002, Nathan Guttman). The campaign is not yet demanding cutting UNRWA's aid and presence altogether, but raising the impossible demand that UNRWA should serve as an active force in "the war against terror" ("reporting military or terrorist actions") is the first step towards such a demand.(4)

Since September 11, Sharon has been constructing an analogy between the occupied territories and Afghanistan (with the PA as Al Qaeda). He keeps declaring that the solution to Palestinian terror, and the required 'reforms', should be along the lines set in Afghanistan. The analogy is frighteningly revealing: As it established the 'reforms' in Afghanistan, the US forced starvation upon millions of people. This is how Noam Chomsky described it: "On Sept. 16, the New York Times reported that 'Washington has also demanded [from Pakistan] a cutoff of fuel supplies...and the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan's civilian population.' Astonishingly, that report elicited no detectable reaction in the West, a grim reminder of the nature of the Western civilization that leaders and elite commentators claim to uphold. In the following days, those demands were implemented... 'The country was on a life-line,' one evacuated aid worker reports, 'and we just cut the line' (NY times Magazine, September 30). According to the world's leading newspaper, then, Washington demanded that Pakistan ensures the death of enormous numbers of Afghans, millions of them already on the brink of starvation, by cutting off the limited sustenance that was keeping them alive." (Interview with Michael Albert, reprinted in Noam Chomsky, 9-11, Seven Stories, 2002). Arundhati Roy, summarized this at the time: "Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while they're waiting to be killed" (Guardian, Sept. 29).

The new stage of Israel's 'separation' can no longer be compared to the Apartheid of South Africa. As Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa's Minister of Water Affairs, said in an Interview with Al Ahram Weekly, "the South African apartheid regime never engaged in the sort of repression Israel is inflicting on the Palestinians" (Issue of March 28 - April 3, 2002). We are witnessing the daily invisible killing of the sick and wounded being deprived of medical care, the weak who cannot survive in the new poverty conditions, and those who are bound to reach starvation.

Nevertheless, the public debate in Israel revolves around questions of efficiency: Is it possible to stop terror in such methods. Let us suppose even that it is. Is it allowed? Is this what we (Israelis) want to be?

One people stole the 'Lamb of its poor neighbor' (5): Gaza and the West Bank are 22% of the land of Israel-Palestine, where the Palestinians lived in the past. On this small piece of land, three million people live, with hopes, needs and dreams, just like ours. Since Oslo, they have been lured with promises that we are about to evacuate the settlements and give them back their land, at the very same time that we have been imprisoning them in Gaza, stealing more of their land in the West Bank, and leaving them no hope whatsoever. The Palestinian people are fighting for their freedom. The crimes of Palestinian terror do not remove our culpability for our own crimes.

Before Oslo, as well, there was a wave of horrible terror attacks. But at that time, after each such attack, the call was heard - get out of the territories! Then it was still understood that when you leave people no hope, there is no way to stop the madness of suicide bombing. It is not too late to get out of the territories.


========


(1) In its meeting on Friday, June 21, 2002, the Israeli cabinet "decided in principle in favor both of the expulsion of families of suicide strikers from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip... The implementation of this expulsion policy depends upon the outcome of a legal review." ('IDF set to expel bombers' families' By Aluf Benn, Amos Harel and Gideon Alon, Ha'aretz June 23, 2002).


(2) Here is one example of the pressure on the EU:

"The documents seized from PA offices in recent months, some of which were included in the document compiled by minister without portfolio Dan Naveh following Operation Defensive Shield, were presented last week to the EC delegation in Israel and representatives of the International Monetary Fund at a meeting with IDF intelligence officers. Naveh claims the documents prove European financial aid has been used to finance terrorism and incitement, and has also found its way into the pockets of senior PA officials.

The head of the EC's delegation to Israel, Giancarlo Chevallard, told Ha'aretz that at the meeting, the delegation saw evidence that Arafat is financing terrorism, but added Israel had not provided evidence that European financial aid - which is designated to pay the salaries of PA employees - is being used to finance terrorist attacks. Another senior delegation official said he was extremely skeptical Israel had evidence to prove European aid is being used by the PA to finance terrorism...

Meanwhile, in the shadow of the Israeli accusations, the European Parliament's budgetary committee last week delayed the transfer of 18.7 million euros in financial aid to the PA until the EC reports how the money is to be distributed..." (Ha'aretz, June 6, 2002, Yair Ettinger)

This specific frozen amount was released in the meanwhile, however Israel's pressure continues.

(3) Amos Har'el, 'The IDF neutralizes the Palestinian Authority, and humanitarian organizations try to replace it', Ha'aretz Hebrew edition, June 23, 2002. (Quoted before).

(4). The campaign against UNRWA started earlier: "In letters written to Annan in May, Republican U.S. Senator Arlen Specter and Democratic U.S. Representative Tom Lantos accused the U.N. agency of allowing and promoting terrorist activity in the camps. Specter said UNRWA schools promoted anti-Israeli and anti- Semitic sentiments and Lantos said the agency allowed terrorists to organize in the camps."(Inter Press Service, June 24, 2002)


(5) Bible, Samuel II, 12:11: "12:1The LORD sent Natan to David. He came to him, and said to him, "There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. 12:2The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 12:3but the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up together with him, and with his children. It ate of his own food, drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him like a daughter. 12:4A traveler came to the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man who had come to him, but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man who had come to him." (http://ebible.org/bible/hnv/2Sam.htm)


www.tau.ac.il/~reinhart

add your comments

Source file


 

Lies and more lies!
by A PROUD JEW!!!! 8:44am Thu Jul 4 '02

print comment

Your article is full of lies. According to the Oslo agreement almost an unlimited number of Palestinians can work in Israel, that was the reality until the Palestinians started their barbarian terror attacks in the cities of Israel, when those attacks started Israel had to stop the work of Palestinians in Israel (most of the time for short period, during the last months, because of the terror war, permanently). What could Israel do? Let the children and the civilians to die on the streets of the cities? .
Those Palestinians that are not involved in terror activity can go to any country they wish to go, by passing the border to Egypt.
According to the Oslo agreement the Palestinians have the right to build their own airport and sea port, they build those and used them until they started their terror war against Israel and until those aircrafts and ships used to deliver bombs and missiles.
During the 70ג€™s Israel tried to build new house for the citizens of the refugee camps in Gaza, this plan didnג€™t succeed after Arafat announced that the Palestinians that will dare to live in those houses will die.
The Palestinians could have their own country 2 years ago (and before- at 1947 , if they would refuse to the U.N offer for a Palestinian state beside Israel and tried instead to destroy Israel.) when Israel offered them 98% of the land they call the occupied territories (the land of the Jewish people for more than 5000 years), and 2% more alternative land, the answer for this incredible compromise by the Israeli side was murder and terror. To protect the Citizens and children of Israel, with no partner for peace talks in the other side, Israel had to enter to the Palestinian cities to stop the suicide bombers and those who send them, Arafat couldnג€™t stop it for us, as was agreed in the Oslo peace agreements ,more than that, Arafat paid and supported those terrorists, can anybody blame Israel for protecting itself? Would any other country would do anything else?

add your comments


 

Thanks for telling the truth and being fair
by Dr. I.A.J. 3:05am Sun Jul 7 '02

print comment

I don't live in the Middle East, but I am always
interested in what is happening in the Middle
East. I have a lot of information from credible
sources and even from many jews and Israelis. A
lot of the information is from credible and
different international and Isreali journalists,
writers, ordinary people, peace groups,
politicians, and others. I can definitely say
that you are right Tanya. Everything you said is
true and I compiment you for your courage and for
revealing the truth to the world. You are a
shining model of peace loving people whose hearts
are full of kidness and love to humanity. I
encourage you to stand firm and always be with
justice and truth. The voice of the Palestinian
people is unheard and the truth about what is
happening to the Palestinians is lost because of
the Israeli powerful propaganda and influence in
Europe and the United States. I and every true
and just peace loving people in the world stand
with you, with moderate Israelis and moderate
Palestinians. There is no justification what so
ever for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank
and Gaza Strip. Israel may succeed in hiding the
truth and covering up the crimes of its army and
government against the Palestinians for sometime,
but it will not succeed forver. The time will
come at which the world will know the truth and
will find out that Israel committed huge crimes
against humanity and lied to the world about
everything. The problem with Israel is that power
is in the hands of extremists and peace-loving
Israelis are put aside. Their voice is unheard
and the right-wing Israelis are trying to silent
them by calling them traitors and by boycotting
them. Those peace-loving Israelis, including
those heros who refuse to serve in the occupied
Palestine are true heros. Their voice is the
voice of reason and the voice of the right-wing
Israelis who lie to the world and justifies the
crimes of their government, their army, and their
settlers, is the voice of darkness, injustice,
and evil.

One of the right-wing extremists who commented on
your column tried unsuccessfully to put all the
blame on the Palestinians and to fool people with
his false propaganda (the propaganda on the mouth
of every Israeli right-wing politician, every
Israeli news media and most news media in Europe
and in the United States). To the person who
claims what you are saying is lies, let me say
"many people in the world are now mature and
smart enough to be fooled by you and to believe
the lies of your government and army. Please do
not underestimate people's intillegence and son't
try to make people believe your baseless
unfounded accusations and your lies".

About Camp David, let me ask the person who added
the comment and said "if the Palestinians would
have accepted Clinton's peace proposals, they
would have a state by now": Do you really know
what you are talking about? Do you really know
what was offered at Camp David? Do you know that
according to Camp Dvid, the Jordan Valley would
be kept virtaully under Israeli control? The
borders of the West Bank with Jordan and the
borders of Gaza Strip with Egypt would be kept
under Israeli security control. The international
airport would be under Israeli security control.
The main water resource in the West Bank would be
annexed by Israel. Israel would control the
airspace of the Palestinian state and the shores
of Gaza. Israel would have early warning stations
everywhere in the Palestinian state. The security
in East Jerusalem would be in the hands of
Israel. The West Bank would be split into 3
isolated pieces. There would be more restrictions
on Palestinian media, ties with other nations,
textbooks, etc. Also the Palestinians would have
no army. Add to that the fact that most Israeli
members of Kenneset's and most Israeli people
were against Barak's offer at Camp David (which
was by the way not a written offer, nothing was
in writing even maps). In order for a final
agreement to be valid from an Israeli side, the
Kenneset must approve it by an absolute majority
3 times. Was that possible? No. Also a vast
majority of Israeli jews were supposed to vote in
favor of the accord. Was that possible? No.

Regarding the rest of lies raised by the person
commented on your article, I refer that person to
a comment (the comment is after the article) at
the following URL. See a comment there which
replies to another person who is missing the
truth and who supports the Israeli extremists
blindly:

http://www.indymedia.org.il/imc/israel/webcast/32012.html

Once again Tanya, thank you so much for being a
wonderful person full of humanity, kindness, and
nice feelings. Let us hope for a just lasting
true peace between Israel and Palestine. Let us
hope that moderate Israelis and Palestinians will
win the battle against extremists. Let us raise
our voices against occupation and its evil
actions. let us hope Palestinians will sometime
see the light in the end of the tunned and win
full real independence and anjoy a fully
independent state in the entire West Bank, Gaza
Strip, and East Jerusalem. Let us hope that the
voice of reason will finally win and Israel will
recognize she cannot lie to the world and justify
its crimes forever. let us hope that Israel will
not succeed in misleading the world anymore. Let
us hope the Palestinians will be able to have
their aspirations and dreams achieved. let us
hope the Palestinians and the Israelis will live
in peace and in safe secure borders; no
occupation, no killing of civilians, no suicide
bombings, no destruction, no curfew, no closure,
and no suffering. Both people suffered enough and
its time for both of them to enjoy a just lasting
peace.

add your comments


 

Thanks for telling the truth and being fair
by Dr. I.A.J. 3:06am Sun Jul 7 '02

print comment

I don't live in the Middle East, but I am always interested in what is happening in the Middle East. I have a lot of information from credible sources and even from many jews and Israelis. A lot of the information is from credible and different international and Isreali journalists, writers, ordinary people, peace groups, politicians, and others. I can definitely say that you are right Tanya. Everything you said is true and I compiment you for your courage and for revealing the truth to the world. You are a shining model of peace loving people whose hearts are full of kidness and love to humanity. I encourage you to stand firm and always be with justice and truth. The voice of the Palestinian people is unheard and the truth about what is happening to the Palestinians is lost because of the Israeli powerful propaganda and influence in Europe and the United States. I and every true and just peace loving people in the world stand with you, with moderate Israelis and moderate Palestinians. There is no justification what so ever for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel may succeed in hiding the truth and covering up the crimes of its army and government against the Palestinians for sometime, but it will not succeed forver. The time will come at which the world will know the truth and will find out that Israel committed huge crimes against humanity and lied to the world about everything. The problem with Israel is that power is in the hands of extremists and peace-loving Israelis are put aside. Their voice is unheard and the right-wing Israelis are trying to silent them by calling them traitors and by boycotting them. Those peace-loving Israelis, including those heros who refuse to serve in the occupied Palestine are true heros. Their voice is the voice of reason and the voice of the right-wing Israelis who lie to the world and justifies the crimes of their government, their army, and their settlers, is the voice of darkness, injustice, and evil.

One of the right-wing extremists who commented on your column tried unsuccessfully to put all the blame on the Palestinians and to fool people with his false propaganda (the propaganda on the mouth of every Israeli right-wing politician, every Israeli news media and most news media in Europe and in the United States). To the person who claims what you are saying is lies, let me say "many people in the world are now mature and smart enough to be fooled by you and to believe the lies of your government and army. Please do not underestimate people's intillegence and son't try to make people believe your baseless unfounded accusations and your lies".

About Camp David, let me ask the person who added the comment and said "if the Palestinians would have accepted Clinton's peace proposals, they would have a state by now": Do you really know what you are talking about? Do you really know what was offered at Camp David? Do you know that according to Camp Dvid, the Jordan Valley would be kept virtaully under Israeli control? The borders of the West Bank with Jordan and the borders of Gaza Strip with Egypt would be kept under Israeli security control. The international airport would be under Israeli security control. The main water resource in the West Bank would be annexed by Israel. Israel would control the airspace of the Palestinian state and the shores of Gaza. Israel would have early warning stations everywhere in the Palestinian state. The security in East Jerusalem would be in the hands of Israel. The West Bank would be split into 3 isolated pieces. There would be more restrictions on Palestinian media, ties with other nations, textbooks, etc. Also the Palestinians would have no army. Add to that the fact that most Israeli members of Kenneset's and most Israeli people were against Barak's offer at Camp David (which was by the way not a written offer, nothing was in writing even maps). In order for a final agreement to be valid from an Israeli side, the Kenneset must approve it by an absolute majority 3 times. Was that possible? No. Also a vast majority of Israeli jews were supposed to vote in favor of the accord. Was that possible? No.

Regarding the rest of lies raised by the person commented on your article, I refer that person to a comment (the comment is after the article) at the following URL. See a comment there which replies to another person who is missing the truth and who supports the Israeli extremists blindly:

http://www.indymedia.org.il/imc/israel/webcast/32012.html

Once again Tanya, thank you so much for being a wonderful person full of humanity, kindness, and nice feelings. Let us hope for a just lasting true peace between Israel and Palestine. Let us hope that moderate Israelis and Palestinians will win the battle against extremists. Let us raise our voices against occupation and its evil actions. let us hope Palestinians will sometime see the light in the end of the tunned and win full real independence and anjoy a fully independent state in the entire West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Let us hope that the voice of reason will finally win and Israel will recognize she cannot lie to the world and justify its crimes forever. let us hope that Israel will not succeed in misleading the world anymore. Let us hope the Palestinians will be able to have their aspirations and dreams achieved. let us hope the Palestinians and the Israelis will live in peace and in safe secure borders; no occupation, no killing of civilians, no suicide bombings, no destruction, no curfew, no closure, and no suffering. Both people suffered enough and its time for both of them to enjoy a just lasting peace.

add your comments


 

More False Propaganda
by Alex 9:35am Thu Jul 11 '02

print comment

Well here is one more ignorant fool who believes all the propaganda the Israeli government and US Pro-Israeli lobby spew's out.

WAKE UP WORLD! 54 years the Zionist movement perpetrated a huge injustice against a largely unarmed defenceless arab civilian population aided and abetted, much to my shame, by the British and later the US. For 54 years the entire world has colluded in the violent and oppressive regime of occupation and colonisation pursued by the Israeli government and done nothing to stop it and what is even more frightening is now buying into the lies that the palestinians are part of the war on terror.

WAKE UP WORLD and stop believing the lies perpetuated by the propaganda of an extremist right wing Israeli government and stop silently colluding with the brutal oppression and starvation of an entire people who were never anti-semitic or hated jews in any way until the Zionist settlers started arriving in their land and made obvious their intentions to steal it from them.

WAKE UP WORLD and write to your elected representatives to put pressure on the Israeli government to complete a full and unilateral withdrawal of all the illegally occupied palestinian territories including the settlements.

add your comments


 

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