While I am firmly on the side of Palestinians because it is a matter of principles and justice, it is also worth remembering, that Israel is what it is not just because of itself, but because of the world at large.
Israel has been badly served by Zionism, its leaders, Judaism and the international community, particularly the US.
The original premise of imposing a European colony on Palestine in the name of a religion was always deeply flawed. Zionism encouraged the belief that members of Judaism around the world were threatened and needed ‘land’ where they could settle and protect themselves. In truth various such ‘lands’ had been offered in unoccupied parts of Australia, Africa and South America but rejected on the basis of religious belief, regardless of the fact that the creation of Israel represented huge colonial injustice and enormous violence.
And in reality, religions do not get homelands or any rights to land and if they did, it would be the Christians who had rights to Palestine where their religion was founded and modern-day Iraq, ancient Mesopotamia, for Jews where their religion began. But the immoral and illegal concept of a nation founded through colonisation in the name of a religion was ignored or perhaps missed in the trauma, confusion, chaos and guilt following the end of the war and the Zionist propaganda machine had been hard at work by then for nearly a century, promoting the religious ‘dream’ of Israel in Palestine.
And the world went along with that fantasy and so did much of the Jewish community. Despite the fact that even during the Second World War the majority of Jews lived safely in many countries and the fact remains that most Jews have never lived in Israel and never wanted to live in Israel and never will live in Israel. In fact many are leaving and emigrating back to the countries their parents and grandparents left. One of the largest communities is in Berlin which symbolically, is a heartening and healing touch to a terrible wound.
The Israelis ‘boosted’ numbers by finding ‘Jews’ wherever they could, defining Jewishness as one grandparent, although some argue even one great-grandparent, in order to create a majority over the Palestinians.
A non-practising Jew with one Jewish grandparent had a right to immediate citizenship, while Palestinians holding keys to homes in Jerusalem where their family had lived for more than seven centuries, had no such right.
And the world went along with that and money poured in from international Jewry to support the maintaining of occupation, increased colonisation and in more recent years, apartheid.
As Israeli society became more bigoted toward non-Jews, and more violent and more irrational and dysfunctional and committed consistent war crimes and human rights abuses to maintain occupation and colonisation, the world went along with it.
The world has allowed Israel to call itself a democracy while functioning as a theocracy, a religious state, where members of one religion, Judaism, have superior rights to all others. It has watched in silence while Israel built Jew-only roads, an appalling discrimination in a modern world and particularly one which calls itself a democracy. The world has largely remained silent while those Palestinians who gained Israeli citizenship, some 25%, were treated as inferiors with less rights than Jews and while the rest of the Palestinians were subjected to increasingly brutal treatment and confined to concentration camps like Gaza and a series of bantustans, held under constant imprisonment by the Israeli military. Religious discrimination of this kind is a form of racism which the world refused to allow in South Africa – the UN makes no distinction between racism based on religion or that based on race – and yet has tolerated this egregious injustice for decades.
We have all helped to make the monster that Israel now is. Anyone reading the press would be under the impression that people in a ‘country’ called Gaza are bombing their neighbours, the Israelis and the Israelis have no choice but to fight back. But this is a lie. Gaza was created when Zionist armies drove Palestinians out of their homes and off their lands onto Gaza Beach.
Gaza is surrounded by an electric fence guarded by the IDF. Anyone coming close to the fence, including children, is shot by Israeli soldiers. The people of Gaza are subjected to collective punishment if they try to resist their colonial masters, including sonic booms which traumatise children and cause women to miscarry.
Israel holds ten thousand Palestinians in gaol, most without charge, including thousands of children and subjects them to torture. And the world lets Israel call itself victim!! The Palestinians, like all indigenous people held under colonial rule are utterly powerless. When they resist they are punished by the military rulers who have a massive weapons capacity and no compunction about using it on helpless civilians.
Israel is now bombing helpless children, women and men in the concentration camp of Gaza in a bid to maintain occupation, colonisation and apartheid. And the world goes along with it. Ten times more Palestinians have died in this colonial war which Israel has waged in Palestine for nearly seventy years and the world goes along with it. Perhaps less so than it did, but still, far, far too much.
Thousands of Palestinian children have died in this unjust war with ten times more Palestinians killed by the powerful Israeli military than Israeli colonists killed by the Palestinian Resistance. Israel has used State sanctioned terrorism to maintain occupation, colonisation and apartheid and the Palestinians have used violence, along with much more passive resistance which is rarely written about by the media, to resist it and to fight for their just and deserved freedom.
By omission and commission Israel has been enabled to become the rogue state and world pariah that it is today. It has had friends who, by their actions, did the work of enemies – and for this I coined a word many years ago, frenemies.
If Israel had had true friends or even more friends than frenemies, it would never have been able to do what it has done and it would never have been so debased as a culture and as a society. Too many Israeli supporters, and one has to add in the fanatical American evangelists, have stood on the sidelines, safely away from the trauma, the blood and the violence, encouraging Israel along this doomed path and providing the money, weapons and material to help them do it.
Israel exists because of the world and it has become what it is because of the world and for that I feel enormous sympathy for Israelis and for all those Jews of conscience who had dreams of what Israel might be and who never expected to see it become what it has.
Israel’s tragedy was and is the lack of friends to tell it the truth about itself. But perhaps anyway it is too late and the one-state solution will put paid to the Zionist and religious fantasies and in the doing, set Israelis free as well as Palestinians. For culturally, Israelis have far more in common with Palestinians than they do the lands they left behind as immigrants.
One can only hope so.