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Ethnic Cleansing of Invented People. By Miko Peled
Mostafa Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, Bahjat Zaalan and his son Ramdan from Gaza died on my fiftieth birthday and just a few days after Newt Gingrich declared them an invented people. They were murdered by the Israeli terrorist organization, the IDF, an organization that is supported and funded by the US. One Israeli terrorist shot the invented Tamimi in the head with a tear gas canister, and another Israeli terrorist fired a rocket that murdered the invented Zaalan and his boy Ramadan. Both terrorists were educated and trained by Israel, and armed by the US. The Israeli terrorists are not invented but quite real, and they are safe, protected by the apartheid regime that trained and sent them on their missions, and the Israeli court system will make sure that they are never brought to justice. This is how Israel’s well-oiled ethnic cleansing machine operates.
The Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine is not a thing of the past but an ongoing campaign that is executed by three arms of the State of Israel: The education system, a dedicated bureaucracy and the security forces. The education system is dedicated to indoctrinating and producing soldiers and bureaucrats who will execute and enforce the ethnic cleansing. The bureaucracy is charged with making rules that make life unlivable for Palestinians. Rules that restrict Palestinian access to their lands, and restrict their ability to travel freely to work and school. This same bureaucracy then demands that Palestinians pay for permits to be allowed do these very same basic things that they were denied. The security forces, the most obvious of which is the IDF, are charged with enforcing the restrictions, fighting off the resistance, armed or peaceful, and terrorizing the “invented” people of Palestine.
Since my father was a general and I served as a soldier in the IDF terrorist organization, people often ask me how is it that Israeli children who are raised in a Western style democracy become such monsters once they are in uniform? The detailed answer can be found in my book, The General’s Son due out in February 2012, but the short answer is this: Education – Racism requires a mindset that is fashioned by education. In order to rationalize and justify the ethnic cleansing the Israeli education system portrays Palestinians as culturally inferior, violent and bent on the annihilation of the Jews, and at the same time, void of a true national identity. Palestinian national identity is but a figment of some anti-Semitic imagination.
Israeli children are educated to see the Palestinians as a problem that must be solved and as a threat that must be eliminated. They can go through life, as I did growing up in Jerusalem, without ever meeting a Palestinian child. They know nothing of the life or culture of Palestinians who quite often live only several hundred meters from them.
Palestinians are portrayed as an existential threat through absurd comparisons like that of Yasser Arafat to Hitler, the Palestinians to Nazis, and the Palestinian resistance to Al Qaeda. Since Israeli kids never meet Palestinians what they learn in school, particularly in the school textbooks, is all that they know. In fact it is remarkable that even though they live so close to one another, much if not all of what Israelis know about their Palestinian neighbors comes from high school text books and popular racist stereotypes. Israelis don’t know that Palestinians never had an army, that they do not posses a single tank, a single warship or fighter jet, that they don’t have a single artillery battery and do not in fact pose a military threat at all. According to a new book by Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, not a single photo of a person who is a Palestinian exists in Israeli textbooks and there are millions of Palestinians in and around Israel. Israelis don’t learn about Palestinian doctors and teachers, engineers and writers. They don’t learn Palestinian poetry or prose and they don’t read the works of Palestinian historians.
At a recent lecture I mentioned the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and someone called out: “What ethnic cleansing?” People are unaware of the ethnic cleansing taking place in Palestine because Israel hides it well and the mainstream media doesn’t care enough to ask. In mainstream peace groups and dialogue groups that discuss Palestine/Israel, a basic Israeli condition is not to bring up issues like the ethnic cleansing because Israel doesn’t like to talk about it.
But for the past 64 years ethnic cleansing of Palestine is what drives the Zionist policies towards Palestinians. All Zionist governments and all Zionist political parties left right and center support the ethnic cleansing. The Israeli judicial system lets the Israeli authorities get away with abuse, theft and murder as long as they are perpetuated against Palestinians. Had these same crimes been committed against Israeli Jews they would have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Zionist supporters like to bring up the fact that on November 29, 1947 the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish sate and an Arab state. What is left out of the Zionist story is that within one year of the vote Israeli forces had managed to capture close to 80% of Palestine, destroy close to 500 Palestinian towns and villages, kill scores of unarmed civilians and force the exile of some 800,000 Palestinians.
Then, when the UN passed resolution194 in December of 1948, calling for the refugees to be allowed to return to their homes, Israel proceeded to build cities and towns, parks and highways for the use of Jewish Israelis on Palestinian land. Then the Knesset began passing laws that prohibit the return of the refugees and allow the new state to confiscate their lands.
After the war was over, the Palestinians who remained within the newly created Jewish state were forced to become citizens of a state that despised them and saw them as a “problem” and a “threat.” They were designated as “The Arabs of Israel” a designation that stripped them of a national identity and denied them any rights to the land and provided them very limited rights as citizens. From being the rightful owners of their lands and their country they now existed at the pleasure of the new owner of the land, the state of Israel. Palestinian refugees were forced into concentration camps, conveniently called refugee camps, and those that tried to return were shot. A military unit was created for the purpose of punishing Palestinian refugee who “infiltrated” back into their homeland, now called Israel. It was called Unit 101, the notorious Ariel Sharon led it and it made a name for itself as a murderous gang with a license to kill Palestinians.
So regardless of the myth, now perpetuated by Newt Gingrich among others, that says there was no forced ethnic cleansing, we know today that the creation of Israel was made possible through a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing, conducted by the Jewish militia, involving massacres, terrorism, and the wholesale looting of an entire nation.
Newt Gingrich, being the history buff that he is, might be interested in a story I mention in my book The General’s Son, about my mother. She was born and raised in Jerusalem and she remembers the homes of Palestinians families in neighborhoods in West Jerusalem. She told me that when she was a child, on Saturday afternoons she would go for walks through these neighborhoods, admiring the beauty of the homes, watching families sit together in their beautiful gardens. In 1948 when the Palestinian families were forced out of West Jerusalem, my mother was offered one of those beautiful, spacious homes but she refused. At age 22, the wife of a young army officer with little means and with two small children, she refused a beautiful spacious home, offered to her completely free because she could not bear the thought of living in the home of a family that was forced out and now lives in a refugee camp. “The coffee was still warm on the tables as the soldiers came in and began the looting” she told me. “Can you imagine how much those families, those mothers must miss their homes.” She would ask and she continued, “I remember seeing the truckloads of loot, taken by the Israeli soldiers from these homes. How were they not ashamed of themselves?” there are thousands upon thousands of homes in cities all over the country that were taken.
Moving forward now to 1967 and the myth that Israel was fighting for its existence as it was attacked by Arab armies from all directions. Much was written about this but nothing is more revealing than the minutes of the meetings of the IDF general staff from June 1967, just prior to the war. According to the generals, one of whom was my father, Matti Peled, not only was there no existential threat but the generals clearly state that the Egyptian army needed at least a year and a half before it would be ready for war and therefore this was an opportune time to attack and destroy it. The army pressured the cabinet to authorize an attack and indeed the cabinet approved an attack against Egypt. The IDF destroyed the Egyptian army and then went on to attack Jordan and Syria. It took the IDF six days and 700 casualties to kill an estimated 15,000 Arab forces, take the West Bank, the Golan Heights and The Sinai Peninsula. One may like to think this was a miracle but it was a well-planned, well-executed attack against countries that had no viable military force. The Israeli army had thus fulfilled its goal of conquering the entire Land of Israel, and the De-Arabizing of Palestine could now proceed into the West Bank and Gaza.
Since the early days of the State of Israel the IDF made it its mission to be the most brutal bully in the region. Today the IDF has one purpose: to conduct an all out war against Palestinians by terrorizing Palestinian civilians, kidnapping children from their homes and using brutal force against protesters. We are reminded of the intensity of IDF cruelty every so often, the latest major display being the three-week bloodbath in Gaza that began on December 27, 2008. Hundreds of tons of bombs were dropped by Israeli pilots on Gaza, followed by a massive invasion of land forces. All this for the purpose of terrorizing a defenseless civilian population that includes 800,000 children.
Now that Israel has been in control of the West Bank for over four decades it had built and invested there heavily. But all of the investment and construction in the West Bank was made to bring Jews into the West Bank. Palestinian lands are being taken at an alarming pace, their homes are destroyed and thousands are incarcerated, while industry, roads, malls, schools and gated communities with swimming pools are being built for Jews only. Water, which is the scarcest resource of all, is controlled and distributed by the Israeli water authority, as follows: Per capita, Israelis receive 300 cubic meters of water per year. In comparison, per capita Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza receive 35-85 cubic meters per year, while the World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 100 cubic meter of water per person per year. But what is even worse is that per capita, Israeli settlers in the West Bank are allocated 1500 cubic meters of water per year. Jews in the West Bank live with green lawns and swimming pools while Palestinians quite often get no water at all. Perhaps invented people have no need for water.
De-Arabizing the history of Palestine is another crucial element of the ethnic cleansing. 1500 years of Arab and Muslim rule and culture in Palestine are trivialized, evidence of its existence is being destroyed and all this is done to make the absurd connection between the ancient Hebrew civilization and today’s Israel. The most glaring example of this today is in Silwan, (Wadi Hilwe) a town adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem with some 50,000 residents. Israel is expelling families from Silwan and destroying their homes because it claims that king David built a city there some 3000 years ago. Thousands of families will be made homeless so that Israel can build a park to commemorate a king that may or may not have lived 3000 years ago. Not a shred of historical evidence exists that can prove King David ever lived yet Palestinian men, women, children and the elderly along with their schools and mosques, churches and ancient cemeteries and any evidence of their existence must be destroyed and then denied so that Zionist claims to exclusive rights to the land may be substantiated.
Once we connect the dots it is not hard to see that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is only a small part of the Israeli Palestinian issue. The greater issue is the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the Zionist state. The way forward for Israelis and Palestinians alike is to oppose the ethnic cleansing by opposing all its manifestations. This means supporting the movement to boycott, divest and place sanctions on Israel, or BDS for short, it means actively participating in the popular non-violent struggle in Palestine and it means challenging the racist laws that govern Israel by defying them. There has to be a clear and unequivocal call to recognize that the IDF is a terrorist organization and its officers are war criminals. Furthermore, the reprehensible discrimination against Palestinians, whether they live in Israel/Palestine or not, practiced by the security officials at Ben Gurion airport and other points of entry to Israel/Palestine must be challenged. The struggle for a democracy in our shared homeland is no different than the struggle at Tahrir square and can in fact be seen as part of the Arab Spring.
Miko Peled is the son of an Israeli General and a staunch Zionist who came to realise that his side of the story is not the only side to the story, and who now dares to say in public what others still choose to deny.He is now a peace activist and an author whose book “The General’s Son” is soon to be released.
Recently, the former Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, wrote an article for the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper commenting on the “daily violence” that Israelis must put up with from terrorist actions. Downer habitually omits the daily violence committed by the IDF and Israeli settlers on Palestinian civilians. Downer seems to forget that no Israelis have to deal with Palestinian bulldozers that turn up to destroy Israeli homes. No Palestinian tanks routinely charge up and down Israeli towns and suburbs. No Palestinian check-points exist within Israel (or any where else for that matter) to hold up and harass Israelis on their way to school, work or just home. No walls (built by Palestinians) divide Israeli communities from their homes, lands and places of work and education. No Palestinian settlements (deemed illegal by the overwhelming majority of the international community) exist within greater Israel. Nowhere in Israel can you see Palestinian extremists marching around in broad daylight carrying automatic weapons without a blink from the authorities. Nowhere can you find water wells and olive groves in Israel (owned by Israelis) that have been pulled up and destroyed by Palestinian settlers who are on Israeli land illegally. No Israeli refugee camps exist anywhere. the list could go on and on…
The following article from the Mondoweiss website tell of yet more violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Violence, the type of which is a daily occurrence to Palestinians, not Israelis.
Israeli soldier shoots protester in face at close range with teargas canister
by Alex Kane and Philip Weiss on December 9, 2011
Violence rocked the occupied Palestinian territories today, as a demonstrator in Nabi Saleh was critically injured and Gazans continued to brace Israeli air attacks. Four Gazans were killed in the attacks, including at least one civilian.
Mustafa Tamimi, a 28-year-old resident of the village of Nabi Saleh, was shot in the face by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tear-gas canister after apparently throwing stones at an Israeli army vehicle. News of the injury quickly came in through Twitter:
“He was throwing rocks at the jeep, the door opened and the canister was fired with precision and intent straight in his face.” # nabisaleh
Other Twitter users on the ground in Nabi Saleh claimed that at first, the Israeli army was not allowing them to take Tamimi to the hospital. But their troubles weren’t over when the Israeli army allowed Tamimi to go. A tweet sent from the account of the Active Stills photography collective reported: “One of our photographers and 2 friends of Mostafa Tamimi are detained by Security guards in Beilinson hospital.”
The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) has more on what happened:
Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year old resident of Nabi Saleh, was shot in the face today, during the weekly protest in the village of Nabi Saleh. He sustained a severe injury to his head, under his right eye, and was evacuated to the Belinson hospital in Petah Tikwa. He is currently anesthetized, breathing through tubes, and his condition is described as serious. Tamimi is undergoing treatment in the trauma ward of the hospital, and is expected to undergo surgery later tonight…
The incident took place in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh today, when dozens gathered for the weekly demonstration in the village, protesting the theft of village lands by the adjacent Jewish-only settlement of Nabi Saleh. After the army dispersed the peaceful march, minor clashes erupted followed by a severe response by Israeli forces. Several people were hit with rubber-coated bullets and directly shot tear gas projectiles. Three were evacuated to the Ramallah hospital for further treatment. One protester was arrested.
The demonstrations, which have been held regularly for the past two years have seen hundreds of injuries to protesters by Israeli forces as well as dozens of arrests carried out with the aim of supressing dissent.
The PSCC posted this video of the aftermath of the shooting. Warning to viewers: It is extremely graphic and disturbing.
An IDF spokesperson, Avital Leibovich, tweeted a photo of a slingshot Tamimi was allegedly using to explain the Israeli army’s actions.
Meanwhile, there has been an escalation in violence in the Gaza Strip. This latest flare-up was sparked by an Israeli air strike in Gaza that killed Palestinian fighters who Israel says were involved in attacks on Israel originating from Egypt’s Sinai.
Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that his government was holding intensive talks with regional and international parties to stop Israel’s escalation in attacks on the enclave.
Four Palestinians have been killed since Wednesday and at least 20 injured in a series of airstrikes on Gaza City. The Israeli army expressed regret that civilians were hurt in the attacks, which injured at least seven children.
Speaking after Friday prayers in Gaza City, Haniyeh said Israel’s latest flare up in aggression was preceded by threats of a new military action by Israeli leaders.
About Alex Kane and Philip Weiss
Alex Kane is a staff reporter for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
Supporters of the BDS campaign against the Apartheid Zionist state of Israel are continually told that Israel is the only democracy in the region, and, for that reason alone, all thinking people should support the “plucky little country” rather than take the side of justice for Arabs. The following story, published in the Independent, tells the real story of how Israel sees that not all people are worthy of democracy in the Middle East.
Military whistleblower tells of ‘indiscriminate’ Israeli attacks
Troops fired tear gas during a curfew in a West Bank village to stop peaceful demonstrations
By Donald Macintyre
Palestinian protesters run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops in Nabi Saleh in January 2010
Israeli troops fired tear gas indiscriminately and sometimes dangerously to enforce a daytime curfew inside a West Bank village to stop Palestinians holding a peaceful demonstration on their own land, a military whistleblower has told The Independent.
The soldier’s insight into the methods of troops comes as the Israeli military prepares for demonstrations predicted when the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submits an application for the recognition of statehood to the UN next week.
The testimony also reinforces a report by the human rights agency B’Tselem which argues that the way Israel deals with protests in the small village of Nabi Saleh is denying the “basic right” to demonstrate in the West Bank. The right to demonstrate is enshrined in international conventions ratified by Israel.
The soldier, a reservist NCO with extensive combat experience, was among more than 20 soldiers sent into the village more than two hours before a planned Friday demonstration in July, to try to quash protests before they began. The protests started in December 2009 after Jewish settlers appropriated a spring on privately-owned Nabi Saleh land.
The reservist, who originally testified to the veterans’ organisation Breaking the Silence, told The Independent that they went into a house in the village and took a position on the roof. “The sun was very hot, but we had to keep our helmets on,” he said. “Then some soldiers start getting bored and start shooting tear gas on people. Every guy who is not in his house or in the mosque is a target.”
He said that 150 rounds of tear gas or stun grenades were fired during the day and one soldier boasted that he had fired a tear gas canister which passed within one centimetre of a resident’s head.
Army rules prohibit firing canisters directly at people because they have caused serious injuries in the past. Another soldier travelling with the whistleblower in a military vehicle out of the village was left with an unfired tear gas canister.
“He should have fired it into an open field but we passed a grocery story with some people outside it with children. After we passed it he just turned round and fired it at them.”
The reservist was given a week’s preparation on the use of stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas. He had been impressed by a four to five -hour visit to the trainees by the Binyamin Brigade Commander Sa’ar Tzur who addressed “issues of ethics and human life, not just on our side but on the other side”.
Some soldiers complained about the strictness of prohibitions – not always honoured, according to the leaders of the weekly Nabi Saleh protests – on the use of live ammunition. But Colonel Tzur “was very strict on the fact that these are the rules and that anyone who breaks them will pay for it”.
But the battalion officer, a religious West Bank settler, was “exactly the opposite,” he added. “At the base there was a mission statement signed by the Brigade Commander which said ‘we need to maintain the fabric of life for the civilian population, Israelis and Palestinians.’ The battalion officer crossed out the word ‘Palestinians’ and all the soldiers around started laughing.”
The reservist’s testimony supports B’Tselem’s s main conclusions, including that the military makes “excessive use of crowd control weapons, primarily the firing of tear-gas canisters.”
He said: “It was very difficult for me. I want to be in the army to defend my country. On the other hand I saw that the job I was doing did not have any connection with defending Israel.”
He said that his unit was called to the village square when the battalion officer showed around 40 Palestinians and foreign activists a written order declaring the village a “closed military zone.” The soldiers had earlier heard shouting elsewhere by demonstrators before they were almost immediately dispersed by border police firing tear gas. The reservist said the people in the square “were just standing there. The officer said to the soldiers: ‘Everybody should get out of here. The Palestinians into their homes and the foreigners should get out. Anyone left should be arrested.’ One Palestinian was arrested when a soldier decided that he had ‘looked at him in a way he didn’t like’.”
As well as 35 Palestinian injuries in Nabi Saleh this year, there have been 80 detentions since the protests began, including of 18 minors, and protest leader Bassem Tamimi, currently awaiting military trial based largely on the interrogation of a 14-year-old boy arrested at home at gunpoint at 2am.
The military said it has “clear, detailed, and professional guidelines” for the use of tear gas to disperse “riots”, and that after two years of “dangerous and violent riots” it declared the village a “closed military area” on Fridays to “prevent these riots before they turn into violent ones”.
The military’s tactics have varied. A 13-year-old Palestinian boy was seriously injured by a rubber-coated bullet fired at close range during protracted clashes between armed troops and stone-throwing youths observed last year by The Independent. Those clashes started when troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets on the hitherto peaceful march towards the spring.
The reservist said he had seen no stones thrown on the day he was there. adding: “If they want to stop people throwing stones at the spring, why don’t [the troops] wait at the spring? Why are they coming into the village?” He added: “The headline of the whole Friday, as I see it, if the army won’t be in the village nothing would happen because the demonstration was not violent.”