Children of a lesser God?

palestine-shatteredAccording to the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel today there are over 50 discriminatory laws against Palestinian civilians in Israel in all areas of life, including their rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budget resources, and criminal procedures.

Jafar M Ramini Global News Centre

(LONDON)  There is a thought that has been brewing in my head since the latest massacre in Gaza and what followed. How to define a relationship between two peoples who live on the same piece of land but are, in terms of cultural, religious and political affiliations, oceans apart.

In this article I shall try to define the relationship between religion, race and democracy in Palestine. In particular when it comes to the relationship and sense of entitlement that many Zionist Jews have with Palestine. This thought was magnified and brought to the fore after the latest pronouncements by Mr. Netanyahu and his cabinet declaring Israel as a state for the Jewish people exclusively. More of this later.
 
To do this we must go back to the birth of Zionism as ‘a political movement’ where the idea of a Jewish state started.  When you know that the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl and many of his followers were atheists you would be justified in thinking that using the Bible and God as justification to steal other people’s land is a tiny bit cynical, or at very least irreverent. Furthermore, Mr. Herzl and his co-founders didn’t think of Palestine as their first choice for their proposed ‘Judenstaat’ – Jewish State. They actually thought first of Uganda, then Patagonia, the southern part of Argentina.
 
There was one other proposal. In April of this year a letter, dated 12th September 1917, surfaced in the British Library. It was written by M.L Rothstein, a Russian Jewish doctor, residing in Paris at the time, and addressed to the British Ambassador in Paris, Lord Bertie Frances. It requested support for a plan to establish a Jewish homeland in Al Hassa, part of what is now known as Saudi Arabia.
 
Dr. M.L Rothstein wrote, “I undertake to assemble, for next spring, a Jewish fighting troop, a force of 120,000 strong men that could be doubled with soldiers provided by Britain and its allies”. He admitted that the plan “may appear unrealistic,” but this would cease “as soon as the first thousand men have arrived on the scene.”
 
Too late, said Lord Balfour.  I have already promised Lord Rothschild Palestine. And the rest is history.
 
That shameful document known as The Balfour Declaration has been discussed to death, but I just would like, for the sake of this article, to choose one sentence, ‘it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.’
 
The non-Jewish community in Palestine then constituted 90% of the inhabitants of Palestine, a mix of Arab Muslims and Christians. The ownership of the land, at that time was 93% Arab Muslim and Christian and 7% Jewish.
 
That did not seem to matter to the Zionists and their supporters. They followed, with venom, the creation of the Jewish Homeland in Palestine, while trampling on the rights of the indigenous, non-Jewish population all the way to May 1948 when the state of Israel was created.
 
Israel then occupied 78% of the ethnically cleansed land of Palestine. As a result 750,000 indigenous Palestinian Arab Christians and Muslims were forcibly and brutally removed. Most of them are still languishing in subhuman refugee camps around the Arab world.  David Ben-Gurion, considered to be the founding father of Israel wrote: “We must do everything to ensure they (the Palestinian refugees) never do return” Ben-Gurion diaries, 18 July 1948.
 
Thirty-five years later Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces in 1983 said, “We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel… Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.” – New York Times 14 April 1983.
 
Not only did they ensure that none of the Palestinian refugees returned they added to their numbers in the hundreds of thousands in the subsequent wars of conquest and expansion.
Brute force is the best-known weapon of the Israeli Occupation Force.  The Israeli law is another.
 
According to the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel today there are over 50 discriminatory laws against Palestinian civilians in Israel in all areas of life, including their rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budget resources, and criminal procedures. Some of the laws also violate the rights of Palestinians living in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories and Palestinian refugees. There are another 19 new laws against Palestinians pending approval by the Knesset. Or should I say twenty?
 
Mr. Netanyahu has just proposed a new, sweeping bill that is so divisive, so undemocratic, so blatantly apartheid that even members of his own cabinet are questioning it in the Knesset.
According to his proposed bill, Israel should be a Jewish only State with Jewish only people having full citizenship rights. Even those known as Arab Israelis, whose families have been living within the state of Israel before 1948 would lose their citizenship rights and Arabic would be de-listed as a second official language.
 
What or who are these Jews who have a sense of entitlement over Palestine? Are they a religious group, which is the accepted description of the people who practice Judaism? Or are they a political movement? Or are they a race of people?
 
If you look at these options objectively and listen to what Netanyahu and his cabinet is calling for you cannot but come to the conclusion that the Jewish state is a religious entity, which excludes anyone who is not Jewish by religious affiliation. In other words they can come from anywhere in the world providing they follow Judaism, which is a religion. 
 
Yet the message that is being sent out is that this will not only be a Jewish State but a democratic state. How can this be? Democracy in any understanding of the word is affording equal rights and equal obligations to the citizens of any state. How could then the Jewish state, with 20% non-Jews residing in it be called a democracy?
 
So are the Jews just a religious group or a racial group? If you listen to the Zionists they are both, which puts their argument of a Jewish state exclusively for Jewish people in the realm of Apartheid and racism. 
 
Possibly those who are ignorant of history might pronounce these remarks to be anti-Semitic, unaware that the Semitic races are those, according to the dictionary, ‘relating to, or constituting a subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic language group that includes Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic, and Aramaic.’ No mention of Brooklynese, Russian, Lithuanian, Polish or English.
 
One vital omission from any declaration from Tel Aviv pertaining to this sought-after Jewish state is they never ever tell us where are the ultimate borders of this state. The internationally accepted borders of Israel are those lying within the 1967 borders.
 
Israel has continually refused to accept this notion and continues to expand and usurp Palestinian lands that don’t belong to it. So how could a state be borderless? Unless the state that they still lust after is Eretz Israel. And if this is the case where in this world are Palestinians to go?
 
Are we to take the mantle of the ‘Wandering Jew’ of history? Stateless, unwelcome by our fellow Arabs and Muslims, cast out from our own country without the wherewithal to care for our families and our livelihoods? Will Israel continue to ignore the various UN resolutions that have been made over the years on the Palestinians right of return? After all, the world has looked the other way on this enshrined right of the Palestinians for 66 years. Is it now time that it found its conscience, its sense of fair play or even its comprehension that adding to the millions of displaced Palestinians already in the refugee camps and the Diaspora will only add another bloody chapter to the tragic saga that is Palestine.
 
The entire area of the Middle East is in turmoil. The killing, the murdering, the maiming, the destruction can only become worse if Israel is allowed to grow its apartheid, racist, brutal regime in Palestine. 
 
As a very wise woman in the British Labour Party, Clare Short, said back in 2007 when she had political clout.  “We can never restore peace in the Middle East if we don’t restore a just and lasting peace in Palestine.”

_____________________________________________________

ramini-jafar

Jafar M Ramini is a Palestinian writer, commentator and analyst on Middle Eastern affairs living in London.

He was born in Jenin, northern Palestine, was educated in England and spent the early years of his working life in the Arabian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. He has traveled far and wide, searching for the answer to a question that still eludes him.

Why does the United States of America support the Zionist line in such a blind folded way while ignoring the legitimate rights of the indigenous Palestinian people? Particularly as the Palestinian people harbour no ill feelings towards America and its people nor has ever caused them any harm. It is, Jafar says, a conundrum.

Leave a Reply

Web Design BangladeshBangladesh Online Market