By Mick Napier

Netanyahu's latest land grab

June 12, 2020 - 18:23

Israel is now openly planning the incorporation of a huge chunk of the Palestinian West Bank into Israel. As usual, the Zionist project seizes the maximum amount of land while excluding the maximum number of Palestinians, who will be herded into areas and denied citizenship.

Not a week has gone by since 1948 when land did not move from Palestinian ownership to exclusively Jewish control from which Palestinians could not benefit. This was sometimes achieved by direct violence, up to and including massacre, and at other times by bureaucratic means with the implicit threat of Zionist military and paramilitary force.

Ever aware of the international balance of forces, Israel now scents an opportunity to drive forward its project while the world's attention is focused elsewhere. Netanyahu, after all, infamously told a Bar Ilan University audience in 1989 that “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China [at Tiananmen Square], when world attention was focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.” The Israeli elite know that, ultimately, they rely on U.S. and European support for their existence as a colonizing power in West Asia and that they must be sure they will be allowed - either openly or tacitly - to take major steps against the Palestinians.

Israel's latest seizure has prompted public protests from Israel's European and West Asian allies but nothing beyond feeble words. The German foreign minister is in Israel today (Wednesday) to "warn against" Israeli annexation of more Palestinian territory but in the same breath to assure Israel that Germany will oppose any sanctions from Europe against Israel if it proceeds with the plan. "Don't do it but if you do it there will be no negative consequences" is the message Netanyahu hears clearly. Israel, Germany and every Western chancellery well understand the steps in this diplomatic dance and they have all been dancing it for many years. It's a green light to proceed for all concerned understand that the Israeli appetite for Palestinian land has not diminished and will never end until Israel is confronted by a force capable of forcing it to do so.

In political as in scientific endeavor, we value a simple theory which can explain a huge amount, ideally all, of the key data. When we look at Israel/Palestine, the entire history since 1897 can be understood by seeing Zionism as a colonial project in alliance with a key European power to secure its interests in the region, and aiming at the seizure of the land and the expulsion of the native Palestinians.

Britain's template for this particular colonial enterprise was in many ways its own oldest colony, Ireland; Britain promoted settlement there by Scottish and English farmers under British military protection. They seized the best land from the native Irish and violently oppressed them. This naturally generated fierce resistance from the natives which the incoming settlers could only deal with in alliance with the colonial superpower, Britain.

Sir Ronald Storrs, the first British governor of conquered Jerusalem made clear the connection and the motivation behind the infamous Balfour declaration, i.e. to secure for Britain a “little loyal Jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.

After World War II the Zionist leadership recognized that the USA had emerged from that war greatly strengthened while Britain had been bankrupted and subordinated to the new world superpower, the USA.

They promptly switched patrons in order to secure political protection and support for the planned ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, which they carried out in 1947-48.

Israel also sees an opportunity from the alliances it is forging informally with Saudi Arabia, the (Persian) Gulf emirates, and its partner in enforcing the siege of Gaza, the Egyptian dictatorship.

By every reputable measure Israel is already a pariah regime in the eyes of world public opinion, with its support among American Jews ebbing away as the racism and apartheid of that regime becomes official and drives young Jews into active opposition to Israeli Apartheid.

No massive rise of the Black Lives Matter movement across the USA and around the world presents yet another crisis in Zion support for the BLM movement has embraced the cause of Palestine as a core component of opposition to the racism that blights American and all Western societies.

At the same time Netanyahu has pinned Israel's political support firmly to the strange creature who tweets from Washington and who is generating loathing and resistance across the USA. His likely disgrace will strengthen elite political hostility in the U.S. towards Israel.
Sometimes Israel's seizure of Palestinian land proceeds relatively slowly but sometimes that racist process speeds up a direction of travel, however, is one way. Similarly all of Palestine needs to be liberated from Zionism before freedom can be glimpsed, which means building up international resistance to the racist system which Israel enforces across the whole area it controls.

Israel recognizes nothing except strength; what force can make Israel abandon its plans to seize more land and lock stateless Palestinians in more open prisons surrounded by Israeli soldiers and armed settlers? In the short term, it is difficult to see but in the long term, the international popular anger at Israeli ethnic cleansing must find a way to boycott and isolate the apartheid regime. Currently, the main concern of Israel is that worldwide anger at its crimes will continue to strengthen the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions). This movement has never grown by gradual baby steps but has taken giant steps following Israel's giant crimes, massacres in Gaza, or the killing of the Mavi Marmara passengers. Will this latest violation of Palestinian rights have the same results?

Mick Napier is a founder member of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a campaigner against the crimes of the UK government, and a commentator on current affairs with specific reference to Palestine and West Asia.

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