Israel’s Crimes and the Extermination of the Palestinian People

Stella Calloni

The brutal bombardments and the entry of Israeli troops into Gaza on May 13 coincided with the largest military maneuvers ordered by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, aimed at taking over all of Jerusalem and the extermination of the Palestinian people, who have survived in the world’s largest open-air prison, Gaza.

These actions carried out by the government of Israel, the fourth largest weapons power in the world, is a crime against humanity, perpetrated with impunity in complicity with its partners including the United States, Great Britain and others, considering that Palestine has no army, and its territories are under occupation.

Gaza occupies 360 km 2 and has two million inhabitants, who live under the most ruthless state terrorism that Israel applies in the occupied territories, where they murder, torture, kill and detain children, women and the elderly, while their habitat is systematically destroyed. Living among rubble and besieged by land, sea and air, leaving them without water, cutting off electricity, energy and food, a huge concentration camp, a crime against humanity, committed under the complicit gaze of many countries of the world.

A situation of injustice, colonialism, racism and apartheid that has been going on since 1948 when the Palestinian territory was divided into two parts, in one of which the state of Israel was created, without consulting the ancestral inhabitants who were to be displaced and then persecuted.

Moreover, the Jewish terrorist organizations Hagana, Irgun and others had the task of “clearing” the land to be occupied by Israel, burning Palestinian villages and murdering their inhabitants as happened in Deir Yasin on April 9, 1948, in a massacre that was engraved in the history of atrocious crimes in the world.

Preparations began on May 7 when Israeli troops and police prevented access to the Al Aqsa Mosque, where the Palestinian inhabitants were attempting to go for their religious services. They were also mobilizing in defense of their rights and of the families of Sheikh Jarrah, who are being forced by Israeli troops from their homes, inherited from their ancestors, to be handed over to Israeli settlers. An evident action of ethnic cleansing, classified in International Law as a war crime.

According to the narrative put together for the world press, managed by the hegemonic power, these bombings that began days ago, were a “response” in defense of the Israeli population, against the homemade rockets manufactured in Gaza, without any real firepower against the huge arsenal of weapons, including nuclear weapons of their invader….

The first rockets were fired after Hamas asked the Israeli government to put an end to the brutal repression in Jerusalem that left almost a thousand wounded and detained. This is hidden by the war press, as it keeps silent about the Palestinian people’s right to defense, who are the victim, not the victimizer.

There are also versions of provocative actions carried out by the Israeli intelligence infiltrated in some sectors of the Gaza Strip, besieged by land, sea and air.

In view of the latest events, it is impossible to forget the incursion of September 28, 2000, by the former Minister of Defense at the time, Ariel Sharon, into the Holy City’s Temple Square, surrounded by thousands of police and military personnel, which provoked a most serious conflict, after the principle of the coexistence of two capitals in Jerusalem had been accepted.

It should also be recalled that during the Six-Day War on June 7, 1967, the Israeli army seized the Square of the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and the entire Old City of Jerusalem. As it left the square, then Defense Minister Moshe Dayan proclaimed over the radio: “This morning Tsahal liberated Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places and we will never be separated from it”. (See Israel Foreign Relations, selected document, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem 1976).

In those days of September 2000, Sharon clung to this colonial mandate. This gave rise to a new Palestinian intifada, which was supported by large demonstrations in Arab capitals and by Muslims in the various Gulf countries. Solidarity was never so strong, since the Al Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site for Arabs and Muslims.

Military maneuvers

Coinciding with the current dramatic situation, last May 9, the Israeli occupation army began the so-called “Vehicles of Fire” military maneuvers, the largest in its history, which occurred in parallel “with the Israeli discourse on the existence of a political vacuum and isolation in the military and security institutions. An authoritarian vacuum”: (Resumen Latinoamericano 9-5-21 source Almayadeen)

Or Heller, military affairs correspondent for Israeli Channel 13, is also quoted as saying that “all this is happening in the Palestinian arena, while the Israeli army launches the biggest maneuver in its history, announced by the Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi”.

Moreover, the senior Israeli officer Kochavi decided not to cancel or postpone the maneuver “in order to prepare the army for battle this summer. A maneuver that we have not seen before”.

Regular and reserve army forces of all commands and armaments are participating, also the political sector, the Security Ministry, the National Emergency Authority, the Foreign Ministry and other agencies.

Is the maneuver a mere coincidence? To terrorize the Israeli people with sirens and other sounds and to accustom them to run to the shelters, as part of the biggest maneuvers in its history, which also happens within a scenario where the air, sea and land forces are acting against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The fourth most powerful army in the world has committed numerous criminal acts of war with total impunity, including the assault in international waters on ships of the so-called “Peace Flotilla” carrying humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.

Some 15 people were killed and dozens injured when Israeli commandos attacked the convoy of six ships – carrying hundreds of peace activists from 27 countries – in the early hours of May 31, 2010, descending from helicopters and firing on the crew despite the fact that they were raising white flags. It happened in international waters some 40 miles off the Israeli coast.

This operation shocked the world, but the impunity of the powerful was then laid bare when former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was “shocked” by what happened.

Shocked? Despite the convening of the UN Security Council and the demands of European and humanitarian organizations for explanations from Israel about the inexplicable, only Greece suspended its joint military exercises with Israel. Turkey, where the ships and a number of activists came from, organized a crisis committee. The then Prime Minister of that country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called Israel’s action “state terrorism” and a violation of international law, breaking off relations.

The violations of the most elementary human rights by the Israeli State have been denounced even by Jewish citizens inside Israel and in the world, and by Human Rights organizations.

Norman G. Finkelstein, a researcher and professor at a Chicago university, summarizes in his book “Method and Madness. The hidden history of Israel’s attacks in Gaza”, the policy against the Palestinian population based on the analysis of the military operations Cast Lead (2008-2009), Defensive Pillar (2012) and Protective Edge (2014) – which devastated the Gaza Strip.

A total of 3700 Palestinian men, women and children were killed. In his writings he details Israel’s arguments, lies and false reasons to justify these attacks, but also refers to the international plot that allows them to advance year after year in the occupation with settlements of what little is left of the Palestinian territory.

His critical analysis of the Israeli invasions has as sources the statements of Israeli military, officials and citizens, documents from the United Nations and international organizations. In referring to the very bloody military Operation Cast Lead, he used the report of Richard Goldstone, who headed an investigation of all the crimes committed by Israel in that action.

The report, rejected by the Israeli authorities for exposing the massacres committed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), confirmed that the government then headed by Benjamin Netanyahu aimed to “punish, humiliate and terrorize the civilian population of Gaza, in addition to “consciously murdering, torturing or inflicting inhuman treatment”, as well as “premeditatedly causing enormous suffering, serious wounds or injuries harmful to health, destroying property without military justification and doing so illegally and wantonly”.

Goldstone, hard pressed by Israel, later disassociated himself from the report, but the data and precise sources have never been erased. And they are part of the body of evidence presented to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Finkelstein argues that in each of the military operations, Israel also sought to demonstrate to the world its “deterrent capability” while striking at the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas. He also demonstrated that all large-scale Israeli invasions are accompanied by extensive media coverage that justifies them. But he considers it even more serious how this has served to terrorize and “convince” a large part of Israeli society itself, which is unaware of what its government is actually doing against Palestine and also in other countries of the world, such as in Latin America.

We are witnessing it in Colombia at this time, where the presence of Israeli advisors and trainers of paramilitaries and weapons sold by Israel are being used against this brotherly people…

FInkelstein, son of survivors of the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek, also studied the possibilities of resistance of the Palestinians, which in reality, given the conditions, is a poignant heroism to confront the occupation with the understanding that all the paths of justice, diplomacy and politics that have been employed have been closed due to the enormous power of Israel and its allies, the only thing left is resistance, such as what has been seen with stones against cannons and the most sophisticated weapons. We are seeing it in these hours where the victimizers rehearse actions of a high intensity war on an innocent population, which only has its agonizing body as its only defense,

Finkelstein also speaks to us of the legendary resistance of the people of Gaza, of their indomitable will, in the face of so much inequality of forces, suffering “death and destruction on a heartbreaking scale”.

When U.S. President Donald Trump, under the advice of his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a member of the ultra-right-wing Jewish lobby in that country, ordered to move the embassy to Jerusalem, it was part of Israel’s perverse plan to take over the Holy City of Jerusalem, the meeting place of religions and heritage of humanity.

For all these reasons, to defend Palestine is to speak the truth, to demand that international organizations act against the universal lie imposed by the hegemonic media as weapons of war and that our governments do not allow themselves to be pressured by the so-called lobbies of death, which in reality constitute an imperial power in decadence that threatens all of humanity. Today we are all Palestine.