Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; I write from time to time, in the hopes that free-association might save a trip to a sanatorium.

Tag: Palestine

So who again was ‘wiped off the map’…?

EDIT: Read this  –  What Really Happened in Gaza this year.  – funny, eh, that a week after the US elections the Israelis began their assault – no-doubt Netanyahu was banking on a Romney victory, which would have seen a ground-invasion and a massacre of the Palestinians and possibly even an all-out war in the Middle East.


Am I so ignorant that I should be astounded at the gall of the Israeli Government. As Press TV reports (and I assume this is accurate), in retaliation of the state of Palestine being recognised once more by the UN – and the vote was pretty resounding, with 9 opposed and 41 abstentions), the Israelis are now going to build three-thousand more units in the already occupied West Bank.


Intriguingly, one has to wonder whether this wasn’t going to happen anyway – as we have seen in the last few years there has been an escalation in building of settlement blocks and outposts in what is called the disputed territories  – which, to be honest, is only a designation used by the guilty party that has violated every UN resolution on this matter since  November of 1967, when Israel gained (illegally) a tremendous amount of land (it has since only relinquished the Gaza strip, and subsequently moved those settlers to the West bank – Quelle surprise!

But the point is this – that the Israelis to this day do not want negotiations to begin with any preconditions (i.e. following the spirit of UN-242 which divides the land, however unfairly, in Israel’s favour nonetheless), as the Israeli apartheid wall (which I’ve seen) that was allegedly built for defensive purposes already violates that Resolution; taking up at least 10 percent of the West Bank – not to mention the settlement ‘blocks’ of road and water infrastructure which some estimates say will take up as much as forty percent of what (for the moment remains) the West Bank.

Of course the irony ought not be wasted on you that Netanyahu’s remarks at AIPAC and elsewhere suggest that Israel be recognised by the Palestinians as the Jewish Homeland (which of course is a straw-man argument since the Palestinians have actual proof that what is now Israel is where their homeland was up until they were forcibly removed from it, and moreover one-fifth of the Israeli population is of Arab stock) and secondly, that Jerusalem entirely be recognised as her capital – again, in illegally occupied Palestinian territory – East Jerusalem also being the centre for Palestinian economic and social and cultural life (thank you, Drs Chomsky and Benvenisti).

Moreover, for a state that claims its enemies would like to wipe it off the map (among other absurd things), and also is a state ‘committed’ to a two-state settlement with Palestine – Avigdor Lieberman aside (just as a side note the former club bouncer who is now Foreign Minister is a very different breed to the well-educated Israeli politicians that once existed – however unprincipled they were), – one has to wonder why they are so opposed to the UN recognising Palestine as a state-entity – considering that that is their apparent end game again the irony shouldn’t be wasted on you that their actions speak louder than ; the point is that Israel is acting like a spoiled child that knows its guilt but will continue to attempt to emotionally manipulate and bully those that try to curtail her ability to act out.

As we can see, the only way for Israel to retain whatever thread of esteem she might have in the ‘world’ (i.e. the West – the world that actually counts for anything these days) is to decide to define the borders with Palestine, as well as what the Palestinian legal border might actually look at. As we saw at Taba in 2001,  the Palestinian Authority were willing to let Israel keep half of the settlements to that point – which was a tremendously generous offer considering that Israel wasn’t entitled to any of it – recall, it is inadmissible to acquire territory by land and to transfer your population to that land – Israel is guilty on both accounts.

Robert Fisk has often remarked that a two-state solution is now dead (from what I gathered from his interviews on RT and elsewhere), given the vast network that Israel is building – as a colonial occupying power, so long as the Palestinians resolve never to suffer total humiliation, the only way for this settler colony to remain relatively safe is to continue to maintain a presence in the whole of the West Bank – how else will she police those roads built exclusively for Jews and Jews only, or how else will she continue to usurp Palestinian water-rights, or how else will she stop the Resistance from rebuilding and coming back stronger….


Here’s me musing….

I wonder now, given how the plight of the Palestinians is an exclusively European-caused problem – that if the Palestinians saw themselves as Arabs and decided that because of sixty years of persecution they might return to their ancestral home – (let us say for a second that we ignore the studies that show that Jews and Palestinians are actually of similar genetic origin – that they share a common ancestry), say, Saudi Arabia, an important client state to the US, how that would seem. After sixty years of persecution and the existence of up to seven million refugees scattered to the four winds, many living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as stateless people and in refugee camps, and others in the ‘West’, where is their case for having their own state?

You see, dear sympathisers of Israel, your logic falls here – at this point, the persecution of the Jews historically is rather moot – for they now have their own homeland, the fourth largest defence infrastructure in the world as well as a formidable nuclear arsenal, and moreover are internationally recognised – they are inflicting tremendous and barbaric suffering on the Palestinians whom they continue to subdue out of some sense of historical entitlement to the land which most of their ancestors had left some seventeen-hundreed years before; in exchange, they occupy a land that to this day have Palestinian claimants (these documents do exist) which has been their ancestral homeland continuously for centuries, if not longer .

To suggest these Palestinian Arabs return to say Saudi Arabia or wherever else is a preposterous suggestion – so why do you so gleefully support the right of the Zionists to do the same? Shame on you; may your mothers weep for you.

“Impressions of Gaza”

I know some argue that I am involved in a sort of hero-worship of Noam Chomsky, however I must admit that I thoroughly liked the following piece, which he wrote some two weeks ago, after having visited Gaza at the end of October – as far as I can tell, this is the most accurate picture available on the web (that is, from someone who is sympathetic toward the plight of our Palestinian brothers). 

“Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison, where a million and a half people, in the most densely populated area of the world, are constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade, and with the further goal of ensuring that Palestinian hopes for a decent future will be crushed and that the overwhelming global support for a diplomatic settlement that will grant these rights will be nullified….” (for the full text visit Chomsky.info)

Though this is an old quote, so far as I know, I think that this is perhaps the best description of what it means to be a Palestinian living in occupied lands (again, from the same piece):


The purposeful humiliation is also not new, though it constantly takes new forms. Thirty years ago political leaders, including some of the most noted hawks, submitted to Prime Minister Begin a shocking and detailed account of how settlers regularly abuse Palestinians in the most depraved manner and with total impunity. The prominent military-political analyst Yoram Peri wrote with disgust that the army’s task is not to defend the state, but “to demolish the rights of innocent people just because they are Araboushim (“niggers,” “kikes”) living in territories that God promised to us.”

 Again, it looks like there will be a bloodbath in the besieged Gaza – PressTV reports that the death toll now stands at least 100 dead  – for an army with precision-guided missiles, it’s incredible as to how often they manage to shoot at civilian complexes, killing several members of the same family…certainly, I don’t condone Gazan firing at arbitrary targets, but for what is supposed to be the most ‘efficient’ (and they use this term with pride) military machine in the world, it’s astounding as to how often the Israelis manage to miss their targets completely, or use outrageous force at that. 

But of course…they will always carry out an ‘independent internal investigation’. As the Persian saying goes, I think there is something very true about “the arrogance of power“. 



The Altered Moral Universe and Israeli Victimhood

Here is part of the debate where someone suggested to me that in my world, the only price I might accept for Israeli crimes is Israeli blood. Then he invoked the Holocaust….does he have no shame?

“You see, dear friend, I am not as cynical. My hatred of Israelis doesn’t run as deep as the one you think I’m expressing. I’d be satisfied if they just gave the land back, or compensated adequately the Arabs who have fled, and ended the barbaric sanctions. But you see, if they did that, they would have to admit that they did indeed “steal land from…Arab[s]” – forcing hundreds of thousands into refugee camps and the others into total destitution and refugee status all over the world.


People talk about Holocaust as if it was the sole greatest crime ever perpetrated in human history – that is absurd. …[Certainly, it is a dark stain on the slate of human history, nonetheless…] There were, at least, they tell me, 80 MILLION indigenous people across the Americas that were slain barbarically; elsewhere in the world, others were napalmed – some are still suffering the effects of chemical warfare in Vietnam, Laos etc., to this day. I don’t think you see this, because in your logic, it appears, the blood of a Jew is more valuable than that of an Arab. The Holocaust cannot be the benchmark of human suffering – just because the Jews suffered in the Holocaust cannot mean that they have a right to self-preservation to the extent that they can induce suffering in the Palestinians – who had nothing to do with the Holocaust in the first place….it [just] doesn’t compute in the moral universe.


My grandparents, who are both now dead, had refugee status out of Zanzibar – fleeing during the Revolution. As it stands, I wouldn’t dream to go back there today and evict the African family now living where their home used to be, who probably had nothing to do with my grandparents’ loss; neither would I seek to put sanctions on them to starve them, squeezing them into submission. What kind of objective morality is this? ”


Incidentally, I have nothing against Jewish people, nor really Israeli people. Certainly, the crimes of their forefathers in displacing the Palestinians cannot be the sole reason for my opposition toward the Zionist project – after all, how can one blame someone totally for the accident of their birth. But that does not mean I can idly accept the crimes against the Palestinians perpetrated today. The vast majority of Israelis can, no-doubt.

Noam Chomsky on Occupation

How very true. Why don’t more people in high office pay attention to what he has to say? He was deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (not that he’d accept it) – not that despicable creature Peres.

There is no pit deep enough for these fundamentalist warmongers – ‘I think even Hell will spit out Netanyahu in disgust.’ We just wait, and pray for our Gazan brothers and sisters this day, who are so barbarically trapped in that tiny spec of land yet are enduring the harshest of realities.

Surely God is the best of Planners.

American Radical; The Trials of Norman Finkelstein

Dear friends,

I was so glad to discover that the aforementioned film is still available on Al-Jazeera. I’d definitely recommend that you have a look if you have the time.

I have watched it at least a couple of times – I think it portrays a brutally honest look into the life of perhaps one of the most principled public figures alive today. For those of you who think that this will be a little dry – I assure you it isn’t (or so I think). It is both an honest look at what it’s like to lead his sort of life – an academic – though not always valued by the establishment stooges is nonetheless an incredibly prolific and insightful figure.

For those who don’t know him, Norman Finkelstein is an American academic, a political scientist more specifically, and a son of two Jewish Holocaust-survivors, who just happens to be one of the most vocal and articulate critics of the politics of the state of Israel and Zionism. Perhaps after the late Edward Said – he is probably the most sympathetic and fair critic of the subject – despite himself not being a Palestinian.

He has been embroiled in various academic discussions, most notably with perhaps the most, umm…let’s say ‘voracious’ popinjays of the Zionist Lobby, Felix Frankfurter Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz, of Harvard University, whose book, The Case for Israel he labelled a “fraud”. BAD idea…

Though usually staunchly pragmatic, perhaps he was a little foolhardy and rushed into a conflict with the Professor during a live debate on Democracy Now! (with Amy Goodman) – a very interesting watch and someone has uploaded it to YouTube. He clearly won the debate. Hands down.

This, by my estimation, resulted in his being removed from his post DePaul University in Chicago (the rather curious reasons for which are discussed in the film), and a huge public outcry and campaign against his unfair dismissal, which was supported by some very high-profile personalities.

Incidentally, Professor Dershowitz is also featured in this documentary, so certainly I don’t think a case can be made that the film was one-sided.

I am really a fan of his – he embodies perhaps the most important of the characteristics of what it means to be human, that is, empathy, and hope. Moreover, watching so thoughtfully reflect on his life is quite a treat. Perhaps I sound rather like a sycophant?! You decide!