|By Sydney White|
On June 5th, the 35th anniversary of the Six Day War and occupation of Palestine, a suicide bomber in a car blew himself up, along with 17 Israeli soldiers on a bus.
On June 5th, CNN announced that the "War on Terrorism" was now a war against "Islamists".
That same day, 30 Israeli tanks entered Ramallah and soldiers stormed Arafat's compound. CNN speculated: "Will Arafat be killed or merely exiled?"
The next week, only Ariel Sharon was in Washington, where the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee rules. The goal? To get rid of Arafat and all those "suspected", "alleged" and "believed" to be terrorists in occupied Palestine.
Since the Israeli invasion of Jenin, Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron, the already intolerable refugee camps are now wastelands, burial mounds of rubble. Humanitarian groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch stated that serious war crimes have been committed in Palestine. The United Nations World Relief Agency confirmed that Jenin was a massacre. As CNN continuously replayed an attack by that week's suicide bomber, journalists were forbidden to go into Jenin. Two reporters who dared to enter were summarily shot dead.
We are, indeed, eyeless.
Israeli prime ministers were cast aside, one after another, even assassinated, until Sharon was hired to do what he did best. This genocide by gradualism, unfortunately, has set a dangerous precedent around the globe.
Others, however, have not been able to take land and lives with the same impunity as Israel. Why is that?
While speaking at the University of Toronto June 6, author and expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Professor Norman Finkelstein1 said, "American Jewish organizations have exploited the holocaust to deflect legitimate criticism of Israel in its crimes against the Palestinians."
Added to that, 9-11 silenced the world-wide condemnation of Israeli aggression that was evidenced at the Conference on Racism held in Durban, South Africa.
During Israel's mass invasion, the IDF was following the strategy used in the Warsaw Ghetto by Hitler's Gestapo, Finkelstein said. Four thousand were rendered homeless; families were not allowed to take their disabled, who were bulldozed under in their homes. Men aged 15 to 50 were handcuffed, their wrists tattooed, and they were taken away. People were starved; civilians were used as human shields; those in wheelchairs were shot and run over by tanks.
Jenin was typical of all those cities, the Professor said, but the worst hit was Nablus. During "Operation Defensive Shield", he claims that Israeli soldiers destroyed the children's paintings in the Palestinian Cultural Centre, urinating and defecating on them, even defecating onto the photocopier. He alleges that children were killed for sport.
The rules of the Geneva Civilians Convention, written in 1958, state that under the law of Belligerent Occupation, people who oppose the occupation can be punished, but the occupied have the right to throw off the occupier. Despite torture, theft of property, and a tremendous death toll, Palestinians are, like other resistence movements in previous wars, using the only weapons available to them: their own bodies.
Israelis, too, have made use of Palestinian bodies. As far back as 1996, when Israel sealed the borders of the West Bank to thousands of Palestinian workers, large numbers of destitute young men were enticed to sell their kidneys to Israelis. They answered ads in the local papers and were supplied with illegal documents in order to enter Israeli hospitals where one of their kidneys was removed. They received only a fraction of the selling price, which could be anywhere from $14,000 to $41,000. They were promised a follow-up medical exam and permission to hold a job in Israel. These promises were not fulfilled, and many of these young men did not recover from the excision of their kidneys.2
During the Israeli invasion of Jenin, the Knesset passed a law that Palestinians could not retrieve the bodies of their dead. Israeli soldiers took the bodies which were never returned for burial. A brief "news" clip on television once showed a Palestinian trying to drag back one of his own dead while an Israeli soldier fought to add the body to his collection.
Clearly, Israel has no right to pass laws permitting the confiscation of Palestinian bodies. But if confiscation of possessions is condoned, why not the most personal property?
Today, Israel is the leading centre for organ transplants. Those who can afford $50,000 a pop to renew worn out organs are swelling air traffic in Telaviv. A young body offers a veritable harvest of organs, and the crop is better if picked while the body is warm.
The piece-by-piece process continues, as the Zionist cuckoo displaces more Palestinians. All fact-finding teams have been refused by Israel. All U.N. monitors have been vetoed. The fair peace plan offered by the Saudis has been accepted by everyone except Israel and the United States. All colonizing includes terrorism and the colonizing of Palestine is the same as any other. The Official United Nations Report on Zionist Terrorism for 1944-48, prepared for Dr. Ralph J. Bunche who was the U.N. mediator for Palestine at the time, describes in full no less than 259 terrorist acts, including bombings, massacres and "ethnic cleansings".
From the beginning, there were only three options that Israel and Zionism would consider, Prof. Finkelstein explained to his audience June 6.
One was a Palestinian "state" consisting of Bantustans, divided by Israeli roads and basically ruled by Israel. Arafat refused to play along with that at Camp David. There's one option gone.
The second option Israel considered was the way of South Africa -- an apartheid state ruled by Israel. This is not now available because both Zbigniew Brezinski and Desmond Tutu, along with other public figures, have denounced this plan.
The third option, which has always been the dream of the Zionists, is the "disappearing of the Arabs" by way of transfer or expulsion. When the Zionists got a toehold in Palestine through the Balfour Declaration, Muslim and Christian Arabs were 90 per cent of Palestine. They, like any other indigenous people, would not bow to dispossession. Both sides knew that the enforced gift of Palestinian land would eliminate the Arabs. This third and most favoured option continues today as Arab towns and refugee camps are invaded and decimated on a daily basis.
Dissenting Jews inside Israel are calling for a just peace. The following statements have been quoted from Mar'iv, Israel, June 15, "Israeli voices we do not often hear". They represent but a small portion of the dissent that exists within Israel.
"We will have to face the reality that Israel is neither innocent nor redemptive . . . we, as Jews, have caused what we historically have suffered, a refugee population in Diaspora." Martin Buber, Jewish philosopher.
"We conducted a false peace with the Palestinians. We also lied to ourselves . . . When I speak about the starvation and thirst and suffering of the Palestinians, they (Israelis) don't care and don't want to know." Aliya Strauss, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
"We have to accept the right of return. We truly expelled them. I myself took part in expelling Arabs from Beersheba. I stood there with a rifle as they climbed into the trucks. They didn't resist. If they had, I would have shot them. What awful hypocrisy . . . for us to say that we have the right of return after 2,000 years, but they don't after 50." Hava Keller, Women on Behalf of Women Political Prisoners.
"Here in Israel, something inhumane is happening . . . Even the South Africans didn't imagine separate roads for whites and blacks, but here we have roads for Jews and roads for Arabs." Adi Kuntsman, Machsom Watch.
These voices of conscientious objection are truly voices never heard , not in Israel nor in the media.
The international community cannot prevent Sharon from murdering another 20,000 civilians, as he did in Lebanon in 1982. Only the U.S. can. And, as Prof. Finkelstein says, "They will not object to the Arab world being taught a lesson."
Israel's lever to remove Arafat is to blame him for "not stopping the suicide bombers." Apparently Arafat is Merlin all over again. Despite the fact that Sharon has made him a virtual prisoner, Arafat is supposed to know all, see all and control all. Meanwhile Bush, with all the "intelligence" of the FBI, CIA, NSA and Mossad, had no clue that an attack on the U.S. was imminent -- even as suicide Saudis allegedly flew over the White House and zoomed unfettered through commercial air lanes.
Arafat, the Omnipotent, must be removed. And the fantasy continues.
Israel made 93 "incursions" into Palestine last month. Like their invasion of Lebanon, which was "to crush the Palestinian Peace Offensive," when Israel sees a window of opportunity, the planned expulsion of the Palestinians will take place, Prof. Finkelstein warns us.
Any of the wars now threatened -- especially the planned invasion of Iraq -- could be the cover and distraction that Israel will use to finalize their favoured third option: the total expulsion of the Arabs. Because all media was verboten by Israel in their latest invasions, their methods of expulsion will probably not be seen nor investigated.
The new escalating global war against the Islamists, which has included Palestinians, is not about Arabs hating the freedoms in America. It is not about Israel being pushed into the sea. It is not about religion, though religion is the smoke screen.
It is about the U.S. control of oil and a land grab by a political movement -- Zionism, consisting of right wing Jews and right wing Christians. Thankfully, these two groups do not represent their general populations.
Like most sane people, I say that as long as my neighbours respect me, I do not care if they worship the tooth fairy. But if they take my land, move into my home, and kill my children, I will hate them -- not for what they believe, but for what they have done.
Thirty-five years of the most brutal occupation has created more despair and hatred than Palestine has seen in 3,000 years.
Thanks to unlimited American technology and funding, Israel now has 200 hydrogen bombs.3
In America, Jewish vigilantes with shotguns were to patrol their Brooklyn neighbourhoods, but the police prevented the militant rabbi from instigating this action. Two members of the Jewish Defence League were caught planning to bomb seven mosques in the United States in December, 2001.4
Today, Israel is building a 217-mile electrified wall around the West Bank. This is supposed to keep out suicide bombers; it's more land grabbing.
Hamas, which continues to claim responsibility for the bombings, was built up by Israel in the '70s as a "counter-gang" to the PLO.5 Hamas leaders were granted licences for schools, clinics, food kitchens and day care, to create a government structure as an alternative to Arafat's Fatah.
Certainly Israel is benefitting politically from the Hamas bombings as the expulsion is moving forward, starting with the families of suicide bombers. Hamas, as a tool of Sharon, is providing unlimited leverage for Israel to fulfill its dream of being "greater".
The Palestinian boys and men who were tattooed and taken away have not been returned. Neither have the bodies of the fallen. Sharon, the indicted war criminal, forbids Bush to establish even an "interim" Palestinian state.
All is going according to a plan started in 1917 and implemented by terrorism in 1944, in a land that was not "without people". Eli Wiezel, among other Zionists, states flatly that "all criticism of Israel is motivated by anti-Semitism." This statement is patently untrue, but is now threatening honest enquiry, even here in Canada. In Toronto, the airwaves are monitored for anti-Israel comments, which are then dubbed "anti-Semitic", their authors shut out by the media. Izzy rules.
If some terrorists are better than others, and we cannot speak out against injustice across the board, then Robert Fisk must be right: "There is a firestorm coming."
1 Professor Norman Finkelstein is an American who has lived in the West Bank and whose parents were survivors of the Holocaust. He has written several books on Israel and Palestine. He appeared on the Michael Coren Show June 5 and, much to Coren's dismay, referred to the World Jewish Congress as "hucksters, gangsters and thugs." When asked why he called them such names, he replied, "Because they are." Finkelstein spoke June 6 to a large audience in the Earth Sciences Auditorium at the University of Toronto. He has spoken at many American universities and says there is an awakening there to the injustice of the Occupation that is not noted in the popular media. His books are available on amazon.com and in bookstores. His most recent book, The Holocaust Industry, is causing controversy because of its impeccable research and Finkelstein's reputed credibility.
2. The Toronto Star, Aug. 26, 1996.
3. Helen Caldicott, author and international authority on nuclear proliferation, speaking on the CBC, June 2002.
4. The Toronto Star, Dec. 13, 2001.
5. Executive Intelligence Review, July 20, 2001.