This year the International human rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW), released a report titled ‘A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.’ The report catalogues a long chain of abuses and a systematic Israeli government policy directed at breaking the Palestinian people and eliminating any challenge to Israel’s ironclad dominance not only over the territories it forcibly occupies but also over the entire region. In pursuit of this goal, the Israeli authorities, according to the HRW report, ‘have dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated, and subjugated Palestinians by virtue of their identity to varying degrees of intensity. In certain areas, these deprivations are so severe that they amount to crimes against humanity.’ The report also likens Israeli policy towards the Palestinians to apartheid, thus confirming similar conclusions made years ago by former presidents Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter. Israel being a racist and apartheid state is also the verdict of the majority of United Nations member states.
As expected, the pro-Israel lobby in the international mainstream media have deployed their propaganda arsenal to attack the HRW report, but all peace-loving and anti-imperialist forces of the world celebrate it as a major countervailing narrative to the phony portrayal of Israel as a beleaguered tiny democracy in a hostile region of manic enemies. This propaganda has endeavored frenziedly to perpetuate the stereotype that the Palestinian resistance in nothing but the actions of deranged “militants” and “terrorists”.
The frequent labeling of the resistance to Israeli aggression as terrorism, while ignoring the rampant and indiscriminate violence perpetrated by Israel is hypocrisy of the highest order. That the foundations of Israel were built on acts of terrorism is well documented in history. In fact three prominent Israelis who eventually became that country’s prime ministers had earlier in their careers been terrorists. Menachem Begin, for example, took part in terrorist acts in the 1940s. Specifically in 1946 he ordered and took part in a terrorist attack on the King David Hotel which killed 91 people including innocent women and children. This was the time when Jewish terrorists were agitating for their own state in British-occupied Palestine.
Yitzhak Shamir, on his part, was the operations commander, and later leader of the Stern Gang, a terrorist group which was responsible for a string of political assassinations, and his victims included Lord Moyne, the British Minister representative in the Middle East in 1944 and Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN’s special Mediator on Palestine in 1948. Ariel Sharon, a former Israeli Prime Minister, initiated the Sabra and Shatila massacre and the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 resulting in the deaths of 22,000 Lebanese and Palestinians. In fact Hezbollah was formed in Lebanon in response to this murderous invasion, just as Hamas was formed in response to the atrocities and humiliations the Palestinians have suffered for more than half a century.
The Israeli state in the past provided forged passports of a number of western countries for terrorists to carry out murders in foreign lands as was the case with the murder of a Palestinian official in a hotel in Dubai in 2010. The recent assassinations of Iranian scientists and the bombing of nuclear research facilities in the Islamic Republic have been the handiwork of the Israeli spy agency Mossad, assisted by various covert operations agencies of the United States and its allies.
The former Palestinian leader, Arafat was in good health until he suddenly fell ill on October 12, 2004. Tests conducted at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland on his personal belongings – his clothes, toothbrush, even his iconic kaffiyeh revealed abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element. Traces of this element were also found in his blood, sweat, saliva and urine. This could only have the work the work of state actors, and the obvious culprit with a motive was, of course, Israel’s Mosad which is committed to making it impossible for the Palestinian people to have any coherent and purposeful political leadership.
In May 2010 Israeli soldiers stormed an aid flotilla which was on its way to deliver to the besieged population in Gaza humanitarian assistance including chocolate and toys. The aid convoy included a former Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland and eleven Americans among whom was a former United States ambassador. The attack took place in international waters and resulted in the coldblooded murder of close to twenty peace activists. In the 2008 attack on Gaza, the Israeli military bombed such civilian buildings as the parliament and the presidential palace. It targeted and killed medical personnel, journalists, civilian police and non-military government personnel.
All these examples prove that Israel is both a rogue and terrorist state par excellence. And in the conduct of this criminal enterprise, it does not demonstrate any scruples or a modicum of respect for international law.
A glaring instance of Israel’s utter contempt for world opinion is its policy of frustrating the emergence of a Palestinian state. It has continued to do this through a combined program of ethnic cleansing, the reconfiguration of municipal boundaries, the demolishing of thousands of Palestinian homes, the unrestrained construction of Jewish settlements in the remaining 22 percent of what was historical Palestine and the erection of an apartheid wall which has cut off Palestinians from their farmlands, families, hospitals and schools. To make this policy of ethnic cleansing more thorough, Israel has encouraged massive Jewish immigration into the occupied territories, granting the new arrivals ‘superior status under the law as compared to Palestinians living in the same territory when it comes to civil rights, access to land’, as noted in the HRW report.
The strategy of isolating Palestinian areas from one another has resulted in the creation of fragmented, disconnected and crowded areas that look like Bantustans or massive concentration camps. These Bantustan patches of land unconnected among themselves, each surrounded and hemmed in by large Israeli settlements are to prevent the occurrence of a sizeable and continuous stretch of Palestinian territory, which is a necessary prerequisite for the socio-political and economic viability of any future Palestinian state.
The philosophy underpinning this obnoxious apartheid system perpetrated by the Zionists is the claim they lay to a special racial status reminiscent of what Hitler claimed for the Arian race. The Zionists’ claims of racial supremacy laid the grounds for the atrocities against the Palestinian people, beginning from the violent creation of the state of Israel and on to the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza including East Jerusalem and their military occupation since 1967 resulting in the dispossession of an entire people,
The widely held notion that the continuous Israeli military attacks on Gaza are acts of self-defense against rocket attacks from Gaza is a distortion of the facts. It must be conceded here that rockets from Gaza that fall on civilian areas violate international law. But it is also true that they are directed at territories forcibly occupied by Israel since 1967. The firing of rockets at Israeli settlements by Hamas should be assessed within the context of a guerilla force fighting an occupying power. Nazi Germany could not invoke the argument of self-defense against guerillas who fought Nazi troops in occupied France, Russia, Poland, and the rest of occupied Europe.
Despite the overwhelming and impudent display of brute military force by Israel, it is the Palestinians who have no army, no air force, nor even a functioning government, who are being continuously called upon to renounce violence. In asking the Palestinian resistance to renounce violence, President Obama, for example, drew parallels with African American history of suffering under slavery and the humiliation of segregation, and also on the experience of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. In both instances he concluded that it was not violence but peaceful and determined insistence which eventually delivered victory. This is utterly false.
We know that America fought the bloodiest war in the history of North America over the question of slavery. And in South Africa, it was the decisive defeat of the South African forces in CuitoCuanavale which forced the apartheid regime to negotiate a political settlement. Contrary to Obama’s narrative, in the context of the Palestinian struggle, there is no other alternative but to force peace on an abrasively recalcitrant Israel, which seems to understand no other language other than that of violence.
Not too long ago a window of hope was opened through what was called the Arab Peace Initiative. It called for Israel to give back territories it captured and has been occupying since 1967 in exchange for peace with all its Arab neighbors. It also called for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital. Hamas indicated its support for the plan, but Israel rejected it, and has continued to forcibly hold on to these occupied lands. And there has not been a murmur of protest from the leading Arab countries.
It has now emerged that Israeli officials feel emboldened in frustrating the Palestinian struggle for self-determination by the previously tacit support Israel was, and has been receiving from some leading Arab countries. A 2009 CIA report made allusions to this. And in 2021 this is no longer speculation.
It is a fact borne out by the recent normalization of ties between Israel and a number of Arab countries, namely the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain following in the footsteps of Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Key areas of cooperation in this normalization effort are the economic and finance sectors, politics, security, defence, tourism and culture, healthcare and science. Many see this rapprochement as a betrayal of the Palestinian people.
It is particularly very painful as the fraternization is coming at a time conscientious citizens in other parts of the world are organizing in solidarity with the Palestinian people especially through the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement which is working to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.
Israel’s apparent success in dividing the Muslim and Arab front is not a sign of strength. The betrayal notwithstanding, these developments are the desperate kicks of a dying conspiracy, and Israel’s backers in the West, especially the United States know this very well. The Zionist construct is not sustainable and is running out of time. Propaganda has its limits as Dr.
Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief, discovered when he struggled to explain to the German public how the formidable Nazi armies could win victory upon victory while retreating on all fronts during the closing days of the Second World War.
The international community is fast awakening to the falsehoods embedded in the Israeli narrative. As the HRW report points out, in February 2021, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that it has jurisdiction over serious international crimes committed in the entirety of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, which would include crimes against humanity, and in March 2021, the ICC Office of Prosecutor announced the opening of a formal investigation into the situation in Palestine.
The Israeli authorities are now scampering like rats in a sinking ship because the culture of impunity which characterizes their national and international conduct is coming to an end. The false Israeli edifice will also soon come crumbling.
There was an incident in 1973 reported by then President Nixon. An Israeli official asked an Egyptian general convalescing in hospital: We have defeated you Arabs three times (1948, 1967 and 1973) why do you continue to resist us?” the Egyptian replied, You may have defeated us three times, and you may defeat us 11 times. But the 12th time we will win, and Palestine will be liberated.”
The grandchildren of the first wave of Palestinian refugees have taken over the mantle of resistance, and in gallant bravado are confronting the Israeli occupation forces. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is gathering momentum. Anti-imperialist forces have continued to put the Palestinian struggle on the agenda of international discourse as exemplified in the marking of Al-Quds Day where demonstrations are held across the world to protest the occupation of Palestine.
Added to all these are the organizational, technological and military assertiveness of defenders of the Cause of Palestine and the spiritedness of the Hezbollah Resistance movement in Lebanon. Both have exposed the vulnerability of the Zionist project. In fact, the project is a bubble waiting to burst, and the liberation of Palestine is in sight, In Shaa Allah!
Gamel Nasser Adam
Islamic University College, Ghana