Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Australian Zionists remain in denial about Israeli dispossession

Earlier this year I initiated a petition for Australian Jews to reject their automatic right of return to Israel.

In response, the predictably hysterical Philip Mendes (a Jewish social work academic from Melbourne) has responded under the headline, “Radical Australian Jews advocating for Israeli national suicide“:

Last month a small group of Australian Jews signed a petition coordinated by anti-Israel extremists Antony Loewenstein and Ned Curthoys rejecting their right to Israeli citizenship under Israel’s Law of Return, and instead demanding that Israel accept the return of “seven million Palestinian refugees from around the world”. This argument that Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war are entitled to return to their former homes and land inside Israel is a staple diet of the pro-Palestinian lobby including the vocal group, Australians for Palestine, with which the petition convenors are associated.

There are, however, a number of overwhelming historical and contemporary arguments against such a return. The exodus of the 600-700,000 Palestinians occurred in the context of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Three groups contributed to this tragedy: the Palestinian Arab leadership who attempted to destroy the Jewish State of Israel at birth; the Arab States who invaded Israel in an attempt to assist the Palestinians; and Israel which expelled many of the Palestinians for fear that they would constitute a hostile ‘fifth column’ that would undermine their defence of their borders.

On the cessation of hostilities in December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 194, which has often been cited by the pro-Palestinian lobby as supporting an unconditional return of the Palestinian refugees. In fact, the resolution was clearly conditional, and formally linked to acceptance of the earlier UN partition resolution creating both Jewish and Arab states in Palestine, and a negotiated peace. The resolution stated that ‘the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return’.

In practice, both the Palestinian leaders and the Arab governments initially rejected the resolution precisely because it implied recognition of Israel’s legitimacy. The anti-war journalist Martha Gellhorn undertook a series of interviews with Palestinian refugees, published in the Atlantic Monthly in October 1961, which suggested that most wanted revenge, rather than to live in peace with the Israelis.

Prior to the 1967 Six Day War, Palestinian right of return rhetoric was used to deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel, and so provide a rationale for the Arab refusal to recognize the State of Israel. However, following the 1967 war, the international debate shifted from questions about the legitimacy of Israel within the Green Line borders to questions about the legitimacy of a Palestinian State in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. The subsequent political contest for or against a two-state solution explicitly assumed that any resolution of the Palestinian refugee tragedy would be addressed within the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. There could be two states or there could be a Palestinian right of return, but there could not be both. It was instructive that the Oslo Peace Accord signed by Israel and the PLO in 1993 did not mention Resolution 194.

Palestinian demands for a right of return of the 1948 refugees were, however, formally revived during the ill-fated Camp David negotiations of July 2000. The Palestinian delegation argued for the right of every Palestinian refugee to return home in accordance with UN Resolution 194. They also called for an immediate timetable for the return of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon to the Galilee.

In response, the Israelis denied any historical or moral responsibility for the Palestinian refugee exodus, and refused to recognize any right of return. This anti-right of return position is shared by the entire Israeli political spectrum including prominent peace activists such as Amos Oz, David Grossman, and A.B.Yehushua. They believe (as do many diaspora Jews including the author) that the Palestinians are entitled to at least partial compensation for the injustice of 1948 by securing a sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside Israel. But only a tiny handful of Israelis would share the views of Loewenstein and Curthoys that the rights of Palestinian refugees can only be achieved by suppressing the rights of Israeli Jews.

The prominent revisionist historian Benny Morris, who had vigorously challenged the official Israeli view that the Palestinians had left voluntarily at the behest of Arab leaders in 1948, succinctly argued in an interview with the left-wing Tikkun Magazine in March 2001 that any right of return would lead to the ‘physical destruction’ of Israel. According to Morris, ‘A country divided between Israelis on the one hand and on the other Palestinians who had returned and were filled with anger not only at the way they had been treated in the past but also at not finding their villages or homes available – that country would quickly become ungovernable. Each individual Jew living in the country would be facing a real physical danger’.

Morris’ comments emphasize that any large-scale return of 1948 Palestinian refugees to Israel would be likely to bring civil war and enormous bloodshed rather than Israeli-Palestinian peace and reconciliation. The only sane and dignified solution to the refugee tragedy is the resettlement of all Palestinian refugees with compensation as either full citizens in the neighbouring Arab countries in which most have lived for over 60 years, or alternatively as citizens of a new Palestinian state to be established alongside Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The sheer arrogance of this position should not surprise. Note how Palestinians are to be given no say over what they would like. Not just the US-backed Palestinian Authority. International law is very clear, no matter how Mendes wants to understand it. Zionists like Mendes are simply incapable of imagining a Middle East without a Jewish state. It is apparently their God-given right to dictate to Palestinians how they should live and address historical wrongs. A right of return will happen, though exact numbers should clearly be negotiated between all parties. In the end, the colonial state never dictates the rules of the game. History proves otherwise.

Palestinian Ali Abunimah actually addresses these very concerns in his latest article:

A new conventional wisdom is rapidly taking shape that the United States can resolve the 130-year-old conflict in Palestine by advancing its own peace plan. Zbigniew Brzezinski and Stephen Solarz outlined such a plan, and argued that President Obama could boost its prospects with a “bold gesture” — a trip, to Jerusalem and Ramallah in the company of Arab and other leaders to unveil it.

Strong supporters of Israel have pushed back that “imposing peace” would not work, but few Palestinian voices have been heard. Indeed, from a Palestinian perspective, this idea is dangerously simplistic, and more likely to deepen festering injustices and fuel, rather than resolve conflict.

The “comprehensive solution” Brzezinski and Solarz propose is nothing of the kind because the conflict cannot be reduced to a mere border dispute between Israel and a putative Palestinian state. They propose for example “a territorial settlement based on the 1967 borders, with mutual and equal adjustments to allow the incorporation of the largest West Bank settlements into Israel.”

This is deceptive; the West Bank and Gaza Strip constitute just 22 percent of historic Palestine between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, in which Palestinians formed the overwhelming majority prior to their expulsion and flight as Israel was created in 1948. Official Palestinian acceptance of the two-state solution was a concession unprecedented in the history of any nation because it involved surrendering the 78 percent of the country on which Israel was established. To demand that Palestinians further divide the remainder represents no compromise by Israel. It merely ratifies Israel’s systematic colonization of West Bank land since 1967 in flagrant defiance of international law.

The proposed “land swap” to compensate Palestinians for annexed Israeli settlements is illusory. The majority of the half million Israeli settlers are concentrated in and around Jerusalem — the heart of the would-be Palestinian state. Yet the lands that Israel might consider handing over in compensation are small barren tracts far away from population centers. If there are such lands that could compensate the French for Paris, the British for London or Americans for New York City, then there might be lands that Palestinians could accept instead of Jerusalem.

Even more devastating to Palestinian rights, Brzezinski and Solarz float “a solution to the refugee problem involving compensation and resettlement in the Palestinian state but not in Israel.” This they call “a bitter pill” but argue that “Israel cannot be expected to commit political suicide for the sake of peace.”

Palestinian refugees have an internationally recognized legal right to return to their homes and lands, but Israel has always denied this on the sole grounds that Palestinians are not Jews. Thus Gaza, where 80 percent of the population are refugees, is essentially a holding pen for humans of the “wrong” ethno-religious group. Would Brzezinski and Solarz be so sanguine about accommodating Israel’s discriminatory character if its grounds for refusing the return of refugees was that they had the “wrong” skin color?

I write from downtown Pretoria, once the all-white capital of the South African apartheid state, which also argued that ending white rule would be “political suicide.” The notion that people of different groups cannot or should not mix is belied by the vibrant multiracial reality in the streets of Pretoria outside my window today.

And precedents for the actual return of refugees abound. Under the US-brokered 1995 Dayton Agreement that ended the Bosnia war, almost half a million refugees and internally displaced persons returned home with international assistance, to areas that had become dominated demographically and politically by members of another ethno-national community — an enormous achievement in a country with a total population of 3.5 million and deep traumas as a result of recent war.

Other than Israel’s discriminatory aversion to non-Jews it is difficult to see why Palestinian refugees could not also return to their lands inside Israel, the vast majority of which remain uninhabited.

By endorsing Israel’s self-definition as a “Jewish state,” Brzezinski and Solarz not only ratify the violation of the fundamental rights of refugees, but consign another 1.4 million Palestinian citizens of Israel to permanent second-class status within an increasingly intolerant and ultranationalist Israel. A more likely outcome than ‘two states living side by side in peace’ is that Palestinian citizens of Israel will come under increasing threat of expulsion to the Palestinian state — in other words, a new round of ethnic cleansing.

The vision of a truncated, demilitarized mini-state in no way fulfills basic Palestinian aspirations and rights and would bring no more peace or dignity than the bantustans which apartheid South Africa tried to establish for its black citizens to forestall and delay demands for equality and democracy. Nor would a trip by Obama do anything to revive shop-worn ideas that have gained little real support either among Palestinians or Israelis since they were first proposed at the failed Camp David summit in 2000.

Margaret Thatcher once said that partitioning South Africa to create separate black and white states would be like “trying to unscramble an egg,” and could lead to tremendous bloodshed. It is time to recognize that this truth also applies to Palestine/Israel and to seek political solutions similar to the one here, or the settlement in Northern Ireland, that embrace rather than attempt to deny diversity, equality and justice for all who live in that land.

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At least some Israelis are acknowleding that two-states is long gone

Meron Benvenisti, former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, tells the Guardian that the two-state solution should be dead and buried:

Israel’s domination, he says, is now complete, while the Palestinians are fragmented into five enclaves – inside Israel, in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the diaspora.

In this situation, the concept of two states is misleading. “What does it mean, a state? It’s a solution for less than one quarter of the Palestinian people on an area that is less than 10% of historic Palestine.” Palestinian leaders who are ready to accept this “are a bunch of traitors to their own cause”. Ramallah, prosperous headquarters of Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and the recipient of millions of dollars in foreign aid, is a “bubble in which those who steal the money can enjoy themselves”.

It’s a position oddly shared by another Israeli figure (though for very different reasons):

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Thursday that he would rather accept Palestinians as Israeli citizens than divide Israel and the West Bank in a future two-state peace solution.

Speaking during a meeting with Greece’s ambassador to Israel Kyriakos Loukakis, Rivlin said that he did not see any point of Israel signing a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority as he did not believe PA President Mahmoud Abbas “could deliver the goods.”

Referring to the possibility that such an agreement could be reached, Rivlin said: “I would rather Palestinians as citizens of this country over dividing the land up.”

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Drone pilots should hire lawyers immediately

Killing civilians from the air may be illegal. Thank you for stating the bleeding obvious:

The pilots waging America’s undeclared drone war in Pakistan could be liable to criminal prosecution for “war crimes,” a prominent law professor told a Congressional panel Wednesday.

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The charming gassing of fellow Arabs by Egypt

Mubarak’s Egypt, doing the dirty work of Israel and America and laughing all the way to the corrupt bank. A “moderate” Arab regime, in the words of policy makers and Zionists:

Egyptian forces pumped gas into a cross-border tunnel used to smuggle goods into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing four Palestinians, Hamas officials said.

Egypt has been under pressure to seal off the hundreds of tunnels that are a key economic lifeline for the blockaded Palestinian territory but which are also used to bring in weapons for the Islamic militant group.

Israel and Egypt have kept Gaza’s official border crossings closed since Hamas seized control of the coastal strip in 2007 from forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who now only governs in the West Bank.

A Hamas security official in charge of the tunnel area along the border said the Egyptians filled the passage with some type of crowd dispersal gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give his name.

The Hamas Interior Ministry later said in a statement the gas used to try to clear the tunnel was poisonous. Besides those killed, six people were injured, it said.

“The Interior Ministry confirms that the citizens’ cause of death was the Egyptian security forces spraying poison gasses into one of the tunnels,” the statement said without elaborating.

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“Boobquake” alert across the world to warn the mullahs in Tehran

Following the recent comments by an Iranian cleric that women wearing revealing clothing may cause earthquakes, some ladies are fighting back (with appropriate contempt and humour):

I have a modest proposal. Sedighi claims that not dressing modestly causes earthquakes. If so, we should be able to test this claim scientifically. You all remember the homeopathy overdose? Time for a Boobquake. On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that’s your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I’m sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn’t rumble. And if we really get through to him, maybe it’ll be one involving plate tectonics.

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Hizbollah rearms and accused of terrorism and Israel just continually rearms

Remind me who is the neighbourhood bully in the Middle East? It certainly isn’t Hizbollah or Lebanon:

Hezbollah on Wednesday shot back at US charges it was stockpiling sophisticated weapons, accusing Washington of destabilising the Middle East and vowing to continue to build its artillery.

“The resistance has the right to use all legitimate means to build its capacity to defend Lebanon,” Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah told AFP on Wednesday.

“US arms are annihilating the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon and are the cause of all suffering in the region,” he added.

“They are the principle factor destabilising the region, undermining its security and preventing development.”

Fadlallah also accused the United States of “waging a diplomatic and political battle” in order to help its ally Israel maintain the upper hand in regional military prowess.

“The United States is asking us to accept Israel’s alleged superiority to ensure Israel remains capable of launching attacks at its will while we are stripped of the ability to face these aggressions,” he said.

“We have no interest in acceding to these attempts to concretise Israeli superiority,” Fadlallah added.

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Think of them and be scared; how Palestinian kids view colonists

A new, short film by MentalRev productions – their Gaza film is currently in production – is about Palestinian children in the rural village of at-Tuwani speaking about their encounters with violent Israeli settlers in the South Hebron Hills:

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A day will come, and soon, when America will have to face what they’re backing in Israel

Henry Siegman, former national director of the American Jewish Congress, asks a question for anybody loving Israel to death:

Most of the political parties that comprise Netanyahu’s government, including Yisrael Beiteinu, led by Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu’s Foreign Minister, and Shas, have left no doubt that if forced to choose between democracy and the state’s Jewish identity, they would opt without the slightest hesitation to end Israel’s democracy.

What exactly would an American president do when confronted with such a new reality, which undoubtedly would again produce a spate of full-page advertisements and AIPAC resolutions in the U.S. Congress stressing the Jewish people’s biblical attachment to the land and demanding that we stand by our traditional ally? How would a less than forthright U.S. response to such a situation play in the rest of the world? Isn’t it in America’s national interest-not to speak of the interests of the State of Israel and its people and of the Palestinian people-for an American president to exert every effort to prevent such a likely deterioration that would force our policymakers to make the most agonizing and fateful decisions?

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Sydney seen as a global hub of anti-Zionist fervour (says Tel Aviv “thinker”)

The Israeli think-tank Reut Institute has spent the last months arguing that Zionists need to battle the “delegitimisers” and fight back against unfair claims of apartheid in Palestine.

Now in a new piece, we’re informed by the group that Sydney, of all places, is a global centre of Israel hatred:

…A few generic principles can be utilized by Israel and by pro-Israel groups in effectively countering local delegitimization dynamics. The first such principle involves embracing and acting according to the network-based logic that underlies the effectiveness of the delegitimization movement. First and foremost, this involves focusing on the hubs of delegitimization and undermining catalysts within such hubs. The number of hubs of delegitimization is fairly small and may include, for example, London, Madrid, Sydney, the San Francisco Bay Area, Paris, Toronto, and Brussels. While in each of these places there may be many anti-Zionists, there are actually only very few catalysts – organizations and individuals devoted to undermining Israel and whose fingerprints are ubiquitous in a wide ranger of anti-Israel initiatives. In every hub of delegitimization, there are approximately 10 to 20 catalysts – all together, in the order of 100 organizations or individuals world-wide who are the real engines of delegitimization. Numerically speaking, contending with them is an attainable task.

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Californian Jews on speaking out and saying what they want on Palestine

Let’s celebrate the fact that growing numbers of Jews in the US are not staying silent anymore:

An ad hoc group of prominent San Francisco Bay Area Jews is publishing an “Open Letter to All Jewish Communities” in the national Jewish newspaper, The Forward, warning of an upsurge in efforts to silence debate about the Israel-Palestine conflict inside the American Jewish community. The Open Letter advocates instead for “unfettered freedom of speech, open-minded public education, respectful discussion, and willingness to engage in that time-honored Jewish tradition of fruitful debate and meaningful dialogue.”

The Open Letter warns that new San Francisco Jewish Community Federation Guidelines “on potentially controversial Israel-related programming” will affect “the range of American Jewish voices on issues concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

According to the Open Letter, the Guidelines “limit debate, threaten dissent, and establish, for the first time, a litmus test for loyalty to Israel as a condition of funding.”

Forward Ad: Prominent Bay Area Jews Warn About SF Jewish Federation Guidelines 4/10

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Abu Ghraib was only the beginning

This is what the Western allies have given the Iraqi people; a land destroyed by war that still tortures citizens on a daily basis.

NPR reports on a Human Rights Watch investigation that details shocking tales of abuse at a secret Iraqi prison:

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We at the Israel lobby are here to help 24/7

Two revealing examples of the Zionist lobby at work, obscuring, ignoring and denying reality.

Here’s Al-Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros:

I recently jumped at the chance to take an all expenses paid helicopter ride over Israel and part of the West Bank.

The trip was courtesy of The Israel Project (TIP) which describes itself as a non-profit, non-partisan group working to impact world opinion for the sake of Israel’s security.

The helicopter ride is meant as an “educational tour” for journalists and was inspired by George Bush, the former US president, who took a similar ride and reportedly said it opened his eyes to just how vulnerable Israel is.

The tour operates twice a month and has taken up over 1,400 journalists.

We (AJE cameraman Brad McLennan and I) met our guide and fellow journalists early in the morning, were bussed to an airport near Tel Aviv, treated to breakfast, and (after a security check that happened only to involve Brad and I and not the other two Israeli journalists) were taken up on a civilian helicopter for 45 minutes.

In mid air, an information pack was given to each of us - a neat little 80-page handbook explaining why we were really here.

To boil it down – Israel, the argument goes, is small and under threat from every side so the borders they have imposed are out of necessity not choice.

Hence the name of the tour nicely laminated on the front of the pack – “Defencible Borders: Strategic Options for Israel’s Security”.

Don’t look down

Throughout the flight, our tour guide used a variety of maps, statistics, pie charts, drawings and graphs to explain the reason for the separation wall (deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice).

We have all heard the reasoning that it prevents terrorist attacks but what our guide was trying to explain was that it has swallowed up Palestinian land only in areas which would have exposed Israel and posed a security threat.

The wall has in fact taken 12 per cent of Palestinian land and drastically changed the landscape of Jerusalem creating a de facto border where Israel would like to see one and not where international law deems one should be.

If we were looking down we would have witnessed this reality, but instead most in the helicopter were busy looking at the diagrams.

What is amazing is that in our 45-minute ride we managed to avoid flying over any of the 120 illegal Jewish settlements that have been built on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Not a word was said by our guide about these settlements – neither does it get a mention in our info pack.

Below is a taster of what we did see – the town of Modi’in which sits next to the settlement of Modi’in Illit (which I couldn’t film because of the route we took).

The other argument made by our guide was that the separation wall (which he points out will be six per cent concrete and 94 per cent electronic wire fence when finished) was not a permanent international border but rather a defensive one.

Plans, he said, are being made for electronic key cards so that Palestinian farmers left outside the wall can access their lands  now on the “Israeli” side.

When I asked our guide why Israel is making long-term plans for a border he just finished telling us was only temporary, he answered “because one day it will be permanent”.

It’s a simple strategy and one Israel uses unapologetically – creating facts on the ground they call temporary (because in theory they are still negotiating over these facts) while carrying out actions that would make a final settlement based on anything other than what they have already created almost impossible.

The middle of the tour involved landing in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. Here the guide explained how it was in fact Hamas that has imposed the siege in Gaza, a point I challenged him on …

The Israel Project do not hide their aim – shaping media coverage of the conflict.  This is after all is a battle for land where the court of public opinion matters.

To preserve Israel’s interests (to secure a Jewish state with borders of its choosing) an effort must be made to explain and justify to the world the process by which that state is being created.

But the changes happening come at the expense of Palestinian statehood, and that is clear to see for all those who choose to look down.

And two neo-conservatives prove that some Jews want to be only known as bombing advocates:

A former Bush administration official said he hopes the United States will address the Iranian president’s threat to “wipe Israel off the map.”

“Israelis are living under the threat of annihilation every day,” Elliot Abrams, the Bush administration’s National Security Council senior director for Near East and North African Affairs, said April 25 at the Baltimore Zionist District’s “U.S.-Israel Relations In A New Era” symposium, the Baltimore Jewish Times reported. “If the world does not act, I believe Israel will act, and I hope the U.S. will.”

“We keep saying it’s unacceptable for Iran to have a bomb, but we don’t mean it. We mean it’s terrible, we don’t want it. But when Israel says it’s unacceptable, they mean it.”

Steve Rosen, director of the Middle East Forum’s Washington Project and a former top staffer at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, agreed with Abrams’ assessment

“The majority of Americans support force on Iran, yet there’s a taboo against saying we must force them now,” Rosen said at the seminar. “The U.S. would be more efficient than Israel at suppressing Iran. We have to have the ability to stare directly into the light bulb.”

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