Ethnic cleansing is not a solution

Four score and no years ago, Israel’s forefathers set forth in Palestine the creation of a new nation, conceived in racism and dedicated to the propositions that some Jews are created equal (European Jews) and that the Palestinians must be expelled.

The Zionist program for Palestine, which necessitated the expulsion of vast numbers of Arabs to create a Jewish majority, has proceeded inexorably since shortly after the League of Nations mandate for Palestine in 1922. When a “Jewish majority” was impossible to achieve solely based on Jewish immigration and natural growth, the Zionist leaders at the time (Ben Gurion, Moshe Sharett, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and Chaim Weizmann) concluded that “population transfer” was the only solution to the “Arab Problem.” Between 1947 and 1949, 750,000 of Palestine’s Arabs (80%) were forcibly driven from their homes followed by another 300,000 after the 1967 war.

Without another war in Palestine as a pretext, and mass expulsions without “provocation” too draconian for modern-day humanism, “slow transfer” became Israel’s method of choice for cleansing Palestine of its remaining Arab inhabitants. Namely, creating such unbearable living conditions for Palestinians that they would just want to get up and leave. George Bush Sr.’s imposition of the Madrid Peace Conference on Israel in 1991 forced the Zionist establishment to adopt the Israeli Left’s more “dovish” plan, relegating Palestinians to isolated ghettos under total Israeli domination. That is, until now.

Recycled from the Zionist days of yore, influential members of Ariel Sharon’s war cabinet have once again brought to the forefront of national Israeli discourse a “final solution” to end the eighteen-month Palestinian uprising against Israeli military occupation. Specifically, forced expulsion of three million Palestinians to Jordan, the “real” Palestinian state.

Complementing an already brutal policy of air-strikes, assassinations, home demolitions, torture, humiliation, economic strangulation, curfews and closures, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has declared the establishment of “buffer zones,” reinforced by a 74 km fence-line to envelope the northern West Bank, a Hadrian’s Wall of sorts. It may afford Israel the luxury of killing Palestinians from a safe distance, but it will not protect illegal Jewish settlers outside its confines. Trapped within the zone will be 40,000 pitiful civilians, who will face increased oppression, humiliation and severe restrictions on their movement.

“Not tough enough” is what Sharon is being told by his cabinet “hawks.” West Bank and Gaza Palestinians under occupation must be expelled as well as all of Israel’s Arab population -the survivors of Israel’s first wave of ethnic cleansing in 1948. Rahavam Ze’evi, Israel’s slain tourism minister, was one of the greatest advocates of such a plan. Surviving him is a whole host of political and religious parties in Israel, some in a coalition with Sharon’s government. For the first time in decades, ethnic cleansing is actually being discussed as a viable plan, even by some of Israel’s less rabid leaders. Frightening indeed.

Sharon, Israel’s pugnacious slayer of Palestinians, was voted into office by a considerable majority of Israelis with the promise that he would bring “peace and security” to Israel by brutally crushing the Palestinian uprising. He has indeed been brutal, almost vintage Sharon, but no, he has not accomplished security or peace. His policies have Israelis of all political stripes wringing their hands in frustration. To the Ze’evi gang, he is too soft, and to the “doves”, his brutality, while perfectly justifiable, is simply not working.

Neither side really gets it at all. Nearly a century of plotting, propagandizing, invading, killing, expelling, dispossessing and occupying the Palestinians has only stiffened their resolve. They realize that they are indeed fighting for their very existence as a people and a nation. Living in the shadows of death has made the average Palestinian almost numb to anything the Israelis can further dish out. Death, even for women, it seems, is better than perpetual enslavement under a brutal Israeli occupation.

There is a widely-accepted axiom among historians that the last stage of military occupation is the most brutal. Having used everything in their arsenal short of a nuclear bomb, one hopes that Israelis will come to their senses and realize that the only way to resolve the “Arab problem” is to stop viewing them as a problem to begin with. Palestinians are human beings with national aspirations, hopes, dreams and political ambitions.

Israel must make a choice between peace and continuing its illegal occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. “If you can’t beat ’em, kick ’em out” is not a choice because Palestinians, too, say “never again!”

Mr. Victor Lama is a freelance writer and commentator . He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from New York, USA.