Comment by Khalid Amayreh
Normal nations, like normal people, don’t celebrate their days of infamy. In fact, they struggle to forget them. Some countries with a troubled past try hard to deal with their shameful legacies, often by openly acknowledging their sins and apologizing to their victims and to their victims’ descendants.
However, in Israel, which encapsulates evil and racism, ethnic cleansing is celebrated with utmost pride as a consummate national achievement and a glorious success story. “This is our manifest destiny,” many Zionists would ostentatiously argue, with glee and deep satisfaction apparent in the tone of their voices.
Sixty years ago today, one of the greatest thefts in history took place in Palestine: when armed Zionist gangs launched a massive campaign of murder and terror against the native Palestinians.
The marauding vandals of Zionism murdered thousands of innocent people, destroyed thousands of homes, bulldozed hundreds of villages, and expelled the bulk of the Palestinian people from their ancestral motherland.
This campaign of genocidal ethnic cleansing, as Israeli historian and political analyst Ilan Pappe argued in his recent book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” was not an unintended consequence or fortuitous occurrence, or even a “miracle,” as Israel’s first president, Chairman Weizmann, proclaimed; it was actually the result of long and meticulous planning.
Now, sixty years later, the victims, these suffering and long-tormented Palestinian refugees, are still waiting to be repatriated and compensated for their seemingly unending nightmare.
Predictably, Zionism called the barbarian drive of ethnic cleansing “war of independence” and “national fulfillment”.
Zionism, a Godless and manifestly racist ideology to which many Jews have converted rather blindly, viewed the dispossession of the Palestinian community as a proper response to Nazism and the holocaust.
For their part, Europe in particular and the West in general saw the creation of Israel in Palestine as a long-awaited opportunity to dispose of the remaining European Jewry and also to atone for centuries of anti-Semitism, culminating in the holocaust.
As to the fate of the Palestinians, whose homeland was stolen from them in order to create a state for the victims of European racism, it was of none of anyone’s concern.
Bertrand Russell illustrated this inhumanity in a message he sent to the International Conference of Parliamentarians in Cairo, in February 1970.
“The tragedy of the people of Palestine,” he wrote, “is that their country was given by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their number increased.”
Russell then asked: “How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their country. How can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate?”
Today, Israel is celebrating sixty years of ethnic cleansing, home demolitions, land seizure, racism, murder and terror which continue to haunt those courageous Palestinians who are still clinging to their homeland despite the high price they pay, mostly in their own blood and the blood of their innocent children.
True, Palestinian resilience and tenacity have almost transcended reality in the face of the sheer evilness of Zionism.
But Israeli criminality continued to assume Nazi proportions as is evident from the ongoing genocidal blockade of the Gaza Strip, where 1.5 million Palestinians are constantly bombed, starved and murdered for electing a government that both Israel and the Bush administration didn’t like.
And in the West Bank, Israel has effectively transformed Palestinian cities, towns and villages into virtual detention camps as Gestapo-like Israeli soldiers are having an open season on helpless and unprotected Palestinians commuting to their homes, schools, colleges and workplaces.
I don’t really know if it is possible to count on an awakening of Zionist conscience. But, do Zionists have a conscience? How can “conscience” and “Zionism” be used in the same phrase?
Well, in order to have conscience, one has to believe in the difference between right and wrong, a characteristic that is conspicuously nonexistent in the collective Zionist mindset.
I really wonder how these self-absorbed Zionists could look at themselves in the mirror, knowing that they are living in stolen homes, built on stolen land whose lawful owners were banished and condemned to live a miserable life in squalid refugee camps for sixty years and continuing?
Ask any person with a minimal sense of honesty what he would call these depraved squatters and he or she wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that they are “thieves and criminals.”
Yes, undoubtedly, many of these same people had lost homes and businesses and other property in Poland, Germany, and Eastern Europe and also in some Arab countries. But do they have the right to kill or displace the innocent Palestinians and take over their homes, farms, orchards, to steal their homeland and banish them to the four winds?
This obscene injustice can’t be accepted, neither by the laws of man nor the laws of heaven. And wrongs must be corrected and injustices must be rectified, or there will be no peace.
There is no doubt that the creation of Israel was an act of rape of the highest order. It continues to be an act of rape and will always be as such till the end of time.
True, Israel is today an imposing reality that no one can deny. And it does enjoy certain political legitimacy in the eyes of many people.
But as a child of rape and a brat of oppression, Israel has no iota of moral legitimacy since it was founded at the expense of another people, the Palestinian people.