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Oppression And Land Theft Bring Shame To Israel – OpEd

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How can Israelis close their eyes to the violent abuses inflicted by Israel’s military against the Palestinians? They live in an artificial world of denial — bolstered by a mastery of communications and the dysfunctionality of Palestinian activists — in which abuses against Palestinians such as racism, land theft, physical violence and killings take place every day. These actions do not even provoke a whimper from the majority of Israel’s Jews.

They have come to accept the fact that their country is one built on the oppression of others, while going to great lengths to separate its viciousness from that which fueled the Holocaust, which brought many of them into the initially welcoming arms of Palestine’s Christians and Muslims.

They may argue that not all Jews in Israel have turned their backs on righteousness. But that was also the response of populations in Germany and in Poland during the Second World War. Not everyone hated Jews, but very few spoke out until it was too late.

That is where Israelis are headed: Toward a fate in which one day they will have to answer for the atrocities that have taken place against Palestinians. The newly announced investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which was itself founded on principles defined by the postwar trials of the Nazis, is just the beginning.

Every day, Palestinian lands are being confiscated for the sole purpose of expanding the existing and building new Jewish-only settlements. The best farmlands are taken from Palestinians with impunity.

Reports frequently make it through the Israeli government-throttled mainstream news media about Palestinians who are attacked, brutalized and killed by Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. And yet Israeli Jews still manage to go about their business in places like West Jerusalem, where they openly refer to the big houses built using Jerusalem stone as “Arab homes.”

There is absolutely no shame, especially as Israeli Jews lead the campaign to recover land and property stolen from them during the Holocaust. As they do so, land and property is being stolen from the Palestinians in their name. And their major institutions don’t seem to care.

For Palestinians, March is a special month, during which they commemorate “Land Day.” This commemoration reflects on when — March 30, 1976 — the Israeli government passed a law allowing the expropriation of lands from non-Jews. Protests by Palestinian citizens of Israel raged from Nazareth to the Negev. It was the first time that Israel’s non-Jewish population had stood up to the racism on which Israel is based.

B’Tselem, an organization of Israelis of all backgrounds who embrace human rights, this month released a scathing report on how extensive the theft of land is. It argues: “The fact that the West Bank has not been formally annexed does not stop Israel from treating it as if it were its own territory, particularly when it comes to the massive resources Israel invests in developing settlements and establishing infrastructure to serve their residents.”

The report adds: “This policy has enabled the establishment of more than 280 settlements and outposts now populated by more than 440,000 Israeli citizens (excluding East Jerusalem). Thanks to this policy, more than 2 million dunams of Palestinian land have been stolen, by official and unofficial means. The West Bank is crisscrossed with roads linking the settlements to one another and to Israel’s sovereign territory, west of the Green Line; and the area is dotted with Israeli industrial zones.” These industrial areas produce stolen products that are then disguised and sold to markets around the world — a process that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement seeks to expose.

Israel may be able to change the face of the West Bank, just as it has meticulously erased much of the Arab identity from areas throughout Israel, but it cannot erase the truth, which will always stand as a testament to its cruelty.

Israelis are accountable for the horrors that their government inflicts on the Christians and Muslims in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

*Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian-American former journalist and political columnist. Email him at [email protected]

One thought on “Oppression And Land Theft Bring Shame To Israel – OpEd

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    March 19, 2021 at 1:58 pm
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    An interesting but one sided article, which needs God’s side for balance. My comments will be limited to just a handful of verses from the three sacred texts, the first being God’s promise in covenant form to the patriarch Abraham from the Jewish (Old) Testament (covenant), and the second from the New Testament (covenant) of the Christian Bible, and finally a quote from the Quran.
    From the book of Genesis God speaks to Abraham “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” And God continues, “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac.” [Genesis 17 v 7-8 & 19-20] (Isaac was the father of Jacob, named by God “Israel”)
    The Apostle Paul writes in the New Testament (covenant) “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.” [Romans 11 v1-2] and Paul continues “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer (the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the prophet and Son of God), and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” [Romans 11 v 25-27]
    From the Quran, “And [mention, O Muhammad], when Moses said to his people, “O my people, remember the favour of Allah [God] upon you when He appointed among you prophets and made you possessors and gave you that which He had not given anyone among the worlds. O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you and do not turn back and [thus] become losers.” [Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:20-21]
    This is a clear theme throughout each of these texts, and will be ignored by us mere mortals at our peril. (And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Genesis 13 v3)

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