By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
Palestinians, let down by the betrayed promises of peace, are at a loss on how to achieve liberation without using violence against the tyranny of a state that has been subjecting them to violence, repression and racism. Since they refuse to buy into the Zionists narrative, the Palestinians view the Zionist enterprise in many forms but none suggests it was a peaceful movement. The Zionist project to colonize Palestine is just another European colonialist expedition whose white settlers used the power imbalance to overwhelm the indigenous population, carried out the ethnic cleansing of North and South America, Africa, New Zealand and Australia, and routinely committed unspeakable crimes.
Israel has committed crimes against the Palestinians, casting aside all the principles enshrined in the international laws and with help from the West successfully evaded justice and probably would never be brought to pay for what it has done. As long as Israel is appeased, it will not cease to commit more crimes and violate the international laws.
The 1947-1948 mass expulsion of the Palestinian civilians by the Jewish armed gangs and the Israeli military was a case of ethnic cleansing crimes that leave no room for ambivalence.
Many Israeli historians including Benny Morris, Avi Shalim, Ilan Pappe and Simcha Flapan attest to the atrocities against civilians committed by the Israelis against the Palestinians in the 1948 war with absolutely no accountability. The Zionist ideological impulse to have an exclusively Jewish population in Palestine set up detailed master plan, called “Plan Dalet” which only organized crime syndicates that have no moral principles can lay out. It included methods to forcibly evict the Palestinians by large scale intimidation, bombarding their population centers, setting fire to homes, demolition and expulsion.
Ben-Gurion ordered the purchase, then the manufacture, of a flame-thrower weapon to be used for setting fire to the fields and houses of Palestinians, according to Ilan Pappe. In a 1947 speech to the Mapai Center, Ben-Gurion stated that Israel must make sure its Jewish residents are the overwhelming majority of its population to avoid future “severe” problems. Yossef Weitz who was deeply involved in developing ethnic cleansing plans wrote in his “My Diary” that the only solution to reduce the Arab population and free their cultivated land for Jewish settlers was “to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries. Not a single village or a single tribe must be let off.”
After the 1948 war, Israel put many tools in place to exploit the spoils of the ethnic cleansing, the Palestinians’ flattened villages that were destroyed and their lands. The Knesset passed the “Law of Absentee Property” on November 20, 1950 and the “Land Acquisition Law” of 1953. The absentees were defined as any Palestinian who had left his usual place of residence in Palestine for any place inside or outside Israel after the adoption of UN Partition Resolution. The laws authorized the government to claim the property of the Palestinians’ lands which are not in the possession of its owner as of April 1952. They prohibit the sales or lease of land to non-Jews, a notion of “land redemption”. For the Arab land owners, the law was institutionalized ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination. The laws were enacted for one purpose, to confiscate the Palestinians’ lands; the law applied also to Arabs who had become citizens of Israel but the provision in the law made sure it did not apply to Jews. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) was given the complete authority to do what is necessary to safeguard the Jewishness of the land by prohibiting any transaction that leads the transfer of ownership to non-Jews, namely the Palestinians including the “Israeli-Arabs”.
Cleansing is crime against humanity; people who perpetrate ethnic cleansing are considered criminals to be brought before special tribunals. Upon the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the forcible displacement of ethnic groups, a special International Criminal Tribunal was set up in The Hague to prosecute the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing.
After occupying the rest of Palestine in the 1967 war, Israel felt free to enact laws that contravene international laws and since the Arabs are too weak to come to defend the Palestinians, Israel recently enacted a law that authorizes the military to deport potentially any Palestinian in the West Bank by criminalizing them just by being where they are in their own country. Evicting Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem and the West Bank, the deportation of Arab-Israeli Palestinian spouses are cases of ethnic cleansing crimes.
The right-wing Party of the current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the religious parties openly call for “voluntary transfer of Israeli-Arabs to the West Bank”, a euphemism for ethnic cleansing as the solution for the so-called demographic balance in Israel,
On July 31, 2003, a secular liberal Zionist from Shinui Party, Avraham Poraz, introduced legislation to the Knesset that prohibits the Palestinians from obtaining citizenship, permanent residency or temporary residency when they marry Israeli citizens. The Knesset approved the racist legislation by a large margin of 95 to 25, and it was enacted as law. It was retroactively approved to cover the Palestinians who were already married to Israeli citizens regardless of how long they had been living in Israel with their spouses. The Supreme Court upheld the law and rejected the Arab members of the Knesset appeal against it.
The historian Ilan Pappe describes examples on how Israel has been implementing ethnic cleansing and anti-repatriation policies today. He described how Israeli police burst into houses of Arab-Israelis in Jajulya town in the middle of the night on January 24, 2006. They arrested and deported scores of legally married wives and deported them to the West Bank simply because the families were not Jewish, some were pregnant and many had been married for years and had children.
In November 2007, the Israeli Knesset voted to make any Israeli concession over Jerusalem too difficult to pass by demanding that any such concession requires a two-third majority rather than a simple one. Israel added the issue of the Jewish identity of Israel, a concept that runs counter to the principle of equality before the law for all citizens, a requirement for any liberal democracy. Israel invented the concept of legal and illegal Jewish only settlements and outposts in the occupied lands as a scheme to confuse the issue of international laws that prohibit annexing occupied lands.
Azmi Bishara, a previous member of the Knesset, described how the Israeli Ministry of Education added insult to injury by asking Arab school-children, the victims of ethnic cleansing and discrimination “to sign the Israeli declaration of independence as part of the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel.”
Based on its actions against the Palestinians, the Zionist movement can be described as a large scale organized crime syndicate with international connections and a powerful propaganda machines. Like all organized crime groups, Israel negotiates only to extort concessions, neither to rectify wrongs nor to achieve a modicum of justice; and the more you appease it the more it demands.
The West planted Israel in Palestine, turned blind eye on its nukes and tolerated the premeditated depopulation of its indigenous people and eradication of their history. While Israel has been building Jewish-only settlements and Jewish-only roads in the occupied lands and laying siege to 1.5 million in Gaza, demolishing civilian houses in Jerusalem and denying the Arab-Israelis equal protection of the law by virtue of being non-Jews, the West officials do not miss an opportunity to applaud Israel’s “only democracy in the Middle East”.
On the eve of the proximity negotiations with the Palestinians, Israel knows that Abbas is venerable because he lacks legitimacy, the Palestinians are divided, the Arab states are irrelevant and the US shares with Israel the same vision for the future of Palestine. The talks are not expected to produce any solution that satisfies the minimum Palestinians’ ambitions, but Israel will ask for many concessions.
There is a possibility that Abbas negotiating team may capitulate to the Israelis intransigence and the US pressure. In an interview with Akiva Elder of Haaretz, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad suggested that the refugees may be settled in the future State of Palestine. The Palestinians should put Abbas on notice that many issues including the refugees’ right of return are not negotiable. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportation of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or to that of any country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive”. Abbas or any person or group for that matter does not have the legal authority to give up the right of return to the victims of Israel’s ethnic cleansing crimes.
– Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D., is a political analyst. Born in Nablus, Palestine, His upcoming book is "Is the Two-State Solution Already Dead?" (Algora Publishing, NY). He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.