February 5th, 2018
Seventy years ago the State of Israel was founded, an historic event worthy of celebration, which changed the Middle East and the World.
Looking at Israel today one would have hoped that over time wisdom and moral leadership would have prevailed and both Israelis and Palestinian would have reached an understanding, reconciling the different views while respecting international law and human rights. It would have led to greater prosperity for the greater Middle East region.
Today the question is how these issues can be solved, if ever, given the increasing spiral of violence, polarization and the lack of moral leadership. But obviously the answer is not to be found in settlement expansion with the strategy for a greater biblical Israel.
It is also 70 years ago this year on April 9, 1948 events took place in the village of Deir Yassin which changed Israel forever. Today we would call them “war crimes and crimes against humanity” and demand prosecution at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
These events took place after Husseini was killed and as he was being buried at the Table Mount next to his father with thirty thousand mourners present while the 120 fighters of Irgun and Lehi attacked the Arab Village west of Jerusalem named Deir Yassin, “where they committed the most shameful Jewish atrocity of the war” as Simon Sebag Montefiore writes in his book “Jerusalem.”
It was in the morning of April 9, 1948, the Irgun and Lehi militias stormed the village of about 600 inhabitants. The Irgun and Stern militias arrived at 4 a.m. in the morning and the massacre lasted until 6 a.m. Several of the captives were later paraded in Jerusalem before being killed.
The Israeli’s killed nearly 100 men, women and children with guns and swords that day. The leader of the Irgun, Menachem Begin, the former Prime Minister of Israel, later wrote that the Palestinians hearing of the massacre “were seized with limitless panic and fled for their lives“.
As Simon Sebag Montefiore writes “while Menachem Begin boasted The legend (of Deir Yassin) was worth half a dozen battalions to the forces Israel, Ben-Gurion apologized to King Abdullah, who rejected the apology.”
In an article by Ofer Aderet in Haaretz of Jul 16, 2017 which was also based on archieved documents have been during 50 years under Government embargo it is described how the Jerusalem commander of Lehi Yehoshua Zettler pronounced how the Arabs “they ran like cats” to Ms Neta Shoshani who interviewed him in 2009, a few weeks before his death.
Zettler denied that his people carried out a massacre in the village but he spared no words to describe the way its inhabitants were killed. “I won’t tell you that we were there with kid gloves on. House after house … were putting in explosives and they are running away. An explosion and move on, an explosion and move on and within a few hours, half the village isn’t there anymore.”
According to Simon Sebag Montefiore “The Arab vengeance was swift. On April 14th, 1948 a convoy of ambulances and food trucks and 77 Jews mainly Doctors and Nurses were slaughtered before the British intervened.”
The result was that the event in Deir Yassin was amplified in Arab media and triggered an exodus that emptied the new state of Israel of 80 % of its population and by doing so created the refugee camps.
There were more than 400 villages destroyed in order to create the state of Israel. The remains of these villages have been eradicated and today nothing has remained to acknowledge that they ever existed. The people, who fled, what is now the State of Israel, ended up in refugee camps of the West Bank and Jordan.
It was nor the last time a former Prime Minister was involved in war crimes, also Ariel Sharon in 1953 as commander of Unit 101, responsible for the massacre of Qibya, a small village in Jordan, where 75 people were slaughtered; of which 50 were women and children.
The same Ariel Sharon as Defense Minister was held responsible by the Kahan Commission for the massacre of Sabra and Satilla which killed 800 children, women and elderly refugees. As a result Ariel Sharon was forced to resign as Defense Minister. First as opposition leader Sharon contributed greatly to the start of the second intifada from 2001 – 2006 and the civilian casualties.
I can only conclude that the Israeli/Palestine question, the yearlong occupation of the Palestine territories has corrupted Israel morally, which during this period has been dominating, expelling, starving, killing, and humiliating the Palestinians, inviting the destructive suicides attacks, resulting in the terrible waist of young lives we see in Israel.
The house to house razzia’s, the raids, the snipers, the executions and mass arrests which have been taking place during the second intifada are immoral and remind of the dark times of European history.
We have witnessed war crimes, crimes against humanity, resulting in an increasing spiral of violence. Israel must be held accountable for violations against Geneva Convention of 1907 and the Fourth Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949.
Under the Fourth Geneva convention Israel is obliged to protect persons in time of war and during occupation and prohibits changes to occupied territory. The settlements which Israel has built are a unnecessary change in the permanent status which is not in the interest of the Palestinian population.
The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the occupying force to settle it’s own population, 450,000 settlers, making a Palestinian State on the West Bank not feasible.
The vile nature of Hamas cannot justify the total disregard of civilian lives by Israel. Israel empowered Hamas and as the oppressor has lost the moral high ground for some time by its treatment of Palestinians and ignoring human rights.
There is no question, Israel has the right of self-defense, but within the obligations that international law imposes on Israel. Just like Hamas and other have violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel. But the deplorable and immoral suicides attacks and other crimes of Hamas, do not justify Israel’s crimes.
It is an vain illusion to think that the activities of past or future Governments by turning to massive violence the army can stop the resistance against the occupation or will do anything to solve this conflict; the disconnection with the Palestinians get worse while conflict gets worse every year, mostly for the children of the region.
There can be only one conclusion, Israel has the right to exist within its own borders, defend itself, but the spiral of violence needs to be broken at the negotiation table, the Palestinian people have suffered long enough under Israeli occupation, and they also deserve their own Palestinian state, only diplomatic negotiations can bring the two-state solution.