[News] On Racism and ‘Wild Beasts’: Why Israel besieges Palestinians
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 8 11:33:26 EDT 2019
On Racism and ‘Wild Beasts’: Why Israel besieges Palestinians
By Ramzy Baroud - October 8, 2019
The Israeli Apartheid Wall, which is being built largely on occupied
Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, once more
underscores the ugliness of military occupation. As such, it truly
epitomizes the nature of Israeli apartheid and also delineates the
siege-driven, isolationist mentality that dominates the ruling-class
thinking in Israel.
Even years before the establishment of the state of Israel over the
ruins of the Palestinian homeland in May 1948, Zionist communities in
Palestine perfected the stratagem of besiegement, isolating themselves
behind massive walls while blockading Palestinians, the native
inhabitants of the land, in every way possible.
Throughout the Nakba – the catastrophic ethnic cleansing and destruction
of Palestine in 1947-48 – Israel used this military theory in abundance.
Neighborhoods, villages and entire towns would be besieged for days,
weeks or months, while being bombarded from all directions before their
residents were finally pushed out. None of these ethnically-cleansed
Palestinian communities, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands,
were ever allowed to return to their homes.
In fact, besiegement and isolation remain at the core of the Israeli
military strategy to date.
No other place, however endured the brutality of the seemingly
never-ending siege like the Gaza Strip. Gaza, that small region of 365
square kilometers, has been under various stages of besiegement and
blockade since 1948.
The most hermetic stages of this perpetual siege began some time in 2006
and intensified in the summer of the following year. Three factors make
the latest siege on Gaza particularly horrific: its long duration, the
lack of any serious respite for besieged Gazans and, most importantly,
the fact that it has been interrupted by massive Israeli wars that
killed and wounded thousands of Palestinians. With much of Gaza’s
infrastructure destroyed or dilapidated, the Israeli blockade on the
Strip has proved to be the most savage and deadliest of all sieges.
On 30 September, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that nearly 70 per cent of
an underground barrier east of Gaza is now complete. An estimated 1,400
Israeli and foreign workers are reportedly taking part in building the
barrier, which when finished, will extend to reach 60 kilometers in length.
Considering the layers of walls, fences, trenches and no-go military
zones, the additional underground wall around Gaza seems frivolous. Is
it possible that Israeli leaders truly believe that Gaza is not isolated
In actuality, the latest wall will likely satisfy a psychological, not a
practical objective, as it gives the Israeli army and southern
settlements a temporary sense of safety, while once more hailing Israeli
leaders as the protectors of a defenseless and exposed nation.
Oddly, while scores of young Gazans continue to be killed at the fence
separating Gaza from Israel while protesting the Israeli siege on the
Strip, it is the Israelis who claim to be targeted, unsafe and victimized.
The newest wall, once it is officially launched with massive fanfare,
will still make no difference. It will not upgrade the status of the
Gaza siege in any way, nor will it alter the collective fear that has
been thoroughly instilled in ordinary Israelis.
For Gazans, wall or no wall, the siege will remain intact.
Israeli wall architects may argue that the latest wall will deter
Palestinians from digging tunnels as well as preventing resistance
fighters from circumventing the siege via the sea – since part of this
underground barrier will also extend into the Mediterranean Sea.
However, there is no proof that walls or fences, over ground or
underground barriers have prevented Palestinians from retaliating
against Israeli attacks. If the Israeli logic holds any truth,
Palestinian resistance would have dissipated or folded decades ago as
the Israeli siege mentality was put into practice from the very start of
the Israeli war on the Palestinian people.
Israel receives $3.8 billion in US funding, in addition to hundreds of
millions in loans and other financial giveaways which are mostly used to
fortify Israel’s so-called security. To no avail. Palestinians,
impoverished and incarcerated in Bantustan-like structures and open-air
prisons, continue with their resistance unhindered.
It is clear that the Israeli security model has failed. In fact, that
model never had a chance of success in the first place. The additional
Israeli wall around Gaza and the hundreds of other walls and fences that
are yet to be built are only meant to feed the collective illusion among
Israelis and their leaders that the answer to their problem does not lie
in ending the apartheid regime, military occupation and siege, but in
adding more layers of “security”.
“At the end of the day as I see it, there will be a fence like this one
surrounding Israel in its entirety. We will surround the entire state of
Israel with a fence, a barrier,” Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin
Netanyahu, said on 9 February 2016 during a visit of the construction
site of the barrier around Gaza.
Netanyahu added: “In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from
While such language and behavior reflect the deeply-rooted racist
mentality at work in Israel, they also underscore the dehumanized way in
which Israel sees Palestinians. Since “wild beasts” are not human, they
can be killed en masse, besieged and ethnically cleansed in their
millions without an iota of regret or remorse.
The problem then is not that of “security” or so-called “terrorism”. Not
that of Hamas, or any other group, secular or Islamist. It is not that
of Gaza’s March of Return or of children approaching the fences around
Gaza. The problem is the entrenched Israeli racist mentality that
perceives Palestinian natives as sub-humans and as “wild beasts” to be
exterminated or forever besieged.
- Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine
Chronicle. He has authored a number of books on the Palestinian struggle
including ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’. Baroud has a Ph.D. in
Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident
Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies,
University of California Santa Barbara.
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