By Stuart Littlewood – London
"The real Zionist vision does not recognise any maps. It is a vision of a state without borders – a state that expands at all times according to its demographic, military and political power."
This warning by the respected Israeli journalist and peace activist, Uri Avnery, should be impressed on every friend of Israel in the West.
They are so gullible. The Jewish Chronicle last week reported how a group of intrepid Conservative MPs on a ‘Friends of Israel’ junket experienced a “gunfire exchange" in Sderot. One of them said:
“We couldn’t see the gunfire, but could hear that it was close by." The exchange illustrated the “effects on quality of life that people in the south of Israel suffer on a daily basis. It shows that it is not a sustainable position for these areas to be constantly subject to rocket attacks and that Israel has the right to take appropriate actions to defend its citizens.” Urging Britons to visit Israel, he argued: “It’s very important to show their support for the only democracy in the area. I feel we have a duty and obligation to support Israel.”
“The gunfire was pretty close and it very much brought home how the violence in the area is ongoing and what people go through every day. Until I was there, I didn’t appreciate how serious the problem was and how much normal civilians, including children, are on the front-line.”
These brave souls from the British parliament didn’t trouble to visit the Gaza side and experience the Palestinians’ quality of life under the far more lethal barrage from Israel or partake of starvation rations under the cruel siege. If they hadn’t the good manners to go talk with Hamas they could at least have met the Christian community and listened to their story.
Instead they were happy to be brainwashed by Tel Aviv propagandists, who no doubt told them how many home-made rockets had fallen in southern Israel but not, of course, the number of high-tech munitions fired by Israel’s F16s, helicopter gun-ships, tanks, drones and naval gunboats into the densely-packed population of the Gaza Strip, or the limb-shattering high-velocity rounds used by IOF troops. I’ll bet they can quote the Israeli casualties but have no idea of the massive Palestinian death toll.
It is very strange indeed how these Friends of Israel – mostly Christians, it seems – show far more concern for Israeli terrorists than the Christian and Muslim civilians they terrorise.
Maybe basic facts haven’t quite sunk in:
· like Israel has been ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people for 60 years.
· like Israel continues to occupy, rob, humiliate and murder its neighbours.
· like Israel is no western-style democracy but an apartheid-loving ethnocracy.
· like Israel has ignored nearly 40 UN resolutions, flouts international law and is oblivious to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
· like 8 Palestinians are killed for every Israeli, and the lives of Palestinian children are so cheap they are slaughtered at the rate of 11 to 1.
· like Israel lies when it claims to have "withdrawn completely" from Gaza.
· like Israel has nuclear weapons numbering hundreds and is the only state in the region not to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
With a record like this, how does the Israel lobby manage to browbeat supposedly intelligent MPs, MEPs and ministers into supporting the regime’s crimes and the ruthless Zionist expansion?
Shielded from the Truth
"I will be back," said one of the MPs in the JC report. Bravo. Friends of Israel visit the Holy Land with Israeli escorts and enjoy Israeli hospitality. Next time let’s hope this particular MP has the good sense to travel independently, do some proper research and learn the ugly truth… that ethnic cleansing and land theft at the point of a gun and with the business end of a bulldozer are the cornerstones of New Israel.
Very likely he and the others have been shielded from the sordid facts that since 1967 around 18,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished for so-called administrative and operational reasons and as ‘collective punishment’. Before then, in 1948-50, Israel demolished over 125,000 homes to drive out the Palestinians and prevent their return.
More than 200 illegal settlements have been built in the Occupied Territories and 450,000 Israeli squatters have migrated across the 1967 boundaries. The settlements and their associated infrastructure have carved what’s left of the territory into dozens of impoverished enclaves polluted, traumatised and having no chance to prosper. These remnants are all the Palestinians are allowed to keep.
They won’t have been told that 80% of the West Bank’s precious water is diverted into illegal settlements where Israelis enjoy a 24/7 supply, fill their swimming pools and wash their cars while Palestinians are strictly rationed or go without.
And while all this thieving is going on Israel hurries to establish enough ‘facts on the ground’ to make their unlawful occupation irreversible and a viable, independent Palestinian state impossible.
Is anyone surprised? They shouldn’t be. The manifesto of the Likud party, which until recently governed Israel and may do so again, is explicit: "The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state… Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel”. The ruling Kadima party, a splinter from Likud, claims a national and historic right to the Land of Israel "in its entirety" and pledges to keep Jerusalem and the settlements.
“Jerusalem an international city” said the UN.
I doubt if many Friends of Israel know about the Great Betrayal. It is rarely taught in British schools.
When Arab leaders were promised independence in return for their help in World War One the corridors of power in London were already infiltrated by Zionists. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 signalled approval for their racist project and Balfour, a Zionist convert, wrote: "In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…."
The ultimate betrayal came in 1947. While Britain prepared to quit its blundered mandate in Palestine the United Nations partitioned the territory and handed the Jewish minority 57%. Jerusalem was not part of the deal. It was designated a ‘corpus separatum’, an international city, the only grain of sense in the whole clumsy exercise
Someone ought to tell our Israel-admiring MPs that Israeli statehood was achieved through a long campaign of terror, which included the murder of many Brits. Jewish gangs committed terrible massacres at Deir Yassin and elsewhere, after which 750,000 Palestinian Arabs fled in fear as Israel’s forces rampaged through the Holy Land obliterating hundreds of Arab villages and towns.
The betrayal continues to this day thanks to the international community’s failure to enforce UN resolutions 194 and 242 and bring justice to the situation. As a result, Palestinians now comprise the largest refugee population in the world and have endured the longest, most brutal occupation of modern times.
The greatest betrayal of all is that Jerusalem, so central to Muslim and Christian belief, remains under illegal Zionist control and is far from being the ‘international city’ everyone was promised. What possible excuse can there be for not prising it from Israel’s grasp?
Rewarding Criminal Behaviour
The Israeli regime relies heavily on the EU for its exports and enjoys preferential treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement of 1995. But the terms require adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter, and Article 2 says that "respect for human rights and democratic principle constitute an essential element of this agreement." Israel has never complied but continues to reap the benefits, and there have been many calls to suspend the Agreement.
In 2002 the European Parliament itself, with a large majority, requested the European Commission and the Council of Europe to suspend the Agreement, without success. A few days ago Israel succeeded in having its EU relationship upgraded and the benefits enhanced. How could such a thing be wangled – against the democratic mood – without stooges, hirelings and ‘friends’ deeply embedded at the heart of Europe?
Will Sydenham’s ‘sore’ never heal?
90 years ago many people warned against appeasing the Zionists. Lord Sydenham, responded to the Balfour Declaration by saying: "The harm done by dumping down an alien population upon an Arab country may never be remedied. What we have done, by concessions not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, is to start a running sore in the East…"
Israel’s willing stooges do nothing to heal that sore. They only inflame it.
-Stuart Littlewood is an activist and an author. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.