[News] Israel's Agenda For Ethnic Cleansing and Transfer

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 19 10:58:08 EDT 2007


http://www.counterpunch.org/buch09192007.html

September 19, 2007


Israel's Agenda For Ethnic Cleansing and Transfer

By VICTORIA BUCH

The stage for ethnic cleansing of Palestinians has been set in the 
Occupied Territories, and ethnic cleansing is in progress. At 
present, this is the major project of the state of Israel.  For an 
impartial person of medium intelligence, a tour of the Occupied 
Territories may be sufficient to understand this fact.

The prime ethnic cleansing tool is, forever, land grab of Palestinian 
property in conjunction with expansion of settlements. Various stages 
of annexation process are in evidence in the originally rural part of 
the West Bank, constituting 60  per cent of its area.  By now, nine 
per cent of the West Bank land has been transferred to the direct 
control of the settlements. A recent Peace Now investigation (July 
2007) revealed that only twelve per cent of this land is being used 
at all. "The state earmarks huge tracts for the settlements, out of 
all proportion to their size, in order to prevent Palestinian 
construction in those areas. Yet once an area is closed to 
Palestinians, the settlers begin seizing adjacent Palestinian lands, 
often privately owned, that lie outside their jurisdiction".

According to B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, already 
in 2002, 41.9 per cent of the West Bank was assigned to the Israeli 
regional councils. And for years, the entire rural Area C has been 
under administrative control of the so called "Civil Administration", 
which, in close cooperation with other branches of the Israeli army 
and with the settlers, toils to make the life of its Palestinian 
residents as miserable as possible; the obvious objective being to 
make them leave. (Comprehensive information can be found, e.g., in 
the Occupation Magazine, the website of the Israeli anti-occupation 
activists.)

In the remaining West Bank, Palestinians became virtual prisoners in 
their own towns and villages. Every aspect of normal Palestinian life 
- economy, health, education, is being crushed by a well organized 
and deliberate military-bureaucratic machine, masquerading as a 
security establishment. Every now and then, the strangulation noose 
around Palestinian existence is being tightened.   Ethnic cleansing, 
by means of home and field demolitions, is also pursued diligently by 
the state of Israel towards its Bedouin citizens residing in the 
Negev desert (see the excellent tutorial movie at the website Adalah 
- the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights).
.

All of the above scarcely registers in minds of my compatriots.  No 
wonder, since it is covered by a monumental but eagerly believed hoax 
of "negotiations with Abu-Mazen", diplomatic efforts, and promises of 
good will gestures towards Palestinians (which are forever 
un-implemented, or implemented marginally for short periods).   For 
reasons of their own, some Palestinian politicians including 
President Abbas chose to participate in this farce.

An average Jewish-Israeli does not know - or does not want to know - 
about the ethnic cleansing program executed by their state - she or 
he prefers to think of it as "fight against terror".

Jewish-Israeli citizens live in virtual reality, thoughtfully 
provided for them by the leaders, the media, and the education 
system. In this reality, the Israelis figure as good guys, fighting 
for their existence, rather than as colonizers and occupiers.   In 
this virtual world, it is believed that our government has worked 
hard to achieve a peace agreement with the Palestinians; and if this 
goal has not been not achieved, it is because of  Palestinian 
intransigence. Impediment of negotiations by settlers is admitted, 
but settlers are viewed as troublesome extremists, rather than as an 
offshoot of deliberate and consistent annexationist policy of the 
Israeli government.

But the key Israeli politicians KNOW - the ethnic cleansing project 
could not possibly proceed otherwise.   I have been wondering if 
every new minister in Israeli government gets a manual spelling the 
facts of life, written in the past by somebody like Golda Meir or 
Arik Sharon.  Otherwise, how would you explain the remarkable 
continuity of Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories during the 
long years of the Occupation? How come the current maps of the Jewish 
settlements and the Palestinian enclaves match the Drobles and 
Sharon's blueprints for colonizing the West Bank, prepared decades 
years ago?   However I rather think that no such manual exists, and 
every minister is expected to figure it out by 
himself/herself.  Yitzhak Rabin paid with his life for what then 
appeared to be a sincere effort to break away from the ethnic 
cleansing program (although Rabin never even tried to remove the 
settlements; and his was the idea of the infamous "bypass roads" for 
settlers; in the end, the Oslo years turned out to be a golden 
opportunity for settlement expansion under the cover of the bogus 
"peace process". Barak, promoter of large scale colonization projects 
in the West Bank, seems to have made the last failed effort to set a 
(very limited) form of coexistence with Palestinians.  But he must 
have finally decided that "if you cannot fight it, join it", as 
indicated by his current activities as a new Minister of Defense.

(One recent example can be found in the article "Hamastan as a 
challenge", by Shlomo Gazit, NRG, June 25, 2007: "Simultaneously with 
its total takeover of the Gaza Strip, the Hamas leadership 
implemented a unilateral ceasefire with Israel . For a whole week, 
not a single Qassam was fired at Sderot and the surrounding district. 
But then, after only one day as Defence Minister, the new Minister 
[Ehud Barak] authorized a new operation to seek out people on the 
wanted list in the Khan Younis region. Five Palestinians were killed 
while others were injured. As if by magic, the firing of Qassams 
towards Sderot resumed the very next day." Maintaining low grade 
violence appears necessary for the ongoing Israeli policies of 
presenting Palestinians as terrorists, and presenting Israeli 
colonization projects and military operations to crush Palestinians - 
both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip - as the "fight against terror".)

It was Sharon, a brilliant politician, who, under the cover of the 
"disengagement from Gaza", converted the ethnic cleansing program to 
the "only game in town" in the Israeli politics. By now, the entire 
Zionist establishment has been enlisted, from the Hebron settlers to 
the Shomer Hatzair (socialist youth movement), who, as army 
conscripts, provide those same settlers with security cover.   The 
current policies of the State of Israel are determined by the 
collusion of settlers' insatiable appetite for land, and the 
generals' insatiable appetite for "action". The elected leaders who 
execute these policies range from whole-hearted supporters to more or 
less willing accomplices, mindful of their careers. Presently, none 
of the leaders opposes actively the ethnic cleansing program.   In 
the background, there is the ever-intensifying humming of propaganda 
which designates Palestinians - both citizens and non-citizens - as A 
DEMOGRAPHIC DANGER WHICH SHOULD BE ADDRESSED.

The Israeli policy towards Palestinians can be summarized briefly - 
"inflict all the damage you can get away with". But how do the 
Israeli leaders envisage the end of this game? The hard core 
nationalists spell it loudly - "transfer", i.e. expulsion of 
Palestinians. But what do the main-stream leaders think - the ones 
who actually carry out the expulsion (presently - the internal one, 
to the Palestinian ghettos and the enclaves)? The operation is too 
well organized for one to believe that the end-game was never considered.

I believe that the final objective of our rulers is to set the stage 
for the second Naqba. Otherwise what is the point of the endless 
goading of Palestinians into violence?  Any minimally thoughtful 
person understands that the Israeli policies in the Occupied 
Territories will lead to an eventual paroxysm of violence. Do not 
tell me that our leaders never thought about it. Granted, amongst 
them there are total opportunists who do not care about anything 
except staying in power. But somebody is pushing the ethnic cleansing 
forward. Sharon was the foremost among them, but judging from the 
well organized continuation, his associates are fully operational and 
in business. These people are actually looking forward to the 
violence.   They have their eyes on the real-estate prize - the West 
Bank.  A paroxysm of violence would enable the State of Israel to 
annex the West Bank - the entire West Bank, that is, while getting 
rid of most of Palestinian inhabitants. Just like in 1948.   This is, 
in my view, the envisaged end-game.  Where do they propose to expel 
the Palestinians? Jordan? The Gaza Strip? Syria?   I do not know.

Will the ethnic cleansing succeed? The authors of these policies 
obviously count on it. The opening is there, with the present US 
administration backing Israel whatever it does, and the EU and the 
Arab countries unable or unwilling to stand up to the US. It is 
likely that the forthcoming outburst of violence will be initiated by 
the desperate and destitute Palestinians; and then, for the umptieth 
time, our propaganda machine will be able to present us to the world 
as victims, and Palestinians as victimizers. Israeli responses will 
be presented as legitimate defensive actions.  Later, the history may 
judge otherwise, but meanwhile (if the present political 
constellation persists for a while), who cares about the Palestinians.

But in the long run, disaster looms for Israel. This is since we are 
a small nation, and Palestinians are a similarly sized nation which 
is moreover a part of the vast Moslem world. The experience of South 
Africa suggests that the apartheid-type system imposed on 
Palestinians is not viable in the long run, even if it seems 
invincible at the beginning. As exemplified by  last year's invasion 
to Lebanon, the performance of the Israeli army is deteriorating, 
corrupted by years of operating as a colonial militia. At the same 
time, the generals are becoming increasingly unbridled and reckless. 
The Israeli economy rests on support of the similarly reckless US 
corporate-political establishment, but this very expensive support is 
unlikely to last forever.  The ability of the  US to dictate the 
world is also likely to wane as Russia and China are coming to their 
own. And perhaps most importantly - the Dome of the Rock - the third 
holiest place of Islam - is at stake.

In my view, my country Israel has embarked on suicidal policies. 
Something like that already happened in the Jewish history, some 1940 
years ago - see the "The Jewish War", by Josephus Flavius.  And just 
like in those days, most of Israeli public does not realize, that 
they are being dragged to disaster by their own leaders.

Victoria Buch is an Israeli academic, anti-occupation activist, and a 
member of the editorial board of the Occupation Magazine 
<http://www.kibush.co.il/>www.kibush.co.il. She is can be reached at 
<http://vvbb542yahoo.com/>vvbb54yahoo.com




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