Few days ago, I had a long e-mail message from someone with the “Jews for Peace” group. The message starts: “I am very annoyed by your comparison of Israel with Nazi Germany … There is no Auschwitz in Palestine, and the Palestinians have not experienced a holocaust. Palestinians are free to leave any time they wish.” I do not know anything about the group, but a response is in order:
Thank you for your e-mail. I take it you have never been in Occupied Palestine to see the facts on the ground. Or you are ignorant of Israel’s policies against innocent and virtually defenseless Palestinians with nowhere to go to.
I do not compare Israel with Nazi Germany. Israel is a Zionist settlers’ colony founded on land theft and terror against the Palestinian people; Nazi Germany was not. However, I do – like most people – compare Israeli policies in Palestine with those of the Nazis. If you deny what happened in Palestine in 1948 (Nakba) when thousands of Palestinians were murdered, and an estimated 800,000 Palestinians were terrorised and ethnically cleansed from their homeland in a deliberate and systematic policy of mass expulsion by Jewish terrorist organisations, you deny “the holocaust” ever took place.
Honest Jews who experienced and survived the holocaust have often made the comparison between Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinian people and the Nazis’ brutal treatments of Jews and others. I am reminded of a letter to the Israeli Press twenty-five years ago in which Shlomo Shmelzman wrote: “In my childhood I have suffered fear, hunger and humiliation when I passed from the Warsaw Ghetto, through labour camps, to Buchenwald. I hear too many familiar sounds today, sounds which are being amplified by the war. I hear about ‘closed areas’ and I remember ghettos and camps. I hear ‘two-legged beasts’ and I remember ‘Untermenschen’ [subhumans]. I hear about tightening the siege, clearing the area, pounding the city into submission, and I remember suffering, destruction, death, blood and murder … Too many things in Israel remind me of too many things from my childhood”. (Ha’aretz, August 11, 1982). Israel is consciously matching all of Hitler’s crimes, killing and depriving Palestinians of basic human rights. Only the methods are different.
Furthermore, various Israeli politicians today, including the hardcore Fascist Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who migrated from Moldova to Israel in 1978are advocating a harsher policy of ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Arabs in Palestine as a conclusion to Israel’s conquest of Palestine. In fact, a majority of Israeli Jews (64%) advocates this Fascist form of thinking. (Ha’aretz, 22 June 2004).
You write: “Gaza is free”. I am sure you learned this fraud from at least four sources of Zionist propaganda: the pro-Israel Jewish Lobby; the deranged ignoramus American Zionist, Alan Dershowitz; U.S. mainstream media; and the BBC. Gaza is not “free”. Gaza is a large fortified Concentration Camp. Since 2000, the entire population of Gaza (1.5 million) has been under total blockade with disastrous consequences. Anyone who tries to get out risks being murdered.
As a result of this premeditated collective punishment, Gaza has run out of food and medicine. Palestinians, children and infants in particular, are dying of starvation, malnutrition and preventable diseases. Without electricity, hospital and emergency centres operate infrequently, depriving the sick and injured of medical care. So, Gaza is a Camp not much different from the Nazi’s Camps. Indeed, Israelis have started to call Gaza the “Ghetto”.
The criminal blockade of Gaza was tightened after the democratic elections of January 2006. The Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) won the elections in exactly the manner U.S. and the EU (the West) had called upon them to do – free and fair democratic voting. Unfortunately, “democracy” for the U.S. is only if the elected government serves U.S. interests. The criminal blockade is tightened on daily basis in violation of international law and civilised norms.
You are being naïve about the hyped evacuation of a few thousand illegal Jewish settlers from Gaza. I repeat: This was another Israeli fraud designed for mass propaganda aimed at diverting public attention away from Israel’s terror. As one Israeli Labor politician wrote recently: “The goal is to perpetuate Israeli control in most of the West Bank, and to repel any internal or external pressure for a different political solution. The Palestinians will be left with seven enclaves connected by special highways for their use.”
The building of illegal colonies (the so-called “settlements”) has accelerated dramatically, along with the illegal Apartheid Wall – described by some as ‘much worse’ than the Berlin Wall – confiscating Palestinian land and water resources and tearing Palestinian communities into small enclaves, dividing them from each other. With the completion of the Wall, some 1.6 million Palestinians will have access to no more than 12 per cent of historic Palestine which makes it impossible to establish a viable Palestinian state. In addition, the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) is carrying out Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing, emptying Hebron of its original Arab inhabitants and Judaising the Jordan Valley, building illegal colonies, and making the so-called “Two-State” solution impossible. (See: Régis Debray, Le Monde Diplomatique, August 2007).
Take a look at the new map of the Palestinian Occupied Territories produced by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). More than 45 per cent of the West Bank is now off limits to Palestinians. East Jerusalem has been systematically Judaised, its borders inflated, and the Arab Palestinians there have become prisoners in their homes. They are harassed on a daily basis by illegal armed extremist settlers and the IOF. According to IMEMC News, some 1,835 Palestinian families have been forced to move from their homes and at least 15, 000 Palestinians will be denied access to the City when the illegal Wall is completed. All over the Occupied Territories, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians “is in progress” and has been since 1948. (See: Victoria Buch, Occupation Magazine, September 2007).
The Occupied Territories of the West Bank, including major population centres such as Nablus and Jericho, are split into enclaves. Palestinians’ movement between them is restricted by more than 572 roadblocks, an increase of 52 per cent compared to 376 in August 2005. These include 96 manned Israeli checkpoints and 476 unmanned barriers (OCHA). At these roadblocks, increasing numbers of desperately ill Palestinians and newborn babies have died because Israeli soldiers and armed settlers prevent people from reaching hospitals. Israel has already formalised the de facto Ghettoisation of the West Bank through a network of Jews-only highways that bypass and isolate Palestinian towns and villages. Israel has created a system of control the Nazis could only dream of.
You allege that: “Israel offered the Palestinians ‘land for peace’ and a separate state, but the Palestinians refused the offer”. First, peace for Israel, writes Henry Siegman, is a “cover for [Israel’s] systematic confiscation of Palestinian land” and premeditated violence against defenceless Palestinians. Peace without justice is an empty rhetoric. That is why Israeli leaders love all these countless “peace” conferences. That was what the Oslo “Peace Process” was for. (Henry Siegman, LRB, 16 August 2007). That is why Israeli leaders love all these countless “peace” conferences.
Second, you are being very naïve to believe Israel’s manufactured propaganda. The “offer” was a scam. Israel offered the Palestinians nothing. In fact most of Israel’s criminal policies are designed to destroy any chance of a viable Palestinian state. The opportunity of a viable Palestinian state has passed and it is no longer a possibility unless Israel completely withdraws to pre-1967 boarders and implements all UN Security Council resolutions. (See: Hussein Agha & Robert Malley, NYR Books, 09 August 2001).
You also wrote: “Palestinians are free to leave any time they wish”. Where to? Israelis can go where they come from, and most Israelis are dual citizens, and have no problem returning to their homes in the U.S. and Europe. Palestinians have nowhere to go except to their homes in Palestine. Remember the common saying: ‘Jews have always demanded rights when they were in the minority, but they denied others the rights when they are in the majority and exercise power’. Palestinians have an inalienable right to return to their homeland.
Furthermore, you ignored the numerous diplomatic options offered by Arab nations and rebuffed by Israel. Indeed, all Muslim nations have offered Israel peace and recognition if Israel will renounce violence and accept a just peace. Instead, Israel has rejected every peace offer and continues to perpetuate violence, because violence is the foundation of the “State of Israel”.
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, PCHR, Israeli Occupation Forces (the Israeli Army) crimes against the Palestinians during the period of 16 -22 August, 2007 were:
· 16 Palestinians, including 3 children, were murdered by IOF in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
· 10 of the victims were extra-judicially executed by IOF.
· 18 Palestinians were wounded by IOF gunfire in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
· IOF conducted 30 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two ones into the Gaza Strip.
· IOF arrested 44 Palestinian civilians, including a child, in the West Bank.
· IOF shelled fishing boats and arrested 8 Palestinian fishermen in Rafah.
Of course, Israel’s terror and war crimes continue uninterrupted. Innocent Palestinian civilians, including children, are murdered every day. Israel’s blockade of Gaza (as mentioned above) continues with an international flavour that is causing a humanitarian crisis. The Palestinians are defenceless and unable to effectively retaliate against illegal and brutal occupiers. It’s preposterous to compare Palestinian “violence” with Israeli violence. Israeli Gestapo-like death squads are murdering innocent Palestinian civilians and prominent politicians with ease and impunity.
Israeli war planes continue to fly ‘sonic boom’ raids, terrorising the civilian population and causing mental damage to children and infants, and premature birth and miscarriage among pregnant women. The deliberate murder of Palestinian children (with impunity) for sport, and the use of Palestinian children as human shields by the Israeli soldiers, is war crimes worse than the Nazis’ crimes.
As I write these words, Israeli soldiers killed five Palestinian boys and girls, aged between 10 and 12, in cold blood. The children had only been playing ‘tag’ in the backyard of their home. Two days earlier, Israeli soldiers killed three boys while they were collecting carob fruits. The Israeli alleged: “the children approached the security fence”, Israel’s routine pretext to justify murder. Then the Israeli Army admitted that the killing occurred “by mistake”. Do you remember; when was the last Israeli killed by Palestinians?
Furthermore, at least 11,000 Palestinians, including women and children, are imprisoned without charge or due process in notorious Israeli prisons. Palestinian prisoners are enduring torture and abuse – justified by the Israeli Supreme Court as a ‘necessity’ – not dissimilar from those practiced by the Nazis with complete disregard to human rights and human dignity.
Israel has used, and continues to use, all kinds of weapons to kill Palestinians, including cluster bombs, napalms, and a new “super-weapon” that uses heat and pressure to kill people targeted across a wide area by sucking the air out of people’s lungs and rupturing their internal organs. In addition, Israel’s uninterrupted house demolitions of Palestinian homes and destruction of agricultural land constitute war crimes.
It’s worth noting that Israel’s violence found unconditional military support within the U.S. and European power establishments. The recent $30 billion “aid package” to Israel – paid by U.S. taxpayers – is a case in point, although “Washington’s blind support for Israel exceeds by many times the amount of direct U.S. aid to Israel” (Shirl McArthur, WRMEA, July 2006). Israel’s usefulness is that it justifies U.S. violence and military presence in the region.
Let’s not forget that Israel is a rogue state in possession of the fourth largest military force in the world. Israel amasses an arsenal that includes biological and chemical weapons and more than 200 nuclear warheads. Israel is rightly considered by the overwhelming majority of people around the world as the biggest threat to world peace.
All the above mentioned Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people are so horrendous that they could be easily pass for Nazis’ war crimes against Jews. The whole idea of purely “Jewish State” in Palestine is based on the concept of the “Master Race” adopted in the Nazis’ ideology of Herrenvolk. Indeed, Jews consider non-Jews (Gentiles) as Untermenschen, or lesser humans. In Israel, the 20 per cent Palestinians are despised and denied equal rights in a deliberate discriminatory policy considered worse than South Africa’s Apartheid. Unlike South Africa’s Apartheid, Israel’s Apartheid is a real Apartheid. (See: Chris McGreal, Guardian, 16 February 2006). This racist policy led some Jews to stop associating themselves with Israel in order to deflect criticism away from Jews.
Despite the criminal nature of Israel’s policies, few people dare criticise Israel for fear of being labelled “anti-Semitists”. Israel uses the cliché of “anti-Semitism” and the holocaust to silence its critics. People who are falsely accused of “anti-Semitism” pay dearly, losing their jobs and livelihoods for daring to legitimately criticise Israel. Indeed, anyone who criticises Israel’s terror or rationally argues that the pro-Israel Jewish Lobby in the U.S. has a significant influence over U.S. policy is automatically labelled “anti-Semitic”. The holocaust has been turned from a human tragedy into a political tool and a multi-business industry. In addition, Zionist Jews have succeeded in making the holocaust unique and exclusive, belittling countless other genocide. Zionist Jews have mastered the art of ‘religion manipulation’ to justify violence and perpetuate a slow genocide in Palestine.
It should be acknowledged that there is a widespread anti-Semitism campaign directed not against Jews, but against Arabs and Muslims. Pro-Israel Christian Zionists, including the Christian Right and pro-Israel lobbies in the U.S. and Europe, have declared war not only on the Palestinians and Arabs in the Middle East, but also on all Arabs and Muslims around the world. With the bulk of Western media inherently pro-Israel and anti-Muslim, Israel is portrayed as a “victim” defending itself from the Palestinians who are often depicted as “militants” and “terrorists”. In reality, the opposite is true.
In his last article in the Los Angeles Times (16 July 2007), the deputy of HAMAS political bureau, Mousa Abu Marzook, put the Movement’s view like this: “Why should anyone concede Israel’s ‘right’ to exist, when it has never even acknowledged the foundational crimes of murder and ethnic cleansing by means of which Israel to our towns and villages, our farms and orchards, and made us a nation of refugees? … I look forward to the day when Israel can say to me, and millions of other Palestinians: ‘Here, here is your family’s house by the sea, here are your lemon trees, the olive grove your father tended: Come home and be whole again’. Then we can speak of a future together.”
Finally, Israel’s existence as a “civilised” nation depends on Israel’s willingness to renounce violence, stop dispossessing and murdering Palestinians, and resume the path of a peaceful democratic coexistence.
I encourage you to carefully read the sources I refer to in this letter and reflect on the long history of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people before you blindly attack me again for daring to compare Israel’s policies in Palestine with those of the Nazis.
Ghali Hassan is an independent writer living in Australia.
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