DAILY SABAH – November 7, 2023
Israeli attacks 'forcibly displaced' nearly 70% of Gaza population
The ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip has "forcibly displaced" nearly 70% of the besieged territory's population from their homes, the Gazan authorities said Tuesday.
According to recent figures, the Gaza population is estimated at 2.3 million.
In a statement, the Gaza-based Government Media Office said: "50% of the house units across Gaza were damaged by the (Israeli) raids, and 10% of the house units were either completely destroyed or rendered uninhabitable."
It also said half of the hospitals and 62% of the health care centers in Gaza are out of service.
The statement noted that the Israeli army dropped some 30,000 tons of explosives on Gaza since Oct. 7.
Israel has launched air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7.
At least 10,022 Palestinians, including 4,104 children and 2,641 women, have been killed in the Israeli bombardments in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli death toll is nearly 1,600, according to official figures.
Gaza deaths in month-long Israeli attacks top entire Ukraine war toll
The month long Israeli attacks on Gaza have killed more civilians than the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war since it broke out 620 days ago, according to the Anadolu Agency (AA).
Anadolu Agency compiled and compared civilian casualties in Gaza since Oct. 7 and the start of the Russia-Ukraine war since Feb. 24, 2022.
According to Gaza's Ministry of Health, Israeli attacks in the besieged Palestinian enclave have so far killed 10,022 Palestinians, including 4,104 children and 2,641 women, wounding at least 24,000 people.
In the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, Israeli forces and Jewish settlers have killed 155 Palestinians over the past 31 days.
As of Oct. 8, 2023, a total of 9,806 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the war with Russia.
This means more civilians were killed in Gaza over the past month than in Ukraine in over 20 times that amount of time, highlighting the severity of Israel's onslaught.
5 children die every hour
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 40% of the Palestinians killed in the Israeli attacks since Oct. 7 have been children, meaning that about five children are killed every hour in Gaza.
U.K.-based nongovernment organization (NGO) Save The Children revealed that the number of minors killed in Palestine in the last three weeks alone surpasses the number of those killed in conflicts worldwide in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
The current conflict has also seen Israeli forces bomb the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital and Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital in Gaza, killing thousands of civilians, while also targeting the surroundings of other hospitals affiliated with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and Indonesia.
The largest health care facility in the strip, the Al-Shifa Hospital, where thousands of injured and civilians have sought refuge, has also been targeted by the Israeli army.
Israel has been accused of war crimes due to both its military strikes directly targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, as well as its blockade as it cut off vital food, water, electricity, fuel, and medicine to the enclave.
According to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, "Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm, and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict."
In cross-border strikes that have been ongoing since Oct. 8 between the Israeli army and Hezbollah, 61 members of the Lebanese group and four Israeli soldiers have been killed.
According to Israel, 30 soldiers have been killed in clashes in Gaza since Oct. 31, while the Al-Qassam Brigades, affiliated with the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, holds 242 Israeli hostages.
Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, Western leaders have repeatedly condemned and imposed sanctions on Moscow over the indiscriminate killing of civilians but have turned a blind eye to Israel's bombing of the Gaza Strip.
On the contrary, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed his explicit support for Israel in a statement on Oct. 10.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, at a massive pro-Palestine rally on Oct. 28, called out the Westﾠfor shedding "crocodile tears" for civilians killed in Ukraine while silently watching the deaths of thousands of innocent children in Gaza.
He said at the rally in Istanbul: "You shed tears for those who died in Ukraine. What about these children who died in Gaza? Why don't you say anything about them?"
More violence leads to even more violence
by Ron Forthofer
Since October 7th, the ongoing horrific violence in Palestine and Israel has received incredible amounts of media coverage. Both Israelis and Palestinians are experiencing terrible pain and suffering. Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media’s reporting provided little context for the deadly Hamas attack and its war crimes. Note that the provision of the context is not a justification for the Hamas attack, but it allows people to have more information about what happened.
During the horrific Hamas attack, over 300 Israeli soldiers and police were among the over 1400 Israelis who were killed. The number of Israelis killed by friendly fire has not yet been determined. Hamas also took over 200 people as hostages and has since released four women hostages.
Since October 7th, indiscriminate Israeli attacks on Gaza, war crimes, have killed over 10,000 Palestinians, including over 4,000 children. Over 32,000 Palestinians have been wounded and there is no letup in sight. Note that these numbers of Israeli and Palestinian deaths are not just statistics, but they represent real people whose lives were important and whose loss has greatly impacted their families and friends.
The destruction of buildings and the infrastructure in Gaza is also widespread with the UN estimating that, as October 27th, Israeli attacks have destroyed over 45% of Gaza’s housing. Israel has also now launched its ground invasion of Gaza as part of its effort to eliminate Hamas and this invasion adds to the devastation in Gaza. Reporting on the invasion is hampered by Israel’s killing of at least 29 journalists working in Gaza.
Besides military attacks, Israel quickly imposed a total siege on Gaza, cutting off all deliveries of fuel, water, food, medicine and electricity. After almost two weeks, there finally has been a slight break in the Israeli siege with a relatively small number of trucks allowed into Gaza through the border with Egypt. These trucks carry enough food and water to meet a tiny, tiny percentage of the daily need for 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza. The lives of these civilians are clearly at great risk. The international charity Oxfam has stated that Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war. Appallingly, the ‘humane’ US and Western nations support this war crime. Unsurprisingly, many nations that have suffered under Western colonialism oppose these Israeli crimes.
Lost in all the current coverage is the fact that violence against Palestinians has been going on throughout 2023 with numerous attacks by illegal Israeli settlers and the Israeli military in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank. Death, violence, imprisonment and dispossession of homes are threats faced daily by many Palestinians. Israelis also violate the al-Asqa mosque area, Islam’s third holiest site, when they invade, disrupt and attack Palestinians praying there. This Israeli violence may be briefly noted by the mainstream media, but then is quickly forgotten.
Moreover, the killing of and violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank has increased while the media attention is currently focused on Gaza. Israeli violence against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories has been going on for over five decades and continues to increase under the ever more extreme rightwing Israeli government.
Shockingly, the US and several other Western nations support the ongoing Israeli genocidal war crimes. The US even vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire. What?! How many more Palestinians must be sacrificed before Israel is satisfied? Almost seven times as many Palestinians have already been killed as Israelis. When is it enough? Have we completely lost any sense of humanity?
The US, Israel’s biggest enabler, must say enough! There needs to be an immediate ceasefire and negotiations about ending the violence and the return of the hostages. There also must be negotiations about achieving a just settlement of the entire Palestine/Israel issue that ensures full human rights, freedoms and reparations for Palestinians.
If this killing of Palestinians isn’t ended soon, there have been warnings that other nations will feel forced to intervene to protect the lives of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza. We have to end this violence now before the Middle East explodes.
Ron Forthofer is a retired Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas; former Green Party candidate for Congress and for Governor of Colorado
Israel’s Final Solution for the Palestinians
by Chris Hedges
When Jewish extremists, fanatic Zionists, religious zealots, ultranationalists and crypto-fascists in the apartheid state of Israel say they want to wipe Gaza off the face of the earth, believe them.
I covered the birth of Jewish fascism in Israel. I reported on the extremist Meir Kahane, who was barred from running for office and whose Kach Party was outlawed in 1994 and declared a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States. I attended political rallies held by Benjamin Netanyahu, who received lavish funding from rightwing Americans, when he ran against Yitzhak Rabin, who was negotiating a peace settlement with the Palestinians. Netanyahu’s supporters chanted “Death to Rabin.” They burned an effigy of Rabin dressed in a Nazi uniform. Netanyahu marched in front of a mock funeral for Rabin.
Netanyahu, who first became prime minister in 1996, has spent his political career nurturing Jewish extremists, including Avigdor Lieberman, Gideon Saﾒar, Naftali Bennett, and Ayelet Shaked. His father, Benzion — who worked as an assistant to the Zionist pioneer Vladimir Jabotinsky, who Benito Mussolini referred to as “a good fascist” — was a leader in the Herut Party that called on the Jewish state to seize all the land of historic Palestine. Many of those who formed the Herut Party carried out terrorist attacks during the 1948 war that established the state of Israel. Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Sidney Hook and other Jewish intellectuals, described the Herut Party in a statement published in The New York Times as a “political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to Nazi and Fascist parties.”
There has always been a strain of Jewish fascism within the Zionist project. Now it has taken control of the Israeli state.
“The left is no longer capable of overcoming the toxic ultra-nationalism that has evolved here,” Zeev Sternhell, a Holocaust survivor and Israel’s foremost authority on fascism, warned in 2018, “the kind whose European strain almost wiped out a majority of the Jewish people.” Sternhell added, “[W]e see not just a growing Israeli fascism but racism akin to Nazism in its early stages.”
The decision to obliterate Gaza has long been the dream of Israel’s crypto-fascists, heirs of Kahane’s movement. These Jewish extremists, which make up the ruling coaltion government, are orchestrating the genocide in Gaza, where hundreds of Palestinians are dying daily. They champion the iconography and language of their homegrown fascism. Jewish identity and Jewish nationalism are the Zionist versions of blood and soil. Jewish supremacy is sanctified by God, as is the slaughter of the Palestinians, who Netanyahu compared to the Biblical Ammonites, massacred by the Israelites. Enemies — usually Muslims — slated for extinction are subhuman who embody evil. Violence and the threat of violence are the only forms of communication those outside the magical circle of Jewish nationalism understand. Millions of Muslims and Christians, including those with Israeli citizenship, are to be purged.
A leaked 10-page document from the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence dated Oct. 13, 2023 recommends the forcible and permanent transfer of the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million Palestinian residents to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
It is a grave mistake not to take the blood curdling calls for the wholesale eradication and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians seriously. This rhetoric is not hyperbolic. It is a literal prescription. Netanyahu in a tweet, later removed, described the battle with Hamas as a “struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness, between humanity and the law of the jungle.”
These Jewish fanatics have begun their version of the final solution to the Palestinian problem. They dropped 12,000 tons of explosives on Gaza in the first two weeks of assault to obliterate at least 45 percent of Gaza’s housing units, according to the U.N.’s humanitarian office. They have no intention of being detoured, even by Washington.
“It became evident to U.S. officials that Israeli leaders believed mass civilian casualties were an acceptable price in the military campaign,” The New York Timesﾠreported.
“In private conversations with American counterparts, Israeli officials referred to how the United States and other allied powers resorted to devastating bombings in Germany and Japan during World War II — including the dropping of the two atomic warheads in Hiroshima and Nagasaki — to try to defeat those countries,” the paper continued.
The goal is a “pure” Israel, cleansed of Palestinian contaminants. Gaza is to become a wasteland. The Palestinians in Gaza will be killed or forced into refugee camps over the border in Egypt. Messianic redemption will take place once the Palestinians are expelled. Jewish extremists call for the Al-Aqsa mosque – the third holiest shrine for Muslims, built on the ruins of the Jewish Second Temple, which was destroyed in 70 CE by the Roman army – to be demolished. The mosque is to be replaced by a “Third” Jewish temple, a move that would set the Muslim world alight. The West Bank, which the zealots call “Judea and Samaria,” will be formally annexed by Israel. Israel, governed by the religious laws imposed by the ultra-orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, will be a Jewish version of Iran.
It is a short step to total Israeli control over Palestinian land. Israel’s illegal Jewish settlements, restricted military zones, closed highways and army compounds have seized over 60 percent of the West Bank, turning Palestinian towns and villages into ringed ghettos. There are over 65 laws which discriminate directly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens of Israel and those living in the occupied territories. The campaign of indiscriminate killing of Palestinians in the West Bank, many by rogue Jewish militias, along with house and school demolitions and the seizure of remaining Palestinian land will explode. Over 133 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by the Israeli army and Jewish settlers since the Oct. 7 incursion by Hamas and thousands of Palestinians have been rounded up by the Israeli military, beaten, humiliated and imprisoned.
Israel, at the same time, is turning on “Jewish traitors” who refuse to embrace the demented vision of the ruling Jewish fascists and who denounce the horrific violence of the state. The familiar enemies of fascism — journalists, human rights advocates, intellectuals, artists, feminists, liberals, the left, homosexuals and pacifists — are already being targeted. The judiciary, according to plans put forward by Netanyahu, will be neutered. Public debate will wither. Civil society and the rule of law will cease to exist. Those branded as “disloyal” will be deported.
Fascists do not respect the sanctity of life. Human beings, even from their own tribe, are expendable to build their deranged utopia. The zealots in power in Israel could have exchanged the hostages held by Hamas for the thousands of Palestinian hostages held in Israeli prisons, which is why the Israeli hostages were seized. And there is evidence that in the chaotic fighting that took place once Hamas militants entered Israel, the Israeli military decided to target not only Hamas fighters, but the Israeli captives with them.
“Several new testimonies by Israeli witnesses to the October 7 Hamas surprise attack on southern Israel adds to growing evidence that the Israeli military killed its own citizens as they fought to neutralize Palestinian gunmen,” Max Blumenthal writes in The Grayzone.
Tuval Escapa, a member of the security team for Kibbutz Be’eri, Blumenthal notes, set up a hotline to coordinate between kibbutz residents and the Israeli army.
Escapaﾠtold the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that as desperation began to set in, “the commanders in the field made difficult decisions – including shelling houses on their occupants in order to eliminate the terrorists along with the hostages.”
The newspaper reported that Israeli commanders were “compelled to request an aerial strike” against its own facility inside the Erez Crossing to Gaza “in order to repulse the terrorists” who had seized control. That base housed Israeli Civil Administration officers and soldiers.
Israel, in 1986, instituted a military policy called the Hannibal Directive, apparently named for the Carthaginian general who poisoned himself rather than be captured by the Romans, following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah. The directive is designed to prevent Israeli troops from falling into enemy hands through the maximum use of force, even at the cost of killing the captured soldiers and civilians.
The directive was executed during the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza known as Operation Protective Edge. Hamas fighters on Aug. 1, 2014 captured an Israeli officer, Lt. Hadar Goldin. In response, Israel dropped more than 2,000 bombs, missiles and shells on the area where he was being held. Goldin was killed along with over 100 Palestinian civilians. The directive was supposedly rescinded in 2016.
Gaza is the start. The West Bank is next.
Israelis who cheer on the Palestinian nightmare will soon endure a nightmare of their own.
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. His most recent book is “America: The Farewell Tour” (2019).
Why Israel targets Gaza?
BY MUHITTIN ATAMAN
Israel has been targeting Palestinian people for decades. Palestinians living in tormented territories, namely the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip and occupied East Jerusalem, have been living under strict Israeli control. They cannot move without the permission of the Israeli security forces. Therefore, Palestinian people have been living under prison conditions. The blockade that has been implemented against Gaza keeps more than 2 million people in an open prison. Naturally, the conditions are unbearable. Everyone was expecting that sooner or later, this would explode, which it did on Oct. 7.
After the large-scale and effective attack against Israeli targets, Israel reacted disproportionately by targeting mostly civilian locations. Since Israel, its Western allies and some regional actors separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, claiming that the Hamas rule is unacceptable, we have to analyze why Israel has specifically targeted the Gaza Strip. There are several significant reasons to discuss.
First of all, the target is the Hamas movement itself due to its main characteristics. Israel wants to destroy the Hamas movement. Some Arab regimes also share this view with Israel. They want to destroy the Palestinian front of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is known as the only relevant political actor demanding change in the Arab world. It is generally believed that Hamas is the only Islamic movement left in the Arab world after the Arab insurgencies and revolutions. For Israel and its supporters to complete the secularization process in the Arab world, it is necessary to get rid of Hamas. On the other hand, Hamas is considered an obstacle to the normalization and transformation of the Middle East.
Second, Hamas is targeted because it is the only independent political actor representing the Palestinian people. Contrary to the claims of some pro-Israeli observers, Hamas is not a proxy of any regional state, including Iran. Many states, that recognize Hamas as a legitimate political actor representing the people of Gaza, have been supporting the Hamas political authority. Although it cooperates with different regional and global actors, it never gives up its independent position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian question.
Third, Israel and Israel’s Western allies, together with some regional states, attempt to destroy Hamas to create a “tamed Palestinian political entity” to be able to control the Palestinian people. Israel and its allies will not accept the establishment of a meaningful Palestinian state. Although Palestinian political actors, including Hamas, have been asking Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders, Israel acts the other way around. That is, it tries to expand its territories against the Palestinian people.
Fourth, Israel has been trying to destroy the Palestinian political entity in Gaza and de-Palestinize the Gaza Strip to achieve its goal of “cleaning the area from the river to the sea.” Thus, Israel can control the natural gas reserves found in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Fifth, the Gazan people, a great portion of which are the people that are forcibly displaced in 1948, are quite politically conscious and dynamic. Arabs call the people living in Gaza the people of dignity (“ehli Gaza, ehli izza”). Despite all the hardships they experienced in the Gaza Strip and the oppression of Israel, they did not leave their lands. They continue to resist Israeli oppression by living on their lands.
3 groups of states
It has been over a month that Israel’s massacres continue in the Gaza Strip. There are three main groups of states giving different reactions to the Israeli massacres. The first group, which consists of most Western states led by the United States, gives unconditional political, economic and military support to Israel. The second group of states stands with the Palestinian people. Many countries around the world, extending from the Middle East to Latin America, from East Asia to Africa, fall into this group. The third group of states remains indifferent to Israel’s massacre of innocent people, most of whom are women and children. Some Arab states fall into this group.
Every front considers the latest developments from their respective perspectives. The first group of states wants Hamas and its supporters, together with the population of Palestine, to be eradicated. The second group works for an urgent humanitarian cease-fire and calls Israel to end its atrocities and mass killings in Gaza. The third group follows a “wait-and-see policy” and chooses not to react until it sees the results of these developments.
Muhittin Ataman is a professor in the Department of International Relations at Social Sciences University of Ankara. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Insight Turkey, published by SETA Foundation.
Zionism: The ideology of colonization, occupation and murder
Ideologies often lead to actions that obscure one's original intentions. Excessive zeal can reveal a more aggressive agenda, such as a fervent pursuit of colonization, as seen in the case of Zionism
By Hakki Ocal
Do not try your abused and outmoded “anti-Semitism” on me. It had no rhyme nor reason to begin with: Arabs and several other Middle Eastern folks are Semites, not only those who speak Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic, but many Afro-Asiatic people constitute that group. Muslims cannot be “anti-Semitic”: either their mother tongue or the language they pray in is “Semitic.” Were the tens of thousands of people who were protesting Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to weaken the country’s judicial system, consisting not only of the left-wing and pro-Palestinian groups and Arab parties but more than them, the mainstream center- and center-right parties, anti-Semitic, too?
Zionism was a religious ideal for many centuries of the exiled Jewish people to keep their religious (and national) identity. But it was the banner that gave strength and motivation not only to the Jews who were suppressed and excluded from the society in Europe long before they adopted it; Zionism was the banner of Christian Crusaders as well. From Crusaders, British Colonialism, and from them its heirs in the Anglosphere, that is, Australia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand inherited it not as an ideal derived from Biblical stories but as an ideology to shape the modern age.
Not only in the hands of Hitler in the 20th century but also in Spain, Poland and France, in those countries where the beacons of human rights and civilized modernization shone, Jews had been subjected to beatings, murders and expulsions for many centuries. Muslim empires in Spain and Anatolia cuddled and cradled Jews from the cavemen of Europe. But Zion, the shining star of David over Jerusalem, had always been the beacon inviting Jews back to the holy lands. It was wholly and entirely religious: promises of “freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel. It had nothing to do with the supremacist ideas of those fringe parties that slowly replaced the democratic and secular ideal of a homeland of all beliefs as it has been for many millennia. The idea of that joint homeland of Arabs, Jews, Aramaic and other folks in the “Land of the Philistines,” in short, “The Jewish Zionism,” had been inspired by Christian Zionism.
According to several historians, among them Noam Chomsky, an American professor and public intellectual known for his work in linguistics, political activism and social criticism, Christian Zionism put the word into the modern linguistics of Jewish Zionism. In other words, it was not Theodore Herzl who asked Arthur James Balfour, first Earl of Balfour, also known as Lord Balfour, a British statesman and Conservative politician who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905, to put this “ideal into law” and declare it to the whole world. Still, it worked the other way round: Lord Balfour put the words in Jewish mouths.
Eschatologically speaking, Biblical Israel should be re-established so that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ could be realized. One hundred years before the Balfour Declaration, President John Adams wrote, “I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.” (But Adams believed that Jews would gradually become Christians!)
Two birds with one stone
The British were killing two birds with the Balfour Declaration: They were finding a solution to their age-old Jewish problem to the satisfaction of Jews; they were providing a homeland to the Jews. At the same time, they were dismembering the rival Ottoman Empire so that Bible-thumper U.S. President Woodrow Wilson would immediately buy it, own the role of its undertaker and finalize it.
Thanks to the colonialist roots, Christian Zionism, and with the help of nationalist Jews, the Jewish version of it has not been any less bloody. Yet, 120 years ago, when Theodor Herzl flared the idea of creating a homeland for Jews based on their “religious and ethnic identity,” that is, Judaism and Semitism, he, in no writing or speech, defended Zion as an exclusionary ideology; he never said Israel would give only Jews their own state.
His presentation to Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II was no different than his predecessors: Moses Hess', 1862, “A social and religious association in Palestine for Jews"; Leo Pinsker, 1881, “An emancipation from raising antisemitism in Europe in an organization out of their reach, wherever it could be, preferably in East Africa.” Herzl formulated those recipes as “an ideology for the creation of a particularly Jewish state in its Biblical homeland.”
The British (first with the help of the French and later the Americans) had to eliminate the “Ottoman Question” before tackling the “Jewish Problem.” Remember: in 1917, when Britain issued the “Balfour Declaration” to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the Europeans were still looking for a solution to what they had been calling “The Jewish Question,” and they were ready to acquiesce Hitler’s inhuman formula under the disguise of “Peace in or Times.” Yes, Hitler killed 6 million Jews with the cooperation of the French, Polish and other Europeans and under the watchful eyes of the British and the Americans.
Today, neither the Jewish prayer that “May our eyes behold your return to Zion” nor Herzl’s Zionism returning to Palestine has anything to do with religion. How could the killing of almost 4,000 babies and little children, 7,000 innocent men and women, be related to any religion? As a political ideology that constitutes justification for the occupation of other people’s lands and houses, the current version of Zionism has created its own hyper-reality: Arab Palestinians, in general, and Hamas, in particular, commit atrocities that include mass murder, rape and kidnapping.
The ill-gotten and poorly thought-out Oct. 7 Shabbat Raid of Hamas added fuel to this narrative. According to The New York Times, “The Oct. 7 assault on Israel and a surge in acts of antisemitism have awakened a repressed horror in Jewish populations across the continent.” What surge of anti-Semitism? Arabs who are Semitic themselves are now becoming anti-Semitic? The Daily Beast, of all beasts, drags Russian President Vladimir Putin to “the new wave of antisemitism” simply because they did not condemn a door sign somebody put in a hotel in Khasavyurt, in the Russian republic of Dagestan!
No, no! What the NYT and their ilk are trying to do is to add new flames to their Zionist ideology; thus, it would go to the very end: ethnic cleansing of Palestine: A Palestine without Palestinians. Of course, they know very well that the Russian president does not follow the door signs forbidding entrance to Jews in a country that is twice as large as the U.S.
Reality of ideologies
Ideologies work that way: They create their own reality to create their dominance over the reality of others. Ideologies appear natural; they seem to be common sense and thus are often invisible and elude criticism. That is how the mass media in the U.S. and its social media extensions function as a means of generating false consciousness. The U.S., European and Israeli media expect that the entire world should join them in condemnation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad because of what they did in the Oct. 7 massacres.
Their ideology closed their eyes to the fact that what Israel has been doing since then, with the help of the U.S. and EU, upended world public opinion. The inhumanity of the Israeli armed forces, the crimes against humanity Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his accomplices, U.S. President Biden, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and unelected EU commissioners, committed are so gross that the world does not only say that the Oct. 7 had not happened in a vacuum, but it says Hamas had a point in its actions against Netanyahu government.
Ideologies work that way. They make you act in a manner that you lose your deserving cause. In your rapaciousness, you take the mask off; people see who you really are: a murderous Zionist seeking to complete its colonization.
Hakkı Öcal is an award-winning journalist. He currently serves as academic at Ibn Haldun University.
Palestine, dilemmas of decolonization
By Stephen Sefton
After its defeat in the First World War the territories of the Ottoman Empire in Syria (today Syria and Lebanon), Mesopotamia (today Iraq) and Palestine were divided in 1920 between France and Great Britain by means of the San Remo Conference, under the authority of the League of Nations. The British Mandate over Palestine incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917, under which the British government had undertaken, in a completely arbitrary manner, to establish a Jewish national state on the territory of Palestine. 30 years after the Balfour Declaration, on November 29th 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181 authorizing the partition of Palestine and thus emerged the state of Israel. There was no democratic consultation process with the native Arab population of Palestine, which at that time numbered twice the Jewish population.
At the time of the vote, only 56 member countries of the UN participated, while the UN now has 193 member countries. Of those 56 countries, 33 voted in favor of the resolution, 13 countries, mainly Arab countries, voted against and 10 countries abstained. Precisely at the beginning of the era of decolonization in the majority world, the United Nations Organization, dominated by the imperialist powers, created a colonial state based on a supremacist ideology, Zionism, with a government determined to expel the Arab population to ensure a Jewish majority. Even before the end of the British Mandate on May 15, 1948, the Zionist forces had initiated an ethnic cleansing of more than 200,000 people of the Arab population by applying tactics of terrorism and massacre.
That was the context in which the neighboring Arab countries then declared war against Israel during which the Israeli forces expelled another part of the Palestinian population, more than half a million Arabs, and occupied their lands. The conquest and occupation of the Palestinian lands by the Zionists vindicated the prophetic words of Vladimir Jabotinsky, leader of Haganah, the Zionist armed organization, who wrote in 1925, "A voluntary reconciliation with the Arabs is out of the question now or in the future. If you want to colonize a land on which people already live, you need to provide a garrison for the land, or find some rich man or benefactor who will provide a garrison on your behalf.”
In fact, the benefactors and protectors of Israel have been the Western countries who have ensured that the numerous UN resolutions and any other measures of international law in defense of the rights of the Palestinian people have not been implemented. All this history demonstrates the colonial roots of the founding of Israel and the systematic Western neocolonialism that maintains, protects and defends it, even in the face of the genocidal massacres in process in Gaza at the moment. The partition of Palestine occurred in the period of the end of the colonial era that saw the creation of independent nation-states, mostly based on colonial borders.
During the same period, the partition of many other countries was also imposed, Lebanon from Syria, Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland, the partition of Korea and, until 1975, the partition of Vietnam. The legacy of 500 years of European colonialism and its gradual replacement by United States domination over the last 150 years has been decades of bloody conflicts and destructive wars. In the case of Palestine, the creation of Israel allowed the United States and its allies to have their “unsinkable aircraft carrier” in the heart of a region strategic for their geopolitical interests, due to its location and its hydrocarbon resources.
At the moment it is impossible to know the political-military outcome of the ongoing fighting in Gaza, much less of the looming regional war in the making. However, many governments have defined their proposals for a possible resolution of the conflict. The majority advocate the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. That Security Council Resolution was adopted fifty-six years ago, promoting the creation of a Palestinian state on a par with the Israeli state.
As the prominent former United Nations official Alfredo de Zayas has commented“ "Israel's obligation under Security Council Resolution 242, dated November 22, 1967, is to withdraw from the occupied territories and allow the practical implementation of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, [which is] inalienable and enshrined in articles 1 and 55, chapters XI and XII of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as in article 1 common to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)".
Several observers have commented that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) reaffirmed in 2004 the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and condemned the countless violations of international law by Israel. Moreover, as the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the UN Vasily Nebenzia has noted, Israel has no right to self-defense in the territories it has illegally occupied for decades. So the Palestinian resistance has full legitimacy to claim the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people in their occupied lands, including by armed resistance.
The proposal of the majority of the governments of the world to solve the protracted conflict between Israel and Palestine in accordance with international law is to create a Palestinian state. Despite this international majority consensus for the so-called ”two-state solution" there is an influential body of opinion in the world questioning its viability and advocating the creation of a single state. The reasoning of this position follows the argument of Muammar al Gaddafi who argued that the Oslo Accords of 1993 were a deception whose logical culmination would be the assimilation of the Palestinian population into a single state. The most optimistic one-state proposals raise the possibility of a unitary or federated state capable of accommodating the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians on the basis of equality and non-discrimination.
What much of the discussion of both possibilities at the international level tends to dismiss, omit or even deny is the insistence of the Palestinian people on the imperative of ensuring a decolonization process that corresponds to the profound historical injustice they have suffered. And it is instructive to compare the colonial situation and the neocolonial context of the struggle of the Palestinian people for their liberation with other revolutionary liberation struggles that achieved their goal. The examples of the anti-colonial struggles in Angola, Algeria, Mozambique and Zimbabwe clarify the various dilemmas that accompany the struggle against colonial systems based on racist supremacism.
The genocide of the Palestinian people and the total annexation of their territory follows the historical practice of the colonial elites and their European governments. Simone Weil, distinguished French philosopher, once commented that the main innovation of Nazi Germany was to apply the practice of genocidal conquest by European colonialism to the European population itself. Certainly, this was the experience of the four national liberation struggles in Angola, Algeria, Mozambique and Zimbabwe which went through different phases of resistance, open war and negotiation until achieving victory.
The war in Algeria ended with the Evian Accords of 1962, in Angola with the Alvor accords of 1975, in Mozambique with the Lusaka Accords of 1974 and in Zimbabwe with the Lancaster House Accords of 1979. All these agreements included measures to guarantee the full recognition of the national sovereignty and the right of self-determination of the liberated people, the transfer of power in a consensual, programmed way that would allow the peaceful departure in each case of hundreds of thousands of settlers. They also included measures for the due transfer of administrative functions, the orderly renewal of the national police and the armed forces and a balanced management of land and property redistribution. The agreements also included amnesties for the events that occurred before their signing, and guarantees of protection and non-discrimination against the settlers who decided to stay.
In all cases, the corresponding metropolitan governments accepted the right of their former colonies to independence. In France, President De Gaulle faced a violent right-wing terrorist rebellion against his decision to agree to Algeria's independence in 1962. It was the overthrow in 1974 of the fascist government in Portugal by the Carnation Revolution that allowed the new Portuguese socialist government to agree on peace in Angola and Mozambique. And in the case of Zimbabwe it was the resolute support of the British government of the Labour Party that agreed to the decision to facilitate the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980 despite the resistance of the rebel, racist settler regime.
For the moment, the case of Palestine is different, even more complex and challenging, because the Israeli government has the unconditional support of the US government which occupies the role of a metropolitan state sustaining the Zionist colonial regime in Israel. With the strategic defeat already suffered by the United States and its European subordinates in Ukraine, time favors the Palestinian cause. This may well explain the Israeli decision to intensify the pace of its genocidal massacres in the face of the Palestinian offensive of last October 7th.
Whatever the resolution finally negotiated to guarantee some measure of justice to the Palestinian people, two-state or one-state, the most intractable issues are going to be of the same kind as in previous decolonization processes. Mainly these are the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination on their national territory and the recovery of their national territory from the Zionist occupation. The proposal of the Palestinian movement Hamas at the moment is for a ceasefire, the opening of borders, especially with Egypt, and an exchange of prisoners. The Palestinian leadership hopes to establish a political peace process culminating in an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem and the right to self-determination.
It seems inevitable in the current historical context of the development of a multicentric world that the logic of decolonization in one way or another will prevail in the case of Palestine. It remains to be seen how profound dilemmas, for example, regarding the right of return of the millions of Palestinian families displaced for decades by the Zionist ethnic cleansing will be resolved. The Zionist settlers are going to have to accept giving up the lands they have usurped and those among them who cannot tolerate being in a state recognizing their Palestinian counterparts as equals are going to have to leave to wherever will take them, just as happened in Angola, Algeria, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The political and institutional changes that all parties will have to facilitate and assimilate will be enormous and profound. Among them is the colossal challenge of how it may be possible for Palestinian families to overcome the unimaginable psychosocial consequences of the pain and injustice they have suffered for more than a century. In the end, all the antecedents of decolonization show that it is inevitable that Palestine will be free, thanks, as in all struggles for national liberation, to the extraordinary strength and insurmountable resistance of its People.
Stephen Sefton, renowned author and political analyst based in northern Nicaragua, is actively involved in community development work focusing on education and health care. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).
This article was originally published on Tortilla con Sal, translated from Spanish.
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