Second, and perhaps more importantly, the number of seats Bennett’s party receives is not the only metric of rightward shifts in Israel. Take for example the fact that during the primaries for the Likud—which led the self-proclaimed most pro-settlement government in Israeli history—that party elected even more pro-settler elements into its leadership. The Likud, which then merged with Avigdor Lieberman, the man who was routinely referred to as “far-right” and “ultra-nationalist” only one election ago, is the largest party in the Israeli political system and now has others to its right. Last, keep in mind that while the members of the governing coalition and some of their natural allies were openly and staunchly pro-colonization and even annexation, no party in the Zionist opposition vociferously challenged the Israeli settlement enterprise—with the possible exception of Meretz, which took in a grand total of 7 seats. Those 7 seats, by the way, were considered a remarkable and unexpected triumph.
Half the people living under Israeli state control, Palestinians, either cannot vote or are treated as second-class citizens. The outcome of these elections shows that Israelis will not challenge that reality. It must be our duty to ensure that the counting of some ballots does not act as a fig leaf for the disenfranchisement of millions of others.
On the 65th anniversary of the UN approving the partition of Palestine, the UN voted to upgrade Palestine from a non-member entity to a non-member state.
One of Israel’s tremendous propaganda victories is that it has been accepted as a victim of the Palestinians, both in the view of the Israeli public and that of Western leaders who hasten to speak of Israel’s right to defend itself. The propaganda is so effective that only the Palestinian rockets at the south of Israel, and now at Tel Aviv, are counted in the round of hostilities. The rockets, or damage to the holiest of holies - a military jeep - are always seen as a starting point, and together with the terrifying siren, as if taken from a World War II movie, build the meta-narrative of the victim entitled to defend itself.
Every day, indeed every moment, this meta-narrative allows Israel to add another link to the chain of dispossession of a nation as old as the state itself, while at the same time managing to hide the fact that one continuous thread runs from the 1948 refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, the early 1950s expulsion of Bedouin from the Negev desert, the current expulsion of Bedouin from the Jordan Valley, ranches for Jews in the Negev, discrimination in budgets in Israel, and shooting at Gazan fishermen to keep them from earning a respectable living. Millions of such continuous threads link 1948 to the present. They are the fabric of life for the Palestinian nation, as divided as it may be in isolated pockets. They are the fabric of life of Palestinian citizens of Israel and of those who live in their lands of exile."
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The screenshot on the left shows the widget display on Thursday, November 15. The screenshot on the right shows the widget display a day later. On Thursday, the widget explained that there were 651 rockets that hit Israel in 2011. On Friday, the number changed to 627, despite the fact that the year 2011 is too recent to have made a comeback.
Moreover, supposedly 122 rockets had hit Israel between the time of the screenshots on Thursday and Friday (396–274=122). It would follow, then, that the full 2012 figure of 822 would also increase by 122, giving us a total of 944. Instead it jumped to 1,197, an increase of 375 (1197–822=375). What accounts for the 253-rocket surplus in 2012 and the 24-rocket deficit in 2011?
As Israel steps up its targeting of civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip on the fourth day of an assault that began when it violated a truce on 14 November, and calls up reservists in advance of a possible ground invasion, Israeli officials are distributing a graphic that appears intended to justify in advance the bombing of Gaza hospitals and health facilities.
The graphic published by the Israeli army is a fake hospital sign that purports to show that Hamas leaders hide under hospitals and stockpile weapons there.
Ofir Gendelman, an official spokesman for the Israeli prime minister tweeted the same image in Arabic.
During “Operation Cast Lead,” its savage 2008-2009 assault on Gaza, Israel carried out widespread attacks on hospitals and health facilities. As a 2009 report by European develoment and rights organizations noted:
A World Health Organization (WHO) assessment of 122 health facilities in Gaza revealed that 48% were damaged or destroyed during the offensive: 15 hospitals and 41 primary health care centres were partially damaged; two primary health care centres were destroyed; and 29 ambulances were partially damaged or destroyed.
And during the 2008-2009 invasion, as The Electronic Intifada reported, Israeli forces killed 16 medical rescuers, four in one day alone. Another 57 were injured.
The UN-commissioned Goldstone report examined the Israeli claims. On page 142, the report says that Israel alleged that:
Hamas systematically used medical facilities, vehicles and uniforms as cover for terrorist operations, in clear violation of the Law of Armed Conflict. This included the extensive use of ambulances bearing the protective emblems of the Red Cross and Crescent … and the use of hospitals and medical infrastructure as headquarters, situation rooms, command centres and hiding places.”
The commission of inquiry investigated the Israeli claims with regard to several hospitals that Israel had bombed, for example the al-Quds hospital in Tal el-Hawa, which had been hit by Israeli white phosphorus shells and high explosives.
It also looked at the flimsy nature of the “evidence” cited by Israel. In the case of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, this was “an interview with a ‘Hamas activist’ captured by Israel and an Italian newspaper article which in turn bases this assertion on a single anonymous source.”
“On the basis of the investigations it has conducted,” the Goldstone report said, “the Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations made by the Israeli Government.”
Similarly, the report found no evidence to support frequent Israeli claims that ambulances were misused, and much evidence to contradict that claim. Israel’s Magen David Adom, its affiliate with the ICRC, even told the UN investigators that “there was no use of PRCS [Palestinian Red Crescent Society] ambulances for the transport of weapons or ammunition … [and] there was no misuse of the emblem by PRCS” (page 144).
In short, Israel has never presented any credible evidence to back up its claims, and yet it continues to produce propaganda like the “hospital sign” above to justify its very real crimes against Gaza’s already fragile health system.
Just how low can you go?