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Daily Archives: May 16, 2011
JTC, “the global new service of the Jewish people”, described the Nakba Day events as a “breach” of Israel’s northern border”. Hamad Almakt/Flash 90
Cote De Pablo
Uriel Heilman writing from Tel Aviv, touches on the familiar theme of hyperbolic paranoia in that breach.
“If a single phrase could capture the sentiment that motivated thousands of Arabs to try to cross Israel’s borders on Sunday to “retake Palestine” from the Jews, it would be this: Yes, we can.”
That can-do attitude had toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and threatened dictators from Tripoli to Damascus. So why not apply it toward Israel? If Arab leaders weren’t willing to send their armies to storm the Zionist state, the Arab protesters figured, well then, they’d just do it themselves.
The charge toward Israel’s borders from Arabs in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank led to the most violent day in Israel in months, with about a dozen protesters reportedly killed by Israeli fire — some on foreign soil — and a suspected terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that left one Israeli civilian dead.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Sunday that Israel would do what it needed to defend itself.
“Let nobody be mistaken, we are determined to defend our borders and sovereignty,” he said.
Coming on Nakba day – the annual date Arabs mark the “catastrophe” of Israel’s birth on May 15, 1948 – the protests signaled that the Arab Spring, which until now has spared Israel, may be arriving at the borders of the Jewish state. Among Palestinians, calls for a third Palestinian intifada are rising – at least on Facebook.
“The whole Arab world is roiling around the Nakba,” Professor Eyal Zisser, an expert on Syria at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East and African Studies, told JTA. “Add to that that youngsters think they can make a difference. They decided that instead of just shouting and demonstrating, they’d go across the border.”
For Israel, the breach of the Syria-Israel border came as something of a surprise. It marked the first major violence along the border since the May 1974 disengagement agreement that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
In the Golan Heights, hundreds of Arabs from Syria reported to be Palestinians surged through a part of the border known as the Shouting Hill, so named because Druze relatives on opposite sides of the boundary use it to shout to each other by bullhorn. The few Israeli troops stationed in the area tried to keep the marchers at bay. Shots were fired; as many as four people were reported killed.
As scores surged across the border and into the Druze town of Majdal Shams — near one of the only parts of the border not covered by mines because it occasionally serves as an international crossing point — the Israel Defense Forces dispatched reinforcements and set up checkpoints around the town to catch infiltrators. The infiltrators who were caught were sent back to Syria.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops stationed along the international boundary with Lebanon used live fire to keep back thousands of protesters from Lebanon. At least 10 people were reported killed, some by Lebanese army fire, according to the IDF.
In Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian demonstrators attacked Israeli checkpoints, and Israeli soldiers responded mostly with tear gas. Demonstrators in Egypt and Jordan also sought to force their way into Israel, but they were held back by local troops.
Eli Malka, head of the Golan Regional Council, called on residents of northern Israel to prepare to take up arms to defend the homeland, warning on Israel Radio: “Sixty-three years on, the War of Independence of the State of Israel is not over.”
President Obama will address this year’s AIPAC conference.
Obama’s decision to keynote the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference, rumored for days, was confirmed Monday by Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, to reporters traveling with the president aboard Air Force One. AIPAC confirmed the news.
The Associated Press quoted Carney as saying that Obama will not outline policy in his speech but instead will focus on the “deep bond” with Israel.
Obama is scheduled to meet Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also will address AIPAC. The day before the meeting, Obama is slated to deliver a policy speech on Arab democracy.
MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights — Mobilized by calls on Facebook, thousands of Arab protesters marched on Israel’s borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday in an unprecedented wave of demonstrations, sparking clashes that left at least 15 people dead in an annual Palestinian mourning ritual marking the anniversary of Israel’s birth.
In a surprising turn of events, hundreds of Palestinians and supporters poured across the Syrian frontier and staged riots, drawing Israeli accusations that Damascus, and its ally Iran, orchestrated the unrest to shift attention from an uprising back home. It was a rare incursion from the usually tightly controlled Syrian side and could upset the delicate balance between the two longtime foes. . . . .
Palestinians were marking the “nakba,” or “catastrophe” – the term they use to describe their defeat and displacement in the war that followed Israel’s founding on May 15, 1948. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were uprooted. Today, the surviving refugees and their descendants number several million people.
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by Alan Hart, writing in Veterans’ Today http://bit.ly/jrWjwK
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, a master of Zionist double-speak and deception, is about to undertake the most important assignment of his life. Because of its continuing occupation and oppression of the Palestinians (not to mention on-going property and land grabs), Israel is becoming a pariah state so far as a growing number of the citizens of nations are concerned.
The main purpose of Netanyahu’s forthcoming trip to America is to launch a public relations campaign to rebrand Israel in the hope of stopping the rot of its growing isolation.
In a recent interview with Newsweek, one senior Israeli official said Mitchell often would say one thing about the direction the U.S. was taking with the two sides, only to be contradicted by Dennis Ross, Clinton’s special adviser to the region. The official, who did not want to be quoted by name, said it seemed as if Mitchell had abdicated his role completely in recent months. Indeed, Mitchell’s frequent visits to Israel and the West Bank slowed to a trickle; his last visit to the region was in December. http://bit.ly/
Daniel Levy on Mitchell http://bit.ly/leONJn
Bibi will try to rebrand Israel http://bit.ly/jrWjwK
Gideon Levy ethnic cleansing Ha’aretz http://bit.ly/lQ38ZN
Neve Gordon Israel’s repressive new laws http://bit.ly/lULaxJ
Phillip Weiss on Mitchell http://bit.ly/j8mbV0