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The ‘Roadmap’ To Palestinian Ghettos

By Ghali Hassan

10 July, 2006

Plans to isolate the Palestinian population in ghettos have been under way since the establishment of Israel on Palestinian land in 1948. Since then, Israel and its Western allies have embarked on a policy separating the Palestinian people into designated ghettoes and subjected them to daily terror. The complete isolation of Gaza and the construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall in the West Bank and Jerusalem are the foundations of permanent Palestinian ghettos. How long will the civilised world remain silent in the face of Israel's crimes and violations of international humanitarian law?

Immediately after the defeat of German Fascism, Zionism – a clone of Fascism – began its project of colonising Palestine and establishing a purely “Jewish State” with a European Christian culture. Jewish terrorist organisations such as Irgun, Stern Gang, and Haganah (today’s Israeli Army) were formed – armed and financed by Western powers and wealthy Jews – to perpetuate a terror campaign of systematic ethnic cleansing and murdering of the native Palestinian population. By the end of 1948, some 400 Palestinian villages were destroyed, thousands of Palestinians were murdered and more than 750,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes to neighbouring countries. This well-orchestrated “ethnic cleansing” often refers to by Jewish Zionists and their Western supporters as the “war for independence”. In reality, it was not a war, but one defenceless nation was wiped off the map, and a Zionist entity of European Jews was established on its foundation.

According to the Israeli historian, the Zionist Benny Morris, genocide was planned against the Palestinians, because “Palestinians are Barbarians”, consistent with Theodor Herzl’s – the ‘founder’ of Zionism – depiction of Palestinians as “dirty brigands”. The idea of Palestinians and all Arabs as “barbarians” is not restricted to few Zionist Jews, but it is part of Israel’s racist ideology. The recent racist comment by Olmert that, “the lives and well-being of Sderot's residents [a small Jewish colony outside Gaza] are more important than those of Gaza residents” is a case in point. The Nazis used the same racist rhetoric – ‘Deutschland über alles’ or ‘Germany above all’ – to justify their heinous crimes against ethnic minorities. The life of one Jew is worth more than all Palestinians has been Zionism’s racist trade mark.

Morris regrets that Ben Gurion (former Israeli PM) didn’t expel all Palestinians. Morris said: “If Ben-Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country – the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River ... If he had carried out a full expulsion – rather than a partial one – he would have stabilised the State of Israel for generations ... If the end of the story turns out to be a gloomy one for the Jews, it will be because Ben-Gurion did not complete the transfer in 1948, [and] because he left a large and volatile demographic reserve in the West Bank and Gaza and within Israel itself”. This is like saying: ‘If Adolf Hitler had exterminated all Jews, the world would be a peaceful place today’.

A recent opinion poll carried out by the Jaffe Institute for Strategic Studies in March 2002 revealed that between 46 % and 60 % of Israeli Jews support mass deportation (expulsion) of the Palestinians for the ‘Final Solution’. “Even in 1938, these ideas have not had such wholehearted support in Nazi Germany, as they have now in the Jewish state”, wrote the Israeli writer, Israel Shamir. Western media – led by the deceptive BBC – have gone long way to support this racist ideology and continue to depict Palestinian as “violent militants”, without names and identity.

In an interview by Ari Shavit (Ha’aretz, 09 January 2004) Morris said; “In the months of April-May 1948, units of Haganah were given operational orders that stated explicitly that they were to uproot the villagers, expel them and destroy the villages themselves”. Morris said that; “Haganah committed 24 massacres, in some cases four or five people were executed, in others the numbers were 70, 80, and 100. There was also a great deal of arbitrary killing. Two old men are spotted walking in a field – they are shot. A woman is found in an abandoned village – she is shot. There are cases such as the village of Dawayima [in the Hebron region], in which a column entered the village with all guns blazing and killed anything that moved.

“The worst cases were Saliha (70-80 killed), Deir Yassin (100-110), Lod (250), Dawayima (hundreds) and perhaps Abu Shusha (70). There is no unequivocal proof of a large-scale massacre at Tantura, but war crimes were perpetrated there. At Jaffa there was a massacre about which nothing had been known until now. The same [happened] at Arab al Muwassi, in the north. About half of the acts of massacre were part of Operation Hiram [in the north, in October 1948]: at Safsaf, Saliha, Jish, Eilaboun, Arab al Muwasi, Deir al Asad, Majdal Krum, Sasa. In Operation Hiram there was a[n] unusually high concentration of executions of people against a wall or next to a well in an orderly fashion”.

Morris did compared Palestinian massacres with those condemned by the West as crime against humanity and affirmed that; “in comparison to the massacres that were perpetrated in Bosnia, that's peanuts. In comparison to the massacres the Russians perpetrated against the Germans at Stalingrad, that's chicken feed”. The genocide of the Palestinians continues today with tacit support and complicity of Western governments and their mass media, was a well-planned campaign of to exterminate the Palestinians.

After the 1967 Israeli war against the Palestinians and neighbouring Arab countries, Israel forces occupied territories in Syria, Egypt and Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem in Palestine. The Israeli Occupation was condemned by the UN and special resolution (Resolution 242) passed demanding the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from all occupied Arab territories. In flagrant violations of UN Resolution and international law, Israel continues to occupy Arab lands.

In addition, since 1967, Israel has violated countless UN resolutions and embarked on a Zionist ideology of expansion and annexation of Arab lands. Israel continues to demolish Palestinian homes and build illegal Jewish settlements (colonies) on Palestinian land. Israel continues its policy of confiscating Palestinian land and expelling Palestinians into designated ghettos.

Consistent with Israel’s “annexation plan” or “convergence plan” – as is called today – to isolate the Palestinian into Nazi’s-like ghettos, the rest of the occupied West Bank will be divided into three big ghettos. The three big ghettos then divided into nine smaller ghettos separated from each other by walls, and Jewish-only highways. In addition to total restrictions on freedom of movement, the ghettos are manned by countless military checkpoints and razor wires making life unbearable for the Palestinian population. The aim is to prevent any possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state and subject the Palestinians to servitude, thus the final dispossession of the Palestinian people from their land.

Jews who lived in and experienced the Nazi’s ghettos have often made the comparison between Israel’s brutal treatments of the Palestinian people and the Nazis’ brutal treatments of Jews. In a letter to the Israeli press more than twenty years ago, Jewish holocaust survivor Shlomo Shmelzman wrote: “In my childhood I have suffered fear, hunger and humiliation when I passed from the Warsaw Ghetto, through labour camps, to Buchenwald. I hear too many familiar sounds today, sounds which are being amplified by the war. I hear about ‘closed areas’ and I remember ghettos and camps. I hear ‘two-legged beasts’ and I remember ‘Untermenschen’ [subhumans]. I hear about tightening the siege, clearing the area, pounding the city into submission, and I remember suffering, destruction, death, blood and murder…Too many things in Israel remind me of too many things from my childhood”. (Ha’aretz, 11 August 1982). Israel’s terror and crimes have since increased by many folds.

Unlike the German ghettos, which were provisional, Israel regards the Palestinian ghettos as permanent measure to control Palestinian lives. Further, Israel uses the ghettos as investment for the benefit of the Israeli economy. Israel is moving highly polluting industry and sweatshops to industrial zones around the ghettos where Palestinians will be used (forced) as slaves to provide cheap and abundant labour. In addition, Palestinian ghettos are open-air prisons completely controlled by Israel.

The building of a long, snake-like wall, known as the ‘Apartheid Wall’, – condemned as illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague – on stolen Palestinian land annexes 58 per cent of the West Bank. The ICJ’ ruling was that the Wall and all settlements (Israeli colonies) in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem are illegal and must be removed. The ICJ ruling, like all other world court rulings, requires all other (nations) signatories to the ICJ Charter to compel Israel’s compliance with the ruling.

A health review by Dr. Derek Summerfield, of the Institute of Psychiatry in London found that; “The coherence of the Palestinian health system is being destroyed. The wall will isolate 97 primary health clinics and 11 hospitals from the populations they serve. Qalqilya hospital, which primarily serves refugees, has seen a 40% fall in follow up appointments because patients cannot enter the city. There have been at least 87 documented cases (including 30 children) in which denial of access to medical treatment has led directly to deaths, including those of babies born while women were held up at checkpoints”. (British Medical Journal, 2004, 329:924).

The Wall is part of Israel’s ongoing war to fractionate Palestinian communities and isolate them from each other into disconnected ghettos, each will be a prison, while virtually all Palestinian agricultural and water resources land are annexed to Israel. As Israel did in Gaza, the Wes Bank’s towns of Hebron and Nablus, and the suburbs around Jerusalem will be transformed into several mini Gaza-like prisons.

After the evacuation of the illegal Jewish settlers from Gaza in 2004, Israel has literally completed the first Palestinian ghetto. The Gaza ghetto is the most isolated and densely populated prison on the planet. Gaza is completely fences-off by electronic and electric fences, and controlled by Israel’s occupation forces (IOF) from all sides. The population of 1.5 million Palestinians are lockdown for good part of the year. No Palestinian can leave or come into Gaza unless they have an Israeli-issued Palestinian ID card, which is impossible to obtain. The aim is to completely cut Gaza off from the West Bank and the rest of the world, and the second is to encourage starvation and epidemics among the population.

Israel continues to destroy Palestinian infrastructure and kill innocent Palestinians, with impunity. In the first four months of this year 90 Palestinians, including more than 20 children, were killed by Israeli forces meanwhile 17 Israelis, including one child, were killed by Palestinian armed groups (AI Wire, Vol. 36, No. 5, June 2006). Murdering Palestinian children in cold blood has always been the Israeli soldiers’ way of training. In many cases Israeli soldiers were known to provoke children to throw stones and then murdering them. The last two months (May-June) Israel has fired more than 6,000 shells into the Gaza killing more than 30 innocent Palestinians.

According to Dr. Summerfield, the IOF has “killed more Palestinian civilians than the number of people who died on September 11, 2001. In conducting 238 extrajudicial executions the army has also killed 186 bystanders (including 26 women and 39 children). Two thirds of the 621 children (two thirds under 15 years) killed at checkpoints, in the street, on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half of cases to the head, neck and chest – the sniper's wound. Clearly, soldiers are routinely authorised to shoot to kill children in situations of minimal or no threat”. As a result of Israel daily terror, most Palestinian children suffer trauma and psychological sickness.

The month of June was the deadliest so far. Using the (football) World Cup event as a cover, on Friday 09 June 2005, Israeli gunboats deliberately and indiscriminately shelled northern Gaza beach and murdered eight Palestinians (the entire Ghalia’s family) – including three children while they were picnicking. As usual, the Israeli Government and its crimes complicit, the BBC, tried to cover up the massacre. However, evidence provided by eyewitness on the ground, member of the US-based Human Rights watch (HRW) and hospital records refuted the Israel’s propaganda campaign as distortion of facts. “The army’s case could be dismissed outright were it not for the racist assumptions that now prevail as Western ‘thought’ about Arabs and Muslims”, wrote author and journalist Jonathan Cook. Two days later Jewish soldiers murdered another nine Palestinians including children in cold blood in northern Gaza.

On 21 June Israeli war planes attacked a group of civilians murdering a pregnant woman, Fatima Ahmed and her brother Zachariah, and seriously injuring seven more people, including another pregnant women and three small children two pf them a 5-years-old boy and his 4-years-old cousins. There were no harmless (Qassam) rockets strikes before the crimes. Murdering Palestinian children in cold blood has become the Israeli soldiers’ way of training. Nearly one-quarter of the victims are children aged 16 years and younger. As always, “[s]ome of the children were playing football in the street in full sight of the soldier who pulled the trigger, others were sitting at their desks in school when a stray bullet from an army post crashed into the classroom” reported Chris McGreal of the London Guardian. “About half of those children were shot in the Gaza strip, the bulk in two refugee camps in the south – Rafah and Khan Yunis. The killings were only part of it. Israel bulldozed the homes of thousands of Palestinians along the Egyptian border and around the settlements. It drove out many others with the daily, and more often nightly, barrage of fire into Rafah and Khan Yunis. Nowhere suffered more at the hands of occupation” added McGreal. The “moral” West (led by the U.S.) not only remains silent but also condoning Israel’s crimes as “self-defence”, not terrorism.

Billions of U.S. taxpayers' money is spent annually to arm Israel and to implement gross abuses of human rights against the Palestinian people. Gaza (and other towns in the West Bank) is often invaded by Israeli tanks backed by troops, helicopter gunships and F-16s aircraft leaving behind trails of civilian massacres and wanton destruction. Again, the crimes depicted in the West and the mass media as “incursion” and Israel depicted as a “civilised” society, not one that addicted to violence and terrorism.

As I am writing these lines, Israeli tanks backed by troops and helicopter gunships are invading and reoccupying Gaza, destroying civilian infrastructures, including bridges and electricity grids, in violations of the Geneva Conventions and international law. Much of Gaza has been left without electricity, making life unbearable and rending the health care system unusable. Israeli actions are war crimes and crimes against humanity, with the Bush Administration blessing. The advertised pretext for this deliberate wanton destruction and collective punishment on defenceless population is to free one Israeli soldier, which is completely fraudulent. The soldier was taken prisoner during a legitimate resistant operation by Palestinian fighters and in retaliation to Israel’s ongoing acts of terrorism and crimes against Palestinian children. Hence, the real aim of the “Jewish State” is to topple a democratically elected government and install a subservient one ready to accept Israeli rules.

While the world is focussing on the one Israeli soldier, there are more than 9,400 Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons. These include hundreds of women, children and infants as young as 3 months old separated from their mothers and under brutal conditions. Many of the prisoners are imprisoned without charge as “Administrative Detainees”. They were kidnapped from their homes at midnight, imprisoned and subjected to torture, sexual abuses and denied their rights to fair trial.

A permanent state of violence has served the “Jewish State” very well, allowing it to avoid any peaceful settlement and to continue its Zionist policy of expansion. As Professor Ur Shlonsky of Geneva University in Switzerland wrote; Israel’s aim is to “terrorise the civilian population, assuring maximal destruction of property and cultural resources”. At the same time, “the daily life of the Palestinians must be rendered unbearable: They should be locked up in ghettos and refugee camps, prevented from exercising normal economic life, cut off from workplaces, schools and hospitals, This will encourage emigration and weaken the resistance to future expulsions”.

After the success of HAMAS movement in the Palestinian Legislative Council, the U.S. and the European Union (EU) imposed economic sanctions, as a collective punishment against the Palestinians for practicing their democratic rights and for electing the “wrong” people. In order to increase the suffering of Palestinians, on 23 May 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve by 361-37 to impose sanction against the Palestinian people and starve their children. Encouraged by Western powers, Israel followed with its own brutality by illegally withholding millions of dollars ($55 million per month) in tax revenues from the Palestinians. As a result, more than 170,000 government employees have not been paid their salaries for three months affecting the lives of more than a million Palestinians.

Furthermore, unemployment and poverty among Palestinians are as high as 60 % in Gaza and 50 % in the West Bank (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA]). This deliberate economic siege “is like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but they won't starve to death”, said Dov Weissglas, the Israeli Government’s senior political advisor. The same crimes were known to have been perpetuated by the Nazis on defenceless population. By refusing to return Palestinian tax revenues and deliberately imposing harsh living conditions, Israel is forcing the Palestinians to pay for their own (and their children) malnutrition and starvation.

Yet, despite nearly sixty years of Zionism in Palestine, including forty-years of brutal military occupation and barbarism enforced by the “Jewish State” – the world’s fourth largest army – and its Western allies, the Palestinian ghettos and refugee camps continue to be vibrant grounds for Palestinian resistance and civil societies. Zionism and Israeli oppression have failed to break the desire and national struggle of the Palestinians for freedom and self-determination. Palestinians have built and organised various institutions and organizations not only to resist the Israeli Occupation but also to care for their society. In addition to the armed struggle, Palestinian institutions and organizations are providing daily health care services, education and aid to the Palestinian population.

Israel’s terror is dependent on the supports provided by Western governments, and U.S. taxpayers’ money. Like Fascist Germany and Apartheid South Africa, Israel can be forced – even under moderate economic sanctions – to change its brutal policies and seek a peaceful resolution. An independent Palestine and the rights of return for all Palestinian refugees to their land is the only just and peaceful resolution.

Just as the civilised world stood together against Fascism and Apartheid, so it today must join to condemn Israel and call on it to stop committing crimes against the Palestinian people.

Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia









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