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Zionism - A Pretext
For Genocide

By Hala Dimechkie Makdisi
© 2007 Hala Dimechkie Makdisi

Zionism was established at the end of the 19th century to solve the so-called "Jewish Problem" resulting from centuries of persecution of the Jews in Europe. Palestine was chosen because it was considered the "historical homeland" of the Jews even though the Jews spent less than 100 years in historic Palestine some 3,000 years ago.
As early as 1885, the founder of the World Zionist Organization, Theodore Herzl expressed his intentions for the Arabs of Palestine. They were to be denied employment and pushed across the frontiers ? but this was to be done discretely. There was no room for both Arabs and Jews. This was because the Zionists wanted the land for themselves. They wanted a Jewish homeland capable of absorbing the "millions" of Jews and so that the Jewish question would be solved once and for all. The Zionists succeeded in having the Balfour Declaration signed in 1917, which approved the establishment in Palestine for a national home for the Jewish people.
When the King-Crane Commission was set up on August 28, 1919 by President Wilson of the USA "to determine which power should receive the Mandate for Palestine"[2], a number of recommendations were made based on observations, research and scholarship. Based on its observations, the Commission noted that "the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine" and that "no British officer, consulted by the Commissioners, believed that the Zionist program could be carried out except by force of arms."[3]
Israel's Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, states that:
"The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books. After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom."
Edward Said explains, the "inverse resistance which had characterized Zionism and Israel since the beginning" has been the "refusal to admit, and the consequent denial of, the existence of Palestinian Arabs who are there not simply as an inconvenient nuisance, but as a population with an indissoluble bond with the land".[4]
The ultimate goal of political Zionism was the complete acquisition and majority possession of Eretz Israel. The methods used to achieve this goal were numerous and included: expulsion by methods of terror and intimidation, persistent confiscation of property and land, denial of the existence of a Palestinian national identity, eradication of Palestinian villages and towns and discriminatory treatment against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Intent to dispossess was evident in the earliest writings of Theodore Herzl in 1895:
"We shall have to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly." [5]
Furthermore, "Israel developed as a social polity out of the Zionist thesis that Palestine's colonization was to be accomplished simultaneously for and by Jews and by the displacement of the Palestinians; moreover, that in its conscious and declared ideas about Palestine, Zionism attempted first to minimize, then to eliminate, and then, all else failing, finally to subjugate the natives as a way of guaranteeing that Israel would not simply be the state of its citizens?but the state 'of the whole Jewish people,'"[6]
In 1976, Israel Koenig, author of the Koenig Memorandum suggested "Adopting a strong policy against the Arabs by imposing stiff taxes and fines that would deprive them of the financial and economic means to improve their standard of living or social status?and to take any action as would reduce their number."[7] It is no wonder then that UNGA Resolution 3151 G(XXVII), Dec 14th 1973 "condemned, inter alia, the unholy alliance between South Africa and Zionism."
Israel will use whatever means necessary to achieve its goals of expansionism, occupation and illegal settlement. It has even found ways to legalize some of these policies making them virtually impossible to resist or overturn.
Acts Of Genocide
Genocide means "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group". These acts include: "killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intending to prevent births within the group."[8] Not only is the act of genocide punishable but so are conspiracy and attempt to commit genocide; complicity in genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide.
Below are examples of crimes committed in the name of Zionism against the Palestinian people. These crimes may all be interpreted as acts of genocide.
1. "(a) Killing members of the group": In the period of 1947 to 1948, Salman Abu Sitta sites the number of massacres at 34. The total number of people killed was 13,000.[9] In addition to these figures, we must consider the number of massacres perpetrated since 1948 and which continue today.
In the case of the massacre of Sabra and Shatila, the MacBride report concluded that the Commission could not "overlook the extent to which Israeli participation in prior massacres directed against the Palestinian people creates a most disturbing pattern of a political struggle carried on by means of mass terror directed at the civilians, including women, children and the aged."[10]
2. "(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group." Again, between 1947 and 1948 at least 758,000 Palestinians were made refugees during the Nakba by methods of expulsion that were implemented in a number of ways the most important of which was massacres. The Naksa of 1967 claimed another 350,000 refugees.[11]
Having failed to expel all the Palestinians from the land, the State of Israel has chosen to subject them to occupation and subjugation. Those who have remained have thus become the victims of a highly racist government and society. The state thus endorses illegal policies including: "terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." (Koenig Memorandum, 1976).
Exposed to a highly aggressive demographic policy whose aim is to illegally conquer more land, the Palestinians in Israel have suffered from extreme forms of collective punishment that include: house demolitions, land confiscation, curfews, shoot to kill policies, lack of civil rights, etc. All of the above have been noted and condemned by the UNGA, the UN Human Rights Committee, Amnesty International and many others.
Chief of Staff of the IDF declared in 1983 "We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel?Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours." The President of Israel, Chaim Herzog said in 1985 that Israel was not willing to make partners of the Palestinian peoples?"There can be no partner with the Jews of this land."
The current situation in Palestine is worse than ever. As Richard Falk explains: "The present modalities of Israeli occupation impose on every Palestinian a daily ordeal, whether closures, checkpoints, incursions, or random attacks. Israel's large design includes a desire to break the will of Palestinians to resist and to fasten a permanent structure of dominance onto the territories."[12]
3. "(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part":
Between 1947 and 1948, 531 villages in 14 administrative districts or qadas (2 districts, Ramallah & Gaza are left out since they not occupied in 1948) were destroyed or depopulated during this period. The 418 villages constituted almost half of the total number of Palestinian villages that existed within the borders of Mandatory Palestine on the eve of the UN General Assembly partition resolution in November 1947.
Little of them remains. In some cases they have been erased from the Palestinian landscape, in others their names have been removed from contemporary Israeli maps.
This takes us onto the subject of identity. Not only were entire villages wiped of the demographic map but official statements on the part of the State of Israeli actually denied the existence of a Palestinian people. The denial of identity has taken other forms, from the burning of Palestinian ID cards (such as in Rashidiyye camp) to the destruction of the Palestinian Research Center in Beirut in 1982 and the current education policies in the Israel that deny Arab schools the right to commemorate the Naqba or fly the Palestinian flag. In 1982 a UN General Assembly meeting condemned "those acts of plundering the Palestinian cultural heritage."[13]
Of course, other massacres followed since including Yalo (June 1967) and Kafr Kassem (Oct 29, 1956), Sabra & Shatila (September 1982).
For those who were made refugees, both in 1948 and later, in 1967, the official policy was that they should not be allowed to return.
Expansion should also be mentioned here as the policy that drove Israel to illegally occupy land that was not hers. This happened in 1947/48, in 1967, in 1982 and continues to happen through the establishment of settlements in the Occupied Territories and the annexation of East Jerusalem. There are presently 18 Israeli colonies in the Gaza Strip housing an estimated 6,000 Israeli colonists and over 200 in the West Bank with a population of over 400,000 colonists half of whom live in East Jerusalem.[14]
Other oppressive policies include closures, collective punishment, house demolitions, attacks on medical personnel and facilities, movement restrictions. Several UN resolutions and international investigation missions have condemned Israel for its breach of international laws. These include: UNSCR 1322, (Oct 7th, 2000); the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMNHRN) ? Denmark; Human Rights Watch, New York (Oct 4th-11th, 2000); Mary Robinson, UN Human Rights Commissioner, (Nov 7th -13th, 2000).[15] The above mentioned Israeli policies have, since the second intifada of September 2001, only increased. In addition, there have been countless cases of trees and land being burnt and olive trees being uprooted.
Today, there are 5 million Palestinian refugees. An additional 3 million are in exile and 250,000 are internally displaced.[16]
Again, with regards to the massacres of Sabra and Shatila the MacBride report found that these atrocities "were not inconsistent with wider Israeli intentions to destroy Palestinian political will and cultural identity."[17]
4. "(d) Imposing measures to prevent births within the group":
Since the beginning of the second intifada, there have been 4 cases of child birth at checkpoints; 58% increase in number of still births (particularly in the Jenin and Hebron areas).[18]
The above are only examples of policies, conducted over at least 55 years, which under international law, fit the criteria for genocide.
[1] Refer to the Zionism Table for database of quotations on Zionism
[2] From Walid Khalidi, ed. From Haven to Conques, (Washington, Institute for Palestine Studies: 1987) "Recommendations of the King-Crane Commission", August 28, 1919 pp.213-218
[3] Ibid.
[4] E.W. Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: 1992). p.8
[5] Ibid., p.13
[6] Ibid., p.84
[7] Israel Koenig, The Koenig Memorandum in Sami Hadawi's Bitter Harvest, p.157
[8] Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
[9] Salman Abu Sitta, Palestinian Right to Return?Sacred, Legal and Possible (second revised ed. The Palestine Return Center, London 1999)
[10] The Report of the International Commission to Enquire into Reported Violations of International Law by Israel during its Invasion of the Lebanon, MacBride, (1983) p.182
[11] See Salman Abu Sitta and Walid Khalidi for detailed figures on the Nakba and Naksa as well as the current numbers regarding refugee, exiled and internally displaced Palestinians.
[12] Richard Falk, The Need to Protect Palestinians From Israel's Psychological Warfare, (May, 2001
[13] UNGA Meeting: 108th plenary meeting, December 16th, 1982. 37/12. The situation in the Middle East.
[14] http://www.poica.org/casestudies/colonization/index.htm
[15] http://www.hdip.org Health Care Under Siege II, May 2001
[16] See Salman Abu Sitta's 1998 map on Palestine.
[17] The Report of the International Commission to Enquire into Reported Violations of International Law by Israel during its Invasion of the Lebanon, MacBride, (1983) p.179
[18] http://www.hdip.org/reports/PalestinianIntifadaFactSheet.htm
Dick Eastman
Hebrew scriptures quoting Jehovah instructing Hebrews on how to behave in nations where they find themselves scattered: "Seek the peace of the city where I have exiled you, and pray to G-d on its behalf, for with its peace you will have peace." Book of Jeremiah (chap. 29, verse 7)   One might ask whether Jehovah was trying to teach them something by scattering them, something about getting along with the gentiles and becoming the people who can live peacefully among all peoples. That's not a bad idea. 


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