Israeli Occupation Harshness Prevents Peace
by Stephen Lendman
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is perhaps the longest one in modern times. It’s festered for decades. Resolution’s nowhere in sight.
Multiple peace talk rounds don’t work. They never did. They were orchestrated to fail. They’re pretense. They’re fake. Nothing’s different this time.
Conflict arguably began on November 2, 1917. UK Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour’s Declaration “establish(ed) in Palestine (a) home for the Jewish people.”
At the time, Palestinians way outnumbered Jews over ten to one (about 550,000 to 50,000). They lived peacefully with each other. They did so for generations.
Balfour changed things, saying:
“His majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object(ive)…”
Ethnic conflict followed. So did UN Resolution 181. On November 29, 1947, the Palestine Partition Plan granted 56% of historic Palestine to Jews.
At the time, they numbered one-third of the population. Palestinians were two-thirds. They got 42% of their own land. They were denied some of the most valued parts.
Jerusalem was declared an international city (corpus separatum). It was placed under a UN Trusteeship Council. It remains so today.
Before partition, Palestinians owned and controlled 90% of historic Palestine. Resolution 181 called for an Independent Arab state by October 1, 1948. It said:
“all Governments and peoples (should) refrain from taking any action which might hamper or delay the carrying out of these recommendations.”
The Security Council was empowered with all “necessary measures as provided for in the plan for its implementation.”
Israel’s 1948 War of Independence intervened. It changed things. Nakba slaughter, dispossession and ethnic cleansing followed.
So did Israel’s land grab. Its control extended to 78% of historic Palestine. It occupied West Jerusalem.
Security Council members did nothing. They didn’t intervene. Harry Truman recognized Israel straightaway. He acted minutes after its May 14, 1948 independence declaration. He was the first world leader to do so.
Weeks earlier on March 25, he met secretly with Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann. He pledged support. A special bond was established. Palestinians were spurned. Their rights didn’t matter then. They don’t now.
Things went from bad to worse. In June 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. It controlled 100% of historic Palestine. It still does.
Militarized occupation followed. So did colonization and apartheid. Harshness became policy. Israel ignores UN resolutions. Washington vetoes others.
Conflict is longstanding. Israel wants all valued Judea and Samaria areas Judaized. It wants Jerusalem as its exclusive capital. It takes what it wants.
No resolution’s in sight. Finding an equitable one’s key to regional peace. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are internally displaced. Two-thirds of Palestinians are refugees.
Longstanding grievances are unaddressed. What benefits Israel harms Palestinians. They’re denied a say in their own futures. Whatever Israel wants it gets.
Ben-Gurion’s 1937 pronouncement still stands, saying:
“boundaries of the Zionist aspirations are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor will be able to limit them.”
Washington offers full support. So do other Western states. On April 15, 2004, George Bush announced US policy, saying:
“â€¦It seems clear than an agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.”
“As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.”
“In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.”
“It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”
In other words, only Israeli rights matter. Palestinians don’t count. They’re non-people. Rule of law principles are ignored.
Occupation harshness is policy. Palestinians have no say. Obama’s in lockstep with brutalized repression. So are other Western leaders.
Peaceful conflict resolution’s a convenient illusion. It’s always been this way. Israel demands unconditional surrender. What Israel wants it gets.
Millions of Palestinians remain refugees. Others are internally displaced. Millions more are prisoners on their own land. Militarized occupation denies freedom.
Thousands languish behind bars. They do so for wanting to live free in their own country. Freedom fighting’s criminalized. Israel calls it terrorism. Justice is systematically spurned. It’s mocked. It’s a four-letter word.
AB Yeshoshua‘s an Israeli novelist, essayist and playwright. Peace remains elusive, he says. Conflict continues. It “contains an inner core that stubbornly refuses to surrender to peace.”
In some ways, it’s “unique” from other conflicts. Yeshoshyua believes it’s unresolved because its “unprecedented in human history.”
“There is no precedent for a nation that lost its sovereignty 2,000 years ago, was scattered among the nations, and later decided for internal and external reasons to return to its ancient homeland and re-establish sovereignty there.”
What about Palestinians? They lived in historic Palestine for millennia. Whose sovereignty matters more? Who decides who’s right or wrong?
Who says one side’s more right than others? Who gives anyone the right to dispossess people from their land?
“A nation arrived in the homeland of another nation to replace its identity with an ancient-new one,” said Yeshoshua.
“(T)he Israeli-Palestinian conflict is (less) a battle of territory (than a struggle) over the national identity of the entire homeland.”
Israelis aren’t sure if they’re “confronting only the Palestinian people or the entire Arab” world. Palestinians have been largely on their own for decades.
Conflict creates “primal and profound mistrust.” Doing so prevents resolving it. Is it possible to achieve what so far’s been unattainable? Yeshoshua thinks so. He stopped short of explaining.
Longstanding conflict festers. Resolution’s nowhere in sight. De-Arabizing historic Palestine is official Israeli policy. Land grabbing, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing facilitate it.
Palestinians have no rights. Their homes are demolished. They’re denied permit permission to build on their own land. Their Jerusalem residency rights are revoked.
Their resources are stolen. They’re marginalized on healthcare, education, employment, water, sewage, roads, and other essential services.
They’re isolated in bantustans. They’re prohibited from entering exclusive Jewish areas. They’re fair game for extremist settlers. Self-defense is criminalized. Children young as five are arrested. They’re terrorized. Some face prison.
Israel maintains total control. Palestinians live in limbo in their own country. They do so under militarized occupation. Racist persecution is institutionalized. It’s longstanding.
Palestinians have no say over their daily lives. They’re terrorized. They live in constant fear. Collective punishment is policy.
So is economic strangulation, enclosed population centers, military zones, Jews only residential, commercial, tourist and other areas, closed borders, imposed curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, other barriers, electric fences, Israel’s Separation Wall, bypass roads, and land-grabbing settlement expansions.
Free movement, speech and public assembly are prohibited. So are other fundamental human and civil rights. Post-WW II, the Nuremberg Charter’s Article 6 defined crimes against humanity.
Guilty Nazis were prosecuted for committing them. They represent the legal precursor to genocide. They include:
“Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.”
Israel is the modern day Nazi Germany incarnation. What Hitler did to Jews, Israel does to Palestinians. Nazi death camps featured mass production. Slow-motion genocide defines Israeli policy.
Extrajudicial murder is authorized. Farmers are shot in their fields. Palestinian children are used for target practice. Multiple daily pre-dawn neighborhood incursions terrorize residents.
Gaza’s attacked by land, air and sea. Torture’s official Israeli policy. So is repressive occupation and land theft. Freedom fighting’s criminalized.
Thousands of Palestinians languish in Israel’s gulag. It’s one of the world’s worst. Wanting to live free isn’t tolerated. Nor is praying to the wrong God.
Arabs are demonized. They’re called violent, extremists, Jihadists, and terrorists. Muslims are considered inferior. They’re vilified for not being Jews.
Former Prime Minister Golda Maier once said “(t)here was no such thing as Palestinians. They never existed.” Menachim Begin called them “cockroaches” and “beasts walking on two legs.”
Ehud Barak called them “crocodiles.” David Gen-Gurion said “(w)e must do everything possible to ensure they never do return. We have come and we have stolen their country.”
“We will expel the Arabs and take their places with the force at our disposal. The old will die and the young will forget.”
Palestinians never forget. Nor do millions of supporters. Liberation struggle continues. It remains a distant dream. Perhaps some day. Not now.
Brutalized occupation persists. So does a climate of fear. Military courts deny justice. Guilt by accusation is policy.
Understanding Zionism is important. It’s discriminatory, corrosive, destructive, racist, extremist, undemocratic and hateful.
It claims Jewish exceptionalism, supremacy, specialness, and uniqueness. It does so as God’s “chosen people.”
It espouses violence. It spurns peaceful coexistence. It prioritizes confrontation over diplomacy. It features belligerence, intimidation and naked aggression. It denies Palestinians all rights.
It’s repugnant, destructive and malignant. It’s ideologically unprincipled. It’s legally, ethically and morally indefensible. It denies Palestinians fundamental human and civil rights.
It’s ugly. It defends the indefensible. It’s untenable. It’s a monster consuming its host. It spurns peace. It threatens humanity.
Israel maintains militarized control. It wants permanent occupation. America’s supportive. So are Europeans. Arab states are dismissive.
Palestinians are on their own. No end of conflict looms. Peace remains a convenient illusion. It’s been that way for decades. This time’s no different.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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