From the outset, Zionism — the ideology underpinning Israel — held terrorism to be one of its indispensable weapons for the achievement of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Opinion — Zionist fulminations against the evocative A-word will now have to contend with the ignoble G-word. That Israel is an Apartheid entity is now indisputable, with international institutions and academics declaring it to be a crime against humanity. To this must now be added the increasingly obvious fact that the Palestinians are facing Genocide at the hands of the Israeli colonists.
The creation of the state of Israel in May 1948 was a settler-colonial enterprise in which Palestinians were displaced through a deliberate policy of terror and ethnic cleansing that made room for alien colonists, drawn largely from Europe and North America. Colonial Zionism differed from other European colonial enterprises in its much more ambitious intentions; it set out not only to exploit the indigenous people and steal their resources, but also to expel them and move Jews onto the stolen land.
From the outset, Zionism — the ideology underpinning Israel — held terrorism to be one of its indispensable weapons for the achievement of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Innocent Palestinian civilians were massacred by the score, and British Mandate officials were also targeted.
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, enunciated the Zionist agenda categorically in 1937, well before its 1948 realisation: “We must expel the Arabs and take their places.” According to Dr Ilan Pappé, such ethnic cleansing has been a pre-planned policy since the1930s. Pappé is an Israeli academic and author of “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” who has defined Israel’s policy in the Gaza Strip as an “incremental genocide”. Instead of rounding up Palestinians for mass execution, Israelis implement subtle policies designed to make life so miserable for the indigenous population that they will decide for themselves to leave and live elsewhere. In Zionist terms, this is called “silent transfer”, and requires the erosion of land and rights, illegal settlements for Jews only, murderous violence and the mass destruction of infrastructure and homes.
All of this is backed up by a near-total blockade of Gaza, aided and abetted by Egypt and the international community. Basic necessities such as food and fresh water are scarce, electricity cuts last up to 20 hours per day, and materials to repair the shattered infrastructure are prevented from getting into the enclave. This has compromised the health sector, for example, very severely, with emergency and diagnostic services such as MRI scans, CT and x-rays, intensive care units and operating theatres in 13 public hospitals at risk. What’s more, public health is threatened by untreated sewage — the Israelis destroyed the facilities and won’t allow repairs to be made — and damaged desalination plants, as well as a reduced capacity for solid waste collection.
Fifty international humanitarian organisations, including the World Health Organisation and the International Committee of the Red Cross, have called for an end to the blockade, describing it as a violation of international law. The strangulation of the Gaza Strip since June 2007 has resulted in a slow journey into malnutrition, disease and death.
The Gaza Strip has also been subjected to three ruthless Israeli military offensives, in 2008, 2012 and 2014. The cost has been devastating, in terms of civilian casualties as well as infrastructure. Thousands of Palestinians have been slaughtered with the most horrible weapons, including remote-controlled bulldozers that demolish their homes over their heads, and drones that fire missiles onto crowded streets and into apartment blocks, schools, clinics and hospitals. Gaza has been showered liberally with depleted uranium, white phosphorus and cluster bombs.
“Israeli forces may also have knowingly or recklessly attacked people who were clearly civilians such as young boys,” claims Human Rights Watch, “and civilian structures, including a hospital; laws-of-war violations that are indicative of war crimes.”
According to Amnesty International:
Deliberately attacking a civilian home is a war crime, and the overwhelming scale of destruction of civilian homes, in some cases with entire families inside them, points to a distressing pattern of repeated violations of the laws of war.
Yotam Feldman, a former journalist with Israel’s Haaretz newspaper and director of the documentary “The Lab”, says that Israel has turned the occupied territories into a laboratory for refining, testing and showcasing its weapons systems.
The author of “War Against the People”, Israeli-American academic Jeff Halper, explains that Israel has an advantage over some of its rivals in the arms trade; its own real-time military laboratory is a testing ground with living targets. “You’ve got 4.5 million Palestinians that you can test these weapons and security devices on,” says Halper. “And that’s what’s given Israel this cutting edge in the market. So that if you insert that, the whole world looks different. All of a sudden, countries that seemed to be your enemies are your friends. There’s all kinds of interests that come out.”
As a result, over the past couple of decades, Israel has become a leading exporter of security, surveillance and military equipment, because Israeli military technology companies have marketed their products as “battle-tested” and “combat proven”, giving them a competitive edge in the international arms market place.
Israel was the biggest arms supplier to Apartheid South Africa and collaborated in its development of nuclear weapons, prolonging the oppression of the non-White population by decades. It also supplied weapons to the Rwandan government even while it engaged in the genocide of the Tutsi tribe, which is considered the fastest execution of genocide in human history. What’s more, Israel also provided the Serbians with arms as they conducted the ethnic cleansing of the former Yugoslavia’s Bosnian Muslims.
Moreover, Israel exports arms to terrorist groups in Syria and Libya, helping to destabilise the whole region. Repressive regimes around the world, including the government in Myanmar, are also propped up by Israeli arms, while tyrannical regimes such as Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s in Egypt, the autocratic kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and other despots receive similar support from Israel.
The Israelis have stoked the fires of Islamophobia, deliberately ratcheting up tensions against Muslims globally. Zionist encouragement of racist right-wing ultra-nationalists in the US, India and Europe has been open, with fabricated “terror” alerts and false-flag operations being used to justify Israel’s illegitimate and immoral usurpation, occupation and colonisation of Palestine.
Israel has sought international support by painting itself as some sort of civilised bastion in the battle between “Islam and the West”. This is similar in tone to the Islamophobia pushed by right-wing ideologues around the world, including Donald Trump, who stated infamously that “Islam hates us” and pushed for a Muslim ban when he became President.
Zionist warlords appear to be addicted to war and civil unrest, as were other colonialists, imperialists, ultranationalists, fascists and Nazis spawned by Europe. Endless war means not only opportunities for the expansion of the Zionist state into “Greater Israel”, but also the generation of huge profits at the expense of the innocent victims of such policies.
The drawn-out and ultimately fruitless “peace negotiations” demonstrate clearly that the far-right which governs Israel sees peace as a threat. Anti-Apartheid stalwarts, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have claimed — with good reason — that Israel’s version of Apartheid is worse than that endured by non-White people in South Africa. In reality, they recognise the genocidal nature of the self-declared Jewish state. Israel more than deserves its growing international pariah status.
Top Photo | A Palestinian barefoot boy stands next to remains of a destroyed house in the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)
Dr. Firoz Osman is an Executive Member of the Media Review Network, an advocacy group based in Johannesburg. He is the co-author of “Why Israel? Anatomy of Zionist Apartheid – A South African perspective”.
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