Jeff Halper

Countdown to Apartheid

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s address to both houses of Congress was perhaps the most skilled use of Newspeak since George Orwell invented the term in his novel 1984. Just as Orwell’s totalitarian propagandists proclaimed WAR IS PEACE and Israeli government signs placed at the Wall (sorry, fence) at the entrance to Bethlehem greet Palestinians with the blessing PEACE BE UNTO YOU, so Olmert declared in Washington: UNILATERAL REALIGNMENT IS PEACE

The power of saying no

As the new Hamas government is sworn into power in the Palestinian Authority, we might ask: What would bring a people, the most secular of Arab populations with little history of religious fundamentalism, to vote Hamas? Mere protest at Fatah ineffectualness in negotiations and internal corruption doesn’t go far enough. While warning Hamas that their vote did not constitute a mandate for imposing an Iran-like theocracy on Palestine, the Palestinians took the only option left to a powerless people when all other avenues of redress have been closed to them: non-cooperation. 

Setting up Abbas

From Sharon’s point of view it’s a done deal. Israel has won its century-old conflict with the Palestinians. Surveying the landscape - physical and political alike - the Israeli Prime Minister has finally fulfilled the task with which he was charged 38 years ago by Menachem Begin: ensure permanent Israel control over the entire Land of Israel while foreclosing the emergence of a viable Palestinian state. Still, Israel needs a Palestinian state. Although the annexation of the settlement blocs gives Israel complete control over the entire country between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, it needs to “get rid of” the almost four million Palestinian residents to which it can neither give citizenship nor keep in a state of permanent bondage. 

The process of transfer continues: The Jerusalem Municipality plans to demolish 88 houses in Silwan, East Jerusalem

The Municipality of Jerusalem intends to demolish an entire East Jerusalem neighborhood. Eighty eight homes housing 1000 residents in the el Bustan area of Silwan village in East Jerusalem close to the walls of the Old City. The reason, (according to the city engineer Uri Shitreet, who issued the orders) is that this area is an important cultural and historical site for the Jewish nation because it stands on the site where King David established his kingdom. The aim, says Shitreet, is to return this “densely populated Palestinian part of the city” to its landscape. 

Another "generous offer" mythology in the works?

Even Ariel Sharon himself, the father of the settlements and a fervent proponent of the Greater Land of Israel ideology, has come to understand the need for a Palestinian state in order to relieve Israel of the 4 million Palestinians living in the occupied territories. The problem is not a Palestinian state, but a viable Palestinian state. After Bush declared that “a state of scattered territories will not work,” his agreement to Israel’s annexation of its major settlement blocs leaves one to wonder just where that viable Palestinian state will be. One gets the impression that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is being set up for yet another “generous offer” ala Barak and Camp David II

E-1: The end of a viable Palestinian state

Last week’s announcement that Israel is constructing 3500 housing units in E-1, a corridor connecting Jerusalem to the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, seals the fate of the Palestinian state. As a key element of an Israeli “Greater Jerusalem,” the E-1 plan removes any viability from a Palestinian state. It cuts the West Bank in half, allowing Israel to control Palestinian movement from one part of their country to another, while isolating East Jerusalem from the rest of Palestinian territory. Since 40% of the Palestinian economy revolves around Jerusalem, the E-1 plan effectively cuts the economic heart out of any Palestinian state, rendering it nothing more than a set of non-viable Indian reservations. 

Israel's "state terrorism" in Gaza

At this very moment, Israel army bulldozers are razing dozens of homes in the Rafah refugee camp in retaliation for the deaths of five Israeli soldiers. The Israeli cabinet authorized the army to demolish hundreds of Palestinian houses at Rafah, so as to create a “sterile” zone hundreds of meters wide. Jeff Halper argues that Israel will not know peace and security, the Palestinians will not know freedom, America will not know security and find its place in the world until the Israeli occupation ends.