- What Ilan Pappe described as "the ethnic cleaning
of Palestine," Edward Said called its "holocaust," saying:
- "Every human calamity is different, but there is
value in seeing analogies and perhaps hidden similarities." He called
Nazi extermination "the lowest point of (Jewish) collective existence."
Occupied Palestinians today "are as powerless as Jews were" under
Hitler, devastated by "power used for evil purposes," not self-defense.
- As a result, they hang onto life by a thread, while Israel's
military juggernaut systematically reigns terror against them, no one intervening
to help. "Is this the Zionist goal for which hundreds of thousands
have died," Said asked? Isn't it time for justice advocates to demand
for Palestinians what Jews spent decades to achieve.
- In his book titled, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,"
Pappe documented Israel's master plan D (Dalet in Hebrew), a war without
- -- depopulating villages and cities;
- -- massacring innocent victims;
- -- committing rapes and other atrocities;
- -- burning, bulldozing, blowing up or stealing homes,
property and goods; and
- -- preventing expelled Palestinians from returning.
- In all, systematic terror expelled about 800,000 Palestinians,
killed many others, and destroyed 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods
in cities like Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. It was genocidal ethnic cleansing,
what international law today calls a crime of war and against humanity
for which convicted Nazis at Nuremberg were hanged.
- Under 44 years of occupation this June, Palestinians
still experience daily institutionalized persecution with no power over
their daily lives in a constant state of fear with good reason. They face:
- -- economic strangulation;
- -- collective punishment for any reason;
- -- loss of basic freedoms, especially in Gaza under siege;
- -- enclosures by separation walls, electric fences and
- -- regular curfews, roadblocks, and checkpoints;
- -- bulldozing of their homes, crops and orchards; and
- -- arrest, imprisonment, and torture without cause.
- Moreover, they endure:
- -- assaults and extra-judicial assassinations;
- -- punitive taxation; and
- -- denial of basic services essential to life and well-being,
including healthcare, education, employment and enough food and water at
the whim of Israeli authorities, trying to destroy their will to resist.
- With no effective power to resist, they're denied redress
in international tribunals that ignore them, perpetuating their occupation,
denial of basic rights and misery.
- On May 15, Palestinians will commemorate their Nakba
(disaster), a day after Israel's sixty-third Independence Day. Events,
in fact, began on May 9 by lighting beacons at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl
national cemetery, marking the conclusion of Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial
or Remembrance Day. On May 10, Independence Day (ID) was celebrated according
to the Jewish calendar, this year days before May 14.
- Events around the country were held, including ceremonies,
military fly-overs, and a naval demonstration. ID evening, the annual Israel
Prize, its highest honor, was awarded.
- This year, Israel's Independence Day theme was "Looking
after one another - the year of mutual care," denied anyone not Jewish,
especially Palestinians, but also Israeli Arabs, one-fifth of the population
treated more like a fifth column than citizens.
- Ahead of ID ceremonies, President Shimon Peres reflected
on "the historic miracle of the birth of a nation," saying Israel's
War of Independence established "one of the best and most moral armies
in the world."
- In fact, he and other Israeli officials ignore its decades
of slaughter, destruction, and ruthlessness against regional Arabs, belying
any notion of morality. Palestinians understand well, by far paying the
greatest price, ongoing daily.
- Roots of Israel's 1947 - 48 plan began with:
- -- Zionism's 19th century birth; in 1895, founder Theodor
Herzl, wrote: "We must expropriate gently the private property on
the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population
across the border by....denying it employment in our country."
- -- establishment of the 1901 Jewish National Fund (JNF)
to compile a detailed registry of Arab communities, so later Zionists knew
what to colonize and where; it was also to buy and occupy Palestinian land;
- -- by the late 1930s, it was a detailed topographic blueprint
of every Arab village and urban area; its information included husbandry,
cultivated land, number of trees, quality of fruits, crops, average amount
of land per family, number of cars, shop owners, Palestinian clans, their
political affiliation, description of mosques and names of their imams,
civil servants and more;
- -- by 1947, it also included "wanted" persons,
by communities, to be targeted for elimination - leaders to be arrested
and summarily executed in cold blood to create a power vacuum;
- -- the process began in December 1947, five months before
the British Mandate ended; Britain did nothing to deter it; David Ben-Gurion
led it from the 1920s to the 1960s; after ethnically cleansing Palestine
he said: "We have come and we have stolen their country....We must
do everything to insure they never do return." Ten years earlier he
wrote to his son: "We will expel the Arabs and take their places....with
the force at our disposal;"
- -- other Israeli leaders expressed the same mindset;
two were former prime ministers, including Golda Meir saying: "There
are no Palestinians" and Nobel Peace laureate Menachem Begin, calling
Palestinians "two-legged beasts," saying Jews were the "Master
Race" and "divine gods on this planet;"
- -- in 1972, Labor Party leader Haim Herzog was more discreet,
saying: "I am not prepared to consider (Palestinians) as partners
in any respect in a land that has been consecrated in the hands of our
nation for thousands of years; for the Jews of this land there cannot be
- The Palestinian Holocaust
- Alnakba.org recounts the toll. It lists the destroyed
villages in 14 Palestinian Districts, including Gaza, Jerusalem, Haifa,
Jaffa, Nazareth and Hebron. One was Deir Yassin in the Jerusalem District.
On April 9, 1948, it was the site of an infamous Nakba massacre. Israeli
soldiers entered the village, machine-gunned houses randomly, killing many
inside, including women and children.
- Remaining villagers were assembled and murdered in cold
blood. Included were children, infants, the elderly and women who were
first raped. The number killed is uncertain but best estimates place it
between 93 and 120. In addition, dozens more were killed in ensuing fighting,
and many other villages met the same fate in the systematic cleansing plan
- to seize as much Palestinian land as possible, leaving the fewest number
of remaining Arabs.
- In December 1947, Jews in Palestine numbered 600,000
compared to 1.3 million Palestinians. Ben-Gurion ordered them removed with
- "Every attack has to end with occupation, destruction
and expulsion." He meant:
- -- depopulation;
- -- obliteration;
- -- homes blown up, burned or bulldozed;
- -- inhabitants in them slaughtered;
- -- shooting anything that moved, especially fighting-age
men and boys who might pose a combat or resistance threat; and
- -- leaving behind rubble, a forgotten landscape and proud
history erased, but never in the collective Palestinian memory.
- Today, Lifta's ruins can be seen from Jerusalem. What
remained of Dayr Aban were piles of rubble, collapsed roofs and part of
some standing walls. Only two houses were left in Barqa, one deserted,
the other a warehouse.
- Jura became the city of Ashqelon. Its Jewish population
exceeds 117,000. The only Arab remains in al-Faluja are the village mosque
foundations and wall fragments. The Israeli town of Qiryat Gat is situated
between al-Faluja and Iraq al-Manshiyya, on al-Faluja land. Hundreds of
other Arab villages have similar stories, erased and replaced by Jewish-only
- Israel's new Nakba Law bans commemorating it as a way
to erase this event from Israeli consciousness.
- Enacted as the Budget Foundations Law, it lets the finance
minister reduce or eliminate funding for any institution or entity engaging
in any activity at variance with Israel's definition as a "Jewish
and democratic" state, or commemorates Israel's Independence Day as
one of mourning. In other words, it violates Arab history, culture, and
right to express, teach, or disseminate it freely as another way to exert
ruthless persecution against anyone not Jewish.
- Nonetheless, this day remains embedded in Palestinian
consciousness. A historic fact, it represents an appalling injustice, inspiring
resolve to keep struggling for liberation, independence, peace, and just
redress, nothing less.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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