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Crimes of Israel

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Crimes of Israel

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When I suggest that Israel should not exist and its leaders tried for war crimes, I am not being anti-Semitic. I am being anti-Zionist, and there is a distinct difference. Being anti-Semitic means to be prejudiced against the Jewish population. As an anti-Zionist, I am against the population of Jewish people who see it as their right to establish a Jewish state in the Holy Land at the cost of the Palestinian population who have lived there for over 2,000 years.

The Israeli state does not only represent the continuation of Western imperialism and colonialism in the Middle East, but it has also been built on the back of a systematic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and the creation of an apartheid state. I propose that the illegitimate state of Israel be dissolved, and the leaders of the state should be tried for war crimes.

Zionism first reared its ugly head in the 19th century and was accompanied by an English-supported movement of Jews to Palestine, which at the time was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. According to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, this migration raised the Jewish population from 4 percent in Palestine to 11 percent of the population and had the support of the British government.  

After World War I, the Ottoman Empire crumbled and the French and British empires divided up the Middle East. However, empires went out of style soon after the second world war and Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all had gained independence by 1946. The Palestinian area did not. Under British rule, the Jewish population rose by 32 percent following World War II.

In 1947, the United Nations adopted the so-called “Partition Plan for Palestine” without bothering to ask the Palestinians, who had lived there thousands of years, for input. This plan gave 56 percent of Palestinian land to make the Jewish state of Israel. The native Palestinian population was given only 43 percent despite having a significantly larger population. The remaining one percent would be the United Nations-controlled Jerusalem.

The partition plan was opposed by the Palestinians and the surrounding Arab nations, who said that it violated the idea of self-determination. The plan was not implemented because of Cold War tensions, but the Jewish population declared the state of Israel in May of 1948, anyway.

By the end of 1949, according to Pappe, the state of Israel had destroyed more than 400 Palestinian villages, massacred thousands and violently displaced almost a million Palestinians, who were forced to take refuge in neighboring Arab countries in a process called the “Nakba,” which means catastrophe in Arabic. The very same people who had endured the horrors of the Holocaust were now carrying out the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. The situation continued to deteriorate for the Palestinians; Israel expanded to include 77 percent of Palestinian territory, excluding only the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

The continued migration of Jewish people, mostly from Europe, represented the continuation of Western imperialism and colonialism as power shifted from the hands of the British government to the state of Israel.  The West and its media, to this day, portrays Israel as the victim in this conflict. However, the numbers make it clear who is doing the killing, and who is doing the dying. The idea that people forced to live under foreign oppressors are portrayed as the aggressors is a mind-boggling example of Orwellian doublespeak.

After the 1967 war with multiple Arab states, the Israelis occupied the remaining 23 percent of Palestinian territory, claiming they needed it for defense. Although the UN Security Council ordered the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian land, the United States has since consistently used its veto power to block UN resolutions condemning the illegal occupations.

Only after the violent occupation by Israel did the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) make armed protest a centerpiece of its campaign for freedom. The radical Islamic group Hamas didn’t take shape until the Palestinians endured 20 years of a brutal, apartheid-state, oppressive military occupation and international unwillingness to aid the plight of the Palestinian people. The increasingly violent Hamas only used suicide bombings and other radical guerrilla tactics because they couldn’t combat a vastly technologically superior and U.S.-backed Israeli military through conventional warfare.

It should be noted that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and many other groups support a one-state solution of a secular, democratic nation that includes all of the original Palestinian mandate, where the rights of all are protected. Yet the PFLP is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States because it dares to take up arms to protect itself from an oppressive military regime.

Since the turn of the 21st century, Israel has continued a blockade of the Gaza Strip that violates international law, controlling the supply of food and medicine into the region. The Israelis have essentially created the world’s largest prison camp, full of 1.8 million people. According to Amnesty International, Gaza is consistently denied postal service, experiences rolling blackouts, and the movement of Palestinians is restricted. Arrests and detentions are rampant and arbitrary, torture is common, Palestinians are forcibly evicted and medicine is often blocked from reaching people who desperately need it. The Palestinians are left with three unconnected rocky and arid territories that lack essential water supplies.

Palestinians who dare to protest these inhumane living conditions are often met with tear gas, bullets, and tanks. In 2014, Israel launched an assault on Gaza that lasted seven weeks. The United Nations reported that it directly resulted in the deaths of 2,025 Palestinians, including 1,483 civilians, of whom 521 were children. Only 71 Israelis died, and 66 of them were soldiers. More than half a million Palestinians were displaced as a result of the deadly attack.

Earlier this year, in May, 60 people were shot and killed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The victims of the bullets included protesters, journalists, civil defense workers, volunteers trying to evacuate the wounded and a child running away from a fence near the Israeli-Palestinian border.  These protesters, according to Human Rights Watch, posed no imminent threat to the soldiers and the use of live ammunition was a clear violation of international law. But the world, at the urging of the United States, turns a blind eye to the Palestinians being slaughtered in the bloodstained killing fields of the Holy Land.

Even children are not spared from the IDF’s murderous rampages. According to the Palestinian Authority’s minister of social affairs, in the 14-year span between 2000 and 2014, the IDF killed 1,500 Palestinian children and arrested 10,000 more in the same period.

Furthermore, Israel has continued to occupy the West Bank and East Jerusalem while blatantly violating international law by encouraging Israelis to settle into Palestinian land and forcibly displacing more Palestinians, according to Human Rights Watch. Over half a million Israelis now live in illegal settlements at the expense of the Palestinian people.

The systematic oppression and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians are made unbelievably easy by the apartheid government that Israel runs. The law passed by the Israel government called “Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People” further entrenches this apartheid system. The law says Israel is “the national home of the Jewish people,” with Hebrew as the official language and Jerusalem as the capital. More importantly, the law states that “the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people” and denies Palestinians any national rights of self-determination.

Adalah, an advocacy group for Palestinians, says that this law, and others, “falls within the bounds of absolute prohibitions under international law” and embodies “characteristics of apartheid.” Palestinians are made “foreigners in their own homeland.”

These laws share an eerie similarity with the Nuremberg Laws passed by the German Third Reich.  Just like the Israeli “nation-state” law, the first Nuremberg Law limited rights to people of “German or kindred blood.” Legislation claiming to protect “traditional values” makes it extremely difficult for non-Jews to get married, mirroring the second Nuremberg Law: Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour. These laws continue to thrive in the same vein of the Nuremberg Laws, Jim Crow, and the Indian Removal Act and will be enshrined among the most oppressive laws in the history of the world.

The continued colonization and oppression of the Palestinian people cannot stand. It is clear that Israel is a hostile and malicious state, with illegitimate beginnings. Born from the ashes of the Nakba, and supported by the continuation of ethnic cleansing and apartheid laws, Israel exists as a terrifying, monstrous regime.

The world took a stand against Hitler, thrashed in rage against the brutal South African apartheid government and shivers at the thought of Soviet-era gulags. Why then, should Israel be allowed to continue brutalizing the people of Palestine without even a disappointed shake of the head?    

The only option left to us is to dissolve the Israeli state, as it has proven itself to be incapable of rational action or basic humanity. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and other leading ministers, including the leaders of the IDF, must be tried for war crimes, and be given the harshest of penalties. If the world wishes to protect the most vulnerable of peoples and stop a genocide, the Palestinians must regain the freedom that was stolen from them so brutally and violently at the end of World War II.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Crimes of Israel”

  1. Cathleen Dohrn on December 18th, 2018 1:50 pm

    Well-written and well-researched article. It is a difficult topic to address.

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Crimes of Israel