The great anti-racist fighter Malcolm X once said the problem with corporate owned media and capitalist politicians was that they always made the victim look like the aggressor and the aggressor look like the victim. He called this propaganda “tricknology)â. Today you’d be hard pressed to find a greater example of media tricknology than the depiction of the Palestinian struggle. If you based yourself exclusively on mainstream media reporting, you could be excused for believing that the Palestinians brought all their suffering and misery on themselves!
Since its formation in 1948 Israel has worked hard to present itself as a besieged oasis of democracy in the Middle East – a tiny outpost of decency, constantly and incessantly threatened by hordes of bloodthirsty Arabs who are so blinded by their irrational anti-Semitism that they refuse to leave peace-loving Israel alone.
The state of Israel is an apartheid state. In the same way apartheid South Africa was an attempt to build an anti-black, exclusively white-controlled country on African land, Israel is an attempt to build an anti-Arab, exclusively Jewish-controlled state on Arab land. This is the essence of Zionism the official ideology of the Israeli state.
Zionism = Colonialism
When Theodor Herzl, the ideological founder of the Zionist movement in the late 1890’s, was asked what he proposed to do with the indigenous Palestinian population when his âstate of the Jewsâ became a reality, he replied: âWe will quietly spirit them across the borderâ.
Herzl liked this idea because âFor Europe, we (the Zionists) would constitute a bulwark against Asia down there [in Palestine]; we would be an advance post of civilisation against barbarism.â
The state of Israel was founded on the basis of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine of its indigenous Arabic speaking inhabitants. Joesph Weitz, the head of the Jewish Agency’s colonisation department, confirmed this in his 1940 diary. âIt must be clearâ, he wrote, âthat there is no room for both people’s together in this countryâ¦ not one [Arab] village, not one tribe should be left.â
The creation of Israel was only possible after the driving out of some 850,000 Palestinians by Israeli military units and terror gangs. Today the number of Palestinians living in refugee camps numbers over 3 million. While any Jew from around the world has the legal right to settle in Israel under the Law of Return, Israel refuses to even discuss allowing Palestinian refugees to return.
Racist Apartheid State
The key basis of the Israeli constitution and declaration of independence is that Israel is an exclusively âJewish Stateâ. That the state should be secular, meaning not tied to any religion, is a fundamental democratic demand. The Muslim and Christian Palestinians living in Israel’s borders are denied the same rights as Israel’s Jewish citizens.
Under the 1948 United Nations enforced partition, Israel was granted 54% of Palestine. The Palestinians rejected the partition from the start on the grounds that setting up an exclusively Jewish state would result in the repression and expulsion of the local Arab population. By 1949 Israel had seized 78% of Palestinian land. By 1967, 90% of Palestine had been taken.
The outright theft of Palestinian land has continued throughout this period. Before 1948 there were 475 Arab villages within the borders of what became the State of Israel. By 1973, 385 of these had been destroyed by the Israeli authorities. By 1981 one third of the occupied West Bank , conquered by Israel during the 1967 war, had been expropriated. Today over 60% of the land in the West Bank is owned by non-Arab Israeli settlers even though they constitute a tiny minority of the population.
In Gaza, there are around 6000 Jewish settlers living among a population of one million Palestinians. Yet 42% of the land in Gaza is owned by Israeli Jews whilst 94% of land in historic Palestine is under the administration of the Jewish National Fund. This land can be leased only to Jewish people. Palestinians and other non-Jews are excluded from leasing this land without exception.
The historic demand of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was to replace the apartheid state with a âdemocratic secularâ state, in which Jewish, Christian and Muslim citizens would be equal. In the late â80s the PLO made a major concessions and limited their demand to such a state based only on the West Bank and Gaza Strip territories, a tiny portion of historic Palestine. However, they have not even been granted this and these territories remain under military occupation with more and more illegal Israeli settlements being built there each year.
The Palestinian people have a proud history of resistance against injustice and have not been defeated. They continue to struggle for justice and self determination in the face of the full might of the US equipped Israeli military.
Their struggle should inspire us all to struggle in solidarity with the Palestinians and against the system that causes their oppression.