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Israel's harsh 'reality on the ground'

Creating “realities on the ground” is the speciality of the Israeli government. This week Israel has implemented a major land-grab around four Palestinian West Bank villages, precisely in order to create “realities” that will be the starting point for the talks to be held in Maryland in November. The land seized from Palestinian farmers will be used to expand illegal Jewish settlements, split the West Bank in two and create an apartheid road. Palestinian drivers would have to drive deep into the desert to get from Bethlehem to Ramallah, effectively barring them from the central part of the West Bank.

Jeff Halper, an Israeli geographer who specialises in Israel's development of the West Bank, said: "They want to push everything as far as possible before the November meeting…. Anything done before that meeting will be set in stone… part of a timeline in which Israel wants to get all its development of the West Bank finished before Bush leaves office."

Any Palestinian opposing these facts will be branded a terrorist; any opponents outside the Middle East will be branded an anti-Semite. Because the other “reality on the ground” that Zionist supporters are trying to create is that it is unacceptable, unlawful - or at the least career suicide - for anyone to criticise Israel and its brutal treatment of the Palestinians.

For example the UK’s University and College Union recently caved in to pressure and informed its members that it has legal advice that it would be unlawful even to discuss a boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions. Members voted at their conference that the union should carry out a regional discussion about implementing a boycott to highlight the failure of Israeli institutions to support Palestinian academic life and institutions, destroyed by the Israeli army’s actions. Many Israeli academics also signed the call for a boycott.

In a very confused statement, the UCU’s Strategy and Finance Committee has told members that discussion cannot go ahead because a boycott call would be unlawful and could not be implemented. A regional debate could “infringe discrimination legislation”. Of course it would only take five minutes to find another lawyer to show that to have a discussion is not in any way unlawful.

Zionist pressure to block debate in the United States has claimed other victims too. Nobel peace prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has just had an invitation to speak to the Peace and Justice group at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota withdrawn after the university’s president spoke with the local Jewish Community Relations Council and two rabbis. Tutu’s crime? He has dared to suggest that Israel is pursuing apartheid policies. The chair of the Justice and Peace Studies program, Prof. Cris Toffolo has been removed from her post as head of department.

Fortunately she has tenure or she would no doubt have met the same fate as Professor Norman Finkelstein of the De Paul University in Chicago. He finally agreed to resign this week, after a long campaign to deny him tenure, orchestrated by pro-Zionists from outside the university. Finkelstein, himself Jewish, was targeted because of his book “Beyond Chutzpah” which argued that it was wrong to say any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.

Back in the UK, Danny Rubinstein, Arab affairs editor of Haaretz newspaper was also in trouble when the Zionist Federation withdrew its sponsorship of a meeting he was addressing in London. This leading journalist had dared to state at a United Nations event, something his Israeli readers can read in his column any day of the week, that “Israel is an apartheid state with different status for different communities”. That simple home truth is the actual reality on the ground.

Penny Cole
October 10, 2007

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