‘Genocide Becomes Functional’ When Israel, US Deny Palestinian Existence - Academic
20:57 GMT 01.12.2023 (Updated: 09:24 GMT 05.12.2023)
Israel has long tried to write the Palestinians out of history by claiming the land settled by millions of Jews since the late 19th century was “empty,” which has made it easier for them to justify terrible actions from the 1948 war to the present assault on Gaza, a Palestinian academic told Sputnik.
The ceasefire between the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip that began last Saturday was canceled by the IDF
, which claimed Hamas had broken the truce by firing on Israeli troops. The ceasefire had been called after more than six weeks of intense IDF attack on Gaza and what Israel described as a “complete siege” of the small territory, leading to acute shortages of food, water, medicine, fuel, and other basic necessities.
Several dozen prisoners were released by both sides during the “humanitarian pause,” which also saw much-needed aid begin to enter the densely-populated enclave that is home to more than 2.2 million people, more than half of whom have been forced from their homes by the IDF assault.
Dr. Ramzy Baroud, an author, editor of the Palestine Chronicle, and senior research fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs
, told Radio Sputnik’s The Backstory
on Thursday that Israeli policy has always been based on negating Palestine and Palestinians as a concept, allowing the justification of any and every action against the Palestinian people.
1 December 2023, 19:15 GMT
Baroud said that Israel’s assault on Gaza was totally unprecedented, even in terms of its past brutalities, including the 1948 “Nakba” or “catastrophe,” when 700,000 Palestinians were forced out of the land that became Israel and 15,000 were killed.
“Nothing, nothing like this has ever been experienced. I lived in a Gaza refugee camp until I was in my early 20s, and we have experienced the First Intifada, the first uprising, we have experienced death, war, bombardments - we have experienced it all,” he said.
“But even for that generation, this is completely unprecedented. I don't think we've ever seen anything like this, even during the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1947-48. Yes, we have seen massacres, but we haven't seen a situation in which you have 2.3 million people placed within a confined area, surrounded by the navy, by a military, by tanks, by drones, by all the best American air defense is able to offer. And they are being targeted randomly, with no warnings, including schools, hospitals, homes - anything that you can possibly imagine. There is no safe zone. And then with time, a process of starvation began occurring.”
“Israel is trying to communicate the message to the Palestinians that ‘I'm still in charge’. They are trying to create this illusion that what happened on October 7 did not happen and that Israel remains the invincible army that has always been. So to communicate this message - which by the way, though we are terribly failing at communicating - they had to kill all these people,” he said.
“Fifteen thousand people are dead so far, 7,000+ are wounded. If you are missing under the rubble, most likely dead. If you combine these two numbers by themselves - forget about the wounded and forget about everybody else - that's about 1% of the entire population of Gaza that’s been killed. One percent. More bodies are being recovered, nearly 40,000 people wounded, the World Food Program is saying that 2.2 million of Gaza's population are in urgent need for food. They have no food. Gaza's entire population is anywhere between 2.2 to 2.3 million. It means that pretty much everybody in Gaza has no food and no clean water,” Baroud explained.
1 December 2023, 07:17 GMT
“So this is completely unprecedented. And yet American politicians, officials are lining up with the same chorus every day: ‘Israel has the right to defend itself’. This is terrifying in the sense that Palestinians have shown clearly that they have no breaking and that they are willing to go to the very end to fight for their rights. But it doesn't seem like there is a moral breaking point for the Americans. I mean, this is the truth of it. If Israel has done all of this and destroyed 60% of all homes in Gaza, and the Americans haven't yet woken up to the idea that this is really bad and this needs to stop, it means that the Americans have no moral threshold that can't be crossed. And that is what's truly terrifying about all of this.”
“And it’s not like any of this is new to the US,” Baroud said. “I mean, books, volumes written about it not only by Palestinian historians like myself, but also by Israeli historians, the likes of Ilan Pappe, for example. This process of dehumanization - recently, I wrote an article
about the history of genocidal language in Israel. This has been going on for 75 years. When you fight an enemy and dehumanize that enemy at the same time, you create that mindset that when you are ready to completely get rid of that enemy, it doesn't register as an immoral act. This is why the Israelis, from the very, very beginning, for example, before Israel itself was established on the ruins of Palestine in 1948, for decades, they have created this narrative that Palestine is an empty land, it's a land of no people, that should be available for a people who have no land. So the entire infrastructure of Israel, moral infrastructure, was based on the assumption that the Palestinians do not exist.”
“And that version of events has been repeated so many times. For example, Golda Meir, the Israeli prime minister in the '60s, made that comment herself in an interview with The Sunday Times in 1969, when she said ‘not that there were a group of people living here calling themselves Palestinians, and we came and we kicked them out. They never existed’. Now, only a few months ago, [Bezalel] Smotritch, the far-right Israeli minister of finance, was in Paris, of all places, giving a talk in which he said the Palestinians are ‘an invented people’. So 75 years and there's still that genocidal language, complete erasure of the Palestinians.”
“Now, why this is functional, and that's what I argued in the article, is because when the war started and the Israelis started trying to convince Egypt and Jordan, through American mediation, to accept millions of Palestinians who were going to be kicked out of Gaza and the West Bank, they immediately resorted to this idea that the only solution is to betray the Palestinians. That's where genocide becomes functional. Because it wasn't entirely surprising to anybody, because that's what they have been saying.”
29 November 2023, 15:02 GMT
“In Israel they have a different term for it: they don't call it ethnic cleansing, they call it population transfer. It's a polite way of saying ‘kick all the Palestinians out of their own historic homeland in which they have been living for thousands of years’. And the Americans, not only were they not neutral about it and they did not say ‘no, back off, what is this nonsense, we are living in the 21st century, we can't be allowing this’. No, [US Secretary of State] Antony Blinken actually goes to Egypt and he offers Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian president, he offers him money in order for him to temporarily accept 1 million or 1.5 million Palestinian from Gaza."
"And we know, I'm a Palestinian refugee myself, we know that the moment you cross the border out of Palestine, you are never allowed to go back. So basically, they wanted to create another Nakba, another population transfer, if you will, and Palestinians are not going to come back. So they're going to irritate the supposed peaceful existence of the state of Israel.”