Student Advocacy Booklet
This booklet provides answers and resources for the most frequently asked questions and statements made about Israel and the Palestinians in schools and on campus
Israel's new Nation State Law
1. Question/Statement: "This confirms Israel is an apartheid regime"
Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People
1 - Basic Principles
A. The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established.
B. The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfils its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.
C. The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
2 - Language
A. The State’s language is Hebrew.
B. The Arabic language has a special status in the State. Regulating the use of Arabic in State institutions or by them will be set in law.
C. This clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.
3 - Ingathering of the Exiles
The State will be open for Jewish immigration and the ingathering of exiles
4 - Jewish Settlement
A. The State views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.
Self Determination / Basic Principles
Consider the Slovak Constitution, which opens with the words “We the Slovak nation” and lays claim to “the natural right of nations to self-determination”. Some provisions are found in places such as the Baltics, which have large, alienated minority populations. The Latvian Constitution opens by invoking the "unwavering will of the Latvian nation to have its own State and its inalienable right of self-determination in order to guarantee the existence and development of the Latvian nation, its language and culture throughout the centuries". Latvia’s population is about 25% Russian.
Most multi ethnic, multilingual European Union States give official status only to the majority language. Spain’s Constitution, for example, makes Castilian Spanish the official national language and requires all citizens to know it, even if their mother tongue is Basque or Catalan. Closer to home, Welsh is the de jure official language of Wales, even if English is the de facto language and used more.
Nothing in the Nation State Law will affect the status of Arabic and indeed it states, “This clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect”.
Ingathering of exiles
This is the Law of Return, that allows any Jewish person with one Jewish grandparent to become a citizen.
This is understood to refer to encouraging population dispersion into the periphery of the country. Essentially it restates policy adopted by the international community in 1922 in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which sought to “encourage . . . close settlement by Jews". Again, the provision is only declaratory of values and does not prescribe or authorize any particular policies, such as settlements in the West Bank.
By contrast, the State constitution of Hawaii authorizes land policies to promote homesteading by ethnic Hawaiians and provides preferential land policies for them.
It is important to note that Israel does not have official religions and nothing in the new Basic Law changes that. In this respect, Israel is more liberal than the seven European countries with constitutionally enshrined State religions.
2. Question/Statement: " Gaza Palestinians have no clean drinking water, only six hours of electricity a day, cannot leave, are blockaded by Israel, live on the world's largest open-air prison and Gaza is a concentration camp.
Israel is blockading and laying siege to Gaza."
Hamas, the racist terrorist organization controlling Gaza, is violating international law and inflicting collective punishment on both Palestinian and Israeli civilians. The hard fact is that Hamas (whose charter calls for the murder of Jews and “obliteration” of Israel) is engaged in a genocidal war against Israel and since 2005 has fired over 17,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians, when in 2005 Israel completely withdrew from the area.
The UN Palmer Report confirms that Israel’s blockade to prevent weapons transfer is legal and appropriate under international law. In past years the Red Cross has reported that there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, in part because Israel facilitates the weekly shipment of thousands of tons of aid. The blockade merely requires Israeli inspection of shipments to ensure that terrorist groups are not importing weaponry. Gaza experienced significant economic growth in previous years, even with the blockade, but Palestinians will not be able to prosper fully until Hamas ends its war against Israel.
Gaza has shopping malls, car dealerships, restaurants, hotels and gyms.
You can see an Al Jazeera report here - https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/02/the-good-news-about-gaza-you-wont-hear-on-the-bbc/
Israel has had no presence in Gaza since 2005. Gaza is ruled exclusively by Palestinians and also shares borders with Egypt, where Israel has no control. Hamas, which controls Gaza, is in an ongoing state of war with Israel, constantly targeting innocent Israelis with rocket fire. Israel controls its own borders with Gaza, along with Gaza’s airspace and coastline, to protect civilians and stop Hamas and its affiliates from importing weapons for terrorism. When the government of Gaza is no longer at war with Israel, these measures will become unnecessary, and the Gaza Strip, which is located on the same beautiful Mediterranean coast as Tel Aviv, will be able to flourish.
The Hamas Charter on Israel and Jews provides more evidence of why Israel needs to inspect goods going into Gaza:
On the Destruction of Israel
"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (Preamble)
The Exclusive Moslem Nature of the Area
"The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part or abandon it or any part of it." (Article 11)
"Palestine is an Islamic land... Since this is the case, the Liberation of Palestine is an individual duty for every Moslem wherever he may be." (Article 13)
"The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: 'O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him'." (Article 7)
3. Question/Statement: "Israel has stolen Palestinian land, builds illegal settlements in the West Bank and these are war crimes. The biggest obstacle to peace is settlements."
Settlements are a symptom, not a cause, of the conflict. There were no settlements when Palestinian leaders began violence against Jews in 1920 or when Arab and Palestinian leaders launched wars and terrorism against Israel between 1948 and 1967. Israel sought territorial compromise and peace in 2005, when it evacuated all settlements in Gaza and four large settlements in the West Bank, but instead terrorism and hostility increased. Israel offered to dismantle many West Bank settlements for peace in 2000 and 2008 but Palestinian leaders said no. When Palestinian leaders return to the negotiating table in good faith, the settlements, which comprise less than two per cent of West Bank land, and other outstanding issues can be resolved.
Under the 1993 Oslo Accords the West Bank was separated into three areas - A, B and C. Area A is completely under Palestinian Authority control, both military and civil control. Area B is under Palestinian Authority (PA) civil control and Israeli military control. Area C, the least populated with 300,000 Palestinians, is completely under Israeli control. 80% of Palestinians live under PA rule.
4. Question/Statement: Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank cause Palestinians immense hardship and humiliation.
Checkpoints save lives. They were a direct response to the brutal wave of violence by racist terrorist groups against Israelis during the second intifada. As terrorism has decreased in recent years, checkpoints were removed. By 2012 only 10 remained, and the human rights group B’Tselem reported that Palestinians could move relatively freely in the West Bank. The checkpoints that still exist remain vital to the safety of Israeli civilians because there are still frequent attempts to attack Israelis and smuggle weapons into Israel. Forcing innocent Palestinians to go through checkpoints is not what Israel wants, any more than the UK wants to inconvenience travelers at airports or engage in stop and search activities to stop knife crime, but as long as terrorists hide among the civilian population, Israel has no choice but to maintain its safety measures.
Checkpoints will no longer be necessary once terrorism ends and a genuine peace emerges between Israelis and Palestinians. This is why peace negotiations are so crucial.
5. Question/Statement: "In 1948 Israel expelled 750,00 Palestinians. These Palestinians are now refugees who live in horrible refugee camps and they and their descendants should be allowed to return home and have justice. This is called the 'Nakba', the catastrophe."
Israel did NOT expel 750,000 Palestinians. This is a lie. The figure is more like 270,000. The reason why the 750,000 number is false is that the total number of Arabs in what would become Israeli controlled territories in 1948 was around 390,000 and around 120,000 remained. The majority who left were told to leave by the neighbouring Arab armies who invaded Israel, told the Arab residents to leave and that when they had defeated the fledgling Israel State they would be able to return. This, of course, never happened. Palestinians who properly can be considered refugees today number no more than several tens of thousands, yet Palestinians and UN officials State there are FIVE MILLION Palestinian refugees.
The Palestinians are the ONLY people who automatically have refugee status transferred down by parent to child. No other refugees have this, and it is done for political purposes only. 80% of the claimed five million Palestinian refugees are either citizens of the countries they live in or reside in the West Bank or Gaza and are therefore living in areas acknowledged by the world will one day be a Palestinian State - therefore how can they be refugees. It is a lie.
Why does this matter for peace? Because if millions of Arabs who are citizens of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, or inhabitants of Syria and Lebanon, claim to be refugees from what today is Israel, even though they were neither born there nor lived there, and demand that as a result of this refugee status they be given the right to relocate to Israel (‘the right of return’), then the whole basis for peace by means of two States for two people crumbles. If Israel with its six million Jews and more than 1.5 million Arabs has to absorb between five and six million Palestinians, then the Jews will be relegated again to living as a minority among those who do not view them as equals; the only country in which the Jews are a majority and can exercise their right to self-determination would be no more.
6. Question/Statement: "Israel claims it is a democracy but has over 60 laws that discriminate against its Arab minority citizens and is an apartheid State."
This is a lie spread by opponents of Israel.
Of these 60 laws for example, 21% are security related and refer to the rights of the security services to enforce “close security or military zones” to protect civilians. Western countries have these laws as well.
Of the rest here are some examples.
One law called racist or discriminatory is that the official holidays of the State are Jewish ones.
However Israeli law states that for someone who is not Jewish, he can choose whether to follow the official State days or instead observe rest days more suited to his own community.
By comparison, the British list of national holidays includes Christmas Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday. Christmas day is also on the list of Federal Holidays in the United States and the Irish also have St Stephen’s and St Patrick’s as official public holidays
Another law that is quoted as racist states that the Finance Minister is allowed to confiscate land for “public purposes”.
Again, nothing out of the ordinary. A compulsory purchase order (CPO) is a legal function in the United Kingdom and Ireland that allows certain bodies which need to obtain land or property to do so without the consent of the owner. It may be enforced if a proposed development is considered one for public betterment; for example, when building motorways where a land owner does not want to sell
Lastly, the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled controversially that Arabs have a right to create residential communities in Israel that exclude Jews. A separate case denied the
corresponding right to Jews. In Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority prescribes the death penalty for Arabs who sell land to Jews.
A full list and analysis can be found here:
7. Question/Statement: "The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement (BDS) is a legitimate, non-violent attempt to get Israel to meet its 'international obligations' ".
The BDS movement might claim to be “peaceful” but its ultimate aims prove it to be anything but that. The chant often heard from the BDS movement is “from the river to sea, Palestine will be free”. That means NO Jewish State between the River Jordan and Mediterranean.
Omar Barghouti, the founder of the BDS movement said this:
“A Jewish State in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically. Definitely, most definitely, we oppose a Jewish State in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish State in Palestine.”
Palestinians and their supporters around the world NEVER use the words "peace" or "agreement" but rather "justice". Why is that? Because to them "justice" means NO Jewish State in the Arab Middle East. They will not rest till that is achieved. THAT is why the BDS movement lies when it says it is non-violent.
8. Question/Statement: "Why doesn’t Israel just pull out of the West Bank?"
Israel has repeatedly offered territorial compromises, but Palestinian and Arab leaders have consistently said no to establishing the first Palestinian State in history. They said no in 1937, 1947, 2000 and 2008, because saying yes would have meant accepting Jewish rights to self-determination.
Israel remains in the West Bank because Palestinian leaders have refused to make peace, terrorists from the area continue to endanger Israeli civilians and Israel has no assurances that the Palestinian Authority can maintain law and order. What Israel cannot risk is that it
withdraws from the West Bank and that area becomes a version 2 - a failed State that becomes a terror launchpad against Israel in the hands of violent terrorist organisations.
In addition, Israel has legitimate claims to the territory, which is located in the heart of the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland. UN Resolution 242, signed at the end of the Six Day War in 1967, called for the “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict; and “Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries, free from threats or acts of force”.
There are two very important things to note. The wording was very specific. Firstly, it said withdrawal from territories occupied, it did not say ALL territories occupied. Secondly, it said in return for their right to live in peace with secure boundaries. Israel does not have this yet from its neighbours.
When Palestinian leaders finally decide to make establishing their own State a higher priority than destroying Israel, there can be compromises that will lead to peaceful coexistence.
9. Question/Statement: "The security barrier is an apartheid wall that imprisons ordinary Palestinians and encourages racist segregation."
The security barrier was built only to ensure human rights for Israelis of all religions and ethnicities and to separate racist terrorist groups from their intended victims. This is why international law experts have stated that the barrier is, in fact, a legal self-defence measure. Many other countries, including South Korea, India, Cyprus, Kuwait, and Northern Ireland, use similar barriers to protect their citizens.
Before the security barrier was built from 2002 to 2006, when a large part was completed, there were over 800 Israeli deaths and many thousands more wounded from terrorist attacks. This figure has dropped to almost zero today.
It is true that part of the fence’s route goes over the “Green Line” and into what is considered the West Bank and Palestinian territory - either now or potentially in the future, but Israel has no choice. Palestinian terrorists were blowing themselves up on buses and in restaurants and a government must protect its people.
10. Question/Statement: "Elor Azaria, a soldier in the IDF, shot and killed a Palestinian at point blank range. This proves the IDF is an immoral army that murders Palestinians."
Elor Azaria was found guilty in January of manslaughter over the March 2016 shooting of Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, 21, in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank.
Azaria, 19 at the time of the incident, shot Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in the head while he was lying immobile on a road on 24 March 2016.
Sharif and another 21-year-old Palestinian, Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, had stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier before troops opened fire on them, wounding Sharif and killing Qasrawi.
A military court convicted the soldier after dismissing his assertion that the Palestinian still posed a danger and sent him to jail for 18 months.
President Reuven Rivlin took a decision to deny the request for a pardon filed by Elor Azaria after he lodged a request. An earlier appeal to a military court was also overturned.
A military court convicted the soldier after dismissing his assertion that the Palestinian still posed a danger.
What is clear is that every army has "bad apples" and Azaria was one of them. What he did was wrong and cannot be defended. But the Israeli Army acted swiftly to arrest and charge Azaria and the highest levels of democracy in the country would not pardon him.
11. Question/Statement: "In Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Israel massacred 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza."
Let’s recap why there was a war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in 2014.
Israel responded to over 15,000 rockets and mortars that had been shot at civilian cities in Israel since Israel’s complete withdrawal in 2005. Hamas rockets were not aiming at IDF bases or military personnel, they were aiming at Israel’s civilian population. There is not a single government in the world that would sit back and allow this to happen for the amount of time Israel let it.
The IDF sent in ground troops even though the risks to its own soldiers was great. It did not and does not carpet-bomb; it sends in troops because its morality does not allow it to NOT take into account the lives of innocent people.
The IDF sent warnings leaflets and phone calls to Gazan civilians letting them know that due to terrorist activity and missile fire coming from their buildings, they were being asked to evacuate before an attack. What country in the world allows their own element of surprise to disappear because of their concern for the enemy’s civilian population? Yes, innocent people unfortunately die in war, but Israel did everything in its power to not harm the uninvolved civilian population. IDF called off numerous airstrikes that could have taken out terrorists and missile launchers as well as treating scores of civilians injured in Gaza in Israeli hospitals.
The IDF concern for human life is exactly why its enemies use their own civilian population as human shields and their houses as missile launching bases – they know how much the IDF cares.
On 1 December, 2014, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre reported on its detailed, name-by-name analysis of 1,598 Palestinian fatalities in Operation Protective Edge that amounted to 75 percent of those who were killed. Of the fatalities who could be identified, about 45% were non-combatants, while 55% were combatants - nowhere near the levels of civilian losses that were discussed in the media. Many civilians were also killed by Hamas rockets that fell short and landed on Palestinian civilian areas.
Hamas itself instructed its fighters to use human shields in order to suffer civilian deaths purposely in order to increase international pressure and blame on Israel. Fathi Hamad, Hamas’ former interior minister, in 2008, during Operation Cast Lead, said that Hamas fighters “formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahedeen in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine"
More detailed information can be found here - http://jcpa.org/casualties-gaza-war/