Monday, December 31, 2007

A War That Will Never End

"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population."
-- A quote attributed to David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978

Most people in this country see Hezbola, Hamas, and other Arab terrorist organizations as the basic cause of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. While their view of these organizations as terrorist is accurate, it is also a self-serving choice by many that defines a deeply entrenched sympathy for Israel. They see Israel as a victim of unjustified Arab and Palestinian aggression. In fact the real root cause of the conflict has been mostly suppressed from American understanding. While Hezbola, Hamas, and other militant groups are chief instigators of the current conflict, no one today has any real interest in asking why these militants are so willing to continue a prolonged and suicidal determination to eliminate Israel as an independent state. No has had the inclination or desire to really understand or recognize the basis for the bitterness and hatred that the entire Muslim population of the Middle East has for Israel.

What most people choose to ignore is that upwards to 900,000 Palestinians lived within the borders of the new Jewish state when it was established. After it was established up to 700,000 Palestinians were either forced to flee or were ejected from homes they had lived in for generations. Most were resettled into what would become massive poverty stricken refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. The intent of the forced displacement was to provide a homeland for Europe's holocaust victims, but the real justification was to return Palestine to its rightful owners, the Hebrews. To achieve this goal, wealthy Jewish organizations in Europe and the United States had begun purchasing land from absentee landlords and corrupt local Arab Sheiks. As the land was purchased it was placed in “reserved” status – that is, land that could never be returned to Arab ownership, land that would be permanently retained as part of the new Israeli homeland. Over 94 per cent of the land was systematically placed in reserve status for the exclusive use of Jewish citizens.

As the new “reserved” land was converted to Jewish occupancy, the indigenous Arabs who had lived on the land for centuries were forced into what would become the huge poverty-stricken refugee camps that exist today. This forced displacement was carried out at the insistence of ultra orthodox Jews, who now claimed that the Palestinians were never entitled to the land they had lived on for centuries. Their goal was the complete repopulation of Palestine with Jews so that the biblical Jewish state could be reestablished without serious resistance. To accomplish this goal, the Israeli government promoted the widespread establishment of Jewish settlements throughout all the Palestinian territories. Even while Israel purports to support an independent Palestinian state, it continues to establish these settlements to this day.

As the Arab protest against land seizures and new settlements escalated, their rebellion was used as a basis for more forced displacements to the refugee camps. Israeli propaganda at home and abroad labeled these displacements as necessary to maintain order and protect Israeli citizens. The displacements were ruthless. Through the vigilante actions of Jewish extremists, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes to make way for Israeli occupation, and the relegation of remaining Palestinian residents to powerless third class occupants of the new Jewish homeland, a bitterness and hatred of Jews were created throughout the entire Arab populations of the Middle East. To the Arabs today, it is a Jihad that will end only when Palestine is returned to the Palestinians.

These events are well documented and have been known for years. Every Israeli leader since the creation of Israel has made no attempt hide their intention to displace enough local Arabs that the majority population will be Jewish. Yet these events have been relegated to a state of non-existence throughout the United States. The political influence of Jewish supporters in the media and the U.S. business and industrial establishment, the massive lobbying of the Israeli government in the U.S. Congress, and the continued out-pouring of money from the Jewish community in the United States and elsewhere have succeeded in stifling all dialogue that supports anything but the justification of Israel’s actions, and ultimately its existence.

The establishment and expansion of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories continues unabated and unapologetic to this day, even while Israel proclaims to the world that it supports an independent Palestinian state. It is a flagrant and arrogant policy that produces only outrage among the Palestinians and surrounding Muslim populations. Yet few people aside from the Palestinians appear to be seriously concerned with Israel’s settlement policy.

If anyone believes that Israel will one day exist in peace and tranquility, they have ignored history. Whenever an indigenous population is unilaterally displaced from a land they have lived on for centuries because of a self-serving religious justification by others, they have created a conflict that will never end. In Israel’s case, the conflict is even more troubling. It is not just Hezbola, Hamas, and the dozens of other militant groups that have carried a deeply ingrained bitterness against Israel. It is the 400 million Arab and non-Arab Muslims surrounding Israel who share a hatred that will only grow as their populations grow. As long as the United States continues to support, finance, and provide military protection to Israel’s goal of occupation and expansion, so will the hatred of the Islamic world extend to America.

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