ISRAEL/PALESTINE — As candidate McCain pandered to militants and fundamentalists during his trip to Jerusalem, giving firm “support for Israel’s military response” in Gaza, he ignored B’Tselem/the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in Occupied Palestine Report which affirms:
As of “27 February to the afternoon of 3 March, 106 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip. Contrary to the Chief of Staff’s contention that ninety percent were armed, at least fifty-four of the dead (twenty-five of them minors) did not take part in the hostilities. In addition, at least forty-six minors were wounded… including the killing of four children and wounding of two others while they played soccer in the street, east of the Jabalya refugee camp on 28 February. B’Tselem’s investigation indicates that Qassam rockets may have been fired earlier about 100 meters from where the children were. However, no armed Palestinians were killed or injured in the incident.”
McCain — the son of Vice Admiral McCain, the man who directed the rush job, whitewash known as the Court of Inquiry regarding the June 8, 1967 attack by Israeli jets and torpedo boats on the lightly armed spy ship, the USS Liberty, as she sailed in international waters — also issued a “further signal of solidarity with Israel, [by supporting] the Jewish state’s claim to Jerusalem as its capital, which the international community rejects.”
But, hope and wisdom has spoken, for the most promising of a Palestinian Martin Luther King, Jr. has a risen in Ramallah.
Ziad Abu Ein, a senior Fatah operative and Deputy Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, is offering the world a vision to begin the world again with a nonviolent plan to defeat the culture of terrorism, racism and denial of the other.
On the very same day McCain was beating the drum of discord, disharmony and disunity, the Jerusalem Post reported on the Palestinian visionary, Ziad Abu Ein, who has chosen the way of accord, harmony, unity and civilian obedience by activating the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 regarding the rights of refugees to return home.
From May 14-16, the Palestinian Diaspora will be commemorating Israel’s 60th birthday in the Holy Land by arriving with suitcases, tents and their house keys, carrying UN flags along with their UNRWA-issued ID cards.
As human beings have rights and states and nations have obligations, this global citizen, American civilian journalist and justice and peace seeker, phoned Ziad on March 19, 2008 to learn more about his dream. One dream can change everything and only in solidarity do “we have it in our power to begin the world again,” as Tom Paine once wrote.
Ziad informed me, “I was born in 1959 in a tent in a refugee camp in Ramallah. Before 1948, my family had lots of land. My family has suffered so much and so have my four children.
“The Palestinians did not make Resolution 194, the UN did!
“We are calling all the refugees to come home and be UN peaceful soldiers!
“We are calling all Israelis and all the people of the world to wake up and participate in seeking justice and peace with us because this is the only way we will stop the terrorists!
“This initiative is seeking full human rights for all the Palestinians in exile. This initiative is seeking peace with the Jewish people which requires justice for Palestinians. This initiative is accepting and implementing UN Resolution 194!
“We cannot succeed in the peace process until we solve the refugee problem!
“We must expel the hate from hearts and minds! The only discrimination is in not accepting the other.”
On December 11, 1948 The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194 in regards to the crisis in Palestine that erupted and continues to flame because of the actions of ‘civilized’ white men who carved up the Holy Land in a misguided attempt to semi-repent for the atrocities of the Third Reich by forcing the indigenous peoples of Palestine to pay for the sins of the Nazis.
The birth of the state of Israel resulted in Al-Nakba/The Disaster for Palestinians who were forced out of their legally owned homes and off their legally owned property because of the lust of Zionists supremacists who violently pursued grabbing more than the UN had partitioned unto them.
“On March 10, 1948, in Tel Aviv, eleven men had a meeting in the Red House headed by Ben Gurion. The eleven decided to expel one million Palestinians from historical Palestine. No minutes were taken, but many memoirs were written about that fateful meeting. A systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine began and within seven months the Zionists managed to expel one half of all the Palestinian people from their villages and towns.”
Dr. Ilan Pappe, spoke those words on Nov. 8, 2006, on the seventh day of Sabeel’s [Arabic for THE WAY] 6th International Conference; The Forgotten Faithful/AKA the Palestinian Christians, and this civilian journalist was in the audience.
Dr. Pappe spoke to over 330 International ecumenical Christians in the Ramallah Cultural Palace on that day about the “Dynamics of Forgetting” and because of the “fierce urgency of now” [Rev. MLK, Jr.] the world is beginning to remember that once there was a Red House where a most diabolical plan was hatched.
Dr. Pappe informed the crowd, “The Red House in Tel Aviv is gone now. It was a typical building in Tel Aviv that had all the characteristics of Mediterranean homes but with the local Palestinian architecture of the ’20′s. Today a USA Sheraton Hotel stands in its place. The Red House was the home of the Haganah; a Jewish underground organization but before 1948 it was the home of a socialist movement, from which it received its name.”
“Haganah” is Hebrew for “The Defense” and was a Jewish paramilitary organization formed in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. It began as a small group of “Jewish immigrants who guarded settlements for an annual fee. At no time did the group have more than 100 members until after the Arab riots of 1920 and 1921. The Jewish leadership in Palestine believed that the British, whom the League of Nations had given the Mandate of Palestine in 1920, had no desire to confront the Arabs about attacks on the Palestinian Jews, and thus created the Haganah to protect their farmers and settlements. The initial role of the Haganah was to guard the Jewish Kibbutzim and farms, and to warn the residents of and repel attacks by Palestinian Arabs.
In the period between 1920 and 1929, the Haganah lacked a strong central authority or coordination. Haganah “units” were very localized and poorly armed: they consisted mainly of Jewish farmers who took turns guarding their farms or their kibbutzim. Following the Arab 1929 Hebron massacre that led to the ethnic cleansing by the British authorities of all Jews from the city of Hebron, the Haganah’s role changed dramatically. It became a much larger organization encompassing nearly all the youth and adults in the Jewish settlements, as well as thousands of members from the cities. It also acquired foreign arms and began to develop workshops to create hand grenades and simple military equipment. It went from being an untrained militia to a capable army.”
The British did not officially recognize the Haganah,but the British security forces cooperated with it by forming the Jewish Settlement Police, Jewish Auxiliary Forces and Special Night Squads. By 1931, the most right-wing elements of Haganah branched off and formed Irgun Tsva’i-Leumi (the National Military Organization), better known as “Irgun” (or by its Hebrew acronym, pronounced “HaEtsel”). The members were discontented with the policy of restraint when faced with British and Arab pressure and “terrorists” in their own right. Irgun later split in 1940, and their off-shoot became known as the “Lehi” (Hebrew acronym of Lochamei Herut Israel, standing for Freedom Fighters of Israel, and also known by the British as the “Stern Gang” after its leader, Abraham Stern. Because the British severely restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine, in 1939 the Haganah created the Palmach — the Haganah’s strike force, which also organized illegal Jewish immigration of over 100,000 Jews to Palestine.
In 1944, in response to the assassination of Lord Moyne, the British Minister of State for the Middle East, by members of the Jewish Lehi underground, the Haganah worked with the British to round up, interrogate, and, in some cases, deport Irgun members. This action was called the Saison (or hunting season), and seriously demoralized the Irgun and reduced its activities.
But, the Saison could not stop the Irgun, Haganah and the Stern Group from working together. The three groups had different functions, which served to move the British out of Palestine and to make Palestine a Jewish state rather than create a Jewish home in Palestine.
Menachem Begin, an Irgun commander, stated in a 1944 meeting: “In fact, there is a division of roles; one organization advocates individual terrorism (the Lehi), the other conducts sporadic military operations (the Irgun) and there is a third organization which prepares itself to throw its final weight in the decisive war.”
On November 8, 2006, Dr. Pappe also illuminated the crowd of committed justice and peace seeking Christians that, “The New York Times followed Israeli troops and reported the truth of the expulsion and separation of men and women, and of the many massacres. The world was well informed in 1948, but a year later not a trace was reported in the USA press or books. It was as if nothing ever happened.
“From March to October 1948 the USA State Department stated what was happening was a crime against humanity and ethnic cleansing. When ever one ethnic group expels another group they should be treated as War Criminals and the victims should be allowed to return. This is never mentioned in the USA about Palestine.
“Israel is so successful in their ethnic cleansing because the world doesn’t care! The ethnic cleansing continues via the apartheid policies of the Israeli government and because of the denial of the truth by the USA media.
“To claim Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East is bullshit! The Six Day War of 1967 escalated the ethnic cleansing and today in Jerusalem every Palestinian who fails to pay taxes, or has a minor infraction will loose their citizenship.
“In 1948 the mechanism of denial and ethnic cleansing as an IDEOLOGY, not a policy but a formula began. When Zionism began in the 19th century it was meant to be a safe haven for Jews and to help redefine Judaism as a national movement, not just a religion. Nothing wrong with either of those goals! But by the late 19th Century it was decided the only way these goals could be achieved was by ridding the indigenous population and it became an evil ideology.
“Israeli Jewish life will never be simple, good, or worth living while this ideology of domination, exclusiveness and superiority is allowed to continue. The mind set today is that unless Israel is an exclusive Jewish State, Palestinians will continue to be obstacles. However, there has always been a small vocal minority challenging this.
“The only thing that can save Palestinians is for the world to say “ENOUGH is ENOUGH!” The way to challenge and change the ethnic cleansing is to pursue true democracy and the use of sanctions and divestment, for money talks.”
Since 1948, USA taxpayers have provided over 100 Billion dollars to Israel, which is not a democracy, but an ETHNOCRACY!
Jeff Halper, Founder and Coordinator of ICAHD/Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and a Noble Peace Prize Nominee for 2006 argued, “Israel is a not a democracy but is an Ethnocracy, meaning a country run and controlled by a national group with some democratic elements but set up with Jews in control and structured to keep them in control.”1
In 1973, Ariel Sharon told Winston Churchill III, “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”
But all things are possible and miracles do occur; and one man’s dream can change everything.
- Memoirs of a Nice Irish-American ‘Girl’s Life in Occupied Territory, Eileen Fleming, page 15. [↩]