[News] In Words and Deeds: The Genesis of Israeli Violence
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 18 12:00:58 EST 2018
In Words and Deeds: The Genesis of Israeli Violence
by Ramzy Baroud <https://www.counterpunch.org/author/cet6s/> - January
Not a day passes without a prominent Israeli politician or intellectual
making an outrageous statement against Palestinians. Many of these
statements tend to garner little attention or evoke rightly deserved
Just recently, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, called for
more death and injuries on Palestinians in Gaza.
“What is this special weapon we have that we fire and see pillars of
smoke and fire, but nobody gets hurt? It is time for there to be
injuries and deaths as well,” he said.
Ariel’s calling for the killing of more Palestinians came on the heels
of other repugnant statements concerning a 16-year-old teenager girl,
Ahed Tamimi. Ahed was arrested in a violent Israeli army raid at her
home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.
A video recording showed her slapping an Israeli soldier a day after the
Israeli army shot her cousin in the head, placing him in a coma.
Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, known for his extremist
political views, demanded that Ahed and other Palestinian girls should
“spend the rest of their days in prison”.
A prominent Israeli journalist, Ben Caspit, sought yet more punishment.
He suggested that Ahed and girls like her should be raped in jail.
“In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other
opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”, he wrote in
This violent and revolting mindset, however, is not new. It is an
extension of an old, entrenched belief system that is predicated on a
long history of violence.
Undeniably, the views of Ariel, Bennett and Caspit are not angry
statements uttered in a moment of rage. They are all reflections of real
policies that have been carried out for over 70 years. Indeed, killing,
raping and imprisoning for life are features that have accompanied the
state of Israel since the very beginning.
This violent legacy continues to define Israel to this day, through the
use of what Israeli historian Ilan Pappe describes as ‘incremental
Throughout this long legacy, little has changed except for names and
titles. The Zionist militias that orchestrated the genocide of the
Palestinians prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948 merged
together to form the Israeli army; and the leaders of these groups
became Israel’s leaders.
Israel’s violent birth in 1947- 48 was the culmination of the violent
discourse that preceded it for many years. It was the time when Zionist
teachings of prior years were put into practice and the outcome was
“The tactic of isolating and attacking a certain village or town and
executing its population in a horrible, indiscriminate massacre was a
strategy employed, time and again, by Zionist bands to compel the
population of surrounding villages and towns to flee,” Ahmad Al-Haaj
told me when I asked him to reflect on Israel’s past and present.
Al-Haaj is a Palestinian historian and an expert on the Nakba, the
‘Catastrophe’ that had befallen Palestinians in 1948.
The 85-year-old intellectual’s proficiency in the subject began 70 years
ago, when, as a 15-year-old, he witnessed the massacre of Beit Daras at
the hands of Jewish Haganah militia.
The destruction of the southern Palestinian village and the killing of
dozens of its inhabitants resulted in the depopulation of many adjacent
villages, including al-Sawafir, Al-Haaj’s home village.
“The notorious Deir Yasin massacre was the first example of such wanton
killing, a model that was duplicated in other parts of Palestine,”
The ethnic cleansing of Palestine at the time was orchestrated by
several Zionist militias. The mainstream Jewish militia was the Haganah
which belonged to the Jewish Agency.
The latter functioned as a semi-government, under the auspices of the
British Mandate Government, while the Haganah served as its army.
However, other breakaway groups also operated according to their own
agenda. Two leading bands amongst them were the Irgun (National Military
Organization) and Lehi (also known as the Stern Gang). These groups
carried out numerous terrorist attacks, including bus bombings and
Russian-born Menachem Begin was the leader of the Irgun which, along
with the Stern Gang and other Jewish militants, massacred hundreds of
civilians in Deir Yassin.
‘Tell the soldiers: you have made history in Israel with your attack and
your conquest. Continue this until victory. As in Deir Yassin, so
everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy. God, God, Thou has
chosen us for conquest,” Begin wrote at the time. He described the
massacre as a “splendid act of conquest.”
The intrinsic link between words and actions remain unchanged.
Nearly 30 years later, a once wanted terrorist, Begin became Prime
Minister of Israel. He accelerated land theft of the newly-occupied West
Bank and East Jerusalem, launched a war on Lebanon, annexed Occupied
Jerusalem to Israel and carried out the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla
Some of the other terrorists-turned-politicians and top army brass
include Begin, Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, Rafael Eitan
and Yitzhak Shamir. Each one of these leaders has a record dotted with
Shamir served as the Prime Minister of Israel from 1986 – 1992. In 1941,
Shamir was imprisoned by the British for his role in the Stern Gang.
Later, as Prime Minister, he ordered a violent crackdown against a
mostly non-violent Palestinian uprising in 1987, purposely breaking the
limbs of kids accused of throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.
So, when government ministers like Ariel and Bennett call for wanton
violence against Palestinians, they are simply carrying on with a bloody
legacy that has defined every single Israeli leader in the past. It is
the violent mindset that continues to control the Israeli government and
its relationship with Palestinians; in fact, with all of its neighbors.
/*Dr. Ramzy Baroud* has been writing about the Middle East for over 20
years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media
consultant, an author of several books and the founder of
PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom
Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is:
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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