While discussions on Israeli apartheid have become increasingly mainstream over the last three or more years, some aspects of Palestinians’ decades long mobilisation against Israeli apartheid remain absent or insufficiently
addressed in the current discourse. For some, apartheid has materialised only recently due to what is perceived as increasingly repressive Israeli government practices or the entrenchment of Israel’s prolonged military occupation since 1967. What this approach misses is a more structural understanding of Israeli apartheid as an inevitable outcome of settler colonialism in Palestine and the Zionist movement’s policy to eliminate the
indigenous Palestinian people through removal from the land. (p. 32)
… As of the time of writing, the year 2022 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2005, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Since 1948, Israeli authorities have systematically resorted to lethal and other excessive force against Palestinians, targeting Palestinian lives, bodies, and livelihoods throughout historic Palestine. The denial to Palestinians of their right to
life has been integral to the Zionist settler colonial project and is part and parcel of its ‘logic of elimination’ of Palestinians. Israel’s widespread and systematic violation of the right to life of Palestinians has been a pillar of
its establishment and maintenance of an apartheid regime since 1948. Arbitrary deprivations of Palestinian life serve to create a repressive environment designed to undermine the exercise by the Palestinian people
of their collective rights. (p. 122)
Today, justification for ethnic cleansing and genocide are rife across the Zionist political spectrum, from the left to the right, and the far right.
Here are some examples given by the journalist Ben White:
– I do not think that Arabs want peace. What I want is to be rid of them and to maintain a Jewish majority in the land of Israel.
– Only the strong wins. Parts of Gaza were sent back to the Stone Age.
– I’m happy to be a fascist.
– Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people and them alone.
None of these statements were made by the fascist right associated with Ben-Gvir and the other newly elected parties.
It is indicative of the official Israeli mindset that the genocidal siege of the Gaza Strip never seemed to register in the Jewish State’s overall strategy. And now we have Benjamin Netanyahu making a triumphant return with his fascist allies, Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. As far as Israelis or Israeli officials are concerned, Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, leaving Gaza free. However, it has kept the keys to the crossings separating it from Gaza and has left the last crossing in the hands of its Egyptian allies. As far as Israeli mainstream politicians are concerned, the Palestinians of Gaza are very ungrateful for not accepting the blockade, for resisting it and for demanding their internationally sanctioned rights!
The main point to be taken from the results of the Israeli elections is that the lives of Palestinian have never been in more danger than they are now. If one could assume that the reality for Palestinians will continue to be as it has, as one Israeli historian called it, a slow genocide, now it is clear this is not going to be the case. The Israeli politicians who are expected to be in the coalition – people like Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich – want the Palestinians out or dead. They will act with greater authority to accomplish the full ethnic cleansing of Palestine, as well as the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the erection of a so-called Jewish temple in its place.
They demand full control of the budgets and policymaking regarding Palestinians throughout the country. They want an easing of the rules of engagement vis-à-vis the Palestinians and the death penalty for all Palestinian political prisoners. They also call for what they term “stronger governance” over the Palestinian population – a code word for tighter control, more expulsions, home demolitions, arrests, torture and killing.
Israeli Human Rights Groups Call on U.S. to Sanction Ben-Gvir, Smotrich Over Human Rights Violations The letter, signed by more than 200 Israeli activists and human-rights organizations, accused incoming coalition lawmakers and their far-right allies as, among other things, inciting genocide against the Palestinian people and advocating for racial segregation.
Netanyahu, a prominent figure in Israeli politics, has less than a month to form a coalition, which will be the most right-wing in the history of Israel. It is set to include two ultra-Orthodox parties and the Jewish supremacist and anti-Arab Religious Zionism party (RZP). “The plans we hear from the next government are very dangerous,” Palestinian Osama Farid tells Efe. “The international community must act before it is too late because they seek to commit genocide against Palestinians, make us disappear to take control of our lands and take over our geographical area,” he adds.
For this generation to succeed in reclaiming the struggle for justice, they must also reclaim a unifying discourse, not only to reconnect their own fragmented communities throughout historic Palestine, but also to re-establish solidarity lines of communication across the globe.
I say “re-establish”, because Palestine was a common denominator among many national and indigenous struggles in the Global South. This was not a random outcome. Throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s, fierce wars of liberation were fought across continents, leading in most cases to the defeat of traditional colonial powers and, in the likes of Cuba, Vietnam and Algeria, to true decolonisation. With Palestine being a compounded case of western imperialism and Zionist settler-colonialism, the Palestinian cause was embraced by numerous national struggles. It was, and remains, a raw example of western-supported ethnic cleansing, genocide, apartheid and hypocrisy, as well as awe-inspiring indigenous resistance.
Broadly speaking, how would you describe the way that Israel is treating the Palestinians? And would you say it’s intensifying?
The Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people is a slow genocide which all decent people should oppose.