Friday, February 10, 2012

The Forgotten Palestinians

In his book 'The Forgotten Palestinians' Ilan Pappé argues that those Arab Israeli citizens who were trying to negotiate their own modus vivendi with the Israeli state by choosing a "third space" were faced with an even more determined Israeli Jewish polity that was "willing to discuss a compromise over the occupied territories, but was unwilling to accept the bi-national reality in the pre-1967 Israel." (Pappe: 155).

Of course, the "compromise" that the majority of Israeli Jews were, and are, willing to consider for the occupied territories has to be questioned and it might be concluded here that Pappe is refering to the Israeli Jewish polity, or body politic, in its widest sense for, as he himselves knows, there was never going to be any real compromise by the Zionists when it came to "their" "Judea and Samaria". Something that is further evidenced by the ongoing Orwellian "legal" efforts to legalise the illegal settlements.

The ethnic cleansing of all of mandatory Palestine, or of as much of it as possible, is a very real expression of Zionism's "Raison d'être". Indeed, while Pappe quite rightly says that,"the inevitable logic of Zionism and its ability, or rather inability, to accept another national minority in the midst of the Jewish state", (ibid) it has to be emphasised that the "Jewish democracy" has never defined its borders and has yet to legalise most of its annexations.

Mr Pappe knows this and none of it should detract from his worthwhile reminder of the Arab Israeli population's fate. However, it is a fate that that community shares, and will continue to share, with all Palestinians. Indeed, if there were any doubts regarding that fact they were dispelled as recently as four weeks ago when Israel’s High Court "upheld a law that specifically excludes Palestinians from applying for permanent residency or Israeli citizenship by virtue of marriage to an Israeli." Moreover, there can be no doubt that the Israelis being referred to are Arab Israelis, for, while the precise number of mixed marriages in Israel between Arabs and Jews is unknown, they are extremely rare.  It is, of course, a racist law.

Jonathan Cook, in his book 'Blood and Religion: The Umasking of the Jewish and Democratic State', provides us with a wonderful exposé of the racist state that would implement such a law and shows us how there will be attempt to redraw the Green line to create a state where only Jewish blood and Jewish religion count. The book was published in 2006 but with a population and territory swap, as part of an eventual peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians now being the subject of "normal" discourse among Israeli Jews, the author can hardly be accused of fanciful thinking. All the more so since, to varying degrees, a population transfer is now accepted by all major politicians from Livni to Lieberman with the latter going so far as to present his plan to the United Nations.

We should have no illusions; in 1940 the director of the Jewish National Fund's Land Department, Yosef Weitz, was provided with a Zionist perspective that is just as relevant now as it was then, when he said:
"It must be clear tht there is no room in the country for both peoples .... There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one tribe. The transfer must be directed at Iraq, Syria, and even Transjordan." (Cook: 97)
Tomorrow the transfer will be directed at those Israeli Arabs who live in the triangle, while the project to judiaze the Negev and Galilee is already ongoing.

We need not doubt the fate of the Palestinians if the Zionist project is allowed to succeed. Those in the occupied territories will be joined in their "Bantustans" by the population of the triangle, while those living inside the "Green Line" will be confined, providing they sign a loyalty oath and recognize Israel as a Jewish state, mainly to Nazareth and parts of East Jerusalem. There will, of course, be no viable state on the West Bank and in Gaza and for those Palestinians whose right of return is affirmed by UN resolution 194 there will be ...... nothing. This is not about compromise, it is about basic human rights, for the Palestinians in Israel, in the Occupied Territories and in the diaspora. It is a matter which should concern all of us.

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