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All UN member nations, including Israel, are signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention. This convention outlined the treatment of the civilian population of an occupied state by an occupying state. My interpretation is that basically an occupying state must virtually take on the role of a normal government of the occupied state. In other words, if say, my home country, Australia, was occupied by Japan, as was nearly the case in the Second World War, then the Japanese occupying force would have to assume the role of the Australian government in all the areas that the Australian government would normally need to take on. The difference being that while the government is normally elected and tolerated quite well, even by those who didn’t vote for it, an occupying power is considered a hostile entity and has the competing role of maintaining the security of the occupying forces themselves from the occupied population.

The role of the occupying forces is not small, or inexpensive if it wants to maintain an occupation and stay within the limits of International Law. It must, as a minimum requirement, protect the rights of the occupied people just as if they were a normally elected government and try to satisfy the security needs of the occupying force as well. This is indeed a difficult task, but that is just the point. International Law is not there to make an occupation easy. An occupation that satisfies the minimum requirements of International Law would put an immense strain on the resources of the government of the occupying force and it is supposed to. In this way, International Law is trying to deter an occupation from continuing for an extended period of time. Put simply, if you can’t afford to maintain an occupation and satisfy the requirements of International Law, then get out of the country and end the occupation!

Over the last two weeks I have seen how, in numerous instances, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza violates International Law in grievous ways, all over the territories it occupies.

The question is, “How does Israel justify all these obvious violations of International Law?” The answer that Israel offers is that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply in this case because these conventions are meant to be applied between states, and the West Bank and Gaza have never had proper Palestinian governances and hence cannot be considered as a state. That is, Israel is not occupying the West Bank and Gaza in a manner that would invoked the Fourth Geneva Convention. It needs to be said that no country, the US included, accepts this answer. This is clearly a matter of semantics that completely misses the point of the conventions.

But even if the Israeli answer is correct, and it has indeed found a loop hole in International Law, then what can we say about the attitude of the Israeli state? In my mind, if any state is actively looking for a loop hole in International Law that enables it to opt out if its obligations to uphold human dignity and human rights like any reasonable government should, then that government was never terribly interested in the concept of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in the first place.
Regardless of whether or not the Israeli argument on this point is correct, they have lost the moral argument at the very least. The testimony of my own eyes over even the last two weeks has only confirmed this point to me.

CRAIG NIELSEN

DISCLAIMER
I am participating in a program as an Ecumenical Accompanier serving in the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The views contained here are personal to me and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Council of Churches Australia or the World Council of Churches. If you would like to publish the information contained here (including posting on a website), or distribute it further, please first contact the EAPPI Communications Officer (eappi.communications@gmail.com) for permission. Thank you.

Will Christian Zionists stand up and denounce the ideology of a Right wing Christian Supporter of Israel?

Statements by right wing conservative Christians, and right wingers in general, denouncing and distancing themselves from the actions of the man allegedly  responsible for the recent terrorist attack in Norway, are coming thick and fast. Yet none of these groups will denounce or distance themselves from the main thrust of the ideology of this terrorist.

Right wing terrorists are always portrayed as lone lunatics in our media in order to convey the idea that it was nothing in their ideology that made them dangerous. This is done so that no-one in our mainstream media will feel any sense of shame or embarrassment due to them holding a view that is basically the same as those “lunatics”. We are encouraged to believe that only left wing, progressive, anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist, or Islamic ideology creates terrorists. Ring wing terrorism comes from the insanity of the individual, not the insanity of their ideology. Only Islam and socialism can seduce otherwise normal people into becoming terrorists.

With this in mind I decided to post the following article from the Mondoweiss website which appeared on July 24th 2011.

Breivik manifesto outlines virulent right-wing ideology that fuelled Norway massacre

by Alex Kane on July 24, 2011

A detailed manifesto reportedly written by the alleged perpetrator behind the Norway massacre was posted on the web yesterday by an American blogger.  Titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” it sheds significant light on the virulent and extreme right-wing, anti-Islam and anti-immigrant ideology which appears to have fuelled Anders Behring Breivik’s murder of over 90 people on Friday.

As the Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah notes:

Anders Behring Breivik saw himself as a holy warrior and crusader engaged in a war against a “Marxist-Islamist alliance” that he feared would take over Europe if not stopped. He hoped by his actions to inspire “thousands” to follow in his path. He described himself as a “martyr” and “resistance fighter.”

He described members of Norway’s Labour Party as “traitors” because of their alleged support of “multiculturalism and Islamisation.” Behring advocated “terror” attacks on mosques, especially during Muslim religious holidays.

This is according to a 1,500 page manuscript Breivik himself wrote. Norway’s public broadcaster NRK reported on the manuscript and that Breivik had admitted to writing and disseminating it (Google translation of NRK report).

In addition, the manuscript provides a more detailed look at how Breivik’s strong support for extremist Israeli policies fits into his worldview. Professed throughout the manifesto is a motif of unwavering support for Israel–a key component of Breivik and his ilk’s ideology–in addition to support for the mass deportations of Arabs and Muslims from Israel/Palestine. Here are some examples taken from an English translation of the manuscript written by Breivik:

Let’s end the stupid support for the Palestinians that the Eurabians have encouraged, and start supporting our cultural cousin, Israel…(page 338)

I believe Europe should strive for:

A cultural conservative approach where monoculturalism, moral, the nuclear family, a free market, support for Israel and our Christian cousins of the east, law and order and Christendom itself must be central aspects (unlike now). Islam must be re-classified as a political ideology and the Quran and the Hadith banned as the genocidal political tools they are…(page 661)

As part of a “draft” for a so-called “European Declaration of Independence,” Breivik also writes:

A public statement in support of Israel against Muslim aggression should be issued, and the money that has previously been awarded to Palestinians should be allocated partly to Israel’s defence, partly to establish a Global Infidel Defence Fund with the stated goal of disseminating information about Muslim persecution of non-Muslims worldwide

Max Blumenthal succinctly explains here why Israel occupies such a central role in the Islamaphobic far-right’s imagination:

While in many ways Breivik shares core similarities with other right-wing anti-government terrorists, he is the product of a movement that is relatively new, increasingly dangerous, and poorly understood. I described the movement in detail in my “Axis of Islam phobia” piece, noting its simultaneous projection of anti-Semitic themes on Muslim immigrants and the appeal of Israel as a Fort Apache on the front lines of the war on terror, holding the line against the Eastern barbarian hordes. Breivik’s writings embody this seemingly novel fusion, particularly in his obsession with “Cultural Marxism,” an increasingly popular far-right concept that positions the (mostly Jewish) Frankfurt School as the originators of multiculturalism, combined with his call to “influence other cultural conservatives to come to our…pro-Israel line.”

Breivik and other members of Europe’s new extreme right are fixated on the fear of the “demographic Jihad,” or being out-populated by overly fertile Muslim immigrants. They see themselves as Crusader warriors fighting a racial/religious holy war to preserve Western Civilization. Thus they turn for inspiration to Israel, the only ethnocracy in the world, a country that substantially bases its policies towards the Palestinians on what its leaders call “demographic considerations.” This is why Israeli flags invariably fly above black-masked English Defense League mobs, and why Geert Wilders, the most prominent Islamaphobic politician in the world, routinely travels to Israel to demand the forced transfer of Palestinians.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency also picks up the story in an article today, “Norway killer espoused new right-wing, pro-Israel philosophy”:

The confessed perpetrator in the terror attack in Norway espoused a new right-wing philosophy allied with Israel against Islam – a trend in European populist and far-right movements that has Israel worried…

European right-populist parties increasingly have been waving the flag of friendship with Israel. Last month, after it emerged that German-Swedish far-right politician Patrick Brinkmann had met in Berlin with Israeli Likud lawmaker Ayoub Kara, deputy minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding that Kara be prevented from making further trips abroad.

According to Ynet, Lieberman accused Kara of meeting with neo-Nazis and causing damage to Israel’s image. Brinkman said he had reached out to Israeli rightists hoping to build a coalition against Islam

There are supporters of Israel who refuse to acknowledge the central role right-wing Zionism plays in the current attempt to gin up anti-Muslim sentiment. But the actions and words of Breivik, and those from whom he drew inspiration, make clear that it is imperative to acknowledge, understand and combat what Blumenthal aptly calls the “axis of Islamophobia.”

Alex Kane, a freelance journalist currently based in Amman, Jordan, blogs on Israel/Palestine at alexbkane.wordpress.com, where this post originally appeared. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

Only the crimes of Arabs and Muslims count in the Middle East.

When talking to Orthodox Jewish people who reject Zionism, I am always struck by the way they stress the importance of Jews taking responsibility for their own actions regardless of whether or not others are doing the same thing and “getting away with it”. Because of the particular God given mandate that they believe they have as a chosen people, they always look to their own behaviour first (and with extreme vigor I might add) with regards to the cause of any difficulty they might be facing with others in the world. For these Jews, their status as a chosen people of God only enhances their responsibility to humanity and God, rather than that status giving them privileges to do what ever they like since others in the world are “far worse than us”. Whatever privileges they have as God’s people, particularly with reference to the land of Canaan, come only when they are fully prepared to take on the “yoke” of the responsibilities that God has given them. Rabbi Moshe Sober, a former Zionist, talks of the attitude held (incorrectly) by many religious supporters of Israel:

“The notion that we can do whatever we please, to any kind of temptation, or engage in any form of foolish self-aggrandizement without fear of penalty because we have an inside track to the Almighty is the plain opposite of religious faith. It is in fact an affront to the Divine, whose authority to determine the course of history we are usurping. The traditional penalty for this sin is to be sent to face a hostile world with no lucky breaks, no Divine assistance whatsoever, until we learn that only those who are performing God’s will can count on His assistance. Such blind faith is not really a faith in God at all, but rather faith in ourselves. It makes a tool out of the Almighty. It turns Him into a kind of “secret weapon” whose purpose is to guarantee our success at whatever we fancy. It is an idolatrous concept that masks what is actually an irrational belief in our own invincibility” (Sober, 1990, p. 30, 31).

The attitude of the anti-Zionist Jews could not be in greater contrast to the mentality of most Zionists, be they Christian or otherwise, with regards to the behaviour of the Zionist State of Israel. At a recent BDS protest in Adelaide, South Australia, a banner stating, “STOP AUSTRALIA’S SUPPORT OF ISRAELI WAR CRIMES”, drew a near hysterical response from a Christian Zionist passing by. “What about the crimes of the Arab countries! Why don’t you protest against them!” Although I informed the man that we had all been involved in a number of protests in the past few weeks condemning the atrocities of the various dictatorships (virtually all of which have been backed by Israel’s greatest ally, the U.S.) in the Arab part of the world, his anger could not be cooled. It has been my consistent experience that even when we are able to show Christian Zionists that Israel has been involved in war crimes and human rights violations, they cast all these accusations aside by merely stating that all the Arab states are terrorist states that want to destroy Israel.

An enormous amount of facts are left out in the Christian Zionist explanation of why the Arab nations take issue with Israel and what the real attitude of the Arab dictatorships are toward the Zionist state. I will list a few that need mentioning here.

1. The undisputed fact that Arabs and Jews have peacefully co-existed in the Holy land for centuries prior to the Zionist colonization of Palestine.
2. Prior to the Zionist period in Jewish history, Muslims did not read in their copies of the Koran that they must “kill Jews”.
3. Anti-Semitism was never are part of popular or elite culture in the Arab world as it has been in Europe (the “home” of both anti-Semitism and Zionism).
4. The Arab grievance against Israel can be summed up by the words of Khaled Meshaal, the chief of Hamas’s political bureau, who stated in an editorial in The Guardian in January 2006,
“Our message to the Israelis is this: We do not fight you because you belong to a certain faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace and harmony; they are in our religion “the people of the book” who have a covenant from God and his messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), to be respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us — our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.”
Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jan/31/comment.israelandthepalestinians. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
5. In 1993, Yasser Arafat wrote a letter to the Israeli Government stating that Israel has a right to exist with safe and secure borders. No reciprocal statement was made by the Israelis.
6. In 2002 the Arab Peace Initiative, first proposed by Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was proposed as a solution to Arab-Israeli conflict in general and the Israel-Palestine issue in particular. At the Beirut Summit on March 28th 2002, the initiative was published and was agreed upon again at the Riyadh Summit in 2007. The initiative gained the unanimous consent of all members of the Arab League including both the Hamas and Fatah factions of the Palestinian resistance. Unlike the other proposals in the peace process, the initiative spelled out final status borders based explicitly on the U.N. borders established before the 1967 Six Day War. It offered full normalization of relations with Israel, in exchange for the withdrawal of its forces from all the Occupied Territories, including the Golan Heights, to recognise an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as a just solution for the Palestinian refugees. The initiative called for no more than what the U.N. had mandated and predictably the Israelis rejected it outright.
7. Zionist thinkers had been stating, as far back as 1897. that Zionist intent was to rid the land of Palestine of Arabs.
8. In 1948, in order to create a Zionist state of Israel that had a majority of Jews, 800,000 Palestinian Arabs were either murdered or forcibly removed from their homes by Zionist terror gangs and militias. 300,000 Arabs were ethnically cleansed before even one non Palestinian Arab soldier entered Palestine.
9 Arab dictatorships in the Middle East are nearly all backed by the West and wish to have normalised relations with Israel because of the economic benefits that would bring to their countries. Israel has never wanted true democracy in the Middle East (neither has the U.S.) as any democratic state in the Arab world that truly represented the common person in the street would undoubtedly be far more anti-Israel than the U.S. controlled dictators that now exist. This is because most Arabs know what we choose to forget,i.e., that the west has exploited the Arab nations for decades.
10. Zionist settlers in the West Bank routinely call for the extermination of all Palestinian men, women and children.

The list could go on. The root cause of the Israel-Palestine conflict is not to be found in some imagined conflict between Islam and Judaism or some type of subliminal hatred of Jews by Arabs that has been fermenting for generations. The Palestinians have a genuine grievance against the Zionist State of Israel that has not only not been addressed, but has been exacerbated by Israel’s continued violation of International standards of Human rights. This continued violation has been aided and abetted by the U.S. If Israel finds itself surrounded by Arab enemies, it is largely due to the fact that it has created and continually provoked those enemies to a point where they have no trust of Zionist intentions in the Holy Land to say the least. Our complicity in the denial of the legitimacy of the historic grievance of the Palestinian people, done in the name of the War Against Terror or any other emotionally potent oversimplification, will only make peace and justice even harder to achieve.

If Israel chooses to hide behind the sins of Hamas, (claiming that all resistance to the state of Israel is just another manifestation of anti_Semitism), it will one day find itself alone and without justification before the international community. The crimes of Hamas or any other Arab or Islamic group do not acquit the Zionists of their crimes against a people of whom Albert Einstein referred to as “no greater friends of the Jews”. Zionism has created only more enemies for Jewish people by ignoring the ethical and religious traditions of the God who called them into existence. God have mercy upon them.

References
Sober, M. (1990). Beyond the Jewish State: Confessions of a Former
Zionist. Summerhill Press, Toronto.

Craig Nielsen
ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Why I believe the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine in 1948 was a reality.

During the course of conversations with numerous supporters of the Zionist State of Israel, I have come across the assertion that no ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people ever occurred in 1947-48. Those Palestinians that left their homes in Palestine to become refugees did so voluntarily. This voluntary evacuation occurred as the Palestinian people left their homelands in order to make way for the surrounding Arab armies entering Palestine to destroy the newly formed State of Israel, probably in the hope that they could return once the Zionists had been overcome. I believe this “voluntary flight” narrative to be a colonialist myth, used to justify the continued dispossession of Palestinian Arabs from historic Palestine.

Whenever I hear these “well informed” supporters of Zionism I can’t help but feel that I am looking into a mirror, seeing my own previously held to ideas about the justification of British colonialism in Australia being reflected, in many ways, in the beliefs of these enthusiastic apologists for Israel.

Growing up in Australia in the 60’s and 70’s I learnt nothing in school of the massacres of Aboriginal people by white settlers. I heard nothing of the decimation of entire communities of Aboriginal people by diseases that were brought to this country by Europeans. Land theft and dispossession of Australia’s indigenous peoples was off the menu when it came to the education of non-Aboriginal Australians about the creation and settlement of Australia. The history that I had been educated in had been written by the winners of the battle to transform the ancient continent of Australia into a British colony. Not surprisingly, the winners failed to mention the crimes that were committed against the indigenous peoples and did everything to magnify the heroic deeds of the early settlers. It was only their hardships and sacrifices that were worth telling in the story of the creation of the nation of Australia. I grew up on a diet of the jolly and brave deeds of Captain Cook, Burke and Wills, Matt Flinders, John McDowell Stuart and Charles Sturt when it came to Australian history.

It was not until a safe distance in time had elapsed before a few brave historians could finally tell of the crimes committed against the Aborigines. The stories uncovered by those historians and researchers could have been accessed by ordinary Australians many years before. The eye witness testimony of Aboriginals themselves had given ample testimony to the events of the past but their voice was conveniently marginalised and their opinions not esteemed.

Even when injustices were finally revealed, white Australians would counter with various arguments to justify the concept of European entitlement to the land of Australia. What had Aboriginals done with the land? What had they achieved compared to the development of the country by European settlers? And of course, we came with the Bible and God’s salvation. But European entitlement to the land had always been built on far more racist and pitiless concepts of entitlement than those just mentioned. British colonialism started, in the main part, with the forced transportation of large numbers of those who were unwanted in their land of birth. They had been disowned by their native countries. They were very much a people with no land. These wretched souls were being delivered to a land that would be declared Terra Nullius; a land uninhabited that could be taken by mere occupation. Those first members of this new country were a people with no land for a land with no people. How inconvenient it would have been for the British government to acknowledge the sovereignty of the indigenous Australians before bringing the people they felt unfit for their own society to the shores of the Aboriginal homeland? Perhaps the Aboriginal people may have had a very uncompassionate immigration policy towards these boat people if they knew how many of them were in fact convicted criminals.
Just as I had naively accepted the colonialist’s version of the events surrounding the founding of my country, so these young Zionists had gulped down the version of the story of the creation of Israel as told by the victorious Zionists. That is simply the nature of the legacy that colonialism gives to later generations. They get to tell their version of events and all competing versions are silenced.

In the case of the founding of modern Israel, the need to silence the version of events as told by the Palestinians is many times more important than in the case of the origins of my country. This is because Zionist colonialism has occurred in an age where colonialism is frowned upon by international law and global communications make it extremely difficult for crimes against humanity to go undetected.

When looking at the issue of ethnic cleansing, we need to consider a number of lines of evidence in order to make up our minds as to whose version of the truth is more accurate.

In order to see if the Zionists did in fact commit ethnic cleansing, we need to ask whether or not they had motive, means and opportunity to carry out this crime against humanity. We need to see if there is corroborating documentary evidence of such actions as well as investigate eye witness testimony of those involved in the events.

In so far as motive is concerned, we first note that right from the beginning, as soon as the Zionists decided that Palestine was the place for the intended Jewish State, they had no intention of sharing the land with the indigenous Arabs. In 1897, a pamphlet by Nahman Sykrin, founder of socialist Zionism, said that Palestine “must be evacuated for the Jews.” While some moderate Zionists like Albert Einstein, a passionate believer in equal rights for Arab and Jew, wanted a Jewish homeland, the version of Zionism that dominated was one that sought to create a specifically Zionist Jewish state. In 1905, Israel Zangwill said that Jews must drive out the Arabs or “grapple with the problem of a large alien population…” In 1919, the World Zionist Organisation presented a map to the Paris Peace Conference showing the land they desired for the Zionist homeland. No room was made for any Palestinian state to co-exist with this Zionist state. Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, was to say in 1938 to the Jewish Agency Executive, “I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it.”

By 1900, Palestine was populated by nearly 500,000 Arabs and some 20,000 to 30,000 Jews. At this time, before the real onslaught of Zionist colonialism, Jews and Arabs lived for the most part in peace and mutual respect in Palestine, as they had done for some 13 centuries in the Arab world. Albert Einstein initially supported the Zionist movement but after seeing the aggressive nature of the Zionists, proceeded to distance himself from the colonialists. Einstein stated, after an outburst of violence against Zionists in Palestine:

“There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people. Despite the great wrong that has been done to us, we must strive for a just and lasting compromise with the Arab people. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.”

The Zionists had no intention of asking the permission of the majority population of Arabs to build a specifically Jewish state in the land of Palestine and the European powers had no intention either.
In 1919 Lord Balfour, of the Balfour Declaration, wrote to Lord Curzon, showing British attitudes towards Arabs:

“For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…the Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires or prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land… “

In pre-Zionist Palestine, not only did Jews and Arabs live together without the violence of today, but the Jews indigenous to Palestine resisted the Zionists even before the Arabs did. This resistance was true of the vast majority of Jews, particularly the Orthodox religious Jews. The creation of the Israeli State was condemned by many of the religious Jewish authorities.

When the United Nations mandated the Partition Plan of 1947, there were a large number of Arabs within the borders of the proposed Israeli State challenging the Jewish majority. It was no secret to anyone that the Palestinians did not want the land of Palestine partitioned. Every Zionist new this. The Arabs of Palestine had declared their fear of dispossession due to the creation of a Zionist State to the King-Crane Commission of 1919. They no more wanted an exclusively (European) Zionist State created in their homeland any more than the states of Europe would have wanted an Arab state created in theirs.

The Zionist have always craved three concepts for their Jewish homeland; Zionism, democracy and greater Israel. Today’s Zionists loudly proclaim that the State of Israel will never annex the West Bank and Gaza to create a one state (non-Zionist) solution. This is because in doing so they will bring some 4 million more Arabs into the State of Israel proper. Add returning refugees to this situation would ensure a majority population of Arabs in Israel once more. Zionists believe that an Arab government in Israel will bring the end of Zionism and the end of democracy in Israel. They simply won’t allow it. If Israel had given Arabs equal rights with Jews in the State of Israel in 1947 when the partition plan was first drafted, and held democratic elections, they would have run a grave risk of Arabs gaining power and hence the Zionist State would have been annulled. Something had to happen. As David Ben Gurion wrote in his memoirs, “The Arabs will have to go”.

Two years after the State of Israel was declared and some 800,000 Palestinians had been dispossessed, the new Zionist homeland could boast a Jewish majority with immigration laws enacted that ensured that only Jews could come into the new state and Arabs would be barred from returning or migrating to Israel from wherever they lived in the world. Israel could now guarantee that any Arab population in Israel would be a minority and no threat at the ballot box. Zionism would be safe and the State of Israel could claim that it was fully democratic; allowing Arabs to vote and even be members of the Knesset. The goal of greater Israel would have to wait. Zionist historians like Benny Morris claim that the Palestinian refugee problem that grew out of 1948 was born of war not design despite a multitude of evidence to the contrary.

Israel is a Zionist State. Zionism as an ideology is the only option for any person wishing to enter politics or any political party in Israel. They do not vote on the issue of Zionism. It is an absolute.

The wishes of Palestinian Arabs (the majority population in Palestine) regarding the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 were not given consideration and they were completely unrepresented in the decision making process. Not one member of the United Nation Special Council on Palestine was an Arab. Virtually every person that signed the declaration of the creation of the state of Israel was not even born in Palestine.

So far as motive is concerned, we can clearly see that the Zionists had every reason to commit ethnic cleansing in Palestine. The actions of Zionists like Menachim Begin and others show they had no problem executing the violence required to carry out such a task. Without the removal of Arabs from the State of Israel in 1947-48, the Zionist State would have collapsed before it had a chance to become strong.

In 1947, Golda Meir travelled to the U.S. to drum up funding for armaments for the conflict they knew would occur when the British Mandate period ended. She came back to Palestine with $50 million (U.S). Jewish military strategist, Martin Van Creveld, claims that the Zionists were able to finally muster some 90,000 troops by 1948. These troops out numbered the Arab forces that came up against them and were better trained and equipped. The Zionists definitely had the military capability to carry out ethnic cleansing.

In the 20’s and 30’s violent clashes between Arabs, Jews and the British had been frequent. As time went on and the end of the British Mandate period came in to sight, tensions rose even higher. Neither the British nor the U.N. stayed in Palestine to enforce the Partition Plan of 1947. Rather it was left to the Arabs and Zionists to thrash out the issue. Violence by Zionist militias and retaliation by Arabs started well before the mandate period ended. The circumstances certainly created the opportunity for the violence of ethnic cleansing.

Documentary evidence from Military archives has been evaluated by Israeli historians like Ilan Pappe. Detail of this evidence is discussed in detail in his book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” Pappe is in no doubt that the Zionists were guilty of ethnic cleansing in 1948 and that it was no ad hoc affair but a carefully devised plan to rid the State of Israel of this dangerous Arab population.

Finally, the eyewitness testimony of hundreds, even thousands of Palestinian Arabs has clearly corroborated the evidence compiled by Pappe and others. I personally have spoken to a number Palestinians who have related their personal stories of being forcibly removed from their homes at gun point by Israeli military forces. Most Zionists simply disregard the eyewitness accounts of the Arab victims of this crime against humanity, only adding to the frustration and sense of injustice felt by Palestinians. The Zionist rejection of this testimony is reminiscent of the attitude of whites in the slave states of the U.S. who considered all black men to be basically liars.

Denial of the ethnic cleansing of 1948 by Zionists is totally understandable in human terms. How can we expect young Israelis and supporters of Zionism to admit that their country was born of injustice, land theft and murder? Anyone who has ever been in denial knows how painful it is to come out of denial. Coming out of denial is like coming out of a religious cult. A young Zionist once told me that Israel is a lovely country. I am sure it is. Israel can boast wonderful achievements for its people and is a world leader in many areas of modern life. Adelaide, where I live, despite what many Adelaidians think, is a lovely place as well and most people who live in Adelaide are wonderful people. This in no way denies the reality of the massacres and dispossession that occurred in our history.

But denial costs those who have been the victims of the shameful acts that are being held in denial. Israel can never grow as a country until it confronts its ugly past and seeks reconciliation with the Arabs that share the land of Israel-Palestine.

I believe the evidence of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionists forces in 1948 is every bit as compelling as the evidence of the Holocaust. The notion that Palestinians fortuitously vacated the newly formed state of Israel, thereby saving the Israelis from having to commit the crime of ethnic cleansing in order to create a Jewish majority in the Zionist State, is clearly ridiculous. Seeing how doggedly the Palestinians cling to their homeland in the face of misery and oppression hardly lends credibility to the idea that they would have ever left their homes initially unless extreme force or at the very least the real threat of extreme force was employed.

The idea that Arab leaders asked the Palestinians to leave their homelands in 1948 to make way for the ensuing attack on the Zionist State lacks any documentary evidence and runs counter to common sense. Arab armies would have much preferred that local Palestinians in Palestine would have stayed put to provide much needed intelligence, supplies and general assistance to the invading Arab forces. This is common practice in war. During the allied landing at Normandy in World War II the allied forces did not ask the French civilians to vacate their homes to make way for the ensuing battle with the Nazis. The assistance that French civilians gave the invading allied troops was greatly needed and appreciated.

Do Zionists really wish us to accept the idea that Palestinians voluntarily gave up their homes to the Zionists and then once they realised they were not going to be allowed back, have invented the idea that they were forced out in the first place? If this scenario is true then how lucky could the Zionists have been to have had such a foolish adversary as they had in the Palestinians? And how unlucky for Israel that such actions would also look indistinguishable from that of ethnic cleansing to all those anti-Semites who are just waiting for an excuse to twist the evidence for the purpose of the de-legitimisation and ultimate destruction of Israel?

I find the whole voluntary flight scenario to be quite unbelievable and contrary to the massive evidence compiled by those brave enough to challenge the myths of Zionism and put up with the inevitable onslaught of accusations of being an ant-Semite or a self hating Jew.

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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