March 18, 2012
Ongoing nearly 45 years and counting. Crimes of war, against humanity, and unspeakable atrocities define it. Growing condemnation hastens ending it.
Israeli control represents the longest military occupation in modern times. Palestinians are afforded no rights. Daily terror defines their lives. Racist policies persecute them.
It exceeds the worst of South African apartheid. It's gone on longer than anyone should tolerate. Malcolm X once asked: "What do you call a Black man with a PhD? Nigger."
Jonathan Scott used Malcolm's quote in his article titled, "The Niggerization of Palestine," saying:
Major media and political truth and full disclosure of Israel's racist practices are excluded from public discourse.
Edward Said called it "America's Last Taboo" in an article he wrote shortly before his death. It was also a chapter headling in John Pilger's book titled, "Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire."
Said blamed the power of Zionism to inflict unspeakable abuses on an entire people and get away with it for so long. Pilger referred to a "five and a half decade cover-up of Israel's oppression of the Palestinians."
With US political and financial backing, they've terrorized Palestinians with impunity. When victims dare defend themselves, they're called terrorists. Scoundrel media reports regurgitate the lie.
Human rights and other organizations, as well as growing numbers of Palestinian supporters worldwide speak freely. At a mid-March Geneva UN Human Rights Council conference, about 300 international organizations called on Israel to lift repressive restrictions on Palestinians' free movement and other discriminatory practices.
Observatory regional director Amani al-Sinwar discussed grave Israeli human rights abuses, including unjustifiable restrictions controlling their lives.
Separately, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem (Navi) Pillay said her visit to Occupied Palestine "brought (her) face to face with many large-scale human rights violations stemming from Israel's occupation...."
Among others, she mentioned illegal Palestinian transfers from their home areas, settlement expansions, settler violence, excessive Israeli security force abuses, and Gaza's suffocating siege.
Last summer, Haaretz writer Yitzhak Laor headlined his article, "Siege of Gaza has become a moral blockade of Israel." He called it "an international symbol of cruelty (and) further proof of the stupidly of our leaders."
Israel has become the symbol of racist crimes. "We are no longer the embodiment of progress, as we were trumpeted as being for a long time, but the exact opposite."
A new UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) report criticizes Israel harshly for racially discriminating against Palestinians and Arab citizens in virtually all aspects of their lives.
On March 9, its published findings called superiority based on racial differentiation illegal, scientifically wrong, morally reprehensible, socially unjust and dangerous.
Israeli law includes no prohibition against discrimination. CERD listed numerous abuses, including:
- segregated Israeli communities;
- separate educational, health, and other systems;
- different local government practices for Jewish and Arab communities;
- discrimination against Ethiopian Jews;
- denying Bedouin Arab citizens access to their land and property;
- discriminatory Israeli laws, including denying family reunifications;
- home demolitions, forced displacements, and land seizures; and
- much more, denying Israeli Arabs and Palestinians equal rights as Jews.
CERD refutes Israel's claim that the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination doesn't apply to Gaza, the West Bank, and Golan.
Under military occupation, they're governed by an entirely different legal system than Israel. Institutionalized racism defines it. Justice is systematically denied. The committee referred to "the hermetic character of this segregation."
While settlements expand on stolen Palestinian land, Palestinians are denied basic rights, especially besieged Gazans. It urged immediately ending this illegal blockade. It condemned Israel's practice of arresting, brutalizing and imprisoning children.
It denounced its administrative detention practice without charge, and indefinitely extending it repeatedly for months or years.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) presented CERD with an alternative report. It stressed international legal obligations, including provisions of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Israeli refuses to comply. It spurns all international laws with impunity. PCHR cites numerous abuses, including discriminatory implementation of judicial rights. Under military occupation, Palestinians are denied equal treatment and legal protections. Racist discrimination is systemic and extreme.
It's official state policy. Israel's High Court enforces it. Israel's democracy is bogus and illusory. Even most Jews are cheated. Israel is one of the most unequal Western countries in terms of wealth and available social benefits.
Of course, Palestinians and Israeli Arabs suffer most. They're unwanted, discriminated against, persecuted, at times killed, and suffer horrifically out of sight and mind because world leaders don't care enough to help.
Daily reports detail Israeli abuses. Palestinian activists are imprisoned lawlessly, tortured, and detained indefinitely. Nonviolent protesters are attacked with tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades, and at times live fire.
Pre-dawn incursions terrorize Palestinian communities regularly. Soldiers target nonviolent men, women and children. They're arrested, brutalized and detained. Gaza's bombed days on end. Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal accused Israel of turning Gaza into a test laboratory for new weapons, including illegal ones.
He also said fabricated excuses are used to launch preemptive attacks. Civilians are targeted like resistance fighters. On Friday, Netanyahu warned Gazans to stop retaliatory strikes or face expanded IDF operations.
"We will strike at whoever intends to harm our citizens," he said.
Ultranationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said:
"As long as Hamas is in control of the Gaza Strip, there is no chance that we will agree to a safe passage, or unsafe passage, or elevated passage, or underground passage or any passage whatsoever. The Palestinians have condemned themselves to a separation right now that looks like it will continue for generations."
On Thursday, Hamas political leader Mahmoud Zahar spoke for others, saying resistance is strong, solid, ongoing, and determined to continue defending Palestine until liberation's achieved.
He also thanked Iran for its "strong support....without expecting anything in return." Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbhar Salehi said Tehran fully supports their liberating struggle.
He added that "the Islamic awakening and the developments in the Middle East and northern Africa are boosting the resistance in Palestine, and weakening the Zionist occupation."
He strongly denounced Israel's aggression, and said supporting Palestinians and their resistance is essential to assure Palestine one day is liberated.
In 1977, John Pilger titled his documentary "Palestine Is Still the Issue." Thirty-five years later it still is. It's one of the world's great injustices. What changed then and continued is that Palestinians fought back.
Without armies, tanks or planes, they're committed to end Israel's ruthless occupation with or without outside help. Pilger's film was about people struggling to be free. It's the oldest human struggle.
Those in it are societies' most courageous. Palestinians are some of the best and most long-suffering. They deserve our support and then some!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.