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Articles Archives - January 2012
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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Scores of Palestinian books, Nakba’s lesser-known victims
Karina Goulordava, +972 Magazine 1/29/2012
      Some 70,000 books were seized from homes left empty by Palestinians who fled in 1948. The books, some of which are now in Israel’s National Library, attest to an attempt at the destruction of an entire culture.
     June 1948: Israeli soldiers advance in an affluent Arab neighborhood, now almost deserted, in western Jerusalem. The soldiers are followed by several librarians from the national library. Sporadic gunfire is heard. The men cling against the walls as they arrive in a street lined with empty, affluent houses, their occupants having left in haste. Breaking into house after house, the librarians “collect” entire libraries into boxes that are loaded onto trucks. Similar scenes are repeated throughout the Arab neighborhoods of western Jerusalem, and later on in Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth and elsewhere. In total, 70,000 Palestinian books were “collected” in this manner.
     In 1948, after the Arab rejection of the UN partition resolution of November 1947, the new state of Israel used its military power to conquer as much land – initially designated for an Arab state – as it could, and to cleanse the newly occupied territories from their Arabs inhabitants. At the time, the book plunder was a mere sideshow of the main events of the war. But seen through a wider historical perspective, the looting of the books, together with the destruction of Palestinian urban centers, constitute the destruction of an entire culture and an important outcome of the 1948 war.
     Thousands of the books were recycled into paper while others were absorbed into National Library of Israel’s general collection, making it impossible to trace them today. Some 6,000 of these books were eventually categorized as foreign and placed in the Eastern Studies Department of the National Library, although they are technically still owned by the Custodian of Absentee Property. The fate of these books is much like that of the Palestinian people: unlawfully removed from their homes, expelled and made foreign in their own land. Each book beares the label “AP” (abandoned property).
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The Palestine Nakba: decolonising history
Israeli Occupation Archive 1/30/2012
      New book announcement by Zed Books (UK), Publication Date: 9 February 2012: The Palestine Nakba: Decolonising History, Narrating the Subaltern, Reclaiming Memory, by Nur Masalha. (London: Zed Books, February 2012). 288 pp. Hardback. ISBN: 978-1848139718
     2012 marks the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba – the most traumatic catastrophe that ever befell Palestinians. This book explores new ways of remembering and commemorating the Nakba. In the context of Palestinian oral history, it explores ‘social history from below’, subaltern narratives of memory and the formation of collective identity. Masalha argues that to write more truthfully about the Nakba is not just to practise a professional historiography but an ethical imperative. The struggles of ordinary refugees to recover and publicly assert the truth about the Nakba is a vital way of protecting their rights and keeping the hope for peace with justice alive.
     This book is essential for understanding the place of the Palestine Nakba at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the vital role of memory in narratives of truth and reconciliation.
     Reviews
     ‘As a meticulous scholar, historian and above all Palestinian, Nur Masalha is eminently suited to write this excellent book. He has produced a marvellous history of the Nakba which should be essential reading for all those concerned with the origins of the conflict over Palestine.’ — Ghada Karmi, author of ‘Married to Another Man: Israel’s Dilemma in Palestine’
     ‘Nur Masalha has a distinguished and deserved reputation for scholarship on the Nakba and Palestinian refugees. Now, with his latest book, his searching analysis of past and present makes for a powerful combination of remembrance and resistance.’ — Ben White, journalist and author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ -- See also: Zed Books: The Palestine Nakba
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Grandstanding and Betrayal
Franklin Lamb, CounterPunch 1/31/2012
      From Florida to Beirut
     Shatila Camp, Lebanon
     In the US, it would be a difficult task to find even more revolting and groveling intellectual “half-men” to borrow a phrase from Syria’s beleaguered President Bashar Assad than Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich during their recent “debate” in Jacksonville Florida.
     While a high percentage of Republican Jewish voters will go to the polls in this winner-take-all primary, Mitt and Newt are also pondering their national fundraising networks as they gratuitously misrepresented history and betrayed their claimed religious and moral beliefs.
     Romney repeated his screed that President Obama “threw Israel under the bus” by following international law, seven UN Security Council Resolutions and world opinion by designating the pre-1967 borders as the starting point for peace talks. He also complained that America’s President “disrespected” Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu when Obama spoke recently at the UN and mentioned in passing illegal Israeli settlement building but did not discuss retaliatory rockets being fired from Gaza into occupied Palestinian territory.
     Genuflecting just as obsequiously to the Zionist lobby, Gingrich insisted to Florida voters once again that “Palestinians are an ‘invented people who historically were considered Jordanians and Syrians.” No one in the audience was so impolite as to remind the claimed student of history that Jordan did not even exist until created by the pro-Zionist British occupiers of Palestine, well into the 20th Century, while Palestinians have lived in Palestine for more than 3000 years....
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America's War Kills over A Million Iraqis
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Jan 2012 - By Danny Lucia 'Over a million Iraqis are dead from America's war.' That sentence is a cognitive litmus test. Some people's immediate reaction is, 'That can't be right,' because the United States couldn't do that. Or because crimes on that scale don't still happen. Or because they do happen, but only in horrible places that the United States hasn't rescued. One million is a "Grandpa, what did you do to stop it?" number. It's a number that undeniably puts the American state among history's villains. Those who are not willing or able to accept this are physically unable to retain the fact that over a million Iraqis are dead. Their brains expel it like a foreign germ. Noam Chomsky once wrote that the "sign of a truly totalitarian culture is that important truths simply lack cognitive meaning and are interpretable only at the level of 'Fxxx You,' so they can...more

BDS Update: Cyber Blitzkreig, Counterattacks
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Jan 2012 - By Eric Walberg – Cairo The Third Annual BDS Conference opened 17 December at Hebron's Children's Happiness Centre, 'to expand Palestinian civil society's active implementation of BDS that is deeply rooted in the Palestinian struggle.' European BNC coordinator Michael Deas affirmed, 'BDS is now the main framework for solidarity. We are very close to closing the European market to Israel.' A boycott bombshell in January was dropped by an 11th-grade American Jewish teenager, Jesse Lieberfeld, who won Dietrich College’s 2012 Martin Luther King, Jr Writing Award for his essay about his moral awakening when he realised his American Jewish culture was unavoidably identified with supporting Israel. “I once belonged to a wonderful religion,” says young Jesse. “I routinely heard about unexplained mass killings, attacks on medical bases, and other alarmingly violent actions for which I could see no possible reason. ‘Genocide’ almost seemed the more appropriate term... Whenever I brought...more

Whoever's Kashmir
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Jan 2012 - By A Bhakto She continued to trust different brokers of peace. And was betrayed over and over again. Her happy and carefree children, used to country air and sunshine, used to space, privacy, and good surrounding, were suddenly shut up amid chaos and aversion. Her motherhood was half-killed and half-exiled. While thousands died for telling tales the world would not listen, thousand others had to race away for refusing to worship the "recommended" God. And in this pain, in this suffering, in this dark autumn night that settled on her forever, she lost her soul. Her towns and her valleys, which seemed to unite God's blessings on earth, suffered from blight and decadence. People said she still was ethereal, but they dared not to visit her anymore. Rich adjectives that once adorned her, were replaced by dull and gory ones. But there was something that she was able to retain....more

Blame NATO for the Mess in Libya
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Jan 2012 - By Ramzy Baroud The British Foreign Office and the US State Department are seriously concerned. Human rights officers in the United Nations are angry. Canada, for some reason, seems particularly enraged. The target of all this fury is Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), which is berated for failing to curtail widespread human rights violations throughout the country. The story sounds somewhat typical. Rights watchdog groups sound the alarm regarding violations in some third world country. Western powers respond by demanding accountability. The media reports on the story until it eventually fades away. However, this story requires more than a mere acknowledgement of the self-serving approach to human rights violations. The accusers include the UN and leading members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato). It was the selective wording and interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 that led to a devastating war against Libya. The war destroyed one brutal...more

Is Israel on the Road to “Self-destruction”?
Dissident Voice: 31 Jan 2012 - One very well informed and courageous Israeli who thinks the answer is “Yes” is Merav Michaeli, a radio and television presenter who also writes for Ha’aretz . She is completely without fear when it comes to telling it like it is. On 2 January this year, for example, she wrote: “The Israeli government doesn’t want peace. There’s nothing new in that. It has been the proven way since the establishment of the state.” The headline over her latest article is Israel ’s never-ending Holocaust . One of her main points is that Israel has never confronted the trauma of the Nazi holocaust and has “turned it into a placard in the service of the national trauma, to reinforce the constant existential fear and the aggressiveness that comes with it.” Because what she wrote is so important, and in my view ought to be read by all peoples of all faiths everywhere who...more

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