[News] In Words and Deeds: The Genesis of Israeli Violence

Anti-Imperialist News 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 
18, 2018


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 
simply horrifying.

“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,” 
Al-Haaj said.

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 
targeted assassinations.

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 
in 1982.

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 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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