By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
For the Palestinians, the 1948 al-Nakba did not end in the establishment of Israel. It has been a continuous ongoing process of dispossession, Judaization and cleansing. Peaceful Palestinians have presented an existential challenge to Israel’s demographic imperatives because the conquest of all Palestine has been the fundamental tenets of Zionism.
Under the cover of the two wars of 1948 and 1967, Israel was able to force more than one million Palestinians outside the territory it controlled. Unless there is another war, the opportunity to carry out another mass expulsion is unlikely to arise again. Israel is carrying on slow ethnic cleansing through careful planning, rules and legislations, settlements expansion, separation walls, promise of land swapping, and low intensity military operations. Israel has ignored the powerless Arab and Islamic states protest and condemnation; it used its powers as an occupier to create Greater Jerusalem, and now it is trying to achieve its vision of Greater Israel. Israel is carrying on low intensity of warfare which includes tight siege and periodically decimating the Palestinians in Gaza, and managing the occupation of the West Bank with help from the Palestinian Authority in which Israel enjoys relative tranquility. This status quo of one-way peace is acceptable by the Israeli people.
To consolidate its control over the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel sought massive land annexation in Jerusalem. It extended corridors of major settlement blocks deep in the West Bank, strategically severing the Palestinian population clusters from one another. Israel permanently encircled East Jerusalem by building massive settlements and forcing Palestinians from their homes in droves. And in Gaza Strip, the Israeli military would “mow the lawn,” an expression used by the Israelis to describe periodic assaults on the civilian infrastructure and battering the besieged population into submission. To push Gaza’s economy to the brink of collapse and starve the people to death, Israel surrounds Gaza on three sides with sniper towers, electrified fences, concrete walls and naval blockade, weaponized drones fly over head day and night. And Cairo’s strong man is cooperating with Israel by closing the southern border, the Gazzan’s only road to the outside world.
Contrary to Israel’s professed claim of “democracy”, many laws pouring out of the Knesset, that strengthen the Jewish character of Israel have been passed by overwhelming majority of the Knesset and approved by the Supreme Court. The 2003 “Citizenship and Entry Into Israel Law” authored by Avraham Poraz, is an example. It does not only ban West Bank Palestinians from obtaining citizenship if they married Israeli citizen, but it also disallows them from receiving temporary residency. This law suggests that Israel considers every Arab Palestinian a threat to the security of Israel only because he/she is an Arab. The American journalist Max Blumenthal concluded in his book “Goliath” that Israel is a racist state.
The activities of the West Bank and Jerusalem settlers are not limited to the 1967 occupied lands. They have been expanding their anti-Arab and Juidaization activities to the mixed Israeli cities and to the Nagav. These are few examples of the Arab Israelis hardship inside Israel proper as described by Max Blumenthal: Groups of young Jewish fundamentalists storm through Arab neighborhoods everywhere with impunity, carrying out pogroms. In May 2010, Israeli young men waving Israeli flags burst into the front yards of a local Arab homes in Jaffa chanting “This is our land!”, “Yafo is just for Jews!”, “Arabs, get out of Yafo!”. The following January, a similar group attacked al-Nuzha Mosque also in Jaffa with rocks, chanting “Death to Arabs” while police stood by passively, intervening only to prevent a fight between the attackers and men who had been praying in the mosque.
Rabbis, government officials and Knesset members lead the Jewish mobs assaults against the Arab Israeli citizens. Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef the Israeli Shas Party spiritual leader who peppers his weekly radio sermons against the Arabs said “It is forbidden to be merciful to Arabs.” Lieberman, the foreign minister of Israel whose party gains more seats in the Knesset in every election appeals to anyone who loathes Arabs everywhere. Lieberman was described by David Grossman as a “political pyromaniac.” There are systematic plans by municipality officials to pressure Palestinian Israelis to leave. Jewish leaders have no shame insulting Arabs in public. The Jewish mayor of Ramle said of the Palestinians, “They [Arabs] are poor in culture.”
Lod town was one of the 500 prosperous Arab Palestinian towns and villages that were invaded and cleansed by Zionist militias in the 1948 war. In the Abu Touq neighborhood in Lod, the few Arab families that managed to escape the cleansing of the 1948 are facing the cleansing today. They live now in a de facto refugee camp surrounded by exclusively Jewish communities. Their houses had been leveled to the ground on December 13, 2010 leaving seventy-four people homeless including many children. They were forced to sleep under the open sky. After a while, the families gathered whatever belongings they could salvage from their destroyed houses and pitched few tents like what their fellow Palestinians had done in the past. They placed a sign on their encampment read “Abu Eid Refugee Camp.” The Arabs of Lod were not only denied the right to renovate their houses to accommodate their growing families, they also were not allowed as Arabs to live in a new housing complex built in their city. Residents of Abu Touq neighborhood kept submitting applications to renovate their houses for years and the state of Israel denied them a permit, while next to their property, “a building project has begun on a yeshiva [Jewish religious school] directed by an Orthodox rabbi from the United States named Yaakov Saban.” According to Max Blumenthal, being Arabs was Abu Eid family crime, and they are not alone. More than 30 homes were demolished in Lod by the time Abu Eid family homes were leveled. And according to human rights reports, 42,000 Palestinian Israeli homes had been demolished in the same period across Israel.
In the Negev Desert and in the Galilee, Israel has ramped up its strategy of “Judaization,” planting new exclusively Jewish communities around and in place of Arab towns. And in the mixed cities, Israel created pressure on Arab inhabitants to move from their homes. The latest victims are the Bedouins of the Negev in southern Israel. A campaign of ethnic cleansing has been underway. It is designed to remove the majority of Bedouin Palestinians from their ancestral lands to make way for the construction of Jews-only communities and a massive forestation project. Israel plans to transform the Bedouin population into urban workers to perform manual labor for the Jewish middle class. It had transferred many Bedouins into reservation-like communities overseen by “Or Movement”, a group of West Bank settlers whose mission besides colonizing the West Bank is to plant new Jewish towns in the Negev.
Al-Araqip is a village in Negev that has been inhabited by Bedouin citizens of Israel whose presence predated the arrival of Jewish settlers to Palestine, was erased to the ground. The Bedouins of al-Araqib had adopted the Palestinian non-violent resistance policy of steadfastness. Since July 27, 2010 Bulldozers leveled all structures in al-Arqib village to wipe the village off the map for forty-five times according to Max Blumenthal. First time in recent history a colonial power tried to interrupt the life style of Bedouins was in Libya under the Italian fascist regime of Benito Mussolini back in the last century when Libya was an Italian colony.
Faridah Shaa’aban, a victim of house demolition, described her situation to Max Blumenthal: “Our situation is worse than that of the people in Gaza. We witness injustice and demolitions on a daily basis while in Gaza there is publicity, and they [Gazans] show the whole world what is happening there. Here, they don’t show anybody what they are doing to us.”
– 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 and Barnes & Noble. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.