Thursday, May 08, 2008

Happy 60th B'day Israel

Israel has just turned 60. Festivities have broken out. Night creatures are out, sipping Maccabee beer and cheering, blaring horns and waving the Star of David. Every country in Europe is dialing Tel-Aviv for congratulatory messages. ‘Oh, how glad we feel, you made it, Olmert?’ The situation is the same in case of Israel’s master-state US: Newspapers are going the whole hog: ‘Fantastic Israel’. ‘Historical feat’. Indeed. That Texan dim-wit Bush junior is expected to join the soiree over the weekend.

After all Israel did manage to survive. In the end the Jewry got their promised homeland. Eventually the Zionist dream of self determination -- of the Jews -- seems to have come to some fruition. In between the state of Israel fought six major and countless minor wars and lived to rejoice. It is a world leader in space technology and arms manufacturing. Israel – almost miraculously -- revived the dying Hebrew language and prouds to call itself a modern day democracy.

Alas the celebrations for the 60th birthday of the miracle state had to be held in tight security. Thugs, they say, do not sleep well; usually they're afraid of retribution. This is exactly how Israel feels. It is a strong country, aided by a clandestine nuke program and backed by the west 100%. Israel won wars against its Arab neighbors and has been largely successful in putting down the Palestinian voice.

Yet 60 years after it was founded, it continues to have an appalling human rights record -- in many cases the worst in history -- and is at best known as an aggressor state. Israel has indeed come a long way from being victims of European anti-semitism till a few decades back to victimisers. Who would think that the same guys, who closely survived the Nazi gas chambers in those dreaded pre-WW II days, today shape the racist Israeli foriegn policy?

The state of Israel was proclaimed on 14 May 1948, about six months after the United Nations General Assembly voted to partition what was then Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Shortly afterwards Israel flexed its new-born muscles, using unspeakable terror and plunder, and drove some 700,000 Palestinians out of their homes. The ongoing Israeli anniversary is calculated according to the Jewish lunar calendar. Palestinians are due to mark the occasion, al-Nakba [the catastrophe] on 15 May.

Around 1917, when the Brits entered Palestine, more than 92% of the population of Palestine was Arab – by all historical accounts -- and there were at that time no more than 56,000 Jews in Palestine. Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Palestinians at that time lived in peace with each other. Palestinians in the early 20th century owned 97.5% of the land, while Jews [native Palestinians and recent immigrants together] owned only 2.5% of the land.

Prior to 1948, most Israeli Jews were persecuted and dispossessed European Jews who made a one-third minority of the population. Then the mass flight [major aliyah] of Jews from Europe began. It was the world's most brazenly illegal immigration exercise. And for Israel to become a "Jewish majority" it had to expel and dispossess the two-third Palestinian majority. 80% of the Palestinian people were terrorized and thrown out from their homes, farms, and businesses and have been kept out for the past 60 years. They continue to live as refugees – in miserable conditions -- across the neighboring countries. Israel is now 7 million plus -- and Jewish.

In her 60 years of flawed democracy – Israel -- routinely treated Palestinians differently compared to its Jewish citizens. Even now it is no more than a form of apartheid democracy – as the former activist US Prez Jimmy Carter calls it -- which only Israel is allowed to exhibit. In the occupied West Bank there are, for example "Jewish Roads" and "Non-Jewish Roads". Israel issues national identify cards where the religion of the card holder is clearly shown in bold type. Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza have to drive vehicles with license plates that have different coloring than the cars driven by Israeli settlers. Palestinian citizens have to live in segregated communities [or ghettos] because development is strictly limited to Jewish places. Ironically, the word "ghetto" was invented to describe the living conditions of Eastern European Jews in Tsarist Russia!

That is not all, Israel -- in an effort to shut the Palestinians completely out -- has erected an apartheid wall 60 meters wide and up to 8 meters high within the West Bank. It will run for 703 kilometers and separate the Palestinians from the Jewish settlers. Despite the international court of justice ruling it illegal, Israel's racist wall snakes on through the West Bank, taking legitimate Palestinian land [whatever is left of it] and providing for the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements. Palestinians are to be left in limbo. They will face a daily commute through 11 transit points. Towns such as Qalqilya and Jayyous, formerly prosperous, with fertile hinterlands and good water supplies, are virtually encircled, with their farms and greenhouses on the Israeli side. Democracy.

In case history or geography bogs you down, here is a little play of the numeric: Find the similarity in these numbers. 106, 111, 127, 162, 171, 228, 237, 248, 250, 251, 252, 256, 259, 262, 265, 267, 270, 271, 279, 280, 285, 298, 313, 316, 317, 332, 337, 347, 425, 427, 444, 446, 450, 452, 465, 467, 468, 469, 471, 476, 478, 484, 487, 497, 498, 501, 509, 515, 517, 518, 520, 573, 587, 592, 605, 607, 608, 636, 641, 672, 673, 681, 694, 726, 799....
These are the resolution numbers passed by the United Nations condemning Israel in the past sixty years. For her countless attrocities, tortures, massacres, rapes, little genocides, savagery and indifference towards the Palestinians. These numbers are only indicative and the list is really long. Ironically Israel doesn’t care a shit about what UN says. UN resolutions work against Iran, Iraq and the like. Not democracies. Not Israel of course.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, famously told his aide [and a prominent Zionist leader] Nahum Goldman just before he died: Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it's true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations' time, but for the moment there is no chance. So it's simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army. Our whole policy is there. Otherwise the Arabs will wipe us out.

PR sums it up the best: Europeans for centuries took turns gang rapping their Jewish citizens, and their guilty conscious burns them from the inside. This guilty conscious is the reason why the West covers up Israeli war crimes and continues to paint Israeli apartheid as "the only democracy in the Middle East". Somebody has to pay for their crimes against their European Jews so long it is not a Westerner who pays the price.

History will tell that not only did the west wrong the innocent Palestinians by making them pay for their own historical, shameful crimes, but also they also wronged their Jewish citizens twice: Once for the many Holocausts they have committed against them, and the second for locking them into an endless struggle with stubborn Arabs who would not sell their rights.

Democary at 60. Israel. Clap-clap.

Sameer