A Brief History of Palestine and Israel

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While it is certainly true that the Jewish people have relatively deep roots in the land that is today known as Palestine and Israel, this area has been a crossroads since the origins of the human species. In fact the oldest known Homo sapiens fossil outside of Africa was recently found in modern-day Israel, dated at approximately 180,000 years old. Neanderthal bones have also been found in the Levant.

In historical times the Palestine region or parts of it have been controlled by numerous different peoples and regional powers, including the Canaanites, Amorites, Ancient Egyptians, Israelites, Moabites, Ammonites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Muslims. The Levant has been a mixing pot for the people of three continents for thousands of years.

A Zionist movement arose in the late 1800s in Europe as a concept for Jews from around the world to return the land of their historical roots. The origin of the word Zion is uncertain; it is first mentioned in the Old Testament as the name of a Canaanite, not Jewish, fortress, and its usage predates the Jews. A gathering of Zionists in Switzerland in 1897 chose Palestine as the location for their proposed Jewish State, even though the population of Palestine at that time was 96% Muslim and Christian. An exploratory group of Jews visited Palestine at that time and reported that, “The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.” The Zionists understood from the beginning that force would be necessary to remove those people in Palestine for whom it was already a homeland.

Palestine at the time was a province of Ottoman Syria, a region of the Ottoman Empire. Zionists inquired with the Ottoman Turks about the possibilities of creating a Jewish homeland; the Turks responded that immigrants of any group were welcome but that the land was already occupied and a restrictive race- and/or religion-based state was out of the question.

The Zionists turned to the British, who were amenable to the concept for several reasons, one of which was that in 1916 they were in danger of losing WW I. In the battle of Somme initiated in July of that year Britain suffered 57,000 casualties on the first day of fighting, an astounding number of dead young men. The Zionists suggested that they and their Jewish friends in high places could induce the United States to enter into the war on the side of the British. American career Foreign Service Officer Evan M. Wilson, who had served as Minister-Consul General in Jerusalem, described this arrangement in his book Decision on Palestine. He wrote that the Balfour declaration “was given to the Jews largely for the purpose of enlisting Jewish support in the war and of forestalling a similar promise by the Central Powers (Germany and the Ottoman Turks).”

In addition, Britain was still deeply involved in growing opium in its “crown jewel colony” of India to sell to the Chinese (whom the British had conspired to get addicted to the drug almost two centuries before by mixing opium with tobacco) and was dependent upon the revenues thereof, and therefore needed all the protection it could muster for the empire’s access route through the Suez Canal. It perceived a Jewish state in the area to be more friendly to its imperial holdings than the surround Arab Muslims.

A third reason that Britain embraced the idea of Jews displacing Palestinians was that fundamentalist Christians held the belief that the “Second Coming of Christ” would not occur until “the Jews were back in Jerusalem.” In fact Arthur Balfour, a primary author of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which gave British government support to a Jewish State in Palestine, was just such a fundamentalist believer.

Thus Britain supported the creation of a Jewish state on Palestinian land in order to maintain its global empire (a primary cause of WW I), protect its lucrative opium market in China, and to attempt to induce the ‘seconding coming’ of Jesus. The enormous violence and cruelty inflicted on the Palestinians ever since has been perpetuated in the name of the Prince of Peace and the gods of capitalism.

The Third Palestinian Congress in Haifa in 1920 decried the British government’s plans to support the Zionist project, and rejected the declaration as a violation of international law and of the rights of the indigenous population. Wilson sent a commission to Palestine to investigate the situation in person. After spending two months in the area interviewing all sections of the population, the commissioners stated that the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine could be accomplished only with “the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” pointing out that subjecting Palestinians “to steady financial and social pressure to surrender the land, would be a gross violation of the principle of self-determination and of the peoples’ rights.”

The report stated that meetings with Jewish representatives made it clear that “the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine,” It concluded that armed force would be required to accomplish this, and urged the Peace Conference to dismiss the Zionist proposals. The commission recommended that “the project for making Palestine distinctly a Jewish commonwealth should be given up.” The report was in fact suppressed, and when Britain obtained a “mandate” from the League of Nations it included the Balfour Declaration support for a Jewish homeland in existing Palestine.

From this point on Jewish immigration to Palestine increased rapidly. When the newly created United Nations approved a partition plan in 1947, dividing land between Palestinian and Jews, the Jewish population had grown from 4% in 1917 to 30%. But, because the United Nations has always been largely controlled by western powers, the Jews were given 55% of the land. The Zionists accepted this partition plan, while the Arab/ Muslim community did not, as they were losing a considerable portion of what had been their homeland to Western imperial power. In internal discussions in 1938 David Ben-Gurion (first prime minister of Israel) stated that “after we become a strong force….we shall abolish partition and expand into the whole of Palestine.”

The passing of the partition resolution in November 1947 triggered the violence that State Department analysts had predicted and for which Zionists had been preparing. There were at least 33 massacres of Palestinian villages, half of them before a single Arab army joined the conflict. Zionist forces were better equipped and had more men under arms than their opponents, and by the end of Israel’s “War of Independence” over 750,000 Palestinian men, women, and children were ruthlessly expelled and over 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed. The Palestinians call this the Nabka: the Catastrophe. As Israeli historian Tom Segev writes,

“Israel was born of terror, war, and revolution, and its creation required a measure of fanaticism and cruelty.”

One of the better-documented massacres occurred in a small, neutral Palestinian village called Deir Yassin in April 1948 – before any Arab armies had joined the war. Richard Catling, British assistant inspector general for the criminal investigation division, reported on “sexual atrocities” committed by Zionist forces. “Many young school girls were raped and later slaughtered,” he reported. “Old women were also molested.” The Red Cross representative who found the bodies at Deir Yassin arrived in time to see some of the killing in action. He wrote in his diary that Zionist militia members were still entering houses with guns and knives when he arrived. He saw one young Jewish woman carrying a blood-covered dagger and saw another stab an old couple in their doorway. The representative wrote that the scene reminded him of S.S. troops he had seen in Athens.

The Deir Yassin attack was perpetrated by two Zionist militias and coordinated with the main Zionist forces, whose elite unit participated in part of the operation. The heads of the two militias, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, later became Prime Ministers of Israel.

Begin, head of the Irgun militia, sent the following message to his troops about their victory at Deir Yassin: “Accept my congratulations on this splendid act of conquest. Convey my regards to all the commanders and soldiers…..Tell the soldiers: you have made history in Israel with your attack and your conquest. Continue thus until victory. As in Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy. God, God, Thou has chosen us for conquest.”

The Jewish mystical book, the Kabala, teaches that non-Jews are the embodiment of Satan, and that the world was created solely for the sake of Jews. Rabbi Kook, who achieved saintly status among his followers in Israel and the U.S., stated: “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews… is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

Unfortunately for Zionist objectives they have not to date been able to rid Palestine of the Palestinians. Of the approximately 12 million Palestinians in the world today, 3 million live in the West Bank, 2 million live in the Gaza strip, and almost two million live in Israel.

To say that Palestinians are treated as second-class citizens by the Israeli Jews would be considerable understatement. Every aspect of Palestinian life is controlled by the Israelis in a repressive and often violent manner. There are at least 7500 Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, for example, and at least 98 checkpoints, where Palestinians may be stopped for hours or even days. Soldiers regularly raid all Palestinian property; when I was teaching at an Palestinian elementary school in Hebron in February of 2018 it was raided by dozens of soldiers, who fired tear gas into the school yard. There are over 600 Palestinian children under the age of 18 in Israeli prisons, along with approximately 6000 Palestinian adults.

Since 1967 Israel has confiscated 73% of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The Israeli government encourages and subsidizes the construction of Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories. Between 1967 and 1999 Israel established 200 settlements in the territories, including East Jerusalem. These colonial outposts are built on hundreds of square kilometers of land confiscated from Palestinians and require an large military presence around them for defense. Settlement building is illegal under international law; the fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer of civilian populations of the occupying power into occupied territory. A network of large, well-maintained roads connect every Jewish settlement to Israel proper, roads upon which Palestinians may not travel, nor even walk across. All these roads are built on ‘expropriated’ Palestinian land, and carve up the West Bank into isolated segments.

Also since 1967 Israel has demolished over 48,000 homes in Palestine, leaving several hundred thousand Palestinians homeless. Palestinians wishing to build homes on their own land are subject to a lengthy and costly permit application process, and are almost invariably refused. The Israeli military then uses the lack of permits to justify destroying homes. Also since 1967 Israeli has torn out over 800,000 trees in Palestine, most of them olive and other food producing trees. The objective of this on-going cruelty is to drive the Palestinians out of Palestine, in fact Israel has proposed that Jordan would make a fine home for them.

Clearly Israel is something more than an apartheid state, a word coined in South Africa meaning “separateness.” Israel Zionists want exclusiveness—exclusively Jews in Israel and Palestine. This exclusivity is in itself a myth, as it has been proven that genetically there is no such thing as pure genetic race of Jews, and in fact Mediterranean Jews match Palestinian DNA at 100% (and all Homo sapiens have 99.9% the same DNA). From a religious perspective Jews are as divided among themselves as are any religious groups. In the name of this mythology of being a specially anointed people the Israelis in general Zionists in particular have committed on-going crimes and continuing brutality and cruelty against their own brothers and sisters, the Palestinian people.


Originally published on 2018-03-13

Author: Dana Visalli

Source: Global Research

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