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Joseph Massad: Gaza Ghetto Uprising

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    The Gaza Ghetto Uprising Joseph Massad The Electronic Intifada 4 January 2009 http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10110.shtml Nazi troops round up Polish
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2009
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      The Gaza Ghetto Uprising
      Joseph Massad
      The Electronic Intifada
      4 January 2009
      http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10110.shtml


      Nazi troops round up Polish Jews during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in
      May 1943. (Photographer Unknown)


      One is often baffled by the ironies of international relations and
      the alliances they foster. Take for example the Israeli colonial
      settlement that had declared war on the Palestinian people and
      several Arab countries since its inception while at the same time it
      built alliances with many Arab regimes and with Palestinian leaders.

      While Hashemite-Zionist relations and Maronite Church-Zionist
      relations have always been known and documented, there has been less
      documentation of the services that Israel has provided and continues
      to provide to Arab regimes over the decades. It is now recognized
      that Israel's 1967 invasion of Egypt aimed successfully to destroy
      Gamal Abdul-Nasser, the enemy of all US dictatorial allies among the
      Arab regimes, whom the US and before it Britain and France had tried
      to topple since the 1950s but failed. Israel thus rendered a great
      service to Arab monarchies (and a few republics) from "the ocean to
      the Gulf," whose survival was threatened by Nasser and Nasserism.
      Israel's subsequent intervention in Jordan in 1970 to help the
      Jordanian army destroy Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
      guerrillas and its final crushing of that organization in its massive
      invasions of Lebanon in 1978 and 1982 were also important services it
      rendered to these same regimes threatened by the
      PLO's "revolutionary" potential and its sometimes recalcitrant
      positions. Israeli intelligence has also provided over the decades
      crucial information to several Arab regimes enabling them to crush
      their political opposition and strengthen their dictatorial rule.
      Prominent examples among recipients of Israeli intelligence largesse
      include the Moroccan and the Omani dictatorships.

      Israel's services to Arab regimes continue apace. Its 2006 invasion
      of Lebanon, engineered to destroy Hizballah, was cheered by Arab
      regimes and neoliberal Arab intellectuals hostile to Hizballah and
      employed exclusively by Saudi media outlets. Though the massive
      Israeli destruction of southern Lebanon and south Beirut and the
      massacres of more than a thousand Lebanese strengthened Hizballah and
      weakened Israel's military standing, the invasion was much
      appreciated by Israel's Arab allies. Indeed since 2006, Israel's Arab
      regime allies as well as neoliberal Arab intellectuals have been
      openly calling on it to neutralize the so-called Iranian "threat" for
      its own sake and at their behest as well. The US has seen this as an
      opportune moment to fully integrate Israel in the region, so much so
      that it signaled to its Gulf allies to make proposals for a new
      regional alliance that includes Israel in its midst. The Bahraini
      foreign minister suggested a few weeks ago that Israel join the Arab
      League. Many such proposals have already been made in the past few
      months welcoming the colonial settlement to the regional alliance
      against Iran.

      Since 2006, Arab regimes, neoliberal Arab intellectuals, as well as
      the Palestinian Collaborationist Authority (PCA) in Ramallah have
      reached an understanding that only Israel will be able to save them
      from Hizballah and Hamas, both organizations constituting a threat to
      the open alliance Arab regimes have with the US and Israel against
      Iran and all progressive forces in the region. These were not closely
      guarded secret hopes, but strategies that were openly discussed in
      private meetings, which often spilled into the public realm. The
      discussions in the Arab media and the declarations made by Israeli
      officials in the context of the ongoing Israeli massacres of the one
      and a half million Palestinians in Gaza in the last 10 days have left
      little to the imagination. A veritable open alliance now exists
      between the Palestinian Collaborationist Authority, Arab regimes, and
      Israel with the support of neoliberal Arab intellectuals, wherein
      Israel is subcontracted to decimate the Hamas government -- the only
      democratically elected government in the entire Arab world.

      Here let us remember that Hamas was democratically elected in free
      elections and that its elected officials and members of parliament
      were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation and have been languishing in
      Israeli jails for years, and that the Palestinian Collaborationist
      Authority set their offices on fire, staged strikes against them, and
      signaled the PCA bureaucracy not to follow their orders. It was after
      all this failed to dislodge Hamas from power that the US, Israel, and
      the PCA staged a coup to massacre Hamas leaders in Gaza that
      backfired on them. The carnage unleashed by Israel in the last 10
      days is the latest attempt by Israel to ensure that all Arabs and all
      Palestinians are ruled by dictators and never by democratically
      elected officials.

      Many are wondering how the Arab regimes and the PCA can be so brazen
      in their "treachery" of the Palestinians. "Don't they fear being
      overthrown by the people?" is an oft-repeated question. The answer of
      course is a resounding "no." It is true that collaboration with
      Israel by Arab regimes is not new, and that what is new is merely
      their openness about it, but there is a perfectly good reason for
      this. In the 1940s and the 1950s, these regimes could not declare
      openly their alliance with Israel, as there were popular and
      international forces that would have removed them from power had they
      done so. Indeed, some at the time flirted with alliances that
      unofficially included Israel, like the Baghdad Pact, but they paid a
      heavy price for such collaboration. The Cold War, Third World
      revolutionism, Arab nationalism, the Soviet Union, China, Nasser,
      were all factors to be considered. While a few of these factors had
      remained when Egypt's Sadat declared his open alliance with the US
      and Israel in the late 1970s, none of these factors remains today.
      The US, Israel, and their major Arab allies have neutralized these
      forces one by one since 1967, opening the way for this brazen
      alliance between Israel and the Arab dictatorships, all of which are
      in the service of US interests in the region. These Arab regimes rule
      by terror and fear and have at their disposal the best secret police
      and repressive security apparatus that the US can train and equip and
      which oil money and US aid can buy.

      When Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was asked point blank by al-
      Jazeera's anchorman if Israel had an arrangement with Arab regimes to
      commit the Gaza massacres, she refused to answer and finally denied
      such an arrangement existed but could not help but affirm that there
      are those in the Arab world who "think" as Israel does and that Hamas
      is their enemy as it is the enemy of Israel. This is, incidentally,
      the same Tzipi Livni, who only a few weeks ago informed Palestinian
      citizens of Israel that she has slated them for denationalization and
      deportation to the Palestinian Bantustans once Israel and the
      international community grants these West Bank prisons the status of
      an independent Palestinian state enclosed within the apartheid wall.
      After her war on Palestinians in Gaza started last week, Livni
      declared that her war against the Palestinian people is not only
      about security but also about Israel's "values" which non-
      collaborator Palestinians (unlike the PCA) do not share. Livni is of
      course right. Unlike Livni and the Israeli leadership, whose ethnic-
      cleansing ideals and plans are to make Israel a purely Jewish state
      that is Palästinenser-rein, most Palestinians believe that they
      should remain present on their lands even and especially if this
      sullies the purity of a Jewish Israel.

      Livni has also asserted that Israel's values are shared by the "free
      world" and by unfree Arab regimes that are allies of the "free
      world." We can add, that her values are also shared by Saudi-funded
      neoliberal Arab intellectuals and by the leadership of the
      Palestinian Collaborationist Authority ensconced in the Green Zone of
      Ramallah. The civilized values of Israel are not unlike those
      espoused by the US in its ongoing wars against Arabs and Muslims, and
      are very much like European colonial values during the high age of
      colonialism and beyond. Livni and the Israeli leadership speak of
      human rights, democracy, peace, and justice as universal while
      applying them only to Jews and denying them especially to
      Palestinians. This is hardly an Israeli ruse. Let us remember the
      undying words of Frantz Fanon in this regard: "leave this Europe
      where they never tire of talking of man, yet murder men everywhere
      they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in
      all the corners of the globe."

      On the Palestinian front, the term of chief Palestinian collaborator
      and coup leader Mahmoud Abbas ends on 9 January. Israel hopes to
      extend his collaborationist rule as head of the PCA it set up through
      the Oslo agreement in 1993. As Palestinians are murdered and injured
      in the thousands, world powers are cheering on. This is hardly a new
      development. It happens often in the context of other populations
      being murdered by allies of the US and Europe, and it even happened
      during World War II as the Nazi genocide was proceeding. On 19 April
      1943, Britain and the US met in Bermuda, presumably to discuss the
      situation of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. That was also the day when
      the Nazis had launched their war against the remaining Jews in the
      Warsaw Ghetto but were met with unexpected courageous resistance.
      Little came out of the Bermuda Conference and the ongoing war against
      the Warsaw Ghetto proceeded uninterrupted. The Jewish resistance in
      the Warsaw Ghetto executed Jewish collaborators with the Nazis and
      bravely faced up to the Nazi army with what little weapons it had
      before being massacred. Their uprising was always inspirational to
      the Palestinians. In the heyday of the PLO as a symbol of Palestinian
      liberation, the organization would lay flower wreathes at the Warsaw
      Ghetto monument to honor these fallen Jewish heroes.

      Szmul Zygielbojm was the leader of the Jewish socialist party, the
      Bund, in Poland and was part of the resistance against the Nazi
      invasion in 1939. He would later become a hostage held by the Nazis
      but would later be released and made a member of the Jewish council
      or judenrat, the Nazi equivalent of the Israeli-created Palestinian
      Collaborationist Authority, and which was charged with building a
      Jewish ghetto in Warsaw. Zygielbojm opposed the Nazi order and fled
      to Belgium, France, the US, and in 1942 ended up in London where he
      joined the Polish government in exile. On 12 May 1943, after he
      received word that the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto was finally
      crushed and many of its fighters killed, Zygielbojm turned on the gas
      in his London flat and committed suicide in protest against the
      indifference and inaction of the Allies to the plight of the Jews in
      Nazi-occupied Europe. He also felt that he had no right to live after
      his comrades were killed resisting the Nazis. In his suicide letter,
      Zygielbojm insisted that while the Nazis were responsible for the
      murder of the Polish Jews, the Allies, through their inaction, were
      also guilty:
      The latest news that has reached us from Poland makes it clear beyond
      any doubt that the Germans are now murdering the last remnants of the
      Jews in Poland with unbridled cruelty. Behind the walls of the ghetto
      the last act of this tragedy is now being played out.

      The responsibility for the crime of the murder of the whole Jewish
      nationality in Poland rests first of all on those who are carrying it
      out, but indirectly it falls also upon the whole of humanity, on the
      peoples of the Allied nations and on their governments, who up to
      this day have not taken any real steps to halt this crime. By looking
      on passively upon this murder of defenseless millions, tortured
      children, women and men they have become partners to the
      responsibility ...

      I cannot continue to live and to be silent while the remnants of
      Polish Jewry, whose representative I am, are being murdered. My
      comrades in the Warsaw ghetto fell with arms in their hands in the
      last heroic battle. I was not permitted to fall like them, together
      with them, but I belong with them, to their mass grave.

      By my death, I wish to give expression to my most profound protest
      against the inaction in which the world watches and permits the
      destruction of the Jewish people ...
      The Palestinian Collaborationist Authority that runs the judenrat set
      up by Oslo has never even attempted to resist Israeli orders. Not one
      member of the top leadership decided to resign and not serve. Mahmoud
      Abbas, having provided so many dishonorable services to Israel, lacks
      Zygielbojm's integrity and noble principles and would never follow in
      Zygielbojm's footsteps.

      Meanwhile, the Palestinian people will resist the invading Israelis
      with all their might and against astronomical odds. The Palestinian
      people, like Zygielbojm before them, understand very well that Abbas,
      his clique, the Arab regimes, the US and Europe are all culpable in
      their slaughter as much as Israel is. In the case of Zygielbojm, he
      blamed world powers for their indifference and inaction, in the
      Palestinian case, world and regional powers are co-conspirators and
      active partners in crime.

      The crushing of the Gaza Ghetto Uprising and the slaughter of its
      defenseless population will be relatively an easy task for the giant
      Israeli military machine and Israel's sadistic political leadership.
      It is dealing with the aftermath of a strengthened Palestinian
      determination to continue to resist Israel that will prove much more
      difficult for Israel and its Arab allies to deal with. While the
      thousands of dead and injured Palestinians are the main victims of
      this latest Israeli terrorist war, the major political loser in all
      this will be Abbas and his clique of collaborators. The test for
      Palestinian resistance now is to continue to refuse to grant Israel
      the right to conquer populations, to steal their land, to destroy
      their livelihoods, to imprison them in ghettos, and to starve them
      without being resisted.

      The only constant in Palestinian lives for the last century of
      Zionist atrocities has been resistance to the Zionist project of
      erasing them from the face of the earth. While Zionism sought and
      recruited Arab and Palestinian collaborators since its inception in
      the hope of crushing Palestinian resistance, neither Israel nor any
      of its collaborators has been able to stop it. The lesson that
      Zionism has refused to learn, and still refuses to learn, is that the
      Palestinian yearning for freedom from the Zionist yoke cannot be
      extinguished no matter how barbaric Israel's crimes become. The Gaza
      Ghetto Uprising will mark both the latest chapter in Palestinian
      resistance to colonialism and the latest Israeli colonial brutality
      in a region whose peoples will never accept the legitimacy of a
      racist European colonial settlement in their midst.


      Joseph Massad is associate professor of modern Arab politics and
      intellectual history at Columbia University in New York.

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