By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
Only through force and sheer violence, not negotiations, an exclusively Jewish state could be established in a country inhabited and owned by another people. It is humanly inconceivable that people surrender their country to strangers through negotiations. Thus violence against the indigenous Palestinians has been a central component of the Zionist movement since it was conceived as a colonial enterprise. Violence as an instrument to intimidate the Palestinians has been embedded in the Zionist ideology and in its popular culture.
Since they started colonizing Palestine, the Zionists have planted and cultivated a culture loaded with provocative racial themes in the daily life of the Jewish colonizers that dehumanize the Palestinians, like “the Arabs understand only the language of force” and “a good Arab is a dead Arab.” The Zionists’ myth refers to the Jews as superiors, “heroes” and the Arabs as inferiors, “villains” and “cowards” who have to be terminated. The Israeli Zionists educate their children to hate the Palestinians. Grammar-school children were pictured signing the bombs that killed Gaza children in 2008-09.
Violence to coerce the Palestinians to submit, accept and acclimate took many forms including physical, political, cultural, legal, financial and symbolic. Violence has been inevitable in the Zionist project since it is required to create and maintain an ethnic Jewish home-land in a country where Jews constituted a tiny minority and owned a small percentage of its land.
Israel could not have been established with a Jewish majority as planned by the Zionist elites without using brutal force to cleanse the Palestinians from their home-land. According to Ilan Pappe, Ben-Gurion’s approach to the ethnic cleansing was to use force to reduce the number of Palestinians who constituted seventy percent of the total population in 1948 to “less than twenty percent of the overall population in Israel.”
Yediot Achrinot newspaper quoted Binyamin Netanyahu saying on December 17, 2003 that “if the relationship with these 20 percent Palestinians [in Israel] becomes problematic, the state is entitled to employ extreme measures.” Aron Soffer, a Professor of Geography at Haifa University, was inciting extreme violence according to the Jerusalem Post on May 10, 2004 saying, “So, if we want to remain alive, we have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day….If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist.”
The Zionist armies and militias used the massacres, terror and the threat of more violence to expel the Palestinians from their homes in 1947-48 war. They destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages completely including their cemeteries and created a hegemonic political culture to maintain the Jewish character of the state and dominate its Arab citizens. They enacted laws to legalize the expropriation of the Palestinian refugees’ lands and prevent their return. Refugees who tried to return were killed on the spot.
The Zionist foundational strategy has been to create the state of Israel in Palestine and exclude any reference to its indigenous population in its history. It tries to wipe out any physical evidence that may suggest that people other than Jews lived in Palestine. A team of archaeologists and biblical experts, called “the Naming Committee” was created for the only task of Judaizing Palestine’s geography.
After destroying the fabric of the Palestinians’ society, the Zionist colonialists built Jewish settlements and national parks on the sites of eradicated Palestinian villages. They replaced the Arabic names of the towns, streets, mountains and landscape with Biblical names; thus denying the existence of Arab history in those lands where Palestinian villages had been bustling with life before their people were expelled in 1947-48.
The native Palestinians who survived the ethnic cleansing in Israel have been subjected to legal and institutional terror and discrimination. They were placed under martial laws for almost two decades and have been subjected to laws that deprived them of their lands, violated their civil rights and relegated them to second class citizens. The Israeli “Law of Return” gives Jews all over the world, regardless of their connection to the land, the right to be Israeli citizens while denying the same right to any relative of an Israeli-Arab citizen who had been born and raised in Palestine. Laws that discriminate against the Palestinians are manifestation of legalizing racism.
For further maintaining the domination of the ethnic Jewish character, the Israeli Zionists degraded the usage of the Arabic language in the Arab schools curriculum; and they organized the official national calendar according to the Jewish religion and the Zionist movement history. They enacted laws to prohibit any reference to the Palestinians’ national movement and their long struggle against the British and the Zionists. The Israeli Ministry of Education issued a decree forcing school children including the Arabs to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel by signing the Independence declaration which praises the founding fathers who planned and executed the massacres, the expulsion and the destruction of the Palestinian society.
The most hideous form of the Zionists symbolic violence is their obsession with the Palestinians demography in all historical Palestine especially in Israel proper. The increase of the Palestinians numbers is called “demographic threat” by all Zionist political parties, groups, individuals and the press. An Arab baby born anywhere in Palestine is viewed by the Zionists as a “malignant cancer” rather than a human being. When he was minister of finance in 2003, Benjamin Netanyahu said “Israel’s big problem is its own Arabs not the Palestinian Arabs.” The Israelis call the ethnic Palestinians of Israel “Arabs” and those in the occupied lands “Palestinians”.
The Zionists spend time and resources planning and implementing strategies to control the perceived “demographic danger”. Roth Gabison, a candidate for Israel’s Supreme Court viewed the Palestinians growth as a problem that requires radical solution. She declared on December 1st, 2007 that “Israel has the right to control Palestinian natural growth.” Israeli Zionists have many blueprints for solving the “demographic problem” based on the usage of force not negotiations. The Israeli-Russian ethnic party of Avigador Lieberman and religious parties openly promote the “voluntary transfer” of the Israeli Arabs to the West Bank, a euphemism for ethnic cleansing.
Their solution in Gaza has been the unilateral withdrawal and placing the Palestinians in the Strip under all-out siege, daily targeted assassinations and bombardments, invasions and massacres. The Zionists do not hesitate to execute those trying to deliver symbolic humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinians. As for the occupied West Bank, the plan is to annex large parts of the Palestinian lands while leaving large population centers outside direct Israeli control. They built the 8 meters high separation barbed wall in the Palestinians’ land. To carve areas with least Palestinian population the wall 670 kilometer serpentine rout is twice the length of the border of Israel proper. The Israeli military and the settlers confiscated Palestinian lands and built Jewish only settlements and roads; they caged the Palestinians into few Bantustans; enforced a South African apartheid system; and they threaten to withhold the Palestinians’ taxes, prevent foreign donors’ aid to reach the Palestinian Authority (PA) and starve its population should they resist the occupation.
The Israeli Zionists annexed East Jerusalem and its surroundings, declared it the eternal capital of Israel, built settlements on confiscated lands, demolished Palestinians’ houses, deported elected Palestinian legislators and passed laws and regulations to ethnic cleanse its Palestinian residents.
And in Israel proper, if it was not for the Palestinian minority own steadfastness and courage, the world would have witnessed the ethnic cleansing of the last Palestinian now living within Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a “state of the Jewish people”. The Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman demanded that the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict “must not be land for peace, but an exchange of land and people.” The Israeli-Arabs have been paying a heavy price for their determination to challenge the Israeli plans to expel them. Their land has been appropriated; they were victims of discrimination and even bloody massacres by the Israeli military. They have been forced to witness the loss of their heritage, history and future.
The Zionists established Israel over Seventy-eight Percent of historical Palestine in 1948 using force and they are following the same strategy to swallow the remaining twenty-two percent. If the Palestinian leaders still believe that “life is negotiations” even in dealing with the Israeli Zionists, they have not learnt their lesson that the cornerstone of Zionism has always been to conquer, not to negotiate.
– Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D. is a political analyst. His latest book, Is the Two-State Solution Already Dead? (Algora Publishing, New York), now available on Amazon.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.