Zionism and the Annihilation of Gaza: The Problem in Palestine is Not Political, but Ideological

Far-right Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Ramzy Baroud  

All of this – the language of genocide, the genocide itself and the threats of committing a greater genocide – is rooted, not in a rational political theory, but in Zionism.

The problem is not the absence of a Palestinian state, but Zionism itself.

What is the use of a Palestinian state, if Zionism, as a racist, exclusivist ideology continues to define Israel, and impose that definition on the Palestinians?

This ideology calls for racial purity of Jews in Palestine, of course, at the expense of the native inhabitants of the land. To achieve this, millions of Palestinians had to be forced into exile, hundreds of thousands needed to be killed, wounded or incarcerated.

Neither two states, nor even one state is possible if Zionism is not entirely defeated – not revamped, not ‘fixed’, but eradicated.

As Palestinians are being killed in unprecedentedly large numbers in Gaza, western politicians are waking up to the necessity of a Palestinian state.

But why now? After all, it was these very politicians and their governments that either defended or remained silent as Israel thwarted every possibility of peaceful co-existence.

Theirs is not a moral awakening, but a distraction, to appear – at least before their own people – to be proactive, while Israel is systematically destroying the Palestinian people.

Former UNRWA official, Chris Gunnes, said about the Israeli war on Gaza that this is “the first genocide in the history of humanity that is livestreamed on television”.

The genocide is worsening now that Palestinians are starting to die from starvation, while an even larger number is dying from disease and polluted water, aside, of course, from those being blown up or shot by Israel.

For the likes of David Cameron, Britain’s Foreign Minister, to talk about the recognition of a Palestinian state as “absolutely vital” for “long-term peace”, is bewildering, to say the least. Those struggling to survive daily are hardly concerned about yet more empty western promises.

The genocide underway in Gaza tells us that the issue is not merely political, but an ideological one. And, while western leaders speak of ‘long-term peace’, Israel entrenches its system of violence and apartheid.

“There cannot be a situation in which children and women approach us from the wall. Anyone (…) must receive a bullet,” Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said on February 12.

In Gaza, the violence is far more sickening. Euro-Med Monitor, a rights group, reported on February 12 that “groups of ten to twenty Israeli civilians at a time were permitted to watch and laughingly film Palestinian prisoners and detainees in their underwear” as they were tortured and abused by Israeli soldiers.

There can be no rational political justification for any of this.

All of this – the language of genocide, the genocide itself and the threats of committing a greater genocide – is rooted, not in a rational political theory, but in Zionism.

The problem keeps getting worse because we refuse to address it head-on. In fact, many are doing the exact opposite. For example, western governments have passed – or are passing – laws equating between criticism of Zionism and anti-Semitism. Even Facebook wants to ban the use of the term ‘Zionist’ if it is critical of Israel.

When Israeli Heritage Minister, Amichai Eliyahu, threatened, on November 5, to drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza, he was condemned by many merely for his inappropriate language, not the act itself. Some Israeli officials also criticized Eliyahu as well, only for damaging Israel’s international reputation.

The Israeli Minister, however, was not simply talking out of anger. He meant it, because Israel’s behavior in Gaza, since then, has demonstrated that such willingness to kill Palestinians en masse actually exists.

Zionists are ready to do anything to survive, and their survival is wholly dependent on the erasure of the perceived enemy; not ‘erasure’ in an intellectual, political or even cultural sense, but the physical destruction of the Palestinians as well.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine, known as the Nakba, in 1948, was a serious attempt at achieving that goal. But since the ‘enemy’, being the Palestinian nation, had survived and continues to resist and demand its collective rights, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people is now back on the mainstream Israeli political agenda.

This ongoing Gaza war is the most serious attempt, to date, to destroy the Palestinian people. This is why Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his government want to carry on with the war. On the one hand, they want to ensure the continued slaughter, thus the extermination of the Palestinians and, on the other, they are also fully aware that this is a historic opportunity to finish a job that previous Zionist leaders did not complete, 75 years earlier.

Indeed, Israel sees the war on Gaza beyond the geographic confines of the tiny Gaza Strip. It is a war on the Palestinians everywhere. If Israel succeeds in subduing Gaza, it will turn its gaze immediately to the West Bank, then to the millions of Palestinians inside Israel.

It is important to recall that, before the current war, the Israeli incitement against Palestinians was focused mostly on the West Bank – with the declared aim of annexing over a third of that occupied region.

There was also a major official Israeli campaign to curtail the rights and incite hatred against Palestinian Arabs inside Israel. This campaign is rooted in history but has become far more apparent following the Unity Intifada (uprising) of May 2021.

It was then that Israel realized that the ‘division’ of the Palestinians was largely political, and that, as a nation, Palestinians remain strongly connected.

That is why Ben-Gvir lobbied, even before he claimed his ministerial position in December 2022, to have a National Guard tasked with “restoring governance where needed”.

If Gaza falls, all Palestinians in the rest of Palestine will become the new target for Israeli violence, ethnic cleansing and, if necessary, genocide.

Reducing all of these issues to that of finding creative political solutions that would merely sell false hope to the Palestinian people is not only ignorant, or devious, but also a diversion from the real issue: Israel’s Zionist ideology.

Zionism, like all racist colonial ideologies, operates with a zero-sum approach to their relationship with the natives of colonized land: dominance through ethnic cleansing and genocide.

For ‘long-term peace’ to take place, Zionism must end.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out

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