By William James Martin
The ideology, or political project, of Zionism which underlies the creation of the State of Israel had, in fact, a Christian origin rather than a Jewish one, as writings can be found dating from the 1500’s, written by Christian clergymen in England advocating the migration of Jews to the Holy Land.
The migration of Jews to Palestine was also advocated by Napoleon Bonaparte.
The first Jewish presentations of Zionism were written by Moses Hess in 1862 and 20 years later by Leo Pinsker, both of the Russian Pale, with each writer advocated a separate state for Jews.
Twentieth century Zionism was initiated by Theodore Herzl who, likewise, advocated a separate state for Jews in his book, Der Judenstaat, written in 1896. One year later he formed the World Zionist Congress which held its first meeting in Basel Switzerland in that same year.
What to do with the Arabs present in the prospective Jewish state dominated the thoughts of the founders of Israel from Herzl up until the actual expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948.
Thus Herzl stated,
“[We shall] spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.”
Thus the concept of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians was introduced.
It is not rocket science, if you want to create a state exclusively of Jews, mostly European, in the heart of the Middle East, then you must first get rid of the Arabs.
In 1928, Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of the Revisionist wing of the Zionist movement, which advocated the revision of the British Mandate for Palestine, to include the east bank of the Jordan and some of present-day Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and which was the progenitor of the present-day Lukud party, wrote, of the Palestinians, in his booklet, The Iron Wall, that no people were ever willing to give up their land to another people through mutual agreement and that the colonization by European Jews of Palestine must be prosecuted by force and against the will of the indigenous people, and must be executed behind an iron wall of bayonets, using his metaphor.
By the 1930’s, ‘transfer’ of the Arabs was the unanimous preference of the founders of Israel. So-called transfer committees, headed by Joseph Weitz, Director of Land Management for the Jewish Agency, were set up explicitly for the purpose of studying ways of ‘transferring’ the Arabs out of Palestine.
At the beginning of 1948, despite 50 years of land purchases, Jews only owned 6% of the land of Palestine. By the year’s end, the Israeli army controlled 78% of Palestine in a process of ethnic cleansing that saw the destruction of 531 Arab towns or villages and 11 Arab urban areas, with massacres, large or small, at almost all of those towns or villages, the almost complete looting of Palestinian property and wealth, including looting of the banks, confiscation of Palestinian homes and property, businesses, fields and orchards.
The Palestinian people lost everything. Those who survived the massacres lost their careers, their means of livelihood, only to find refuge in tent cities set up by the United Nations which were later to become squalid refugee camps of cinder block buildings dotted around the Middle East.
By just checking the time line, one quickly disposes of the 60 year old Israeli propaganda myth that the pre-state of Israel was innocently minding its own business when it was attacked by five armies of surrounding Arab states.
The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians began on November 30, 1947 in Haifa when the Jewish army under David Ben Gurion, along with the Jewish terrorist group, the Irgun, under Manachem Begin, began shelling the Arab sections of that city. The ethnic cleansing of the Arabs of Haifa was completed by April, 1948 when shelling by the Jewish forces forced Haifa’s Arab residents to flee toward the harbor where they attempted to board boats in order to escape. Thus the Arabs of Haifa were literally ‘pushed into the sea’ by the Jewish forces. Many of those fleeing were drowned when he boats were overloaded and capsized.
In March of 1948, David Ben Gurion finalized and distributed Plan D to his officers, which was a program for destroying and depopulating Arab villages and eliminating any resistance. Already, by that date, already 30 Arab villages had been depopulated of Arabs.
One revealing paragraph of this document states:
“These operations can be carried out in the following manner: either by destroying villages (by setting fire to them, by blowing them up, and by planting mines in their rubble), and especially those populations centers that are difficult to control permanently; or by mounting combing and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the villages, conducting a search inside them. In case of resistance, the armed forces must be wiped out and the population expelled outside the borders of the state.”
The massacre at the Arab village of Deir Yassin, only one of many, but possibly the most famous, occurred on April 9, 1948. Israel declared itself a state on May 14, 1948, and it was the next day, May 15, that the first regular soldier of an Arab army set foot in Palestine. By then, about half of the 750,000 to 800,000 Palestinian refugees had been generated and all of Palestine’s urban centers and been depopulated of Arabs.
Let me be clear: the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians began six months before the entrance into Palestine of any regular member of the surrounding Arab armies. And further, the intent of the Zionist movement to displace the Arab population had been in place for half a century.
One cannot understand the natural anger and resentment of the Arab people, and particularly the Palestinian people, toward Israel, and also to the West, for supporting their oppressors and for being blind to their own suffering, without coming to a full understanding of the catastrophe, which the Palestinian people call the Nakbah, that befell them in 1948. One cannot so understand if one accepts the lie that the pre-state of Israel was just innocently defending itself, which is the fiction which, I suspect, most members of the US Congress accept.
Nor can one understand the futility of the exalted ‘peace process’, ongoing now for the last 24 years, concurrent with the further erosion of Palestinian rights and freedom, and migration of new Jewish settlers into the West Bank and East Jerusalem, without understanding that Israeli acquired its present status as a state, not by negotiation with Palestinians, but by brute force and very much against the will of the indigenous people.
For the Arab people, Israel is an alien implant, imposed by western powers, in the heart of the Arab world against the will of the Arab people.
The Palestinians living under occupation have been living in that situation for 45 years, deprived of basic human rights, abused and, more often than not, humiliated, suffering degradation and humiliation on a daily basis, as their land and property and resources are daily confiscated by the state of Israel, which also winks at settler violence and looks the other way as settlers, who have built their settlement on hilltops, dump their sewage onto Palestinian farmland, as they also cut down their olive trees, burn their fields and poison or otherwise kill their livestock, in order to make way for more settlers and settlements as well as to make life as miserable as possible for the Palestinians with the intention of make their migration from Palestine more attractive than their continuing presence.
The Palestinian refugee population now stands at about 5 million – the largest refugee population in the world and the longest standing refugee population. There are no prospects on the horizon for any change in their situation.
Zionism is a political program of clearing Palestine of Palestinian Arabs in order to create the space for an exclusive Jewish state. As such, its goal is to destroy the Palestinians as a people with an identity as a people and with an attachment to the land of their births and the births of their ancestry. Such a project meets the definition of genocide in international law. Genocide is a crime against humanity was well as against its immediate victims. Genocide is a crime in which all of humanity is degraded.
When the US Congress gave 29 standing ovations to the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr Netanyahu, in his most recent appearance before this body, they were applauding a man whose has dedicated his entire life to the destruction of the Palestinian people and their ethnic cleansing.
The US Congress does not seem to know, or to care: Those who came to Palestine in the 20th century for the purpose of ethnically cleansing the indigenous people in order to establish a racially or ethnically pure Jewish state are the victimizers, not the victims; those who are being ethnically cleansed are the victims, not the victimizers. The US Congress has it backwards.
Did it not occur to the members of this august group that Mr Netanyahu, after receiving 29 standing ovations, would return to Israel with an imprimatur from the US Congress to continue, or even accelerate, the disenfranchise of the Palestinians?
The day that the Knesset endorsed Oslo II by a majority of one, in 1993, thousands of demonstrators gathered in Zion Square in Jerusalem. While the demonstrators displayed an effigy of Rabin in SS uniform, Netanyahu delivered an inflammatory speech calling Oslo II a surrender agreement and accused Rabin of ‘causing national humiliation by accepting the dictates of the terrorist Arafat.’ A month later, on November 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a religious-nationalist Jewish fanatic with the explicit aim of derailing the peace process. Rabin’s demise, as his murderer expected, dealt a serious body blow to the entire peace process. (Shlaim – Israel and Palestine, Verso)
There is a Youtube video, from 2002, of Mr Netanyahu seated on a couch in the home of an Israeli family, unwittingly on camera, and bragging that he was able to destroy Oslo, and that he deceived the US president at that time, Bill Clinton, into believing he was helping implement the Oslo accords by making minor withdrawals from the West Bank while actually entrenching the occupation. He boasts that he thereby destroyed the Oslo process.
He dismisses the US as “easily moved to the right direction” and calls high levels of popular American support for Israel “absurd.”
He also suggests that, far from being defensive, Israel’s harsh military repression of the Palestinian uprising, was designed chiefly to crush the Palestinian Authority led by Yasser Arafat so that it could be made more pliable for Israeli diktats.
Mr Netanyahu is playing the US Congress for fools.
Days before he received 29 standing ovations from the US Congress, Mr Netanyahu sat in the Oval Office with the American President and told him that he would not accept the ’67 borders as the basis of a solution. The ’67 borders as a basis for a settlement has been the consistent American position since the ’67 war, for 45 years, under both Democrat and Republican presidents.
Mr Netanyahu told the American President that Israel needed most of the West Bank because otherwise Israel would be militarily vulnerable, and also, an indefinitely long presence in the Jordan Valley, also because otherwise Israel would be militarily vulnerable. And, of course, Mr Netanyahu has a consistent policy of ethnically cleansing Jerusalem of Palestinians because it was given to Jews by God, or because it is the Jewish birthright. That leaves very little for the Palestinians, does it not? The original inhabitants of Palestine, the Palestinians, were promised statehood by the British Mandate for Palestine.
It is not true, BTW, that Jews were building the city of Jerusalem 3000 years ago, as Mr Netanyahu repeatedly claims, and even if it were, it would not override international law’s injunction against ethnic cleansing. The archeologists tell us that Jerusalem was an abandoned village 3000 years ago surrounded by a small agrarian population. This is during the purported time of David and Solomon and the purported United Kingdom. Jerusalem did not achieve any significance until the 8th century BCE and then as the continuous development of a Palestinian settlement from which artifacts have been discovered of representing a variety of Palestinians deities of which Yahweh was only one of several . There is not one shred of evidence for a Jewish temple dating from 3000 years ago, or any other significant engineering structures from that time.
Furthermore, it is unlikely that Mr Netanyahu, or any other Israeli who claims to be derived from God’s Chosen, possesses any genetic connection to the ancient Judeans. The burden of proof is on Mr Netanyahu to produce a verifiable pedigree or genealogical tree stretching back 3000 years into the Iron Age. In fact, no living person is able to do that.
Mr Netanyahu derives from European Jewish ancestry, who, in turn, derive mostly from the Russian Khazars, those living near the Volga and Don Rivers, who converted in mass to Judaism in the 9th century CE bringing a much larger population to Judaic belief than any population of Judeans of the ancient world, or their descendants.
Paul Wexler, a philological archeologist at Tel Aviv University, in his book, The Non-Jewish Origin of the Sephardic Jews, writes that Hebrew and Aramaic made their appearance in European Jewish text only in the 10th century CE, and were not products of earlier linguistic developments. During the first millennium CE, Jewish believers in Europe knew no Hebrew or Aramaic. Only after the religious canonization of Arabic in Islam and Latin in Christianity, did Judaism adopt and propagate its own religious language as a high cultural code.
It is as likely that Adolf Hitler is a descendant of the ancient Judeans as is Mr Netanyahu, for all anyone knows.
The locus of the present day conflict in Palestine may not be in Palestine but in Washington, DC, and in the US Congress, because the US Congress supports, probably unwittingly for the most part, the ethnic cleansing and the destruction the Palestinian people.
– William James Martin has written many articles on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Middle East. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.