ISRAEL / PALESTINE
Fifty Years have passed since Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War resulting in the longest military occupation in modern times. And on the ground there has been a radical shift in demographics because of the settlements. What began as a few scattered outposts has now mushroomed into vast sub-divisions and cities with Jewish only road networks connecting them make it difficult for Palestinians to travel. About 600,000 Israelis now live beyond the country's 1967 borders. The Palestinians are being squeezed into ever smaller and smaller enclaves, isolated and without sufficient water. The settlements, illegal under international law, are a key obstacle to the resolution of the conflict. But Israel continues to expand them. Each new house makes the possibility of a just peace more remote. And Washington makes it all possible with its ongoing economic, military and diplomatic support for Israel. Interview by David Barsamian.
For decades Palestine and Palestinians were associated with terror and terrorism. In political discourse and popular culture Palestinians were often typecast as blood thirsty killers. As the great Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said once ruefully observed, “Palestine is a thankless cause, one in which if you truly serve, you get nothing back but opprobrium, abuse, and ostracism. How many friends avoid the subject? How many colleagues want none of Palestine's controversy? How many bien pensant liberals have time for Bosnia and Somalia, Rwanda and South Africa and Nicaragua and human and civil rights everywhere on earth, but not for Palestine and Palestinians?” There are signs that may be changing. A new generation of activists has breathed fresh energy into the question of Palestine. The BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, has attracted more and more adherents. The pendulum is shifting. Interviewed by David Barsamian. Recorded at KSFR.
Occupation has a corrosive and corrupting effect not just on the occupied but on the occupiers as well. The British learned this in Kenya as the French did in Algeria and maybe the U.S. did in Iraq. People don’t like to be occupied. Thus, severe measures are employed to keep them controlled. Israel is a case in point. Palestinians have endured more than five decades of occupation. They have been subjected to land seizures, destruction of homes and fruit trees, torture, checkpoints, curfews, barriers, collective punishment and extrajudicial killings. In terms of the tactics of repression Israel is no different from other occupiers. But there is one crucial difference: U.S. support. Washington has given over the years more than $130. billion in aid to Israel. That’s more than any other country gets by far. The U.S. by its largesse enables the occupation.
Recorded at Seattle Pacific University.
Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and author of Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel and The 51-Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. He is a senior writer for Alternet, and his articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Nation, The New York Times, and other newspapers and journals.