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Monday, August 15, 2005

 

War Criminal Gaza Colonists Compensated/Palestinians Ignored

"Since its occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank in 1967 Israel has implemented a policy of moving its citizens into Palestinian territory in order to take military and political control of strategic areas across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The settlers, as they have become known, constitute a movement of people which is in clear breach of international law (most recently affirmed by the International Court of Justice in their Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Wall, July 2004). That means that settlers are war criminals, and should be prosecuted, as they are illegally residing in Palestinian territory." "http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/campaigns/english/gaza/gazal.htm

Being a war criminal pays: the illegal colonists will receive from 150,000- 400,000 in compensation from the Israeli government.

Unfortunately, the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine don't receive any where near the amount of coverage, of, for example, fifty-nine year old Anita Tucker, the Brooklyn, New York native, and darling of the BBC's Hard Talk, also oft quoted in the prolific and sympathetic news stories about the war criminals. If only the fate of the indigenous people were portrayed on CNN and BBC, perhaps US taxpayers wouldn't be so quick to subsidize Israel's ongoing war crimes to the tune of three billion dollars annually.

What follows is from the introduction to Walid Kahlidi's monumental All That Remains, the book which painstakingly documents ethnic cleansing and destruction of 418 Palestinian villages between 1947-48. It is about time US journalists learned something about the cruel history Jewish supremacists meted out to Palestinians. I can't get excited about the Gaza "disengagement." Most Palestinian academics have noted it is a mere tactical ruse and a diversion to deflect from Israel's iron grip on the West Bank and Jerusalem.

"There is no denying that the Zionist colonization of Palestine, which began in the early 1880s and continues to this day, represents one of the most remarkable colonizing ventures of all time, and certainly the most successful such venture in the twentieth century.

"Within one life-span, a nearly total revolution was effected in the demographic, socioeconomic, cultural, and political status quo as it stood in Palestine at the turn of this century.

"In the process, two momentous developments evolved in opposite directions. On the one hand there was the steady concentration of and encroachment by an immigrant Jewish presence accompanied by the relentless consolidation of its control over the natural resources of the country. On the other hand, there was the corresponding marginalization, dispersal, thinning out, and beleaguerment of the indigenous Palestinians who until 1948 constituted the vast majority of the population.

"For historical parallels of these twin phenomena, the closest analogies that come to mind are the impingement of European settlers in North America on the native American and that of settlers of British stock on the aboriginal populations of Australia and New Zealand.

"But there are also striking differences. (1) In Palestine, the displacement/replacement process occurrred within decades as opposed to two or three centuries in the other cases. (2) The process occurred in a tiny and already relatively densely settled country where there could have been no perception of a vast untapped wilderness crying for Western exploration and exploitation. (3) The Palestinian phenomenon evolved in the post-heyday of the classical European colonization of Asian and African countries and in the wake of the (at least verbal) espousal by the Western democracies of the principle of national self-determination. It anachronisticallly accompanied the demise of the old imperial regimes in the former colonies and straddled two World Wars ostensibly fought for the core values of Western civilisation. And (4) the colonizaiton of the homeland of the Palestinians took place in the modern age of communication and continues in full vigor under the glare, however fitful, of the electronic mass media. " (xxxi-xxxii)

"They [Palestinian villages] have remained altogether anonymous to the outside world and might as well never have existed. A dozen or so, though depopulated, were spared or suffered only minor damage. The rest were either totally destroyed or virtually so. They have literally been wiped off the face of the earth. The sites of their destroyed homesteads and graveyards, as well as their orchards, threshing floors, wells, livestock, and grazing grounds were all parcelled out among Jewish colonies that had been their neighbors or among new ones established afterwards on the erstwhile village lands. The Hebrew names of these latter have replaced their Arabic predecessors, sometimes faintly mocking and echoing them. The inheritors of these villages and their patrimony come from all the major Zionist/Israeli collective, cooperative, or small holder agricultural movements (kibbutzm and moshavim). These movements are affiliated to Israeli political parties that span the entrie spectrum from the most liberal to the most hardline, with the lion's share going to those closer to the former.

"Some hundred or so Palestinian villages in the areas conquered by Israel in the 1948 war were neither destroyed nor depopulated, and continue to exist to this day within Israel's 1967 borders. One might note, however, that over 80 percent of the lands of these Palestinian/Israeli citizens who never left their homes have been confiscated since 1948 and put at the exclusive disposal of the Jewish citizens of the state (xxxii). "

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