Israel Settlers’ Ethnic Cleansing Strategies


armed settlers.jpgBrowsing Haaretz this morning, I saw this top of the column story about Israeli settlers muscling Palestinians for harvesting olives from their orchards — because of the fear that the Palestinians could be gathering intelligence on the settlers.
This is perverse. The settlers should be removed from the site near the Palestinian village and/or arrested for the harassment of the Palestinians.
This kind of behavior is consistent with ethnic cleansing efforts — which have been going on too long without serious comment. The IDF’s role in simply separating both sides rather than punishing the provocations by the settlers — and actually allowing the Israeli settlers to protest inside the Palestinian village — is wrongheaded.
— Steve Clemons


19 comments on “Israel Settlers’ Ethnic Cleansing Strategies

  1. nadine says:

    POA, I don’t know if this has occurred to you, but Cynthia McKinney is not exactly state of the art in smuggling.
    The two preferred methods for smuggling in large weapons are underwater drops off the coast of Gaza, designed to be picked up by fishing boats or float onto the beach, or by dismantling the object into parts small enough to go through the tunnels. The Israeli reports say that Iran has a staging area in the Sudan for dismantling the Fajr-5 rockets into pieces which are then smuggled overland through Egypt and the Rafah tunnels. Israel recently bombed a caravan in the Sudan that was carrying arms.
    The smugglers are pros, and Iran is devoting a lot of money and effort to trying to smuggle arms to the Palestinians, and has been for a long time (remember the Karine A?) If they haven’t got more in, it’s because the Israelis are also pros.


  2. Outraged American says:

    Nadine also accuses Iran of smuggling big rockets into Gaza.
    How? McKinney on a peace boat couldn’t get crayons in.
    Yet again Israel is up to her old tricks: she sends her operatives
    across the Blue Line, which is not really demarcated clearly in
    parts, have them fire a rocket at Israel, then use it as an excuse
    to shell Lebanon.
    Israel Shells Lebanese Village After Mysterious Rocket Firing
    Israel Blames Lebanese Govt for Incident as Spy Device Tensions
    A mysterious Katyusha rocket landed in an empty field in
    northern Israel this evening, causing no damage or injuries. The
    Israeli military responded by firing several artillery shells at the
    Houla Village in southern Lebanon.
    (lest we forget, Israel’s been blowing up her own spying devices
    in southern Lebanon)
    We have to be careful to call it the “Gaza Strip” because Israel
    wants us to differentiate between the “reasonable” Palestinians
    of the water laden West Bank / PA and the “thugs and radicals”
    in the benighted Gaza Strip.
    That way, subconsciously, we’ll think of the West Bank and the
    Gaza Strip as two separate entities, not as one possible
    Palestine. Divide and conquer.
    Yet again too that lizard NY Senator Chuck Shumer is up to
    something. My guess is that he’s vaguely advocating an Afghan
    “withdrawal” so that when Israel attacks Iran our Afghan troops,
    the ones that aren’t killed immediately as the Sunnis and Shias
    unite, will be seen as not necessary to be stationed there but
    should invade Iran.
    This after Iran retaliates by closing the Straits of Hormuz and /
    or killing our troops in Iraq.
    Schumer: True cost of Afghan stability could be too high for
    (From THE HILL via
    I just read yesterday that New York had the largest population of
    Jews outside of Israel, so let’s move Israel to New York.
    For a fraction of the cost of attacking Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon,
    the Gaza Strip, Afghanistan, Pakistan, (what am I missing here?
    — who else is on Israel’s list of countries to demolish?) we can
    airlift Jerusalem to upstate NY.
    Tel Aviv might have to go to CA, where it kind of is already, but
    first things first.
    We can take that stupid Western Wall and the soil of the Temple
    Mount and let the Zionists build their third temple without
    annoying the hell out of the rest of the world.
    Schumer is D-Israel already, as is Israel (yes Paul, there is a
    “US” congressman whose last name is “israel’) and almost all the
    other democrats and republicans in Congress.
    I think I’ve really hit on a great idea. We can take a portion of
    New York. Or northern New Jersey? — There are a lot of Israeli
    companies already there, like the ones that are making the chips
    for US PASSPORTS — and turn it into Eretz Israel.
    That way, kind of like legalizing pot, we can tax Israel and
    regulate it, and shoot down its Apache helicopters when it
    inevitably tries to bomb Connecticut or invade Pennsylvania.
    We can cut up our new Eretz Israel into 5 inch square districts
    and put all the “US” Congresspeople who hold Israel’s interests
    above ours (all 530 of them) into their own district in Israel
    That way when they go on their yearly jaunts to the Mother Ship
    to get their marching orders, they only have to take a train from
    DC. Hoyer will be delighted.
    BTW: when I called Hoyer’s office to complain about something, I
    got an AUSTRALIAN. I was curious so explained that I had
    worked as a journalist in Australia covering the governments of
    NSW, Queensland and Victoria, and people I spoke with at
    governmental offices always asked me why I had a Canadian
    accent. A fallacy I went along with because a lot of Australians
    hate/ resent/ are jealous of the US.
    Well, back then — now Australians gawking at the wreckage
    that is America probably are thankful that their crazy politicians
    aren’t as crazy as ours, although in truth they are worse if that’s
    Anyway, not only was Hoyer’s minion an Ozzie, but she was
    Jewish — we actually had a nice long chat about Israel. But I
    have had former interns, with impressive degrees, desperate to
    get jobs on Capitol Hill, so why was this lass given a job? What
    part of her resume was more impressive than my interns, who
    were American and from the top schools, which would imply
    that they know the US political system better than an Ozzie?
    Going off to ponder that and plan my trip to the nouveau Eretz
    Israel — all the land between the Hudson and the East River–
    forget the Niles and Euphrates, let’s go for the geld.


  3. Paul Norheim says:

    And now we`re just waiting for Nadine furiously accusing The Economist of being edited
    by European socialist extremists with friendly ties to Ahmedinejad and Al Qaeda.


  4. Outraged American says:

    For the Economist to publish that means the tide against Israel
    is becoming a tsunami, but will it happen before an attack on
    Paul Craig Roberts, father of Reaganomics, doesn’t think so. I
    think that he’s referring to the joint Israeli/ US military exercise
    that the Asia Times had an article about earlier this week,
    Juniper Cobra.
    h/t the fantastic website
    US-Israeli Missile Defense War Game Signals Israeli Attack on
    By Paul Craig Roberts
    October 28, 2009 “Information Clearing House” — -There’s no
    word in the Western press, but Al Jazeera reports that the US
    and Israel are conducting tests of the high altitude missile
    defense system that the US has provided to Israel.
    The anti-missile system is useless against the short range
    rockets of Hamas and Hezbollah. Its purpose is to protect Israel
    from longer range Iranian missiles.
    Everyone understands that Iran would not attack Israel except in
    retaliation. It is logical to conclude that the missile defense
    system signals an upcoming Israeli attack on Iran.
    If the US were opposed to an Israeli attack on Iran, the US would
    not provide Israel with protection against retaliation and would
    not engage in war games with Israel to test the system. The best
    way to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran is to leave Israel open to
    This decision by the United States government is irresponsible in
    the extreme. It enables Israel to spread aggression in the Middle
    East. By signaling an attack, it would encourage a less cautious
    country than Iran to strike first before the Israeli missile defense
    system is operative.
    The joint US-Israeli war games involving 2000 troops from the
    US European Command, the Israeli Army, and 17 US Navy ships
    is further indication to the world that no matter what crimes the
    Israelis commit, the US will protect Israel from being held
    In the world today, the US and Israel are the two threats to


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Not much of an olive branch
    Oct 15th 2009 | AL-MUGHAYIR
    From The Economist
    The plight of rural Palestinians on the West Bank is as grim as ever
    A Palestinian farmer, stumped again“WHAT did the trees do?” says Muhammad Abu Awad, a retired teacher of agriculture and father of 14 children, as he looks gloomily at his ravaged field. Twisted, silvery stubs are all that remain of a lush grove that once offered up a yearly abundance of fat green olives.
    The vandals came at night from Adei Ad, a Jewish settlers’ outpost deemed “illegal” even by the Israeli government, near Shvut Rachel, an established West Bank settlement that is judged illegal in international but not Israeli law. Working fast, unnoticed by Palestinian landowners in the nearby Arab village of al-Mughayir, the settlers cut down nearly 200 olive trees, of which 70 belonged to Mr Abu Awad. As a result, he reckons to have lost income worth around $3,400 that he would have earned from this year’s harvest. But that is not all. “I planted these trees with my own hands 35 years ago”, he says, wistfully touching the stumps, now wrapped in sackcloth to protect them from the sun. Mr Abu Awad hopes his trees will recover and one day bear fruit again.
    As usual at harvest time, tension between Palestinian farmers and Jewish settlers has risen. The olive tree deeply stirs the emotions of Palestinians. It is a symbol of their struggle and a vital part of their rural economy. According to their ministry of agriculture, nearly 500,000 olive trees have been bulldozed, burnt down or uprooted in the territories since the second intifada (uprising) began in 2000. Israel’s army has cleared swathes of groves to create open areas in the Gaza Strip and along the security barrier being built on the western side of the West Bank, often taking big bites out of Palestinian land. The Israelis have also cut down thousands of trees near the Jewish settlements. Palestinians and human-rights groups have repeatedly castigated the Israeli army for failing to stop such destruction. The settlers say terrorists hide among the trees.
    In recent years the Palestinians have usually been able to pick their olives under the protection of the Israeli army and police. Charities that help the farmers say the army has been taking this job seriously, letting the Palestinians harvest without being harassed by the settlers. But they criticise the soldiers for hectoring the farmers into rushing the picking and say the soldiers could do more to protect the trees before the harvest begins, especially in hot spots near ideologically extreme settlements.
    Many of the settlers pursue a “price-tag policy”, deliberately instigating violence and mayhem so that the Israeli military and political establishment is loth to take action, such as evacuating the 100-plus “illegal” settlements, for fear of further violence. As international criticism has mounted, even in America, several Israeli governments have promised to dismantle the outposts but so far little has been done. The settlers are generally against the peace process, because it could mean their expulsion. So whenever there are signs of negotiation, they increase their attacks—among other things, on olive trees. They want to show who controls the land.
    Binyamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Israeli government has plainly emboldened the settlers. “Now they fear no one,” says a Palestinian villager in al-Mughayir. When the ruling politicians seem to back the settlers, the Israeli soldiers feel less obliged to protect the Palestinian farmers.
    Mr Abu Awad says he is determined to fight to keep his land. “I’ll sleep on my land to protect it,” he says. “I tell my children: if I die, they should bury me where my blood was spilled. I’m in love with my land.”


  6. David says:

    Just came across this in an article over on Common Dreams:
    “The philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote…that exclusive preoccupation with personal concerns and indifference to the suffering of others beyond the self-identified group made…the Holocaust possible.” You would think that Israelis, of all people, would understand this at the core of their being. Some clearly do, but obviously those calling the shots in Israel, and the Israeli voters who enable them, do not.
    And no, what is being done right now to Gazans by Israel is not in any meaningful way different from what was inflicted on die Juden.


  7. Jackie says:

    I didn’t realize the National Rifle Association had an office in Israel, but from the looks of those young men, they probably do. Israel could use some “gun control laws”.


  8. David says:

    “Is our contribution to the bloodshed somehow more moral than Iran’s is? Does God pick favorites through religion and ethnicity?”
    Damned good questions, POA. Speaking of contributing to bloodshed, we even have a record of supporting the bloodshed from both sides of the conflict. I am referring, of course, to the Iran-Iraq War. And then we doubled down by invading and essentially destroying Iraq, followed by the most insane attempt at nation building I am aware of. We treated Iraq as if it were a head of hair to which one could apply a home permanent, except that home permanents do not result in unconscionable numbers of civilian casualties.
    To date, the United States has no legitimate moral leg to stand on in the Middle East. None.


  9. ... says:

    steve quote “This kind of behavior is consistent with ethnic cleansing efforts — which have been going on too long without serious comment.”
    steve, glad you have commented on this in no uncertain terms… thanks –
    questions quote “But clearly there are cultural problems that need some serious work. People should simply be unwilling to act this way, and they aren’t.”
    questions, thanks for saying that.. hopefully those americans supportive of israel ( regardless whether they are jewish or not) can rethink what it is they are supporting in israel and reconsider.. these actions epitomize what some of us here have been trying to articulate regularly…


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “California congressman Bob Filner said that the
    Israel lobby is getting congressmen to vote in favor of a war over an issue that the actual people in a congressman’s district
    couldn’t care less about. It’s all about money, he said (echoing my description of the lobby as bribery and corruption); and about politicians’ terror over what happened to former
    Congresspeople Earl Hilliard and Cynthia McKinney, publicly fried by the lobby for speaking out for Palestinian human rights”
    Gosh Samuel, Filner should have a talk with questions, and get set straight. I mean, after all, questions is our foremost expert on what is, and what isn’t, a “conspiracy theory”.
    And uh, when Filner gets fucked over, demonized and marginalized because of his statements, I’m sure we can all rest assured that AIPAC had nothing to do with it.


  11. PissedOffAmerican says:
    Yariv Oppenheimer Banned from Knesset
    Following the exposure of Peace Now’s documentary team filming right wing Knesset members.
    The Knesset Speaker has ordered the security not to allow Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now’s General Director entrance into the Knesset building until further notice.
    Peace Now rejects this attempt to punish the movement in the actual place that is supposed to guard the freedom of movement for all of society – whether left or right wing.
    Peace Now will be legally appealing this decision.
    Peace Now and Israel’s “Borat”
    Last night on the Prime Time news hour Israel’s national broadcasters exposed a new Peace Now documentary project.
    Peace Now commissioned a group of young film makers to pretend in the last few months to be right leaning students filming a documentary, and within this framework to conduct interviews with public and political figures in the right.
    The project aims were to investigate the right wing in Israel and expose their real intentions towards the country and the solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
    Yesterday while the team was interviewing right wing Knesset members, suspicions were aroused and the team was arrested by the Knesset Police. It was then that the whole project came to light and was later exposed on national TV last night and on the major radio shows this morning.
    The documentary style of the project was to be based on the famous Borat/ Ali G style of interviewing where the viewer is shocked yet also amused at the interviewees comments, but also creates a feeling of discomfort by the viewer when really seeing the true side of the interviewee.
    The project has yet to be completed and edited; we hope that the film will be ready for viewing over the internet by mid-November.


  12. samuelburke says:

    phil weiss is doing some great reporting from the jstreet
    “The best news moment of the conference was at tonight’s
    plenary when California congressman Bob Filner said that the
    Israel lobby is getting congressmen to vote in favor of a war over
    an issue that the actual people in a congressman’s district
    couldn’t care less about. It’s all about money, he said (echoing
    my description of the lobby as bribery and corruption); and
    about politicians’ terror over what happened to former
    Congresspeople Earl Hilliard and Cynthia McKinney, publicly
    fried by the lobby for speaking out for Palestinian human rights.
    Filner let loose in the context of Colorado congressman Jared
    Polis saying that we shouldn’t go in for conspiracy theories
    about Jewish influence, and the lobby is no different from a lot
    of other lobbies. That’s when Filner said, No it’s different, and
    said the lobby was engaged on a flashpoint issue for the stability
    of the world, and pushing congressmen to vote for war. I believe
    the plenary session is recorded on the J Street website.
    McConnell tells me Filner used the word “nuclear” in there. I have
    a video of the moment. I’ll post it in days to come. So: an attack
    on the Israel lobby, from the dais at a plenary. Pretty darn good.”


  13. samuelburke says:

    steve i must of necessity say to you that i commend you for
    taking on the issue of our times…this issue goes right to the
    heart of our foreign policy problems in america and also
    commences to address the issue of introducing the israeli
    palestinian dilemma to an american public that is totally in the
    dark as to what israel has done and continnues to do in that
    land, and how they with their zionist fifth column within the u.s
    have manipulated the information available to all of us in order
    to present to america an israel that is always a victim and never
    the victimizer.
    god save our congressional representatives from zionist
    the cuban lobby is peanuts compared to this battle, and the
    implications the israel/palestine conundrum has on your great
    nation is far far greater and more costly to your own people.
    i am pleased to see you grabbing the third rail of american
    foreign policy.
    america needs a hero.
    the pantsy corporate press is bought and paid for.
    the american intelligence community seems to be quite fed up
    with israel and their spying on america.
    i loved that operation they ran with the maryland traitor…posing
    as an israeli agent ought to send a signal to others who may be
    considering selling out the u.s …now they need to wonder
    whether the guy/lady who claims to be representing israel is
    really who they say they are or could they be fbi.
    three cheers for the fbi.


  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, is there no end to the intellectual pablum that questions will pile onto simple trains of thought?
    There is no accountability. On a local scale in Israel, or on a national scale, or on an international scale. The courts are stacked against the Palestinians, and very few Israeli’s are held accountable for crimes against the Palestinians. On a national scale, IDF crimes are ignored, while Knesset members spew racist rationales for oppression. On an international scale, there is no cost to Israel for its actions, whether it be thumbing their noses at over 60 UN Resolutions, stealing land, or frying women and children in white phosphorous.
    The settlers do it because they can. Because this animosity has festered for so long, and been tolerated by the world comnmunity for so long, that it truly IS about bigotry and racism now. It truly is about one human hating another human because of the nature of their birth. It truly is about two societies driven by blind bigotry and hatred.
    Its true. This will not be settled by treaties, intervention, or international law. One side or the other will eventually prevail through violence, and you cannot fight a modern army with stones and bottle rockets.
    We arm Israel. Why shouldn’t Iran arm Hamas? Is our contribution to the bloodshed somehow more moral than Iran’s is? Does God pick favorites through religion and ethnicity? Hitler thought so. I guess we do too.


  15. JohnH says:

    “Because I actually could see the tea-party set going after olive orchards to protect Christmas.”
    Yes…and how many Christians has Israel ethnically cleansed? All with the support of Christianity(TM), Inc.!


  16. non-hater says:

    “which have been going on too long without serious comment.”
    I believe the Palestinians have been objecting to Israel’s policies for a long time. Why haven’t Washington’s Serious People considered the Palestinians’ comments serious?


  17. questions says:

    I sort of wonder if part of the psychology here is that of the “oppressed majority.” To some extent we see this phenomenon in the US when the far right starts screaming about this alleged war on Christmas — as if it were even possible for there to be such a thing. The evidence for this war is found in phrases like “Happy Holidays.”
    The majority needs to feel its oppression in order to feel? The majority needs to act out over and over again its foundational trauma? The majority doesn’t want to take on the hard work of actual governance so it keeps the revolution going?
    I really don’t quite know what makes people do this shit on such a regular basis. The Israelis seem to have this developed to a high art, and they are far nastier than our own homegrown tv nuts. Or they just have more opportunity. Because I actually could see the tea-party set going after olive orchards to protect Christmas.
    But clearly there are cultural problems that need some serious work. People should simply be unwilling to act this way, and they aren’t.


  18. DonS says:

    ‘ethnic cleansing’
    ‘going on for too long without serious comment’
    I expect there will be comment.
    Perhaps your recent vacation in N Italy has added a degree of immediacy. Bulldozing olive groves has seemed an added cruelty, related to the ongoing ethnic cleansing.


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