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Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine, Terrorism Issues.

Seriously, is there anything that the Government of Israel will not again and again stoop to?

Not content with attacking and murdering civilian populations, particularly babies, on the pretext of collective punishment, they have now decided to steal the taxes they collect for the Palestinian Authority. Of course, that leaves the question as to why anyone in their right mind, let alone any Palestinian, would entrust their taxes to an occupying power remains moot.

Harriet Sherwood reports in The Guardian:

Israel has seized more than $120m (£75m)in tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in response to last week’s overwhelming vote at the UN general assembly to recognise the state of Palestine.

The move came as the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, returned to cheering crowds in Ramallah in the West Bank following Thursday’s vote, in which 138 countries backed enhanced “non-member state” status for Palestine. Only nine countries opposed the move and 41 abstained.

The financial sanction is Israel’s second punitive response to the vote. On Friday, it announced a big settlement expansion programme.

An Israeli official said Israel was entitled to deduct the sum from a debt of more than $200m (£125m) owed by the PA to the Israel Electric Corporation. But he conceded that the move was in response to the UN vote, and that it could be repeated next month. “A lot depends on what the Palestinians do or don’t do,” he said.

Funny thing, the Israel Government had exactly the same reaction, with the same explanation, when Palestine was accepted into UNESCO:

There is a pattern of events, although the framing of history is construed for different purposes. For example,Joseph Massad in The Guardian observes the area of the proposed Palestinian State is much diminished from that proposed in 1947:

On 29 November 1947, the UN general assembly voted to partition Palestine between native Palestinians and overwhelmingly European Jewish colonists. The partition plan granted the colonists (one-third of the population) 57% of the land, and granted the native inhabitants (two-thirds of the population) 43%. On 30 November, the colonists embarked on the military conquest of Palestine, expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. They declared their state on 14 May 1948. Of the 37 Jewish signatories to the “Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel,” only one was born in Palestine, the Moroccan Behor Chetrit. Palestinians rejected the plan as it dispossessed them of their lands. Arab armies intervened to stop the expulsion but failed and hundreds of thousands more Palestinians were expelled. The colonists conquered the territory assigned to them by the partition plan plus half the territory assigned to the Palestinians.

The partition plan stipulated that upwards of 47% of the Jewish state’s population would be Arab while the Arab state would have less than 1% Jewish population. The Plan insisted that the two states could not expel or discriminate against their minorities. For the UN, the “Jewish state” meant a state that champions Jewish nationalism without discriminating against non-Jews, and that its definition of Jewish and Arab states did not allow ethnic cleansing, which is what the Jewish colonists embarked upon immediately. Since then, the colonists and their descendants insist that for them the “Jewish state” is able to discriminate by law and policy against non-Jews for example, through ethnic cleansing.

Some Jewish historians make competing claims, which at least to me proposes an absurdity, that Palestine was unsettled at or after the 1880’s. One can recognize that those people experienced the Holocaust were traumatized by their experience, but that cannot be suggested for the followers of Jabotinsky or the more recent influx of immigrants following the collapse of the Soviet Union. How could it be that the European settlers of Palestine have a 4,000 year connection with the land, ignoring other peoples then and now, and the Jewish people in Ethiopia don’t?

So what is to be done with an international outlaw, albeit one protected under the umbrella of an immoral USA? To me it is striking that the argument was made against UN recognition of Palestine because they then would have access to the International Court of Justice. So it is not just the Bill of Rights that is been trashed; it is also the application of human rights, and by implication as Julian Assange points out, democracy.



The actions of the present Israeli Government, and likely future government after the elections, are making a two-State solution impossible, thus making an one-State solution inevitable. There is a sense of foreboding will represent the end of the Jewish homeland. Peace might still be possible, but to give it a chance the sides need to enter into the processes, with a sense of mutual respect, that will realize the potential.

To give a different view, here is the Rabbi Michael Lerner from Tikkun:

For those like me who love Israel and wish to see its citizens safe and secure, and know that that can only happen when Palestinians are also safe and secure, the defacto abrogating of the possibility of a two state solution should Israel follow through on its punishment of the Palestinians by building in the area cutting the possible Palestinian state in two is a tragic error. . .

It makes me sad to imagine what will happen when Palestinians actually see the 2 state solution destroyed in coming years by a Netanyahu-Likud-Beiteinu government, and are then driven into the hands of Hamas or other extremists. The only plausible alternative is for them to demand “one person, one vote” inside Israel, and that is not going to be accepted by many Israelis who still feel scared enough of the world to believe that their only safety comes in a state with a Jewish majority. I discuss these issues in more detail in my 2012 book Embracing Israel/Palestine which you might want to consider for a holiday gift for your Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and secular friends http://www.tikkun.org/EIP .

Meanwhile, it is disappointing to listen to the Reform movement (Union of Reform Judaism) dealing with all this by castigating Palestinians for seeking recognition at the U.N., as though their desire for international support is somehow a crime, when in fact it was the logical outcome of Israel blocking any serious negotiations by refusing to stop expanding its West Bank settlements. Here is a part of what they said after the vote this past Thursday:

“We are deeply disappointed in the results of the vote in the United Nations yesterday to accept Palestinian non-member observer state status. We believe this decision will undercut incentives for a final agreement that must be negotiated by the two impacted parties directly. We are also concerned about the potential for this decision to enable the Palestinians to challenge Israel, both diplomatically and legally, in the international arena in UN sponsored venues such as the International Criminal Court, a move that will do serious damage to rebuilding the trust between Israel and the Palestinians. We want to commend–and thank–the United States and Canada for their vigorous position [opposing UN recognition of the Palestinian state] regarding this UN vote. We agree with Secretary of State Clinton who said that: ‘”Only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve: two states for two people, with a sovereign, viable and independent Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel.

‘ HELLO???? Has the Reform movement been asleep or ethically unconscious these past 18 years after Oslo when negotiations have led nowhere and Israel has expanded its Occupation dramatically and refused the 2009 demand of both President Obama and the Palestinians to stop building settlements while negotiations took place? Have they not even bothered to read the daily coverage of what the Israeli newspaper calls Israel’s “arrogance” (see below) in dealing with the Palestinian people. Bad enough that the Obama Administration has fallen back from its original demand, but what about Reform Jews–have they really lost their moral compass on this issue?

The Reform movement in Judaism was once a leader of ethical consciousness–and still is on almost every issue both in the US and Israel–except the one most important issue facing the Jewish people: reconciliation and peace with Palestinians. I hope that Reform rabbis will have the courage to stand up and not allow their important movement to continue to avoid its ethical responsibilities when it comes to challenging Israeli policies that continue to thwart the 2 state solution to which the Reform movement (along with Netanyahu) gives lip service.–Rabbi Michael Lerner



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