Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Israel a "brutal colonial power"; local rights group calls it "apartheid"

A Bedouin by the Jordan River in the early 20th century taken by the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology.

The heinous attack on civilians in Israel, early on October 7th, was a monstrous crime perpetrated by Hamas terrorists. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said this month that Hamas committed war crimes but "The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians is also a war crime, as is unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians."

"An eye for an eye" (Biblical Hebrew: עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן, ʿayīn taḥaṯ ʿayīn) is a commandment found in the Book of Exodus 21:23–27 citing the principle of reciprocal justice measure for measure.

Jesus in the Christian Bible John 8:7, with Mary Magdalene, a disciple, said to the men who wished to stone her to death, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

SEE also: Israel is the West's last settler colony

Avi Shlaim (born 1945) is an Israeli and British historian of Iraqi Jewish descent. He is an Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford University.

He wrote an essay for The Economist on this year, the 75th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Israel on May 15, 1948.

"The controlling logic of settler-colonialism is to subdue and drive out the natives. Noam Chomsky, an eminent Jewish-American intellectual, has argued that settler colonialism is the most sadistic form of imperialism. In Palestine, the Zionist leaders were not sadistic, but they were ruthless in pursuit of their goal."

"In 1948, following the Arab rejection of the UN partition plan, they exploited the opportunity offered by an Arab military attack to extend the territory of their emerging state beyond the borders drawn by the UN cartographers and to carry out large-scale ethnic cleansing of Palestine. After the war, all the emphasis was on Aliyah or immigration, “the ingathering of the exiles”, nation-building and promoting the welfare of the Jewish population. The Arab minority inside Israel was kept under military government until 1966. During this period the settler-colonial character of the new state became obscured, but it did not fundamentally change."

I experienced the transformation of Israeli society over the past half-century at the personal level. In the mid-1960s I served loyally and proudly in the Israeli army because I felt at that time that the IDF was true to its name: it was the Israeli Defence Forces. After the 1967 war, its character gradually changed. It became the repressive police force of a brutal colonial power. I for one, therefore, do not regard Israel’s 75th birthday as a cause for celebration but rather as an occasion for critical reflection and soul-searching.

B’Tselem – the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories "strives for a future in which human rights, liberty and equality are guaranteed to all people, Palestinian and Jewish alike, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Such a future will only be possible when the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime end."

"More than 14 million people, roughly half of them Jews and the other half Palestinians, live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea under a single rule. The common perception in public, political, legal and media discourse is that two separate regimes operate side by side in this area, separated by the Green Line. One regime, inside the borders of the sovereign State of Israel, is a permanent democracy with a population of about nine million, all Israeli citizens. The other regime, in the territories Israel took over in 1967, whose final status is supposed to be determined in future negotiations, is a temporary military occupation imposed on some five million Palestinian subjects.

Over time, the distinction between the two regimes has grown divorced from reality. This state of affairs has existed for more than 50 years – twice as long as the State of Israel existed without it. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers now reside in permanent settlements east of the Green Line, living as though they were west of it. East Jerusalem has been officially annexed to Israel’s sovereign territory, and the West Bank has been annexed in practice. Most importantly, the distinction obfuscates the fact that the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is organized under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians. All this leads to the conclusion that these are not two parallel regimes that simply happen to uphold the same principle. There is one regime governing the entire area and the people living in it, based on a single organizing principle."

Jews in Europe from 1880

In about 1880, European Jews represented 90% of the world’s Jews according to Sergio Della Pergola (born in Trieste, Italy 1942) who is a renowned Italian-Israeli demographer and statistician at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“The percentage of Jews in Europe has returned to the same level as in the Middle Ages,” he has said. After the Holocaust, they accounted for only 35% of the total Jewish population, and by 2020, European Jews made up merely nine per cent of world Jewry.

In short, the Jewish population of Europe, which still numbered 3.2mn in 1970, can be estimated at only 1.3mn today.

France is still the largest community in Europe (440,000) and the third largest in the world after Israel (7.2mn) and the United States (7.3mn). The fourth largest Jewish community is in Canada (390,000).

The population of Jews in 1947 was 650,000 and 1,324,000 were mainly Palestinians — data.

Israel did not want to have many more Arabs than Jews in the poulation.

The semi-nomadic community that historically engaged in animal herding and grazing and agriculture. They mainly identify as Palestinian Arabs. They use the term Bedouin to refer to their nomadic way of life. Out of the 92,000 Bedouin living in the Negev in 1947, only 11,000 remained after the foundation of Israel.

World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Israel.

The beach at Jaffa in the early 29th century

The Plantation

The Zionist leaders were middle-class educated Europeans while the Palestinians were mainly tenant farmers.

In the last decade of the 19th century Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, the youngest son of James Jacob de Rothschild, was a patron of the first settlement in Palestine at Rishon-LeZion, he bought from Ottoman landlords much of the land which now makes up present-day Israel.

He was a member of the French branch of the wealthy family.

The family owned more than 90,000 acres, or 400,000 dunams, (364 km²) in the Jezreel Valley in Palestine, having purchased it from Ottoman authorities in their dealings with the empire.

The Jerrel was viewed as the most fertile in Palestine.

Jews purchased 200,000 dunams (more than 49,000 acres) from the wealthy family of Christian Arabs from Beirut (the Sursock family). Included in the purchase were 22 villages.

Because the villagers paid tithes to the Sursock family in Beirut for the right to work the agricultural lands in the villages, they were deemed tenant farmers by the British Mandate authorities in Palestine, and the right of the Sursock family to sell the land to the JNF was upheld by the authorities.

The first colonial fund was the Jewish National Fund (JNF), or Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael in Hebrew, founded in December 1901. Jewish Colonization Association (ICA, which was established in 1891) became an important player in land redemption. De Rothschild had the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA) as a bank.

Nahum Sokolow (1859–1936) was a journalist and Zionist leader. He was born in Wyszogród, in Russian-controlled Poland. Sokolow translated a novel written by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist organisation, into Hebrew, giving it the title Tel Aviv.

Sir Mark Sykes of the UK and François Georges-Picot of France together with Sergey Dimitriyevich

Sazonov of the Russian Empire, the third member of the Triple Entente made a secret agreement called the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, to take effect after the armistice. It provided for the Levant to be administered by France and the UK while the Russians would take control of Armenia.

Before the British government would announce the Balfour Declaration, in May 1917 Sokolow went to Rome and Pope Benedict XV described the return of the Jews to Palestine as "providential; God has willed it." The French were on board and US president Wilson who hated black Americans endorsed the Balfour Declaration that viewed with favour “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

In November 1917 the Balfour Declaration (“Balfour’s promise” in Arabic) was a public pledge by Britain declaring its aim to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

The statement came in the form of a letter from Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community.

Foreign Office

November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by the Cabinet

His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.


Arthur James Balfour

Earl Balfour visited the Jewish colony in 1925. He was fêted by the colonists and a visit to Damascus triggered rioting. The earl had to be smuggled out of the city.

In its Village Statistics, the British estimated the total area of land owned by Jews in 1945 to be 1,491,699 dunams, compared with about 13 million dunams owned by Arabs in Palestine (a dunam is equivalent to roughly 1,000 square meters).

In 1947/1948 the European settlers seized 77% of the land and the indigenous 750,000 that fled had their properties, was seized.

The West Bank has been under military control since 1967 and according to B'Tselem, more than 42% of the West Bank is under the control of the Israeli settlements, 21% of which were seized from private Palestinian owners, much of it in violation of the 1979 Israeli Supreme Court decision.

Israeli governments from 1947 to the present demolished the houses of the indigenous population to facilitate their own planters on The West Bank and East Jerusalem. The number back to 1947 is about 130,000.

The New York Times published on November 20, 2023, that eight years after the foundation of the state of Israel, Moshe Dayan, the chief of staff of the Israeli military, stood close to the Gaza border to pronounce a eulogy for a 21-year-old Israeli security officer slain by Palestinian and Egyptian assailants.

“Let us not today cast blame on his murderers,” he said in 1956:

“What can we say against their terrible hatred of us? For eight years now, they have sat in the refugee camps of Gaza and have watched how, before their very eyes, we have turned their land and villages, where they and their forefathers previously dwelled, into our home.”

Netanyahu is Finished | Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University

"A Land Without a People, For a People Without a Land" — Early 20th-century Zionist slogan popularised by Israel Zangwill;

"There were no such things as Palestinians . . . It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist"Golda Meir, prime minister of Israel, 1969 (Frank Giles, “Golda Meir: ‘Who Can Blame Israel?” Sunday Times of London, 15 June 1969).

Golda Meir in 1970 in an interview with British TV: "When were Palestinians born? What was all of this area before the First World War when Britain got the Mandate over Palestine? What was Palestine, then? Palestine was then the area between the Mediterranean and the Iraqi border. East and West Bank was Palestine. I am a Palestinian, from 1921 and 1948, I carried a Palestinian passport. There was no such thing in this area as Jews, and Arabs, and Palestinians, There were Jews and Arabs."

In 1888 Theodore Roosevelt's book 'The Winning of the West 1769-1807' was published. The future US president began "During the past three centuries the spread of the English-speaking peoples over the world's waste spaces has been not only the most striking feature in the world's history, but also the event of all others most far-reaching in its effects and its importance."

The reference to the "world's waste spaces" was to non-white people and in particular Native Americans.

When Arthur Balfour promised European Jews a homeland in Palestine, British and Australian troops were poised to eject the Ottoman Empire from Jerusalem.

Just as the Zionists claimed that Palestine was a waste space, the new colonial master could offer the land to European settlers ignoring people who had lived in the area for more than a millennium.

Israeli premier Golda Meir at a press conference in Rome in January 1973.

Golda Meir (1898-1978) was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, a province of the Russian Empire, and she lived in the US during her teen years.

Behind closed doors in 1970 Meir contemplated allowing Palestinians to have their own state. Last June Israel State Archives declassified top secret transcriptions of a meeting Meir held in October 1970 with senior ministers, including defence minister Moshe Dayan and education minister Yigal Allon, in which the possibility of a Palestinian state was discussed.

“It will be necessary to leave the Arabs of Judea and Samaria an option to earn self-determination at a later stage, if and when it suits us,” Meir said at the start of the meeting. “In other words, there will be another country [alongside Israel].” Times of Israel newspaper.