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Khaled Amayreh: Cheerleading Genocide

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    Israel celebrating the 60th anniversary of its birth; six decades of destruction for the Palestinians, writes Khaled Amayreh Cheerleading genocide Khaled
    Message 1 of 1 , May 13, 2008
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      Israel celebrating the 60th anniversary of its birth; six decades of
      destruction for the Palestinians, writes Khaled Amayreh

      Cheerleading genocide
      Khaled Amayreh
      Al-Ahram Weekly

      With spectacular fanfare and a plethora of highlighted events, Israel
      celebrated its 60th birthday on 18 May 2008.

      According to an Israeli government website called Israelfestival.com,
      the festival included "non-stop entertainment, [a] fashion show, a
      variety of ethnic food for sale, Israeli folk dancing, arts and
      crafts, Israeli and Jewish cultural and heritage pavilions and art

      The centrepiece ceremony takes place in West Jerusalem and be attended
      by Israel's political and military leaders as well as foreign
      dignitaries. Among those expected are US President George W Bush,
      French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

      Israeli media and non-governmental organisations have already begun
      celebrations in earnest. For example, Israeli television has begun
      airing a new series called Shishim (meaning "60"), which looks back at
      the six decades since Israel was created in May 1948. The series,
      which began 31 March, is divided into six episodes, each devoted to
      one of the decades following the founding of the state.

      Israel hopes that the high-pitched celebrations will serve as an
      opportunity to promote Israel and enhance its questionable standing
      abroad. "It is an opportunity to celebrate our achievements, our
      successes, our national being," boasted Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi
      Livni, who was not yet born in 1948.

      From the Zionist viewpoint, Israel is a story of success. Today,
      Israel is a political and military force to be reckoned with, even if
      its power is based on the patronage of foreign entities. A country of
      no more than seven million people, including nearly 1.5 million
      non-Jews (mainly Palestinians), Israel more or less directs the
      politics and policies of world's only superpower, the United States,
      thanks mainly to powerful Jewish lobbies in Washington.

      The power of the Jewish lobby largely explains how massive American
      financial and military support is to Israel, which is measured in
      hundreds of billions of dollars. Were it not for this nearly unlimited
      financial, economic, technological, political and military backing,
      Israel would never have been able to survive, especially given its
      predator tactics.

      Israel, which has been mounting a vitriolic incitement campaign
      against Iran for its acquisition of nuclear technology, is a nuclear
      power on par with other established nuclear powers, and its military
      supremacy -- at least until summer of 2006 -- has covered the vast
      bulk of the Middle East from Turkey to Iran and from North Africa to
      east and central Africa.

      Economically, Israel is also a regional economic superpower, with a
      GNP bordering on $0.5 trillion. In fact, Israel is among a few
      pioneering states in the field of electronics and the development of
      new generations of medicine, with Israeli pharmaceutical firms' share
      of the world market reaching billions of dollars.

      Notwithstanding all its success and achievements, Israel remains a
      state based on racism, apartheid and criminality against the
      Palestinian people whose homeland it seized and whom it is trying to
      obliterate to this day. To be sure, Israel has failed. Palestinians
      remain, both as a human entity and as a national entity.

      Israel, in order to achieve its goals, always sought to acquire, by
      hook or by crook, as much Palestinian land as possible while taking in
      as few Palestinian people as possible. The policies and tactics
      employed by Israel to achieve this goal are both blunt and insidious
      and amount to ethnic cleansing and the international crime of
      genocide. Israel has institutionalised racism, bulldozed hundreds of
      Palestinian towns and villages, shamelessly confiscated Palestinian
      land and property, including private homes, and recently built the
      so-called "Separation Wall" in the West Bank, aimed first and foremost
      at annexing to Israel as much Palestinian land as possible.

      On top of all of this, Israel has perfected the practice of
      state-sponsored mass terror; a deliberate policy aimed at making
      Palestinian life as unbearable as possible with the ultimate goal of
      forcing Palestinians to leave their homes and land altogether. This is
      done in broad daylight; in full view of key world powers, such as the
      US, EU, Russia and China, which either keep silent or issue a few
      terse and innocuous words about the need to stick to a peace process
      that has form but very little substance.

      Today, as Israel is getting ready to celebrate its 60th birthday, the
      massive theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank, especially in East
      Jerusalem and its surroundings, continues unabated. Against all odds,
      the Palestinian people have survived. Indeed, Palestinian resilience
      to Israeli oppression is legendary -- a trait that continues to baffle
      and frustrate Israeli strategists. Perhaps it is this resilience that
      is encouraging influential Israeli political, military and religious
      leaders to openly call for genocide of the Palestinians.

      Recently, Israel's Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai threatened to
      "inflict a greater holocaust" on Palestinians. Similarly, a growing
      number of rabbis associated with the two largest religious camps in
      Israel, the Haredi ultra-Orthodox religious sector and the national
      Zionist religious sector, issuing one edict after the other,
      permitting soldiers to murder at will Palestinian civilians, including
      children, on the grounds that in war all among the enemy population
      ought to be treated as combatants, including children.

      One might imagine that this is exaggerated, but it is not. Recently
      Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, director of the Tsomet Institute, a religious
      seminary attended by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, declared: "All
      of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants, and even
      their beasts." And the chief rabbi of the City of Safad, Shmuel
      Eliyahu, urged the state and the army recently to hang the children of
      a Palestinian fighter who last month attacked the Merkaz Haarav
      Centre, run for Jewish settlers in West Jerusalem, killing eight
      pre-military Talmudic students in retaliation for the killing by the
      Israeli army of more than 130 Palestinians, most of them innocent
      civilians, in the Gaza Strip.

      The mushrooming of fascist impulses is not confined to the religious
      sector. In March, the Israeli media quoted Knesset members and former
      cabinet ministers as threatening to extend discriminatory laws against
      non-Jews in ways reminiscent of Nuremberg Laws passed in Nazi Germany.
      One Israeli Knesset member reportedly told his Arab colleague: "the
      day will come when we will kick you out of this house."

      Such instances raise no eyebrows in a country where some rabbis, like
      David Batsri, openly teach that non-Jews are animals and donkeys. A
      recent opinion survey published this week showed that as many as 75
      per cent of Israeli Jews support ethnic cleansing of Arabs from
      mandate Palestine -- Israel proper and the occupied Palestinian
      territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
      Understandably, the poll drew angry reactions from the Israeli Arab
      community. Jamal Zahalqa, an Israeli Arab Knesset member, suggested
      that Arabs are being treated in ways similar to the way Jews were
      treated in the Third Reich ahead of World War II.

      "The hateful smell of racism and fascism is wafting everywhere in this
      country. You must know that we didn't come to Israel from abroad... On
      the contrary; it was Israel that invaded us. We are the indigenous
      people of the land, and we receive our legitimacy from our belonging
      to this land, not from having Israeli citizenship," he said.

      Zahalqa described the poll as "additional evidence underscoring the
      growing rampancy of racism and fascism in Israel as a result of the
      ongoing waves of hate against everything and anything Arab."

      The fears of Zahalqa and other Israeli Arabs are real. Recently,
      hundreds of Arab residents from Jaffa, Lod and Ramleh took to the
      streets to protest against the planned eviction by the state of
      thousands of Arab residents from Jaffa. Authorities had issued
      warrants for the evacuation and destruction of hundreds of homes,
      claiming infringements on building regulations. The state also claimed
      that, "the families [had] lost the right to continue living in their
      homes, since these homes belonged to their parents ... "

      "We are here and we won't leave. We will either live on this land or
      die on this land. We will not let you touch our lands or our holy
      places," said Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Arab movement in
      Israel. "All your rulings belong in the trashcan. We are not afraid of
      you. We will continue to live in our homeland," he added.

      Last year, Richard Falk, a renowned American Jewish professor of
      international law and practice, wrote an article entitled "Slouching
      toward a Palestinian holocaust," in which he warned that Israel was
      moving towards the perpetration of a holocaust against the
      Palestinians. "Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the
      treatment of Palestinians with this criminalised Nazi record of
      collective atrocity? I think not," said Falk.

      Justifying the Israel-equals-Nazi analogy, Falk argued that
      developments in Gaza (the blockade against its estimated 1.5 million
      inhabitants), were especially disturbing because they expressed
      vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its backers
      to subject an entire human community to life- endangering conditions
      of maximal cruelty. "The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a
      holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the
      governments of the world and to international public opinion to act
      urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from
      culminating into a collective tragedy," Falk wrote.

      In sum, from the standpoint of fascism, Israel has much to celebrate
      in terms of political and military achievements. But in terms of
      justice, morality and humanity, one struggles to name a country on
      earth that so openly practices oppression and racism. As such Israel,
      on its 60th birthday, remains what it was when born six decades ago: a
      state built on blood, murder, theft and lies.

      Is Israel about to change its ways? Don't hold your breath, Israeli
      leaders might say. Unless, that is, you're Palestinian.

      in Ramallah



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