Socialist ViewPoint and analysis for working people

September/October 2005 • Vol 5, No. 7 •

The Plan for Genocide in Gaza and Judaization in Galilee

By Julie Saad

“I Don’t Want to Know Their Names”

The so-called disengagement from Gaza is unfolding like a carefully staged drama, accompanied by an orange-bedecked settler chorus. The military units slated to move the settlers are undergoing intensive preparatory psychological training lest they accidentally react with their usual brutality against recalcitrant Gaza settlers during the evacuation process.

The disengagement plan is being presented, like all Zionist propaganda, on two levels depending upon the intended audience. For international consumption, the disengagement discourse is designed to distract and influence international public opinion, framing the plan as a unilateral, good-faith effort by Israel to further the peace process while burnishing Sharon’s Bush-touted image as a “man of peace.” Even the word “disengagement” was chosen to give the impression that Israel is altruistically ceasing to engage in a two-sided, equal conflict, rather than withdrawing from illegally-occupied lands. The terminology in turn projects legitimacy back on the entire 57 years of occupation and ethnic cleansing.

Internally, Sharon emphasizes that settlements are being moved, not dismantled. When Israel withdrew from Sinai in 1982, many settlers were relocated to Gaza and they will now be moved along with later settlers to the West Bank. Generous American compensation, reported to be upwards of $227,000/settler, will lubricate the whole process. The Gaza settlers have studied their lines carefully and are playing the role of anguished victim to the hilt, not only framing their plight in “righteous” terms but also demonstrating the impossibility of withdrawing settlers from any other portion of occupied Palestine. Additionally, by adopting orange as the symbolic color of their defiance the settlers assume the mantle of the recent color-coded American-sponsored “revolutions” worldwide, thus insinuating that they are on the side of “freedom” rather than racist oppression, theft and genocide.

Internally, Sharon has also indicated that withdrawal from Gaza is necessary in order to concentrate on ensuring Israeli dominance “in Galilee [Jaleel] and the Negev [Naqab], Greater Jerusalem, the settlement blocs and the security zones.” As the secret 1976 Koenig report made clear, the large Arab population in these targeted areas has long been a thorn in Zionism’s side and, despite efforts to increase Jewish colonization, Arabs remain to this day a majority in key portions of both the Jaleel and the Naqab. Israel clearly means to use resources freed up by the disengagement to intensify the campaign to “Judaize” these two important areas as well as complete the construction of the apartheid wall and effectively seal off the West Bank Palestinians in canton prisons. (The Koenig report is published in full in The Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 6, No.1)

In the face of Palestinian resistance in such places as Gaza and al-Khalil, the historic model of Zionist colonization has relied on militarized collective settlements and housing blocs for control, a method that has proved extremely costly. After disengagement, a new “individual settlement” model will be rolled out in the Naqab, whereby individual settlers or settler families will command and control large areas of territory, reminiscent of the American pioneer/farmer model vis-à-vis Native Americans. Redeployment will thereby increase the rate of return on settlement investments.

Israel has also made it clear it has no intention of turning Gaza and remnants of the West Bank into any kind of Palestinian state. A senior Israeli analyst stated bluntly in 2002 that Gaza would serve as “the penal colony” of Israel, its “Devil’s Island, Alcatraz.” This Palestinian prison is already completely surrounded by electric fences on land, and sea access is blocked by the Israeli navy. A 100-meter strip on the Egyptian border, where Palestinian houses were systematically destroyed, will be maintained and controlled by Israel, and Egypt will be bullied into assisting in the policing of the prison.

To activate this plan in full, the settlers had to be moved out of harm’s way. Ran HaCohen wrote in early 2004: “There is thus no reason for Israel to sit inside of Alcatraz, with its endless poverty and water shortage, unemployment and hopelessness; let the prisoners run their own lives while we sit safely all around it and watch the prisoners perish.”

Recently some left-wing Israeli academics, including Ilan Pappe, published an urgent warning about extreme violence during and after the evacuation from Gaza and, as evidence of murderous intentions in the offing, quoted an Israeli general who said that Israel may use “weaponry that causes major collateral damage, including helicopters and planes, with mounting danger to surrounding people.”

As the trenchant Arabic proverb goes, “They think that they’ve discovered hot water.” The academics’ alarm is not only naïve but belated. In 2004, A.B. Yehoshua, Israeli author and peace activist had already embellished the plan described by HaCohen:

“…after we remove the settlements and after we stop being an occupation army, all the rules of war will be different. We will exercise our full force. We will not have to run around looking for this terrorist or that instigator—we will make use of force against an entire population. We will use total force. Because from the minute we withdraw I don’t want to know their names. I don’t want any personal relations with them. I am no longer in a situation of occupation and policing and B’Tselem [the human rights organization]. Instead, I will be standing opposite them in a position of nation versus nation.” (With a Zionist eye ever sensitive to external vs. internal consumption, the italicized phrases in Yehoshua’s statement were printed in full in the Hebrew edition of Haaretz but redacted from the English edition).

If Israeli artists and “peace activists” are openly engaging in a discourse of “purifying war,” as Yehoshua does, there is no clearer sign that Israel is a fascist state, bent on genocide. Like the Israeli academics and their belated warning, the failure of Western progressives to decisively oppose Israel as a racist, genocidal state has enabled the situation to reach this pass.

Al Awda, August 3, 2005

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