Israel and Palestine: Massacre will never end

At the beginning of the twentieth century, nearly 25 thousand Jews and 650 thousand Arabs lived in Palestine. The great immigration of Jews to Palestine began from the First World War and increased with the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust that occurred in Europe.

For those that nurtured the hope of the Promised Land, the English Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced this for the future State of Israel: "Step by step, representative institutions will drive it to full self-government, but the children of our children will die before it can become a reality.”

In the beginning of the decade of the 1930s, the first terrorist group in Palestine was created, the Irgun, a radical faction of the Haganah, an Israeli paramilitary organization, which had as its objective the accelerated establishment of the State of Israel to force out the Palestinian people and expel those who refused to sell their land to the Zionists.

In 1936, the Arabs of Palestine began a nationalist revolt. David Ben-Gurion, creator of the armed Israeli group Haganah, recognized the nature of the revolt: ”In our foreign policy argument, we minimize the importance of the opposition that is done to us by the Arabs. Between us we must not ignore the fact that politically we are the aggressors and they are standing up for themselves. The country is theirs, because they live in it, whereas we want to come to establish ourselves here, which in their opinion means that we want to usurp their land, without even having received it yet.” The Arab revolt was crushed by the English with excess brutality, according to Noam Chomsky, in his book, “The Fateful Triangle.”

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution establishing a Jewish state in Palestine. On May 14, 1948, when the British mandate of Palestine expired, the State of Israel declared independence, and since then, Palestine would be divided into three parts, one forming the newly created Jewish state and the other two, the Gaza Strip and West Bank which would form a Palestinian State, according to a UN resolution, eventually turning them into Arab refugee camps.

In April 1948, commanders of the groups Irgun, Stern Gang and Haganah met and combined action to massacre the population of farmers in the Arab village of Deir Yassin, located five kilometers from Jerusalem. The action was called "Unity" since it joined the three main Israeli militias, and was responsible for the murder of 254 people, whose bodies were mutilated and thrown into a well.

Houses were blown up. The government of Israel declared the massacre a victory in the war of the conquest of Palestine. The massacre of Deir Yassin is considered one of the principal reasons for the exodus of tens of thousands of Palestinians from their own land. The Irgun, Stern Gang and the Haganah later joined together to form the Israeli Defense Forces.

The main leader of the Irgun and articulator of the massacre at Deir Yassin, was Menahem Begin, who later became prime minister of Israel, with the support of his friend Yitzhak Shamir, leader of the Stern Gang extermination group. Shamir was twice prime minister of Israel. Begin won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978, the year that the territories of Lebanon were annexed. In 1981, Begin also annexed the Golan Heights, territories of Syria and Lebanon, expanding Israeli territory. It was in this period that the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah appeared, which defended the sovereignty of Lebanon against the Israeli invasion.

The massacres of Arab villages continued in the following decades, forming a systematic occupation of Palestine by the Israelis and forcing the exodus of thousands of Arabs into the refugee camps of Gaza and the West Bank. Thus, the State of Israel was the sign of sovereignty and power over the Arabs, whose removal was a goal for the consolidation of a Zionist project of territorial expansion. Faced with such violence, it is worth remembering a comment of former Zionist leader Golda Meir: "They are not human beings, they are not people, they are Arabs.”

In June 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon and bombed the capital Beirut for two months. In September of that year, the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, ordered soldiers from the special unit of Israeli control "Sayyeret Matkal" to enter Beirut to liquidate a "nest of terrorists" with a list of 120 names of Palestinian militants and their respective addresses. All the suspects were murdered with a bullet to the neck.

Still not satisfied, Sharon ordered the attack on the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila, in the western part of Beirut, massacring around three thousand Palestinian civilians, according to the Red Cross. The UN condemned the killing, describing it as "an act of genocide," in which white phosphorus bombs were used, causing terrible injuries in the thousands. These chemical weapons were banned by the Geneva Convention, but are produced and marketed by the United States today. The massacre of Sabra and Chatila is described in detail by the French journalist Alain Ménargues in the book "Les Secrets de la Guerre du Liban." What if the Court of The Hague deemed the crimes committed by Sharon, as it judged those of Milosevic?

TwoAmerican journalists narrated the horror they saw in Sabra and Chatila, after the massacre: "When I went there on September 18, we saw bodies everywhere. We photographed victims who had been mutilated with axes and knives. Others had crushed heads, torn out eyes, throats cut and lacerated members, besides skin torn out of the bodies." The great Jewish intellectual Yeshayahu Leibowitz (deceased in 1994) came to declare that, "the Israeli Army has become Nazi Jewish storm troopers." The Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago has made similar statements after the massacres.

In 1996, Israel carried out massive air and artillery strikes to the positions of the guerrillas in the suburbs of Beirut, killing hundreds of civilians. In July 2006, in retaliation to eight dead and two Israeli soldiers captured by Islamic guerrillas, Israel responded with the largest military action in Lebanon since the massacres of 1982, the operation named "Just Reward," a conflict that left 1,500 dead and destroyed important parts of the Lebanese infrastructure, leaving nearly 900 thousand displaced Lebanese.

So, the following decades after the massacre at Deir Yassin incidents of extreme violence were happening against the Palestinian people who were occupying the territory ignored by the Zionists. Each massacre had its refinement of cruelty and, over the years, with increasingly powerful and accurate weapons. The unconditional support of the United States gave Israel the character of a great war power, with a modern army, high-tech weapons and nuclear devices counting dozens of warheads that could threaten not only the Palestinians, but the entire Arab world. It could finally construct, with the extermination of the enemy people, such a dreamed State from the possession of all their territory.

As was well said in a recent text published by Pravda, a large part of the Jewish people are not responsible for Zionism, much less for the criminal actions of the State of Israel. However, it is incomprehensible to support the extermination of the Palestinian population, as a natural attitude towards the consolidation of a pretentious right of possession.

To isolate the Palestinians on "Israeli land," the construction of a series of fortified walls of concrete was initiated in July 2002, 8 meters high, in double electrified fences with a range of 50 meters wide, and gaps and barriers of 700 km long, cutting off Palestinian villages and properties. The West Bank wall, as it is known, was condemned by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in July 2004. On the treatment of the Palestinians by the government of Israel, Saramago says it is a "modern Apartheid.”

On the detriment of war, Nietzsche wrote, "makes the winner stupid and the defeated one wicked." Living in the periphery of power, oppressed and subjugated, suffering from marginalization and barbarism, the Palestinians believed in strategies of confrontation and overcoming against their oppressors. It was between so many slaughters that the Arab terrorist groups arose, the favorite target of the imperialist press that gives inestimable service to the holders of power. These groups arose in an environment of exile and death, as the only alternative for resistance.

"I am not defending Arab excesses. It would be preferred that they had chosen the path of non-violence to resist against what they consider an invasion of their own country. According to the commonly accepted models of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of such destructive misfortunes." These are words of Mahatma Gandhi, regarding the conflict in Palestine in 1938, quoted in "The Land of Two Peoples.”

The passivity of the UN, and the support and sponsorship of the United States, secures the criminal actions of Israel, which considers them legitimate, as their "right of self-defense." Quite interesting was the position of the intellectual Noam Chomsky of "What would be the reaction towards any other country that does not enjoy the benefits of Washington in effectuating such atrocities?”

We hope for the good of the Jews and Palestinians, but when we get to the end, who will be able to determine the specific weight of all these endless tears?

Fábio Rossano Dário
Portuguese version

Translation by Lisa Karpova

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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey