The horrific scenes of death and destruction in Gaza are a reminder that for Israel, violence is not a coincidence, a coincidence or a coincidence. It’s part of its colonial DNA.
Like the French in Algeria, the Dutch in Indonesia and South Africa, the Belgians in the Congo, the Spanish in South America, and the Europeans in North America, the Zionists have dehumanized the country’s indigenous people as a precursor or justification for guilt-free oppression and violence. But colonialism should not be equated with Judaism. If anything, Jews throughout history have been victims of racism for centuries, making many of them anti-colonialists.
In 1948, Israel was founded on the ruins of another people, the Palestinians. Through the deliberate ethnic cleansing of the country’s 750,000 Palestinian residents, it became a Jewish-majority state. Since then, Israel has maintained security through state repression, military occupation, bloody wars and countless massacres of civilians.
Nazareth, the city of my birth, was one of the few spared from ethnic cleansing, but only because a military commander named Benjamin Dunkelman, a Canadian Jew who led the Israeli army’s 7th Brigade, refused to order his superiors to evacuate to carry out order for this city with a Christian majority, as he later wrote, primarily out of fear of the international repercussions.
About 400 other Palestinian towns and villages were not so lucky. They were all depopulated and the majority were completely decimated. Its inhabitants were either killed or expelled. The properties within were either demolished or confiscated. They were given new Hebrew names. Those Palestinians who tried to return to their homes were either shot or forcibly sent to neighboring countries.
In his book “Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948,” Meron Benvenisti, an Israeli political scientist, writes: “Not since the end of the Middle Ages has the civilized world witnessed a wholesale appropriation of the holy sites by a defeated religious community Members of the victorious religious community.”
Since then, Israel has focused on the people as such, regardless of his or her leadership. Palestinians are viewed by Israel as either an internal enemy to be eradicated or a demographic threat to be eliminated. It is no coincidence that Israel has established an oppressive regime of “Jewish supremacy” since its founding. This regime was expanded after the war and occupation of 1967 to cover all of historic Palestine, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Hence the Palestinian cry: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
For decades, Israel has used disproportionate force and carried out countless massacres of Palestinian civilians as a form of revenge, punishment and deterrence. Last month, Palestinians commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Qibya massacre, in which Israeli forces led by Ariel Sharon attacked the village of Qibya in retaliation for a Palestinian attack on an Israeli settlement that killed three people, including two children Attacks in the West Bank killed about 2,000 residents, killing 69 Palestinians, mostly women and children.
The same vengeful mindset was applied in Gaza 70 years later. It is a deterrence strategy deliberately designed to harm civilians in order to distance them from their leaders and the groups fighting on their behalf. Today, the Israeli propaganda machine is busy collecting desperate and angry cries from Gazans, real and artificial, blaming Hamas for bringing Israel’s wrath upon them.
Israel never accepts the principle of “an eye for an eye” in its confrontations with the Palestinians. It insists on a ratio of 1 to 10 or 20 when it comes to civilian casualties compared to Palestinian civilian casualties. Therefore, the Palestinian civilian must pay a heavy price in every single clash, regardless of moral or legal considerations.
Nowhere is the asymmetry more pervasive than in Israel’s 56-year military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which is by its nature an ongoing system of violence against civilians. Generations of Palestinians have endured a racist, cruel and illegal military occupation that included daily humiliation, collective punishment, land confiscations and the destruction of lives and livelihoods. For Gaza, this meant a 17-year siege of the Strip through a horrific and inhumane military blockade, military incursions, bombings of civilian infrastructure and more.
Although Israel claims it has “no choice,” its occupation is actually driven by strategy, not necessity. For the past six decades, Israel has controlled the Palestinian territories, partly to colonize them through hundreds of illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land, and partly to hold the population hostage until their leaders accept their political dictates, which is by definition a form of government terrorism , i.e. the use of violence against civilians for political purposes.
Another important factor behind Israel’s violence against Palestinian civilians, as I have explained here, is hatred – hatred driven by fear, envy and anger.
Israel fears everything that concerns Palestinian steadfastness, Palestinian unity, Palestinian resistance, Palestinian poetry and all Palestinian national symbols. Such fear breeds hatred because a state that is always afraid cannot be free. Israel is angry at the Palestinians because they refuse to give up or give in because they won’t go away – far away. They refuse to give up their basic rights, let alone admit defeat. Israel is also jealous of the internal strength and external pride of the Palestinians. It is jealous of their strong faith and sacrifice.
In short, Israel hates the Palestinian people for hindering the realization of the Zionist utopia over all of historic Palestine. And as I wrote last year, it especially hates the people of Gaza, who have turned the dream into a nightmare.
But the answer in Gaza and the rest of Palestine cannot be more killing and more occupation. In fact, Israel’s ongoing industrial massacre and nationwide repression of Palestinians in retaliation for Hamas’s horrific October 7 attacks in southern Israel is both utterly criminal and terribly stupid. Israel has tried to live by the sword for the past 75 years, but it has sowed more of the same insecurity, shame and anger. Repeating the same strategy over and over again and expecting different results is indeed stupid. If it continues to deny the Palestinians a life and a future, Israel will ultimately have no life and a livable future in this Arab region.
Source : www.aljazeera.com