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HISTORICAL FRAMING OF ISRAEL-PALESTINE VIOLENCE July 4, 2014

Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine.
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The Federal Government is an unfolding revelation of neoliberalism. The budget, was preceded by ongoing and intensifying cruelty to those fleeing persecution, and then Senator Brandis framed the position on Israel-Palestine.

David Wroe reported for The Sydney Morning Herald (5 June):

After a heated Senate Estimates hearing late on Wednesday evening, Attorney-General George Brandis was forced to read a carefully prepared statement on Thursday morning in which he said it was ”unhelpful” to bring up ”historical events”.

East Jerusalem is a lightning rod in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The International Court of Justice and the United Nations General Assembly have deemed it part of the West Bank and an occupied territory.

On Wednesday night, Senator Brandis repeatedly refused to say whether East Jerusalem is occupied by Israel.

Then, in an apparent hardening of the Coalition’s support for Israel, he issued a statement that was drafted in consultation with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and her departmental head Peter Varghese.

”Australia supports a peaceful solution to the dispute between Israel and the Palestinian people, which recognises the right of Israel to exist peacefully within secure borders and also recognises the aspiration to statehood of the Palestinian people,” Senator Brandis said.

”The description of areas which are subject to negotiations in the course of the peace process by reference to historical events is unhelpful.

”The description of East Jerusalem as ‘Occupied East Jerusalem’ is a term freighted with pejorative implications, which is neither appropriate nor useful.”

. . .
The Senate stoush began after Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon repeatedly referred in questioning to ”occupied East Jerusalem”. Senator Brandis fired back that using the word ”occupied” was judging matters that are still under discussion as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

”The tendentious description that Senator Rhiannon is using . . . is not the descriptor that the government uses,” he said. ”I don’t profess view on this matter. I’m merely correcting the use of a term . . . by Senator Rhiannon which prejudges the issue about which she inquires.”

The violent reaction of the Israelis to the discovery of the three dead young people from the settler communities was there to be reported. In effect it was both collective punishment and terrorism of a population. But now “terrorism” and the fear that induces is reserved for Islamic extremists. I suppose that provides “closure” and certainty for some, which is probably okay, as far as it goes, as long as they are not responsible for public policy – which sadly may be the case.

These calculated measures to make a point create trauma and unresolved anger, and for some perhaps a sense of helplessness for individuals and subject populations. Combine this with dehumanization, and a powerful brew is created, intensified by the barbarity of modern weapons, particularly on an “asymmetrical battlefield“. Perhaps especially those who are disposed to be passive/peaceful – most of us – may discover redemption in violence from an intolerable situation. Often, this will take the form of self-violence. We have to find another way. We might reasonably expect our government to honour our aspirations and do what they can. Equally, we might understand that empathy is an expression of human intelligence, an essential quality we should expect in our leaders. Thus to discharge those who are found lacking.

The evidence of this trauma when it presented is, I find, very confronting.
Feeling Our Pain Is the Way to Peace by: Nitsan Joy Gordon on July 2nd, 2014. She writes as an introduction:

“On Monday night we found out that the search ended, the three young men who were kidnapped eighteen days ago have been discovered dead, buried in some wadi near Hebron. Apparently they were killed almost immediately after being kidnapped. The smell of revenge is in the air…

In the news some politicians are arguing that the best response is to build more settlements in order to show the Hamas that we are creating the possibility of life where lives were destroyed. Others are talking about increasing public transportation to the settlements so that young people do not have to hitchhike. The Israeli military is destroying homes without any consideration for the law and imprisoning relatives of the murderers, and hundreds of others. Netanyahu is saying, “Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay.” And Hamas is saying: “All Hell will break loose if you attack.” Planes are flying over us, Gaza is being bombed, and there is a sense that war is just around the corner….

I want to scream ENOUGH to acting out our pain. Can we just take some time to feel it?

It is possible to feel the grief, the rage, the horror and emerge from the other side with deep heart connection towards our “enemies.”

I work with a group of Muslims, Druze, Christians, and Jews who live in Israel who know how to do this. We teach people to do it. Now we want to share this knowledge with the world by making a film about it and training trainers who will teach thousands more. Please take the time to watch this video about our film and support our efforts”:

What can be done to stop this violence in Palestine-Israel? Stop it we must. We human beings are better than this.

The Attorney-General – the greatest lawyer in Christendom – does not seemingly agree. To argue that Israel alone should have the right to live peacefully within secure borders is as tendentious as fails to be impartial because the Attorney-General and the Government, on their own admission ignore the historical context of the occupation. Senator Brandis might review his assumptions (as we all should, and that is what,in part, the study of history teaches).

There are Jewish writers and commentators hold historical context is fundamental to understanding the unresolved conflict in Israel-Palestine.

The situation is very well summed up by Rebecca Vilkomerson executive director of Jewish Voices for Peace (from whom I have permission to “quote away”):

“16 year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair from East Jerusalem was found dead, the victim of what appears to be a price tag attack following the killing of three Israeli teenagers on the West Bank. He was the 10th Palestinian killed by the IDF or right-wing extremists in the last two weeks.

We mourn his death as we do all lost lives. And we also know we must speak the truth, so that we may change the conditions that make such unthinkable violence possible in the first place.

The ongoing Israeli occupation is at the heart of this crisis.

In addition to these deaths, across the West Bank the army has sealed off entire towns, arrested more than 400 people, and raided over 100 homes. Gazans have been subjected to more than 34 bombing raids in the same period.

These are not isolated or even rare instances of human rights violations, but the intensification of the daily enforcement of the Israeli occupation. Palestinians are subjected to home demolitions, checkpoints, arrests, and indefinite detention not randomly and occasionally, but daily and systematically.

The shedding of just one child’s blood is too much and cause for deep mourning. While we mourn the 3 Israeli teenagers who were killed in the West Bank, we also mourn families of the 1,384 Palestinian children killed by the Israeli military since 2000, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. That’s 1 Palestinian child killed by the Israeli military every 3 to 4 days.

The Israeli government is endangering lives and both fomenting and feeding off an atmosphere of vengeance and racism.

The Israeli government has continued to show little regard for either Israeli or Palestinian life. The pronouncements of Cabinet ministers, IDF officials, and the Prime Minister Netanyahu make it clear that revenge, not justice, is the main agenda. Emerging reports suggest that the government knew the fate of the teens long before that information was released, but withheld that information – indicating that the government’s primary aim has been to exploit the kidnapping to attack the infrastructure of Palestinian society.

Meanwhile, hundreds rioted in the streets of Jerusalem, chanting “death to the Arabs” and “we want war” while attacking Palestinians on the street, or in shops. Settlers burned down a Palestinian sheep farm in a price tag attack.

All lives are precious.

We refuse to mourn only the deaths of Palestinians, or only the deaths of Israelis. But that does not mean we can ignore the enormous power difference between Israelis and Palestinians, or pretend it is just a “cycle of violence” with no root cause or context. Each of these horrific incidents that harms both peoples happen in the context of an ongoing occupation, itself inherently a system of daily violence. And it is a system that by its very nature puts the lives, dignity, and human rights of all in jeopardy.

It is our responsibility to speak the truth.

The media in both Israel and the United States have thus far failed to offer critical reporting that can help readers understand the content of occupation or the degree of violence inflicted by the Israeli government’s escalation. But we can change that narrative – and we have to, if we want to end the occupation and injustice.

(Rebecca Vilkomerson recommends the readers of her letter to write to newspapers).

Proponents of historical context for understanding the situation include Max Blumenthal. Abby Martin interviews Max Blumenthal at RT:

There are other replies by Max Blumenthal of interest and relevance to us, including the possible calculations of Netanyahu (Abbott’s ideological soulmate?). The question and answer at the end is of special interest relevance to the Brandis position. It is about framing, which in turn is a function of cultural, social factors, but equally the professionally edited media lens.

Abby Martin:
I am curious as to what your response is to those who say, “What do you expect when rockets are shot at the country, and what retaliation should be issued for the killing and murder of its citizens”?

Max Blumenthal:

I expect Israel to decolonize and allow the 80% of the people from the Gaza Strip, who are refugees to return to their land and property that was taken from them. If you want to understand the roots of the Palestinian violent resistance you can’t go back a few weeks or a few intifa’s ago. This is not a cycle of violence. It is a reaction to a settler-colonial-apartheid state which is engaged in an ongoing campaign to dispossess Palestinians of all they have in order to consolidate it’s ethnic purity. That is the root of this crisis, and that is what we should be talking about as well as the current round of violence. And this will continue as long as the status quo continues. All of the trends we are seeing today, including the fascist trends, will deepen and intensify.

Reference was made to the article by Noam Chomsky at The Nation. Max Blumenthal did not mention it, but some Palestinians are seeking to organize nonviolently to oppression, occupation and dispossession.

To me it is short-sighted and disappointing that Australian Government has not developed a position to facilitate peace. The ALP, for example, still holds to the Two State Solution, which may now not be tenable. They have fraternal association with the Israeli Labor Party. I suspect has been fundamentally transformed by both emigration and immigration. In that sense, “border control” has worked out well for the right in Israel. Veniality may also be a factor in the demise of the Labor there putting the perks of office ahead of political cost.

What could I do? Following the suggestion, I have requested my MHR to request a Ministerial Representation to the Attorney-General. I supported my request with two references to Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAH). The Law and Disorder program interviewed Dr Jeff Halper from ICAH, from The Israel Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAH). The interview begins around 33:50. In March 2012, ICAHD made a submission to the UNHRC.

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