Sunday, February 28, 2010

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oy, oy,vay!

What is the world coming to? Three clean-cut young Aussies are named as persons of interest in the assassination of a "Hamas operative", Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, smothered to death in his hotel room in Dubai. Israel's Mossad is widely considered to have organised and carried out the murder. That great master of the spy genre, John Le Carre, couldn't have thought up a more twisted and sinister plot.

Three of the suspected assassins carried Australian passports, in the names of Nicole McCabe, Adam Korman and Joshua Bruce. All are citizens of Australia and all have dual citizenship with Israel. None of them live in Australia, all live in Israel. All deny any knowledge of the illicit use of their (Australian) passports.

Meanwhile, back in Oz, our erstwhile Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd (who famously declared that support for Israel is "in my DNA"), has complained about the use of fake Australian passports in this affair. To the best of my knowledge, however, he has failed to condemn the assassination for what it was - the state sanctioned murder of a political opponent. Seems like you can go around killing off your enemies, just don't use an Australian passport while doing it.

Meanwhile, back in Israel, the war criminal Tzivi Lipni, she who presided over the Gaza Massacre, has voiced her opinion that the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was justified. Most Israelis seemed to agree; when polled, 87% of them went along with Mossad's actions.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Human Rights Workers

Bridgette Chappell Photo AP

Just as Israel attempted to hide its actions during the Gaza Massacre, it now moves to screen from the outside world its continuing human rights abuses in the Occupied West Bank. The arrest last week of the young Australian activist Bridget Chappell was just one of a number of arrests and deportations of international human rights workers, activists and observers in recent weeks. Israelis and Palestinians who have been active in their opposition to the ongoing theft of Palestinian land and property have also been subject to arrest and detention in increasing numbers.

Israel has stepped up its efforts to deny entry to Palestine by anyone sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. It controls all entry points to the West Bank and Gaza (just as it controls every aspect of Palestinian life). While its blockade of Gaza is designed to starve the population into submission, the tightened controls on entry into the West Bank are an effort to hide its actions and the effects of its 42 years of military occupation from the eyes of the world.

In a move worthy of the Burmese junta, Israel has now decided to cancel the work permits of foreign nationals working in East Jerusalem and the West Bank for such aid organisations as Oxfam, Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders and Handicap International. While it is still possible for individuals from these organisations to apply for tourist visas the Interior Ministry ruling now makes it virtually impossible for them to carry on their humanitarian work.

Go to the Electronic Intifada (link at right) for Bridgette's article on the fate of Wael al Faqeeh, a human rights campaigner from Nablus.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Australia's national broadcaster, SBS, recently screened "La Vis et Deviens" ("Live and "Become") a touching and sensitive movie about a young boy taken to Israel in 1984 during Operation Moses, the Mossad-inspired plan to relocate the Falasha, Ethiopia's Black Jews, to Israel. A Christian, the boy took the name Solomon, or Schlomo, as part of an assumed Jewish identity in order to flee the grinding poverty of life in Ethiopia. The movie tracks his life into young adulthood as he encounters love, kindness and also racist rejection in his country of adoption.

Operation Moses and the later Operation Solomon, in 1991, divided public opinion in Israel. Many Israelis would not accept the Falasha's claim that they were Jews, descended, according to legend, from the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon or that they were the tribe of Dan, one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. (Indeed, DNA evidence finds no convincing links of the Falasha to Middle Eastern Jews, but confirms that they link to African Ethiopians.)

Most of the Falasha, estimated at around 120,000, are now in Israel. They live alongside the hundreds of thousands of Russians who migrated in recent times, many of whom have similarly tenuous claims to being Jews. They may be joined shortly by a sponsored wave of Indians, whose claim to being Jewish is currently being asserted.

Should this be a problem, the migration to Israel of such diverse and contentious minority groups, for compassionate reasons? Should they not be allowed to make
aliya, whereby any Jew, anywhere in the world, under the Law of Return (sic), may settle in Israel? All very noble stuff, one might think, until one reflects on the condition of the Palestinians, who currently comprise the largest refugee population in the world. Forced to flee from their homeland in the pogroms of 1948 and 1967, they are denied any right of return, let alone any compensation. Those who remain in the remnants of Palestine live under a brutal Israeli military occupation (and here I include Gaza).

What the film-makers failed to reveal is that Israel's "Law of Return", together with its ongoing program of ethnic cleansing of the native population, is designed to do one thing: to alter the demographic status of Palestine in favour of an overwhelming "Jewish" presence.